SEARCH

Saturday
Jun232018

Republican congressional nominee Katie Arrington seriously injured in car accident

The Washington Post/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Republican congressional nominee Katie Arrington of South Carolina was seriously injured in a car accident Friday night, according to a series of posts on her Twitter account and authorities.

Arrington, who was endorsed by President Donald Trump and recently won the Republican nomination for South Carolina's 1st Congressional District over incumbent Rep. Mark Sanford, was traveling with a aide to Hilton Head on Highway 17 when a vehicle driving in the wrong direction struck their car Friday. Both were injured and remained hospitalized the following morning, according to the tweets on Arrington's account.

The aide was identified Saturday morning as Jacqueline Goff, 59, according to the Charleston County Sheriff's Office.

The driver of the other vehicle, whom authorities did not identify, died at the scene, the sheriff's office said.

Arrington, who was a passenger in the car, "sustained a fracture in her back and several broken ribs," as well as other injuries that required her to undergo "major surgery including the removal of a portion of her small intestine and a portion of her colon," one tweet said.

The main artery in her legs partially collapsed and will need a stint, according to another tweet.

"Additional surgeries will be required including one likely today; and it is likely that Katie will remain hospitalized for the next two weeks," the tweet said.

"As we all know, Katie Arrington is an extremely strong woman and has tremendous faith and an incredibly supportive family," another tweet said. "And it is from her strong faith, the support of her family, the prayers and support of our community, and the incredible doctors and staff at the hospital that she is certain she will be back to work for our state soon."

Just hours before Arrington won the GOP congressional primary, Trump tweeted his endorsement for Arrington and lambasted her opponent, Sanford, who has been critical of the president.

"Mark Sanford has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA. He is MIA and nothing but trouble. He is better off in Argentina," Trump's tweet said. "I fully endorse Katie Arrington for Congress in SC, a state I love. She is tough on crime and will continue our fight to lower taxes. VOTE Katie!"

On Saturday morning, the president sent his "thoughts and prayers" for those involved in the accident.

"My thoughts and prayers are with Representative Katie Arrington of South Carolina, including all of those involved last nights [sic] car accident, and their families," Trump tweeted.

Arrington's political rivals -- Sanford and Joe Cunningham, the Democratic nominee for the seat -- sent well wishes via Twitter too.

Cunningham said he'd be suspending "campaign events until further notice."

The National Republican Congressional Committee wished Arrington a "speedy and full recovery."
 
Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Jun232018

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker's son accused of sexual assault on flight

Isaac Brekken/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- The adult son of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has been accused of sexual assault by a woman on a JetBlue flight Wednesday.

The incident allegedly happened on flight 1354 from Washington, D.C., to Boston, according to Boston ABC affiliate WCVB.

"On June 20, the crew of flight 1354 were notified of an incident between customers shortly before landing in Boston," JetBlue said in a statement. "The aircraft landed at approximately 11 p.m. local time where it was met by local authorities."

A woman on the flight accused Andrew Baker, known as A.J., of inappropriate touching, WCVB reported.

"A.J. is fully cooperating and looks forward to a resolution of this matter," Baker's attorney Roberto Braceras said in a statement to ABC News.

The U.S. Attorney's Office, which would usually have jurisdiction on a case happening on a plane, said it could not "confirm nor deny they are investigating" this case.

The Massachusetts State Police said the "matter is being handled by the US Attorney’s Office."

The governor's office deferred comment, saying only, "This is a personal matter for the Baker Family and A.J. will cooperate with any request from authorities."

Baker, a Republican, took over as governor of Massachusetts in January 2015. He ran against Democrat Deval Patrick in 2010, but lost, before beating Martha Coakley in 2014. The 61-year-old is running for reelection this year.

A.J. is one of the governor's three children, two boys and a girl.

ABC News' Rex Sakamoto, Devin Villacis and Brendan Rand contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jun222018

US Navy preparing to house 25,000 migrants at remote facilities for up to 6 months: Memo

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Navy is preparing to house as many as 25,000 migrants at remote Navy facilities in California, Arizona, and Alabama, according to a U.S. official with knowledge of an internal Navy document.

The document, prepared for Navy Secretary Richard Spencer by an assistant secretary, appears to have been written in anticipation of the Trump administration requesting the Department of Defense house migrants at U.S. military facilities.

The existence of the memo, which ABC has not seen, was first reported by TIME Magazine.

Earlier this week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requested that Pentagon be prepared to house up to 20,000 unaccompanied migrant children at U.S. military bases, but it is unclear if the facilities identified by the Navy in the internal memo would meet HHS needs.

The document said the Navy could spend $233 million to construct and operate a facility that could house 25,000 migrants for up to six months. The facilities, which could be constructed as tent cities, are described in the memo as "temporary and austere," the official confirmed.

Although the Navy is preparing to house 25,000 migrants, some of the facilities identified in the document could house up to 47,000. Facilities at former Naval Weapons Station Concord, near San Francisco, and the Marine Corps' Camp Pendleton in Southern California could each house up to 47,000 migrants.

Twenty-five thousand migrants could be located at Navy Outlying Field Wolf in Orange Beach, Alabama and nearby Navy Outlying Field Silverhill. An unknown number of migrants could be held at the Marine Corps Air Station near Yuma, Arizona.

"It would be inappropriate to discuss internal deliberative planning documents," Navy spokesperson Capt. Greg Hicks told ABC News.

Department of Defense spokesperson Lt. Col. Jamie Davis said DoD was "conducting prudent planning" and looking at its installations should the Department of Homeland Security "ask for assistance in housing adult illegal immigrants."

There has not been a request to the Defense Department to house adult migrants, only up to 20,000 unaccompanied migrant children.

 Last month, ABC News reported that HHS officials were touring four U.S. military bases to see if they could be used to house migrants in the event that other facilities reached capacity. Those bases did not include any Naval facilities, but Air Force bases in Texas and Arkansas, as well as the Army's Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas.

While officials have completed their tours of those installations, no final determination has been made as to whether any of those four bases would house migrants.

HHS has used U.S. military facilities to house migrants in the past.

In 2014, the department used bases in Texas, Oklahoma, and California to house 7,000 unaccompanied migrant children after HHS facilities reached capacity.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jun222018

Trump cites out-of-context crime statistics in honoring 'angel families' whose loved ones were killed by undocumented immigrants

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Trying to steer the controversy over immigration back to his favored talking points, President Donald Trump met Friday with what he calls "angel families" whose loved ones were killed by undocumented immigrants.

As his administration has in recent days, he compared their tragedies to the uproar over children being separated from their parents at the border, saying the victims he highlighted were permanently taken away from their families.

“You never hear this side. You don't know what's going on,” Trump said. “They're not separated a day, two days. Permanently separated because they were killed by criminal illegal aliens.”

Trump then apparently referred to a 2011 Government Accountability Office report and ticked off some statistics.

“According to a 2011 government report, the arrests attached to the criminal alien population included an estimated 25,000 people for homicide. 42,000 for robbery. Nearly 70,000 for sex offenses and nearly 15,000 for kidnapping,” he said.

But citing that report, to which he referred to on the campaign trail too, is “misleading and lacks context,” the Washington Post’s fact-check team reported in November 2016.

The 2011 report collected data from 2003 and 2009 to come up with those figures and used information specifically from five states with the highest populations of inmates who were in the country illegally.

There were 25,064 homicides among that population over six years, but that represents only about one percent of the nearly three million arrests that occurred in the study population. About half of the arrests, overall, were related to immigration, drugs, and traffic violations.

The other offenses and numbers he cites are also correct but again lack context. Robberies and kidnapping both represent one percent of total arrests, and sex offenses represent two percent.

Other studies also show that undocumented immigrants are no more likely to commit serious crimes than native-born Americans. One study from the libertarian Cato Institute showed that criminal convictions and arrest rates for illegal immigrants in Texas were lower than those for native-born Americans.

A separate study conducted by the University of Wisconsin, Madison criminologist Michael Light, looking at statistics from 1990 to 2014, found that “undocumented immigration does not increase violence. Rather, the relationship between undocumented immigration and violent crime is generally negative, although not significant in all specifications.”

The president also demanded, “Where is the outcry over the savage gang MS-13 and its bloodthirsty creed, kill, rape and control? Because the news media has overlooked their stories. I want the American people to hear directly from these families about the pain they've had to endure losing.”

The Washington Post reported Friday that eleven MS-13 members were indicted in Virginia for the deaths of two teenage boys. Ten of the 11 are in federal custody.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jun222018

Senate seeks detail about Roger Stone’s 2016 Russia contact

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. Senate investigators are demanding President Donald Trump’s longtime political supporter Roger Stone produce documents related to a meeting he had with a Russian citizen offering dirt on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“I have no reason to dissemble or hide it because nothing illegal or improper happened at the meeting or subsequent to the meeting,” Stone told ABC News during an interview this week.

The committee’s request comes days after it was revealed that in May 2016 Stone was approached through intermediaries by Henry Greenberg, reportedly a Russian citizen who claimed to have damaging material on Hillary Clinton, as first reported by The Washington Post on Sunday.

Over lunch in Sunny Isles, Florida, a community north of Miami that is popular with Russian transplants and tourists, Greenberg reportedly offered to sell Stone damaging material on Clinton for $2 million – a deal Stone said he declined.

Stone served as an early adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign but left amid controversy in 2015. He told ABC News he “never discussed the matter with Donald Trump or anyone in his campaign” and he “flatly rejected this proposal as ludicrous and frankly forgot about it.”

Stone now alleges he was set up by the FBI because he believes Greenberg worked as an FBI informant.

There is no outside evidence to support the claim that Greenberg was working as an FBI informant at the time he approached Stone.

Calls by ABC News to phone numbers associated with Greenberg were not immediately answered. Greenberg told The Post he had worked with the FBI but that ended in 2013.

The new disclosure raised concerns among Democrats overseeing congressional investigations into allegations of Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential campaign because Stone had never mentioned the contact when he testified before the House Intelligence Committee last year.

“In multiple respects now, the testimony of Roger Stone appears inaccurate or deliberately misleading,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday, referring to Stone’s September 2017 committee testimony.

Stone was asked about foreign contacts during his interview in September 2017.

"I just didn't remember,” he told ABC News on Wednesday, noting that 2016 “was a pretty busy year. I don't think a failure of memory constitutes a perjury."

Attorneys for both men sent letters dated June 15 to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., seeking to revise their respective prior testimony to the committee to include reference to the interactions with Greenberg. Both letters say the men forgot about the interactions, but have since had their memories refreshed.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jun222018

Alone with walls of 'Bagel' and 'Biscuit,' Paul Manafort ponders his defense

Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Indicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is being held in the VIP section of the Northern Neck Regional Jail, but that Very Important Person distinction offers him little comfort.

On Thursday, Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered that Manafort “confined in a corrections facility separate” from others in custody at the facility. The order also states he’ll be afforded, “reasonable opportunity for private consultation” with his lawyer.

Manafort, who is accused of spending more than a million dollars in allegedly laundered money at clothing stores in New York and Beverley Hills, CA, and millions more on antiques and furnishings for his luxury homes, is now living the austere and lonely existence as inmate number 45343.

According to Northern Neck Superintendent Ted Hull, in the VIP sections there is “no qualitative or quantitative difference” in any cell at the facility. That means Manafort has access to the same things as other inmates.

Hull would not speak about the specifics of Manafort conditions of confinement, but noted that certain inmates are housed in specially designated cells based on a variety of conditions, including the risk that they might be victimized, certain developmental disabilities, health conditions or having a high degree of notoriety or high public interest in their case.

Cells in the section where Manafort is house are equipped with a toilet, a shower, a place to sit and a small table. The cells also have a television with some basic cable offerings and a phone that can make outgoing collect calls, Hull says.

Manafort passes each day surrounded by walls painted in two shades of brown that are used throughout the facility.

One color called “bagel” is a dark tan and covers the wall from the floor to the top of the fifth row of cinderblocks.

Above the fifth row of cinderblocks to the ceiling, the walls are painted a color called “biscuit,” described by Hull as a lighter cream, allowing for more light to be reflected.

The cell sizes are approximately between 12 x12 feet and 14 x 14 feet, Hull said.

Meals three times a day are brought to the cells of inmates like Manafort.

Inmates at the facility have access to recreational facilities, such as indoor and outdoor basketball, soccer and a gym as well as a library. Hull says the jail is working to provide email access to inmates to allow them to read incoming messages, but not send them.

Manafort arrived at his court appearance last week in a posh Range Rover – he allegedly used laundered money to pay for at least three of the luxury SUVs – but his next trip to court will likely be in the back of a government inmate transport vehicle.

The short trip from his Alexandria, Virginia condo to the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse D.C. took about 30 minutes. Hull says the trip from Northern Neck to the D.C. court will take approximately two hours.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jun222018

House passes comprehensive bill to combat growing opioid epidemic

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The House of Representatives passed a bipartisan, comprehensive bill Friday that aims at curbing the country’s growing opioid epidemic.

By a vote of 396-14, the House passed H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients Communities Act, which is the collective product of the lower chamber’s extensive effort this year to combat the opioid crisis.

The bill contains several Medicaid, Medicare, and public health reforms, such as adding a review of current opioid prescriptions and screening for opioid use disorder as part of the Welcome to Medicare initial examination. It also aims at reducing the trafficking of Chinese fentanyl into the United States by giving law enforcement new tools to detect suspicious packages in the mail.

The measure was crafted by Energy and Commerce Chairman Rep. Greg Walden, who called it “the biggest effort” Congress has taken to address opioids.

During debate on the bill Friday morning, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy spoke passionately about the issue – highlighting the story of his press secretary, Erin Perrine, whose brother Eamon Callahan died of a drug overdose two years ago.

“Erin was 24 days from her wedding when she learned she would never see her brother again—that he would not be there to celebrate with her on one of the happiest days of her life,” McCarthy, R-Calif., said. “Let that be a lesson to us all: There is no event so joyful, no place so safe, that it is untouched by the drug crisis. Even a wedding chapel. Even here, in the halls of power. Even in my office.”

The House had already passed a bevy of pieces of legislation that address opioid abuse, but this bill combines them into one measure that will operate as the legislative vehicle to send a package to the Senate.

In the Senate, all three committees of jurisdiction working on a companion package have reported their bills and leaders believe the package is ready for the full Senate to consider.

“The relevant chairmen and the Democrat ranking members and others are working on setting up an agreement for floor consideration,” Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said. “All three of the committees reported their bills with wide bipartisan support. The Leader is obviously a strong supporter of the bills we’ve passed and the bills that are coming to the floor.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jun222018

White House accuses Democrats, media of 'shameful' exploitation of crying migrant girl photo 

John Moore/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Friday accused Democrats and the media of “shameful” exploitation of a photo of a young girl crying as her mother was searched by U.S. Border Patrol agents.

The White House is seizing on what has been a growing conservative counter-narrative to that photo, in accusing the media of unfairly using the photo as an image that has become emblematic of the family separation crisis that resulted from the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy.

The photo was worked into a stylized TIME Magazine cover in which the young girl is photo-shopped next time a photo of President Donald Trump, who is looking down at her as she cries.

The photo was taken by John Moore, a special correspondent and senior staff photographer for Getty Images, who was doing a ride-along with a Customs and Border Patrol agent in a part of the Rio Grande Valley called El Rincon late on June 12.

Moore told ABC News on June 18 that they saw a group of roughly 20 mothers and children "gathered on a dirt road." The agents spoke with and searched the group, and when the mother from Honduras put her daughter on the ground, the girl, whose name he did not learn, "started screaming immediately."

Moore has been covering border issues for a decade now as a photojournalist and he's seen similar interactions between immigrants and border agents before, but the difference with this instance was that it happened with the backdrop of the recent zero-tolerance policy being enforced by the Trump administration.

"What was different this time is I knew what would happen afterward," he told ABC News earlier this week.

Moore noted that the mother and child were together when they left with authorities and he didn't see the pair formally separated, nor had he been able to confirm whether or not they were separated afterward, though the policy indicates that they could be separated.

"All that happens behind closed doors... We'll never see that," he told ABC News of a possible separation.

ICE said in a statement that the woman, Sandra Maria Sanchez, who is from Honduras, was previously deported in 2013 and was arrested on June 12 by agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Border Patrol near Hidalgo, Texas while traveling with a family member.

On Sunday she was transferred to ICE custody and is now at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas. Her immigration proceedings are ongoing, according to ICE.

Trump has not publicly reacted to the specific photo in question, though he has said that he, the first lady, and his daughter Ivanka, have all been impacted by the photos they’ve seen related to the migrant children separations.

Under the executive order that Trump signed on Wednesday, the Justice Department is to start a legal process to change an existing court settlement that restricts the government to keeping children in detention with their parents for no longer than 20 days. The sought-after change would allow children to stay with their families for however long the adults are detained.

The order does not do anything to affect the fate of families that have already been separated.

On Friday, he tweeted his resolve to maintain tight border security standards, even as he also accused Democrats of “phony stories of sadness and grief.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jun222018

Reality Winner, accused of leaking report on Russian election hacking to press, to plead guilty 

Lincoln Sheriff's Office(AUGUSTA, Ga.) -- Reality Winner, a former U.S. intelligence specialist accused of leaking a report on Russian election hacking, will change her plea to guilty when she appears for a hearing next week in Augusta, Georgia, according to court documents.

Winner, a six-year Air Force veteran, was charged a year ago with espionage for allegedly leaking information to The Intercept about potential Russian interference in the 2016 election.

She was denied bail and has remained in jail since her arrest, which is rare in espionage cases, according to the Courage Foundation.

“My daughter Reality has decided to change her plea. I believe that this plea is in Reality’s best interest at this time. Given the time and circumstances and the nature of the espionage charge I believe that this was the only way that she could receive a fair sentence. I still disagree strongly with the use of the espionage charge against citizens like Reality,” her mother, Billie Winner Davis, said in a statement through the Courage Foundation.

“The cards were stacked [against] her and she couldn’t defend herself against the espionage charge as that charge doesn’t allow for defendant to show public interest or best interest or intent,” Winner Davis continued.

Under the 1917 Espionage Act, Winner could face up to 10 years in prison.

“Releasing classified material without authorization threatens our nation’s security and undermines public faith in government," Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said at the time of her arrest. "People who are trusted with classified information and pledge to protect it must be held accountable when they violate that obligation."

The Obama administration also pursed espionage charges against some people accused of leaking government secrets.

At the time of the arrest, questions were raised about whether The Intercept failed to protect its source for the story. Just after the story was published the FBI arrested Winner.

In a statement at the time of the arrest The Intercept said a secret NSA document was provided to the media outlet completely anonymously.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jun222018

Watchdog group questions whether Pruitt is using private email to conduct business

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A watchdog group that requested access to all of Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s email communications was provided with only a single email addressed to anyone outside of the EPA.

Officials with The Sierra Club, the environmental group that sought Pruitt’s emails as part of a Freedom of Information Act request, said they believe the lack of external communication raises concerns that Pruitt could be using a private communication method in his official capacity.

The disclosure was not reviewed by ABC News.

“The idea that Scott Pruitt sent a single work-related external email during nearly a year leading EPA is absurd on its face," said Justine Thompson Cowan, the lawyer leading Sierra Club's case. "That’s why the Sierra Club is demanding that EPA search Pruitt’s personal email accounts for work-related communications, or certify definitively that he does not use personal email or secretive messaging applications like WhatsApp and Signal to circumvent records retention laws."

The Sierra Club requested records of all of the administrator’s emails and communications with individuals outside of the executive branch, but according to a new release, only received one single email sent to an outside source during a 10-month-window. In the same time span, Pruitt received tens of thousands of emails and other communications from top aides.

The group is now demanding that the EPA search Pruitt’s private emails to ensure he was not using personal forms of communication for official business.

The EPA said the request did not reveal many emails because the administrator prefers to communicate in person. It’s unclear if Pruitt used a member of his staff to communicate over email on his behalf.

“Administrator Pruitt works mostly in person through conversations,” a spokesman for the EPA said Friday morning.

Pruitt has been the subject of a host of ethics investigations looking into his spending on things like security details, office furniture and private planes. Two of his top aides recently resigned amid ongoing turmoil in the department.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.







ABC News Radio