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Personal Finance
Travel e-Scapes: March 20, 2018
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Travel e-Scapes: March 20, 2018

Travel e-Scapes: March 20, 2018

Travel e-Scapes: March 20, 2018

DESTINATION & DEAL OF THE DAY: Costa Rica

Travel e-Scapes: 03312017

HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta:
$390 San Jose, Costa Rica, or $178 south, $212 north
Valid most days southbound starting on or after August 1 through October 31
Valid most days northbound starting on after September 11
Finish trips on or before February 11, 2019
Valid on American via Miami
Booking tip: Purchase as one-way tickets (round-trip prices higher)
Compare to Delta’s regularly published rates of $717


TRAVEL TIPS & TIDBITS

Safe Travel
Staying safe while you travel abroad isn’t so different from avoiding crime in your very own neighborhood. Don’t carry too much cash. Don’t leave your things unattended. Leave the jewelry at home. Be aware of the surrounding, who’s around you, and what they’re doing.
Here are some often used scams, and some new ones to be aware of:
The Turkey Drop: The named was coined by the U.S. Department of State. It’s a common scam where you end up as the turkey. It all starts when you notice a dropped wallet on the ground. Then a stranger appears, pick up the wallet and ask if it’s yours. They might even toss it to you; the goal is to get you to touch or hold the money. That’s when the scammer’s accomplice yells, “That’s my wallet!” and accuse you of trying to steal it. At that point, the scammers join forces against you. There are several variations of this endgame. In the first, the strangers threaten to hand you over to the police if you don’t bribe them handsomely. In the second, they demand that you show your money to prove you didn’t steal theirs. The second your wallet is out in the open, they grab it and run. In another variation, another “tourist” gets involved and suggests sharing the found money. Then the fraudsters appear claiming the full amount.
Storage Locker Scam: Never accept the offer of what appears to be an act of kindness at bus or train stations and at airports. Scammers will offer to save you money by passing on the key to a storage locker they just checked out of. If you accept, the scammer will unlock your storage area after you depart the area with a copy key.
The Wallet Drop:  You’re sitting in an airport, train station or in a public spot with all your bags and spot a wallet dropped on the ground. You pick it up and run to give it back. The stranger thanks you, and you run back to your seat minus your possessions. An accomplice has made off with all of your stuff.
Don’t Display Wealth: Even a broke student backpacker from the U.S. looks fabulously wealthy in southeast Asia. Walk with confidence and feigning indifference to your surroundings. That may mean leaving your expensive camera in the bag and practice a little restraint when taking a selfie. Keep daily walking around money separate from the rest of your travel money. Consider carrying a decoy wallet when in areas known for pickpockets. Get a cheap old wallet and fill it with expired credit cards and a small amount of cash. If someone tries to mug you, hand them the fake wallet, while your real nest egg remains hidden beneath your shirt.
Learn more about travel scams at the State Department’s Travel pages .
Before a journey, enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program or STEP . Through this free service, U.S. citizens can share their travel plans with the nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy. STEP will alert travelers via mobile text in extreme situations such as natural disasters, civil unrest, or family emergency.

Mobile Passport
You know about Global Entry, but what about Mobile Passport ? The free app gets you quickly through U.S. Customs when entering the U.S. at one cruise port and 24 airports.
This app effectively replaces the traditional blue-and-white paper declaration form handed out just before landing in the states and on the sea before embarkation.
Simply answer the same questions as the paper declaration form (Are you bringing back fruits and vegetables? and Are you carrying more than $10,000?), and then get a digital receipt that allows you to use the express lane to enter the United States.
When using the Mobile Passport app to re-enter the states, you will not have to wait in the long, snaking lines and will breeze through customs and immigration faster than those at Global Entry kiosks.
Download the Mobile Passport app for either Android or iOS stores the passport number, expiration date, and a photo.
On arrival to the states from overseas, switch off airplane mode,  and open the app. Submit answers while taxiing to the terminal, and the app will provide a QR code “receipt” that you can use at customs and immigration in lieu of the traditional paper form.
Inside the arrivals hall, look for the designated Mobile Passport lane. An agent will check your passport, scan your receipt, and send you onward to customs, where you can once again take the special Mobile Passport lane to skip any lines.


SPECIAL DOMESTIC & INTERNATIONAL OFFERS

Airfare offers – ones with a ticket-by date – and deals with our suggestion to HURRY!  can expire at any time.   Heed Clark’s advice: Buy that great airfare deal – and then figure out a reason to go there! Eventually, you’ll see the world at a fraction of the normal price!

One-way from Atlanta, each way:
$49 Nashville
$59 Greenville
$63 Daytona Beach, Orlando (Delta exclusive, nonstop)
$67 Ft. Lauderdale (Delta exclusive, nonstop)
$77 Orlando
$80 St. Louis
$82 Boston
$83 Houston, Kansas City, W. Palm Beach
$84 Detroit
$87 Washington DC-Reagan or Dulles
$92 Columbus, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Tampa
$96 Milwaukee, Pittsburgh
$97 Austin, San Antonio
$98 NYC-LaGuardia
$101 New Orleans
$113 Dallas
$114 Chicago
$119 Raleigh, Richmond
$120 Minneapolis
$122 Baltimore
$127 Denver
$128 Philadelphia, Phoenix
$144 Las Vegas
$153 Oakland
$194 San Diego
A 21-day advance purchase required
Fly Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday through June 13, or August 21 through October 31
Travel to Florida and Nevada Sundays-Wednesdays; from Florida and Nevada Tuesdays-Fridays
Blackout dates: May 24, 25, 28; August 31; September 3
Purchase at Southwest Airlines by March 29

One-way from Atlanta, each way:
$168 Cancun
A 21-day advance purchase required
Depart through May 17, or August 21 through October 31
Travel to Cancun Sundays-Wednesdays; from Cancun Tuesdays-Fridays
Purchase by March 29 at Southwest Airlines

One-way from Atlanta, each way:
$235 Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Depart through May 17, or August 21 through October 31
Valid Monday-Thursday in each direction
Purchase by March 29 at Southwest Airlines

HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta:
$262 Cabo San Lucas, Los Cabos
Valid Saturdays only in April
Also valid on September 8-December 8 departures (up to 3x week)
Complete travel on or before December 19
Valid on United via Houston

HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta:
$416 Barbados
Depart April 16-June 27 or September 3-November 19
Finish trips on or before December 18
Valid on American via Miami

HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta:
$458-$480 Aruba
Depart April 20-February 2, 2019
Finish trips on or before February 11, 2019
Valid on American via Miami or Charlotte

How do you find these great airfare deals? Visit Clark’s Atlanta Travel Tips page for a step-by-step search and booking guide.

NOTE: Airline fees can and often do exceed the cost of your flight! Additional charges now apply to budget and sale rates on most airlines for a carry-on bag, checked baggage and advance seat assignments. The least expensive fees are charged when these options are purchased during the ticket booking process. Fees climb higher after flights are reserved and even higher when adding these options at airport check-in. Kayak offers the most up-to-date Fees Chart for all domestic and international airlines.


HOTELS, RESORTS & MORE

Beach, Baby!
Divi Resorts offers promotional deals on Aruba, Bonaire, Barbados and St. Maarten for travel throughout 2018. But bookings must be made by April 30 .
The deals save as much as 50% for all military personnel, firefighters and police, including those who are on active service, reserve and retired, as well as their spouses and children.
Divi Resorts provides a wide variety of on-site amenities, including elegant restaurants, lively bars, freshwater pools, sports courts, spas and more.
All-suite accommodations are perfect for romantic getaways and families needing extra space to stretch out. Plus, with Divi’s Kids Stay and Eat Free Program and Treasures of the Caribbean Kids Club, even young guests will have plenty to do, for a fraction of the cost.
Deals on room only and all-inclusive stays:
Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort Aruba: From $175, or $227 per person, per night all-inclusive
Divi Dutch Village Beach Resort Aruba: From $169, or $200 per person, per night all-inclusive
Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort Aruba: From $249
Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino Bonaire: From $149, or $178 per person, per night all-inclusive
Divi Southwinds Beach Resort Barbados: From $159
Divi Little Bay Beach Resort St. Maarten: From $189, or $195 per person, per night all-inclusive

Luxe NYC
Rates from $199, including a $50 food and beverage credit are offered on Thursday-Sunday stays at the chic Kimpton Ink48 Hotel, named as one of NYC’s Top 50 hotels by Conde Nast Traveler.
This special rate is valid on April, July and August stays – and over the Memorial Day weekend (May 24-28).
Rates range from $219-$239 most Mondays-Wednesdays in April, July-August.
Or, travel to see the spectacular July 4th fireworks and stay from $169 from July 1-8.
Many nights in May and June are also discounted.
The hotel offers beautiful views of the Hudson River and the city skyline, yet is tucked away from the city’s noisiest streets. This sophisticated hotel is also within walking distance of Hell’s Kitchen and Times Square, several major subway lines and a variety of dining options.
Newly renovated guest rooms have oversized windows.
Onsite venues include a farm-to-table restaurant and one of the city’s best rooftop bars.
Guest amenities include a daily hosted wine reception, complimentary morning coffee and tea service, free bike rentals and a yoga mat in every room. The hotel’s convenient and quiet location on the edge of Hell’s Kitchen put it within a few blocks of Times Square, several major subway lines and a variety of dining options.
Book soon and start the reservation process at Travelzoo .
Also, check out the deals at Travelzoo on NYC theater tickets .


Travel e-Scapes is brought to you by Clara Bosonetto, Team Clark Travel Editor. Follow Clara on  Twitter .


Looking for more deals?
View all current airfare offers at Clark’s Atlanta Travel Deals page or the National Travel Deals page.

Get the first word on limited seat sales. Follow us on Social:

 Like Clark Smart Travel on Facebook
 Follow @Clark_Travel on Twitter

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The Latest News Headlines

  • It's a First Alert Weather Day in NE Florida with the potential for strong to severe storms as you're headed home to start the weekend.  Action News Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh says we're all going to see rain, and and in fact we did early this morning so roads are wet.  It’s windy and warm ahead of the arrival of a line of storms from the west. “Moving quickly to the east and northeast so expect conditions to change very quickly from one spot to another and from one time to another”, said Buresh.  Showers may linger into this evening and could even stick around early tomorrow. But we're in for a much cooler weekend.  
  • Here is a look at the stores planning to be open and those planning to close on Easter Sunday. >> Read more trending news Be sure to check with local retailers for Easter hours because some national chains set their own hours. Stores open and closed on Easter Academy Sports: Open Easter Sunday. Banana Republic: Closed Easter Sunday. Bass Pro Shop: Open Easter Sunday. Bed Bath & Beyond: Open Easter Sunday. >> Click here to see which grocery stores will be open on Sunday.  Belk: Closed Easter Sunday. Best Buy: Closed Easter Sunday. Cabela’s: Open Easter Sunday.  Costco: Closed Easter Sunday. >> Easter 2019: How to make perfect hard-boiled eggs for Easter egg dyeing Crate & Barrel: Closed Easter Sunday. CVS: Open Easter Sunday. Dillard’s: Closed Easter Sunday. Dollar General: Open Easter Sunday. Family Dollar: Open Easter Sunday. Fred Meyer: Open Easter Sunday. Gap: Closed Easter Sunday. Home Depot: Open Easter Sunday. >> How did crucifixion kill Jesus? J.C. Penney: Closed Easter Sunday. Kirkland's: Closed Easter Sunday. Kmart: Open Easter Sunday. Kohl's: Closed Easter Sunday. Lowes: Open Easter Sunday. Macy’s: Closed on Easter Sunday. Michael's: Closed Easter Sunday. Neiman Marcus: Closed Easter Sunday. Office Depot: Closed Easter Sunday. Office Max: Closed Easter Sunday. Old Navy: Open on Easter Sunday. Pier 1 Imports: Closed Easter Sunday. Pottery Barn: Closed Easter Sunday. Rite Aid: Open Easter Sunday. Ross: Closed Easter Sunday. Sam's Club: Closed Easter Sunday. Sears: Open Easter Sunday. >> Easter quotes 2019: Inspiring sayings of hope and renewal T.J. Maxx: Closed Easter Sunday. Target: Closed Easter Sunday. Walgreens: Open Easter Sunday. Walmart: Open Easter Sunday. Williams-Sonoma: Closed Easter Sunday.
  • Following the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's final report on the Russia probe, your local lawmakers are weighing.  WOKV spoke with Northeast Florida Republican Congressman John Rutherford hours after the report's release on Thursday.  He tells us the important elements to him, were the findings that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and no corrupt intent determined in the obstruction of justice allegations.  But Rutherford says he was surprised that the Special Counsel didn't make a final prosecutorial decision on the obstruction of justice issue.  'He [Mueller] relies on the Office of Legal Counsel that says you can't indict a sitting President, and in this regard, he went along with that. But to say that's his basis for not coming to a conclusion on obstruction, when he came to a conclusion on the Russian collusion, it doesn't make sense to me,' explains Rutherford.  He says it's almost like Mueller didn't want to make a decision.  'The lack of a conclusion that there was a crime IS an exoneration... if you say you find no corrupt intent, we find no crime, how do you then say, but we can't exonerate him [Trump]. In that part, I struggle with the finding,' Rutherford adds.  In terms of the reaction on Capitol Hill, Rutherford says it's likely that those who support the President will highlight no collusion and no obstruction, but those who dislike him will latch on to the elements that the Special Counsel refused to come to a conclusion on.  When it comes to recent calls to 'investigate the investigators' in the Russia probe, Rutherford says he feels it's absolutely necessary as he wants to know the 'predicate act' that started this investigation in the first place.  'We don't just investigate people, we investigate crimes. And there has to be a predicate act, that indicates there is a reasonable suspicion that a crime has occurred. And if that predicate act turns out to be the Steele Dossier and it's completely false, then this whole thing falls like a house of cards,' says Rutherford.  WOKV also spoke with Northeast Florida Democrat Congressman Al Lawson about his thoughts on the report.  He says his biggest takeaway is that the American people will find out what really happened during the course of this investigation with the President.  'Because, as you know, about 25 people that worked with him [Trump] during the course of the campaign got indicted,' explains Lawson.  He says the other thing that stands out to him is that he feels Attorney General William Barr is more trying to protect the President, than do his job for the American people. Lawson says he also doesn't feel the AG's summary to Congress was accurate.  Lawson says when people and lawmakers read this report, he hopes they move away from putting a party label on it.  'I wish what they would put on it, is what is best for American people and, especially, when you have some possible collusion with Russia. It's unacceptable to have that regardless of who is in office and see the way the President has been operating- not like any other President in American history,' says Lawson.  When it comes to efforts to 'investigate the investigators', he says all of us need to be accountable and that investigators need to be unbiased and not swayed one way or another.  'This has taken up an awful lot of time, and we, as taxpayers, have spent an awful amount of money to be where we are today. It shouldn't be a situation where everything is being questioned, simply due to the fact that over the last almost two years, the investment we have made in order to get down to see whether a foreign government had significant input in our electoral process,' says Lawson.  He says his hope that once all the dust settles on this report, that the public has a clear vision of what occurred. READ: REDACTED SPECIAL COUNSEL REPORT ON THE RUSSIA PROBE
  • U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Thursday released a redacted copy of special counsel Robert Mueller’s highly anticipated report on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. >> Read more trending news The report was released around 11 a.m., weeks after Mueller completed his investigation. President Donald Trump hailed the report as a victory over his critics. >> Mueller Report: Read the report Barr just released Update 6:45 p.m. EDT April 18: The Justice Department said it will provide Congress with a second version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report that has fewer redactions in the coming two weeks. Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd said in a letter to lawmakers Thursday that the Justice Department will make the report available to House and Senate leaders, as well as the top Republicans and Democrats on the judiciary and intelligence committees. Each lawmaker can also have a staff member present. Boyd said the report will be provided in a secure reading room at the Justice Department next week and in a secure room in the Capitol the week of April 29. The unredacted material will include classified information and material involving private citizens who were not charged. It won’t include secret grand jury information. Update 3:45 p.m. EDT April 18: Mueller’s report shows the Russian-based Internet Research Agency worked not only in Trump’s favor but also in favor of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who ran for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination before losing to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The company’s attempt to boost Sanders’ candidacy first surfaced last year, after authorities charged more than a dozen people and three companies with interfering in the election, The Washington Post reported. According to the newspaper, IRA operators were instructed not to harm Sanders’ reputation. “Main idea: Use any opportunity to criticize Hillary [Clinton] and the rest (except Sanders and Trump — we support them),” Mueller quoted IRA operators as saying. Update 2:55 p.m. EDT April 18: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler said Thursday that he will issue a subpoena to get the full Mueller report and the underlying materials from Barr after the attorney general released a redacted version of the report. “Contrary to public reports, I have not heard from the Department (of Justice) about receiving a less-redacted version of the report,” he said Thursday in a statement. “Because Congress requires this material in order to perform our constitutionally-mandated responsibilities, I will issue a subpoena for the full report and the underlying materials.” Barr is scheduled to testify before the committee May 2. Update 2:25 p.m. EDT April 18: Kellyanne Conway, who serves as counselor to the president, told reporters Thursday that Mueller’s report was inaccurate in its description of Trump’s reaction to the special counsel’s appointment. >> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupre: Mueller: Trump obstruction failed because aides refused orders to undermine Russia probe According to Mueller, the president 'slumped back in his chair and said, 'Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I'm (expletive).’' However, Conway said she was in the room when Trump learned about the appointment and that she “was very surprised to see” Mueller’s report on it, CNN reported. “That was not the reaction of the president that day,” she said. Update 2 p.m. EDT April 18: Vice President Mike Pence said in a statement Thursday that the special counsel’s report showed “no collusion, no obstruction.” “While many Democrats will cling to discredited allegations, the American people can be confident President Trump and I will continue to focus where we always have, on advancing an agenda that’s making our nation stronger, safer and more secure.” Despite the vice president’s claims, Mueller declined to answer the question of whether Trump obstructed justice in his actions related to the Russia probe. “Now that the Special Counsel investigation is completed, the American people have a right to know whether the initial investigation was in keeping with long-standing Justice Department standards -- or even lawful at all,” Pence said. “We must never allow our justice system to be exploited in pursuit of a political agenda.” Update 1:45 p.m. EDT April 18: In a joint statement released Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Barr and Mueller reached conflicting conclusions on the question of whether the president obstructed justice. “The differences are stark between  what Attorney General Barr said on obstruction and what Special Counsel Mueller said on obstruction,” the statement said. “As we continue to review the report, one thing is clear: Attorney General Barr presented a conclusion that the president did not obstruct justice while Mueller’s report appears to undercut that finding.” In his report, Mueller declined to answer questions surrounding whether Trump obstructed justice in his efforts to tamp down on the Russia probe, which authorities said he saw as a direct challenge to his presidency. Update 1:40 p.m. EDT April 18: In the report released Thursday, Mueller said his team’s investigation was sometimes hampered by the use of applications that “feature encryption or that do not provide for long-term retention of data or communications records” and the deletion of communications relevant to the probe. “In such cases, the Office (of the Special Counsel) was not able to corroborate witness statements through comparison to contemporaneous communications or fully question witnesses about statements that appeared inconsistent with other known facts,” the report said. “Accordingly, while this report embodies factual and legal determinations that the Office believes to be accurate and complete to the greatest extent possible, given  these identified gaps, the Office cannot rule out the possibility that the unavailable information would shed additional light on (or cast a new light)the events described in the report.” Update 1:20 p.m. EDT April 18: Mueller said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders admitted in an interview that her comments to the news media after the firing of former FBI Director James Comey were “not founded on anything.” In response to a reporter’s question about FBI support for Comey after his May 2017 dismissal, Huckabee Sanders said at news briefing that, “We’ve heard from countless members of the FBI that say very different things.” 'The evidence does not support those claims,' according to the Mueller report. Update 1:15 p.m. EDT April 18: The House Intelligence Committee invited Mueller to testify next month after Barr released a redacted version of his 448-page report Thursday. “To discharge its distinct constitutional and statutory responsibility, the Committee must be kept ‘fully and currently informed’ of the intelligence and counterintelligence findings, evidence, and implications of your investigation,” committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff said in a letter to Mueller dated Thursday. “This requires that the Committee receive comprehensive testimony from you about the investigation’s full scope and areas of inquiry, its findings and underlying evidence, all of the intelligence and counterintelligence information gathered in the course of the investigation.” The House Judiciary Committee has also asked Mueller to testify. In a letter sent Thursday, committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler asked Mueller to appear before the panel by May 23. Update 12:45 p.m. EDT April 18: Brad Parscale, manager of the 2020 Trump presidential campaign, hailed the release of Mueller’s report Thursday and repeated the president’s calls for an investigation into the investigators. “President Trump has been fully and completely exonerated yet again,” Parscale said in a statement. “Now the tables have turned, and it’s time to investigate the liars who instigated this sham investigation into President Trump, motivated by political retribution and based on no evidence whatsoever.” In the report released Thursday, Mueller said the FBI launched an investigation into whether Trump campaign officials were coordinating with the Russian government in July 2016. The investigation came after authorities said then-Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos suggested to a representative of a foreign government that “the Trump Campaign had received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information damaging to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.” Update 12:35 p.m. EDT April 18: Mueller said Trump attempted to influence the investigation into Russian election meddling. Mueller said his efforts “were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede his request.” Mueller’s report details instances by several officials, including former FBI Director James Comey, former White House counsel Don McGahn and former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, ignoring or refusing Trump’s requests to interfere in the investigation. Update 12:15 p.m. EDT April 18: When then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Trump in May 2017 that a special counsel had been appointed to investigate Russian election meddling, the president 'slumped back in his chair and said, 'Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I'm (expletive).'  Trump blamed Sessions for the appointment, according to Mueller. 'Everyone tells me if you get one of these independent counsels it ruins your presidency,' Trump said, according to the report released Thursday. 'It takes years and years and I won't be able to do anything. This is the worst thing that ever happened to me.' Speaking Thursday at an event at the White House, Trump said, “this should never happen to another president again.” Update 11:45 a.m. EDT April 18: In the report released Thursday, Mueller said his team considered Trump’s written responses to questions in the Russia probe to be inadequate, but they decided against subpoenaing the president because of the delay such a move would cause to the investigation. Other revelations from the report include: Mueller said Trump directed White House Counsel Don McGahn in June 2017 to call the acting attorney general and say that Mueller must be ousted because he had conflicts of interest. Trump previously denounced reports of the call as “fake news.”  Members of Trump’s staff might have saved him from more dire legal consequences by refusing to carry out orders they thought were legally risky, according to The Washington Post.  Mueller made clear in the report that “Russia wanted to help the Trump campaign, and the Trump campaign was willing to take” the help, the Post reported. However, investigators were unable to establish that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government. Update 11:30 a.m. EDT April 18: In his report, Mueller shared the reasoning behind his decision not to answer the question of whether the might have president obstructed justice. Mueller’s team scrutinized 10 episodes in which Trump sought to seize control of the Russia probe, including his firing of FBI Director James Comey, his directive to subordinates to have Mueller fired and efforts to encourage witnesses not to cooperate.  The president’s lawyers have said Trump’s conduct fell within his constitutional powers, but Mueller’s team deemed the episodes were deserving of scrutiny to determine whether crimes were committed. Update 11:25 a.m. EDT April 18: President Donald Trump said Thursday that he was “having a good day” following the release of the Mueller report. “This should’ve never happened,” Trump told a crowd gathered at a Wounded Warriors event at the White House, according to CNN. “I say this in front of my friends — this should never happen to another president again. This hoax — it should never happen again.' Trump’s attorneys hailed the report as “a total victory for the president” in a statement released to CNN. “The report underscores what we have argued from the very beginning - there was no collusion - there was no obstruction,” the statement said. “This vindication of the President is an important step forward for the country and a strong reminder that this type of abuse must never be permitted to occur again.” >> The Mueller report: What is in it, when will it be released, what will happen next? Update 11 a.m. EDT April 18: Barr has released a redacted version of the Mueller report, which is 448 pages long. >> Mueller report: Read the transcript of William Barr's remarks Update 10:55 a.m. EDT April 18: President Donald Trump was expected to deliver remarks Thursday morning at the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride as lawmakers and the public await the release of Mueller’s report. However, by 10:55 a.m., Trump had yet to appear for the event. Update 10:30 a.m. EDT April 18: In a letter sent Thursday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler asked Mueller to testify before the panel no later than May 23. Nadler released his letter to Mueller minutes after Barr spoke with reporters about the report, which is expected to be released Thursday. Barr told reporters he had “no objection to Bob Mueller testifying.” “It is clear Congress and the American people must hear from Special Counsel Robert Mueller in person to better understand his findings,” Nadler said. Update 10:20 a.m. EDT April 18: Barr said he plans to release a less-redacted version of Mueller’s report to several congressional committees on Thursday “in an effort to accommodate congressional requests” for Mueller’s full report. “These members of Congress will be able to see all of the redacted materials for themselves -- with the limited exception of that which, by law, cannot be shared,” Barr said Thursday morning at a news conference. “I believe that this accommodation, together with my upcoming testimony before the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, will satisfy any need Congress has for information regarding the special counsel’s investigation.”    Update 10:05 a.m. EDT April 18: At a news conference Thursday morning, Barr said it will be important to view President Donald Trump’s actions in context. “President Trump faced an unprecedented situation,” Barr said. “As he entered into office, and sought to perform his responsibilities as president, federal agents and prosecutors were scrutinizing his conduct before and after taking office, and the conduct of some of his associates. At the same time, there was relentless speculation in the news media about the president’s personal culpability. Yet, as he said from the beginning, there was in fact no collusion.” Barr said the Office of the White House Counsel has reviewed the redacted version of Mueller’s report but that Trump declined to assert privilege over it. Trump took to Twitter after Barr spoke to highlight that there was 'No collusion. No obstruction.' Update 9:50 a.m. EDT April 18: Mueller’s report details two main efforts sponsored by Russian government officials to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, Barr said Thursday morning at a news conference ahead of the report’s release. The report details efforts by the Internet Research Agency, a Russian company with ties to the Russian government, to “sow social discord among American votes through disinformation and social media operations,” Barr said. It also details efforts by Russian military officials connected to the GRU, “to hack into computers and steal documents and emails from individuals affiliated with the Democratic Party.” “The special counsel found no evidence that any Americans -- including anyone associated with the Trump campaign -- conspired or coordinated with the Russian government or the IRA in carrying out this illegal scheme,” Barr said. Update 9:15 a.m. EDT April 18: President Donald Trump called the Mueller investigation 'The Greatest Political Hoax of all time!' in a series of tweets posted Thursday ahead of the release of the report. >> Mueller report: Trump tweets 'presidential harassment' ahead of redacted report's release “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!” he wrote in a subsequent tweet. Trump has frequently criticized the Mueller investigation, framing the probe as a political “witch hunt” aimed at harming his presidency. Original report: Barr is expected to release a redacted version of Mueller’s report to Congress between 11 a.m. and noon Thursday before sharing the report on the special counsel’s website, Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree reported. >> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Battle lines clear as D.C. awaits redacted Mueller report Mueller completed his investigation late last month, 22 months after he launched his probe at the direction of the Justice Department. The investigation was frequently lambasted by President Donald Trump as a “witch hunt” aimed at undermining his presidency. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • It's some big news for St. Johns County parents, students, and teachers. The St. Johns County Schools Superintendent Tim Forson has announced he's canceling the district final exams, with the exception of iReady testing.  Forson says during this first week of testing, there have been 'significant issues' with the administration of the tests, which are computer-based.  He says while the district's staff has worked late hours to try to resolve the issues, he ultimately decided to cancel the district final exams to 'remove the frustration of inconsistent test administration and protect instructional time.'  Forson says students need to continue to learn to prepare for other required upcoming assessments, including the Florida Standards Assessment, among many others.  Forson says he does not expect the same issues for these other tests, as they are not done on the same testing platform.  He's assuring parents that the second semester grading scale will be adjusted, following this decision, so that the absence of a final exam will not penalize a student. Forson says the student performance element of teacher evaluations will also be adjusted.  Forson says parents can expect an update on the alternative grading plan, as soon as it's finalized.

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