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    A graphically violent parody video, shown at a meeting of President Donald Trump's supporters at his Miami resort, depicted a likeness of the president shooting and stabbing his opponents and members of the news media in a church, The New York Times reported Sunday. In the video, Trump's critics and media members are portrayed as parishioners fleeing his gruesome rampage. The fake Trump strikes the late Sen. John McCain in the neck, hits and stabs TV personality Rosie O'Donnell in the face, lights Sen. Bernie Sanders' head on fire and shoots or otherwise assaults people whose faces are replaced with news organization logos. The video was shown last week at an American Priority conference at Trump's Doral Miami resort, the newspaper said. Trump was not there. Event organizer Alex Phillips told the Times the video was played as part of a 'meme exhibit' and was not associated with or endorsed by the conference 'in any official capacity.' ''American Priority rejects all political violence,' he said, and is looking into the matter. The video includes the logo for Trump's 2020 campaign but Tim Murtaugh, spokesman for the re-election organization, told the Times the 'video was not produced by the campaign, and we do not condone violence.' The setting for the massacre is the 'Church of Fake News,' capturing Trump's familiar refrain about news stories and organizations that he considers to be fake news. In the video, Trump's face is superimposed on a killer's body as he shoots people in the face and otherwise assaults them. Among the targets: former President Barack Obama, Black Lives Matter, Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, Bill and Hillary Clinton and Rep. Adam Schiff, who as Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is leading the impeachment inquiry of Trump. CNN, The Washington Post, BBC, PBS, NBC and Politico are among the news organizations depicted as victims of the fake Trump's violent fury. The White House declined immediate comment.
  • As Democrats' impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump intensifies, Mark Stenske feels like he's seen this movie before, and the storyline is getting old. First, there was the nearly two-year investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election and Trump's possible role in it. Then came the accusations against Trump's pick for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, and contentious hearings before a Senate committee. Now it's questions about Trump's dealings with Ukraine's president and whether that should lead to Trump's removal from office. 'I think they wanted to do it all along, and they're just looking for another way, another avenue,' Stenske, a 55-year-old Trump supporter, said of the impeachment proceedings as he walked his dog through a suburban Indianapolis park last week. 'I think it's kind of a ploy to help keep the pressure on him and muddy his campaign, his chances to win in 2020.' Polling finds that support for the inquiry has grown since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced the start of the investigation last month following a whistleblower complaint. But what those numbers don't show is the sense of fatigue among some Americans — a factor that could be significant as Democrats leading the inquiry debate how to proceed with an election year approaching. It's a feeling shared by people on both sides. For Trump supporters such as Stenske, the impeachment inquiry is more of the same from obstructionist Democrats still bitter about the 2016 election. Those who want Trump gone say it's tough to feel hopeful after watching him flout the rules and spew divisive rhetoric for almost a full term — and get away with all of it. 'Impeachment in general has been depressing because it's sad that it's taken this long,' said Megan Gettelfinger, 33, a preschool teacher and mother of two who moved to Fishers from Indianapolis almost three years ago. The question about how to move forward with impeachment is of particular concern to both parties in places such as Fishers, one of the country's fastest-growing suburbs. The community has more than doubled in population since 2000, to just over 90,000 people. Companies have located to the area, and young families have been drawn to its good schools, entertainment and acres and acres of green space. The boom in Fishers and the surrounding region has changed the face of Indiana's 5th Congressional District, a once reliably Republican area that backed Trump by nearly 12 percentage points in 2016. The increased number of college-educated, more liberal residents has given Democrats hope that they may pick up a seat here in 2020, when GOP Rep. Susan Brooks is retiring. Democrat Joe Donnelly narrowly won the district in 2018, even as he lost his Senate reelection bid statewide, and Democrats think the area looks a lot like the suburban districts that helped them win control of the House during last year's midterm elections. Trump should find plenty of ardent defenders here — people like Stenske, who voted for Trump in 2016 and thinks he's doing a 'great job' as president despite what he sees as Democrats' relentless efforts to sabotage him. But at a park in the heart of Fishers' Sunblest neighborhood, an upper middle-class area of young families and two-story homes, there were signs of problems for Trump and the GOP. For every supporter of the president, it was easy to find someone — most of them women — eager for his time in office to end. Gettelfinger, who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 after supporting Republican candidates over Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, has a long list of things she dislikes about Trump, from his treatment of women and minorities to his inability to admit when he's wrong. But even she sees the impeachment proceedings as both a legitimate inquiry and a political move by Democrats. 'I think that what happened is impeachable,' she said. 'I also think that at this point anyone who doesn't support him is now jumping on 'This is how we can impeach him. This is our path to get this done to get him out of office.'' Kathrynne Shaw, 28, also opposes Trump but described impeachment as 'too late in the game.' She said Democrats should hold off for now and proceed only if Trump wins a second term in 2020. 'It's something they've been talking about forever,' said Shaw, who lives in nearby Noblesville and works in a distribution center. 'They're trying to show that they're able to do something, but it's almost like when a toddler throws a temper tantrum. They're trying to do something, but everything they've tried to do thus far isn't really working.' Shaw supported Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary, then voted for Clinton in the general election, and said she didn't believe Trump could be elected president — until it happened. These days, she largely avoids the news and peruses Facebook only for the 'funny videos,' skipping over anything political. 'At this point, there's not much I can do but vote,' Shaw said. Randall Scott, 55, voted for Trump in 2016 and said he also avoids watching TV news or spending time on social media. He reads some but generally distrusts both the media and the information politicians are putting out. Like Shaw, he doesn't feel that following the impeachment proceedings is a worthwhile use of his time. 'I feel powerless. There's not a damn thing I can do about it,' said Scott, who lives in Fishers and owns a business. 'I'm not depressed about it. I don't feel woeful or anything. I think that's the nature of politics.
  • In recent days, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has talked to voters over chili and pumpkin bars at a house party in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She sat down with students at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire. She packs her schedule with gatherings in both states as she tries to lift her long-shot presidential campaign. Back home some 5,000 miles (8,000 kilometers) away in Hawaii, a state senator eying her House seat has been hopscotching across the verdant, mountainous islands that make up her mostly rural congressional district. The campaign Kai Kahele is building for Congress is putting Gabbard's day job in jeopardy as she fights to break through a crowded Democratic presidential primary field. Kahele said the people of Hawaii's 2nd congressional district need a representative who will work for them full-time and come back to Hawaii for town halls. 'It's tough for them to see their representative in Iowa, or New Hampshire, or having pizza in California, when they're struggling at home and they want somebody who is fighting for them,' Kahele said. Gabbard hasn't indicated whether she will run for re-election. Her campaign didn't respond to multiple requests for an interview about her campaign strategy and plans. If she does run for Congress again, Kahele, a fellow Democrat, would be the most formidable challenger she's faced for the House seat she's occupied since 2012. The 45-year-old Native Hawaiian is a combat veteran and pilot for the Hawaii Air National Guard. He flies passenger jets for Hawaiian Airlines and is a member of the pilots union, a helpful attribute in union-friendly Hawaii. He played on the University of Hawaii volleyball team that made it to NCAA championship finals in 1996, a bonus in a state where volleyball is among the most popular collegiate sports alongside football. He's picked up endorsements from three former governors and the chairman of the Honolulu City Council since declaring his candidacy earlier this year. In recent days he's been meeting with nurses on Maui, joined an LGBTQ meet-and-greet in Honolulu and celebrated Rosh Hashanah with a synagogue on the Big Island. He said voters in the district are concerned about the high cost of living, jobs and the ongoing homeless crisis affecting many islands. He vows to work with federal agencies to secure funding for affordable housing in the district. He supports a single-payer, 'Medicare-for-all' health care insurance that would reduce the cost of prescription medication and eliminate all co-pays and deductibles. It's not clear how long Gabbard, who is also a combat veteran from her time in the Hawaii Army National Guard, plans to keep up her presidential bid. In addition to polling poorly, she's raising a fraction of the money hauled in by bigger names. On Thursday she said she was considering skipping Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate even though she just recently qualified for it after securing 2 percent support in a New Hampshire poll. Gabbard said she objected to the Democratic National Committee's use of polling to determine who may participate. She also complained the debates were 'meant to entertain, not inform or enlighten.' Longtime allies say she doesn't dwell on her low poll numbers. More important, they say, is the fact that her campaign gives her a national platform to talk about ending what she calls 'regime-change wars' and supporting military veterans. Gabbard, 38, often speaks passionately about how deploying to Iraq with the National Guard brought her face to face with the high cost of war. She's said leaders in Washington failed to think about the consequences of war. 'People need to understand why she's doing this. It's very important, because it's not for her. It's for the honor of the many people that she represents that have suffered in a lot of these different wars,' said Kymberly Marcos Pine, a supporter and member of the Honolulu City Council. Pine thinks Gabbard will stay in the presidential race so long as she's able to raise money to spread her message. Linda Wong, a supporter since Gabbard ran for Honolulu City Council in 2010, said Gabbard is buoyed by the response she gets at town hall meetings. People like her anti-war message at a time when foreign policy hasn't gotten much attention from other candidates, Wong said. Back home, foreign policy is unlikely to play a big role in a primary contest for Congress, said Neal Milner, a former University of Hawaii political science professor. 'I don't think you can assume that most people really know that much about her ideas about regime change,' Milner said. Colin Moore, director of the Public Policy Center at the University of Hawaii, said Gabbard faces major obstacles in the presidential race as a relatively unknown junior member of Congress from Hawaii. Moore gives her credit for already making it farther than most thought she would and doubts she'll qualify for the November debate. 'But Tulsi Gabbard, I think her strength and her signal weakness is she doesn't really follow conventional political wisdom,' Moore said.
  • The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times local): 10 p.m. The estate of musical legend Prince is objecting to President Donald Trump's use of a Prince song before a campaign rally in Minneapolis Thursday night. The Trump campaign played Prince's 'Purple Rain' as the audience at the rally waited for the president to begin speaking. Prince's estate released a statement after the rally saying it 'will never give permission to President Trump to use Prince's songs.' It said the campaign had confirmed a year ago that it would not use Prince's music. Prince was born in Minneapolis. Much of his 'Purple Rain' movie was filmed at the city's First Avenue nightclub, which is across the street from Target Center, the site of Trump's rally. Prince's nearby Paisley Park studio is regarded as a rock 'n' roll landmark. He died in 2016 at age 57. __ 9:40 p.m. Protesters got into a brief confrontation with police outside President Donald Trump's campaign rally in Minneapolis after some of the demonstrators set Trump hats on fire. Police moved in to put out the fire, apparently angering the protesters. Associated Press reporters watched as police briefly fell back before forming a line of bicycles and horses, with one officer using pepper spray. Several protesters wore masks, and some chanted, 'Hands up, don't shoot!' But the protest quickly appeared to ebb, with protesters beginning an impromptu march. Trump was near the end of his speech by then, and the crowd of thousands had thinned well before the confrontation. __ 9:15 p.m. President Donald Trump is criticizing Minnesota for accepting large numbers of refugees from Somalia, and he is boasting about his own efforts to cut the flow of refugees into the United States. Trump rallied with political supports Thursday in Minneapolis, a city home to the largest population of Somalis in the United States. He says the city and state allowed refugees in without considering the impact on schools, the community and taxpayers. Trump says he has cut refugee resettlement by 85 percent, and says Democrats will throw open the nation's borders if they regain power. The remarks were reminiscent of Trump's campaign appearance in Minneapolis shortly before the 2016 election, when he described Somali resettlement as 'the disaster taking place in Minnesota.' __ 9 p.m. President Donald Trump has brought the head of the Minneapolis police union onstage to thank him for a high-profile fight over whether the city's officers could wear their uniforms while backing the president. Lt. Bob Kroll sparred with the city's Democratic mayor this week over a policy that prohibits officers from wearing uniforms at political events or in political advertisements. Mayor Jacob Frey said the policy wasn't new and said the police force must be nonpartisan. Trump calls Frey a 'very weak mayor' and Kroll a 'great man.' Kroll and several other people, all wearing bright red 'Cops for Trump' T-shirts, came onstage during Trump's rally Thursday night in Minneapolis. Kroll asks, 'How can you thank this guy for everything he's done for law enforcement?' He calls Trump a 'wonderful president.' __ 8:45 p.m. President Donald Trump is attacking Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar in a rally on her home turf. Trump is calling Omar 'a disgrace to our country,' reminding thousands of supporters in a Minneapolis arena of remarks she made on Israel that some people saw as anti-Semitic. Omar denied any anti-Semitic intent but apologized for them. Trump is also again raising allegations by some conservatives that Omar married her brother to commit immigration fraud — a claim Omar has called 'disgusting lies.' Trump has sought to portray the Somali-American lawmaker as a symbol of the liberal shift in her party, and earlier this year tweeted she should 'go back' to her home country rather than criticize the United States. He didn't repeat that rhetoric Thursday night. __ 8:30 p.m. President Donald Trump is lashing out at potential Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Trump says at a rally Thursday in Minneapolis that Biden became Barack Obama's vice president because he knew how to curry favor with Obama. The Republican president is also targeting Hunter Biden, suggesting a T-shirt that says 'Where's Hunter?' Trump has been spreading groundless claims that the Bidens used their family name to get China and Ukraine to pay them millions of dollars. The Democratic-controlled House opened an impeachment inquiry after a whistleblower complained about Trump's dealings with Ukraine and alleged Trump was abusing his public office for personal political gain. Trump later released a rough transcript of a phone conversation with Ukraine's president in which he asks for an investigation of Biden. __ 8 p.m. President Donald Trump is decrying what he says is a 'wretched Washington swamp' that is trying to overturn the results of the 2016 election. Trump is telling thousands at a rally Thursday in Minneapolis that the swamp wants to 'erase your vote like it never existed.' But he says the swamp will fail because 'in America, the people rule again.' It's Trump's first campaign rally since the Democratic-controlled House launched an impeachment inquiry over his dealings with Ukraine. Trump is also predicting that he will win Minnesota in 2020, a state that slipped away from him in the last election. __ 7:30 p.m. President Donald Trump's son Eric is proposing a new chant to be directed at Joe Biden: 'Lock him up.' President Trump has been pushing baseless claims that Biden and his son Hunter traded on the family name to earn millions from governments in Ukraine and China. Eric Trump warmed up a Minneapolis rally crowd for his father Thursday night. He asked the crowd for an assessment of how Hunter Biden is feeling and suggested that the familiar Trump rally chant of 'Lock her up' — directed at Hillary Clinton — become 'Lock him up.' The crowd then chanted, 'Lock him up, lock him up.' House Democrats have opened an impeachment inquiry over President Trump's dealings with Ukraine and his request to that country's president to investigate Joe Biden. __ 6 p.m. Anti-Trump protesters are converging on the Minneapolis arena where President Donald Trump is holding his first political rally since the House opened its impeachment inquiry. Protesters are packing streets surrounding the Target Center hours before the Republican president is due to appear at Thursday's rally. Many are clutching helium-filled balloons depicting Trump as a baby. Others are blowing whistles, a nod to the whistleblower whose complaint encouraged Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to launch the inquiry. Lora Torgerson, who says she is a registered Republican from suburban Inver Grove Heights, is among the anti-Trumpers. She says she has 'never been more ashamed of our party.' Torgerson says she did not vote for Trump. Trump supporters are turning out in force and are expected to easily fill the roughly 20,000-seat arena. Some had lined up a day earlier to guarantee a seat. ___ 1:15 p.m. President Donald Trump is trying to convert the impeachment investigation in Washington into a political asset — scheduling three reelection rallies over the next eight days. The rally set for Thursday night in Minneapolis is the first since Democrats began proceedings two weeks ago to remove him from office. It'll serve as a proving ground for the president as he tries to use the impeachment inquiry to energize supporters for his 2020 campaign. Trump has lashed out in tweets and public statements at Democrats, the media and even some Republicans as impeachment has dominated the headlines. He's claimed that he's the victim of a 'coup' — although impeachment is a constitutional process— and has accused Democrats of trying to undo the 2016 election.
  • Long-shot Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard says she may skip next week's debate in Ohio. The Hawaii congresswoman complained in a Twitter message on Thursday about the Democratic National Committee's use of polling to determine debate participants and said the debates are 'meant to entertain, not inform or enlighten.' Gabbard failed to qualify for the September Democratic primary debate. She just barely met the minimum qualifications for the Oct. 15 contest after getting 2% support in a New Hampshire poll. To appear on the stage in November, the Democratic National Committee is requiring that candidates receive 3% or more support in at least four polls or receive 5% or more support in two single-state polls in the early voting states of Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire or South Carolina.
  • They've skipped the high-profile Sunday TV shows and avoided driveway chat sessions with reporters. Few who are typically eager to defend the president have appeared at all on television this month. White House officials close to President Donald Trump are pulling off a disappearing act, remaining largely absent from public view — in the middle of the storm over impeachment. 'We invited the White House on to answer questions on the show this morning,' CNN's Jake Tapper explained to his viewers on Sunday's 'State of the Union.' ''They did not offer a guest.' It's a well-worn strategy in the Trump White House: Senior officials conveniently manage to be elsewhere when major controversies engulf the building. The frequent absences of Jared Kushner, the Republican president's son-in-law and senior adviser, and presidential daughter Ivanka Trump during moments of consequence have long been a running joke among their detractors. Their detours included a trip to Florida during the partial government shutdown. Plenty of others have jumped town during tense moments. As Trump struggled with mounting Republican defections over his decision to declare a national emergency to pay for the stalled border wall, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney wasn't at the Capitol cajoling his former colleagues or in the West Wing making calls. Instead, he was in Las Vegas for an annual friends and family getaway. More recently, embattled national security adviser John Bolton scheduled a trip to Mongolia while Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to set foot in North Korea, a gesture that didn't sit well with Bolton, who would leave the administration a few months later. Indeed, knowing 'when to be out of town' was one of the top nuggets of advice that Kevin Hassett, the president's former top economic adviser, said he'd received from a predecessor and had to offer his successor. The White House did not respond to questions about the tactic Wednesday. But even when they're in Washington, many of the White House's most visible officials have been staying out of public view, letting the president's indignant Twitter feed and his frequent commentary drive the public conversation. That includes White House spokesman Hogan Gidley, a frequent guest on Fox News shows and the gaggles with reporters that often follow on the White House driveway. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, an aggressive defender of the president, has not made an appearance on the driveway since a highly contentious Sept. 27 gaggle in which she berated reporters and dismissed a question about whether the White House was organizing an impeachment war room. 'I'm the only person out here taking your questions,' Conway noted then. She did, however, appear at an event with first lady Melania Trump, speaking with teens and young adults about their experiences with electronic cigarettes and vaping. Appearances have come instead from lower-profile staffers, including the vice president's chief of staff, Marc Short; the acting director of Office of Management and Budget, Russell Vought; and economic adviser Larry Kudlow, who tried to stay out of the controversy. He's said repeatedly that questions about Ukraine and the president's efforts to dig up damaging information about former Vice President Joe Biden are way out of his lane. Adding to the vacuum is the continued lack of White House briefings. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham has yet to hold one. 'It's surprising that they're not using the many levers on the most powerful communications platform in the world, which is the White House,' said Joe Lockhart, who served as press secretary during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton . He said that the White House is losing out on effective platforms to try to drive its message. 'Nobody is vouching for him or validating him and filling in the blanks,' Lockhart said of Trump. Many aides to the president have grown reluctant to speak out on Trump's behalf for fear the president will then contradict them. Instead, they allow the president to set the day's message on his Twitter feed and vigorously defend himself. But one of the reasons Clinton's impeachment strategy was effective, Lockhart said, was that the president almost never talked about the impeachment drama. He relied on his lawyers, his communications staff and outside allies to make the case for him. 'The president shouldn't be his own defender,' Lockhart said. 'The president should be focused on doing the job of the president.' But unlike Clinton, Trump has another tool at his disposal: a massive and well-funded campaign operation that has vigorously defended the president on Twitter and cut a series of ads that paint the impeachment inquiry as nothing more than a Democratic 'coup' aimed at overturning the results of the 2016 election. Another ad released Wednesday focuses on allegations against Biden and his son Hunter, which the president and his allies have been pursuing despite lacking evidence of any wrongdoing. Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign's communications director, said the campaign team speaks with its counterparts at the White House every day and work in tandem. 'At all times we take our lead from the White House,' he said. 'The president is our boss, and we are an extension of him. We make all of our decisions accordingly.' ___ Follow Colvin on Twitter at https://twitter.com/colvinj
  • Two British militants believed to be part of an Islamic State group that beheaded hostages and was known as 'The Beatles' have been moved out of a detention center in Syria and are in American custody, U.S. officials said Wednesday. President Donald Trump said earlier Wednesday that the U.S. has moved some of the Islamic State prisoners amid fears some could escape custody as Turkey invades northeast Syria. The two men, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Amon Kotey, along with other British jihadis, allegedly made up the IS cell nicknamed 'The Beatles' by surviving captives because of their English accents. In 2014 and 2015, the militants held more than 20 Western hostages in Syria and tortured many of them. It beheaded seven American, British and Japanese journalists and aid workers and a group of Syrian soldiers, boasting of the butchery in videos released to the world. U.S. officials said the two were taken out of Syria by U.S. military and law enforcement personnel to ensure they did not escape if security broke down as a result of the Turkish incursion. So far they are the only two IS militants removed from Syria by the U.S., but officials say a number of others could also be moved if needed. Another official said the two men were taken to Iraq out of an abundance of caution, adding that the United States is still fully committed to seeing them brought to justice. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss military movements. Turkey is attacking the U.S.-backed Syrian Defense Forces, a Kurdish force that battled the Islamic State group alongside American troops and now is responsible for guarding thousands of detained militants. But guarding those prisoners is now expected to be less of a priority for the Kurdish forces as they rush to defend their territory against the invading Turkish military. Trump told reporters at the White House that some of the 'most dangerous' had been moved, but he provided no details. Although just the two have been relocated so far, but thousands of other Islamic State group detainees remain in custody and there are no immediate concerns the Kurds will completely abandon the facilities. 'We're putting them in different locations where it's secure,' Trump said. The U.S. officials said that some Kurds left the prisons to join the fight but did not flee in large numbers. The officials said operations against remaining members of the Islamic State group are on hold following the invasion Wednesday by Turkey, which sees the Kurds as a threat and is trying to create a buffer zone between the territory held by the SDF and the Syrian border. The two British men were captured in January in eastern Syria by the Kurdish forces amid the collapse of IS. Their detention set off a debate in the U.S. and Europe over how to prosecute their citizens who joined IS. Among the journalists they killed was American James Foley, who was first, followed by fellow Americans Steven Sotloff and Peter Kassig, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning and Japanese journalists Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto. The beheadings, often carried out on camera, horrified the world soon after IS took over much of Iraq and Syria in 2014. In March, Kurdish and U.S. forces cleared the last members of the Islamic State group from what was left of their self-declared caliphate, which once sprawled across a large part of Iraq and Syria. U.S. officials said American forces are not out doing patrols looking for Islamic State group fighters because their Kurdish partners are more focused on the Turkish fight. But they said U.S. operations could restart quickly if needed. About 30 to 50 U.S. troops were moved out of the way from two outposts in the border region. There are a number of U.S. forces in other bases just outside the so-called safe zone as well as in Manbij and other locations around the country. They have not been moved but are mainly staying in place to avoid attacks. There are about 2,500 Islamic State foreign fighters being detained in Syria, along with about 10,000 fighters from Syria and Iraq. Trump and other U.S. officials have repeatedly pressed other nations across Europe and the Middle East to take back the detainees from their countries. But international leaders have been largely reluctant and have been slow to take any back. 'They should go back, by the way, they should go back to Europe. Many of them came from Europe. And they should go back to Germany and France,' Trump said Wednesday. Trump said other leaders told him they didn't want the detainees. 'We don't want them either,' he said. 'Nobody wants them but they're bad and somebody has to watch over 'em.' __ Associated Press writers Sarah El Deeb in Beirut and Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.
  • Critics of President Donald Trump who wonder about the tenacity of his supporters need only to spend three hours with Fox News Channel's headliners to get an idea why. On his most influential venue, Trump's firewall remains secure. Tuesday night in prime time, Tucker Carlson referenced 'impeachment insanity.' Sean Hannity said the president's opponents are involved in 'insane, obsessive, compulsive, psychotic witch hunts.' A guest on Laura Ingraham's show called the whistleblower who reported on Trump's conversation with the Ukrainian leader a suicide bomber. Those three hosts reach an estimated 3 million to 4 million people each weeknight — the most-watched lineup on cable television — with a full-throated defense of the president as Democrats in the House pursue an impeachment inquiry. The closest thing to doubt expressed by one of Fox's prime-time hosts came last week when Carlson wrote a column for the web site Daily Caller with his co-founder Neil Patel. They wrote that Trump should not have asked Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and that 'there's no way to spin this as a good idea.' Carlson has yet to repeat that criticism on his Fox show. Like he did in the column, he has opposed impeachment. The big story at rival news networks Tuesday was the administration's letter to the House saying it would not cooperate with the inquiry, but Carlson played it in the last half of his show, when he interviewed Republican U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes. Ingraham was the only one of the three anchors to lead her broadcast with the story and said the White House counsel had made a strong argument. 'This non-impeachment impeachment is not a constitutional undertaking,' Ingraham said. 'It's a political hit job, exactly what our founders did not want for our Republic.' She brought Trump lawyer Rudolph Giuliani and commentator Joseph diGenova on to criticize the impeachment effort. DiGenova called whistleblowers who have exposed Trump's behavior 'suicide bombers that the Democrats unleashed on the democratic process.' 'You mean political suicide bombers, before we start getting messages,' Ingraham cautioned, apparently worried the remark was too inflammatory. But she quickly added that people should 'get inside the humor' of what he said. Hannity's top-rated show is an often-breathless account of alleged nefarious activities by Trump's opponents, in a type of verbal shorthand with some references familiar only to his regular viewers. Trump, he said, is the victim of several 'coup attempts.' 'They went from one fishing expedition to another fishing expedition,' he said. 'Russia, Russia, Russia — that coup attempt. Then it was the tax return coup attempt. Then it was the Stormy Stormy coup attempt. Now it is the Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine coup attempt. That's all this is. They could not accept the will of the people — insane, obsessive, compulsive, psychotic witch hunts rooted in rage and a lack of connection to the reality that they lost.' During an appearance on Hannity's show earlier this month, Geraldo Rivera suggested his host was keeping Trump afloat and referenced an era when there was no Fox News Channel. 'If it wasn't for your show, Sean, they would destroy him absolutely,' Rivera said. 'You're the difference between Donald Trump and Richard Nixon.' Hannity's show reached an average of 3.28 million people each weeknight in July, August and September, according to Nielsen Media Research. Carlson averaged 3.08 million viewers and Ingraham had 2.63 million. Fox has received attention recently for other personalities who have given Trump a hard time: veteran journalist and Sunday host Chris Wallace, daytime host Shepard Smith and, increasingly, commentator Andrew Napolitano. Yet Napolitano doesn't have a regular show on the network and while Smith leads other cable networks in the ratings, his audience is roughly a third of Hannity's since fewer people watch TV during the day. The Pew Research Center, in a 2017 survey, found that 40% of Trump voters listed Fox News Channel as its main source of election news. No other media outlet reached even one-quarter of that level. The prime-time lineup, along with the 'Fox & Friends' morning show, is where Fox's influence is the greatest. Like Trump, the three prime-time anchors showed Tuesday that they like to attach nicknames to perceived opponents. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff is a 'prevaricating, priggish partisan,' Ingraham said. Hannity called Biden 'sleepy, creepy, crazy Uncle Joe.' All three shows highlighted a tweet by Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calling for a discussion of incarceration policies, with Hannity calling her his 'villain of the day.' Carlson's show spotlighted opponents to Trump's call for withdrawing troops from Syria, neglecting to include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell or Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who made his criticism on Fox's airwaves. Viewers can even follow the shows with the volume muted. Onscreen chyrons included 'The Real Threat to Democracy: DC Establishment Trying to Block Prez's Plans'; 'Leftist Media Freaks Out Over White House Letter' and 'Life Under Dems: Free Health Care for the World.
  • A Defense Intelligence Agency official was arrested Wednesday and charged with leaking classified intelligence information to two journalists, including a reporter he was dating, the Justice Department said. Henry Kyle Frese, 30, was arrested by the FBI when he arrived at work at a DIA facility in Virginia. He was charged with willfully disclosing national defense information. Frese, who has a top secret government security clearance, is alleged to have accessed at least five classified intelligence reports and provided top secret information about another country's weapons systems to the reporter with whom he was having a relationship. The arrest is the latest in a series of prosecutions under the Trump administration of government workers accused of providing nonpublic information to journalists. In 2017, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions pledged to take a stand against leaks, and the Justice Department has brought at least six leak investigation cases in the past two years. Neither reporter was identified by name in court documents, but an analysis of news articles and social media posts indicates they are Amanda Macias of CNBC and Courtney Kube of NBC News. Those posts include a photo of Macias and Frese on Instagram from 2017. The Justice Department declined to provide any additional details about the classified information that was leaked, but the articles focused on China's missile systems. The reporter, believed to be Macias, published eight articles containing classified defense information between May and July of last year, prosecutors said. In April 2018, after Frese accessed one of the intelligence reports, she sent him a private message on Twitter asking if he would be willing to speak with another journalist who prosecutors said worked at another outlet owned by the same company, court documents said. The second journalist is believed to be Kube. Frese replied that he would help if it could help advance the first reporter's career because he wanted to see her 'progress,' according to the documents. The government also intercepted a call in September during which Frese allegedly read classified national defense information to the second journalist, the documents say. 'Frese betrayed the trust placed in him by the American people — a betrayal that risked harming the national security of this country,' said Assistant Attorney General John Demers, who leads the Justice Department's national security division. Federal investigators believe Frese was 'taking direction from members of the media' because he had searched for the intelligence documents that were outside of his area of expertise, according to Alan Kohler, the special agent in charge of counterintelligence at the FBI's field office in Washington. Although officials would not rule out the possibility of bringing criminal charges against the journalists, the top prosecutor whose office is prosecuting the case said investigators are 'focused on the leaker, not the journalist.' Frese was involved in 'dastardly and felonious conduct at the expense of our country,' said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. He said Frese's behavior was 'not selfless or heroic, it is criminal.' It was not immediately clear whether Frese had a lawyer who could comment on his behalf. A message left on Frese's cellphone was not immediately returned. Frese was expected to make an initial appearance in federal court in Virginia on Thursday. Representatives for CNBC, NBC News and the Defense Intelligence Agency did not immediately respond to requests for comment. ___ Associated Press writers Michael Kunzelman in College Park, Maryland, and Matthew Barakat in Alexandria, Virginia contributed to this report.
  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will appear before Congress this month as the tech giant is under pressure from lawmakers and regulators over its massive market power and record of privacy breaches. Rep. Maxine Waters, the California Democrat who heads the House Financial Services Committee, announced Wednesday that Zuckerberg will testify at a hearing by the panel on Oct. 23. The focus will be on Facebook's plan to create a digital currency and its role in housing. The company agreed in a legal settlement in March to overhaul its ad-targeting systems to prevent discrimination in housing, credit and employment ads. Lawmakers from both parties and top regulators, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, have criticized Facebook's plan for the new currency, expressing concern that it could be used for illicit activity such as money laundering or drug trafficking. There also is concern that the massive reserve created with money used to buy the new currency, to be called Libra, could supplant the Fed and destabilize the financial system, and that consumers could be hurt by Libra losses. 'Mark looks forward to testifying before the House Financial Services Committee and responding to lawmakers' questions,' Facebook said in a statement Wednesday. In July, Waters and other committee Democrats sent a letter to Facebook requesting a halt on moving forward with the currency and with the digital wallet, called Calibra, which would be used in the new currency system. House Democrats also have threatened legislation that would block big tech companies from getting into banking. Waters has called Libra 'a new Swiss-based financial system' that potentially is too big to fail and could require a taxpayer bailout. France's finance minister said Wednesday that the European Union should not allow Facebook to develop the currency project on 'European territory' because it threatens the monetary sovereignty of member countries. 'It should not be the role of a private company to try to get a sovereign currency like a sovereign state,' Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said. Unlike digital currencies such as bitcoin or Ethereum, Facebook's plan calls for Libra to be backed by real currencies. David Marcus, the Facebook executive leading the project, told lawmakers over two days of congressional hearings in July that Facebook would not launch the currency project until it had received all the necessary approvals from regulators and secured safeguards to protect the privacy of users' data. He said Facebook will not control Libra because Facebook will be only one of about 100 companies and nonprofits in an association that will manage the currency. The plan would open low-cost online commerce to millions of people around the world who lack access to bank accounts, and would make it cheaper to send money across borders, Marcus said. He did not agree to a suspension of the plan or a pilot project, as several lawmakers urged. Facebook, a social media giant based in Menlo Park, California, with nearly 2.5 billion users around the globe, is under heavy scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators following a series of data privacy scandals, including lapses in opening the personal data of millions of users to President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign. The Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission and the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee are all conducting investigations of Facebook and the other big tech companies amid accusations of abuse of their market power to crush competition. Zuckerberg had three days of private meetings in Washington last month with Trump and several lawmakers who, like the president, are critics of the tech industry. He also met with the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee to discuss ways to prevent foreign actors from disrupting next year's elections. In a separate session, Zuckerberg told the leaders of the House Judiciary Committee that the company would cooperate with their antitrust investigation. Zuckerberg last testified to Congress in the spring, when he was questioned about privacy, election interference and other issues.

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  • A woman who shot and killed a popular street performer outside the H.E. Holmes MARTA station three years ago is headed to prison.  >> Read more trending news  Lucianna Fox, 44, fatally shot 54-year-old Leroy Midyette in Nov. 5, 2016, after running over the homeless man’s shopping cart twice. Midyette, who performed outside the train station, was affectionately known as “Tin Man” because of the silver paint he wore when he danced, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office said Friday in a news release. The night of the shooting, Fox got mad at Midyette as he pushed his belongings across an access road that led into the parking lot of the Holmes station, authorities said. Fox told him to move his cart out of the road and Midyette motioned for the woman to drive around.Instead, Fox slammed into Midyette’s cart, threw her car in reverse and rammed it again before driving off. Upset, Midyette ran toward Fox’s car as she waited at a nearby stop sign and confronted her. Fox then got out of her car, drew a silver handgun and shot the homeless man in the chest from about 2 feet away, prosecutors said. She then set her weapon on the hood of her car and waited for police to arrive as Midyette died in the street. The entire incident was captured on MARTA’s surveillance cameras, and Fox was arrested at the scene, authorities said. She was convicted of murder and possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony and sentenced to life in prison plus five years. 
  • Court documents filed against an Indianapolis man accused of violently assaulting his mother with a cast iron frying pan last month give gruesome details of how badly the woman was beaten. Bobby Wayne Gibson Jr., 44, is charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery, battery resulting in serious bodily injury, strangulation and auto theft, according to Marion County court records. A judge last week ordered him held in lieu of a $90,000 surety bond. Gibson was also ordered to stay away from his mother, for whom an order of protection was granted, court records show. >> Read more trending news  Gibson was arrested Sept. 25 after an anonymous tip led police to a vacant home, where he told officers his mother had given him her car, a silver Chevy Malibu, to sell for drugs, WRTV in Indianapolis reported. Fox 59 reported that a SWAT standoff earlier in the day, which included tear gas and flash grenades, had failed to turn up the fugitive. Gibson had been on the run since the day before, when police officers went to his mother’s home and found her unresponsive and covered in blood, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by WRTV. The woman was taken to the hospital in critical condition. According to the affidavit, her injuries included “multiple skull and facial fractures, three lacerations in the head that penetrated to the skull, exposed brain matter due to a hole in the skull, four deep lacerations to the chest and a collapsed lung.” Her condition was not immediately available Friday afternoon. Detectives who went to her home found blood spattered throughout the kitchen and living room, along with “broken glass, broken kitchen utensils and a bloody cast-iron frying pan with a broken handle,” the document said. Blood was on the carpet, the telephone and the walls in both rooms. Gibson’s mother, who was able to speak to detectives at the hospital, told them an argument began when she spotted a bottle of vodka in her son’s pocket and told him he was not allowed to drink in her home, WRTV reported. She told police she poured the vodka out and told her son, who has a criminal record, “The court needs to do something with you.” “You wanna lock me up? I’m gonna give you something to lock me up,” she said Gibson responded, according to the affidavit. The victim told detectives Gibson attacked her, choking her until she lost consciousness. When she came to, he was beating and kicking her and hitting her with pots and pans from the kitchen, the news station reported. Gibson demanded her purse, so she told him where it was, and he left in her car, WRTV reported. A silver car could be seen in photos taken by a Fox 59 reporter during the Sept. 25 SWAT situation on the city’s south side. Authorities at the scene told the news station Gibson had forced his way into the home, where his wife was staying. She fled the house and called 911, Fox 59 reported. When the tear gas and flash grenades failed to get anyone to come outside, officers went in and found the house empty, the news station said. Gibson was taken into custody a few hours later.
  • A California man has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for the hammer killing of his former roommate, whose body was found stuffed into a wall in their former apartment six years after she was reported missing. Randolph Eric Garbutt, 47, of Los Angeles, pleaded no contest last month to voluntary manslaughter in the 2009 slaying of Raven Joy Campbell, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. He was sentenced to prison on Tuesday. Garbutt’s ex-girlfriend, Myesha Smith, testified at a December 2016 preliminary hearing in the case that Garbutt told her he’d hit Campbell, who family members said was developmentally disabled, in the head with a hammer. “He hit her one time and she kind of fought for her life, and he hit her again,” Smith testified, according to The Daily Breeze in Torrance. “He said, ‘God wanted her.’” >> Read more trending news  Garbutt has been in custody since his Feb. 4, 2016, murder arrest, so he will get credit for time already served, the Breeze reported. Campbell’s family on Tuesday pointed out the irony that Garbutt’s post-conviction prison time could end up being about the same amount of time her body remained hidden. “To place her in a wall, the irony is this man will probably only do about as much time as she was while she was in the wall,” Raven Campbell’s sister, Cynthia Campbell Kemp, said in court, according to the Breeze. “That’s the crime. The punishment is not just, but we’re just going to have to accept it.” Campbell, 31, was reported missing by her family in June 2009. According to authorities, she had last been seen leaving her apartment, Apartment 507 at Harbor Hills, a public housing complex in an unincorporated area of Lomita. She is survived by a son, Nicholas, who family members told the Breeze will turn 18 later this month. He was 7 when his mother vanished. “He’s just devastated by this,” Kemp told the newspaper. “I wish you could have let us know where she was so we didn’t have to keep searching,” another sister, Linda Campbell told Garbutt during his sentencing hearing. “Her son had to think his mom was alive for years.” Another of Campbell’s sisters, Malaikah Manasseh, told the Los Angeles Times in 2015 that Campbell lived in a group home before she moved into the housing project with a high school friend. The friend’s boyfriend also was a resident of record at the apartment in late 2008, when Campbell moved in, authorities said. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department homicide Lt. Steve Jauch said during a news conference the day after Garbutt’s 2016 arrest that Campbell’s friend, identified during later court proceedings as Nicole Nelson, and her boyfriend invited Campbell to stay with them. “They brought her in to live at the residence so she could save some money,” Jauch said. Garbutt, a friend of the couple, was also staying at the apartment during the six months Campbell lived there, Jauch said. The lieutenant told reporters the roommates, including Garbutt, all became friends. Nathan and her boyfriend were interviewed at length and were not suspected in Campbell’s killing, the lieutenant said. Campbell’s family immediately suspected foul play when Campbell vanished because her purse was left behind, Manasseh told the Times. She said her sister always wore her purse strapped against her chest and would not have left home without it. A tip and a gruesome discovery  The case remained cold until late June 2015, when homicide investigators, acting on a tip, went to the unit but found no one home, Jauch said. They returned the next day with cadaver dogs and got the new tenants’ permission to search the apartment. The dogs alerted their handlers to the possible presence of human remains inside a closet under the two-story unit’s stairs. Investigators got permission from the Los Angeles County Housing Authority to knock down a portion of the wall, which had a visible patched-up hole, Jauch said. “Detectives removed the actual piece of paneling that was used to patch it up and there appeared to be something suspicious behind this wall, on the floor a good distance down in this closet area of the residence,” the lieutenant said. The following week, on July 2, 2015, homicide detectives and staff from the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office exhumed Campbell’s remains. The medical examiner identified the body and determined Campbell had died of blunt force trauma to the head. The residents living in the apartment at the time were stunned, Jauch said. They were temporarily relocated when their home became a crime scene. “I think the natural reaction from anyone hearing information that there may be human remains where you’re living, I don’t know anybody who wouldn’t be taken aback by that information,” Jauch said, according to the Times. Campbell’s body was found in an empty space behind the closet. “It’s hollow and connects to the closet,” Candace Diggs, a resident in the housing complex told the newspaper. “These units are all built the same. They’re all concrete except for the wall behind the stairs.” Jauch explained that empty space under the stairs appeared to be an unusual design. “Typically, when you picture a hole in the wall, what most of us picture would be a hole in a wall with a floor directly at the base of the wall,” Jauch said, using the wall behind him to demonstrate. “That wasn’t the case here. “It was a configuration where the hole in the wall inside of the closet area … actually dropped down several feet to a dirt floor.” Watch Lt. Steve Jauch discuss the killing of Raven Campbell below. When detectives and crime scene technicians removed the patch job from the wall and looked down, they could see the bundle containing Campbell’s remains. According to KTLA, Campbell’s family members were certain the remains were hers as soon as they were found. At the time of the discovery, they blamed investigators for not doing a more thorough search of her home when she went missing. “We said bring the dogs, bring … everything we saw on ‘CSI.’ We wanted them to do that. They said, ‘No, we don’t find any reason,’” Campbell’s cousin, Linda Campbellhumphrey told the news station in 2015. “We, in our heart of hearts, know it’s her.” Jauch said during the 2016 news conference that homicide and missing persons detectives conducted significant legwork after Campbell disappeared. “Interviews were conducted, bank records were checked, phone records were checked,” Jauch said. “Ultimately, the case went cold.” Campbell’s family described her as a sweet, trusting woman. “She was such a wonderful spirit,” a third sister, Renee Campbell, told KTLA in 2015. The siblings’ mother, Joreena Johnson, pleaded for information about her daughter’s death at a vigil following the gruesome discovery. “Who did this to her? She didn’t deserve this,” a tearful Johnson said, according to the news station. “Y’all help me find out what happened to my baby, please.” Garbutt was arrested on a murder charge seven months after Campbell’s body was found. Jauch said the arrest was the result of tireless efforts by homicide detectives, who looked at anyone who had a connection to the apartment in the time frame Campbell lived there. “Over the last several months, really, the credo from our detectives was, ‘Let’s don’t do this in a hurry, let’s do it right,’” Jauch said. Garbutt was initially arrested on a traffic warrant, the lieutenant said in 2016. “After being released on the warrant, he was immediately booked for the murder of Raven Campbell,” Jauch said. He was rebooked into the Los Angeles County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail. On Friday, Garbutt remained at the Los Angeles County jail system’s Pitchless Detention Center in Castaic, awaiting his transfer to state prison, jail records showed. A mistrial and a plea  Garbutt initially went on trial for Campbell’s slaying in 2018, but a mistrial was declared after information came to light about two witnesses neither prosecutors nor the defense team was aware of, the Breeze said. Two weeks of testimony prior to the mistrial revealed that Garbutt beat Campbell to death and enlisted Smith, the mother of his child, to help him push her body into the space behind the closet wall. Prosecutors said Smith began receiving Campbell’s mail, including her government checks, at her Inglewood home after Campbell vanished. The Breeze reported that police found Campbell’s identification in Smith’s possession a month after she went missing. It was unclear why Smith was not linked to Campbell’s disappearance at that time. The newspaper reported that Garbutt’s public defender, Rhonda Haymon, argued during last year’s trial that Smith, who was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for testimony against her ex-boyfriend, was the true killer and Garbutt took the blame so their child would not grow up without a mother. Garbutt told investigators Campbell, who had been drinking, fell and hit her head after returning from bingo with another roommate, the Breeze reported. He said he panicked, afraid he’d be blamed for her head injury, and suffocated her with a plastic grocery bag. No other motive besides the story Garbutt told authorities has ever been uncovered. Smith testified that it was she and Nathan who went to play bingo the night Campbell was killed. When they returned, she found Garbutt “sweeping and mopping” the floor, using bleach to clean it, the Breeze reported. Smith said she thought nothing of it because Nathan liked to keep the apartment clean. According to the Breeze, Smith said she fell asleep on the couch but awoke to the sound of drilling. Smith said she found Garbutt inside the closet under the stairs, cutting a hole in the wall. A body was lying on the closet floor, wrapped in plastic and a floral print blanket, Smith testified. Garbutt told her it was Campbell. Smith testified that Garbutt climbed into the hole and started dragging Campbell’s body into it before asking her for help. She said she pushed the lifeless form about 2 inches. “He just pushed the body in the wall,” Smith said. The Breeze reported that Garbutt told Smith to keep a lookout to ensure no one was coming near the closet. “I was pacing back and forth,” Smith said, according to the newspaper. “I was at the window, and I was looking at the closet and my nerves was all ragged.” Investigators testified at the preliminary hearing that Garbutt said he used a bowl to dig up some dirt to throw over Campbell. After climbing out of the hole, he tossed several bathroom air fresheners into the makeshift grave to help cover the smell. Smith testified she was scared Garbutt would harm her if she told anyone what he had done, because he “always threatened and always told her he could kill her and no one would care,” the Breeze reported. Campbell’s family members, seven of whom spoke at Garbutt’s sentencing hearing, told the newspaper they believe if Garbutt had again gone to trial, he would have been convicted of murder and faced life in prison. They expressed heartbreak over the plea deal and subsequent, much lighter sentence. “I would have rather had a jury tell me ‘not guilty’ than to hear he’s only going to be in there for another five years,” Renee Campbell told the Breeze after the hearing. “It’s not ideal, but at least we get some closure.” The Campbell family described Raven as kind, loving, good-natured and innocent. She loved talking to loved ones on the phone and it was the sudden halt in her phone calls in the summer of 2009 that told them something had happened to her. They viewed her developmental issues as a gift, the Breeze reported. “The way she viewed the world was a lot healthier than most of us,” her niece, Princess Manessah, said.
  • Protests are underway after a City of Jacksonville spokesperson confirms that Mayor Lenny Curry has signed a bill that would effectively shut down Internet cafes in the area.  WOKV told you earlier this week, when the Jacksonville City Council voted in favor of a bill that would shut the businesses down immediately. The council had previously voted back in May to close the businesses, but decided at that time to give the operators until February 2020 to close their doors.  The city has said internet cafes are a nuisance and draw crime into the city. Data collected in September 2018 showed that the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office received more than 28,000 calls to addresses tied to nearly 100 Internet cafes during a 5-year period.
  • A federal appellate court ruled Friday that President Donald Trump's accounting firm must turn over his financial records to Congress as lawmakers continue to probe his possible conflicts of interest. >> Read more trending news  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said in a 2-1 ruling that lawmakers should get the documents they have subpoenaed from Mazars USA. Trump and his attorneys have argued against releasing the records, claiming that lawmakers lack a 'legitimate legislative purpose' for seeking the documents. >> Read the full ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit 'The fact that the subpoena in this case seeks information that concerns the President of the United States adds a twist, but not a surprising one,' Judge David Tatel wrote in an opinion joined by Judge Patricia Millett. 'Disputes between Congress and the President are a recurring plot in our national story.' Tatel was put on the appellate court by President Bill Clinton and Millett was put on the court by President Barack Obama, according to Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree. 'Having considered the weighty interests at stake in this case, we conclude that the subpoena issued by the Committee to Mazars is valid and enforceable,' Tatel wrote. Trump could appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. In a statement released Friday, House Oversight and Reform Committee Chair Elijah Cummings heralded the ruling and called for Mazars to quickly release Trump's financial records to Congress. 'Today's ruling is a fundamental and resounding victory for Congressional oversight, our Constitutional system of checks and balances and the rule of law,' Cummings said. 'After months of delay, it is time for the President to stop blocking Mazars from complying with the Committee's lawful subpoena. We must fulfill our stated legislative and oversight objectives and permit the American people to obtain answers about some of the deeply troubling questions regarding the President's adherence to Constitutional and statutory requirements to avoid conflicts of interest.' The ruling upheld a ruling issued by a lower court in support of lawmakers' right to subpoena Trump's financial records. Trump has been fighting off efforts by Congress to obtain his financial records since at least April, when the House Oversight and Reform Committee subpoenaed the documents from Mazars. Among other records, lawmakers sought documents from 2011 to 2018 for investigation into the president's reporting of his finances and potential conflicts of interest. The list of subpoenaed documents did not include Trump's tax returns, which are being sought by the House Ways and Means Committee. The group sued the Trump administration earlier this year for access to the president's tax returns in a case that continues to wind its way through the courts. In a separate case in New York, Trump sued to prevent Deutsche Bank and Capital One from complying with House subpoenas for banking and financial records. A judge ruled against him, and Trump appealed. The president is also trying in court to stop the Manhattan district attorney from obtaining his tax returns. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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