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    President Donald Trump tweeted it as evidence of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's weakness. Pelosi raised it as a banner of strength. The dramatic official White House photograph shows Pelosi standing and pointing at the seated president across the Cabinet Room table. Although the two are separated by only a few feet, the space illustrated a yawning divide and chronicled in a flash the state of a nation convulsed by impeachment, the prominence of women in politics and the 2020 election. The reaction to the image, from the top down, also reflected the Rohrschach-type reality that even an image can be narrated in vastly different ways. 'I think it would be interesting, you tell me, if we could have a recording of what goes on' in such meetings, Pelosi told reporters afterward. 'We must have been at two different meetings.' This much is undisputed: Pelosi, second in line to the presidency, was part of a bipartisan delegation of House members and senators who visited the White House on Wednesday to talk about Trump's widely opposed pullout of U.S. forces from northern Syria, which cleared the way for Turkey's bloody attack on the region. Earlier in the day, the House had overwhelmingly voted to oppose the president's withdrawal, a rare bipartisan rebuke. Also hanging over the meeting, but reportedly not mentioned, was Pelosi's drive to impeach Trump over his phone call with Ukraine's president. At some point, she pressed Trump on his plans on Syria. He answered by saying he wants to keep America safe, she said. Then Pelosi batted that down as a goal, not a plan. Trump, she said, did not appreciate her questions and ensuing commentary on the consequences of the pullout for Syria and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The meetup went downhill from there. The photo shows Pelosi standing, finger pointed at Trump, who is saying something back. 'I think I was excusing myself from the room,' Pelosi said. 'At that moment I was probably saying, 'All roads lead to Putin.' All around them, eyeballs — most belonging to men — are averted. Heads are bowed around the table, including those of Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and House Republican Whip Steve Scalise. House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy's eyes are closed. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is obstructed, but he's there, leaning back in a blue tie, a few chairs down from Trump. Pelosi, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer walked out, telling reporters in the driveway that Trump had insulted Pelosi. McCarthy later left the meeting, reporting that Pelosi 'stormed out of the meeting,' exhibiting 'a pattern of behavior.' He said, 'This is really not ... how a speaker should carry herself.' Trump, meanwhile, tweeted the photo, calling it 'Nervous Nancy's unhinged meltdown!' Later Wednesday, he tweeted that Pelosi was 'a very sick person!' Pelosi posted the image across the top of her Twitter page. It's been that kind of year for Trump since Pelosi returned to the speakership after a first stint a decade ago. In January, she forced Trump to re-open the government after the longest shutdown in history, without the border wall Trump had demanded. She blocked him from delivering the State of the Union in the House chamber until the standoff was resolved. He blocked her from using military aircraft to lead a delegation overseas. And when the resolution came and Trump mounted the House lectern to deliver the speech, she cast a special kind of shade on him, smirking as she executed a now-famous sideways clap from above and behind Trump. In May, as special counsel Robert Mueller was wrapping up his investigation of Russia's election meddling, Trump walked out of a White House meeting with Pelosi on infrastructure spending. She had accused Trump of a 'cover-up' that morning, a remark he cited to cut the meeting short. At one point during the shutdown, Trump reported that Pelosi had told him, 'We're not looking to impeach you.' That was then, before a transcript and a whistleblower report outlined the president's own words pressuring Ukraine's president to investigate the family of Joe Biden. Now the House is plowing through its impeachment inquiry, something Trump has said makes other legislating impossible. But Pelosi said she pressed ahead anyway on Syria. Trump's answers, Pelosi said Thursday, 'just didn't add up.' 'But what it did do,' she told reporters, 'was cause a meltdown on the part of the president because he was unhappy with those questions.' ___ Associated Press Writer Darlene Superville contributed to this report.
  • The vast catalog of storied Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli is heading to the new HBO Max streaming service. Films such as 'Princess Mononoke,' ''My Neighbor Totoro' and Oscar-winner 'Spirited Away' will be among the titles available to stream when HBO Max launches in spring 2020. The deal — the first time the studio's library will be available on a streaming platform — was announced Thursday for unspecified terms. Studio Ghibli has a passionate fan base of its richly animated epic films from directors like Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. HBO Max is owned by WarnerMedia, which is assembling streaming content from its networks that include TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network and Warner Bros. studio. 'Spirited Away,' about an abandoned village that's a getaway for spirits and demons, won the best animated Oscar in 2002.
  • Stephen Colbert will be sticking around for four more years. CBS announced Thursday that Colbert has signed a new contract that will keep him as the 'Late Show' host through at least August 2023. His current pact was set to expire next August. Terms were not disclosed. But it's a safe bet Colbert is in line for a healthy raise. He took over for David Letterman in 2015 and currently reigns as the most popular host on late-night television. The 'Late Show' averages nearly 4 million viewers each night, with a widening lead over the second-place 'Tonight' show with Jimmy Fallon. Colbert quips that he's been asked to stay 'and I have every intention of honoring their subpoena.
  • Alicia Alonso, the revered ballerina and choreographer whose nearly 75-year career made her an icon of artistic loyalty to Cuba's socialist system, died Thursday at age 98. Miguel Cabrera, an official at the National Ballet of Cuba founded by Alonso, said she died at a hospital in Havana. As founder and director of the National Ballet of Cuba, Alonso personified the island's arts program under Fidel Castro's communist rule and she kept vise-like control over the troupe past her 90th birthday despite being nearly blind for decades. In New York in the 1940s and '50s, Alonso was one of the earliest members of the company that became the American Ballet Theatre, helping it develop into one of the more important ballet troupes in the U.S. She was recognized the world over for the stylized beauty of her choreography and was named prima ballerina assoluta, the rarely bestowed highest honor in dance. The ballet company announced it would dedicate Thursday evening's performance at Lincoln Center of the George Balanchine classic 'Theme and Variations' to Alonso's memory. Balanchine created the work for ABT and Alonso performed at its world premiere on November 25, 1947, partnered with Igor Youskevitch. Alonso's 'imprint on ABT as one of the early members of Ballet Theatre is immeasurable,' said Kevin McKenzie, the troupe's artistic director. 'Alicia's grace, intelligence and courage will surely leave a lasting impact on our art form. ' Even after she turned 90, Alonso maintained a busy travel schedule, cutting an impressive figure at ballet openings and other cultural events with her regal bearing, dark sunglasses and scarf-wrapped head always held high. But Alonso also drew criticism for her longtime support of Castro's government. Defecting dancers said they were stifled by extreme discipline, a lack of artistic freedom due to her near-stranglehold over Cuban ballet and the inability to travel freely abroad. Born Alicia Ernestina de la Caridad del Cobre Martinez Hoya on Dec. 21, 1920, in Havana, Alonso began her dance studies in 1931. 'I grabbed the barre ... and I found what I liked more than anything else in the world,' Alonso told The Associated Press in 2001. At age 16, she moved to the United States, where she married s fellow Cuban dancer and choreographer, Fernando Alonso. During their 27-year marriage, which ended in divorce, the couple had one daughter, Laura. She was Alicia Alonso's only child. During her early years in the U.S., Alonso continued her studies with well-known ballet teachers such as Enrico Zanfretta and Alexandra Fedorova, both from the School of American Ballet in New York. Alonso launched her professional career in 1938 on Broadway, where she performed in the musical comedies 'Great Lady' and 'Stars in Your Eyes.' The following year, she was part of the American Ballet Caravan, precursor of the New York City Ballet. Alonso joined the prestigious American Ballet Theatre of New York in 1940 and remained with the company for 16 years. Her career took off as she danced the lead roles as prima ballerina in romantic and classical performances throughout Europe and the Americas. During that time, she worked with some of the 20th century's greatest choreographers, including George Balanchine, Mikhail Fokine and Bronislava Nijinska. But she worried about the development of new dancers back home and in 1948 founded her own company in Havana, the Ballet Alicia Alonso. She opened an academy of the same name shortly thereafter. During the rule of strongman Fulgencio Batista, Alonso issued a public letter in 1956 rejecting any government assistance for her dance school. She ultimately decided not to dance again in Cuba while Batista remained in power and traveled to the United States, where she worked for a time with the Greek Theatre of Los Angeles. Alonso returned home after the January 1959 triumph of the Cuban Revolution and changed the name of her academy to the National Ballet of Cuba, which received enthusiastic and enduring financial backing from Castro's government. She remained a fervent, lifelong supporter of the revolution, reportedly even joining other city-dwelling Cubans for backbreaking sugarcane harvest campaigns ordered by Castro. Meanwhile, her company toured Latin America, Europe and the United States, performing in 1978 at the Metropolitan Opera of New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington. In 1960, Alonso organized the first International Ballet Festival of Havana, an event that still brings some of the world's finest dance troupes to Cuba. The American Ballet Theatre was at the inaugural festival, though the U.S. and Cuba severed relations soon after and it would be four decades before a U.S. dance company performed on the island again, the Washington Ballet in 2000. To Cubans, who can be as fanatical about dance as about baseball, Alonso was simply Alicia — just like with Fidel, no last name was necessary. The state-run Suchel cosmetics company even developed a signature scent in her name. So great was Alonso's prestige that she was considered untouchable in a country where even the highest-placed have run afoul of the government, and she wielded that power to defend her own. At some point during Cuba's persecution of homosexuals in the 1960s and early '70s, Alonso learned authorities were investigating some of her dancers, according to the book 'Cuba Confidential' by longtime Cuba watcher Ann Louise Bardach. Alonso personally called Castro's brother Raul and threatened to leave Cuba if they were harmed. Alonso's eyesight began to fail early in her career, and she danced many of her famous roles while partially blind, guided on stage by her partner's placement and by the stage lights. Although ultimately she could see only lights and shadows, she performed into her 70s, before retiring in 1995 after a performance in Italy. Even then she would occasionally put on her dance shoes and practice on stage using the stage-side lights as guides. 'Throughout history, I have been the ballerina who has danced the longest on stage,' Alonso told AP. Offstage, she continued to devise choreography, plan tours and even design the company's performance programs. Over the years Alonso's schools churned out dancers who were in demand by companies worldwide, prized for their technical perfection. But she also gained a reputation for micromanaging and for imposing total domination of Cuba's dance world, just as Castro loomed over all things political. Detractors said artistic stagnation set in and the company was slow to pick up new trends, rigidly adhering to classical styles and the ballets that made her famous: 'Giselle,' ''Carmen,' ''Swan Lake.' Many dancers fled in search of creative freedom and the chance to earn more money. Star dancer Rolando Sarabia went to the U.S. in 2005, and as recently as 2010 five members of the National Ballet stayed behind in Toronto following a performance. Alonso bemoaned the desertions, emphasizing the free training they received. 'It is painful,' Alonso told reporters after five dancers defected during a U.S. tour in 2003. 'They have received an education of more than nine years, being taught without cost.' Alonso was known for having a fiery temper and the highest physical standards for her ideal of the tall, elegant, rail-thin ballerina. There were also signs of coolness in her relationship with her daughter, who started her own school and accepted many students who fell short of Alonso's rigid ideal but went on to considerable achievements. Alsonso was considered a national treasure, getting a standing ovation at Old Havana's gilded Gran Teatro in 2010 when she made a regal entrance to a tribute on her 90th birthday. A month earlier, her old troupe, the American Ballet Theatre, honored the aging icon when it performed in Havana 50 years after its last visit. Alonso's lifetime of work brought her Cuba's highest honors, including an honorary doctorate from the University of Havana in 1973. Fidel Castro's government granted her the Order of Jose Marti in 2000, and his successor, Raul, gave her the top arts teaching prize in 2010. She also received prestigious awards from Spain, France and UNESCO. Alonso is survived by her husband, art critic Pedro Simón Martínez; her daughter, Laura; a grandson and two great-granddaughters. ___ Associated Press writer Peter Orsi reported this story from Mexico City and AP writer Andrea Rodriguez reported in Havana. AP writer Jocelyn Noveck in New York contributed to this report. ___ This story has been corrected to show that Alonso's surviving husband is Pedro Simón Martínez.
  • The owner of a Las Vegas chapel where celebrity couples like Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner have gotten married is staying wedded to her business. Charlotte Richards told KVVU-TV on Wednesday that she is taking A Little White Wedding Chapel off the market. The iconic property had been listed for $12 million in April. Richards says she received one offer but declined it. After more consideration, she has decided to hold onto the business she operated since 1951. The chapel has become a Sin City icon over the years hosting quickie wedding ceremonies including for pop singer Britney Spears in 2004. 'Game of Thrones' actress Turner and singer Jonas married there in May. ___ Information from: KVVU-TV, http://www.kvvu.com
  • Country music star Gretchen Wilson, whose hit song, 'Here for the Party,' features the lyrics, 'And I ain't leaving till they throw me out,' was ousted from a New Mexico hotel over noise complaints. The Grammy Award-winning artist was asked to leave the Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces following multiple noise complaints last Sunday morning, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported Wednesday. Las Cruces Police Department spokesman Dan Trujillo said Wilson, 46, and other guests had 'worn out their welcome' and police helped security remove them. '(Police) were going to issue a trespass card but the occupants agreed to leave,' he said. A trespass card is given to a person suspected of trespassing. The person signs the card acknowledging that if they continue to trespass, they may be charged with a crime. The episode came after Wilson performed at the 7th annual Las Cruces Country Music Festival on Saturday. According to the 'Redneck Woman' singer, she got to her room at 12:30 a.m. and was reprimanded for talking. In a 911 call, a hotel employee said Wilson's volume level for talking was the equivalent of yelling. After she was kicked out, the musician tweeted the hotel asked her to leave 'in the middle of the night for no reason.' She also called on her Twitter followers to 'all band together to put Hotel Encanto out of business.' Heritage Hotels & Resorts, which owns Hotel Encanto, did not immediately respond to a phone message and email. A representative for Wilson did not immediately return a message seeking comment. In August 2018, Wilson was arrested at a Connecticut airport after what was described as a minor disturbance on an incoming flight. She was later charged with breach of peace. ___ Information from: Las Cruces Sun-News, http://www.lcsun-news.com
  • Dave Matthews is having a hard time imagining his band being included on the same Rock & Roll Hall of Fame list as other musical icons such as Whitney Houston. The Dave Matthews Band frontman said their recent nomination for the Hall's 2020 class was unexpected and a 'little bit insane.' He said he feels honored to be amongst music's elite while promoting his newly-launched board games called Chickapig and 25 Outlaws . 'It's a real honor,' Matthews told The Associated Press on Wednesday. 'Even if they stick us in a holding pen for a few years, that's OK. Just to get on that list. I can't believe I'm on a list with Whitney Houston, Motorhead and T. Rex. That's pretty awesome.' The seven-member band is among 16 acts nominated, a list that also includes Soundgarden, The Doobie Brothers, Nine Inch Nails, Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, MC5 and Todd Rundgren. The 35th annual induction ceremony will take place May 2 in Cleveland, Ohio. The official inductees will be announced earlier in January. Matthews called this moment of his life exciting, especially with the release of the board games he created with Brian Calhoun, a longtime friend and business partner. The singer-guitarist said they got into the board game business to create a product to bring families and friends together with the hopes of putting their cell phones down. 'So if the end of times comes, not saying that it's going to happen, but if it does happen and all of our phones die, we can play Chickapig,' Matthews joked. 'We won't be completely lost.' Chickapig is being dubbed a lightly strategic social chess game that features chicken-pig hybrids that attempt to maneuver past hay bales and a pooping cow. The game is designed for people aged above 4. 25 Outlaws is based on poker, but with a 'Wild West' twist. This game is more suited for younger adults and older players since they are tasked with trying to eliminate rival outlaw gangs. Both games are currently on sale in major retail stores. Calhoun also has a children's book called 'Little Joe Chickapig,' which is seeded from the Chickapig board game. Calhoun, a popular guitar maker, came up with the Chickapig concept in 2013 after family and friends said they were tired of playing 'boring' games. A month later, he invented the board game. It ended up becoming popular through grassroots efforts with the help of Matthews. 'It was probably a year of just our friends and families playing without talking about commercializing,' said Calhoun, who made high-end acoustic guitars for musicians including Matthews, Brandi Carlile, Keith Urban and Jason Mraz. 'I mean, he joked it's going to be the next Monopoly. But this game was just this fun thing that brought people together in the early days.' Much like his guitars, Calhoun custom-made the board game pieces in his Virginia-based guitar shop. 'You don't expect when your friend glues wood together in his basement, rolls over to your house and have invented this game,' said Matthews, who drew the box cover art for 25 Outlaws, which was named by this 12-year-old son at the time. Matthews believes their board games can thrive in a growing industry. 'It's maybe not what it once was, but it's growing because people like to hang out with each other. And often, when we put our phones down, we're not as practiced at hanging out with each other. So this is a way to just hang out.' ___ Follow AP Entertainment Writer Jonathan Landrum Jr. on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrLandrum31
  • Placido Domingo will not receive a European cultural award this weekend in Vienna as previously announced. It was the first change in the opera legend's European schedule since numerous accusations of sexual harassment in the United States were reported by The Associated Press. Officials at the European Cultural Forum based in Dresden, Germany, said Thursday that Domingo will instead receive the prize next year at a ceremony in Bonn. No reason for the change was cited. Other winners this year include Italian actress Sophia Loren and British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, along with the Vienna State Opera and singers Nina Stemme and Rene Pape. Domingo is to perform Thursday in Moscow, his fourth European appearance since the allegations were first published in August. All U.S. engagements have been cancelled.
  • Britain's Prince William and wife Kate toured Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore on Thursday, where they undertook an emotional visit to a cancer hospital previously visited by William's mother, the late Princess Diana. The Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre was started in the early 1990s by the cricket-hero-turned-politician Imran Khan, who is now Pakistan's prime minister, and whose first wife Jemima Goldsmith was a friend of the late princess. William and Kate's visit brought back memories for many Pakistanis who still love the late Lady Diana for her humanitarian work. Diana visited the facility in the 1990s and met with cancer patients and attended a fund-raising event. The hospital says it has been providing free treatment to 75% of its patients for the last 24 years. Also on Thursday, the royal couple played cricket with children and members of Pakistan's cricket team at the National Cricket Academy. Their day began with a birthday party for three orphaned children at a charitable organization, SOS Children's Village. They chatted with the children and Kate spoke in Urdu to congratulate them. William and Kate later visited the historic Badshahi mosque, also previously visited by William's mother during one of her visits to Lahore. According to Britain's Press Association, William and Kate walked on a red carpet through the holy building with the prayer leader before being given a tour of the inside, where they heard a verse from Islam's holy book. The couple's day ended with an unscheduled event: The Royal Air Force Voyager aircraft transporting them back to Islamabad had to abort two landing attempts in the capital due to severe weather and was forced to return to Lahore. Britain's Press Association reported the plane shook with heavy turbulence and lightning strikes could be seen nearby. William, an experienced air ambulance pilot, joked with reporters afterward that he had been flying the plane through the storm. Since arriving in Pakistan, the royal couple have been advocating for girls' education and visited a girl's school in Islamabad. They addressed climate change while in Pakistan's northern region, where glaciers are melting at an alarming rate. Upon their arrival, the couple met with Pakistan's President Arif Alvi and Khan, who had lunch with them at his sprawling office. Pakistani authorities have deployed hundreds of police and paramilitary security forces for the protection of the visiting royal couple, who were expected return home Friday. ___ Associated Press writer Greg Katz in London contributed to this report.
  • Ronan Farrow's new book is being sold in Australia despite threats of defamation lawsuits that the Pulitzer-winning journalist believes led some Australian retailers to drop the bestseller. 'Catch and Kill' covers events leading to Farrow's New Yorker magazine expose of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual misconduct, as well the reporter's account of his contentious divorce from his previous employer, NBC News. The detailed stories on Weinstein published by The New York Times and The New Yorker in 2017 shared a Pulitzer Prize and are credited with igniting the global #MeToo movement. Farrow's book also makes repeated references to former National Enquirer editor in chief Dylan Howard, whose lawyers sent letters to Australian booksellers threatening lawsuits. Amazon Australia and Booktopia declined to comment Thursday on their decisions not to sell Farrow's book. A number of smaller Australian book retailers received letters from Howard's law firm McLachlan Thorpe Partners, but most did not. Lawyer Andrew Thorpe, who signed the letters sent to booksellers, told The Associated Press in an email that his firm had been 'instructed to review the book in respect of the matters alleged against' Howard. Thorpe added he did not intend to make a media statement and later did not respond when asked by AP in an email who had received the letters. One letter shown to AP said Howard believes the book contains 'false and defamatory allegations.' The letter warns that if the Australian publisher, Hachette Australia, is sued for defamation, 'our client will have no alternative but to join you as a party to those proceedings as a distributor.' Hachett Australia spokeswoman Anna Egelstaff declined to comment on the legal threat but said the book had been distributed as planned. 'It's been distributed widely across Australia. It's now available in bookshops and some online retailers,' Egelstaff said. Farrow tweeted that some Australian book outlets had 'caved and banned it due to frivolous legal threats.' Farrow added that he hoped Australian readers 'can import or buy from an independent bookseller, and avoid outlets that yield to these kinds of intimidation tactics.' Robbie Egan, chief executive of the Australian Booksellers Association, said the two big online retailers were the only Australian outlets he knew of that had decided against stocking the book. 'There's no legal threat: It's just the threat of the possibility of legal threat,' Egan said. 'I can't recall anything like this and I've been doing it (selling books) for 25 years.' David Gaunt, owner of Gleebooks in Sydney, said he had not been notified by the publisher or anyone else of a legal threat. He had sold out of the book by Thursday. 'There's no way it would have got the publicity that it's got if it hadn't been for the attempt to ban it,' Gaunt said. 'Unless people contacted the publisher to say: 'What should I do?,' the publisher is being very relaxed about the whole thing.' Mark Rubbo, managing director of Melbourne retailer Readings, said he disregarded the legal letter he received because of the important issues the book raised. 'The letter just said it may contain defamatory content — so it didn't say it did — and I didn't feel that was a strong enough reason not to sell it,' Rubbo said.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • An administration official said that U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry has formally notified President Donald Trump that he intends to resign. >> Read more trending news  Bloomberg News reported in April that Perry was reportedly planning to leave the Trump administration. Perry became Energy secretary in 2017.Please check back for updates.
  • The U.S. and Turkey agreed Thursday to a five-day ceasefire in Syria, Vice President Mike Pence announced at a news conference in Turkey. >> Read more trending news  Pence said military operations will be paused for 120 hours on the border between Turkey and Syria to give U.S.-allied Syrian Kurds time to withdraw from the area. 'The Turkish side will pause Operation Peace Spring in order to allow for the withdrawal of YPG forces from the safe zone for 120 hours,' Pence said. 'All military operations under Operation Peace Spring will be paused, and Operation Peace Spring will be halted entirely on completion of the withdrawal.' The announcement came after a high-level delegation, including Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara. Trump praised the announcement Thursday while speaking with reporters in Forth Worth, Texas. He credited his threat of sanctions on Turkey as 'tough love' that led to the ceasefire. 'This is an incredible outcome,' Trump said. 'It's a great day for the United States. It's a great day for Turkey.' Erdogan announced Turkey launched a military operation in northern Syria last week, days after Trump pulled U.S. troops out of the region. Trump disavowed the decision in statement, saying he 'made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea.' The Associated Press reported the agreement, 'essentially gives the Turks what they had sought to achieve with their military operation in the first place.' Kurdish forces were not party to the agreement, and it was not immediately clear whether they would comply. Ankara has long argued the Kurdish fighters are nothing more than an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which has waged a guerrilla campaign inside Turkey since the 1980s and which Turkey, as well as the U.S. and European Union, designate as a terrorist organization. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • The next Group of Seven summit will be held in June at Trump National Doral Miami, one of President Donald Trump's golf resorts in Florida, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney announced Thursday. >> Read more trending news  Mulvaney said officials considered about a dozen different locations for the meeting, which will be held June 10-12. 'Doral was far and away the best physical facility for this meeting,' Mulvaney said, adding that a site selection official told him, 'It's almost like they built this facility to host this type of event.' The site was chosen despite ongoing investigations into whether Trump has used his office for personal gain. Mulvaney said Thursday that he was unconcerned by the appearance of a conflict of interest. He told reporters Doral was chosen partially because the site was dramatically cheaper than others officials considered. 'There's no issue here on him profiting from this in any way, shape or form,' Mulvaney said. Trump has touted his resort, saying it's close to the airport, has plenty of hotel rooms and offers separate buildings for every delegation. When the United States has hosted the summit before, it has been held in Puerto Rico; Williamsburg, Virginia; Houston; Denver; Sea Island, Georgia; and Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Tropical storm warnings are in place along the Florida Panhandle for a tropical system that doesn’t even have a name yet. Potential Tropical Cyclone 16 is currently off the coast of Mexico in the southwest Gulf of Mexico.  In recent days, meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center have increased the storm’s chances of tropical development to 90-percent as of the NHC’s latest advisory. The storm is not expected to reach hurricane strength, but it is forecast to make landfall this weekend over the Panhandle as Tropical Storm Nestor. News 96.5 WDBO spoke to the National Weather Service office in Melbourne about what impacts Central Florida could see from the storm.  Meteorologist Scott Kelly says it could impact your weekend plans. “It looks like it will mainly be a rain producer for us with some embedded strong thunderstorms.  We’re not expecting a lot of strong winds with it, although there could be some strong winds with the thunderstorms that come through early on this weekend,” said Kelly. 

Washington Insider

  • Brushing aside questions about the ethics of hosting the G-7 summit at one of President Donald Trump's own  golf properties, the White House announced Thursday that the 2020 meeting of the G-7 will take place at the President's Doral resort in Miami, Florida. “Doral was by far and away - far and away - the best physical facility for this meeting,” said Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Pressed repeatedly by reporters in a rare Q&A in the White House Briefing Room, Mulvaney gave the back of the hand to any ethical concerns. Democrats in Congress said the decision just screamed self-dealing by the President. “This is corruption in the open,” said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA). “Corruption in plain sight is still corruption,” said Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA). “Unbelievably brazen. Taxpayer and foreign money funneled right to his own club as a result of a decision he is making as President,” tweeted Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY). “This is just open corruption,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ). “Congress should block any taxpayer money from going to G7 while it's at Trump's resort,” said Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH). “This is a textbook case of unconstitutional conduct,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD). “By holding G7 summit at his own resort, the President is using his office to enrich himself,” said Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL). “This is corruption, plain and simple,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who is running for President. Outside ethics watchdog groups chimed in immediately. “By treating the G7 summit like a commercial for his businesses, inviting foreign governments to line his pockets and hold their next meeting at his Doral, FL golf course next year, he mocks the Constitution he swore to uphold,” said Constitutional Accountability Center President Elizabeth Wydra.