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Latest from Samantha Jordan

    Thanks to the popular Netflix show ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,’ several resale shops across Central Florida are seeing an increase in customers who are ridding their closets of items that no longer ‘spark joy.’  Jerrie Mallicoat is the owner of Clothes Mentor in Altamonte Springs. She tells News 96.5 WDBO that they usually see a bump in customers around the holidays for those looking for extra cash and it typically trickles off after the new year. But so far,  business has remained steady. “And I’ve asked them  ‘So are you cleaning out? New year, new you?’ and a lot of them have told me ‘well we watched the Marie Kondo show on Netflix and decided to take the plunge and do it,” said Mallicoat. “I love it. It’s great for us!” Marie Kondo is one energetic, pint-sized cleaning fairy! Her motto is that if something doesn’t spark joy, it’s time to let it go.  Some of those ‘joyless’ items that are collecting dust can score you some big bucks. (VIDEO) “Designer handbags are very good sellers. Very good clothing in good condition. They don’t have to be designer brands but those bring the most money. And of course, jewelry.” For example, a Liz Claiborne dress can be worth up to $50 and a handbag by Michael Kors can put $75 in your pocket. At Clothes Mentor, they typically like items to be 3 years of age or less, clean and in good selling condition. “And we pay them cash on the spot. We don’t wait for it to sell. They get paid that day.” Mallicoat says decluttering your home can be a refreshing life-changer. “I honestly can’t say that I’ve thanked my items before (like Kondo does in her show), but I agree with the whole concept that a simpler life makes for a simpler mindset and I think that’s very helpful for everyone.”
  • There will be a food and donation drive this Saturday, Jan. 26, for Orlando federal workers who have now missed their second paycheck because of the ongoing government shutdown. They will be collecting essential items like gas cards, non-perishable foods, toiletries, gift cards, cleaning supplies, pet food and diapers.  “We are putting PEOPLE above politics and trying to help our community as best we can,” said Wes Hodge, chair of the Orange County Democrats, who helped organize the drive along with the Florida Democratic Party. You can drop off donations from 9 a.m. - noon at the Hilton Garden Inn at SeaWorld on Westwood Blvd.   Federal workers with a paystub or I.D. can also pick up supplies at the same location from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. 
  • A video has gone viral of a little girl walking toward Tallahassee police officers with her hands in the air during the arrest of shoplifting suspects. The cellphone footage, which was recorded by Bernard Stevens Jr. and posted to Facebook by the Tallahassee Police Department,  shows the barefoot toddler get out of a blue pick up truck on Thursday as officers pointed their guns at the vehicle.  “She’s trying to get out but she can’t because she’s little,” a person in the video is heard saying. “She is out. Oh, she’s holding her hands up. Oh my God, look at that. Oh my God.” (Facebook) Police say the child was imitating the suspects, who were reportedly involved in an armed shoplifting incident at a Bealls Outlet, according to the Miami Herald. Many viewers have criticized the police department for keeping their guns drawn while the child was walking toward them. The department released body cam footage of the incident to show the concern they had for the child and her brother during the traffic stop. “The mom, who was a suspect, asked an officer to hold her 2-year-old while she’s allowed to retrieve the infant from the car seat,” explained Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo in a new Facebook video. “I am proud of how our officers handled the situation, how they adapted when they became aware of the children and the level of concern and compassion they showed for the family.” Chad M. Bom, 34, and James W. McMullen, 38, were charged with theft. Police also found a pellet gun in the vehicle. (Facebook)
  • If you’re a furloughed federal employee because of the government shutdown,  Lucky’s Market wants to buy you lunch. This Saturday, just show up to one of the Orlando-area Lucky’s Market stores from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with your federal ID, and lunch is on the house, according to a Facebook post by the company. “Thank you for everything you do to serve our community.” Immediate family of furloughed employees are also included.  Lucky’s has several participating locations around Central Florida including in Orlando, Winter Park and Hunter’s Creek.
  • This furry little fighter is guaranteed to be the most adorable thing you see all day. The one-pound Chihuahua is recovering after being snatched by a hawk and dropped to the ground! So why is the staff at the Austin Animal Center in Texas calling him a ‘miracle puppy’?  Surprisingly, he didn’t break a single bone. “It's a miracle that he not only survived, but that the wounds on his head and chest are fairly mild,” the center said on Facebook. “This sweetie is now recovering in a foster home for the next few weeks.” (Facebook) KVUE reports that on Saturday, some construction workers heard the cries of a puppy near their work site. That’s when they saw the little dog fall from the sky and a hawk flying overhead. Concerned about what injuries the puppy may have, they rushed him to the veterinarians at the Austin Animal Center to get checked out. The puppy, now named Tony Hawk, is healing from puncture wounds left by the hawk’s talons. He’s already received a ton of adoption applications and his foster mom says he should be going home with his new family in a few weeks. Austin Animal Center says this should serve as a reminder for pet owners to protect their small animals. “Hawks, owls and coyotes will prey on small animals, even in your fenced backyard. If you have small pets, keep eyes on them at all times while outside.” (Facebook)
  • After claiming she was furloughed from her federal job at NASA weeks ago, Orlando resident Stacie Turner has been making ends meet by doing something very, well... sweet. “This is something I love to do,”  Turner tells News 96.5 WDBO.  “And when times get tough and finances get tight, this is what I turn to to make money.” Stacie is the owner of the online dessert company Velvet Confections by Stacie. She’s been running the business on and off out of her home in Avalon Park since 2012, but hasn’t been doing it full-time until now. “This thing is growing as a result of all of the support I’m getting due to the shutdown. So I’m thinking that it’s time for me to relaunch the business and continue with my passion.” Turner says since the relaunch last month, business has been booming. She credits a lot of her success to her community in Avalon Park who are getting the word out -- even sending customers from out of state her way. “I’m probably clocking about 12 to 14 hour days of baking! There hasn’t been a day yet since I announced that I was baking that I have not gotten an order in. It’s been wonderful!” To help build her client base, she’s offering a special “Government Shutdown Bake Sale.” “Sale runs until the government re-opens. PLACE YOUR ORDER TODAY!” reads her ad on Facebook. Customers can choose from a menu of delectable, fresh-baked treats like banana bread, pies, marshmallow treats and bread pudding.  “The number one thing right now is either the red velvet brownies or the cinnamon rolls. I didn’t add them to this particular government shutdown sale but I’ve been selling quite a few.” (Facebook) This isn’t the first time Turner has had to turn to her baking skills for some extra cash.  “This shutdown is different though because I have no idea when it’s going to end. I don’t think anybody is confident that it’s going to end soon. So it’s driving people like me who are trying to make money to figure out a way to do it officially.” When the government reopens, Turner says she does plan to return to her full-time job, but she knows she always has baking in her back pocket. “Use this time to develop your passion, whatever it is. We all have some skill, some ability, some talent that we can use to survive,” Turner explains. “And even once the government reopens, this could be another stream of income that you can do on the side. Create opportunities for yourself and use this time to do it.” You can order your treats from Velvet Confections by Stacie on their Facebook page.
  • Florida driver’s licenses could be going digital. At least that’s the hope of Republican state Rep. James Grant and Democrat Rep. Matt Willhite if a bill they are working on passes. The bill would allow drivers to present an electronic version of their license on their phones in case they forget their wallets at home and don’t have physical proof. Orlando resident Ralph Menzona tells News 96.5 WDBO that it’s a great idea. “I always have my phone and I always forget my wallet. So this would help me out a lot.” A statewide database would be created to store driver’s license and insurance information. According to WPBF News, the bill would also include language “that would not give police authority to search the phone for any data.” The state leaders hope to have the bill filed by the March deadline in order for it to be reviewed in the Legislature. According to the American Association of  Motor Vehicle Administrators, there are more than a dozen other states that are developing similar programs. Louisiana  has been using digital driver’s licenses since July 2018.
  • A group of men have been banned for life from the Royal Caribbean cruise line after one of them jumped off the ship in a now viral video, reports Yahoo Lifestyle. An Instagram video posted by Nick Naydev, 27, of Vancouver, Washington, shows him standing on a rail of a balcony of the Symphony of the Seas as it was docking in Nassau, Bahamas. Naydev then jumps into the sea below from the eleventh floor as his friends cheer him on and laugh. (Instagram) His friend who recorded the video, Konstantin Kryachun, later posted on his Instagram story of the group being interrogated by police and kicking them off the ship, leaving the men to find their own way back home. The videos have racked up plenty of comments calling the stunt everything from funny to stupid. “This moron is luck he was seriously injured or killed,” said Instagram user Christopher Wood. “HOW HIS SO CALLED FRIENDS CAN STAND THERE AND DO NOTHING. IDIOTS.” Royal Caribbean Cruises tells Yahoo Lifestyle that they are exploring legal action.
  • Orlando International Airport is stepping up for its employees affected by the partial government shutdown.  The Airline Management Council is setting up a food pantry to help unpaid workers who have been struggling to make ends meet since the shutdown began over four weeks ago. On Wednesday, they will be collecting non-perishable food items, toiletries and baby items.  Anyone who would like to donate can drop off their items at the valet area located on the Departure Level of Terminal “A” from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and again from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.  Airport employees will be able to donate items on Wednesday at the Frontier Airlines ticket counter. Gift cards and cash will not be accepted.
  • As the government shutdown enters its 4th week, the Orlando organization Heart of Florida United Way says that calls to their 2-1-1 call center have increased with federal workers who missed their first paycheck on Friday. “We know in Central Florida that about 40 percent of our citizens can’t cover a $400 emergency,” Senior Vice President Ray Larson tells News 96.5 WDBO. “From a national study, about 80 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.”   Heart of Florida United Way helps connect people to resources in the community that can assist with necessities like housing, utilities, child care and transportation.  The unexpected government shutdown has left hundreds of thousands of workers scrambling to meet basic needs. “We’re preparing. Our understanding is that the first paycheck that workers missed was last Friday. As more time goes on, more people are going to feel that impact so we are gearing up for that.” Larson says two of the biggest barriers for federal workers looking for help is not knowing where to start and overcoming pride. “This might be the first time that they have to reach out for help because we all have pride in our work and pride in taking care of ourselves. We can at least help get them started and talking to the right people.” There are three ways to get help from a specialist with Heart of Florida United Way: Dial  2-1-1 and you’ll be connected Text your zipcode to ‘8-9-8-2-1-1’ to text with a specialist Go to www.HFUW.org to chat live The 2-1-1 call center is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Samantha Jordan

    Samantha Jordan is a reporter for Orlando's Morning News and website contributor for News965.com.

    After graduating from the University of Central Florida, Samantha interned for the morning show at Magic 107.7 in 2010. She was then offered a job in Houston, TX for the top 10 radio news station KTRH 740. Trading in her swimsuit for a cowboy hat, Samantha made the move to KTRH where she worked as the web reporter and writer. Her on-air segment 'Connected' brought to life all of the viral videos that are trending on the web. Houston listeners dubbed her 'the web goddess' as she brought light-hearted and comedic relief during the morning commute. 

    Television came calling and Samantha was approached by the local TV station Fox 26 to participate in their weekly 'Fox in Focus' segment, which talked about women's issues in a debate-style setting. In 2012, Samantha was offered a job with News 96.5 as an anchor/reporter and happily returned to her hometown. 

    When Samantha isn't reporting or scouring the web for cat videos, she enjoys going to concerts, movies, and spending time with her son and their dogs, Sebastian and Maya. 

    Follow Samantha on Twitter.
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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • A Florida man who fled after shooting into a home Wednesday evening grabbed a K-9 by the neck and fought with him before being arrested, the Melbourne Police Department said. >> Read more trending news  Melbourne police said they were called to a home after Philip Spurlock, 23, allegedly shot into the home before driving away on a motorcycle. Investigators said detectives in unmarked vehicles followed Spurlock at a safe distance as he drove at speeds in excess of 80 mph in a zone where the speed limit was 35 mph. Police said Spurlock ditched the motorcycle and ran into the backyard of a home, where he tried to hide behind an air-conditioning unit. Investigators said a K-9 officer closed in on Spurlock, who grabbed the K-9 dog, Brutus, around the neck with both hands and began to fight with him. Police said Spurlock was arrested and taken to Holmes Regional Medical Center to be treated for a dog bite. Spurlock was charged with shooting into an occupied dwelling, reckless driving, resisting arrest without violence and offenses against a police dog. Police said the dog is OK.
  • U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Thursday released a redacted copy of special counsel Robert Mueller’s highly anticipated report on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. >> Read more trending news The report was released around 11 a.m., weeks after Mueller completed his investigation. President Donald Trump hailed the report as a victory over his critics. >> Mueller Report: Read the report Barr just released Update 6:45 p.m. EDT April 18: The Justice Department said it will provide Congress with a second version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report that has fewer redactions in the coming two weeks. Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd said in a letter to lawmakers Thursday that the Justice Department will make the report available to House and Senate leaders, as well as the top Republicans and Democrats on the judiciary and intelligence committees. Each lawmaker can also have a staff member present. Boyd said the report will be provided in a secure reading room at the Justice Department next week and in a secure room in the Capitol the week of April 29. The unredacted material will include classified information and material involving private citizens who were not charged. It won’t include secret grand jury information. Update 3:45 p.m. EDT April 18: Mueller’s report shows the Russian-based Internet Research Agency worked not only in Trump’s favor but also in favor of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who ran for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination before losing to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The company’s attempt to boost Sanders’ candidacy first surfaced last year, after authorities charged more than a dozen people and three companies with interfering in the election, The Washington Post reported. According to the newspaper, IRA operators were instructed not to harm Sanders’ reputation. “Main idea: Use any opportunity to criticize Hillary [Clinton] and the rest (except Sanders and Trump — we support them),” Mueller quoted IRA operators as saying. Update 2:55 p.m. EDT April 18: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler said Thursday that he will issue a subpoena to get the full Mueller report and the underlying materials from Barr after the attorney general released a redacted version of the report. “Contrary to public reports, I have not heard from the Department (of Justice) about receiving a less-redacted version of the report,” he said Thursday in a statement. “Because Congress requires this material in order to perform our constitutionally-mandated responsibilities, I will issue a subpoena for the full report and the underlying materials.” Barr is scheduled to testify before the committee May 2. Update 2:25 p.m. EDT April 18: Kellyanne Conway, who serves as counselor to the president, told reporters Thursday that Mueller’s report was inaccurate in its description of Trump’s reaction to the special counsel’s appointment. >> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupre: Mueller: Trump obstruction failed because aides refused orders to undermine Russia probe According to Mueller, the president 'slumped back in his chair and said, 'Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I'm (expletive).’' However, Conway said she was in the room when Trump learned about the appointment and that she “was very surprised to see” Mueller’s report on it, CNN reported. “That was not the reaction of the president that day,” she said. Update 2 p.m. EDT April 18: Vice President Mike Pence said in a statement Thursday that the special counsel’s report showed “no collusion, no obstruction.” “While many Democrats will cling to discredited allegations, the American people can be confident President Trump and I will continue to focus where we always have, on advancing an agenda that’s making our nation stronger, safer and more secure.” Despite the vice president’s claims, Mueller declined to answer the question of whether Trump obstructed justice in his actions related to the Russia probe. “Now that the Special Counsel investigation is completed, the American people have a right to know whether the initial investigation was in keeping with long-standing Justice Department standards -- or even lawful at all,” Pence said. “We must never allow our justice system to be exploited in pursuit of a political agenda.” Update 1:45 p.m. EDT April 18: In a joint statement released Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Barr and Mueller reached conflicting conclusions on the question of whether the president obstructed justice. “The differences are stark between  what Attorney General Barr said on obstruction and what Special Counsel Mueller said on obstruction,” the statement said. “As we continue to review the report, one thing is clear: Attorney General Barr presented a conclusion that the president did not obstruct justice while Mueller’s report appears to undercut that finding.” In his report, Mueller declined to answer questions surrounding whether Trump obstructed justice in his efforts to tamp down on the Russia probe, which authorities said he saw as a direct challenge to his presidency. Update 1:40 p.m. EDT April 18: In the report released Thursday, Mueller said his team’s investigation was sometimes hampered by the use of applications that “feature encryption or that do not provide for long-term retention of data or communications records” and the deletion of communications relevant to the probe. “In such cases, the Office (of the Special Counsel) was not able to corroborate witness statements through comparison to contemporaneous communications or fully question witnesses about statements that appeared inconsistent with other known facts,” the report said. “Accordingly, while this report embodies factual and legal determinations that the Office believes to be accurate and complete to the greatest extent possible, given  these identified gaps, the Office cannot rule out the possibility that the unavailable information would shed additional light on (or cast a new light)the events described in the report.” Update 1:20 p.m. EDT April 18: Mueller said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders admitted in an interview that her comments to the news media after the firing of former FBI Director James Comey were “not founded on anything.” In response to a reporter’s question about FBI support for Comey after his May 2017 dismissal, Huckabee Sanders said at news briefing that, “We’ve heard from countless members of the FBI that say very different things.” 'The evidence does not support those claims,' according to the Mueller report. Update 1:15 p.m. EDT April 18: The House Intelligence Committee invited Mueller to testify next month after Barr released a redacted version of his 448-page report Thursday. “To discharge its distinct constitutional and statutory responsibility, the Committee must be kept ‘fully and currently informed’ of the intelligence and counterintelligence findings, evidence, and implications of your investigation,” committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff said in a letter to Mueller dated Thursday. “This requires that the Committee receive comprehensive testimony from you about the investigation’s full scope and areas of inquiry, its findings and underlying evidence, all of the intelligence and counterintelligence information gathered in the course of the investigation.” The House Judiciary Committee has also asked Mueller to testify. In a letter sent Thursday, committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler asked Mueller to appear before the panel by May 23. Update 12:45 p.m. EDT April 18: Brad Parscale, manager of the 2020 Trump presidential campaign, hailed the release of Mueller’s report Thursday and repeated the president’s calls for an investigation into the investigators. “President Trump has been fully and completely exonerated yet again,” Parscale said in a statement. “Now the tables have turned, and it’s time to investigate the liars who instigated this sham investigation into President Trump, motivated by political retribution and based on no evidence whatsoever.” In the report released Thursday, Mueller said the FBI launched an investigation into whether Trump campaign officials were coordinating with the Russian government in July 2016. The investigation came after authorities said then-Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos suggested to a representative of a foreign government that “the Trump Campaign had received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information damaging to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.” Update 12:35 p.m. EDT April 18: Mueller said Trump attempted to influence the investigation into Russian election meddling. Mueller said his efforts “were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede his request.” Mueller’s report details instances by several officials, including former FBI Director James Comey, former White House counsel Don McGahn and former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, ignoring or refusing Trump’s requests to interfere in the investigation. Update 12:15 p.m. EDT April 18: When then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Trump in May 2017 that a special counsel had been appointed to investigate Russian election meddling, the president 'slumped back in his chair and said, 'Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I'm (expletive).'  Trump blamed Sessions for the appointment, according to Mueller. 'Everyone tells me if you get one of these independent counsels it ruins your presidency,' Trump said, according to the report released Thursday. 'It takes years and years and I won't be able to do anything. This is the worst thing that ever happened to me.' Speaking Thursday at an event at the White House, Trump said, “this should never happen to another president again.” Update 11:45 a.m. EDT April 18: In the report released Thursday, Mueller said his team considered Trump’s written responses to questions in the Russia probe to be inadequate, but they decided against subpoenaing the president because of the delay such a move would cause to the investigation. Other revelations from the report include: Mueller said Trump directed White House Counsel Don McGahn in June 2017 to call the acting attorney general and say that Mueller must be ousted because he had conflicts of interest. Trump previously denounced reports of the call as “fake news.”  Members of Trump’s staff might have saved him from more dire legal consequences by refusing to carry out orders they thought were legally risky, according to The Washington Post.  Mueller made clear in the report that “Russia wanted to help the Trump campaign, and the Trump campaign was willing to take” the help, the Post reported. However, investigators were unable to establish that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government. Update 11:30 a.m. EDT April 18: In his report, Mueller shared the reasoning behind his decision not to answer the question of whether the might have president obstructed justice. Mueller’s team scrutinized 10 episodes in which Trump sought to seize control of the Russia probe, including his firing of FBI Director James Comey, his directive to subordinates to have Mueller fired and efforts to encourage witnesses not to cooperate.  The president’s lawyers have said Trump’s conduct fell within his constitutional powers, but Mueller’s team deemed the episodes were deserving of scrutiny to determine whether crimes were committed. Update 11:25 a.m. EDT April 18: President Donald Trump said Thursday that he was “having a good day” following the release of the Mueller report. “This should’ve never happened,” Trump told a crowd gathered at a Wounded Warriors event at the White House, according to CNN. “I say this in front of my friends — this should never happen to another president again. This hoax — it should never happen again.' Trump’s attorneys hailed the report as “a total victory for the president” in a statement released to CNN. “The report underscores what we have argued from the very beginning - there was no collusion - there was no obstruction,” the statement said. “This vindication of the President is an important step forward for the country and a strong reminder that this type of abuse must never be permitted to occur again.” >> The Mueller report: What is in it, when will it be released, what will happen next? Update 11 a.m. EDT April 18: Barr has released a redacted version of the Mueller report, which is 448 pages long. >> Mueller report: Read the transcript of William Barr's remarks Update 10:55 a.m. EDT April 18: President Donald Trump was expected to deliver remarks Thursday morning at the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride as lawmakers and the public await the release of Mueller’s report. However, by 10:55 a.m., Trump had yet to appear for the event. Update 10:30 a.m. EDT April 18: In a letter sent Thursday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler asked Mueller to testify before the panel no later than May 23. Nadler released his letter to Mueller minutes after Barr spoke with reporters about the report, which is expected to be released Thursday. Barr told reporters he had “no objection to Bob Mueller testifying.” “It is clear Congress and the American people must hear from Special Counsel Robert Mueller in person to better understand his findings,” Nadler said. Update 10:20 a.m. EDT April 18: Barr said he plans to release a less-redacted version of Mueller’s report to several congressional committees on Thursday “in an effort to accommodate congressional requests” for Mueller’s full report. “These members of Congress will be able to see all of the redacted materials for themselves -- with the limited exception of that which, by law, cannot be shared,” Barr said Thursday morning at a news conference. “I believe that this accommodation, together with my upcoming testimony before the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, will satisfy any need Congress has for information regarding the special counsel’s investigation.”    Update 10:05 a.m. EDT April 18: At a news conference Thursday morning, Barr said it will be important to view President Donald Trump’s actions in context. “President Trump faced an unprecedented situation,” Barr said. “As he entered into office, and sought to perform his responsibilities as president, federal agents and prosecutors were scrutinizing his conduct before and after taking office, and the conduct of some of his associates. At the same time, there was relentless speculation in the news media about the president’s personal culpability. Yet, as he said from the beginning, there was in fact no collusion.” Barr said the Office of the White House Counsel has reviewed the redacted version of Mueller’s report but that Trump declined to assert privilege over it. Trump took to Twitter after Barr spoke to highlight that there was 'No collusion. No obstruction.' Update 9:50 a.m. EDT April 18: Mueller’s report details two main efforts sponsored by Russian government officials to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, Barr said Thursday morning at a news conference ahead of the report’s release. The report details efforts by the Internet Research Agency, a Russian company with ties to the Russian government, to “sow social discord among American votes through disinformation and social media operations,” Barr said. It also details efforts by Russian military officials connected to the GRU, “to hack into computers and steal documents and emails from individuals affiliated with the Democratic Party.” “The special counsel found no evidence that any Americans -- including anyone associated with the Trump campaign -- conspired or coordinated with the Russian government or the IRA in carrying out this illegal scheme,” Barr said. Update 9:15 a.m. EDT April 18: President Donald Trump called the Mueller investigation 'The Greatest Political Hoax of all time!' in a series of tweets posted Thursday ahead of the release of the report. >> Mueller report: Trump tweets 'presidential harassment' ahead of redacted report's release “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!” he wrote in a subsequent tweet. Trump has frequently criticized the Mueller investigation, framing the probe as a political “witch hunt” aimed at harming his presidency. Original report: Barr is expected to release a redacted version of Mueller’s report to Congress between 11 a.m. and noon Thursday before sharing the report on the special counsel’s website, Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree reported. >> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Battle lines clear as D.C. awaits redacted Mueller report Mueller completed his investigation late last month, 22 months after he launched his probe at the direction of the Justice Department. The investigation was frequently lambasted by President Donald Trump as a “witch hunt” aimed at undermining his presidency. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Florida Senator Rick Scott joined CNBC’s “Squawk Box”  Wednesday  to discuss the United States’ trade negotiations with China and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and it's socialist policies.  Senator Scott also discussed why residents are fleeing high-tax states like New York and Massachusetts for better opportunities in low-tax Florida. To see video in APP click here 
  • “You told me to.” Those were the dying words of a North Carolina man who was shot by police as he followed orders to drop the gun he had in his pocket, body camera footage shows. Footage of the March 25 death of Danquirs Napoleon Franklin, 27, was released Friday by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. The video was released on the order of Mecklenburg County Superior Judge Donnie Hoover, who was responding to a petition by local media.  >> Read more trending news Prosecutors and the attorney representing Officer Wende Kerl objected to the release. Assistant District Attorney Bill Bunting argued the release could impact the ongoing criminal investigation into the shooting, WSOC in Charlotte reported. Defense attorney Jeremy Smith cited concerns for Kerl’s safety.  Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officials said dispatchers received two 911 calls around 9 a.m. the morning of the shooting, the calls coming within two minutes of one another. The calls came from a Burger King located on Beatties Ford Road in Charlotte.  “The first caller frantically said she needed police quickly because the individual entered the store, walked behind the counter with a gun and was pointing it at an employee,” a police department statement said. “The second caller frantically said she needed police because an individual had approached her vehicle while she was waiting for food in the parking lot of the business and pulled out a gun.” Listen to the 911 call from inside Burger King, courtesy of WSOC.  Kerl and another officer, Larry Deal, responded to the scene, where they saw Franklin squatting next to the open front passenger door of a burgundy Honda Accord parked outside the fast food restaurant.  “A short time later, Officer Kerl perceived an imminent, deadly threat and subsequently fired her department issued firearm two times, striking Mr. Franklin,” police officials said. “He was transported to Atrium Health where he was pronounced deceased a short time later.” Kerl’s own body camera footage shows Franklin never pointed the weapon at anyone during the fatal confrontation. He appeared to be following the officers’ orders to put his weapon on the ground.  The 2-minute, 20-second video begins with footage of Kerl driving up to the Burger King. She does not get out of her car until the midpoint of the recording. Watch the entirety of the body camera footage below. Warning: The footage is graphic and shows Danquirs Franklin’s final moments. Viewer discretion is advised. As soon as she is out of the car, she joins Deal in ordering Franklin to show his hands. Franklin is not yet visible on the camera footage. After screaming for Franklin to let them see his hands several times, Kerl begins to move in front of Deal. “I’m crossing. I’m crossing,” Kerl says, letting Deal know she’s entering his line of fire.  At this point, Kerl is about a car length away from Franklin, who squats by the open car door. Another man sits inside the car.  “Put the gun down now!” Kerl and Deal shout at Franklin, who is approached by a Burger King employee.  “He’s got a gun. He’s got a gun,” Kerl says.  Watch Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney discuss body worn cameras below.  The officers order the female employee to get out of the way. They continue to scream at Franklin, ordering him to drop the weapon.  “I heard you the first (unintelligible) time,” Franklin appears to say calmly.  The gun is still not visible on the body camera footage.  “Put it on the ground!” Kerl shouts one last time. Franklin’s right hand appears to go into his pocket. He pulls out a handgun by its barrel and lowers it to the ground. As soon as the handgun is visible, Kerl fires her service weapon twice into Franklin’s body. He turns his face toward the officer.  “You told me to put it …,” Franklin says, the rest of his words swallowed by the officers’ continued screams for him to drop the gun.  At that point, the weapon can be seen already on the pavement.  A shocked-looking Franklin, grimacing in pain, glances into the car once more before slumping against the open car door.  “Shots fired. Shots fired,” Kerl says into her body-worn radio. Deal can be heard radioing the need for medical assistance as someone screams from somewhere near the restaurant.  Kerl and Deal approach Franklin, who has slumped onto the pavement. They order the man sitting in the car, who tells them he’s the “GM,” or general manager, to put his hands on the dashboard as Kerl picks up Franklin’s gun from near his still body.  That’s when the publicly released footage ends.  Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles urged calm in the community in advance of the release of the police footage, according to WSOC.  “It’s another really sad moment and (a) reminder that the responsibilities of law enforcement are, and will always be, immense,” Mayor Lyles said. “In the blink of an eye, their jobs require an instantaneous decision, and that’s something none of us should take lightly.” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said his department expected there would be protests, but that he expected they would be peaceful. “We expect this to be people voicing their opinion,” Putney said.  When asked about his own reaction to watching the video, he described it as being “like a punch to the gut.” “It’s hard to watch. It’s hard to see. Because a life has been lost,” Putney said, according to WSOC. “I hope you’ll do what we’re doing and pray for Miss Franklin and her family. Pray for our officers, whose lives have been destroyed as well. Come together as a community and be heard. But be lawful.” Peaceful protests did pop up around Charlotte in the aftermath of the video’s release, including one hosted by the NAACP’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg branch and UNC Charlotte that NAACP officials said was “in memory of Danquirs Franklin and every stolen life.” During that event, Corine Mack, the president of the local NAACP chapter, said that priorities must change.  “I think that Chief Putney is a good and decent human being,” Mack said. “But I also know that one man can’t change the hearts and minds of 1,800 officers. Especially those who’ve been reared in the root of hate in this country. “All cops are not bad cops. But if you’re a solid cop, you are now accountable for that bad cop’s actions. We’re asking for folks to be honest and forthright, to come forward when they see wrong. To speak out when they see wrong. To ensure that the lives that we’re talking about get the same fair treatment as anyone else.” At another protest, Mack told the crowd the video made her “sick to her stomach,” WSOC reported.  “When I saw that video, I wanted to hurt somebody,” Mack said. “If I felt that way, imagine how the family felt.” Franklin’s cousin, James Barnett, spoke to the news station about watching the video.  Up until this point we’ve been silent and only wanted the truth to come out, but we also wanted to see it because it was the last moments of his life,” Barnett said.  Scott MacLatchie, a police attorney with experience in officer-involved shootings, told WSOC a key factor was the amount of time officers gave Franklin prior to firing a gun. He pointed out that it took more than 40 seconds for Franklin to follow the officers’ orders.  “He wasn’t cooperating for a long time,” Franklin said.  Kerl, who has been a police officer in Charlotte since April 1995, was placed on administrative leave while the investigation is conducted. According to police officials, an internal investigation is being done parallel to the criminal investigation into the officer’s actions.  All findings of the criminal investigation will be turned over to the district attorney for review, authorities said. 
  • The City of Edgewood has appointed former City Council President John Dowless as the new Mayor. The decision came in a unanimous vote by City Council at Edgewood City Council’s monthly meeting on April 16th, 2019. Mayor Dowless has served on Edgewood’s City Council since 2011. He will complete the term of the late Mayor Raymond Bagshaw. In a statement, Dowless said, “There are many residents, including Edgewood’s City Council members who are more than qualified and equally passionate about our city. I am humbled by their vote of confidence and will endeavor to make them and the residents of Edgewood proud.” Dowless also mentioned redeveloping Orange Avenue and preserving City Hall and the Police Department as some of his main priorities.

Washington Insider

  • Thursday's release of a 448 page redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 elections certainly did not end the questions about the investigation, as President Donald Trump labeled it, 'PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!' and Democrats demanded even more answers about what was in the report. First, you can find a link to the report on the website of the Department of Justice. The report is divided into two parts. The first deals with questions of collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia - the Special Counsel found evidence of 'numerous' contacts between them, but not enough to merit charges for any illegal activity. The second part of the report deals with questions about obstruction of justice. In that portion, investigators found that top aides, advisers, and friends of the President routinely ignored his orders to fire people like the Special Counsel and more. Here's more from the fine print of the Mueller report: 1. The first part of the collusion statement used by Barr. The release of the Mueller report allowed a full review of a sentence fragment employed by Attorney General William Barr in his late March letter, which (accurately) said, 'the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities. Many reporters had wondered what was in the first part of that statement and why it was not included in Barr's letter. And, starting on page nine, it seemed clear. 'The investigation also identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign,' the Mueller report concluded. Then adding the start of the sentence used by Barr: 'Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benfeit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts...' 2. It wasn't just Comey writing memos after talks with Trump. After getting fired as FBI Director, James Comey made public memos which he had written after various talks with President Trump. It's also been reported that former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe did the same thing. Now the Mueller report shows others did, too. Deputy National Security Director K.T. McFarland saved a contemporaneous memo after a discussion with the President in which the Mr. Trump asked McFarland to 'write an internal email denying that the President had directed Flynn to discuss sanctions' with the Russian Ambassador, when McFarland knew the real answer was that Mr. Trump had done exactly that. Then there were top officials at the National Security Agency, who were so alarmed by a phone call with Mr. Trump - they wrote a memo and put it in an NSA safe - with the deputy NSA chief saying it was 'the most unusual thing he had experienced in 40 years of government service.' 3. Aides, advisers, friends, regularly ignore Trump requests. Whether it was on big items like firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller, forcing out Attorney General Jeff Sessions, or sending messages to top officials, the Mueller report is chock full of examples where the President tells people to do something - and they refuse to do it - worried it's the wrong move. White House Counsel Don McGahn refused to fire Mueller. Chief of Staff Reince Priebus wouldn't tell Sessions he should leave. Corey Lewandowski wouldn't send a message for the President to Sessions, and even tried to get a White House aide to do it - but he also refused. Then there was this tidbit from former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who had lunch with President Trump, and was told to send along a message to James Comey. This was the same day that Mr. Trump told Comey - after clearing the Oval Office of other officials - that he wanted the feds to 'let this go' when it came to legal issues for former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. 4. Rosenstein threatened to 'tell the truth' on Comey firing. After using a memo written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as a pretext to fire FBI Director James Comey - the White House pressed Rosenstein to further explain why Comey had been fired, 'to put out a statement saying that it was Rosenstein's idea to fire Comey.' Rosenstein said that was a 'false story,' and after President Trump called on the phone to ask the Deputy A.G. to do a press conference about the Comey firing, the report says Rosenstein said he would 'tell the truth that Comey's firing was not his idea.' The Mueller report goes along with testimony released by Republicans in recent weeks which depicted Rosenstein as furious with the White House over the Comey firing, convinced that he was 'used' to get rid of the FBI Director. 5. Sarah Huckabee Sanders comments 'not founded on anything.' After President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May of 2017, the White House repeatedly defended the move by saying that ousting Comey was supported by 'countless members of the FBI,' though the White House produced no evidence to reporters back up that assertion. Fast forward a bit over a year to July of 2018, when Sanders was interviewed by investigators, she admitted there was no truth to her assertion from the podium. 'Sanders told this Office that her reference to hearing from 'countless members of the FBI' was a 'slip of the tongue,'' the report stated. Asked about a comment in another press interview about how FBI agents had supposedly lost confidence in Comey, 'Sanders acknowledged to investigators that her comments were not founded on anything.' 6. A series of unknown Mueller cases are still active. While Attorney General William Barr told Congress last month that the Mueller report 'does not recommend any further indictments, nor did the Special Counsel obtain any sealed indictments that have yet to be made public,' the details show a slightly different story. At the end of the report, there are lists of cases transferred to other prosecutors, and information on other matters - uncovered by Mueller - but referred to the Justice Department for possible prosecution. In those two lists, a series of cases were redacted - two cases transferred by Mueller - and 12 other cases in which referrals were made. All of them were redacted for the reason that publicity could damage ongoing investigations, what was officially known as, 'Harm to Ongoing Matter.' Maybe they are cases which have nothing to do with the Russia investigation or with President Trump. But one of the referrals which was not redacted involved Mr. Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen. Technically, these aren't Mueller cases - but they're also still secret. 7. Mueller discredits Wikileaks claim of Seth Rich DNC leak. Along with Pizzagate, the claim by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange that a former DNC staffer was the source of leaked Democratic Party emails was one of the biggest conspiracy theories to emerge from the 2016 campaign. In the report, Mueller's team says file transfer evidence linking Wikileaks to Russian Intelligence lays waste to the claim that Seth Rich had leaked materials to Assange - and may have been murdered as a result. Assange has repeatedly denied any ties to Russian agents, but U.S. Intelligence has long regarded Wikileaks as a 'fence' for Russian Intelligence, and that the two tied themselves together to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump. 8. Mueller says witnesses deleted potential evidence. In laying out the evidence put forward in the report, the Special Counsel's office made clear that the Russia probe was hampered because of information which could not be obtained - making it clear that some people under investigation had deleted texts and other electronic communications, 'including some associated with the Trump Campaign.' One example was between former White House aide Steve Bannon and Blackwater founder Erik Prince, who were questioned about a secretive meeting in the Seychelles, which involved Russian figures. Bannon and Prince told different stories - but investigators couldn't see their text messages, because they had simply disappeared from their phones, as both men denied deleting the messages. 'Prince's phone contained no text messages prior to March 2017, though provider records indicate that he and Bannon exchanged dozens of messages,' the report stated. 9. Mueller Report redactions - 'lightly redacted' or more? The evening before the release of the report, officials told a variety of news organizations that the report was 'lightly redacted.' One group looked at it and found redactions of over 170 pages, as there were examples where entire pages were blacked out. The very first redactions in the document came in the Table of Contents - and had to do wtih the 'Trump Campaign and the Dissemination of Hacked Materials,' dealing with stolen Democratic Party emails and Wikileaks. Some items were redacted for grand jury information, investigative techniques, harm to ongoing matters, and third person privacy concerns. 10. Trump's answers to Mueller questions. At the end of the Mueller report, you can read the President's answers to a series of written questions posed by the Special Counsel's office, after they were unable to get the President to sit for an interview, in person. Critics of the President noted derisively that there was a theme in many of his answers. 'I don't recall,' or 'I don't remember,' were phrases found. 'I have no recollection,' and 'I do not remember.' 'I do not recall being aware during the campaign' of any contacts with Wikileaks, the President testified. 'I have no recollection' that any foreign government or entity wanted to support the campaign, Mr. Trump said. 'I have no recollection of being told during the campaign that Vladimir Putin' supported my bid for the White House, the President added.