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National
Mueller investigation: Congress to get less-redacted report
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Mueller investigation: Congress to get less-redacted report

VIDEO: Redacted Mueller Report Released to Public

Mueller investigation: Congress to get less-redacted report

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.

Read More

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None of the four witnesses noted tattoos on the robber's forehead or cheeks, which according to surveillance images of the man, were clearly visible -- and clearly bare of ink. A police forensic criminalist testified last week about how investigators solved the problem. They turned to Photoshop. 'I basically painted over the tattoos,'' Mark Weber testified, according to The Oregonian. 'Almost like applying electronic makeup.' Only then did investigators present Allen's photo to the witnesses in a photo lineup, the newspaper reported. None of the witnesses were told the photos had been altered -- which the newspaper reported is a violation of U.S. Department of Justice and other law enforcement agencies' protocols on how to handle photo lineups. According to court records, two of the four witnesses picked Allen out of the array. One said he did not see the robber in the six photos he was shown and another picked a different man's photo. Allen was subsequently charged with three counts of robbery and one count of attempted robbery. Because the targets were banks and credit unions, he is charged with federal crimes. The Innocence Project, an organization dedicated to helping exonerate wrongly convicted inmates, reports that mistaken witness identifications have contributed to about 71 percent of the more than 360 wrongful convictions in the U.S. overturned by post-conviction DNA analysis. Allen’s defense attorney, who last month filed a motion asking a judge to suppress the witness identifications at trial, argued in federal court last week that the police were trying to “rig the outcome” of the lineups by making his client look more like the man who robbed the banks and credit unions, The Oregonian reported. “This is a very, very slippery slope given the advent of technology,’’ attorney Mark Ahlemeyer said. “We don’t know where this may end.” The prosecutor in the case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Maloney, defended the actions of police. “The whole idea was to make Mr. Allen blend in so his photo wouldn’t stand out,’’ Maloney argued, according to the newspaper. “These procedures were prudent. They were appropriate.’’ Maloney said the mugshot was altered to make Allen’s photo look like the disguises the robber wore, The Oregonian said. 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Nevertheless, after meeting with Allen in person at the Multnomah County Jail, Hawkinson wrote that he was certain Allen was his suspect. “After having the chance to see Allen in person and interact with him close up, I have no doubt in my mind that he is the same person depicted in the surveillance images as the robbery suspect from the OnPoint Community Credit Union, Wells Fargo Bank, Bank of the West and Advantis Credit Union robberies as described above,” Hawkinson’s affidavit states. Three days after that meeting, on May 20, Hawkinson released images from the bank robberies to the public in an effort to identify the “Foul Mouth Bandit,” who got the name from the language he used while holding up the tellers. Read Allen's motion to suppress the witness identifications below.  Tyrone Lamont Allen Motion to Suppress by National Content Desk on Scribd According to the charges against Allen, he is accused of going to OnPoint Credit Union in Portland the afternoon of April 3, 2017, and approaching a teller. The alleged robber handed the teller a $20 and asked for change, a pattern that later emerged in other robberies, as well. As the teller chatted with the man, the man leaned forward and opened a white plastic shopping bag. “Give me your (expletive) money! I have a gun! I will blow your head off,” the man said, according to court documents. The robber got away with about $6,000 that day. Similar robberies, in which the surveillance footage from each appeared to show the same man, took place the following day at a Wells Fargo branch and on April 7, 2017, an attempted robbery at Bank of the West and a successful robbery at Advantis Credit Union. In total, the man walked away with about $14,000 from the four robberies, court records show. According to Hawkinson’s affidavit, the teller in the first incident noticed tattoos on the robber’s hands. The Wells Fargo teller told detectives the man in that case had faded tattoos on his neck. There is no mention of any tattoos on the robber in either the Bank of the West or Advantis Credit Union heist. In none of the bank or credit union robberies did witnesses see a weapon. During the investigation, Hawkinson spoke with another Portland detective who was working a separate series of armed robberies in north Portland. The suspect in that case, a black man with tattoos, went to a Subway, a Papa Murphy's pizza shop, a Walgreens and a 7-Eleven and robbed each using a semi-automatic pistol. The detective, William Winters, was also investigating the robbery of Sting Tavern in Portland. Winters told Hawkinson the video surveillance from the tavern showed the robber wearing a red sweatshirt similar to the one worn by the man who robbed the Advantis Credit Union. The weight, height and build of each robber was also similar. Winters led Hawkinson to an unnamed informant who came forward and told police about a person he suspected in a series of robberies. That person was Allen. The man, identified only as the 'known person' in court records, told investigators that he met Allen through a mutual friend, who showed him Allen's April 18, 2017, mugshot alongside the robbery surveillance images later broadcast on the TV news. He said both he and the mutual friend suspected it was Allen, who they said had a violent past. 'When asked how he knew the surveillance picture on Channel 12 was Allen, the known person stated he did not know, but then he immediately changed his statement and said he knew it was Allen because it looked just like him except for no tattoos.' Hawkinson wrote that the victim in the OnPoint Community Credit Union robbery was shown a photo lineup including Allen’s photo, but said he did not see the man who robbed him. The same day, the Bank of the West victim picked a different photo from the array, but said she was unsure of her selection. The victim from Advantis Credit Union picked Allen’s photo that same day, as did the Wells Fargo victim the following day, May 3. Ahlemeyer’s motion to suppress the identifications of his client argue that none of the police reports document now the lineups were put together. Nowhere does Hawkinson’s affidavit mention that Allen’s mugshot was altered prior to it being shown to the witnesses. “The novel question in this case is whether the government can materially alter a suspect’s photograph in a way that makes him look more like the perpetrator, then secure an eyewitness identification based on that manipulated photo, and ultimately present that positive identification to a jury,” Ahlemeyer’s motion states. “The court should reject this type of fabricated evidence either as a violation of due process or under the court’s inherent supervisory power to ensure the integrity of the judicial process.” The defense attorney also argues that the identifications were “unconstitutionally suggestive” and, therefore, unreliable. “The Fifth Amendment right to due process bars the introduction of identification evidence where it was procured or tainted by unnecessarily suggestive law enforcement procedures that created a substantial likelihood of misidentification,” the motion states. 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Warning: The document contains graphic language.  Tyrone Lamont Allen Criminal Complaint by National Content Desk on Scribd Hawkinson also testified that the victims were shown the photos in a double-blind lineup -- a lineup in which an officer unaware of who the suspect might be shows the photos to a witness one at a time. The technique is a way to help ensure a lack of suggestibility on the part of investigators. The double-blind lineup is one of a number of reforms the Innocence Project has endorsed to help improve eyewitness accuracy. Oregon is one of 24 states that have implemented those reforms. Finding ways for the suspect to not stand out from the “fillers,” or the people whose photos are shown alongside that the of the suspect, is another. Prosecutor Maloney argued last week that the tattoos were removed from Allen’s photo for that purpose. 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  • An airport security screener was fired after handing a traveler a note with a rude message scrawled on it. >> Read more trending news  Neal Strassner was going through the Greater Rochester International Airport when the security guard handed him a torn piece of paper with the words “you ugly” written on it. 'I got handed something. I really didn't look at the thing, I kept going,” Strassner told WHAM. 'She called back to me a few times, asked me if I was going to read the note or open it or something. I look at it, look at her and kind of shrug my shoulders ... and she laughed.' The incident took place in late June. Strassner waited more than a month for the video after filing a Freedom of Information request for it, WROC reported.  The employee works for VMD Corp. a security company based in Virginia, contracted through the TSA. VMD did not comment. TSA confirmed the employee was fired, WROC reported.  “TSA holds contractors to the highest ethical standards and has zero tolerance for this type of behavior,” the agency said in a statement. “This instance, which involved a contract employee, was investigated immediately upon receiving the complaint by the traveler. The employee has since been terminated by the contractor.” Strassner was not bothered by the note, but he did notice at the end of the video the woman appears to write another one.  “I’m really curious what the other notes said,” Strassner told WROC. “I travel a lot, and the airport normally is spectacular. This was a totally weird event that they (VMD Corp.) seemed to handle properly. I travel a lot and just want to make sure they get some credit to their organization and don’t let one lady trash their whole reputation.”
  • Police asked for the public's help Tuesday identifying a suspect wanted after a retired administrator was stabbed to death Monday on a college campus in Southern California. >> Read more trending news  Authorities said they found the victim, identified as Steven Shek Keung Chan, 57, with several stab wounds in a parking lot on the California State University, Fullerton, campus just before 8:30 a.m. Monday. Police said he was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators asked for help locating the suspect, described as an Asian man with black hair in his mid-20s. Police said he wore a black windbreaker and black pants at the time of the attack. Update 12:55 p.m. EDT Aug. 20: Police released a sketch Tuesday of the man suspected of stabbing 57-year-old Steven Shek Keung Chan to death one day earlier in a parking lot at Cal State Fullerton. Authorities said the man was last seen running northbound on Langsdorf Drive and then eastbound on Nutwood Avenue. Police believe he might have been injured in the attack and might have lacerations to one or both of his hands. Police said officers recovered a backpack which they believe belonged to the suspect during their investigation. It was found under Chen's vehicle and contained 'an incendiary device along with numerous items that were consistent with a kidnapping attempt or plot, including zip ties, wigs and other disguise materials,' police said. The bag also contained a knife separate from the one used in Monday's attack, according to authorities. Police believe Chan, who recently returned to the school as a special consultant after retiring as an administrator in 2017, was specifically targeted in the attack, according to authorities and the Los Angeles Times. Police continue to investigate. Original report: Authorities are searching for a suspect after a retired administrator was stabbed and killed Monday on a Southern California college campus. According to the Los Angeles Times, authorities said Steven Shek Keung Chan, 57, of Hacienda Heights, had several stab wounds when police found him in his car, which was parked in a lot on California State University's Fullerton campus, about 8:30 a.m. Monday. Police also discovered an 'incendiary device,' which did not go off, nearby, the newspaper reported. Police believe the assailant specifically targeted Chan, who recently returned as a special consultant after retiring as director of budget and finance and student services for extended education in 2017, the Times reported. In a tweet, university police described the suspect, who reportedly fled the scene and was still on the run late Monday, as an Asian man in his mid-20s with black hair. He was wearing black pants and a black shirt, authorities said. No further information was immediately available. In a letter to students, faculty and staff, university President Framroze Virjee called the attack 'tragic and senseless.' 'As the investigation into Steven’s death is ongoing, we are unable to provide information beyond what the Fullerton Police share publicly,' the letter read. 'What I can do, however, is join all of you in adding to the tremendous outreach of love and support that has already embraced our Titan Family during this tragic and difficult time. That begins with pausing in thought and prayer for Steven, his family, and all Titans who are grieving and grappling with the reality of such an unspeakable act and tragic loss in our community.' >> Read the full letter here Read more here.
  • A North Carolina man is accused of strangling his 15-year-old daughter before slitting her throat during a weekend visit at his home, sheriff’s deputies said. Joshua Lee Burgess, 32, of Monroe, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Zaria Joshalyn Burgess. Zaria was visiting her father when she was slain. Union County Jail records show Burgess is also facing one count each of statutory rape of a person 15 years old or younger, first-degree statutory sexual offense, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. “The details of this murder are indescribable,” Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey told WSOC in Charlotte. “Every officer and detective involved in this case is feeling the effects of what happened to this child. There is no logical answer to explain why this man did what he is accused of doing. Our hearts and prayers are with Zaria’s mom and her family.” Union County Sheriff’s Office officials said in a news release that Burgess walked into the agency’s lobby just before 9:30 a.m. Sunday and told a dispatcher he was there to turn himself in. The dispatcher began searching for warrants in Burgess’ name. “He stopped her. He said, ‘You’re not going to find my name. I just killed someone,’” Tony Underwood, chief communications officer for the Union County Sheriff’s Office, told WSOC. “At that point, the red flags started to go off.” After Burgess gave details of the killing and told them where to find Zaria’s body, deputies went to Burgess’ home at 5102 Hampton Meadows Road, near Wesley Chapel. Inside, they found the slain teen, authorities said. A reporter with WSOC was in the courtroom Monday for Burgess’ first court appearance, where authorities offered gruesome details of the girl’s death, including how her father reportedly killed her. Reporter Tina Terry said there was a “collective gasp” when the details were revealed, according to the news station. “It’s just pure evil,” Underwood said. Cathey on Tuesday told the news station the medical examiner found that Zaria died of a “sharp force injury to the neck.” No motive for the slaying was given. Burgess' Facebook page is filled with photos of his daughter, who he called his “mini-me.” “I love this little angel more than anything. Nothing beats quality time with my daughter,” he wrote on a post from 2015. >> Read more trending news  Zaria’s cousin, Dytaysha Wadsworth, told WSOC the victim was a sweet girl who loved her family. She was about to start her freshman year at Monroe High School. “She was just the type of kid that would come in a room or come in a house and say, ‘Hey everybody’ -- just wanting to make everybody smile,” Wadsworth said. “She was so young, and nobody deserves to leave this world like that, especially by someone they thought was gonna protect them and be there for them.” Burgess is being held without bond in the Union County Jail.

Washington Insider

  • With the Prime Minister of Denmark making it clear that she was not interested in selling Greenland to the United States, labeling the idea 'absurd,' President Donald Trump said Tuesday night that he would cancel his scheduled visit to the NATO ally in early September. 'Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting,' the President tweeted on Tuesday evening. In interviews this week, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen had made clear that Greenland was not for sale, even as she welcomed the idea of closer relations between Denmark and the United States. But that wasn't enough for President Trump. On Sunday, President Trump had downplayed the issue as he returned to the White House. 'It’s not number one on the burner, I can tell you that,' the President told reporters when asked about the idea of buying Greenland. Democrats mocked the President for canceling his visit to Denmark. 'What a shame when Greenland could be covered with sand traps, water holes and lots of beautiful putting greens,' said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), referring to the President's golfing.