NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump and his team love to deride unfavorable stories as “fake news,” but it’s clear from Robert Mueller’s report that the special counsel isn’t buying it.
While there are a few exceptions, Mueller’s investigation repeatedly supports news reporting that was done on the Russia probe over the last two years and details several instances where the president and his team sought to mislead the public.
“The media looks a lot stronger today than it did before the release of this report,” Kyle Pope, editor of the Columbia Journalism Review, said Friday.
Trump’s supporters believe that Mueller’s determination that there was not enough evidence to show that the president or his team worked with the Russians to influence the 2016 election delegitimizes the attention given to the story.
Fox News Channel’s Laura Ingraham message to the news media: “You owe us an apology.”
But the news stories were, for the great part, accurate.
For instance, the Mueller’s report shows The New York Times and the Washington Post were correct when they reported in January 2018 that Trump ordered White House counsel Don McGahn to make sure Mueller was fired, and that McGahn decided to resign rather than carry that out. When the Times first reported the story, Trump described it as “fake news, folks, fake news.”
The Mueller report also showed that Trump directed a series of aides to ask McGahn to publicly deny the story, and ultimately asked himself, too. McGahn refused, saying the story was accurate, the report found.
In a July 2017 story, the Times reported that the president personally wrote a statement in which he falsely said that an election year meeting between some Russians and his son, Donald Jr., was about the adoption of Russian children, rather than about obtaining potentially damaging information on Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Trump’s counsel repeatedly responded that the president had no role in writing the statement, yet months later testified under oath to investigators that Trump had dictated it.
Mueller’s report also backed up the newspaper’s stories, which the administration denied at the time, that Trump demanded loyalty from then-FBI Director James Comey at a private dinner, and that Trump had asked Comey to end an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
“The Mueller report confirmed again and again that stories in The New York Times for the past two years were the opposite of ‘fake news,'” said Elisabeth Bumiller, the paper’s Washington bureau chief. “They were meticulously reported, carefully sourced and accurate stories that told readers what was really going on at the White House.”
Washington Post columnist David Ignatius reported before Trump’s inauguration that Flynn had talked to Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak about sanctions placed on Russia by the outgoing Obama administration. Mueller said that Trump put out word that he wanted Flynn to kill the story, and that Flynn ordered aide K.T. McFarland to deny it to the Post, “although she knew she was providing false information.”
Others in the administration, including Vice President Mike Pence, also denied it. Flynn resigned when the truth became evident.
Trump repeatedly said during the 2016 campaign that he had no business dealings in Russia when, even as he uttered the words, his company was seeking to build a Trump Towers office building in Moscow. When Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, privately pointed out that the denial was untrue, the future president said “why mention it if it is not a deal?” the report said.
Mueller also determined that a statement by White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders that Comey had been unpopular with rank-and-file members of his agency “was not founded on anything.” Sanders said on ABC Friday that her statement was “a slip of the tongue.”
Mueller, however, did shoot down a Buzzfeed report that Trump had directed Cohen to lie to Congress about the timing of the Moscow project. Mueller said that while it appeared Trump knew Cohen was lying to Congress, “the evidence available to us does not establish that the president directed or aided Cohen’s false testimony.”
Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith said the organization’s sources, who were federal law enforcement officials, “interpreted the evidence Cohen presented as meaning that the president ‘directed’ Cohen to lie. We now know that Mueller did not.”
Smith said Buzzfeed will continue to pursue the story through Freedom of Information requests and in court.
Mueller also contradicted a McClatchy news service story alleging that Cohen had traveled to Prague, in the Czech Republic, in summer 2016 to meet with Russians involved in the effort to influence the election. Mueller’s report said that Cohen had not gone to Prague.
McClatchy attached an editor’s note to its story reporting Mueller’s conclusion but adding that his report “is silent on whether the investigators received evidence that Mr. Cohen’s phone pinged in an area near Prague, as McClatchy reported.”
CJR’s Pope said so many of the stories surrounding Trump had been made foggy by denials and “fake news” claims over the past two years. He said he was surprised so much of Mueller’s report backed up journalists, although it’s too soon to tell whether the findings will influence two very divided political camps.
“I think it casts the coverage of him in a much different light,” he said.
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — The campaign of U.S. Sen. David Perdue paid a $30,000 fine to federal regulators for violations discovered in the Georgia Republican’s fundraising reports from the 2014 election.
The civil penalty to the Federal Election Commission was disclosed Monday in Perdue’s campaign finance report for the first three months of 2019.
FEC documents show the fine stemmed from violations uncovered by an audit of Perdue’s fundraising and expenditures from five years ago, when the former Dollar General and Reebok CEO was first elected to the Senate. Now an outspoken ally of President Donald Trump, Perdue will seek reelection in 2020.
“After undergoing an exhaustive four-year-long random audit process, we reached a reasonable settlement agreement regarding some typical bookkeeping errors that occur on a campaign of this size in order to bring this matter to close,” Perdue campaign consultant Derrick Dickey said.
The settlement says an FEC auditor found Perdue’s campaign took more than $117,000 in prohibited contributions during the previous campaign, as well as more than $325,000 that exceeded legal limits on campaign donations. The FEC also found Perdue’s campaign failed to disclose $128,972 in debts and obligations.
The document says Perdue’s campaign disputed the amount of illegal contributions and presented documentation that “reduced the amount of apparent excessive contributions.” But it doesn’t say by how much. The agreement also says the campaign amended its financial disclosures to account for the unreported debt.
Perdue raised more than $14 million for the 2014 election in which he defeated Democrat Michelle Nunn, the daughter for former Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn.
Former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson has filed paperwork with the FEC to position herself as a potential Democratic challenger to Perdue. Democrat Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost the race for Georgia governor last year, has also been weighing a 2020 Senate campaign. Abrams has not announced a decision.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — An iconic temple central to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints faith will close for four years for a major renovation to help it withstand earthquakes and be more welcoming to visitors, leaders said Friday.
Authorities are also keeping a careful eye on construction plans after a devastating fire this week at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.
The Salt Lake Temple will close Dec. 29 to update the stately granite building and surrounding square, including elements that emphasize the life of Jesus Christ, church President Russell M. Nelson said. “We promise that you will love the results,” he said.
The building and square at the heart of Utah’s capital city is one of the state’s top tourist destinations, though only church members in good standing can go inside the building used for marriages and other religious ceremonies.
When the project is done in 2024, the faith widely known as the Mormon church will host an open house to give outsiders the first glimpse of the 126-year-old temple’s interior in more than a century.
A new visitors’ center and removal of a wall around the square in favor of a fence will also visually open up the flower-lined space to visitors walking by.
“We want to them to think of Salt Lake just as easily as they think of Jerusalem or The Vatican as a place where Christianity really has its heart,” Bishop Dean M. Davies said.
The work that will bring scaffolding, cranes and occasional road closures to downtown Salt Lake City also carries increased fire risk. Authorities are taking extra caution in light of the damage to Norte Dame by crafting a plan that includes a 24-hour fire watch, limiting welding and grinding to certain areas, and plenty of fire extinguishers.
Investigators are still determining the exact cause of the fire at Notre Dame, which was under renovation when the blaze started on Monday.
The Salt Lake Temple’s earthquake-mitigation project will be a major undertaking, and involve excavating underneath the temple to install a base-isolation system that will prevent damage by largely decoupling the building from the earth.
The area sees seismic activity, including a series of small quakes that have occurred in recent months. Plans for this project, though, stretch back more than a decade.
Much of the square will remain open during the construction, including the building where the faith’s famed Tabernacle Choir sings.
In a nod to the 16-million-member church’s increasingly global membership, the project will also allow the temple to serve people in over 86 languages, rather than only English.
Leaders declined to say how much the project will cost.
Temples aren’t used for regular Sunday services, but thousands of church members visit every year. It is one of the most popular destinations for weddings. While it’s closed, local members will go to a number of other nearby Utah temples.
After it reopens, changes will include a return to a more colorful Victorian-era palette rather than the mostly white style adopted during another extensive renovation in the 1960s.
The faith’s temples have rooms where couples are “sealed” in marriage, chambers for ceremonies on theology and morality and celestial rooms used for prayer and reflection.
They also have ornate baptismal fonts designed for use in ceremonies to baptize dead relatives, though there’s been occasional controversy over members posthumously baptizing public figures against church policy. The faith teaches proxy baptisms give the deceased the choice to join the faith in the afterlife.
New temples are typically open to the public for a brief time before being dedicated, after which they’re reserved for members only.
Republican Gov. Gary Herbert said the renovation will likely bring more congestion downtown, but he’s hoping curious tourists will keep visiting during construction.
“People think of The Church of Jesus Latter-day Saints and most people think of this temple,” said Herbert, who is a member of the faith. The renovation “shows the vitality of Salt Lake City. We’re not closing things down. We’re expanding and growing.”
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — The eldest son and daughter of a couple who starved and shackled 12 of their children spoke publicly for the first time Friday, alternately condemning and forgiving their parents before a judge sentenced the pair to up to life in prison.
Since being freed from their prison-like home more than a year ago, the two adult children of David and Louise Turpin described how they had gained control of lives and, despite receiving little education at home, were now enrolled in college and learning simple things, including how to ride a bike, swim and prepare a meal. They are still thin from years of malnutrition.
“I cannot describe in words what we went through growing up,” said the oldest son, now 27. “Sometimes I still have nightmares of things that have happened, such as my siblings being chained up or getting beaten. But that is the past and this is now. I love my parents and have forgiven them for a lot of the things that they did to us.”
The hearing put an end to a shocking case that had gone unnoticed until a 17-year-old girl escaped from the home in January 2018 and called 911. Investigators discovered a house of horrors hidden behind a veneer of suburban normalcy.
The children — ages 2 to 29 — had been chained to beds, forced to live in squalor, fed only once a day, allowed to shower only once a year and deprived of toys and games. They slept during the day and were active a few hours at night.
As her children spoke from a lectern, 50-year-old Louise Turpin sobbed and dabbed her eyes with tissues.
“I’m sorry for everything I’ve done to hurt my children,” she said. “I love my children so much.”
Her husband, who was shaking and could not initially read from a written statement, let his lawyer speak for him until he regained his composure. He did not apologize for the abuse but wished his children well in with their educations and future careers and hoped they would visit him. He then began sobbing.
Jack Osborn, a lawyer representing the seven adult Turpin children, said they understand the consequences of their parents’ actions and are working hard toward forgiving them. Some plan to talk with their parents eventually, but others want no contact with them for 10 years.
The one who called police was a hero for liberating her siblings, Osborn said.
“Maybe but for that we wouldn’t be here today,” he said.
The sentence of life with no chance of parole for 25 years was no surprise. It had been agreed to when the couple pleaded guilty in February to 14 counts each that included torture, cruelty and false imprisonment.
The courtroom fell hushed as the oldest daughter, now 30, entered wearing a blue cardigan over a white shirt, her dark hair in a ponytail. Her eyes were already red from crying when she began to speak in the voice of a little girl.
“My parents took my whole life from me, but now I’m taking my life back,” she said, as her mother’s lower lip quivered trying to hold back the tears. “Life may have been bad but it made me strong. I fought to become the person I am. I saw my dad change my mom. They almost changed me, but I realized what was happening. I immediately did what I could to not become like them.”
There was no explanation from the parents or lawyers about why the abuse occurred, but a letter from one of the children read by an attorney hinted at a home life that veered from birthday celebrations and trips to Disneyland and Las Vegas to severe punishment and disarray.
“Through the years, things became more and more overwhelming, but they kept trusting in God,” the girl wrote “I remember our mother sitting in her recliner and crying, saying she don’t know what to do.”
She said her parents did not know the children were malnourished because they thought the children inherited a gene from their mother, who was small.
From the outside, the home in a middle-class section of Perris, a small city about 60 miles (96 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles, appeared to be neatly kept, and neighbors rarely saw the kids outside, but nothing triggered suspicion.
But when deputies arrived, they were shocked to find a 22-year-old son chained to a bed and two girls who had just been set free from shackles. All but one of the 13 children were severely underweight and had not bathed for months. The house was filled with the stench of human waste.
The children said they were beaten, caged and shackled if they did not obey their parents. Investigators concluded that the couple’s youngest child, a toddler, was the only one who was not abused.
David Turpin, 57, had been an engineer for Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. Louise Turpin was listed as a housewife in a 2011 bankruptcy filing.
The teenage daughter who escaped jumped from a window. After a lifetime in isolation, the 17-year-old did not know her address, the month of the year or what the word “medication” meant.
But she knew enough to punch 911 into a barely workable cellphone and began describing years of abuse to a police dispatcher.
Although the couple filed paperwork with the state to homeschool their children, learning was limited. The oldest daughter only completed third grade.
Referring to the restraints, the oldest daughter’s statement said her mother “didn’t want to use rope or chain but she was afraid her children were taking in too much sugar and caffeine.”
Life got more difficult after her mother’s parents died in 2016.
Her parents tried their best, “and they wanted to give us a good life,” she said. “They believed everything they did was to protect us.”
Associated Press writers Amanda Lee Myers and Michael R. Blood in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Unsealed court documents say a self-published romance writer charged with killing her chef husband in Portland was seen near her husband’s work around the time he was fatally shot there.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that despite telling police she was at home June 2, surveillance video captured Nancy Crampton Brophy driving her car near Daniel Brophy’s work around the time he was shot, a probable cause affidavit shows.
The documents were unsealed Friday in Multnomah County Circuit Court, revealing new details months after authorities jailed the author of “How To Murder Your Husband” on suspicion of killing her husband.
The essay was published years before police found her husband dead. Prosecutors say Crampton Brophy fatally shot him.
She pleaded not guilty in September. An email to her lawyer wasn’t immediately answered.
Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, http://www.oregonlive.com
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Funeral services have been held for the widow of ’50s rock star Frankie Lymon.
Family and friends said goodbye Friday to Emira Eagle Lymon Bryant, who died April 13.
The Augusta Chronicle reports Bryant was depicted in the 1998 movie “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?”
The movie co-starred Halle Berry, Lela Rochon and Vivica A. Fox as three women all claiming to be Lymon’s legal wife and heir to his recording royalties. Rochon played Bryant.
Bryant married Lymon on June 30, 1967, when Lymon was stationed at the Army’s Fort Gordon in Augusta. Lymon, of the group Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers, died less than a year later at age 25 in New York City, reportedly of a heroin overdose.
In December 1989, a court ruled that Bryant was Lymon’s only legal wife.
Information from: The Augusta Chronicle , http://www.augustachronicle.com
CARROLLTON, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say the body of a 14-year-old boy reported missing Sunday has been found in a shallow grave on a northeast Ohio farm.
The Carroll County sheriff, prosecutor and coroner didn’t provide any details at a news conference Friday afternoon about how Jonathon Minard died, or whether there were suspects in his death. Investigators found his body Friday morning at a Washington Township farm, roughly 90 miles (145 kilometers) southeast of Cleveland.
Jonathon was last seen Saturday at a New Harrisburg farm where he helps milk cows at a farm owned by a friend’s father. Investigators were told Jonathon complained about a toothache and said he’d call his mother at the friend’s house to pick him up.
Sheriff Dale Williams said earlier this week the mother didn’t receive a call.
The day itself lands on Monday, April 22, this year — but there will be a large range of environmentally-focused events across the region throughout the coming weeks that will allow people to give back to the planet that we call home.
The theme for Earth Day 2019 is “Protect Our Species.” According to the organizers of the event, the theme was selected to draw attention to the rapid loss of biodiversity that has been seen across the globe in recent decades. Species across the animal kingdom have gone extinct as a direct result of human activity, be it from deforestation, climate change or poaching. The organizers hope increased awareness of humanity’s impact on other species will inspire us to protect vulnerable ecosystems.
While the Earth Day organization sets the overarching theme for the day, odds are the localized Earth Day celebrations will have a personalized message of their own.
Check out how you can get involved with Earth Day events across our region this year.
Theme: Climate Change — Take action! Where: Lenny Harris Memorial Fields at Braddock Park,
1005 Mt. Vernon Ave.,
Alexandria, Va., 22301 When: April 22, 2019 Notable event: Ellen Pickering Award Ceremony
Alexandria is going all out for Earth Day this year, with a slew of events over the weekend leading up to the day itself. Events include “Tent Talks” focusing on ways Alexandria residents can get involved in efforts to help combat climate change, a bike rodeo designed to teach children bike skills and safety, and several environmentally-themed competitions. The city will also present one environmentally active resident with the Ellen Pickering Award to recognize their efforts in making Alexandria a greener city.
Theme: Earth Day — Keep it going! Where: All over Arlington County When: Ongoing Notable event: Potomac Overlook cleanup
Theme: Healthy planet-healthy people Where: 3650 Historic Sully Way,
Chantilly, Va., 20151 When: April 27, 2019 Notable event: Backyard reptile show
Springfest returns to Fairfax County Saturday, April 27. There will be events held on the Merrifield Garden Center Stage throughout the day including an appearances by musician and entertainer Ted Garber and WUSA 9 chief meteorologist Topper Shutt. There will also be a showcase of reptiles native to Fairfax County that will teach people how to safely interact with the animals and more. Admission is free, but parking will cost $10.
Montgomery County, Md.
Where: Montgomery County Parks When: Across April Notable event: Geocache trash cleanup
Montgomery County Parks are extending Earth Day across all of April and making it “Earth Month.” There’s no shortage of events to particpate in, including film screenings, single-day camping for children and a plant sale focused on native species. For Earth Day itself there will be an event called “Cache In, Trash Out” where participants will search for geocaches hidden around the Black Hill Nature Programs and Visitor Center while picking up trash along the way. Visitors must bring their own geocaching device — a GPS-equipped smartphone will suffice — but trash bags and gloves will be provided.
Prince George’s County, Md.
What: Kayak down the Patuxnet River Where: 16000 Croom Airport Rd.,
Upper Marlboro, Md., 20772 When: April 20, 2019
What: GW Earth Day Fair Theme: Zero Waste Where: Kogan Plaza, 2121 H Street, Northwest,
Washington, D.C. 20052 Notable Event: Sustainable Cook Off
The District has a number of ways to participate in Earth Day events this year, but one of the largest is hosted by George Washington University. This year’s GW Earth Day Fair will feature a “sustainable cook off” which challenges participants to make a dish that reduces food waste and environmental impact. Contestants will cook up samples of their dish and then explain how their dish is sustainable. There will also be a clothing swap for those looking to recycle their gently used clothing and possibly get some good pieces back in return.
What: Earth Day Garden Tour Where: National Cathedral When: April 22, 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
The National Cathedral will offer a free tour of the Bishop’s Garden on the cathedral grounds. Because bees are now considered an at-risk species, the tour will make special note of the work that the cathedral garden does to cultivate a healthy bee population on the grounds.
A proposal to require a graduate transfer to count against a team’s scholarship total for two years in football and basketball has been rejected by the NCAA.
The Division I Council on Friday voted down a proposal that could have tapped the brakes on the de facto free agency created by a rule originally intended to give athletes more freedom to pursue graduate degrees.
NCAA rules require football and basketball players to sit out a season after transferring, but those who complete a degree are permitted to transfer and play immediately. The proposed change would have locked schools into a two-year scholarship commitment regardless of how much eligibility a grad transfer had remaining.
An exception would have been made if the athlete completed degree requirements before the second season.
“I don’t think people were ready to take that step … but trying to figure out how that graduate space works will be a continued discussion,” said South Dakota State athletic director Justin Sell, who led the council’s transfer working group.
Part of the pushback on the grad transfer rule centers on athletes who don’t finish those degrees while taking up roster spots that could go to others. Still, coaches have generally been supportive of giving graduate transfers the freedom that comes with immediate eligibility. While the proposal would not have affected that, it could have made schools more cautious about bringing in grad transfers and limited opportunities for players.
Stanford football coach David Shaw said he was uncomfortable with the idea of essentially sanctioning schools for bringing in grad transfers, but suggested another way to avoid athletes having to enter a graduate level program that they are not likely to finish.
“The conversation that we may start having is to say, if you’re a grad transfer and can you go transfer to someplace else and continue an undergraduate focus? As opposed to it having to be a graduate focus,” Shaw said. “You don’t have the farce of saying, ‘Yeah, I’m a grad student.’ But not really.
“You’re coming here to take some undergraduate courses. You still need to be academically eligible. You still need to be in a proper number of units. You still need to finish in good standing to be eligible to play in bowl games. We’re still putting those academic constraints on you.”
The council did pass a new rule that will go into effect this fall semester, allowing athletes who have enrolled in summer school and are on scholarship to transfer and be immediately eligible at a new school if there is a head coaching chance before the first day of fall classes. The rule is aimed at what would generally be thought of as offseason coaching moves, often made due to scandal.
Previously, athletes in that situation would have needed a waiver from the NCAA to avoid sitting out a season.
“It’s a fairly narrow exception, but it’s to help students who have a really late (coaching) change in the summer,” Sell said.
The council also voted to allow walk-on athletes to transfer and be immediately eligible at a new school.