The FBI arrested Cesar Sayoc, 56, from Aventura Friday morning in connection with 13 pipe bombs. The bombs sent through the mail, were addressed to two former Presidents, former Secretary of State and Presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton; as well as other prominent politicians and Trump critics.
Sayoc was arrested outside an AutoZone store in the city of Plantation Florida, according to officials briefed on the matter. Federal agents at the location also removed a van covered in political stickers celebrating Republicans and attacking the president’s political opponents.
Sayoc has an extensive arrest record stretching back decades in Florida,Minnesota, and New Jersey — including a 2002 arrest for having made a bomb threat. According to a Twitter account registered in his name, he works as a booking agent for a live events company and is a former wrestler and cage fighter.
Federal investigators searching for the sender focused Thursday night on a postal sorting facility in Opa-locka, outside Miami, which authorities said the packages may have passed through in route to their eventual destinations. Investigators keyed in on the region after reviewing US Postal Service records and examining forensic evidence on the packages.
The first of 14 packages was discovered Monday at the home of prominent democratic donor, George Soros. The second and third were addressed to homes of former President Barack Obama, as well as former Secretary of State and President candidate, Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton. Both were intercepted by the Secret Service because they were addressed to the homes of former Presidents.
Over the following days packages were found addressed to the former vice-president Joe Biden, the former attorney general Eric Holder, the former CIA director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Democratic congresswoman Maxine Waters, Senator Corey Booker, Senator Kamala Harris, actor Robert De Niro. A 14th package was discovered Friday afternoon addressed to the home of billionaire and prominent democratic donor Tom Steyer. All are high-profile opponents of Trump.
All of the packages included a return address of Florida congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, one of which was returned to the address after being returned to sender.
Speaking from the White House Friday afternoon, President Donald Trump said the suspect will be prosecuted “to the fullest extent of the law.”
“These terrorizing acts are despicable and have no place in our country,” the president said. “We must never allow political violence to take root in America.”
The Justice Department and FBI have scheduled a press conference for 2:30 PM EST. This is a developing story and will be updated as additional details are made available.
WASHINGTON — Democrats are furious, Republicans are nervous and nobody at the U.S. Capitol seems to have any idea how — or if — the federal government will resolve a humanitarian and public relations crisis on the Texas-Mexico border.
For days, photos of detained immigrant children have streamed out of South and West Texas, upending the workflow in Washington in a way not seen since the travel ban early in the Trump administration. Despite growing Republican criticism out of the Senate — including from Texas’ two GOP senators — White House officials have dug in on their policy of separating immigrant children from their parents.
“The answer to this current situation is a solution that allows us to both enforce the law and keep families together,” U.S. Sen. John Cornyn said Tuesday on the Senate floor. “They don’t have to be mutually exclusive.”
He said he agreed with former first lady Laura Bush that there should be “a better answer.” Bush is among a chorus of voices of criticizing the policy — a group that includes the other living first ladies. Cornyn has said in recent days that he intends to introduce legislation that will keep families together and expedite hearings.
Asked about working with Cruz on the legislation, Cornyn said the bill Cruz has been working seems to contain the elements “of a consensus approach” and said he aims to work with Democrats on a bipartisan solution.
Immigration is poised to dominate congressional action this week, as the House is set to pick up two Republican pieces of related legislation on Thursday. Those bills — both of which face uphill battles in the House and the Senate — will address Trump’s long-sought border wall and what to do with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an Obama-era immigration measure that protects hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants from deportation.
The controversy over the family separation policy has fully consumed regular business at the Capitol.
The outcry is so widespread on Capitol Hill that it worked its way into a high-profile Tuesday morning committee hearing on the FBI’s actions in the 2016 Clinton email investigation. Two House Democrats veered off topic during the hearing to decry the policy, as Republicans grumbled “Out of Order!”
The images of crying children at the border are beginning to spook Republican political consultants, who fear they could impact the GOP’s chances of holding the chamber after this fall’s midterm election. At the same time, it was only one week ago that U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, R-South Carolina, lost his primary. President Donald Trump specifically targeted him for past critical comments, and reinforced the fears many Texas Republicans and their advisers of crossing the president.
U.S. House members will return to the U.S. Capitol for a Tuesday evening session. The calls against Trump from that chamber are largely muted, and when reached out to by the Texas Tribune, most Texas Republicans avoided commenting on the matter.
House Republicans are scheduled to meet with the president late Tuesday afternoon at the Capitol.
The planned revival of a policy dating to Ronald Reagan’s presidency may finally present a way for President Donald Trump to fulfill his campaign promise to “defund” Planned Parenthood. Or at least to evict it from the federal family planning program, where it provides care to more than 40 percent of that program’s 4 million patients.
Congress last year failed to wipe out funding for Planned Parenthood, because the bill faced overwhelming Democratic objections and would not have received the 60 votes needed to pass in the Senate.
But the imposition of a slightly retooled version of a regulation, which was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1991 after a five-year fight, could potentially accomplish what Congress could not.
The rules now under review, according to Trump administration officials, would require facilities receiving federal family planning funds to be physically separate from those that perform abortion; would eliminate the requirement that women with unintended pregnancies be counseled on their full range of reproductive options; and would ban abortion referrals.
All those changes would particularly affect Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood, which provides a broad array of reproductive health services to women and men, also provides abortion services using non-federal funds. Cutting off funding has been the top priority for anti-abortion groups, which supported candidate Trump.
“A win like this would immediately disentangle taxpayers from the abortion business and energize the grassroots as we head into the critical midterm elections,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List, said in a statement.
In a conference call with reporters, Planned Parenthood officials said they would fight the new rules.
“We’ve been very clear, Planned Parenthood has an unwavering commitment to ensuring everyone has access to the full range of reproductive health care, and that includes abortion,” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Here is a guide to what the proposal could do and what it could mean for Planned Parenthood and the family planning program:
What Is Title X?
The federal family planning program, known as “Title Ten,” is named for its section in the federal Public Health Service Act. It became law in 1970, three years before the Supreme Court legalized abortion in Roe v Wade.
The original bill was sponsored by then Rep. George H.W. Bush (R-Texas) and signed into law by President Richard Nixon.
The program provides wellness exams and comprehensive contraceptive services, as well as screenings for cancer and sexually transmitted diseases for both women and men.
In 2016, the most recent year for which statistics have been published, Title X served 4 million patients at just under 4,000 sites.
Title X patients are overwhelmingly young, female and low-income. An estimated 11 percent of Title X patients in 2016 were male; two-thirds of patients were under age 30; and nearly two-thirds had income below the federal poverty line.
What Is Planned Parenthood’s Relationship To Title X And Medicaid?
Planned Parenthood affiliates account for about 13 percent of total Title X sites but serve an estimated 40 percent of its patients. Only about half of Planned Parenthood affiliates perform abortions, although the organization in its entirety is the nation’s leading abortion provider.
Planned Parenthood also gets much more federal funding for services provided to patients on the Medicaid program (although not for abortion) than it does through Title X.
Eliminating Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood has proven more difficult for lawmakers opposed to the organization because the federal Medicaid law includes the right for patients to select their providers. Changing that also would require a 60-vote majority in the Senate. So that particular line of funding is likely not at risk.
While opponents of federal funding for Planned Parenthood have said that other safety-net clinics could make up the difference if Planned Parenthood no longer participates in Title X, several studies have suggested that in many remote areas Planned Parenthood is the only provider of family planning services and the only provider that regularly stocks all methods of birth control.
Texas, Iowa and Missouri in recent years have stopped offering family planning services through a special Medicaid program to keep from funding Planned Parenthood. Texas is seeking a waiver from the Trump administration so that its program banning abortion providers could still receive federal funding. No decision has been made yet, federal officials said.
Why Is Planned Parenthood’s Involvement With Title X Controversial?
Even though Planned Parenthood cannot use federal funding for abortions, anti-abortion groups claim that federal funding is “fungible” and there is no way to ensure that some of the funding provided for other services does not cross-subsidize abortion services.
In the early 1980s, the Reagan administration tried to separate the program from its federal funding by requiring parental permission for teens to obtain birth control. That was followed by efforts to eliminate abortion counseling.
Starting in 2011, undercover groups accused the organization of ignoring sex traffickers and selling fetal body parts in an effort to get the organization defunded. Planned Parenthood denies the allegations.
What Happened The Last Time An Administration Tried To Move Planned Parenthood Out Of Title X?
In 1987, the Reagan administration proposed what came to be known as the “gag rule.” Though the administration’s new proposal is not yet public, because the details are still under review by the Office of Management and Budget, the White House released a summary, saying the new rule will be similar although not identical to the Reagan-era proposal.
The original gag rule would have forbidden Title X providers from abortion counseling or referring patients for abortions, required physical separation of Title X and abortion-providing facilities and forbidden recipients from using nonfederal funds for lobbying, distributing information or in any way advocating or encouraging abortion. (The Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the umbrella group for local affiliates, has a separate political and advocacy arm, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.)
Those rules were the subject of heated congressional debate through most of the George H.W. Bush administration and were upheld in a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in 1991, Rust v. Sullivan.
Even then, the gag rule did not go into effect because subsequent efforts to relax the rules somewhat to allow doctors (but not other health professionals) to counsel patients on the availability of abortion created another round of legal fights.
Eventually the rule was in effect for only about a month before it was again blocked by a U.S. appeals court. President Bill Clinton canceled the rules by executive order on his second day in office, and no other president tried to revive them until now.
How Is The Trump Administration’s Proposal Different From Earlier Rules?
According to the summary of the new proposal, released Friday, it will require physical separation of family planning and abortion facilities, repeal current counseling requirements, and ban abortion referrals.
One of the biggest differences, however, is that the new rules will not explicitly forbid abortion counseling by Title X providers.
But Planned Parenthood officials say that allowing counseling while banning referrals is a distinction without a difference.
Kashif Syed, a senior policy analyst for the organization said: “Blocking doctors from telling a patient where they can get safe and legal care in this country is the definition of a gag rule.”
What Happens Next?
All proposed rules are reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget. Sometimes they emerge and are published in a few days; sometimes they are rewritten, and it takes months.
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood officials said they will not know if they will take legal action until they see the final language of the rule. But they say they do plan to use the regulatory process to fight the changes that have been made public so far.
A former Texas state judge and lawmaker has been accused of sexually abusing a young man for several decades starting when the boy was just 14, according to a lawsuit filed in October in Harris County.
The lawsuit alleges that Paul Pressler, a former justice on the 14th Court of Appeals who served in the Texas state house from 1957–59, sexually assaulted Duane Rollins, his former bible study student, several times per month over a period of years. According to the filing, the abuse started in the late 1970s and continued less frequently after Rollins left Houston for college in 1983.
In a November court filing, Pressler “generally and categorically [denied] each and every allegation” in Rollins’ petition.
The abuse, which consisted of anal penetration, took place in Pressler’s master bedroom study, the suit alleges. According to the lawsuit, Pressler told Rollins he was “special” and that the sexual contact was their God-sanctioned secret.
Pressler is a leading figure on the religious right in Texas and was a key player in the “conservative resurgence” of Southern Baptism, a movement in the 1970s and 1980s that aimed to oust liberals and moderates from the church’s organizational structure. Pressler’s wife Nancy, his former law partner Jared Woodfill, Woodfill Law Firm, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and First Baptist Church of Houston are also named as defendants in the suit.
Rollins seeks damages of over $1 million.
When asked about the suit, Ted Tredennick, Pressler’s attorney, pointed to Rollins’ record, which is peppered with arrests on DUIs and other charges over the last several decades.
“Mr. Rollins is clearly a deeply troubled man, with a track record of multiple felonies and incarceration, and it is the height of irresponsibility that anyone would present such a bizarre and frivolous case — much less report on it,” Tredennick said. He would not give any further comment or respond to specific questions.
Rollins and his lawyer, Daniel Shea, say his past legal troubles stemmed from behavior fueled by alcohol and drug addictions sparked by the childhood sexual abuse. In 1998, Rollins was jailed for 10 years on burglary charges. Pressler advocated for Rollins to receive parole in 2000, when he was first eligible, and then again in 2002. In his 2002 letter to the parole board, Pressler pledged to employ Rollins and be “personally involved in every bit of Duane’s life with supervision and control.”
Woodfill called the accusations against Pressler “absolutely false” and described the lawsuit as “an attempt to extort money.” He also said he plans to file counter charges against Rollins and his lawyer for a “frivolous and harassing lawsuit.”
Shea said Pressler previously settled with Rollins over a 2004 battery charge for an incident in a Dallas hotel room. That settlement is not public, Shea said, but reference is made to such an agreement in recent court filings.
Shea said that though Rollins filed that assault charge more than a decade ago, he had a “suppressed memory” of the sexual abuse until he made an outcry statement to a prison psychologist in November 2015. Harvey Rosenstock, a psychiatrist who has been working with Rollins since August 2016, wrote in a letter included in the suit that Rollins is a “reliable historian for the childhood sexual trauma to which he was repeatedly and chronically subjected.”
Pressler was President George H.W. Bush’s pick to lead the Office of Government Ethics in 1989, but the administration ultimately ruled Pressler out after an FBI background investigation. News reports from the time suggest that Pressler was dismissed due to unspecified ethics issues.
Four more women came forward Wednesday afternoon with similar allegations against Roy Moore – two more in the Washington Post and two in The Birmingham News.
Leigh Corfman, Wendy Miller, Debbie Wesson Gibson, Gloria Thacker Deason, Beverly Young Nelson, Tina Johnson, Kelly Harrison Thorp, Gena Richardson, and Becky Gray all have one thing in common – they each allege that Roy Moore touched or made unwanted sexual advances towards them.
Of the four, the youngest at the time, Leigh Corfman says she was 14 in 1979 when Moore, then 32, undressed her, groped her, and had her touch him, though they did not have intercourse. The age of consent in Alabama at the time was 16 years old.
“I felt responsible,” she told the paper. “I felt like I had done something bad. And it kind of set the course for me doing other things that were bad.”
Wendy Miller told the Washington Post that she was 14 and working as a Santa’s helper at the Gadsden Mall when Moore first approached her, and 16 when he asked her on dates, which her mother forbade.
Debbie Wesson Gibson
Debbie Wesson Gibson says she was 17 when Moore spoke to her high school civics class and asked her out on the first of several dates that did not progress beyond kissing.
Gloria Thacker Deason
Gloria Thacker Deason told The Post she was an 18-year-old cheerleader when Moore began taking her on dates that included bottles of Mateus Rosé wine. The legal drinking age in Alabama was 19.
Beverly Young Nelson
As seen in the press conference below, Beverly Young Nelson came forward Monday with allegations that Roy Moore locked her in his car and sexually assaulted her in a dark alley behind the restaurant where she worked in 1977. Ms. Nelson brought her high school year book to prove her earlier encounter with Moore in which he wrote “To a sweeter more beautiful girl I could not say Merry Christmas. Christmas 1977. Love, Roy Moore, D.A. 12-22-77 Olde Hickory House.”
She also said that both she and her husband are long-time republicans and voted for President Donald Trump. Mr. Moore, his campaign, and supporters have been attempted to discredit earlier allegations as “a desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party.”
Johnson was 28 years old at the time, in a difficult marriage, headed towards divorce, and unemployed. Her Mother, Mary Katherine Cofield, hired Moore to handle the custody petition. Johnson says Moore began flirting with the moment she walked through the door.
“He kept commenting on my looks, telling me how pretty I was, how nice I looked,” recalled Johnson. “He was saying that my eyes were beautiful.”
She says that Moore also asked questions about her young daughters, including their eye colors and if they were as pretty as she was. She alleges that as she followed her mother out of his office, Moore grabbed her buttocks.
Court documents obtained by The Birmingham News detail the 1991 custody transfer. Cofield’s petition for custody is signed by Roy S. Moore, attorney. It lists his address as 924 Third Avenue, Gadsden, Alabama.
One day Roy Moore came into the restaurant and asked her if she’d go out with him sometime.
“I just kind of said, ‘Do you know how old I am?'” she recalled. “And he said, ‘Yeah. I go out with girls your age all the time.'”
Thorp says she turned him down and told him she had a boyfriend – only then did he walk away.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Gena Richardson says she was just a high school senior working in the men’s department of Sears at the Gadsden Mall when a man approached her and introduced himself as Roy Moore. “He said, ‘You can just call me Roy,’” said Richardson.
Ms. Richardson said this first encounter with Moore happened in the fall of 1977, just before or after her 18th birthday – Moore was a 30-year-old local attorney.
Richardson says Moore — now a candidate for U.S. Senate — asked her where she went to school, and then for her phone number, which she says she declined to give, telling him that her father, a Southern Baptist preacher, would never approve.
A few days later, she says, she was in trigonometry class at Gadsden High when she was summoned to the principal’s office over the intercom in her classroom. She had a phone call.
“I said ‘Hello?’” Richardson recalls. “And the male on the other line said, ‘Gena, this is Roy Moore.’ I was like, ‘What?!’ He said, ‘What are you doing?’ I said, ‘I’m in trig class.’”
Richardson says Moore asked her out again on the call. A few days later, after he asked her out at Sears, she relented and agreed, feeling both nervous and flattered. They met that night at a movie theater in the mall after she got off work, a date that ended with Moore driving her to her car in a dark parking lot behind Sears and giving her what she called an unwanted, “forceful” kiss that left her scared.
“I never wanted to see him again,” Richardson told the Post. She’s now 58 and a community college teacher living in Birmingham. When asked by the Post about her political affiliation, she “described herself as a moderate Republican and says she didn’t vote in the 2016 general election or in this year’s Republican Senate primary in Alabama.”
Moore’s campaign released a statement saying “If you are a liberal and hate Judge Moore, apparently he groped you,” the statement said. “If you are a conservative and love Judge Moore, you know these allegations are a political farce.”
Becky Gray told the Washington Post that she was 22 and working in the men’s department of Pizitz when she first encountered Roy Moore in 1977.
“It would always be on Friday or Saturday night … Parents would drop kids off, let them roam the mall. Well, he started coming up to me.”
She says Moore kept asking her out and she kept saying no.
“I’d always say no, I’m dating someone, no, I’m in a relationship,” says Gray, now 62, a retired teacher and a Democrat who supports Moore’s opponent in the Senate race. “I thought he was old at that time. Anyone over 22 was just old.”
Gray says he was persistent in a way that made her uncomfortable. She says he lingered in her section, or else by the bathroom area, and that she became so disturbed that she complained to the Pizitz manager, Maynard von Spiegelfeld. Gray says he told her that it was “not the first time he had a complaint about him hanging out at the mall.” Von Spiegelfeld has since died, according to a relative.
The political victory of Danica Roem over thirteen-term Republican incumbent Robert Marshall for his former seat in the House of Delegates is nothing short of Schadenfreude.
The triumph of the transgender journalist has been widely regarded as a symbolic victory over a candidate who prided himself on being Virginia’s most socially conservative politician. Going so far as to call himself “Virginia’s chief homophobe,” Marshall sponsored the discriminatory anti-trans “bathroom bill” that stirred up an artificial public controversy and has falsely smeared transgender Americans as sexual predators.
During the campaign, Marshall displayed an appalling amount of disrespect towards Roem; consistently and purposefully misgendering her and refusing to debate her. He certainly made it clear he didn’t think she was his equal as a human.
As if losing wasn’t enough, his sister had a few harsh words as well…
Four women who spoke on record with The Washington Post have alleged that Republican U.S. Senate nominee Roy Moore groped, kissed, and initiated unwanted contact with them when they were teenagers in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Moore is the GOP’s favorite to win Alabama’s Senate race next month and is running against former federal prosecutor Doug Jones, a Democrat, in the December special election. The seat was vacated by Jeff Sessions, who was tapped by President Trump to lead the Justice Department earlier this year.
The women all say that Moore asked them out on dates while serving as an assistant district attorney in Gadsden, Alabama. Of the four, the youngest at the time, Leigh Corfman says she was 14 in 1979 when Moore, then 32, undressed her, groped her, and had her touch him, though they did not have intercourse.
The legal age of consent in Alabama is 16, and was at the time of the alleged incident with Corfman, when she was 14. Corfman told the Post “she began to feel she had done something wrong.”
“I felt responsible,” she told the paper. “I felt like I had done something bad. And it kind of set the course for me doing other things that were bad.”
The three other women said that they never had any sexual contact with Moore outside of kissing. One woman who was 18 years old at the time told the paper that Moore would bring bottles of wine to their dates, even though the legal drinking age was 19 in Alabama at the time.
Another woman, Wendy Miller, told The Post that she first met Moore when she was a 14-year-old working as “Santa’s helper” at a mall. He began asking her out when she was 16 years old.
Debbie Wesson Gibson, said that Moore asked her out after he spoke to her high school civics class when she was 17. And Gloria Thacker Deason told the paper that Moore gave her wine while on dates as an 18 year old.
In a statement to The Washington Post, Moore and his campaign have denied all of the allegations saying “These allegations are completely false and are a desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party and the Washington Post on this campaign,” and his campaign added that “this garbage is the very definition of fake news” and the accusations would have surfaced at an earlier point in his political career if true.
Curiously, Moore’s campaign sent a similar statement to Breitbart, a conservative news website, shortly before the Post published its article.
While out cycling last month in Virginia, Juli Briskman noticed President Trump’s motorcade passing to her left. She offered what she calls a gut reaction to Trump’s policies and raised her middle finger to flip off his motorcade.
“He was passing by and my blood just started to boil,” she told the Huffington Post. “I’m thinking, Daca recipients are getting kicked out. He pulled ads for open enrollment in Obamacare. Only one third of Puerto Rico has power. I’m thinking, he’s at the damn golf course again.”
“I flipped off the motorcade a number of times.”
A photographer traveling with the presidential motorcade snapped a photo of Briskman’s gesture and the image quickly spread across news outlets and social media. Many hailed Briskman as a hero, with some saying she should run in the 2020 election. Late-night comedy hosts even picked up the story.
Briskman had been working as a marketing and communications specialist for a Virginia-based federal contractor, Akima, for six months. She thought it best to alert the HR department to the online fuss. Bosses then called her into a meeting, she said.
“They said, ‘We’re separating from you,’” Briskman told the Huffington Post. “‘Basically, you cannot have lewd or obscene things in your social media.’ So they were calling flipping him off obscene.”
She says the company wasn’t happy that she used the image as her profile picture on her social media accounts, and told her it violated social media policy and could hurt the company’s reputation as a government contractor.
Briskman said she pointed out that her social media pages do not mention her employer, and that the incident happened on her own time. She also said another employee had written a profane insult about someone on Facebook, but had been allowed to keep his job after deleting the post and being reprimanded.
Unfortunately for Briskman, Virginia is an “at will” employment state, meaning private-sector employees can be fired for any reason.
Suddenly, the 50-year-old mother of two found herself looking for a new job.
Briskman, a democrat, intends to find a new job with advocacy groups that align with her beliefs, such as Planned Parenthood or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
After leaving his Virginia golf club and before passing Briskman, Trump’s motorcade passed a pedestrian who gave a vigorous thumbs-down gesture. Another woman had been standing outside the entrance to the golf club holding a sign saying “Impeach.”
Briskman says she has no regrets about the attention her public show of displeasure received. In fact, she claims to be happy to be an image of protest.
“In some ways, I’m doing better than ever,” she said. “I’m angry about where our country is right now. I am appalled. This was an opportunity for me to say something.”
If you’re like me, you wake up in the morning wondering what our Twitterer-in-Chief has to say, you may have noticed #HowTrumpSolvesACrisis. If you’re not a Twitterer, then this article is for you. There are a total of 28k tweets so far, so we can’t cover them all here, but it all started with…
It only get’s better from there…
Maybe he took notes from Bernie Madoff and it’s all a big ponzi scheme?
He did once say he would consider renegotiating our national debt…