Day: July 1, 2017

'I WON THE 2016 ELECTION': Trump blasts 'fake' and 'fraudulent' media


President Trump late Saturday widened his attack on mainstream media, deriding it as “fake” and “fraudulent” in a series of tweets.

“The FAKE & FRAUDULENT NEWS MEDIA is working hard to convince Republicans and others I should not use social media – but remember, I won the 2016 election with interviews, speeches and social media. I had to beat #FakeNews, and did. We will continue to WIN!” he tweeted. 

He then tweeted that he’s thinking about changing his usual “fake news” moniker for CNN to “#FraudNewsCNN.”

He previously went after CNN and MSNBC, going after company executives instead of his usual criticism of the cable networks’ on-camera stars while still deriding “fake news.”

“I am extremely pleased to see that @CNN has finally been exposed as #FakeNews and garbage journalism. It’s about time!” Trump said in one tweet.

His comments follows CNN earlier this week retracting a story on its website about the Senate investigating a Russian bank linked to Trump ally Anthony Scaramucci.

The cable TV network also apologized for the mistake, and three newsroom employees resigned, in the aftermath.

“They caught Fake News CNN cold” and “What about all the other phony stories they do?” Trump tweeted earlier this week.

The president has had a long-running feud with CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta and with MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, who have been critical of Trump’s presidency.

However, Trump on Saturday appeared to also criticize executives at NBC and parent company Comcast.

“Word is that @Greta Van Susteren was let go by her out of control bosses at @NBC & @Comcast because she refused to go along w/ ‘Trump hate!’ ” the president tweeted.

Van Susteren worked for the Fox News Channel for about 15 years, before being hired by MSNBC in early 2017.

Trump, a Republican, was a Comcast/ NBC star as host of the popular primetime TV show “The Apprentice,” until summer 2015 when he decided to run for president.

NBC Universal CEO Steve Burke has in past years backed Republican candidates. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts has given to Democratic and Republican candidates. 



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Gettysburg anniversary seeing few flare-ups, despite rumors of violence – Flag maker talks Old Glory being made in US


Despite rampant rumors of violence, protests and counter-protests planned this weekend at Gettysburg that prompted heightened security, there were few flare-ups by midday Saturday.

Reports surfaced that a Confederate supporter, whose identity has not been disclosed, bought a revolver to Gettysburg National Park and accidentally shot himself in the leg. The incident took place around 1 pm. 

Earlier Saturday, a handful of pro-Confederate supporters had stationed themselves at various monuments at Gettysburg. 

Patrick Werner, wearing a white USA t-shirt, arrived at the site holding a sign that read, “The soldiers who fought here did not wear masks.”

Werner told Fox News he came to Gettysburg because he had heard rumors of anti-Confederate protesters – with their faces covered – coming to the historic grounds for the 154th anniversary of the pivotal Civil War battle, though none were around as of mid-morning.

“We heard they were going to deface the monuments,” said James Bibb, wearing a t-shirt with the rebel flag that read, “Heritage not hate.” “I have six known ancestors that fought in this war. I’m here to defend the monuments.”

Reports of possible disruptions and even violence have the National Park Service acting with an “abundance of caution.” 

Officials at the park have been bracing for protests this weekend. As of Friday night, four groups had applied for permits to demonstrate in the battlefield, Katie Lawhon, a spokeswoman for Gettysburg National Military Park, said. 

The Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Real 3% Risen applied and received special use permits for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday in a special section north of Gen. George G. Meade’s headquarters, Lawhon told Fox News. The permits say each group could bring between 50-500 people. 

The groups came to Gettysburg amid rumors that a fifth group – the alt-left Antifa – was planning to burn Confederate flags and desecrate graves at Gettysburg.

Seth Harrold, a member of 3% Risen, told Fox he was there to “take a stand” and “protect the battlefield.”

Harrold said he personally heard Antifa would be there to burn Confederate symbols.

“We’re not standing for that,” he said. 

Antifa has strongly pushed back on those unsubstantiated claims and said they had no plans to be at Gettysburg but instead are focusing their efforts on a massive anti-Trump rally in Philadelphia. 

In an added twist, the Central PA Antifa claims the rumors of Gettysburg protests generated from a fake Facebook page called “Harrisburg Antifa” – which they told “The Evening Sun” is run by “alt-right trolls attempting to discredit Antifa, create confusion and attempt to stir violence.”

“No Antifa group has requested or been issued a permit,” Lawhon said. 

Regardless, park security isn’t taking any chances following a heated face-off last year. 

The 2016 event was initially billed as a rally but later morphed into a shouting match between 200 Confederate flag supporters and a separate group of 100 people opposed to it. The groups were divided by steel barriers. 

This year, the United States Park Police are on hand as are NPS personnel from other parks to help with security. 

“If individuals or groups decide to act unlawfully, plans have been put in place to efficiently address them while allowing other members of the public to enjoy the democratic process,” Lawhon said.   

Locals told Fox News Friday night they saw a major jump in security, not only around the park but also at nearby restaurants and hotels.

At the Wyndham Hotel in Gettysburg, a long line of park police cars were lined up in the parking lot as officers chatted and took pictures with Civil War reenactors.

The recent push to remove statues of several Confederate generals across the South has triggered massive protests, on both sides of the issue, in numerous states.

Most recently, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu faced brutal backlash and was forced to have heavy police presence in place when the nighttime removals began.  

The campaign to scale back Confederate symbols began with South Carolina’s decision to pull the Stars and Bars from the state capitol.

At least 60 public Confederate symbols have been removed since the 2015 church shooting in Charleston, S.C., according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. 



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Mick Jagger says newspaper editorial saved him from prison


Rock superstar Mick Jagger says a newspaper editorial was responsible for helping him avoid prison for a minor drug offense in 1967.

The Rolling Stones frontman tells the Times of London on Saturday that he had been sentenced to three months in jail not because of the severity of his crime but because band members were being “scapegoats” by an older generation critical of their lifestyle.

The Times editorial underscored this point, saying Jagger should be treated “exactly the same as anyone else.”

The 73-year-old singer tells the newspaper “that editorial got me out jail. One day it dropped, and the next thing I was out.”

Jagger credits the editorial with telling the establishment “come on guys, this is just not English fair play kind of thing.”



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Feds say suspect in Chinese scholar's disappearance visited bondage website


An Illinois man accused of kidnapping a visiting Chinese scholar weeks after visiting a bondage and sadomasochism fetish website forum called “Abduction 101.”

Yingying Zhang, the daughter of a working-class factory driver from China, disappeared on June 9, just weeks after arriving at the University of Illinois where she was pursuing studies in agriculture sciences.

Authorities now believe Zhang was murdered.

Brendt Christensen, a University of Illinois PhD physics student frm Champaign, was charged in a criminal complaint with abducting Zhang shortly after she stepped off a bus near the university campus. Video show her getting into the front seat of a black Saturn Astra.

The complaint unsealed Friday alleges that Christensen, who turned 28 on Friday, used his cellphone to visit the “Abduction 101” forum on the FetLife website prior to Zhang’s disappearance on April 19.

The complaint also alleges that one of the threads on the forum that Christensen visited was entitled “Perfect abduction fantasy.” Another was about “planning a kidnapping.”

Authorities learned of the FetLife visit after obtaining a search warrant and seizing the phone, according to the complaint posted on The Chicago Tribune website.

Illinois Chancellor Robert Jones said in a statement the campus community is saddened by the news Zhang is believed dead.

“This is a senseless and devastating loss of a promising young woman and a member of our community,” Jones said. “There is nothing we can do to ease the sadness or grief for her family and friends, but we can and we will come together to support them in any way we can in these difficult days ahead.”

Investigators interviewed Christensen twice in connection with Zhang’s disappearance, the complaint says.

During the second interview he admitted to driving around the University of Illinois campus and giving a ride to an Asian woman who said she was late for an appointment, according to the court papers.

Christensen told investigators the woman panicked after he apparently made a wrong turn and he let her out in a residential area, the complaint says.

He was placed under continuous surveillance on June 16, and on June 29 he was captured on an audio recording explaining how he took Zhang to his apartment and held her against her will, the compalints says.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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Fisherman charged in wife's lake killing despite no body


A commercial fisherman’s story about his wife disappearing into the depths of Lake Erie on a boating trip isn’t adding up, and Pennsylvania authorities believe they know why. They say he’s the one who put her there.

Christopher Leclair, 48, is jailed on a charge of criminal homicide in the presumed death of his wife of nearly 26 years, Karen, whose body has not been found.

Leclair told authorities he and his wife were on a trip Sunday, June 11, on his 52-foot craft, the Doris-M, when she got a queasy stomach and decided to sit on a bucket perched on the side. He said when he glanced over to check on her 15 minutes later, she was gone, having apparently fallen overboard. He then contacted the Coast Guard.

Two days later, a review of surveillance video from the Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority led state police to arrest Leclair. The video showed he got on the boat alone that Sunday at a dock in Erie, Pennsylvania. The same dock cameras, however, showed Leclair getting on the boat with his wife the day before — and returning hours later without her.

The Coast Guard spent more than $600,000 on a 30-hour search that covered about 1,400 square miles. They officially declared Leclair’s 51-year-old wife dead. Investigators believe her body is still in the lake.

Investigators are considering “the possibility he weighted it down with nets,” state police Lt. Wayne Kline told The Associated Press.

The surveillance video strongly suggests Karen Leclair’s body is in the lake, Kline said. “If that’s not the case, you know, why wouldn’t he talk to us? If he dropped her off on another dock or whatever, he surely would be more cooperative,” Kline said.

Leclair’s attorney, Bruce Sandmeyer, said his client “is continuing to assert his innocence.” He wouldn’t address the discrepancy between Leclair’s account of her disappearance and the dock video.

Leclair faces a preliminary hearing July 31 at which prosecutors must show they have enough evidence for the case to go to trial.

Erie County District Attorney Jack Daneri said it’s possible to prosecute a homicide case without a body, though it’s unusual and something he’s not had to do since taking office almost eight years ago.

“If you don’t have a body, you’re going to have to have a strong circumstantial case,” he said.

The prosecutor and Kline believe they do, including other statements from Christopher Leclair that also don’t jibe, according to police affidavits filed with search warrants and criminal complaints.

Christopher Leclair acknowledged he’s been having an affair with a 44-year-old woman from the couple’s hometown of Albion, Pennsylvania, for several months. That woman, on probation for illegally possessing prescription painkillers last year, told police that Leclair spent the night with her June 10 into 11. That contradicted Leclair’s statement that the last time he saw and had sex with the woman was Friday night, June 9, and that he spent the next night with his wife before their ill-fated voyage June 11, the affidavits said.

Leclair’s girlfriend also told police he mentioned a $30,000 life insurance policy on his wife when Leclair had pizza with the woman and her children at a restaurant about two months ago. On the morning of June 11, Leclair spoke to his girlfriend about moving into his house before he left for his boat that day, she told police.

Police have since seized three cellphones belonging to the Leclairs and the girlfriend, as well as a tablet computer and the GPS from his fishing boat.

Kline wouldn’t detail what’s been found except that GPS records suggest the boat was stationary for 30 to 40 minutes the afternoon police believe Karen Leclair really disappeared into the lake. A New York State Police dive team has since helped search for her body but found nothing in waters that are typically 50 to 70 feet (15 to 21 meters) deep, Kline said.

Prosecutors are still proceeding with their case. “We wouldn’t have filed the charge if we weren’t confident we could prove it,” Daneri said.



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Body of missing 5-year-old boy found in California


The search for a missing 5-year-old Southern California boy believed killed by his father has ended with the discovery of the child’s remains, according to reports Saturday.

Aramazd Andressian Jr. disappeared in April. His remains were found Friday in the area of Lake Cachuma, a recreational area about 15 miles northwest of Santa Barbara.

Prosecutors believe Aramazd Andressian Sr. murdered his son after an outing to Disneyland. They believe the motive may be bitterness over a pending divorce. Andressian has denied it.

Homicide detectives with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department had searched the Lake Cachuma area several times previously.

The detectives found the boy after developing “additional leads,” according to the sheriff’s office.

The father was arrested in Las Vegas a week ago. He was brought back to California Friday.

Authorities began looking for the boy after finding the father passed out in a park.

“I was at the park with my son, and then I found myself waking up in Huntington Memorial Hospital hours later,” Andressian said. “I was told that a Good Samaritan found me unconscious on the ground near my car, with young Aramazd nowhere in sight. I can only speculate that I must have been attacked in the park.”

Detectives said Andressian was never attacked.



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Model’s honest response


Swimsuit shopping can incite fear in even the most confident of women. Finding one that actually fits feels like an impossible task, especially if you’re plus-size. Which is why one curvy model is speaking out about everything that’s wrong with swimsuits on the market.

Sonny Turner shared a series of photos on Instagram Tuesday, showing herself in a dressing room trying on a swimsuit. The string bikini appears to be too small and doesn’t cover her butt or boobs, which she says is the reality of shopping when you’re a “thick/plus-size woman.”

“Changing rooms can be scary places. I am wearing the largest size from one of the most popular high street stores,” she wrote. She continues, expressing her frustration that main-stream retailers “do not cater for women of my body type. Majority of online stores don’t either. NO ONE GETS IT.”

BODY-POSITIVE BLOGGER PROVES HOW EASY IT IS TO MANIPULATE PHOTOS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Turner also had some tips for swimsuit designers, encouraging them to broaden their size range and come up with better options for women of all sizes. “We deserve more choice in the selection for our body type,” the model wrote.

“We need cup sizes that correlate to bra sizes and they need to go past DD,” she wrote. As far as bottoms go, Turner posted that “believe it or not, some of us actually want a thong bikini , the whole selection doesn’t have to be highwaisted.”

Her post has clearly resonated with others. It received over 12,000 as of Wednesday afternoon, as well as dozens of comments from people who’ve experienced similar situations.

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She ends the post with a reminder that “it’s not fair that we can’t walk wear cute swimwear just bc we are built differently” and encourages retailers to “make clothes for all size & bodies.”



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Disney says 'Trump' will speak


President Trump will have a speaking role when his animatronic statue is added to the Hall of Presidents at Disney, despite a widely-circulated report by Vice that claimed otherwise. 

“The Vice report is inaccurate,” Jacquee Wahler, the vice president of communications for Walt Disney World Resort, said in a statement sent to Fox News. “As we have stated, President Trump will have a speaking role in the Hall of Presidents like every president since 1993.

“We have been working closely with the White House and the president’s recording session has been scheduled,” Wahler added. “We have repeatedly stated that the attraction will re-open in late 2017.”

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The controversy over Trump’s inclusion in the attraction stems from an article first published Vice in May of 2016 — one which reported on the alleged “secret backstage Trump drama” at Walt Disney World. In the article, an inside source for Vice said Disney’s Imagineers were probably not going to give Trump a speaking role “given how polarizing the president is right now.”

Vice later printed a correction in a June 26 article, writing, “The original version of this story was imprecise in describing tension at Disney around the Trump installation in the Hall of Presidents.”

Vice further explained that, while their source spoke with several employees of Disney, he/she never got “direct confirmation from anyone at Disney’s corporate level.”

A day after Vice printed their retraction, Thomas Smith, the editorial content director for Disney Parks, posted an update to the Disney Parks Blog further refuting reports that Trump would be silent during his Hall of Presidents debut.

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Smith also echoed Wahler’s claim that the exhibit would reopen in late 2017, which is a bit earlier than Disney CEO Bob Iger estimated last month, Wahler pointed out to Fox News.. 

However, Trump’s exclusion from Disney’s Hall of Presidents is the subject of multiple Change.org petitions, some of which aim to gain support for excluding him entirely, while another merely wants to relegate his robot to a non-speaking capacity. (As of Wednesday afternoon, the latter had earned nearly 15,000 signatures.)

The Hall of Presidents was one of the original attractions at Walt Disney World upon its grand opening on Oct. 1, 1971. Located in the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square, the show features a short film focusing on the history of the United States, augmented by the animatronic likenesses of each U.S. President. Since 1993, the presentation has also concluded with a pre-recorded speech delivered by the sitting president’s likeness.

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Prior to 1993, the show simply ended with a speech delivered by an animatronic Abraham Lincoln, as recited by a voice actor.

The attraction originally closed for refurbishments in January. In addition to Trump’s likeness, Smith says the Hall of Presidents will be returning with “a complete theater upgrade including a new sound system, lighting and high-definition projection system.”



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Promoter of failed Bahamas music festival arrested on fraud charge in NYC


The promoter behind the Fyre Festival debacle in the Bahamas was arrested on a federal fraud charge that he bilked business investors.

Billy McFarland, 25, was arrested Friday in New York City and faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, if convicted.

He is alleged to have cheated investors who backed the festival and his media company out of more than $1 million.

He drew FBI scrutiny after the demise of the Fyre Festival, billed as an ultra-luxurious event with headliners including rockers Blink-182 and the hip-hop act Migos.

After performers bowed out, the festival was canceled. The shows were slated to take place on the island of Exuma over two weekends in April and May.

Angry would-be party goers posted pictures on Facebook and YouTube showing rows of white tents that look like “Stormtrooper helmets,” blue port-a-potties near half-constructed plywood structures and limp, lifeless cheese sandwiches.

“As alleged, William McFarland promised a ‘life-changing’ music festival but in actuality delivered a disaster,” acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said.

“McFarland allegedly presented fake documents to induce investors to put over a million dollars into his company and the fiasco called the Fyre Festival,” Kim said. “Thanks to the investigative efforts of the FBI, McFarland will now have to answer for his crimes.”

An attorney who has represented McFarland did not immediately respond to an email from the Associated Press requesting comment.

McFarland and his partner, the rapper Ja Rule, already face more than a dozen lawsuits filed by ticket buyers and investors in the festival.

A lawsuit filed in May in Los Angeles said the festival was “nothing more than a get-rich-quick scam” akin to a Ponzi scheme.

Ja Rule, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins, has not been arrested.

McFarland faces arraignment on the charge Saturday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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White House releases details of staff's top earners


More than 40 percent of White House staffers earn in excess of $100,000 a year, according to new salary details released Friday. And some of the wealthiest aides to President Trump aren’t paid at all.

A White House staff salary document shows that 22 of Trump’s aides, including some of the best-known to the public, are earning $179,700.

They include chief strategist Steve Bannon, chief of staff Reince Priebus, press secretary Sean Spicer, senior counselor Kellyanne Conway and Hope Hicks, the assistant to the president and director of strategic communications.

Several of the president’s closest aides are choosing not to take a salary. Among those forgoing pay are Trump’s daughter Ivanka, identified in the official document as ‘‘first daughter and adviser to the president,’’ and son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner.

A presidential assistant for intragovernmental and technology initiatives, Reed Cordish, is also going unpaid. He too comes from a real estate family.

Other aides such as Gary Cohn, formerly a top executive at Goldman Sachs, are working at a steep discount of $30,000. Cohn left his old job with more than $284 million freed up in bonuses, reports said.

The highest-paid staffer appears to be senior policy adviser Mark House, who is making $187,100 a year, according to the 16-page document.

The White House has been required to report the salaries and staff titles to Congress every year since 1995.

The Associated Press contributed to this report



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