2 killed on Grambling State campus; shooter at large

2 killed on Grambling State campus; shooter at large

GRAMBLING SHOOTINGS: Map locates Grambling, Louisiana, where 2 people were shot at state university; 1c x 2 inches; with BC-US–Grambling State-Shootings and related stories; JEM; ETA 7 a.m. SOURCE: maps4news/HERE. Editor’s Note: It is mandatory to…

GRAMBLING, La. (AP) — A student and his friend were fatally shot at a university in Louisiana after an altercation that began in a dorm room and ended in a courtyard, authorities said Wednesday.

The shooter remained at large.

Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s spokesman Stephen Williams said detectives joined campus police investigating the double homicide at Grambling State University after getting 911 calls starting at 12:04 a.m.

The historically black university in northern Louisiana has an enrollment of nearly 5,000 students.

“It was an altercation that started inside one of the dorm rooms and spilled out into the courtyard,” Williams said. “We’re interviewing witnesses.”

Grambling State media relations director Will Sutton told news outlets that one of the victims was a Grambling senior, Earl Andrews, and the other was Monquiarius Caldwell. Both were 23 and from Farmerville, Louisiana.

Andrews’ aunt, Mattie Boyette, told KSLA.com that she had no idea why anyone would want to shoot him.

“He was here at Grambling, good student, good kid. He just wanted an education. He just wanted to better himself,” Boyette said.

“His momma, his sister and his brother, he was the apple of their eye,” she said.

Authorities did not immediately release any information about the suspected shooter.

The deadly shootings happened during the school’s homecoming week. KSLA.com reports that Sutton said it was too early to say whether any homecoming events would be affected.

A Grambling State student was wounded last month in a separate shooting on the campus. Sutton told news outlets then that a student let another person into a dorm and there was a fight that ended with a student being shot in the left arm on Sept. 21.

No suspects have been named in any of the shootings.

Copyright © 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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Mysterious discrepancies spotted In Tillerson photographs with Afghanistan president

Mysterious discrepancies spotted In Tillerson photographs with Afghanistan president

An apparent crude attempt to alter photographs of a meeting between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Monday in Kabul has set the Internet abuzz with questions.

A close inspection by The New York Times found significant discrepancies in the photographs that may be explained by an effort to use image-manipulation software to doctor at least one of the images.

Both the photograph released by the U.S. and the one provided by Afghanistan depict Tillerson and Ghani seated at the front of a windowless room, flanked by their delegations.

However, the image released by Afghanistan does not include either the military-style digital clock or the large fire alarm that appear directly above Tillerson and Ghani in the photograph produced by the U.S. government, The Times reported. And in the Afghan photograph, the room is much more brightly lit.

According to an image expert cited by the Times, there is “no question” the Afghan photo was altered. The giveaway, the expert told The Times, is that whoever apparently doctored the Afghan image did not entirely remove the power cord that led to the clock and fire alarm in the U.S. photograph.

The question remains: Why would Afghanistan’s government manipulate a routine photograph of a visiting dignitary?

After Tillerson’s meeting with Ghani on Monday, the American Embassy and Ghani’s office released a statement claiming that the two men had met in Kabul. But the Times noted that the meeting actually occurred at Bagram, the U.S. military base more than thirty miles from Afghanistan’s capital.

Removing the military-style clock and large fire alarm might have been an attempt by Afghanistan’s government to conceal the meeting’s location.  By claiming that Tillerson and Ghani were in Kabul and not a fortified military base, the Afghan government can project strength and advance a positive narrative about the country’s security.

Neither Ghani nor Tillerson’s office has provided an explanation for the discrepancy in the images, or why the American Embassy signed off on the statement claiming the meeting was in Kabul.

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Jimmy Carter Backs Donald Trump

Article credited to U.S.News: http://www.usanews.com

Jimmy Carter Backs Donald Trump

The former Democratic president reportedly has offered to work on behalf of the current commander in chief.

By Megan Trimble, Associate Editor, Social Media |Oct. 23, 2017, at 11:37 a

Former US President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter arrive for the Presidential Inauguration of Donald Trump at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 20, 2017. / AFP / POOL / SAUL LOEB

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter told The New York Times he’d be willing to help out the Trump administration. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump may have found an unlikely ally in Jimmy Carter.

Some might think Carter, a Democrat, would hold much different political viewpoints than Trump. But the 93-year-old former president told The New York Times he would be up for a diplomatic mission on behalf of the current administration, going to North Korea to help address Pyongyang’s nuclear pursuits.

During his interview with Times op-ed columnist Maureen Dowd, Carter said the U.S. has overestimated the influence China has on North Korea – a comment that comes as Trump repeatedly has called on Beijing to rein in the Hermit Kingdom. Yet he also defended Trump when asked about what Dowd described as the president’s “souring our image in the world,” responding that Trump “might be escalating” things but that the issue preceded his time in the Oval Office.

“The United States has been the dominant character in the whole world and now we’re not anymore,” Carter said. “And we’re not going to be. Russia’s coming back and India and China are coming forward.”

The interview isn’t the first time Carter has defended the president. In September, he expressed optimism about Trump’s approach to immigration law, saying the president might actually be able to achieve movement on the issue, according to The Associated Press. In those comments, Carter also said Trump deserves credit where credit is due.

With Dowd, Carter shared his thoughts on a range of issues, from North Korea to the role of the media. Here’s a look at some of his key comments.

1. On whether he would go to North Korea on behalf of the Trump administration amid rising tensions:

“I would go, yes,” Carter told the Times.

Carter said he has talked with Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, Trump’s national security adviser, but has so far gotten what Dowd described as “a negative response.”

“I told him that I was available if they ever need me,” he said.

2. On former President Barack Obama:

“He made some very wonderful statements, in my opinion, when he first got in office, and then he reneged on that,” Carter said of Obama and the Middle East.

Carter was also tough on Obama’s work with North Korea, saying he had “refused” to talk to the Hermit Kingdom more. And he lamented U.S. involvement in the conflict in Yemen under the Obama administration.

Carter told the Times he does not have Obama’s email address, and that he had his “best relationship” with George H. W. Bush when Bush was in office.

3. On the media’s coverage of the 45th presidency:

“I think the media have been harder on Trump than any other president certainly that I’ve known about,” he said.

Carter said he thinks members of the news media “feel free to claim that Trump is mentally deranged and everything else without hesitation.” But he didn’t give Trump a complete pass, saying he thinks the president is “exacerbating” racial division in the country.

“Yes, I think he is exacerbating it,” he told the Times. “But maybe not deliberately.”

4. On his preferred candidate for the 2016 Democratic nomination:

“We voted for Sanders,” Carter said of how he and and his wife, Rosalynn, voted during the 2016 Democratic primary, aligning with what he has said in the past.

Carter and his wife, however, disagree on the effect of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. While Rosalynn Carter said the Russians “obviously did” steal the election from eventual Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Carter said he doesn’t think “there’s any evidence that what the Russians did changed enough votes, or any votes.”

5. On the controversy over NFL demonstrations during the national anthem to protest racial discrimination and police brutality:

“I think they ought to find a different way to object, to demonstrate. I would rather see all the players stand during the American anthem,” he said.

But the public debate over removing Confederate monuments was less clear for the former president.

“That’s a hard one for me,” Carter said, adding that his great-grandfather and relatives fought on the Southern side in the Civil War. “I never have looked on the carvings on Stone Mountain or the statues as being racist in their intent. But I can understand African-Americans’ aversion to them, and I sympathize with them. But I don’t have any objection to them being labeled with explanatory labels or that sort of thing.”

Jimmy Carter Defends Trump In NY Times Interview
Inform

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: All players ‘should’ stand for national anthem

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: All players ‘should’ stand for national anthem

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he believes all players “should” stand for the national anthem — but stopped short of imposing a rule on standing for the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Goodell, speaking to reporters on Wednesday, said it is important for the league and its players to honor and respect “our flag and our country.

“We are not afraid of the tough conversations,” he added. “Out of those discussions, [players] understand that owners and the NFL do really care about the issues.”

Asked about owners who threatened discipline for players who didn’t stand, Goodell said the owners didn’t discuss it.

A couple hours later, Trump tweeted his thoughts to the NFL in no uncertain terms: “Too much talk, not enough action. Stand for the National Anthem.”

Goodell, who has been in New York City with teams owners for their annual fall meeting, defended the athletes who have been taking a knee in protest, saying they are “not doing this to be disrespectful to the flag, but they understand how it’s being interpreted.”

“We want our players to stand. We’re going to continue to encourage them to stand,” he said.

Last week, Goodell sent a memo to NFL executives and club presidents aiming to move past the weeks-long feud between the White House and players.

Related News…

“The current dispute over the national anthem is threatening to erode the unifying power of our game, and is now dividing us, and our players, from many fans across the country,” he wrote last week. “Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the national anthem. It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us.”

On Wednesday, Goodell said the league is working with its players to see how it can continue to support them and how changes can be made in their communities.

“They are very clear about and very knowledgeable about [what needs change],” he said.

The “take a knee” movement — protesting police brutality and other issues — began when Colin Kaepernick first sat for the anthem during the NFL preseason in early August 2016.

It since has grown to a sizable number of NFL and WNBA players and even spread abroad when a German professional soccer team took a knee during pregame ceremonies in solidarity last Sunday.

Lucia I. Suarez Sang is a Reporter for FoxNews.com.

Gord Downie, The Tragically Hip Lead Singer, Dies at 53

Article credited to NBC News: http://www.nbcnews.com

Gord Downie, The Tragically Hip Lead Singer, Dies at 53

TORONTO — Gord Downie, who made himself part of Canada’s national identity with songs about hockey and small towns as lead singer and songwriter of iconic rock band The Tragically Hip, has died at age 53 after a battle with brain cancer.

A statement on the band’s website said he died Tuesday night “with his beloved children and family close by.” The statement did not give a cause of death, though he had been diagnosed earlier with brain cancer.

Since The Tragically Hip’s first album in 1987, the band has provided a soundtrack for the lives of many Canadians. “Ahead by a Century” and “Bobcaygeon” are among the best known.

Image: FILE PHOTO: Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie takes part in an honouring ceremony at the Assembly of First Nations Special Chiefs Assembly in Gatineau
Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie in 2016. Chris Wattie / Reuters file

While Canadian musicians Drake, the Weeknd and Justin Bieber have made waves internationally, the Tragically Hip built a huge following of die-hard homegrown fans.

“There will never be another one like you, Gord, Rest in peace my friend,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted.

Downie was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive and incurable brain cancer, in December 2015. When the band made the news public the following May, expressions of sorrow poured in from across the country.

That same day, the band said it would mount a Canadian tour despite Downie’s cancer. Tickets for the 2016 summer tour sold out almost immediately, culminating in a national broadcast of the band’s final tour stop at Kingston, Ontario. Millions tuned in.

Downie later told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. that he needed six teleprompters during the concert series so he would not forget lyrics. But through it all, Downie remained the consummate showman, rocking out on stage in distinctive leather suits.

During his final show, Downie called out to Trudeau, who attended the concert, to help fix problems in Canada’s aboriginal communities.

 Justin Trudeau Cries Over Death of Tragically Hip Frontman1:06

A few months after that concert, Downie released a solo album with an accompanying graphic novel and animated film inspired by the tragedy of state-funded church schools that Canadian aboriginal children were forced to attend from the 19th century until the 1970s. He said his “Secret Path” project was aimed at Canada’s decades-long government policy of requiring aboriginal children to attend residential schools, where physical and sexual abuse was often rampant.

Born in Amherstview, Ontario, Downie said he “always had a keen ear for music” and while all the other kids were spending their allowance on baseball trading cards, he was buying records “from the fathers of rock ‘n’ roll.”

While at university, he met Paul Langlois, Rob Baker, Gord Sinclair and Johnny Fray, and they formed The Tragically Hip, which started out as a cover band.

Their first self-titled EP was released in 1987 and their breakthrough debut full-length album, “Up to Here,” was released in 1989. Since then they have released 14 studio albums, two live albums, one EP and 54 singles. Nine of their albums have reached No. 1 in Canada. They have received numerous Canadian music awards, including 14 Juno awards, the equivalent of the Grammy in Canada.

The band’s 2012 album, “Now for Plan A,” was lyrically influenced by Downie’s wife and her successful battle with breast cancer.

Downie also produced three solo albums since 2001, as well as a collaboration with fellow Canadian indie darlings The Sadies.

Downie is survived by his wife and four children.

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Russia Probe: Senate Asks Mike Flynn’s Son for Documents, Testimony

Article credited to NBC News: http://www.nbcnews.com

Russia Probe: Senate Asks Mike Flynn’s Son for Documents, Testimony

WASHINGTON — The Senate Intelligence Committee has requested documents and testimony from Michael G. Flynn, the son of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, but has not received a response, three sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.

The committee, which is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, is interested in Flynn’s work as his father’s aide and travel companion with Flynn Intel Group, the consulting firm retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn formed after he left government service, the sources said.

Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the intelligence committee chairman, and Sen. Mark Warner, of Virginia the ranking Democrat, declined to comment when asked about the matter Monday by NBC News.

Michael G. Flynn’s lawyer, Barry Coburn, declined to comment.

Image: Michael G. Flynn during at an RT event with his father Ret. Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn in Moscow in 2015
Michael G. Flynn during an RT event with his father Ret. Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn in Moscow in 2015. RT

The younger Flynn, 34, accompanied his father on a 2015 trip to Moscow, where the elder Flynn sat next to Vladimir Putin at a dinner to celebrate Russia’s state-funded media network, RT. The younger Flynn can be seen in video from an associated event.

Ultimately, the committee could issue a subpoena to Flynn if he doesn’t comply, but he could assert his right against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

NBC News reported last month that the younger Flynn is a subject of the criminal and counterintelligence investigation being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is also interested in Flynn’s work with his father’s consulting business.

Flynn responded on Twitter to the NBC News report, tweeting on Sept. 14: “I’m not the sub of any federal investigation.”

The elder Flynn was fired as Trump’s national security adviser in February after it became public that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in Washington.

You’re still  and a wimp for blocking me…I’m not the sub of any federal investigation…idiots like u believe everything u read.. https://twitter.com/funder/status/908080674183241728 

A former business associate of Michael Flynn’s said the younger Flynn played an important role in the day-to-day operations of Flynn Intel Group and served as his father’s chief of staff.

Those responsibilities included attending meetings with his father and communicating with prospective clients, the former business associate said.

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Kaepernick, Trump need to unify US on ‘national anthem,’ ex-Green Beret Nate Boyer pens in open letter

Kaepernick, Trump need to unify US on ‘national anthem,’ ex-Green Beret Nate Boyer pens in open letter

NFL player Nate Boyer, the former Green Beret who made headlines a year ago when he wrote an open letter to Colin Kaepernick about his national anthem protest, is calling on the quarterback and President Trump to unite the country.

“Wait..what? I know it sounds crazy, but maybe that’s exactly what we need to see,” Boyer wrote in a letter published by ESPN Friday. “Maybe that’s how we start to heal. Two men sit in a room and talk, simple as that.”

His call came as NFL players continued to protest during the national anthem in Week 6.

Boyer wrote the new letter to “every single American,” and said that included Kaepernick, Trump and his “brothers in arms overseas who are wondering ‘what in the hell is going on back there?’”

He went on to say that he is hurt more now than last year because it seems like “we just hate each other.”

“Today it feels like this national divide isn’t even really about the anthem, or the flag, or kneeling, or sitting, or fists in the air. It’s not about President Donald Trump, it’s not about Colin Kaepernick, it’s not about the military, or even police brutality. It feels like it’s about winning. That’s what makes America so great, our sheer competitiveness. We’re winners, and we won’t quit until victory is ours.”

He said he sat down with five Special Operations vets and discussed the NFL flag protests.

TRUMP SAYS ‘ABOUT TIME’ AFTER NFL’S GOODELL CALLS ON PLAYERS TO STAND FOR ANTHEM

They all agreed Kaepernick and Trump “should be the ones uniting our country together.”

“That’s how it all started with Colin and I, neither of us knew that kneeling would be the result of our conversation,” Boyer wrote. “Colin wanted to sit, I wanted him to stand, and so we found a common ground on a knee alongside his teammates. I believe that progress and real change happens in this world when you reach across the divide, you build a bridge, you swallow your pride, you open your mind, you embrace what you don’t understand, and ultimately you surrender.

He added: “I would love for those two leaders to have that conversation, but more than anything I just want us to love one another again. One great thing about freedom is that you get to choose every day how you treat your neighbor. This IS the best country in the world, but we can always do better.”

Kaepernick said last year that he was refusing to stand for the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality.

Boyer wrote the open letter to Kaepernick in August 2016 in the Army Times. The letter led to Boyer having a talk with Kaepernick. After that meeting, Kaepernick began kneeling during his protests rather than sitting.

Boyer, who played a pre-season game with the Seattle Seahawks as a long snapper and then was released by the team, wrote in his letter in the Army Times in August 2016 that he was not judging Kaepernick for protesting the anthem.

“It’s your inalienable right,” he wrote. “What you are doing takes a lot of courage, and I’d be lying if I said I knew what it was like to walk around in your shoes.”

NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL’S WIFE USED SECRET TWITTER ACCOUNT TO DEFEND HUSBAND

After writing the letter, Boyer then met Kaepernick.

Trump began feuding with the NFL in September after asking at a political rally in Alabama: “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b—- off the field right now, out. He’s fired. He’s fired!’”

Last week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to teams calling on players to “honor our flag” and stand for the national anthem.

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Man charged in 4 shootings, including death of Scout worker

Article credited to WTOP News: http://www.wtop.com

Man charged in 4 shootings, including death of Scout worker

This undated booking photo provided by the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office shows Ryan Sharpe. Authorities in Louisiana have arrested Sharpe in connection with multiple shootings since July in the same area, including a Boy Scout employee who was shot…

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Authorities in Louisiana have arrested a man in connection with four shootings since July in the same area, including a Boy Scout employee who was shot and killed Monday near the camp where he worked.

The Advocate reports that authorities announced during a news conference Wednesday night that 36-year-old Ryan Sharpe of Clinton will be charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder. East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux would not comment on a motive in the shootings or say whether the suspect knew the victims.

In the most recent shooting, 48-year-old Brad DeFranceschi was shot multiple times about 11:15 a.m. Monday in front of his house on camp property, East Feliciana Parish Sheriff Jeff Travis said.

___

Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

Copyright © 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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Trump says ‘about time’ after NFL’s Goodell calls on players to stand for anthem

Trump says ‘about time’ after NFL’s Goodell calls on players to stand for anthem

President Trump said Wednesday it’s “about time” after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to teams calling on players to “honor our flag” and stand for the national anthem.

“It is about time that Roger Goodell of the NFL is finally demanding that all players STAND for our great National Anthem – RESPECT OUR COUNTRY,” Trump tweeted early Wednesday.

The president’s comments come a day after Goodell sent a memo to NFL executives and club presidents, aiming to move past the weeks-long feud between the White House and NFL players who have kneeled or otherwise protested during the national anthem at the start of NFL games.

“We live in a country that can feel very divided. Sports, and especially the NFL, brings people together and lets them set aside those divisions, at least for a few hours,” Goodell wrote. “The current dispute over the National Anthem is threatening to erode the unifying power of our game, and is now dividing us, and our players, from many fans across the country.”

Goodell added: “Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem. It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us.”

He noted that the NFL “cares deeply” about players and “respect” their “opinions and concerns about critical social issues.”

“The controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues,” Goodell wrote. “We need to move past this controversy and we want to do that together with our players.”

Goodell and NFL team owners will meet in New York City next week for their annual fall meeting, where the protests will apparently be discussed.

Vice President Pence got involved in the feud last weekend, when he traveled to his home state of Indiana to attend the Indianapolis Colts vs. San Francisco 49ers game on Sunday. The vice president left the game when players did not stand for the anthem.

Trump on Wednesday also slammed “fake news” and Democrats, ahead of his tax reform speech in Middletown, Pa., Wednesday evening.

“It would be really nice if the Fake News Media would report the virtually unprecedented Stock Market growth since the election. Need tax cuts,” Trump tweeted.

TRUMP SELLS TAX PLAN: ‘THERE’S NEVER BEEN TAX CUTS LIKE WE’RE TALKING ABOUT’

Earlier Wednesday, Trump tweeted that the “Stock Market has increased by 5.2 Trillion dollars since the election on November 8th, a 25% increase. Lowest unemployment in 16 years and if Congress gives us the massive tax cuts (and reform) I am asking for, those numbers will grow by leaps and bounds. #MAGA.”

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

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Veteran NY news editor Mark Mooney wrote his own heartbreaking obituary before dying of cancer at 66

Article courtesy of ABC News: http://www.abcnews.go.com

Veteran NY news editor Mark Mooney wrote his own heartbreaking obituary before dying of cancer at 66

Mark Mooney poses for a portrait during his tenure at ABC News.

Mark Mooney, a veteran New York reporter, editor and author whose cool head, easy charm and love of the craft made him a revered mentor in numerous newsrooms, died Oct. 6 of complications from prostate cancer. He was 66.

Mooney’s news career stretched from the age of typewriter ribbons to Twitter, and he worked for a variety of outlets, including the United Press International wire service, The New York Post, The New York Daily News, ABCNews.com and CNNMoney.

By the end of his run in the trade, he had served as war correspondent, a New York City Hall bureau chief and a national editor and had covered news beats ranging from education to prisons. He edited thousands of new stories over four decades.

PHOTO: Mark Mooney with wife Barbara Goldberg and kids Maura and Paul. Barbara Goldberg
Mark Mooney with wife Barbara Goldberg and kids Maura and Paul.

Mooney wrote his own obituary, “My last byline,” which was published by his wife on the day of his death.

“I’m sure you’ve heard the old saw that you’ll never hear a dying man say that he wished he had spent more time at the office,” it began. “But if I were still here I would tell you that I wish I had done more work as a news reporter. Written better stories. Made more and better contacts. Skipped some of the easier pieces and done more in-depth stories. Spent more time on foreign stories. Been a better editor.

“I loved being a reporter. (Journalist is kind of a lace curtain word for the job.) It’s where I met most of my best friends. It’s where I met my wife Barbara, also a reporter. It’s where I had my biggest audiences. “And take a look at the top of this page, that byline. It looks good, right?”

PHOTO: ABC News editor Mark Mooney pictured in the New York digital newsroom, Oct. 2013.ABC News
ABC News editor Mark Mooney pictured in the New York digital newsroom, Oct. 2013.

Influential mentor

Widely remembered as a thoughtful editor with a deft touch for the language of news, Mooney was liked and admired by both the old guard New York City print veterans with whom he grew up and Snapchatting millennials. His proteges include now Washington Post Baghdad bureau chief Tamer El-Ghobashy, who recalled in a recent email to Mooney how the older man had sent the young reporter on his first overseas assignment for The New York Daily News.

“I can’t overstate the impact you’ve had on me as a journalist and how that one opportunity in 2006 — when you sent me to Lebanon with 500 bucks and ill-fitting body armor — formed me as a man and a journalist,” he wrote in the email, which was read to Mooney by his wife. “Your support, feedback and enthusiasm for the work I produced gave me energy when I was overwhelmed by the task and by my own fear and inexperience.”

At ABCNews.com, Mooney was an influential mentor to scores of younger journalists.

“I can’t imagine [a newsroom] without Mooney — barking out orders and commentary, swaggering over to reporters’ row for another round of boot-camp editing, an act of bravado, toughness … and great affection,” former ABCNews.com editor Nancy Ramsey said.

Former ABCNews.com business reporter Susanna Kim said Mooney never let a story that could be better slip through his fingers.

“Instead of emailing … he would pull up a chair next to my desk and, with sincere honesty, tell me that my lede [paragraph] was a piece of crap — in the nicest possible way.”

PHOTO: Sen. Hillary Clinton talks with Daily News National Editor Mark Mooney at Camp Fallujah, a Marine base outside of Fallujah, Iraq, Feb. 20, 2005. Michael Appleton/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images
Sen. Hillary Clinton talks with Daily News National Editor Mark Mooney at Camp Fallujah, a Marine base outside of Fallujah, Iraq, Feb. 20, 2005.more +

‘My last byline’

Mooney wrote nearly until his death last week, penning his modest, 478-word obituary as the coda to a yearlong blog about his cancer.

Mooney underwent treatment for prostate cancer for 12 years, but in the fall of 2016 it spread to his spine and other parts of his skeleton. He began to chronicle his failing health in a Medium.com blog, which concluded last week with “My last byline.”

Mooney reported on his impending death with blunt, unsentimental humor, and in his final months he pecked out short, clever, heartbreaking blog posts with headlines that aimed to leaven the brutality of the encroaching disease — “You can leave the oxygen tank next to the firecrackers” and “Cancer complaints interrupted by a great story” — about his last, packed-house reading from “Three Cents a Mile,” his recent memoir of hitchhiking across Southeast Asia and Europe in his 20s.

The posts grew graver with time: “I am breathing, I am safe,” about his terrifying bouts with breathlessness, his decision to end chemotherapy and a moving love letter to his wife and primary caregiver, Barbara Goldberg, a Thomson Reuters national correspondent based in New York. As the cancer progressed, his blog following grew.

PHOTO: A group of the ABCNews.com team gathers for a holiday celebration in Dec. 2012. ABC News
A group of the ABCNews.com team gathers for a holiday celebration in Dec. 2012.

‘Three Cents a Mile’

A graduate of New York’s Fordham University, Mooney covered politics for The Westchester News in the mid-1970s but quit the job and set out for Bangkok, where he wrote for a business journal and began hitchhiking his way around Southeast Asia and Europe — colorful adventures that he chronicled in “Three Cents a Mile.”

He was dazzled by Paris.

For a few months in his 20s, he lived in the second-floor writer’s room above the Shakespeare & Company bookstore in Paris and opened the shop in the morning while the owner slept in.

“I loved the routine of opening up,” he wrote. “Emerging from the store in the early morning, a bank of thick fog would be laying right on top of the Seine, muffling the city’s noise. Poking through the top of that gauze were the majestic spires of Notre Dame. It was like a hymn.”

Mooney reported for United Press International in the early 1980s and served as the wire service’s New York City Hall bureau chief.

PHOTO: Mark Mooney gets a standing ovation from a packed house at his last public reading of his memoir, Three Cents a Mile, July 30, 2017.Virginia Breen
Mark Mooney gets a standing ovation from a packed house at his last public reading of his memoir, “Three Cents a Mile,” July 30, 2017.more +

In 1986 he moved to The New York Post, which early on sent him abroad with assignments that included covering the first Gulf War, a coup in Haiti and the assassination of then–Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

“Mark was a reason to love hanging out in the old Post newsroom — with those eyes that literally twinkled at the absurdity of it all,” Post reporter Cathy Burke said.

In 1991, Mooney headed to The New York Daily News, where he was appointed national editor in 2000. He also covered a variety of beats, including health and hospitals, prisons, emergency services and City Hall politics. He was named the paper’s national editor in 2000 and held that position for seven years before his departure.

“Mark Mooney — it was just one of those power bylines you wanted on your side in a big city tabloid war,” New York Times media columnist Jim Rutenberg, who worked with Mooney at The New York Daily News, said. “You always knew he had your back when he dispatched you into the news storm.”

In 2007 he was appointed national editor at ABCNews.com, where he managed breaking news stories and ran the website’s U.S. and international coverage. He also mentored scores of young reporters, many of whom arrived at the network with little or no formal training in print reporting.

“He taught me that even on your worst day, be grateful that you get to tell stories for a living,” former colleague Katie Morison, now an MSN news editor, said.

Former colleague Nikki Batiste, now a CBS News correspondent, said Mooney was her digital counterpart at ABC for the Amanda Knox murder case in Perugia, Italy, and the two of them grew close over the seven years they worked together.

“Here’s a secret,” she said. “It was Mark Mooney who wrote those 300 ABC News articles on the Knox case. No one knew because he always refused to give himself a byline.”

In late 2011, Mooney embraced social media.

“I helped him set up his Twitter account,” ABC News producer Christina Ng said. “He was so excited about it, and we were in constant competition for followers.”

She continued, “He was inching toward 500 [followers], and he knew every single one of them. I remember someone stopped following him, and he knew who it was, and he wanted to confront them to find out why they unfollowed him.”

“I was like, ‘God, no.’”

When Mooney hit his mark, he took newsroom reporters out for drinks at a dive bar near ABC News’ headquarters in Manhattan.

“I remember how giddy he was — Jameson [whiskey] in hand – celebrating his Twitter milestone,” former ABCNews.com reporter Alyssa Newcomb, now a technology reporter at NBC News, said.

In the end, social media served Mooney well.

His self-penned obituary spread rapidly on social media, prompting click-friendly story headlines like “Reporter writes his own obituary” and tweets from reporters like Karen Tumulty, a national political correspondent for The Washington Post: “Never met this guy, but really wish I had.”

Ng said it was gratifying to watch “My last byline” spread online last Friday.

“You know what?” she said. “He wouldn’t ever want to be the story, but you know, he would have loved this. It would have delighted him.”

Mooney is survived by Goldberg and children Paul and Maura Mooney, whom he described in his obituary as “my holy trinity.”

[Read More]

MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS…

According to Texas Monthly

MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS…

 Witnessing Las Vegas

[Read More]

Twitter to Testify Before Senate in Russia Probe

Twitter to Testify Before Senate in Russia Probe

The social media company will discuss its role in alleged interference by Russia in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

By Katelyn Newman , Digital Producer, Staff Writer |Sept. 28, 2017, at 8:43 a.m.

This Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016, photo shows a sign at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco. (AP/Jeff Chiu)

A sign hangs at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. (Jeff Chiu/AP)

Twitter is expected to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday in connection with its role as an online platform for Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The closed-door briefing with the social media company’s executives will focus on automated Twitter accounts – known as “bots” – and Twitter’s responsibility in curbing disinformation from spreading on its site and perpetuating fake news, Quartz reports. About 19 percent of all election-based tweets during a six-week period from September to October 2016 were traced back to an estimated 400,000 bots, according to a University of Southern California Information Sciences Institute study.

“Twitter deeply respects the integrity of the election process, a cornerstone of all democracies, and will continue to strengthen our platform against bots and other forms of manipulation that violate our terms of service,” a Twitter spokesperson told Quartz.

Russia enlisted social media trolls “as part of its influence efforts to denigrate Secretary Clinton,” according to the director of national intelligence’s report on Russian election interference, issued Jan. 6.

Twitter’s appearance before Congress comes a week after its social media rival Facebook agreed to hand over more than 3,000 ads linked to Russia that were purchased during the election.

While Thursday’s meeting is closed to the public, a Senate aide told Reuters that the Senate Intelligence Committee invited executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google to appear at a public hearing Nov. 1.

John McCain Says Cancer Prognosis Is ‘Very, Very Serious’

John McCain Says Cancer Prognosis Is ‘Very, Very Serious’

The senator talked about his health and his positive outlook in an interview with “60 Minutes.”

Sen. John McCain appeared on “60 Minutes” Sunday with his wife Cindy McCain. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Sen. John McCain, R.-Ariz., appeared in a CBS “60 Minutes” interview Sunday where he revealed his cancer prognosis is “very, very serious.” McCain was diagnosed with a glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer, in July after undergoing surgery for a brain tumor.

The senator, 81, told CBS’ Lesley Stahl his doctors said “it’s a very poor prognosis,” and chances of survival are low.

“They said … that the prognosis is very, very serious. Some say 3 percent, some say 14 percent … So I just said, ‘I understand. Now we’re going to do what we can, get the best doctors we can find and do the best we can. And at the same time celebrate with gratitude a life well lived,'” McCain said in the interview.

Following the interview, people took to social media to show support for McCainand commend his courage. Political analyst and author David Axelrod tweeted “The extraordinary grace and courage of @SenJohnMcCain in the face of a mortal illness is truly inspiring.”

This isn’t the first time McCain has faced a life-threatening situation. The senator has stared down death before and won. He survived torture and five and a half years in solitary confinement during his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam from 1967 to 1973. He was diagnosed with melanoma — the deadliest form of skin cancer — in 2000. And he has been in two plane crashes.

McCain calls brain cancer prognosis ‘very poor’

His wife, Cindy McCain, told Stahl he is “indestructible.”

“I’m still in disbelief that this actually has happened. And then I think, you know, cancer chose the wrong guy. Because it’s not going to happen here,” Mrs. McCain said during the interview.

  
McCain on his cancer prognosis: It’s ‘very, very serious’
Inform News

Australia to create national space agency

Australia to create national space agency

  • Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex in the Australian Capital TerritoryImage copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionThe Australian government has committed to creating a national space agency

Australia will establish a national space agency, the government has said.

Although its space industry employs about 11,500 people, Australia is one of the few major developed countries that do not have a space agency.

Industry Minister Michaelia Cash said it was “crucial” that Australia capitalised on the growth of the global space industry.

The move follows a domestic industry review which called for a dedicated body to be established.

“The agency will be the anchor for our domestic co-ordination and the front door for our international engagement,” Ms Cash said.

The government is expected to announce further details at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide this week.

The conference will be attended by thousands of global space experts, including the heads of other national agencies and private companies.

Media captionWhy firms are spending millions to beat each other into orbit

The country is largely reliant on overseas nations like the United States for its satellite and earth observation data.

The Space Industry Association of Australia has argued that the country is well placed to expand its space technologies because of its location, large geographical size and relatively low population.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin raps Alejandro Villanueva for standing for national anthem

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin raps Alejandro Villanueva for standing for national anthem

For Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, being “respectful of our football team” trumped the right of Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva to show respect for the national anthem.

A former Army Ranger, Villanueva was the only Steeler to break from the team’s orders and come out of the tunnel Sunday in Chicago to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Speaking after his team’s 23-17 loss to the Bears, Tomlin appeared to take a swipe at the Bronze Star recipient’s decision.

 “Like I said, I was looking for 100 percent participation, we were gonna be respectful of our football team,” Tomlin said.

Tomlin told the media that, prior to kickoff Sunday, the Steelers held a team meeting and decided, though not unanimously, to not come out of the locker room for the national anthem. Tomlin added the intent was to have his team focus on the game and not President Trump’s comments blasting players who chose to protest during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

“I was looking for 100 percent participation.”

– Mike Tomlin

“Many of them felt like something needed to be done. I asked those guys to discuss it and whatever they discussed that we have 100 percent participation or we do nothing,” Tomlin said after the game. “They discussed it for an appropriate length of time and they couldn’t come to an understanding, so they chose to remove themselves from it. They were not going to be disrespectful in the anthem so they chose not to participate, but at the same time many of them were not going to accept the words of the president.”

Villanueva, who served three tours in Afghanistan, decided to stand his ground instead and placed his hand over his heart while the anthem played.

“We’re not politicians. We’re coaches and professional athletes,” Tomlin said Sunday. “If those of us or individuals choose to participate in politics in some way I’m going to be supportive of that. But when we come out of locker rooms, we come out of locker rooms to play football games.”

There appeared to be some confusion in the Steelers locker room after Villanueva came out of the tunnel for the anthem.

Offensive tackle Chris Hubbard told Penn Live that the players, by a slim majority, voted in favor of staying off the field instead of standing on the sideline holding hands.

Hubbard, however, said everyone in the locker room accepted that Villanueva would be exempt from the team’s decision.

“Al was cool with it, with whatever we went through. He was on board. That’s Al, man,” Hubbard said. “He’s a good guy.”

Villanueva has previously spoken out about former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit and kneel during the national anthem, saying his actions may “send the wrong message.”

“I don’t know if the most effective way is to sit down during the national anthem with a country that’s providing you freedom, providing you $16 million a year…when there are black minorities that are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan for less than $20,000 a year,” Villanueva told ESPN in 2016.

He added: “I will be the first one to hold hands with Colin Kaepernick and do something about the way minorities are being treated in the United States, the injustice that is happening with police brutality, the justice system, inequalities in pay. You can’t do it by looking away from the people that are trying to protect our freedom and our country.”

Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe also told ESPN he would be standing during the national anthem Sunday because he wanted to be “paying tribute to the men and women who have given their lives for our freedom.”

“I stand because I respect the men who died in real battle so I have the freedom to battle on the field…but everyone these days likes to find a reason to protest and that’s their right,” Wolfe told ESPN, according to The Washington Post.

TV programs in California interrupted with end-of-world prediction

TV programs in California interrupted with end-of-world prediction

Television broadcasts in Southern California were interrupted late Thursday morning with an end-of-the-world prediction, startling viewers and setting off a firestorm on social media.

Erin Mireles told the Orange County Register that she was watching Bravo on Spectrum when the alert appeared.

“I was definitely startled, ’cause the volume increased exponentially,” she said. “I wasn’t alarmed in the sense of thinking something was wrong, ’cause I assumed it was some sort of hack,” she said.

A man’s voice could reportedly be heard saying: “Realize this, extremely violent times will come.”

One person said the voice sounded like Hitler.

A spokesman for Cox Communications told the paper that the problem occurred because one or more radio stations conducted an emergency test.

“With these tests, an emergency tone is sent out to initiate the test,” Joe Camero told the paper. “After the tone is transmitted, another tone is sent to end the message. It appears that the radio station (or stations) did not transmit the end tone to complete the test.”

The report said it was unclear if the alert had anything to do with the Christian numerologist who recently claimed the world will end Saturday when a planet will, supposedly, collide with Earth.

According to Christian numerologist David Meade, verses in Luke 21:25 to 26 signify that recent events, such as the recent solar eclipse and Hurricane Harvey, portend the apocalypse.

The verses read:

“25: There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’

“’26: Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.’

Saturday’s date, Sept. 23 was pinpointed using codes from the Bible, as well as a “date marker” in the pyramids of Giza in Egypt.

Meade’s views are not endorsed by Roman Catholic, Protestant or eastern Orthodox branches of Christianity.

National security consequences of cutting immigration

National security consequences of cutting immigration

Americans are having the wrong security conversation when it comes to the impact of immigration. We should be thinking about national security, not border security. The border can be secured without changing the level of legal immigration, but the nation’s strength has been (and will hopefully always be) built on millions of migrants coming to our shores.

The idea of reducing the number legal immigrants to America by half would have stunned founding fathers Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Nudging out another 800,000 youthful DACA immigrants would have dropped their jaws. The president has lurched in different directions on this issue, but hopefully he and others that care about national security will see the smart bet is to favor more, not less, legal migration.

Restricting immigration to America was a centerpiece of imperial Britain’s King George to weaken our nascent republic, which is why it was emphasized in the Declaration of Independence. That document, as you may recall, was essentially a long list of grievances. The first six grievances concerned laws, legislation, and legislative authority, that “He” (King George) had overseen. But the seventh was about immigration:

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

To the founders, immigration was the key to power. More people increased economic growth and diversity. More people were also seen as the basis of military strength, as the historian Robbie Totten discovered in hundreds of historical speeches and letters from that era. In particular, state conventions to ratify the U.S. Constitution reveal an obsessive debate over ways to increase immigration, with constant references to the size of the militias and navy. In a similar fashion, state leaders from South Carolina to Pennsylvania competed to make their governments more accommodating to foreign migrants during the early years of the republic. Ironically, many legislators worried that too many of their states’ citizens would migrate even further to the frontier territories.

State conventions to ratify the U.S. Constitution reveal an obsessive debate over ways to increase immigration, with constant references to the size of the militias and navy.

Today, thanks almost entirely to the founder’s foresight, America is the wealthiest, most powerful nation in the world. Unfortunately, too much of a good thing makes one forgetful. And so today, people forget the benefits of free markets, free trade, low taxes, and even technological progress. And yes, they question immigration.

What do you suppose China fears when it looks across the Pacific at the United States? Not only the prosperity. China sees a country of over 323 million people, third largest among nations, and, more importantly, young. Not young like so many impoverished countries with high birth rates and early death rates. America’s families are thriving unlike the sclerotic nations of Europe, and also unlike the rapidly aging nations of Asia, including China itself. Migrants are a major reason why.

On a Wednesday morning in early August, speaking from a podium in the Roosevelt room with Senators Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, and David Perdue, R-Ga., President Trump explained that he wanted to cut the annual rate of immigration from 1 million per year to 500,000 because it would help “minority workers competing for jobs against brand-new arrivals.” This makes sense if we think of immigration as a zero-sum game (between us the citizens versus them the immigrants) over jobs, wages, and welfare. Despite research showing that a dynamic economy simply doesn’t work that way, the instinct is understandable. But even if the lump-of-labor fallacy wasn’t a thing, the more important us-versus-them perspective is neither internal or economic. It’s foreign and martial.

Case in point: Albert Einstein was German. He fled the Nazis for Princeton, New Jersey. And thank God.

What if the United States had cut immigration by half starting in 1776?  Our present population of over 323 million souls would be far lower. Using data from the U.S. Census starting with the year 1820 (population 9.6 million), I calculated an alternative history. Cutting immigration levels in half every year, thereby also reducing net future births, generates a modern U.S. population of 229,420,534.  Basically, we would be without nearly one hundred million Americans. Looking back along the alternative historical timeline, that’s 32 million fewer people in 1940, and 65 million fewer in 1990.

Would the U.S. have won World War II (on one or both fronts) with a quarter fewer soldiers and sailors? Would it have been able to outgrow the Soviets or afford a Marshall Plan? Would it have dared to stop the communists in Korea in 1950?

To be sure, the foreign security situation that the U.S. faces in 2017 is significantly different than it faced in 1820 or 1776. But the simple math is the same. To the isolationist, the size of the U.S. population is irrelevant to the selfishly guarded fruits of fortress America. That is true. An isolationist policy would have cut immigration to zero in 1820, avoided foreign entanglements entirely, and survived to a present-day population of 137 million people, based on my calculations. With a population of that size, the U.S. today would be smaller than Bangladesh, larger than Germany, and about the same size as Mexico.  It would have far fewer inventions and no navy, but a mighty fine border patrol.

To the traditionalist, America is not a fortress but rather an exceptional beacon of universal liberty, where immigration is vital to building the channels for positive change as well as increasing our military potential. What limits do we set on the national security of our grandchildren if we slash immigration now? It may be old school to think this way, but population is the foundation of power. Always has been and always will be.

 

Why Robert Mueller Probably Has Trump’s Tax Returns

Why Robert Mueller Probably Has Trump’s Tax Returns

As the special counsel’s probe continues, actions point to access to the president’s closely held financial information.

Left: President Donald Trump listens to a question during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations General Assembly, Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, in New York. (AP/Evan Vucci) Right: Then-FBI director Robert Mueller speaks during an interview at FBI headquarters in Washington on Aug. 21, 2013. (AP/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump, left, has said Robert Mueller, right, shouldn’t be delving into his corporate finances. (Evan Vucci, AP)

It now appears likely special counsel Robert Mueller has crossed what President Donald Trump has said is a clear red line by gaining access to the president’s tax returns as part of a broadening investigation looking for links between Trump’s business interests, his presidential campaign and Russia.

In fact, it seems almost certain the FBI–special counsel investigation has its hands on the president’s tax returns.

“Mueller would be engaged in malpractice if he didn’t” already have access to the president’s tax returns, a member of Congress on one of the congressional committees looking at Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election told me.

In fact, people familiar with the type of investigation that Mueller is now running signal the near-certainty that Mueller has access to the president’s tax returns. The purpose would be to use the tax returns as a road map to investigate potential Russian financial influence within Trump Organization limited liability companies.

“I believe Mueller has already obtained tax returns in the Russia investigation,” Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor in the Securities and Commodities Fraud Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago, said on Twitter on Aug. 10. He later wrote in The Hillhe often used tax returns in his own federal investigations, and that it is almost a necessity in an investigation like Mueller’s. It’s also done without knowledge of the subjects of the investigation.

“A federal prosecutor obtains tax returns by seeking an ex parte order from a federal judge. That means that the person who is being investigated doesn’t know that the tax returns are being sought or if the judge issues the order,” he said. “Basically, it’s done in secret.”

Mariotti also said that “the July FBI raid at the home of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort tells us a great deal about the status of … Mueller’s investigation.”

Before taking “an aggressive, public action” like having the FBI search a subject’s home, Mariotti wrote, a “typical step” federal prosecutors take in white-collar investigations is obtaining tax returns.

“A prosecutor would first take steps that can be done covertly, without the subject knowing, to gather evidence that can serve as the basis for more aggressive actions like search warrants,” he wrote. “I worked with federal prosecutors who obtained tax returns in every single white-collar investigation they worked on.”

Mariotti also said it ordinarily would require a senior Justice Department official to sign off on a request to the IRS for tax returns in a non-tax federal investigation. But, in this case, Mueller already has that authority.

“Mueller has authority to do so because the statute permits ‘United States attorneys’ to obtain tax returns and he has the power of a ‘United States attorney’ pursuant to the special counsel regulations,” he wrote, noting that “even the tax return of someone other than Manafort” could be helpful to Mueller, and that “he could have tax return information for many individuals.”

Does Mueller have the president’s tax returns?

“I would be surprised if Mueller hadn’t obtained some tax returns by now. The question is just whose tax returns he has,” Mariotti wrote.

Bloomberg reported in late July that Mueller had expanded his probe to Trump’s business interests – prompting the president’s lawyers to complain that such an investigation was outside the scope of his remit and leading to considerable public speculation about the scope and direction of the special counsel’s investigation. Meanwhile, Trump a day earlier pointed to Mueller examining his finances as a red line that should not be crossed.

An even surer sign that such a red line has likely been crossed now, experts say, is the direct involvement of the IRS’ vaunted Criminal Investigation unit – the one that once put mob boss Al Capone away on a tax conviction and has deep expertise in such matters.

The Daily Beast has reported exclusively that Mueller’s team has, in fact, begun to work closely with this IRS department. Obtaining Trump’s tax returns as a routine part of that inquiry is not just possible – it’s likely, experts say.

“Special counsel Bob Mueller has teamed up with the IRS. According to sources familiar with his investigation into alleged Russian election interference, his probe has enlisted the help of agents from the IRS’ Criminal Investigations unit,” Daily Beast political correspondent Betsy Woodruff reported on Aug. 31.

“This unit—known as CI—is one of the federal government’s most tight-knit, specialized, and secretive investigative entities. Its 2,500 agents focus exclusively on financial crime, including tax evasion and money laundering,” she reported. “A former colleague of Mueller’s said he always liked working with IRS’ special agents, especially when he was a U.S. Attorney. And it goes without saying that the IRS has access to Trump’s tax returns—documents that the president has long resisted releasing to the public.”

Every American’s personal tax information is sacred to the IRS. That includes the president of the United States. Any IRS employee is fired on the spot if they’re caught even looking at someone’s personal tax information outside of an audit. That, too, includes Trump’s tax returns.

But, as Mariotti pointed to, there is one time-honored avenue for access to someone’s personal tax records – and it doesn’t require a subpoena or necessarily notifying the subject of the IRS or FBI investigation. Any U.S. attorney (or a special counsel acting under U.S. attorney powers) can request access to tax returns through an ex parte court order, and the request is nearly always handled without further review up the line at the IRS.

Now, quite obviously in this case, it would be nearly impossible for Mueller to obtain the president’s tax returns without triggering an intense reaction inside the agency and the FBI hierarchy. But once the IRS’ Criminal Investigation unit is involved – as appears to be the case, according to the Daily Beast’s reporting – then that process is well-known, understood and compartmentalized.

A longtime congressional oversight staff director who has overseen dozens of similar investigations pointed me to this particular section in the criminal resource manual for U.S. attorneys, which describes what they need to do in order to obtain someone’s tax returns as part of an FBI investigation.

“United States Attorneys may have occasion to seek access to tax information (returns and return information) for use in non-tax criminal matters,” it reads. “Title 26, United States Code, Section 6103(i)(1) provides for tax information to be obtained upon the grant of an ex parte order by a Federal district court judge or magistrate judge for use in criminal investigations.”

Bringing in the IRS’ Criminal Investigation unit makes this process even easier, and more likely. IRS officials then make those records available – without necessarily notifying anyone outside the investigating teams of the request. The FBI has that sole authority to request this of the IRS. When both the FBI and the IRS are working together, the circle is close-knit.

We may not know, for sure, whether Mueller’s team has access to the president’s tax returns until he takes an action publicly. Congressional oversight committees conducting their own investigations aren’t likely to know, either.

Congressional access to tax return information from the IRS is quite limited, a senior congressional oversight investigator told me. Only the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees have the authority to look at individual tax returns from the IRS, and neither panel is involved in the congressional Russia investigations.

They’re completely focused on tax reform at the moment. It’s also highly unlikely any of them will seek those returns, this aide told me. “Even if they were briefed, I would assume that they would hold that information very close,” the aide said.

And Trump’s attorneys may have no way of knowing whether that red line has been crossed, either, even though it certainly appears likely that it has been. They, too, might be forced to wait and see how the Mueller investigation concludes.

Trump Preps UN Address as Mueller, Obamacare Loom
Bloomberg

Trump Lawyers Overheard Debating Russia Probe in Public

Trump Lawyers Overheard Debating Russia Probe in Public

Trump’s legal team talked about the Russia investigation over lunch – while a reporter sat nearby.

By Megan Trimble, Associate Editor, Social Media |Sept. 18, 2017, at 10:00 a.m.

Sometimes, they’re served them loudly and with a side of salad.

Over the weekend, Ty Cobb and John Dowd, members of President Donald Trump‘s legal team, were overheard discussing details of the Russia investigation during what appeared to be a working lunch at BLT Steak in Washington, just feet from the Washington Bureau of the New York Times.

New York Times investigative reporter Kenneth P. Vogel on Sunday tweeted a photograph of the pair from his seat at the next table. The steakhouse, the New York Times notes, is popular in the city.

“Here’s a photo of Ty Cobb & John Dowd casually & loudly discussing details of Russia investigation at @BLTSteadDC while I sat at next table,” Vogel wrote.

Here’s a photo of Ty Cobb & John Dowd casually & loudly discussing details of Russia investigation at @BLTSteakDCwhile I sat at next table. pic.twitter.com/RfX9JLJ0Te

View image on Twitter

Vogel reported he overheard them debating how to respond to investigators’ requests in the Russia probe, as well as discussing White House counsel Donald F. McGhan and Jared Kushner, the president’s son in law. Federal investigators are probing Russian meddling in the 2016 election and its possible collusion with associates of the Trump administration or members of the president’s campaign team.

“Mr. Cobb was heard talking about a White House lawyer he deemed ‘a McGahn spy’ and saying Mr. McGahn had ‘a couple documents locked in a safe’ that he seemed to suggest he wanted access to,” according to the Times story. “He also mentioned a colleague whom he blamed for ‘some of these earlier leaks,’ and who he said ‘tried to push Jared out.'”

The New York Times published a full story on the lawyers’ meeting with the headline, “Trump Lawyers Clash Over How Much to Cooperate With Russia Inquiry.”

And for inquiring minds wanting to know, Vogel tweeted that he ordered the tuna Niçoise salad.

 Here’s a photo of Ty Cobb & John Dowd casually & loudly discussing details of Russia investigation at @BLTSteakDC while I sat at next table. pic.twitter.com/RfX9JLJ0Te

10 things to know for today

10 things to know for today

Larry Dimas walk around his destroyed trailer in Immokalee, Florida, on Monday. –The Associated Press

1. Trump denies deal with Democrats on ‘dreamers’

The president is denying assertions by Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi that they have an agreement with him that will preserve protections for young immigrants in the U.S. illegally while adding border security without the wall he has coveted.

2. Older residents coming into focus after Irma

Florida emergency workers are urged to check the welfare of those in nursing homes after eight people died in a scorching facility in Hollywood that lost its air conditioning during the hurricane.

3. Hurricane pushes Florida poor closer to ruin

In places like poverty-stricken Immokalee near the Everglades, the day-to-day struggle to survive is now an hour-to-hour fight.

4. Where Trump is headed

The president will hear directly from Floridians affected by Irma’s fury as he makes his third visit in less than three weeks to the storm-wracked South.

5. ‘None of this has a reasonable explanation’

New details the AP has learned about a string of mysterious “health attacks” on U.S. diplomats in Cuba indicate the bizarre incidents were narrowly confined within specific rooms or parts of rooms.

6. Iraq’s Kurds to vote on independence

That strong prospect of a “yes” outcome alarms nearly everyone else — the Baghdad government, Turkey, Iran and the Kurds’ own ally, the United States.

7. ‘The wall shouldn’t have been there’

A fire that blocked the only exit to an Islamic school dormitory killed 24 people, mostly teenagers, on the outskirts of Malaysia’s capital, officials say.

8. Medicare cards getting a makeover

The move, to fight identity theft, would replace Social Security numbers with unique new numbers to identify beneficiaries.

9. A different Sean Spicer pays visit to ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’

A smiling, chill Spicer, showed up on the late-night show in marked contrast to the six hot-tempered months he spent as White House Press Secretary.