ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
82°
Mostly Clear
H -° L 68°
  • cloudy-day
    82°
    Current Conditions
    Mostly Clear. H -° L 68°
  • clear-day
    Today
    Mostly Clear. H -° L 68°
  • clear-day
    91°
    Tomorrow
    Mostly Clear. H 91° L 70°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

National Govt & Politics
Digging into the latest spats over President Trump and Russia
Close

Digging into the latest spats over President Trump and Russia

Digging into the latest spats over President Trump and Russia
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

Digging into the latest spats over President Trump and Russia

It was no ordinary news weekend, as President Donald Trump leveled an extraordinary charge against former President Barack Obama, alleging that the feds had wiretapped Mr. Trump during the 2016 election. Democrats denounced the current President, and Republicans in the Congress openly said they had no idea what he was talking about.

Confused? Let's see if we can clear up some of this:

1. President Trump says he was wiretapped by the Obama Administration. Without offering any evidence, the President began this weekend with an early Saturday morning series of tweets in which he made the astounding charge that President Obama had targeted him with surveillance during the 2016 campaign. "How low has President Obama gone to tapp (sic) my phones during the very sacred election process," Mr. Trump wrote. "This is Nixon/Watergate." The President then said that a court had turned down one effort to track him. How did he know this? By Sunday night, all signs pointed to conservative media, not a leak from within the FBI to the President himself.

2. What were the Breitbart and Mark Levin stories all about? To better understand why the President reportedly was upset about this matter, let's take a look at what media he evidently was consuming. The Breitbart story on Friday was simply a rundown of a television segment that conservative talk radio host Mark Levin had done last Thursday night, in which he tied together a number of different stories to conclude that the Obama Administration had obtained a secret intelligence warrant to eavesdrop on the Trump campaign, and then made sure that evidence was spread around the government. Levin labeled it a "silent coup." Some might consider that conclusion to be a stretch. Watch it here:

3. But the story did not originate with Breitbart. It is important to note where this story came from - Louise Mensch, and her website Heat Street. Mensch is a former member of Parliament in Britain, who in recent months has made it her journalistic goal to expose wrongdoing of Mr. Trump and his allies. She was working hard this weekend to expand the story with the momentum from the Trump Twitter Tirade, but noted some discrepancies. "My own FISA story nowhere mentions a wiretap," Mensch tweeted. Instead, Mensch says the U.S. investigation involves money laundering and a Russian bank that has been mentioned as having ties to Mr. Trump (Alfa Bank).

4. Team Trump & backers take aim at the "Deep State." More and more on talk radio, and within strong supporters of President Trump, you are hearing criticism of the "Deep State." There is no such thing, but the phrase basically refers to well established intelligence personnel that critics believe are doing all they can to leak information and undermine the Trump Administration - especially when it comes to the Russia-Trump investigation. Other terms include "silent coup" and "shadow government," mainly accusing former President Obama and bureaucrats of trying to take back power from Mr. Trump, by using the tools of the U.S. Intelligence Community against him.

5. So, is there really a FISA warrant involving Trump? That depends on who you believe. The New York Times wrote it this way: "There is no confirmed evidence that the F.B.I. obtained a court warrant to wiretap the Trump Organization or was capturing communications directly from the Trump Organization." Other major news organizations in the U.S. have not made that jump either. A reporter from the Washington Post said Sunday that they've pushed their sources, but not confirmed this. Instead, it's Mensch, the BBC and the Guardian newspaper - all from across the Atlantic. That has some on this side of the pond wondering what is up.

6. What about the FBI? Comey sends a Sunday message. If you believe that there was a wiretap or other surveillance of the Trump Campaign in 2016, then all signs point back to the FBI and Director James Comey as being in charge of that effort. Comey said nothing in public, but the New York Times reported Sunday afternoon that the FBI Director feels the President's allegation is false, and has asked the Justice Department to publicly reject the charge. Democrats swiftly noted that Comey didn't seem to wait to talk when it came to Hillary Clinton's emails during the 2016 campaign, just one of the subtexts to this whole battle, as both parties have had reason to love and hate the FBI Director in recent months.

7. Republicans in Congress puzzled by Trump charge. Most GOP lawmakers stayed dead silent on both Saturday and Sunday about the latest Trump kerfuffle, venturing on to social media only to tweet about high school and college basketball, local dance contests, and other items that had nothing to do with anything named Russia. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) urged Trump to reveal his sources for his charge. Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) agreed, saying the Trump "allegation has serious implications." Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee who has been briefed by the FBI Director on the probe of Russian interference in the U.S. elections, said flatly, he didn't know what President Trump was talking about.

8. Trump was reported to be angry about the wiretap. There was no shortage of reports over the weekend about the President's mood, which was said to be one of frustration and anger, believing in his heart that he was wrongly under law enforcement surveillance in 2016. Maggie Haberman of the New York Times reported that "Trump has repeatedly told people throughout today that he is convinced he's right re wiretaps." Others reported Trump had gone ballistic on Friday before he left for Mar-a-Lago, angered that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had recused himself from any probe related to Russia and the elections.

9. White House asks Congress to investigate Trump claim. The White House waited over 24 hours to finally comment on the tweets of the boss, as Press Secretary Sean Spicer issued a statement that asked the Congress to investigate the President's claim that he had been wiretapped by the Obama Administration in 2016. The White House phrased it this way, asking "whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016." Spicer then flatly said the White House and the President would have no further comment on the matter. Soon after, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), who served on the Trump Transition team, agreed to take up the matter.

10. This story is not going away soon. Congress will get a shot at this issue on Tuesday, when confirmation hearings take place for two top nominees at the Justice Department. Normally, reporters wouldn't take that big of an interest in the hearings for the Deputy Attorney General and an Associate Attorney General. But with Attorney General Jeff Sessions recusing himself on matters related to Russia investigations, the two nominees are certain to be asked about the Russia investigations matter, and most likely quizzed by Democrats on whether they would support a special counsel probe to handle it.

11. What's the bottom line? No matter whether you believe or don't believe the President's electric charge that he had been targeted with a wiretap during his campaign for the White House, the request by the Trump Administration for the allegations to be reviewed by Congress only insures that even more attention gets paid to the underlying issue - did associates of the President have contacts with Russia and possibly Russian intelligence agents? This would seem to be something that the White House would rather not spur renewed interest in - but that's what happened. Whether it's on Twitter, or in person, we'll see when the President speaks out. Yes, there are other issues, but this Russia stuff just keeps chugging along.

Read More

News

  • Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson mixed up his real estate terms at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday, mistaking “real estate owned,” a foreclosure term, for Oreo, as in the cookie.  >> Read more trending news  Representative Katie Porter, (D-CA), was asking Carson about the high REO rates. Porter said the Federal Housing Administration has more properties that become real estate owned than other loans. >> Trending: 14-year-old boy dies after severe beating as baby; ‘Carl’s life was nothing but pain’ Here’s the exchange: “I would also like to ask you to get back to me, if you don’t mind, to explain the disparity in REO rates. Do you know what a REO is?” Porter asked. “An Oreo?” Carson replied. “R, no not an Oreo. An R-E-O,” Porter responded. “Real estate?” Carson asked. “What does the O stand for?” Porter asked Carson. “E organization?” he responded. Porter went on to explain that when a property goes into foreclosure, it’s called an REO. After the hearing, Carson made light of the mix-up, posting a photo of himself with a package of Oreo cookies to social media and tagging Porter. >> Trending: Former White House counsel Don McGahn ignores subpoena, skips Congressional hearing “Enjoying a few post-hearing snacks. Sending some your way!” he wrote on Twitter. Oreo got in on the action by Tuesday afternoon, posting a response on social media. “REO stands for ‘Really Excellent OREO (cookie).’ Everyone knows that,” the brand posted.
  • If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, apparently you’re not alone. No less an authority than the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says people frequently confuse the two holidays. >> Read more trending news Make no mistake about it: Both are incredibly important holidays, with their common focus on Americans who’ve served in the military. The key distinction: Memorial Day “is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle,” the VA says. While Veterans Day also honors the dead, it is “the day set aside to thank and honor all those who served honorably in the military - in wartime or peacetime.” Here’s a guide to each holiday: Memorial Day When it is: This year, it is on May 27. Its original name: Decoration Day. Initially, it honored only those soldiers who’d died during the Civil War. In 1868, a veteran of the Union Army, Gen. John A. Logan, decided to formalize a growing tradition of towns decorating veterans’ graves with flowers by organizing a nationwide day of remembrance on May 30 Logan also served in Congress from Illinois and in 1884, unsuccessfully ran for vice president on the Republican ticket. During World War I, the holiday’s focus expanded to honoring those lost during all U.S. wars. When it became official: In 1968, Congress officially established Memorial Day, as it had gradually come to be known, as a federal holiday that always takes place on the last Monday in May. Its unofficial designation: Memorial Day is still a solemn day of remembrance everywhere from Arlington National Cemetery to metro Atlanta, where a number of ceremonies and events will take place on Monday. On a lighter note, though, many people view the arrival of the three-day weekend each year as the start of summer. One more thing to know: In 2000, Congress established the National Moment of Remembrance. It asks all Americans to pause at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day each year to remember the dead. Veterans Day When it is: Nov. 11 every year.  Its original name: Armistice Day. The armistice or agreement signed between the Allies and Germany that ended World War I called for the cessation of all hostilities to take effect at 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month of the year in 1918. One year later, on Nov. 11, 1919, the first Armistice Day was celebrated in the U.S.  When it became official: In 1938, a congressional act established Armistice Day as an annual legal holiday. In 1945, World War II veteran Raymond Weeks first proposed the idea of expanding the holiday to one honoring veterans of all U.S. wars. In 1954, the holiday legally became known as Veterans Day. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan presented Alabama resident Weeks with the Presidential Citizenship Medal in recognition of his efforts in creating Veterans Day. Its temporary relocation: In 1968, the same congressional act that established Memorial Day moved Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October every year. That law took effect in 1971; just four years later, in 1975, President Gerald Ford -- citing the original date’s “historic and patriotic significance,” signed a bill that redesignated Nov. 11 as Veterans Day every year. One more thing to know: Despite much confusion over the spelling, it’s Veterans Day, plural, and without any apostrophes. That’s according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which explains on its website: “Veterans Day does not include an apostrophe but does include an ‘s’ at the end of ‘veterans’ because it is not a day that ‘belongs’ to veterans, it is a day for honoring all veterans.”    
  • Authorities were called to a church in Bridgeton, New Jersey, after reports of a man throwing rocks through stained-glass windows, according to news reports. >> Read more trending news  The incident happened at Immaculate Conception Holy Cross Church on Saturday, NJ.com reported. Witnesses called police and described the suspect, reporting that the man had thrown two large rocks through two stained-glass windows at the church. Police said they arrested a suspect identified as Norris Glass III, 40, at a nearby gas station, according to NJ.com. Glass is facing criminal mischief charges after police said he caused $4,000 in damage to the church. >> Trending: Horrified mother watches son, boyfriend drown as powerful rip current drags them out to sea Glass is no stranger to authorities. He was convicted of criminal trespassing in 2013 and pleaded guilty to obstructing the administration of law in 2017, the news outlet reported.  
  • Memorial Day -- it is a holiday many Americans celebrate by spending time with loved ones and enjoying the May weather.  >> Read more trending news But how might some of the more than 21 million U.S. veterans view and celebrate one the country's most somber holidays, which was created to remember the men and women who died fighting for their country? Retired U.S. Army Gen. Bob Drolet told WHNT, 'We're engaged in conflict today in the Middle East and there are people who are giving their lives almost on a daily basis. So you have to have a day where you remember the sacrifices.'  And there are many sacrifices to remember. According to findings from the Pew Research Center, since Sept. 11, 2001, about half of U.S. vets have served alongside a comrade who was killed, with that number rising for men and women in combat.   And because of those firsthand horrors experienced in battle, many soldiers and veterans spend Memorial Day a bit differently than the average American might.   Take Capt. David Danelo, the author of 'The Return' and a Marine Corps infantry officer who served in Iraq. 'I'm proud to be a civilian and I'm proud to be a Marine,' he said.  In honor of Memorial Day, Danelo talked to Legacy.com and said that on Memorial Day, he not only remembers his fallen comrades, but goes to visit the graves of those who may have been forgotten. 'There's one cemetery in Philadelphia that has a Civil War veteran who I'll go see. He’s long been forgotten and nobody thinks about him. I just walk around there and pay my respects to (his) memory.'  The 'Flags In' ceremony is another way a lot of soldiers commemorate Memorial Day: placing flags on the graves at Arlington National Cemetery.  'It's kind of an emotional process to know, 'cause I feel connected to each one of these soldiers that served before me. So it's kind of like a brotherhood thing. We just want to take care of our brothers and sisters, make sure they look good,' Pfc. Michael Samuel told USA Today.  But still, at least for wounded retired Army Staff Sgt. Luke Murphy, there is a feeling that civilians could make more of an effort to pay respects to fallen soldiers.  In a CNN op-ed piece Murphy gave an emotional account of losing his friend and fellow service member Sgt. 1st Class Jason Bishop while serving in Iraq.  Murphy wrote, in part, 'When soldiers die, they don't just roll over and quit like in the movies. They fight like hell. ... And sometimes they lose. The biggest loser is the family, though. ... The next biggest losers are the guys who were with the soldier. Many times they've got survivor's guilt. ... So, what do nonfamily members and nonveterans think about on Memorial Day? Sometimes I think they just don't give a damn.' Murphy suggests that people who want to show respect for members of the military make a donation to organizations such as Homes for Our Troops. That's the program that built Murphy and his family a new home that is accessible for someone with his injuries.   So however you choose to spend Memorial Day, whether by the pool or at a parade, try to remember why the holiday exists. 
  • An Oxford, Mississippi, police officer has been charged with the murder of a north Mississippi mother. >> Read more trending news The shooting happened Sunday afternoon in the 1000 block of Suncrest Drive. Officers arrived to the scene to find an “unresponsive person” who was pronounced dead at the scene. The victim was identified as Dominique Lashelle Clayton, 32. She was the mother of four, according to neighbors. Friends told WHBQ-TV that Clayton was shot in the back of the head during a domestic situation. Her 8-year-old son found her after being dropped off at the house by a family member on Sunday. Interim Oxford Police Chief Jeff McCutchen said the department learned on Sunday that Matthew Paul Kinne, an Oxford police officer, was possibly 'involved' with Clayton. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation took over the case, and Kinne was developed as a suspect. Dominiques Clayton's sister, Shyjuan, said Kinne and Dominique Clayton had been having an affair. Kinne was arrested Monday night and is being held in the Panola County jail. He is charged with murder. “We will not hide behind our badge,' McCutchen said. 'Dominque was a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend and a member of our community. This day is about her.” Kinne has been a police officer with the Oxford Police Department for four years.
  • Operating rooms at Seattle Children’s Hospital were shut down after discovery of Aspergillus, a fungus that can cause infections, hospital staff said Tuesday. >> Read more trending news 'Last weekend, air tests detected Aspergillus in several operating rooms and equipment storage rooms at our main campus,' a hospital spokeswoman said. 'Aspergillus is a common mold often present in the air we breathe. However, in rare instances, it can cause complications for surgical patients. Though we believe the risk to our patients is very low, we will be contacting our surgical patients who may have been exposed. The fungus postponed between 20 and 50 surgeries per day, and 3,000 patients were being notified, hospital staff said. A patient hotline has been activated: (206) 987-1061 'Patient safety is our top priority, and we are taking this situation very seriously. All affected operating rooms have been closed and will remain so until we are confident that the areas are clear of Aspergillus. We are postponing or diverting some surgical cases and moving others to our Bellevue campus. We will also perform some cases in areas of our hospital that have been determined to be clear of Aspergillus, like our cardiac catheterization facility. We are working with an outside industrial hygienist to investigate the source of the Aspergillus and implement mitigation measures. We have also reported the situation to the Washington State Department of Health.' Most people breathe in Aspergillus spores every day without getting sick, according to the Centers for Disease Control. “However, people with weakened immune systems or lung diseases are at a higher risk of developing health problems due to Aspergillus,' according to the CDC's site. 'The types of health problems caused by Aspergillus include allergic reactions, lung infections, and infections in other organs.” Seattle Children’s Hospital did 11,498 outpatient surgeries and 4,586 inpatient surgeries across their facilities in the 2018 fiscal year, according to hospital statistics. Seattle Children’s has roughly 50,000 annual emergency department visits and 38,000 urgent care visits across all locations.