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National Govt & Politics
Russia questions once more roil Trump White House
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Russia questions once more roil Trump White House

Russia questions once more roil Trump White House
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

Russia questions once more roil Trump White House

Two days after his Attorney General recused himself from decisions on any investigation into links between Donald Trump's campaign for President and Russia, President Trump set off a new firestorm on Saturday by accusing former President Barack Obama of wiretapping Mr. Trump's phone conversations in 2016, as members of both parties called for the President to provide evidence to back up his charge.

"We are in the midst of a civilization-warping crisis of public trust," said Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE). "The President today made some very serious allegations, and the informed citizens that a republic requires deserve more information."

"This allegation has serious implications," said Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), who has been a frequent critic of the new President.

"I'm very worried," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said at a town hall meeting in his home state, again urging that details be made public about the President's charge.

Other than Graham, Sasse and Amash, most Republicans in the Congress simply stayed silent on Saturday about Mr. Trump's early morning tweets, which claimed that he had been the target of wiretaps, directly approved by ex-President Obama.

"This is McCarthyism!" Mr. Trump tweeted early in the morning from his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Florida, as the President offered no evidence to explain why the FBI would have wiretapped his phone.

The Saturday morning Twitter blast came after what several news organizations said was an Oval Office outburst directed by the President at his senior staff on Friday, reportedly angry about the move by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from any probe related to Russia.

On the road in Virginia on Thursday afternoon, the President had told reporters that he saw no need for Sessions to recuse himself; not long after, the Attorney General announced exactly that.

More than 12 hours after Mr. Trump's tweets, there still had been no official comment from the White House; the President spent part of his day at one of his golf courses in Florida, and was having dinner with several of his Cabinet secretaries.

As for Democrats, they used the latest outburst by the President to demand a special counsel probe of any links between Russia and the Trump campaign.

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News

  • Police are looking for a man they say defrauded an Alpharetta, Georgia, woman out of more than $80,000 after meeting her on a dating website, telling her he was a millionaire and convincing her they were in love. Police have a warrant for the arrest of John Martin Hill, who is charged with theft by deception. The 35-year-old is also accused of defrauding women in the same way in four other states, authorities said. >> Read more trending news  The woman told police she met Hill on Match.com. The two messaged on the dating site March 27, then met in person later that day, police said.  “During their short romance, he convinced her that they were in love and wanted to buy a house together,” Gwinnett County Police Department spokeswoman Cpl. Michele Pihera said in a news release. “They went house hunting and selected a home they were interested in.” Within a week of knowing one another, Hill and the woman agreed to get married, Pihera said.  The woman gave Hill more than $80,000 to put toward the purchase of the house and to buy furniture. “Following the exchange of money, the suspect ceased all contact,” Pihera said. Investigators learned that Hill lives in an apartment in Duluth with another woman and a child. They said Hill has changed his name more than five times in the past 2 1/2 years and is accused of committing similar acts in Virginia, Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. Anyone with information on Hill’s whereabouts is asked to contact detectives at 770-513-5300. Tipsters can remain anonymous and be eligible for rewards of up to $2,000 by contacting Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477, texting information to 274637 or visiting the Crime Stoppers website. 
  • An off-duty New York City firefighter was attacked Saturday morning as he tried to defend an elderly couple from a group of teenagers, WABC reported. >> Read more trending news  The 38-year-old firefighter intervened at 9:25 a.m., when police said the teens were harassing the couple in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, WPIX reported.  According to police, one of the teens punched the firefighter, striking him throughout his body, the television station reported. The man suffered a concussion and had five broken teeth, WABC reported. He also needed 25 stitches for his wounds, the television station reported. Police released surveillance video that shows the teens, believed to be between 15 and 17 years old, smiling as they skipped down the sidewalk, WNBC reported.
  • A Massachusetts high school student is getting high praise from NASA after he created a piece of hardware so good that it will be used in space. >> Read more trending news  The hardware Franklin High School senior Dom Parrella made is called an actuator. The piece itself is around an inch in length, but for astronauts at the International Space Station who use dozens of storage lockers, the actuator is essential – and has to be perfect. It helps prevent the lockers from opening. More than 2,000 students from across the country are a part of NASA's Hunch Program, meant to empower them by giving design and manufacturing projects. NASA's Hunch Program works with thousands of students at over 200 schools nationwide, four of them in Massachusetts. A NASA engineer said few produce pieces that are just right. 'It's not always going to be picture-perfect, their ranges are really tight,' Parrella said. How tight? Parrella's teacher, Jeff McCall, said it could be three-thousandths of an inch. 'Three-thousandths of an inch is the width of your hair, for the record,' McCall said.  Tri-County Regional High School in Franklin has been in the Hunch Program for five years. While it was the first time a student from the school made a part for NASA, it was not Parrella's first attempt at it. As a junior, Parrella ran into trouble as he neared the finish line. 'Right before one of the reviews, right before we were going to present to one of the astronauts, we had to scrap our entire project and then find something new,' he said. This year, Parrella, using an advanced mill, produced work that was stellar. 'I was very proud, very proud of Dom that he was able to get 11 of these done,' McCall said. 'They all came out flawlessly.' Each one met NASA’s standards. NASA says he's the only student from Massachusetts to produce a NASA-quality part this year. 'This is a very hard part to make,' NASA engineering specialist Bill Gibson said. 'They got it right their very first try.' 'We actually get to sign them, which is really nice,' Parrella said. 'We get our names to go up into space.' With Parrella graduating, another student will be making another 20 of the actuators. The hope is they'll be able to continue to be able to make pieces that will be used up in space. Parrella is set to attend the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in the fall. 
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  • Alabama Public Television is standing by its decision not to air an episode of the PBS Kids show “Arthur.” The first episode of the 22nd season, titled “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” features the first gay wedding in the show’s history. In the episode, Arthur’s teacher, Mr. Ratburn, marries a chocolatier named Patrick. >> Read more trending news  APT ran a repeat episode instead and said it does not plan to show the season premiere. “Parents have trusted Alabama Public Television for more than 50 years to provide children’s programs that entertain, educate and inspire,” APT director of programming Mike McKenzie said in a statement to AL.com. “More importantly — although we strongly encourage parents to watch television with their children and talk about what they have learned afterwards — parents trust that their children can watch APT without their supervision. We also know that children who are younger than the ‘target’ audience for ‘Arthur’ also watch the program.” Related: 'Arthur' character Mr. Ratburn gets married, comes out as gay on PBS Kids show McKenzie told NBC News the station would have taken away parents’ ability to choose what their children watch. “The vast majority of parents will not have heard about the content, whether they agree with it or not,” he said. “Because of this, we felt it would be a violation of trust to broadcast the episode.” APT was among many PBS member stations that didn’t air a 2005 episode of the “Arthur” spin off “Postcards From Buster.” In the episode, titled “Sugartime!” the character Buster visits Hinesburg, Vermont, to learn about the production of maple sugar. He meets children who live with their mother and stepmother. The couple are referred to as partners in the episode. WGBH, a member station that produces “Arthur” and “Postcards from Buster,” aired the episode and offered it to other stations, some of which chose to air it.
  • A mile-long, walnut-shaped asteroid with its own moon is set to pass Earth on Saturday, according to scientists. >> Read more trending news  The asteroid, known as 1999 KW4, will come within 3.2 million miles of Earth -- its second-closest approach in the past 20 years, WGRZ-TV reported. While this is considered close it’s still a safe distance from Earth. The asteroid is considered a binary system, meaning it consists of one large asteroid and a smaller moon orbiting it, CNet reported. The Las Cumbres Observatory describes its shape as “slightly squashed at the poles and with a mountain ridge around the equator, which runs all the way around the asteroid. This ridge gives the primary an appearance similar to a walnut or a spinning top.” The asteroid will best be observed Saturday from the Southern Hemisphere. However, stargazers in the Northern Hemisphere may be able to catch a glimpse of it Monday using an 8-inch-diameter telescope, EarthSky.org reported. The next time the asteroid will be visible from Earth will be in 2036, when it will be even closer. More information about viewing 1999 KW4 can be found here.