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Jamie Dupree's Washington Insider

    The political fallout from the Mueller Report received an unexpected jolt on Saturday from a Republican member of the U.S. House, as Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), a more libertarian lawmaker who has often been a critic of the President, became the first GOP member of Congress to open the door for the President Trump's impeachment, saying it's clear Mr. 'Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct.' In a series of posts on Twitter, Amash - a member of the House Freedom Caucus - accused Attorney General William Barr of having 'deliberately misrepresented' the findings and evidence of the Mueller Report. 'In comparing Barr’s principal conclusions, congressional testimony, and other statements to Mueller’s report, it is clear that Barr intended to mislead the public about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s analysis and findings,' Amash said, making the calls for impeachment now bipartisan. 'Mueller’s report identifies multiple examples of conduct satisfying all the elements of obstruction of justice, and undoubtedly any person who is not the president of the United States would be indicted based on such evidence,' Amash said, echoing an argument heard from many Democrats. Democrats welcomed Amash's declaration. 'This is a very consequential statement,' said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA). 'Thank you Justin Amash for putting country ahead of party.' 'We can now have bipartisan impeachment proceedings. Thank you, @justinamash,' said Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA). Amash chided members of both parties for reacting to the Mueller Report simply because of who was targeted, basically predicting that if a Democrat had been in the White House, the reactions would have been completely opposite 'We’ve witnessed members of Congress from both parties shift their views 180 degrees — on the importance of character, on the principles of obstruction of justice — depending on whether they’re discussing Bill Clinton or Donald Trump,' Amash added on Twitter. There was no evidence that Amash's statement was going to open the flood gates in Congress against the President - but it will give Democrats the ability to say there are bipartisan concerns about President Trump. “Call him the lone member of the Republican Integrity Caucus,” said Congressional scholar Norm Ornstein, who has been a frequent critic of the President. Fellow Republican Congressman, Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) took a mild jab at Amash, writing on Twitter that his nickname for Amash was right, using the hashtag, 'Often Wrong Never In Doubt.
  • The Friday decision by President Donald Trump to lift special tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from Canada and Mexico not only defused a year old trade battle with those two neighbors, but also strengthened the prospects in the U.S. Congress for a revised free trade agreement negotiated by the Trump Administration. 'The biggest hurdle to ratifying USMCA has been lifted,' said Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), who had helped lead opposition to the tariffs, saying it would prevent the U.S., Mexico, Canada trade deal from being approved by Congress.  Not only will the U.S. drop import duties on steel and aluminum from Canada and Mexico, but those countries will drop retaliatory tariffs against a variety of American exports, which had caused collateral economic damage to a variety of U.S. businesses. 'These tariffs, and the retaliation they caused, have hurt American farmers, manufacturers, businesses and consumers across the country,' said the group Tariffs Hurt the Heartland. 'These tariffs are damaging the U.S. manufacturing sector, and particularly downstream U.S. steel and aluminum consuming companies,' said the Coalition of American Metals Manufacturers and Users. Many voices in the U.S. and Canada praised Grassley for helping push the President to drop the 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports from Mexico and Canada, as Grassley and GOP Senators repeatedly made clear to President Trump that a new U.S.-Mexico-Canada free trade deal would go nowhere in Congress until that happened. 'The agreement with Canada and Mexico to lift steel and aluminum tariffs and retaliation without quotas will allow the U.S. to better target China’s unfair trade practices and pave the way for the USMCA,' said Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN). 'This is great news we’ve reached a deal on Steel and Aluminum,' said Rep. Steve Watkins (R-KS). 'Kansas exports to Canada and Mexico in 2017 totaled $4.4 billion.' 'It is good these tariffs will be lifted,' said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer. 'I've always said we should be focusing efforts on China — not Mexico, Canada, Europe.' But Democrats have also raised a series of other questions about the trade agreement - which still has not been submitted to the Congress for a vote, even though it was finalized last year. In the wake of the tariffs announcement, Vice President Mike Pence announced on Friday that he would go to meet the Canadian Prime Minister on May 30. While this move to ease tariffs will certainly help U.S. farmers and other businesses, there is still great uncertainty involving retaliation by China - in a separate trade dispute sparked by President Trump's aggressive efforts to levy tariffs on American trading partners. “We actually had a deal and they broke it,” the President said of the Chinese on Friday, referring to last minute demands and changes that Beijing thought it could gain from Mr. Trump. It did not work. “I said, 'Can't do that. Sorry, you can't do that,'” the President said in a speech.
  • President Donald Trump set out plans on Thursday to retool the nation's legal immigration system, in order to bring more highly skilled workers to the United States, saying it was time to emphasize skill and smarts in deciding who gets a green card to live and work in America. 'We discriminate against brilliance,' the President said in a speech from the White House Rose Garden. 'We won't anymore, once we get this passed.' 'Only 12 percent of legal immigrants are selected based on skill, or based on merit,' Mr. Trump added, as he said it's time to emphasize those qualities in order to draw more 'top talent' from abroad. The President has long sought to limit so-called 'chain migration' - where extended family are allowed to follow someone who is legally admitted to the United States - and to do away with the visa lottery, which he argues is one example of how highly-skilled workers aren't getting a preference for a green card in America. 'Immigrants must be financially self-sufficient,' the President said, making clear that his priority was in attracting higher wage workers and skilled talent - not only those currently in the work force overseas, but also foreign students at U.S. colleges and universities. 'Some of the most skilled students are going back home because they have no relatives to sponsor them in the United States,' the President said, arguing that he wants those 'exceptional students' to stay and 'flourish' in America. Mr. Trump also rolled out several proposals to deal with the current migrant surge at the southern border of the United States, proposing changes which would swiftly determine who is legitimately claiming asylum, and those who are not. The immediate outlook for the plan in Congress was murky at best; the White House is not sending actual legislation to Capitol Hill on the subject, leaving any legislative lifting to Senate Republicans, who know that any big changes on immigration must be bipartisan in order to get through the Senate, and be approved by Democrats in the House. The President's plan includes no provisions dealing with illegal immigrants already in the United States, or with the fate of so-called 'Dreamers' who were brought to the U.S. at a young age by their parents. 'We have to, I believe, come to comprehensive immigration reform,' said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who pointedly noted the President has talked about helping Dreamers in the past. Asked about the President's emphasis on a 'merit' based system - Pelosi bluntly called that 'condescending.' Allies of the President said they were ready to push ahead, though the path forward was not at all clear. Earlier this week, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said the only way anything would pass on immigration would be through compromise. Graham vowed to hold a hearing on the subject, and then allow his committee to vote on actual legislation; no time frame has been announced, as the President made clear he believes if Democrats refuse to deal, it will help him in 2020. 'If for some reason - possibly political - we can't get Democrats to approve this merit-based, high security plan, then we will get it approved immediately after the election, when we take back the House, keep the Senate, and of course - hold the Presidency,' Mr. Trump said to applause.
  • Sending a stern bipartisan message, lawmakers from the state of Florida blasted the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security on Thursday for refusing to publicly identify which counties had their voter databases penetrated by Russian hackers in 2016, as well as other counties which may have had suspicious activity around the same time. 'It is untenable to hold this information classified and to not let the public know,' said Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), after a closed door briefing by FBI officials on Capitol Hill, 'We have very clearly and very forcefully asked the FBI to declassify that information,' said Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL), as lawmakers said there was no reason not to let voters in Florida know where the election year cyber intrusions took place.  'I don't know who the hell they think they are to not share that information with us,' said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL).  The penetration of voter databases in two counties in Florida occurred after phishing emails were sent to election workers across the state. 'They sent these to all 67 counties,' said Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL). 'Unfortunately, two counties had employees that did click on those emails, and they gained limited access.' The outrage was bipartisan, as Florida lawmakers said there's no reason the identity of the counties should be a state secret, three years after the attempted hacking took place. 'They not only deserve to know what happened,' Waltz said of voters in his state, 'but they deserve to know what we're doing to protect the elections going forward.' Both parties stressed there was no evidence that voter databases were tampered with before the 2016 elections after Russians gained access to the two unidentified counties - but they say that’s no reason for the feds to hide the locations of where it occurred. “What we have told them is that it is untenable to hold this information classified, and not to let the public know,” said Murphy.
  • As President Donald Trump rolls out new plans Thursday to slow the surge in migrants trying to make it across the southern border of the United States, a key GOP lawmaker in Congress said Wednesday that the only chance for anything to get done in the House and Senate is a compromise - with both parties giving in on controversial immigration policy matters. 'To get what you want, you've got to give something,' said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), as he told reporters that it's obvious the President does not have the votes to do what he wants on immigration - and neither do the Democrats. 'You're going to have to get Democrats in the room,' Graham told reporters. 'This is the time for the Tuesday Trump to show up.' What Graham meant by that was a White House meeting which took place on a Tuesday in early 2018, where President Trump told a bipartisan group of Senators - in a meeting shown on TV - that if they could forge a deal among themselves on immigration, then he would sign it. “I'll take the heat,” the President said.  “I don't care.” But the idea went sideways quickly. 'We sent him a bill - and he didn't sign it,' Graham recounted, as more conservative lawmakers and aides intervened, derailing a compromise which would have involved $25 billion for the President's border wall, in exchange for protections for some illegal immigrant 'Dreamers.' Graham's comments came as he unveiled a series of new immigration plans on Wednesday, mainly designed to limit asylum claims, forcing those from Mexico and Central America to make those only in their home country - not at the U.S. border, or when they are apprehended. Graham's plan would also treat unaccompanied children like those from Mexico or Canada - they would be sent back right away, and not allowed to stay in the U.S., which he says has become a magnet, and one reason the numbers of migrants has jumped dramatically. The South Carolina Republican - who said he still considers himself a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform - said he plans to use his Senate Judiciary Committee in an effort to forge a bipartisan consensus on immigration. But he knows it will take more than Senators. 'So, I am urging the President to lead us to a solution,' Graham said, as he also pressed Democrats to overcome their distaste for Mr. Trump. 'Find a solution to this problem, quickly,' Graham added. So far the reaction among Republicans to the plan being released by the President on Thursday has been cool - as reviews were decidedly mixed after a closed door meeting of top White House officials, including Presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner, with GOP Senators on Tuesday. While President Trump has aggressively pushed Congress to act on changes to U.S. immigration laws, he has had little success either in forcing votes, or in forging a plan which could gain even a majority in the Congress. In February of 2018, the Senate voted on four different immigration plans; the one backed by President Trump netted only 39 votes, the smallest of the four.
  • Intensifying the standoff between President Donald Trump and Democrats in the U.S. House, the White House on Wednesday accused Democrats of using Congressional investigations to harass the President and his Administration, making the argument that since the investigation of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller is over, Congress cannot pursue additional investigations related to the Russia probe. 'The only purpose for this duplication seems to be harassing and seeking to embarrass political opponents after an exhaustive two-year investigation by the Department of Justice did not reach the conclusion that some members of the Committee apparently would have preferred,' said White House Counsel Pat Cipollone. In a 12 page letter to Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Cipollone repeatedly made clear that any inquiry aimed at the White House by lawmakers must be tied to a 'legitimate legislative purpose,' a phrase that's been used repeatedly in recent days to rebuff requests for the President's tax returns, and in court arguments over subpoenas by a House committee. “As a result, the requests raise serious concerns of violating the separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution,” Cipollone added. Specifically on the Russia investigation, Cipollone wrote, 'it appears that the Committee's inquiry is designed, not to further a legitimate legislative purpose, but rather to conduct a pseudo law enforcement investigation on matters that were already the subject of the Special Counsel's long-running investigation.' The White House argument is simple - since the issue of Russian interference in the 2016 election was investigated by the Special Counsel and the Justice Department, there can be no repeat by the Congress. 'Congressional investigations are intended to obtain information to aid in evaluating potential legislation, not to harass political opponents or to pursue an unauthorized 'do-over' of exhaustive law enforcement investigations conducted by the Department of Justice,' the top White House lawyer wrote. The White House letter specifically cited an interest by Democrats in investigating the 'pardon power' of a President, saying that is not allowed under the Constitution. But - back in 2001 - Republicans in the Congress held a series of hearings and launched a broad investigation of pardons issued by President Bill Clinton, just before he left office. Democrats have made clear they're not going to just drop their broad array of investigations - vowing to subpoena the former White House Counsel Don McGahn for testimony, as well as Robert Mueller.
  • Amid signs of growing tensions between the United States and Iran which have prompted worries about military conflict, Senators in both parties on Wednesday urged the Trump Administration to explain the threats supposedly coming from Iran, and why the State Department suddenly announced it is sending non-essential diplomats home from their posts in Iraq. 'I would urge the State Department and the DOD (Department of Defense) to come down here and explain what's going on,' said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). The lack of an explanation was broached on Wednesday during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by members of both parties, who said lawmakers were in the dark as to what was going on in with Iran, and why American diplomats were suddenly in danger in Iraq. 'The Trump Administration has not provided any information to this committee on the intelligence behind their decisions,' said Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ). The call by Menendez for an immediate briefing was echoed by Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) - who was then told by committee chairman Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID), that he had been briefed by the Trump administration on the situation - which made clear that Democrats had been left out of the discussions. Across Capitol Hill, Democrats in the House and Senate all but accused the Trump Administration of trying to provoke Iran into a military conflict. 'This escalating crisis with Iran was entirely predictable, and entirely purposeful,' said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT). 'This seems like escalation with no end game.' Echoing that was Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who warned the White House not to get into any fight with Iran without the express approval of the Congress, as Paul also said he feared the Trump Administration was setting up negotiations with Iran to fail. But some Republicans pushed back - as U.S. allies cast doubts on evidence that there was an immediate threat from Iran, as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) assailed unidentified officials quoted in one story in the New York Times. The Trump Administration seemed unlikely to offer briefings to all members immediately - instead that seemed likely to take place in both the House and Senate next week.
  • Telling reporters that he did not order an internal Justice Department investigation into the origins of the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, President Donald Trump on Tuesday praised the decision of Attorney General William Barr to put a federal prosecutor from Connecticut in charge of an internal review of the matter. 'I didn't know it, but I think it's a great thing that he did it,' the President told reporters as left the White House for a trip to Louisiana on Tuesday, as he again accused FBI officials of using the probe to wrongly investigate his campaign over possible ties to Russia. 'They want to look at how that whole hoax got started,' Mr. Trump said. Mr. Trump - and many Republicans in Congress - have long claimed that the FBI 'spied' on his 2016 campaign, an accusation given new life by Attorney General William Barr in early April, when he told a Senate panel that there had been possible illegal surveillance of the Trump campaign. Last week, FBI Director Christopher Wray was asked about that characterization by the Attorney General - and he made clear that he did not agree with Barr, saying, 'that's not the term I would use.' That semantic conflict was simmering in the President's mind, as he denounced the FBI Director's answer as 'ridiculous.' 'I thought the Attorney General answered it perfectly,' Mr. Trump said of Wray. 'I certainly didn't understand that answer; I thought it was a ridiculous answer.' In charge of the review will be U.S. Attorney John Durham of Connecticut - who is no stranger to high profile investigations. In 2008, Durham was chosen to investigate the destruction of videotaped interrogations by the CIA, in a post-9/11 dispute over treatment of terrorist detainees, and whether they were tortured in violation of U.S. laws. Last week, former FBI General Counsel Jim Baker said the probe began after Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos told an Australian diplomat that Russia had offered to provide dirt on Hillary Clinton. Papadopoulos later plead guilty to lying to investigators about his contacts with 'certain foreign nationals whom he understood to have close connections with senior Russian government officials.”
  • Even as President Donald Trump floated the idea this week of another round of bailout payments to farmers to help them deal with the loss of markets due to retaliation against new U.S. tariffs, the outlook from back in farm country was not one of optimism, with the current U.S.-China trade uncertainty again forecast to buffet a variety of agricultural producers. 'Times are tough in farm country,' said Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), whose state exports a significant amount of soybeans to China. 'American farmers are paying the price for trade uncertainty with China.' 'Soy growers need a positive resolution of this ongoing tariff dispute, not further escalation of tensions,' said the American Soybean Association. 'We see no end in sight,' said Lynn Rohrscheib, the President of the Illinois Soybean Growers, who fears even more economic hardship.  'When China’s reciprocal tariffs hit our soybeans last summer, we lost nearly one-third of our market overnight,' Rohrschieb added. 'In 2018, Virginia exported more than $58 million soybean products to China – an 83 percent decrease from 2017,' Virginia's two Democratic U.S. Senators said on Tuesday. But at the White House on Tuesday, President Trump expressed confidence that the U.S. would prevail in what he labeled a trade 'squabble' with the Chinese. 'Our economy is fantastic; theirs is not so good,' the President told reporters, as he said he is not backing off the threat to possibly levy tariffs on an additional $325 billion in imports from the Chinese. “I think it's going to turn out extremely well, we're in a very strong position,” Mr. Trump told reporters. 'We're going to be collecting over $100 billion in tariffs,' the President said of the additional duties on imports from China. But those tariffs would be paid for by U.S. businesses and consumers - another sore point for critics of the President's trade strategy. But in farm country, the collateral damage is being felt. + In Michigan, agricultural leaders said 'these tariffs will have a negative impact on U.S. farmers across the nation.' + In Iowa and Nebraska, the outlook is getting 'grimmer by the day.'  + In Georgia, farmers who export cotton, soybeans, pecans, and peanuts will face higher tariffs as they try to sell products in China. + In Indiana, farm exports of soybeans and oilseeds have dropped dramatically in the last year. 'The tariffs have done enough damage already to agriculture,' said a top official of the Indiana Farm Bureau.
  • In a surprise budget move on Monday, President Donald Trump announced that he is asking Congress to approve an extra $1.6 billion for efforts to send American astronauts back to the moon, throwing his very public support behind NASA's plans for a manned landing on the moon in 2024, with the goal of a 'sustained presence' on the lunar surface starting as soon as 2028. 'This is the down payment @NASA needs to move forward with design, development & exploration,' tweeted NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. Bridenstine said the $1.6 billion would go to help fund the development on a new human lunar landing system, a robotic exploration of the polar regions of the lunar surface, and more money for the heavy lift rockets needed for a moon mission. 'Under my Administration, we are restoring @NASA to greatness and we are going back to the Moon, then Mars,' President Trump said on Twitter. Bridenstine said the mission would be named 'Artemis,' the sister of Apollo. In documents released on Tuesday night, it was clear the $1.6 billion would not be cut from one area of NASA, and just transferred over to human space flight - instead, it would be a new infusion of funds, which would push the NASA budget over $22 billion, the highest level in pure dollars. 'This additional investment is a down payment on NASA’s efforts to land humans on the Moon by 2024, and is required to achieve that bold objective,' the NASA budget documents stated. 'It’s the boost NASA needs to move forward with design, development and exploration.' The President has clearly been interested in NASA's efforts since taking office; NASA has had a general plan to go back to the Moon and then on to Mars, but having a plan - and getting money for it - are two very different things. The extra money for NASA, along with money for the Everglades, environmental funding for the Great Lakes, work by the Army Corps of Engineers, and extra funding for the Special Olympics were all part of the budget amendment sent by the Congress to the White House. 'These amendments are fully offset,' a letter from the President read - but it wasn't immediately clear what was being cut in order to pay for the extra requested spending. It's not clear how much a mission to the moon would cost.  The first Apollo program had a budget of close to $25 billion. One would expect a mission in 2024 would cost much more than that - coming at a time when the federal government is straining under yearly budget deficits approaching $1 trillion.

News

  • Two men are behind bars facing charges of inducing panic after allegedly surfing on the swollen Great Miami River. >> Read more trending news  Passersby spotted the men in the water shortly before 5 p.m. Saturday. Andrew S. Cook Jr., 25, and Garrett M. Pickiering, 26, said they also had asked someone to call for help after they apparently fell into the river in the area of State Route 47 and Port Huron Drive. “We had prepared for a water rescue,” Sgt. Joel Howell, of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, said. “We weren’t exactly sure if they were in the water.” Deputies received word that the pair, who were wet and carrying an oar, were just south of town. “They ended up going to jail for inducing panic, the reason being they left after asking somebody to call for help for them,” said Howell, who added that Cook and Pickiering apparently admitted to seeing at least one deputy respond. Cook and Pickiering were each booked into the Shelby County Jail on suspicion of inducing panic. They await Monday morning court dates, according to online records. Howell said the river is especially dangerous because it is flooded over the banks, full of debris and has a swift current.
  • A Mississippi teen is fighting for her life after being shot in a drive-by shooting in Jonestown, Mississippi. >> Read more trending news  Family members said Lamonshae Williams was shot in the stomach during a graduation party overnight. She was rushed to Regional One in critical condition. Williams graduated from Coahoma Early College High School on Saturday. Relatives told FOX13 she graduated sixth in her class.  Another victim who was shot at the scene was treated at a local hospital and is expected to be OK. Lamonshae's mother Luetisha Gardner said she is heartbroken about the situation. She told FOX13 that Lamonsha's older sister was killed a few years ago. Jonestown has very limited police coverage, so Coahoma County deputies are currently handling the case. Officers have not identified any suspects at this time. This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
  • A year ago, the world watched as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married at Windsor Castle’s historic St. George’s Chapel. Less than a year after their nuptials, they welcomed their first child, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. On Sunday, the couple celebrated their first wedding anniversary. >> Read more trending news  Harper’s Bazaar reported that the couple has shared behind-the-scenes moments from their big day in an Instagram post on Sussex Royal. Related: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle: A relationship timeline The video slideshow begins with a series of black-and-white photos that include images of Markle holding hands with her mother, Doria Ragland, and Prince Harry pretending to hitchhike to his wedding. Audio of “This Little Light of Mine,” which Sussex Royal said was selected by the couple for their recessional, can be heard as the images are displayed. The video slideshow ends in color images of the big day and wedding bells. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also shared a message to supporters, saying, “Thank you for all of the love and support from so many of you around the world. Each of you made this day even more meaningful.” Watch the video below.
  • Billionaire Robert F. Smith, who received an honorary doctorate from Morehouse College at institution’s Sunday morning graduation exercises, had already announced a $1.5 million gift to the school.  But during his remarks in front of the nearly 400 graduating seniors, the billionaire technology investor and philanthropist surprised some by announcing that his family was providing a grant to eliminate the student debt of the entire class of 2019.  >> Read more trending news  “This is my class, and I know my class will pay this forward,” he said. He received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at the ceremony. The announcement elicited the biggest cheers of the morning. Tonga Releford, whose son, Charles Releford III, is a member of the class of 2019, estimates that her son’s student loans are around $70,000. “I feel like it’s Mother’s Day all over again,” she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Smith’s gift has been estimated at $40 million. Tonga Releford’s husband, Charles Hereford Jr., is also a Morehouse graduate. He said their younger son, Colin, is a junior at Morehouse, an all-male historically black college. The father said he doesn’t know who the keynote speaker will be at Colin’s graduation ceremony but is hoping for a return performance by Smith.  “Maybe he’ll come back next year,” he said.
  • The creepy, unsettling image of the “Momo challenge” will be coming to the big screen, according to one report. Deadline reported that “Getaway,” a horror film directed by Lilton Stewart III, will follow a group of teens on their last summer vacation before college who end up secluded in a cabin. >> Read more trending news  “In ghost story fashion, one tells the story of the urban legend, MOMO, a strange spirit of a bird-like woman that taunts its victims with specific personal details and violent commands via text message and phone calls,” Deadline reported. “What starts out as a harmless prank soon turns more sinister over the next 24 hours as the teens start disappearing without any motive or pattern.” The urban legend is inspired by the viral internet hoax that made the rounds last year. Related: What is the ‘Momo challenge’ and is it a hoax? Despite endless media coverage and local law enforcement warnings on social media of the supposed internet challenge, there were no verified cases of the “challenge” or people being harmed because of the game. “We’ve seen no recent evidence of videos promoting the Momo Challenge on YouTube,”  the video platform said on Twitter in February 2019. “Videos encouraging harmful and dangerous challenges are against our policies.”
  • DJ Khaled has released the music video for his single “Higher,” which stars John Legend and the late rapper Nipsey Hussle. The song comes from the producer-DJ’s new album “Father of Asahd.” >> Read more trending news  Billboard reported that the video, directed by Eif Rivera, starts with a tribute to Hussle, who died after he was shot outside his now-shuttered The Marathon Clothing brick-and-mortar store March 31. The video, TMZ reported, is the last one Hussle shot. Behind-the-scenes video obtained by the tabloid site shows Legend, Hussle and Khaled standing on top of a parking structure with a piano and retro cars in shades of blue. Khaled said in a statement Wednesday that the video footage was shot days before Hussle died. Legend reflected on shooting the music video after news broke of Hussle’s death. “Recently, I embarked on a soul-searching journey down a road I never thought I would travel in a million years. It began when a tragedy robbed the world of an enlightened soul, a brother, a father, a partner and my friend, Nipsey Hussle,” the statement said. “Just days prior, he shared his energy and positivity with me on a video set for a song called, ‘Higher.’ After much prayer and reflection, and with the full blessing of the Asghedom family, I am sharing that moment with the world. “The very title of the song reminds us that vibrating on a ‘Higher; level was the essence of Nipsey’s soul. It is in this spirit, of moving forward, of preserving his mission that I, my co-workers, producers and label partners are donating 100% of all our proceeds from 'Higher' to Nipsey's children, Emani and Kross. “The Marathon Continues.” Watch the music video on YouTube and see a teaser below.