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    Visitors to the Paulding County District Attorney's Office in Georgia were appalled at what they say is an inappropriate Halloween display in the office. >> Read more trending news  The display is of a skeleton with crime scene markers taped around it – seemingly depicting a murder victim – in the middle of the lobby.  WSB-TV's Aaron Diamant talked to a local ethics expert, who called the display wildly unprofessional and said it has the potential to retraumatize crime victims who have to come to the office to talk to prosecutors. Diamant spoke to the woman who took the picture. Lauri Newsome said she went to the District Attorney's Office with a few family members to try to get a meeting with District Attorney Dick Donovan about a sensitive case.  She was outraged to find the fake crime scene.  'You step back. It startles you,' Newsome said. 'It doesn't help how you're feeling. I think if I'd had a family member murdered it would have affected me worse.' Newsome fought back tears as she described being startled by the display.  'You're not there for a happy reason anyway, and that's just not something you want to see when you're a victim or family of a victim,' Newsome said. 'It was just absolutely poor judgment on their part to do something like that.' Newsome said that when she confronted employees about it, they said they deal with bad things every day and needed to blow off some steam and laugh.  But like Newsome, Edward Queen with Emory University's Center for Ethics fails to see the humor.  “It’s going to suggest at a bare minimum, first of all, a complete disregard for their feelings, their experiences, and arguably could radically retraumatize certain people who’ve been victimized by violence,' Queen said.  Queen said the display clearly crosses professional and ethical lines.  'You have to ask, 'Where's the adult in the room?'' Queen said. 'It clearly suggests a level of inconsideration, a level of coarseness that we ought not to experience from public officials.' Newsome posted the image on Facebook to send a message.  'The District Attorney's Office is here to serve the needs of the taxpayers, the victims in their community,' Newsome said. 'And that is who they should put first, and they should look at everything they do through that standpoint first.'  The display has since been taken down, but Queen said the district attorney still has some explaining to do.  'Admit that it was an attempt at humor in our office. It was unthinking, it was unfortunate, we regret that we hadn't thought this through better, and we apologize to people,' Queen suggested the office say.  Diamant contacted Donovan, who did not return text messages. Diamant did get in touch with his chief deputy, who said, 'No comment.
  • City officials are slowing down the condemnation process between 4th and 6th Streets and from Madison to Owasso Avenue. The city wants to use property there for a detention pond as a way to mitigate severe flooding. Many homeowners are fighting the idea. The city is delaying the use of imminent domain before any more houses are taken. Officials say they are not going to proceed until they have a good plan that everyone understands. We're told a meeting will be scheduled soon to get more input from property owners and to give them more information.
  • A man is now charged with shooting with intent to kill after an attempted robbery. Officers arrested Ramont Hollins last week. We're told he tried to rob two people at the Lipstick Cabaret Gentlemen's Club near 4800 East 31 Street and fired a gunshot. Hollins claimed he was the victim, but police did not believe him.
  • Police in Washington state are looking for a man who has a Grays Harbor County arrest warrant on a first-degree child rape charge. >> Read more trending news  Aberdeen police released a photo of Silverio Velazquez-Tetactle in the hopes that someone might know his whereabouts. Velazquez-Tetactle is 36 years old, stands 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighs 150 pounds. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call the Aberdeen Police Department at 360-533-8765 and reference case #19-A22295.
  • Lori Byrd, a Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department firefighter, was the winner of 'Good Housekeeping' magazine's Hometown Heroes contest. As a result, she was awarded a cover shoot, in which she appears next to WWE superstar John Cena. >> Read more trending news  Lori Byrd always wanted to be a firefighter, she wanted to help people. 'I just never went into it because it's a male-dominated career and I just didn't think it was something women did,' explains Byrd.  Instead, she pursued a career in banking until she had one of those life-changing experiences that put it all into perspective. A woman had crashed into a retention pond with her kid in the backseat right by the bank she was working at.  'I just assumed that they would swim to the edge, you know, it wasn't that far but they just went under and didn't come back.'  It took only seconds until Byrd decided to jump in and try and save them.  'The woman was face down so I immediately grabbed her and took her to the side.'  Both survived, leaving Byrd their hero. 'But I think the main thing that changed my mind there was that one of the firefighters that responded there was a woman, and I was just like you know why, why did I ever care about that?' And after first responders saved her dads life when he suffered a stroke, it was a done deal. At 33, Byrd followed her childhood dream and became a firefighter. 'Life is too short to not do something that you love and really enjoy.'  Now Byrd smiles proudly on the cover of Good Housekeeping Magazine as a woman, a first responder, and an idol. 'It's a huge deal. Not only am I representing first responders, but I think just a new class of first responders you know being a woman.'  Byrd hopes her story inspires others to follow their dreams, especially if any girls want to become a firefighter.  'I think each of us has it in us to do this job it doesn't matter male for female.'  According to the WWE, Cena has been cast as a firefighter who, along with his team, is tasked with babysitting three siblings in the upcoming film, 'Playing with Fire.
  • Police in Mansfield, Massachusetts, are publicly apologizing to a local contractor for telling residents and businesses to avoid his roofing company, but he's saying the apology is too little, too late. >> Read more trending news  Chris Fitzsimons, who owns Easton Roofing, says his company was roped into a post by the police department exposing scam contractors, something Fitzsimons says he's not. 'After I came home from work last night my phone started blowing up,' said Fitzsimons. 'I got a text from a good friend saying, 'Did you look at Facebook?'' The post in question was a picture with eight company logos, saying things like, 'Can anyone recommend a terrible contractor?'  Fitzsimons says he was shocked to see his name listed as one of the contractors to avoid. 'Once that hit social media, it just spread like a virus,' said Fitzsimons. 'It was out there and there was no stopping it. Claiming someone is a criminal and not actually fact-checking it.' The post also said to call 911 if you saw one of the companies operating or advertising their services. 'A lot of our business is referrals and it's through the local town pages, the local mom's page, Easton, Mansfield mom's page and they say, 'Who do you recommend?'' said Fitzsimons. The post has since been removed from the police department's page. Fitzsimons says the department spoke to his company and then launched an investigation, saying that before putting the post out there they hadn't reached out to him or his employees. The local business owner believes he has and will continue to lose business over the ordeal. 'The damage is already done, it's out there now and I'm trying to un-ring that bell,' said Fitzsimons. While he says the damage is done, Fitzsimons hopes this mistake will lead more care in the future with posts that could tarnish someone's reputation so easily, especially for small businesses like his. 'We teach our kids not to put something on social media that you don't want to be there forever,' said Fitzsimons. 'The fact that it's a police department perhaps they should re-look at who is responsible for their social media and that someone else is checking them before it gets posted.' In a statement, Mansfield Chief of Police Ronald Sellon told WFXT:
  • A teenager who killed his grandmother will soon learn how long he will spend in prison. >> Read more trending news  Logan Mott, 17, pleaded guilty to killing his grandmother and trying to cover it up. Mott’s father, Eric, took the stand Wednesday on day one of his sentencing hearing. Investigators say Logan Mott shot and stabbed Kristina French while she lay in bed and then buried her body in the backyard back in November 2017. The prosecution showed the video of his arrest near the Canadian border, where Mott was heard speaking with border patrol agents.  The prosecutor, Joseph Licandro, also showed photos of French’s wounds. A major revelation Wednesday was that Mott was active in what’s being described as a communist online chat room. People in that group even gave Mott advice on how to dispose of a body. Mott’s dad was the final witness of the day. At one point, he described how kind his mom was and how he couldn’t think of any reason Mott would want to hurt her. French’s uncle was also in court. He read a letter that both he and his wife wrote. They said French moved to Florida a few years ago because she didn’t want to “miss Logan growing up.
  • Valerie Lundeen Ely, the wife of 'Tarzan' actor Ron Ely, was stabbed to death Tuesday by their 30-year-old son, who was then shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office responded to a report of a homicide in Hope Ranch, California, a few miles west of Santa Barbara. Deputies found Valerie Ely, 62, dead with multiple stab wounds. >> Read more trending news  The deputies talked to Ron Ely and identified his son, 30-year-old Cameron Ely, as the suspect. Law enforcement asked those living in nearby homes to shelter in place while they searched the property for the suspect. 'We wanted to make sure all the residents were safe while we searched the area,' Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office Lt. Erik Raney told KEYT. According to the Associated Press, Cameron Ely posed a threat to deputies, four of whom opened fire and killed him, the statement said. It did not say what he had done that was threatening. Ron Ely, 81, played the title character on the NBC series “Tarzan,” which ran from 1966 to 1968. He was host of the Miss America pageant in 1980 and 1981 and later married Valerie Ely, a former Miss Florida. The couple had three children. There was no report of Ron Ely being injured. Authorities confirmed he was at the home during the stabbing and the shooting, and an earlier sheriff’s statement said an elderly man in the home was taken to a hospital for evaluation. The home where the killings took place is one of two addresses listed in public records for Cameron Ely. It is not clear whether he had been living with his parents. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A mother in Gaston County, North Carolina, opened up to WSOC-TV after she said the assistant principal at her son's high school preyed on him for sex. >> Read more trending news  'I feel betrayed by somebody that I gave my child to because I wanted so bad for him to succeed,' she said. Stuart W. Cramer High School Assistant Principal Lisa Rothwell is facing six felony sex crime charges after police said she confessed to having sex with a 17-year-old student. That student's mom reached out to WSOC-TV to share the pain she feels after she said Rothwell took advantage of her son at one of his most vulnerable moments. WSOC-TV learned Rothwell helped tutor her son. She said he was making great strides and that Rothwell even told her she practiced saying her son's name for the moment he crossed the stage to get his diploma. She said at first, Rothwell, who is known for connecting with students, did something no one else could -- helped get her son interested in school again. Then, the mother said she got a phone call from the school saying Rothwell was doing much more than tutoring her child. 'You have these people here that you think are there for your child to protect your child and come to find out there are preying on your child and it's hard on a mother,' she said. She said at some point Rothwell started texting her son outside of school work and things became sexual. 'It's the worst feeling that I have ever had,' she said. 'It's hard to feel like somebody that you really trusted betrayed you.' She said she later learned the assistant principal gave her son gifts and a promise that 'when he became of age that they could be together, and she would take care of him.' She told WSOC-TV her son bore the weight of a secret no 17-year-old should live with -- feeling pressure in a place where he should feel safe. 'He was working towards something and felt like for once people believed that it mattered and I feel like he lost the innocence of being a teenager,' she said. Things started to spiral out of control when the mother said Rothwell started acting like a controlling girlfriend, monitoring who her son talked to and what he did. According to police, one day a classmate posted a vague tweet about an assistant principal getting too close to students and that's when investigators started questioning the teen. After getting the call about her son, the mother said she went to the school and when she looked her son in the eyes, she said she knew it was true. 'He has got this look of heartbreak on his face,' she said. 'I knew at that point and time that what I had be told. It was just devastation.' The mother said the situation has been traumatic for her son, and that he is struggling to return to the normal life he had before Rothwell began texting him. 'There are moments where he is angry,' she said. 'There are moments where he is confused. Don't quite know how to separate things.' She said she chose to speak out about what happened to her child because she's heard people say boys aren't considered victims in these types of situations. 'This case is being portrayed as he is not a victim and that this is really not that bad because she did so good,' the mother said. 'All the good doesn't erase the bad.' She said her son worries that the administrator who has changed the lives of students and was respected by so many parents will overshadow him, isolating him with the pain he now feels. 'Some even portrayed her as the victim and not him, she said. 'You have to wonder would you feel the same way if it was your child, if it was your son?' At one point, the mother said she was just like the other supporters, but that doesn't excuse the allegations against Rothwell. 'I'm so grateful that she helped so many people, but what had to make mine so different? Where was the help for mine?' the mother said. 'For all the good is it OK to sacrifice this child?' According to the mother, the last time she talked to Rothwell was a week before she was arrested, and they were planning a celebration for her son's graduation together. 'It was all a lie,' she said. 'I will never trust her again around my child.' Rothwell was being jailed under a $1 million bond, but a judge lowered the bond to $100,000, and she bonded out. She has been suspended with pay.
  • A Marine Corps veteran in Celina, Ohio, said he never expected to have an issue that led to a viral Facebook post about the way a Celina pharmacy handled the reprinting of his boot camp photo. >> Read more trending news  “I just expected to pick up up my photo and leave,” Larry Regedanz told WHIO. The copy of his boot camp photo was for his mom, who wanted to have it posted in downtown Celina to honor him like other veterans in the city. “She and my wife were planning to get one of the banners to hang up on Main Street,” he said. But when Regedanz went to a CVS Pharmacy, he said the manager told him she couldn’t sell him the reprint because of copyright infringement and that it had to be destroyed. “She said, ‘Here it is.’ It wasn’t destroyed. I said, ‘I thought it was destroyed.’” Regendanz said. “At that point, she ripped it up in my face. I couldn’t believe it.” The manager then called police. Celina police responded around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to CVS Pharmacy after the store’s manager called to report that Regendanz had threatened her. “I had a customer come in here and threaten me,” the manager told Celina police in a phone call obtained by WHIO. “He came back and he started screaming and yelling and threatening to call his lawyer and that he was going to come get me.” Regedanz posted a lengthy message on Facebook two hours after the store called police on him, detailing his experience in the store. “When my mother ... tried to pick up the photo she was told that it belonged to the government and was threatened with a $10,000 fine for copyright infringement,” Regedanz’s post, which had been shared over 6,000 times Wednesday morning, read. According to a Celina police report, the manager told police “she was unable to release the photo due to it being copyrighted.” She also told police Regedanz would have to obtain a letter of release from the U.S. government. Regedanz went to the store later in the afternoon to try to pick up the copy of the picture himself. “When I explained it was my military boot camp picture, the manager wasn't so nice anymore,” Regedanz said. “I tried to explain to her that it was a picture of me that I purchased and owned the rights to, and that I have had several copies made over the years and have used it on social media, and it's even been in the news.” Regedanz said the manager took the photo “held it up to my face and ripped it in pieces, smiling as she did it,” the post read. A CVS spokesperson said they’ve been investigating the incident. “Our employee did not tear up Mr. Regedanz’s original photo,” said Mike DeAngelis, senior director of corporate communications with CVS. “During their conversation, he told our employee to tear up a copy that was printed from his online order.” “We are committed to ensuring that every customer receives courteous, outstanding service in our stores and we apologize to Mr. Regedanz and his mother for their recent experience,” DeAngelis added. “We are fully investigating this matter and contacting him directly to learn more about his version of what occurred.” U.S. Army veteran Donald Ayars said he had his military photo copied at the same CVS store. “His photo, my photo, if there’s a copyright infringement, we both did it. In fact, all of these banners downtown are copyright infringement,” he said. The manager told police after Regedanz posted about his experience on Facebook the store received “over 20 phone calls” and “that all the calls were anonymous and stated anything from she is disrespectful, she should be fired to they hope she dies in a car crash,” the police report read. Celina Police Chief Thomas Wales said his department respects all military members, and that he does not expect any charges to be filed because no criminal activity took place.
  • A man was robbed in broad daylight in Brookside on Monday, Tulsa Police say, by a suspect who had a weird choice in weapons: a drill bit. Anthony Anson is accused of threatening the man with the drill bit and taking his phone. But police say the man got to a different phone and called police, who quickly spotted Anson. Anson then tried to claim that HE was the one who had been robbed, police say. “Officer didn't buy it, found that he had the phone is his pocket, and our victim was able to unlock the phone with his code to show that it was his phone,” said Tulsa Police Officer Danny Bean. Anson was arrested.
  • The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation released more details Wednesday on the victims from Tuesday night’s murder-suicide in Miami. Agents says 11-year-old Kayla Billings was shot and killed by her father, 39-year-old David Billings before he turned the gun on himself. Investigators say Wallace also shot his ex-wife and her boyfriend. Melissa Wallace and James Miller were found wounded outside of Miller’s home. Wallace and Miller were taken to a Tulsa hospital in critical condition. Wallace is pregnant. No word on the condition of the unborn child.
  • Angered by the outbreak of violence and a Turkish military invasion in areas of northern Syria held by U.S. forces until just last week, members of both parties joined in the House on Wednesday to deliver a clear rebuke of President Trump as lawmakers easily approved a resolution denouncing the policy change. 'This is one of those rare moments in Congress where we see both sides coming together,' said Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), as the House voted 354-60 for the resolution. The plan decried 'an abrupt withdrawal of United States military personnel from certain parts of Northeast Syria,' saying the resulting change 'is beneficial to adversaries of the United States government, including Syria, Iran, and Russia.' 'President Trump's decision to pull hastily out of Syria has caused a humanitarian disaster, endangers our Kurdish allies, and could cause the resurgence of ISIS,' said Rep. David Trone (D-MD). 'The President has demonstrated complete disregard for the harmful implications that his erratic decision-making will have on our troops,' tweeted Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO). Even among GOP lawmakers who don't like these type of overseas deployments for the U.S. military, there was the overwhelming sense that the President had hastily decided to withdraw, leaving a vacuum which only benefits Russia and its Syrian allies, along with the Islamic State. After the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lumped additional criticism on the White House, when a briefing for lawmakers on the situation in Syria was scrapped. 'I am deeply concerned that the White House has canceled an all-Member classified briefing on the dangerous situation the President has caused in Syria, denying the Congress its right to be informed as it makes decisions about our national security,' Pelosi said. In the Senate it was much the same, as lawmakers in both parties spent much of Wednesday expressing their outrage over the President's decision, baffled that he would unravel years of work with a minimal number of U.S. troops to hem in Syria and the Islamic State - while partnering with Kurdish forces in the region. 'Withdrawal of U.S. troops gave Turkey a green light to go into Syria,' said Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT). At the White House, the President denied that he had given Turkish leaders the green light - but a White House statement issued when Mr. Trump's withdrawal was announced clearly stated that the U.S. expected Turkey to move forces into Northern Syria. 'I want to get out of the Middle East,' the President said on Wednesday. Not long after the vote, members of both parties met with President Trump about Syria - as the meeting quickly turned sour, with Democrats raising objections to the President's moves in withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria, and the President pushing back. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats left the meeting, and told reporters that Mr. Trump had a 'meltdown.' Republican leaders and the White House denied that version of events.
  • NASA is moving up the first all-female spacewalk to this week because of a power system failure at the International Space Station. Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir will now venture out Thursday or Friday, instead of next Monday, to deal with the problem. It will be the first spacewalk by only women in more than a half-century of spacewalking. A critical battery charger failed over the weekend, prompting the change, NASA officials said Monday. The women will replace the broken component, rather than install new batteries, which was their original job. Last week, astronauts conducted the first two of five spacewalks to replace old batteries that make up the station’s solar power network. The remaining spacewalks — originally scheduled for this week and next — have been delayed for at least another few weeks so engineers can determine why the battery charger failed. It’s the second such failure this year. The devices regulate the amount of charge going to and from each battery. One didn’t kick in Friday night, preventing one of the three newly installed lithium-ion batteries from working. The balky charger is 19 years old; the one that failed in the spring was almost as old. Only three spares remain available. “It’s absolutely a concern at this point when you don’t know what’s going on,” said Kenny Todd, a space station manager. “We’re still scratching our heads looking at the data. Hopefully, we can clear that up in relatively short order.”
  • Again endorsing the efforts by his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to seek out corruption in Ukraine involving the 2016 elections, President Donald Trump on Wednesday again pressed a conspiracy theory that a DNC computer server hacked by Russia somehow is now in the hands of a company in Ukraine. 'The server - they say - is held by a company whose primary ownership individual is from Ukraine,' the President told reporters in the Oval Office.  Mr. Trump has been pushing the idea that a company brought in by the Democratic National Committee to examine evidence of hacks by Russian intelligence - Crowdstrike - had ties to Ukraine, darkly hinting that Ukraine, and not Russia, may have been behind the DNC hacks in 2016. 'I think it's very important to see the server,' the President said again on Wednesday, even though there is no evidence to support the idea that the DNC server is in Ukraine. During a July phone call with the leader of Ukraine, President Trump made a specific request that Ukraine help track down the DNC server. 'I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike,' the President said according to notes released by the White House.  'I guess you have one of your wealthy people... The server, they say Ukraine has it,' the transcript states. 'I would like you to get to the bottom of it,' the President is quoted as telling the Ukraine President in that July 25 call. A former top national security aide to President Trump, Thomas Bossert, has sharply criticized the President and top aides in recent weeks for pushing the idea that the DNC server is in Ukraine. 'It's not only a conspiracy theory, it is completely debunked,' Bossert told ABC News in late September. In an interview, Bossert blamed Giuliani and other aides for continuing to talk to the President about the unproven Ukraine involvement in the 2016 hacking, which U.S. Intelligence and the Mueller probe has pinned on Russia. 'I am deeply frustrated with what (Giuliani) and the legal team are doing, in repeating that debunked theory to the President,' Bossert said. 'Let me repeat again, that theory has no validity,' Bossert added.

Washington Insider

  • Angered by the outbreak of violence and a Turkish military invasion in areas of northern Syria held by U.S. forces until just last week, members of both parties joined in the House on Wednesday to deliver a clear rebuke of President Trump as lawmakers easily approved a resolution denouncing the policy change. 'This is one of those rare moments in Congress where we see both sides coming together,' said Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), as the House voted 354-60 for the resolution. The plan decried 'an abrupt withdrawal of United States military personnel from certain parts of Northeast Syria,' saying the resulting change 'is beneficial to adversaries of the United States government, including Syria, Iran, and Russia.' 'President Trump's decision to pull hastily out of Syria has caused a humanitarian disaster, endangers our Kurdish allies, and could cause the resurgence of ISIS,' said Rep. David Trone (D-MD). 'The President has demonstrated complete disregard for the harmful implications that his erratic decision-making will have on our troops,' tweeted Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO). Even among GOP lawmakers who don't like these type of overseas deployments for the U.S. military, there was the overwhelming sense that the President had hastily decided to withdraw, leaving a vacuum which only benefits Russia and its Syrian allies, along with the Islamic State. After the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lumped additional criticism on the White House, when a briefing for lawmakers on the situation in Syria was scrapped. 'I am deeply concerned that the White House has canceled an all-Member classified briefing on the dangerous situation the President has caused in Syria, denying the Congress its right to be informed as it makes decisions about our national security,' Pelosi said. In the Senate it was much the same, as lawmakers in both parties spent much of Wednesday expressing their outrage over the President's decision, baffled that he would unravel years of work with a minimal number of U.S. troops to hem in Syria and the Islamic State - while partnering with Kurdish forces in the region. 'Withdrawal of U.S. troops gave Turkey a green light to go into Syria,' said Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT). At the White House, the President denied that he had given Turkish leaders the green light - but a White House statement issued when Mr. Trump's withdrawal was announced clearly stated that the U.S. expected Turkey to move forces into Northern Syria. 'I want to get out of the Middle East,' the President said on Wednesday. Not long after the vote, members of both parties met with President Trump about Syria - as the meeting quickly turned sour, with Democrats raising objections to the President's moves in withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria, and the President pushing back. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats left the meeting, and told reporters that Mr. Trump had a 'meltdown.' Republican leaders and the White House denied that version of events.
  • Again endorsing the efforts by his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to seek out corruption in Ukraine involving the 2016 elections, President Donald Trump on Wednesday again pressed a conspiracy theory that a DNC computer server hacked by Russia somehow is now in the hands of a company in Ukraine. 'The server - they say - is held by a company whose primary ownership individual is from Ukraine,' the President told reporters in the Oval Office.  Mr. Trump has been pushing the idea that a company brought in by the Democratic National Committee to examine evidence of hacks by Russian intelligence - Crowdstrike - had ties to Ukraine, darkly hinting that Ukraine, and not Russia, may have been behind the DNC hacks in 2016. 'I think it's very important to see the server,' the President said again on Wednesday, even though there is no evidence to support the idea that the DNC server is in Ukraine. During a July phone call with the leader of Ukraine, President Trump made a specific request that Ukraine help track down the DNC server. 'I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike,' the President said according to notes released by the White House.  'I guess you have one of your wealthy people... The server, they say Ukraine has it,' the transcript states. 'I would like you to get to the bottom of it,' the President is quoted as telling the Ukraine President in that July 25 call. A former top national security aide to President Trump, Thomas Bossert, has sharply criticized the President and top aides in recent weeks for pushing the idea that the DNC server is in Ukraine. 'It's not only a conspiracy theory, it is completely debunked,' Bossert told ABC News in late September. In an interview, Bossert blamed Giuliani and other aides for continuing to talk to the President about the unproven Ukraine involvement in the 2016 hacking, which U.S. Intelligence and the Mueller probe has pinned on Russia. 'I am deeply frustrated with what (Giuliani) and the legal team are doing, in repeating that debunked theory to the President,' Bossert said. 'Let me repeat again, that theory has no validity,' Bossert added.
  • Buoyed by the decisions of a series of witnesses to ignore requests by the Trump Administration not to testify before Congress, House Democratic leaders said Tuesday evening that they would push ahead with their impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump, seeing no need to hold an official vote now to authorize a formal probe. 'They can't defend the President, so they're going to process,' said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a news conference at the U.S. Capitol.  'There's no requirement that we have a vote,' Pelosi pointed out accurately about the rules of the House - though Congress in the past has held such votes to officially launch such an investigation. 'What a SCAM,' said Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), as Republicans complained bitterly about closed door depositions, and their inability to control the narrative about the investigation - a reminder that elections do matter, as Democrats are able to run this probe simply because they won control of the House in 2018. Democrats emerged from a closed door meeting in no hurry to have a vote on the House floor, as some lawmakers worried that voters would not be able to divine the difference between launching an investigation, and actually casting a vote on impeachment. Coming out of a closed door meeting, House Democrats were a loose group, not feeling any pressure to force a vote - arguing it would be a meaningless exercise. 'It seems to me that every day they get more information,' said Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), who said there should be no rush to any vote. 'I don't think it matters at this point,' said Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL). 'An inquiry is ongoing.' There were some Democrats who were still withholding judgment. 'I'm not talking, I'm not saying anything,' said Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), who has steadfastly refused to take a position on the impeachment of President Trump. Republicans denounced the effort. 'They know they cannot win at the ballot box with these out of touch ideas, so they are trying to impeach,' said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC). Republicans have focused mainly on the closed door aspect of depositions, arguing they undermine the credibility of the impeachment investigation. But GOP lawmakers routinely used closed door questioning during their own investigations of the Russian interference in the 2016 elections, and with controversies like Uranium One - where GOP lawmakers interviewed a man who supposedly held bombshell evidence about wrongdoing involving Hillary Clinton. The Q&A was done in secret; no transcript was ever relased. And the GOP never issued any details of what was said to lawmakers.
  • On a day when another Trump Administration official refused to follow the directive of the President to not cooperate with a U.S. House impeachment investigation, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer told Democrats that he would heed Mr. Trump's call, and refuse to turn over documents and other information to Congress. 'Mr. Giuliani will not participate because this appears to be an unconstitutional, baseless, and illegitimate 'impeachment inquiry,'' wrote Giuliani's own counsel, John Sale. Those words echoed a missive from the White House last week, in which the President's White House Counsel declared that the Executive Branch would not cooperate with the House impeachment investigation. 'In addition, the subpoena is overbroad, unduly burdensome, and seeks documents beyond the scope of legitimate inquiry,' the Giuliani letter continued, as Democrats look for more information on what Giuliani was doing in Ukraine in recent months. Democrats had asked for 'text messages, phone records, and other communications' about his work in Ukraine in a September 30 letter which set Monday as the deadline to produce information. 'He’s solely focused on obstructing the Impeachment Inquiry,' tweeted Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) about President Trump. 'The White House has engaged in stonewalling and outright defiance of Congressional prerogatives,' said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer. Republicans meanwhile complained that Democrats were running an unfair investigation, echoing attacks from the White House. 'The American people are not participants in this process,' said Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX), as Republicans said a series of closed door depositions should be made public. As lawmakers in Congress returned from a two week break, some Republicans were reminded of their past statements about figures who refused to honor subpoenas during investigations. Meanwhile, as questioning continued behind closed doors for another State Department witness, an interesting break was developing in this investigation - while high profile witnesses like Giuliani were defying subpoenas, former Trump Administration and State Department officials were not. On Tuesday, George Kent, a State Department official who specializes in Ukraine policy was answering questions, even though he had been directed not to answer any. Wednesday is expected to bring testimony from a former top aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Michael McKinley abruptly resigned from his State Department post earlier this month.
  • WOKV Washington Insider Jamie Dupree took a short break from covering news on Capitol Hill to receive the Radio Television Digital News Association award for innovation. The national award was the latest mark in what has been a years-long personal battle for Dupree.  Following an illness in 2016, Dupree found himself unable to speak in more than a few words at a time. He eventually received a diagnosis of a rare neurological disorder, tongue protrusion dystonia.  The veteran reporter, who has been staple on WOKV and other Cox Media Group news and talk radio stations, continued to work off the radio by sending stories featuring local lawmakers and writing stories in his Washington Insider Blog.  Then in June of 2018, listeners were able to hear Jamie’s voice once again, as Jamie Dupree 2.0 debuted.  Cox Media Group partnered with Scotland-based tech company CereProc to produce a text-to-speech program that compiles years of Jamie’s actual voice.  “The listeners obviously knew something was very wrong when I disappeared from the radio, and I felt it was important to let them know what was going on – and especially important to let them know that I wasn’t dying,” said Dupree.  The RTDNA said Dupree’s story is innovative not only in multiplatform storytelling, but in the use of technology at the heart of the story.  “Since its initial version, the digital Jamie Dupree 2.0 has been improved to sound more natural and less electronic, and regular listeners have gotten used to it. But not all the feedback has been positive. “In today’s world of social media, I routinely get nasty messages each week from people who celebrate the loss of my voice, tell me that I should lose my job, and more. One of the weirdest things has been the accusations by people that since I lost my real voice, I’ve become biased. I think that’s just a sign of the current political times we are in right now,” said Dupree.”.   Dupree’s condition has not changed much, but he has found ways to innovate in the way he communicated with his wife and kids, as well as colleagues and lawmakers on Capitol Hill.  “Yes, I would much rather be able to speak – but it was great to get this kind of recognition for the work done by our company to find a way to keep me on the radio”, said Dupree.