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National News

    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.
  • With a trial looming, major drug distributors and manufacturers are pressing to settle thousands of claims against them related to the nation's persistent opioid crisis. The companies are negotiating with state attorneys general as jury selection is expected to wrap up on Thursday in the first federal trial over an overdose epidemic that has claimed more than 400,000 American lives in the past two decades. Arguments are scheduled to begin Monday against some of the biggest names in the pharmaceutical industry unless they can strike a deal. A source familiar with the negotiations described the outlines of a tentative nationwide settlement as worth tens of billions of dollars. The talks involve the distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson, as well as drug makers Johnson & Johnson and Teva. Under the proposed terms, which could change, the three distributors would pay a total of $18 billion over 18 years, Johnson & Johnson would chip in $4 billion over time, and Teva would contribute an estimated $15 billion worth of overdose antidotes and treatment drugs. Another $14 billion would come from distribution of those drugs, based on calculations of how much a distributor could charge for them. The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the talks were continuing. Samantha Fisher, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee attorney general's office, confirmed a $50 billion settlement framework that was first reported by The New York Times. If a tentative settlement is reached in the days ahead, it would need sign-off by the states and local governments that have sued numerous players in the opioid industry. Perhaps the most well-known of those, Purdue Pharma, was taken out of the consolidated federal lawsuits after it filed last month for bankruptcy protection. The litigation is being overseen by a U.S. District Court judge in Cleveland, who is moving ahead with an initial trial that involves Ohio's Cuyahoga and Summit counties. They claim the companies engaged in a conspiracy that has ravaged their communities, while the companies say they complied with the law and supplied only drugs that doctors prescribed. Several companies, including Johnson & Johnson, have already reached settlements with the two counties and have been removed from the trial. If the three distributors and two manufacturers succeed in getting a nationwide settlement, it would leave only two defendants in the immediate case: the pharmacy chain Walgreens, in its role as a distributor to its own stores; and Henry Schein, a small distributor. While the case concerns only claims for the two counties, it can pave the way for resolving more than 2,000 other lawsuits filed over the opioid crisis. ___ Mulvihill reported from Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Associated Press writer Jonathan Mattise in Nashville, Tennessee, contributed to this report.
  • In the days after Atatiana Jefferson's killing in her own home by a white Fort Worth police officer, many in the black community say they've seen at least initial signs of swifter action with the officer's arrest, but also are noticing some recurring and troubling themes. These include the release of police body camera footage and details from an arrest warrant showing that Jefferson had a gun — moves that are being perceived as attempts to place blame on the victim. Jefferson's shooting Saturday in her home is the latest high-profile one in the era of the Black Lives Matter movement, which the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, helped fuel in 2014. The events that followed her shooting have unfolded in ways that are both typical and unique, leaving her family and activists to balance hope with caution. The officer who shot her, Aaron Dean, was taken into custody two days after the killing. Jefferson's family had been calling for an arrest. 'We would want them to move as swiftly as they move when it's a black person who is accused of a crime,' said attorney Benjamin Crump, who has represented several black families whose loved ones were killed by police officers in recent years. 'It should not be any different if you have a gun or badge.' Jefferson, 28, was killed in the early hours after a neighbor saw the front door at Jefferson's house had been left open and called police. Jefferson had stayed up late playing a video game with her 8-year-old nephew, who saw her get shot. She was shot through a back window by Dean, who was outside the home. Dean was not heard identifying himself as police on the bodycam video, and Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus has said there was no sign Dean or the other officer who responded even knocked on the front door. Dean resigned before being charged with murder Monday. The killing immediately sparked outrage and peaceful protests in Jefferson's Texas community, which was still reeling from last year's shooting death of 26-year-old Botham Jean, a black accountant from the Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia who was killed in his apartment by a white Dallas police officer who was his neighbor. The officer, Amber Guyger, was fired soon after the shooting and charged with murder. Guyger, who said she mistook Jean's apartment for her own, was convicted earlier this month — a rare jury decision — and sentenced to 10 years in prison, a punishment seen by some as too lenient for the crime. On Monday, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, who is white, penned a letter to the city expressing sadness and regret for Jefferson's death, an unusual move for a public official in such cases. 'On behalf of the entire city of Fort Worth — I am sorry,' the letter reads. 'To Atatiana's family — I am sorry. There is nothing to justify or explain what happened on Saturday morning. Nothing.' Price's letter also addressed James Smith, the concerned neighbor who called police, and Jefferson's nephew, who she asked the city to surround with prayers and support. But even as the mayor and police chief were calling the shooting of Jefferson, a college graduate who was considering medical school, inexcusable, the inclusion of photos of a handgun found inside her home with the bodycam footage was seized upon by some as an effort to discredit her. Similarly, some reacted negatively to an arrest warrant that quoted Jefferson's nephew as saying his aunt pulled out a gun after hearing suspicious noises behind her house. Price in her letter denounced the Police Department's initial mention of Jefferson's licensed handgun as 'irrelevant.' Jean was unarmed but authorities pointed out that he had marijuana in his apartment, which activists called an attempt to smear him. And after Brown was killed by white Ferguson officer Darren Wilson, police said the unarmed, black 18-year-old was suspected of stealing cigarillos from a convenience store before the shooting and they released surveillance video of Brown, which upset protesters. There have been encouraging signs of transparency in the handling of Jefferson's killing, with police releasing the bodycam footage and Dean's name to the public on Monday, said Villanova sociologist Jill McCorkel, author of 'Breaking Women: Gender, Race and the New Politics of Imprisonment.' 'It's critical that those names are released right away,' said McCorkel, whose work focuses on police violence against women. 'If Jefferson had shot first, her name would've been released to the press immediately,' she added. 'We should have the same balance of accountability, particularly because police are public servants acting in all of our names.' Fort Worth police have had six deadly force shootings since June, and activists have been pushing for reform in the city for several years. Civil litigation attorney Geoffrey Fieger said some law enforcement agencies now appear to be responding appropriately and firing officers involved in misconduct. 'In the past, (police departments) didn't even fire them,' said Fieger, a Detroit-based lawyer who represented the family of 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones. The family sued the city and was awarded more than $8 million after she was shot to death during a 2010 police raid at her home while sleeping on a sofa. While Dean wasn't fired, Kraus said he would've been had he not stepped down voluntarily. Jason C. Johnson, president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, said caution should be taken while the facts are still being investigated. 'There is tremendous pressure on mayors and prosecutors and police chiefs to take dramatic and very swift and harsh action on cases that target this type of attention,' Johnson said. 'Normally, these cases will be reviewed more exhaustingly.' Some are already skeptical that they will see Dean held accountable in a courtroom, an outcome not often seen in cases where the officer is a defendant. Louis LaFleur, a 68-year-old retired school custodian who lives a block from Jefferson's home, said he has little faith in the criminal justice system in the case. 'Whatever they're going to do, they're going to do it,' said LaFleur, who is black. 'He's the lawman. He's got people behind him all the way. We don't have that.' ___ Associated Press writers Jake Bleiberg in Fort Worth and Nomaan Merchant in Houston contributed. Haines reported from Philadelphia, and Williams from Detroit.
  • A former top State Department aide testified in the impeachment inquiry that the Trump administration's politicization of foreign policy contributed to his resignation, while the Senate GOP leader briefed colleagues on a possible Christmas impeachment trial. The day's events, interrupted by an explosive meeting at the White House, churned as longtime State Department officials continued speaking out under subpoena — some revealing striking new details — about the actions President Donald Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, took toward Ukraine that have sparked the House investigation. On Wednesday, Michael McKinley, a career foreign service officer and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's de facto chief of staff, told investigators behind closed doors that he could no longer look the other way amid the Trump administration's dealings with Ukraine, which were among the reasons he ended his 37-year career last week, according to multiple people familiar with the testimony, who, like others who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, were not authorized to discuss it. 'I was disturbed by the implication that foreign governments were being approached to procure negative information on political opponents,' McKinley testified, according to a former colleague familiar with his remarks. The impeachment inquiry revolves around a whistleblower's complaint that Trump was pushing Ukraine's leader into opening an investigation of a company connected to the son of Trump's potential 2020 Democratic rival Joe Biden. It is illegal to solicit or receive foreign help in a U.S. election. Among McKinley's concerns was the administration's failure to support Ukrainian Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who was ousted in March on orders from Trump. McKinley, who as a Latin America expert was not specifically involved in Ukraine, was also frustrated that there had been no response to an August inspector general's report that found significant evidence of leadership and management problems, including allegations from career employees that Assistant Secretary of State Kevin Moley and his former senior adviser Marie Stull retaliated or tried to retaliate against them as holdovers from the Obama administration. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., told reporters outside the closed-door hearing that McKinley was complimentary about Pompeo's role but did raise other issues. 'I think most of this is a concern by a colleague for an ambassador that he held in high regard,' Meadows said, declining to provide more details of the closed session. Republicans are crying foul over the process of the impeachment inquiry, but as House Democrats press on with the investigation, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell briefed Republicans about the possible trial ahead. McConnell warned of a possible House impeachment vote by Thanksgiving that would force a trial in the Senate, likely by Christmas. He used slides and history lessons during a private Senate GOP lunch in the Capitol to talk about the process, according to a person familiar with the meeting. At the White House, congressional leaders abruptly ended an explosive meeting with the president on the situation in Syria, when Trump called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a 'third-grade politician,' according to Democrats. Pelosi said later the president was having a 'meltdown.' Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said he knows his House colleagues didn't run for office to conduct an impeachment investigation, but he said, 'The facts that are already in the public domain are so deeply troubling and must be taken very seriously.' Another key figure in the impeachment investigation, special envoy Kurt Volker, returned to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to review the transcript of his Oct. 3 testimony to investigators, according to a person familiar with his appearance. Volker provided text messages to lawmakers that revealed an effort at the State Department to push Ukraine's leader into opening an investigation of the gas company Burisma connected to Biden's son, Hunter, in return for a visit with Trump. That effort soon escalated into what one diplomat feared was a quid pro quo for U.S. military aid. Trump has denied that, saying assistance to Ukraine was delayed to pressure the country into addressing corruption. Another ambassador involved in those text message exchanges, Gordon Sondland, has been asked to appear Thursday. The testimony so far from the witnesses, mainly officials from the State Department and other foreign policy posts, largely corroborates the account of the government whistleblower whose complaint first sparked the impeachment inquiry, according to lawmakers attending the closed-door interviews. One witness said it appeared 'three amigos' tied to the White House —Sondland, Volker and Energy Secretary Rick Perry — had taken over foreign policy. Another quoted national security adviser John Bolton as calling Giuliani a 'hand grenade' for his back-channel efforts to get Ukraine to investigate Biden and Biden's son Hunter. Trump's July 25 phone call in which he pressed Ukraine's president , Volodymr Zelenskiy, to investigate Biden's family is at the center of the Democrats' inquiry. Pelosi, despite intensifying calls from Trump and Republicans to hold a formal vote to authorize the impeachment inquiry, showed no indication she would do so. She said Congress will continue its investigation as part of the Constitution's system of checks and balances of the executive branch. 'This is not a game for us. This is deadly serious. We're on a path that is taking us, a path to the truth,' Pelosi told reporters Tuesday. Trump calls the impeachment inquiry an 'illegitimate process' and has blocked officials from cooperating. At the same time, Republicans are bracing for a vote and trial. House GOP Whip Steve Scalise invited GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, who was an impeachment manager decades ago during President Bill Clinton's impeachment, to brief Republican lawmakers on the process ahead. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee overseeing the probe, has praised the State Department officials for stepping forward, under subpoena, to shed light on the matter. 'We have learned much of this thanks to the courageous testimony of the State Department officials who have been put in an impossible situation by the administration,' which is urging them not to comply with requests to testify to Congress, he said. 'They are doing their duty.' ___ Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo, Andrew Taylor, Matthew Daly, Colleen Long, Padmananda Rama, Eric Tucker and Alan Fram contributed to this report.
  • The U.S. ambassador to the European Union is expected to tell House lawmakers conducting an impeachment inquiry that he was merely repeating President Donald Trump's reassurances when he told another envoy that there was no quid pro quo in the administration's dealings with Ukraine. Gordon Sondland, scheduled to appear Thursday, would be the latest in a series of witnesses to be interviewed behind closed doors by House lawmakers. Trump blocked his appearance last week, but Democrats promptly subpoenaed Sondland. His appearance is especially anticipated since text messages and other witness testimony place him at the center of a foreign policy dialogue with Ukraine that forms the basis of the impeachment inquiry and that officials feared circumvented normal channels. Part of that effort involved pushing the former Soviet republic to commit to politically charged investigations sought by Trump, including into a gas company connected to the son of Democratic rival Joe Biden. Sondland, whose name surfaced in a whistleblower complaint in August, is certain to be asked about text messages that show him working with two other diplomats to navigate the interests of Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. The messages show the diplomats discussing an arrangement in which Ukraine's leader would be offered a White House visit in exchange for a public statement by Ukraine committing to undertake investigations into the 2016 U.S. presidential election and into Burisma, the gas company. One text exchange that has attracted particular attention involves one diplomat, William 'Bill' Taylor, telling Sondland that he thought it was 'crazy' to withhold military aid from Ukraine 'for help with a political campaign.' Sondland said in response that Trump had been clear about his intentions and that there was no quid pro quo. Now, Sondland is prepared to tell lawmakers that Trump told him by phone before he sent the text that there was no quid pro quo and that he was simply parroting those reassurances to Taylor, according to a person familiar with his account. He is expected to say that though he did understand there to be a quid pro quo involving a White House visit, he did not associate Burisma with the Biden family and believed that an anti-corruption public statement was a goal widely shared across the administration. Sondland will be testifying three days after Fiona Hill, a former White House aide, said that his actions so unnerved then-national security adviser John Bolton that Bolton said he was not part of 'whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up' — a reference to White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. But Sondland is prepared to say that neither Hill nor Bolton personally raised concerns about the Ukraine work directly with him, according to the person familiar with his account. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the private information. House lawmakers have been hearing over the last two weeks from other diplomats and administration officials, including from the State Department. The most recent was Michael McKinley, a career service officer and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's de facto chief of staff, who testified that the Trump administration's politicization of foreign policy contributed to his resignation. ____ Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP
  • 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 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.