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National News

    Aww! Model, TV host and cookbook author Chrissy Teigen took to Instagram on Sunday to share a sweet photo and reveal the name of her newborn son. >> Chrissy Teigen, John Legend welcome baby boy 'Hello, world! This is Miles Theodore Stephens,' Teigen wrote. 'We are drowning in his little peeps and nuzzles. Our household feels overwhelmed with love. Thank you for all your well wishes!' >> See the post here Meanwhile, Teigen's husband, singer John Legend, shared the same photo with the caption: 'Our new love, Miles Theodore Stephens.' It's the first photo the celebrity couple has shared of their second child, who joins big sister Luna, 2. >> Read more trending news  On Thursday, Teigen announced that the baby boy had arrived but did not give any other details. 'Somebody’s herrrrrrre!' she tweeted at the time. >> See the tweet here Read more here.
  • Patients at St. Joseph's Hospice in London received a special gift after Saturday's royal wedding. >> Meghan Markle's rescue dog, Guy the beagle, goes from shelter pup to royal pet According to People magazine, Britain's Prince Harry and bride Meghan Markle, now the Duchess of Sussex, gave the hospice some flowers that had been used to decorate St. George's Chapel for their ceremony. >> Royal wedding: Kitty Spencer stuns with resemblance to her aunt, Princess Diana 'Today we got a very special delivery. Beautiful bouquets made from the #royalwedding flowers which we gave to our patients,' the hospice wrote on Facebook, along with a photo of a smiling patient holding a bouquet. 'A big thank you to Harry and Meghan and florist Philippa Craddock. Our hospice smells and looks gorgeous. Such a lovely gesture.' >> See the post here >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  Meanwhile, Markle sent her bridal bouquet to Westminster Abbey 'to rest on the Grave of the Unknown Warrior,' a tribute to those who died in World War I and other military conflicts, according to a press release. >> Read more trending news  'This is a tradition which was begun by HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, at her marriage to King George VI in memory of her brother Fergus who was killed in 1915 at the Battle of Loos during the First World War,' the release said. >> See the photo here
  • A former Oklahoma teacher is facing two misdemeanor charges after witnesses say she physically injured her special education students. >> Watch the news report here KFOR reported last week that Holly Noelle Morris, 38, is accused of 'choking, punching, pinching and squeezing two of her students on several occasions' while she was working as a special education teacher for Piedmont Public Schools.  >> Read more trending news  According to an arrest affidavit, one parent said her son came home with bruises on his face and neck. A video also showed Morris dragging one student, the affidavit said. Morris, who was arrested and charged with two counts of causing a child to be deprived, resigned in February, KFOR reported. Read more here.
  • An outgoing and 'really funny' student who blocked the door to try to prevent the gunman from entering the classroom, an exchange student who aspired to work in civil service and a substitute teacher who frequently hosted gatherings were among the 10 people killed at a Texas high school. Family members and friends of the eight students and two teachers fatally shot Friday fondly remembered their loved ones. They used such words as sweet, hardworking and loving. Eight of the 10 were students: Kimberly Vaughan, Shana Fisher, Angelique Ramirez, Christian Riley Garcia, Jared Black, Sabika Sheikh, Christopher Jake Stone and Aaron Kyle McLeod. The other two, Glenda Perkins and Cynthia Tisdale, were substitute teachers. At least 13 others were injured in the attack at the high school in Santa Fe, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of Houston. A 17-year-old student, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, is being held on capital murder charges. Here are some of the victims' stories: GLENDA PERKINS Perkins for years had been a substitute teacher at Santa Fe High School, where her grandchildren are students. Student Jay Mann, a junior, tells the Houston Chronicle she always had a smile on her face, took the time to learn students' names and became part of the fabric of the school. Mann says she had a great attitude and 'never got mad at anybody for doing something stupid.' An all-female Galveston Mardi Gras krewe, Tutu Live Krewe, has posted on Facebook that Perkins, along with her daughter, was a member of their marching group. ANGELIQUE RAMIREZ The senior pastor at Dayspring Church says Ramirez was a member of the Santa Fe church's youth ministry. Pastor Brad Drake says she had occasionally accompanied a younger brother to the ministry at the church where her parents are among the some 150 people to attend Sunday services. Drake on Sunday described the 15-year-old as 'a sweet young lady, had a style all of her own.' He says she 'almost always had a new hairstyle.' An aunt, Sylvia Pritchett, said in a Facebook post she has 'a broken heart and a soul that just can't process all this right now.' JARED BLACK Black turned 17 on Wednesday and was looking forward to a party this weekend at his family's just-purchased, above-ground swimming pool. An older brother, Anthony, from Odessa, Texas, was planning to visit with his wife and kids. Jared also had a younger brother, Houston, 13. The Houston Chronicle reports his family now is planning for his funeral. His stepfather, Travis Stanich, tells the newspaper Black took daily medication for attention deficit disorder and was quiet and kind and loved art, video games and sci-fi, wrestling and wolves. Stanich called him 'a great kid' who was creative, drew cartoons and loved people. SHANA FISHER The mother of 16-year-old Shana Fisher believes that her daughter was intentionally targeted by Pagourtzis. Sadie Rodriguez said Pagourtzis repeatedly made advances toward Fisher in the four months leading up to the shooting. Pagourtzis was an ex-boyfriend of Fisher's best friend, she said. 'He kept making advances on her and she repeatedly told him no,' said Rodriguez over Facebook Messenger. 'He continued to get more aggressive.' Rodriguez said that the week before the shooting, Fisher 'stood up to him' by 'embarrass(ing) him in class.' Rodriguez gave no other details. Rodriguez described her daughter as 'shy and sweet' with a passion for video games. Rodriguez shared a video of Fisher from 2015, in which the teen contemplates whether or not she'll continue making gaming videos because her computer keeps crashing. The day of the shooting, Rodriguez wrote in a Facebook status to 'love like (you're) getting one more day with them.' 'Anything can happen,' she wrote. 'I will no longer get to see my baby my 1st born anymore.' CHRIS STONE Stone was among a group of students who blocked the door to try to prevent the gunman from entering their art classroom, freshman Abel San Miguel, who was in the class, told The Associated Press. The shooter fired his shotgun through the door, though, striking Stone in the chest, he said. Stone was outgoing, 'really funny' and had a lot of friends, said Branden Auzston, a 17-year-old junior at Santa Fe High. He said he knew Stone for about three years, and Stone was one of his best friends. Auzston's mother, Nicole Auzston, described Stone as a part of her family. 'We would have done anything for him,' she said. 'He's just a great kid.' Robert Stone told the AP by phone Saturday that his family was grieving his nephew's death and requested privacy. SABIKA SHEIKH Abdul Aziz Sheikh was expecting his daughter Sabika to return home to Pakistan in a few weeks for Eid al-Fitr, the three-day holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Instead, he learned that his oldest child was among those killed in the mass shooting at Santa Fe High School, where Sabika arrived as an exchange student last August. Surrounded by mourning friends and family at his home in Karachi on Saturday, Abdul Aziz Sheikh fought back tears as he relived his frantic efforts to check whether his daughter was safe half a world away. She wasn't returning his calls and neither were her friends. He eventually learned from the exchange program that she was among the dead. 'We are still in a state of denial. We can't believe it. It's like a nightmare,' Sheikh told The Associated Press. He said his daughter was a hardworking and accomplished student who aspired to work in civil service, hoping one day to join Pakistan's Foreign Office. 'One should not lose his heart by such kind of incidents,' he said. 'One should not stop going for education to the U.S. or U.K., or China, or anywhere. One must go for education undeterred. But controlling such incidents is the responsibility of the respective governments.' CYNTHIA TISDALE Leia Olinde said Tisdale, her aunt and a substitute teacher at the school, was like a mother to her and helped her shop for wedding dresses last year. 'She helped me put it on, she helped fix my hair,' Olinde said through tears. 'She was wonderful. She was just so loving,' said Olinde, 25. 'I've never met a woman who loved her family so much.' She said Tisdale was married to her husband for close to 40 years and that they had three children and eight grandchildren. Tisdale's house was the center of family gatherings and she loved cooking Thanksgiving dinner and decorating her house, Olinde said. Olinde's fiance, Eric Sanders, said of Tisdale that 'words don't explain her lust for life and the joy she got from helping people.' AARON KYLE MCLEOD McLeod, a freshman who went by Kyle, could always be counted on to make light of any situation, said close friend Kali Reeves, who added she wouldn't have been surprised if the 15-year-old 'made a joke about getting shot' if he were still alive. Reeves, 15, said she knew McLeod for years and became close friends with him in the eighth grade. She said he always had a smile on his face and loved to hang out with his friends. 'He was never one to be a sad or down person, he always had to joke or laugh about things,' she said. 'He was just outgoing and super sweet. He definitely didn't deserve this.' Reeves heard that her friend had been shot as she was evacuating Santa Fe High School. She joked to her boyfriend that if she FaceTimed McLeod, he would have 'made a joke about him getting shot,' adding that 'he just always looked on the bright side of things.' Reeves said she texted McLeod throughout the day to check up on him. She sent him one final text, saying she hopes he 'gets better.' Shortly after, she checked Facebook and learned he was one of the 10 killed. ___ Zimmerman reported from Springfield, Illinois. Associated Press writers Sudhin Thanawala in San Francisco and Amanda Lee Myers in Los Angeles and Michael Graczyk in Houston contributed to this report.
  • President Donald Trump is attending the swearing-in of the CIA's first female director. The ceremony for Gina Haspel is taking place Monday morning at agency headquarters in Langley, Virginia. A veteran spy, Haspel won Senate confirmation last week after overcoming concerns about her role in the agency's use of harsh interrogation techniques after 9/11. The 33-year CIA employee was backed by many in the CIA rank and file and senior intelligence officials, including former CIA directors and national intelligence directors. Opponents argued it was wrong to reward someone who supervised a covert detention site in Thailand where terror suspects were harshly interrogated. Trump tapped the 61-year-old Kentucky native to lead the nation's premier intelligence agency after he nominated then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo to succeed Rex Tillerson as secretary of state.
  • White plumes of acid and extremely fine shards of glass billowed into the sky over Hawaii as molten rock from Kilauea volcano poured into the ocean, creating yet another hazard from an eruption that began more than two weeks ago. Authorities on Sunday warned the public to stay away from the toxic steam cloud, which is formed by a chemical reaction when lava touches seawater. Further upslope, lava continued to gush out of large cracks in the ground that formed in residential neighborhoods in a rural part of the Big Island. The molten rock formed rivers that bisected forests and farms as it meandered toward the coast. The rate of sulfur dioxide gas shooting from the ground fissures tripled, leading Hawaii County to repeat warnings about air quality. At the volcano's summit, two explosive eruptions unleashed clouds of ash. Winds carried much of the ash toward the southwest. Joseph Kekedi, an orchid grower who lives and works about 3 miles (5 kilometers) from where lava dropped into the sea, said luckily the flow didn't head toward him. At one point, it was about a mile upslope from his property in the coastal community of Kapoho. He said residents can't do much but stay informed and be ready to get out of the way. 'Here's nature reminding us again who's boss,' Kekedi said. Scientists said the steam clouds at the spots where lava entered the ocean were laced with hydrochloric acid and fine glass particles that can irrigate the skin and eyes and cause breathing problems. The lava haze, or 'laze,' from the plume spread as far as 15 miles (24 kilometers) west of where the lava met the ocean on the Big Island's southern coast. It was just offshore and running parallel to the coast, said U.S. Geological Survey scientist Wendy Stovall. Scientists said the acid in the plume was about as corrosive as diluted battery acid. The glass was in the form of fine glass shards. Getting hit by it might feel like being sprinkled with glitter. 'If you're feeling stinging on your skin, go inside,' Stovall said. Authorities warned that the plume could shift direction if the winds changed. The Coast Guard said it was enforcing a safety zone extending 984 feet (300 meters) around the ocean entry point. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. John Bannon said in a statement Sunday that 'getting too close to the lava can result in serious injury or death.' Gov. David Ige told reporters in Hilo that the state was monitoring the volcano and keeping people safe. 'Like typical eruptions and lava flows, it's really allowing Madam Pele to run its course,' he said, referring to the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes and fire. Ige said he was thankful that the current flows weren't risking homes and hoped it would stay that way. On Saturday, the eruption claimed its first major injury. David Mace, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency who was helping Hawaii County respond to the disaster, said a man was struck in the leg by a flying piece of lava. He didn't have further details, including what condition the man was in. Kilauea has burned some 40 structures, including two dozen homes, since it began erupting in people's backyards in the Leilani Estates neighborhood on May 3. Some 2,000 people have evacuated their homes, including 300 who were staying in shelters. In recent days, the lava began to move more quickly and emerge from the ground in greater volume. Scientists said that's because the lava that first erupted was magma left over from a 1955 erupted that had been stored in the ground for the past six decades. The molten rock that began emerging over the past few days was from magma that has recently moved down the volcano's eastern flank from one or two craters that sit further upslope — the Puu Oo crater and the summit crater. The new lava is hotter, moves faster and has spread over a wider area. Scientists say they don't know how long the eruption will last. The volcano has opened more than 20 vents, including four that have merged into one large crack. This vent has been gushing lava high into the sky and sending a river of molten rock toward the ocean at about 300 yards (274 meters) per hour. Hawaii tourism officials have stressed that most of the Big Island remains unaffected by the eruption and is open for business. ___ McAvoy reported from Honolulu. Associated Press journalists Jae C. Hong and Marco Garcia in Pahoa contributed to this report.
  • The United States and China are pulling back from the brink of a trade war after the world's two biggest economies reported progress in talks aimed at bringing down America's massive trade deficit with Beijing. 'We are putting the trade war on hold,' Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday. After high-level talks Thursday and Friday in Washington, Beijing agreed in a joint statement with the U.S. to 'substantially reduce' America's trade deficit with China, but did not commit to cut the gap by any specific amount. The Trump administration had sought to slash the deficit by $200 billion. Still, Mnuchin said the two countries had made 'meaningful progress' and that the administration has agreed to put on hold proposed tariffs on up to $150 billion in Chinese products. China had promised to retaliate in a move that threatened a tit for tat trade war. He said they expect to see a big increase — 35 percent to 45 percent this year alone — in U.S. farm sales to China. Mnuchin also forecast a doubling in sales of U.S. energy products to the Chinese market, increasing energy exports by $50 billion to $60 billion in the next three years to five years. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who has been part of the U.S. negotiating team, will go to China soon to follow up on last week's discussions, Mnuchin said. In Saturday's statement, Beijing committed to 'significantly increase' its purchases of American goods and services, saying the increase would 'meet the growing consumption needs of the Chinese people and the need for high-quality economic development.' Last year, the U.S. had a record $376 billion deficit with China in the trade of goods; that was the largest by far with any nation. Trade analysts were not surprised that China refused to agree to a numerical target for cutting the trade gap, but they said the talks probably were more successful in easing trade tensions. 'The Trump administration seems eager to engineer at minimum a temporary peace with China to ensure a smooth run-up to the Kim-Trump summit in June,' Cornell University economist Eswar Prasad said, referring to the June 12 meeting scheduled between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. If there is success in the U.S.-China discussions, analysts suggest it likely would involve the countries' presidents this fall before the November elections. 'Part of the good news for markets: As long as both sides continue to be 'constructively' engaged, imposition of additional tariffs by either side is very unlikely,' analysts at investment management firm Evercore ISI said in a research note. 'There is no reason for either side — particularly the U.S. — to destroy the process that both sides are building, which is what imposing tariffs would do.' Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., praised the administration's efforts with China. 'It's smart to engage China on trade abuses, and it would also be smart to get them more involved in trying to help us with North Korea,' Graham said. Trump campaigned in 2016 on a pledge to get tough on China and other U.S. trading partners. He views the U.S. trade deficit with China as evidence that Beijing is engaged in abusive trading practices and has outmaneuvered previous U.S. administrations. Last August, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer began investigating Beijing's strong-arm tactics to challenge U.S. technological dominance. These include outright cybertheft of U.S. companies' trade secrets and China's demands that American corporations hand over technology in exchange for access to the Chinese markets. Last month, the administration proposed tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports to protest the forced technology transfers. Trump later ordered Lighthizer to seek up to an additional $100 billion in Chinese products to tax. China responded by targeting $50 billion in U.S. products, including soybeans — a shot at Trump supporters in America's heartland. The prospect of an escalating trade war has shaken financial markets and alarmed business leaders. In a separate controversy, the Commerce Department last month blocked China's ZTE Corp. from importing American components for seven years, accusing the telecommunications company of misleading U.S. regulators after it settled charges last year of violating sanctions against Iran and North Korea. The ban amounted to a death sentence for ZTE, which relies heavily on U.S. parts, and the company announced that it was halting operations. A week ago, Trump tweeted that he was working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to put ZTE 'back in business, fast.' Media reports suggested that the U.S. was offering to swap a ZTE rescue for an end to proposed Chinese tariffs on U.S. farm products. Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, called Trump's intervention in the case 'outrageous' and said that using ZTE 'as a bargaining chip ... is not in the best interests of our national security.' White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said there could be 'some small changes around the edges' in the sanctions against ZTE. But Kudlow added: 'Do not expect ZTE to get off scot-free. It ain't gonna happen.' Mnuchin and Graham appeared on 'Fox News Sunday,' Warner spoke on CNN's 'State of the Union' and Kudlow was interviewed on ABC's 'This Week.' ___ AP Business Writer Marcy Gordon contributed to this report.
  • She stood at her bedroom door for five minutes Saturday morning trying to work up the courage to turn the knob and re-enter a world she worried would never feel safe or whole again. Then she crept down the hallway, toward the front porch where she stood the morning before to watch police cars screaming down the highway toward the high school, and imagined she'd never forget the screech of their sirens. Christina Delgado had been dreading the next school shooting for months, since a gunman stormed a high school 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) away in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people. Her 13-year-old daughter watched it unfold on television and said she was afraid to go to school. So Delgado had taken an unpopular stand in her home state of Texas, with some of the most permissible gun laws in America: She attended town hall meetings, quizzed candidates running for office about their stance on guns and drove to Houston to join the March for Our Lives rally — as thousands across the country, galvanized by the outspoken students who survived the Parkland shooting, took to the streets to call for gun laws that might stop the all-too-common occurrence of children being massacred in their classrooms. Then Delgado woke up Friday morning to find that the very thing she had marched against had arrived on her own doorstep. A teenage boy opened fire with his father's shotgun and handgun at Santa Fe High School a few miles down the road, in an attack that left 10 dead, eight of them children, in the first mass school shooting amid the Parkland students' movement. 'I want people to know how real and how terrifying and how painful and how possible this is,' Delgado said. 'It's not supposed to happen here. We're Texas, we're responsible gun owners. We care about our kids, we care about our communities, we care about our families. And we failed them. It's like a slap in the face.' Delgado, a hairdresser and mother of two, remembers the day like a dream: a call from her best friend who couldn't find her children, running down the highway in her pajamas, passing screaming parents and teenagers covered in blood. The chaotic day devastated this small, conservative city, where everyone knows their neighbors and just about everyone owns a gun. And it thrust Santa Fe and its population of 13,000 people into the center of the intractable battle over firearms, the nuance of which Delgado worries will be lost again in the country's caustic, us-versus-them political climate. On Sunday morning, even as residents sought refuge in their churches , the simmering debate was never far away. At Arcadia First Baptist Church, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a staunch advocate for gun rights, hugged grieving parishioners as they arrived, surrounded by dozens of television cameras, photographers and reporters. Monica Bracknell, an 18-year-old senior who survived the shooting, stopped to tell the governor that the attack should not be used as a political push for gun control. 'People are making this into a political issue,' she said. 'This is not a political issue. This is not a gun law issue.' Texas has been among the states most strident in its support for gun rights, even as mass shootings have caused other states to slowly start tightening laws. But after a gunman killed 20 elementary school children and six adults at a school in Connecticut in 2012, Texas lawmakers expanded gun rights in the state. When a man killed more than two dozen people at a church last year in Sutherland Springs, Texas, the state's attorney general, Ken Paxton, said there ought to be more guns in churches. In the days after the high school shooting, little evidence was emerging that it would rouse a different sentiment this time from Texas' pro-gun lawmakers. In Parkland, students united in a fervent call for change. In Texas, many students and their parents echoed Bracknell: that something needs to be done to protect students, but something other than enacting gun control laws. On Sunday, the National Rifle Association's incoming president blamed Ritalin for school shootings , although there is no indication it or any other drugs are being looked into in this case. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick blamed abortions and violent video games. Gov. Abbott pledged to convene a roundtable of experts and advocates for both gun rights and gun control to discuss what needs to change to protect schoolchildren. He laid lilies under the sign at Santa Fe High School on Sunday, then spoke to the media about possible solutions: hardening schools, metal detectors, monitoring students' social media accounts. He promised 'swift and meaningful action' to 'ensure that we will build a pathway to reforms so that other students will not have to live through a nightmare like these students had to go through.' It was the most terrifying event of Heidi McMillen's life. The sophomore had been on the other side of the school when the shots broke out, and ran down the highway with a mob of other teens desperate to get to safety. Just 93 days had passed since children in Parkland had done the same. 'We can't just keep going the way that we are, because it's just going to keep happening,' she said. 'It feels like there's not much we can do in the amount of time we have. Who knows when the next school shooting is going to happen.' She reflected on her word choice: when, not if, another gunman will terrorize another school. 'That's not OK,' she said. 'It's not OK that we have to assume it will happen again. It should never happen again. But what do we do?' She doesn't think gun regulations are the answer. She lives in a home with guns, she respects them and she believes they make her safer — until the wrong person gets ahold of one. But she said something must be done or more children will die in shootings, and even more will survive them and be left to feel guilty, like she does, for laughing, for having fun, for being a kid. 'It's hard for me to be OK with thinking that I can have a life after this,' she said. Delgado, too, woke up Saturday morning, with an aching feeling of guilt that she and her kids were alive, while families in her town, people she knows, were confronting the unthinkable — that their child was taken by such a senseless spasm of violence. When she first started wearing a March for Our Lives band around her wrist a few months ago, many of her friends and neighbors expressed skepticism of her intentions. 'They think we're leftist nutcases coming for everyone's guns,' she said. But Delgado said she grew up in a house with guns, and respects them and how much they mean to the Texas identity. When she's able to explain her opinion to people, they tend to understand and often even agree: universal background checks, age requirements to purchase guns, a better way to keep guns away from the mentally ill. But the political divisions have cast the conversation as an all-or-nothing battle of extremes, leaving many to believe that lawmakers have only two options: either do nothing or snatch up everyone's guns. 'We talk about things in black and white, but the answer is in the gray, it's in the shadow, no one sees it, everyone just sees north or south, no one sees the middle ground, it's not popular,' Delgado said. 'But that's where we'll find a solution.' ___ Associated Press writers Jim Vertuno and Paul J. Weber contributed to this report.
  • When police arrested more than 200 anti-Trump protesters on Inauguration Day 2017, it touched off a long-term battle of wits and wills. On one side: a Justice Department that has sought to incarcerate scores of people over a violent protest that smashed downtown storefront windows and set a limousine ablaze. On the other side: an intensely coordinated grassroots political opposition network that has made Washington the focus of a nationwide support campaign, offering free lodging for defendants, legal coordination and other support. The stand-off entered a home stretch last week when a trial began for four people, the first in a series of group trials for 58 defendants that should last the rest of the year. Charges include property destruction and conspiracy to engage in a riot. The trial represents a fresh start for prosecutors, who were forced to abandon most of their charges after a serious defeat last year. For the opposition — a network of activists and organizations loosely grouped as the Defend J20 Resistance movement — the new trial represents a chance to kill the government's case. Defendants and their supporters have framed the case as an indiscriminate police round-up followed by a concerted Justice Department effort to criminalize legitimate dissent. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Kerkhoff sought to neutralize that point in her opening statement. 'This is Washington, D.C.,' she said. 'We know protest and we know dissent. But this wasn't a protest. This was violence and destruction.' This nationwide opposition network has been a visible presence since the trial of the first six defendants began in the fall. Tapping into fundraising efforts around the country, defendants were reimbursed for their housing in Washington. Activists packed the courtroom, some serving as media liaisons, while others prepared meals for the defendants and their supporters. 'That support is absolutely essential to our ability to actually have a resistance,' said Michelle Macchio, an Asheville, North Carolina, resident who was part of that first defendant group. 'We had to disrupt our lives. Some of us were paying rent back home, some of us had school, some of us had jobs. I was away from home for two months.' Movement members refer to themselves as 'the resistance,' a term that predates President Donald Trump's election by decades. Sam Menefee-Libey, a local organizer and member of an activist collective called the DC Legal Posse, says Defend J20 is the inheritor of the anti-capitalist and anti-globalization movement that coalesced in Europe and first made headlines in America during massive protests against the World Trade Organization in Seattle in 1999 and later in the Occupy movement. J20 stands for Jan. 20, Inauguration Day. 'Every 3-5 years there's a new wave and new faces come in,' Menefee-Libey said. 'There was a big surge after Trump was elected. There's more people than we're used to and it's sustaining far longer.' The movement focuses far more on street-level action than on winning elections. Under Trump it has begun to unify and cross-pollinate with other movements like Black Lives Matter and immigration advocates. In supporting the inauguration protesters, social media campaigns have encouraged callers to flood the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Justice Department. Activists recently held a small rally headlined by Chelsea Manning to urge the government to drop all charges. While defendants have secured their own lawyers, the Defend J20 movement helped organize a unified trial strategy. This included persuading defendants — sometimes over the objections of their lawyers — not to accept plea bargains. They claim their unified strategy has already paid off. The trial of the first set of the original 160 defendants was supposed to start in early 2018. But when an unexpected hole in the court schedule opened in November, a group of defendants, including Macchio, volunteered to go on trial first. The defendants and movement organizers presumed that prosecutors had set up the schedule in order to begin with other defendants — those who could be more easily linked to the violence. 'They were forced to prosecute people who they didn't have any evidence of doing property damage,' said Kris Hermes, a veteran legal activist who served as a media liaison on that first trial. 'They wouldn't have preferred to try these cases in this order.' Prosecutors admitted from the start that they had no evidence proving these specific defendants had committed violence or vandalism. Most protesters had dressed in black and covered their faces. Prosecutors could only claim that the entire group was guilty of supporting and providing cover for the vandals. All six were acquitted and the government eventually dropped charges against 129 other defendants. It's not clear whether the scheduling switch hurt the government's case. The U.S. Attorney's Office declined a request to interview prosecutors or senior officials about the issue. However, movement leaders believe their maneuver wrong-footed the prosecution. 'It was apparent they were super-frustrated with having to take these people to trial first,' said Jude Ortiz, head of the National Lawyers Guild's Mass Defense Committee. 'It's a reasonable conclusion to draw that having to do that group first really messed up their strategy.' Prosecutor Kerkhoff, in the current trial, pledged to convince jurors through a mountain of photographic and video evidence that the masked vandals on screen were among the four suit-clad defendants in the room. 'You will have a chance to be the detectives,' she said. 'The defendants need to be held accountable for their choice to express themselves with violence and destruction.
  • Look closely enough at the 2018 midterm campaign and you'll see the stirrings of a Democratic scramble to reclaim the White House from President Donald Trump. The leading players — from established national figures such as former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to up-and-comers including Sen. Kamala Harris — don't necessarily put it that way. But the potential 2020 candidates are making the rounds, raising and distributing campaign cash among fellow Democrats, endorsing candidates and meeting political activists. Their movements reflect competing strategies for establishing their reputations and shaping a party that lacks a clear leader and consistent message in the Trump era. For senators trying to get better known, a primary goal is proving fundraising strength and party loyalty, without necessarily taking sides in the larger fight between the left and moderates who split on the minimum wage, health insurance and other issues. 'I just want to do whatever I can' to help Democrats win, Harris said at a recent stop in Georgia, where she was campaigning and raising money for Stacey Abrams' race for governor. It is part of an aggressive effort for the freshman senator from California. She's raised $3.5 million for her Senate colleagues and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, plus what she helps candidates such as Abrams raise directly when she appears with them, and at the end of April Harris had nearly a $1 million balance in the political action committee that she uses to back other Democrats. Warren boasts that she's raised $15 million for other Democrats since her 2013 election. The Massachusetts senator faces a re-election campaign this fall, but not as tough a race as confronts 10 colleagues running in states where Trump won. Like Harris, Warren and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker have aided those senators. Warren is also helping other branches of the party: a transfer of money to House Democrats' campaign committee, $5,000 for every state party and $175,000 spread across state legislative campaigns in contested states. Democratic and Republican campaign veterans say such contributions and fundraising trips aren't explicitly about future campaigns. 'We're not playing 3D chess,' says Harris spokeswoman Lily Adams, who describes the senator's priority as 'building our numbers in the Senate' for the final two years of Trump's term, while looking for strong women and minority candidates. (Abrams would be the first female African-American governor in U.S. history.) Operatives also insist there are no quid pro quos, though Republican presidential campaign veteran Rick Tyler says, 'These guys are out there accumulating chits.' Tyler worked for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's 2016 White House campaign. Cruz was among the conservatives who traveled the country before his campaign, endorsing like-minded conservatives and raising money. Trump's improbable rise obliterated that groundwork, but Tyler said it's nonetheless a necessary part of a national campaign, because prospective presidents build their networks and test messages as they meet activists and voters beyond their personal bases. Harris, for example, is noticeably avoiding most early presidential nominating states — no trips to Iowa or New Hampshire so far. Because 10 Senate Democrats must seek re-election in states Trump won, her travels do put her in some of the pivotal states in the battle to control the Senate. She's been to Ohio five times for Sen. Sherrod Brown, twice to Michigan for Sen. Debbie Stabenow and once to Florida for Sen. Bill Nelson. She has a June trip planned for Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin. Warren has been to Ohio at least four times this campaign season and traveled to Michigan and Wisconsin, among others states. Those states helped give Trump the presidency. They also could prove important as primary states in an extended nominating fight that could materialize with a large field and Democrats' proportional distribution of nominating convention delegates. Sanders, the Vermont independent whose insurgent presidential campaign in 2016 emboldened the Democrats' left flank, is perhaps the most unabashed of the potential 2020 group about using this year's midterms to put his preferred policy stamp on the Democratic Party. A prolific small-dollar fundraiser, he no longer has to prove he can raise money or draw a crowd. 'I have been very critical about the business model of the Democratic Party,' Sanders told The Associated Press. He said his travel to 28 states since Trump took office and his endorsements in federal and state races are part of his promised 'political revolution' intended to advance ideas like a $15 minimum wage, tuition-free college and universal health insurance. Sanders bet on liberal challenger Marie Newman in her unsuccessful House Democratic primary battle against conservative Rep. Dan Lipinski in Illinois. But Sanders scored a notable win Tuesday in Pennsylvania when his pick for lieutenant governor, John Fetterman, finished with a surprise primary victory. Biden is at the opposite end of Democrats' identity battle. His endorsement list and fundraising itinerary are replete with state party dinners, events for sitting Democratic senators and rallies for candidates running as moderates, at least in tone, if not in policy preference. 'I love Bernie, but ... I don't think 500 billionaires are the reason we are in trouble,' Biden said at a recent Brookings Institution speech about his priorities for the middle class. Biden's aides say he's willing to help any Democrat get elected, but the native of Scranton, Pennsylvania, who loves to wax eloquent about his working-class upbringing is in demand to campaign for Democrats running in GOP-leaning places. He headlined fundraisers and campaign rallies for first-year Alabama Sen. Doug Jones and new Pennsylvania Rep. Conor Lamb, who won among voters who had sided overwhelmingly with Trump in 2016. Biden's next planned campaign venture is to North Carolina on behalf of Democrat Dan McCready, a veteran trying to win a suburban Charlotte House district that wasn't competitive two years ago. Certainly, many Democratic hopefuls around the country are accepting help from multiple would-be presidents, and the alignments don't always follow cleanly along the party's philosophical battle lines. Abrams has campaigned as a liberal, but her primary opponent has hammered her for cutting deals with Republicans in Georgia's General Assembly. Besides Harris, she's campaigned alongside Booker and gotten an endorsement from Sanders, who's offered to campaign for her. When reporters tried to ask Harris and Abrams about 2020, they both smiled and walked away. ___ Follow Barrow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BillBarrowAP.
  • Venting his frustration in a series of tweets on Sunday, President Donald Trump again demanded to know how the Justice Department, FBI, and Obama Administration handled questions of Russian interference in the 2016 election, saying he would request a new review specifically to see if an investigation was opened for ‘political purposes’ involving his campaign. “I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes – and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!” the President said. It was one of a number of tweets where Mr. Trump flashed aggravation with the investigation into questions of Russian interference in the 2016 elections this weekend, as he repeated his charge that the feds had gone easy on Hillary Clinton and Democrats, while focusing investigative resources on his own campaign. I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes – and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018 Things are really getting ridiculous. The Failing and Crooked (but not as Crooked as Hillary Clinton) @nytimes has done a long & boring story indicating that the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt has found nothing on Russia & me so now they are looking at the rest of the World! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018 ….At what point does this soon to be $20,000,000 Witch Hunt, composed of 13 Angry and Heavily Conflicted Democrats and two people who have worked for Obama for 8 years, STOP! They have found no Collussion with Russia, No Obstruction, but they aren’t looking at the corruption… — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018 …in the Hillary Clinton Campaign where she deleted 33,000 Emails, got $145,000,000 while Secretary of State, paid McCabes wife $700,000 (and got off the FBI hook along with Terry M) and so much more. Republicans and real Americans should start getting tough on this Scam. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018 Now that the Witch Hunt has given up on Russia and is looking at the rest of the World, they should easily be able to take it into the Mid-Term Elections where they can put some hurt on the Republican Party. Don’t worry about Dems FISA Abuse, missing Emails or Fraudulent Dossier! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018 What ever happened to the Server, at the center of so much Corruption, that the Democratic National Committee REFUSED to hand over to the hard charging (except in the case of Democrats) FBI? They broke into homes & offices early in the morning, but were afraid to take the Server? — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018 ….and why hasn’t the Podesta brother been charged and arrested, like others, after being forced to close down his very large and successful firm? Is it because he is a VERY well connected Democrat working in the Swamp of Washington, D.C.? — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018 The Witch Hunt finds no Collusion with Russia – so now they’re looking at the rest of the World. Oh’ great! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018 What seemingly set off Mr. Trump on Sunday was a report in the New York Times, which said Donald Trump Jr. had held a meeting at Trump Tower in the months before the elections, to hear an offer of help from emissaries of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. “The Witch Hunt finds no Collusion with Russia – so now they’re looking at the rest of the World,” the President tweeted. The President’s call for a review of how the FBI handled questions about Russian interference is already the subject of a review inside the Justice Department – it wasn’t clear how this request would be dealt with by officials. “There are rules,” said Carrie Cordero, a former Justice Department national security lawyer, who is now a professor at Georgetown University Law School. The Department of Justice doesn't open investigations for political puposes, which is what the president says today he will order tomorrow. There are rules. And I'm convinced there are people left in this government who will follow them. — Carrie Cordero (@carriecordero) May 20, 2018 In Congress, Democrats saw the President’s tweets as a signal of one thing – that he’s worried about what investigators are finding out about the 2016 probe, as they raised questions of whether the President is trying to exert political pressure on the Justice Department. “The President has sent 8 tweets in 5 hours on Hillary and the Mueller investigation,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA). “He is unhinged.” I would like a lawyer to explain to me why that last tweet from POTUS is not a big deal, because it seems like maybe it’s a pretty big deal. — Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) May 20, 2018 “A President who has nothing to hide would not have done another series of tweets this Sunday Morning smearing the DOJ investigation,” said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA).
  • We have updated information regarding a strong storm in Fairfax Saturday afternoon. National Weather Service Meteorologist Sarah Corfidi says they are looking into whether a tornado touched down. “We did receive reports that there was a tornado in that area,” Corfidi said.  “More than likely, someone from the National Weather Service team will go out on Sunday and look for damage and see where the damage was.  See if it’s consistent with a tornado or strong line winds.” The fast, strong storm that swept through Fairfax did leave damage in its path. One resident reacted to seeing a semi turned over by the strong winds. “Man, I’m just, wow!” She said.  “I couldn’t believe it.  I was just like, wow!” There have been no reports of any serious injuries. We do know a fence at a baseball diamond was heavily damaged and drivers had to dodge several fallen tree limbs.
  • The sunglasses can remain at home if you have outdoor plans for today.   There is a chance for thunderstorms during the morning hours.  National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike Lacy says we’ll see plenty of clouds from there.  “Highs only around 80 or so,” Lacy said.  “We’ll see more clouds around.” The low Sunday night will be close to 62 degrees. Don’t put away your umbrella to start the week.  In fact, NWS is reporting a chance of thunderstorms for the next several days.   
  • We have updated information regarding a 39-year-old woman accused of abducting her daughter after stabbing an 11-year-old child. Tulsa County court records show Taheerah Admad has now been charged with assault and battery with intent to kill, first-degree arson and two counts of child neglect. An Amber Alert was issued following the abduction. She was eventually spotted by members of the public and tracked down in a downtown parking lot. Original:  Tulsa police on Tuesday arrested a woman who they say bound and gagged her three daughters, stabbed the eldest repeatedly and set their house on fire. Police said a patrol officer found 39-year-old Taheerah Ahmad around midday in a vehicle in downtown Tulsa. Ahmad was taken into custody and her 7-year-old daughter who had been reported missing was found safe, police said. Investigators said that following her arrest, Ahmad told them she became upset after observing two of her children reading a book. It was not immediately known what book they were reading, police said. Ahmad was booked into the Tulsa County Jail on complaints of assault and battery with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, child abuse and first-degree arson. Tulsa police officer Jeanne MacKenzie said earlier that the 7-year-old girl helped her 9-year-old sister escape Monday night, and the 9-year-old ran to a nearby house for help. MacKenzie told the Tulsa World that when authorities arrived, they found an 11-year-old girl with so many stab wounds that emergency responders 'couldn't even count them.' The house was on fire, and Ahmad and the youngest girl were missing. The middle child told police that their mother placed socks in their mouths, bound their hands with duct tape and began stabbing the eldest child, MacKenzie said. The 11-year-old remained hospitalized Tuesday and police said she was unconscious and that her condition was 'very severe.
  • If you're headed out to one of the many events in Tulsa today, the forecast shouldn't be an issue. However, National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike Lacy says conditions could change Saturday night. “I would say most of the day will be fairly hot and sunny,” Lacy said.  “We’ll have an increase in the possibility of storms Saturday night.” The high today will be close to 92 degrees. As of early this morning, there is 30 percent of thunderstorms Saturday night.  The low will be around 67 degrees.     Temperatures will cool down on Sunday.  NWS is reporting a high near 85 degrees.