One person was killed, 8 others wounded in knife attack outside Lyon, France

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

One person was killed, 8 others wounded in knife attack outside Lyon, France

Emergency services at work on the outskirts of Lyon after a deadly knife attack

(CNN)One person was killed and eight others wounded during a knife attack at a subway stop near Lyon, France, according to authorities and media reports.

Three of the eight victims were seriously wounded, CNN affiliate BFM TV reported. The station had earlier reported nine wounded but later revised the number to eight, citing police sources.
A suspect has been taken into custody, according to Lyon Mayor Gerard Collomb. The motive for the attack is not known.
Emergency services at scene of knife assault that left one person dead and nine others wounded.

“I am extremely shocked by the attack that just took place in the Lyon area, during which one person died and several others wounded, some seriously,” the mayor tweeted.
The suspected attacker is a 33-year-old asylum seeker, BFM reported.
The attack is not a terror investigation at the moment, a police trade union official told CNN.
French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, via Twitter, expressed his condolences to “friends and family of the young man killed.” He said he was following the situation.
The assault occurred in Villeurbanne, a suburb of the southeastern city of Lyon, about 4:30 p.m., BFM reported. Emergency services responded to an exit at the Laurent Bonnevay stop of the Lyon Metro.
In September, seven people were injured, including two British tourists, during an attack by a man wielding a knife and an iron bar in northeastern Paris, police said. The assault came after a series of knife attacks in France.

Valerie Harper, Emmy-winning ‘Rhoda’ star, dead at 80

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Valerie Harper, Emmy-winning ‘Rhoda’ star, dead at 80

(CNN)Valerie Harper, who achieved fame as Rhoda on the classic sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and continued as the character in a popular spin-off series, has died after a long battle with cancer, her daughter Cristina Cacciotti and family friend Deanna Buskey confirmed to CNN.

She was 80.
Buskey, a friend of the family for more than 20 years, said the family was not “providing details at this time.”
Buskey, who first met Harper and her husband while working with them on her theater production of “All Under Heaven,” helped launch a GoFundMe account for Harper’s care earlier this summer.
In July, Harper’s husband, Tony Cacciotti, posted a message on Facebook saying he would not follow the advice of his wife’s doctors and put her in hospice care, despite her worsening condition. He said he would “do my very best in making Val as comfortable as possible.”
Cristina Cacciotti said her mother died at 10:06 a.m. Friday.
Harper was cast as Mary Richards’ wisecracking best friend, Rhoda Morgenstern, and became so popular that she was spun off into her own show, “Rhoda,” midway through the flagship program’s run. She won four Emmys for the role.
The Rhoda character was originally conceived as an antagonist to Moore’s Mary, but was eventually fashioned into her outspoken friend. Harper recalled MTM executive Grant Tinker fighting to maintain those qualities in the face of early network concerns that Rhoda was too abrasive.
Harper returned to sitcoms in the mid-1980’s with a self-titled show, “Valerie,” which cast her as a mother raising her children. But she was fired after two seasons because of a contractual dispute with the studio and network, and wound up suing for wrongful termination, eventually receiving a settlement of $1.4 million.
Valerie Harper

NBC kept the series — renaming it first “Valerie’s Family” and later “The Hogan Family” — with Sandy Duncan brought in to fill the void left by Harper’s character, who was killed off.
In a 2009 interview with the Television Academy’s Archive of American Television, Harper said had she been new to the business, the “difficult” label might have stuck to her. As it was, she said, “We went to court (and) they lost, big time. And you go on. … It didn’t harm my career.”
The actress did remain active — primarily in series guest work and made-for-TV movies — and played Rhoda again in a 2000 TV movie, “Mary and Rhoda,” which reunited the characters along with their grown daughters.
At the time, Harper recalled Moore telling her in regard to doing the movie — which was initially pitched as a sitcom revival — “Maybe we’ll fall on our faces, but let’s take a chance.”
Harper battled lung cancer and was subsequently diagnosed with another form of cancer, leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, in 2013. Her family recently started a GoFundMe page to help with the cost of her treatments.
Born in New York, Harper began her career as a dancer — performing at Radio City Music Hall in the 1950s — and later joined the comedy troupe Second City. She was also heard on the comedy album “When You’re in Love, the Whole World is Jewish,” a follow-up to the popular 1960s sketch piece “You Don’t Have to be Jewish.”
Off screen, Harper was active in politics and charitable endeavors, advocating for the Equal Rights Amendment and championing a charity known as L.I.F.E., which stood for Love Is Feeding Everyone.

The reasons Hurricane Dorian is particularly dangerous

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Here are some of the reasons Hurricane Dorian is particularly dangerous

The differences between weather forecast models

JUST WATCHED

The differences between weather forecast models 01:12

(CNN)Hurricane Dorian is scary for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that it’s expected to be a monstrous Category 4 storm by the time it gets to Florida early next week.

Winds that strong would be worrying enough, but that’s just one piece of Dorian’s package of threats.
With the caveat that forecasts often change as the storm approaches, here are the risks Dorian seems poised to pose:

It could be dark at landfall

Forecasts as of midday Friday predict Dorian making landfall late Monday or early Tuesday — while it’s still dark — somewhere on Florida’s Atlantic coast.
“One of the worst things you can have is a dark landfall,” CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said. “You hear things moving, you don’t know where they came from. You don’t how big that thing was that just crashed.”

It could bring winds of 130+ mph

Forecasters predict the maximum sustained winds at Dorian’s core will be more than 130 mph when it makes landfall in Florida.
That would make it the strongest hurricane to strike the state’s Atlantic coast since catastrophic Andrew in 1992.
It also would put Dorian into the Category 4 range (130 to 156 mph).
Winds of at least 130 mph cause catastrophic damage. The National Weather Service puts it this way: Even well-built homes can lose roofs and some exterior walls. Trees and power poles are snapped or toppled.
Power outages could last weeks in areas affected by winds of these speeds.

It’s expected to linger. That will raise flooding threats

Dorian’s forward movement is expected to slow as it approaches land, and it should remain slow over land, eventually taking a turn to the north.
One consequence of that: Dorian would keep dropping heavy rain over the same areas for a long time.
That would lead to freshwater flooding. Heavy rain is forecast over much of Florida — as many as 20 inches dropping in parts of eastern and central portions of the state, Myers said. Coastal Georgia, too, should watch for heavy rain.
Strong winds also will batter areas over and over. The storm’s core should lose strength as it moves over land, but remember, its forward movement is expected to be a crawl. As of Friday, some forecasts had Dorian still somewhere over Florida about 24 hours after landfall — and still with low-end Category 1 winds.
A forecast map created August 30 shows predicted rainfall accumulations through September 6.

Storm surges could be bad. King Tides could make them worse

With any landfalling hurricane, you’ll want to look for storm surges — winds and pressure pushing seawater onto land. In Dorian’s case — churning counterclockwise and moving westward into land — we may see a good amount of storm surge just to the north of Dorian’s landfall spot.
Dorian is approaching at an unfortunate time, as far as storm surges go. Friday marked the start of Florida’s King Tides, a term that refers to the highest tides in any given period.
“The fact that this storm is hitting during some of the highest tides of the year is very concerning,” CNN senior meteorologist Brandon Miller said. “The King Tides adding a couple of feet to the water height is almost like the storm being a category higher on scale.”
King Tides combining with storm surges could mean people who typically consider themselves safely away from shore could, in fact, be in danger.
Storm surges north of wherever Dorian makes landfall “could easily be over 8 to 12 feet,” Myers said.

A veteran-owned company releases a Betsy Ross flag shirt after Nike controversy

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

A veteran-owned company releases a Betsy Ross flag shirt after Nike controversy

(CNN)A veteran-owned company is facing off against Nike again, this time over a Revolutionary War-era flag.

Nine Line Apparel, a Georgia-based company founded by retired Army Capt. Tyler Merritt, is releasing “Betsy Ross” flag t-shirts after Nike decided to recall shoes featuring the same design.
Nike was set to release a USA-themed Air Max 1 this week but, according to The Wall Street Journal, asked stores to return the shoes after complaints from former NFL star and activist Colin Kaepernick.
“Nine Line Apparel, along with relentlessly patriotic Americans everywhere, cannot believe the total ignorance and lack of understanding displayed by both Colin Kaepernick and Nike in relation to our country’s Betsy Ross flag, it’s symbolism and meaning,” Nine Line Apparel says on its website.
The special-edition Air Max 1s featured the “Betsy Ross” flag, a design created during the American Revolution with a circle of 13 white stars for the 13 original states. The Wall Street Journal said Kaepernick and others were critical of the flag’s ties to an era of slavery.
“Nike made the decision to halt distribution of the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July based on concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation’s patriotic holiday,” Nike said in a statement. “Nike is a company proud of its American heritage.”
Nine Line Apparel, which calls itself a company “by patriots for patriots,” has gone after Nike and Kaepernick before.
In September, the company released “Just Stand” t-shirts in response to Nike’s ad campaign highlighting Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice.
Merritt is calling for a full boycott of Nike, according to CNN affiliate WJCL.
“The American people should support the red, white and blue and boycott Nike and join our #NoToNike campaign. Nike says ‘just do it.’ We say just stand — stand for your beliefs and for your country,” he said.

Mueller to testify publicly on July 17 following a subpoena

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Mueller to testify publicly on July 17 following a subpoena

(CNN)Robert Mueller will testify before Congress on July 17 after House Democrats issued a subpoena for his appearance, a move that paves the way for a reluctant special counsel to answer questions publicly for the first time about his 22-month investigation into President Donald Trump.

The House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees announced Tuesday that Mueller had agreed to testify after they issued subpoenas for his testimony, and Mueller would appear in public before the two panels next month.
“Americans have demanded to hear directly from the Special Counsel so they can understand what he and his team examined, uncovered, and determined about Russia’s attack on our democracy, the Trump campaign’s acceptance and use of that help, and President Trump and his associates’ obstruction of the investigation into that attack,” House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said in a joint statement.
Schiff said Tuesday that the committees would be questioning Mueller separately the same day, and that his committee would question Mueller’s staff in closed session following the public hearing so they can discuss the counterintelligence portions of the investigation.
Mueller’s testimony is poised to be the most-anticipated congressional hearing in years, and represents a huge moment for House Democrats who have wrestled with whether to dive into a politically divisive impeachment process following the Mueller investigation and White House stonewalling of congressional probes.
The subpoenas to Mueller come after weeks of negotiations between Democrats, the special counsel’s team and the Justice Department. Democrats are proceeding with subpoenas to Mueller after he spoke publicly last month and said he did not wish to testify publicly about the investigation, and that his testimony would not go beyond what was written in the special counsel’s 448-page report.
In a letter to Mueller, the Democratic chairmen said that they understood Mueller’s concerns about ongoing investigations referred by the special counsel, but still felt it was necessary for him to testify.
“We will work with you to address legitimate concerns about preserving the integrity of your work, but we expect that you will appear before our Committees as scheduled,” Nadler and Schiff wrote.
Democrats have been talking about bringing Mueller in to testify since his investigation wrapped in March, and their decision to issue subpoenas comes more than a month after the initial date that Nadler had floated for Mueller to appear.
Since then, Democrats have continued to negotiate with Mueller, holding out hope he would agree to testify voluntarily. While Mueller stated he did not wish appear before Congress, Democrats — and some Republicans — have said they still believe Mueller should testify. Democrats have argued that the American people can hear directly from the special counsel in a public setting, and lawmakers in both parties have said they want to ask him about some of the decisions made during the investigation.
Mueller’s report was written in two parts: a volume on Russian election meddling and one on obstruction.
In the first volume, the special counsel did not establish a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, but it did detail numerous contacts between Russians and members of Trump’s team that Democrats charge are troubling, even if they aren’t criminal. In the second volume, Mueller documented nearly a dozen episodes of possible obstruction of justice. The special counsel wrote that DOJ guidelines did not allow a sitting president to be indicted, and that the investigation could not exonerate Trump.
Mueller’s public statement last month — in which he emphasized that the investigation did not exonerate the President and that his team followed the DOJ guidelines — sparked a wave of House Democrats to call for the opening of an impeachment inquiry.
Their numbers have grown amid White House stonewalling of testimony and documents to congressional investigations, and now more than 75 have come out in favor of opening an impeachment inquiry.
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has continued to resist the move, arguing that Democrats are winning their court fights with the Trump administration and impeachment should only be pursued if the public is on board.
Schiff and Nadler have both publicly refrained from calling for the opening of an impeachment inquiry. Behind the scenes, Nadler has lobbied Pelosi to do so, while Schiff has argued against it.
This story has been updated with additional developments Tuesday.

Mexico Had Agreed To These ‘New’ Measures Months Ago

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN AND THE NEW YORK TIMES)
(THE FRAUD IN CHIEF STRIKES AGAIN, CREATE A PROBLEM, DO NOTHING, THEN FIX THE PROBLEM AND TAKE CREDIT FOR HIS ‘GREAT WORK’, TOTAL FRAUD!)(oped: oldpoet56)

Mexico had already promised to take many of the actions agreed to in Friday’s immigration deal with the US — months before President Donald Trump’s tariff threat, officials from both countries who are familiar with the negotiations told the New York Times in a story published Saturday.

Trump moved to accept the existing agreements in a deal Friday after negotiations prompted by his threat to impose growing tariffs on Mexico in response to the border situation dragged on over several days. Talks between Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and State Department officials lasted for more than 11 hours Friday.
The Mexican government had pledged to deploy the National Guard nationwide with a focus on its southern border — a key part of Friday’s agreement — during secret meetings in March between former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Mexican interior secretary Olga Sanchez in Miami, the officials told the Times.
The deal’s key expansion of a program that would keep asylum seekers in Mexico while their claims are processed was established in two heavily brokered two diplomatic notes exchanged between the two countries, the Times reported. Nielsen announced the Migrant Protection Protocols during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in late December.
One senior government official insisted to the Times that the Mexican government agreed to move to deter migrants faster and more aggressively than they ever had before this week’s talks.
As Ebrard noted in a news conference after the agreement’s announcement Friday, the Mexican government did not accept the US’s push for a safe third country agreement, which would require asylum seekers traveling through Mexico to make their case for American asylum in Mexico.
“They proposed in the first meeting to have (a) third safe state, which is not the case here, which is very important. And on the other hand, we accepted to have a more extended version of (migrants remaining in Mexico during asylum claim processing) and to accelerate the deployment of the national guard,” Ebrard said, calling the deal “a fair play.”
Trump presented the deal as a win in a pair of tweets early Saturday.
“Mexico will try very hard, and if they do that, this will be a very successful agreement for both the United States and Mexico!” the President wrote in a tweet. He continued later: “MEXICO HAS AGREED TO IMMEDIATELY BEGIN BUYING LARGE QUANTITIES OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCT FROM OUR GREAT PATRIOT FARMERS!”
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Saturday that he had a phone call with Trump after negotiators reached a deal Friday.
“I spoke on the telephone with President Trump,” Lopez Obrador tweeted in Spanish on Saturday. “I told him that in Tijuana I would say that I do not lift a clenched fist but an open and frank hand to the president of the United States. We reiterated our disposition to friendship, dialogue and collaboration for the good of our countries.”
Democratic congressional leaders slammed Trump for his attempts to negotiate a deal.
Senate Majority Chuck Schumer jabbed Trump’s repeated return to the issue, tweeting Friday night: “This is an historic night! @realDonaldTrump has announced that he has cut a deal to ‘greatly reduce, or eliminate, Illegal Immigration coming from Mexico and into the United States.’ Now that that problem is solved, I’m sure we won’t be hearing any more about it in the future.”
On Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused Trump in a statement of having “undermined America’s preeminent leadership role in the world by recklessly threatening to impose tariffs on our close friend and neighbor to the south.”
Congress, she said, will hold the White House “accountable for its failures to address the humanitarian situation at our southern border.”

Fact-checking Trump’s flurry of lies Thursday morning

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Fact-checking Trump’s flurry of lies Thursday morning

Washington (CNN)One day after special counsel Robert Mueller publicly refused to exonerate President Donald Trump and hinted at potential impeachment, the President responded Thursday with an avalanche of widely debunked lies about the investigation and its findings.

Over a few hours Thursday morning, Trump spread several lies and falsehoods about the Russia investigation, Mueller’s findings, the cost of the probe, and the legal restrictions that Mueller faced when grappling with the possibility of a President who broke the law.
Here’s a breakdown of Trump’s comments.

Cost of the investigation

In a tweet, Trump said the Mueller probe cost “$40,000,000 over two dark years.”
Facts First: It’s not clear where Trump is getting his numbers. The latest information from the Justice Department goes through September and says Mueller-specific expenses were around $12 million. Mueller’s final price tag will be higher than that, but the data isn’t public yet.
The Justice Department spent another $13 million investigating Russian meddling, costs that would have been incurred even if Mueller weren’t appointed. That’s a total of $25 million, though the price tag will be higher because that doesn’t cover the last seven months of the probe. It’s unlikely that the final amount for Mueller will reach the $40 million figure claimed by Trump.

Cooperation with the probe

In a tweet, Trump said Mueller had “unlimited access, people, resources and cooperation.”
Facts First: The White House largely cooperated with the investigation, but it’s wrong to say there was “unlimited” cooperation. Trump repeatedly refused a sit-down interview with Mueller’s team. Some Trump campaign associates “deleted relevant communications” or gave conflicting information. Others lied to investigators and were charged with obstruction offenses.
Trump submitted written testimony about Russian meddling but refused to answer any questionsabout obstruction. Mueller made it clear that Trump’s responses were “incomplete” and insufficient. The President’s son, Donald Trump Jr., also declined an in-person interview.
At least three Trump associates were charged with lying to investigators, which is an obstructive act, and two others were charged with lying to congressional inquiries about Russian meddling.

Mueller’s conflicts of interest

In a tweet, Trump said Mueller was “highly conflicted.”
Facts First: Mueller did not have conflicts of interest, and Trump knows it. The Justice Department cleared Mueller of any conflicts when he took the job in 2017. Trump’s top aides told him that these perceived conflicts were “ridiculous” and were not considered true conflicts.
Trump has long claimed that Mueller was conflicted for a few reasons: Because he once sought a refund from a Trump-owned golf course, because he interviewed to be FBI director after Trump fired James Comey in 2017, and because his old law firm represented key figures in the investigation.
When Trump raised these concerns with his top aides, they “pushed back on his assertion of conflicts, telling the President they did not count as true conflicts,” according to the Mueller report. These White House aides included former chief strategist Steve Bannon, former chief of staff Reince Priebus and former White House counsel Don McGahn, according to the report.

Legal constraints on Mueller

In a tweet, Trump said, “Robert Mueller would have brought charges, if he had ANYTHING, but there were no charges to bring!”
Facts First: This is the opposite of the truth. Mueller’s hands were tied by longstanding Justice Department guidelines that a sitting President can’t be indicted. In his public comments this week, Mueller specifically said charging Trump was “not an option we could consider.”
Mueller made it clear in his public comments on Wednesday that the guidelines had a significant influence on the investigation, tying his hands from the very start from even considering whether a crime had been committed. Trump is therefore creating a false narrative by asserting that Mueller “would have brought charges” if there was evidence Trump broke the law.
In fact, Mueller’s report presented substantial evidence that Trump obstructed justice on a few fronts. But Mueller didn’t offer a conclusion on whether Trump should be prosecuted, because he was bound by Justice Department guidelines that stopped him from even considering it.

Fairness of the investigation

In a tweet, Trump called the Mueller probe a “witch hunt,” a label he has used for two years to suggest that the investigation was unfairly targeting him and would bring him down at any cost.
Facts First: If the investigation really were a “witch hunt,” things might have been very different. But Mueller said that the facts didn’t lead him to a collusion conspiracy, and he repeatedly declined to use hardball tactics against Trump, like issuing a subpoena for his testimony.
First, Mueller went to great lengths to be fair to Trump and said there was not a collusion conspiracy. He didn’t play hardball and subpoena Trump’s testimony, and he followed the rules that restrained him from charging Trump. If this was a “witch hunt,” it wasn’t a very good one.
In his comments, Mueller stressed how it would be unfair to Trump to accuse him of a crime without Trump having a legal venue to clear his name, because he couldn’t go on trial while in office. Mueller even said it’s “prohibited” to seek a sealed indictment of Trump for later on.
Many of Trump’s top appointees and associates, like FBI Director Chris Wray and former White House lawyer Ty Cobb, have broken with the President and publicly rejected the “witch hunt” label. Even Barr rejected the term during his Senate confirmation hearing earlier this year, specifically saying that Mueller wouldn’t be involved in a witch hunt.

Concerns about Russian meddling

In a tweet, Trump said “Russia has disappeared” from the public debate because the Mueller investigation did not establish a conspiracy of collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
Facts First: The topic of Russian interference is still at the forefront of national politics.
Mueller zeroed in on Russian meddling during his public comments, solemnly saying, “I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments, that there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election. And that allegation deserves the attention of every American.”
Top US intelligence officials have warned about Russia’s continued efforts to undermine American politics. Democratic presidential candidates are bringing it up on the campaign trail, and lawmakers are asking about it at Congressional hearings with administration officials.
Trump’s handpicked chiefs to lead the US intelligence community have continued to raise the alarm about persistent Russian meddling. And many of the Democratic candidates for president, including frontrunner Joe Biden, feature their positions on how to counter Russia on their websites.

Trump’s role in Russian meddling

In a tweet, Trump said, “I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected.”
Facts First: The Mueller investigation did not establish a criminal conspiracy between Trump and the Russians. But Trump’s tweet ignores his role in promoting the fruits of Russian hacks during the 2016 campaign, which he embraced and amplified at his rallies and on social media.
To be completely clear: Mueller never accused Trump, or any Trump aides, or any Americans for that matter, of criminally conspiring with the Russian government to influence the election.
But that doesn’t mean Trump played no role whatsoever, even if it wasn’t criminal. Instead of denouncing Russia for intervening in US politics, Trump embraced their actions and used his platform, and his campaign apparatus, to amplify Russian meddling. He regularly cited the emails that Russian hackers stole from Democrats and gave to WikiLeaks for publication.
In his tweet, Trump seemed to accidentally acknowledge for the first time, that Russia tried to help him defeat Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016. (This is the assessment of Obama-era intelligence officials and Trump’s handpicked appointees.) But later Thursday morning, Trump walked back this part of his tweet, saying “Russia did not help me get elected.”

Mueller’s findings on obstruction

In a tweet, Trump said, “Mueller didn’t find Obstruction either.”
Facts First: This is patently false. Mueller did uncover substantial evidence of obstruction by Trump and the report detailed how Trump’s actions crossed the legal threshold on several key episodes. But Mueller said he was prohibited from recommending criminal charges and struggled with “difficult issues” of investigating a sitting President. Instead, he alluded to Congress’ role in holding a president accountable.
The report details a few incidents with “substantial evidence” that Trump obstructed justice, including his efforts to fire the special counsel and have McGahn lie about it to the press, as well as Trump’s efforts to influence the cooperation of several key witnesses in the investigation.
“Our investigation found multiple acts by the President that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations, including the Russian-interference and obstruction investigations,” the report said.
Regarding the obstruction inquiry, Mueller said Wednesday, “if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.” Mueller submitted his report to Attorney General William Barr, who announced in March his conclusion that Trump didn’t break the law. Trump’s tweet would have been accurate if he cited Barr instead of Mueller.

This story is being updated

Kansas towns pick up after a twister hits

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Kansas towns pick up after a twister hits, and millions of people could see severe weather this afternoon

(CNN)Parts of Kansas and Pennsylvania are recovering from another terrifying evening of tornadoes — the 13th consecutive day that twisters have struck the US — and millions of people still are at risk of more severe weather on Wednesday.

A massive, rain-wrapped tornado ripped by Linwood, Kansas, outside Kansas City on Tuesday evening, and dozens of homes on Linwood’s outskirts are “all gone,” Mayor Brian Christenson told CNN.
At least one tornado and severe storms ravaged areas there and in nearby Douglas County, Kansas, destroying stretches of homes and businesses.
Thirteen people were treated for injuries at LMH Health hospital in Lawrence, 11 of whom have been released after treatment, the hospital said.
The tornado near Linwood leveled Brian Hahn’s homewhile he and his family were huddled in the basement under a mattress.
“I could hear it was over us and I saw my bedroom just leave,” he told CNN affiliate KMBC. “It was gone.”
“I feel lucky I’m alive.”
The tornado near Linwood wrecked homes and trees, and flipped this RV.

To the northeast, another tornado was confirmed by the National Weather Service in Berks County, Pennsylvania, “based on video received showing a tornado on the ground.” It moved through the area Tuesday evening.
Morgantown was one of the hardest-hit areas in the county, but no one was injured there, Caernarvon Township Police Chief John Scalia told CNN affiliate KYW.
Houses near Morgantown suffered heavy damage Tuesday evening.

“When you drive around, see the destruction, you realize how lucky we are nobody was hurt,” Scalia said.
More than 37 million people are under an enhanced risk of severe weather Wednesday in two areas, according to the weather service’s Storm Prediction Center. One ranges from Texas into Illinois, and includes the cities of Dallas and St. Louis.
The other stretches from the eastern Ohio River Valley into Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic coast, and includes the cities of Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington.

Arkansas braces for record river levels

Rains this week are exacerbating flooding that has troubled parts of the central US for weeks.
Tornadoes threaten the Plains for the 13th straight day

Tornadoes threaten the Plains for the 13th straight day 01:21
While flooding has occurred for days along the Arkansas River in Oklahoma, the river is now approaching record levels to the east, in Arkansas itself.
In western Arkansas near the communities of Van Buren and Fort Smith, the Arkansas River is expected to crest Wednesday afternoon at around 41 feet — roughly 3 feet above the record there.
“This is looking to be record-breaking all along the Arkansas River, and this is something we have never seen before,” Arkansas emergency management spokeswoman Melody Daniel said.
Levees along the river in Arkansas have worked so far — water has overtopped two of them, but they have not failed, Daniel said.
Daniel said more than a dozen Arkansas counties are expected to see historic flooding: Sebastian, Crawford, Logan, Johnson, Yell, Pope, Perry, Conway, Faulkner, Pulaski, Jefferson, Lincoln and Desha County.
Officials in the central Arkansas city of North Little Rock, across the river from the state capital, believe 50 homes could soon be impacted by flooding, the city said in a Facebook post Tuesday.
“Respect all barricades and road and trail closures,” the city posted. “They are there for your protection. Do not put our emergency responders in a position that would be dangerous to you and them.”
One person was killed in Arkansas Tuesday evening after drowning in flood waters, police told CNN.
The victim, a 64-year-old man, had been driving a small Suzuki SUV, Barling police officer James Breeden said.
Authorities said the vehicle appeared to have driven into a flooded roadway that had been barricaded. A deputy sheriff saw a body floating in the water and attempted a rescue, Breeden said. The man’s body was located near Fort Chafee.
Further north, officials are warning of fast rises on the lower Des Moines River in Iowa and on the Fox River in northeastern Missouri. Both are expected to reach major flood stage — which could lead to flooding — by Wednesday.

Intentional water release has been flooding homes outside Tulsa

In western Oklahoma, the swollen Arkansas River has posed a threat to Tulsa’s levees — so the Army Corps of Engineers has intentionally been releasing water from a dam to the west in hopes that the levees aren’t overwhelmed.
Although that spilled water won’t threaten Tulsa, it is contributing to the flooding of dozens of homes in a less populated area, just outside the city of Sand Springs.
This aerial image from Tuesday shows flooding near Sand Springs, Oklahoma.

Some homes had 2 to 6 feet of water in them, residents told a CNN crew there.
Rick Sawn’s Sand Springs-area home still was dry on Wednesday morning, but water has been creeping toward it.
“I think it’s a 500-year flood and so far our dam and levees are doing what they were designed to do,” Sawn, 68, said. “There is flooding and some loss of property, and long-term recovery head of us, but without the dam system, it would have been far, far worse.”
The Army Corps of Engineers has been releasing about 275,000 cubic feet of water per second from the Keystone Dam, about 20 miles west of Tulsa — which is the equivalent of three Olympic-sized pools. Doing so will increase the strain on some of Tulsa’s levees, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said.
The Keystone reservoir has started dropping, and that could allow the Army Corps of Engineers to slow the rate of the water release by Friday, corps hydrologist David Williams said Wednesday.
Bynum has been asking Tulsa residents who live near the levees to relocate temporarily, just in case the levees don’t hold.
“There is absolutely no need to wait until the last minute when an evacuation might be necessary,” he said at a news conference Wednesday.

More than 500 tornado reports in 30 days

So far this year, there have been at least 960 tornado reports, compared to the average year total of 750.
The National Weather Service has received more than 500 tornado reports across the country in the last 30 days — an unusually high amount.
There are only four other recorded instances when more than 500 US tornadoes were observed in a 30-day period: in 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2011, according to Patrick Marsh, a meteorologist with the weather service’s Storm Prediction Center.
Tuesday was the 13th straight day of tornadoes in the US, and the 12th consecutive day with at least eight or more tornado reports, CNN’s weather team said. The month of May has brought more than 460 reports of tornadoes in 22 states across the country, with Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas making up 50% of the reports.
The jet stream played a part in the activity of the last two weeks, CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said.
“It is a stuck jet stream,” with areas of low pressure riding along it, Myers said.
The jet stream will finally shift by Thursday, and the risk for severe weather in the US will greatly diminish for at least the next week, Myers said.

Record-breaking May rains

Tuesday’s rain broke records in Kansas City, the National Weather Service said.
The city received 1.56 inches of rain, boosting the monthly total to 12.81 inches. The city’s previous record for May was set in 1995 at 12.75 inches.
“This also makes this May the 3rd wettest month for ANY month in (Kansas City’s) 131-year period of record,” the weather service tweeted.

IN THE U.S. A SITTING PRESIDENT IS ABOVE THE LAW: PERIOD!

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Hundreds of former Justice officials assert Trump would be facing felony charges if he were not President

Washington (CNN)Hundreds of former Justice Department officials said in an open letter released Monday that President Donald Trump would be facing multiple felony charges stemming from the Russia investigation if he were not President.

The letter posted online by Justice Department alumni, who served under presidents from both parties, said the report from special counsel Robert Mueller contained repeated instances of Trump committing obstruction of justice, and that he would have been charged with obstructionif he was not protected as President by an opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel that Mueller cited.
“We believe strongly that, but for the OLC memo, the overwhelming weight of professional judgment would come down in favor of prosecution for the conduct outlined in the Mueller Report,” the letter read.
The letter was posted to Medium and said it was being updated by the group Protect Democracy, a nonprofit group that has combated the Trump administration. CNN has reached out to Protect Democracy regarding the letter.
The letter was signed by officials from a wide-range of backgrounds, and included former US attorneys and other top officials from both parties.
The Washington Post, which previously reported on the letter, which said signatories to the letter included officials whose time in government included every administration since President Dwight Eisenhower.
The Mueller report as released by the Department of Justice showed the special counsel looked into whether Trump committed obstruction and laid out specific, unsuccessful instances by Trump to obstruct the special counsel itself. In the report, Mueller said he could not conclude “no criminal conduct occurred” on the topic.
Attorney General William Barr, who criticized the obstruction probe last year, said after the conclusion of Mueller’s investigation that both he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined Mueller’s evidence was “not sufficient” to support prosecuting Trump for obstruction.

William Barr is in Deep Trouble

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

William Barr is in deep trouble

(CNN)Attorney General William Barr did two strange things between the time he received special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and when he released it to Congress and the public.

The first came on March 24 when, two days after receiving the Mueller report, Barr released a four-page summary letter in which he made clear his conclusion that the report found no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians and that Mueller hadn’t made any recommendation as to whether President Donald Trump should be charged with obstructing justice.
 

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The second came on the morning of April 18 when Barr, with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein by his side, held a press conference to reiterate those findings — in remarkably Trumpian language — 90 minutes before actually making a redacted version of the report public.
On Tuesday night, those two moves came into far sharper — and more troubling — focus when it was revealed that Mueller sent a letter to Barr on March 27 expressing concern about the ways in which Barr’s summary document described the evidence surrounding obstructive behavior. Mueller did not make issue with any of the factual statements in Barr’s four-page letter but rather the lack of nuance on obstruction — and the resultant media coverage, according to CNN’s Laura Jarrett’s reporting.
That revelation creates a series of problems for Barr — most notably that he appeared to be, at best, misleading in his answers about Mueller’s feelings about his summary of the report.
On April 9, in a House hearing, Barr seemed entirely unaware of Mueller’s issues with his summary report. Here’s the key exchange between Barr and Florida Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist:
CRIST: Reports have emerged recently, general, that members of the special counsel’s team are frustrated at some level with the limited information included in your March 24 letter, that it does not adequately or accurately portray the report’s findings. Do you know what they are referencing with that?
BARR: No, I don’t.
In an April 10 appearance before the Senate Appropriations Committee, this exchange happened between Barr and Maryland Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen:
VAN HOLLEN: Did — did Bob Mueller support your conclusion?
BARR: I don’t know whether Bob Mueller supported my conclusion.
What Barr quite clearly knew at that point — and had known for the better part of two weeks — was that Mueller had issues with the way in which he presented the conclusions of the report in the four-page letter.
Now, you can argue that Barr technically didn’t lie there. He knew that Mueller wasn’t thrilled with the way he summarized the broader report but that didn’t mean that Mueller opposed the conclusions. Again, that is technically possible. But, in the real world, it sure as hell seems like Barr was purposely obfuscating when it came to Mueller’s view of the report so as to downplay any sense that a) he didn’t present a full picture of the report and b) there was any rift between the two men.
And, given all of what he knew about Mueller’s opinion of his summary letter, Barr’s decision to hold a press conference more than an hour before the release of the actual report is even more concerning.
At the time — even without the knowledge we now possess about the Mueller letter of March 27 — it seemed odd. The attorney general holding a press conference about a report that he had seen but no one in the media had been given — and wouldn’t be for another 90 minutes? It seemed, even before Barr began speaking, to be a relatively transparent attempt by the AG to frame the soon-arriving Mueller report — to set the terms of the conversation for both Congress and the American public.
Within minutes, it became clear that was exactly Barr’s intent. Here’s just a piece of what Barr said that day:
“So that is the bottom line. After nearly two years of investigation, thousands of subpoenas, and hundreds of warrants and witness interviews, the special counsel confirmed that the Russian government sponsored efforts to illegally interfere with the 2016 presidential election but did not find that the Trump campaign or other Americans colluded in those schemes.”
As I noted at the time, Barr’s language was strikingly similar to how Trump himself had long described the Mueller probe. But, that language from Barr seems far more damning for the attorney general in light of what he knew about both the repeated incidents of seemingly obstructive behavior in the Mueller report and also Mueller’s own concerns about the language Barr had used to describe the finding in his March 24 summary letter.
Barr is set to sit to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. He’s got a lot to answer for.