Trump Calls Buzzfeed ‘Pile of Garbage,’ Refuses to Take CNN Reporter’s Question at First Press Conference:
Donald Trump fired multiple shots at the media — particularly BuzzFeed and CNN — on Wednesday during his first press conference in six months. “BuzzFeed is failing pile of garbage,” Trump said almost an hour into the conference, which covered a wide variety of subjects, including healthcare, his cabinet, and Russian hacking. “I think they’re going to suffer the consequences,” Trump said of BuzzFeed. “They already are.” From the crowd of reporters, Jim Acosta, CNN’s senior White House correspondent, began to press Trump for a question: “Since you’re attacking our news organization, will you give us a question?” “Not you,” Trump replied. “No, I’m not going to give you a question. You are fake news.”
John McCain: I gave Russia blackmail dossier on Trump to FBI:
Sen. John McCain admitted Wednesday that he gave the FBI a dossier detailing claims of a Russian blackmail plot against President-elect Donald Trump. The Arizona lawmaker, a longtime Trump critic, made the public statement as questions piled up about his alleged role in spreading an unverified and error-riddled document that Trump has denounced as “a complete and total fabrication.” “Late last year, I received sensitive information that has since been made public,” McCain said. “Upon examination of the contents, and unable to make a judgment about their accuracy, I delivered the information to the Director of the FBI. That has been the extent of my contact with the FBI or any other government agency regarding this issue.”
Marco Rubio Grills Tillerson: Why Won’t You Call Putin a ‘War Criminal’?:
During his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday morning, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson
, President-elect Trump
’s pick for secretary of State, was grilled by Sen. Marco Rubio
(R-FL) on his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin
. Asked whether he would call Putin a “war criminal,” Tillerson said “I would not use that term,” causing Rubio to bristle and reply, “It should not be hard to say Vladimir Putin’s army has committed war crimes in Aleppo.” Tillerson again hesitated, telling the senator, “I look forward to being fully informed,” before Rubio sharply interrupted: “None of this classified. These people are dead.”
Russia: We Don’t Have Trump Sex Smut:
Russia has denied that it has collected a dossier of compromising information on President-elect Donald Trump
. A spokesman for President Vladimir Putin
dismissed the allegations at a news conference Wednesday morning, saying, “The Kremlin has no compromising dossier on Trump, such information isn’t consistent with reality and is nothing but an absolute fantasy.” The spokesman added that news reports of the dossier were a “complete fabrication and utter nonsense.” The alleged dossier was the basis of an unverified and salacious 35-page U.S. intelligence document, a summary of which was presented to President Barack Obama
and President-elect Trump last week, which includes allegations that Russian operatives sought to “exploit Trump’s personal obsessions and sexual perversion” to gain compromising material on him. The document, which has been circulating in media and government circles for months, was published by BuzzFeed News on Tuesday night, although the site admitted that many of the allegations had not been verified despite investigation. On Twitter, Trump reacted by denouncing the report as a “political witch hunt,” calling it “fake news.” The most explosive allegation is that Trump hired a “number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ [sic] (urination) show in front of him. The hotel was known to be under FSB [Russian intelligence] control with microphones and concealed cameras in all the main rooms to record anything they wanted to.” On Wednesday morning, Trump added, “Russia just said the unverified report paid for by political opponents is ‘A COMPLETE AND TOTAL FABRICATION, UTTER NONSENSE.’ Very unfair!
Obama Calls on Americans to Persevere in Emotional Farewell Address:
President Barack Obama struck a hopeful but somber tone in his farewell speech in Chicago on Tuesday night, speaking to a massive crowd in the same city that erupted in ecstatic celebration at his historic victory in 2008. While he mentioned some of his achievements, he devoted much of his farewelladdress to warning of the many obstacles that lie ahead for the United States. Without mentioning President-elect Donald Trump by name, Obama warned of growing economic divisions and a racial divide, as well as “a weakening of the values that make us who we are.” “That’s why I reject discrimination against Muslim Americans,” he said, to great applause from the crowd. “That’s why we cannot withdraw from global fights—to expand democracy and human rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights—no matter how imperfect our efforts, no matter how expedient ignoring such values may seem,” he said.
He also urged citizens to fight back against a growing tide of partisanship, lamenting the trend of people becoming “so secure in our bubbles that we start accepting only information, whether true or not, that fits our opinions instead of basing our opinions on the evidence out there.” In comments that seemed inspired by the divisive rhetoric that characterized the presidential election, Obama said compromise would be impossible “without some common baseline of facts, without a willingness to admit new information and concede that your opponent is making a fair point and that science and reason matter.” Despite inevitable change and some setbacks for Democrats, Obama urged citizens not to be discouraged. “Show up. Dive in. Persevere. Sometimes you’ll win. Sometimes you’ll lose,” he said. While Obama said he was honored to have served as president, even fighting back tears during the speech, the crowd made it clear the feeling was mutual, chanting, “Four more years!” Obama responded with a big grin and said simply, “I can’t do that.”
Dylann Roof Is Sentenced to Death in Charleston Church Massacre:
Dylann S. Roof, the unrepentant and inscrutable white supremacist who killed nine African-American churchgoers in a brazen racial rampage almost 19 months ago, an outburst ofextremist violence that shocked the nation, was condemned to death by a federal jury on Tuesday. The jury of nine whites and three blacks, who last month found Mr. Roof guilty of 33 counts for the attack at this city’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, returned their unanimous verdict after about three hours of deliberations in the penalty phase of a heart-rending and often legally confounding trial. Mr. Roof, who had said in a closing argument hours earlier that he could ask jurors “to give me a life sentence, but I’m not sure what good that would do,” showed no expression as Judge Richard M. Gergel
of Federal District Court announced the verdict.
U.S. Cops: Our Job Has Gotten Harder:
America’s police officers say they believe their job has become more difficult in recent years, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center. The study, called Behind the Badge
, contends that cops believe the change was caused by both the increase in targeted fatal shootings of police officers, as well as public criticism and protests over high-profile police shootings of black Americans. Lead author Kim Parker
said the report involved a survey of 8,000 male and female police officers who were a nationally representative sample. Jack Glaser
, a professor of public policy at UC Berkeley, said, “Police officers are under greater scrutiny—the public is paying more attention.” Three-quarters of officers in the survey said they believe relations with the black community have become more tense and that they were more reticent to stop or question suspects or to use force, even when necessary. Ninety percent of officers said their colleagues worried about their personal safety. That trend began, researchers say, even before the recent shootings of police in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
George Lucas museum coming to Los Angeles:
The Force is apparently stronger in Los Angeles — which was chosen Tuesday over San Francisco as the official home of George Lucas
‘ $1-billion “Star Wars” museum. “It’s a banner day for LA,” explained Mayor Eric Garcetti
, who released a statement after the decision was announced. “Art exists to inspire, to move, to educate, and to excite,” he said. “Thanks to George Lucas and Mellody Hobson
, millions of Angelenos and visitors will enjoy an extraordinary collection anchored in storytelling — an art that carries so much meaning in the history and legacy of Los Angeles.”
LBN-INTEL FOR INFLUENCERS:
Kim’s Driver Released in Paris Robbery Probe:
French police investigating the brutal October robbery of Kim Kardashian
in Paris have released a driver used by the star, along with two other people, a legal source has told Agence France-Presse. Fourteen people remain in custody, including a 72-year-old man who is suspected of being among the armed gang who took part in the break-in at a luxury apartment in central Paris and making off with jewelry valued at about €9 million ($9.4 million). Le Figaro
had reported that the chauffeur was suspected of tipping off the gang that Kardashian’s bodyguard, Pascal Duvier
, was not at the apartment because he was accompanying her sister Kourtney
to a nearby nightclub.
LBN-BUSINESS INSIDER: ***Volkswagen is on the verge of pleading guilty to criminal charges and paying $4.3 billion in fines, in a deal that would resolve a federal criminal investigation into its cheating on vehicle emissions tests, the automaker said on Tuesday. The expected guilty plea and the recent arrest of a Volkswagen executive on conspiracy charges buck a pattern of companies essentially paying their way out of criminal accusations. While companies often face large fines for wrongdoing, it is far less common for them to admit to breaking the law. ***A special prosecutor investigating the corruption scandal that led to President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment summoned the de facto head of Samsung for questioning on Wednesday, calling him a bribery suspect. The de facto leader,Jay Y. Lee, the vice chairman of Samsung, will be questioned on Thursday, according to the special prosecutor’s office, which recommended that he also be investigated on suspicion of perjury. Mr. Lee effectively runs Samsung, South Korea’s largest conglomerate; he is the son of its chairman,Lee Kun-hee, who has been incapacitated with health problems.
LBN-MUSIC INSIDER: ***Get ready for some purple reign. Prince’s estate and Universal Music Group signed a merchandising and branding deal on Tuesday that will lead to the creation of an official line of merchandise to honor the late singer. But first: ridding the world of all those illegal knockoffs.
LBN-R.I.P.: ***Roy Innis, the autocratic national leader of the Congress of Racial Equality since 1968, whose right-wing views on affirmative action, law enforcement, desegregation and other issues put him at odds with many black Americans and other civil rights leaders, died on Sunday in Manhattan. He was 82.The cause was complications of Parkinson’s disease, a statement from CORE said.
LBN-COMMENTARY by Thomas L. Friedman: And so it came to pass that in the winter of 2016 the world hit a tipping point that was revealed by the most unlikely collection of actors: Vladimir Putin, Jeff Bezos, Donald Trump, Mark Zuckerberg and the Macy’s department store. Who’d have thunk it? And what was this tipping point? It was the moment when we realized that a critical mass of our lives and work had shifted away from the terrestrial world to a realm known as “cyberspace.” That is to say, a critical mass of our interactions had moved to a realm where we’re all connected but no one’s in charge. After all, there are no stoplights in cyberspace, no police officers walking the beat, no courts, no judges, no God who smites evil and rewards good, and certainly no “1-800-Call-If-Putin-Hacks-Your-Election.” If someone slimes you on Twitter or Facebook, well, unless it is a death threat, good luck getting it removed, especially if it is done anonymously, which in cyberspace is quite common.
LBN-COMMENTARY by Frank Bruni: If you happened to watch CNN on Friday morning, you saw a brutal exchange about Russian hacking between a righteous anchor with steam coming out of his ears and a right-wing operative with ice in her veins. “Chris Cuomo bulldozes Kellyanne Conway,” said a headline in one of the many publications so impressed by the encounter that they reported on it. If you happened to watch CNN on Monday morning, you saw that Conway was actually back with Cuomo for more. Surprised? Then you don’t know the first thing about her.
LBN-A DIFFERENT VIEW:….
says Ashton Kutcher
was paid three times as much as her for co-starring in2011’s “No Strings Attached.” Portman tells Marie Claire she knew about the pay difference at the time the film was being made, but wasn’t as miffed as she should have been. She tells the magazine, “we get paid a lot, so it’s hard to complain, but the disparity is crazy.” ***Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin
is celebrating 30 years of sobriety. “Happy 30th Sobriety birthday to me!” she captioned an Instagram photo of herself pretending to bite her sobriety chip engraved with “XXX.” ***Kirsten Dunst
and Jesse Plemons
— who played a married couple on “Fargo” — are rumored to be engaged in real life, sources say. We hear the pair got engaged over Golden Globes weekend.
LBN E-Lert Edited By Addison Beaulieu
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