Bill Owens, the father of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens who was killed during a raid in Yemen, says he refused to meet with President Donald Trump when his son’s body was brought back to the U.S. because of how the president treated a Gold Star family during the presidential campaign. “I told them I didn’t want to make a scene about it, but my conscience wouldn’t let me talk to him,” Owens told The Miami Herald, referring to Trump’s treatment of the Khan family after Khizr Khan spoke at the Democratic National Convention in July. Owens was killed in a Jan. 28 raid that the Trump administration dubbed a success. Bill Owens told the Herald that “the government owes my son and investigation” into the operation.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer reportedly ordered that staffers’ personal and work phones be checked in an effort to crack down on leaks. Politico, citing sources in the room, reported that Spicer told a group of communications aides that he was unhappy that information from his past meetings with them was getting out to the press. Staffers were reportedly told to place their phones on a table “to prove they had nothing to hide,” Politico reported. The move was done in consultation with White House counsel Don McGahn, and Spicer reportedly warned staffers that using encrypted messaging apps such as Confide and Signal would be a violation of the Federal Records Act. Spicer declined to comment to Politico.
At least 28 people were injured when a man drove a truck into the crowd at a Mardi Gras Parade in New Orleans on Saturday night. The driver of the truck, who is in custody, hit two cars before ramming into the crowd and is believed to have been highly intoxicated, Police Chief Michael Harrison said. None of the injuries are life-threatening, but five people were seriously hurt. Harrison added that there is no evidence yet that the incident amounted to terrorism.
Civilian casualties are on the rise as Iraqi troops are storming the ISIS stronghold of Mosul. According to the Associated Press, medical stations are overflowing as Iraqi soldiers and civilians are being killed or injured. “At one clinic Sunday, the dead had to be moved to the ground to free up beds as more injured arrived,” the AP reported. Citing medical officials, more than 30 troops and 200 civilians have been either killed or injured in the past three days alone. Iraqi forces launched a major offensive in western Mosul earlier this month aimed at liberating the entire city, which is divided in half by the Tigris River. Last week they reportedly captured a strategically valuable village near the airport. As many as 350,000 children were believed to have been trapped in the western part of the city.
The executive editor of the New York Times said on Sunday that President Donald Trump’s attacks on the newspaper have helped to increase subscriptions. “Trump is the best thing to happen to the Times’ subscription strategy, yes,” Dean Baquet said on CNN’s Reliable Sources. “Every time he tweets it drives subscriptions wildly.” On Twitter, Trump often employs the phrase “failing New York Times” when attacking the paper for its coverage of his administration. Despite Trump’s characterization of the Times as failing, Baquet said the company is “profitable” and adding both print and digital subscriptions after a years-long decline in newspaper revenue across the industry.
President Donald Trump’s approval rating remains at a record low for newly inaugurated presidents, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. Just 44 percent of Americans approve of the president’s job performance, while 48 percent said they disapprove. Presidents historically have enjoyed high markings after being inaugurated. Nearly 50 percent of Americans view Trump unfavorably, compared to just 19 percent for Barack Obama and 23 percent for George W. Bush at this point in their presidencies.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, died within 20 minutes of coming in contact with a nerve agent that was smothered on his face earlier this month at the airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s health minister said on Sunday. Kim Jong Nam died on Feb. 13 after two women allegedly rubbed VX nerve agent on his face. “VX only requires 10 milligrams to be absorbed into the system to be lethal, so I presume that the amount of dose that went in is more than that,” Subramaniam Sathasivam said at a news conference. “The doses were so high and it did it so fast and all over the body, so it would have affected his heart, it would have affected his lungs, it would have affected everything.” South Korea has blamed the killing on the north, which has denied involvement. Malaysian officials believe four North Korean men who left Malaysia the day Kim Jong Nam was killed provided the two women with the nerve agent, a banned substance under international law. One of the two women, an Indonesian, previously said she thought she was participating in a TV prank. She also said she was given $90 before rubbing the nerve agent on Kim Jong Nam’s face.
A longtime neighbor of the man who shot Indian immigrants at a bar in Kansas, killing one of them, says the suspect was a “drunken mess” who was not a political person. But witnesses to the shooting said the suspect, Adam Purinton, said, “get out of my country” before he opened fire, causing some to label the incident as a hate crime. Andy Berthelsen, a neighbor of Purinton for 15 years, said the 51-year-old’s mental state went “downhill very quickly” after his father passed away. Officials have declined to indicate whether they are investigating the attack as a hate crime. The second Indian man who was shot was released from the hospital shortly after the shooting, while a third man who attempted to intervene is still in the hospital recovering.
Alleged Shooter: ‘Get Out of My Country’ >
The U.S. is reportedly considering dropping off of the United Nations Human Rights Council over alleged anti-Israel bias. A former State Department official told Politico that the administration is also questioning the council’s “usefulness overall,” due to the fact that some countries with subpar human rights records are allowed on the council. Politico reports that a final decision on whether to pull out of the body would involve President Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. When asked about the possibility of dropping off, State Department spokesman Mark Toner only said the U.S. delegation “will be fully involved in the work of the HRC session which starts Monday.”
At least 32 people were killed Saturday when attackers stormed two security offices in Syria’s Homs, leaving a top security official who heads the country’s military intelligence among the victims, authorities said. Talal Barzani, the governor of Homs, told the Associated Press there were three explosions, with the attackers wearing suicide belts that they set off in the buildings. A group called the Levant Liberation Committee, an al-Qaida linked group, claimed responsibility for the attack, one of the biggest attacks on security forces in the six-year war. The group said it set off bombs near checkpoints outside the building as rescuers arrived, causing more carnage. Syria’s state-controlled media said Maj. Gen Hassan Daeboul, head of the local military intelligence, was killed in the attack, and Brigadier Ibrahim Darwish, head of the State Security Branch, was seriously wounded. It was not immediately clear if any civilians were among the victims.