Donald Trump's physician, Dr. Harold Bornstein wrote a letter declaring Trump's "astonishingly excellent" health in five minutes while Trump waited outside in a limousine, Bornstein told NBC. On its December release, Bornstein's letter drew scrutiny for its outlandish claims, which included "if elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency."
Bornstein said he did not proofread the letter, but told NBC he still stands by his claims, including what he called Trump's "excellent" mental health. Bornstein is a gastroenterologist. "I like Donald Trump because I think he likes me," he told NBC.
Stephen Bannon, the CEO of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, allegedly didn’t want to send his twin daughters to the Archer School for Girls in Los Ageles because of the number of Jewish students there, his ex-wife alleged in court. "The biggest problem he had with Archer is the number of Jews that attend," his ex-wife Mary Louise Piccard wrote in a 2007 court declaration. "He said that he doesn't like the way they raise their kids to be 'whiny brats' and that he didn't want the girls going to school with Jews.” Picard also accused Bannon of domestic violence.
The wife of an Oregon militia member who was killed after a month-long standoff with federal authorities in Janurary plans to sue the FBI over her husband's death. Robert “LaVoy” Finicum was killed after he an a number of heavily armed ranchers took over a wildlife building in eastern Oregon, in protest over land rights. FBI agents shot him during a chase, in which agents say Finicum reached for his gun. His wife Jeanette says the killing was unjustified, and that agents escalated the situation. Her lawyer is also representing members of the standoff who were arrested and jailed at its conclusion.
A federal court on Friday blocked the University of North Carolina from enforcing a controversial provision of the HB2 law, which prohibits transgender people from using bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity. The students and members of the UNC faculty brought the case to court, along with North Carolina residents and representatives from the ACLU, who protested the university's anti-transgender bathroom policy. Judge Thomas Schroeder ruled that transgender students and faculty should be able to use the bathrooms of their preference, in keeping with the "status quo ante in North Carolina in recent years: some transgender individuals have been quietly using bathrooms and other facilities that match their gender identity, without public awareness or incident.”
Italy will hold a state funeral on Saturday for the 281 people killed in a series of earthquakes earlier this week. The quakes, which left thousands homeless in central Italy, were the country's worst since 2009. Rescue operations have been called off in many regions, after several days of searches for missing people.
The Air Force is investigating sexual assault accusations against an unnamed four-star general. The general, who is now retired, was on active duty at the time of the alleged assault. The allegations first surfaced on the independent Air Force blog John Q. Public, which reported that the Air Force had received a complaint from a female officer who accused her commander of using his authority "to coerce sexual contact" in three separate incidents.
Facebook is ditching much of the human team that curated its trending news section. Humans will no longer write descriptions of trending topics, after a Gizmodo investigation suggested that Facebook's editors were suppressing news from conservative outlets. The social network will rely on an algorithm to pull excerpts of trending articles "directly from the stories," Recode reports. Facebook will keep some humans on staff to prevent inaccurate or inappropriate stories from making the cut.
The Food and Drug Administration announced Friday that it would require all U.S. blood centers to screen for Zika. The new policy is meant to protect the nation’s blood supply from the mosquito-borne virus, which also can be transmitted via sex and bodily fluids, including blood. The extra measures were only previously in place in Puerto Rico and two counties in Florida. According to ABC News last month, blood centers in Fort Lauderdale and Miami were forced to temporarily reject new blood until they had enacted a system to screen the donations. The order came after reports of local Zika transmission in the Miami area—which has now been confirmed. The sites were already mandated to test for the West Nile virus, hepatitis, and HIV.
The FDA policy comes the same day as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the first known case of a sexual Zika transmission without symptoms. According to reports, the case is the first documented instance of an asymptomatic person giving the virus to a sexual partner who had not traveled to an area of active Zika circulation. The man allegedly had no idea he was infected with the virus and transmitted it to his female partner via sexual intercourse.
In the most serious yet of a recent string of run-ins, a U.S. Navy patrol ship is reported to have fired warning shots Wednesday at an Iranian “fast-attack” vessel that approached two American crafts in the Persian Gulf. A Pentagon official said the USS Squall fired three warning shots from a .50 caliber gun after the Iranian vessel came within 200 yards of the U.S. ship—and ignored a series of warning flares. “They did feel compelled ultimately to fire three warning shots,” said Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook. “They had taken steps already to try and de-escalate this situation.” Earlier this week, the Pentagon accused Iranian vessels of harassing a U.S. warship near the Strait of Hormuz. The Squall incident came a day before Iran’s defense minister warned of increased confrontations with American ships entering Iran’s maritime region.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is reportedly hiring Bill Stepien, the former Chris Christie aide who was fired from his position after the “Bridgegate” scandal erupted in January 2014. Stepien is a Republican operative who will be taking over as national field director on the real-estate mogul’s campaign to assist with voter turnout. He was brought on by the campaign’s new CEO, Steve Bannon. Stepien managed both of Gov. Christie’s election campaigns and was his deputy chief of staff for legislative affairs. He invoked his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination when called to testify about his emails regarding the controversial lane-closure action on the George Washington Bridge.