The widow of a fallen U.S. soldier killed in Niger this month appeared on Good Morning America, speaking publicly for the first time since his death and the subsequent media firestorm over President Trump’s “insensitive” sympathy phone call. Myeshia Johnson, widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, explained to George Stephanopoulos that on that phone call, “the president said that ‘he knew what he signed up for but it hurts anyways’ and it made me cry because I was very angry at the tone of his voice and how he said it.” She continued: “He couldn’t remember my husband’s name. The only way he remembered my husband’s name because he told me he had my husband’s report in front of him and that’s when he actually said La David. I heard him stumbling on trying to remember my husband’s name and that hurt me the most because if my husband is out here fighting for our country and he risks his life for our country, why can’t you remember his name?” Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), a family friend and mentor of the solider’s, famously overheard the call and told the media it was “insensitive,” leading to an ongoing feud with the White House, in which Trump called her a “liar.” Johnson finally addressed that spat, telling ABC: “Whatever Ms. Wilson said was not fabricated. What she said was 100 percent correct... Why would we fabricate something like that?” Trump responded to Johnson later Monday in a tweet, writing: “I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from beginning, without hesitation!”
Sen. John McCain appears to have taken a veiled swipe at President Trump while criticizing the practice of draft dodging in an interview aired Sunday. McCain, one of Trump’s most outspoken critics in the GOP, made the comments while speaking about the Vietnam War on an episode of C-SPAN3’s American History TV. “One aspect of the [Vietnam] conflict, by the way, that I will never ever countenance is that we drafted the lowest income level of America, and the highest income level found a doctor that would say that they had a bone spur,” McCain said. “That is wrong. That is wrong. If we are going to ask every American to serve, every American should serve.” McCain, a veteran who was held prisoner and tortured for more than five years in Vietnam, seemed to be referring to an ailment cited as the reason for Trump’s five draft deferments. Trump was reportedly allowed deferments because a doctor said he had heel spurs—calcium buildups in the foot that cause protrusions.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s federal probe has now expanded to include Tony Podesta and the Podesta Group, NBC News reported Monday. The special counsel began looking into the Democratic power-player and his lobbying group after probing the finances of former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort. “Manafort had organized a public-relations campaign for a nonprofit called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU),” NBC explained. “Podesta’s company was one of many firms that worked on the campaign, which promoted Ukraine's image in the West.” The Podesta inquiry began as a “fact-finding mission” about Manafort, “but has now morphed into a criminal inquiry into whether the firm violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act, known as FARA.” Podesta is the brother of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.
The New York Times reporters who effectively ended Bill O’Reilly’s career with a series of reports on his many settlements of sexual-harassment allegations had a chance to sit down with the ex-Fox News host over the weekend. Emily Steel and Michael E. Schmidt explained on Monday’s The Daily podcast that it was quite clear from the outset O’Reilly wasn’t interested in discussing as much as bullying. “Leaks are not facts. Leaks are designed to hurt people,” he told the reporters before trying to depict himself as a victim. “It’s been a horrendous experience,” O’Reilly said. “I’ve never had one complaint filed against me by a co-worker in any human-resources department in 43 years. That encompasses 12 different companies. So all of the sudden this stuff happens and the pain it brings to my children is indescribable.” As soon as the reporters shut off their official microphones following the interview (while their phones continued to record), O’Reilly lit up even more: “It’s horrible what I went through, horrible what my family went through,” he shouted. “This is crap. It’s politically and financially motivated. We can prove it with shocking information.” Without going into specifics, he declared, “We have physical proof that this is bullshit.” Steel and Schmidt reported on Saturday that Fox had extended O’Reilly’s contract even after he shelled out $32 million to former on-air contributor Lis Wiehl over allegations that included him sending pornographic material to her.
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At least 38 women came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct by director James Toback, the Los Angeles Times reported late Sunday. A whopping 31 of the women interviewed by the Times went on-record with their allegations, which portrayed Toback, 72, as “a man who, for decades, sexually harassed women he hired, women looking for work and women he just saw on the street.” The Oscar-nominated Bugsy writer denied the allegations, claiming he’d never met the accusers, and if he did, it “was for five minutes and [he has] no recollection.” He also claimed that it would have been “biologically impossible” for him to have engaged in some of the accusations—including masturbating in front of or onto the women—because, for the past few decades, he has battled diabetes and a heart condition requiring medication.
At Beijing’s request, President Trump reportedly sought to deport a wealthy Chinese businessman at the center of a spy saga—until top officials blocked the move. According to The Wall Street Journal, the situation surrounding Guo Wengui—an outspoken critic of the Chinese government who is seeking asylum in the U.S.—has left Trump’s administration struggling to come up with a unified response. Trump himself came close to deporting Guo after receiving a letter from Beijing that was hand-delivered by casino magnate Steve Wynn, who has business interests in China’s Macau, according to the report. The letter apparently appealed to Trump to deport Guo, who claims to have vital information on the Chinese government and North Korea. After being briefed by top officials on Beijing’s latest espionage efforts, Trump reportedly said he knew of one “Chinese criminal” who should immediately be deported. “Where’s the letter that Steve brought?” a source recalled Trump calling to his secretary. “We need to get this criminal out of the country,” Trump was cited saying in the report. Trump’s aides later blocked any attempt to deport Guo, fearing it would jeopardize leverage the U.S. might have over Beijing.
Four days after David Letterman sat down with Jimmy Kimmel for an interview in Brooklyn, he was receiving the coveted Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Sunday night. During the ceremony, which will air on PBS next month, Kimmel joked that Letterman's 2015 retirement may be to blame for ushering in President Donald Trump. “It’s like you went out for cigarettes one day and left us in the hands of our abusive, orange stepfather,” Kimmel said. Among the other presenters was comedian Steve Martin, who noted, “Dave has always had spot-on comedic instincts. What better time than right now to insist on looking like a Confederate war general?” In his closing remarks to accept the award, Letterman quoted Twain’s definition of patriotism, telling the crowd assembled, “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”
A Columbia University gynecologist who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing patients was allowed to avoid jail time because of campaign donations made to Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr., four female accusers have alleged. Robert Hadden was sentenced in March 2016 for one felony count of a criminal sex act and one count of forcible touching, though he managed to avoid prison time after pleading guilty. Four of his accusers now say he was spared prison because his defense lawyer, Isabelle Kirshner, made hefty campaign contributions to Vance over the years. “In hindsight it makes so much sense,” one of Hadden’s accusers told the New York Daily News. According to a CBS News report published this weekend, Kirshner and her firm, Clayman & Rosenberg, donated $42,000 to Vance since 2008. Kirshner reportedly donated $250 to Vance on the same day she filed a motion in court opposing a plan by prosecutors to use evidence against Hadden that fell outside the statute of limitations. Kirshner also reportedly donated $1,000 to Vance two months after Hadden’s sentencing. News of the donations to Vance comes as he faces scrutiny for his decision not to pursue sexual-abuse charges against disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein despite strong evidence.
Boston-based Fidelity Investments reportedly ousted two employees this month as part of a crackdown on sexual harassment and bullying at the mutual-fund giant. The latest employee to be pushed out was identified as C. Robert Chow, a former portfolio manager and employee in the advisory unit who was asked to resign amid claims he made inappropriate sexual comments to colleagues, The Wall Street Journal reports. Chow’s departure came just days after a tech fund manager was reportedly fired in the wake of sexual-harassment allegations. Fidelity has reportedly hired a consulting firm to review employee behavior following the recent allegations. Last Monday, an emergency meeting was held in the stock-picking division to drill home to employees the company’s “zero-tolerance policy” for inappropriate workplace conduct, according to the report. Sources cited in the report said Fidelity has been struggling to root out sexual harassment, with at least three portfolio managers fired in the past six years.