President Trump reportedly was dismissive of more than Haiti and African nations at his contentious immigration meeting last week, with sources cited by The Washington Post now saying he rudely cut down the Congressional Black Caucus as well. Citing several White House officials, congressional aides, and lawmakers, the report says Trump behaved erratically and combatively at the meeting last Thursday, initially welcoming a bipartisan immigration pact only to unexpectedly complain about “shithole countries” and say he doesn’t care about the demands of the Congressional Black Caucus. Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin had suggested that members of that caucus would be more open to a much-needed deal if certain countries were included in the plan’s proposed protections, according to the report. Trump, who recently declared himself “not a racist” and denied making the “shithole countries” comment, reportedly responded by saying he did not care about that group’s demands and would not cater to them in making immigration policies.
Olympic gymnast Simone Biles came forward Monday to say she too was sexually abused by USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, who will be sentenced this week after pleading guilty to several counts of criminal sexual conduct. “There are many reasons that I have been reluctant to share my story, but I know now that it is not my fault,” she wrote in a statement on Twitter. “It is not normal to receive any type of treatment from a trusted team physician and refer to if horrifyingly as the ‘special’ treament,” she said, echoing allegations made by her fellow gymnasts. More than 140 female athletes have accused Nassar—the team doctor through four Olympic Games—of abusing them, including McKayla Maroney, Gabby Douglas, and Aly Raisman. Biles also placed part of the blame on USA Gymnastics, saying the guilt “belongs to Larry Nassar, USAG, and others.” “We need to know why this was able to take place for so long and to so many of us. We need to make sure something like this never happens again,” she wrote.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner received a warning from U.S. counterintelligence officials in early 2017 that Chinese-American businesswoman Wendi Deng Murdoch may try to use her friendship with him to lobby the interests of the Chinese government, The Wall Street Journal reports. A source familiar with the situation told the Journal that Murdoch, who has close ties both to Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, was suspected of lobbying for a planned $300 million Chinese garden in Washington, D.C. The project reportedly set off alarm bells because it included a 70-foot tower that intelligence officials feared could be used for surveillance. Kushner was not given any details about the intelligence community’s assessment of Murdoch, an ex-wife of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, but was advised to be wary of any individuals who might be representing the interests of foreign governments, according to the report. A representative for Kushner and Trump said the warning came as part of a “routine senior staff security briefing.” A spokesman for Murdoch said she has “no knowledge of any garden projects funded by the Chinese government.”
A dissident Venezuelan police officer who gained fame last year after stealing a helicopter and attacking the country’s Supreme Court was reportedly killed in a dramatic standoff with security forces on Monday. Oscar Perez, a former action movie star, had been wanted by authorities since he and a group of rebels dropped grenades on the Supreme Court building in Caracas last June amid widespread protests against President Nicolas Maduro. A Venezuelan government official speaking on the condition of anonymity told CNN Perez was killed in Caracas on Monday after months on the run, though the government has yet to officially confirm his death. Maduro told lawmakers security forces had hunted down the “terrorist group that attacked the Supreme Court.” He said five members of the group were captured in Monday’s operation while an unspecified number of others “fell down.” Two police officers were killed and another five injured. Perez had posted a series of videos to Twitter purporting to show the standoff. “They don’t want us to surrender, they want us dead!” he said.
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A 17-year-old girl led police to a horrific scene of child neglect in Southern California, where a dozen of her malnourished siblings were found imprisoned in their family home, law enforcement said on Monday. The children, ranging between 2 and 29 years old, were discovered “shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings,” according to a statement from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin, the apparent parents of the 13 children, are being held on $9 million bail each on nine felony counts of torture and 10 felony counts each of child endangerment.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham on Monday seemed to back reports of President Trump calling Haiti and African nations “shithole countries” at an immigration meeting last week. Graham, one of a handful of lawmakers present at the controversial meeting, had earlier claimed he’d “said his piece” to the president over certain “comments,” though he stopped short of voicing what the comments were. Asked about denials of the comments by Trump and two other lawmakers, Graham told The Post and Courier, “My memory hasn’t evolved. I know what was said and I know what I said.” Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin also stood by his account of the meeting, saying, “I know what happened. I stand by every word that I said.” Durbin had earlier confirmed reports that Trump used the term “shithole countries,” calling the comments “hate-filled, vile, and racist.” Meanwhile, Republican Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue continue to stand by Trump, saying they “do not recall” the president making “these comments specifically.”
Russia’s foreign minister lashed out at the U.S. on Monday for “dictating and issuing ultimatums” in its handling of global issues, a move the Kremlin says is destabilizing the world order. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the White House of using “questionable and unfair” methods to “keep rivals in check,” citing unilateral sanctions and America’s global ballistic missile defense system as examples of what he described as U.S. bullying. The White House’s threats to use military force in the North Korea crisis and pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran have also raised global tensions, he said, according to a transcript of his comments from Russia’s Foreign Ministry. Despite Trump’s rhetoric during his presidential campaign, he said, the idea of “American exceptionalism” voiced by former President Barack Obama and the “extraterritorial imposition of U.S. laws” have become “more intense and more pushy” under Trump in some areas. “There is a sense of fear of fair competition in the actions of the administration in a wide range of spheres,” Lavrov said, accusing the U.S. of trying to sabotage Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Europe.
Dolores O’Riordan, the lead singer of The Cranberries, has died suddenly at the age of 46, TMZ reports. The singer’s publicist told TMZ O’Riordan and her bandmates were in London for a recording session when she passed away “suddenly.” No further details were given on a cause of death. O’Riordan won world renown for hits like “Zombie” and “Linger” in the 1990s, and she went on to release two solo albums when the band later went on hiatus. She leaves behind three children.
Pope Francis on Monday said he is “truly afraid” of an imminent nuclear war, warning that the world is “at the very limit.” “I am truly afraid of this. One accident is enough to precipitate things,” he told reporters as he departed for a visit to Chile and Peru. The pontiff did not single out any countries in particular, but his warning came after a false missile alert in Hawaii triggered panic on Saturday. Residents frantically texted their loved ones goodbye and went fleeing for shelter, fearing a nuclear attack by North Korea. Authorities later said the erroneous warning had been sent out in error.