After Video Refutes Kelly’s Charges, Congresswoman Raises Issue of Race – New York Times

WASHINGTON — Video of a 2015 speech delivered by Representative Frederica S. Wilson revealed Friday that John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, misrepresented her remarks when he accused her of bragging about securing $20 million for a South Florida F.B.I. building and twisting President Barack Obama’s arm.

Ms. Wilson, in an interview on Friday, called Mr. Kelly a liar and hinted strongly that the altercation, prompted by a call from President Trump to the widow of a fallen black soldier, was racially charged.

“The White House itself is full of white supremacists,” she said.

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Mr. Kelly, escalating a feud between Mr. Trump and Ms. Wilson, had cast the congresswoman on Thursday as a publicity-seeking opportunist. However, the video, released by The Sun Sentinel, a newspaper in South Florida, showed that during her nine-minute speech, Ms. Wilson never took credit for getting the money for the building, only for helping pass legislation naming the building after two fallen federal agents.

She never mentioned pleading with Mr. Obama, and she acknowledged the help of several Republicans, including John A. Boehner, then the House speaker; Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart and Carlos Curbelo; and Senator Marco Rubio.

“I feel very sorry for him because he feels such a need to lie on me and I’m not even his enemy,” Ms. Wilson said of Mr. Kelly. “I just can’t even imagine why he would fabricate something like that. That is absolutely insane. I’m just flabbergasted because it’s very easy to trace.”

While she stopped short of accusing Mr. Kelly, a retired Marine general, of racial animus, she did say that others in the White House are racially biased.

“They are making themselves look like fools. They have no credibility,” she said. “They are trying to assassinate my character, and they are assassinating their own because everything they say is coming out and shown to be a lie.”

Mr. Trump and his top aides remained defiant Friday in the face of the escalating criticism about the way he and Mr. Kelly have handled the sensitive subject.

After a late-night tweet on Thursday from Mr. Trump in which he called Ms. Wilson “wacky,” aides continued to insist that Mr. Kelly had told the truth when he attacked the congresswoman.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said on Friday that Mr. Kelly “absolutely” stands by his Thursday remarks.

“General Kelly said he was ‘stunned’ that Representative Wilson made comments at a building dedication honoring slain F.B.I. agents about her own actions in Congress, including lobbying former President Obama on legislation,” Ms. Sanders said in a statement. “As General Kelly pointed out, if you’re able to make a sacred act like honoring American heroes about yourself, you’re an empty barrel.”

Ms. Sanders escalated the messaging a few hours later, when she accused reporters of inappropriately criticizing Mr. Kelly and insisted that Ms. Wilson had been grandstanding during her speech in front of the F.B.I. building in 2015.

“As we say in the South: All hat, no cattle,” Ms. Sanders said. Ms. Wilson is known in the Capitol and in South Florida for her colorful hats.

Ms. Sanders also said, “If you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general, I think that’s highly inappropriate.”

The charges and countercharges on Friday veered into the incendiary issue of race. Ms. Wilson is African-American, as is Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sgt. La David T. Johnson, one of four American soldiers killed in an Oct. 4 ambush in Niger.

Some members of the Congressional Black Caucus echoed Ms. Wilson’s accusations, though other black lawmakers noted that Mr. Trump attacks people of all races.

Stacey Plaskett, a Democrat and the Virgin Islands’ delegate to Congress, said she was especially offended that Mr. Trump did not seem to know Sergeant Johnson’s name.

“He continually called that fallen soldier ‘your guy’ to his wife. That was his wife,” she said. “It was almost as if he doesn’t believe that we have husbands and wives as black people. And that I find very disturbing, that he would not give her the respect of calling that soldier her husband.”

“I think he challenges anybody who goes after him and corrects him, whether they are black or white or male or female,” she continued. “I think the attack is more stark when it is a woman of color.”

The issue exploded this week when Ms. Wilson went public to say that in a condolence call to Ms. Johnson, Mr. Trump had said that Sergeant Johnson “knew what he signed up for.” Mr. Trump flatly declared that Ms. Wilson’s account was fabricated, but on Thursday, when Mr. Kelly defended the president, he did not refute Ms. Wilson’s account.

Instead, he accused her of turning Sergeant Johnson’s death into a political stunt.

Mr. Kelly said he and the congresswoman were both at the 2015 ceremony for a new F.B.I. building in Miami that was named after Benjamin P. Grogan and Jerry L. Dove, agents who were killed in a 1986 shootout. Mr. Kelly said Ms. Wilson had taken credit for getting the funding for the building. Ms. Wilson’s congressional district includes parts of Miami.

“And we were stunned — stunned that she’d done it,” Mr. Kelly said. “Even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were stunned.”

During the April 2015 dedication ceremony for the building that houses the F.B.I.’s South Florida operations, Ms. Wilson spoke about how quickly she was able to get a bill through the typically slow and bureaucratic Congress.

“It is a miracle to say the least,” Ms. Wilson said of the swift legislative action. But, she said, the quick passage shows how much respect Congress has for the F.B.I.

“Most men and women in law enforcement leave their homes for work knowing that there is a possibility they may not return,” Ms. Wilson said.

A White House spokesman on Friday said it stood by Mr. Kelly’s account of her remarks.

In a Twitter post late on Thursday, Mr. Trump said that Ms. Wilson was “SECRETLY on a very personal call,” and “gave a total lie” about what he had said.

Ms. Wilson, a friend of the Johnson family, was in a limousine with the family waiting at Miami International Airport to meet Sergeant Johnson’s coffin when Mr. Trump called. Ms. Wilson heard the call because it was on a speakerphone.

Eileen Sullivan contributed reporting.

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Conservatives drop demands for bigger spending cuts to get to tax reform – The Hill

Conservatives are dropping their demands for billions in mandatory spending cuts as GOP House leaders ready to take up the Senate-passed budget next week, a key step for tax reform.

House Budget Committee Chairwoman Diane BlackDiane Lynn BlackThe Hill Interview: Budget Chair Black sticks around for nowHouse to vote on budget next weekBlackburn says she’s interested in Corker’s seatMORE (R-Tenn.), who had pushed for the Senate to adopt $203 billion in mandatory cuts included in the House budget, is now supporting the Senate plan.

“The budget process is not easy, but I am pleased that the final version included some changes that reflect many ideas offered in our plan and also has the support of President Trump,” Black said in a prepared statement. “In the House, I look forward to swift passage and to working with the president on tax reform, to provide relief to all Americans.”


Conservatives that had pushed for the inclusion of mandatory spending cuts in the House budget are now focusing on swiftly passing tax reform.

“I will vote for the Senate budget and while I applaud the work that Chairman Black did in our budget committee to begin the process of mandatory spending reforms, at this point, achieving economic growth is the first priority and so I want to keep that train moving,” said Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

Republicans in general are under heavy pressure to get a legislative win on tax reform after failing to pass other priorities, including ObamaCare repeal. The failures have added up despite a year of unified GOP control of the government.

The new urgency to get tax reform done is reflected in the decision of conservatives to back the Senate budget.

Earlier this year, House Freedom Caucus members had been willing to delay committee passage of the House budget on demands that it include instructions to cut more mandatory spending. Now they are signaling acquiescence to the smaller Senate figures.

On a Friday afternoon phone call, the House Freedom Caucus opted not to formally vote on the issue, but many members expressed support for moving forward with the Senate bill to keep momentum going.

According to Brat, they were willing to drop the spending cuts if leadership would publicly set a Thanksgiving deadline for passing the tax plan.

“We don’t want it dragging on forever, like health care did. That’s when the swamp gets involved, and that’s not good for the middle class,” Brat said.

Passing the budget is linked to tax reform because it includes special instructions that will allow the tax bill to be shielded from a Senate filibuster, preventing Democrats from blocking it. Without passage of a new GOP budget, the rules would not be in play and Democrats would have more leverage.

Many House conservatives have been unusually quiet following the Senate resolution’s passage. Rep. Mark Walker (N.C.), the head of the conservative Republican Study Committee, did not respond to multiple inquiries from The Hill, nor did several vocal members of the Freedom Caucus.

A spokesperson for Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanThe Hill Interview: Budget Chair Black sticks around for nowGun proposal picks up GOP supportGOP lawmaker Tim Murphy to retire at end of termMORE (R-Wis.) said a final decision had yet to be made on whether to advance the Senate bill in the House next week.

Heritage Action, a conservative group, is also on board with the plan of taking up the Senate bill.

“Heritage Action is supportive of the Senate-passed budget because it moves us towards tax reform. On a parallel track, Republicans need to begin seriously tackling America’s long-term spending challenges,” Heritage Vice President Dan Holler said.

Twenty-two conservative economic organizations under the banner of the National Taxpayers Union sent a letter to House members urging that they adopt the Senate budget.

“The budget process serves many important purposes, but this year’s iteration offers a unique opportunity to pass fundamental tax reform — far and away our nation’s highest fiscal priority,” it said.

“The quickest and highest-probability path to achieving this goal would be to bypass the conference process and move directly to a House vote on the Senate-passed budget resolution,” said the letter, which was signed by groups such as Club for Growth, Americans for Tax Reform and Freedomworks.

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White nationalist shot at protesters after Richard Spencer speech in Florida, police say – Los Angeles Times

Three supporters of the prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer have been charged with attempted murder after police said one of the men, egged on by his friends, shot at protesters “with the intent to kill” following Spencer’s speech at the University of Florida on Thursday.

It was the most serious instance of violence reported in connection to Spencer’s appearance at the university.

The event was heavily protested but mostly went off without violence, until three men in a silver Jeep pulled up to a bus stop around 5:20 p.m. Thursday after Spencer had ended his speech. They had just come from the speech and were recorded on video giving interviews to media outlets, defending Spencer’s appearance.

“One of the passengers began yelling Hail Hitler and other chants” at the people at the bus stop, according to arrest reports released by the Gainesville Police Department. “An argument ensued,” and one of the people at the bus stop, whose name was redacted, “used a baton to hit the rear window of [the] vehicle.”

Tyler Eugene Tenbrink, 28, of Richmond, Texas, got out of the Jeep and pulled out a gun, police said.

Colton Gene Fears, 28, and William Henry Fears, 30, brothers who live in Pasadena, Texas, told Tenbrink to “kill them” and “shoot them,” according to the arrest reports. At one point William Fears got out of the vehicle too, according to one witness.

Tenbrink fired one shot, which missed a person at the bus stop and hit a business behind the person, and the men then got back in the Jeep and drove away, police said. The person took down the Jeep’s license plate number and the men were arrested 20 miles north of Gainesville, with a gun found in the car, police said. Tenbrink then confessed to being the gunman, they said.

“I am amazed that immediately after being shot at, a victim had the forethought to get the vehicle’s license number,” Gainesville police spokesman Ben Tobias said in a statement. “That key piece of information allowed officials from every level of multiple agencies to quickly identify and arrest these persons.”

Under Florida law, accomplices to an attempted murder can be charged as if they had fired the shots. Police said Tenbrink is a convicted felon and could face more charges because he was in possession of a gun.

It was not immediately clear if the men had lawyers. Tenbrink was ordered held in lieu of $3-million bond and the Fears brothers were ordered held in lieu of $1-million bond, according to police.

Tenbrink came from Texas to hear Spencer speak, and he told the Gainesville Sun in an interview before the shooting: “This is a mess. I’m disappointed in the course of things. It appears that the only answer left is violence, and nobody wants that.” He appears to be the same man who leapt over a police fence after being chased away from the event by protesters.

Before the shooting, William Fears told one journalist that he supported Spencer’s message, and he also told a Miami CBS news affiliate that the “only people who think we’re the violent ones, causing violence, are people who watch CNN.”

William Fears also told the Gainesville Sun: “It’s always been socially acceptable to punch a Nazi, to attack people if they have right-wing political leanings. Us coming in and saying we’re taking over your town, we’re starting to push back, we’re starting to want to intimidate back. We want to show our teeth a little bit because, you know, we’re not to be taken lightly. We don’t want violence; we don’t want harm. But at the end of the day, we’re not opposed to defending ourselves.”

A Miami Herald video appeared to catch Colton Fears shouting at protesters, “Fourteen in the sheets, 88 in the streets,” two numbers commonly used by white nationalists and neo-Nazis to express white power. “Our founding fathers were white nationalists,” Fears told the newspaper in an interview. “Now I’m not saying you have to be a white nationalist, but understanding that it’s OK and it doesn’t make you a racist.”

Spencer’s planned appearance had led Gov. Rick Scott to declare a state of emergency to bring in more police protection, fearing a violent brawl between white nationalists and anti-fascists such as the one that occurred in Charlottesville, Va., in August, which left one anti-racism protester dead.

But Spencer managed to speak on campus safely. Students and protesters booed and chanted through most of his two-hour speech as hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside, occasionally scuffling with some white nationalists who walked through the crowd. Spencer left the event safely and protesters were largely peaceful.

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Twitter: @mattdpearce


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Move Over, VR, Ubisoft Takes Gaming Hosts To Egypt For Real Experience – MediaPost Communications

For all the detailed graphics and promise of immersion, video games still can’t replace the true experience of going to another land to know what it’s about first-hand.

Ubisoft, the company behind the popular “Assassin’s Creed” game franchise, has teamed with Defy Media to take two of its “Smosh” games hosts to Egypt to experience the setting and mysteries of the franchise’s latest release, “Assassin’s Creed Origins,” in real life. 

“Ancient Egypt is not only the oldest setting we’ve undertaken for an Assassin’s Creed game, but it’s also one the most mysterious, dynamic, and largest worlds we’ve brought to life for our players,” Adam Novickas, vice president of marketing for Ubisoft, tells Marketing Daily. “The series provides a different entry point for our fans to learn more about the world of ‘Assassin’s Creed Origins’ from the rest of our campaign touchpoints that are predominantly gameplay driven.” 



For the three-episode series, hosts Mari Takahashi and Joshua “Joven” Ovenshire are surprised with a trip to Egypt. Once there, they explore the pyramids and landmarks that make appearances within the game and learn about ancient Egyptian culture, mummies, weapons, the spices in bazaars and animal life on the Nile. They also learn how to use one of the game’s principal weapons, a longbow, at the Archery Academy Egypt.

Defy Media presented the idea for the “Open World” series at its Newfront presentation last May. Creating a three-episode series was a way to move beyond Ubisoft’s typical gameplay and influencer marketing programs and bring new players to the game, Novickas says. 

“While trailers and influencer gameplay are still cornerstones of our online content, [this series] provides the opportunity for us to tap into a larger lifestyle conversation across both gaming and travel audiences,” he says. “This is a departure from

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Kokomo man's warning after having 16 guns stolen: 'Don't let strippers in your house' – Fox 59

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KOKOMO, Ind.– Howard County gun owner Billy Swaggerty said he learned a bitter lesson after his back door was kicked in last spring and more than a dozen firearms, some of them assault-style rifles, and the safes they were kept in were stolen.

“Be careful who you tell, keep it to yourself, don’t be bragging about how many guns you got, be careful who you let into your house and make sure you buy a quality safe,” he said. “And that’s another thing…don’t let strippers in your house.”

Swaggerty said last winter a woman he knew in passing showed up at his front door on Kokomo’s north side, shivering without a coat, and asking if he still had a spare bedroom.

Over his wife’s objections, Swaggerty let the woman move in.

“And I put her in the bedroom with the safes and it came back and bit me,” he said. “The fact is she was a stripper is what we found out. We didn’t know that she was a stripper.”

A stripper with a husband who was in prison on a drug charge with a substance abuse problem herself, said Swaggerty who came home for lunch on May 3 and realized someone had kicked in his backdoor and stole all his guns and the safes in which they were stored.

“I had probably three .22 rifles, two shotguns, numerous pistols, I had an SKS which is .762 millimeter, I had an AK 74 which is a .554 millimeter and I had an AR 15 which I just got for Christmas which is a .556 millimeter,” said Swaggerty, who estimated his guns were worth $10,000.

While the guns were locked in safes, the cabinets were constructed of thin

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