Another One
April 8, 2019

Yet another Department of Homeland Security official is leaving the Trump administration.

President Trump is removing U.S. Secret Service Director Randolph Alles, CNN reported on Monday. Alles has reportedly been asked to leave his position, although he remains in it for now, after Trump instructed Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney to fire him.

This comes one day after Trump announced the resignation of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who was reportedly pressured to leave the administration. A senior administration official told CNN there is a "near-systematic purge happening at the nation's second-largest national security agency," with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Francis Cissna and DHS Office of the General Counsel's John Mitnick also expected to be on their way out. CNN had previously reported that Senior Adviser Stephen Miller was eying more Department of Homeland Security firings.

The Associated Press and NBC News have both confirmed that Alles is expected to leave the administration, although AP's Jill Colvin reports this is unrelated to other DHS departures. Brendan Morrow

March 25, 2019

Now that one special counsel investigation has wrapped up, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) wants another.

Graham, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Monday said Attorney General William Barr should appoint a new special counsel to investigate allegations of the FBI and the Department of Justice "playing politics" in 2016. This would include looking into the FBI's obtaining of a FISA warrant to surveil former Trump aide Carter Paige, which included references to allegations from British spy Christopher Steele's unconfirmed dossier on the Trump campaign's alleged Russia collusion. This was not the entire basis for obtaining the warrant, however, explains NBC News.

"The FISA warrant issued against Carter Page based on a dossier prepared by Christopher Steele is at a minimum disturbing," Graham said, per ABC. "Whether or not it's illegal, I don't yet know, so I'm going to get answers to this."

Graham said he would "like to find somebody like a Mr. Mueller" that could look into this FISA warrant among other concerns raised by conservatives in recent years. Mueller "thoroughly investigated the Trump campaign," but "you cannot say that about the other side of the story," he argued. Graham also said he wants this special counsel to investigate the FBI's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. He was headed to speak with Barr shortly after this press conference.

Trump himself suggested on Sunday more investigations should take place, saying, "hopefully, somebody's going to be looking at the other side."

The Judiciary Committee will also examine these issues, Graham said on Monday after previously hinting at this by tweeting at Former FBI Director James Comey, "See you soon." Brendan Morrow

March 17, 2019

While a foregone conclusion since she announced her plans to launch an exploratory committee for a potential run at the Oval Office in January, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) officially announced her presidential bid on Sunday.

Gillibrand delivered the news in the form of a video, in which she broadly lays out the campaign issues she will focus on, including universal health care, paid family leave, and the "Green New Deal." The video also highlights the senator's vote against bank bailouts during the 2008 financial crisis and her work to change how the military handles allegations of sexual misconduct.

Gillibrand will reportedly give a speech in front of the Trump International hotel in New York City next Sunday. She also has campaign stops in Michigan, Iowa, and Nevada during the week. Watch the announcement video below. Tim O'Donnell

March 11, 2019

Another potentially incriminating tape of R&B star R. Kelly has been handed over to authorities.

Gary Dennis, a Pennsylvania man represented by attorney Gloria Allred, said on Sunday he has provided law enforcement with a recording he found while cleaning out a box of VHS tapes, per NBC News. He claims it shows Kelly "sexually abusing underage African-American girls," HuffPost reports.

The contents of this tape, which have been provided to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, have not yet been verified by news outlets. But this comes after attorney Michael Avenatti last month provided law enforcement with a tape he said showed Kelly abusing an underage girl. This tape was reviewed by CNN, which confirmed it appeared to show Kelly with a girl who both he and Kelly suggest on tape is 14 years old.

Kelly previously faced child pornography charges in 2002 over a tape allegedly showing him having sex with a minor, but he was ultimately acquitted. Last month, he was indicted on 10 charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, and he has pleaded not guilty. His attorney on Sunday denied that he is on "any" tape and said that it's "obviously now just open season on R. Kelly." Brendan Morrow

February 6, 2019

The third person in line for the Virginia governorship has admitted he wore blackface as a college student.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) on Wednesday released a statement admitting that in 1980, when he was an undergraduate in college, he and his friends dressed as rappers and "because we did not have an appreciation for the experiences and perspectives of others," they "dressed up and put on wigs and brown makeup."

Herring says that he is "sure we have all done things at one time or another in our lives that show poor judgment," and this is a "glaring example" that has "haunted me for decades." But he insists it "was a onetime occurrence" and says he takes "full responsibility" for it.

This revelation means that Virginia's governor and the two people next in line to succeed him are all embroiled in controversies. Last week, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) admitted to wearing blackface in a yearbook photo printed on a page dedicated to him; the photo also showed a person wearing a Ku Klux Klan robe. He later backtracked and said he's not in that photo but did wear blackface on a separate occasion when he dressed as Michael Jackson.

Should Northam resign, as many Democrats including Herring have called on him to do, his successor would be Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax (D), who recently denied an allegation of sexual assault. NBC News reported Wednesday that Fairfax said of his accuser at a private meeting Monday, "f— that b—." Herring is next in line, and fourth in line is Republican Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates Kirk Cox. Read Herring's statement below. Brendan Morrow

January 18, 2019

Another election, another DNC hack?

The Democratic National Committee is piling onto its ongoing lawsuit against President Trump's 2016 campaign, Russia, and others, saying it was the intended victim of yet another cyberattack. Hackers — likely Russian ones — unsuccessfully tried to infiltrate DNC email addresses just days after the 2018 midterms, ABC News reports via court documents filed late Thursday night.

The DNC first faced a major hack in the summer of 2016 when thousands of its emails were posted on WikiLeaks by an alleged Russian agent. As the 2018 midterms approached, the threat of Russian interference and any hacking at all actually appeared pretty minimal, but this new court filing suggests those previous assumptions may not quite be true.

In Thursday's filing, the DNC alleged that "on Nov. 14, 2018, dozens of DNC email addresses were targeted in a spear-phishing campaign." The campaign didn't appear successful, the filing said. But the timing of the attack and the methods used resemble the work of a Russian hacking group alleged to have conducted the 2016 hack, the DNC claims, leading it to say "it is probable that Russian intelligence again attempted to unlawfully infiltrate DNC computers in November 2018."

These allegations add to the heap the DNC has already levied against the Trump campaign, its former chair Paul Manafort, Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange, and the entire Russian federation, among many others. Read more about the new accusations at ABC News. Kathryn Krawczyk

December 4, 2018

House Republicans have suffered an email debacle of their own.

After a tumultuous 2016 election rocked by email scandals and database hacking, 2018's midterms seemed to breeze by without incident. But now, Republicans are apparently being told about a "major hack" of "sensitive" National Republican Congressional Committee emails that happened earlier this year, senior party officials tell Politico.

Back in April, an NRCC vendor discovered an "outside intruder" had access to email accounts belonging to four "senior aides," Politico reports. The House's campaign committee quickly started an internal investigation and told the FBI about the apparent hack. It then hired a law firm and a public affairs agency "to help respond to the intrusion," Politico writes. The public affairs agency confirmed the NRCC "was the victim of a cyber intrusion" and that the FBI is investigating what happened.

Yet all the while, top congressional Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan (Wisc.), reportedly knew nothing about it. Tuesday's revelation is likely to be an added blow to a House GOP that lost a crushing 40 seats during the midterms, especially considering President Trump has claimed without proof that Republicans have "better defenses" than Democrats against hacking.

The NRCC wouldn't reveal further details of the hack, but anonymous officials tell Politico they believe it was a "foreign agent." Donor information was not compromised and any exposed information still hasn't become public, those officials also say. Read more at Politico. Kathryn Krawczyk

October 24, 2018

Yet another suspicious package addressed to a Democratic lawmaker has reportedly turned up.

Capitol Hill police intercepted a suspicious package at the congressional mailing facility in Maryland addressed to Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), ABC News and CNN reported.

This is the fifth possible explosive device uncovered Wednesday — others were sent to CNN (addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan), former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former Attorney General Eric Holder. The package addressed to Holder was delivered to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) because her name was on the return address and Holder's address was listed incorrectly. Earlier this week, an explosive device was also sent to liberal billionaire George Soros in New York.

All the Democrats targeted are frequent critics of President Trump. Waters especially has personally clashed with the president: After she said earlier this year that Trump administration officials should "absolutely" be confronted and harassed in public, Trump tweeted, "Be careful what you wish for Max!" The White House has condemned the attempted attacks, calling them "despicable." Brendan Morrow

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