Sen. Dick Durbin says he 'personally heard' Trump's 'hate-filled, vile, and racist' comments in immigration meeting
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Friday that he "personally heard" President Trump make "hate-filled, vile, and racist" comments during a bipartisan immigration meeting Thursday that Durbin attended.
Lawmakers were reportedly in the Oval Office discussing changes to the visa lottery system when talk turned to immigrants from Africa and Trump asked why they would want people from "all these shithole countries" coming to America. While the White House did not deny the comments, Trump tweeted that "the language used by me ... was tough, but this was not the language used."
Trump's tweet "is not true," Durbin said. "He said these hate-filled things and he said them repeatedly." Durbin also claimed that Trump used the specific word "shithole" more than once. Watch Durbin's comments below. Jeva Lange
—> Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin — who was in the room — confirms Trump's comments.
"In the course of his comments, [he] said things that were hateful, vile and racist." pic.twitter.com/bkwKHUboEt
— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) January 12, 2018
During a meeting with both Democratic and Republican senators on Thursday, President Trump referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations as "shithole countries," a Democratic aide told NBC News.
The lawmakers were in the Oval Office discussing changes to the visa lottery system and immigration as a whole, and when talk turned to immigrants from Africa, Trump asked why they would want people from "all these shithole countries" coming to the United States. Trump, who met with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg on Wednesday, then said the U.S. should try to instead attract people from Norway and similar countries.
In a statement, the White House did not dispute the remarks, merely saying Trump "will always fight for the American people." On MSNBC, Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut told Ari Melber Trump's comment "smacks of blatant racism. The most odious and insidious racism masquerading, poorly, as immigration policy. And, I'll be very blunt — the president doesn't speak for me as an American." Catherine Garcia
If you think you're cold, at least you're not an iguana in Florida.
The scene at my backyard swimming pool this 40-degree South Florida morning: A frozen iguana. pic.twitter.com/SufdQI0QBx
— Frank Cerabino (@FranklyFlorida) January 4, 2018
The cold-blooded creatures aren't used to the unusually chilly temperatures taking over the state right now, and when they get too frigid, their systems shut down. Those perched in trees are falling down, but experts say not to fret, as the iguanas are not dead, and once they're warmer, they get back up.
They aren't the only ones struggling. Sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico are being stunned by cold waters, causing them to float and making it easier for predators to catch them. The National Park Service said that by mid-day Tuesday, it had already rescued 41 freezing turtles, The Guardian reports. On Cape Cod, three thresher sharks were found stranded on the beach, the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy said. Two had "cold shock," and one was frozen solid.
Even penguins aren't safe in extreme cold — the Calgary Zoo said over the weekend it needed to bring its king penguins inside to escape the -13 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures. Catherine Garcia
President Trump's interview Thursday with The New York Times only lasted 30 minutes, but it was enough time for Trump to declare he knows more about "the big bills" than "any president that's ever been in office," share he believes Special Counsel Robert Mueller's inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election "makes the country look very bad," and say 16 separate times "no collusion" between Russia and his campaign has been discovered so far.
The Russia probe puts "the country in a very bad position," Trump told the Times during an interview in West Palm Beach with no lawyers or aides present, and "the sooner it's worked out, the better it is for the country." He also declared he has the "absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department. But for purposes of hopefully thinking I'm going to be treated fairly, I've stayed uninvolved with this particular matter." Regarding his indicted former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Trump tried to distance himself, saying Manafort "only worked for me for a few months. Paul worked for Ronald Reagan. His firm worked for John McCain, worked for Bob Dole, worked for many Republicans for far longer than he worked for me."
He appeared to take offense at reports that he doesn't understand the new tax legislation, telling the Times, "I know the details of taxes better than anybody. Better than the greatest C.P.A. I know the details of health care better than most, better than most." Not only that, but he knows more about "the big bills" than "any president that's ever been in office."
Newborn infant Emma Wren Gibson and her mother, Tina, already have something in common: They were both conceived in the early 1990s.
In 1992, the embryo that became Emma Gibson was frozen and donated to a religious clinic in Knoxville, Tennessee. In 2017, Tina Gibson, 25, and her husband, Benjamin Gibson, adopted the embryo, and on Nov. 25, they welcomed Emma. "I think she looks pretty perfect to have been frozen all those years ago," Benjamin Gibson said in a statement.
Sean Tipton, spokesman for the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, told NBC News it's possible Emma set a record for being the oldest embryo transferred to a woman's uterus, but there's no way to determine it because of privacy laws. The length of time an embryo is frozen is "not very important," Tipton said, as the risks come when the embryo starts to thaw. If it makes it through that stage, it has the same chances of resulting in a healthy pregnancy as any other embryo. Catherine Garcia
Wildfires have scorched more than 65,000 acres in Southern California, where hundreds of structures have been destroyed and thousands of residents have been forced to evacuate. As of Tuesday night, the largest of the three fires — the 50,000 plus acre Thomas Fire, which is reportedly burning at rate of nearly an acre a second — had a containment rate of 0 percent and made it as far as the Pacific Ocean.
Unusually strong Santa Ana winds have fueled fires on dry hillsides that haven't been touched by rain in over eight months. Below, five photos that show the horror of Southern California's wildfires. Kelly O'Meara Morales
The Jehovah's Witnesses owe $4,000 every day they don't turn over details of alleged child sex abuse. It's cost them $2 million so far.
The Jehovah's Witnesses have refused to turn over secret documents regarding alleged child sex abuse. And it's getting very, very costly.
A new report from Reveal details how the religion has been mandated to pay $4,000 for every day it doesn't release the documents. So far, the tab has reached $2 million.
It all stems from a court case in which a former Jehovah's Witness and sexual abuse victim sued the religion for not warning congregants they were practicing alongside a confessed child sexual abuser. The accused, Gonzalo Campos, has admitted to abusing children. But the religion's headquarters knew of his conviction and didn't tell the congregation, court documents show.
Reveal has obtained internal Jehovah's Witness documents that suggest this case is part of a much larger cover-up. One of the documents, for example, claims religious elders have been told to keep child abuse allegations a secret since at least 1989.
A California appeals court upheld the $4,000-a-day ruling last week, but the Jehovah's Witnesses show no signs of relenting. You can read more about the ongoing investigation at Reveal. Kathryn Krawczyk
A woman who worked at the Gadsden Mall in 1977 told The Washington Post on Wednesday that Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama, repeatedly asked her out on dates, and when she refused to give him her phone number, he called her at Gadsden High School.
Gena Richardson said that a few days after she had refused to give Moore, then a 30-year-old attorney, her number, she was sitting in class when the principal's office alerted her to a phone call in the office. "I said, 'Hello?'" Richardson told the Post. "And the male on the other line said, 'Gena, this is Roy Moore.' I was like, 'What?!' He said, 'What are you doing?' I said, 'I'm in trig class.'" He reportedly asked her out on a date during the call, and again when he saw her at Sears a few days later.
Richardson said she felt "nervous and flattered," the Post reports, and finally agreed, telling her parents she was going out with friends. After a movie, Moore drove her to her car, then parked and gave her an unwanted kiss. "It was a man kiss — like really deep tongue," she told the Post. "Like very forceful tongue." She became scared and made up an excuse to leave, she said. Her account was corroborated by a co-worker, Kayla McLaughlin, who told the Post that after the incident, she would warn Richardson when Moore entered Sears, so she could hide.
The Post spoke with more than a dozen people who either worked at the Gadsden Mall or spent a lot of time there, and several of the former employees said they were warned to "watch out for" Moore. Richardson said she came forward after reading last week that Moore had fondled or pursued relationships with other teen girls. "All these years, I thought that was an isolated incident," she said. "Now, as a mother and a grandmother, it just makes me physically sick." Catherine Garcia