Florida Trump supporter charged in chilling mail-bomb plot
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal authorities on Friday captured a Florida man with a criminal history and a fervor for President Donald Trump and accused him of sending at least 13 mail bombs to prominent Democrats, capping a nationwide search in a case that spread fear of election-season violence with little precedent in the U.S.
Justice Department officials announced five federal charges against Cesar Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, Florida, and revealed that DNA and a fingerprint found on an envelope package helped them identify the suspect after a five-day, coast-to-coast investigation. Even as he was arrested and charged, investigators scrutinized new suspicious packages believed to be tied to his plot.
FBI officials did not disclose a motive, although Attorney General Jeff Sessions suggested politics may have played a role, noting Sayoc appeared to be a “partisan.” Those who saw him in the neighborhood, unmistakable in a white van plastered with Trump’s image and political stickers, described him as unsettling and troubled.
Sayoc’s social media profiles portray a deeply disaffected conservative who trafficked in online conspiracy theories, parody accounts and name-calling. He called a Florida school shooting survivor a “fake phony,” peddled theories about George Soros, the billionaire political donor targeted this week by a package bomb and denigrated other Democrats who were later the intended recipients of explosive packages.
An amateur body builder and former stripper who once spent time on probation for a bomb threat charge, Sayoc first registered as a Republican voter just ahead of the March 2016 Republican primary and quickly identified himself as a proud Trump supporter, tweeting and posting on Facebook videos that appear to show him at Trump rallies.
Bomb suspect was cash-strapped ex-stripper devoted to Trump
WASHINGTON (AP) — Cesar Sayoc is an amateur body builder and former stripper, a loner with a long arrest record who showed little interest in politics until Donald Trump came along.
On Friday, he was identified by authorities as the Florida man who put pipe bombs in small manila envelopes, affixed six stamps and sent them to some of Trump’s most prominent critics.
His arrest capped a week in which the bombs aimed at some of America’s biggest names — Obama, Clinton, De Niro — dominated the news and invited speculation about who might be responsible for them. The answer, authorities said, was Sayoc, a 56-year-old man from Aventura, Florida, who was devoted to Trump, had a history of financial problems and an extensive arrest record, including a stint on probation for making a bomb threat.
His attorney in that 2002 case, Ronald Lowy, described Sayoc as “a confused man who had trouble controlling his emotions.”
A cousin of Sayoc, Lenny Altieri, used stronger terms.
Trump accuses media of trying ‘to score political points’
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — President Donald Trump lectured the media at length on Friday evening, accusing reporters of trying “to use the sinister actions of one individual to score political points” against him hours after police apprehended a staunch supporter of his in connection with the mail-bomb scare targeting Democrats and CNN.
Trump was campaigning in Charlotte, North Carolina, to support two GOP candidates facing close races in the state.
Trump has been on a rally blitz, hoping to help vulnerable Republicans ahead of the Nov. 6 elections that will determine which party controls Congress. He’s planning at least 10 rallies over the five-day stretch before Election Day.
Trump, who held back some of his usual name-calling at a rally in Wisconsin earlier this week, was back to his usual attack lines Friday evening even as he called for an end to the “politics of personal destruction.”
Not long after, he referred to his 2016 opponent as “Crooked Hillary Clinton,” prompting a round of “Lock her up!” chants.
US: ‘Everything on table’ to block migrants at border
CALEXICO, California (AP) — Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Friday that “everything is on the table” as the administration considered new measures to stifle immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border and send a message that a slow-moving migrant caravan bound for the United States will not be welcome.
Nielsen addressed the Trump administration’s efforts to fortify the border while standing next to a newly constructed 30-foot fence in California. Before she spoke, two workers wearing welding masks affixed a plaque to the barrier with the names of President Donald Trump and several high-ranking officials to commemorate what the administration calls the completion of the first phase of his border wall.
Nielsen’s trip to the border came after the Pentagon approved a request for additional troops at the southern border, expected to total at least 800 and possibly more than 1,000. And the White House is looking at new border security measures, including one plan that would use the same mechanism as Trump’s travel ban to block migrants from seeking asylum in the U.S, according to two people familiar with the discussion. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the idea, which they stressed was still in the early planning stages and had yet to be decided.
“We are looking at every possible way within the legal construct that we have to make sure that those who don’t have the legal right to come to this country do not come in,” Nielsen said.
The president has stepped up his focus on immigration in the days leading up to the Nov. 6 elections that will determine which party controls Congress, focusing on a caravan of migrants heading north through Mexico that is about 1,000 miles away but dwindling in size.
NBC cancels Megyn Kelly’s show after blackface controversy
NEW YORK (AP) — Megyn Kelly, the former Fox News Channel personality who made a rocky transition to softer news at NBC, was fired from her morning show Friday after triggering a furor by suggesting it was OK for white people to wear blackface at Halloween.
“‘Megyn Kelly Today’ is not returning,” NBC News said in a statement. The show occupied the fourth hour of NBC’s “Today” program, a time slot that will be hosted by other co-anchors next week, the network said.
NBC didn’t address Kelly’s future at the network. But negotiations over her exit from NBC are underway, according to a person familiar with the talks who wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Bryan Freedman, an attorney for Kelly, said in a statement that she “remains an employee of NBC News and discussions about next steps are continuing.” He did not elaborate.
Kelly is in the second year of a three-year contract that reportedly pays her more than $20 million a year.
US sends aid to Pacific islands devastated by huge typhoon
The federal government sent supplies to a U.S. territory in the Pacific that was ravaged by a super typhoon as residents of the Northern Mariana Islands dug through crumbled houses, smashed cars and fallen utility poles two days after the deadly storm.
Military planes brought in food, water, tarps and other supplies, U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesman David Gervino said. The agency is focused on helping restore power, opening sea and air ports, and ensuring cell towers can operate on emergency power until electricity returns, he said.
Super Typhoon Yutu packed maximum sustained winds of 180 mph (290 kph) as it passed over the islands of Tinian and Saipan early Thursday, the National Weather Service said. By Saturday, power was still out across Saipan, the largest island with 50,000 residents, and Tinian, with 3,000, local officials said.
The strongest storm to hit any part of the United States this year overturned cars, crushed small planes, ripped off roofs and killed a woman who took shelter in an abandoned building that collapsed. Others were injured, including three people who needed surgery.
Jan Reyes and her family lost everything.
Family offers reward for info in death of billionaire
TORONTO (AP) — A Canadian lawyer announced Friday a multimillion-dollar reward for information about the death of drug-company billionaire Barry Sherman and his wife, Honey.
Lawyer Brian Greenspan said Toronto police haven’t properly handled the case.
He said the billionaire’s family has set up a tip line and is offering up to 10 million Canadian dollars ($7.6 million) for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of a suspect.
“We’re trying to light the fire,” Greenspan said. “To provide new incentive for the members of the public to come forward with information but also to light the fire under the Toronto police service.”
He also said he would like Toronto police to share information with his private investigators.
APNewsBreak: US religious orders asked to ID priest abusers
NEW YORK (AP) — The umbrella organization of Catholic religious orders in the U.S. is suggesting that its members consider voluntarily identifying priests accused of sexual abuse, opening up what could be a major new chapter in the Catholic Church’s long-running abuse and cover-up saga, The Associated Press has learned.
The invitation to transparency by the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, which represents about a third of the 37,000 Catholic priests in the U.S., is significant because religious orders such as the Franciscans and Benedictines have largely flown under the radar over two decades of a scandal in the U.S. that has focused on abuse by diocesan priests and cover-up by their bishops.
Anticipating that the spotlight will shift amid new investigations in a dozen U.S. states, the conference will formally invite its 120 member orders to consider voluntarily publishing the names of men with an “established allegation” against them, said the Rev. Gerard McGlone, who is responsible for child protection at the conference.
“This will be coming shortly,” he told AP, confirming what he told a panel discussion at Georgetown University this week.
The conference cannot require or even formally recommend that religious institutes release names. But the invitation to do so is nevertheless significant, since the organization’s mission is to be a resource of best practices for its members.
What a scene: Red Sox-Dodgers set for sunny start in Game 3
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Game 3 of the World Series is set to start at Dodger Stadium under sunny skies with temperatures in the 80s, quite a contrast to the matchups at Fenway Park.
The Dodgers were taking batting practice Friday on a perfect afternoon for baseball. Music was wafting over the sound system and players were warming up in shorts.
The Boston Red Sox hold a 2-0 lead in the Series. Batting practice was canceled before Game 1 at Fenway because of a cold, steady rain, and temperatures dropped into the mid-40s for Game 2 on Wednesday night.
Yosemite rangers recover bodies of 2 who fell from overlook
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Yosemite National Park rangers have recovered the bodies of two people who fell 800 feet (245 meters) from a popular overlook after working to reach them for hours, an official said Friday.
Park spokeswoman Jamie Richards said rangers had to rappel down and climb the steep terrain in Taft Point as they worked to reach the bodies of a male and female. A California Highway Patrol helicopter assisted them, she said.
Officials are investigating when the pair fell and from which spot at the overlook 3,000 feet (900 meters) above the famed Yosemite Valley floor, Richards said. A tourist spotted the victims Wednesday. They have not been identified.
Railings only exist at a small portion of Taft Point, which offers breathtaking views of the valley, Yosemite Falls and towering granite formation El Capitan. Visitors can walk to the edge of a vertigo-inducing granite ledge that does not have a railing and has become a popular spot for dramatic engagement and wedding photos.
More than 10 people have died at the park this year, six of them from falls and the others from natural causes, park spokesman Scott Gediman said. An 18-year-old Israeli man accidentally fell hundreds of feet to his death last month while hiking near the top of 600-foot-tall (180-meter-tall) Nevada Fall.
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