Driver detained at White House checkpoint after claiming to have bomb

Published: Sunday, March 19, 2017 @ 4:47 AM
Updated: Sunday, March 19, 2017 @ 7:50 PM

UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 10: The White House, 1800, Washington DC, District of Columbia. United States of America, 19th century. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
DEA / ARCHIVIO J. LANGE/De Agostini/Getty Images

A driver was detained Saturday night after he reportedly told officials at a White House checkpoint that he had a bomb in his car.

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Sean Patrick Keoughan, 29, said “this is a test” as he was taken to the ground by security, according to NBC News. He was identified Sunday by police. 

According to CNN, the Keoughan's claim just after 11 p.m. prompted an upgrade in White House security, the Secret Service said. Officials, who closed nearby streets, did not say whether he actually had a bomb, CNN reported.

The incident occurred just hours after another person allegedly jumped "over a bicycle rack in front of the White House" and a week after a White House fence-jumper reportedly evaded security officials for 15 minutes, CNN reported.

Keoughan was arrested and charged with false bomb threats and unauthorized use of a vehicle, according to NBC News.

Donald Trump on first 100 days in office: 'I thought it would be easier'

Published: Friday, April 28, 2017 @ 10:16 AM

As President Donald Trump approaches his 100th day in office, the commander-in-chief said he’s found the job of leading the United States to be more difficult than he expected.

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“I loved my previous life. I had so many things going,” Trump told Reuters in an interview published Friday. “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”

Saturday will mark 100 days since Trump was sworn into office.

Trump made his name as a wealthy business mogul and television personality before Jan. 20, when he became the 45th president of the United States. He had not held public office before January.

It’s not the first time Trump has expressed surprise over the scope of his responsibilities as president.

In an interview last week with The Associated Press, Trump said he “never realized how big” the job was.

“The financial cost of everything is so massive, every agency. This is thousands of times bigger, the United States, than the biggest company in the world,” he told the wire service. “I really just see the bigness of it all, but also the responsibility. And the human responsibility. You know, the human life that’s involved in some of the decisions.”

The lack of privacy afforded to the president also surprised Trump, who told Reuters that even in his “old life” he had little time out of the public eye.

"You're really into your own little cocoon, because you have such massive protection that you really can't go anywhere," he told the news agency. "I like to drive. … I can't drive anymore."

Lawmakers: Flynn likely broke the law; what is the emoluments clause?

Published: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 @ 2:35 PM

(2016 Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn likely broke the law when he failed to disclose income he earned from Russia and Turkey, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee said Tuesday.

Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, along with ranking member Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, told reporters Tuesday Flynn failed to ask for permission to speak at a 2015 event in Russia or register to lobby on behalf of the government of Turkey. Flynn then failed to report the money he earned for the speaking engagement and lobbying efforts on his personal financial disclosure form when he applied to have his security clearance reinstated to work as national security adviser.

Flynn's consulting firm accepted $530,000 for work with a firm that is associated with Turkey's government. He received $45,000 for his speaking engagement in Russia.

The Associated Press reported Flynn’s lawyer filed paperwork with the Justice Department in February disclosing that he had done lobbying work that “could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey” between August and November 2016. 

Flynn’s contract ended on Nov. 15, three days before he was appointed Trump’s national security adviser.

Chaffetz and Cummings said they had seen classified memos concerning Flynn’s activities. They also said they saw Flynn’s disclosure form.

“Personally I see no evidence or no data to support the notion that Gen. Flynn complied with the law,” Chaffetz told reporters.

“He was supposed to get permission, he was supposed to report it, and he didn’t,” Cummings said. 

Flynn was fired as national security adviser in February after he made misleading comments to Vice President Mike Pence about discussions he had with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

With Flynn's failure to obtain permission from military authorities for the payments and failure to disclose them, the retired general could have violated a constitutional ban on foreign payments to retired military officers.

“The law requires him to seek permission ... from the secretary of state and the Department of Defense,” Chaffetz said. “The response we’re getting is there is no information, and that, we believe, is the potential violation.”

The New York Times story says U.S. Army investigators have found no record that Flynn has "filed the required paperwork for the trip" to Russia in 2015, nor reported the income he received, as is required by the emoluments cause in the U.S. Constitution.

What is the emoluments clause and what does it say? Here’s a quick look.

What is an emolument?

An emolument – in its dictionary definition – is payment for work done or “gain from employment or position.”

So if it’s pay for a service, what’s wrong with that?

Nothing is wrong with it, as long as the “gain” or payment does not come from unauthorized work for a foreign government.

The title of nobility clause, Article I, Section 9 of the United States Constitution, addresses foreign emoluments, or money paid by a foreign government. The section reads: “No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.” 

What constitutes a violation of the clause?

For a violation of the emoluments clause to have occurred the person must qualify as a U.S. officer and must have accepted an emolument from a foreign government. Flynn would fall under the “U.S. officer” portion of the clause since he is a retired U.S. military officer that had the potential to be called back into active duty.

What happens if you are caught doing that? 

The foreign emoluments clause does not specify a penalty for its violation. Cummings has suggested in a letter to President Donald Trump that if Flynn violated the clause, then he owes the U.S. the amount of money he received from Russia and Turkey.

Flynn claims he received his fee from Russia Today, a state-owned television station, not the Russian government, thus he did not take pay from a foreign government. RT paid Leading Authorities, a private firm that arranges for speakers for events, according to the Yale Journal on Regulation.

House Oversight Chair Jason Chaffetz will not run for reelection

Published: Wednesday, April 19, 2017 @ 1:33 PM

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 16:  U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) talks before the start of a House Judiciary Committee hearing on March 16, 2017 in Washington, DC. Judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals testified before the committee about the restructuring of that court.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, announced Wednesday that he will not seek reelection next year, although he didn’t rule out a possible future run for office.

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“After long consultation with my family and prayerful consideration, I have decided I will not be a candidate for any office in 2018,” Chaffetz said in a Facebook post. “After more than 1,500 nights away from my home, it is time. I may run again for public office, but not in 2018.”

Chaffetz has represented Utah’s 3rd congressional district since 2008 and has chaired the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform since 2015.

“For those that would speculate otherwise, let me be clear that I have no ulterior motives,” he said. “I am healthy. I am confident I would continue to be reelected by large margins. I have the full support of Speaker Ryan to continue as Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. That said, I have made a personal decision to return to the private sector.”

Thank you! Thank you for allowing me to serve as your Representative in the United States House of Representatives....

Posted by Jason Chaffetz on Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Chaffetz’s district is among the most Republican in the country, and the lawmaker has won reelection with at least 70 percent of the vote four times in a row, Politico reported.

In the four presidential elections between 2000 and 2012, Republican candidates won the district by more than 65 percent of the vote. President Donald Trump won the district in 2016 with 47 percent of the vote. 

Who is Jon Ossoff, Democrat in Georgia's high-profile U.S. House race?

Published: Wednesday, April 19, 2017 @ 2:06 AM

Jon Ossoff, 30, got involved in politics as a 17-year-old student at the Paideia School when he read U.S. Rep. John Lewis’ autobiography and was moved to ask the congressman for a job. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

Jon Ossoff, 30, was until recently unknown to most Democrats even in metro Atlanta, but he entered the crowded race in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District in January with endorsements from U.S. Reps. Hank Johnson and John Lewis and $250,000 in cash. He parlayed that into an unprecedented $8.3 million fundraising haul, with donations from across the country.

>> High-profile U.S. House race in Georgia ends in runoff for Ossoff, Handel

Ossoff’s interest in politics was first stirred as a 17-year-old student at the Paideia School when he read Lewis’ autobiography and was moved to ask the congressman for a job. That turned into an internship in the Atlanta Democrat’s Washington office. As a student at Georgetown University, Ossoff volunteered for Johnson’s 2006 campaign to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney. Ossoff rose to become the deputy communications chief of the campaign, and after Johnson’s congressional victory, Ossoff worked as a legislative aide to the new congressman.

>> Who is Karen Handel, Republican in Georgia's high-profile U.S. House race?

After leaving Johnson’s office, Ossoff — who also is a graduate of the London School of Economics — joined a filmmaking firm, and the topics of his documentaries include corrupt judges in Ghana and atrocities that the Islamic State committed in Iraq.

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The north DeKalb County native does not reside in the 6th Congressional District, living just south of it so his girlfriend of 12 years, an Emory University medical student, can walk to work. Members of Congress don’t have to live in their districts, but Ossoff has said he will move to the 6th after she graduates.

A financial disclosure shows Ossoff has more than $1.7 million in assets, including more than $250,000 in Apple stock and an additional $50,000 in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway investment firm. His England-based documentary company, Insight TWI, is valued at more than $250,000. He also has a stake of at least $50,000 in NWC Partnership, a solar panel installation firm.