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Melania Trump sits for first interviews since husband accused of sexual misconduct

Published: Monday, October 17, 2016 @ 3:52 PM
Updated: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 @ 7:22 AM

5 Fast Facts about Melania Trump

For the first time since allegations of sexual misconduct against Donald Trump gained steam, the Republican presidential nominee's wife addressed the controversy this week in sit-down interviews with at least two networks.

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The interviews are MelaniaTrump's first moments in the public eye since the accusations over the last 10 days that have sent her husband's White House bid reeling.

Melania Trump has never filled the role of the traditional political spouse, only making rare appearances on the campaign trail. Her speech at July's national convention was initially praised until it was discovered that passages of it were lifted from Michelle Obama's 2008 convention address.

CNN Interview

MelaniaTrump on Monday dismissed her husband's sexually aggressive language as "boy talk," insisting his remarks do not reflect "the man I know."

"I said to my husband that, you know, the language is inappropriate. It's not acceptable. And I was surprised, because that is not the man that I know," she told CNN.

She suggested that Trump may not have known his microphone was on, calling it "kind of a boy talk" that "Access Hollywood" host Billy Bush was encouraging.

Fox News Interview

A second interview, with Fox News Ainsley Earhardt, partially aired on "The Five" at 5 p.m. ET Monday. The full interview, which also was taped, was scheduled to air on Tuesday's edition of "Fox & Friends."

In the Fox interview, Mrs. Trump said it is fair game for her husband to appear with women who have accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual assault, claiming the Democrats fired the first volley into the increasingly ugly war about the couples' private lives.

"They're asking for it. They started. They started from the beginning of the campaign putting my picture from modeling days," she said in excerpts released by Fox News ahead of the interview's broadcast. "That was my modeling days and I'm proud what I did. I worked very hard."

Melania Trump has said little publicly since a 2005 "Access Hollywood" video that captured her husband ogling a woman and talking about using his celebrity status to touch women without their consent went public.

Speaking with Earhardt, Melania Trump said her husband apologized for his "offensive" and "inappropriate" language and that the couple is moving past the incident.

"This is not the man that I know," she told Earhardt, echoing a statement released by the Trump campaign one day "Access Hollywood" footage was published online by The Washington Post. "For a successful businessman, entrepreneur, entertainer to (achieve) so much in his life -- being in so many shows, so many tapes -- it's very hard to run for public office. And he did it anyway. He said, 'I want to help American people. I want to keep America safe.'"

Donald Trump initially brushed off the remarks, characterizing them as little more than "locker room banter." He denied touching women without their consent at a presidential debate on Oct. 9.

"I've said things that, frankly, you hear these things I said. And I was embarrassed by it," he said. "But I have tremendous respect for women."

More than a dozen women have since come forward with claims that range from reports of Donald Trump walking in on teen beauty pageant contestants as they changed clothes to accusations that the GOP presidential hopeful touched them without their consent.

Among those is People magazine writer Natasha Stoynoff, who claimed in an article Wednesday that Donald Trump pushed her against a wall and forcefully kissed her as she was working on a story celebrating the Trumps' first wedding anniversary in 2005.

"We walked into that room alone, and Trump shut the door behind us," she wrote. "I turned around, and within seconds, he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat."

Melania Trump slammed Stoynoff and demanded People retract its story and apologize in a letter from her lawyer posted on Twitter last week.

"Mrs. Trump did not encounter Ms. Stoynoff on the street, nor have any conversation with her. The two are not friends and were never friends or even friendly," the letter said. "At the time in question, Mrs. Trump would not even have recognized Ms. Stoynoff if they had encountered one another on the street."

Donald Trump has denied the allegations and promised to reveal information that shows they're false "at an appropriate time."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Trump cancels Florida trip as government shutdown looms

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 11:35 AM

What You Need to Know: Government Shutdown

President Donald Trump will not make a planned trip to Mar-a-Lago today because of a looming federal government shutdown, a White House official told The Palm Beach Post on Friday morning.

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Trump was scheduled to arrive at Palm Beach International Airport tonight for a weekend trip that included a Saturday fundraiser for his 2020 re-election campaign at Mar-a-Lago. The official who confirmed today’s travel is off did not address the president’s plans for the remainder of the weekend.

5 Things to Know About Mar-a-Lago

Trump was planning to make the 12th Palm Beach visit of his presidency. But Congress has not reached a spending agreement to keep the federal government operating past midnight.

Saturday is the one-year anniversary of Trump taking office. The Trump campaign recently announced a “special sweepstakes” in which a winner will get to attend dinner Saturday at Mar-a-Lago with Trump, first lady Melania Trump and Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump.

Revised Trump travel and refugee order to go before U.S. Supreme Court

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 9:15 AM

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday announced that it would hear argument on the third version of President Donald Trump’s travel and refugee plan, which would limit visits to the United States by people from certain Muslim-majority nations, and slow down the number of refugees accepted into the country.

Arguments will take place in April, with a ruling expected by the end of June, instantly making this into one of the more important cases of the High Court’s term.

“We look forward to the Court’s review of this important case,” said lawyer Neal Katyal, who has represented the state of Hawaii in its efforts to block the travel order.

Like earlier versions of the travel order, this one has become hung up in legal fights in the courts, though the Supreme Court ruled in December that the Trump Administration could enforce the ban while appeals are underway.

A federal appeals court in San Francisco – the Ninth Circuit – struck down the travel ban last month.

There is also a separate challenge against the President’s travel order going before the Fourth Circuit.

The plan limits travel from Yemen, Syria, Chad, Libya, Iran, and Somalia.

What if a government shutdown happened? Five things to know

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 5:30 AM

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base BARRIE BARBER/STAFF
The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base BARRIE BARBER/STAFF

The federal government faces a partial federal shutdown threat today without a $1.1 trillion appropriations spending budget or a temporary stopgap spending measure in place.

Here’s what could happen in the Miami Valley if a shutdown occurs:

FURLOUGHS: A Wright-Patterson Air Force Base spokesman said this week the base had not received guidance on what actions to take. But the last time a federal government shutdown occurred in 2013, thousands of Wright-Patterson civilian employees were furloughed temporarily. Among those exempted were police, fire, medical and airfield operations. Military service members remained on the job.

MUSEUM: The region’s biggest tourist attraction, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, would close until a funding deal is reached, according to a spokesman.

MAIL SERVICE: The U.S. Postal Service, which is considered self-funded, would continue operations, including home delivery and post offices would stay open, a spokesman said.

DAYTON VA: The Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities would remain open. The VA operates on a two-year budget cycle, exempting the department from the latest funding skirmish in Washington.

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE: NPS sites in the Dayton region closed during the last shutdown in 2013. A NPS directive issued in September 2017, said parks would close if a lapse in federal government appropriations occurs.

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Will a shutdown happen? Wright-Patterson is in a holding pattern

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Temporary funding prevents shutdown but hurts military, officials say

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At odds on immigration and spending, Congress stares at a Friday night government shutdown

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 6:07 PM

Unable to bridge the partisan divide on immigration, federal spending levels and more, Republicans and Democrats in the Congress were on the verge of letting funding for the government lapse at midnight on Friday night, as members of both parties eagerly pointed the finger of blame at each other for the spending impasse, which could trigger the first federal shutdown in over four years.

“That would be a mistake,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH). “Government shutdowns do not make sense.”

That Republican argument carried the day in the House, as lawmakers voted mainly along party lines Thursday evening in favor of a four week temporary funding plan – but once the bill reached the Senate floor, leaders quickly sent Senators home for the night, unable to agree on how best to proceed.

“They’re prepared to shut down the government over the issue of illegal immigration,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared of Democrats, as McConnell said there was no reason to rush on solving problems with DACA and Dreamers, as GOP leaders struggled to get a majority of Senators to vote for the House-passed bill.

Meanwhile, Democrats complained that immigration talks have been slow walked by Republicans and the White House, and that it was time to force a solution on immigration, overall budget limits and more.

“We should be united in trying to come to a solution, not just kick the can down the road,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer.

If Congress is unable to reach a spending agreement by midnight, then many government functions would start to wind down over the weekend.

In the House, Republicans said now was the time for more negotiations, not a spending impasse which would close many government operations.

“We’ve kept the government open,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK). “The right thing for the Senate to do would be to vote yes, and continue to negotiate.”

“I now just implore the Senate, do your job,” said Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA).

As Senators gathered on the floor late Thursday, a number of illegal immigrant “Dreamers” were seated in the galleries, watching the debate below.

“Look at the people who have gathered here late this night, who are following every word that we are debating,” said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL).

“Why are they here if there’s no urgency?” added Durbin, who is a leading negotiator for Democrats on DACA and immigration issues.

But while Durbin and other Democrats called for action on a bipartisan agreement on Senators from both parties related to DACA, their plan had still not been put into legislative language.

GOP Senators pointed out that lack of a bill in making the case that no deal was likely over the weekend on immigration, and again saying that the deadline was not until March.

“This institution regrettably needs to be forced into action,” said Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), who broke ranks with his party’s leadership to vote against a stopgap budget, demanding immediate action on DACA.

“We don’t have to wait until March, it would be cruel to wait until March,” Curbelo told reporters after the House had voted.

As for President Donald Trump, the White House schedule issued for Friday still had him going to his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Florida, where a party to celebrate the one year anniversary of Mr. Trump’s inauguration was reportedly scheduled for Saturday.

Also on Mr. Trump’s Friday schedule was an address to thousands rallying for the March for Life, and a meeting with his national security team in the White House Situation Room.

But Democrats only saw one thing – Air Force One leaving town.

“Trump going to Mar-a-Lago while government shutdown looms is most irresponsible, self absorbed, dereliction of duty ever by a President,” tweeted Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN).

But even as both sides traded barbs, there was a lot of frustration among Republicans over the budget process, which has become stuck in neutral on a regular basis.

“It is absolutely ridiculous that we are sitting here today, having not funded the government permanently for the balance of this year,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA).

If the federal government does shut down this weekend, it would be the first spending impasse since 2013, when Republicans blocked action on funding bills for 16 days, protesting the implementation of the Obama health law.