Read: Full transcript of Donald Trump's National Prayer Breakfast speech

Published: Thursday, February 02, 2017 @ 10:27 AM
Updated: Thursday, February 02, 2017 @ 1:14 PM


            WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 02: U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast February 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. Every U.S. president since Dwight Eisenhower has addressed the annual event. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 02: U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast February 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. Every U.S. president since Dwight Eisenhower has addressed the annual event. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump delivered a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. 

Here's the full text: 

"Thank you, Mark. So nice. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. It's a great honor to be here this morning. So many faith leaders, very, very important people from across our magnificent nation. So many leaders from all across the globe. Today, we continue a tradition begun by President Eisenhower some 64 years ago. This gathering is a testament to the power of faith and is one of the great customs of our nation, and I hope to be here seven more times with you. 

"I want very much to thank our cochair, Sen. Boozeman and Sen. Coons and all of the congressional leadership. They're all over the place. We have a lot of very distinguished guests, and we have one guest who was sworn in last night -- Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State. Going to do a great job. Some people didn't like Rex because he got along with leaders of the world. I said, 'No, I think you have to understand that's a good thing, not a bad thing.' He's respected all over the world, and I think he will go down as one of our great, great secretaries. We appreciate it. Thank you, Rex.

"Thank you as well to Senate Chaplain Barry Black and his moving words. I don't know Chaplain whether that's an appointed position. Is that an appointed position? I don't even know if you're a Democrat or a Republican, but I'm appointing you for another year. To hell with it. And I think it's not even my appointment. It's the Senate's appointment. But we'll talk to them. Your son is here. Your job is very very secure, OK? Thank you, Barry. Appreciate it very much.

"I also want to thank my great friends. Roma, where's Roma? The beautiful Roma Downey. The voice of an angel. She's got the voice -- every time I hear that voice. It's is so beautiful. Everything is so beautiful about Roma, including her husband because he's a special, special friend. Mark Burnett (thank you) for the wonderful introduction. So true. So true. I said to the agent, 'I'm sorry.' The only thing wrong -- I actually got on the phone and fired him myself because he said 'You don't want to do it. It'll never work. It'll never, ever work. You don't want to do it.' 

"But I really fired him after it became the No. 1 show. It became so successful, and he wanted a commission, and he didn't want to do the show. That's what I really said. But we had tremendous success on 'The Apprentice.' When I ran for president, I had to leave the show. That's when I knew for sure I was doing it. They hired a big, big movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to take my place. And we know how that turned out. The ratings went right down the tubes. It's been a total disaster, and Mark will never, ever bet against Trump again. And I want to just pray for Arnold if we can for those ratings. But we've had an amazing life together the last 14, 15 years. An outstanding man. Thank you for introducing me. Appreciated. It's a great honor.

"I also want to thank my dear friend, Vice President, Mike Pence. He's been incredible and incredible wife, Karen. And every time I was in a little trouble with something where they were questioning me they'd say, 'But he picked Mike Pence, so he has to know what he's doing.' And it's true. On a scale of 0-10, I rate him a 12. OK? So I want to thank you. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

"But most importantly, I want to thank the American people. Your faith and prayers have sustained me and inspired me through some very, very tough times. All around America I have met amazing people whose words of worship and encouragement has a constant source of strength. What I hear most often as I travel the country are five words that never, ever fail to touch my heart. That's 'I am praying for you.' I hear it so often. 'I am praying for you, Mr. President.' No one has inspired me more in my travels than the families of the United States military. Men and women who put their lives on the line every day for their country and their countrymen.

"I just came back yesterday from Dover Air Force Base to join the family of Chief William Ryan Owens as America's fallen hero was returned home. Very, very sad, but very, very beautiful. Very, very beautiful. His family was there. Incredible family. Loved him so much. So devastated. He was so devastated. But the ceremony was amazing. He died in defense of our nation. He gave his life in defense of our people. Our debt to him and our debt to his family is eternal and everlasting. Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends. We will never forget the men and women who wear the uniform. Believe me. 

"From generation to generation, their vigilance has kept our liberty alive. Our freedom is won by their sacrifice and our security has been earned with their sweat and blood and tears. God has blessed this land to give us such incredible heroes and patriots. They are very, very special, and we are going to take care of them. Our soldiers understand that what matters is not party or ideology or creed, but the bonds of loyalty that link us all together as one. America is a nation of believers. In towns all across our land it is plain to see what we easily forget -- so easily we forget this -- that the quality of our lives is not defined by our material success, but our spiritual success. I will tell you that. And I tell you that from somebody that has had material success and knows tremendous numbers of people with great material success -- the most material success. Many of those people are very, very miserable, unhappy people. And I know a lot of people without that, but they have great families. They have great faith. They don't have money -- at least not nearly to the extent -- and they are happy. Those, to me, are the successful people, I have to tell you.

"I was blessed to be raised in a churched home. My mother and father taught me that to whom much is given, much is expected. I was sworn in on the very bible from which my mother would teach as young children. And that faith lives on in my heart every single day. The people in this room come from many, many backgrounds. You represent so many religions and so many views. But we are all united by our faith in our creator and our firm knowledge that we are all equal in His eyes. We are not just flesh and bone and blood. We are human beings with souls. Our republic was formed on the basis that freedom is not a gift from government, but that freedom is a gift from God.

"It was the great Thomas Jefferson who said the God who gave us life gave us liberty. Jefferson asked, 'Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?' Among those freedoms is the right to worship according to our own beliefs. That is why I will get rid and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution. I will do that. Remember.

"Freedom of religion is a sacred right, but also a right under threat all around us and the world is under serious, serious threat in so many different ways. And I've never seen it so much and so openly since I took the position of president. The world is in trouble, but we are going to straighten it out. OK? That's what I do. I fix things. We are going to straighten it out. Believe me. When you hear about the tough telephone calls I'm having, don't worry about it. Just don't worry about it. They're tough. We have to be tough. It's time we're going to be a little tough, folks.

"We're taken advantage of by every nation in the world, virtually. It's not going to happen anymore. It's not going to happen anymore. We have seen unimaginable violence carried out in the name of religion. Acts of wanton slaughter against religious minorities, horrors on a scale that defy description. Terrorism is a fundamental threat to religious freedom. It must be stopped, and it will be stopped. It may not be pretty for a little while. It will be stopped. We have seen ... And by the way, General, as you know, James 'Mad Dog' -- shouldn't say it in this room -- Mattis. Now there's a reason they call him Mad Dog Mattis. Never lost a battle. Always wins them and always wins them fast. He's our new secretary of defense. Will be working with Rex. He's right now in South Korea going to Japan going to some other spots. I've gotten to know him really well. He is the real deal. We have somebody who is the real deal working for us, and that is what we need. You watch. You just watch. Things will be different. We have seen peaceloving Muslims brutalized, victimized, murdered and oppressed by ISIS killers. We have seen threats of extermination against the Jewish people. We have seen a campaign of ISIS and genocide against Christians where they cut off heads. Not since the Middle Ages have we seen that. We haven't seen that. The cutting off of heads. Now they cut off the heads. They drown people in steel cages. I haven't seen this -- nobody's seen this -- for many, many years.

"All nations have a moral obligation to speak out against such violence. All nations have a duty to work together to confront it, viciously, if we have to. So I want to express clearly today to the American people that my administration will do everything in its power to defend and protect religious liberty in our land. America must forever remain tolerant society where all faiths are respect and where all of our citizens can feel safe and secure. We have to feel safe and secure. In recent days, we have begun to take necessary action to achieve the goal. Our nation has the most generous immigration system in the world. But these are those and there are those that would exploit that generosity to undermine the values that we hold so dear. We need security. There are those who would seek to enter the country for the purpose of spreading violence or oppressing other people based upon their faith or their lifestyle. Not right.

"We will not allow a beachhead of intolerance to spread in our nation. You look all over the world and you see what's happening. So in the coming days, we will develop a system to help ensure that those admitted into our country fully embrace our values of religious and personal liberty. And that they reject any form of oppression and discrimination. We want people to come into our nation. But we want people to love us and to love our values. Not to hate us and to hate our values. We will be a safe country. We will be a free country and we will be a country where all citizens can practice their beliefs without fear of hostility or fear of violence.

"America will flourish as long as our liberty and in particular our religious liberty is allowed to flourish. America will succeed as long as our most vulnerable citizens -- and we have some that are so vulnerable -- have a path to success. And America will thrive as long as we continue to have faith in each other and faith in God. That faith in God has inspired men and women to sacrifice for the needy, to deploy to wars overseas and to lock arms at home to ensure equal rights for every man, woman and child in our land. It is that faith that sent the pilgrims across oceans, the pioneers across the plains and the young people all across America to chase their dreams. They are chasing their dreams. We are going to bring those dreams back.

"As long as we have God, we are never, ever alone. Whether it is soldier on the night watch or the single parent on the night shift, God will always give us solace and strength and comfort. We need to carry on and to keep carrying on. For us here in Washington, we must never, ever stop asking God for the wisdom to serve the public according to His will. That is why President Eisenhower and Sen. Carlson had the wisdom to gather together 64 years ago to begin this truly great tradition. But that is not all they did together. Let me tell you the rest of the story. Just one year later, Sen. Carlson was among the members of Congress to send to the president's desk a joint resolution that added 'Under God' to our Pledge of Allegiance. It's a great thing. Because that is what we are and that is what we will always be and that is what our people want -- one beautiful nation under God. Thank you. God bless you. And God bless America. Thank you."

>> Read: Full transcript of Donald Trump's speech on Black History Month

Lawyer: Rapist granted joint custody of boy he fathered will not seek visitation

Published: Tuesday, October 10, 2017 @ 2:16 PM

Woman’s Rapist Gets Joint Custody Of Child He Fathered In Assault

A Michigan man who sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl in 2008, fathering her child, will not attempt to see the boy, despite being granted joint custody by a judge, the man’s lawyer said.

Barbara Yockey, a lawyer for Christopher Michael Mirasolo, told the Port Huron Times Herald that the matter is being resolved privately. The boy her client fathered is now 8 years old and being raised by his mother. 

“He’s not going to attempt to see the child, no,” Yockey said. 

Related story: Woman’s rapist gets joint custody of child he fathered in assault

The ruling over the boy’s custody garnered media attention -- and consternation from the public -- over the weekend. Those angered by the judge’s decision included Michigan’s lieutenant governor. 

“This is outrageous and unacceptable,” Lt. Gov. Brian Calley wrote on Facebook. “I will begin work immediately on remedies. This article says that this case is the first of its kind in Michigan and perhaps in the nation. We need to make sure that it is also the last of its kind -- and that the decision is overturned.”

Kent County Clerk Lisa Posthumus Lyons, a former state representative, also vowed to see that the victim and her son remained safe.

“You can bet that I will keep an eye on this situation, and if the court further denies this victim justice, I will work with the Attorney General to ensure Michigan’s law is enforced and rape victims are protected,” Lyons wrote.

Yockey said she expects that the issue will be resolved in an Oct. 25 hearing scheduled on the case. Mirasolo’s victim, now 21, sought recourse through the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act, a 2015 law that grants states more funding for victims of sexual assault if they allow courts to terminate the parental rights of rapists who father a child.

The woman’s lawyer, Rebecca Kiessling, told the Times Herald that her client is the first victim to seek protection under the new law.

Kiessling said there should be an immediate investigation into the Sanilac County Prosecutor’s Office, which initiated the custody issue. 

Prosecutors said Tuesday that the office is reviewing how it handles paternity complaints, the Times Herald reported. They disputed Kiessling’s previous claims that the judge in the case, Sanilac County Judge Gregory S. Ross, gave Mirasolo her client’s home address and ordered that his name be added to the boy’s birth certificate without her client’s consent. 

“This young woman came to the Sanilac County Prosecutor's Office and completed and signed a paternity questionnaire in which she disclosed the alleged father's name and address,” read the prosecutors’ statement, obtained by the Times Herald. “She further signed an agreement to cooperate with pursuing paternity and signed a statement authorizing the disclosure of her address.”

The Detroit News previously reported that Ross awarded joint legal custody to Mirasolo, 27, of Brown City, after a DNA test proved he was the boy’s biological father. WDIV-TV reported that Assistant Sanilac County Prosecutor Eric Scott filed a motion to establish the boy’s paternity and collect child support on his behalf. 

Mirasolo was accused of forcibly raping the victim and threatening to kill her in September 2008, when she was 12 and he was 18. She, her 13-year-old sister and a friend sneaked out of the house one night to meet a boy and the boy’s older friend.

That friend was Mirasolo, who asked the girls if they wanted to go for a ride, Kiessling told the News. 

“They thought they were going to McDonald’s or somewhere,” Kiessling told the News. “Instead, he tossed their cellphones away, drove to Detroit, where he stole gas from a station, and then drove back to Sanilac County, where he kept them captive for two days in a vacant house near a relative.”

>> Read more trending news

Mirasolo was arrested about a month after the attack. He faced 25 years to life in prison, but was given a plea deal in which he was convicted of attempted third-degree criminal sexual conduct. 

Sentenced to a year in jail, Mirasolo served just six months before being released early to care for his sick mother, the News reported

Kiessling told the Times Herald that the plea deal in her client’s case was “atrocious,” considering the victim’s pregnancy proved a sexual assault took place. 

Mirasolo also served four years in prison in a second case from 2010, in which he was convicted of sexually assaulting a second victim, who was 15 at the time of the assault. Now free on parole, he is listed as a Tier 3 offender on the Michigan State Police’s sex offender registry

The Times Herald reported that the victim in the second case reached out to Kiessling after Mirasolo’s custody issue made national headlines.

“He should have been in prison when she was raped,” Kiessling said. “It is the prosecutor’s fault that she was raped.”

The attorney, who is co-founder of the organization Hope After Rape Conception, said the case is a good example of why laws are needed that terminate a rapist’s parental rights. 

“First of all, a rape victim should not have to be tethered to her rapists for 18 years,” Kiessling, herself a child conceived through rape, told the Times Herald. “She deserves to be fully protected from her rapists, as well as the child. Secondly, we've had several women in our organization conceived in rape, and their biological rapist fathers used visits to molest them as well.

“Someone who raped is unfit to be a parent. They don’t respect basic boundaries, so they shouldn’t be a parent. You also shouldn’t be able to benefit from your crime.”

Woman’s rapist gets joint custody of child he fathered in assault

Published: Monday, October 09, 2017 @ 1:46 PM

Woman’s Rapist Gets Joint Custody Of Child He Fathered In Assault

A Michigan man who sexually assaulted a woman when she was 12 and got her pregnant has been granted joint custody of the now-8-year-old boy by a judge.

Christopher Michael Mirasolo, 27, of Brown City, was awarded joint legal custody of the boy by Sanilac County Judge Gregory S. Ross, according to the Detroit News. Ross granted him rights to the child after a DNA test proved he was the boy’s biological father.

The woman is seeking recourse through the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act. A hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 25.

Rebecca Kiessling, an attorney for the boy’s mother, told the News that Ross gave Mirasolo her client’s home address and ordered that his name be added to the boy’s birth certificate without her client’s consent. There was no hearing on the matter prior to the ruling, Kiessling said. 

“An assistant prosecutor on this, Eric Scott, told me she had granted her consent, which was a lie,” Kiessling said. “She has never been asked to do this, and certainly never signed anything.”

Kiessling said her client was also told she cannot move more than 100 miles without the prior consent of the court.

WDIV-TV reported that the case was prompted when the boy’s mother applied for state aid. At that time, Scott filed a motion to establish the boy’s paternity and collect child support on his behalf. 

Mirasolo’s attorney, Barbara Yockey, said her client had nothing to do with the motion. 

“Chris was notified of the paternity matter and an order of filiation was issued last month by the court, saying he had joint legal custody and reasonable visitation privileges,” Yockey told the News. “He never initiated this.”

The now-21-year-old mother, who was not identified by the media because she is a sexual assault victim, said the situation is “crazy.”

“They never explained anything to me,” the woman told the News. “I was receiving about $260 a month in food stamps for me and my son, and health insurance for him. I guess they were trying to see how to get some of the money back.”

She told WDIV-TV that she’s now faced with the possibility that the man who assaulted her will be allowed time with her son. 

“He was conceived out of rape, but I don’t look at that,” the woman told the television station. “He’s my child. He’s a part of me, not a part of him. I hope he never has any rights to him at all.” 

Yockey said she does not know if her client wishes to have a relationship with the boy.

>> Read more trending news

Mirasolo was accused of forcibly raping the victim and threatening to kill her in September 2008, when she was 12 and he was 18. She, her 13-year-old sister and a friend sneaked out of the house one night to meet a boy and the boy’s older friend.

That friend was Mirasolo, who asked the girls if they wanted to go for a ride, Kiessling told the News. 

“They thought they were going to McDonald’s or somewhere,” Kiessling said. “Instead, he tossed their cellphones away, drove to Detroit, where he stole gas from a station, and then drove back to Sanilac County, where he kept them captive for two days in a vacant house near a relative.”

Mirasolo was arrested about a month after the attack. He faced 25 years to life in prison, but was given a plea deal in which he was convicted of attempted third-degree criminal sexual conduct. 

Sentenced to a year in jail, Mirasolo served just six months before being released early to care for his sick mother, Kiessling told the News

“(My client) and her family (were) told first-time sex offenders weren’t sent to prison because people come out worse after they go there,” the attorney told the newspaper

Mirasolo did serve prison time in a second case from 2010, in which he was convicted of sexually assaulting a second victim between the ages of 13 and 15. Kiessling said he served four years in that case.

Mirasolo is listed as a Tier 3 offender on the Michigan State Police’s sex offender registry

Oklahoma police officer who shot, killed daughter's boyfriend found guilty of manslaughter

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 1:12 AM

FILE - In this June 30, 2017 file photo, ex-Tulsa police officer Shannon Kepler, left, arrives with his legal team for afternoon testimony in his third trial in Tulsa, Okla. Jurors in the fourth murder trial for Kepler, a white former Oklahoma police officer, heard a 911 call Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017 where his daughter screams to dispatchers that her father had shot her 19-year-old black boyfriend. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
Sue Ogrocki/AP
FILE - In this June 30, 2017 file photo, ex-Tulsa police officer Shannon Kepler, left, arrives with his legal team for afternoon testimony in his third trial in Tulsa, Okla. Jurors in the fourth murder trial for Kepler, a white former Oklahoma police officer, heard a 911 call Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017 where his daughter screams to dispatchers that her father had shot her 19-year-old black boyfriend. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)(Sue Ogrocki/AP)

A jury has reached a verdict in the fourth murder trial of a former Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer.

>> Watch the news report here

After more than five hours of deliberation, the jury found Shannon Kepler guilty of manslaughter in the 2014 killing of Jeremy Lake, his daughter's boyfriend, and recommended 15 years in prison.

>> Watch reaction from the courtroom here

Kepler Trial Update

VERDICT IN: The jury has returned a guilty of manslaughter verdict in the 4th trial of former Tulsa officer Shannon Kepler. http://bit.ly/2kYON6z

Posted by FOX23 News on Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Kepler is accused of killing Lake in 2014 while off duty.

Though he was charged with first-degree murder, the jury also considered the lesser charge of manslaughter in the heat of passion.

>> Read more trending news

Three previous trials ended in mistrial.

Some members of Lake's extended family traveled over an hour to be at the trial.

While the district attorney said evidence doesn't show that Kepler needed to use deadly force to defend himself, the defense claimed the state's evidence did not show that Kepler went to Lake's home with bad intentions.

Related

U.S. judge: Immigrant in Texas must have access to abortion

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 11:59 PM

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
American-Statesman Staff
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN(American-Statesman Staff)

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered Trump administration officials to stop blocking a pregnant 17-year-old immigrant from having an abortion while she’s being detained in Texas after crossing the Mexican border illegally.

>> Read more trending news

After a hearing in her courtroom in Washington, D.C., U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan ordered administration officials to allow the teenager, identified only as Jane Doe, to be taken to an abortion clinic “promptly and without delay.”

Without court intervention, Chutkan wrote, Doe “will suffer irreparable injury in the form of, at a minimum, increased risk to her health, and perhaps the permanent inability to obtain a desired abortion to which she is legally entitled.”

Lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union argued that Doe’s experience is part of a larger pattern by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which under President Donald Trump has refused to allow unaccompanied minors to receive abortions, referring them instead to crisis pregnancy centers, which counsel women against abortions, often from a religious perspective.

Wednesday’s emergency order, however, applied only to Doe, and required federal officials to ensure that she can arrive as early as Thursday at an abortion clinic closest to the government-shelter where she’s being held.

“If transportation to the nearest abortion provider requires J.D. to travel past a border patrol checkpoint, Defendants are restrained from interfering with her ability to do so and are ordered to provide any documentation necessary for her to do so,” the judge wrote in the order.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had asked Chutkan to deny the teen access to an abortion, arguing that crossing the border illegally does not provide immigrants with broad rights protected by the U.S. Constitution.

“No federal court has ever declared that unlawfully present aliens with no substantial ties to this country have a constitutional right to abortion on demand,” Paxton said.

Paxton made the same arguments last week when the ACLU asked a California judge to intercede on the teen’s behalf. That judge, however, ruled that the request did not belong in her court, prompting the ACLU to file a second emergency request in Washington.