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Published: Thursday, February 02, 2017 @ 10:27 AM
Updated: Thursday, February 02, 2017 @ 1:14 PM
WASHINGTON — 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."
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 11:05 PM
Updated: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 1:24 AM
— U.S. marshals caught the woman dubbed “Losing Streak Lois” in Texas near the U.S.-Mexico border on Thursday after a multi-state crime spree, authorities said Thursday.
Lois Riess, 56, was alone when she was captured in a restaurant on South Padre Island around 8:30 p.m. local time, the Lee County Sheriff's Office told CNN.
Reiss was wanted in connection with as many as three murders in three different states, including the murder of her husband in Minnesota.
"I promised all along that Lois Riess would end up in a pair of handcuffs," Lee County Undersheriff Carmine Marceno said in a statement. "Tonight, she sits in a jail cell in Texas. We are working as expeditiously as possible to bring her back to Lee County to face murder charges."
Riess was last seen April 8 in the area of Corpus Christi, Texas, following what is believed to be a multistate homicide case. She was sought on murder and theft charges in the slaying of Pamela Hutchinson, of Bradenton, Florida, who was found shot to death April 9 in a condominium in which she was staying in Fort Myers Beach, Florida.
Riess, who got her nickname from Minnesota law enforcement officers for her penchant for gambling, is also a person of interest in the killing of her husband, David Riess, who was found shot to death March 23 on the couple’s worm farm in Blooming Prairie.
In each shooting, the victim had been dead for several days when the body was found. Authorities also believe Lois Riess used the same weapon in both cases.
The U.S. Marshals Service on Tuesday had updated the search for Riess to major status and announced a $5,000 reward for her capture. Another $1,000 in reward money was made available by Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers.
Florida investigators said Riess killed Hutchinson, 59, for her identity. The women, who were strangers before Riess befriended Hutchinson, bore a striking resemblance to one another.
Surveillance footage from the Smokin’ Oyster Brewery, located two blocks from Hutchinson’s condo at the Marina Village at Snug Harbor, shows Riess smiling and chatting with a blonde woman in a hat who Lee County Sheriff’s Office detectives have identified as Hutchinson.
Hutchinson’s cousin on Monday posted an image from the surveillance footage to Facebook, side by side with an undated image of Hutchinson wearing that same hat as in the footage.
Officials with the U.S. Marshals Service said investigators believe Hutchinson was killed on or around April 5, when the surveillance footage at the bar was shot.
Lee County officials also on Tuesday released several snippets of surveillance video, including one piece that shows Riess, wearing the same blue shirt seen in the bar video, calmly walking away from Marina Village toward the parking lot. She is seen on another video driving away in Hutchinson’s white 2005 Acura TL.
Hutchinson’s keys, identification, cash and credit cards were also missing when her body was found.
The News-Press in Fort Myers reported Tuesday that sometime after Hutchinson’s death, Riess went to a Wells Fargo branch there and used Hutchinson’s identification to withdraw $5,000 from the slain woman’s account.
See the original footage of Riess chatting with Pamela Hutchinson, obtained by the News-Press, below.
Riess was next spotted in Ocala, about 215 miles north of Fort Myers, where more surveillance footage released Tuesday shows her driving up to a Hilton hotel in Hutchinson’s stolen car and checking in as a guest. Again, she is wearing the blue top seen in previous videos, as well as a light-colored fedora-style hat with a black band.
Lee County Sheriff’s Office officials told the News-Press that Riess stayed in the hotel the nights of April 6 and 7.
Riess used Hutchinson’s identity to check into the hotel around 8 p.m. on April 6. She also used the victim’s identification to withdraw another $500 from Hutchinson’s bank account at an Ocala bank.
“She’s confident, doesn’t look over her shoulder, like she’s not hiding anything,” Kinsey told the Star Tribune of Riess’ demeanor in the videos. “She was very nonchalant.”
The fugitive was next spotted in the stolen Acura in Louisiana, where an attempt to get $200 at a gas station failed, the News-Press said.
Kinsey said Riess was also spotted on surveillance images April 7 and 8 in casinos in Louisiana.
“She went from casino to casino to make money, or because she is addicted to it,” Kinsey said. “She is consumed by it.”
The final definite sighting of Riess was the following day, April 8 in Refugio, Texas, about 40 miles north of Corpus Christi. Corpus Christi is about 150 miles from the Mexico border.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which has been searching for Riess since late last month, described her as a white woman with brown eyes and pale blonde hair. She is about 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs about 165 pounds.
Riess has been on the run since mid-March, when she is suspected of gunning down her husband, David Riess, on their rural worm farm before stealing $11,000 from his personal and business accounts. Deputies with the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office found him after his business partner reported that he had not been seen or heard from in several weeks.
Lois Riess was nowhere to be found, but investigators learned she visited a casino in Iowa on her way out of the Midwest, investigators said. She is charged with grand theft in connection with her husband’s slaying.
Dodge County investigators are also anticipated to file murder charges against her sometime this week.
Riess was initially linked to Hutchinson’s slaying, in part, because her family’s white Cadillac Escalade, which she was believed to be driving after her husband’s murder, was found abandoned in a county park in Fort Myers Beach, the News-Press reported.
Court records in Minnesota also show that Riess, who was named guardian of her disabled sister in 2012, stole more than $78,000 from her before being caught three years later.
Lee County Undersheriff Carmine Marceno described Riess to NBC News earlier this week as a “stone-cold killer” who authorities fear might kill again when she runs out of resources.
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 11:01 PM
TULSA, Okla. — The U.S. Senate narrowly confirmed Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine as NASA’s new chief in a narrow 50-49 vote Thursday afternoon after a lengthy six-month nomination process.
While that may not be a resounding mandate, Bridenstine told KRMG in an exclusive interview that he’ll focus on doing the best job he can - and he’s confident that even those who voted “no” will support him in his new role.
KRMG spoke with him by phone about an hour after the Senate’s narrow confirmation vote.
“We are in a very exciting time when it comes to space in the United States of America,” he said, “and I am just tickled, I’m thrilled, I’m grateful that I have this opportunity to lead the world’s best space agency.”
Asked about the narrow margin of victory, he admitted he was a bit nervous at times, but now he’s ready to get to work.
“While I didn’t earn all the votes in the Senate, my number one objective is to serve this country in a way that makes all of them proud,” Bridenstine told KRMG. “and certainly to get to know all of those senators very well, and to convince them that while some of them may not have voted for me, I want them to understand my passion, my desire for our country, and earn their support. And I think that’s going to happen. I think people are going to say OK, now that he’s in there, we’re going to support him and we’re going to get this country headed in the right direction as it comes to space.’”
He did get a little emotional toward the end of the discussion, talking about the people of the 1st Congressional District who sent him to office in 2012.
“This opportunity’s available to me because the constituents in the 1st District of Oklahoma trusted me with an office in Congress,” he said, “and I did the absolute best I could to be as effective as possible on behalf of our entire country. And I want to express - just, just ultimate gratitude for having that opportunity, which ultimately resulted in this opportunity. And I mean that from the bottom of my heart, to all of my constituents.”
As soon as President Donald Trump signs what’s called a “warrant” confirming the Senate vote, Bridenstine will officially end his term in Congress.
His office will remain open, however, and his staff will continue to be available to constituents who have issues with which they need help or have concerns.
His successor will be chosen during the general election in November, and will take office immediately upon being elected.
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 9:31 PM
BOSTON — A new report says Boston is one of the top two finalists for Amazon’s second headquarters.
Twenty cities have been competing to become the location for the company’s second headquarters, and one study predicts two cities are better suited than the rest – and Boston is one of them.
The new study was conducted by an organization called The Conference Board.
It believes Washington, D.C., and Boston are most likely to beat out the competition.
The company analyzed the 20 cities vying to land HQ2.
The group studied the four job types most common in Amazon’s existing headquarters in Seattle, then looked at “real-time labor demand” and “online job vacancies” in all 20 cities vying for the headquarters.
It found Boston and Washington, D.C. were most compatible.
Something else that was in the report but needs to be considered – Amazon already likes Boston.
The company is seeking up to 1 million square feet of office space in the Seaport. Amazon could hire up to 4,000 workers for two future offices separate from the second headquarters.
Landing HQ2 could mean 50,000 jobs and a $5 billion investment in the city, but that doesn’t appear to have people in Boston too excited.
According to a recent poll by Elon University, only 34 percent of Bostonians strongly support the bid for the new headquarters. That’s the lowest among the finalist cities.
Amazon expects to make a decision sometime this year.
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 10:36 PM
Bowing to demands from Republicans in the House, the Justice Department on Thursday night gave lawmakers memos written by former FBI Director James Comey after meetings and phone calls with President Donald Trump, with the resulting leaks only amplifying Comey’s story that Mr. Trump had pressed him repeatedly about the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
And in classic Washington fashion – the memos were leaked almost immediately to news organizations.
There had been concerns that sharing the memos with Congress might cause problems for the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller – but press reports on Thursday night indicated otherwise, and a reading of the materials did not reveal a new treasure trove of information.
And more than anything, they only seemed to bring the focus more on President Trump.
Here are ten things we learned from the memos written by the former FBI Director.
1. Trump praises Comey at first meeting at Trump Tower. Before the former FBI Director could get to the subject of the Steele Dossier, the two men had some chit chat one-on-one. Comey said the President-Elect complimented the FBI chief on how he had handled the difficult situation involving the Hillary Clinton email investigation. “He said I was repeatedly put in impossible positions,” Comey recounted, quoting Trump as saying, “they hated you for what you did later, but what choice did you have?” Comey said the President-Elect said ‘he hoped I planned to stay on.’
2. Comey moves into the Steele Dossier. With other top officials out of the room at Trump Tower, Comey then described briefing the President-Elect on the contents of the Steele Dossier, expressing concerns that it could soon leak in the media. “I said, the Russians allegedly had tapes of him and prostitutes,” Comey wrote, saying that Mr. Trump said, “there were no prostitutes.” Comey said he told the President-Elect that the FBI was not investigating these stories, but that “our job was to protect the President from efforts to coerce him.”
3. The late January “loyalty” dinner. After President Trump had been sworn into office, he invited Comey to the White House for dinner – just the two of them – telling Comey that even Chief of Staff Reince Priebus did not know of their sit down. Comey said he told Trump, “I was not on anybody’s side politically.” After a detailed discussion of the impact of the Clinton email investigation on the campaign – in which they disagreed on whether there was a case against Hillary Clinton, Comey said the President made a clear point. “He replied that he needed loyalty and expected loyalty.”
4. Comey relates Trump displeasure with Flynn. One interesting side story from the late January dinner was when Comey related how the President had been angry with his National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, for evidently not informing the President that another world leader had called after the inauguration. “In telling the story, the President pointed his fingers at his head and said “the guy has serious judgment issues.”” Comey then notes that he never gave Mr. Trump any indication of the FBI interest in Flynn – or the fact that agents had interviewed Flynn just a day before about his contacts with the Russian Ambassador to the United States.
5. A meeting with Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. One memo from Comey detailed a meeting with the President’s Chief of Staff, who asked the FBI Director if there was an investigation going on into the President’s National Security Adviser. “Do you have a FISA order on Mike Flynn?” Comey quoted Priebus as asking. Later, their conversation went over the Hillary Clinton email investigation, and Comey’s late announcement which roiled the campaign. “At some point I added that it also wasn’t my fault that Huma Abedin forwarded emails to Anthony Weiner.”
6. Golden showers, hookers, and Putin. After meeting with Priebus, Comey was taken by the Oval Office for a quick visit with the President. There, Mr. Trump complained about leaks of his phone calls with foreign leaders, and again vented his frustration about details from the Steele Dossier. “The President brought up the “Golden Showers thing” and said it really bothered him,” Comey recounted. “The President said ‘the hookers thing’ is nonsense but that Putin had told ‘we have some of the most beautiful hookers in the world.'”
7. Trump presses Comey on Michael Flynn. In portions of the memos which had already been leaked, Comey describes how a broader meeting on homeland security ended, and then others left him one-on-one with Mr. Trump. “He began by saying he wanted to ‘talk about Mike Flynn,'” Comey recounts, adding later that the President said he had ‘other concerns’ about Flynn, but was aggravated about the leaks concerning his former National Security Adviser. But the President then returned to Flynn. “I hope you can let this go,” was how Comey remembered what the President had said in this February 14, 2017 meeting.
8. Trump urges Comey to ‘lift the cloud.’ Again, these details had been leaked previously, as Comey recounted a phone conversation in which the President complained about the Russia investigation, saying at one point that he would have won a health care vote in the House if not for the controversy over the Trump-Russia probe about the 2016 elections. Comey noted the President again returned to an issue that clearly aggravated him – “can you imagine me, hookers?” Comey’s memo also seems to say that the President was going to file a lawsuit against former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, who had assembled the dossier. No such suit was ever filed.
9. More about loyalty to the President. In an April 2017 phone call, Comey says the President pressed him to publicly confirm that he (Mr. Trump) is not under investigation related to Russian interference in the 2016 election. “He spoke for a bit about why it was so important,” Comey recounted, saying the President feared it was overshadowing the work of his new administration. “They keep bringing up the Russia thing as an excuse for losing the election,” Comey wrote. Then Comey said the President pressed him again. “Because I have been very loyal to you, very loyal, we had that thing you know,” Comey quoted Mr. Trump. In a footnote to his own memo, Comey seems perplexed as to what the President was referring to.
10. The release may on spur more questions. Republicans in the House had been pressing for the release of these memos from Comey for months, convinced that they would show wrongdoing by the former FBI Director. Instead, the full memos added more context to what was going on during the first few months of the Trump Administration with regards to the Russia investigation, and seemed to give more hints about what the FBI knew of the Steele Dossier, and how Trump officials were worried about who was being investigated.