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Secret Service: No visitor logs at Mar-a-Lago, watchdog calls that ‘terrifying’

Published: Thursday, October 05, 2017 @ 6:25 PM

An aerial view of Mar-a-Lago, the oceanfront estate of billionaire President Donald Trump in Palm Beach, Fla. and now known as the winter White House.
New York Daily News Archive/NY Daily News via Getty Images
An aerial view of Mar-a-Lago, the oceanfront estate of billionaire President Donald Trump in Palm Beach, Fla. and now known as the winter White House.(New York Daily News Archive/NY Daily News via Getty Images)


The Secret Service has no system to keep track of people who visit President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, according to a court filing by the government this week.

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That lack of documentation is “terrifying,” says the director of a watchdog group that filed a lawsuit to try to obtain visitor logs for Trump’s “winter White House.”

Trump visited Mar-a-Lago seven times between February and April, hosting leaders of China and Japan, ordering missile strikes on Syria and conducting other official business there in addition to leisure time. Mar-a-Lago is also a private club with about 500 members.

>> Related: Photos: Donald Trump's Palm Beach home Mar-a-Lago

After Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington pressed for records of who visited the president in Palm Beach, the government last month released a list of 22 names associated with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s February visit to Mar-a-Lago.

But after conducting a “broad set of searches” for other Mar-a-Lago visitors, the Secret Service agent in charge of public records request declared in a Wednesday filing that “there is no system for keeping track of presidential visitors at Mar-a-Lago, as there is at the White House Complex. Specifically, it was determined that there is no grouping, listing, or set of records that would reflect presidential visitors to Mar-a-Lago.”

CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder expressed disbelief at the lack of records.

“We will be pressing the court for the full set of records that does exist,” Bookbinder said in a statement on the group’s website.

>> Related: Trump presides over Red Cross Ball at Mar-a-Lago

“If the government’s statement is true, however, and there really are no records documenting the many people President Trump has met with at Mar-a-Lago, the government has just revealed that everyone from lobbyists to foreign agents can buy secret access to the president — without accountability or even a simple record — by paying his personal business. And that is terrifying.”

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Florida man charged after woman he didn't know discovered in his bed

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 11:17 AM

Jose Rodriguez
Orange County Sheriff's Office
Jose Rodriguez(Orange County Sheriff's Office)

A 34-year-old man was arrested Wednesday after a woman he didn't know was discovered in his bed, the Orange County Sheriff's Office said.

Shortly before 10:15 a.m. Wednesday, deputies said they arrived at a home on Gainesborough Drive near McCulloch and North Tanner roads to assist the University of Central Florida Police Department and the Seminole County Sheriff's Office with an investigation.

Investigators said they used GPS from the victim's phone to locate the home.

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Deputies said Jose David Rodriguez told them a woman whose name he didn't know was sleeping in his bedroom. They said they awoke the woman, who told them she thought she was at her boyfriend's home but soon realized she wasn't and didn't know how she ended up there.

Read: Jury recommends life sentence for Orange County man convicted of killing ex-girlfriend's teenage daughter

Surveillance footage showed a shirtless Rodriguez having difficulty keeping his pants up as he guided the victim into his home, an arrest affidavit said. The woman tried to walk away from him, but he grabbed her wrist and arm to keep her from doing so, the report said.

The victim's friend said the pair had visited several downtown Orlando bars Tuesday evening and that at about 1:45 a.m. Wednesday, the two got into a blue Nissan Altima, which they thought was an Uber ordered by the victim, the affidavit said.

Before arriving at the victim's home, Rodriguez took off his shirt and the victim's friend asked what he was doing, because she thought it was odd, but he didn't respond, the report said.

Investigators said the victim's friend told them she got out of the vehicle and also tried to get her friend, who was passed out, out of the vehicle so they could go home, but Rodriguez drove away with the victim.

Read: Police: Woman accused of having sex with teen boy for money

"The victim stated she was not wearing the same pants she went out with her friends in," the affidavit said.

Deputies said the victim told them she didn't think she had sexual intercourse, but she believes "something happened."

While being interviewed, Rodriguez told detectives that he went downtown to celebrate his birthday Tuesday evening and he said he wanted to speak with a lawyer, investigators said.

Rodriguez was booked into the Orange County Jail on a false imprisonment charge.

Read: Deputies: Florida man arrested after threatening to blackmail a student in exchange for sex

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Toys R Us rejects Bratz CEO’s buyout offer for being too low, report says

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 10:33 AM

MGA Entertainment CEO Isaac Larian Makes Offer To Buy 'Toys R Us'

Toys R Us has rejected MGA Entertainment CEO Isaac Larian’s $675 million bid for about 30 percent of the remaining U.S. and Canada locations of the business.

CNN Money reported that the bid, which was made April 13, was too low, according to sources.

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Toys R Us filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2017 and announced store closings March 15.

“If this is true, it is very disappointing,” Larian said of the report. “We feel confident that we submitted a fair valuation of the company’s U.S. assets.” Larian added that he wants to keep working to save the business.

A customer leaves a Toys R Us store on March 15, 2018 in Emeryville, California. Toys R Us reportedly rejected a $675 million bid for the stores for being too low. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Larian’s company, MGA Entertainment, is known for making Bratz dolls and Little Tikes toys. 

Related: CEO of MGA Entertainment makes formal offer to buy Toys R Us

“The liquidation of Toys R Us is going to have a long-term effect on the toy business. The industry will truly suffer,” the billionaire said in a statement last week announcing the bid. “The prospect of bringing the Toys R Us experience to a new generation, my new grandson's generation, is enough to motivate me to Save Toys R Us.”

At the time, Larian said he would use his own money and financing from banks and other investors for the bid.

Toys R Us is considering other offers, CNN Money reported

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Boston, D.C. top contenders for Amazon's second headquarters, report says 

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 9:31 PM

Amazon Announces Cities Still In Consideration For Second Headquarters

A new report says Boston is one of the top two finalists for Amazon’s second headquarters.

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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.

>> Related: Boston among 20 cities in running for Amazon's second 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.

>> Related: Robot predicts Boston will win Amazon HQ2

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.

The following metropolitan areas are still in the running for Amazon’s second headquarters: 

- Atlanta, Georgia 

- Austin, Texas 

- Boston, Massachusetts 

- Chicago, Illinois 

- Columbus, Ohio 

- Dallas, Texas 

- Denver, Colorado 

- Indianapolis, Indiana 

- Los Angeles, California 

- Miami, Florida 

- Montgomery County, Maryland 

- Nashville, Tennessee 

- Newark, New Jersey 

- New York City, New York 

- Northern Virginia, Virginia 

- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

- Raleigh, North Carolina 

- Toronto, Ontario, Canada 

- Washington D.C.

Amazon expects to make a decision sometime this year.

An Amazon sign in Seattle outside the company’s grocery store in Seattle.(David Ryder/Getty Images)

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Rudy Giuliani to join Trump legal team in wake of Michael Cohen criminal investigation

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 6:23 PM

Then president-elect Donald Trump meets with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani at the clubhouse of Trump National Golf Club November 20, 2016 in Bedminster, New Jersey. 
DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images
Then president-elect Donald Trump meets with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani at the clubhouse of Trump National Golf Club November 20, 2016 in Bedminster, New Jersey. (DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

Former New York mayor and major Trump supporter Rudy Giuliani is joining President Donald Trump’s legal team, according to news reports.

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Giuliani, one of the first and one of the staunchest supporters of Trump’s presidential bid, will be assisting Trump’s legal team with the Russia investigation, according to CNN.

Trump is said to be extremely upset with the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller and has called it a “witch hunt” on numerous occasions.

>> Related: Trump not considered a criminal target in Russia probe: report 

Trump’s personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, confirmed the addition of Giuliani to the team and also announced two former prosecutors, Marty Raskin and Jane Serene Raskin, are joining the team, as well, CNN reported.

The move follows an FBI raid on the home, office, and a hotel room of longtime Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen last week and the revelation that Cohen is under criminal investigation.

>> Related: Mueller indicts 13 Russians, 3 Russian entities in election meddling probe

Deputy Assistant Attorney Gen. Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the Mueller investigation, signed off on the Cohen search warrant.

 

 

What You Need To Know: Michael Cohen
 

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