Hundreds of tiki torch-bearing white nationalists marched through the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, Virginia, Friday night in advance of a larger "Unite the Right" demonstration scheduled Saturday. The marchers chanted slogans like "you will not replace us," "Jews will not replace us," and "blood and soil," the latter a phrase used by the Nazi Party.
— John Gushue (@JohnGushue) August 12, 2017
This was the scene as the alt-right marched on the Rotunda at UVA this evening. A chilling scene pic.twitter.com/dgDMGK03Xo
— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) August 12, 2017
Saturday's rally is expected to attract several thousand, plus a heavy contingent of counter-protesters. White nationalists, including members of the Ku Klux Klan, have rallied repeatedly in Charlottesville this year since the city began the process of removing Confederate statues from public land.
"People are scared" there could be violence at Saturday's demonstrations, Brittany Caine-Conley, a member of Charlottesville's Sojourners United Church of Christ, told The Washington Post. "They are becoming more aware of the magnitude of this event and more aware of the violence that is done by the alt-right. And so people are anxious and afraid."
Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer condemned this weekend's gathering as "a cowardly parade of hatred, bigotry, racism, and intolerance march[ing] down the lawns of the architect of our Bill of Rights." "Everyone has a right under the First Amendment to express their opinion peaceably," he added, "so here's mine: Not only as the mayor of Charlottesville, but as a UVA faculty member and alumnus, I am beyond disgusted by this unsanctioned and despicable display of visual intimidation on a college campus." Bonnie Kristian
Well, that settles it then: While introducing her husband at a rally Monday night in Midland City, Kayla Moore, wife of Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, said that "fake news will tell you that we don't care for Jews," but that just can't be true because "one of our attorneys is a Jew!"
Kayla Moore, wife of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, accuses media of painting couple as anti-Semitic. pic.twitter.com/Vcczj6pNPv
— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 12, 2017
"We have very close friends that are Jewish and rabbis and we also fellowship with them," she added. Last week, The Washington Examiner notes, Roy Moore told an Alabama radio host that George Soros, the Jewish liberal fundraiser, "is going to the same place that people who don't recognize God and morality and accept his salvation are going. And that's not a good place."
After defending the candidate against accusations of anti-Semitism, Kayla Moore moved on to defending him against accusations of racism. "Fake news would also have you think that my husband doesn't support the black community," she said. "Yet my husband appointed the very first black marshal to the Alabama Supreme Court. We have many friends that are black and we also fellowship with them in church and in our home." Moore stopped herself before crowing about how great her husband is with kids. Catherine Garcia
Standing outside of a Roy Moore rally in Midland City on the eve of Alabama's special Senate election, peanut farmer Nathan Mathis held a photo of his daughter, Patti Sue Mathis, and a sign with a strong message.
Father, who says he's a local peanut farmer in Wicksburg, outside Roy Moore rally talks about losing his gay daughter at age of 23 to suicide. "I was anti-gay myself. I said bad things to my daughter, which I regret." pic.twitter.com/J0oOU0EJI2
— Vaughn Hillyard (@VaughnHillyard) December 11, 2017
"Judge Roy Moore called my daughter Patti Sue Mathis a pervert because she was gay," the sign read. "A 32-year-old Roy Moore dated teenage girls ages 14 to 17. So that makes him a pervert of the worst kind. Please don't vote for Roy Moore!" Speaking to reporters, Mathis said he lost Patti Sue to suicide in 1995, and didn't know what he would accomplish standing there with his sign. "If it's all to no avail, so be it, it won't be the first time I've done something to no avail," he said. "My sign speaks for itself and it speaks the truth."
Moore, the Republican candidate for Senate, has called gay people "perverts, abominations, that's not true," Mathis continued. "We don't need a person like that representing us in Washington." When asked if he was a man of faith, Mathis said yes, and that he used to be anti-gay. "I said bad things to my daughter myself, which I regret, but I can't take back what happened to my daughter," he said. "Stuff like saying my daughter is a pervert, I'm sure that bothered her."
Mathis wrote a letter to the Dothan Eagle in 2012, sharing details about Patti Sue's life and death. She wanted to try conversion therapy, but was told by doctors "you can't help the way you are," he wrote, and she "took her own life because she didn't want to be gay anymore. She was tired of being ridiculed and made fun of. She was tired of seeing how a lot of people treat gay people." Read his entire letter at the Dothan Eagle. Catherine Garcia
After a delay, the U.S. Treasury Department finally released on Monday a one-page document it called an "analysis of growth and revenue estimates" of the Republican tax plan, agreeing with the Trump administration that there will be an annual economic growth of 2.9 percent, more than enough for the plan to pay for itself over 10 years.
Most economists do not expect growth to be that robust, and congressional researchers have estimated the plan would add $1.5 trillion to the national debt over a decade. The Treasury's brief report said growth would come from tax cuts and "a combination of regulatory reform, infrastructure development, and welfare reform as proposed in the administration's Fiscal Year 2018 budget."
The conservative Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget said the document "makes a mockery of dynamic scoring and analysis," while Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called it "nothing more than one page of fake math." The Senate has approved one tax bill and the House of Representatives another, with both cutting taxes for businesses and the wealthy. A Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that almost half of all Americans are opposed to the plans, which Senate and House Republicans are trying to reconcile. Catherine Garcia
Through his "Make Our Planet Great Again" grants, French President Emmanuel Macron has changed the lives of 18 climate scientists, including 13 from the United States, who otherwise struggled to secure funding for their research.
Macron announced the grants just hours after President Trump said he was withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate accord in June. Originally, the grants were just going to go to Americans, but more than 5,000 researchers from 100 countries applied, with projects on clouds, hurricanes, and pollutions that are expected to last around three years — covering the rest of Trump's first term. "If we want to prepare for the changes of tomorrow, we need science," Macron told the winners Monday in Paris, adding that France will replace U.S. financing of climate research.
One of the winners is Camille Parmesan of the University of Texas at Austin, who will work at an experimental ecology station in the Pyrenees to see how climate change is affecting wildlife. Knowing Macron is standing up for science "gave me such a psychological boost, to have that kind of support, to have the head of state saying I value what you do," Parmesan told The Associated Press. Catherine Garcia
The New Yorker just fired Ryan Lizza after allegations of sexual misconduct. He says the magazine made a 'terrible mistake.'
The New Yorker announced Monday in statement that it would no longer be working with reporter Ryan Lizza, due to potentially inappropriate behavior:
Statement from @newyorker: "The New Yorker recently learned that Ryan Lizza engaged in what we believe was improper sexual conduct. We have reviewed the matter and, as a result, have severed ties with Lizza. Due to a request for privacy, we are not commenting further."
— Paul Farhi (@farhip) December 11, 2017
Lizza was The New Yorker's Washington correspondent for 10 years as well as a frequent on-air contributor for CNN. Shortly after The New Yorker made its announcement about Lizza, CNN said in a statement that Lizza "will not appear on CNN while we look into this matter."
Lizza became something of a sensation over the summer after he received a surreal phone call from then-White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, in which Scaramucci unloaded on then-White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Stephen Bannon in rather colorful language. Scaramucci was fired four days after Lizza published details of their conversation.
In a statement to Politico's Michael Calderone, Lizza claimed that The New Yorker's decision "was a terrible mistake" and denied that he'd acted improperly. Kelly O'Meara Morales
Ryan Lizza says in a statement that he's "dismayed" the New Yorker has characterized "a respectful relationship with a woman I dated as somehow inappropriate." Full statement: pic.twitter.com/SvjnzSaYSR
— Michael Calderone (@mlcalderone) December 11, 2017
Three people were injured Monday when a man detonated an explosive in a Midtown Manhattan subway station. The suspect, identified as 27-year-old Akayed Ullah, was wearing "an improvised, low-tech explosive device" that he "intentionally detonated" around 7:20 a.m. ET Monday morning in the subway station below the Port Authority Bus Terminal, New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill said.
Ullah, who is of Bangladeshi descent and lives in Brooklyn, was taken into custody after the blast. He sustained the most serious injuries, though he and the three injured passersby all escaped life-threatening harm. Ullah apparently told police he constructed the explosive at his workplace, while CNN reported, citing an unnamed law enforcement official, that Ullah may have been motivated to act by Israeli aggression.
In response to the attack, Attorney General Jeff Sessions blamed America's "failed immigration policies." He said in a statement that Monday's explosion, along with the truck-based attack in October near the Hudson River in Lower Manhattan, were due to policies that "do not serve the national interest," like "the diversity lottery and chain migration."
"It is a failure of logic and sound policy not to adopt a merit-based immigration system," Sessions said, adding that a merit-based policy would mean "welcoming the best and the brightest and turning away not only terrorists, but gang members, fraudsters, drunk drivers, and child abusers." Read his full statement below. Kimberly Alters
NEW: AG Sessions on NYC attack: "We have now seen two terrorist attacks in New York City in less than two months that were carried out by people who came here as the result of our failed immigration policies that do not serve the national interest” https://t.co/ow0CLiNGLH pic.twitter.com/YdfeOek2yq
— ABC News (@ABC) December 11, 2017
Energy executive denies that Michael Flynn sent text during inauguration saying Russia sanctions would be 'ripped up'
A nuclear energy executive who used to work with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn claims that a whistleblower gave inaccurate information about an alleged text exchange that occurred during President Trump's inauguration, Politico reported Monday. Last week, Politico reported that a whistleblower wrote in July to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, about text messages Flynn had allegedly sent during the inauguration ceremony to Alex Copson, the managing partner of ACU Strategic Partners.
Flynn, who advised ACU, a nuclear energy investment firm, between 2015 and 2016, apparently told Copson that sanctions against Russia would get "ripped up" upon Trump's ascent to the Oval Office. Per the whistleblower, Flynn also wrote in a text that ACU's plan to build a dozen nuclear plants in the Middle East with Russian partners was "good to go."
On Friday, Thomas Cochran, a top adviser for ACU, wrote in a letter to Cummings, "The only text message Mr. Copson received on Inauguration Day came at 1:49 p.m.," directly contradicting the whistleblower's claim that Copson showed off a text sent by Flynn at 12:11 p.m. that day. Cochran claimed that because Copson "did not receive a text message from General Flynn during the inauguration, other allegations of the 'whistleblower' are equally false and unfounded."
Cummings responded Friday directly to Copson, asking him to appear before Oversight Committee staff for an interview. He poked holes in Cochran's logic, saying Copson could have provided an incomplete transcript of exchanged messages, or that communications could have occurred over an encrypted messaging service.
Cummings also questioned why Copson wasn't speaking for himself: "It appears that your colleague [Cochran] is suggesting that you did not meet the whistleblower at all and that you had no conversation relating to General Flynn," Cummings wrote to Copson. "It remains unclear why your colleague sent this letter rather than you." Kelly O'Meara Morales