Mornings on the Mall
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Hosts: Mary Walter and Vince Coglianese
Executive Producer: Heather Hunter
5am – A/B/C The FBI Is Having Trouble Recruiting Agents. FBI’s Most Wanted: More Applicants for Special Agents. Tight labor market has forced the bureau to double down on recruitment efforts; CEOs, physicists and school therapists are encouraged to apply. (WSJ) – WASHINGTON — Few law enforcement jobs are more coveted than the FBI’s special agent positions, but the tightest labor market in decades is forcing the bureau to do something it has rarely had to do: aggressively recruit candidates. A slump in the number of special agent applicants—from a peak of 68,500 in 2009 to 11,500 in the year that ended in September—has forced the nation’s top law enforcement agency to overhaul its recruitment, increase its outreach, target women and minorities and relax some eligibility requirements, interviews and data show. “We had a lot of discussion internally about why the number of special agent applicants were fluctuating so much over the years. We were trying to figure out what’s the story,” Peter Sursi, who runs recruitment and hiring at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said in an interview. The FBI’s renewed focus on recruitment comes as the bureau remains under intense pressure over its handling of politically sensitive investigations, including special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. President Trump has derided the investigation, which began as an FBI inquiry and still uses the bureau’s agents and resources, as a “witch hunt.” Major leadership shake-ups—Mr. Trump’s firing of Director James Comey in 2017 and then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ firing of Deputy Director Andrew McCabe in 2018—further added to the turmoil within the bureau, and polls have shown that the public’s view of the FBI has soured in recent years.
5am – D MANAFORT SENTENCING:
- POTUS says that he has not given any thought to pardoning Paul Manafort
- Paul Manafort gets additional 43 months in second Mueller sentence after ex-Trump campaign boss says he’s ‘sorry.’ (CNBC) — A federal judge sentences President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, to 43 months of additional prison time. Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced the 69-year-old Manafort to 60 months in prison on the first of two criminal conspiracy counts lodged by special counsel Robert Mueller. But 30 of those months will be served concurrently with Manafort’s prior sentence in a separate case, also lodged by Mueller. Jackson sentenced Manafort to 13 months of consecutive prison time on his second criminal count. A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, to 43 months of additional prison time. Washington, D.C., federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced the 69-year-old Manafort to 60 months in prison on the first of two criminal conspiracy counts lodged by special counsel Robert Mueller. But 30 of those months will be served concurrently with Manafort’s prior sentence in a separate case, also lodged by Mueller. Jackson sentenced Manafort to 13 months of consecutive prison time on his second criminal count. Jackson’s final sentence came in below the maximum sentence of 10 years allowed under federal sentencing guidelines. “I am sorry for what I have done and for all the activities that have gotten us here today,” Manafort told Jackson before she delivered her sentence. “I will be 70 years old in a few weeks. My wife is 66. She needs me. I need her. I ask you to think of this and our need for each other,” Manafort said in an emotional plea to the judge. Manafort’s combined sentences will put him behind bars for 7 ½ years.
- NY ANNOUNCES MANAFORT CHARGES MINUTES AFTER SENTENCING: Minutes after being sentenced in Mueller’s cases, New York prosecutors indicted Manafort on 16 counts related to residential mortgage fraud and conspiracy. Jackson admonished Manafort before delivering her judgment. “Saying I’m sorry I got caught is not an inspiring plea for leniency,” Jackson said.
5am – E NATIONAL EMERGENCY BATTLE:
- TRUMP NATIONAL EMERGENCY DECLARATION SHOWDOWN: The Republican-led Senate is set to vote Thursday on President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border to obtain funding for his long-promised wall … There may be enough Republican opposition in the Senate to block the emergency declaration, which could prompt Trump to issue his first veto while in office.
- Senate on cusp of passing rebuke to Trump on national emergency declaration. Legislation to nullify Trump’s emergency declaration comes to the floor on Thursday.
- Trump says it’s a “bad vote” to vote for the disapproval resolution of his National Emergency in the Senate
- @realDonaldTrump: Republican Senators are overthinking tomorrow’s vote on National Emergency. It is very simply Border Security/No Crime – Should not be thought of any other way. We have a MAJOR NATIONAL EMERGENCY at our Border and the People of our Country know it very well!
- TRUMP SCUTTLES DEAL THAT WOULD AVOID SENATE REBUKE: WaPo: “President Trump said Wednesday he opposes Republican legislation to rein in presidential emergency powers — crippling an attempt at compromise on the eve of a crucial Senate vote. Trump made his views known in a phone call with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) as Lee lunched with fellow Republican senators at the Capitol, according to a person familiar with the call who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe it. Lee then relayed the information to his colleagues. The development came a day before the Senate votes on a disapproval resolution that would nullify the national emergency Trump has declared at the U.S.-Mexico border as a way to circumvent Congress and get billions for his wall. Lee’s effort to craft legislation limiting the scope of presidential emergency powers going forward was seen as a way to limit GOP defections on the separate disapproval resolution vote.”
- Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) says he will vote for the disapproval resolution: “We tried to cut a deal, the President didn’t appear interested.”
6am – A/B/C COLLEGE ADMISSIONS SCANDAL:
- Lori Loughlin released on $1-million bail in college admissions scandal. (LA Times) – Actress Lori Loughlin was released on $1-million bail Wednesday after being taken into custody as part of a sweeping college admissions corruption scandal. She appeared Wednesday afternoon in federal court in Los Angeles. The court agreed that she will be allowed to continue filming in Vancouver.
- Olivia Jade Was on a USC Official’s Yacht Amid College Admissions Bribery Scandal. Her daughter, Olivia Jade, into USC — Olivia spent the night on the yacht of the Chairman of USC’s Board of Trustees … but she’s off the boat now, TMZ has learned. As Lori Loughlin returned to Los Angeles in the wake of her college admissions bribery scandal this week, her daughter Olivia Jade was reportedly on board a luxury yacht. On Tuesday evening, while Loughlin was taking an overnight flight from Canada to L.A. to surrender to authorities, 19-year-old Olivia Jade was on billionaire Rick Caruso’s yacht in the Bahamas, according to TMZthis link opens in a new tab. The outlet reports that Olivia Jade was on the glitzy vessel with Rick’s daughter, Gianna Caruso. “My daughter and a group of students left for spring break prior to the government’s announcement yesterday,” Rick, 60, told the outlet. “Once we became aware of the investigation, the young woman decided it would be in her best interests to return home.” According to L.A. Times, Rick is the owner of Invictus. The vessel is a 216-foot yacht that sleeps up to 12 guests in 9 rooms and is estimated to charter for approximately $616,500 per week (plus expenses) in the summer and $525,000 per week (plus expenses) in the winter, Yacht Charter Fleet’s websitethis link opens in a new tab states.
- USC Says It Will Deny Admission To All Students Connected To The Cheating Scheme. The school will also begin a “case-by-case review of current students and graduates that may be connected to the scheme.”
- College cheating ringleader says he helped more than 750 families with admissions scheme. (NBC News) — The ringleader behind a $25 million college admission scam that implicated dozens of people, including Hollywood actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, said he has worked with more than 750 families. William Rick Singer, who pleaded guilty Tuesday in a Boston federal court to racketeering, money laundering, conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges, said in a phone conversation recorded by the FBI that he helps “the wealthiest families in the U.S. get their kids into school.” Singer said he facilitated 761 “side doors” to admission. “They want guarantees, they want this thing done. They don’t want me messing around with this thing,” he said, according to court documents unsealed Tuesday. “And so they want in at certain schools.”
- College cheating scandal: Harvard alum Mark Riddell apologizes for taking board tests for students. (NBC News) — The 36-year-old Harvard alum, paid to secretly take college board tests for children of hard-driving parents, apologized Wednesday for his role in the burgeoning scandal. “I want to communicate to everyone that I am profoundly sorry for the damage I have done and grief I have caused those as a result of my needless actions,” Mark Riddell, a resident of Palmetto, Florida, said in a statement released by his attorney. He is facing two criminal counts for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money laundering, federal prosecutors in Boston said. Riddell, a 2004 Harvard graduate and a four-year tennis letter winner, is a key figure in the massive college-admissions probe dubbed Operation Varsity Blues. The federal probe announced Tuesday ensnared dozens of parents who allegedly paid millions of dollars to falsify college applications and get their children into elite universities. “I understand how my actions contributed to a loss of trust in the college admissions process,” he said. “I assume full responsibility for what I have done.” Riddell took SAT and ACT exams for students between 2012 and this past February, according to a criminal complaint. He was paid $10,000 per test, prosecutors said.
- WARREN REAX: Sen. Warren: I have “zero” sympathy for those who cheated to gain entrance to college.
- Critics pounce as Warren says she’s got ‘zero’ sympathy for parents in college admissions bribe scandal
- ON Fox News with Ed Henry: Sen John Kennedy reacts to the college fraud scandal, says the indictment: “makes you want to scream, makes you want to heave. I don’t know if you can scream and throw up at the same time.”
6am – D Beto O’Rourke announces he’s running for president in 2020. (CNN) Beto O’Rourke announced Thursday he is running for president, entering the 2020 race with a call for Americans to look past their differences in order to confront the challenges facing the country. “This is a defining moment of truth for this country and for every single one of us,” the 46-year-old Democratic former congressman from Texas said in a video announcing his candidacy. “The challenges that we face right now, the interconnected crises in our economy, our democracy and our climate have never been greater.” “They will either consume us, or they will afford us the greatest opportunity to unleash the genius of the United States of America,” he added. O’Rourke, who is starting a three-day swing through eastern Iowa on Thursday, said he will hold a kick-off rally for his campaign in El Paso, Texas, on March 30. His entrance into the race is the culmination of his two-year, out-of-nowhere rise from a back-bench congressman largely unknown outside El Paso to Democratic stardom as a record-breaking fundraiser, the subject of an HBO documentary and the target of two separate efforts to draft him into the presidential campaign. He joins a crowded field of more than a dozen Democrats vying for the party’s nomination. In his announcement video, O’Rourke said he would run a “positive campaign that seeks to bring out the very best from every single one of us, that seeks to unite a very divided country.”
6am – E EARLY RISERS VS. NIGHT OWLS:
- Early risers have a more active sex life: survey. (NY Post) – If you’re energetic and confident, enjoy cooking and believe in love at first sight, then new research shows you’re probably an early bird. A look into our sleeping habits revealed some interesting differences between those who stay up late and those who rise early, from our personality traits, hobbies — and even our sex lives. The survey of 2,000 Americans, split evenly between self-identified early birds and night owls, found that early birds have more sex per week, on average, than their late-night counterparts. Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Sleepopolis in advance of World Sleep Day on March 15, the survey gave insight into our personalities and relationships by examining our sleeping style. Night owls were found to be shy and sarcastic, more likely to use Instagram and to believe in ghosts and cryptids. They were also more likely to be single, whereas early birds were more likely to be married and have children living in the house. To find love, early birds are also more likely to have tried online dating. Early birds were found to earn more money and were more likely to work in an office — though surprisingly, they were also more likely to report always being late for work. Additionally, early birds were 10 percent more likely to identify as happy, while night owls identified more strongly as loyal.
6am – F FAA’s emergency order grounding Boeing jets came after the agency identified similarities between crashes in Ethiopia, Indonesia. (Washington Post) – After days of resistance, the United States on Wednesday followed its counterparts around the world in grounding the Boeing 737 Max 8, the aircraft involved in a deadly crash in Ethiopia on Sunday and another several months ago in Indonesia. Federal Aviation Administration officials said that airplane tracking data they viewed Wednesday and new evidence from the wreckage of the crash in Ethiopia showed similarities to the crash in Indonesia, leading the agency to ground both the 737 Max 8 and the Max 9, another aircraft in the series. President Trump announced the abrupt about-face Wednesday, after U.S. officials found themselves nearly alone in allowing the planes to remain in the air.
7am – A INTERVIEW – MARYLAND HOUSE MINORITY WHIP AND MD DELEGATE KATHY SZELIGA – Member of the Maryland House of Delegates from the 7th district (representing Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland)
- Md. lawmakers push prison immigration bill. A Maryland lawmaker says it’s time to require every state and local jail to hand over immigrants who are in the country illegally to federal officials. Maryland Delegate Kathy Szeliga, a Republican whose district includes Harford and Baltimore counties, wants her colleagues to pass House Bill 817. She calls it a very simple bill. “The bill simply says that, if asked, local law enforcement will turn a criminal alien over to Homeland Security,” Szeliga said.
7am – B SIMPLE EYE SCAN MAY DETECT ALZHEIMER’S: In healthy people, blood vessels form a dense web inside the retina, researchers say, but in patients with Alzheimer’s, that web is notably weaker. Using a noninvasive technology called optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA), the authors were able to spot these differences when looking at the eyes of 133 healthy people, compared to 39 people with Alzheimer’s and 37 people with mild cognitive impairment. The OCTA eye scan allows doctors to take high-resolution images of the retina in just a few minutes and see blood vessel activity.
7am – C Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp restored after one of longest outages in Facebook history. After being out much of Wednesday, Facebook began to come back to life early Thursday after midnight ET for many users. The outage is one of the longest the massively popular social network has ever experienced in its 15 years. Facebook and Instagram started having problems at around noon Eastern time, with issues popping up across Facebook proper, Facebook Messenger and Instagram around the world. Some users of Facebook-owned WhatsApp reported having issues sending photos on the popular messaging app.
7am – D INTERVIEW – AARON GREGG – Washington Post reporter
- President Trump announced an emergency order of prohibition to ground all flights of the 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 9 aircraft, the same fleet type involved in two recent fatal crashes.
- At tense meeting with Boeing executives, pilots fumed about being left in dark on plane software. (Washington Post/Aaron Gregg) — Boeing executives sat down last November with pilots at the Allied Pilots Association’s low-slung brick headquarters in Fort Worth. Tensions were running high. One of Boeing’s new jets — hailed by the company as an even more reliable version of Boeing’s stalwart 737 — had crashed into the ocean off Indonesia shortly after takeoff, killing all 189 people on board the flight operated by Lion Air. After the crash, Boeing issued a bulletin disclosing that this line of planes, known as the 737 Max 8, was equipped with a new type of software as part of the plane’s automated functions. Some pilots were furious that they were not told about the new software when the plane was unveiled. Dennis Tajer, a 737 captain who attended the meeting with Boeing executives, recalled, “They said, ‘Look, we didn’t include it because we have a lot of people flying on this and we didn’t want to inundate you with information.’ ”
7am – E BACKLASH AGAINST COWBOYS:
- Profs say UWyoming ‘cowboy’ slogan is offensive. UWyoming says get over it. The University of Wyoming stood its ground against about two dozen professors who took issue with the school’s newly-unveiled slogan, “the world needs more cowboys.” The slogan, critics said was sexist and xenophobic, among other things. “I am not the only person for whom the word ‘cowboy’ invokes a white, macho, male, able-bodied, heterosexual, U.S.-born person,” associate professor of kinesiology and health Christine Porter said at the time. “The history of cowboys, of course, is much more diverse than that racially, and presumably also for sexual orientation. But the image—what the word ‘cowboy’ means off the top of almost everybody’s head in the U.S.—is the white, heterosexual male.”
- Rep. Liz Cheney Defends College’s ‘World Needs More Cowboys’ Slogan. Republican Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney responded Tuesday after the University of Wyoming’s new slogan “The World Needs More Cowboys” drew criticism for being “racist” and “sexist.” “The world does need more Cowboys,” Cheney told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Cowboys and cowgirls embody the no-nonsense, never-back-down grit at the heart of our Wyoming heritage.”
8am – A INTERVIEW – CHARLIE SPIERING – White House Correspondent, Breitbart News – discussed the latest White House news and his interview with President Trump.
- NATIONAL EMERGENCY BATTLE: Trump says its a “bad vote” to vote for the disapproval resolution of his National Emergency in the Senate. Trump says he told Republican Senators to “vote how you feel good” for the disapproval resolution on the National Emergency
- Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump 5m5 minutes ago The Democrats are “Border Deniers.” They refuse to see or acknowledge the Death, Crime, Drugs and Human Trafficking at our Southern Border!
- Donald Trump: Bill Blocking National Emergency Declaration for Border Wall ‘Going to Be Vetoed,’ ‘Hard to Believe’ Any GOP Senators Voting for It
- POTUS says that he has not given any thought to pardoning Paul Manafort. Paul Manafort gets additional 43 months in second Mueller sentence after ex-Trump campaign boss says he’s ‘sorry’
- “Paul Ryan wouldn’t give the right to have any subpoenas,” Trump reveals in interview with Breitbart News
- NEVER TRUMPERS: Trump on the #NeverTrumpers: “There aren’t many of them left. But they’re still slightly dangerous … They’re basically dishonest people.”
8am – B COLLEGE ADMISSIONS SCANDAL:
- Lori Loughlin released on $1-million bail in college admissions scandal.
- Olivia Jade Was on a USC Official’s Yacht Amid College Admissions Bribery Scandal. Her daughter, Olivia Jade, into USC — Olivia spent the night on the yacht of the Chairman of USC’s Board of Trustees … but she’s off the boat now, TMZ has learned.
- USC Says It Will Deny Admission To All Students Connected To The Cheating Scheme. The school will also begin a “case-by-case review of current students and graduates that may be connected to the scheme.”
- College cheating ringleader says he helped more than 750 families with admissions scheme.
- College cheating scandal: Harvard alum Mark Riddell apologizes for taking board tests for students.
- Sen. Warren: I have “zero” sympathy for those who cheated to gain entrance to college. Critics pounce as Warren says she’s got ‘zero’ sympathy for parents in college admissions bribe scandal.
8am – C ANDREW WEISMANN LEAVING:
- Andrew Weissmann, one of the most prominent members of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, will soon leave the office and the Justice Department, two sources tell NPR.
- Ken Dilanian @KenDilanianNBC 3h3 hours ago: NPR’s @johnson_carrie reports that lead Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissman is departing, the latest sign that Mueller is done. Hard to imagine him leaving with a major case left to prosecute.
- Since 2015, Andrew Weissmann he has been the chief of the criminal fraud section of the U.S. Department of Justice. In June 2017 he was appointed to a management role on the 2017 special counsel team headed by Robert Mueller. To assume that position, Weissmann took a leave from his DOJ post.
- FLASHBACK: MUELLER’S ‘PIT BULL’ ATTENDED CLINTON’S ELECTION NIGHT PARTY: An attorney for special counsel Robert Mueller attended Hillary Clinton’s election night party in New York City, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday. Andrew Weissmann’s attendance at the party is one of many signs pointing to a troubling bias from the attorney. Weissmann has been described by The New York Times as Mueller’s “lieutenant” and “pit bull.”
8am – D INTERVIEW – DR. WILFRED REILLY – Author of ‘Hate Crime Hoax’ – previewed the Jussie Smollett hearing on Thursday.
- Judge Allows Cameras in Courtroom for Thursday Hearing. Jussie Smollett’s defense attorneys did not argue with the decision to allow cameras in court Thursday, saying there has been a lot of “misinformation” in the case and they welcome cameras during the hearing and all future proceedings.
- Jussie Smollett to appear in court on Thursday for arraignment. Actor Jussie Smollett will appear in court Thursday for a second time this week after he was indicted on 16 felony counts for allegedly staging a hate crime and filing a false police report. The “Empire” actor, 36, will be arraigned before a judge and enter a formal plea. He was in court Tuesday for a hearing to determine whether a judge should allow cameras in court. His legal team said it welcomes cameras in court due to what it described as “misinformation” leaked to the media since he reported his attack in January. “There has been a lot of misinformation in this case that has been presented as fact and evidence against Mr. Smollett, which is demonstrably false,” said Tina Glandian, the attorney for the actor.
- EARLIER THIS WEEK: Jussie Smollett took advantage of Osundairo brothers, lawyer says: The two brothers involved in the alleged hoax attack on “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett “were just taken advantage of by someone they trusted,” their attorney said Monday. “This was someone who the brothers thought could help their career. … Someone they had trusted to consider their best interest,” Gloria Schmidt, who represents Chicago brothers Abindola “Abel” Osundairo and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo
8am – E Are some dogs more dangerous? Md. urged to shed ‘outdated stereotypes.’ Companies would not be allowed to charge higher homeowners or renters insurance premiums for families who own certain breeds of dogs if a bill being considered by the Maryland General Assembly becomes law. The measure would benefit people who own Rottweilers, pit bulls and other animals with reputations — unfounded in the view of many — for being more of a public safety threat than other breeds. Senate Bill 647 is supported by animal-welfare organizations. Representatives of several of the companies that underwrite insurance policies in Maryland oppose the legislation. It was introduced by Sen. Katherine A. Klausmeier (D-Baltimore County). “This legislation would require an insurer to either cover losses by all dog breeds or exclude coverage altogether,” Klausmeier said in testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, on which she sits. She said many homeowners and renters aren’t aware that their policy includes an exclusion for certain breeds. “Eliminating the exclusion altogether will simplify coverage and ensure that policyholders and victims are covered in case there is a dog bite,” she said.