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Trump security: Florida city wants $1.1 million in police equipment

Citing the increased security demands that come with President Donald Trump’s frequent visits to neighboring Palm Beach, Mayor Jeri Muoio wants to spend $1.1 million for a pair of special police vehicles and a patrol boat.

>> Read more trending news

Muoio hopes to get $525,000 of the money from the Florida Legislature. Rep. Rick Roth, R-West Palm Beach, will sponsor the city’s appropriations request in Tallahassee.

Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach is across the Intracoastal Waterway from West Palm Beach. Presidential motorcades routinely venture through West Palm Beach along Southern Boulevard and other routes, and West Palm Beach is often the staging area for demonstrations by Trump’s supporters and protesters.

The three items Muoio hopes to add are:

  • A “mass casualty incident response truck” to provide medical supplies such as IV bags, stretchers, trauma dressing, tarps, tourniquets, lights and generators “to treat a large number of victims.” Muoio estimated its cost around $400,000.
  • An “incident command vehicle” with an estimated $500,000 price tag. It would serve as a command post that could be used by federal and local authorities for incidents such as “protests, special events, bomb/SWAT events, natural disaster…or an act of terrorism,” according to a city description. It would replace the city’s current, 14-year-old vehicle, which “lacks capability to effectively interface with body cameras and drone technologies.”
  • A police patrol boat, estimated to cost $200,000. The craft would improve protection during waterfront events, such as Sunfest and the Palm Beach Boat Show, and also increase inspection and protection of bridges to Palm Beach during presidential visits and “thwart threatening attempts to travel to Mar-a-Lago.”

“We really want to make sure that we have all of the equipment we need for our police and fire department should there be a mass casualty (incident), so we can patrol the Intracoastal as necessary, and to be prepared,” Muoio said in a recent interview.

“We’re the place where the protests occur, so we have to make sure that protesters are safe and orderly.”

Roth agreed.

“The city of West Palm Beach and Palm Beach have an undue burden. The federal government needs to help, and they are, and maybe the state needs to help as well,” said Roth, who said he’s looking for someone in the Senate to champion the city’s request in that chamber.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is the lead local law enforcement agency in helping the Secret Service protect the president when he visits.

The federal government recently approved a $1 million reimbursement to local taxpayers for security costs incurred when Trump stayed at Mar-a-Lago as president-elect. More than 95 percent of that money went to the Sheriff’s Office, with $11,355 going to West Palm Beach. The county is still waiting for approval of about $3.5 million in federal funding to cover law enforcement costs during Trump’s seven trips to Mar-a-Lago as president between February and April.

Democrats helped fund Trump-Russia dossier: 6 things to know

The Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign helped pay for research that was later included in an infamous dossier that detailed salacious accusations against President Donald Trump and allegations of connections between his campaign and Russian officials, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

>> Read more trending news

The newspaper reported that attorney Marc E. Elias, who was representing both the DNC and the Clinton campaign, retained a Washington firm called Fusion GPS for information on Trump in April 2016. The firm subsequently hired Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer who would go on to pen the controversial dossier, according to the Post.

Here are six key things to know:

1. What is the “Steele Dossier?”

The so-called Steele Dossier, which was obtained by BuzzFeed and published in January, is a compilation of memos that includes lewd and unverified allegations against the president. It was compiled by Steele and focused on connections between Trump and Russian operatives, including claims of Trump campaign officials and surrogates sharing information with the Russian government.

2. Are any of the allegations true?

Multiple investigations have been launched into whether or not Trump or his campaign officials colluded with Russian officials to win the election.

The most salacious allegations made in the dossier, including a claim that Russian operatives secretly filmed Trump in a compromising position at a Russian hotel in 2013, have not been verified and might never be, according to the Post. However, despite the president’s claims that the dossier is fake, Sen. Sheldon White House, D-Rhode Island, said to Reuters earlier this month, “A good deal of his information remains unproven, but none of it has been disproven, and considerable amounts of it have been proven.”

He did not elaborate.

3. Did Clinton or the DNC know about the dossier?

The Post reported that Fusion GPS officials gave Steele’s reports and other information to Elias, citing people familiar with the matter.

It was not immediately clear whether that information was then shared with DNC officials, or with the Clinton campaign.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was chair of the DNC when Fusion GPS was hired in 2016, told Fox News that she was unaware of the arrangement.

4. Who did know about the dossier?

Both Trump and former President Barack Obama were briefed on the dossier in a two-page synopsis attached to a larger report on allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, CNN reported in January.

The briefing, which was classified, was presented by four senior U.S. intelligence chiefs, including then-FBI Director James Comey.

Comey declined to discuss the dossier during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in June, citing the sensitive nature of the information.

>> Related: Read James Comey’s complete testimony before the Senate committee

5. Were Republicans involved in the dossier?

Before being hired by the DNC and the Clinton campaign, Fusion GPS was collecting information on Trump on behalf of “an unknown Republican client,” the Post reported.

The client, apparently a GOP donor, paid for information on Trump’s background up until he won the Republican nomination, according to the Post.

6. What has Trump said about the dossier?

The president has repeatedly called the Steele dossier fake. He told reporters on Wednesday that, in light of the Post report, “The whole Russian thing is what it’s turned out to be.”

“This was the Democrats coming up with an excuse for losing an election,” he said.

Trump tweeted about the dossier Saturday, writing that the Justice Department or FBI “should immediately release who paid for it.”

Man threatened to assassinate Trump, feds say

Authorities charged a man on Tuesday with threatening to assassinate President Donald Trump after federal investigators said he made a series of threatening calls, including one in which he said he would blow Trump’s "white brains out," according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

James Anthony Jackson made repeated calls to a pair of U.S. Secret Service field offices earlier this month, The Detroit News reported, citing a criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday.

“Better watch Donald Trump,” Jackson said in a call earlier this month to the Secret Service field office in Chicago, according to the News. “Y’all think someone playing with yo (expletive), I am going to blow white brains out … his (expletive) head.”

He also called the Secret Service field office in Detroit, according to court records.

“Y’all messing with my wires,” Jackson said in a call on Oct. 18, according to the Detroit Free Press. “I’m going to blow Trump’s brains out.”

Investigators said it appeared that Jackson was attempting to mask the number he was calling from, according to the News. It was traced to James Jackson Profit Group LLC in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the Free Press reported. Court records cited by the newspaper showed the address was for an outreach group that Jackson visited on Oct. 6.

Jackson is also accused of threatening a woman who told authorities that she had met Jackson, who went by the name “Jamie,” online.

Jackson told her that he was “going to cut off her head and parade it in front of the White House for Trump,” the Free Press reported, citing court records.

The News reported that Jackson was in custody Wednesday in Washington state following his arrest in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. He is expected to appear in court in Spokane, Washington, on Friday for a detention hearing.

Trump tombstone at elementary school's Halloween party stirs controversy

A Halloween party at an elementary school in Gloucester, Massachusetts, featured a controversial decoration – a tombstone with the president's name on it

>> Watch the news report here

Apparently, one of the parents brought the tombstone labeled "Don Trump" to West Parish Elementary School's recent "Halloween Happenings" party. 

"It's not a place to put out a political agenda of any kind. And it upsets me that somebody would think it was appropriate to expose young children to it," said Amanda Orlando Kesterson, chair of the Gloucester Republican Committee. 

It's no surprise Kesterson is defending a Republican president, but she also maintains she would do the same for any president, regardless of politics.

>> Read more trending news

"I had very many difficulties with many of the things President Obama did ... but the office of the president deserves respect," Kesterson said. 

She says the tombstone wasn't removed even after she complained to the principal about it. 

"While, according to the parent, this was designated to be humorous, a number of attendees rightfully felt that it showed disrespect," Telena S. Imel, the principal of West Parish Elementary, said in a statement. "In planning future events, it will be made clear to organizers that school is not the place to engage in or display political agendas or opinions." 

George H.W. Bush apologizes after actress Heather Lind accuses him of sexual assault

Former President George H.W. Bush is apologizing to an actress who claims he groped her during a private screening.

The incident allegedly took place in 2014.

Actress Heather Lind, who works on the AMC show "Turn Washington’s Spies," said the former president, now 93, grabbed her behind and told her a dirty joke right before a photo was taken.

Lind detailed the entire incident in a now-deleted Instagram post.

>> Read more trending news 

She claims former first lady Barbara Bush saw the whole thing and just rolled her eyes.

Bush's spokesman, Jim McGrath, issued an apology in a statement to People Wednesday morning. 

“President Bush would never – under any circumstance – intentionally cause anyone distress, and he most sincerely apologizes if his attempt at humor offended Ms. Lind,” the statement said.

By late Tuesday, Bush’s office issued another statement.

“At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures,” the statement said. “To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke -- and on occasion, he has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, Pres. Bush apologizes most sincerely.”

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Sen. Jeff Flake announces he will not seek re-election

Sen. Jeff Flake, a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, announced Tuesday that he won’t seek re-election in 2018 amid the tumultuous state of U.S. national politics.

>> Read more trending news

Flake, R-Arizona, told The Arizona Republic that he has become convinced "there may not be a place for a Republican like me in the current Republican climate or the current Republican Party."

Trump-Corker feud reignites amid tax reform push

President Donald Trump and Sen. Bob Corker renewed their simmering feud on Tuesday morning, with the president writing in a tweet that Corker “couldn't get elected dog catcher” after the Tennessee Republican urged the White House to leave tax reform to Congress. 

>> Read more trending news

“Bob Corker, who helped President O give us the bad Iran Deal & couldn't get elected dog catcher in Tennessee, is now fighting Tax Cuts,” Trump wrote in the first of a series of tweets blasting the senator.

>> Related: Trump-Corker feud heats up as senator says president's threats could lead to 'World War III'

“Corker dropped out of the race in (Tennessee) when I refused to endorse him, and now is only negative on anything Trump. Look at his record!”

Sgt. La David Johnson's widow: Trump said, 'He knew what he signed up for'

The widow of a U.S. Army soldier killed in an ambush attack earlier this month in Niger confirmed a congresswoman’s account of a call between her and President Donald Trump on Monday, saying that the president told her that her husband “knew what he signed up for, but it hurts anyway.”

>> Read more trending news

Sgt. La David Johnson, 25, was one of four Army soldiers killed in Niger during what officials have described as an advise-and-assist mission in southwestern Niger. The Defense Department identified the other slain soldiers as Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, 35, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, 39, and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, 29.

Myeshia Johnson, widow of La David Johnson, told “Good Morning America” on Monday that she is demanding answers in her husband’s death.

>> Related: 4 soldiers killed in ambush: Where is Niger and what are U.S. troops doing there? 

“The president said that he knew what he signed up for, but it hurts anyway,” Myeshia Johnson said, recalling a phone call made by the president as she and her family headed to the airport to pick up La David Johnson’s remains. “It made me cry (because) I was very angry at the tone of his voice and how he said he couldn’t remember my husband’s name. The only way he remembered my husband’s name is because he told me he had my husband’s report in front of him, and that’s when he actually said ‘La David.’”

The president took to Twitter to deny Myeshia Johnson’s account, writing on Monday morning that he “had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson.”

He said he “spoke his name from (the) beginning, without hesitation.”

“I heard him stumbling on trying to remember my husband’s name, and that’s what hurt me the most, because if my husband is out here fighting for our country and he risked his life for our country, why can’t you remember his name?” Myeshia Johnson said Monday.

Myeshia Johnson told “Good Morning America” that the president called the phone of the master sergeant and that she asked the master sergeant to put the phone on speaker, so that her aunt and uncle could hear the call as well. She said that’s how Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Florida, heard the president tell her that her husband “knew what he signed up for.”

>> Related: Funeral held for soldier at center of Trump rift

Trump denied the account multiple times last week, and White House officials slammed Wilson for listening to a conversation between the president and an Army widow.

“Whatever Ms. Wilson said was not fabricated,” Myeshia Johnson told “Good Morning America.” “What she said was 100 percent correct. ... Why would we fabricate something like that?”

The circumstances surrounding the ambush, which happened on Oct. 4, remain under investigation. Among other outstanding questions, authorities are working to determine how, why and when La David Johnson was separated from the team that was ambushed.

>> Related: Who was Sgt. La David Johnson: 7 things to know about the fallen soldier, 'Wheelie King' 

“They didn't know where he was or where to find him, and a couple (of) days later is when they told me that he went from missing to killed in action,” Myeshia Johnson said. “I don’t know how he got killed, where he got killed or anything. I don’t know that part, they never told me, and that’s what I’ve been trying to find out since day one, since October 4th.”

La David Johnson’s body was found by Nigerian forces, according to the Defense department.

“They told me that he’s in a severe, a severe wrap like I won’t be able to see him,” Myeshia Johnson told “Good Morning America.”

“I know my husband’s body from head to toe. And they won’t let me see anything. I don’t know what’s in that box, it could be empty for all I know. But I need, I need to see my husband. I haven’t seen him since he came home.”

John McCain takes apparent jab at Trump during interview about Vietnam War

Sen. John McCain appeared to take a swipe at President Donald Trump during an interview about the Vietnam War on CSPAN-3 American History TV, criticizing people from “the highest income level” who avoided the military draft by finding a doctor who would say that “they had a bone spur,” CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news

Trump attended the New York Military Academy as a young man and received five military draft deferments during the Vietnam War, CNN reported. One was a medical deferment after he was diagnosed with bone spurs in his foot. 

It’s the latest war of words between the Arizona Republican and the president. During the early stages of the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump claimed McCain was not a was hero because he was captured during the Vietnam War. Trump never apologized for the remarks, and McCain has since been one of his most vocal Republican critics in Congress, CNN reported.

“One aspect of the conflict, by the way, that I will never ever countenance is that we drafted the lowest income level of America and the highest income level found a doctor that would say they had a bone spur,” McCain told C-SPAN3. “That is wrong. That is wrong. If we are going to ask every American to serve, every American should serve.”

McCain never mentions Trump by name in the interview, but the President's deferment because of a bone spur is widely known and his family was well off at the time.

Trump told The New York Times in 2016 that a doctor "gave me a letter -- a very strong letter -- on the heels."

"Over a period of time, it healed up," he said.

McCain spent five years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, declining to be released despite being the son of an admiral.

Jimmy Carter says he’d go to North Korea to help ease tensions

Jimmy Carter said he “would go” to North Korea as an emissary for President Donald Trump, the former president told New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.

>> Read more trending news

In a wide-ranging interview that covered topics such as the relationship between Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin, Carter told Dowd he was eager to partner with the president on a diplomatic mission to North Korea.

Carter told Dowd he would be willing to go to North Korea amid the ongoing tensions over nuclear weapons.

"I would go, yes," he said.

Carter, 93, said he has talked with Trump's national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, about his intentions but was given "a negative response."

"I told him that I was available if they ever need me," he said.

It would not be the first time Carter collaborated with a president or traveled to North Korea in a diplomatic mission. In 2010, he negotiated the release of an imprisoned U.S. citizen.

Carter also flew to North Korea in 1994 over the objections of President Bill Clinton and made a deal with Kim Il-sung to help prevent a nuclear confrontation.

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