‘Jayme is safe and we will make sure forever,’ family of Wisconsin girl who escaped man who allegedly killed her parents

U.S. NEWS 'Jayme is safe and we will make sure forever,' family of Wisconsin girl who escaped man who allegedly killed her parents https://linewsradio.com/jayme-is-safe-and-we-will-make-sure-forever-family-of-wisconsin-girl-who-escaped-man-who-allegedly-killed-her-parents/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

Jennifer Smith(NEW YORK) — New photos released Saturday of Jayme Closs, the 13-year-old Wisconsin girl who spent 88 days in captivity after being abducted by her parent’s alleged killer, show her smiling and cuddling with her dogs and posing for a selfie with an aunt who had prayed for her safe return.

“Jayme had a pretty good night sleep,” Jayme’s overjoyed aunt, Jennifer Smith, said in a Facebook post on Saturday. “It was great to know she was next to me all night. What a great feeling to have her home.”

Authorities said Jayme escaped Thursday from a cabin where she was being held by a man who allegedly kidnapped her in October, according to officials at the Barron County Sheriff’s Department, who spearheaded the search for her.

She was found in Gordon, Wisconsin, about 70 miles north of her hometown of Barron

After escaping, Jayme approached Jeanne Nutter, who was out walking her dog. Nutter told ABC News that Jayme looked disheveled, cold, thin and wearing shoes too large for her feet.

“I need help,” Jayme said in a soft voice, according to Nutter. “…I’m Jayme Closs, I don’t know where I’m at.”

After escaping, Jayme approached Jeanne Nutter, who was out walking her dog. Nutter told ABC News that Jayme looked disheveled, cold, thin and wearing shoes too large for her feet.

“I need help,” Jayme said in a soft voice, according to Nutter. “…I’m Jayme Closs, I don’t know where I’m at.”

Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, of Gordon, was arrested and charged with kidnapping the eighth-grader and killing her parents, Denise and James Closs, officials said. Patterson is expected to make his initial court appearance on the charges on Monday.

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said Patterson had specific intentions to kidnap Jayme, but it remains unclear how he became aware of the girl, Fitzgerald said.

Investigators have yet to comment on what Jayme endured during her 88 days in captivity.

Her family said Saturday that she is “full of big smiles today.”

“It will be a long road but we are family strong and we love this little girl so much!!” Smith wrote on Facebook. “We will do anything and everything!! My beloved sister Denise pooh and brother in law Jim can rest at peace and I keep assuring them Jayme is safe and we will make sure forever.”

Jayme’s ordeal began on Oct. 15, when a 911 hangup call was placed from her home and a dispatcher reported hearing people yelling in the background.

When sheriff’s deputies went to the Closs family home, they found Denise Closs, 46, and her husband, James, 56, shot to death. Jayme was nowhere to be found and immediately investigators feared her parent’s killer abducted her.

A massive search for the girl was launched and thousands of volunteers helped comb the area near her rural home. A reward of $50,000 was offered for information on the girl’s whereabouts.

But in the end, Fitzgerald said, Jayme ended up saving herself.

“It’s amazing, the will of that 13-year-old girl to survive and escape,” Fitzgerald said. “That comes from the hope and the prayers in this community and what everybody did.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Jan 2019

Lack of paid family leave, support at work partly to blame for 30-year low in fertility rates: Experts

U.S. NEWS Lack of paid family leave, support at work partly to blame for 30-year low in fertility rates: Experts https://linewsradio.com/lack-of-paid-family-leave-support-at-work-partly-to-blame-for-30-year-low-in-fertility-rates-experts/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

ABC News(NEW YORK) — When sociology professor Caitlyn Collins set out to interview 135 middle-class women in Sweden, Germany, Italy and the U.S. about how they make motherhood work with their careers, she was surprised by what set American women apart.

“Moms in the U.S. stand apart from these other women in how guilty and stressed and conflicted they are. Of course, moms everywhere feel work-family conflict, but what is unique about the American mom, and this is the most heartbreaking part of what I found in my study, is that American moms blame themselves for this work-family conflict,” Collins told ABC News. “They think if they try a little bit harder or read the right parenting book, or adopt the right scheduling approach to their family’s everyday lives, that things would be better and they would be able to keep their head above the tidewaters.”

“Women are blaming themselves as individuals for something that is a deeply structural and societal problem,” added Collins, who wrote about her findings in the forthcoming book “Making Motherhood Work: How Women Manage Careers and Caregiving.”

The financial and emotional obstacles mothers face were brought to the fore this week after a new report found that American women aren’t having enough babies to replace the current population, and the nation’s total fertility rate has hit a 30-year low. Total fertility rates represent the expected number of lifetime births per 1,000 women, given current birth rates by age.

But experts like Collins weren’t surprised. They say the lack of mandatory paid family leave, supportive workplace policies for mothers and the dearth of affordable childcare, housing and higher education have all contributed to the decline.

“There are real demographic consequences for not supporting families,” Collins said. “We are horrifyingly far behind. The U.S. is one of the most family-hostile countries across the world, which is really sad. We talk a lot about families sort of being the backbone of our society, but we don’t support that with any material policies that would actually enable people to reconcile their work and family lives.”

The nation’s total fertility rate was 16 percent below the level for a population to replace itself in 2017, a National Vital Statistics report published this week found. Only two states — South Dakota and Utah — had total fertility rates above replacement levels. The gap between South Dakota, which had the highest rate, and Washington, D.C., which had the lowest rate, was 57 percent.

Total fertility rates in the U.S. have been declining for years and women are generally giving birth for the first time later in life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Part of the age increase for first-time mothers is due to the decline in teenage pregnancies. But, in general, women are waiting longer to have children too.

Raising a child in the U.S. is expensive. In its recent “Cost of Raising a Child” report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that middle-income, married parents of a child born in 2015 could expect to spend $233,610 on food, housing, and other necessities to raise that child through age 17. The estimate did not take into account college tuition costs, and it rose to $284,570 when adjusted for projected inflation.

Economic uncertainty and student loan debt are two factors that impact women’s decisions about when to start families, according to Dr. Karen Guzzo, the associate director of the Center for Family & Demographic Research at Bowling Green State University. Guzzo said demographers expected to see fertility rates bounce back as the country recovered from the 2008 financial crisis, but that hasn’t happened.

“They really haven’t recovered as much as we had expected, and I think that suggests a lot about how people feel in terms of their own personal lives and how secure they feel. It’s not just the global or national economic or GDP numbers, it’s, ‘Can I pay my bills, can I pay my student loans, can I buy a house, is my job secure? Do I have a strong relationship and can I maintain that?’ So people go through a lot of uncertainty,” Guzzo told ABC News. “I really think that those characteristics haven’t improved as much over the last 10 years, and that’s probably what’s going on here.”

Lack of federally mandated, universal paid family leave is also a factor. Currently, companies, states and cities can decide their own policies, which leads to a disparity. Women can’t count on having paid maternity leave if they switch jobs, for example, said Kate Ryder, the CEO and founder of Maven, a digital clinic for women.

“Without federally mandated paid leave and with about 50 percent of babies born per year on corporate health plans, employers are the ones who are on the hook for the lack of government support and therefore in the driver’s seat on this fundamental health care issue in women’s health,” Ryder told ABC News via email. “They select coverage implications and leave policies and what types of support they’re giving, so two women who graduated from the same class in college but pursued two different career paths will have dramatically different maternity experiences based on the decisions of the HR/benefits teams of the employers they work for.”

The U.S. is an outlier in not offering mandatory paid family leave nationwide; nearly every other country in the world guarantees some kind of paid leave in weeks or months, according to the World Policy Analysis Center at UCLA.

Besides less than a handful of countries, “the rest of the industrialized world — and really, the rest of the world — understands that supporting families and having children be raised in healthy environments is for the benefit of all of us,” Collins said.

Childcare costs are another huge factor. Full-time childcare in a daycare center for a child between birth and 4 years old costs more, on average, than in-state college tuition, according to a 2016 Care Index report produced by New America, a bipartisan think tank. A family earning the average median income in the U.S. spends about one-fifth of their household income on childcare for one child, the report found; for women making minimum wage, full-time childcare costs 64 percent of their income.

“We don’t have something like high-quality, universal and affordable childcare, and the cost of outsourcing to the market in a liberal welfare state like ours is the equivalent or more than many women’s salaries,” Collins said. “What that means is they leave the workforce, and that has absolutely disastrous consequences for women over the course of their lives as it relates to their pensions, their lifetime earning potential, all sorts of factors. It hurts all women, but I think it hurts poor women especially.”

For families with one child considering having a second, that calculus can be even more difficult.

“People think, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t afford to have a second kid. I’m strapped, I can’t even afford daycare as it is, so having another kid is just too much,'” Guzzo said. “I think the paid leave and childcare costs are important when people are having their first one, but I think it’s probably even more important in whether you go on to have that second or third kid. People are saying, ‘I don’t know, it was really tough to manage the first time around, or I didn’t get to spend enough time off with my kid, or I had to go back to work too early or my spouse didn’t get any time off and this is too much.'”

There is also a myth that women who leave their jobs after having children are choosing to “opt out” and be stay-at-home moms by choice. While that may be the case for some, many others leave careers they love because of a lack of support in the form of flexible schedules, paid time off and sick leave to care for children and the ability to work from home when needed.

“These highly educated, highly successful working mothers are being pushed out of unsupportive workplaces that haven’t adapted to the reality that all workers have external responsibilities — especially family responsibilities — that need to be accommodated if what we want is a replacement rate for fertility, and a robust economy that is internationally competitive,” Collins said. “Without these supports, we do see a brain drain.”

That lack of understanding about how hard it is to work and parent isn’t just something that women experience; companies are caught by surprise, too, Ryder said.

“Forty-three percent of new moms drop out of the workplace after having a baby when more than 75 percent have said they wanted to stay,” Ryder said. “Aside from the emotional and physical impact of motherhood, two other major contributing factors include an unsupportive work environment and insufficient preparation. It’s not just new mothers that need to prepare for the return-to-work transition, it’s managers too, and that preparation should begin as soon as a woman finds out she’s pregnant.”

According to a Maven Clinic white paper, letting mothers walk out the door is costly for companies as well, citing figures that state that replacing an employee after childbirth can cost between 20 percent to 213 percent of her salary.

“For a woman who returns to work and then ends up quitting within the first year, the cost to an employer can reach six figures, taking into account absenteeism, health care and turnover costs,” Ryder explained.

All three women agreed that changing policies at the workplace and federal level could make a huge difference.

Guzzo said policies that make college, housing and childcare more affordable could go a long way toward getting the U.S. fertility rate back to the replacement level.

“The U.S. can recover from this. A lot of people are delaying having kids, but they’re not saying never. In the long-term, this might not be this sort of huge crisis,” Guzzo said. “There are all these things we can do to reduce some of that financial insecurity and uncertainty young adults feel that would go a long way to helping our fertility rates.”

Collins agreed.

“It’s not rocket science. It’s whether we as a country have the political will to support families,” she said. “This is a political issue and it needs political solutions, not the assumption that women can solve these things as individuals on their own. And I think if women understood that — that their stress, their guilt, their conflict, is not their own fault it’s actually a political issue that the government needs to be involved in, we would take some of that guilt off mothers.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Jan 2019

88 days in captivity: The saga of 13-year-old Jayme Closs from horrific kidnapping to remarkable escape

U.S. NEWS 88 days in captivity: The saga of 13-year-old Jayme Closs from horrific kidnapping to remarkable escape https://linewsradio.com/88-days-in-captivity-the-saga-of-13-year-old-jayme-closs-from-horrific-kidnapping-to-remarkable-escape/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

Jennifer Smith(NEW YORK) —  The search for her started with a mysterious 911 call from the cellphone of her mother, who was found shot to death with her father in their Wisconsin home. Despite fears that 13-year-old Jayme Closs was snatched by the killer and met a similar fate as her parents, loved ones and sheriff’s investigators never gave up on finding her alive.

From her horrific abduction to her remarkable escape, here is the timeline of the eighth-grader’s 88 days in captivity:

— Oct. 15, 2018: An Amber Alert is issued and a desperate search for Jayme is launched after sheriff’s deputies go to the Closs family home in Barron, Wisconsin, to investigate a mysterious 911 hangup call from Denise Closs’ cellphone just before 1 a.m. Jayme is nowhere to be found when deputies arrive at the home and find Denise and James Closs shot to death. “We want to bring Jayme home,” Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzerald says at a news conference. “Every second counts in this case.”

–Oct. 19, 2018: Investigators release details of the 911 call from Denise Closs’ cellphone around the time they suspect she was killed. A dispatcher, according to authorities, heard “a lot of yelling in the call” before it ended with a hangup. When the dispatcher dialed back, the call went directly to Denise Closs’ voicemail. Investigators believe Jayme was home when the call was made.

–Oct. 20, 2018: Authorities say they have received more than 1,000 tips, and have thoroughly investigated more than 800 of them, in the desperate search for Jayme.

–Oct. 23, 2018: Two-thousand volunteers comb several miles of rural Barron in the hopes of finding clues that could lead investigators to Jayme. “I’m a dad. I’m a grandpa and this is the right thing to do today,” one of the volunteers, Mike Buraglio, told ABC News.

–Oct. 24, 2018: “Not a moment goes by when we aren’t thinking of you and praying for you,” Jayme’s aunt, Jennifer Smith, says at a news conference. In a message to Jayme, Smith says her dog, Molly, is “waiting for you,” adding, “We all love you to the moon and back and we’ll never stop looking for you.” The FBI announces a $25,000 reward for information leading to the discovery of Jayme.

–Oct. 26, 2018: The reward to bring Jayme home grows to $50,000 when the “Jennie-O Turkey Store,” the company that owns a turkey hatchery and processing plant where Jayme’s parents worked in Barron, puts up $25,000 to match the amount offered by the FBI.

–Oct. 27, 2018 — Funerals held for James and Denise Closs at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Cameron, Wisconsin.

–Nov. 1, 2018: Authorities say they are scaling back operations in the search for Jayme due to a declining number of tips. “Just because the posture of our operations center has transitioned, does not mean the tips should stop,” the Barron County Sheriff’s Department says in a statement.

–Nov. 17, 2018: As deer hunting season in Wisconsin gets underway, the Barron County sheriff’s department sends out an urgent request to the more than 4,000 people granted deer hunting licenses: “We ask that hunters report anything suspicious such as clothing, weapons or anything you think is just not right on your property.”

— Dec. 15, 2018: Loved ones and friends of Jayme gather gathered around a 16-foot Christmas tree dubbed the “Tree of Hope” at Jayme’s school in Barron. They commemorate the two-month mark of her disappearance by releasing balloons and reaffirming their pledge to find her alive. “I want nothing more than to get my granddaughter back home to me and her family where she belongs,” Jayme’s grandfather, Robert Naiberg, says at the event.

–Jan. 10: Jayme escapes from her alleged captor in Gordon, Wisconsin, runs to a woman walking her dog and asks for help.

–Jan. 11: Authorities identify 21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson of Gordon — approximately 70 miles south from her home — as the suspect in Jayme’s abduction and the killings of her parents. “It’s amazing, the will of that 13-year-old girl to survive and escape,” Sheriff Fitzergald, speaking at a news conference, says of Jayme. “That comes from the hope and the prayers in this community and what everybody did.”

 

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Jan 2019

Julian Castro, former Obama official, launches 2020 presidential bid: ‘Today we’re falling backwards’

Political News Julian Castro, former Obama official, launches 2020 presidential bid: 'Today we're falling backwards' https://linewsradio.com/julian-castro-former-obama-official-launches-2020-presidential-bid-today-were-falling-backwards/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/politics-news/

Edward A. Ornelas/Getty Images(SAN ANTONIO, Texas.) — Julian Castro, former mayor of San Antonio and housing chief during the Obama administration, formally announced on Saturday that he is seeking the Democratic nomination for the 2020 presidential election.

“Today we’re falling backwards instead of moving forward. And the opportunities that made America, America are reaching fewer and fewer people,” he said, flanked by his wife Erica and children Carina and Cristian in San Antonio’s Plaza Guadalupe, among a crowd of a couple hundred people. “That’s why we are here today. Because we’re going to make sure that the promise of America is there for everyone.”

Introduced by his mother, local activist Rosie Castro, he said the country was going through a crisis of leadership under President Donald Trump.

“I’m running for president because it’s time for new leadership because it’s time for new energy and it’s time for a new commitment to make sure that the opportunities I’ve had are available for every American,” he said. Most of his speech highlighted his family’s immigrant history and San Antonio roots — his grandmother moved to the United States in the 1920s and his mother is a longtime community activist.

Castro described the American Dream as not being a “sprint or a marathon, but a relay. My story wouldn’t be possible without the strong women who came before me and passed me the baton. Because of their hard work, I have the opportunity to stand here today.”

“My family’s story wouldn’t be possible without a country that challenged itself to live up to the promise of America. That was the point of the American Dream: It wasn’t supposed to be just a dream. America was the place where dreams could become real, but right now, the relay isn’t working,” he said.

Castro is the first Mexican-American and first San Antonio native to seek the White House.

Asking for an America that is the “smartest, healthiest and fairest” nation on Earth, Castro touted his support for universal health care; pre-kindergarten for all, based on a program he sponsored as mayor of San Antonio; affordable higher education, justice and immigration reform, and more attention on combating climate change. He said that if he is elected, his first executive action would be to recommit the U.S. to the Paris Climate Accord that President Trump abandoned last year.

Castro had harsh words for the president as the nation’s government shutdown continues due to conflicts over building a wall along the southern border.

“Yes, we must have border security, but there is a smart and humane way to do it. And there is no way in hell that caging children is keeping us safe,” he said, telling the crowd his grandmother died regretting that she wasn’t able to say goodbye to her mother when she left Mexico for the U.S. in the 1920s.

Acknowledging that his run for the White House was a long shot, as a growing number of high-profile Democrats are expected to enter the race, Castro referred to his hometown of San Antonio.

“There are no frontrunners born here, but I’ve always believed that with big dreams and hard work, anything is possible,” he said.

In response to Castro’s announcement, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee called Castro one of the “biggest lightweights to ever run for president,” saying he was a weak mayor and questioning his tenure as Housing and Urban Development secretary.

“This is obviously just another desperate attempt to become someone else’s running mate,” said RNC spokesman Mike Arens in a statement.

Castro’s next stop and his first trip as a presidential candidate is to Puerto Rico. He’ll be in New Hampshire this Wednesday at the traditional “Politics and Eggs” breakfast, which has become an obligatory stop for presidential candidates.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Jan 2019

Paul Whelan made for a convenient target for Russian intelligence: Ex-officials

Political News Paul Whelan made for a convenient target for Russian intelligence: Ex-officials https://linewsradio.com/paul-whelan-made-for-a-convenient-target-for-russian-intelligence-ex-officials/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/politics-news/

Frédéric Soltan/Corbis via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — In the days following American Paul Whelan’s arrest in Moscow on espionage charges, suggestive details began to emerge about his past.

A tainted military background. A career in corporate security. Curious communications on a Russian social media platform.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that “unfortunately” he could not comment on the allegations against Whelan. But ex-U.S. officials and intelligence experts maintain that Whelan’s profile has so far come to look less like a professional spy and more like that of someone who could be conveniently framed as one.

Steven Hall, a former senior CIA official who is among those skeptical of the Russian claims, told ABC News, “He definitely has things about him that make the trumped-up charges against him more palatable, certainly to Russians and probably to some Americans as well.”

Whelan, a former U.S. Marine who held passports from four Western nations, was arrested in Moscow on Dec. 28 by Russian security services and charged under an espionage law, according to an announcement by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). A Russian news outlet called Rosbalt, known to be close to the intelligence services, cited an anonymous security agency source in reporting that Whelan had been caught in a posh Moscow hotel with a memory card that contained a secret list of Russian government personnel.

Those reports have not been verified, and in the two weeks since his detention, no further official information on the allegations against Whelan has been released, other than Friday’s formal confirmation of the charge against him. Whelan’s family denied that he is a spy and said he was in Moscow to attend a friend’s wedding.

A Russian defense attorney for Whelan has said he denies the espionage charge and will plead not guilty.

Pompeo told Fox News he couldn’t discuss Whelan’s case but added, “The American people should know the Trump administration is very focused on making sure that every American who’s detained anywhere in the world has been treated properly, handled accordingly and where they are not, using every lever of U.S. power to make sure that they are returned home safely to their family.”

Though the world of international espionage is by its nature murky and it’s unclear what evidence Russia has against Whelan, almost immediately after news of Whelan’s arrest broke former U.S. officials said they doubted the allegations and suspected a set-up. From the information available, they said Whelan didn’t appear to be a professional spy and, though U.S. intelligence agencies are known to have used private individuals for some espionage work, that seemed unlikely in this case.

“If he was involved in anything related to intelligence, it was a massive, uncoordinated screw-up,” John Sipher, a former senior CIA official who served in Moscow, told ABC News.

Steve Ganyard, a former State Department official and current ABC News consultant, said the information about Whelan “doesn’t speak to any kind of professionalism, any kind of professional training… [But] he is somebody the Russians would want to keep in their hip pocket to arrest when convenient.”

Whelan, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Canada, served in the U.S. Marines from 1994 to 2008, mostly in administrative positions. According to military records, he received a bad conduct discharge for attempted larceny and other charges. That Whelan had been booted from the Marines for serious misconduct, officials said, made it even more unlikely he could have worked for an American intelligence agency.

After the military, Whelan worked in security at Kelly Services, a personnel staffing firm, and later became head of global security for the Michigan-based international auto parts firm BorgWarner, according to the companies. BorgWarner has said Whelan was in Russia on a personal trip and that it has no facilities in the country.

“I think that background makes him a more attractive candidate” for being picked up, said David Salvo, a former State Department official and current deputy director of The German Marshall Fund’s Alliance for Securing Democracy. “In their view, they can make a case to their own people: Here’s this guy, a former military official, randomly traveling here…”

Hall said Whelan’s profession would not have helped his case with Russian intelligence, which “sees ‘security’ as code for intelligence work.”

“That just makes it easier for them to come up with this propaganda ploy,” he said.

Whelan also had a long-standing enthusiasm for Russia, traveling there previously several times, according to his twin brother, and talking online about his efforts to learn Russian.

“Having grown up during the Cold War, it was a dream of mine to visit Russia and meet some of the sneaky Russians who had kept the western world at bay for so long,” Whelan wrote on a now-defunct personal site in 2006.

For a decade, Whelan also maintained an account on the Russian social media site VKontakte, using it to reach out to ordinary Russians he often didn’t know. Those he contacted expressed surprise, saying they couldn’t understand why he had written to them.

“He didn’t want to know anything specific,” Alexander Buzov, one of Whelan’s contacts on the social network, told ABC News, saying Whelan had never explained why he had added him on VKontakte roughly nine years ago. “He just started the dialogue with ‘Hello! How are you?’”

The unverified Rosbalt report claimed Whelan had sought out Russian men who might have access to classified material or friends who did. Most of Whelan’s around 55 friends on VKontakte appear to have graduated from military academies or belong to a uniformed Russian service. But all of those reached by Whelan who spoke to ABC News said he had never discussed their military service and had not talked about anything much beyond generalities.

Pavel Laponov, a former soldier from Bryansk who was also contacted on VKontakte by Whelan, said Whelan had only ever written to offer opinions on countries he had visited.

Whelan’s brother has said Paul Whelan always looked to make friends in whichever countries he visited as a tourist and that he had hoped to meet friends in Russia this time.

Whelan’s Russian lawyer, Vladimir Zherebenkov, told ABC News last week he was aware of the Russian news report on the allegations against Whelan but said he was not permitted to comment on details of the investigation. Zherebenkov said the investigation and trial would confirm whether the reports were accurate.

Some former officials said they feared Russia had detained Whelan in an act of “reciprocity” for the American arrest of Russian agent of influence Maria Butina, or in a bid to set up a swap for Butina or another Russian in U.S. custody down the road.

Laying out what he thought was a likely scenario, Zherebenkov told ABC News last week he thought Whelan may well be tried, convicted and then pardoned and traded to for Russians held as criminals in the United States.

In the Russian government’s first comments on Whelan’s case Wednesday, however, a spokesperson for President Vladimir Putin said, “Russia never uses people as pawns in diplomatic games.” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova told reporters on Friday that an exchange was “currently not on the table” and she expects Whelan to stand trial.

Zherebenkov told ABC News he was certain that the Russian security services had been tracking Whelan for “quite a long time” before his arrest and that he had been under surveillance. While he is working on the basis that Whelan is innocent, he has repeatedly said investigators must have had substantial evidence to have made the arrest.

Zherebenkov has not made clear how he was appointed, which concerns Whelan’s brother.

“I’m not prejudiced against Zherebenkov,” David Whelan told the Russian radio station, Kommersant FM. “The only thing that bothers me is that we don’t know why he was assigned to my brother. We want to be sure that my brother had a choice.”

Fourteen days after his arrest, Whelan’s ordeal is still mostly opaque, and it remains unclear whether he has any legitimate ties to any intelligence service. By policy, the CIA generally does not confirm or deny the identities of alleged employees, leaving skeptical observers with more questions than answers.

“Lot of things are not working in his favor,” Salvo said, “but that doesn’t make him a spy.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Jan 2019

Republicans grapple with executive power as Trump weighs national emergency

Political News Republicans grapple with executive power as Trump weighs national emergency https://linewsradio.com/republicans-grapple-with-executive-power-as-trump-weighs-national-emergency/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/politics-news/

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Frustrated with congressional gridlock, the president announced the most sweeping executive action on immigration in decades, moving to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation as the leader of the opposing party in Congress accused him of acting like an emperor.

That battle between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans that began in 2014 touched off years of legal battles — including a Supreme Court decision in 2016 blocking Obama’s plan — a struggle overshadowing Washington as President Trump mulls declaring a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border to facilitate construction of a border wall congressional Democrats refuse to fund.

And as the shutdown passes a milestone as the longest in modern U.S. history, some Republicans have become unlikely cheerleaders of Trump’s tactics. These are some of the same lawmakers who criticized the Obama administration for executive actions on immigration to protect Dreamers, the undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.

In a statement in November of 2014, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., an advocate of comprehensive immigration reform in Congress, called Obama’s executive action “a tremendous presidential overreach.”

After an unsuccessful push this week with other senators to work up a potential solution to the impasse, Graham took to Twitter to call on Trump to declare a national emergency to construct the border wall.

Earlier this week, he sounded far more skeptical.

“That’s not my preferred route. I don’t know legally if you can do that.”

Democrats have said the move — coming at an impasse in government shutdown negotiations prompted by demands to fund the wall — could be an abuse of power by Trump, and would trample over Congress’s constitutional authority over federal spending.

They are preparing legislative and legal responses to a declaration, which can only be blocked by the passage of a joint resolution through the House and Senate with veto-proof majorities, an unlikely outcome given Republican’s control of the Senate.

Republicans who support the president’s ability to declare a national emergency reject the comparison of their position to their stances against Obama’s actions, pointing to the Supreme Court’s 2016 decision to leave in place a lower court’s opinion blocking Obama’s expanded executive action.

“The courts have ruled on his exceeding his authority, and have ruled that he did exceed his authority,” Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., told ABC News.

Foxx said on Friday she supports Trump’s ability to declare a national emergency, governed today by the National Emergencies Act of 1976.

“How can you say that it is taking authority away when Congress itself gave the president such authority?” she said.

“Everybody says he has the right to do it, but we also know that if he does it there will be lawsuits, it’ll get tied up in courts,” Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, told ABC News.

“What does that fix? It gets back to the best fix is to go through Congress.”

Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday told reporters at the Capitol that Trump believes “he has an absolute right to declare a national emergency under his authority as president of the United States,” and dismissed one reporter’s comparison of his position to his opposition to Obama’s actions in 2014.

“I don’t know that I ever questioned the constitutional authority the president has [to declare a national emergency],” he said.

Both Democrats and Republicans conceded that should Trump declare a national emergency, the move would ultimately be resolved by the courts.

“That seems the way all our problems have been solved these days,” Foxx said.

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, said Republicans and the White House should be concerned of setting a precedent followed by future Democratic presidents.

“They should be concerned that if he wants something passed, he or she is going to bypass the Congress by going this particular route, declaring an emergency.”

“Tomorrow, the national security emergency might be climate change, so let’s seize the fossil fuel plants or something,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said in an interview with CNBC, suggesting how Democrats would seize on Trump’s actions to justify their own.

“Maybe it’s an exaggeration, but my point is we’ve got to be very careful about endorsing broad uses of executive power.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Jan 2019

Correctional officers at supermax prisons guard the most dangerous inmates and aren’t getting paid

U.S. NEWS Correctional officers at supermax prisons guard the most dangerous inmates and aren't getting paid https://linewsradio.com/correctional-officers-at-supermax-prisons-guard-the-most-dangerous-inmates-and-arent-getting-paid/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images(FLORENCE, Colo.) — When you walk into the federal “supermax” — or supermaximum security — prison just outside Florence, Colorado, there are bright artificial lights, no windows, thick concrete walls everywhere, and you are cut off from the outside world.

Now, imagine having to work there 16 hours a day — and not getting paid because of the partial government shutdown.

“It’s a difficult job even in the best of circumstances,” Richard Arko, a correctional officer at Florence and the local union president, told ABC News.

Arko said that since the shutdown began, correctional officers have had to work 16-hour shifts without pay while having to deal with some of the most dangerous criminals in the country.

“Now, they’re expected to run basically into dangerous situations where inmates are fighting or trying to kill each other with weapons, and you’re going to run into that and risk being injured yourself or possibly even killed, and you’re not going to get paid for it, maybe someday, we’ll pay you sometime, maybe,” he said.

Florence is a long way from Washington, D.C., but Arko said he and his colleagues are feeling the impact of the political standoff.

“Regardless of politics, I don’t think any of us here at Florence appreciate being used as leverage in a political gain, and that is what this amounts to, as far as we’re concerned. Wall or no wall, we just want to get paid for what we do.”

He said many live paycheck to paycheck.

“We don’t make near what a lot of people think we make,” Arko continued, citing the case of a fellow correctional officer he said had already missed a cable payment and has told his child that he’s not getting any presents for his birthday.

Financial planning expert Ric Edelman told ABC News that families should have enough savings to cover six to 12 months of expenses in case something like the shutdown happens. However, he said that for families that live paycheck to paycheck, the shutdown can have a devastating impact.

“Because they are forced to come up with cash to enable them to keep going to work. Because unlike other furloughed employees, who are being told to stay home, corrections officers are being told to report to work without pay,” Edelman said. “Which means they still have to put gas in the car, they still have to buy lunch offsite, they are still incurring expenses as though they were being paid, only their not.”

Arko takes issue with guidance from the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management that they should contact creditors and ask for leniency.

“OPM’s guidance on this isn’t going to work, I’ve got single mothers who work here as officers. Some of their child daycare centers aren’t going to take IOUs,” Arko told ABC News.

Edelman says federal employees shouldn’t be bashful about asking creditors for a break.

“Everyone knows this is not your fault,” Edelman explained.

Arko says that since correctional officers are considered to have positions of “public trust,” they are subject to a background check every five years, and are required to pay all their bills on time.

“You can be fired for failure to pay just debts,” Arko explained.

He’s angry that politicians in Washington think correctional officers and other federal workers can adjust to going without pay.

“They don’t know my plight they don’t relate and I think it’s offensive they’re getting paid and telling us we’ll adjust and that they can relate. They can’t,” Arko said.

Arko said stresses at home and having to work double shifts while not getting paid could cause low job performance.

He anticipates there will be a lot more people calling out sick.

Officials at the Florence supermax prison have not responded to an ABC News’ request for comment.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Jan 2019

Indiana police release body cam footage of officer accidentally shooting partner

U.S. NEWS Indiana police release body cam footage of officer accidentally shooting partner https://linewsradio.com/indiana-police-release-body-cam-footage-of-officer-accidentally-shooting-partner/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

Lafayette Police Department (LAFAYETTE, Ind.) — A police department in Indiana released shocking footage of an officer accidentally shooting his partner in the back while searching for a fugitive earlier this week.

Lane Butler, who was “just days” from celebrating her third anniversary with the Lafayette Police Department, is still in the hospital in serious but stable condition after the Jan. 8 shooting.

Three officers, including Butler and her partner, Aaron Wright, entered a home looking for a suspect wanted on an outstanding warrant, police said. Police did not find the suspect, but inside the home was a large dog.

The video shows Butler exiting the home with Wright following her. The dog, which police said escaped its cage, can be heard barking loudly before Wright — with his gun drawn — suddenly shoots Butler in the left shoulder.

Though it is not visible in the video, police said Wright was attacked by the dog from behind, and accidentally fired his gun.

Butler immediately collapsed to the ground outside the home and the other officers can be heard in the video shouting, “What happened? What happened?”

“Our conclusion in this incident was this was not a result of an act of negligence, carelessness or otherwise reckless behavior,” Lafayette Police Chief Patrick Flannelly said at a press conference Friday. “It was accidental.”

Wright is not expected to face disciplinary action.

“Officer Butler is an amazing public servant and is a dedicated and valued member of our agency,” the department said in a press release. “She is demonstrating tremendous courage and strength and she fights to recover from her injury.”

Butler is recovering at Franciscan Health Lafayette East: “We again just want to extend our prayers to her and her family and all of her loved ones and let them know that they will have our continued support,” Flannelly said. “We’re thankful that she is doing well and improving. That’s the most important thing.”

The body cam video from Wright shows he and other officers immediately assisting Butler. She was wearing a bulletproof vest, however, she was struck above it, police said.

Wright sprints two blocks to flag down another police car responding to the scene, but after first putting Butler in the rear seat, an ambulance arrives and they load her into the back.

Butler appears conscious throughout, but she can barely stand and eventually needs to be carried.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Jan 2019

Government shutdown becomes the longest in US history

Political News Government shutdown becomes the longest in US history https://linewsradio.com/government-shutdown-becomes-the-longest-in-us-history/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/politics-news/

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The 22-day partial government shutdown became the longest shutdown in United States history, breaking a record from 1996 on Saturday.

President Donald Trump and Congress continue to dispute funding for a wall at the southern border, a proposal backed by the president.

Meanwhile, nearly 800,000 federal workers are affected — many of them missed their first paychecks since the shutdown started on Friday, according to the American Federation of Government Employees. Another one-third will experience a missed paycheck on Monday, with the rest turning up empty on Tuesday.

About half of those workers — 420,000 — are required to work without pay.

On Friday, the closure tied the longest government shutdown in history, which stretched 21 days from December 1995 to January 1996 under President Bill Clinton. A November 1995 Washington Post/ABC News survey found that respondents put most of the blame on the Republican Congress instead of the Clinton administration.

Throughout American history, government shutdowns have been a symbol of dysfunction within the government. Between 1976 and 1996, the government shut down 17 times.

In past shutdowns, federal workers have received back pay after the government resumed operating. But an unknown number of contractors are unlikely to receive compensation.

Negotiations came to a standstill this week after a tense meeting between Trump and Democratic leaders. After refusing the president’s proposal to fund a wall at the southern border, Democrats claimed the president threw a “temper tantrum” walking out of the meeting.

“It’s cold out here and the temperature wasn’t much warmer inside the Situation Room,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

The vice president denied those claims insisting the president was calm. “The president walked into the room and passed out candy,” Pence said. “It’s true. I don’t recall him ever raising his voice or slamming his hand,” Pence said.

Trump took to Twitter to call the meeting “a total waste of time.” On Thursday, the president signaled that he may declare a national emergency at the border if his administration and Democrats remain without a deal. The White House has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to explore funds in its budget to build the wall. He also canceled his trip to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland citing “Democrats intransigence on border security.”

So far, the Trump administration has tried to blunt the impact on the general public by promising to maintain food assistance through February and bringing back Internal Revenue Service personnel to process tax refunds.

But the longer the shutdown lasts, the more federal agencies will be operating in unknown territory.

One big question is whether subsidies for low-income housing could be at risk. The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced this month that 1,150 contracts with landlords have already expired and that another 500 will expire in January and 500 in February.

HUD officials say evictions have not happened in previous shutdowns.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Jan 2019

Scoreboard roundup — 1/11/19

Sports News Scoreboard roundup -- 1/11/19 https://linewsradio.com/scoreboard-roundup-1-11-19/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/sports-news/

iStock(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from yesterday’s sports events:
 
   NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
 Final  Atlanta       123  Philadelphia  121
 Final  Washington    113  Milwaukee     106
 Final  Indiana       121  N-Y Knicks    106
 Final  Toronto       122  Brooklyn      105
 Final  Dallas        119  Minnesota     115
 Final  Houston       141  Cleveland     113
 Final  Portland      127  Charlotte      96
 Final  Utah          113  L.A. Lakers    95
 Final  Golden State  146  Chicago       109

   NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
 Final  Carolina     4  Buffalo   3
 Final  Winnipeg     4  Detroit   2
 Final  Calgary      4  Florida   3
 Final  Pittsburgh   7  Anaheim   4

   TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL
 Final  Maryland   78  (22) Indiana   75

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Jan 2019