Police have arrested a 20-year-old woman and her boyfriend, both of whom are accused of killing her roommates over a possible rent dispute in a Southern California home.
The couple, Jordan Guzman and her boyfriend Anthony McCloud, 18, were arrested Thursday after police alerted authorities in Las Vegas to a missing car belonging to one of the victims, 18-year-old Trinity Clyde.
The three victims – Clyde, Wendy Lopez-Araiza, 46, and her daughter, Genesis Lopez-Araiza, 21 – were found dead Wednesday in their home in Hemet, about 76 miles southeast of Los Angeles. According to the Hemet Police Department, Wendy Lopez-Araiza’s husband came home and found one of the victims lying in blood and called 911.
An investigation found that Guzman and McCloud, who were at home the evening before, were missing, along with Clyde’s vehicle.
Hemet’s interim police chief Eddie Pust said there was evidence of blunt force trauma and strangulation, and no signs of a handgun being used.
It is unclear how long Guzman had lived in the home or what may have motivated the killings. Pust noted that there was a “dispute over a rental agreement” at the home before the slayings.
Guzman and McCloud were being held in Nevada jail awaiting extradition on three counts of murder. Their bail is set at $2 million each.
Contributing: Associated Press. Follow Joshua Bote on Twitter: @joshua_bote
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: California woman, man accused of triple homicide over rent dispute
Reporting for journalism is not an excuse for breaking laws, lawyers acting for the US government have said on the first day of a legal battle over whether the Wikileaks founder can be extradited from the UK.
The US case was opened on Monday at Woolwich crown court in south-east London by James Lewis QC, who said that by disseminating material in an unredacted form he knowingly put human rights activists, dissidents, journalists and their families at risk of serious harm in states operated by oppressive regimes.
“The defence seek to suggest that the risk to these individuals who, by having the individuals revealed as informants, is somehow overstated. I would remind the court that these were individuals who were passing on information on regimes such as Iran and organisations such as al-Qaida.”
Assange, 48, is wanted in the US to face 18 charges of attempted hacking and breaches of the Espionage Act. They relate to the publication a decade ago of hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and files covering areas including US activities in Afghanistan and Iraq. He could face a 175-year prison sentence if found guilty
The Australian is accused of working with the former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak classified documents.
Assange’s case has drawn widespread support , including from the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights, who said last week that he should not be extradited because of the potential impact on press freedom and concerns about “the real risk of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment”.
His father, John Shipton, has said Assange would face what was effectively a “death sentence” if sent to the US.
The first week of the extradition trial is expected to focus on legal argument before the case is adjourned until 18 May.
Assange’s lawyers will open the defence case on Tuesday, which is expected to expand on claims that emerged last week that Donald Trump had offered Assange a pardon if he would say Russia was not involved in Wikileaks’ publication of US Democratic party emails that had an impact on the Hilary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
The defence will outline a number of “abuse of power” arguments and is expected to argue that Assange’s extradition should not take place on the the basis of a clause in the 2003 UK-US extradition treaty, which prohibits extraditions for political offences.
Hearings at the end of this week will focus on whether a number of witnesses can be allowed to give evidence anonymously.
Assange has been held on remand in Belmarsh prison since last September after serving a 50-week jail sentence for breaching bail conditions. Assange sought refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden where he was accused of sexual offences.
However, Swedish prosecutors said last November they were discontinuing an investigation into a rape allegation, explaining that although the complainant’s evidence was deemed credible and reliable, witnesses’ memories had faded over the decade since the allegations were first made. Assange has always denied the allegations.
He was removed from the embassy last April and was arrested for failing to surrender to the court.
Few people in contemporary Catholicism and indeed beyond that denomination had a standing similar to that of Jean Vanier. People frequently referred to him as a living saint and expected that he would be canonised in the near future.
He was frequently compared to Mother Teresa, herself a saint since canonisation in 2016. By coincidence, Pope Francis was on his way home from a visit to Skopje, capital of North Macedonia and where Mother Teresa was born, when he heard of Vanier’s death last May.
He told reporters on the flight back to Rome how he had been kept informed about Vanier’s failing health and had phoned him a week before his death. “He listened to me, but he could barely speak. I wanted to express my gratitude for his witness,” he said, to “those who are despised and discarded”.
Almost annually Vanier was mooted as a Nobel prize winner. Schools across Canada were named after him and, in 2010, so too was as asteroid.
So revelations that this man had been abusing adult women came as a profound shock to very many people. It has been accompanied by deeply felt disappointment and a re-evaluation of his life.
There is also, on the part of L‘Arche and the Faith & Light charities founded by Vanier, a determined effort to separate out the work from the man. No one can doubt that L’Arche in Ireland and internationally does immense work for people who are among the most vulnerable in society.
It would be a tragedy if revelations about Vanier’s dark side were to impact on those least responsible, the people looked after by L’Arche, as well as Faith & Light.
There are, however, questions that need to be answered by church bodies, given the scandal has its origins in the 1950s when Vanier’s spiritual director and mentor Dominican priest Fr Thomas Philippe was removed from public and private ministry by the Vatican for the abuse of women. The priest died in 1993.
The L’Arche report, a summary of which was published at the weekend, found that in 1956 “there was no longer any doubt that Jean Vanier was informed of the reasons for the condemnation” of Fr Philippe.
The report also found that against the advice of the church, between 1952 and 1964, Fr Philippe and Vanier maintained a deep bond. Letters from this period reveal the extent of the priest’s influence on Vanier’s “thinking and behaviour”.
It was in 1964 that Vanier founded L‘Arche. The letters referred to, in the Dominicans’ archive, included what the investigation termed “a series of indicators”, which “lead us to believe that he [Vanier] shared sexual practices similar to those of Father Thomas Philippe with several women, none of whom seem to have declared themselves as victims”.
It said that “in 1963, Jean Vanier helped Father Thomas Philippe to physically install his house in Trosly-Breuil [near Paris] and joined him a few months later. Very quickly, several of the women in the small group followed him to find Thomas Philippe, and they were involved to varying degrees in the founding of L’Arche”.
The women referred to belonged to a group called l’Eau Vive (the Water of Life) founded by Fr Philippe in 1946 as an international “school of wisdom” and which Vanier joined in 1950. Fr Philippe had been banned by the Vatican from any further dealings with it but continued to run it, secretly, through Vanier.
The L’Arche report found that in the early 1960s Fr Philippe “gradually resumed his priestly and apostolic activities, beginning again to confess and to accompany men, then women”, despite being banned by Rome from ministry.
Why did neither the Dominicans nor Rome intervene when it was clear Fr Philippe was back in ministry despite being banned?
Most damning of all the L’Arche report found that “because Jean Vanier did not denounce the theories and practices” of Fr Philippe it was possible for the priest “to continue his sexual abuse of women in L’Arche and it allowed Father Thomas Philippe to expand his spiritual influence on founders and members of other communities”.
It also “heard allegations that Jean Vanier was aware of other situations of psychological or sexual abuse of L’Arche assistants by another person. Despite Jean Vanier’s denials when questioned by L’Arche International officials, his knowledge of at least some of the facts seems to be proven”.
It prompts the obvious question why, as Vanier’s reputation grew to stratospheric heights, did no one in the Dominicans or the Vatican query his collaboration with Fr Philippe?
Why did no one ask if abuse could be happening, considering Fr Philippe’s known history and Vanier ’s suspected history? And why did neither the Dominicans nor Rome intervene when it was clear Fr Philippe was back in ministry despite being banned?
Fr Philippe’s removal from ministry in 1956 was by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. As his and Vanier’s reputation grew, did Pope Benedict, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 1982 to 2005, never wonder what might be in their files?
That is not all. Only last November, Fr Marie-Dominique Philippe, another Dominican priest and brother of Fr Philippe, was officially renounced by a movement he founded in France in 1975, the Brothers of Saint John.
That followed a 2013 church inquiry which found that Fr Marie-Dominique, who died in 2006, had sexually abused several women and that, in 1957,he too was sanctioned by Rome for covering up the abuse of women by his brother Fr Thomas Philippe.
Even then in 2013, six years before Vanier died, neither the Dominicans or the Vatican asked any questions.
Not exactly a place you think you’d find 179 women firing .22-caliber handguns in the church basement.
But that’s exactly what happened on Feb. 8, when the church opened its doors to what state officials believe is one of the largest women-only, concealed carry gun certification classes held in the state of Ohio.
Over and over, the women cited the same reason for coming to the class. They were tired of being scared – of guns, of being alone in a home, of walking in some neighborhoods.
Karen Bolden, 56, was so scared of her husband’s guns she asked him to get rid of them when they got married two years ago. He did, but she’s working to conquer her fear. When Bolden’s sister alerted her to the class – and suggested they go together – she jumped at the chance.
“This is why this class is so important,” Bolden said. “We can’t be afraid.”
The class was organized by two men: the church’s pastor Rev. Damon Lynch III and Cincinnati City Councilman Jeff Pastor, a Republican who appeared at the class sporting a t-shirt reading “All gun control is racist.”
On Jan. 8, Pastor spread the word of the class on Facebook.
Two hundred women signed up. Despite an early morning snowfall that made driving treacherous, 179 women turned out for the class, all with varying comfort levels with guns. Some had never touched one. Others owned a gun, but wanted the license needed to carry it with them. Some came because their moms or sisters or friends suggested it.
The class was taught by certified CCW licensing firm Arm the Populace. It was an intense, nine-hour class, complete with a built-just-for-the class shooting range in an empty storage area above the church’s community center.
Women paid $25 each to cover the cost of the space, cheaper than the typical $65 class fee.
Arm the Populace, a Cincinnati-based company that offers firearms and personal defense training, donated its time. It billed the class as the largest CCW class of all women ever in Ohio.
A spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, which keeps CCW records, said the office does not track class size, but from his experience, 179 women in a class could be the largest. The office does not keep CCW permit statistics by race.
White men are especially likely to be gun owners: About half (48%) say they own a gun, compared with about a quarter of white women, and nonwhite men (24% each) and 16% of nonwhite women, the report found.
In this class, of the 179 women, 169 were black.
The class was broken into five groups, rotating into lessons about safety, laws, how to actually get a CCW license, which only a sheriff can issue, and then actual target practice.
No ‘mansplaining’ allowed
Douglas Cooper, Arm the Populace’s founder and chief instructor, started the class by explaining: “The Second Amendment is for everyone,” he said.
Instructor Bill Maltbie then told the class why women-only classes are important, though they offer classes for everyone, too.
“We do them so there are no men sitting there mansplaining because they’ve played a lot of video games,” Maltbie said. “We’re not here for Call of Duty. I just want to make sure I can go home at night and see my family.”
For Arm the Populace, it wasn’t unusual to hold the class in a church. They work to bring the class to places where people feel comfortable: salons, daycare centers, biker clubs. And, well, churches.
Cooper cuts an imposing figure, over six feet tall, bald, with a bushy beard and a body frame that shows he likes to eat.
“I can’t change the way I look, I look like a Sasquatch,” he tells the class. “But, if I meet you in a place you feel comfortable, you might come.”
For Rev. Lynch III, it wasn’t unusual either – even though he’s not a proponent of guns himself.
“New Prospect Baptist Church is more than a church,” Lynch said. “It’s the heart of the community.”
Without a recreation center, like many Cincinnati neighborhoods have, the church serves that need.
On the morning of the CCW permitting class, the church opened its doors for a financial freedom class, a Jewish culture class, an AA meeting and a funeral.
“I’m not a gun lover; I don’t own any guns, but people have Second Amendment rights to own a gun,” Lynch said. “In the African American community, the conversation is usually about buying guns back. But, if people are lawfully trained and learn how to be responsible, they will probably never use one. It sets them on a different course. As opposed to person who gets a gun and thinks I have to go shoot.”
And that, Lynch said, “is a good thing.”
‘Practice, practice, practice’
The range was built, with input from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, just for the class. It was bare-bones, a sheet of wood tacked to a wall, on which targets would be placed. And a table, which the women stepped up to for shooting practice. The women could hear gunfire before they were even in the room, causing some to briefly pause.
Inside the room, Instructors handed out earplugs.
Then there was one-on-one training with .22-caliber handguns.
Tape was passed around. Bolden used it to hang her target on the wall.
Arms straight. Legs apart. 10 shots. An instructor guided her stance. She hit the target within a centimeter of the bullseye.
Her sister, Sonya Jackson, was next. Same stance. An instructor lightly guided her arms into better position. Two bullets hit the target.
“I didn’t have my glasses,” Jackson noted to her sister.
Bolden told her, “You’ll just have to go with me to the range. Practice. Practice. Practice.”
The room grew smoky, chips off the wooden board littering the floor.
Kai Brown, 35, is a single mom with two small children. She went into the experience afraid of guns. But she signed up because she wanted to be able to protect her family.
“I guess I’m a lover, so I’m not really into like guns and violence,” Brown said. “If I have some friends that have a CCW and they have firearms … I’m like crazy about them, putting them away, getting them out of my sight. It’s just a fear that I’ve always had.”
When it came time to practice shooting, that fear emerged. She was apprehensive and flinched as others fired.
She dipped her head into her hands. She took a deep breath. She fanned herself with her hands.
But the instructors were kind. Encouraging. Helpful.
Brown took another breath.
And she fired.
“It’s evident that that fear is still there,” Brown said.
“I am hoping that just because of the times we live in and now, you know, you have to be prepared,” Brown said. “And so I don’t want my fear to keep me from being unable to, you know, get with the times.”
She praised Pastor for giving her the opportunity. And she echoed his opening sentiments to the class.
“It’s my right to carry…so I want to be able to,” Brown said. “It’s wonderful to be surrounded by many different women from many different walks of life. And we’re all, you know, here to protect ourselves.”
NIAGARA FALLS, ONT.—Ontario is careening toward a general strike unless Premier Doug Ford changes his ways, a key labour leader warned outside a convention hall where the Progressive Conservatives debated their next steps in running the province.
Carrying protest signs and waving union flags, about 1,000 people gathered in biting cold winds Saturday as Ford and an equal number of cabinet ministers, MPPs and party activists started developing the PC platform for the June 2022 election.
“If the Conservatives don’t listen to us … we will shut this province down,” declared Patty Coates, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, which organized the event to fight what she called Ford’s “regressive agenda.”
Inside the convention later in the day, Ford said the government is sticking to its “pro-business, pro-jobs, pro-people government” and repeated a promise he has not yet been able to keep – putting beer and wine in corner stores.
“My friends, the 2022 campaign starts today, starts now,” he told delegates during an 18-minute dinner speech in which he boasted of cancelling unnecessary green energy projects, planning new subway lines in Toronto and pledging “we’re here for the little guy.”
“Absolutely nothing, and I mean nothing, is going to stop us,” Ford vowed. “Our economy is firing on all cylinders.”
He took aim at the Liberals who will elect a new leader in two weeks after a campaign that has seen former cabinet minister Steven Del Duca take a commanding lead.
“The people we’re up against are the same ones who ran this province into the ground.”
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Ford did not take questions, but Government House Leader Paul Calandra brushed aside the prospect of a broad labour disruption.
“We’re always willing to listen to anybody who wants to bring their opinions forward,” he told reporters amid unusually tight security and restrictions for a political convention by any party.
Journalists’ identities were checked and bags searched before they were escorted to a news conference with Calandra and Ford’s speech under instructions not to roam the convention hall where delegates were emerging from policy discussions.
“There is hot debate,” Calandara added. “Grassroots members would like to have that opportunity to have those discussions in private.”
Behind closed doors, former Ford campaign head Kory Teneycke advised delegates to hold steady in the face of opposition, particularly “those who have gotten fat from the largesse of past regimes” as the government works to balance the budget in 2023.
“Being a party of responsible choices is not just thankless, it’s often met with protests, anger and vitriol,” he says in a video obtained by the Star.
Other sources inside the convention told the Star party members were voting, among other items, on resolutions from social conservatives, including one from former PC leadership candidate Tanya Granic Allen to axe the old Liberal sex education curriculum which Ford initially opposed and later relented after a consultation with parents.
In education sessions, there were concerns raised that the government is not getting its message out on countering the rotating teacher strikes and there was talk of more “choice” in education, particularly for faith-based schools – a promise that former PC leader John Tory made in the 2007 election campaign only to be soundly defeated by then-premier Dalton McGuinty.
Calandra apologized “unreservedly” to CBC reporter Mike Crawley who was repeatedly interrupted by a guard from Viking Security Corp. while doing a live report on the sidewalk outside the convention centre on Friday night.
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“It wasn’t something that the PC party had asked to be done,” Calandra maintained.
But a co-owner of Viking challenged Calandra’s response.
“It was laid out ahead of time and in that moment,” Tammy Rolland said in a telephone interview with the Star, referring to an advance briefing with party officials and orders given on the scene. “He told me he was told to do it,” she added, referring to the guard.
At the rally outside Saturday, leaders of several unions, from teachers to health care and grocery store workers, hopped on the back of a flatbed truck to take the government to task for its 1 per cent public sector wage cap, plan for larger class sizes, more online learning, changes to autism funding that have left parents scrambling, and stalling the rise to a $15 minimum wage.
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“Let this government know that we will hold them accountable … for what they’re doing to working families,” Coates added.
“They need to change course.”
The crowd arrived on buses from as far away as Windsor and Ottawa, with two protesters bearing elaborate effigies of Ford and many sporting buttons saying “I am the people,” a twist on the premier’s victorious 2018 campaign slogan and theme song “for the people.”
The event followed Friday’s much larger encirclement of Queen’s Park by thousands of teachers from four unions whose one-day strike shut down every school in the province.
“This isn’t just about education,” Liz Stuart, president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association, said during 90 minutes of speeches.
“Next comes health care. Next comes all our public services — unless we push back.”
Sarah Labelle of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, which represents tens of thousands of civil servants, echoed the OFL’s threat of widespread labour unrest.
“If it takes a general strike down the road we’re not scared.”
New Democrat MPP Wayne Gates, who represents Niagara Falls in the legislature, said the government has proven itself incapable of managing the province with a number of high-profile policy reversals after measures have backfired.
“They can’t even make licence plates,” he added in a mocking tone, referring to a problem that dogged Ford’s administration all week.
New double-blue plates which went into distribution Feb. 1 are hard to read in the dark because they give off a glare under some lighting conditions.
After initially denying the problem first raised by a Kingston police officer in a tweet that went viral, Government and Consumer Services said Thursday a fix is the works and plates already issued will be replaced.
The plates have been dubbed “propaganda plates” because they are in Conservative blue colours.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Saturday celebrated his big Nevada caucus win with supporters in San Antonio, Texas, declaring that the American people are “sick and tired of a president who lies all of the time.”
Multiple media outlets on Saturday evening called the Nevada race for the socialist senator, and he celebrated with supporters in San Antonio:
We just won the Nevada caucus. This grassroots movement is unstoppable. Together, let’s win the Democratic nomination, defeat Trump and transform the country! Join us live in San Antonio: https://t.co/XB1Ua14x8m
“I’m delighted to bring you some pretty good news. I think all of you know we won the popular vote in Iowa, we won the New Hamshire primary, and according to three networks and the AP, we have now won the Nevada caucus,” he said as supporters broke out in cheers of “Bernie.”
“No campaign has a grassroots campaign like we do, which is another reason we are going to win this election,” he declared, also proclaiming that he will win the Democrat Primary in Texas and in the general election.
Sanders told supporters that Trump gets “very very upset easily” so “don’t tell him we’re going to beat him in Texas.”
“We are going to win in Texas and across the country because the American people are sick and tired of a president who lies all of the time,” Sanders said.
“They are sick and tired of a corrupt administration. They are sick and tired of a president who is undermining American democracy, who thinks he is above the law, and who apparently has never read the Constitution in this country,” he continued.
“The American people are sick and tired of a government which is based on greed, corruption, and lies. They want an administration which is based on the principles of justice — economic justice, social justice, racial justice, and environmental justice,” he added.
The socialist senator also told his supporters that Trump and his friends “think they are going to win this election” by dividing people by race, religion, and sexual orientation.
“We are going to win because we are doing exactly the opposite,” he declared.
President Trump reacted to Sanders’ strong showing in Nevada on Saturday, warning him against allowing the Democrat establishment to steal the nomination from him.
“Looks like Crazy Bernie is doing well in the Great State of Nevada. Biden & the rest look weak, & no way Mini Mike can restart his campaign after the worst debate performance in the history of Presidential Debates,” he said.
“Congratulations Bernie, & don’t let them take it away from you!”:
Looks like Crazy Bernie is doing well in the Great State of Nevada. Biden & the rest look weak, & no way Mini Mike can restart his campaign after the worst debate performance in the history of Presidential Debates. Congratulations Bernie, & don’t let them take it away from you!
Tyson Fury’s increased weight for his rematch with Deontay Wilder has been the subject of much speculation – but less has been said about his rival.
Wilder will walk to the ring at his heaviest ever for a professional fight after scaling 231lb on Friday, 21lb more than he did before his first clash with Fury in 2018.
Fury himself will have a 41lb weight advantage over the champion but had long vowed to scaled around 270lb in a bid to seek and destroy rather than rely on the judges.
But Wilder’s weight gain caught the attention of trainer Dave Coldwell who believes it offers an insight into the American’s tactics.
Coldwell, who trained Tony Bellew to a world title, tweeted: “The weight of Wilder is more interesting than the weight of Fury for me.
Tyson Fury 10/11
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“Wilder will surely gas if he doesn’t KO Fury early. Fury is in his head big time as Wilder adapted to what Fury says and does. I think this is gonna be a shoot out!”
Fury will be 16.5lb heavier than he was in their Dec. 2018 meeting, which ended in a draw, when he enters the ring at the MGM Grand on Saturday.
But he insisted the weight will only add to his punching power and not hamper his outstanding defensive movement, which he will need to avoid Wilder’s punishing right hand.
“The weight is not a problem, 273lb of pure British beef,” the 31-year-old Fury (29-0-1) said to cheers from the supportive Las Vegas crowd.
“It’s no secret I’m looking for a knockout.”
Wilder added: “I’ve always had to fight guys bigger than I am and that weight is only going to slow him down.
“The extra weight on me, I’m gonna rock with it.
“And I’m not worried about his weight. What I told him was, don’t blink.”
On Thursday the Nevada State Athletic Commission said it would not permit the pair to faceoff toe-to-toe after the weigh-in after they shoved each other at the opening of their press conference on Wednesday.
They did still manage to exchange some choice words from across the stage, which ended with Fury showing Wilder two middle fingers.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Friday warned Russia to stay out of U.S. elections after American officials had told him Moscow was trying to aid his campaign, Trend reports citing Reuters.
“The intelligence community is telling us they are interfering in this campaign, right now, in 2020. And what I say to Mr. Putin, if elected president, trust me you are not going to be interfering in American elections,” Sanders told reporters in Bakersfield, California.
Sanders, 78, a democratic socialist from Vermont, is considered the front-runner for the Democratic nomination and is favored to win the Nevada caucuses on Saturday.
The Washington Post on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter, said U.S. officials had told Sanders about the Russian effort and had also informed Republican President Donald Trump and U.S. lawmakers.
It was not clear what form the Russian assistance took, the paper said.
A congressional source confirmed intelligence officials have told lawmakers Russia appears to be engaging in disinformation and propaganda campaigns to boost the 2020 campaigns of both Sanders and Trump.
The source, however, cautioned that the findings are very tentative.
Sanders, a U.S. senator, said he was briefed about a month ago.
“We were told that Russia, maybe other countries, are going to get involved in this campaign,” he told reporters. “Look, here is the message: To Russia, stay out of American elections.”
“What they are doing, by the way, the ugly thing that they are doing – and I’ve seen some of their tweets and stuff – is they try to divide us up,” he said. “They are trying to cause chaos. They’re trying to cause hatred in America.”
The Kremlin on Friday denied Russia was interfering in the U.S. presidential campaign to boost Trump’s re-election chances, following reports that American intelligence officials warned Congress about the election threat last week.
U.S. intelligence officials told members of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee in a classified briefing that Russia was again interfering in American politics ahead of November’s election, as it did in 2016, a person familiar with the discussion told Reuters on Thursday.
Since that briefing, Trump has ousted the acting intelligence chief, replacing him with a political loyalist in an abrupt move as Democrats and former U.S. officials raised the alarm over national security concerns.
A senior administration official, however, said the nation was better positioned than in 2016 to defend against foreign attempts to influence elections.
“President Trump has made clear that any efforts or attempts by Russia, or any other nation, to influence or interfere with our elections, or undermine U.S. democracy will not be tolerated,” the official said.
On Twitter, the president accused Democrats in Congress of launching a misinformation campaign that says Russia prefers him to any of what he called the “Do Nothing Democrat candidates.” Trump called it a “hoax.”
For the second time in as many days, Monrovia residents woke to find a visitor roaming their neighborhood — one that was covered in fur and weighed hundreds of pounds.
A sizable bear could be seen trundling along North Mayflower Avenue on Friday morning, stopping occasionally to sniff trash cans or scrutinize news vans and other vehicles that had gathered to watch its wanderings.
One resident seen exiting his front door on video came within feet of the creature as it roamed his lawn. The man seemed unfazed and stopped for only a moment to watch the wild animal before continuing on his way.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife was dispatched to the area shortly before 8 a.m., according to spokesman Tim Daly.
Once there, officials will have two options to get the bear out of the neighborhood. They could haze the creature — basically annoying it with sound to try to guide it back toward its natural habitat. If that doesn’t work, Daly said, tranquilizing the bear and physically moving it is a possibility.
“We need to get on scene to determine the best approach for this animal,” he said.
Bear sightings are nothing new for Monrovia, which backs up to the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains.
A bear was also spotted on the campus of nearby Mayflower Elementary School the day before, according to the Monrovia Police Department. That bear eventually left on its own and headed “back toward the mountains it came from,” Daly said.
It’s not clear whether Friday’s wanderer was the same animal, but Daly said there’s “a strong possibility.”
“If animals know they can get food one day at a particular location, they’re smart enough to come back thinking they’re going to score again,” he said.
Fish and Wildlife officials “encourage people to do everything they can to discourage animal visits,” such as not leaving food outside and securing trashcans, Daly said.
In the meantime, officials warn residents to keep their distance and avoid aggravating the creatures.