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  • ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- Jennie Willoughby, the ex-wife of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, lashed back at President Donald Trump Sunday, saying Trump has implied she's "a liar" after going public about the alleged domestic abuse she says she endured with Porter during their marriage.In an opinion piece posted on Time.com, Willoughby writes, "President Trump will not diminish my truth.""The truth exists whether the President accepts it or not," she wrote.Willoughby responded to comments Trump made in the Oval Office Friday and to his tweet Saturday morning expressing concern about lives being "destroyed" because of “a mere allegation.”“Some are true and some are false,” the president tweeted. “There is no recovery for someone falsely accused - life and career are gone.”Willoughby wrote, "There it is again. The words “mere allegation” and “falsely accused” meant to imply that I am a liar. That Colbie Holderness is a liar," she wrote referring to Porter's first wife who told ABC News Porter abused her as well. "That the work Rob was doing in the White House was of higher value than our mental, emotional or physical wellbeing. That his professional contributions are worth more than the truth. That abuse is something to be questioned and doubted."In the Time piece, Willoughby said she wasn’t surprised the president praised her ex-husband’s work to reporters Friday. "But when Donald Trump repeated twice that Rob declared his innocence, I was floored,” she wrote.Willoughby questioned why the president thought Porter’s professional contributions in the White House outweighed what he did behind closed doors."Everyone wants to talk about how the White House and former colleagues defended Rob. Of course they did! They valued and respected him. The truth would be dissonant to everything they believed to be true about the man they knew. The truth would be devastating. And denial is easier than devastation, " Willoughby wrote.Willoughby has confirmed to ABC News she notified the FBI about Porter’s alleged abuse while they were conducting a background check on him. Porter has denied the allegations.But Willoughby thinks the domestic violence issue is much deeper than what Trump and her other ex-husband’s colleagues think.“Society as a whole doesn’t acknowledge the reality of abuse," she wrote. "Rather than embarrass an abuser, society is subconsciously trained to question a victim of abuse,” Willoughby continued.Willoughby went on to encourage other victims of domestic violence to no longer be afraid to share their stories.“And for any men, women, or children currently in situations of abuse, please know: it is real, you are not crazy, you are not alone, I believe you.”
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  • Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump threatened to shut down the government again this weekend if Democrats don't agree to his immigration reform plans, specifically what he called loopholes in the immigration system that could allow dangerous criminals into the country.“If we don’t change this legislation if we don’t get rid of these loopholes…if we don’t change it, let’s have a shutdown,” Trump said at a meeting with law enforcement officials on threats from the MS-13 gang. “I’d love to see a shutdown if we don’t get this stuff taken care of.”"If we have to shut it down because the Democrats don’t want safety, and unrelated, but still related they don’t want to take care of our military, shut it down,” the president continued.Trump released his plan for immigration reform last month and underscored it in the State of the Union address last week. His four pillars of reform include funding for the border wall, a path to citizenship for 1.8 million "Dreamers" eligible for protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, and an end to policies that offer visas through a lottery system or help family members obtain visas or green cards."I would shut it down over this issue," he said. "If we don't straighten out our border, we don't have a country, without borders, we don't have a country, so would I shut it down over this issue? Yes, I can't speak for our great representatives here but I have a feeling they may agree with me."Government funding is set to run out on Thursday night and the government could shut down again if Congress can't come to an agreement on a deal to fund the government. The government shut down last month partly because Democrats and Republicans could not reach a deal on a solution for DACA recipients.Just as the president was calling for another shutdown, leaders on the Hill were touting that they are on the verge of a big spending deal to avoid another shutdown.“I'm optimistic that very soon we'll be able to reach an agreement,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters, as the president was delivering his remarks across town.Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said they are “making good progress” on a deal that would increase military and domestic spending caps.“I am very hopeful that we can come to an agreement and an agreement very soon,” he said.But when it comes to immigration, the two parties are nowhere near a deal but no one on the Hill is talking about shutting down the government over immigration again. And even if the current spending deal fell through there is bipartisan support for another short-term stop gap measure.Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., said in the White House meeting that there is bipartisan support for the president's proposals, saying "we do not need a government shutdown on this."But the president said he did not expect support from Democrats."You can say what you want, we're not getting support from the Democrats on this legislation," Trump said in response to Comstock.House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn and Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin are expected to meet Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.Kelly met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at the Capitol Tuesday morning.Hoyer told reporters that inside those negotiations, Democrats are encouraged by Trump expanding the pool of DACA-eligible recipients to people who did not initially sign up. He said that Kelly has not conveyed his message that the president won’t extend the March 5 deadline.He also said Democrats can support the president’s request for border security, but draws the line at reforms to chain migration and the visa lottery system – insisting those reforms should be excluded until they’re part of comprehens
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  • Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sixteen years into America’s longest war - and six months into President Donald Trump’s new Afghanistan policy - top officials with the Pentagon and State Department could not tell Congress Tuesday how many fighters the Taliban has, how many ISIS terrorists are in Afghanistan, or whether there’s any clear evidence that the Trump strategy is working.The officials faced questions before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.“We’ll know more when the fighting picks up in the traditional fighting season,” said Randall G. Schriver, Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Affairs at the Department of Defense, referring to the weeks during April when Taliban fighters who lie low during the winter months come out to fight.“We’re in Afghanistan … to protect Americans,” Schriver assured the committee. “We seek to drive the Taliban to the understanding that they will not achieve their objectives on the battlefield or through violence.”U.S., NATO and Afghan forces have been hitting various targets through the winter, including dropping a record 24 precision-guided bombs from B-52 bombers in Badakhshan province over just four days, the officials said.But senators from both parties were deeply skeptical.“After 16 years, thousands of lives, and probably a trillion dollars spent, the Afghans don’t seem to be ready to defend themselves,” said Senator Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, a longtime critic of the war. “People say if we left the Taliban would take over tomorrow. When is enough, enough?”“What is the end state that U.S. and NATO troops are fighting for?” asked Senator Ben Cardin, the committee’s ranking Democrat. “We’ve been there for 16 years. Should the American people simply accept that this is an endless war?”“They’re gaining ground, they’re creating chaos, they’re getting through a perimeter and blowing up an international hotel,” said Senator Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., referring to the brutal January assault on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul that left 21 dead.“I don’t think there is a rosy situation in Kabul,” admitted Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan. “The attacks last month were a real shock. There is no doubt that there is a serious challenge we face in Afghanistan. One option is simply to withdraw, we decided we could not do that.”In August, when he announced his new Afghanistan policy, President Trump acknowledged that “my original instinct was to pull out, and historically I like following my instincts. But all my life, I’ve heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office.”At a hearing Tuesday before the House Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the goal of the strategy is to make sure that “another 9/11 hatched out of there does not happen during our watch.”“President Trump challenged every assumption, it took months to put together to answer every question he had,” said Mattis. “And the gravity of protecting the American people caused him to change his mind based on what the intelligence services told him would be the vulnerability we would have if we pulled out of there.”Trump’s policy has three main components: step up the military pressure on the Taliban and ISIS by increasing U.S. troop levels to an estimated 14,000 this year and equipping and training Afghan government forces; pressuring neighboring Pakistan to deny insurgent groups safe haven by suspending military aid; and pressure the Taliban into peace talks with the Afghan government to reach a political solution.But Trump complicated his own strategy right after that January hotel attack when he appeared to rule out talks with the Taliban, declaring that “there’s no talkin
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Sports and politics don't always mix.But they clashed on tv screens this past Super Bowl Sunday when politicians and the groups that support them rolled out ads to remind voters of the looming 2018 midterm elections.Running Super Bowl commercials was a particularly popular strategy among candidates running for governor in a number of states. Clay Tippins, a Republican candidate in Georgia’s gubernatorial race made an eye-popping television campaign debut on Sunday, bank-rolling ads worth of $250,000 on Sunday, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.In Michigan, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Shri Thanedar rolled out more than $150,000 worth of television ads all over Michigan on Super Bowl Sunday.In the 30-second ad titled the “Name Game,” the Indian-American Democrat appeals to voters with self-deprecating humor – he introduces himself to a voter as Shri Thanedar. The voter, confused by the unique name replies, “Free Darth Vader?” Some other responses were: “Siri” and “Rick Snyder,” a reference to the outgoing two-term GOP governor.The Michigan scientist and businessman who recently dropped nearly $6 million into his campaign out of his own pocket has been campaigning aggressively in the past few months, spending more than $1.2 million just on television ads.Snyder also continued his Super Bowl ad tradition on Sunday. A nonprofit with ties to Snyder called “Making Government Accountable” spent more than $20,000 on his Super Bowl commercial on Sunday, attributing Michigan’s economic prosperity to Snyder’s administration and circling back to his rhetoric as the “tough nerd” from his first Super Bowl ad back in 2010.Meanwhile, Michigan businessman Sandy Pensler, vying for Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s seat as a Republican, spent $45,000 on ads before and after the big match. Like Thanedar, he also wrote a generous $5 million check to his own campaign, funding more than 99 percent of his campaign by himself.Gubernatorial election candidates in South Carolina, Tennessee and Alaska also took advantage of the influx of viewers glued to their TV sets during the nation’s most watch sporting event on Sunday.In South Carolina, an NBC affiliates in Greenville blasted an ad featuring Gov. Henry McMaster throughout the pregame show Sunday afternoon. The $21,400 ad blitz, sponsored by a nonprofit called the Government Integrity Fund, called for the American people to “stand for the flag” during the Super Bowl’s national anthem. The 30-second ad came just a few days after the South Carolina governor proclaimed last week as the “Stand for the Flag Super Bowl Week.”In the last 10 seconds of the 30-minute ad, McMaster asks voters to sign a petition, a website paid for by Government Integrity Fund.Tennessee’s gubernatorial candidate Rep. Diane Black also aired an ad with a similar appeal to patriotism, criticizing NFL players for kneeling during the anthem and the league for refusing to run a political ad from a veterans group. She spent more than $50,000 on her Super Bowl ads“Tonight, wherever you’re watching this game, please stand for the Stars-Spangled Banner and join me for standing up for veterans,” Black says in the ad. Dunleavy for Alaska, an outside group backing Sen. Mike Dunleavy, R, for Alaska’s gubernatorial election also spent $19,000 on ads that day. According to the super PAC’s campaign finance reports, $100,000 of the $110,600 it has raised so far came from the Alaskan senator’s brother Francis Dunleavy.The super PAC is gearing up to spend even more during the Olympics, already planned to spend at least $35,500 on television ads in the next few weeks, FCC reports show.Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., in Iowa kicked off his first television campaign for the 2020 presidential election on Sunday, rolling out ads during
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  • Thos Robinson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A federal appeals court Tuesday cleared the way for attendees of Trump University to get some of their money backThe 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals rejected arguments from a lone objector who threatened to derail the $25 million settlement.The objector, Sherri Simpson, said she was denied due process rights because the settlement gave her too few chances to opt out. Simpson, a Florida lawyer and former Trump University attendee, said she wanted to pursue legal action against the president in another lawsuit.Simpson’s appeal was the final hurdle before attendees of the now-defunct real estate seminar known as Trump University could collect their money.“Today's approval of the Trump University class action settlement by the Ninth Circuit means that victims of Donald Trump’s fraudulent university will soon receive the $25 million in relief they deserve," said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who had filed suit. "We are pleased that the final settlement we negotiated with our co-plaintiffs ensures that members of the class will receive an even higher settlement than anyone originally anticipated.""For years, President Trump refused to compensate the victims of his sham university. His reversal in 2016—and the large-scale settlement that resulted—opened the door for student victims to finally obtain the restitution they deserve," Schneiderman said.Trump University was a for-profit entity that offered courses in real estate and entrepreneurship and claimed to teach attendees Donald Trump's secrets to success in real estate. Plaintiffs said Trump University used false advertising to lure them to workshops at which they were sold expensive seminars.“Instead of receiving the promised training, attendees were aggressively encouraged to invest tens of thousands of dollars more in a so-called mentorship program that included resources, real estate guidance, and a host of other benefits, none of which ever materialized,” according to the 9th Circuit decision.Within weeks of Trump's election to the presidency, Trump University agreed to settle the claims for $21 million plus another $4 million for the New York Attorney General's office. The decision clears the way for thousands of Trump University participants to receive as much as 90 percent of what they paid for the courses.A spokesperson for The Trump Organization said at the time of the settlement that it had "no doubt" that Trump University would have won the suit, but a "resolution of these matters" was necessary to allow Trump to focus on the needs of the nation. The company admitted to no wrongdoing in the settlement.Had Simpson's objection succeeded in derailing the settlement, the appellate judges noted that plaintiffs "would have faced significant hurdles...prevailing in a jury trial against either the President Elect or the sitting president."
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