<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Politics]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/politics http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com en-us Mon, 03 Aug 2015 06:52:31 -0400 Mon, 03 Aug 2015 06:52:31 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Social Media's Role in Decision 2016]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 19:10:45 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/PollingPlaceGeneric_1026.jpg NBC Nightly News' Lester Holt stops by News4 to discuss the roles social media and branding play in the next presidential election.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Lindsey Graham Destroy His Phone After Trump's Comments]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 16:37:09 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/graham+screen+shot.JPG

Lindsey Graham won't be receiving any unwanted phone calls for the time being.

A day after Donald Trump implored a campaign crowd to call a phone number belonging to the GOP presidential candidate and South Carolina senator, Graham responded with a tongue-in-cheek video showing him destroying his flip phone.

Graham teamed up with conservative news website Independent Journal Review for the aptly named video "How to Destroy Your Cell Phone With Sen. Lindsey Graham."

The video shows Graham wrecking his phone in a multitude of ways, including with a blender, a sledge hammer, and a toaster oven.

After throwing his phone off a building, Graham faces the camera and says, "Or if all else fails, you can always give your number to The Donald."

"This is for all the veterans," Graham says before a final toss of the phone.  

Trump had given out Graham's phone number during a televised campaign stop in South Carolina Tuesday where the real estate mogul brushed off criticism over comments he made about Sen. John McCain.

"He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured," Trump had said about the former Naval pilot held prisoner for nearly six years during the Vietnam War. 

Graham had called Trump a "jackass" over the McCain remarks. 

McCain, meanwhile, promoted Graham's new video with a tweet that read, "This is why Lindsey Graham hasn't been answering my calls!"

Trump has yet to respond to the video. 

Photo Credit: IJ Review
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<![CDATA[Sherwood's Notebook: Hot Times…All Over!]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 12:57:16 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/119517605.jpg

Summer’s stifling heat and humidity comes every year.

And, judging from the almost-hysterical media reports that accompany the heat, it seems like a surprise every year.

But even recent transplants to the Washington region know the temperature game. Heat and humidity occurs through much of the summer, bitter cold during the winter and mostly pleasant temperatures in spring and fall.

That’s Washington weather. Short-term trends can vary, and long-term climate change is upon the whole world, not just us.

Just this past February, the weather folks were reporting record-breaking cold temperatures. We all shivered and couldn’t wait for summer.

Well, it’s here.

Maybe the climate change is causing more extreme extremes, kind of like our national politics.

■ Trump temps rising. The Trump saga continues on the national stage. It’s now moved on to the presidential candidate’s mocking of Sen. John McCain as not really being a war hero because he was captured by the enemy. Rather than apologizing, Donald Trump insists that McCain should apologize for calling Trump’s supporters “crazies.”

The national GOP establishment is wincing at this intra-party feuding. Democrats are hoping Trump keeps it up and remains a candidate at least through the first national TV debate in early August.

The Democrats believe Trump has the ability to severely weaken GOP support among veterans and others who revere McCain’s personal sacrifice as a prisoner of war.

And Trump still is getting heat from his comment that suggested many Mexican immigrants are criminals and rapists.

Last week on WTOP radio, before the McCain episode, Mayor Muriel Bowser was asked about Trump.

“I just thought Donald’s comments, though I’m not surprised, were just idiotic,” she said in an “Ask the Mayor” segment on the station. “They don’t make sense. They don’t even stand to reason. I am hopeful he will walk back those remarks.”

Well, that certainly hasn’t happened. And it looks like Trump is sticking to his statement.
Bowser rebuffed calls for Trump to yield control of the hotel his company is building at the Old Post Office at 12th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. She noted that it’s a project on federal land with federal control of licensing. And besides, she said, the hotel is a vital part of the redevelopment of a dead zone in the area.

“It is important that that hotel is successful,” she said. It’s “a big part of the revitalization of that part of Pennsylvania Avenue once we have [the future of] the FBI building settled. We know that will be a huge development.”

Some hoteliers privately say the Trump hotel already was pricing itself out of the potential market here, with rooms costing as much as $700 and up. In addition to restaurants that have bailed on the project because of Trump’s immigration remarks, it may be hard to find politically sensitive groups or organizations willing to spend that much money only to get grief from activists. You can certainly expect that there will be no District government-sponsored events there until the clouds of discrimination are removed.

This country has a long history of fighting over immigration, and barring all sorts of peoples. Here’s a history and timeline of interest: tinyurl.com/immigrants-history.

■ The heat is on, No. 1. Street prostitution has long been illegal in the District, and anti-prostitution laws allow police to seize the vehicles of suspected “johns” that support the trade.

But apparently the police aren’t being tough enough.

Ward 2 D.C. Council member Jack Evans has decided to fight what he says is a rising incidence of street prostitution.

Last week Evans introduced a bill that would require — not just allow — police to seize suspects’ vehicles. He good-naturedly refers to it as the “honey, I lost the car” legislation, a consequence that embarrassed “johns” might find tougher to explain than any court appearance.

But as any police officer will tell you, prostitution is not a victimless crime and is not funny. There are serious health issues involved. Prostitutes often are cajoled or forced into prostitution. Street prostitution can prompt other criminals to prey on victims who are unlikely to call police.

Several of the city’s traditional prostitution walks have been erased by new developments and traffic restrictions that make cruising by johns more difficult. But no law is going to eliminate street prostitution. It’s not called the oldest profession for nothing.

■ The heat is on, No. 2. Is it coincidence? D.C. police on Monday announced that their “human trafficking” unit had arrested 30 people on prostitution charges, most in the downtown area.

All arrestees were males who were charged with soliciting prostitutes. There was no word in the news release on how many vehicles, if any, were impounded.

Tom Sherwood, a Southwest resident, is a political reporter for News 4.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Md. State Employees Plan Rallies to Protest Staff Cuts]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 05:45:55 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Maryland+Flag+shutterstock_131273360.jpg

State employees are expected to rally across Maryland Wednesday to protest staff layoffs.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees says it will ask Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to stop staff cuts to public services.

According to organizers, the Division of Corrections announced plans to lay off more than 60 human resource workers to save $3 million. The Board of Public Works delayed that decisiion until next month.

The rallies will be held in the following locations:

  • Baltimore – 5:30 p.m.
    Corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Baker Street and Pennsylvania Avenue and North Avenue 
  • Hagerstown – 5:15 p.m.
    Town Square – Corner of South Potomac Street and West Washington Street
  • Landover Hills - 6 p.m. 
    Ascension Lutheran Church and School
    7515 Buchanan Street 
  • Salisbury – 5:15PM
    Riverwalk Park
    300 South Salisbury Boulevard

Photo Credit: e X p o s e/Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Part of Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's Sentence Vacated]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 09:53:02 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/rod+blagojevich+1+year.jpg

Former governor Rod Blagojevich got bad news Tuesday from the court which has been considering his appeal for the last 18 months. The three judges on the federal appeals court threw out only five of the Blagojevich’s convictions, and ordered that he stay in prison.

The former governor will be resentenced, but his outlook is uncertain.

“I’ve had an opportunity to look over the opinion, and it’s not justice in my view,” said Blagojevich attorney Leonard Goodman. “He never put a penny in his pocket.”

Belying the notoriety of the case, the majority of the court’s opinion was rendered in strict legalese.

"The convictions on Counts 5, 6, 21, 22 and 23 are vacated; the remaining convictions are affirmed," the opinion stated. "The sentence is vacated and remanded for retrial on the vacated counts."

Those five counts related to Blagojevich’s negotiations for a cabinet job which he hoped to snag in exchange for appointing Presidential-choice Valerie Jarrett to a vacant U.S. Senate seat. But in other areas, the court made clear the former governor’s convictions should remain intact.

“Blagojevich viewed the opportunity to appoint a new senator as a bonanza,” Judge Frank Easterbrook wrote in the 23-page opinion. “Blagojevich asks us to hold that the evidence is insufficient to convict him on any count. The argument is frivolous. The evidence, much of it from Blagojevich’s own mouth, is overwhelming.”

“We’ve waited a long time for this decision and we are very disappointed,” said the former governor’s wife Patti. “If there’s any silver lining for us, is that possibly this is a step in the right direction, to getting him home with us.”

That could be a long road. While the court ordered that Blagojevich be resentenced, they went out of their way to say they did not believe his existing 14-year sentence was unreasonable.

“It is not possible to call 168 months unlawfully high for Blagojevich’s crimes,” Easterbrook wrote. “But the district judge should consider on remand, whether it is the most appropriate sentence.”

Former Blagojevich lawyer Sam Adam, said he had to believe trial judge James Zagel would render a lower sentence.

“You have to reduce his sentence,” Adam said. “How could you say the 14-year sentence was right for all of them. Now you take five out and it’s still the same?”

“There’s just something about that that’s fundamentally unfair.”

The appellate court also took issue with Blagojevich’s argument that he should have been allowed to explain that his real plan was to offer the senate seat to Attorney General Lisa Madigan, in exchange for political cooperation from her father, House Speaker Michael Madigan. Easterbrook suggested that one apparent legal gambit did not negate possible shenanigans which were being plotted at the same time.

“A bank robber cannot show that on many other occasions he entered a bank without pulling a gun on a teller,” he wrote. “Nor can a teller charged with embezzlement show how often he made correct entries in the books.”

In 2009, Blagojevich was impeached from the governor's office after being charged with racketeering, bribery, wire fraud and attempted extortion, including the "sale" of Obama's Senate seat.

He was sentenced to prison and given a $20,000 fine in 2011 when he was convicted of 17 counts of corruption, including trying to sell now-President Barack Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder. He had previously been convicted, in an earlier trial, of lying to the FBI.

Reached at his home in Nashville, Blagojevich’s brother Robert, said he was not hopeful Zagel would extend much mercy.

“I’m very cynical with regard to the whole system,” Blagojevich said. “I’m also jaundiced when it comes to the key players in this drama, especially Judge Zagel. So I’m not hopeful for Rod to get any measure of fairness from him.”

The elder Blagojevich was especially angry about comments the appellate judges made, blasting the former governor for involvement in a scheme to appoint Jesse Jackson Jr. to the senate seat in exchange for $1.5 million in campaign contributions.

“That is just flat out not true,” Blagojevich said, noting that as his brother’s chief campaign fundraiser, it was he who had been approached by Jackson’s emissaries with the $1.5 million offer.

“That is an altered reality to what I know and what I experienced,” he said. “That is just flat out wrong!”

Attorney Lauren Kaeseberg, who worked on the Blagojevich appeal and represented him at both trials, said she had to remain hopeful.

“Knowing him as a person, I’m sure he also sees some hope and is optimistic that he’ll be with his family again,” Kaeseberg said. “You know it pains him greatly to be missing out each day with his daughters.”

Her co-counsel Goodman, suggested that the decision defied common sense.

“I think most people agree the sentence is incredibly harsh for a case that’s all about politics,” Goodman said. “Never put a penny in his pocket. It’s all politics!”

<![CDATA[GOP Field Grows to 16 as Ohio Gov. Kasich Announces 2016 Run]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 12:33:56 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/kasich-GettyImages-471835132.jpg

Saying "big ideas change the world," Ohio Gov. John Kasich declared his candidacy for the Republican nomination Tuesday and set about trying to distinguish himself in a bustling contest with other high achievers.

The outspoken swing-state governor declared his candidacy Tuesday before a crowd of 2,000 at Ohio State University, saying "the sun is going to rise to the zenith in America again." The 63-year-old is the 16th notable Republican to enter the race. 

"I am here to ask you for your prayers, for your support, for your efforts because I have decided to run for president," Kasich, a strong-willed and sometimes abrasive governor, said in a scattered speech packed with family anecdotes, historical references and a pitch for his well-rounded resume.

A veteran congressman as well as governor, Kasich is telling voters he is the only GOP candidate with experience in three broad areas of political leadership — the federal budget, national security and state government. As well, he spent nearly a decade at Lehman Brothers.

"I have the experience and the testing," he said, "the testing which shapes you and prepares you for the most important job in the world and I believe I know how to work and help restore this great United States."

As budget chairman in the House, he became an architect of a deal in 1997 that balanced the federal budget.

Now in his second term in swing-state Ohio, he's helped erase a budget deficit projected at nearly $8 billion when he entered office, boost Ohio's rainy-day fund to a historic high and seen private-sector employment rebound to its post-recession level.

This, through budget cutting, privatization of parts of Ohio's government and other, often business-style innovations.

Unions that turned back an effort by Kasich and fellow Republicans to limit public workers' collective bargaining rights say Kasich's successes have come at a cost to local governments and schools, and that new Ohio jobs lack the pay and benefits of the ones they replaced. They plan a protest outside Tuesday's launch.

Kasich embraces conservative ideals but bucks his party on occasion and disdains the Republican sport of bashing Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton.

His entry nearly rounds out an unusually diverse Republican lineup with two Hispanics, an African-American, one woman and several younger candidates alongside older white men. So many are running that it's unclear Kasich will qualify for the GOP's first debate in his home state in just two weeks.

In recent months, he's made trips to New Hampshire, South Carolina, Iowa, New York and Michigan, and will be returning to early voting states. His allies at the political organization New Day for America reported raising $11.5 million on Kasich's behalf before his entry into the race. 

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Md. County Holds Public Hearing on English-Only Law ]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 08:53:51 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/meeting+generic+business.jpg

The elected leaders of Frederick County are listening to what citizens have to say about a disputed ordinance requiring that county business be conducted in English.

A bill to repeal the ordinance gets a public hearing Tuesday night in Frederick.

The measure was enacted in 2012 by an all-Republican county board. The current County Council is composed of four Republicans and three Democrats.

Democratic members Jessica Fitzwater and M.C. Keegan-Ayer say the ordinance sends a message of intolerance to recent immigrants and businesses with international employees.

Republican member Billy Shreve says it's a fiscal issue. He says the county saves money on translators and interpreters by having English as its official language.

Republican Council President Bud Otis says the ordinance sends a message that Frederick is not a welcoming county.

<![CDATA[Montgomery Co. Council to Vote on Predatory Towing Bill]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 08:53:08 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000011241757_1200x675_488403523876.jpg Predatory towing could be coming to an end in Montgomery County. A bill designed to change the rules is up for a vote Tuesday. News4's Meagan Fitzgerald has more on what the proposed bill. ]]> <![CDATA[Reaction to Trump-McCain Controversy From Vietnam Veterans Memorial]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 21:03:44 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000011237431_1200x675_488221763759.jpg Tom Sherwood went to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to get reaction to Donald Trump's comments about Sen. John McCain's military service.]]> <![CDATA[McCain Calls Trump's Comments 'Totally Inappropriate]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 10:21:49 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/NC_trumpmccain_1500x845.jpg Senator John McCain says Donald Trump owes an apology to all the prisoners of war he served with. Trump recently stated that McCain is not a war hero, is only considered a war hero "because he was captured" and "I like people that weren't captured." McCain was reluctant to call himself a hero, but added that Trump's recent comments criticizing P.O.W.'s were "totally inappropriate."]]> <![CDATA[Walker: Trump 'Needs to Apologize' for McCain Comments]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 07:19:00 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-473663490+%281%29_scott_walker.jpg

Wisconsin Gov. and Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker said Donald Trump "needs to apologize" for his comments questioning whether Sen. John McCain is a war hero. 

Walker, who tried to ignore Trump's inflammatory rhetoric by leaning on the old "Reagan commandment" that discourages attacks against fellow Republicans, also had a message for the real-estate mogul's supporters.

"At a minimum, he needs to apologize," Walker said in an interview with NBC News. "I think more people need to push him. Not just candidates or elected officials, I think more people across America including some of those who, maybe up until now, have been supporters of him."

Trump said Saturday McCain is "not a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured." Under fire, Trump later acknowledged that McCain's sacrifice was heroic.

Walker was careful not to mention Trump by name but said his insulting rant against McCain went too far, "when it came to personal attack like this against the military, an American hero, I'm gonna call it like I see it."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Republicans Fire Back at Donald Trump]]> Fri, 17 Jul 2015 13:25:38 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/Donald+Trump+NH+071615.jpg The spiraling war of words between Donald Trump and his rivals.

Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA[Sherwood's Notebook: Public Corruption There and Here]]> Wed, 15 Jul 2015 05:59:50 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/454631202.jpg

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell lost big time in court last week.

(And in a bit we’ll get to the public corruption investigation pending against former Mayor Vincent Gray.)

In an 89-page decision, a federal appeals court in Richmond eviscerated McDonnell’s contention that his public corruption trial was fatally flawed. 

McDonnell, who faces two years in prison for his conviction, has indicated he will appeal to the full appeals court for reconsideration. The former governor again strongly professed his innocence.

But Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist Jeff E. Schapiro wrote this past weekend that the fact that none of three judges on the appeals panel dissented “is a warning to the defense that asking the entire appeals court — that’s 15 judges — to review the case could be an exercise in futility. Ditto with the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Schapiro, who has covered Virginia state politics for 35 years, wrote that the court decision last week “is an ominous obstacle” for any further legal relief.

Although the McDonnell case is in Virginia, the Notebook suggests it is another sign and warning that federal prosecutors and courts pretty much everywhere take public corruption seriously.

The McDonnell case essentially was this: He and his family accepted about $177,000 in gifts and favors from businessman Johnnie Williams in return for the governor’s support of Williams’ struggling medical product Anatabloc. McDonnell unsuccessfully argued that he did nothing more than any governor does in promoting state business. He also tried to pin a lot of the favor-accepting on his wife Maureen.

In just one small anecdote from the case, but an embarrassing one, Maureen had snapped a sporty picture of her husband as the wind whipped his normally perfectly coifed hair as he drove Williams’ borrowed Ferrari across the state.

When the couple arrived home, Maureen emailed the picture to Williams to show him what a fun time the couple was having. Within three hours of Maureen’s email, the court records show, the sporty governor himself directed a state health official to meet the next day at the governor’s mansion with Maureen to discuss Anatabloc in a meeting with Williams.

The entirety of the case — far more than this one joy ride — did show “compelling evidence of corrupt intent.”

Will McDonnell really pursue his appeal options, or cut his losses and reluctantly begin his two-year sentence? We’ll know in a matter of days.

It is interesting to recall that the jury in the original trial found McDonnell guilty of 11 of 14 counts of corruption. U.S. District Judge James Spencer then sentenced McDonnell to two years in prison on each of the 11 counts, or 22 years in prison. To McDonnell’s great relief, the judge said each sentence could be served “concurrently,” meaning two years total in prison instead of 22. That essentially has been the only good news in all of this for McDonnell, who once was considered a potential vice presidential candidate.

So, what does this mean if anything for former Mayor Gray?

Maybe not much more than to acknowledge again that public corruption is a major focus of prosecutors.

There are similarities in the cases, although Gray has yet to be charged with any crime.
McDonnell from the beginning has declared his innocence. When he was indicted in January 2014, he said, “I repeat again, emphatically, that I did nothing illegal for Mr. Williams.”

Gray has said it was “lies, lies” that he knew of the 2010 shadow campaign underwritten by financier Jeffrey Thompson. And Gray turned down potential negotiations with prosecutors to plead guilty to a felony or even potentially a misdemeanor. Thompson pleaded guilty in March 2014 to the scheme that pumped more than $650,000 in unreported cash into Gray’s winning campaign. The fact that Thompson pleaded guilty a month before the April 1 primary — sinking Gray’s re-election bid — still sticks in the throats of his supporters, some lawyers monitoring the case and even some who wanted Gray defeated.

The five-year investigation continues.

Just as prosecutors did in the McDonnell case to link the governor with businessman Williams, prosecutors here are piecing together a timeline of every action, email, phone call, meeting and government decision that links Gray, Thompson and his businesses, as well as friends, associates or employees of both men.

There has been huge criticism of former prosecutor Ronald Machen for walking away from the job this past April without taking action on Gray. If the prosecutors truly believed there is no case they can bring against Gray, it would have been a perfect time in April or June for acting U.S. Attorney Vincent Cohen to conclude the case with the guilty pleas of six others already in hand. Cohen didn’t do that.

One lawyer this week repeated a popular view that prosecutors “must” indict Gray for something because they are too far out on a limb to say, “Oops, never mind.”

So we wait.

Tom Sherwood, a Southwest resident, is a political reporter for News 4.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bowser Talks Metro Safety, Donald Trump]]> Tue, 14 Jul 2015 21:53:56 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Mayor+Bowser+on+WTOP+with+Tom+Sherwood+%281%29.jpg

News4’s Tom Sherwood sat down with Mayor Muriel Bowser on WTOP radio Tuesday to discuss upcoming and debated issues. They covered death with dignity, Metro crime and Donald Trump, among other things. Here are the highlights:


Bowser said Metro needs to appoint a bold new general manager quickly in order to crack down on safety issues that have plagued the system over the past several months. She said crime has spiked recently, but the Metro system is typically safe.

"We want to send the message loud and clear that any harm, anyone intending to do harm to Metro staff, to Metro passengers is going to be dealt with immediately and with a strong response," Bowser said.

"While we had a pretty extraordinary, heinous crime committed on our Metro, it is extraordinary. We have a generally very safe system," Bowser said.

"The big thing is that you have to have someone coming in there with bold vision," Bowser said of the search for new Metro leadership.


Bowser struggled to answer questions regarding a hotly debated topic, legally sanctioned suicides.The measure, now in front of the D.C. Council, would allow a terminally ill person to end his or her own life under certain circumstances. Bowser said she hopes Council will take its time with the forthcoming decision.

"There is the Mayor Muriel Bowser thoughts and there is Muriel Bowser the person," Bowser said.

"Personally, I’m uncomfortable with it, but also personally, I think to myself if I was in that situation, what would I like to be at my disposal?" Bowser said.


Bowser called Trump’s inflammatory statements on immigration "idiotic." But she said the hotel he’s building in D.C. is vital to the economy. She doesn’t care who owns the property, but she would like for the project to move forward. Bowser said she would like for Trump to apologize, though.

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<![CDATA[Boston Mayor Says Trump Should Apologize or Stay Out of Boston]]> Tue, 14 Jul 2015 12:17:21 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/walshtrump.jpg

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has a message for Donald Trump: Apologize for your comments about Mexico or stay out of Boston. 

"I think his comments are inappropriate," Walsh told the Boston Herald on Monday. "And if he wanted to build a hotel here (in Boston), he'd have to make some apologies to people in this country."

Trump, a Republican candidate for president, has come under fire in recent weeks for criticizing Mexico and immigrants who come to the U.S. illegally. He said they bring drugs and crime with them and are "rapists."

NBC, which owns this website, cited Trump's comments when it cut business ties with him as the former partner in the Miss USA pageant and dropped its pageant telecast. Macy's, which carried a Trump menswear line, also ended its relationship with him. 

Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA[ Dirt Bike Riders Could Face More Jail Time in D.C.]]> Tue, 14 Jul 2015 21:18:49 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/071415+dirt+bike+rider.jpg

People caught driving dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles in the District would face increased jail time and fines under legislation proposed Tuesday.

Police are not allowed to chase people zipping through city streets and sidewalks on dirt bikes and ATVs, sometimes in large groups, but D.C. Councilman Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5) wants police to have more power to confront them.

Legislation introduced by McDuffie on Tuesday would slam riders with as much as six months in jail and a $1,000 fine after they're caught riding on city streets for a third time.

"We don't want them riding in packs, intimidating pedestrians and intimidating other drivers," McDuffie said. "We think that enhancing the penalties in this way really suggests to these folks who are riding these bikes that if you do so in the District of Columbia, the consequences are going to be severe."

Currently, those caught riding ATVs or dirt bikes in D.C. face the possibility of 30 days in jail, a fine as high as $250 fine or both. The penalty is the same no matter how many times a rider is found in violation.

The bill would require all dirt bike and ATV owners to register their bikes with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

"We want all law-abiding dirt bike owners to be able to hitch their bikes to a vehicle, take it out somewhere where they've got plenty of space to ride," McDuffie said. "But we don't want them riding on our streets."

Under McDuffie's proposal, the penalty for a first-time offense would remain the same. The penalty for a second offense would rise to 90 days in jail, a fine as high as $500 or both, plus a six-month suspension of the driver's permit.

The proposed restrictions follow the May 27 shooting death of Charnice Milton, a 27-year-old local news reporter. She was gunned down by someone in a pack of 14 dirt bike and ATV riders whose target is believed to be someone in another pack of riders.

The legislation will likely be discussed at a public hearing in the fall, when D.C. Council is back in session.

<![CDATA[School Board Member Attacked While Canvassing for Votes]]> Mon, 13 Jul 2015 19:33:17 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/211*120/GettyImages-141810855.jpg

A Fairfax County school board member says a woman attacked her while she was canvassing for votes this weekend.

Kathy Smith is running for Board of Supervisors and was out campaigning on Saturday. Police say Pamela Ichord, 58, attacked Smith, and Ichord was arrested on a charge of simple assault.

Smith told The Washington Post that Ichord ran toward her, screaming, ripped a clipboard out of her hands, and grabbed the sunglasses off her face. Ichord was upset over a 2008 vote that sent her kids to separate high schools.

Smith voted in favor of that school boundary swap. She told the paper she plans to be back out canvassing one the same street on Sunday.

Smith returned to the neighborhood to continue knocking on doors Monday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trump: 'Nobody Wants to Talk About' Immigration, Crime]]> Sat, 11 Jul 2015 12:26:06 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Donald+Trump2.jpg

Presidential candidate Donald Trump decried the American media's supposed unwillingness to cover undocumented immigration in his press appearance at a Los Angeles hotel Friday, doubling down on controversial remarks even as protesters gathered outside.

Trump said Mexico's leaders are "smarter" than those in the United States, and that Mexican leaders send people "that they don't want" across the U.S. border. Similar remarks over the past week have provoked two celebrity chefs to pull out of deals with Trump hotels.

"They're sending criminals to us and we're sending those criminals to jail, oftentimes after they've killed somebody or hurt somebody," Trump said at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

The families of several people killed by undocumented immigrants joined Trump at the news conference and said they stood behind the outspoken mogul's comments on illegal immigration, which have also inspired multiple businesses — including NBC Universal and Univision — to cut ties with Trump's business.

"No one really listened to us, our story really wasn't heard," said Sabine Durden, whose 30-year-old son was killed by a driver who was an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala three years ago. "When I heard Mr. Trump, I started screaming," she said. "Finally, someone who had the guts to say what millions are thinking."

Meanwhile, protesters rallied outside the hotel in response to Trump's comments about Mexican immigrants. The protest was organized by the CHIRLA Action Fund, the political arm of a California-based immigrant rights organization.

Some protesters carried Donald Trump piñatas filled with trash to "represent the type of language the candidate has been spewing," according to a CHIRLA statement.

"There is no way a candidate for the highest elected office in the land can utter the type of hateful language that Trump is known for and expect to win the Latino/immigrant vote," Diana Colin, CHIRLA Action Funds program director, said in a statement. "And everyone knows the road to the White House is paved with Latino/immigrant votes. Mr. Trump should do the math."

Trump also met with the father of a high school football standout killed by a gang member who was in the country illegally. Trump told syndicated talk show host Dana Loesch he was meeting with Jamiel Shaw — the father of Jamiel Shaw II -- "and pay my respects to him."

The elder Shaw praised Trump in interviews this week on the Fox News Channel and with Loesch for his criticism of illegal immigration. Shaw told Loesch that Trump's criticism of illegal immigration is "resonating in the black community because we see all the carnage that's happened and all the memorials. We see all the jobs that are gone. We see the whole community changing."

Jamiel Shaw II was a Los Angeles High School football standout who was shot and killed in 2008 near his Arlington Heights home by a gang member who prosecutors said mistakenly perceived him as a gang rival because he was carrying a red Spider-Man backpack. Pedro Espinoza, convicted of first-degree murder in 2012 and sentenced to death, was living in the United States without legal permission at the time of the killing. He had been freed from jail two days before the shooting without immigration authorities placing a hold on him.

Trump's arrival in Los Angeles follows a week of fallout from his comments about immigrants. Alex Nogales, president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, said Thursday that the PGA of America's decision this week to move a golf tournament from a Trump-owned course was a step in the right direction.

The PGA and other major golf organizations should agree to keep tournaments off Trump properties in response to his comments about Mexican immigrants, Nogales said. The PGA said it relocated its Grand Slam of Golf, in mutual agreement with Trump.

NBC ended its partnership with Trump on the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants after the celebrity billionaire, in announcing his presidential campaign, said some Mexican immigrants to the U.S. bring drugs and crime, and some are rapists.

"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best," he said. "They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with (them). They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

Trump vowed to file paperwork next week ensuring he would qualify for next month's Republican presidential debate, where his immigration policies could emerge as a focus on national television. Trump said Thursday that his Republican competitor Jeb Bush is "a joke" for suggesting that Mexican immigrants cross the border illegally as "an act of love."

"This has nothing to do with love," Trump said in an interview airing Thursday on Fox News Channel's "Hannity." "They are taking people that should be in Mexican prisons, Mexican jails and they are pushing them over to the United States. These are dangerous people."

<![CDATA[Appeals Court Upholds McDonnell's Convictions]]> Sat, 11 Jul 2015 09:23:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Bob-McDonnell.jpg

A federal appeals panel upheld former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's public corruption convictions Friday, rejecting his claim that he only extended routine political courtesies to a wealthy businessman who showered him and his family with expensive gifts and five-figure loans.

McDonnell, once widely considered a possible running mate to former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, said he was disappointed and continued to insist that he acted in good faith.

"During my nearly 40 years of public service, I have never violated my oath of office nor disregarded the law,'' McDonnell, who also served as a state legislator and attorney general, said in a written statement. "I remain highly confident in the justice system and the grace of our God that full vindication will come in time.''

McDonnell's lawyers said they are examining their legal options, which include asking the full appeals court to reconsider the three-judge panel's unanimous decision or appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"The fight for justice for our client is far from over,'' the attorneys said in a written statement.

U.S. Attorney Dana Boente said he was pleased with the decision but did not elaborate.

A jury in September found McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, guilty of doing favors for former Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams in exchange for more than $165,000 in gifts and loans.

U.S. District Judge James Spencer sentenced Bob McDonnell, who was convicted of 11 counts, to two years in prison. He sentenced Maureen McDonnell to one year and one day on eight counts. Both are free on bond while they pursue appeals.

The Richmond-based appeals court has not yet scheduled oral arguments in the former first lady's case. Her attorneys declined to comment on Friday's ruling. 

Williams was seeking state university-backed research of his company's signature product, the tobacco-derived anti-inflammatory Anatabloc, while McDonnell was governor. The McDonnells attended promotional events and hosted an event at the Executive Mansion to officially launch the product, and the former governor arranged meetings for Williams with administration officials.

Meanwhile, the businessman bought a $6,500 Rolex watch for the governor and about $20,000 in designer clothing and accessories for the first lady. He also gave $15,000 for a daughter's wedding, paid for golf outings and vacations and loaned the couple $120,000, mostly to cover expenses for the family's two money-losing Virginia Beach vacation rental properties.

The appeals court disagreed with McDonnell's contention that the favors he did for Williams were too insignificant to amount to an ``official act'' under federal bribery law.

"With each of these acts, Appellant exploited the power of his office in furtherance of an ongoing effort to influence the work of state university researchers,'' Judge Stephanie Thacker wrote in the 89-page opinion.

The court noted that the government's evidence "demonstrated a close relationship'' between the favors and gifts. It cited several instances in which a gift or loan from Williams was promptly followed by some official action on his behalf - evidence of an illegal "quid pro quo,'' the Latin term that means providing one thing for another.

"The temporal relationship between the 'quids' and the 'quos' - the gifts, payments, loans, and favors and the official acts _ constitute compelling evidence of corrupt intent,'' Thacker wrote in the opinion, which was joined by Judges Diana Gribbon Motz and Robert King.

McDonnell claimed that he was convicted based on an overly broad definition of what constitutes an "official act'' by an elected official. McDonnell said in court papers that the government's theory of the case, as well as Spencer's jury instruction on the issue, could subject virtually every officeholder - from the White House to city hall - to prosecution just for helping constituents gain access to their government.

But the appeals court agreed with prosecutors who said the jury instruction was essentially the same one given in the trial of former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana, whose bribery convictions were upheld by the 4th Circuit.

Jeff Bellin, a professor at the College of William and Mary Law School and a former federal prosecutor, said the appeals court's decision didn't do much to clarify the law.

"It's still unresolved, we still have a very vague statue,'' Bellin said.  "If I'm a politician, I'd be very frustrated not knowing what that line is.''

Chuck James, a Richmond attorney and former federal prosecutor, said the decision will likely "embolden'' prosecutors eyeing other politicians around the country.

"There are a lot of practices that were accepted - viewed as perfectly acceptable and commonplace - in local state and federal offices that are now off limits thanks to this prosecution,'' James said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>