<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.comen-usMon, 23 Jan 2017 05:43:52 -0500Mon, 23 Jan 2017 05:43:52 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Shots Fired at Police Cruiser in Reston Area]]> Mon, 23 Jan 2017 05:25:11 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/216*120/2017-01-23_0524.png

Fairfax County police are looking for the person who shot at a police cruiser in the Reston, Virginia, area early Monday morning. 

Police say shots were fired at a police cruiser in the area of Georgetown Pike and Walker Lane about midnight. 

Police say the suspect's vehicle may have been a white Toyota or Mazda from the late 90s to early 2000s. The car had black molding on the doors and the passenger side window may have been shattered. 

The gunman's car was last seen traveling westbound on Georgetown Pike in the Falls Church area. 

Anyone with information that can help police is asked to call police at 703-691-2131.

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<![CDATA[Inauguration Cleanup Could Stretch Into March]]> Sun, 22 Jan 2017 19:12:20 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000017490761_1200x675_860338755611.jpg Crews were busy Sunday cleaning up after the inauguration of President Donald Trump and the Women's March on Washington. News4's Darcy Spencer reports on the progress so far, and how much longer it could take.]]> <![CDATA[Ethics Lawyers to Sue Trump Over Business Interests]]> Mon, 23 Jan 2017 01:40:33 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-632207622.jpg

Heavy-hitting lawyers plan to sue President Donald Trump in federal court Monday, NBC News reported, over business interests that they say put him in violation of the Constitution by receiving payments from foreign governments. 

The nonprofit good-government group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, will file the suit Monday morning in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the organization said. 

The suit alleges that Trump violated the Constitution the moment he was sworn in as president on Friday because he had not divested his interests in the Trump Organization, which include leases held by foreign-government-owned entities in Trump Tower in New York, among other things. 

At issue is Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution — less tongue-twistingly known as the Emoluments Clause — which says "no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust ... shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State."



Photo Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Computer Glitch Temporarily Halts United Airlines Domestic Flights]]> Sun, 22 Jan 2017 23:44:15 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000017491890_1200x675_860431427671.jpg A computer glitch Sunday night temporarily halts United Airlines Domestic flights. News4's Shomari Stone reports from Reagan National Airport.]]> <![CDATA[Crews Working to Take Down Inauguration Fencing, Stages]]> Sun, 22 Jan 2017 23:37:25 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Lincoln_Memorial.jpg Crews worked into the night Sunday to take down some of the structures put up for President Trump's inauguration. The National Mall and the Lincoln Memorial should be back to normal soon, but News4's Darcy Spencer reports stands may block one view of the White House until March.]]> <![CDATA[Strong Winds, Rain May Slow Monday Morning Commute]]> Mon, 23 Jan 2017 05:31:41 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/191*120/rain-generic-umbrella-raindrops.jpg

Give yourself some extra time to get to work Monday morning.

Rain and winds will likely slow down your commute, but the good news is that the heavier rain will start to fall toward the end of the morning rush.

A wind advisory will be in effect for D.C. and surrounding areas until 4 p.m. Monday.

Winds will be strongest during the morning and midday hours at about 15 to 30 miles per hour, Storm Team4 said. It's possible a few gusts will reach 40 to 50 miles per hour.

Temperatures will be about 50 Monday morning before dropping to the mid to upper 40s for most of the day.

Scattered showers are expected to continue Monday night and end before early Tuesday morning.

The additional rain could cause minor damage and some power outages.

Stay with News4 and NBCWashington.com for any udpates to this forecast.



Photo Credit: The Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Trump, Israeli PM Have ‘Very Warm’ Conversation]]> Sun, 22 Jan 2017 22:46:20 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/TrumpIsraeliPM.jpg

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a "very warm" conversation with President Donald Trump on Sunday, NBC News reported. 

Netanyahu's office said the two leaders discussed Iran and the Palestinian peace process. However, they did not discuss Trump's campaign promise to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city of Jerusalem. 

"We are at the very beginning stages of even discussing this subject," White House spokesman Sean Spicer told NBC News.

In a statement, the White House said that peace between Israel and the Palestinians could be achieved only through direct negotiation.

Trump and Netanyahu agreed to a White House visit next month.



Photo Credit: Ronen Zvulun/Andrew Harnik/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Prince George's Co. Officer Helps Save Driver After Crash]]> Sun, 22 Jan 2017 19:11:19 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000017490763_1200x675_860337731895.jpg A Prince George's County Police officer and some strangers help rescue a man from a fiery car. News4's Derrick Ward reports.]]> <![CDATA[Metrorail Trips for Women's March Top 1 Million]]> Sun, 22 Jan 2017 17:42:44 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/DC+metro+train+front.jpg

Metrorail set a record, carrying the second most number of trips in its history on the day of the Women’s March in Washington, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017.

Metro said 1,001,613 entries were recorded into the rail system. News4’s Adam Tuss said the busiest Metrorail day was Jan. 20, 2009, the first inauguration of President Barack Obama, where 1.12 million trips were taken.

“We can all feel proud of providing safe, reliable service for large numbers of riders over two consecutive days on a world stage,” said Metro General Manager/CEO Paul Wiedefeld. “This success is especially impressive given the monumental challenge of sustaining such an operation over back-to-back days, along with the logistical challenges that come from national special security events.”

Tuss reported Saturday was only the second time Metrorail has surpassed 900,000 trips.

Metro said over the two days of the presidential inauguration and Women‘s March, trains, buses, and paratransit served over 2 million passenger trips. Metrorail trains provided 1.6 million trips over the two days.

Roughly 600,000 Metrorail trips were recorded on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017.



Photo Credit: NBC4 Washington]]>
<![CDATA[Reversing Campaign Pledge, Trump Won't Release Taxes: Aide]]> Sun, 22 Jan 2017 21:05:03 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/kellyanneeee.jpg

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, said Sunday the president would not be releasing his tax returns, reversing months of repeated campaign-trail promises to do so after an audit is completed, NBC News reported.

The comments were a response to a Whitehouse.gov petition with more than 200,000 signatures calling on Trump to release his tax returns.

Conway also added that Trump's returns are irrelevant. "They voted for him, and let me make this very clear: Most Americans are very focused on what their tax returns will look like while President Trump is in office, not what his look like," Conway said in an interview on ABC's "This Week."

Conway's statements are false — multiple polls showed a majority of Americans believe Trump should release his tax returns, including an ABC News/Washington Post survey out last week that found three-fourths of Americans believe he should release them.



Photo Credit: Carolyn KasterAP Photo]]>
<![CDATA[How Women Upstaged President Trump]]> Sun, 22 Jan 2017 20:33:21 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_17021729412593.jpg

For President Trump, the inauguration should have been his Super Bowl – the kind of spectacle everybody talks about at work all day Monday and beyond.

But for once Trump, the self-styled showman who upended media and politics to become chief executive, got upstaged. The Women's March on Saturday, a day after the inauguration, gave the world a far bigger and better show. 

The event packed all the elements of a yuge spectacular: epic scale (a cast of hundreds of thousands spread across the globe); family drama (emotional moments shared by multiple generations); humor (creative signs and chants, the cleverest of which can't be repeated here); colorful costumes (most prominently those pink hats); celebrities (Scarlett Johansson, among many others); songs (Alicia Keys sang “Girl on Fire”); and high stakes (the future of women's rights).

It marked a by turns defiant, raucous and joyful display of force by masses angry about Trump's taped vulgar comments declaring his carte blanche to accost women and fearful of life under his leadership.

As comedian Aziz Ansari put it on "Saturday Night Live," a program Trump went from hosting to regularly decrying: “Yesterday, Trump was inaugurated. Today, an entire gender protested against him. Wow."

The New York Times reported three times as many people participated in the main march in Washington than attended Trump's inauguration. The rookie president, though, wasn't only behind in the in-person audience category. In another sense, the marchers, all performers of a sort for the day, outnumbered him on the world stage.

That seemed to unnerve the now officially powerful Trump, who vastly exaggerated inauguration attendance Saturday and scapegoated journalists for using photographic evidence to show Obama attracted a far larger crowd to the National Mall eight years ago. Meanwhile, Trump’s spokesman, Sean Spicer, made the demonstrably erroneous claim that his boss commanded the "largest audience ever to witness an inauguration – period – both in person and around the globe."

On Sunday morning, Trump tweeted that his inauguration ratings were bigger than President Obama’s 2013 numbers (true, though Trump’s viewership tally landed well below that of Obama’s history-making 2009 festivities). The new president said he watched march coverage and suggested something that he could not possibly know: that the protesters hadn’t cast ballots: “Why didn't these people vote?”

He later posted a tweet that most would recognize as presidential: “Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don't always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views.”

Still, the overall tone Trump set in his first weekend as star of the biggest reality show of them all echoed his attention-at-all-costs campaigning style.

The point of Trump's sore-winner act remains unclear. The inauguration, despite a lack of major performers (Toby Keith, Sam Moore and the Rockettes were among the bigger names), offered some memorable moments.

The limited dancing prowess Trump exhibited while shuffling to "My Way" with his wife, Melania, actually helped humanize him. The stylish new first lady showed signs of becoming a fashion leader (unlike his counselor, Kellyanne Conway, whose Paddington Bear-like outfit inspired mocking memes).

Some folks, on both sides of the political aisle, likely found something comforting and elegant in the pageantry and tradition surrounding the peaceful transfer of power, even amid Trump's speech, with its jarring "American carnage" declaration.

His strong words, like his attempts to steal back the show from the marchers (and just perhaps deflect attention from the major challenges facing his administration), defy presidential precedent.

But it's not unprecedented behavior for Trump.

After Arnold Schwarzenegger debuted Jan. 2 as the new ringmaster of "Celebrity Apprentice," then-President-Elect Trump taunted his successor via Twitter.

"Wow, the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got 'swamped' (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, DJT," read tweet, written in the third-person with Trump referring to himself by his initials.

This weekend, President Donald J. Trump got swamped, if not in the ratings, then in the race for notice that appears to drive him. The throngs from around the world who marched grabbed the spotlight and beat him at his own game.

Jere Hester is Director of News Products and Projects at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Union Station Briefly Evacuated After Fire Alarm Goes Off]]> Sun, 22 Jan 2017 19:31:58 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Union+Station1.jpg

Union Station in Northeast D.C. was briefly evacuated Sunday evening after a fire alarm went off, fire officials say.

D.C. Fire and EMS said the evacuation was a precautionary measure after an "automatic" fire alarm.

"We are being let back into Union Station. Police officer says it was just the fire alarm that went off," Emmanuelle Saliba, a Senior Editor for NBC News, tweeted just before 7:30 p.m.

Stay with News4 and NBCWashington.com for updates to this developing story.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[2 Dead After Speeding Car Crashes Into Tree, Authorities Say]]> Sun, 22 Jan 2017 09:23:16 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Car+Crash14.jpg

Two young men are dead after a fiery crash in Loudoun County, Virginia, that was so destructive it left some car debris hanging in a tree.

Loundoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman said one of his deputies clocked a BMW on radar going 91 miles per hour on Loudoun County Parkway. The BMW then ran a red light and turned as the deputy got behind the car, Chapman said.

A short time later, Chapman said the deputy discovered the car had crashed into a tree near Evergreen Mills Road and Stone Springs Boulevard.

"He had lost site of the vehicle and as he went over the hill on Evergreen Mills Rd. and came down, he saw that the vehicle had already crashed, so there was never a pursuit there," Chapman said.

The deputy pulled the driver, David G. Brown, 25, of Ashburn, from the car as the vehicle caught fire and became engulfed in flames, police said. Two men inside the car died, police said.

Resident Robin Tarrasky lives nearby and said the BMW involved in the crash was unrecognizable.

"It was something you could hang on a key chain. It had been so crunched up and wrapped around that tree," Tarrasky said.

Brown was charged with reckless driving and will likely face more charges, Chapman said.

The identities of the men who died have not been released.



Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA['Despicable': Ex-CIA Boss Rips Trump Speech at Memorial]]> Sun, 22 Jan 2017 17:40:35 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/trumpattheciafeuerherd.jpg

Donald Trump traveled to CIA headquarters Saturday to offer reassurance to the workforce after he spent weeks criticizing American intelligence, but his unscripted, self-referential remarks before a wall of stars memorializing fallen officers are drawing criticism, including a pointed denunciation from the agency's recently departed director, NBC News reported.

"Former CIA Director Brennan is deeply saddened and angered at Donald Trump's despicable display of self-aggrandizement in front of CIA's Memorial Wall of Agency heroes," Nick Shapiro, a former aide to John Brennan at CIA, told NBC News' Andrea Mitchell.

Brennan, Shapiro said, believes Trump "should be ashamed of himself."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Accused Inauguration Day Rioters Make Court Appearance]]> Sun, 22 Jan 2017 08:21:12 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_17020626620789-trump-washington-dc-protest-inauguration.jpg

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said they are continuing to evaluate the cases against approximately 230 people who were arrested on Inauguration Day in Washington.

A spokesman for the office said the accused were making their first appearances in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. News4's Scott MacFarlane reported 230 people have been charged with felony rioting.

Bill Miller, the public information officer for the U.S. Attorney's Office, said most of those arrested will face a possible sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

The first group to face the judge were released and ordered back to court on Feb. 26. MacFarlane said the judge told them not to get arrested again in D.C.

As the suspects were released, a crowd outside D.C. Superior Court cheered, News4's Meagan Fitzgerald reported. And there was a familiar site for the suspects -- police lined up in riot gear.

The majority of Friday's protests were peaceful, but police clad in riot gear faced off against hundreds of demonstrators downtown near 12th and K streets, about six blocks from where Trump would soon hold his inaugural parade, D.C. police said.

While several peaceful demonstrations unfolded near the Captiol, about a mile away police gave chase to a group of about 300 protesters, who smashed windows of downtown businesses during a pre-inauguration march.

Police dressed in riot gear used pepper spray to quell the disturbance and eventually cordoned off the large crowd near Franklin Square. As protesters fled the scene, six officers suffered "minor injuries" in what Newsham called "coordinated attacks."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Conway: White House Gave ‘Alternative Facts’ on Crowd Size]]> Sun, 22 Jan 2017 17:26:35 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/conwayfeuerherdINB.jpg

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, said the White House press secretary gave "alternative facts" when he inaccurately described the inauguration crowd as "the largest ever" during his first appearance before the press this weekend.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer gathered the press to deliver a five-minute statement Saturday in which he issued multiple falsehoods, including declaring erroneously that "this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe," NBC News reported.

Asked on "Meet the Press" why Spicer used his first appearance before the press to dispute a minimal issue like the inauguration crowd size, and why he used falsehoods to do so, Conway pushed back.

 "You're saying it's a falsehood and Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that," she told NBC's Chuck Todd.



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA['United & Empowered:' What Women's Marchers Had to Say]]> Sat, 21 Jan 2017 15:40:55 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/160*214/2017-01-21_1442.jpg As crowds packed the National Mall on Saturday for the Women's March on Washington, many attendees paused to share what they were feeling.

Photo Credit: Lexie Schapitl]]>
<![CDATA[Attack on Transgender Woman Caught on Facebook Live]]> Sun, 22 Jan 2017 15:30:12 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Man+Attacks+Transgender+Woman+_22240557.jpg

Philadelphia Police have arrested a 25-year old homeless man accused of attacking a transgender woman while yelling anti-gay slurs in an assault captured on Facebook Live.

Ryannah Quigley, 23, of Seattle, Washington, told NBC10 she was attending the Creating Change conference in Philadelphia. Quigley said she was walking along the 1300 block of Filbert Street in Center City at 4:40 p.m. Friday with two of her friends when an unidentified man began staring at her. She greeted the man, but he continued to stare at her.

"I said, 'Is there a reason why you're staring at me up and down?' And he stopped and turned and looked and he said, 'Whatever bro.' So that's when I said, 'Please don't call me bro,'" Quigley said.

Quigley said the man then started shouting at her and yelling anti-gay slurs.

"He just kept telling me, 'You're a f-----,' and 'You're going to hell.' Then he kept saying, 'You'll never be a real woman,'" Quigley said.

Quigley told NBC10 she then took out her phone and began recording the encounter on Facebook Live. That’s when she says the man threw a bag of food at her and then punched her in the face before running away.

She reported the incident to Philadelphia Police. On Sunday morning, officers saw a man standing in the Frankford Terminal, wearing the same clothes that the suspect in the Facebook Live attack had on. He was arrested and will be charged for the assault, police said.

Quigley said she suffered cuts and a bruise but is doing okay. Quigley told NBC10 she’s been the victim of violence before. She was attacked by a group of people a few years ago.

"Often times we are not believed," Quigley said. "We are often looked at as the problem. Because as trans women people assume that, 'Oh, you must have been hitting on him.'"

Quigley's friend Keyonna Fowler witnessed the incident and said the suspects comments were "horrible."

"Just because a trans woman speaks to you does not mean that she wants you," Fowler said.

Quigley said the video of the attack was later taken down by Facebook administrators who claimed it violated their terms of service. Quigley also claimed she was blocked from accessing her Facebook account. Her friends and supporters have posted updates on her recovery to her page for her.

"Transgender individuals, they are people," Quigley said. "They are living and they will continue to be here."

[[411423955, C]]



Photo Credit: Philadelphia Police ]]>
<![CDATA[George H.W. Bush Breathing on His Own in Texas Hospital ]]> Mon, 23 Jan 2017 05:07:13 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1943442.jpg

A spokesperson for George H.W. Bush said the health of the former president and former first lady Barbara Bush is improving.

In a statement on Sunday afternoon, Jim McGrath said the President could be moved out of the Intensive Care Unit of Houston Methodist Hospital "in the next day or two."

Even better news for former first lady Barbara Bush. Mrs. Bush could have been discharged Sunday, but decided to remain in the hospital for another night to finish her recovery and stay close to her husband. 

The two became hospitalized last week, missing the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump.



Photo Credit: Joe Mitchell/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Official Blasts Media, Madonna in Response to Marches]]> Sun, 22 Jan 2017 15:19:28 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/AP17021755160983_opt.jpg

A Trump administration official responded to the women's marches yesterday after Press Secretary Sean Spicer ignored shouted questions about the matter on Saturday, NBC News reported.

The comment from the Trump administration official said it was a "shame" that the March for Life next Friday "will not get anywhere near the same amount of coverage that this march got—and those pro-life members were NOT welcome at the Women’s March."

"The organizers noted that their platform is pro-choice and they revoked partnership status’ from pro-life groups," the comment continued.

The comment also called out Madonna, one of many celebrities to speak at marches across the country, for telling crowds that she had "thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House."

The administration official's comment does not include the rest of Madonna's comment, which continued: "But I know that this won't change anything. We cannot fall into despair." Instead, Madonna called for a "revolution of love."

"Comments like [Madonna's] are absolutely unacceptable and had they been said about President Obama, the mainstream media would be in an uproar," the official continued. "The Trump administration welcomes a robust discussion regarding the critical issues facing America’s women and families."

Hundreds of thousands of women and men poured into the nation's capital Saturday for a march aimed at showing Donald Trump they won't be silent over the next four years.

The Washington, D.C., event was the largest of more than 600 "sister marches" planned across the country and around the world. Organizers estimated 3 million people would march worldwide, and city centers across the U.S. were flooded with people in rallies that lasted for hours.

President Trump responded to the march on Twitter Sunday morning, accusing the marchers of not voting and adding more criticism to the celebrities who attended. 

"Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn't these people vote? Celebs hurt cause badly," Trump wrote. 

About an hour and a half later, Trump responded with another tweet, writing, "Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don't always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views."

The marchers brandished signs with messages such as "Women won't back down" and "Less fear more love" and decried Trump's stand on such issues as abortion, health care, diversity and climate change.

The rallies were a peaceful counterpoint to the window-smashing unrest that unfolded on Friday when self-described anarchists tried to disrupt the inauguration. Police used pepper spray and stun grenades against demonstrators. More than 200 people were arrested. 

But the Women's March on Washington didn't yield a single arrest, according to D.C. Homeland Security Director Christopher Geldart.

While the march organizers' "mission and vision" statement never mentions Trump and stresses broad themes, including the message that "women's rights are human rights," the unifying factor among those turning out appeared to be a loathing for the new president and dismay that so much of the country voted for him.

The administration official's full reaction is below:

It's a shame that the March for Life, which estimates the same number of marchers in DC (650,000 in 2013) and will be happening next Friday, will not get anywhere near the same amount of coverage that this march got — and those pro-life members were NOT welcome at the Women’s March. The organizers noted that their platform is pro-choice and they revoked partnership status’ from pro-life groups.

Madonna, who was one of the celebrities headlining the march, was quoted saying “Yes, I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House” — comments like these are absolutely unacceptable and had they been said about President Obama, the mainstream media would be in an uproar.

The Trump administration welcomes a robust discussion regarding the critical issues facing America’s women and families.



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Analysis: How Russia Plans to Trump US as Superpower]]> Sat, 21 Jan 2017 19:54:17 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Putin.jpg

This week, Moscow hosted a summit of divided Palestinian factions that yielded a fresh unity agreement. And on Sunday, Russian diplomats will again unite prominent Syrian rebel groups and regime negotiators in Kazakhstan for a peace summit.

Promoting Russia's status as a major global power is part of Putin's push to compensate for domestic failures, Alexey Malashenko, a Russia analyst with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace's Moscow Center, told NBC News.

Russia's ambitions may get another boost following Donald Trump's inauguration on Friday.

"I think the common thread is [Putin] positioning in view of a deal with Trump," said said Mattia Toaldo, a Middle East analyst at the European Council on Foreign Relations. "The interesting thing is that in most cases, Russia is in the driving seat and Trump will simply react."



Photo Credit: Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP]]>
<![CDATA[White House Slams Coverage of Inaugural Crowd Size]]> Sat, 21 Jan 2017 21:21:04 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/182*120/spicer-slams-size-inauguration.jpg

The new White House press secretary used his first press briefing to launch a furious tirade against media coverage of President Donald Trump's inauguration, calling it "shameful and wrong" for focusing on the fact that it was noticeably smaller than Barack Obama's in 2009.

Sean Spicer harangued the media for not taking the administration's point of view on how to cover Trump's inauguration, and claimed that the National Mall was full during the president's oath of office when photographs from multiple vantage points showed that it wasn't. 

"This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe," Spicer said. "These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong."

There is no evidence to suggest it was the largest ever, by Spicer's own admission that "no one had numbers" for official crowd size estimates, and Nielsen released data Saturday saying about 7 million fewer people watched Trump’s inauguration than Obama’s first in 2009. Ronald Reagan's 1981 inauguration remains the most-watched in American history, with 41.8 million viewers.

Spicer took no questions at the briefing, which came hours after Trump told CIA officials at Langley that the media was inventing a feud between him and the intelligence community, despite suggesting the intel community leaked information to the press and comparing it to something that would be done in Nazi Germany. Trump also said the crowd "looked like a million, million and a half people" to him.

It's the latest bump in a rocky relationship between the Trump team and the national press corps, but the first to take place in the White House press briefing room. And it came as hundreds of thousands of demonstrators filled the streets in Washington and many cities both in America and abroad, all aimed at showing Trump that they will not be silent during his time in office. 

Spicer did not comment on the Women's March on Washington and it's "sister marches" other than to stipulate there are no official estimates about crowd sizes at the rallies. 

Trump had promised an "unbelievable, perhaps record-setting turnout" for his inauguration, but various planning groups predicted between 700,000 and 900,000 people would attend the swearing-in and parade. Obama drew an estimated 1.8 million people to the National Mall in 2009, though The Washington Post later questioned whether it was too high.

Spicer claimed that spaces on the national mall with a total capacity of 720,000 were full. He also said that images were distorted by protective plastic lawn coverings, and incorrectly claimed they had never been used before — they were used during the 2013 inauguration as well.

The turf covering Spicer referred to has been used in multiple events on the Mall, a National Park Service representative confirmed in a statement. It was not in use in 2009, before restoration began in 2011.

Spicer did not provide any pictorial evidence backing up his claim that the inaugural crowd was the largest ever, though ahead of the briefing, TV screens on either side of the podium showed pictures from behind the president. There were large crowds in the foreground, while the Washington Monument, where crowds appeared to be sparse in other shots, was far in the distance.

D.C. Metro released ridership numbers for 11 a.m. on the most recent inauguration days showing a marked drop in rides between Obama's 2009 inaugural (513,000) and Trump's (193,000).

Crowd sizes are notoriously hard to estimate, and the National Park Service has not offered official estimates since it was threatened with a defamation lawsuit by organizers of the Million Man March in 1995.

Spicer also singled out a reporter's tweet that said a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. was missing from the Oval Office. It was incorrect — the bust is still in the office — and the reporter corrected the report and apologized.

Spicer called that tweet "irresponsible and reckless." But less than 24 hours before, Spicer tweeted that he accepted the reporter's apology. 

Hillary Clinton's former campaign spokesman, Brian Fallon, tweeted that Spicer was "a failure in this job on his first full day" for not refusing to lie to the press.

Ari Fleischer, the press secretarty for George W. Bush, noted on Twitter that it was the kind of statement "you're told to make by the President," who you know is watching. 

"So, while press is stunned & can't believe it, Sean is getting praised by his boss & co-workers now. MSM is from Venus. WH is from Mars," he said. 



Photo Credit: AP/Inaugural Ceremonies Commission/Getty
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