<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Politics]]>Copyright 2017https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/politics http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington https://www.nbcwashington.comen-usSat, 16 Dec 2017 15:41:34 -0500Sat, 16 Dec 2017 15:41:34 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[What’s Next for Net Neutrality; When Will We See Change?]]> Sat, 16 Dec 2017 04:00:08 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-892296992.jpg

After years of playing what internet service providers have likened to "regulatory ping-pong" with net neutrality rules, the game is still far from finished, NBC News reported.

The attorneys general of New York and Washington state have already announced they plan to sue. However, it's likely that Congress may hold the key to ending the expensive and time-consuming back-and-forth over net neutrality.

"That is the only way you are going to have sustainable net neutrality," Roslyn Layton, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, told NBC News.

Since 2015, net neutrality rules have required internet service providers to be regulated under Title II, like a utility, helping to control what consumers are charged and ensuring all traffic is treated equally.

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Former Aide Accuses Virginia Rep. Scott of Sexual Misconduct]]> Fri, 15 Dec 2017 23:52:44 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_163068116341251.jpg

A former aide to Rep. Bobby Scott on Friday accused the Virginia Democrat of sexual misconduct and said he fired her after she rebuffed his alleged advances, NBC News reported.

At a press conference, Macherie Reese Everson, who goes by Reese, said that Scott touched her inappropriately on two occasions in 2013 and that he flirted with her. Everson said that when she declined the overtures, she was "retaliated against" by being fired.

Everson said the conduct occurred when she was a Congressional Black Caucus Fellow working in Scott's office, when she was "touched inappropriately" by the lawmaker on her back and knee on two separate occasions and that he once invited her to join him at an event in California.

Scott strongly denied Everson's allegations in a statement: "I absolutely deny this allegation of misconduct. I have never sexually harassed anyone in my 25 years of service in the United States Congress, or in my 40 years of public service, or at any other time."

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Steve Helber]]>
<![CDATA[Rubio Says He Won't Support Current Tax Bill Without Changes]]> Fri, 15 Dec 2017 14:45:46 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/NC_taxesam1215_1920x1080.jpg

Senate Republicans can only afford to lose two votes, and five are in question.

Senators Mike Lee and Marco Rubio are holding out to make more of the child tax credit refundable to low and middle income families.

"Unless they can figure out a way to add to the $1100 figure, I won't support the bill," Rubio says.

<![CDATA[House Ethics Committee Investigating Nev. Rep. Kihuen]]> Fri, 15 Dec 2017 13:55:09 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_16319813812226.jpg

The House Ethics Committee said Friday that it has opened an investigation into Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen after reports of sexual harassment against the Nevada congressman. 

"The Committee notes that the mere fact that it is investigating these allegations, and publically disclosing its review, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee," a statement from the committee said.

Two women have accused the Democrat of misconduct. His former finance director told Buzzfeed in a Dec. 2 story that Kihuen repeatedly propositioned her for dates and sex during the 2016 congressional campaign, offers she rejected. The woman, who withheld her last name, also claimed he touched her thighs without her consent on two occasions.

A second woman spoke to The Nevada Independent in a Dec. 13 story, claiming Kihuen made repeated sexual advances while he was a state senator in 2015 and she was a lobbyist. The woman, who remained anonymous, also said he touched her thighs and buttocks on several occasions.

In a statement to the Independent, Kihuen said he would not discuss the allegations.

"During my 10 years in the legislature, I dated several different women. Out of respect for their privacy, I won't discuss my communications or any other details of those relationships," the statement said.

In a statement to NBC, Kihuen said, "I intend to fully cooperate, and I welcome an opportunity to clear my name."

Both House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, called for Kihuen's resignation.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Blasts FBI an Hour Before Graduation Speech]]> Fri, 15 Dec 2017 12:38:07 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Trump_FBI_Split.jpg

President Donald Trump sent conflicting messages on the FBI Friday morning, ripping the agency outside the White House just an hour before he praised the 2018 graduating class in Quantico, Virginia. 

<![CDATA['We'll See': Trump Doesn't Rule Out Michael Flynn Pardon]]> Fri, 15 Dec 2017 12:55:25 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_17349543819533.jpg

President Donald Trump on Friday refused to directly say whether he would pardon former national security adviser Michael Flynn, NBC News reported.

"I don't want to talk about pardons for Michael Flynn yet. We'll see what happens," Trump told reporters as he departed the White House to deliver a speech to FBI academy graduates.

"Let's see. I can say this: When you look at what's gone on with the FBI and with the Justice Department, people are very, very angry."

Flynn, who pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of making false statements to the FBI about his communications with Russia earlier this month, is the first senior White House official to be charged in the special counsel’s investigation into Moscow's alleged meddling into the 2016 presidential election and the first to officially agree to cooperate.

"For the record there is no consideration at all for a pardon for Michael Flynn at this time," White House lawyer Ty Cobb told NBC News following the comments.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Doesn't Rule Out Pardon for Michael Flynn]]> Fri, 15 Dec 2017 11:36:42 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/trump+speaks.jpg

When asked if he would pardon former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, President Donald Trump said, "We'll see what happens."

<![CDATA[8-Year-Old DC Poet Begs Trump to Stop Tweeting]]> Thu, 14 Dec 2017 19:12:10 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/121417+kid+poet+dc.jpg

An 8-year-old poet from D.C. has a request: "Please, Mr. Trump, stop tweeting. Stop teasing America." 

Christian Alvarado, a member of a youth spoken word program, performed his poem aimed at President Donald Trump live on News4 Thursday morning. 

"The poem that I wrote is called 'Disaster, Pain and Suffering,'" he began. 

"Immigrants fear deportation, Trump wants to build a wall. Trump tweets." Christian said. "A shooting in Las Vegas, 58 dead. You got it. Trump tweets."

"Puerto Ricans are homeless and suffering because of a hurricane. Trump tweets. Disaster, pain and suffering. Please, Mr. Trump, stop tweeting. Stop teasing America," the elementary school student continued. 

Then, he repeated the poem in Spanish.

“Señor Trump, no más tweeting, por favor," he said. 

Christian is a student at LaSalle-Backus Education Campus in Northeast D.C. and participates in a program with the nonprofit DC Scores that introduces children to spoken word. 

Christian was joined on News4 by 10-year-old Uniyah Campbell. She performed a poem called "Bravery." 

"This is how I'm brave: I know I'm short, but I have something special on the inside of me that allows me to be brave," she said, flexing her left arm.

"So, everyone: stand up! I know you're at home and you're watching this. Stand up! Get out the bed. Put a fist in the air to show how brave we are," Uniyah ordered. 

Both students performed at DC Scores' 20th annual poetry slam last month. 

Photo Credit: NBC Washington
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<![CDATA[Omarosa’s Departure Raises Questions About WH Diversity]]> Thu, 14 Dec 2017 17:39:48 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Omarosa-file.jpg

Before her departure this week, Omarosa Manigault Newman, along with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, stood as the only black voices among more than 30 Cabinet secretaries and senior White House staff around President Donald Trump.

The announcement Wednesday that Newman, a former "Apprentice" contestant and aide to the president, was leaving her post has brought with it new questions about diversity — or lack of it — in the Trump White House.

Asked by NBC News on Thursday how many black senior staffers remained at the White House in the wake of Newman's departure, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to cite a number or specify who would take over Newman's outreach to African-American communities.

In a Thursday interview with ABC, Newman referred to herself as "the only African American woman in this White House," adding that she had "quite a story to tell" in the future about her time in an administration that has struggled with racial issues and outreach to minority communities.

Photo Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Breaking Down the New GOP Tax Plan]]> Thu, 14 Dec 2017 12:15:14 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/taxplan.jpg

The Senate and House have an agreement upon new tax legislation. AP Reporter Stephen Ohlemacher looks at some of the key takeaways.

<![CDATA[Why Black Women Voters Stepped Up for Doug Jones]]> Thu, 14 Dec 2017 09:14:28 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/voter-doug-jonnes.jpg

#BlackWomen trended on Twitter as many hailed African American women for playing a major role in driving Democrat Doug Jones' projected victory against Roy Moore in deep-red Alabama.

NBC News exit polls showed 96 percent of black voters supported Jones, with 98 percent of black women and 93 percent of black men backing him. One of the factors that motivated black women was the protection of their communities, DeJuana Thompson, co-founder of strategy firm Think Rubix, told NBC News.

“When you have rhetoric coming out about possible pedophilia, and when you’ve got rhetoric coming out about slashing critical resources to education and the programs that help sustain homes in the African-American community, black women are always going to show up for their communities,” Thompson said.

Through Woke Vote, a program Thompson founded to get millennials out to vote, she went to historically black colleges and universities and churches across the state to mobilize students and black women to vote.

“If you focus on African-American women you will bring along the men," Alabama House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels said. 

Photo Credit: AP Photo/John Bazemore
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<![CDATA[Obamacare Sign-Ups Surge; Enrollment Likely Down Next Year]]> Wed, 13 Dec 2017 17:51:31 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Healthcare.gov-website.jpg

Over 1 million people chose insurance through the federal health care exchange last week as open enrollment approaches its Dec. 15 deadline. But the total number is likely to fall short of last year, which featured both a longer enrollment period and a far more robust outreach campaign from the White House, NBC News reported.

According to the latest figures, released Wednesday by the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), 388,984 new customers signed up between Dec. 3 and Dec. 9 while an additional 684,937 renewed existing coverage. The numbers are likely to surge again in the home stretch as customers finalize selections and others who have existing coverage, but have not chosen plans, are auto-enrolled.

Just under 4.7 million people have signed up since open enrollment began Nov. 1, up from 4 million at a comparable point last year. But the previous enrollment period was longer and continued through Jan. 31, reaching a total of 9.2 million. 

Top Trump administration officials have made little public mention of the enrollment period in contrast to the previous White House, where President Barack Obama participated in interviews and events to encourage signups.

Photo Credit: Healthcare.gov]]>
<![CDATA[Talk Around Town: Alabama Election, Ga. Anchor Fights Racism]]> Wed, 13 Dec 2017 17:49:40 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Talk_Around_Town_Alabama_Election_Atlanta_News.jpg

WHUR's Taylor Thomas discusses what people in D.C. are saying about Tuesday's election in Alabama. Plus, a news anchor in Atlanta confronted racism on-air.

<![CDATA[Trump Pitches Tax Bill for Families, Businesses]]> Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:04:20 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Trump_Pitch_Tax_Cut_Bill_For_Families_Corporations-151319062153300002.jpg

President Donald Trump pitched a tax cut bill drafted by GOP lawmakers, claiming it will bring money back from offshore accounts while giving families a modest tax cut of $2,000. Democratic lawmakers, meanwhile, are criticizing the bill for favoring the wealthy and large corporations. 

<![CDATA[Anderson Cooper: Trump Taunt on Twitter Wasn't From Me]]> Wed, 13 Dec 2017 10:59:31 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/anderson-cooper-trump.jpg

CNN's Anderson Cooper said Wednesday that someone had "gained access" to his Twitter account and sent out a tweet calling President Donald Trump a "pathetic loser."

The taunt from Cooper's verified account came after Trump had tweeted in the wake of Doug Jones' projected win in Alabama's Senate election. Trump noted that he had first backed Roy Moore's primary opponent, Luther Strange.

"Oh Really? You endorsed him you tool! Pathetic loser," Cooper's Twitter account replied.

Cooper later posted that he "just woke up to find out someone gained access to my twitter account" and was investigating.

Until Wednesday, no messages had been posted to his account since Sunday.

Photo Credit: Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[Reported Schumer Sex Suit Is 'Completely False': Ex-Staffer]]> Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:19:32 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_17318739073690.jpg

A former staffer for Sen. Chuck Schumer said a draft of a sexual harassment lawsuit naming the Senate minority leader and purporting that she was the accuser is "completely false."

Schumer also described the documents and allegations against him as a "phony" smear.

In a statement to NBC News, the staffer named in the document said "the claims in this document are completely false, my signature is forged, and even basic facts about me are wrong.” The development came hours after news site Axios reported the existence of the document and that Schumer's team had turned it over to Capitol Police.

"I have contacted law enforcement to determine who is responsible," the staffer said. "I parted with Senator Schumer’s office on good terms and have nothing but the fondest memories of my time there."

NBC News is protecting the staffer's anonymity at her request, as she says she's a victim of a crime.

"It was a phony allegation, forged from start to finish," Schumer said Wednesday during a news conference.

He did not say who he believed was behind the document but said his office would pursue "every legal path" on the issue. 

Axios earlier reported that Schumer's office disputed basic facts in the documents, including Schumer's whereabouts during two purported allegations in 2011.

”We have turned it over to the Capitol Police and asked them to investigate and pursue criminal charges because it is clear the law has been broken," a spokesman for Schumer told Axios.

He added, "We believe the individual responsible for forging the document should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law to prevent other malicious actors from doing the same."

Several media outlets were shopped the document, according to The Associated Press. 

Photo Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Black Voter Turnout, Allegations Doomed Moore: Exit Poll]]> Wed, 13 Dec 2017 10:29:08 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/election-line.jpg

The allegations of sexual misconduct against Roy Moore and a Democratic surge boosted by high African-Americans turnout led Doug Jones to his projected election upset win in Alabama, NBC News' exit polls showed.

African Americans made up 29 percent of all Alabama voters, and they broke for Jones by a 96 percent-to-4 percent margin. That essentially matched Barack Obama’s performance with African Americans in the state in 2012.

Ninety-eight percent of black women supported Jones, compared with 34 percent of white women. Still, even that support among white women was more than twice the 16 percent of white women who voted for President Barack Obama in 2012, NBC News reported. Overall, 58 percent of Alabama women voted for Jones. 

Meanwhile, 52 percent of voters in Alabama said allegations against Moore were either "definitely" or "probably" true, and they broke for Jones, 89 percent to 8 percent.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Sherwood's Notebook: More Than Just Ballou, Of Course]]> Wed, 13 Dec 2017 05:56:35 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/112917+ballou+high+schoo.jpg

What are we to make of Ballou?

Radio partners WAMU and NPR delivered a devastating look at the backstory behind Ballou High School’s most recent, glowing graduation statistics.

Simply stated, too many students at the Southeast school graduated with suspect grades and many, many weeks of absences.

Mayor Muriel Bowser and Chancellor Antwan Wilson immediately vowed at a news conference to review the Ballou situation and take steps to ensure that system-wide graduation policies were being followed.

For the Notebook, though, the news conference suffered from a bureaucratic cool that diluted the significance of the moment. It was only as she headed to an elevator that Mayor Bowser quietly said one word that captured the disappointing situation: "heartbreaking."

The mayor at that moment was thinking of the students, both the ones who may have faulty graduation credentials and, maybe worse, the student who did work hard, succeeded and now may have a cloud over their own real achievements.

Three different tracks of reaction have arisen in the wake of the Ballou story.

The first is the least constructive. Some immediately said the news report could only show that public school reforms are more public relations than results.

Two, how could this happen? Did a sloppy school front office allow this, and did it maybe purposefully do so to make the school look better?

A third response: Why pick on Ballou? There are attendance problems across D.C. Public Schools, so why pick on a high school in the poorest part of the city? Everyone knows or should know that there are intense socioeconomic pressures that affect school attendance and achievement.

On the WAMU Politics Hour last Friday, D.C. Council Education Committee chair David Grosso said some Ballou students feel picked on. "It feels like Ballou always is the poster child of what DCPS does wrong," Grosso said, quoting one student. Grosso said finding the truth at Ballou is important, but he said he agreed with the sentiment that the school was singled out.

"There are nuances here that are very important," he said. "I also think it is important for us to note that the District of Columbia has had issues with attendance across the board. It is not a Ballou High School situation." Grosso said a citywide task force of educators and city officials meets “on a monthly basis” to talk about attendance.

Grosso also said it is difficult for students to "fit into a rigid schedule you have at a particular school… We have to continue to give opportunities to students and not continue to put them down."

Grosso is holding a hearing this Friday on the issues. "I think it’s unfair to just focus on Ballou High School in this situation," he said.

Producers for host Kojo Nnamdi said the phones lit up with callers worried that Grosso was minimizing the detailed reporting of irregularities among both administrators and students. Many students surely have difficult family and home situations that keep them from school. For some other students, they simply don’t go to class because there’s no consequence if they don’t.

We asked Grosso whether there’s a danger that focusing on a broad review of citywide school problems might miss the issues detailed by the report at Ballou specifically.

"The NPR, WAMU investigation was pretty detailed," we said. "There was no follow-up when kids didn’t come to class." The Notebook pointed out that at other schools even a few days’ absence will prompt school officials to follow up with calls to homes and other interventions. Why not at Ballou?

"I do believe that there is going to be a deep dive into the Ballou questions" by education officials, Grosso responded. He said his committee would look at the broader picture.

It may turn out that the system’s "credit recovery" policies — which allow students to make up for lost time and weeks of absences — need revisions. The review also may point out that pupil-based funding formulas shortchange schools with high poverty needs.

■ More Grosso. Council member Grosso’s appearance on the Politics Hour was notable for another reason. He flatly shot down suggestions (we’re looking at you, Harry Jaffe of the Washingtonian) that he should or would run for mayor.

"I actually think Mayor Bowser is doing a good job," Grosso declared, "and I have no intention of running against her." The Notebook responded,"You just endorsed her for re-election." Grosso repeated, "I think she’s doing a good job."

But what about former Mayor Vincent Gray? The current Ward 7 council member is weighing whether to challenge Bowser in 2018 to reclaim the office he believes prosecutors effectively stole from him in 2014.

Grosso said he thought Gray — who has held a few elective positions — should remain on the council where he, too, is doing a good job.

"I also believe that Chairman Gray, Vincent Gray, Council member Gray, Mayor Gray is doing a great job right now as the head of the Committee on Health," said Grosso. "And I really love working with him."

We pressed Grosso on whether Gray had revealed any plans about running. "Come on, you’ve done this a long time," Grosso replied to us. "He doesn’t tell anybody anything for a long time."

■ A final score. Last week’s competitive Army-Navy football game was inspirational beyond the hard-fought battle in the cold and snow of Philadelphia.

The Notebook tweeted about display of both athletic ability and, more importantly, sportsmanship. On Sunday, we were glad to see that exceptional sports columnist John Feinstein captured the day for The Washington Post. And, if you missed it, we share it with you now at wapo.st/2ApN8OK.

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

Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[In Stunning Upset, Jones Is Apparent Winner of Ala. Senate Race]]> Wed, 13 Dec 2017 01:28:51 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/SAMPLE+TIMELINE.00_00_09_12.Still001.jpg

Democrat Doug Jones is the apparent winner of the Alabama Senate race. Jones’ win is an upset in a deep red state that has not had a Democrat in the Senate in 25 years.

<![CDATA[Senators React to Jones' Victory in Alabama Senate Race]]> Wed, 13 Dec 2017 00:03:02 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-890909758.jpg

Senators took to social media after Doug Jones was the apparent winner to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, with many Democrats calling it a political setback for President Donald Trump.

"Congratulations to my friend @GDouglasJones. He'll be a great colleague," Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., tweeted. "President Trump went all in for Roy Moore, but proud Alabamians wisely repudiated their behavior."

Most Republicans did not immediately react on Twitter to Jones' win.

When news initially broke of Roy Moore's alleged sexual misconduct in early November, many GOP senators called for Moore to leave the race. But in the final weeks leading up to the election, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walked back his original call for Moore to drop out, Trump explicitly endorsed him and and the RNC started to fund his campaign again. 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he thinks Jones will be an "outstanding" senator who "will represent Alabama well."

"As Dr. King said, 'The moral arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice,'" Jones said during his victory speech, as he thanked Alabamians. "Tonight ladies and gentleman, tonight in this time, in this place, you helped bend the moral arc a little closer to justice."

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., was the only GOP senator to explicitly show support for Jones. Days before the election, he tweeted a photo of a check he sent to Jones' campaign with the words, "Country over Party."

On Tuesday, after it appeared Jones won the election, Flake was the first Republican senator to tweet: "Decency wins."

Here's a look at how members of the Senate reacted to the Alabama outcome on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty
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<![CDATA[FBI Agent Removed from Russia Probe Called Trump an 'Idiot']]> Wed, 13 Dec 2017 17:33:02 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_17342690192155.jpg

Two FBI officials who would later be assigned to the special counsel's investigation into Donald Trump's presidential campaign described him with insults like "idiot" and "loathsome human" in a series of text messages last year, according to copies of the messages released Tuesday.

One of the officials said in an election night text that the prospect of a Trump victory was "terrifying."

Peter Strzok, a veteran FBI counterintelligence agent, was removed over the summer from special counsel Robert Mueller's team following the discovery of text messages exchanged with Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer who was also detailed this year to the group of agents and prosecutors investigating potential coordination between Russia and Trump's Republican campaign.

Hundreds of the messages, which surfaced in a Justice Department inspector general investigation of the FBI's inquiry into Democrat Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, were being provided to congressional committees, which had requested copies, and were reviewed by The Associated Press on Tuesday night.

The existence of the text messages, disclosed in news reports earlier this month, provided a line of attack for Trump, who used the revelation to disparage FBI leadership as politically tainted. Republicans have also seized on the exchange of texts between two officials who worked for Mueller to suggest that the team is biased against Trump and its conclusions can't be trusted.

The issue is likely to be a focus of a congressional hearing Wednesday involving Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller as special counsel in May and oversees his team's work.

A spokesman for Mueller has said Strzok was removed from the Mueller team as soon as the allegations were brought to the office's attention, and that Page had already concluded her detail by that time anyway and returned to the FBI. Strzok has been reassigned within the FBI.

Working telephone numbers for Strzok and Page could not immediately be found.

Strzok had been deeply involved in the Clinton inquiry and was in the room when she was interviewed by the FBI. He later helped investigate whether the Trump campaign worked with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

The texts seen by the AP began in the summer of 2015, soon after the FBI launched its email server investigation, and continued over the next year and a half as the presidential race was in full swing and as Trump and Clinton were looking to defeat their primary challengers and head toward the general election.

The messages — 375 were released Tuesday evening — cover a broad range of political topics and include an exchange of news articles about the race, often alongside their own commentaries.

There are some derogatory comments about Democratic officials, including presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and former Attorney General Eric Holder, but some of the harshest comments are reserved for Trump.

In a March 4, 2016, back-and-forth provided to Congress, Page refers to Trump as a "loathsome human" and Strzok responds, "Yet he may win." After Strzok asks whether she thinks Trump would be a worse president than fellow Republican Ted Cruz, Page says, "Yes, I think so."

The two then use words like "idiot" and "awful" to characterize Trump, with Strzok saying, "America will get what the voting public deserves."

In another exchange, on Oct. 18, 2016, Strzok writes to Page and says: "I am riled up. Trump is an (expletive) idiot, is unable to provide a coherent answer. I CAN'T PULL AWAY. WHAT THE (expletive) HAPPENED TO OUR COUNTRY??!?!"

Weeks later, on election day, as it seemed to become clearer that Trump could defeat Clinton, he says, "OMG THIS IS (expletive) TERRIFYING: A victory by Mr. Trump remains possible..."

Page replies, "Yeah, that's not good."

In August 2016, Strzok responded to a New York Times story that carried the headline of "Donald Trump is Making America Meaner" by saying, "I am worried about what Trump is encouraging in our behavior."

But he also adds, "I'm worried about what happens if HRC is elected," using the initials for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Photo Credit: Evan Vucci/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Jumbotron Facing US Capitol Shows Stories of DACA Immigrants]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 21:42:43 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/dream+act+jumbotron.jpg

For the next two weeks, a Jumbotron facing Capitol Hill is featuring stories of young undocumented immigrants, known as DREAMers, to prompt lawmakers to pass the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors). 

The DREAM Act was introduced as a gateway to U.S. citizenship to protect certain undocumented immigrants who were recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA.

DREAMer and DACA recipient Adrian Reyna of Oakland, California, traveled to D.C. as a membership director of United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the U.S., to create a sense of urgency before the end of the year.

"We are here also launching the Jumbotron because we have attempted to meet with Speaker Paul Ryan for many times to urge him to get serious about getting the DREAM Act passed. They say that they support immigrant youth but they still have but they still haven’t done anything," said Reyna.

With two weeks left, Ryan has not confirmed if the DREAM Act will be funded be a part of the year-end bill Congress must pass by the end of the month.

According to Reyna, the screen, located on 3rd Street NW between Madison and Jefferson Drive NW, was an effective strategy get lawmakers attention as the stories and images appear for 24 hours. 

"It’s really important to have it right in front of the Capitol to make sure when they look out the window that it’s the first thing that they see. Faces of people directly impacted. The faces of the 122 people who are falling out of status everyday. The 14,000 people by Dec. 22 will have lost status and are at risk of deportation."

Eligible applicants for DACA are individuals under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012, who arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16 and have continuously resided in the U.S. from June 15, 2007. Recipients are qualified to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and a work permit. 

In September Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced an end to the five-year DACA program.

Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[US Open to NKorea Talks 'Without Precondition': Tillerson]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 21:08:51 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/876790472-Rex-Tillerson-White-House.jpg

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday that the United States is open to talks with North Korea without preconditions, saying it is unrealistic for the country to give up its nuclear weapons program before discussions can begin.

"It's not realistic to say we're only going to talk if you come to the table ready to give up your program, they have too much invested in it," Tillerson said at the Atlantic Council think tank, NBC News reported.

Tillerson said President Donald Trump "is very realistic about that as well."

"We've said from the diplomatic side, we're ready to talk any time North Korea would like to talk and we're ready to have the first meeting without precondition," Tillerson said.

Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images, File]]>