Saturday, March 11, 2017

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara Says He Did Not Resign and Was Fired by the Department of Justice

An outspoken Manhattan federal prosecutor known for crusading against public corruption said Saturday that he was fired from his post after refusing to step down.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a tweet Saturday that he did not comply with Attorney General Jeff Sessions' request to resign along with other prosecutors appointed by former President Barack Obama. Bharara said in the tweet he was fired Saturday. 

Click here for summary.

Source: NBC News

Swastikas Carved into NYC Church That Offers Sanctuary to Undocumented Immigrants

Dozens of people gathered at their Upper West Side church Friday night in a show of force against hateful symbols carved into their doors.

Community members, leaders and church parishioners gathered for the standing room-only service at the Fourth Universalist Society, where swastikas were carved into the church's recently refurbished doors. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

Intruder Arrested After Breaching White House Grounds

Bitter Temperatures Sweep East Ahead of Major Nor’easter

After some Spring-like temperatures earlier in the week, a brutal cold snap hits the East Coast along with a snowstorm that blanketed parts of the area. Now a nor’easter will likely bring the possibility for heavy snow. NBC’s Indra Petersons tells TODAY what to expect next. 

Click here for video.

Source: NBC News/TODAY

President Trump's Weekly Address

White House Press Briefing

Coming to a TV Near You: Trump’s America

Tales detailing the plight of America's disillusioned middle class and the realities of life in rural United States are making their way to a TV near you, according to television and film experts.

Sitcom writers are now grappling with how to best reflect the slice of the electorate that voted for Donald Trump, and delve into the deep cultural and political divides exposed during the 2016 presidential race.

The television industry will likely start developing new shows based on this political reality later in the year or early next year, said Eric Deggans an award winning author and television critic with NPR. 

Click here for the full article.

Mistrustful Trump Purges US Attorneys

Oval Office Chat: Mahmoud Abbas

On March 10, President Trump and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas spoke by phone to discuss ways to advance peace throughout the Middle East region, including a comprehensive agreement that would end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The President emphasized his personal belief that peace is possible and that the time has come to make a deal. The President noted that such a deal would not only give Israelis and Palestinians the peace and security they deserve, but that it would reverberate positively throughout the region and the world. He underscored that such a peace agreement must be negotiated directly between the two parties, and that the United States will work closely with Palestinian and Israeli leadership to make progress toward that goal.The President noted that the United States cannot impose a solution on the Israelis and Palestinians, nor can one side impose an agreement on the other. The President invited President Abbas to a meeting at the White House in the near future.  

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Friday, March 10, 2017

President Trump Leads a Healthcare Discussion with Key House Committee Chairmen

Date of event: March 10, 2017

'Flashback Friday': The Most Evil Women In History, Ilse Koch

Trailblazers in Black History: Phyllis Hyman

The history of modern soul music is unfortunately littered with stories of truly magnificent artists who spent much of their adult lives fighting personal demons while creating seminal music.  Phyllis Hyman is, sadly, one of those stories.  The Philadelphia native was a popular jazz club singer in New York when hot producer Norman Connors witnessed her show and pegged her to perform a cover of the Stylistics' "Betcha By Golly Wow" on his You Are My Starship album.  Her emotive, jazzy stylings melded perfectly with Connors' production, and her stunning performance resulted in her being signed by Buddah Records for a 1977 self-titled solo debut.

Her first album was a moderate success, and included a very nice cover of the Spinners' "I Don't Want To Lose You." The next year Buddah merged into Arista Records and Hyman embarked on a series of albums that scored well in the emerging urban adult contemporary format, but with little crossover success.  The material provided to her during this period was somewhat uneven, but on each album she demonstrated that she was developing into one of the finest soul vocalists in the world.  And while she was not a "singles" artist, she recorded her share of memorable radio cuts, including "You Know How to Love Me," "Riding the Tiger," "Can't We Fall In Love Again" (with Michael Henderson), and the dramatic "Somewhere In My Lifetime" (produced by, of all people, Arista stablemate Barry Manilow).  She also emerged as a fine concert performer, and became a headliner in multi-artist soul shows around the world. 

Click here for the full article. 


These Entrepreneurs Brought 100 Black College Students to SXSW

One hundred African-American college students are headed to the famed SXSW festival today courtesy of an Atlanta technology entrepreneur and his NFL-linebacker partner.

The effort, dubbed HBCU@SXSW, is aimed at expanding opportunities to build startups or to become investors in those companies. It also seeks to introduce black students, particularly from historically Black colleges to heavy hitters from Silicon Valley, which is notorious for its lack of diversity.

HBCU @SXSW, now in its second year, is the brainchild of Rodney Sampson, co-founder and CEO of Opportunity Ecosystem. The Atlanta-based company partners with professional athletes (an early investor is Tennessee Titans defensive end Derrick Morgan), foundations and municipalities to connect entrepreneurs and tech investors. 

Click here for the full article.

President Trump to Speak With Palestinian President Abbas

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will speak Friday by telephone with President Trump in the first contact between the two leaders since Trump took office in January.

Trump's planned phone call to Abbas was revealed in a White House notice.

Abbas has spent many hours on the phone and in meetings with U.S. presidents and secretaries of state over the past decade but he has been unsuccessful when reaching out to Trump. His office did not comment ahead of the call. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

Trump’s First Economic Report Card: A Strong 235,000 Jobs Added in February

The first full jobs report of the Trump administration came in like a lion: America added 235,000 new jobs to the economy in February, beating analyst expectations that had pegged the monthly figure at 190,000, and paving the way for a Fed rate hike. 

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics also showed that the unemployment rate ticked down from 4.8 percent to 4.7 percent, indicating that slightly fewer Americans are out looking for work.

Wage growth, a key indicator that disappointed in January but had a strong showing in December, at 2.9 percent — the biggest uptick in seven years — also improved for February, hitting 2.8 percent year on year. Higher wages indicate a tighter labor market, with employers forced to offer better pay to attract workers. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News 

Speaker Ryan Gives PowerPoint on Obamacare Replacement

With his sleeves rolled up and clicker in hand, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan breaks down the "three-pronged approach" for repealing and replacing Obamacare.

Trump Effect? Smugglers Raise Price for Sneaking People Across U.S. Border

The price for making illegal entry into the U.S. across the Mexican border has gotten a whole lot steeper in a hurry, according to a Drug Enforcement Administration document obtained by NBC News.

As recently as last November, undocumented immigrants were being charged $3,500 to be smuggled into the U.S. through the rugged terrain that links Mexico to Arizona.

Two months and a few executive orders later, that cost has ballooned to $8,000, according to the DEA document. Those entering the U.S. through border crossings using fake documents are being charged more than $12,000. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News

Anti-Immigrant Vigilantes Patrol Bulgaria's Border

100,000 People Are at Risk of Starvation in South Sudan's Famine

Two Dead as South Korea's Top Court Formally Removes President Park Geun-hye from Office

There have been ugly scenes in South Korea’s capital Seoul after the country’s highest court formally removed President Park Geun-hye from office.

Two of the ousted leader’s supporters were killed on Friday after the ruling sparked violent clashes.

The judgement, which brings an abrupt end to Park’s four years in office, means she is the first South Korean leader to be stripped of presidential powers since the country became a democracy in the late 1980s.

A new leader must now be elected within 60 days.

Earlier, the country’s acting president called on his administration to heal the deep divisions inside South Korea. 

Click here for summary/video.

Source: euronews. 

UN Accuses Turkey of 'Serious' Human Rights Violations'....

The United Nations has accused Turkey of ‘serious’ human rights violations during operations against Kurdish separatists in the south-east of the country.

The UN says up to half a million people were displaced and at least 2000 people killed from July 2015.

The town of Cizre is said to have seen destruction on a massive scale.

Numerous disappearances and instances of torture were also documented in a report released by the UN human rights office on Friday.  

Click here for summary/video. 

Source: euronews.

Geert Wilders 'Will Disappoint His Followers' Says Estranged Brother

Paul Wilders, brother of Geert, spoke to Euronews correspondent James Franey about his estranged sibling.

Click here for video.

Source: euronews.

Beware the 'Bridges You Burn' Tusk Warns Poland

European Council President Donald Tusk was on Thursday re-elected for a second term, despite opposition from his home country, Poland.

Initial reports suggest that Tusk, who was been council president since 2014, was re-elected with 27 votes out of 28

The vote took place during the first day of an EU Summit in Brussels.

Speaking at a news conference on Thursday evening, Tusk had philosophical words for all the EU countries, especially his own.

“I prepared my beloved quotation: ‘Be careful of the bridges you burn because once they are gone you can never cross them again’,” he said. 

Click here for summary/video.

Source: euronews. 

EU Split on Multi-Speed Europe

Poland has hit out at plans for a “multi speed” EU, arguing it will sideline some of the newer member states.

Warsaw made its intentions plain after the EU 27 discussed the European Commission’s blueprint for the future of the bloc.

“This is an attempt to divide the European Union… (our interest) is about those regions that want European unity, mutual respect, equal chances. And they are mostly Central and Eastern European countries,” said 
Beata Sydzlo, the Polish prime minister.

French President Francois Hollande, appearing at one of his last EU summits, said Europe could not afford to be paralysed by inaction. 

Click here for summary/video.

Source: euronews. 

Nigeria: Osinbajo Will Continue to Act as President While I Take Rest - Buhari

By Dibie Ike Michael

Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari on Friday asked the vice president, yemi Osinbajo to continue in the capacity of acting president while he takes rest.

The ailing president said he would undergo further medical tests in Britain within weeks.

“I deliberately came back towards the weekend, so that the Vice President (Yemi Osinbajo) will continue and I will continue to rest,” Buhari said in Abuja. “All I will need is to further follow up within some weeks,” he said.

The former military ruler left the country on January 19 and has been on medical leave in London. Details of his health condition has not been made public.

An official statement on Thursday said President Buhari had left Nigeria for a “vacation, during which he had medical check-ups. The leave was extended based on doctors’ recommendation for further tests and rest.” the statement said.

Click here for summary/video.

Source: euronews. 

Bomb Threat Made Against JASA in Midwood, Brooklyn

Statement by Governor Andrew Cuomo

The bomb threat against JASA in Midwood is yet another repulsive and cowardly act that goes directly against our state’s values. By threatening a place that serves our most vulnerable New Yorkers, this is a particularly appalling incident in the recent wave of hate and anti-Semitism that has afflicted our communities. 

“When is enough enough? This is not who we are and not who we should be.”

“In response to this threat, I am directing the New York State Police to coordinate with federal and local law enforcement to launch a full investigation into this matter. We are committed to bringing whoever is responsible for this egregious act to justice.” 

Cuomo and De Blasio Increase Award Amount for
Info Leading to Arrest and Conviction of a Hate Crime

Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced an increase in the reward amount – from New York State's current $5,000 reward to a joint State-City $20,000 reward – for any information leading to an arrest and conviction for a hate crime. The increased amount follows a significant uptick in reported hate crimes and anti-Semitism in New York City, New York State and across the nation – including a bomb threat yesterday at the Jewish Children’s Museum in Brooklyn and earlier this week at the Anti-Defamation League in Manhattan.

"The Statue of Liberty holds the torch high in New York's Harbor, an eternal reminder that our state will always be the beacon for tolerance and acceptance," Governor Cuomo said. "We have zero tolerance for intolerance, and I encourage all New Yorkers to report any instance of hate, bias or discrimination. We will continue to aggressively work with our federal and local partners to hold those responsible accountable to the fullest extent of the law, keep our communities safe, and uphold our core values of diversity and inclusion."

"The recent spate of threats against our Jewish community are threats against all of us. Those directed at children are particularly disturbing. As New Yorkers, we stand united in the face of cowardly tactics designed to frighten, disrupt and divide us," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "I'm proud to join forces with the governor as we work with our local, state and federal partners in law enforcement to see that the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice. The NYPD is the finest police force in the world and I have no doubt those responsible for these incidents will not be able to hide in the shadows for long."

Reported hate crime incidents in New York State have dramatically increased over the last five months. More than 100 alleged hate crimes have been reported in New York City since the beginning of 2017 – more than double the number of reported incidents over the same period last year. The number of incidents reported outside of New York City in November and December of 2016 also doubled compared to the same period in 2015. 

New Yorkers who have experienced bias or discrimination are encouraged to call New York State’s toll-free hotline at (888) 392-3644 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. MondayFriday or text “HATE” to 81336. 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Cuomo Urged to Clean Up NY Fleet with $117M Volkswagen Settlement

Albany – New York State has $117 million dollars coming to its coffers as a result of the national settlement stemming from Volkswagen cheating on emission standards. With asthma in many communities being at crisis levels, Environmental Advocates of New York has issued a call for Governor Cuomo and state legislators to invest these funds – 90-percent of which must be specifically designated for diesel emission reductions – to finally implement the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) of 2006.

Environmental Advocates also issued a new report, Sitting Idly By: New York’s Children Breathe Dirty Air Due to Diesel Law Delays, which documents the state’s lack of progress in achieving the spirit of DERA, which was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support after diesel’s health impacts gained widespread attention.

DERA has been delayed within the State Budget since 2010. It covers all state-owned and state-contracted-for vehicles.

Caitlin O’Brien, environmental health associate at Environmental Advocates of New York, and author of Sitting Idly By said, “Volkswagen lied to authorities and their consumers by cheating on emission standards, and they contributed to the air pollution harming the health of all breathers. We’re in a unique position – New York State can turn a bad situation into welcome action for communities where lungs are at risk and kids’ lives endangered due to dirty diesel. With all the roll backs we see happening at the federal level the question is ‘do New York’s leaders have the political will to lead by example and protect our air?’”

Eddie Bautista, executive director, NYC Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA) said, "Low-income communities of color have dealt with disproportionate levels of air pollution from diesel trucks for far too long. The lack of progressive regulations around diesel pollution need to be addressed. While $117 million is hardly a drop in the bucket, the Volkswagen debacle provides a chance to build momentum in the right direction and undo decades of environmental racism.”

DERA Delays Harm Public Health

Particulate matter from diesel emissions, also known as soot, can become lodged in the lungs of otherwise healthy people, and can cause or increase the risk of premature death, breathing problems, shortness of breath, asthma attacks, or respiratory infections. According to Dr. Christopher Portier of the World Health Organization (WHO), “... diesel engine exhaust causes lung cancer in humans. Given the additional health impacts from diesel particulates, exposure to this mixture of chemicals should be reduced worldwide.”

Studies have found that up to 20-percent of Bronx children have asthma, while Bronx residents suffered asthma-related deaths at three times the national average. At one school located near the Peace Bridge in Buffalo, 25-percent of students suffered from asthma according to a 2013 study. Approximately half of all residents at Albany’s Ezra Prentice Homes have asthma, where 1,000 diesel trucks pass by daily. Additionally, nearly 300,000 Long Island residents currently suffer from asthma.

Overall, the American Lung Association, states that there are 1.4 million adults and 315,000 children living with asthma in New York State, resulting in an estimated $1.3 billion in direct medical costs and lost productivity.

Spewing Soot: New York’s Unfulfilled Promise

Environmental Advocates reviewed data from several state agencies accessed through freedom of information (FOIL) requests. Much of the data released by the Cuomo Administration is incomplete, indecipherable, and outright contradictory to previous statements made by Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos. In early 2016, in response to questions from Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan), Commissioner Seggos said the state fleet was 82-percent compliant.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) failed to provide compliance information on even a single vehicle despite having told legislators in 2016 they were in total compliance. Agriculture and Markets similarly failed to provide information requested.

The Thruway Authority provided helpful data which demonstrated that 271 of 604 vehicles in the DERA program were compliant: 44-percent. And according to the Power Authority, 14-percent of their 111 vehicle fleet is compliant with the law.

Meanwhile, the DEC responded with an array of data from several other agencies, which fails to explain how the DEC (or some variation of the other agencies) account for an 82-percent compliance rate, raising significant confusion about the status of DEC operations, and DERA compliance government-wide.

O’Brien added, “There is no joy in pointing out that moms, dads, and kids statewide have been waiting more than a decade for New York State to follow through on its promise. Volkswagen funds mean there can be no more excuses and no more delays.” 
Source: Environmental Advocates of New York

Piscopo Makes His Move in NJ Gov’s Race

By Ken Kurson 

PolitickerNJ has learned that Comedian-Actor-Radio Host Joe Piscopo summoned Tony Perry to his residence in Hunterdon County last weekend. Perry is the Chief of Staff to State Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-Middletown). Piscopo, the morning drive time host on AM970, became highly associated with the Garden State via his Paulie Herman character (“I’m from Jersey”) and Frank Sinatra impressions on Saturday Night Live. He has been frequently mentioned as a possible candidate for governor this year, either as a Republican or Independent. 

Click here for summary. 

Source: Observer

An anti-Trump Tabloid Pulls Back

The New York Daily News, whose covers eviscerated Candidate Trump in 2016, is taking a different tack with President Trump

For most of 2016, the New York Daily News was America’s paper of opposition to Donald Trump. But in the months since the election, just as Trump’s war with the press started going nuclear, the Manhattan-based tabloid has largely pulled back on its famous anti-Trump covers in favor of a decidedly more measured tone.

The change followed a shakeup in editorial leadership just weeks before Nov. 8. The previous editor, Jim Rich, had been resisting pressure from management to soften the Trump covers, people familiar with the matter said. He was told they were diminishing an already much diminished print subscriber base, these people said, particularly among blue-collar readers in certain corners of New York’s outer boroughs, where Trump’s nationalistic populism apparently resonates in a way that is anathema to the city’s cosmopolitan districts and immigrant enclaves.

After Rich stepped down on Oct. 18, his successor, the Pulitzer Prize-winning, longtime News fixture Arthur Browne, made clear in a meeting with editors that he believed the paper’s front-page Trump coverage needed to take a different direction, sources familiar with the remarks told POLITICO. At times, he has described the earlier anti-Trumpism as an “adventure,” according to someone who heard the remark, suggesting that the adventure is over. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: Politico (via The Empire Report)

Dimon Says Trump Has Reawakened ‘Animal Spirits’ in the U.S.

Source: Bloomberg

Thursday, March 9, 2017

South Korea’s President Removed From Power After Impeachment

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea's disgraced President Park Geun-hye has been formally removed from power after the country's constitutional court unanimously upheld her impeachment for corruption and influence peddling.

The acting head of the eight-person court, Lee Jung Mi, said Park had "violated the principles of democracy and rule of law" by refusing to cooperate with prosecutors and independent counsel throughout the investigation process. 

The impeachment motion filed by lawmakers accused Park of extortion, bribery, abuse of power and leaking government secrets. 

Click here for the full article. 

Washington State to Join Hawaii in Challenge to New Travel Ban

President Trump Leads an NEC Listening Session With CEOs of Small and Community Banks

Date of event: March 9, 2017

White House Press Briefing

Confederate Monuments to Be Removed in New Orleans

A federal appeals court has upheld a ruling allowing New Orleans to remove three Confederate monuments in the city – likely resolving the case in which the Southern Poverty Law Center and others filed a legal brief that urged the monuments’ removal and documented their connections to the Confederacy’s legacy of white supremacy.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed the ruling this week, according to the New Orleans Advocate. The mayor’s office said the city will begin to remove the statues within a month. The City Council declared them a public nuisance last year.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has said the monuments – statues honoring Gens. Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard and Confederacy President Jefferson Davis – will be stored until a proper place for their display is found, according to a news report. The Monumental Task Committee Inc., had filed the lawsuit to block the monuments’ removal.  

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Southern Poverty Law Center

Department of Health Analysis: GOP Health Plan Puts New Yorkers in Significant Jeopardy

A Department of Health analysis of the House Republican's American Health Care Act has confirmed that the proposed legislation would put the health care coverage of more than 1 million New Yorkers in significant jeopardy.

Statement from Governor Cuomo:

"Health care is a human right, not a luxury. After seven years of progress under the Affordable Care Act, the Republican Congress has proposed an inadequate, ill-conceived and unacceptable plan that places the coverage of more than 1 million New Yorkers in jeopardy and, once fully phased in, would shift more than $2.4 billion in costs onto taxpayers and hospitals each year.

"Healthcare experts across the Country have rejected the Republican plan outright citing the devastating impact on patients and provides. The AARP says it will weaken Medicare and hike premiums for everyone over 50. Millions of seniors could lose home care and nursing home coverage. Hospital leaders say staffing and services will be cut.

"Furthermore, this plan is a direct assault on New York values – defunding Planned Parenthood, restricting access to abortion and reproductive health services, and eliminating $400 million in means tested credits that lowered insurance costs for low-income New Yorkers, while slashing taxes on the wealthy.

"In the end, people who will still have insurance will fall into two groups under this plan: older Americans and lower-income people who will pay more for coverage or lose it altogether, and higher-income people who will pay less.

"As bad as this bill is, it may get worse. Far-right opponents of the bill in Congress are demanding changes. As disturbing and devastating as the proposed cuts would be, the final result could be downright bone chilling.

"Affordable healthcare is not a partisan issue. New York’s entire delegation – democrats and republicans – need to stand up and they need to fight, stand against this regressive plan, and protect the people they are sworn to represent. There is no going back."

The Department of Health’s analysis of the House Republican’s American Health Care Act concludes that:

Over 1 million New Yorkers would face a significant loss in health care coverage under the plan.

Over $4.5 billion in costs would be shifted to state, counties, and safety net hospitals over the next four years increasing the tax burden on residents and putting countless healthcare providers in jeopardy.

At least $2.4 billion of these costs will be shifted annually beginning in 2020. This burden could grow even larger when the impact of Medicaid block grants is taken into account.

$400 million in tax credits used by New Yorkers to purchase health insurance on the New York State of Health insurance exchange would be lost and replaced in some cases with alternative subsidies which are not related ability to pay.

A wide range of benefits provided for under the Affordable Care Act are removed and savings are shifted to wealthy individuals and corporations. 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Julian Assange Says CIA 'Lost Control of Its Cyber Weapons Arsenal'

Cuomo Holds Press Breifing After Bomb Threat to Jewish Childrens Museum

Date of press conference: Match 9, 2017

$1.4 Billion "Vital Brooklyn" Initiative Announced

Date of event: March 9, 2017

Trump Administration Considers $6 Billion Cut to HUD Budget

The Trump administration has considered more than $6 billion in cuts at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to preliminary budget documents obtained by The Washington Post. The plan would squeeze public housing support and end most federally funded community development grants, which provide services such as meal assistance and cleaning up abandoned properties in low-income neighborhoods.

It’s the latest evidence that the administration is following through on President Trump’s goal to cut domestic spending by $54 billion to bolster the defense budget. HUD’s budget would shrink by about 14 percent to $40.5 billion in fiscal 2018, which begins in October.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson has taken a staunchly conservative stance on public assistance in the past, saying dependency on HUD programs could become “a way of life” for recipients. While suggesting significant cuts, the preliminary budget maintains the same level of funding to rental assistance programs and avoids reductions that could directly put families on the streets. Instead, it targets funding for building maintenance and community development projects, although HUD recommends in the budget document that those projects receive funding from another source. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Washington Post

President Trump Meets with Congressman Elijah Cummings

On March 8, President Trump met with Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) in the Oval Office to discuss rising prescription drug prices. This meeting was a result of a January telephone conversation, during which Congressman Cummings said that he and the President, “had more in common than differences.” President Trump expressed his desire to work with Congressman Cummings in a bipartisan fashion to ensure prescription drug prices are more affordable for all Americans, especially those who need lifesaving prescription medications. Reforming the Food and Drug Administration and reducing the regulatory burdens on drug manufacturers so as to enhance competition will help accomplish those goals. President Trump also offered his condolences to Congressman Cummings and his longtime staffer, Katie Malone, who lost six of her children in January in a tragic house fire. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

White House on Levinson Disappearance: 'We Will Not Rest Until This Case is Resolved'

  Sean Spicer

Statement from the Press Secretary on the Ten-Year
Anniversary of the Disappearance of Robert Levinson

Today, we mark the ten-year anniversary of the disappearance of United States citizen Robert “Bob” Levinson from Kish Island, Iran.  The Trump Administration remains unwavering in our commitment to locate Mr. Levinson and bring him home.  We want him back, and we will spare no effort to achieve that goal. 

The Levinson family has suffered far too much during the last decade due to the absence of Mr. Levinson, a loving father, brother, husband, grandfather, and friend to many.  Each and every day, but especially today, our hearts are with the Levinson family.  We will not rest until this case is resolved.

We encourage anyone with information about this case to contact the FBI at  or email the FBI at  A $5 million reward is available for information that leads to Mr. Levinson’s location and safe return.  All information provided will be kept confidential, and information can be provided anonymously. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary