<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - National & International News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.comen-usFri, 21 Oct 2016 04:16:59 -0700Fri, 21 Oct 2016 04:16:59 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Dem Group Against Third-Party Voting]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 01:52:30 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/johnson-stein.jpg

A deep-pocketed environmental group aligned with Hillary Clinton will blanket 1.1 million households in battleground states with mailers warning millennials that a vote for a third-party candidate only helps Donald Trump, the group told NBC News.

The League of Conservation Voters plans to spend $2.6 million before Election Day, most of which will go towards their efforts to prevent Libertarian Nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein — polling at about 7 percent and 3 percent, respectively — from siphoning votes away from Clinton.

"There are high stakes for young voters in this election, including the opportunity to meet the climate crisis head-on, and they overwhelmingly dislike Trump. But some may still be leaning towards a third-party candidate instead of Hillary," said LCV National Campaigns Director Clay Schroers. "This is a group of young people who don't want to risk a Trump presidency, and it's important that they know that a vote for anyone but Hillary is a vote for Trump."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Could an Undiscovered Planet Be Why Our Sun Is Tilted?]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 19:42:38 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Planet-Nine-artist%27s-rendering.jpg

A theoretical, distant and undiscovered planet in the solar system may be why the sun is tilted, according to a new study released this week by Caltech scientists.

It's called Planet Nine, NBC News reported, and it is said to be lurking deep in the Milky Way, tilting the planets in our solar system by as much as six degrees — or so the calculations say.

"Because Planet Nine is so massive and has an orbit tilted compared to the other planets, the solar system has no choice but to slowly twist out of alignment," said Elizabeth Bailey, lead author of the study announcing the discovery.

Planet Nine remains a mystery. It was proposed through computer and mathematical modeling, but one has actually seen it yet, far beyond Pluto, which used to be thought of as the ninth planet.

Photo Credit: Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)]]>
<![CDATA[Highlights From the 2016 Campaign Trail]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 03:53:14 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_16294053304596.jpg The 2016 presidential race has been contentious and full of surprises. Check out scenes from the campaign trail.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Clinton Speaks About Trump's Comments on Women]]> Wed, 19 Oct 2016 19:59:57 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Belitting-147693197079900001.jpg “Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger,” Hillary Clinton said at the debate on Oct. 19, 2016. Donald Trump responded by saying, "Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody." ]]> <![CDATA[Chicago, Post-Laquan McDonald]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 15:09:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-498664792-chicago.jpg

The shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald two years ago, on Oct. 20, 2014, has become the defining moment of a mayor, his police force, the criminal justice system and a city that for decades resisted with all its might the notion that a code of silence dictated who got justice and who did not.

Even Jamie Kalven, the independent Chicago journalist who first broke the story of the 2014 killing of the teenager, shot 16 times by Officer Jason Van Dyke, admits being stunned at it's impact.

"It is extraordinary," he said this week. "I’ve never seen anything like it. I couldn’t have imagined it."

Alderman Pat O'Connor, Rahm Emanuel's City Council floor leader, does not disagree.

"I think it has changed, definitely changed the way the city operates going forward," O'Connor said in an interview in his City Hall office.

It hardly started out that way.

A police involved shooting.

A kid with a knife — according to the now discredited official version — who was out of control.

"He lunged at police," asserted Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Pat Camden on the scene that night.

Ultimately, police dash cam video would prove that not to be true.

It was something City Hall and CPD knew within hours of Laquan McDonald's death. But the general public did not. Not until a year later, November of 2015, when a Cook County judge ordered the release of the video.

"Everybody saw in a very incredible way this young man being shot," O'Connor said.

"It has affected not just questions of police accountability and police-community relations but really every dimension of our public life in Chicago," Kalven said.

The ramifications were immense. Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy was fired. State's Attorney Anita Alvarez voted out of office. Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with murder and entered a plea of not guilty. Police reports showed a cavalier attitude by higher ups signing off on police reports that proved untrue. Federal prosecutors began to probe. The Justice Department opened a pattern and practice investigation. And the mayor was humbled as his popularity plunged.

"I know that the city’s efforts have been an honest attempt to make sure that we are making changes," Pat O’Connor argues. And there have been structural changes.

The Independent Police Review Authority, tasked with probing police shootings, was cast aside in favor of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.

But perhaps most significantly, police video evidence is to be released publicly within 60 days. In McDonald’s case it took 13 months for the city to be forced by a Cook County judge to release the damning pictures.

But it is how the system works — and worked the night of October 20, 2014 — that most concerns the journalist Jamie Kalven. What took place, he argues, went far beyond a cover-up.

"A cover-up would be a matter of a relatively small number of people conspiratorially suppressing something,” he said, adding he thinks this “is the way our institutions work. And I think we are all reckoning with that."

As is the family of Laquan McDonald, who released a statement on this second anniversary of his death reading:

Laquan’s death at the hands of Jason Van Dyke was a brutal and senseless act of violence.

Time has not dulled the pain of this tragic loss to his mother, his sister and the rest of his extended family.

We thank all of the people who have honored Laquan’s memory and continue to advocate for police reform.

We look forward to the day when Jason Van Dyke will be held responsible for Laquan’s senseless murder and everyone involved in trying to cover up this criminal act is held accountable.

Only then will justice truly be served.

Today, two special prosecutors and the U.S. Department of Justice continue to investigate.

As defining moments go, the case of Laquan McDonald still grips Chicago.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Officer Honored for Saving Boy, 3]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 15:19:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/granbury+ofc+miller.jpg

When seconds mattered, a North Texas police officer made an impact that will last a lifetime. And on Wednesday, the family of the 3-year-old boy whose life he saved got to thank its hero.

"Go give him a hug," Bethany Hoover told her 3-year-old son, Brayden Geis, sending him over to Granbury Police Officer Chase Miller.

There was a lot of meaning in that hug, a thank you too big for words for what Miller did last week.

"I thought my life was over when it happened. I mean, he is my life," Hoover said of her son.

Brayden was visiting his mother at work when he spiked a fever, had a seizure and stopped breathing.

"His eyes were rolling further and further in the back of his head, and it was just something you never want to see your son do," said Brayden's father, John Geis.

Miller was close by and heard the call on his radio. Even though he wasn't directly dispatched, Miller came straight over, making it to the scene long before an ambulance. He calmly took Brayden from his frantic mother and immediately started CPR.

"Just trying to get him breathing," Miller said. "Everything else that's going on around you doesn't matter at that point."

Miller got out a breathing mask and had Brayden's dad continue chest compressions until he started breathing again.

"He was crying and it was just relief immediately," Hoover said.

Granbury's City Council honored Miller for his quick thinking Tuesday night. But a hug from Brayden's little arms is all he needs.

"It feels good to know that he's all right," Miller said. "I'm very thankful."

Thankful doesn't begin to cover it for Brayden's mom and dad. Their little fireball is back at it like nothing happened, though his parents will make sure he knows the story.

"He's going to know who saved his life," John Geis said.

Miller and his wife are expecting their first child, and Brayden's mom gave him some advice: never let go.

The two families plan to stay in touch for a long time.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[A Quick and Dirty Guide to Polls for the 2016 Election]]> Fri, 14 Oct 2016 13:15:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/split2-template-new-trump-clinton.jpg

This election, polls have been center stage and often come under fire.

Donald Trump has mentioned online polls, for example, only to have them be contested as falsified, irrelevant, unethical, or out-of-context. But even more respected polls have been all over the map, with most showing a Clinton lead but by vastly different margins.

What explains this variation? How are polls conducted, and what makes for a trustworthy survey? Here's a look into polling during the 2016 election season. 

But first, an introduction.

How Are Polls Conducted?
In 2016, most polls are done either online or over the phone. Pollsters use a sample size — a group meant to represent the larger population — to project how American citizens will vote in November. They come up with unique definitions of their populations: some survey registered voters, others likely voters, and others the adult population. "Likely voters" is an especially tricky category, as pollsters have to define what that means by measuring the enthusiasm of their respondents. 

And low response rates make it difficult for pollsters to get a truly random sample, experts said. 

"No poll is perfect," said Andrew Gelman, political science and statistics professor at Columbia University. "Response rates are typically less than 10 percent. So every poll needs to adjust the sample to match the population in some way."

Because the polls aren’t random, biases based on the sample taint the data.

Polls often differ because their samples vary.

"Who responds to a poll changes from one day to a next," Gelman said. "Different people are home. Different people are likely to respond."

When one of the parties is especially mobilized, its candidate will often experience a bump in the polls that doesn’t necessarily represent a change in public opinion. For example, after the Republican National Convention, Trump saw a perceived increase in support, and Hillary’s lead jumped immediately after the DNC. 

Polling can also prove a self-determining process because if a candidate is thought to be winning, more of his or her followers will take the time to answer a survey, which changes the polling summary.

"Recently, there’s been a big shift towards Hillary Clinton in the polls, and I think that does represent a real shift in public opinion, and I think there are people who have changed their vote intention," Gelman said. "But also, now that the news is looking better for Clinton, I think more Clinton supporters are likely to respond to polls. And now that the news is not looking so good for Trump, I think Trump supporters are less likely to respond." 

Gelman said this year's elections have proved different than those from the past. With Trump’s leaked 2005 video footage about sexual assault and subsequent Republican fall-out, things are becoming increasingly unclear.

"It’s really very hard for me as a political scientist to try to identify how important things like a split of the Republican party would be because historically, when we’ve had these kinds of splits, it’s typically been when the economy was going so strongly that basically everybody wanted to stay with the incumbent," Gelman said. "All sorts of things could happen. Presumably the most likely thing is that Clinton will win by a little bit more than 4 percent, but not a landslide. But it’s just hard to know because this is not something that we’ve really seen before."

And now, a deeper look at 2016 polling data, broken into three types: aggregated predictions, statistically relevant polls and unscientific surveys.

1. Aggregated Predictions 
Aggregated predictions are not polls, but analysis of available polling data to predict who is most likely to win the election.

Example: FiveThirtyEight
How It's Done: Nate Silver aggregates polling data to predict the outcome of the elections based on a model set months before. He forecasts the probability that each candidate will win in November and offers three options to interpret his predictions.

"It’s one way of us telling readers, 'Hey, we don’t have all the answers on this. Here’s a couple of different ways you can do it,'" said Micah Cohen, politics editor at FiveThirtyEight.

As of Oct. 14, all three of FiveThirtyEight's models give Hillary Clinton more than an 80 percent chance of winning the election.

The three forecasts are based on all polling data that the FiveThirtyEight team considers legitimate. They've banned a few pollsters because of "really compelling evidence that they’re faking polls or that they’re doing something else really shady," according to Cohen.

But FiveThirtyEight doesn't treat all polls equally. Silver has rated each poll, and those with higher grades are weighted more in the model. Cohen explained that grades are based on "how accurate… the pollster (has) been in the past" and "how methodologically sound" the pollster is. Silver relies more heavily on state polls because historically they've been right more often. 

The model makes predictions based on likely voters, a category Silver lets the pollsters define for themselves.

Strengths: According to Cohen, "The most basic strength is it does in a systematic and unbiased way what everyone is doing anyway."

Decades before FiveThirtyEight was conceived in 2008, politically active citizens were still trying to combine and decipher polls to predict who would win elections. Silver’s model is impartial, and so it should be more on point than subjective interpretations.

Silver was one of the most accurate pollsters during the 2012 elections, predicting every state in the union correctly.

Weaknesses: Statistical models improve with more data. Because presidential elections only happen every four years, FiveThirtyEight doesn’t have a ton of historical data to determine its model.

"We don’t know that much about how presidential elections work, and so we’re kind of limited by the sample size," Cohen said.

And then there’s the fact that, like many analysts, Silver was blindsided by a Trump Republican nomination. As Gelman said, this isn’t your typical election, and the polling data might not play by the same rules that led to correct FiveThirtyEight predictions in 2008 and 2012. 

Similar resources: The Upshot by The New York Times

2. Statistically Relevant Polls 
The most common polls during election season are conducted by polling organizations, often with a media partner, to predict the outcome of a race. The polls have a stastical basis, and pollsters typically release details on methodology and an expected margin of error. 

Example: Marist Institute for Public Opinion Poll
How It’s Done: Marist conducts both state and national polls, with live callers phoning both mobile phones and land lines. Lee M. Miringoff, the institute’s director, said that his team is in the field nearly every day.

Used by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, the Marist poll earned an "A" on FiveThirtyEight’s pollster rankings, correctly predicting 88 percent of the 146 polls Silver’s team analyzed.

A new poll released on Oct. 10 had Clinton up by 14 points in a two-party race and leading Trump by 11 points when third and fourth party candidates were introduced.

Each poll starts with a sample size of approximately 1,100 adults 18 and older. For national polls, Miringoff determines how many voters to call in each state from the state’s population and relative weight in the election. His probability model is based on likely voters, so first he must find out if the person on the line is registered to vote. Then, he asks a series of questions to gauge how likely they are to cast a ballot. Even if someone is unlikely to vote, they’re included in the model — their vote just weighs less. 

"In polling, not all opinions are created equally," Miringoff said. "The ones who are going to vote are the ones you are most interested in finding out about."

Miringoff can ensure that his data is fitting with the U.S.’ demography by comparing census calculations with his own. He emphasized that the polls represent how the American people feel in the moment. A poll before and after one of the debates might not look the same.

"It’s all about timing. When you’re dealing with an election, it’s a moving target," he said. "This campaign has been one of ups and downs at different times, usually after an important event."

Strengths: By using two different methods — landlines and cellphones — Miringoff offsets bias from both (though not bias from only using calling). Younger people are more likely to pick up their iPhones, whereas older voters might still have a landline, so Marist’s polling takes into account different demographics based on the media they use. The team is also able to take note of how many people own cell phones versus landlines in each state and distribute polling to reflect that — one state may be 80 percent cells and 20 percent landlines, while another is 60 percent and 40 percent.

Weaknesses: The model takes time and costs money. A post-debate poll, for example, might last four days. Meanwhile, some pollsters are releasing data the night of the debate. Miringoff said that those polls will be skewed, as most responses will come from those impassioned to weigh in after 10:30 p.m. on the East Coast. But they’re fast.

Also, refusal rate (which includes people who aren’t home or whose numbers don’t work) is pretty high. These days, it’s hard to get someone to agree to take a survey over the phone. “Clearly it’s become a more difficult process,” Miringoff said.

Similar resources: Quinnipiac University, Gallup, CBS News/New York Times 

Example: UPI/CVoter Poll
How It’s Done: The UPI/CVoter poll is one of two mainstream polls that has often predicted a Trump victory or shown a nearly tied election (the other is the University of Southern California/ Los Angeles Times poll). Both polls use last vote recall, where pollsters ask respondents who they voted for in the last presidential election to gauge how many voters are switching parties or won’t vote at all after participating in the last election. According to Yashwant Deshmukh of CVoter, last vote recall accounts for the Trump lead in his past predictions. However, UPI’s latest data shows Clinton with a comfortable lead

CVoter has a "C+" on Silver’s pollster ratings. 

After using a phone model in 2012, CVoter has moved online for 2016, experimenting with multiple platforms (like SurveyMonkey, Google, etc.) to garner about 250 responses per day. Internet users are incentivized to answer. Boosters focus on specific demographics — for example, one survey is in Spanish, exclusively targeting Latino voters. 

CVoter measures likely voters by simply asking, "How likely are you to vote?" Its cut-off model removes unlikely and undecided voters from the equation. Like Marist, CVoter polls nationally based on population per state. 

Strengths: It’s fast. UPI can update predictions with the data from 250 responses every day.

Weaknesses: Because the poll is online and compensated in some way, it’s tainted with participation bias — tendencies that skew the data.

"It is not a random probability sample," Deshmukh said. "Nobody claims that."

Deshmukh conceded that he’s "not a big fan of online samples," and if possible, he would have chosen a calling model with both landlines and mobiles. However, using automated dialers to call cells is illegal in the United States, and hand-dialing each number would make the process too expensive, he said. 

Also, there’s a reason why most pollsters don’t use last vote recall — it relies on people remembering actions from four years ago, and respondents may misreport.

Deshmukh did not directly address his company's "C+" rating on FiveThirtyEight.

Similar resources: YouGov, Reuters/Ipsos, Google Consumer Surveys

3. Unscientific Surveys
Unscientific surveys are Internet-based polls that ask the user - anyone who comes to the site - to indicate their preference. They can quickly get feedback on a real-time event, such as a debate or a political convention. 

Example: The First Debate

The day after the first 2016 presidential debate, Trump tweeted out that his "movement" had won the night before. He included an image with 10 polls all showing him as the victor. However, national polls conducted during the week following the debate implied a bump in Clinton's overall popularity. 

So why did 10 polls indicate that she had lost the debate?

Websites like Drudge Report and CNBC launched surveys to try to monitor how each candidate performed. They were unscientific, in that they didn't use any controls. Forget categories like "likely" or "registered" voters -- anyone from around the world could respond, and if someone used proxies, the user could get into the survey multiple times. Also, as Miringoff noted, the East Coast respondents would only be those who were fired up and and would not be representative of national opinion. 

Strengths: Unscientific polls yield nearly immediate results. As Gelman said, “People want to click every day, so you have to have something new."

Weaknesses: There is absolutely no evidence that they're believable.  

What It All Means
According to Cohen, data from the last 15 presidential campaigns indicate that polls don't move much between October and Election Day. So based on current polls, the U.S. is is more likely to elect its first female president on Nov. 8. 

But the final tally will probably be close, Gelman said. In the end, what matters is which "likely voters" turn up to the voting booths. 

“There is evidence that there’s higher turnout in close elections," Gelman said.

And polls are subject to human error and can be wrong, as Cohen pointed out. 

“These are tools built by very fallible people,” he said. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[New Accuser Says Trump Groped Her at 1998 US Open]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 11:10:27 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/trump-accuser_720.jpg

A New York yoga instructor came forward Thursday as Donald Trump's 10th accuser of sexual misconduct and said the Republican presidential nominee groped her in 1998, leaving her feeling "intimidated" and "powerless."

Karena Virginia said Trump touched her breast while she was waiting for a car after attending the US Open tennis tournament in Queens in 1998.

Nine women have previously come forward to accuse Trump of sexual misconduct. Trump has denied those allegations.

A Trump campaign representative also rejected Virginia's account as "fictional" and alleged a "coordinated" attack between her lawyer and the Clinton campaign.

"Discredited political operative Gloria Allred, in another coordinated, publicity seeking attack with the Clinton campaign, will stop at nothing to smear Mr. Trump," said Jessica Ditto, the campaign's deputy communications director. "Give me a break. Voters are tired of these circus-like antics and reject these fictional stories and the clear efforts to benefit Hillary Clinton." 

Allred, who is supporting Hillary Clinton for president, said earlier Thursday that she had not been in touch with Clinton's campaign about Virginia.

Virginia said she never met Trump before the incident occurred. She said she was waiting for her car when she saw Trump talking to other men and overheard Trump tell the men: “'Hey look at this one. We haven’t seen her before. Look at those legs.' As though I was an object, rather than a person.”

She said Trump approached her, grabbed her by the arm and touched her right breast. 

"I was in shock, I flinched," Virginia said. "'Don’t you know who I am?' That's what he said to me."

Virginia said she told her husband and others about the incident, which she said made her feel "intimidated" and "powerless."

She said Trump's actions made her ashamed that she wore a short dress and high heels and that for years afterward she struggled with what to wear so as not to attract unwanted attention from men. 

Virginia said she saw Trump about five years ago in a business setting with other people present and that he "looked her up and down" several times at that event. 

"I had come to the realization that I was the victim," she said. He had violated me when he groped me years earlier."

Trump has said that he's never met some of his accusers and claimed that Hillary Clinton campaign was involved in fabricating allegations against him. 

Virginia said no one has asked her to come forward and that many people advised her not to speak publicly fearing Trump would attack her for speaking out. 

"Perhaps you do not remember me or what you did to me so many years ago but I can assure you I remember you and what you did to me as though it was yesterday," Virginia said. "Your random moment of sexual pleasure came at my expense and affected me greatly."

Allred, Virginia's lawyer, said she was not considering a lawsuit against Trump. Allred said the celebrity businessman's statement at the debate Wednesday night that "nobody has more respect for women than I do" is "ludicrous."

Allred held a press conference with another one of Trump's accusers last week, who said he forcibly kissed her and thrusted his genitals at her. Summer Zervos, a former contestant on "The Apprentice" reality show, alleged Trump made the inappropriate sexual contact at a Beverly Hills hotel in 2007.

"Today’s victim is also noteworthy in that her allegations demonstrate how Mr. Trump selects his victims at random,” Allred said Thursday.

<![CDATA[Top News Photos of the Week]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 10:27:18 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_16294405940954.jpg View daily updates on the best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: Sakchai Lalit/AP]]>
<![CDATA[AG Won't Probe Deadly NYPD Shooting of Mentally Ill Woman]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 20:57:37 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/deborah+danner.jpg

New York's attorney general will not investigate this week's deadly NYPD shooting of a mentally ill Bronx woman, saying a review of the evidence indicated the case falls outside the jurisdiction of his office.

Eric Schneiderman said Thursday "there is no question" the shooting of 66-year-old Deborah Danner should be investigated, but he said the probe does not fall under the purview of his office under a 2015 executive order allowing for a special prosecutor in police shootings "only under limited circumstances." 

"It is vital to note that this jurisdictional determination has no legal impact whatsoever on the ultimate question of whether or not a crime was committed, or whether the officer involved should be prosecuted," Schneiderman said, adding it is up to the Bronx district attorney to decide whether to bring a case.

Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said Thursday her office would "conduct a full, reasoned and independent investigation into this matter, with an open mind, and any decisions that I make will be based upon the evidence."

The development comes a day after top city officials, including the mayor and NYPD commissioner, condemned the fatal shooting as "unacceptable." 

Officers were called to Danner's seventh-floor apartment on Pugsley Avenue Tuesday after a neighbor called 911 to report a disturbance. NYPD Sgt. Hugh Barry, an eight-year department veteran, encountered the schizophrenic woman in her bedroom; she was naked and armed with scissors. He persuaded her to put down the scissors but as he was coaxing her out of the room, she picked up the baseball bat and charged him. Barry fired two shots, killing her. 

Both NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill and Mayor de Blasio have pledged a thorough investigation into the shooting. In the meantime, Barry has been placed on modified duty, stripped of his gun and his badge. 

O'Neill said Wednesday it was evident some NYPD protocols around mentally ill suspects were not followed in Danner's case. The investigation will focus on a number of factors, including why Barry did not deploy his stun gun. 

"What is clear in this one instance, we failed. I want to know why it happened," O'Neill said. 

De Blasio said Wednesday the sergeant who shot Danner was among the thousands of cops who received proper training as it relates to the mentally ill. 

"Something went horribly wrong here," the mayor said. "It's quite clear our officers are supposed to use deadly force only when faced with a dire situation and it's very hard for any of us to see that that standard was met here." 

"Deborah Danner should be alive right now, period," de Blasio added. "If the protocols had been followed, she would be alive. It's as simple as that." 

Dozens of people called for justice for Danner in a march Wednesday night through the streets of Castle Hill. On Thursday, dozens of mourners gathered outside Danner's Bronx home to grieve and call for change. 

Ed Mullins, president of the NYPD Sergeants Benevolent Association, said Barry was patient in trying to deescalate the situation. He said Barry was trying to convince Danner to leave the bedroom in a peaceful manner when she grabbed the bat, ignored his demands to drop it, and aimed the weapon at his head. 

"Fearing for his own life, as well as the lives of others, Sgt. Barry fired two shots from his service weapon and mortally wounded Ms. Danner," Mullins said in a statement. "Sgt. Hugh Barry, an eight-year department veteran with an exemplary record, took immediate charge of the situation. As a frontline supervisor, it is his responsibility to do so." 

Barry has been the subject of two lawsuits in 2010 and 2011 alleging brutality, according to court records. The first was settled for $25,000 and the second for $10,000.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Thank You to Ticketing Trooper]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 16:26:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/njsp+trooper.PNG

A New Jersey State trooper received a surprising letter from a driver he'd pulled over to ticket last week.

New Jersey State Police posted on its Facebook page Thursday a praise-filled note from Dave Coskey, general manager of Longport Media, a company that owns and operates radio stations in southern New Jersey.

In the letter, Coskey expressed how impressed he was with Trooper 7515’s dedication to encouraging drivers to slow down and save lives.

“He could have easily handed me the summons and walked away. But he didn’t,” Coskey wrote. “It was pretty obvious that this trooper was really interested in safe driving on the Parkway.”

Coskey was driving his wife’s car on Sunday when he was pulled over. He admitted that “her German car has a bit more pep than [his] Jeep” and he wasn’t paying as much attention to his speed as he usually did. It was the first time he had been pulled over in 15 years, Coskey wrote.

After the trooper handed Coskey his summons, he explained that there had been some recent fatal accidents on the Parkway and the NJSP was working to make the Parkway a safer place to drive. But the trooper’s concern didn’t stop there.

“He finished by asking me as I departed to please use the shoulder as an acceleration lane and that he would remain behind me to help make it safe to re-enter the highway – which he did,” Coskey wrote.

After reflecting on the interaction, Coskey wrote a letter to the NJSP to express his appreciation of how well the trooper had presented himself.

“I never expected to be blown away by an interaction with a trooper after being stopped,” Coskey wrote. “His demeanor and actions are a credit to the State Police.”

The trooper is “adamant about remaining anonymous,” the New Jersey State Police Facebook page reads. "He told us that he wants no recognition for just doing his job. Well, he's doing a phenomenal job!"

Photo Credit: NJSP / Facebook
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<![CDATA[Owner of Lost Wedding Photos ID'd]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 03:55:21 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lost+sim+card.jpg

A German choir singer will be reunited with a camera memory card filled with priceless photos, a week after a New Jersey woman contacted NBC 4 New York after finding the chip on a street near World Trade Center. 

A singer for the Berlin Radio Choir was able to identify the photos on the SD card that Tammy Tozer found in the Financial District on Oct. 14

The singer emailed NBC 4 New York after a segment featuring the photos aired on News 4 New York Tuesday and was able to get in touch with Tozer, who lives in southern New Jersey.

The card was full of wedding and family vacation photos, but Tozer wasn't able to find anything on it identifying the owners.

Tozer is planning on overnighting the SD card to the singer's hotel so he can be reunited with the images before the choir finishes its performances at the Lincoln Center and heads back to Germany on Saturday.

<![CDATA['Day of Action' Marks Anniversary of Laquan McDonald Killing]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 21:56:55 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-498665158.jpg

The two-year anniversary of the shooting death of Laquan McDonald was met with protests and calls for change from hundreds of demonstrators.

With some declaring Oct. 20 Laquan Day, protesters are expected to gather for a “day of action” to “commemorate his life.”

An event is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Chicago Police Headquarters, where demonstrators are set to speak out at a Chicago Police Board Hearing, demanding the “termination of all police officers involved with falsifying police reports in efforts of covering up [McDonald’s] death.”

Seventeen-year-old McDonald was shot 16 times on Oct. 20, 2014, by a Chicago officer. Police claimed at the time McDonald has lunged at them, but dashcam video released last year showed McDonald apparently walking away when he was shot.

Officers at the scene said McDonald was told numerous times to drop his knife, but the dashcam video of the shooting had no audio.

Officer Jason Van Dyke has been charged with first-degree murder in McDonald's death; he had pleaded not guilty. Several other officers involved in the case face administrative charges, including making a false report.

Many have questioned the handling of the case over the last two years, with a grand jury set to consider whether or not police officers lied in connection with the shooting.

A woman who witnessed the fatal police shooting has filed a federal lawsuit claiming she was detained by police and pressured to change her story shortly after the shooting.

“Two years ago Laquan McDonald lost his life tragically and unnecessarily," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. "His death was a wake-up call for our city on an issue that has challenged the city for decades, and brought a renewed commitment to a public conversation about policing and community relations. But more than just breaking from the past, we will continue working together across the city to build a brighter future by restoring trust between residents and our officers, and implementing the reforms necessary to prevent this from happening again.”

More than 600 people have said on Facebook they plan to attend the Thursday evening event.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fact Checking the Final Presidential Debate]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 04:53:04 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_16294052406753.jpg

The third — and final — presidential debate between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump was held Oct. 19 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and moderated by Fox News’ Chris Wallace. We found plenty of factual inaccuracies:

  • Trump defended his recent claims about rampant voter fraud by citing a Pew Charitable Trust report that found millions of errors in voter registration rolls but didn’t allege any actual voting violations.
  • Trump falsely claimed that allegations of sexual harassment against him “have been largely debunked.” Trump has eight female accusers. In one case, a man claiming to be an eyewitness offered a conflicting account without providing evidence.
  • Trump also denied calling any of his accusers unattractive. But he implied it when he told his supporters, “Yeah, I’m gonna go after her. Believe me, she would not be my first choice.”
  • Clinton accused Trump of threatening to deport “undocumented workers” during the Trump Tower project in 1980. There is no evidence that Trump made such threats.
  • Clinton claimed she opposed a 2008 Supreme Court decision striking the Washington, D.C., handgun ban, because the city was trying “to protect toddlers from guns.” But she didn’t make that distinction last year in speaking at a private fundraiser.
  • Trump wrongly said that $6 billion was “missing” from the State Department when Clinton was secretary of state. The State Department Office of the Inspector General said that department records of $6 billion in contracts — not the money — were missing or incomplete.
  • Trump said the federal debt had doubled to $20 trillion under Obama. Clinton said annual deficits had been cut by two-thirds. Both were straining the facts.
  • Clinton and Trump disagreed about what Trump had said about more countries getting nuclear weapons. Clinton was closer to the truth. Trump did say perhaps Japan and South Korea should have nuclear weapons to protect themselves.
  • Trump falsely claimed that billionaire investor Warren Buffett, a Clinton supporter, did “the same thing” Trump did to avoid paying federal income taxes. Buffett said that’s not true and that he has “paid federal income tax every year since 1944.”
  • Trump and Wallace disagreed over whether Trump used money from his own foundation to settle his lawsuits. Trump did.
  • Each candidate misrepresented the other’s position on abortion. Trump suggested Clinton supported abortions on the “final day” of pregnancy, when she’s open to some late-term restrictions. Clinton said Trump favored “some form of punishment for women who obtain abortions.” He quickly walked back that comment months ago.
  • Trump implied a link between Chicago’s tough gun laws and gun violence in the city. But the opposite correlation — fewer gun laws and higher rates of gun deaths — has been shown, and a causation between the two factors is impossible to prove.

And there were more claims that we have fact-checked before: on NAFTA, NATO, hacking, Iraq and more.

Note to Readers: Staff writer D’Angelo Gore was at the debate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. This story was written by Gore with the help of the entire staff, based in the Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., areas.


Voter Fraud

Trump defended his recent claims about rampant voter fraud by citing a Pew Charitable Trust report that found millions of people whose voter registrations contained errors. But that’s not evidence of voter fraud, nor does the report allege wrongdoing. Rather, the Pew report said that it is evidence of the need to upgrade voter registration systems.

In fact, numerous voting experts told us that in-person voter fraud is rare.

In light of Trump’s recent comments about a “rigged” election process, Wallace asked Trump if he would accept the results of the election. Trump responded that he would ” look at it at the time.” Trump then went on to cite the Pew report as evidence of voter fraud.

Trump: If you look at your voter rolls, you will see millions of people that are registered to vote, millions. This isn’t coming from me, it’s coming from Pew report and other places. Millions of people that are registered to vote, that shouldn’t be registered to vote.

In a speech in Wisconsin on Oct. 17, Trump cited the same report as evidence that “people that have died 10 years ago are still voting.” That’s not what the report says.

The report, “Inaccurate, Costly and Inefficient: Evidence That America’s Voter Registration System Needs an Upgrade,” found that approximately 24 million voter registrations in the United States “are no longer valid or are significantly inaccurate.” It also found that “more than 1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as voters” and “approximately 2.75 million people have registrations in more than one state.” The report found that these inaccuracies could feed the “perception” that the system “could be susceptible to fraud.” But it did not allege that such voter fraud was occurring.

Indeed, researchers say voter fraud involving ballots cast on behalf of deceased voters is rare, as are instances of people voting in numerous states. In the case of “dead people” voting — typically determined by matching voting records to Social Security death records — a bit of digging almost always reveals these cases to be due to clerical errors or as a result of people who legally voted via absentee ballots or the early voting process but later died before Election Day, said Lorraine Minnite, a professor at Rutgers University and author of “The Myth of Voter Fraud.”

“There are a handful of known cases in which documentation shows that votes have been cast in the names of voters who have died before the vote was submitted,” wrote Justin Levitt in a 2007 report, “The Truth About Voter Fraud,” for the Brennan Center for Justice. “It is far more common, however, to see unfounded allegations of epidemic voting from beyond the grave.”

Many election experts say the kind of voter fraud Trump is talking about — voter impersonation — is extremely rare, and not enough to tip even a close presidential election. And there is plenty of research to back that up.

A December 2006 report by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission interviewed more than two dozen researchers and experts on voter fraud and intimidation, including Minnite. That report concluded that “impersonation of voters is probably the least frequent type of fraud because it is the most likely type of fraud to be discovered, there are stiff penalties associated with this type of fraud, and it is an inefficient method of influencing an election.”

We took an in-depth look at this issue and others raised by Trump regarding voter fraud in our story “Trump’s Bogus Voter Fraud Claims.”

Trump’s Female Accusers

Trump has been accused by eight women of sexual harassment — all of them stepping forward after an Oct. 8 story in the Washington Post about a video that shows Trump boasting of groping women and forcing himself on them.

During the debate, Trump denied the allegations and claimed “those stories have been largely debunked.”

Trump: Well, first of all, those stories have been largely debunked. Those people — I don’t know those people.

First of all, Trump does know some of his accusers. They include Natasha Stoynoff, a People magazine writer who wrote that Trump pushed her against a wall and forcibly kissed her on the mouth during a 2005 interview, and Summer Zervos, a former “Apprentice” contestant who claimed Trump “very aggressively” kissed her and “placed his hand on my breast” at a hotel in 2007. (CNN has compiled a list of his accusers.)

We asked the Trump campaign what evidence it has that the allegations made by the eight women “have been largely debunked.” But the campaign had a response for only two of the eight cases, including the allegations made by Zervos.

In Zervos’ case, the Trump campaign put out a statement by John Barry, who said he is a first cousin of Zervos. The statement does not debunk Zervos’ allegations; it merely questions them. Barry said he was “completely shocked and bewildered” by Zervos’ allegations, because in the past “she has had nothing but glowing things to say about Mr. Trump.”

The Trump campaign also pointed us to a man who challenged the story of Jessica Leeds, who claimed that Trump kissed and groped her on a plane more than three decades ago. In that case, the New York Post reported that the Trump campaign arranged an interview with Anthony Gilberthorpe, a 54-year-old British man who claimed to be on the plane with Trump and Leeds.

Gilberthorpe told the Post that he saw nothing inappropriate between the two during the flight and that Leeds “was the one being flirtatious.”

The New York Post also wrote, “Gilberthorpe has no evidence to back up his claim — just his self-described excellent memory.” It also noted that Gilberthorpe “made headlines in 2014, when he went public with a claim that as a 17-year-old he procured boys (some who “could have been” underage”) for sex parties with high-ranking British politicians.”

We also note that six people have stepped forward to corroborate Stoynoff’s story of Trump’s unwanted sexual advances and contact. One of those people — Stoynoff’s former journalism professor Paul McLaughlin — “says that the writer called him in tears looking for advice the very night of the harrowing encounter. However, he cautioned her to remain quiet in fear of how Trump may retaliate,” People wrote in a follow-up story.

The accusations by Leeds and Stoynoff also factored into another debate exchange when Trump denied that he ever described any of his accusers as “not attractive.”

Clinton: Well, he held a number of big rallies where he said that he could not possibly have done those things to those women because they were not attractive enough for them to be assaulted.

Trump: I did not say that. I did not say that.

Trump may not have used the words “not attractive,” but in denying their accounts he told supporters that Leeds “would not be my first choice” and urged them to visit Stoynoff’s Facebook page if they did not believe his denials. “Check out her Facebook page — you’ll understand,” he said.

Trump Tower Laborers

In a discussion about people who live and work illegally in the U.S., Clinton made the unsupported claim that Trump threatened to deport “undocumented workers” who complained about low wages during the construction of Trump Tower.

Clinton: Now, what I am also arguing is that bringing undocumented immigrants out from the shadows, putting them into the formal economy will be good, because then employers can’t exploit them and undercut Americans’ wages.

And Donald knows a lot about this. He used undocumented labor to build the Trump Tower. He underpaid undocumented workers, and when they complained, he basically said what a lot of employers do: “You complain, I’ll get you deported.”

Clinton gets her facts wrong.

As we have written before, Trump was sued in 1983 by union workers who accused him of shortchanging their welfare fund by hiring undocumented workers to help demolish a building in New York City as part of the Trump Tower project.

The New York Times wrote that Trump testified in 1990 that he did not know the workers were in the country illegally and he did not hire them. He said the demolition project and the hiring for it was handled by a subcontractor, Kaszycki & Sons Contractors.

The Times article said the subcontractor hired about 200 undocumented workers and paid them $4 to $5 per hour — far less than the $11 per hour minimum wage that should have been paid to union workers.

The Clinton campaign refers on its website to a story last year by the Daily Beast that says some undocumented workers complained to Trump about not being paid. But the story also said that Trump testified that he did not recall speaking to the demolition workers, and it does not support Clinton’s claim that Trump threatened to deport the workers.

“During the 16-day non-jury trial, a number of the Polish workers testified that Trump underlings had threatened them with deportation if they caused trouble,” the Daily Beast wrote.

The website did not explain the term “Trump underlings” and whether they were Trump employees or subcontractors. Either way, there is no evidence that Trump himself told workers, “You complain, I’ll get you deported.”

Footnote: A federal judge in 1991 ruled against the Trump Organization and its partner in the project, the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States. The judge ordered the plaintiffs to be paid $325,415 plus interest. Trump appealed that decision, and the case was settled in 1999 for an undisclosed sum.

Not Just Toddlers

Clinton claimed she was just sticking up for “toddlers” when she said in 2015 that “the Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment. And I am going to make that case every chance I get.”

Clinton: [W]hat I was saying … was that I disagreed with the way the court applied the Second Amendment in that case, because what the District of Columbia was trying to do was to protect toddlers from guns and so they wanted people with guns to safely store them. And the court didn’t accept that reasonable regulation, but they’ve accepted many others.

The core holding in the court’s landmark 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller was that the city’s total ban on possession of handguns violated the Second Amendment, and that the amendment conferred on individuals a right to bear arms for self-defense.

“In sum, we hold that the District’s ban on handgun possession in the home violates the Second Amendment,” then-Chief Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the 5-4 majority.

As a secondary matter, the decision also struck down a D.C. requirement than any lawful firearms kept at home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock at all times. Scalia wrote that this prohibition rendered any lawful firearm in the home inoperable for the purpose of immediate self-defense, and also violated the Second Amendment.

But Clinton made no such fine distinction when she spoke in 2015 at a small, private fundraising event in New York City, when she simply said the Supreme Court was “wrong on the Second Amendment.”

Audio of her remarks later was made public. In that private event, she said, “I’m going to speak out, I’m going to do everything I can to rally people against this pernicious, corrupting influence of the NRA [National Rifle Association] and we’re going to do whatever we can.”

That was when she was facing an unexpectedly stiff primary challenge from the left by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, whom she criticized for voting against gun legislation opposed by the NRA.

State Department ‘Missing’ $6 Billion?

Trump said that $6 billion was “missing” from the State Department when Clinton was secretary of state. That’s inaccurate.

Trump: The problem is you talk, but you don’t get anything done, Hillary. You don’t. Just like when you ran the State Department. $6 billion was missing. How do you miss $6 billion? You ran the State Department, $6 billion was either stolen — they don’t know, it’s gone — $6 billion! If you become president, this country is going to be in some mess. Believe me.

We reached out to the Trump campaign to get the source of his claim, but we did not hear back.

Trump may be referring to reports about a management alert issued by the State Department Office of the Inspector General in March 2014. The alert said that the OIG found that, in the previous six years, the State Department had failed to maintain the complete records of more than $6 billion in government contracts.

Office of Inspector General, March 20, 2014: The Office of Inspector General (OIG), in recent audits, investigations, and inspections, has identified significant vulnerabilities in the management of contract file documentation that could expose the Department to substantial financial losses. Specifically, over the past 6 years, OIG has identified Department of State (Department) contracts with a total value of more than $6 billion in which contract files were incomplete or could not be located at all. The failure to maintain contract files adequately creates significant financial risk and demonstrates a lack of internal control over the Department’s contract actions.

But State Department Inspector General Steve Linick said that his office’s report did not say that $6 billion was “missing.”

In a letter to the editor of the Washington Post in April 2014, Linick wrote:

Linick, April 13, 2014: The April 3 news article “State Department’s IG issues rare alert” reported on the management alert issued recently by my office. In the alert, we identified State Department contracts with a total value of more than $6 billion in which contract files were incomplete or could not be located. The Post stated, “The State Department’s inspector general has warned the department that $6 billion in contracting money over the past six years cannot be properly accounted for . . . .

Some have concluded based on this that $6 billion is missing. The alert, however, did not draw that conclusion. Instead, it found that the failure to adequately maintain contract files — documents necessary to ensure the full accounting of U.S. tax dollars — “creates significant financial risk and demonstrates a lack of internal control over the Department’s contract actions.”

So it was the records of the $6 billion that were either incomplete or missing, not the money.

Furthermore, the Washington Post Fact Checker found that most of the faulty paperwork concerned contracts that were issued when George W. Bush was president.

Debt and Deficit

Trump said the federal debt had doubled to $20 trillion under Obama. Clinton said annual deficits had been cut by two-thirds. Both were straining the facts.

Trump: [D]uring President Obama’s regime, we’ve doubled our national debt. We’re up to $20 trillion.

Clinton: When President Obama came into office, he inherited the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression. He has cut the deficit by two-thirds.

First, the debt. Total federal debt hasn’t quite yet reached $20 trillion, and it hasn’t doubled.

It was just under $19.77 trillion as of Oct. 18. That is 86 percent higher than it was when Obama took office. That figure includes money the government essentially owes to itself.

The figure that has doubled — but only to $14.3 trillion — is the more economically important sum that the federal government owes to the public. It’s up 126 percent.

Clinton’s claim is also inflated. The deficit for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 went onto the Treasury Department’s books officially at $587.4 billion.

And that’s a reduction of less than 59 percent — not 66 percent — from the fiscal year 2009 deficit of $1.417 trillion

Furthermore, as we’ve documented elsewhere, Obama didn’t inherit all of that FY 2009 deficit from his predecessor. During his first months in office, he signed spending measures that contributed as much as $203 billion to FY 2009’s red ink. Adjusting for that, we calculate that the deficit last fiscal year was down only 51 percent from the amount Obama inherited.

Nuclear Quotes

Clinton claimed that Trump “advocated more countries getting” nuclear weapons, including “Japan, Korea, even Saudi Arabia.” Trump countered that “all I said is, we have to renegotiate these agreements, because our country cannot afford to defend Saudi Arabia, Japan, Germany, South Korea, and many other places.” But Trump did say that perhaps Japan and South Korea should have nuclear weapons to protect themselves.

Here’s that exchange, edited:

Clinton: I find it ironic that he’s raising nuclear weapons. This is a person who has been very cavalier, even casual about the use of nuclear weapons. He’s …

Trump: Wrong.

Clinton: … advocated more countries getting them, Japan, Korea, even Saudi Arabia. He said, well, if we have them, why don’t we use them, which I think is terrifying. …

Trump: All I said is, we have to renegotiate these agreements, because our country cannot afford to defend Saudi Arabia, Japan, Germany, South Korea, and many other places. We cannot continue to afford — she took that as saying nuclear weapons. …

Look, she’s been proven to be a liar on so many different ways. This is just another lie.

Clinton: Well, I’m just quoting you when you were asked …

Trump: There’s no quote. You’re not going to find a quote from me.

Clinton: … about a potential nuclear — nuclear competition in Asia, you said, you know, go ahead, enjoy yourselves, folks. That kind…

Trump: And defend yourselves.

Clinton: … of language — well…

Trump: And defend yourselves. I didn’t say nuclear. And defend yourself.

Let’s start with what Trump did say about Japan and South Korea and nuclear weapons. He’s wrong to claim that “there’s no quote” from him on that topic, and he has gone beyond saying only “we have to renegotiate these agreements.” Clinton “took that as saying nuclear weapons,” as Trump says, because Trump in fact mentioned nuclear weapons.

In an April 3 interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, Trump said:

Trump, April 3: So, North Korea has nukes. Japan has a problem with that. I mean, they have a big problem with that. Maybe they would in fact be better off if they defend themselves from North Korea.

Wallace: With nukes?

Trump: Maybe they would be better off — including with nukes, yes, including with nukes.

The New York Times had reported about a week prior that Trump had told the newspaper that “he would be open to allowing Japan and South Korea to build their own nuclear arsenals rather than depend on the American nuclear umbrella for their protection against North Korea and China.”

On March 29, Trump told CNN’s Anderson Cooper: “I don’t want more nuclear weapons,” but also said, “wouldn’t you rather in a certain sense have Japan have nuclear weapons when North Korea has nuclear weapons?” Here’s more of that exchange:

Trump, March 29: At some point we have to say, you know what, we’re better off if Japan protects itself against this maniac in North Korea, we’re better off, frankly, if South Korea is going to start to protect itself, we have…

Cooper: Saudi Arabia, nuclear weapons?

Trump: Saudi Arabia, absolutely.

Cooper: You would be fine with them having nuclear weapons?

Trump: No, not nuclear weapons, but they have to protect themselves or they have to pay us.

Here’s the thing, with Japan, they have to pay us or we have to let them protect themselves.

Cooper: So if you said, Japan, yes, it’s fine, you get nuclear weapons, South Korea, you as well, and Saudi Arabia says we want them, too?

Trump: Can I be honest with you? It’s going to happen, anyway. It’s going to happen anyway. It’s only a question of time. They’re going to start having them or we have to get rid of them entirely.

But you have so many countries already, China, Pakistan, you have so many countries, Russia, you have so many countries right now that have them.

Now, wouldn’t you rather in a certain sense have Japan have nuclear weapons when North Korea has nuclear weapons? And they do have them. They absolutely have them. They can’t – they have no carrier system yet but they will very soon.

Wouldn’t you rather have Japan, perhaps, they’re over there, they’re very close, they’re very fearful of North Korea, and we’re supposed to protect.

Cooper: So you’re saying you don’t want more nuclear weapons in the world but you’re OK with Japan and South Korea having nuclear weapons?

Trump: I don’t want more nuclear weapons.

So, yes, there are plenty of quotes from Trump suggesting that he would be OK with other countries, specifically Japan and South Korea, having nuclear weapons.

But the one quote that Clinton mentions in this exchange isn’t as clear. She said that Trump said of “nuclear competition in Asia”: “Go ahead, enjoy yourselves, folks.”

Trump said that in an April 2 campaign appearance in Wausau, Wisconsin, in talking about Japan and North Korea potentially fighting.

Trump, April 2: We’re protecting Japan from North Korea. … I would say to Japan you gotta help us out. … And I would rather have them not arm. But I’m not going to continue to lose this tremendous amount of money. And frankly, the case could be made, that let them protect themselves against North Korea. They’d probably wipe them out pretty quick. And if they fight, you know what, that would be a terrible thing, terrible. “Good luck folks, enjoy yourself.” If they fight, that would be terrible, right? But if they do, they do.

Clinton also said that Trump said of nuclear weapons, “Well, if we have them, why don’t we use them.” That’s according to MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and based on an anonymous source, not a verified quote from Trump. Scarborough said in early August that an anonymous source, “a foreign policy expert” who “went to advise Donald Trump” several months earlier, had said that Trump three times asked “if we had them why can’t we use them.” The Trump campaign denied that account.

Trump’s and Buffett’s Taxes

Trump falsely claimed that billionaire investor Warren Buffett — who supports Clinton — did the same thing Trump did to avoid paying federal income taxes.

Clinton first said Trump “has not paid a penny in federal income tax,” a statement Trump did not deny during the debate. Instead he tried shifting the blame to Clinton:

Trump: So let me just tell you very quickly, we’re entitled because of the laws that people like her passed to take massive amounts of depreciation on other charges, and we do it. And all of her donors — just about all of them — I know Buffett took hundreds of millions of dollars. … Most of her donors have done the same thing as I do.

What Trump did of course, as recently reported, was to claim a $916 million loss on his 1995 tax returns, which could erase any federal income-tax liability for as many as 18 years through what are called loss carryforwards. Trump refuses to release his own federal income-tax returns, but he hasn’t denied that he was able to pay zero federal income taxes for many years while amassing a net worth he claims to be over $10 billion.

But he’s wrong to accuse Buffett of doing “the same thing.” Buffett has said publicly that’s not true, and that he has never claimed a loss carryforward like Trump’s in any of his tax returns since the first one he filed as a teenager in 1944. He also said he’s never reduced his tax bill to zero.

Buffett, Oct. 10: I have paid federal income tax every year since 1944, when I was 13. (Though, being a slow starter, I owed only $7 in tax that year.) I have copies of all 72 of my returns and none uses a carryforward.

Trump Foundation

Trump and Wallace disagreed over whether Trump used money from his own foundation to settle his lawsuits. Trump did.

Trump claimed that the money from his foundation “goes 100 percent — 100 percent goes to different charities.” Wallace responded, “Wasn’t some of the money used to settle your lawsuits, sir?”

Wallace went on to explain that Trump settled a lawsuit with Palm Beach with money from his foundation. Trump replied that “the money that you’re talking about went to Fisher House, where they build houses for veterans and disabled vets.”

In fact, the lawsuit Trump faced from Palm Beach is one example of him using foundation money to settle his business legal issues. In 2007, he paid $258,000 from his foundation to settle various lawsuits, one of which was a settlement with the town of Palm Beach, Florida, over the height of a flagpole at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club, the Washington Post reported.

Here are other ways that Trump spent his foundation’s money on noncharitable causes and groups, according to the Post‘s reporting:

  • In 2013, the foundation gave $25,000 to a political group connected to Florida’s attorney general, Pam Bondi. This year Trump paid a $2,500 penalty to the IRS because of the improper gift, according to Jeffrey McConney, a senior vice president and controller at the Trump Organization.
  • The foundation also famously paid $10,000 for a portrait of Trump, which ended up on the wall of a Florida golf course he owns outside Miami. (A spokesman said Trump was doing the foundation a favor by “storing” it there.)
  • The foundation also paid $20,000 for another, six-foot-tall portrait of Trump reportedly shipped to another of Trump’s golf courses in Briarcliff Manor, New York.

Positions on Abortion

Each candidate misrepresented the other’s position on abortion.

Trump claimed that “based on what [Clinton’s] saying … you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month on the final day.” But Clinton has said she’s open to restrictions on late-term abortions, with exceptions for cases involving the mother’s health issues. Clinton claimed Trump said “there should be some form of punishment for women who obtain abortions.” He said that, but quickly walked back the comment.

We’ll start with the issue of late-term abortions. First off, they are rare. As we wrote in September 2015, 1.2 percent of all the abortions in the United States occur after 20 weeks gestation, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which conducts research on reproductive health.

Second, Daniel Grossman, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, San Francisco told our fact-checking colleagues at Politifact: “Nobody would talk about abortion on the woman’s due date. If the mother’s life was at risk, the treatment for that is delivery, and the baby survives.” He added, “Medically, it does not compute.”

Trump repeated his claim during the debate three times, first claiming, “If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.”

But as we wrote during the eighth GOP debate in February, “It is certainly true that Clinton has been a staunch defender of abortion rights. But Clinton has said she’s open to restrictions on late-term abortions, provided exceptions would be given when the health and life of the mother are an issue.”

So Trump skewed Clinton’s position on late-term abortions.

But Clinton also misrepresented Trump’s current position. She claimed that Trump said “there should be some form of punishment for women who obtain abortions.”

He did say that, but he also walked back that statement only hours later.

On March 30, Trump told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that women who get abortions should receive “some form of punishment” if the procedure is banned in the United States. He also added that the man who impregnates the woman should not be responsible under the law for the abortion.

But on the same day, he put out a statement recanting the punishment claim.

Trump, March 30: If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed — like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions.

Gun Laws and Gun Violence

When asked about his opposition to gun control measures, Trump said that Chicago “has the toughest gun laws in the United States” and yet “more gun violence than any other city.” That implies a causation between gun laws and gun violence that’s impossible to prove. And even such a correlation is disputed by statistics showing the opposite: that states with fewer gun laws have more gun deaths.

The relationship between gun laws and gun crimes isn’t clear-cut, as Trump suggests.

Moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump about his opposition to measures such as limits on assault weapons and limits on high capacity magazines. Trump responded:

Trump: Well let me just tell you before we go any further, in Chicago, which has the toughest gun laws in the United States — probably you could say by far — they have more gun violence than any other city. So we have the toughest laws and you have tremendous gun violence.

We looked at this issue of gun laws and gun violence last year, when GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina also singled out Chicago, saying: “That is why you see in state after state after state with some of the most stringent gun control laws in the nation also having the highest gun crime rates in the nation. Chicago would be an example.” And we looked at the research again when Sen. Ted Cruz claimed that most “jurisdictions with the worst murder rates” have “the very strictest gun control laws.”

We found both were wrong in stating there was such a clear correlation.

Using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data on firearm death rates for 2013, we found nine of the 10 states with the highest firearm death rates got an “F” for their gun laws, and one got a “D-” from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. And seven of the 10 states with the lowest gun death rates got a “B” or higher.

But homicide rate statistics — with 70 percent of homicides by firearm — didn’t show the same pattern. Eight of the 10 states with the highest homicide rates and eight of the 10 states with the lowest homicide rates all got “D” or “F” grades from the Brady Campaign analysis.

Some research has found a correlation between more gun laws and lower gun fatalities —#8212; but not a causation. For instance, researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health looked at all 50 states from 2007 to 2010, concluding: “A higher number of firearm laws in a state are associated with a lower rate of firearm fatalities in the state, overall and for suicides and homicides individually.” But the study said that it couldn’t determine cause-and-effect.

In fact, it’s likely impossible to determine causation, as we’ve also written before. A scientific random study, in which one group of people had guns or permissive gun laws, and another group didn’t, can’t be done.

As for a correlation between gun laws and gun deaths in cities, an August 2013 CDC report found that for 2009-2010, the top gun murder rate areas, among the 50 most populous metropolitan areas, were: New Orleans, Memphis, Detroit, Birmingham, St. Louis, Baltimore, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Philadelphia and Chicago. Six of those cities are in states with poor scores for their gun laws, while the other four get a “C” or better. Chicago — the last among the top 10 at the time — had a ban on handguns then, so its gun laws were even tougher then than they are now.

In other words, there’s no discernible pattern among those cities.

Also, while Chicago is often noted for a high number of murders, other cities have a higher murder rate — adjusted for population. The city ranked 35th in 2014 in terms of its murder rate among cities with a population of 100,000 or more.

And There Were Repeats — Again

As in all the other general election debates, the candidates repeated claims we’ve checked before:

NAFTA: Trump repeated again, like in the last debate, that the North American Free Trade Agreement was “signed by her husband,” referring to President Bill Clinton. NAFTA was negotiated and signed by President George H.W. Bush. Clinton signed the implementing legislation. Trump also said “jobs are being sucked out of our economy” because of the trade agreement, but a 2015 report from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service called the net impact “relatively modest,” saying “NAFTA did not cause the huge job losses feared by the critics or the large economic gains predicted by supporters.”

Father’s loans to Trump: Trump and Clinton disagreed on the size of the loan Trump took from his father to start his business. Trump said, “I started with a $1 million loan,” while Clinton claimed he borrowed “$14 million from his father to start his business.” As we noted when this was brought up during the first debate, Clinton is right and Trump is wrong. According to the Wall Street Journal, “a casino-license disclosure in 1985 … shows Mr. Trump taking out numerous loans from his father and his father’s properties near the start of his career in the late 1970s and early 1980s,” which totaled around $14 million. As Politico points out, that’s $31 million in today’s dollars. And as we wrote during the 11th GOP debate, these loans included more than $3 million illegally transferred to the Trump Castle Casino in Atlantic City in poker chips in 1990. To top it off, Trump’s father also co-guaranteed the construction loan on his first Manhattan project, the Grand Hyatt. So Trump sells his father’s contributions short by a long shot.

Iraq War: As he did in the first and second debates, Trump denied that he supported the invasion of Iraq before it began — interjecting “Wrong!” — when confronted by Clinton. Trump indicated his support for war in a radio interview with Howard Stern on Sept. 11, 2002 — a little more than six months before the war started. Stern asked Trump directly if he supported going to war with Iraq, and Trump hesitantly responded, “Yeah, I guess so.” Trump has in the past cited a January 2003 TV interview with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto. In the TV interview, Trump told Cavuto that President Bush needed to make a decision on Iraq. “Either you attack or you don’t attack,” he says. But he offered no opinion on what Bush should do. We have found no evidence that Trump was publicly against the Iraq War before it began.

Hacked emails: As she did in the second presidential debate, Clinton claimed that “cyberattacks” on email systems, including that of the Democratic National Committee “come from the highest levels of the Kremlin and they are designed to influence our election.” And Trump again contested her assessment, saying, “She has no idea whether it’s Russia, China, or anybody else” and that “our country has no idea.” As we wrote after the second debate, the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security issued a joint statement on Oct. 7 saying they were “confident” that recent hacks into the email systems of the Democratic Party were directed by the Russian government. And, they wrote, “These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process.” A senior U.S. intelligence official told NBC News that both Clinton and Trump have been briefed extensively about the U.S. intelligence community’s evidence pointing to culpability by the Russian government. “To profess not to know at this point is willful misrepresentation,” the official said.

Clinton’s tax plan: Trump said there would be a “massive, massive tax increase” under Clinton’s tax plan that would “raise taxes and even double your taxes.” But the tax increases Clinton has proposed would fall almost entirely on the top 10 percent of taxpayers, according to analyses by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center and the pro-business Tax Foundation. Hardest hit would be the less than 0.1 percent of taxpayers who earn more than $5 million per year. “Nearly all of the tax increases would fall on the highest-income 1 percent; on average, low- and middle-income households would see small increases in after-tax income,” the Tax Policy Center concluded.

Trump on health care premiums: Trump said that Obamacare “premiums are going up 60, 70, 80 percent,” predicting that they would “go up over 100 percent” next year. These are cherry-picked facts. Some insurers have requested high 2017 premium rates, but the rates vary across states. The Kaiser Family Foundation analyzed preliminary rates in cities in 16 states and Washington, D.C., and found the second-lowest cost silver plan would increase by a weighted average of 9 percent from this year if the rates hold. Additionally, 80 percent of people buying exchange plans receive government subsidies that lower their premium costs.

Open borders: Trump repeatedly claimed Clinton “wants to have open borders,” which Clinton called “a rank mischaracterization.” Wallace asked Clinton to explain comments she made to a Brazilian bank — revealed via WikiLeaks — that “My dream is a hemispheric common market with open trade and open borders.” But as Clinton noted, that wasn’t the whole quote. It continues: “… some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere.” Clinton said she was “talking about energy. … And I do want us to have an electric grid, an energy system that crosses borders.” In fact, Clinton said at the debate, “I have been for border security for years. I voted for border security in the United States Senate. And my comprehensive immigration reform plan of course includes border security.” We have found all of that to be true. Her campaign website says she supports “humane, targeted immigration enforcement,” and that she would “focus enforcement resources on detaining and deporting those individuals who pose a violent threat to public safety.”

NATO: Clinton claimed that Trump is “willing to … break up NATO.” Trump did say NATO is obsolete or may be, because it does not focus enough on terrorism. He also previously suggested in an interview with the New York Times in July that he would not automatically defend NATO allies that do not pay their share of defense costs. But he hasn’t said that the international security alliance should be eliminated, even though he once said that he would “certainly look at” leaving NATO. More recently, during the first presidential debate, Trump said that he is “all for NATO.” And Trump has since said, “When I am president, we will strengthen NATO.”

ISIS: Trump claimed that Hillary Clinton “gave us ISIS” — referring to the terrorist Islamic State. He claimed Clinton and President Obama “created this huge vacuum” when the U.S. left Iraq in 2011. That may be a contributing factor, but as we have written the origin of ISIS dates to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the decision to immediately disband the Iraqi army and ban the Baath Party. Experts also cite the rule of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who alienated and radicalized the Sunnis, and the Syrian civil war that provided the space for ISIS to grow in 2011.

Clinton emails: Trump repeated his claim from the second debate that Clinton “destroyed 33,000 emails criminally, criminally, after getting a subpoena from the United States Congress.” Trump is referring to 31,830 emails that Clinton’s lawyers had deemed personal and, as a result, did not have to be turned over to the government. As we have written, the department’s policy allows its employees to determine which emails are work-related and must be preserved. It is true that the emails were deleted after Clinton received a subpoena on March 4, 2015, from a Republican-controlled House committee investigation into the 2012 deaths of four Americans in Benghazi. But there is no evidence that Clinton knew that the emails were deleted after the subpoena was issued. According to FBI notes of its investigation, an employee of Platte River Networks – which at the time was managing Clinton’s private server – deleted the emails in March. Clinton told the FBI that she was not aware that they were deleted in late March 2015. The FBI did not say when Clinton learned when the emails had been deleted.


Raab, Selwyn. “After 15 Years in Court, Workers’ Lawsuit Against Trump Faces Yet Another Delay.” New York Times. 14 Jun 1998.

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Hays, Constance L. “Judge Says Trump Tower Builders Cheated Union on Pension Funds.” New York Times. 27 Apr 1991.

Robbins, Tom. “Deal Sealed in Trump Tower Suit.” New York Daily News. 8 Mar 1999.

Blau, Max. “These women have accused Trump of sexual harassment.” CNN. 17 Oct 2016.

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Stoynoff, Natasha. “Physically Attacked by Donald Trump – a PEOPLE Writer’s Own Harrowing Story.” People. 12 Oct 2016.

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Halper, Daniel. “Trump camp puts forward witness to refute sex assault claim.” New York Post. 14 Oct 2016.

Petit, Stephanie. “Revealed: 6 People Who Corroborate Natasha Stoynoff’s Story of Being Attacked by Donald Trump.” People. 19 Oct 2016.

McCaskill, Nolan. “Trump suggests his accusers are too unattractive to assault.” Politico. 14 Oct 2016.

Robertson, Lori and Eugene Kiely. “Trump’s False Obama-ISIS Link.” FactCheck.org. 11 Aug 2016.

U.S. Treasury. “The Debt to the Penny and Who Holds It.” 18 Oct 2016. Data extracted 20 Oct 2016.

U.S. Treasury. “Final Monthly Treasury Statement of Receipts and Outlays of the United States Government For Fiscal Year 2016 Through September 30, 2016” 14 Oct 2016.

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Rudoy, Marty. “How Donald Trump Made A Fortune By Losing A Billion Dollars.” Huffington Post. 3 Oct 2016.

Buffett, Warren. “Some Tax Facts for Donald Trump.” news release via Business Wire. 10 Oct 2016.

Goodman, Alana and Stephen Gutowski. “Leaked Audio: Clinton Says Supreme Court Is ‘Wrong’ on Second Amendment.” Washington Free Beacon. 1 Oct 2015.

District of Columbia v. Heller 554 U.S. 570 (2008)

Schultheis, Emily. “Hillary Clinton goes on the attack over gun control.” CBS News. 14 Apr 2016.

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DelReal, Jose. “Trump vows to ‘strengthen NATO’ despite previous criticism of the alliance.” Washington Post. 28 Sep 2016.

Levitan, Dave. “Clinton Off on Late-Term Abortions.” FactCheck.org. 29 Sept 2015.

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Flegenheimer, Matt and Haberman, Maggie. “Donald Trump, Abortion Foe, Eyes ‘Punishment’ for Women, Then Recants.” New York Times. 30 Mar 2016.

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Robertson, Lori. “Gun Laws, Deaths and Crimes.” FactCheck.org. 4 Oct 2015.

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United States, 2006–2007 and 2009–2010.” 2 Aug 2013.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Woman With Cancer: '#JuJuOnThatChemo']]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 12:21:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/chemo-dance-101916.PNG

A Texas woman is not letting cancer and chemo get her down. Ana-Alecia Ayala, who’s battling a rare form of uterine sarcoma, has joined the viral dance craze — and has a heartwarming message to share.

In a social media post shared Tuesday, Ayala, in her hospital gown and medical tubes attached to her, dances to "JuJu On That Beat" with her friend Danielle Andrus during a chemotherapy session at Baylor T. Boone Pickens Cancer Hospital in Dallas.

"We want to show the world that dancing and laughter is the best medicine," wrote Ayala, who's from Dallas. "#JustForFun #ChemoSucks #CancerAwareness #JuJuOnThatBeat #JuJuOnThatChemo."

Ayala, who has rhabdomyosarcoma, has had two surgeries for tumor removal and port placement since she was diagnosed in December 2015. She has been in chemo since January, according to her GoFundMe.

Photo Credit: Ana-Alecia Ayala]]>
<![CDATA['Nasty,' Suspenseful Moments Top the Final Debate]]> Wed, 19 Oct 2016 20:46:16 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/trump-clinton-debate-split.jpg

The third presidential debate was to focus on debt and entitlements, immigration, the economy, the Supreme Court, foreign hotspots and fitness to be president — serious and somber topics. 

But that did not factor in the unpredictability of this long and often nasty campaign. In the week and a half since the second debate, Donald Trump was accused of sexual misconduct by nine women, allegations he denies; repeatedly warned of a rigged election without evidence and turned his ire on his party's most senior official, House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, faced questions raised by leaked information supposedly from John Podesta’s emails — made public by WikiLeaks and allegedly stolen by Russian hackers from the Clinton campaign chairman's personal account.

Here are some of the top moments from the final debate before Election Day.

Accepting the Results?
Trump, who has warned of a rigged election that will deny him a victory, refused to say whether he would accept the results of the presidential election.

"I will look at it at the time," he told debate moderator Chris Wallace, provoking a gasp from some in the audience.


Explaining his stance, he repeated a frequent accusation that the media was corrupt.

"I will tell you at the time," he said. "I'll keep you in suspense."

Clinton called the statement "horrifiying."

'Such a Nasty Woman'
As Clinton discussed how she would continue to finance Medicare and Social Security, she said she would not cut benefits but would raise taxes on the wealthy. Her Social Security payroll contribution would rise, she said.

"As will Donald’s, assuming he can't figure out how to get out of it," she said, in a dig at Trump, who reportedly used a $916 million loss to avoid paying personal federal income tax for years.

"Such a nasty woman," Trump retorted.

Earlier in the debate, Trump said, "no one respects women more than I do," a claim he often makes.

Sexual Misconduct Returns
Trump denied at the debate that he engaged in any sexual misconduct, after nine women have accused him of doing so in the last 10 days.

"I didn't even apologize to my wife who is sitting right here because I didn't do anything," he said.

He said he believed that Clinton's campaign had gotten the women to step forward together at a politically opportune time. 

Clinton said his response to the allegations was to mock the appearance of his accusers, saying they were not attractive enough or not his first choice.

"Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger," she said.

Trump pivoted to a charge that Clinton had illegally destroyed emails on her private server.

Clinton, for her part, avoided a question about whether what her husband had done was worse.

'We Need a Wall'
Trump promoted one of his biggest selling points: building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, which he has said Mexico would pay for. Drugs are flowing across the border, he argued, and he said he would stop it by sending drug dealers back.

"We have some bad hombres here," Trump said.

Clinton responded that when Trump met with the Mexican president, Enrique Pena Nieto, he failed to raise the issue at all.

"He choked," she said.

Wallace asked Clinton about a speech that she had made to a Brazilian bank in which she dreamed of open borders — to which Clinton responded that she was talking about energy and an electric grid.

In a tit for tat, Trump taunted Clinton with wanting a wall but failing to get one built because, he said, she never got anything done.

Clinton argued that she voted for a border security plan that called for wall in some places and then accused Trump of using undocumented labor to build Trump Tower. Anyone who complained was threatened with deportation, she said.

Who's Putin's Puppet?
When the hacking of Clinton's emails came up at the debate, the conversation quickly pivoted to the leader of Russia, and Trump and Clinton debated who Vladimir Putin really wants as president.

Trump repeated a frequent refrain from his stump speeches: "Wouldn't it be nice if we got along with Russia?" Then he said that Putin "has no respect for [Clinton], he has no respect for our president."

Clinton countered that Russia and the U.S. would get along with Trump as president "because he'd rather have a puppet as president."

"You're the puppet," Trump parried.

The candidates talked over one another, before Wallace interjected to ask if Trump would condemn Russia if they did hack a Clinton campaign email, as the Obama administration has said.

"Of course I condemn. I don't know Putin," Trump replied, then continued, "Putin has outsmarted her or Obama at every single step of the way."

No Handshakes
The debate began on a less than cordial note. As they did at the second debate, the candidates stepped behind their lecterns without a handshake.

It ended the same way. Clinton stepped forward to shake Wallace's hand, then straight into the crowd. Meanwhile, Trump waited behind his lectern.

New Contentious Guests
Trump again invited some uncomfortable guests for the Clinton side, among them Leslie Millwee, a former Arkansas television reporter who has come forward to accuse Bill Clinton of sexually assaulting her while he was the state’s governor in 1980. An interview with Millwee was published on the right-wing website Breitbart on Wednesday. At Sunday's debate, Trump showcased three other women who have accused Clinton of sexual misconduct: Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broaddrick.

Other guests invited by Trump to attend the Wednesday debate in Las Vegas: former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin and Patricia Smith, the mother of an American killed in Benghazi, Libya, during the 2012 attacks on a U.S. diplomatic compound. Smith, who spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, has said she holds Clinton accountable for "murdering" her son Sean.

The potential embarrassment for the Clintons reportedly prompted organizers to change the way the families would enter the debate hall so as to avoid any awkward handshakes.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[5th Body Turns Up in Small NY Town in 5 Weeks; No Arrests]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 19:31:27 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/brentwood+body+found+9+21.jpg

Authorities have recovered another set of remains in a small Long Island town plagued by gang violence that has now seen five bodies turn up in a little more than a month. 

The body found in the woods behind a state-run psychiatric hospital in Brentwood Sunday has been identified as Jose Pena-Hernandez, an 18-year-old man who hadn't been seen since June, police said. 

Pena-Hernandez's remains were discovered as police scoured the grounds of the facility near Crooked Hill Road and the Long Island Expressway as part of the ongoing investigation into the series of murders. 

The discovery follows the unearthing of four bodies of Brentwood High School students over the last six weeks. Oscar Acosta, 19, and Miguel Garcia-Moran, 15, were missing for several months before their bodies were found near Long Island Railroad tracks Sept. 26. 

Authorities said that the two were victims of gang violence.

Two young girls, best friends with a passion for basketball, were found dead two weeks before Acosta and Garcia-Moran. On Sept. 13, the day before her 16th birthday, Nisa Mickens' brutally beaten body was found on a tree-lined street in Brentwood. A day later, the beaten body of her lifelong friend, 16-year-old Kayla Cuevas, was discovered in the wooded backyard of a nearby home. Investigators suspect they too were victims of gang violence.

Police said Thursday that Pena-Hernandez was a known MS-13 gang member. An autopsy will be conducted to determine how he died, but police say they are investigating the case as a homicide. 

Suffolk Police said Thursday Pena-Hernandez's remains were not found by accident. They said they've been putting pressure on the more than 25 known MS-13 gang members previously in custody on various charges -- some felonies, some misdemeanors -- as part of a larger gang takedown. None of the dozens of gang members arrested were charged in the murders but they're facing state or federal RICO charges -- meaning they need to cooperate or face lengthy prison sentences.

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini told residents, "You're going to hear helicopters more often. That doesn't mean we're actively searching for anyone. We are engaging in proactive patrols and that includes by our schools, certain hot spots and in the air."

Anyone with information on the killings of Pena-Hernandez, Garcia-Moran, Acosta, Mickens or Cuevas is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest in the deaths of Mickens and Cuevas.

Brentwood had a population of 60,664 as of 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 

<![CDATA[Therapy Dogs Provide Comfort in Court]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 11:33:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NC_courtdogs1020_1920x1080.jpg Specially trained dogs are being used to help children and other victims of crimes feel comfortable while taking the witness stand in one California court.

Photo Credit: KSL]]>
<![CDATA[Target Recalls Halloween Light-Up Gel Clings]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 12:34:10 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Halloween-LED-General-Cling-Recall.jpg

A set of Halloween-themed light-up gel clings sold at Target is being recalled because they pose a hazard to children.

About 127,000 of the gel clings, which are used on windows, are being recalled from stores nationwide, where they were sold in August and September, according to a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recall alert posted Thursday. No injuries have yet been reported, but the devices pose a risk for choking and swallowing battery hazards.

The gel clings came in six colors and shapes, and can be identified by model number 234-25-0904. Customers can get a full refund for any of the gel clings they purchased.

Photo Credit: Via CPSC]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Will Honor Election Results 'If I Win' ]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 10:34:09 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/Screen+Shot+2016-10-20+at+1.19.04+PM.png Speaking at a rally in Ohio on Oct. 20, 2016, Donald Trump said that he would accept the presidential election results if they were in his favor. "I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters and to all the people of the United Staes that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election -- if I win,” Donald Trump said, emphasizing the last three words by pointing into the crowd. The rally was held the day following the final debate, during which the issue of whether he would accept the election results came up. At the debate, he said he would have to wait and see what the results were. ]]> <![CDATA[Bao Bao to Move to China in Early 2017]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 09:17:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/2016-10-20_0918.png

You have just a few more months to visit Bao Bao at the National Zoo.

The 3-year-old giant panda is moving to China within the first few months of 2017 to enter the its panda breeding program, the National Zoo said Thursday.

All panda cubs born at the zoo move to China by the time they turn 4. Bao Bao will turn 4 Aug. 23, 2017. 

"We are sad to see her go, but excited for the contributions she is going to continue to make to the global giant panda population,” said Brandie Smith, associate director of animal care sciences at the zoo in Washington, D.C.

Bao Bao's keepers are already preparing her for the trip by getting her acclimated to a travel crate. While an exact date for her departure was not given, the zoo says Bao Bao will move in late winter.

The zoo says it's better for pandas to travel in the winter months when its cool. A team will travel with Bao Bao to ensure she's comfortable throughout the trip. 

The zoo is planning a farewell party for Bao Bao, but details about the public celebration have not been released. 

Bao Bao is the second of three surviving cubs born to Mei Xiang during her time at the zoo. She now weighs 180 pounds and is classified as a "sub-adult.'' Pandas can begin breeding between the ages of 4 and 6.

<![CDATA[Caught On Cam: Trooper Rescues Bald Eagle]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 06:05:57 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/EagleRescue-147696813038400001.jpg A Florida Highway Patrol trooper and a bald eagle are both recovering after a daring rescue. Trooper Julio Velez had his dash cam rolling when he came upon a bald eagle that had been hit by a Jeep. The bird was standing on the shoulder of the highway, too stunned to fly away. Velez scooped up the bird, and after a brief struggle was able to put it in the backseat of his patrol car. Amazingly, the bird didn't suffer any broken bones and will likely fly again. Velez, meanwhile, suffered several puncture wounds to his arm from the eagle's razor-sharp talons.]]> <![CDATA[Trump Refuses to Say He'll Accept Result of Election]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 04:22:23 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_16294050561462.jpg

Donald Trump is no longer saying he will accept the result of the presidential election in November, which would be a break from one of the oldest and most fundamental American political traditions.

One of Trump's main talking points at rallies in recent days has been his allegation that the election is being rigged — he has offered no evidence — and debate moderator Chris Wallace asked at Wednesday's debate if he would accept the result on Nov. 8.

"I will look at it at the time," Trump said, suggesting that the media's reporting on the current state of the election is distorted and that Clinton should be disqaulified for office. 

Wallace explained the political tradition that the losers of elections in the United States concede to the winner, keeping the peace, then asked again if Trump would accept the result. Trump said, "I will tell you at the time. I'll keep you in suspense."

Hillary Clinton quickly replied to Trump's remark, saying "that's horrifying."

Clinton said that not accepting losses is common for Trump, saying he was even bothered by losing an Emmy — Trump interjected, "Should have gotten it."

"This is how Donald thinks," Clinton said, as some in the audience at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas laughed. "It's funny but it's also really troubling."

Both Trump's daughter, Ivanka, and vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence said earlier Wednesday they believed Trump would accept the result. 

"We'll certainly accept the outcome of this election," Pence said on CNN before the debate.

"I believe he'll accept the outcome either way," Ivanka Trump said at a summit on women in Southern California.

Trump has also said he'll accept the result of the election, but his new response — the culmination of days of complaints about the election being rigged — marked a major and possibly unprecedented change in American politics.

Immediately after the debate, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told NBC's Hallie Jackson that Trump will accept the results of the election. He later released a statement that did not mention the controversy, but called Trump "the only candidate ready to shake up Washington and give a voice back to the American people."

Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway reacted to the remark on MSNBC by saying Trump would accept the results because he will win. When Chris Matthews pressed her on what would happen if he lost, she pointed to Al Gore challenging the 2000 election results in Florida — though Gore sought a recount only when the vote totals showed a margin of less than 2,000 votes, and he never called the result into question beforehand.

The reaction online was swift, with many people, even Trump supporters, repudiating the comment. 

"Based on that answer alone, I hope Mr Trump loses all 50 states. He deserves to. He is attacking democracy itself," tweeted a scholar at the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute.

Already not a fan of Trump, Jerry Springer, the former talk show host and mayor of Cincinnati, tweeted that he is "an outrage" for not saying he would accept the election. "Is he planning a coup?"

Photo Credit: John Locher/AP
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Fact Check: Trump and Clinton's Debate Claims]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 09:27:11 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/US-Debate-Fact-Check-CR-147697937763800001.jpg Donald Trump painted an inaccurately dark portrait of manufacturing in America while Hillary Clinton stretched credulity in boasting that her spending plans won't add to the country's debt. Associated Press writer Chris Rugaber breaks down those claims and more.]]>