Tag Archives: Reportedly

Donald Trump Jr.’s Family Receives White Powder in the Mail; Wife Vanessa Reportedly Hospitalized

President Trump’s daughter-in-law was taken to a Manhattan hospital as a precaution on Monday after she was exposed to a white, powdery substance when she opened a suspicious letter addressed to her husband, Donald Trump Jr., several news outlets are reporting.

A spokeswoman for the NYPD’s office of the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information confirmed to PEOPLE that Trump Jr.’s family received a letter containing a powdery substance that was tested and proven to be non hazardous.

The spokeswoman said three people were taken to a local hospital for observation but could not confirm their names.

NBC News reported that, according to senior law enforcement and city officials, Trump Jr.’s wife, Vanessa, was taken to New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center “strictly as a precaution” after a suspicious letter containing an unidentified substance was sent to the couple’s apartment in Manhattan.

 

NBC News said the letter was addressed to Trump Jr., the eldest child of the president and his ex-wife Ivana. The outlet also reported that “there is no indication anyone suffered any injuries.”

According to law enforcement sources who spoke with the New York Post, Vanessa Trump opened the letter at 10 a.m. at an East 54th Street apartment in Manhattan’s Sutton Place neighborhood.

The Trump administration is reportedly moving to privatize the International Space Station

 The Trump administration is planning to privatize the international space station instead of simply decommissioning the orbiting international experiment in 2024, according to a report in The Washington Post.  According to a document obtained by the Post, the current administration is mulling handing the International Space Station off to private industry instead of de-orbiting it as… Read More

DHS reportedly weighing rules targeting immigrants who use public benefits

The Trump administration is reportedly considering making it harder for immigrants who use public assistance to become permanent residents, Reuters reported on Thursday. It’s the latest move in a line of actions meant to crack down on documented immigration, in addition to targeting undocumented immigrants.

According to a proposal obtained by the outlet, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is set to propose new rules allowing immigration officers to scrutinize and consider the use of certain taxpayer-funded benefits when weighing permanent residency applications. Non-U.S. citizens living in the United States pay taxes and are legally permitted to use many public services. But the new DHS rules would seek to measure that usage, holding any perceived reliance against applicants.

“Non-citizens who receive public benefits are not self-sufficient and are relying on the U.S. government and state and local entities for resources instead of their families, sponsors or private organizations,” the document reads. “An alien’s receipt of public benefits comes at taxpayer expense and availability of public benefits may provide an incentive for aliens to immigrate to the United States.”

Among those benefits are subsidies for utility bills and assistance programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides food stamps; the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which assists pregnant people and their children; and a number of programs assisting with transportation vouchers, education for low-income children, and even winter heating.

Health care obtained through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would also be subject to increased scrutiny. Emergency and disaster relief would reportedly be excluded, as well as free and reduced-price school lunches, Medicare, and disability insurance.

Applicants’ credit reports, along with a significant amount of personal information, could also be obtained and used by the government in order to evaluate individual usage of public benefits.

The changes would likely impact hundreds of thousands of people. Permanent residents applying for citizenship would not be subject to the rules, but people applying for permanent status would be considered a “public charge” if they depend on “any government assistance in the form of cash, checks or other forms of money transfers, or instrument and non-cash government assistance in the form of aid, services, or other relief.”

The DHS rules are the latest indicator that the Trump administration intends to crack down on immigration at every level.

The White House has repeatedly targeted undocumented immigrants, railing against sanctuary cities and ramping up deportation measures. In September, President Trump rescinded the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) directive, leaving 800,000 young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children in limbo. The administration has also rescinded Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for immigrants from a number of countries — including Haiti, El Salvador, and Nicaragua — leaving hundreds of thousands of people forced to return to countries facing severe domestic turmoil.

The White House has also pushed for a “merit-based” immigration system favoring highly-skilled immigrants, citing the diversity visa lottery program as one example of a system favoring “the worst” immigrants. Experts have criticized and contradicted those claims, as the diversity visa program has merit-based components and makes up a small sliver of the U.S. immigration system more broadly.

But highly-skilled immigrants and those looking to immigrate through official channels have still suffered under Trump, despite the president’s supposed desire to make room for more documented immigration. In April, the president unveiled an executive order targeting the H-1B visa, which goes to highly-skilled workers across a number of sectors, including technology, research, and academia. Last month, sources told McClatchy that DHS had implemented new policies targeting H-1B applicants with pending green card applications. Hundreds of thousands of would-be immigrants — the overwhelming majority of them Indian citizens — could be impacted if those rules take effect, subjecting them to longer wait times, increased scrutiny, and the possibility of being sent home in the interim period.

DHS officials have yet to issue a formal comment on the reported new rules impacting applicants for permanent residency. It is unclear when the policy would take effect, should it be approved.


An emboldened ICE reportedly wants to become a part of the U.S. intelligence community

“Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) should be able to join the U.S. Intelligence Community and get access to spy agency secrets and tools that would help them surveil millions of Americans regardless of their immigration status” is something no decent person has ever said, but ICE officials emboldened under the mass deportation policies of Donald Trump’s administration are actively exploring the possibility:

Internal advocates for joining the America’s spy agencies—known as the Intelligence Community or the IC—focus on the potential benefits to the agency’s work on counterproliferation, money laundering, counterterror, and cybercrime. The official added that joining the IC could also be useful for the agency’s immigration enforcement work––in particular, their efforts to find and arrest undocumented immigrants with criminal arrest warrants (known in ICE as fugitive aliens).

But civil liberties advocates and government watchdog groups—as well as some current and former U.S. officials—are concerned at the prospect of the nation’s immigration enforcers joining the ranks of America’s spies.

“The idea that ICE could potentially get access to warrantless surveillance is frankly terrifying,” said Jake Laperruque of the Project on Government Oversight. Under Trump, agents have commonly disregarded the rule of law and taken frightening steps to speed up arrests, including plans to collect the social media information of immigrants and obtaining technology that would allow them access to license plate information all over the U.S. But apparently, that’s not enough. Patrick Toomey of the American Civil Liberties Union:

“The prospect of ICE joining the Intelligence Community, if true, should sound alarm bells,” he said. “Such a move threatens to give an agency responsible for domestic immigration enforcement access to a vast pool of sensitive information collected by our spy agencies for foreign intelligence purposes. Those spying tools do not belong in the hands of ICE agents.”

Of course, officials will argue that vastly expanded powers would help track national security threats and “transnational crimes, including drug trafficking, money laundering, cybercrimes, and arms trafficking,” but it’s abuse of these powers and the targeting of both immigrant families and U.S.-born families that should worry all. After all, the leaders of this administration keep claiming that it’s thugs and “bad hombres” that are getting swept up. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient arrested for taking a wrong turn says otherwise.

Drake Reportedly Bought $50,000 Worth of Groceries for Shoppers at a Miami Supermarket

After donating $25,000 to a high school in Miami where he shot his next music video and awarded a $50,000 scholarship to a lucky University of Miami student, Drake continued his generosity spree by covering the grocery bills of shoppers at a local supermarket.

On Tuesday, the rapper stopped by the Sabor Tropical Supermarket in Miami and told shoppers via a megaphone that he’d be paying for their purchases, according to E! News. The rapper reportedly spent $50,000 on the groceries.

“No one knew he was coming at all, we just came to do groceries. Cameras were being set up so we were all wondering what was to happen,” Guille Deza, who was at the store for the surprise, told the outlet. The customer added that the gossip around the store was that the act was part of Drake’s upcoming music video for “God’s Plan.”

Excited patrons also snapped selfies with the 31-year-old singer.

“A real king when out and paid for everyone’s groceries in the store, all the while encouraging people to buy more lol,” one fan wrote on Instagram. “BE GOOD AND IT’LL COME RIGHT BACK AROUND!!! 👏 so much love and bless this man 100 times over for all his generosity.”

RELATED: Big Spenders! See the Stars Who Have Left Generous Tips at Restaurants

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Of course, some Miami residents just missed meeting Drake, and expressed their disappointment on Twitter.

“My aunt met drake today at the supermarket on 71….. he bought everybody groceries,” one user lamented. “THE DAY I DONT GO SEE HER HES THERE. FML.”

Another said, “When u find out drake was at the supermarket at the corner or your house and you were just taking a nap.”

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WATCH: Here’s When It’s Worth It to Buy Organic

Drake’s giving spree started on Monday, when he made an afternoon drop-in at Miami Senior High to shoot the visuals for “God’s Plan,” the latest hit off his new EP, Scary Hours

He performed his song on a crane located on the school’s baseball field, while a drone camera captured the proceedings. Thrilled students made videos of their own, many of which were shared to social media.

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“It was amazing and unexpected,” Miami Senior High alumnus Edgar Grant Santiago told the Miami Herald. “Where can you say you got Drake to go your school? At Miami Senior High that’s where. That was truly God’s plan to bless the school.”

In addition to an unforgettable memory, the rapper also presented the school with a check for $25,000 — and reportedly offered to help design new school uniforms.

Later that same afternoon, Drake made another surprise appearance at the University of Miami, where he awarded a $50,000 scholarship to one lucky student outside the Frost School of Music.

RELATED: Drake and His Dad Parody the ‘Most Interesting Man in the World’ in Hilarious New Whiskey Ads

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Before he left, Drake led the assembled crowd through a quick set on the steps of the student center. Apparently, they weren’t ready to let him go — the Miami Hurricane reports that throngs of fans chased his motorcade down the boulevard!

On Tuesday, Drake’s generosity continued when he stopped by Lotus House, Miami’s only homeless shelter for women and children. The nonprofit shelter is raising $25 million to expand its facilities, and the rapper came prepared with a $50,000 check in hand. Additionally, Drake handed out $150 Target gift cards to all 130 women already residing at the shelter, and came equipped with toys and games for 140 kids.

Mike Pence Publicly Responds After Gay Figure Skater Adam Rippon Reportedly Turns Down Meeting

Adam Rippon, openly gay figure skating champion, reportedly turned down an offer to meet with Mike Pence hours after lambasting him for his position on LGBT rights — prompting the vice president to publicly respond.

According to a report published by USA Today on Wednesday, a member of Pence’s staff reached out to the U.S. Olympic Committee to set up a conversation between the 58-year-old politician and the 28-year-old athlete back in January.

The alleged request came the same day USA Today published an interview with Rippon in which he said he wanted to skip the standard meet-and-greet event between Team USA athletes and the American delegation, which is being led by Pence for this year’s opening ceremony.

“You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy?” Rippon, who publicly came out as gay in 2015, said in the Jan. 17 piece. “I’m not buying it.”

Jarrod Agen, the vice president’s deputy chief of staff and communications director, refuted that a meeting was requested in a statement given to PEOPLE.

“The USA Today report is false and should be corrected. The vice president’s office did not reach out to set up a conversation with Mr. Rippon,” Agen said. “As we’ve said before, the Vice President is supporting all the U.S. athletes in the Olympics and is hoping they all win medals. But this story is just not accurate.”

Rippon’s rep declined to comment to PEOPLE on the USA Today report, as did USOC officials.

In a statement to PEOPLE back in January, Pence’s press secretary, Alyssa Farah, said that the vice president does not and has never supported conversion therapy. “The accusation is totally false with no basis in fact,” Farah said.

“Despite these misinformed claims , the vice president will be enthusiastically supporting all the U.S. athletes competing next month in Pyeongchang,” Farrah said.

But LGBT advocates have pointed to a 2000 statement on Pence’s congressional campaign website where he noted that Congress should reauthorize a law funding HIV/AIDS treatment but “resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”

Beyond the issue of gay conversion therapy, Pence — a self-described religious conservative — has taken multiple anti-LGBT positions over the years.

“If it were before my event, I would absolutely not go out of my way to meet somebody who I felt has gone out of their way to not only show that they aren’t a friend of a gay person but that they think that they’re sick,” Rippon told USA Today. “I wouldn’t go out of my way to meet somebody like that.”

Pence also responded, himself, to USA Today‘s latest report on Wednesday, taking a cue from President Donald Trump’s playbook and calling their claims “fake news.”

“Headed to the Olympics to cheer on #TeamUSA,” he tweeted. “One reporter trying to distort 18 yr old non-story to sow seeds of division. We won’t let that happen! #FAKENEWS. Our athletes are the best in the world and we are for ALL of them! #TEAMUSA”

He also wrote to Rippon directly on Twitter, saying, “I want you to know we are FOR YOU. Don’t let fake news distract you. I am proud of you and ALL OF OUR GREAT athletes and my only hope for you and all of #TeamUSA is to bring home the gold. Go get ‘em!”

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In his original conversation with USA Today, Rippon said he would be open to meeting with Pence after the Olympic games.

“If I had the chance to meet him afterwards, after I’m finished competing, there might be a possibility to have an open conversation,” Rippon said. “He seems more mild-mannered than Donald Trump. … But I don’t think the current administration represents the values that I was taught growing up. Mike Pence doesn’t stand for anything that I really believe in.”

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Rippon stood by his views when speaking to PEOPLE.

“I just don’t think that’s right,” he said, “and I think there are so many people who also don’t think that’s right and I think right now more than ever I have this window of time to say what I feel and hopefully make a change.”

“My mom has always taught me to stand up for people who don’t have a voice,” Rippon added. “Sharing my story in 2015, I remember thinking if just one person hears this and reads it and it makes them feel like they aren’t alone, that would be awesome. Now to be headed to the Olympics, my story now has a bigger platform and I’ve heard from so many different kinds of people.”

He continued: “It’s so amazing and it makes me feel like coming out — it was way more important than I even realized.”

The 2018 Winter Olympics will air live starting Feb. 8 on NBC. To learn more, visit teamusa.org.