LONDON - Britain's GCHQ intelligence agency dismissed claims made on a U.S. television station that it helped former President Barack Obama eavesdrop on Donald Trump after last year's U.S. presidential election. In a rare public statement, Britain's eavesdropping agency said the charge - made on Tuesday, March 14, by Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano - was "utterly ridiculous". "Recent allegations made by media commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct 'wire tapping' against the then President Elect are nonsense," a spokesman for GCHQ said.
An Oklahoma Republican state senator who campaigned as a champion of family values was booked on felony prostitution charges on Thursday, March 16, after police found him in a motel room with a teenage boy and drugs, court documents showed. Ralph Shortey, 35, was charged with three felony counts, including engaging in child prostitution, court documents filed in Cleveland County showed. Shortey, who has served since 2010, has not spoken to media about the incident.
Steve Penny resigned as president and chief executive of USA Gymnastics on Thursday, March 16, in the wake of the federation's handling of sexual abuse allegations concerning a former team doctor. Penny's resignation comes a week after the United States Olympic Committee's board of directors sent a recommendation to USA Gymnastics following reports that the organization turned a blind eye to allegations of sexual misconduct.
USA Hockey has given the U.S. women's national team a deadline of 4 p.m. on Thursday to decide whether they will play in the world championships after threatening to boycott the competition over a wage dispute. The deadline comes a day after the defending world champions, citing a lack of progress in year-long negotiations, said they will boycott the tournament unless their demands for higher wages are met by USA Hockey.
CHICAGO - President Donald Trump has proposed halting funding for rural clean water initiatives and reducing county-level staff, for a 21 percent drop in discretionary spending at the Department of Agriculture, according to a White House budget document. The $4.7 billion in cuts would leave USDA with a budget of $17.9 billion after cutting some statistical and rural business services and encouraging private sector conservation planning. Farm groups warned that farmers and rural communities could suffer.
WASHINGTON - The Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee said on Thursday they saw no evidence to support President Donald Trump's claim that the Obama administration tapped his phones during the 2016 presidential campaign. "Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016," Republican Chairman Richard Burr and Senator Mark Warner, the committee's Democratic vice chairman, said in a statement.
LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK - McDonald's Corp. said on Thursday its official Twitter account had been compromised after it quickly deleted a tweet sent from the company's handle slamming U.S. President Donald Trump. "Twitter notified us that our account was compromised. We deleted the tweet, secured our account and are now investigating this," McDonald's spokeswoman Terri Hickey said in a statement.
WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump will ask the U.S. Congress for dramatic cuts to many federal programs as he seeks to bulk up defense spending, start building a wall on the border with Mexico and spend more money deporting illegal immigrants. In a federal budget proposal with many losers, the Environmental Protection Agency and State Department stand out as targets for the biggest spending reductions. Funding would disappear altogether for 19 independent bodies that count on federal money for public broadcasting, the arts and regional issues from Alaska to Appalachia.
HONOLULU/NEW YORK - A defiant Donald Trump has pledged to appeal against a federal judge's order placing an immediate halt on his revised travel ban, describing the ruling as judicial overreach that made the United States look weak. In granting the temporary restraining order in response to a lawsuit by the state of Hawaii, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson found on Wednesday that "a reasonable, objective observer ... would conclude that the executive order was issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion."
HONOLULU/NEW YORK - A U.S. federal judge in Hawaii dealt another legal blow to President Donald Trump on Wednesday, issuing an emergency halt to his revised travel ban just hours before it was set to go into effect early on Thursday. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson put out an emergency stop March 15 on Trump's executive order, which aimed to temporarily bar entry to the United States of most refugees as well as travelers from six Muslim-majority countries.