Almost six years after FBI agents stormed the Yearning for Zion Ranch near Eldorado, Texas, the Texas Department of Public Safety said its agents took possession of the compound on Thursday.
The ranch was once home to Warren Jeffs and his followers in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but when authorities arrived at the secluded property, they discovered just eight adults living there. All agreed to leave.
The ranch was raided in April of 2008 following allegations that underage girls were being forced into polygamous marriages. According to The Associated Press, 439 children were taken into protective custody. Jeffs is now serving a life term in prison after being convicted of sexually assaulting two girls the group considered to be his wives.
Earlier this year, the state alleged that FLDS leaders financed the $1.1 million purchase of the land in 2003 through money laundering. The AP reports that because there were also sexual assaults committed on the property, under Texas law authorities can confiscate property used to perpetrate or facilitate certain criminal conduct. A judge agreed, and ordered the forfeiture of the property, seen below, in January. --Catherine Garcia
Ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has a new consulting firm: Resilient Patriot, LLC. In his post-Trump administration venture, Flynn will advise private equity firms on potential deals. Though Resilient Patriot is the name Flynn's son — who posted about the Pizzagate conspiracy theory — used on Twitter, Flynn's son will not be involved.
Flynn's brother told The Associated Press that while there's still a "cloud over" his brother, he is "moving on with his life" since he resigned in February after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. "I think he's not worried about going to jail or anything like that," Flynn's brother said.
Flynn is being looked at as part of the ongoing investigation into whether there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election. Flynn, who didn't register as a foreign agent until after he resigned, also failed to disclose income from three Russia-linked firms. Becca Stanek
Accused al Qaeda recruiter Ali Charaf Damache is scheduled to face a civilian trial Friday in Philadelphia, breaking with President Trump's campaign promise to fill Guantánamo Bay with "bad dudes." Hardliners, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, have traditionally criticized the prosecution of suspected terrorists on American soil, with Sessions in particular claiming such suspects "do not deserve the same legal rights as common criminals and that such trials were too dangerous to hold on American soil," The New York Times writes. "With Mr. Damache's transfer, Mr. Sessions has adopted a strategy that he vehemently opposed when it was carried out under President Barack Obama."
An Algerian and Irish citizen, Damache was transferred to the U.S. from Spain and is suspected of plotting a failed attempt to kill a Swedish cartoonist who drew the Prophet Muhammad with a dog's body. Damache is also believed to have worked as a recruiter for al Qaeda.
"For years, Republicans portrayed civilian trials as a weakness in Mr. Obama's national security policy," the Times writes, adding: "Mr. Damache's transfer represents a collision of the Trump administration's tough rhetoric and the reality of fighting terrorism in 2017." Read more at The New York Times. Jeva Lange
Rompers for men are "nowhere near new," but they may never have a moment like they did earlier this year. Decades after James Bond rocked a similar one-piece on screen, a garment called the RompHim divided the nation when it made its first social-media appearance in May, and by the time its creators started shipping to customers, "a slew" of knockoffs were trawling for startup funding on Kickstarter, most of them failing to repeat the RompHim's success. But one company, Getonfleek, went wild with the concept, churning out scores of outré variations. The top seller? This tribute to Kim Jong Un ($100).
Hours after he issued his resignation Friday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tweeted that it's "been an honor and a privilege to serve" under President Trump. Spicer said that he will step down from his role in August:
— Sean Spicer (@PressSec) July 21, 2017
Spicer's resignation was announced shortly after it was confirmed that Trump had offered Anthony Scaramucci the role of communications director. The New York Times reported that Spicer "vehemently disagreed" with the appointment of the Wall Street financier. Trump reportedly asked Spicer to stay on, but Spicer declined.
Anthony Scaramucci, President Trump's newly hired communications director, is on the books as having donated a nice chunk of change to former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden in 2008. FEC donor records indicate the Wall Street financier gave $2,300 to Obama for America on May 31, 2008, the Chicago Sun-Times' Washington Bureau Chief Lynn Sweet reported.
Now, Trump himself has also donated to Democrats, including to Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, as well as the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
But on top of Scaramucci's donation, the new communications director has also made some less-than-complimentary comments about his new boss. In an August 2015 appearance on Fox Business, Scaramucci called Trump a "hack politician" and "an inherited money dude from Queens County."
The president's staff wasn't exactly on board with his decision to hire Scaramucci either: Scaramucci's hiring was apparently the impetus for White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's resignation Friday. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Trump's chief strategist Stephen Bannon also reportedly weren't thrilled. Becca Stanek
On Friday, just after President Trump offered Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci the position of White House communications director, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned in protest. Spicer apparently ardently disagreed with Scaramucci's hiring and believed he could not do the job, NBC News' Katy Tur reports.
But perhaps it is more surprising Scaramucci wanted the job in the first place, given the way he talked about then-candidate Trump in an August 2015 appearance on Fox Business. "He's a hack politician," Scaramucci declared. "I'll tell you who he's gonna be president of, you can tell Donald I said this: the Queens County Bullies Association."
Scaramucci further hammered Trump on his outer borough roots. "You're an inherited money dude from Queens County," Scaramucci said, seizing on the president's notorious insecurity about fitting in with the Manhattan elite when he was a real estate mogul. Scaramucci also knocked Trump for "the way he talks about women" and for his "big mouth."
Now, Scaramucci will be in charge of massaging the messaging that comes from that "big mouth." Watch his appearance below. Kimberly Alters
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) July 21, 2017
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer will be remembered for many things: the Melissa McCarthy performances he inspired on Saturday Night Live; that time he hid among the bushes; and the press briefing in which he brought up Adolf Hitler. However, he likely won't be remembered for his mastery of the English language.
When he wasn't advising the press that President Trump's indiscernible tweets "speak for themselves," Spicer spent a lot of time tripping over words. So much time, in fact, that GQ was able to compile a minute-long alphabetical list of all the words Spicer invented, from "althewise" and "fress office" to "lasterday" and "vroter fraud."
Catch the complete compilation below. Becca Stanek