Taking the "I didn't do it" excuse to a new level, the former House stenographer who shouted bizarre, Biblical gibberish during a vote last October is blaming God for her outburst.
In a 38-minute video, the stenographer, Dianne Reidy, and her husband Dan explain that Reidy did not have a "breakdown," as the incident was widely portrayed in the media. Rather, Reidy claims it was an "assignment" from the heavens, and that this was the fourth time in her life she's been "carried along by the Holy Spirit" in this way.
"We believe with all our hearts that what took place that night was God speaking through Diane, bringing forth the word of correction to our government, and hopefully before He brings his judgment on our country," Dan says in the video.
While the House voted in October to end the government shutdown, Reidy rushed to the dais and launched into a tirade that included phrases like "God will not be mocked," and "You cannot serve two masters." Jon Terbush
On Thursday, prosecutors in Kansas charged Adam Purinton, 51, with one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder for the shooting of three people at a crowded bar in Olanthe, just outside Kansas City, on Wednesday night. A bartender at Austins Bar and Grill said Purinton used "racial slurs" before he allegedly shot Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, and Alok Madasani, 32, both aviation engineers at a local Garmin plant and both originally from India. At least one witness told The Kansas City Star that Purinton yelled for them to "get out of my country" before he pulled out a gun and began firing.
Kuchibhotla died in the hospital; Madasani and Ian Grillot, a 24-year-old Austins regular who stepped in to stop Purinton, are in stable condition. Purinton left the bar on foot and was arrested around midnight at an Applebees in Clinton, Missouri, some 70 miles away. He told an Applebees bartender that he needed a place to hide out because he had just killed two Middle Eastern men, The Star reports, and the bartender quietly called police, who arrested Purinton without incident. In court Thursday, he did not contest extradition to Kansas; bond was set at $2 million.
The FBI is working with Olanthe police to determine if this was a hate crime, but Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said investigators have not yet determined a motive for the shooting. "We're less than 24 hours in," he said at a news conference Thursday afternoon. "We want to be sure of the facts versus speculation." You can learn more about the victims at The Kansas City Star, and more about the case — which is reportedly being watched very closely in India — in the ABC News report below. Peter Weber
Ashley, a one-year-old pit bull, was found emaciated and living in squalor, but her spirit was never broken.
Erica Mahnken of the No More Pain dog rescue found Ashley in a Staten Island drug den, and asked friends working at a fire station on Manhattan's Lower East Side if they could keep Ashley for a few days while she found her a home. "As soon as we walked her in there everyone loved her," Mahnken told Inside Edition. "She was jumping on everyone and licking everybody."
The firefighters quickly decided they wanted her to stay with them permanently, and now a healthy and happy Ashley spends her days hanging out at the station with her new family. The firefighters document Ashley's life on her own Instagram account, and Mahnken says she is "just thankful they were able to take her, because God knows where she'd be." Catherine Garcia
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday announced he is rescinding a directive from the Obama administration that instructed the Department of Justice to curtail the use of private prisons.
In an order, Sessions wrote that the earlier memo phasing out private prison use "changed long-standing policy and practice" and "impaired" the ability of the Bureau of Prisons "to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system." In recent years, due to changes in sentencing for some lower-level offenders, the federal prison population has been declining. Today, there are about 21,000 inmates being held in for-profit prisons for the Justice Department, down from a peak of 30,000, NPR reports.
Last August, Sally Yates, then the deputy attorney general, said facilities run by outside companies are not as safe, more expensive, and no longer "provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources." Catherine Garcia
Leila de Lima, a senator in the Philippines and one of President Rodrigo Duterte's most vocal critics, was arrested Friday on drug-trafficking charges.
On Thursday, de Lima was indicted over allegations that from 2010 to 2015, during her tenure as justice secretary, she allowed the drug trade to thrive in the national jail, Bloomberg reports. Before surrendering to authorities, de Lima told reporters she is "innocent" and there is "no truth to allegations that I benefited from the illegal drug trade, that I took drug money, that I protected drug convicts — these are all lies." The current justice secretary, Vitaliano Aguirre, denied that de Lima's arrest was politically motivated, saying probable cause had been established.
De Lima has led the opposition to Duterte's war on drugs, which he launched last year after he took office. While Duterte was mayor of Davao, de Lima was in charge of the Commission on Human Rights, which investigated how he was handling drug use and dealing in the city. If convicted, de Lima faces life in prison and a fine. "It is my honor to be jailed for the things I fight for," she said, defiantly adding that she won't stop "fighting for truth and justice against the daily killings and other abuses of the Duterte regime." Catherine Garcia
"Look, it's not easy being a member of Congress these days," Seth Meyers said on Thursday's Late Night, "facing down angry voters at rowdy town halls, standing under those hot lights, getting yelled at by your constituents. I'm sure they'd love to get out of there and just relax for a while, like this guy" — that guy being President Trump on his golf course. "While Trump is tweeting and hitting the links, Republican members of Congress are in their home districts dealing with constituents who are angry about Trump's first month in office," Meyers said, plus his tax returns, ties to Russia, and the GOP plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Meyers ran though some of the tough questions fielded by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Sen. Bill Cassidy (La.), Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), and Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.), who Meyers said "looks like a kid in a school play whose performance was so bad they called him back out on stage by himself so everyone could boo him." In Utah, Rep. Jason Chaffetz got lustily booed for "just mentioning the name of the vice president," Meyers said, noting, to be fair, that Mike Pence has also been booed recently at a Broadway show and an Indiana minor-league baseball game.
"And by the way, it's not just Republicans who are facing town hall protests," he said. "Moderate Democrats are also preparing for protests at their own town halls from constituents demanding they stand up to Trump," and they are seeking help, reportedly, from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). But most of the anger has been toward the GOP. "Trump and Republicans in Congress are facing a massive backlash over their plan to repeal ObamaCare, because they have nothing better to offer," Meyers said, listing three legs of the GOP replacement plan: Tums, Advil, and soup. Watch below. Peter Weber
Rep. Matt Gaetz, a conservative Republican from Florida, caught constituents off guard on Thursday when he agreed that President Trump should release his tax returns.
During a town hall in Pace, a woman told Gaetz her family has been in the United States for 400 years, and she has had relatives fight in every major war. "There are allegations a foreign government has infiltrated our government at the highest levels," she said, before asking Gaetz if he would demand that Trump release his tax returns in order to show any ties to Russia. The crowd began to boo Gaetz, CNN reports, but he quickly interjected, "If you hear me out, you'll like my answer.... Absolutely, Donald Trump should release his tax returns." That earned him some rare applause, though he did not back subpoenaing Trump's returns.
At most town halls held this week by Republican lawmakers, the issue of Trump's taxes has been a major point of conversation. Unlike every other major party nominee since 1972, Trump did not release his tax returns during his campaign, claiming that he was under audit and had been advised not to do so. Catherine Garcia
Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was killed by a highly toxic VX nerve agent that the United Nations has classified as a weapon of mass destruction, Malaysian police said Friday.
Earlier this month, Kim Jong Nam was at the Kuala Lumpur airport when he said a woman grabbed his face and sprayed him with some sort of chemical; he died from a seizure on the way to the hospital. Authorities say a preliminary analysis of swabs taken of his face and eyes shows ethyl N-2-Diisopropylaminoethyl Methylphosphonothiolate, the most potent of all nerve agents, which is lethal after just a fraction of a drop is absorbed through the skin.
Previously only seen in chemical warfare, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says exposure to VX nerve agent can lead to convulsions, paralysis, and fatal respiratory failure. The police have said two attackers rubbed a liquid on Kim's face before they fled and washed their hands. Catherine Garcia