February 5, 2019

President Trump turned to his longtime lender, Deutsche Bank, in early 2016 for a loan of at least $10 million to work on the Trump Organization's Turnberry golf resort in Scotland, and Deutsche Bank said no, judging the risk too high, The New York Times reported over the weekend. On Monday, The Times of London reported that Maryland prosecutors have subpoenaed financial documents relating to DJT Holdings LLC, the company that owns the Turnberry club and Washington's Trump International Hotel, among other properties, to find out who exactly owns it. There is speculation Russia is financially involved.

"In the decade before he was elected president, Mr. Trump's company spent hundreds of millions of dollars buying or renovating about a dozen clubs and resorts around the world," The New York Times reports. "The funding of Mr. Trump's golf empire has been something of a mystery." Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh says his team is looking for evidence "President Trump is violating the Constitution's emoluments clauses." Those cases "are rare and challenging to prove," says Vanity Fair's Eric Lutz. "Potentially more worrisome for the president is the possibility that the Maryland subpoena could reveal the unknown source of DJT Holdings's funding."

Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, told the House Intelligence Committee in November 2017 that Trump's "Irish courses and the Scottish courses ... don't, on their face, show Russian involvement," but do show "enormous amounts of capital flowing into these projects from unknown sources ... hundreds of millions of dollars. And these golf course are just, you know, they're sinks. They don't actually make any money." In 2013, Eric Trump told golf writer James Dodson that "we have all the funding we need out of Russia" for Trump golf properties; Eric Trump denied saying that in 2017, Dodson stood by his report.

House Democrats are planning to investigate Trump's involvement with Deutsche Bank, which was fined as recently as 2017 for laundering Russian money. Trump Organization spokeswoman Amanda Miller told the Times that "at no time was any money needed to finance the purchase or the refurbishment of Trump Turnberry"; she did not address the 2016 Deutsche Bank loan. Peter Weber

12:07 a.m.

It was a big day for Michael Orlando Clark Jr., and he wanted all of his kindergarten classmates to be a part of it.

Clark was adopted on Thursday, and his entire class came to the hearing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, filling up the court room benches and holding up paper hearts. They introduced themselves to Judge Patricia Gardner, and told her how much they loved Clark. As soon as Gardner banged the gavel, making the adoption official, the kids burst into applause.

"We began the school year as a family," Clark's teacher told WZZM. "Family doesn't have to be DNA, because family is support and love." Clark was one of 36 children who were adopted during Kent County's 23rd annual Adoption Day, and he couldn't stop smiling throughout the hearing. After the event, as his father spoke to WZZM about the adoption, he was no longer able to contain his excitement. "I love my daddy," he told the reporter. "I love him so much." Catherine Garcia

December 5, 2019

A sad milestone was reached this week, with the Ray Pfeifer Foundation reporting that 200 New York City firefighters have now died from "9/11 illness."

The foundation, which provides assistance to 9/11 first responders with medical bills not covered by insurance, said that Dennis Gilhooly, a retired FDNY captain, and Brian Case, a retired firefighter, are the 199th and 200th FDNY deaths related to the attacks on the World Trade Center, CBS News reports.

Toxins were released when the World Trade Center towers collapsed, and more than 50,000 people who were exposed have become sick, CBS News says. Studies have found a high number of deaths from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and brain malignancies among 9/11 first responders and others who were exposed to the dust cloud after the towers fell. Catherine Garcia

December 5, 2019

Uber released a startling 84-page review on Thursday outlining how many reports of sexual abuse the ride-hailing service received in 2018.

In the United States, there were 235 reports of rape, 280 reports of attempted rape, 1,560 reports of groping, and 970 reports of unwanted kissing. "Each of these incidents represents an individual who has undergone a horrific trauma," Tony West, Uber's chief legal officer, told NBC News.

Uber says the victims included both drivers and riders, with passengers accused of sexual assault in 45 percent of cases. "We do four million rides a day," West said. "And when you're operating at that kind of scale, thankfully, 99.9 percent of those rides end with absolutely no safety incident whatsoever." Uber said it has enacted stricter background checks for drivers and added more safety features in the app, including a button that lets users call 911. Catherine Garcia

December 5, 2019

A satellite image captured Thursday shows activity at a rocket launching site that North Korea had previously dismantled, CNN reports.

The image of Sohae Satellite Launching Station, obtained by CNN and analyzed by experts, shows a large shipping container at the facility's test stand, said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute. This was the first time analysts have seen this container, he added, and it could indicate that North Korea will soon start conducting engine tests at the site again. These engines would be used to power satellite launchers and intercontinental ballistic missiles, CNN reports.

While at the NATO summit in London on Tuesday, Trump mused that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "really likes sending rockets up, doesn't he? That's why I call him Rocket Man." Trump also said he has a "good relationship" with Kim, but his remarks still irked Choe Son Hui, North Korea's first vice-foreign minister. According to North Korean state media, Choe declared that "if any language and expressions stoking the atmosphere of confrontation are used once again on purpose at a crucial moment as now, that must really be diagnosed as the relapse of the dotage of a dotard." Catherine Garcia

December 5, 2019

Several West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation employees have been suspended following the leak of a photo showing more than 30 members of a basic training class giving a Nazi salute, WCHS reports.

Basic Training Class #18 was held Oct. 21 through Nov. 27, and WCHS recently obtained a copy of the photo, with blurred faces, from the office of Gov. Jim Justice (R). In a statement released Thursday, Justice said he has ordered "the termination of all those that are found to be involved in this conduct. This will not be tolerated on my watch, within the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation or within any agency of state government."

Jeff Sandy, the cabinet secretary for the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, sent a letter on Wednesday to employees of the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation, condemning the photo. "It is distasteful, hurtful, disturbing, highly insensitive, and completely inappropriate," he said. Sandy also announced that Betsy Jividen, the commissioner of the state Division of Corrections, has directed that all copies of the photo "be destroyed, sent to this office, or otherwise taken out of circulation to keep its harm from spreading." Catherine Garcia

December 5, 2019

If you want to get shredded like Star-Lord, why not cut out the middleman?

Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World star Chris Pratt has opened his own Amazon storefront hawking a wide variety of health and fitness products, including rowing machines, boxing gloves, and protein powders. Unfortunately for those who really want to get motivated for their next run, the lineup of products doesn't currently include any live dinosaurs.

Read more at People. Scott Meslow

December 5, 2019

Earlier this year, superhero fans faced the terrifying possibility of a world where the seemingly limitless roster of Marvel Cinematic Universe superheroes didn't include Spider-Man, who was caught up in the messy web of a rights and profit-sharing dispute between Sony and Disney.

Spider-Man has since been added back into the Marvel fold — and as it turns out, the hero in this story is none other than Spider-Man himself, Tom Holland, who says he sealed the deal by getting drunk and crying in a phone call with Disney CEO Bob Iger.

For a superhero, it's an admittedly unconventional strategy for saving the day, but hey, who can argue with the results? Read more at Indiewire. Scott Meslow

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