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May 26, 2020

President Trump has spent the past few weeks suggesting, without any proof, that a staffer who died in MSNBC host Joe Scarborough's office when he was a Florida congressmember was actually murdered. Timothy Klausutis, the widower of Lisa Klausutis, said Trump "has taken ... the memory of my dead wife and perverted it for perceived political gain" in a letter, but that didn't seem to bother Trump in a Tuesday press conference.

Lisa Klausutis died in 2001 after fatally hitting her head on a desk after fainting due to an undiagnosed heart issue, the medical examiner ruled at the time. But on Tuesday, Trump still insisted that the matter was "suspicious," and claimed Klausutis' family "want(s) to get to the bottom of it."

That comes in direct contrast to the letter Timothy Klausutis sent to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Tuesday asking him to delete Trump's tweets. Klausutis said he has "struggled to move forward with my life" because of the "barrage of falsehoods, half-truths, innuendo and conspiracy theories" about his late wife's death that Trump is now spreading.

Also in the press conference, Trump announced some good news for people who access insulin through Medicare. A new Medicare benefit will cap monthly copays for certain types of insulin at $35, Trump announced — and then wondered out loud if he should start taking insulin himself. Kathryn Krawczyk

March 24, 2020

A New Jersey man who coughed on a grocery store employee before telling her he had coronavirus has been charged with terroristic threats, harassment, and obstruction, authorities said Tuesday.

The state's attorney general's office said the man entered a Wegmans in Manalapan on Sunday night, and got into an altercation with the store employee after she told him he was too close to her and a display of prepared food, NJ.com reports. The man — later identified by authorities as 50-year-old George Falcone of Freehold — then allegedly "stepped forward to within three feet of her, leaned toward her, and purposely coughed," before laughing and saying he had coronavirus.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) on Tuesday said this case makes it clear there are "knuckleheads out there." In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Murphy on Saturday issued a statewide stay at home order. As of Tuesday afternoon, there are 3,675 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state, with the death toll hitting 44. Catherine Garcia

August 5, 2019

This tweet was questionable to begin with. The timing made it even worse.

Over the weekend, a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas left 22 people dead, and another in Dayton, Ohio killed nine people. But that didn't stop Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) campaign Twitter account from sharing a photo of his political opponents' names written onto tombstones hours after the first shooting happened.

The tweet from McConnell's official Senate campaign Twitter account @Team_Mitch started gaining traction after McConnell's Democratic Senate challenger Amy McGrath tweeted it out on Monday afternoon. Merrick Garland, whose Supreme Court nomination was stalled by and ultimately upended thanks to McConnell, is on another tombstone, as is Kentucky's Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergarn Grimes.

The original tweet was posted at 6:35 p.m. on Saturday — hours after news of the shooting started coming out, and just 24 minutes before McConnell tweeted his prayers to the victims and first responders in the El Paso shooting. The tweet was still up as of 2:30 p.m. Monday. Kathryn Krawczyk

June 17, 2019

@SudanMealProject isn't actually counting on your likes to hand out meals to children in Sudan.

Neither are @SudanMealProjectOfficial, @SudanMealOfficial, @sudan.meals.project, or pretty much any other Instagram accounts claiming to help people displaced during months of uprisings in Sudan. They're all just fishing for followers and engagement by falsely claiming they'll send a meal to Sudan for every like or share, Taylor Lorenz reports for The Atlantic.

Protests have rocked the northeast African country for months on end, forcing autocratic President Omar Al-Bashir from power in February but continuing as a military council now runs the country. Security forces have continually stormed protest camps, leaving dozens dead each time. It's all sparked a global outcry for those civilian protesters — though not necessarily because they're facing widespread starvation.

Sudan hasn't experienced a declared famine since the early 2000's, and near-famine conditions are actually more of the case in South Sudan, which is a completely separate nation. Yet dozens of Instagram accounts, all with the same steel-blue logo, are claiming they're helping the situation by purportedly sending meals overseas. They often claim one share of a post correlates to one meal sent overseas, which, as The Atlantic documents, is not true. They're largely just looking to grow their follower counts and engagement rates.

To make matters worse, as these accounts are exposed, they often change their Instagram handles to names like "@fakesudanmeal.project" and ask for shares to "expose" that the named account was fake all along. Instead, Lorenz recommends "amplifying the voices of actual Sudanese activists and organizations already working in the country, including Save the Children, UNICEF, and the International Rescue Committee." Read more at The Atlantic. Kathryn Krawczyk

February 22, 2019

The women who worked at a spa where New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft allegedly solicited a prostitute were in "sexual servitude," police say.

The Jupiter Police Department on Friday detailed the conclusion of a eight-month long prostitution ring investigation. As part of it, they uncovered that at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa, women lived and were not allowed to leave, reports USA Today. Arrest records say the women were in "sexual servitude;" investigators are probing whether the spa was involved in human trafficking.

Police say they have video evidence of Kraft soliciting sex at this spa, which has since been shut down, and that he did so on at least two different occasions; they also say he appeared to be a "regular," according to NBC News. Police reportedly have evidence that Kraft, who faces misdemeanor charges, was driven to the parlor.

"We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity," a spokesperson for Kraft said. An "active arrest warrant" has been issued, police say. Brendan Morrow

November 1, 2018

A deep dive into the Twitter account of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) found that in 2017, he twice linked to articles on a white supremacist and anti-Semitic website.

Media Matters for America discovered the tweets, posted on Jan. 6 and Feb. 3, on Thursday, and King has not deleted them. King has a long history of retweeting neo-Nazis and making racist statements, and the website he linked to, The New Observer, published such headlines as "Jews Boast of Owning Hollywood — But Slam Gentiles Who Say the Same" and "Pro-Invasion Jewish Lobby Renews Attack on Trump" around the time he tweeted in February, Media Matters reports.

On Jan. 6, King tweeted: "Six months to remove all illegal immigrants. Pakistan & Afghanistan doing sweeping deportations. Too hard 4 America?" He then linked to a New Observer article that claimed if "a white or European nation should dare impose restrictions on illegal immigration" the "controlled media would pillory them as 'bigots' and 'inhuman.'" On Feb. 3, King tweeted about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients, linking to a New Observer article with the headline "Four 'Dreamers' Arrested Smuggling Invaders into U.S. in 1 Week."

Media Matters says The New Observer has published articles attacking the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society (HIAS), the same organization that was mentioned by the suspect in last weekend's Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, and in 2014 called for the "physical geographical separation" of races. Read more about the website at Media Matters for America. Catherine Garcia

May 25, 2018

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) has lost the support of the National Association of Realtors after he told a delegation last week that homeowners shouldn't have to sell their properties to people whose lifestyles they don't agree with.

Members of the Orange County Association of Realtors met with Rohrabacher while lobbying for H.R. 1447, which expands the Fair Housing Act of 1968 to include anti-discrimination protections based on a person's sexual orientation and gender identity. One attendee told The Orange County Register that Rohrabacher said to the group, "Every homeowner should be able to make a decision not to sell their home to someone [if] they don't agree with their lifestyle."

On Thursday, Rohrabacher confirmed to the Register that he said this, questioning why homeowners can't "choose who they do business with. We've drawn a line on racism, but I don't think we should extend that line. A homeowner should not be required to be in business with someone they think is doing something that is immoral." He said he's not "anti-gay" personally, but "there are some fundamental Christians who do not approve of their lifestyle. I support their rights."

The National Association of Realtors pulled its support of Rohrabacher after getting a letter from the founder of the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals. The NAR had recommended that members send Rohrabacher campaign donations. Rohrabacher, now in his 15th term and up for re-election, told the Register it was "sad to see" that the real estate group's priority is "standing in solidarity with making sure a stamp of approval is put on somebody's private lifestyle." Catherine Garcia

March 6, 2018

Police in Sutherland Springs, Texas, arrested two conspiracy theorists on Monday outside of the Baptist church where 26 people were killed last year, after they allegedly harassed the pastor and told him his daughter, who died in the mass shooting, "never even existed."

Robert Mikell Ussery, 54, and Jodie Marie Mann, 56, remain inside the Wilson County Jail. Ussery runs a website, Side Thorn, that calls the Sutherland Springs, Parkland, and Las Vegas Strip massacres "drills using crisis actors that were sold to the public as real," The Dallas Morning News reports. First Baptist Church Pastor Frank Pomeroy told the San Antonio Express-News that Ussery approached him in his car and started yelling, saying: "Your daughter never even existed. Show me her birth certificate. Show me anything to say she was here." Annabelle Pomeroy, 14, was one of 26 people killed in the Nov. 5 massacre, and Frank Pomeroy said Ussery and Mann, who goes by the name "Conspiracy Granny" online, were trying to bait him and another church member into a fight.

On a Sutherland Springs community Facebook page, residents have complained for months about Ussery and Mann, and Pomeroy said he was glad they didn't leave the scene before police could arrest them on Monday. "If it takes something happening before you get rid of these guys, then I'm just glad that this 'something happened' happened and nobody got hurt," he said. Catherine Garcia

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