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Rudy Giuliani claims he 'never said there was no collusion' between Trump campaign, Russia

In a Wednesday interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo, Rudy Giuliani claimed he has never said "nobody" involved with President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign colluded with Russia – just that Trump himself did not.

>> Watch the clip here

>> Jamie Dupree: Pelosi suggests delay for Trump State of the Union due to shutdown

"I never said there was no collusion between the campaign or between people in the campaign," said Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney. "I have no idea."

"Yes, you did," Cuomo interjected.

>> Jamie Dupree: Mueller not involved in ‘witch hunt’ over Russia probe, Barr says

"No, I did not," Giuliani said. "I said the president of the United States. There is not a single bit of evidence the president of the United States committed the only crime you could commit here – conspired with the Russians to hack the DNC."

>> Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani: 'Collusion is not a crime'

"First of all, crime is not the bar of accountability for a president," Cuomo replied. "It's about what you knew, what was right and what was wrong, and what did you deceive about. Those are the major considerations."

>> Read more trending news 

"The president did not collude with the Russians," Giuliani said, claiming that Trump never said "nobody" in his campaign colluded with Russia.

"He said he didn't," Giuliani said.

"He actually did say that, Rudy," Cuomo said.

According to the Washington Post, Trump frequently has denied that his campaign colluded with Russia.

"The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion," Trump tweeted in February 2018

>> See the tweet here

Six months later, he tweeted: "Russian Collusion with the Trump Campaign, one of the most successful in history, is a TOTAL HOAX."

>> See the tweet here

Additionally, Trump wrote in December that "Democrats can't find a Smocking Gun (sic) tying the Trump campaign to Russia after James Comey's testimony." 

>> Read it here

Giuliani appeared to back similar statements in a July interview with Fox News' Guy Benson, the Post reported.

"Is it still the position of you and your client that there was no collusion with the Russians whatsoever on behalf of the Trump campaign?" Benson asked Giuliani.

"Correct," he said, according to the Post.

Read more here.

Michael Strahan offers Clemson Tigers 'proper meal' after Trump dinner

Just a day after the Clemson Tigers dined on fast food at the White House, former NFL star and "Good Morning America" host Michael Strahan offered to give the college football champs a "proper meal."

>> Trump serves fast-food smorgasbord to Clemson Tigers during White House celebration

"I would like to invite the Clemson Tiger football team here for a great meal," Strahan said during Tuesday's broadcast. "Come out here, everybody. Whoever can make it, we'll hook you up with lobster. ... Whatever you want, we're gonna take care of you."

>> Read more trending news 

Co-host Sara Haines suggested they add caviar to the menu.

"Per egg is a lot of money," she said. "Are you paying? We don't have a lot of money."

"It's out of my pocket," Strahan replied. "I've got you guys." 

>> Watch the clip here

Earlier that morning, President Donald Trump tweeted that he served the football team fast food "because of the shutdown" and personally paid for the spread.

>> Check out a video from the dinner below

Trump family sends Christmas card to teen with terminal cancer

A cancer-stricken Pennsylvania boy who wished for Christmas cards from around the world has received a holiday greeting from the president himself.

>> Read more trending news 

>> On WPXI.com: Terminally ill teen to raise money for other sick kids by playing video games online

According to Explore Clarion and the Centre Daily Times, the request from Reynoldsville teen Maddox Hyde, who is terminally ill with neuroblastoma, went viral over the holidays. As of Christmas Eve, the 14-year-old had received more than 100,000 cards, gifts and letters, many from high-profile supporters such as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Pittsburgh Steelers and "Star Trek" actor William Shatner.

>> See Shatner's tweet here

President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump and their son, Barron, are the latest big names to show their support for Maddox. Maddox's stepfather, Steve Potter, took to Facebook on Friday to share a photo of a green-and-gold Christmas card signed by the first family.

>> See the card here

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

Want to send Maddox a card? You can mail it to 333 Ohio St., Reynoldsville, PA 15851.

Read more here or here.

Trump responds to Mitt Romney op-ed: 'I won big, and he didn't'

President Donald Trump took to Twitter early Wednesday to respond to a blistering Washington Post op-ed in which incoming Republican Sen. Mitt Romney criticized Trump’s character.

Here are the latest updates:

Update 8:04 a.m. EST Jan. 2: President Donald Trump responded to Romney’s editorial in a tweet Wednesday morning.

“Here we go with Mitt Romney, but so fast! Question will be, is he a Flake?” Trump tweeted, likely referring to departing Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona. “I hope not. Would much prefer that Mitt focus on Border Security and so many other things where he can be helpful. I won big, and he didn’t. He should be happy for all Republicans. Be a TEAM player & WIN!”

>> See the tweet here

Original report: Former Republican presidential nominee and incoming U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney slammed President Donald Trump's character Tuesday in a blistering op-ed for the Washington Post.

"It is well known that Donald Trump was not my choice for the Republican presidential nomination," the frequent Trump critic wrote. "After he became the nominee, I hoped his campaign would refrain from resentment and name-calling. It did not."

>> Read the op-ed here

But Romney – who lauded the president's appointments of former Chief of Staff John Kelly, former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other officials who have since left the administration – said he had hoped that Trump would "rise to the occasion" after the 2016 election.

That hasn’t happened, Romney said.

“His conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions this month, is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office," Romney wrote.

Romney went on to say that presidents must have "honesty and integrity."

>> Read more trending news 

"As a nation, we have been blessed with presidents who have called on the greatness of the American spirit," he continued. "With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable. And it is in this province where the incumbent’s shortfall has been most glaring."

As of early Wednesday, Trump had not commented on the piece, but his 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, defended the president on Twitter.

"The truth is @MittRomney lacked the ability to save this nation," Parscale tweeted. "@realDonaldTrump has saved it. Jealousy is a drink best served warm and Romney just proved it. So sad, I wish everyone had the courage @realDonaldTrump had."

>> Read the tweet here

Social Security checks to increase in January

Retirees may experience a significant increase in the amount of money they receive from Social Security in 2019, according to the Social Security Administration.

>> On AJC.com: Will Social Security checks be affected by possible partial government shutdown?

The United States Social Security Administration’s new 2.8 percent cost-of-living adjustment will add approximately $39 per month (or $468 per year) for the average beneficiary and $73 per month for folks who retire at full retirement age.

About 67 million Social Security and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries will be affected in the largest boost since 2012.

>> Read more trending news 

In 2018, cost-of-living was adjusted at 2 percent “but was largely perceived to be offset by increases in Medicare costs,” according to FOX Business.

The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B enrollees in 2019 will increase by $1.50 per month, totaling an annual cost of $135.50 from $134 in 2018.

More information about Medicare premiums and deductibles at cms.gov.

Report: Acting AG Matthew Whitaker incorrectly claimed academic honor on résumé

Acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, incorrectly claimed on his résumé and in government documents that he was an Academic All-American athlete while playing tight end for the University of Iowa football team, The Wall Street Journal reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Whitaker played football for the Hawkeyes from 1990 to 1992. He claimed he was an Academic All-American, which meant he had to have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.3 or higher and had to be a starter or important reserve on his team. 

Whitaker’s name does not appear on the website of the College Sports Information Directors of America (also known as CoSIDA), the organization that awards the annual honor , according to the Journal. The only player to win Academic All-American honors from the University of Iowa from 1990 to 1992 was defensive back Jason Olejniczak, according to the website.

>> Who is Matthew Whitaker?

Whitaker, in his biography on his former law firm’s website and on a résumé sent in 2014 to the chief executive of a defunct patent-marketing firm -- for which he sat on the advisory board -- listed the academic achievement, the Journal reported.

The résumé was included in documents released last month by the Federal Trade Commission, and Whitaker made the same claim when he applied for an Iowa judgeship in 2010, Newsweek reported. A Justice Department release in 2009 had the same information when Whitaker left his post as U.S. attorney in Iowa, according to the Journal.

According to Barb Kowal, a spokeswoman for CoSIDA, her organization has no record of Whitaker being an Academic All-American, the newspaper reported. However, Kowal said it appeared that Whitaker was given an All-District honor, which is awarded to players in eight regions nationwide. Athletes selected for All-District are put on a national ballot, she told the Journal. Then, athletes are selected for Academic All-American status.

Kerri Kupac, a Justice Department spokeswoman, told the Journal that Whitaker made the mistake in his résumé because he relied on information provided in a 1993 University of Iowa football media guide, which stated he was a “GTE District VII academic All-American.”

Kowal, in an email to the newspaper, said, “Being named an Academic All-District is PART of the CoSIDA Academic All-America program, but does not make you an Academic All-America honoree. You must be placed on the national ballot and then voted onto the Academic All-America team to gain that honor.”

7-year-old Guatemalan migrant dies of dehydration, shock in Border Patrol custody

A 7-year-old Guatemalan girl taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents last week died two days later of dehydration and septic shock, putting further scrutiny on the conditions of detention facilities at the border. 

The girl and her father were taken into custody around 10 p.m. Dec. 6, accused of illegally crossing into the United States, Border Patrol officials told The Washington Post. The group of 163 people approached CBP agents south of Lordsburg, New Mexico, to turn themselves in. 

The Associated Press reported that an official with Guatemala’s foreign ministry identified the girl as Jackeline Caal. Her father was identified as Nery Caal, 29, of Raxruha, a town in the northern Guatemalan department of Alta Verapaz. 

Ministry officials told the AP that Jackeline was feverish and vomiting as she and the other migrants were being taken to the Border Patrol station in Lordsburg. 

Around 6:25 a.m. the next day, the girl began having seizures, according to CBP records obtained by the Post. Paramedics who responded to the detention center found her temperature to be 105.7 degrees. 

The girl reportedly had not eaten or had water in several days, the Post said. Migrants taken into custody are typically given food and water, but it was not known Thursday if the girl had received nourishment or medical care before her seizures began. 

She was taken by helicopter to Providence Children’s Hospital in El Paso, where she went into cardiac arrest, but was revived temporarily. The girl died Saturday morning, less than 24 hours after being taken to the hospital. 

The Post reported that an initial diagnosis by doctors at the hospital indicated the girl died of septic shock, dehydration and a high fever. An autopsy is scheduled, but it could be weeks before the results are available. 

Jackeline’s father remains in custody.

Andrew Meehan, a CBP spokesman, told the newspaper that the agency sends its “sincerest condolences” to the girl’s family. 

“Border Patrol agents took every possible step to save the child’s life under the most trying of circumstances,” Meehan said. “As fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, we empathize with the loss of any child.”

The ACLU Border Rights Center issued a statement Thursday, stating that a lack of accountability and a “culture of cruelty” within the Border Patrol have worsened policies and led to migrant deaths. 

“This tragedy represents the worst possible outcome when people, including children, are held in inhumane conditions,” the statement read

The organization said that President Donald Trump’s militarization of the border has driven desperate migrants fleeing violence in their native countries into the harshest, deadliest deserts along the U.S.-Mexico border. 

“The fact that it took a week for this to come to light shows the need for transparency for CBP,” the statement read. “We call for a rigorous investigation into how this tragedy happened and serious reforms to prevent future deaths.”

The Post reported that the number of arrests of migrants traveling as families has exploded this year. November saw a record number of “family unit members” -- 25,172, which accounted for 58 percent of the migrants taken into custody last month. 

Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan testified Tuesday before the Senate about the holding cells used to house migrants. McAleenan called the cells “incompatible” with the large groups of families coming to the border seeking asylum. 

“Our Border Patrol stations were built decades ago to handle mostly male single adults in custody, not families and children,” McAleenan testified, according to the Post

North Dakota man pleads guilty to using stolen forklift in Trump assassination attempt 

A North Dakota man has pleaded guilty to plotting to assassinate President Donald Trump, in part, by using a forklift to flip the presidential limousine while Trump was inside, federal court documents show. 

Gregory Lee Leingang, 42, of Bismarck, pleaded guilty last month to a federal charge of attempting to enter or remain in a restricted building and on grounds while using a dangerous weapon, according to the documents. In exchange for the plea, a second charge -- attempt to damage government property, i.e. the presidential limo -- has been dropped. 

Leingang admitted in the court filings that on Sept. 6, 2017, he attempted to remain in a restricted area, the Andeavor Mandan Refinery in Mandan, after it had been cordoned off for a visit by Trump. 

“During and in relation to the offense, (he) did use a deadly and dangerous weapon, that is, a forklift,” the plea agreement said. 

See Leingang’s plea agreement below.

U.S. Assistant State’s Attorney Brandi Sasse Russell told the Bismarck Tribune that Leingang was aware Trump was coming to give a speech at the refinery. He stole a forklift in Mandan and used it to enter the motorcade route, the prosecutor said. 

“The intent was to basically try to get to the limo, flip the limo and get to the president and he wanted to kill the president,” Sasse Russell told the newspaper

The forklift got stuck in a gated area, however, and Leingang jumped out and fled, Sasse Russell said. He was soon caught by Mandan police officers. 

Leingang later confessed his plan to detectives and a Secret Service agent, the Tribune reported

Mandan Deputy Police Chief Lori Flaten told The Washington Post that, although reports said the forklift got stuck in a gated area of the refinery, Leingang actually never made it that far. Instead, he dumped the machine in a ditch and ran, with officers catching up to him soon after. 

“We had that whole area blocked off because of the president’s visit, so there was limited access,” Flaten told the Post. “It wasn’t until later, during interviews of him, that we found out that (killing the president) was his intention, not that he was stealing a forklift for transportation.”

>> Read more trending news

Leingang’s attorney told the court her client suffers from serious mental illness. 

“He was suffering a serious psychiatric crisis during this incident,” attorney Michelle Monteiro said, according to the Tribune

Leingang told the judge during a Nov. 30 court hearing that he suffers from bipolar disorder and ADHD and has been on and off medications since he was a child. Monteiro told the court that Leingang is getting help in prison and is doing well, mentally.

Leingang is currently in the North Dakota State Penitentiary, serving time for two fires he set the morning of Trump’s visit, at the Bismarck Municipal Ballpark’s maintenance shop and at the state parole and probation office. According to the Tribune, he was sentenced to 10 years in state prison for the fires. 

He also received five years in state prison for the theft of the forklift, as well as another five years in a separate burglary case. His estimated release date is in 2038, prison records show.

The Tribune reported that Sasse Russell is considering making Leingang’s federal prison time concurrent, or to be served at the same time, as his sentence in the state cases. 

His federal sentencing hearing is set for Feb. 15. According to his plea agreement, he faces 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years on supervised release once he completes his prison time. 

Michelle Obama has some choice words for the 'Lean In' movement

Michelle Obama is ready to tell us how she really feels.

The former first lady didn't hold back Saturday during a book tour stop in Brooklyn, New York, sharing some candid criticism of the "Lean In" philosophy as she spoke about the challenges women face while balancing work and home life.

>> Michelle Obama cancels Berlin, Paris book tour dates to attend George H.W. Bush's funeral

"That whole, 'So you can have it all.' Nope, not at the same time," said Obama, who was promoting her best-selling memoir "Becoming," according to The Cut. "That's a lie. And it's not always enough to 'lean in' because that [expletive] doesn't work all the time."

>> Read more trending news 

Glamour reported that the audience "went wild" as Obama apologized, telling her fans, "I thought we were at home, y'all. I was getting real comfortable up in here. All right, I'm back now. Sometimes that stuff doesn't work."

"Lean In," a popular 2013 book by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, encouraged women to be more assertive at work.

Read more here or here.

George H.W. Bush was the longest-lived president in US history

Former President George H. W. Bush, who died Friday at age 94, was the oldest former president in United States history.

>> George H. W. Bush: 41st president dead at 94

He set the record in 2017 when he reached 93 years and 166 days.

>> PHOTOS: George H. W. Bush through the years

However, Bush may not hold the crown for long. Former President Jimmy Carter is 94 years old and still living. Bush was born June 12, 1924, and Carter was born a few months later on Oct. 1, 1924.

>> Read more trending news 

Here are the oldest presidents in the history of the United States:

  1. George H.W. Bush, 94 
  2. Jimmy Carter, 94 
  3. Gerald Ford, 93 
  4. Ronald Reagan, 93 
  5. John Adams, 90 
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