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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • The driver of a pickup truck backed into a Chuck E. Cheese on International Drive on Monday. According the Florida Highway Patrol, 26-year old Mariano Ajtum was backing up in a parking lot, when he backed into the building. Troopers said nobody was hurt, but the building suffered visible damage as Ajtum backed into a restroom. Ajtum originally ran from the scene, but returned. He told police he was telling his boss what happened. He was ticked for improper backing and driving without a license. Alcohol was not a factor at all in the crash.
  • An Ohio man has been charged in his wife’s death after police say he crashed while driving drunk -- and with a driver’s license that has been suspended 36 times over the past 34 years. Robert Lee Ellis, 53, of Columbus, was driving with a suspended license the day his wife, Dawn Grubbs Ellis, was killed, according to Franklin County Sheriff’s Office officials. Dawn Ellis, 51, died at the scene of the Oct. 16 crash. Sheriff’s Office officials said in a statement that Robert Ellis is “one of the worst habitual, repeat offenders of drunk driving (they) have ever seen.” Robert Ellis was indicted Dec. 2 on two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and two counts of operating a vehicle under the influence. The second charge of OVI stems from his status as a repeat offender, authorities said. Robert Ellis has a total of 12 previous OVI convictions. “He has no regard for human life, continuing to be an extreme danger to the motoring public due to his criminal behavior of operating vehicles while impaired,” the statement read. Robert Ellis’ blood alcohol concentration was 0.185, more than double the legal limit for drivers, the day his wife died, according to the statement. >> Read more trending news  Accident investigators said Robert Ellis was driving a silver 1995 Chevrolet Silverado in Prairie Township the evening of Oct. 16 when he failed to negotiate a curve and went off the roadway to the right, striking a utility pole. He was taken to a hospital for treatment, while Dawn Ellis died at the scene of the crash. Neither was wearing a seat belt, investigators said. Robert Ellis was arrested Tuesday by members of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office’s SWAT team, according to the agency. In an interview about two weeks after the crash, Robert Ellis admitted to WSYX in Columbus that he had been drinking the day of the crash, but claimed it was no more than a beer or two as he and his wife had lunch. He said they were driving home when an oncoming vehicle crossed the center line, causing him to lose control of the truck. Investigators did not allude to another vehicle’s possible involvement in their public statement about the case. “It was a tragic accident. It was never meant to happen, it just happened,” Ellis told the news station. When a reporter pointed out his 12 previous drunken driving convictions, Robert Ellis stood by his claim that he was not drunk when his wife died. “I’ve already served my time and they’re over,” he said of the prior convictions. Dawn Ellis’ family has been fighting for what they consider justice -- Robert Ellis’ arrest and conviction -- in the case since the day she died. Remembrances on her online obituary are peppered with the phrase “Justice for Dawn.” Her children and grandchildren wrote about how much they missed her. She is survived by two daughters, two sons and six grandchildren, along with her mother and four siblings. Robert Ellis is not named in her obituary. “It’s so hard living without you,” one of her daughters, Bobbi Spencer, appears to have written in November. “I still need you here. I will keep fighting the fight for you. “Me and DeeDee will be your voice. We love you, Momma.” Dawn Ellis’ family described her as a loving woman who was always there for her family. Her Facebook page is full of photos taken with her children and grandchildren. A candlelight vigil was held following Dawn Ellis’ death outside Carniceria Brothers, the Columbus convenience store where she worked for 13 years. Her Facebook page lists her as the manager of the store. “Anybody who knew her knew how big my mom’s heart was,” her other daughter, DeeDee Thacker, told WSYX. Neighbors told WCMH in Columbus that Robert and Dawn Ellis’ relationship appeared to be one sometimes fueled by alcohol. One neighbor, Steven McDonald, recalled the couple hitting the bars and coming home intoxicated late at night. “Jazz (Robert Ellis) would be up on the porch passed out, and Dawn would be down on the sidewalk, calling for help because they was both drunk,” McDonald told the news station. Spencer told the NBC affiliate following her stepfather’s arrest that his criminal history made her worry about her mother’s safety every day. She said she was relieved that he was charged in the crash. “I’m so happy he’s behind bars so he cannot put anyone else’s family through what he’s put us through,” Spencer said. “But it’s still never gonna take the pain away that he’s caused all of us.”
  • Government documents obtained by The Washington Post show U.S. officials knowingly misled the public for years about the success of the war in Afghanistan, according to a report published Monday. >> Read more trending news  The Post reported it obtained government records, part of a federal project aimed at reviewing the root failures of the war, three years after submitting a Freedom of Information Act request for the information. The documents include more than 2,000 pages of interview notes with generals, diplomats, Afghan officials and others who held direct roles in the conflict and efforts to rebuild. John Sopko, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, acknowledged in an interview with the Post that the documents showed “the American people have constantly been lied to.” His agency conducted interviews with more than 600 people as part of a 2014 initiative called “Lessons Learned,” the Post reported. In the interviews, officials shared private concerns over the war effort even as authorities told the public efforts were consistently making a positive impact. “We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan -- we didn’t know what we were doing,” Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, a three-star Army general who served during the Bush and Obama administrations as a top adviser on the war, told interviewers in 2015, according to the Post. “We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.” Lute told interviewers that bureaucratic breakdowns among officials in Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department led to the deaths of U.S. military personnel. “If the American people knew the magnitude of this dysfunction...” Lute said, according to the Post. Officials pointed to several issues with the war effort, including a rash of U.S. aid sent to the area, which fueled a dramatic rise in incidents of political corruption; failed efforts to create a sustainable, well-trained Afghan police force and misguided efforts to create a central government in a country that had never before functioned on a centralized system. In interviews, several officials described deliberate efforts to mislead the public using distorted or false statistics. Most spoke under the assumption their remarks would not be made public, according to the Post. “Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible,” retired Army Col. Bob Crowley, who served as a senior counterinsurgency adviser to U.S. military officials in 2013 and 2014, said in an interview for “Lessons Learned,” according to the Post. 'Surveys, for instance, were totally unreliable but reinforced that everything we were doing was right and we became a self-licking ice cream cone.' An unidentified National Security Council official said officials constantly felt pressure from the Pentagon and the Obama administration to provide statistics that proved the efficacy of the increase in U.S. military troops to the area between 2009 and 2011, according to the Post. “It was impossible to create good metrics. We tried using troop numbers trained, violence levels, control of territory and none of it painted an accurate picture,” the unidentified senior NSC official said in 2016, according to the Post. “The metrics were always manipulated for the duration of the war.” Sopko told the Post his agency didn’t suppress criticism and doubt about the war that were raised in “Lessons Learned” and that the reason for the three-year delay in releasing the documents to the newspaper was due to his small staff. “We didn’t sit on it,” he told the newspaper. “We’re firm believers in openness and transparency, but we’ve got to follow the law.
  • Every now and again, there is an incident at the Disney Parks where a guest causes some form of a disruption. However, this one is a bit unusual. A youtuber by the name of BigSugz posted a video which shows an incident that happened on Disney's Carousel of Progress at the Magic Kingdom.  In the video, you can see a teenage guest trying to churn the butter prop behind the host animatronic. However, another guest steps in to try and remove the teen, which causes the handle on the churn to come off before the teenager appears to fall down right next to Rover the dog and doesn't seem to move.  According to WDW News Today, there is no word if the guest in question was under the influence or disabled in some way. However, he was eventually removed and guests were not able to leave for three showings. There are conflicting reports as to how the guest was removed, but the bottom line is this: If you cause a disruption such as this, you could face a potential fine, a ban, and of course, you get removed from the park.
  • The Justice Department’s inspector general on Monday released a more than 400-page report on the circumstances that led to the probe into Russian election meddling and its possible ties to Donald Trump’s campaign. >> Read more trending news  The report, the culmination of more than 170 interviews and a review of more than 1 million documents, found the FBI was justified in opening its investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Officials noted investigators didn’t act with political bias. However, it also noted 17 “significant errors or omissions” in surveillance applications for Trump campaign aide Carter Page. Inspector General Michael Horowitz in March 2018 launched an investigation into whether officials with the Justice Department and the FBI complied with legal requirements and internal policies while obtaining warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor Page's communications. Officials were concerned he might have been targeted for recruitment by the Russian government. Page was never charged and has denied any wrongdoing. Read the report: Justice Department releases... by National Content Desk on Scribd The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Washington Insider

  • In a long awaited report on the origins of the Russia investigation, the Inspector General of the Department of Justice concluded on Monday that the 2016 investigation of possible Russian election interference was properly undertaken by the FBI, saying there was no evidence the Trump Campaign had been spied upon by investigators. The 476 page report found that 'Crossfire Hurricane' - the code name for the original Russia investigation - 'was opened for an authorized investigative purpose and with sufficient factual predication.' Pushing back against claims that the FBI had illegally spied on the Trump campaign, the IG report found 'no evidence that the FBI placed any' confidential human sources 'to report on the Trump campaign.' The IG report confirmed that the decision to start the investigation had been spurred by revelations from an Australian diplomat, who had been told early in 2016 by Trump foreign policy aide George Papadopoulos that the Russians had 'dirt' on Hillary Clinton. The report also indicated that even before the formal investigation was undertaken, the FBI was already looking carefully at Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, and Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page. Both men had known ties to people suspected of being involved with Russian Intelligence. The report also rejected claims of political bias from inside the FBI - even as it raised questions about bias from both sides of the aisle. The report addressed the previously known text messages between FBI lawyer Lisa Page and top counterintelligence official Peter Strzok - but found they did not play any role in the decision to launch the investigation into possible Russian interference or ties to the Trump campaign in 2016. On the other side, the report also found evidence from some FBI investigators that they favored Mr. Trump - also leaving an electronic paper trail - and in this case, indicating their desire to investigate the Clinton Foundation. In an odd twist to the public release of the report, Inspector General Michael Horowitz found his conclusions under public attack from the Attorney General of the United States. 'The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken,' Barr said in his own statement, which was at odds with the IG's conclusion. The skepticism also included a statement from U.S. Attorney John Durham, Barr's handpicked investigator who is doing his own review of the same situation. For Republicans the report's criticism of possible problems with the FISA process dealing with former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page was the target of most GOP criticism. In the report, the IG found that there were a number of 'factual misstatements and omissions' in terms of information, which might have undermined what officials thought was an easy decision to sign off on a FISA application for surveillance of Page, who was no stranger to the FBI when it came to Russian intelligence investigations. 'Our review found that FBI personnel fell far short of the requirement in FBI policy that they ensure that all factual statements in a FISA application are 'scrupulously accurate,' the IG summary stated. 'We identified multiple instances in which factual assertions relied upon in the first FISA application were inaccurate, incomplete, or unsupported by appropriate documentation, based upon information the FBI had in its possession at the time the application was filed,' the report continued. But the IG did not take any stance on whether the Page FISA requests were improper.