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Trump called out Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R- S.C.) on Aug. 17 for their criticism of his leadership. Here are 4 other politicians Trump has targeted on Twitter. (Elyse Samuels/The Washington Post)

President Trump’s Twitter account was briefly deactivated Thursday night by a departing Twitter employee, the company said, raising serious questions about the security of a tool the president wields to set major policy agendas, connect with his voter base and lash out at his adversaries.

The company has suspended other high-profile accounts in the past for violating its terms and conditions.

But there has not been a case where an employee has acted alone to take down the account of a well-known person, seemingly on their own.

Such an event sparks deep and troubling questions about who has access to the president’s account and the power that access holds. The deactivation also came at a time when the social network is under scrutiny for the role it played in spreading Russian propaganda during the 2016 presidential election.

[What Russian Facebook ads would you have seen? Take a look.]

Trump’s account initially disappeared at around 7 p.m. ET Thursday, with visitors to the page met with the message, “Sorry, that page doesn’t exist!” For about an hour, the Twitter-sphere joked about the short-lived window of history without @realDonaldTrump.

Trump’s Twitter account has vanished pic.twitter.com/B0hQpBO9OW

— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) November 2, 2017

But then at 8:05 p.m. ET, Twitter posted a statement saying Trump’s “account was inadvertently deactivated due to human error by a Twitter employee.”

“The account was down for 11 minutes, and has since been restored,” the statement read. “We are continuing to investigate and are taking steps to prevent this from happening again.”

However, two hours later, Twitter admitted that the deactivation wasn’t an accident at all. A preliminary investigation showed that Trump’s account was taken offline “by a Twitter customer support employee who did this on the employee’s last day.”

Twitter said it would be conducting a full internal review.

The president is aware of the issue and the White House is in touch with Twitter, said an official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter.

[Strangers caught in a sex act on Delta flight could face felony charges, authorities say]

A spokeswoman from Twitter said no new information about the investigation would be released Thursday night. It was still unclear who the employee was, how that employee got access to the president’s account and whether any security breaches led to the subsequent deactivation.

“A lot” of employees can suspend a user’s account, a former senior Twitter employee told Buzzfeed. But far fewer — only hundreds — have the power to deactivate one. There was some discussion at the company about special protections on verified or high-profile accounts, but that extra measures were “never implemented,” the unnamed source said.

Trump has used the account since March 2009. He has tweeted more than 36,000 times and has 41.7 million followers.

On Twitter, some people made light of the deactivation, while others wondered about the potential consequences of Twitter employees who have access to a megaphone of the president of the United States.

Dear Twitter employee who shut down Trump’s Twitter: You made America feel better for 11 minutes. DM me & I will buy you a Pizza Hut pizza. https://t.co/ruzaVBcQp1

— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) November 3, 2017

Seriously, what if this person had tweeted about a fictional nuclear strike on North Korea? https://t.co/TcvpXqXk42

— Blake Hounshell (@blakehounshell) November 3, 2017

The president’s use of the social media platform is no trivial matter.

The National Archives has advised Trump to preserve all tweets as presidential records, and a professor at the U.S. Naval War College is worried that U.S. enemies could be using Trump’s tweets to build a psychological profile of the president, The Post’s Avi Selk reported.

Trump’s recent tweets on North Korea heightened tensions between the two countries, with Trump threatening that “they won’t be around much longer!” and that “only one thing will work!” In the past, North Korean officials have responded to Trump’s tweets as declarations of war.

Trump also recognizes the power of the social platform.

“Let me tell you about Twitter,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News’s Tucker Carlson in March. “I think maybe I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Twitter.”

A tool once used by a campaigning candidate to disparage his opponents and rally his followers is now Trump’s favorite online means of promoting his presidential agenda.

“Twitter is a wonderful thing for me because I can get the word out,” he told Carlson.

[Analysis: Elizabeth Warren and Donna Brazile both now agree the 2016 Democratic primary was rigged]

The incident also comes at a time when Twitter and other technology companies are under greater scrutiny for the way they can be abused.

Earlier this week, lawyers from Twitter, Facebook and Google testified on Capitol Hill as part of the investigation into Russia’s influence of the 2016 presidential election. In public statements, Twitter acknowledged that it had identified 2,752 accounts controlled by Russian operatives, as well as more than 36,000 bots that issued 1.4 million tweets during the election.

On Thursday, Trump used his account to congratulate the Houston Astros for winning the World Series, call on Congress to “TERMINATE” the diversity visa lottery and announce the nomination of Jerome Powell as the next chair of the Federal Reserve.

Trump was back tweeting at 8:05 p.m., praising the day’s “Great Tax Cut rollout.”

He has yet to tweet about his sudden deactivation.

Read more:

What Russian Facebook ads would you have seen? Take a look.

Strangers caught in a sex act on Delta flight could face felony charges, authorities say

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Many of the ideas in the Republican tax proposal unveiled Thursday have found bipartisan support in the past and endorsements from economists who see a way to improve the U.S. economy. That includes plans to make the corporate rate more competitive, simplify personal taxes, curb several tax breaks of dubious value and provide more assistance to working families.

The controversy is over who will gain the most: the rich and corporations. The GOP bill would cut the corporate rate well below previous attempts, eliminate a tax on inheritance that affects only people with many millions of dollars, and take other actions that do not provide direct benefits to most Americans.

And the proposal represents a significant break with previous tax-rewrite discussions. Republicans have in the past focused on the importance of not adding to the nation’s debt through tax reform. Democrats have favored overhauling the tax code to raise revenue to pay for needed improvements in America’s infrastructure or to provide services for the middle class and poor.

But in this case, Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation estimated Thursday that the tax plan would be paid for by $1.5 trillion in additional borrowing over the next decade. Much of that reflects tax reductions benefiting the wealthy and companies.

Budget experts say the GOP’s decision jeopardizes what could otherwise be one of the great legacies of Republican-controlled government: fixing the U.S. tax code and improving the economy.

“I do think this is a sensible framework. It emphasizes the need for corporate reforms and how our tax system works,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “But this is still a deficit-exploding tax cut at a time when the deficit is at near-record levels.”

At heart, the GOP plan cuts taxes on large businesses and pays for those reductions by raising taxes on individuals, the exact opposite of what was done in the 1986 Tax Reform Act under President Ronald Reagan. Republicans have long held up the 1986 effort — which did not add to the deficit — as a model.

The cut in corporate taxes will deplete the Treasury by nearly $847 billion over the next decade, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. The elimination of the estate tax — which is paid only by the small portion of Americans with estates worth more than $5.49 million — and related measures will cost $172 billion. The creation of a 25 percent rate for people who pay corporate taxes through the individual code — a popular way for the wealthy to reduce their tax obligation — will cost $448 billion.

The GOP offsets some of those costs by raising taxes on individual earners who use tax breaks such as the mortgage interest deduction and the state and local tax deduction. But critics say the GOP could have chosen to overhaul the tax code in a way that concentrated benefits on middle- and working-class Americans — and chose not to.

“You can very much achieve tax reform without giving higher-income earners a tax cut,” said Chye-Ching Huang, deputy director of federal tax policy at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

President Trump and top Republican leaders argue that the middle class and working poor will benefit from lower taxes of big businesses because corporations will use the money they save on taxes to hire more workers and pay existing employees higher wages.

“We will be creating jobs like you have rarely seen,” Trump said in the Oval Office, as he kissed a postcard of the House GOP tax plan, hailing it as a “great Christmas present.”

Invariably, overhauling the tax code creates winners and losers, and the writers of the legislation argued that they were making progress toward a top policy goal.

“None of [the critics] thought we would even get this far with tax reform, and they’re wrong,” Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex.), the chief author of the tax bill, said Thursday.

The plan contains several policies that have attracted bipartisan support before. The current corporate tax rate of 35 percent is far higher than those of most other wealthy countries, leading many companies to say they are at a disadvantage and must spend a disproportionate amount of time and resources on complying with tax rules. In his last year in office, President Barack Obama proposed lowering it to 28 percent.

The GOP has pursued a much lower rate, proposing on Thursday a 20 percent rate. Earlier this year, the GOP planned to offset the deep cut in the corporate tax rate by imposing a substantial new tax on imports, a move that was killed by retailers and other industries. The bill unveiled Thursday didn’t have many revenue streams from businesses.

Likewise, many experts agree the tax code contains numerous tax breaks that don’t provide much benefit to the economy. For example, while many existing homeowners may appreciate the mortgage interest deduction, research suggests that it disproportionately benefits higher-income earners and does little to spur home-buying. Democrats have proposed limiting its value before — just as the GOP tax bill on Thursday proposed allowing new home buyers to deduct interest on only $500,000 of mortgage debt rather than the current $1 million threshold.

Only 5 percent of mortgages in the United States are worth more than $500,000, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

The mortgage interest change, among other limits to tax breaks benefiting individual earners, would raise more than $1.25 trillion over the next decade, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Alan Auerbach, professor of economics and law at the University of California at Berkeley and one of the country’s top tax scholars, said some provisions in the plan make a lot of sense. For example, he praised how the GOP proposal would allow companies to deduct the cost of investing in new equipment, which is likely to spur immediate spending in the economy. But he lamented how much the plan adds to the deficit, among other provisions.

The bill “has a pulse,” he said, but he’s “not sure it can be resurrected” into something that is good policy for the United States, especially after so many interests groups and lobbyists pressure Congress for changes in the coming weeks.

Republicans are pushing an aggressive timeline to get the bill to the president’s desk. The idea is to limit lobbying by moving quickly, but many are skeptical it can happen.

“The problem is we’re creating policy in an era of free-lunch economics,” MacGuineas said. “No one seems to acknowledge budget constraints and real choices.”

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1:44 AM ET

LOS ANGELES — Earlier in the World Series, Houston Astros center fielder George Springer talked about not letting the magnitude of playing in it become overwhelming.

“You can’t worry about the result of each at-bat,” he said. “You just have to stay in the moment.”

In the biggest game of the season, the biggest game in Astros history and certainly the biggest game of his life, Springer remained in the moment, capping his stellar week by hitting his World Series record-tying fifth home run and leading his team to a Series-clinching 5-1 victory in Game 7 on Wednesday night.

Springer was an easy choice for the Willie Mays World Series Most Valuable Player Award, after hitting .379 (11-for-29) with five home runs and seven RBIs. His eight extra-base hits were the most ever in a World Series, and he is the first player to homer in four straight games within a single World Series, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Upon receiving his MVP award, Springer spoke about how the Series victory was especially meaningful both for the franchise and the city.

“This is a dream come true and an honor,” Springer said. “But it’s about the Houston Astros tonight, our city, our fans. That patch on our chests really does mean something. We’re coming home champions.”

Springer’s record-tying homer on Wednesday came off a 3-2 fastball from Dodgers starter Yu Darvish. It gave the Astros a 5-0 lead in the second inning, knocking Darvish from the game.

“I remember swinging and hearing the sound of the bat,” Springer said of the homer. “And I knew it was a good sound.

“It’s a very surreal feeling because this is Game 7. This is what you dream of as a kid. And for that to happen is indescribable.”

Springer matched Reggie Jackson (1977) and Chase Utley (2009) for the record of five home runs in one World Series, although Jackson and Utley did it in a six-game Series. Springer, who doubled and scored in the first inning, also had 29 total bases in the World Series, breaking the record of 25 shared by Willie Stargell (1979) and Jackson. Springer also passed Stargell for the most extra-base hits in a World Series with seven, becoming the first player to have had at least one extra-base hit in six straight World Series games.

Springer’s first four home runs of the Series each tied the score or gave the Astros the lead.

Consider the clutch factor of his home runs:

  • Game 2: Hit a two-run homer off Brandon McCarthy in the top of the 11th to give the Astros a 7-5 lead in an eventual 7-6 victory.

  • Game 4: Gave the Astros a 1-0 lead in the sixth inning, when he broke up Alex Wood’s no-hitter with a home run way out to left field off a 3-1 curveball.

  • Game 5: In the wild 13-12 win for the Astros, his seventh-inning homer — a 112 mph laser estimated at 448 feet — off Brandon Morrow tied the game at 8.

  • Game 6: Made it 1-0 in the third inning with an opposite-field shot off Rich Hill.

  • Game 7: With two outs in the second inning, his 438-foot two-run shot broke open a 3-0 game to give the Astros some early breathing room.

Springer’s World Series actually got off to an inauspicious start. After going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in Game 1, he said teammate Carlos Beltran pulled him aside.

“He told me to go out and enjoy the moment,” Springer said of Beltran. “He’s played for 20 years, and this is his second time here. He told me to relax, be myself and enjoy it.”

Maybe it is fitting that Springer has turned into a World Series hero for the Astros. A first-round pick out of the University of Connecticut in 2011, it was Springer who appeared on the infamous Sports Illustrated cover in 2014 that declared the Astros “Your 2017 World Series champs.” The Astros were mired in a 92-loss season that year, a season that actually was a big improvement over their three previous years, when the Astros had lost 100-plus games as the front office rebuilt the team from scratch.

“When you get to spring, you know who you have. You know what you have,” Springer said. “You think you can do it, but 162 games is a lot of games, and a lot has to go right. … Getting down 3-2 to a very good New York team, a lot of things happened for us. I’m just proud to bring a championship to city that desperately needed it.”

For this entire postseason, Springer had six home runs, all from the leadoff spot, tying Lenny Dykstra’s postseason record for home runs by a leadoff hitter.

The Astros set a World Series record with 15 home runs as a team.

Springer’s Game 7 shot closed the door on a World Series to forget for Darvish. The Dodgers righty is just the second pitcher ever to fail to complete the second inning in multiple starts within the same World Series. The other is Art Ditmar, who did so for the New York Yankees in Games 1 and 5 of the 1960 World Series. Darvish induced just four swing-and-misses in his 96 total pitches thrown in the Series.

Springer wasn’t the only member of the Astros to make history on Wednesday night.

Houston’s Lance McCullers Jr. became the first pitcher to hit four batters in any postseason game, plunking Yasiel Puig and Kike Hernandez once each and Justin Turner twice. According to Elias Sports Bureau, McCullers also became the first pitcher to hit four batters within the first three innings of any game, regular season or postseason, since 2000; coincidentally, it was Dodgers starter Orel Hershiser who hit four Astros in that game.

On Wednesday, McCullers was pulled one batter after hitting Turner for the second time, finishing with three strikeouts, four hit batters and no runs allowed in 2⅓ innings. He turned in the second shortest scoreless start in a World Series winner-take-all game; the shortest appearance was by Curly Ogden (one-third of an inning) of the 1924 Washington Senators.

McCullers left after striking out Cody Bellinger, who swung his way into history, as well. Bellinger’s third-inning strikeout was his 16th of the Series, tying him with the Yankees’ Aaron Judge (2017 American League Division Series) for the most K’s in any single postseason series. Bellinger then claimed the record outright with his 17th strikeout after going down looking against Charlie Morton in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Bellinger, who hit the second-most home runs in the National League this season with 39, was baffled by McCullers, going 0-for-5 with five strikeouts in the World Series against the right-hander. Bellinger whiffed on nine of his 12 swings against McCullers in the Series, and of the 19 total pitches he saw from McCullers, 18 were curveballs.

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THORNTON, Colo. (Reuters) – At least three people were killed in a shooting inside a Walmart store on Wednesday in suburban Denver, where police said they had not yet taken anyone into custody.

Walmart employees and shoppers leave the scene of a shooting at a Walmart in Thornton, Colorado November 1, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Police in Thornton, Colorado, did not immediately release any information about the circumstances of the shooting or who was responsible for the gunfire.

Two men were killed in the shooting. A women, who was injured in the shooting, was taken to a hospital where she later died, Thornton Police Department said on Twitter.

“Detectives currently reviewing security footage & witnesses being interviewed for assistance with suspect(s),” police said on Twitter.

No one had been taken into custody, police said.

The situation appeared potentially ominous from authorities’ initial reports.

“We’ve got multiple parties down, we’re still trying to ascertain what their conditions are,” Officer Victor Avila of the Thornton Police Department told Reuters by telephone not long after police arrived on the scene.

About an hour after the initial alert, police said on Twitter that the threat of gunfire had ended at the store, which was surrounded by police and fire crews.

A woman walks past an ambulance near the scene of a shooting at a Walmart in Thornton, Colorado November 1, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

“At this time this is NOT an active shooter. Active crime scene. We will update as info becomes available,” the police department said in that tweet. Confirmation of the two fatalities came about 20 minutes later.

Thornton is city of about 120,000 people roughly 10 miles (16 km) northeast of downtown Denver.

Slideshow (14 Images)

Avila said police were called to the store at about 6:30 p.m. Mountain time (8:30 p.m. ET) and that the gunshots had ceased by the time the first officers arrived at the scene.

A Walmart customer, Aaron Stephens, 44, of Thorton, told Reuters he was inside paying for groceries at a self-checkout stand when he heard gunshots and the sound of ricocheting bullets.

“The employees started screaming and the customers started screaming” as people began to flee the store, he recounted. “I ran out, too, because I didn’t want to get shot.”

Stephens said he did not see where the shooting had come from and did not see anyone struck by bullets.

Local NBC television affiliate 9NEWS reported that a woman whose son was in the Walmart had told her that he had heard about 30 gunshots and was still inside.

A video posted on Twitter showed the Walmart, which is situated in a large complex of big-box stores and other retail outlets adjacent to U.S. Interstate 25, apparently empty except for police officers with guns drawn.

Reporting by Keith Coffman in Thornton and Dan Whitcomb and Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Sandra Maler and Michael Perry

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, a 29-year-old Uzbekistan native who was living in New Jersey, is charged with providing material support to ISIS, dviolence and destruction of motor vehicles, said Joon H. Kim, the acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York .
Saipov appeared in federal court in a wheelchair and didn’t enter a plea, a source at the US Attorney’s Office told CNN.
President Donald Trump said he should be executed.
“NYC terrorist was happy as he asked to hang ISIS flag in his hospital room. He killed 8 people, badly injured 12. SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!’ the President tweeted late Wednesday night.
Read the federal complaint against the suspect
Saipov told investigators he was inspired by Islamic State videos, in particular one showing ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a federal criminal complaint states.
How the New York City truck attack unfoldedHow the New York City truck attack unfolded
The suspect decided to conduct a truck attack “to inflict maximum damage against civilians” and that he specifically chose to strike on Halloween “because he believed there would be more civilians on the street for the holiday,” the complaint says.
He began planning an attack a year ago and decided two months ago to use a truck, officials said.
One of Saipov’s cellphones reviewed by law enforcement contained approximately 90 videos, “many of which appear to be … ISIS-related propaganda.” The phone also had almost 4,000 images, many of which were ISIS propaganda, the FBI said in the complaint.

Here are the latest developments:

  • Five Argentinian high school classmates, two young American men and a Belgian mother were identified as the victims, police said.
  • President Donald Trump called Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to offer any federal assistance needed, Trump tweeted.
  • The suspect arrived in the US as part of the diversity immigrant visa program, the Department of Homeland Security said.
  • An Uzbek national is being questioned in connection with the attack, law enforcement sources say. The individual, previously identified as Mukhammadzoir Kadirov, may have pertinent information and is possibly an associate of suspect Sayfullo Saipov, one source says.

The attack

Authorities said Saipov came to the US legally in 2010. He allegedly drove a rented truck onto a well-trafficked bike path just blocks from the World Trade Center on Tuesday afternoon.
Eight people were killed and more than a dozen injured as the truck carved a path of destruction through several blocks of Lower Manhattan. Saipov crashed the truck into a school bus, left the vehicle brandishing imitation firearms and was shot by police, officials said.
In carrying out the attack, Saipov relied on the playbook laid out by ISIS in recent years, officials said.
“He appears to have followed almost exactly to a ‘T’ the instructions that ISIS has put out in its social media channels before, with instructions to their followers on how to carry out such an attack,” John Miller, NYPD deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, said at an earlier news conference.
A handwritten “document” found near the scene had both Arabic and English text, and included the message that the Islamic State would endure, the complaint says.

The suspect

Saipov came to the US from the central Asian nation of Uzbekistan in 2010 on a diversity immigrant visa, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program awards up to 50,000 individuals per year a visa for a green card, which bestows permanent residency and is a path to citizenship.
The visas are awarded randomly to those in select countries to promote immigration from places that don’t otherwise send many immigrants to the US. The bill establishing the program was signed into law in 1990.
NYPD’s Miller said Saipov has never been the subject of an NYPD or FBI investigation, but investigators are looking into how he is connected to the subjects of other investigations.
Saipov was “radicalized domestically” in the US, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
“The evidence shows — and again, it’s only several hours, and the investigation is ongoing — but that after he came to the United States is when he started to become informed about ISIS and radical Islamic tactics,” Cuomo said.
Saipov was not on any US government terror watch lists, according to two sources familiar with the investigation.
Just over six months ago, Saipov began driving for Uber in New Jersey, the company told CNN. He passed a background check. The company said it has not yet identified any complaints about his safety.
The company is cooperating with authorities in the investigation.
Who is New York attack suspect Sayfullo Saipov?Who is New York attack suspect Sayfullo Saipov?
Saipov once listed his occupation as a truck driver, his marriage license shows.
He had multiple run-ins with law enforcement in several states, online records show. He had traffic citations issued in Maryland, Missouri and Pennsylvania and was arrested by the Missouri State Highway Patrol in October 2016 after failing to show up in court for a misdemeanor offense.
He paid a $200 bond, which he forfeited when he didn’t show up in court for his next hearing in November. A guilty plea was entered on his behalf.
Saipov’s wife has spoken with investigators, law enforcement officials said. Saipov, his wife and three children have a residence in Paterson, New Jersey.
Carlos Batista, one of Saipov’s neighbors in Paterson, told CNN that Saipov had acted as a “peacemaker” about six months ago. Batista was riding a dirt bike at night, and Saipov’s friends asked him to stop. The incident became testy until Saipov stepped in and “calmed everything down,” Batista said.
Saipov has been linked to social media accounts that contain ISIS-related material, a law enforcement official said Wednesday morning. The official also said Saipov has been somewhat cooperative with FBI and New York police investigators who questioned him in the hospital overnight.

The victims

Among the eight people killed, five were from Argentina, two were Americans, and one was from Belgium, according to the New York Police Department.
The Argentinians were part of a group celebrating their high school reunion in New York City, Argentina’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said.
Victims of the New York terror attackVictims of the New York terror attack
Hernán Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damián Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernán Ferruchi died in the attack, the ministry said in a statement Tuesday.
They had traveled to New York from Rosario, a town nearly 200 miles northwest of Buenos Aires, to mark the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation. A sixth Argentine national who was also part of the group was injured during the attack.
Nicholas Cleves, 23, from New York, and Darren Drake, 32, from New Milford, New Jersey, were the two Americans killed.
Anne-Laure Decadt, a 31-year-old Belgian woman, was also among those killed, according to a statement from her husband, Alexander Naessens. Decadt, a mother of two young sons, was on a trip to New York with her two sisters and her mother, Naessens said.

The President’s response

Hours after the attack, President Trump tweeted that he’s ordered the Department of Homeland Security “to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program”, and he accused Sen. Chuck Schumer of not being tough enough on immigration.
Who is the NYPD officer who apprehended the suspect?Who is the NYPD officer who apprehended the suspect?
Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Trump called the suspect an “animal” and said that he planned to start the process of terminating the diversity lottery program.
“I am going to ask Congress to immediately initiate work to get rid of this program. Diversity lottery, diversity lottery. Sounds nice, it is not nice, it is not good. It hasn’t been good and we have been against it,” he said.
Earlier, Gov. Cuomo criticized Trump’s tweets.
“The President’s tweets were not helpful. I don’t think they were factual. I think they tend to point fingers and politicize the situation,” he said.
“You play into the hands of the terrorist to the extent that you disrupt, divide and frighten people in the society. The tone now should be the opposite — on all levels.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said “the last thing we should do is start casting aspersions on whole races of people or whole religions or whole nations. That only makes the situation worse.”
De Blasio also warned against stereotyping all Muslims as extremists.
“Anyone who wants to come into this country should be very thoroughly vetted as an individual,” he said. “But the minute you start generalizing it, especially to a whole religion, then unfortunately we’re sending the exact negative message that a lot of our enemies want and the terrorist wants to affirm — that this nation is somehow anti-Muslim. We’ve got to do the exact opposite.”

Vehicles as weapons

The tactic of turning an ordinary vehicle into a lethal weapon is becoming increasingly common.
In 2014, an ISIS spokesman called for lone-wolf attacks using improvised weaponry. “If you are not able to find an IED or a bullet, then single out the disbelieving American, Frenchman or any of their allies. Smash his head with a rock or slaughter him with a knife or run him over with your car or throw him down from a high place or choke him or poison him.”
Vehicles as weapons: New York City crash is part of a deadly trendVehicles as weapons: New York City crash is part of a deadly trend
Since 2014, there have been 15 vehicular attacks in the West by jihadist terrorists, killing 142 people, according to a count by New America, a nonpartisan research institution. Those figures include Tuesday’s attack in Manhattan.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect the note claiming that the attack was made in the name of ISIS was found near the truck. It has also been updated to correctly quote Mayor Bill de Blasio on comments he made cautioning against casting blame on different groups of people.

CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz, Tal Kopan, Paul Murphy, Brynn Gingras, David Shortell, Topher Gauk-Roger, Curt Devine, Hilary McGann, Elizabeth Joseph, Athena Jones, Sarah Jorgensen, Nelli Black, Kristina Sgueglia and Patricia DiCarlo contributed to this report.

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SWAT officers on Tuesday evening swarmed a Riverside elementary school classroom and shot a parent who had taken a teacher hostage, ending an hours-long standoff.

The parent, identified as Riverside resident Luvelle Kennon, 27, died later at a hospital, said Riverside Police Officer Ryan Railsback.

The teacher, Linda Montgomery, sustained some scrapes and abrasions when she was grabbed and pulled into an empty classroom, Railsback said.

During the seven-hour standoff, crisis negotiators made contact with the man, but never heard from Montgomery, which is why authorities decided to storm into the room at about 6 p.m. It’s unclear whether the man was armed, but witnesses did not report seeing any weapons.

Officials canceled classes at the elementary school for the rest of the week.

The incident began shortly before 11:15 a.m. when the man forced his way past staff in the main office at Castle View Elementary School, Riverside Unified spokesman Justin Grayson said.

The parent, who has a daughter in first grade, did not appear to follow the school district’s safety procedures and check in with the front desk, Railsback said.

A male teacher confronted the parent, who responded by hitting that teacher in the face, Railsback said. A witness told KABC that the teacher’s face was bloodied and his nose was broken. The teacher was treated at a hospital, police said.

The parent then took Montgomery hostage inside an empty classroom, police said, though it’s not clear why.

Police evacuated all students from the campus and began releasing them to their parents after 1 p.m. All the students were accounted for, Grayson said.

[email protected]

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.

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Twitter: @AleneTchek

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UPDATES:

11:25 p.m.: This article was updated with the parent’s name.

10:10 p.m.: This article was updated with information that the man shot by police has died.

7 p.m.: This article was updated with information from a news conference.

6:10 p.m.: This article was updated to reflect that the standoff has ended.

6:05 p.m. This article was updated throughout.

3:30 p.m.: This article was updated with details about the beginning of the incident.

2:20 p.m.: This article was updated with information on student releases.

1:40 p.m.: This article was updated with details about the hostage.

1:15 p.m.: This article was updated with details about the campus evacuation.

This article was originally published at 12:55 p.m.

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NEW YORK — A 29-year-old man driving a rental truck plowed down people on a Manhattan bike path Tuesday in what authorities described as a terrorist attack that killed eight and injured 11 before the suspect was shot and arrested by police.

A sunny fall day along the Hudson River erupted in chaos just around the time students were getting out from nearby Stuyvesant High School, when a rented Home Depot truck turned on to the bike path along the West Side Highway.

Witnesses say the speeding truck struck unsuspecting bicyclists and pedestrians while onlookers screamed and scattered. The truck then veered left toward Chambers Street, where it collided with a small school bus, injuring two adults and two children inside, officials said.

Foreign ministries of Belgium and Argentina said five Argentines and a Belgian were among the victims. The Argentine nationals were part of a group of friends celebrating the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation, the Argentine Foreign Ministry said in a statement Tuesday.

According to a video from the scene, the man then jumped out of the wrecked vehicle brandishing what appeared to be handguns. Some witnesses said he shouted “Allahu akbar’’ meaning “God is great’’ in Arabic.

Law enforcement officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an open investigation, identified the suspect as Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbek immigrant who had been living in Tampa.

The attack could intensify the political debate over immigration and security. President Trump has argued for much tougher screening of immigrants to prevent terrorism, and opponents of those policies have sought to block his efforts in the courts. Uzbekistan was not among the countries named in any version of the president’s travel ban, which largely targeted a number of majority-Muslim countries.

[ New York vehicle attack: Everything you need to know ]

Trump responded to the attack on Twitter, saying it “looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person.’’ He tweeted a short time later: “We must not allow ISIS to return, or enter, our country after defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere. Enough!” ISIS is an acronym for the Islamic State.

On Tuesday night Trump said he was tightening immigrant screening, tweeting: “I have just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!”

I have just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2017

There was no immediate indication that the attack had been directed by the Islamic State. However, the group has called on its supporters in Western countries to launch their own attacks, using anything at hand as weapons, including vehicles.

Inside the rental truck, investigators found a handwritten note in which Saipov had declared his allegiance to the Islamic State, according to officials.

Saipov is expected to survive, meaning investigators will likely have a chance to question him about his motive for the attack, but so far, they said, he appears to have been a “lone wolf’’ suspect – someone who acted alone after being inspired, but not directly instructed, by the Islamic State.

He had been living in Paterson, New Jersey before the attack, and rented the vehicle in that state before driving it into Manhattan, officials said.

The violence was terrifyingly similar to vehicle attacks carried out in Europe, where Islamic State supporters have used cars and trucks to strike pedestrians in crowded streets, a tactic that has been employed in France, Britain, Germany, Sweden and Spain.

“This certainly bears all the hallmarks of an ISIS-inspired or al-Qaeda-inspired attack,” said Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, whom the FBI briefed on the attack Tuesday evening. “We have to expect that as the capital of the caliphate has now fallen, there are going to be increasing efforts to show that they remain dangerous and lethal, and to expand the virtual caliphate.”

Antonio Valasquez, 28, said he saw the truck speed by as he left a restaurant and then heard a crash. “I didn’t really understand, you know, at first what was happening,” he said. Valasquez said he heard what appeared to be gunshots shortly after but couldn’t be sure. “I was running away.”

An officer from the 1st Precinct approached Saipov and shot him in the abdomen, police said. He has been taken to a hospital, but officials did not discuss his condition or location. The weapons he was brandishing turned out to be a pellet gun and a paintball gun, police said.

Rabbi Chaim Zaklos was picking up about half a dozen children from school to escort them to Hebrew school nearby when he encountered the scene. Police were pushing people away, and he could see abandoned bikes and what appeared to be uprooted trees nearby. “It was obvious something drastic was happening, so I just wanted to get the kids someplace safe,” said Zaklos, 35.

“This is a very painful day in our city,’’ New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said. “Based on the information we have at this moment, this was an act of terror, a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians.”

Saipov moved to the United States from Uzbekistan about six years ago, said Dilnoza Abdusamatova, 24, who said Saipov stayed with her family in Cincinnati for his first two weeks in the country because their fathers were friends. Some officials said he arrived in 2010.

Abdusamatova said Saipov then moved to Florida to start a trucking company. Her family members think he got married about a year after arriving in the United States and may now have two children. Around that time, she said, he cut off contact with them.

“He stopped talking to us when he got married,” Abdusamatova said.

[ Vehicles as weapons of terror: U.S. cities on alert as attacks hit the West ]

Saipov had lived in an apartment complex, Heritage at Tampa, near the Hillsborough River. On Tuesday evening, two plainclothes investigators were seen departing the community, having interviewed several residents and others in the surrounding neighborhood. The investigators declined to answer any questions.

“Four FBI agents came and told me he used to live here,” said Venessa Jones, who said she lives in an apartment above the one Saipov rented. Neighbors at the complex said they didn’t know Saipov.

Officials said they had no information to suggest that the attacker had any accomplices or that there was a further threat to the city.

Nevertheless, they said, extra police would be posted around the city as a precaution, particularly along the route of the Halloween Parade, a long-standing tradition in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village that attracts big crowds. Officials said sand trucks, police vehicles and other equipment would be used to deter any vehicle attacks at the parade.

Authorities stand near a damaged Home Depot truck after a motorist drove onto a bike path near the World Trade Center memorial, striking and killing several people Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

The investigation is being led by the FBI with the assistance of the New York Police Department.

“We have recently seen attacks like this one throughout the world,’’ said acting homeland security secretary Elaine Duke. “DHS and its law enforcement partners remain vigilant and committed to safeguarding the American people.’’

The Argentine Foreign Ministry identified the five dead Argentine nationals as Hernán Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damián Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernán Ferruchi. It added that a sixth member of the group, Martin Ludovico Marro, sustained injuries and is being hospitalized in the Presbyterian Hospital of Manhattan. He is in stable condition, the government said, citing medical officials.

The group of friends hailed from the city of Rosario, the largest city in the central province of Santa Fe. They graduated from the Instituto Politécnico, a technical high school in Rosario, in 1987.

The Argentine government expressed its “sincere condolences” and said the General Consulate remains in contact with police authorities, hospital staff and the victim’s relatives in Argentina.

“We accompany the families in this terrible moment of deep pain, which all Argentines share,” the government statement read.

Argentina’s president, Mauricio Macri, tweeted that he was “deeply moved by the tragic deaths” in New York. “We are available to the families of the Argentine victims,” he added.

Rosario’s local newspaper, La Capital, described the vacation to New York as the “trip of their dreams,” and reported that they were riding bicycles in Lower Manhattan before the attack.

The local newspaper’s headline read:  “A trip of camaraderie among friends from Rosario turns into tragedy.”

Barrett, Lowery, Siegel, and Schmidt reported from Washington. Philip Bump in New York, Jon Silman in Tampa, and Julie Tate, Ellen Nakashima, Jennifer Jenkins, Mark Berman in Washington contributed to this report.

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President Moon Jae-in told lawmakers Wednesday that South Korea would not seek to have nuclear weapons and said that Seoul would never accept its neighbor North Korea as a nuclear-armed state.

“According to the joint agreement by the two Koreas on denuclearization, North Korea’s nuclear state cannot be accepted or tolerated. We will not develop or possess nuclear weapons either,” the president said in his second state of the nation address at the National Assembly, South Korea’s parliament.

Recent tests by North Korea have led to a renewed debate about nuclear weapons in South Korea. Although the country once sought its own nuclear weapons in the 1970s during the presidency of Park Chung-hee, leaders were persuaded by the United States to abandon such ambitions.

The United States stationed nuclear-armed weapons in South Korea during the Cold War until 1991, when President George H.W. Bush withdrew all tactical nuclear weapons deployed abroad, though the country remains protected from North Korean nuclear weapons under the U.S. nuclear umbrella.

After North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test on Sept. 3, a number of politicians suggested that the South should reconsider its own nuclear weapons program. In the weeks after that test, a group of lawmakers from South Korea’s opposition party, the Liberty Korea Party, came to Washington to ask for the redeployment of U.S. nuclear weapons to the country.

The debate has also taken place within Moon’s own ruling party, the Democratic Party. “The redeployment of tactical nuclear weapons is an alternative worth a full review,” Defense Minister Song Young-moo said in early September, before North Korea’s latest nuclear test.

Before he was elected, President Trump also suggested he was open to the possibility of countries such as South Korea and Japan acquiring their own nuclear weapons to deal with the threat of North Korea.

However, Moon has remained adamantly against nuclear weapons in South Korea and has repeatedly said he would not consider redeployment due to the possibility of raising tensions with North Korea unnecessarily. During a recent visit by U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to Seoul, both Mattis and Song dismissed the idea of redeploying nuclear weapons.

“When considering national interest, it’s much better not to deploy them,” Song said. Mattis said U.S. strategic assets already provide the necessary deterrence. 

Despite Moon’s strong opposition to nuclear weapons, recent polls have shown that a majority of South Koreans favor them. A poll conducted by Gallup Korea in September found that 60 percent of South Koreans supported nuclear weapons for their country in theory, a number consistent with other polls conducted recently.

Speaking to the National Assembly on Wednesday, Moon said other options were preferable to military action with North Korea. “Sanctions and pressure are means to bring North Korea to the negotiating table and to make the right choice,” Moon said.

“There can never be a military conflict on the Korean Peninsula or military operations without the South Korean government’s prior consent,” the president added.

Yoonjung Seo contributed to this report.

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SALT LAKE CITY — Police say one person is dead after a shooting near the University of Utah campus at Red Butte Canyon on Monday.

The Deseret News reports that the university sent an alert at 9 p.m. to students and staff to shelter in place after gunshots rang out. People on campus remained on lockdown more than two hours after the initial alert.

Police were searching for a man suspected in the shooting.

Utah Transit Authority says buses won’t service the campus for the reminder of the night. The heavy police presence also disrupted light rail travel near the campus.

Authorities didn’t immediately release more information.

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