Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) confirmed on Wednesday that he had an extramarital affair, saying it was a "deeply personal mistake."
Greitens campaigned on being a family man, saying he's a "Navy SEAL, native Missourian, and most importantly, a proud husband and father." News 4 has spent several months working on an investigation into Greitens allegedly trying to blackmail a woman he had sexual encounters with in his home. News 4 obtained a recording from the woman's ex-husband in which the unidentified woman detailed her alleged affair with Greitens, including how after one intimate moment, he put a blindfold on her. "He stepped back, I saw a flash through the blindfold, and he said, 'You're never going to mention my name,' otherwise there will be pictures of me everywhere," she said on the tape. After he took the photo, she said, Greitens apologized and told her he deleted the picture.
The woman said her sexual encounters with Greitens were consensual, and took place in 2015. The woman did not know she was being recorded while talking to her then-husband; they tried to reconcile but divorced in March 2016. The ex-husband told News 4 he came forward with the information because he'd been approached by law enforcement and reporters, and he wanted to get ahead of the story. "Something happened, churned this, and had people hounding me, even leaving a voicemail on my daughter's phone — when that happened, everything changed," he said.
When asked by News 4 about the alleged photo, Greitens would not comment. In a joint statement, Greitens and his wife, Sheena, said "Eric took responsibility, and we dealt with this together honestly and privately. ... With God's mercy Sheena has forgiven and we have emerged stronger." In her own statement, Sheena Greitens said she and her husband "have a loving marriage and an awesome family" and "I want the media and those who wish to peddle gossip to stay away from me and my children." Catherine Garcia
Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon received a cease and desist letter late Wednesday from President Trump's attorney, scolding him for "making disparaging statements and in some cases outright defamatory statements" about Trump and members of his family.
Earlier in the day, several explosive statements from Bannon were featured in published excerpts from Michael Wolff's upcoming book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House — Bannon reportedly said investigators looking into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election will "crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV" and called Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with Russians in Trump Tower "treasonous" and "unpatriotic." The White House responded by saying Bannon has "nothing to do" with Trump or his presidency and he "not only lost his job, he lost his mind."
In a statement released Wednesday night, attorney Charles Harder said he was representing Trump and Donald J. Trump for President Inc., and sent Bannon a letter stating "his actions of communicating with author Michael Wolff regarding an upcoming book give rise to numerous legal claims including defamation by libel and slander, and breach of his written confidentiality and non-disparagement agreement with our clients. Legal action is imminent." Catherine Garcia
A fire that broke out Thursday night in a five-story New York City apartment building quickly grew into a four-alarm blaze, leaving at least 12 people dead and 15 injured, fire officials said.
About 170 firefighters worked to extinguish the fire in the Belmont section of the Bronx, near the Bronx Zoo. One of the victims is a baby, NBC New York reports. Witnesses told the New York Post they heard people screaming they were trapped, and one man was shouting, "My babies are dead! My babies are dead" The cause of the blaze is under investigation. Catherine Garcia
Documents filed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Monday say that last week, President Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was found to be working on an op-ed with a Russian colleague with ties to a Russian intelligence service.
Manafort was a ghostwriter on the op-ed, which detailed his work with Ukrainian politicians, and it's not clear where he wanted it published. The special counsel's brief said by drafting this op-ed, Manafort showed he was ready to "violate or circumvent" the court's order banning statements to the press. "The editorial clearly was undertaken to influence the public's opinion of Manafort, or else there would be no reason to seek its publication (much less for Manafort and his long-time associate to ghostwrite it in another's name)," the special counsel wrote. "It compounds the problem that the proposed piece is not a dispassionate recitation of the facts."
Manafort was indicted in November for failing to register as a foreign agent and money laundering, and he has been viewed as a flight risk because of his wealth, extensive foreign contacts, and three passports. Mueller's office opposes Manafort's bail package, which still needs to be approved by a judge. Catherine Garcia
This summer, President Trump asked the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and other senior Republicans in the Senate multiple times to bring to a close the panel's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, several lawmakers and aides told The New York Times.
"It was something along the lines of, 'I hope you can conclude this as quickly as possible,'" Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the intelligence committee chairman, told the Times. He said he told Trump "when we have exhausted everybody we need to talk to, we will finish." Trump also approached several other Republicans over the summer, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), asking them to push Burr to finish the inquiry. One person who spoke with McConnell told the Times that Trump made it clear McConnell wasn't doing enough to get Burr to shut down the inquiry, and others said Burr told a few fellow senators Trump told him it was time to "move on" from Russia.
Several Republican senators and aides were concerned about Trump's "forceful" and clear requests to urge Burr to end the inquiry, including one senator who told the Times he was "alarmed." A White House official said Trump made several of his calls without senior staff present, and he would often start out talking about one thing before making his request. Burr downplayed the phone calls, telling the Times that Trump has "never been in government" and doesn't know what is proper, adding that other members of the committee who were approached by Trump "promptly" shared the discussions they had with him. Catherine Garcia
Tampa police announced Tuesday night that they will charge a 24-year-old man with four counts of first-degree murder in connection with a series of shooting deaths that rattled the Seminole Heights neighborhood.
Police received a tip Tuesday afternoon about a man with a gun inside a McDonald's in the Ybor City neighborhood, Police Chief Brian Dugan told reporters. Officers found the suspect, Howell E. Donaldson III, and detained him; a gun was recovered at the scene, Dugan said, but it's unclear if it was the gun used in one or more of the killings.
Earlier, police said they believed one shooter was likely behind the four deaths, but did not say why they thought they were connected. The first victim, 22-year-old Benjamin Mitchell, was shot Oct. 9 while waiting for a bus, and the body of the fourth victim, Ronald Felton, 60, was found Nov. 14 close to a memorial set up to honor the first three victims. Catherine Garcia
On Thursday night, the White House argued that it cannot lawfully make subsidy payments to insurers who rely on funding to reduce out-of-pocket costs for millions of low-income ObamaCare customers.
The White House said the Justice Department came to this conclusion after analyzing the cost-sharing payments and finding no congressional appropriation for them, and the Department of Health and Human Services said it will end the payments immediately. The subsidies are estimated to cost $7 billion this year, and under the law, insurers still must provide cheaper rates to members even if they no longer receive federal funding. Over the last several months, Trump has threatened to cut off the payments, which he called a "bailout" for insurance companies, and insurance companies have already raised prices in case he followed through. Still, the move is expected to significantly destabilize ObamaCare insurance markets.
In a joint statement, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said "it seems President Trump will single handedly hike Americans' health premiums. It is a spiteful act of vast, pointless sabotage leveled at working families and the middle class in every corner of America. Make no mistake about it, Trump will try to blame the Affordable Care Act, but this will fall on his back and he will pay the price for it." Catherine Garcia
Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner died Wednesday, his company confirmed in a statement. He was 91.
"My father lived an exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer and a leading voice behind some of the most significant social and cultural movements of our time in advocating free speech, civil rights, and sexual freedom," son Cooper Hefner, chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises, said in a statement. "He defined a lifestyle and ethos that lie at the heart of the Playboy brand, one of the most recognizable and enduring in history."
Born in Chicago on April 9, 1926, Hefner launched Playboy Enterprises Inc., a media and lifestyle brand, in 1953, and that December, the first Playboy was published, featuring a nude Marilyn Monroe. Hefner was known for the parties he threw at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles and the iconic Playboy bunny icon, and later in life, he appeared on the E! reality show Girls Next Door, which followed three Playmates and their lives at the mansion. He is survived by his wife, Crystal, and children Christie, David, Marston, and Cooper. Catherine Garcia