Gorilla killing: Police investigate boy's family – CNN

Story highlights

  • The boy’s family declines money, suggests donations to zoo in Harambe’s name
  • Zoo officials killed the gorilla to protect a child who slipped into its enclosure
“Our child has had a checkup by his doctor and is still doing well,” the family said Wednesday in a statement released by a representative.
The unidentified 3-year-old boy was not seriously injured after his Saturday encounter with Harambe, a 450-pound gorilla at the zoo. But after 10 minutes, zoo personnel shot and killed the animal.
“We continue to praise God for His grace and mercy, and to be thankful to the Cincinnati Zoo for their actions taken to protect our child,” the boy’s family said Wednesday.
“We are also very appreciative for the expressions of concern and support that have been sent to us. Some have offered money to the family, which we do not want and will not accept. If anyone wishes to make a gift, we recommend a donation to the Cincinnati Zoo in Harambe’s name.”
The zoo has performed a necropsy on the gorilla but has not released any details on the results.
A research doctor extracted and froze the gorilla’s genetic material after his death, the zoo said.

Review aimed at parents

Cincinnati police said Tuesday that their review will focus on the actions of the boy’s parents and family. It is not related to the operation or safety of the Cincinnati Zoo, authorities said.
“After the review, we will determine if charges need to be brought forward,” police spokeswoman Tiffaney Hardy said.
“If it is determined charges need to be brought forward, we would then discuss it with the Hamilton County prosecutor’s office.” The prosecutor’s office declined to say how long the investigation might take.
Authorities have said the boy’s mother was with the child when he slipped past a fence and tumbled into the moat.

Critics united in grief

Harambe’s name is Swahili for “come together in unity for a common cause.” And critics have rallied together against the gorilla’s killing.
Uproar and vitriol has poured in, especially on social media against the boy’s mother after zoo officials killed the western lowland silverback to protect the boy.
Some suggested the boy’s parents should be held criminally responsible. An online petition seeking “Justice for Harambe” earned more than 100,000 signatures in less than 48 hours.
“This beautiful gorilla lost his life because the boy’s parents did not keep a closer watch on the child,” the petition states.
Kimberly Ann Perkins O’Connor, who saw the incident, said the boy told his mother he was going to get into the moat. The mother told her son to behave before she became distracted by other children with her, O’Connor said.
“The little boy himself had already been talking about wanting to go in, go in, get in the water and his mother is like, ‘No you’re not, no you’re not,’ ” O’Connor said. “Her attention was drawn away for seconds, maybe a minute, and then he was up and in before you knew it.”

‘The child is safe’

Thane Maynard, the zoo’s director, has firmly stood by the decision to kill the gorilla.
“We are all devastated that this tragic accident resulted in the death of a critically endangered gorilla,” Maynard said.
However, he said, those second-guessing the call don’t understand the 450-pound animal.
“That child’s life was in danger. People who question that don’t understand you can’t take a risk with a silverback gorilla — this is a dangerous animal,” he said. “Looking back, we’d make the same decision. The child is safe.”
Famed primatologist Jane Goodall’s response to the killing highlighted the conflicted nature of the decision to kill the animal.
“I feel so sorry for you, having to try to defend something which you may well disapprove of,” Goodall wrote in an email to Maynard.
Goodall described the killing as “a devastating loss to the zoo, and to the gorillas.”

More investigations

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which accredits zoos, announced it’s investigating the incident.
“We’ll of course be … working with Cincinnati to figure out what happened and make sure we can firm that up so it doesn’t happen again,” spokesman Rob Vernon said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which inspects the zoo annually, said it will determine whether the facility was in compliance with the Animal Welfare Act, a federal law that monitors the treatment of animals in research and exhibition.
If not, a formal investigation would be warranted, USDA spokeswoman Tanya Espinosa said.
CNN independently reviewed USDA records for the past three years, which are all that the agency maintains. It found nine instances in which the zoo was out of compliance. None involved the gorilla exhibit.
Two involving veterinary care were directly tied to the health or wellness of the animals, and seven dealt with other issues.
All were resolved, according to USDA reports.
Zoos, circuses and marine mammal parks are regulated under the Animal Welfare Act.

Animal rights group steps in

An animal rights group has requested an investigation by the USDA.
Stop Animal Exploitation Now alleges the zoo violated the Animal Welfare Act, according to a letter by Executive Director Michael A. Budkie.
The letter cites USDA inspection reports dated November 2014 and March.
The November 6, 2014, report cites a door to an outdoor monkey enclosure had multiple wooden boards in disrepair. It also detailed deterioration in a horse enclosure.
The March report documented an incident in which two polar bears got into a service hallway accessible only to zookeepers. The dangerous animal response team quickly secured the area and used tranquillizer darts to subdue the bears.
Maynard, the Cincinnati Zoo director, noted a zookeeper lost her arm in the incident.

CNN’s Aaron Cooper, Jessica Schneider, Dominique Dodley and Sarah Jorgensen contributed to this report.

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Gorilla killing: Police investigate boy's family – CNN

Story highlights

  • The boy’s family declines money, suggests donations to zoo in Harambe’s name
  • Zoo officials killed the gorilla to protect a child who slipped into its enclosure
“Our child has had a checkup by his doctor and is still doing well,” the family said Wednesday in a statement released by a representative.
The unidentified 3-year-old boy was not seriously injured after his Saturday encounter with Harambe, a 450-pound gorilla at the zoo. But after 10 minutes, zoo personnel shot and killed the animal.
“We continue to praise God for His grace and mercy, and to be thankful to the Cincinnati Zoo for their actions taken to protect our child,” the boy’s family said Wednesday.
“We are also very appreciative for the expressions of concern and support that have been sent to us. Some have offered money to the family, which we do not want and will not accept. If anyone wishes to make a gift, we recommend a donation to the Cincinnati Zoo in Harambe’s name.”
The zoo has performed a necropsy on the gorilla but has not released any details on the results.
A research doctor extracted and froze the gorilla’s genetic material after his death, the zoo said.

Review aimed at parents

Cincinnati police said Tuesday that their review will focus on the actions of the boy’s parents and family. It is not related to the operation or safety of the Cincinnati Zoo, authorities said.
“After the review, we will determine if charges need to be brought forward,” police spokeswoman Tiffaney Hardy said.
“If it is determined charges need to be brought forward, we would then discuss it with the Hamilton County prosecutor’s office.” The prosecutor’s office declined to say how long the investigation might take.
Authorities have said the boy’s mother was with the child when he slipped past a fence and tumbled into the moat.

Critics united in grief

Harambe’s name is Swahili for “come together in unity for a common cause.” And critics have rallied together against the gorilla’s killing.
Uproar and vitriol has poured in, especially on social media against the boy’s mother after zoo officials killed the western lowland silverback to protect the boy.
Some suggested the boy’s parents should be held criminally responsible. An online petition seeking “Justice for Harambe” earned more than 100,000 signatures in less than 48 hours.
“This beautiful gorilla lost his life because the boy’s parents did not keep a closer watch on the child,” the petition states.
Kimberly Ann Perkins O’Connor, who saw the incident, said the boy told his mother he was going to get into the moat. The mother told her son to behave before she became distracted by other children with her, O’Connor said.
“The little boy himself had already been talking about wanting to go in, go in, get in the water and his mother is like, ‘No you’re not, no you’re not,’ ” O’Connor said. “Her attention was drawn away for seconds, maybe a minute, and then he was up and in before you knew it.”

‘The child is safe’

Thane Maynard, the zoo’s director, has firmly stood by the decision to kill the gorilla.
“We are all devastated that this tragic accident resulted in the death of a critically endangered gorilla,” Maynard said.
However, he said, those second-guessing the call don’t understand the 450-pound animal.
“That child’s life was in danger. People who question that don’t understand you can’t take a risk with a silverback gorilla — this is a dangerous animal,” he said. “Looking back, we’d make the same decision. The child is safe.”
Famed primatologist Jane Goodall’s response to the killing highlighted the conflicted nature of the decision to kill the animal.
“I feel so sorry for you, having to try to defend something which you may well disapprove of,” Goodall wrote in an email to Maynard.
Goodall described the killing as “a devastating loss to the zoo, and to the gorillas.”

More investigations

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which accredits zoos, announced it’s investigating the incident.
“We’ll of course be … working with Cincinnati to figure out what happened and make sure we can firm that up so it doesn’t happen again,” spokesman Rob Vernon said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which inspects the zoo annually, said it will determine whether the facility was in compliance with the Animal Welfare Act, a federal law that monitors the treatment of animals in research and exhibition.
If not, a formal investigation would be warranted, USDA spokeswoman Tanya Espinosa said.
CNN independently reviewed USDA records for the past three years, which are all that the agency maintains. It found nine instances in which the zoo was out of compliance. None involved the gorilla exhibit.
Two involving veterinary care were directly tied to the health or wellness of the animals, and seven dealt with other issues.
All were resolved, according to USDA reports.
Zoos, circuses and marine mammal parks are regulated under the Animal Welfare Act.

Animal rights group steps in

An animal rights group has requested an investigation by the USDA.
Stop Animal Exploitation Now alleges the zoo violated the Animal Welfare Act, according to a letter by Executive Director Michael A. Budkie.
The letter cites USDA inspection reports dated November 2014 and March.
The November 6, 2014, report cites a door to an outdoor monkey enclosure had multiple wooden boards in disrepair. It also detailed deterioration in a horse enclosure.
The March report documented an incident in which two polar bears got into a service hallway accessible only to zookeepers. The dangerous animal response team quickly secured the area and used tranquillizer darts to subdue the bears.
Maynard, the Cincinnati Zoo director, noted a zookeeper lost her arm in the incident.

CNN’s Aaron Cooper, Jessica Schneider, Dominique Dodley and Sarah Jorgensen contributed to this report.

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UN Warns 20000 Children Are Trapped in Fallujah as Iraq Battles to Oust ISIS – NBCNews.com

At least 20,0000 children are trapped in Fallujah with limited food and water as coalition-backed Iraqi troops fight to retake the city from ISIS, the U.N.’s children’s agency warned Wednesday.

UNICEF said food and medicine are running out and clean water is in short supply in the Islamist-controlled city, about 40 miles west of Baghdad.

Iraqi government troops — backed by air support from the U.S.-led coalition — launched a military operation over a week ago to recapture Fallujah, which has under ISIS control since 2014.

Very few families have been able to flee the city since the start of the offensive, UNICEF’s Iraq representative Peter Hawkins said in a statement.

“Most have moved to two camps while others have sought refuge with relatives and extended families,” he said. “At least 20,000 children remain trapped in the city.

He called on all sides to provide safe passage for those wishing to leave.

Related: ISIS May Be Using ‘Human Shields’ in Fallujah, U.N. Warns

“As the violence continues to escalate in Fallujah and across Iraq, we are concerned over the protection of children in the face of extreme and rising danger,” Hawkins said. “Children face the risk of forced recruitment into the fighting, strict procedures for security screening and separation from their families.”

The U.N. has already raised concerns that ISIS has been using families as human shields.

Brig. Yehya Rasool, the spokesman for Iraq’s Joint Operation Command, told NBC News Wednesday that troops had liberated the district of Nuaimiya, about two miles south of the city now will continue their advance towards areas closer to the center of Fallujah.

“In the north, Iraqi forces were able to storm into Saqlawiyah, 5.5 miles from the center of Fallujah, after heavy clashes,” he said. “The fighting to retake over the district is still going on.”

The fight for Fallujah is expected to be protracted because ISIS has had more than two years to dig in. Hidden bombs are believed to be strewn throughout the city, and the presence of trapped civilians will limit the use of supporting airstrikes.

Fallujah is the last major urban area controlled by ISIS in western Iraq. It still holds the country’s second-largest city, Mosul, in the north, as well as smaller towns and patches of territory in the country’s west and north.

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Trump announced his gifts to veterans. Here's what we learned. – Washington Post

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump warned reporters May 31, “I’m going to continue to attack the press.” He slammed members of the media as “dishonest” at a news conference about donations he raised for veterans’ groups at Trump Tower in New York. (Reuters)

This post has been updated.

On Tuesday, Donald Trump announced that he’d given away the last of the $5.6 million that he raised four months ago, at a benefit for veterans’ causes in Iowa. In a bitter, combative press conference, Trump made clear that he’d been pressured into giving up these details by the news media, including The Washington Post.

And he was not at all happy about it.

“Are you ready? Do you have your pen?” he said to the media he’d called to the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. Then, before he actually gave out the names of the groups he’d donated to, Trump reversed course to bash the media another time. “My opinion of the media, it’s very low. I think the media is, frankly, made up of people in many cases, not in all cases, are not good people.”

When the press conference was over, Trump had answered several of the big questions that had lingered after his Jan. 28 benefit, which he staged as counter-programming to a GOP debate he had decided to skip.

Here’s what we know now:

How much, in total, did Trump raise at that fundraiser?

$5.6 million.

Trump gave that figure on Tuesday, and backed it up by listing gifts to 41 different veterans’ charities that totalled $5.6 million.

On the night of the fundraiser, Trump had told the crowd “We just cracked $6 million! Right? $6 million.” He repeated the figure for several days afterward, both at rallies and on TV morning shows. On Tuesday, Trump did not explain why the final total had fallen short of $6 million, but said that he believed more donations would come in later, and that the total might eventually top $6 million after all.

How many new donations were announced on Tuesday?

By The Post’s count, 18 new gifts, totaling about $1.5 million.

In each case, Trump was giving away other people’s money. Other donors, both large and small, had entrusted this money to the Donald J. Trump Foundation, on the understanding that Trump would then distribute it to veterans. The list included:

Achilles International received $100,000 last week. It also received a $100,000 check, also derived from the Iowa fundraiser, a few weeks ago. This group helps wounded veterans train to compete in athletic events. One of its leaders, Mary Bryant McCourt, knows Trump because she is a member of his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. A few years ago, she persuaded Trump to help the group by stopping him once on the exclusive resort’s grounds. “When I saw Donald, I said, ‘Donald, they’re coming, they’re going to be here this weekend, I wanna give ’em hamburgers at the pool,'” McCourt recalled. Trump’s foundation has since given several donations to the group. “He’s been just generous and wonderful and caring,” she said.

Racing for Heroes uses auto racing to help veterans with brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. It received a $100,000 donation in the first weeks after the Iowa fundraiser. Last week, the group reported that it received another “large” check from the Trump Foundation, but it declined to specify the amount.

The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund received a $75,000 check last week. It had previously received a $100,000 check in the first weeks after the Iowa event, sent directly by a donor who supported Trump’s effort. This fund has paid for new centers for rehabilitation and treatment of injured military personnel.

— The Boston Wounded Vet Run received $75,000 from Trump’s foundation. This group holds an annual motorcycle ride and raises money to help disabled veterans. Its founder served in Iraq with the son of one of Trump’s bodyguards. It had not previously received a donation from the money raised in Iowa.

— The Bob Woodruff Foundation received a $75,000 check last week. This foundation, founded by the ABC News anchor who suffered a traumatic brain injury while on assignment in Iraq, funds better care for wounded veterans. This group has no obvious connection to Trump and had received no funds from his Iowa fundraiser. “We were a bit surprised,” the foundation said in a message to The Post.

Did Trump give any of his own personal money?

Yes. He gave $1 million, last week. But only after The Post and other media organizations pressured Trump to explain where his money had gone.

On the night of the fundraiser, Trump had said he “gave” $1 million of his own. Earlier this month, Trump’s own campaign manager had said this money had already been distributed (though he would not say to whom). But this was false. Trump had not given the money. Then, on May 23, The Post had made inquiries on Twitter — Trump’s preferred social-media platform — seeking anyone who’d received a piece of this (nonexistent, as it turned out) $1 million.

That night, Trump moved to give the money away, in one single large donation, to a charity he knew well. The money went to the Marine Corps – Law Enforcement Foundation, a group that provides educational grants to the children of fallen Marines and federal officers. The same group had given Trump a leadership award at a gala last year. When The Post asked if Trump had made the gift only because the media was asking about it, Trump said, “You know, you’re a nasty guy. You’re really a nasty guy.”

When did Trump give away the rest of the other donors’ money, which was under his control?

In many cases, on May 24.

The Associated Press surveyed the recipients of Trump’s donations on Tuesday, and found that many of them had received checks dated May 24, the same day that Trump told The Post he’d given his $1 million.

Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for Trump, told the AP that questions from The Post and other outlets did not push Trump to make the donations when he did. “Mr. Trump’s team worked very hard to complete this lengthy process prior to Memorial Day Weekend,” Hicks told the AP.

Why did it take four months to distribute the last of this money?

Vetting, Trump says.

On Tuesday, Trump said these weeks were needed to scrutinize the potential recipients, so Trump could be certain that they were worthy.

“I had people, teams of people reviewing statistics, reviewing numbers and also talking to people in the military to find out whether or not the group was deserving of the money,” he said Tuesday. Several of the groups reported receiving no requests for financial documents from Trump’s team. In some cases, there was only a phone call, and a simple request: Trump’s people asked for their official nonprofit number, issued by the IRS.

How well did Trump’s vetting process work?

Well, it wasn’t perfect.

Many of the charities Trump selected seem to be legitimate and deserving. But one of the charities that Trump chose — after it had been vetted by Trump’s “teams of people” — was the Foundation for American Veterans. It received $75,000.

But the Foundation for American Veterans has an “F” rating from Charity Watch, a nonprofit watchdog, because it spends so little of its donations on work that actually helps veterans. Indeed, an examination of the group’s tax filings shows that the foundation spent just $2.4 million of its total $8 million budget on helping veterans directly in 2014. The group spent the rest of the money in 2014 on fundraising, on salaries, and on other overhead costs.

The same foundation was the subject of an “alert” from the Better Business Bureau in January, which cited “a pattern and high volume of complaints and customer reviews” about the Foundation for American Veterans. The BBB said customers received “a high volume of what they consider to be harassing phone calls” from the group’s solicitors. The BBB said the group had blamed the problem on its telemarketer. The BBB’s St. Louis branch also warned residents to “be cautious when dealing with representatives of Foundation for American Veterans,” warning that its telemarketers might “pressure and mislead them into making donations.”

Hicks, the Trump spokeswoman, did not respond to questions about why Trump’s vetting process had not detected these problems.

These problems shouldn’t have been hard to find. On a recent Google search for the foundation’s name, three of the first four search results were websites raising questions about the foundation’s practices.

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ISIS reportedly uses hundreds of families as human shields to protect Fallujah – Fox News

Conor Powell reports form Jerusalem

 

“Several hundred” innocent families were trapped in the center of the bloody battle for the Islamic State’s Iraqi hub of Fallujah, used as human shields for the terror group, the United Nations refugee agency warned on Tuesday as a leading aid group called it a “human catastrophe.”

The fighting left at least seven members of one family dead or wounded on Saturday, UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler told reporters. An estimated 50,000 people remained trapped.

“They are locking some families down inside the hospital building,” Salem al Halbusi, who lived in Fallujah, told USA Today. “They are making people freak out over the (arrival of) Iraqi forces by telling them, ‘The army and militia are coming to kill you all.'”

Iraqi forces battling their way into the city repelled a four-hour ISIS attack in the city’s south on Tuesday, a day after first moving into the southern edges of the militant-held city with the help of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes. The attack started at dawn in Fallujah’s Nuaimiya area where Iraqi troops captured almost 85 percent of the ground the previous day, two officers with the special forces told The Associated Press.

Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis described Fallujah as “the last bastion of ISIS control in Anbar Province,” adding that the terrorists “intend to put up a fight.” Officials told Fox there were between 500-1,000 ISIS fighters in Fallujah.

ISIS fighters “distributed some sweets for kids for the first time, trying to get people on their side, as they know their end is so close,” al Halbusi added.

[embedded content]

“A human catastrophe is unfolding in Fallujah,” Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council Jan Egeland said, adding that only one family managed to escape from the town on Monday. Since the offensive began a week ago, 554 other families have escaped from areas surrounding Fallujah, which lies 40 miles west of Baghdad. “Warring parties must guarantee civilians safe exit now, before it’s too late and more lives are lost,” Egeland added.

The NRC group, which is working with refugees and internally displaced people in Iraq, said lack of food, medicine, safe drinking water and electricity in the city was “pushing families to the brink of desperation.”

The Pentagon was also concerned that more than 10,000 Iranian-backed Shia militias had amassed outside northern Fallujah, officials told Fox News. A year ago, ISIS took control of nearby Ramadi and it took U.S.-backed Iraqi forces six months to rid the city of hundreds of ISIS fighters. One Iraqi general was quoted as saying 80% of the Iraqi military’s success there was due to U.S. airstrikes.

ISIS militants used tunnels, deployed snipers and sent six explosives-laden cars to hit troops but they were destroyed before reaching their targets, the special forces officers said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing campaign.

Iraqi forces suffered casualties, but the officers didn’t give details.

Nuaimiya is a sprawling mainly agricultural area in Fallujah’s south and Monday’s push into it was the first attempt by Iraqi forces to enter the city after focusing on dislodging the militants from surrounding areas to tighten the siege.

Fallujah has been under Islamic State control for over two years and is the last major city in western Iraq still under control of the Sunni extremist group. The militants still control patches of territory in the country’s north and east as well as the country’s second largest city, Mosul.

The U.S. led coalition and Iranian-backed Shiite paramilitary forces are helping the Iraqi army in the battle to retake Fallujah. But the fight is expected to be long and protracted, given that ISIS militants have had more than two years to dig in.

Tunnels — similar to those found in other territory long held by ISIS — have already been discovered in the northeastern outskirts of Fallujah.

The Iraqi counterterrorism forces are leading the assault on Fallujah, slowly moving up from the southern edge. Their advance is expected to be slow also because tens of thousands of civilians remain trapped in Fallujah and hidden bombs are believed to be strewn throughout the city, according to special forces’ commanders at the scene.

The extremist group is expected to increase attacks in major Iraqi cities in an attempt to distract the security forces’ attention away from the front lines. On Monday, ISIS claimed responsibility for a wave of bombings in and around the capital, Baghdad, that killed at least 24 people and wounded dozens.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Trump announced his gifts to veterans. Here's what we learned. – Washington Post

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump warned reporters May 31, “I’m going to continue to attack the press.” He slammed members of the media as “dishonest” at a news conference about donations he raised for veterans’ groups at Trump Tower in New York. (Reuters)

This post has been updated.

On Tuesday, Donald Trump announced that he’d given away the last of the $5.6 million that he raised four months ago, at a benefit for veterans’ causes in Iowa. In a bitter, combative press conference, Trump made clear that he’d been pressured into giving up these details by the news media, including The Washington Post.

And he was not at all happy about it.

“Are you ready? Do you have your pen?” he said to the media he’d called to the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. Then, before he actually gave out the names of the groups he’d donated to, Trump reversed course to bash the media another time. “My opinion of the media, it’s very low. I think the media is, frankly, made up of people in many cases, not in all cases, are not good people.”

When the press conference was over, Trump had answered several of the big questions that had lingered after his Jan. 28 benefit, which he staged as counter-programming to a GOP debate he had decided to skip.

Here’s what we know now:

How much, in total, did Trump raise at that fundraiser?

$5.6 million.

Trump gave that figure on Tuesday, and backed it up by listing gifts to 41 different veterans’ charities that totalled $5.6 million.

On the night of the fundraiser, Trump had told the crowd “We just cracked $6 million! Right? $6 million.” He repeated the figure for several days afterward, both at rallies and on TV morning shows. On Tuesday, Trump did not explain why the final total had fallen short of $6 million, but said that he believed more donations would come in later, and that the total might eventually top $6 million after all.

How many new donations were announced on Tuesday?

By The Post’s count, 18 new gifts, totaling about $1.5 million.

In each case, Trump was giving away other people’s money. Other donors, both large and small, had entrusted this money to the Donald J. Trump Foundation, on the understanding that Trump would then distribute it to veterans. The list included:

Achilles International received $100,000 last week. It also received a $100,000 check, also derived from the Iowa fundraiser, a few weeks ago. This group helps wounded veterans train to compete in athletic events. One of its leaders, Mary Bryant McCourt, knows Trump because she is a member of his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. A few years ago, she persuaded Trump to help the group by stopping him once on the exclusive resort’s grounds. “When I saw Donald, I said, ‘Donald, they’re coming, they’re going to be here this weekend, I wanna give ’em hamburgers at the pool,'” McCourt recalled. Trump’s foundation has since given several donations to the group. “He’s been just generous and wonderful and caring,” she said.

Racing for Heroes uses auto racing to help veterans with brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. It received a $100,000 donation in the first weeks after the Iowa fundraiser. Last week, the group reported that it received another “large” check from the Trump Foundation, but it declined to specify the amount.

The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund received a $75,000 check last week. It had previously received a $100,000 check in the first weeks after the Iowa event, sent directly by a donor who supported Trump’s effort. This fund has paid for new centers for rehabilitation and treatment of injured military personnel.

— The Boston Wounded Vet Run received $75,000 from Trump’s foundation. This group holds an annual motorcycle ride and raises money to help disabled veterans. Its founder served in Iraq with the son of one of Trump’s bodyguards. It had not previously received a donation from the money raised in Iowa.

— The Bob Woodruff Foundation received a $75,000 check last week. This foundation, founded by the ABC News anchor who suffered a traumatic brain injury while on assignment in Iraq, funds better care for wounded veterans. This group has no obvious connection to Trump and had received no funds from his Iowa fundraiser. “We were a bit surprised,” the foundation said in a message to The Post.

Did Trump give any of his own personal money?

Yes. He gave $1 million, last week. But only after The Post and other media organizations pressured Trump to explain where his money had gone.

On the night of the fundraiser, Trump had said he “gave” $1 million of his own. Earlier this month, Trump’s own campaign manager had said this money had already been distributed (though he would not say to whom). But this was false. Trump had not given the money. Then, on May 23, The Post had made inquiries on Twitter — Trump’s preferred social-media platform — seeking anyone who’d received a piece of this (nonexistent, as it turned out) $1 million.

That night, Trump moved to give the money away, in one single large donation, to a charity he knew well. The money went to the Marine Corps – Law Enforcement Foundation, a group that provides educational grants to the children of fallen Marines and federal officers. The same group had given Trump a leadership award at a gala last year. When The Post asked if Trump had made the gift only because the media was asking about it, Trump said, “You know, you’re a nasty guy. You’re really a nasty guy.”

When did Trump give away the rest of the other donors’ money, which was under his control?

In many cases, on May 24.

The Associated Press surveyed the recipients of Trump’s donations on Tuesday, and found that many of them had received checks dated May 24, the same day that Trump told The Post he’d given his $1 million.

Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for Trump, told the AP that questions from The Post and other outlets did not push Trump to make the donations when he did. “Mr. Trump’s team worked very hard to complete this lengthy process prior to Memorial Day Weekend,” Hicks told the AP.

Why did it take four months to distribute the last of this money?

Vetting, Trump says.

On Tuesday, Trump said these weeks were needed to scrutinize the potential recipients, so Trump could be certain that they were worthy.

“I had people, teams of people reviewing statistics, reviewing numbers and also talking to people in the military to find out whether or not the group was deserving of the money,” he said Tuesday. Several of the groups reported receiving no requests for financial documents from Trump’s team. In some cases, there was only a phone call, and a simple request: Trump’s people asked for their official nonprofit number, issued by the IRS.

How well did Trump’s vetting process work?

Well, it wasn’t perfect.

Many of the charities Trump selected seem to be legitimate and deserving. But one of the charities that Trump chose — after it had been vetted by Trump’s “teams of people” — was the Foundation for American Veterans. It received $75,000.

But the Foundation for American Veterans has an “F” rating from Charity Watch, a nonprofit watchdog, because it spends so little of its donations on work that actually helps veterans. Indeed, an examination of the group’s tax filings shows that the foundation spent just $2.4 million of its total $8 million budget on helping veterans directly in 2014. The group spent the rest of the money in 2014 on fundraising, on salaries, and on other overhead costs.

The same foundation was the subject of an “alert” from the Better Business Bureau in January, which cited “a pattern and high volume of complaints and customer reviews” about the Foundation for American Veterans. The BBB said customers received “a high volume of what they consider to be harassing phone calls” from the group’s solicitors. The BBB said the group had blamed the problem on its telemarketer. The BBB’s St. Louis branch also warned residents to “be cautious when dealing with representatives of Foundation for American Veterans,” warning that its telemarketers might “pressure and mislead them into making donations.”

Hicks, the Trump spokeswoman, did not respond to questions about why Trump’s vetting process had not detected these problems.

These problems shouldn’t have been hard to find. On a recent Google search for the foundation’s name, three of the first four search results were websites raising questions about the foundation’s practices.

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Cincinnati gorilla incident: Police investigating boy's family – CNN

Story highlights

  • Cincinnati police investigating events that led to shooting of gorilla at zoo
  • Zoo officials killed gorilla to protect child who had slipped into its enclosure
The 3-year-old boy was dragged across a moat by the 450-pound gorilla on Saturday. After a 10-minute encounter, Cincinnati Zoo officials shot and killed the beloved and endangered gorilla, named Harambe. The boy was not seriously injured.
Cincinnati police said Tuesday that their review “is only regarding the actions of the parents/family that led up to the incident and not related to the operation or safety of the Cincinnati Zoo.”
“After the review, we will determine if charges need to be brought forward,” police spokeswoman Tiffaney Hardy said. “If it is determined charges need to be brought forward, we would then discuss it with the Hamilton County prosecutor’s office.”
Authorities have said the boy’s mother was with the child at the time he slipped past a fence and tumbled into the moat.
Julie Wilson, spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office, declined to say how long the investigation might take.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, an accrediting agency, also announced that it was investigating the Harambe episode. “We’ll of course be taking a closer look at that working with Cincinnati to figure out what happened and make sure we can firm that up so it doesn’t happen again,” said to Rob Vernon, spokesman for the AZA.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which inspects the zoo annually, said it will determine whether the incident happened because the zoo was not in compliance with the Animal Welfare Act , according to Public Affairs Specialist Tanya Espinosa.
If not, that would warrant a formal investigation, she said.
“There is no time frame for looking into an incident or determining whether to open an investigation,” Espinosa said. “We want to ensure that we are thorough.”
CNN independently reviewed USDA records for the last three years, which is all that is maintained by the agency, and found nine findings where the zoo was out of compliance although none involved the gorilla exhibit.
Two involving veterinary care were directly tied to the health or wellness of the animals, and seven dealt with other issues; all were resolved, according to USDA reports.

Animal rights groups demands feds investigate

An animal rights group announced Tuesday that it had requested an investigation by the USDA. The letter from Michael A. Budkie , executive director of Stop Animal Exploitation Now, alleges the Harambe tragedy occurred because the zoo, “maintained an enclosure that violated the Animal Welfare Act,” according to the letter obtained by CNN. It does not explain how the zoo violated the act.
The letter from the animal rights group cites what it says are Animal Welfare Act violations and includes copies of USDA inspection reports from March 2016 and November 2014, which CNN also located independently in the USDA database.
The March 2016 report documented an incident in which two polar bears got into a service hallway that was to be accessible only to zookeepers. The dangerous animal response team was able to quickly secure the area and use tranquillizer darts to subdue the bears.
Thane Maynard, the director of the Cincinnati Zoo, noted a zookeeper lost her arm in the incident.
The November 6, 2014, report cites a door to the Eastern black and white colobus monkey outdoor enclosure had multiple wooden boards in disrepair. The same report also detailed deterioration in part of the Przewalski’s horse enclosure.

Child’s mom at center of controversy

Meanwhile the child’s mother, who works at a child care center for toddlers and preschoolers in Cincinnati, has been the target of much public anger after zoo officials felt forced to shoot 17-year-old Harambe, an endangered western lowland silverback, to protect her son.
Some suggested the boy’s parents should be held criminally responsible for the incident. An online petition seeking “Justice for Harambe” earned more than 100,000 signatures in less than 48 hours.
“This beautiful gorilla lost his life because the boy’s parents did not keep a closer watch on the child,” the petition states.

Witnesses saw a boy in danger

Witnesses interviewed by CNN and its affiliates contended officials had little choice because it appeared the clamoring crowd was agitating the great ape, putting the boy in greater danger, even though it initially appeared Harambe was trying to protect the child.
One witness, Bruce Davis, told CNN affiliate WCPO in Cincinnati that he saw the ape toss the boy “10 feet in the air, and I saw him land on his back. It was a mess.”
The tragedy happened after the boy told his mother he was going to get into the moat, and the mother admonished him to behave before being distracted by other children with her, Kimberly Ann Perkins O’Connor told CNN.
“The little boy himself had already been talking about wanting to go in, go in, get in the water and his mother is like, ‘No you’re not, no you’re not,’ ” O’Connor said. “Her attention was drawn away for seconds, maybe a minute, and then he was up and in before you knew it.”
The zoo announced that it had performed a necropsy on Harambe. One of their research doctors was able to extract and freeze Harambe’s genetic material but no other details or plans for Harambe’s remains were immediately available, said the zoo’s communications director, Michelle Curley.

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Police investigate parents of boy rescued from gorilla – Fox News

Mike Tobin reports from Chicago

 

CINCINNATI –  Police said Tuesday they are investigating the parents of the 3-year-old boy who fell into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo and had to be rescued by a team that shot the 400-pound animal to death.

Authorities said the investigation will look at the parents’ actions leading up to the incident — not the operation of the zoo, which is overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Police will then confer with prosecutors over whether charges should be filed, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said.

The incident has triggered a furor online, with some saying the boy’s mother should be charged with child endangering, while others want the zoo held responsible for the animal’s death.

Separately, USDA said it will investigate Saturday’s incident for any violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

Zoo authorities said the unidentified boy climbed over a 3-foot-high railing, walked through bushes and plunged about 15 feet into a shallow moat. The zoo’s dangerous-animal response team killed the gorilla as it dragged the boy through the water, authorities said. The boy had only minor scrapes on his head and knee, according to police.

Ohio State University criminal law professor Ric Simmons said he doubts a charge of child endangering could be proved in this instance, since the offense typically involves leaving a youngster unattended for an extended time, not a case of a child momentarily wandering off.

“The mother was standing next to a zoo exhibit and lost track of her child for perhaps a minute or so,” Simons said in an email. “That has happened to almost every parent in the world in a public place.”

The boy’s family said he is “doing just fine” at home, and it had no further comment.

A federal inspection by USDA less than two months ago found no problems with the Gorilla World exhibit, but earlier zoo inspections detailed an incident in March in which polar bears escaped through an open den door into a behind-the-scenes hallway. No one was hurt, but an inspector warned that the public could have been “at great risk for injury, harm or death.”

Zoo director Thane Maynard said that using tranquilizers on the gorilla would not have knocked the animal out right away, leaving the boy in danger. Maynard said 17-year-old Harambe was agitated by the commotion from the crowd and was extremely powerful, capable of crushing a coconut in one hand.

He said the zoo remains safe for its 1.6 million annual visitors, but a review is underway to determine whether any improvements can be made.

Donald Trump weighed in Tuesday, saying the zoo had little choice but to kill the gorilla. Trump said it was “a very tough call,” but the child’s life was at stake.

The executive director of a Cincinnati-based animal rights organization is calling on the USDA to fine the zoo.

“The barrier obviously isn’t sufficient to keep the public out,” said Michael Budkie of Stop Animal Exploitation NOW. “Otherwise, Harambe wouldn’t be dead.”

Jack Hanna, host of “Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild,” said the zoo made the right call by shooting the gorilla, telling WBNS-TV: “I’ll bet my life on this, that child would not be here today.”

In an interview with Boston TV station WFXT, conservationist and television host Jeff Corwin suggested that the boy’s family should shoulder some of the blame, saying: “Zoos aren’t your baby sitter.”

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Trump involved in crafting controversial Trump University ads, executive testified – Washington Post

By and ,

Donald Trump was personally involved in devising the marketing strategy for Trump University, even vetting potential ads, according to newly disclosed sworn testimony from the company’s top executive taken as part of an ongoing lawsuit.

In the testimony, part of a trove of records made public as a result of a federal judge’s Friday order, the executive said that the real estate mogul was involved in discussions and signed off “any time we had a new ad.”

“Mr. Trump understandably is protective of his brand and very protective of his image and how he’s portrayed,” Michael Sexton, Trump University’s president, said in the 2012 deposition. “And he wanted to see how his brand and image were portrayed in Trump University marketing materials. And he had very good and substantive input as well.”

The order Friday from U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel came in response to a request by The Washington Post, which argued that the public had an interest in learning about a business run by a potential president. Lawyers for Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, opposed the release, arguing that the records contained trade secrets.

The records released Tuesday include documents from employees who described Trump University as a scam, as well as internal company manuals, called “playbooks,” which show that instructors were advised to aggressively steer prospective customers toward the most expensive courses. The playbooks advised staff members to collect “personalized information” about participants to help close sales. One example: “Are they a single parent of three children that may need money for food?”

[Read unsealed deposition in the class-action lawsuit against Trump University]

Trump University’s marketing tactics have been at the center of a case in which former students allege they were defrauded by the company. Among their allegations: that they were misled by ads featuring Trump claiming that he was overseeing the curriculum and that the faculty would be “hand-picked by me.”

Trump has rejected the fraud allegations and has said the company provided a valuable service. A Trump lawyer, Jill A. Martin, predicted Tuesday that the company will prevail when the case goes to trial, which is expected to happen in late November. Much of the newly unsealed evidence, she said, “demonstrates the high level of satisfaction from students, and that Trump University taught valuable real estate information.”

Tuesday’s release included a number of glowing reviews from customers. “Trump University is some of the best money I ever invested!” one customer wrote.

Trump’s exact role in his for-profit educational venture has been a key point of contention. Previously reported testimony from the lawsuit suggested that Trump was not deeply involved in the substance of the courses.

Sexton testified in a separate deposition that Trump did not personally select instructors for the marquee sessions. And Trump, in a sworn deposition, was unable to recall the names of key faculty members.

Even so, according to the newly disclosed testimony from Sexton, the company was eager to leverage Trump’s growing celebrity status stemming from his hit reality-television show, “The Apprentice.” Sexton said that, during the part of the year when the NBC show was airing, ads typically carried slogans related to the program, such as: “I want you to be my Apprentice.”

Sexton testified that Trump’s role as “chairman” of Trump University was purposely highlighted in advertising, as was a picture of the mogul’s signature.

But he said one potential ad theme built around the idea of teaching students to “invest like a billionaire” was rejected.

“It wasn’t accessible to people,” Sexton said. “People didn’t necessarily walk around wanting to be a billionaire. They’d be very happy to be a millionaire. . . . I think our feeling was that it was almost overwhelming, daunting, you know; that’s not going to happen.”

The records were unsealed as Trump continued to attack Curiel, the judge overseeing the case. He has previously said Curiel, who is Hispanic, may be biased because of Trump’s proposal for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Friday, Trump described the Indiana-born jurist as “Mexican.”

In an appearance Tuesday, Trump said Curiel was “very bad.” Asked why he would risk antagonizing the person presiding over the litigation, he responded: “Because I don’t care. I have a judge who’s very, very unfair. He knows he’s unfair. And I’ll win the Trump University case.”

Trump University was started in 2004 as a business offering courses in entre­pre­neur­ship under the Trump brand. Trump gave his consent and became a 93 percent owner of the enterprise, according to Sexton’s newly unsealed deposition.

Trump was the centerpiece of the company’s advertising pitches. “Trump University will deliver the experience, knowledge and wisdom of Donald Trump himself,” according to marketing materials distributed to potential customers. In a promotional video, Trump declared that “at Trump University, we teach success. That’s what it’s all about — success.” He described the faculty as “the best of the best,” with instructors “handpicked by me.”

In addition to the class-action lawsuits being considered by Curiel, Trump University faces a separate $40 million fraud case in New York, filed by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. A New York judge recently ruled that the case should go to trial; Trump has appealed the ruling, a process that is expected to last several months.

The documents unsealed by the federal judge in the class-action case include a contract with a Trump University speaker showing that a portion of the speaker’s compensation was based on signing up seminar participants to buy more Trump University products. While in training, speakers were expected to hit a ceratin sales rate in order to be retained by the program, according to the contract.

One former Trump University staffer, Ronald Schnackenberg, wrote in a formal statement unsealed Tuesday that he quit the program in 2007 after working there for less than a year, deciding that it was engaging in “misleading, fraudulent and dishonest” practices. His statement said he was reprimanded by Trump University for not working harder to sell a $35,000 program to a couple who could not afford it and would have had to use disability pay and a loan taken out against equity in their apartment to pay for it.

He said another salesperson talked the couple into paying for the seminar after he refused. “I was disgusted by this conduct and decided to resign,” he wrote.

Schnackenberg wrote that he never saw Trump in seven months, and he concluded that the program was not intended to teach about real estate but instead that it “preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money.”

[Donald Trump billed his ‘University’ as a road to riches, but critics call it a fraud]

The newly disclosed documents also include a series of annual behind-the-scenes strategy manuals intended to guide Trump University employees.

Known as “playbooks,” the documents instruct staff in the minutiae of setting up and running free introductory courses, but emphasize that participants should be pressed to sign up for additional, pricey classes.

One of the playbooks, first revealed earlier this year by Politico, suggested methods of luring attendees to buy a $1,495 ticket to a three-day workshop, described to those at the free sessions as “all you need” to start getting rich. However, the playbooks urged the sales team to push further, suggesting that those who paid $1,495 be encouraged to upgrade to classes with a mentor that could cost between $9,995 and $34,995.

The playbooks instructed staff to have students fill out forms detailing their personal assets, ostensibly to provide targeted recommendations for investment. The playbooks, however, said the real purpose was to determine which students were good targets for the most expensive programs.

rosalind.helderman
@washpost.com

Alice Crites contributed to this report.

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Kristol's white knight: David French – CNN

Story highlights

  • Bill Kristol hopes to make David French a presidential candidate
  • Kristol has searched for an alternative to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard magazine and a leader of the conservative movement to find an alternative to likely major-party nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, confirmed to CNN Special Correspondent Jamie Gangel on Tuesday that the search has zeroed in on French.
Kristol’s focus on French was first reported by Bloomberg Politics.
French is a writer for another conservative publication, National Review, and a constitutional lawyer. He’s also an Iraq war veteran and a Bronze Star recipient.
His writings have been sharply critical of Trump.
“The party of Lincoln is in ruins. A minority of its primary voters have torched its founders’ legacy by voting for a man who combines old-school Democratic ideology, a bizarre form of hyper-violent isolationism, fringe conspiracy theories and serial lies with an enthusiastic flock of online racists to create perhaps the most toxic electoral coalition since George Wallace,” French wrote in March.
Kristol has increasingly engaged in a war of words with Trump over whether the search, which has also involved 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney and conservative blogger Erick Erickson, would ultimately produce a candidate.
“I know David French to be an honorable, intelligent and patriotic person. I look forward to following what he has to say,” Romney tweeted on Tuesday.
French himself was until a week ago pushing Romney to run.
“You’re the only man who can save us from future calamity,” French wrote in a May 24 National Review post, “Mitt Romney, Run For President.” French argued a Trump-Clinton general election matchup would be “a choice between two historically corrupt, dishonest, and incompetent politicians.”
Romney, French wrote, “is the only man who combines the integrity, financial resources, name recognition, and broad public support to make a realistic independent run at the presidency.”
Before news of a potential French bid broke on Tuesday afternoon Trump, speaking at a news conference in Trump Tower in New York, Trump repeatedly called Kristol a “loser.”
He said The Weekly Standard publication was “failing” and questioned Kristol’s political judgment.
“He’s been wrong for two years,” Trump said.
Kristol soon fired back on Twitter.
“I gather Donald Trump said I’m a loser. I’ve won some and I’ve lost some, but one thing I’ve always tried not to be is a roaring jackass,” Kristol tweeted Tuesday afternoon.

CNN’s Sophie Tatum contributed to this report.

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