WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers unveiled the most sweeping rewrite of the tax code in decades, outlining a $1.51 trillion plan to cut taxes for corporations, reduce them for some middle-class families and tilt the United States closer, but not entirely, toward the kind of tax system long championed by businesses, according to talking points circulated on Thursday.
The House plan, released after weeks of internal debate, conflict and delay, is far from final and will ignite a legislative and lobbying fight as Democrats, business groups and other special interests tear into the text ahead of a Republican sprint to get the legislation passed and to President Trump’s desk by Christmas.
Representative Kevin Brady, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, said the bill is estimated to cost $1.51 trillion over a decade. Lawmakers must keep the cost of the bill to $1.5 trillion if they want to pass it along party lines and avoid a fillibuster by Democrats. Lawmakers have been scrambling for days to find a way to make cuts that are expected to cost trillions of dollars into a $1.5 trillion hole. That has prompted a host of changes on the corporate and individual side, including a new twist that would limit the mortgage interest deduction by capping it at $500,000.
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“This isn’t the last product,” said Representative Carlos Curbelo, Republican of Florida and a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. “This is just the kickoff to this tax reform exercise.”
Individual tax rates will change
The plan establishes three tax brackets, 12, 25 and 35 percent, and also keeps a top rate of 39.6 percent for the highest-earners, collapsing the total number of brackets from seven. The brackets, as described by Representative Kevin Brady, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and Republican of Texas, fall along the following lines:
Single filers making up to $24,000 will pay no income tax; up to $90,000 will be in the 12 percent bracket, up to $260,000 in the 25 percent bracket and up to $1 million in the 35 percent bracket. Those making above $1 million will be in the 39.6 percent bracket, which is currently the top rate for millionaires.
Changes for the middle class
The proposal roughly doubles the standard deduction for middle-class families, expanding it to $24,000 for married couples, from $12,700, and setting it at $12,000 for individuals, from $6,530 today. Republicans also plan to expand the child tax credit to $1,600 from $1,000 and add a $300 credit for each parent and nonchild dependent, such as older family members.
No changes to 401(k) retirement plans
After much nail-biting debate, the House will not make any changes to the pretax treatment of 401(k) plans. “Americans will be able to continuing making both traditional, pretax contributions and ‘Roth’ contributions in the way that works best for them,” the talking points say.
Changing the mortgage interest deduction
One of the biggest flash points will be proposed changes to the popular mortgage interest deduction. Under the Republican plan, existing homeowners can keep the deduction, but future purchases will be capped at $500,000.
The National Association of Realtors came out swinging against the bill, suggesting a huge fight awaits over how real estate is treated.
“Eliminating or nullifying the tax incentives for homeownership puts home values and middle-class homeowners at risk, and from a cursory examination this legislation appears to do just that,” said William E. Brown, president of the National Association of Realtors. “We will have additional details upon a more thorough reading of the bill.”
Jerry Howard, chief executive of the National Association of Homebuilders, said he was very disappointed in the Republican tax plan and warned that it could create a recession in the housing market.
“It puts such severe limitations on home buyers ability to use the mortgage interest deduction that home values will fall,” Mr. Howard said in an interview. “If a home seller takes a loss, that’s money they were counting on for retirement.”
Mr. Howard said the bill amounts to a broken promise.
“Contrary to their assertions, the Republicans are picking winners and losers,” he said. “They are picking rich Americans and corporations over small businesses and the middle class.”
Eliminating the medical expense deduction
A big change may be in store for those who deduct medical expenses. The talking points outlined by Republicans say the deduction will go away but that families will be made whole by the overall lowering of tax rates and doubling the standard deduction. But those who make heavy use of the medical expense deduction — including many middle-class families — may be opposed to that change.
Repealing the estate tax — eventually
The proposal will double the estate tax exemption to roughly $11 million, from $5.49 million, meaning families can avoid paying taxes on large inheritance. And it eventually repeals the estate tax altogether, phasing it out entirely in six years.
Adding limits to the state and local tax deduction
One of the biggest flash points will be how the bill treats the state and local tax deduction, which lawmakers are proposing to limit to property taxes and cap at $10,000. That will not be enough for Republicans in some high-tax states, where middle-class families make heavy use of the deduction, which currently applies to state and local income taxes and general sales taxes as well as property taxes.
House Republicans had intended to roll out the tax proposal on Wednesday, but ended up delaying its release by a day, providing a signal of the steep challenge they face in making the math work while also assembling the votes they need to get a bill through the chamber.
Representative Dan Donovan, a Republican from New York, said he remained concerned about the impact of the state and local tax deduction as he left a briefing on the bill but said he would assess the proposed changes on their entirety.
“I’m looking for a benefit for the people I represent,” he said. “The people of New York City deserve a tax break.”
Multinational corporations face big changes
For the first time, the United States is proposing to have a global minimum tax of 10 percent, which would apply to income that American companies earn anywhere in the world. The effort is aimed at preventing companies from shifting profits abroad and grabbing back some of the tax revenue on income earned overseas. Those profits are currently not taxed until they are returned to the United States, giving companies an incentive to keep that money offshore since they are taxed at the current corporate tax rate of 35 percent.
Republican leaders are encouraged
Walking into the men’s restroom, Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California, said of his colleagues, “It looks very positive, these people are excited.” He added: “this is why they came to Congress.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Federal prosecutors on Wednesday filed charges accusing the driver in the Manhattan truck attack of carrying out a long-planned plot, spurred by Islamic State propaganda videos, to kill people celebrating Halloween.
The charges describe the driver, Sayfullo Saipov, 29, as a voracious consumer and meticulous student of ISIS propaganda, and detail how he said he was spurred to attack by an ISIS video questioning the killing of Muslims in Iraq. They say he began planning the attack about a year ago and, after taking a test run in a Home Depot rental truck last week, chose Halloween to carry it out because more people would be on the streets.
The charges were filed in civilian court, and not the military system set up for foreign terrorists, a decision that flew in the face of Mr. Trump’s broadsides against the criminal justice system. Mr. Trump said he was open to trying Mr. Saipov instead in military court at the American prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
Mr. Saipov, accused of killing eight people and injuring 12 in the attack, was pushed into a Manhattan federal courtroom in a wheelchair just after 6 p.m. on Wednesday. He sat slightly hunched, his rail-thin body dressed in a gray shirt and gray pants. His hair stuck up slightly in the back. His hands and feet were chained. Five guards stood behind him.
A Russian interpreter spoke into a microphone, and Mr. Saipov, an immigrant from Uzbekistan, fitted an earpiece over his long beard and sharp features. When Magistrate Judge Barbara C. Moses asked if he understood the proceedings, Mr. Saipov, in a strong, clear audible voice, responded in English, “Yes, ma’am.”
He nodded along as Judge Moses read his rights, but sat still and impassive when she read the charges against him: one count of providing material support to terrorists and one count of violence and destruction of a motor vehicle causing death.
The vehicle charge, which carries the possibility of the death penalty, raised the prospect of a rare capital case being brought to trial in New York.
David E. Patton, the chief federal public defender for the Southern District of New York, who was representing Mr. Saipov, asked that he receive a daily change of dressing on the wounds he sustained after being shot by a police officer.
“He is in a significant amount of pain,” Mr. Patton said.
The grievous injuries to victims, the scope of the inquiry and Mr. Saipov’s path toward extremism all began coming into view on Wednesday. The F.B.I., after saying it was trying to learn more about a second Uzbek man in connection with the attack, later announced that investigators had found the man, Mukhammadzoir Kadirov, 32 in New Jersey. It was not clear why federal authorities wanted to question him in connection with the attack.
The authorities questioned Mr. Saipov after he waived his Miranda rights at a Manhattan hospital, the complaint says. They were also questioning Mr. Saipov’s wife, Nozima Odilova, who was cooperating, law enforcement officials said. The couple live in Paterson, N.J., and have three children.
As investigators looked into whether Mr. Saipov’s Uzbek contacts may have handed him off to an ISIS operative, they pieced together parts of his past, law enforcement officials said. He attended a wedding Florida of an Uzbek man who was under scrutiny by the F.B.I. But his attendance didn’t trigger a separate investigation of him, the officials said.
Investigators were still looking into whether Mr. Saipov had links to other federal counterterrorism inquiries.
On Mr. Saipov’s cellphone, F.B.I. agents found 90 videos, including of ISIS fighters killing prisoners and of instructions for making an explosive device, according to the criminal complaint. They also found 3,800 images, among them some of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS. The complaint said Mr. Saipov reported being inspired in particular by a video in which Mr. al-Baghdadi “questioned what Muslims in the United States and elsewhere were doing to respond to the killing of Muslims in Iraq.”
The F.B.I. was uncovering details that sent agents on a far-ranging chase for leads.
But several crucial facts remain unclear. It is not known if the F.B.I. is still investigating the Uzbek man whose wedding Mr. Saipov attended. And as investigators built out concentric circles of his associates, they are still looking at whether Mr. Saipov had direct connections with ISIS operatives.
Even so, the federal complaint filed against Mr. Saipov said he hewed closely to instructions last November in an ISIS magazine, Rumiyah, for a vehicle attack. After plowing his Home Depot rental truck down a bike path along the Hudson River that teemed with pedestrians and cyclists and crashing into a school bus, the complaint said, he jumped out of the truck, yelled “Allahu akbar” (Arabic for “God is great”) and waved a paintball gun and a pellet gun.
The Rumiyah instructions called for followers to carry secondary weapons so they could continue an attack after crashing the vehicle, and Mr. Saipov did so, the complaint said: He had a bag of knives in the truck “but was unable to reach them before exiting.” There was also a stun gun on the floor of the truck near the driver’s seat, according to the complaint.
Investigators found a handwritten note in Arabic and English 10 feet from the driver’s side door, as the front of the truck sat smashed in, with soil strewn across the street that had been knocked out of a nearby planter. According to the complaint, the note detailed a pledge that echoed language used by ISIS: “Islamic Supplication. It will endure.”
“He appears to have followed almost to a T the instructions that ISIS has put out,” John J. Miller, the New York Police Department’s deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, said at a news conference on Wednesday morning.
Those who knew Mr. Saipov said he had been turning toward extremism for years since arriving in the United States in 2010.
Mirrakhmat Muminov, a truck driver and community activist in Stow, Ohio, said Mr. Saipov became aggressive and grew out his beard during his three years there. Mr. Muminov said Mr. Saipov showed up late for Friday prayers and exhibited rudimentary knowledge of the Quran. He would get heated when he discussed American policies regarding Israel, Mr. Muminov said.
His problems deepened when he moved to Florida. Abdul, a preacher at a Tampa mosque who agreed to speak on the condition that only his first name be used because he feared reprisals from other radicals, said he tried to steer Mr. Saipov away from the path of extremism.
In the months before Tuesday’s attack, the complaint said, Mr. Saipov began plotting assiduously. Nine days beforehand, he rented a Home Depot pickup truck so he could practice making turns, according the complaint.
He also rehearsed the route from New Jersey, over the George Washington Bridge and down the West Side of Manhattan in an Uber car he drove in the days before the incident, a law enforcement official said.
On Tuesday, he asked to rent the Home Depot truck for a short while, though he never intended to return it, the complaint said. He planned to drive all the way south to the Brooklyn Bridge, but he made it only as far as Chambers Street.
By the time his rampage ended, six people had been killed and two others would later die. Nine people remained hospitalized from injuries on Wednesday, officials said, four of them critically injured but in stable condition. The injuries ranged from the amputation of multiple limbs to serious head, neck and back trauma.
The complaint said Mr. Saipov decided against displaying ISIS flags on the truck to avoid drawing attention to himself. But laying in his hospital bed, he continued his quest, the complaint says: He asked law enforcement officials to put up ISIS flags and “stated that he felt good about what he had done.”
Rukmini Callimachi, Sarah Maslin Nir, Eric Schmitt, Michael Schwirtz, Ashley Southall, Vivian Wang, Ben Weiser contributed reporting. Susan C. Beachy and Doris Burke contributed research.
A few months ago, Jerome Powell was reckoned to be too tough on banks to get President Donald Trump’s nod for a key supervisory post at the Federal Reserve.
Now he’s said to be in line for the top job as Fed chairman, with the expectation that he’ll make life easier for the financial industry. Three people familiar with the decision said Trump had told Powell he’s the nominee, though that hasn’t been confirmed by the White House, the Fed or the candidate himself. A public statement is due Thursday. Trump’s pick was reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal.
University of California’s Brad DeLong discusses Jerome Powell would bring to the role of Federal Reserve chairman.
That’s a temperate version of Trump’s charge that red tape is choking the flow of credit to business. The president, a former real-estate developer, has also made it clear that he’s fine with the cheap money that’s characterized the Yellen era. Those preferences add up to a Fed chair who would stick with the program on monetary policy and loosen some restrictions on banks — an equation that’s led Trump to Powell.
Except for the fact that he’s rich, Powell is unlike Trump in almost every way. He’s a low-profile pragmatist, a team player who avoids making waves. In tapping him, Trump ignored pressure from his own party to put a disrupter like himself in charge at the Fed. Powell was chosen over rivals including Kevin Warsh and John Taylor — a favorite of Vice President Mike Pence — who were associated with calls for much higher interest rates and a fundamental shake-up at the world’s most powerful central bank.
By picking Powell, a known quantity, the president may be hoping that the economy and stock market can maintain the winning streaks they’ve enjoyed under Yellen. Her term expires on Feb. 3.
What’s not known is how the 64-year-old Powell will react should disaster strike, in the form of a crisis or recession. While he had a taste of the former, as a mid-level Treasury official more than a quarter-century ago, Powell has never held a leadership position during a financial emergency. A lawyer by training, he’s also not spent his career monitoring the ups and downs of the economy — as Yellen has done.
“He does not have the extent of background and experience as Yellen, which does raise concerns about how he will respond when conditions in the economy change,” said Dean Baker, Co-Director of the progressive Center for Economic and Policy Research.
The Washington native would be taking over the Fed at a tricky time. Inflation is well below the central bank’s 2 percent target, while asset prices are at levels considered lofty by policy makers. Trump’s push for a massive tax cut to supercharge growth, in an economy that already has historically low unemployment, won’t make the task easier.
Powell hasn’t played a prominent public role in the formulation or explanation of policy, but has been supportive of Yellen’s strategy of gradually increasing interest rates — an approach he’s likely to maintain as Fed chair. He did voice private skepticism about the third round of quantitative easing launched by then-Chairman Ben S. Bernanke in 2012, but ended up voting in favor, according to Bernanke’s memoir.
Powell won’t be deploying a battery of economic theory to these questions. He’d be the first holder of the job since Paul Volcker in the 1980s not to have a Ph.D. in economics.
Some see his lack of an economics degree as a hole in his resume.
“The chair should be an economist by training,” said former Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser, himself a Ph.D. economist. “The nuance of monetary policy and the science of monetary policy have become much more complex and subtle and difficult.”
Powell faced similar skepticism from staffers when he joined the Fed in 2012. He won them over by displaying a willingness to dig deep into complexities, an ex-Fed official said. He was known for showing up at meetings carrying a huge binder full of materials.
While Powell has never dissented from a monetary-policy decision, a former colleague disputed suggestions that he was a yes-man. “There has been a recent tradition of governors not dissenting,” said ex-Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher. “That doesn’t mean he didn’t add an important dimension to the discussion.”
A former Treasury undersecretary, Powell spearheaded the Fed’s response to the 2014 “flash crash” in U.S. government debt, and the overhaul of the flawed London Interbank Offered Rate benchmark. Until recently, he presided over four of the Fed Board’s seven committees, handling such unglamorous duties as overseeing the financial payments system.
“He has taken on tasks that the other governors didn’t want,” said Fisher. “He now really understands what makes the place tick.”
Powell also oversaw the Fed’s 12 regional banks, an experience that would serve him well as he works with their presidents to fashion a consensus on monetary policy.
“He brought a very good business head to all the nitty-gritty questions we had to deliberate over,” former Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said.
Powell, who goes by ‘Jay’, spent much of his career outside government in finance — first at investment bank Dillon Read & Co. and then at private-equity firm Carlyle Group, where he set up an industrial unit and was seen as a prudent and picky investor.
“Jay was somebody who had experience in both business and in government and also had a legal background,” said Carlyle co-founder David Rubenstein. “That’s a rare combination.”
It helped make him a multi-millionaire — like many Trump nominees. Powell’s 2016 financial disclosure form listed assets of as much as $55 million.
Powell’s experience in official Washington dates back to President George H. W. Bush’s Treasury Department — where he served alongside Randal Quarles, who beat Powell to get the nod for the Fed supervisory post in July. It was in those years that he saw a financial emergency firsthand.
Salomon Brothers had tried to corner a Treasury debt auction using phony bids in 1991, and faced a potential bank run that summer. On vacation in Cape Cod, Powell spent a weekend conferring by phone with officials including Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady. He then acted as a go-between with Salomon investor Warren Buffett.
Powell “did a fantastic job,” Brady said. “I relied on him heavily.” Salomon survived the Monday market opening.
Harvard University professor Robert Glauber, who worked with Powell at the Treasury, said he valued the investment banking know-how that his former colleague brought to the job. “He’s not a person with sharp elbows,” added Glauber. “People respected and trusted him.”
Powell, who has an undergraduate degree in politics from Princeton University and a law degree from Georgetown, saw another crisis up close in 2011, when a budget deadlock raised the specter that the U.S. may not meet its debt obligations. From outside government — he was working, essentially gratis, at a Washington think-tank — Powell played a key behind-the-scenes role in helping to avert a default.
His work caught the attention of President Barack Obama, who tapped Powell for the Fed board. The Obama link has raised suspicions among some Republicans, who question whether Powell is a true believer in the deregulatory agenda — a skepticism fueled by the Fed governor’s preference for keeping many of his misgivings in-house. That said, Powell would be all-but-certain to win Senate confirmation, as Republicans are unlikely to oppose the pick of their own party’s president.
Married with three children, Powell has a reputation as a bit of an athlete. At Carlyle, he was known to spend lunch hours cycling, and he still regularly bikes the eight miles to work at the Fed from his home in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
“He complains about a bad back, then beats the hell out of me on the golf course,” Lockhart said.
Powell also has an unusual ability to repeat people’s sentences back to them — backwards. It shows how well he listens, according to those who know him.
He displays signs of a sense of humor, too. In Powell’s current office at the Fed, pride of place goes to a hat given him by a Wisconsin senator — a giant triangle of cheese-shaped yellow foam, the kind that fans of the Green Bay Packers football team wear to their games.
It’s not clear whether he’ll take it down the corridor if the Senate confirms him to the biggest job in the financial world.
One of the Russian ads released by lawmakers on Wednesday. It targeted Facebook users who expressed interest in Bill O’Reilly, Mike Huckabee, or Jesus, among other topics.
Americans are getting our first glimpse of how we got played.
On Wednesday, Congress released some of the 3,000 Facebook ads and Twitter accounts created by Russian operatives to sway American voters. You can explore them in an analysis the Post published here.
These disturbing messages, seen by up to 126 million Americans, raise thorny questions about Silicon Valley’s responsibility for vetting the information it publishes. Beyond Washington, it leaves all of us who use social media to keep up with friends, share photos and follow news wondering: How’d the Russians get to me?
The short answer is Silicon Valley made it very easy.
Facebook’s top lawyer told Congress on Wednesday the Russian effort was “fairly rudimentary.” Here’s what he meant: Ever notice a Facebook ad that’s eerily relevant to something you’ve been talking about? Had an ad for a pair of sneakers follow you around the Internet for a week? Or seen an ad that says your friend “liked” it?
That’s the occasionally creepy handiwork of advertising tech, which covertly tracks much of what you do online—and then sells access to you to the highest bidder. We’re just now waking up to the fact that not only traditional marketers and legitimate political campaigns are buying in. It’s also Russian trolls hoping to manipulate you.
You were in Russia’s crosshairs if you liked the Facebook page of Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Same goes for people who said they were fans of Martin Luther King, Jr. Russians even targeted people who shared enough stuff about the South that Facebook tagged them being interested in “Dixie.”
Analysis | The Facebook ads Russians showed to different groups
There’s no way to tell if you personally saw a Russian post or tweet. I’d certainly like to know, but Facebook so far hasn’t disclosed to individuals if they were exposed to posts from a troll farm called the Internet Research Agency. (Ads paid for by that group made up the bulk of a trove published on Wednesday.)
Facebook lawyer Colin Stretch on Wednesday told Congress the social network had notified Facebook members broadly about the issue, but it would be “much more challenging” to identify and notify specific people.
Facebook’s advertising systems are largely automated, so no human had to check before these ads went online. Often they originated from groups with legitimate-sounding names, such as “Donald Trump America.” Facebook and Twitter have now taken down posts they suspect to have “inauthentic” Russian roots and instituted new review systems. Legislators are threatening new laws that could further rein them in.
Of course, you didn’t have to click on these posts, or believe what they were pitching. But social media tech is particularly good at making messages irresistible. The Russian trolls didn’t have to spend much money on these marketing techniques to have an impact thanks to precision targeting—and free promotion for buzzy content.
The most basic tool they used is called targeted advertising. By watching what you and your friends share and do on—and off—the social network, Facebook slots you into categories. Some are demographic (age, state, gender) and others are based on things you’ve “liked” and the assumptions Facebook draws about your interests. Facebook will actually show you what it thinks of you, if you click here. (It also lets you edit the categories; doing so could make its ad targeting even more effective.)
The Internet Research Agency bought ads targeted to people with diverse criteria, ranging from gay and lesbian groups to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Russian agents also used an ad technique based on tracking and following certain people around the Web. For example, if you at some point clicked on a troll website masquerading as legitimate, the site’s tech could identify your web browser and allow the trolls to “re-target” ads to you elsewhere around the web. On Facebook, Russian operatives used a tool called Custom Audiences to target people in such ways.
Most effective of all: Russian trolls used celebrities—and our own friends—to get to us. For free. For example, in April of 2016, rapper Nicki Minaj retweeted a message about an upsetting shooting from the twitter handle @Ten_GOP. That account looked like it was the Tennessee Republican Party, but it was actually a Russian troll interested in inflammatory content. Minaj’s post was retweeted and “liked” more than 24,600 times. (For the record, the actual Tennessee Republican Party told The Washington Post that they had contacted Twitter three times about their impersonator problem).
You or your friends might have shared one of these posts on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or beyond, which the industry calls “organic” promotion. These posts reached way more than the 10 million people who saw paid ads. On Facebook alone, they found their way in front of the eyes of 126 million Americans.
The screams seemed too vivid from the start, too visceral to belong to crowds celebrating a crisp and sunny Halloween in Lower Manhattan. The tragedy had unfolded in just minutes, and for hours and hours it remained too senseless to believe.
Sirens and police tape surrounded the white pickup truck that a 29-year-old assailant transformed into an instrument of terror when he began hitting cyclists and joggers along the West Side Highway bike path. A mangled school bus sat next to it.
Bodies lay strewn along the way. For those who encountered the scene on Tuesday, the aftermath was as confusing as it was gruesome.
Tom Kendrick, 36, a lawyer from the West Village, said he was jogging uptown just north of Chambers Street when he began noticing the mayhem on the bike path. He saw a battered body and bicycle in the bushes alongside the path. Farther along he found three bodies close together, also battered cyclists.
“I approached to see if I could help and they did not need help — they appeared to be dead,” Mr. Kendrick said. “They were bloody and unconscious, with some limbs hanging,” he added. “It was gruesome. It was grisly. It was surreal.”
“These people were gone,” he said. “I’m in shock. I’m looking at dead bodies.”
At least eight people lost their lives in what was the deadliest terrorist attack to strike New York City since Sept. 11, and about a dozen more were injured.
Hiro Kimura, 15, a sophomore at Stuyvesant High School, said that he and his friends first heard “a big car crash.” Then they heard shooting.
“We saw flocks of children running” from the scene, Hiro said.
The New York City police commissioner, James P. O’Neill, detailed a preliminary timeline of the violence, which he called an “act of terror,” in a news conference Tuesday evening that shed light on the scene.
The white truck entered the bicycle path alongside West Street by Houston Street at 3:05 p.m. and drove south, hitting pedestrians and cyclists along the way. The runaway truck, labeled with Home Depot logos, drove 20 blocks before ramming into a school bus at Chambers Street. Two adults and two children who were on the bus were reportedly injured in the crash.
The 29-year-old man driving the truck exited the vehicle with what appeared to be two handguns, Mr. O’Neill said, at which point a uniformed police officer approached the man and shot him in the abdomen. Early reports suggested that the assailant may have yelled “Allahu akbar,” Arabic for “God is great,” at some point after exiting his vehicle. A paintball gun and a pellet gun were recovered from the scene later.
Many of the children attending schools in the area were horror-struck.
The mother of a 13-year-old girl who came face to face with the suspect said her daughter was “too traumatized” to talk. The woman, her daughter and two other children were being escorted from the scene by a police officer. She did not want to give her name or her child’s name for security reasons, she said. The girl’s face was red and tear-streaked, and she had curled her hands into the sleeves of her blue hooded sweatshirt. Her mother said she was a student at Intermediate School 289 on Warren Street, yards from where the truck came to a rest after crashing into the school bus.
“She was right in front of the shooter. He had two guns,” the woman said of her daughter. She said she did not remember much else.
Olivia Raykhman, 14, glimpsed the wrecked school bus in the immediate aftermath of the episode. “They were sawing through a school bus window. They broke all of the windows and were trying to pull kids out. There was a man covering a child with a blanket. There was one kid who was stuck,” she said.
“We ran into the building and they told us to hide,” said Ms. Raykhman, a freshman.
She took shelter in what she called a “cellar” with a group that was at first just 15 people. Around 50 more soon joined.
As Ms. Raykhman and her friends ran inside, students on the upper floors of Stuyvesant had been shooting video of what happened in the street. Videos posted on Facebook and then circulated over Snapchat showed what appeared to be the suspect, a bearded man in dark clothing heading down the street with his weapons in his hands, next to a white pickup truck.
Adria Menezes, 45, said she saw the suspect firing one of his weapons at cars on West Street.
Ms. Menezes had just arrived at Public School 89, which shares space with I.S. 289 on Warren Street, at 3:03 p.m. to pick up the two children she babysits for, when she suddenly heard cars crashing on West Street and saw a yellow school bus “drive like crazy.”
Then roughly 15 feet away, she saw a tall man with dark hair and wearing a hat. He was walking quickly, screaming something indiscernible, and shooting at the cars, causing further mayhem.
“When I saw the man shooting at all the cars, we threw ourselves to the ground,” she said in Spanish by phone from inside the school, which remained locked down.
Marie Hui was visiting New York City with several friends from Vancouver, and had been in SoHo shopping before the attack. Several of her friends were at the 9/11 Memorial at the time, where they sheltered in place.
“We’re from Vancouver,” she said. “This doesn’t happen over there.”
Annie Correal and Luis Ferré-Sadurní contributed reporting.
8 Dead as Truck Careens Down Bike Path in Manhattan in Terror Attack
A driver plowed a pickup truck down a crowded bike path along the Hudson River in Manhattan on Tuesday, killing eight people and injuring 11 before being shot by a police officer in what officials are calling the deadliest terrorist attack on New York City since Sept. 11, 2001.
The rampage ended when the motorist — whom the police identified as Sayfullo Saipov, 29 — smashed into a school bus, jumped out of his truck and ran up and down the highway waving a pellet gun and paintball gun and shouting “Allahu akbar,” Arabic for “God is great,” before he was shot in the abdomen by the officer. He remained in critical condition on Tuesday evening.
Mayor Bill de Blasio declared the incident a terrorist attack and federal law enforcement authorities were leading the investigation. Investigators discovered handwritten notes in Arabic near the truck that indicated allegiance to ISIS, two law enforcement officials said. But investigators had not uncovered evidence of any direct or enabling ties between Mr. Saipov and ISIS and were treating the episode as a case of an “inspired” attacker, two counterterrorism officials said.
Mr. de Blasio said at a news conference, “Based on information we have at this moment, this was an act of terror, and a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians.”
The names of the victims had not been released by 9 p.m. Tuesday. The Belgian and Argentinian governments said their citizens were among the victims.
Mr. Saipov came to the United States from Uzbekistan in 2010, and had a green card that allowed permanent legal residence. He had apparently lived in Paterson, N.J., and Tampa, Fla. An official said he rented the truck from a Home Depot in New Jersey.
The truck came crashing to a stop near the corner of Chambers and West Streets by Stuyvesant High School. Sirus Minovi, 14, a freshman there who was hanging out with friends, said people scattered.
“We heard people screaming, ‘gun’ ‘shooter’ and ‘run away,’” Mr. Minovi said. “We thought it was a Halloween prank.”
He realized it was not a joke when he saw the man staggering through the intersection, waving guns and screaming words he could not make out. A passer-by approached the attacker, apparently trying to calm him, Mr. Minovi said, until the man realized the attacker had a gun. The man “put his hands up and was backing away,” Mr. Minovi said.
Almost immediately, as investigators began to look into Mr. Saipov’s history, it became clear that he had been on the radar of federal authorities. Three officials said he had come to the federal authorities’ attention as a result of an unrelated investigation, but it was not clear whether that was because he was a friend, an associate or a family member of someone under scrutiny or because he himself had been the focus of an investigation.
Over the last two years, a terrorism investigation by the F.B.I., the Department of Homeland Security, the New York Police Department and federal prosecutors in Brooklyn resulted in charges against five men from Uzbekistan and one from Kazakhstan for providing material support to ISIS. Several of the men have pleaded guilty. It is unclear whether Mr. Saipov was connected with that investigation.
Martin Feely, a spokesman for the New York F.B.I. office, declined to comment on whether Mr. Saipov was known to the bureau.
F.B.I. agents were expected to search Mr. Saipov’s home in Paterson, N.J., and his car on Tuesday night, a law enforcement official said. A phone, which was recovered at the scene of the attack, also would be searched, another official said.
The attack unfolded as nearby schools were letting out on a crisp Halloween afternoon. It ended five blocks north of the World Trade Center. The driver left a roughly mile-long crime scene: a tree-lined bike path strewn with bodies, mangled bicycles and bicycle parts, from wheels twisted like pretzels to a dislodged seat.
Mr. Saipov, a slim, bearded man, was seen in videos running through traffic after the attack with a paintball gun in one hand and a pellet gun in the other. Six people died at the scene and two others died at a hospital, officials said. The authorities credited the officer who shot him with saving lives.
“He was Johnny-on-the-spot and he takes the guy down,” a city official said.
Coming five months after a car rammed into pedestrians in Times Square, killing one, Tuesday’s attack again highlighted the danger of a car attack on busy city streets. The Times Square incident was not a terrorist attack. But both incidents brought to mind the terrorist attack last year in Nice, France, in which a cargo truck killed scores of people celebrating Bastille Day.
The episodes also evoked calls from terrorist magazines, including in a recent edition of Rumiyah, a magazine used by ISIS, for attackers to mow down pedestrians with trucks, continue the attacks with a knife or a gun and claim credit by shouting or leaving leaflets.
Students in Halloween costumes streamed out of nearby schools after lockdowns were lifted and huddled with parents. Their faces, once painted for the holiday, were streaked with tears.
Emily, 12, a seventh-grader at I.S. 289 whose father asked that her last name not be printed, had been walking on her usual route home when other students turned and ran in the other direction.
“All the kids were screaming, ‘Run!’, ‘Gun!’ ‘Run inside,’” she said, still wearing cat ears. She said mothers pushing strollers and children in costumes ran in a herd back toward the school.
President Trump responded to the attack on Twitter: “In NYC, looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person. Law enforcement is following this closely. NOT IN THE U.S.A.!”
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo cautioned at a news conference, “There’s no evidence that suggests a wider plot or a wider scheme.” In the aftermath, city and state law enforcement agencies increased security at high-profile locations.
Terrorism analysts noted that on Monday a French pro-ISIS media unit, known as the Centre Mediatique An-Nur, put out a specific threat for Halloween, mentioning the date on a banner spread on the encrypted app Telegram and on ISIS-affiliated Twitter accounts.
In chat rooms with ISIS followers, supporters cheered the Tuesday’s attack. At the same time, ISIS members were trying to discern if the attacker was one of their supporters.
The Islamic State’s official media outlets made no mention of the violence in Manhattan. In the past, the terrorist group has generally not claimed attacks when the perpetrator is in custody, as was the case in the Manhattan truck attack.
Mr. Saipov wove a deadly path on a stretch usually bustling with commuters, runners and cyclists, drawn by the downtown offices nearby or the shimmering river.
He turned onto the bike path alongside the West Side Highway at Houston Street just after 3 p.m. and sped south, striking numerous pedestrians and cyclists, many of them in the back, the authorities said. People scattered and dove to the asphalt.
The truck, labeled with a sign saying, “Rent me starting at $19,” rammed into the bus near Chambers Street. The bus serves two schools in Lower Manhattan and transports students with special needs. Two adults and two children on the bus were injured, the authorities said.
Mr. Saipov jumped out of the truck before a uniformed officer assigned to the city’s First Precinct shot him, Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill said. The police said they were not looking for additional suspects.
Officials said the 11 people were taken to nearby hospitals with serious, but not life-threatening, injuries.
Rukmini Callimachi, Jim Dwyer, Luis A. Ferre Sadurni, J. David Goodman, Adam Goldman, Alexandra S. Levine and Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.
Debate intensified in President Trump’s political circle Tuesday over how aggressively to confront special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, dividing some of the president’s advisers and loyalists as the Russia investigation enters a new phase following charges against three former Trump campaign officials.
But several prominent Trump allies, including former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, have said they think the president’s posture is too timid. Seeing the investigation as a political threat, they are clamoring for a more combative approach to Mueller that would damage his credibility and effectively kneecap his operation by cutting its funding.
Still, Bannon and others are not advising Trump to fire Mueller, a rash move that the president’s lawyers and political advisers oppose and insist is not under consideration.
Bannon in recent days has spoken with Trump by phone to relay his concerns about the president’s position and to counsel a shift in strategy, according to three people with knowledge of the conversation. The president — so far — has not accepted Bannon’s advice, these people said.
Bannon’s view has been amplified elsewhere on the right, with talk radio and cable news commentators speaking out more forcefully against Mueller and his expanding probe. The Wall Street Journal editorial board has called on Mueller to resign. The Journal is part of News Corp., which is led by Rupert Murdoch, a friend of Trump who speaks privately with the president.
But many people in Trump’s orbit recommend that he stay the course with cooperation — encouraging him to harshly criticize media coverage of the investigation but avoid engaging Mueller.
“I like Steve, but his advice is not always the most helpful,” said Christopher Ruddy, a Trump friend and the chief executive of Newsmax, a conservative media outlet. “In this case, whatever Steve says, the president should do the opposite.”
The tensions extend to Capitol Hill, where Republican lawmakers have mostly split into two camps: those who are wary of weighing in on Mueller’s investigation and those who see it as a prime political target.
Bannon is demanding that GOP leaders move swiftly to end congressional probes into Russian interference, undermine Mueller’s investigation and increase scrutiny on Democratic controversies.
“The Republicans are like church mice,” Bannon said Tuesday. “No support of the president. Totally gutless. The Hill needs to step up.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said he believes that Republicans should proceed carefully, and he called Mueller a “very ethical person.”
“I don’t know how you could improve things by interfering,” Grassley said. “The process just ought to go.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), a trusted Trump ally, has launched an investigation into an Obama-era uranium deal and is preparing to invite witnesses this week to testify about the FBI’s handling of Russia investigations. Nunes intends to issue subpoenas if people decline to appear, according to people briefed on his plans.
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, an informal Trump adviser who praised Mueller earlier this year after his appointment as special counsel, said he has slowly “soured” on the former FBI director and agrees that Congress should put a harsher national spotlight on him.
“Mueller ought to be held accountable,” Gingrich said.
He ticked through a series of what he considers questionable moves by Mueller and his team, including their handling of former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, whom the government described in an indictment unsealed Monday as a “proactive cooperator.”
“Congress should look seriously at whether Mueller put a wire on this guy and sent him around to entrap people,” Gingrich said. “If that happened, Congress better see the full transcripts, not just the FBI’s edited versions. Congress should also ask why they’re raiding [former campaign chairman Paul] Manafort’s home at 5 a.m. for a white-collar crime from a few years ago.”
This sentiment is not heard at the White House, however, where officials have been careful not to antagonize the special counsel.
“Our approach has been to be cooperative and responsive and to see this come to a quick conclusion,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “Have we been aggressive in our comments and our feelings towards the Clinton campaign and the DNC? Yes. But that’s where our aggression is seen and nowhere else.”
Ty Cobb, the White House lawyer overseeing Russia matters, said after Monday’s indictments of Manafort and his longtime deputy, Rick Gates, “Nothing about today’s events alters anything related to our engagement with the special counsel, with whom we continue to cooperate.”
Cobb added, “There are no discussions and there is no consideration being given to terminating Mueller.”
Republicans in Congress said Trump is wise to avoid messing with Mueller.
“There would be an uprising at the Capitol like never seen before if any kind of interference looked like it was taking place,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). “Regardless of which side of the aisle. That’s just beyond the pale.”
Among Republicans, there is broad agreement to bring attention to past controversies involving Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democratic opponent in the 2016 election, that have animated hourly discussions on Fox News Channel and conservative talk radio programs.
The White House and allies have waged a public relations battle over the Clinton campaign’s and the Democratic National Committee’s funding of research that resulted in the famous dossier that details Trump’s alleged connections to Russia.
The dossier has become a lightning rod, with congressional Republican leaders trying to discredit Fusion GPS, the firm that commissioned the dossier, and the document’s author, Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the U.S. intelligence community.
Republicans also are trying to bring scrutiny to a 2010 uranium deal approved by the Obama administration, while Clinton was secretary of state. The deal — which Trump used as a political cudgel against Clinton during the campaign — allowed a Russian nuclear energy agency to acquire a controlling stake in a Canadian-based company that had mining licenses for about 20 percent of U.S. uranium extraction capacity, although the company cannot export uranium.
Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity, a Trump confidant, decried the lack of investigative attention on Clinton, a point the president and his top aides have made in recent days.
“This is not hyperbole,” Hannity said Monday night in his on-air monologue, which the president is known to watch regularly. “I am not overstating the case. We are at a major crisis point in America tonight. Do we have equal justice under the law in this country today?”
Some Republican lawmakers have heeded these calls. House and Senate GOP leaders have announced two investigations into the uranium deal, while at least three congressional committees are continuing to look into how the FBI handled Clinton’s email scandal.
But there appears to be little appetite for legislation that would cut Mueller’s funding or otherwise limit the scope of his investigation, something various Trump allies have suggested is necessary.
“My basic philosophy is, once you have an independent counsel, you ought to give him a chance to follow the facts,” said Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the chairman of the subcommittee that handles the Justice Department’s funding. “If somebody’s doing a job, you don’t want to cut it off.”
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said: “The idea that Bob Mueller is going to have the scope of his inquiry constrained, or be otherwise restricted, is really out there. I think that’s extremely unlikely.”
Karoun Demirjian and Sean Sullivan contributed to this report.
Multiple law enforcement sources say the New York incident is being investigated as terrorism. Separately, four law enforcement sources said witnesses reported the suspect was yelling Allahu Akbar.
One law enforcement source said the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force is taking over the lead of the investigation.
[Breaking news update, posted at 4:45 p.m. ET]
Six people are dead after a truck hit several people in a bike path, an NYPD official said.
The suspect, in a Home Depot rental truck, hopped a curb at West Houston Street and drove south on the West Street bike path on west side of West Side Highway, the official said.
The suspect hit a school bus and wrecked his truck, the official said. Four people were removed from the bus and they had minor injuries, the official said.
[Previous story, posted at 4:36 p.m. ET]
The driver of a truck drove the wrong way down the West Side Highway bike path for several blocks on the lower west side of Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon, striking people and leaving up to six people dead, according to two senior law enforcement sources at the New York Police Department.
The driver then exited the vehicle displaying imitation firearms and was shot by police, according to the NYPD. The individual is in police custody and is being taken to the hospital for treatment, sources at the NYPD said, adding that police are considering terrorism as part of the investigation.
There were several fatalities and numerous people injured, NYPD said in a tweet. Two senior law enforcement sources added that it appears to be deliberate act.
No others are being sought, the NYPD said. Police said to expect “many emergency personnel” in the area of Chambers Street and West Street on the lower west side of Manhattan.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo both said they are heading to the scene.
News footage showed crowds of spectators — some capturing the scene with cellphone cameras — gathered behind police lines. A white Home Depot truck with the front end smashed in was also visible.
Parts of several mangled bicycles littered the popular bike path along the West Side Highway and the Hudson River, as medics tended to the wounded in the background.
Michael Corbin, the assistant real estate manager for District Council 37, the city’s largest public employee union, was standing outside the union’s lower Manhattan offices attending to a woman who slipped and fell on the sidewalk.
“The first responder to the event was a counterterrorism officer,” he said. “We were attending to the victim, getting her onto a stretcher and, at that moment, we heard gunshots. I recalled hearing five gunshots in quick succession and immediately the officer … left to investigate the situation from the direction we heard the noise coming from.”
Another witness, Ramon Cruz, described what he saw.
“What I saw was that the driver — he didn’t look like he was bleeding,” said Cruz. “He was dragging his foot. He looks frustrated, panicked, confused. People are running past me, saying, ‘He’s got a gun. He’s got a gun.” I didn’t see any gun.
It was a white pickup truck. He looked pretty bad without bleeding or anything like that. I didn’t see him hit anybody. All I heard was the impact of a crash.”
Tuesday afternoon on Twitter, a user posted an image of a person lying on the ground near the scene of an incident near West & Chambers Streets in Manhattan.
CNN’s Jessica Schneider and Shimon Prokupecz contributed to this report.
WASHINGTON — Russian agents intending to sow discord among American citizens disseminated inflammatory posts that reached 126 million users on Facebook, published more than 131,000 messages on Twitter and uploaded over 1,000 videos to Google’s YouTube service, according to copies of prepared remarks from the companies that were obtained by The New York Times.
The detailed disclosures, sent to Congress on Monday by companies whose products are among the most widely used on the internet, came before a series of congressional hearings this week into how third parties used social networks and online services to influence millions of Americans before the 2016 presidential election.
The new information goes far beyond what the companies have revealed in the past and underline the breadth of the Kremlin’s efforts to lever open divisions in the United States using American technology platforms, especially Facebook. Multiple investigations of Russian meddling have loomed over the first 10 months of Mr. Trump’s presidency, with one leading to the indictments of Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chief, and others on Monday.
In its prepared remarks sent to Congress, Facebook said the Internet Research Agency, a shadowy Russian company linked to the Kremlin, had posted roughly 80,000 pieces of divisive content that was shown to about 29 million people between January 2015 and August 2017. Those posts were then liked, shared and followed by others, spreading the messages to tens of millions more people. Facebook also said it had found and deleted more than 170 accounts on its photo-sharing app Instagram; those accounts had posted about 120,000 pieces of Russia-linked content.
Facebook, Mr. Stretch said, was “determined to prevent it from happening again.”
The new information also illuminated when Facebook knew there had been Russian interference on its platform. Several times before the election last Nov. 8, Facebook said its security team discovered threats targeted at employees of the major American political parties from a group called APT28, an agency that United States law enforcement officials have previously linked to Russian military intelligence operations.
Facebook cautioned that the Russia-linked posts represented a minuscule amount of content compared with the billions of posts that flow through users’ News Feeds everyday. Between 2015 and 2017, people in the United States saw more than 11 trillion posts from Pages on Facebook.
Twitter, in its prepared remarks, said it had discovered more than 2,700 accounts on its service that were linked to the Internet Research Agency between September 2016 and November 2016. Those accounts, which Twitter has suspended, posted roughly 131,000 tweets over that period.
Outside of the activity of the Internet Research Agency, Twitter identified more than 36,000 automated accounts that posted 1.4 million election-related tweets linked to Russia over that three-month period. The tweets received approximately 288 million views, according to the company’s remarks.
Twitter noted that the 1.4 million Russia-linked election tweets represented less than three-quarters of one percent of all election-related tweets during that period.
Google, in its prepared statement, said it had also found evidence that the Internet Research Agency bought ads on its services and created YouTube channels to upload short videos about divisive social issues including law enforcement, race relations or Syria.
Google said it had found 18 channels that were “likely associated” with the Russian agents that posted political videos to YouTube. All told, those accounts — now suspended — uploaded more than 1,100 videos totaling 43 hours of content from 2015 through the summer of 2017. Google said, in general, those videos had very low view counts that added up to 309,000 views between the middle of 2015 and late 2016. Only three percent of the videos had more than 5,000 views and there was no evidence that the accounts had targeted American viewers, the company said.
The internet search giant also confirmed earlier reports that the Internet Research Agency had purchased search and display ads from it. Google said the group had bought $4,700 in ads but none of them had targeted users by their political leanings, which was a targeting tool that Google added before the election.
Google had been investigating a separate $53,000 in ad purchases with political material from Russian internet or building addresses, but discovered that those were not related to the Kremlin.
“While we found only limited activity on our services, we will continue to work to prevent all of it, because no amount of interference is acceptable,” wrote Richard Salgado, Google’s director of law enforcement and information security, and Kent Walker, Google’s general counsel. The two men were scheduled to testify at separate congressional committees on Tuesday and Wednesday.
For Facebook, Google and Twitter, the discovery of Russian influence by way of their sites has been a rude awakening. The companies had long positioned themselves as spreading information and connecting people for positive ends. Now the companies must grapple with how Russian agents used their technologies exactly as they were meant to be used — but for malevolent purposes.
That has led to thorny debates inside the companies. For Facebook, the problem is less straightforward than finding Russia-linked pages and taking down content. Executives worry about how stifling speech from non-American entities could set a precedent on the social network — and how it could potentially be used against other groups in the future.
So Facebook has focused on the issue of authenticity — or the fact that the Russian agencies did not identify themselves as such — as a reason for taking down the accounts.
“Many of these ads did not violate our content policies,” Elliot Schrage, vice president of policy and communications at Facebook, said in a company blog post earlier this month. “That means that for most of them, if they had been run by authentic individuals, anywhere, they could have remained on the platform.”
Earlier this month, Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mark Warner introduced a bipartisan bill to require internet companies to identify those who paid for political ads on the tech companies’ platforms.
Facebook has been promoting its strengthened advertising disclosure policies as an attempt to pre-empt the bipartisan bill. Last week, Facebook began rolling out new features that provide insight into who is paying for ads, and it will maintain a publicly viewable database of ads purchased on the network.
The company is also stepping up its counterintelligence and security measures. Facebook has said it is working with Twitter, Google and other companies to spot sophisticated threats earlier, and will continue to coordinate with law enforcement when appropriate. The company said it shuttered 5.8 million fake accounts in October 2016, and removed 30,000 accounts attempting to influence the French elections this year.
Google also said it plans to increase its transparency for political ads. The company is working to issue an annual report about who is buying political ads and how much they are spending.
The company also said it planned to create a publicly accessible database into what election ads ran on Google’s AdWords — for example, web search ads — and YouTube. Google said it will identify the advertisers paying for political ads within a link accessible from the ad.
But Google said it did not intend to take any further action against state-backed Russian news channel RT, which has built a massive online audience through YouTube. The American intelligence community has described RT as the Kremlin’s “principal international propaganda outlet”, but Google said the organization had not violated any of its policies or misused the service.