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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 157)

Megathread: Judge orders Justice Department to give House Judiciary Committee grand jury testimony from Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation

The chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia authorized the release of certain grand jury materials to the House Judiciary Committee relating to the Mueller investigation. The order requires the Department of Justice to provide the committee all redacted components of the Mueller report containing grand jury material by Oct. 30, 2019.

Link to judge’s order: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/6523555/Mueller-Report-Material-20191025.pdf


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Carrie Underwood’s mom joins her on stage and raps like a pro: ‘Nailed it!’

Westlake Legal Group Carrie-Underwood-mom Carrie Underwood's mom joins her on stage and raps like a pro: 'Nailed it!' Nate Day fox-news/person/carrie-underwood fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/genres/country fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc d7e5f9e5-e2a5-588f-961c-29ff4d966e5b article

Apparently, talent runs in the Underwood family.

During a concert in Tulsa, Okla., Thursday night, Underwood’s mother, Carole, joined the “American Idol” winner on stage to perform “The Champion.”

The studio version of the song features rapper Ludacris, but Carole filled in for him at the concert.

STAGECOACH 202: CARRIE UNDERWOOD, ERIC CHURCH TO HEADLINE MUSIC FESTIVAL

Underwood, 36, shared a video of the moment on Instagram.

“Nailed it! I kept trying to keep her on track,” Carrie Underwood said. “At the end she said ‘Did I do OK?’ Who knew Mom could rap?! #MyMomsCoolerThanYourMom.”

CARRIE UNDERWOOD CELEBRATES 11TH ANNIVERSARY OF MEETING HUSBAND MIKE FISHER: ‘HE IS MY MATCH’

The “Before He Cheats” singer also shared another picture of herself and her mom rocking out on stage.

“Got to share the stage with this amazing champion tonight,” she wrote. “Of course, I’m talking about my mom! She crushed it!”

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“The Champion” was originally written to serve as the opening song to Super Bowl LII and appeared as a bonus track on Carrie Underwood’s latest album “Cry Pretty.”

The song peaked at number 47 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Westlake Legal Group Carrie-Underwood-mom Carrie Underwood's mom joins her on stage and raps like a pro: 'Nailed it!' Nate Day fox-news/person/carrie-underwood fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/genres/country fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc d7e5f9e5-e2a5-588f-961c-29ff4d966e5b article   Westlake Legal Group Carrie-Underwood-mom Carrie Underwood's mom joins her on stage and raps like a pro: 'Nailed it!' Nate Day fox-news/person/carrie-underwood fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/genres/country fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc d7e5f9e5-e2a5-588f-961c-29ff4d966e5b article

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Turkey Warns U.S. Against Hosting Syrian Kurdish Military Commander

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-1177964929-2488e6a5efa25e39d0597ca9e8d10126568fa6d3-s800-c15 Turkey Warns U.S. Against Hosting Syrian Kurdish Military Commander

Mazloum Abdi, commander-in-chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces speaks to reporters near the northeastern Syrian Hassakeh province on Thursday. AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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AFP via Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  Turkey Warns U.S. Against Hosting Syrian Kurdish Military Commander

Mazloum Abdi, commander-in-chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces speaks to reporters near the northeastern Syrian Hassakeh province on Thursday.

AFP via Getty Images

Updated at 4:55 p.m. ET

Turkey is demanding that U.S. officials call off plans to meet with Mazloum Abdi, the Kurdish commander-in-chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces which fought alongside American troops to dislodge Islamic State insurgents from northeastern Syria.

“Our allies’ dialogue with a terrorist wanted with a red notice is unacceptable,” Turkish foreign minister Mevut Cavusoglu told Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency Friday.

Turkish officials label Abdi, whose given name is Ferhat Abdi Şahin, a terrorist and link him to a separatist insurgency in Turkey known as the PKK, or Kurdish Workers Party. The U.S. State Department lists the PKK as a foreign terrorist organization.

“He is wanted for multiple terror attacks targeting the Turkish security forces, a NATO army, as well as civilians,” Fahrettin Altun, Turkey’s Director of Communications, told the Anadolu agency.

President Trump spoke with SDF commander by telephone on Wednesday and afterward praised the Kurdish general’s “courage” in a tweet and addressed him directly, writing, “I look forward to seeing you soon.”

Abdi, for his part, tweeted on Thursday that Trump had invited him to visit the U.S. “According to the circumstances on the ground,” he added, “I will decide what to do in coming days.”

A bipartisan group of senators that includes Democrats Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Republicans Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Wednesday urging him to expedite a visa and any applicable waiver should Abdi seek to enter the U.S.

A visit from the SDF commander to the U.S. would likely trigger demands from Ankara that he be extradited to Turkey.

“Following President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s instructions,” the Turkish state news agency reports, “Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul Friday said Turkey would get in touch with U.S. officials regarding the terrorist’s extradition if he entered the U.S. soil.”

Despite the rising tensions between Washington and Ankara, Erdogan and Trump are still expected to meet at the White House on Nov. 13.

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Mark Esper indicated Friday at NATO headquarters in Brussels that the removal of U.S. forces from Syria’s northern border with Turkey earlier this month does not presage a complete U.S. pullout from Syria. “The United States will maintain a reduced presence in Syria,” Esper said, “to deny ISIS access to oil revenue as we reposition for the next phase of the defeat ISIS campaign.”

Esper did not confirm statements made by other U.S. officials Thursday that military tanks will be deployed to the oil fields which were recovered by U.S. and SDF forces after being occupied by ISIS insurgents. But he did allow that the U.S. military presence there would “include some mechanized forces.”

Trump, for his part, continues to appear fixated on those oil fields. “Perhaps,” he tweeted on Thursday, “it is time for the Kurds to start heading to the Oil Region!”

While U.S. troops will likely remain in Syria for some time, American officials involved in disaster relief assistance there are pulling out. “Staff from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) originally based in Syria have redeployed out of the country,” acting USAID spokesperson Pooja Jhunjhunwala said in a statement Friday, adding that those aid workers “continue to work on the U.S. Government’s response to the humanitarian disaster in Syria.”

In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it was time for all U.S. forces to get out Syria. “As for the presence of American soldiers in Syria, our position is well known — only the Russian units are present in Syria legitimately at the invitation of the Syrian leadership,” Peskov was quoted as saying by the Russian news agency TASS.

Russia is aligned with both Turkey and Syria, even though those neighboring nations are adversaries of each other, and it is now widely seen as the dominant foreign power in Syria.

As Russia moved additional forces and military aircraft into a newly declared “safe zone” along Syria’s border with Turkey, there are reports from a British-based group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, of continued clashes between Turkish-aligned forces in northern Syria and Syrian government forces as well as the Kurdish-dominated SDF.

Syria’s state-run news agency SANA also reports that “forces affiliated to the Turkish occupation and its mercenaries” used artillery shells and mortars to attack the towns of Kowzaliyah and Tal Laban in the Tal Tamer region of northwest Syria.

Trump declared Wednesday he was lifting U.S. sanctions on Turkey because the NATO ally had agreed to what Trump termed “a permanent cease-fire” in northern Syria.

But SDF commander Abdi tweeted Thursday that Turkish forces continue their offensive in Syria, which began Oct. 9 after Trump ordered U.S. forces to leave the border area. He called on the guarantors of the cease-fire “to carry out their responsibilities.”

Pentagon chief Esper condemned Turkey’s invasion of Syria at NATO headquarters on Thursday, calling the incursion “unwarranted.”

“Turkey has put us all in a very terrible situation,” said Esper, as quoted by the Associated Press. “I think Erdogan was fixated on making this incursion for one reason or another and there was not a possibility that we were going to start a war with a NATO ally.”

Trump has ruled out any role for the U.S. in patrolling a 20-mile deep “safe zone” along Syria’s border with Turkey that Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to establish while meeting Tuesday in the Russian city of Sochi.

According to the AP, German defense minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told her counterparts in Brussels Thursday the job of patrolling the “safe zone” could not be left only to Turkey and Russia. She advocated a broader international mission there.

“The Sochi agreement has not brought peace and it doesn’t offer a basis for a political solution in the long run,” Kramp-Karrenbauer told the AP. “We are looking for a solution that includes the international community.”

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Judge Rules DOJ Must Turn Over Mueller Grand Jury Evidence To House Democrats

Westlake Legal Group 5db3514f210000df2c34b15f Judge Rules DOJ Must Turn Over Mueller Grand Jury Evidence To House Democrats

WASHINGTON (AP) — A judge has ordered the Justice Department to give House Democrats secret grand jury testimony from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell made the directive in a brief order on Friday.

Democrats had requested that the department provide the material, which was redacted from Mueller’s report, as part of their ongoing impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

Justice Department lawyers argued at a hearing earlier this month that House Democrats already had sufficient evidence from Mueller’s investigation, including copies of summaries of FBI witness interviews.

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Federal judge rules congressional Democrats can have access to Mueller grand jury material

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6093270587001_6093271491001-vs Federal judge rules congressional Democrats can have access to Mueller grand jury material fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc e6b3a6a7-6b13-50d3-8a59-20541ade80e9 article Alex Pappas

A federal judge ruled Friday that the Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee can have access to redacted grand jury material from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

The judge in the case, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell, gave the Justice Department until Oct. 30 to turn over the redacted portions of the grand jury material sought by the committee.

The Trump administration will likely appeal this ruling — including a request for a stay — to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.

The ruling is a key win for Democrats as the House Judiciary Committee begins to tackle articles of impeachment against President Trump.

Mueller found no evidence that Trump conspired with Russia in the 2016 election, but did not come to a finding on whether the president obstructed justice.

Even though the Mueller probe is separate from what the House Intelligence Committee is separately probing in relation to the president’s actions toward Ukraine, potential information in the Mueller grand jury documents could also help the committee craft articles of impeachment – specifically an article dealing with obstruction of Congress.

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Democrats had requested that the department provide the material, which was redacted from Mueller’s report, as part of their ongoing impeachment inquiry against Trump.

Justice Department lawyers argued at a hearing earlier this month that House Democrats already had sufficient evidence from Mueller’s investigation, including copies of summaries of FBI witness interviews.

Fox News’ Bill Mears, Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6093270587001_6093271491001-vs Federal judge rules congressional Democrats can have access to Mueller grand jury material fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc e6b3a6a7-6b13-50d3-8a59-20541ade80e9 article Alex Pappas   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6093270587001_6093271491001-vs Federal judge rules congressional Democrats can have access to Mueller grand jury material fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc e6b3a6a7-6b13-50d3-8a59-20541ade80e9 article Alex Pappas

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Chris Wallace on dueling investigations: ‘Let it all come out’

Westlake Legal Group WALLACE-COPY Chris Wallace on dueling investigations: 'Let it all come out' Julia Musto fox-news/shows/americas-newsroom fox-news/person/robert-mueller fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc c373ca3f-8431-5a0f-9f64-9103e2063aae article

Investigators examining the origins of the Russia investigation should “let it all come out and pursue the truth,” said Chris Wallace, the host of “Fox News Sunday.”

U.S. Attorney John Durham’s ongoing probe into potential FBI and Justice Department (DOJ) misconduct in the Russia investigation has transitioned into a full-fledged criminal investigation.

What prompted the change is unclear, but a source told Fox News that DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s upcoming report on alleged FBI surveillance abuses against the Trump campaign will shed light on why the probe has shifted to a criminal inquiry.

Horowitz announced on Thursday that his report would be available to the public soon, with “few” redactions.

MICHAEL HOROWITZ: FINALIZING OF FISA PROBE REPORT ‘NEARING COMPLETION’

Fox News reported on Tuesday that Durham’s probe had expanded significantly based on new evidence uncovered during a recent trip to Rome with Attorney General William Barr.

Appearing Friday on “America’s Newsroom” with anchor Sandra Smith, Wallace said that “something obviously came up.”

According to Wallace, the investigation’s “new status” means that “they can impanel a grand jury and bring people up to testify before the grand jury. They can subpoena people and, yes, they can bring criminal charges.”

He said that it “obviously puts [the investigation] on a new footing.”

The investigation’s new status means Durham can subpoena witnesses, file charges, and impanel fact-finding grand juries.

Meanwhile, Democrats are hammering the move.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff released a statement saying that the reports, “raise profound new concerns that the Department of Justice under Attorney General William Barr has lost its independence and become a vehicle for President Trump’s political revenge. If the Department of Justice may be used as a tool of political retribution, or to help the President with a political narrative for the next election, the rule of law will suffer new and irreparable damage.”

The Judiciary Committee’s ranking member, Rep. Doug Collins, responded via Twitter: “If Durham finds crimes were committed, I’m confident he’ll pursue justice and help restore America’s confidence in our premier law enforcement agency. Chairman Nadler is wrong to suggest this investigation is anything less than an effort to deliver truth and accountability.”

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“And, if you’re one of the people that were involved in the Trump Russia investigation in 2016 — whether it’s James Comey or Andrew McCabe or Strzok or Page or all of those people — they now face the greater possibility, not the certainty, but the possibility of legal jeopardy,” Wallace told Smith.

“I have to laugh because you see the Republicans attacking the Democrats for the impeachment investigation, and now you see the Democrats attacking the Republicans for this investigation,” he noted.

Fox News’ Gregg Re, Jake Gibson, and Ed Henry contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group WALLACE-COPY Chris Wallace on dueling investigations: 'Let it all come out' Julia Musto fox-news/shows/americas-newsroom fox-news/person/robert-mueller fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc c373ca3f-8431-5a0f-9f64-9103e2063aae article   Westlake Legal Group WALLACE-COPY Chris Wallace on dueling investigations: 'Let it all come out' Julia Musto fox-news/shows/americas-newsroom fox-news/person/robert-mueller fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc c373ca3f-8431-5a0f-9f64-9103e2063aae article

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Krauthammer: How I fell in love with the Washington Nationals

Forward to the Essay

By Daniel Krauthammer 

My late father, Charles Krauthammer, loved baseball. He came to it at an early age, and all his life he continued to love it with a boyish joyfulness and enthusiasm. He embraced his passion fully and wrote about it as often as he thought he could get away with it, while still ostensibly remaining a political pundit rather than a sports commentator.

My father dedicated nearly an entire chapter to baseball in his recently published posthumous book, “The Point of It All: A Lifetime of Great Loves and Endeavors.” One of the essays included in that chapter is a piece he wrote the year that the Montreal Expos moved to Washington, D.C., and were reborn as the Nationals. In it, he explores his personal history of baseball fandom, and documents how—against all rationality, against all better judgment—he began to let himself fall in love with his new hometown team.

He became one of the Nats’ biggest fans—going to as many games as he could, watching them on the road, writing about them in print and talking about them on television. No one would have been happier to see the Nationals make it to the World Series. And no one could have put more eloquently into words what it means to truly love the game. Fortunately for us, his words will live on for as long as baseball is played.

Suffering a Relapse, and Loving It

By Charles Krauthammer | Originally Published: April 15, 2005

David Brooks of the New York Times wonders whether, as a lifelong Mets fan, he is morally permitted to jump ship and pledge allegiance to the new team of his (relatively) new hometown, the Washington Nationals (née Montreal Expos).

It’s a charming dilemma, but it raises a more fundamental question: What is with this rooting business in the first place?

It is one thing to root for your son’s Little League team. After all, he is your kid and you paid for his glove—and uniform, helmet, bat and, when he turns nine, cup. You have a stake in him and, by extension, his team.

But what possible stake do grown men have in the fortunes of 25 perfect strangers, vagabond mercenaries paid obscene sums to play a game for half the year?

Westlake Legal Group Daniel-and-Charles-Krauthammer-Nationals Krauthammer: How I fell in love with the Washington Nationals fox-news/sports fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Charles Krauthammer article 81650d37-8653-5126-aa94-e5a426979df9

Daniel and Charles Krauthammer at a Nationals Game.

The whole thing is completely irrational. For me, this is no mere abstract question. I have been a baseball fan most of my life. I could excuse the early years, the Mantle-Maris era, as mere childish hero worship. But what excuse do I have now? Why should I care about these tobacco-spitting, crotch-adjusting multimillionaires who have never heard of me and would not care if I was dispatched to my maker by an exploding scoreboard?

Why? I have no idea. True, my interest cooled for a decade when, at age 15, I discovered girls. But then one day, when I was living in Boston and almost totally indifferent to the game, life took a fatal turn. I tuned in to the 1975 World Series and happened upon the single greatest game ever played. By the time Game 6 was over, I was hooked. Again.

Carlton Fisk’s 12th-inning home run dance was just the icing. I was hooked by the improbable glory of what came before: Dewey Evans’ spectacular catch off Joe Morgan in the top of the 11th, George Foster nailing Denny Doyle at the plate in the bottom of the ninth, and the most improbable home run I’d ever seen: Bernie Carbo’s three-run pinch tater—after a couple of flailing swings—to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth with two outs, two strikes and hopelessness in the air.

That did it. For the next 10 years, I was a fan again—straining nights to catch West Coast late games on a Sony transistor, checking box scores first thing in the morning.

Then came the 1986 World Series and the Great Buckner Collapse. At that point, I figured I’d suffered enough. I got a divorce. Amicable, but still a divorce. With a prodigious act of will, I resolved to follow the Sox—but at an enforced distance. I refused to live or die with them. Which is how I got through Grady’s Blunder—leaving Pedro in too long—in Game 7 of the 2003 Red Sox-Yankees playoff.

It was a hard fall for Sox fans, but I came through it beautifully—feeling delighted, indeed somewhat superior, at my partial emancipation from the irrationality of fandom (far more troubling than the pain). Thus a free man, almost purged of all allegiance, I watched with near-indifference as the Montreal Expos moved to Washington. Little did I know.

The Washington Nationals are born. I do not know a thing about them. I do not know a single player on the team. I have no residual allegiance to them—even though I grew up in Montreal and remember well their opening 1969 season at absurdly chintzy Jarry Park—because I never cared about the Expos.

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But it is a new home team. And I am a bit curious. So I’m listening to their second game, a come-from-behind win in which no-name center fielder Brad Wilkerson hits for the cycle. Next day, a nifty comeback: Jose Vidro hits a game-winning homer in the 10th.

I’m beginning to ask the Butch Cassidy question: Who are those guys? Then another comeback, another game-winning dinger, this time by Jose Guillen, a refugee from the Anaheim Angels, shipped out after, let us say, an altercation with his manager. And then yet another surprise victory against the fearsome Atlanta Braves, a ridiculously impossible comeback with two outs in the ninth.

Presto. It is 1975 all over again. I begin to care. I want them to win. Why? I have no idea. I begin following day games on the internet. I’ve punched not one but two preset Nationals stations onto my car radio. I’m aghast. I’m actually invested in the day-to-day fortunes of 25 lunkheads I never heard of until two weeks ago.

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This is crazy. I’ve relapsed, and I like it so much I’ve forsworn all medication.

Go Nats.

Reprinted from Charles Krauthammer’s posthumous book, “The Point of It All: A Lifetime of Great Loves and Endeavors,” with an original introduction by Daniel Krauthammer, who is the editor of the book. Copyright © 2018 by Charles Krauthammer. Published by Crown Forum, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6097018694001_6097020648001-vs Krauthammer: How I fell in love with the Washington Nationals fox-news/sports fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Charles Krauthammer article 81650d37-8653-5126-aa94-e5a426979df9   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6097018694001_6097020648001-vs Krauthammer: How I fell in love with the Washington Nationals fox-news/sports fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Charles Krauthammer article 81650d37-8653-5126-aa94-e5a426979df9

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Pennsylvania woman charged with murder in death of 2-year-old girl cops say was abducted

A Pennsylvania woman is facing murder charges after a 2-year-old girl was abducted and later found dead, police said Friday.

Sharena Nancy, 25, of Penn Hills, had previously been charged with kidnapping in the case.

Alleghany police announced the murder charges and said Nancy abducted Nalani Johnson in Penn Hills on Aug. 31.

Investigators quickly identified Nancy as the kidnapper and apprehended her a few hours later, according to police.

WOMAN ARRESTED IN TODDLER’S KIDNAPPING SAID FATHER ‘SOLD’ GIRL FOR $10G, OFFICIALS SAY

Westlake Legal Group Nalani-Johnson Pennsylvania woman charged with murder in death of 2-year-old girl cops say was abducted Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox news fnc/us fnc article 5c298a2e-a50f-502d-a0e8-0847d10f33c3

Authorities on Tuesday said the body of Nalani Johnson, 2, was found less than 40 miles from where she was allegedly kidnapped.  (Allegheny County Police)

“However, Nalani remained missing,” police said. “A search for Nalani continued until shortly after 4 p.m. on Sept. 3 when she was discovered deceased in Pine Ridge Park, Indiana County.”

Police said Nancy took the child after an argument with a friend of Nalani’s father, 21-year-old Paul Johnson, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Friday.

BODY OF KIDNAPPED PENNSYLVANIA GIRL, 2, IS FOUND IN PARK, OFFICIALS SAY

Nancy and Johnson had an on-and-off relationship, police said.

In interviews with police, Nancy claimed Johnson had instructed her to drive Nalani to a woman who was willing to pay $10,000 for the toddler, the paper reported.

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Investigators have found nothing to corroborate her claim, according to the paper.

Westlake Legal Group Malani-Johnson Pennsylvania woman charged with murder in death of 2-year-old girl cops say was abducted Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox news fnc/us fnc article 5c298a2e-a50f-502d-a0e8-0847d10f33c3   Westlake Legal Group Malani-Johnson Pennsylvania woman charged with murder in death of 2-year-old girl cops say was abducted Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox news fnc/us fnc article 5c298a2e-a50f-502d-a0e8-0847d10f33c3

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Pope Francis asks for forgiveness after Amazon statues stolen, thrown into river in Rome

Pope Francis asked Amazonian bishops and tribal leaders for forgiveness Friday after indigenous statues were stolen from a Vatican-area church and thrown into a nearby river.

The wood-carved figures of naked pregnant women, known as Pachamama, were brought to the Vatican to be displayed during the pope’s three-week assembly of Amazonian clergy, called a synod.

The pope insisted there was no intention of idolatry, which undercut conservative claims that the statues are symbols of pagan worship.

“Above all, this happened in Rome and as the bishop of this diocese I ask forgiveness of the people who were offended by this gesture,” Francis told the synod hall.

DEMARIO DAVIS JOKES HE MIGHT SEND POPE ‘MAN OF GOD’ HEADBAND AFTER SAINTS TWEET

The Vatican has said the statues are symbols of life, fertility and Mother Earth.

Westlake Legal Group AP19298514569323 Pope Francis asks for forgiveness after Amazon statues stolen, thrown into river in Rome Louis Casiano fox-news/us/religion fox-news/person/pope-francis fox news fnc/world fnc article 4fef6ac1-d755-50cd-a7e0-63df398c5706

Members of Amazon indigenous populations walk during a Via Crucis, or Way of the Cross, procession to the Vatican. In foreground is a wooden statue portraying a naked pregnant woman. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

The wooden figures were found unharmed in the Tiber River this week. The pope said he would consider having them displayed during the final Mass of the synod on Sunday.

The theft was caught on surveillance video Monday as thieves took the figures from the Santa Maria in Traspontina church, just down the block from St. Peter’s Square.

POPE FRANCIS KISSES SHOES OF SUDANESE LEADERS IN PLEA FOR PEACE

The video appeared to show at least two men enter the church before dawn, take the statues placed at an altar and then throw them in the river. The act was celebrated by conservative Catholics who deemed the statues pagan idols.

Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, the conservative German fired by Francis in 2017 as the Vatican’s doctrine chief, said it was a “great mistake” to bring the statues to the Vatican in the first place.

Westlake Legal Group AP19298514339529-1 Pope Francis asks for forgiveness after Amazon statues stolen, thrown into river in Rome Louis Casiano fox-news/us/religion fox-news/person/pope-francis fox news fnc/world fnc article 4fef6ac1-d755-50cd-a7e0-63df398c5706

Pope Francis’ meeting about the Amazon is wrapping up after three weeks of debate over married priests, the environment and the destruction of indigenous statues that underscored the willingness of conservatives to violently vent their opposition to the pope. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

“To throw it out can be against human law, but to bring the idols into the church was a grave sin, a crime against divine law,” he told conservative U.S. Catholic broadcaster EWTN.

While the theft was cheered by conservative Catholics, progressives denounced the act as racism.

“Can you imagine the conservative outcry if someone tossed the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa into the Tiber?” the National Catholic Reporter, a progressive Catholic magazine, said in an editorial this week. “We do not use the term ‘racists’ lightly, but what else is it?”

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The meeting of more than 180 bishops and cardinals from nine Amazonian nations will conclude Saturday. The religious leaders plan to vote on a final document synthesizing proposals to better protect the Amazon rainforest and minister to its indigenous peoples.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group AP19298514569323 Pope Francis asks for forgiveness after Amazon statues stolen, thrown into river in Rome Louis Casiano fox-news/us/religion fox-news/person/pope-francis fox news fnc/world fnc article 4fef6ac1-d755-50cd-a7e0-63df398c5706   Westlake Legal Group AP19298514569323 Pope Francis asks for forgiveness after Amazon statues stolen, thrown into river in Rome Louis Casiano fox-news/us/religion fox-news/person/pope-francis fox news fnc/world fnc article 4fef6ac1-d755-50cd-a7e0-63df398c5706

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Pope Francis asks for forgiveness after Amazon statues stolen, thrown into river in Rome

Pope Francis asked Amazonian bishops and tribal leaders for forgiveness Friday after indigenous statues were stolen from a Vatican-area church and thrown into a nearby river.

The wood-carved figures of naked pregnant women, known as Pachamama, were brought to the Vatican to be displayed during the pope’s three-week assembly of Amazonian clergy, called a synod.

The pope insisted there was no intention of idolatry, which undercut conservative claims that the statues are symbols of pagan worship.

“Above all, this happened in Rome and as the bishop of this diocese I ask forgiveness of the people who were offended by this gesture,” Francis told the synod hall.

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The Vatican has said the statues are symbols of life, fertility and Mother Earth.

Westlake Legal Group AP19298514569323 Pope Francis asks for forgiveness after Amazon statues stolen, thrown into river in Rome Louis Casiano fox-news/us/religion fox-news/person/pope-francis fox news fnc/world fnc article 4fef6ac1-d755-50cd-a7e0-63df398c5706

Members of Amazon indigenous populations walk during a Via Crucis, or Way of the Cross, procession to the Vatican. In foreground is a wooden statue portraying a naked pregnant woman. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

The wooden figures were found unharmed in the Tiber River this week. The pope said he would consider having them displayed during the final Mass of the synod on Sunday.

The theft was caught on surveillance video Monday as thieves took the figures from the Santa Maria in Traspontina church, just down the block from St. Peter’s Square.

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The video appeared to show at least two men enter the church before dawn, take the statues placed at an altar and then throw them in the river. The act was celebrated by conservative Catholics who deemed the statues pagan idols.

Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, the conservative German fired by Francis in 2017 as the Vatican’s doctrine chief, said it was a “great mistake” to bring the statues to the Vatican in the first place.

Westlake Legal Group AP19298514339529-1 Pope Francis asks for forgiveness after Amazon statues stolen, thrown into river in Rome Louis Casiano fox-news/us/religion fox-news/person/pope-francis fox news fnc/world fnc article 4fef6ac1-d755-50cd-a7e0-63df398c5706

Pope Francis’ meeting about the Amazon is wrapping up after three weeks of debate over married priests, the environment and the destruction of indigenous statues that underscored the willingness of conservatives to violently vent their opposition to the pope. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

“To throw it out can be against human law, but to bring the idols into the church was a grave sin, a crime against divine law,” he told conservative U.S. Catholic broadcaster EWTN.

While the theft was cheered by conservative Catholics, progressives denounced the act as racism.

“Can you imagine the conservative outcry if someone tossed the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa into the Tiber?” the National Catholic Reporter, a progressive Catholic magazine, said in an editorial this week. “We do not use the term ‘racists’ lightly, but what else is it?”

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The meeting of more than 180 bishops and cardinals from nine Amazonian nations will conclude Saturday. The religious leaders plan to vote on a final document synthesizing proposals to better protect the Amazon rainforest and minister to its indigenous peoples.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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