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Aug 18
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'Unaffiliated'

“Nobody knows who I am because of my husband. People know of my husband because of me,” White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told The Washington Post for a fascinating profile of herself and husband George Conway.

Conway, of course, needs little introduction. She was Donald Trump’s campaign manager for the final leg of the 2016 presidential race, the first female campaign manager to lead a winning presidential campaign and has since gone on to say numerous controversial things about feminism and coin Orwellian-sounding terms like “alternative facts.” Depending on how much of a politics aficionado you are, however, her husband may require some introducing. He’s a successful lawyer, but as Kellyanne suggested in the above quote, his recent elevated prominence is due to the fact that he has been hammering away at her boss — Trump — on Twitter for months now.

All of this is a bit ironic because, as is revealed in the profile, it was George who, erm, set Kellyanne up with Trump. The couple once lived in one of Trump’s New York City apartment buildings and, thanks to a referral from George, Kellyanne ended up on the condo board. Yadayadayada, nearly 20 years later she’s working in the White House.

George T. Conway III, husband of White House counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway. George has emerged as one of President Trump’s fiercest critics on Twitter. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

These days, though, George, 54, is all but a card-carrying member of the resistance. He even left the Republican party and now says he’s “unaffiliated.” His tweeting is clearly making things awkward at home for the couple and their four children. And, though the two don’t seem to have any other noticeable marital problems, the anti-Trump tweets loom large. “It is disrespectful, it’s a violation of basic decency, certainly, if not marital vows,” Conway, 51, says during one awkward exchange with Washington Post reporter Ben Terris.

Terris spent time with the couple at their $7.7 million Washington home and followed them on vacation to the Jersey shore, where they share another home and witnessed a couple that is, perhaps, a metaphor for the country — or at least many American families who are polarized by the divider in chief. What comes through is that George is worried about the long-term effect being so loyal to Trump will have on Kellyanne’s career and reputation. But Kellyanne is not worried — in fact she even longs for the days when her independence was something her husband found charming. After all, once upon a time, not so long ago, George was a fierce Trump supporter. But less than six months into Trump’s presidency, that all changed dramatically.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

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‘Terribly sorry’

Michigan state Representative Bettie Cook Scott has issued an apology following outrage over racist comments about her former opponent, state Representative Stephanie Chang, during the pair’s recent battle in the Democratic primary for the state Senate. Earlier this week, liberal advocacy group Progress Michigan revealed that Scott told voters during the August 7 primary that she was “disgusted seeing black people holding signs for these Asians and not supporting their own people.” She also warned constituents that “immigrants from China are coming over and taking our community from us” and, unless they want that trend to continue, they shouldn’t vote for the “ching-chong.” Chang, who previously broke new ground by becoming the first Asian-American woman to serve in the Michigan Legislature in 2014, went on to win the primary with 49 percent of the vote, while Scott took just 11 percent.

Outrage over Scott’s comments led to condemnation and calls for an apology from the Michigan Democratic Party, Asian rights groups, and from Chang herself.

“It isn’t about me,” Chang told the Detroit Metro Times. “It’s about an elected official disrespecting entire populations, whether they be Asian-American, immigrant, or residents of Senate District 1 or [Cook’s] own current house district.”

Michigan State Representative Stephanie Chang. (Facebook)

On Thursday, Scott issued a statement of apology through her lawyer, Bill Noakes.

“Those are not the kinds of comments that should be made nor are they the kind of comments I would normally make,” the statement read. “I humbly apologize to Representative Chang and to her husband, Mr. Gray, and to the broader Asian American community.”

“We live in a time of increasing divisiveness,” the statement continued. “As a state representative, I should never do anything to contribute to an atmosphere of divisiveness and for that, I am terribly sorry.”

Read the full story at HuffPost and The Detroit News.

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‘One is enough’

An ex-girlfriend of U.S. Representative Keith Ellison, a Democrat from Minnesota and the deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has spoken out on television for the first time about an alleged incident during which she says he physically dragged her off a bed in a fit of rage. The allegation surfaced last week when the woman’s son posted about having found a video that he says shows Ellison physically abusing his mother. Ellison is a candidate for Minnesota attorney general and, even though the accusations emerged just days ahead of Tuesday’s primary election, he still won at the polls.

Speaking with CBS News, Karen Monahan, 44, said that the argument occurred in September 2016 after Ellison accosted her while she was lying in bed listening to a podcast. He asked her to take the trash out, she recalled, and she nodded her head in acknowledgement only for Ellison to suddenly explode in anger.

“He looked at me, goes ‘Hey you f***ing hear me … and then he looked at me, he goes ‘Bitch, get the f*** out of my house,’ and he started to try to drag me off the bed,” Monahan said. “That’s when I put my camera on to video him.”

Afterwards, she said, “I called a friend and said I’m at the lowest of the low.”

U.S. Represenative. Keith Ellison (D-MN) (C) embraces supporters at the Rep. Tim Walz election night party on August 14, 2018 in St Paul, Minnesota. Ellison is running for Attorney General of Minnesota. Minnesota, Connecticut, Vermont and Wisconsin held primary elections today. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Monahan, who has declined to release the video she took of the incident or show it to reporters, says that she shouldn’t need to share the video to be believed. On Saturday, her son Austin, wrote on Facebook that he had discovered the nearly two-minute video on his mother’s computer in 2017, and that the footage had shaken him to his core. Ellison, meanwhile, has denied Monahan’s allegations unequivocally, telling CBS News that there “couldn’t be such a thing” as a video of the incident “because I never did that.”

Asked how she’d respond to those who question why she chose to speak out now, Monahan said, “I followed my gut. The gut that I kept trying to push down.” And as for those who ask whether Ellison should be absolved, since Monahan has said this was the only incident where he got physical with her during their three-year relationship, Monahan had a blunt response.

“He didn’t apologize for putting his hands on me,” she said. “One [time] is enough.”

Watch video of Monahan’s interview with CBS News below.

Read the full story at CBS News.

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New guard

Julia Fahl, a 28-year-old first time candidate who won the Democratic primary Lambertville, N.J., mayoral race in June — upsetting an incumbent who had been mayor nearly as long as she had been alive in the process — is the latest young woman to score a shocking victory against the grain of the political establishment. Her secret? A practical plan to modernize her city’s local government, and a broader wave of fresh energy from Democratic women who are sick of letting men who have been in control for years and decades hold on to the reins of power.

Before one can even enter the home of Fahl and her wife and campaign manager, Kari Osmond, 31, one has to first tread on a welcome mat that reads: “The Patriarchy” — a fitting message for an upjumped professional fundraiser whose recent defeat of Mayor Dave DelVecchio marked the first time in DelVecchio’s 27 years in office that he had actually faced a challenge, according to The New York Times. Many have compared her candidacy to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, another 28-year-old Democrat who has upended the political establishment through a grass-roots campaign. But Fahl says she’s more of a “Clinton”-style moderate than the unabashedly progressive Ocasio-Cortez, and that her main political goals are a practical restructuring of a municipal government that she says has remained unchanged for far too long.

“My argument was that after 27 years in a position, you stop asking why you do things or how you could be doing things better and you just say this is how things are done,” Fahl explained. “And there is a slew of things that are happening in this town that makes absolutely no sense.”

Fahl said she decided to announce her candidacy after she and her wife, a state director for a member of Congress, tried and failed to find anyone willing to run against a man that most in the town know simply as “Mayor Dave.” And there was a familiar force that ignited her political ambitions. She said that Trump’s election had helped energize the Democratic party and sparked a slew of women running for office for the first time.

“I think people are thinking they should have done more in the presidential election, so they’re getting a lot more active now,” added her opponent, Mayor DelVecchio. “But it’s definitely a good time to be a woman running for office and it has been for some time, but now more than ever.”

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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Horrific

Christopher Watts was formally charged with three counts of murder and three counts of evidence tampering on Thursday as investigators announced a grim discovery. Watts, 33, is being held without bail after police said he confessed to killing his wife and children. Thursday afternoon, detectives found the bodies of his wife, Shanann Watts, 34, and his daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, all of whom were reported missing on Monday. Shanann was 15 weeks pregnant.

Earlier in the week, Watts had gone on several local news stations, looked directly into the camera and pleaded for the safe return of his wife and children. Investigators said they found the bodies on the property of the oil company where he used to work. During those appearances on local TV, Watts had admitted he and Shanann had a disagreement, which he described as “an emotional conversation” at some point prior to her disappearance. He appeared in court in shackles and an orange jumpsuit Thursday where a judge ordered him to be held without bail.

Bella, Celeste and Shanann Watts. (Facebook)

Friends in the suburb north of Denver who allowed Watts to stay with them while police searched for Shanann, Bella and Celeste said he showed no emotion while he was in their home and that they were shocked to learn he’d confessed to the crime. Shanann’s family in a previous statement condemned Watts as “inhumane” for the brutal alleged killings.

Police haven’t released a motive or any information on how the three were killed. By all accounts, the couple looked to be living a happy life. Shanann’s Facebook feed was filled with photos of her children and her husband, along with pictures of friends and other relatives. She appeared to be a happy woman, who was looking forward to becoming a mother for the third time. In recent postings, she called her husband “my ROCK!” and said he was “the best dad us girls could ask for.”

For more on the story, watch the video below.

Read the full story at CBS News.

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08.18.18

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