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Mark Wilson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen will appear on Capitol Hill Tuesday for a closed-door interview with the House Intelligence Committee, sources tell ABC News.

Cohen, who has served as Trump’s personal attorney for years, is of interest to investigators for his role in confidential negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow in 2015 and 2016, at the height of the presidential campaign.

The Trump Organization seriously considered the Moscow building proposal but eventually abandoned the plan and did not pursue it, Cohen told ABC News in August.

Cohen’s lawyer declined to comment on his scheduled appearance.

An aide to Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, who is leading the House Russia probe, did not respond to a request for comment, while a spokesman for Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the panel's top Democrat, declined to comment.

The Senate Intelligence Committee postponed a scheduled interview with Cohen in September after he released a statement to reporters ahead of the closed-door meeting. Senate investigators invited Cohen to appear at an open hearing on Oct. 25, but that has also been postponed.

In his statement released ahead of that September meeting, Cohen forcefully denied knowledge of any Russian efforts to influence the election.

“Given my own proximity to the president of the United States as a candidate, let me also say that I never saw anything -- not a hint of anything -- that demonstrated his involvement in Russian interference in our election or any form of Russian collusion,” he said of Trump.

House investigators are also scheduled to question Trump campaign digital director Brad Parscale Tuesday afternoon.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Trump administration is expected to announce its decision on how to proceed with the U.S. refugee program on Tuesday, which marks the end of the 120-day ban of refugee admissions.

The decision will be the culmination of a review by intelligence and diplomatic officials on whether or not refugees should be allowed to enter the U.S., and if so, what additional restrictions may exist.

The refugee ban was a part of the executive orders that have become known as the so-called travel bans.

At the end of January, one week into his term, President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning all citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days, indefinitely banning all Syrian refugees and stopping all refugee admissions for 120 days.

That order was challenged in the courts, and in March, the administration voluntarily withdrew its order and replaced it with one that excised the permanent ban on Syrian refugees but kept in place the 120-day suspension of all refugee admissions.

After lawsuits delayed implementation, the Supreme Court ruled the 120-day suspension could go into effect in June -- and on Tuesday, it expires.

The secretaries of state and homeland security and the director of national intelligence were tasked with determining whether additional procedures identified during the review process are sufficient to ensure the security and welfare of the United States, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Once a decision is made to resume allowing refugees to enter the U.S., cases in the pipeline will be processed and adjudicated under standard procedures, including any new enhancements that are recommended through the 120-day review process, said DHS.

In the meantime, on Sept. 29, the White House announced that Trump had set the refugee admissions ceiling at 45,000 for Fiscal Year 2018, which began on Oct. 1 -- the lowest cap since the refugee admissions program began in 1975.

Last year, 84,994 refugees were admitted to into the U.S. Around 22,000 of them were from Syria and Iraq. In 2015, nearly 70,000 refugees were admitted.

During the ban, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which manages reviews and processing for refugees, temporarily reassigned some officers who typically adjudicate refugee cases overseas to assist with processing domestic asylum applications.

The department said it will continue to reassign refugee officers to assist with the asylum division’s backlog of asylum applications in 2018, but a full staffing plan has not yet been put in place.

A spokesperson for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services said in September that the “growing” domestic asylum backlog is expected to reach 300,000 cases by the year's end. Asylum seekers come to the U.S. and file for asylum from persecution overseas, as opposed to refugees also fleeing persecution who undergo an extensive screening process abroad and are then resettled in the U.S.

U.S. officials have defended the lower refugee admissions cap by citing that backlog, the reassignment of refugee officers and what they say will be tougher vetting procedures that mean applications will take more time to process.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- An undocumented pregnant teen, who is in federal custody in Texas, is continuing her fight in court for the right to leave a detention facility to have an abortion.

On Sunday night, attorneys for the undocumented teen filed an emergency petition to have her case reviewed by the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit -- in an attempt to reverse an order they said sidestepped serious constitutional questions. On Friday evening, after oral arguments from both sides in the morning, a three-judge appeals court panel ordered a delay in her attempt to obtain an abortion.

The Trump administration has so far blocked the teen's attempts to leave the government-contracted facility to have the procedure, arguing in court that "the government has not put any obstacle in her path, rather the government is refusing to facilitate an abortion."

A few weeks ago, the 17-year-old received a state-judicial order granting her permission to have an abortion without parental consent, which is required by state law. The teen, known only as Jane Doe, arrived in the United States illegally as an unaccompanied minor, which put her under the supervision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Two of the three judges agreed to an order that gives the government until Oct. 31 at 5:00 p.m. to secure a sponsor for the teen, which would allow for her release.

"While the government delays, there is a 17-year-old young woman waiting to find out whether she can have the abortion she wants or whether our government will force her to continue this pregnancy against her will. We are asking the court to put a stop to this now," said Brigitte Amiri, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project who is representing the teen.

If she can be released to a sponsor, HHS would no longer have to "facilitate" the abortion. The federal health agency argued that the teen could also self-deport but acknowledged in court that abortion is illegal in her home country.

The agency said last week in a statement that it "will protect the well-being of this minor and all children and their babies in our facilities, and we will defend human dignity for all in our care."

If the government cannot find a suitable sponsor by the end of the month, the district federal court may re-enter its ruling, which had ordered the government to allow the teen to move forward with the abortion.

D.C. Circuit Judge Patricia Millett, who was on the three-judge panel last week, issued a scathing dissent to the panel's order, writing that "there are no winners in cases like these. But there sure are losers."

"Forcing her to continue an unwanted pregnancy just in the hopes of finding a sponsor that has not been found in the past six weeks sacrifices J.D.’s constitutional liberty, autonomy and personal dignity for no justifiable governmental reason," the judge wrote in her dissent.

On Monday, the Trump administration said in a written response to the court that the request for review by the full appeals court should be denied.

"There is no precedent that supports Ms. Doe’s assertion that by illegally entering the United States and choosing to remain in custody rather than return home, the government must facilitate her access to abortion in order to avoid placing an 'undue burden,'" the government said in its response.

The teen and her attorneys are now waiting to see if the full court will review the case.

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Subscribe To This Feed -- When President Trump told reporters that the opioid crisis is a "national emergency" and he would be officially declaring it as such, he raised a point experts have echoed for months.

The opioid epidemic is a critical emergency on a national scale, the experts agree, but does a proper solution involve a declaration from the White House similar to ones surrounding major hurricanes or virus outbreaks? That's the question gripping academics and policy makers alike.

To explore what declaring the country's first national emergency for a drug crisis means and what it could accomplish, ABC News reached out to academics, drug policy experts and former officials with intimate knowledge of public health and national emergency policy.

Experts agree that prescription opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone serve a critical role in modern medicine, but often point towards statistics from the Centers for Disease Control suggesting a possible over prescription of the drugs, leading to widespread use of synthetic and illegal variations like heroin and fentanyl.

The amount of prescription opioids legally sold nearly quadrupled from 1999 to 2010, despite no change in the amount of pain that Americans reported. Today, drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States -- the majority of those lethal episodes involve an opioid.

President Trump made the crisis a primary talking point during his campaign for the White House and two months have his inauguration, he signed an Executive Order launching a commission led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to explore ways to curb opioid abuse and overdoses.

The first report from the commission gave the president a frank recommendation: "declare a national emergency."

Several experts said such a decision would be "unprecedented." These declarations have typically been reserved for natural disasters, infectious diseases and terrorist events.

To find any kind of precedent, Dr. Rebecca Haffajee an assistant professor at the University of Michigan's Department of Health Management and Policy, says you have to look at the six states that individually declared states of emergency for the opioid epidemic. According to Haffajee however, the circumstances under which they can be declared and how they define an emergency vary.

As the states have different methods of declaring an emergency, so, too, does the federal government.

Experts say there are two ways the White House can declare a national emergency on a drug crisis: under the Stafford Act or the the Public Health Service Act.

The Stafford Act opens up federal resources such as FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund -- usually employed for natural disaster such as Hurricane Maria and Harvey. This gives federal agencies the authority to cut red tape hindering recovery missions. Requests for funding from the Disaster Relief Fund come from a governor who claims the circumstances has overwhelmed his or her state's resources.

According to a FEMA spokesperson, the fund currently has $4.28 billion. The House passed legislation last week to add $18.7 billion. The Senate could take an initial vote on the measure on Monday.

Rafael Lemaitre, former communications director for the White House Drug Policy Office during the Obama administration and former FEMA director of public affairs, told ABC News "declaring a national emergency is not a silver bullet solution to the opioid crisis."

Lemaitre said the traditional form of declaring an emergency is usually reserved for natural disasters and terrorist attacks -- events that have a finite period of time in which they occur.

There is generally a point after these events when a community has recovered and the resources provided from the Disaster Relief Fund can gradually decline.

"How do you declare an end of this emergency? When you have half as many overdoses every year? Is it when you reduce it by 25? This is not going to end any time in the near future."

Lemaitre said the the option of tapping into FEMA's multi-billion dollar pot of money sounds enticing, but the White House needs to work with Congress to pass "its own set of comprehensive tools and funding sources to address this crisis."

Tapping into the Disaster Relief Fund for an indefinite period of time could drain the dedicated savings and leave the nation unprepared for the next catastrophic natural disaster like Hurricanes Harvey or Maria, Lemairte said.

If President Trump fulfills his repeated promise to declare a national emergency (he made a similar pledge in August), Lemaitre believes he will most likely do so through the Public Health Service Act.

The president can ask the acting-Secretary of Health and Human Services (Tom Price resigned on Sept. 29) to declare a public health emergency, allowing the agency to waive restrictions and deploy medical personnel to rural areas where medical options are limited.

This option could be effective, Haffajee, the University of Michigan assistant professor said, but limited in terms of dollars available.

The Public Health Emergency Fund at HHS currently stands at $57,000, according to an agency spokesperson.

Congress created the fund in 1983 and designed it to be replenished up to $30 million on an annual basis. The last time congress reauthorized the fund was in 1990 when the balance was raised to $45 million, but refunding has since ceased.

President Trump's latest budget proposal includes such an emergency fund, but does not provide a dollar amount. If the budget passes in its current form, HHS would lose more than $4 billion in funding.

Those inside and outside of HHS understand that any federal emergency declaration through the Public Health Service Act would require additional capital from congress for HHS's emergency fund. Such a declaration however could provide HHS the freedom to tear down red tape and facilitate quick and effective action, according to experts.

For example, the HHS chief could allow pharmacies to distribute naloxone, the opioid overdose antidote, to those without a prescription, called a "standing order."

"Family, friends can get that naloxone if they know they're going to be around somebody who is using, and have a higher likelihood of being able to administer that," Haffajee said.

One thing some states have done, that the federal government could facilitate, according to Haffajee, is to equip first responders and even librarians or other personnel in public places with the antidote where overdoses occur with some frequency.

"The whole idea is getting more naloxone into more people's hands and getting them to feel comfortable using it," Haffajee told ABC News.

Under Medicaid, the federal government will not reimburse opioid abuse treatments at larger medical facilities dedicated to such mental diseases, another restriction HHS could lift under the Public Health Service Act.

"This is the single fastest way to increase treatment availability across the nation," the White House commission wrote in their report.

The commission also recommended by declaring a national emergency, "you can empower the HHS Secretary to negotiate reduced pricing" for naloxone, something currently restricted by federal law.

The experts agree that these steps could be, and in some cases already have been, effective, but the apparent lack of funds through a Public Health Service Act emergency declaration could become problematic.

"States have done a lot," Haffajee said. "But because we need so much more for the population, states are starting to run out of funds."

Richard Frank, a Harvard University health economics professor told McClatchy News that the price of necessary services to combat the growing opioid problem is roughly $190 billion over 10 years.

Officials ABC News spoke to on many sides of the debate agree that federal government involvement is critical to tackling the epidemic and an emergency declaration would bring an important amount of attention to what is likely the most severe drug crisis in the country's history. The question, they say, remains: what course of federal action provides the best resources.

Grant Smith, deputy director of National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance, says some positive results could come out of an emergency declaration, but added that he thinks the Trump administration's stance on drug policy is worrisome to an extent and handing the opioid fight to the current White House could be an extension of the "war on drugs."

In a speech Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivered to the National Alliance For Drug Endangered Children in August he said "robust enforcement of our laws helps keep drugs out of our country, decreases their availability, drives up their price, and reduces their purity."

President Trump later echoed the sentiment from Bedminster, N.J.

"Strong law enforcement is absolutely vital to having a drug-free society," Trump said. "I'm confident that by working with our health care and law enforcement experts we will fight this deadly epidemic and the United States will win."

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- In a wide-ranging interview, Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, spoke out on "Good Morning America" about her husband's death during a mission in Niger and the controversy that has surrounded it.

She told ABC News' chief anchor, George Stephanopoulos, that she was upset about remarks President Trump made during a condolence call and said she has many unanswered questions.

"He died as a hero," she said.

George Stephanopoulos: We’re joined now by the widow of Sgt. Johnson, Myeshia Johnson. Myeshia thank you for coming in this morning. I hope you’re feeling the prayers the thoughts of all of us. Myeshia Johnson: Yes.

GS: You know it was so clear watching the funeral how loved and respected La David was by his family, his friends, his community, his fellow soldiers. What do you want people to know about him? MJ: Well, I want the world to know how great of a soldier my husband was and a loving and caring father and husband he was to our family.

GS: You knew him since you were six, huh? MJ: Yes sir.

GS: And I also know you have a lot of questions about what happened. MJ: Yes. GS: In Niger, What’s at the top of your mind? MJ: The questions that I have that I need answered is I want to know why it took them 48-hours to find my husband; why couldn’t I see my husband? Every time I asked to see my husband they wouldn’t let me.

GS: What did they tell you? MJ: They told me that he’s in a severe, a severe wrap like I won’t be able to see him. I need to see him so I will know that that is my husband. I don't know nothing they won’t show me a finger, a hand. I know my husband’s body from head to toe. And they won’t let me see anything. I don’t know what’s in that box, it could be empty for all I know. But I need, I need to see my husband. I haven’t seen him since he came home.

GS: And what have they told you about what happened in Africa? MJ: I really don’t know the answers to that one neither because when they came to my house they just told me that, um, it was a massive gunfire and my husband as of October 4th was missing, they didn't his whereabouts. They didn't know where he was or where to find him and a couple days later is when they told me that he went from missing to killed in action. I don’t know how he got killed, where he got killed or anything. I don’t know that part they never told me and that’s what I’ve been trying to find out since day one, since October 4th.

GS: Are you confident you’re going to get the answers you need? MJ: If I keep pushing for them I will.

GS: And they say they don't know? MJ: They wont tell me. They won’t tell me anything. I don't know anything.

GS: There are also a lot of questions about the phone call you received from President Trump. I know you were in a car to the airport. Tell us what happened next. MJ: Me and my family was in the limo to receive my husband from I think it was Denver, Dover, we went to... GS: Dover. MJ: Dover, and we was literally on the airport strip gettin' ready to get out and he called Master Sergeant Neil’s phone. I asked Master Sergeant Neil to put his phone on speaker so my aunt and uncle could hear as well. And he goes on to saying his statement as what he said was... GS: The president... MJ: Yes the President, said that he knew what he signed up for, but it hurts anyway. And it made me cry cause I was very angry at the tone of his voice and how he said he couldn’t remember my husband’s name. The only way he remembered my husband's name is because he told me he had my husband’s report in front of him and that’s when he actually said La David. I heard him stumblin' on trying to remember my husband’s name and that’s what hurt me the most, because if my husband is out here fighting for our country and he risked his life for our country why can’t you remember his name. And that’s what made me upset and cry even more because my husband was an awesome soldier. He did what it take other people like five years to do in three years. So imagine if my husband was here now. It took my husband three years to make E-5 -- it takes other soldiers five to six years just to make E-5. So if he was here now he woulda been on his way to bein' the E-6 or E-7. My husband had high hopes in the military career.

GS: What did you say to the President? MJ: I didn’t say anything I just listened

GS: But you were upset when you got off the phone? MJ: Oh very, very upset and hurt. Very it made me cry even worse.

GS: Congresswoman Wilson reported that and you explained she was in the car with you. MJ: Yes. GS: She’s been close with your family for a long time? MJ: Yes. Ms. Wilson, my uncle-in-law was Ms. Wilson’s elementary school principal and my husband was in her 5,000 role model program that’s why she’s well connected with us because she’s been in our family since we were little kids.

GS: The President said that the congresswoman was lying about the phone call. MJ: Whatever Ms. Wilson said was not fabricated. What she said was 100 percent correct. It was Master Sgt. Neil, me, my aunt, my uncle and the driver and Ms. Wilson in the car, the phone was on speaker phone. Why would we fabricate something like that?

GS: Is there anything you’d like to say to the President now? MJ: No. I don’t have nothing to say to him.

GS: Your little girl’s going to be born in January. MJ: Yes January 29th. GS: What are you gonna tell her about her dad? MJ: I’m gonna tell her how awesome her dad was and how a great father he was and how he died as a hero.

GS: Words she’s gonna love to hear Myeshia thank you for sharing your story this morning. MJ: Thank you.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump said he will allow the public release of thousands of long-secret documents about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy 54 years ago.

A White House official said later that the release of the files could be held up if national security or law enforcement agencies believe that is necessary. Unless the president formally objects to the release of the documents, they will become available to the public this Thursday.

What are the JFK assassination files?

More than 5 million pages of records related to Kennedy's murder on Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas, including photos, films, sound recordings and artifacts are held by the National Archives.

About 88 percent of these records have been fully available to the public since the late 1990s, and another 11 percent have been released with sensitive portions removed, the National Archives says on its website.

Still secret are the remaining 1 percent of files.

But under a 1992 law on the JFK files, all records previously withheld either in part or in full are to be released on Oct. 26, 2017, unless the president authorizes that they be withheld longer.

What did the government know and when did it know it

Professor Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, is among the scholars looking forward to the release of the remaining documents.

He told ABC News that while he doesn't expect the remaining files to answer every question, he hopes they will reveal "critical details" such as what government agencies did or did not know.

“Ever since the assassination, so many questions have risen that people want to see what the government knew and when they knew it,” Sabato said. “Unfortunately most of the government including the FBI and the CIA have been unwilling to provide the critical pieces of information.”

“What I am looking to find are critical details of parts of this story that we don’t understand,” Sabato said, noting as an example the question of whether various law enforcement and intelligence agencies knew and communicated with each other about the fact that a man who had previously defected to the Soviet Union, Lee Harvey Oswald, was working at a site on the president’s motorcade route.

“Unlike some, I don’t think we’re going to find a Rosetta stone that suddenly puts all the pieces together and identifies members of a plot, it just doesn’t happen that way,” Sabato told ABC News. “The important part is we the people have to know, it’s been 54 years since the assassination.”

“The most sensitive papers are being held until the last day,” he said. “We hope we can fill in some of the blanks and help people understand what did really happen on November 22nd.”

'The government isn't hiding anything'

The judge who headed a board that reviewed for release the huge number of assassination records said making them public lets Americans see that the government is being fully transparent about the assassination.

"As of today if we can say everything that has been found in government files has been released in full to the public, yeah, I think that goes at least partways to helping people understand that the government isn't hiding anything significant from them," said Chief Judge John Tunheim of the U.S. District Court of Minnesota, who chaired a records review board established by the 1992 law but which no longer operates.

The judge said that although the records board has been "very diligent" about finding and releasing records, "it is entirely possible something has been found since the 1990s that has been sent over to the National Archives which has cast a new light on the assassination."

Another scholar said he doubts that any of the still-classified Kennedy files would compromise national security if they were released.

“It’s hard to think the things that were in existence in the 1960s would today jeopardize national security or be too sensitive for release,” said Patrick Maney, a presidential historian and professor at Boston College.

The National Archives declined to comment and referred all inquiries to the White House.

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump and Arizona Sen. John McCain have had a publicly tense relationship for years now, but some of the most searing exchanges have come over military service.

Trump fired first with a controversial comment during his presidential campaign mocking McCain's years of imprisonment by the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War. Now a recent comment by McCain was interpreted by many as a veiled swipe at Trump's deferment from serving in that same war. McCain's spokesperson has since denied that the senator was referring to Trump.

McCain, 81, comes from a military family and became a naval aviator himself. He was shot down during a bombing mission over Hanoi during the Vietnam War and spent five and a half years as a prisoner of war. He earned numerous awards for his service including two Purple Heart medals and a Silver Star.

Trump, 71, spent five years at the private New York Military Academy as a teen, which he has described as formative.

According to The New York Times, Trump told a biographer he had "more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military" through his time at the school.

Trump received four student deferments from serving in the Vietnam War. Then after he graduated from college in 1968, he received a medical deferment for his diagnosis with bone spurs in his heels, according to a New York Times report from August 2016.

In 2015, then-candidate Trump told ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz that during the war he "had a minor medical deferment for feet, for a bone spur of the foot, which was minor."

At one point during the Vietnam War, Trump was given a high draft number -- number 356 out of 366, making it very unlikely he would be called into service -- and Trump told his biographer that even though his number "was so incredible," he felt connected to those who served, the Times reported.

"So I never had to do that," he said of serving. "But I felt that I was in the military in the true sense because I dealt with those people," Trump said in a biography by Michael D'Antonio, according to the Times.

In spite of his assertion of feeling like he was in the military, Trump has openly criticized some who have served, among the most prominent being McCain.

"He's not a war hero," Trump said of the Republican senator at the 2015 Family Leadership Summit in Iowa. "He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured."

Though that was certainly one of the most open swipes that Trump has taken at McCain, it wasn't the first time he expressed that sentiment.

In January 2000, when McCain was the GOP nominee for president, Trump told NBC News in an interview, “You would say that maybe he wasn’t an actual war hero. He was captured, but maybe not a war hero."

Trump changed his tune on McCain, calling him an "American hero," when it was announced earlier this year that the Arizona lawmaker would be returning to Washington, D.C., shortly after being diagnosed with a brain tumor to join in crucial votes on GOP health care legislation. Trump was later disappointed when McCain voted against the bill supported by the White House.

For his part, McCain has often openly criticized Trump's policy stances but has steered away from commenting on his lack of military service.

Many people, however, interpreted a recent comment McCain made about draft deferments as an indirect reference to Trump, although his spokesperson has since denied the senator was referring to the president.

In a C-SPAN interview for a Vietnam War documentary that aired Sunday, McCain said it was "wrong" that "we drafted the lowest income level of America, and the highest income level found a doctor that would say they had a bone spur. That is wrong. That is wrong. If we’re going to ask every American to serve, every American should serve.”

McCain spokesperson Julie Tarallo told ABC News this morning the Arizona senator was not talking about Trump but rather criticizing the Selective Service program during the Vietnam War.

"Senator McCain was referring to one of the great injustices of the Vietnam conflict that led to a majority of poor, undereducated and minority draftees," Tarallo told ABC in a statement. "Senator McCain has long criticized the Selective Service program during the Vietnam War, which left the fighting to the less privileged."
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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., criticized higher-income Americans who avoided fighting in the Vietnam War by getting a "bone spur" diagnosis during an interview on Sunday, which some interpreted as an attack on President Donald Trump.

McCain, who made the remarks while discussing the Vietnam War in an interview with C-SPAN3 that aired Sunday, echoed questions that surfaced during the 2016 campaign about Trump's medical history and war deferments.

“One aspect of the [Vietnam] conflict, by the way, that I will never ever countenance is that we drafted the lowest-income level of America, and the highest-income level found a doctor that would say that they had a bone spur,” McCain said. “That is wrong. That is wrong. If we are going to ask every American to serve, every American should serve.”

Though a spokeswoman for McCain told ABC News that the senator was not referring to the president, Trump was exempted from military service in the 1960s after receiving a letter from a doctor diagnosing him with a bone spur ailment.

“I asked for student deferment, like many other people during the war or around the time of the war. I had a minor medical deferment for feet, for a bone spur of the foot, which was minor,” Trump said in an interview with ABC News in July 2015. “I was not a fan of the Vietnam war. But I was entered into the draft and I got a very, very high draft number.”

McCain addressed the comments during an appearance on ABC's "The View" Monday, explaining that his critique was meant to address the injustice in American society at the time that allowed wealthy individuals to find a way out of service.

"What I was trying to say is one of the great inequities of the Vietnam conflict was the lowest income Americans went and fought and were drafted and those where were wealthy enough to have a doctor to say, 'Hey, you got a bone spur or you got migraines' or whatever it is, then they were excused," said McCain.

"I think that when we ask the lowest income portion of our public to do our fighting and dying for us, that that's disgraceful," he added. "Nothing makes me more angry than that."

The senator’s mention of bone spurs came after he and Trump exchanged words last week over the the six-term senator’s recent criticism of "half-baked, spurious nationalism."

"To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain the last best hope of earth for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history," McCain said in an impassioned speech in Philadelphia last Monday.

When asked about the speech the following day, Trump said: "People have to be careful, because at some point I fight back."

"I'm being very nice. I'm being very, very nice. But at some point I fight back, and it won't be pretty," Trump told WMAL radio host Chris Plante last Tuesday.

McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner of war after his plane was shot down in Vietnam, downplayed the prospect of a feud with the president, telling CNN, “I’ve faced far greater challenges than this.”

Trump has had strained relationship with McCain over the years. He sparked a public debate in 2015 when he told the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, that McCain was "not a war hero" because he was captured.

"I like people who weren’t captured," Trump said.


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ABC News(NEW YORK) - Arizona Sen. John McCain weighed in on the war of words over President Donald Trump’s handling of a phone call to an Army widow as she was grieving over the loss of her husband Army Sergeant La David Johnson.

"We should not be fighting about a brave American who lost his life serving his country," McCain said in an appearance on “The View” today. "That should not be the topic of discussion in America today."

Sgt. Johnson was one of four U.S. military members to lose their lives during an ambush in Niger. On Tuesday, Trump called the family of Sgt. Johnson and according to Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson, Trump told Myeshia Johnson that her husband “knew what he signed up for. But I guess it still hurt.” Trump denied he said so, though Myeshia Johnson said on "Good Morning America" Wilson was "100 percent correct."

Earlier on Monday, Myeshia Johnson said on "Good Morning America" that Trump struggled to remember her husband’s name. Trump defended himself on Twitter, arguing he said Sgt. Johnson’s name right away and “without hesitation.”

McCain has been pressing the Trump administration for more details on what happened during that fateful Oct. 4 military ambush.

"Americans should know what’s going on in Niger," McCain said.

McCain said "one of the fights" he's waging with the Trump administration is that the Senate Armed Services Committee he chairs "is not getting enough information."

The Arizona senator also weighed in on his personal feud with President Donald Trump.

Asked if he has working relationship with the president, McCain said he has “almost none.”

In a response to McCain’s speech last Monday in which the lawmaker slammed the ”half-baked, spurious nationalism” sweeping the U.S. -- widely seen as a criticism of the tenor coming from the current administration -- Trump warned “at some point I fight back.”

When asked today if he was scared of Trump’s threat, McCain laughed and said he has faced "greater challenges."

"We've got to lift the national dialogue. Let’s stop insulting each other. Let's start respect each other's views," McCain said, adding, "We need to have a kinder more respectful, but vigorous debate and discussion. But based on what we want the country to do, not whether somebody's a jerk or not.”

Over the weekend, McCain appeared to take another swipe at Trump -- this time for his deferments from the Vietnam War.

“One aspect of the [Vietnam] conflict, by the way, that I will never ever countenance is that we drafted the lowest-income level of America, and the highest-income level found a doctor that would say that they had a bone spur,” McCain said in an interview for a CSPAN documentary that aired Sunday. “That is wrong. That is wrong. If we are going to ask every American to serve, every American should serve.”

McCain said today he wasn’t speaking about the president.

“I was talking about the entire Vietnam conflict and what a tragedy is,” McCain said.

“I don’t consider him so much a draft dodger as I feel that the system was so wrong that certain Americans could evade their responsibilities to serve the country,” McCain said.

McCain had served in the Vietnam War and was captured and held as a prisoner of war for nearly five and a half years. Last year, Trump criticized McCain’s war record, saying he liked “the ones who weren’t captured.”
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U.S. Army(WASHINGTON) -- Retired Army Captain Gary Michael "Mike" Rose, 71, will receive the Medal of Honor Monday for his heroism as a combat medic during a harrowing secret mission into Laos in 1970.

He is credited with saving the lives of 60 wounded personnel during four days of intense combat, including those injured when the helicopter that evacuated his team was brought down by enemy fire.

“My job was to focus on the individuals that were hurt,” said Rose at a Pentagon news briefing on Friday. “You don't concern yourself about getting hurt or killed.”

On September 11, 1970, the then 22-year-old Sergeant Rose and 15 other U.S. Army Green Berets flew from Vietnam into Laos accompanied by 120 Vietnamese fighters known as Montagnards. They were on a secret mission to draw away hundreds of North Vietnamese Army soldiers who had been attacking CIA-controlled airfields deep inside Laos.

The Green Berets belonged to the secret Military Assistance Command Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG) that conducted classified missions in Vietnam and Laos.

Since the U.S. military and CIA’s operations inside neutral Laos were secret, the details of what was officially known as Operation Tailwind would remain classified for decades.

By the time the Green Berets were evacuated by helicopter four days later every one of the Americans had been wounded, along with dozens of the Montagnard fighters.

Rose said neither he nor his fellow Green Berets knew much about their mission beforehand, but in a sign of the intense battle ahead they had been told to pack double the amount of ammunition they would normally bring along.

“We were carrying heavy loads of ammunition: extra machine gun, extra grenades -- God, everything else,” said Rose. “So I knew something was up, “I mean, it doesn't take a genius to figure that out.”

Rose also brought along more medical supplies than usual, which was a good thing because by the time he treated the last of the injured he said “I was down to shirtsleeves and bandannas.”

The American and Montagnard fighters faced enemy fire soon after landing inside Laos. Rose rushed into enemy fire to treat one of the wounded who lay outside his unit’s defensive perimeter and then carried the soldier on his shoulders back to safety.

For the next four days Rose continually treated the mounting number of casualties as his unit pushed deeper into the Laotian jungle surrounded by growing numbers of North Vietnamese troops that numbered into the hundreds.

Though he was also severely wounded in the fighting, Rose continued providing medical care to the others in his team.

“We weren't supposed to come out,” said retired Lt. Colonel Eugene McCarley, who led the mission in Laos, and accompanied Rose at Friday’s briefing. But on September 14, Marine CH-53 helicopters were sent to evacuate out all of the remaining troops, not just the wounded as had been originally planned.

“The ground fire from the anti-aircraft was just horrendous at that time,” said Rose. “The Marines were taking a pounding there.”

Rose remained behind with the last group of Americans and Montagnards still on the ground to ensure after the wounded were evacuated on the first two evacuation helicopters.

Pinned down by enemy fire and low on ammunition A-1 fighters flew low-altitude strafing runs ropped tear gas to prevent the American and Montagnard troops from being overrun.

Rose was one of the last people to board a third helicopter as North Vietnamese troops rushed into the landing area. Aboard the helicopter he provided life-saving care to one of the helicopter’s gunners who had been shot through the neck by enemy fire amid a hail of enemy bullets.

Moments later, the helicopter crash-landed after its engines were taken out by enemy fire.

At the crash site, Rose helped pull survivors from the burning helicopter and provided medical aid until another helicopter arrived to rescue them.

Soon after the mission, Rose was recommended for the Medal of Honor, but in 1971 received the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second-highest award for valor. It is possible that his award may have been downgraded as part of an effort to keep secret the U.S. mission in Laos.

Rose and his colleagues were required to maintain their activities in Vietnam and Laos secret until the Pentagon declassified them in 1998. He remained in the Army after the Vietnam War, retiring as an artillery officer in 1987.

“If anybody asked me, I was going to be a mail clerk during the Vietnam War, to keep myself out of trouble,” said Rose. Until last year his wife had never really heard him talk about the mission for which he will receive the Medal of Honor.

Like other Medals of Honor awarded long after combat, Congress passed specific legislation for Rose that waived the requirement that medal can only be awarded five years after the heroic action.

On Monday, Rose will be joined by 25 people who participated in Operation Tailwind, including 10 of his fellow Green Berets.

Rose says he hopes his medal will honor the service of Vietnam War veterans.

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Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images(COLLEGE STATION, Texas) -- Democrats Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and Republicans George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush came together for the "Deep From the Heart: The One America Appeal" concert at Texas A&M University's Reed Arena in College Station to raise money for relief efforts from the recent hurricane devastation in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

All ticket sales and other proceeds from the charity event will go to the special hurricane recovery effort launched last month by the five former presidents. The appeal had already raised $31 million since it launched Sept. 7, Jim McGrath, spokesman for former President George H.W. Bush told The Associated Press.

The lineup featured country music band Alabama, Rock-and-Roll Hall of Famer Sam Moore, gospel legend Yolanda Adams as well as Texas musicians Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen, while Lady Gaga made a surprise appearance.

Although he wasn't physically present, President Donald Trump taped a video message that was played at the fundraising event.

"President Trump was honored to be given an opportunity to participate in relief and recovery efforts. He encourages all Americans to be as generous as they can in helping storm survivors through this difficult time," the White House said in a statement obtained by ABC News Friday.

In his video message, Trump notably thanks his predecessors for their "tremendous assistance" with supporting hurricane relief efforts.

"As we begin to rebuild, some of America's finest public servants are spearheading the One America Appeal. Through this effort, all five living former presidents are playing a tremendous role in helping our fellow citizens recover," Trump says. "To presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Melania and I want to express our deep gratitude for your tremendous assistance."

Trump's message marked a change of tone for a president who has accused Obama of illegally wiretapping Trump Tower in New York City, routinely derides his other predecessors and continues to call for an investigation into his former Democratic opponent and Clinton's wife, Hillary Clinton.

Trump has recently come under fire for the difference in his responses to the hurricane devastation in U.S. states compared to that in U.S. territories. After a string of hurricanes -- Harvey, Irma and Maria -- battered Caribbean islands and the southern U.S. in recent months, Trump criticized Puerto Rican leaders grappling with the devastation and suggested there could be a limit to how much aid the U.S. territory may get from the federal government.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Retired four-star U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus said the military is "fiercely protective” of the freedoms of speech and expression “even if that includes criticizing us.”

This is a different view than that of White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, who said it's "highly inappropriate" to debate a U.S. general.

"I think we're all fair game," Petraeus told ABC News This Week co-anchor Martha Raddatz in an exclusive interview Sunday. "We in uniform protect the rights of others to criticize us, frankly."

Petraeus was responding to a remark made at a Friday media briefing, where Sanders said it would be "inappropriate" for a reporter to question a claim by White House Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly.

Sanders was defending Kelly’s claim that Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida -- who criticized President Trump’s response to a grieving military widow -- had taken credit for securing federal funding for an FBI building in Miami in a 2015 speech.

Video of Wilson's speech obtained by the Sun-Sentinel appeared to refute Kelly's account. When a reporter pointed this out to Sanders, the press secretary said, "If you want to go after General Kelly, that's up to you. But I think if you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general, I think that's something highly inappropriate."

Sanders later sought to clarify her comment, telling ABC News in a statement, "Of course everyone can be questioned, but after witnessing Gen. Kelly's heartfelt and somber account [of his son's death in military combat] we should all be able to agree that impugning his credibility on how best to honor fallen heroes is not appropriate."

Petraeus urged everyone to unite behind Gold Star families and “embrace them with compassion and support” instead of dragging them into “partisan politics.”

He also highlighted the danger of political division.

"Arguably, the most important threat the United States faces is not that of Russia, Iran, North Korea, or even Chinese competition, or ISIS, it's parochialism here at home,” Petraeus said. “[It] is preventing us from resolving issues that could allow us to capitalize on extraordinary opportunities.”

“We need to re-learn the word of compromise,” he said. “We need to take the volume down.”

Petraeus said he knows Kelly well and believes the White House chief of staff will figure out how to do just that.

"I have to think that this weekend he's sitting at home or in the White House trying to figure out how to turn down the volume, how to get this behind us, and how to focus on what really is important to the country over all," Petraeus said.

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Subscribe To This Feed -- President Donald Trump has promised to help cover the mounting legal costs for White House staff members caught up in the investigations of Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election, a White House official told ABC News.

The official's account confirmed a report on Saturday by Axios that Trump has promised to help White House staff members pay legal costs connected with the probe of Russia's alleged election meddling and of any possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

The news of Trump's offer comes a few weeks after it was disclosed that the Republican National Committee spent about $430,000 in August covering legal costs for President Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr. in connection to the Russia probe.

The RNC spent more than $230,000 in August on the president's legal costs in the matter. The committee also paid nearly $200,000 on legal fees for Trump Jr.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Amber Gustafson, a mother of three, launched her campaign for the Iowa State Senate the day after the Las Vegas gun massacre.

She had been planning the event for weeks, so despite the terrible news and the calls she got from friends and fellow gun-safety activists all night, she did not consider postponing. The tragedy, in fact, underscored the reason she had gotten involved in politics.

The time for fighting from the outside had passed, Gustafson believed.

After spending years lobbying lawmakers to pass gun control solutions, she now wants to be the one in office.

Gustafson is one of a growing number of gun control activists, mostly women, seeking elected office next year, especially at the state and local level.

An increasingly powerful grassroots group

The trend is a perhaps a sign of a changing conversation nationwide over gun safety, but is also clearly the result of the work of an increasingly powerful grassroots lobbying group: Moms Demand Action. The organization has encouraged its volunteers to not only petition lawmakers, but run themselves.

Moms Demand Action was founded in 2012 after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that killed 20 young children and six adults. Over just the past three years, it has grown from 4,500 active volunteers to nearly 70,000, with chapters in every state.

"For nearly five years, Moms Demand Action volunteers have been working in statehouses to demand that more is done to prevent gun violence," the group's founder, Shannon Watts, told ABC News. "I couldn't be more proud of the volunteers who are now determined to run for their statehouses, school boards and city councils to ensure constituents’ voices are louder than gun lobbyists.”

She added, “Women hold just a fraction of elected positions in America, yet we are the majority of voters."

Other gun control activists have noticed a change too.

“I definitely see a huge surge of candidates who want to run on this issue, candidates who want to make it a key part of their primary, who are trying to tell voters that being a gun violence prevention champion is a central issue of their campaign,” said Isabelle James, the political director at Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, an organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband. Giffords was shot in the head in 2011 while meeting with constituents in Arizona.

From unspeakable loss to speaking out

Lucia McBath said people had been telling her to run for office for years.

She became a gun control activist after her 17-year-old son, Jordan Davis, was shot and killed in 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida, by a man who had complained about the loud rap music coming from the car carrying the teen and his friends.

A flight attendant at the time of her son's murder, McBath started speaking out on gun-violence prevention and eventually joined the staff of Moms Demand Action as a national spokeswomen for the organization. This year, she decided it was time to run for office herself, and she is now candidate to represent a district in the Atlanta area in the Georgia House of Representatives.

“It became clearer to me that maybe only way we were going to be able to change what was happening in the country was to get in on the inside,” she told ABC News. “Yes, I have been helping to building this huge external movement around the nation. Yes, that’s fine and dandy, but if we cannot get gun control champions on the inside … then it is going to take much, much longer for us to beat the goliath of the NRA gun lobby.”

McBath said her son, Jordan, would have loved the idea.

“He would be the one pushing me, 'Go get them,'” she said. “I learned how to champion other people through my child. … I have to be able to carry out his legacy.”

A need for people who will 'talk to both sides'

Gustafson, who lives in Ankeny, Iowa, on the outskirts of Des Moines, says the qualities that come with being a mother – tenacity, problem-solving and persuasion skills -- have made her team effective activists and will make her a good legislator.

“We can polite you to death. We are extremely persistent. We don’t take ‘no’ for an answer, but we will bring cookies,” she said. She said she honed her skills talking to the most hardened NRA supporters and learned not get her feathers ruffled.

“Mothers are used to getting toddlers and teenagers to do things they don’t want to do,” she said.

Gustafson grew up on a farm in southwest Iowa and owned guns from an early age. The first time a boy picked her up for a date, he had a .22 rifle in the rack in his car. “No one even batted an eye,” she said, laughing.

“We need more people who are willing to talk to both sides, who are willing to look across the aisle ... and that is basically all we do as moms -- both with Moms Demand Action and as mothers. I have three people who constantly disagree with me.”

Like many moms working on the issue, Gustafson said the Sandy Hook shooting was a turning point for her. She had a first-grader at the time, the same age as the children killed, and was horrified thinking about students targeted in their classrooms. Plus, the shooter had reportedly been diagnosed with autism as had her own oldest son. She worried about the tendency to blame mental illness. “If people are going to look at my child because he has autism and ADHD as a potential school shooter and treat him that way … I am not going to sit on the sidelines.”

“I thought to myself, 'If I am someone who owns a gun, then it is my responsibility to be a part of helping fix this ... I am not going to let a bunch of people who know nothing about guns make the decisions,'” she said.

'Building a movement'

In Montana, Nancy de Pastino has a similar story. She also had a first-grader at the time of the Sandy Hook massacre and said the tragedy was the catalyst that drove her to volunteer on the issue of gun control. With Moms Demand Action building in earnest in 2012, de Pastino agreed to start the first Montana state chapter, even though, as she put it, “I had no idea what I was doing.”

De Pastino went out on a limb and found that building a movement could be lonely at times. She remembers calling friends and asking them to join her. She had to make a change quickly from being private citizen, a professional photographer, and a mom to talking to reporters and speaking in public as an activist and a leader.

“I had to come out of my shell, step outside of my comfort zone in major ways,” she said.

On the first anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting, she held a memorial in Missoula that the mayor and 60 other people attended. “I knew then there were people who cared,” she said.

Now after five years of activism has decided to run for a seat in the Montana statehouse.

Like Gustafson, de Pastino said her experience working on gun safety legislation sets her apart from other candidates.

“There are more similarities than I realized” between activism and running for election, she said. “Campaigns are really about being organized and building a movement of people behind you.”

After getting the Montana chapter of Moms Demand Action off the ground, de Pastino managed the group's work in 17 other states and had a number of legislative successes. Her teams defeated local bills in some areas that would have allowed people to carry weapons without a permit or bring guns to schools. She said she is most proud of an expanded background check ordinance passed in Missoula in 2016.

“You have to make change where you can make change. And for us that meant going as small as the Missoula City Council,” she said. "That kind of power we found just in being there, just in showing up, is really what motivates me to go run for the legislature myself. … We are not going to get anything done until we have new people in office.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Ben Shapiro is a 33-year-old father of two, a lawyer who wears button-down shirts and has his own media platforms.

He also has been on a speaking tour promoting what he believes are frank conversations about America today in the name of free speech, and now Shapiro is at the center of a nationwide debate about whether polarizing voices are being stifled by protesters on American college campuses.

Shapiro is the editor-in-chief of the conservative website The Daily Wire and the host of The Ben Shapiro Show, a popular political podcast that has millions of downloads each week.

And Shapiro is on the college lecture circuit at a time when there have been increasingly violent protests against conservative speakers on campus. Tensions flared over white nationalist Richard Spencer after he spoke Thursday at University of Florida, where the governor of Florida had dispatched the National Guard ahead of the event in case violence broke out. In February, an event with provocateur and former Breitbart commentator Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of California, Berkeley was shut down after protestors threw rocks and Molotov cocktails.

Last month, Shapiro spoke at the University of Berkeley as well and local authorities spent over $500,000 on security. Local businesses closed early and ATMs were boarded up.

“The headlines were nuts,” Shapiro said. “I mean, the headlines like, ‘Berkeley braces for Shapiro visit.’ Really? Was I the one who's going around smashing ATMs?”

“Nightline” was there for his lecture at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City in September. Just hours before he was supposed to take the stage, Shapiro said he was already hearing reports of possible violence.

“I'm hearing some rumors that there may be some people who try to bring weapons tonight which would just be ridiculous, and awful,” he said. “I don't want to be killed in my lectures.”

At his University of Utah lecture, Shapiro’s security team sneaked him in. A fellow conservative podcast host claimed he captured undercover video of self-described Antifa members allegedly handing out knives and talking about luring fans of Shapiro to their car where they allegedly had guns.

“I mean, this is insanity,” he said.

Shapiro said he believes it’s political correctness run amok.

“It’s the furthest extension of political correctness,” he said. “That when you say something, it’s not just me disagreeing with you, it is me destroying your identity as a human being in a way that is akin to violence.”

Shapiro’s controversial comments have made him a target for protesters, especially his comments about the LGBTQ community, including that he openly says he believes those who are transgender have a mental illness, wrongfully equating it to gender dysphoria.

“It is a psychological disorder,” he said. “So that's not an insult to people who suffer from psychological disorders…you are not doing a service to people who are suffering from a mental disorder to humor them by suggesting that their mental disorder is reflected in objective reality.”

The American Psychological Association does not define being transgender as a mental illness. A gender dysphoria, is on the list of conditions, a diagnosis only applies if the individuals experiences significant distress. Gender dysphoria is not an inherent part of being transgender, though the National Center for Transgender Equality found that 40 percent of transgender adults have attempted suicide, often after being mistreated by others and struggling with depression.

But while he is hated by many on the left, he is also hated by the self-described alt-right movement.

“I've been very, very outspoken against the alt-right,” he said. “I've said alt-right is a garbage movement composed of garbage ideas that it has nothing to do with constitutional conservatism.”

Shapiro is also fiercely critical of President Trump and he publicly quit his last job at Breitbart News when a female colleague was allegedly manhandled by Trump campaign manager Cory Lewandowsky and Shapiro thought Breitbart failed to have her back.

“I quit under very public circumstances because Breitbart had been turning itself into a Trump propaganda arm and the alt-right really like President Trump,” he said.

An Orthodox Jew, Shapiro said he has received thousands of anti-Semitic messages on Twitter, as well as death threats over the phone and in the mail. It’s why Shapiro said he finds it hard to believe that protesters call him a white supremacist.

“That is the stupidest thing I have legitimately ever heard,” he said. “I keep hearing this and I keep wondering, ‘Was it the yarmulke that gave it away?’”

Shapiro has been interested in politics for as long as he can remember. He went on to start his own nationally syndicated column at age 17, but because he was a minor, his parents had to sign the contract for him. He graduated from UCLA at age 20, put out two books by age 21 and graduated from Harvard Law School at age 23.

On the day he was speaking at the University of Utah, Professor David Vergobbi, who teaches a class there on freedom of expression, said many college students today do not understand that speech is protected under the First Amendment, unless it directly incites violence.

“This is a public institution. It's a government entity. They have to guarantee the free speech rights of everyone including Shapiro,” Vergobbi said. “No content neutrality. The emotional principle. Offense is not enough to shut down speech.”

When he took the stage at Utah, Shapiro focused on what he called America’s culture of victimization. He inserted his views into some of the most heated debates in our divided country, from police shootings to the NFL kneeling controversy.

Shapiro said he believes racism is real, but he doesn’t believe “institutional racism” is real.

“Yes, of course there are racists,” he said. “There are racist cops who shoot black guys for no reason should go to jail and they should throw away the key. But this idea that's put out there by these kind of broad statements about America being a discriminatory racist country, I don't know how that helps anything, and I don't think it's actually true.”

He also shared his controversial views on the country’s history of slavery and Jim Crow laws.

“The question is what is the remedy now?” Shapiro continued. “Is the remedy now to blame people who are living today who had nothing to do with Jim Crow or slavery? I didn't hold slaves.”

In his Utah speech, Shapiro continuously brought attention to his theme of white victimhood.

“The hierarchy of victimhood goes as follows,” he told the crowd. “If you’re LGBTQ, then we suggest you are at the very top of the hierarchy. After that it’s black folks, and then Hispanics, and then women and then Jews and then Asians, and then all the way at the bottom, white folks.”

When asked about how his audience was mostly white at his Utah speech, Shapiro said it wasn’t his intention for his message to only resonate with white people and he said he wished his lecture crowds were more racially diverse.

The end of his lecture at Utah ended peacefully, but two protesters were arrested.

Even being at the center of controversy in today’s divided political landscape, Shapiro said he is still optimistic about the future.

“I think that there's going to be a strong backlash for people who are tired of it … want to stand up for basic rights that we can all agree on,” he said.

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