PILOT KILLED IN HELICOPTER CRASH | MANHATTAN

PILOT KILLED IN HELICOPTER CRASH | MANHATTAN

NEW YORK (AP) – A helicopter crash-landed on the roof of a midtown Manhattan skyscraper Monday, killing the pilot and briefly unnerving the city.

The crash happened at around 2 p.m. in a steady rain and clouds that obscured the roof of the 750-foot (229-meter) AXA Equitable building.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who spoke to reporters at the scene about 20 minutes after the crash, said the impact shook the building and caused a fire that was quickly brought under control. There were no other reports of injuries.

The crash, close to both Rockefeller Center and Times Square, sent rescue vehicles swarming to the building and immediately evoked memories of the Sept. 11 attacks, though officials said there were no indications it was related to terrorism.

“If you’re a New Yorker, you have a level of PTSD, right, from 9/11. And I remember that morning all too well. So as soon as you hear an aircraft hit a building, I think my mind goes where every New Yorker’s mind goes,” Cuomo said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it would investigate. It was not immediately known what type of helicopter was involved. New York officials said the pilot was believed to be the only one aboard.

Videos posted by onlookers showed emergency vehicles in the street, but no obvious damage to the skyscraper.

Pedro Rodriguez, a pastry line cook at Le Bernardin, a well-known restaurant in the building, said workers got an announcement telling everyone to exit, and he later heard from people around him that there was a fire on the roof. The evacuation wasn’t chaotic, Rodriguez said, but he was rattled because he immediately thought of the Sept. 11 attacks.

“It’s scary when something like this happens,” he said.

Alex Jacobs was working on the seventh floor when he heard bells and an announcement to evacuate. He and his colleagues – who hadn’t heard or felt an impact – used stairs to a fire exit. “It’s really unfortunate. I Just hope everyone’s OK,” he said.

New York City has a history of both minor and major helicopter wrecks and crash landings.

Last month, a helicopter crash landed in the Hudson River near a busy Manhattan heliport. The pilot escaped mostly unscathed.

Five people died when a sightseeing helicopter crashed into the East River last year. Three people died in another crash into the same river in 2011. Nine people died in a collision between a sightseeing helicopter and a small plane in 2009, not far from the scene of Monday’s mishap.

WEST POINT CADET KILLED | TOWN OF HIGHLANDS

WEST POINT CADET KILLED | TOWN OF HIGHLANDS


WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) — West Point officials say one cadet was killed and 22 people were injured when a vehicle they were riding in for summer training overturned.

The U.S. Military Academy says the vehicle overturned on a dirt road around 6:45 a.m. Thursday. Twenty cadets and two soldiers on the light medium tactical vehicle were injured.

Lieutenant Col. Christopher Ophardt could not provide the severity of the injuries or the name of cadet who died.

The accident occurred near Camp Natural Bridge, an area where cadet summer training takes place.

Ophardt says the investigation of the cause of the single-vehicle accident was continuing.

D-DAY: 75 YEARS LATER – PRESIDENT TRUMP IN FRANCE FOR ANNIVERSARY OF NORMANDY INVASION

D-DAY: 75 YEARS LATER – PRESIDENT TRUMP IN FRANCE FOR ANNIVERSARY OF NORMANDY INVASION

COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, France (AP) — President Donald Trump on Thursday lauded the heroism of American and Allied service members who participated in the D-Day invasion that changed the fortunes of World War II, saying they “are among the very greatest Americans who will ever live.”

Trump joined other world leaders at Normandy American Cemetery in France to honor those who died and participated in the battle.

The president described the 130,000 service members who fought as the “citizens of free and independent nations, united by their duty to their compatriots and to millions yet unborn.”

Trump also sought to assure allies skittish about relying on the U.S. under his tenure, saying: “To all of our friends and partners — our cherished alliance was forged in the heat of battle, tested in the trials of war, and proven in the blessings of peace. Our bond is unbreakable.”

He said the abundance of courage showed by D-Day participants came from an abundance of faith.

“The exceptional might came from an exceptional spirit,” Trump said.

Trump was joined by French President Emmanuel Macron, who told American D-Day veterans that “France doesn’t forget” what they sacrificed for his country’s liberty from Nazi Germany.

“We know what we owe to you veterans: our freedom,” Macron said. “On behalf of my nation, I just want to say, thank you.”

Trump, who participated in D-Day commemoration in Portsmouth, England, on Wednesday, said in France that America’s veterans are the pride of the U.S. He shared the personal stories of several American D-Day veterans with the audience. Many veterans wore military uniforms bedecked with medals.

Following the program and gun salute, Trump, Macron and their wives walked to an overlook above Omaha Beach, the scene of the bloodiest fighting. They stood silently as a bugler played “Taps” and surveyed a map of the invasion. They also watched as fighter jets and other aircraft, including some that left trails of red, white and blue smoke, flew overhead. At the cemetery, Melania Trump placed a bouquet of white flowers at the base of a cross-shaped headstone.

Trump and Macron were traveling separately to Caen, France, for a meeting and lunch before Trump returns to his golf course in Ireland.

At the ceremony, Trump said Americans are drawn to the shores of Normandy “as though it were a part of our very soul.” He noted that many of the men who lost their lives here were fathers who would never meet their infant sons and daughters because they had a job to do.

“They came in wave after wave without question, without hesitation and without complaint,” Trump said.

The cemetery contains grave markers for more than 9,300 American servicemen. Trump noted that each marker has been adopted by a French family and that people come from all over France to “look after our boys.”

“They kneel, they cry, they pray, they place flowers and they never forget,” Trump said. “Today America embraces the French people and thanks you for honoring our beloved war dead.”

State Lawmakers Stop Efforts To Pass Legal Marijuana Bill

State Lawmakers Stop Efforts To Pass Legal Marijuana Bill

THE ONE PLACE FOR WHAT'S HAPPENING IN NEW JERSEY.

 

 

TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey’s state Senate president says voters will be asked to decide next year if recreational use of marijuana should be legalized.

Steve Sweeney made the announcement Wednesday. The Democrat also says lawmakers will move forward with related measures that would expand the state’s medical marijuana program and expunge the criminal records of people with convictions for possessing pot.

Legalizing recreational marijuana was a campaign promise of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, but he and Sweeney have been unable to muster enough support from fellow Democrats to pass the measure.

A measure to legalize recreational weed for those 21 and over while also allowing marijuana-related convictions to be wiped clean failed to get enough support in March.

House panel votes Barr in contempt, escalating Trump dispute

House panel votes Barr in contempt, escalating Trump dispute

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress, escalating the Democrats’ extraordinary legal battle with the Trump administration over access to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia report.

The vote capped a day of ever-deepening dispute between congressional Democrats and President Donald Trump, who for the first time invoked the principle of executive privilege, claiming the right to block lawmakers from the full report on Mueller’s probe of Russian interference to help Trump in the 2016 election.

Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York declared the action by Trump’s Justice Department a clear new sign of the president’s “blanket defiance” of Congress’ constitutional rights to conduct oversight.

“We did not relish doing this, but we have no choice,” Nadler said after the vote.

The White House’s blockade, he said, “is an attack on the ability of the American people to know what the executive branch is doing.” He said, “This cannot be.”

But Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said it was disappointing that members of Congress “have chosen to engage in such inappropriate political theatrics.”

Barr made “extraordinary efforts” to provide Congress and the public with information about Mueller’s work, she said.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said neither the White House nor Barr “will comply with Chairman Nadler’s unlawful and reckless demands.”

Late Wednesday the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee issued his own subpoena to the Justice Department for the full Mueller report, as the confrontation intensifies.

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, whose committee had previously requested the documents, said he has “no choice” but to compel the department’s compliance. He warned that if it continues to “ignore or rejects our requests,” the panel could take legal action.

Kupec declined to comment.

Though the White House initially hesitated on invoking privilege, Trump told his staff and political advisers in recent weeks to refuse to cooperate with Democrats, believing the party’s goal was simply to damage him politically going into his re-election campaign. The coming legal battle could stretch to 2020, and the White House is aiming to tie up congressional probes until Election Day.

Executive privilege is the president’s power to keep information from the courts, Congress and the public to protect the confidentiality of the Oval Office decision-making process.

The president’s decision was weeks in the making, the next inevitable escalation between the White House and Congress over a number of probes. The White House has rejected all efforts to probe Trump’s business dealings or tax returns as well as the West Wing’s security clearance procedure.

The committee voted along party lines, 24-16, to recommend the full House hold Barr in contempt, but only after some five hours of heated and, at times, emotional testimony.

Democrats made their case that Congress was at a historic juncture as it confronts what they consider Trump’s stonewalling of lawmakers’ ability to conduct oversight of the administration. Republicans portrayed the majority as angry and lashing out at Barr after the special counsel did not find that Trump colluded with Russia to swing the 2016 election.

Said Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas: “The president now seeks to take a wrecking ball to the Constitution of the United States.”

And Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana said the road ahead may be “messy” but Democrats must fight to “protect our democracy.” Other Democrats called the standoff a “serious” and “grave” moment.

However, the panel’s top Republican, Doug Collins of Georgia, said Democrats were manufacturing a crisis and rushing the process to “sully Bill Barr’s good name.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, a Trump ally, said the Democrats were trying to “delegitimize” the president and biding time before they try to impeach him.

“Get over it,” Gaetz said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said the next step will be consideration by the full House. Nadler said that will happen soon.

If approved by the House, where the Democrats hold a solid majority, the contempt resolution would almost certainly move to an unusual, and potentially protracted, multi-pronged court battle with the Trump administration.

The contempt finding could be referred to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, a Justice Department official who would be likely to defend rather than oppose Barr. Democratic House leaders could also file a lawsuit, though the case could take months or even years to resolve. Some committee members have suggested they also could fine Barr as he withholds information.

Nadler said Wednesday the Trump administration’s refusal to provide the special counsel’s full Russia report to Congress presents a “constitutional crisis.”

In a letter Wednesday to Trump , Barr explained that the special counsel’s files contain millions of pages of classified and unclassified information. He said it was the committee’s “abrupt resort to a contempt vote” that “has not allowed sufficient time for you to consider fully whether to make a conclusive assertion of executive privilege.”

Barr told Trump he should assert privilege now, “pending a full decision on the matter.”

Talks with the Justice Department broke down over the committee’s subpoena for an unredacted version of the report.

Barr released a redacted version of Mueller’s 400-plus-page report to the public last month, but Democrats subpoenaed the full document , along with underlying evidence.

The department has rejected that demand, while allowing a few top lawmakers from the House and Senate to view a version with fewer redactions. That version blacks out grand jury information, which needs a judge’s approval for release, and it doesn’t include the report’s underlying evidence. Democrats have said they won’t view that version until they get broader access.

Almost half the report’s pages contain some type of redaction including those around the Russian influence campaign, presidential pardons and other topics.

Barr has refused to testify in public to the committee after a disagreement over the Democrats’ demand that he answer questions from a staff attorney in addition to lawmakers. The committee is in talks for Mueller himself to appear May 15, but there is no agreement yet, and Trump has said Mueller should not testify.

Nadler also has threatened to hold former White House Counsel Don McGahn in contempt of Congress if he doesn’t testify before the committee later this month. Nadler rejected a White House claim that documents McGahn refused to provide despite a subpoena are controlled by the White House and thus McGahn has no legal right to them.

Pelosi, who has tamped down calls from her liberal flank to launch impeachment proceedings against Trump, said in a Washington Post interview Wednesday that the president, by obstructing Congress was becoming “self-impeachable.”

Mueller, in his report, said he could not establish a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, but he did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice. Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided there were not grounds to charge Trump with obstruction.