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Trump called out Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R- S.C.) on Aug. 17 for their criticism of his leadership. Here are 4 other politicians Trump has targeted on Twitter. (Elyse Samuels/The Washington Post)

President Trump’s Twitter account was briefly deactivated Thursday night by a departing Twitter employee, the company said, raising serious questions about the security of a tool the president wields to set major policy agendas, connect with his voter base and lash out at his adversaries.

The company has suspended other high-profile accounts in the past for violating its terms and conditions.

But there has not been a case where an employee has acted alone to take down the account of a well-known person, seemingly on their own.

Such an event sparks deep and troubling questions about who has access to the president’s account and the power that access holds. The deactivation also came at a time when the social network is under scrutiny for the role it played in spreading Russian propaganda during the 2016 presidential election.

[What Russian Facebook ads would you have seen? Take a look.]

Trump’s account initially disappeared at around 7 p.m. ET Thursday, with visitors to the page met with the message, “Sorry, that page doesn’t exist!” For about an hour, the Twitter-sphere joked about the short-lived window of history without @realDonaldTrump.

Trump’s Twitter account has vanished pic.twitter.com/B0hQpBO9OW

— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) November 2, 2017

But then at 8:05 p.m. ET, Twitter posted a statement saying Trump’s “account was inadvertently deactivated due to human error by a Twitter employee.”

“The account was down for 11 minutes, and has since been restored,” the statement read. “We are continuing to investigate and are taking steps to prevent this from happening again.”

However, two hours later, Twitter admitted that the deactivation wasn’t an accident at all. A preliminary investigation showed that Trump’s account was taken offline “by a Twitter customer support employee who did this on the employee’s last day.”

Twitter said it would be conducting a full internal review.

The president is aware of the issue and the White House is in touch with Twitter, said an official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter.

[Strangers caught in a sex act on Delta flight could face felony charges, authorities say]

A spokeswoman from Twitter said no new information about the investigation would be released Thursday night. It was still unclear who the employee was, how that employee got access to the president’s account and whether any security breaches led to the subsequent deactivation.

“A lot” of employees can suspend a user’s account, a former senior Twitter employee told Buzzfeed. But far fewer — only hundreds — have the power to deactivate one. There was some discussion at the company about special protections on verified or high-profile accounts, but that extra measures were “never implemented,” the unnamed source said.

Trump has used the account since March 2009. He has tweeted more than 36,000 times and has 41.7 million followers.

On Twitter, some people made light of the deactivation, while others wondered about the potential consequences of Twitter employees who have access to a megaphone of the president of the United States.

Dear Twitter employee who shut down Trump’s Twitter: You made America feel better for 11 minutes. DM me & I will buy you a Pizza Hut pizza. https://t.co/ruzaVBcQp1

— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) November 3, 2017

Seriously, what if this person had tweeted about a fictional nuclear strike on North Korea? https://t.co/TcvpXqXk42

— Blake Hounshell (@blakehounshell) November 3, 2017

The president’s use of the social media platform is no trivial matter.

The National Archives has advised Trump to preserve all tweets as presidential records, and a professor at the U.S. Naval War College is worried that U.S. enemies could be using Trump’s tweets to build a psychological profile of the president, The Post’s Avi Selk reported.

Trump’s recent tweets on North Korea heightened tensions between the two countries, with Trump threatening that “they won’t be around much longer!” and that “only one thing will work!” In the past, North Korean officials have responded to Trump’s tweets as declarations of war.

Trump also recognizes the power of the social platform.

“Let me tell you about Twitter,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News’s Tucker Carlson in March. “I think maybe I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Twitter.”

A tool once used by a campaigning candidate to disparage his opponents and rally his followers is now Trump’s favorite online means of promoting his presidential agenda.

“Twitter is a wonderful thing for me because I can get the word out,” he told Carlson.

[Analysis: Elizabeth Warren and Donna Brazile both now agree the 2016 Democratic primary was rigged]

The incident also comes at a time when Twitter and other technology companies are under greater scrutiny for the way they can be abused.

Earlier this week, lawyers from Twitter, Facebook and Google testified on Capitol Hill as part of the investigation into Russia’s influence of the 2016 presidential election. In public statements, Twitter acknowledged that it had identified 2,752 accounts controlled by Russian operatives, as well as more than 36,000 bots that issued 1.4 million tweets during the election.

On Thursday, Trump used his account to congratulate the Houston Astros for winning the World Series, call on Congress to “TERMINATE” the diversity visa lottery and announce the nomination of Jerome Powell as the next chair of the Federal Reserve.

Trump was back tweeting at 8:05 p.m., praising the day’s “Great Tax Cut rollout.”

He has yet to tweet about his sudden deactivation.

Read more:

What Russian Facebook ads would you have seen? Take a look.

Strangers caught in a sex act on Delta flight could face felony charges, authorities say

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The tax overhaul is Republicans’ top priority ahead of next year’s elections, and lawmakers are desperate for a victory after the Obamacare repeal failed.

By BRIAN FALER

Updated

2017-11-02T07:45-0400

House Republicans largely put aside their often sharp policy and ideological differences Thursday to warmly greet the tax overhaul legislation introduced by GOP leaders.

But, as expected, it didn’t take long for various interest groups that feel stung by the measure to make their views known, and that will likely make the lawmakers’ unity fleeting.

Story Continued Below

Even before the legislation was formally unveiled, one of the most powerful groups in conservative circles, Americans for Prosperity, warned that plans to slap a tax on imports from U.S. companies that move jobs abroad “has the potential to derail much-needed reform.”

That was followed by denunciations from the influential National Federation of Independent Business, a small business lobby; the National Association of Home Builders; Independent Sector, which represents charities; the National Farmers Union; and even the American Institute of Architects.

That will give lawmakers plenty to think about as they brace for lobbyists to descend on their offices to fight for and against parts of the bill that will affect their profits, charitable donations and public services.

But Thursday appeared to be all about rallying around what could be the only major legislative accomplishment Republicans have to take into the 2018 midterm elections.

Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, said he didn’t hear enough concerns among members of his party when they were briefed on the plan to slow its momentum.

“I don’t think anyone voiced anything that was just overwhelmingly a shutdown concern, to my surprise,” Walker said. “Guys from different caucuses, from different groups, were all speaking in favor of it. Not everybody’s happy about everything but … I was actually a little taken aback at how much unity there was in the room at the overall package.”

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), head of the often balky Freedom Caucus, said he had some concerns about proposed changes to housing tax breaks and also with how the bill treats small businesses, but said he’s nevertheless “leaning yes” on the plan.

“I believe we’ll get there, and I’ll be optimistic that the few remaining issues will get addressed,” he said.

Lawmakers from high-tax states continued to grumble that the proposal would eliminate a deduction for state and local income and sales taxes, while keeping a property tax write-off that would be capped at $10,000.

“The property tax is still too low,” Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) told reporters, adding that he’s already made a personal plea to House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas). “I’ve done the math for my own state, my own district, and I’ve given the chairman of Ways and Means what I think the number needs to be.”

The unveiling of the 429-page bill — and a summary that runs 82 pages — kicks off what is sure to be a grueling slog to get legislation to President Donald Trump by the end of the year. The Senate is expected to follow up with its own plan as early as next week.

The bill would benefit a big slice of the American economy, with deep cuts in corporate tax rates, changes designed to make taxes on U.S. multinationals more competitive and tax cuts for individuals that Republicans say will significantly lighten their tax burden.

But it also includes provisions sure to stoke controversy and fierce lobbying, including new limits on the popular mortgage interest deduction. People could only deduct interest on the first $500,000 of loans for newly purchased homes, down from the current $1 million, and lawmakers would eliminate the break for second homes. The bill would also make it harder for people to sell their homes without paying taxes on any capital gains.

Experts warned that some middle-income people could see tax increases under the plan.

While big companies would get a significantly lower 20 percent corporate rate, down from 35 percent, they would face new limits on their ability to deduct interest on their loans, a new global minimum tax on their overseas earnings, and new taxes on U.S. companies heading abroad.

Republicans dropped a contentious plan to curb tax benefits for 401(k) retirement plans, which had GOP lawmakers cheering Brady at a closed door briefing on the plan.

Exactly who would win and lose in the proposal — dubbed the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” — has been a closely guarded secret, and many lawmakers will surely be surprised at the scope of changes needed to make the numbers behind the plan work.

The NFIB announced its opposition, citing restrictions lawmakers included on which small businesses can claim their lower tax rate on unincorporated “pass-through” firms. The issue has been one of the most difficult for lawmakers to work out, and could prove to be one of the most contentious going forward.

Though lawmakers would reduce the rate on those businesses to 25 percent, there would be limits on which firms could take advantage, provisions designed to avoid gaming by wealthy individuals.

Under the proposal, pass-throughs would get the lower rate on 30 percent of their profits, with the remainder taxed at ordinary income tax rates, though there would be circumstances in which businesses could qualify for a bigger share being subject to the special rate. That means, though, that some pass-throughs would actually pay more than 25 percent under the plan.

“This bill leaves too many small businesses behind,” said Juanita Duggan, the group’s president. “We believe that tax reform should provide substantial relief to all small businesses.”

The National Association of Home Builders said the legislation “eviscerates” housing tax benefits, and “abandons middle class taxpayers.”

The National Association of Realtors meanwhile has already begun lobbying against the proposal, running online ads in tax writers’ districts. “Don’t let tax reform become a tax increase for middle-class homeowners,” the ad says.

Independent Sector worries charities would suffer because the bill’s expansion of the standard deduction means far fewer people would take an itemized deduction for charitable giving. “The bill moves in the wrong direction,” said Daniel Cardinali, the group’s president.

Other business groups embraced the plan, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable.

“This bold tax reform bill is exactly what our nation needs to get our economy growing faster,” said Neil Bradley, a senior vice president at the Chamber of Commerce. Said Jamie Dimon, head of JP Morgan Chase & Co. and the Business Roundtable: “We support this tax reform effort because it is good for all Americans.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan and his leadership team want to stay ahead of lobbyists and constituencies that they know will be at their door. They plan to create an interactive presentation for each member to show the bill’s economic impact on their district, and what different adjustments would do.

“The substantive issue is how all these changes add up for families in my district or other members’ districts,” said Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), the Republican chief deputy whip. “And once people can see that then that will determine their level of support.”

The plan is Republicans’ top priority ahead of next year’s elections, and lawmakers are desperate for a victory to take to voters after the failed campaign to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Republicans are hoping to move it quickly through the House, with committee action penciled in for next week. Lawmakers aim to forward it on to the Senate later this month. Senate Republicans are working on their own competing plan they aim to unveil next week. Lawmakers hope to land a compromise on Trump’s desk by the end of the year.

House leaders, who have written the plan in secret, had avoided identifying most of the breaks that would be quashed under the proposal in order to keep lobbyists at bay. But many Republicans had little inkling of what’s in the bill, and the strategy means leaders have not had much opportunity to build support among rank-and-file members for controversial proposals that will surely get more attention in the coming days.

The bill is loaded with sure-to-be contentious ideas affecting broad swathes of the economy. It would delete a long-standing deduction for people with high medical bills — including those with chronic conditions. People would have to live longer in their homes, under the bill, to qualify for tax-free treatment of capital gains when they sell their houses.

It would also kill long-standing breaks for adoptions, and for student loan interest costs. Private universities would face a new 1.4 percent tax on their investment earnings from their endowments. The Work Opportunity Credit, which encourages businesses to hire veterans, would be eliminated. So too would the New Markets Tax credit, which encourages investment in poor areas.

Tax benefits related to fringe benefits would be curtailed. It would also dump a long-standing break for casualty losses that allow people to deduct things lost in fires and storms, although it would continue to allow the provision for people hit by hurricanes — no doubt reflecting the influence of Brady, whose Houston-area district was hit by Hurricane Harvey.

Foreign companies operating in the United States would face higher taxes under the proposal, as would companies such as pharmaceutical firms that move overseas and want to sell goods back to the United States.

The bill would cut taxes over the next decade by $1.487 trillion, according to the official Joint Committee on Taxation. The estimate also shows the bill would likely run afoul of the Senate’s “Byrd rule,” named after the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), which bars provisions adding to the government’s long-term debt.

For individuals, the plan would reduce the number of tax brackets to four from the current seven, with the top rate remaining at 39.6 percent. Republicans would more than double the income threshold at which the top rate would kick in to $1 million for married couples. They would simultaneously raise taxes on the rich, though, by limiting their ability to take advantage of their lowest income tax bracket. The 35 percent bracket would begin at $260,000 for married couples, and the threshold for a 25 percent bracket would be $90,000 under the plan.

Republicans would also get rid of personal exemptions, which are designed to adjust tax burdens for family size. The plan would instead double the standard deduction while increasing both the size of the child tax credit to $1,600, from the current $1000, while increasing the income threshold at which it could be claimed. They would also create a new $300 credit for adult dependents as well as another $300 “family flexibility” credit.

The bill would ease the estate tax by doubling the threshold at which it would kick in before eventually repealing it.

Aside from the lower corporate tax rate, businesses would also get the ability to immediately write off their investment expenses for the next five years. They would get a one-time reduced rate of 12 percent on their overseas earnings on liquid assets and a 5 percent rate on illiquid assets like overseas factories.

But they would face new limits on their ability to deduct interest payments on the money they borrow. They would also face a new 10 percent foreign minimum tax targeting companies that squirrel away money in offshore tax havens. Life insurance companies would lose a number of tax benefits, private activity bonds would be eliminated and tax-exempt bonds could no longer be used to help build professional sports stadiums.

Colin Wilhelm,Rachael Bade and Sarah Ferris contributed to this report.

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1:44 AM ET

LOS ANGELES — Earlier in the World Series, Houston Astros center fielder George Springer talked about not letting the magnitude of playing in it become overwhelming.

“You can’t worry about the result of each at-bat,” he said. “You just have to stay in the moment.”

In the biggest game of the season, the biggest game in Astros history and certainly the biggest game of his life, Springer remained in the moment, capping his stellar week by hitting his World Series record-tying fifth home run and leading his team to a Series-clinching 5-1 victory in Game 7 on Wednesday night.

Springer was an easy choice for the Willie Mays World Series Most Valuable Player Award, after hitting .379 (11-for-29) with five home runs and seven RBIs. His eight extra-base hits were the most ever in a World Series, and he is the first player to homer in four straight games within a single World Series, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Upon receiving his MVP award, Springer spoke about how the Series victory was especially meaningful both for the franchise and the city.

“This is a dream come true and an honor,” Springer said. “But it’s about the Houston Astros tonight, our city, our fans. That patch on our chests really does mean something. We’re coming home champions.”

Springer’s record-tying homer on Wednesday came off a 3-2 fastball from Dodgers starter Yu Darvish. It gave the Astros a 5-0 lead in the second inning, knocking Darvish from the game.

“I remember swinging and hearing the sound of the bat,” Springer said of the homer. “And I knew it was a good sound.

“It’s a very surreal feeling because this is Game 7. This is what you dream of as a kid. And for that to happen is indescribable.”

Springer matched Reggie Jackson (1977) and Chase Utley (2009) for the record of five home runs in one World Series, although Jackson and Utley did it in a six-game Series. Springer, who doubled and scored in the first inning, also had 29 total bases in the World Series, breaking the record of 25 shared by Willie Stargell (1979) and Jackson. Springer also passed Stargell for the most extra-base hits in a World Series with seven, becoming the first player to have had at least one extra-base hit in six straight World Series games.

Springer’s first four home runs of the Series each tied the score or gave the Astros the lead.

Consider the clutch factor of his home runs:

  • Game 2: Hit a two-run homer off Brandon McCarthy in the top of the 11th to give the Astros a 7-5 lead in an eventual 7-6 victory.

  • Game 4: Gave the Astros a 1-0 lead in the sixth inning, when he broke up Alex Wood’s no-hitter with a home run way out to left field off a 3-1 curveball.

  • Game 5: In the wild 13-12 win for the Astros, his seventh-inning homer — a 112 mph laser estimated at 448 feet — off Brandon Morrow tied the game at 8.

  • Game 6: Made it 1-0 in the third inning with an opposite-field shot off Rich Hill.

  • Game 7: With two outs in the second inning, his 438-foot two-run shot broke open a 3-0 game to give the Astros some early breathing room.

Springer’s World Series actually got off to an inauspicious start. After going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in Game 1, he said teammate Carlos Beltran pulled him aside.

“He told me to go out and enjoy the moment,” Springer said of Beltran. “He’s played for 20 years, and this is his second time here. He told me to relax, be myself and enjoy it.”

Maybe it is fitting that Springer has turned into a World Series hero for the Astros. A first-round pick out of the University of Connecticut in 2011, it was Springer who appeared on the infamous Sports Illustrated cover in 2014 that declared the Astros “Your 2017 World Series champs.” The Astros were mired in a 92-loss season that year, a season that actually was a big improvement over their three previous years, when the Astros had lost 100-plus games as the front office rebuilt the team from scratch.

“When you get to spring, you know who you have. You know what you have,” Springer said. “You think you can do it, but 162 games is a lot of games, and a lot has to go right. … Getting down 3-2 to a very good New York team, a lot of things happened for us. I’m just proud to bring a championship to city that desperately needed it.”

For this entire postseason, Springer had six home runs, all from the leadoff spot, tying Lenny Dykstra’s postseason record for home runs by a leadoff hitter.

The Astros set a World Series record with 15 home runs as a team.

Springer’s Game 7 shot closed the door on a World Series to forget for Darvish. The Dodgers righty is just the second pitcher ever to fail to complete the second inning in multiple starts within the same World Series. The other is Art Ditmar, who did so for the New York Yankees in Games 1 and 5 of the 1960 World Series. Darvish induced just four swing-and-misses in his 96 total pitches thrown in the Series.

Springer wasn’t the only member of the Astros to make history on Wednesday night.

Houston’s Lance McCullers Jr. became the first pitcher to hit four batters in any postseason game, plunking Yasiel Puig and Kike Hernandez once each and Justin Turner twice. According to Elias Sports Bureau, McCullers also became the first pitcher to hit four batters within the first three innings of any game, regular season or postseason, since 2000; coincidentally, it was Dodgers starter Orel Hershiser who hit four Astros in that game.

On Wednesday, McCullers was pulled one batter after hitting Turner for the second time, finishing with three strikeouts, four hit batters and no runs allowed in 2⅓ innings. He turned in the second shortest scoreless start in a World Series winner-take-all game; the shortest appearance was by Curly Ogden (one-third of an inning) of the 1924 Washington Senators.

McCullers left after striking out Cody Bellinger, who swung his way into history, as well. Bellinger’s third-inning strikeout was his 16th of the Series, tying him with the Yankees’ Aaron Judge (2017 American League Division Series) for the most K’s in any single postseason series. Bellinger then claimed the record outright with his 17th strikeout after going down looking against Charlie Morton in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Bellinger, who hit the second-most home runs in the National League this season with 39, was baffled by McCullers, going 0-for-5 with five strikeouts in the World Series against the right-hander. Bellinger whiffed on nine of his 12 swings against McCullers in the Series, and of the 19 total pitches he saw from McCullers, 18 were curveballs.

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THORNTON, Colo. (Reuters) – At least three people were killed in a shooting inside a Walmart store on Wednesday in suburban Denver, where police said they had not yet taken anyone into custody.

Walmart employees and shoppers leave the scene of a shooting at a Walmart in Thornton, Colorado November 1, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Police in Thornton, Colorado, did not immediately release any information about the circumstances of the shooting or who was responsible for the gunfire.

Two men were killed in the shooting. A women, who was injured in the shooting, was taken to a hospital where she later died, Thornton Police Department said on Twitter.

“Detectives currently reviewing security footage & witnesses being interviewed for assistance with suspect(s),” police said on Twitter.

No one had been taken into custody, police said.

The situation appeared potentially ominous from authorities’ initial reports.

“We’ve got multiple parties down, we’re still trying to ascertain what their conditions are,” Officer Victor Avila of the Thornton Police Department told Reuters by telephone not long after police arrived on the scene.

About an hour after the initial alert, police said on Twitter that the threat of gunfire had ended at the store, which was surrounded by police and fire crews.

A woman walks past an ambulance near the scene of a shooting at a Walmart in Thornton, Colorado November 1, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

“At this time this is NOT an active shooter. Active crime scene. We will update as info becomes available,” the police department said in that tweet. Confirmation of the two fatalities came about 20 minutes later.

Thornton is city of about 120,000 people roughly 10 miles (16 km) northeast of downtown Denver.

Slideshow (14 Images)

Avila said police were called to the store at about 6:30 p.m. Mountain time (8:30 p.m. ET) and that the gunshots had ceased by the time the first officers arrived at the scene.

A Walmart customer, Aaron Stephens, 44, of Thorton, told Reuters he was inside paying for groceries at a self-checkout stand when he heard gunshots and the sound of ricocheting bullets.

“The employees started screaming and the customers started screaming” as people began to flee the store, he recounted. “I ran out, too, because I didn’t want to get shot.”

Stephens said he did not see where the shooting had come from and did not see anyone struck by bullets.

Local NBC television affiliate 9NEWS reported that a woman whose son was in the Walmart had told her that he had heard about 30 gunshots and was still inside.

A video posted on Twitter showed the Walmart, which is situated in a large complex of big-box stores and other retail outlets adjacent to U.S. Interstate 25, apparently empty except for police officers with guns drawn.

Reporting by Keith Coffman in Thornton and Dan Whitcomb and Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Sandra Maler and Michael Perry

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, a 29-year-old Uzbekistan native who was living in New Jersey, is charged with providing material support to ISIS, dviolence and destruction of motor vehicles, said Joon H. Kim, the acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York .
Saipov appeared in federal court in a wheelchair and didn’t enter a plea, a source at the US Attorney’s Office told CNN.
President Donald Trump said he should be executed.
“NYC terrorist was happy as he asked to hang ISIS flag in his hospital room. He killed 8 people, badly injured 12. SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!’ the President tweeted late Wednesday night.
Read the federal complaint against the suspect
Saipov told investigators he was inspired by Islamic State videos, in particular one showing ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a federal criminal complaint states.
How the New York City truck attack unfoldedHow the New York City truck attack unfolded
The suspect decided to conduct a truck attack “to inflict maximum damage against civilians” and that he specifically chose to strike on Halloween “because he believed there would be more civilians on the street for the holiday,” the complaint says.
He began planning an attack a year ago and decided two months ago to use a truck, officials said.
One of Saipov’s cellphones reviewed by law enforcement contained approximately 90 videos, “many of which appear to be … ISIS-related propaganda.” The phone also had almost 4,000 images, many of which were ISIS propaganda, the FBI said in the complaint.

Here are the latest developments:

  • Five Argentinian high school classmates, two young American men and a Belgian mother were identified as the victims, police said.
  • President Donald Trump called Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to offer any federal assistance needed, Trump tweeted.
  • The suspect arrived in the US as part of the diversity immigrant visa program, the Department of Homeland Security said.
  • An Uzbek national is being questioned in connection with the attack, law enforcement sources say. The individual, previously identified as Mukhammadzoir Kadirov, may have pertinent information and is possibly an associate of suspect Sayfullo Saipov, one source says.

The attack

Authorities said Saipov came to the US legally in 2010. He allegedly drove a rented truck onto a well-trafficked bike path just blocks from the World Trade Center on Tuesday afternoon.
Eight people were killed and more than a dozen injured as the truck carved a path of destruction through several blocks of Lower Manhattan. Saipov crashed the truck into a school bus, left the vehicle brandishing imitation firearms and was shot by police, officials said.
In carrying out the attack, Saipov relied on the playbook laid out by ISIS in recent years, officials said.
“He appears to have followed almost exactly to a ‘T’ the instructions that ISIS has put out in its social media channels before, with instructions to their followers on how to carry out such an attack,” John Miller, NYPD deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, said at an earlier news conference.
A handwritten “document” found near the scene had both Arabic and English text, and included the message that the Islamic State would endure, the complaint says.

The suspect

Saipov came to the US from the central Asian nation of Uzbekistan in 2010 on a diversity immigrant visa, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program awards up to 50,000 individuals per year a visa for a green card, which bestows permanent residency and is a path to citizenship.
The visas are awarded randomly to those in select countries to promote immigration from places that don’t otherwise send many immigrants to the US. The bill establishing the program was signed into law in 1990.
NYPD’s Miller said Saipov has never been the subject of an NYPD or FBI investigation, but investigators are looking into how he is connected to the subjects of other investigations.
Saipov was “radicalized domestically” in the US, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
“The evidence shows — and again, it’s only several hours, and the investigation is ongoing — but that after he came to the United States is when he started to become informed about ISIS and radical Islamic tactics,” Cuomo said.
Saipov was not on any US government terror watch lists, according to two sources familiar with the investigation.
Just over six months ago, Saipov began driving for Uber in New Jersey, the company told CNN. He passed a background check. The company said it has not yet identified any complaints about his safety.
The company is cooperating with authorities in the investigation.
Who is New York attack suspect Sayfullo Saipov?Who is New York attack suspect Sayfullo Saipov?
Saipov once listed his occupation as a truck driver, his marriage license shows.
He had multiple run-ins with law enforcement in several states, online records show. He had traffic citations issued in Maryland, Missouri and Pennsylvania and was arrested by the Missouri State Highway Patrol in October 2016 after failing to show up in court for a misdemeanor offense.
He paid a $200 bond, which he forfeited when he didn’t show up in court for his next hearing in November. A guilty plea was entered on his behalf.
Saipov’s wife has spoken with investigators, law enforcement officials said. Saipov, his wife and three children have a residence in Paterson, New Jersey.
Carlos Batista, one of Saipov’s neighbors in Paterson, told CNN that Saipov had acted as a “peacemaker” about six months ago. Batista was riding a dirt bike at night, and Saipov’s friends asked him to stop. The incident became testy until Saipov stepped in and “calmed everything down,” Batista said.
Saipov has been linked to social media accounts that contain ISIS-related material, a law enforcement official said Wednesday morning. The official also said Saipov has been somewhat cooperative with FBI and New York police investigators who questioned him in the hospital overnight.

The victims

Among the eight people killed, five were from Argentina, two were Americans, and one was from Belgium, according to the New York Police Department.
The Argentinians were part of a group celebrating their high school reunion in New York City, Argentina’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said.
Victims of the New York terror attackVictims of the New York terror attack
Hernán Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damián Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernán Ferruchi died in the attack, the ministry said in a statement Tuesday.
They had traveled to New York from Rosario, a town nearly 200 miles northwest of Buenos Aires, to mark the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation. A sixth Argentine national who was also part of the group was injured during the attack.
Nicholas Cleves, 23, from New York, and Darren Drake, 32, from New Milford, New Jersey, were the two Americans killed.
Anne-Laure Decadt, a 31-year-old Belgian woman, was also among those killed, according to a statement from her husband, Alexander Naessens. Decadt, a mother of two young sons, was on a trip to New York with her two sisters and her mother, Naessens said.

The President’s response

Hours after the attack, President Trump tweeted that he’s ordered the Department of Homeland Security “to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program”, and he accused Sen. Chuck Schumer of not being tough enough on immigration.
Who is the NYPD officer who apprehended the suspect?Who is the NYPD officer who apprehended the suspect?
Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Trump called the suspect an “animal” and said that he planned to start the process of terminating the diversity lottery program.
“I am going to ask Congress to immediately initiate work to get rid of this program. Diversity lottery, diversity lottery. Sounds nice, it is not nice, it is not good. It hasn’t been good and we have been against it,” he said.
Earlier, Gov. Cuomo criticized Trump’s tweets.
“The President’s tweets were not helpful. I don’t think they were factual. I think they tend to point fingers and politicize the situation,” he said.
“You play into the hands of the terrorist to the extent that you disrupt, divide and frighten people in the society. The tone now should be the opposite — on all levels.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said “the last thing we should do is start casting aspersions on whole races of people or whole religions or whole nations. That only makes the situation worse.”
De Blasio also warned against stereotyping all Muslims as extremists.
“Anyone who wants to come into this country should be very thoroughly vetted as an individual,” he said. “But the minute you start generalizing it, especially to a whole religion, then unfortunately we’re sending the exact negative message that a lot of our enemies want and the terrorist wants to affirm — that this nation is somehow anti-Muslim. We’ve got to do the exact opposite.”

Vehicles as weapons

The tactic of turning an ordinary vehicle into a lethal weapon is becoming increasingly common.
In 2014, an ISIS spokesman called for lone-wolf attacks using improvised weaponry. “If you are not able to find an IED or a bullet, then single out the disbelieving American, Frenchman or any of their allies. Smash his head with a rock or slaughter him with a knife or run him over with your car or throw him down from a high place or choke him or poison him.”
Vehicles as weapons: New York City crash is part of a deadly trendVehicles as weapons: New York City crash is part of a deadly trend
Since 2014, there have been 15 vehicular attacks in the West by jihadist terrorists, killing 142 people, according to a count by New America, a nonpartisan research institution. Those figures include Tuesday’s attack in Manhattan.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect the note claiming that the attack was made in the name of ISIS was found near the truck. It has also been updated to correctly quote Mayor Bill de Blasio on comments he made cautioning against casting blame on different groups of people.

CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz, Tal Kopan, Paul Murphy, Brynn Gingras, David Shortell, Topher Gauk-Roger, Curt Devine, Hilary McGann, Elizabeth Joseph, Athena Jones, Sarah Jorgensen, Nelli Black, Kristina Sgueglia and Patricia DiCarlo contributed to this report.

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SWAT officers on Tuesday evening swarmed a Riverside elementary school classroom and shot a parent who had taken a teacher hostage, ending an hours-long standoff.

The parent, identified as Riverside resident Luvelle Kennon, 27, died later at a hospital, said Riverside Police Officer Ryan Railsback.

The teacher, Linda Montgomery, sustained some scrapes and abrasions when she was grabbed and pulled into an empty classroom, Railsback said.

During the seven-hour standoff, crisis negotiators made contact with the man, but never heard from Montgomery, which is why authorities decided to storm into the room at about 6 p.m. It’s unclear whether the man was armed, but witnesses did not report seeing any weapons.

Officials canceled classes at the elementary school for the rest of the week.

The incident began shortly before 11:15 a.m. when the man forced his way past staff in the main office at Castle View Elementary School, Riverside Unified spokesman Justin Grayson said.

The parent, who has a daughter in first grade, did not appear to follow the school district’s safety procedures and check in with the front desk, Railsback said.

A male teacher confronted the parent, who responded by hitting that teacher in the face, Railsback said. A witness told KABC that the teacher’s face was bloodied and his nose was broken. The teacher was treated at a hospital, police said.

The parent then took Montgomery hostage inside an empty classroom, police said, though it’s not clear why.

Police evacuated all students from the campus and began releasing them to their parents after 1 p.m. All the students were accounted for, Grayson said.

joseph.serna@latimes.com

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.

alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com

Twitter: @AleneTchek

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UPDATES:

11:25 p.m.: This article was updated with the parent’s name.

10:10 p.m.: This article was updated with information that the man shot by police has died.

7 p.m.: This article was updated with information from a news conference.

6:10 p.m.: This article was updated to reflect that the standoff has ended.

6:05 p.m. This article was updated throughout.

3:30 p.m.: This article was updated with details about the beginning of the incident.

2:20 p.m.: This article was updated with information on student releases.

1:40 p.m.: This article was updated with details about the hostage.

1:15 p.m.: This article was updated with details about the campus evacuation.

This article was originally published at 12:55 p.m.

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NEW YORK — A 29-year-old man driving a rental truck plowed down people on a Manhattan bike path Tuesday in what authorities described as a terrorist attack that killed eight and injured 11 before the suspect was shot and arrested by police.

A sunny fall day along the Hudson River erupted in chaos just around the time students were getting out from nearby Stuyvesant High School, when a rented Home Depot truck turned on to the bike path along the West Side Highway.

Witnesses say the speeding truck struck unsuspecting bicyclists and pedestrians while onlookers screamed and scattered. The truck then veered left toward Chambers Street, where it collided with a small school bus, injuring two adults and two children inside, officials said.

Foreign ministries of Belgium and Argentina said five Argentines and a Belgian were among the victims. The Argentine nationals were part of a group of friends celebrating the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation, the Argentine Foreign Ministry said in a statement Tuesday.

According to a video from the scene, the man then jumped out of the wrecked vehicle brandishing what appeared to be handguns. Some witnesses said he shouted “Allahu akbar’’ meaning “God is great’’ in Arabic.

Law enforcement officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an open investigation, identified the suspect as Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbek immigrant who had been living in Tampa.

The attack could intensify the political debate over immigration and security. President Trump has argued for much tougher screening of immigrants to prevent terrorism, and opponents of those policies have sought to block his efforts in the courts. Uzbekistan was not among the countries named in any version of the president’s travel ban, which largely targeted a number of majority-Muslim countries.

[ New York vehicle attack: Everything you need to know ]

Trump responded to the attack on Twitter, saying it “looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person.’’ He tweeted a short time later: “We must not allow ISIS to return, or enter, our country after defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere. Enough!” ISIS is an acronym for the Islamic State.

On Tuesday night Trump said he was tightening immigrant screening, tweeting: “I have just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!”

I have just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2017

There was no immediate indication that the attack had been directed by the Islamic State. However, the group has called on its supporters in Western countries to launch their own attacks, using anything at hand as weapons, including vehicles.

Inside the rental truck, investigators found a handwritten note in which Saipov had declared his allegiance to the Islamic State, according to officials.

Saipov is expected to survive, meaning investigators will likely have a chance to question him about his motive for the attack, but so far, they said, he appears to have been a “lone wolf’’ suspect – someone who acted alone after being inspired, but not directly instructed, by the Islamic State.

He had been living in Paterson, New Jersey before the attack, and rented the vehicle in that state before driving it into Manhattan, officials said.

The violence was terrifyingly similar to vehicle attacks carried out in Europe, where Islamic State supporters have used cars and trucks to strike pedestrians in crowded streets, a tactic that has been employed in France, Britain, Germany, Sweden and Spain.

“This certainly bears all the hallmarks of an ISIS-inspired or al-Qaeda-inspired attack,” said Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, whom the FBI briefed on the attack Tuesday evening. “We have to expect that as the capital of the caliphate has now fallen, there are going to be increasing efforts to show that they remain dangerous and lethal, and to expand the virtual caliphate.”

Antonio Valasquez, 28, said he saw the truck speed by as he left a restaurant and then heard a crash. “I didn’t really understand, you know, at first what was happening,” he said. Valasquez said he heard what appeared to be gunshots shortly after but couldn’t be sure. “I was running away.”

An officer from the 1st Precinct approached Saipov and shot him in the abdomen, police said. He has been taken to a hospital, but officials did not discuss his condition or location. The weapons he was brandishing turned out to be a pellet gun and a paintball gun, police said.

Rabbi Chaim Zaklos was picking up about half a dozen children from school to escort them to Hebrew school nearby when he encountered the scene. Police were pushing people away, and he could see abandoned bikes and what appeared to be uprooted trees nearby. “It was obvious something drastic was happening, so I just wanted to get the kids someplace safe,” said Zaklos, 35.

“This is a very painful day in our city,’’ New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said. “Based on the information we have at this moment, this was an act of terror, a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians.”

Saipov moved to the United States from Uzbekistan about six years ago, said Dilnoza Abdusamatova, 24, who said Saipov stayed with her family in Cincinnati for his first two weeks in the country because their fathers were friends. Some officials said he arrived in 2010.

Abdusamatova said Saipov then moved to Florida to start a trucking company. Her family members think he got married about a year after arriving in the United States and may now have two children. Around that time, she said, he cut off contact with them.

“He stopped talking to us when he got married,” Abdusamatova said.

[ Vehicles as weapons of terror: U.S. cities on alert as attacks hit the West ]

Saipov had lived in an apartment complex, Heritage at Tampa, near the Hillsborough River. On Tuesday evening, two plainclothes investigators were seen departing the community, having interviewed several residents and others in the surrounding neighborhood. The investigators declined to answer any questions.

“Four FBI agents came and told me he used to live here,” said Venessa Jones, who said she lives in an apartment above the one Saipov rented. Neighbors at the complex said they didn’t know Saipov.

Officials said they had no information to suggest that the attacker had any accomplices or that there was a further threat to the city.

Nevertheless, they said, extra police would be posted around the city as a precaution, particularly along the route of the Halloween Parade, a long-standing tradition in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village that attracts big crowds. Officials said sand trucks, police vehicles and other equipment would be used to deter any vehicle attacks at the parade.

Authorities stand near a damaged Home Depot truck after a motorist drove onto a bike path near the World Trade Center memorial, striking and killing several people Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

The investigation is being led by the FBI with the assistance of the New York Police Department.

“We have recently seen attacks like this one throughout the world,’’ said acting homeland security secretary Elaine Duke. “DHS and its law enforcement partners remain vigilant and committed to safeguarding the American people.’’

The Argentine Foreign Ministry identified the five dead Argentine nationals as Hernán Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damián Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernán Ferruchi. It added that a sixth member of the group, Martin Ludovico Marro, sustained injuries and is being hospitalized in the Presbyterian Hospital of Manhattan. He is in stable condition, the government said, citing medical officials.

The group of friends hailed from the city of Rosario, the largest city in the central province of Santa Fe. They graduated from the Instituto Politécnico, a technical high school in Rosario, in 1987.

The Argentine government expressed its “sincere condolences” and said the General Consulate remains in contact with police authorities, hospital staff and the victim’s relatives in Argentina.

“We accompany the families in this terrible moment of deep pain, which all Argentines share,” the government statement read.

Argentina’s president, Mauricio Macri, tweeted that he was “deeply moved by the tragic deaths” in New York. “We are available to the families of the Argentine victims,” he added.

Rosario’s local newspaper, La Capital, described the vacation to New York as the “trip of their dreams,” and reported that they were riding bicycles in Lower Manhattan before the attack.

The local newspaper’s headline read:  “A trip of camaraderie among friends from Rosario turns into tragedy.”

Barrett, Lowery, Siegel, and Schmidt reported from Washington. Philip Bump in New York, Jon Silman in Tampa, and Julie Tate, Ellen Nakashima, Jennifer Jenkins, Mark Berman in Washington contributed to this report.

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Facebook, Google and Twitter testified on Capitol Hill. Here’s what they said.

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Representatives for Facebook, Twitter and Google testified before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Oct. 31 about Russian efforts to spread disinformation during the 2016 campaign. (Bastien Inzaurralde/The Washington Post)

Lawyers from Facebook, Google and Twitter are testifying on Capitol Hill Tuesday afternoon amid mounting political pressure to fully investigate Russian efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign and reveal publicly what they find.

It is a rare moment in the political spotlight for companies that, despite large lobbying teams in Washington, generally seek to avoid such public and potentially unpredictable confrontations. A growing number of lawmakers have expressed concern in recent weeks about the Russian online influence campaign and are vowing both to expose what happened and work to prevent a recurrence, through legislation if necessary.

Tuesday’s hearing by a Senate judiciary subcommittee comes a day after the prepared testimonies of Facebook and Twitter revealed that the reach of the Russian-connected disinformation campaign on their platforms was much larger than initially reported.

As many as 126 million Facebook users may have seen content produced and circulated by Russian operatives. Twitter said it had discovered that 2,752 accounts controlled by Russians, and more than 36,000 Russian bots tweeted 1.4 million times during the election. And Google disclosed for the first time that it had found 1,108 videos with 43 hours of content related to the Russian effort on YouTube. It also found $4,700 worth of Russian search and display ads.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) opened the hearing by describing the dangers posed by the ability of terrorists to recruit followers over social media and foreign governments to meddle in American democracy.

“This is the national security challenge of the 21st Century,” Graham said.

But some senators pushed the tech companies to explain more about what their services can and can’t do — and what capabilities they have to prevent abuse. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) challenged Facebook’s General Counsel Colin Stretch with a series of pointed questions. “I’m trying to get us down from La La land here,” Kennedy said. “You have 5 million advertisers that change every year, every month, probably every second… You do not have the ability to know about every one of those advertisers, do you?”

When Stretch acknowledged that advertisers likely can obscure their identities, Kennedy interrupted him to ask pointedly, “Do you have a profile on me?” Then he asked if Facebook knew the movies that his fellow senator Graham liked, the bars he visited, who his friends were?

Stretch replied that Facebook has systems to prevent such invasions of privacy. “The answer is absolutely not… We have designed our system to avoid exactly that.”

After Kennedy sharply reminded Stretch that he was under oath, Kennedy turned his attention to Google lawyer Richard Salgado. The senator demanded to know whether the company was essentially a newspaper, rather than merely a neutral platform, given its role in distributing news reports worldwide. The issue has important consequences because, under federal law, technology platforms do not have the same legal responsibility for material they carry as traditional news sources that employ journalists.

“We are not a newspaper. We are a platform that shares information,” replied Salgado, Google’s director of law enforcement and information security. “This is a platform from which news can be read from many sources.”

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) also took aim at Facebook, blasting the company for failing to discover the Russian online influence campaign sooner, especially given that many of the ads were paid for in rubles, the Russian currency. “American political ads and Russian money, rubles: How could you not connect those two dots!”

Stretch replied, “In hindsight we should have had a broader lens. There were signals we missed.”

Franken also demanded to know if Facebook would refuse American political ads in the future paid for in rubles or the North Korean currency, the won. Stretch said the company was going to seek to stop political manipulation by foreign actors, but the type of payment is not the most important factor.

“It’s relatively easy to change currencies,” he said.

The most important unanswered question going into the hearing, outside experts said, is whether the tech companies have evidence that might substantiate allegations that the Russians colluded with Donald Trump’s political campaign, which made Facebook in particular a focus of its election efforts in 2016. Trump and his campaign officials have repeatedly denied allegations of collusion, but questions about the role played by Russia are at the heart of investigations by Capitol Hill and Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III, whose first round of charges against Trump campaign figures were unsealed Monday.

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) said that his staff’s review of the 3,000 Russian-bought ads on Facebook suggests that most sought to sow discord around sensitive social issues, not try to convince Americans to vote for either Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton. “Russia does not have loyalty to a political party in the United States. The goal is to discredit our democracy and divide us,” Grassley said.

Tuesday’s hearing offers lawmakers a direct and highly public opportunity to question tech company officials about how their platforms were manipulated, what they did in response, and what they plan to do to thwart similar efforts in the future. None of the companies are sending their top internal security researchers to the hearing, opting instead to send senior company lawyers. Also testifying will be Clinton Watts, a former FBI agent and disinformation expert from the Foreign Policy Research Institute, and Michael S. Smith III, a terrorism analyst.

“We are trying in the Subcommittee to lay out the Kremlin playbook on election interference generally, since this is something that they do in a great number of countries,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary panel hosting the first of the three hearings, in an interview on Monday. “And we are looking to delve into which elements of the the Kremlin playbook were deployed in the United States specifically.”

Testifying at Tuesday’s hearing are Stretch, Salgado and Twitter’s acting general counsel Sean Edgett.

In his opening remarks, Stretch said, “The foreign interference we saw is reprehensible. That foreign actors, hiding behind safe accounts, abused our platform and other Internet services to try to sow division and discord — and to try to undermine the election — is an assault on democracy that is directly contrary to our values and violates everything Facebook stands for.”

Google’s Salgado said that while the company has found relatively small amounts of Russian manipulation on its services, “We understand that any misuse of our platforms for this purpose can be very serious.”

He also said the company would create a publicly accessible database of all election ads purchased on Google’s ad platforms and on YouTube. The company will also publish a transparency reports for election ads which will identify the purchasers and how much money was spent.

The hearing, as well as Wednesday’s hearings before the Senate and House Intelligence committees, comes amid pushes by Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) to pass new legislation forcing tech companies to disclose information about political ads sold and distributed on their networks. Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that colleagues on the committee chose to wait until they heard testimony of the tech companies before they signaled their interest.

The bill, dubbed the “Honest Ads Act,” would require digital platforms with more than 50 million monthly viewers to create a public database of political ads purchased by a person or group who spends more than $500. The public file would include the ad, a description of the targeted audience, the number of views it generated, the date and time it ran, its price and contact information for the purchaser.

During the hearing, Sen. Klobuchar pointedly asked each company executive  whether they would support the bill. None of them said yes.

At one point, Facebook was asked directly whether its service could affect the outcome of the election.

Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii asked Facebook’s Stretch if he can say definitively that Russian efforts did not influence the outcome of the election. When Stretch said no, she asked again, citing the closeness of the presidential contest, “Can you say that it didn’t have an impact on the election?

Stretch demurred.

“Senator, we’re not well positioned to judge why any one person or an entire electorate voted as it did,” he said.

Shortly after the election, in November, Mark Zuckerberg dismissed the idea that fake news on Facebook could have impacted that election as “a crazy idea.”

But even as lawmakers move to prevent future manipulation, they will use the hearings to probe how foreign actors were able to disseminate propaganda. “Russia will be the star of the hearings,” said Darrell West, the director of the Brookings Center for Technology Innovation.

Beyond providing the public with a fuller picture of election meddling, experts said the hearings symbolize a broader recognition of the significance massive tech platforms hold in American discourse and politics.

“It’s hard to reconcile the tens of billions of dollars of profit they make with the lack of attention they’ve had with something that could possibly affect our democracy,” said Jason Kint, chief executive of Digital Content Next, a trade organization that represents digital media companies. “The questioning is deeply uncomfortable for them because it gets to the root of their business model, which few people really understand.”

Read more:

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Michael Flynn, Nicki Minaj shared content from this Tennessee GOP account. But it wasn’t real. It was Russian.

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White House Chief of Staff John Kelly speaks to the media during a daily briefing in October. (AP)

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly on Monday called Robert E. Lee was “an honorable man” and said that “the lack of an ability to compromise” led to the Civil War, once again thrusting himself into the public spotlight on an emotionally charged issue.

The comments, made on the debut night of conservative media host Laura Ingraham’s show on Fox News, came after Kelly was asked about the recent decision by a Virginia church to remove plaques that honored the Confederate general and George Washington.

“I would tell you that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man,” Kelly told Ingraham. “He was a man that gave up his country to fight for his state, which 150 years ago was more important than country. It was always loyalty to state first back in those days.  Now it’s different today. But the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War, and men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had them make their stand.”

The comments came in the midst of an interview that touched on a wide range of topics including the indictments in the Mueller investigation, the United States’ relationship with China, and Kelly’s work as the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Long seen as a force of order and discipline in the White House, the former Marine general became part of the controversy over the president’s calls to Gold Star families this month when he defended Trump’s statements to a widow, made false claims about a Florida congresswoman who had criticized the White House and said he would only take questions from reporters who knew families who had lost soldiers overseas. He told Ingraham on Monday that he didn’t believe he had anything to apologize for.

On Ingraham’s show, Kelly made the comments as part of a larger point about history as it is seen through a modern lens.

“I think we make a mistake, though, and as a society and certainly as, as individuals, when we take what is today accepted as right and wrong and go back 100, 200, 300 years or more and say what those, you know, what Christopher Columbus did was wrong,” he said. “You know, 500 years later, it’s inconceivable to me that you would take what we think now and apply it back then.”

The comments quickly touched off a cascade of strong reactions among progressives on social media.

The Civil War wasn’t caused by a “lack of ability to compromise.” It was caused by slavery. https://t.co/OvhDAlINKvpic.twitter.com/jjgZc0AAeQ

— Yoni Appelbaum (@YAppelbaum) October 31, 2017

“Chief of Staff John Kelly’s comments are wrong,” tweeted Color of Change, a nonprofit that focuses on racial injustice. “There is no compromise between slavery and freedom.”

Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor running for attorney general as a Democrat in Illinois, tweeted that Kelly was “half-right.”

“The civil war was caused by an unwillingness to compromise…over slavery,” he wrote.

The country’s Civil War history has reemerged as a particularly potent and emotional fight, exploding into full view in August after a weekend of white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville protesting the planned removal of a Robert E. Lee statue devolved into violence. Trump’s comments on the rally brought the simmering racial tensions to a fore when he said that there were “very fine people” on all sides of the debate. Of the push to take down the statue, he said, “You’re changing history; you’re changing culture.”

To some, Kelly’s comments on Monday echoed Trump’s both sides assertions.

Kelly “on both sides’ed” the Civil War.
Good people on both sides who should have compromised.

The arrogant assertions of “history”
The lack of understanding of the good and bad in our history.
The ugly messages in those assertions…. pic.twitter.com/XgUtI56zl9

— Joanne Freeman (@jbf1755) October 31, 2017

Many cities and states have begun debating how to address the Confederate statues that dot the South, with many choosing to remove the monuments. But the issue has taken an increasingly political turn since Charlottesville, emerging as an attack line in the gubernatorial race in Virginia.

Some polls have shown that the public is divided about the statues and what they represent. About 54 percent of Americans viewed the statues as symbols of Southern pride and not white supremacy, according to a poll from the Economist and YouGov this summer.

While some contend that the Civil War was fought over states’ rights, scholars generally agree that slavery was the primary driver of the conflict.

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