<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2018https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida https://www.nbcmiami.comen-usFri, 20 Jul 2018 22:25:09 -0400Fri, 20 Jul 2018 22:25:09 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Doral Police Motorman Taken to Hospital Following Accident]]> Fri, 20 Jul 2018 22:14:09 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/217*120/072018+motorman+accident.jpg

A Doral Police motorman was airlifted to the hospital Friday afternoon following an accident, police said.

The incident happened at Northwest 112th Avenue and Northwest 90th Street.

The officer is being taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where is listed in stable condtion with minor injuries. 

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<![CDATA[6 of the Week: Top Stories in Photos]]> Fri, 20 Jul 2018 11:37:18 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/072018+6+of+the+Week+July+20.png Check out NBC 6's top stories of the week.]]> <![CDATA[Mueller's Team Wants to Talk to Me, Says 'Manhattan Madam']]> Fri, 20 Jul 2018 18:03:46 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/madAP_951763286835.jpg

The "Manhattan Madam" who boasted of providing prostitutes to New York's rich and famous, including Gov. Eliot Spitzer, says someone in special counsel Robert Mueller's office called her attorney Thursday to ask her to speak to investigators.

Kristin Davis, 41, said the Mueller representative asked if she would accept a subpoena or if the FBI would need to serve it to her, NBC News reported.

She said her lawyer called the representative back Friday to say she would accept it.




Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Police Investigating Man's Death Inside Miami Luxury Condo]]> Fri, 20 Jul 2018 22:15:11 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/215*120/072018+miami+homicide+condo+investigation.PNG

Police are investigating what they believe was a homicide after a man was found dead inside a Miami luxury condo building early Friday morning.

Officers responded to the Blue on The Bay complex at Northeast 36th Street and 6th Avenue shortly before 1:30 a.m. after reports of shots being fired. Once they arrived, Miami Police say they found a white man inside one condo who was pronounced dead at the scene.

NBC 6 cameras caught detectives talking to a man before placing him in a patrol car and taking him from the scene, but officials have not said what involvement – if any at all – that the man had with their investigation.

Police are reviewing security cameras inside the building and have shut down the elevators in an effort to see who is coming and going from the building.

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<![CDATA[San Diego Comic-Con 2018: Friday Highlights]]> Fri, 20 Jul 2018 17:08:01 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1002816192.jpg The second day of 2018 Comic-Con International: San Diego featured more exciting programs and pop-up events. Writers and celebrities spoke at panels, and the IMDb Yacht continued to sail. View highlights below of Friday, July 20, 2018.

Photo Credit: Mike Coppola/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Series Preview: Marlins at Rays]]> Fri, 20 Jul 2018 15:23:00 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-974399780.jpg

The Miami Marlins will start their second half with a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays beginning on Friday.

Miami ended the first half with two straight wins and picked up a second consecutive series win. The Marlins are 41-57 overall this season, but they have played winning baseball since early June. The Rays went 49-47 in the first half and dropped three of their last four contests.

The Marlins will have a very difficult start to the second half of the year, with plenty of playoff contenders on the schedule. After the Rays, Miami will have series with the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals.

Dan Straily will get Friday's starting assignment for the Marlins and he will be looking for a fifth straight quality start. Straily has lowered his E.R.A. to 4.29 on the season due to his terrific July. In this month, the veteran has a 2.84 E.R.A to go along with a solid opposing batting average of .206.

Pablo Lopez's rookie season will continue in Saturday's outing. Lopez went 1-1 with a 6.35 E.R.A in the first half and only had one good appearance thus far. Lopez has a 1.35 WHIP and his command has gotten away from him. Lopez has seen his walk totals increase in each start thus far, while also giving up a few too many hits.

Sunday's series finale will feature rookie Trevor Richards on the mound for the Marlins. Richards posted one of his best starts of the year, in his final appearance prior to the All-Star Game. Richards has a 3-5 record to go along with a 4.74 E.R.A in 2018.

Friday's first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Iran Has Laid Groundwork for Major US Cyberattacks: Sources]]> Fri, 20 Jul 2018 15:12:15 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/480656952-Iran-US-Flags.jpg

Iranian hackers have laid the groundwork for extensive cyberattacks on U.S. and European infrastructure as well as private companies, multiple senior U.S. officials told NBC News.

The U.S. is hardening its defenses, warning allies and weighing whether to counterattack, though there is no indication an Iranian operation is imminent, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Thousands of water plants, electric grids and health care and technology companies in the U.S., Europe and Middle East could be hit with denial-of-service attacks in the event of a strike.

A U.S. National Security Council representative declined to comment, while a representative of Iran's mission to the United Nations claimed that it's the U.S. which is the "most belligerent cyber attacker of any nation" and said, without commenting on specific operations, that Iran's activities in the space "are defensive in nature and necessary for our country's protection."



Photo Credit: Carlos Barria/AFP/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Israel Executes Airstrikes After Soldiers Come Under Fire]]> Fri, 20 Jul 2018 16:24:17 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/072018gazastrike.jpg

Israel struck Hamas targets in Gaza on Friday, killing at least four Palestinians, after gunmen killed an Israeli soldier near the border, officials said.

Israeli military officials said a "terrorist squad" fired at troops, killing one soldier, NBC News reported. The military did not specify the condition of the other soldiers who came under fire.

"Hamas chose to escalate the security situation — and will bear the consequences for its actions," the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.



Photo Credit: BASHAR TALEB/AFP-Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[40 Hospitalized in Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Raw Turkey]]> Fri, 20 Jul 2018 14:38:57 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/072018CDC.jpg

Ninety people in 26 states have been infected with salmonella in the midst of an outbreak that has been connected to raw turkey products, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

There haven’t been any reported deaths, but 40 people have been hospitalized.

Salmonella cases have been reported in Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin, the CDC said in a news release.

While the outbreak hasn’t been linked to a single supplier, the salmonella strain has been found in samples of raw turkey products including pet food and live turkeys, the CDC said.

The agency hasn’t instructed retailers to stop selling raw turkey products and hasn’t told consumers to stop eating properly cooked turkey products.

To avoid being infected with salmonella, the CDC recommends frequently washing your hands, cooking raw turkey thoroughly and avoiding raw diets for pets.

“Always handle raw turkey carefully and cook it thoroughly to prevent food poisoning,” the CDC said in the release. “This outbreak is a reminder that raw turkey products can have germs that spread around food preparation areas and can make you sick.”



Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Asbestos Check at NYC Buildings Near Steam Pipe Blast Could Take Days]]> Fri, 20 Jul 2018 20:34:07 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP_182004753629911.jpg

Forty-four of the nearly 50 buildings evacuated after an asbestos-lined, 86-year-old steam pipe exploded in the heart of the Flatiron District Thursday remain off limits as officials thoroughly assess the potential presence of asbestos.

Authorities are making progress in cleaning streets and buildings, however, and by Friday evening, 19th Street near Fifth Avenue was cleaned and poised to open. Fifth Avenue at 18th and 19th streets should be re-opening soon, too, according to Joe Esposito, commissioner of the city's Office of Emergency Management. 

Forty-nine buildings were originally evacuated when the 20-inch high-pressure pipe exploded, blowing a 15-foot crater in Fifth Avenue near 21st Street and burying Manhattan in a cloud of alternately white and black steam for hours.

Authorities have walked through about four dozen buildings to see if debris has gotten into them. There's no timetable on when all the streets will be opening back up or how long the cleanup will take. Residents won't be allowed to return to their homes -- with the exception of emergency needs -- until those assessments have been completed, which could take days. 


"Asbestos is a killer, so we have to be very careful with how we clean the buildings, how we clean the streets," Esposito said at a news conference Friday evening.

Alfonso Queiroz of Con Edison echoed the sentiment: "As soon as we learned asbestos was involved, the game changed," he said, adding that environmental experts were enlisted to help the utility carefully remove materials and debris from the site. "We want to be really careful with how we handle this." 

The utility is working through the weekend to clean up streets and buildings near the steam pipe explosion. Rain this weekend should help in washing away debris from the upper facades of the buildings, Esposito said. Meanwhile, crews will be putting a berm around the area of rupture to try to contain as much contaminated debris as possible, and then vacuum away the water. 

Twenty-eight buildings are in what officials called the "hot zone," and 500 people have been displaced from nearly 250 units in those buildings, Mayor de Blasio said. 

The other 21 buildings that were evacuated will be assessed, but de Blasio said the presence of asbestos is less likely there. There is "real concern" carcinogenic debris was thrown stories high by the rupture and could have gotten into people's buildings or air conditioners, de Blasio said Thursday. 

The air in the immediate vicinity is safe and has no meaningful asbestos levels, the mayor said, but debris found on the ground after the blast did test positive. 

People who live or work in the area should keep windows closed until clean-up is completed, the city's health department says. 

Con Edison personnel will again be at three locations Saturday to provide assistance to affected residents. Those who can't get back into their homes because of the evacuation should meet with Con Edison for financial assistance inside the Clinton School at 10 East 15th St. from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. And on 19th Street and Broadway, and on 22nd Street and Broadway, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Con Edison personnel will be providing claim forms and accepting potentially contaminated clothing worn by people in the area.Claim forms for clothing compensation are also available online at coned.com.

Fifth Avenue will remain shut down in the area for days as authorities work to clean up the toxic scene, the mayor said. The immediate area runs from 500 feet east or west of Fifth Avenue on 20th and 21st streets, and 100 feet north and south on Fifth Avenue. 

The FDNY decontaminated about 100 first responders a few blocks from the scene, and people were seen walking with masks over their faces on Sixth Avenue, concerned about what might be in the air. The blast also affected a gas line, water main and electrical power, which may take several days to restore. 

A cause of Thursday's blast remains under investigation. Authorities say no Con Edison work was being done in the area, and there's no visible indicator to explain what happened. Gov. Cuomo has ordered a probe into any potential utility-related links.

At least five people suffered what officials called minor injuries. 

The blast comes almost exactly 11 years to the day of an 83-year-old steam pipe explosion near Grand Central. That shot debris 40 stories in the air, raining mud on midtown, after authorities said the pipe failed. 



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Person of Interest Named in Miami Lakes Shooting Death]]> Fri, 20 Jul 2018 12:03:30 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/216*120/072018+miami+lakes+shooting+jamal+head+mugshot.jpg

Police have named a person of interest in the shooting death of a man who was found inside a car in Miami Lakes last week.

Miami-Dade Police said Friday that they are looking to question Jamal Head regarding the July 12th incident after a car was found crashed into a tree near Northwest 89th Avenue and 146th Street.

Officers arrived at the scene and found the rented Volkswagen Jetta with the body of 37-year-old Lester Santana-Hernandez in the backseat with several gunshot wounds. Some homeowners said they came outside to try and help and saw a man get out of the car, reportedly grabbing something from the car and took off.

The 32-year-old Head has a lengthy arrest record, having faced charges for everything from armed robbery and drug possession to attempted second degree murder.

Anyone with information on Head’s whereabouts or the case is asked to call Miami-Dade Police or Miami-Dade CrimeStoppers.



Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Father of Parkland Shooting Survivors Killed in Robbery]]> Fri, 20 Jul 2018 17:05:48 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/071918+Lauderdale+Shooting+5.jpg

The father of two Parkland school shooting survivors was fatally shot at his own North Lauderdale convenience store during a robbery, according to the Broward County Sheriff's Office.

Ayub Ali, a father of four, died Tuesday. Just five months prior, his son and daughter survived the mass shooting that killed 17 and injured 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

According to a BSO report, Lauderdale Lakes BSO deputies and Tamarac Fire Rescue paramedics found the injured 61-year-old store clerk when they arrived at Aunt Molly's Food Store, located at 1691 S. State Road. Ali was transported to Fort Lauderdale's Broward Health Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

The suspect forced Ali to his store's back office, where he was shot.

"He took money from the cash register and left. The thief returned shortly after and shot Ali," BSO said in a statement. "The suspect wore a black vest, reddish-orange shorts with a black and white stripe on the sides, reddish-orange slides and a skull cap with 'Miami' stitched on the front."

The convenience store reopened Thursday and loyal customers placed a makeshift memorial for Ali, who was born in Bangladesh.

Parkland's Bangladeshi community has stepped up to support Ali's widow and children. On Feb. 14, Ali's daughter was in a classroom in MSD's 1200 building, where the massacre occurred, according to a family friend. One of his sons also was at the school.

"This is the biggest part that hurts me. They have to be without their dad for the rest of their life," Ali's friend Alex Rios told NBC 6.

Anyone with information is urged to contact BSO homicide detective James Hayes at 954-321-4231 or Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477. Anonymous tips that lead to an arrest are eligible for a reward of up to $3,000.

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<![CDATA[Duck Boats: Popular With Tourists, But With a Deadly History]]> Fri, 20 Jul 2018 13:40:50 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/20180720+Duck+Boat+History+Philadelphia.jpg

Duck boats are popular with tourists, but they've also been involved in dozens of deaths.

At least 26 people have been killed in incidents involving duck boats over the last 20 years in the United States, including Thursday's deadly sinking in Missouri, "Today" reported.

A lawyer who represented victims in a duck boat crash in Philadelphia in 2010 says the number of deaths is higher and that more than 40 people have died in duck boat accidents.

The "boats" are amphibious vehicles made by modifying military trucks. The ones in use today were built for use in World War II and were named with the acronym DUKW, which led to the nickname "duck boats."

Duck boats were used during the Normandy invasion on D-Day to bring troops ashore, and some were used again in Korea.

In recent years some businesses have re-purposed those same, decades-old vehicles into sightseeing attractions that drive from land into rivers and lakes.

The boats sit low in the water, with waves lapping just outside the boats' windows.

In 1999, 13 people drowned while riding a duck boat in Hot Springs, Arkansas. That boat sank so quickly that no one aboard had time to put on a life jacket, the NTSB reported; its investigation found the boat had been inadequately maintained.

In 2010, a trash barge collided with a duck boat on a busy part of the Delaware River in Philadelphia. The 37 people aboard were sent into the water; two people, tourists from Hungary, died.

The company that ran the Philadelphia operations, Ride the Ducks International, stopped operating in Philly in 2016 after another fatal crash sent its insurance costs soaring. In May 2015, a duck boat struck and killed a visitor from Texas who was crossing a city street.

The next year, in Boston, a woman was killed when she was hit by a duck boat while riding her scooter on Beacon Hill.

Five college students were killed in 2015 when a duck boat crashed into a charter bus in Seattle. The victims were on the bus.

The company that operated the Branson, Missouri, ride that sank in a storm Thursday issued a statement reiterating its focus on safety.

"The safety of our guests and employees is our number one priority," the statement read. "Ride the Ducks will be closed for business while we support the investigation, and to allow time to grieve for the families and the community."

But a lawyer who represented the Philadelphia water crash victims said Friday that's not good enough.

The vehicles are "deathtraps operating on land and in the water," Robert Mongeluzzi said, reiterating his call for a national ban on duck boats.

“After this tragedy, we again ask, What does it take for tour operators to realize that they cannot value profit more than human life and public safety?" Mongeluzzi said in a statement. 



Photo Credit: NBC10
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<![CDATA[Trump's Summit Sows Anger, Confusion. What Else Is New?]]> Fri, 20 Jul 2018 10:08:51 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/thumb-trump-636673601087113175.jpg

President Donald Trump’s refusal to publicly condemn Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election until a wall of bipartisan criticism forced a series of White House walk-backs appears to be following a familiar script.

Possible pivotal points in his presidency leave his supporters unfazed as Trump breaks norms, forcing his advisers to struggle with the fallout.

"I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters," Trump famously said during a 2016 campaign rally.

Yes, each time Trump has weathered the criticism. Will it be any different now?

“The only honest answer to that question is ‘Who knows?’” said Whit Ayres, the president North Star Opinion Research and an adviser to top Republicans. “Past controversies that would have sunk most presidents have had no significant effect on this president's job approval. So until there is hard evidence to the contrary, the safest bet is that this will have no effect as well.”

The latest uproar began during a press conference on Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin when Trump declined to denounce election interference that U.S. intelligence agencies say was meant to benefit him over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Nor would he warn Putin against doing it again, instead repeating conspiracy theories about Clinton and the Democratic party's computer servers.

“My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others and said they think it’s Russia," Trump said. "I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

The next day, after blistering criticism from even some of the president’s most reliable supporters, Trump told reporters he had meant to say “wouldn’t be.”

“The sentence should have been, 'I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.' Sort of a double negative,” Trump said.

But even then, he contradicted U.S. intelligence agencies' assessments again by ad-libbing that others could be responsible, too — a claim he has made repeatedly and one not backed by the assessments.

On Tuesday, another Republican pollster, David Winston, called that clarification in a Roll Call op-ed “probably the best we’re going to get.”

“But Trump’s grumbling comments, his ramblings about emails, servers and rogue FBI agents, and most important, his attempt to create a moral equivalency between our intel agencies and the actions of Russia, leaves most outside observers shaking their heads,” wrote Winston, the president of The Winston Group and an adviser to congressional Republicans.

Trump’s presidency has been a series of flare-ups: the rollout of the travel ban, separation of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border, support for Alabama Republican Roy Moore, who lost his U.S. Senate race after women came forward accusing him of sexual misconduct, Trump’s waffling over condemning white supremacist marchers in Charlottesville, Virginia, and calling Haiti and some African nations: “sh--hole countries.”

Polls have found that support among his core backers has stayed strong through all of the upheaval. For example, an NBC News/Survey Monkey online poll in May found that although 22 percent of Republicans say they believe Trump tells the truth only some of the time, more than half of them, or 56 percent, still approve of his work as president.

After the Helsinki summit, according to a CBS News poll released on Thursday, only about 32 percent of Americans approved of Trump's performance and 8 percent of Democrats. By contrast 68 percent of Republicans thought he had done a good job.

Crucially, among independents, only 29 percent were happy with the president.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll also conducted after the summit found that 42 percent of registered voters said they approved of Trump's performance in office, in line with a daily average of between 40 to 44 percent this month. Only 32 percent of Republicans believe that Russia tried to influence the U.S. election, compared to 84 percent of Democrats, according to the poll, released on Tuesday.

Margie Omero, a principal at GBA Strategies who has worked with hundreds of Democratic candidates, said she thought the current controversy was different from earlier ones in that those reinforced what was known about the president —that he uses hostile rhetoric when he talks about immigrants, women or communities of color.

In Helsinki, he appeared weak, a pushover who lacked a clear, strategic goal, she said.

“Obviously we’ve known for a long time that Trump has been friendly toward Putin rather than tough toward him the way he is with other world leaders, including our allies, but the display was so over the top and it also went against what his says is his strength, of being tough,” she said.

It remains to be seen whether there will be any long-term damage, she said.

Trump continued the confusion on Wednesday when asked — while reporters were being told to leave the room before a Cabinet meeting — whether Russia was still targeting the U.S.

“Thank you very much, no,” he said.

“No? You don’t believe that to be the case?”

“No.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later said that Trump was saying “no” to additional questions.

The reporter who asked the question, Cecilia Vega of ABC News, tweeted: “Getting a lot of questions about my exchange with @realDonaldTrump today. Yes, he was looking directly at me when he spoke. Yes, I believe he heard me clearly. He answered two of my questions.”

By Thursday, the White House had announced Trump was inviting Putin to the White House for a second summit in the fall, seemingly defying his critics.

That Mr. Putin could be coming to Washington appeared to be news to Coats. Trump's director of national intelligence seemed stunned when NBC's Andrea Mitchell told him about the invite during a Q&A at the Aspen Security Forum. 

"Say that again?" Coats said, leaning in then laughing along with others in the room.

"OK."

He paused.

"That's gonna be special," he said to more laughter.  

Perhaps just as astonishing: Coats also acknowledged he was clueless on the specifics of what Trump and Putin talked about when the two leaders were alone together in Helsinki for two hours.    

Back in Washington on Thursday, the U.S. Senate made a rare show of bipartisan unity by passing a non-binding resolution 98-0 that the U.S. should refuse to make any former diplomat accused of interfering in Russia's domestic affairs available to Russian investigators.

Senators scrambled for the vote because Trump was considering a Russian request  to interrogate former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul and other former and current American officials. Putin had offered in return to let American investigators witness interrogations of 12 Russians named and accused in an indictment Friday of hacking Democrats. Trump had termed the quid pro quo an "incredible offer." 

But as the Senate was considering its vote, Trump backed down. 

“It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it,” Sanders said in a statement. “Hopefully President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt.” 

Among the critics of Trump's press conference in Helsinki has been a crucial backer, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who said the president's performance was "the most serious of his presidency." 

“President Trump must clarify his statements in Helsinki on our intelligence system and Putin,” Gingrich tweeted. 

“It is the most serious mistake of his presidency and must be corrected -- immediately.” 

By Tuesday, Gingrich was tweeting approvingly of Trump's walk-back, writing that the president had done the right thing by clarifying his comments and reiterating his support for Coats and the intelligence community. 

“President responded quickly and clearly once he realized he had used the wrong language,” he wrote. 

And Gingrich turned again to criticizing former officials for failing to stop the Russian meddling, among them the former director of national intelligence, James Clapper, the former head of the CIA, John Brennan, and the fired FBI chief, James Comey.

Omero, the Democratic strategist, said Trump’s performance has been problematic for Republican leadership, his intelligence and security staff and for Republican candidates who are not sure how to speak to voters about Trump. That was part of the reason Trump tried to reverse course, she said.

“They seem inauthentic because in order to show support for their president they have to stand by embarrassing behavior and completely incomprehensible walk-back,” she said.

Winston wrote that Trump was at a crucial point in his presidency.

“He can listen to the criticism of his Helsinki comments, learn a hard lesson, rein in his shoot-from-the-hip instincts and lead — or not, and put his leadership at risk,” Winston wrote.

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<![CDATA[Afghan Taliban Claims Indirect Talks Are Underway With US]]> Fri, 20 Jul 2018 07:08:22 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/504654338-Afghan-Taliban-Commando.jpg

U.S. officials are sitting down with former members of the Taliban as they try to wind down America's longest war, three Taliban commanders tell NBC News.

The sources said the talks took place in Afghanistan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. One negotiator said "never more than five" Americans attended a series of hotel suite meetings in Doha, Qatar.

The Taliban delegates took steps not to be identified by other countries' intelligence services, the negotiator said. He and the other sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

NBC News could not confirm the Taliban officials' accounts. A State Department representative didn't confirm the meetings but did say the Trump administration is eager to resolve the conflict. U.S. officials indicated this week that the administration is open to direct talks with the Taliban.



Photo Credit: Noorullah Shirzada/AFP/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Crews Extinguishing Recycling Plant Fire Near Miami Airport]]> Fri, 20 Jul 2018 12:28:28 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/072018+miami+dade+recycling+plant+fire.PNG

Crews continue working Friday morning to put out a fire that broke out inside of a recycling plant near Miami International Airport.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue members arrived at the building located at 3700 Northwest River Drive just before 9 p.m. on Thursday – finding heavy smoke and flames coming from inside and through the roof.

No one was injured and crews were able to get the blaze under control, but were still at the scene throughout the night and into the morning working to finish putting out hot spots as smoke could still be seen coming from the area.

MDFR crews are working with the Coast Guard and the EPA over concerns about what was inside the building flowing into the Miami River as a result of the fire and the efforts to put it out.

Officials say the airport is not impacted and no streets are closed at this time, but drivers are advised to seek alternate routes through the morning while those living in the area are advised to stay indoors and avoid opening windows.

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<![CDATA[Burglars Steal High-End Items From Vacant Pinecrest Homes]]> Thu, 19 Jul 2018 20:27:34 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/pinecrest-robberies-071918.jpg

Police are looking for the burglars who have been stealing high-end appliances from vacant homes in Pinecrest over the last three months.

The burglars hit eight homes and have stolen from $3,600 to $79,000 worth of property from each house.

"The burglars seem to know what they're looking for," said Michelle Hammontree, spokeswoman for the Village of Pinecrest. "They're getting high-end appliances, high-end patio furniture, high-end grills."

Pinecrest police released surveillance video Thursday of the burglars, who arrive in the early morning hours and target homes that are listed for sale or are under renovation.

"We suspect that these burglars are basically shopping for the inventory online and hitting the houses," Hammontree said.

Residents should be on the lookout, especially if they see work vans or rental trucks in the area during early hours.

Anyone with information could submit anonymous tips through Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

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<![CDATA['It's Magical': MSD Students Gifted New Comfort Dog]]> Thu, 19 Jul 2018 23:53:22 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/therapy-dog-msd.PNG

Months after a tragic shooting took 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, students will soon find some comfort in a new furry friend.

A librarian who helped save lives during the shooting in February was given a therapy dog to help students heal.

When Diana Haneski met River, her new therapy dog, it brought a tear to her eye.

"It's magical," she said.

Meryl Berdugo told NBC 6 she was so struck when she saw how her therapy dog provided emotional support for the shooting survivors, so she decided to help out.

Berdugo campaigned to get two therapy dogs for the school. The bernedoodle puppy met Haneski for the first time Thursday in Coral Springs. 

"River's gonna help in the future with a lot of struggles and trouble, and I'm trying to get myself ready to go back, so this is definitely going to help me," Haneski said.

River will live with and go to work with Haneski. She'll be receiving free dog training to help the MSD community alleviate the painful memories and emotions from that day in February.

Dog trainer Mike Miller said training River will take all year. 

"We'll be physically going to the school with the puppy, training them in the midst of all the chaos and the bells ringing and the kids coming in and out, petting them," Miller said. "Because River's job is a very important job."

River will clock in about a week before classes begin to get acclimated to the school. She will get premium treatment, including dog therapy and pet insurance.

"Dogs have unconditional love ... obviously this community has been going through a major catastrophe, and she is going to help bring it all back and bring it together," said Maruchy Perez of Doggie Days in Miami.

For more information and to donate to help support the therapy dogs at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, visit the GoFundMe.



Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Fewer Than 15 Percent of Separated Migrant Kids Reunited]]> Fri, 20 Jul 2018 14:31:41 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Fewer_than_400_Migrant_Children_Reunited_in_Past_Week.jpg

Fewer than 400 migrant children, ages 5 to 17, have been reunited with a parent, according to the latest court filing from U.S. government attorneys. 

The joint filing was made Thursday afternoon. It’s the latest update since the ACLU successfully challenged the government’s separation of undocumented migrant children from their parents when caught crossing the U.S. border illegally. 

The court filing confirms 364 children have now been reunited with a parent. 

Another 1,600 are potentially eligible for reunification. Federal District Judge Dana Sabraw set a July 26 deadline for reunifying all families who were separated when attempting to cross the border illegally. 

Of that group, more than 800 children have been formally cleared to rejoin their parents, who are held in detention centers across the country. 

The government stated that 908 children and teenagers are not eligible for reunification or their current status is unknown. 

The Department of Justice also revealed for the first time that 136 parents have declined offers to be reunited with their children. 

Ninety-one parents were identified as having criminal records or other problems that the government said made them ineligible to be reunited with their children. 

Seven-hundred and nineteen of the 2,551 “class members” have been served with a "final order of removal" and could be deported, according to the ACLU. 

In the court filing, ACLU attorneys said the government has not given them information about families who have been released from ICE custody, deported or given final removal orders. The ACLU claims those families must be immediately informed about their options and their children’s options. 

“These parents may only have a matter of days to make the momentous decision whether to leave their child behind in the United States,” the ACLU argued. 

On Monday, Federal District Judge Dana Sabraw temporarily halted any family deportations, at the request of the ACLU. Sabraw will consider any government arguments to the contrary and could allow deportations to begin as soon as July 26. 

To read the entire court filing, click here

All of the information included in the latest court filing will be discussed before Sabraw on Friday afternoon.


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<![CDATA[Miami-Dade's Black Defendants Face Harsher Punishments: ACLU]]> Thu, 19 Jul 2018 18:32:52 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/AP_173348494574571.jpg

Ethnicity and race significantly impact key decisions in Miami-Dade County's criminal justice system, where black defendants face the harshest outcomes, according to a report by the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.

The ACLU of Florida's Unequal Treatment: Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Miami-Dade Criminal Justice report analyzed racial and ethnic data for arrests; bond and pretrial detention; charging and disposition decisions; and sentencing – identified as "key decision-making points."

According to the report, ethnicity and race impact the likelihood a person will face harsher outcomes. Black defendants face the worst disparities.

The report, authored by University of Miami sociologists, is a joint effort between the ACLU of Florida and the ACLU's Greater Miami Chapter.

“Our analysis found disparities at every decision point that result in advantages for white defendants and neighborhoods, and disadvantages for black defendants and neighborhoods,” Dr. Marisa Omori, assistant professor of sociology at UM, said in a statement.

Racial disparities compound and worsen the further a defendant goes through the system, where black defendants – regardless of ethnicity – are overrepresented relative to their share in the population, according to the report.

The report also found higher rates of arrest, pretrial detention, prosecution, conviction and incarceration for defendants in black neighborhoods.

Black Hispanics disproportionately experience the most punitive outcomes – facing a share of arrests four times higher and a share of incarcerated population six times higher than the rest of the population.

"Black non-Hispanic defendants are sentenced to longer prison terms than any other racial or ethnic group," the ACLU of Florida said in a statement.

The report three years in the making analyzed data from 2010 through 2015.

"White defendants who are Hispanic are the most under-represented in the county’s criminal justice system relative to their share of the population," the ACLU of Florida added.

In response, Miami's Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of Florida said the ACLU's report "offers insights that will inform our continuing efforts at self-examination and improvement."

“The Eleventh Circuit is committed to justice for every person, no matter what color they are, no matter where they were born, no matter how they identify – ethnically or otherwise – and no matter whether they are rich or poor,” Chief Judge Bertila Soto said in a statement. “We will study this report and use it to inform our continuing work with the goal of eliminating all racial and ethnic disparities in our criminal justice system.”

The court said it has already worked to address some issues by encouraging the use of civil citations instead of arrests for low-level crimes, by supporting anti-gun violence programs and by training judges on bias and diversity, as well as racial and ethnic dynamics.

The court also said it would address high pretrial detention issues by having law enforcement issue promise-to-appear orders instead of jailing defendants to await future court hearings.

In a statement, State Attorney for Miami-Dade County Katherine Fernandez Rundle said her office and its leadership have "always strived for fairness and justice as a priority."

"We have not yet had a full opportunity to examine the findings released by the ACLU today," she said. "However, I take my responsibility as your State Attorney to pursue unbiased justice for all in our community very seriously."

The ACLU of Florida said it plans to meet with community leaders, law enforcement and public officials to discuss how to reduce disparities.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Publix Adding Four In-Store Starbucks in South Florida]]> Thu, 19 Jul 2018 16:05:48 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/update+abiertos+y+cerrados+publix+sedanos.jpg

The Publix and Starbucks partnership will expand as the supermarket chain will add four in-store coffeehouse stations in South Florida.

The coffeehouse powerhouse will open with its full line of coffees and beverages at the new locations.

According to Publix's website, 17 of its nearly 1,200 locations now house a Starbucks, including supermarkets in Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach.

The Publix chain first began adding Starbucks stores in 2016. Four states – Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia – now have Starbucks coffeehouses within a Publix.

The new participating Publix stores in South Florida will be located at: 

The Harbor Shops; 1940 Cordova Rd. in Fort Lauderdale.

Colonial Towne Park Center; 870 Villa Oak Ln. in Lake Mary.

18 Biscayne Shopping Center; 1776 Biscayne Blvd. in Miami.

Publix at Miami Shores; 9050 Biscayne Blvd. in Miami Shores.

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<![CDATA[Man Accused in Fatal Wrong-Way I-95 Crash Appears in Court]]> Thu, 19 Jul 2018 21:06:15 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/crash91.jpg

A man who went on a crime spree before he caused a wrong-way crash on Interstate 95 that killed a German exchange student early July appeared in court Thursday.

William Ferguson, 27, is in jail under $100,000 bond and is now facing charges of DUI manslaughter in addition to aggravated assault, prosecutors say.

A special prosecutor was in bond court Wednesday to ask for an increased bond for Ferguson. The Ohio native was deemed a flight risk, had his license suspended four times and spent time in prison for dealing drugs, prosecutors said.

"I find that based on the allegations, which are horrific, he is a danger to the community, and so I'm going to grant the state's request," Judge Renatha Francis said in court.

The judge ordered Ferguson to be on house arrest if he bonds out. No attorney information was immediately available.

According to the initial arrest report, Ferguson was on drugs when he stabbed his girlfriend in the neck and arm in front of her one-year-old daughter on July 5. He then fled the scene and drove on the wrong lane of I-95.

He was traveling northbound on the southbound express lanes when he collided head-on with another vehicle.

Mathias Akwa, 24, was identified as the man killed in the crash. He was a German national living in Miami for a school internship. He was returning from Destin after a Fourth of July celebration and was on his way to return a rental car.

Four cars were involved in the crash but there were no other injuries.

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<![CDATA[Overnight Fire Destroys Store Inside Plantation Strip Mall]]> Thu, 19 Jul 2018 12:25:13 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/215*120/071918+plantation+strip+mall+fire.PNG

An early morning fire destroyed one business inside a Plantation strip mall and required over 50 fire fighters to put the blaze out.

Crews responded to the fire at the intersection of East Acre Drive and Broward Boulevard just after 1:30 a.m., according to Plantation Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Joel Gordon, after an officer responded to a possible burglar alarm inside the mall and called in the fire.

Gordon said members of the department as well as volunteer firefighters arrived and found smoke and flames inside a liquor store, working to keep it from spreading to other businesses inside the complex.

No one was injured, according to Gordon, however the liquor store was destroyed and several others businesses were affected.

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<![CDATA[Passenger in Stolen BMW Killed in Miami-Dade Crash]]> Thu, 19 Jul 2018 19:06:33 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/nw+miami+dade+craash+victim.jpg

A teenager who was a passenger in a stolen vehicle was killed in a crash Wednesday in northwest Miami-Dade, police said.

The crash occurred at around 3 p.m. in the area of NW 71st Street and NW 22nd Avenue, according to the Miami-Dade Police Department. 

Detectives were following a reported stolen BMW and initiated a traffic stop at NW 6th Avenue, police said. As officers approached the vehicle, the driver accelerated forward, and speeding and hitting a detective's vehicle and another car in the process.

The driver lost control of the BMW and drove through a fence and into an open field. The car turned several times and the driver and passenger were ejected from the vehicle.

The two were taken to a hospital, where the passenger, identified as 19-year-old Winny Victor, died.

The driver, identified by police as 18-year-old Zaykesse Johnson, was in good condition. Charges against him are pending, Miami-Dade police said.

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<![CDATA[Trump: I'll Be Putin's 'Worst Enemy' If Things Go Bad]]> Thu, 19 Jul 2018 17:47:14 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1000144046.jpg

President Donald Trump vowed Thursday that if his dealings with Russian leader Vladimir Putin don't "work out, I'll be the worst enemy he's ever had."

Trump made the statement during an interview at the White House with CNBC's Joe Kernen that will air in full Friday at 6 a.m. ET on "Squawk Box."

In the same interview, Trump blasted his predecessor, President Barack Obama, for having been a "total patsy" for Russia — while claiming he has been "far tougher on Russia than any president in many, many years."

But Trump also said he valued the opportunity to improve the United States' relationship to Russia, even after American intelligence agencies have said that Russia repeatedly tried to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The Uproar Around Putin's Request to Work With US, Explained]]> Fri, 20 Jul 2018 14:33:36 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP_110705167077-Sergei-Magnitsky.jpg

Russian President Vladimir Putin's offer of mutual assistance in criminal investigations with the United States this week might have sounded diplomatic — President Donald Trump called it an "incredible offer" on Monday and the White House took it seriously.

But in Congress and the diplomatic community, it was received like a bat to the head. Many argued that by cooperating Trump would be exposing Americans serving their country to made-up charges just for doing their jobs. And on Thursday, after days of bipartisan backlash, the White House officially shot the idea down.

Behind Putin's offer appears to be an focus on a six-year-old U.S. sanctions law called the Magnitsky Act.

In making the proposal at Monday's summit in Helsinki, Putin said that Russia would be interested in questioning people connected to William Browder, an American-born British banker who successfully pushed the U.S. to enact the bill in response to the death of a Russian whistleblowing lawyer who'd worked for Browder.

The Magnitsky Act sanctions Russians linked to Sergei Magnitsky's death and other gross violations of human rights as a way of combating corruption. The sanctions are now believed to have affected Putin's personal finances, and some people — including the man who implemented them at the State Department — have linked the Kremlin to a Russian lawyer lobbying the Trump campaign to remove the sanctions at a June 2016.

"The Russians have gone to enormous lengths to undermine the Magnitsky Act," said former U.S. Ambassador to Poland and career diplomat Daniel Fried, who was in charge of implementing the act as the State Department's sanctions coordinator starting in early 2013.

Here is more about the Magnitsky Act and how it ties into the Trump-Putin summit:

WHO WAS SERGEI MAGNITSKY?
He was a Russian tax lawyer working for Browder, a heavyweight hedge fund manager whose Russian firm was raided by federal investigators when he began speaking out against corruption that was becoming endemic in the country. 

Browder wanted to investigate, so he hired Magnitsky, a father of two whom Browder has testified was "the smartest Russian lawyer I knew." Magnitsky found that $230 million the firm had paid the government had been diverted to holding companies re-registered to a known criminal. When Magnitsky filed complaints about it, he was arrested by the same law enforcement officers he alleged took the money.

Magnitsky was imprisoned, held without trial, denied medical care, beaten and left to die in 2009 at 37. He was convicted posthumously along with Browder, who was tried in absentia. Amnesty International called the posthumous trial "kafkaesque."

Browder took up Magnitsky's cause with the U.S. government, hoping to bring accountability to Russia. His lobbying resulted in the Magnitsky Act, short for the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law and Accountability Act of 2012.

According to the law, what happened to Magnitsky "appears to be emblematic of a broader pattern of disregard for the numerous domestic and international human rights commitments of the Russian Federation and impunity for those who violate basic human rights and freedoms."

The act enables the U.S. president to identify people who were responsible for, concealed or benefited financially from Magnitsky's detention, abuse or death; they can no longer enter the U.S. and their assets in the U.S. are frozen. The act also enables the U.S. to sanction other Russians connected to similar violent human rights abuses against whistleblowers or others exercising human rights. You can see who's been hit with Magnitsky sanctions by searching on this page under the program "MAGNIT," a list of 49 people that includes authoritarian Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

Other countries have passed similar laws, including the United Kingdom and Canada. Browder has been lobbying even more nations to adopt similar rules. The U.S. followed up the Magnitsky Act in late 2016 with another bill that expands the scope of the sanctions to anyone in the world, including government officials who order or are complicit in significant corruption. 

WHY WOULD THE ACT HURT PUTIN?
The Magnitsky Act turned out to be more important than U.S. officials realized at the time, Fried said.

In 2012, Putin wasn't directly tied to the millions Browder said was taken from him, but financial documents leaked in the Panama Papers indicate he benefited through an intermediary, Fried said.

"If Putin himself was somehow involved in the looting of Browder's company and the siphoning of his funds for his own personal use," Fried said, "it explains his animus against Browder and the lengths they are willing to go" to take down the sanctions.

Fried pointed to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting as another instance of Russia lobbying to remove the Magnitsky sanctions.

In that meeting, Donald Trump Jr. and other Trump campaign officials met with a Russian lawyer who had offered dirt on Hillary Clinton. The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, ended up discussing a ban on U.S. citizens adopting Russian children that the Kremlin enacted as retaliation for the Magnitsky Act. Veselnitskaya once worked on a documentary that smeared Magnitsky, and she was accompanied at the meeting by a former Soviet counterintelligence officer.

The meeting, and the Trump administration's changing story on who attended and what happened, are a part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The subject of adoption also came up in a conversation between Putin and Trump a year later, when they talked privately at the G-20 in July 2017, Trump told The New York Times afterward.

"I actually talked about Russian adoption with him, which is interesting because it was a part of the conversation that Don [Trump Jr.] had in that meeting," Trump said.

Fried noted that "any time the Russians raise the issue of adoptions, what that really means is they're raising the Magnitsky Act."

There is other evidence of Russia's interest in lifting U.S. sanctions, which extend beyond the Magnitsky Act to punishment for the annexation of Crimea.

Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was fired for not being forthcoming about discussions he had with the Russian ambassador about lifting sanctions. Flynn later pleaded guilty in the Mueller probe for lying to FBI agents about those discussions.

And Fried said last year that others at the State Department warned him that Trump's team had planned to "unilaterally rescind the sanctions on Russia." Another former diplomat told NBC News that he believes the Trump team backed off after he and Fried lobbied Congress to put the sanctions into law.

The White House had no comment at the time of that report. It has also made use of the Russian and global Magnitsky sanctions programs, listing more individuals in December 2017, which the White House touted Tuesday in a list of things Trump is doing to protect U.S. elections and stand up to Russia.

WHAT HAPPENED THIS WEEK?
Russia and the U.S. don't have an extradition treaty for suspected criminals, but Putin offered American prosecutors the chance to "come and work" with Russian investigators to question 12 Russian military intelligence officials who Mueller accused of hacking Democrats' emails in the 2016 election. He said he might ask in return to question Browder, with U.S. agents allowed to be present.

Browder and his associates, Putin claimed without evidence, donated $400 million in tax-free Russian earnings to Hillary Clinton. That is an implausibly large amount, given it would account for more than half of her campaign's spending, according to one election finance watchdog.

Browder denied that claim, saying in an essay for Time that it's one of many baseless allegations Putin has made against him, and that it shows how desperate Putin is.

"These people are ready to kill to keep their money. Losing it would be devastating," he said.

While diplomats and others called the idea of cooperating in that criminal investigation preposterous, Trump at least considered the request. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Wednesday that "there was some conversation about it, but there wasn't a commitment made on behalf of the United States."

The State Department was on a different wavelength. Minutes after Sanders spoke, a department spokeswoman called the proposal "absurd" and said she would understand why members of the diplomatic community might feel concerned about it.

That included former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, one of the people Putin was seeking to question.

He said Thursday that the U.S. shouldn't allow "the moral equivalency between what Mr. Mueller did in his indictment and this cockamamie, crazy scheme that it sounds like President Putin spun up to Trump in their private meeting and then told the world in their press conference."

Also on the Russian prosecutor general's list, as reported in Russian state media, include a Senate aide who worked on the Magnitsky Act, a CIA agent and current and former U.S. employees.

Plenty of other top American officials dismissed the offer as ridiculous, from Democrats and Republicans in Congress up to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said in an interview Thursday, "It's not going to happen."

By Thursday afternoon, the White House put the issue to bed, saying, "It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it."

Still, the Senate voted 98-0 to rebuke the idea of a current or former public servant being made available for questioning by Putin's government.

Browder tweeted Friday morning that all the attention Putin brought to the Magnitsky Act was good news for his cause.

"The best by-product of Putin attacking me in Helsinki is that it showed how rattled he is by the Magnitsky Act. His public outburst will significantly increase the chances of getting 8 other countries to pass," he tweeted.

WHAT'S THE HARM IN WORKING WITH RUSSIA?
When Congress passed the Magnitsky Act, it established that the U.S. should support and assist Russians in maintaining a democracy that protects human rights and stand up against Russia's suppression of dissent and political freedoms.

Putin's attempt this week to interrogate Americans working to promote human rights in Russia is reminiscent of the way Sergei Magnitsky was silenced for speaking out, said Paul Stronski, director for Russia and Central Asia on President Barack Obama's National Security Council between 2012 and 2014 and now a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"This is Russia creating at times trumped-up charges against Americans that they don't like," Stronski said. 

Fried said it was "shocking to think that the White House is even considering handing over American officials who have been accused of nothing other than good service."

Stronski called it "outrageous" and dangerous. The danger stems from taking seriously Russian charges that come with no evidence, he said — a stark contrast to the 29-page indictment that Mueller released last week. 

Trump could have avoided making the mistake if he'd prepared a response to this kind of request ahead of time or involved aides instead of meeting Putin one-on-one, according to Stronski.

"You would think Trump would also be concerned about a successor to him — are they going to go after his officials as well? But there doesn't seem to be any thought about that," he said.

As for the Magnitsky Act, Stronksi said it's not clear the legislations has been effective in achieving its goal. 

"We have not seen an improvement in Russia's human rights behavior, but I think it is a clear signal to the world that we are watching gross violations of human rights," he said, calling it a "useful tool to have in our toolkit." 



Photo Credit: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP, File]]>