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Massive Protests Shut Down Highway in Puerto Rico After Governor Refuses to Step Down

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Thousands of people have taken to the streets in Puerto Rico to demand the resignation of the island’s embattled governor, Ricardo Rosselló.

It comes a day after Mr Rosselló said he would not step down over a leaked online chat in which he and top aides exchanged obscenity-laced messages.

The texts included homophobic slurs as well as insults about victims of the deadly Hurricane Maria in 2017.

Monday’s protest is forecast to be the largest in the US territory’s history.

Footage early on Monday morning showed crowded trains headed to the capital, and long lines of protesters preparing to march in the sweltering Caribbean heat.

Some protesters were seen blocking highways while chanting “Ricky resign”. The hashtags #RickyRenuncia (“Ricky resign”) and #ParoNacional (national strike) both trended on Twitter on Monday.

Experts predict the crowd size will eclipse the the largest protest in the island’s history 15 years ago, when Puerto Ricans successfully petitioned the US military to end training missions on the island of Vieques.

Massive Protests Shut Down Highway in Puerto Rico After Governor Refuses to Step Down

What are the secret messages?

The chat, which contained 880 pages between the governor and 11 all-male allies, was leaked on 13 July and has led to days of protests outside the governor’s mansion in San Juan.

Several of the texts mock victim’s of Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island in 2017, and may have lead to more than 4,000 deaths.

In one instance, Mr Rosselló cricitised the former speaker of the New York City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito, saying people should “beat up that whore”.

When the nation’s chief fiscal office wrote that he was “salivating to shoot” the mayor of San Juan, Mr Rosselló replied: “You’d be doing me a grand favour.”

What has the governor said?

On Sunday, the 40-year-old governor refused to resign but said he would step down as leader of the New Progressive Party, a Puerto Rican political party which advocates for US statehood.

In an attempt to appease protesters, he said he would not seek re-election.

“I hear you,” Mr Rosselló said in a Facebook video. “I have made mistakes and I have apologised.”

Read More: Ricardo Rossello Will Stay as Puerto Rico Governor But Won’t Seek Re-Election

Massive Protests Shut Down Highway in Puerto Rico After Governor Refuses to Step Down

Ricardo Rosselló apologised on Sunday

“I know that apologising is not enough,” he said.

“A significant sector of the population has been protesting for days. I’m aware of the dissatisfaction and discomfort they feel. Only my work will help restore the trust of these sectors.”

What has reaction been?

The island’s largest newspaper, El Nuevo Dia, called on the governor to resign in it’s Monday editorial.

“Puerto Rico has spoken up, not only as a strong, broad and united voice but as the right voice,” the editorial said. “With a gesture of nobility and humility, Governor, it is time to listen to the people. You have to resign.”

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz said in a Twitter message on Monday: “They can’t deny it: The power is in the street.”

READ MORE: ‘Only Survivor’ Reveals Truth of Fatal Accident in 1994 Linked to Ricardo Rossello

Singer Ricky Martin, who was targeted in the secret messages, was among those calling for he governor to resign, as well as Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and reggaeton star Bad Bunny.

“They mocked our dead, they mocked women, they mocked the LGBT community, they made fun of people with physical and mental disabilities, they made fun of obesity. It’s enough. This cannot be,” Martin said in a video on Twitter.

Entrepreneur, contributor, writer, and editor of Sostre News. With a powerful new bi-lingual speaking generation by his side, Sostre News is becoming the preferred site for the latest in Politics, Entertainment, Sports, Culture, Tech, Breaking and World News.

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Bombshell Investigation Finds Brett Kavanaugh Lied About Sexual Assaults

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Bombshell Investigation Finds Brett Kavanaugh Lied About Sexual Assaults

Slate.com did a longer investigation than the FBI and found that Brett Kavanaugh lied about sexually assaulting women in college.

According to New York Times:

But while we found Dr. Ford’s allegations credible during a 10-month investigation, Ms. Ramirez’s story could be more fully corroborated. During his Senate testimony, Mr. Kavanaugh said that if the incident Ms. Ramirez described had occurred, it would have been “the talk of campus.” Our reporting suggests that it was.

At least seven people, including Ms. Ramirez’s mother, heard about the Yale incident long before Mr. Kavanaugh was a federal judge. Two of those people were classmates who learned of it just days after the party occurred, suggesting that it was discussed among students at the time.

We also uncovered a previously unreported story about Mr. Kavanaugh in his freshman year that echoes Ms. Ramirez’s allegation. A classmate, Max Stier, saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student. Mr. Stier, who runs a nonprofit organization in Washington, notified senators and the F.B.I. about this account, but the F.B.I. did not investigate and Mr. Stier has declined to discuss it publicly. (We corroborated the story with two officials who have communicated with Mr. Stier.)

The FBI investigation was a sham because Trump and Senate Republicans severely limited what the FBI could investigate.

Kavanaugh lied about everything to the Senate.

As with Trump, Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are never going to impeach Brett Kavanaugh and lose their Supreme Court majority, but when Democrats take back the Senate, one can be assured that investigating and potentially impeaching Brett Kavanaugh will be near the top of their list.

For the good of the nation, Brett Kavanaugh can’t be allowed to continue to serve on the Supreme Court.

Kavanaugh lied, and he has got to go.

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Trump Again Boosts a Baseless Conspiracy Theory, This One About Jeffrey Epstein

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Trump Again Boosts a Baseless Conspiracy Theory, This One About Jeffrey Epstein

President Donald Trump on Saturday promoted a conspiracy theory linking the Clinton family to the death of multimillionaire and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, the latest instance of Trump propagating baseless conspiracy theories and falsehoods.

Trump shared a tweet and video from conservative comedian Terrence Williams that claimed without evidence that former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — Trump’s 2016 presidential election rival — were responsible for Epstein’s death. The Federal Bureau of Prisons and Attorney General Bill Barr said Epstein died in an “apparent suicide” while in federal custody.

As a result of Trump’s retweet, the video received more than 3 million views on Twitter by Sunday morning — more than triple Williams’ most recent videos. Both Trump and Bill Clinton were friendly with Epstein in previous decades, but Trump seized on the conspiracy theory Saturday in his latest dig at the Clintons. The tweet also falsely claimed that Epstein died while on suicide watch, even though Epstein had been taken off of suicide watch before his death.

Angel Ureña, a spokesman for the former president, called the conspiracy theory “ridiculous, and of course not true.”

“And Donald Trump knows it,” Ureña tweeted.

Trump promotes conspiracy theories

Lawmakers and government officials have called for inquiries into Epstein’s death, but none have gone so far as to even suggest that political rivals were behind it.

Unlike any other President before him, Trump has repeatedly promoted evidence-free conspiracy theories and falsehoods without regard for the consequences of his rhetoric.

Even before he was a candidate for President, Trump grew his following on the political right by promoting the conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya — and not the United States — even after Obama released a birth certificate showing he was born in the US.

During his campaign for President, Trump spread a conspiracy theory linking the father of his then-GOP presidential rival Sen. Ted Cruz to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The Cruz campaign denied it was Rafael Cruz and Cruz, a Texas Republican, responded at the time by blasting Trump as a pathological liar.

And in the second month of his presidency, Trump accused Obama without evidence of tapping his phones in Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign. More than two years later, there is still no evidence that Trump’s phones were wiretapped during the 2016 campaign.

Trump has also repeatedly claimed without evidence that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election; has fed conspiracy theories about a “deep state” of government officials working against him; and has also falsely smeared former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt” and called the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign “treason” — among many others.

Trump was not the only official in his administration to promote the Epstein-Clintons conspiracy theory.

Lynne Patton, a senior official at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and a longtime Trump family aide and friend, also gave voice to the conspiracy theory on her Instagram account earlier in the day.

Trump’s tweet promoting the conspiracy theory came about an hour after Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio warned of the dangers of spreading partisan conspiracy theories about Epstein’s death.

“Scrutiny of how #Epstein was able to commit suicide is warranted,” Rubio tweeted. “But the immediate rush to spread conspiracy theories about someone on the ‘other side’ of partisan divide having him killed illustrates why our society is so vulnerable to foreign disinformation & influence efforts.”

White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway appeared on Fox News Sunday defending the President. “I think the President just wants everything to be investigated,” Conway said when asked about Trump’s controversial retweet.

“Just the day before, there was some unsealed information implicating some people very high up,” she said, referring to the hundreds of pages of documents from a defamation lawsuit from one of Epstein’s accusers. Those documents were unsealed Friday by a court.

“I will say that there’s always this rush to (say), ‘We need transparency. We need accountability,’ when it involves fictional accusations like collusion with Russia to swing an election. This seems to be very concrete and that Jeffrey Epstein has done some very bad things over a number of years. So let’s continue to investigate that,” Conway said.

Democrats call out Trump for ‘more recklessness’

Still, two 2020 Democratic presidential candidates on Sunday called out Trump for retweeting the Epstein conspiracy theory and the President’s history of spreading baseless claims.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker called Trump’s latest theory-peddling “more recklessness” and “dangerous,” telling CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” that Trump has “been using the Clintons as a means for a lot of his false accusations.”

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke also told Tapper that Trump is attacking his “political enemies with unfounded conspiracy theories” and called it “bizarre behavior.”

O’Rourke said the President is attempting to shift the focus away from last weekend’s mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

“He’s changing the conversation, and if we allow him to do that, then we will never be able to focus on the true problems, of which he is a part, and make sure that we get to the solutions,” O’Rourke, an El Paso native, said.

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Jeffrey Epstein Was Not Being Monitored in Jail as Directed Before His Death

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Jeffrey Epstein was not being monitored in jail as directed before his death

Jeffrey Epstein was not being monitored in jail as directed before his death early Saturday, a law enforcement official with knowledge of the financier’s detention told The New York Times.

Authorities said Epstein died of apparent suicide. He was in jail on sex-trafficking charges.

The law enforcement official told The Times Epstein was supposed to be checked by guards every 30 minutes, but that procedure was not being followed the night he was found dead in the Manhattan jail.

The jail had also transferred Epstein’s cellmate and left him alone ahead of his apparent suicide, The Times reports.

Epstein’s death has left officials and lawmakers asking for answers on how this happened.

Epstein had apparently been taken off suicide watch before he died.

His death comes just weeks after officials investigated a possible suicide attempt.

The FBI is launching an investigation into the circumstances of Epstein’s death, Attorney General William Barr said in a statement.

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