It’s Official: Laurence Fishburne Files For Divorce From Gina Torres

After being separated for more than a year, Laurence Fishburne has filed to officially end his marriage to Gina Torres.

According to TMZ, the actor filed for divorce on Thursday.

When they announced the split in September, Gina said, “With heavy hearts, Laurence and I quietly separated and began the dissolution of our marriage in the early fall of last year,” adding, “There are no bad guys here. Only a love story with a different ending than either one of us had expected.”

The couple has one daughter, 10-year-old Delilah.

The pair may have spent the last year dividing assets, notes TMZ, adding, “celebrities often lay the groundwork before filing for divorce, so the case isn’t front and center in the legal system for very long.”



John Kelly Says Lack Of ‘Compromise’ Started Civil War, Defends Statues

On Fox News, Trump’s chief of staff calls Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee an “honorable man ... who gave up his country to fight for his state.”

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said on Monday that a “lack of ability to compromise led to the Civil War” and called the removal of Confederate monuments a “dangerous” scrubbing of history.

Kelly, speaking to Fox News’ Laura Ingraham during the debut of her new show, “The Ingraham Angle,” made the comments when asked about his thoughts on the removal of two plaques honoring President George Washington and Gen. Robert E. Lee at a church in Alexandria, Virginia. 

“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 Christopher Columbus did was wrong,’” Kelly said. “You know, 500 years later, it’s inconceivable to me that you would take what we think now and apply it back then.”

He went on to describe Lee, a Confederate general who fought for Southern states’ rights to own slaves, as honorable.

“I would tell you that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man.

“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 to make their stand.”

The leaders of Christ Church in Alexandria said this month it would relocate two plaques honoring Washington and Lee after deciding they “may create an obstacle to our identity as a welcoming church,” The Guardian reported. The move follows an impassioned summer of activism that saw the removal of many Confederate statues around the United States, which led to protests including a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“There are certain things in history that were not so good and other things that were very, very good,” Kelly told Ingraham when speaking about the removal of monuments. “I mean, human history, our culture is an evolving thing. There will be 100 or 200 years from now people that criticize us for what we do, and I guess they’ll tear down, you know, statues of people that we revere today.”



Report: White House Rushed Condolences To Gold Star Families,scalefit_720_noupscale

At least three families said they received express-shipped packages from the White House after Trump claimed he called “virtually everybody.”

Multiple families of military service members killed in the line duty are now getting rush-delivered letters from President Donald Trump, days after Trump claimed he had called the immediate families of all service members who had been killed since he took office in January.

The Atlantic reported Saturday that their reporters had spoken to three Gold Star families who received condolence packages from the president this week.

Timothy Eckels Sr., whose son Timothy Eckels Jr. was killed when the USS John S. McCain collided with a merchant ship in August, told the magazine he had not heard from Trump until Friday, Oct. 20. His letter from the White House was dated Oct. 18.

The families of Corey Ingram and John M. Hoagland III, two other sailors who died in the USS John McCain collision, also received rush-delivered packages from the White House this week, according to the Atlantic.

The sudden outreach appears to follow mounting criticism over Trump’s reaction to the Niger ambush that killed four U.S. soldiers.

When asked during a Monday press conference why he hadn’t publicly acknowledged the deaths in Niger, Trump pitted himself against past presidents, saying he had written the soldiers’ families personal letters, while “President Obama and other presidents ... didn’t make calls.”

On Tuesday, Trump followed up that remark by claiming he had called “virtually” all Gold Star families who had lost kin since he took office.

“To the best of my knowledge I think I’ve called every family of somebody who’s died,” Trump told Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade during a radio interview. “It’s the hardest call to make... the hardest thing for me to do is to do that.”

He later hedged his claim to Kilmeade saying, “I have called, I believe, everybody ― but certainly I’ll use the word virtually everybody.” 

Hours after that Oct. 17 radio broadcast, the White House scrambled to identify and find the contact information for Gold Star families who lost a service member since January, according to an internal Defense Department email obtained by political news site Roll Call.

The email exchange, between the White House and the Pentagon, revealed that senior White House aides knew Trump’s statement about having called “virtually” all Gold Star families was not accurate ― and they needed to correct it as soon as possible.

The White House was attempting to find out which Gold Star families Trump had not yet reached out to, according to Roll Call.

Multiple news outlets have found Trump has yet to reach out to a number of families who lost loved ones since January. In a report published Wednesday, the Washington Post interviewed the families of 13 service members who were killed after Trump took office: Half of the families received phone calls from the president, the remainder had not heard from Trump.

The Associated Press reported it had reached out to the families “of all 43 people who have died in military service since Trump became president,” but only “made contact with about half of the families.”

Some families told AP they were comforted by Trump’s call, while others hadn’t heard from the president.

The family of Army Sgt. Jonathon M. Hunter, who died in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan in August, was promised a call from the president but instead heard from Vice President Mike Pence.

Brittany Harris, the widow of Army Spc. Christopher Michael Harris who also died in Afghanistan in August, said she had not heard from the president either.

AP identified at least two other Gold Star families who had wanted, but did not receive a call from the president.




John Kelly misrepresented Rep. Frederica Wilson's 2015 speech while criticizing her over Gold Star family controversy

White House chief of staff John Kelly's claim that Rep. Frederica Wilson had boasted about procuring funding for an FBI field office in 2015 was proven wrong by a video released by The Sun Sentinel on Friday, backing up Wilson's claim that she had only taken credit for working across the aisle to name the building after two FBI agents who were killed in the line of duty.

Kelly called Wilson an "empty barrel" on Thursday and rebuked her for taking credit for securing funding for the future FBI building. Wilson, however, shot back and denied the claim, which was corroborated by the video of her speech.

The video shows that Wilson described how, after she was informed of the long process it would take to finalize the building's name, she "went into attack mode."

"Immediately I went into attack mode... They hotlined it to the Senate floor in just two days," she said in the speech. "And guess what? The president signed the bill into law this past Tuesday, April 7th, 2015, with a bang, bang, bang!"

Wilson was elected to Congress in 2010, one year after the funding for the building was secured, according to CNN.

"Gen. Kelly said he was 'stunned' that Rep. Wilson made comments at a building dedication honoring slain FBI agents about her own actions in Congress, including lobbying former President Obama on legislation," press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement sent to Business Insider. "As Gen. Kelly pointed out, if you're able to make a sacred act like honoring American heroes about yourself, you're an empty barrel."

The back-and-forth between Wilson and Kelly follows another feudbetween the Florida congresswoman and President Donald Trump himself, in which Wilson criticized Trump for making an insensitive call to the widow of a fallen US soldier.




Trump Falsely Claims Obama Didn’t Contact Families of Fallen Troops,nyh_1.indd_2114.jpg

President Trump falsely asserted on Monday that his predecessor, Barack Obama, and other presidents did not contact the families of American troops killed in duty, drawing a swift, angry rebuke from several of Mr. Obama’s former aides.

Mr. Trump was responding to a question about why he had not spoken publicly about the killing of four Green Berets in an ambush in Niger two weeks ago when he made the assertion. Rather than answering the question, Mr. Trump said he had written personal letters to their families and planned to call them in the coming week. Then he pivoted to his predecessors.

“If you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls,” Mr. Trump said during a news conference in the Rose Garden with the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell. “A lot of them didn’t make calls. I like to call when it’s appropriate.”

Mr. Trump’s assertion belied a long record of meetings Mr. Obama held with the families of killed service people, as well as calls and letters, dating to the earliest days of his presidency. Before he decided to deploy 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, Mr. Obama traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to greet the coffins of troops.

While Mr. Obama’s former staff members have grown used to Mr. Trump’s gibes about the “failure” of the Affordable Care Act or the “disastrous” Iran nuclear deal, they lashed out at his remarks on Monday with unusual bitterness.

“This is an outrageous and disrespectful lie even by Trump standards,” Benjamin J. Rhodes, a former deputy national security adviser to Mr. Obama, posted on Twitter. “Also,” Mr. Rhodes added, “Obama never attacked a Gold Star family.”

That reference was to the public feud Mr. Trump began with the parents of a Muslim American soldier, Humayun Khan, who was killed in Iraq in 2004. The soldier’s parents, Khizr and Ghazala Khan, appeared at the Democratic National Convention in 2016, where Mr. Khan criticized Mr. Trump.

Alyssa Mastromonaco, a former senior aide to Mr. Obama, used even stronger language on Twitter, calling Mr. Trump’s statement a lie — along with an expletive — and describing him as a “deranged animal.”

A spokesman for Mr. Obama declined to comment.

Several former Obama administration officials recalled the former president’s walks through Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery, where the dead from Iraq and Afghanistan are buried, his visits to the wounded at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and the time he spent with families of the fallen at the White House and around the country.

In August 2011, after a Chinook military helicopter was shot down over Afghanistan, killing 38 people, including 25 Special Forces troops, Mr. Obama consoled the families of all those killed, according to Jeremy B. Bash, a former chief of staff to Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, who attended the ceremony.

David Axelrod, a senior adviser to Mr. Obama, said, “I don’t recall anything moving him more. He saw it as his duty to console them as best he could and thank them on behalf of the nation.”

But several officials said it was not always realistic to expect presidents to call the families of every fallen soldier. During the peak years of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mr. Obama and former President George W. Bush faced hundreds of fatalities each year.

In 2009, the first year of Mr. Obama’s presidency, there were 317 American military fatalities in Afghanistan and 149 in Iraq. So far this year, there have been 11 fatalities in Afghanistan and 14 in Iraq. Seventeen sailors were killed in accidents involving two Navy warships, the John S. McCain and the Fitzgerald.

In the Niger episode, three American soldiers were killed while on patrol on the border between Niger and Mali this month. The body of a fourth American soldier was recovered later.

While he did not explain why he had not called their families, Mr. Trump said he had written letters to the family members over the weekend, which he said would be mailed later in the day or on Tuesday. He said he also planned to call them.

“I felt very, very badly about that,” he said. “The toughest calls I have to make are the calls where this happens. Soldiers are killed. It’s a very difficult thing,” he said. “Now, it gets to a point where, you know, you make four or five of them in one day. It’s a very, very tough day. For me, that’s by far the toughest.”

A senior official said Mr. Trump had planned to speak sooner to the families, but the White House had to wait until the Pentagon’s paperwork was completed.

Pentagon officials said the military’s Africa Command was putting together a detailed timeline of the attack and of the response by French helicopters that first provided air cover for the badly outnumbered American and Nigerian forces, and eventually medical evacuation.

On Monday, Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, joined a growing chorus calling for a review of the circumstances leading to the ambush.

After he answered the question about his response to the attack, Mr. Trump was pressed later in the news conference about his claim that Mr. Obama had never called bereaved families. This time, he seemed to soften his tone.

“I don’t know if he did,” the president said. “I was told he didn’t often, and a lot of presidents don’t. They write letters.”

“President Obama, I think, probably did sometimes and maybe sometimes he didn’t,” Mr. Trump continued. “That’s what I was told. All I can do is ask my generals.” Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.





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