Melania Trump Says She Loves Trump, Ignores Cheating Rumors

Melania Trump says she loves President Donald Trump and has “much more important things to think about” than allegations he cheated on her with a porn star, a Playboy Playmate or anyone else.

 

Mrs. Trump, who was interviewed by ABC while touring Africa last week, said people are just spreading rumors about her marriage.

 

“I know people like to speculate and media like to speculate about our marriage and circulate the gossip,” she said. “But I understand the gossip sells newspapers, magazines … and, unfortunately, we live in this kind of world today.”

 

She insisted allegations of her husband’s infidelities are not a concern.

 

Trump, who during the 2016 presidential campaign was heard on an old “Access Hollywood” tape talking about groping and try to have sex with women, has been accused of having multiple affairs. Porn star Stormy Daniels and ex-Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal have said they had sex with him years ago.

 

Trump has denied the trysts with Daniels and McDougal but has acknowledged reimbursing his lawyer for a $130,000 hush money payment made to Daniels. Mrs. Trump has generally kept quiet on the subject.

 

Asked in the ABC interview if she loves her husband, Mrs. Trump said, “Yes, we are fine. Yes.”

 

She played down a suggestion the repeated rumors of his philandering had put a strain on their marriage.

 

“It is not concern and focus of mine,” she said. “I’m a mother and a first lady, and I have much more important things to think about and to do.”

 

But when she was asked if the repeated rumors had hurt her, she paused. Then she reiterated the “media world is speculating.”

 

“Yeah, it’s not always pleasant, of course,” she said. “But I know what is right and what is wrong and what is true and not true.”

 

Portions of Mrs. Trump’s interview aired Friday on “Good Morning America.” Her full interview is set to air Friday night in an ABC News special, “Being Melania – The First Lady.”

Other portions of the interview aired earlier this week featured Mrs. Trump saying she could be “the most bullied person” in the world and saying women who make accusations of sexual assault need to “show the evidence.”

 

Donald Trump, on the 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape that became public during the 2016 campaign, says when he’s attracted to beautiful women, “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet.” He said when you’re a star, women let you.

 

“Grab them by the p—-,” Trump adds. “You can do anything.”

 

Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in August to campaign finance violations alleging he, Trump and the National Enquirer tabloid were involved in buying the silence of Daniels and McDougal after they alleged affairs with Trump.

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House Seat Suddenly in Play After Trump Backer’s Indictment

New York’s most conservative congressional district is unexpectedly in play as Republican incumbent Chris Collins, one of President Donald Trump’s first supporters, fights insider trading charges while seeking re-election.

Republican leaders in a western New York district that Trump swept overwhelmingly in 2016 are counting on party and presidential loyalty, even if it means voting for someone that even they wanted off the ballot.

“This district is Trump country, and it will continue to be,” said Erie County Republican Party Chairman Nicholas Langworthy. “It’s a conservative Republican district, and I expect that when the dust settles on election night it will re-elect a conservative Republican to the seat.”

Democratic challenger Nate McMurray is still the underdog but says his volunteers and donations have surged since Collins was charged in August, and his crowds have gone from handfuls to hundreds.

“It’s like an avalanche that started out with a little snowball that’s rolling downhill and getting bigger and bigger every day,” McMurray, a Grand Island town supervisor, said recently to a roomful of supporters. They included Tom Perez, the Democratic National Committee chairman, who dropped in to drum up enthusiasm in what had been a little-watched race.

Once considered a sure win for Republicans, Real Clear Politics now lists the race as a “toss-up,” and the Cook Political Report in mid-September moved the seat from “likely Republican” to merely “lean Republican.” McMurray said this week his internal polling showed the race to be a dead heat.

With Democrats forecast to make gains in the House, for some voters in the Republican-advantaged district, the decision will be more about keeping the challenger out than Collins in, analysts said.

“The old phrase of ‘all politics is local,’ the Tip O’Neill statement? These local races are not so local anymore,” American University political science professor Jan Leighley said.

Accusations against Collins

Collins, with a reported net worth of $44 million one of the wealthiest members of Congress, is accused of illegally leaking confidential information about a biopharmaceutical company to his son and the father of his son’s fiancee that allowed them to avoid hundreds of thousands of dollars in stock losses. The most serious charge carries a potential prison term of up to 20 years. If he wins and is later convicted and forced to resign, a special election would be held.

The 68-year-old Collins pleaded not guilty and initially vowed to continue his re-election campaign. He then agreed to be removed from the ballot “in the best interests of the constituents,” only to reverse course again and announce he would stay on the ballot — even as party leaders who had spent weeks exploring legal maneuvers to remove him were preparing to announce a replacement.

“The stakes are too high to allow the radical left to take control of this seat in Congress,” Collins said in a Sept. 19 statement. 

Collins is one of two Republican congressmen running for re-election while under indictment. Rep. Duncan Hunter, of California, has pleaded not guilty to spending campaign funds for personal expenses. Hunter and Collins were the first two Republicans to endorse Trump in the Republican presidential primaries, and their indictments drew a critical Sept. 3 tweet from Trump aimed at Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Tweeted Trump: “Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time.”

Since entering the race, Collins has limited his personal appearances largely to friendly gatherings like the Republican Women’s Autumn Brunch and the Newstead GOP Sportsman Extravaganza. He declined to be interviewed by The Associated Press.

“A lot of folks just happy that I’m back in the race,” he told WIVB this week. “They know what’s at stake. … Every seat matters. As you read the pundits now, it’s going to be a very close election to see who is going to be in the majority of the House come next year.”

The campaigns

Collins, a businessman who made his money by buying distressed businesses and turning them around, proudly carries an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association and cites among his priorities never increasing entitlement programs, reforming the tax code and balancing the federal budget in 10 years.

He has been on the air with negative television ads, including one that was assailed by critics as racist. It showed McMurray speaking Korean as a portrait of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un floated in the background and captions falsely implied McMurray was talking about sending American jobs to Asia.

McMurray, a lawyer, studied the development of constitutional democracy in South Korea as a Fulbright scholar. His campaign has focused on health care for all, protecting Social Security, the environment and strengthening infrastructure. He said he supports gun rights but also universal background checks and a ban on bump stocks.

Out in the district, 23-year-old line cook Brett Schuman said the allegations against Collins were enough to sway him. “When there’s anything happening, criminal or otherwise, I’m going to defer to the other party.”

Retired engineer Don Lloyd said he liked McMurray’s background and education but would still vote for Collins, if only to help Republicans keep control of the House and preserve Trump’s agenda. Democrats need a net gain of 23 seats to take control of the chamber.

“Let’s face it, the election isn’t about Chris Collins — it’s about Trump,” said Lloyd, 70.

“So hold your nose, I guess.”

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House Seat Suddenly in Play After Trump Backer’s Indictment

New York’s most conservative congressional district is unexpectedly in play as Republican incumbent Chris Collins, one of President Donald Trump’s first supporters, fights insider trading charges while seeking re-election.

Republican leaders in a western New York district that Trump swept overwhelmingly in 2016 are counting on party and presidential loyalty, even if it means voting for someone that even they wanted off the ballot.

“This district is Trump country, and it will continue to be,” said Erie County Republican Party Chairman Nicholas Langworthy. “It’s a conservative Republican district, and I expect that when the dust settles on election night it will re-elect a conservative Republican to the seat.”

Democratic challenger Nate McMurray is still the underdog but says his volunteers and donations have surged since Collins was charged in August, and his crowds have gone from handfuls to hundreds.

“It’s like an avalanche that started out with a little snowball that’s rolling downhill and getting bigger and bigger every day,” McMurray, a Grand Island town supervisor, said recently to a roomful of supporters. They included Tom Perez, the Democratic National Committee chairman, who dropped in to drum up enthusiasm in what had been a little-watched race.

Once considered a sure win for Republicans, Real Clear Politics now lists the race as a “toss-up,” and the Cook Political Report in mid-September moved the seat from “likely Republican” to merely “lean Republican.” McMurray said this week his internal polling showed the race to be a dead heat.

With Democrats forecast to make gains in the House, for some voters in the Republican-advantaged district, the decision will be more about keeping the challenger out than Collins in, analysts said.

“The old phrase of ‘all politics is local,’ the Tip O’Neill statement? These local races are not so local anymore,” American University political science professor Jan Leighley said.

Accusations against Collins

Collins, with a reported net worth of $44 million one of the wealthiest members of Congress, is accused of illegally leaking confidential information about a biopharmaceutical company to his son and the father of his son’s fiancee that allowed them to avoid hundreds of thousands of dollars in stock losses. The most serious charge carries a potential prison term of up to 20 years. If he wins and is later convicted and forced to resign, a special election would be held.

The 68-year-old Collins pleaded not guilty and initially vowed to continue his re-election campaign. He then agreed to be removed from the ballot “in the best interests of the constituents,” only to reverse course again and announce he would stay on the ballot — even as party leaders who had spent weeks exploring legal maneuvers to remove him were preparing to announce a replacement.

“The stakes are too high to allow the radical left to take control of this seat in Congress,” Collins said in a Sept. 19 statement. 

Collins is one of two Republican congressmen running for re-election while under indictment. Rep. Duncan Hunter, of California, has pleaded not guilty to spending campaign funds for personal expenses. Hunter and Collins were the first two Republicans to endorse Trump in the Republican presidential primaries, and their indictments drew a critical Sept. 3 tweet from Trump aimed at Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Tweeted Trump: “Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time.”

Since entering the race, Collins has limited his personal appearances largely to friendly gatherings like the Republican Women’s Autumn Brunch and the Newstead GOP Sportsman Extravaganza. He declined to be interviewed by The Associated Press.

“A lot of folks just happy that I’m back in the race,” he told WIVB this week. “They know what’s at stake. … Every seat matters. As you read the pundits now, it’s going to be a very close election to see who is going to be in the majority of the House come next year.”

The campaigns

Collins, a businessman who made his money by buying distressed businesses and turning them around, proudly carries an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association and cites among his priorities never increasing entitlement programs, reforming the tax code and balancing the federal budget in 10 years.

He has been on the air with negative television ads, including one that was assailed by critics as racist. It showed McMurray speaking Korean as a portrait of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un floated in the background and captions falsely implied McMurray was talking about sending American jobs to Asia.

McMurray, a lawyer, studied the development of constitutional democracy in South Korea as a Fulbright scholar. His campaign has focused on health care for all, protecting Social Security, the environment and strengthening infrastructure. He said he supports gun rights but also universal background checks and a ban on bump stocks.

Out in the district, 23-year-old line cook Brett Schuman said the allegations against Collins were enough to sway him. “When there’s anything happening, criminal or otherwise, I’m going to defer to the other party.”

Retired engineer Don Lloyd said he liked McMurray’s background and education but would still vote for Collins, if only to help Republicans keep control of the House and preserve Trump’s agenda. Democrats need a net gain of 23 seats to take control of the chamber.

“Let’s face it, the election isn’t about Chris Collins — it’s about Trump,” said Lloyd, 70.

“So hold your nose, I guess.”

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Russia Space Agency: Astronauts Will Likely Fly in Spring

The head of Russia’s space agency said Friday that two astronauts who survived the midair failure of a Russian rocket would fly again and would provisionally travel to the International Space Station (ISS) in spring of next year.

Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russian space agency Roscosmos, was speaking a day after Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin and American Nick Hague made a dramatic emergency landing in Kazakhstan after the failure of the Soyuz rocket carrying them to the orbital ISS.

Rogozin Friday posted a picture on Twitter of himself next to the two astronauts and said they had now arrived in Moscow. Both men escaped unscathed and feel fine, Roscosmos has said.

The mishap occurred as the first and second stages of a Russian rocket separated shortly after the launch from Kazakhstan’s Soviet-era cosmodrome of Baikonur.

Thursday’s accident was the first serious launch problem experienced by a manned Soyuz space mission since 1983, when a crew narrowly escaped before a launch pad explosion.

The Interfax news agency Friday cited a source familiar with the Russian investigation as saying that a faulty valve had caused the first stage of the Soyuz-FG rocket to malfunction even though the valve had been properly checked before take-off.

NASA has relied on Russian rockets to ferry astronauts to the space station since the United States retired its Space Shuttle program in 2011, although the agency has announced plans for a test flight carrying two astronauts on a SpaceX commercial rocket next April.

Space is an area of cooperation between the United States and Russia at a time of fraught relations. Asked about the mishap, President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House he was “not worried” that American astronauts have to rely on Russia to get into space.

Moscow has suspended all manned space launches, while Rogozin has ordered a state commission to investigate what went wrong. Russia’s Investigative Committee has also opened a criminal investigation into the matter.

Unmanned launches of the Progress spacecraft, which carry food and other supplies to the ISS and use the same rocket system as Soyuz, might also be suspended, Interfax has said.

 

WATCH: US-Russian Space Crew Makes Emergency Landing

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Russia Space Agency: Astronauts Will Likely Fly in Spring

The head of Russia’s space agency said Friday that two astronauts who survived the midair failure of a Russian rocket would fly again and would provisionally travel to the International Space Station (ISS) in spring of next year.

Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russian space agency Roscosmos, was speaking a day after Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin and American Nick Hague made a dramatic emergency landing in Kazakhstan after the failure of the Soyuz rocket carrying them to the orbital ISS.

Rogozin Friday posted a picture on Twitter of himself next to the two astronauts and said they had now arrived in Moscow. Both men escaped unscathed and feel fine, Roscosmos has said.

The mishap occurred as the first and second stages of a Russian rocket separated shortly after the launch from Kazakhstan’s Soviet-era cosmodrome of Baikonur.

Thursday’s accident was the first serious launch problem experienced by a manned Soyuz space mission since 1983, when a crew narrowly escaped before a launch pad explosion.

The Interfax news agency Friday cited a source familiar with the Russian investigation as saying that a faulty valve had caused the first stage of the Soyuz-FG rocket to malfunction even though the valve had been properly checked before take-off.

NASA has relied on Russian rockets to ferry astronauts to the space station since the United States retired its Space Shuttle program in 2011, although the agency has announced plans for a test flight carrying two astronauts on a SpaceX commercial rocket next April.

Space is an area of cooperation between the United States and Russia at a time of fraught relations. Asked about the mishap, President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House he was “not worried” that American astronauts have to rely on Russia to get into space.

Moscow has suspended all manned space launches, while Rogozin has ordered a state commission to investigate what went wrong. Russia’s Investigative Committee has also opened a criminal investigation into the matter.

Unmanned launches of the Progress spacecraft, which carry food and other supplies to the ISS and use the same rocket system as Soyuz, might also be suspended, Interfax has said.

 

WATCH: US-Russian Space Crew Makes Emergency Landing

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US-Russian Space Crew Makes Emergency Landing After Rocket Problem

A U.S. astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut made an emergency return to earth Thursday shortly after launching on what was supposed to be a mission to the International Space Station. Rescuers reached American Nick Hague and Russian Alexei Ovchinin after their emergency landing in Kazakhstan. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb recently sat down with Hague to talk about his future in space, a future now up in the air after his unexpected fall to Earth.

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US-Russian Space Crew Makes Emergency Landing After Rocket Problem

A U.S. astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut made an emergency return to earth Thursday shortly after launching on what was supposed to be a mission to the International Space Station. Rescuers reached American Nick Hague and Russian Alexei Ovchinin after their emergency landing in Kazakhstan. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb recently sat down with Hague to talk about his future in space, a future now up in the air after his unexpected fall to Earth.

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Facebook Deletes Hundreds of Pages, Accounts for Spreading Fake News

Facebook announced Thursday that it had deleted over 800 mostly U.S.-based pages and accounts that were posting politically oriented spam and engaging in “inauthentic behavior.” 

The social media giant declined a request from VOA News to name the 559 pages and 251 accounts. Nation in Distress, a pro-President Donald Trump page identified by The Washington Post as being among the banned, had over 3 million followers.

Facebook said that many of the pages and accounts had posted political clickbait across multiple fake accounts to drive users to their websites, where they were often targeted with ads. 

“Many used the same techniques to make their content appear more popular on Facebook than it really was,” Facebook said on its news blog. “Others were ad farms using Facebook to mislead people into thinking that they were forums for legitimate political debate.”

Facebook said “the ‘news’ stories or opinions these accounts and pages share are often indistinguishable from legitimate political debate,” noting the proximity of the 2018 midterm elections.

In the past, Facebook has purged dozens of pages spreading fake news originating from Iran and Russia, countries that have antagonistic relations with the U.S. The company says most of the pages and accounts banned this time were from the U.S.

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Facebook Deletes Hundreds of Pages, Accounts for Spreading Fake News

Facebook announced Thursday that it had deleted over 800 mostly U.S.-based pages and accounts that were posting politically oriented spam and engaging in “inauthentic behavior.” 

The social media giant declined a request from VOA News to name the 559 pages and 251 accounts. Nation in Distress, a pro-President Donald Trump page identified by The Washington Post as being among the banned, had over 3 million followers.

Facebook said that many of the pages and accounts had posted political clickbait across multiple fake accounts to drive users to their websites, where they were often targeted with ads. 

“Many used the same techniques to make their content appear more popular on Facebook than it really was,” Facebook said on its news blog. “Others were ad farms using Facebook to mislead people into thinking that they were forums for legitimate political debate.”

Facebook said “the ‘news’ stories or opinions these accounts and pages share are often indistinguishable from legitimate political debate,” noting the proximity of the 2018 midterm elections.

In the past, Facebook has purged dozens of pages spreading fake news originating from Iran and Russia, countries that have antagonistic relations with the U.S. The company says most of the pages and accounts banned this time were from the U.S.

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Musk Rejects Report on Succession at Tesla

Elon Musk replied with a tweet saying “This is incorrect” after the Financial

Times reported that outgoing Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. Chief Executive James Murdoch was the lead candidate to replace him as Tesla Inc. chairman.

Tesla has until Nov. 13 to appoint an independent chairman of the board, part of settlements reached last month between Tesla, Musk and U.S. regulators after Musk tweeted in August that he had secured funding to take the electric car maker private.

The SEC settlement capped months of debate and some investor calls for stronger oversight of Musk, whose recent erratic public behavior raised concerns about his ability to steer the money-losing company through a rocky phase of growth.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which said Musk’s tweeted statements about going private were fraudulent, allowed the billionaire to retain his role as CEO while requiring he give up his chairmanship.

Musk had said he was considering taking Tesla private at a price of $420 a share, a number that is slang for marijuana. He tweeted the three-word denial of the Financial Times story on Wednesday at 4:20 pm PDT (2320 GMT), about six hours after the newspaper’s post.

In a vote of confidence for Musk, shareholder T. Rowe Price Group Inc. said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday that it had raised its stake to 10.2 percent at the end of September from just under 7 percent in June.

The Financial Times cited two people briefed on discussions saying Murdoch was the lead candidate for the job. Murdoch, already an independent director of Tesla, has signaled he wants the job, the report said.

The son of Fox mogul Rupert Murdoch, he joined Tesla’s board last year after years of work with media companies. He has no experience in manufacturing and has never led a company that makes cars or electric vehicles.

Murdoch could not immediately be reached for comment. Tesla did not respond to a request for comment. Twenty-First Century Fox declined to comment.

​Board roles

Musk is the public face of Tesla, and any chairman would have to contend with his powerful personality. Thanks to his vision and audacious showmanship, Tesla’s valuation has at times eclipsed that of established U.S. automakers with billions in revenues, and the company has garnered legions of fans, despite repeated production issues.

“The question when it comes to James Murdoch is, ‘Is he the guy who’ll be able to establish that level of authority with Elon Musk?’ ” asked Abby Adlerman, CEO of Boardspan, a corporate governance consulting company.

Murdoch, who at 45 is a near contemporary of 47-year-old Musk, recently navigated a takeover battle between Fox and Comcast Corp. to buy European pay-TV company Sky, which he also chaired.

His record in ensuring Sky’s independent shareholders were represented throughout was exemplary, media analyst Alice Enders said.

“His experience is very recent and very relevant,” she said.

Investor concerns that Tesla’s board was too closely tied to Musk led to the company’s addition of two independent directors, including Murdoch, in July 2017.

Earlier this year, leading U.S. proxy advisers Glass Lewis & Co. and Institutional Shareholder Services and union-affiliated investment adviser CtW Investment Group had recommended investors cast votes “against” the re-election of Murdoch as a Tesla director at the company’s annual meeting held on June 5.

While CtW cited a lack of relevant experience and a “troubled history as an executive and director,” both proxy firms warned that Murdoch already served on too many boards.

Murdoch currently serves on the boards of Twenty-First Century Fox and News Corp. He stepped down from Sky Plc on Tuesday following the completion of Comcast’s takeover of the broadcaster.

He was appointed chief executive of Sky, founded by his father, in 2003, becoming the youngest CEO of a FTSE 100 company.

“Under his leadership, Sky went down the technology route,” Enders said. “It’s no accident he oversaw that strategy, which was really distinct from the strategy other pay-TV companies followed, and in my view was his most valuable contribution.”

Murdoch replaced his father as chairman of Sky in 2007, but was forced out in 2012 after being embroiled in Britain’s phone-hacking scandal. He returned to Sky’s board in 2016 after rebuilding his career at Fox.

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