(CNN) — All your favorite Nickelodeon characters are coming to New Jersey.
Nickelodeon Universe, which at 8.5 acres will be the largest indoor theme park in North America, will open on October 25 at the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
The park features more than 35 rides, roller coasters and attractions. Nickelodeon characters such as SpongeBob, Dora The Explorer and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be at the mall to meet.
The roller coasters include one named the Shellraiser, which features a plunging 122-foot drop.
Since no Nickelodeon attraction would be complete without slime, visitors can enjoy entertainment on the Nickelodeon Slime Stage.
Prices for the park are available but it is unclear when they will be on sale. A general ticket is priced at $39.99. For those interested in a more thrilling experience, there is an all-access ticket for $49.99. Children under 2 are free.
Besides Nickelodeon Universe, American Dream’s NHL-regulation size ice rink will open on October 25 with open skating, figure skating and hockey tournaments.
In November, the DreamWorks Water Park is set to open at the mall featuring more than 40 water slides and 15 attractions.
The American Dream mall is approximately 3 million square feet roughly divided into 55% entertainment and 45% retail space. The retail portion of the mail is scheduled to open in March 2020. For those planning a visit by car, the complex has 33,000 parking spaces.
(CNN) — An Alabama 3-year-old has been missing for nearly a week and — though there have been moments of hope and anticipation — no arrests have been made and there is still no sign of the toddler.
Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney vanished Saturday night from a birthday party in the Birmingham housing complex where her family lives.
Birmingham Police released surveillance video Friday of two men seen outside the housing complex. Kamille and another 3-year-old child are also seen in the video, recorded the night she disappeared, according to police Chief Patrick Smith.
One of the men, who was not publicly identified by police, is considered a suspect, according to Smith. The other man may have information about the girl’s disappearance, he said.
The video shows one man first walking past the two children. Later, another man stops and appears to talk to them. The video ends just after the two children follow the second man out of view of the camera.
The toddler, who is 3 feet tall and weighs 60 pounds, was last seen wearing a pink T-shirt with a Minnie Mouse leopard print design, according to the Amber Alert.
Police and her family are calling out for her safe return.
“Drop her off anywhere and let her out. Somebody will see her. Everybody knows what’s going on,” her father Dominic McKinney told CNN affiliate WBMA. “That will be the end of that. We just want the baby back.”Kamille goes missing from a party
The search began after a party Saturday night.
Witnesses told police Kamille left the party at Birmingham’s Tom Brown Village housing community with a woman in a dark SUV. An Amber Alert was sent in which police said she might have been abducted by a woman and a man.
It said she is believed to be in extreme danger.Police search an apartment
Four days later and seven miles from where she was last seen, police initiated a Wednesday morning search on an apartment complex in southwestern Birmingham.
A crowd gathered around the complex and police posted video of their vehicles parked nearby, some blocking roads leading to the complex.
Video from CNN affiliate WBRC showed several well-armed officers leave one building, and some areas blocked off with yellow police tape.
Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith spoke at a press conference Wednesday evening.
He did not say what prompted the search on that complex, but he did say it did not reveal any new information.Rumors spread that she was found
Wednesday’s search fueled rumors that Kamille had been found.
Smith shut the rumors down, urging the community to be skeptical of rumors and information posted on social media and bring information directly to police.
The chief also announced an increase in the reward for information that helps police solve the case to $20,000. The reward is offered by Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama and is separate from a $5,000 reward offered by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, which is contingent on providing information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the case. The members of the Jefferson County Commission then each gave $1,600 from their discretionary funds to add an additional $8,000 to Crime Stoppers’ reward, bringing the total offering to $33,000.
“So, you could literally call with your tip today, pick up your money in cash next week and you’re totally anonymous,” said Frank Barefield, chairman of Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama. “There’s no better deal in town than that.”Man and woman taken into custody
A vehicle matching the description of the SUV Kamille was allegedly taken in led to a man and a woman being taken into police custody Sunday night for questioning, authorities said.
Patrick Devone Stallworth, 39, and Derick Irisha Brown, 29, were questioned on Wednesday, police Sgt. Johnny Williams said, but investigators did not immediately get information on Kamille’s whereabouts.
Neither have been charged in her disappearance, but both have been charged in unrelated cases, police said.
Smith said child pornography was found on Stallworth’s phone and he was charged with four counts of possession of child pornography and three counts of possession of child pornography with intent to distribute.
Brown was held on probation revocation with no bond for an unrelated kidnapping, Smith said.Stallworth released on bond
Stallworth was released from an Alabama jail Thursday morning after posting bond, set at $500,000.
CNN has been in contact with Stallworth’s assigned attorney, who had not spoken with his client since his release.
Investigators are waiting for DNA evidence to determine whether Kamille was ever in the vehicle, and police have not found any connection between the two and Kamille’s family, Smith said.
BURLINGTON, Iowa — First responders were quick to respond to a garage fire in Burlington early Sunday morning, but were unable to save a dog from the blaze.
Around 8:20 a.m. on Sunday, October 20th, Burlington Fire received the garage fire report on 8th Street. They arrived at the scene minutes later to find heavy smoke and flames erupting from a detached garage. Firefighters were able to successfully stop the blaze within half an hour.
The garage’s contents received heavy damage from smoke, although total damages are still being assessed. Casualties include a dog that died as a result of the fire and one firefighter who received minor injuries.
Authorities believe the cause of the fire was accidental and the result of combustible materials being kept too close to a wood burner.
Burlington Fire was assisted on the scene by Burlington Police and Alliant Energy.
MIDWAY ATOLL, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (AP) — A crew of deep-sea explorers and historians looking for lost World War II warships have found a second Japanese aircraft carrier that went down in the historic Battle of Midway.
Vulcan Inc. director of undersea operations Rob Kraft said a review of sonar data captured Sunday shows what could be either the Japanese carrier Akagi or the Soryu resting in nearly 18,000 feet (5,490 meters) of water in the Pacific Ocean more than 1,300 miles (2,090 kilometers) northwest of Pearl Harbor.
The researchers used an autonomous underwater vehicle, or AUV, equipped with sonar to find the ship. The vehicle had been out overnight collecting data, and the image of a warship appeared in the first set of readings Sunday morning.
To confirm exactly which ship they’ve found the crew will deploy the AUV for another eight-hour mission where it will capture high-resolution sonar images of the site. The initial readings were captures using lower resolution sonar. The high resolution scans will allow the crew to measure the ship and confirm its identity.
The find comes on the heels of the discovery of another Japanese carrier, the Kaga, last week.
The crew of the research vessel Petrel is hoping to find and survey all lost ships from the 1942 Battle of Midway, which historians consider a pivotal fight for the U.S. in the Pacific during WWII.
The battle was fought between American and Japanese aircraft carriers and warplanes about 200 miles (320 kilometers) off Midway Atoll, a former military installation that the Japanese hoped to capture in a surprise attack.
The U.S., however, intercepted Japanese communications about the strike and were waiting when they arrived. More than 2,000 Japanese and 300 Americans died.
The expedition is an effort started by the late Paul Allen, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft. For years, the crew of the 250-foot (76-meter) Petrel has worked with the U.S. Navy and other officials around the world to locate and document sunken ships. It has found more than 30 vessels so far.
ANDALUSIA, IL - Snowstar Winter Park got a German makeover for the day on Saturday, October 19th.
The winter sports park held an Oktoberfest party from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. filled with German-inspired music, food and drinks from area breweries and vendors, and games that incorporated the park's geography and unique features, like keg races, stein races, and snow stein zip line challenge.
It was the first Snowstar held the party, but organizers say that they they hope to hold it again in the future.
Part of the money raised by the event is being given to the Andalusia Ambulance Service.
(CNN) — Three US soldiers with the 3rd Infantry Division were killed and three others injured during a training accident at an Army base in Georgia early Sunday morning, according to the Army.
The soldiers were in riding in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle at Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield when the accident happened. Three soldiers were pronounced dead on site and three others were taken to Winn Army Community Hospital for their injuries.
“Today is a heartbreaking day for the 3rd Infantry Division, and the entire Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield community, as we are all devastated after a training accident this morning on the Fort Stewart Training Area,” said Maj. Gen. Tony Aguto, the commanding general of the 3rd Infantry Division.
“We are extremely saddened by the loss of three Dogface Soldiers, and injuries to three more. Our hearts and prayers go out to all the families affected by this tragedy.”
The accident is under investigation, and the soldiers’ names will be released 24 hours after their next-of-kin are notified, Fort Stewart said in a statement.
Fort Stewart, founded in 1940, is the largest Army installation east of the Mississippi River and covers almost 280,000 acres, according to its website.
MILAN (AP) — Italian authorities evacuated 4,000 people from the center of the northern city of Bolzano on Sunday to defuse a World War II bomb found during construction.
Three experts defused the 500-pound American bomb during a three-hour operation that also forced 60,000 people to stay in their homes and closed sporting complexes and churches, the news agency ANSA reported.
An alarm signaled the all-clear to reopen the city center just before noon, as well as a nearby north-south highway and rail line both connecting Italy with Austria and Germany.
The bomb was found close to the city’s central cathedral and not far from the train station — the likely wartime target — during excavation work for a new shopping center.
The online news site Neue Suedtiroler Tageszeitung said after being defused, the bomb was brought to a secure site nearby for a controlled explosion.
According to historian Ettore Frangipane, Bolzano, in the northern Alto-Adige region bordering Austria, suffered 13 major World War II bombing raids that damaged 60% of the city and killed 200 people.
Alto Adige was part of a broad swath of northern Italy that remained under Nazi occupation long after Italy’s 1943 surrender to the Allies.
Illinois upsets #6 Wisconsin on homecoming.
Iowa holds off Purdue to win their homecoming game.
Augustana shuts out North Park 71-0.
St. Ambrose rolls past TIU 63-7.
Newman scores second half touchdown to beat Riverdale 14-7.
Vote for this weeks MTI Score Standout candidates.
Riverdale Golf takes third at State Golf. Drew Hall from Rockridge places Third as an individual.
The Shopko building just outside the main Galesburg area has a new owner from the local region, according to a report from the Register-Mail.
The report says that the building was purchased by the Monmouth company Robbins Resource Management on October 4th for $400,000. A special use application that is expected to be considered at a Tuesday, October 22nd Planning and Zoning Commission requests the ability to use the property for product assembly, warehouse, and storage. The company specializes in wholesale plastic pallets and lumber.
As part of the project, developer Jason Robbins will also provide a three-hour fire barrier and replace the building’s sprinkler system to bring it up to code requirements. Robbins also says more plans for the building will be revealed once the special use application makes it through city process.
(CNN) — For almost three years, “Welcome To Video” was a covert den for people who traded in clips of children being sexually assaulted.
There, on the darknet‘s largest-known site of child exploitation videos, hundreds of users from around the world accessed material that showed the sexual abuse of children as young as six months old.
Then it all began to unravel.
On Wednesday, the United States’ Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed how it had followed a trail of bitcoin transactions to find the suspected administrator of the site: A 23-year-old South Korean man named Jong Woo Son.
But the case is much bigger than just one man. Over the almost three years that the site was online, users downloaded files more than one million times, according to a newly unsealed DOJ indictment. At least 23 children in the US, Spain and the United Kingdom who were being abused by the users of the site have been rescued, the DOJ said in a press release.
“Children around the world are safer because of the actions taken by US and foreign law enforcement to prosecute this case and recover funds for victims,” said Jessie K. Liu, an attorney for District of Columbia where the US case was filed. “We will continue to pursue such criminals on and off the darknet in the United States and abroad, to ensure they receive the punishment their terrible crimes deserve.”
In total, 337 people from at least 18 countries who used Welcome To Video have been arrested and charged, the DOJ said. And in a statement Thursday, South Korea’s National Police Agency (NPA) said 223 of them were South Korean.
Many Welcome To Video users likely thought they were untraceable.
The site was on the darknet, the underbelly of the deep web which cannot be accessed by a regular browser. According to authorities, some customers paid for the explicit images of child sexual abuse in bitcoin, a digital currency that can be spent without users disclosing their true identity.
But the downfall of Welcome To Video shows that bitcoin isn’t as private as some cybercriminals might have thought.What was Welcome To Video
According to the indictment released Wednesday by the DOJ, Welcome to Video began operating around June 2015.
The site worked like this: anyone could create a free account. Authorities say users could download the videos if they paid in bitcoin, or if they earned points by referring new customers, or uploading their own videos. According to the indictment, the upload page on Welcome To Video stated: “Do not upload adult porn.”
At the time, bitcoin still wasn’t a widely used payment method. The non-profit Internet Watch Foundation, which works to remove images and videos of child sexual abuse from the web, found that some of the most prolific commercial child sexual abuse sites first started accepting bitcoin as payment in 2014. According to the DOJ, Welcome To Video was “among the first of its kind to monetize child exploitation videos using bitcoin.”
Bitcoin can be attractive for people hoping to slip under the radar. Bitcoin is decentralized, meaning there is no company or official bank which oversees transactions. Users store their bitcoin in a virtual account — known as a digital wallet — without having to prove their real identity, as they might for a regular brick-and-mortar bank.
From about June 2015 to March 2018, Welcome To Video received at least 420 bitcoin through 7,300 transactions with users in numerous countries including the US, the UK and South Korea, the indictment released Wednesday shows. Those transactions were worth over $370,000 at the time.
Some of those transactions would ultimately help bring about the site’s collapse.How authorities brought down Welcome To Video
To get on the site at all, users had to have special software.
Because Welcome To Video was hosted on the darknet, it couldn’t be accessed by browsers like Google Chrome or Safari. Users needed to download software — such as Tor — that concealed their Internet Protocol address (IP address), a unique number assigned to every device connected to the internet.
But in September 2017, authorities did something simple, according to the indictment: they right-clicked on Welcome To Video’s homepage and selected “view page source.”
When they did that, they discovered an unconcealed IP address. That IP address and another found in the same way October 2017 were both traced to a residential address in South Korea — Son’s alleged home.
At the same time, US investigators were carrying out an undercover operation. Once in September 2017 and twice in February 2018, an undercover agent sent bitcoin to an account provided by Welcome To Video.
Each time, the funds were later transferred into another bitcoin account — in Son’s name, and registered using Son’s phone number and email, US authorities alleged in the indictment.
In March 2018, authorities searched Son’s house and found the server for Welcome To Video was hosted in Son’s bedroom. Authorities also seized eight terabytes containing 250,000 sexual assault videos. In total, 45% of the videos analyzed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children contained images not “previously known to exist.”
From there, authorities were able to track down other suspects. “(This case) involved a lot of cooperation between a lots of different people,” said Urszula McCormack, a partner at the King and Wood Mallesons law firm in Hong Kong who specializes in blockchain, the technology behind bitcoin. “Often it’s those weak links that expose the whole.”
Data from the server was shared with law enforcement officials around the world, who used it to track down and prosecute customers of the site in 18 countries, according to a DOJ statement.
In March 2018, Son was arrested in South Korea, and found guilty of producing and distributing child pornography, a charge that carries a possible 10 year jail term under South Korean law. In May this year, he was sentenced to 18 months in jail, South Korea’s NPA said.
But Son could still face more prison time.
In August of last year, Son was indicted on a number of child pornography charges in the US, including advertising child pornography which carries a possible 30 year sentence.
In order for him to face those charges, Son would need to be extradited to the US — which has an extradition treaty with South Korea. He could be arrested if he travels there of his own accord. One of the reasons the US is interested in prosecuting Son is that the content was accessed in the country.
CNN has reached out to the DOJ to ask if they will request an extradition. South Korean police told CNN they haven’t received an extradition request from the US — and while he’s in prison, Son cannot be affected by the US indictment.The flaws in bitcoin
While bitcoin has a reputation among the general public for secrecy, the reality is a bit different.
Each time bitcoin is transferred, details of the trade are recorded on a publicly available, permanent ledger, said Yihao Lim, a senior analyst from cybersecurity firm FireEye. It’s therefore possible to see what an individual is doing, even you can’t see their real world identity.
There are other holes in bitcoin’s ability to maintain anonymity. In the US, virtual currency exchanges — the platforms where people can buy and sell bitcoin for real money — are required by law to verify their customers’ real world identities. Developed countries are increasingly adopting those measures.
This all means that bitcoin isn’t really anonymous — it’s pseudonymous. For law enforcement agents, the difficulty isn’t seeing the transactions — it’s linking the bitcoin account with the real world person behind them, said Lim.
There are ways for bitcoin users to stay under the radar. But in general, authorities are catching up.
Over the past year, tools that can analyze bitcoin transactions have developed to a high level, said McCormack, from the Hong Kong law firm. “People (in the past) weren’t aware that this was a possibility. I think many people these days are not aware of the sophistication of those tools and how much they’re able to glean from patterns,” she said.
Lim said it was a public misunderstanding that using bitcoin was secure. “Yes, they have been successful at being anonymous at the start, but law enforcement has already caught up.”What happens now
Despite bitcoin’s security gaps, some inexperienced cybercriminals will probably keep using it, said Lim. After all, this isn’t the first high-profile case where bitcoin has helped bring down a suspect. During the 2015 trial of the creator of the Silk Road site — a digital marketplace that allowed users to illegally trade drugs — prosecutors showed that they had traced millions of dollars in bitcoin to the founder’s personal laptop.
“Many cybercriminals are still misinformed,” Lim said of the criminal underworld. “They’re just out there to make a quick buck — they didn’t do their homework enough.”
As for seasoned cybercriminals, many had already switched to other cryptocurrencies, Lim said.
But people who have used bitcoin in the past could be tracked down at any point. Because the public ledger which records bitcoin transactions is immutable, there’s no way to remove evidence of past dealings. When it comes to the Welcome To Video case, Lim expects more people connected with the site to be caught.
In a second court document released Wednesday, US authorities argued that 24 bitcoin accounts should be forfeited to authorities, alleging that they were used “to fund the website and promote the exploitation of children.” Some of the accounts were also used to make transactions on other darknet sites, including Silk Road and Evolution where users can buy drugs and stolen information.
In the press release Wednesday, the DOJ said it planned to recover the illicit funds and return them to the victims of the crime.
“Children are our most vulnerable population, and crimes such as these unthinkable,” said Homeland Security Investigations’ acting executive associate director Alysa Erichs in a statement. “(The) indictment sends a strong message to criminals that, no matter how sophisticated the technology or how widespread the network, child exploitation will not be tolerated in the United States.
“Our entire justice system will stop at nothing to prevent these heinous crimes, safeguard our children, and bring justice to all.”
HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong streets descended into chaotic scenes again on Sunday as protesters set up roadblocks and torched businesses on a main tourist drag and police responded with tear gas and a water cannon following an unauthorized pro-democracy rally.
Protesters tossed firebombs and took their anger out on shops with mainland Chinese ties as they skirmished late into the evening with riot police, who unleashed numerous tear gas rounds on short notice, angering residents and passers-by.
Police had beefed up security measures ahead of the rally, for which they refused to give permission, the latest chapter in the unrest that has disrupted life in the financial hub since early June.
As the procession set off, protest leaders carried a black banner that read, “Five main demands, not one less,” as they pressed their calls for police accountability and political rights in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
Supporters sang the protest movement’s anthem, waved colonial and U.S. flags, and held up placards depicting the Chinese flag as a Nazi swastika.
Many protesters wore masks in defiance of a recently introduced ban on face coverings at public gatherings, and volunteers handed more out to the crowd.
Matthew Lee, a university student, said he was determined to keep protesting even after more than four months.
“I can see some people want to give up, but I don’t want to do this because Hong Kong is my home, we want to protect this place, protect Hong Kong,” he said. “You can’t give up because Hong Kong is your home.”
Some front-line protesters barricaded streets at multiple locations in Kowloon, where the city’s subway operator restricted passenger access.
They tore up stones from the sidewalk and scattered them on the road, commandeered plastic safety barriers and unscrewed metal railings to form makeshift roadblocks.
A water cannon truck and armored car led a column of dozens of police vans up and down Nathan Road, a major artery lined with shops, to spray a stinging blue-dyed liquid as police moved to clear the road of protesters and barricades.
At one point, the water cannon sprayed a handful of people standing outside a mosque. Local broadcaster RTHK reported that the people hit were guarding the mosque and few protesters were nearby. The Hong Kong police force said it was an “unintended impact” of its operation to disperse protesters and later sent a representative to meet the mosque’s imam.
As night fell, protesters returned to the streets, setting trash on fire at intersections.
Residents jeered at riot police, cursing at them and telling them to leave. The officers, in turn, warned people that they were part of an illegal assembly and told them to leave, and unleashed tear gas to disperse the crowds.
Along the way, protesters trashed discount grocery shops and a restaurant chain because of what they say is the pro-Beijing ownership of the companies. They also set fire to ATMs and branches of mainland Chinese banks, setting off sprinklers in at least two, as well as a shop selling products from Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi.
The police used a bomb disposal robot to blow up a cardboard box with protruding wires that they suspected was a bomb.
Organizers said ahead of the march that they wanted to use their right to protest as guaranteed by Hong Kong’s constitution despite the risk of arrest.
“We’re using peaceful, rational, nonviolent ways to voice our demands,” Figo Chan, vice convener of the Civil Human Rights Front, told reporters. “We’re not afraid of being arrested. What I’m most scared of is everyone giving up on our principles.”
The group has organized some of the movement’s biggest protest marches. One of its leaders, Jimmy Sham, was attacked on Wednesday by assailants wielding hammers.
On Saturday, Hong Kong police arrested a 22-year-old man on suspicion of stabbing a teenage activist who was distributing leaflets near a wall plastered with pro-democracy messages. A witness told RTHK that the assailant shouted afterward that Hong Kong is “a part of China” and other pro-Beijing messages.
The protest movement sprang out of opposition to a government proposal for an extradition bill that would have sent suspects to mainland China to stand trial, and then ballooned into broader demands for full democracy and an inquiry into alleged police brutality.
OGLESBY, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say a man has died after falling almost 50 feet (15 meters) from an overhang at Starved Rock State Park.
Illinois Conservation Police Sgt Phil Wire says the 30-year-old was working with a film crew near Council Overhang when he went off trail and fell around 10 a.m. Saturday.
Authorities did not release the man's name.
Wire says the film crew had a permit to operate at Starved Rock, a popular park about 100 miles (160 kilometers) southwest of Chicago. The crew included six others and the man who died.
(CNN) — President Donald Trump on Saturday night abruptly reversed course and announced next year’s G7 economic summit of world powers would not be held at Trump National in Doral, Florida, in a rare departure after facing bipartisan backlash.
The President tweeted the major change just over 48 hours after the initial announcement: “We will no longer consider Trump National Doral, Miami, as the Host Site for the G-7 in 2020. We will begin the search for another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately.”
The President called the rising criticism his administration was facing “Irrational Hostility,” and wrote, “I thought I was doing something very good for our Country by using Trump National Doral, in Miami, for hosting the G-7 Leaders.”
The White House had been defending its decision to use Trump’s own property as the site for the G7 in the face of mounting outrage and disapproval. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told CNN that the Doral site would be “significantly cheaper” than other options.
The administration had argued the event would be run “at cost,” or without profit, by the Trump National property because of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which largely prohibits the President from accepting gifts and money from foreign governments.
But it is not clear that simply avoiding a profit would keep the administration from running afoul of the emoluments clause. The administration also had not clarified the details of how it would determine what “at cost” would be.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN on Friday that holding the G7 at Trump’s property was “completely out of the question.”
The move to host the summit at Trump’s property had added to deep fractures in the President’s relationships with some allies in Congress already upset with his decision to pull troops out of Syria.
However, several of Trump’s staunchest defenders on Capitol Hill said they were not concerned about it. GOP Rep. Jim Jordan told CNN that “the American people are much more concerned about not where it happens, but what happens at the event.”
But some members of the President’s party suggested otherwise.
Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois said he was “not happy about it.”
“I read the emoluments clause again yesterday,” Kinzinger said on Friday, “and it talks about titles and nobility and all this. I don’t know if it’s a direct violation, but I don’t understand why at this moment they had to do it.”
Noah Bookbinder, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, weighed in on the President’s reversal, calling it “a bow to reality.”
“President Trump’s decision to award the G-7 Conference to his own property was outrageous, corrupt and a constitutional violation. It was stunningly corrupt even for a stunningly corrupt administration,” Bookbinder said in a statement. “His reversal of that decision is a bow to reality, but does not change how astonishing it was that a president ever thought this was appropriate, or that it was something he could get away with.”
2020 presidential hopefuls Elizabeth Warren and Julian Castro were unimpressed by Trump’s decision to reverse course.
“The G-7 may no longer be at Trump National Doral, but that won’t stop foreign nations from dumping money into Donald Trump’s pockets by spending at his hotels,” the Massachusetts senator tweeted Saturday night.”And it won’t stop Trump from rewarding Mar-a-Lago members with ambassadorships.”
Castro echoed Warren’s sentiments of questioning Trump, with the former Housing and Development Secretary adding on Twitter, “Trying to be a complete crook of a politician didn’t quite work out for him this time, but I’m sure he’s not done trying. We need integrity in the White House.”
At a Thursday press briefing, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney defiantly addressed the concern that hosting the G7 there already creates profit by highlighting the resort, asking reporters to “consider the possibility that Donald Trump’s brand is already strong enough on its own.”
Mulvaney told reporters it was Trump who brought up the idea of hosting the G7 at Doral, explaining: “We sat around one night. We were back in the dining room and I was going over it with a couple of our advance team. We had the list, and he goes, ‘What about Doral?’ And it was like, ‘That’s not the craziest idea. It makes perfect sense.'”
The G7 reversal is yet another backtrack from Mulvaney’s White House press conference. Mulvaney, in a stunning admission, confirmed Trump froze nearly $400 million in US security aid to Ukraine in part to pressure that country into investigating Democrats. Hours later, he denied ever saying those words.