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Tomi Lahren slams Beyoncé, Colin Kaepernick as 'police-hating' after awards ceremony

Colin Kaepernick was this year’s recipient of Sports Illustrated’s Muhammad Ali Legacy Award, which he accepted in person from surprise presenter Beyoncé on Tuesday night.

>> Watch the clip here

Prior to the ceremony, Sports Illustrated writer Michael Rosenberg praised Kaepernick for making “his truth known” with his controversial national anthem protests. Explaining the award, Rosenberg wrote, “Each year, SI and the Ali family honor a figure who embodies the ideals of sportsmanship, leadership and philanthropy and has used sports as a platform for changing the world.”

>> WATCH: Beyoncé presents Colin Kaepernick with Sports Illustrated's Muhammad Ali award

This sentiment was reflected in the short introductory speech given by Beyoncé, who said the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback “took action with no fear of consequence or repercussion, only hope to change the world for the better.”

“With or without the NFL’s platform, I will continue to work for the people, because my platform is the people,” Kaepernick said.

Several hours later, political commentator Tomi Lahren weighed in on the award with a controversial tweet.

“Police-hating Beyoncé presents police and America-hating Kappy with a ‘legacy’ award. This is how far we’ve fallen. Wow,” she wrote.

>> See the tweet here

Both Kaepernick and Beyoncé have said they neither hate the military nor the police, both praising members of the respective institutions.

Lahren has been a vocal critic of Kaepernick's protests for more than a year.

>> Read more trending news

In March, Lahren was fired from The Blaze, the news outlet where she gained a following for, among other things, speaking about Kaepernick. After settling a legal dispute with her formal employer, she went to work for Fox News.

Read more here.

Melania Trump, Karen Pence stop at Whataburger, treat press to french fries

First lady Melania Trump, along with second lady Karen Pence, traveled to Texas on Wednesday to visit with first responders and check on Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. And if there’s anything politicians (or in this case, politicians’ spouses) love to do when they’re on a visit, it’s make a stop at a purveyor of local cuisine. Trump and Pence flew through Corpus Christi, which means Whataburger.

>> Read more trending news

According to social media reports (including tweets from reporters along for the trip, as well as a White House official), the first and second lady stopped by the venerable Texas burger chain and walked out with at least some of those famous fries. The rest of their order is unknown (so far), but the tweets about the pit stop are quite a journey.

Reporters in the press pool said the first and second lady treated them to fries.

Officials in Texas approved. The orange and the white, as ever, proved to be a unifying force.

According to the San Antonio Express-News, Trump and Pence stopped at the Whataburger at 602 Padre Island Drive. 

Chelsea Handler evacuates, blames Trump for California wildfires

Television personality Chelsea Handler, among the thousands forced to evacuate due to the raging California wildfires, called out President Donald Trump in a controversial tweet about the blaze Wednesday. “It’s like Donald Trump is setting the world on fire. Literally and figuratively,” she wrote.

>> See the tweet here

The infernos have caused filming to halt temporarily and threaten the famed Getty Museum.

Handler’s antipathy for Trump often fuels her busy Twitter feed.

>> California wildfires force thousands to evacuate: Live updates

“We have got to get rid of Trump,” she posted on Nov. 22. “He is incapable of honesty or goodwill. He cares about no one. We must stay the course and not let up.”

>> Read more trending news

She also speaks out on national events with frequency.

>> On AJC.com: Strong winds ground firefighting aircraft

“Innocent people go to church on Sunday to honor their God, and while doing so, get shot in [sic] killed. What country? America. Why? Republicans,” she posted on Nov. 5, after a gunman opened fire in a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

Atlanta mayoral election: Bottoms declares victory, Norwood asking for recount

12:27 a.m. EST Wednesday: Mary Norwood says she's asking for a recount as Keisha Lance Bottoms declares a victory in the Atlanta mayor's race.

>> Visit WSBTV.com for the latest on this developing story

With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Bottoms leads by just 759 votes. Bottoms, introduced by Mayor Kasim Reed as the 60th mayor of Atlanta, declared victory as she spoke to her supporters, but Norwood said the race isn't over yet.

>> On WSBTV.com: LIVE real-time election results

ORIGINAL STORY: Today is the day Atlanta will decide which woman will become its next mayor.

>> Watch the news report here

Polls officially opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood spent Monday at City Hall doing the people’s business, but they also did some campaigning before Tuesday’s election. And with the race coming to an end, some people are now deciding whom they plan to endorse.

>> Visit WSBTV.com for complete coverage

Outside City Hall, more endorsements came in for Bottoms. Prominent attorneys and progressives stood with her.

“I have no doubt in my mind that Ms. Bottoms will surround herself with a team of compassionate and thoughtful people with the political savvy to make this city better,” said assistant professor Maurice Hobson.

>> On WSBTV.com: Keisha Lance Bottoms, Mary Norwood face off ahead of Election Day

But across town, a civil rights activist said he’s endorsing Mary Norwood.

“Dr. King said it best: 'People want to be judged based on their character, not the color of their skin.' That works not just for white people but for African-Americans,” said the Rev. Markel Hutchins. 

Hutchins said he supports Norwood because of her decades of public service.

>> Read more trending news 

“What Atlanta needs now is not just someone who is desiring of the office of mayor but someone who legitimately wants to serve the public,” Hutchins said.

Both candidates were at Monday’s City Council meeting after the Tuesday’s election, and it will be one of their last; one will become mayor and the other will become a private citizen.

Rep. Blake Farenthold says he'll repay taxpayers for sexual harassment settlement

U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, Texas, told KRIS-TV Monday that he will reimburse taxpayers following a Politico report that he settled a 2014 sexual harassment lawsuit with $84,000 from the federal government.

>> Read more trending news

“Even though I was completely exonerated by [the Office of Congressional Ethics], and the settlement agreement has been paid, I’m doing my best and am going to hand a check over this week to probably Speaker Ryan or somebody and say ‘look, here’s the amount of my settlement, give it back to the taxpayers,’” Farenthold said in the interview.

>> On Statesman.com: U.S. Rep. Farenthold of Texas used taxpayer money to settle sex harassment claim, reports say

“I want to be clear that I didn’t do anything wrong, but I also don’t want the taxpayers to be on the hook for this, and I want to be able to talk about it and fix the system without people saying Blake, you benefited from the system, you don’t have a right to talk about it or fix it.”

Farenthold used a Congressional Office of Compliance account to pay former staffer Lauren Greene, according to the Friday Politico reportNBC News subsequently confirmed the report.

In the lawsuit, Greene presented “allegations of gender discrimination, sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment,” according to Politico.

Greene had alleged that a male employee told her that their boss said he had sexual fantasies about her. She also claimed that Farenthold once told her he was “estranged from his wife and had not had sex with her in years,” according to the report.

Greene also claimed she was fired after complaining about those comments.

The revived conversation around Greene’s lawsuit comes after numerous accounts from men and women throughout the country and across industries of sexual harassment and assault at the hands of powerful and high-profile men.

>> On MyStatesman.com: Amid harassment complaints, Texas House panel adopts new policy

Farenthold’s colleague, U.S. Rep. John Conyers, a Democrat from Michigan and the longest serving member of the House, is facing allegations of sexual misconduct. In the Senate, embattled lawmaker Al Franken of Minnesota is having the fight of his political life after several women have claimed he touched them inappropriately.

In Texas, The Daily Beast and The Texas Tribune last month detailed claims of sexual harassment and assault by male lawmakers and others over the years at the statehouse. The reports mostly relied on anonymous sources.

Farenthold’s district includes parts of Bastrop and Caldwell counties.

Billy Bush says Trump 'Access Hollywood' tape is real in scathing op-ed

Former "Access Hollywood" and "Today" host Billy Bush is back in the spotlight.

In a scathing New York Times op-ed published Sunday, Bush said the 2005 tape that captured now-President Donald Trump making explicit comments about groping women is real.

>> 'SNL': Trump meets ghosts of Flynn, Billy Bush, Putin, Hillary Clinton in 'Christmas Carol' parody

"Of course he said it," wrote Bush, who was heard laughing and egging on Trump in the hot-mic audio that surfaced during the 2016 election. "And we laughed along, without a single doubt that this was hypothetical hot air from America's highest-rated bloviator."

Bush said he and the seven other witnesses on the bus during the recording assumed Trump was just performing.

>> Billy Bush hospitalized after being hit on the head with a golf ball

"We now know better," Bush wrote.

Bush, who was fired from his job as a "Today" host last year in wake of the controversy, said he believes the women who accused Trump of sexual misconduct after the tape surfaced.

"To these women: I will never know the fear you felt or the frustration of being summarily dismissed and called a liar, but I do know a lot about the anguish of being inexorably linked to Donald Trump," Bush wrote. "You have my respect and admiration. You are culture warriors at the forefront of necessary change."

>> Read more trending news

The editorial came amid reports that Trump is now privately questioning the tape's authenticity, even though he previously apologized for his comments.

"President Trump is currently indulging in some revisionist history, reportedly telling allies, including at least one United States senator, that the voice on the tape is not his," Bush wrote. "This has hit a raw nerve in me."

Read the full op-ed here.

Photos: Kennedy Center Honors 2017

Carmen de Lavallade, Norman Lear, Gloria Estefan, LL Cool J and Lionel Richie were recognized at the 40th annual Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump did not attend.

Guilty: Michael Flynn admits in court to lying about Russian communication

Michael Flynn, the former national security advisor to President Donald Trump, pleaded guilty Friday morning to lying to FBI investigators probing the Trump presidential campaign’s ties to Russia. 

Flynn pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to federal investigators. His plea was entered before U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras in Washington, D.C.

Flynn entered and left the federal courthouse without speaking to reporters waiting outside.

In a statement he issued in conjunction with his plea agreement, Flynn said he is “working to set things right” by accepting responsibility for his actions. He admitted he is cooperating fully with special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election.

“After over 33 years of military service to our country, including nearly five years in combat away from my family, and then my decision to continue to serve the United States, it has been extraordinarily painful to endure these many months of false accusations of ‘treason’ and other outrageous acts,” Flynn said in his statement. “Such false accusations are contrary to everything I have ever done and stood for. 

“But I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong and, through my faith in God, I am working to set things right. My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the Special Counsel’s Office reflect a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country. I accept full responsibility for my actions.”

Flynn is the fourth person -- and the first White House aide -- charged in Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s Russian connections. Charges were filed last month against former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, his business associate Rick Gates and former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. 

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty Oct. 5 to making false statements to federal investigators.

Court documents released Friday accused Flynn of making false statements to FBI investigators in January, just days after Trump was sworn into office. Flynn resigned Feb. 13 amid the allegations that he lied about communications with Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.

Reports from the Associated Press and ABC News indicate that part of Flynn’s plea deal includes his promise to testify that Trump’s transition team directed him to make contact with Russian officials.

A White House lawyer said in a statement that Flynn’s guilty plea does not implicate anyone other than the retired general.

“The false statements involved mirror the false statements to White House officials which resulted in his resignation in February of this year,” attorney Ty Cobb said. “Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn.”

Cobb described Flynn as a “former Obama administration official” who was “at the White House for 25 days” during Trump’s administration. 

The indictment made public Friday stated that Flynn lied about conversations he had with Kislyak in December, during the Trump administration’s transition and before he officially became Trump’s national security advisor. Investigators state that Flynn lied about asking Kislyak on Dec. 22 to “delay the vote on or defeat a pending United Nations Security Council resolution.”

Read the indictment against Michael Flynn

Flynn also lied about his request to Kislyak on Dec. 29 that the ambassador “refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day,” the indictment read. 

“Flynn did not recall the Russian ambassador subsequently telling him that Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request,” the court document said

Flynn is also under fire for a 2015 speaking engagement in Russia. He was paid $45,000 for the event, but it was not clear if he received the required permission from U.S. officials or whether he reported being paid for the speech, as mandated by law. 

Flynn resigned after reports surfaced indicating that he lied to then-Vice President Elect Mike Pence about his communications with Russian officials. His 24-day tenure as national security advisor was the shortest in the office’s history.

>> Read more trending news

Lawmakers on the House Oversight Committee said in April that Flynn failed to register as a lobbyist while working on Turkey’s behalf. Flynn's consulting firm accepted $530,000 for work with a firm that is associated with Turkey's government, according to the Associated Press.

The AP reported that Flynn’s lawyer filed paperwork with the Justice Department in February disclosing that he had done lobbying work that “could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey” between August and November 2016. 

The New York Times reported in August that investigators working for special counsel Robert Mueller asked the White House for documents related to Flynn. They also questioned witnesses about whether he was secretly paid by the Turkish government, according to the Times.

Former FBI Director James Comey testified before Congress over the summer that he felt the president tried to pressure him into dropping the investigation into Flynn.

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump said, according to a memo written by Comey, the New York Times reported. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

Trump denied that he asked Comey to drop the investigation.

Debbie Lord and Theresa Seiger contributed to this report.

Billy Baldwin claims Donald Trump hit on his wife, Chynna Phillips

Donald Trump Jr. has been active on Twitter when it comes to pointing out allegations of sexual misconduct against certain public figures such as Democratic Sen. Al Franken. The president's oldest child did just that Wednesday, pointing out that two more women had come forward with allegations against Franken:

>> See the tweet here

Actor Billy Baldwin shot back at Trump Jr. with an insult aimed at the president's own alleged sexual misconduct over the years. He accused the elder Trump of showing up uninvited to a party at the Plaza Hotel over two decades ago and hitting on his then-girlfriend, Chynna Phillips, who has been married to Baldwin since 1995.

Baldwin said Trump invited Phillips on his helicopter to Atlantic City.

>> Read Baldwin's tweet here (WARNING: Contains profanity)

Billy is the brother of actors Alec, who plays the Trump character on “Saturday Night Live,” and Stephen Baldwin.

The New York Daily News reported that a man who attended the party said Baldwin was hosting an intimate get-together in a Plaza hotel room for Phillips’ birthday when Trump unexpectedly knocked on the door.

At the time, Trump owned the hotel and often showed up at parties there until he was forced to sell the hotel after declaring bankruptcy in November 1992.

“Trump came barging in and started saying, ‘Let’s get in my helicopter; let’s blow this party and get out of here,'” the party guest told the Daily News.

>> Trump tweets he 'took a pass' at being named Time's person of the year

He said there were only about five people in the room at the time, and they started to become uncomfortable as Trump continued.

“He tried to coerce her into getting in his helicopter,” the party guest told the Daily News. “[Phillips] laughed uncomfortably at the prospect and said thanks but no thanks.”

The party guest said that once Trump realized it was not a raging party, he lost interest.

“He left with his tail between his legs,” the person told the newspaper. “He was in the room for maybe 10 minutes.”

The White House declined to comment, the paper said.

>> Read more trending news

Since Trump announced his campaign, several women have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment against him.

Many of the accusers claim Trump forced himself on them, groped or kissed them without consent; however, Trump has denied the accusations and threatened to sue the women.

Last week, Trump faced criticism for continuing to endorse Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been accused by at least nine women of sexually harassing or assaulting them, including women who were 14 years old at the time.

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