Otto Warmbier, 22, who arrived in the United States on Tuesday, is stable but “shows no sign of understanding language, responding to verbal commands or awareness of his surrounding,” said Dr. Daniel Kanter, medical director of the neuroscience intensive care unit at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, according to Reuters.
“He has not spoken,” Kanter said at a news conference. “He has not engaged in any purposeful movements or behaviors.” He said Warmbier was breathing on his own.
Warmbier, from Wyoming, Ohio, has been in a coma since March 2016, shortly after he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea, his family said on Tuesday.
He was arrested for trying to steal an item bearing a propaganda slogan, North Korean media reported. He was visiting North Korea with a tour group.
On Thursday, North Korea said that it had released Warmbier “on humanitarian grounds.”
The University of Virginia student’s father, Fred Warmbier, said at an earlier news conference that his son had been “brutalized and terrorized” by the North Korean government.
Fred Warmbier said the family did not believe North Korea’s story that his son had fallen into a coma after contracting botulism and being given a sleeping pill.
Doctors said on Thursday that there was no sign of botulism in Otto Warmbier’s system.
Kanter said that Warmbier had suffered “extensive loss of brain tissue in all regions of the brain,” but he declined to discuss Warmbier’s prognosis at the request of his family.
While doctors are uncertain as to what exactly caused the condition, cardiac arrest that stops the flow of blood to the brain is generally seen as resulting in the death of brain tissue.
Cardiac arrest in young, healthy people is rare and generally caused by either intoxication or traumatic injury, Dr. Jordan Bonomo, a specialist in neurosurgery and neurocritical care at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, said at the news conference.
Although doctors had no information about the type of medical treatment Warmbier received while in North Korea, they did receive MRI images from North Korea dated April 2016, Kanter said. Based on those images, doctors estimate the brain injury likely occurred in the preceding weeks, he said.
Doctors said there was no evidence that Warmbier suffered any broken bones.
On Thursday, the State Department said that its special envoy on North Korea, Joseph Yun, who negotiated Warmbier’s release during a visit to the country this week, had also met with three other U.S. citizens being held in North Korea.
Tensions between the United States and North Korea have been heightened by North Korean missile launches and two nuclear bomb tests. Pyongyang has vowed to develop a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.
Fred Warmbier said he was stunned when told of his son’s condition one week ago.
“I don’t know what being in shock is, but I’m pretty sure I was,” he said.
“There is no excuse for any civilized nation to have kept his condition secret and denied him top-notch medical care for so long.”
He said his wife, Cindy, had not left their son’s side since his return to the United States and that he had spoken with U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday night.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters on Thursday, “We’re glad he’s home.” He said officials would not comment on Warmbier’s health or how he came to be in his current condition.
Tillerson said on Wednesday that U.S. officials were considering some type of travel visa restriction to North Korea.
U.S. lawmakers introduced a bill last month that would ban U.S. citizens from traveling to North Korea as tourists and require them to obtain special permission for other types of visits, following the detention of at least 17 Americans there in the past decade.
In Wyoming, a northern Cincinnati suburb of about 8,000 people, Warmbier’s return to the United States was marked by blue and white ribbons, representing the colors of the local high school, tied around trees and telephone polls.
Photo: Dr. Jordan Bonomo (L), a Neurointensivist, Dr. Daniel Kanter (C), Medical Director of the Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit, and Dr. Brandon Forman (R), a Neurointensive Care Specialist, field questions about the condition and treatment of Otto Warmbier during a news conference at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., June 15, 2017. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston.
The move by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump’s conduct marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates, officials said to Washington Post.
Trump had received private assurances from then-FBI Director James B. Comey starting in January that he was not personally under investigation. Officials say that changed shortly after Comey’s firing.
Five people briefed on the interview requests, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said that Daniel Coats, the current director of national intelligence, Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, and Rogers’s recently departed deputy, Richard Ledgett, agreed to be interviewed by Mueller’s investigators as early as this week. The investigation has been cloaked in secrecy, and it is unclear how many others have been questioned by the FBI.
The NSA said in a statement that it will “fully cooperate with the special counsel” and declined to comment further. The office of the director of national intelligence and Ledgett declined to comment.
The White House now refers all questions about the Russia investigation to Trump’s personal attorney, Marc Kasowitz.
“The FBI leak of information regarding the president is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal,” said Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Kasowitz.
The officials said Coats, Rogers and Ledgett would appear voluntarily, though it remains unclear whether they will describe in full their conversations with Trump and other top officials or will be directed by the White House to invoke executive privilege. It is doubtful that the White House could ultimately use executive privilege to try to block them from speaking to Mueller’s investigators. Experts point out that the Supreme Court ruled during the Watergate scandal that officials cannot use privilege to withhold evidence in criminal prosecutions.
The obstruction-of-justice investigation of the president began days after Comey was fired on May 9, according to people familiar with the matter. Mueller’s office has taken up that work, and the preliminary interviews scheduled with intelligence officials indicate that his team is actively pursuing potential witnesses inside and outside the government.
The interviews suggest that Mueller sees the question of attempted obstruction of justice as more than just a “he said, he said” dispute between the president and the fired FBI director, an official said.
Investigating Trump for possible crimes is a complicated affair, even if convincing evidence of a crime were found. The Justice Department has long held that it would not be appropriate to indict a sitting president. Instead, experts say, the onus would be on Congress to review any findings of criminal misconduct and then decide whether to initiate impeachment proceedings.
Comey confirmed publicly in congressional testimony on March 20 that the bureau was investigating possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians.
Comey’s statement before the House Intelligence Committee upset Trump, who has repeatedly denied that any coordination with the Russians took place. Trump had wanted Comey to disclose publicly that he was not personally under investigation, but the FBI director refused to do so.
Mueller is overseeing a host of investigations involving people who are or were in Trump’s orbit, people familiar with the probe said. The investigation is examining possible contacts with Russian operatives as well as any suspicious financial activity related to those individuals.
Last week, Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee that he had informed Trump that there was no investigation of the president’s personal conduct, at least while he was leading the FBI.
Two members of Mr. Scalise’s protective police detail were wounded as they exchanged gunfire with the shooter in what other lawmakers described as a chaotic, terror-filled ten minutes that turned the baseball practice into an early-morning nightmare. Police said a total of five people were shot, two critically, according to The New York Times.
Standing at second base, Mr. Scalise was struck, in the hip, according to witnesses, and collapsed as the shots rang out, one after another, from behind a chain-link fence near the third-base dugout. Witnesses said Mr. Scalise, of Louisiana, “army crawled” his way toward taller grass as the shooting continued.
Two law enforcement officials identified the gunman as James T. Hodgkinson, 66, from Belleville, Ill., a suburb of St. Louis. The Washington Post first identified Mr. Hodgkinson as the suspect in the shooting.
Police said the gunman was wounded and taken into custody after the gunfight with the Capitol Police security detail and local police officers, who arrived minutes after they received plaintive calls for help from those at the field. The F.B.I. said the bureau would take the lead in the investigation, treating it as an assault on a federal officer.
Witnesses described a man with white hair and a beard wielding a long gun standing behind the dugout.
“He was hunting us at that point,” said Representative Mike Bishop, Republican of Michigan, who was standing at home plate when the shooting began at 7:09 a.m. Mr. Bishop said the shooter seemed to be “double-tapping” the trigger of his weapon. “There was so much gunfire, you couldn’t get up and run. Pop, pop, pop, pop — it’s a sound I’ll never forget.”
Authorities said they could not comment on the motive for the shooting. Tim Slater, a special agent in charge in the F.B.I’s Washington field office, said investigators are “exploring all angles.” Asked whether the shooting was an assassination attempt, he said it was “too early in the investigation to say one way or another.”
Aides to Mr. Scalise said Wednesday morning that he underwent surgery at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and is in stable condition. Police said a total of five people were transported to hospitals.
A friend of Zachary Barth, a staff member for Representative Roger Williams, Republican of Texas, posted a message from Mr. Barth on Facebook saying: “I got shot this morning at the baseball fields. But I am in the hospital and ok. Thank you for the thoughts and prayers.”
Representative Mo Brooks told CNN that “at least five” people were injured — including two law enforcement officers and a congressional aide — while members of a Republican congressional baseball team were practicing.
Mr. Brooks said the gunman, who had a rifle, said nothing as he opened fire. At least 50 shots were fired, congressional sources said.
The police said the gunman was shot and wounded and taken into custody.
The White House said in a statement that President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were made aware of the shootings.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragedy,” the statement said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the members of Congress, their staffs, Capitol Police, first responders, and all others affected.”
Sessions’ testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. (1830 GMT), has the potential for high drama as the Russia probe continues to dominate U.S. politics, sidelining President Donald Trump’s domestic agenda, according to Reuters.
The former Republican U.S. senator from Alabama, one of Trump’s most avid supporters on the campaign trail, will likely have to explain why he told lawmakers in January he had no dealings with Kremlin officials last year.
His staffers have since acknowledged that he met twice with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. They say he did not mislead Congress because the encounters were part of his job as a senator, not as a surrogate of the Trump campaign.
But the revelations forced Sessions to recuse himself from the Russia investigation in March, and it is now being handled by a special counsel.
Sessions will likely be asked whether he played a role in Trump’s surprise decision to fire FBI Director James Comey last month – a move that caused Trump’s critics to charge that he was trying to interfere with a criminal investigation.
The attorney general could also face questions about whether he met Kislyak on a third occasion. Several media outlets have reported that Comey told the Intelligence Committee last week that the FBI was examining whether Sessions met with Kislyak at a Washington hotel last year.
It is not clear whether Sessions plans to answer all the questions or if he will invoke executive privilege to avoid disclosing private conversations with the president.
Some members of the Intelligence Committee, frustrated by the tight-lipped performance of other administration officials last week, said they were not going to allow Sessions to follow suit.
“That’s just not going to be acceptable,” said Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat on the committee.
One of those administration officials, Admiral Michael Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, met with members of the Intelligence Committee in a closed-door session, according to the agency.
A Trump confidant, Chris Ruddy, told “PBS NewsHour” on Monday that the president was weighing whether to fire the special counsel now heading up the investigation, former FBI Director Robert Mueller.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Monday said Ruddy had not spoken to Trump about the issue and that only the president or his attorneys were authorized to speak about it.
One of Trump’s lawyers, Jay Sekulow, on Sunday declined to rule out the possibility of Mueller’s firing.
Russia has denied interfering in the U.S. election. The White House has denied any collusion with Moscow.
“I think he’s considering perhaps terminating the special counsel,” Christopher Ruddy — who was at the White House Monday — told PBS’ Judy Woodruff on “PBS NewsHour”, according to CNN. “I think he’s weighing that option.”
A source close to the President said Trump is being counseled to steer clear of such a dramatic move like firing the special counsel.
“He is being advised by many people not to do it,” the source said.
However, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said, “Mr. Ruddy never spoke to the President regarding this issue. With respect to this subject, only the President or his attorneys are authorized to comment.”
And deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said simply: “Chris speaks for himself.”
Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax Media, based his Mueller comment on a television interview with one of Trump’s lawyers. When asked about the interview by CNN, Ruddy said: “My quote is accurate.”
He told Woodruff he thinks firing Mueller “would be a very significant mistake, even though I don’t think there’s a justification … for a special counsel.”
Mueller was appointed FBI Director by President George W. Bush in 2001 and served until 2013, when Comey took over as head.
Since being appointed special counsel in May, he has built a team of formidable legal minds who’ve worked on everything from Watergate to Enron. He has long been widely respected by many in Washington from both sides of the aisle, with many lawmakers praising Deputy Attorney General Rob Rosenstein’s pick.
Still not everyone is a fan.
Earlier this week, Newt Gingrich reportedly told radio host John Catsimatidis that Congress should “abolish the independent counsel.”
“I think Congress should now intervene and they should abolish the independent counsel,” the former House speaker said. “Because Comey makes so clear that it’s the poison fruit of a deliberate manipulation by the FBI director leaking to The New York Times, deliberately set up this particular situation. It’s very sick.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, disputed that report.
“I don’t think Newt said that,” Graham told reporters. “I think it’d be a disaster. There’s no reason to fire Mueller. What had he done to be fired?”
After news of Ruddy’s interview surfaced on the web, Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, echoed that sentiment on Twitter.
“If President fired Bob Mueller, Congress would immediately re-establish independent counsel and appoint Bob Mueller,” the California lawmaker tweeted. “Don’t waste our time.”
Schiff later told CNN’s Anderson Cooper he wouldn’t be surprised if Trump was considering ousting Mueller.
“You have to hope that common sense would prevail,” Schiff said. “But it wouldn’t surprise me at all, even though it would be absolutely astonishing were he(Trump) to entertain this. The echoes of Watergate are getting louder and louder.”
“It’s official! @FLOTUS & Barron have made the move to DC!” Stephanie Grisham, Melania Trump’s communications director, tweeted Sunday night, according to NBC News.
Melania Trump had continued living in Trump Tower in New York while Barron Trump, 11, finished the academic year at his New York school. Barron will be the first boy to live in the White House since 1963, when John F. Kennedy Jr. was 3 years old.
President Donald Trump’s wife, Melania, and youngest son, Barron, have moved into the White House, 4½ months after the president was sworn into office, the first lady’s spokeswoman said Sunday.
“It’s official! @FLOTUS & Barron have made the move to DC!” Stephanie Grisham, Melania Trump’s communications director, tweeted Sunday night.
Melania Trump had continued living in Trump Tower in New York while Barron Trump, 11, finished the academic year at his New York school. Barron will be the first boy to live in the White House since 1963, when John F. Kennedy Jr. was 3 years old.
Sources told NBC News in April that the first lady had been “preparing the residence” at the White House for some time and was looking for suitable schools for Barron.
Barron — wearing a T-shirt reading “The Expert” — arrived on Sunday at the White House aboard Marine One with his parents and multiple pieces of luggage.
Melania Trump’s parents, Viktor and Amalija Knav, were also on board Marine One.
The White House’s shifting rationale for his dismissal “confused” the former director, he said, adding that it was the administration’s subsequent statements that the FBI was in “disarray” that moved him to speak, according to The Hill.
“The administration chose to defame me and, more importantly, the FBI by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly run,” Comey told a rapt hearing room.
“Those were lies, plain and simple.”
President Trump last month shocked Washington with his abrupt dismissal of Comey, who was then investigating any coordination between the Trump team and Russia during the campaign.
The White House initially claimed that Comey was fired over his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server — but Trump himself later told NBC’s Lester Holt that he was thinking of the Russia investigation when he made the decision.
That admission drew the most media attention — but he also told reporters that Comey wasn’t “doing a good job,” a claim a White House spokesperson backed up by arguing that the former director had lost the confidence of the “rank-and-file” at the bureau.
Comey vowed Thursday that he had long believed that as FBI director, he served at the discretion of the president and could be fired “for any reason or for no reason at all.”
But the variety of explanations given for his dismissal “confused me and gave me concern,” he said.
He was confused, he continued, because the president on multiple occasions had assured him he was doing a great job and would remain in the position.
“He told me repeatedly that he had talked to lots of people about me, including the attorney general, and had learned that I was doing a great job and was extremely well-liked by FBI workforce,” Comey said.
Press reports that the president told Russian officials that Comey’s dismissal “relieved great pressure” on him also gave him pause, the former FBI director added.
Comey’s voice was calm and impassive during this portion of testimony, but when he turned to the criticisms of the bureau, he quickly became passionate as the room held its breath.
“I am so sorry that the FBI workforce had to hear that,” he said. “I want the American people to know this truth: The FBI is honest. The FBI is strong and the FBI is and always will be independent.”
Although he was deeply controversial at times, Comey has long been a staunch defender of FBI staff. One of the few times he’s become heated when testifying before Congress was when the integrity of the bureau was questioned.
“You can call us wrong, but don’t call us weasels. We are not weasels,” Comey declared at a House Judiciary Committee hearing in September
He added an emotional message to his former colleagues at Thursday’s hearing.
“To my former colleagues: I am so sorry that I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to you properly. It was the honor of my life to serve beside you, to be part of the FBI family, and I will miss it for the rest of my life.”
Comey magnified the political crisis engulfing the White House by releasing his opening statement ahead of a blockbuster appearance on Capitol Hill on Thursday, according to CNN.
The dramatic document sketched a stunningly detailed account of Comey’s intimate meetings with the President, included direct quotes from Trump and revealed the former FBI chief’s discomfort with the President’s behavior.
The testimony appeared to bolster the case of Trump critics who believe that the President may have obstructed justice and abused his power in his dealings with Comey, who he later fired.
Comey said that Trump asked him to drop FBI investigations into Flynn centering on his calls with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition, which eventually led to his dismissal as national security adviser after it emerged he had lied about the conversations to Vice President Mike Pence.
He wrote that Trump said: “‘I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
“I replied only that ‘he is a good guy.'” Comey wrote, describing a private meeting with Trump in the Oval Office on February 14, then added: “I did not say I would ‘let this go.'”
The exchange took place after a meeting between Trump and senior intelligence and homeland security officials, after which the President asked to speak to the FBI Director alone.
Comey said in his testimony that he understood the President to be requesting that he drop the investigation into Flynn, who had resigned the day before. But he says he did not understand Trump to be referring to the wider Russia investigation.
“Regardless, it was very concerning, given the FBI’s role as an independent investigative agency.”
Trump critics contended that this encounter appears to be tantamount to an inappropriate pressure on the FBI by the President, an allegation that if proven could have dire consequences for Trump’s presidency itself.
Comey’s account of this encounter conflicts with Trump’s own statements. At a press conference on May 18, the President was asked whether he had asked the FBI Director to pull the plug on the Flynn component of the Russia investigation.
“No, No, next question,” Trump said.
“There is a criminal investigation going on of one of the President’s top associations … he gets fired, he is under under investigation and the President brings in the FBI Director and says ‘please stop your investigation,'” said CNN’s senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
“If that isn’t obstruction of justice, I don’t know what is,” Toobin said.
It is one of a slew of allegations relating to Donald Trump and an investigation into alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 US election, according to the BBC.
It comes ahead of the former FBI chief’s testimony to the Senate on Thursday.
“I wish him luck,” Mr Trump said of Mr Comey, as he met with Republicans.
Separately, Mr Sessions himself has offered to resign, reports said.
The relationship between the attorney general and the president has grown increasingly tense since Mr Sessions recused himself from any involvement in the Russia investigation, articles in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and Politico said.
Mr Trump has refused the resignation offer, they reported.
Mr Comey’s testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee is set to grip Washington, as he is likely to be asked about his private discussions with Mr Trump regarding the investigation and his campaign, and the former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
In another report likely to raise tensions at the White House, the Washington Post says Mr Trump had asked Dan Coats, his director of National Intelligence, to try to persuade the FBI to back off their investigation into Mr Flynn.
Mr Coats himself will give evidence to the Committee hearing later today.
The claim that Mr Comey told Mr Sessions he did not want to be left alone again with the president was published by the New York Times and the Associated Press.
The conversation occurred the day after the president asked Mr Comey to end the investigation into Mr Flynn during a private dinner, the NYT said. Mr Comey believed the attorney general should protect the FBI from White House influence, officials told the paper.
The White House shocked Washington by announcing on 9 May that Mr Comey “has been terminated and removed from office”.
It was only the second time the head of the FBI had been dismissed.
While the White House said Mr Comey’s handling of the inquiry into defeated Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails was the reason for his dismissal, Mr Trump has subsequently said Mr Comey “wasn’t doing a good job” and was “a showboat”.
Mr Comey’s testimony on Capitol Hill on Thursday will be his first public comments since he was ignominiously pushed from office.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the president would have a “very, very busy day” on Thursday. There has been speculation that Mr Trump would offer a live commentary on Mr Comey’s testimony via Twitter.
The June 2-4 opinion poll suggests American voters may not penalize President Donald Trump too harshly for walking away from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, even if they would have preferred he keep the country in the deal, according to Reuters.
The poll found 68 percent of Americans want the United States to lead global efforts to slow climate change, and 72 percent agree “that given the amount of greenhouse gases that it produces, the United States should take aggressive action to slow global warming.”
Even so, Americans rank the environment near the bottom of their list of priorities for the country. Only about 4 percent of Americans believe that the “environment” is a bigger issue than healthcare, the economy, terrorism, immigration, education, crime and morality, Reuters/Ipsos polling shows.
“I just kind of feel helpless about it,” Dana Anderson, 54, of Mesa, Arizona, said about climate change. “If something happens to the environment, it is what it is, right?”
Anderson, who has multiple sclerosis, said that whatever Trump says about healthcare will matter to her much more than his thoughts on global temperatures.
The poll was conducted after Trump announced on Thursday that the United States would abandon the landmark agreement with 195 countries to slash carbon emissions and curb global warming. The Republican president, who had previously called climate change a “hoax” despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, said he thought the pact would harm the U.S. economy without providing a tangible benefit.
The decision drew anger and condemnation from world leaders and business chiefs, many of them worried a U.S. exit would put the planet at risk and leave the United States behind in a global shift away from fossil fuels.
The poll found the U.S. public split along party lines over the move to withdraw from the global climate pact, with most Republicans supporting it and most Democrats opposing it.
Overall, 38 percent agreed with Trump’s decision, 49 percent disagreed and 13 percent were undecided.
The poll also showed 50 percent of Americans believe global temperatures will rise faster as a result of the U.S. withdrawal from the climate deal, and 64 percent think U.S. relations with other countries will suffer.
The public was split over the decision’s economic impact, too, with 41 percent saying it will strengthen the economy and 44 percent saying it will not.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English throughout the United States. It gathered responses from 1,398 Americans, including 459 Republicans and 635 Democrats. The poll has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 3 percentage points for the entire group and 5 percentage points for the Republicans and Democrats.