Fox News 2024-03-26 10:03:46


Career criminal becomes suspected cop killer after roadside stop turns deadly

A New York City police officer has died after he was shot while conducting a vehicle stop, authorities said Monday. 

A pair of officers stopped a vehicle at 1919 Mott Avenue in Far Rockaway, Queens around 5:48 p.m. as part of the NYPD Community Response Team because it was parked illegally, the NYPD said. Then a shootout ensued.

“We lost one of our sons today,” Mayor Eric Adams said at a press conference.

Council Member Linda Lee, who represents the 23rd Council District in Eastern Queens, identified the fallen officer as Officer Jonathan Diller. 

“My heart is with the NYPD and the family of Officer Jonathan Diller,” the council member wrote on X. “Our officers bravely charge into the unknown to protect New Yorkers – never knowing if they will return home at the end of the day. Praying for the loved ones of Officer Diller during this agonizing time.”

NYPD SEEKS SQUATTERS ACCUSED OF KILLING, STUFFING WOMAN INTO DUFFEL BAG: REPORTS

As a pair of officers were approaching the car, the 34-year-old suspect, who has 21 prior arrests according to the New York Post, displayed a firearm and pointed it at them when he refused to exit the car, NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban told reporters. 

The suspect then opened fire, striking Diller in the stomach, underneath his bullet-proof vest, authorities said. 

“We’re here far too many times,” Caban said. 

Another officer returned fire and struck the suspect, who was a passenger in the vehicle. The wounded officer was rushed to Jamaica Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

The suspected gunman was also taken to a hospital and a gun was recovered at the scene, police said.

Officer Diller had been with the NYPD for three years and had more than 70 arrests, officials said. After being shot, the suspect dropped the weapon and the officer tried to grab the weapon despite being shot, authorities said. 

The gunman was last released from a New York prison in 2021 after serving 5 years behind bars for criminal possession of a controlled substance, according to state records, the Post reported, citing law enforcement sources. His parole in that case ended last year.

He also served a prison term beginning in 2011 over a first-degree assault charge before he was released in 2014, records show.

The driver of the vehicle, a 41-year-old, was arrested in April 2023 on a gun charge, police said. 

“Less than a year gun charge,” Adams said. He’s back on the streets. April 2023. This is what you call not a crime problem, a recidivist problem. Same bad people doing bad things to good people. Less than a year, he’s back on the streets with another gun.”

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Witness Deon Peters told Fox News Digital that he was working when he heard the sound of gunshots.

“I came outside and I saw two guys on the floor,: he said. “One of them was an officer. he was moving. He was saying ‘I’m hit. I’m hit.'”

Legal experts break down why Trump’s whopping fee could be against the law

After scoring a major win Monday in the New York civil fraud case against him, legal experts weigh whether former president Donald Trump can appeal the $454 million judgment as a violation of his constitutional rights.  

The 45th president and presumptive GOP nominee in the 2024 election had until Monday to pay a $454 million bond or face seizure of his assets by Attorney General Letitia James, in accordance with an order by Judge Arthur Engoron. 

But just hours before the deadline, the New York Appeals court slashed the bond by 60%, ordering Trump to pay $175 million while the case is appealed. 

Legal experts told Fox News Digital that one legal avenue Trump and his lawyers could and should pursue is trying to prove that the whopping half-billion figure violates a U.S. constitutional amendment that bans “excessive fines.”

TRUMP’S $454M JUDGMENT BOND SLASHED BY MORE THAN HALF IN APPEALS COURT RULING

James sued Trump under a New York State Executive law that gives broad investigative authority and that was designed to protect against consumer fraud. 

She accused him and his company of inflating the values of properties in order to secure better rates on loans from banks. In this unusual case, the state couldn’t prove obvious victims Trump had harmed that incurred major losses. 

Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Engoron in February sided against Trump, and imposed what’s known as a “disgorgement” — a legal remedy that requires someone who profited illegally to give back any profits made while engaging in the illegal activity.  

“It is unheard of to seek repayment of over $464 million when there was no identifiable victim and when the entities on the other side of all of these transactions were sophisticated investors who conducted their own due diligence,” John Malcolm, a former assistant U.S. Attorney in Atlanta, told Fox News Digital in an interview. 

Notably, bank executives who worked with Trump testified in court that they were happy with their business dealings with him, and even sought additional business with Trump, whom they viewed as a “whale of a client.”

Engoron calculated what the banks would have profited from the loans to the Trump company had the values not been inflated over the course of several years.

 TRUMP VOWS TO FIGHT NEW YORK AG CASE ‘ALL THE WAY UP TO THE US SUPREME COURT,’ AS DEADLINE TO POST $454M LOOMS

A disgorgement is not legally, technically, a fine. But legal experts say that the judgment could amount to what the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution bans. 

That amendment says “excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

“The issue of whether disgorgement is considered a fine is a complicated one,” Malcolm said. “However, if it is deemed to be a fine, it would certainly be an ‘excessive fine’ that would violate the Eighth Amendment.”

Jim Trusty, former legal counsel for Trump and a former federal prosecutor, said that the argument for an Eighth Amendment violation “is not absurd, because the disgorgement is thinly veiled as punitive fines.” 

Punitive damages are what courts assess strictly as punishment for a crime, in addition to the losses assessed that are owed to the victim. 

“In this case, nobody lost anything. In fact, banks testified in court that they were clamoring to be back in business with Trump. It’s not the only argument or the strongest argument he has, but it’s a valid reach because the judgment smells punitive,” he added. 

“The issue boils down to whether the judgment reflects ill-gotten gains being retrieved by the court, or something more punitive, like a fine,” Trusty added. 

Mark Brnovich, a former prosecutor and the former Attorney General of Arizona, told Fox News Digital that James’ case is “more of a political vendetta” than having met the proper standards and application of justice.  

“Whether you’re suing a private company, whether it’s a criminal case, a civil case, — when you’re the government, you can take away people’s livelihoods, their life, liberty and property,” Brnovich remarked. 

“So with that comes an awesome responsibility. And that means you don’t just throw crap against the wall and see what sticks. You don’t measure success in terms of the number of years in prison someone may get or how many fines you can get against a company or an individual. You measure success at the end of the day is, has justice been done?” he said. 

The Eighth Amendment has historically only applied to criminal cases, and not civil cases. 

But Brnovich, who brought and settled a consumer fraud case against the infamous Elizabeth Holms and her company, Theranos, said he thinks that the Eighth Amendment “can apply in a situation where you have a fine that is essentially arbitrary and punitive.” 

“And I think that what Trump’s lawyers are doing — they’re preserving that argument on appeal,” he said. 

NEW YORK APPEALS COURT ALLOWS TRUMP, SONS TO CONTINUE RUNNING BUSINESS, DENIES REQUEST TO DELAY PAYMENT

Brnovich, who has argued before the Supreme Court in three cases, noted the recent trend over the last decade in which the high court appears “definitely willing to at some point to step in and say that a civil fine essentially crosses the line” into excessive, in violation of the Eighth Amendment. 

In 2019, the Supreme Court determined for the very first time that the excessive fines’ clause can be used to challenge state-court judgments. 

In the majority opinion, the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg wrote, “For good reason, the protection against excessive fines has been a constant shield throughout Anglo-American history: Exorbitant tolls undermine other constitutional liberties.” 

“Excessive fines can be used, for example, to retaliate against or chill the speech of political enemies”, she said. 

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More recently, the Supreme Court last term decided a case in favor of a 94-year-old Minnesota grandmother who claimed that the state violated her constitutional rights when they seized her condo over an unpaid tax debt, then sold the property and kept all the sale proceeds — which were far above what she actually owed. 

In a concurring opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch, along with Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, noted how lower courts should consider Eighth Amendment challenges. 

“Even without emphasizing culpability, this Court has said a statutory scheme may still be punitive where it serves another ‘goal of punishment,’ such as ‘[d]eterrence,’” he wrote.

“Economic penalties imposed to deter willful noncompliance with the law are fines by any other name. And the Constitution has something to say about them: They cannot be excessive,” he said.

Surprising alliance emerges among prominent royals amid Kate’s cancer struggle

Prince William has formed an unlikely alliance with his “wicked stepmother.”

Following Kate Middleton’s public announcement on Friday that she has cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy, several royal experts claimed to Fox News Digital that the Prince of Wales has gotten closer to Queen Camilla. His stepmother is married to King Charles III, who is also battling cancer.

“William, I believe, has seen the value of Queen Camilla, especially at a time like this when she has been stalwart in supporting King Charles not only at home but also dramatically increasing the public engagements she has attended,” said royal expert Ian Pelham Turner.

SARAH FERGUSON SUPPORTS KATE MIDDLETON ON CANCER RECOVERY JOURNEY: ‘PRAYING FOR THE BEST OUTCOME’

“[It has brought] a very popular and harmonious response from those whom she has met,” he shared. “At a time like this, the values of family members and how they respond… in a time of crisis bring closeness. William will be grateful and mindful of that, too.”

“I think over the past few years, Camilla has shown by her dedication to Charles and the monarchy that an admiration has grown for her energy,” Pelham Turner continued. “[Camilla’s] ability and commonsense approach has made William come to terms with his father’s decision to marry the woman he has loved since the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.”

A source told the U.K.’s Mirror that the prince, 41, and queen, 76, have had regular phone conversations in recent weeks as they support each other during tough times.

Middleton disclosed her condition in a video message recorded Wednesday at Windsor and broadcast Friday. It came after relentless speculation on social media since January when the mother of three was hospitalized for unspecified abdominal surgery.

The news is another jolt for the royal family since the announcement last month that the king, 75, was being treated for an unspecified type of cancer. The disease was discovered while he was undergoing a procedure for a benign enlarged prostate.

Like Middleton, 42, the king hasn’t revealed what type of cancer he has or the stage at which it’s being treated.

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Charles said he is “so proud of Catherine for her courage in speaking as she did,” according to a statement released by Buckingham Palace. The king, who received prostate treatment in the same hospital and at the same time Kate had her surgery, had remained in the “closest contact with his beloved daughter-in-law” in the past weeks.

The king and queen “will continue to offer their love and support to the whole family through this difficult time,” the palace said.

William and Camilla’s closeness may come as a surprise to some royal watchers. For decades, Camilla has been recognized by many as the woman at the heart of Charles’ doomed marriage to Diana.

It took years for many in Britain to forgive Camilla, whose extramarital affair with Charles torpedoed his marriage to Diana, known as “the People’s Princess.” The glamorous young mother of William and his younger brother Prince Harry died in a Paris car crash in 1997, five years after her messy, public split from Charles. She was 36.

“Prince William grew up extremely close to and nurtured by his late mother,” British royals expert Hilary Fordwich told Fox News Digital. “He witnessed and was part of many of her saddest moments. He is known to have passed tissues under the bathroom door, saying, ‘Mummy, please don’t cry.’”

Fordwich has commended William, who is heir to the British throne, for putting aside any differences and instead, putting family first.

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“Seeing Camilla so dedicated to duty, he has developed a most accepting and indeed tender relationship with her,” said Fordwich. “Visible on many occasions, such as his father’s coronation and recently at a public engagement, their formerly strained relationship [has been put aside]… to support the king and Princess Catherine.”

Since Camilla married the king in 2005, she has taken on roles at more than 100 charities. And with her husband’s diagnosis, she has helped pick up the slack, taking on more public engagements.

Camilla’s new role as family supporter is a far cry from the woman Harry described in his 2023 memoir “Spare,” which details his grief over losing his mother and struggles with royal life.

In his book, Harry wrote that he and William both “begged” their father not to marry Camilla, worried she would become a “wicked stepmother.” In televised interviews to promote his book, Harry accused Camilla of leaking private conversations to the media to burnish her own reputation.

“[Following Charles and Camilla’s marriage], neither William and Harry warmed towards her, but were willing to suck it up and play the game as long as Camilla made papa happy,” Christopher Andersen, author of “The King,” alleged to Fox News Digital.

“[The king] stuck to his promise, never to give Camilla the title of queen,” Andersen claimed. “William was completely blindsided when Charles broke that promise and Camilla was crowned queen alongside him. The relationship between William and Harry was already fractured at that point, but they shared a mutual distaste for Camilla.”

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According to Andersen, things have changed behind palace doors between William and Camilla.

“In a practical sense, William needs Camilla to help share the burden that has unexpectedly been thrust upon him while his father and Kate recuperate,” Andersen explained. “But I also think William and Camilla are coming together over their shared concern for the man they both love.”

“And while Camilla and Kate were never particularly close – for years, Camilla lobbied behind the scenes against Kate becoming William’s bride – surely, the queen can emphasize with how hard the news about Kate must be hitting him,” Andersen alleged. “It’s a heartbreaking situation, but William and Kate are the two who really have to soldier on.”

“Will William and Camilla ever be truly close? I sincerely doubt it,” Andersen admitted. “As Queen Elizabeth II’s cousin Margaret Rhodes once told me, relationships inside the palace ‘aren’t cozy. But the family wasn’t set up to be cozy.’”

Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams told Fox News Digital the pressures on both William and Camilla to keep the peace “are now intense.” And all eyes will continue to be on them.

“They need to step up in highly unenviable circumstances and [be a] rock to their spouses,” he said. “Situations like this can create lasting bonds.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Police lift the lid on bizarre finds in mansion of abusive mommy blogger accomplice

Utah authorities found a so-called “panic room” in parenting blogger Jodi Hildebrandt’s $5.3 million desert home in Ivins, where fellow blogger Ruby Franke sent her children to stay, according to a trove of documents released over the weekend.

Franke, a 41-year-old mother of six, and Hildebrandt, a 45-year-old mother of two, ran a joint parenting and lifestyle YouTube channel called ConneXions Classrooms. They both pleaded guilty to four of six counts of second-degree aggravated child abuse in a St. George courtroom in December 2023.

“The investigation found that religious extremism motivated Ms. Franke and Ms. Hildebrandt to inflict this horrific abuse,” the Washington County Attorney’s Office said in a March 22 statement. “The women appeared to fully believe that the abuse they inflicted was necessary to teach the children how to properly repent for imagined ‘sins’ and to cast the evil spirits out of their bodies.”

On Aug. 30, 2023, Utah police responded to a residence in Ivins after one of Franke’s young sons escaped from Hildebrandt’s home through a window and sought help from a neighbor, who said the boy appeared severely malnourished and had duct tape on his ankles.

YOUTUBE MOMMY BLOGGER RUBY FRANKE, CO-HOST JODI HILDEBRANDT SENTENCED FOR CHILD ABUSE: ‘DARK DELUSION’

“Mrs. Hildebrandt answered the door, and we asked her to step out. Mrs. Hildebrandt was on the phone with her lawyer,” a police report released by the Washington County Attorney’s Office states. She informed police that there was a second juvenile inside her home.

Another police report states that “a security sweep was conducted on the home” that day.

UTAH MOMMY BLOGGER RUBY FRANKE PLEADS GUILTY TO 4 COUNTS OF AGGRAVATED CHILD ABUSE

“[T]here was still one missing juvenile. I was tasked to conduct a secondary sweep to locate the missing juvenile. As officers searched for the missing juvenile, a warrant was drafted for the home due to the home having a ‘panic room’ that we could not make entry or contact with anyone on the other side.”

“[W]e could not make entry or contact with anyone on the other side.”

— Police report

A separate police report said the “safe room” was located in the basement of Hildebrandt’s home with a “safe door.”

Photos and police body camera footage show the bare room hidden behind a vault-like door beneath Hildebrandt’s basement. There, a small room contained a Murphy bed, cabinets, a refrigerator, a sink and some cleaning supplies.

Police found Franke’s daughter in a closet in Hildebrandt’s bathroom. 

YOUTUBE MOMMY BLOGGERS ARRESTED ON ALLEGATIONS OF CHILD ABUSE: ‘FINALLY’

Police offered pizza to the girl, who also appeared malnourished and emaciated, and one officer noted that she ate an entire small pie and then asked for more.

In an Aug. 30 dispatch call also released by the Washington County Attorney’s Office, an officer can be heard saying, “There’s a panic room inside the garage, downstairs and beneath the garage. He’s calling it a safe room.”

911 CALL REVEALS SHOCK OF UTAH MOMMY BLOGGERS’ ALLEGED CHILD ABUSE: ‘SHE’S A BAD LADY’

Other audio and video recordings, phone calls and documents paint a dark picture of the abuse that Franke’s children endured under the two parenting bloggers’ care “in a work-camp like setting.”

The abuse included forcing her children to do physical labor, restricting food, binding one child’s hands and feet, and emotional harm. Franke and Hildebrandt told Franke’s children that they were evil and needed to be punished.

RUBY FRANKE’S HUSBAND WANTED OLDEST DAUGHTER CHARGED WITH BURGLARY AFTER MOTHER’S ARREST

After rescuing Franke’s youngest children from Hildebrandt’s home Aug. 30, police from Springfield and other local agencies began to search for her other four kids, who were not with Hildebrandt at the time. They made contact with the two eldest children, Chad and Shari Franke — both living away from home at the time of the incident — in an effort to find the other two juveniles.

Authorities eventually located the two children at another adult’s residence in American Fork, Utah.

In dozens of YouTube videos and social media posts, Franke and Hildebrandt coached parents in calm voices from a living room couch on how to raise their children in “truth.” In a video posted just before their arrests, Hildebrandt said pain can be a good thing for children of a certain age.

“Now, it’s abusive to make a kid sleep on the floor,” Hildebrandt can be heard saying to an unknown person in one phone call released by the attorney’s office “It’s ridiculous. You can’t even raise your kids anymore.”

“You can’t even raise your kids anymore.”

— Jodi Hildebrandt

In another call, Franke says adults can “have a really hard time understanding that children can be full of evil and what that takes to fight it,” and she doesn’t “know any other adults who are going to see the truth.”

In a July 2023 journal entry, Franke called children “spawns of Satan.”

“The good works needs to be painful — otherwise the service becomes another feel-good-distraction,” she wrote. “A day of fasting and prayer for me after learning my children have been spawns of Satan. R has been out of control. Pee, poop, lie, steal, run away. E crying, whaling (sic), you could not know what this has been like unless you were here.”

“[M]y children have been spawns of Satan.”

— Ruby Franke

The documents and videos also reveal that Kevin Franke, Ruby’s husband, had been separated from his wife beginning in July 2023, about a month before his children were found at Hildebrandt’s residence.

He told police that he loved and trusted his wife, and they had separated because of “addictions,” including “pornography.”

“I know nothing that’s going on in their lives or anything going on,” Kevin Franke says in an interview with police.

Franke previously ran a blog called 8Passengers, representative of her family of six children and two parents, for years before she stopped posting on the page amid backlash stemming from some of her controversial videos. In one such video, Franke told her followers about her and her husband’s decision to withhold Christmas presents from their two youngest children as punishment for what she described as selfish behavior.

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“My kids are literally starving,” Ruby Franke, wearing red lipstick, said in one video in front of a Christmas tree. “I hesitate to say this because this is going to sound like, I’m, like, a mean barbarian, but I told the kids, I said, I’m not even going to let you eat breakfast until you get your chores done.”

In other videos, Franke discussed withholding food from her children, making her son sleep on a beanbag chair instead of his bed for an extended period of time as punishment for pulling a prank on his younger brother, and other forms of discipline for what she deemed bad behavior.

Rapper Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs’ homes raided by Homeland Security

Sean Combs’ Los Angeles home was raided Monday by Homeland Security officials, Fox News Digital confirmed. Agents were also seen at his home in Miami.

“Earlier today, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York executed law enforcement actions as part of an ongoing investigation, with assistance from HSI Los Angeles, HSI Miami, and our local law enforcement partners,” Homeland Security Investigations said in a statement.

“We will provide further information as it becomes available.”

JAMIE FOXX, AXL ROSE, SEAN COMBS AMONG VIPS NAMED IN SEX ABUSE SUITS BEFORE NEW YORK LAW EXPIRED

A U.S. official confirmed to Fox News that the raids on Diddy’s homes are connected to a federal human trafficking investigation. It’s unclear if the rapper is the target of the federal agents’ investigation.

Representatives for Combs did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

SEAN ‘DIDDY’ COMBS ‘VEHEMENTLY DENIES’ ACCUSATIONS OF RAPE AND YEARS OF ABUSE BY EX CASSIE

Douglas Wigdor, a lawyer for Diddy’s ex-girlfriend, Cassie Ventura, told Fox News Digital, “We will always support law enforcement when it seeks to prosecute those that have violated the law. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a process that will hold Mr. Combs responsible for his depraved conduct.”

In November, Cassie, legally known as Casandra Ventura, sued the musician over allegations of rape and abuse. She accused Diddy of raping her in her own home, enduring “over a decade” of his “violent behavior and disturbed demands” and forcing her to have sex with male prostitutes while he watched and filmed. 

The R&B singer also alleged Diddy “punched, beat, kicked and stomped” on her.

Combs denied Cassie’s claims in a statement provided to Fox News Digital at the time.

“Mr. Combs vehemently denies these offensive and outrageous allegations. For the past six months, Mr. Combs has been subjected to Ms. Ventura’s persistent demand of $30 million, under the threat of writing a damaging book about their relationship, which was unequivocally rejected as blatant blackmail,” his lawyer said. “Despite withdrawing her initial threat, Ms. Ventura has now resorted to filing a lawsuit riddled with baseless and outrageous lies, aiming to tarnish Mr. Combs’s reputation and seeking a payday.”

One day after she filed the claim, Sean and Cassie came to an amicable resolution, and she dropped the lawsuit.

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“I have decided to resolve this matter amicably on terms that I have some level of control. I want to thank my family, fans and lawyers for their unwavering support,” Cassie wrote.

Combs said in his own statement that the decision was agreed upon by both parties, and he had no ill will towards the singer.

“We have decided to resolve this matter amicably. I wish Cassie and her family all the best. Love.”

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Fox News Digital’s Brooke Curto contributed to this report.

ISIS makes resurgence on Biden’s watch, says Moscow attack is proof they’re back

The recent deadly terrorist attack in Moscow has brought renewed attention to the ISIS-K terrorist organization in not only the U.S. and other European nations, but to extremists watching. 

“It’s really good for recruiting for the Islamic State to conduct a show that it can launch attacks, to show that it has reach,” Bill Roggio, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and founding editor of “The Long War Journal,” told Fox News Digital. “Any want-to-be Jihadist may be motivated by attacks such as these.”

“This is the type of attack that is effective. We’re talking about it,” he added.

Four men from Tajikistan were charged in a Russian court Sunday after a concert hall was attacked by gunmen who killed more than 130 people and injured 180 others. 

WHAT IS ISIS-K, THE TERRORIST GROUP TIED TO MOSCOW CONCERT HALL ATTACK AND 2021 ABBEY GATE BOMBING?

Reports have indicated that the Russian authorities are sending a message to other extremists after the men appeared in court showing signs of extreme physical abuse, and videos surfaced on Telegram of at least two of the men being tortured.

But Roggio argued the move is unlikely to be successful in actually deterring terrorist attacks. 

“The videos will be used by ISIS for future recruiting as well as to harden current members against Russia,” the security expert said. “The Islamic State (IS) will use these videos as proof of the brutality of states like Russia against Muslims.”

ISIS-K first caught international attention in the U.S. following the 2021 bombing at Abbey Gate during the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. 

But the group largely stayed out of major headlines until earlier this year after it took credit for twin bombings that were carried out during a January memorial ceremony for Iranian General Qasem Soleimani that killed 95 people and injured more than 280 others.

ZELENSKYY RESPONDS TO MOSCOW CONCERT HALL SHOOTING, RIPS PUTIN FOR SUGGESTING UKRAINE BEHIND TERROR ATTACK

“Sometimes these groups operate in the shadows just because we don’t see them doesn’t mean they left,” Roggio said. “It just means that they become more visible.

“It indicates that the Islamic State has a reach far greater than some people originally thought,” he added. “They’re not just confined to Afghanistan.”

Roggio pointed out that Islamic extremists have launched numerous attacks in Russia over the last thirty years following Moscow’s military operations in the Middle East, South Asia as well as other areas like the Caucuses, Chechnya, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan where there are large Muslim populations.

“They’re trying to punish Russia for its presence in countries that the Islamic State considers to be Muslim countries — considers to be countries that should be under their purview,” he said, emphasizing that to the Islamic State “we’re all enemies.”

“The United States, Great Britain, France, Russia, China — to them we’re occupiers. We’re all in one way or another a great Satin to them,” he said. “But I would just say that, but more importantly, the Russians are always a target, and Jihadists will take the opportunity to attack whenever they feel they can get one off.”

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White House national security adviser John Kirby said the U.S. is remaining “vigilant” when it comes to the threat ISIS poses to the U.S., and pointed out that Washington alerted Moscow to the possibility of such an attack weeks ago.

“It was because of the aggressive way in which we have been monitoring [ISIS-K] that we were able to give the Russians a warning,” he told reporters Monday. “Because we’re watching it very, very closely, we don’t see any sort of credible threat by ISIS to the American homeland. 

“But again, not something we’re taking for granted,” he added. 

Popular therapy under fire as study’s integrity comes into question

Cold therapy has been a popular health trend in recent years, but a new review suggests it might not live up to the hype — although others disagree. 

Medical researchers from the University of Warwick in the U.K. conducted a review of nine different studies of the Wim Hof Method (WHM), a health and wellness discipline that combines cold therapy, breathing and meditation.

Although the method was found to reduce inflammation, the researchers concluded that the “quality of the studies [done on the method] is very low” and that “all the results must be interpreted with caution.”

LIFE-CHANGING COLD THERAPY HELPS PENNSYLVANIA MOM WITH AWFUL BACK PAIN: ‘COULD PICK UP MY DAUGHTER’ AGAIN

They also noted that the studies had small sample sizes, so they can’t be applied to the general population.

The results were published in the journal PLOS ONE on March 13.

What is the Wim Hof Method?

The Wim Hof Method is based on the philosophy and practices of Dutch athlete Wim Hof. 

The method has three pillars: cold plunging, breathing and mindset.

Previous research has shown that the method can have multiple mental and physical health benefits.

BENEFITS OF COLD WATER: HEALTH GURU AND EXTREME ATHLETE WIM HOF SAYS WE HAVE ‘POWER WITHIN’ TO HEAL DISEASE

Nicknamed “the Iceman,” Hof himself previously told Fox News Digital in an interview that a chief benefit of his method is reducing inflammation — which is a leading cause of most ailments and autoimmune diseases.

“I’m bringing my knowledge from nature through science to global health care, showing that through science — no speculation — we are able to do so much more within our physiology,” he said. 

In addition to reducing inflammation, Hof also credited cold therapy with improving his mental health during a difficult time in his life.

With cold water plunging, “you open up to peace inside — and that inaugurates the healing,” he said. 

“I began to have control over my emotions,” he also said.

Findings flag limitations of studies

“The key takeaways from the review indicate [the] promising use of WHM in the inflammatory response category,” Omar Almahayni, the study’s lead researcher at Warwick Medical School, told Fox News Digital.

“However, it’s crucial to note that all studies included exhibit a high concern for risk bias, indicating the early stages of investigation into the Wim Hof Method.”

ICE BATHS ARE A NEW SOCIAL MEDIA TREND, BUT WHAT DO MEDICAL EXPERTS SAY ABOUT THEIR EFFECTIVENESS?

“While some positive effects are observed, such as attenuation of inflammation, the overall benefits remain uncertain.”

The researchers uncovered many limitations of the studies they reviewed, Almahayni said.

“All the trials had a very high risk of bias due to the lack of a prior published protocol, small sample size and complexity of blinding the participants and outcome assessors to the intervention,” he said.

Psychological outcomes were also difficult to measure, the researcher noted, as they relied on subjective input in response to a questionnaire. 

“Since the participants were not blinded, it was very difficult to ensure that the answers were honest and valid to the experience,” said Almahayni.

Fox News Digital reached out to Wim Hof’s team for comment on the review. 

Experts defend cold therapy

Mark Palchak, CEO of Silient, a South Carolina-based chilled water company, was not involved in the systematic review, but noted that the findings show the clear anti-inflammatory properties of cold therapy.  

“The simple fact that inflammation-related diseases kill 3/5 of people worldwide, combined with the anti-inflammatory results from this study, suggests that the cold therapy discipline works,” Palchak told Fox News Digital.

NEW YORK POLAR PLUNGE GROUP DIVES INTO ‘LIFE-CHANGING’ COLD WATER THERAPY: ‘NEVER FELT BETTER’

Cold therapy can also be beneficial for athletes, he said, helping to reduce inflammation in the joints and cartilage and aiding in post-workout recovery.  

“One of the main benefits from cold therapy our customers experience that wasn’t mentioned in the study is related to the ability to get hard things done throughout the day,” Palchak added.  

“When you force yourself into ice-cold water first thing in the morning, everything else you do throughout the day becomes materially easier. Doing hard things leads to great things.”

Dr. Peter Michael, director of regenerative orthopedics and spine at Miami Wellness, a pain relief center in Miami, Florida, previously spoke with Fox News Digital about the benefits of ice baths.

“It’s crucial for individuals to remain cautious and informed about the current state of research on the Wim Hof Method.”

Ice baths are effective at reducing inflammation in the body by constricting blood vessels and reducing blood flow to the affected area, noted Michael, who was not involved in the new U.K. study.

“Ice baths can help speed up muscle recovery by reducing soreness and fatigue after exercise,” he said.

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Cold plunges can also help increase the production of white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting off infections and diseases, the doctor added. 

Some experts also believe that ice baths can have a calming effect on the body, reducing stress and anxiety levels and triggering the release of endorphins in the brain.

More research needed, researchers say

Based on the review findings, lead researcher Almahayni called for more evidence to be gathered about the Wim Hof Method — including a larger number of participants — before it’s recommended to the public. 

“It’s crucial for individuals to remain cautious and informed about the current state of research on WHM,” he said. 

“While there are promising indications of its benefits, more evidence is needed before making conclusive recommendations.”

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Ice baths and other forms of cold therapy aren’t for everyone and are not considered a cure-all for medical conditions, experts agree.

People considering this method should check with a health care provider before taking the plunge.

Angelica Stabile of Fox News Digital contributed to this report.

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Hollywood liberals throw party celebrating Christine Blasey Ford

Hollywood liberals rolled out the red carpet for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kanavaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford as part of her splashy media tour promoting her new book.

Ford entered the national spotlight in 2018 after she came forward with a sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh during his Senate confirmation, igniting an explosive political battle on Capitol Hill. She resurfaced last week with the release of her memoir “One Way Back.”

The latest stop on her book tour was a star-studded party held Sunday in West Hollywood. 

“We stand with you because you have stood with us so courageously, and we honor you, and we celebrate you. We lift our glasses to you tonight,” actress Kerry Washington said in a speech, according to Variety. “To your courage, to your beauty, to your generosity as you continue to do more than you have to. You owe us nothing, and we owe you everything.”

CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD RETURNS TO SPOTLIGHT, WITH SYMPATHETIC PRESS IN TOW

Washington reportedly co-hosted the party with The Meteor co-founder Cindi Leive, photographer and author Amanda de Caadent, Invisible Hand CEO Genevieve Roth and Propper Daley CEO Greg Propper.

Other high-profile attendees included actresses Elizabeth Banks, Busy Phillips and Marisa Tomei, Monica Lewinsky and trans activist Dylan Mulvaney

Additionally, Leive read aloud a message sent by Justice Clarence Thomas accuser Anita Hill. 

CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD WAS ‘DEVASTATED’ BY INVESTIGATIONS FINDING NO EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT KAVANAUGH ACCUSATIONS

“Christine, you will always be to me the finest example of bravery and commitment to truth, even in the face of indifference and hostility,” Hill wrote in her message, according to the report. “Thank you for writing ‘One Way Back’…It is a testament to your honesty and your willingness to relive your painful experiences so that other victims of violence can be heard. Just as your testimony did in 2018, today, ‘One Way Back’ will pave the path for the healing and accountability that survivors desire and that they also deserve.”

“It’s so nice to meet new people and new friends and allies and I just really look forward to speaking with you further while I’m here,” Ford reportedly told her supporters at the event. “Thank you so much for reading the book and I hope you like it.”

Ford, a psychologist at Stanford University, alleged Kavanaugh assaulted her at a summer party in 1982 while they were in high school, a claim Kavanaugh categorically denied during his confirmation.

Critics of Ford have hammered her for failing to recall the exact date and location of the alleged assault and point to her lack of corroborative witnesses, except for notes from a 2012 couples therapy session where she shared her allegation. Meanwhile, Kavanaugh preserved his decades-old calendar showing what he did each day that summer.  

A memo released by then-Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in November 2018 said Senate and FBI’s investigations found “no evidence” to substantiate any sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.

CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD DIDN’T KNOW HER TESTIMONY AGAINST KAVANAUGH WOULD BE TELEVISED UNTIL LAST MINUTE

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The late California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, first learned of Ford’s claim in July 2018 but sat on it until September as Kavanaugh’s confirmation was underway. 

Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Senate in a 50–48 vote in October 2018. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin was the only Democrat to vote with Republicans. 

HUGH HEWITT: Hiring Ronna McDaniel was the best decision NBC could make — here’s why

As a lifelong Republican I was sorry to see Ronna McDaniel depart as Chairwoman of the Republican National Committee because I’ve been around GOP grassroots activism since my first campaign —for then Congressman Paul Cronin in Massachusetts in 1974 (he lost in the “Watergate wipeout” of that fall to Paul Tsongas)— and McDaniel was as good as it gets in this new political world. The GOP is so big and so wildly diverse that it takes a great deal of balance and dexterity to keep everyone happy most of the time.

McDaniel did. She also ran a very fair primary system and debate schedule as did her colleague David Bossie and the debate committee of the RNC. I participated in that process as well as just generally interviewing Republican electeds of all sorts and just almost always voting Republican and know, again, that McDaniel, Bossie and their entire committee had to navigate a lot of white water over the past four years. That is because there aren’t just the “five families” of the House GOP Causus to contend with, there are the 74 million plus folks who voted for former President Donald Trump in 2020. The degree of diversity within that 49% of the 2020 electorate is wildly more complicated than the very complicated House Republican dynamics.

Ronna did a very good job doing just that. The GOP got the House back over the course of two elections in four years. They did so despite COVID arriving on the GOP watch in 2020, which is like a recession arriving on a party’s watch. It does not help. It hurts. Badly. Disasters and hard times impact incumbent parties more than the out-of-power party. But despite that, and despite a raft of bad-to-terrible candidates that McDaniel did not select, the GOP made progress in 2020 and 2022.

The former and possibly future president wanted to make a change at the RNC and that’s fine too. Nominees merge their organizations with the national party structure in place at the time a nomination is secure. So McDaniel retired, Team Trump came in and Ronna—who knows everyone in the party leadership in Washington D.C. and at every state party level and among the funders—became a free agent in the world of analysts for hire.

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Like former RNC Chairman Michael Steele, former President Biden press secretary Jen Psaki and former Communications Director for President Clinton George Stephanopolous—and many others too numerous to name—who are now MSNBC and ABC News employees respectively, McDaniel changed jobs. When she changed jobs she became eligible to become a on-air journalist. Just like every other single person in the media, she brings her political views to every conversation. She’s a center-right conservative Michigan mom who knows everyone in GOP politics. And everyone knows that. She’s not a “sleeper agent” who infiltrated NBC News. Her hiring was a smart, actually a strategically brilliant move for a news division desperate to appeal to all Americans.

In a reaction that shocked many but not me, some folks at MSNBC and a few people at NBC don’t want to talk to McDaniel on air and are upset she was hired. They don’t even want her on their air anywhere at anytime. This shocks many sales professionals because half—half!—of the desired audience is either Independent or Republican. Not to want to have a connected, if not the single-most connected former Republican operative on your channel is, well, self-destructive.

EX-RNC BOSS RONNA MCDANIEL FINDS NEW HOME AT NBC, MSNBC AS POLITICAL ANALYST

The late Michael Kelly was, until his untimely death in Iraq in April of 2003, widely regarded as among America’s best journalists. He was also a near weekly guest on my radio show from 2000 when it launched until his last trip to Iraq. Michael always took pains to remind the audience that “Journalism is a craft, not a profession.” There is no licensing test for “journalists” like there is for doctors, lawyers, and (in most states) barbers. Craftsmen, including every journalist in America, come in all ages, genders, races and sizes. The morning announcement student in every high school in America (some have closed circuit television too) is a journalist. Every college newspaper is staffed by journalists. These people aren’t paid but they are still journalists because they are putting forward their opinions on what is “news” and how to understand that “news.”

Ronna McDaniel is now a paid journalist and, I can say from personal experience, more knowledgeable about the GOP than every other paid journalist inside the Beltway that I have worked with. It’s a fact. She knows everyone and talks to everyone and understands every coalition within the party and, crucially, every breaking point in that coalition. You could not have a better journalist commenting on how Republicans understand a particular story or controversy. Most Manhattan-Beltway journalists are not only on the left, they are on the “way left.” Not only do they not routinely consult GOP sources, they don’t have any.

Got that? Most have no sources. None. They may talk to a Republican senator, staffer or lobbyist or an interest group president, but do any of them have friends —real friends— who are candid with them about the “who, what, when, where and why” of the GOP? Do they even hang out with, say, Mass-attending Catholics who are also Knights of Columbus fish fry guys or Presbyterian choir members or softball league players who play, say, in western Pennsylvania or Scottsdale Arizona?

Or are they, in fact, not only trapped within the Blue Bubble but also happy to be there because it’s comfortable and nobody pushes them very hard on any canard of the left?

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The problem with Manhattan-Beltway media elites is not just that 95-100% voted for President Joe Biden (my informed guess). That’s unfortunate for the health of the Republic, but news execs can work to overcome that.

The problem is that a large majority of that 95-100% don’t actually want to know much less report fairly and accurately what Republicans generally and Trump supporters specifically think about anything much less the most important issues in 2024. Doing so is unpleasant for them because they get yelled at by their very online pals and text friends on the left when they allow those views to get spoken in their presence. “How dare you!” must get old to get from the usual suspects in the group text, but it’s very real thing.

NBC brass made a bold and very smart choice to bring on McDaniel. It was the first sign I’ve seen in a long time that any legacy network cares about reclaiming the middle more than they do about losing the progressive left audience. I don’t think a lot of viewers are going to leave NBC because they see Ronna McDaniel commenting on the news weekly on Meet the Press. But I can guarantee you that traditional TV “news” is deader than dead until a quarter of the analysts at the networks and perhaps one in six anchors are at least as conservative as Ronna McDaniel.

The networks are publicly-traded companies. They owe their shareholders their best efforts to increase profits. Announcing that their news organizations are hostile to “center-right”-to-conservative analysts is akin to a restaurant posting signs asking Republicans not to dine there. Sure, some restaurants may do that. But not for long. The networks that reject mainstream Republican voices—especially the most wired ones, the ones with the most “news” to bring from sources that otherwise won’t talk to them—are just riding the long train down to irrelevance and hoping that the diminishing demand signal for their product doesn’t disappear before their contract renewals come up.

Hugh Hewitt is one of the country’s leading journalists of the center-right. A son of Ohio and a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School, Hewitt has been a Professor of Law at Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law since 1996, where he teaches Constitutional Law. Hewitt launched his eponymous radio show from Los Angeles in 1990, and it is today syndicated to hundreds of stations and outlets across the country every Monday through Friday morning. Hewitt has frequently appeared on every major national news television network, hosted television shows for PBS and MSNBC, written for every major American paper, authored a dozen books and moderated a score of Republican candidate debates, most recently the November 2023 Republican presidential debate in Miami and four Republican presidential debates in the 2015-16 cycle. Hewitt focuses his radio show and this column on the Constitution, national security, American politics and the Cleveland Browns and Guardians. Hewitt has interviewed tens of thousands of guests from Democrats Hillary Clinton and John Kerry to Republican Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump over his 40 years in broadcast, and this column previews the lead story that will drive his radio show today.

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