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Second New York prison worker accused of helping murderers’ breakout

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A second New York prison employee was arrested on Wednesday for the escape of two convicted murderers who have eluded a massive police manhunt for almost three weeks, police said.

Clinton Correctional Facility officer Gene Palmer, 57, allegedly took frozen hamburger meat embedded with smuggled tools to the inmates, Richard Matt and David Sweat, CNN quoted Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie as saying.

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Wylie also said Palmer escorted the men into the catwalk area behind their cells to fix electrical breakers so the inmates could use hot plates to cook food. Authorities have said Matt and Sweat used the catwalks during their June 6 escape.

Matt, 48, and Sweat, 35, cut through the steel walls of their adjoining cells, slipped through a steam pipe and emerged from a manhole outside the prison’s fortress-like walls in Dannemora, New York, according to authorities.

They used tools brought into the prison by Joyce Mitchell, 51, a training supervisor in the prison tailor shop, who is charged with aiding their escape, Wylie has said.

New York State Police said Palmer has been charged with promoting prison contraband, destroying evidence and official misconduct. Palmer is set to be arraigned in Plattsburgh Town Court late on Wednesday, the police said in a statement.

Police said the escapees may have at least one gun from a cache of weapons in a cabin where they hid about 20 miles (30 km) from the maximum security prison.

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Major Charles Guess of the New York State Police told a news conference that Sweat and Matt were believed to have been last seen entering woods near the cabin in Owls Head, New York, on Saturday.

A bloody sock and other items found at the cabin, which is reportedly owned by corrections officers, were tested for DNA, and Guess said police had “100 percent assurance they were in that area.”

More than 1,000 law enforcement officers scoured 75 square miles (194 square km) in rugged Franklin County, east of the prison.

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Authorities are focused on the Adirondack Mountains, the largest wilderness area east of the Mississippi River, state Department of Environmental Conservation Captain John Streiff said.

Mitchell, the training supervisor, supplied hacksaw blades and a screwdriver bit to the men, whose good behavior landed them on the prison’s honor block.

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(Reporting by Pete DeMola; Additional reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by Susan Heavey and Eric Beech)


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Carl Bernstein: There are 7-9 ‘wobbly’ Republicans who want witnesses but Mitch McConnell is trying to block them

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In a CNN panel discussion Wednesday, notorious Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein revealed that there are seven to nine Republican senators who are wavering after the compelling argument that the House has provided for the impeachment. The problem, however, is that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is refusing to allow any break from the party line.

"I think this is a hugely damaging narrative that was laid out today, and that Mitch McConnell understands, and has understood for a while that this hugely damaging narrative was going to affect his members," said Bernstein. "And that his strategy -- I've talked to some Republicans about this -- #MidnightMitch is to wear out his own members so that they don't vote for more witnesses because there are six, seven, eight, nine wobbly Republicans."

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Republican Kevin McCarthy gets taken down by former top GOP colleague

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Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was attacked by a former Republican colleague who alleged McCarthy and his fellow members of Congress have allowed the House GOP to become the official shill for the White House.

In a profile for the New York Times, former Oversight Committee Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA) shamed the GOP House for the way that a once-respectable institution has fallen.

“Congress no longer operates as an independent branch of government, but as an appendage of the executive branch,” said Davis. “He is made for that role.”

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Former senator reveals to Maddow how one brave Democrat can reveal key document in impeachment trial

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Near the end of Wednesday's impeachment trial, Chief Justice John Roberts announced that an agreement had been made to allow senators to read supplemental testimony from Vice President Mike Pence aide Jennifer Williams.

The document will remain classified, despite claims that there is no classified material in the document, only evidence that is damning to the president.

"In terms of this document potentially being improperly classified, which is something that has been raised in writing by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and raised on the floor of the Senate tonight by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)," MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow noted. "Obviously, it was the vice president's office that said it was classified, they are getting publicly criticized for that. If it has been improperly classified and it should be something that the public can see, who adjudicates that?"

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