U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski is asking the Internal Revenue Service to investigate whether a series of financial deals improperly benefited the leaders of the Illinois Policy Institute — the latest call for authorities to examine the influential conservative think tank.
On Thursday, CNN reported that a 13-year-old boy in Douglas County, Georgia who was making and selling so-called "ghost guns" fatally shot his 14-year-old sister while firing at a pair of thieves trying to rip off his operation.
"Two people had come to the family's home in Douglasville, about 20 miles west of Atlanta, on November 27 to purchase a gun that the 13-year-old made, Douglas County Sheriff Tim Pounds said in a news conference livestreamed by CNN affiliate WGCL Wednesday," reported Dakin Andone. "But instead of buying the firearm, the pair stole the gun from the 13-year-old and fled the scene, the sheriff told reporters. The boy then shot at them as they were leaving, Pounds said, but instead struck his 14-year-old sister, who was identified by the sheriff's office as Kyra Scott. Investigators believe the weapon he used was one that he had made."
According to the report, "Authorities have arrested Kyra's 13-year-old brother and 19-year-old Yusef Jabryil McArthur El -- one of the two people who had come to buy the homemade gun."
The 13-year-old brother admitted to shooting his sister, while Yusef is being charged with felony murder — the killing of someone during the commission of an inherently dangerous crime.
"Ghost guns" are firearms made at home with readily available materials. They range from crude "zip guns," to guns built from kits sold online, to more sophisticated designs built on 3D printers — and are nearly impossible to trace in conventional ways because of their lack of a serial number and, sometimes, of metal components.
Some jurisdictions, like the city of Los Angeles, have sought to pass laws outlawing the possession or sale of ghost guns in recent years. The State Department also waged a multi-year legal battle with Defense Distributed, a company that sells 3D printer designs for guns.
A plumbing repair at televangelist Joel Osteen's megachurch in Houston reportedly led to the discovery of "bags and bags" of cash and checks in a bathroom wall.
The discovery came several years after someone stole $600,000 in cash and checks from a safe at Osteen's Lakewood Church, according to a report from KRPC Channel 2. The station suggested that whoever stole the money in 2014 may have been hidden it in the bathroom wall.
A plumber named Justin, who works for a large contractor, told the station he got a call about a loose toilet at the church on Nov. 10.
"Justin said he started working on the toilet and had to remove the tile and insulation," the station reports. "Once he removed the insulation, he discovered about 3,000 envelopes full of checks. Some had cash in it. Justin said he called the church’s maintenance supervisor and had to stay at the church for almost seven hours."
Houston police investigators later questioned Justin and removed the rest of the wall, discovering "bags and bags" of money and checks.
"Justin said the church or HPD never thanked him or reached out to him about $25,000 reward money," the station reported, referring to the reward that was offered following the 2014 theft. "Justin said he even called Crime Stoppers about reward money, but never heard back. He even tried reaching out to Joel Osteen but hasn’t heard back."
A representative from the church confirmed the discovery in a statement.
“Recently, while repair work was being done at Lakewood Church, an undisclosed amount of cash and checks were found," the church representative said. "Lakewood immediately notified the Houston Police Department and is assisting them with their investigation. Lakewood has no further comment at this time."
In 2014, Houston police said $200,000 in cash and $400,000 worth of checks were stolen from a safe at the church. At the time, the church said the stolen money represented funds that were contributed during one weekend of services.
Watch KPRC's report below.
Money, checks found in wall of Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church, years after $600K burglary www.youtube.com
Mark Meadows taken aback after right-wing podcast host accuses him of allying with 'Chinese communists'
Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows got more than he expected on Thursday when he appeared on the podcast of far-right talk radio personality Stew Peters.
As reported by The Daily Beast, the former Trump chief of staff thought he would be doing a friendly interview with a sympathetic conservative host, but was taken aback when Peters began peppering him with questions about his purported ties to the Chinese government.
During the interview, Peters cited a report on a right-wing website that claimed Meadows had "very close connections with Chinese communists through the ridiculously named Humpty Dumpty Institute as well as the CCP-tied Taihe Institute."
Peters then bluntly asked Meadows, "What were you doing with these Chinese communists, exactly?"
Meadows replied that he had been affiliated with these institutions without apparently knowing about their ties to China.
"Yeah, so the Humpty Dumpty Institute, I joined that actually in trying to work, not knowing any connections with China back when I was a freshman member of Congress," he said. "It was only as a freshman member of Congress, and then they didn’t have any affiliation. In fact, they continued to use my name after they were looking at a number of things—so I had to send them a letter to distance myself from them."
Peters, however, wouldn't let Meadows off the hook.
"Well, it’s obvious that China is attacking us,” he said. “I mean, given the China virus, Americans are rightly concerned, if it seems that the infiltration had risen, all the way to your level, the chief-of-staff of the president of the United States.”
The full interview follows below.