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National
7 things to know now: Comey investigating; missing teen left message; Ivanka’s new office
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7 things to know now: Comey investigating; missing teen left message; Ivanka’s new office

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
FBI Director James Comey, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, March 20, 2017, before the House Intelligence Committee hearing on allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

7 things to know now: Comey investigating; missing teen left message; Ivanka’s new office

Here's a roundup of news trending across the nation and world today.

What to know now:

  1.  No wiretapping: In a hearing on Capitol Hill Monday, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that his agency is investigating whether President Donald Trump’s associates colluded with Russian officials to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Comey, along with National Security Agency head Admiral Mike Rogers, answered questions for more than five hours about the Russians, wiretaps, spies and Hillary Clinton. Comey said that there was no wiretapping of Trump Tower, that Russia "hates" Clinton and wanted her to lose, and that officials believe both political parties were hacked in 2016 but only Democratic emails have been released so far.
  2.  Gorsuch hearing: Senate Judiciary Committee members will take turns questioning U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch Tuesday on the second day of his confirmation hearing. On Monday, in addition to explaining why they did not want Gorsuch to be the next Supreme Court justice, Democrats attacked President Trump for comments about judges who issued rulings he did not like. Gorsuch, if confirmed, will take the seat made vacant with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last year.
  3.  Device ban: Passengers on flights from eight countries will no longer be allowed to bring most electronic devices – laptops, iPads and cameras included – in carry-on luggage starting Tuesday. According to officials, the ban applies to nonstop flights from Cairo in Egypt; Amman in Jordan; Kuwait City in Kuwait; Casablanca in Morocco; Doha in Qatar; Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia; Istanbul in Turkey; and Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
  4.  Missing teen: The brother of a Tennessee teenager who went missing with her 50-year-old school teacher said just prior to her disappearance, his sister shared a bizarre post on Instagram about a character from the movie “Beauty and the Beast.” James Thomas said his sister Beth’s post read: “Every beauty needs her beast to protect her from everything but him.” Days before the two disappeared, a student caught Thomas and her teacher, Tad Cummings, kissing in a school classroom, authorities said. 
  5.  Ivanka’s new office: Ivanka Trump has been given an office in the West Wing of the White House, though she is not technically a government employee, nor will she receive a salary. She has been seen at various White House functions during the past two months, has participated in some meetings and accompanied her father to receive the body of a special operations serviceman who was killed during a mission. 

And one more

The jersey that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady wore during the Super Bowl has been found in Mexico by the FBI. The jersey was found in the "possession of a credentialed member of the international media," according to a statement by the agency. Authorities also recovered a second Brady jersey and a helmet from another player.

In case you missed it

It’s from a couple of years ago, but it’s trending again.

 

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Latest Bulldog News

  • OKLAHOMA CITY – Anybody still wondering about what to get Owen Condon for Christmas, he has a suggestion. “I’d love some Rose Bowl tickets,” the 6-foot-7, 315-pound offensive lineman said. Condon will be able to accompany the Georgia Bulldogs to bowl games free of charge soon enough. He has been committed to them since last summer and will sign with the Bulldogs on the first day of the new early period next Wednesday. In the meantime, he’s just a huge Georgia fan, literally and figuratively. He proved as much two weeks ago when he and his mom traveled to Atlanta to watch the Bulldogs play Auburn in the SEC championship. It was then, after the Bulldogs’ 28-7 victory, that the craziest thought first occurred to Condon. “Georgia and Oklahoma could actually end up playing each other in the College Football Playoffs.” And, of course, they did. The nation’s No. 2- and No. 3-ranked teams will meet in the semifinals in Pasadena on Jan. 1. You have to visit Condon in his hometown to really understand how cool that is to him. The young man lives in the heart of Sooner country. Bishop McGuiness Catholic High School, where Condon grew into a major college football prospect, is located just 27.1 miles from Oklahoma’s Memorial Stadium. Nevertheless, everybody around here knows full well that Condon is fully committed to the Bulldogs. So he heard it from them when he returned to school on Monday following the College Football Playoffs selection show. “He got a lot of ‘Boomer Sooners’ in the hallways,” Bishop McGuiness head coach Justin Jones said with a laugh. “That’s the big rally cry around here. Oklahoma is very passionate about their Sooners. It’s pretty cool to see Georgia meet them in the College Football Playoffs.” Condon thinks so, too. “Obviously, I’m really good friends with a lot of diehard OU guys, so there’s some friendly trash talking there,” Condon said. “But I think it’s going to be a really good game, a really good matchup. They both have two young, up-and-coming coaches. They’re two good programs with fans that are really passionate and travel well. It’d be really fun to go out there and see that.” Alas, Condon said he probably won’t make the trek to Pasadena. He’d like to, but he has a lot of work to do here in his little hamlet just northeast of downtown Oklahoma City. At the moment, his primary focus is rehabilitating the knee injury that snuffed out his senior season. Condon actually got hurt in his school’s first game of the season but didn’t realize how badly. He said he knew he “tweaked it” but played through that game and the second one as well. But it was after Game Two that Condon realized he may have a problem. The pain finally got to him and he broke down and asked to see a doctor. An MRI revealed a torn meniscus. His season was senior shut down at that point and Condon underwent surgery 11 weeks ago. “The surgery was a success,” he said. “It was in an area that had vascular to it, so they were able to stich it up rather than just scope it out. I should be good to go soon.” In the meantime, though, Condon had to stand on the sidelines as Bishop McGuiness continued you through the season. His team’s season didn’t end untl that lost to Carl Albert High School in the Class 5A state championship game. “That hurt,” Condon said of not being able to play. “I feel like I could have made a difference.” Condon feels like he can make a difference at Georgia, and obviously the Bulldogs do, too. They offered him in the middle of his first unofficial visit to Athens last spring. Condon and his parents are actually in Athens this weekend on his official visit. They flew out early Friday morning. As for Oklahoma, the Sooners never came forth with an offer for Condon. They probably would have eventually, according to his high school coach, but Condon wasn’t interested in waiting to find out. “OU’s always slow to offer local kids,” Jones said. “Texas is just down the road and they spend a lot of time recruiting there. They feel like they can come in late on the locals because they’re the home school. OSU will recruit guys a little earlier, but OU’s always slow to offer. And Owen is a transplant Oklahoman, so he wasn’t willing to wait.” Condon’s father, Bill, is originally from Pensacola, and his mother, Sheri, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, but was raised in Atlanta and attended UGA. So he said he grew up more of an SEC fan and always followed the Bulldogs. When the family ended up touring schools last spring, they ended up primarily in the South. Florida, Vanderbilt, Arkansas and Oklahoma State ended up being the main competition for Georgia. But he said it was never really close. “I just fell in love with Georgia when I visited,” Condon said. “The campus is great. And Georgia offers a really good combination of academics and athletics. Behind Vandy they’re probably next in line academics-wise in the SEC. Obviously, their football is where it is right now; they’re in the playoffs. You can’t beat that. So the combination of the two really put it together for me.” As for the snub from Oklahoma, Condon said it only serves as motivation for him going forward. He visited the school numerous times his sophomore and junior years and attended several games last year. Oklahoma line coach Bill Bedenbaugh called him and came to some of his game his junior season but never stepped up with an offer. “They were just kind of slow-playing me. They have kind of a history of slow-playing in-state guys, for whatever reason. But I wasn’t waiting around to see if I could get an offer. So I started exploring other options.” The end result is Condon is a Bulldog and there will be nothing even close to divided loyalties when the two teams play on New Years Day. Whether Condon watches the game at home here or finds some way to Pasadena, he’ll be red-and-black all the way. And he likes the way the game matches up for UGA. “I think a big storyline people aren’t talking about is if Georgia can control the ball and run the ball well and keep Baker (Mayfield) off the field, I think that will frustrate them,” Condon said. “Out here in the Big 12, they’re used to just running-and-gunning all day; they’re all offense.  They haven’t seen the backs like Georgia has in Chubb and Michel and Swift. I don’t think they’ve seen teams that play offense like Georgia does. I think if Georgia can generate can generate some of those long drives and keep Oklahoma’s offense off the field, I think that’ll be a big key to the game.” Spoken like a true Bulldog. The post In the heart of Sooner Country resides one loyal Georgia Bulldog appeared first on DawgNation.
  • The Georgia Bulldogs are one win away from playing for the National Championship. If the Dawgs defeat the Oklahoma Sooners in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 in Pasadena, they’ll head to the College Football Playoff National Championship. Just the possibility that Georgia could reach the big game played at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium has driven prices dramatically higher on secondary ticket marketplaces since the four-team playoff field was set Dec. 3. Channel 2 Action News and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution are your home for everything Rose Bowl. Make sure to follow @WSBTV and @AJCSports for updates on Twitter & LIKE the official WSB-TV Facebook page! For much more on the Georgia Bulldogs, CLICK HERE to download and listen to Channel 2 Sports Director Zach Klein & AJC's Jeff Schultz on the ‘We Never Played the Game’ podcast. The current asking prices on secondary markets range from a low of $1,639 for an upper-level seat to a high of $15,807 for a club seat. If Georgia manages to beat Oklahoma, ticket demand would be off the charts whether they face Alabama or Clemson. Imagine UGA playing for a National Championship in the heart of Bulldog Nation. CLICK HERE to read myAJC’s full report.
  • NORMAN, Okla. — Back in the team meeting room they call the Red Room, underneath Oklahoma’s Memorial Stadium, quarterback Baker Mayfield on Thursday met with the local press for the first time since accepting the Heisman Trophy in New York on Saturday. Asked who was the most intriguing person he met during his whirlwind postseason award tour, Mayfield did not hesitate. “Herschel Walker,” the Sooners’ superstar said. Then he gushed. “He looks like he could still play right now,” Mayfield said of Georgia’s greatest tailback of all time. “That’s just impressive. You meet so many special guys, but a guy like that is like a once-in-a-century type of athlete. It was pretty neat.” Reminded that Walker played for the team his Sooners are about to meet in the semifinals of the College Football Playoffs, Mayfield laughed. “That’s OK,” he said. “It’s Herschel Walker. I don’t have to play him, so it’s all right.” That exchange offered a nice glimpse into the persona of Oklahoma’s record-setting quarterback. The dude knows how to work a room and is quite comfortable at a lectern. And he knows how to butter-up an opponent. Mayfield nsists he wasn’t just trying to endear himself to the Bulldog Nation by offering effusive praise about their greatest player of all time. But one started to wonder when he began to gush about the Georgia defense he’ll face when No. 2 Oklahoma faces No. 3 Bulldogs in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1. Mayfield was asked if the Sooners’ had faced a comparable defense to Georgia’s this season “They’re the best defense; you can’t compare them to anybody,” he said. “They’re in a league of their own and that’s the reason they’re in the playoffs. They follow behind that defense. You can’t compare them to other people because they’re so talented and they play so well together. To say they’re like anybody else would be downplaying how good they are.” And so it went. If there is going to be any trash-talking in the first-ever meeting between these two powerhouse programs, it wasn’t coming out of the Red Room on Thursday. Led by Mayfield, the Sooners come into the Rose Bowl No. 1 in the nation in total offense at 583.3 yards per game and No. 3 in passing at 367.4. Georgia will counter with the No. 2-rated passing defense (158.3 ypg), tied for third against the score (13.2 ppg) and fourth in total defense (270.9 ypg). Something’s got to give. But that’s what makes it one of the most exciting matchups of the postseason. It’s especially exciting for Oklahoma’s Orlando Brown. The Sooners’ starting left tackle happens to hail from Duluth, where he attended Peachtree Ridge High School. “A lot of those guys in high school tore me up,” said Brown, a consensus All-American as a redshirt junior. “I’m not the same player I was then, so I’m just ready. … I always play with a chip on my shoulder but I’m excited about that. These are guys I’ve known for a long time.” Asked what Georgia players specifically “tore him up” in high school, Brown mentioned Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy. The two seniors start at outside linebacker for the Bulldogs and definitely will get matched up against Brown on occasion if not constantly. “Obviously I played against 7 in high school, Carter,” Brown said. “I think I saw Bellamy at one point at a camp. It’s going to be competitive. They’re great. They play a lot of good ball. Very instinctual, very well-coached. You can tell they make a lot of scheme-related plays and a lot that are not scheme-related. They’re in the playoffs for a reason.” Brown and running back Trey Sermon are the only Sooners who hail from Georgia. Sermon, a freshman from Marietta’s Sprayberry High, rushed for 710 yards and two touchdowns while playing in all 13 games as Rodney Anderson’s backup. Sermon as named to the Big 12’s all-freshman team. Like Georgia, Oklahoma does not allow freshmen to be interviewed. The Sooners certainly don’t need many other voices with Mayfield front and center. The fifth-year senior from Austin, Texas, is as comfortable before cameras and microphones as he is behind that big offensive line that allowed him to throw for 4,340 yards and 41 touchdowns with just 5 interceptions this past season. It’s understandable considering he and Herschel Walker are the only players to have been invited to three consecutive Heisman Trophy Award ceremonies. The third time was the charm for both. Asked what was the best advice he got from his fellow award winners, Mayfield said it was that the national championship remains the better prize. “It was kind of common theme for the guys who were able to win it and play for a national championship,” Mayfield said. “I got the same advice from all of them: This is a special deal but if you can do anything you need to win the big one at the end. I talked to Chris Weinke about that and he’s a guy who lost to OU. So he was speaking from the heart.” So was Mayfield, he’d have you believe. The post Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield gushes about Herschel Walker, Georgia’s defense appeared first on DawgNation.
  • NORMAN, Okla. – The marijuana charges against Natrez Patrick were dropped, we learned Thursday. That’s certainly good for him. It may be good for Georgia football, too, in terms of its pursuit of wins and championships. Ultimately, we don’t know yet exactly what it means. On the surface, one’s left to believe that the Bulldogs’ starting inside linebacker will be reinstated and play against No. 2 Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl in three weeks. But we don’t know that because coach Kirby Smart has yet to weigh in on it. And it’s a bit of a tricky situation when closely evaluated. In the meantime, some charges were dropped out here in Boomer Sooner territory on Thursday, too, and they were much more serious than what Patrick faced. A rape allegation levied against OU running back and leading rusher Rodney Anderson did not result in charges by the local district attorney. The news was shared with local media in a rare news conference by a prosecutor to explain why he wasn’t going to prosecute a case. In a nutshell Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn told reporters that, “after a thorough investigation” that include polygraph tests, interviews of friends of both the accused and the alleged victim and examinations of phone records and texts, “charges are not warranted.” “There are certainly cases where we just simply can’t prove something, so we decline due to insufficient evidence,” Mashburn said. “In this case, I think it’s important for us to tell the whole story so people understand that facts were presented to us through the Norman P.D.’s investigation.” Earlier in the day Thursday, before the D.A.’s announcement, Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley had said that Anderson was “still fully on the team” while authorities continued to investigate the allegations. Riley didn’t issue any other statements after the charges were dropped, and Anderson was not made available after the Sooners’ practice he participated in Thursday. But those in the OU camp expect Anderson to be play against Georgia in the Rose Bowl. “Good for him; he’s a great person,” said Sooners left tackle Orlando Brown, a junior from Duluth. “Hopefully he’ll be able to play in the game.” Likewise, the assumption in Georgia’s camp is that Patrick will be able to play in the Rose Bowl. Smart probably won’t weigh in on this latest development until the Bulldogs’ Rose Bowl media day Monday. Georgia has yet to begin its Rose Bowl preparations, and there won’t be any interview access until then. But it might not be as cut-and-dried as it seems. While we know that Patrick doesn’t face any legal ramifications, we don’t know for certain that there won’t be any team repercussions. Patrick already had violated UGA’s marijuana-use policy twice due to previous marijuana arrests, hence his four-game suspension in the middle third of the regular season. A third calls for dismissal from the team. We do know from the body-cam footage provided by police that Patrick was in a car with a teammate who was was either actively smoking or had just smoked marijuana. Jayson Stanley, also a starter as a wide receiver, had DUI charges against him dropped  Thursday but is still charged with misdemeanor possession. So we assume he’ll be subjected to UGA’s first-strike pot policy, which is a one-game suspension in football. That the one game is the College Football Playoff and the Rose Bowl makes it particularly painful. What we don’t know is whether Patrick had to undergo any kind of testing as a result of the encounter. Usually a student-athlete who has had more than one violation is subject to counseling and intensified drug-testing. Perhaps Patrick already has successfully cleared that, or he could be awaiting results. We can’t be sure. We’ll know for sure in 18 days when Georgia and Oklahoma kick off in the Rose Bowl. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, these off-field issues have been the one downside to an otherwise magical season. While they’ve been piling up wins and points this year, they also have been piling up arrests and disciplinary issues. Duly noting that this latest charge against Patrick was dismissed, there are still 14 known arrests of Georgia football players going back to last season. The latest came earlier this week when freshman defensive back Latavious Brini was jailed on a first-degree forgery charge. It was for an incident that allegedly occurred back in July, or shortly after he arrived from Miami. He hasn’t played this season and is therefore set to be redshirted, but neither Georgia nor Smart has commented on his status just yet either. Generally, UGA student-athletes charged with a felony are immediately suspended on a temporary basis until their legal matter is worked out. The arrest ledger also counts the case of D’Antne Demery, a signee who had his scholarship revoked after he was charged with battery/domestic violence against his girlfriend in April. I don’t know why Demery wouldn’t be included in such an accounting since he already had signed his national letter-of-intent two months before he was jailed in Athens. Most of the other arrests seem relatively trivial, depending on your personal sensibilities. Most of them involve pot. Tailback Elijah Holyfield and wide receiver Riley Ridley also were arrested earlier this year and subsequently suspended for single games for misdemeanor marijuana possession. But 14 is a high number of legal run-ins no matter how one slices it. That begs the question: Does Georgia have a discipline problem on this team? I know that last sentence makes you cringe. It does me, too. There is so much good going on for UGA, nobody wants to throw water on it. But that question bears asking. It’s only fair. Former Georgia coach Mark Richt came under sharp criticism for a perceived lack of discipline during his UGA tenure. It reached a peak when the Bulldogs incurred 11 arrests from March to October of 2010. Then he cracked down. Georgia had only one arrest in 2011 when Cornelius Washington was charged with DUI. There were some isolated incidences and some serious offenses that followed, but they were dealt with harshly. Bulldogs fans don’t need to be reminded that several dismissals occurred from 2012 to 2015. Smart is a coach who preaches discipline on the first line of his mission statement. He expends a lot of time and energy talking about poise and composure. Nevertheless, the Bulldogs were flagged for nine personal fouls in their two games against Auburn (they seem to have a thing for face masks in particular, don’t they?). Georgia enters the postseason as the fourth-most penalized team in the SEC. Is there a connection there? Who knows. Certainly most good football players are aggressive by nature. Arrests numbers and penalty numbers are facts, but the assertion that Georgia is an undisciplined team is not. That’s subjective and speculative at this point. And what has been going on here at Oklahoma proves that UGA is not alone in fighting that perception. It’s not just what proved to be false accusations against the Sooners’ current running back. Lest we forget, quarterback Baker Mayfield, who accepted the Heisman Trophy on Saturday, was arrested in February in Fayetteville, Ark., for public intoxication, disorderly conduct and fleeing police. But the Bulldogs need to do better. Obviously, Georgia is a very, very good football team under Smart. Based on recruiting, it appears that will continue if not get even better. But the disciplinary issues need to trend in the other direction, even if you care about nothing other than what happens on the football field. The post Natrez Patrick gets good news, but Georgia needs to tighten up on discipline front appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia junior inside linebacker Natrez Patrick got some good news on Thursday. According to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach, Patrick had his marijuana possession charge dropped after his arrest the same night as the SEC Championship game. Patrick now likely will not face the consequences of his third suspsension for marijuana Jayson Stanley also had one of his charges dropped, according to Schlabach.   The post Report: Natrez Patrick has charges dropped after recent arrest appeared first on DawgNation.