1. Testifying before Congress, Sally Yates says she advised the incoming president that then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn "essentially could be blackmailed" by the Russians.
Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, speaking publicly for the first time about concerns she brought to the Trump White House on Russia, told Congress on Monday she warned that National Security Adviser Michael Flynn "essentially could be blackmailed" because he apparently had lied to his bosses about his contacts with the Russian ambassador.
The statements from Yates, an Obama administration holdover, offered by far the most detailed account of the chain of events that led to Flynn's ouster from government in the first weeks of the Trump administration.
Yates, appearing before a Senate panel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, described discussions with Trump White House Counsel Don McGahn in late January in which she warned that Flynn apparently had misled the administration about his communications with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador.
White House officials had insisted that Flynn had not discussed U.S.-imposed sanctions with Kislyak during the presidential transition period, but asked Flynn to resign after news reports indicated he had misled them about the nature of the calls.
2. Minneapolis parks tobacco products ban went into effect this week
New rules went into effect yesterday prohibiting all tobacco products including cigarettes, electronic cigarettes and chewing tobacco on any land owned by the Minneapolis Park Board. The only exception allows for tobacco use for traditional American Indian practices, with prior approval.
The systemwide ban is an expansion of the Park Board's previous rules that made playgrounds, athletic fields and buildings tobacco-free zones. It means some top Minneapolis recreation destinations, from the Chain of Lakes to Minnehaha Falls and the downtown Mississippi riverfront, are smoke-free.
3. U.S. Bank Stadium is hosting it’s second annual “SKOL Service Draft Day” hiring fair today
The companies that run U.S. Bank Stadium are seeking up to 1,000 part-time service workers for events from the Guns 'N Roses concert to Justin Bieber and the Super Bowl.
The hiring fair, which the organizers call "SKOL Service Draft Day," will be Tuesday and Wednesday at the stadium. Background checks and job offers occur on the spot so bring that A game. (Best place to enter the building is the Polaris Gate in the northwest corner by the light-rail stop.)
SMG general manager Patrick Talty says operators want *outgoing* employees to "create memorable experiences for guests through excellence."
4. Two men wanting 'better view' cited after jumping into Como Zoo giraffe pit
Two men who apparently had been drinking were cited Saturday for allegedly scaling two 4-foot fences and climbing into the Como Zoo giraffe exhibit.
Luke D. Odenthal, 21, of New Hope, and Angel Perez Banuet Torres, 23, of Minneapolis, were both cited for trespassing. The incident occurred about 5:42 p.m. Saturday.
A security officer was alerted to the incident when patrons started yelling and pointing. One man was in the exhibit and the second was jumping a fence to enter it.
A security officer said, “this spooked the giraffes and they started to run toward the sides and away from the two people.” The security officer ordered the men out and held them until police arrived to cite and release them. Ernster said the men complied with orders and that no giraffes were injured.
5. A middle school student was suspended for “liking” a photo of a gun on Instagram
An Edgewood Middle School student was handed a 10-day suspension for “liking” a picture of a gun on Instagram with the caption “ready."
The parents of Zachary Bowlin posted a picture of the intended suspension notice which read, “The reason for the intended suspension is as follows: Liking a post on social media that indicated potential school violence.”
"I was livid, I mean, I’m sitting here thinking ‘you just suspended him for ten days for liking a picture of a gun on a social media site," father Marty Bowlin said. "He never shared, he never commented, he never made a threatening post… anything on the site, just liked it."
The picture in question is of an airsoft gun, and according to the students’ parents, their child didn’t comment on the post but simply liked the picture.
"I liked it, scrolling down Instagram at night about 7, 8 o’clock I liked it," Zacahry said. "The next morning they called me down [to the office] patted me down and checked me for weapons."
Since receiving the notice, the family said the school has dropped the suspension and there will be no repercussions for the child’s actions.