Trump announces ‘national emergency’ in bizarre White House appearance

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WASHINGTON—He boasted that he was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, then complained that he wouldn’t win.

He said he doesn’t know far-right pundit Ann Coulter, then said he “hardly” knows her, then said he used to talk to her, then said she’d be very nice to talk to.

He contradicted his chief trade negotiator on negotiations with China. He promoted North Korea as an ideal location for economic development. He uttered a series of lies and misleading statements about immigration, saying it was everyone else who was lying.

And he said he didn’t actually need to declare the national emergency he was speaking in the Rose Garden to declare.

In a rambling, defensive and thoroughly bizarre appearance on the White House grounds on Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump made an unfocused stream-of-consciousness case for his immigration emergency while also musing at length about a variety of related and unrelated topics.

In arguably the strangest moment of the morning, he appeared to undermine his case that an emergency is necessary.

“I could do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn’t need to do this. But I’d rather do it much faster,” he said. He repeated: “I just want to get it done faster.”

Democrats immediately seized on Trump’s remarks.

“Mr. President, how can this possibly be an national emergency if you’re saying you don’t need to do it? Unreal,” Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer said on Twitter.

Trump also signed into law on Friday a spending deal reached by Democrats and Republicans to fund security initiatives on the Mexican border. Trump was dissatisfied with the deal because it included less than $1.5 billion for about 55 miles of border barriers, much less than the $5.7 billion and 234 miles he had demanded for the giant wall he had repeatedly promised Mexico would pay for.

Trump is seeking to use the emergency declaration to seize money Congress had allocated to other areas of government and use it for the wall. The New York Times reported Friday that his team is looking at taking $3.6 billion budgeted for military construction, $2.5 billion from anti-drug projects and $600 million from an asset forfeiture fund.

Though presidents have broad authority to declare emergencies, there has never been an emergency declared so a president could pay for his controversial initiative with money not approved by Congress for that purpose.

Democrats and some Republicans have called Trump’s plan an unconstitutional abuse of power. Trump suggested there was a double standard for him, saying that “nobody cares” when other presidents declare emergencies.

And he dismissed concerns about his plan to grab money that had been allocated to the military.

“Some of the generals think that this is more important. I was speaking to a couple of ’em, they think this is far more important than what they were going to use it for,” he said, not naming them. “I said, ‘What were you going to use it for?’ I won’t go into details, but didn’t sound too important to me.”

Trump said it would be easy to win the court challenge that is almost certain to be filed, since he is declaring the emergency over a “virtual invasion” of drugs, gangs and human traffickers.

But he also said he thought he might well lose in the initial case, then again on appeal. Speaking in a singsong voice as he offered a series of unusual predictions about the next steps in the case, he said it was only at the Supreme Court where he hoped to get a “fair shake.”

The state of California and independent organizations have said they plan to sue.

“President Trump is manufacturing a crisis and declaring a made-up ‘national emergency’ in order to seize power. This ‘emergency’ is a national disgrace — and the blame lays solely at the feet of the president. Our message to the White House is simple: CA will see you in court,” Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Twitter.

As at previous immigration speeches, Trump invited the mothers of people killed by unauthorized immigrants, known as “angel moms,” to attend this one. When he was asked to respond to critics who say he is manufacturing this supposed crisis, he turned to the women and said, “What do you think? You think I’m creating something? Ask these incredible women.”

Trump was similarly dismissive of immigration-related data.

Rejecting his own government’s conclusion that most drugs that come in through Mexico are smuggled through legal ports of entry rather than unwalled desert, he declared that this was “all a lie.”

Rejecting official data that shows the number of apprehensions at the southwest border is less than a third what it was two decades ago, Trump said, “We have far more people trying to get into our country today than probably we have ever had before.”

Rejecting studies that show illegal immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than native citizens, Trump said, “You don’t really believe that stat, do you? Do you really believe that stat?”

And rejecting human trafficking experts who have said that a large percentage of victims come through legal ports of entry, Trump said that this is impossible, since border officers would notice “three women with tape on their mouth.” Experts say victims are usually tricked or coerced into crossing, not physically restrained.

Trump himself was critical of Democratic predecessor Barack Obama for bypassing Congress with unilateral action on immigration, tweeting in 2014: “Repubs must not allow Pres Obama to subvert the Constitution of the US for his own benefit & because he is unable to negotiate w/ Congress.”

Asked about this on Friday, Trump said the current situation is different — because he is taking unilateral action after making an inadequate deal with Congress, not after making no deal.

“I went through Congress, I made a deal. I got almost $1.4 billion when I wasn’t supposed to get $1 — not $1. ‘He’s not going to get $1,’ he said, not saying who he was quoting. “Well, I got $1.4 billion. But I’m not happy with it.”

Daniel Dale is the Star’s Washington bureau chief. He covers U.S. politics and current affairs. Follow him on Twitter: @ddale8

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Fashion Week de Paris : vous avez dit bizarre…

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Plus que jamais, les défilés de la mode homme rassemblent des talents de nationalités et de sensibilités variées.

«Moi, j’ai dit bizarre? Comme c’est étrange.» La réplique de Louis Jouvet (Drôle de drame, 1937) vient parfois à l’esprit face aux défilés de mode masculine. Depuis tant d’années que les créateurs de Paris et d’ailleurs imaginent du prêt-à-porter pour homme, ils ne se lassent pas de détourner des matières, de créer des looks inédits et, au final, de surprendre toujours et encore. Les premiers à avoir investi les podiums français avec des habits déconstruits étaient les Japonais. Suivis des Belges et des Britanniques. Les Américains sont arrivés plus tard, réinterprétant les modes de la rue dans leurs collections. Aujourd’hui, il n’y a plus de frontières de style. Les tendances s’interfèrent, des designers antinomiques mixent ensemble, signent des collaborations. Le concept fait florès et débouche sur des best-sellers lorsque ces éditions sont inattendues, déroutantes, pour ne pas dire… bizarres.

Les formes, les textures, les couleurs ne sont jamais classiques chez Acne Studios. Du moins, sur le podium. Le directeur de création Jonny Johansson conçoit son défilé comme un laboratoire d’idées

«On ne revient pas le même d’un séjour au Japon», confiait, en novembre dernier, Pierpaolo Piccioli, à l’issue du défilé prefall 2019 de Valentino à Tokyo. Mercredi soir, sous une verrière du Grand Palais, son hiver 2019-2020, enrichi de son précédent opus et délesté de références sportswear, se recentre sur la coupe, le bien-aller, les détails qui signent un beau vêtement. Les premières silhouettes noires, déstructurées et fluides évoquent les grandes heures des stylistes nippons. L’imprimé d’une planète inconnue, floqué à longueur d’ourlet sur des vestes et des manteaux, rappelle que c’est aussi le pays de la science-fiction. L’année 2099 est inscrite au dos d’un blouson. Dans la foulée, le directeur artistique romain cosigne quelques pièces avec son confrère japonais Jun Takahashi, du label Undercover (lire ci-dessous), qui défile deux heures plus tard. Des pulls affichant un portrait de Beethoven et les initiales des deux marques mêlées, des parkas, des doudounes et des pardessus en cachemire imprimés d’un vaisseau spatial interpellent et signent la saison. F. M-B.

Les formes, les textures, les couleurs ne sont jamais classiques chez Acne Studios . Du moins, sur le podium. Le directeur de création Jonny Johansson conçoit son défilé comme un laboratoire d’idées. D’une collection à l’autre, les recherches sont plus ou moins avancées. L’hiver prochain porte sur des textures modernes à l’aspect plastique, des mailles et des cuirs irisés, des pantalons avec une des deux jambes à grands plis basculés ou plissés. Ces pièces associées les unes aux autres et de pied en cap frisent l’excès. Individuellement (et accessoirement dans une autre couleur que le rose Malabar ou l’orange survitaminé!), la plupart ont fière allure. F. M-B.

Luke Meier partage ses références dans la note d’intention de sa marque OAMC:de la scène musicale de Seattle au début des années 1990 jusqu’à l’exposition de Matthew Barney au Musée Guggenheim

De volumes remarquables, il est aussi question chez Raf Simons . Le créateur belge (qui a été remercié par la marque Calvin Klein mi-décembre) livre une proposition personnelle forte. C’était aussi le cas des collections qui ont coïncidé avec d’autres périodes de rupture dans sa carrière. Comme après sa séparation avec Dior fin 2015, qui avait donné lieu, le mois de juin suivant, à une collaboration collector avec la Fondation RobertMapplethorpe (printemps-été 2017). Mercredi soir, dans les salons de l’hôtel Shangri-La, devant un public placé à la façon d’un show de haute couture, un cortège de grands manteaux, trenchs et car-coats aussi sobres et sublimes qu’immenses défilent comme une conclusion. Des photos de l’actrice Laura Dern dans Blue Velvet (1986), de David Lynch, s’impriment çà et là sur des sweat-shirts ou des blousons -le talentueux M. Simons ayant pris le pli de dater chaque saison à l’aide de transferts d’images de son moodboard. Un continuum créatif des plus soutenus dans le registre masculin. F. M-B.

Luke Meier partage ses références dans la note d’intention de sa marque OAMC : de la scène musicale de Seattle et de Vancouver au début des années 1990 jusqu’à l’exposition de Matthew Barney au Musée Guggenheim de New York, en passant par une citation de Kurt Cobain: «The duty of youth is to challenge corruption» («Le devoir de la jeunesse est de lutter contre la corruption»). Le cheminement imaginaire ne s’explique pas forcément. En résulte, ici, un dressing mature, plus personnel que par le passé, caractérisé par des lignes fluides, des superpositions de lainages pleins et, parfois, des dessins naïfs de l’artiste Daniel Johnston et des cols de sous-pull en latex comme si les mannequins cachaient dessous une tenue beaucoup plus ambiguë. F. M-B.

Le défilé Rick Owens commence dans la pénombre. Une silhouette moins expérimentale que les saisons dernières se dessine

Le style de la collection Issey Miyake Men n’a rien à voir avec celui de Raf Simons, mais il est difficile de ne pas établir un parallèle. Depuis sa création – il y a cinquante ans en 2019 -, cette maison japonaise a toujours cherché à conjuguer créativité et technicité. Des bruits de métiers à tisser émaillent d’ailleurs la bande-son, tandis que les modèles du styliste Yusuke Takahashi se révèlent particulièrement originaux et maîtrisés. Rayures placées, coloris chinés en fondu dégradé ou motifs coup de pinceau sont reproduits en jacquard tout en conservant un aspect spontané et aléatoire. F. M-B.

Le défilé Rick Owens commence dans la pénombre. Une silhouette moins expérimentale que les saisons dernières se dessine. L’impression de vêtements plus structurés se confirme à la lumière, les coupes se calent à partir d’épaules étroites aux têtes de manches arrondies pour des blousons, des vestes en satin matelassé et des manteaux aux poches greffées en cuir comme des fragments de maroquinerie. L’Américain résidant à Paris a collaboré avec son confrère Larry Legaspi, connu aux États-Unis dans les années 1970. À l’heure où les directeurs artistiques piochent dans les modes passées sans citer leurs auteurs, Owens finalise la coédition d’un livre (octobre 2019) qui remettra le travail de son aîné dans la lumière. F. M-B.


Hip-hop et Soleil-Levant

Hier, tard dans la nuit, l’infatigable Virgil Abloh et Jun Takahashi, le créateur d’Undercover, se sont retrouvés derrière les platines de la Concrete, la péniche amarrée près du quai de la Rapée, haut lieu des sorties parisiennes. Outre une passion pour la musique, l’Américain de l’Illinois et le Japonais natif de la région du Kanto partagent la même approche globale de la mode, notamment du streetwear, tendance née dans les quartiers noirs des États-Unis mais largement diffusée au pays du Soleil-Levant. À tel point qu’aujourd’hui les Nippons excellent dans ce vestiaire infusé de hip-hop et de vêtements de travail, suscitant l’admiration au pays de l’Oncle Sam. En témoigne la présence de nombreux Américains en jean baggy et sweats à capuche à chaque défilé d’une griffe asiatique. V. G.

Un public de fans de rap US assiste ainsi au show Undercover . Sur la scène de la Salle Wagram, une horde de mauvais garçons en joggings molletonnés, parkas, impers et doudounes sérigraphiés d’images d’Orange mécanique (1971), marchent au son de la BO du film de Stanley Kubrick. Il y a aussi un peu de l’Italie du XVIIe siècle (l’invitation reprend d’ailleurs un extrait du Souper à Emmaüs du Caravage, vers 1601) dans ces milords des temps modernes aux chapeaux melon à plume et sneakers de running. L’ensemble donne une nouvelle vision de cette mode de la rue dont les jeunes raffolent. V. G.

Le créateur de Facetasm Hiromichi Ochiai secoue l’iconographie américaine comme peu d’autres. Pour l’hiver prochain, il juxtapose le mythe des sorcières de Salem, l’univers des Hells Angels et l’esthétique grunge avec une sensibilité dans la coupe et la déconstruction toute japonaise. Plus concentrée que les saisons précédentes (malgré les 108 passages), sa collection pour homme et femme est à l’image du pas cadencé de ses mannequins sous la nef de l’église Saint-Merri: énergique. V. G.

Autre Nippon, Fumito Ganryu, designer passé par l’école Comme des Garçons, défile pour la première fois en son nom à Paris. Des survêtements XXL drapés façon kimonos, des duffle-coats surdimensionnés comme des carapaces, des doudounes esprit sacs de couchage, des pull-overs d’étudiants noués autour du cou… Là encore, le streetwear est à l’honneur bien que jamais littéral. Si son style est affirmé, son propos aurait mérité d’être plus concis. V. G.

L’esprit tailleur est au cœur de la marque Sulvam, fondée en 2014. Le Japonais Teppei Fujita, sélectionné pour le Prix LVMH 2017, habille des dandys éthérés de costumes trois-pièces imprimés de motifs pointillistes, brode des perles sur ses vestes en velours et des strass sur ses cravates. Parfois, un panty aux surpiqûres apparentes remplace son pantalon. Ce gentilhomme étrange se balade en chaussettes de fausse fourrure (sans chaussures), le visage couvert d’un voile de dentelle rouge. V. G.


Louis Vuitton par Virgil Abloh, tout un symbole

Un gant blanc strassé en guise d’invitation et la réplique d’un boutde trottoir du Lower East Side comme dans le clip Black or White (1991), quartier pauvre de Manhattan dont Michael Jackson, première popstar afro-américaine de renommée internationale, n’était pas issu mais auquel s’identifiaient tous les gamins défavorisés. Contre toute attente, c’est finalementun subtil hommage que Virgil Abloh rend au King of Pop avec son deuxième défilé homme de Louis Vuitton : 65 looks qui se tiennent à distance des dégaines de l’artiste. Les silhouettes plutôt citadines et formelles, en flanelle de la tête aux pieds (maroquinerie, pochettes et sacs de voyage compris), adoptent au gré des passages, les volumes et les proportions du streetwear. Une collection se drapant dans la bannière étoilée, comme en berne, toute grisée, avant de reprendre les couleurs des drapeaux de toutes les nationalités présentes au studio du malletier. Un message d’espoir, d’ouverture et de diversité à l’heure où l’on veut rétablir des frontières. F. M.-B.

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They beat their captives with a fish carving, and they played Russian roulette. Court documents detail bizarre Toronto kidnapping

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“I’m (going to) untie your bro,” mumbled the teenaged kidnapper to his prisoner’s brother on the other end of the phone.

“Get the three (thousand dollars) and then we’re gonna meet, okay? Fam, I, I … I trust you fam. I’ll put one in this kid early morning tomorrow if nothing is going on fam.”

The captor, who wasn’t a family member, wanted $10,000 to release his two 16-year-old abductees, unaware Toronto police were listening and recording the April 20, 2016 phone call. Hours earlier, police obtained an emergency wiretap to capture the ransom negotiations and money exchange details.

It’s an urban crime tale featuring scenes straight out of a Quentin Tarantino crime movie; they include a condo shootout, a game of Russian roulette and forced sex acts.

It’s also a case underscoring the intractable problem of uncooperative witnesses, even when they’ve been victimized, and the challenges they pose for police and prosecutors trying to bring perpetrators to justice.

Earlier this fall, Superior Court Justice Anne Molloy convicted the 17-year-old ringleader, identified in court as T.G., of kidnapping, firearms and drug trafficking.

While he can’t be identified because of his age, Molloy found him to be a gun-toting, street-level drug dealer with a taste for expensive cognac and lavish spending on cars and short-term rental accommodations. “T.G. was clearly engaged in a criminal lifestyle, as evidence in part by his participation in the kidnapping,” she wrote in a 24-page decision.

Molloy dismissed all charges against his co-accused, M.R.

About an hour before his arrest, T.G. was spotted on a high-rise balcony, “smoking, singing, and pointing to a stack of money he had in one hand.” When heavily armed Emergency Task force officers busted through the door they found street-level drug paraphernalia, fentanyl-laced heroin, crack cocaine and $1,900 in cash.

In early December, Lincoln Richards and Rushine Rowe, in their early 20s, both pleaded guilty for their roles in the kidnapping.

The two captives can’t be identified because of safety concerns.

Their ordeal began at an April 18, 2016, party gone awry in a unit on the 25th floor at 300 Front St., a downtown Toronto building with a reputation as a hot spot for short-term renters throwing parties.

Using the name Antowuan Adams, T.G. paid cash for Unit 2509 — it was customary for him in early 2016, when he was blowing about $4,000 a month on cars and condos, the judge wrote in her decision.

Richards, a rapper known as Ranski, brought two 16-year-olds to the party. One was an outsider, hailing from an area in northwest Toronto known as Queen’s Drive. Most of the partiers were associated with the city’s hardscrabble Lawrence Heights and Driftwood neighbourhoods.

Around 3:30 a.m., uninvited members of “the Queen’s Drive group” showed up at the building, the judge wrote summarizing the evening’s events. Richards, Rowe and two youths left the party to find them, but didn’t, and headed back to the 25th-floor condo. When the elevator door opened, the Queen’s Drive members were in the hallway.

Guns were drawn, bullets fired, surveillance footage recording some of the mayhem.

Police found evidence of shootings in three separate areas of the building and casings from at least two separate guns. Despite this, no one was injured.

T.G. and his associates blamed the 16-year-olds for disclosing the location of the party to the interlopers.

The bandits fled the condo tower and headed for a townhouse in Swansea, near High Park, where Richards lived with his mother. There, the teens were tied to chairs and beaten repeatedly, one of them pistol-whipped in the head.

While Richards stayed behind to clean up the mess, the group took their tied-up captives to two different apartments in Lawrence Heights. There, they were subjected to more beatings, one of them attacked by an assailant using a wooden carving of a fish, grabbed from a wall.

Digital photos of the bound and bloodied pair were sent to members of the Queen’s Drive group.

The Crown also alleged the kidnappers forced the teens to perform sexual acts on each other, which they videotaped to ensure their demands for $10,000 in ransom were met.

An older brother, a convicted drug dealer who knew some of the kidnappers, received a photo showing the captors threatening to cut off his finger with scissors.

Their mother, who learned of the kidnapping from her older son, confronted Richards on the street wearing her son’s jacket. “Your son is in this predicament right now because of what he did so anything that happens to your son he deserves,” Richards, who flashed his gun, told her.

On Thursday, April 21, 2016, the teen’s mother made a $3,000 downpayment on the ransom and he was released at a Husky gas station. It was his grandmother who alerted the cops, who got the emergency wire as a result. The arrests followed later.

After he was set free, the teen gave a detailed three-hour statement to police about his ordeal. “They were playing Russian roulette with us, putting one bullet in … and spinning it,” he told them. One shot went “right by my head.”

But he eventually realized he would be required to testify in court.

“Who does such a thing?” the exhausted teen asked the officers.

“Who does what?” one of them asked back.

“Come to trial and you going to look at me and I am going to say, ‘yeah, this guy he kidnapped me.’ ”

After that he clammed up — and recanted everything he had already told them.

Despite this, prosecutors Elizabeth Nadeau and Glenn Brotherston were able to get his statement admitted into court. (The other victim also refused to cooperate.)

To prove their case, led by Toronto Police Detectives Sergio Brito and Brandon Robinson, the Crown attorneys relied on what the judge called “substantial independent” corroborative evidence, which included fingerprints, surveillance footage, wiretaps — and a broken carving of a fish.

Next month, prosecutors are seeking to have T.G. sentenced as an adult. Rowe and Richards are also scheduled for sentencing in January.

Betsy Powell is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and courts. Follow her on Twitter: @powellbetsy

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Two missing men, one death — and a bizarre mystery

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In August, a missing persons case seemed to come to a tragic conclusion when the body of a man, found without identification, was taken to a Toronto hospital.

Police connected the body to the missing persons case and called his family. They identified the remains and held a funeral.

Scott Cushnie, a.k.a. Professor Piano, is seen in a 2014 photo. He has recorded with Aerosmith and performed with many of the greats in Canadian rock, including Robbie Robertson of the Band and Kelly Jay of Crowbar.
Scott Cushnie, a.k.a. Professor Piano, is seen in a 2014 photo. He has recorded with Aerosmith and performed with many of the greats in Canadian rock, including Robbie Robertson of the Band and Kelly Jay of Crowbar.  (Gary Yokoyama / The Hamilton Spectator)

This month, the man reappeared — alive.

Police and the coroner are now wrestling with an awkward question: who was actually buried?

Friends of Scott Cushnie suspect they know the answer. A musician who performed with Aerosmith and was known as “Professor Piano,” hasn’t been seen since the night of a devastating rainstorm. They believe he died accidentally in a fall and that his body was wrongly identified.

“We are aware of an apparent misidentification of a person who is buried,” said Chief Coroner of Ontario Dirk Huyer.

Authorities are now preparing to exhume the body.

The strange case began when the body of the man was taken to hospital without a wallet or I.D.

“Investigators took steps to identify him,” police said in an email. “A missing persons case was found and the family was contacted, who in turn positively identified the man. When he died he was released to his family and they made funeral arrangements.”

Unless it is difficult to visually identify the person due to injuries or suspicious activity is involved, investigators typically have family members name unidentified people, Huyer said. Otherwise, they use dental records, fingerprints and DNA.

“We would not be in a position to doubt or question a family when they provide that identity to us,” he said.

Cushnie, 80, left his apartment near River St. and King St. E. on a stormy morning on Aug. 8 and is presumed to have fallen in the rain, according to speculation from friends. An ambulance was driving down the road and took the man to a hospital.

“But he had no wallet, so no one knew who he was,” Peter Terrence Eric Jermyn, a friend of Cushnie, said in a Facebook post.

But the musician was not reported missing until more than three weeks later, when a friend went to his home looking for him on Aug. 29 and found his phone and wallet, but no Cushnie.

For those close to Cushnie, it’s been many months of wondering and worrying about what happened to their friend.

“We waited this long,” said Mitch Lewis, a longtime friend and bandmate. “I was scared that my friend was scared or hurt or in trouble some way.”

Still, Lewis is surprised at the seemingly sudden and strange way that Cushnie went missing.

“He was in better shape than I am,” he said. “The idea that he could fall like that — well, it could happen to anybody.”

The coroner’s office did not have a definitive timeline for the investigation.

Stefanie Marotta is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @StefanieMarotta

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