About the author  ⁄ 

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Sean Spicer has resigned as White House press secretary, ABC News has confirmed.

Senior White House sources confirmed the move to ABC News.

This comes shortly after it was reported that Anthony Scaramucci, a Wall Street financier, was named as the new White House communications director.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

dibrova/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump is shaking up his outside legal team that is charged primarily with responding to the federal probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

John Dowd, who joined the legal team in mid-June, is replacing Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, as lead attorney representing the president, Dowd confirmed to ABC News.

The newest lawyer in the group, Ty Cobb, will take the lead in managing the team’s external response to the Russia probe.

Mark Corallo, who was spokesman for Trump’s legal team, resigned Thursday.

Dowd emphasized that even though he is moving into another role as the team’s leader, the group of lawyers serving as the president’s outside counsel is a close-knit team.

“We don’t decide anything without talking to one another,” Dowd said.

Dowd is a longtime friend of Cobb, whom Trump hired as White House special counsel the same week it was revealed that Donald Trump. Jr. had a meeting with a Russian lawyer in hopes of attaining opposition research on Hillary Clinton.

Kasowitz will remain on Trump’s legal team and continue to represent Trump but in a lesser role, two sources with direct knowledge of the situation told ABC News Thursday night.

Jay Sekulow, the other attorney on the team who has served as its public face, remains on board.

“Our task from the start was to stand up a team externally and internally to handle this for the president with our guidance, input, and assistance,” a source in Kasowitz’ law firm who has knowledge of the situation told ABC News.

“We got Sekulow to do the media appearances, Dowd to be the D.C. criminal lawyer, and Ty [Cobb] to handle the White House. And, most important, we got that team up and running with the president’s confidence, which took a period or introduction and transition,” the source said.

The source added, “Now we will let them do their jobs with our input and guidance to them and the president. Ty [Cobb] has the lead internally and given his very longstanding relationship with Dowd, will interact with him directly.”

Trump’s frustration with the Russia probe was evident in an interview he had this week with The New York Times in which the president said that the special counsel leading the investigation, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, would be crossing a line if he started looking into the Trump family’s personal finances, specifically those unrelated to Russia.

“I think that’s a violation,” Trump said in the interview. “This is about Russia!”

Trump did not explicitly say he would fire Mueller if such a situation arose, telling the Times that he “can’t answer that question because I don’t think it’s going to happen.” But the president added that if Mueller did investigate, he would find that Trump’s finances are “extremely good.”

Mueller was authorized in May to lead the Justice Department probe into “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the [Trump campaign],” according to the order naming him special counsel. He may also look into “any matters that … may arise directly from the investigation,” which could potentially include an inquiry into Trump’s finances.

He is further granted “additional jurisdiction beyond that specified in his … original jurisdiction,” “or to investigate new matters that come to light” if the attorney general — or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, in this case, given Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal — determines “whether to include the additional matters.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(HOUSTON) — Dikembe Mutombo is interested in getting into NBA ownership and wants to find partners to join a bid for the Houston Rockets.

Mutombo told Houston’s Fox 26 Sports, “I’m trying to convince some people about trying to buy this team. It’s one of the best franchises right now. It’s really the right time.”

Mutombo felt that he missed his opportunity to own a team when the Atlanta Hawks were sold in 2015.

Mutombo ended his 18-year NBA career playing for the Rockets between 2004 and 2009. He spoke highly of the team to Houston Fox 26 Sports: “The Rockets are a great franchise. They have a great team. They’ve got great coaches, great basketball player, great staff.”

Currently there is no set date for selling the team. The Houston Rockets CEO Tad Brown will oversee the process of selling the franchise.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Universal – 2017(NEW YORK) — Kofi Siriboe can confidentially say that one of the highlights of his young life is playing Jada Pinkett Smith’s love interest in the new romantic movie comedy, Girls Trip.

Girls Trip stars Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall, Queen Latifah and Tiffany Haddish as four lifelong friends who travel to New Orleans for an exclusive getaway to reignite their wild sides. Kofi plays Malik, a twenty-one year college kid who becomes Pinkett Smith’s boy toy. He still can’t get over the experience of working with his childhood “crush.”

“It’s been such an experience to work with her so intimately… I’ve watched her since I was a kid,” Siriboe tells ABC Radio. “I have the hugest crush on…Jada Pinkett…Like, that was an amazing experience.”

Siriboe says scoring the role was a much needed “change up” from the “social issues” in Queen Sugar and the serious characters he’s played in the past.

“You know I gave it everything. Because it’s a simple role and it’s a lot lighter than like Ralph Angel [from Queen Sugar] or Kicks — anything that I’ve really done,” he explains. “It’s just like it’s fun. It’s really fun-felt — more than anything my role in the film.”

How does Siriboe sum up his Girls Trip role? “I play twenty-one years old, like, this college frat dude, who’s trying to get him some cougar love!”

Girls Night, which also stars Larenz Tate, Kate Walsh and Mike Colter, is in theaters now.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

The White House(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump’s legal team is disputing reports that the president or others in the White House are discussing the prospect of using presidential pardons.

The Washington Post reported Friday morning that Trump was asking people on his team about the extent of his ability as president to pardon people in relation to the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with members of the Trump campaign.

“Pardons are not being discussed and are not on the table,” Jay Sekulow, a member of Trump’s legal team, told ABC News.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Courtesy Michael Graydon(MOODY, Ala.) — A 2-year-old Alabama girl has a new lease on life thanks to a kidney donation from her 62-year-old grandmother, who was a perfect match.

Wryn Graydon of Moody, Alabama, was diagnosed at 2 months old with congenital nephrotic syndrome, a rare kidney disorder that the National Institutes of Health says is caused by genetic defects.

Wryn had both of her kidneys removed two months after the diagnosis and then was put on dialysis at home, her father, Michael Graydon, said.

As doctors waited for Wryn to be old enough and strong enough for a kidney transplant, her family wondered whether any among them would be able to donate their own kidney.

“Everybody wanted to be a match so bad,” Graydon told ABC News. “My wife [Haley] and I didn’t know who to choose to get tested first. I had kidney stones so I knew I wouldn’t be a possibility and my wife was the primary caregiver, so they wouldn’t let her do it.”

Graydon’s parents, Carol and Mike Graydon, were among the first family members to be tested. After a false-positive test result for Mike Graydon, it was Carol Graydon, 62, who came back as a perfect match for her granddaughter.

Carol Graydon’s good health — she was told she had the kidneys of a 20-year-old — allowed her to move forward as Wryn’s donor.

“Having a living and a related donor allowed us to schedule the transplant as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Dan Feig, division director of Pediatric Nephrology at University of Alabama in Birmingham, who treated Wryn. “A very, very healthy 62-year-old is terrific so we were thrilled to be able to move forward.”

Graydon found out his mom could be Wryn’s kidney donor when Carol Graydon, who lives about two hours away in Greenville, Alabama, surprised him at work to share the news.

“There are so many emotions that hit you,” he said. “We’re big believers in God so we trust in him. But from the medical side we know what can go wrong and this was my mom and daughter.”

Carol Graydon and Wryn underwent their kidney transplant last week at neighboring hospitals in Birmingham. While Graydon waited at the bedside of Wryn, his father texted him updates from Carol Graydon’s surgery.

“He was sending me texts, ‘The incision is done. The kidney is out and headed your way,’” Graydon recalled.

After the nearly three-hour procedure, the kidney transplant between grandmother and granddaughter was declared a success.

“When my mom was able to come over in her wheelchair and see Wryn, it’s almost like they had some type of immediate connection,” Graydon said. “They were already close to begin with but Wryn just perked up that day and was very happy and laughing and being her normal self after seeing my mom.”

Wryn is awaiting discharge from the hospital and then will go home to live a normal life, without the constraints of dialysis. An average kidney transplant lasts 15 years so Wryn will likely need another transplant but is now doing “terrifically well,” Dr. Feig said.

Carol Graydon is now recovering at home and dealing with a side effect of being a kidney donor, exhaustion, according to her son. But the family is also bracing for a positive side effect from Wryn’s receiving a kidney: energy.

“We’re excited about it but also scared,” Graydon said of him and his wife, who also have a 5-year-old daughter. “She was already our wild child.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Getty Images/Albert L. Ortega(SAN DIEGO) — At Comic-Con, everyone’s a fan, even multimillionaire celebrity superstar actors like Will Smith. Smith was on hand at the annual event in San Diego to promote his new project, Bright — Netflix’s first big foray into splashy action movie territory. But he couldn’t help geeking out about Star Wars like any other Comic-Con attendee.

Smith said his world changed when he saw Star Wars when he was about 10, and he’d never seen anything like it.

“For this generation, you’ve already seen magnificent things in movies and the special effects and what people can do, but when Star Wars came out it was impossible,” the star said. “Like, there weren’t special effects — you couldn’t do that. So, it’s like, we were just completely blown away and for my entire life I’ve been chasing and trying to give that feeling to, to fans.”

He added, emphatically, “I have never been smashed like that in a movie theater. It was like my mind was boggled.”

Smith said he’s built his career on trying to give fans the same experience he had when he first saw Star Wars.

“There was nothing that I had ever experienced in my life that, that matched that point of ecstasy. And, I had sex a few years later, and that was pretty… it was close, I mean close, but no Star Wars, you know, so…”

Smith’s Suicide Squad director David Ayer debuted the full trailer for Bright, which he also directed. Ayer said he loved working with Netflix, while seemingly slamming Suicide Squad, which underwent extensive retooling from Warner Bros. before it was released.

“This isn’t like some b******* PG-13 standard-issue studio movie, I mean, this is like, I was able to do my s*** here, right?” he said. “I was able to really tell a f****** story, OK? I was able to, like, do my thing.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Walter Fisher(NEW YORK) — A professional poker player shed 70 pounds after his buddies bet him $1 million that he could not drop down to just 10 percent body fat in six months.

Walter Fisher, 36, said that he blamed his recent weight gain on the fact that he mostly worked in a casino, telling ABC News, “They have all these amazing, wonderful, rich restaurants and I just started ordering by the truckload: veal Parmesan, pastas.”

“The weight piled on,” he said. “I was looking in the mirror and I didn’t know who this person was.”

Fisher said that eight months ago he tipped the scale at 245 pounds. Around the same time, he said a few big losses at the poker table left him more than half a million dollars in debt.

Some of his gambling buddies then challenged him with a $1 million bet that he could not get his body down to just 10 percent body fat in six months.

Fisher says he went “all-in,” hitting the gym for up to 10 hours a day and eating clean. He even hired a personal trainer, Chris DiVecchio.

“He was down, down on his luck,” DiVecchio, the owner of Premier Mind & Body in Los Angeles, said of Fisher at the time they started working together. “But at the same time I could see that light behind his eyes.”

After five-and-a-half months of grueling hard work, Fisher reached his goal and weighed-in at 175 pounds. He also walked away with $600,000.

People with financial motivation are five times more likely to meet their weight-loss goals than people without a cash incentive, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Fisher said for him, however, that money wasn’t the main motivator that helped him lose weight, saying that he wanted to be someone his young nephews and nieces could look up to.

“I wanted to be around my nephews and nieces and … give them .. the uncle they should look up to, not somebody who is a mess,” Fisher said. “Money shouldn’t be the motivating factor.”

Fisher said his life has changed for the better since his dramatic transformation, and adds that he thinks there is no way he’ll ever gain that weight back. But if he does, he says he will just make another bet.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — The Carolina Panthers have released offensive tackle Michael Oher after failing a physical. Oher has been on concussion protocol since last September.

“The most important thing is his health,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “Michael’s health always came first. We were not going to force th issue. Michael understood and we expressed that to him.”

After his release on Thursday, Oher tweeted that the “brain is a scary thing.”

The Brain is a scary thing. You have to be careful with it.

— Michael Oher (@MichaelOher) July 20, 2017

Oher, a first-round draft pick in 2009, played in two Super Bowls. In 2013, Oher won his first Super Bowl ring with the Baltimore Ravens.

Oher joined the Panthers in 2015 and started at left tackle during a 15-1 season. He started the first three games of the 2016 season before going on concussion protocol.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump is expected to announce that prominent Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci is the new White House communications director, sources confirm to ABC News.

Scaramucci is replacing Mike Dubke, who resigned in May only three months after being hired by the president.

Axios first reported the upcoming announcement.

Scaramucci, 53, is a major Republican donor and was a member of the president’s transition team.

Scaramucci has also been vocal about his support of the president’s embattled son, Donald Trump Jr., tweeting earlier this month, “.@DonaldJTrumpJr is a virtuous and honorable man. Virtue means the courage to act with integrity. Don does that everyday. #stopwitchunt.”

In January, Scaramucci sold the asset management business he founded, SkyBridge Capital, as it appeared at the time he would be joining the Trump administration.

The president had said he intended to appoint Scaramucci as the director of the White House Office of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs, but administration officials said soon afterwards that Scaramucci would not assume that role, but they would seek another position for him. A key issue was that the sale of SkyBridge Capital to a division of a Chinese conglomerate had not yet been completed, meaning it would take months for Scaramucci to be cleared of potential ethics conflicts.

Scaramucci — who attended Harvard Law School and Tufts University — made news in June when CNN accepted the resignations of three journalists involved in a retracted story about a supposed investigation into a pre-inaugural meeting between Scaramucci and the head of a Russian investment fund.

CNN immediately apologized to Scaramucci. CNN said the story didn’t meet its editorial standards and was posted without going through the expected checks and balances for a story of such sensitivity.

The Long Island, New York, native is a frequent guest on Fox News, and previously hosted Wall Street Week on the Fox Business Network.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →