<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - National & International News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/national-internationalhttp://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.pngNBC Chicagohttp://www.nbcchicago.comen-usThu, 23 Mar 2017 05:59:46 -0500Thu, 23 Mar 2017 05:59:46 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations<![CDATA[Little Girl Takes Pope’s Skullcap]]>Wed, 22 Mar 2017 15:35:13 -0500http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/POPEHAT.jpg

A girl had the chance to get up close and personal with Pope Francis on March 22 and used the opportunity to grab his skullcap right off his head.

<![CDATA[Police Investigating 'Horrific Attack' in London: Official]]>Thu, 23 Mar 2017 04:43:53 -0500http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/FO05R_1200x675_904546883921.jpg

London police have provided details of the investigation into Wednesday’s deadly attack near the British Parliament. The London Metropolitan Police counterterrorism chief said Thursday morning that authorities believe the attacked acted alone and was “inspired by international terrorism.”

<![CDATA[USA Dominates Puerto Rico to Win First WBC Title]]>Thu, 23 Mar 2017 05:38:16 -0500http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*127/AP_17082181722984.jpg

America's pastime is back in the hands of the United States.

Ian Kinsler hit a two-run homer and Marcus Stroman threw six shutout innings as the United States dominated Puerto Rico, 8-0, to win their first ever World Baseball Classic Title.

It was a patriotic night at Dodger Stadium as the Americans outplayed the undefeated Puerto Ricans in every facet of the game, avenging a 6-5 loss in the quarterfinals last Friday in San Diego.

"We were prepared since we've already played them once," said Pittsburgh Pirates' outfielder Andrew McCutchen. "They got us the last time, we made mistakes in that game, but today, no mistakes were made. That's something we keyed on and we were able to do it. We made history today."

Kinsler got the scoring started for the United States when the Detroit Tigers second baseman teed off on a four-seam fastball from Seth Lugo in the third inning to give the Stars and Stripes and early 2-0 lead.

Earlier in the day, Kinsler sounded off on how Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries play the game, telling The New York Times, "I hope kids watching the World Baseball Classic can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico or the Dominican plays. That's not taking anything away from them. That just wasn't the way we were raised."

The United States didn't give Puerto Rico a chance to celebrate on Wednesday night as Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman had a no-hitter through six innings.

"I love pitching in these moments," said Stroman. "I love the atmosphere. I feel like the bigger the game, the more I'm able to get up, the more effective I am. I truly try to pride myself on being a big-game pitcher. This was probably one of the biggest if not the biggest game I've ever pitched in."

Stroman is of Puerto Rican descent, but ironically, opted to play for the United States over Puerto Rico in the WBC tournament. His mother, who is Puerto Rican, was harassed on social media earlier in the week for her son's decision to pitch for Team USA. 

"It definitely added a little fuel to the fire," said Stroman, who was named MVP of the tournament. "This is our first win. We've had a few early exits in the past. So each and every guy came into this with one goal, and that was to win it. I love these guys. It was an unbelievable experience, and I'll be back in four years to defend the title." 

Angel Pagan broke up the no-hitter with a double down the left field line to leadoff the top of the seventh. It was one of only three hits Puerto Rico would have on the night.

Andrew McCutcheon was 2-for-4 with two RBI and Brandon Crawford had a pair of RBI of his own as the U.S. hoisted the WBC trophy for the first time in it's fourth installment.

"It was a fun and great experience," said Crawford after the game. "Just to be on this team and around all these guys. They're All-Stars, Gold Glovers, Silver Sluggers, all that on this team. It was a lot of fun for me just to be a part of it, but the winning makes it even better."

The Americans relished their victory underneath a downpour of confetti on the field. Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer carried a bald eagle statue on the stage for the trophy celebration and acknowledged the team had their sights set on winning it all before the tournament began.

"We wanted to get the U.S. back on top of the baseball world," he said. "We did that."

Lugo, a New York Mets minor league pitcher, took the loss for Puerto Rico, allowing four runs on five hits with four walks and seven strikeouts in four innings. Entering the game, Lugo was 2-0 in the tournament, but Puerto Rico lost for the first time in eight games.

Before the game, Puerto Rico had printed up t-shirts that read "WBC Champions," and reportedly had plans for a return flight to San Juan and a parade pre-scheduled.

That preemptive arrogance irked Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones.

"Do you want the truth? Before the game, we got a note that there were championship shirts made, a flight, and a parade, and it wasn't for us," said Jones. "That didn't sit well with us."

Most of the 51,565 fans in attendance chanted "USA! USA! USA!" as they draped themselves in American Flags. After the game, United States' manager Jim Leyland said this would be the last time he would put on a baseball uniform and dedicated the game to our country's military

"This is for the men and women who serve our country."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Top News: Trump Chief Linked to Putin, World Water Day]]>Wed, 22 Mar 2017 19:56:21 -0500http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_17081486867022.jpgView daily updates on the best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Policing the Schools]]>Thu, 23 Feb 2017 21:32:00 -0500http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/policing-schools-th.jpg

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<![CDATA[Walking Up Moving Escalators Causes Damage, DC Commuters Told]]>Wed, 22 Mar 2017 20:38:16 -0500http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/032217+metro+escalator+bethesda.jpg

Walk to the left, stand to the right? Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said please don't.

The head of Washington's Metro system said Wednesday that the custom of standing on the right side of a Metro escalator to clear the way for people to walk on the left damages escalators.

"We do not promote, obviously, the walking on the left. These are very sensitive pieces of equipment," he said as officials unveiled a new escalator at the Bethesda station.

It's best for escalators when riders stand on both sides of the steps, Wiedefeld said.

He seemed resigned to the notion that commuters will continue to follow widespread escalator etiquette.

"We prefer that they stand as they move up the escalator, but also we know what people will do what they want to do," he said.

The escalator company Otis, which calls itself the world's largest escalator manufacturer, recommends that riders stand in the center of the steps.

"It has always been our position that one should not walk on escalators," a company spokeswoman said. "Codes and standards vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but our recommendation is for escalator passengers to step on, hold on to the rail and stay alert."

Walking on an escalator should not damage it, the Otis spokeswoman said. 

Kone, the company contracted to provided Metro’s newest escalators, also recommends for safety reasons that escalator users stand rather than walk. A company spokesman said most people are accustomed to stepping up and down steps that are each 7 inches high. Escalator steps are typically 8 1/2 inches high, he said.

“The one-and-a-half-inch difference plays tricks on your subconscious mind and creates the trip-and-fall hazard,” the Kone spokesman said.

The director of San Francisco's Bay Area Transit (BART) System received a flood of angry tweets when he made remarks on Twitter earlier this year that were similar to Wiedefeld's, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

“My Twitter feed has been explosive,” Bevan Dufty told the paper. “It’s like I had a fire hose pointed at me: ‘This is a conspiracy,’ ‘Don’t believe it,’ ‘It’s a lie.’”

Dufty cited a Wall Street Journal article that said transportation chiefs in China found that standing on the right damaged that side of the equipment.

Two British researchers found in a study of the London subway system last year that the overall group of people in a subway station can move through the station faster if everyone stands on the escalators.

"...[A]verage queue lengths would drop by enforcing the standing policy," Shivam Desai and Lukas Dobrovsky found. "This means less time spent at the bottom of the escalator, and more people can flow through the station."

Another escalator company NBC Washington contacted, Schindler, did not immediately respond to an inquiry about how best to ride an escalator. 

Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[Who's Who in Trump's Brain Trust]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 10:38:49 -0500http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/223*120/trump-cab-adv-th.jpgHere's a look at the people who are closest to Donald Trump in the White House, his advisers and his picks for the top jobs in his administration. The nominees for Cabinet positions need Senate approval.
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<![CDATA[Police Warn iPhone Users of Potentially Dangerous Siri Prank]]>Thu, 23 Mar 2017 04:14:10 -0500http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_111010073653_Siri.jpg

Law enforcement agencies around the country are warning iPhone users about a potentially deadly prank involving the Apple iPhone's "virtual assistant" Siri.

According to police, social media posts have been encouraging users to ask Siri about the number "108 if you want laugh." 

"The Harris County Sheriff's Office, along with Texas NENA, are encouraging iPhone users NOT to test the '108' command," the Texas department urged in a Facebook post. "The command, in fact, will instruct Siri to call emergency services, which could potentially tie up emergency lines."

That's because the Apple designed Siri to recognize emergency service numbers from anywhere in the world. In India, the number 108 is the equivalent of dialing 9-1-1, so saying it will connect a caller to the nearest 911 dispatch center.

Sheriff officials warned that these pranks tie up emergency lines and delay response time — which could mean the difference between life or death — for people who are in actually need of help.

Other numbers officials said users should avoid are 112, 110, 999, and 000.

"The 9-1-1 Communications Division tested these numbers and can confirm that dialing or asking Siri about any of these numbers will result in a call being placed to the emergency communications center," an Oregon sheriff's department said in a statement.

Officials say the prank is very dangerous and even criminal in some states.

"Help us spread the word and make our community safe by ensuring those who need the life or death assistance of police, fire or EMS have access to them quickly when they call for help," the Douglas County Sheriff's Office wrote on Facebook.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Park Forest Police Read Mean Tweets About Department]]>Wed, 22 Mar 2017 16:04:16 -0500http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/216*120/park+forest+police.png

Park Forest police know they need thick skin to do their job--but they probably weren't expecting this.

The department released a video this week showing officers from the Chicago suburb reading mean comments about them on Twitter. The grievances varied from complaints about "getting raped with tickets" to pleas for them to just "go away."

“He's saying there is no need for us. In that case, we’re out of here,” said one officer reading a tweet in the video.

The hilarious video shows officers reading tweets like “Park Forest Police suck. I dont [sic] even think they have detectives. They not gonna solve anything.”

The department said it made the video thinking “if you can’t beat them, join them.”

“While we take complaints very seriously, it's hard to treat anonymous, profanity-laden tweets about incidents we know nothing about and can't defend with too much gravity,” a post on the department's Facebook page read.

At the end of the video, one officer says the department wants “everybody to be happy with the service we provide.”

“But we also know that police work’s a tough job, we have to make tough choices and not everyone’s going to be happy with us all the time,” he says.

Photo Credit: Park Forest Police
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<![CDATA[Seniors Worry About Loss of Meals Under Trump Budget Plan]]>Wed, 22 Mar 2017 18:27:02 -0500http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/IMG_82502.jpg

Dale Lamphier, 97, never married and her closest living relatives―three nephews―live across the country. About two years ago, she moved to a senior housing complex in Westwood, New Jersey, a town she has lived in her whole life. She has been using the meal delivery service Meals on Wheels since her brother died about three years ago.

"Meals on Wheels is important because I can't do much shopping―very little," she said. "And I can't carry things. There are a lot of people here that can't."

There is a Trader Joe's about a block from her complex, which she walks to, but not often. She relies on her daily meal delivery.

North Jersey is just one of the thousands of Meals on Wheels branches that could see cuts to its funding under President Donald Trump's proposed budget plan. Jeanne Martin, the executive director of Meals on Wheels North Jersey, said her program reaches about 220 senior citizens across 30 towns in northern Bergen County. If Trump's budget plan passes, her branch will lose about $32,000―10 percent of her annual budget―and potentially more money from other Department of Health and Human Services grants.

As a whole, the national Meals on Wheels organization receives about 35 percent of its funding from the federal government. Trump is proposing to end the Community Development Block Grants, one of many federal grants that fund the program. Other cuts to Health and Human Services, the parent agency for Meals on Wheels, also could affect the program negatively, but the magnitude of those cuts is unknown. 

Martin has been the executive director of Meals on Wheels in North Jersey for 12 years. She said she has never seen a federal cut this large.

"I don't see any room for us in that budget," she said. "I haven't seen any positive things coming from [the Trump administration] in the social services or the senior service so far."

"It is going to impact our program," she said. "We're not going to be able to offer the subsidies to our clients that they really need."

Andre Sitbon, a Holocaust survivor in his early 90s, has been using Meals on Wheels for more than five years out of the Westwood seniors complex. Around three years ago Sitbon's wife died and he started having severe eye problems, which interfered with his love of cooking. He said the program "receives you with arms open," with extremely friendly staff and good food. On Monday he received meatloaf, mashed potatoes and mixed greens.

Another senior, a 65-year old mentally disabled man, had virtually nothing in his fridge except the two meals―one hot, one cold―that Martin delivered to him Monday morning. The only other parcels were an apple and a small carton of milk, which were given to him by Meals on Wheels the day before.

Martin estimated that about 30 percent of the seniors in her program are no longer visited by family and, like Lamphier, are isolated. Martin said the 550 local volunteer drivers who deliver the meals are often the ones who report health problems and find fallen or sick seniors. Meals on Wheels, she said, is "more than just a meal."

"We're helping people stay in their homes, which is where they want to stay," she said. "It's keeping people out of nursing homes. And they want to spend the rest of the time they have on this world in their homes and we're doing the best we can to give them that."

When Martin became director there were about 100 seniors in the program. The number has more than doubled during her tenure, though she thinks that there are hundreds more seniors who need assistance but are too isolated or too worried about appearing needy to receive help.

If Martin loses funding she would have to make changes to the program's model. The food is now prepared by four local nursing homes to meet federal guidelines. But if the program no longer receives federal funds, it would be free to receive donated meals from volunteers.

"It seems to me that all of the programs that support our most needy, vulnerable populations are the ones that are being jeopardized," said John Birkner Jr., the mayor of Westwood. He also said that recent comments made by Trump administration officials "trivialize" the importance of programs like Meals on Wheels.

Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s budget director, called Meals on Wheels a program that is "just not showing any results." 

"We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good," he said at a news conference last Thursday. "Meals on Wheels sounds great. Again, that's a state decision to fund that particular portion, to take the federal money and give it to the states, and say look, we want to give you money for programs that don't work."

Martin called Mulvaney’s comments "insulting" and said he "couldn’t be more wrong."

Supporters have cited studies to back their case. A University of Illinois review in 2013 of home-delivery programs for seniors found that they "significantly improve" the nutritional quality of diets, as well as increased chances for socialization and an overall "higher quality of life."

Another study in 2015 by Brown University researchers found multiple benefits of Meals on Wheels for senior citizens, including reduced feelings of isolation and loneliness, an increased feeling of security and fewer falls and hospitalizations.

Martin said the cost of a year's worth of meals from her program was $1,500. She compared that to the cost of a one-day hospitalization. 

"So, if we're keeping someone well-nourished and doing a well-check on them, we're saving the government money by keeping them out of the hospital," Martin said. 

Meals on Wheels has about 5,000 local and state delivery programs that supply food to isolated, disabled or poor seniors. In 2016, they served about 2.4 million people, including more than 500,000 veterans.

National Meals on Wheels spokeswoman Jenny Bertolette confirmed to NBC that the program has seen a significant spike in donations since Mulvaney’s comments last Thursday. On a typical day, the nonprofit receives about $1,000 in individual online donations.

Three days after the preliminary budget was released, Meals on Wheels had received about $140,000 in donations. On Tuesday, the nonprofit told The Associated Press that it had received an additional $50,000 donation from NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. 

Bertolette said the organization was "thrilled about the public’s passionate support" but also said the additional donations could not replace what it gets from the federal government.

The portion of Meals on Wheels' budget that comes from the federal government is part of the Older Americans Act Nutrition Program, which falls under Health and Human Services. Trump is calling for an 18 percent cut to the department.

Each state uses Community Block Development Grants differently, so the amount that funds Meals on Wheels per branch varies widely. For example, one program in the suburbs of Detroit could lose 30 percent of its budget; on the other end, New York City's Meals on Wheels is funded through other grants, so it is not affected by the potential loss of Community Block Development Grants.

The program is also funded by private money.

"Cuts of any kind to these highly successful and leveraged programs would be a devastating blow to our ability to provide much-needed care for millions of vulnerable seniors in America," Ellie Hollander, president and CEO of Meals on Wheels America, said in a statement.

The cuts are no sure thing. Congress must pass the budget that Trump has outlined and there has already been support from both sides of the aisle for Meals on Wheels.

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., tweeted that cuts to programs like Meals on Wheels "jeopardizes the health and safety of the poor."

Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., told CNN he would "never vote to cut even one dollar" of Meals on Wheels.

Since Mulvaney's comments last week, Martin has gained three more volunteers and an additional donor. 

Even if the budget doesn't cut as much as the 10 percent that is currently threatened, to Martin "a cut is a cut." 

Photo Credit: Shannon Ho
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<![CDATA['Heroic' British MP Attempted to Save Cop in London Attack]]>Wed, 22 Mar 2017 15:14:37 -0500http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-656492592.jpg

A British foreign minister bloodied his hands attempting to save the life of a police officer who was stabbed on the grounds of Britain's Parliament in what was described Wednesday as a "terrorist incident."

After an individual drove a 4x4 through a crowd outside the Palace of Westminster, shots were fired and a police officer was stabbed. Tobias Ellwood, a conservative member of Parliament and former soldier who was close to the incident, rushed to the officer's side.

The officer later died of his wounds.

Ellwood served in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Kuwait, Germany, Gibraltar and Bosnia while in the military. He's currently an active Army reservist.

Photo Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fears ISIS Could Plant Bombs in Planes Driving New Rules]]>Wed, 22 Mar 2017 16:11:48 -0500http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Airplane-502883694.jpg

A new rule banning some electronics on United States-bound flights from certain airports in Muslim-majority countries is a result of fears that ISIS could plant explosive devices in electronic devices, officials told NBC News.

Officials did not confirm or deny a recent New York Times report that ISIS was developing an explosive that could be hidden in laptop batteries.

But law enforcement sources said that longstanding concerns about al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, an affiliate that has sought to hide bombs in aircraft for a long time, was a factor in the development of the new rule.

A senior law enforcement source also said that intelligence suggests that a Qaeda could be helping ISIS develop smaller explosives.

Photo Credit: File, Berk Ozkan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Threw Girlfriend's Dog Off Balcony During Fight: NYPD]]>Wed, 22 Mar 2017 13:13:57 -0500http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/DOG+THROWN+OUT+WINDOW+QNS+RAW++-+20062001_WNBC_000000015539461.jpg

A New York man allegedly threw his girlfriend's dog off the balcony to its death during an argument, police say.

The woman was fighting with her 35-year-old boyfriend Friday evening when, according to police, he picked up the dog and threw it from balcony of her seventh floor apartment on 40th Road in Flushing, Queens. 

The dog was killed and the boyfriend fled the scene. No arrest has been made. 

The woman was not injured in the dispute.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[Maine Police Seize 5 Alligators From Man]]>Wed, 22 Mar 2017 17:50:19 -0500http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/210*120/Maine+Game+Warden+Augusta+alligators.jpg

Maine game wardens seized five small alligators on Tuesday that were illegally being kept in Augusta.

Shortly after noon, game wardens responded to a call of a man in possession of alligators. Police found that Yifan Sun, 20, had the restricted species without proper permits.

Sun was issued a summons for importing or possessing wildlife without a permit.

The alligators were temporarily taken to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife regional office in Sidney, Maine, for care.

A spokesman for Maine game wardens said that possessing a restricted species poses a risk to public safety and can disrupt natural habitats.

Photo Credit: Maine Game Warden]]>
<![CDATA[London Has Long Experience With Attacks]]>Wed, 22 Mar 2017 17:48:07 -0500http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/cms746.jpg

Londoners, famous for remaining calm in the face of danger in the blitz of World War II and through a long campaign of IRA bombings, saw the worst terrorist attack on their city a little more than a decade ago when suicide bombers attacked the Underground.

Four assailants detonated backpacks filled with explosives on London’s public transportation in 2005, killing 52 people. Three of the men blew themselves up on the London Underground and one on a double-decker bus during the morning rush hour of July 7. About 700 people were injured.

The four men were linked to al Qaeda and one, Mohammad Sidique Khan, claimed in a videotape released after the attack that the British public's support for governments that "perpetuate atrocities" against the Muslim world was to blame. Osama bin Laden's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, praised the bombings.

The latest attack in the city came Wednesday right in its heart, yards from Big Ben. 

Four people, including a police officer, were killed in an attack when a vehicle struck people on Westminster Bridge and an officer was stabbed at the British Parliament. About 40 were injured, officials said, some with what a doctor told the U.K. Press Association were "catastrophic" injuries.

The Parliament assailant was shot by police and died, and officials said that they believe there was only one attacker. A terrorist investigation is underway, police said.

Four years ago, in an al-Qaeda inspired attack, two men murdered a soldier near a military barracks in London.

Lee Rigby, who had served in Afghanistan, was killed and almost beheaded in broad daylight as he returned to the barracks in May 2013.

The attackers said his death was in retaliation for a foreign policy that was killing Muslims.

The threat level for international terrorism in the United Kingdom on Wednesday was listed at severe, and the city was on alert for the Thursday funeral of Martin McGuinness, the former Irish Republican Army commander turned peacemaking politician.

The IRA conducted a bombing campaign against the British army for more 20 years beginning in the early 1970s, with multiple attacks in London and elsewhere, killing soldiers and civilians until Northern Ireland's 1998 peace accord.

The IRA set off bombs outside the Old Bailey, in pubs, outside Harrods department store and in Hyde Park and Regent’s Park, among other sites.

In 1984, it attacked a conference of the Conservative party, missing the prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, and in 1991 fired three motor shells at No. 10 Downing Street, the British prime minister’s official residence in London. 

British sangfroid was on display during the Blitz, the German air raids that killed 43,000 civilians and lasted for eight months in 1940 and 1941. According to the BBC, when the raids became very frequent, Londoners moved into newly constructed street shelters and even into Tube stations.

The most famous would-be attack on the British Parliament occurred in November 1605, when Roman Catholic conspirators smuggled barrels of gunpowder into a cellar of the House of Lords. The Gunpowder Plot was discovered, and the best known of the plotters, Guy Fawkes — who was to have lit the fuse — was found, sent to the Tower of London and gave up the names of the others. Guy Fawkes Day, Nov. 5, is celebrated with fireworks and bonfires.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Former Polish Politician Films Aftermath of London Attack]]>Wed, 22 Mar 2017 11:13:29 -0500http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/London-SocialVid_1200x675_903843395959.jpg

Former Polish foreign minister, Radosław Sikorski, posted video onto his Twitter account, showing people lying injured on the Westminster Bridge on March 22, 2017.

<![CDATA[Manafort Secretly Worked for Russian Billionaire: Report]]>Wed, 22 Mar 2017 09:19:51 -0500http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/215*120/Screen+Shot+2017-03-22+at+10.13.01+AM.png

An Associated Press investigation found that President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The investigation cites a memo purportedly written by Manafort, who acknowledged to NBC News that he worked for the billionaire but said he did not represent Russian political interests.