<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - National & International News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.comen-usSat, 10 Dec 2016 16:32:04 -0600Sat, 10 Dec 2016 16:32:04 -0600NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Trump to Tap Exxon Mobil CEO for Secretary of State: Sources]]> Sat, 10 Dec 2016 15:45:08 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tillersonIII.jpg

President-elect Donald Trump is expected to pick Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, sources close to the Trump transition told NBC's Andrea Mitchell. 

Tillerson has a close business relationship with Vladimir Putin and has spent his entire career at the company that is now Exxon Mobil.

The president-elect and Tillerson met in person Saturday at Trump Tower in Manhattan, Hope Hicks, a Trump transition spokeswoman told NBC News.

Reached at the Army and Navy football game in Baltimore Saturday, Republican Senator John McCain told NBC News that he's concerned about Tillerson's ties to Russia.

"I believe that Vladimir Putin is a thug and a bully and a murderer and I believe the relationship between Mr. Tillerson and Vladimir Putin needs to be examined," McCain said. 

The transition sources noted nothing is final until the president-elect announces it, but told Mitchell this will likely become official next week. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[The Life of Astronaut John Glenn]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 15:29:35 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/137628main_image_feature_445_ys_full.jpg

Photo Credit: NASA ]]>
<![CDATA[Who's Who in Trump's Brain Trust]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 09:48:52 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/223*120/trump-cab-adv-th.jpg Here's a look at the people who will be 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 will need Senate approval.
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<![CDATA[Inmates Film 'Mannequin Challenge']]> Sat, 10 Dec 2016 16:28:05 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Donovan-Prison-Mannequin-Challenge-1209.jpg

Officials at a prison in San Diego County are investigating a video that has gone viral: A group of inmates – some holding cellphones – filmed their own version of the “Mannequin Challenge."

On Nov. 13, a YouTube user dubbed “tben916” posted a video on YouTube titled “Mannequin Challenge: Prison,” which shows inmates at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJDCF) in Otay Mesa, California, taking part in the viral video trend where people hold still – as if they were frozen in time – while a moving camera films the scene.

The one-minute clip starts with inmates holding still in the bathroom, including one sitting on the toilet. It is unclear who is recording, but the camera then moves into what appears to be living quarters, showing an inmate holding a cellphone, a fake fight scene and an inmate reading. The video ends with another inmate in his bunk, also holding a cellphone.

On Thursday night, Terry Thornton with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, confirmed that the footage had been shot inside the RJDCF. She said officials at the prison are still investigating the incident, including how inmates obtained cellphones, which are not allowed in prison.

The RJDCF is located at 480 Alta Rd. The Warden is Daniel Palermo, who has worked there since 2006.

Photo Credit: YouTube]]>
<![CDATA[2 Explosions Heard Near Istanbul Soccer Stadium; 20 Wounded]]> Sat, 10 Dec 2016 14:44:33 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/turkishsoccerstadium.jpg

Two explosions hit Saturday night near a major soccer stadium in Istanbul, and Turkish authorities say about 20 police have been wounded.

Witnesses said police were deployed and had cordoned off the area as smoke rose from the newly built Besiktas Stadium. They said gunfire could be heard in what appeared to have been an armed attack on police.

The private NTV channel said the target of the attack was a bus for riot police.

Turkey's Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu gave the casualty toll and said the wounded were police officers.

"It is thought to be a car bomb at a point where our special forces police were located, right after the match at the exit where Bursaspor fans exited, after the fans had left." Soylu was quoted as saying by Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency. "We have no information on the number of dead. God willing we hope there won't be any. The wounded are police."

Images broadcast on television showed more than a dozen ambulances on a street hugging the stadium and a police helicopter flying overhead with its search lights on.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin had been notified, the agency said.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Top News: South Korea Impeachment Vote, Tibet and More ]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 18:33:11 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-628689686.jpg View daily updates on the best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Obama Gives Federal Workers Larger-Than-Expected Raise]]> Sat, 10 Dec 2016 14:21:56 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/120916+cash+money+generic.jpg

Many federal employees will get a small Christmas gift from President Barack Obama.

Obama authorized a 2.1 percent pay raise for civilian agency employees so their raise will match that of Defense Department employees. Obama said in August that these workers would get a 1.6 percent raise but opted on Thursday to boost the amount by 0.5 percent.

The president said he reconsidered the raise -- which follows a three-year pay freeze -- in part due to "current and projected economic conditions."

"In light of the decision of Congress to provide a 2.1 percent pay increase for military personnel in 2017 and reconsideration of current and projected economic conditions, I have concluded it would be appropriate to revise my original alternative plan," he wrote in a letter submitted to the House and Senate and published by Federal News Radio.

An employee making $75,000 will see a $1,575 boost before taxes.

The nation's largest federal employee union, the American Federation of Government Employees, applauded Obama's decision.

“Federal employees certainly deserve this modest boost in their pay, following years of pay freezes and miniscule increases that have left them worse off today than they were at the start of the decade,” union president J. David Cox Sr. said in a statement. “This pay adjustment will help employees pay their bills, reduce their debts, and cover the everyday costs facing working-class Americans.”

The raise will take effect in January.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Seen in Trump's Orbit: Andrew Puzder, Lewis Eisenberg]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 18:26:57 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/AP_16342788642420.jpg Manhattan's Trump Tower in New York City and Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, have both become political hot spots, as mayors, senators and advisers meet with President-elect Donald Trump during his transition period.

Photo Credit: Andrew Harnik/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Muslim Teen Harassed on NYC Subway Found After Going Missing]]> Sat, 10 Dec 2016 14:34:35 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/YasminSaweidHome.jpg

A New York teenager who went missing after she said she was harassed on a train last week has been found. 

Yasmin Seweid, 18, was found in the early hours of Saturday morning, officials from the Nassau County Police Department's Missing Persons Squad said. The teen was seen being taken from her Long Island home on a stretcher Saturday afternoon.

The Nassau County Police Department put out an alert on Friday saying Seweid had been missing since Wednesday. 

Last Thursday, Seweid spoke out after she said she was harassed and intimidated by three men who tried to rip her hijab - a religious head scarf - off.

Police said they were searching for those men, who allegedly targeted Seweid on the 23rd Street subway station serving the 6 line at about 10 p.m. on Dec. 1.

Seweid posted on Facebook saying the men called her a terrorist, grabbed her bag and broke the strap of it and told her to "take that rag off your head". She said Trump's name was repeated during the alleged attack. 

She called the incident "traumatizing" and spoke with multiple news organizations about it.

<![CDATA[Dog Says Goodbye to Dying Owner in Heartbreaking Video]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 19:11:16 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Hospital-Generic-Stock.jpg

The family of a California man who lay dying in a hospital wanted to make sure his beloved dog had one last chance to say goodbye.

Ryan Jessen, 33, had suffered a ventricular brain hemorrhage and was on a ventilator at Rideout Memorial Hospital in Marysville when his family brought his dog of six years, Mollie, to see him shortly before his death on Nov. 30, the "Today" show reported.

Michelle Jessen caught the heartbreaking moment on video and posted it on Facebook for friends and family. It has been viewed over 13 million times.

"The hospital did the sweetest thing for us and allowed us to bring my brother's dog in to "say goodbye" so she'd know why her human never came home. If you knew my brother, he really loved his sweet dog," Jessen's sister, Michelle, wrote on Facebook.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Trump Says Blacks Who Didn't Vote 'Felt Good About Me']]> Sat, 10 Dec 2016 00:21:02 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP16345080011808_opt.jpg

Donald Trump at a rally on Friday said African-American voters who didn't show up to the polls "felt good about me."

"The African-American community was great to us," Trump said. "They came through big league."

"If they had any doubt, they didn't vote," Trump added. "And that was almost as good. Because a lot of people didn't show up, because they felt good about me."

Trump made the comments at the fourth stop on his "Thank You" tour, meant ostensibly to thank the millions of voters that delivered him a resounding White House win last month.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Secret Santa Pays Off 50K in Wal-Mart Layaways]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 19:28:56 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/walmart+tienda+fachada.jpg

Christmas arrived early this year for shoppers at a western Pennsylvania Wal-Mart when a "Secret Santa" paid off 194 layaway accounts worth more than $46,000.

The discount chain said a woman walked into the store in Everett, Bedford County, on behalf of a "Secret Santa" with a check to pay off the accounts, NBC affiliate WJAC reported. Everett is about 100 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

“When customers quietly pay off others’ layaway items, we’re reminded how good people can be," a company spokesman said in a statement Friday. "The joy that comes from these transactions extends well beyond dollars and cents."

Wal-Mart said it's "honored to be a small part of these random acts of kindness."

Layaway is a popular way for financially strapped shoppers to put a deposit on their merchandise, and pay off the balance over a period of time. It's used at retailers including Wal-Mart and Kmart.

Pamela Foor said she was one of the shoppers employees called with the good news.

"Some people really needed that this Christmas and I'm just grateful and thankful that they can do that," Foor said.

Sandy Terry told CNBC her account was also paid off by the anonymous donor. Terry, who recently quit her job due to surgery complications, had put an Xbox on layaway for her 6-year-old grandson and had a $75 balance on her account. She says she was worried about not being able to pay off the balance. 

"I'm just so thankful that he's going to get it this year," she said. "Thank you so much to [the person who] paid it off for me."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trump's Picks Expected for Interior, Economic Council]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 20:23:57 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/rodgers_cohn.jpg

Donald Trump has offered Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn the directorship of the National Economic Council and assistant to the president for economic policy, sources close to Cohn told NBC News.

Trump is also expected to pick Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers as Interior secretary, a senior Trump transition official confirmed to CNBC on Friday.

Meanwhile, Trump's transition team announced Thursday that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani removed his name from consideration for a position in the new administration during a meeting held on Nov.29. Giuliani will remain on Trump's transition team as a vice chairman.

"Rudy Giuliani is an extraordinarily talented and patriotic American. I will always be appreciative of his 24/7 dedication to our campaign after I won the primaries and for his extremely wise counsel," Trump said in a statement, adding that he can see an important place for him in the administration at a later date."

It is unclear if Cohn, 54, will accept the post, but he reportedly had discussions late last month about leaving Goldman where he is president and chief operating officer.

McMorris Rodgers is the highest-ranking Republican woman in the U.S. House of Representatives. She serves as chair of the House Republican Conference and earlier this month was appointed to serve as a vice chair of Trump's transition team. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Santa Hospitalized After Fat-Shaming Scandal Goes Viral]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 14:17:29 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/santa-hat.jpg

A former Santa Claus who made headlines after being accused of body-shaming a young boy during his shift has been hospitalized for a blood clot in his lung. In the midst of controvery and illness, the old Saint Nick has been bolstered by support from those locally who don't believe he's a bad Santa. 

Earl Crowder, from Forest City, North Carolina, had played Mr. Claus for nearly a decade at his local Santa House until this week. He was hospitalized days after leaving his post as the holiday legend. Crowder resigned when 9-year-old Anthony Mayse accused the former Nicholas of fat-shaming him. Mayse told news station WLOS that Crowder said to “lay off the hamburgers and French fries” on his way out of the photo-op at the Santa House.

After a day filled with ice skating and other wintertime treats, Santa was supposed to be the grand finale for Mayse and his family’s fun weekend. Instead, the boy told WLOS that he cried himself to sleep because he was teased about his size.

“I think that’s just mean. Like honestly to make fun of that, that can really hurt a person's feelings,” Covey Fitzgerald told NBC affiliate WCNC

On Wednesday morning, Crowder experienced shortness of breath and was taken to the hospital, his niece told WLOS.

The longtime Mr. Claus is reportedly beloved within his community, and a local businesswoman, SunShine McCurry, has set up a Facebook page in support of his recovery. Members are posting their favorite memories with the man from the North Pole. Some have added sweet, sentimental photos of their children sitting on his lap, writing that “Forest City Santa is NOT a BAD SANTA.”

"I just got word that Santa is improving. ..he is seeing these posts on this page and it has made him happy to know that so many people love him," McCurry wrote. 

Though Crowder’s township has expressed its solidarity after his hospitalization, some Facebook comments still recognize that the fat-shaming incident was wrong.

“Any overweight child, or a child who is ‘different’ in any other way, knows it,” a Facebook user wrote. “He probably gets bullied and harassed plenty at school. He doesn’t need Santa Claus joining in to make him feel any more unhappy.”

In a statement, the town manager told WCNC that "the individual who played Santa Claus at the Santa House in Forest City made a remark that he regretted," and that Crowder "apologized to the parent, the child and the town." 

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Tetra images RF]]>
<![CDATA[NASA Scientist: Alien Life Search Starts With Mars Missions]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 14:18:09 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/mars6.jpg

NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan said a human mission to Mars would be a powerful step toward finding alien life, NBC News reported.

"I am someone who believes it is going to take humans on the surface [of Mars] … to really get at the question of not just did life evolve on Mars, but what is the nature of that life," Stofan said at a scientific workshop in Irvine, California.

Stofan also said she believes humans are vital in the search for other signs of life because humans can do tasks rovers cannot.

She is optimistic that NASA will be able to fulfill its plan to send humans into orbit around Mars by the early 2030s and onto Mars' surface by the late 2030s.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[How a Partying Macedonian Cashes in on Fake News]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 12:27:03 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/161206-dmitri-veles-macedonia-lookout-607p_97f91707b7aec2cb211ca236a2f8b146.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000.jpg

Dozens of teenagers in the Macedonian town of Veles got rich during the United States presidential election producing fake news for millions on social media, NBC News reported.

The articles, sensationalist and often baseless, were posted to Facebook, drawing in armies of readers and earning fake news writers money from penny-per-click advertising.

One of them, Dimitri — who asked NBC News not to use his real name — says he's earned at least $60,000 in the past six months, far outstripping his parents' income and transforming his prospects in a town where the average annual wage is $4,800. He is one of the more successful fake news pushers in the area.

His main source of cash? Supporters of America's president-elect.

"Nothing can beat Trump's supporters when it comes to social media engagement," he says. "So that's why we stick with Trump."

Photo Credit: Alexander Smith / NBC News]]>
<![CDATA[Lincoln Park Mansion Will be Listed for Record $50 Million]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 13:22:42 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/lp+mansion+thumb.jpg A luxurious Lincoln Park mansion will be listed for sale Thursday at a record $50 million. Take a tour inside.

Photo Credit: Miller + Miller Photography]]>
<![CDATA[Actor T.J. Miller Charged With Battery in Calif.]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 13:54:48 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/187*120/T.J.-Miller-Getty.jpg

Actor T.J. Miller, known for the HBO series "Silicon Valley" and the movie "Deadpool," was arrested on a battery charge Friday after a driver for a car company demanded his arrest, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Police received a call around 1 a.m. Friday and responded to the 6900 block of Camrose Drive in the Hollywood Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, said Officer Drake Madison of the LAPD.

The victim was a driver for an unnamed car company, who demanded a citizen's arrest, Madison said.

The LAPD's Hollywood Division arrested Miller, whose full name is Todd Joseph Miller, for battery, Madison said. His bail was set at $20,000, but he was released on his own recognizance.

Miller is in the movie "Office Christmas Party," which was released Friday.

Photo Credit: Jamie McCarthy / Staff]]>
<![CDATA[Trump to Attend 2 Official Balls on Inauguration Night]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 11:31:24 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_16342061241865.jpg

President-elect Donald Trump will attend two official inaugural balls on the night of Jan. 20, as well as the Salute to Our Armed Services Ball, the inauguration committee revealed Friday.

It was not immediately clear where the balls will be held.

Inaugural events will span several days, with public events on the National Mall, a welcome rally with Trump, and a parade, the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee said in a release.

The Salute to Our Armed Services Ball event will celebrate members of the military, veterans, first responders and their families.

"This will truly be a powerfully uniting moment for the American people," said Presidential Inaugural Committee Chairman Thomas J. Barrack Jr. "We will celebrate our country, its diverse and patriotic heritage, our democracy and the inaugural process as the greatest display of a peaceful transfer of partisan power in the world."

For updates on the inauguration, you can follow @TrumpInaugural on Twitter.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Winter Weather Wallops Northwest]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 12:44:54 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/192*120/winterweatherinthenorthwest.jpg

Snow blanketed parts across the U.S. on Friday as an Arctic chill and winter storm brought plunging temperatures and dangerous winter conditions, NBC News reported.

In the Pacific Northwest, an advancing storm was expected to dump snow before advancing over a 2,600-mile area through the Rockies, Plains, Midwest and Northeast by early next week, according to The Weather Channel.

Snow walloped Seattle overnight, with two inches of it hitting parts of the city by 3:30 a.m. (6:30 a.m. ET). The city had been placed under a winter weather advisory.

Winter storm warnings were issued for Portland, Oregon, which had an inch of snow late Thursday. This swiftly turned into freezing rain.

The cold weather and snow is expected to advance inland across the country over the weekend.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Oakland Warehouse Blaze: Faces of the Victims]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 09:55:09 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/oakland-warehouse-fire-victims-collage.jpg They were artists, musicians, students and teachers, as young as 17 and most with long lives ahead of them. But those lives, at least 36, were cut short when an Oakland warehouse-turned-residence went up in flames as it hosted a concert. Here are their portraits and what we know about them.
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<![CDATA[Balloon Pilot Was on 10 Medications: Experts ]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 19:37:38 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/584726904-texas-balloon-crash-response.jpg

The pilot of a hot air balloon that crashed in Texas in July, killing 16 people, was taking medications that should have precluded him from flying, medical experts testified at a federal hearing on Friday.

Experts also testified that Alfred "Skip" Nichols, who was killed along with 15 passengers, went up in the balloon despite knowing that the weather wasn't good.

The six-hour hearing is part of the National Transportation Safety Board's investigation into the July 30 accident in which the balloon hit high-tension power lines before crashing into a pasture near Lockhart, about 60 miles northeast of San Antonio.

Nichols suffered from high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, diabetes, depression, attention deficit disorder, insomnia, fibromyalgia and chronic back pain, according to an NTSB report presented at the hearing. He was prescribed at least 10 different drugs for his ailments, including insulin and oxycodone. Medical experts told NTSB officials that some of the medications Nichols was taking, including oxycodone, would have disqualified him from flying because they would have affected his ability to think and make decisions.

It's not clear whether the 49-year-old pilot was impaired during the early morning flight. A final NTSB report won't be issued until early next year.

Nichols flew on a day when the cloud ceiling was 700 feet and the forecast didn't call for the sky to clear.

"When this accident pilot received a weather briefing, the weather briefer said, 'Yeah, those clouds may be a problem for you. don't know how long you plan to stay, but .' and then the pilot replied, 'Well, we just fly in between them. We find a hole and we go,'" said NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt.

Several experts testified that they would not have flown in that weather.

"Going in and out of the clouds really is not an option and it's not a very comfortable feeling as a pilot being up there and being faced with that type of choice," said Scott Appelman, owner of Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon Ride Company, one of the largest hot air balloon operators in the United States.

Nichols had at least four convictions for drunken driving and twice spent time in prison.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Killer Update: Samsung to Make All Galaxy Note 7s Unusable]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 13:22:21 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/605913468-Samsung-Galaxy-Note-7.jpg

The next software update for the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will make it completely useless, the company said Friday, effectively killing off the ill-fated phone. 

The update, scheduled for Dec. 19, 2016, will stop the recalled device from charging or working as a mobile device. About 1.9 million Galaxy Note 7s were recalled in the United States, after 96 batteries overheated and 13 burns were reported, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

But Verizon said it would not push the update to phones on its network, saying it didn't want to make it harder for people to communicate without a device to switch to. 

"We will not push a software upgrade that will eliminate the ability for the Note7 to work as a mobile device in the heart of the holiday travel season. We do not want to make it impossible to contact family, first responders or medical professionals in an emergency situation," Jeffrey Nelson, vice president for Global Corporate Communications said in a statement Friday.

Samsung said that 93 percent of Galaxy Note 7s have been returned. 

Samsung has instructions for how to replace or refund phones on its website, which was last updated Friday. It continues to advise that anyone who still has one of the phones immediately power it down and return it for an exchange or refund.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Spent $3M on Family Business as Expenses in Campaign]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 06:43:12 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/trumpfeuerherdIII.jpg

President-elect Donald Trump spent $3 million on the family business as campaign expenses in the final weeks of the race, according to the last Federal Election Committee filing of the 2016 campaign, NBC New reported.

But even while spending millions on Trump-owned entities, he still spent less overall than Democratic rival Hillary Clinton during the closing stretch of the campaign and beyond.

Trump spent $94.5 million from Oct. 20 to Nov. 28, while Clinton spent $131.8 million over the same period, according to the new filings. The numbers indicate Clinton dramatically increased her spending during the last weeks of the campaign, whereas Trump's remained steady. They spent nearly the same amount, Clinton $50 million and Trump $49 million, during the first 19 days of the month.

Photo Credit: AP]]>