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Hillary Clinton personally signed off on sharing since-debunked Trump-Russia allegations related to Alfa-Bank with the media during the 2016 election, according to her campaign manager.

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook testified Friday he was “briefed about the Alfa-Bank issue first” by Clinton campaign general counsel Marc Elias in the summer of 2016. He said the campaign leadership quickly had a meeting about whether to share the information with the media, which they decided to do. Also present in the meeting were campaign chairman John Podesta, communications director Jennifer Palmieri, and policy adviser Jake Sullivan (who is now President Joe Biden’s national security adviser), according to Mook.

He said that “we discussed it and then made that decision” and “we did” decide to share the claims with a reporter. When asked by a prosecutor on special counsel John Durham’s team about the highest level of approval for pushing the Alfa-Bank claims to the press, Mook replied that “John and I were involved,” but “I discussed it with Hillary as well” after the campaign team had discussed it. Mook said that he framed it to Clinton as: “Hey, you know, we have this, and we want to share it with a reporter.” Mook added, “She agreed to that.”

When pressed by Durham prosecutor Andrew DeFilippis on what else Clinton said, Mook replied that “all I remember is that she agreed with the decision” to share the Alfa-Bank claims with the media. Mook said that “she thought we made the right decision.”

Mook said he couldn’t recall “the exact sequence of events” on whether Clinton was giving final approval or if she was approving of something the campaign had already done.

The Clinton campaign manager said he, Sullivan, Podesta, and Palmieri were all part of the discussion on whether and how to share it with the media, and he said his “hope was that they were gonna run it down and it would be accurate or substantive and then they would report it.” He admitted, “I don’t recall ever asking a reporter to hold off on this.”

“I recall it being a member of our press staff,” Mook said when asked how the Alfa-Bank claims were pushed to the media. “We authorized a staff member to share it with the media.”

Mook admitted he was not confident in the veracity of the Alfa-Bank claims when the decision was made to share them with the press, but claimed the media would help vet the information. DeFilippis asked if the campaign was pleased the allegations were published, and Mook replied, “We wanted the American people to know about it, yeah.”

Democratic cybersecurity lawyer Michael Sussmann was indicted in September for allegedly concealing his clients, Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and “Tech Executive-1,” former Neustar executive Rodney Joffe, from FBI General Counsel James Baker in September 2016 when he pushed since-debunked claims of a secret back channel between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa-Bank. Sussmann has pleaded not guilty.

Mook was called as a defense witness on Friday.

The Durham indictment said that “on or about September 15, 2016, Campaign Lawyer-1 exchanged emails with the Clinton Campaign’s campaign manager, communications director, and foreign policy advisor concerning the Russian Bank-1 allegations that Sussmann had recently shared with Reporter-1.” Durham wrote that “Campaign Lawyer-1 billed his time for this correspondence” to the Clinton campaign, with the billing entry of “email correspondence with [name of foreign policy advisor], [name of campaign manager], [name of communications director] re: [Russian Bank-1] Article.”

Her campaign manager was Mook, her communications director was Palmieri, her foreign policy adviser was Sullivan, and her top lawyer was Elias.

Elias hired the opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which in turn hired British ex-spy Christopher Steele in 2016. Elias has testified he was aware of Fusion’s plans to have Steele brief reporters on his anti-Trump research during the 2016 contest, met with Steele during the 2016 contest, and periodically briefed the campaign about the findings from Fusion and Steele. Sussmann also met with Steele in 2016 and pushed certain Alfa-Bank claims to him, which Steele, in turn, pushed to the U.S. government.

On Halloween 2016, Clinton tweeted, “Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank.” She included a lengthy statement from Sullivan titled “New Report Exposing Trump’s Secret Line of Communication to Russia.”

“This could be the most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow,” Sullivan claimed in part, adding, “This secret hotline may be the key to unlocking the mysteries of Trump’s ties to Russia.”

“We can only assume that federal authorities will now explore this direct connection between Trump and Russia as part of their existing probe into Russia’s meddling in our elections,” Sullivan said. He continued pushing the Alfa-Bank claims on TV in 2017.

The judge initially ruled he wouldn’t let the Clinton tweet be admitted as evidence, but the jury was shown it on Friday during testimony by Mook. The judge indicated that the version of the tweet admitted into evidence would include redactions, including the part of the tweet hinting at a federal investigation.

The Durham team has argued that Sussmann’s meeting with the FBI was motivated by his desire to generate an “October surprise” that could sink Trump’s candidacy.

DeFilippis repeatedly asked what Mook thought an “October surprise” was. He said that “it’s when you have a piece of opposition research that is so damning that the opponent doesn’t have time to respond and they lose the election.” Mook said, “The idea is you have damning information about your opponent, you give it to the media, and then they run with it.” He also said that “I think it’s a bit of a myth” and “a bit of a fantasy.”

The prosecutor asked Mook if he believed the Alfa-Bank claims were damning, and he replied, “It was certainly alarming and suspicious.” DeFilippis asked Mook to read when the tweet was published, and he said, “Well, it says here, October 31, 2016.”

As a bit of damage control, Sussmann lawyer Michael Bosworth asked Mook for an example of an October surprise, and he replied, “I can’t think of a time when it’s happened in my career.” Mook said he never thought of the Alfa-Bank story as an October surprise.

When asked if the Clinton campaign conversation about sharing the Alfa-Bank claims with the media was about sharing it with the New York Times in September 2016 or with Slate in October 2016, Mook replied, “I don’t recall.”

Franklin Foer of Slate reported on Halloween 2016 that researchers found “a sustained relationship between a server registered to the Trump Organization and two servers registered to an entity called Alfa-Bank.” Eric Lichtblau of the New York Times then published a report stating, “The FBI ultimately concluded that there could be an innocuous explanation, like a marketing email or spam.”

Foer and Lichtblau both emailed with Fusion about the Alfa-Bank claims in 2016, according to records released by Durham.

At the request of the defense lawyer, Mook read the entire Slate article, looking for a reference to an FBI investigation, and he said, “I don’t see the FBI mentioned.”

Mook testified that he “deferred” to Perkins on legal advice as well as on “overseas” activities, but he claimed, “I definitely did not delegate to Perkins Coie to do politics. To do press.” When asked whether Perkins needed permission from him to go to law enforcement, Mook said that “it depends” but he would’ve “expected” for permission to be sought from him.

He added that “I’m not aware” of Clinton approving the campaign to go to the FBI and said, “I don’t know why she would.”

Baker testified in detail about Sussmann’s alleged lie this week. The FBI’s former top lawyer also told the court how the defendant’s allegations created an immediate sense of urgency inside the highest levels of the FBI to investigate the Trump-Russia back channel claims, how the Alfa-Bank claims were quickly dismissed as baseless within the FBI, and how the bureau worries about reporters writing stories based on the existence of FBI investigations in situations in which the press isn’t confident about the allegations and so uses the existence of an investigation as a hook.

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33 Comments
  • Stephen Russell says:

    Hooray finally deadwood under the bus

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    ‘The View’ Announces New Permanent Conservative Co-Host

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    Another polarizing season of “The View” is wrapping up this summer — and a bombshell “hot topic” about who the next conservative co-host will be is about to drop, The Post can exclusively report.

    The daytime juggernaut, which celebrated 25 glorious, feather-ruffling years this week, is about to announce who will replace self-proclaimed “mountain mama” Meghan McCain after her “miserable” and abrupt exit last summer.

    A bevy of right-sided guest hosts have been cycling through on-air audtions for the top spot — and an insider has revealed those repeat tryouts are the ones to watch out for when it comes to the permanent gig.

    “You are starting to see familiar faces over and over,” the source told The Post. “I would expect an announcement before the season ends on August 5.”

    The source added: “If you watch the show, you can see people who are coming back regularly to join the co-hosts at the table. It is an invaluable experience for the show. And it was always the plan to make sure they had a seat at the table.”

    In other words — the informed guessing game is on, so pay attention!

    The most frequent repeat guest co-hosts include Alyssa Farrah Griffin, the 33-year-old former communications director for President Donald Trump, and former GOP communications director Tara Setmayer, 46. Both are being considered for the permanent seat — with some sources hinting that Farrah is likely to be the frontrunner.

    Note: In the two long, long-winded months since McCain’s exit, Griffin has been a mainstay every month — and even made an extended appearance in June. No other guest host racked up that tally this season.

    Just saying.

    Meanwhile, conservative author and media pundit Ann Coulter previously told The Post she would be willing to take on the role.

    “Yes, of course I would [take the job] but they will never pick me,” Coulter, 60, said. “[It seems] they don’t mean what they say. You might be exposing a double-secret requirement: Must be a dumb, easy-to-push-around Republican.”

    The current ladies of the talk show — Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Sunny Hostin, and Sara Haines — are set to go on hiatus next week and will return to finish out the rest of the season on July 11.

    The 26th season will pick back up after Labor Day.

    The new co-host announcement will come on the heels of several scandals and dramatic incidents that have plagued — or promoted, depending on your fan stance — the show over the past season.

    In February, the always controversial Goldberg, 66, was suspended from the ABC network after saying the Holocaust was “not about race.”

    The next month, Behar, 79, suffered a dramatic fall, face-planting in front of the live studio audience — and the 2 million-plus viewers at home.

    And while rumors have surfaced that it has been difficult to find a new conservative voice on the show, the insider revealed that there has been “no struggle to find a new co-host.”

    Despite their nonstop parade of hoopla, it appears nothing can shake the ladies of “The View.” They remain the reigning daytime chat champs while others drop like flies.

    While “The View” is renewed for a 26th season, other daytime talkers are struggling. “The Talk” hit a new ratings low three months after Sharon Osbourne’s dramatic exit, and “The Real” was canceled after eight seasons in April.

    And in May, Ellen Degeneres said her goodbye after 19 years on the air.

    The “conservative” slot comes with its own specific set of challenges, according to former stars who filled the coveted slot.

    “Right now, we still do need a really conservative voice,” legal eagle co-host Hostin, 53, proclaimed as the hunt for a new conservative cast mate heated up. “I also believe it’s really important to not have someone on the panel who spreads misinformation, who adheres to the big lies, who is an anti-vaxxer, because I think that’s dangerous.”

    The longest running right-wing host, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, survived on “The View” for 10 seasons, from 2003 to 2013. But it was not without struggles. On May 23, 2007, Hasselbeck got into an infamous on-air “split screen” argument with co-host Rosie O’Donnell concerning the war in Iraq, which she supported and O’Donnell opposed.

    The heated moment was caught on camera and made waves nationwide at the time.

    Meanwhile, McCain bailed on her “anthropological experiment at left-wing media” after four seasons, revealing that an infamous on-air clash with enduring face mask proponent Behar, a “toxic work environment” rife with behind-the-scenes drama, ultimately led to her exit from ABC’s long-running daytime show.

    “We had a respectful understanding of each other’s roles. Whenever we got in a fight, she would talk it out,” McCain, 37, said of Behar in her audio memoir “Bad Republican.” “The thing that makes me really, really sad is there was a period of time that I got along really well with her.”

    The two clashed countless times over politics concerning Joe Biden’s meeting with Russian President, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, the handling of mask mandates, etc. Things took a real turn in January 2021, when only two days after McCain returned from maternity leave, Behar told her she did not miss her at all.

    “I had postpartum anxiety. When I was back, I was really nervous. It was like starting TV all over again. I felt unsteady. I was trying to make a joke, ‘You missed me so much.’ If you watch the clip, her reaction is very sharp,” McCain continued, adding that Behar didn’t apologize to her, even though she cried during the commercial break and had a panic attack in her office when the show ended.

    John McCain’s proud daughter’s fellow conservative panelist pal — Abby Huntsman — preceded McCain’s exit in January 2020. At the time, she said it was to help out her dad, Republican politician Jon Huntsman Jr., with his Utah gubernatorial campaign.

    However, Huntsman, 36, later admitted the honest reason for her departure: The show’s workplace environment, she said, “did not reflect my values” and was “rewarding people for bad behavior.”

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    Multiple People Dead After Vehicle Plows Into Fireworks Stand in ‘Major Crash’

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    Two people in Washington, D.C. are dead after a pickup truck crashed into a firework stand on Saturday.

    The crash happened on Saturday afternoon around 5:30 p.m. near Nannie Helen Burroughs Ave Northeast and Minnesota Avenue when the driver of a pickup truck ran a red light and hit a bicyclist on a crosswalk.

    After hitting the bicyclist, the driver then careened off the road then crashed into a firework stand, according to police.

    The bicyclist and the person behind the firework stand, both males, were pronounced dead, police said.

    Police said that the driver of the vehicle was believed to have been experiencing a medical emergency when the crash happened.

    No other people were injured in the incident, according to police.

    A picture shared by the Washington, D.C. Police Department shows fireworks scattered on the ground as well as a gas station sign that appears to also have been hit.

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    Trump May Make 2024 Presidential Announcement This Month

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    Former President Donald Trump has apparently made the decision that he will campaign again for the presidency and the announcement could be coming quicker than even his own team was prepared for.

    The 45th President of the United States could make the announcement as soon as this month, The New York Times reported in a breaking story on Friday evening.

    “The timing of a formal announcement from Mr. Trump remains uncertain. But he recently surprised some advisers by saying he might declare his candidacy on social media without warning even his own team, and aides are scrambling to build out basic campaign infrastructure in time for an announcement as early as this month,” The Times said.

    The report said that some Republicans are concerned that an announcement before the midterms could help the Democrats use the former president as a campaign issue.

    “Republicans want to win badly in 2022, and it is dawning on many of them that relitigating the 2020 election with Trump’s daily conspiracy diatribes are sure losers,” Republican strategist and former chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, Dick Wadhams , said.

    But there are other concerns about an announcement this far in advance of the 2024 presidential election.

    “One of the most compelling arguments against an early announcement had been federal campaign finance laws. If and when Mr. Trump announces, he would be ineligible to use any of the $100 million that he has parked in his political action committee to directly support his presidential run. His campaign would also be constrained by a strict $2,900-per-person donation cap for the primaries, meaning he could tap his largest donors only once over the next period of roughly two years to directly fund a candidacy,” The Times said.

    Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is said to be one of the people close to the former president that is encouraging him to make the announcement sooner.

    “It’s up to him if he runs or not,” he said. “But the key to him being successful is comparing his policy agenda and policy successes with what is going on today.”

    Last month some said that his announcement could come as soon as the Fourth of July, NBC News reported.

    Some believe he should wait until after the midterm elections to make his announcement, but others believe he should make an announcement before then to cut off any steam other possible contenders are getting.

    “I’ve laid out my case on why I think he should do it,” his longtime adviser Jason Miller, said as he accompanied the former president to a rally in Wyoming over Memorial Day weekend. “I think that there being clarity about what his intentions are [is important] so he can start building that operation while it’s still fresh in people’s minds and they’re still active — a lot of that can be converted into 2024 action.”

    Another adviser who believes that Trump should wait until after the midterms said that he believes the announcement is going to be “sooner rather than later.”

    The adviser said that one question is “whether he can sort of suppress his excitement about a 2024 rematch and not, say, go ahead and put that statement out … and waits for a big event, a big speech to do it.”

    “A betting person says he’s doing it, and he also wants to crowd out the rest of the field,” they said.

    Two people in Trump’s orbit told NBC News they had been asked informally to hold July 4 as a date for a possible announcement, but Miller — noting that Trump hasn’t yet decided to run — said it is “not true” that the day has been reserved, even unofficially, for a launch.

    Without specifically addressing the question of timing, Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich said in a text exchange with NBC News that he sees growing public appetite for a Trump comeback.

    “America was strong, prosperous, and greatly respected under President Trump, and that’s why he continues to have unprecedented strength through his endorsement record and the demand for his leadership has never been higher,” the spokesman said.

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    Biden Taps Anthem-Kneeler Megan Rapinoe for Nation’s Highest Civilian Honor

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    President Joe Biden announced Friday that soccer star and Left-wing political activist Megan Rapinoe, who famously took a knee during the playing of our national anthem, will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

    The honor will be presented to “individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public or private endeavors,” a press release from the White House said.

    “President Biden has long said that America can be defined by one word: possibilities. These seventeen Americans demonstrate the power of possibilities and embody the soul of the nation – hard work, perseverance, and faith,” the statement continued. “They have overcome significant obstacles to achieve impressive accomplishments in the arts and sciences, dedicated their lives to advocating for the most vulnerable among us, and acted with bravery to drive change in their communities – and across the world – while blazing trails for generations to come.”

    Describing Rapinoe, the White House said the athlete “is a prominent advocate for gender pay equality, racial justice, and LGBTQI+ rights.”

    The 36-year-old is known for the leftist activism, including her choice to take a knee multiple times during the playing of the national anthem before soccer games. During last year’s Tokyo Olympics, for example, U.S. women’s soccer team captain Rapinoe took a knee before the game with other players to “protest racism,” though the protest was not during the anthem.

    More recently, the forward made waves when she argued last month that female athletes and their parents need to suck it up over advantages biologically male transgender athletes might have over girls.

    “I would also encourage everyone out there who is afraid someone’s going to have an unfair advantage over their kid to really take a step back and think what are we actually talking about here,” Rapinoe said. “We’re talking about people’s lives. I’m sorry, your kid’s high school volleyball team just isn’t that important.”

    “And I think people also need to understand that sports is not the most important thing in life, right?” she added. “Life is the most important thing in life.”

    Notably, iconic conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Donald Trump in 2020, shortly before Limbaugh’s passing.

    “Rush, in recognition of all that you have done for our nation, the millions of people a day that you speak to and that you inspire, and all of the incredible work that you have done for charity, I am proud to announce tonight that you will be receiving our country’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom,” Trump announced.

    Other notable figures to receive the award from President Biden include actor Denzel Washington, gymnast Simone Biles, the late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, and former U.S. Senator John McCain, who passed away in 2018.

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    AIR SHOW DISASTER: Jet-Fueled Truck Racing Planes Up to 300 Mph Bursts Into Flames, Killing 1 Person

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    One person is reported dead at a Michigan air show after a “jet truck” exploded into flames on Saturday afternoon.

    The Shockwave Jet Truck was racing two planes at speeds up to 300 miles per hour before exploding into flames as onlookers watched, according to WXMI-TV.

    The city of Battle Creek, Michigan said that one person died in the explosion.

    Video of the explosion, which took place at the Field of Flight air show, circulated on social media.

    Watch:

    The show was suspended while emergency crews responded to the explosion.

    The Federal Aviation Administration is reportedly on the scene investigating along with local authorities.

    Field of Flight is one of the largest airshow and balloon festivals in the country and was scheduled to last through Monday.

    The Field of Flight website promotes the Shockwave Jet Truck as “probably the most famous jet truck in the world.”

    “Chris Darnell will bring the SHOCKWAVE to Battle Creek, racing at well over 300 mph down our runway,” the website says. “This year, SHOCKWAVE will look a bit different, as it is painted to honor all of those who have served and are presently serving. It also has a TOP GUN appearance to coincide with the release of the new TOP GUN: MAVERICK later this year.”

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    WATCH: American Actor Stricken With Monkeypox Goes Public: ‘This S*** Sucks’

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    A gay actor has become the first American monkeypox victim to go public, writing about his terrifying experience with the virus that causes painful lesions all over the body.

    Matt Ford, who stars in an upcoming thriller called “Beauty Marc,” wrote about his experience in a first-person article for BuzzFeed, where he previously worked on the video team. He said he learned he got the dreaded virus when a friend in Los Angeles, with whom he’d had unspecified skin-on-skin contact, reached out to him.

    “On Friday, June 17, that quickly changed. “I received a call from a friend in LA who informed me that he had tested positive for monkeypox and that I might have been exposed the weekend prior via skin-to-skin contact,” Ford wrote. “Sure enough, I checked myself for spots and noticed a couple of lesions in the underwear zone.”

    In a TikTok video, Ford blasted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for not doing more to stop monkeypox (information he says he learned from his doctor), which has been around for decades, but recently flared up in hotspots around the world. More than 300 Americans are believed to have contracted monkeypox.

    “As of now, it seems to be primarily affecting queer men, but it can easily spread to anyone,” Ford said.

    In addition to “really f***ing painful” lesions, Ford described symptoms that include fever, chills, a cough, sore throat, and flu-like aches.

    Ford first revealed he had monkeypox on social media, then wrote the BuzzFeed post which is accompanied by a video of him detailing his ordeal.

    “I’m a proud openly gay man, and I split my time between Los Angeles and New York,” he wrote. “I decided last week to speak out about my case on social media to hopefully curb more infections ahead of New York Pride.”

    Ford says he seems to be getting better – slowly.

    “The flu-like symptoms abated slowly,” he wrote. “By Friday, a week after I’d first detected lesions, I felt mostly normal — at least, besides the lesions, which continued to appear. To date, I have counted more than 25, and they’re all over: on my arms, legs, hands, feet, and scalp.”

    The virus was first discovered in 1958 among research monkeys, but spread to humans in the early 1970s. While extremely rare and not easily transmitted, the ongoing outbreak has been traced to gay sexual activity at two recent raves in Europe, according to the World Health Organization.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) is planning to rename monkeypox “as soon as possible,” amid claims the existing name is racist and discriminatory to Africa. Monkeypox is not fatal and there are vaccines available.

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    Burger King Employee Who Didn’t Miss a Day for 27 Years Gets $300K in Donations

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    A Las Vegas Burger King employee who has been with the company for 27 years without ever taking a day off went viral after his managers gave him a mediocre gift for his service — and now close to $300,000 has been raised for him.

    Kevin Ford, 54, has toiled as a cashier and cook at the chain’s McCarran International Airport location since 1995 and when his 27th anniversary came along, his bosses gifted him a backpack stuffed with a movie ticket, a Starbucks cup, candy and chocolate, FOX 11 reported.

    Video of him accepting the gift and thanking his coworkers soon went viral but many people who saw the clip were shocked he’d be given such a paltry thank you present following his years of loyalty with the company.

    His daughters soon set up a GoFundMe page for their dad, seeking to raise about $200, but nearly $300,000 in donations have come in and the number keeps rising.

    “The man in that video is my father. He has worked at his job for 27 years and yes, he has never missed a day of work,” Ford’s daughter Seryna wrote on the fundraiser.

    “He originally began working at this job as a single father when he gained custody of me and my older sister 27 years ago. Then as our family grew and he remarried, he continued to work there because of the amazing health insurance that was provided.”

    Seryna wrote the family was in “no way” asking for money “but if anyone feels like blessing him he would love to visit his grandchildren.”

    @thekeep777 He’s Worked for the Company for Almost 3 Decades and Has Never Called Out!!!😵‍💫🥺😱😭 #Grateful #Dads #FathersDay #Loyalty #Honor #WorkersUnite #Rewards #Thankful #NorrinRadd777 #theKeep777 ♬ Slide (feat. Frank Ocean & Migos) – Calvin Harris

    On Tuesday, his wish came true when he was flown out to New York City to appear on NBC’s “Today” show and was reunited with his grandchildren live on television.

    “I haven’t seen my grandkids in over four years, until the other day when ‘The Today Show’ flew me out to New York and I got to see them live on TV,” Ford told the outlet.

    “I’ve been crying for all these days as it is and of course I’m crying live on TV again seeing my grandbabies.”

    As for the money that’s been raised for him, Ford said he doesn’t have any plans to retire or take a vacation just yet and is solely focused on his family.

    “You never know, it’s day to day but I haven’t thought of anything to do with that money except to visit my grandkids for a while and maybe put some up for their college, but I’m not even thinking about that,” he told the outlet.

    “I’m just working.”

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