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Alabama, Georgia teams stay in locker rooms for anthem, but it had nothing to do with Trump

Before Alabama and Georgia played the NCAA Football National Championship game, the Zac Brown Band took the field to sing the national anthem. They were joined on the field by President Donald Trump, who attended the game.

>> Alabama beats Georgia to win College Football Playoff National Championship

>> PHOTOS: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Georgia Bulldogs

However, some were quick to point out some notable absences on the sidelines: both teams.

Players for Alabama and Georgia were nowhere to be seen as the anthem was played, prompting some to wonder if they’d been kept in the locker rooms to avoid an unsightly protest in front of Trump.

>> Visit AJC.com for complete coverage of the national championship game

The Trump administration has made national anthem protests in the NFL an intense focus point in the first year in office, with Vice President Mike Pence attending a Colts game in October only to leave as players protested during the national anthem. At the time, Pence said, “I left today’s Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our flag, or our national anthem.”

>> Visit WSBTV.com for more Georgia Bulldogs news

The walkout — which the administration denies was planned — reportedly cost taxpayers $242,000.

But there was to be no walking out for any players at the NCAA National Championship game. Unlike the NFL, almost no college football teams take the field until after the national anthem, according to The Associated Press.

>> More coverage from DawgNation.com

In all, eight of the 14 schools in the Big Ten are on the field for the national anthem. In the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), just two teams take the field. And no teams in the Big 12, PAC-12, or Southeastern Conference (SEC) are on field for the national anthem.

>> Read more trending news 

“Most schools are wise enough not to play the national anthem while players are on the field,” Kansas State coach Bill Snyder told the AP at the time, adding, “I concur with that.”

Oprah 2020? Winfrey 'would absolutely' run for president, partner Stedman Graham says

Update 10:25 a.m. Jan. 8: Two friends, who were not identified, told CNN on Monday that Oprah Winfrey is "actively thinking" about running for president.

Friends have been urging her to run for office for months, according to the news station. A friend emphasized Monday to CNN that “Winfrey has not made up her mind about running.”

Original report: Would Oprah Winfrey ever run for president? It's a possibility, according to her partner, Stedman Graham.

>> Oprah moves the Golden Globes audience with inspirational acceptance speech

"It's up to the people," Graham, told the Los Angeles Times on Sunday. "She would absolutely do it."

>> Golden Globes 2018: Why did stars wear black? Ceremony tackled political, social issues

>> 2018 Golden Globe Awards: 'Three Billboards' is best drama, complete winner list

Graham's remarks came as Winfrey's fans flocked to social media to praise her Golden Globes speech.

>> PHOTOS: 2018 Golden Globes red carpet

"I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon," Winfrey said as she became the first black woman to win the Cecil B. DeMille Award. "And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say 'Me too' again. 

>> PHOTOS: 2018 Golden Globe Awards

Soon afterward, #Oprah2020 became a top trending topic on Twitter.

But don't get too excited, fans. When a Bloomberg reporter asked Winfrey about the trending hashtag Sunday night, she denied that she plans to run. 

>> Read more trending news 

"I don't; I don't," she said, according to the report.

We'll just have to wait and see.

Here's what Kathy Griffin did on first New Year's Eve after CNN fired her

Comic Kathy Griffin‘s social media post depicting a bloody image of herself posed with a prop head of President Donald Trump prompted tour cancellations and got her fired from her gig co-hosting CNN’s New Year’s Eve broadcast.

>> PHOTOS: New Year's celebrations around the world

That was seven months ago.

By New Year’s Eve, Griffin had found new footing – and made some new plans with her mom and her puppy:

>> Watch the video here

Griffin posted a somber video shortly after the firestorm sparked by the image, saying, “I sincerely apologize. I’m a comic. I crossed the line ... I went way too far. The image is too disturbing. I understand how it offends people. It wasn’t funny. I get it.”

>> Mariah Carey finds her New Year's tea, takes Twitter by storm

She soon struck a more defiant chord, suggesting during a news conference that anger over the image was a political cover.

“We all know what’s going on here. They’re using me as a shiny object so that nobody’s talking about his FBI investigation…I’ve had everybody turn on me. I just want to make everybody laugh.”

She went on to call Trump a “fool.”

>> Read more trending news 

“My impression is that they have mobilized their Army,” she said at the time. “It’s quite clear to me that they are using me as a distraction. I’m not going to be collateral damage for this fool. I think he’s a fool. I think the president is a fool.”

She became emotional, asked what the future holds: “I don’t think I will have a career over this. I’m going to be honest. He broke me.”

Turns out, he didn't.

Tiffany Trump rings in new year at Playboy party

After a week at Mar-a-Lago with her presidential family, Tiffany Trump headed to California to spend New Year’s Eve with a very different kind of group.

>> Trump golfs, meets with Florida's governor before hosting gala event

The first daughter was a guest at a Los Angeles bash hosted by heir to the Playboy throne Cooper Hefner. The 24-year-old was photographed speaking to Hefner and posing beside his fiancee, Scarlett Byrne, as well as other friends, multiple media outlets reported, including the Washington PostPage SixPeople and the Daily Mail.

>> PHOTOS: Tiffany Trump through the years

The event marked the first New Year’s Eve bash since magazine founder Hugh Hefner’s death on Sept. 27. He was 91 years old.

The late Hefner reportedly had wanted Marla Maples — Tiffany’s mother and Donald Trump’s second wife — to pose in his controversial magazine just three years before Tiffany’s birth. However, the actress turned down the offer.

>> Read more trending news 

“I’m thankful for my body, but I didn’t want to exploit it,” she reportedly said. “How would I ever be taken seriously?”

City official accused of ‘teasing’ liberal coworker with shotgun

A city official in southeast Missouri is facing criminal charges after investigators say he repeatedly pumped a shotgun inside the office to “tease” a liberal coworker.

Denis Kearbey, the streets superintendent for the city of Poplar Bluff, is facing a felony charge of unlawful use of a weapon, according to the Riverfront Times. Out on bond, Kearbey, 53, remains a city employee but cannot work because a court order forbids him from stepping foot on city property. 

He pleaded not guilty during a court appearance last week. 

The Times reported that state police officials accused Kearbey in court documents of bringing a short-barreled, pump-action shotgun into the office Sept. 12 and waving it around.

“Mr. Kearbey pumped the shotgun multiple times and asked (a city clerk) if she was scared,” state troopers wrote in a probable cause statement. 

The woman told investigators that she was terrified but did not tell Kearbey she was scared. She later called law enforcement to report Kearbey’s behavior.

>> Read more trending news

Troopers went to Kearbey’s home, where they questioned him and obtained permission to search his city vehicle. In the vehicle, they found a .22-caliber rifle with a suppressor, the newspaper reported

Though Kearbey told the investigators that the city bought the suppressor for him to shoot groundhogs, he could not provide proof of that claim, investigators said. The troopers arrested Kearbey for the suppressor and booked him into the Butler County Jail. 

While he was jailed, the troopers obtained a search warrant for his house. That search resulted in the seizure of a black, pistol-grip Remington 870 shotgun believed to be used in the crime, the Times reported. The shotgun was found under a bed in the house. 

When investigators returned to the jail and continued questioning Kearbey, he admitted taking the shotgun into the office, court documents said.

“Mr. Kearbey stated he did take the firearm into the office and was teasing (the clerk) about being a liberal,” the documents said. “Mr. Kearbey stated he pumped the shotgun, but never threatened anybody with it.”

Kearbey has been the city’s streets superintendent since February 2015, when the previous superintendent was suspended without pay following accusations that he shot a woman during a custody dispute.

The Southeast Missourian reported that Jeremy Grable is charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action in connection with the shooting, which took place at his home. Poplar Bluff police officers had received a 911 call about the custody dispute prior to the shooting. 

The woman, who was shot in the chest, lost a lung but survived. That case is pending. 

Kearbey’s attorney, Daniel Moore, told the Times that he does not believe the state’s case meets legal standards to sustain the felony charge against his client. He pointed to the rural nature of Poplar Bluff, which is known as the “Gateway to the Ozarks.”

“Hell, it’s Poplar Bluff. People have guns all the time,” Moore told the newspaper. “Jacking a pump shotgun is not equal to displaying it in a threatening manner.”

Moore said he believes Kearbey will be found not guilty.

WATCH: Joe Biden puts politics aside on 'The View' in emotional moment with Meghan McCain

Former Vice President Joe Biden set political differences aside on “The View” when he consoled Meghan McCain over the cancer diagnosis of her father, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, telling her that there’s “hope.”

Sen. McCain was recently diagnosed with the glioblastoma, the same cancer that took the life of Biden’s son, Beau, in 2015.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

“The View” co-host brought up her father’s illness while talking with the former vice president on the show Wednesday, saying that she thinks about Beau “almost every day,” but she wasn’t able to talk about it very long before breaking down.

Biden quickly consoled Meghan, telling her “there’s a lot of hope.” He then went on to talk about how Beau and Sen. McCain had become friends years ago and told her how his son talked about her father’s courage.

>> Watch the clip here

The former vice president also talked about how there are cancer therapy breakthroughs every day, but he kept coming back to Sen. McCain’s courage.

“There is hope, and if anybody can make it, your dad [can],” Biden said, before talking about his relationship with John McCain, saying that they were like brothers from “different fathers.”

Biden also joked about his political differences with the ailing senator, but added, “I know if I picked up the phone tonight and called John McCain, and said, ‘John, I’m at Second and Vine in Oshkosh, and I need your help. Come,' he’d get on a plane and come. And I would for him, too.”

>> Read more trending news 

He continued: “Beau insisted on, and your dad’s gonna insist on, you gotta maintain hope. You have to have hope."

Sen. McCain was diagnosed with the deadly form of cancer in July, according to The Hill. He revealed in September that his doctors gave him a “very poor” prognosis, the Arizona Republic reported.

Meghan McCain, who tied the knot last month with Ben Domenech, revealed that she had moved up her wedding because of her father’s diagnosis, saying that she lives from “scan to scan," People reported.

Who was Dan Johnson? Kentucky lawmaker accused of sexual assault dies in suicide, coroner says

A Kentucky state lawmaker accused of sexually assaulting a teenager died Wednesday night of a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Bullitt County Coroner’s Office said Thursday in an autopsy report. 

Here's what we know about Republican state Rep. Dan Johnson, who was elected in 2016:

>> Russell Simmons accused of rape by 3 more woman, but ‘vehemently’ denies it

A woman accused Johnson, pastor of the Heart of Fire church in Louisville, of sexually assaulting her in his basement when she was 17. According to a Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting article published Monday, she reported the alleged incident, which occurred on New Year's Eve 2012, to police, who later closed the case without filing charges. Read more here.

>> PBS suspends ‘Tavis Smiley’ show amid investigation of sexual misconduct

Johnson denied the allegation Tuesday at a news conference at his church. "These are unfounded accusations, totally," the 57-year-old pastor said after he and his supporters sang "O Come All Ye Faithful," the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

He added: "I think this is an assault on all real people. This is an absolute assault on real people. There’s no perfect people. You get into office and all of a sudden, political hacks want to come against you and start accusing you after you’re in office."

This wasn't Johnson's first brush with controversy. When he ran for office in 2016, critics slammed him for sharing racist Facebook memes comparing the Obamas to monkeys, as well as numerous anti-Islam messages, WDRB reported. Although the Republican Party of Kentucky called for Johnson to withdraw his candidacy, he stayed in the race and won.

>> Read more trending news

The following post appeared on Johnson's Facebook page Wednesday shortly before his death:

"The accusations from NPR are false GOD and only GOD knows the truth, nothing is the way they make it out to be. AMERICA will not survive this type of judge and jury fake news . Conservatives take a stand. I LOVE GOD and I LOVE MY WIFE, who is the best WIFE in the world,My Love Forever ! My Mom and Dad my FAMILY and all five of my kids and Nine grandchildren two in tummies and many more to come each of you or a total gift from GOD stay strong, REBECCA needs YOU . 9-11-2001 NYC/WTC, PTSD 24/7 16 years is a sickness that will take my life, I cannot handle it any longer. IT Has Won This Life . BUT HEAVEN IS MY HOME. “PLEASE LISTEN CLOSELY, Only Three things I ask of you to do,if you love me is (1)blame no person,Satan is the accuser, so blame the Devil himself. (2) Forgive and Love everyone especially yourself .(3)most importantly LOVE GOD. P.S. I LOVE MY FRIENDS YOU ARE FAMILY ! GOD LOVES ALL PEOPLE NO MATTER WHAT ! "

Officials said Johnson was found dead with a single gunshot wound in a "probable suicide" Wednesday night, WDRB reported. Officers believe he shot himself in front of his car after parking off a road in Mount Washington.

>> Trump on Roy Moore's loss in Alabama Senate race: 'I was right'

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin reacted to the news on Twitter. "Just terrible news from Kentucky tonight on the passing of Rep. Dan Johnson," Paul wrote. "I cannot imagine his pain or the heartbreak his family is dealing with tonight. Kelley and I pray for his loved ones."

Bevin wrote: "Saddened to hear of tonight’s death of KY Representative Dan Johnson...My heart breaks for his family tonight...These are heavy days in Frankfort and in America...May God indeed shed His grace on us all...We sure need it..."

Anderson Cooper's Twitter hacked, CNN says of tweet calling Trump 'pathetic loser'

Anderson Cooper's Twitter account was compromised Wednesday morning when someone replied to one of President Donald Trump's tweets under Cooper's name, CNN said.

>> Trump on Roy Moore's loss in Alabama Senate race: 'I was right'

>> Click here or scroll down for more

>> Read more trending news

Trump on Roy Moore's loss in Alabama Senate race: 'I was right'

President Donald Trump took to Twitter early Wednesday to weigh in on Republican Roy Moore's stunning loss in the Alabama Senate race.

>> Who is Doug Jones, Democrat facing Roy Moore in Alabama Senate race?

>> Alabama Senate race: Doug Jones defeats Roy Moore

>> Click here or scroll down for more

>> Read more trending news 

USA Today editorial: Trump 'not fit' to clean Obama library toilets, shine George W. Bush's shoes

USA Today's editorial board blasted President Donald Trump on Tuesday in a scathing response to his controversial tweet about Democratic U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

>> Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand calls Trump tweet 'a sexist smear'

Trump's Tuesday morning tweet, which accused Gillibrand of "begging" him for campaign contributions and said she "would do anything for them," was widely criticized as being sexually suggestive. His post came after Gillibrand called for his resignation amid sexual misconduct allegations.

>> See the tweet here

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied claims that Trump's tweet was sexist and said those who read it as suggestive had their minds "in the gutter."

USA Today's editorial board disagreed.

"With his latest tweet, clearly implying that a United States senator would trade sexual favors for campaign cash, President Trump has shown he is not fit for office," the editorial board wrote. "Rock bottom is no impediment for a president who can always find room for a new low."

>> Alabama Senate race: Doug Jones defeats Roy Moore

The editorial added that Trump "is not fit to clean the toilets in the Barack Obama Presidential Library or to shine the shoes of George W. Bush."

"This isn’t about the policy differences we have with all presidents or our disappointment in some of their decisions," the piece continued. "Obama and Bush both failed in many ways. They broke promises and told untruths, but the basic decency of each man was never in doubt."

The editorial described Trump as "uniquely awful" and blasted him for what it called "sickening behavior."

>> Read more trending news 

"The nation doesn’t seek nor expect perfect presidents, and some have certainly been deeply flawed," the piece concluded. "But a president who shows such disrespect for the truth, for ethics, for the basic duties of the job and for decency toward others fails at the very essence of what has always made America great."

Read the editorial here.

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