Trump adds conservative lawyer to his legal team

WASHINGTON — Joseph DiGenova, a former U.S. attorney and occasional commentator on Fox News, will join President Donald Trump’s legal team, his attorneys announced Monday, signaling a more confrontational approach to the investigation headed by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

DiGenova will start this week, according to a statement released by Jay Sekulow, one of the lawyers representing Trump in the Mueller investigation.

“I have worked with Joe for many years and have full confidence that he will be a great asset in our representation of the president.,” Sekulow said.

Like Sekulow and John Dowd, DiGenova will act as a personal attorney for Trump, not a White House lawyer. Another attorney, Ty Cobb, works on the White House staff handling matters related to the Mueller investigation.

DiGenova, 73, was U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia during the Reagan administration. He’s been outspoken in his belief that FBI and Justice Department officials plotted against Trump during the 2016 campaign.

Some Trump allies have urged the president to be more combative with the special counsel, an impulse that became public over the weekend when Dowd publicly said that Mueller’s investigation should be ended.

Cobb later issued a statement saying that Trump is not considering firing Mueller.

—Tribune Washington Bureau

Where did their Twitter go? FIU bridge builder MCM deletes social media accounts

MIAMI — Munilla Construction Management, the construction firm behind the Florida International University pedestrian bridge that collapsed last week, has deleted its Twitter account.

It’s unclear when the company did away with the page, along with content that once boasted about the state-of-the-art bridge.

The company’s Facebook and Instagram pages also have been deleted. MCM’s website and LinkedIn page are still active.

Just a week before the bridge collapsed at the center of Southwest Eighth Street and 109th Avenue, killing six people, MCM tweeted about the mammoth structure’s weight.

“#FunFact: The new pedestrian bridge connecting @FIU to the @CitySweetwater weighs 950 tons, equivalent to approximately 271 elephants! #WeAreMCM,” the company posted, according to cached content.

That same day, MCM retweeted the city of Sweetwater, as well as FIU.

An MCM spokesman said Monday that the company temporarily deactivated the accounts “out of consideration to the families of victims.”

—Miami Herald

15 children killed in airstrike on school in Syria, monitor says

BEIRUT — At least 15 children were killed late Monday when an airstrike hit a school shelter in Eastern Ghouta, on the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus, a conflict monitor said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said planes believed to be Russian hit the school shelter, which was being used by civilians.

“Usually regime planes do not fly at night, but Russian warplanes do,” said activist Nour Adam.

Fifty-two people were wounded in the strike on the enclave, which has been a rebel stronghold since 2012. Syrian government forces backed by Russian air power began a major operation to retake Eastern Ghouta a month ago.

Activists in the area described the scene as “horrific” and said the bodies of small children were everywhere.

The death toll was likely to increase as some of the injured have serious wounds, Observatory head Rami Abdel-Rahman told dpa.

“Those people were hiding in the basement of the school thinking schools will not be hit, but for this tyrant (Syrian President Bashar Assad) and his allies the Russians there are no safe areas inside Eastern Ghouta; all for them are terrorists, even the children,” Abdel-Rahman said.

Since launching their assault, Syrian government forces have advanced deep inside the enclave and split it up, triggering a mass exodus from the area, which U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called “hell on earth.”

Around 50,000 civilians have fled the embattled region to government-controlled areas since Thursday alone, according to Observatory estimates.

And at least 1,454 people are thought to have been killed in Eastern Ghouta, including 297 children and 183 women, the Britain-based watchdog says.