Reporter Says Montana GOP Candidate ‘Body Slammed’ Him

On the eve of Montana?s special election, a reporter for The Guardian on Wednesday accused Greg Gianforte, the millionaire Republican running for the state?s open congressional seat, of assaulting him. 

Guardian political reporter Ben Jacobs said Gianforte ?body slammed me and broke my glasses? after he asked a question about the Republican health care legislation.

In an audio recording posted by The Guardian, Jacobs can be heard asking Gianforte about the recently released Congressional Budget Office report on the Republican health care replacement bill. Then there?s a loud crash. 

?I?m sick and tired of you guys,? Gianforte says. ?The last time you came here you did the same thing. Get the hell out of here!? 

?Jesus Christ,? Jacobs said. ?You just body slammed me and broke my glasses.? 

?Get the hell out of here,? Gianforte says again.

?If you?d like me to get the hell out of here, I?d also like to call the police,? Jacobs says. 

A Fox News crew was in the room at Gianforte?s campaign headquarters in Bozeman when Jacobs walked in.

?Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him,? reporter Alicia Acuna wrote on the Fox News website. She said the three-member team ?watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the man, as he moved on top the reporter and began yelling something to the effect of ?I?m sick and tired of this!? 

Acuna added: ?To be clear, at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte.? She said the Fox crew had given statements to investigators.

Alexis Levinson, a BuzzFeed reporter, saw part of the clash.

?This happened behind a half closed door, so I didn?t see it all, but here?s what it looked like from the outside,? Levinson wrote on Twitter. ?Ben walked into a room where a local tv crew was set up for an interview with Gianforte … All of a sudden I heard a giant crash and saw Ben?s feet fly in the air as he hit the floor.?

Jacobs reported the attack to local police. The Gallatin County Sheriffs Office confirmed in a statement late Wednesday that it is investigating an alleged assault involving Gianforte. It said the investigation is ?ongoing? and it would provide additional details ?when appropriate.? 

Gianforte?s office blamed ?liberal journalist? Jacobs for the confrontation. Spokesman Shane Scanlon said in a statement that Jacobs barged into an interview in a private office and ?aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg?s face and began asking badgering questions.?

After Jacobs refused to leave, Scanlon said, Gianforte ?attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg?s wrist and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground. It?s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene.? 

In an interview with MSNBC from the hospital, Jacobs called it ?the strangest moment? of his reporting career. 

?I don?t mind being blown off by politicians and I also am always terribly uncomfortable being part of a story,? he told host Chris Hayes. ?And now it seems like I became the story.? 

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin, speaking to reporters at a press conference later on Wednesday night, pleaded with the community to stop calling his office?s dispatch center, and said he wouldn?t provide much information until the investigation is finished. Asked why charges were not filed at the scene, Gootkin said: ?Because we did not have all the information at that time.?

The high-profile incident on the eve of Election Day throws a contentious race into turmoil. Gianforte is locked in a tight race with Rob Quist, a banjo-playing folk musician who has never sought public office before.

Quist, asked to comment outside a campaign event, told reporters, ?I think that?s more a matter for law enforcement.? He brushed aside further questions. 

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee called on Gianforte to drop out of the race. The GOP ?should not waste another minute before publicly denouncing their candidate and apologizing for the millions of dollars they spent on his behalf,? DCCC spokesman Tyler Law said in a statement.

Although Gianforte has led Quist in public polling, his lead has shrunk in recent weeks as Quist has tied him to the unpopular Republican health care bill passed by the House of Representatives earlier this month. Even as Gianforte reserved judgment on the bill in public, The New York Times obtained a recording of a call with Republican-leaning lobbyists in which Gianforte said he was ?thankful for? the bill?s passage. He later tried to walk back the comments, but Quist pilloried him for it in advertisements and on the campaign trail.

News of Wednesday?s violence could be a blow that dooms Gianforte?s campaign, ensuring a Quist victory and a major win for Democrats nationally.

Progressive activists across the country have poured money into Quist?s race, seeing it as an opportunity to signal dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump in a state he won by 20 percentage points.

In the moments before the confrontation between Jacobs and Gianforte turned violent, the reporter can be heard asking the candidate to clarify his views on the GOP health care bill. A new Congressional Budget Office analysis of the legislation came out earlier in the day, presumably giving Gianforte information he needed to decide whether he supports it.

?You were waiting to make your decision about health care until you saw the bill and it just came out,? Jacobs began.

?We?ll talk to you about that later,? Gianforte replied.

?Yeah but there?s not gonna be time,? Jacobs shot back. ?I?m just curious about it right now.?

?Speak with Shane please,? Gianforte said, referring to his spokesman.

Then the recording cuts to the sound of scuffling.

Listen to The Guardian?s recording of the clash below:

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

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Sean Spicer Gets A Ride On The Nope Mobile

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Thanks to his reaction after meeting Donald Trump, we now know what the Pope would look like if he arrived late to a movie theater and had to sit in the front row. CBO projects 23 million more uninsured by 2026 under Trumpcare, but let that be President Dwayne Johnson?s problem. And Ben Carson effectively said poor people are poor because they?re terrible thinkers, so don?t be surprised when federal housing programs are gutted and entirely replaced by giveaways of ?Gifted Hands.? This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, May 24th, 2017:

CBO: 23 MILLION MORE UNINSURED BY 2026 – Yeah, but remember what Stalin said about a million deaths. Jonathan Cohn and Jeffrey Young: ?Twenty-three million fewer Americans would have insurance under legislation that House Republicans narrowly passed last month, the Congressional Budget Office reported on Wednesday. The agency also predicted the deficit would come down by $119 billion over the next decade ? and that premiums for people buying insurance on their own would be relatively lower than those premiums would be if the Affordable Care Act stays in place. But the reasons health insurance would be less expensive for some aren?t much to cheer about, the budget report makes clear. Prices would come down for healthy people because those who are sick or have illness in their medical histories would have less access to coverage ? and the policies available on the market would tend to be a lot less comprehensive.? [HuffPost]

Also this bit, from the CBO report: ?In particular, out-of-pocket spending on maternity care and mental health and substance abuse services could increase by thousands of dollars in a given year for the nongroup enrollees who would use those services.? [CBO Report] 

PAUL RYAN THRILLED: ?This CBO report again confirms that the American Health Care Act achieves our mission: lowering premiums and lowering the deficit.? 

RNC: FAKE NEWS! ?The CBO has a long track record of being way, way off in its modeling, with predictions often differing drastically from what actually happens.? 

COMEY GOT FAKE NEWS?D, TOO - Please tell us it was a dossier titled, ?Hillary Clinton did what?!?? Karoun Demirjian and Devlin Marrett: ?In the midst of the 2016 presidential primary season, the FBI received a purported Russian intelligence document describing a tacit understanding between the campaign of Hillary Clinton and the Justice Department over the inquiry into whether she intentionally revealed classified information through her use of a private email server? Current and former officials have said that document played a significant role in the July decision by then-FBI Director James B. Comey to announce on his own, without Justice Department involvement, that the investigation was over. That public announcement ? in which he criticized Clinton and made extensive comments about the evidence ? set in motion a chain of other FBI moves that Democrats now say helped Trump win the presidential election. But according to the FBI?s own assessment, the document was bad intelligence ? and according to people familiar with its contents, possibly even a fake sent to confuse the bureau.? [WaPo]

NEVER MIND ABOUT THOSE FOOD STAMP CUTS – Joseph Erbentraut and Arthur Delaney: ?U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue faced heated questioning Wednesday over President Donald Trump?s new proposal to slash food stamps?.Contrary to the budget, Perdue simply said that SNAP would be fully funded in the next fiscal year and that any changes would be up to Congress. ?The legislative proposal going forward is obviously something you and all of your members in Congress will deal with and have your stamp on that,? Perdue said. He also said he stood by his comment last week that SNAP isn?t broken and doesn?t need fixing. It?s true that presidential budgets are basically just suggestions, and that it will be up to Congress to set spending levels, but it?s hard to reconcile Perdue?s sunny outlook on SNAP with the Trump administration?s push to cut the program by $193 billion over 10 years, or more than 25 percent of the program?s projected cost in that time. One possible explanation for Perdue?s comment Wednesday is that he wants to pretend that Trump?s budget simply does not exist. A USDA spokesperson said the policy changes recommended in the budget would be considered by Congress when it next reauthorizes SNAP next year ? as in, not right now.? [HuffPost]

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MAN?S DEEPEST WISH UNFULFILLED BY DONALD TRUMP – Well, now Sean Spicer knows what it?s like to attend Trump U. Kevin Liptak and Jeff Zeleny: ?At the most highly anticipated meeting on President Donald Trump?s first foreign odyssey, the ever-shifting pecking order of a tumultuous White House was on full display. Not seen was one of Trump?s most visible hands: Sean Spicer, the embattled press secretary and Catholic who was eagerly anticipating the meeting with Pope Francis…Those were the expected faces. But there were others there, too ? less familiar yet nonetheless critical to the West Wing ecosystem. Hope Hicks, Trump?s communications adviser; Keith Schiller, his former bodyguard; and Dan Scavino, his social media master, all stood solemnly as Trump greeted the Pontiff…Asked about Spicer not being included in the group that met the Pope, a source close to the White House said: ?Wow. That?s all he wanted,? adding it should ?very much be seen as a slight.?? [CNN]

ITALIANS HATE DONALD TRUMP - 5/5 bungas for America?s commander-in-chief. S.V. Date: ?As President Donald Trump makes his Italian debut in meetings with Pope Francis and government leaders on Wednesday, many Italians can already express their impression of the new U.S. president with a single word: ?pazzo.? ?People think he?s a little crazy,? said Benedetta Alabardi, a pharmacist whose store sits a few hundred yards from St. Peter?s Square. ?The first impression is that he?s crazy and dangerous,? said Orasti Gionti, a project manager for a telecommunications consulting company, who allowed for the possibility that Trump?s outrageous statements were an act. ?Maybe he?s tricky.? Fruit vendor Chowdhury Rafiquizzaman saw no need for any such qualifier. ?He is crazy,? he said. ?Not only crazy, he is very crazy.?? [HuffPost]

Happy Wednesday. Here?s John Kasich speaking with 2 Chainz.

IJR is having a cutest dogs on the Hill contest and in the name of the fiery and unforgiving God of Content, you should enter it.

BETSY DEVOS CONTINUES TO MAKE AMERICA PROUD – At least she didn?t say that people should discriminate against LGBTQ kids like a business…yet. Jennifer Bendery: ?Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Wednesday that states should have the flexibility to decide whether schools can discriminate against LGBTQ students ? even if those schools get federal money. During a testy exchange in a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing, Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) told DeVos about Lighthouse Christian Academy, a private school in Indiana that receives state voucher money but denies admission to students from families where there is ?homosexual or bisexual activity? or someone ?practicing alternate gender identity.? Clark asked DeVos, whose budget seeks a $250 million increase for projects that include vouchers for private schools, if she would step in if that Indiana school applied for such federal funding. DeVos replied by saying she supports giving flexibility to states. ?For states who have programs that allow for parents to make choices, they set up the rules around that,? she said.? [HuffPost]

BEN CARSON URGES THE POOR TO THINK LESS POOR – Be creative, like the Egyptians, who made lemonade out of lemons and stored grain in their pyramids. Jose A. DelReal: ?In an interview released Wednesday, Housing Secretary Ben Carson said that a ?certain mindset? contributes to people living in poverty, pointing to habits and a ?state of mind? children take from their parents at a young age. ?I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind. You take somebody that has the right mindset, you can take everything from them and put them on the street and I guarantee in a little while they?ll be right back up there,? he said during an interview on SiriusXM Radio with Armstrong Williams, a longtime friend. ?And you take somebody with the wrong mindset, you can give them everything in the world, they?ll work their way right back down to the bottom,? he said.? [WaPo]

TED CRUZ CAN?T TAKE A JOKE – Remarkable that a man who takes most of his social cues from Tracy Flick, Ralph Reed and the John Birch Society would be such a pill. Burgess Everett: ?Ted Cruz called Al Franken ?obnoxious and insulting? for devoting an entire chapter to the Texas GOP senator in Franken?s new book titled ?Giant of the Senate.? Franken, who told USA Today that he hates Cruz in an interview promoting the book, has deemed Cruz ?singularly dishonest and smarmy.? Cruz, for his part, said that the Minnesota Democratic senator is just trying to goose his sales with the Cruz-centric chapter called ?Sophistry.? ?Al is trying to sell books and apparently he?s decided that being obnoxious and insulting me is good for causing liberals to buy his books,? Cruz said in an interview. ?I wish him all the best.?? [Politico]

BECAUSE YOU?VE READ THIS FAR - Here?s a dog interrupting a newscast.

FIRST ADVERTISER PULLS ADS FROM ?HANNITY? – This never would?ve happened if Colmes stayed on. Lydia O?Connor: ?Cars.com, the automotive classifieds site, said Wednesday that it?s pulling its advertisements from Sean Hannity?s Fox News show…The move by Cars.com to pull advertising mimics the start of a massive advertiser boycott that plagued Fox News host Bill O?Reilly, who was unceremoniously ousted from the network last month after after allegations of him sexually harassing female colleagues prompted protests and eventually led more than 50 companies to remove advertising from his show. ? [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- The first full-length trailer for the new ?Game of Thrones? season.

- Where Navy ships go to die.

- The heaviest weight on Earth.

TWITTERAMA

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The Upsetting Reason Millennial Women Take Less Vacation Than Men

According to a recently released study from the U.S. Travel Association?s ?Project: Time Off,? America saw its biggest uptick in people taking vacation days in the past 15 years. But there?s a discouraging trend in how many vacation days women take.

Despite the fact that more women than men ranked vacation as ?extremely? important to them in the survey, it remains that 48 percent of men used up all of their vacation days in 2016, compared to just 44 percent of women.

Millennial men took off more days than millennial women, which shouldn?t be too shocking, as men of all ages in the survey took more vacation than women of all ages. 

But the disparity between millennial men and millennial women is even greater than the disparity in other age groups. Only 44 percent of millennial women take time off compared to 51 percent of men, with the women citing guilt, fear of looking less committed to their job and work martyr habits as the reason. 

?We need to put to rest the fallacy that ?work ethic? is equivalent to work martyrdom,? Cait Debaun, director of communications for Project: Time Off, said in a press release. ?Not only are employees not getting ahead by sacrificing time off, these habits may also be harming their careers.? 

Senior director of Project: Time Off Katie Denis, who authored the report, told Fortune that this gap might be because millennial men feel more confident and secure in their jobs. She added that millennial women are more likely to hide their needs for a vacation and, when they do take a break, then apologize for time off. 

The health benefits of taking a vacation are innumerable. Time off gives your brain and your body a chance to recover from the stress of everyday life. People who make it a priority to go on trips have a lessoned risk of heart disease, better ability to control their emotions and can even experience happier relationships. When it comes to benefits at work, those who took time off reported being more focused at work when they returned from their trip. 

And while some of the statistics in the survey are bleak, Denis pointed out that the problems are all fixable. 

?The issues facing our workforce around vacation culture, while alarming, also present clear opportunities and solutions. Americans are using more vacation, and the positive change can continue if American workers?particularly senior leaders?prioritize conversation, planning, and modeling of good vacation behavior,? Denis said in a statement. 

The survey was conducted online by GfK between Jan. 26 and Feb. 20. GfK polled 7,331 U.S. workers over the age of 18, all of whom work more than 35 hours a week and receive paid time off from their employer.

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The Best Potato Salad Recipes, In Case You’re Sick Of Your Old One

No backyard barbecue is complete without potato salad ? this classic dish has a permanent place on our summertime menu. When potato salad is made right, it?s something pretty special. Its place alongside grilled chicken or burgers balances out the charred flavors of the grill with potato salad?s creamy attributes.

The only problem with potato salad is that it?s pretty easy to completely screw it up. If you?re a little heavy-handed with the mayonnaise (or for some people, if you use it at all) or if you don?t use the right kind of potatoes, you can end up with a big bowl of something no one wants to eat. Don?t let that happen to you. Stick with the recipes below. They won?t let you down.

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The Grateful Dead’s Wild Shows Were A Lot For Al Franken To Handle

The Grateful Dead?s legacy is rich enough to merit a four-hour documentary that includes an appearance from Al Franken, the former ?Saturday Night Live? performer and current United States senator who didn?t ?get? the druggy cult surrounding the band. HuffPost has an exclusive clip from ?Long Strange Trip: The Untold Story of the Grateful Dead? in which Franken recalls dirty scenes at Grateful Dead shows with all the charm of a primo dad. 

?Long Strange Trip? opens May 26 in New York and Los Angeles, and premieres June 2 on Amazon Prime. 

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Why Being Quiet Is A Sign Of Strength

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When I started out as a reporter, I had to learn to really listen, which didn?t come easily to me. I?m from a family that loves to debate and argue, and I?m naturally opinionated. Early in my career, I found myself frequently interrupting my subjects, but when I played back the tapes of my interviews, I realized that not only were many of my interjections totally unnecessary, but they were also preventing my subjects from revealing information that might have been newsworthy or profound. I gradually learned to just be quiet. What I most want from a conversation with others, whether they share my politics or loathe them, is understanding. It doesn?t mean you hide what you think or refrain from pressing someone who?s being unclear or evasive. But it does mean the purpose of the exchange is to tease out what a person truly believes rather than to win an argument, convert them, or show them up.

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Seth Meyers Trolls Trump Over Middle East Trip Flubs

President Donald Trump has been out of the country for only a few days, but ?Late Night? host Seth Meyers is already feeling the difference.

?It?s like when you were in school and your bully was out with the flu,? Meyers joked before launching into a recap of the president?s stumbles throughout his trip to the Middle East

In addition to ridiculing Trump over the fact that first lady Melania Trump publicly swatted away his hand, Meyers played a clip of the president telling the press that he ?just got back from the Middle East? while sitting next to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. 

?No wonder he thought Middle East peace was so easy. He wasn?t accounting for Israel,? Meyers said. ?What does he think the Middle East is?? Meyers then mockingly imitated Trump saying, ?I had a great weekend. We achieved peace between the Saudis and the Arabians.?

Watch the clip in the video above.

CORRECTION: In an earlier version of this story, the person sitting next to President Trump was misidentified. It was Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

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Deadly Blast At Ariana Grande Concert In Manchester

At least 19 people were killed and about 50 injured Monday in an explosion following a concert by American singer Ariana Grande in Manchester, England, in what police said was ?being treated as a terrorist incident.?

Greater Manchester Police responded to reports of an explosion at the Manchester Arena around 10:35 p.m. local time. As emergency personnel descended on the scene, police asked people to stay away from the area. 

?This is currently being treated as a terrorist incident until police know otherwise,? police said in a statement.

Fans were gathered at the venue for Ariana Grande?s ?Dangerous Woman? tour. The singer?s publicist told The New York Times that Grande was ?O.K.? and her team was ?investigating what happened.?

Several media outlets have reported witnesses saw 20 to 30 people lying on the ground, and one witness told CNN many of them appeared to be in grave condition. ?You could see straight off were just dead. You could just see that they were passed away,? Kiera Dawber told CNN.

Video recorded at the scene showed people scrambling down aisles to evacuate the venue as screams echoed throughout the arena. Concertgoers reported panic and disarray, with some saying that had seen people with injuries and some covered in blood.

?There were just a loud bang and a flash and everyone tried to scramble out,? Jade Baynes, 18, told The Guardian. ?An alarm came on telling everyone to stay calm but leave as quickly as possible.?

Others said the scene as ?chaotic? and described what they believed to be a ?huge explosion.?

?You could feel it in your chest,? Catherine Macfarlane told Reuters. ?It was chaotic. Everybody was running and screaming and just trying to get out.?

Manchester Arena, the largest indoor arena in Europe, opened in 1995 and has a capacity for 21,000 people, according to its website. It is a popular concert and sporting venue.

A video posted on Twitter showed fans screaming and running out of the venue.

Britain is on its second-highest alert level of ?severe? meaning an attack by militants is considered highly likely.

Reuters contributed to this report.

This is a developing story. Check back later for updates. 

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‘Dear White People’ Director And Star Break Down Why Black People Can’t Be Racist

Netflix?s ?Dear White People? has been described as a strong modern-day take on race that is both clever and dynamic in its approach.  

The show, directed by Justin Simien, was adapted from his 2014 film of the same name, and is set on the fictional and predominantly white campus of Winchester University. Simien crafted a season filled with diverse portrayals of the black experience ? told through the lens of several students on campus ? that speak to the varied ways people of color are impacted by race.

The show touches themes like interracial relationships, police brutality, the complexities of the n-word and what it can be like to speak out against racism in the face of opposition ? something that feels especially timely. Simien and the show?s star, Logan Browning, stopped by HuffPost Black Voices to discuss myths that often come up in conversations about race and racism. 

In the video above, watch as Simien and Browning explain why double standards around racism simply don?t exist, like: Why a show titled ?Dear Black People? would be offensive, why the n-word is off-limits to white but not black people; Why minority-focused spaces like HuffPost Black Voices exist but HuffPost White Voices does not; and why there?s simply no such thing as reverse racism.

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$995 Bag Of Moon Dust Could Fetch $4 Million At Auction

One space-geek collector could soon be over the moon.

A small white pouch marked ?Lunar Sample Return,? which Nancy Lee Carlson bought two years ago for $995, is expected to fetch as much as $4 million at an upcoming Sotheby?s auction. That?s because it?s sprinkled with moon dust.

Astronaut Neil Armstrong filled the bag with rocks from the lunar Sea of Tranquility during his historic trip to the moon on the 1969 Apollo 11 mission. He turned the bag over to a Houston lab, which emptied it of the rocks and then lost track of it. It eventually turned up on a U.S. Marshals auction website.

Enter Carlson, a Chicago-area attorney. She bought the pouch ? along with some other items, in a kind of space-memento grab bag ? for $995 and sent it off to NASA for testing. NASA claimed the bag belonged to the agency, and wouldn?t return it until after a long court battle. You?d think Carlson was asking for the moon.

Sotheby?s describes the pouch as ?the most important space artifact to ever appear at auction.? It?s selling the item on July 20 ? the 48th anniversary of humankind?s first moon landing.

However, NASA isn?t thrilled. Agency spokesman Warren Jeffs told The Wall Street Journal that the bag should be on public display and not hidden away in some private collection.

The bag ?represents the culmination of a massive national effort involving a generation of Americans, including the astronauts who risked their lives in an effort to accomplish the most significant act humankind has ever achieved,? Jeffs said.

The bag is expected to go for such a sky-high price because NASA doesn?t allow anyone to own any bit of the moon ? except for the bag.

Sotheby?s senior specialist Cassandra Hatton called the auction of the ?modest bag? her ?Mona Lisa moment.?

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Man Set On Fire During Protest In Venezuela’s Capital

CARACAS, May 21 (Reuters) – Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro excoriated opposition protesters on Sunday for setting a man on fire during a demonstration, accusing them of targeting him for being pro-government.

?A person was set on fire, beaten up, stabbed… They nearly lynched him, just because he shouted out that he was a ?Chavista?,? Maduro said, referring to the ruling socialist movement set up by his predecessor Hugo Chavez.

Witnesses to the incident on Saturday afternoon, including a Reuters photographer, said the crowd had accused the man of being a thief.

About 100 people, who had been participating in anti-Maduro protests, surrounded him, doused him in gasoline and set him alight in Plaza Altamira in east Caracas, the witnesses said.

WARNING: THIS STORY CONTAINS IMAGES SOME READERS MAY FIND DISTURBING

Though some in the crowd said he should die, others helped him and the man survived.

Showing a video of the incident on state TV, Maduro identified the man as Orlando Figuera, 21, saying he was being treated in hospital for severe burns.

Images from the scene showed him running near-naked with flames on his back.

?Burning a person because he seems a Chavista is a hate crime and a crime against humanity,? Maduro said on his weekly TV program, also showing another video of someone being beaten up, as well as images of protesters throwing Molotov cocktails.

The 54-year-old president says protesters are seeking a violent coup against him with U.S. help, and are increasingly persecuting ?Chavistas? at home and abroad.

Earlier this week, he compared it to the Nazi treatment of Jews.

?Venezuela is facing … a coup movement that has turned into hatred and intolerance, very similar to Nazi fascism,? he reiterated on Sunday.

Venezuela?s opposition says Maduro has become a dictator, wrecked the OPEC nation?s economy, caused desperation by thwarting an electoral exit to the political crisis, and unleashed repression and torture on protesters.

?Maduro, Murderer!? can be seen daubed on roads and walls in many parts of Caracas.

The main demand of opponents, who now have majority support after years in the shadow of the ruling Socialist Party, is for a national vote.

But authorities blocked an opposition push for a referendum last year, delayed state elections, and are resisting calls to bring forward the next presidential election scheduled for late 2019.

 

ATTACKS ABROAD

Most opposition marches are now turning violent when security forces block their way, with masked youths from a self-styled ?Resistance? movement hurling stones and petrol bombs at lines of National Guard troops who use teargas and water cannons to turn them back.

Even before the latest spasm of political unrest, Venezuela was already one of the world?s most violent countries, with an average last year of 60 homicides per day, according to the government.

Lynchings have become commonplace, killing about one person every three days.

In six weeks of anti-Maduro unrest, at least 47 people have died, including supporters of both sides, some bystanders, and members of the security forces.

Both sides quickly publicize and condemn violence from the other side, while often underplaying wrongdoing within their own ranks.

The government is particularly upset at harassment of officials and their relatives, accused by foes of enjoying the fruits of corruption.

One recent video showed the daughter of Jorge Rodriguez, a powerful government mayor who is a hate figure for the opposition, walking along an Australian beach being screamed at by two bystanders: ?Thanks to your father, people are dying in Venezuela.?

Another video appears to show a former minister sitting at a bakery in Doral, Florida ? heavily populated with anti-government Venezuelan emigrants ? being harangued by other customers, who chant ?Get Out!? and force him to leave.

A Twitter feed is even available that lists government supporters abroad, with photos of them and their friends, places of employment and study.

Many in the opposition accuse members of government of illegally enriching themselves and their families, allowing them to travel the world and enjoy luxury hotels while Venezuelans suffer a crippling recession at home, having to skip meals and queue in hours-long lines at shops.

The issue has divided opposition supporters, many delighting in seeing ?Chavistas? squirm while others say it is wrong.

?It?s not morally or politically correct to harass the children of officials,? opposition leader Freddy Guevara, a hardline proponent of street resistance, said recently, adding that it would discourage children from criticizing their parents as several have done recently.

(Additional reporting by Marco Bello; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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2017 AT

James Hahn is feeling fine and in a bit of a groove after going low and without a bogey for the second of his three rounds this week at the AT&T Byron Nelson.

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