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February 6, 2019

The woman accusing Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax (D) of sexual assault has just come forward with a statement.

Dr. Vanessa Tyson on Wednesday described in her own words the alleged assault previously reported in The Washington Post, which did not disclose her name. Tyson, a professor at Scripps College who says she is a "proud Democrat," writes that in 2004, she met Fairfax at the Democratic National Convention and that he asked her to accompany him on a "quick errand" to his hotel room.

Once there, Tyson alleges that "what began as consensual kissing quickly turned into a sexual assault." She describes in graphic detail how Fairfax allegedly forced her to perform oral sex, saying that she "tried to move away" but couldn't because "his hand was holding down my neck." Fairfax in a statement said the encounter was "consensual" and that "at no time did [Tyson] express to me any discomfort or concern." Tyson, however, says that she "cried and gagged" and said "I cannot believe, given my obvious distress, that Mr. Fairfax thought this forced sexual act was consensual."

Tyson also writes that she suffered "deep humiliation and shame" and therefore "did not speak about it for years" until 2017, when she reached out to the Post. In a report Monday, the Post had said it was unable to corroborate the account of either Tyson or Fairfax and, therefore, originally declined to publish the story. However, the Post denied that it initially didn't publish because of "red flags" in Tyson's account, as Fairfax had claimed, and Tyson says that "my only motive in speaking now is to refute Mr. Fairfax's falsehoods and aspersions of my character."

Read Tyson's statement below. Brendan Morrow

1:21 p.m.

An increasing number of impoverished students are enrolling in the for-profit education industry.

Less selective institutions have seen a rise in enrollment from students who are living in poverty, Pew Research Center found. The study, which examined enrollment across institutions from 1996 and 2016, showed that an increase in enrollment across all undergraduate educational institutions was fueled almost entirely by more low-income families and students of color enrolling.

Thirty-six percent of dependent students and 50 percent of independents at for-profit universities were in poverty in 2016. Both of these groups made up the highest income distribution bracket at for-profit schools, per the report.

For-profit universities can be an attractive option for students, but they are typically more expensive than not-for-profit institutions and present more struggles in paying off student debt, reports Axios. For-profit schools are also more likely to shut down, and some have been accused of false advertising and predatory lending, per Axios.

Across the board, students in poverty have increased at all undergraduate institutions. Among all dependent undergraduates, the percentage in poverty increased from 12 to 20 percent over the 20-year-period and from 29 to 42 percent among independent undergrads. Marianne Dodson

1:05 p.m.

Harriet Tubman's image will not be coming to a $20 dollar bill near you in 2020, as promised.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin revealed on on Wednesday that the bill's design was being delayed until 2028 to prevent counterfeiting issues, which he says is his primary duty at present. While he will focus on the security feature redesign of the bill, the imagery will likely be handled by a successor. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) grilled Mnuchin during his testimony on the international financial system before the House Financial Services Committee.

Mnuchin said he agreed with Pressley that America's diversity should be celebrated more frequently in the country's "imagery," but not necessarily currency, arguing that he cannot separate his professional duties from his personal opinions when it comes to this particular matter.

Mnuchin's boss, President Trump, said before he was elected to the office in 2016 that putting Tubman's image on the $20 dollar bill was "pure political correctness" and suggested instead her likeness be used for the rare $2 bill instead. It's worth noting that if Tubman does eventually make it on to the $20 dollar bill, she would be replacing one of Trump's favorite commanders-in-chief, former President Andrew Jackson, who is known for forcibly relocating Native Americans during his tenure.

Tubman, an African-American abolitionist and political activist who helped numerous enslaved people escape along the underground railway, was chosen for the bill by the Treasury Department under the Obama administration in 2016 after a lengthy process, which considered public opinion. It's release was scheduled to coincide with the centennial of the 19th ammendment, which granted women the right to vote. Tim O'Donnell

12:25 p.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says she's praying for President Trump — and for the nation — after he suddenly ended a meeting to discuss infrastructure.

Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) spoke to reporters following Trump reportedly walking out of their meeting five minutes in after Pelosi earlier in the day said that he is "engaged in a cover-up." Trump refused to work with the top Democrats because of what he called their their "phony investigations," also saying, "I don't do cover-ups."

"I pray for the president of the United States, and I pray for the United States of America," Pelosi said. She also speculated that Trump perhaps "took a pass" on their meeting due to "lack of confidence on his part" about their infrastructure negotiations.

Schumer subsequently said that "it's clear that this was not a spontaneous move on the president's part" but that he planned to walk out ahead of time, also saying, "to watch what happened in the White House would make your jaw drop." Brendan Morrow

12:22 p.m.

Prada will be fur-free in 2020, joining a slew of other fashion houses in making more socially-conscious clothing.

The Spring/Summer 2020 women's collection will be the designer's final venture with fur, and the move to go fur-less will impact all of Prada's brands — including Miu Miu, Church's and Car Shoe, reports CNN.

The decision is in collaboration with the Fur Free Alliance, which previously led a campaign pressuring Prada to forgo fur in 2018. Prada previously came under scrutiny for not adopting a fur-free policy sooner, but the luxury brand fought back by highlighting its "gradual and concrete reduction" of fur products.

Prada's decision puts it in a group of fashion houses such as Burberry, Armani, Versaci, Gucci, Chanel and Coach that have all decided to give up fur in their products, per CNN. Marianne Dodson

12:16 p.m.

So much for that surprise bipartisan infrastructure success in April.

Weeks after President Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) cordially sat through a meeting and agreed that the government's new infrastructure package would require about $2 trillion in funding and investments, the president is putting the deal on hold. The trio met again on Wednesday, but Trump abruptly left the meeting, and as he passed reporters on the way out, told them that he would not negotiate with Democratic leadership until several House and Senate committees ceased investigating Trump and his administration.

Trump said he told Pelosi and Schumer he wanted to work with them on infrastructure, but not "under these circumstances." He then called an impromptu press conference, where he reiterated many of his opinions that he frequently shares on his Twitter account — namely that there was no collusion between Russia and his 2016 presidential campaign and that the Democratic-led investigations were part of a grand hoax. He said he respects the oversight role of Congress and the courts but claimed "what they've done is abuse." Tim O'Donnell

12:12 p.m.

Remember Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam?

The Democrat got into some major hot water back in February when a photo of two people, one in blackface and one in a Ku Klux Klan robe, was found on his Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook page. Yet Northam somehow slunk from the spotlight as EVMS conducted a probe into the picture. And more than three months later, investigators have decided not to decide whether Northam was in it.

A conservative publication posted Northam's 1984 yearbook page back in early February, and several sources confirmed it was real. Northam first said he was — and then said he wasn't — in the photo, so EVMS commissioned a report to determine the answer. Yet even after interviewing Northam and his former classmates, investigators "could not conclusively determine the identity of either individual depicted in the photograph," the report released Wednesday details.

Northam denied he was in the photo following its release, but said he had worn blackface on a separate occasion. He then resisted scathing calls for his resignation. That move would've left Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) in charge, but he was quickly accused of sexual assault by two women. Fairfax denied the allegations.

Find the whole EVMS report here. Kathryn Krawczyk

12:04 p.m.

President Trump on Wednesday lashed out against comments made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) after making no progress with Democrats on an infrastructure deal.

Trump spoke in an impromptu press conference after Pelosi earlier in the morning had said that he is "engaged in a cover-up," and after briefly meeting with both Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

"Instead of walking in happily into a meeting, I walk in to look at people that had just said that I was doing a cover-up," Trump said. "I don't do cover-ups."

Trump claimed that he is "the most transparent president probably in the history of this country" but said that he would not work with Democrats on issues like infrastructure until they "get these phony investigations over with." CNN reports Trump walked out of the infrastructure meeting after five minutes. Brendan Morrow

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