Army Reserve officer Deshauna Barber crowned Miss U.S.A. 2016

— An Army Reserve officer and I.T. analyst from the District of Columbia has been crowned Miss U.S.A. 2016 after mounting a strong defense of women in combat roles in the military.

Deshauna Barber, a 26-year-old from the nation’s capital, gave the answer during the interview section of the pageant in Las Vegas on Sunday.

When asked by judge Joe Zee whether the Pentagon’s decision to open up all combat roles to women had “put political correctness over our military’s ability to perform,” First Lt. Barber responded:

“As a woman in the United States Army, I think it was an amazing job by our government to allow women to integrate into every branch of the military.”

She continued: “We are just as tough as men. As a commander of my unit, I’m powerful, I am dedicated and it is important that we recognize that gender does not limit us in the United States.”

Hopes to spotlight veterans’ issues

The daughter of a retired Army Master Sergeant, Barber was commissioned as a quartermaster officer in 2011 and serves as a logistics commander for the 988th Quartermaster Detachment Unit at Fort Meade, Maryland, according to her bio on the pageant’s website.

She works full-time as an IT analyst for the U.S. Department of Commerce, it said.

Barber hopes to use her profile as Miss U.S.A. to highlight the health issues veterans face when they return from combat, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, her bio said.

Steve Harvey appears

Barber won the pageant ahead of first runner-up Chelsea Hardin, Miss Hawaii, and second runner-up Emanii Davis, Miss Georgia.

She will now go on to represent the United States in the Miss Universe pageant.

Miss U.S.A organizers also addressed a prominent mishap from the December Miss Universe pageant, when host Steve Harvey flubbed the announcement of the winner and was widely ridiculed for it.

This time, he appeared in a video poking fun at his mistake.

VIDEO: Indicted ex-FIFA official Jack Warner cites ‘Onion’ article to defend himself

— An embattled former FIFA official has scored a spectacular public relations own-goal by citing an article by satirical news outlet The Onion in an attempt to counter criminal charges against him.

CNN Video

Ex-FIFA official cites ‘Onion’ article in defense

A former FIFA official is ridiculed after citing an article by satirical news outlet The Onion in an attempt to defend himself against criminal charges.

Jack Warner, FIFA’s former vice-president and a member of parliament in Trinidad and Tobago, was among those arrested last week in a U.S.-led investigation into corruption in world football. He was released on bail Thursday and is facing an extradition request from the U.S. government.

In a video statement posted Sunday to his own website and social media accounts, Warner brandished a copy of a bogus news report by the satirical news website as he launched a broadside against the ongoing U.S. Justice Department investigation into alleged bribe-taking and racketeering at football’s governing body.

The faux news report, titled “FIFA Frantically Announces 2015 Summer World Cup in the United States,” jokingly suggested the sporting body had created an alternative tournament to appease U.S. officials.

Warner accused the U.S. of “double standards” for agreeing to host the fictional tournament in cooperation with an organization it had accused of corruption.

“If FIFA is so bad, why is it the U.S.A. wants to keep the FIFA World Cup?” he asks, pointing to a print-out of the report.

He went on to elaborate his theory: “Why is it the U.S. authorities sought to embarrass FIFA in Zurich? Something has to be wrong. I made the point to you over and over that all this… has stemmed from the failed U.S. bid to host the World Cup.”

After Warner’s blunder was ridiculed online, the video was removed from his social media accounts, only to be later replaced with an edited version, shorn of the reference to the Onion article. But a version of the original was reposted by a YouTube user.

Charges denied

Warner, head of Trinidad and Tobago’s Independent Liberal Party, declared his innocence in the wake of last week’s indictments and said in a statement that he had not been interviewed and “the actions of FIFA no longer concern me.”

In May 2011, Warner and fellow FIFA member Mohammed bin Hammam of Qatar were suspended by FIFA’s Ethics Committee, pending the outcome of an investigation of corruption allegations against them.

Warner resigned from his position the following month, and FIFA announced that “all Ethics Committee procedures against him have been closed and the presumption of innocence is maintained.”

On Wednesday, the U.S. Justice Department unsealed information on people who had pleaded guilty to various charges relating to FIFA in recent years.

They included Warner’s sons Daryll, a former FIFA development officer who pleaded guilty in 2013 to two counts related to wire fraud and structuring of financial transactions, and Daryan, who has forfeited $1.1 million as part of his plea and will forfeit an undisclosed sum when he is sentenced for wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and the structuring of financial transactions.

CNN’s Eliott C. McLaughlin and Greg Botelho contributed to this report.