Mueller recommends no prison for Flynn, citing co-operation
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser provided so much information to the special counsel’s Russia investigation that prosecutors say he shouldn’t do any prison time, according to a court filing Tuesday that describes Michael Flynn’s co-operation as “substantial.”
The filing by special counsel Robert Mueller provides the first details of Flynn’s assistance in the Russia investigation, including that he participated in 19 interviews with prosecutors and co-operated extensively in a separate and undisclosed criminal probe. But the filing’s lengthy redactions also underscore how much Mueller has yet to reveal.
It was filed two weeks ahead of Flynn’s sentencing and just over a year after he became one of five Trump associates to plead guilty in the Russia probe, in his case admitting to lying to the FBI about conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.
Though prosecutors withheld specific details of Flynn’s co-operation because of ongoing investigations, their filing nonetheless illustrates the breadth of information Mueller has obtained from people close to Trump as the president increasingly vents his anger at the probe — and those who co-operate with it.
This week, Trump accused his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, of making up “stories” to get a reduced prison sentence after pleading guilty to lying to Congress and also praised longtime confidant Roger Stone for saying he wouldn’t testify against Trump.
House GOP campaign arm targeted by ‘unknown entity’ in 2018
WASHINGTON (AP) — Thousands of emails were stolen from aides to the National Republican Congressional Committee during the 2018 midterm campaign, a major breach exposing vulnerabilities that have kept cybersecurity experts on edge since the 2016 presidential race.
The email accounts were compromised during a series of intrusions that had been spread over several months and discovered in April, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. At least four different party aides had their emails surveilled by hackers, said the person, who was not authorized to discuss the details publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The committee said an “unknown entity” was behind the hack but provided few other details. A cybersecurity firm and the FBI have been investigating the matter, the committee said. The FBI declined to comment.
Politically motivated cyberespionage is commonplace across the world, but Americans have become particularly alert to the possibility of digital interference since Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. The theft of Democrats’ emails is still fresh in the minds of many political operatives and lawmakers, who have stepped up defensive measures but still struggle to protect themselves.
Foreign spies routinely try to hack into politicians’ emails to gain insight, ferret out weaknesses and win a diplomatic edge. But hackers often launch sweeping spear-phishing campaigns to gain access to a variety accounts — with no political motivation. With no immediate suspects and few technical details, it’s unclear what the significance of this latest incursion is.
Crowds honour Bush for long service, from war to White House
WASHINGTON (AP) — Soldiers, citizens in wheelchairs and long lines of others on foot wound through the hushed Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday to view George H.W. Bush’s casket and remember a president whose legacy included World War military service and a landmark law affirming the rights of the disabled. Bob Dole, a compatriot in war, peace and political struggle, steadied himself out of his wheelchair and saluted his old friend and one-time rival.
As at notable moments in his life, Bush brought together Republicans and Democrats in his death, and not only the VIPs.
Members of the public who never voted for the man waited in the same long lines as the rest, attesting that Bush possessed the dignity and grace that deserved to be remembered by their presence on a cold overcast day in the capital.
“I’m just here to pay my respects,” said Jane Hernandez, a retired physician in the heavily Democratic city and suburbs. “I wasn’t the biggest fan of his presidency, but all in all he was a good sincere guy doing a really hard job as best he could.”
Bush’s service dog, Sully, was brought to the viewing, too — his main service these last months since Barbara Bush’s death in April being to rest his head on her husband’s lap. Service dogs are trained to do that.
AP FACT CHECK: ‘Tariff Man’ Trump wrong on import taxes
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump promised on Twitter that tariffs would maximize the country’s economic heft and “MAKE AMERICA RICH AGAIN.”
Almost all economists say the president is wrong. That’s because tariffs are taxes on imports. They can cause higher prices, reduce trade among countries and hurt overall economic growth as a result.
The president’s tweet on Tuesday followed an announcement that the U.S. would not increase a 10 per cent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods in 2019. The two largest countries are in the middle of negotiating their terms of trade, after Trump said cheap imports from China were impoverishing the United States.
After Trump announced steel and aluminum tariffs earlier this year, the University of Chicago asked leading academic economists in March whether Americans would be better off because of import taxes.
Not a single economist surveyed said the United States would be wealthier.
Report details new allegations of Moonves’ sexual misconduct
A report by CBS lawyers outlines more allegations of sexual misconduct by longtime chief Les Moonves, The New York Times reported.
The report alleges that Moonves destroyed evidence and misled investigators as he attempted to protect his reputation and severance payments. It says investigators had received “multiple reports” about a network employee who was “on call” to perform oral sex on Moonves.
“A number of employees were aware of this and believed that the woman was protected from discipline or termination as a result of it,” it cited the report as saying. “Moonves admitted to receiving oral sex from the woman, his subordinate, in his office, but described it as consensual.”
It said, the woman did not respond to the investigators’ requests for an interview.
The report was prepared by lawyers the network hired to determine if Moonves violated the terms of his employment agreement, the newspaper reported Tuesday.
Asia shares sink after Wall Street sell-off
BEIJING (AP) — Asian stocks sank Wednesday after Wall Street plunged amid confusion about what Washington and Beijing agreed to in a tariff cease-fire.
KEEPING SCORE: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 1.6 per cent to 26,840.74 points and the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.7 per cent to 2,647.55. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 lost 0.4 per cent to 21,946.94 while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 retreated 1.2 per cent to 5,641.50. Seoul’s Kospi shed 0.6 per cent to 2,102.17 and benchmarks in Taiwan, New Zealand and Southeast Asia also declined.
WALL STREET: Investor confidence in the U.S.-China agreement faltered after confusing and conflicting comments from President Donald Trump and some senior officials. That revived fears that the disagreement between the two economic powerhouses could slow the global economy. The Standard & Poor’s 500 slid 3.2 per cent to 2,700.06. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 3.1 per cent to 25,027.07. The Nasdaq composite lost 3.8 per cent to 7,158.43. Tech companies, banks and exporters including Boeing and Caterpillar all declined.
TRADE TURMOIL: The Trump administration raised doubts about the substance of a U.S.-China trade cease-fire. That revived fears their tariff battle could chill global economic growth. Trump previously said the agreement in Buenos Aires would lead to sales of American farm goods and cuts in Chinese auto tariffs, but Beijing has yet to confirm that. Trump renewed threats of tariff hikes on Tuesday, saying on Twitter that Washington would have a “real deal” with China or else would charge “major tariffs” on Chinese goods. That made the weekend agreement seem even less likely to produce a long-lasting settlement.
FED WATCH: Markets got jolt from remarks by the president of the Fed’s New York regional bank. During a briefing with reporters, John Williams said given his outlook for strong economic growth, he expects “further gradual increases in interest rates will best sponsor a sustained economic expansion.” That seemed to counter Fed Chairman Jay Powell’s remarks last week. The jitters helped drive demand for government bonds. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.91 per cent from 2.99 per cent late Monday, a large move. The slide in bond yields, which affect interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans, weighed on bank stocks.
1st baby born using uterus transplanted from deceased donor
LONDON (AP) — Brazilian doctors are reporting the world’s first baby born to a woman with a uterus transplanted from a deceased donor.
Eleven previous births have used a transplanted womb but from a living donor, usually a relative or friend.
Experts said using uteruses from women who have died could make more transplants possible. Ten previous attempts using deceased donors in the Czech Republic, Turkey and the U.S. have failed.
The baby girl was delivered last December by a woman born without a uterus because of a rare syndrome. The woman — a 32-year-old psychologist — was initially apprehensive about the transplant, said Dr. Dani Ejzenberg, the transplant team’s lead doctor at the University of Sao Paulo School of Medicine.
“This was the most important thing in her life,” he said. “Now she comes in to show us the baby and she is so happy,”
After CIA briefing, senators lay blame on Saudi crown prince
WASHINGTON (AP) — Breaking with President Donald Trump, senators leaving a briefing with CIA Director Gina Haspel on Tuesday said they are even more convinced that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said he believes if the crown prince were put on trial, a jury would find him guilty in “about 30 minutes.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who demanded the briefing with Haspel, said there is “zero chance” the crown prince wasn’t involved in Khashoggi’s death.
“There’s not a smoking gun. There’s a smoking saw,” Graham said, referring to reports from the Turkish government that said Saudi agents used a bone saw to dismember Khashoggi after he was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Graham said “you have to be wilfully blind” not to conclude that this was orchestrated and organized by people under the crown prince’s command.
Trump has equivocated over who is to blame for the killing, frustrating senators who are now looking for ways to punish the longtime Middle East ally. The Senate overwhelmingly voted last week to move forward on a resolution curtailing U.S. backing for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
Ballot fraud investigation muddies North Carolina election
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Allegations of flagrant absentee ballot fraud in a North Carolina district have thrown the Election Day results of one of the nation’s last unresolved midterm congressional races into question.
Unofficial ballot totals showed Republican Mark Harris ahead of Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes in the 9th Congressional District. But the state elections board refused to certify the results last week in view of “claims of numerous irregularities and concerted fraudulent activities” involving mail-in ballots in the district.
The elections board has subpoenaed documents from the Harris campaign, a campaign attorney confirmed Tuesday. Investigators seem to be concentrating on activities linked to a longtime political operative from Bladen County, where allegations about mail-in absentee ballots also surfaced two years ago during a tight election for governor.
In affidavits offered by the state Democratic Party, voters described a woman coming to their homes to collect their absentee ballots, whether or not they had been completed properly. State law bars this kind of “harvesting” of absentee ballots, which must be submitted by mail or in person by the voter or a close family member.
If the allegations are accurate, “this is the biggest absentee fraud in a generation or two in North Carolina,” said Gerry Cohen, an election law expert and former longtime legislative staff attorney. “North Carolina has a long history of this kind of thing, particularly in rural areas.”
Cuba to begin full internet access for mobile phones
HAVANA (AP) — Cuba announced Tuesday night that its citizens will be offered full internet access for mobile phones beginning this week, becoming one of the last nations to offer such service.
Mayra Arevich, president of the Cuban state telecom monopoly ETECSA, went on national television to say Cubans can begin contracting 3G service for the first time Thursday.
Until now, Cubans have had access only to state-run email accounts on their phones.
The Cuban government has been building a 3G network in cities across the island and some tourists, Cuban government officials and foreign businesspeople have had access to it for several years.
The communist-governed island has one of the world’s lowest rates of internet use but that has been expanding rapidly since Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro declared detente in 2014. Expansion has not slowed with President Donald Trump’s partial rollback of relations.
The Associated Press