Trump urges Justice Department to unmask ‘resistance’ writer
FARGO, N.D. (AP) — President Donald Trump declared Friday that the Justice Department should investigate and unmask the author of a bitingly critical New York Times opinion piece purportedly written by a member of an administration “resistance” movement straining to thwart his most dangerous impulses.
Trump cited “national security” as the reason for such an extraordinary probe, and he called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to get it going. He also said he was exploring bringing legal action against the newspaper over publication of the essay two days earlier.
“Jeff should be investigating who the author of that piece was because I really believe it’s national security,” Trump said. If the person has a high-level security clearance, he said, “I don’t want him in those meetings.”
A White House official later said Trump’s call for a government investigation was an expression of his frustration with the essay, not an order for federal prosecutors to take action.
Though the article was strongly critical of Trump, no classified information appears to have been revealed by the author or leaked to the newspaper, which would be a crucial bar to clear before a leak investigation could be contemplated.
Obama issues scathing critique of Trump, ‘politics of fear’
URBANA, Ill. (AP) — Former President Barack Obama issued a scorching critique of his successor Friday, blasting President Donald Trump’s policies and his pattern of pressuring the Justice Department.
Obama also reminded voters that the economic recovery — one of Trump’s favorite talking points — began on his watch.
Obama’s speech at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was delivered less than two months before midterm elections that could determine the course of Trump’s presidency. The remarks amounted to a stinging indictment of political life in the Trump era.
“It did not start with Donald Trump,” Obama said. “He is a symptom, not the cause. He’s just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years.”
Noting the history of former presidents avoiding the rough and tumble of politics, Obama acknowledged his sharp critique of Trump was something of a departure from tradition. But he said the political moment required a pushback and called for better discourse.
Ex-Trump campaign adviser sentenced to 14 days in prison
WASHINGTON (AP) — George Papadopoulos, the Trump campaign adviser who triggered the Russia investigation, was sentenced to 14 days in prison Friday after he told a judge he was “deeply embarrassed and ashamed” for lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian intermediaries.
Papadopoulos, the first campaign aide sentenced in special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation, acknowledged that his actions hindered an investigation of national importance, a move that the judge in his case said resulted in the 31-year-old putting his own self-interest above that of his country.
“I made a dreadful mistake, but I am a good man who is eager for redemption,” Papadopoulos said.
The punishment was far less than the maximum six-month sentence sought by the government but more than the probation that Papadopoulos and his lawyers had asked for.
Papadopoulos, who served as a foreign policy adviser to President Donald Trump’s campaign, has been a central figure in the Russia investigation dating back before Mueller’s May 2017 appointment. He was the first to plead guilty in Mueller’s probe and is now the first Trump campaign adviser to be sentenced. His case was also the first to detail a member of the Trump campaign having knowledge of Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election while it was ongoing.
Letter confirms Vatican received McCarrick complaint in 2000
VATICAN CITY (AP) — A 2006 letter from a top Vatican official confirms that the Holy See received information in 2000 about the sexual misconduct of now-resigned U.S. cardinal, lending credibility to bombshell accusations of a cover-up at the highest echelons of the Roman Catholic Church.
Catholic News Service, the news agency of the U.S. bishops’ conference, published the letter Friday from then-Archbishop Leonardo Sandri to the Rev. Boniface Ramsay, a New York priest who made the initial allegation.
Ramsay informed the Vatican in a November 2000 letter about then Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s misconduct with seminarians from Seton Hall University’s Immaculate Conception Seminary. Ramsay, who in 2000 was on the faculty at the seminary, has said he sent the letter at the request of the then-Vatican ambassador because he had heard so many complaints from seminarians that McCarrick would invite them to his beach house and into his bed.
Sandri, now a top-ranked Vatican cardinal who was the No. 3 in the Vatican’s secretariat of state at the time, wrote Ramsay on Oct. 11, 2006, seeking his recommendation for a former seminarian for a Vatican job.
In it, he referred to Ramsay’s 2000 letter, saying: “I ask with particular reference to the serious matters involving some of the students of the Immaculate Conception Seminary, which in November 2000 you were good enough to bring confidentially to the attention of the then-Apostolic Nuncio in the United States, the late Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo.”
Report: Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma to retire
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The New York Times is reporting that Jack Ma, the co-founder and executive chairman of Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group, is retiring.
The Times said that in an interview, Ma said he planned to step down as executive chairman on Monday to pursue philanthropy in education. He will remain on Alibaba’s board of directors.
Ma started Alibaba in 1999 in his apartment in the Chinese city of Hangzhou and is now among the richest people in the world.
The company went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014 and has a market value of about $421 billion. It’s the world’s biggest e-commerce company by total value of the merchandise sold across its platforms, which include Taobao and TMall.
Alibaba did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Miss America contestant: Trump ’caused a lot of division’
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A contestant in the Miss America pageant says President Trump “has caused a lot of division” in the nation.
Madeline Collins, Miss West Virginia, was asked an onstage question Friday night about what she feels is the most serious issue facing the nation.
She replied “Donald Trump is the biggest issue our country faces. Unfortunately he has caused a lot of division in our country.”
The interview responses were limited to 20 seconds and Collins did not go into additional detail. The Miss America Organization rejected a request from The Associated Press to make Collins available for an interview after Friday night’s competition had ended.
She did not win the interview contest. That honor went to Miss Massachusetts Gabriela Taveras, whose question dealt with how Americans traveling abroad should interact with people in other countries.
What we’ve learned about Kavanaugh after 2 days in hot seat
WASHINGTON (AP) — The less said, the better. That’s the mantra of any nominee before the Senate, especially when the White House and Senate are in the same party’s hands. The aim, after all, is to win confirmation, and in these partisan times, an ill-chosen phrase can be damaging to a nominee’s prospects.
Like high court nominees before him, Judge Brett Kavanaugh stuck to the script and said only as much as he thought he had to over two days of testimony at the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Still, Kavanaugh revealed a few things about himself, professionally and personally.
Here are a few things we learned about President Donald Trump’s choice for the high court:
Playmate’s suit bares details about affair with GOP donor
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A former Playboy model’s lawsuit against a top fundraiser for President Donald Trump and other Republicans revealed embarrassing details of their sexual affair and said she feared for her safety after he impregnated her, according to previously censored allegations unsealed Friday.
Shera Bechard said she went to a lawyer after Elliott Broidy became violent, behaved in a “profoundly disturbing” manner and demanded she get an abortion.
The details came to light in Los Angeles Superior Court after The Associated Press and other news organizations fought to unseal Bechard’s lawsuit alleging Broidy failed to pay a $200,000 installment toward a $1.6 million hush payment.
Broidy’s lawyers said payments stopped because Bechard’s former lawyer discussed the confidential agreement with attorney Michael Avenatti, who represents porn actress Stormy Daniels in a suit against Trump and his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen.
The affair became public in part because Cohen represented Broidy in the settlement. Cohen pleaded guilty last month to paying off Daniels “at the direction” of Trump to influence the election.
Knee ends Nadal’s Open defense; Djokovic vs. del Potro final
NEW YORK (AP) — Rafael Nadal felt the pain sear into his right knee early in his U.S. Open semifinal, on what he called “a bad movement.” It was a familiar pain, one that he’s dealt with off-and-on for years.
The defending champion looked up at his guest box and indicated something was wrong. He tried to continue. Eventually, he could not.
Nadal stopped playing after dropping the opening two sets Friday night, putting Juan Martin del Potro back in a Grand Slam final for the first time since winning the 2009 title at Flushing Meadows.
“That was not a tennis match at the end. Just one player playing, the other staying on one side of the court,” Nadal said. “I hate to retire, but staying one more set out there, playing like this, would be too much for me.”
On Sunday, No. 3 del Potro will face No. 6 Novak Djokovic, who advanced with an emphatic 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 victory over No. 21 Kei Nishikori in the second semifinal.
Mac Miller, who collaborated with rap royalty, dies at 26
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mac Miller, the platinum hip-hop star whose rhymes vacillated from party raps to lyrics about depression and drug use, and earned kudos from the likes of Jay-Z and Chance the Rapper, died Friday at age 26.
Police and paramedics found Miller unresponsive at his home in Los Angeles and declared him dead shortly before noon, coroner’s spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said. An autopsy will be required to determine the cause of death. His death was first reported by celebrity website TMZ.
“He was a bright light in this world for his family, friends and fans,” Miller’s family said in a statement.
Miller also drew headlines for his two-year relationship with singer Ariana Grande that ended earlier this year.
Police lines were pulled up and a coroner’s van left the cul-de-sac where Miller lived late Friday afternoon. About 10 news vans remained. Another rapper, Pittsburgh Slim, appeared and left flowers.
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