AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT

Kavanaugh’s accuser wants FBI probe before she testifies

WASHINGTON (AP) — Christine Blasey Ford wants the FBI to investigate her allegation that she was sexually assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh before she testifies at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing next week, her lawyers said in a letter sent Tuesday to the panel.

The lawyers wrote that Ford, who is now a college professor in California, wants to cooperate with the committee. But in the days since she publicly accused Kavanaugh of the assault when they were teens at a party 35 years ago, the lawyers said, she has been the target of “vicious harassment and even death threats.” Her family has relocated, they said.

An FBI investigation “should be the first step in addressing the allegations,” the lawyers wrote in the letter, which was obtained by The Associated Press.

The development comes after President Donald Trump showered sympathy on his embattled nominee and as Senate Republicans and Democrats fought determinedly over who should testify at a high-stakes hearing on the allegation just six weeks before major congressional elections.

Trump has already rejected the idea of bringing in the FBI to reopen its background check of Kavanaugh. Should he order such a review, it would likely delay a confirmation vote until after the election. Republicans hope to have Kavanaugh confirmed by Oct. 1, the start of the next Supreme Court term.

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North Carolina gov pleads with storm evacuees to be patient

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — With Wilmington still mostly an island surrounded by Hurricane Florence’s floodwaters and people waiting for hours for handouts of necessities like food, North Carolina’s governor is pleading with thousands of evacuees to be patient and not return home just yet.

“I know it was hard to leave home, and it is even harder to wait and wonder whether you even have a home to go back to,” Gov. Roy Cooper said as officials began distributing supplies to residents of Wilmington, population 120,000.

The death toll rose to at least 37 in three states Tuesday, with 29 fatalities in North Carolina, as Florence’s remnants went in two directions: Water flowed downstream toward the Carolina coast, and storms raced through the Northeast, where flash floods hit New Hampshire and New York state .

Cooper warned that the flooding set off by as much as 3 feet (1 meter) of rain from Florence is far from over and will get worse in places.

“I know for many people this feels like a nightmare that just won’t end,” he said.

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Mass games planned for Korea summit, nuke progress unclear

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in began his second day of talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday, with the leaders planning to release a joint statement that many are hoping will keep alive tentative nuclear diplomacy between Pyongyang and Washington. The North also will likely stage for Moon a huge mass games spectacle to show off its national pride.

Kim and Moon were smiling and chatting as they walked down a hallway and into a meeting room at the guesthouse where Moon is staying. Kim’s sister and North Korea’s top propaganda official, Kim Yo Jong, were in attendance. Many of Wednesday’s details were unclear, but North Korea was expected to hold a huge mass games spectacle later in the day, with Moon attending an event expected to draw about 150,000 spectators, Seoul said. It wasn’t clear if Kim would attend.

North Korea first staged its mass games in 2002, when Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, was leader. They continued most every year until 2014, then were revived during North Korea’s celebrations of the 70th anniversary of its state founding earlier this month.

Kim gave the South Korean president an exceedingly warm welcome on Tuesday, the first day of the summit, meeting him and his wife at Pyongyang’s airport — itself a very unusual gesture — then riding into town with Moon in an open limousine through streets lined with crowds of North Koreans, who cheered and waved the flag of their country and a blue-and-white flag that symbolizes Korean unity.

The made-for-television welcome has become routine for their summits, after two meetings earlier this year.

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Trump: Declassified Russia probe papers expose ‘bad things’

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is flexing his executive power to declassify secret documents in the Russia investigation, an extraordinary move he says will ensure that “really bad things” at the FBI are exposed. But the decision, made against the backdrop of Trump’s spiraling outrage at the special counsel’s Russia investigation, may expose sensitive sources and methods and brush up against privacy law protections, experts say.

The order is likely to further divide the president from the intelligence agencies he oversees and raises new concerns that Trump is disclosing government secrets for his own political gain. Critics of the move say the president has a clear conflict by trying to discredit an investigation in which he himself is a subject.

“This radical policy choice is not being made on traditional policy grounds. It’s being made on conflicted grounds,” said David Kris, a former Justice Department national security division head. “That’s problematic.”

The Justice Department says it’s begun complying with the order, though it’s not clear when the documents might be released. It’s also unclear if the multi-agency review now underway might find ways to try to withhold certain information or limit whatever damage, such as outing sources or scaring off would-be ones, that may arise from the release.

Trump and Republican supporters want the records out in hopes they’ll reveal law enforcement bias in the early stage of the Russia investigation and prove the probe was opened without good reason.

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Chicago cops reluctantly testify against 1 of their own

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago police officers clearly do not want to be in court testifying against a colleague accused of murder, with one of them so uncomfortable he couldn’t bring himself to point to the man on trial, something witnesses are routinely asked to do.

But one after another — whether they want to or not — officers at the scene the night of Oct. 20, 2014, when white officer Jason Van Dyke emptied his gun into black teenager Laquan McDonald are being called to testify, as prosecutors seek to chip away at the “blue wall of silence” long associated with the city’s police force and other law enforcement agencies across the country.

None of the officers has criticized Van Dyke in testimony over the first two days of his trial, but each has bolstered the contention by prosecutors that what Van Dyke did was “completely unnecessary.” Van Dyke’s attorneys say he feared for his life and acted according to his training.

Those testifying in Van Dyke’s murder trial have included his partner that night, Joseph Walsh, one of three officers indicted on charges that they conspired to cover up what happened to protect Van Dyke. While video released more than a year after the shooting shows McDonald veering away from officers, Van Dyke and others on the scene initially said the 17-year-old had lunged at them with a knife.

Walsh, who is no longer on the force, acknowledged Tuesday that he “could have” fired, before answering, “Yes,” to the question of whether he chose not to. But he also defended his partner’s actions, saying he was “confident officer Van Dyke took necessary action to save himself and myself.” And he maintained that he saw McDonald raise his right arm to swing it “in our direction,” even though video of the shooting that played as he spoke doesn’t show that. He maintained that he had a different vantage point.

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Mattis dismissive of news reports of tension with Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Tuesday dismissed recent news reports that tensions between him and President Donald Trump point to his exit soon.

Asked by a reporter whether such reports should be taken seriously, he replied, “No. I wouldn’t take it seriously at all. It’s like most of those kind of things in this town” that he said are fanned by baseless rumor.

“Somebody cooks up a headline. They then call to a normally chatty class of people, they find a couple of other things to put in, they add the rumor, somebody else on the other coast starts writing the same thing — next thing you know you’ve got a story,” he told a small group of reporters on the steps of the Pentagon as he awaited the arrival of his Philippine counterpart.

Several news organizations have reported that Trump has become weary of Mattis, a retired Marine general who was one of his first Cabinet selections. He is seen by many as a steadying influence on Trump in the face of sometimes impulsive moves on national security issues.

It’s well known that Mattis has privately disagreed with Trump on numerous issues, including the president’s decision to end U.S. participation in the Iran nuclear deal and move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. But Mattis is widely supported in Congress and the military and prevailed in an administration argument in 2017 over whether to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

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Carter, Abrams: Georgians from 2 eras chase rural votes

PLAINS, Ga. (AP) — Georgia’s past and its potential future converged in the tiny town of Plains, as former President Jimmy Carter campaigned Tuesday alongside Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Stacey Abrams.

Despite their starkly different biographies — he the 93-year-old peanut farmer who entered Deep South politics amid Jim Crow segregation, she the 44-year-old Atlanta attorney who’d be the first black female governor in U.S. history — the pair of Democratic politicians cited a shared interest in reversing the slide in rural health care services.

And Abrams hopes that emphasis can net her just enough improvement in heavily Republican rural Georgia to boost her chances of an upset over her GOP challenger, Brian Kemp, in a state that looks to be on the cusp of becoming a two-party battleground.

“Rosalynn and I are fully supporting Stacey for governor, and I don’t want anybody to be doubtful about that,” Carter said, standing in front of his town’s medical clinic, down the block from his 1976 presidential campaign headquarters.

“One of the main reasons is our deep concern about medical care in Georgia,” Carter continued.

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Reality show doc, woman charged with California drug rapes

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A California physician who appeared in a reality TV dating show and an alleged female accomplice have been charged with drugging and sexually assaulting two women, and authorities said Tuesday there could be many more victims.

Orthopedic surgeon Grant W. Robicheaux, 38, of Newport Beach and Cerissa Laura Riley, 31, of Brea were arrested Sept. 12 after being charged with rape by use of drugs, oral copulation by anesthesia or controlled substance, and other crimes, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas told a news conference in Santa Ana.

Investigators were meticulously going through “thousands and thousands of videos and images on Robicheaux’s phone, many also including Riley,” Rackauckas said.

Some videos show women who “appear to be highly intoxicated beyond the ability to consent or resist, and they’re barely responsive to the defendant’s sexual advances. Based on this evidence, we believe that there might be many unidentified victims out there,” he said.

The district attorney showed reporters video of Robicheaux from a now-canceled Bravo TV show called “Online Dating Rituals of the American Male” in an episode titled “Three’s A Crowd.”

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Too much screen time? New phone controls for you and kids

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple and Google want to help you spend less time on their phones — really. Like that time you checked Facebook at 3 a.m. Stats don’t lie.

Their new tools for managing screen time will let you see how often you picked up the phone after bedtime or how long you’re on Instagram at work (shame on you). Apple’s tools also let you control how long your kids spend on their devices, if you’re concerned that screens are taking time away from sleep, homework or exercise.

Apple’s tools launch Tuesday as part of the free iOS 12 software update for iPhones, iPads and the iPod Touch. Google’s controls are being tested on its Pixel-branded Android phones.

Here’s how the controls work.

FOR THE KIDS

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Woodward’s “Fear” already a million-seller

NEW YORK (AP) — Bob Woodward’s “Fear” is already a million-seller.

Simon & Schuster announced Tuesday that Woodward’s takedown of President Donald Trump has sold more than 1.1 million copies just a week after publication. It is among the fastest selling hardcover books in memory and had the fastest opening in history for Simon & Schuster, which also publishes Stephen King, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Mary Higgins Clark.

“Fear” now joins Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury” as a million-selling portrait of a chaotic Trump administration.

Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.



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