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

Trump leads aggressive, all-out GOP drive to save Kavanaugh

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans mounted a combative, coordinated drive Monday to salvage Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination as they fought to keep a second woman’s allegation of long-ago sexual misconduct from derailing his confirmation. President Donald Trump leapt to his defense, the top Senate Republican accused Democrats of a “smear campaign” and an emotional Kavanaugh pledged to fight for his nomination and proclaimed, “I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone.”

That declaration, remarkable for a nominee to the nation’s highest court, came as Republicans embraced their newly aggressive stance and Kavanaugh’s prospects dangled precariously. The similar tones and wording they used in defending him suggested a concerted effort to undermine the women’s claims and portray an image of unity among GOP senators while pressing toward a confirmation vote.

In the run-up to an appearance by Kavanaugh and his main accuser at a dramatic Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Trump called the accusations “totally political” and among “the single most unfair, unjust things to happen to a candidate for anything.” On Twitter Monday night, Trump accused Democrats of working hard to destroy a wonderful man … with an array of False Accusations the likes of which have never been seen before!

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., angrily accused Democrats of slinging “all the mud they could manufacture” and promised a full Senate vote soon, but specified no date.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., retorted that if McConnell believed the allegations were a smear, “Why don’t you call for an FBI investigation?” Schumer accused Republicans of “a rush job to avoid the truth.”

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Rosenstein still has his job _ at least till Trump showdown

WASHINGTON (AP) — After a long weekend spent wondering if he should resign or would be fired, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein still has his job — for now.

President Donald Trump gave Rosenstein a three-day reprieve pending their face-to-face White House showdown Thursday. That’s when the man who oversees the Trump-Russia investigation will respond to reports that he had discussed secretly recording the president and possibly using constitutional procedures to remove him from office.

The revelation that Rosenstein last year had broached the idea of taping the president touched off a dramatic weekend of conversations with the White House in which he offered to one official to resign and confided to another that he was considering doing so, according to two people familiar with the discussions who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

Even as he took issue with the reports, Rosenstein arrived at the White House on Monday expecting to be fired, according to another person who spoke on condition of anonymity. Instead, after he met with chief of staff John Kelly and spoke by phone to Trump himself, questions about his future were effectively tabled until the personal meeting Thursday.

The position of deputy attorney general is ordinarily a relatively low-visibility one in Washington, but Rosenstein has assumed outsized significance given his appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate potential ties between Russia and Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

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Kavanaugh says he won’t let ‘false accusations’ push him out

WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh declared in a televised interview Monday that he never sexually assaulted anyone in high school or at any other time in his life.

Kavanaugh and his wife, Ashley, sat down for an interview with Fox News Channel’s “The Story with Martha MacCallum” after a second woman accused him of sexual misconduct.

Christine Blasey Ford has accused Kavanaugh of assaulting her at a party when they were teenagers. Kavanaugh denied he was “at any such party.” He said he did not question that perhaps Ford at some point in her life was sexually assaulted, “but what I know is I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone.”

Kavanaugh said it’s possible he may have met Ford at some time, but he said they were not friends and did not travel in the same social circles. He said he did not remember being at a party with her.

“I was not at the party described,” Kavanaugh said.

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Dallas police officer who shot neighbor fired by department

DALLAS (AP) — A white Dallas police officer who fatally shot her black neighbor inside his own apartment was fired Monday, the same day the man was being buried in his Caribbean homeland.

Police Chief U. Renee Hall dismissed Officer Amber Guyger during a hearing Monday, according to the Police Department. Guyger is charged with manslaughter in the Sept. 6 shooting that left 26-year-old Botham Jean dead, and she was fired because of her arrest, according to the department.

Court records show Guyger said she thought she had encountered a burglar inside her own home. She was arrested three days later and is currently out on bond.

A statement from police said an internal investigation concluded that on Sept. 9, Guyger, a four-year veteran of the force, “engaged in adverse conduct when she was arrested for Manslaughter.” Dallas police spokesman Sgt. Warren Mitchell later said that when an officer has been arrested for a crime, “adverse conduct” is often cited in the officer’s termination.

Mitchell said that adverse conduct is “conduct which adversely affects the (morale) or efficiency of the Department or which has a tendency to adversely affect, lower, destroy public respect and confidence in the Department or officer.”

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Cosby prosecutor asks for 5 to 10 years in prison

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Declaring Bill Cosby doesn’t deserve a free pass because of his advanced age, prosecutors on Monday asked a judge to sentence the comedian to five to 10 years in prison for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman, while the defense argued that he is too old and helpless to do time behind bars.

“What does an 81-year-old man do in prison?” defense attorney Joseph Green asked on Day 1 of the sentencing hearing for Cosby, who is legally blind and dependent on others. “How does he fight off the people who are trying to extort him, or walk to the mess hall?”

Green suggested that Cosby instead receive something akin to house arrest.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said that he has no doubt Cosby would commit another such offense if given the opportunity, warning that the TV star seemingly gets a sexual thrill out of slipping women drugs and assaulting them.

“So to say that he’s too old to do that — to say that he should get a pass, because it’s taken this long to catch up to what he’s done?” Steele said, his voice rising. “What they’re asking for is a ‘get out of jail free’ card.”

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‘Rocket Man’ to ‘Terrific’: Trump lauds Kim in UN return

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — President Donald Trump raised hopes at the United Nations on Monday that a second meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un could occur “quite soon,” striking a conciliatory tone one year after he used his debut at the U.N. to deride the autocrat as “Little Rocket Man” and threaten to “totally destroy North Korea.”

Trump praised Kim as “very open” and “terrific,” despite the glacial pace of progress toward denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.

U.S. officials defended Trump’s strategy of engagement with the erstwhile pariah state as the president embarked on a week of meetings with world leaders. The softer tone toward North Korea — once threatened with “fire and fury” — has been replaced by rosy optimism, with Trump reserving tough rhetoric for another potential nuclear aspirant and strategic foe: Iran.

“It was a different world,” Trump said Monday of his one-time moniker for the North Korean leader. “That was a dangerous time. This is one year later, a much different time.”

Trump began his second visit to the U.N. with a brief meeting on the global drug trade before sitting down with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who delivered a personal message to Trump from Kim after their inter-Korean talks last week in Pyongyang.

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US: Myanmar military led ‘extreme’ violence against Rohingya

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A U.S. government investigation has found that Myanmar’s military targeted Rohingya civilians indiscriminately and often with “extreme brutality” in a coordinated campaign to drive the minority Muslims out of the country.

The hard-hitting State Department report released Monday is based on a survey this spring of more than 1,000 refugees among the hundreds of thousands who have fled the crackdown to neighboring Bangladesh in the past two years.

The 20-page report does not say whether the abuses constitute genocide and crimes against humanity, as U.N. investigators have surmised.

But the U.S. findings make grim reading and are likely to reinforce calls for the Trump administration to make that determination and strengthen sanctions against the Southeast Asian nation.

Most of those interviewed had witnessed a killing, and half had witnessed sexual violence. Rohingya identified the military as the perpetrator in 84 percent of the killings or injuries they witnessed.

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Mandela’s widow urges world: put egos aside and end violence

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Nelson Mandela’s widow challenged world leaders celebrating his life on Monday to put their egos and partisan politics aside and honor his legacy by ending the “senseless violence” plaguing too much of the world.

“History will judge you should you stagnate too long in inaction,” Graca Machel told a U.N. “peace summit” commemorating the 100th anniversary of Mandela’s birth. “Humankind will hold you accountable should you allow suffering to continue on your watch.”

With peace a scarce commodity, Machel’s challenge was echoed by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and other leaders who acknowledged the world is far from achieving Mandela’s ideals which also include human rights and global cooperation.

“Today, with human rights under growing pressure around the world, we would be well served by reflecting on the example of this outstanding man,” Guterres said. “We need to face the forces that threaten us with the wisdom, courage and fortitude that Nelson Mandela embodied.”

The tributes to Mandela began with a rare U.N. honor — the unveiling of a $1.8 million statue of the South African anti-apartheid campaigner who became the world’s most famous political prisoner, played a key role in ending white-minority rule, and became president in the country’s first democratic election. The statue is a gift to the United Nations from South Africa.

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Trump: No statehood for Puerto Rico with critics in office

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Monday declared himself an “absolute no” on statehood for Puerto Rico as long as critics such as San Juan’s mayor remain in office, the latest broadside in his feud with members of the U.S. territory’s leadership.

Trump lobbed fresh broadsides at San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, a critic of his administration’s response to hurricanes on the island last year, during a radio interview with Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera that aired Monday.

“With the mayor of San Juan as bad as she is and as incompetent as she is, Puerto Rico shouldn’t be talking about statehood until they get some people that really know what they’re doing,” Trump said in an interview with Rivera’s show on Cleveland’s WTAM radio.

Trump said that when “you have good leadership,” statehood for Puerto Rico could be “something they talk about. With people like that involved in Puerto Rico, I would be an absolute no.”

Gov. Ricardo Rossello, an advocate of statehood for the island, said Trump’s remarks had trivialized the statehood process because of political differences.

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Judge restores protections for grizzly bears, blocking hunts

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A U.S. judge ordered federal protections restored for grizzly bears in the Northern Rocky Mountains on Monday, a move that blocks the first grizzly hunts planned in the Lower 48 states in almost three decades.

Wyoming and Idaho had been on the cusp of allowing hunters to kill up to 23 bears this fall. U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen had twice delayed the hunts, and the latest order blocking them was due to expire later this week. The hunts would have been the first in U.S. outside Alaska since 1991.

Christensen wrote in his ruling that the case was “not about the ethics of hunting.” Rather, he said, it was about whether federal officials adequately considered threats to the species’ long-term recovery when they lifted protections for more than 700 bears living around Yellowstone National Park.

In the judge’s view, the answer was no.

He noted that an estimated 50,000 bears once roamed the contiguous U.S. and said it would be “simplistic at best and disingenuous at worst” not to consider the status of grizzlies outside the Yellowstone region, one of the few areas where they have bounced back.

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