Trump suggests ‘rogue killers’ murdered Saudi journalist
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump suggested Monday that “rogue killers” could be responsible for the mysterious disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, an explanation offering U.S. ally Saudi Arabia a possible path out of a global diplomatic firestorm. The Saudis continued to deny they killed the writer, but there were indications the story could soon change.
While Trump commented at the White House, Turkish crime scene investigators finally entered the Saudi consulate to comb the building where Khashoggi was last seen alive two weeks ago.
Trump spoke after a personal 20-minute phone call with Saudi King Salman and as the president dispatched his secretary of state to Riyadh for a face-to-face discussion with the king. Late in the day, there were published reports that the Saudis were preparing to concede that Khashoggi, a U.S.-based Saudi contributor to The Washington Post, had been killed in an interrogation gone wrong.
Before Monday Trump had focused less on possible explanations for Khashoggi’s likely demise than on possible punishment if the Saudis were found culpable.
“The king firmly denied any knowledge of it,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House for a trip to survey hurricane damage in Florida and Georgia. Trump said he didn’t “want to get into (Salman’s) mind,” but he added, “it sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers. I mean, who knows? We’re going to try getting to the bottom of it very soon, but his was a flat denial.”
Microsoft co-founder, philanthropist Paul Allen dies at 65
SEATTLE (AP) — Paul G. Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with his childhood friend Bill Gates before becoming a billionaire philanthropist who invested in conservation, space travel, arts and culture and professional sports, died Monday. He was 65.
He died in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, his company Vulcan Inc. announced.
Gates said he was heartbroken about the loss of one of his “oldest and dearest friends.”
“Personal computing would not have existed without him,” Gates said in a statement.
“But Paul wasn’t content with starting one company. He channeled his intellect and compassion into a second act focused on improving people’s lives and strengthening communities in Seattle and around the world. He was fond of saying, ‘If it has the potential to do good, then we should do it,'” Gates wrote.
Trump marvels at hurricane damage, hears stories of struggle
LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (AP) — Michael Rollins shook President Donald Trump’s hand Monday at the front door of his hurricane-ravaged home in the Florida Panhandle, saying he decided to ride out the storm because he didn’t have anywhere else to go.
“I knew I had made my commitment to stay with my animals,” Rollins told the president, standing by a massive pine tree down on the front lawn.
The president, along with first lady Melania Trump, listened to stories of survival and struggle as he surveyed the wreckage of Hurricane Michael. As Trump toured, the death toll stood at 17, with thousands of buildings gutted and tens of thousands of homes and businesses without electricity. Trump paused his election-season campaign blitz for the visit, largely — but not completely — putting politics on the backburner for the day.
Trump visited an aid distribution center, set up in a parking lot filled with boxes of diapers, piles of clothes and bottled water. He and the first lady handed out bottles of water to residents who came to see him and tell him their stories about the storm.
“Somebody said it was like a very wide — extremely wide — tornado. … Beyond any winds that they’ve seen,” Trump said. “Look behind you. I mean, these massive trees are just ripped out of the earth. This is really incredible. This road — five hours ago, you couldn’t ride on it.”
Judge tosses Stormy Daniels’ defamation suit against Trump
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge dismissed Stormy Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against President Donald Trump on Monday, saying the president made a “hyperbolic statement” against a political adversary when he tweeted about a composite sketch the porn actress’ lawyer released.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, sued Trump in April after he said a composite sketch of a man she said threatened her in 2011 to keep quiet about an alleged affair with the real estate mogul was a “con job.”
Trump tweeted that the man was “nonexistent” and that Daniels was playing the “fake news media for fools.” He retweeted a side-by-side photo comparing the sketch with a photo of Daniels’ husband.
In an order handed down Monday, U.S. District Judge S. James Otero said Trump’s statement was protected speech under the First Amendment.
“If this Court were to prevent Mr. Trump from engaging in this type of ‘rhetorical hyperbole’ against a political adversary, it would significantly hamper the office of the President,” the judge wrote. “Any strongly worded response by a president to another politician or public figure could constitute an action for defamation. This would deprive this country of the ‘discourse’ common to the political process.”
Sen. Warren: DNA test shows I have Native American heritage
BOSTON (AP) — Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Monday released the results of a DNA analysis that she said indicated that she has some Native American heritage, a rebuttal to President Donald Trump, who has long mocked her ancestral claims and repeatedly referred to her as “Pocahontas.”
The Massachusetts Democrat and potential 2020 presidential contender challenged Trump to make good on his pledge to donate $1 million to charity if she provided proof of Native American heritage, a moment that was caught on video. Trump falsely denied ever making the offer and later said he would donate the money only if he can personally administer the genetic test.
The analysis was done by Stanford University professor Carlos D. Bustamante, a prominent expert in the field. He concluded that the great majority of Warren’s ancestry is European but added that the results “strongly support” the existence of a Native American ancestor.
In his report , Bustamante said he analyzed Warren’s sample without knowing the identity of the donor. He concluded that Warren has a pure Native American ancestor who probably lived six to 10 generations ago, and that it was impossible to determine the individual’s tribal connection.
Warren, who has said her Native American roots were part of “family lore,” also released a video produced by her Senate re-election campaign. In it, she said: “The president likes to call my mom a liar. What do the facts say?”
Deputies search for Wisconsin girl whose parents are dead
BARRON, Wis. (AP) — Authorities searched Monday for a 13-year-old girl they believe is in danger after her parents were found dead in their western Wisconsin home.
Deputies went to the home in Barron after dispatchers received a 911 call from an unknown person at around 1 a.m. Monday, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said. He said they found the bodies of Jayme Closs’ parents, who were later identified by the sheriff’s department as 56-year-old James Closs and his 46-year-old wife, Denise Closs. Fitzgerald also said there had been gunshots, but he stopped short of saying that’s how the couple died.
“At the end of the day, I want a 13-year-old here safe and sound. That’s our goal. That’s our only goal right now,” Fitzgerald said at a news briefing.
Investigators don’t have any leads or suspects, but they have enlisted the help of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the FBI, which has agents who specialize in missing children cases, the sheriff said. He said Jayme is not considered a suspect in her parents’ deaths.
Deputies searched the area around the family’s home with drones and infrared equipment, but they didn’t find any clues as to her whereabouts. Fitzgerald said investigators are frustrated they haven’t developed any leads and asked for the public’s help with any information about what could have happened to the girl.
US budget deficit hits highest level in 6 years
WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal budget deficit has surged to $779 billion in fiscal 2018, its highest level in six years as President Donald Trump’s tax cuts caused the government to borrow more heavily in order to cover its spending.
The Treasury Department said Monday that the deficit climbed $113 billion from fiscal 2017. Debt will likely worsen in the coming years with the Trump administration expecting the deficit to top $1 trillion in 2019, nearly matching the $1.1 trillion imbalance from 2012.
The deficit worsened because tax revenues are not keeping pace with government spending. The government’s fiscal year runs from October to September, unlike calendar years that begin in January. Tax revenues were essentially flat in fiscal 2018, while spending increased 3.2 percent as Congress gave more funds for military and domestic programs.
Revenues generally tumbled after December when Trump signed into law $1.5 trillion of tax cuts over the next decade. The tax cuts have caused economic growth to accelerate this year with Federal Reserve officials anticipating gains of 3.1 percent. But the Trump administration initially promised that the tax cuts would pay for themselves through stronger growth — and there is no sign so far of that happening.
“The budget numbers make very clear that the faster growth isn’t stopping the deficit from increasing,” said Marc Goldwein, senior policy director for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a group that advocates for lower deficits.
US wants drug prices in TV ads: ‘Patients deserve to know’
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The federal government said Monday that it wants to force drugmakers to disclose prices for prescription medicines in their TV commercials.
The drug industry’s main trade group said drug companies are only willing to disclose the prices on their websites, not in commercials, and they’ll start doing that next spring.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar unveiled a proposal that would apply to all brand-name drugs covered by the Medicare and Medicaid programs, which is most medicines.
“Patients deserve to know what a given drug could cost when they’re being told about the benefits and risks it may have,” Azar said in prepared remarks. “They deserve to know if the drug company has pushed their prices to abusive levels. And they deserve to know this every time they see a drug advertised to them on TV.”
Most Americans don’t pay the full price for prescriptions — one reason drugmakers have opposed disclosing the list prices, arguing that would just confuse the public. But insurance plans base their copayments on the list price set by drugmakers. And patients with high-deductibles plans or no insurance sometimes pay full price.
Pregnant Duchess of Sussex starts official Australian tour
SYDNEY (AP) — A beaming Duke and Duchess of Sussex started the first day of official engagements of a royal tour of Australia on Tuesday with the public focus on the former Meghan Markle’s newly announced pregnancy.
Meghan wore a tight-fitting cream dress by Australian designer Karen Gee that barely revealed a royal bump as they were welcomed at an event at the Sydney Harbor-side mansion where the couple are staying.
The news of the pregnancy was announced after Prince Harry and the American former actress arrived in Sydney on Monday and 15 hours before their first public appearance.
Among those taken by surprise were their Sydney hosts, Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove and Lady Lynne Cosgrove. The governor general, who represents Queen Elizabeth II, Australia’s head of state and Harry’s grandmother, sent staff to hastily buy a toy kangaroo with a joey in its pouch and tiny pair of Australian sheep skin boots for their pregnant guest.
“Here’s your first gift for the nursery,” the governor-general told the couple during the official welcome at his official residence, Admiralty House.
Mega Millions prize up to $654M, 4th largest in US history
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — After nearly three months without a winner, the Mega Millions lottery game has climbed to an estimated $654 million jackpot.
Unfortunately, even as the big prize for Tuesday night’s drawing increases to the fourth-largest in U.S. history , the odds of matching all six numbers and winning the game don’t improve. They’re stuck at a miserable one in 302.5 million.
The last time anyone won the jackpot was July 24, when a group from California claimed a $543 million prize.
The estimated $654 million jackpot refers to the annuity option, paid out over 29 years. The cash option, which is favored by nearly all winners, is $372 million.
Mega Millions is played in 44 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
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