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

Mueller recommends no prison for Flynn, citing cooperation

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 cooperation 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 cooperated 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 the first of five Trump associates to accept responsibility by pleading guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

Though prosecutors withheld specific details of Flynn’s cooperation 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 cooperate 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 confidante Roger Stone for saying he wouldn’t testify against Trump.

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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.

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Crowds honor 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.

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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 percent 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.

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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,”

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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 willfully 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.

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Asia shares post moderate losses after Wall Street sell-off

Shares were moderately lower in Asia on Wednesday following a bloodletting on Wall Street as goodwill generated by a truce between the U.S. and China over trade evaporated in confusion over exactly what the two sides had agreed upon.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 800 points. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to its lowest level in three months, signaling that the bond market is worried about long-term economic growth.

The sell-off short-circuited a recent rally on Wall Street. The market gained Monday after the Trump administration said U.S. and China agreed to a temporary cease-fire in a trade dispute. Last week, stocks jumped when the Federal Reserve’s chairman indicated the central bank could slow the pace of interest rate increases.

In Asia early Wednesday benchmarks fell by no more than 1.5 percent, the loss for the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong, which was at 26,860.43 by mid-morning. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index fell 0.4 percent to 21,946.94. The Shanghai Composite index lost 0.5 percent to 2,653.54 and Australia’s S&P ASX 200 dropped 1.3 percent to 5,641.10.

On Wall Street, investors’ confidence in the U.S.-China agreement faltered after a series of 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.

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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.”

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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.

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Actor-comedian Kevin Hart will host 2019 Oscars

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kevin Hart has a new job — he will host the 2019 Academy Awards, a role the prolific actor-comedian says fulfills a longtime dream.

Hart announced his selection for the 91st Oscars in an Instagram statement Tuesday. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences followed up with a tweet that welcomed him “to the family.”

The announcement came hours after trade publication The Hollywood Reporter posted a story calling the Oscars host position “the least wanted job in Hollywood.”

Hart clearly doesn’t feel that way, writing on Instagram that it has been on his list of dream jobs for years. The 2019 Oscars will be broadcast Feb. 24 on ABC.

“I am blown away simply because this has been a goal on my list for a long time…To be able to join the legendary list of host that have graced this stage is unbelievable,” Hart wrote. “I know my mom is smiling from ear to ear right now.

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



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