Manafort accused of trying to tamper with witnesses in cases
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort made several attempts to tamper with witnesses in his ongoing criminal case, prosecutors said as they asked a federal judge to consider jailing him while he awaits trial.
In a court filing Monday, prosecutors working for special counsel Robert Mueller wrote that Manafort and one of his associates "repeatedly" contacted two witnesses in an effort to influence their testimony. The contacts occurred earlier this year, shortly after a grand jury returned a new indictment against Manafort and while he was confined to his home.
The filing marks the second time that Mueller's team has accused Manafort of violating a judge's order in the case. Late last year, federal agents discovered that Manafort was attempting to ghostwrite an opinion piece in Ukraine even though he was under a gag order in the case.
The allegations of attempted witness tampering relate to Manafort's criminal case in Washington where he faces charges of money-laundering conspiracy, false statements and acting as an unregistered foreign agent for Ukrainian interests. He also faces bank fraud and tax evasion charges in Virginia.
The charges — they involve tens of millions of dollars routed through offshore accounts — do not relate to his work on the Trump campaign or involve allegations of Russian election interference.
Blue wave? California tops list as midterm matchups form
LOS ANGELES (AP) — For years sidelined on the national political fringe, California has lurched to the center of the fight for control of Congress.
No state will be more consequential in the success or failure of a prospective blue wave this fall. But before then, Democrats must avoid self-inflicted wounds in Tuesday's so-called jungle primaries that feature a swarm of ambitious candidates who could cannibalize their own party's chances. At the same time, Republicans face the embarrassing prospect of failing to nominate any candidates in marquee races for the U.S. Senate and governor.
California tops a list of eight states holding primary contests on Tuesday. Democrats and Republicans from Montana to Alabama and Mississippi to New Jersey will pick their nominees up and down the ballot to face off this November for the inaugural midterm elections of Donald Trump's presidency.
With the possibility of a Democratic wave on the horizon, Tuesday's contests will test voter enthusiasm, candidate quality and Trump's influence as the 2018 political battlefield begins to settle.
"I look forward (to) watching the Democrats continue to nominate far-left progressives who are running to go to Congress to impeach the president and raise middle-class taxes," said Corry Bliss, whose Congressional Leadership Fund will spend tens of millions of dollars to defend the House Republican majority this fall.
Retired policeman's hunch leads to suspect in 6 killings
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — A hunch from a retired detective helped lead police to a man suspected of shooting six people to death in the Phoenix area, some of whom were connected to his divorce, authorities said after the assailant killed himself with officers closing in.
A round-the-clock investigation that began late last week led police Monday to an extended-stay hotel in suburban Scottsdale where 56-year-old Dwight Lamon Jones was staying. As officers approached, they heard gunfire and found his body.
Jones' victims included a well-known forensic psychiatrist who testified against him in court in 2010, two paralegals who worked for the law office that represented the suspect's wife, a marriage-and-divorce counselor who was apparently targeted in a case of mistaken identity and another man and woman who have not been identified, authorities said.
In an unexpected twist, the suspect's ex-wife, Connie Jones, said her current husband, a retired police detective, made the connection between her divorce and the crime scenes and notified police of his suspicion Saturday night.
Connie Jones said in a statement that her ex-husband was a "very emotionally disturbed person."
Only a few of Guatemala volcano's dead have been identified
EL RODEO, Guatemala (AP) — People of the villages skirting Guatemala's Volcano of Fire began mourning the few dead who could be identified after an eruption killed dozens by engulfing them in floods of searing ash and mud.
Mourners cried over caskets lined up in a row in the main park of San Juan Alotenango on Monday evening before rescuers stopped their work for another night.
There is no electricity in the hardest hit areas of Los Lotes and El Rodeo, so most searching continued only until sunset.
Guatemalan authorities put the death toll at 69, but officials said just 17 had been identified so far because the intense heat of the volcanic debris flows left most bodies unrecognizable.
"It is very difficult for us to identify them because some of the dead lost their features or their fingerprints" from the red-hot flows, said Fanuel Garcia, director of the National Institute of Forensic Sciences. "We are going to have to resort to other methods ... and if possible take DNA samples to identify them."
Trump: No pardon is necessary, but I can pardon myself
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump claimed he has an "absolute right" to pardon himself, part of an extraordinarily expansive vision of executive authority that is mostly untested in court and could portend a drawn-out fight with the prosecutors now investigating him.
No need of a pardon anyway, Trump tweeted Monday, because "I have done nothing wrong." In fact, his lawyers assert in a memo to special counsel Robert Mueller, it's impossible for him to have done anything wrong in the area of obstructing justice, an issue Mueller has been investigating. That's because, as the country's chief law enforcement officer, Trump himself has ultimate control of the Justice Department and executive branch.
Beyond that, his lawyers have repeatedly insisted that it's beyond dispute that a sitting president cannot be criminally prosecuted.
Trump also tweeted Monday that the Justice Department's "appointment of the Special Counsel is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL."
Mueller's investigation moves forward nonetheless, and as it does courts may have to confront questions with minimal if any historical precedent. Those include whether a president can be forced to answer questions from prosecutors, whether it's possible for a commander in chief to criminally interfere in investigations and whether a president's broad pardon power can be deployed for corrupt purposes.
A Syrian family finds peace, even in squalid, crowded camp
AL-BAB, Syria (AP) — The family of seven is crammed into a single tent in a squalid and overcrowded camp for those who fled the fighting near the capital of Damascus. A shared toilet is up a dirt road. There are few opportunities for work and many are still walking around with their ear injuries.
But the Sweidan family had no choice except to leave their hometown of Douma, where they endured weeks of bombing, near-starvation from a crippling siege and a suspected chemical attack that almost killed their eldest son.
They are now resigned to a life of exile in northern Syria.
"It is not a life really. But better than Douma," said Maysaa, who lives with her husband, their four children and her husband's mother in the tent. "We are relieved there are no airstrikes. We can at least sleep. The children can at least play outside."
The family left the town in the eastern Ghouta region in April as it fell to the government. Maysaa's husband was a member of an armed group that controlled Douma before the Syrian forces moved in.
Rohingya say Myanmar targeted the educated in genocide
BALUKHALI REFUGEE CAMP, Bangladesh (AP) — Mohammed Hashim hid in the hills and watched as his brother begged for his life, his arms bound behind his back as soldiers marched the 35-year-old teacher away. It was the last time he saw him alive.
It was Aug. 26, the day after Rohingya Muslim separatist attacks on military outposts in the Rohingya homeland in western Myanmar. In their wake, Myanmar's military and local Buddhists would respond with a campaign of rape, massacre and arson that has driven about 700,000 Rohingya into Bangladesh.
But more than a dozen Rohingya teachers, elders and religious leaders told The Associated Press that educated Rohingya — already subject to systematic and widespread harassment, arrests and torture — were singled out, part of Myanmar's operation to drive the Muslim Rohingya from majority Buddhist Myanmar.
Soldiers targeted the educated, they said, so there would be no community leaders left willing to speak up against the pervasive abuse.
It's an old tactic, according to those who study genocide — and often a precursor to killing.
Justices side with Colorado baker on same-sex wedding cake
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled for a Colorado baker who wouldn't make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple in a limited decision that leaves for another day the larger issue of whether a business can invoke religious objections to refuse service to gay and lesbian people.
The justices' decision Monday turned on what the court described as anti-religious bias on the Colorado Civil Rights Commission when it ruled against baker Jack Phillips. The justices voted 7-2 that the commission violated Phillips' rights under the First Amendment.
The case had been eagerly anticipated as, variously, a potentially strong statement about the rights of LGBT people or the court's first ruling carving out exceptions to an anti-discrimination law. In the end, the decision was modest enough to attract the votes of liberal and conservative justices on a subject that had the potential for sharp division.
Justice Anthony Kennedy said in his majority opinion that the larger issue "must await further elaboration" in the courts. Appeals in similar cases are pending, including one at the Supreme Court from a florist who didn't want to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding.
The disputes, Kennedy wrote, "must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market."
Trump calls off event for NFL's Eagles, cites anthem dispute
WASHINGTON (AP) — Digging deeper into a culture war that he's repeatedly stoked, President Donald Trump called off a visit to the White House by the Philadelphia Eagles, citing the dispute over whether NFL players protesting racial injustice must stand during the playing of the national anthem.
Trump said in a statement Monday that some members of the Super Bowl championship team "disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country."
He said the team wanted to send a smaller delegation Tuesday, but "the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better."
Instead, Trump said he would be hosting "a different type of ceremony," featuring the U.S. Marine Band and the U.S. Army Chorus, that "will honor our great country, pay tribute to the heroes who fight to protect it, and loudly and proudly play the National Anthem."
None of the Eagles took a knee during the anthem in 2017.
Capitals on verge of Cup after blowing out Golden Knights
WASHINGTON (AP) — Evgeny Kuznetsov smiled about getting four assists. He tried not to smile too much at the thought of being one win away from the Stanley Cup.
With Kuznetsov and goaltender Braden Holtby leading the way, the Washington Capitals are on the verge of capturing the first title in their 43rd season after routing the Vegas Golden Knights 6-2 on Monday night to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.
Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals will get their first chance to hoist the Cup in Game 5 on Thursday night in Las Vegas.
One more win.
"I've never been there," Kuznetsov said after just the fourth four-assist game in Cup Final history. "And I don't really care about that yet, so it's kind of easy for me. You know me, I always stay loose a little bit especially off the games. I'm pretty sure when game gonna come, we're gonna a little bit think about it. It's pretty hard to not think about that."
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