House GOP revises tax bill, makes it less generous
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans on Friday quietly made changes to their far-reaching tax overhaul: Now its tax cuts would be less generous for many Americans.
A day after the GOP unveiled its plan promising middle-class relief, the House's top tax-writer, Rep. Kevin Brady, released a revised version of the bill that would impose a new, lower-inflation "chained CPI" adjustment for tax brackets immediately instead of in 2023. That means more income would be taxed at higher rates over time — and less generous tax cuts for individuals and families.
The change, posted on the website of the Ways and Means Committee, reduces the value of the tax cuts for ordinary Americans by $89 billion over 10 years compared with the legislation released with fanfare Thursday.
As wages rise, middle-class taxpayers would have more of their income taxed at the 25 per cent rate instead of at 12 per cent, for instance.
"The bill's like a dead fish: The more it hangs out in the sunlight, the stinkier it gets," Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer pronounced after word of Brady's change. "The more people learn about this bill, the less they're going to like it."
NYPD says it is building rape case against Harvey Weinstein
NEW YORK (AP) — New York City police said Friday that an actress' rape allegations against Harvey Weinstein are credible, and if the movie mogul were in the state and the accusation more recent, they would move to arrest him immediately.
Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said investigators have interviewed actress Paz de la Huerta. She has publicly accused Weinstein of raping her twice in her apartment in 2010 and called police about it on Oct. 26.
Boyce said detectives found the "Boardwalk Empire" actress' story believable and that two people corroborated portions of her account. They have subpoenaed people in the case.
"If this person was still in New York, and it was recent, we'd go right away and make the arrest. No doubt," Boyce said of Weinstein. "But we're talking about a 7-year-old case. And we have to move forward gathering evidence first."
The factors that made her story credible included: "The ability to articulate each and every minute of the crime, where she was, where they met, where this happened and what he did," he said.
Bergdahl spared from prison; Trump calls sentence 'disgrace'
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) — Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who walked away from his post in Afghanistan and triggered a search that left some of his comrades severely wounded, was spared a prison sentence by a military judge Friday in what President Donald Trump blasted as a "complete and total disgrace."
The judge gave no explanation of how he arrived at his decision, but he reviewed evidence that included the five years Bergdahl was held captive by the Taliban and the wounds suffered by troops who searched for him, including one who now uses a wheelchair and cannot speak.
The case was politically divisive. President Barack Obama traded Taliban prisoners to bring Bergdahl back, drawing sharp Republican criticism. As a presidential candidate, Trump called for the soldier to face stiff punishment. He could have received up to life in prison.
The judge also gave the 31-year-old a dishonourable discharge, reduced his rank from sergeant to private and ordered him to forfeit pay equal to $1,000 per month for 10 months.
In court, Bergdahl appeared tense, grimaced and clenched his jaw. His attorneys put their arms around him and one patted him on the back. One defence attorney cried after the sentence was announced.
JFK files say rumours of CIA link to Oswald 'unfounded'
WASHINGTON (AP) — Government documents newly released Friday regarding John F. Kennedy's assassination say allegations that Lee Harvey Oswald was connected to the CIA were "totally unfounded."
A 1975 CIA memo says a thorough search of agency records in and outside the United States was conducted to determine whether Oswald had been used by the agency or connected with it in "any conceivable way."
The memo said the search came up empty. The memo also said there was also no indication that any other U.S. agency used Oswald as a source or for recruitment.
The National Archives released another 676 government documents related to the assassination — the third public release so far this year. Under law, all the documents were to be disclosed to the public last week.
Most of the latest release comprises 553 records from the CIA that previously were withheld in their entirety. There also are records from the Justice and Defence departments, the House Select Committee on Assassinations and the National Archives.
Inside story: How Russians hacked the Democrats' emails
WASHINGTON (AP) — It was just before noon in Moscow on March 10, 2016, when the first volley of malicious messages hit the Hillary Clinton campaign.
The first 29 phishing emails were almost all misfires. Addressed to people who worked for Clinton during her first presidential run, the messages bounced back untouched.
Within nine days, some of the campaign's most consequential secrets would be in the hackers' hands, part of a massive operation aimed at vacuuming up millions of messages from thousands of inboxes across the world.
An Associated Press investigation into the digital break-ins that disrupted the U.S. presidential contest has sketched out an anatomy of the hack that led to months of damaging disclosures about the Democratic Party's nominee. It wasn't just a few aides that the hackers went after; it was an all-out blitz across the Democratic Party. They tried to compromise Clinton's inner circle and more than 130 party employees, supporters and contractors.
LeBron James scores 57, Cavaliers top Wiz 130-122, end skid
WASHINGTON (AP) — Just in case there were any questions about Eastern Conference supremacy, LeBron James poured in 57 points — the second-highest total of his career and an NBA-best this season — to help the Cleveland Cavaliers end a four-game losing skid by beating the Washington Wizards 130-122 Friday night.
James hadn't scored this much since getting a career-high 61 for the Miami Heat on March 3, 2014, against the Charlotte Hornets.
And the four-time league MVP did it efficiently Friday, making 23 of 34 field-goal tries and all nine free throws, while adding 11 rebounds and seven assists. James did it with style, too. He hurdled over a seated Bradley Beal while dribbling, swatted a shot by John Wall off the backboard, and looked for a camera to wag both index fingers in the midst of a three-point play.
James didn't need much help, but teammates Derrick Rose (20 points) and Jae Crowder (17) each managed to top their season highs before the third quarter was done.
Cleveland finally looked like a team that has been to the NBA Finals three consecutive years, thanks in large part to James.
Laurence Fishburne files for divorce after 15-year marriage
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Court records show Laurence Fishburne has filed for divorce from his wife of 15 years.
Fishburne cited irreconcilable differences in Thursday's filing as the reason for his breakup with Gina Torres. The pair has a 10-year-old daughter together, and Fishburne is seeking joint custody.
The petition, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, states Fishburne and Torres have reached an agreement on how to distribute their assets.
The former couple married in September 2002 and Fishburne states they separated in October 2016.
Fishburne stars in "Last Flag Flying," which was released Friday.
Trump stops in Hawaii, eagerly awaits Pearl Harbor visit
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (AP) — Embarking on his first official tour of Asia, President Donald Trump stopped first in Hawaii on Friday and said he eagerly anticipated a visit to Pearl Harbor, where thousands of service members paid the ultimate sacrifice following a surprise attack by Japan that plunged the U.S. into World War II.
"We are going to visit very shortly, Pearl Harbor, which I've read about, spoken about, heard about, studied, but I haven't seen. And that is going to be very exciting for me," Trump said at the start of a briefing with leaders of the U.S. Pacific Command, which oversees U.S. military operations in the region.
Trump arrived at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam late Friday after a daylong flight from Washington. He departs Saturday for Japan, the first stop on the five-nation, 11-day Asia journey that will also take him to South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.
The president quickly donned a lei after he left Air Force One with first lady Melania Trump, who also wore a wreath of flowers. He signed autographs and gave high-fives to kids who were among a group of civilians and service members that gathered for the arrival.
Trump wasn't the only attraction to arrive on base. A few in the crowd shouted for White House chief of staff John Kelly.
Asians talk about expectations for Trump's visit
President Donald Trump embarks on his first official visit to Asia, which begins Sunday in Japan.
North Korea's missile and nuclear weapons programs are likely to be the issue dominating the first part of his trip, which includes stops in South Korea's capital and Beijing as well as Tokyo. Trade will figure throughout, both in North Asia and at his stops in Southeast Asia for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vietnam and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders' meeting in the Philippines. Here's what people in those countries have to say about their expectations for the visit.
Yoh Kawakami, employee at an information management solution company:
"I do wonder whether things will be OK, like, what will the world turn into? I wonder about his (Trump's) response to North Korea and other things. There are things that scare me. He is becoming friendly with Prime Minister Abe and I don't know if that is right or not."
Sheriff: Las Vegas shooter had lost money, been depressed
The man who killed 58 people at a country music festival in Las Vegas last month had been depressed after losing a significant amount of money in the past two years and that may have been a "determining factor" in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, the city's sheriff said.
Gunman Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old high-stakes gambler and real estate investor, had lost a "significant amount of wealth" since September 2015, which led to "bouts of depression," Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said in an interview this week with Las Vegas news station KLAS-TV.
"This individual was status-driven, based on how he liked to be recognized in the casino environment and how he liked to be recognized by his friends and family," Lombardo said. "So, obviously, that was starting to decline in the short period of time, and that may have had a determining effect on why he did what he did."
Investigators still have not determined exactly what led Paddock to unleash a barrage of gunfire at concertgoers from his high-rise suite at the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino on Oct. 1.
Paddock killed himself after the massacre that also wounded more than 500 people. Las Vegas police and the FBI have examined his politics, any possible radicalization and his social behaviour but turned up little.