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

Current Conditions

Clear
14.9°C

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

April 09, 2018 - 8:04 PM

Trump blasts Mueller probe as 'attack on our country'

WASHINGTON (AP) — The special counsel's Russia investigation is not only a political witch hunt but "an attack on our country," President Donald Trump complained Monday, exhibiting mounting concern about the yearlong probe after federal authorities raided the offices of his personal attorney. "We'll see," he said, when asked if he might fire special counsel Robert Mueller.

Trump let loose after federal agents pierced the protective bubble around him, seizing records from the offices of longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen, on topics including a $130,000 payment made to a porn actress who says she had sex with Trump more than a decade ago.

Cohen has been an ardent defender in Trump's business, personal and political affairs for more than a decade — Cohen claims to have used a personal home equity loan to pay the adult film actress, known as Stormy Daniels — and the probe's expansion into the president's inner circle left Trump fuming.

He unleashed his sharpest invective to date against the sweeping investigation, calling the Monday search "a disgrace."

"It's an attack on our country in a true sense," he said, flanked by the nation's top military brass, who watched the scene stone-faced. "It's an attack on what we all stand for."

___

Tensions rachet up as Israel blamed for Syria missile strike

BEIRUT (AP) — A suspected poison gas attack in a Syrian rebel-held town and airstrikes on a Syrian air base that Damascus and Moscow blamed on U.S. ally Israel escalated tensions in the already volatile Mideast on Monday and raised the threat of possibly imminent American retaliation.

The timing of the airstrikes in central Homs province, hours after President Donald Trump said there would be "a big price to pay" for the chemical weapons attack, raised questions about whether Israel was acting alone or as a proxy for the United States. The strike on the air base reportedly killed 14 people, including four Iranians.

The U.N. special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, in his most dire warning since taking the job four years ago, warned the U.N. Security Council that recent grave events have drawn national, regional and international actors "into dangerous situations of potential or actual confrontation."

Israel did not comment on Monday's missile strike. The Jewish State typically does not comment on its airstrikes in Syria, which have been numerous in Syria's civil war.

The fast-paced developments threatened to further hike tensions between the U.S. and Russia, which has in the past warned against any U.S. military action against President Bashar Assad's government. Iran, a key ally of Assad, condemned the airstrikes, which it said killed four Iranians, including a colonel and a member of the Revolutionary Guard's aerospace force.

___

10 Things to Know for Tuesday

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday:

1. FBI RAIDS OFFICE OF TRUMP'S PERSONAL ATTORNEY

Michael Cohen has been under intense public scrutiny over a $130,000 payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels, who says she had sex with Trump more than a decade ago.

2. TRUMP VOWS RESPONSE TO 'HEINOUS' ATTACK

The president threatens a military strike against Syria for Saturday's apparent chemical weapons attack on civilians.

___

Trump threatens Syria strike, suggests Russia shares blame

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Monday threatened an imminent military strike against Syria, vowing to respond "forcefully" to Saturday's apparent chemical weapons attack on civilians and warning that Russia or any other nation found to share responsibility will "pay a price."

As he began an evening meeting with military leaders at the White House, Trump promised to "make a decision tonight or very shortly thereafter." He said: "We have a lot of options militarily, and we'll be letting you know pretty soon. Probably after the fact."

The White House sharply rejected any suggestion that Trump's own words about pulling U.S. troops out of Syria had opened the door for the attack, which killed more than 40 people, including children.

Trump, asked at midday whether Russian President Vladimir Putin bore any responsibility for the weekend attack, responded: "He may, yeah, he may. And if he does it's going to be very tough, very tough." He added: "Everybody's gonna pay a price. He will. Everybody will."

Then, during the meeting with top military leaders, he said the weekend assault "will be met and it will be met forcefully." Those at the meeting included Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford.

___

Trump furious after FBI seizes documents from his lawyer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal agents on Monday raided the office of President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen, seizing records on topics including a $130,000 payment made to porn actress Stormy Daniels.

A furious Trump, who in the last month has escalated his attacks on Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, said from the White House that it was a "disgrace" that the FBI "broke into" his lawyer's office. He called Mueller's investigation "an attack on our country," prompting new speculation that he might seek the removal of the Justice Department's special counsel.

The raid was overseen by the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan and was based in part on a referral from Mueller, said Cohen's lawyer, Stephen Ryan.

"The decision by the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York to conduct their investigation using search warrants is completely inappropriate and unnecessary," Ryan said in a statement. "It resulted in the unnecessary seizure of protected attorney client communications between a lawyer and his clients."

The raid creates a new legal headache for Trump as he and his attorneys weigh whether to agree to an interview with Mueller's team, which in addition to investigating potential ties between Russia and the Trump campaign is also examining whether the president's actions constitute obstruction of justice. And the law enforcement action will almost certainly amplify the public scrutiny on the payment to Daniels, who says she had sex with Trump in 2006. The payment was made just days before the 2016 presidential election. Trump told reporters last week that he did not know about it.

___

Zuckerberg prepares another apology _ this time to Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will apologize for his company's role in a data privacy scandal and foreign interference in the 2016 elections when he appears before Congress this week, saying the social network "didn't take a broad enough view of our responsibility," according to prepared remarks released Monday.

Zuckerberg will appear before lawmakers on Tuesday and Wednesday to try to restore public trust in his company and stave off federal regulation that some lawmakers have floated. His company is under fire in the worst privacy crisis in its history after it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a data-mining firm affiliated with Donald Trump's presidential campaign, gathered personal information from 87 million users to try to influence elections.

In the testimony released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which he is expected to deliver Wednesday, Zuckerberg apologizes for fake news, hate speech, a lack of data privacy and foreign interference in the 2016 elections on his platform.

"We didn't take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake," he says in the remarks. "It was my mistake, and I'm sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I'm responsible for what happens here."

Zuckerberg will testify before a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees on Tuesday and before the House panel on Wednesday. On Monday, he met privately with the leaders of the Senate committees.

___

Trump wins pledges of 1,600 troops for Mexico border duty

HOUSTON (AP) — The Republican governors of three southwestern border states on Monday committed 1,600 National Guard members to the U.S.-Mexico border, giving President Donald Trump many of the troops he requested to fight what he's called a crisis of migrant crossings and crime.

Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas all made new pledges that add up to almost half of the up to 4,000 troops Trump requested. Some Guard members started arriving at the border as states and the federal government officials continued to discuss what they will do.

The only holdout border state was California, led by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, who has not announced whether troops from his state's National Guard will participate.

Brown has repeatedly fought with Trump over immigration policy. Under the federal law Trump invoked in his proclamation calling for National Guard troops, governors who send troops retain command and control over their state's Guard members and the U.S. government picks up the cost.

Trump said last week he wants to send 2,000 to 4,000 National Guard members to the border, issuing a proclamation citing "the lawlessness that continues at our southern border."

___

Prosecutor says Cosby paid accuser nearly $3.4M

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Bill Cosby paid nearly $3.4 million to the woman he is charged with sexually assaulting, a prosecutor revealed to jurors Monday, answering one of the biggest questions surrounding the case as the comedian's retrial got underway.

District Attorney Kevin Steele highlighted the 2006 civil settlement during his opening statement, in an apparent attempt to suggest Cosby wouldn't have paid out so much money if the accusations against him were false. Cosby's lawyers have signalled they intend to use the settlement to argue that Andrea Constand falsely accused the former TV star in hopes of landing a big payoff.

The amount had been confidential — and was kept out of the first trial — but a judge ruled that both sides could discuss it at this one.

"This case is about trust," Steele told the jury. "This case is about betrayal and that betrayal leading to the sexual assault of a woman named Andrea Constand."

Cosby, 80, is charged with drugging and molesting Constand, a former employee of Temple University's basketball program, at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. Constand says he gave her pills that made her woozy, then penetrated her with his fingers as she lay incapacitated, unable to tell him to stop.

___

China's president promises to cut auto import tariff

BEIJING (AP) — President Xi Jinping promised to cut auto import taxes, open China's markets and improve conditions for foreign companies in a speech Tuesday that called for international co-operation against a backdrop of a spiraling dispute with Washington over trade and technology.

Speaking at a business conference, Xi made no direct mention of his American counterpart, Donald Trump, or the tariff spat. But he mentioned themes that are key irritants in relations with Washington, repeating pledges to open China's banking and finance industries to foreign ownership and to protect the intellectual property of foreign companies.

Xi tried to position China as a defender of free trade and co-operation in response to Trump's "America first" calls for import restrictions and an overhaul of trade deals to make them more favourable to the United States.

"China's door of opening up will not be closed and will only open wider," said Xi at the Boao Forum for Asia on the southern island of Hainan.

Xi said Beijing will "significantly lower" tariffs on auto imports this year and ease restrictions on foreign ownership in the auto industry "as soon as possible."

___

Apple co-founder closing Facebook account in privacy crisis

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is shutting down his Facebook account as the social media giant struggles to cope with the worst privacy crisis in its history.

In an email to USA Today, Wozniak said Facebook makes a lot of advertising money from personal details provided by users. He said the "profits are all based on the user's info, but the users get none of the profits back."

Wozniak said he'd rather pay for Facebook.

"Apple makes money off of good products, not off of you," he said.

In an interview late Monday in Philadelphia with The Associated Press, Wozniak said he had been thinking for a while of deleting his account and made the move after several of his trusted friends deleted their Facebook accounts last week.

News from © The Associated Press, 2018
The Associated Press

  • Popular kelowna News
  • Comments
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile