First guilty plea, indictment of Trump aides in Russia probe
WASHINGTON (AP) — On a black Monday for Donald Trump's White House, the special counsel investigating possible co-ordination between the Kremlin and the Trump presidential campaign announced the first charges, indicting Trump's former campaign chairman and revealing how an adviser lied to the FBI about meetings with Russian intermediaries.
The formal charges against a total of three people are the first public demonstration that special counsel Robert Mueller and his team believe they have identified criminal conduct. And they send a warning that individuals in the Trump orbit who do not co-operate with Mueller's investigators, or who are believed to mislead them during questioning, could also wind up charged and facing years in prison.
Paul Manafort, who steered Trump's campaign for much of last year, and business associate Rick Gates ended the day under house arrest on charges that they funneled payments through foreign companies and bank accounts as part of their private political work in Ukraine.
George Papadopoulos, also a former campaign adviser, faced further questioning and then sentencing in the first — and so far only — criminal case that links the Trump election effort to the Kremlin.
Manafort and Gates, who pleaded not guilty in federal court, are not charged with any wrongdoing as part of the Trump campaign, and the president immediately sought to distance himself from the allegations. He said on Twitter that the alleged crimes occurred "years ago," and he insisted anew there was "NO COLLUSION" between his campaign and Russia.
Trump campaign aide steps to centre of Russia probe
WASHINGTON (AP) — A former Donald Trump campaign aide described by the White House as a low-level volunteer was thrust Monday into the centre of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, providing key evidence in the first criminal case connecting Trump's team to alleged intermediaries for Russia's government.
George Papadopoulos was approached by people claiming ties to Russia and offering "dirt" on Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of emails, according to court documents unsealed. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about the conversations and has been co-operating with investigators, the documents said.
Papadopoulos' guilty plea and the possibility that he's working with Mueller's team came as an unexpected twist in the mounting drama surrounding the criminal probe. A separate welter of charges Mueller announced Monday against Trump's ex-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his longtime aide Rick Gates do not appear directly related to their work for Trump.
But Papadopoulos' case cuts close to the central question of Mueller's investigation: Did Russia try to sway the election? Did Trump's campaign know?
"The Russians had emails of Clinton," Papadopoulos was told by an unnamed professor during a breakfast meeting at a London hotel in April. U.S. investigators said that the following day, Papadopoulos then emailed a Trump campaign policy adviser, "Have some interesting messages coming in from Moscow about a trip when the time is right."
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. EX-TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER PLEADS GUILTY
George Papadopoulos admits lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians — the first criminal case citing interactions between Trump campaign associates and Russian intermediaries during the 2016 presidential campaign.
2. CRIMINAL CASES UNDERSCORE ONGOING THREAT TO TRUMP
Charges against former Trump aides, including Paul Manafort, mark a new phase in Robert Mueller's sprawling investigation into Russia and the president.
APNewsBreak: Lost sailors did not activate emergency beacon
HONOLULU (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard said Monday that the two Hawaii women who were lost at sea for five months had an emergency beacon aboard their sailboat that was never activated.
U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Scott Carr told The Associated Press that their review of the incident and subsequent interviews with the survivors revealed that they had the Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) aboard but never turned it on.
When asked if the two had the radio beacon aboard, the women told the AP on Friday they had a number of other communications devices, but they didn't mention the EPIRB.
The device communicates with satellites and sends locations to authorities. It's activated when it's submerged in water or turned on manually.
During the post-incident debriefing by the Coast Guard, Jennifer Appel, who was on the sailboat with Tasha Fuiava, was asked if she had the emergency beacon on board. Appel replied she did, and that it was properly registered.
'House of Cards' cancelled as fallout continues for Spacey
NEW YORK (AP) — The fallout facing Kevin Spacey widened Monday following an accusation that he allegedly made sexual advances on a teen boy, with Netflix pulling the plug on his hit show "House of Cards" and "deeply troubled" producers of the political thriller arriving on set to comfort cast mates.
Executives from Netflix and the show's producer, Media Rights Capital, said they arrived in Baltimore, where the show is shot, on Monday afternoon to make sure actors and crew "continue to feel safe and supported." Spacey was not scheduled to be on set on Monday.
Though the decision to end the series was announced on Monday, the decision to end the series was made several months ago, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the decision.
Spacey is the latest Hollywood man to be named in widening allegations of sexual harassment and abuse in entertainment, media and other industries. The avalanche of allegations began earlier this month after the New York Times published a story alleging that producer Harvey Weinstein had sexually harassed numerous women.
On Monday, NBC fired political journalist Mark Halperin after multiple allegations of sexual harassment, and The New Republic said it had launched an investigation after publisher and president Hamilton Fish was accused of harassing women.
Trump fumes as Mueller probe enters new phase with charges
WASHINGTON (AP) — Special counsel Robert Muller's charges Monday against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and two other aides marked a new phase in his sprawling investigation into Russia and President Donald Trump, underscoring the ongoing threat Mueller poses to the president.
Trump immediately sought to distance himself after Manafort and Rick Gates pleaded not guilty to a 12-count indictment alleging money laundering, conspiracy and other offences and as another former aide was revealed to be co-operating with authorities after entering a guilty plea for lying to the FBI. White House officials were publicly optimistic about Mueller's investigation wrapping up swiftly, but the probe is far from over and its reach still uncertain.
Trump has become increasingly concerned that the Mueller probe could be moving beyond Russia to an investigation into his personal dealings, two people familiar with the president's thinking said. Trump expressed irritation Monday morning that he was being tarnished by his former aides.
In the hours after the indictment, the president angrily told one confidant that Manafort had been a campaign "part-timer" who had only helped steer the convention and got too much credit for Trump's ability to hold onto the nomination, according to a person familiar with the private discussion. Those describing Trump's thinking or private discussions were not authorized to speak publicly about them and requested anonymity.
Trump dismissed the money-laundering charges against Manafort as typical political corruption that did not reflect on his campaign, one of the persons said. The president also insisted that the charges predated Manafort's time on the campaign and that he should not be held responsible for any prior misdeeds by Manafort.
Tech companies find more signs of Russian election activity
WASHINGTON (AP) — Major tech companies plan to tell Congress Tuesday that they have found additional evidence of Russian activity on their services surrounding the 2016 U.S. election.
Facebook, for instance, says a Russian group posted more than 80,000 times on its service during and after the election, potentially reaching as many as 126 million users. The company plans to disclose these numbers to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the testimony. The person declined to be named because the committee has not officially released the testimony.
Twitter plans to tell the same committee that it has uncovered and shut down 2,752 accounts linked to the same group, Russia's Internet Research Agency, which is known for promoting pro-Russian government positions.
That number is nearly 14 times larger than the number of accounts Twitter handed over to congressional committees three weeks ago, according to a person familiar with the matter. This person requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the new findings ahead of the hearing on Tuesday.
And Google announced in a blog post that it found evidence of "limited" misuse of its services by the Russian group, as well as some YouTube channels that were likely backed by Russian agents.
Black Lives Matter award spotlights Australia racial issues
SYDNEY (AP) — The awarding of the Sydney Peace Prize to the Black Lives Matter movement for its work highlighting American race issues is being hailed by local activists as a progressive step, but is also shining a spotlight on Australia's own struggles with race relations.
The Sydney Peace Foundation, a body within the University of Sydney that has previously bestowed its prize on individuals such as South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu, will deliver its award to the group this week. It's the first time in the award's 20-year history that an organization will receive the honour.
The group has been at the forefront of U.S. activism against police brutality, mass incarceration and racial inequality.
The social media hashtag with which it shares its name began after neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2013. It gained traction when a police officer fatally shot another unarmed black man, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri the following year, sparking protests.
Black Lives Matter is being awarded "for building a powerful movement for racial equality, courageously reigniting a global conversation around state violence and racism," the Sydney Peace Foundation said in a statement.
Doctors: Global warming is taking a toll on people's health
WASHINGTON (AP) — Global warming is hurting people's health a bit more than previously thought, but there's hope that the Earth — and populations — can heal if the planet kicks its coal habit, a group of doctors and other experts said.
The poor and elderly are most threatened by worsening climate change, but there remains "glimmers of progress" especially after the 2015 Paris agreement to limit heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions, according to a new big study published Monday in the British medical journal Lancet.
Comparing the report to a health checkup, four researchers and several outside experts described Earth's prognosis as "guarded."
"There are some very severe warning signs, but there are some hopeful indicators too," said co-author Dr. Howard Frumkin, a professor of environmental health at the University of Washington. "Given the right treatment and aggressive efforts to prevent things from getting worse, I think there's hope."
The report highlighted health problems stemming from more frequent heat waves, disease spread by insects, air pollution and other woes. While the disasters have been costly, deaths haven't been increasing because society is doing a better but more expensive job adjusting to the changing conditions, the researchers noted.
Warrant issued for Rose McGowan in relation to drug charge
WASHINGTON (AP) — An arrest warrant has been obtained for actress Rose McGowan for felony possession of a controlled substance.
The felony charge stems from a police investigation of personal belongings left behind on a United flight arriving at Washington Dulles International Airport on Jan. 20. Police say the items tested positive for narcotics. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police Department obtained the warrant on Feb. 1
Police say they've attempted to contact McGowan so she can appear in a Loudoun County, Virginia, court. The warrant has been entered into a national law enforcement database.
McGowan has been one of the leading voices against sexual harassment in Hollywood, and tweeted earlier this month that she was raped by a man with the initials "HW." The Hollywood Reporter said McGowan confirmed she was referring to disgraced media mogul Harvey Weinstein.