NEW YORK — A new lawsuit lays out an explosive tale of Trump allies, the White House and Fox News Channel conspiring to push a false story about Democratic leaks and an unsolved killing in order to distract attention from the Russia investigation that has been swirling around the president
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday against Fox by an investigator who had been looking into the killing of Seth Rich, a former Democratic National Committee staff member who died in 2016 in what police say was a botched robbery. The investigator alleges that Fox quoted him as saying things he never said and was willing to show President Donald Trump its story before it was posted online.
It’s the second time in two days that Trump has been accused of being actively involved in pushing a public narrative to lower the heat of the Russia story. The Washington Post reported that the president had written a misleading statement for his son to give to The New York Times about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting last summer with a Russian who promised dirt on Democrat Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Rich’s death has become fodder for conspiracy theorists, deeply angering the 27-year-old’s family. In May, the story was thrust into the headlines again when Fox posted a story on its website in which investigator Rod Wheeler said there had been contact between Rich and WikiLeaks, the organization that posted a trove of DNC emails last year. The story was heavily promoted by Fox News host Sean Hannity, who has informally advised the president.
In the lawsuit, Wheeler now says that he never made that statement. He also contends he was told his false comments were put in the story because Trump wanted it that way.
PORTLAND — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has no plans to veto any of the bills passed in the recently completed legislative session.
The Oregonian reports that Brown has already signed more than 600 bills into law. She has until Aug. 11 to notify legislative leaders if she plans to veto any of the 145 bills still under review for policy concerns and any conflict with Oregon’s Constitution.
Press secretary Bryan Hockaday says there are no vetoes on the horizon.
Brown earlier this year said she might consider vetoing two bills that would create exemptions to the state’s land use planning laws. The Legislature amended one of the laws, which makes it easier to mine on land zoned for farm use in several eastern Oregon counties.
LONDON — For over 65 years, he has been the unwavering presence alongside Britain’s longest-serving monarch, the consummate consort and royal representative.
Today, Prince Philip, 96, made his 22,219th — and final — solo public engagement, braving heavy rain to meet Royal Marines at Buckingham Palace.
The royal appeared in good spirits, waving to cheering crowds and joking with the soldiers, who have completed a 1,664-mile trek to raise money for charity.
“You all should be locked up,” he quipped, making the soldiers laugh.
Philip announced he was stepping down from public duties in May. The royal, known for his sense of humor and gaffes, recently joked about his big retirement day, telling celebrity chef Prue Leith: “I’m discovering what it’s like to be on your last legs.”
Also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, he will still appear at Queen Elizabeth II’s side — from time to time — as the 91-year-old monarch soldiers on.
Philip is patron, president or a member of over 780 organizations, with which he will continue to be associated — but he won’t play an active role by attending engagements. The queen supported the decision.
WASHINGTON — Republican senators are bucking President Donald Trump’s calls to revive the health care debate. And Trump just ousted his only top White House aide with deep links to the Republican Party.
But the president and his party won’t be calling it quits any time soon. They remain tightly linked by a force more powerful than politics or personal ties: cash.
Trump’s fundraising prowess is the engine of the Republican National Committee and a lifeline for every Republican planning to rely on the party for financial help during next year’s congressional races. Leaning heavily on Trump’s appeal among small donors, the party has raised $75 million in the first six months of the year, more than double what the Democratic National Committee had raised by the same point in President Barack Obama’s first year.
“The president is somebody who absolutely is an asset when it comes to fundraising,” RNC chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel said. Trump resonates with a base of Republicans who have been more willing this year than ever before to chip in. The party says it collected more cash online in the first six months of the year than in all of 2016.
In late June, Trump played star and host of a fundraiser for his re-election campaign and the RNC. The event at the Trump International Hotel, just down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, raised $10 million to be divided between Trump and the party, the kind of bounty usually reserved for the final months before an election.
FALL RIVER, Mass. — Hundreds of people showed up Wednesday for a chance to pack and ship products to Amazon customers, as the e-commerce company held a giant job fair at nearly a dozen U.S. warehouses.
Though it’s common for Amazon to ramp up its shipping center staff in August to prepare for holiday shopping, the magnitude of the hiring spree underscores Amazon’s growth when traditional retailers are closing stores — and blaming Amazon for a shift to buying goods online.
Amazon planned to hire thousands of people on the spot. Nearly 40,000 of the 50,000 packing, sorting and shipping jobs at Amazon will be full time. Most of them will count toward Amazon’s previously announced goal of adding 100,000 full-time workers by the middle of next year.
The bad news is that more people are likely to lose jobs in stores than get jobs in warehouses, said Anthony Carnevale, director of Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce.
On the flip side, Amazon’s warehouse jobs provide “decent and competitive” wages and could help build skills.
“Interpersonal team work, problem solving, critical thinking, all that stuff goes on in these warehouses,” Carnevale said. “They’re serious entry-level jobs for a lot of young people, even those who are still making their way through school.”
The company is advertising starting wages that range from $11.50 an hour in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to $13.75 an hour in Kent, Washington, near Amazon’s Seattle headquarters. The $11.50 rate amounts to about $23,920 a year. In Washington state, the current minimum wage is $11.50 but by 2020 this will increase to $13.50. By comparison, the warehouse store operator Costco raised its minimum wage for entry-level workers last year from $13 to $13.50 an hour.
CARACAS, Venezuela — President Nicolas Maduro’s government says it is close to convening a special assembly endowed with powers to rewrite the constitution, override other branches of government and punish opposition leaders.
Two of his leading foes already were dragged from their homes by heavily armed security agents and thrown in a military prison Tuesday, drawing condemnation from the United States and some Latin American countries. But many other nations and international organizations were silent or limited themselves to expressions of concern.
Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma were accused by the government-allied Supreme Court of violating the terms of their house arrest by plotting to escape and releasing video statements criticizing Maduro.
Both men’s supporters denied the charges and vowed to continue to try to push the ruling socialist party from power. However, they gave little indication of how they planned to do that, and the capital was unusually quiet after months of sometimes violent protests.
Lopez’s supporters released a video that he taped last week saying he expected to be imprisoned again soon, and calling on Venezuelans to be firm in resisting Maduro.
BRASILIA, Brazil — President Michel Temer appeared to have the upper-hand today going into a key vote by the lower chamber of Brazil’s Congress on whether to suspend him and put him on trial over an alleged bribery scheme to line his pockets.
Despite a 5 percent approval rating in opinion polls and myriad calls for him to resign the last few months, Temer has been able to maintain most of his governing coalition in the Chamber of Deputies, where he was the presiding officer for many years.
Opposition lawmakers are hoping at least some of his support will be eroded by members having to publicly back a toxic president on national television. Major broadcaster Globo plans to transmit today’s proceedings live and all 513 members of the house are up for election next year.
The opposition also believes that if it can’t muster the necessary votes to suspend Temer, it can at least stall a resolution by keeping enough members from entering the chamber so a quorum can’t be reached.
“Brazil and the world are watching the absurdity of the negotiations taking place in the middle of the night (at Temer’s residence), the videos, the recordings, the proof of so many crimes,” said Assis Carvalho, a lawmaker in the Workers’ Party, the leading opposition party. “It would be absurd not to authorize the continuity of this process.”
BALTIMORE — A U.S. Supreme Court decision triggering new sentences for inmates serving mandatory life without parole for crimes committed as juveniles has had a far greater effect: The ruling is prompting lawyers to apply its fundamental logic — that it’s cruel and unusual to lock teens up for life — to a larger population, those whose sentences include a parole provision but who stand little chance of getting out.
The court in January 2016 expanded its ban on mandatory life without parole for juveniles to more than 2,000 offenders already serving such sentences, saying teens should be treated differently than adult offenders because they’re less mature, prone to manipulation and capable of change. The court found that all but the rare juvenile lifer whose crime reflects “permanent incorrigibility” should have a chance to argue for freedom one day, and dozens serving mandatory terms have since been resentenced and released.
But legal challenges are also being argued on behalf of offenders sentenced to life with parole for crimes committed as teens — a population totaling some 7,300 inmates nationwide, according to Ashley Nellis at advocacy group The Sentencing Project.
“Even states that do have parole, it doesn’t give a lot of reason for hope,” Nellis said. “The Supreme Court was very clear to say that age-related factors need to be considered at resentencing or parole review, but the feedback we’re seeing is that those factors aren’t being considered.”
Other courts are applying the 2016 ruling to those whose life-without-parole sentences weren’t mandatory or were negotiated as part of a plea deal. In Florida, more than 600 inmates are potentially eligible for new sentences because court decisions there require a new look at anyone serving life for crimes committed as minors — even if their sentences were optional or included the possibility of parole.
Older people are dying on the job at a higher rate than workers overall, even as the rate of workplace fatalities decreases, according to an Associated Press analysis of federal statistics.
It’s a trend that’s particularly alarming as baby boomers reject the traditional retirement age of 65 and keep working. The U.S. government estimates that by 2024, older workers will account for 25 percent of the labor market.
Getting old — and the physical changes associated with it — “could potentially make a workplace injury into a much more serious injury or a potentially fatal injury,” said Ken Scott, an epidemiologist with the Denver Public Health Department.
Gerontologists say those changes include gradually worsening vision and hearing impairment, reduced response time, balance issues and chronic medical or muscle or bone problems such as arthritis.
In 2015, about 35 percent of the fatal workplace accidents involved a worker 55 and older — or 1,681 of the 4,836 fatalities reported nationally.
SEI MENCIRIM, Indonesia — The slim boys in Muslim caps and robes at the Al Hidayah Islamic boarding school are grinning bolts of energy who love football, need a little coaxing to do their math and Quran lessons assiduously and aspire to become policemen or respected preachers.
Their school, like many in rural Indonesia, started as a modest affair with a dusty yard, spartan sleeping quarters and an open-air classroom with a dirt floor and corrugated iron roofing. The boys, though, have been spoken to roughly by villagers, the school’s banners and billboards trampled and burned, and its head teacher reported to police.
The 20 pupils are the sons of Islamic militants, reviled by most Indonesians for killings and other acts of violence that they justified with distorted interpretations of Islam. Nearly half of the boys’ fathers were killed in police raids, and in some cases the children witnessed the deaths. Most of the other fathers are in prison for terrorism offenses.
Al Hidayah’s founder, Khairul Ghazali, is a former radical preacher whose involvement in militancy stretches back decades. He was recruited at age 19 by Abdullah Sungkar, the now-deceased leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah terror group responsible for attacks including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people.
Nowadays, the soft-spoken Ghazali, 52, professes to be a changed man who wants to atone by preventing his young charges, who were ostracized and taunted at mainstream schools, from becoming the next generation of Indonesian jihadists. His three sons attend the school.