House Democrats make deal to see Mueller files on Trump
WASHINGTON — The House expects to receive the first files of underlying evidence from Robert Mueller’s report soon, after a sudden shift by the Justice Department as Democrats weigh impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.
It’s unclear if the deal, announced just moments before the start of a Judiciary Committee hearing with Watergate star witness John Dean, will ultimately be enough for Democrats who have called for the full, unredacted report and underlying documentation from the special counsel’s work. But it signaled the first real breakthrough in the standoff over the report and came at the start of a week of ramped-up action by the House in the Trump-Russia probe.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the chairman of the committee, said the Justice Department will provide some of Mueller’s “most important files” and all members of the committee will be able to view them. He said the files will include those used to assess whether Trump obstructed justice.
In response to the agreement, Nadler said the panel will not vote to hold Attorney General William Barr in criminal contempt, for now. But the House will still vote on a resolution Tuesday that would empower the committee to file a civil lawsuit for the materials, if Democrats decide to do so.
That was the expected outcome even before the deal, as Democrats have shifted their strategy toward lawsuits and away from criminal contempt. Criminal contempt would be referred to the Justice Department, where it would certainly be rejected. And Democrats have been encouraged by some early wins in court as Trump has broadly fought congressional oversight.
Helicopter crashes on roof of NYC skyscraper, killing pilot
NEW YORK — A helicopter crashed on the roof of a rain-shrouded midtown Manhattan skyscraper Monday, killing the pilot and briefly triggering memories of 9/11, after an erratic trip across some of the nation’s most restricted airspace. Authorities said they did not suspect terrorism.
The crash near Times Square and Trump Tower shook the 750-foot AXA Equitable building, sparked a fire and forced office workers to flee on elevators and down stairs, witnesses and officials said.
The pilot was the only person aboard, and there were no other reports of injuries, authorities said.
It was not immediately clear what caused the crash, or why the Agusta A109E was flying in a driving downpour with low cloud cover and in the tightly controlled airspace of midtown Manhattan. A flight restriction in effect since President Donald Trump took office bans aircraft from flying below 3,000 feet within a 1-mile radius of Trump Tower, which is less than a half-mile from the crash site.
“There’s something mysterious here,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNN, saying officials were scrutinizing video of a “very erratic” flight and authorities needed to find out more about the pilot at the time he decided to take off.
David Ortiz flown to Boston after being shot in a bar
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — David Ortiz was flown to Boston for more medical care Monday after the former Red Sox slugger affectionately known as Big Papi was ambushed by a gunman at a bar in his native Dominican Republic, authorities said.
The 43-year-old retired athlete had been in stable condition in intensive care at a Santo Domingo hospital after doctors removed his gallbladder and part of his intestine, according to his spokesman, Leo López. He said Ortiz’s liver was also damaged in the shooting Sunday night.
Ortiz is one of the most beloved figures in sports history in the Dominican Republic and Boston, a fearsome power hitter with a ready smile. He led the Red Sox to three World Series championships, was a 10-time All-Star and hit 541 home runs.
Dozens of fans crowded the hospital earlier Monday, causing a traffic jam. In the U.S., fans prayed for his recovery and wished him well, with New England Patriots star Julian Edelman assuring him on Instagram: “Papi, all of New England has your back.”
The Red Sox offered “all available resources” and sent an air ambulance to bring him back to Boston.
Stern words from Iran: US cannot ‘expect to stay safe’
TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s foreign minister warned the U.S. on Monday that it “cannot expect to stay safe” after launching what he described as an economic war against Tehran, taking a hard-line stance amid a visit by Germany’s top diplomat seeking to defuse tensions.
A stern-faced Mohammad Javad Zarif offered a series of threats over the ongoing tensions gripping the Persian Gulf. The crisis takes root in President Donald Trump’s decision over a year ago to withdraw America from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Trump also reinstated tough sanctions on Iran, targeting its oil sector.
“Mr. Trump himself has announced that the U.S. has launched an economic war against Iran,” Zarif said. “The only solution for reducing tensions in this region is stopping that economic war.”
Zarif also warned: “Whoever starts a war with us will not be the one who finishes it.”
Zarif’s ramped up rhetoric marked a sharp departure for the U.S.-educated diplomat and signals that Iran is taking a harder line toward the West. His public threats, which came during a joint news conference with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, were striking because Zarif was the one who helped secure the nuclear deal, alongside the relatively moderate President Hassan Rouhani. However, he does not make the decision on whether to go to war. That is left to the supreme leader.
AP Exclusive: OJ Simpson says ‘Life is fine’ after prison
LOS ANGELES — Twenty-five years after the grisly killings that transformed him from Hall of Fame football hero to murder suspect, 71-year-old O.J. Simpson says he is happy and healthy living in Las Vegas, plays golf nearly every day and stays in touch with his children.
“Life is fine,” Simpson recently told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from his home.
He added that neither he nor his children want to talk about June 12, 1994, the night his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman were stabbed to death. Simpson was ultimately acquitted of the crime in what came to be known as “The Trial of the Century.”
“We don’t need to go back and relive the worst day of our lives,” he said as Wednesday’s anniversary of the killings approached. “The subject of the moment is the subject I will never revisit again. My family and I have moved on to what we call the ‘no negative zone.’ We focus on the positives.”
Relatives of the two victims are disgusted Simpson is able to live the way he does while their loved ones had their lives cut short so tragically.
Central Americans pursue US dream despite Mexico crackdown
SAN MARCOS, Guatemala — A near-death experience in the Arizona desert a year ago won’t deter Francisco Pérez from another attempt to migrate to the U.S., nor will an increased police presence in southern Mexico.
The 23-year-old Guatemalan teacher and auto mechanic hopes to set out again soon to repay the $7,000 he owes from his first trip, when he and two other young men got lost for a week in the desert before being rescued by the U.S. border patrol.
On the seventh day, facing severe dehydration, the group resorted to drinking their own urine.
“Each of us urinated in a bottle and then strained it with the corner of our pants,” said Pérez, rubbing his hands together as he recalled the day he thought would be his last.
Pérez spent two days in a U.S. hospital before being returned to Guatemala. During his short stay in Arizona, though, he caught a glimpse of houses with manicured lawns, orderly roads and fancy stores. Those images are like a siren’s song, calling him to what he believes would be a better life.
Mexico denies Trump’s claim of secret concessions in deal
WASHINGTON — Three days after U.S. President Donald Trump announced a deal with Mexico to stem the flow of migrants at the southern border, the two countries appear unable to agree on exactly what’s in it.
Stung by criticism that the agreement mostly ramps up border protection efforts already underway, Trump on Monday hinted at other, secret agreements he says will soon be revealed.
“We have fully signed and documented another very important part of the Immigration and Security deal with Mexico, one that the U.S. has been asking about getting for many years,” Trump wrote Monday, saying it would “be revealed in the not too distant future.”
Not so, said Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, holding up a paper and pointing to the previously announced details. He told reporters the two countries agreed on two actions made public Friday and said if those measures didn’t work to slow migration, they would discuss further options.
“There is no other thing beyond what I have just explained,” he said.
Trump signals frustration with Fed’s independent policies
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump complained Monday that President Xi Jinping enjoys a major advantage in the U.S.-China trade war in that he controls China’s central bank while Trump must deal with a Federal Reserve that is “very destructive to us.”
Trump made clear in an interview with CNBC his frustration with a system that provides political independence for America’s central bank — something most economists see as vital to its credibility. Trump noted that China’s president, by contrast, is essentially also head of the Chinese central bank.
“He can do whatever he wants,” Trump said in the interview.
Trump also complained that even though he selected four of the Fed’s five board members, including elevating Jerome Powell to chairman, “We have people on the Fed that really weren’t, you know, they’re not my people.”
Speaking of the Fed’s policymaking committee, the president expressed exasperation that the panel raised its key short-term rate four times last year and acted to reduce the Fed’s balance sheet — action that had the effect of tightening credit — despite his public warnings against it.
Ex-NFL player Kellen Winslow Jr. convicted of rape
SAN DIEGO — Former NFL player Kellen Winslow Jr. — the son of a Hall of Famer who himself earned more than $40 million during his career — has been convicted of raping a 58-year-old homeless woman last year in his picturesque beach community of Encinitas, north of San Diego.
A jury returned the verdict Monday in San Diego Superior Court in Vista but was expected to continue to deliberating on two more counts of rape involving a 54-year-old hitchhiker and an unconscious teenage girl in 2003.
The jury also found the 35-year-old former tight end guilty of indecent exposure and lewd conduct involving two other women, but jurors found him not guilty of one count of a lewd act.
Winslow, who played for Cleveland, Tampa Bay, New England and the New York Jets, faces up to life in prison if convicted of all counts.
All five women testified during the nine-day trial. Winslow did not take the stand.
Finding Victory: Speaking out for intersex girl after attack
OGDEN, Utah — When doctors said her youngest child would be a girl, Amie Schofield chose the name Victoria. Then doctors said the child would be a boy, so she switched to Victor.
It turned out neither was exactly right. The blue-eyed baby was intersex, with both male and female traits.
So Schofield and her husband decided to call the infant Victory. The name is a hope for triumph over the secrecy and shame and the pain and discrimination suffered by intersex people.
Amie Schofield knows the suffering better than most: This was not her first intersex child.
Some two decades earlier, she gave birth to another child whose body did not align with common expectations of boys or girls. Schofield agreed to have that child undergo surgery that tipped the scales of gender to masculine.