AP News in Brief: 12-04-19

  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., second from left, is joined by Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wy., left, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., second from right, and House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., right, at the start of a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

House report: Trump misused power, obstructed Congress

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump seriously misused the power of his office for personal political gain by seeking foreign intervention in the American election process and obstructed Congress by stonewalling efforts to investigate, a House report released Tuesday concluded in findings that form the basis for possible impeachment.

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The 300-page report from Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee does not render a judgment on whether Trump’s actions stemming from a July 25 phone call with Ukraine rise to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors” warranting impeachment. That is for Congress to decide. But it details “significant misconduct” by the president that the House Judiciary Committee will begin to assess Wednesday.

“The evidence that we have found is really quite overwhelming that the president used the power of his office to secure political favors and abuse the trust American people put in him and jeopardize our security,” Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told The Associated Press.

Report links Giuliani with top Republican on intel panel

WASHINGTON — A new report from Democrats compiling evidence on impeachment revealed contact between President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and California Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the intelligence committee.

The report released Tuesday includes phone records obtained from AT&T and Verizon that show Giuliani also was in frequent contact with the White House and with Lev Parnas, a Giuliani associate who is under indictment on charges of using foreign money to make illegal campaign contributions. Prosecutors said the donations by Parnas and Igor Fruman, another Giuliani associate with Ukraine ties, were made while the men were lobbying U.S. politicians to oust the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

Giuliani, who has said he knew nothing about illegal campaign donations, was trying to get Ukrainian officials to investigate the son of Trump’s potential Democratic challenger, Joe Biden. Parnas and Fruman had key roles in Giuliani’s quest.

The records show that Parnas and Nunes were in frequent contact last April, when Giuliani was publicly calling for an investigation of Biden.

Surge of new abuse claims threatens church

NEW YORK — At the end of another long day trying to sign up new clients accusing the Roman Catholic Church of sexual abuse, lawyer Adam Slater gazes out the window of his high-rise Manhattan office at one of the great symbols of the church, St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

“I wonder how much that’s worth?” he muses.

Across the country, attorneys like Slater are scrambling to file a new wave of lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by clergy, thanks to rules enacted in 15 states that extend or suspend the statute of limitations to allow claims stretching back decades. Associated Press reporting found the deluge of suits could surpass anything the nation’s clergy sexual abuse crisis has seen before, with potentially more than 5,000 new cases and payouts topping $4 billion.

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It’s a financial reckoning playing out in such populous Catholic strongholds as New York, California and New Jersey, among the eight states that go the furthest with “lookback windows” that allow sex abuse claims no matter how old. Never before have so many states acted in near-unison to lift the restrictions that once shut people out if they didn’t bring claims of childhood sex abuse by a certain age, often their early 20s.

By wire sources

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