Longtime Manafort deputy Rick Gates admits embezzlement
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - The government's star witness in the financial fraud trial of Paul Manafort testified Monday that he embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from the former Trump campaign chairman - and told jurors that he and Manafort committed crimes together.
Rick Gates has been regarded as a crucial witness for the government ever since he pleaded guilty this year to two felony charges and agreed to cooperate in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.
The hugely anticipated courtroom showdown brought Gates face-to-face with his longtime
business associate and fellow Trump campaign aide. His testimony, given in short, clipped answers as Manafort rarely broke his gaze from the witness stand, follows that of vendors who detailed Manafort's luxurious spending and financial professionals who told jurors how the defendant hid millions of dollars in offshore accounts.
But Gates, described by witnesses as Manafort's "right-hand man," is expected to provide the most damning testimony about Manafort's state of mind as well as his own role in the crimes.
Gates told jurors that he siphoned off the money without Manafort's knowledge by filing false expense reports. He also admitted to concealing millions of dollars in foreign bank accounts on Manafort's behalf and to falsifying loan applications and other documents to help Manafort obtain more in bank loans.
___Trump ups sanctions pressure on Iran despite European dismay
WASHINGTON (AP) - The United States reimposed stiff economic sanctions on Iran Monday, ratcheting up pressure on the Islamic Republic despite statements of deep dismay from European allies, three months after President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the international accord limiting Iran's nuclear activities.
Trump declared the landmark 2015 agreement had been "horrible," leaving the Iranian government flush with cash to fuel conflict in the Middle East.
Iran accused the U.S. of reneging on the nuclear agreement, signed by the Obama administration, and of causing recent Iranian economic unrest. European allies said they "deeply regret" the U.S. action.
Trump said in a statement, "We urge all nations to take such steps to make clear that the Iranian regime faces a choice: either change its threatening, destabilizing behavior and reintegrate with the global economy, or continue down a path of economic isolation."
A first set of U.S. sanctions that had been eased under the accord were going into effect at one minute past midnight under an executive ordered signed by Trump. Those sanctions affect financial transactions that involve U.S. dollars, Iran's automotive sector, the purchase of commercial planes and metals including gold.
___Venezuela rallies Maduro supporters after thwarted attack
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Pro-government factions mobilized thousands of Venezuelans dressed in red - the color of the ruling socialist party - onto the streets of the capital on Monday in a bid to show the country remains united around President Nicolas Maduro after what the government described as a thwarted assassination attempt.
"This river of red," Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza declared as the crowd waved flags and carried posters with Maduro's image. "It could have been another red running through these streets."
Authorities say they have now captured all those behind the attack using two drones armed with explosives. The names of those detained have not been released, but chief prosecutor Tarek William Saab said the six people arrested could face charges including treason, attempted homicide and terrorism.
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generously visit our page. "They need to pay the penalty Venezuela's law calls for," Diosdado Cabello, a high-ranking socialist party leader, told the crowd of thousands. "There won't be any more forgiveness."
Public employees are required to attend such pro-government rallies to ensure a strong show of support. Yet, even as Venezuelan leaders sought to project a nation united behind Maduro, analysts warned the incident makes the already unpopular leader even more vulnerable as he struggles to reverse a crippling humanitarian and economic crisis considered worse than the Great Depression.
___AP Investigation: US allies, al-Qaida battle rebels in Yemen
ATAQ, Yemen (AP) - Again and again over the past two years, a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the United States has claimed it won decisive victories that drove al-Qaida militants from their strongholds across Yemen and shattered their ability to attack the West.Here's what the victors did not disclose: many of their conquests came without firing a shot.
That's because the coalition cut secret deals with al-Qaida fighters, paying some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment and wads of looted cash, an investigation by The Associated Press has found. Hundreds more were recruited to join the coalition itself.
These compromises and alliances have allowed al-Qaida militants to survive to fight another day - and risk strengthening the most dangerous branch of the terror network that carried out the 9/11 attacks. Key participants in the pacts said the U.S. was aware of the arrangements and held off on any drone strikes.
The deals uncovered by the AP reflect the contradictory interests of the two wars being waged simultaneously in this southwestern corner of the Arabian Peninsula.
___Major tech companies remove Alex Jones for hate, bullying
NEW YORK (AP) - Major tech companies have begun to ban right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from their services, reflecting a more aggressive enforcement of policies against hate speech following protests on social media.
Facebook has taken down four pages belonging to Jones, including two featuring his "Infowars" show, for violating its hate speech and bullying policies. Over the past several days, Apple, YouTube and Spotify have also removed material published by Jones. Twitter, which hasn't banned Jones, has also faced similar calls.
Facebook has also suspended Jones' account for 30 days because he repeatedly violated the company's community standards against hate speech that "attacks or dehumanizes others," it said in a statement Monday. Facebook did not immediately respond Monday asking what would happen after the 30 days are up, and why it hadn't taken action earlier. The 30-day suspension of Jones himself appears to have gone into effect in late July.Twitter would not comment on Jones.
"We've been banned completely on Facebook, Apple, & Spotify," Jones wrote on Twitter. "What conservative news outlet will be next?"
___AP FACT CHECK: Trump's claims on Calif. wildfires inaccurate
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump is claiming that California's water policy is shortchanging firefighters of water to battle the state's raging wildfires. That's not so, according to wildfire and water experts.A look at his tweets and the facts behind them:
TRUMP: "California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren't allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire spreading!" - tweet Sunday.THE FACTS: That's not what state experts say.
"We have plenty of water" for battling the massive blazes burning in hills north of San Francisco, said Scott McLean, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The current spate of wildfires happens to be within range of large Northern California lakes and the state's biggest river, McLean said.
___11 dead, nearly 70 wounded in weekend violence in Chicago
CHICAGO (AP) - At least 11 people were shot to death and about 70 wounded in a weekend burst of violence in Chicago that instantly became a political issue when President Donald Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, blamed the carnage on longtime Democratic rule in the city.
Police on Monday attributed the dozens of shootings to gangs, the illegal flow of guns and sweltering August heat that drew more people outside.
The victims ranged in age from 11 to 63, according to police. One teenage girl died after being shot in the face. A teenage boy was fatally shot riding a bike Sunday afternoon. Other shootings took place at a block party and a funeral.
Even for Chicagoans all too accustomed to violence in parts of the city, the weekend stood out. By way of comparison, at least seven people were killed and 32 wounded during the long Memorial Day weekend, the Chicago Tribune reported.
"Our souls are burdened," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. "It is unacceptable to happen in any neighborhood of Chicago. We are a better city."
___Kids found in rags in New Mexico amid tale of guns, exorcism
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A raid on a New Mexico desert compound turned up 11 children wearing rags and living in filth, and also broke open a bizarre tale of guns, exorcism, and a search for a missing young boy who suffers from seizures and is nowhere to be found.
The boy's father was among five people arrested after the raid near the border with Colorado. Documents made public in a court filing Monday said the father told the boy's mother before fleeing Georgia that he wanted to perform an exorcism on the child because he believed he was possessed by the devil.
Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said deputies arrested the father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, and four other adults on child abuse charges after finding the 11 children Friday inside a makeshift compound in the tiny community of Amalia. It was littered with "odorous trash" and lacking clean water, authorities said.
Inside, Wahhaj, 39, was found heavily armed with multiple firearms, including a loaded AR-15, before he was taken into custody, the sheriff said.
His son, Abdul-ghani, who was 3 when he disappeared last December, was not among the children found. But Hogrefe said authorities have reason to believe the boy was at the compound several weeks ago.
___Patients who accepted infected kidneys cured of hepatitis C
NEW YORK (AP) - Some patients in desperate need of a kidney transplant participated in a bold experiment where they received organs infected with hepatitis C. The gamble paid off.
Their new organs are working fine thanks to medication that got rid of the virus, researchers reported Monday.
It was a small study involving just 20 patients. But researchers say it suggests that organs currently going to waste just might help speed transplants for patients who wait years to get one.
"When there's such a bad organ shortage, we can't just do business as usual," said Dr. Peter Reese, a University of Pennsylvania kidney specialist who led the study. "We need to shake off that these organs aren't valuable and that people will not want them."
In the United States, almost 95,000 people are on the national kidney waiting list but only 19,850 received a transplant in 2017, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. That only covers about 20 percent of all cases.
___NASCAR chairman France takes leave after DWI, drug arrest
SAG HARBOR, N.Y. (AP) - NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France announced on Monday he was taking an indefinite leave of absence following his arrest in the Hamptons on charges of driving while intoxicated and criminal possession of oxycodone.
France was seen blowing through a stop sign in Sag Harbor on Sunday and later had a blood-alcohol content that was more than twice the legal limit for driving, smelled of booze and slurred his words, police said.
He said in a statement on Monday that effective immediately he would be taking a leave of absence from his position "to focus on my personal affairs."
"I apologize to our fans, our industry and my family for the impact of my actions last night," he said.
France has been NASCAR's chairman and CEO since 2003. His uncle Jim France, a vice chairman and executive vice president, will take over those roles on an interim basis.