Donald Trump stored, showed off and refused to return classified documents, indictment says
MIAMI (AP) — Donald Trump improperly stored in his Florida estate sensitive documents on nuclear capabilities, repeatedly enlisted aides and lawyers to help him hide records demanded by investigators and cavalierly showed off a Pentagon “plan of attack” and classified map, according to a sweeping felony indictment that paints a damning portrait of the former president's treatment of national security information.
The conduct alleged in the historic indictment — the first federal case against a former president — cuts to the heart of any president's responsibility to safeguard the government's most valuable secrets. Prosecutors say the documents he stowed, refused to return and in some cases showed to visitors risked jeopardizing not only relations with foreign nations but also the safety of troops and confidential sources.
“Our laws that protect national defense information are critical to the safety and security of the United States and they must be enforced,” Jack Smith, the Justice Department special counsel who filed the case, said in his first public statements. “Violations of those laws put our country at risk.”
Trump, who is currently the leading contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, is due to make his first court appearance Tuesday afternoon in Miami. In a rare bit of good news for Trump, the judge initially assigned to the case is someone he appointed and who drew criticism for rulings in his favor during a dispute last year over a special master assigned to review the seized classified documents. Meanwhile, two lawyers who worked the case for months announced Friday that they had resigned from the legal team.
All told, Trump faces 37 felony counts — 31 pertaining to the willful retention of national defense information, the balance relating to alleged conspiracy, obstruction and false statements — that could result in a substantial prison sentence in the event of a conviction. A Trump aide who prosecutors said moved dozens of boxes at his Florida estate at his direction, and then lied to investigators about it, was charged in the same indictment with conspiracy and other crimes.
Boris Johnson quits as UK lawmaker after being told he will be sanctioned for misleading Parliament
LONDON (AP) — Former U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson shocked Britain on Friday by quitting as a lawmaker after being told he will be sanctioned for misleading Parliament. He departed with a ferocious tirade at his political opponents — and at his successor, Rishi Sunak — that could blast open tensions within the governing Conservative Party.
Johnson resigned after receiving the results of an investigation by lawmakers into misleading statements he made to Parliament about “partygate," a series of rule-breaking government parties during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a lengthy resignation statement, Johnson accused opponents of trying to drive him out — and hinted that his rollercoaster political career might not be over yet.
"It is very sad to be leaving Parliament — at least for now," he said.
Johnson, 58, said he had “received a letter from the Privileges Committee making it clear — much to my amazement — that they are determined to use the proceedings against me to drive me out of Parliament.”
Businessman linked to Texas AG Ken Paxton's impeachment charged with lying to get $172M in loans
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas businessman at the center of the scandal that led to the historic impeachment of state Attorney General Ken Paxton was charged Friday with making false statements to mortgage lenders to obtain $172 million in loans.
The federal indictment of real estate developer Nate Paul is the result of a yearslong FBI investigation — a probe Paxton involved his office in, setting off a chain of events that led to a separate federal probe of the attorney general and his impeachment and suspension from office last month.
Paul was charged with eight counts of making false statements while seeking loans from mortgage lenders in the U.S. and Ireland. There was no mention of Paxton or the attorney general’s office during the hearing.
Paul, 36, who entered the federal courtroom shackled and wearing jeans, a blue shirt and Nikes, did not enter a plea during his initial appearance in an Austin court nor visibly react as the charges were read. He was released ahead of trial but ordered to surrender his passport and inform the court of any travel outside Texas.
Following the hearing, Paul left through a back door and climbed into a car in a gated area outside the courthouse.
France hails 'hero with a backpack' who intervened in knife attack on very young children
LE PECQ, France (AP) — The attacker slashed at the 24-year-old Catholic pilgrim with the knife that he used to savagely stab one young child after another. But rather than run, Henri held his ground — using a weighty backpack he was carrying to swing at the assailant and fend off his blade.
French media hailed Henri as “the hero with a backpack” Friday after he was shown in a video grappling with the assailant and charging after him during the knife attack that critically wounded four children between the ages of 22 months and 3 years old, and also injured two adults.
Henri, who is on a nine-month walking and hitchhiking tour of France's cathedrals and happened to be in the Alpine town of Annecy when the attacker rampaged Thursday though its lakeside park, also got personal words of gratitude Friday from President Emmanuel Macron. The French leader toured hospitals to meet victims and their families and thanked medical workers, police, firefighters, civilians — including Henri — and others whose first aid and swift actions helped save lives.
“You experienced very hard moments, traumatizing," Macron said. “I am very proud of you.”
Henri asked Macron to be invited to the reopening of Notre Dame in Paris next year, following repairs to the cathedral damaged in a fire in 2019.
Rep. Santos says he's protecting family members by seeking to keep bond cosigners secret
NEW YORK (AP) — Rep. George Santos wants to protect family members by asking the courts to keep his bond cosigners secret as he fights criminal charges, his lawyer told a Long Island federal judge Friday as he asked her to reverse a magistrate judge's decision to make the names public.
Attorney Joseph Murray said in a letter to Judge Joanna Seybert, who is based in Central Islip, New York, that Santos would agree to the disclosure that there is a “family” relationship between the Republican congressman and those who signed his bond.
News media outlets have challenged the sealing of records regarding the cosigners after Santos pleaded not guilty on May 10 to a 13-count indictment charging that he duped donors, stole from his campaign, lied to Congress about being a millionaire and cheated to collect unemployment benefits he didn’t deserve.
The New York Times first sought to unseal the names and other news outlets, including The Associated Press, soon followed. Lawyers for the news entities did not immediately comment Friday.
Santos, 34, who represents parts of Queens and Long Island, has refused to resign and plans to seek a second term.
Putin asserts Ukrainian counteroffensive has begun, while drones strike within Russia
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin asserted Friday that Ukrainian troops have started a long-expected counteroffensive and were suffering “significant” losses. His comments came just hours after a string of drone strikes inside Russian territory.
It was Putin's latest effort to shape the gut-wrenching narrative of the invasion he ordered more than 15 months ago, sparking widespread international condemnation and reviving Cold War-style tensions.
The conflict entered a complex new phase this week with the rupture of a Dnieper River dam that sent floodwaters gushing through a large swath of the front in southern Ukraine. Tens of thousands of civilians already facing the misery of regular shelling fled for higher ground on both sides of the swollen and sprawling waterway.
Kyiv has played down talk of a counteroffensive, reasoning that the less said about its military moves the better. Speaking after he visited flood zones on Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he was in touch with Ukrainian forces “in all the hottest areas” and praised an unspecified ”result” from their efforts.
Putin said Russian forces have the upper hand.
A little white pill, Captagon, gives Syria's Assad a strong tool in winning over Arab states
BEIRUT (AP) — A little white pill has given Syrian President Bashar Assad powerful leverage with his Arab neighbors, who have been willing to bring him out of pariah status in hopes he will stop the flow of highly addictive Captagon amphetamines out of Syria.
Western governments have been frustrated by the red-carpet treatment Arab countries have given Assad, fearing that their reconciliation will undermine the push for an end to Syria's long-running civil war.
But for Arab states, halting the Captagon trade is a high priority. Hundreds of millions of pills have been smuggled over the years into Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab countries, where the drug is used recreationally and by people with physically demanding jobs to keep them alert.
Saudi Arabia has intercepted large shipments of pills hidden in crates of fake plastic oranges and in hollowed out pomegranates — even pills crushed and molded to look like traditional clay bowls.
Analysts say Assad likely hopes that by making even limited gestures against the drug he can gain reconstruction money, further integration in the region and even pressure for an end to Western sanctions.
Man who told jurors he had 'fun' at the Capitol riot is sentenced to 6 years in prison
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Virginia man who told his wife — and a federal jury — that he had “fun” at the U.S. Capitol riot was sentenced on Friday to six years in prison for attacking police as he stormed the building.
Markus Maly's prison sentence is significantly lower than the punishment that prosecutors sought for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. The Justice Department had recommended a prison sentence of 15 years and eight months for Maly, a flooring installer.
A prosecutor described Maly, 49, as a “lifelong criminal” with 33 prior convictions on his record, including two for battery of a law enforcement officer. But the judge who sentenced Maly noted that most of his crimes date back to his 20s.
Maly told U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta that he regrets traveling to Washington and following the mob of then-President Donald Trump's supporters to the Capitol. But he insisted that he merely “occupied space” in the crowd and denied attacking and pepper-spraying police.
“I went to a rally. That's what I did," he told the judge.
Blue Jays cut pitcher Anthony Bass after latest anti-LGBTQ+ comments
TORONTO (AP) — The Toronto Blue Jays cut pitcher Anthony Bass on Friday, one day after the right-handed reliever said he didn’t think an anti-LGBTQ+ social media post he shared last month was hateful.
The team now has seven days to trade Bass or put him on waivers.
The move came hours before Bass was set to catch a ceremonial first pitch from Toronto LGBTQ+ activist leZlie Lee Kam before Friday’s game against Minnesota as the Blue Jays begin their fourth annual Pride Weekend celebration.
The Blue Jays said pitcher Kevin Gausman would catch the first pitch instead of Bass.
Bass apologized before a May 30 game against Milwaukee, one day after sharing a post on his Instagram calling for boycotts of Target and Bud Light over support they showed for the LGBTQ+ community. Both companies are dealing with fallout from those campaigns, which have included hostile and homophobic criticisms and calls from LGBTQ+ activists not to cave to the pressure.
With GM and Ford embracing Tesla's EV charging technology, here's what it means for consumers
DETROIT (AP) — Starting next year, owners of electric vehicles made by General Motors and Ford will be able to charge their EVs at many of Tesla's charging stations, the largest such network in the country.
As part of their move, both Detroit-area automakers have decided to adopt Tesla's EV charging connector, the plug that links an electric vehicle to a charging station.
With GM and Ford joining Tesla's charging system, the rest of the auto industry may be forced follow suit. If so, it would provide a major victory to Tesla, which would be assured a new and guaranteed revenue stream for years to come.
At present, two main types of EV charging plugs exist: Tesla's North American Charging Standard and CCS, used by nearly all other automakers. It's not yet clear which other automakers might join Ford and GM.
WHAT'S GOING TO CHANGE?
The Associated Press