Mueller concludes Russia-Trump probe, delivers report
WASHINGTON (AP) — Special counsel Robert Mueller on Friday turned over his long-awaited final report on the contentious Russia investigation that has cast a dark shadow over Donald Trump's presidency, entangled Trump's family and resulted in criminal charges against some of the president's closest associates.
The comprehensive report, still confidential, marks the end of Mueller's probe but sets the stage for big public fights to come. The next steps are up to Trump's attorney general, to Congress and, in all likelihood, federal courts.
The Justice Department said the report was delivered by a security officer Friday afternoon to the office of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Word of the delivery triggered reactions across Washington. Shortly afterward, Attorney General William Barr released a letter noting his plans to write his own account of Mueller's findings. The White House released a statement saying it had not seen or been briefed on the document.
Next steps are "up to Attorney General (William) Barr," said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders.
Barr said he could send his account to Congress quickly.
Text of letter announcing AG Barr received Mueller report
Attorney General William Barr delivered a letter to Congress on Friday notifying the leaders of the Judiciary committees that special counsel Robert Mueller had submitted his report on the Russia investigation. The letter was addressed to Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, and Republican Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia.
Here is the text of the letter:
Dear Chairman Graham, Chairman Nadler, Ranking Member Feinstein, and Ranking Member Collins:
I write to notify you pursuant to 28 C.F.R. 600.9(a)(3) that Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III has concluded his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and related matters. In addition to this notification, the Special Counsel regulations require that I provide you with "a description and explanation of instances (if any) in which the Attorney General" or acting Attorney General "concluded that a proposed action by a Special Counsel was so inappropriate or unwarranted under established Departmental practices that it should not be pursued." 28 C.F.R. 600.9(a)(3). There were no such instances during the Special Counsel's investigation.
The Special Counsel has submitted to me today a "confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions" he has reached, as required by 28 C.F.R. 600.8(c). I am reviewing the report and anticipate that I may be in a position to advise you of the Special Counsel's principal conclusions as soon as this weekend.
Now what? Mueller ends the Russia investigation
WASHINGTON (AP) — Now what?
Special counsel Robert Mueller has concluded his Trump-Russia investigation and on Friday delivered his final report to the attorney general. We may not get all the juicy details uncovered over the past 22 months — at least not right away — but this story is far from over.
Here's what to expect next:
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE INVESTIGATION ENDS?
Mueller had to turn in a report of some kind. It could be pretty bare-bones.
Trump says he's bucking Treasury, reversing NKorea sanctions
PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that he has reversed his administration's decision to slap new sanctions on North Korea, with his press secretary explaining that he "likes" leader Kim Jong Un and doesn't think they're necessary.
It's unclear, however, which sanctions the president was referencing in his tweet, which took Treasury officials by surprise.
"It was announced today by the U.S. Treasury that additional large scale Sanctions would be added to those already existing Sanctions on North Korea," Trump wrote from his private club in Palm Beach.
"I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!"
The White House did not immediately respond to questions about which sanctions Trump was referring to. No new action against North Korea was announced by the Treasury Department on Friday, though Trump this week did threaten that new ones could be added.
GM announces jobs, electric vehicle after Trump criticism
ORION TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Less than a week after a series of critical tweets from the president over an Ohio plant closure, General Motors is announcing plans to add 400 jobs and build a new electric vehicle at a factory north of Detroit.
The company says it will spend $300 million at its plant in Orion Township, Michigan, to manufacture a Chevrolet vehicle based on the battery-powered Bolt.
GM wouldn't say when the new workers will start or when the new vehicle will go on sale, nor would it say if the workers will be new hires or come from a pool of laid-off workers from the planned closings of four U.S. factories by January.
The company also announced plans Friday to spend about another $1.4 billion at U.S. factories with 300 more jobs but did not release a time frame or details.
The moves come after last weekend's string of venomous tweets by President Donald Trump condemning GM for shutting its small-car factory in Lordstown, Ohio, east of Cleveland. During the weekend, Trump demanded that GM reopen the plant or sell it, criticized the local union leader and expressed frustration with CEO Mary Barra.
R Kelly defense emerges, including saying accusers are lying
CHICAGO (AP) — R. Kelly yelled through tears in a recent TV interview before an audience numbering in the millions, saying he's in a fight for his life to disprove sexual abuse charges. That fight will ultimately be waged in court, with the only audience that matters numbering just 12 jurors.
While the day lawyers deliver opening statements to jurors inside a Cook County courtroom is still many months or even years away, court filings as well as comments by the R&B star himself and his attorney after charges in February provide clues about an emerging legal strategy.
Signs are they intend to question the veracity of his accusers and argue that, if he had sex with them, it was consensual and he thought they were of age. His attorney has also signaled he'll push to have some counts tossed on grounds statutes of limitation ran out or because some are too closely related to crimes for which Kelly was acquitted at his 2008 child pornography trial.
Kelly, 52, was right in more ways than one when he cursed during the interview with Gayle King of "CBS This Morning," saying: "I'm fighting for my ... life." If convicted on all ten counts of aggravated sexual abuse of three underage girls and one adult, the Grammy winner faces an effective life sentence of up to 70 years in prison.
The defense is expected to fine tune their argument over coming months that Kelly's accusers are misrepresenting the facts. For now, there's not much finesse.
Islamic State driven from last Syria territory, Trump says
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Islamic State militants no longer control any territory in Syria, President Donald Trump proudly announced Friday, though the U.S. was still launching airstrikes and sporadic fighting continued on the ground against the group's holdouts.
"It's about time," Trump exclaimed on an airport tarmac in Florida. He held up maps indicating the territory once held by the IS group in Iraq and Syria had shrunk to nothing.
Elimination of the last IS stronghold in Baghouz in eastern Syria would mark the end of the militants' self-declared caliphate, which at its height blanketed large parts of Syria and Iraq. The campaign to take back the territory by the U.S. and its partners has spanned five years and two U.S. presidencies, unleashed more than 100,000 bombs and killed untold numbers of fighters and civilians.
Controlling territory and assets, such as oil facilities, has given the group a stream of revenue and a place from which to launch attacks around the world. However, if history is a guide, the reconquering of IS-held territory could prove a short-lived victory unless Iraq and Syria fix a problem that gave rise to the extremist movement in the first place: governments pitting one ethnic or sectarian group against another.
Trump has been teasing the victory for days, most recently Wednesday when he said the milestone would be achieved by that night.
Indonesian airline wants to cancel Boeing order after crash
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — In a blow for Boeing, Indonesia's flag carrier is seeking the cancellation of a multibillion dollar order for 49 of the manufacturer's 737 Max 8 jets, citing a loss of confidence after two crashes within five months.
It is the first announcement of a cancellation since Boeing's new model aircraft were grounded following fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.
PT Garuda Indonesia, which had ordered 50 Max 8 jets in 2014 and had received just one plane last year, sent a letter to Boeing last week requesting to cancel the order worth $4.9 billion, company spokesman Ikhsan Rosan said Friday. The carrier has so far paid Boeing about $26 million for the order.
Garuda joined other airlines worldwide in grounding its one Max 8 jet after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight this month which killed all 157 people aboard. It came less than five months after 189 people died in the Oct. 29 crash of another Max 8, operated by Indonesian private carrier Lion Air.
"Passengers always ask what type of plane they will fly as they have lost trust and confidence in the Max 8 jet," Rosan told The Associated Press. "This would harm our business."
EU takes charge, forces Brexit deadlines on UK's May
BRUSSELS (AP) — Isolated at home and abroad, British Prime Minister Theresa May will be laboring against the odds once again to win backers in Parliament for her unloved Brexit deal, this time to a timetable dictated by the European Union.
Almost three years after Britons voted to walk away from the EU, the bloc's leaders seized control of the Brexit timetable from May to avert a chaotic departure at the end of this month that would be disruptive for the world's biggest trading bloc and deeply damaging for Britain.
"We are prepared for the worst but hope for the best," European Council President Donald Tusk said Friday. "As you know, hope dies last."
May's mantra since Britain's EU membership referendum in 2016 has always been about "taking back control" of U.K. affairs from the EU. But the process has seen her lose control — of the U.K. Parliament, which has twice rejected her Brexit deal, and now of Britain's date of departure.
In a move that underlined their loss of confidence in May, EU leaders set two deadlines for Britain to leave the bloc of nearly half a billion people or to take an entirely new path in considering its EU future.
No. 1 Virginia avoids 2nd straight huge NCAA tourney upset
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — No. 1 seed Virginia this time avoided the biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history.
The Cavaliers rallied from 14 points down Friday to beat No. 16 seed Gardner-Webb 71-56 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Virginia was the top overall seed last year but lost 74-54 to 16th seeded UMBC. It was the first — and still the only — time in 35 years one of the top four teams in the tournament has fallen in their opening game.
The Cavaliers trailed 30-16 with 6:42 left in the first half of the South Region opener but rallied and cut the Runnin' Bulldogs (23-12) lead to six at halftime. Virginia (30-3) then opened the second half with a 25-5 run that ended any ideas of another 1-and-done.
The Cavaliers used their trademark stifling defense to force 11 Gardner-Webb turnovers in the first 12 minutes after the break.