Wealthy financier charged with molesting dozens of girls
NEW YORK (AP) — A decade after they were accused of letting Jeffrey Epstein off the hook, federal prosecutors made another run at putting the billionaire financier behind bars on sex allegations, charging him Monday with abusing dozens of underage girls as young as 14.
The 66-year-old hedge fund manager who once socialized with some of the world's most powerful people was charged in a newly unsealed indictment with sex trafficking and conspiracy and could get up to 45 years in prison.
Prosecutors said the evidence included a "vast trove" of hundreds or even thousands of lewd photographs of young women or girls, discovered in a search of his New York mansion.
Epstein, who was arrested over the weekend as he arrived in the U.S. from Paris aboard his private jet, was brought into court Monday in a blue jail uniform, his hair disheveled, and pleaded not guilty. His lawyers argued that the matter had been settled in 2008 with a plea agreement in Florida involving similar allegations.
"This is ancient stuff," Epstein attorney Reid Weingarten said in court, calling the case essentially a "redo" by the government.
Barr sees a way for census to legally ask about citizenship
EDGEFIELD, S.C. (AP) — Attorney General William Barr said Monday he sees a way to legally add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, despite a Supreme Court ruling that blocked its inclusion, at least temporarily.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Barr said the Trump administration will take action in the coming days that he believes will allow the government to ask the controversial question. Barr would not detail the administration's plans, though a senior official said President Donald Trump is expected to issue a memorandum to the Commerce Department instructing it to require census respondents to say whether they are citizens.
The Supreme Court's June ruling was a blow to Trump , who has been pressing for the government to ask about citizenship on next year's census. The U.S. Census Bureau's experts have said demanding such information would discourage immigrants from participating in the survey and result in a less accurate census. That in turn would redistribute money and political power away from Democratic-led cities where immigrants tend to cluster to whiter, rural areas where Republicans do well.
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday that Trump wants to add the demand for citizenship information because he wants to "make America white again."
Barr said he has been in regular contact with Trump over the issue.
GOP scoffs at law allowing release of Trump's state taxes
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — President Donald Trump's New York tax returns could be given to Congress under a new law in his home state that was signed Monday by the Democratic governor and dismissed by Republicans as a partisan game that wouldn't stand up in court.
The measure signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo directs state tax officials to share state returns of certain elected and appointed officials upon written request from the chairpersons of one of three committees: House Ways and Means, Senate Finance or Joint Committee on Taxation.
Designed to give Congress a way around the Republican president's refusal to release his returns, the new law is expected to face legal challenges. And it's unclear whether Congress will request access to Trump's state returns, which tax experts say would include many of the same details as his federal return.
"No one person — no matter what office they might hold — is above the law," said Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat and the Senate sponsor of the legislation.
All sides expect legal challenges and requests for injunctions, meaning it could be many months before any state tax returns are handed over. The White House did not return a message seeking comment Monday on the law.
US women's team boldly embraces off-the-field activist role
NEW YORK (AP) — Setting itself apart from other great American sports teams, the U.S. women's soccer team is embracing a front-line role in social justice causes even as it savors a fourth world championship.
The players are now world leaders in the push for gender equity in the workplace, having sued the U.S. Soccer Federation for equal pay and treatment vis-a-vis the men's national team. With a lesbian coach and several lesbian players, including World Cup MVP Megan Rapinoe, they're a proud symbol of LGBTQ inclusion. And they have stood firmly behind Rapinoe after she said she'd refuse to visit the White House if invited by President Donald Trump.
Far from being daunted by these off-the-field roles, the players seem to relish them.
"I feel like this team is in the midst of changing the world around us as we live, and it's just an incredible feeling," Rapinoe said after the team's 2-0 victory over the Netherlands in Sunday's title match in Lyon, France. The team won all seven of its matches, scoring 26 goals, allowing just three.
Individual athletes — notably Muhammad Ali, more recently Colin Kaepernick — have risked their careers in the past by taking political stances. Some teams in the NBA and WNBA wore warm-up outfits a few years ago protesting police brutality and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
Iran breaches key uranium enrichment limit in nuclear deal
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran on Monday began enriching uranium to 4.5%, just breaking the limit set by its nuclear deal with world powers, while it is still seeking a way for Europe to help it bypass U.S. sanctions amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington.
The acknowledgement by the spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran to The Associated Press shows that the Islamic Republic trying to increase pressure on those still in the 2015 nuclear deal. It also comes just days after Iran acknowledged breaking the 300-kilogram (661-pound) limit on its low-enriched uranium stockpile, another term of the accord.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, confirmed that Iran surpassed the enrichment threshold.
Experts warn that higher enrichment and a growing stockpile could begin to narrow the one-year window Iran would need to have enough material for an atomic weapon, something Iran denies it wants but the deal prevented. While the steps now taken by Iran remain quickly reversible, Europe so far has struggled to respond.
There are fears that a miscalculation in the crisis could explode into open conflict. President Donald Trump, who withdrew the U.S. from the nuclear deal over a year ago and re-imposed crippling economic sanctions on Iran, nearly bombed the country last month after Tehran shot down a U.S. military surveillance drone. Even China, engaged in delicate trade negotiations with the White House, openly criticized America's policy toward Iran.
Barr: Mueller's Hill testimony will be 'public spectacle'
EDGEFIELD, S.C. (AP) — Attorney General William Barr on Monday accused Democrats of trying to create a "public spectacle" by subpoenaing Special Counsel Robert Mueller to testify before Congress about the Russia investigation.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Barr said the Justice Department would support Mueller if he decides he "doesn't want to subject himself" to congressional testimony. Barr also said the Justice Department would seek to block any attempt by Congress to subpoena members of the special counsel's team.
There's no indication that Mueller does not wish to appear before Congress on July 17. But he put lawmakers on notice that any testimony he gives will not go beyond his 448-page report that was released in April. At a news conference in May, Mueller said the team chose the words in the report carefully and that the work speaks for itself.
"I'm not sure what purpose is served by dragging him up there and trying to grill him," Barr said. "I don't think Mueller should be treated that way or subject himself to that, if he doesn't want to."
Mueller no longer works for the Justice Department, but the department could attempt to limit his testimony about decisions he made as special counsel.
Trump will 'no longer deal' with UK envoy who panned him
LONDON (AP) — President Donald Trump threatened Monday to cut off contact with Britain's ambassador to the United States after leaked diplomatic cables revealed the envoy called the Trump administration "dysfunctional" and "inept."
The U.S. leader tweeted about Ambassador Kim Darroch a day after a British newspaper published the diplomat's unflattering assessments of the current administration in Washington.
"I do not know the Ambassador, but he is not liked or well thought of within the US. We will no longer deal with him," Trump wrote.
The documents — published in the Mail on Sunday newspaper — have created awkwardness between two countries that are longtime allies. British officials said they were hunting for the culprit behind the leak, which was both an embarrassment to Prime Minister Theresa May's government and a major breach of diplomatic security.
Darroch has served as Britain's envoy to Washington since 2016, and the cables cover a period from 2017 to recent weeks.
US Rep. Swalwell ends presidential bid, will seek reelection
WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Eric Swalwell on Monday became the first candidate in the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential primary to exit the campaign, saying he would run for reelection to his California congressional seat next year.
Swalwell, 38, announced his exit in his home district, describing his decision as "the beginning of an opportunity in Congress with a new perspective" influenced by his 3-month-long presidential bid.
The four-term congressman's White House effort never progressed significantly with voters, a fact Swalwell acknowledged on Monday in saying that "polls have had their way" in determining his viability. He had signaled before departing the race that he would consider bowing out if he was in danger of missing the cutoff for the next nationally televised Democratic debate, which is based on separate polling and donor qualifications.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock missed the threshold for last month's debate but was ahead of Swalwell in the competition for this month's televised Democratic faceoff.
Asked about whether other candidates with similarly lackluster success so far in the packed Democratic primary should also consider dropping out, Swalwell demurred, describing the abandonment of a campaign as "really a personal decision." He also declined to indicate which of his onetime presidential rivals he might endorse in the primary and said he had not planned to seek the presidency as "a vanity project" or "to write a book."
Rattled resident clean up, officials eye damage after quakes
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Rattled residents cleaned up and officials assessed damage Monday from two of the biggest earthquakes to shake California in decades as scientists warned that both should serve as a wake-up call to be ready when the long-dreaded "Big One" strikes.
It could be several more days before water service is restored to the desert town of Trona, where officials trucked in portable toilets and showers, said San Bernardino County spokesman David Wert.
Ten residences in Trona were red-tagged as uninhabitable and officials expect that number to rise as inspectors complete surveys. Wert said he's seen homes that shifted 6 feet (nearly 2 meters) off their foundations.
Electricity was restored to Trona over the weekend, allowing people to use much-needed air conditioners as daytime temperatures approached 100 degrees (38 Celsius).
Teams will need several more days to finish assessments in nearby Ridgecrest, where the number of damaged buildings will likely be in the dozens, Kern County spokeswoman Megan Person said.
Coco Gauff's captivating Wimbledon ends against former No. 1
WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Out of escapes, out of surprises, Coco Gauff knew her captivating Wimbledon ride at age 15 was nearing its conclusion.
The thousands of spectators at Court No. 1 on Monday realized it, too, so they made sure to show their appreciation for the youngest qualifier at the All England Club in the professional era and youngest Week 2 participant since 1991.
Fans, most of whom probably hadn't heard of Gauff until last week, rose and roared as she fended off the initial two match points she faced against 2018 French Open champion Simona Halep. It was reminiscent of the way the Gauff began a comeback victory in her previous match. This time, though, Gauff could not come through, beaten by the older, more experienced Halep 6-3, 6-3.
"It was really surprising, because you don't really expect this kind of support when you're in another country, not your home country. I really did feel like I was probably playing in New York. I'm just really happy that people believe in me," said Gauff, who beat Venus Williams in the first round for quite a Grand Slam tournament debut.
"I wasn't feeling my best, I wasn't playing my best," Gauff said as she wiped away tears at her news conference, where she noted she wasn't sure why she needed a visit from a doctor in the second set, "but they were still supporting me, no matter what."