Epstein death shifts federal focus to possible conspirators
NEW YORK (AP) — In the wake of Jeffrey Epstein's suicide, federal prosecutors in New York have shifted their focus to possible charges against anyone who assisted or enabled him in what authorities say was his rampant sexual abuse of underage girls.
Two days after the wealthy financier's death in the New York jail where he was awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges, Attorney General William Barr warned on Monday that "any co-conspirators should not rest easy."
"Let me assure you that this case will continue on against anyone who was complicit," Barr said at a law enforcement conference in New Orleans. "The victims deserve justice, and they will get it."
Authorities are most likely turning their attention to the team of recruiters and employees who, according to police reports, knew about Epstein's penchant for underage girls and lined up victims for him. The Associated Press reviewed hundreds of pages of police reports, FBI records and court documents that show Epstein relied on an entire staff of associates to arrange massages that led to sex acts.
If any Epstein assistants hoped to avoid charges by testifying against him, that expectation has been upended by his suicide.
New rules to deny green cards to many legal immigrants
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration announced Monday it is moving forward with one of its most aggressive steps yet to restrict legal immigration: Denying green cards to many migrants who use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance.
Federal law already requires those seeking to become permanent residents or gain legal status to prove they will not be a burden to the U.S. — a "public charge," in government speak —but the new rules detail a broader range of programs that could disqualify them.
It's part of a dramatic overhaul of the nation's immigration system that the administration has been working to put in place, despite legal pushback. While most attention has focused on President Donald Trump's efforts to crack down on illegal immigration, including recent raids in Mississippi and the continued separation of migrant parents from their children, the new rules target people who entered the United States legally and are seeking permanent status.
Trump is trying to move the U.S. toward a system that focuses on immigrants' skills instead of emphasizing the reunification of families.
Under the new rules, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will now weigh whether applicants have received public assistance along with other factors such as education, income and health to determine whether to grant legal status.
Trump admin weakens enforcement of Endangered Species Act
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration moved on Monday to weaken enforcement of the 45-year-old Endangered Species Act, ordering changes that critics said will speed the loss of animals and plants at a time of record global extinctions .
The action, which expands the administration's rewrite of U.S. environmental laws, is the latest that targets protections, including for water, air and public lands. Two states — California and Massachusetts, frequent foes of President Donald Trump's environmental rollbacks — promised lawsuits to try to block the changes in the law. So did some conservation groups.
Pushing back against the criticism, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and other administration officials contend the changes improve efficiency of oversight , while continuing to protect rare species.
"The best way to uphold the Endangered Species Act is to do everything we can to ensure it remains effective in achieving its ultimate goal — recovery of our rarest species," he said in a statement. "An effectively administered Act ensures more resources can go where they will do the most good: on-the-ground conservation."
Under the enforcement changes, officials for the first time will be able to publicly attach a cost to saving an animal or plant. Blanket protections for creatures newly listed as threatened will be removed. The action also could allow the government to disregard the possible impact of climate change, which conservation groups call a major and growing threat to wildlife.
Prosecutors say Ohio shooter's friend bought him armor
A longtime friend of the Dayton gunman bought the body armor, a 100-round magazine, and a gun accessory used in a mass shooting, but there's no indication that the man knew that his friend was planning a massacre, federal agents said Monday.
Ethan Kollie first spoke with investigators just hours after the shooting and later said he bought the equipment and kept it at his apartment, so Connor Betts' parents would not find it, according to a court document.
Kollie also said that about 10 weeks ago he helped Betts assemble the AR-15 style gun used in the shooting, the court filing said.
Federal investigators emphasized that there was no evidence that Kollie knew how Betts would use the equipment or that Kollie intentionally took part in the planning.
The accusations came as prosecutors unsealed charges against Kollie that they said were unrelated to the Aug. 4 shooting in Dayton, Ohio. Early that day, Betts opened fire in a popular entertainment district, killing his sister and eight others. Officers killed Betts within 30 seconds, just outside a crowded bar, and authorities have said hundreds more people may have died if Betts had gotten inside.
Dow slumps nearly 400 points as trade war anxiety lingers
Stocks fell sharply on Wall Street Monday, knocking nearly 400 points off the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
The benchmark S&P 500 had its worst day in a week as the sell-off put the market deeper into the red for August. The selling was widespread, with technology companies and banks accounting for a big share of the decline.
Investors sought safety in U.S. government bonds, sending their yields tumbling. The price for gold, another traditional safe-haven asset, closed higher.
The costly trade war between the U.S. and China has rattled markets this month. An escalation in tensions between the world's largest economies has stoked worries that the long-running trade conflict will undercut an already slowing global economy.
"Trade and the concern that as this escalates it continues to wear on confidence to a point that this actually causes a recession, that's what people are wrestling with," said Ben Phillips, chief investment officer at EventShares.
Trial opens for Utah man accused in major opioid ring
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Lawyers for a man accused of running a multi-million-dollar opioid ring out of his suburban Salt Lake City basement said Monday he was involved in drugs but wasn't capable of running such a major operation.
Aaron Shamo, 29, has a learning disability and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder that make him incapable of orchestrating the complicated scheme that prosecutors laid out in court documents, defense attorney Greg Skordas said during his opening statement at Shamo's trial.
Prosecutors say several people will testify that Shamo ran the ring that mailed opioids laced with fentanyl to places across the U.S. and resulted in a fatal overdose.
"The evidence will not establish that Aaron Shamo caused the death of another, or that he was the organizer, leader, mastermind of this organization," Skordas told jurors.
Fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid, has exacerbated the country's overdose epidemic in recent years.
Why many employees feel devalued even in booming job market
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — For more than two decades, Ken White worked at a credit card processor. It was a good job, but it fell victim to the Great Recession.
Today, at 56, White does similar work managing technology projects for a regional bank. And yet everything feels different. He is a contractor for a technology services firm that assigns him to the bank. He is paid less, and the bonuses and stock awards he once earned as a full-fledged employee are long gone.
For all the U.S. economy's robust job growth, White and many people like him don't feel much like beneficiaries of what is now the longest expansion on record. The kinds of jobs they once enjoyed — permanent positions, with stability, bonuses, pensions, benefits and opportunities to move up — are now rarer.
"It's not as easy as it was," White says.
White's evolution from employee to contractor is emblematic of a trend in the American workplace a full decade after the recession ended: The economy keeps growing. Unemployment is at a half-century low. Yet many people feel their jobs have been devalued by employers that increasingly assign a higher priority to shareholders and customers.
AP Explains: A look at Argentine turmoil after primary vote
The perennial seesaw of Argentina's political and economic fortunes has pitched the South American country into more upheaval after an overwhelming primary election loss for the government of President Mauricio Macri. The currency and stock market plummeted Monday, a day after the surprising outcome. Here is a look at the main issues in a nation whose economy was already in crisis:
WHAT SPOOKED THE MARKETS?
Cristina Fernández and the leftist populism that she represents. The former president, whose high spending, trade restrictions and state intervention were widely blamed for years of economic problems, was on an opposition ticket (as a vice presidential running mate) that scored an emphatic win on Sunday. The primary election is seen as a harbinger for general elections in October. Fernández faces numerous investigations into alleged corruption during her 2007-2015 administration — she says she is a political target. As president, Fernández initially presided over economic stability and growth associated with her predecessor and late husband, Nestor Kirchner, but conditions later deteriorated and sapped her early popularity.
AG says 'irregularities' found at jail where Epstein died
NEW YORK (AP) — Attorney General William Barr said Monday that there were "serious irregularities" at the federal jail where Jeffrey Epstein took his own life as he awaited trial on charges he sexually abused underage girls.
The 66-year-old financier was found Saturday morning in his cell at the chronically short-staffed Metropolitan Correctional Center, in a unit known for holding notorious prisoners under extremely tight security.
"I was appalled, and indeed the whole department was, and frankly angry to learn of the MCC's failure to adequately secure this prisoner," Barr said at a police conference in New Orleans. "We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation. The FBI and the office of inspector general are doing just that."
He added: "We will get to the bottom of what happened and there will be accountability."
The manner in which Epstein killed himself has not been announced. An autopsy was performed Sunday, but New York City Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson said investigators were awaiting further information.
Dangerous heat grips wide stretch of the South and Midwest
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Forecasters are warning about days of scorching, dangerous heat across a wide stretch of the U.S. South and Midwest, where the heat index will feel as high as 117 degrees (47 Celsius) in some spots.
With temperatures around 100 degrees (37 Celsius) at midday Monday and "feels like" temperatures soaring higher, parts of 13 states were under heat advisories, from Texas, Louisiana and Florida in the South to Missouri and Illinois in the Midwest, the National Weather Service reported.
"It feels like hell is what it feels like," said Junae Brooks, who runs Junae's Grocery in Holly Bluff, Mississippi.
Many of her customers were wearing straw hats or keeping cool with wet rags around their necks, she said.
Some of the most oppressive conditions were being felt in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Oklahoma. Tuesday will be about the same, forecasters said, and Wednesday will be only a little cooler.