Loading articles...

AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT

Last Updated Aug 10, 2018 at 8:20 pm PDT

In book, Omarosa says Trump is a bigot, behaved ‘like a dog’

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (AP) — Former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman claims in a new book that there are tapes of President Donald Trump using racial slurs and that she saw him behaving “like a dog off the leash” at numerous events he attended without his wife, first lady Melania Trump.

The accusations are among a long list of scandalous claims contained in her new book, “Unhinged,” set to come out Aug. 14. The Associated Press purchased an early copy of the memoir, which the White House has already slammed as “riddled with lies and false accusations.”

In the book, Manigault Newman, who was a contestant on Trump’s “The Apprentice” reality show and later served as a senior adviser to the president, hurls a litany of allegations, painting the president as scattered, self-absorbed, misogynistic and insecure.

Trump, she said she’d concluded after years of defending him, was a bigot.

“I didn’t want to believe it,” she writes. “I rejected what other people said about him because they didn’t know him like I did. I had to go through the pain of witnessing his racism with my own eyes, and hearing it with my own ears, many times, until I couldn’t deny it any longer.”

___

Roger Stone associate held in contempt in Russia probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — An associate of former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone was held in contempt of court Friday in a fresh attempt to challenge Robert Mueller’s appointment as the special counsel investigating Trump campaign contacts with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The move also spotlighted a growing focus by Mueller on Stone. Another of Stone’s associates, a New Yorker known as the “Manhattan Madam” because she once operated an upscale escort service, was expected to make her first appearance before a grand jury in the case.

Paul Kamenar, the attorney for Stone associate Andrew Miller, whose refusal to appear before the grand jury Friday led him to be held in contempt, argued after the proceedings that Mueller’s appointment is unconstitutional. He asserted that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein did not have the authority to appoint Mueller to lead the investigation into Trump campaign contacts with Russia.

Previous challenges to Mueller’s legitimacy have failed.

President Donald Trump has sought to undermine the investigation by calling it a “witch hunt” and a “hoax.” He has repeatedly insisted, “there was no collusion.”

___

Turkey shaken by financial fears, Trump rattles it further

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A financial shockwave ripped through Turkey on Friday, when its currency nosedived on concerns about its economic policies and a dispute with the U.S., which President Donald Trump stoked further with a promise to double tariffs on the NATO ally.

The lira tumbled 14 per cent in one day, to 6.51 per dollar, a massive move for a currency that will make the Turkish poorer and further erode international investors’ confidence in the country.

The currency’s drop — 41 per cent so far this year — is a gauge of fear over a country coming to terms with years of high debt, international concern over President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s push to amass power, and a souring in relations with allies like the U.S.

The diplomatic dispute with the U.S. was one of the triggers that turned market jitters into a full-blown route this week.

Turkey has arrested an American pastor and put him on trial for espionage and terror-related charges linked to a failed coup attempt in the country two years ago. The U.S. responded by slapping sanctions on Turkey and threatening more.

___

Judge rejects plea deals in deadly Oakland warehouse fire

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — In an unusual move, a California judge on Friday rejected the plea deals of two men who were charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter after a 2016 California warehouse fire.

As he handed down his decision, Judge James Cramer said 48-year-old Derick Almena didn’t accept “full responsibility and remorse” for the fatal blaze which occurred during an unlicensed concert at the dilapidated Oakland warehouse known as the “Ghost Ship.”

The plea deal had called for Almena to be sentenced to nine years in prison and 28-year-old Max Harris to six years. The judge said he found Harris to be sincere but because the plea bargain was for both Harris and Almena, both pleas were rejected.

In court on Friday, Harris apologized to the families of the victims for his actions but told them he didn’t expect forgiveness.

“I know nothing I can say will come close. I’m sorry,” he said. “You’re in my prayers and will be for the rest of my life.”

___

Jury backs man who claims Roundup weed killer caused cancer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A San Francisco jury on Friday ordered agribusiness giant Monsanto to pay $289 million to a former school groundskeeper dying of cancer, saying the company’s popular Roundup weed killer contributed to his disease.

Dewayne Johnson’s lawsuit was the first of thousands of cases filed in state and federal courts alleging that Roundup causes cancer, which Monsanto denies.

Johnson said he hoped his verdict would bolster the other cases.

“This case is way bigger than me,” Johnson said during a press conference in his lawyers’ San Francisco office after the verdict. “I hope it gets the attention that it needs.”

Johnson declined to answer reporters’ questions.

___

New Mexico compound littered with ammunition, dirty diapers

AMALIA, N.M. (AP) — Dirty diapers, shotgun shells, small broken bicycles, the white sandal of a baby, anguished journals about faith and a DVD about killing techniques in close combat.

Ordinary and extraordinary household objects littered a squalid compound on a high-desert plain of northern New Mexico, bearing silent witness to the lives of 11 children and five adults — and perhaps one missing boy.

The settlement sprung up on the outskirts of tiny Amalia, New Mexico, last winter — as a manhunt unfolded for the father of a 3-year-old boy abducted from Georgia.

Police raided the property a week ago in response a report of children living in filth, severe hunger and dangers including a leaky propone tank — detaining all living inhabitants.

On Monday, authorities returned with new intelligence to retrieve the body of a small boy — possibly the missing and severely disabled Georgia boy Abdul-ghani Wahhaj.

___

AP Analysis: On enthusiasm, Democrats have advantage

ATLANTA (AP) — Democratic voters were more enthusiastic than Republicans in nearly a dozen federal special elections since President Donald Trump took office, an Associated Press analysis found, giving party leaders hope that even a series of narrow losses in GOP territory bodes well for them in November.

With the special elections now concluded ahead of the fall midterms, an AP review of nine House races and an Alabama special Senate election showed Democratic candidates consistently outperforming Republicans compared to the two parties’ usual vote totals in regular general elections.

The strong Democratic turnout is a key factor fueling the party’s hopes of regaining control of the House in November for the first time in eight years. It’s particularly significant because Democrats often struggle to turn out their voters when a presidential candidate isn’t on the ballot. The special election voting numbers could signal a change heading into the fall.

The latest indicator came Tuesday in Ohio, where Republican Troy Balderson holds a narrow lead over his Democratic rival, Danny O’Connor, setting up a potential recount in a suburban and small-town congressional district that President Donald Trump won by more than 11 percentage points and that Republicans have held since 1980.

The AP review went beyond percentage totals and compared special election raw vote totals to what Republicans and Democrats received from the same electorates in 2016. The methodology measures candidates’ performance as a percentage of what they could expect in a presidential year when turnout is highest, with the results suggesting which party’s coalition is more engaged and excited about the election cycle.

___

Kobach’s take-no-prisoners style at forefront in Kansas race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — At a parade this summer, candidate for governor Kris Kobach rode a jeep with a replica machine-gun mounted on it. When some people complained the stunt scared children, Kobach, Kansas’ secretary of state, mockingly called the reaction a “snowflake meltdown.”

And he kept on riding the vehicle in other parades, posting photos on social media regularly.

Secretaries of state from middle America aren’t generally household names. Kobach is the exception.

The 52-year-old Republican has a take-no-prisoners style of conservatism that delights hard-right members of the GOP but makes him a prime target of Democrats and centrists.

Now Kobach, the state’s top election official, is locked in a too-close-to-call race for the GOP nomination. With late mail-in ballots added to the count Friday — but nearly 9,000 more ballots yet to be reviewed — he clung to a lead of just 110 votes out of more than 313,000 cast in Tuesday’s primary against Gov. Jeff Colyer.

___

Crews battle growing wildfire near homes in California

LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. (AP) — Firefighters fought to spare homes Friday from a growing Southern California forest fire, a day after flames came perilously close to neighbourhoods and destroyed one house.

Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Orange and Riverside counties as the fire carved its way along ridges in Cleveland National Forest south of Los Angeles.

Some hillsides were allowed to burn under the watchful eyes of firefighters as a way to reduce fuel and make it harder for flames to jump roadways into communities if winds pick up again.

Aircraft dropped fire retardant on flames and homes as people ignoring evacuation orders used garden hoses to spray down their properties when the blaze flared Thursday evening, propelled by 20-mph (30-kph) gusts.

Shannon Hicks, 59, defied an evacuation order and watched in awe as firefighters faced down a storm of flames that descended toward her street in the city of Lake Elsinore.

___

NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week

A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue headlines of the week. None of these stories is legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked these out. Here are the real facts:

___

NOT REAL: ‘The fascists of the future will call themselves anti-fascists’ — Winston Churchill

THE FACTS: Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill did not say “the fascists of the future will call themselves anti-fascists,” as suggested by a meme shared online Tuesday by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. The quote, which appears with a picture of Churchill and the words “CHURCHILL ON THE LEFTWING(sic)” was tweeted by Abbott on his personal account, along with the comment: “Some insights are timeless.” David Freeman, director of publications at the International Churchill Society, called the meme a classic example of “Churchillian drift,” which he described as quotes erroneously attributed to Churchill in the pursuit of adding intellectual heft. Abbott deleted the tweet, but defended the sentiment, saying it reflected his feelings on “antifa,” short for anti-fascists.

___