Trump says FBI conducted search at his Mar-a-Lago estate
WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI searched former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate as part of an investigation into whether he took classified records from the White House to his Florida residence, people familiar with the matter said Monday.
Trump, disclosing the search in a lengthy statement, asserted that agents had opened up a safe at his home and described their work as an “unannounced raid” that he likened to “prosecutorial misconduct.”
The search, which the FBI and Justice Department did not immediately confirm, marks a dramatic escalation in a months-long probe into how classified documents ended up in more than a dozen boxes located at Mar-a-Lago earlier this year. It occurred amid a separate but intensifying investigation into efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and added to the potential legal peril for Trump as he lays the groundwork for another run.
Familiar battle lines, forged during four years shadowed by FBI and congressional investigations, quickly took shape again Monday night. Trump and his allies sought to cast the search as a weaponization of the criminal justice system and a Democratic-driven effort to keep him from winning another term in 2024 — even though the Biden White House said it had no prior knowledge of it, and the current FBI director, Christopher Wray, was appointed by Trump five years ago and served as a high-ranking official in a Republican-led Justice Department.
“These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,” Trump wrote. “Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before.”
Father, son get life for hate crime in Ahmaud Arbery’s death
BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — The white father and son who chased and killed Ahmaud Arbery in a Georgia neighborhood each received a second life prison sentence Monday — for committing federal hate crimes, months after getting their first for murder — at a hearing that brought a close to more than two years of criminal proceedings.
U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood handed down the sentences against Travis McMichael, 36, and his father, Greg McMichael, 66, reiterating the gravity of the February 2020 killing that shattered their Brunswick community. William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, who recorded cellphone video of the slaying, was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
“A young man is dead. Ahmaud Arbery will be forever 25. And what happened, a jury found, happened because he’s Black,” Wood said.
The McMichaels were previously sentenced to life without parole in state court for Arbery’s murder and had asked the judge to divert them to a federal prison to serve their sentences, saying they were worried about their safety in the state prison system. Bryan had sought to serve his federal sentence first. Wood declined all three requests.
The sentences imposed Monday brought an end to the second trial against the men responsible for Arbery’s slaying, which along with the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky fueled a wave of protests across the country against the killings of unarmed Black people.
US pledges $1 billion more rockets, other arms for Ukraine
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration said Monday it was shipping its biggest yet direct delivery of weapons to Ukraine as that country prepares for a potentially decisive counteroffensive in the south against Russia, sending $1 billion in rockets, ammunition and other material to Ukraine from Defense Department stockpiles.
The new U.S. arms shipment would further strengthen Ukraine as it mounts the counteroffensive, which analysts say for the first time could allow Kyiv to shape the course of the rest of the war, now at the half-year mark.
Kyiv aims to push Russian troops back out of Kherson and other southern territory near the Dnipro River. Russia in recent days was moving troops and equipment in the direction of the southern port cities to stave off the Ukrainian counteroffensive.
“At every stage of this conflict, we have been focused on getting the Ukrainians what they need, depending on the evolving conditions on the battlefield,” Colin Kahl, undersecretary of defense for policy, said Monday in announcing the new weapons shipment.
The new U.S. aid includes additional rockets for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, as well as thousands of artillery rounds, mortar systems, Javelins and other ammunition and equipment. Military commanders and other U.S. officials say the HIMARS and artillery systems have been crucial in Ukraine’s fight to block Russia from taking more ground.
Albuquerque killings send fear through Islamic communities
Authorities on Monday identified the fourth victim in a series of killings of Muslim men in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as the deaths sent ripples of fear through Islamic communities nationwide.
Three of the slayings happened in the last two weeks. Now law enforcement officials are seeking help finding a vehicle believed to be connected to the killings in New Mexico’s largest city. The common elements were the victims’ race and religion, officials said.
Naeem Hussain was killed Friday night, and ambush shootings killed three other Muslim men over the past nine months. Police are trying to determine if the homicides are linked.
The killings have spread fear beyond New Mexico, where Muslims comprise less than 1% of adults in the statewide population of 2.1 million, according to the Pew Research Center.
“The fact the suspect remains at large is terrifying,” Debbie Almontaser, a Muslim community leader in New York, wrote on Twitter. “Who is next?!”
Biden surveys flood damage in Kentucky, pledges more US help
LOST CREEK, Ky. (AP) — President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden on Monday witnessed the damage from deadly and devastating storms that have resulted in the worst flooding in Kentucky’s history, as they visited the state to meet with families and first responders.
At least 37 people have died since last month’s deluge, which dropped 8 to 10-1/2 inches of rain in only 48 hours. Gov. Andy Beshear told Biden that authorities expect to add at least one other death to the total. The National Weather Service said Sunday that flooding remains a threat, warning of more thunderstorms through Thursday.
The president said the nation has an obligation to help all its people, declaring the federal government would provide support until residents were back on their feet. Behind him as he spoke was a single-story house that the storm had dislodged and then left littered on the ground, tilted sideways.
“We have the capacity to do this — it’s not like it’s beyond our control,” Biden said. “We’re staying until everybody’s back to where they were.”
In the summer heat and humidity, Biden’s button-down shirt was covered in sweat. Pacing with a microphone in his hand, he eschewed formal remarks as he pledged to return once the community was rebuilt.
Olivia Newton-John, who played Sandy in ‘Grease,’ dies at 73
NEW YORK (AP) — Olivia Newton-John, the Grammy-winning superstar who reigned on pop, country, adult contemporary and dance charts with such hits as “Physical” and “You’re the One That I Want” and won countless hearts as everyone’s favorite Sandy in the blockbuster film version of “Grease,” has died. She was 73.
Newton-John, a longtime resident of Australia whose sales topped 100 million records, died Monday at her southern California ranch, John Easterling, her husband, wrote on Instagram and Facebook.
“Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer,” he wrote. “We ask that everyone please respect the family’s privacy during this very difficult time.”
From 1973-83, Newton-John was among the world’s most popular entertainers. She had 14 top 10 singles just in the U.S., won four Grammys, starred with John Travolta in “Grease” and with Gene Kelly in “Xanadu.” The fast-stepping Travolta-Newton-John duet, “You’re the One That I Want,” was one of the era’s biggest songs and has sold more than 15 million copies.
“My dearest Olivia, you made all of our lives so much better,” Travolta wrote in an online post. “Your impact was incredible. I love you so much. We will see you down the road and we will all be together again. Yours from the moment I saw you and forever! Your Danny, your John!”
Misfired rockets may have killed over a dozen in Gaza battle
TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Close to one-third of the Palestinians who died in the latest outbreak of violence between Israel and Gaza militants may have been killed by errant rockets fired by the Palestinian side, according to an Israeli military assessment that appears consistent with independent reporting by The Associated Press.
The Israeli military said 47 Palestinians were killed in the weekend of fighting — at least 14 of them by Islamic Jihad-fired rockets that fell short.
No one in Gaza with direct knowledge of the explosions in question was willing to speak about them publicly. But live TV footage showed militant rockets falling short in densely packed residential neighborhoods. And AP visits to the sites of two explosions that killed a total of 12 people lent support to suspicions they were caused by rockets that went off course.
Israel is claiming victory in the weekend clash, in part because it killed two senior Islamic Jihad commanders and because no Israelis were killed or seriously wounded. If it turns out that Islamic Jihad harmed some of those it claims to protect, it would make for an even more humiliating outcome for the militant group and its main sponsor, Iran.
In Gaza, the ruling Hamas militant group heavily polices dissent, and many Palestinians view armed groups as freedom fighters defending their homeland in the face of Israeli aggression.
What to watch in Wis., 3 other states in Tuesday’s primaries
The Republican matchup in the Wisconsin governor’s race on Tuesday features competing candidates endorsed by former President Donald Trump and his estranged vice president, Mike Pence. Democrats are picking a candidate to face two-term GOP Sen. Ron Johnson for control of the closely divided chamber.
Meanwhile, voters in Vermont are choosing a replacement for U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy as the chamber’s longest-serving member retires. In Minnesota, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar faces a Democratic primary challenger who helped defeat a voter referendum to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new Department of Public Safety.
What to watch in Tuesday’s primary elections in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Vermont and Connecticut:
Construction company co-owner Tim Michels has Trump’s endorsement in the governor’s race and has been spending millions of his own money, touting both the former president’s backing and his years working to build his family’s business into Wisconsin’s largest construction company. Michels casts himself as an outsider, although he previously lost a campaign to oust then-U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold in 2004 and has long been a prominent GOP donor.
Ezra Miller charged with felony burglary in Vermont
Actor Ezra Miller has been charged with felony burglary in Stamford, Vermont, the latest in a string of incidents involving the embattled star of “The Flash.”
In a report Monday, Vermont State Police said they responded to a burglary complaint in Stamford on May 1 and found several bottles of alcohol were taken from a residence while the homeowners weren’t present. Miller was charged after police consulted surveillance footage and interviewed witnesses.
The police report said Miller was located shortly before midnight Sunday and was issued a citation to appear for arraignment in Vermont Superior Court on Sept. 26.
The felony charge adds to Miller’s mounting legal woes and reports of erratic behavior. The 29-year-old actor was arrested twice earlier this year in Hawaii, including for disorderly conduct and harassment at a karaoke bar. The second incident was for second-degree assault.
The parents of 18-year-old Tokata Iron Eyes, a Native American activist, also earlier this year filed a protection order against Miller, accusing the actor of grooming their child and other inappropriate behavior with her as a minor from the age of 12. Tokata Iron Eyes recently told Insider that those allegations were false.
Do spiders sleep? Study suggests they may snooze like humans
NEW YORK (AP) — It’s a question that keeps some scientists awake at night: Do spiders sleep?
Daniela Roessler and her colleagues trained cameras on baby jumping spiders at night to find out. The footage showed patterns that looked a lot like sleep cycles: The spiders’ legs twitched and parts of their eyes flickered.
The researchers described this pattern as a “REM sleep-like state.” In humans, REM, or rapid eye movement, is an active phase of sleep when parts of the brain light up with activity and is closely linked with dreaming.
Other animals, including some birds and mammals, have been shown to experience REM sleep. But creatures like the jumping spider haven’t gotten as much attention so it wasn’t known if they got the same kind of sleep, said Roessler, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Konstanz in Germany.
Their findings were published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.