Published: 4:04 am, Sat. Mar. 23rd, 2019Updated: 9:04 pm
Barr scours Trump-Russia report to see how much to open
WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General William Barr scoured special counsel Robert Mueller’s confidential report on the Russia investigation with his advisers Saturday, deciding how much Congress and the American public will get to see about the two-year probe into President Donald Trump and Moscow’s efforts to elect him.
Barr was on pace to release his first summary of Mueller’s findings on Sunday, people familiar with the process said.
The attorney general’s decision on what to finally disclose seems almost certain to set off a fight with congressional Democrats, who want access to all of Mueller’s findings — and supporting evidence — on whether Trump’s 2016 campaign coordinated with Russia to sway the election and whether the president later sought to obstruct the investigation.
No announcement was expected Saturday as Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller and oversaw much of his work, analyzed the report and labored to condense it into a summary letter of main conclusions. Mueller delivered his full report to Barr on Friday.
The Russia investigation has shadowed Trump for nearly two years and has ensnared his family and close advisers. And no matter the findings in Mueller’s report, the probe already has illuminated Russia’s assault on the American political system, painted the Trump campaign as eager to exploit the release of hacked Democratic emails to hurt Democrat Hillary Clinton and exposed lies by Trump aides aimed at covering up their Russia-related contacts.
US reacts to end of Mueller probe with relief, skepticism
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — With the long-awaited special counsel’s investigation finished but its contents still shrouded in mystery, Americans waited for details, yawned with boredom or stayed fixed to their long-cemented positions on President Donald Trump, the man at the probe’s center.
For all the expected splash of Robert Mueller’s report, it arrived with more of a thud, thanks to the secrecy surrounding it. Few saw reason to think it would sway many opinions in a divided republic.
Helen Jones, a 72-year-old retired English professor in Salt Lake City, Utah, who is Republican but despises Trump, knows whatever comes out, her relatives who strongly back the president won’t budge — just as detractors like her won’t be convinced he isn’t a crook. She sees no simple end in sight.
“I think it’s just the beginning,” said Jones, a political junkie who called the moment a historic one like Watergate. “I hope it’s a turning point in the Trump presidency.”
Across ideology, many expressed relief Saturday that the investigation was finally over.
Helicopters rescue Norway cruise ship passengers amid storm
HELSINKI (AP) — Rescue workers off Norway’s western coast rushed to evacuate 1,300 passengers and crew from a disabled cruise ship by helicopter on Saturday, winching them one-by-one to safety as heaving waves tossed the ship from side to side and high winds battered the operation.
The Viking Sky issued a mayday call as bad weather hit and engine problems caused it to start drifting toward the rocky shore, the Norwegian newspaper VG reported. Police in the western county of Moere og Romsdal said the crew, fearing the ship would run aground, managed to anchor in Hustadvika Bay, between the Norwegian cities of Alesund and Trondheim, so the evacuations could take place.
Rescue teams with five helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances, including gusts up to 38 knots (43 mph) and waves over 8 meters (26 feet). The area is known for its rough, frigid waters.
The majority of the cruise ship passengers were reportedly British and American tourists. About 180 have been evacuated so far, according to rescue officials.
Per Fjeld of the Joint Rescue Center Southern Norway said there is no danger to the remaining passengers and the airlift can accommodate all of them. He said the rescue will speed up when there is better light and the weather improves.
Anti-Brexit marchers flood into London, demand new vote
LONDON (AP) — Anti-Brexit protesters flooded into central London by the hundreds of thousands on Saturday, demanding that Britain’s Conservative-led government hold a new referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union.
The “People’s Vote March” snaked from Park Lane and other locations to converge on the U.K. Parliament, where the fate of Brexit will be decided in the coming weeks.
Marchers carried European Union flags and signs praising the longstanding ties between Britain and continental Europe. The protest drew people from across Britain who are determined to force Prime Minister Theresa May’s government to alter its march toward Brexit.
May also is coming under rising pressure from her own Conservative Party to either step down or set a date for her resignation as her political support continues to wilt. The coming week is seen as crucial as political rivals jockey for position to succeed her.
Conservative Party legislator George Freeman tweeted that a new leader is needed.
Columbine families gather to tell stories nearly 20 years on
LITTLETON, Colo. (AP) — Families of the Columbine High School shooting victims gathered at the school on Saturday to tell their stories nearly 20 years after the tragedy, and they spoke of forgiveness, inclusion and healing, and the balm that sometimes only silence can bring.
It was on April 20, 1999, that two Columbine students gunned down 12 classmates and a teacher in the Denver suburb of Littleton.
A dozen parents, siblings, former students and others who suffered through the ordeal met with reporters ahead of next month’s anniversary. Here are some of their stories.
Darrell and Sandy Scott
Streisand apologizes for remarks on Michael Jackson accusers
NEW YORK (AP) — Barbra Streisand apologized Saturday for her remarks about Michael Jackson and two men who have accused him of sexual abuse, saying that she should have chosen her words more carefully and that she admires the accusers for “speaking their truth.”
Streisand had received bitter criticism online after she was quoted in The Times of London as saying that Jackson’s accusers were “thrilled to be there” during the alleged abuse, which “didn’t kill them.”
After an initial statement Saturday to The Associated Press in which she sought to clarify her remarks, the superstar of song, stage and screen posted an apology online that went further.
“I am profoundly sorry for any pain or misunderstanding I caused by not choosing my words more carefully about Michael Jackson and his victims,” she wrote.
“I didn’t mean to dismiss the trauma these boys experienced in any way,” she wrote. “Like all survivors of sexual assault, they will have to carry this for the rest of their lives. I feel deep remorse and I hope that James and Wade know that I truly respect and admire them for speaking their truth.”
Protests held in Pittsburgh after cop cleared in shooting
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The father of a slain black teenager pleaded for peace Saturday after the acquittal of a white police officer triggered an apparent retaliatory shooting at the defense attorney’s office and touched off protests in the streets of Pittsburgh.
Police put officers on 12-hour shifts until further notice.
The verdict late Friday in the deadly shooting of 17-year-old Antwon Rose II angered his family and civic leaders and prompted hundreds of people to gather Saturday afternoon at an intersection called Freedom Corner in the Hill District neighborhood, the historic center of black cultural life in Pittsburgh. One man held a sign with the names of black men killed by police around the U.S.
“It’s very painful to see what happened, to sit there and deal with it,” Rose’s father, Antwon Rose Sr., told the crowd. “I just don’t want it to happen to our city no more.”
Afterward, he told reporters: “I want peace, period, all the way around. … Just because there was violence doesn’t mean that we counter that with violence.”
Democrats debate Mueller strategy as findings loom
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional Democrats plotted strategy Saturday as they awaited the conclusions of Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, with senior lawmakers demanding full transparency and preparing for next steps if the results were favorable to President Donald Trump.
House Democrats conferenced by phone to share what they knew about the probe and to discuss how to move forward. It was unclear when they would have more information from Attorney General William Barr, who received the report from Mueller on Friday. Barr was on pace to release his first summary on Sunday, people familiar with the process said.
In a call with 120 House Democrats, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would reject any kind of classified briefing on the report and that he information must be provided to Congress in a way that would allow lawmakers to discuss it publicly. A person on the call described it on condition of anonymity because the session was private.
Pelosi told Democrats that the American people “deserve the truth,” the person said. She has said that Barr’s offer to provide Congress with a summary of conclusions was “insufficient.”
Six committee chairmen also spoke on the call, reiterating the push for releasing the report and underlying documents.
Patriots owner apologizes in Florida prostitution case
MIAMI (AP) — New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is apologizing after being charged in a Florida massage parlor prostitution investigation.
“I am truly sorry,” Kraft said in a statement Saturday. “I know I have hurt and disappointed my family, my close friends, my co-workers, our fans and many others who rightfully hold me to a higher standard.”
The statement was first reported by ESPN.
Kraft said he has “extraordinary respect for women,” adding that his morals were shaped by his late wife. Myra Kraft died in 2011.
“Throughout my life, I have always tried to do the right thing. The last thing I would ever want to do is disrespect another human being,” he said.
TIPPING OFF: Wofford, Murray State aim for big March moment
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The first teams will earn their spot in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 on Saturday — and the upstarts are right there near the front of the line.
There are eight double-digit seeds left in the field of 32 entering the second round, three of those coming from outside the power conferences: No. 12 seeds Murray State and Liberty, and No. 13 UC Irvine.
And then there’s Wofford, the headliner in a batch of schools aiming to make their own enduring March Madness moment with a marquee matchup against Kentucky.
That game comes Saturday in the Midwest Region, along with Murray State’s date with Florida State in the West bracket in an eight-game schedule. And make no mistake: there’s plenty of belief for a pair of teams that haven’t lost a game in months.
“You don’t want to get out of character and try to do things that you can’t do or do things that you’re uncomfortable doing just to try to show that you can do something,” Wofford guard Fletcher Magee said. “We want to stay within ourselves, play our game, and we feel that if we do that, we can be right there and we can compete with them.”