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Hurricane Lane Downgraded To Category 3 As It Brings Heavy Rains To Hawaii

As Hurricane Lane began to settle in on Hawaiians, Honolulu braced itself by opening emergency shelters, closing beaches and parks, canceling school for the remainder of the week, as well as putting non-essential government workers on leave. Though the National Weather Service has downgraded the storm to a Category 3, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Twitter urged people to prepare for the storm and to remain home if possible. “We do not want people out on the streets as Hurricane Lane approaches,” the mayor said. “We’re using a lot of caution here.” The powerful hurricane unleashed torrents of rain and landslides Thursday that blocked roads on the rural Big Island. As of Friday morning, Lane has already dumped more than 31 inches of rain on Hawaii’s Big Island, bringing catastrophic flooding and the life-threatening flooding could even lead to landslides or mudslides.The center of the hurricane sustained winds of 130 mph was expected to move close to or over portions of the main islands. Rainfall rates in the outer bands of the hurricane may reach 1 to 3 inches per hour, meaning flash flood watches will remain in effect through late on Friday. Lane expected to remain a hurricane for the next 12 to 24 hours but increasing wind shear could weaken the storm more quickly over the next two to three days. The storm is forecast to pull away from Hawaii by late Saturday.. ...Read Full Story

American Media CEO David Pecker Granted Immunity In Michael Cohen Case

David Pecker, the CEO of American Media Inc.,the publisher of the National Enquirer, has been granted immunity and is cooperating with federal prosecutors as part of the investigation of Michael Cohen and payments made to two women who claim to have had affairs with Donald Trump Court documents unsealed at the time of Cohen’s guilty plea earlier this week outline a pattern of cooperation between AMI and the Trump campaign starting in 2015. Prosecutors claim that AMI and the Enquirer tipped off the Trump campaign of potentially damaging stories. In the case of Karen McDougal, who claims she had an affair with Trump in 2006 and 2007, AMI’s Dylan Howard arranged a $150,000 payment for her limited life rights. Pecker is a friend of Trump’s and would have access to emails and other records to corroborate prosecutors’ claims about the payments and whether Trump was aware of them.. ...Read Full Story

Senate Democrats Call For Delaying The Hearings For Judge Kavanaugh’s Nomination To Supreme Court

A number of Democrats are calling for the Senate to delay the hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, this coming after former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty on charges including tax fraud. Additionally, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts, including two campaign finance violations involving payments to silence women who allegedly had an affair with President Trump before the 2016 election. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor Wednesday that he believed the hearings should be delayed, in large part because Kavanaugh has previously shown support for the idea that a president cannot be indicted. . ...Read Full Story

Former Trump Attorney Michael Cohen Pleads Guilty To Campaign Finance Violations

Former longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty Tuesday to eight counts, including two campaign finance violations involving payments to silence women he believed could be detrimental to the 2016 presidential campaign. Cohen testified in federal court that Donald Trump himself directed Cohen to commit a crime.  Cohen’s sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 12, with bail set at $500,0000. The government calculates he should spend between 51 and 63 months in prison. Federal prosecutors claimed Cohen concealed more than $4 million from the IRS and, in 2016, made $280,000 in payments to two women who planned to speak publicly about their affairs with a “presidential candidate.”  In all, Cohen pleaded guilty to five counts of tax evasion; one count of making false statements to a financial institution; one count of willfully causing an unlawful corporation contribution; and one count of making an excessive campaign contribution at the request of a candidate.. ...Read Full Story

Body Found In Search For Missing Iowa Student Mollie Tibbetts; Suspect Arrested

An undocumented immigrant has been charged with first-degree murder in the presumed death of Mollie Tibbetts, an Iowa college student who went missing on July 18, officials said Tuesday. The body that officials believe is that of Tibbetts, 20, was found Tuesday. Authorities said surveillance video helped them determine a suspec, who led them to a cornfield where the woman’s remains were found. The suspect, Christian Rivera, 24, is an undocumented immigrant who authorities believe has been in the area for four to seven years. Authorities say the suspect followed Tibbetts on July 18 and then abducted her. An autopsy will be performed on Wednesday to determine when Tibbetts died and how. Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student, was last seen jogging on July 18 in the small community of Brooklyn, Iowa, about an hour east of Des Moines, according to the Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office.. ...Read Full Story

Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort Found Guilty On Eight Counts In Tax Fraud Trial

Paul Manafort was found guilty Tuesday on eight of 18 counts in his financial fraud trial, with a mistrial declared on ten other counts. Manafort, former manager of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, was convicted on one count of failure to disclose a foreign bank account, two counts of bank fraud, and five counts of tax fraud. He faced a 32-count indictment stemming from a probe by special counsel Robert Mueller. The charges are not related to his work with Donald Trump, but rather focused on accusations of financial crimes stretching back to his time as a political consultant in Ukraine more than a decade ago.. ...Read Full Story

Woman Killed In Apparent Alligator Attack In Hilton Head, South Carolina

A woman was killed Monday morning in an apparent alligator attack on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office. Witnesses told investigators the woman was walking her dog near a lagoon about 9:30 a.m. when she was attacked and pulled underwater by the animal. Emergency responders found the woman’s body in the lagoon; she as identified her as Cassandra Cline, 45, of Hilton Head Island. An alligator believed responsible for the attack was found and killed at the scene, the sheriff’s office said. The attack happened off Wood Duck Road in Sea Pines Plantation. While alligator attacks on humans are rare, they are not unheard of in the Deep South. In June, a Florida woman walking her dogs was pulled into the water and killed by an alligator.  An autopsy is being conducted at the Medical University of South Carolina to determine the cause of the death.. ...Read Full Story

Colorado Man Charged With First-Degree Murder In Killings Of Pregnant Wife, 2 Daughters

A Colorado man was charged Monday with first-degree murder in the killings of his pregnant wife and their two young daughters, prosecutors said. Chris Watts is being held in the deaths of Shanann Watts, 34, and daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3. Two additional first-degree murder charges accuse him of causing the death of a child under age 12. Watts also faces three counts of tampering with a body, and a count of first-degree unlawful termination of a pregnancy. Watts, 33, is being held without bond, with his next court appearance scheduled for Tuesday morning. Shanann, Bella and Celeste were reported missing August 13 from their home in Frederick, Colorado. Their bodies were found Thursday at the site of a petroleum and natural gas company where Chris Watts had worked.. ...Read Full Story

Wildfire Moves Closer To Glacier National Park’s Scenic Road

A wildfire in Montana’s Glacier National Park is forcing more evacuations, and has burned within a mile of the scenic Going-to-the-Sun Road. It was reported Sunday that officials say protecting the highway through the park is their priority, with firefighters taking precautions to keep it from spreading there.  Operations chief Rocky Gilbert said the concern is that destabilization could lead rock and trees to fall for years. Officials evacuated the Fish Creek Campground and told residents in the small town of Apgar on Lake McDonald that they might have to leave. The historic Lake McDonald Lodge and private cabins along Going-to-the-Sun Road are already under evacuation orders. A wildfire near California’s Yosemite National Park has been fully contained following a recent week-long closure, . ...Read Full Story

President Trump Trump Says He Has “Nothing To Hide” In Russia Probe

In a series of tweets Sunday morning, President Trump is defending himself and the White House from the ongoing Russia probe, saying he has “nothing to hide” — this amid reports that White House Counsel Don McGahn is cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Mr. Trump slammed a New York Times report that McGahn had been cooperating “extensively” with Mueller over the last nine months and has submitted to a series of three interviews with investigators – totaling 30 hours of face-time.  Trump tweeted: “The failing New York Times wrote a fake piece today implying that because White House Councel [sic] Don McGahn was giving hours of testimony to the Special Councel [sic], he must be a John Dean type “RAT,”” Mr. Trump tweeted. He stated that he “allowed” McGahn and “all others” to testify, and that he “didn’t have to.” . ...Read Full Story