The House voted on Wednesday, 231-198, to loosen federal regulations so gun owners with concealed-carry permits could legally travel with their weapons to other states.
The National Rifle Association pushed hard for the bill, which passed with six Democrats supporting it and 14 Republicans opposed. The bill's author, Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), compared concealed-carry permits to marriage and drivers' licenses, while Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.) — who represents Newtown, where 26 children and teachers were gunned down inside Sandy Hook Elementary School — called his bill "an outrage and an insult to the families" of people killed by gun violence.
The bill was combined with two measures that have bipartisan support — one that would have the Bureau of Justice Statistics, over six months, study crimes involving firearms to see how many involve bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire at nearly the same rate as an automatic weapon; and another that would strengthen the National Criminal Instant Background Check system. The vote was the first time since the massacre at Sandy Hook that the House took up any major gun legislation. Catherine Garcia
In November 2017, a month after The New Yorker published its bombshell exposé of Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual predation, actor and musician Jimmy Bennett contacted one of Weinstein's accusers, Italian actress and director Asia Argento, through a lawyer, asking for $3.5 million in damages related to a traumatizing sexual encounter in 2013, The New York Times reports, citing documents related to legal a settlement. Argento agreed to pay Bennett $380,000 over two years. Bennett was 17 and Argento was 37 when they had sex in her hotel room in California, the documents say. The age of consent in California is 18.
After accusing Weinstein of raping her, Argento became a prominent voice in the #MeToo movement.
Bennett, who started acting at age 6, was cast as Argento's son in a 2004 movie, The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, when he was 7, and they stayed in intermittent contact. "Jimmy's impression of this situation was that a mother-son relationship had blossomed from their experience on set together," his lawyer, Gordon Sattro, wrote in the notice of intent to sue. The documents, including a May 2013 selfie of the Argento and Bennett in bed, were sent to the Times by an unidentified party via encrypted emails.
The agreement did not include a nondisclosure clause, as California state law doesn't allow them and Argento declined to get around that by using a New York lawyer, "because you felt it was inconsistent with the public messages you've conveyed about the societal perils of nondisclosure agreements," her lawyer, Carrie Goldberg, wrote to Argento. "Bennett could theoretically tell people his claims against you," though "he is not permitted to bother you for more money, disparage you, or sue." Argento did not respond to numerous requests for a response, directly and through multiple representatives, the Times notes, and Bennett declined to be interviewed via his lawyer. Peter Weber
Opening in eight theaters on Friday, Kevin Spacey's new movie, Billionaire Boys Club, didn't even crack $300 at the box office in its first two days.
On Friday, the movie made $126, and on Saturday, just $162, The Hollywood Reporter said Sunday. That's less than most people spend at Costco on the weekend, likely due to Spacey having been accused last year of sexual harassment and assault by several men. After the allegations were made public, he was fired from House of Cards and his scenes in All the Money in the World were re-shot, with Christopher Plummer taking his place.
Billionaire Boys Club is a crime drama, also starring Ansel Elgort and Taron Egerton. Its distributor, Vertical Entertainment, announced it would become available on video on demand in July and then released in theaters, as to not punish everyone else who participated in making the movie. "In the end, we hope audiences make up their own minds as to the reprehensible allegations of one person's past, but not at the expense of the entire cast and crew present on this film," Vertical Entertainment said in a statement. Catherine Garcia
Over the last several months, Michael Cohen's lawyer, Lanny Davis, has been having regular conversations with John Dean, Richard Nixon's White House counsel who took part in the Watergate coverup and then became a witness for the prosecution.
"I reached out to my old friend John Dean because of what he went through with Watergate, and I saw some parallels to what Michael Cohen is experiencing," Davis told Politico. "I wanted to gain from John's wisdom." He added that he's not asking him for legal advice and doesn't want to "raise expectations that Mr. Cohen has anything like the level of deep involvement and detailed knowledge that John Dean had in the Nixon White House as a witness to Nixon's crimes, but I did see some similarities and wanted to learn from what John went through."
Davis said he became friends with Dean in the late 1990s, when they appeared on cable news together to discuss President Bill Clinton's impeachment proceedings. Dean confirmed to Politico that the two have been having speaking to each other frequently, and said he'd also like to talk to Cohen's criminal defense lawyer, Guy Petrillo. Catherine Garcia
President Trump's lawyers basically have no idea what White House Counsel Don McGahn shared with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team during 30 hours of interviews, people close to Trump told The New York Times on Sunday.
McGahn's lawyer only gave them a sliver of what he told investigators, two people told the Times, and now Trump's advisers are worried McGahn gave a lot of information that will end up in Mueller's ultimate report. Trump's lawyers weren't aware of how little they knew until they read a report published on Saturday in the Times regarding McGahn's cooperation with Mueller's office. A person close to Trump told the Times his lawyers never asked McGahn to give a complete description of what he told Mueller's team, and others said McGahn wanted to talk to investigators because he was afraid Trump was going to set him up to take the blame for any wrongdoing.
On Sunday morning, Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani admitted he didn't know much about what McGahn had told Mueller's team, and Trump went on a Twitter tirade, claiming he "allowed" McGahn to speak to investigators because he has "nothing to hide." Catherine Garcia
In his first televised speech since taking office, Pakistan's new prime minister, Imran Khan, said he plans on tackling the growing divide between the rich and poor.
"I want to see Pakistan a great country," Khan, a former cricketer, said on Sunday. He will focus on increasing social services for the poor, cutting government expenses, fighting corruption, and austerity measures, as Pakistan's foreign debt is more than $95 billion. Khan said Pakistan has never been doing worse economically, and "the interest that we have to pay on our debt has reached a level that we have to take on more debt just to repay our obligations."
Khan was sworn in on Saturday, and is already vowing to reform everything from the criminal justice system to the education sector. He also promised to "keep good relations with all countries. We want peace as without it no progress and development is possible."
Federal investigators are looking into whether Michael Cohen, President Trump's former lawyer and fixer, committed bank and tax fraud when securing more than $20 million in loans and if he violated campaign finance laws when arranging financial deals with women who said they had affairs with Trump, several people familiar with the matter told The New York Times.
Two people said the probe is in its end stages, and prosecutors are mulling filing charges by the end of August. Investigators are trying to figure out if Cohen misrepresented the value of his assets in order to obtain loans from two banks for his taxi business, and if he failed to report income from that same business to the IRS, the Times reports. Read more about the investigation and what might happen if Cohen decides to take a plea agreement at The New York Times. Catherine Garcia
China, Iran, and North Korea could join Russia in attempting to meddle in the 2018 midterm elections, National Security Adviser John Bolton said on ABC's This Week Sunday.
Bolton told host Martha Raddatz there is "a sufficient national security concern about Chinese meddling, Iranian meddling, and North Korean meddling that we're taking steps to try and prevent it" — but he would not answer her question about whether there is any evidence China has tried to hack American elections in the past.
National security adviser John Bolton says in addition to Russia, there's "sufficient national security concern" that China, Iran, and North Korea are meddling in the 2018 U.S. elections.
"Those are the four countries that we're most concerned about" https://t.co/eYlWTEQpta pic.twitter.com/a5ihTMwUGo
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) August 19, 2018
Raddatz also asked whether Bolton would support fighting the 17-year war in Afghanistan entirely using contractors instead of the U.S. military. (Contractors already outnumber U.S. troops on the ground in Afghanistan by a large margin.) Bolton dodged the question with a bromide about entertaining new tactics.
Watch that exchange below. Bonnie Kristian
.@MarthaRaddatz: "Would you consider privatizing (in Afghanistan), using contractors instead of U.S. military?"
White House national security adviser John Bolton: "I'm always open to new ideas...That will ultimately be the president's decision" https://t.co/gZkXtxqCCj #ThisWeek pic.twitter.com/vaRger8Vvn
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) August 19, 2018