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June 21, 2019

Advice columnist and author E. Jean Carroll has just accused President Trump of sexually assaulting her in the 1990s.

In an essay published by New York Magazine's The Cut on Friday, Carroll writes that she encountered Trump at a Bergdorf Goodman's store in New York in 1995 or 1996 and that he took her to the lingerie section, where they went into a dressing room together. Once inside, Carroll alleges that Trump pushed her against the wall twice and put his mouth against her lips, pinning her as he removed her tights.

"The next moment, still wearing correct business attire, shirt, tie, suit jacket, overcoat, he opens the overcoat, unzips his pants, and, forcing his fingers around my private area, thrusts his penis halfway — or completely, I'm not certain — inside me," she writes.

Carroll says that she struggled to push Trump off and finally was able to do so and run out of the dressing room after about three minutes. She writes that she didn't go to the police at the time but did tell two friends, one of whom recommended she "tell no one" because "he has 200 lawyers" and "he'll buy you." Both friends confirmed this account.

The White House on Thursday denied Caroll's accusation, saying in a statement, "This is a completely false and unrealistic story surfacing 25 years after allegedly taking place and was created simply to make the President look bad." Trump previously faced allegations of sexual assault from multiple women during the 2016 presidential election, which he denied. Brendan Morrow

June 20, 2019

A bipartisan swath of senators on Thursday voted to block President Trump's emergency arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

In the first of three resolutions, all Democrats and seven Republicans joined for a 53-45 vote to express their disapproval of Trump's planned arms sales to Saudi Arabia. The remaining two resolutions are expected to pass as well, with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) leading the charge, The Washington Post reports.

Last month, Trump announced he'd use his emergency powers to let American companies sell $8.1 billion worth of munitions to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Much of Congress had loudly opposed the arms sales, particularly following Saudi Arabia's alleged killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. That prompted Graham to join Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) in co-sponsoring 22 separate resolutions blocking the sales, though they later condensed the number to three in a deal with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), per The New York Times. The deal will also force the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to consider a bill limiting a president's authority on using emergency powers for arms sales.

At least four Senate Republicans, including Graham, are expected to block the remaining two resolutions, the Post says. Still, it's unlikely the resolutions will get the 67 votes they'd need to avoid Trump's inevitable veto. The Democratic-held House is also expected to have no problem passing the bills. Kathryn Krawczyk

June 17, 2019

Megadeth lead vocalist has just announced he has been diagnosed with throat cancer.

Mustaine, who co-founded the heavy metal band after leaving Metallica in 1983, shared the news with fans on Monday, writing in a Facebook post that this is "clearly something to be respected and faced head on" but that "I've faced obstacles before" and that he and his doctors have "mapped out a treatment plan which they feel has a 90 percent success rate."

Although the band is canceling "most" of its remaining 2019 shows as a result, Mustaine says that "in some form," they will remain involved in an October "Megacruise" they had planned. Megadeth had a summer tour planned to commemorate its 35th anniversary, Variety reports.

Still, Mustaine says the band is continuing to work on its next album, which he writes that he "can't wait for everyone to hear," and he promises that "Megadeth will be back on the road ASAP." Brendan Morrow

June 17, 2019

Former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi collapsed during a court hearing on Monday and later died, Egyptian state media reports.

Morsi, who once was a top member of the Muslim Brotherhood, was in a court hearing facing espionage charges when he collapsed, BBC reports via Egyptian state media. He soon died and his body was taken to a hospital, The Associated Press continues.

While appearing in court Monday, Morsi "was speaking before the judge for 20 minutes then became very animated and fainted," a judicial source tells Al Jazeera. "He was quickly rushed to the hospital where he later died," the source continued. AP and BBC, citing state TV, say Morsi died before he reached the hospital.

Morsi was Egypt's first democratically elected president, taking office in 2012 after the end of the Arab Spring uprising and President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule. He served just a year of his 4-year term before a military coup unseated him, and current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi took his place. Morsi had been in jail ever since, along with several other Muslim Brotherhood leaders. The Islamist group was outlawed following Morsi's ouster, and he and its leaders were soon hit with a variety of charges and tried by the new military-backed government. Morsi was previously sentenced to death, but it was overturned in 2016. Kathryn Krawczyk

June 13, 2019

The Office of Special Counsel has concluded that White House counselor Kellyanne Conway should be fired for violating the Hatch Act.

The federal watchdog on Thursday said that Conway "repeatedly" violated the law, which limits the political activities federal employees can engage in in their official capacity, by "disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media."

The Office of Special Counsel noted that although the president and vice president are exempt from the Hatch Act, "employees of the White House are not." In a letter to President Trump, the OSC says that Conway's "actions thus erode the principal foundation of our democratic system — the rule of law" and that the office "recommends that she be removed from federal service." Politico notes that the OSC has "never before made such a recommendation for a White House official."

The White House on Thursday criticized this decision, with Deputy Press Secretary Steven Groves calling the office's actions "unprecedented" and "deeply flawed" and arguing they "violate her constitutional rights to free speech and due process," also saying the decision was "influenced by media pressure and liberal organizations." Conway had previously dismissed concerns over Hatch Act violations, The Washington Post reports, saying, "Blah, blah, blah. If you're trying to silence me through the Hatch Act, it's not going to work. Let me know when the jail sentence starts." Brendan Morrow

June 13, 2019

Two oil tankers were reportedly attacked early Thursday in the Gulf of Oman, on one end of the strategic Strait of Hormuz, and the U.S. Navy has rushed a ship to assist the vessels, one of which is "on fire and adrift," according to maritime intelligence firm Dryad Global. Iran said it has rescued all 44 sailors from the two ships — 21 from the Panama-flagged, Singapore-owned Kokuka Courageous and 23 from the MT Front Altair, a Marshal Islands-flagged tanker owned by a Norwegian firm and chartered by Taiwan state oil refiner CPC Corp. — and transported all crew members safely to the Iranian port of Jask.

The cause of the explosions has not been confirmed, but one of the ships reported being hit by a shell. The incident comes amid high tensions between Iran on one hand and the U.S. and Saudi Arabia on the other. Last month, four oil tankers were attacked off the nearby Emirati port of Fujairah; the United Arab Emirates blamed a "state actor" for the limpet mine attack, the U.S. said the state actor was Iran, and Iran denies involvement.

Thursday's apparent attack happened as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is in Tehran trying to lower tensions between Iran and the U.S., apparently with little success. Japan's Trade Ministry said one of the ships hit Thursday morning is carrying "Japan-related cargo." The timing of the incident prompted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to tweet, "Suspicious doesn't begin to describe what likely transpired this morning."

Two-thirds of the world's oil transported via ship passes through the Strait of Hormuz, and oil prices rose sharply Thursday morning. Peter Weber

June 12, 2019

The first person to be sentenced as part of the college admissions scandal will not have to serve time in prison.

John Vandemoer, the former Stanford University head sailing coach who prosecutors said took $610,000 in bribes to falsely list students as sailing recruits, on Wednesday was sentenced to two years of supervised release, USA Today reports. His sentence included one day in prison that was deemed served. He was also hit with a $10,000 fine.

This sentencing came as part of the massive nationwide investigation involving parents paying to get their children admitted into prestigious universities. Some, including actress Felicity Huffman, allegedly paid in order to have proctors help their children cheat on the SATs. Other parents allegedly paid bribes so that coaches would say that their children were recruits for sports that they didn't actually play.

Vandemoer pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering, and prosecutors were seeking 13 months in prison. But the judge on Wednesday said prison time was not necessary, as Vandemoer didn't use the money he received personally but instead put it toward the sailing program, USA Today reports. Vandemoer told The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, "This was the biggest mistake of my life." Brendan Morrow

June 10, 2019

One person has died after a helicopter crashed on top of a building in Manhattan, the New York Fire Department says.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday confirmed that a helicopter crashed onto the building, which is located at 787 7th Avenue.

Cuomo said that "people who were in the building said they felt the building shake" but that nobody inside has been hurt. The New York Times reports that the pilot of the helicopter, who was the only person in the aircraft, has died.

The New York Fire Department has confirmed that at least one fatality is reported. It has also confirmed that the fire at the building has been extinguished.

Cuomo on Monday said that while "as soon as you hear an aircraft hit a building, my mind goes wherever New Yorkers' minds go," there's "no indication of anything more than" a helicopter making an emergency landing. Brendan Morrow

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