Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) was indicted by a grand jury in St. Louis on Thursday for conduct stemming from a 2015 extramarital affair. The charge — a single count of felony invasion of privacy — stems from reports that Greitens, in an effort to cover up his marital transgression, threatened his affair partner that he would release an intimate photo of her if she spoke about their relationship.
Greitens' threat was first reported by local St. Louis news station KMOV, after the woman's ex-husband approached the network. The man had surreptitiously recorded a conversation he had with his then-wife, in which she apparently confesses to the affair with Greitens, describing how Greitens invited her to his home and posed her for a compromising photo before saying, "You're never going to mention my name, otherwise there will be pictures of [you] everywhere."
The blackmail allegation against Greitens led to a criminal investigation by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, whose office handed down the indictment Thursday. Greitens has denied blackmailing the woman, the Springfield News-Leader notes, though he has admitted to having the affair.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Robert Patrick said Thursday that he saw Greitens "being led away in the custody of" St. Louis Sheriff Vernon Betts. Read the statement from Gardner's office below. Kimberly Alters
NEW: Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens indicted by St. Louis grand jury on one count of invasion of privacy. pic.twitter.com/G0W7AyiXnP
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 22, 2018
Special Counsel Robert Mueller levied 32 new charges against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates on Thursday, the latest development in the Justice Department's sprawling probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The charges against Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman, and Gates, a former campaign aide and Manafort's business associate, include multiple charges of tax and bank fraud.
The indictment, handed down Thursday by a federal grand jury, includes a litany of financial crimes, alleging the men filed false income tax returns and failed to disclose foreign accounts. One specific charge claims that Gates helped Manafort launder "more than $30 million in income," Reuters reported. In October, Manafort and Gates were indicted on 12 counts, including conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to launder money, in the first round of charges to result from Mueller's probe.
The timing of the Thursday filing is notable, The Washington Post noted, because there is "significant uncertainty in the case about when a trial might happen, or even who the defense lawyers will be." Gates' three lawyers have all asked to be dismissed from the case.
Since October, George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, and Michael Flynn, Trump's first national security adviser, have pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Last week, 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies — including an infamous "troll farm" known as the Internet Research Agency — were charged with conspiracy for online efforts intended to influence the election, the first charges from Mueller's office that concern election meddling specifically.
Rev. Billy Graham, a Christian evangelist known as "America's Pastor," has died at the age of 99, NBC News reports.
Over the course of his more than 70-year career, Graham preached to an estimated 200 million people across 185 countries, and was granted personal audiences with several U.S. presidents and world leaders. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. credited Graham's influence, saying: "Had it not been for the ministry of my good friend Dr. Billy Graham, my work in the Civil Rights Movement would not have been as successful as it has been."
Long a presence on television and radio, Graham retired in 2005, citing his health. Graham was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease 25 years ago. Jeva Lange
The FBI admitted Friday that it received a tip from "a person close to" Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old who has confessed to carrying out Wednesday's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, that "provided information about Cruz's gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting." The bureau did not follow through with the established protocol, allowing the information to fall by the wayside, the FBI said.
The tip came into the FBI's Public Access Line (PAL) on Jan. 5, 2018, and the information should have been passed on to the FBI Miami Field Office for subsequent investigative steps, but it was not. "I am committed to getting to the bottom of what happened in this particular matter," said FBI Director Christopher Wray.
BREAKING: FBI says it received a tip about the Parkland shooter, but didn't follow protocols to investigate further. pic.twitter.com/TC2LKuCG36
— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) February 16, 2018
Separately, a YouTube account posting under the name Nikolas Cruz commented on a video in September saying, "I'm going to be a professional school shooter." The comment was reported to the FBI by another YouTube user, but the investigation apparently led nowhere.
Cruz killed 17 at the Florida high school Wednesday. Jeva Lange
President Trump announced Thursday that he is planning to visit Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed by a gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday. "We are all joined together as one American family and your suffering is our burden also," Trump said, addressing the victims and their families. "No child, no teacher, should ever be in danger in an American school," he added.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 15, 2018
Trump additionally expressed a commitment to "the difficult issue of mental health," reiterating a tweet made Thursday morning when he said "neighbors and classmates" knew about the "mentally disturbed" shooter. "Answer hate with love, answer cruelty with kindness," Trump said, speaking directly to American children.
As many observed, the president did not use the word "gun" in his address. He additionally ignored a shouted question by CNN's Jim Acosta about if he will do "something about guns." The 19-year-old suspected shooter had legally purchased the AR-15 used in the attack after passing a background check within the past year.
Watch a portion of Trump's remarks below. Jeva Lange
President Trump to America’s children: “I want you to know you are never alone and you never will be. You have people who care about you, who love you… Answer hate with love, answer cruelty with kindness.” https://t.co/rBZVCr3djC pic.twitter.com/rFQyrH4wRO
— CNN (@CNN) February 15, 2018
President Trump on Thursday reacted to the deadly high school shooting in Florida that killed 17 people, tweeting: "So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!"
The tweet about the 19-year-old suspect, identified by police as Nikolas Cruz, was written as a "reply" to Trump's tweet from Tuesday about congressional negotiations on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, although there was no obvious correlation:
So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2018
Cruz, who was adopted, had apparently been living with a friend's family after the death of his mother three months ago, from the flu and pneumonia, CNN reports. He had also reportedly made social media posts like "I [wanna] shoot people with my AR-15" and had legally bought the firearm used in the attack after passing the background check within the past year. Jeva Lange
At least 17 people were shot and killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in south Florida on Wednesday, authorities said.
Police responded to an incident at the school, located in the city of Parkland, around 3:15 p.m. ET. One shooter is believed to have carried out the attack, in the school's freshman building. The suspect, identified as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, was taken into custody "without incident," Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said. The suspect was a former student of the school who had been expelled; one teacher told The Miami Herald that Cruz had been identified last year as "threatening students."
About 3,000 students attend the school, which is described as being in "an affluent Fort Lauderdale suburb," The New York Times writes.
MORE: Aerial footage above Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shows students running from grounds of campus after authorities respond to report of shooting in Parkland, Florida https://t.co/1Y5NBGZMdE pic.twitter.com/D62xmQxo9K
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 14, 2018
Drone footage of the scene showed handfuls of students fleeing on foot. "My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting," President Trump tweeted. "No child, teacher, or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school." The Week Staff
This is a breaking news story and has been updated throughout.
The House Oversight Committee has launched an investigation into the scandal involving former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter, committee chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) confirmed Wednesday. Porter resigned last week after his ex-wives went public with claims of physical and verbal abuse, although it was reportedly widely known in the West Wing last fall that Porter's lack of security clearance was due in part to the charges.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the committee's ranking member, called for a review of the security clearance process in a letter to Gowdy the day after allegations about Porter came out, Newsweek reports. Speaking on CNN, Gowdy said: "I'm going to direct questions to the FBI that I expect them to answer. And if they don't answer them, then they're going to need to give me a really good reason." Watch below. Jeva Lange
Chairman Trey Gowdy says the House Oversight Committee is "directing inquiries" to the FBI about Rob Porter https://t.co/0xN6S6UOoF
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) February 14, 2018