TRUMP-JOHN KERRY-THE LATEST
The Latest: Pompeo blasts Kerry for Iran meetings
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Secretary of State John Kerry has responded to President Donald Trump’s criticism of his meeting with the Iranian foreign minister by telling the commander in chief he should instead focus on the special counsel’s investigation.
Late Thursday, Trump accused Kerry of holding “illegal meetings” with the Iranian government. Kerry was an architect of the Iran nuclear deal that Trump withdrew from in May, and Kerry met several times with Iran’s foreign minister since leaving office.
Kerry tweeted Friday that Trump should be “more worried” about his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, agreeing to cooperate with Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Kerry says if Trump wants to “learn something about the nuclear agreement that made the world safer, buy my new book, Every Day Is Extra.”
TROPICAL WEATHER-THE LATEST
The Latest: Forecast: Florence threat continues overnight
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — The National Hurricane Center in Miami says the core of Florence was located at 11 p.m. Friday about 15 miles (20 kilometers) west-northwest of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Top sustained winds are now about 65 mph (100 kph) and the storm is moving to the west-southwest at 5 mph (7 kph) — a track that is expected to continue through early Saturday.
Forecasters say catastrophic freshwater flooding is expected over parts of North Carolina and South Carolina ahead.
As Florence moves further inland over the coming days, the storm is expected to gradually weaken. Forecasters say it could become a depression by Saturday night.
PUERTO RICO-HURRICANE MARIA
Telling the stories of Puerto Rican victims of Maria
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A year after Hurricane Maria roared across the Caribbean, The Associated Press, the news site Quartz and Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism have put together the most detailed portrait yet of the final days of storm victims.
The joint investigation reflects how Puerto Rico’s most vulnerable fell victim to dire conditions created by the storms. Many could have been saved with standard medical treatment. This slow-motion, months-long disaster kept Puerto Ricans from getting the care they needed for treatable ailments, even as Trump lauded his administration’s response.
President Donald Trump cast doubt on Maria’s widely accepted death toll, tweeting that “3000 people did not die.” He said the death count had been inflated by Democrats who added unrelated deaths to the toll from causes like old age.
TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE-MANAFORT-THE LATEST
The Latest: Lawyer says Manafort has agreed to cooperate
WASHINGTON (AP) — Paul Manafort’s lawyer says the former Trump campaign chairman cut a deal with prosecutors “to make sure that his family was able to remain safe and live a good life.”
Kevin Downing says Manafort, of Alexandria, Virginia, has “accepted responsibility.”
Manafort agreed to cooperate with the special counsel’s Russia probe and pleaded guilty to two federal crimes as part of Friday’s plea deal.
The move allows him to avoid a second criminal trial. He was convicted last month of eight financial crimes in a separate trial in Virginia.
Neither of the cases against Manafort relates to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, the central issue in the special counsel’s investigation. Instead, they focus on financial crimes and Manafort’s Ukrainian political consulting work, including failing to register as a foreign agent.
KOREAS-SUMMIT-DIFFICULT THIRD ACT
Moon faces toughest challenge yet in 3rd summit with Kim
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in faces his toughest challenge yet in his third summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next week in Pyongyang.
He will be pressed to deliver substantive agreements beyond the vague statements on denuclearization that have been repeated in recent months.
Negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang have sputtered, raising doubts about whether Kim is truly willing to relinquish his nuclear arsenal and putting pressure on Moon to broker progress once again.
The result will likely be a crucial indicator of how the larger nuclear negotiations with the United States will proceed. Moon will try to get Kim to express more clearly that he’s prepared to abandon his nuclear weapons, which could create momentum for a second Kim-Trump summit.
The Latest: NTSB investigators could be on scene for a week
LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) — The National Transportation Safety Board said the team heading to Massachusetts to investigate a series of gas explosions blamed for one death and dozens of fires in three communities is expected to remain on the scene for a week.
The agency said in a series of tweets Friday that the team will be gathering perishable evidence from the accident site and pulling together information from federal, state, and local agencies, and Columbia Gas.
The agency says that among the issues being examined by NTSB investigators are the design of the pipeline system, any upgrades made to the system and the operator’s management of the pipeline.
As is routine in NTSB investigations, a review of the emergency response of the operator and local first responders will be conducted.
The Latest: Monster typhoon slams into Philippines
TUGUEGARAO, Philippines (AP) — Philippine forecasters say Typhoon Mangkhut has slammed into the country’s northeastern coast. Witnesses say the storm’s ferocious wind and blinding rain ripped off tin roof sheets and knocked down power at the start of the onslaught.
Forecasters said early Saturday that the typhoon made landfall in the coastal town of Baggao in Cagayan province nearly two hours after midnight in the northern tip of the main Luzon island. It is an agricultural region of flood-prone rice plains and mountain provinces often hit by landslides.
More than 5 million people are at risk from the storm, which the Hawaii-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center categorizes as a super typhoon with powerful winds and gusts equivalent to a category 5 Atlantic hurricane.
SUPREME COURT-KAVANAUGH-THE LATEST
The Latest: Anita Hill says a complaint process needed
WASHINGTON (AP) — Anita Hill says the reluctance of someone to come forward publicly with an allegation against a Supreme Court nominee shows the need for the Senate to put in place a process for complaints to be heard.
Hill, who is now a professor at Brandeis University, released a statement Friday after Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh denied an allegation of sexual misconduct from when he was in high school.
Hill says “even in the #MeToo era, it remains incredibly difficult to report harassment, abuse or assault by people in power.”
She pushed sexual misconduct into the public realm in 1991 when she testified during confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas, now a justice on the court. She accused him of sexual harassment, which Thomas denied.
TRUMP-PUERTO RICO-THE LATEST
The Latest: Trump claims Maria death toll rose ‘like magic’
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is circling back to his claim that the death toll from Hurricane Maria last year was inflated and says the number rose to 3,000 “like magic.”
He also complained Friday that the Puerto Rican government commissioned an independent study by researchers from a Washington-based university to determine how many people died in the storm. He says, “This method was never done with previous hurricanes because other jurisdictions know how many people were killed.”
Trump tweeted that the number of dead climbed from 16 to 64 “over many months.” He says, “Then, like magic, ‘3000 PEOPLE KILLED.'”
He wrote: “FIFTY TIMES LAST ORIGINAL NUMBER – NO WAY!”
Trump’s latest grumbling on the Maria death toll comes as Tropical Storm Florence inundates the Carolinas, killing at least four people.
DALLAS OFFICER-MISTAKEN APARTMENT-THE LATEST
The Latest: Downtown march protests man’s police shooting
DALLAS (AP) — Dozens of demonstrators marched through the streets of downtown Dallas and briefly blocked the westbound lanes of Interstate 30 to protest a white police officer’s fatal shooting of a black man in his own apartment.
The march, which appeared to be peaceful, began with a rally outside Dallas police headquarters Friday evening. Demonstrators marched to the interstate, where they chanted “Shut it down!” before moving through downtown streets chanting slogans such as “Justice now!” along with the name of Botham Jean, the man shot to death in his apartment on Sept. 6.
No arrests have been reported.
Officer Amber Guyger is charged with manslaughter in the shooting and is free on bond. She has told investigators that she mistook Jean’s apartment for her own, which is one floor below Jean’s.