What did he know and when? Trump faces Watergate-era questions
After ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, President Trump’s tweet Saturday suggested he knew Flynn lied when Trump fired him. “There was nothing to hide!” Trump added. His critics said the statement could imply the president tried to obstruct Justice in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. But with Flynn now working with prosecutors, some are reviving a familiar Watergate-era question: What did the president know and when did he know it? Meanwhile, federal authorities said Saturday a senior FBI agent was removed from the staff of Mueller’s investigation earlier this year after the Justice Department began reviewing whether the agent exchanged messages critical of Trump.
Senate passes huge tax cuts after last-minute changes
After winning over last-minute holdouts, Senate Republicans early Saturday approved a massive tax overhaul that provides more than $1 trillion in tax cuts over 10 years, revamps corporate and individual tax rates, expands some credits and eliminates some popular deductions. Vice President Pence announced the 51-49 vote. The bill passed despite howls of protest from Democrats over the rushed process leading up to the vote and allegations that the bill overwhelmingly benefits the wealthy. The Senate bill has numerous differences with one that already passed the House, which likely means that a joint conference committee will have to iron out an agreement.
Senate Republicans have approved a massive tax overhaul that provides more than $1 trillion in tax cuts over ten years. USA TODAY
Matt Lauer scandal: NBC vows no payout, starts in-house probe of how misconduct happened
NBC will not be paying out any of the millions remaining on Matt Lauer’s contract, the Associated Press reported Friday. The long-time morning host was fired from the Today show last week for inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace. Lauer is said to have earned around $25 million a year on his current contract, which runs through 2018 and made him one of TV’s highest-paid journalists. With Lauer’s firing, the list of men ousted from high-profile seats of TV power keeps growing. As accusations continue to be made public, it’s evident sexual harassment has permeated the media industry for decades.
An awkward interview has resurfaced of Matt Lauer discussing a bag of sex toys. Nathan Rousseau Smith (@FantasticMrNate) explains. Buzz60
Former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner files appeal in sex assault case
A Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman outside a campus fraternity party is appealing. In an appeal filed Friday, lawyers for Brock Turner said the initial trial was “a detailed and lengthy set of lies.” They hope a new trial will also help overturn his mandatory lifetime requirement to register as a sex offender. The case gained national attention when Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Turner to six months in jail in the assault of Emily Doe, whose victim impact statement read at Turner’s trial went viral.
USA TODAY Investigation: VA knowingly hires doctors with past malpractice claims, discipline for poor care
Neurosurgeon John Henry Schneider racked up more than a dozen malpractice claims and settlements in two states, including cases alleging he made surgical mistakes that left patients maimed, paralyzed or dead. But the VA hired him anyway. Schneider’s hiring is not an isolated case. As a result of USA TODAY’s investigation of Schneider, VA officials determined his hiring — and potentially that of an unknown number of other doctors — was illegal.
A USA TODAY investigation finds the Department of Veterans Affairs has repeatedly hired healthcare workers with problem pasts, like neurosurgeon John Henry Schneider, whose license had been revoked after a patient death. USA TODAY
Alabama in, Ohio out
The College Football Playoff field is set and Alabama beat out Big Ten champion Ohio State for the final spot despite not winning its SEC division. No. 1 seed Clemson will play No. 4 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. No. 2 seed Oklahoma will face No. 3 Georgia in the Rose Bowl. USA TODAY Sports Dan Wolken writes that the choice of Alabama was the wrong one, both in terms of precedent and message for a committee that pretty clearly went outside of the protocol that was built into this system four years ago. The Amway Coaches Poll’s top four matched that of the College Football Playoff selection committee.
CVS buying Aetna in deal valued at $68 billion
CVS Health is buying Aetna for $69 billion in cash and stock. The long-awaited deal was made official Sunday evening. Aetna stockholders are to receive around $207 a share — $145 in cash and $62 in stock — and will own about 22 percent of the combined company. CVS shareholders will own the remainder. CVS Health President and Chief Executive Officer Larry J. Merlo said in a statement: “This combination brings together the expertise of two great companies to remake the consumer health care experience. With the analytics of Aetna and CVS Health’s human touch, we will create a health care platform built around individuals.”
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