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August 13, 2019

When it emerged last week that the National Rifle Association and its estranged advertising firm, Ackerman McQueen, had moved to buy NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre and his wife, Susan, a $6 million mansion in suburban Dallas last year, the NRA insisted that "not a cent of NRA money was ultimately spent" on the abortive real estate purchase.

On Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported that it obtained a copy of a $70,000 check the NRA sent in May 2018 to WBB Investments LLC, a Delaware entity created a week previously. The money was intended as earnest money toward an offer on the 10,000-square-foot, four-bedroom, nine-bath French country–style estate in a gated golf club community, a person familiar with the transaction told the Journal. New York's attorney general is investigating the proposed purchase as part of a larger review of the NRA's nonprofit status.

"The NRA made a nominal payment to help facilitate the process for a real estate transaction that was supposedly being undertaken by Ackerman McQueen following the Parkland tragedy," NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam told the Journal. The check was reportedly returned after the deal fell apart. Ackerman McQueen said it's "patently false" that anyone other than LaPierre was driving the transaction.

Last week, The Washington Post reported that LaPierre wanted the NRA to buy him the property because "he was worried about being targeted and needed a more secure place to live" after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. LaPierre requested that WWB Investments be created to facilitate the purchase, the Post reported, and the LaPierres "were intensely involved in the selection of the property." Emails described to the Post show that Susan LaPierre was concerned there wasn't enough closet space in the men's master bedroom and bathroom.

ProPublica and The Trace published documents last week showing that NRA accountants reviewing the books flagged the $70,000 payment as a top concern and violation of the organization's "accounts payable procedures." Nonprofit lawyer Elizabeth Kingsley told the Journal that "if there's a check from the NRA to an LLC, that doesn't seem consistent with a story that Ackerman was going to pay for it." Peter Weber

2:44 a.m.

The leaders of the Group of Seven nations were all smiles during Sunday's photo shoot on the beach in Biarritz, France, "eager to present a show of bonhomie after so many previous meetings ended in discord," Peter Baker reports at The New York Times. "But behind the scenes at the annual gathering of some of the world's leading powers, President Trump still found himself at odds with his counterparts."

This year, on issues from trade to Iran, Russia to climate change, Baker adds, "ever so gingerly, as if determined not to rouse the American's well-known temper, the other Group of Seven leaders sought to nudge him toward their views on the pressing issues of the day, or at least register their differences — while making sure to wrap them in a French crepe of flattery, as they know he prefers."

After Trump said his fellow world leaders "respect the trade war" he is escalating with China and wouldn't tell him otherwise, for example, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson first congratulated Trump "on everything that the American economy is achieving," then appended "the faint, sheeplike note" that Britain is "in favor of trade peace on the whole, and dialing it down if we can," adding, "We don't like tariffs, on the whole."

"Johnson wasn't even the only one to gently contradict Trump," Aaron Blake writes at The Washington Post. For a president used to "throwing his weight around — even if to no other end than making his counterparts squirm and cater to him," Trump "found himself on his heels and fumbling throughout much of the first day of the Group of Seven summit."

At the same time, "Trump seemed even more intent on countering press accounts that he is increasingly isolated on the world stage and that his relations with historic U.S. allies are deeply strained," Politico reports. And for the most part, G-7 leaders "have managed to keep their disagreement behind closed doors and out of the views of television cameras," USA Today says. "Yet despite Trump's claim that all is well, the summit is expected to end Monday without proffering a formal agreement from the G-7 leaders — the first time that has happened in the group's 44-year history." Peter Weber

2:14 a.m.

It took more than a decade, but Maggie Welz knew that her cat Tiger, who slipped out the door of her New York home 11 years ago, would one day reunite with his family.

They were "heartbroken" when Tiger escaped, Welz told ABC New York, and a year later, after moving 10 houses away, she told the new owners to "keep an eye out for him, but he never returned." No one knows what Tiger was up to during his first few years on the streets, but in 2016, he appeared for the first time in Carol O'Connell's yard. O'Connell works for the Dutchess County SPCA, and said it wasn't until this spring that the cat would let her come close.

She wasn't sure if the cat was feral, had been abandoned, or was missing, and when she scanned him for a microchip, she learned that Welz was his owner. The 14-year-old cat was in great shape for having been on his own for 11 years, and after being examined by a vet, Tiger was able to go home. Welz told ABC New York she is "grateful" to O'Connell and her family for their "persistence and their dedication and for making sure that our cat was okay. I have no idea where he was for the years in between, I'm sure he could tell us many tales, but the thing is that he is now home with us and he will be with us for the remainder of his life." Catherine Garcia

1:34 a.m.

By Tuesday, Tropical Storm Dorian, now headed toward the Lesser Antilles, could be nearing hurricane strength, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Sunday.

Dorian, the fourth tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, is expected to move into the eastern Caribbean Sea on Tuesday. The Lesser Antilles should expect to receive two to four inches of rain, forecasters said. Barbados, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, and the Grenadines are all under a tropical storm warning, and a tropical storm watch is in effect for Grenada and Martinique.

Forecasters said it is too early to know if Florida should brace for anything, but Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and the Virgin Islands need to keep a close watch on Dorian's progression. Catherine Garcia

1:18 a.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday said leaders at the Group of Seven summit are close to reaching a deal that provides Brazil with "technical and financial help" to fight the fires devastating the Amazon rainforest.

The Amazon is the world's largest rainforest, and produces about 20 percent of the planet's oxygen. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who campaigned on a promise to open the Amazon up for mining, logging, and other businesses, was slow to react, and environmentalists and researchers say cattle ranchers and loggers, emboldened by Bolsonaro's rhetoric, are behind most of the fires. On Friday, Bolsonaro finally said the military would fight the blazes, and told world leaders to let him deal with the crisis on his own.

Last week, Macron said the fires are an "international crisis," and on Sunday, Pope Francis said they are worrisome, and he wants people to "pray so that with the commitment of all, they can be put out soon. That lung of forests is vital for our planet." Catherine Garcia

12:32 a.m.

Catherine Kyle has always loved the Pittsburgh Pirates, and she was finally able to cheer her team on inside PNC Park Saturday night.

To surprise Kyle on her 99th birthday, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren organized a trip to see the Pirates face off against the Cincinnati Reds. Despite being a lifelong fan, Kyle had never been to one of their games, and her family knew this would be the ultimate birthday gift.

Wearing matching yellow shirts that said "Catherine's Crew," the family was out in full force, and Kyle told CBS Pittsburgh she was most looking forward to hearing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh inning. "They're a bunch of nice guys," she said of the team. Catherine Garcia

August 25, 2019

The Group of Seven meeting of world powers Biarritz, France, has had its ups and downs — surprise meetings, surprise guests, curious statements, a little tension, lots of trade talk — but everyone appeared to be getting along just fine on Sunday when the leaders and their plus-ones took photos together on the beach in front of the Biarritz lighthouse.

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One photo, of American first lady Melania Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, reminded a lot of people of that stock photo-turned-overdone meme of the guy looking over his shoulder at another woman — you know the one — with some notable differences:

But of course that's silly — it's France, people kiss each other on the cheek.

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Besides, what's not to smile about? Biarritz looks lovely this time of year. Peter Weber

August 25, 2019

Police in Hong Kong arrested 36 people, including a 12-year-old, on Sunday, following a violent protest.

They were detained for a variety of reasons, police said, including unlawful assembly, possession of an offensive weapon, and assault against a police officer. Demonstrators have been filling the streets for more than two months, calling for democratic elections and investigations into use of force by police. Tens of thousands of people marched peacefully earlier in the day, but at the end of the rally, some protesters broke away from the crowd at Tsuen Wan Park and started setting up traffic barriers in the road.

Police responded, putting up warning flags and then using tear gas to get the protesters to leave. In response, demonstrators threw bricks and gasoline bombs toward the officers, The Associated Press reports. After the remaining protesters, holding sticks and rods, started chasing officers down the street, police pulled their guns on the group, with one firing a warning shot. "The escalation you're seeing now is just a product of our government's indifference toward the people of Hong Kong," demonstrator Rory Wong told AP. Catherine Garcia

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