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September 16, 2019

Another subpoena has been issued for President Trump's tax returns.

This time, it's from Manhattan state prosecutors, who have subpoenaed Trump's accounting firm, Mazars USA, for eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns, The New York Times reports. This subpoena was reportedly issued by the Manhattan district attorney's office late last month, and it comes as part of the ongoing investigation into the hush-money payment made to keep porn star Stormy Daniels quiet about her alleged affair with Trump prior to the 2016 presidential election. Trump has denied the affair.

Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, was previously sentenced to three years in prison for his role in paying off Daniels. Although Cohen was convicted for violating federal campaign finance laws, the Times notes New York prosecutors are examining whether state laws were violated when Cohen was reimbursed.

"In particular, the state prosecutors are examining whether the [Trump Organization] falsely accounted for the reimbursements as a legal expense," the Times writes.

Democrats investigating Trump have previously moved to obtain financial documents by issuing subpoenas including to the Treasury Department, but the president has taken these requests to court. The Times writes that for Trump, "it may be more difficult to fend off a subpoena in a criminal investigation with a sitting grand jury, as there is in Manhattan," although the tax returns would only be made public if they became evidence in a criminal case. Read more about the subpoena at The New York Times. Brendan Morrow

September 14, 2019

President Trump confirmed in a statement Saturday that the U.S. killed Hamza bin Laden, the son of the al Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, in a counterterrorism operation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

Trump and administration officials provided no further details other than a three-sentence statement confirming the news. It remains unclear precisely how, where, and when he was killed, though American officials have reportedly said there is some indication that the CIA, rather than the U.S. military, conducted the operation, The Associated Press reports.

The younger bin Laden's death was first reported in July, but the White House did not officially confirm.

Trump's statement said bin Laden's death "not only deprives al Qaeda of important leadership skills and the symbolic connection to his father, but undermines important operational activities of the group." The State Department had announced a $1 million award back in February for information on Bin Laden's whereabouts. He was reportedly being prepared for a leadership role in al Qaeda. Read more at The Associated Press. Tim O'Donnell

September 13, 2019

Felicity Huffman, the first parent to be sentenced in the college admissions scandal, has just received two weeks in prison.

The former Desperate Housewives star Friday was sentenced to 14 days of prison time after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, BuzzFeed News' Julia Reinstein reports. She was also hit with a $30,000 fine and will need to perform 250 hours of community service with a year of supervised release.

Huffman was one of more than 30 parents charged earlier this year in what prosecutors described as the largest college admissions scam to be prosecuted by the Department of Justice, and she has admitted she paid $15,000 to have her daughter's SAT corrected. Prosecutors recommended Huffman serve a month in jail, while her lawyers asked for one year of probation.

"I am deeply ashamed of what I've done," Huffman said in court Friday. "I take full responsibility for my actions. I will deserve whatever punishment you give me."

Prosecutors say Huffman made her $15,000 payment to a purported charity operated by consultant William Singer, who has also pleaded guilty to multiple charges including racketeering and money laundering. Huffman's husband, actor William H. Macy, was not charged in the case.

Previously, the first person sentenced in the scandal, a Stanford University head sailing coach who allegedly took bribes to falsely list students as sailing recruits, received no prison time.

Following Huffman's sentencing, all eyes are on Lori Loughlin, the other high-profile actress charged in the scandal. Unlike Huffman, Loughlin, who is accused of paying $500,000 to get her daughters admitted to college by falsely designated them as recruits for a sport they don't play, has pleaded not guilty. The Week Staff

September 12, 2019

Federal prosecutors have reportedly recommended an indictment for former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

McCabe was fired in 2018 after the Justice Department's inspector general concluded he improperly authorized the disclosure of information about an investigation into the Clinton Foundation to the media and then "lacked candor" under oath when investigators questioned him about it. He has said he never intentionally mislead investigators, alleges his firing was politically motivated, and is currently suing the Department of Justice.

Now, USA Today and Politico's Natasha Bertrand report federal prosecutors have recommended bringing criminal charges against McCabe.

This comes as McCabe is reportedly informed that his appeal against potential charges has been rejected, with NBC News writing this could "pave the way for an indictment." The Washington Post reports McCabe was told last month that "prosecutors had recommended charges, and, later, that D.C. U.S. Attorney Jesse Liu had endorsed that decision." Prosecutors' next step, the Post notes, would be to seek an indictment from a federal grand jury. Brendan Morrow

September 11, 2019

A Chinese businesswoman has just been found guilty of lying to the Secret Service in order to trespass at Mar-a-Lago, The Associated Press reports.

Yujing Zhang was arrested in March as prosecutors said she talked her way into President Trump's Florida club by falsely telling the Secret Service she was there to use the pool and then telling a receptionist she was there for a United Nations Friendship Event, even though prosecutors say she was aware this event was canceled. Trump was not at Mar-a-Lago at the time. Zhang was carrying numerous electronics, including four cellphones and a laptop, and a device that can detect hidden cameras was found in her hotel room, per AP.

Wednesday's conviction came at the conclusion of a trial during which Zhang, who faces up to six years in prison for the two charges, represented herself and delivered a mere 20-second opening statement; jury selection was also delayed after Zhang said she wasn't given underwear. Although Zhang was found guilty, the trial "shed little light" on whether she "was a spy penetrating a place where the president regularly holds meetings or a tourist on the worst trip of her life," The New York Times writes.

Zhang will be sentenced in November. Brendan Morrow

September 10, 2019

Robert Frank, a documentary photographer who captured life in his book The Americans, has died at 94.

Frank was born in Switzerland before heading to New York at age 23 to pursue an artistic career. He died Monday in Inverness, Nova Scotia, The New York Times reported via Peter MacGill of the Pace/MacGill Gallery.

Frank's best-known work is The Americans, a collection of black and white snapshots he captured on road trips across the country. They were thought to be "an indictment of American society" and its "drive for conformity" that Frank "detested," the Times writes. First published as a book in France and then as a caption-free collection in its namesake country, The Americans encompassed everything from "segregation south of the Mason-Dixon line" to "alienation on the assembly line," a 2008 Vanity Fair profile of Frank wrote.

Frank went on to craft the avant-garde film Pull My Daisy with Jack Kerouac, and created feature-length films with other independent makers. He also worked for a variety of magazines, including Harper's Bazaar, Life, and Vogue. Read more about Frank's life at The New York Times. Kathryn Krawczyk

September 9, 2019

It doesn't look like the Taliban will be heading to Camp David anytime soon.

President Trump tweeted a surprising thread Sunday claiming he'd canceled secret meetings with Taliban leaders over the terrorist group's claim of responsibility for a recent attack. And when asked about those talks outside the White House on Monday, Trump responded by saying "as far as I’m concerned, they’re dead."

The Trump administration has been working for months to slowly get the Taliban to the negotiating table, and then to wrangle a peace deal. The terrorist group would like to see the U.S. completely out of Afghanistan, but the U.S. is aiming to keep a presence in the country. Talks were supposed to progress at Camp David in the U.S. sometime in the near future, but after a recent attack in Afghanistan that left a U.S. soldier and 11 others dead, Trump said Sunday he called off the talks.

Also on Monday, Trump railed against Bahamian hurricane survivors who were seeking shelter in Florida but were turned away after they'd boarded a ferry to the states. "I don't want to allow people who weren't supposed to be in the Bahamas to come into the United States, including some very bad people," Trump said, borrowing the dubious allegation he has levied at just about any foreign group that tries to enter the U.S. Kathryn Krawczyk

September 2, 2019

At least 34 people are unaccounted for after a scuba diving boat caught fire off of Santa Cruz Island, California, on Monday around 3:30 a.m. PT. The Coast Guard launched "multiple rescue assets" after the predawn distress call came from the 75-foot boat; at least five crewmembers who were sleeping on the ship's top deck were confirmed saved. A Coast Guard spokesman said that "the fire was so intense that even after it was put out we were not able actually to embark the vessel."

Fire Capt. Brian McGrath confirmed that there were fatalities but told the press "I can't give you a number because the Coast Guard is still searching the water."

As of 6 a.m. PT, the Coast Guard was still carrying out its rescue operation and "checking to see if any survivors had jumped off the boat or made it to the rocks," CBS Los Angeles writes. Santa Cruz Island is the largest of the Channel Islands, off the coast of Ventura County, near Santa Barbara. Jeva Lange

This is a breaking news story and has been updated throughout.

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