National News

National News at a Glance

Posted November 29, 2018 9:44 p.m. EST

Cohen Pleads Guilty and Details Trump’s Involvement in Moscow Tower Project

Donald Trump was more involved in discussions over a potential Russian business deal during the presidential campaign than previously known, his former lawyer Michael Cohen said Thursday. Trump’s associates pursued the project as the Kremlin was escalating its election sabotage effort meant to help him win the presidency. Documents made public by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, detailed new accusations against Cohen, who already pleaded guilty this year to committing campaign finance violations and financial crimes. Cohen on Thursday admitted that he lied to congressional investigators about the duration of the negotiations and the extent of the involvement of Trump.

Before New Jersey Killings, 2 Brothers and Troubled Business Ties

On Thursday, Paul J. Caneiro was charged with killing his brother, his sister-in-law and their two young children and setting fire to their $1.6 million home in Colts Neck, New Jersey, just before Thanksgiving. The bodies were discovered Nov. 20. Caneiro went to his brother’s house armed with a knife and a gun, a complaint charged. After the family was dead, he set fire to the house, the Monmouth County prosecutor said. Caneiro, 51, had previously been charged with dousing his own home with gasoline and setting it on fire. Officials said they believed the motive was “financial.”

In California, Houses Burned. So Did the Toxic Chemicals They Contained.

In the charred footprint of each home in Paradise, California, lurks an invisible and dangerous legacy of the Camp Fire: toxic chemicals released by the blaze. Heavy metals, chemicals and biological contaminants left behind demand a cleanup of extraordinary scale before any permanent return to Paradise is safe, according to the California Department of Toxic Substances Control. The task will take time. On Wednesday, the Butte County sheriff announced that next week, residents may be allowed to return to certain sections of the town providing there were no “setbacks.”

Sen. Tim Scott Sinks Thomas Farr’s Judicial Nomination Amid Racial Controversy

Tim Scott of South Carolina, the lone black Republican senator, said Thursday he would oppose the judicial nomination of Thomas A. Farr, a lawyer who defended a North Carolina voter identification law and a partisan gerrymander that a federal court said was drafted to suppress black votes. With Democrats united against Farr, his nomination to a U.S. District Court appears doomed. Scott’s decision marks the second time he has brought down a White House judicial nominee who was seen as insensitive or hostile to African-Americans.

NASA Chooses Private Companies for Future Moon Landings

NASA announced Thursday it had selected nine companies that will compete for billions of dollars in contracts to take small payloads for the agency to the moon. NASA astronauts last landed there in 1972, and no U.S. spacecraft has touched down on the lunar surface in one piece since. Cumulatively, the contracts could be worth up to $2.6 billion over 10 years. Flights could begin as soon as next year, and NASA officials are aiming for two a year. The moon landers would be too small to carry people, but they could ferry scientific experiments to the lunar surface.

Federal Subsidies Could Expand to Health Programs That Violate Obamacare

The Trump administration said Thursday that states could bypass major requirements of the Affordable Care Act by using federal funds for a wide range of health insurance programs that do not comply with the law. Federal officials encouraged states to seek waivers from provisions of the law that specify who is eligible for premium subsidies, how much they get and what medical benefits they receive. The new policy upends a premise of the Affordable Care Act: that federal subsidies can be used only for insurance that meets federal standards and is purchased through public marketplaces, also known as insurance exchanges.

7 Hospitals Settle for Billing Rape Victims for Treatment

A yearlong investigation by the New York attorney general, Barbara Underwood, found that seven hospitals in the state had illegally billed more than 200 sexual assault survivors for rape kits, with individual charges ranging from $46 to $2,892. Underwood said Thursday that her office had reached civil settlements with the hospitals, which agreed to refund patients and to implement formal policies to ensure that it would not happen again. The attorney general’s office found the hospitals were not only billing some patients for collecting evidence, but then sometimes were billing their insurers as well.