Burr takes GOP fire for Trump Jr subpoena
WASHINGTON — Republicans lashed out Thursday at fellow GOP Sen. Richard Burr for his committee’s subpoena of President Donald Trump’s son, a move that suggested the Russia investigation is not “case closed” as some in the party insist. Trump said he was “very surprised” at the move.
The revolt by some against the Senate intelligence committee chairman comes after The Associated Press and other news outlets reported the panel is calling in Donald Trump Jr. to answer questions about his 2017 testimony to the panel as part of its probe into Russian election interference. But the issue of re-calling Trump’s son laid bare conflict inside the president’s party over whether probes involving Russian election meddling are still merited.
It’s the first known subpoena of a member of Trump’s immediate family and a new sign that the Senate panel is continuing with its own two-year-long investigation, even after the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s call from the Senate floor on Tuesday to move on.
A source familiar with the committee’s deliberations said the subpoena went out “weeks ago” and all committee members were aware of it. The person, who requested anonymity to discuss the internal negotiations, said members had been regularly briefed on communications with Trump Jr.
Still, the subpoena appeared to catch the president and many of his allies by surprise. Trump said as much, adding that “my son is a very good person.” Trump Jr., the president said, had already testified for a “massive” amount of time.
Scientists liken Anglo-Saxon burial site to King Tut’s tomb
SOUTHEND-ON-SEA, England — An underground chamber discovered accidentally by road workers appears to be the site of the earliest Christian royal burial ever found in Britain, archaeologists say, calling it the Anglo-Saxon equivalent of King Tutankhamun’s tomb.
The chamber, uncovered between a road and a railway line in the southeastern English village of Prittlewell in 2003, turned out to be a 1,400-year-old tomb.
New details were published Thursday about the finding, which archaeologists say is the most important Anglo-Saxon burial discovery in more than 70 years.
Treasures unearthed at the site include a golden belt buckle, the remnants of a harp-like instrument known as a lyre, gleaming glassware and an elaborate water vessel from the eastern Mediterranean, perhaps Syria.
Researchers say the luxury items indicate the chamber’s occupant was a man of high standing, possibly a prince. Two small gold-foil crosses found at the head of the coffin suggest a Christian burial.
“There are luxury imports that have come from as far away as Syria. Some of the raw materials might have even come as far away as Sri Lanka and the Indian subcontinent,” said Liz Barham, a senior conservator at Museum of London Archaeology who worked on the dig.
“This is a really rich burial. It’s a statement, it’s a theatrical statement being made about the family, about this person.”
Sophie Jackson, director of research and engagement at Museum of London Archaeology, said the discovery is “our equivalent of Tutankhamun’s tomb.” While the identity of its occupant is unknown, locals have nicknamed him the “Prittlewell Prince.”
Fake German heiress sentenced
NEW YORK — Anna Sorokin, the German con artist who passed herself off as a wealthy heiress to swindle banks, hotels and even close friends as she lived out a high-society, Instagram-ready fantasy in New York, was sentenced Thursday to four to 12 years in prison.
The 28-year-old, who had played with her own tabloid image during the trial by wearing stylish dresses to court, looked despondent as the verdict was announced. She pressed her hand to her face and squeezed her eyes shut, appearing to hold back tears.
Judge Diane Kiesel said Sorokin had been “blinded by the glitter and glamour of New York City” as she turned to fraud to finance a life she could never afford. But the judge turned down a request by Sorokin’s lawyers to sentence her to the time she has already spent in jail awaiting trial.
“I am stunned by the depth of the defendant’s deception,” Kiesel said, adding that she hoped to send a message to Sorokin’s internet following “that her behavior is unacceptable.”
“Certainly she didn’t think about the people she scammed,” the judge added.
Against backdrop of controversy, Red Sox honored by Trump
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump honored the World Series champion Boston Red Sox — well, some of them — at the White House on Thursday, but made no mention of the controversy that shadowed the visit.
The team’s manager, Alex Cora, did not attend the ceremony after citing his frustration with the administration’s efforts to help his native Puerto Rico recover from a devastating hurricane. And nearly a dozen members of the team, all players of color, skipped the opportunity to shake Trump’s hand. Meanwhile, every white player on the team — as well as outfielder J.D. Martinez, who is of Cuban descent — attended.
The Red Sox repeatedly denied that there was any sort of racial divide caused by the White House visit, which has been transformed from moment of celebratory ritual to hyper-politicized event under Trump. And there was no sign of discord during the rained-upon ceremony on the White House South Lawn.
The U.S. Marine Corps band played versions of “Dirty Water” and “Sweet Caroline,” two unofficial Red Sox anthems. A derogatory shout about the Red Sox rival, the New Yankees, was heard. Trump was presented with a Red Sox jersey with the number 18 on the back.
And while the White House incorrectly labeled the team as the “Red Socks” on its website earlier in the day, Trump himself stuck to the correct script, honoring the team’s dominant run to the title.
Juul’s ‘switch’ campaign for smokers draws new scrutiny
WASHINGTON — The young models and the candy-colored graphics that helped propel Juul to the top of the e-cigarette market are gone. In their place are people like Carolyn, a 54-year-old former smoker featured in new TV commercials touting Juul as an alternative for middle-age smokers.
“I don’t think anyone including myself thought that I could make the switch,” Carolyn says, sitting in a suburban living room as piano music quietly plays in the background.
The tagline: “Make the switch.”
Under intense scrutiny amid a wave of underage vaping, Juul is pushing into television with a multimillion-dollar campaign rebranding itself as a stop-smoking aid for adults trying to kick cigarettes. But the strategy is raising concerns from anti-smoking experts and activists who say the company is making unproven claims for its product.
On Thursday, six anti-tobacco and health groups called on the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates e-cigarettes, to investigate Juul’s marketing efforts across TV, radio and other formats.
Trump to nominate Shanahan for top Pentagon post
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Thursday said he will nominate Patrick Shanahan to be his second secretary of defense, putting an end to months of speculation about the former Boeing executive’s standing in the administration.
Shanahan has been leading the Pentagon as acting secretary since Jan. 1, a highly unusual arrangement for arguably the most sensitive Cabinet position. He took over after Jim Mattis resigned.
“Acting Secretary Shanahan has proven over the last several months that he is beyond qualified to lead the Department of Defense, and he will continue to do an excellent job,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
Moments later, Shanahan spoke to reporters outside the Pentagon, saying he was very excited about the nomination and looking forward to a job he said requires him to “spin a lot of plates.”
“The biggest challenge is balancing it all. For me it’s about practicing selectful neglect, so that we can stay focused on the future,” Shanahan said, adding with a grin, “I called my mom. She was super happy.”