This broom is no match for this pack of cute German shepherd puppies. (Click to view.)
If this were an episode of “House of Cards” or “The West Wing,” we would all yell that the writers had jumped the shark. But this is real. Two men close to President Trump became convicted felons yesterday at almost the same time. Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was convicted on eight counts of financial crimes (the jury deadlocked on 10 other counts), while ex-Trump lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight criminal counts, including tax fraud and campaign finance violations. And, oh yeah, he dropped a bombshell: He admitted in court that he committed some of these crimes “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office.” That would be one Donald J. Trump.
CNN’s Stephen Collinson said the whiplash events of the day had the feel of a TV season finale. And like all good finales, it presented new questions as it answered old ones: How much legal jeopardy is the President in? Will these convictions embolden special counsel Robert Mueller to turn up the heat on Cohen and Manafort in the Russia probe (which you can track here)? Are Democrats guaranteed to impeach Trump if they win the House in November? And what will Trump’s Twitter feed look like today? The President said almost nothing about Cohen or Manafort during his rally last night in West Virginia (though the crowd did do – we kid you not – a “lock her up” chant at the mention of Hillary Clinton’s name). Collinson also wrote that the day’s events prove that, even in the Trump era, “truth and facts still matter in America.”
2. Domestic extremism
The escalating clergy sex abuse scandal that’s raging within the church prompts Pope Francis to call an unprecedented meeting. The Pope will meet the presidents of the Catholic bishops conferences from around the world in February at the Vatican. Francis has come under withering criticism for his handling of the crisis (and his poll numbers have nosedived). A meeting between the Pope and leaders of the US church on the crisis is set for today.
An autopsy is planned today on the body found in an Iowa cornfield that’s believed to be Mollie Tibbetts. The 20-year-old disappeared a month ago while out for an evening jog. Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, confessed to killing her, police said. He told police he was driving around and saw her, then got out of his car and ran beside her, even after she told him she’d call police. Rivera then claims he blacked out, police said. He led police to her body yesterday. This tragic case is sure to get swamped in politics, as President Trump and other GOP officials railed on the fact that Rivera is in the US illegally.
President Trump signed an executive order that intends to punish foreign entities for meddling in US elections. The order lets the director of national intelligence identify groups responsible for election interference and direct the Treasury Department to apply sanctions. This order aims to hit more than just the Russians. But Democrats and Republicans criticized it as insufficient and want to see mandatory sanctions instead.
4. Greece elections
Pope Francis will meet with sex abuse victims during his visit to Ireland this weekend. The Pope’s under immense pressure to say and do more about the clergy sex abuse scandal that’s rocking the Catholic Church, so it’s also “very possible” Francis will address the controversy publicly while on the Emerald Isle. Ireland suffered through its own abuse scandal almost a decade ago. This announcement from the Vatican comes days after Francis put out a letter acknowledging the church’s failure to act on the abuse in the wake of revelations of decades of abuse by priests in Pennsylvania.
5. Hong Kong
Hawaii’s prepping for Hurricane Lane, which could make a direct hit on the island chain later this week. Lane’s now a Category 5 storm, and meteorologists think it will weaken to a Category 3 before it plows through some Hawaiian Islands from Thursday through Saturday (you can track the path here). It’s also possible Lane could pass just south of Hawaii, like Hurricane Hector did two weeks ago. This is the latest threat in what’s turned into a challenging year for Hawaii, which has suffered through a false missile alarm alert and damage from the Kilauea volcano eruptions.
Snowfall at the bottom of the world has been increasing. Researchers analyzing ice cores on the continent say snowfall increased 10% over the past 200 years. But, wait a minute. Isn’t global warming melting Antarctic sea ice at a rapid clip? Yes, but researchers think that’s actually contributing to the higher snowfall rates because more melted sea ice means more moisture to feed snowfall. The bottom line is that the ice melt is raising the sea level, but it’s reduced somewhat by the snow falling back onto the continent.
Dancing with the ‘stars’
Their mother died when their car crashed, but a 3-year-old and his 1-year-old brother somehow managed to survive on their own for days after the wreck.
A clean start
Some of his students were bullied because their clothes were dirty. So, this New Jersey principal got a free laundromat installed at his high school.
Beyond the call
The Argentine police officer heard a crying baby while patrolling a hospital. When she realized the child was hungry, she breastfed the infant herself.
Sharing the love
Think you need millions to start collecting Andy Warhol’s work? Nah, all it takes is $20.
The animals on the front of the Barnum’s animal crackers box are now out of their cages – after PETA complained.
The number of migrants on an Italian Coast Guard ship that Italy won’t let disembark until it gets assurances they’ll be relocated elsewhere in Europe
So long, summer
Ready to go to auctioneer’s school? It’s one of five back-to-school stories from Great Big Story that’ll make summer’s end a little less sad. (Click to view.)