Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 p.m. EDT

March 25, 2019 - 12:00 am


The Latest: House chairs want full Mueller report by April 2

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic leaders of six House committees are demanding that Congress have the full report by special counsel Robert Mueller "no later" than April 2.

The chairmen of the panels wrote in a letter to Attorney General William Barr Monday that his four-page summary of Mueller's work is "not sufficient for Congress, a coequal branch of government" to perform oversight duties.

According to Barr, Mueller did not find that Trump or his associates colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 elections. By Barr's account, Mueller did not implicate or exonerate Trump of obstruction of justice, effectively punting that question.

The heads of the committees asked Barr to send them the full Mueller report by April 2 and start sending Congress the underlying documents the same day.



Mueller's obstruction punt left question in Barr's hands

WASHINGTON (AP) — Special counsel Robert Mueller had two key questions before him: Did the Trump campaign collude with the Russian government during the 2016 election and did President Donald Trump commit obstruction of justice?

On the collusion question, Mueller provided an unambiguous "no." But he punted on obstruction.

It's a decision that's puzzled some former Justice Department officials who say prosecutors at Mueller's level typically make their own charging recommendations rather than leaving them to higher-ups.

By not acting, Mueller left the politically charged obstruction question to Attorney General William Barr, who expressed skepticism — even before he took office — about whether the president's actions constituted a crime.

On Sunday, Barr said there was insufficient evidence Trump obstructed justice by trying to interfere with Mueller's probe.


The Latest: Avenatti expects to be 'fully exonerated'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti says he is confident he will be "fully exonerated" of federal extortion and bank and wire fraud charges.

He told reporters late Monday he will "never stop fighting the good fight" against powerful people and corporations.

Avenatti spoke after appearing in federal court on extortion charges. He was released on $300,000 bond.

Avenatti was arrested earlier Monday after federal authorities accused him of trying to extort millions of dollars from Nike. He allegedly threatened to hold a news conference and release damaging allegations against the company if Nike didn't pay him up to $25 million.

Avenatti also faces federal bank and wire fraud charges in Los Angeles. He's accused of embezzling a client's money to pay his own expenses and making false representations to a bank.


The Latest: Group says Newtown dad's death is devastating

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A foundation formed by the father of one of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims says the man's death is devastating and speaks to the importance of mental health treatment.

Police in Newtown, Connecticut, say 49-year-old Jeremy Richman was found dead of an apparent suicide Monday morning.

He and his wife named The Avielle Foundation after their daughter, who was one of 26 killed in the 2012 shooting. The foundation, whose directors include health professionals, is dedicated to preventing violence by seeking a better understanding of brain health.

The foundation said in a statement Monday that Richman's death shows how important it is for people to seek help for themselves, their loved ones and others in need.

Richman's death comes as officials in Parkland, Florida, are publicizing counseling services after two survivors of a high school massacre there killed themselves.



The Latest: Israel hits Gaza Strip targets after rocket fire

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli forces were continuing early Tuesday to strike targets across the Gaza Strip, including the offices of Hamas' supreme leader, in response to a surprise rocket attack from the Palestinian territory.

Israel's military has bolstered its troops and rocket-defense systems in anticipation of heavy fighting with the Islamic militant group. Public bomb shelters opened and sports events and transportation were canceled in southern Israel. The Israeli army said at least 30 rockets were fired into Israel, nearly all of them either intercepted or landed in open areas.

Late Monday, Hamas announced a cease-fire had been brokered by Egyptian mediators, but new rocket fire in Gaza and air-raid sirens in Israel were heard shortly after.

The Israeli military said it had retaliated with 15 airstrikes, hitting military sites for Hamas and the smaller Islamic Jihad group.

Gaza's health ministry said seven Palestinians were injured in the fresh bombings.


Pentagon: Missile defense test succeeds in shootdown

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon says it has successfully tested a missile defense system designed to shoot down a North Korean missile aimed at the U.S.

Officials say two interceptor missiles were launched out of underground silos in California on Monday.

The first interceptor hit its target — an unarmed re-entry vehicle — as it soared through space. The re-entry vehicle was launched atop a long-range missile fired from 4,000 miles away at a U.S. test range in the Pacific.

The second interceptor struck a secondary target, as planned.

It was the first so-called salvo test in which more than one interceptor was launched at a target.

The Pentagon is putting additional billions of dollars into expanding its arsenal of missile interceptors, which are based mainly at Fort Greely in Alaska.


The Latest: Parliament votes to consider Brexit alternatives

LONDON (AP) — British lawmakers are set to hold a series of votes on different options for Brexit in an attempt to break the country's political deadlock.

Lawmakers voted 329-302 to take control of Parliament's timetable from the government starting Wednesday to hold votes on alternative Brexit options.

The alternatives could include remaining in the European Union's single market or canceling Brexit altogether.

The government promised to "engage constructively" with the process but has not committed to enacting whatever lawmakers decide.

Parliament has twice rejected the divorce deal May's government struck with the EU, and May acknowledged on Monday the agreement still lacks enough support to pass.

The impasse has led Britain to seek a delay to Brexit, which was set to go into effect this Friday. If May's deal passes, it will leave May 22.

Otherwise, the U.K. has until April 12 to inform the EU of a new plan of action.


The Latest: Apple says its new services will respect privacy

CUPERTINO, Calif. (AP) — Apple says the new services it's launching will respect your digital boundaries.

Apple announced a new streaming TV service, a paid subscription level of its news app, a video game service and a credit card at a splashy, celebrity-laden event in Cupertino, California.

Its new services will pit the company against the likes of Google and Facebook in news, and Amazon and Netflix in streaming video.

But Apple says unlike many of its competitors, it won't start using your news preferences and purchase information to sell advertising. On payments, Apple says it won't know what you bought or where. The games and video services won't have ads.

The highlight of Monday's event was the upcoming TV Plus service. It will launch this fall, with Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Jennifer Aniston involved in exclusive shows.


Media takes heat following Mueller conclusions

NEW YORK (AP) — Motivated by the typical soul-searching that can accompany the climax of a major story, or simple revenge, the performance of news professionals has quickly become an issue at the end of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

At issue is whether some news organizations spent too much time on the story or leapt to conclusions about President Donald Trump's potential involvement in Russia's interference with the 2016 election. Mueller concluded there was no conspiracy involving the Trump team.

Some critics suggested it was an embarrassment that some in the media had all but convicted Trump.

Defenders say the media was doing its job in following an investigation of major proportion.


Marijuana ER visits climb in Denver hospital study

A study shows marijuana is sending more people to the emergency room in one large Denver hospital.

Inhaled weed caused the most severe problems. Marijuana-infused foods and candies also led to trouble.

Patients came to the ER with symptoms such as repeated vomiting, racing hearts and psychotic episodes. Nearly a third of patients were admitted to the hospital, indicating severe problems.

The researchers analyzed records from University of Colorado Health Emergency Department from 2012 through 2016.

They found a three-fold increase in marijuana cases since the state became the first to allow sales of recreational marijuana in January 2014. Lead author Dr. Andrew Monte says marijuana can be used safely, but can also be dangerous.

The study was published Monday in Annals of Internal Medicine.

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