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Good evening. Here’s the latest.
1. Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, last month offered federal prosecutors in Manhattan information about possible irregularities within the president’s family business, according to people familiar with the matter.
Mr. Cohen, above, is slated to testify publicly on Capitol Hill next week.
Mr. Cohen, who worked at the Trump Organization for a decade, spoke with the prosecutors about insurance claims the company had filed over the years, the people said. This suggests that the United States Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, known as the Southern District of New York, is scrutinizing the Trump Organization, and it has recently sought to interview executives.
Meanwhile, Manhattan prosecutors are preparing state criminal charges against Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, in an effort to ensure he will face prison time even if he is pardoned by the president for federal crimes.
2. Robert Kraft — the owner of the New England Patriots, the most successful team in the N.F.L. since he bought it in 1994 and the winner of this year’s Super Bowl — was charged with two counts of soliciting sex from a prostitute, according to the police in Jupiter, Fla.
A series of massage parlors was raided Tuesday as part of a six-month state investigation of prostitution and human trafficking. Mr. Kraft, 77, above, was said to be a customer of a spa called Orchids of Asia.
Detectives in Jupiter said they had video of Mr. Kraft and dozens of other customers involved in sex acts at the Jupiter spa and others in Florida. Mr. Kraft denied that he had engaged in any illegal activity.
3. The R&B singer R. Kelly was charged in Chicago with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in connection with four victims.
The celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti said last week that he had obtained a video showing Mr. Kelly having sex with a 14-year-old girl and had given it to prosecutors in Chicago.
On Thursday, two additional women came forward at a news conference in New York, above, organized by their lawyer, Gloria Allred, to accuse Mr. Kelly of sexual abuse and misconduct when they were minors. Mr. Kelly, trailed by accusations of sexual misconduct for two decades, has been under renewed scrutiny since the documentary “Surviving R. Kelly” was broadcast on Lifetime in January. He has denied engaging in any illegal conduct.
Separately, a federal judge ruled that prosecutors led by Alexander R. Acosta — who is now the secretary of labor — violated federal law when they failed to tell victims about an agreement not to prosecute Jeffrey E. Epstein, a wealthy New York financier accused of molesting dozens of underage girls in a trafficking ring.
4. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, has acknowledged recently that she could sometimes be “too hard” on staff members.
Interviews with more than two dozen former staff members and internal emails suggest a toxic work environment. Ms. Klobuchar, above, in Iowa last week, threw office objects in frustration, including binders and phones, in the direction of aides, former staff members said. She berated an aide for neglecting to bring a plastic fork on a plane and ate a salad with a comb — then told the aide to clean the comb.
Ms. Klobuchar’s office said that “these anonymous stories — some of which are just plain ridiculous — do not overshadow the countless experiences of people on the senator’s team who she has been so proud to work with.”
In other Washington news, Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, scheduled a vote for Tuesday on legislation that would end President Trump’s emergency declaration for his promised border wall.
5. The producers of “Empire,” Fox’s second-highest-rated drama, announced that Jussie Smollett’s character would not appear in the final two episodes of the show’s fifth season — which essentially buys time to figure out what to do with his character. Above, Mr. Smollett exiting the Cook County Department of Corrections after posting bail in Chicago on Thursday.
The announcement came one day after the police in Chicago arrested Mr. Smollett and said he had staged an attack against himself to garner publicity.
Within weeks, 20th Century Fox Television, the studio that produces “Empire,” will be folded into the Walt Disney Company after Disney closes on its purchase of many of Fox’s entertainment properties. Suddenly Disney’s opinions of Mr. Smollett will become a vital part of the calculus.
6. The dollar is still king.
Despite many predictions after the financial crisis that the dollar might finally founder, it has amassed greater stature as the favored repository for global savings, the paramount refuge in times of crisis and the key form of exchange for commodities like oil.
Its potency has enabled the Treasury to find buyers for bonds at enviously cheap rates and given added bite to Mr. Trump’s foreign policies by amplifying the power of his trade sanctions — especially against Iran and Venezuela.
Between the beginning of 2008 and late 2018, the share of reserves that central banks worldwide held in dollars remained roughly constant, at around 62 percent of the total, according to the International Monetary Fund. Reserves entrusted to the euro, the dollar’s most formidable competitor, stand at 20 percent, and China’s currency makes up only 2 percent.
7. Along Venezuela’s border with Brazil, Venezuelan security forces fired on a group of indigenous Venezuelans protesting their government’s determination to block aid deliveries from outside the country. At least two civilians were killed and more than a dozen wounded, according to an opposition lawmaker. Above, an ambulance at the scene.
The political opposition, led by Juan Guaidó, the head of the National Assembly who declared himself president last month, has vowed to forcibly bring in aid this weekend.
Venezuela is racked by shortages of basic goods and essentials, especially medicine. The aid could be a lifeline for dozens of patients in critical condition or with serious chronic diseases who were interviewed by The Times. But they fear the political standoff will eclipse their emergencies.
8. On the second day of a historic global meeting in Rome on addressing clerical sexual abuse of minors, the American cardinal entrusted by Pope Francis with organizing the meeting presented Roman Catholic leaders with a set of new proposals, including changes to the process for investigating bishops accused of misconduct or negligence.
But there was no guarantee that the proposals would be enacted. Above, Evelyn Korkamaz, holding a photo of herself when she was a child, told her story at a news conference in Rome on Friday.
While other countries have taken a hard look at the problem of clerical abuse, Italy has approached it with something closer to a cultural and media blackout, and we explored why.
9. By its own admission, the Defense Department allowed a firefighting foam to slip into at least 55 drinking water systems at military bases around the globe, sometimes for generations. This exposed tens of thousands of Americans, possibly many more, to a group of man-made chemicals known as PFAS that have been linked to cancers, immune suppression and other serious health problems.
Above, a water tank in Fountain, Colo., a town affected by contamination over the years.
Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency said it would begin the process of potentially limiting the presence of two of the compounds in drinking water, calling it a “pivotal moment in the history of the agency.”
But many said that was not enough. All told, 10 million people could be drinking water laced with high levels of PFAS — termed “forever chemicals” for their persistence — according to Patrick Breysse, a top official at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The military never alerted all of the people who drank polluted water. A growing movement of veterans and others is demanding answers.
10. “His shoe broke.”
That was former President Barack Obama’s correct assessment from the stands after college basketball’s biggest star, Zion Williamson, tumbled 30 seconds into the biggest game of the season, at Duke’s arena, and sprained his knee, sidelining him for one to two weeks.
One of his Nike shoes split open, above right, renewing questions about whether sneaker companies, which were at the heart of a federal fraud trial near the start of the season, do more harm than good in college sports.
How did it happen? That’s a puzzle even to experts. One guessed “product failure.”
Have a good weekend.
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