Republicans are now having their own Alger Hiss moment. Butina's alleged efforts to ingratiate herself with conservative movement organizations and the Republican Party shows that Russia's interest in Trump is not an operation focused on one man. As explained in the Justice Department affidavit, in October 2016 Butina reported to her Russian mentor that Republicans "are for us" and Democrats "against." This is not just about one seductive spy, or even one president; it's about how intertwined Russia and the Republican Party are becoming, and whether the Republican Party is willing and able to disentangle itself.
NYT's Michelle Goldberg points out that just a few hours after a Russian was arrested for acting as a foreign agent and infiltrating the NRA, the Treasury Department announced a rule change that stopped nonprofits like the NRA from reporting big donors. She also recalls Speaker Paul Ryan's comments in a "secretly recorded June 2016 conversation about Ukraine, obtained by The Washington Post, the House majority leader, Kevin McCarthy, said, "There's two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump." Far from disagreeing, Ryan said, "What's said in the family stays in the family.""
At first it appeared to be a murder case when a 71-year-old man was found dead in a field next to his country club home in southern Florida with a bullet wound to his chest. But on Thursday, after a six-month investigation, police released a report that concluded Alan Jay Abrahamson killed himself and staged it as a homicide. The prevailing theory, backed by emails, receipts, computer-search histories and phone records, far-fetched as it may seem, is that Abrahamson tied a string to a gun, attached it to a weather balloon, shot himself and let go, allowing the balloon and gun to float far away from the crime scene.
At least two suspected rhino poachers have been mauled to death and eaten by lions on a South African game reserve, officials say. Rangers discovered the remains of two, possibly three, people in a lion enclosure in the Sibuya reserve, near the south-east town of Kenton-on-Sea. A high-powered rifle and an axe were also found. read more
Rep. Jim Jordan, the powerful Republican congressman from Ohio, is being accused by former wrestlers he coached more than two decades ago at Ohio State University of failing to stop the team doctor from molesting them and other students. ... Jordan, a founder of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of the most conservative representatives, is a staunch ally of President Donald Trump and is frequently mentioned as a possible replacement for the speaker of the House, Paul Ryan.