The amount of offshore cash U.S. corporations have returned home so far this year is just a fraction of what President Donald Trump had promised. A Morgan Stanley report released Thursday estimates companies brought back from $50 billion to $100 billion in the third quarter -- which would bring the total repatriated back to the U.S. to as little as $514 billion, based on previously released figures for the first and second quarters from the Commerce Department.
Spinning off from the special counsel's Russia probe, prosecutors are ramping up their investigation into foreign lobbying by two major Washington firms that did work for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, according to people familiar with the matter. The investigation had been quiet for months since special counsel Robert Mueller referred it to authorities in Manhattan because it fell outside his mandate of determining whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia. But in a flurry of new activity, Justice Department prosecutors in the last several weeks have begun interviewing witnesses and contacting lawyers to schedule additional questioning related to the Podesta Group and Mercury Public Affairs, the people familiar with the inquiry said. They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing work.
More than 400 former Justice Department attorneys and staffers called for the removal of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker in a statement circulated Tuesday, claiming that his appointment violated the Constitution because he lacked Senate confirmation required of other Cabinet officials. The statement, organized by the government watchdog group Protect Democracy, was signed by the Justice alums, many of whom served both Democratic and Republican administrations. "Because of our respect for our oaths of office and our personal experiences carrying out the department's mission, we are disturbed by the president's appointment of Matthew Whitaker to serve as Acting Attorney General," the statement read. "Because of the profound responsibilities the position entails and the independence it requires, it can only be filled by someone who has been subjected to the strictest scrutiny under the process required by the Constitution."
Paul Erickson, a longtime Republican politico whose Russian girlfriend is in jail on charges she acted as a covert foreign agent, has been informed that he may face similar accusations. The Daily Beast reviewed a "target letter" that federal investigators sent Erickson's lawyer, which said they are considering bringing charges against him under Section 951 of the U.S. code -- the law barring people from secretly acting as agents of foreign governments. The letter also said the government may bring a conspiracy charge against Erickson, who is the boyfriend of accused foreign agent Maria Butina. The letter, which was sent in September by investigators working out of the U.S. attorney's office in Washington, does not accuse Erickson of any crimes or guarantee that he will face charges.
A civil trial involving politically connected financier and registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein ended before it even began Tuesday with the two sides announcing a last-minute settlement and the billionaire issuing an apology. read more