Manafort reportedly reaches tentative plea deal with Mueller
Paul Manafort, the criminally convicted former chairman of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, reached a tentative plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller on Thursday, all but ensuring he won’t have to face a second trial later this month, according to a report.
The deal is expected to be announced in court Friday, three people familiar with the matter told ABC News. Manafort and his attorneys agreed to the deal after spending more than four hours in discussions with the special counsel’s team, the sources said.
It was not immediately clear if the deal includes a cooperation component or if Manafort is simply agreeing to plead guilty in order to avoid his upcoming trial in Washington, D.C., on counts of money laundering and illegal foreign lobbying. That trial is supposed to start Sept. 24.
A spokesman for Manafort did not return a request for comment. A spokesman for the special counsel declined to comment.
The 69-year-old longtime GOP operative was convicted on bank and tax fraud charges in Virginia last month. He has yet to be sentenced in that case, but guidelines stipulate he spend seven years behind bars based on that conviction alone.
Manafort’s indictments stem from shadowy lobbying work he did for pro-Kremlin political forces in Ukraine. He has been in jail since a judge revoked his bail in June after Mueller alleged he had attempted to secure false testimony from witnesses in the Russia investigation.
Court rules against DeVos in for-profit fraud case
A federal court has ruled that it was “arbitrary and capricious” for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to delay an Obamaera rule meant to protect students swindled by for-profit colleges. The decision is a significant blow to the Trump administration’s attempt to ease regulations for the industry.
A judge in the nation’s capital ruled on Wednesday in favor of Democratic attorneys general from 19 states and the District of Columbia and former students. They had sued DeVos over her decision last year to postpone the rules finalized under President Barack Obama.
DeVos had argued those rules created “a muddled process that’s unfair to students and schools.”
Judge Randolph Moss said DeVos’ rationale for freezing the regulation contained a “fundamental and unexplained inconsistency.”
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who led the lawsuit, said the ruling was “a victory for every family defrauded by a predatory for-profit school.”
Department spokeswoman Liz Hill said the agency was reviewing the ruling.
FEMA head denies intentionally misusing fed vehicles
The head of the government’s disaster relief agency said Thursday he never intentionally misused federal vehicles, following a report he was under investigation by the Homeland Security Department’s internal watchdog.
Brock Long discussed the investigation, first reported by Politico, at a briefing on Hurricane Florence, saying he would cooperate and own up to any mistakes.
“Doing something unethical is not part of my DNA and it’s not part of my track record in my whole entire career,” said Long, who leads the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Long said the inspector general was looking into vehicle usage, but he didn’t confirm that the review concerned his use of an official vehicle. Politico reported Long was under investigation for possibly misusing government resources and personnel on weekend trips home to Hickory, North Carolina.
Tyler Houlton, a spokesman for Homeland Security, FEMA’s parent agency, referred questions to the inspector general’s office, which didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Houlton said Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen “is confident in the leadership at FEMA and their proven disaster management ability,” he said.
U.S. blacklists N. Korean-controlled IT firms
The United States is imposing sanctions on two North Korean-controlled information technology companies based in China and Russia.
The Treasury Department announced Thursday it is designating China Silver Star, its North Korean CEO Jong Song Hwa, and its Russia-based sister company.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement that the sanctions are intended to stop the flow of illicit revenue to North Korea from overseas IT workers hiding behind front companies and aliases.
Cuomo defeats Nixon in N.Y. gubernatorial primary
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo defeated Democratic primary challenger Cynthia Nixon to win his party’s nomination for a third term.
Cuomo had far greater financial resources going into the matchup, and polls suggested he held a commanding lead before Thursday’s primary.
Nixon, an activist and former “Sex and the City” star, had hoped to become the latest liberal challenger to unseat a powerful insider.