Monday morning news: August 12, 2019


Attorney general says multiple investigations underway after Epstein suicide » Attorney General William Barr said over the weekend he was “appalled” to learn jailed billionaire Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide while in federal custody. Barr said “Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered.”

Officials reported Saturday that Epstein killed himself while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges in New York. The New York Times reported Sunday that Jail staff failed to follow rules designed to prevent inmate suicides. 

The FBI is investigating. And Barr said he’s also consulted with the “Inspector General who is opening an investigation” as well.

Attorney Spencer Kuvin represents several of Epstein’s accusers. He said they were shocked, especially one young woman.

KUVIN: But it gives her a certain amount of closure to know that he’ll never be able to do this to any young women again. 

Kuvin said his clients will prosecute their claims not only against Epstein’s estate, but against the people who enabled him.

KUVIN: Active co-conspirators as well as passive that watched what he was doing and said nothing over the years. So our hope is that federal authorities go after them as well and continue this investigation even after his death. 

The possible identities of those co-conspirators has sparked a fresh round of conspiracy theories online. 

Epstein hobnobbed in years past with the rich and famous, including former president Bill Clinton, President Trump and Britain’s Prince Andrew. 

Clinton and Trump both said they hadn’t seen Epstein in years and knew nothing of his alleged misconduct.


Conway: President, GOP senators open to new gun laws » In the wake of mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, President Trump has signaled that he’s open to some new gun control measures. And White House adviser Kellyanne Conway told Fox News that some GOP lawmakers are also on board. 

CONWAY: We’ve got Republican senators publicly saying they’re for some type of background check now. That’s Rob Portman of Ohio, Susan Collins of Maine, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Mike Braun of Indiana. 

She also noted that Republican Lindsey Graham and Democrat Richard Blumenthal are working on a bipartisan bill in the Senate to encourage states to pass so-called “red flag” laws. Conway said in each case, the president will reserve judgement until he sees the “final product,” but he’s open to signing new reforms into law. 


State Dept suspends employee accused of white nationalist ties » The State Department has suspended an employee accused of secretly serving as a prominent member of the white nationalist movement. A report last week claimed that Matthew Gebert used the alias “Coach Finstock” to communicate with other white supremacists and advocate for a “whites only” country on social media.

He also attended the 2017 white nationalist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

He said on a podcast that white people needed—quoting here—“a country of our own with nukes. … And you watch how the world trembles.” 

Gebert has served as a State Department civil servant since 2013. He most recently worked as a foreign affairs officer for the Bureau of Energy Resources.


White House contenders turn out for Iowa State Fair » If you’re running for president, chances are you’re in Iowa right now—or will be in the coming days. 

WARREN: My name is Elizabeth Warren, and I am running for president because I am sick of a country that works better and better for a thinner and thinner slice at the top. [Cheers]

Senator Warren is one of many White House contenders turning up for a series of events during the Iowa State Fair. It’s a tradition for presidential candidates that dates back to 1954 when Dwight D. Eisenhower campaigned at the fair. 

More than 20 candidates will show up this year. They include Senator Cory Booker, who told voters on Saturday that he wants to tighten the Pentagon budget while spending more on domestic programs. 

BOOKER: End military waste. End military overreach, and make sure that we are safe and secure, not by violating our values but because we live by them. 

Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke on Sunday, tackling gun control. 

BIDEN: We’re not taking anybody’s shotgun, but nobody should own a weapon, a gun, unless they can pass a background check. 

Other candidates stumping on Sunday included New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Senator Bernie Sanders and the only Republican challenger in the race, former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld.


Russia demands Google censor YouTube videos » Russia is demanding that YouTube block videos that may promote protests not sanctioned by the Russian government. 

The move comes after weeks of demonstrations in Moscow over some candidates being left off the ballot in a race for Moscow’s city council. 

The country’s media oversight agency complained to Google, which owns YouTube. It said some are using YouTube channels to send push-notifications about unauthorized protests “aimed at disrupting elections.”

Agency officials say if Google doesn’t comply, they would consider that interference in Russia’s affairs—adding that Russia would have the right to retaliate.


(Elizabeth Williams via AP, File) In this July 15, 2019 courtroom artist’s sketch, defendant Jeffrey Epstein, left, and his attorney Martin Weinberg listen during a bail hearing in federal court, in New York. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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