John McCain, Michael Cohen, Pope Francis: Your Weekend Briefing


John McCain, Michael Cohen, Pope Francis: Your Weekend Briefing

By Joumana Khatib and Lance Booth

Here are the week’s top stories, and a look ahead.

CreditCarolyn Kaster/Associated Press

1. Senator John McCain died Saturday at his home in Arizona. Mr. McCain, a war hero, lawmaker, two-time presidential contender and maverick, was 81 and had suffered from a malignant brain tumor, called a glioblastoma.

A son and grandson of four-star admirals who were his larger-than-life heroes, Mr. McCain carried his renowned name into battle and into political fights for more than a half-century.

Mr. McCain will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda and receive a full dress funeral service at the Washington National Cathedral.

Two Republicans familiar with the planning said that Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have been asked to offer eulogies at his funeral.

And our chief Washington correspondent, Carl Hulse, writes that the Senate becomes a lesser place without Mr. McCain.



CreditJeenah Moon for The New York Times

2. A head-spinning week of legal deals — and a conviction.

On Tuesday, the president’s longtime lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws, and implicated Mr. Trump, too.

Mr. Trump lashed out at Mr. Cohen, criticizing him for “flipping,” while praising his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, as a “brave man” who refused to “break.”

Mr. Manafort was convicted on eight counts of fraud on Tuesday.

Later, news of two immunity deals rocked the White House. One was for David Pecker, a tabloid executive close to President Trump who oversees The National Enquirer. The tabloid quashed stories damaging to the Trump campaign. Another was for the Trump Organization’s longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, who struck a deal with prosecutors earlier this summer.

Have you been keeping up with the headlines? Test your knowledge with our news quiz. And here’s the front page of our Sunday paper, and our crossword puzzles.



CreditBrendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

3. Those developments have left many wondering: What will the special counsel in the Russia inquiry do?

Robert Mueller, a lifelong Republican with a by-the-book reputation, faces a number of crucial decisions over the coming months. Will he subpoena the president? Recommend charges? Will he write a public report? Each could help sway the midterm elections and shape the future of the presidency itself.

For insight, our reporter looked closely at Mr. Mueller’s four-decade career in public service.

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4. Pope Francis is in Ireland, the first papal visit there in 39 years. But the specter of the church’s sex abuse scandals is clouding the trip.

Many Irish say they are waiting for recognition of their suffering amid decades of clerical sex abuse. Those abuses, Catholics say, make it incumbent on Francis to give them not just words, but also action.

Francis addressed the abuse scandal in his first speech, and met with abuse survivors.

We are following the visit with live updates.



CreditVasily Maximov/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

5. Facebook said it had removed 652 fake accounts, pages and groups that were trying to sow disinformation.

The activity originated in Iran and Russia, the company said. Unlike past influence operations on the social network, which largely targeted Americans, the fake accounts, pages and groups were this time also aimed at people in Latin America, Britain and the Middle East, the company said.

And for the U.S., there’s a new concern ahead of the midterms: Many of the C.I.A.’s Russian sources have gone silent.



CreditBrendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

6. Elon Musk reversed course on his plans to take Tesla private.

In a statement late Friday, Mr. Musk wrote that “I knew the process of going private would be challenging, but it’s clear that it would be even more time-consuming and distracting than initially anticipated.”

People close to Mr. Musk said he realized his thinking had been overly simplistic, and the move would introduce new headaches.

Mr. Musk, the company’s chief executive, sent markets — and board members — into a frenzy after tweeting this month that he was considering taking the company private, and had secured funding to do so.

Market Snapshot View Full Overview



    CreditBruce Omori/European Pressphoto Agency, via via Shutterstock

    7. Hurricane Lane was downgraded to a tropical storm, but Hawaii still faced “life threatening” flash flooding, the National Weather Service said.

    The storm is expected to continue weakening, but officials warned that the storm would continue to pose a risk for flooding and could still hurl winds of up to 70 m.p.h.

    We’re following it live.

    Separately, the White House unveiled a proposed overhaul of coal plant rules. Among the plan’s more startling costs? The relaxed rules could lead to up to 1,400 more premature deaths and 48,000 more asthma attacks every year, and could allow the dirtiest coal plants to stay dirty.



    CreditAdriane Ohanesian for The New York Times

    8. Starting a year ago, more than 700,000 Rohingya began fleeing Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh amid a frenzy of massacre, rape and arson by soldiers and Buddhist mobs.

    The violence has been condemned by the international community, and on Monday, the U.N. Security Council is scheduled to discuss the ethnic cleansing. But Myanmar’s leaders — including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s de facto leader and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate — have escaped international legal censure. And they are maintaining a campaign of denial and avoidance.

    Our reporter looked into a town administrator who is said to have tortured his Rohingya neighbors — and will most likely never face punishment.



    CreditJonathan Crosby/Associated Press

    9. A judge rejected key parts of President Trump’s push to make it easier to fire government workers, dealing a blow to Republican efforts to rein in unions.

    Separately, at an annual meeting this weekend, leaders of the Federal Reserve and other central banks, above, discussed whether corporate consolidation might have broad implications for economic policy.

    Put simply: The biggest companies may be influencing things like inflation and wage growth, possibly at the expense of central bankers’ power to do so.



    CreditPaul Vernon/Associated Press

    10. Ohio State suspended its football coach, Urban Meyer, for three games over his mishandling of domestic violence accusations against an assistant coach.

    A university report detailed a number of problems linked to the assistant coach, Zach Smith, including promiscuous and embarrassing sexual behavior, drug abuse, and allegations of criminal domestic violence and cybercrimes.

    Ultimately, the report found no unassailable evidence of a cover-up or that Mr. Meyer “deliberately lied” about his knowledge.

    He’s been suspended for six weeks and will miss the season opener on Sept. 1. He offered a more robust apology on Friday.



    CreditFrances F. Denny for The New York Times

    11. Finally, a #MeToo leader confronts her own accuser; a memoir from Steve Jobs’s daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs, above; and the rise of alternative pollinators. We’ve got these stories and more in our Best Weekend Reads.

    For more suggestions on what to read, watch and listen to, may we suggest these seven new books our editors liked, a glance at the latest recommendations from Watching, or our music critics’ latest playlist.

    Have a great week.


    Have a great week.

    Your Weekend Briefing is published Sundays at 6 a.m. Eastern.

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