GOP Rep. Hunter pleads not guilty to charges

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and his wife, Margaret, pleaded not guilty to federal charges they stole a quarter million dollars in campaign funds for personal use.

Posted: Aug 24, 2018 3:12 PM
Updated: Aug 24, 2018 3:13 PM

Ready to step back in time? Then head to the museum in Seattle where '80s technology still rules. Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. David Pecker

The CEO of the company that publishes the National Enquirer reportedly was granted immunity in the investigation of Michael Cohen in exchange for providing info on hush money deals. David Pecker, the head of American Media Inc., told federal prosecutors that President Trump had knowledge of Cohen's payments to women who said Trump had affairs with them, sources told CNN; Trump has denied the affairs. American Media Inc. didn't respond to CNN's requests for comment. Cohen, Trump's former lawyer, pleaded guilty Tuesday to eight criminal counts and said in court he committed some of his crimes at Trump's request.

2. Australia

For the sixth time in just more than 10 years, Australia has a new prime minister. Scott Morrison narrowly defeated a rival in a closed-door leadership vote to claim the job. He's one of the architects of Australia's tough immigration policies. The door opened for Morrison to rise to the country's top post after now-former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was toppled in a conservative uprising over a change in climate change policy. It's been a revolving door of leadership changes in Australia's capital in the past decade. Since 2007, no Australian prime minister has faced two consecutive elections.

3. Hurricane Lane

Hurricane Lane has been downgraded to a Category 3 storm, but it's still very dangerous. After unleashing heavy rain (19 inches worth), floods, landslides, high winds and dangerous surf on Hawaii's Big Island, the storm is chugging along and threatening the state's other islands. Lane is about 230 miles south of Honolulu this morning. Depending on the storm's track, Lane's center may move very close to the main islands or cross land today or tomorrow. Officials on Oahu yesterday went all out, warning residents and tourists of the impending danger by sounding an emergency siren for three minutes.

4. Duncan Hunter

With all the other political news this week, the indictment of California GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter and his wife, Margaret, ended up on our back burner. The Hunters are accused of using $250,000 in campaign funds to furnish a lavish lifestyle, including a $14,000 Italian vacation. They pleaded not guilty yesterday. In an interview later in the day with Fox News, Duncan Hunter defended himself -- by throwing his wife under the bus. "She was also the campaign manager, so whatever she did, that'll be looked at, too, I'm sure," he said. "But I didn't do it." Well that will make for some interesting conversation around the dinner table.

5. Arctic ice

Warming temperatures seem to be affecting the thickest and oldest ice in the Arctic. Recent satellite images show that sea ice off Greenland's northern coast -- ridges of ice piled as high as 70 feet in some places -- has been replaced by miles of open water for the first time on record. It's a development that's surprised scientists. "This was the area that was seen as the last bastion, where we'd see these changes come last, but they've arrived," said one researcher. The loss of sea ice contributes to a vicious cycle in which sunlight, normally reflected by ice, instead enters the ocean and warms it, leading to more ice melt.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

'I'm coming home to you'

If you find yourself humming "Sweet Home Alabama" (and you will after reading this), you can thank Ed King for writing it. The Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist has died.

Best wishes, Ben

Everybody send good wishes to Ben Affleck. The Oscar-winning director (and current Batman actor) is in rehab, where he's been in the past for alcohol addiction.

Say hello to ...

An isolated Amazon tribe with no known contacts with the rest of the world was spotted by a drone flying over the jungle in Brazil.

'Saving Nemo'

Schoolkids in Australia have gone from "Finding Nemo" to saving him with a campaign to protect clownfish.

Ready for her close-up

Japan has its first female fighter pilot. And, no surprise, she was influenced by "Top Gun."

HAPPENING LATER ...

Ballot battle

A rural Georgia county's Board of Elections is due to vote this morning on a controversial proposal to close seven of the majority-black county's nine polling places ahead of the November midterm election. The proposal has sparked accusations of racism and voter suppression.

Emotional visit

Pope Francis heads to Ireland this weekend, the first papal visit to the Emerald Isle in almost four decades. And sex abuse survivors there -- and everywhere -- say he must do more to deal with the church's scandals.

TODAY'S QUOTE

"The actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations."

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, pushing back against the latest taunt from President Trump, who said Sessions "never took control" of the Justice Department

TOTAL RECALL

Quiz time

Volkswagen has been accused of ruining Mexican crops near one of its factories by using what?

A. hail cannons

B. sonic screwdrivers

C. hoverboards

D. transporters

Play "Total Recall: The CNN news quiz" to see if you're right. And don't forget, you can also find a version of the quiz on your Amazon devices! Just say, "Alexa, ask CNN for a quiz."

TODAY'S NUMBER

$120 million

The anticipated payday for Apple CEO Tim Cook today, when he gets stock tied to the tech giant's performance. Under Cook, Apple became the first $1 trillion American company.

AND FINALLY

No friends, no problem

If you don't have anyone to play with, follow this dog's example and use a trampoline to play fetch with yourself. (Click to view.)

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