The art world was stunned last month when an unknown person bid a record $450.3 million for a Leonardo da Vinci painting of Christ called "Salvator Mundi," and now that the buyer's identity has been revealed, they're still surprised.
The painting is now owned by Saudi Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, The New York Times reports, and it will be on display at the new Louvre branch in Abu Dhabi. He is not known for being an art collector or incredibly wealthy, and documents viewed by the Times show that he was such a non-entity in the art scene that Christie's had to quickly figure out right before the auction if he was eligible to bid. Prince Bader is close to Saudi Arabia's crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who recently had hundreds of the country's princes, businessmen, and government officials arrested, accusing them of having made billions illicitly.
In order to qualify for the auction, Prince Bader had to put down a $100 million deposit; when asked by lawyers for Christie's how he made his money, he told them in real estate, the Times reports. Bidding began at $100 million, and after two minutes, it was down to Prince Bader and another person. It took 19 minutes for bidding to come to an end, with the audience astounded by the final price of $450.3 million, and while Prince Bader had said he would pay it all off in a lump sum, it's been decided he'll make five monthly payments of $58,385,416.67 and one final payment May 14 for $58,385,416.65. Catherine Garcia
Paul Manafort's lawyers on Tuesday opted not to present a case nor call any witnesses, resting the defense for the former Trump campaign chairman just one day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team finished two weeks of prosecution, reports CNN.
Manafort has been charged with tax evasion, money laundering, and bank fraud, among other charges. He is also accused of failing to report millions of dollars he earned while working as a political consultant in Ukraine ahead of joining the Trump campaign. Manafort's former bookkeeper and accountant testified against him, as did his former deputy, Rick Gates, who said Manafort used offshore accounts to hide money.
Manafort did not take the stand. The Washington Post reports that both sides will get two hours to present closing arguments tomorrow, and then the verdict will be in the hands of the jury. Summer Meza
If former FBI agent Peter Strzok had any money problems, the #resistance has almost certainly helped solve them.
Strzok was fired from the bureau Friday, after the FBI's inspector general found he had sent text messages to FBI lawyer Lisa Page that revealed antipathy toward President Trump. Strzok's lawyer announced the dismissal Monday, and by midday Tuesday, a GoFundMe online fundraiser had already rounded up more than $290,000 to cover Strzok's "hefty — and growing — legal costs and his lost income."
The fundraiser, set up by the "friends of special agent Peter Strzok," characterizes Strzok's firing as "highly politicized," saying "he needs your help" to overcome the difficulties of his dismissal, though it's unclear exactly what legal costs have been incurred. Strzok tweeted his thanks for the "extraordinary outpouring of support" from "thousands of fellow everyday citizens." Those everyday citizens poured more than 7,000 donations into Strzok's legal fund, with many donors contributing between $5 and $25.
Strzok, as a 22-year veteran of the bureau, was likely making a six-figure salary. But the GoFundMe notes that he's "not a wealthy lobbyist and he's not interested in using his notoriety for personal gain," so he apparently doesn't have the "deep pockets" he'll need to defend himself. His pockets have certainly been deepened now — the fundraiser already exceeded its original goal of $150,000, and is well on its way to surpassing the new $350,000 goal. Summer Meza
The conservative radio host appeared on Trump's favorite morning show Tuesday, where co-host Steve Doocy asked him this month's trending question: Do you believe the media is the enemy of the people?
"They're not the enemy of the people, but they are the enemy of the president," Carr responded, and asserted that Trump's attacks on the press are just responses "to the insane attacks against him." Former President Barack Obama deserved hate after blocking Fox News from a presidential interview, Carr said, but Trump is "like King Lear: a man more sinned against than sinning."
Carr's comparison invites a quick refresher on the full plot of Shakespeare's King Lear. The titular monarch is growing old and wants to split his kingdom between his three daughters — or two sons and a favorite daughter, if you will. One might also hear Carr's comparison and note the similarities between Lear's descent into madness and the recent charge from a former top aide that Trump is "mentally declined." Kathryn Krawczyk
There's a new argument in the Apple vs. Android rivalry. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday urged Turks to stop using iPhones as a way to stick it to the U.S., reports The Guardian.
Erdogan argued that Turkish citizens should boycott American electronic products in order to protest the sanctions imposed last week. President Trump doubled tariffs on steel and aluminum after Erdogan declared "economic war." Turkey's detention of an American pastor angered U.S. evangelicals, reports The Guardian, pushing Trump to punish the nation with strict sanctions that have contributed to the Turkish lira's downward spiral. Now, Erdogan wants revenge.
"We will boycott U.S. electronic products," he said. "If they have iPhone, the other side has Samsung." Erdogan additionally encouraged citizens to use Turkish smartphone brands. Turkey's president dug his heels in on his theory that the economy is suffering as a result of a larger conspiracy against the nation. "They do not refrain from using the economy as a weapon against us, as they tried in the areas of diplomacy, military, or efforts for social and political instability," he said.
Erdogan didn't offer any other details about his proposed boycott, but his defiance makes it clear that he's not ready to ease the diplomatic tensions between him and Trump. The lira recovered slightly Tuesday, but the nation still faces an economic crisis that could worsen before it improves. Read more at The Guardian. Summer Meza
Pennsylvania set to release unprecedented report naming 300 Catholic priests accused of child sex abuse
The names of more than 300 Catholic priests facing child sex abuse allegations in Pennsylvania will be revealed Tuesday — and some of them are still in service.
Pennsylvania's attorney general launched an investigation into six of the state's eight Catholic dioceses after separate probes into the other two dioceses revealed rampant abuse, per The Associated Press. Now, two years and hundreds of allegations later, the 900-page report is ready to be released.
The report contains more than 90 names from Pittsburgh's diocese, including priests Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik said were still in ministry, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. "There is no priest or deacon in an assignment today against whom there was a substantiated allegation of child sexual abuse," Zubik said Friday, implying that those facing unsubstantiated claims may still serve. Zubik acknowledged he'll have to meet with concerned parishioners whose priests appear on the list.
Decades of abuse allegations will appear in Tuesday's report, which was set to be released six weeks ago but was delayed by priests' petitions, per The Morning Call, a local Pennsylvania newspaper. Names of priests currently challenging the accusations will also be redacted in Tuesday's report.
Still, the Tuesday report will be one of the world's largest collective records of church sexual abuse, the Morning Call says. One piece of the report, which was kept largely secret until its impending release, damningly declares that "priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing: They hid it all." Kathryn Krawczyk
If you're a Republican candidate looking to throw a fundraising dinner, the location of choice in 2018 is a Trump-branded property.
This was not so four years ago, a McClatchy analysis has determined. In 2014, political fundraisers spent less than $35,000 on events at Trump properties — and that's for the entire two years of the midterm election cycle. Fully $15,000 of that spending came from a single campaign's spending at Mar-a-Lago.
In the 2018 cycle, by contrast, about 125 GOP campaigns and other political organizations have already spent more than $3.5 million at President Trump's properties. That includes spending for catering for fundraising dinners, hotel stays, and especially meals at Trump's hotel restaurant in Washington. "The simple fact is that our supporters and friends are excited when we" host them at a Trump location, a representative of America First Action, a pro-Trump super PAC, told McClatchy.
About $800,000 of that $3.5 million in political spending comes from Trump himself. His 2020 campaign has spent almost $700,000 renting space in Trump buildings, plus tens of thousands more on catering and hotel costs. The Republican National Committee, the Republican Governors Association, and the National Republican Senate Committee are major spenders as well.
Unsurprisingly, Democratic campaigns and organizations have steered clear. Bonnie Kristian
At least 23 people died and another 14 were injured when a bus crashed near Quito, Ecuador, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.
The long-distance bus was traveling overnight, and flipped after hitting another vehicle outside of Ecuador's capital, officials said. At about 3 a.m., the bus was passing through an area known as "dead man's curve" when it crashed and overturned. Emergency officials said the bus was Colombian-registered and was carrying Colombian and Venezuelan passengers who were on their way to Quito.
The tragedy unfolded just one day after another bus carrying Ecuadorean soccer fans crashed while traveling near Cuenca. The bus also overturned, killing 12 and injuring 30 who were traveling home after a match, BBC reported. Read more about the Quito incident at The Associated Press. Summer Meza