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September 14, 2018

The former chairman of President Trump's campaign has pleaded guilty to two federal crimes and is reportedly cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The White House says this doesn't have anything to do with the president whatsoever.

Paul Manafort, who worked on the Trump campaign from March to August 2016, pleaded guilty Friday to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, The Washington Post reports. He is accused of avoiding $15 million in taxes by storing his money in offshore accounts, as well as witness-tampering and working as an unregistered lobbyist on behalf of Ukraine before his time with the Trump campaign.

In a statement Friday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the Manafort plea "had absolutely nothing to do with the president or his victorious 2016 presidential campaign. It is totally unrelated." Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, also weighed in with the same basic message, telling reporters that Friday's events are unrelated to Trump. Giuliani added that "the president did nothing wrong."

Manafort reportedly plans to cooperate with Mueller's investigation, giving interviews and handing over documents, per NBC News' Kelly O'Donnell, which is significant considering he was a key part of the Trump campaign for about five months. The Trump team has sought to downplay Manafort's influence on the campaign ever since his legal troubles began to mount, but in August 2016, Trump confidant Newt Gingrich told Fox News that "nobody should underestimate how much Paul Manafort did to really help get this [Trump] campaign to where it is right now." Brendan Morrow

10:20 p.m.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Tuesday said he will fire senior officials who did not heed warnings that a Islamist group was plotting suicide attacks against churches in the country.

"I must be truthful and admit that there were lapses on the part of defense officials," he said. On Easter Sunday, coordinated suicide bombings at churches and hotels left more than 300 people dead and 500 more injured. Sirisena said officials were aware there "was an intelligence report on the attack," but he was "not kept informed."

Sirisena's senior adviser, Shiral Lakthilaka, announced that two positions are "earmarked for dismissal": secretary of the ministry of defense and inspector general of police. Critics say Sirisena has to take some of the blame, since he wouldn't let Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, his political rival, attend security meetings.

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks, and posted online a video featuring an extremist preacher from Sri Lanka named Mohammed Zaharan. Officials suspect Zaharan, who led a small group called National Thowfeek Jamaath that defaced Buddhist statues, was the ringleader; his whereabouts are unknown, and officials believe he may have been a suicide bomber, The New York Times reports. Indian officials on Tuesday said they had been keeping an eye on Zaharan, as they suspected he was an online recruiter for ISIS. Catherine Garcia

9:38 p.m.

President Trump does not want any current or former White House aides to testify in front of congressional panels in connection with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, he told The Washington Post on Tuesday.

"There is no reason to go any further, and especially in Congress where it's very partisan — obviously very partisan," Trump said. The House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena on Monday to former White House Counsel Don McGahn, asking him to turn over documents and testify next month. McGahn was cited 157 times in the Mueller report, and discussed how Trump tried to get him to fire Mueller, then pressed him to later lie about it.

Two people with knowledge of the matter told the Post on Tuesday the White House will fight McGahn's subpoena, asserting executive privilege. This doesn't sound like a solid plan, former Watergate prosecutor Richard Ben-Veniste said. "It seems to me executive privilege was waived when McGahn was permitted to give testimony and to be interviewed by Special Counsel Mueller," he told the Post. "I don't see how the White House can assert executive privilege with something that has already been revealed. To use the Watergate expression, 'You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube.'"

A person close to McGahn said while he's not "eager to testify," he's also "not reluctant." McGahn doesn't "want to be in contempt of Congress," the person added, "nor does he want to be in contempt of his ethical obligations and legal obligations as a former White House official." Catherine Garcia

8:11 p.m.

There could soon be signs pointing to Trumptown, Donnieville, or MAGAland in the Golan Heights.

President Trump has been slapping his name on buildings, hotels, steaks, water bottles, defunct airlines, and non-accredited universities for decades, but finally, someone else is doing the work for him. On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he wants to name a new settlement in the Golan after Trump, as a way of thanking him for reversing U.S. policy toward the region.

Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967 and annexed the territory in 1981. This move was widely condemned, and most of the international community does not recognize Israel's sovereignty over the area. Trump tweeted in March that he feels differently, and it's "time for the United States to fully recognize Israel's Sovereignty over the Golan Heights."

There are more than 30 Israeli settlements in the Golan, which are considered illegal under international law. Netanyahu said "all Israelis were deeply moved when President Trump made his historic decision," and after the Passover holiday, he will bring a resolution to the government calling for a new community to be named after Trump. Catherine Garcia

6:47 p.m.

While on patrol in a remote area near Clint, Texas, earlier this month, two U.S. troops were confronted by Mexican soldiers, who thought the service members had crossed the southern border and were in Mexico, U.S. officials said Tuesday.

The troops were stationed at the border as part of President Trump's plan to stop undocumented migrants from crossing into the United States. In a statement, U.S. Northern Command told The Associated Press that the incident occurred on April 13, taking place on a piece of U.S. territory south of the border wall but north of the actual border. Newsweek reports that the U.S. troops were in an unmarked car when Mexican soldiers approached them. They were searched, and one of the Americans reportedly had his gun removed from his hip and thrown inside the car.

Northern Command told AP there was a "brief discussion" between the soldiers, and then the Mexican troops left. "The U.S. soldiers immediately contacted [U.S. Customs and Border Enforcement], who responded quickly," Northern Command said in a statement. "Throughout the incident, the U.S. soldiers followed all established procedures and protocols." An investigation is now underway. Catherine Garcia

5:43 p.m.

President Trump kicked off his day complaining about Twitter, and finished it meeting with its CEO.

It wasn't on his schedule for the day, but Trump met with Twitter founder Jack Dorsey on Tuesday for a private, 30-minute meeting in the Oval Office. There's not much information on what the two discussed, but a Twitter spokesperson mysteriously told Axios that the meeting revolved around "Twitter's commitment to protecting the health of the public conversation ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections and efforts underway to respond to the opioid crisis."

Vice News reported Tuesday that Dorsey was headed for the meeting, publishing an internal email Dorsey sent to Twitter employees earlier in the day. "Some of you might feel we shouldn't take this meeting at all," Dorsey wrote in the email, but he countered that sentiment, adding that "I have met with every world leader who has extended an invitation to me."

On Tuesday morning, Trump used Twitter to air some grievances about the site, saying it doesn't "treat me well as a Republican." Trump cryptically added that Twitter is "constantly taking people off list" and called for Congress to "get involved," though it's unclear who any of these people are or what this list even means. Kathryn Krawczyk

5:10 p.m.

The stock market has completed its comeback.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite closed at record highs on Tuesday, The Associated Press reports. The former rose 0.9 percent, with the new peak — which surpassed a mark set in September 2018 — coming just months after the markets rapidly plunged on Christmas Eve last year and making up all the lost ground. The Nasdaq climbed 1.3 percent to shatter its previous high set in August 2018. Both markets were coming off long stretches without a record, after bottoming out down nearly 20% at the end of the year.

Stocks have reportedly flourished this year thanks to what The Wall Street Journal writes is a more "accommodative" Federal Reserve. The central bank said earlier this year it was unlikely to raise interest rates, which encouraged investors to take greater risks. The rise was also spurred by a more general confidence in the U.S. economy, per AP.

Overall, on the year, the S&P is up 17 percent, its best start to the year since 1987, per the Journal, while the Nasdaq is up 22 percent, a number it hasn't seen since 1991. Tim O'Donnell

4:56 p.m.

Buda, Texas, is a quaint, fast-growing suburb of Austin, known for its annual wiener dog races and county fair. But deep in the heart of Texas, behind the walls of a pretty little yellow ranch-style house, is the stuff of minimalist nightmares:

First uncovered on Twitter by author Brooke Bolander, the house is for sale on Redfin and asking $435,000. It is described in the listing as a "one of a kind" home with "lots of great features," which is not a lie. I mean, the batting cage in the backyard is unexpected, plus there is a "historical Texans burial plot in the front yard," and who doesn't want that?

Browse all 30 photos here and keep in mind, you lucky dogs, that the "furniture is negotiable." Jeva Lange

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