The Nation in Brief

Posted: September 10, 2018 at 4:12 a.m.
Updated: September 10, 2018 at 4:12 a.m.

People attend the dedication of the 93-foot tall Tower of Voices on Sunday at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa. The tower contains 40 wind chimes representing the 40 people who perished in the crash of Flight 93 in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

CBS chief quits after new abuse claims

Leslie Moonves, the longtime chief executive of CBS Corp., stepped down Sunday night from the company he has led for 15 years. The announcement followed the publication earlier in the day of new sexual harassment allegations against him.

The CBS board of directors on Sunday announced his departure, effective immediately. As part of the agreement, the network said it would donate $20 million to one or more organizations that support equality for women in the workplace. The donation will be deducted from any severance benefit that Moonves may be due. He will not receive any severance payment, the board said, until the completion of an independent investigation into the allegations.

Joseph Ianniello, the chief operating officer of CBS and one of Moonves' closest advisers, was named the interim chief executive.

In July, The New Yorker published an article in which six women made sexual harassment allegations against Moonves. On Sunday, The New Yorker published another article in which six additional women detailed the new claims against Moonves. The incidents described went back to the 1980s and brought the number of women now accusing Moonves of harassment to 12.

The women claim that Moonves, 68, had forced himself on them -- including physical assault -- and in some cases retaliated professionally after some declined his advances.

Deacon urges D.C. archbishop to resign

WASHINGTON -- A highly visible member of Washington's Catholic clergy has called on Cardinal Donald Wuerl to resign, the latest blow to D.C.'s embattled archbishop.

Deacon James Garcia, in his role as the master of ceremony at St. Matthew's Cathedral in the District of Columbia, typically stands beside Wuerl during almost every major liturgy of the year. But Garcia wrote in a letter to Wuerl, published online Saturday, that he refuses to assist in any Mass led by Wuerl again. Since deacons vow obedience to their bishop, it is a bold gesture.

Since a Pennsylvania grand jury in August released a major investigative report cataloging alleged child abuse committed in the state by more than 300 priests, Wuerl -- who oversaw some of these abusive priests during his 18 years as bishop of Pittsburgh before he became archbishop of Washington -- has faced calls to resign from numerous corners.

Ed McFadden, a spokesman for the archdiocese of Washington, declined to comment Saturday night on Garcia's letter.

U.S. walks back claim against Russian

WASHINGTON -- Federal prosecutors are backtracking on their allegation that a Russian woman accused of working as a secret agent offered to trade sex for access, according to a Justice Department court filing.

Prosecutors had earlier accused Maria Butina, a gun-rights activist in U.S. custody on charges she worked as a covert agent and tried to establish back-channel lines of communication to the Kremlin, of offering to exchange sex for a position with a special interest organization.

The allegation was based on a series of text messages to and from Butina and other information that prosecutors say they had obtained.

But in a new court filing late Friday, prosecutors said they misinterpreted the messages. They said "even granting that the government's understanding of this particular text conversation was mistaken," there is other evidence to support keeping Butina in custody as the case against her moves forward in Washington.

Butina, 29, was arrested in July and accused of gathering intelligence on American officials and political organizations.The filing came ahead of a status hearing in her case today.

In an interview on Sunday, Butina's lawyer Robert Driscoll said, "I'm happy the government walked back their false allegation."

Butina has pleaded innocent to the charges of conspiracy and acting as an unregistered foreign agent for Russia.

2 parties mainly 'anti,' GOP's Sasse says

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska said on Sunday that neither his Republican Party nor the Democrats stand for "very much more than being anti" and that's why he often thinks about becoming an independent.

"The main thing that the Democrats are for is being anti-Republican and anti-Trump, and the main thing Republicans are for is being anti-Democrat and anti-CNN. And neither of these things are really worth getting out of bed in the morning for," he said on CNN's State of the Union.

The first-term senator, a vocal critic of President Donald Trump, said he considers himself "an independent conservative who happens to caucus with the Republicans."

He said on NBC's Meet the Press that he was nonetheless "committed to the party of Lincoln and Reagan as long as we can try to reform it and get it back to being a party that's about the universal dignity of all Americans and the First Amendment as the beating heart of American life. But right now, that's not what the party talks about very much."

Sasse said he would like both major parties "to be healthier and be competing to be better than the other one amongst a bunch of good ideas, instead of trying to be less bad than the other one."

-- Compiled by Democrat-Gazette staff from wire reports

A Section on 09/10/2018