Stephen Hawking, the British theoretical physicist and cosmologist, has died, a spokesman for his family announced Wednesday. He was 76.
Hawking died at his home in Cambridge. In a statement, his children Lucy, Robert, and Tim called their father "a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years. His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humor inspired people across the world. He once said, 'It would not be much of a universe if it wasn't home to the people you love.' We will miss him forever."
Hawking worked on black holes and quantum fluctuations, and his 1988 book A Brief History of Time sold more than 10 million copies and was translated into 40 different languages. Hawking appeared on several television shows, including The Big Bang Theory and in animated form on The Simpsons, and Eddie Redmayne played him in the movie The Theory of Everything.
Hawking had an early-onset form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that progressed slowly over time, ultimately leaving him paralyzed, and he used a device in order to speak. When he was diagnosed at 21, he expected to live for only two more years. Catherine Garcia
Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee said on Monday evening that they have found no evidence of collusion between Russia and President Trump's campaign during the 2016 election and are ending their investigation.
Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) said Republicans on the committee agree with intelligence agencies who have concluded that "the Russians did commit active measures against our election in '16, and we think they will do that in the future," but "we disagree with the narrative that they were trying to help Trump." Conaway did admit the panel "found perhaps some bad judgment, inappropriate meetings."
The committee has interviewed 70 witnesses and reviewed 300,000 documents, Conaway said, but Democrats say important files, including bank documents, were not subpoenaed and major witnesses like former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, both under indictment by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, were never interviewed. Conaway said Democrats will receive a draft report on Tuesday for review and comment, and it will include recommendations on election and cyber security. Now, there is only one Senate committee investigating Russian interference in the election, in addition to Mueller's probe. Catherine Garcia
President Trump will accept North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's invitation to meet, "at a place and time to be determined," White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday night.
South Korea's national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, announced outside the White House Thursday evening that North Korea had extended the invitation to Trump, who told him he would "meet Kim Jong Un by May to achieve permanent denuclearization." In her statement, Sanders said the United States looks "forward to the denuclearization of North Korea. In the meantime, all sanctions and maximum pressure must remain." Catherine Garcia
Update 8:20 p.m. ET: President Trump has tweeted about the meeting, saying "great progress" is being made.
Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze. Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time. Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 9, 2018
South Korea's national security adviser announced Thursday evening that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is "committed to denuclearization" and "expressed an eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible."
Speaking outside the White House, Chung Eui-yong said Trump "appreciated the briefing, and said he would meet Kim Jong Un by May to achieve permanent denuclearization." He also said that while talks are underway, North Korea "would refrain from any form of nuclear or missile tests," and Kim understands that routine military exercises between South Korea and the United States "must continue." Catherine Garcia
President Trump told reporters Wednesday that he is "totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind." This marked the first time he had addressed the subject of domestic violence since former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter resigned last Wednesday after his two ex-wives publicly accused him of physical and verbal abuse.
Trump claimed Wednesday — more than a week after the allegations against Porter first broke — that "everyone knows" his feelings on domestic violence. "It almost wouldn't even have to be said," he added.
NEW: "I am totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind," President Trump says during White House meeting, giving his first personal condemnation of domestic violence since the controversy around Rob Porter began https://t.co/3u0JnrTPS9 pic.twitter.com/QIzTqnbsKb
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 14, 2018
Two days after Porter's resignation, the president implored people to remember that "[Porter] say he's innocent." The president notably did not make any mention of Porter's victims in those remarks, though he did say it was "obviously a very sad time" for Porter. Kelly O'Meara Morales
President Trump's longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, told The New York Times on Tuesday he paid $130,000 out of his own pocket to Stormy Daniels, the adult film star who told multiple media outlets ahead of the 2016 presidential election that she had an extramarital affair with Trump a decade earlier.
In a statement, Cohen told the Times that "neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction" with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. He also said neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign reimbursed him for the payment "either directly or indirectly," calling the $130,000 disbursement a "lawful" and "private transaction." The payment, first reported in January by The Wall Street Journal, was made shortly before the presidential election; after that, Daniels stopped cooperating with the media outlets. Trump has denied the affair.
Cohen said he had given a similar statement to the Federal Election Commission, which was investigating a complaint from the watchdog group Common Cause alleging that Cohen's payment violated campaign finance laws. The Times says Cohen would not answer questions about whether Trump knew he made the payment, what Cohen's motivation was to make the payment, and if he's paid any other women with similar stories. Catherine Garcia
Update 2:30 a.m. Wednesday: BuzzFeed News has obtained Cohen's full statement, which you can read below.
Full statement from Trump lawyer Michael Cohen on his payment to Stormy Daniels: pic.twitter.com/pG2SQkPJ9r
— Tarini Parti (@tparti) February 14, 2018
The Senate is in recess until 12:01 a.m. Friday, and because they failed to pass a spending bill, a government shutdown will start at midnight.
White House Office of Management and Budget spokesman John Czwartacki said federal agencies are "now being urged to review and prepare for a lapse" in spending after midnight. Congress was expected to vote Thursday on a two-year deal that includes a roughly $300 billion bump for military spending and domestic programs, as well as nearly $90 billion for disaster relief. This was stalled by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who refused to go along with his fellow senators to move to hold a vote, citing concerns about adding to the deficit.
The Senate plans on voting on the matter early Friday, but it's unclear how the bill will fare in the House, and leaders there are advising members to "prepare for late night or early morning votes." This will be the second government shutdown in less than a month. Catherine Garcia
Attorneys for President Trump have advised him against sitting down for an interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, four people briefed on the matter told The New York Times.
Trump has publicly declared that he is open to speaking with Mueller, who is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump obstructed justice, but his lawyers fear he will make false statements, which could lead to Trump being charged with lying to investigators, the Times reports. They have reason to worry, the Times notes: During a deposition for a libel case Trump brought against journalist Tim O'Brien, he admitted while under oath he had previously lied about various subjects; Trump lost this suit.
While attorneys John Dowd and Jay Sekulow want Trump to avoid an interview, lawyer Ty Cobb thinks Trump should cooperate and has been dealing with Mueller in trying to set up an interview. Dowd and Sekulow both think that should Trump refuse the interview, Mueller would hesitate to subpoena him, the Times reports. If there is a subpoena for Trump to testify in front of a grand jury, it could go all the way to the Supreme Court. Trump is expected to make his decision on testifying under oath in the next few weeks. Catherine Garcia