Trump plans defense boost
President Donald Trump will propose increasing total defense spending to $716 billion in fiscal 2019 in his budget request expected to be released in February, a U.S. official said, backing the Pentagon’s push for a major buildup. The funding would include $597 billion for the Defense Department’s base budget, with the rest going for its war-fighting account and to other government programs such as the Energy Department’s nuclear weapons program, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in advance of the release of Trump’s second proposed budget.
Casino founder denies claims
Wynn Resorts is denying multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault by founder Steve Wynn detailed in a Wall Street Journal report. The paper reported that a number of women say they were harassed or assaulted by the casino mogul and finance chair of the Republican National Committee. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission said Friday that it will launch a review.
Cosby lawyers: Data withheld
Bill Cosby’s lawyers accused prosecutors of withholding and destroying evidence they say could have helped the entertainer, 80, defend himself against charges he drugged and molested a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. In court papers Thursday, they said prosecutors waited until last week to tell them about an interview last year with ex-Temple University colleague Marguerite Jackson who said Andrea Constand told her she wasn’t sexually assaulted but could make up allegations to get money. The lawyers are asking a judge to throw out the case before his April retrial.
Clinton kept accused adviser
Hillary Clinton’s faith adviser got a second chance from her when he was accused of sexual harassment during her 2008 presidential campaign — only to sin again. Spiritual counsel Burns Strider, whose duties included sending Clinton a daily Scripture reading, was fired by a pro-Clinton group for similar misconduct during her 2016 run, according to a Friday report in the New York Times. Eight years earlier, Clinton successfully argued to keep Strider around despite allegations he inappropriately rubbed a subordinate’s shoulders and sent her suggestive emails, it said.
Planned Parenthood change
Cecile Richards, who led Planned Parenthood through 12 tumultuous years, is stepping down as its president. Under her leadership, the organization gained in membership, donor support and political clout but found itself in constant conflict with social conservatives for its role as the leading abortion U.S. provider. Richards, 60, said Friday she would continue political activism ahead of the November elections. There was no immediate word of a possible successor. The move precedes the publication of her memoir in April.
Beacon Journal/Ohio.com wires
National news briefs, Jan. 27: Cosby lawyers say prosecutors withheld evidence