Donald Trump, Asia Argento, Simone Biles: Your Monday Briefing

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Good morning.

Here’s what it’s worthwhile to know:

What does Robert Mueller know?

• That’s what President Trump’s attorneys have been left questioning after The Times reported this weekend that Donald McGahn, the White House counsel, had cooperated extensively with the Russia investigation by Mr. Mueller, the particular counsel.

The president’s attorneys mentioned on Sunday that they have been assured that Mr. McGahn had mentioned nothing dangerous in regards to the president throughout 30 hours of interviews that started in November. But they realized they hadn’t been given a full accounting of what Mr. McGahn had advised investigators.

Mr. McGahn has repeatedly made clear to the president that his position as White House counsel is to guard the presidency, not Mr. Trump personally. People near Mr. McGahn have mentioned he fears that Mr. Trump will set him as much as take the blame for any doable wrongdoing.

A #MeToo chief stands accused

• The actress and director Asia Argento was among the many first ladies within the film enterprise to publicly accuse the producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault.

But after her revelations about Mr. Weinstein in October, Ms. Argento quietly arranged to pay $380,000 to an actor and musician who mentioned she sexually assaulted him years earlier in California, when he was 17 and he or she was 37. The state’s age of consent is 18.

The accusation by Jimmy Bennett, and the association for funds, are specified by paperwork between attorneys for Ms. Argento and Mr. Bennett that have been despatched to The Times.

Three individuals acquainted with the case mentioned the paperwork have been genuine. Ms. Argento and her representatives haven’t responded to a number of requests for remark.

Most wildfires’ spark: Humans

• California is having considered one of its worst fireplace seasons ever, with a million acres burned thus far this yr.

Investigators are discovering that the blazes almost always begin with a human, whether or not deliberately or by mistake.

Many scientists say local weather change and speedy growth contribute to ever extra damaging fires. But “95 percent of these fires are caused by humans, and they could have been prevented somehow,” a California official mentioned.

A brand new focus for Kim Jong-un

• The North Korean chief mentioned over the weekend that his individuals have been engaged in “a do-or-die struggle” in opposition to “brigandish sanctions,” which he mentioned have been severely hurting the economic system.

Since late June, Mr. Kim has devoted almost all of his public appearances to visiting factories, farms and development websites — fairly than the army websites he inspected final yr — and he has been calling out poor administration.

His message, specialists say, is directed as a lot on the U.S. as at his personal individuals, since his pledge to ship financial prosperity will depend on persuading Washington to ease sanctions.

For cleaner streets, fewer trash cans

New York City’s Sanitation Department removes containers in the event that they’re used for family or business trash, saying it cuts improper trash disposal. Residents say the policy has left a mess.

Quotation of the day

“Truth isn’t truth.”

Rudolph Giuliani, President Trump’s lawyer, explaining why he feared an interview with the particular counsel, Robert Mueller, is likely to be a “perjury trap” for Mr. Trump.

The Times, in different phrases

Here’s a picture of today’s front page, and hyperlinks to our Opinion content and crossword puzzles.

What we’re studying

Michael Roston, a senior workers editor for Science, recommends this piece on Medium: “Lindsay Robertson’s series about taking responsibility for aging or ill parents is highly useful. Especially if you feel you’re just getting the hang of managing your own life. This entry, on final conversations with a dying parent, is moving, too.”

Back Story

Chirping crickets. A child cooing. Crashing waves. A greeting from President Jimmy Carter.

Those have been a few of the contents of the so-called Golden Record that was hooked up to NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft, which was launched 41 years ago today to scout Jupiter and Saturn. Voyager 1, which launched on Sept. 5, 1977, carries an analogous report.

Carrying a message for E.T.CreditNASA

The spacecraft have been to explore the outer solar system, however the information (made from copper) additionally carried a message to any extraterrestrials which may discover them: sounds and pictures that greatest represented humankind and life on Earth. In addition to sounds of nature, there have been musical items and greetings in 55 languages.

The astronomer Carl Sagan led the hassle to compile the report, an ambitious process that was fraught with indecision. In addition to the technical points of making a report that might face up to the pressures of area, there was the philosophical burden of paint an image of our planet.

Voyagers 1 and a pair of are actually greater than 11 billion miles from Earth, every carrying a report that Dr. Sagan referred to as a “bottle in a cosmic ocean.”

Alisha Haridasani Gupta wrote right now’s Back Story.

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