Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 did not crash, but was rather "blown out of the sky." Speaking at the annual Netroots Nation conference, Biden said it was still too early to say for certain what had happened, but that the plane, "apparently had been shot down."
"Shot down. Not an accident," he continued. "Blown out of the sky."
U.S. intelligence officials have said a surface-to-air missile downed the plane, but have yet to determine who fired it. Ukraine has blamed pro-Russian separatists for the attack, though the rebels denied any involvement. Jon Terbush
On Monday, FBI agents arrested a 23-year-old New Jersey man, charging him with conspiring to provide material support to ISIS.
Alaa Saadeh of West New York also stands accused of witness tampering, with the FBI saying he tried to persuade a witness to lie to the agency, CBS News reports. The criminal complaint states that Saadeh's brother went to the Middle East in May to join ISIS, but was arrested in Jordan. Saadeh's credit card was used to buy the plane ticket, and he was aware of his brother's plans, the complaint says. Prosecutors say Saadeh told another person he believed someone "snitched" on his brother, and if that was the case, he would have to "kill someone."
Saadeh was also secretly recorded by an informant earlier this month, the complaint alleges, with Saadeh telling a potential witness if they are confronted by the FBI, "You just play dumb. Like you just really don't know. That all you know is that he was going to see his parents." The FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force have been investigating several people in the New York and New Jersey area due to concerns over terrorist attacks around the 4th of July. Catherine Garcia
The FBI has launched an investigation into corruption at the Clinton Correctional Facility, law enforcement officials told CNN Monday, looking into possible drug trafficking and other criminal behavior.
Convicted killers Richard Matt and David Sweat escaped from the upstate New York prison earlier this month, and the probe is being fueled by evidence uncovered by authorities while investigating the jailbreak. Some employees told authorities that prisoners were using heroin and employees were part of the drug trade, sources said, and specific people have been identified and are the focus of the investigation.
The New York Inspector General and New York State Police have also launched investigations into the escape, with the inspector general looking at the relationships between guards and inmates and the things they would discuss; investigators now believe Matt and Sweat spoke with guards about the terrain around the prison, gaining knowledge that would be useful during their escape. Corrections officer Joyce Mitchell is accused of smuggling in the tools Matt and Sweat used to break out of prison, while another prison worker, Gene Palmer, is charged with delivering those tools. Matt was killed on Friday, while Sweat was captured alive on Sunday. Catherine Garcia
Move over, Taylor Swift and 1989: Apple Music reportedly also has exclusive streaming rights to another, slightly older album. Dr. Dre's The Chronic, a 1992 release many consider to be among the top hip-hop albums of all time, should be available when Apple launches its new service Tuesday, Rolling Stone reports, citing a source close to the project.
The Chronic has never been available digitally before, not even as part of the Dre-founded Beats Electronics deal with Apple in 2014. He has had digital rights to his solo debut following a 2011 legal battle with Death Row Records, his former record label. Julie Kliegman
California legislators voted Monday to eliminate the state's personal belief exemption for required school vaccinations, The Associated Press reports. Only Mississippi and West Virginia have similarly strict laws on the books. Democratic senators introduced the bill after more than 100 people were infected in a measles outbreak originating at Disneyland, sparking a nationwide debate on whether vaccines should be mandatory.
The measure would not affect medical exemptions the state allows children with serious health issues. It would also grandfather in students with existing personal belief exemptions until their next vaccine checkpoint.
Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has not yet said whether he'll sign the bill, which doesn't have enough support to override a veto. Julie Kliegman
Even though Boston would need to fork over $4.6 billion to host the 2024 Olympics, organizers are claiming that the event wouldn't cost taxpayers a cent. Organizers revealed Monday that the games would leave the city with an estimated surplus of $210 million, not to mention an expanded tax base and the creation of both jobs and housing. The latest revelations in Boston's Olympic plans came in response to concerns that the bid withheld information that would properly allow the public to assess whether the project would require taxpayer money.
The most detailed look yet at the submitted proposal suggests that taxpayers would not be losing money from the Games, though concerns are not entirely assuaged. Those opposed to Boston 2024 say that the proposal fails to explain what would happen should the event cost more than expected or if revenues aren't as high as anticipated.
Olympic Committee members will not select the host city until 2017. Paris, Hamburg, and Rome are already in the running, and Budapest is expected to join the race. Becca Stanek
The White House will not consider bailing Puerto Rico out of its $72 billion debt, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday. Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla announced the "unpayable" debts Sunday, adding that the commonwealth has been struggling for years.
"There is no one in the administration or in D.C. federal government that's contemplating a federal bailout of Puerto Rico," Earnest told The Hill.
The administration will work with Puerto Rican officials, Earnest said, adding that Congress should consider granting the island the ability to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, just like Detroit did in 2013. Julie Kliegman
The Supreme Court has temporarily blocked a law that would impose stringent new abortion clinic restrictions in Texas. The justices voted 5-4 to allow clinics to stay open while appeals to the law proceed.
Under the Texas law, "[d]octors who perform abortions at clinics must have privileges to admit patients to a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic, and all clinics in the state must have facilities equal to those available at a surgical center," according to SCOTUSblog. Critics say that the requirements are medically unnecessary, and that their only purpose is to shutter Texas' dwindling number of abortion clinics.
With the granting of the appeal, 10 abortion clinics in Texas at threat of closure will be able to remain open. Jeva Lange