The Kilauea volcano erupted on May 3, and since then, it has caused more than 4,000 earthquakes and spewed enough lava to cover 10.2 square miles of land.
On Friday, scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey saw another spectacular event — a whirlwind at the volcano's fissure 8, caused by hot gases punching through the cooler air above, creating a vertical column of hot air. The USGS said the lava was strewn about, flying across several meters, and scientists kept a safe distance, using a telephoto lens to capture stunning footage. The whirlwind started and stopped without warning, lasting about 10 minutes.
Kilauea is on the Big Island, and, not surprisingly, the state's most active volcano. Watch the incredible video below. Catherine Garcia
Harvey Weinstein was just hit with several new sexual assault charges.
The Manhattan district attorney announced three new counts against the disgraced Hollywood executive Monday, per a press release. Weinstein is now charged with carrying out a first-degree criminal sexual act in 2006, as well as two felony counts of predatory sexual assault. If convicted, each of those latter two felony charges could land Weinstein in jail anywhere from 10 years to life.
These charges add to the first-degree rape, third-degree rape, and first-degree criminal sexual act counts previously levied against Weinstein on May 30. The previous counts stemming from two women's allegations carried a maximum of 25 years in prison, Variety reports. The new charges relate to allegations from a third woman.
Manhattan D.A. Cyrus Vance told other potential victims "there is still time to pursue justice" as the investigation continues.
Weinstein surrendered to authorities after the first charges were announced, and is now free on $1 million bail. He has pleaded not guilty. Kathryn Krawczyk
Someone was arrested and led away from the White House in handcuffs Tuesday — a contractor for the National Security Council who had an outstanding warrant for attempted first-degree murder.
The Secret Service arrested Maryland resident Martese Edwards, 29, outside of the White House, CBS News reports. The Secret Service said in a statement that on Monday, the agency was notified that Edwards was the subject of a warrant issued out of Maryland's Prince George's County, and he was promptly arrested the next day while on his way to work. Catherine Garcia
During an interview with Sean Hannity on Wednesday night, Rudy Giuliani said President Trump reimbursed his lawyer, Michael Cohen, the $130,000 he paid adult film star Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence about an affair she said she had with Trump in 2006.
Here is the moment Rudy Giuliani, while sounding like the old, incoherent guy at the end of the bar admitting that Trump repaid Michael Cohen the $130,000 in Stormy Daniels hush money. pic.twitter.com/zageA4IiBe
— Erick Fernandez (@ErickFernandez) May 3, 2018
Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City and one of the newest members of Trump's legal team, told the Fox News host that the money was "funneled" through a law firm, and Trump "knew the general arrangement" but not the "specifics." The money was "paid by his lawyer the way I would do it," he continued, "out of his law firm funds or whatever funds, it doesn't matter, and the president reimbursed that over a period of several months."
Hannity said he "distinctly" remembered Cohen saying "he did it on his own," to which Giuliani responded, "He did?" Quickly, Giuliani added, "Look, I don't know, I haven't investigated that, there's no reason to dispute his recollection." Trump has said he knew nothing about Cohen's payment to Daniels. Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, told MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell he was rendered "speechless" by Giuliani's admission. Catherine Garcia
A Missouri state House committee released a report on Wednesday detailing an extramarital affair Gov. Eric Greitens (R) had with his hairdresser, who testified under oath that he groped her and was violent during sexual encounters, slapping and calling her names.
The panel, which includes five Republicans and two Democrats, said it finds the woman, whose name was not released, to be an "overall credible witness." The woman has accused Greitens of taking a photo of her without consent while she was semi-nude and blindfolded, then threatening to release it if she ever told anyone about their encounter. She also said she felt coerced into performing oral sex on Greitens, and that he slapped her when she told him she had been intimate with her estranged husband. The alleged incidents took place before he was elected in 2016.
In February, a grand jury indicted Greitens on one count of invasion of privacy for allegedly taking and transmitting the picture of the woman, and he goes to trial on May 14. The committee began its investigation on March 1, and the report could be used to set off impeachment proceedings. Greitens turned down an opportunity to testify or provide documents to the panel, and on Wednesday called it a "political witch hunt." He also accused the woman of lying, and said the affair was "a private mistake." Several Democrats have called on him to resign. Catherine Garcia
Some U.S. intelligence officials fear that the Chinese government is conducting sophisticated "kidnapping" programs in the United States in order to spirit their nationals back to the mainland, where they face arrest and imprisonment on political and corruption charges. Beijing has openly admitted to repatriating more than 3,000 people "who had escaped overseas" since late 2012, Xinhua reports, although the U.S. intelligence community believes China's strategies in Western nations often involves pushing the definitions of coercion and kidnapping.
In one example cited in the report by Foreign Policy, a Chinese-Canadian billionaire was snatched from his hotel in Hong Kong in 2017 and was loaded — likely sedated — into a wheelchair and rolled out through the lobby with a sheet covering his head. Similar stories have also come out of Australia, a U.S. intelligence partner, including one about a man who was allegedly drugged by Chinese security forces and transported back to the mainland on a state-owned shipping vessel.
Chinese nationals living in the United States have also begun to disappear under suspicious circumstances, although unlike previous targets, "they were not high-profile folks," said one former U.S. intelligence official.
"There were multiple reports of people observing Chinese intelligence operatives materializing around the schools or residences of the missing people," the intelligence official went on. "One theory was that they were strong-arming them in person, saying, 'We're here. Your flight back to China is tomorrow.'" The official stressed that there is still a difference between "kicking in a door and taking a guy forcefully away and saying, 'Come with us or we'll kill your family in Inner Mongolia.'" Still, in one case involving a Chinese graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, there was "evidence of this person being taken against their will."
Christopher Steele, the former British spy responsible for a controversial unverified dossier about President Trump, also wrote a memo for the FBI alleging that Russian President Vladimir Putin's former media czar was beaten to death in a Washington, D.C., hotel room on the eve of scheduled meeting with the Department of Justice, BuzzFeed News reports. The memo contradicts the U.S. government's official finding that said the man, RT founder Mikhail Lesin, died in an "accident."
"DOJ was investigating RT," said one FBI agent. "These are the types of meetings we have with people when we want to recruit them as informants.”
The news about Steele's report comes as governments around the globe are taking a second look at the suspicious deaths of Russian figures on their soil. In Britain, that number is as high as 14. The U.S. and U.K. have both blamed Moscow for the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter with a nerve agent earlier this month.
Steele's report claims that "the thugs had been instructed to beat Lesin, not kill him, but they went too far," BuzzFeed News writes. The attackers were apparently working on behalf of a shady oligarch with ties to Putin. At least three other intelligence sources independent of Steele also told the FBI that Lesin had been beaten to death, further complicating the American government's claim his death was accidental.
"It is not inconceivable that the Kremlin could use its security services in the United States as it has elsewhere," mused Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January. "The trail of mysterious deaths, all of which happened to people who possessed information that the Kremlin did not want made public, should not be ignored by Western countries on the assumption that they are safe from these extreme measures." Read more details of the Steele report at BuzzFeed News. Jeva Lange
Jennie Willoughby, one of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter's ex-wives, told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Thursday she's concerned about the safety of Porter's current girlfriend, White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, and "if he hasn't already been abusive with Hope, he will be."
Willoughby and Porter's first wife, Colbie Holderness, both came forward this week accusing Porter of verbal, emotional, and physical abuse, with Holderness sharing a photo of herself with a black eye, which she said she received from Porter while on a 2005 vacation. Porter resigned on Wednesday, calling the allegations "outrageous" and "simply false."
During her interview with Cooper, Willoughby, who married Porter in 2009 and divorced him in 2013, called her ex-husband a "troubled man with issues that needs help." He began belittling her within the first two weeks of their marriage, and it escalated, with him eventually grabbing her while she took a shower and punching through the glass in her front door. By the end, Willoughby said, she was in "constant terror of not knowing what I might do to set something off." But while they were dating, he was "quite charming and chivalrous and romantic," she said, and it took her awhile to realize she was in an abusive relationship.
That led Willoughby to Hicks. "I don't think he's changed," she said, adding, "If he hasn't already been abusive with Hope, he will. Particularly now that he's under a lot of stress and scrutiny; that's when the behaviors come out." She said she doesn't think he's done "the self-reflective work to acknowledge this issue," and "hasn't really taken the time to deconstruct why it is that he behaves this way, and until he's able to do that, I don't know that he has control over it." Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia