The U.S. at a glance ...
Pulse nightclub arrest: The widow of the gunman who killed 49 people at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub last June was arrested at her family’s home in San Francisco this week and charged with aiding and abetting the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Noor Salman, who was born to Palestinian immigrants in California, had previously told police that she knew her husband, Omar Mateen, wanted to carry out a jihadist attack in the name of ISIS—but that she had no knowledge of his specific plans. Salman said she begged him not to go when he left their home to carry out his massacre, but that she was too scared to speak out against him after years of being physically abused by him. Federal prosecutors, however, said Salman’s story has been inconsistent, and that she helped Mateen shop for bullets the night before his rampage and then deliberately obstructed authorities’ investigation in the days after the attack. Mateen was killed during a shoot-out with police.
Trump lawsuit: A former contestant on The Apprentice who had previously accused President Donald Trump of sexual harassment filed a defamation lawsuit against him this week, three days before his inauguration. Summer Zervos, who starred on Trump’s reality TV show in 2006, was one of more than a dozen women to accuse Trump of sexual assault during the presidential campaign after an audiotape emerged of Trump bragging about groping women. Zervos said that Trump assaulted her during a 2007 business meeting at the Beverly Hills Hotel— kissing her on the lips, groping her breasts, and thrusting his genitals at her. During the campaign, Trump vehemently denied the allegations, calling Zervos and the other women liars and referring to Zervos’ allegations as “fiction.” Zervos said she would immediately dismiss her case against Trump if he “acknowledged that I told the truth about him.”
Damning police report: The Chicago Police Department routinely violates civilians’ civil rights, uses excessive force, and discriminates against minority residents, according to a blistering report released last week by the Justice Department. During the 13-month study, federal investigators found that officers regularly shot unarmed suspects in the back; dropped off young people in rival-gang neighborhoods, endangering their lives; and used a Taser on an unarmed, naked 65-year-old woman with a mental illness. Some officers also posted racist comments and pictures of dead black men on social media. The report could lead to a consent decree that would institute new police training and practices in the city. The Trump administration has spoken out against such decrees, saying they prevent police from doing their job. The report came amid a surge in violence in Chicago, where murders are at a 20-year high.
Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
Manning to be freed: President Obama this week commuted Chelsea Manning’s remaining prison sentence—allowing the former Army intelligence analyst to leave Fort Leavenworth in May, rather than the year 2045. Manning was arrested in 2010 for leaking 250,000 classified government documents to WikiLeaks, and was sentenced in 2013 to 35 years, an unprecedented sentence for a leak conviction. Formerly known as Bradley Manning, the 29-year-old began transitioning to a woman while in prison, and twice tried to commit suicide during her seven years of incarceration. Many Republicans condemned Obama’s action, arguing that Manning’s leaks endangered lives and damaged national security. But the Obama administration said Manning had admitted her crime, expressed remorse, and “served her time.” Her release will relieve the Pentagon of assisting with her gender transition, which it had argued it was ill equipped to handle.
Trump health nominee: Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of health and human services, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), defended himself against allegations of ethics violations this week, during a tense confirmation hearing that also touched on the Trump administration’s plans for Obamacare, Medicare, and Medicaid. The former orthopedic surgeon is accused of buying about $300,000 in shares in health companies before introducing or pursuing legislation that could favorably affect them. In the hearing, Price denied making inappropriate financial investments, saying he had “no idea what stocks I held in the ’90s or the 2000s or even now.” Most investment decisions, he said, were directed by a mutual fund. Later in the hearing, Price declined to commit to Trump’s campaign pledge not to cut funding to Medicare and Medicaid, but he vowed that the Republican effort to repeal Obamacare wouldn’t leave millions without insurance. “Nobody’s interested in the pulling the rug out from under anybody,” he said.
Woman kidnapped as infant found: A young woman who was abducted from a Florida hospital as a newborn baby 18 years ago was found alive in South Carolina this week, and the woman who posed as her mother was charged with her kidnapping. Kamiyah Mobley was only 8 hours old when she was snatched from a Jackson ville hospital in 1998 by a young woman posing as a nurse. Her kidnapping sparked a massive search and produced thousands of leads, but the case was only solved when an anonymous tip was sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children this year. Gloria Williams, 51, was arrested in Walterboro; she had renamed the baby Alexis Manigo and raised her in the town as her own daughter. Days after Williams’ arrest, Mobley was re united with her birth parents. “The first meeting was beautiful,” said her father, Craig Aiken. “We are just trying to process it—18 years.”