The U.S. at a glance ...
New York City
College basketball arrests: Federal authorities launched a sweeping crackdown on corruption in college basketball this week, arresting four assistant coaches and an Adidas executive accused of using bribes to steer star athletes toward sports agents, schools, and even tailors. Auburn’s Chuck Person, Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans, Arizona’s Emanuel “Book” Richardson, and USC’s Tony Bland were charged with crimes including bribery and fraud in Manhattan federal court, as was James Gatto, a marketing executive for athletic brand Adidas. Five other men—financial advisers, business managers, and the owner of a custom clothier for athletes—also face charges. Prosecutors allege that at least three top high school recruits and their families were promised payments of as much as $150,000 to sign with Adidas-sponsored schools. “The most important part is that you...don’t say nothing to anybody,” one of the coaches is quoted by prosecutors as telling a player about the bribes. “But this is how the NBA players get it done.”
Menlo Park, Calif.
Russian meddling: Facebook ads purchased by Russian operatives during the 2016 campaign sought to inflame America’s racial and political divides, according to documents the Menlo Park, Calif.–based social network turned over to congressional investigators this week. Facebook agreed to provide lawmakers with copies of the more than 3,000 Russian-bought ads that the social network says it uncovered in recent weeks. Some advertisements promoted groups such as Black Lives Matter, while others painted them as a rising political threat. Other ads praised Bernie Sanders, even after he ended his presidential campaign, as well as Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Congressional investigators now want to know how the Russian ad buyers decided which groups of Facebook users to target and why. “Their aim was to sow chaos,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.).
Football autopsy: Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who killed himself in his prison cell earlier this year while serving a life sentence for murder, had a severe case of the degenerative brain disease CTE, researchers at Boston University said last week. A posthumous exam showed that th e 27-yearold Hernandez had brain damage more commonly seen in former football players well into their 60s. CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, has been linked to repeated blows to the head, and the disease can be marked by increased rage and lack of impulse control. Hernandez also had a history of substance abuse and other incidents of off-field violence. He was arrested for murder in 2013—not long after signing a $40 million contract with the Patriots—when the body of semipro football player Odin Lloyd was discovered in a gravel pit near Hernandez’s home in North Attleboro, Mass.
Tax plan unveiled: President Trump and GOP lawmakers this week outlined sweeping changes to the federal tax code, proposing to slash taxes for companies and individuals while eliminating many exemptions and deductions. The plan, which Republicans characterized as a starting point for negotiations, would reduce the number of tax brackets from seven to three, with rates of 12 percent, 25 percent, and 35 percent, while doubling the standard deduction to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for couples. The corporate tax rate would fall to 20 percent from 35 percent, with a new 25 percent rate for pass-through businesses, which are now taxed like income. The plan could decrease tax revenue by $5 trillion over 10 years, but Republicans propose to make up more than half that by eliminating yet-to-be-specified loopholes. “People say health care was hard,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). “You have no idea how this is going to be.”
New York City
Weiner gets time: A federal judge sentenced former Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner to 21 months in prison this week for exchanging sexually explicit texts with a 15-year-old girl. The 53-year-old Weiner wept as Judge Denise Cote handed down the sentence, holding his hands over his face as he was told he must register as a sex offender. Weiner’s habit of sending lewd photos to women repeatedly derailed his once-promising political career, first forcing his resignation from Congress in 2011 and later dashing his hopes of becoming mayor of New York City. It may have also derailed Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. The FBI’s investigation into Weiner’s sexting led to the reopening of the Clinton email probe in the final days of the 2016 campaign, after agents discovered emails between Clinton and Weiner’s wife, longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin, on the couple’s laptop. “I was a very sick man for a long time,” Weiner told the judge. “I have a disease, but I have no excuse.”
Private emails: At least six of President Trump’s top advisers have used private email accounts for White House business, The New York Times reported this week. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser, said through his lawyer that he used a personal account to send “fewer than a hundred emails” this year, and that the emails had later been forwarded to his official account. Using private email for workrelated messages isn’t illegal for White House officials, as long as the emails are forwarded to a government account, creating a public record. Steve Bannon, Trump’s former strategist; former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus; and advisers Gary Cohn, Stephen Miller, and Ivanka Trump have also used private email for White House business, according to current and former administration officials. Hillary Clinton, who was savaged by Trump for using a private email server while secretary of state, called the administration’s email habits “the height of hypocrisy.”