President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump is pictured walking from Marine One after arriving on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC.
Saul Loeb, AFP/Getty Images

Trump implicated by prosecutors in Russia probe

President Donald Trump on Saturday denied directing his former lawyer to pay hush money to two women who claimed they had affairs with him. The denials came a day after federal prosecutors – in recommending prison time for Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer – implicated Trump in a scheme to pay the women in what they called a violation of campaign finance laws. Cohen, who pleaded guilty to making false statements to Congress, also spoke to prosecutors about the Trump campaign's contacts with Russia, which sought to influence the 2016 election.

Meanwhile, a transcript released Saturday shows former FBI Director James Comey told lawmakers about four Americans who "had some connection to Mr. Trump during the summer of 2016" and were tied to "the Russian interference effort."

First transgender male boxer wins in pro debut

Patricio Manuel won his professional boxing debut Saturday over journeyman Hugo Aguilar in the 128-pound super featherweight division. But that's not the real story: Manuel also became the first transgender male to compete as a pro boxer in the United States. Now 33, Manuel was a five-time amateur champion who competed as a woman in the 2012 Olympic trials before a shoulder injury ended his bid. But the injury was a blessing in disguise, leading him to medically transition to a male. "I think it needed to happen this way," he said. "I’m just really glad with the way everything played out."

Alvaradomorales 9
Patricio Manuel, left, posted a unanimous decision victory over Hugo Aguilar in the 128-pound super featherweight division bout Saturday night, Dec. 8, 2018, at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California. Manuel became the first transgender male to compete as a pro boxer in the United States.
Brandon Magpantay, Special to The Desert Sun

John Kelly out as White House chief of staff

The man assigned to bring a level of discipline to President Donald Trump’s often chaotic administration, John Kelly, will leave his post as chief of staff after internal tensions spilled into public view, Trump said Saturday. "John Kelly will be leaving toward the end of the year,” the president told reporters as he left the White House for the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia. The president was careful not to describe Kelly's exit as a firing. Kelly himself had not commented publicly since reports emerged Friday that he would be leaving soon.

Oklahoma QB's Heisman win draws social media backlash

Kyler Murray on Saturday became the second Oklahoma quarterback in a row to win the Heisman Trophy, edging out Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa after the Sooners' Baker Mayfield won last year. Murray's Heisman triumph turned a bit sour, however, when several homophobic tweets he made six years ago resurfaced. He apologized Sunday, tweeting that he "used a poor choice of word that doesn't reflect  who I am or what I believe." Murray and Mayfield are the first players to come from the same school and play the same position to take the Heisman in successive years.

Winter storm slams the nation 

A winter storm bringing havoc to traffic across much of the nation crawled east Sunday, pummeling the Southeast with snow and sleet. Almost 300,000 homes and businesses were without power in North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama early Sunday. Thousands of flights were cancelled or delayed from Texas to the Carolinas. In North Carolina, more than 1,000 flights were cancelled in and out of Charlotte Douglas International Airport alone. Parts of North Carolina could see snow measured in feet rather than inches before the storm finally rolls out to sea, a forecast that compelled Gov. Roy Cooper to declare a state of emergency.

This is a compilation of stories from across USA TODAY.