Connect with us
[bsa_pro_ad_space id=12]

Top Story CP

Cohen expected to claim lying, racism and cheating by Trump

Published

7 minute read

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, is expected to give a behind-the-scenes account of what he will claim is Trump’s lying, racism and cheating, and possibly even criminal conduct, when he testifies publicly before a House committee on Wednesday, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Cohen is expected to provide what he will claim is evidence, in the form of documents, of Trump’s conduct, said the person, who requested anonymity to discuss the confidential testimony.

Trump’s former personal “fixer” arrived on Capitol Hill Tuesday to begin three days of congressional appearances, starting with a closed-door interview with the Senate intelligence committee. The public won’t have a chance to hear from him until Wednesday, when he testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee. He will go behind closed doors again when he talks to the House intelligence committee on Thursday.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement Tuesday it was “laughable that anyone would take a convicted liar like Cohen at his word, and pathetic to see him given yet another opportunity to spread his lies.”

Lawmakers are alternately suspicious of Cohen, who is set to serve time in prison for lying to the House and Senate intelligence committees in 2017, and eager to hear what Cohen has to say after he turned on his longtime boss. Senators on the intelligence panel are expected to attend Tuesday’s meeting, a departure from the committee’s usual practice, where witness interviews are conducted by staff only.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr told The Associated Press that senators will have staff ask questions but will be in the room to observe. He said no topics will be off limits and Cohen “should expect to get any question from anywhere about anything.”

Burr said committee members know a lot more than they did when they first interviewed Cohen, who later pleaded guilty to lying to the House and Senate intelligence committees about abandoning a proposal for a Trump Tower in Moscow in January 2016. Cohen has since acknowledged he continued pursuing the project for months after that.

Burr suggested that the committee will take steps to ensure Cohen is telling the truth.

“I’m sure there will be some questions we know the answers to, so we’ll test him to see whether in fact he’ll be truthful this time,” Burr said.

As a close confidant of Trump for many years, Cohen’s testimony is among the most anticipated since the House and Senate started investigating the Trump campaign’s Russia ties two years ago. In addition to lying to Congress, Cohen pleaded guilty last year to campaign finance violations for his involvement in payments to two women who allege they had affairs with Trump. He is set to begin a three-year prison sentence in May.

Federal prosecutors in New York have said Trump directed Cohen to arrange the payments to buy the silence of porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal in the run-up to the 2016 campaign.

Trump denies the allegations and says that Cohen lied to get a lighter sentence.

The person with knowledge of the matter said Cohen will provide information about Trump’s financial statements that he will claim shows Trump deflated assets to pay lower taxes on golf courses; will provide details of the Daniels payment and claim that Trump organized a coverup by pretending Cohen would be repaid; and claim that Trump talked to him and asked him questions about the Trump Moscow project throughout 2016.

He is also expected to discuss what he knows about a meeting between Trump campaign associates and a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower before the 2016 election, a matter that is of particular interest to special counsel Robert Mueller and congressional investigators.

Cohen is only expected to discuss matters related to Russia in the closed-door interviews with the intelligence committees, as House Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings has said he doesn’t want to interfere with Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and links to Trump’s campaign.

Members of the Oversight panel are expected to ask questions about the campaign finance violations, Trump’s business practices and compliance with tax laws and “the accuracy of the president’s public statements,” according to a memo laying out the scope of that hearing. The hearing’s scope does not include Russia.

Cohen’s week of interviews come as House Democrats launch multiple investigations into Trump’s ties to Russia and conflict-of-interest issues within the administration. House Republicans in the last Congress investigated whether Trump’s campaign co-ordinated with Russia, but ended that probe over Democratic objections, saying that there was no evidence that they did so. The Senate’s Russia investigation is ongoing.

Cohen had been scheduled to speak to the three committees earlier this month, but rescheduled all of those appearances for different reasons. He said he needed to recover from surgery and also was concerned about what he considered to be threats to his family from Trump and the president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff postponed Cohen’s appearance before that committee, saying it was “in the interests of the investigation,” with no additional details.

Mary Clare Jalonick And Michael R. Sisak, The Associated Press



Top Story CP

Supreme Court to rule on constitutionality of genetic discrimination law

Published on

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada is slated to rule this morning on the constitutionality of a federal law that forbids companies from making people undergo genetic testing before buying insurance or other services.

The Genetic Non-Discrimination Act also outlaws the practice of requiring the disclosure of existing genetic test results as a condition for obtaining such services or entering into a contract.

The act is intended to ensure Canadians can take genetic tests to help identify health risks without fear they will be penalized when seeking life or health insurance.

The law, passed three years ago, is the result of a private member’s bill that was introduced in the Senate and garnered strong support from MPs despite opposition from then-justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.

The Quebec government referred the new law to the provincial Court of Appeal, which ruled in 2018 that it strayed beyond the federal government’s jurisdiction over criminal law.

The Canadian Coalition for Genetic Fairness then challenged the ruling in the Supreme Court of Canada, which heard the appeal last October.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 10, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Continue Reading

Top Story CP

North Atlantic right whales nearing extinction, international nature body says

Published on

OTTAWA — North Atlantic right whales are now considered one step away from complete eradication.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature is moving the whales from “endangered” to “critically endangered” on its red list of global species facing threats to their survival.

The only step beyond “critically endangered” is extinction.

Fewer than 250 mature whales were known to exist at the end of 2018, in a total population of only about 400.

More than 30 whales have been killed by ships or fishing gear entanglements in the last three years, two-thirds of them in Canadian waters.

The conservation group classified right whales as endangered in 2008, and since then the population has declined more than 15 per cent.

Sean Brillant, a senior conservation biologist with the Canadian Wildlife Federation in Halifax, says the change in status is not surprising and should put even more pressure on governments in Canada and the United States to do more to stop these whales from being wiped out.

“We are an affluent country with an incredible amount of knowledge and resources, we have good controls over our oceans industry,” he said. “And we can’t figure this out? How embarrassing. We need to step up and solve this problem.”

He said Canada has done a lot in recent years to try to protect the whales, including closing fisheries and implementing speed limits for boats. This year, more than 12,000 square kilometres of the Gulf of St. Lawrence has already been closed to fixed-gear fishing until November, because so many North Atlantic right whales were spotted in the region this summer.

Department of Fisheries and Oceans rules close about 2,000 square kilometres for 15 days around a place where a whale is spotted; if a whale is spotted within that area again in that period, the area closes for the rest of the season.

Brillant said it’s still not enough. Oceans Canada recently called on Ottawa to make speed limits in the Cabot Strait mandatory instead of voluntary after research showed most ship captains were choosing not to follow it. The Cabot Strait is the entrance to the Gulf of St. Lawrence between Newfoundland and Cape Breton that most of the whales use.

Brillant also said speed limits are better than nothing but the only full solution is to prevent the ships from going near the whales at all.

Amy Butcher, a spokeswoman for Transport Minister Marc Garneau, said the government has mandatory speed restrictions in most of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and this year imposed a new restricted area that requires ships to stay away or reduce speeds even further from 10 knots to eight.

“Our government takes the protection and recovery of the North Atlantic right whale very seriously,” she said.

Brillant said so far this year has been positive with no whales dying in Canadian waters thus far. Two calves have died in American waters, and one of their mothers has not been seen since the calf showed up dead. Both calves were killed by ships, and one was hit by ships twice in its seven months of life.

The whales, which migrate along the eastern coast of North America, spend winters off Florida and Georgia before migrating north to New England and Atlantic Canada in the summer. 

The whales are threatened by a combination of factors, including climate change, which appears to be driving them further north in the summer months to find food. Brillant said before 2017, surveys of the whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence were limited, but when that work began in more detail, it was clear there were a lot of whales present in waters that opened them up to serious risk of being hit by big ships or tangled in fishing lines.

Brillant said in addition to the 31 whales that have died, at least another 10 have been entangled with fishing gear, most of them in Canada. Whales tangled up in fishing gear are “as good as dead” because they cannot reproduce and their prospects for survival are not good.

“We are not going to be graded on good intentions and good decisions unless we get the results. And the results have to be that we don’t drive this species to extinction.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 9, 2020.

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

Continue Reading

july, 2020

No Events

Trending

X