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President Trump’s Personal Lawyer Hired Own Lawyer To Handle The Russia Investigation

Associated Press
Attorney Michael Cohen arrives to Trump Tower for meetings with President-elect Donald Trump on December 16, 2016 in New York.© BRYAN R. SMITH—AFP/Getty Images Attorney Michael Cohen arrives at Trump Tower for meetings with President-elect Donald Trump on December 16, 2016, in New York.  

(WASHINGTON) – President Trump’s personal lawyer has retained a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer to represent him in the various government probes connected to Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

Attorney Steve Ryan says Friday that Michael Cohen plans on cooperating “in all governmental inquiries.”

A special counsel is probing the 2016 presidential election and whether there were any contacts between Russians and the Trump campaign.

Multiple committees in both houses of Congress are investigating the same thing.

Cohen has worked for Trump since the mid-2000s and was active in the campaign. He has already been subpoenaed by the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee.

Ryan is a former general counsel for the Senate’s committee on governmental affairs. He heads the McDermott, Will and Emery firm’s government strategies practice.

(Time)

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Donald Trump Unleashes Twitter Fury On James Comey |The Republican News

President Donald Trump lashed out at former FBI Director James Comey on Twitter early Friday following the previous day’s dramatic Senate hearing.

Comey, speaking to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday morning, had harsh words for the White House throughout questioning from lawmakers, saying repeatedly he was very uncomfortable with the president’s requests for loyalty and that the administration lied and defamed him after he was unexpectedly fired in May.

Trump, however, disagreed.

Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication…and WOW, Comey is a leaker!

His comments echoed remarks made by his lawyer  Marc Kasowitz on Thursday.

“It is overwhelmingly clear that there have been and continue to be those in government who are actively attempting to undermine this administration with selective and illegal leaks of classified information and privileged communications,” Kasowitz said at a press conference.  “Mr Comey has now admitted that he is one of the leakers.”

All eyes were on the former director as he spoke about the FBI’s ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election. Shortly after Comey was fired, the Department of Justice appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to serve as a special counsel to oversee the investigation, a decision that has reportedly left Trump fuming.

Trump is well-known for his early morning tweetstorms following major news events. He recently unleashed a furious defense of the White House’s second attempt at a travel ban aimed at citizens from six Muslim-majority nations.

“That’s right, we need a travel ban for certain dangerous countries, not some politically correct term that won’t help us protect people!” he wrote.   (Huffpost)

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James Comey Confirms Trump Tried To Make Him Drop Russia Probe And Pledge Loyalty To Him

 Former FBI Director James Comey will confirm past reports that Donald Trump pressured him to drop investigations related to an ongoing probe into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, according to prepared testimony.

Mr Comey’s prepared testimony appears to confirm past reports based upon memos that the former FBI director wrote about his interactions with the President, including a January dinner between the two when Mr Trump asked him if he wanted to stay on in his post as director before demanding loyalty.

In other interactions between the two in February, the President pressured Mr Comey to drop an FBI investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign from his post a day earlier and less than a month into the presidency amid concerns about his contacts with Russians.

“I hope you can see your way clear to let this go, to let Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go,” Mr Trump said to Mr Comey during that Valentines Day dinner, according to the testimony. Mr Comey didn’t say that he would drop it.

Mr Comey immediately prepared unclassified memos about his conversations with the President regarding Mr Flynn and had thought the request was concerning. After a call with FBI leadership, Mr Comey determined that it was important to try and avoid being alone with the President – he wrote that he was concerned that there was nobody who could corroborate that initial interaction regarding Mr Flynn – and later asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to restrict any further one-on-one meetings between the President and himself. The attorney general did not reply to that request.

The two would speak twice more before Mr Trump abruptly fired the former FBI director, according to the testimony.

In a late March phone call, Mr Trump repeatedly complained that the Russia probe was creating “a cloud” that made it very hard for him to perform his duties as president, and asked that Mr Comey to tell people that he was not investigating the President specifically. Mr Comey told Mr Trump that FBI protocol is to not make that information public because it would create an obligation to correct the record publicly if the probe ended up including the President.

“He said he had nothing to do with Russia, had not been involved with hookers in Russia, and had always assumed he was being recorded when in Russia. He asked what we could do to ‘lift the cloud,'” Mr Comey’s testimony reads. “I responded that we were investigating the matter as quickly as we could, nd that there would be a great benefit, if we didn’t find anything, to our having done the work well. He agreed, but then re-emphasized the problems this was causing him.”

During a final phone call between the two, Mr Trump asked why Mr Comey hadn’t gotten the word out that the President wasn’t personally being investigated, to which Mr Comey said that he had sent the request along to the Justice Department but hadn’t heard back. Mr Trump indicated that he would also ask the Justice Department to release that information, to which Mr Comey said that was the appropriate process for the request.

Mr Comey’s testimony in front of the Senate has become one of the most anticipated hearings in modern political history. The former FBI director was fired abruptly by the President, and reportedly learned about his ouster during a speech in California when he glimpsed the news playing on television. Following his firing, leaks detailing the information now corroborated by Mr Comey’s testimony began to trickle out, leading to outrage in Washington and concerns that Mr Trump’s actions constituted obstruction of justice.  (The Independent)

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Donald Trump Jnr Attacks Mayor Of London, Sadiq Khan, Over Terrorism

Donald Trump Jr has joined his father in attacking Sadiq Khan, saying the Mayor of London is “pretending” there isn’t a problem with terrorism in the capital.

The US President’s son waded in on the row, which has led Mr Khan to suggest that Donald Trump’s planned state visit to Britain should be cancelled, during a television interview on Tuesday.

Mr Trump had previously branded Mr Khan “pathetic” as he criticised him for saying there was “no reason to be alarmed” by the additional police presence on the capital’s streets following the London Bridge terror attack.

                 © Provided by Independent Print Limited

And Trump Jr added in an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America: “Rather than the Mayor of London attacking maybe he should do something about it.

“Maybe he should do something to fix the problem rather than just sit there and pretend there isn’t one.

“I think that’s an important message.”

He also defended his father, saying: “Every time he puts something out there he gets criticised by the media all day every day by everyone else and guess what? Two weeks later he’s proven to be right.”

“It happened again and we keep appeasing it and keep saying, ‘okay, it’s going to be great. We’re going to hold fast and we’re going to keep calm and carry on.’

“Maybe we have to keep calm and actually do something. And I think that’s what he’s trying to say because he’s been proven right every time.”

Trump Jr also slammed Sadiq Khan after the terror attack in Westminster over comments the Mayor made in an interview last year about terrorism.

The President’s son quoted an interview Mr Khan did with the Evening Standard last September, following an explosion in the Chelsea district of New York that left 29 people injured.

The Mayor said in the interview that terror attacks were “part and parcel of life in the big city”.

Trump Jr linked to a report of the interview in a tweet, saying “You have to be kidding me?!”                  (Evening Standard)

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Trump To Reverse Obama’s Cuba Policy, Says Report |The Republican News

 

Niv Elis
Report: Trump to reverse Obama’s Cuba policy          © Provided by The Hill Report: Trump to reverse Obama’s Cuba policy  

President Donald Trump plans on reversing a set of policies softening relations with Cuba, according to a report from The Daily Caller.

According to the report, the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, an anti-embargo group, said the Trump administration was preparing to announce the changes to Obama-era policies in a June speech in Miami.

The report cites two unnamed sources who say that a bipartisan trio of senators — Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) — pushed for the reversal.

Obama, who became the first U.S. president to visit Cuba in almost a century last year, put in motion a series of policies to thaw relations with the Communist island nation, which had been a strategic burden throughout the Cold War.

While Obama was able to soften regulation on some kinds of trade, business and travel, Congress has refused to lift the 57-year-old embargo.

The Trump administration had put the Cuba policy under review upon taking office.

The Daily Caller report surfaced days after Trump met with Pope Francis, who facilitated the deal between Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro.  (The Hill)

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Following Trump’s Trip, Merkel Says Europe Can’t Rely On The United States

 

Michael Birnbaum, Rick Noack
German Chancellor Angela Merkel flanked by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Trump.© Jonathan Ernst/Reuters German Chancellor Angela Merkel flanked by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Trump.  

LONDON — German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday declared a new chapter in U.S.-European relations after contentious meetings with President Trump last week, saying that Europe “really must take our fate into our own hands.”

It was the toughest review yet of Trump’s trip to Europe, which inflamed tensions rather than healed them after the U.S. president sparred with the leaders of Washington’s closest and oldest allies on trade, defense and climate change.

Merkel, Europe’s de facto leader, told a packed beer hall rally in Munich that the days when her continent could rely on others was “over to a certain extent. This is what I have experienced in the last few days.”

The comments came as Europe watches Britain preparing to leave the European Union and faces antagonism from Washington.

Merkel said that Europe’s move toward self-reliance should be carried out “of course in friendship with the United States of America, in friendship with Great Britain and as good neighbors wherever that works.”

It was an unusually stark declaration from the normally cautious head of Europe’s most powerful economy, and a grim take on the transatlantic ties that have underpinned Western security in the generations since World War II. Although relations between Washington and Europe have been strained at times since 1945, before Trump there has rarely been such a strong feeling from European leaders that they must turn away from Washington and prepare to face the world alone.

The German leader received a minute-long ovation for her comments, which came as she seeks to whip up voter support ahead of September elections. Although her message was partly aimed at her electorate, it was a measure of how badly relations have deteriorated with Trump’s United States that hitting Washington might win votes, while working with it could be perilous.

The remarks were a clear repudiation of Trump’s troubled few days with European leaders, even as Merkel held back from mentioning the U.S. president by name. On Thursday, Trump had harsh words for German trade behind closed doors. Hours later, he blasted European leaders at NATO for failing to spend enough on defense, while holding back from offering an unconditional guarantee for European security. Then, at the Group of Seven summit of leaders of major world economies on Friday and Saturday, he refused to endorse the Paris agreement on combating climate change, punting a decision until this week.

Merkel’s comments were similar to some she made shortly before Trump’s inauguration in January. But they carry extra heft now that Trump is in office — and after Trump had a days-long opportunity to reset relations. Instead, by most European accounts, he strained them even more.

“The belief in shared values has been shattered by the Trump administration,” said Stephan Bierling, an expert on transatlantic relations at Germany’s University of Regensburg. “After the inauguration, everyone in Europe was hopeful that Trump would become more moderate and take into account the positions of the G-7 and of NATO. But the opposite has happened. It’s as if he is still trying to win a campaign.”

Trump, who returned from his nine-day international trip Saturday, had a different take.

“Just returned from Europe. Trip was a great success for America. Hard work but big results!” Trump wrote on Sunday, reviving a prolific Twitter habit that had slackened during his days on the road.

But many European leaders emerged from their meetings with Trump filled with fresh worry. Trump was far more solicitous toward the autocratic king of Saudi Arabia earlier in the week, telling him and other leaders of Muslim-majority countries — many of them not democratically elected — that he was not “here to lecture.” Days later in Brussels he offered a scathing assessment of Washington’s closest allies, saying they were being “unfair” to American taxpayers.

The practical consequences of the rift remain uncertain. The United States remains the largest economy in the world, and its military is indispensable for European security, putting a clear limit on Europe’s ability to declare independence. American consumers also form an important market for European products — including the German BMWs that Trump complained about in closed-door meetings in Brussels, according to German press accounts.

Nor is Europe united in its approach to Trump: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has cracked down on critics at home, has embraced the U.S. leader. British Prime Minister Theresa May also has tried to maintain ties, though that’s in part because she needs partners as she leads her country out of the European Union.

Yet even as Merkel positions herself ahead of the election, the message could be the signal of a shift away from the United States, perhaps even one that could outlast Trump’s time in office, and that would weaken U.S. global power over the long term. European leaders are developing plans to deepen military cooperation independently of the United States. They are also reaching out to economic partners in Asia that Trump has spurned. All of those shifts will have consequences that extend years, analysts say.

Cliff Kupchan, chairman of the Eurasia Group of analysts, said Trump’s performance in Europe left wounds that could come back to haunt the United States.

“Trump is creating the biggest transatlantic rift since the Iraq War, perhaps even since WWII,” he said in an email. “This leaves the U.S. exposed. If the Iran nuclear accord flounders, for example, Europe may well not end up on Trump’s side of a dangerous crisis.”

Conservative Trump critic William Kristol, who edits the Weekly Standard magazine, wrote on Twitter: “Merkel’s comments today are a reminder that Trump’s failures are, while he’s president, also America’s failure, and damage America.”

The landslide election in France of President Emmanuel Macron this month has revived hopes for Franco-German cooperation on efforts to bolster European defense initiatives. European leaders want to coordinate defense purchasing and do more to have standing military capabilities that are deployable outside NATO command structures, where the United States is the dominant force.

Germany raised its military spending by $2.2 billion this year, to $41 billion, though it remains far from being able to stand on its own militarily.

Merkel and Macron have vowed to work together to further the pro-globalization agenda that Trump stands against.

Merkel’s comments were not the only sign Sunday of a Europe determined to hit back. Macron acknowledged that he came prepared for his handshake with Trump, who likes to throw others off balance with a firm yank of the arm. Macron appeared to force Trump to keep shaking hands even after the U.S. leader tried to disengage.

“We must show that we will not make small concessions, even symbolic ones,” Macron told France’s Journal du Dimanche in remarks published Sunday. He called it “a moment of truth.”  (The Washington Post)

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Trump Russia Inquiry: Kushner Under FBI Scrutiny – US Media

President Donald Trump (left) and Jared Kushner. Photo: February 2017Image copyrightREUTERS Image captionJared Kushner (right) is a senior adviser to President Trump

 

President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, is under FBI scrutiny as part of the Russia investigation, according to US media.

Reports say investigators believe he has relevant information, but he is not necessarily suspected of a crime.

The FBI is looking into potential Russian meddling in the 2016 election and links with Mr Trump’s campaign. The president denies any collusion.

Mr Kushner’s lawyer said his client would co-operate with any inquiry.

President Trump has described the situation as “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history”.

US intelligence agencies believe Moscow tried to tip the election in favour of the Republican, who beat his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

US officials, who were not named, told NBC News that the interest in Mr Kushner, 36, did not mean the investigators suspected him of a crime or intended to charge him.

Separately, the Washington Post reported that the investigators were focusing on meetings he held last year with the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergei Kislyak, and a banker from Moscow.

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. Photo: 23 May 2017Image copyrightAFP: Jared Kushner is married to President Trump’s daughter Ivanka

 

Robert Mueller, a former FBI boss, last week was named by the justice department as special counsel to oversee the Russia inquiry.

Congress is also looking into Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election and any Trump campaign ties.

Mr Kushner has already agreed to discuss his Russian contacts with the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“Mr Kushner previously volunteered to share with Congress what he knows about these meetings,” Mr Kusnher’s lawyer Jamie Gorelick told the BBC.

“He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry,” the lawyer added.

Calls for a special investigation have mounted since President Trump fired the most recent FBI director, James Comey, earlier this month.

The White House has been engulfed in crisis over allegations that Mr Trump asked the ousted FBI chief to drop an inquiry into links between his ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn and Russia.

Mr Flynn was forced out in February after he misled the vice-president about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador before Mr Trump took office in January.

Russia has repeatedly denied any involvement in the US presidential election.

(BBC)

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