Chelsea Manning files for US Senate bid in Maryland

This Sept. 17, 2017 file photo, Chelsea Manning speaks during the Nantucket Project's annual gathering in Nantucket, Mass. (AP)
Updated 14 January 2018
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Chelsea Manning files for US Senate bid in Maryland

NORTH BETHESDA, Md.: Chelsea Manning intends to run for the US Senate in Maryland, returning the transgender former soldier to the spotlight after her conviction for leaking classified documents and her early release from military prison.
Manning, 30, filed her statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday, listing an apartment in North Bethesda as her address.
She is running as a Democrat and will likely challenge two-term Sen. Ben Cardin in the primary. The state’s senior senator is an overwhelming favorite to win.
Known as Bradley Manning at the time of her 2010 arrest, the former Army intelligence analyst was convicted of leaking more than 700,000 military and State Department documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. She’s been hailed as a traitor as well as a courageous hero.
Manning came out as transgender after being sentenced to 35 years in prison. President Barack Obama granted Manning clemency before leaving office last year.
The conservative media organization Red Maryland first reported Manning’s intention to run. The Associated Press was unsuccessful in reaching Manning for comment.
A spokeswoman for Cardin, Sue Walitsky, did not immediately return a phone call. Nor did Fabion Seaton, a spokesman for the Maryland Democratic Party.
Manning would not be the first transgender candidate to challenge a sitting member of Congress.
Kristin Beck, a retired Navy SEAL who is transgender, failed to unseat US Rep. Steny Hoyer in Maryland’s Democratic Primary in 2016. Beck got 12 percent of the vote.
“It was too much for me to run for Congress,” Beck said in a phone interview Saturday. “I should have run for something lower. She might as well be running for president.”
Beck said Manning is pulling a “publicity stunt.”
“I totally, 100 percent disagree with everything she did,” Beck said. “She’s just grabbing headlines. I know what that feels like. I’ve been in the headlines. You get a sense that you’re worthy and doing something that counts. And when you lose that, you try to do something to grab a headline.”
Manning was held at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where she attempted suicide twice, according to her lawyers.
Obama’s decision to commute Manning’s sentence to about seven years drew strong criticism from members of Congress and others, with Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan calling the move “just outrageous.”
When Manning was released in May, she told The AP in an email that she was eager to define her future — but made no mention of politics.
“I’m figuring things out right now — which is exciting, awkward, fun, and all new for me,” Manning wrote.
She added: “I am looking forward to so much! Whatever is ahead of me is far more important than the past.”
The Oklahoma native had planned to move to Maryland, where she has an aunt. She has been registered to vote at the apartment in North Bethesda since mid-August, according to the Maryland Board of Elections.
In September, Manning spoke at the annual conference for The Nantucket Project in Massachusetts, a venture founded to bring together creative thinkers to uncover ideas.
Her appearance came just after Harvard University reversed its decision to name Manning a visiting fellow. CIA Director Mike Pompeo had scrapped a planned appearance over the title for Manning, calling her an “American traitor.”
Manning told the audience in Massachusetts that Harvard’s decision signaled to her that it’s a “police state” and it’s not possible to engage in actual political discourse in academic institutions.
“I’m not ashamed of being disinvited,” she said. “I view that just as much of an honored distinction as the fellowship itself.”


Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen providing info in Mueller probe

Updated 50 min 27 sec ago
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Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen providing info in Mueller probe

  • Trump’s longtime fixer-turned-foe could be a vital witness for prosecutors as they investigate whether Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russians
  • Cohen pleaded guilty in August to eight federal charges and said Trump directed him to arrange payments before the 2016 election to buy the silence of porn actress Stormy Daniels

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer claimed Thursday he is providing “critical information” as part special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election and possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to campaign finance and other charges last month, said he is providing the information to prosecutors without a cooperation agreement.
Trump’s longtime fixer-turned-foe could be a vital witness for prosecutors as they investigate whether Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russians. For more than a decade, Cohen was Trump’s personal lawyer, and he was a key power player in the Trump Organization and a fixture in Trump’s political life.
Cohen pleaded guilty in August to eight federal charges and said Trump directed him to arrange payments before the 2016 election to buy the silence of porn actress Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model who had both alleged they had affairs with Trump. It was the first time any Trump associate implicated Trump himself in a crime, though whether — or when — a president can be prosecuted remains a matter of legal dispute.
On Thursday night, Cohen tweeted: “Good for @MichaelCohen212 for providing critical information to the #MuellerInvestigation without a cooperation agreement. No one should question his integrity, veracity or loyalty to his family and country over @POTUS @realDonaldTrump.”
The tweet was deleted almost immediately and was later reposted by his attorney, Lanny Davis, who said he wrote the tweet for Cohen and asked him to tweet it because he has a “much larger following.” Davis said he was delayed posting the tweet on his own account, so Cohen tweeted it first.
ABC News reported earlier Thursday that Cohen has met several times — for several hours — with investigators from the special counsel’s office.
The television network, citing sources familiar with the matter, said he was questioned about Trump’s dealings with Russia, including whether members of the Trump campaign worked with Russians to try to influence the outcome of the election.
Davis had asserted last month that his client could tell the special counsel that Trump had prior knowledge of a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer, Trump’s son-in-law and Trump’s eldest son, who had been told in emails that it was part of a Russian government effort to help his father’s campaign. But Davis later walked back the assertions, saying he could not independently confirm the claims that Cohen witnessed Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., telling his father about the Trump Tower meeting beforehand.
In the last two weeks, the special counsel secured the cooperation of Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort; signaled that he has obtained all the information he needs from former national security adviser Michael Flynn — who was also a government cooperator; and dispensed with the case of the campaign aide who triggered the Russia probe.
The president has continued a very public battle against the Mueller investigation, repeatedly calling it a politically motivated and “rigged witch hunt.” He has said he is going to declassify secret documents in the Russia investigation, an extraordinary move that he says will show that the investigation was tainted from the start by bias in the Justice Department and FBI.