Silent on Cohen, Trump says Manafort conviction ‘a disgrace’ but ‘does not involve me’

Donald Trump told reporters in West Virginia that Manafort’s conviction “has nothing to do with Russian collusion.”. (Reuters/Leah Millis)
Updated 22 August 2018
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Silent on Cohen, Trump says Manafort conviction ‘a disgrace’ but ‘does not involve me’

  • Trump hasn’t publicly reacted to former personal attorney Michael Cohen’s guilty pleas to felonies
  • Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said there’s no allegation of any wrongdoing
WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump says the conviction of his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort on financial crimes is “a disgrace.”
But he hasn’t publicly reacted to former personal attorney Michael Cohen’s guilty pleas to felonies, including campaign finance violations he stated he carried out in coordination with Trump.
Manafort was convicted Tuesday in Virginia on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential obstruction of justice. Cohen pleaded guilty in New York, saying he and Trump arranged the payment of hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model to influence the election.
Trump told reporters in West Virginia that Manafort’s conviction “has nothing to do with Russian collusion.” Of Manafort’s crimes, he says: “It doesn’t involve meRudy Giuliani  Trump’s personal lawyer says criminal charges against Michael Cohen don’t include the assertion he made in court that Trump directed him to make hush-money payments to influence the election.

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said that there’s “no allegation of any wrongdoing against the President in the government’s charges.”
Giuliani’s comments came after Cohen pleaded guilty to charges including campaign finance fraud.
The charging documents say Cohen made the payments “at the request and suggestion of one or more members of the campaign.”
Cohen told a judge that he and Trump arranged to pay Daniels $130,000 and $150,000 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal as the 2016 election loomed.

Both women claimed they had affairs with Trump, which he denies.

Giuliani echoed Deputy US Attorney Robert Khuzami’s assessment that the charges against Cohen “reflect a pattern of lies and dishonesty over a significant period of time.”

Michael Cohen’s lawyer is suggesting President Donald Trump should face criminal charges for directing his longtime “fixer” to make hush-money payments to two women to influence the election.
Lawyer Lanny Davis tweeted on Tuesday: “If those payments were a crime for Michael Cohen, then why wouldn’t they be a crime for Donald Trump?“
Davis’ comments came after Cohen pleaded guilty to charges including campaign finance fraud.
Both women claimed they had affairs with Trump, which he denies.
Davis tweeted that by pleading guilty Cohen was “fulfilling his promise” to “put his family and country first and tell the truth about Donald Trump.”
Stormy Daniels’ lawyer says Michael Cohen’s guilty plea to charges involving hush-money payments should open the door to questioning President Donald Trump about “what he knew, when he knew it, and what he did about it.”
Cohen said in court on Tuesday that he coordinated with Trump to pay Daniels $130,000 and $150,000 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal to influence the election. Both women claimed they had affairs with Trump, which he denies.
Daniels said she and lawyer Michael Avenatti felt vindicated and look forward to apologies “from the people who claimed we were wrong.”
Avenatti is flirting with running for president in 2020 as a Democrat. He said the likelihood of that happening will dwindle if Trump resigns or decides not to run for re-election.


UK PM says open to longer post-Brexit transition

Updated 6 min ago
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UK PM says open to longer post-Brexit transition

  • EU negotiator Michel Barnier raised the idea as a way of breaking the deadlock on how to keep Britain’s border with Ireland open after Brexit
  • “A further idea that has emerged — and it is an idea at this stage — is to create an option to extend the implementation period for a matter of months,” says May

BRUSSELS: Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed Thursday that Britain would consider extending the transition period after Brexit for a few months if needed to agree on a new trade deal with the EU.
EU negotiator Michel Barnier raised the idea as a way of breaking the deadlock on how to keep Britain’s border with Ireland open after Brexit, the key issue holding up the divorce talks.
But May emphasized she did not expect the extension beyond the current date of December 2020 to be needed, amid anger among eurosceptics at home that Britain could be tied to the EU indefinitely.
Arriving for the second day of summit talks in Brussels, May noted that both sides remained at odds over a “backstop” plan to avoid frontier checks in Ireland if and until a new trade deal could be signed.
“A further idea that has emerged — and it is an idea at this stage — is to create an option to extend the implementation period for a matter of months,” she said.
“But the point is that this is not expected to be used, because we are working to ensure that we have that future relationship in place by the end of December 2020.
“I’m clear that it is possible to do that (deal) and that is what we are working for.
“And in those circumstances there would be no need for any proposal of this sort and I’m clear that I expect the implementation period to end at the end of December 2020.”
The possibility of an extension made front-page news in Britain on Thursday and some euroskeptic MPs warned they could not accept such a plan.
The top-selling The Sun tabloid warned it was “an outrageous non-starter.”
“Unless she can give a date when we will leave the EU and ALL its major institutions she cannot claim to have fulfilled the referendum vote” in 2016 for Brexit, it said in an editorial.