Donald Trump

COURTS HAVE AVOIDED REFEREEING BETWEEN CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT, BUT TRUMP MAY FORCE THEM TO WADE IN

By Kirsten Carlson, Wayne State University

This article is republished in " The Conversation" http://theconversation.com under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article at https://theconversation.com/courts-have-avoided-refereeing-between-congress-and-the-president-but-trump-may-force-them-to-wade-in-128269

Photo:  President Donald Trump’s claims of executive privilege may end up at the Supreme Court. Here, he’s with Chief Justice John Roberts after taking the oath of office, Jan. 20, 2017. AP/Jim Bourg/Pool Photo

December 10, 2019 (Washington D.C.) - President Donald Trump’s refusal to hand over records to Congress and allow executive branch employees to provide information and testimony to Congress during the impeachment battle is the strongest test yet of legal principles that over the past 200 years have not yet been fully defined by U.S. courts.

SEN. ATKINS SAYS NEW TRUMP RULE COULD CUT FOOD STAMPS FOR 700,000 CALIFORNIANS

By Chris Jennewein

Reprinted with permission by Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  An applicant signs up for food stamps, known as CalFresh in California, at a low-income health clinic in Contra Costa County. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

December 5, 2019 (San Diego) - Senate President Toni G. Atkins warned Wednesday that a tightening of work rules by the Trump administration could end food assistance for 700,000 people in California.

ROGER STONE FOUND GUILTY OF DEATH THREAT AGAINST WITNESS, LYING TO CONGRESS DURING RUSSIA PROBE TO COVER UP FOR TRUMP

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Roger Stone, CC by NA

November 15, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – “You are a rat.  A stoolie. Prepare to die,” long-time Trump ally Roger Stone texted to a witness slated to appear before the House Intelligence Committee regarding Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s probe into Trump-Russia ties. The  trial revealed damning evidence not only against Stone, but also evidence discrediting statements made by Donald Trump in which Trump denied discussing hacked emails during his presidential campaign.

The witness, radio host Randy Credico, was Stone’s intermediary to Wikileaks and Julian Assange to obtain details on e-mails stolen from the Democratic National Committee that were damaging to Hillary Clinton, Trump’s 2016 political rival.  Stone also urged the witness via e-mail to follow the actions of “Godfather II” character Frank Pentangeli, who lied to Congress to avoid incriminating Mafia boss Michael Corleone.

WATERGATE REVISTED: IN THE MIDST OF IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY

 

My Watergate Scandal Tell-All: How I Unwittingly Caused This Historic Event, by Bruce Givner (ExecuProv Press, Santa Ana, California, 2019, 258 pages.)

Book Review by Dennis Moore

“This is a story I’ll tell to my students many times. Internships can make history!”

  • Larry J. Sabato, Director, UVA Center for Politics

November 8, 2019 (San Diego) - The Watergate story never dies. It has become more and more intriguing (and popular) as time goes by. It has evoked comment many a time when a Washington D.C. official becomes entangled in a self-styled web of deception. Watergate is no longer the name of a hotel and office complex. It is more than a proper noun that branded a piece of property and cemented its “title” in numerous pages of history books. It is now the go-to reference to identify any scandal, though its origin was first reserved for the most sordid political scandal our nation has ever witnessed – at least up until the writing of this book. In that respect, it ranks right up there in significance with Teapot Dome, Wounded Knee and Gettysburg.

TRUMP THREATENS TO END FEDERAL AID TO CALIFORNIA TO FIGHT WILDFIRES—AFTER OFFERING RUSSIA HELP TO STOP WILDFIRES IN SIBERIA

Critics accuse President of putting partisan politics above saving lives and aiding disaster victims

By Miriam Raftery

Updated 9 p.m. with comments from Alpine Fire Chief Paskle

 

Photo screenshot off NBC video:  Easy Fire started near the Ronald Reagan Valley in Simi Valley and threatened homes in Ventura County

 

November 4, 2019 (San Diego) – Days after California Governor Gavin Newsom praised the federal government for its rapid response to catastrophic wildfires and power outages affecting millions of our state’s residents, President Donald Trump on Sunday threatened to cut off all future federal funding to California.  

ISIS FOUNDER AND LEADER DEAD AFTER U.S. MILITARY RAID

By Miriam Raftery 
 
October 27, 2019 (San Diego) – Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, founder and leader of the terrorist group ISIS, committed suicide after being trapped during a raid yesterday by U.S. military special forces in northwest Syria, President Donald Trump announced at a White House press conference.
 
Trump announced that the “number one terrorist leader” has “been brought to justice.” No U.S. personnel were lost in the operation, though a “large number” of Baghdadi’s  associates were killed or captured including two women wearing suicide vests that detonated; they are believed to be Baghdadi’s wives. 
 
 Eleven children were removed prior to the raid, but reportedly Baghdadi took three of his children into a dead-end tunnel, where he ignited a suicide vest, killing himself and the youngsters. "He didn’t die a hero. He died a coward,” the President said. “Crying, whimpering, screaming and bringing kids with him to die"

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER BREAKS WITH GOP, WON'T REBUKE TRUMP ON TURKEY MOVE

By Ken Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Donald Trump greets Rep. Duncan Hunter (left) and Rep. Darrell Issa at San Diego rally in 2016. Photo by Chris Stone

October 18, 2019 (San Diego) - Rep. Duncan D. Hunter had President Trump’s back Wednesday — even breaking with his party on what fellow veterans call the betrayal of U.S.-allied Kurds.

Some 129 Republicans joined 225 Democrats approving a resolution decrying Trump’s decision to green-light Turkey’s attacks on Kurdish forces in northeast Syria.

TRUMP WITHDRAWAL OF TROOPS FROM SYRIA RAISES FEARS OF KURDISH GENOCIDE, DRAWS REBUKES FROM TOP REPUBLICAN LEADERS

Update September 10, 2019:  As feared, Turkey has launched an offensive against Kurdish troops who are U.S. allies, the Washington Post reports along with other major media, causing deaths, mass evacuations and a humanitarian crisis.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Kurdish rally in San Diego in 2014, when Kurdish Americans called for more protections for Kurds being massacred by ISIS, as ECM reported. 

 

October 8, 2019 (Washington D.C.)  President Donald Trump shocked top national security experts and military leaders, drawing condemnation from leaders of both parties in Congress after announcing on Sunday that he has ordered withdrawal of U.S. troops from northeastern Syria.  The move jeopardizes the lives of Kurdish fighters who helped the U.S. combat ISIS.

TRUMP SOUGHT ALLIGATOR-FILLED MOAT, SPIKES TO SHRED FLESH, AND SHOOTING OF IMMIGRANTS: NEW YORK TIMES REPORT

By Miriam Raftery

October 2, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – A New York Times report based on interviews with a dozen White House officials describe disturbing statements by President Donald Trump last March, when he repeatedly pressed aides to take illegal actions toward migrants before ultimately ordering the border shut down. 

“Privately, the president had often talked about fortifying a border wall with a water-filled trench, stocked with snakes or alligators, prompting aides to seek a cost estimate. He wanted the wall electrified, with spikes on top that would pierce human flesh,” the Times reports. “After publicly suggesting that soldiers shoot migrants if they threw rocks, the president backed off when his staff told hm that was illegal But later in a meeting, aides recalled, he suggested that they shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down. That’s not allowed either, they told him.”

Trump attacked the Times report in a Tweet, calling it “fake news” and misspelling “moat” as “moot.”

DEMOCRATS LAUNCH IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY, FULL WHISTLEBLOWER COMPLAINT NOW REVEALED

Inspector General for intelligence community warns that whistleblower complaint is “an urgent concern” that raises “serious national intelligence and security risks.”

Hear audio of the declassified whistleblower complaint read aloud here.

By Miriam Raftery

September 26, 2019 (Washington D.C.)  -- A whistleblower complaint against President Donald Trump has been declassified and released today in its entirety.  The complaint states that the President abused his power during a July 25, 2019 phone call,  pressuring the Ukraine’s president to investigate the son of Trump’s political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, in an effort to influence the 2020 election.

The whistleblower, whom the New York Times reports is a CIA agent assigned to the White House, also alleges that Trump tried to hide his actions by locking up records of the call. The Washington Post reports that just one week before the call to the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump ordered a halt to military aide promised to the Ukraine. 

The Trump administration’s own intelligence community Inspector General Michael Atkinson warned that the whistleblower complaints to be both credible and an “urgent concern” that raises “serious national intelligence and security risks.”

QUESTIONS GROW OVER PRESIDENT’S STATE OF MIND

By Miriam Raftery

August 27, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – Increasingly erratic and irrational statements by President Donald Trump in recent weeks have raised questions in mainstream media outlets and even among former Trump allies over whether he is showing signs of dementia (which his father had) or mental illness, such as that believed to have plagued "Mad King George" III.).

CNN business writer Brian Stelter wrote on Monday, “I spent the week talking with major media figures at networks and newspapers. And that was the consensus: President Trump's behavior is getting worse in type and in frequency. It seems he's acting more erratic more often.”  He accused media of “tiptoeing” around the President’s “complete rejection of reality.”

 Here are some examples:

SAN DIEGO JEWISH LEADERS FACE CHALLENGES RESPONDING TO TRUMP'S TWEETS, NEW 'DISLOYALTY' CLAIM

By Ken Stone

Reprinted with permission from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Chabad of Poway Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein speaks at gravesite of slain Lori Gilbert Kaye. In a White House visit, he praised President Trump as a “mensch par excellence.” Photo by Chris Stone

August 26, 2019 (San Diego) - A week before the November 2018 election, 17 San Diego-area rabbis signed a letter denouncing Rep. Duncan Hunter‘s “fear mongering” attacks on the Palestinian ancestry of Christian opponent Ammar Campa-Najjar.

'WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO SURVIVE': WHY CALIFORNIANS COULD BEAR THE BRUNT OF TRUMP FOOD STAMP CUTS

By Jackie Botts, CALmatters

CALmatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

Photo:  Antoinette Martinez does her weekly grocery shopping at FoodMaxx, and worries that new proposed Trump administration cuts to food stamp eligibility will make it harder for her to stretch her food budget. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

August 1, 2019 (San Diego) - When Antoinette Martinez rolls her cart through the produce section of the FoodMaxx in Watsonville, her 5-year-old son Caden often asks for strawberries and blueberries. 

Sometimes Martinez bends, but usually she sticks to the produce on sale: Roma tomatoes for 69 cents a pound, cucumbers at three-for-99 cents. And banana bunches are relatively cheap.

HOUSE VOTES TO CONDEMN `RACIST’ TWEETS BY TRUMP AGAINST FOUR CONGRESSWOMEN OF COLOR

By Miriam Raftery

July 16, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – For the first time in over 100 years, the House of Representatives today voted to condemn the actions of a President. Congressional members voted 240 to 187 to formally condemn President Donald Trump’s Twitter posts attacking four minority Congresswomen as “racist,” in the words of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in her floor speech.

REVOLUTIONARY WAR AIRPORTS? TRUMP STUMBLE ON HISTORY PROMPTS TWITTER WIT

 

East County News Service

July 5, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – During a Fourth of July Salute to America in Washington D.C. yesterday featuring fireworks, tanks and a flyover by military planes, President Donald Trump made a statement filled with historical gaffes, prompting wits to take to Twitter in response.

 

While speaking of the Revolutionary War in 1775 that resulted in American independence from Britain, Trump stated, “The Continental Army suffered a bitter winter in Valley Forge, found glory across the waters of the Delaware and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown. Our army manned the airports, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry, under the rockets’ red glare, it had nothing but victory. View video.

 

The first reported airplane flight wasn’t until 1903 with the Wright Brothers,  long after both the Revolutionary War and the later War of 1812 at which Fort McHenry was bombarded by British ships, not America’s army. 

 

The White House has blamed a teleprompter that failed for the President’s ad libbed inaccuracies.

Wits promptly took to Twitter with the hashtags #RevolutionaryWarAirports and #RevolutionaryWarAirportStories.

 

Here are a few humorous highlights:

TRUMP TWEET: ICE WILL BEGIN DEPORTING 'MILLIONS OF ILLEGAL ALIENS' NEXT WEEK

By Chris Jennewein

Reprinted with permission from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at the home of a suspected undocumented immigrant. Courtesy ICE

June 18, 2019 (San Diego's East County) - President Trump tweeted Monday night that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officers will begin deporting millions of undocumented immigrants next week.

The cryptic tweet at 9:20 p.m. California time did not elaborate further, and the White House did not provide clarification on Tuesday morning.

TRUMP SAYS HE’D TAKE DIRT ON AN OPPONENT FROM FOREIGN GOVERNMENT; FEC CHAIR CONFIRMS THAT’S ILLEGAL

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photos: President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin
 
June 14, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump has sent shockwaves through the nation’s capital after he told ABC news that if a foreign government offered him dirt on a political opponent in the 2020 election, “I think I’d want to hear it…I think I’d take it.”  

EIGHT FORMER SAN DIEGO FEDERAL PROSECUTORS SIGN LETTER ON TRUMP FACING FELONIES

 

 

By Ken Stone

Reprinted with permission from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association 

Photo:  President Trump during a national address.  Image via CNN broadcast 

May 8, 2019 (San Diego) - Retired attorney Robert “Bob” Ross says lawyers have a hard time agreeing to sign anything “where they aren’t able to make amendments or change words.”

But Rose — and at least seven other former San Diego federal prosecutors — did just that when they agreed to add their names to an open letter that said Donald Trump would face “multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice” if he weren’t president.

“But for the OLC memo, the overwhelming weight of professional judgment would come down in favor of prosecution for the conduct outlined in the Mueller Report,” said a Department of Justice “alumni statement” posted Monday on Medium.

As of Tuesday, it had about 700 signatories.

CONGRESS AND ATTORNEY GENERAL WRANGLE OVER ACCESS TO SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER’S REPORT

By Miriam Raftery

March 29, 2019 (Washington D.C.)—Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s long awaiting report has been submitted to the Justice Department.  A summary written by newly appointed Attorney General William Barr has been made public, but thus far, Congress and the media have not seen the full report.

According to Barr’s summary, Mueller’s two-year investigation did not find evidence of a conspiracy involving President Donald Trump and Russia to tamper with the 2016 election despite “multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.  But as for whether Trump committed the crime of obstructing justice, Barr states that while Mueller’s report does not recommend prosecution of Trump for obstruction of justice, “it also does not exonerate him.”

Trump called the report “a complete and total exoneration” based on Barr’s summary.

But that’s not fully accurate. The Justice Department has long held that it does not have the power to indict a sitting president, deferring investigation of presidential actions to Congress, which has the power to impeach under the Constitution. Without reading Mueller’s full report it is difficult to speculate on the Special Counsel’s intent, but Mueller could have intended for Congress to weigh any evidence his investigators found with regard to obstruction of justice.

TRUMP VETOES CONGRESSIONAL MEASURE TO BLOCK HIS EMERGENCY DECLARATION

 

 

President also threatens to veto Senate’s passage of a bill ending support for Saudis in Yemen civil war

By Miriam Raftery
 
March 19, 2019 (Washington D.C.) — A courtroom battle looms after President Donald Trump vetoed a resolution Friday passed by both houses of Congress. The Congressional resolution rejected Trump’s emergency declaration to fund a border wall. 

ANDREW MCCABE DEFINES TRUMP AS A NATIONAL THREAT

 

The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump, by Andrew G. McCabe (St. Martin’s Press, New York, NY, 2019, 274 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

March 18, 2019 (San Diego) - Andrew G. McCabe, former Deputy Director of the FBI, has written an incisive and titillating story of America at the crossroads of history, an America that seems to be under siege by the President himself. To put this book in historical perspective, McCabe states: “The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s official mission is ‘to protect the American people and support the Constitution of the United States.”’

To read this book, it does not seem as if the mission statement of the FBI is being allowed. The author lays that at the feet of the President of the United States, Donald Trump.

COHEN IMPLICATES TRUMP IN CRIMINAL ACTIONS, PROVIDES CHECK SIGNED BY PRESIDENT FOR “HUSH MONEY”

By Miriam Raftery

View video of Cohen’s complete testimony:   https://www.c-span.org/video/?458125-1/michael-cohen-president-trump-he-racist-con-man-cheat

View highlights:  https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4782554/trump-lawyer-michael-cohen-apologizes-lying

February 28, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump’s long-time personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, called his former boss a “liar”, a” conman” and a “racist” during several hours of testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee this week.  Cohen testified that Trump knew in advance that Wikileaks planned to release stolen Democratic Committee emails.  He also told committee members that Trump directed him to violate the law—and Cohen provided a check signed by Trump after he became president for “hush money” paid to cover up an affair with porn star Stormy Daniels.

Republicans grilling Cohen sought to discredit him, since he previously lied to Congress and since his cooperation with federal prosecutors could result in a reduction of his three-year prison sentence. However Cohen also handed over documents to the committee, including extensive financial records that Cohen suggested implicate Trump and Trump’s family members in financial crimes.

Democrats on the committee probed Cohen’s knowledge of other potential witnesses to the alleged criminal activities, also laying the groundwork to subpoena the President’s tax records.  Cohen has apologized and voiced remorse for lying and covering up illegal activities on behalf of Trump.

SANTEE WWII VETERAN HONORED AT PRESIDENT'S STATE OF UNION ADDRESS

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 6, 2019 (Santee) -- During his State of the Union address, President Donald Trump spoke on issues ranging from the economy to immigration, also honoring the upcoming 75th anniversary of D-Day.  Joseph Reilly of Santee, a D-Day paratrooper, was among three World War II veterans whom Trump praised as “incredible heroes.”

Trump took credit for an improving economy and urged “unity” to avoid a future shutdown. He called for an end to “foolish wars” and what he called “partisan investigations” of his administration amid the special prosecutor’s investigation. 

Despite calls for unity, his speech repeatedly argued for funding for a border wall. He cited San Diego, calling for a ““smart, strategic, see-through steel barrier — not just a simple concrete wall.” The president has threatened to invoke a national emergency to build the border wall in order to keep out migrant caravans of immigrants seeking asylum.

DID TRUMP COLLUDE WITH RUSSIA?

 

Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America, by Seth Abramson (Simon & Schuster, New York, NY, 2018, 448 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

For the first time, the full, explosive record of the unthinkable: how a US president compromised American foreign policy in exchange for promise of future business and covert election assistance.

January 25, 2019 (San Diego) - Coming at a time when President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, is scheduled to testify publicly in Congress on February 7, 2019, Seth Abramson has written a provocative and timely book; Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America.

 

Looking back at this moment in history, historians will ask if Americans knew they were living through the first case of criminal conspiracy between an American presidential candidate turned commander in chief and a geopolitical enemy. The answer might be: it was hard to see the whole picture. The stories coming in from around the globe have often seemed fantastical: clandestine meetings in foreign capitals, secret recordings in a Moscow hotel, Kremlin agents infiltrating the Trump inner circles.


TRUMP LEAK OF LAWMAKERS’ DELEGATION TO AFGHANISTAN PUT LIVES AT RISK, SAYS STATE DEPARTMENT AND REP. SUSAN DAVIS

 
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: Speaker Pelosi in Afghanistan on a prior visit.
 
January 20, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have ratcheted up the battle over the government shutdown.
 
Last week, Pelosi sent a letter to the President asking him to delay his State of the Union speech to Congress or submit it in writing. "Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29," Pelosi wrote.

TRUMP SIGNS BILL GRANTING BACK PAY TO FEDERAL EMPLOYEES—BUT NOT FEDERAL CONTRACTORS—AFTER SHUTDOWN ENDS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 16, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump today signed the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act into law, which passed Congress with bipartisan support.  It provides that furloughed and exempted federal employees will receive back pay whenever this shutdown ends.

But it does not grant any back pay to federal contractors, many of who are struggling without pay.

TRUMP THREATENS TO HALT FEMA PAYMENTS TO CALIFORNIA WILDFIRE VICTIMS, DRAWS BIPARTISAN CRITICISM

 

 

To threaten federal disaster funding is a grave insult to our fire-scarred region and a slap in the face of our brave firefighters. The President and the Governor need to work together and put the public’s safety over politics. I know the county will do its part by continuing to make major investments to improve firefighting and fire prevention.  Supervisor Dianne Jacob

By Miriam Raftery

January 10, 2019 (San Diego) -- President Donald Trump on Wednesday stating that he has ordered a halt to Federal Emergency Management Act (FEMA) funds for California wildfire survivors. His threat has drawn sharp bipartisan criticism from leaders ranging from California’s new Governor to East County’s Supervisor Dianne Jacoband conservative legislators representing fire-ravaged communities.

TRUMP ORDER TO WITHDRAW TROOPS FROM SYRIA AND AFGHANISTAN SPARKS BIPARTISAN CONGRESSIONAL CONCERN AND RESIGNATION OF DEFENSE SECRETARY MATTIS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned in his resignation letter of Russian efforts to "shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model...to promote their own interets at the epxens of their neighbors, America and our allies."

December 21, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – Prominent Congressional leaders in both parties have voiced alarm over President Donald Trump’s announcement yesterday that he plans to immediately withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. He also ordered the Pentagon to withdraw half of America’s forces from Afghanistan starting in January.

While that may come as welcome news to families of long-deployed military members, the decision was made without consulting Congress, military leaders or key cabinet officials. Many experts warn that this could plunge the region into chaos, allow ISIS terrorists to regain power, also benefitting Russian president Vladimir Putin, who has backed Syrian strongman Bashar Assad, as well as Russia’s ally, Iran.

It has also resulted in resignation of Defense Secretary and retired General Jim Mattis, known as the "warrior monk" for his deliberative approach to fully studying military matters before making key decisions.

FARM BILL HEADS TO TRUMP FOR SIGNATURE; INCLUDES HEMP LEGALIZATION, WITH LIMITS

 

Update December 20, 2018:  President Trump has signed the Farm Bill into law.

By Miriam Raftery

December 15, 2018 (Washington D.C.)  The U.S. Senate has passed a farm bill that now heads to President Donald Trumps desk for signature.  The final version stripped out efforts by House Republicans, who had sought to imposeharsher work requirements on millions of food stamp recipients. The House version would have dropped about 1.5 million low-income people off the program.

TRUMP ATTORNEY SENTENCED TO 3 YEARS IN PRISON, IMPLICATES PRESIDENT IN FELONY CRIMES

By Miriam Raftery

December 12, 2018 (Washington D.C) – President Donald Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, was sentenced today to three years in prison after pleading guilty to crimes and admitting to prosecutors that Trump ordered him to commit felony crimes regarding payoffs to hide affairs. Cohen further provided evidence that the President was actively negotiating with Russia on business dealings during the campaign, contrary to what the president told voters at the time, the New York Times reports.

Cohen pled guilty to crimes filed under two separate cases, one filed by U.S. Justice Department prosecutors in New York and the other by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller.

While Mueller recommended leniency for Cohen due to his cooperation with the probe into illegal election interference,  federal prosecutors in New York indicated Cohen was uncooperative in their investigations. Investigators also seized computer and other records of Cohen.

In court, Cohen said of Trump, “I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds.” He apologized to the American people and said his loyalty to Trump “led me to choose a path of darkness over light.”

Judge William H. Pauley III stated that Cohen’s crimes were serious and implicated “insiduous harm to our democratic institutions.”

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