Connect with us

Politics

Lawyers for Manafort charge Mueller has unfairly accused him of lying

Published

on

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

By Pete Williams

WASHINGTON — Lawyers for Paul Manafort said Wednesday that Robert Mueller’s prosecutors have unfairly accused him of lying in his sessions with them after he pleaded guilty.

The Mueller team has accused him of failing to abide by his agreement to cooperate with investigators during 12 debriefings and two appearances before a grand jury. They have said he lied about a $125,000 payment he received in 2017, his conversations with a former associate who’s been accused of being a Russian intelligence operative, contacts with administration officials, and an unspecified ongoing investigation.

A fair reading of the government’s contention, Manafort’s lawyers said in a court filing, “does not support the conclusion that Mr. Manafort intentionally provided false information.” When placed in context, much of the evidence presented by the special counsel’s team “merely demonstrates a lack of consistency in Mr. Manafort’s recollection of certain facts and events.”

When defendants agree to cooperate with the government, it’s unusual for prosecutors not to provide documentation in advance to refresh their recollection, the filing said. But instead of doing so with Manafort, the prosecutors seemed intent on a desire to “test Mr. Manafort’s recall.”

The federal judge overseeing Manafort’s case in Washington has scheduled a hearing for Jan. 25 to evaluate the Mueller’s team’s claims that he has not lived up to the promises he made when he agreed to plead guilty. The judge’s conclusion about the question will affect whether he gets credit for cooperation when he is sentenced on March 5.

His lawyers said he would not attend the Friday hearing.

Manafort was convicted of tax evasion and bank fraud in August, and a month later agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation by pleading guilty to two new counts and admitting his guilt to 10 counts outstanding from an earlier trial.



Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Pelosi tells Trump he can’t deliver State of the Union in the House

Published

on

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

 / Updated 

By Jonathan Allen and Alex Moe

WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that she won’t authorize President Donald Trump to give his annual State of the Union address in the House chamber until the partially closed federal government is re-opened, just hours after Trump insisted in a letter to her that he would deliver the speech as planned Jan. 29.

“I am writing to inform you that the House of Representatives will not consider a concurrent resolution authorizing the president’s State of the Union address in the House chamber until the government has opened,” Pelosi wrote in a return letter to Trump. “I look forward to welcoming you to the House on a mutually agreeable date for this address when government has been opened.”

Trump fired back during brief remarks at the White House.

“The State of the Union speech has been canceled by Nancy Pelosi because she doesn’t want to hear the truth. She doesn’t want the American public to hear what’s going on,” he said. “Great blotch on the incredible country we that all love. Great, great horrible mark.”

Asked if he’d be giving a speech Tuesday night, the president responded that announcement would be forthcoming soon.

“We’ll be doing something in the alternative, and we’ll be talking to you about that at a later date,” he said.

The president is not allowed to speak in the chamber — the traditional spot for the State of the Union address — unless the House and Senate pass a resolution allowing him to do so. After the letter’s release, Pelosi did not respond to questions from reporters about what would happen if Trump ignored the message and came Tuesday regardless.

Pelosi had initially invited Trump to give the speech later this month, but she sent him a letter last week asking him to delay his remarks or submit them in writing. She cited concerns over security because of the partial government shutdown, which affects the Department of Homeland Security.

Earlier Wednesday, Trump told Pelosi in a letter that he would be “honoring” Pelosi’s original invitation for him to give the speech on Jan. 29 and that the Department of Homeland Security and Secret Service had dismissed her concern that security could be a problem given the furlough of some federal workers since Dec. 22.

“There are no security concerns regarding the State of the Union Address,” Trump wrote. “Therefore, I will be honoring your invitation, and fulfilling my Constitutional duty, to deliver important information to the people and Congress of the United States of America regarding the State of our Union.”

“I look forward to seeing you,” he added.

Later at the White House, he again dismissed security concerns. “If we can handle Iraq, we can handle the middle of Washington,” he said.

The back-and-forth between Pelosi and Trump, who grounded her planned military flight to Afghanistan last week in a move the White House insisted was unrelated to the State of the Union tiff, has been a dramatic subplot to their fight over re-opening the government and Trump’s demand that Congress provide $5.7 billion in funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Courtney Buble contributed.



Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Trump admin planning for even longer shutdown

Published

on

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

 / Updated 

By Peter Alexander and Dareh Gregorian

The Trump administration wants to know what programs would be impacted if the government shutdown continues for weeks longer, a senior Office of Management Budget official has told NBC News.

The administration has asked agency leaders to provide a list of programs that could be affected if the shutdown — already the longest in the U.S. history — goes on for weeks longer, the senior official said.

“Prudent management means planning and preparing for events without known end dates,” the official said. “As OMB continues to manage this partial lapse in appropriations, unfunded agencies are being asked to continue to share with OMB an ongoing list of programs that could be impacted within the coming weeks.”

The request was first reported by The Washington Post. Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told agency leaders he wants to know what high-impact programs would be jeopardized if the shutdown lasts into March or even April, and he wants the list by no later than Friday, the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the directive.

Economists have told NBC News that an extended government shutdown could be catastrophic for the economy — as well as for the almost 40 million Americans who would lose food stamps, two million people who could lose rental assistance and the 800,000 federal workers and estimated 1.2 million contractors who aren’t getting paychecks.

Protestors arrested in DC

Hundreds of already frustrated and struggling federal workers demonstrated Wednesday in Washington, D.C., urging senators to stop sitting on the sidelines and get the government going again.

The workers held a silent protest in the Hart Senate Office Building for 33 minutes — one minute for every day they’ve gone without pay since the shutdown began. Many held paper plates with messages scrawled on them, like “hostage,” “federal workers are going hungry” and “please let us work.”

The protest then moved to the Russell Senate Office Building, where 12 demonstrators, including several union leaders, were arrested outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office.

“They were demanding a meeting,” one of the event’s organizers, National Federation of Federal Employees spokesperson Brittany Holder, told NBC News.

The Kentucky Republican was also targeted by protesters in his home state. About three dozen workers demonstrated outside of his office in Lexington — and police were called on them when they tried unsuccessfully to present his office with letters describing the hardships the shutdown has forced them to endure.

The lack of a paycheck “is causing a lot of heartache and trouble,” said Paula Metcalf, who works for the Census Bureau in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Metcalf said she has medical issues that she can’t afford to address.

“I need a lot of medicine, and I’m not able to pay the co-pays,” she said.

“I blame (President Donald) Trump and I blame McConnell, Metcalf added. “They just need to let us go back to work.”

McConnell has kept a low profile during the shutdown, which began on Dec. 22 after Democrats refused Trump’s demand to include $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall in a government spending bill. The Senate had already passed a bill to keep the government open that didn’t include any funding for the wall.

After a “Where’s Mitch?” campaign by freshmen Democrats in the House of Representatives, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, McConnell announced the Senate would hold two votes on Thursday on competing spending proposals. The Republican legislation would reopen the government and add $5.7 in wall funding, while the Democratic version would simply re-open the government until Feb. 8.

Neither measure is expected to pass.

In the meantime, in addition to the financial pain, the shutdown is causing unexpected problems.

In one recent example, a network of rescue groups that works with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to help marine mammals, such as whales and seals, when the animals are in trouble says the shutdown is making it harder for them to do their work.

A poll released Wednesday showed a strong majority of Americans blame Trump for the shutdown, dragging his approval rating to its lowest level in more than a year.

The poll, by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, found 34 percent of Americans approve of Trump’s job performance, down from 42 percent in December.

Associated Press contributed.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending