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Report Trump counselled Cohen to lie to Congress rekindles impeachment cries

Report Trump counselled Cohen to lie to Congress rekindles impeachment criesWASHINGTON — The drumbeat of impeachment grew a little louder in Washington on Friday following an explosive media report that alleges the president of the United States directed his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about the timing of discussions to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. The BuzzFeed News story — unconfirmed and based on anonymous law-enforcement sources claiming knowledge of what Cohen has told special counsel Robert Mueller, whose office is disputing the report — landed like a thunderclap among Democrats. "These allegations may prove unfounded, but if true, they would constitute both the subordination of perjury as well as obstruction of justice," Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement. "As a counterintelligence concern of the greatest magnitude, and given that these alleged efforts were intended to interfere with our investigation, our committee is determined to get to the bottom of this and follow the evidence wherever it may lead." Later Friday, the special counsel's office issued a rare statement denying elements of the story, saying BuzzFeed's "description of specific statements to the special counsel's office and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen's congressional testimony, are not accurate." Editor-in-chief Ben Smith told CNN that BuzzFeed News stands by its story, and he urged Mueller's office to provide more specifics about what precisely they are disputing. Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy, perhaps nervous about attorney-general nominee William Barr's committee testimony earlier this week that hinted the full contents of Mueller's long-awaited report might not be made public, suggested the story makes matters more urgent than ever. "If Mueller does have multiple sources confirming Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress, then we need to know this ASAP," he tweeted. "Mueller shouldn't end his inquiry, but it's about time for him to show Congress his cards before it's too late for us to act." The reaction from Texas Democrat and House intelligence committee member Joaquin Castro was decidedly more concise: "If the BuzzFeed story is true, President Trump must resign or be impeached." Cohen, of course, has a credibility problem. He has already pleaded guilty to the deception in question: telling the Senate and House intelligence committees the Trump Tower Moscow talks had ended in January 2016 when in fact they continued until June. He was also convicted of tax fraud and campaign-finance charges linked to payments made on Trump's behalf to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. "Michael Cohen is a convicted criminal and a liar," Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said Friday in a statement that dismissed the BuzzFeed allegations as "categorically false." "Today's claims are just more made-up lies borne of Michael Cohen's malice and desperation, in an effort to reduce his sentence." Cohen, who has agreed to testify before the House Oversight Committee next month, has already been sentenced to three years in prison — a fact that didn't seem to deter Giuliani or his most famous client from their leniency theory. "Lying to reduce his jail time!" Trump fumed on Twitter, later retweeting expressions of support that seized on the statement from the special counsel to denounce the BuzzFeed story as fake news. Impeachment, of course, is a double-edged sword — one many more moderate and politically savvy Democrats are wary of wielding. It backfired most famously in 1998, when the Republican majority in Congress, egged on by ambitious then-speaker Newt Gingrich, pushed to impeach Bill Clinton over perjury and obstruction-of-justice charges linked to the allegations of sexual misconduct that plagued his presidency. Gingrich, who was convinced impeachment proceedings would give the Republicans 30 or 40 more House seats in that year's midterm elections, was instead forced to eventually hand over the gavel after the GOP majority shrank by five seats. The House of Representatives could pass articles of impeachment but it would take a two-thirds majority in the Senate to remove Trump from the presidency. Since Republicans still control the Senate, any articles of impeachment would be unlikely to pass without a measure of GOP support, said Paul Beck, a politics professor at Ohio State University in Columbus. "How much these possible revelations will move Republicans towards impeachment, and ultimately conviction, is the question," Beck said. "If the impeachment is solely a Democratic action, conviction will assuredly not follow in the Republican-controlled Senate. So Republicans are the ones to watch — and public opinion polls that might influence their positions." A number of recent polls suggest Trump's approval ratings are on the decline, but that has more to do with his protracted fight with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the federal government shutdown, the longest in U.S. history with no signs of a resolution any time soon. "Democrats are willing to let Trump look like an idiot on this and inflict more self-induced harm," said Melissa Haussman, a professor and specialist in U.S. politics at Ottawa's Carleton University. "On the other hand, the Democrats have to appear to try to deal with this shutdown too, or else everybody will be wearing it in 2020. I think we’re getting close to a point of no return where it doesn't help anybody." —Follow James McCarten on Twitter @CdnPressStyle James McCarten, The Canadian Press


Ex-Mountie investigating 'Surrey six' murders pleads guilty to obstruction

Ex-Mountie investigating 'Surrey six' murders pleads guilty to obstructionVANCOUVER — A lead investigator in a gang-related mass murder in British Columbia has been handed a conditional sentence to be served in the community after he pleaded guilty to breach of trust and obstruction of justice. Derek Brassington was sentenced to two years less a day and ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution in B.C. Supreme Court on Friday, eliminating the need for a 10-week trial. The indictment says Brassington breached the standard demanded of him in managing a witness and obstructed justice by compromising the integrity and safety of a witness. The former RCMP sergeant played a key investigative role in the 2007 slaying of six people, including two innocent bystanders, in a Surrey highrise. B.C. Supreme Court Justice Arne Silverman imposed 14 conditions including house arrest from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. except for parenting, employment and medical reasons. Silverman accepted joint sentencing submissions from special prosecutor Chris Considine and defence lawyer Ian Donaldson but a sweeping ban prevents the publication of any details. Brassington was charged in 2011 and resigned from the force 2013. The Canadian Press


Trudeau fields questions at town hall meeting in St-Hyacinthe, Que.

Trudeau fields questions at town hall meeting in St-Hyacinthe, Que.SAINT-HYACINTHE, Que. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was challenged on climate change during the opening moments of a town hall meeting in Saint-Hyacinthe, Que. Several early questions focused on the environment, with one man asking Trudeau how he can claim to be pro-environment after his government chose to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline. Trudeau responded that economic development and environmental protection have to go hand in hand. But he said Canadians will still be dependent on fossil fuels for the foreseeable future, and while that's the case the country needs pipelines to get its oil to market. The evening event is the latest in a series of question and answer-style public meetings being held across the country. Trudeau has faced tough questions on subjects ranging from pipelines to relations with Indigenous people during earlier town hall meetings in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Ontario. The Canadian Press


Trudeau acknowledges global turmoil is making Canadians anxious, fearful

Trudeau acknowledges global turmoil is making Canadians anxious, fearfulJustin Trudeau acknowledged Friday that Canadians are anxious about the upheavals occurring around the globe — with Canada recently seeming to have become the world's favourite punching bag. The prime minister insisted the best way to allay those fears is to stick to his government's plan for improving the lot of middle-class Canadians. Indeed, international events obscured the upbeat economic message Trudeau had hoped would come out of a three-day cabinet retreat — in the midst of which tensions with China escalated and a Canadian mining executive was killed in Burkina Faso.


Soccer academy in Edmonton rooting for alumni Alphonso Davies at Bayern Munich

Soccer academy in Edmonton rooting for alumni Alphonso Davies at Bayern MunichDavies, who is 18, joined Bayern Munich in Germany as a midfielder late last year and has played in one pre-season game with the team. On Friday, he ended up watching the game from the bench as Bayern defeated Hoffenheim 3-1 to mark the league's return to action after its winter break.


Saturday 19th of January 2019 02:57:44

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