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Published: Wednesday, May 16, 2018 @ 1:53 PM
Updated: Wednesday, May 16, 2018 @ 1:53 PM
WASHINGTON — The Latest on President Donald Trump's financial disclosure report (all times local):
Vice President Mike Pence has released his annual financial disclosure, reporting a pension plan from the state of Indiana worth between $500,000 and $1 million and credit card debt between $15,000 and $50,000.
The report shows that oil company founder Forrest Lucas provided Pence with two tickets worth $774 to the Indianapolis Colts game in October that Pence walked out of in protest of some NFL players who knelt during the national anthem.
Pence also received three tickets worth $15,000 to the 2017 Super Bowl in Houston from Houston Texans owner Bob McNair. The vice president also attended the Indianapolis 500, receiving two tickets valued at $1,000 from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Pence's wife, Karen Pence, reported royalties of $15,000 to $50,000 for her children's book, "Marlon Bundo's Day in the Life of the Vice President."
President Donald Trump's disclosure that he "reimbursed" personal attorney Michael Cohen for as much as $250,000 last year comes in a footnote to his financial disclosure report.
No mention was made of a $130,000 paid to porn star Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet about an alleged affair. A footnote in tiny type on page 45 of the 92 page document says the president "fully reimbursed" Cohen for "expenses" ranging from $100,001 to $250,000. The report says Trump did not have to disclose the payment but is doing so "in the interest of transparency."
The footnote appears in a report giving the first extended look at Trump's income from his properties since he became president. Among his holdings, he took in $25 million from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
President Donald Trump has filed a financial disclosure report that reveals a payment to his personal attorney, Michael Cohen. The value of the payment ranged from $100,001 to $250,000.
Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani revealed earlier this month that Trump repaid Cohen for a $130,000 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. Daniels says she had an affair with the president. Trump denies it.
The mandatory filing says that "in 2016 expenses were incurred by one of Donald J. Trump's attorneys, Michael Cohen. It says Trump "fully reimbursed Mr. Cohen in 2017."
The Office of Government Ethics has also concluded that the payment to Cohen "meets the disclosure requirement for a reportable liability." The disclosure was not included in Trump's 2017 filing.
President Donald Trump has submitted his annual financial disclosure to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics and it's expected to be made public in the coming days.
Trump's disclosure includes all of 2017 and part of 2018.
The document is being closely watched by ethics experts to see whether it discloses the $130,000 paid to porn star Stormy Daniels on his behalf by his attorney Michael Cohen.
Ethics experts say that if that money isn't disclosed, Trump could be in violation of ethics laws for failing to disclose a reportable item, a violation for which others have been prosecuted.
Published: Thursday, July 19, 2018 @ 2:57 PM
WASHINGTON — Rep. Jim Jordan suggested those on the left “choreographed” accusations that as an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State he ignored warnings from wrestlers that a team doctor engaged in inappropriate behavior with them.
During an interview Thursday with Fox News, Jordan, R-Urbana, said he found it “suspect” the charges have emerged this summer as he and Republicans are threatening to impeach Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for what they claim is his unwillingness to provide Congress with documents related to the FBI’s investigation into Democratic presidential Hillary Clinton’s e-mails.
Rosenstein last year tapped Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate accusations that Russian intelligence officials interfered with the election in a way to help Trump win.
“I mean, jeepers, the way it seemed to me was sequenced and choreographed” by some on the left, Jordan said. “I find all that suspect.”
“I guess I like to think that the reason you see the left coming after me and lies being told is because we’re being effective in doing what we told the American people we were doing,” Jordan said. “I also think it has something to do with the fact that President Trump is doing a great job, and we are trying to support him and help him make America great again.”
Jordan has raised the argument previously that he is a victim of a vendetta by liberals in the wrestling scandal. He has not provided any evidence to back that claim.
More than a half-dozen former wrestlers at Ohio State have said that Jordan, who served as an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University in the late 1980s and early 1990s when Richard Strauss worked there as a team physician, knew of inappropriate behavior by Strauss but did not report it.
Attorneys for Ohio State on Monday interviewed Jordan, who said “the interview was fine. We’re not allowed to get into details in what was talked about. They are doing an investigation for the university.”
Jessica Wehrman of the Washington Bureau contributed to this story.
Published: Thursday, July 19, 2018 @ 1:00 PM
Alarmed by the lack of information from the White House on what was discussed in talks earlier this week between President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin, lawmakers in both parties on Thursday demanded that the Trump Administration detail what exactly was agreed to by Mr. Trump in his talks in Helsinki, Finland.
“We have got to find out what the Russian Ambassador was finding out yesterday, when he said that important agreements were reached,” said Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ).
“We shouldn’t be just guessing based on the statements of the Russian Ambassador, or based on the reports of what we hear in the media,” said Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE).
“What are they hiding?” Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer added on the Senate floor. “What are they afraid of?”
At a briefing in Moscow on Wednesday, the Russian Ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov, said that no ‘secret deals’ were made in the Trump-Putin meeting – but then, Antonov said in a television interview later in the day that, ‘important verbal agreements were made.’
“The meeting was important, intense, constructive and productive,” Antonov was quoted by the Russian TV network RT.
But with no joint statement from the two leaders after the Trump-Putin meeting, and no rundown of exactly what was discussed, lawmakers felt they were being left in the dark.
Those expressions of concern on Capitol Hill came as other arms of the federal government made clear they were also did not know details of any Trump-Putin agreements as well.
At the Pentagon, reporters spoke via video conference with CENTCOM Commander, Gen. Joseph Votel, who said he had received no information from the White House on any future U.S.-Russian military cooperation in Syria.
Gen. Votel said there had been “no new guidance for me as a result of the Helsinki discussions as of yet.”
President Trump on Wednesday declared his meeting with Putin to be a ‘tremendous success,’ adding on Twitter this morning that he wants a second meeting with the Russian leader.
In a pair of tweets, Mr. Trump rattled off a list of items which he had discussed in the Putin meeting: “stopping terrorism, security for Israel, nuclear proliferation, cyber attacks, trade, Ukraine, Middle East peace, North Korea and more.”
“There are many answers, some easy and some hard, to these problems,” the President wrote, “but they can ALL be solved,” as he again attacked the press as the “enemy of the people.”
Some lawmakers were also demanding any notes from the woman who served as Mr. Trump’s interpreter during the meeting – but that option seemed unlikely.
One other discussion point between the two leaders drew additional bipartisan notice, as the Senate moved to go on the record against the idea of allowing Russia to question the former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, as the White House faced stern criticism for not rejecting the idea out of hand.
Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 3:49 PM
A federal judge on Wednesday refused to release to a 29 year-old Russian woman who pleaded not guilty to illegal political activity in the United States, as federal prosecutors alleged that Maria Butina was working “as part of a covert Russian influence campaign” in 2016 and 2017, which was aided by at least one American.
“Because Butina has been exposed as an illegal agent of Russia, there is the grave risk that she will appeal to those within that government with whom she conspired to aid her escape from the United States,” prosecutors said in new court documents filed on Wednesday morning.
Those documents detailed what was described as a ‘years-long conspiracy to work covertly in the United States as an undeclared agent of the Russian Federation,” in which the feds charge, she was “in contact with officials believed to be Russian intelligence operatives.”
The court submission also said that Butina was helped by an unnamed American, referred to as “U.S. Person 1,” a 56 year-old man with whom she was involved in a personal relationship, describing him as “instrumental in aiding her covert influence operation.”
But the feds say he was being used by Butina.
Butina was in the United States on a student visa, attending classes at American University, located in Washington, D.C. about four miles northwest of the White House.
“Butina would routinely ask U.S. Person 1 to help complete her academic assignments, by editing papers and answering exam questions,” the Justice Department said in court documents, as the feds said, “attending American University was Butina’s cover while she continued to work on behalf of the Russian Official.”
“The evidence establishes that Butina’s purpose for coming to the United States was to work on behalf of the Russian Federation,” the DOJ wrote.
The documents filed on Wednesday also show connections between Butina and what were described as “wealthy businessmen in the Russian oligarchy,” some of whom had funded her activities in the United States.
The documents filed today also indicated that Butina had been under surveillance by FBI agents for some time, as she was seen with a Russian diplomat who is “suspected by the United States Government of being a Russian intelligence officer.”
Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee had pressed that panel to get testimony from Butina, to explore her ties to the National Rifle Association.
“The Republicans refused to allow her to come testify,” Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) told CNN on Tuesday night.
In Moscow, the response from the Russian government was that the FBI was engaged in political tricks, casting Butina as an innocent student in Washington, D.C.
Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 1:14 PM
For the second time this week, President Donald Trump publicly went against the findings of the U.S. Intelligence Community with respect to Russian efforts to undermine election activities in the United States, as the President shot down a question about whether Russia was still engaged in activities like their 2016 interference in the U.S. elections.
“Is Russia still targeting the U.S.?” a reporter asked, as the President wrapped up a Cabinet meeting at the White House.
“Thank you very much. No,” President Trump said firmly as he shook his head, giving an answer that again runs counter to what American intelligence agencies have been warning for months, that Russia is looking for a repeat of their 2016 interference efforts.
In brief remarks to reporters, the President said several times that he has been tough on Russia.
“There’s never been a President as tough on Russia as I have been,” Mr. Trump told reporters. “And I think President Putin knows that better than anybody, especially the media.”
On Monday, after Mr. Trump had seemingly sided with the denial of Vladimir Putin at a joint news conference in Finland, the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, quickly issued a statement reiterating that the U.S. firmly believes Russia meddled in the 2016 election, noting “their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy.”
Mr. Trump then clarified his comments on Tuesday, in a statement read to reporters – but Wednesday’s remarks seemed to take him back to square one – where the President argues that the Russians are not coming after the U.S.
The President’s answer puts him squarely at odds as well with many in both parties in the Congress, who fully believe that Russia is still actively engaged in efforts to meddle with the 2018 and 2020 elections in the United States.
“OMG. OMG. OMG,” wrote Michael Hayden on Twitter, a former Director of the CIA and National Security Agency.
“Mr. President. Walk this back too,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer.