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|Mueller suspected Trump lawyer may have been acting as foreign agent ||Ranking 2019 NCAA tournament coaches as players, 1-68 |
Special counsel of Russia investigation granted access to Michael Cohen’s emails on basis he may have broken several lawsMichael Cohen documents released – live updates Michael Cohen. Multiple pages, apparently relating to the campaign finance scheme, were entirely blacked out in the version of the documents released on Tuesday. Photograph: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images Robert Mueller persuaded a judge within weeks of being made special counsel in 2017 that Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s legal fixer, may have been secretly working for a foreign government. Legal filings unsealed on Tuesday said investigators working for Mueller were granted access to Cohen’s personal email account on 18 July 2017 on the basis that he may have broken several laws, including those on unregistered foreign agents. Cohen’s suspected efforts were not detailed in the documents. Cohen, one of Trump’s closest advisers for a decade, was known to have been paid in 2017 for consulting work by a state-controlled South Korean aviation company and a bank in Kazakhstan. The filings said Mueller’s investigators were looking in Cohen’s Gmail account for records on any “funds or benefits” he received from foreign governments or companies, as well as any files revealing efforts by Cohen to work on their behalf. The court documents were released by a federal judge in New York, where Cohen pleaded guilty last year to campaign finance and personal financial crimes. They were originally filed by investigators in April last year to obtain additional search warrants. It was not previously known that Cohen was suspected of crimes relating to representing foreigners without registering with US authorities, and no such charges were brought against him. Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison and is due to be jailed in May. The filings released on Tuesday ran to hundreds of pages . More than 19 pages, apparently relating to the campaign finance scheme, were entirely blacked out, indicating that it remains under investigation. Cohen directly implicated Trump in the scheme, which involved hush-money payments to women who alleged during the 2016 campaign that they had affairs with Trump. Some legal analysts have said Trump could be vulnerable to prosecution for the scheme once he leaves office. He denies breaking any laws. The documents released on Tuesday gave a rare insight on the early actions taken by Mueller’s office in the weeks after his appointment as special counsel on 17 May 2017, following the president’s firing of James Comey, the FBI director. Mueller was asked to look into any connections or coordination between Russia and Trump’s team. They showed search warrants obtained for Cohen’s email accounts gave investigators sweeping authority to look into related data including Cohen’s calendars, contacts and photographs. Investigators were also given permission to use Cohen’s fingers or face to unlock his electronic devices if necessary. Following their successful July 2017 application, Mueller’s team secured several more warrants for Cohen. They were granted a search warrant for Cohen’s Apple iCloud account on 8 August 2017, the filings said, and then obtained two more search warrants in November 2017 for two additional email accounts used by Cohen. Mueller’s team passed some of its findings, which did not relate to their central investigation, up to justice department colleagues in New York. After prosecutors there were granted further warrants, FBI agents raided Cohen’s home, hotel room and storage facility and seized millions of documents. Mueller’s investigation, which appears to be drawing to a conclusion, has roiled Trump’s first term in office and led to the criminal convictions of a series of former Trump advisers for financial crimes and lying to investigators. It has also led to the indictment of more than two dozen Russians for interfering in the 2016 US election campaign, but no one from Trump’s campaign has been charged over activity relating to the election campaign. Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, has been accused by Mueller of sharing private polling data with a colleague accused of having ties to Russian intelligence services.
| A Hall of Famer, a former college player of the year at Duke, and a guy who didn't play past the eighth grade. |
|Supreme Court will decide if convicted sniper in 2002 District of Columbia-area killings can get new sentence ||Fill out your bracket! |
The Supreme Court agreed to decide whether life-without-parole sentences for the primary gunman in a series of D.C.-area murders in 2002 must be reconsidered.
| Create up to 25 brackets, and play against family and friends. |
|Parts of US Midwest deluged in historic deadly floods ||Doc brushes off Lakers link: 'I am going nowhere' |
The US Midwest struggled Monday with historic flooding that claimed at least three lives, displaced residents and damaged hundreds of homes and businesses. Swollen waters hit much of Nebraska, as well as parts of Iowa, Wisconsin, and South Dakota, after a major storm last week dumped snow and rain, even as melting snow was already raising the levels of area waterways. Neighboring states could also be affected as floodwaters drain, officials said.
| Doc Rivers shut down any talk of his potential candidacy for the Lakers job, saying he and Clippers owner Steve Ballmer have verbally agreed to a long-term contract extension. |
|Outrage over Pope's decision to reject resignation of archbishop convicted of protecting predator priest ||Nets, down 25 in 4th, storm back to shock Kings |
Catholic campaigners condemned as “shocking” a decision by Pope Francis not to accept the resignation of a French archbishop who was given a suspended prison sentence this month for failing to report the sexual abuse of boy scouts by a known predatory priest. Tuesday's surprise decision came just a month after the Vatican convened an unprecedented conference of cardinals in which it pledged to get tough on priests who abuse children and the bishops who cover up for them. French cardinal Philippe Barbarin travelled to Rome on Monday and offered his resignation to Pope Francis. But on Tuesday the Vatican announced that the Argentinian pontiff had decided to reject the resignation. While the Vatican offered no explanation, it seems likely that the Pope wants to wait to see the outcome of an appeal that the 68-year-old archbishop intends to launch against his six-month sentence. But the decision was condemned by groups representing survivors of clerical sex abuse from around the world. Pope Francis receives Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon, at the Vatican Credit: Reuters “I’m stunned by this decision. It is shocking and depressing,” Anne Barrett Doyle, the head of the US-based organisation Bishop Accountability, told The Telegraph. “It reveals the Pope’s very narrow concept of accountability. It is a reminder to bishops that they have nothing to fear from this Pope. It is a profound and disastrous misreading of what is required to address this crisis.” Just last month, during a four-day conference at the Vatican attended by bishops and archbishops from around the world, the Pope said that “no abuse must ever be covered up, as has happened in the past". In a statement, Barbarin, the most senior French Catholic to have been swept up in the Church’s sex abuse scandal, said: “On Monday I handed over my mission to the Holy Father. He spoke of the presumption of innocence and did not accept this resignation." Barbarin said that he would step back from his role as archbishop of Lyon "for a little while", allowing his deputy to stand in for him. Even the Bishops' Conference of France – the country’s most senior Catholic body - said it was surprised by the decision, which it described as "unheard of". Barbarin was convicted earlier this month of failing to act against Bernard Preynat, a priest who has confessed to abusing boy scouts in the 1980s and 1990s. Preynat is expected to be put on trial later this year. Barbarin became archbishop of Lyon in 2002 and learned of Preynat’s abuse of boys but let him remain in ministry until 2015, said Bishop Accountability. French victims of clerical abuse also reacted with outrage to the papal decision. "I think that man (the Pope) is going to manage to kill off the church. It's a mistake too many,” said Francois Devaux, a co-founder of a victims' organisation. Faith in the Catholic Church has plunged as a result of its failure over two decades to address sex abuse perpetrated by clergy. Last week George Pell, the Australian cardinal who was once the third most powerful figure in the Vatican, was sentenced to six years in prison after being convicted of abusing two altar boys in Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral in the 1990s. He also intends to appeal and remains a cardinal, despite being behind bars. Campaign groups were profoundly disappointed when last month’s Vatican conference on combating sexual abuse failed to come up with any new, concrete initiatives to address the crisis.
| D'Angelo Russell scored 27 of his career-high 44 points in the final quarter, helping the Nets overcome a 25-point deficit in the fourth to beat the Kings 123-121 on Tuesday night. |
|The Porsche Taycan EV Is Coming into Clearer Focus ||Source: Astros extend Bregman with 6-year deal |
| Budding superstar Alex Bregman has agreed to a six-year, $100 million contract extension with the Houston Astros. |
Houston Local News
Houston Views and Opinions
The Importance of Free Press in a Democracy
Before we can understand the importance of a free press in a democracy, we need to grasp what it means to have a free press. The Cambridge Dictionary tells us that a free press allows all media outlets to express whatever opinions they desire. That means, it says, that they are enabled to â€œcriticize the government and other organizations.â€ So why would that be relevant in a democracy?
Unfair Questions or Democracy At Work ?
â€œCongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.â€ -- The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Why U.S. Engagement Policy Is The Correct One
Invariably, when one thinks of the efficacy of a nationâ€™s military, the mindâ€™s eye is drawn to the ability of that country to deliver a \"warhead onto the forehead\" of their enemies. Indeed, owing to the Pentagonâ€™s slick packaging of the First Gulf War, modern conflict, in the American mind, became synonymous with high-tech toys, grainy videos of successful missile shots, and a quick resolution of hostilities.
Capitalism and The Wealth Gap
When it comes to the efficient delivery of goods and services, capitalism is the proven economic model that puts people to work and products on the shelves. Whether those jobs end up paying enough money to purchase the items on those shelves is another matter, however.
Living Wages Are A Global Problem
The recent protests for an increased minimum wage are part of a larger global protest. The purpose is the same for low wage earners all over the world; increase wages to match the cost of living, and allow workers to form unions if desired and needed. The global protest has gained media attention all over the world, but critics claim that is the only accomplishment the movement will have.
Ukraine: Not What It Seems
After tense days of fighting this week, people in Ukraine are mourning the dead and celebrating the removal of President Victor Yanukovych from power. The final struggle that began on February 18, was the bloodiest endured by the protesters of Euromaidan. By February 22 the fighting was over.
Coup Or Civil War In Egypt
The day after new protests erupted in Egypt the military in a show of support presented an ultimatum to Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood-led government. Morsi was to step down from power and meet all of the demands of the Egyptian people, or face being removed by the military on Wednesday. As the ultimatum deadline draws closer in Egypt, Morsi refuses to leave, insisting that parliamentary elections are needed before he should be removed, and that he doesn't have permission from the United States to remove himself from power. Most recently he stated he will pay with his life to preserve the sanctity of the ballot box.