Father denied visa for slain daughter’s funeral

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE USA TODAY NEWS)

 

Father denied visa for slain daughter’s funeral as suspect charged with rape, murder

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A 34-year-old man is facing murder, forcible rape, kidnapping and other charges in connection with the disappearance of 13-year-old Hania Noelia Aguilar from Lumberton, North Carolina. The news comes as Aguilar’s father, a Guatemalan citizen, was denied a U.S. visa and missed his daughter’s Saturday funeral.

The charges against suspect Michael Ray McLellan were released by the FBI on Saturday. Prior to his arrest, McLellan was being held in custody on unrelated charges, according to the FBI.

Despite tens of thousands of signatures on a Change.org petition calling on U.S. agencies to allow Hania Aguilar’s father  to attend his daughter’s funeral, Noé Aguilar was not granted a visa, Naimeh Salem, a Texas immigration lawyer, confirmed to USA TODAY in a Saturday email.

Noé Aguilar was denied requests for a second interview and humanitarian parole, Salem said in a written statement.

Hania Aguilar’s funeral was Saturday at Lumberton High School, ABC11 WTVD reports. A video of the event shows purple balloons and bows decorating the venue as a large crowd gathered for a bilingual service.

Hania was abducted Nov. 5 after going outside to start an SUV for a relative who was going to drive her to the school bus. A neighbor said she heard screams, then saw a man force Hania into the SUV and drive away.

The FBI joined local and state police in a massive search. The vehicle was found three days later in a wooded area several miles from Hania Aguilar’s home.  In late November, a body tentatively identified as Hania Aguilar’s was found in North Carolina.

Salem told the New York Times that Noé Aguilar’s visa was denied by American officials because they believed he might not return to his native country.

“To tell you the truth, with past administrations, we never had a problem like this,” Salem is quoted by the Times. “With this administration, most everything that is discretionary is getting denied.”

Suspect McLellan faces 10 state charges filed by the Lumberton Police Department, but more may be filed as the investigation continues, an FBI statement says.

Contributing: John Bacon, USA TODAY; The Associated Press; WCNC-TV, Charlotte, wcnc.com

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The (Brief) Return of Civility

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT)

 

The (Brief) Return of Civility

Memorial services for former President George H.W. Bush highlighted the differences – and similarities – between Washington then and now.

By Susan Milligan Senior WriterDec. 7, 2018, at 6:00 a.m.
U.S. News & World Report

The (Brief) Return of Civility

(ALEX BRANDON/POOL/GETTY IMAGES)

THE POLITICAL NEMESES sat in dignified, if chilly, silence at President George H.W. Bush’s funeral, as if the memorial of a man who called for a “kindler and gentler nation” reminded them, for one day, how to behave. President Donald Trump might have looked uneasy being a spectator, instead of the center of attention, at an event dedicated to honor a predecessor – and from a family that has been at sharp odds with him. But he was there in the front row, uncharacteristically mum, dutifully shaking hands with former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama. There was no confrontation between Trump and grieving Jeb Bush, whom Trump openly mocked on the campaign trail as “low energy.”

Unlike the funeral for Sen. John McCain, the Bush memorial did not include such obvious criticisms of Trump and his presidency. To the extent the event was an implicit chiding of Trump, you had to look for it: Former Sen. Alan Simpson, for example, lauded the late Bush’s graciousness and loyalty – noting that loyalty for Bush meant standing by his friends. That was a subtle reminder that Trump’s professed idea of loyalty appears rooted in whether his aides and employees are protective of him. Historian Jon Meacham noted the late Bush’s “thousand points of light” celebration of American volunteerism – a program Trump ridiculed at a Montana campaign rally this summer.

It might have been an impetus to all the Washington politicians and power players at the event to dial back the anger and get down to doing the nation’s business. It wasn’t.

Judicial nominations scheduled for consideration Thursday were delayed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., after departing Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said he was standing by his threat to hold up such nominations until McConnell allows a vote on legislation to protect the job of special counsel Robert Mueller. The specter of a government shutdown because of a standoff over Trump’s desired border wall loomed – delayed only because of the Bush funeral.

“We think of [Bush] in this kind of weepy, sentimental way … but certainly people who worked for him could pull out all the stops and the long knives.”

The Senate is also pushing back angrily at Trump over the involvement of the Saudi crown prince, a Trump ally, in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. A bipartisan Senate team has accused Trump of willfully ignoring evidence of Mohammed bin Salman’s involvement in the murder, and the chamber is moving on resolutions to condemn MBS, as he is known, and to curtail U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen.

House Democrats began gearing up for what is expected to be an aggressive investigation of Trump and his administration when the party takes control of the chamber in January. And the entire political city is shifting to presidential campaign mode, with several senators openly mulling runs.

“The death of a senior politician often becomes a time to mourn what we no longer have. We either remember the person with a nostalgia about how things used to be or use a shared appreciation of their service to call on our leaders to act in better ways,” says Julian Zelizer, a history professor at Princeton University. “But it never happens. Today the forces that generate intense partisan polarization are very strong. They are embedded in our institutions and culture – much stronger than the memory of a great figure can overcome.”

And while Bush’s death has been cast as the death, too, of a more conciliatory and cooperative Washington, the seeds of modern discontent had been planted in that era, experts say.

[

RANKINGS: 

The 10 Worst Presidents ]

For example, Bush famously backed a tax increase to raise necessary revenue, despite having declared, in Clint Eastwood-esque verbiage, “Read my lips: No new taxes.” That episode damaged Bush politically – likely contributing to his re-election loss in 1992 – and spooked fellow politicians afterward.

“The Bush tax increase paved the way for the surpluses we had” during the Clinton years, says Stan Collender, a former Capitol Hill budget analyst and founder of the “The Budget Guy” blog. “But more importantly, it set up the anti-tax-increase politics we have now. Short-term, [Bush] did a very good thing in terms of budgeting and leadership. Long-term, it probably had the opposite effect of what he had been hoping.”

Bush also presided over the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. On its face, that was a great thing for America and the world, historians say – but it also deprived the nation of a unifying issue amid domestic disputes.

And the hand-wringing over negative campaigning and nasty personal attacks? Not only did that not start with Trump and his tweets and derisive nicknames, but Bush had his own role in that kind of politics, experts note.

Bush famously attacked his 1988 Democratic opponent, Michael Dukakis, for a prison weekend-furlough program, one which allowed convicted murderer Willie Horton to commit a kidnapping and rape during what was supposed to be a temporary break from custody. Since Horton is black, the ad was viewed at the time as an appeal to white voters’ fears of African-American criminals.

A PAC supporting Bush ran the original Willie Horton ad, and the Bush campaign itself followed with another, called “Revolving Door,” which did not mention Horton by name but clearly echoed the first, devastating ad.

Bush campaign manager Lee Atwater, dying of cancer, apologized for the racially tinged campaign and his pledge to “make Willie Horton [Dukakis’s] running mate.” But the successful impact of the ads was clear – and the tactic endured.

When Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas, he was friendly with Roger Porter, who had worked for President Ronald Reagan when George H.W. Bush was vice president and then went on to work in the Bush White House, says Barbara Perry, director of presidential studies at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia.

Porter, Perry says, called Clinton in 1991 and peppered him with questions about whether he would challenge Bush in 1992. Clinton hedged, and “Porter said, ‘Cut the crap – if you do [run], we will pull out all the stops against you,'” Perry says.

“We think of [Bush] in this kind of weepy, sentimental way” now that he’s died, Perry says, “and maybe that was the core of George H.W. Bush. But certainly people who worked for him could pull out all the stops and the long knives. From the playing field of Andover to the South Pacific to the presidential campaign, [Bush] is the most competitive person. You don’t become president of the United States without an edge,” she adds.

Former Rep. John Dingell, the longest-serving House member in history, laments where that trend has led.

“In my six decades in public service, I’ve seen many changes in our nation and its institutions,” Dingell writes in a new book, “The Dean: The Best Seat in the House.”

“Yet the most profound change I’ve witnessed is also the saddest. It is the complete collapse in respect for virtually every institution of government and an unprecedented cynicism about the nobility of public service itself,” Dingell writes. One of the forewords, notably, was authored by the late President Bush.

Susan Milligan, Senior Writer

Susan Milligan is a political and foreign affairs writer and contributed to a biography of the   READ MORE

When You Invite A Demon Into A Church He Shows His Disgust For Everyone There

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HUFFINGTON POST)

 

Every President Recited The Apostles’ Creed Except Trump, And People Definitely Noticed

Trump didn’t recite the profession of faith during the funeral for former President George H.W. Bush.
X

People on Twitter are calling out President Donald Trump for failing to recite the Apostles’ Creed at the funeral for former President George H. W. Bush on Wednesday.

Footage from the event shows much of the church, including the former presidents seated with Trump, standing to recite the profession of faith.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump stood, but did not recite the creed, which was written in the program, nor did they sing the hymns.

Given Trump’s widespread support among evangelical Christians, that led to plenty of criticism on social media:

Richard Marx

@richardmarx

Hey @Franklin_Graham here’s your “evangelical president” NOT reciting the Apostles’ Creed at the funeral of your father’s friend. Maybe he thinks it’s the name of the next movie with Stallone and Michael B. Jordan.

Resistant@b_resistant
Replying to @richardmarx

Nor did the current evangelical savior (or nude model gold digger) feel it was necessary to recite the Apostles Creed…how very Christian of them

View image on Twitter

763 people are talking about this

Erick Erickson

@EWErickson

I assume the President was looking for those two Corinthians during the Apostles Creed.

202 people are talking about this

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Keith Boykin

@keithboykin

This is your “Christian” evangelical president.

45.3K people are talking about this

John Ziegler

@Zigmanfreud

It’s SO weird that Barack Obama (the “Muslim”) knew all the words to the Apostles’ Creed, and Donald Trump (the Evangelical hero) didn’t know any of them, and didn’t even bother to read them.

16.9K people are talking about this

Ruth Graham

@publicroad

This is a strange moment. It’s not about Trump not having memorized the creed, which is printed in the program. He’s opting not to participate in the service. https://twitter.com/keithboykin/status/1070376816131694593 

Keith Boykin

@keithboykin

This is your “Christian” evangelical president.

Embedded video

2,041 people are talking about this

Auntie Mame@SidecarStrega

The man that Trump spent years calling a Kenyan born Muslim recited the Apostle’s Creed and Lord’s Prayer but Trump and his third, Slovenian born wife did not.

284 people are talking about this

Vladimir Duthiers

@vladduthiersCBS

Curious moment here as all of the former Presidents and First Ladies read and recite the Apostles’ Creed – President Trump & the current First Lady do not.

512 people are talking about this

Nell Lamb@lamb_nell

And Evangelicals think God put him in office? I’m surprised he was able to cross the threshold without bursting into flames. http://www.newsweek.com/donald-melania-trump-dont-pray-apostle-creed-sing-hymns-obamas-clintons-1245879 

Trumps don’t recite Apostles’ Creed at George H.W Bush Funeral, unlike Obamas, Clintons

“This is your ‘Christian’ evangelical president,” said CNN commentator Keith Boykin.

newsweek.com

286 people are talking about this

Brian Krassenstein@krassenstein

Are you telling me the so-called “Muslim” president knew all the words to the Apostles’ Creed, but the ‘Christian Conservative’ President, did not?https://hillreporter.com/watch-trump-fails-to-recite-apostles-creed-during-bush-funeral-16763 

Watch: Trump Fails To Recite Apostle’s Creed During Bush Funeral

President Donald Trump refused to read along with The Apostle’s Creed during former President George

hillreporter.com

10.6K people are talking about this

Airbag Moments@airbagmoments

He thought it was something about Apollo Creed and wanted nothing to do with it.

34 people are talking about this

MikeBates@MikeBates

Trump spent much of the service scowling, with his arms crossed, not participating in the recitation of prayers or the singing of hymns.@robertjeffress and other evangelicals must have found that most refreshing. Trump’s so mature and manly, isn’t he? So respectful.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Looking forward to being with the Bush family. This is not a funeral, this is a day of celebration for a great man who has led a long and distinguished life. He will be missed!

129 people are talking about this

Laura Seay

@texasinafrica

The Trumps aren’t reading along with the Apostles’ Creed. It’s right there on the program.

81 people are talking about this

Ruby Singh 🇬🇧🇪🇺#FBPE@rubyksingh

This is the quietest Trump has ever been! He isn’t even singing the hymns neither is Mel

26 people are talking about this

Todd Garcia@Toddawatomi

Hard to read the word of God when you’ve made a deal with the Devil.

235 people are talking about this

Bush funeral: Trump sits with fellow presidents but still stands alone

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

Bush funeral: Trump sits with fellow presidents but still stands alone

A final memorial for former president George H.W. Bush is taking place in Houston before his body is laid to rest. 

December 5 at 6:06 PM

From the moment he crossed the transept of the soaring Washington National Cathedral, tore off his overcoat and took his seat in the front pew, President Trump was an outsider.

When the others sang an opening hymn, his mouth did not move. When the others read the Apostles’ Creed, he stood stoically. And when one eulogist after another testified to George H.W. Bush’s integrity and character and honesty and bravery and compassion, Trump sat and listened, often with his lips pursed and his arms crossed over his chest.

Wednesday’s state funeral was carefully orchestrated to be about one man and his milestones — Bush the father, the friend, the war hero and the lifelong public servant. But inevitably it became about Trump, too, for it was impossible to pay tribute to the 41st president without drawing implicit contrasts with the 45th.

“His life code was: ‘Tell the truth. Don’t blame people. Be strong. Do your best. Try hard. Forgive. Stay the course,’ ” Bush biographer Jon Meacham said in his eulogy. “And that was, and is, the most American of creeds.”

The mourners did not deliver the searing rebukes of Trump the nation witnessed in September for the funeral of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

But despite being crafted to honor Bush’s legacy, their words also served to underscore the singular nature of Trump’s presidency.

Trump was in the company of all his living predecessors for the first time Wednesday, and the encounter was plainly uncomfortable. By 10:49 a.m., when Trump and first lady Melania Trump stepped into the cathedral, a cool hush had come over the pews filled by American dignitaries and foreign leaders, past and present. Trump handed his black overcoat to a military aide and took his seat on the aisle next to his wife, with three past presidents and first ladies seated to her side.

First was the president Trump said was illegitimate (Barack Obama); then the first lady he called a profligate spender of taxpayer dollars (Michelle Obama); then the president he called the worst abuser of women (Bill Clinton); then the first lady and secretary of state he said should be in jail (Hillary Clinton); and then the president he said was the second-worstbehind Obama (Jimmy Carter) and his wife, Rosalynn.

The Trumps and the Obamas greeted each other brusquely, but only Melania Trump reached over to shake hands with Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton did not acknowledge the Trumps, keeping her gaze straight ahead as if determined not to make eye contact with the man who continues, two years after the 2016 election, to inspire “Lock her up!” chants at his rallies.

Memorable moments from George H.W. Bush’s D.C. funeral

Dignitaries, politicians and family gathered at Washington National Cathedral on Dec. 5, to bid farewell to former president George H.W. Bush. 

The frostiness of Trump’s interactions with his predecessors was all the more apparent when former president George W. Bush entered the cathedral a few minutes later. Bush shook hands cheerfully with each of the other presidents and first ladies. He slipped what appeared to be a candy to a smiling Michelle Obama — a reminder of McCain’s funeral, when video of Bush giving Obama candies went viral on social media.

As a military honor guard carried George H.W. Bush’s flag-draped casket to rest in front of the altar, the Trumps joined the Obamas and Clintons in holding their right hands over their hearts.

Trump’s Cabinet members and aides seemed to blend easily into the audience. Vice President Pence and his wife, Karen, wandered over to exchange pleasantries with the Clintons and Obamas.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and policy director Stephen Miller schmoozed their way through the cathedral’s nave.

Just behind the presidents and vice presidents, Ivanka Trump sat next to Chelsea Clinton, suppressing from public view any hostility that might exist between them.

It was President Trump who seemed most out of place. For about two hours, he sat in silence, the rare event at which the president was not the center of attention but merely an observer.

Since learning of Bush’s death late Friday, Trump has striven to be magnanimous — to act, as he often boasts he could, “presidential.” Trump opened the doors of Blair House to host the Bushes. He dispatched Air Force One to carry the late president’s body and members of the Bush family to and from Houston. All the while, he has refrained from publicly reacting to the nearly week-long celebration of Bush’s life and its contrasts with Trump’s.

The first of Bush’s five eulogists at Wednesday’s funeral was Meacham, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who grew close to Bush as he researched the former president’s life for the 2015 biography, “Destiny and Power.” Meacham explained what Bush meant by his famous volunteerism phrase “a thousand points of light,” which Trump mocked this summer as an ineffective and confusing slogan.

“Abraham Lincoln’s ‘better angels of our nature’ and George H.W. Bush’s ‘thousand points of light’ are companion verses in America’s national hymn, for Lincoln and Bush both called on us to choose the right over the convenient, to hope rather than to fear, and to heed not our worst impulses but our best instincts,” Meacham said.

The next eulogist, former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney, praised three of Bush’s achievements in office — negotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Clean Air Act.

“There’s a word for this. It’s called ‘leadership,’ ” Mulroney said. “Leadership. And let me tell you that when George Bush was president of the United States of America, every single head of government in the world knew that they were dealing with a gentleman, a genuine leader — one who was distinguished, resolute and brave.”


President Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive for the funeral. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

It was not lost on the audience that Trump has slammed NAFTA as one of the worst trade deals ever; mocked a journalist’s physical disability; and rolled back scores of environmental regulations.

Trump sat through much of Mulroney’s speech crossing his arms over his chest or holding his hands between his knees, at times leaning forward in his seat.

Trump’s body language loosened up when former senator Alan Simpson delivered a lighter and more humorous remembrance of his longtime friend. Trump laughed as Simpson told stories about serving in Washington with Bush; at one point, Simpson sang the most famous line from the play “Evita”: “Don’t cry for me, Argentina!”

But Simpson, too, conveyed a more serious lesson as he spoke of Bush’s humility and kindness. “Those who travel the high road of humility in Washington, D.C., are not bothered by heavy traffic,” he said, adding later, “Hatred corrodes the container it’s carried in.”

As he assumed the presidency, Bush summoned all Americans to create a “kinder” and “gentler” nation — a message that Trump, then a Manhattan real estate developer and tabloid celebrity, found lacking.

“I like George Bush very much and support him and always will,” Trump said in a 1990 interview with Playboy. “But I disagree with him when he talks of a kinder, gentler America. I think if this country gets any kinder or gentler, it’s literally going to cease to exist.”

At Wednesday’s funeral, the most emotional eulogy was that of Bush’s eldest son, George W., who celebrated his father’s character.

“He showed me what it means to be a president who serves with integrity, leads with courage and acts with love in his heart for the citizens of our country,” Bush said.

Trump applauded Bush’s speech, and then the Rev. Dr. Russell Jones Levenson Jr., who had been Bush’s pastor at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, took to the pulpit to deliver a final, stirring eulogy. His was as direct a reference to the Trump era as any.

“Some have said this is an end of an era,” Levenson said. “But it doesn’t have to be. Perhaps this is an invitation to fill the void that has been left behind.”

After the choir sang and bells rang, after Bush’s casket was carried down the center aisle and as it was loaded into a hearse, the Trumps departed the cathedral quickly through a side exit. The president was whisked back to the White House. He returned to the seclusion and comfort of the Oval Office.

Why George H.W. Bush wanted Trump at his funeral

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Why George H.W. Bush wanted Trump at his funeral

(CNN)George H.W. Bush can perform one last, posthumous service to his country this week by orchestrating a rare moment of unity and a short-term truce in the rancorous politics swirling around the crisis-stricken Trump presidency.

The remains of the former president, who died at home in Texas on Friday night at 94, will be brought to Washington on Monday to allow the nation to bid farewell to a man whose one-term presidency looks better with each year that passes.
The ex-commander-in-chief will lie in state at the US Capitol ahead of a state funeral service in Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday that will see a meeting of the world’s most exclusive club — that of former presidents.
For a few days, a building showdown over a possible partial government shutdown may ease, and the increasing threat posed to the Trump presidency by special counsel Robert Mueller could fade into the background.
Despite antipathy between the Bush family and President Donald Trump, the 41st president made clear he wanted America’s current leader to be at the funeral, putting the institution of the presidency above personal animosities.
Trump has confirmed he will attend the event, which follows a series of national disasters and tragedies and moments of public mourning that have caused critics to fault his behavior as short of that expected of a president.
To his credit, Trump canceled what was certain to be a contentious news conference at the G20 summit in Argentina on Saturday out of respect for Bush. He also sent one of the iconic blue-and-white 747 jets that serves as Air Force One when a president is aboard to Texas to carry Bush’s casket.
“We’ll be spending three days of mourning and three days of celebrating a really great man’s life,” Trump said in Argentina in a gracious tribute.
“So we look forward to doing that, and he certainly deserves it. He really does. He was a very special person.”
But Wednesday’s ceremony still promises to be an awkward moment of political theater for Trump, since he will come face-to-face with former presidents and other top officials whom he has attacked in recent days.
Just last week for instance, Trump retweeted an image that pictures former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, along with former campaign rival Hillary Clinton, behind bars. Trump often beams at rallies as his crowds chant “lock her up!” about the former Democratic nominee. And Michelle Obama wrote in her new autobiography that she will “never forgive” Trump for his conspiracy theory about Obama’s birthplace that launched the real estate mogul and reality TV star’s political career.
Trump is likely to come face to face with all four in the National Cathedral before a huge television audience. The encounter will highlight how several of the former leaders, including Obama and Clinton, forged close relationships with their Republican predecessor as well as the friendly relations between them and Bush’s son, former President George W. Bush. No such ties exist between that trio and the current President, who often criticizes his predecessors and has given no sign of taking advantage of their advice and experience of doing one of the toughest and loneliest jobs in global politics.
The President also belittled another of the elder Bush’s sons, former Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, during the 2016 campaign, and in July, mocked a signature quote by the 41st president about a “thousand points of light,” which was later used as the name of his charity.

Unavoidable comparisons

Wednesday’s state funeral will offer similarities and contrasts to the final farewell for John McCain in September, to which Trump was not invited after mocking the Arizona senator during the 2016 campaign for being shot down and imprisoned in Vietnam nearly 50 years before.
Such analogies are likely to be perceived again in the tributes to Bush, who was almost universally regarded as a gentleman and a throwback to a more civil and magnanimous era of politics.
Still, with Trump attending, and if he desists from his trademark inflammatory politics, the nation’s divides could be papered over, at least for a few days.
Bush’s passing also looks set to postpone one of the final political showdowns of the year — a funding controversy entangled in Trump’s demands for $5 billion in funding for his border wall.
A source briefed on the talks told CNN that lawmakers are considering taking up a one-week spending bill to avoid a partial government shutdown by a Friday deadline, since Congress will be out of session at the beginning of the week ahead of Bush’s ceremonies.
Trump told reporters on Air Force One on Saturday night that he would be open to such a solution.
“I would absolutely consider it and probably give it,” Trump said.

Russia cloud darkens over Trump

Washington’s period of mourning come at a fraught moment in Trump’s presidency, after a week in which it became clear that Mueller is narrowing in on the President as his investigation gathers pace.
On Thursday, Mueller unveiled a cooperation agreement with Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen. Cohen admitted to lying to Congress to cover up the fact that he was negotiating a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow right up until June 2016 during the presidential campaign.
He had previously said talks about the Moscow project ended in January 2016 and said he lied out of a sense of obligation to Trump.
A pair of developments on Friday night appeared to bring the probe even closer to the White House. CNN reported that Cohen believed that Trump would offer him a pardon in exchange for staying on message in in talks with federal prosecutors.
Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said Trump never indicated any such possibility to Cohen. But the report immediately sparked speculation about communications between the two men. Any proof that Trump had offered a pardon in return for Cohen’s testimony would be an abuse of power and possibly an impeachable offense.
Then, in a filing later on Friday, Cohen’s lawyers offered the clearest sign yet that he kept Trump informed of his efforts to close the deal in Moscow in 2016.
A political hiatus over the next few days might give Trump some brief relief from Russia questions but could also complicate his effort to celebrate an agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping to stave off an escalation in the trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
In exchange, China will buy a “very substantial” amount of agricultural, energy and other goods from the United States to help reduce the trade imbalance, according to a White House statement.
“If it happens it goes down as one of the largest deals ever made,” Trump said, though trade experts saw the agreement, while welcome, as more a temporary truce than a permanent peace deal to ease rising US-China tensions.
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