2 Giuliani Associates Tied to Ukraine Scandal Arrested on Campaign Finance Charges

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

2 Giuliani Associates Tied to Ukraine Scandal Arrested on Campaign Finance Charges

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, associates of President Trump’s personal lawyer, were also part of the pressure campaign on Ukraine to investigate Democrats.

ImageRudy Giuliani, left, and Lev Parnas at the Trump International Hotel in Washington last month.
Credit Aram Roston/Reuters

WASHINGTON — Two associates of the president’s private lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, who helped fund efforts to investigate one of President Trump’s political rivals, were charged in a separate case with violating campaign finance laws, according to court documents.

The two men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, believed to be important witnesses in the House’s impeachment inquiry of Mr. Trump, were arrested on campaign finance charges. The arrests and charges were first reported by The Wall Street Journal. Two other men, David Correia and Andrey Kukushkin, were also indicted.

Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman aided Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to gin up investigations in Ukraine into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, among other potentially politically beneficial investigations for Mr. Trump. Mr. Parnas had been scheduled to participate in a deposition with House impeachment investigators on Capitol Hill on Thursday, and Mr. Fruman on Friday. Neither had been expected to show up voluntarily. House Democrats were preparing to issue subpoenas to force them to do so.

Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman were arrested and were expected to appear in court in Northern Virginia on Thursday, according to a spokesman in the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan.

The indictment said Mr. Parnas and Mr. Kukushkin are Ukrainian-born Americans, while Mr. Fruman was born in Belarus and became an American citizen. Mr. Correia is American-born. Mr. Kukushkin was arrested Thursday in California, and Mr. Correia was still at large, according to a law enforcement official who was not authorized to discuss the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity.

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Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman have acted as emissaries in Ukraine for Mr. Giuliani as he has sought to uncover information about, and encourage investigations into, Mr. Trump’s rivals, including Mr. Biden.

Mr. Parnas, who has known Mr. Giuliani for years, worked with Mr. Fruman to connect Mr. Giuliani to Ukrainian prosecutors who provided information to Mr. Giuliani, as The Times revealed in May.

Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman are based in South Florida, and are executives of an energy company that donated $325,000 to a pro-Trump super PAC last year, prompting a Federal Election Commission complaint by a nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog accusing the men and the company of violating campaign finance laws.

Last month, Mr. Giuliani sought to minimize the significance of the campaign finance inquiry into the two men.

“They had a campaign finance issue,” he said in an interview late last month. “I referred them to a campaign finance expert who pretty much resolved it.”

Their lawyer, John M. Dowd, who previously represented Mr. Trump against the special counsel’s inquiry, did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the arrest.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Nicholas Fandos and Kenneth P. Vogel contributed reporting.

Correction: 

An earlier version of this article misstated the custody status of two men who were indicted. Andrey Kukushkin was arrested in California, and David Correia was still at large, not the reverse.

Eileen Sullivan is the morning breaking news correspondent in Washington. She previously worked for The Associated Press for a decade, covering national security and criminal justice. @esullivannyt

Adam Goldman reports on the F.B.I. from Washington and is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner. @adamgoldmanNYT

William K. Rashbaum is a senior writer on the Metro desk, where he covers political and municipal corruption, courts, terrorism and broader law enforcement topics. He was a part of the team awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news. @WRashbaum  Facebook

Former Trump Organization executive says she expects President Trump will resign

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Former Trump Organization executive says she expects President Trump will resign

New York (CNN Business)A former Trump Organization executive says she thinks President Donald Trump may resign rather than face possible removal from office by impeachment.

“He does a lot of things to save face,” Barbara Res, a former Trump Organization vice president, told CNN’s Brian Stelter on Reliable Sources Sunday.
“It would be very, very, very bad for him to be impeached,” Res said. “I don’t know that he’ll be found guilty but I don’t know that he wants to be impeached. I think that’s what this panic is about. And my gut [instinct] is that he’ll leave office, he’ll resign. Or make some kind of a deal, even, depending on what comes out.”
Res said she was hesitant to share her opinion, because “I could very well be wrong.”
But Res has first-hand experience working with Trump. She was the construction engineer on some of his key projects, including Trump Tower, and she is the author of “All Alone on the 68th Floor: How One Woman Changed the Face of Construction,” which partly chronicles her time working for the President while he ran his company.
She has been critical of Trump in recent years, including during the 2016 campaign, when she said he wasn’t fit for office.
Her comments come as the impeachment inquiry over Trump’s interactions with Ukraine’s president intensify. House Democrats on Friday subpoenaed the White House as part of the investigation into Trump. And on Sunday, the lawyer for the first intelligence whistleblower to come forward with accusations concerning Trump and Ukraine said he is now representing a second whistleblower regarding the President’s actions.
The inquiry has sent Trump into a tweet storm in recent days, defending himself and denouncing both Democratic lawmakers and critics within his own party.
Res said she is not surprised by Trump’s reaction.
“He was always very quick to react, he never responded to anything, always reacted to it and got very, very angry,” Res said. “He had this notion that everything that happened that was bad was directed at him, like they were after him, people were after him.”
She said there have, however, been some elements of the Trump campaign and presidency that she wouldn’t have expected, saying his behavior has gotten worse than when she worked for him. Res was surprised to see reports that Trump told Russian officials he was unconcerned about the country’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election because, she said, “that was a stupid thing to say and I never thought of him as stupid.”
But most of the time, Res said the President is still the Donald Trump she knew while working for him for over a decade.
“This is Trump — I say Trump Squared because he’s had, since I knew him, many, many years of fame and fortune and getting richer and now he actually does believe he’s a stable genius and he does believe he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue, and so far it looks like he can,” she said. The president famously said during the 2016 campaign that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, and his supporters would not abandon him.
As for Trump’s fitness for office, Res said she agrees with George Conway, the husband of Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, who published a piece in The Atlantic earlier this week saying Trump is unfit for office.
“I thought that when he was running for office,” Res said. “And not necessarily for the mental reasons that you talk about but because he didn’t have the experience, you know, lots of different things.”

Arab Parties Back Benny Gantz as Israeli Leader, to End Netanyahu’s Grip

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Arab Parties Back Benny Gantz as Israeli Leader, to End Netanyahu’s Grip

ImageAyman Odeh, center, with other candidates from the Arab Joint List, an alliance of predominantly Arab parties.
CreditCreditAhmad Gharabli/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

JERUSALEM — After 27 years of sitting out decisions on who should lead Israel, Arab lawmakers on Sunday recommended that Benny Gantz, the centrist former army chief, be given the first chance to form a government over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a watershed assertion of political power.

Ayman Odeh, the leader of the Arab Joint List, wrote in a New York Times Op-Ed published on Sunday that the alliance’s 13 incoming lawmakers — the third-largest faction in the newly elected Parliament — had decided to recommend Mr. Gantz because it would “create the majority needed to prevent another term for Mr. Netanyahu.”

“It should be the end of his political career,” Mr. Odeh wrote.

The Arab lawmakers’ recommendation, which Mr. Odeh and other members of the Joint List delivered to President Reuven Rivlin in a face-to-face meeting Sunday evening, reflected Arab citizens’ impatience to integrate more fully into Israeli society and to have their concerns be given greater weight by Israeli lawmakers.

“There is no doubt a historic aspect to what we are doing now,” Mr. Odeh said in the meeting with the president, which was broadcast live.

It was also a striking act of comeuppance for Mr. Netanyahu, who for years had rallied his right-wing supporters by inflaming anti-Arab sentiments. Before the Sept. 17 election, he accused Arab politicians of trying to steal the election and at one point accused them of wanting to “destroy us all.”

Israeli Arabs “have chosen to reject Benjamin Netanyahu, his politics of fear and hate, and the inequality and division he advanced for the past decade,” Mr. Odeh wrote in the Op-Ed for The Times.

Still, Mr. Odeh wrote that the Joint List would not enter a government led by Mr. Gantz because he had not agreed to embrace its entire “equality agenda” — fighting violent crime in Arab cities, changing housing and planning laws to treat Arab and Jewish neighborhoods the same, improving Arabs’ access to hospitals, increasing pensions, preventing violence against women, incorporating Arab villages that lack water and electricity, resuming peace talks with the Palestinians and repealing the law passed last year that declared Israel the nation-state only of the Jewish people.

The last time Arab lawmakers recommended a prime minister was in 1992, when two Arab parties with a total of five seats in Parliament recommended Yitzhak Rabin, though they did not join his government.

“We have decided to demonstrate that Arab Palestinian citizens can no longer be rejected or ignored,” Mr. Odeh wrote.

In the 1992 election, Mr. Rabin initially held a narrow majority in the 120-seat Knesset even without the Arab parties’ support, though he came to rely on it a year later after Shas, an ultra-Orthodox party, quit the government when Mr. Rabin signed the Oslo peace accords.

Mr. Odeh wrote that the decision to support Mr. Gantz was meant as “a clear message that the only future for this country is a shared future, and there is no shared future without the full and equal participation of Palestinian citizens.”

Mr. Gantz narrowly edged the prime minister in the national election last Tuesday. Afterward, both candidates called for unity, but differed on how to achieve it.

The former army chief appears to lack a 61-seat majority even with the Joint List’s support. He emerged from the election with 57 seats, including those of allies on the left and the Joint List, compared with 55 seats for Mr. Netanyahu and his right-wing allies.

Avigdor Liberman, leader of the secular, right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party, which won eight seats, is in the position to be a kingmaker, but said on Sunday that he would not recommend any candidate. He said that Mr. Odeh and the Joint List were not merely political opponents, but “the enemies” and belonged in the “Parliament in Ramallah,” not in the Knesset.

Mr. Rivlin began hearing the recommendations of each major party Sunday evening and was to finish on Monday, before entrusting the task of forming a government to whichever candidate he believes has the best chance of being successful.

In remarks at the start of that process, Mr. Rivlin said the Israeli public wanted a unity government including both Mr. Gantz’s Blue and White party and Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud.

Isabel Kershner contributed reporting.

Iranian Students Set to Start at U.S. Universities Are Barred From Country

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Iranian Students Set to Start at U.S. Universities Are Barred From Country

The students, who were mostly headed to schools in the University of California system, had visas in hand when they were blocked from their flights this month.

ImageNima Abdollahpour had planned to study electrical and computer engineering at the University of California, Davis.

At least a dozen Iranian students who were set to begin graduate programs in engineering and computer science say their visas were abruptly canceled and they were barred from their flights to the United States this month.

The sudden batch of visa cancellations, which came at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and Iran, set off a scramble by university officials, lawmakers, the students’ union and Iranian-American advocates to figure out what had happened.

The State Department said that there had been no change in policy regarding student visas, and higher education officials say that visa problems arise every fall for some of the hundreds of thousands of international students who travel to attend American colleges and universities.

But the students, most of whom were headed to schools in the University of California system, say their visas were revoked at the last minute, without any warning or explanation. Most were prevented from boarding flights in Iran, and others from boarding connecting flights in the Persian Gulf. One was detained at Boston Logan International Airport and then turned back.

Many of the students said that a State Department webpage showed their visa cases had been updated around Aug. 30, and they were prevented from boarding in early September.

All of that came before a Sept. 14 attack on two key Saudi oil installations, which has escalated a standoff between the United States and its ally Saudi Arabia against Iran.

[President Trump announced a new round of sanctions against Iran on Friday.]

A law enacted in 2012 under President Barack Obama requires the United States government to deny visas to Iranian students whose coursework would prepare them to work in the energy or nuclear sectors in their home country. Consular officials have wide discretion on how to interpret the statute and put it in place, said Jamal Abdi, the president of the National Iranian American Council, a Washington-based group.

Mark Dubowitz, the chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, also based in Washington, said he appreciated that the 2012 law had sought to prevent knowledge gained in the United States from being used in the service of the Iranian government.

But he pointed to the difficulty in predicting how students would use technical skills that are widely sought after and applicable in many industries. He suggested a more radical approach: to overturn the Trump administration’s travel ban and require Iranian students in sensitive fields to stay in the United States after graduation.

Most Iranians cannot obtain visas to travel to the United States because of the travel ban on visitors from their country, as well as from Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea and Venezuela. But there are narrow exemptions, including for students. Most of the students who were barred had been given single-entry visas, and were prepared to go years without seeing family members who would not have been able to visit them.

In phone interviews and emails, the students said they were crestfallen. Some had left high-level jobs or sold their homes, or had turned down opportunities in Europe or Canada. Most said their studies had been fully funded, and many had been slated to begin teaching or research positions in addition to their studies.

“I feel I’m damaged emotionally, financially, academically,” said Peyman, 23, who was supposed to begin a degree in electrical engineering at the University of California at San Diego. He asked to be identified only by his first name because he did not want to jeopardize his chances of getting another visa.

Peyman said that he had been barred from a connecting flight in Qatar this month and that an airline employee had scrawled “CANCELLED” across his visa in pen, saying the instructions to do so had come from the Department of Homeland Security.

The State Department does not release data on visa revocations, and the department said it could not release information about individual cases.

Mr. Abdi, the president of the National Iranian American Council, said the group normally hears about visa denials, not last-minute revocations. But new vetting procedures — including reviewing social media information from visa applicants — have been “a black box,” he said.

The student workers in the University of California system are represented by the United Automobile Workers Local 2865. Its president, Kavitha Iyengar, said in a statement that her members “do not deserve to be discriminated against.”

She said that the union often helps members who have visa issues, but that she had never seen a problem of this scope.

John A. Pérez, the chairman of the University of California system’s Board of Regents, said the university would stand with its international students “no matter where they were born — and protect them in any way we can from the unpredictable actions of this administration.”

The university’s media relations office said in a separate statement that it was working with government agencies and lawmakers to resolve the issue. It also noted that other Iranian students in the science, technology, engineering and math fields had arrived on campus before September.

A spokesman for Customs and Border Protection reiterated that there had been no change in policy. He added that the agency had the authority to cancel visas but also had policies in place “to ensure multiple layers of review when adjudicating a denial of admission.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a question about whether visa policy had been changed.

At a time when the Iranian economy is in dire condition, hobbled by American sanctions, many Iranian students pay out of pocket to visit the American embassies in Armenia or Turkey for visa interviews, in addition to paying for plane tickets and other arrangements.

Nima Abdollahpour, 23, completed his bachelor’s degree at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, which is often called the M.I.T. of Iran, and had planned to study electrical and computer engineering at the University of California, Davis.

He said he and other students had grown frustrated as they were directed from one government agency to the next.

“I am a student who will lose another year or two of my life to find another program, as well as tons of money and energy,” he said.

Chinese scholars have also faced restrictions on visas to the United States amid tensions between the two countries, prompting educators to voice concerns about the possible impact on innovation and on researchers already in the United States. Last month, nine Chinese undergraduate students enrolled at Arizona State University were detained at Los Angeles International Airport and sent back to China without explanation.

In a statement on Thursday, Michael M. Crow, the president of Arizona State University, criticized Customs and Border Protection’s handling of the student visa process.

“They are unevenly and inappropriately making determinations that have no factual basis and that they have no experience making,” he said.

“If C.B.P. and D.H.S. do not take this problem seriously,” Mr. Crow said, “all universities need to seek review by Congress and the courts.”

More coverage of international students’ entry to the United States
Harvard Student Says He Was Barred From U.S. Over His Friends’ Social Media Posts

International Students Face Hurdles Under Trump Administration Policy

Visa Delays at Backlogged Immigration Service Strand International Students

Karen Zraick is a breaking news and general assignment reporter who writes frequently about race, gender and civil rights. She has also worked as an editor on the International desk and in news curation. @karenzraick

Did Trump Try to Extort the President of Ukraine Into Investigating Joe Biden’s Son?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORKER)

 

Did Trump Try to Extort the President of Ukraine Into Investigating Joe Biden?

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, along comes a Trump development to trump them all—or most of them. On Thursday night, the Washington Post reported that a complaint from an anonymous intelligence whistle-blower, which has been the subject of a bitter oversight dispute between the Trump Administration and Congress, centers on a phone call that Trump had on July 25th, with Ukraine’s recently elected President, Volodymyr Zelensky. Many details about this story remain murky, but the implication seems to be that the whistle-blower is alleging that Trump promised to release two hundred and fifty million dollars in stalled aid for Ukraine if Zelensky would launch a corruption investigation into matters involving Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

You might think that sounds too outrageous to be plausible: a President who spent just under two years being investigated for possibly colluding with Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election putting the squeeze on another foreign country to interfere in the 2020 race. But hang on a minute. Shortly after the Post’s story dropped, Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who has for months been claiming (without any real evidence) that Joe Biden bribed Ukrainian officials to drop a corruption investigation involving his son, went on Chris Cuomo’s CNN show and said, “It is perfectly appropriate for a President to say to a leader of a foreign country, ‘Investigate this bribe, that was paid by a former Vice-President, that our media in America is covering up.’ ”

For the past few days, reporters have been trying to get more details about the whistle-blower’s complaint. Joseph Maguire, the acting director of National Intelligence, has ordered the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community not to pass it along to Congress, a decision that he says was based on legal advice from the Justice Department. The Administration’s refusal to cooperate has caused a mighty row with the House Intelligence Committee, headed by Adam Schiff, Democrat of California. Of course, the Trump Administration and the Democrats on Capitol Hill are involved in many disputes arising from congressional investigations into Trump and his associates. But until now none of them have involved the suggestion that Trump may have exerted pressure on a foreign leader to take actions to help his 2020 reelection bid, and may have even pledged something in return.

Even before this latest revelation, however, Trump’s conversation with Zelensky, a former comedian and screenwriter who was elected President of Ukraine in April, had attracted the attention of congressional Democrats, who were investigating what Trump and Giuliani were up to on the Kiev front. In August, reports emerged that Trump was threatening to withhold two hundred and fifty million dollars in U.S. aid to Ukraine, which was supposed to be used to deter Russian aggression in the east of the country.

On September 9th, the leaders of three Democrat-controlled House committees demanded the transcript and a list of participants on the July 25th call. The Democrats said that Giuliani and Trump “appear to have acted outside legitimate law enforcement and diplomatic channels.” The Democrats also referred to a Ukrainian government readout from the July 25th call, which said that Trump told Zelensky he was “convinced the new Ukrainian government will be able to quickly improve [the] image of Ukraine, [and] complete [the] investigation of corruption cases, which inhibited the interaction between Ukraine and the USA.”

At that stage, there was no suggestion of a link to a whistle-blower. But on Wednesday night the Washington Post reported that the whistle-blower’s complaint “involves President Trump’s communications with a foreign leader, according to two former U.S. officials familiar with the matter.” The report went on, “Trump’s interaction with the foreign leader included a ‘promise’ that was regarded as so troubling that it prompted an official in the U.S. intelligence community to file a formal whistleblower complaint with the inspector general for the intelligence community, said the former officials.”

This Post story led to a lot of speculation about the identity of the foreign leader. The whistle-blower filed the complaint on August 12th. During the previous few weeks, Trump had spoken with a number of foreign leaders in addition to Zelensky. They included Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Pakistan’s Imran Khan, Holland’s Mark Rutte, and the Emir of Kuwait. The fact that Putin’s name was on the list produced a lot of excitement online, but no new details.

On Wednesday morning Trump weighed in, writing on Twitter, “Another Fake News story out there – It never ends! Virtually anytime I speak on the phone to a foreign leader, I understand that there may be many people listening from various U.S. agencies, not to mention those from the other country itself. No problem!” In a second tweet, he went on, writing, “Knowing all of this, is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially ‘heavily populated’ call. I would only do what is right anyway, and only do good for the USA!”

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The tweets didn’t solve the mystery of who the foreign leader was. But at about 8 p.m. on Thursday evening, the Post appeared to clarify the matter, posting its story under the headline “Whistleblower complaint about Trump involves Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the matter.” The report didn’t say explicitly that the complaint concerned the call between Trump and Zelensky, but it did note that the call took place just two and a half weeks before the whistle-blower made the filing.

As the rest of the media was trying to digest this news, Giuliani appeared on CNN and, almost immediately, went off a cliff. In addition to claiming that it would be fine for Trump to pressure Zelensky and his government to investigate Biden, he admitted that he’d already done so himself, and also managed to contradict his story in the process. The first time that Cuomo questioned Giuliani about whether he had asked Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, he replied, “No, actually, I didn’t.” But then he went on to say he had inquired how a certain Ukrainian official had ended the corruption investigation that allegedly involved Hunter Biden. “So you did ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden?” Cuomo asked. “Of course I did,” Giuliani replied.

Although he defended Trump’s right to pressure the Ukrainian President to investigate Biden, Giuliani also insisted that he didn’t know anything about the conversation between Trump and Zelensky. Crazy as all of this undoubtedly was, the former New York mayor’s appearance was something of a sideshow. The crux of the matter is his client, and whether he attempted, effectively, to extort Zelensky into trying to find dirt on Biden. As they say in the news business, this story is still developing. The next step, surely, is for Congress to get access to the whistle-blower’s complaint. Only then will we find out what it amounts to.

Legendary journalist and political commentator Cokie Roberts dies at 75

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ABC NEWS)

 

Legendary journalist and political commentator Cokie Roberts dies at 75

Samantha Sergi/ABC News
WATCH The extraordinary career of Cokie Roberts

Renowned ABC News journalist and political commentator Cokie Roberts has died at the age of 75.

Roberts won countless awards, including three Emmys, throughout her decades-long career. She has been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame and was cited by the American Women in Radio and Television as one of the 50 greatest women in the history of broadcasting. She was named a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress in 2008.

“We will miss Cokie beyond measure, both for her contributions and for her love and kindness,” her family said in a statement.

Her death was due to complications from breast cancer.

Roberts, born Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs, said she got the name “Cokie” from her older brother, who couldn’t pronounce Corinne and dubbed her Cokie instead. The name stuck with her ever since.

“Cokie Roberts will be dearly missed,” said James Goldston, president of ABC News. “Cokie’s kindness, generosity, sharp intellect and thoughtful take on the big issues of the day made ABC a better place and all of us better journalists.”

Roberts was “a true pioneer for women in journalism,” Goldston said, “well-regarded for her insightful analysis of politics and policy in Washington, D.C., countless news making interviews, and, notably, her unwavering support for generations of young women — and men — who would follow in her footsteps.”

She is survived by her husband, fellow journalist Steven Roberts, her children, Lee and Rebecca and her six grandchildren.

PHOTO: Cokie Roberts joined ABC News in 1988 and won the Edward R. Murrow Award and Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism.Heidi Gutman/ABC
Cokie Roberts joined ABC News in 1988 and won the Edward R. Murrow Award and Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism.more +

Roberts graduated from Wellesley College in 1964 with a degree in political science and began her career in radio as a foreign correspondent for CBS in the 1970’s and started covering Capitol Hill for National Public Radio in 1978, reporting on the Panama Canal Treaty.

She was assigned to Capitol Hill full-time in the early 1980’s, serving as the network’s congressional correspondent for more than a decade.

Roberts co-anchored ABC’s “This Week” with Sam Donaldson from 1996 to 2002. She also served as political commentator, chief congressional analyst and a commentator for “This Week” during her three decades at ABC.

PHOTO: Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts anchor This Week on ABC, Jan. 23, 1997.Terry Ashe/ABC
Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts anchor “This Week” on ABC, Jan. 23, 1997.

Before joining ABC News in 1988, Roberts spent more than two decades at outlets including WNEW (1968), KNBC-TV (1974-77), CBS News (1974-1977) and NPR starting in 1978. She was also a correspondent for MacNeil-Lehrer News hour and a contributing senior news analyst for PBS.

Additionally, she wrote eight books, largely focusing on the role of women in American history, many of which were New York Times bestsellers.

She had recently acknowledged a struggle with her health.

“Over the summer, I have had some health issues which required treatment that caused weight loss. I am doing fine,” she said in a statement after the “This Week” appearance. “I very much appreciate the kind comments I have received and expect to be, as I have been, working away in the days and months to come, covering what promises to be a fascinating election. I am grateful to everyone who has been in touch and sent their well wishes. Thanks for caring.”

Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002 and was successfully treated. When she was diagnosed, she spoke about her longtime work urging women to get regular mammograms.

“Fortunately, in the course of my efforts to inform others about the disease, I learned about the benefits of early detection,” she said in a statement at the time, The Washington Post reported. “Now I am the beneficiary of that information.”

She told the Post that her cancer diagnosis didn’t give her a newfound perspective on life, because she already had one.

“I had a healthy perspective on life already,” she said to The Washington Post. “I have always cared more about family than my career. I lost my father at age 58 in a terrible accident and I lost my sister at age 51. So I didn’t need any extra perspective on life.”

During a Facebook Q&A in 2013, when asked what was the best part of her career, she said that her family has been “by far the best part” of her life.

“I’ve been blessed in my life with been a long and happy marriage that produced two wonderful children who have in turn each produced three spectacular grandchildren and that is by far the best part. In terms of career, I’ve been lucky to have many interesting jobs and loved most of them. The ability to develop expertise and then be able to use that knowledge in broadcasting is gratifying. And I find writing books particularly satisfying,” she wrote in her response to the Facebook question.

Roberts came from a political family: she was the daughter of (Thomas) Hale Boggs, the former Democratic House majority leader and representative from New Orleans. Her father was also a member of the Warren commission that investigated the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

PHOTO: Cokie Roberts conducts and interview at the University Club in Washington, Oct. 29, 2015.Samantha Sergi/ABC News
Cokie Roberts conducts and interview at the University Club in Washington, Oct. 29, 2015.

Hale Boggs died in a plane crash in Alaska in 1972, and his wife – Roberts’ mother – Lindy Boggs was elected to fill her late husband’s congressional seat.

Lindy Boggs was later appointed to be the U.S. ambassador to the Holy See by then-President Bill Clinton in 1997.

Roberts’ siblings also took a liking to politics. Her older brother, Thomas Boggs Jr., was a lobbyist and her sister Barbara Boggs Sigmund was the former mayor of Princeton, New Jersey. Her younger brother, William, died as an infant, and her other two siblings have died as well.

In an interview earlier this year, Roberts noted that she was “the only person in my original nuclear family who didn’t run for Congress. Now, they didn’t win all of them – the only one that never lost an election was my mother.”

But she filled that void with her foray into journalism.

“I have always felt semi-guilty about it. But I’ve sort of assuaged my guilt by writing about it and feeling like I’m educating people about the government and how to be good voters and good citizens,” she told The Washington Post.

Roberts married journalist Steve Roberts in 1966, after meeting at a political event in Ohio four years earlier when they were both in college.

Steven Roberts worked as a reporter at The New York Times for many years, and in a 2017 interview, Cokie Roberts credited her husband as being “my mentor when I started off as a journalist.”

“I had always been a good writer, and so I started reporting and writing. He was a big help to me, and we did a lot together,” she said for an oral history project developed by the House of Representatives.

Steve Roberts said in a New York Times interview in 2017 that he was “bowled over” by his wife’s intellect.

        .&lid=view[Slideshow]” target=”_blank”>             

                                        PHOTO:                                                           

            

                SLIDESHOW: Cokie Roberts through the years             
        

“Marrying the right person is the single most important decision you’ll ever make in your life. Everything else is secondary. From the very beginning, I knew what an extraordinary person Cokie was,” Steve Roberts said in the Times article, which was published to celebrate their then-50 year union in 2017.

The pair got married under an apple tree in the backyard of her family’s home in Bethesda Maryland, and then-President Lyndon B. Johnson and first lady Lady Bird were among the 1,500 guests in attendance. The home stayed in the family, and was Cokie and Steve Roberts’ home at the time of her passing.

Full statement from the family of Cokie Roberts:

Her loving family announces the passing of journalist and author Cokie Roberts, due to complications from breast cancer, on September 17.

Born Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs on December 27, 1943, Cokie was – first and foremost – a wife, mother, sister, daughter, aunt, cousin and friend.

Cokie’s career as a journalist at National Public Radio and ABC News took her to the heights of her profession, and her success as an author on history and family put her on the best seller list.

But her values put family and relationships above all else.

She is survived by her husband of 53 years, journalist, author and professor Steven V. Roberts, her children Lee Roberts and Rebecca Roberts, her grandchildren Regan, Hale and Cecilia Roberts and Claiborne, Jack and Roland Hartman, along with numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

She is also survived by friendships and by causes that she put her time, resources and energy into that are too numerous to count.

We would like to thank the staff at the National Institutes of Health for their dedication, expertise, work and incredible care for Cokie during her illness.

We will miss Cokie beyond measure, both for her contributions and for her love and kindness.

We are hopeful that Cokie now goes to join her parents, former Members of Congress Hale and Lindy Boggs, her siblings Barbara, Tom and William, who predecease her, and her God.

Brazil: Fábio Pannunzio: I supported impeachment and I regret it

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL’S 247 NEWS)

 

Fábio Pannunzio: I supported impeachment and I regret it

Former supporter of the Lava Jato and the coup against former president Dilma Rousseff, the journalist said he was sorry for his positions and said the 2016 impeachment was a deliberate action against the left. “It was a classic blow by Temer with the assent and open participation of Eduardo Cunha and half of the Brazilian elite and the financial market,” he told TV 247. Watch

247 – Journalist Fabio Pannunzio spoke to TV 247 about his “naive” positions, he said, regarding the parliamentary coup against former President Dilma Rousseff in 2016 and support for Operation Lava Jato, now unmasked by the leaks of the The Intercept, known as ‘Vaza Jet’. Pannunzio stated that the impeachment action was a deliberate attack on the left and that the Lava Jato had a stated political bias.

In the opinion of the journalist, who has just left TV Band after 20 years, where he was anchor of Jornal da Noite, the lack of understanding about the political conjuncture led him to support the coup against Dilma and the Lava Jato. “I supported Lava Jato as much as I later supported Dilma’s deposition. I think I was naive, perhaps because of lack of experience, there was a lack of understanding of what would actually happen with the unfolding of these events. ”

Pannunzio called Dilma’s deposition a “classic blow.” “I supported impeachment, and I regret it because it was not a movement of ousting a president for inability to manage, although I have a lot of criticism of the Dilma government. It was a classic blow by Temer with the assent and open participation of Eduardo Cunha and half of the Brazilian elite and the financial market. ”

About Lava Jato, the journalist commented that the operation was orchestrated to attack the left. “Lava Jato seems to be the praetorian guard of the Brazilian right, I have no doubt today that this was a deliberate action to make the leftmost movements unfeasible. When we learned that Moro was a ‘prosecutor’ in charge of an operation that had a stated political bias later, when he became minister, it scared me a lot. The Brazilian judicial system is being used as a political platform for very spurious purposes. ”

He still characterized himself as “iconoclastic” and explained that during the PT governments he was on the right and now he is on the left. “The coherence that I can present is the coherence with this iconoclast,” he said.

Are White Christians In The U.S. Racists Devil Worshipers (Followers)???

Are White Christians In The U.S. Racists Devil Worshipers (Followers)???

 

Well, that is quite a headline, one I never ever thought that I would write. Is it the truth though? All I can say to that is that I hope not. But, there are millions of people in this Country who say they are Christians but whom have never ever read a Bible. This does not shock me as I know for a fact that there are even Preachers who do not believe that the Bible is the ‘Holy Spirit Inspired Word Of God.’ So, even for many folks who do go to church regularly they have little faith if any about what the Bible is telling us all. So, if the Preachers aren’t teaching the Word of God to the people who are sitting in the Pews and the people aren’t studying the Scriptures regularly to find out if what their Preacher is saying matches up with what the Scriptures are saying there is no wonder that knowledge is lacking among the ‘Christian Base.’

 

Now the reason that I am writing this letter to you today. A Christian lady who has a Christian Blog recently decided to not read any material that I put forth on this blog is because I said that I hate Donald Trump. Technically I didn’t use the word hate, I said that “I loathe Him.” Really what I loathe is the person that he is, not his very Soul. I hate a lot of what he says and I do hate a lot of his actions as well. The young lady of which I speak of said the following about Mr. Trump and I quote “I believe that he is a very good man.” I have heard that from quite a few people since the Electoral College put him into Office and everyone of those folks have been white folks who consider themselves to be Christians.

 

Don’t get me wrong I loathe the person that Hillary Clinton chooses to be also and I am neither a Democrat or a Republican. I only thought that Hillary was an habitual liar until Donald Trump started talking and Tweeting BECAUSE THIS MAN is in a category all by himself when it comes to lying. Before the Vote back in 2016 I felt that the only two real choices that we the people really were given was to vote for one of the two habitual liars, Hillary or Donald. But, I also said that the main difference in them was that one was a very smart habitual liar (Hillary) and the other was a habitual liar that was a total idiot (Donald) and wondered which one would be the worst for our Country. I guess that would still be up for debate unless somehow Hillary ever becomes a President. (Hopefully that will never happen).

 

Now lets talk about Mr. Trump for a moment as he is the subject matter behind the title of this letter. Often the media uses the term ‘Trumps Base’. What they are referring to are the lower educated white Christians, especially here in the south-eastern states. This view point is from an ‘independent’s’ view, neither Republican nor Democratic. To say or believe that Mr. Trump is not a racists person is beyond unbelievable and reaches into the realm idiotic. But on this subject I will say that this is just my opinion and is not a ‘Scriptural’ indictment of the man. But now lets talk about Mr. Trump being a habitual liar, the worse that I have ever seen, even worse than my biological dad which I hadn’t thought was possible.  My question to the ‘Christian’ people who seem to adore Mr. Trump is, since Jesus says that Satan is the Father of all Liars then how can a Christian fall in behind Mr. Trump’s wagon of lies and Spiritual crimes? I know that some folks have come back with answers like “well I’m not voting for Hillary, or for any other Democrat.” Okay, but now that you have to be fully aware of what a total liar Mr. Trump is how come you haven’t decided to impeach him and find another Republican to root for? Have you decided that Mr. Trump is the Republican Party? To follow after an habitual liar is in fact to fall inline behind the Devil Himself. What I am saying is that ‘we the people’ must hold these politicians accountable for their words and their actions, not matter what political party they hang their hat onto.  If we are to weak to do so then we deserve to lose all of our freedoms and then later our Soul’s also and that reality folks, is indeed what will happen.

Brazil: It is foolish to ignore the Bolsonaro clan’s blows, says Miriam Leitão

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL’S 247 NEWS)

 

It is foolish to ignore the Bolsonaro clan’s blows, says Miriam Leitão

In a harsh offensive against the Bolsonaro clan, Globo, which led the 2016 coup in Brazil and created the conditions for the rise of neo-fascism in the country, now scales all its columnists to warn against the authoritarian character of bolsonarism. “Scams are sometimes given under the guise of accelerating economic change. President Bolsonaro, his family, and some around him have so often praised dictatorships that ignoring this is foolish,” says journalist Miriam Leitão.

247 –The Globo communication group, which hatched the snake’s egg of fascism in Brazil by leading the coup against former President Dilma Rousseff and the media campaign for the illegal arrest of former President Lula, is now concerned by the authoritarian escalation of Bolsonaro clan – which is a consequence of Globo’s own editorial irresponsibility. “Authoritarian periods have always been born simulating the defense of ideas that could not be implanted in democracy. Democratic institutions would hinder this authoritarian view. In Brazil, it was said that 1964 was also against corruption and inflation. Who achieved victories in both fronts was democracy. Scams are sometimes given under the guise of accelerating economic change. President Bolsonaro, his family and some around him have so often praised dictatorships that ignoring this is foolish. This is the context of the message of the second child, “writes journalist Miriam Leitão, in article A democracy as a hindrance on the attacks on democracy by Carlos Bolsonaro the Carluxo.

Miriam also criticizes Eduardo Bolsonaro’s exhibitionism with his pistols. “In all gestures, the president’s children stand as nobles, which is not democratic either. Who would be admitted to a large hospital carrying a gun? Eduardo repeated the gesture yesterday at Firjan. If he becomes ambassador to the United States he will be able to embark, disembark, do diplomacy with the pistol in his belt? “he asks.

She also states that the current government, in addition to not generating growth, also dismantles the anti-corruption agencies. “The campaign invented that pockets of heir-ism were inherited from the wave of anti-corruption that was already taking place through democracy. It also promised economic growth. Nine months later, there are evident attacks on the anti-corruption operation, and the economy has slowed from the weak recovery that even sketched in the middle of last year. And that is disappointing who believed in the campaign promises. Then came the attempt to find a culprit. In this case, it would be democracy. So far, what has happened has been the dismantling of the sponsored anti-corruption directly or indirectly by the group in power, “he writes.

“Words mean what they say. It’s no use trying to fix them later. To treat natural undemocratic statements just because they are recurrent is to be numbed by the absurd. It is exactly repetition that makes them worse,” Miriam concludes. All that remained was to say “back PT”. 

Commerce Chief Threatened Firings at NOAA After Trump’s Dorian Tweets

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

(In the Trump Administration, Science Is Unwelcome. So Is Advice.)

Commerce Chief Threatened Firings at NOAA After Trump’s Dorian Tweets, Sources Say

ImagePresident Trump at a Sept. 1 update on Hurricane Dorian’s progress.
CreditCreditJacquelyn Martin/Associated Press

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WASHINGTON — The Secretary of Commerce threatened to fire top employees at the federal scientific agency responsible for weather forecasts last Friday after the agency’s Birmingham office contradicted President Trump’s claim that Hurricane Dorian might hit Alabama, according to three people familiar with the discussion.

That threat led to an unusual, unsigned statement later that Friday by the agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, disavowing the National Weather Service’s position that Alabama was not at risk. The reversal caused widespread anger within the agency and drew accusations from the scientific community that the National Weather Service, which is part of NOAA, had been bent to political purposes.

NOAA’s statement on Friday is now being examined by the Commerce Department’s Office of Inspector General, according to documents reviewed by The New York Times, and employees have been asked to preserve their files. NOAA is a division of the Commerce Department.

The National Weather Service “must maintain standards of scientific integrity,” the inspector general, Peggy E. Gustafson, wrote in a message to NOAA staff members in which she requested documents related to Friday’s statement. The circumstances, she wrote, “call into question the NWS’s processes, scientific independence, and ability to communicate accurate and timely weather warnings and data to the nation in times of national emergency.”

The Commerce Department disputed the account on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur L. Ross Jr. “Secretary Ross did not threaten to fire any NOAA staff over forecasting and public statements about Hurricane Dorian,” the department said in a statement issued by a spokesman.

The spokesman declined to comment on whether Mr. Ross had spoken with the NOAA administrator or ordered the agency to rebut the statement contradicting the president’s assertion about a threat to Alabama.

The Commerce Department’s Office of the Inspector General did not respond to requests for comment late Monday.

Image
Credit Eraldo Peres/Associated Press

The accusations against Mr. Ross are the latest developments in a political imbroglio that began more than a week ago, when Dorian was bearing down on the Bahamas and Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter that Alabama would be hit “harder than anticipated.” A few minutes later, the National Weather Service in Birmingham, Ala., posted on Twitter that “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane Dorian will be felt across Alabama.”

Mr. Trump persisted in saying that Alabama was at risk and a few days later, on Sept. 4, he displayed a NOAA map that appeared to have been altered with a black Sharpie to include Alabama in the area potentially affected by Dorian. (Alabama was not struck by the hurricane.)

Mr. Ross, the commerce secretary, intervened two days later, early last Friday, according to the three people familiar with his actions. Mr. Ross phoned Neil Jacobs, the acting administrator of NOAA, from Greece where the secretary was traveling for meetings and instructed Dr. Jacobs to fix the agency’s perceived contradiction of the president.

Dr. Jacobs objected to the demand and was told that the political staff at NOAA would be fired if the situation was not fixed, according to the three individuals, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the episode.

The political staff at an agency typically includes a handful of top officials, such as Dr. Jacobs, and their aides. They are appointed to their jobs by the administration currently in power, as opposed to career government employees, who remain in their jobs as administrations come and go.

NOAA ultimately issued an unsigned statement last Friday calling the Birmingham office’s statement “inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.”

A senior administration official who asked not to be identified when discussing internal deliberations said that the Birmingham office had been wrong and that NOAA had simply done the responsible thing and corrected the record.

That official suggested the Twitter post by the Birmingham forecasters had been motivated by a desire to embarrass the president more than concern for the safety of people in Alabama. The official provided no evidence to support that conclusion.

A Presidential Storm Leaves Forecasters Rebuked

Trump Administration Hardens Its Attack on Climate Science

In the Trump Administration, Science Is Unwelcome. So Is Advice.

Craig N. McLean, NOAA’s acting chief scientist, sent an email to staff members Monday notifying the agency that he was looking into “potential violations” in the agency’s decision to ultimately back Mr. Trump’s statements rather than those of its own scientists. He called the agency’s action “a danger to public health and safety.”

Also on Monday, the National Weather Service director, Louis W. Uccellini, prompted a standing ovation at a weather industry conference in Huntsville, Ala., when he praised the work of the Birmingham office, asked them to stand and said staff members had acted “with one thing in mind, public safety” when they contradicted Mr. Trump’s claim that Alabama was at risk.

Dr. Jacobs is scheduled to address the conference Tuesday morning.

[Got a confidential news tip? Find out how to share messages with The New York Times.]

The NOAA episode is the latest example of administration officials moving levers of government to accommodate Mr. Trump’s statements. And few cabinet officials have been as loyal to Mr. Trump as Mr. Ross.

A billionaire investor, former steel magnate and friend and ally of Mr. Trump from the business world before joining the cabinet, Mr. Ross has in the past vigorously sought to advance divisive positions at the Commerce Department in support of policies advocated by Mr. Trump. He fought to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, only to lose in a stinging Supreme Court rebuke. He has also stood by the president on controversial decisions such as imposing tariffs on aluminum exports.

Mr. Trump himself has shown less deference than his predecessors to the traditional boundaries between the political and Civil Service sides of the government. Most notably, he has repeatedly called on the Justice Department to investigate his enemies.

In the NOAA dispute, Mr. Trump has also enlisted his Homeland Security adviser to issue a lengthy statement defending him.

The dispute at NOAA is also one of several instances of the Trump administration taking actions that undermine scientific findings. In the past, administration officials have tried to prevent a State Department official from testifying to Congress on climate-change science, and have tried to make changes to the standards used in government climate-change reports in a way that makes the threat from global warming appear less severe.

Richard Hirn, general counsel for the National Weather Service Employees Organization, said what made the NOAA episode extraordinary, though, was that it was not part of an overarching policy dispute on a contentious topic like climate change. “This is just to cover up an embarrassing mistake the president made,” he said.

Mr. Hirn, who said he has worked with the agency through six administrations, added that, “Never before has anybody tried to politicize the weather in all the administrations I’ve worked with.”

Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonpartisan watchdog group, said that political appointees served at the pleasure of the president and the cabinet secretary and could be fired at will. But, he said, threatening to fire staff members under these circumstances “goes against the norms and traditions that have been important to the government and are important to a functioning democracy.”

For more news on climate and the environment, follow @NYTClimate on Twitter.

Christopher Flavelle covers climate adaptation, focusing on how people, governments and businesses respond to the effects of global warming. @cflav

Lisa Friedman reports on climate and environmental policy in Washington. A former editor at Climatewire, she has covered nine international climate talks. @LFFriedman

Peter Baker is the chief White House correspondent and has covered the last four presidents for The Times and The Washington Post. He also is the author of five books, most recently “Impeachment: An American History.” @peterbakernyt  Facebook

A version of this article appears in print on , Section A, Page 1 of the New York edition with the headline: U.S. Secretary Said to Coerce NOAA Leaders. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe
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