Michael Cohen pleads guilty to lying to Congress
NEW YORK (AP) — Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about work he did on a Trump real estate project in Russia.
Cohen made a surprise appearance Thursday in a New York courtroom to enter the plea.
He admitted making false statements in 2017 to a Senate intelligence committee about a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Cohen said he lied about the timing of the tower negotiations and other details to be consistent with Trump’s “political message.”
In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to other federal charges involving his taxi businesses, bank fraud and his campaign work for Trump.
One of the prosecutors working with Special Counsel Robert Mueller was present in the courtroom.
Cohen has been cooperating with Mueller’s probe.
TRUMP LAWYER-INVESTIGATION-MOSCOW TOWER
Behind Cohen plea: Trump’s longtime dream of a Moscow tower
WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump’s decades-long dream of building a luxury tower in the heart of Moscow flared and fizzled several times over the years, most recently when his presidential campaign was gaining momentum.
That latest plan led his former lawyer Michael Cohen to plead guilty to lying to congressional investigators about key details in the negotiations.
Trump’s dream of a Moscow tower went back to 1996, with other plans in 2013 that also went nowhere. The latest plan that began in 2015 included at least 15 floors of hotel rooms and 250 condos.
Cohen initially told investigators that the deal fell apart in January 2016, but in his guilty plea Thursday Cohen said that the negotiations that stretched well into June 2016 after Trump had locked up the GOP nomination.
The Latest: Walking dead march in Buenos Aires before summit
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — The walking dead have descended on Buenos Aires.
Or at least it looked that way briefly Thursday, as a group of actors dressed as zombies trudged through a central square in the Argentinian capital.
They were meant to represent victims of globalization. Chasing them were menacing hooded figures shrouded in black — meant to be Western governments.
The “End of the World” theater troupe organized the protest, one of several being held around the G-20 summit that Buenos Aires is hosting this week. Earlier Thursday, activists sent up a large inflatable caricature depicting U.S. President Donald Trump as a baby holding a cellphone.
CHINA-BIG BROTHER MOVES IN
Uninvited guests keep watch for China inside Uighur homes
ISTANBUL (AP) — The Chinese government has launched a program in its far west which analysts say effectively puts informants inside living rooms, dining areas and prayer spaces, not to mention at funerals, weddings and other occasions once considered intimate and private.
The ruling Communist Party’s official newspaper said last month that 1.1 million civil servants are participating in an initiative which the government says will alleviate poverty and foster ethnic unity between the majority Han Chinese and Uighurs and other Muslim minorities.
The Associated Press spoke to five Uighurs living in exile in Istanbul who shared the experience of family members who have had to host Han Chinese civil servants in Xinjiang.
Interviewees said their loved ones saw the homestay program as a chilling intrusion into their personal lives.
Trump, Pelosi spark a new power relationship in Washington
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi haven’t spoken in days, not since he called to congratulate her on Democrats’ election night win.
But they don’t really need to. Trump and Pelosi go way back. Two big-name heirs to big-city honchos, they’ve rubbed elbows on the Manhattan social scene for years. Despite the daily barbs in Washington, he’s always “Mr. President” to her. She’s one prominent politician he has not labeled with a derisive nickname.
Not quite friends, nor enemies, theirs is now perhaps the most important relationship in Washington.
If anything is to come of this new era of divided government, it will likely happen between two of the country’s most polarizing politicians. Both Trump and Pelosi have incentive to make some deals.
Weinstein’s lawyers urge dismissal of sexual assault case
NEW YORK (AP) — Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer says his sexual assault case has devolved into a mess of lying witnesses and hidden evidence and should be thrown out.
In a court filing Thursday, lawyer Benjamin Brafman said defense investigators had turned up evidence raising doubts about Weinstein’s accusers.
He says the defense spoke to a friend of one accuser who said the alleged victim and Weinstein had been “hooking up” consensually for a long time.
Brafman says the friend felt pressured to corroborate the woman’s rape allegation but “declined to make up a story.”
Weinstein’s side also believes that police set up a phone call between the film producer and one of his accusers shortly before his arrest, but that it failed to produce incriminating evidence.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office declined to comment.
IMMIGRATION-TEEN DETENTION CAMP
Lawmakers call for detention camp reforms
Lawmakers Thursday called for stricter background checks, more mental health support and a public hearing to further investigate problems at a massive detention camp for migrant teens raised by a federal watchdog report and an Associated Press investigation earlier this week.
More than 2,300 teens are being held at the remote tent city in Tornillo, Texas. It opened in June as a temporary, emergency shelter but now appears to be becoming more permanent, the AP reported Tuesday.
The Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Inspector General has raised concerns that the private contractor running Tornillo has not put its 2,100 staffers through FBI background checks, and have just one mental health clinician for every 100 children.
House Democrats are calling for a public hearing early next year.
LITTLE ROCK MAYOR
Arkansas’ capital city could elect its first black mayor
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Six decades after it was the center of a school desegregation fight, Little Rock may be on the verge of electing its first African-American mayor.
Frank Scott, a 35-year-old banking executive, may break that barrier in the Dec. 4 runoff election. Scott is running against Baker Kurrus, a 64-year-old white attorney and businessman, in the race for the nonpartisan seat.
Race remains a dividing line in Little Rock long after the 1957 Central High School desegregation . The city’s police department faces questions about its tactics, and the predominantly black Little Rock School District has been under state control for the past three years.
Little Rock has had two black mayors, but they were elected city directors chosen for the job by fellow board members.
Repeat outbreaks pressure produce industry to step up safety
NEW YORK (AP) — After repeated food poisoning outbreaks linked to romaine lettuce, the produce industry is confronting the failure of its own safety measures in preventing contaminations.
The latest outbreak underscores the challenge of eliminating risk for vegetables grown in open fields and eaten raw. It also highlights the role of nearby cattle operations and the delay of stricter federal food safety regulations.
The head of the Food and Drug Administration says the rules, once fully in place, will make vegetables safer to eat. Health officials note that improved detection may also make outbreaks seem more frequent.
Still, growers and regulators are feeling intensifying pressure to prevent future contaminations.
Cowboys stifle Brees, end Saints’ 10-game win streak, 13-10
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Ezekiel Elliott scored the only Dallas touchdown and the Cowboys stifled Drew Brees and the Saints, ending New Orleans’ 10-game winning streak with a 13-10 victory Thursday night.
The Cowboys (7-5) won their fourth consecutive game and assured they will at least remain tied for the NFC East lead.
The Saints (10-2) had a season low in points while missing on a chance to perfectly match Dallas from two years ago, when then-rookie sensations Elliott and quarterback Dak Prescott won 11 straight after dropping the opener.
Brees had his fewest yards passing in a half since joining the Saints in 2006 with 39, and couldn’t get a potential winning drive going in the final minutes.
Instead, Jourdan Lewis’ interception — just the third of the season for Brees — gave the Cowboys a chance to run out the clock from the New Orleans 1 after an interference penalty in the end zone.
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