Connect with us

Politics

AT&T and Novartis paid Michael Cohen. Why it’s not considered a bribe — yet

Published

on

Cohen is alleged to have received large sums of money from pharmaceutical giant Novartis, AT&T, the state-run Korea Aerospace Industries, and a company controlled by a Russian oligarch. The lawyer has disputed some of the claims, but had not offered details.

According to Novartis, Cohen contacted the Swiss company after the 2016 election “promising access” to the new administration, which resulted in Novartis signing a one-year, $1.2 million contract with Cohen.

AT&T has since admitted that, after the 2016 election, it entered into a consulting agreement with Cohen “to help [AT&T] understand” how Trump might approach policy issues of concern to the telecommunications industry.

It sounds like influence peddling. It sounds like rogue lobbying. It’s not clearly a federal crime. But with every new revelation about the corporate payments, the reported conduct gets closer to the kind prohibited by federal anti-corruption statutes.

U.S. Attorneys have a vast array of options in their anti-corruption arsenal: the federal bribery statute, gratuities, extortion under the Hobbs Act, federal programs bribery under Section 666, the mail-fraud statute, and even the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The federal bribery and extortion statutes are just two of the favorites of U.S. Attorneys.

The federal official bribery statute, 18 U.S.C. § 201, requires that the defendants corruptly intended to engage in a “quid pro quo,” giving or receiving something of value in exchange for an official act. The statute applies to all federal public officials, which means that Cohen’s arrangements or promises must involve a federal official. However, the law may also reach bribes given to third parties if a public official sought them with the intent to be influenced.

Ultimately, though, the bribery statute requires proof of an “official act.” The Supreme Court in the 2016 case McDonnell v. United States restricted this formerly expansive concept to two elements: First, there must be a specific, focused matter before the official that involves the exercise of government power. Second, there must be some decision to be made on that matter.

Setting up a meeting, calling up a senator friend, or hosting a meet-and-greet does not, by itself, qualify as an “official act.” But it’s still dangerously close. The issue is: What exactly did Cohen claim he could provide to these companies?

Source link

Politics

Nicola Sturgeon to get EU support for indyref2 as bloc 'needs UK to fail'

Published

on

NICOLA STURGEON will have the European Union’s “support” for a second referendum on independence to ensure the UK “fails”.

Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman steals the show

Published

on

Amanda Gorman, 22, all but stole the show on Inauguration Day as she performed her original poem, “The Hill We Climb,” becoming the youngest inaugural poet known in the nation’s history.

Gorman spoke with force, poise and clarity outside the U.S. Capitol building in front of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama, among others.

“We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace and the norms and notions of what just is, isn’t always justice,” she recited. “And yet, the dawn is ours before we knew it. Somehow we do it. Somehow we weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken but simply unfinished.”

Biden’s inaugural team contacted Gorman late last month to perform a poem about unity in the United States, according to The Associated Press. She is now among inaugural poets including Maya Angelou, Robert Frost, Miller Williams, Richard Blanco and Elizabeth Alexander.

Gorman’s performance drew awe from both those present and those watching virtually. Social media users quickly took note of the young poet, praising her on Twitter.

“I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise! Brava Brava, @TheAmandaGorman! Maya Angelou is cheering — and so am I,” media mogul Oprah Winfrey tweeted. Ahead of the performance, Winfrey gave Gorman earrings and a ring shaped like a caged bird, a tribute to Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” according to CBS News.

Gorman also drew praise from Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams who tweeted, “Amanda Gorman’s message serves as an inspiration to us all.”

Gorman excitedly asked Lin-Manuel Miranda if he’d noticed references to Hamilton the musical in her poem and received kudos from the playwright too;

“You were perfect,” he tweeted. “Perfectly written, perfectly delivered. Every bit of it. Brava!”

Gorman has had much success as a poet. She became the nation’s first youth poet laureate at 19 while a sophomore at Harvard University. Ahead of the performance, Gorman told The New York Times that she wants the poem to inspire hope, without ignoring the country’s history of racism and violence.

“In my poem, I’m not going to in any way gloss over what we’ve seen over the past few weeks and, dare I say, the past few years,” she said. “But what I really aspire to do in the poem is to be able to use my words to envision a way in which our country can still come together and can still heal. It’s doing that in a way that is not erasing or neglecting the harsh truths I think America needs to reconcile with.”

Gorman said she struggled to write until the Capitol riot Jan. 6 gave her just the push she needed.

She told NPR that she was drawn to poetry at a young age due in part to a speech impediment. She said her struggle to speak proved to be a connection for her to Biden and even Angelou.

“Maya Angelou was mute growing up as a child and she grew up to deliver the inaugural poem for President Bill Clinton,” Gorman said. “So I think there is a real history of orators who have had to struggle with a type of imposed voicelessness, you know, having that stage in the inauguration.”

Gorman’s task was not an easy one: acknowledging the nation’s history and present while dreaming of a better future. To that end, she opened her poem boldly.

“When day comes we ask ourselves, ‘where can we find light in this never-ending shade?'” she said. “We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny, Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president only to find herself reciting for one.”

Follow NBCBLK on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.



Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Laura Kuennsberg sounds UK-US warning – Boris hoping for 'dependable friend'

Published

on

BBC Laura Kuenssberg has explained Boris Johnson is hoping to find a “dependable friend” in Joe Biden as he officially became the US President on Wednesday.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending