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Michael Cohen, Trump’s lawyer, says he paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 out of own pocket



The latest twist in the tangled tale of what happened between President Donald Trump and an adult film star more than a decade ago has taken a new turn Tuesday, with Trump’s longtime personal lawyer claiming that he paid the porn star $130,000 out of his own pocket.

Michael Cohen, the lawyer who worked for Trump for over a decade, said in a statement obtained by Fox News that the 2016 transaction with Stomy Daniels was lawful and not a campaign contribution or campaign expenditure “by anyone.”

“Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly,” the statement read.

stormy cohen

Both Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels have denied reports of a ‘hush money’ payoff.


Trump met Stephanie Clifford, who goes by the name Stormy Daniels in films, at a golf event in 2006 — a year after Trump’s marriage to his wife, Melania. According to The Wall Street Journal’s report, Clifford began talking with ABC News in the fall of 2016 for a story involving an alleged relationship with Trump, but reached a $130,000 deal a month before the election, which prevented her from going public.

File- This May 6, 2009, shows Stormy Daniels visiting a local restaurant in downtown New Orleans. A tabloid magazine held back from publishing Daniels  2011 account of an alleged affair with Donald Trump after the future president's personal lawyer threatened to sue, four former employees of the tabloid's publisher told The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Bill Haber, File)

Stormy Daniels seen in 2009. Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal lawyer, said he paid her $130,000 out of his own pocket.


The New York Times first reported on Cohen’s payment. The paper said Cohen refused to answer follow-up questions like whether or not Trump knew about the payment.

Cohen told the paper that he had delivered a similar statement to the Federal Election Commission in response to a complaint filed by Common Cause, a government watchdog. The watchdog asked the FEC to investigate the source of the payment and determine whether it represented an excessive campaign contribution.

He called the allegations “without merit” and said he does not plan “to provide any further comment on the FEC matter.”

Fox News’ Ed Henry, Edmund DeMarche and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Latinos in the Biden administration shoulder high expectations, urgency to undo Trump policies



Obama White House veterans Julie Chávez Rodriguez and Adrian Saenz are heading back to Pennsylvania Avenue this week with a sense of urgency and a feeling of starting from scratch.

President-elect Joe Biden, who is to take the oath of office Wednesday, made Chávez Rodríguez his director of the Office of Intergovernmental Relations, while Saenz will be deputy director of the Office of Public Engagement.

Chávez Rodríguez, Saenz and other Latinos in the Biden administration will be shouldering some high expectations from a nation on edge after the riot on the U.S. Capitol and President Donald Trump’s second impeachment — during a pandemic and the economic fallout that has robbed people of work and paychecks.

“It’s not going to be easy. I don’t go into any of this with rose-colored glasses,” said Chávez Rodríguez, the granddaughter of the civil rights icon and labor leader César Chavez.

Julie Chávez Rodríguez, who was the White House’s deputy director of public engagement during the Obama administration.White House photo

Her boss is taking over from Trump as federal troops have fortified Washington and the Capitol — amid threats that the violence of Jan. 6 could happen again in the nation’s capital or elsewhere across the country.

“We have seen real ugliness and the real rage of racism be exposed over the course of the last four years,” Chávez Rodríguez said. “I never imagined the kind of agency hate would be given from the highest level of office.”

‘Multiple crises’

Biden’s Latino administration officials will be grappling with calls to undo Trump’s policies in many areas — from health care and the economy to immigration and the environment — and the pushback from those ready to oppose the measures in a very divided Congress.

Biden has nominated several Latinos to key Cabinet positions. If he is confirmed, Alejandro Mayorkas will be the first Latino and immigrant to head the Department of Homeland Security. He is expected to overhaul Trump’s hard-line immigration policies and address the fallout of policies like family separations, as well as head the administration’s anti-terrorism strategy.

Xavier Becerra, pending confirmation, will be health and human services secretary as Biden pledges to distribute 100 million Covid-19 vaccine doses in his first 100 days — and as Latinos bear the disproportionate brunt of Covid-19 illnesses and deaths. If he is confirmed as education secretary, Miguel Cardona will be tasked with reopening the country’s schools while devising new federal guidelines about how to educate during the pandemic. Biden nominated Isabel Guzman to head the Small Business Administration as Latino businesses struggle to survive with fewer resources and less funding.

Biden’s staff will have to respond to those expectations in a chaotic government infrastructure that includes empty leadership positions and many government vacancies, said Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, associate dean of the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

“A lot is going to have to be undone,” DeFrancesco Soto said. “In just normal times, people expect change quickly, and most people who are not in the weeds of policy analysis don’t understand all of the steps of the slowness of policy.”

Chávez Rodríguez will be Biden’s connection to governors and local officials who are worried about security, the surge of the pandemic, the challenges of mass vaccinations and states’ economic hardships. She said that while the work is “a little overwhelming,” there’s “a real hunger” among governors of both parties and mayors to help solve problems.

“While, yes, we have multiple crises we are facing,” she said, “I think there’s a real moment for collaborative government that I am really excited and energized by.”

Adrian Saenz, who was an adviser in the Obama White House.White House archives

Saenz said that, as in any administration, he and other Biden staff members will be starting from the ground up.

Saenz will be engaging with different sectors of the U.S. population — racial and ethnic groups, those representing people with disabilities or special needs and faith-based groups — to help shape Biden’s policies and amplify them.

It will mean starting over, he said.

“This kind of work disappeared during the last four years,” he said. “There were a lot of people who didn’t have access, weren’t heard or weren’t given an opportunity to be heard.”

‘A tall order’

Saenz and Chávez Rodríguez have had their share of campaign and political challenges. Saenz was national director of Barack Obama’s Latino outreach in 2012 as the country was just beginning to crawl out of the Great Recession.

Chávez Rodríguez was a special assistant to the president and deputy director of public engagement when Obama was being called deporter-in-chief by allies for his immigration policy. She also helped roll out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, which gave hundreds of thousands of young immigrants opportunities to stay in the country, study and work and which Trump relentlessly but unsuccessfully tried to end.

“People been traumatized the last four years,” she said. “Whether it’s a fear of getting deported or fear of being confronted with vile and hate-filled racism that Trump himself would spout or the trauma of not having the basic needs met, government was failing the last several years. Now more than anything there is an urgency and ability to provide immediate relief to our communities.”

Biden has pledged to enact executive actions during his first 10 days in office. But DeFrancesco Soto said other substantive policy changes can take a long time as they encounter opposition and roadblocks.

“It’s going to be a tall order,” she said. “But you’ve got to start somewhere, and I think with everything, with this pandemic — where we talk about giving everyone a little bit of grace — I think we need to do the same thing with the Biden administration.”

Follow NBC Latino on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Labour civil war: Furious Jeremy Corbyn attacks Starmer as furious row escalates to court



JEREMY CORBYN’S lawyers have accused Sir Keir Starmer of making disingenuous attacks on his predecessor during a high court hearing on Monday.

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Avril Haines, Biden’s pick for top spy, to tell Senate she’ll keep politics out of intelligence analysis



WASHINGTON — Joe Biden’s nominee to lead America’s vast spying bureaucracy is expected to tell senators weighing her confirmation that she will protect whistleblowers, speak truth to power and keep politics out of intelligence analysis, according to excerpts of her prepared statement obtained by NBC News.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing Tuesday to consider the nomination of Avril Haines, who was a national security official during the Obama administration, to become director of national intelligence. She would oversee 18 intelligence agencies, including the CIA and the National Security Agency.

Haines, who was deputy CIA director and deputy national security adviser in the Obama administration, will also tell lawmakers that she intends to prioritize countering China, bolstering cyber defenses and anticipating the next pandemic, according to the prepared remarks.

“We should provide the necessary intelligence to support long-term bipartisan efforts to out-compete China — gaining and sharing insight into China’s intentions and capabilities, while also supporting more immediate efforts to counter Beijing’s unfair, illegal, aggressive and coercive actions, as well as its human rights violations, whenever we can,” she intends to say.

“At the same time, the DNI should see to it that the Intelligence Community’s unique capabilities are brought to bear on the global Covid-19 crisis around the world, while also addressing the long-term challenge of future biological crises — enabling U.S. global health leadership and positioning us to detect future outbreaks before they become pandemics.”

Haines would become the first woman in the job, which was created after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to better coordinate the sprawling American intelligence bureaucracy. She would succeed John Ratcliffe, a Republican former member of Congress from Texas who appears to have gotten the job because of his loyalty to President Donald Trump and because the acting occupant of the job, Richard Grenell, was deemed so unacceptable by Senate Democrats that they were willing to confirm Ratcliffe to be rid of him.

Among other things, the director of national intelligence oversees the presidential intelligence briefing process. But the director does not run covert operations ordered by the president — the CIA director retains that power.

The excerpts of Haines’ testimony do not mention the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, but the issue of whether the FBI and other agencies have a handle on domestic extremism is likely to come up at the hearing. While the job of national intelligence director focuses mainly on spying abroad, it includes jurisdiction over the National Counterterrorism Center, which analyzes intelligence about both domestic and international terrorism, and last year it published a report noting that there is no “whole of government” effort aimed at domestic terrorism.

“If I have the honor of being confirmed, I look forward to leading the Intelligence Community on behalf of the American people — to safeguarding their interests, advancing their security and prosperity, and to defending our democracy, our freedoms and our values,” Haines, who joined the government in 2008 as a State Department legal adviser, intends to say.

To be effective, she will add, “the DNI must never shy away from speaking truth to power — even, especially, when doing so may be inconvenient or difficult.”

“To safeguard the integrity of our Intelligence Community, the DNI must insist that, when it comes to intelligence, there is simply no place for politics — ever,” she will say.

After Haines and other Biden nominees were introduced in November, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, said on Twitter that Biden’s Cabinet picks “will be polite & orderly caretakers of America’s decline.”

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