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FBI raids Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s office for details on payment to Stormy Daniels

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The New York Times, which was the first to report the search of Cohen’s office, said it involved several other topics besides the Daniels payment.

There is a pending complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission by the group Common Cause, alleging that the payment to Daniels by the Trump campaign violates the Federal Election Campaign Act. Common Cause also forwarded a copy of its complaint to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the Mueller probe, and the DOJ’s Criminal Division and Public Integrity Section, requesting a criminal investigation.

Both the FEC and the Justice Department have jurisdiction over certain campaign laws, but the department can additionally prosecute campaign act violations involving false information provided to the commission.

The adult film star has also sued the president to void the nondisclosure agreement arranged by Cohen, alleging that it is invalid because Trump never signed it. She has described it as a “hush” agreement intended to buy her silence before Election Day.

She has also offered to give back the money she was paid so she can speak freely about the alleged affair — she said on “60 Minutes” recently that the two had sex once in 2006 — and release any text messages, photos and videos she might have.

Cohen also is reportedly a key figure in Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and the purported collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

Mueller has also examined the role Cohen played in important events related to the Russia probe, particularly a Trump real estate deal in Moscow and a peace proposal for Ukraine described as Russia-friendly and delivered to Cohen by a Ukrainian lawmaker a week after Trump took office, according to The Washington Post.

In October, Cohen was questioned by congressional investigators digging into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, NBC News previously reported. Cohen was grilled over the scuttled plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow and emails he received in 2015 from Felix Sater, a former Trump associate, about the real estate deal.

Cohen downplayed those conversations, in which Sater bragged about his access to top Kremlin officials, saying it was about “a real estate deal and nothing more.” Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, described Cohen as “fully cooperative with the investigation.”

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Holiday joy for Britons! EU set to drop entry ban on UK travellers by the end of May

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EUROPE is set to throw open its borders for summer holidays in a major boost for lockdown-weary Britons.

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Scotland jobs crisis: NatWest move would spark ‘devastating’ exodus, expert tells Sturgeon

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SCOTLAND would face an immediate employment crisis in the event that Nicola Sturgeon is successful in her quest for independence, with more than 300,000 jobs potentially at risk, a London-based expert has warned.

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China acting ‘more aggressively abroad,’ Blinken says

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WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in an interview that aired on Sunday that China had recently acted “more aggressively abroad” and was behaving “increasingly in adversarial ways.”

Asked by CBS News’ “60 Minutes” if Washington was heading toward a military confrontation with Beijing, Blinken said: “It’s profoundly against the interests of both China and the United States to, to get to that point, or even to head in that direction.”

He added: “What we’ve witnessed over the last several years is China acting more repressively at home and more aggressively abroad. That is a fact.”

Asked about the reported theft of hundreds of billions of dollars or more in U.S. trade secrets and intellectual property by China, Blinken said the Biden administration had “real concerns” about the IP issue.

He said it sounded like the actions “of someone who’s trying to compete unfairly and increasingly in adversarial ways. But we’re much more effective and stronger when we’re bringing like-minded and similarly aggrieved countries together to say to Beijing: ‘This can’t stand and it won’t stand.'”

The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond on Sunday to a request for comment on Blinken’s interview.

On Friday, President Joe Biden’s administration said China had fallen short on its commitments to protect American intellectual property in the “Phase 1” U.S.-China trade deal signed last year.

The commitments were part of the sweeping deal between former President Donald Trump’s administration and Beijing, which included regulatory changes on agricultural biotechnology and commitments to purchase some $200 billion in U.S. exports over two years.

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Blinken arrived in London on Sunday for a G-7 foreign ministers meeting where China is one of the issues on the agenda.

In the interview, Blinken said the United States was not aiming to “contain China” but to “uphold this rules-based order — that China is posing a challenge to. Anyone who poses a challenge to that order, we’re going to stand up and — and defend it.”

Biden has identified competition with China as his administration’s greatest foreign policy challenge. In his first speech to Congress last Wednesday, he pledged to maintain a strong U.S. military presence in the Indo-Pacific and to boost U.S. technological development.

Blinken said he speaks to Biden “pretty close to daily.”

Last month, Blinken said the United States was concerned about China’s aggressive actions against Taiwan and warned it would be a “serious mistake” for anyone to try to change the status quo in the western Pacific by force.

The United States has a long-standing commitment under the Taiwan Relations Act to ensure that self-governing Taiwan has the ability to defend itself and to sustain peace and security in the western Pacific, Blinken said.

Taiwan has complained over the past few months of repeated missions by China’s air force near the island, which China claims as its own.

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