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FBI agents have raided the home, office and Park Avenue hotel room of President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen. During the Monday morning raid, the FBI seized a slew of business records, emails and documents, including documents related to a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels. Cohen has admitted to personally paying Clifford to keep her quiet about an alleged 2007 affair she had with Donald Trump. The payment, only days before the 2016 election, may violate federal election law. The raid was carried out by the interim U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman, who was appointed by President Trump. It came after a referral by special counsel Robert Mueller. President Trump reacted angrily to news of the raid Monday.
President Donald Trump: “So I just heard that they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys. Good man. And it’s a disgraceful situation. It’s a total witch hunt. I’ve been saying it for a long time. I’ve wanted to keep it down.”
We’ll have more on the raid after headlines.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is set to testify today on Capitol Hill amid the burgeoning scandal about how the voter-profiling company Cambridge Analytica harvested the data of up to 87 million Facebook users, without their permission, in efforts to sway voters to support President Donald Trump. On Monday, Zuckerberg met with leaders of the Senate Commerce Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee to express his regrets about Facebook’s mishandling of user data. The company has also unveiled new privacy tools ahead of Zuckerberg’s testimony today. We’ll have more on Facebook later in the broadcast.
President Trump has threatened a forceful response to this weekend’s alleged chemical gas attack in Syria that killed at least 40 people and injured as many as 1,000 in the rebel-held town of Douma outside the capital, Damascus.
President Donald Trump: “We’re making a decision as to what we do with respect to the horrible attack that was made near Damascus. And it will be met, and it will be met forcefully. And when, I will not say, because I don’t like talking about timing. But we are developing the greatest force that we’ve ever had.”
Washington has blamed the Assad government for the chemical attack, but Russia claims there is no evidence an attack even took place.
Meanwhile, the lawyers for the family of journalist Marie Colvin, who was killed in Syria in 2012, have sued the Syrian government in a Washington, D.C., courtroom, accusing the Assad regime of having “assassinated” the war correspondent for The Sunday Times of London. The wrongful death lawsuit is the first war crimes-related case against the Syrian government to reach court. Her family’s lawyers have submitted thousands of pages of documents that they say reveal how Colvin was surveilled in Lebanon, tracked as she crossed into Syria, and then killed in an artillery strike on the Baba Amr media center in Homs as part of the Assad government’s deliberate policy to eliminate journalists. After the killing, according to a Syrian military defector, the intelligence officer responsible for ordering the artillery strike said, “Marie Colvin was a dog, and now she’s dead.” We’ll have more on Syria after headlines.
In Gaza, Palestinians are continuing to pay tribute to the life of Yaser Murtaja, the Palestinian journalist who was shot and killed by an Israeli sniper while covering the Palestinians’ nonviolent protest on Friday at the Israeli-Gaza border. Israeli snipers shot and killed Murtaja while he was wearing a jacket clearly marked ”PRESS.” On Monday, Palestinians carved his name into the sand of Gaza’s shore, surrounded by angel’s wings. Also on Monday, the family of the murdered teenager Hussein Madi gathered to mark what would have been his 14th birthday. He was the youngest Palestinian killed on Friday, when Israeli soldiers opened fire on the nonviolent protest, dubbed “The Great March of Return,” killing at least nine people. The Israeli army has killed at least 31 Palestinians in total over the last two weeks. British Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn is calling for Britain to review its weapon sales to Israel, in the wake of the Israeli army’s killings of protesters and the journalist.
In the United States, Jewish activists with the group If Not Now staged protests in multiple cities Monday, including in New York City, where seven activists were arrested at New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer’s office, demanding he speak out about the Israeli army’s killing of Palestinian protesters. Eight activists were also arrested in Boston protesting at the Israeli Consulate.
In Germany, hundreds of flights have been canceled after workers launched a one-day strike to demand a 6 percent pay raise for all public-sector workers across Germany. This is Frank Bsirske, head of the labor union coordinating the strike.
Frank Bsirske: “I made it very clear that we need wage increases that are well above what we have achieved in previous years. The economic environment shows it. There is talk of holiday mood in the German economy, of golden times for the German economy. For the shareholders, record figures of 46.5 billion euros were distributed. The municipalities made a surplus of 10.7 billion euros last year. When, if not now, can there be a significant increase for all workers, including those in the civil service?”
In Oklahoma, thousands of teachers have entered their second week of a strike demanding better pay and increased funding for their schools. On Monday, thousands of teachers packed the state Capitol to demand lawmakers approve a new revenue package to fund the schools. Public schools in Oklahoma City and Tulsa remain closed today, as the strike continues.
In Florida, students at Miami Northwestern Senior High School held a walkout on Monday to protest gun violence and to mourn the deaths of a current and former student killed in a shooting in Liberty City over the weekend. Seventeen-year-old Kimson Green and 18-year-old Rickey Dixon were both killed. Two others were wounded. Liberty City is about 40 miles south of Parkland, Florida, the site of the Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which killed 17 people—14 students and three faculty.
The Denver Post has launched a revolt against its owner: New York-based hedge fund Alden Global Capital. On Sunday, The Denver Post’s editorial board published a lead editorial headlined “As vultures circle, The Denver Post must be saved.” In the piece, editorial page editor Chuck Plunkett writes, “If Alden isn’t willing to do good journalism here, it should sell The Post to owners who will.” The move came after The Denver Post announced in March that it would cut another 30 jobs from an already-depleted newsroom. We’ll have more on this story later in the broadcast.
A new analysis by the Congressional Budget Office projects the federal government’s annual budget deficit is expected to top $1 trillion by 2020 and that the national debt is expected to balloon to $33 trillion by 2028. The analysis says President Trump’s tax overhaul, which showered corporations and the richest Americans with tax breaks, will contribute significantly to the growing deficits.
And the Energy Department has admitted that dozens of workers have inhaled or ingested radioactive particles over the last year as they’ve been working to demolish the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, a plutonium processing plant in Washington. The federal government has halted the plant’s demolition following the admission that at least 42 workers have been contaminated with the radioactive particles. Click here to see our ongoing coverage of the Hanford Nuclear Site.