Guilty. President Trump’s lawyer and his campaign chair. President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, has pleaded guilty to eight criminal charges, including tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance violations. Cohen admitted in court that Trump had directed him to pay off two women—adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal—to keep them quiet in order to influence the 2016 election. Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis said, “If those payments were a crime for Michael Cohen, then why wouldn’t they be a crime for Donald Trump?” Davis then appeared on MSNBC and said Cohen is willing to speak with special counsel Robert Mueller about a “conspiracy to collude” with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign. Davis later also told The Washington Post that Cohen knows about Trump’s participation in a “criminal conspiracy” to hack into Democratic Party officials’ emails during the 2016 election. Meanwhile in Virginia, a jury found Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort guilty of eight charges related to tax fraud and bank fraud and one charge of hiding foreign bank accounts. He faces another trial next month. We’ll have more on Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort and President Trump after headlines.
President Trump traveled to Charleston, West Virginia, for a campaign rally Tuesday, where he celebrated his administration’s move to dramatically roll back regulations for coal-fired power plants.
President Donald Trump: “We love clean, beautiful West Virginia coal. We love it. Great. And, you know, it’s indestructible stuff. In times of war, in times of conflict, you can blow up those windmills. They fall down real quick. You can blow up those pipelines. They go like this, and you’re not going to fix them too fast. You can do a lot of things to those solar panels. But you know what you can’t hurt? Coal. You can do whatever you want to coal. Very important.”
The Trump administration’s own analysis says the environmental deregulation could lead to as many as 1,400 premature deaths every year by 2030. We’ll have more on the rollback of regulations for coal-fired power plants later in the broadcast.
During Trump’s West Virginia rally, he also slammed ESPN for saying it would not air the national anthem before Monday night football games during the upcoming season. While the policy is not new, Trump seized on it. The NFL also says it will not punish the players for protesting. Trump frequently attacks NFL athletes for kneeling or raising their fists during the national anthem to protest racism and police brutality.
In Syria, the Syrian Army is expected to soon begin its offensive in the northwestern province of Idlib, the Syrian opposition’s last major territory in the country. Three million people currently live in Idlib, half of whom are internally displaced. This is U.N. humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland.
Jan Egeland: “What I fear is human suffering like perhaps none we’ve seen even before in this conflict. It could be worse than Aleppo, worse than Eastern Ghouta, worse than Raqqa.”
In Uganda, demonstrations are mounting in the capital Kampala, where protesters are denouncing the arrest of prominent opposition legislators critical of longtime President Yoweri Museveni. On Monday, Ugandan security forces cracked down on the protests by firing live ammunition and tear gas into the crowds.
In Saudi Arabia, prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against activist Israa al-Ghomgham, making her the first woman to possibly face the death penalty for human rights work in Saudi Arabia. She was arrested in 2015, along with her husband, for their roles in organizing anti-government protests in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.
Republican California Congressmember Duncan Hunter, the second member of Congress to endorse candidate Donald Trump, has been indicted for campaign finance violations along with his wife, only weeks after the first congressmember to endorse Trump, Chris Collins of New York, was also indicted. Prosecutors say Hunter and his wife misused campaign funds for personal expenses, including expensive vacations and their children’s school tuition. Hunter is up for re-election in November. His challenger is up-and-coming progressive candidate, 29-year-old Palestinian-Mexican-American Ammar Campa-Najjar.
President Trump’s top economic adviser Larry Kudlow recently hosted white nationalist publisher Peter Brimelow at a birthday celebration at his home. Brimelow founded the anti-immigrant website VDARE.com. Last week, White House speechwriter Darren Beattie was fired after news broke of his 2016 appearance on a panel with Brimelow.
In climate change news, the strongest ice in the Arctic has begun to break up for the first time in recorded history. Earlier this year, temperatures soared in the Arctic to 45 degrees above normal. Meanwhile, much of the western United States has been blanketed in thick, hazardous smoke from the raging, climate change-driven wildfires.
In St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, activists fighting the construction of the Bayou Bridge pipeline say they are facing increasing police repression. Police tasered and arrested one water protector Monday, only a few days after a journalist and three water protectors were arrested and charged with felony trespassing on Saturday. The 163-mile Bayou Bridge pipeline is being built by Energy Transfer Partners, the same company behind the controversial Dakota Access pipeline.
Meanwhile, in North Dakota, prosecutors have dropped all serious charges against former North Dakota congressional candidate Chase Iron Eyes, who had been facing up to six years in prison for participating in the resistance to the Dakota Access pipeline. This is Chase Iron Eyes, speaking only days after his arrest on February 1, 2017.
Chase Iron Eyes: “We talk about the arrests. The arrests are above 700 in number. … It includes dog attacks. It includes water cannons in subfreezing temperatures, the negligent or intentional risking of human lives. It includes the lying—the Morton County law enforcement agencies lying about the criminal conduct. And so, there is a lot happening. There is a lot that they need to be held accountable for.”
And in Tacoma, Washington, immigrant rights advocates say over 200 immigrants detained at the Northwest Detention Center launched a hunger strike and work stoppage Tuesday as part of the nationwide prison strike.The strikers said, “We are taking part in a hunger strike nationwide demanding change and closure of these detention centers, we are acting with solidarity for all those people who are being detained wrongfully, and stand together to help support all those women who have been separated from their children, and to stop all the family separations happening today, for a lot of us are also being separated and we have U.S. citizen children.”