Nov 30, 2018

Mueller appears laser-focused on Trump after release of new documents

President Donald Trump. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

New court filings released this week by special counsel Robert Mueller's team have provided new evidence that federal investigators are zoning in on President Trump as a key figure in the wide-ranging Russia investigation, the Washington Post details in a new report late Thursday.

Why it matters: New "documents show investigators have evidence that Trump was in close contact with his lieutenants as they made outreach to both Russia and WikiLeaks — and that they tried to conceal the extent of their activities," per the Post. The court filings also cast new doubts on "Trump’s repeated claims that he had no business interests in Russia"

Details: On Thursday, Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in 2017 about the length and scope of his work on plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen reportedly said he lied out of loyalty to Trump and to be consistent with the president's political messaging.

  • In Cohen's guilty plea, Trump was reportedly identified as "Individual 1" and was said to have received information from Cohen about a Moscow project with Russia up until June 2016.
  • A draft document revealed on Tuesday showed that prosecutors are closely focusing on the president's interactions with longtime political adviser Roger Stone, who sought information about WikiLeaks’ plans to release information meant to damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

What they’re saying: Trump ally and constitutional lawyer Alan Dershowitz told the Post that Cohen’s confessions do not indicate whether Trump committed a crime, but suggested that Trump was not being forthcoming about his business ties with Russia.

  • Tim O’Brien, a Trump biographer and critic stated: “This is part of the fact pattern that gets to the heart of whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin during the campaign.”

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Debate night: Candidates' last face-off before Super Tuesday

Sanders, Biden, Klobuchar and Steyer in South Carolina on Feb. 25. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders wanted to keep his momentum after winning contests in New Hampshire and Nevada, while former Vice President Joe Biden hoped to keep his own campaign alive. The other five candidates were just trying to hang on.

What's happening: Seven contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination were in Charleston, South Carolina, for the tenth debate, just days before the South Carolina primary and a week before Super Tuesday. They spoke, sometimes over each other, about health care, Russian interference in the election, foreign policy the economy, gun control, marijuana, education, and race.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

4 takeaways from the South Carolina debate

Former Vice President Joe Biden, right, makes a point during Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders listens. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The 10th Democratic debate was billed as the most consequential of the primary thus far, but Tuesday night's high-stakes affair was at times awkward and unfocused as moderators struggled to rein in candidates desperate to make one last splash before Saturday's primary in South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

The big picture: After cementing himself as the Democratic favorite with a sweeping win in Nevada, Sen. Bernie Sanders came under fire as the front-runner for the first time on the debate stage. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who will be on the ballot for the first time next Tuesday, was a progressive foil once again, but he appeared more prepared after taking a drubbing at the Nevada debate.

Coronavirus spreads to Africa as U.S. soldier in South Korea tests positive

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

A 23-year-old American soldier stationed at Camp Carroll in South Korea has tested positive to the novel coronavirus, as the outbreak spreads to more countries.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 80,000 others, mostly in mainland China. Public health officials confirmed Tuesday the U.S. has 57 people with the novel coronavirus, mostly those repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health