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Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

President Trump suggested on Friday that his former lawyer Michael Cohen "is trying to make up stories ... to get himself out of an unrelated jam" regarding taxi cabs.

Why it matters: Cohen's legal troubles are no secret — Trump mentioned them when he distanced himself in April, saying federal investigators were "looking at his businesses ... and I've been told I'm not involved." A significant portion of Cohen's business records, including ownership and management of taxi companies, is "under the microscope of federal prosecutors," the New York Times reports.

The backdrop

Cohen has "often operated in the backwaters of the financial and legal worlds," the Times reports. He has avoided criminal charges, but some of his associates haven't.

  • He was introduced to the taxi business through his wife's family.
  • Cohen partnered with a Ukrainian businessman, Symon Garber, who was working to finance taxi businesses in the U.S. and Russia.
  • He built up millions of dollars in debt by borrowing from banks and credit unions to purchase taxi medallions, reports the Times, which allow people to own and operate their own taxis.
  • In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Cohen and Garber were overseeing 260 cabs, and making millions.
  • In 2006, Cohen put management of the cabs into Gerber's hands, and was bringing in around $1 million annually. They later had a falling out, after which Cohen went into business with a Russian immigrant, Evgeny Freidman, who had his own taxi business.
  • A year later in 2007, Cohen joined the Trump Organization.
The controversies
  • Cohen's taxi partnerships faced a number of legal issues, and both Freidman and Garber were forced to "pay more than $1 million for overcharging their drivers."
  • They've also been accused of "forging signatures, stiffing lawyers and dodging debt collection efforts."
  • Since the rise of ride-sharing services, Cohen's businesses have fallen behind on their taxes, owing more than $375,000.
  • And even still, with a federal investigation ongoing, Cohen has continued to engage in "financial maneuvering," the Times reports, borrowing and lending millions.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Del Rio bridge camp empty following Haitian migrant surge

A boy bathes himself in a jug of water inside a migrant camp at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sept. 21 in Del Rio, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The last migrants camping under the Del Rio International Bridge, which connects Texas and Mexico, departed on Friday, CNN reports.

Driving the news: Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, had arrived to the makeshift camp after crossing the southern border seeking asylum. Roughly 1,800 migrants will now head to U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing centers.

White House says it expects federal contractors to be vaccinated by Dec. 8

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House said in new guidance Friday that it expects millions of federal contractors to be vaccinated against the coronavirus no later than Dec. 8.

Why it matters: Companies with federal contractors have been waiting for formal guidance from the White House before requiring those employees to get vaccinated, according to Reuters.

CDC director maintains Pfizer booster recommendation for high-risk workers

Rochelle Walensky listens during a confirmation hearing on July 20. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky on Friday reiterated her decision to go against a recommendation by a CDC advisory panel that refused to endorse booster shots for workers whose jobs put them at high risk for contracting COVID-19.

Driving the news: "Our healthcare systems are once again at maximum capacity in parts of the country, our teachers are facing uncertainty as they walk into the classroom," Walensky said at a Friday briefing. "I must do what I can to preserve the health across our nation."