Michael Cohen, the longtime attorney of President Trump, told a federal judge on Wednesday that he will invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself in a lawsuit brought by adult entertainer Stormy Daniels. Cohen's declaration, in support of his request to pause proceedings in the civil case, cited an "ongoing criminal investigation by the FBI and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York." Earlier this month, the FBI raided Cohen's home, office and a hotel room where he had been staying. That investigation includes looking into the effort to quash embarrassing stories about Trump during the 2016 campaign, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort was interviewed twice by FBI agents prior to joining the Trump campaign, according to court filings on Tuesday. One meeting in 2014 was first reported by BuzzFeed News in February, but court filings also show a meeting with FBI agents that occurred the year before, as FBI agents reportedly interviewed Manafort about his work in Ukraine. A former FBI official told BuzzFeed in February that Manafort denied knowledge about money stolen by the government of Ukraine's Victor Yanukovych, and promised to turn over documents that he never produced. "We had him in 2014," a former official told the website. "In hindsight, we could have nailed him then."
As Scott Pruitt, the embattled head of the Environmental Protection Agency, prepares to testify before Congress on Thursday amid a series of spending and ethics investigations, an internal E.P.A. document indicates that he may blame his staff for many of the decisions that have put a cloud over his tenure at the agency. The document, known as the "hot topics" list, appears to lay out talking points for Mr. Pruitt's two sessions before the House of Representatives. It suggests that Mr. Pruitt is prepared to say that he now flies coach when traveling; that others were responsible for giving two close aides who used to work for him in Oklahoma substantial pay raises; and that E.P.A. officials who were reassigned or demoted after challenging his spending all had performance issues.
Mike Callicrate, an independent cattle rancher from Kansas, has written an editorial for the Washington Post detailing how President Donald Trump's agricultural policies have been bad news for American farmers. In his op-ed, Callicrate explains that the consolidation of power among big agribusiness companies is the single biggest problem facing American farmers -- and he says Trump's administration has only made things worse. "Despite Trump's campaign promises, when it was time to stand up against big agribusiness, he caved," he writes. "His actions have left farmers and ranchers such as myself feeling betrayed and afraid for our economic futures." Specifically, Callicrate calls out Trump's Department of Agriculture for overturning the Obama administration's Farmer Fair Practices Rules, which gave independent farmers more power to bring unfair practice claims against big agribusiness firms.
Is Emmanuel Macron the new leader of the free world? Politico magazine declared him such in the days before his visit to the United States, and his grip on the title seems to have strengthened after a rousing speech to the United States Congress, in which American lawmakers gave him standing ovations as he denounced Trump's outlook and policies without being so rude as to name his host. "Personally, if you ask me, I do not share the fascination for new, strong powers, the abandonment of freedom and the illusion of nationalism," Macron said, drawing loud cheers from the floor of Congress.