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‘This was covered up illegally’: Bush ethics lawyer explains legal jeopardy of Stormy Daniels hush money

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The former chief White House ethics lawyer during the George W. Bush administration explained how it appears long-time Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen broke the law with the notorious hush money payment to a former porn star.

“The White House is pushing back against the president’s alleged relationship with a porn star and the $130,000 payment made to her,” MSNBC anchor Ali Velshi noted. “Stormy Daniels claims she can now talk about her intimate relationship with President Trump because he never signed their hush agreement.”

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“The president’s lawyer also says he was not reimbursed for that $130,000 payment,” the host noted. “The White House spokesperson said she’s unaware of whether Cohen ever discussed the payment with the president and Trump’s lawyer says the president vehemently denies there was a sexual encounter with Daniels.”

Velshi introduced former White House ethics lawyer Richard Painter, currently a law professor at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and vice-chairman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

“Of course there is the broader ethical issue, that he’s been married three times and has apparently cheated on all three of his wives,” Painter noted. “And he takes his oath of office to uphold the constitution about as seriously as he has taken his marriage vows.”

“That is not a question that the special prosecutor or Congress is going to look into. What is legally relevant here is that this LLC that held this $130,000 should have been on his Form 278 financial disclosure form,” he explained. “If the lawyer had paid this money out of his own funds, without expectation of reimbursement, then that is a campaign contribution and that should have been disclosed to the federal election commission.”

“So either way, this was covered up, probably covered up illegally, and that itself can be a crime,” Painter concluded. “So we need to get to the bottom of this, but it shows the president should not be trusted by his wives or the American people.”

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Two impeachment articles expected against President Trump: reports

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Democrats are expected to announce on Tuesday two articles of impeachment against Donald Trump, US media reported Monday evening, after laying out their case at a hearing against a president they branded a "clear and present danger" to national security.

The articles will focus on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, The Washington Post said, citing three official familiar with the matter.

It added that the full House of Representatives would vote on the articles next week, ahead of a trial in the Senate.

CNN said a third article on obstruction of justice was still being debated, and the network's sources cautioned that plans were still being finalized.

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Ambassador McFaul ‘shocked’ Trump invited Sergey Lavrov back to the Oval Office: ‘What are they thinking?’

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Former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul repeatedly said he was shocked that President Donald Trump will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday.

McFaul was interviewed Monday evening by Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC "The Last Word," where he contrasted how Trump is treating the Russian government of President Vladimir Putin to the Ukrainian government of President Volodymyr Zelensky.

"Ambassador McFaul, I want to get your reaction to the Russian foreign minister meeting tomorrow at the White House, in the Oval Office, with President Trump," O'Donnell said. "That's his second time. President Zelinsky still hasn't gotten that meeting and Donald trump apparently, apparently may be voted articles of impeachment in committee this week because of his interactions with President Zelensky."

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House Judiciary to vote on Thursday to impeach Donald Trump: report

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Democrats are moving ahead with the impeachment of President Donald Trump following another day of testimony on Monday.

"House Democrats plan to unveil at least two articles of impeachment Tuesday, charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, according to multiple lawmakers and aides. The Judiciary Committee plans to vote on the articles on Thursday, setting up a vote on the House floor next week to make Trump the third president in history to be impeached," Politico reported Monday evening.

"Democratic leaders plan to formally announce the articles at a press conference Tuesday morning. Judiciary Committee Democrats intend to meet ahead of the announcement and review the articles," Politico reported. "The decision to move forward with specific impeachment charges is the most significant move yet for the year-old Democratic House majority, a legacy-defining moment for Speaker Nancy Pelosi that sets up a Senate trial for Trump in early 2020."

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