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AG Jeff Sessions declines to comment on recusal on Trump lawyer Cohen

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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday declined to say during a congressional hearing whether he would recuse himself from an investigation involving Michael Cohen, the personal lawyer for President Donald Trump, but said he continued to honor his recusal agreement for campaign-related issues.

“I have sought advice on those matters. I have not met with the top ethics person on it, but I can assure you I have not violated my recusal,” he told Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy during a hearing on the U.S. Justice Department budget.

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 Leahy, the senior Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, had pressed him about Cohen, whose office and home were raided earlier this month after the FBI received a referral from the special counsel investigating whether members of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russia during the election.
 
Sessions, a former Republican senator, had agreed to recuse himself from any Justice Department investigation into campaign interference after he worked to help Trump win the election. That agreement has publicly enraged Trump, a fellow Republican.
“I am honoring the recusal in every case and every matter that comes before the Department of Justice,” Sessions said. “It is the policy of the Department of Justice that those who have recused themselves not state the details of it or confirm the investigation or the scope and nature of the investigation.”

He said recusals are typically not made public, a point echoed by Justice Department Spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores.

 “The attorney general has been clear that his recusal covers ‘any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for president of the United States’ based on the relevant DOJ regulations. Department officials decline, however, to discuss recusals from specific ongoing investigations because doing so could confirm the existence of ongoing investigations or the scope or nature of those ongoing investigations,” she said in a statement to Reuters.
Bloomberg reported earlier this week that Sessions had not recused himself from the Cohen case.

Reporting by Lisa Lambert and Sarah N. Lynch; editing by G Crosse

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Feds now probing Giuliani’s links to Ukrainian natural gas projects – and if he profited from them

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Federal investigators are now probing the ties of the President's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, into Ukrainian energy projects, and if he stood to gain financially in a business venture headed by his two "henchmen" who are now in jail.

The two associates infamously aided Giuliani's efforts in Ukraine to launch investigations into Joe Biden and Hunter Biden in an attempt to assist President Donald Trump's re-election efforts, The Wall Street Journal reports.

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Fears grow on digital surveillance: US survey

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Americans are increasingly fearful of monitoring of their online and offline activities, both by governments and private companies, a survey showed Friday.

The Pew Research Center report said more than 60 percent of US adults believe it is impossible to go about daily life without having personal information collected by companies or the government.

Most Americans are uneasy about how their data is collected and used: 79 percent said they are not comfortable about the handling of their information by private firms, and 69 percent said the same of the government.

Seven in 10 surveyed said they think their personal data is less secure than five years ago, while only six percent said it is more secure, the report found.

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CNN legal analysts rip apart Jim Jordan’s ‘nonsensical’ defense of Trump witness intimidation

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CNN legal analyst Elie Honig blasted Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) for arguing that President Donald Trump hadn't engaged in witness intimidation by tweeting attacks on a former ambassador as she testified against him in the impeachment inquiry.

Jordan argued the tweet can't be witness intimidation because Marie Yovanovitch wouldn't have known about the attack if Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) hadn't read it to her, but Honig said the GOP lawmaker's claim was ridiculous.

"His point is nonsensical," Honig said. "Of course, she was going to find out about a tweet that went out to 60 million people-plus. The law covers any way you look regarding timing."

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