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Trump ‘secretly recorded discussing payment to Playboy model’

US President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen secretly recorded his client discussing payments to a former Playboy model, US media report

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US President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen secretly recorded his client discussing payments to a former Playboy model, US media report.

The tapes were reportedly discovered during an FBI raid on Mr Cohen’s property earlier this year in New York.

The New York Times reports that on the recording Mr Trump and Mr Cohen discuss paying Karen McDougal, who says she had an affair with Mr Trump.

The tape was reportedly made two months before the election.

The Department of Justice is looking into alleged hush money paid to women who claim they had a relationship with Mr Trump.

Mr Cohen – who has not been charged – is reportedly under investigation for possible bank and tax fraud, as well as potential violation of election law. The president has said that Mr Cohen is no longer his personal lawyer.

On Friday, another Trump lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, confirmed to the New York Times that the president had discussed the payments with Mr Cohen on the tape.

Read Also: Trial of spy who ‘offered sex for job’ puts strain on US- Russia ties

But he said no money was actually ever transferred, and the recording itself amounted to “powerful exculpatory evidence”

In the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election, Ms McDougal sold her story to the National Enquirer, which is owned by a personal friend of Mr Trump.
She says the $150,000 (£115,000) agreement gave the supermarket tabloid exclusive story rights and banned her from talking publicly about the alleged affair.

But the Enquirer did not publish her kiss-and-tell, and she says she was tricked.
The Washington Post reported that Mr Trump and Mr Cohen discussed possibly paying American Media Inc, the parent company of the National Enquirer, for the rights to Ms McDougal’s story.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the taped September 2016 conversation took place in-person rather than over the phone, and was cut off after less than two minutes, before the end of the conversation.

Federal investigators have reportedly demanded the tabloid’s records on the McDougal payment.

Musings From Abroad

Despite heavy security presence, Libyan protesters step up campaign, vow to continue demonstrations

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Libyan protesters have vowed to step up its campaign and continue with their demonstrations until all the ruling elites quit power and pave way for elections.

The protests which began on Friday, saw the burning of the country’s parliament building in Tobruk when a large crowd broke through the security and set the building on fire.

The incident prompted the government to release thousands of security personnel into the streets but the demonstrators were not deterred as they defied the presence of the forces on Saturday and Sunday by holding rallies in Tripoli, Tobruk, and Benghazi, and other major cities in the North African country.

While addressing the protesters, leaders of the movement said they would step up its campaign from Sunday, urging demonstrators to set up tents in city squares and practise civil disobedience until they achieve their goal of ousting political institutions and holding new elections.

Libyan Observer reports that the protesters held their biggest rally in Tripoli for years, chanting slogans against the feuding political elites, as demonstrators blocked off roads in Benghazi and Misrata and set fire to government buildings in Sebha and Qarabuli.

The media also reported that despite pleas by United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the demonstrators are bent on going on with their daily protests until they force the ruling elites out.

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Musings From Abroad

US commends Kenya’s effort at resolving Rwanda/Congo tension

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The US has praised Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta for his effort at resolving tensions between East African neighbour, DR Congo and Rwanda.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with President Kenyatta in a phone call on Thursday describes Kenya’s move as the best approach to end armed conflict in the troubled east of the country.

The US State Department Spokesman Ned Price said of the phone call, that “Secretary Blinken expressed his appreciation for the Nairobi process, which has brought together the leadership of the DR Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, South Sudan and Tanzania.

“The Secretary noted these heads of state meetings are instrumental for facilitating the de-escalation of regional tensions, and in particular between the DR Congo and Rwanda.”

The acrimony between the countries was pronounced last month when Rwandan military authorities accused the armed forces of neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo of cross-border attacks.

Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, last week called on the East African regional bloc to deploy East African force to the troubled eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to restore security following renewed fighting between government forces and the M23 rebels which has seen thousands killed and displaced since the resumption of hostilities.

Although the move to deploy the forces has been commended by the US, United Nations and the African Union, Congolese politicians and the public have expressed reservations about the proposed deployment of peace troops. They said the East Africa Standby Force (EASF) would be duplicating roles of the UN Mission (Monusco) as well as other existing interventions currently on the ground.

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