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Michael Cohen To Testify In An Open Session Before Congress Next Month

Cohen also pleaded guilty in November to lying to Congress about the timing of talks with Russia for building a Trump Tower complex in Moscow.

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U.S. President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen exits Federal Court in Manhattan, New York City, Nov. 29, 2018. VOA

Michael Cohen, U.S. President Donald Trump’s estranged personal lawyer, said on Thursday that he will testify in an open session before a congressional panel next month, just weeks before he heads to prison for lying to Congress and other crimes.

In a statement, Cohen, who has provided dozens of hours of testimony about his dealings with Trump to prosecutors since flipping on the president last year, said that he “looks forward to having the privilege of being afforded a platform with which to give a full and credible account of the events which have transpired.”

The testimony will take place on Feb. 7 before the House Oversight Committee, the panel’s new Democratic chairman, Rep. Elijah Cummings, announced.

Michael Cohen, Trump, Russia
Michael Cohen walks out of federal court, Nov. 29, 2018, in New York, after pleading guilty to lying to Congress about work he did on an aborted project to build a Trump Tower in Russia. VOA

Cummings, a staunch critic of the Trump administration, said he has asked the White House and the Trump Organization to turn over the documents related to hush money payments Cohen made to two women who had alleged affairs with Trump.

In a statement, Cummings said that he’s coordinating Cohen’s testimony with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating allegations the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians and the president obstructed justice by interfering in the investigation.

“I want to make clear that we have no interest in inappropriately interfering with any ongoing criminal investigations, and to that end, we are in the process of consulting with Special Counsel Mueller’s office,” Cummings said.

Trump not worried

Trump, who has called his former lawyer a “weak person” and has accused him of lying to prosecutors to try to get a reduced prison sentence, told reporters Thursday that he was not “worried” about Cohen’s testimony.

U.S.A., Trump, Russia, Cohen
In these 2018 photos, Paul Manafort leaves federal court in Washington, left and attorney Michael Cohen leaves federal court in New York. VOA

Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said he hopes to schedule a closed-door session with Cohen about the Russian meddling.

Cohen, who once said that he’ll “take a bullet” for Trump, told a judge last month that his “blind loyalty” to the U.S. leader led him to “cover up his dirty deeds.”

He pleaded guilty in August to federal charges of tax fraud, falsifying bank statements, and a payment he made to an adult film star to keep silent about an affair she allegedly had with Trump.

Cohen alleged that Trump directed him to make the $130,000 payment, which prosecutors say was an illegal campaign contribution that could influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

Also Read: U.S. President Donald Trump Says He’s Too Successful To Be Impeached

Cohen also pleaded guilty in November to lying to Congress about the timing of talks with Russia for building a Trump Tower complex in Moscow. The talks were still going on during the time Trump was running for president.

Trump has denied the allegations. (VOA)

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Lok Sabha 2019 Elections, EC Outlines Stringent Guidelines For Social Media Usage During Campaigns

Candidates and political parties are required to include their campaigning expenditure, including the money spent on social media advertising, in their poll expenditure account.

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While declaring the election dates, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora also announced strict guidelines for use of social media by political parties and candidates. Pixabay

With the Election Commission outlining stringent guidelines for social media usage during elections, political parties and candidates won’t be able to post unverified advertisements, photographs of defence personnel, hate speeches and fake news on their accounts.

The poll panel here on Sunday announced Lok Sabha elections in seven phases between April 11 and May 19.

While declaring the election dates, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora also announced strict guidelines for use of social media by political parties and candidates.

According to the new guidelines, candidates are required to furnish details of their social media accounts at the time of filing nominations and their activities on Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Google would be under the Election Commission’s close scrutiny.

Provisions of the model code of conduct will also apply to the content being posted on social media by candidates and political parties. Any violation may lead to action by the Election Commission.

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According to the new guidelines, candidates are required to furnish details of their social media accounts at the time of filing nominations and their activities on Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Google would be under the Election Commission’s close scrutiny.
Pixabay

“The media certification and monitoring committees (MCMCs) are in place at the district and state levels. One social media expert will also be part of this committee at each level. All political advertisements, proposed to be issued on the social media, shall require pre-certification from the MCMC concerned,” Arora said.

The platforms will also deploy appropriate fact checkers to scan fake news and abuses on the social media.

As per the guidelines, no political party or candidate must display photographs of defence personnel on social media for the campaigning purpose.

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As per the guidelines, no political party or candidate must display photographs of defence personnel on social media for the campaigning purpose. Pixabay

They must also not post any content that could vitiate the electoral process or disturb peace, tranquillity, social harmony and public order.

Also Read: First-Of-Its-Kind Scientific Study Reveals, One Feels Old Early In India Than in Japan

Candidates and political parties are required to include their campaigning expenditure, including the money spent on social media advertising, in their poll expenditure account.

“This, among other things, shall include payments made to internet companies and websites for carrying advertisements and also campaign-related operational expenditure on making creative development of content, salaries and wages paid to the team employed to maintain social media accounts,” the Election Commission said. (IANS)