Stormy Daniels: I’m Now Free to Tell My Trump Story

Stormy Daniels 'free to tell her story' after Trump lawyer statement


The newspaper says Mr Cohen declined to answer why the "private transaction" was made

An adult film star who has been embroiled in allegations of an affair with President Donald Trump is free to tell her story, her manager has said.

Stormy Daniels is no longer bound by a non-disclosure contract after Mr Trump's lawyer admitted he paid her, manager Gina Rodriguez says.

Mr Trump's personal lawyer confirmed in a statement to media he privately paid Ms Daniels $130,000 (£95,000) in 2016.

Ms Rodriguez says that acknowledgement allows her client to speak freely.

"Everything is off now, and Stormy is going to tell her story," Ms Rodriguez told the Associated Press on Wednesday.

Her statement comes after Trump lawyer Michael Cohen told the New York Times he paid Ms Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

"Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly," Mr Cohen told the New York Times.

He said he told the Federal Election Commission the same after a watchdog group filed a complaint about the payment, claiming that it had served as an "in-kind" political contribution to Mr Trump's campaign.

An X-rated cover-up?

Analysis by Anthony Zurcher, BBC Washington

Donald Trump's lawyer and all-around fixer Michael Cohen has said he doesn't plan "further comment" on his six-figure payment to Stormy Daniels. His statements, however, raise more questions than they answer.

While he said the money came from his "personal funds" and was not reimbursed directly or indirectly by the Trump Organization or the Trump campaign, that leaves open the possibility that he was compensated by other parties - including Mr Trump himself.

Why, in his generosity, would Mr Cohen give $130,000 to Ms Daniels? The Wall Street Journal has reported that it was in exchange for a non-disclosure agreement about a decade-old affair between Mr Trump and Ms Daniels. Circumstantial evidence - that Ms Daniels had been in contact with media outlets prior to the transfer and has since gone silent - lends credence to this line.

Porn actress Stormy Daniels alleged in 2011 that she had an affair with Mr Trump in 2006

Even though the alleged affair is long since past, a story about possible hush money and an attempted cover-up just weeks before the presidential election is much more dangerous for a White House already on its heels. And if it turns out there's more to the money trail than has been disclosed, an embarrassing situation could quickly morph into a criminal inquiry.

"The payment to Ms Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone," Mr Cohen said.

The lawyer has previously said Mr Trump "vehemently denies" it occurred.

The revelations on Wednesday follow US media reports that the porn actress known as Ms Daniels was paid to sign an agreement stopping her discussing an alleged affair.

She first said she had a relationship with Mr Trump in a 2011 interview.

In a 2011 interview with InTouch magazine, the actress said she began a sexual relationship with Mr Trump in 2006, shortly after Melania Trump gave birth to his son Barron.

The reports re-emerged in January when the Wall Street Journal reported that she was paid to sign a non-disclosure agreement in the run-up to the 2016 election, which prevented her from discussing the alleged liaison.

Ms Clifford was believed to be in discussion with US media about an television appearance to discuss Mr Trump at the time, the report said.

Responding to questions from CNN about why the payment was made, Mr Cohen said: "Just because something isn't true doesn't mean that it can't cause you harm or damage."


"I will always protect Mr Trump," Mr Cohen added.

On 30 January, Ms Daniels' publicist released a statement in her name denying having an affair with Mr Trump.

But many - including Ms Daniels herself - were quick to note that the signature attached to that denial did not bear much resemblance to another copy of her autograph which had been attached to an earlier statement.
Ms Daniels hosted a Super Bowl party last month

That denial had been released by Mr Cohen on 10 January.

She has since made several public appearances on television and at strip clubs, but has remained tight-lipped when asked directly about Mr Trump in interviews.

Minutes after Mr Trump's first formal State of the Union address to Congress, she gave an interview to late night comedian Jimmy Kimmel.

In it, she refused to directly answer whether she had signed a non-disclosure agreement, or if she had "ever made love to someone whose name rhymes with Lonald Lump".




SOURCE

Assailant caught in US school shooting, 'numerous fatalities'

Horrific mass shooting at a Florida high school

n this frame grab from video provided by WPLG-TV, students from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland evacuate the area Picture: WPLG-TV/APSource:AP

MIAMI: A gunman opened fire Wednesday at a Florida high school, an incident that officials said caused "numerous fatalities" and left terrified students huddled in their classrooms, texting friends and family for help.

The Broward County Sheriff's Office said a suspect was in custody following the incident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, a city about 50 miles (80 kilometres) north of Miami.
AT LEAST one person is dead and dozens of people have been injured following a horrific mass shooting at a Florida high school.

Coral Springs Police was called to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland following reports of an active shooter on the scene.

Authorities warned the public to stay away from the area as the campus remains in lockdown.

It remained unknown exactly how many people were shot, however, it is understood there have been “multiple fatalities”.
The shooting, one of several in the United States since the start of the year, will once again throw the spotlight on the country's epidemic of gun violence and the ready accessibility of weapons, with 33,000 gun-related deaths annually.

Emergency crews on the scene near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Picture: ABCNewsSource:Supplied

The superintendent of the county's school district, Robert Runcie, said he believed there were "numerous fatalities," and that the gunman may have been a former student.

"Just a horrible day for us," Runcie said, adding that the incident appeared to be over.
So far, 14 "victims" had been or were being taken to local hospital, the sheriff's office said. Earlier reports suggested that between 20 and 50 people had been hurt.

"This is a very tragic situation for everybody involved," Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky told CNN, adding that she had spoken to a number of students.

"They were very scared," she said. "And almost in shock when they came out."
Asked about security, the mayor said a police officer is always stationed at the school and there was a "single point of entry."
Television images showed students being led out of the school by heavily armed police officers and an armoured vehicle filled with a SWAT team arriving at the scene.

One injured victim was seen being placed into an ambulance on a stretcher.

Police officers in helmets, bulletproof vests and armed with automatic weapons could be seen stationed at several points around the sprawling school complex, which houses nearly 3,000 students.
Student Jeiella Dodoo told CBS News that she and her schoolmates had evacuated their classroom calmly after hearing what they thought had been a routine fire alarm.

Parents wait for news following the horrific mass shooting. Picture: Joel Auerbach/APSource:AP

"The alarm went off so we had to evacuate from our classes," she said. "Then we heard gunshots.
"I heard about six gunshots," she said, "and then some people started running and then everyone started running because we were like 'If it's real, then just run.'"
A math teacher at the school told CBS that he was hiding with six of his students.
"We are fine. We are waiting," he said.

Caesar Figueroa told CNN his daughter was hiding in a closet and texting her family.
"She's trapped with her 10 friends. She said she heard gunshots. A window blew and everybody is screaming and running, and she said she ran in the closet and she's still there," Figueroa said.
The Broward Sheriff’s office confirmed the suspected shooter is now in custody, however, stressed the scene remains active.


“So far we have at least 14 victims,” the Sheriff’s office said.

“Victims have been and continue to be transported to Broward Health Medical Center and Broward Health North hospital.”

"My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting," President Donald Trump said on Twitter.


"No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school."
Coral Spring Police told concerned parents over Twitter the school remained on lockdown as a precaution.

Since January 2013, "there have been at least 283 school shootings across the country -- which averages out to one school shooting a week," according to Everytown for Gun Safety, a non-profit group that advocates for gun control.

Police handcuff the suspected gunmen following the shooting

Since the 2012 massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 children and six adults were shot dead, warning procedures and emergency drills have multiplied at US schools.

The goal is to teach school children how to react to a shooter who opens fire at random.

Classified Information: Ex-CIA officer arrested

Ex-CIA officer arrested for retaining classified information

Ex-CIA Officer Arrested for Retaining Notebooks Full of Classified Information

WASHINGTON: An ex-Central Intelligence Agency officer was detained at a US airport on Monday night regarding the charges that he illegally held on to highly classified information, the US Justice Department said Tuesday.

Jerry Chun Shing Lee, a US citizen who now resides in Hong Kong, used to keep a top secret clearance and started doing work for the CIA in 1994.

The Justice Department stated that in 2012, FBI agents searched his hotel rooms during the vacations to Virginia and Hawaii. They identified he had two small books comprising handwritten information on specifics such as the true names and numbers of spy recruits and covert CIA employees.
He was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.



The case is going to be prosecuted by the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. But Lee made his first court appearance on Tuesday before a federal magistrate judge in Brooklyn. The judge ordered Lee held without bail.

A federal public defender who represented Lee at Tuesday’s hearing declined to comment.
Based upon an affidavit filed by an FBI agent, Lee, 53, served in the US Army from 1982 through 1986 and worked for the CIA from 1994 through 2007.


The FBI agent wrote that Lee and his family left Hong Kong in August 2012 to travel to northern Virginia. During the trip, they stayed in hotels in which the FBI found the books.

The small books were found inside Lee’s luggage, sealed in a small clear plastic vacation pack.
The handwritten information inside varied with regard to classification, however, the agent said no less than one page contained top secret information, “the disclosure of those might lead to extremely grave trouble for the national security of the United States.”

The agent also noted that classified cables Lee wrote when he had been a case officer talking about his interactions with CIA assets were revealed in the two books.

Lee was interviewed by the FBI five separate times in 2013 and do not share he had the books. He also met with former CIA colleagues about that period without giving back the materials to the government, the Justice Department said.

Nigerian Police killed, four North Americans kidnapped

Two Americans, two Canadians kidnapped in Nigeria: Police killed

Nigerian Police killed, four North Americans kidnapped

NIGERIA: Two Americans and two Canadians have already been kidnapped and two Nigerian police escorts murdered during an ambush in northern Kaduna state, police said Wednesday, in the recent abduction intended for foreigners.

State police spokesman Mukhtar Aliyu said, “unknown armed men” seized the four North Americans on the way to Abuja at 7:00 p.m. (1800 GMT) on Tuesday.
“They involved in a brutal gun battle with the two police escorts attached to the expats, who regrettably died,” he added.

No additional information was given and Aliyu said “every possible means” happen to be used to rescue the four abductees and arrest the kidnappers.

In Washington, a State Department official known as the abduction of only one US citizen.
“We are familiar with reports of a US citizen kidnapped in Nigeria,” he told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The safety and security of US citizens overseas are among our top priorities,” he added.

A State Department travel advisory for urges US citizens to “reconsider” visiting Nigeria, warning that “violent crime including armed robbery, assault, carjacking, kidnapping and rape frequently occurs all over the country.”

Global Affairs Canada. that manages Canada’s diplomatic and consular relations, is “aware of reports of the kidnapping of two Canadian citizens in Nigeria,” spokesman John Babcock said, “Consular officials in Nigeria are in contact with local authorities to gather additional information,” he added.
Kidnapping has long been a problem in Nigeria’s southern states, where high-profile individuals, including the families of prominent politicians, are regularly seized.

Victims are generally released after a couple of days as soon as a ransom is paid.

These days the crime has multiply throughout the country since the economic situation has stalled. A crackdown on cattle rustling has been ascribed to increasing number of abductions in the north.
In October this past year, an armed group took four British missionaries doing work for a medical charity in the oil-rich but impoverished state of Delta in the south.

One among the hostages was killed even though the three other hostages were later released.
Also in October, the Vatican said an Italian priest was kidnapped near Benin City, the capital of Edo state, which borders Delta state to the north. He was also later released.

Safety on the Kaduna-Abuja road came under intense scrutiny during the past year as soon as the federal government announced the closure of the capital’s only airport for essential runway repairs.
Many foreign missions and corporations advised staff to limit their travel through the closure period, as all domestic and a few international flights were switched to Abuja.

In July 2016, Sierra Leone’s defence attache to Nigeria was kidnapped by men in military fatigues armed with AK-47 rifles at a fake checkpoint on the Abuja-Kaduna road.

Oil Prices Rises Above $70 per barrel

As oil hits US$70, warning lights flash up in Asia

Oil price top 70USD

SINGAPORE, ASIA: Oil prices have risen above $70 per barrel for the first time since 2014 as investors bet supply cuts led by OPEC will dominate the market this year.
But some traders are sounding a warning - the world’s biggest crude-consuming region, Asia, is showing signs of an impending downward correction.

Prices for Brent crude oil futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, have risen by more than 50 percent since mid-2017 and hit $70 per barrel this week for the first since December 2014. Average Asian physical crude oil prices also moved over $70 per barrel in January.

“A healthy (price) correction could be on the cards,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia/Pacific at futures brokerage Oanda in Singapore.

One reason, traders say, is that the supply of oil products remains ample. In the last three years, refiners enjoyed high profits because of relatively cheap crude oil, which is used to make fuels like diesel or gasoline.

As a result, Asian refiners processed an unprecedented 23 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil in late 2017.

China, by far Asia’s biggest oil consumer, is now producing so much fuel that its refiners have turned to exports to find buyers. And their purchases of crude could fall.

Chinese diesel exports (DL-CNEXP) have surged by almost 3,000 percent since early 2015, to a record of more than 2 million tonnes last December, according to customs data. Its gasoline exports (GL-CNEXP) are up by 365 percent since early 2015, to more than 1 million tonnes in December.

Its total December refined oil products reached a record 6.17 million tonnes, according to customs data announced on Friday.

“This drop in margins could reduce Asian refiners’ demand for incremental crude in the near term and weigh on global (crude) prices,” said Sukrit Vijayakar, director of energy consultancy Trifecta.

Singapore refining margins (DUB-SIN-REF), which act as Asia’s benchmark, have slumped by 90 percent from their 2017 high to below $6 per barrel this week - the lowest seasonal level in five years.

BMI Research said in a note this week: ”In Q1, the balance of risk to Brent (prices) lies to the downside.”

Price hit 70USD

WHAT FUELED THE RALLY


The crude market’s focus has so far been no signs of tightening supplies as the Middle East dominated Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia lead production cuts aimed at propping up prices.

With global oil consumption also strong amid healthy global economic growth, investor sentiment has been positive.

Ole Hansen, head of the commodity strategy at Saxo Bank, said this week that ”bullish news tends to get more attention than potentially bearish signals.” Yet, another of the bearish signals is rising U.S. oil production, which is threatening to derail OPEC’s and Russia’s efforts to tighten supplies.

Despite a recent drop due to extreme cold, U.S. crude oil output (C-OUT-T-EIA) is widely expected to break through 10 million bpd soon, largely thanks to shale production, which would take it to similar levels as top producers Saudi Arabia and Russia, who hit peak output of over 11 million bpd and about 10.7 million bpd respectively in recent years.

“Oil prices have been undeniably bullish this week despite the lingering concerns over the current bull rally running out of steam ... It must be kept in mind that rising production from U.S. shale has the ability to expose the oil to downside risks,” said Lukman Otunuga, Analyst at futures brokerage FXTM.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects U.S. output to surpass 11 million bpd by 2019.

Soaring U.S. supplies mean U.S. WTI crude prices are over $5.5 per barrel cheaper than Brent (CL-LCO1=R), off which most international crude supplies are priced.
Taking advantage of their competitive prices, U.S. crude oil exports are rising, including to faraway Asia.

Feeling the pinch from mounting competition and the pressure from refiners, OPEC’s No.2 and No.3 producers, Iran and Iraq, cut their crude oil prices this week to remain competitive with customers struggling from lower profits. - Reuters





SOURCE:  Reuters

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