Share your voice Tags Now playing: Watch this: Originally published Feb. 26 at 10:36 p.m. PT.Updated Feb. 27 at 6:54 a.m. PT: Added response from WikiLeaks. At 8:18 a.m.: Added details from Cohen’s hearings on WikiLeaks. At 8:33 a.m.: Added Cohen’s remarks on the Twitter persona “Women for Cohen.” At 9:16 a.m.: Added Cohen comments on Trump’s Twitter account. At 9:44 a.m.: Added comments from lawmakers on WikiLeaks. At 11:16 a.m.: With details on Trump’s campaign involvement with RedFinch Solutions. “A lot of people have asked me about whether Mr. Trump knew about the release of the hacked Democratic National Committee emails ahead of time. The answer is yes,” Cohen said in his opening remarks.In the prepared testimony, Cohen recalled a time when Stone told Trump he had spoken with Assange days before “there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”Cohen added that Trump responded, “Wouldn’t that be great.”WikiLeaks pushed back against the allegations on Twitter, writing that it has “always denied speaking to Roger Stone.”In a statement to multiple news outlets, including Newsweek, Stone refuted the account. “Mr. Cohen’s statement is not true,” he said.Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland and the Oversight and Reform Committee chair, said the hearing originally wouldn’t take questions on the subject. However, he said the committee wouldn’t restrict questions about WikiLeaks after the prepared remarks. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was chair of the DNC during the hack, questioned Cohen about details indicating Russian involvement with Trump’s campaign. “He had advanced notice that there was going to be a dump of emails, but at no time did I hear the specificity of what those emails were going to be,” Cohen told lawmakers, referring to the president.Rep. Jim Jordan, a Republican from Ohio, questioned Cohen on his credibility, pointing to a Twitter account, “Women For Cohen,” that the former attorney paid to tweet about his attractiveness. In response to the false persona on Twitter, Cohen laughed and smiled. He told Jordan, “We were having fun,” and said the Twitter account was a joke.The account was created by the IT firm RedFinch Solutions, which Cohen originally hired to rig results in online polls on Trump’s popularity. The firm used bots and algorithms to manipulate poll results for CNBC and Drudge at Trump’s direction, Cohen said.Cohen told lawmakers he feared for his family’s safety because of Trump’s immense influence on Twitter. Noting the president’s huge following — he has more than 58 million followers on the social network — Cohen said he was worried about Trump influencing people on social media to go after his loved ones. “When he goes on Twitter, and he starts bringing in my in-laws, my parents, my wife, what does he think is going to happen?” Cohen said. “He’s sending out the same message, that he can do whatever he wants.”On Wednesday morning, Trump tweeted to describe Cohen as a liar, and he isn’t the only politician attacking Cohen on the social network. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, tweeted at Cohen on Tuesday, threatening to blackmail him over infidelity. Gaetz has since deleted the tweet and apologized.Cohen said when Trump tweeted that he was a “rat” on Dec. 16, he was suddenly bombarded with hate messages on Twitter and Facebook.”I’ve had to turn over these messages to Secret Service because they are the most vile, disgusting statements that anyone can receive,” Cohen said.’Not fake news. Old news’Rep. Thomas Massie, a Republican from Kentucky, backed WikiLeaks’ argument that Assange had publicly announced the email leaks before Trump’s campaign learned about it. He held up a printout of an article from The Guardian, in which Assange said WikiLeaks had upcoming leaks regarding Clinton. “Mr. Assange reported to the media on June 12 that those emails would be leaked,” Massie said. “I’m not saying you have fake news, I’m saying you have old news.”The flood of Clinton campaign emails played a significant role in the election, both as headline news and the basis for internet conspiracy theories later on. The US government has since said those emails were given to WikiLeaks by Russian hackers attempting to sway the election in Trump’s favor.The testimony marks the first time someone from the president’s inner circle has testified that Trump had knowledge of the emails before they were released. Previously, Stone — who has been indicted for allegedly lying to Congress — denied those connections.The White House, in a statement to CNN, Newsweek and other publications, noted that Cohen is going to prison for lying. “Sadly, he will go before Congress this week and we can expect more of the same,” Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said. “It’s laughable that anyone would take a convicted liar like Cohen at his word, and pathetic to see him given yet another opportunity to spread his lies.”Representatives for the White House, Cohen and Stone didn’t immediately responded to requests for comment.Russian hackers stole hundreds of thousands of emails from the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, according to indictments from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The stolen emails were posted on WikiLeaks, as well as DCLeaks, a page Russian hackers created posing as Americans. The same day that Trump encouraged Russia to hack Clinton’s emails, Russian hackers made their first attempt to spear-phish email accounts from Clinton’s campaign.Below is the opening statement that Cohen submitted to the committee before his hearing. Hacking WikiLeaks Donald Trump 9 4:39 Comments Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, is set to publicly testify to Congress Wednesday. Getty Images President Donald Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen testified that his boss had been aware of an adviser’s communications with WikiLeaks ahead of the release of damaging information about opponent Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016.In prepared testimony posted to the House Oversight and Reform Committee’s website, Cohen said that Roger Stone, Trump’s now-indicted adviser, had told the president about his communications with Julian Assange, the editor of WikiLeaks. Cohen is testifying publicly on Capitol Hill Wednesday. The hearing is being streamed live on CBS News. Politics Tech Industry Cohen says Trump knew about WikiLeaks’ dump
Barack ObamaOutgoing US president Barack Obama in an interview to CBS on “60 Minutes” programme said that he doesn’t think Donald Trump’s “improvisational” campaign style will work well at the White House level, and warned Americans to not “underestimate the guy”.Obama, in his final interview as the US president, said on Sunday that he told Trump, and would advise Republicans in Congress and voters, “just to make sure that as we go forward, certain norms, certain institutional traditions don’t get eroded, because there’s a reason they’re in place.”“It had been an ‘unusual’ transition,” said Obama, adding, “I suspect the President-elect would agree with that”. Obama said that Trump is in the process of building up an organisation that will support his presidency.“We’ll have to see how that works,” Obama told “60 Minutes” Steve Kroft. “It will be a test, I think, for him and the people he’s designated to be able to execute on his vision.”“We are moving into an era where a lot of people get their information through tweets and soundbites… There’s a power in that. There’s also a danger—what generates a headline or stirs up a controversy and gets attention isn’t the same as the process required to actually solve the problem,” Obama said.The outgoing President said “thick skin” and “stamina” are important qualities to have when serving as the Commander-in-Chief, adding that he believes he is the same person today as he was at the beginning of his tenure.Obama said “thick skin helps” in getting the complex presidential job done. He also recommended that a US President has to be physically strong enough and must not get distracted by critics in the government and the media.“I think your ability to—not just mentally and emotionally but physically be able to say, ‘We got this. We’re going to be okay’,” is important, said Obama.Obama also said that he is proud that his basic character and outlook did not change during his tenure. “…People who are closest to me will tell you that—the guy who came here is the same guy who’s leaving,” he said of himself.Obama also said he had been “disturbed” about intelligence reports over Russia hacking the US election.“I have been concerned about the degree to which, in some circles, you’ve seen people suggest that Vladimir Putin has more credibility than the US government,” Obama said.“I think that’s something new, and I think it’s a measure of how the partisan divide has gotten so severe that people forget that we’re on the same team,” he said.Reflecting on his own presidency, Obama said while he was effective “in shaping public opinion” around his two successful presidential bids, he “lost the PR battle” in building support around some of his administration’s policy initiatives.“There were big stretches, while governing, where even though we were doing the right thing, we weren’t able to mobilize public opinion firmly enough behind us to weaken the resolve of the Republicans to stop opposing us or to cooperate with us,” Obama said.
Kolkata: The convoy of West Bengal BJP chief and Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was attacked in East Midnapore district’s Khejuri Tuesday evening, police said. While the BJP held the Trinamool Congress responsible for the incident, the ruling party in West Bengal rubbished the allegation claiming the attack could have been perpetrated by “CPI(M)-sheltered anti-socials”. Superintendent of Police V Solomon Nesakumar told PTI that neither Ghosh nor Sarma was injured but two vehicles were damaged because of stones thrown at the convoy. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: Mamata No official complaint was lodged but four people were detained in connection with the incident, he said. The incident occurred around 6.30 pm when the two BJP leaders were on their way to Khejuri under Kanthi Lok Sabha constituency to canvass for party candidate Debasish Samanta. “Ghosh was in Nandigram. He and Sarma were on their way to Khejuri when the attack happened. We have detained four people and investigating the incident,” Solomon said. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in state After the incident, the BJP West Bengal chief said, “The attack on us shows clearly that there is no law and order and democracy in the state.” Sarma tweeted, “TMC goons have blocked the roads on both sides, even as West Bengal Police personnel standing like mute spectator. I am appalled at such brazen abuse of power by Mamata Banerjee whose people have thrown all democratic norms to gutter. Is this the new India that we dream of?” When contacted, West Bengal Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Firhad Hakim rubbished the allegation. “Our party workers are quite disciplined and they have no role in this… It could be by anti-socials given shelter by the CPI(M),” he said.
Get the biggest Daily stories by emailSubscribeSee our privacy noticeThank you for subscribingSee our privacy noticeCould not subscribe, try again laterInvalid EmailA major North Staffordshire road will continue to be closed overnight for the next two evenings as roadworks continue. The A34 Stone Road will be shut in both directions between the A5035 Longton Road (Trentham Roundabout/Trentham) and the A51 (Dalraston Island/Meaford). The road is shut between 9pm and 5am on Thursday night (May 31) and Friday night (June 1), according to traffic data company INRIX, having previously been closed on Wednesday night. Staffordshire County Council are carrying out the works on the road. A Stoke-on-Trent City Council spokesman said motorists should factor the closure into their travel plans. He said: “Work is ongoing on the A34, Stone Road, at Meaford & the roundabout at Strongford. The road will be closed in both directions between points A and B (Image: Inrix) “Although this is not city council work, it is having an impact on our roads & your journey may take longer. “The road will be closed overnight tonight and tomorrow from its junction with the A5035 (Longton Road) to Meaford to allow these works to take place safely. “Diversion routes will be signed.” Read MoreFirst class! Post Office will deliver a new branch in town centre after community has been left without a facility for months Want to keep up to date with the latest traffic and travel news?Each day Stoke-on-Trent Live journalists bring you the latest news on the roads and railways across Stoke-on-Trent, North Staffordshire, South Cheshire and further afield to help keep you on the move. For the very latest updates on roads including the M6, A500, A50 and more, visit our dedicated traffic and travel news channel here. We also run a live news feed each weekday, which you can access on our website’s homepage from 7am to 9pm from Monday to Friday. And for more as-we-get-it updates on the roads across the region and beyond, join The Sentinel’s traffic and travel Facebook group here.