News Wrap: Cohen lawyer defends denials over presidential pardon

News Wrap: Cohen lawyer defends denials over presidential pardon

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JUDY WOODRUFF: Our second major headline tonight
involves Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chair. A federal judge in Washington sentenced him
today to 3.5 years for crimes related to foreign lobbying and witness tampering. He already received just under four years
prison time in a separate case. At the White House, the president was asked
about a possible pardon. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
I have not even given it a thought as of this moment. It’s not something that is right now in my
mind. I do feel badly for Paul Manafort. That, I can tell you. JUDY WOODRUFF: Shortly after today’s sentencing,
the Manhattan district attorney brought new New York state charges of mortgage fraud and
other crimes against Manafort. William Brangham will have details on all
of this after the news summary. In the day’s other news: A lawyer for President
Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen defended Cohen’s denials that he sought a
presidential pardon. It came in a letter to Congressman Elijah
Cummings, chair of the House Oversight Committee. The letter said that — quote — “At no time
did Mr. Cohen personally ask President Trump for a pardon, as the president has claimed.” The lawyer did acknowledge that Cohen sought
to explore a possible pardon, before he broke with the president last June. Separately, members of Congress report that
former acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker told them today that the president called
them while he was in office to discuss the Cohen case and federal investigations into
Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump warned Republican senators today
not to oppose his national emergency related to the southern border. He also nixed a GOP proposal to limit future
emergencies. It was aimed at staving off a defeat for the
president tomorrow, when the Senate votes on blocking his emergency declaration. The House already passed it, but the president
has threatened a veto. California’s Governor Gavin Newsom has imposed
a moratorium on executions in the state. His action today means a reprieve, for now,
for 737 inmates on the nation’s largest death row. Newsom is a newly-elected Democrat and a longtime
foe of capital punishment. GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D), California: It’s not the
question, the death penalty, of whether or not people deserve to die for their heinous
acts. The question really is, do we have the right
to kill? Do we have the right to kill? That’s a deep, an existential question. I don’t believe we do. JUDY WOODRUFF: Newsom denied that he is defying
his state’s voters. In 2016, Californians narrowly supported a
ballot measure that called for speeding up the execution process. In Nigeria, a three-story building that included
a primary school collapsed in Lagos today with up to 100 children inside. There were conflicting reports of deaths,
but dozens were rescued. Crews desperately combed the mangled wreckage
all day, looking for signs of life. There was no immediate word on what caused
the collapse. In Brazil, two gunmen attacked a school today,
killing two teachers and six students before taking their own lives. It happened outside Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest
city. The school housed elementary to high school
grades. Police said the attackers, who were in their
early 20s, used guns, knives and crossbows. There was no indication of what their motive
was. The British Parliament has rejected a no-deal
Brexit, with 16 days left until the deadline for leaving the European Union. The vote came a day after lawmakers had turned
down Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed deal for a second time. Afterwards, she addressed the House of Commons
with a voice hoarse From strain. THERESA MAY, British Prime Minister: The legal
default in U.K. and E.U. law remains that the U.K. will leave the E.U. without a deal
unless — unless — unless something else is agreed. The onus is now on every one of us in this
House to find out what that is. JUDY WOODRUFF: Parliament plans to vote tomorrow
on whether to ask the E.U. for more time. A judge in Australia today sentenced Cardinal
George Pell to six years in prison for sexually molesting two choir boys in the 1990s. He is the highest-ranking Roman Catholic official
convicted of child sex abuse in that long-running scandal. Pell is now 77 years old, and is appealing
his conviction. A newly released U.N. report urgently warned
that environmental ills are killing millions of people every year and getting worse. The report cites climate change, a surging
human population and degraded land and air. And it says natural resource use more than
tripled in the past 50 years. The report urges a transition to clean energy
and greater waste reduction. Back in this country, the Pentagon has approved
new limits on transgender troops. The policy largely bars troops and new recruits
from transitioning to another gender. It also says that most must serve in their
birth gender. President Trump initially ordered an outright
ban on transgender troops. And on Wall Street, technology and health
care sectors pushed the market higher. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 148
points to close at 25703. The Nasdaq rose 52, and the S&P 500 added
19. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: more prison
time for the president’s former campaign chairman; a new push for peace in America’s longest
war; why regulations continue to fail to limit the dangers of asbestos; and much more.

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