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FBI raids Trump’s private lawyer Michael Cohen’s office

Gorkha Post

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Security outside offices of US President Donald Tump's lawyer Michael Cohen, New York, US. Reuters photo

WASHINGTON — FBI agents have raided the home and office of US President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, seizing business records that reportedly include details of payments to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, claims to have had an affair with Trump a decade ago, and was paid $130,000 in the weeks before the 2016 election to keep quiet about it.

Asked about the payment and the reported non-disclosure agreement Daniels had signed (but Trump had not), the president said he had no knowledge of it.

Federal prosecutors in New York are investigating Cohen for possible bank fraud over the payment, according to The New York Times.

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The search warrants were executed by the office of the US Attorney for Southern District of New York but they were ‘in part’ related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

“The decision by the US Attorney’s Office in New York to conduct their investigation using search warrants is completely inappropriate and unnecessary,” Mr Mr Cohen’s lawyer Stephen Ryan said in a statement.

“It resulted in the unnecessary seizure of protected attorney-client communications between a lawyer and his clients.”

Mr Ryan did not elaborate further on the contents taken, but a source said the FBI seized emails, tax documents and business records, The New York Times reported.

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China conduct live fire drill along southeast coastline

Thompson Reuters

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BEIJING — China’s military has conducted live-fire drills along the southeast coastline, state television reported, but it was unclear if these were the same exercises that had been flagged as taking place in the sensitive Taiwan Strait.

The government had said the drills would happen on Wednesday off the city of Quanzhou, in between two groups of islands close to China’s coast but that Taiwan has controlled since 1949 when defeated Nationalist forces fled to the island at the end of the Chinese civil war.

Chinese state media has said the drills were a direct response to “provocations” by Taiwan leaders related to what China fears are moves to push for the self-ruled island’s formal independence. China claims Taiwan as its sacred territory.

Late on Wednesday, Chinese state television showed footage of helicopters firing missiles during an exercise it said was happening on China’s southeast coast.

State television only showed pictures of helicopters, with no mention of ships or other military equipment such as tanks or amphibious assault vehicles.

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The exercises took place from 8 a.m. (0000GMT) until midnight, the report said, giving the same time frame for the previously announced drills in the Taiwan Strait.

The Defence Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the exercise, and whether it was the same ones previously reported to be happening in the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan on Wednesday denounced the exercises, saying Beijing was using “cheap verbal intimidation and saber rattling” to threaten the island.

Taiwan is one of China’s most sensitive issues and a potential military flashpoint. China has ramped up military exercises around Taiwan in the past year, including flying bombers around the island.

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said on Wednesday afternoon two Chinese H-6K bombers had flown around the island, passing first through the Miyako Strait to Taiwan’s northeast and then back to base via the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines.

The latest Chinese military movements come during a time of heightened tension between Beijing and the island and follows strong warnings by Chinese President Xi Jinping against Taiwan separatism last month.

China claims Taiwan as its own and considers it a breakaway province.

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