Friday morning news: November 30, 2018


President Trump’s former lawyer pleads guilty to lying to Congress » AUDIO: Mr. Cohen, how are you feeling? 

President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen exited a courthouse in New York Thursday after pleading guilty to lying to Congress last year.

His plea centers on his testimony about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during the 2016 presidential election. Cohen admitted to misleading the Senate Intelligence Committee to believe that work on the project ended before the Iowa caucuses. It actually continued until the end of June that year.

In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to federal charges related to campaign finance violations. He later met for interviews with investigators with special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.  

President Trump told reporters Thursday that Cohen is a “weak person” who is lying to get a lighter sentence.


Trump cancels meeting with Putin amid Russia-Ukraine dispute » President Trump on Thursday called off a planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. WORLD Radio’s Leigh Jones reports.

LEIGH JONES, NEWS EDITOR: The two leaders were slated to meet over the weekend on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires. But President Trump in cancelling the meeting cited a dispute between Russia and Ukraine. He tweeted, “Based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia, I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel…” He added “I look forward to a meaningful summit again as soon as this situation is resolved!”

The Russian coast guard shot at and seized three Ukrainian vessels Sunday in the Kerch Strait.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Leigh Jones.


Senate defies the Trump administration with Saudi rebuke » The U.S. Senate defied the Trump administration this week, voting to move ahead with a resolution demanding the U.S. withdraw support for the Saudi-led war on rebels in Yemen. Lawmakers approved the measure 63-to-37 despite an in-person appeal on Wednesday from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis.

Lawmakers wanted to send a strong message to Saudi Arabia in the wake of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder. The secretaries argued there’s no proof that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing, as Turkish investigators claim. Mattis insisted…

MATTIS: We have no smoking gun that the crown prince was involved, not the intelligence community or anyone else. 

But lawmakers were quick to note that the intelligence community was not represented in the secretaries’ meeting with lawmakers. Numerous senators are demanding to hear from CIA Director Gina Haspel on the matter.

The CIA has reportedly sided with Turkey in concluding that the Saudi crown prince was likely behind Khashoggi’s murder.

The Senate vote sets up a floor debate on the resolution next week. 


China orders researcher to halt gene editing experiments » China has ordered a university researcher to stop his controversial gene editing experiments. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin reports.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: He Jiankui, an associate professor at a university in Shenzhen announced this week that he altered the DNA of embryos resulting in the birth of twin girls earlier this month. He also announced another potential pregnancy with an altered embryo.

China on Thursday ordered Jiankui to halt his gene editing work and launched an investigation into the matter. A government official called the experiments “illegal and unacceptable.”

Jiankui said in a statement that he will—quote—“cooperate fully with all inquiries about my work.” He added, “My raw data will be made available for third-party review.”

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.


Speaker Ryan says farewell » House Speaker Paul Ryan thanked his staff and supporters on Thursday in a farewell address on the House floor. Ryan announced back in April that he would retire from Congress at year’s end.

He later told The Washington Post he’s proud of what the House has accomplished over the past three years, including tax reform. But he named the chamber’s inability to come together on immigration and the national debt as his biggest regrets.

He also opened up about his reluctance to take the job, being thrust into the role after Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy bowed out at the last minute.

RYAN: I really didn’t want to do that job. I loved—I always wanted to be the Ways and Means chair. That’s why I never ran for the Senate. I loved where I was. I’m not a hyper-ambitious guy. I really actually am not, and I just wanted to go to Ways and Means. 

But he said that allowed him take the job on his own terms, not beholden to any particular factions within the party.

And that, he said, is a luxury his successor, Nancy Pelosi, may not have.


(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) Michael Cohen walks out of federal court, Thursday, 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.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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