Robert Levinson’s family announced the sad news in a statement today. Mr Levinson disappeared in Iran 13 years ago from the island of Kish off Iran’s southern coast.
He was the longest-held hostage in US history.
But Trump has disputed the claims that Mr Levinson is dead, in an unexpected turn of events.
On Wednesday at the White House, he said: “I’ve been very much involved in that and he was a great gentleman and a great family.
“It’s not looking good, he wasn’t well for years in Iran, it’s not looking promising.”
The president added: “But Robert Levinson, who was outstanding, has been sick for a long time.
“He had some rough problems prior to his detainment or capture.
“It’s not looking great, but I won’t accept that he’s dead.
“They haven’t told us he’s dead.”
JUST IN: Coronavirus USA: Iran accuses US of making special version of COVID19
Trump had in November tweeted calling for Iran to release Levinson.
The plea, however, fell on deaf ears.
The reason for his being in Kish is disputed.
His family say he was working on behalf of an unauthorised CIA mission.
Iran horror: Prisoners in jail holding Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe dying [LATEST] Iran on brink of nuclear weapons as MP demands MAJOR sanctions [UPDATE] Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe released as 85,000 prisoners freed in Iran[ANALYSIS]
They say he had been working in Kish as a private investigator looking at cigarette counterfeiting in the region.
He retired from the FBI in 1998.
Other reports suggest he was working for the CIA to recruit an Iranian spy.
US officials suspected he was kidnapped by Iranian intelligent forces to be used as a bargaining chip in dealings with Washington.
In a statement on Wednesday, Mr Levinson’s family said they had received information from US officials that had led them to conclude he had died in Iranian custody.
They said: “It is impossible to describe our pain.
“Our family will spend the rest of our lives without the most amazing man we have ever known, a new reality that is inconceivable to us.
“His grandchildren will never meet him. They will only know him through the stories we tell them.
“If not for the cruel, heartless actions of the Iranian regime, Robert Levinson would be alive and home with us today.”
Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency and the death toll from coronavirus has exceeded 5,000.
With UK set to stop mass gatherings and the Premier League season already suspended, coronavirus is the word on everyone's lips
There are 68,999 active cases with 5,990 of these reported to be in a serious or critical condition – and 63,009 in a mild condition. The total death toll today sits at 5,416.
As fears over the coronavirus pandemic spread, there’s one question that comes up again and again – how bad is it really?
The severity of symptoms can vary dramatically, from a mild sniffle to a hellish feeling of suffocation.
Here eight people from around the world tell the Mirror what it really feels like to have the virus that is sweeping the globe…
Carl Goldman, 67
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Coronavirus 'infects newborn British baby' – in world's youngest ever case
Carl Goldman, from Santa Clarita in California, was on the Diamond Princess cruise ship and later tested positive for coronavirus. He said the virus “hasn’t been that bad”.
He developed a fever and “a bit of a cough” during his flight back to America and was quarantined on his return.
He said: “The sickest I’ve ever been was when I had bronchitis several years ago. This has been much easier – no chills, no body aches. I breathe easily and I don’t have a stuffy nose.
“My chest feels tight and I have coughing spells. If I were at home with similar symptoms, I probably would have gone to work as usual.”
After having the illness for one month, Carl now has no symptoms, but is still testing positive.
He said: “I have to be tested three days in a row of being negative in order to be released. I will not have this virus for ever. I am just a slow shredder.”
Jaimuay Sae-ung, 73
Coronavirus: Donald Trump considers UK travel ban – as Barcelona on total lockdown
Jaimuay Sae-ung was the first Thai national to contract coronavirus, becoming ill in December.
She experienced a fever and a bad cough, then developed pneumonia while in quarantine.
Jaimuay said: “I only knew (I had coronavirus) after I came to the hospital. I felt a bit sad, a bit shocked, tired and fatigued and I couldn’t eat.”
After 10 days, Jaimuay’s condition had improved and she was eventually discharged following two negative test results.
Connor Reed, 25
Experimental coronavirus drug brings woman 'back from brink of death'
Connor Reed, originally from Llandudno, North Wales, had been teaching English in Wuhan, China when he began to experience “just a sniffle” on November 25.
Seven days later he began to feel much worse. In a diary, Connor, 25, wrote: “This is no longer just a cold. I ache all over, my head is thumping, my throat is constricted.
Two days later his breathing had become “laboured”, and said that going to the loo “leaves me panting”.
By December 6, he felt like he was “suffocating”.
He got a taxi to Zhongnan University Hospital as he knew there would be British doctors. He was tested and given antibiotics.
By Day 21 he ached “as if I’ve been run over by a steamroller”. He wrote: “My eardrums feel ready to pop.”
But, by Day 24 – just before Christmas – he was better.
Liz Schnedier, 37
Liz caught coronavirus after attending a house party in Seattle where no one was coughing or sneezing but 40% of guests became sick within the next three days.
In an Instagram post on Monday, she described her symptoms: “Headache, fever, severe body aches and joint pain, and severe fatigue.
“I had a fever that spiked the first night to 103 degrees and eventually came down to 100. I felt nauseous one day. Once the fever is gone some were left with nasal congestion, sore throat. Total duration of illness was 10-16 days.
“I was not hospitalised. I didn’t even go to the doctor because I was recovering on my own and felt it was just a nasty flu strain different from the ones I have been protected from with this season’s flu vaccine.”
Bridget Wilkins, 29
Bridget flew to Australia via Singapore for a friend’s wedding last week.
She is now quarantined in a hospital in Brisbane after testing positive for Covid-19.
She had suffered a headache, a sore throat and fatigue – all of which were symptoms she mistook for jetlag.
Bridget, from London, said: “I think we have to calm down, because for most people, like myself, it is just a long cold that we can shake off.”
David and Sally Abel, 73
David and Sally Abel were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary when they contracted Covid-19 on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, quarantined in Japan.
David, from Woodford Halse in Northamptonshire, said: “Outside the hospital I came over a bit weird and nearly passed out. Every pore on my body opened and I was wheelchaired to our room.”
They were both later diagnosed with pneumonia as well as coronavirus.
Sally has since been given the all clear. But David tested negative twice and positive once, so he cannot leave yet.
Andrew O’Dwyer claims to have suffered more with flu than he has after being diagnosed with coronavirus.
The father-of-one caught Covid-19 after a ski trip in Italy last month and he said that despite having type 1 diabetes, the virus “isn’t anything to worry about for me personally”.
The cough he developed was “quite debilitating” and he has had a high temperature.
Marc Thibault, 48
Teacher Marc, from Rhode Island, in the US, led a school field trip to Italy, France and Spain last month and was admitted to hospital on February 27, five days after he returned home.
A week later he was diagnosed with coronavirus.
He said the illness had hit him “like a hurricane”.
Marc, a school vice principal, said: “You feel like you’re asphyxiating, and you’re panicking because you can’t breathe.
He added that he felt “one inch from death” and remains in intensive care.
He had been under the weather before the trip, but when the group returned on February 22 he felt run down and had stayed off work.
Donald Trump has declared a national emergency over the coronavirus outbreak.
Trump has earmarked $50billion in federal cash to help states fight the disease.
He is asking hospitals to activate their emergency plans for health care providers.
Trump said he was declaring the national emergency in order to "unleash the full power of the federal government."
The order will give authority to the US Health Secretary to waive laws and regulations to provide healthcare operators with more flexibility.
During his press conference this afternoon, he urged Americans to only get tested for the disease if they need to.
Google will develop a website to help people decide whether they should get tested, Trump added.
He pledged up to 500,000 additional coronavirus tests to be introduced early next week.
Speaking at today's press conference, Trump said: ""To unleash the full power of the federal government to this effort today, I am officially declaring a national emergency – two very big words."
Pressure has been mounting for Trump to declare an infectious disease emergency under the 1988 law that would allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide disaster funds to state and local governments and to deploy support teams.
Trump had faced criticism from some experts for being slow and ineffective in his response to the crisis and downplaying the threat.
Former President Bill Clinton in 2000 declared such an emergency for West Nile virus.
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SYDNEY (BLOOMBERG) – A combination of President Donald Trump’s unprecedented travel ban between the US and Europe and underwhelming stimulus measures sparked a fresh exodus from risk assets in global financial markets on Thursday (March 12).
Trump in an address on Wednesday night in Washington, announced the US would significantly restrict travel from Europe to the US for the next 30 days.
The government will also give individuals and small and mid-sized businesses a three-month tax holiday to try to fight the economic impact of the coronavirus, and give affected companies US$50 billion (S$69.8 billion) more in low-interest loans, Trump said.
The rush to gauge the impact on the global economy and corporate earnings, a sense of disappointment at the lack of detail in the US stimulus package and an impression that Washington has fallen behind the curve in its coronavirus response occupied the minds of market participants.
Here is a sample of their views:
Stephen Innes, global chief markets strategist at AxiCorp
“By criticizing Europe and not announcing stricter domestic travel measures in the US, President Trump is treating Covid-19 as a European and Asian problem. Clearly, the market doesn’t like this.” Announcing stricter containment efforts in the US could have cushioned the sell-off, he said.
“Now the ‘no endgame in sight’ risk-off trade takes over as traders are hammering the sell button now thinking the US government has fallen well behind the curve in its Covid-19 response.”
Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone Group in Melbourne:
“Trump’s measures are so lightweight compared to what we’ve seen in countries like the UK – we need Trump to be a general here, and markets needed to see something bi-partisan.”
“They want measures that will go through Congress and get done within days, not after the November election. Investors will not hesitate to show what they think to the Federal Reserve and governments over the next few sessions.”
ROLLING THEIR EYES
Robert Carnell, chief economist for Asia Pacific at ING Groep in Singapore:
“Trump’s hands are tied, he can’t come up with any meaningful spending on the virus without Congressional support, and that is difficult to achieve with the current political backdrop.”
“The deferment of tax payments does help the cash flow for firms, and isn’t meaningless, but I think markets will be looking at the claim that this is ‘This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history,’ and rolling their eyes.”
“The travel ban for Europe will have economic consequences, both in Europe and the US, and it may help to lower the eventual peak of the virus in the US That is a highly debatable premise though without the widespread testing for the virus in the US”
Mark Matthews, head of Asia research of Swiss wealth firm Bank Julius Baer & Co. in Singapore:
“So I guess my question is – what everybody wants to know is — how much will earnings be down? And, nobody can answer that question because we don’t know how bad the coronavirus is going to get and we don’t know how severe government reactions will be to it.
“But clearly things like shutting down travel between US and Europe has an impact on the economy, and consumer and business sentiment, so the consensus for global growth this year, which is 8 per cent. It’s not going to be that, it’s going to be negative. But, will it be -2 per cent? -3 per cent? -10 per cent? What’s it going to be? So that’s why markets are so volatile.”
Shaun Roache, S&P’s Asia-Pacific chief economist in Singapore:
“Markets had hoped Trump would provide the circuit breaker to this vicious cycle we’ve seen in markets – but he just didn’t deliver.”
“If you’re a country that’s going to do a big fiscal stimulus, but the biggest economy in the world isn’t, what might happen is that your currency appreciates against the dollar. In this sense, we need to see a globally coordinated response.”
“The danger is risk premiums continuing to rise and the economic downturn will be more severe than thought if the US doesn’t give more concrete details.”
NO OUTSTANDING FEATURE
Jun Kato, chief market analyst at Shinkin Asset Management in Tokyo:
“Markets reacted initially by selling on the fact as details were pretty much within expectations but lacked an outstanding feature. It’s a disappointment reaction.”
Ben Emons, a managing director at Medley Global Advisors:
“What is missing is the certainty of a payroll tax cut, payroll tax holiday near-term,” he said. “I think that is what the market wants to see because such measures keep the economy afloat as the outbreak intensifies.”
Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG Asia:
“The key element of payroll tax relief remains missing at present and looks to be a difficult one to come by rendering the need for President Trump to make the call for a unified decision to implement it. Broadly, however, the suggestions of capital and liquidity provision for small businesses had perhaps been widely expected.”
“Dollar-yen can be seen continuing the slide past the 104 level, no surprise as risk aversion interest gathers with the travel ban announced, which is also expected to carry with it economic implications on both sides.”
Boris Johnson has been warned by union chiefs not to “cosy up” to Donald Trump during US trade talks.
They urged him to concentrate on striking a deal with the European Union – the UK’s biggest trading partner.
Negotiations begin in Brussels today with the two sides on collision course over key issues including business competition, workers’ rights and the courts.
Downing Street has confirmed that talks with the United States will begin later this month – potentially putting a deal with the EU at risk.
The Prime Minister, who set out his mandate for negotiations with the US last night, is under pressure to block them from getting access to the NHS or demanding lower food standards or workers’ rights.
In particular, ministers have faced demands to rule out American pharma firms getting access to the NHS’s drugs supply, massively hiking prices.
They also face calls to prevent chlorinated chicken and hormone-treated beef being imported from the US in any deal, with animal welfare and environmental concerns raised.
Mr Johnson said: “We have the best negotiators in the business and of course, we’re going to drive a hard bargain to boost British industry.”
Downing Street added that the Government would “rigorously protect” the NHS.
But ministers could struggle to reassure that important areas such as the NHS, food safety standards, data privacy and workers’ rights will not be put at risk from a multi-billion pound agreement.
Union chiefs claimed that President Trump’s only aim was to “line the pockets” of his corporate backers.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The Government should be focused on getting a good trade deal with the EU – not cosying up to Donald Trump.
“President Trump doesn’t care about the UK. The only trade agreement he wants to strike is one that will line the pockets of his corporate backers.
“ Boris Johnson is wrong to rush into these talks. A bad trade deal with the US will put working people’s jobs and rights on the line. And it will undermine our vital public services, environment and food standards.”
No 10 published analysis showing the UK economy could benefit from a £3.4bn boost, as the trade deal could increase transatlantic trade flows by £15.3bn.
In 2018, UK exports to the EU were £291bn (45% of the total), while imports were £357bn (53% of the total).
The US was the UK’s single bilateral trading partner, exporting £121bn of goods and services to the US in 2018, 19% of total exports.
Otto Warmbier’s family blasts Kim Jong Un after Trump praises North Korean leader during this week’s summit in Vietnam.
The parents of an American college student who died following months of detention in North Korea rebuked US President Donald Trump on Friday, saying Kim Jong Un “and his evil regime” are responsible for their son’s death.
Trump drew criticism during this week’s Trump-Kim summit in Vietnam after he praised Kim and said he accepted his claims that he was not aware of how Otto was treated in detention.
“He tells me that he didn’t know about it, and I will take him at his word,” Trump told reporters this week. He also praised Kim’s leadership.
Fred and Cindy Warmbier, Otto’s parents, pushed back in a statement on Friday, saying they had remained silent earlier this week while Trump and Kim met in Vietnam.
“Now we must speak out,” they said. “Kim and his evil regime are responsible for the death of our son Otto,” they added in a statement released by their lawyer.
“Kim and his evil regime are responsible for unimaginable cruelty and inhumanity. No excuses or lavish praise can change that.”
Signs of torture
Warmbier, 22, was astudent at the University of Virginia when he visited North Korea with a tour group. During his trip, he was arrested and sentenced to 15 years of hard labour in March 2016 on suspicion of stealing a propaganda poster.
He died less than a year later on June 19, 2017, shortly after he returned to the US in a coma and showing apparent signs of torture while in custody.
The North claimed Warmbier fell into a coma soon after he was sentenced, saying he had contracted botulism and been given a sleeping pill.
However, medical tests carried out in the US offered no conclusive evidence as to the cause of his neurological injuries, and no evidence of a prior botulism infection.
Warmbier’s doctors said he had suffered extensive tissue loss in all regions of his brain, but showed no signs of physical trauma.
They said Warmbier’s severe brain injury was most likely – given his young age – caused by cardiopulmonary arrest cutting the blood supply to the brain.
‘We can’t be naive about what they did’
Prominent Republicans did not share Trump’s acceptance of Kim’s word, including US Senator Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally who said he didn’t “buy it for a minute”, and US Senator Rob Portman from Warmbier’s home state of Ohio.
“We can’t be naive about what they did to Otto and about the brutal nature of the regime,” Portman said in a Thursday speech on the Senate floor.
“It’s not just about Otto or other visitors, it’s about how the people of North Korea are treated.”
On Friday, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway told Fox News that Trump blames North Korea but not Kim.
“The president agrees with the Warmbier family and holds North Korea responsible for Otto Warmbier’s death,” Conway said.
“What he said was that Chairman Kim says, what he believes Chairman Kim to have said, was that he was not aware of what had happened to Otto Warmbier when it happened,” she added.
Though the longest jail term to date in Robert Mueller’s probe, it could have been much worse for Paul Manafort.
US President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison for tax and bank fraud related to his work advising Ukrainian politicians, much less than what was called for under sentencing guidelines.
Paul Manafort, sitting in a wheelchair as he deals with complications from gout, had no visible reaction on Thursday as he heard the 47-month prison sentence.
While that was the longest to date to come from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, it could have been much worse for Manafort. Sentencing guidelines called for a 20-year-term, effectively a life sentence for the 69-year-old.
Manafort still faces the possibility of additional time from his sentencing in a separate case in the District of Columbia, where he pleaded guilty to charges related to illegal lobbying.
Before Judge TS Ellis III imposed the sentence, Manafort told him that “saying I feel humiliated and ashamed would be a gross understatement”. But he offered no explicit apology, something Ellis noted before issuing his sentence.
Manafort steered Trump’s election efforts during crucial months of the 2016 campaign as Russia allegedly sought to meddle in the election through hacking of Democratic email accounts. He was among the first Trump associates charged in the Mueller investigation and has been a high-profile defendant.
But the charges against Manafort were unrelated to his work on the campaign or the focus of Mueller’s investigation: whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russians.
A jury last year convicted Manafort on eight counts, concluding that he hid from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) millions of dollars he earned from his work in Ukraine.
Manafort’s lawyers argued their client had engaged in what amounted to a routine tax evasion case, and cited numerous past sentences in which defendants had hidden millions from the IRS and served less than a year in prison.
‘Absolutely no evidence’
Prosecutors said Manafort’s conduct was egregious, but Ellis ultimately agreed more with defence attorneys. “These guidelines are quite high,” Ellis said.
Neither prosecutors nor defence attorneys had requested a particular sentence length in their sentencing memoranda, but prosecutors had urged a “significant” sentence.
Outside the court, Manafort’s lawyer, Kevin Downing, said his client accepted responsibility for his conduct “and there was absolutely no evidence that Mr Manafort was involved in any collusion with the government of Russia.”
Prosecutors left the court without making any comment.
Though Manafort hasn’t faced charges related to collusion, he has been seen as one of the most pivotal figures in the Mueller investigation.
Prosecutors, for instance, have scrutinised his relationship with Konstantin Kilimnik, a business associate US authorities say is tied to Russian intelligence, and have described a furtive meeting the men had in August 2016 as cutting to the heart of the investigation.
Defence lawyers had argued that Manafort would never have been charged if it were not for Mueller’s probe. At the outset of the trial, even Ellis agreed with that assessment, suggesting Manafort was being prosecuted only to pressure him to “sing” against Trump.
Prosecutors said the Manafort investigation preceded Mueller’s appointment.
Bruce Fein, a former justice department official, called Thursday’s prison sentence “exceptionally lenient”.
“The judge has a reputation for disliking special counsels. He thinks they target people and then look for crimes, rather than the other way around,” Fein told Al Jazeera.
“I think you could detect some of his disdain for some of the prosecution itself, where he would interject comments suggesting that he didn’t think certain things had anything to do with Russian collusion – why was the special counsel going after Mr Manafort for things unrelated to Russian collusion.”
Will conflicts of interest drag down Donald Trump?
Announcement of possible deal comes as Trump heads to El Paso to make case for a border wall that Democrats oppose.
Negotiators in the US Congress say they have reached an “agreement in principle” to fund the government and avoid another partial government shutdown.
The emerging agreement was announced late on Monday by a group of politicians, including Republican Senator Richard Shelby and Democratic Congresswoman Nita Lowey, after a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Shelby did not give an outline of the deal but said staff members would work out the details.
Negotiators scrambled on Monday afternoon to save the talks after they fell apart over the weekend due to disagreements over immigrant detention beds and physical barriers along the US-Mexico border.
US President Donald Trump’s December demand for $5.7bn to help construct a border wall triggered the 35-day partial government shutdown that ended last month. It was the longest government closure of its kind in US history.
Trump agreed to reopen the government for three weeks to allow congressional negotiators time to find a compromise on government funding for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends on September 30.
Meanwhile, on Monday night, Trump held a campaign-style rally in the border city of El Paso, Texas.
Trump has repeatedly pointed to El Paso to make his case that a border wall was necessary, claiming that barriers turned the city from one of the nation’s most dangerous to one of its safest. The claim comes despite statistics showing El Paso had a murder rate of less than half the national average in 2005, a year before the most recent expansion of its border fence.
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report shows that El Paso’s annual number of reported violent crimes dropped from nearly 5,000 in 1995 to around 2,700 in 2016. But that corresponded with similar declines in violent crime nationwide and included periods when the city’s crime rates increased year over year, despite new fencing and walls.
The Trump campaign released a video showing El Paso residents saying the wall helped reduce crime. But many in the city have bristled at the prospect of becoming a border wall poster child.
But the Republican president was also greeted by thousands of anti-wall protesters.
Al Jazeera’s Rob Reynolds, reporting from El Paso, said many of the anti-wall protesters “felt insulted that the president pictured the city as a community rife with crime, drugs, human trafficking and a very unsafe place in his State of the Union speech last week and said that’s false.”
Leading the protesters was hometown Democrat Beto O’Rourke, a former congressman who in November lost a close election for a US Senate seat in Texas to Republican Ted Cruz. He is now considering seeking his party’s 2020 presidential nomination.
Since taking office in January 2017, Trump has sought to crack down on immigration.
Trump made a border wall one of his central campaign promises in 2016, saying it was needed to curb irregular immigration, drug trafficking and other crimes.
Democrats, who took control of the House last month from Trump’s fellow Republicans, oppose a wall, calling it ineffective, expensive and immoral.
House Oversight Committee chair says there’s a ‘good chance’ the panel may call on those mentioned in Cohen’s testimony.
Washington, DC – US Representative Elijah Cummings, the Democrat chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said there’s a “good chance”, the panel would call on individuals Michael Cohen, US President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, mentioned during his testimony on Wednesday.
If they were named by Cohen, “they have a good chance of hearing from us”, Cummings told reporters on Thursday, adding decisions had yet to be made by the Democrat leadership whether individuals would be called, and if that was to be for private interviews or public hearings.
This could include Trump’s son, Donald Jr, as well as former Trump CFO Allen Weissleberg.
“This weekend I will be studying the transcripts, but we have now got a number of avenues we will be going down,” Cummings said. “We learned some new information yesterday, which I am not going to talk about right now. But I want to carefully study the transcripts and we are probably going to be doing some interviews of some folks.”
Cohen gave an explosive testimony before the House committee on Wednesday, labelling Trump a “racist”, “con man” and “cheat”.
He named Weisselberg as a key player in the scheme to payoff adult film star Stormy Daniels and presented the committee with a repayment cheque signed by Donald Jr and Weisselberg.
“If there were names that were mentioned or records that were mentioned during the hearing we are going to take a look at all of that. I still need time to go through methodical [methodically], just like I did when I practised law, we will go through and figure out who we want to talk to and we will bring them in,” Cummings said.
Lawyers, Roger Stone also named
During the seven-hour hearing, Cohen also said that Trump lawyers Jay Sekulow and Abbe Lowell falsified his White House-approved statement to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during the 2016 campaign.
In a statement, Sekulow called Cohen’s comments “completely false”.
Last year, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the Trump Tower negotiations. He also pleaded guilty to fraud and campaign finance violations. He was sentenced to three years in prison. That sentence is set to begin in May.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Cohen said he was present in Trump’s office when Roger Stone called then-candidate Trump to advise that Wikileaks planned to dump hacked emails of then-presidential contender Hillary Clinton.
Without directly mentioning Cohen’s specific comments about the alleged conversation, Stone said Cohen’s “statement is not true”.
Cohen also named a number of other Trump Organization employees during his testimony.
‘A little impressed’
Trump called Wednesday’s hearing “fake” and accused Cohen of “lying in order to reduce his prison time”.
But the president also said that he was a “little impressed” that Cohen told the committee that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
During the hearing, Cohen said he had “direct evidence” that Trump or members of his 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russia to get Trump elected. That’s the main question of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which Trump has repeatedly labelled a “witch-hunt”.
“I wouldn’t use the world ‘colluding’,” Cohen testified.
“Was there something odd about the back-and-forth with President Putin? Yes, but I’m not really sure I can answer that question in terms of collusion,” he said, adding, however, that he had his “suspicions”.