Vox Sentences: Brextension

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Michael Cohen will testify before Congress; Theresa May offers a vote to delay Brexit negotiations.


Michael Cohen has some things to say

 Mark Wilson/Getty Images
  • Michael Cohen will reportedly accuse President Trump of criminal behavior while in office, as well as discussing some of the president’s financial records, when he testifies before Congress on Wednesday. [WSJ / Rebecca Ballhaus and Warren P. Strobel]
  • Cohen will not be permitted to discuss anything related to dealings with Russia due to special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation. But that still leaves plenty of things to talk about, including hush money payments during the 2016 campaign. [Vox / Aaron Rupar]
  • Cohen will reportedly present a document containing information about payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels — a rebuttal to accusations from Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani that Cohen was given a monthly retainer from Trump to pay off Daniels. [Politico / Darren Samuelsohn and Matthew Choi]
  • Cohen will also discuss a recent report by BuzzFeed News regarding Trump Tower Moscow, and will talk about how long President Trump continued discussions about the business venture after the campaign began. The White House said it was “pathetic” that Cohen would have the opportunity to testify to Congress. Cohen answered questions privately before Congress on Tuesday. [Axios / Alayna Treene]
  • Cohen, who is heading to prison in May to start a three-year sentence, has been disbarred after he pleaded guilty to eight federal charges last year. The charges include lying under oath and tax fraud. [The Hill / Michael Burke]
  • White House aides are reportedly concerned that his testimony is happening while President Trump is in Vietnam for a second summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Cohen has spent hours working with investigators and the special counsel in the effort to prove Trump engaged in criminal activity — which could spur a range of reactions from the president. [NYT / Maggie Haberman]

The Brexit deadline is coming

  • UK Prime Minister Theresa May promised in a statement on Tuesday to give members of Parliament the chance to vote to delay Brexit if they reject her revised withdrawal agreement — just days before the EU deadline for negotiations. [BBC]
  • If MPs don’t approve of May’s agreement, they’ll get two votes on March 13. This first is on whether the UK would like to just leave on March 29 with no deal; the second is on whether MPs would like to request more time for negotiations from Brussels. [BBC]
  • May is maintaining her control of the Brexit process. Pro-Remain Tories had threatened to circumvent her by calling for a vote on Wednesday for the powers to extend the talks. Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn also announced he would call a second Brexit referendum because May did not accept his party’s proposals. Now the PM has salvaged some control over the negotiations and bought herself time. [NYT / Stephen Castle]
  • All other 27 EU member countries would need to come to an agreement in order to extend the Brexit negotiations until about June. EU leadership has expressed that this would be a logical idea for the UK, but it potentially raises another confusing point: If the UK remains in the EU until the summer, it would have to participate in the May 2019 European Parliament elections. [Politico Europe / Charlie Cooper]
  • May has made it clear she doesn’t want to extend negotiations, and her withdrawal agreement has been in rounds of revision ever since MPs rejected the deal in January 2019. The most controversial issue is the “Irish backstop” — how to avoid a physical separation between Ireland, an EU country, and Northern Ireland, part of the UK. [Euractiv / Benjamin Fox]

Miscellaneous

  • Robert Mueller still has his job. A federal court maintained Mueller’s role as special counsel on Tuesday in a case brought forward by Trump campaign adviser Andrew Miller, who challenged Mueller’s appointment in order to argue against the legitimacy of his subpoena. [AP / Michael Balsamo and Jessica Gresko]
  • Denuclearization is the goal for a second summit between Kim Jong Un and President Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam, this week. While the details of a potential nuclear agreement have not been made clear, the two leaders may agree to a peace declaration to end the Korean War and to set up liaison offices abroad. [The Hill / Rebecca Kheel]
  • Venezuela’s US-backed interim president, Juan Guaidó, violated a travel ban in order to meet with Vice President Mike Pence on Monday. Pence announced more sanctions against governors who helped block humanitarian aid deliveries to Venezuela in support of President Nicolás Maduro, who refuses to step down. [NPR / Sasha Ingber]
  • The Oakland Education Association’s 3,000 members have been on strike for four days now, demanding better conditions in a contract that’s been in the making since 2017. The Oakland Unified School District says it doesn’t have enough money to meet teachers’ demands, including a pay raise and hiring more staff. [New York magazine / Sarah Jones]
  • Chicagoans are voting for a new mayor today amid changing demographics in the Midwestern city. Black residents are leaving the city to escape gang violence, underfunded schools, and declining work opportunities as whites arrive to take up high-paying jobs. [NYT / Monica Davey]

Verbatim

“It is true that some persons and some local churches have an interest in withdrawal and separation. Unfortunately, the losers will be the most vulnerable, who won’t have the protection of a united church.” [Kenneth Carter, president of the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church, which voted on gay and lesbian clergy and same-sex marriage this week]


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