Thursday, February 28, 2019

business proposal

business proposal


Wind farm proposal off New England wins key approval - Times Daily

Posted: 27 Feb 2019 06:43 AM PST

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (AP) — A proposed $2 billion wind farm planned for federal waters off Martha's Vineyard has received key approval from Rhode Island regulators.

The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council in a unanimous vote Tuesday determined that the project is consistent with state policies.

Vineyard Wind plans an 84-turbine, 800-megawatt wind farm about 14 miles south of the Massachusetts island.

The project was approved despite opposition from commercial fishermen, who say their livelihood is being destroyed because they would effectively be blocked from accessing productive fishing grounds.

But the Fishermen's Advisory Board, which advises the council on fishing issues, accepted a package from Vineyard Wind that includes the creation of two funds totaling almost $17 million to compensate the fishing industry.

The project still needs approval from Massachusetts regulators.

Versum Materials Responds to Unsolicited Proposal from Merck KGaA - Business Wire

Posted: 27 Feb 2019 08:13 AM PST

TEMPE, Ariz.--()--Versum Materials, Inc. (NYSE: VSM), a leading specialty materials supplier to the semiconductor industry, today issued the following statement in response to the unsolicited proposal by Merck KGaA to acquire Versum for $48.00 per share in cash.

Versum continues to believe in the strategic and financial rationale of the proposed merger of equals with Entegris. Consistent with its fiduciary duties, and in consultation with its independent financial and legal advisors, Versum's Board of Directors will thoroughly review the Merck proposal.

Lazard is serving as exclusive financial advisor to Versum Materials and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is serving as legal counsel.

About Versum Materials

Versum Materials, Inc. (NYSE: VSM) is a leading global specialty materials company providing high-purity chemicals and gases, delivery systems, services and materials expertise to meet the evolving needs of the global semiconductor and display industries. Derived from the Latin word for "toward," the name "Versum" communicates the company's deep commitment to helping customers move toward the future by collaborating, innovating and creating cutting-edge solutions.

A global leader in technology, quality, safety and reliability, Versum Materials is one of the world's leading suppliers of next-generation CMP slurries, ultra-thin dielectric and metal film precursors, formulated cleans and etching products, and delivery equipment that has revolutionized the semiconductor industry. Versum Materials reported fiscal year 2018 annual sales of about U.S. $1.4 billion, has approximately 2,300 employees and operates 14 major facilities in Asia and the North America. It is headquartered in Tempe, Arizona. Versum Materials had operated for more than three decades as a division of Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. (NYSE:APD).

For additional information, please visit http://www.versummaterials.com.

Forward Looking Statements

This communication contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that are subject to risks and uncertainties and are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1993, as amended and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Where a forward-looking statement expresses or implies an expectation or belief as to future events or results, such expectation or belief is expressed in good faith and believed to have a reasonable basis. The words "believe" "continue," "could," "expect," "anticipate," "intends," "estimate," "forecast," "project," "should," "may," "will," "would" or the negative thereof and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are only predictions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond Versum Materials, Inc.'s ("Versum Materials") and Entegris, Inc.'s ("Entegris") control. Statements in this communication regarding Versum Materials, Entegris and the combined company that are forward-looking, including projections as to the anticipated benefits of the proposed transaction, the impact of the proposed transaction on Versum Materials' and Entegris' business and future financial and operating results, the amount and timing of synergies from the proposed transaction, and the closing date for the proposed transaction, are based on management's estimates, assumptions and projections, and are subject to significant uncertainties and other factors, many of which are beyond Versum Materials' and Entegris' control. These factors and risks include, but are not limited to, (i) weakening of global and/or regional economic conditions, generally or specifically in the semiconductor industry, which could decrease the demand for Versum Materials' and Entegris' products and solutions; (ii) the ability to meet rapid demand shifts; (iii) the ability to continue technological innovation and introduce new products to meet customers' rapidly changing requirements; (iv) the concentrated customer base; (v) the ability to identify, effect and integrate acquisitions, joint ventures or other transactions; (vi) the ability to protect and enforce intellectual property rights; (vii) operational, political and legal risks of Versum Materials' and Entegris' international operations; (viii) Entegris' dependence on sole source and limited source suppliers; (ix) the increasing complexity of certain manufacturing processes; (x) raw material shortages and price increases; (xi) changes in government regulations of the countries in which Versum Materials and Entegris operate; (xii) the fluctuation of currency exchange rates; (xiii) fluctuations in the market price of Entegris' stock; (xiv) the level of, and obligations associated with, Versum Materials' and Entegris' indebtedness; and (xv) other risk factors and additional information. In addition, material risks that could cause actual results to differ from forward-looking statements include: the inherent uncertainty associated with financial or other projections; the prompt and effective integration of Entegris' businesses and the ability to achieve the anticipated synergies and value-creation contemplated by the proposed transaction; the risk associated with Versum Materials' and Entegris' ability to obtain the approval of the proposed transaction by their shareholders required to consummate the proposed transaction and the timing of the closing of the proposed transaction, including the risk that the conditions to the transaction are not satisfied on a timely basis or at all and the failure of the transaction to close for any other reason; the risk that a consent or authorization that may be required for the proposed transaction is not obtained or is obtained subject to conditions that are not anticipated; unanticipated difficulties or expenditures relating to the transaction, the response of business partners and retention as a result of the announcement and pendency of the transaction; and the diversion of management time on transaction-related issues. For a more detailed discussion of such risks and other factors, see Versum Materials' and Entegris' filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including under the heading "Risks Factors" in Item 1A of Entegris' Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017, filed on February 15, 2018, and Versum Materials' Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2018, filed on November 21, 2018 and in other periodic filings, available on the SEC website or www.entegris.com or www.versummaterials.com. Versum Materials and Entegris assume no obligation to update any forward-looking statements or information, which speak as of their respective dates, to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this communication, or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as may be required under applicable securities laws. Investors should not assume that any lack of update to a previously issued "forward-looking statement" constitutes a reaffirmation of that statement.

Additional Information and Where to Find It

This communication does not constitute an offer to buy or sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any securities or a solicitation of any vote or approval. This communication relates to a proposed business combination between Versum Materials and Entegris. In connection with the proposed transaction, Entegris intends to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") a registration statement on Form S-4 that will include a joint proxy statement of Versum Materials and Entegris that also constitutes a prospectus of Entegris. Each of Versum Materials and Entegris also plan to file other relevant documents with the SEC regarding the proposed transaction. No offering of securities shall be made, except by means of a prospectus meeting the requirements of Section 10 of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended. Any definitive joint proxy statement/prospectus (if and when available) will be mailed to stockholders of Versum Materials and Entegris. INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS ARE URGED TO READ THE REGISTRATION STATEMENT, JOINT PROXY STATEMENT/PROSPECTUS AND OTHER DOCUMENTS THAT MAY BE FILED WITH THE SEC CAREFULLY AND IN THEIR ENTIRETY IF AND WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROPOSED TRANSACTION. Investors and security holders will be able to obtain free copies of these documents (if and when available) and other documents containing important information about Versum Materials and Entegris, once such documents are filed with the SEC through the website maintained by the SEC at http://www.sec.gov. Copies of the documents filed with the SEC by Entegris will be available free of charge on Entegris' website at http://www.entegris.com or by contacting Entegris' Investor Relations Department by email at irelations@entegris.com or by phone at 978-436-6500. Copies of the documents filed with the SEC by Versum Materials will be available free of charge on Versum Materials' website at http://investors.versummaterials.com or by phone at 484-275-5907.

Participants in the Solicitation

Versum Materials, Entegris and certain of their respective directors and executive officers may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies in respect of the proposed transaction. Information about the directors and executive officers of Versum Materials are set forth in its proxy statement for its 2019 annual meeting of shareholders, which was filed with the SEC on December 20, 2018, and Versum Materials' Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2018, which was filed with the SEC on November 21, 2018. Information about the directors and executive officers of Entegris are set forth in Entegris' proxy statement for its 2018 annual meeting of shareholders, which was filed with the SEC on March 28, 2018, and Entegris' Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017, which was filed with the SEC on February 15, 2018. Other information regarding the participants in the proxy solicitations and a description of their direct and indirect interests, by security holdings or otherwise, will be contained in the joint proxy statement/prospectus and other relevant materials to be filed with the SEC regarding the proposed transaction when such materials become available. Investors should read the joint proxy statement/prospectus carefully when it becomes available before making any voting or investment decisions. You may obtain free copies of these documents from Versum Materials or Entegris using the sources indicated above.

Cohen tells lawmakers Trump lied about wealth - KOMO News

Posted: 27 Feb 2019 08:07 AM PST

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen (all times local):

5:42 p.m.

Representative Elijah Cummings speaks to the press after Michael Cohen's testimony.

5:15 p.m.

Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen says he's worried that if the president doesn't win re-election, there will not be a "peaceful transition of power."

Cohen is testifying Wednesday before the House Oversight Committee. He told the committee in closing remarks that his loyalty to Donald Trump has cost him his job, his family and his freedom. And he's worried the country will suffer a similar fate unless people stop supporting Trump.

Cohen has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress and orchestrating hush-money payments to women who said they had affairs with Trump.

He told the committee Trump is a racist conman who repaid him the hush money from the White House after he became president. Trump has strongly denied the allegations.

___

5 p.m.

Michael Cohen says President Donald Trump devalued his assets in order to pay lower real estate taxes.

Cohen, Trump's former attorney, is testifying before the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

His comment on Trump's assets came in response to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat.

Cohen says Trump claimed Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor, New York, was worth more than what he reported to local tax authorities. Cohen says that in order to reduce real estate bills, he would devalue the assets and then put in a request to tax officials for a deduction.

Cohen also testified he had knowledge that the president inflated his assets to an insurance company.

___

4:55 p.m.

President Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, says he's seen the president's tax returns but hasn't gone through them.

Cohen is testifying Wednesday before the House oversight committee.

Trump broke with decades of tradition for presidential candidates by refusing to release his income tax filings during his 2016 campaign. He has said he won't release them because he is being audited.

Cohen on Wednesday undercut that rationale, saying he presumes Trump is not being audited.

Cohen says he asked Trump for paperwork about the audit to prepare Trump's response to reporters about the issue but never received any documentation.

Cohen says Trump didn't want to release his tax returns because he "didn't want an entire group of think tanks, who are tax experts, to run through his returns."

___

3:40 p.m.

The Florida Bar has opened an investigation into a U.S. congressman from Florida after it received a complaint about a taunting tweet he made hours before Presidnet Donald Trump's former attorney, Michael Cohen, testified before a U.S. House committee.

Florida Bar spokeswoman Francine Walker said in an email Wednesday that an investigation has been opened into Republican Matt Gaetz, but confidentiality rules prevent her from offering any further details.

Gaetz, who is a Florida Bar member, has 15 days to respond.

After an initial evaluation, the case is sent to a branch office and then a grievance committee, if Bar officials believe it has merit.

If the grievance committee finds probable cause, charges are filed with the Florida Supreme Court and then a judge is appointed to hear the case.

___

3:20 p.m.

A spokeswoman for President Donald Trump's re-election campaign is dismissing Michael Cohen's testimony as coming from a felon and convicted liar.

Kayleigh McEnany says in a statement Wednesday that Cohen is offering "what he says is evidence, but the only support for that is his own testimony."

Cohen, Trump's former lawyer, is appearing before the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

In his testimony, Cohen painted Trump as a racist and conman who acted like a mob boss. He said Trump used those around him to tamp down allegations that could be damaging to him.

McEnany emphasizes that prosecutors have said Cohen had an instinct to blame others and committed crimes, in part, to benefit himself.

Cohen has pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and lying to Congress.

___

2:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump's former lawyer says he was pressured by the president to lie to first lady Melania (meh-LAH'-nee-ah) Trump about hush money payments paid to a porn actress who alleged she had an affair with Donald Trump.

Michael Cohen tells the House Oversight and Reform Committee that the president put him on the phone with Mrs. Trump, and Cohen says he misled her in that conversation.

Cohen is referring to $130,000 that he arranged to be paid to porn actress Stormy Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford.

The White House has denied that Trump had an affair with Daniels.

___

2:10 p.m.

Fordham University is confirming it received a letter from Donald Trump's then-lawyer threatening legal action if Trump's academic records became public.

Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen has testified to Congress that Trump directed him to write letters warning his schools and the College Board not to disclose his grades or SAT scores.

Cohen has given the House Oversight and Reform Committee a copy of his letter to Fordham. It was dated May 2015, about a month before Trump started his presidential campaign.

Fordham says the letter from Trump's lawyer was preceded by a phone call from a campaign staffer. Fordham says it's bound by federal law barring the release of student records.

Trump attended the Roman Catholic university in New York City for two years. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania.

Penn and the College Board declined to comment.

___

1:50 p.m.

Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen says President Donald Trump called him and asked him to mislead the public about hush money paid to a porn actress.

Cohen says during testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee that Trump called him in February 2018 to discuss the public messaging about $130,000 paid to porn actress Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet about allegations of an extramarital affair.

Cohen says Trump asked him to say that the president "wasn't knowledgeable" about the payments.

In fact, Cohen says Trump directed and coordinated the payments. Documents also show Trump personally signed at least one check paid to Cohen to reimburse him for the payments.

The White House has denied Trump had an affair with Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford.

___

1 p.m.

President Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, says prosecutors in New York are investigating conversations that Trump or his advisers had with Cohen after his hotel room was raided by the FBI.

Cohen is testifying before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, and he was asked by a Democrat, Raja Krishnamoorthi (krish-nah-MOOR'-thee) of Illinois, about the last contact Cohen had with Trump or any agent representing the president.

Cohen says it was about two months after his hotel room was raided by the FBI in April 2018. But Cohen is declining to provide more specific details and says prosecutors are investigating the matter.

Cohen has pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations, lying to Congress and other offenses.

He's been cooperating with prosecutors and is expected to begin a three-year prison sentence in May.

___

12:45 p.m.

For much of Michael Cohen's congressional testimony, Republicans on the House Oversight and Reform Committee have called President Donald Trump's former lawyer a liar.

Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona and other Republicans say Cohen can't be trusted for what he says about Trump because Cohen pleaded guilty last year for lying to Congress.

At the hearing, Gosar put up a sign that read "Liar, Liar Pants on Fire" and called Cohen a "pathological liar."

Democrats shot back, with Massachusetts Rep. Stephen Lynch saying committee Republicans "aren't afraid you're going to lie. I think they're afraid you're going to tell the truth."

Cohen turned the focus on the president, saying lying became "the norm" working for Trump.

12 p.m.

President Donald Trump's eldest sons are tweeting their thoughts about Michael Cohen's public testimony — and they're ridiculing him as a disgruntled ex-employee out to try and save himself.

Cohen is the president's former lawyer who's cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation and is set to begin a three-year prison sentence in May. Cohen is testifying before the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

Donald Trump Jr. tweets that Cohen's testimony sounded "like a breakup letter" and that it's "funny how things change when you're trying to save your ass."

Trump Jr. and Eric Trump suggest the longtime Trump loyalist is retaliating against the president after getting rejected for a White House job.

Eric Trump tweets Cohen was "lobbying EVERYONE" to be chief of staff and that it "was the biggest joke in the campaign." Cohen tells the committee he was never interested in such a position.

Eric Trump also is taking aim at Cohen's impending prison sentence by tweeting a Republican Party video about Cohen with the title, "Have Fun in Prison!"

11:17 a.m.

President Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, says he doesn't know whether Trump colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election, but he has "suspicions" about that.

Cohen tells a House committee that he witnessed instances before the election in which Trump was informed about WikiLeaks' release of Democratic National Committee emails and about a Trump Tower meeting that included campaign advisers, Trump's oldest son and a Russian lawyer.

Cohen says Trump had told him that the younger Trump "had the worst judgment of anyone in the world."

Cohen also said Donald Trump Jr. "would never set up any meeting of any significance alone — and certainly not without checking with his father."

Cohen has turned on his former boss and cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. Cohen begins a three-year prison sentence in May.

11:15 a.m.

"Not true."

That's the word from Roger Stone, a confidant of President Donald Trump, in response to a claim by Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Cohen has testified to a House committee that Stone told Trump that the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks planned to release emails damaging to Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign.

Cohen says Stone told Trump in July 2016 that Stone had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange, who run WikiLeaks, and that there would be a "massive dump" of emails harmful to the Clinton campaign.

Cohen's allegation would contradict the president's assertions that he was in the dark on this issue.

It's not immediately clear what evidence Cohen has to support the allegation or how legally problematic the claim it might be for Trump.

Stone has pleaded not guilty to witness tampering and obstruction in Mueller's investigation

11:10 a.m.

President Donald Trump's former lawyer is apologizing to Congress and the American people for, in his words, "actively working to hide from you the truth about Mr. Trump when you needed it most."

Michael Cohen is also apologizing to lawmakers for lying to Congress in 2017. Cohen pleaded guilty to that lying, among other offenses, and is headed to prison in May.

Cohen tells a House committee that "it seems unbelievable that I was so mesmerized by Donald Trump that I was willing to do things for him that I knew were absolutely wrong."

11 a.m.

Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen says he wouldn't accept a pardon from the president and he didn't ask for one.

Cohen is testifying under oath before the House Oversight and Reform Committee — and has said that Trump instructed him to pay off women who said they'd had affairs with the president. Trump has denied the claims.

For more than a decade, Cohen was a key power player in the Trump Organization and a fixture in Trump's political life.

Cohen is set to begin a three-year prison sentence in May after pleading guilty to lying to Congress in 2017 and committing campaign finance violations while he was working for Trump.

Cohen says he's speaking before the committee to set the record straight and try to atone for some of his mistakes.

10:58 a.m.

President Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, says Trump personally signed checks repaying him for hush money paid to porn actress Stormy Daniels.

Cohen has presented a check to the House Oversight and Reform Committee. The $35,000 check was from dated August 2017.

Cohen has pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations connected to a $130,000 hush-money deal involving porn actress Stormy Daniels. She alleges an affair; Trump denies it.

Cohen says he personally paid Daniels. But Trump's current lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has said Cohen was repaid through a retainer agreement.

Prosecutors have said the Trump Organization paid Cohen in monthly installments to reimburse him for the Daniels' payment. They say Cohen used "sham" invoices to try to conceal the true nature of the payments.

A second check from March 2017 was signed by Donald Trump Jr. and Trump's chief financial officer.

10:55 a.m.

The president's former personal lawyer says Donald Trump lied about his wealth to look richer to Forbes magazine and less wealthy for tax authorities.

Michael Cohen is testifying under oath before the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

Cohen says financial documents show Trump inflated his assets to rank higher on the Forbes world's billionaires list. Trump ranked 766th on the publication's latest list, which was released last March.

Cohen claims Trump would also deflate his assets to pay lower real estate taxes.

Democrats have promised an aggressive effort to investigate the president since they regained control of the House in January.

For more than a decade, Cohen was a key power player in the Trump Organization and a fixture in Trump's political life.

Cohen is set to begin a three-year prison sentence in May after pleading guilty to lying to Congress in 2017 and committing campaign finance violations while he was working for Trump.

10:52 a.m.

Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen is telling Congress that President Donald Trump lied to the American people about negotiations during the 2016 presidential campaign about a proposed Trump building in Russia.

Cohen says in public testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee that Trump "knew of and directed" the negotiations about a proposed Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen pleaded guilty last year to lying to Congress about the timing of the business proposal.

Cohen is testifying that Trump didn't "directly" tell him to lie to Congress about the project but he did so "in his way."

Cohen says that while he was negotiating the Russian business deal during the campaign, Trump would look him in the eye and tell him "there's no business in Russia."

10:50 a.m.

The top Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee is charging that Democrats are bringing President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to testify so they can "start their impeachment process."

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio tells the committee chairman, Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings, at the start of the hearing that "your chairmanship will always be identified by this hearing."

Jordan and other Republicans are challenging Cohen's credibility because Cohen is going to prison for lying to Congress in 2017, among other charges.

Democrats invited Cohen to testify after he turned on Trump and started cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

10:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, is accusing Trump of being a "racist."

Testifying under oath before a House committee, Cohen says he heard Trump say that black people "would never vote for him because they were too stupid."

Cohen says that when he and Trump were driving through a "struggling neighborhood" in Chicago, Trump said that "only black people could live that way."

Trump has denied charges of racism before, and has said, "I've never used racist remarks."

For more than a decade, Cohen was a key power player in the Trump Organization and a fixture in Trump's political life.

Cohen is set to begin a three-year prison sentence in May after pleading guilty to lying to Congress in 2017 and committing campaign finance violations while he was working for Trump.

10:30 a.m.

The president's former personal lawyer claims Donald Trump was told in advance that WikiLeaks planned to release emails damaging to Hillary Clinton's 2016 White House campaign.

That's what Michael Cohen is telling the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

In his prepared testimony, Cohen says he was in Trump's office in 2016 when Trump adviser Roger Stone called.

Cohen says Stone told Trump that Stone had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange, who run the anti-secrecy WikiLeaks group, and that there would be a "massive dump" of emails harmful to the Clinton campaign.

Cohen's allegation would contradict the president's assertions that he was in the dark on this issue.

It's not immediately clear what evidence Cohen has to support the allegation or how legally problematic this claim it might be for Trump.

Special counsel Robert Mueller hasn't suggested that merely being aware of WikiLeaks' plans is by itself a crime.

Stone has pleaded not guilty to witness tampering and obstruction in Mueller's investigation.

10:25 a.m.

The chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee says the public has a right to hear from former Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former lawyer.

Democrat Elijah Cummings of Maryland says Cohen's testimony is necessary because it's the committee's job to search out the truth. Cummings says the committee won't restrict any questions, and that means some lawmakers may ask about special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

10:20 a.m.

As soon as the House hearing involving President Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, got underway, a key Republican lawmaker claimed that the committee was violating its own rules.

Rep. Mark Meadows, a top Trump ally, said Cohen was showing "disdain" for the committee process by failing to submit his prepared remarks ahead of time.

Meadows claimed it was an intentional "violation of the rules."

Cohen's much-anticipated testimony was received by the committee the night before Wednesday's session, according to the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland.

Meadows made a motion to postpone the hearing. Lawmakers quickly voted to reject the motion and the hearing resumed.

10:15 a.m.

A Democratic member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee says that restrictions on questions about Russia have been lifted when the committee questions Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former lawyer.

Just before the hearing began, Rep. Gerry Connolly said he'd discussed the issue with the committee's leadership. The Virginia congressman said previous limits on questions about Russia were "null and void" because Cohen mentioned the issue in his opening statement.

The committee chairman had issued a memo outlining the scope of the hearing, and it didn't include questions about Russia. Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings had said that he didn't want to interfere with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

10 a.m.

A congressional hearing is underway featuring the much-anticipated public testimony from Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer.

Cohen is expected to detail before the House Oversight and Reform Committee what he believes is Trump's lying, racism and cheating, and possibly even criminal conduct.

Cohen, who was Trump's longtime fixer, is the first high-profile witness called before the committee as newly empowered Democrats pursue an aggressive effort to investigate the president.

Cohen played a pivotal role in buying the silence of a porn actress and a former Playboy Playmate who both alleged they had sex with Trump. The president has denied their claims.

Cohen has pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations connected to the payments and to lying to Congress.

He's set to begin a three-year prison sentence in May.

4:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump is lashing out at his former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, before Cohen testifies at a public hearing.

Trump is distancing himself from Cohen in a tweet from Hanoi, Vietnam, where he has traveled for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump insists Cohen was just "one of many lawyers who represented me (unfortunately)." He also says Cohen "had other clients also" and "did bad things unrelated to Trump."

Cohen plans to tell a House committee on Wednesday that Trump knew ahead of time that WikiLeaks had emails damaging to 2016 Democratic rival Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and that Trump is a "racist," a "conman" and a "cheat." That's according to prepared testimony obtained by The Associated Press.

Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about a project in Russia. Trump accuses Cohen of now lying to reduce his prison sentence.

2:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer is planning to tell a House committee that Trump knew ahead of time that WikiLeaks had emails damaging to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

In prepared testimony obtained by The Associated Press, Michael Cohen says that Trump implicitly told him to lie about a Moscow real estate project.

And the former Trump fixer brands his old boss a "racist," a "conman" and a "cheat."

On the matter of racism, Cohen says the president made racist comments "disparaging African-Americans, saying at one point that black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid."

Ahead of his appearance, Cohen said Tuesday that the American people can decide "exactly who is telling the truth" when he testifies Wednesday before the House Oversight and Reform committee.

Bipartisan concerns raised over Lamont’s tax proposal - Raleigh News & Observer

Posted: 27 Feb 2019 01:42 PM PST

Both Democrats and Republicans are raising concerns with Gov. Ned Lamont's proposed tax package.

Members of the General Assembly's Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee peppered Lamont's budget secretary, Melissa McCaw, with questions Wednesday about the Democratic governor's plan.

Lamont has generated worries from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle about his plan to "modernize" the state's sales tax. He's proposed expanding the 6.35 percent levy to more goods and services.

McCaw says Lamont wants to "level the playing field" and make sure there's more equal tax treatment. But she stresses the governor is open to negotiating with lawmakers.

Members of both parties are raising concerns about how the tax will affect various industries, including boating and real estate. A lot of concern is also being voiced about the impact of tolls.

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