Progressive Briefing for Wednesday, August 22

Paul Manafort found guilty, Michael Cohen pleads guilty, EPA admits Trump would sacrifice lives for coal, and more.

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Image Credit: NY Mag

Paul Manafort found guilty of bank and tax fraud

President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman was found guilty Tuesday on eight counts of financial crimes, including five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failing to disclose his foreign bank accounts. Because the jury was unable to reach a verdict on 10 of the 18 counts against Paul Manafort, Judge T.S. Ellis III declared a mistrial on the 10 unresolved counts but has accepted guilty verdicts on the remaining eight counts.

Donald Trump’s attorney and fixer Michael Cohen pleads guilty to 8 federal counts

Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, has pleaded guilty to eight counts in federal court in New York, federal prosecutors announced Tuesday evening.

They include five counts of tax evasion, one count of falsifying submissions to a bank and two counts involving unlawful campaign contributions.

Cohen’s conduct “reflects a pattern of lies and dishonesty over a significant period of time,” said Robert Khuzami, deputy U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, outside the federal courthouse in Manhattan.

Top ranking Michigan official ordered to go to trial over Flint water crisis

An investigation into the Flint, Michigan water crisis pins the state’s Department of Health and Human Services director, Nick Lyon, for involuntary manslaughter after a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak reportedly killed 12 and sickened close to 90 people in 2014 and 2015. Judge David Goggins ordered Lyon stand trial for the deaths of two of the 12 victims. He is also being charged with misconduct in office.

EPA admits Trump would sacrifice thousands of U.S. lives to save a few coal plants

President Trump’s own Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conceded Tuesday that replacing President Obama’s climate plan for electric utilities with his new plan will be a public health disaster and cost the economy billions.

Obama’s original “Clean Power Plan” would significantly reduce both carbon pollution and many toxic pollutants, including fine particulate matter and ozone smog.

Trump’s new “Affordable Clean Energy Plan” proposes to scuttle the Obama plan and replace it with a mostly voluntary call to utilities to slightly increase the efficiency of their coal plants.

Trump’s coal-friendly EPA rule decried as ‘sheer reckless folly’ and ‘all-out assault on our climate and communities’

Ahead of President Donald Trump’s Tuesday night rally in West Virginia, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled a highly anticipated new rule that would roll back restrictions targeting greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants, and enable states to set their own standards.

Scientists and environmental advocates quickly denounced the proposal – officially titled the Affordable Clean Energy Rule – as the “Wheeler-Pruitt Dirty Power Plan,” a nod to EPA chief Andrew Wheeler, an ex-coal lobbyist, and his disgraced predecessor Scott Pruitt.

Critics warn the new rule, which would replace the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, would “keep dirty coal plants online longer, dump millions of tons of planet-warming pollution into the atmosphere, and slow the transition of the power sector to clean, renewable energy.”

After a year of rising tensions, protesters tear down confederate statue on UNC campus

Demonstrators gathered at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill campus Monday night achieved a decades-long goal for those opposed to public displays of Confederate statues: They toppled “Silent Sam,” a monument dedicated to fallen Civil War-era soldiers.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has an ambitious plan to upend the lobbying industry

In a Tuesday morning speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) unveiled her Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act. Billed as an effort to “eliminate the influence of money in our federal government,” the proposed bill takes aim at the excesses of K Street and its pernicious “revolving door” ethos, as well as enhancing existing anti-corruption laws and government transparency efforts.

bipartisan group of lawmakers in Congress recently pressed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its “questionable” and “dubious” animal tests. The lawmakers’ demand for information on “horrific and inhumane” animal testing at the EPA comes on the heels of a recent Johns Hopkins University study that found that high-tech computer models are more effective than animal tests.

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