Michael Cohen Recorded A Conversation With Trump About Paying An Ex-Playboy Model

Updated at 7:42 p.m. EST "The good news is that your favorite President did nothing wrong!" President Trump tweeted Saturday morning. His message follows a New York Times report on Friday that his longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, secretly recorded their discussion about payments to a former Playboy model who said she had a 10-month affair with Trump. The FBI found the recording after a raid on Cohen's office in April. It may provide evidence in an investigation into whether campaign finance...

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The State of Things

“The State of Things” covers diverse issues & topics in NC. Frank Stasio talks to authors, musicians, politicians, & citizens about subjects that matter to North Carolinians.

Sitting in an orange jumpsuit in a Washington courtroom this week, Maria Butina was either an agent of the Russian government, as federal prosecutors allege, or a just an international graduate student targeted for her nationality, as her defense contends.

It's a typical part of the White House press secretary's job: defend the president and sometimes clash with reporters. But Donald Trump is not a typical president. For Sarah Sanders, that has meant an unusually combative relationship with the press.

There was a conspicuous act of bravery in the second half of this week's World Cup championship game.

The French team, which won 4-2, was bold and deft. Many of its players are immigrants, or children of immigrants, from Africa. Its victory was also seen as a triumph over bigots in France who have vilified and attacked immigrants.

The Croatian national team was dauntless. Several of its players were from families who were refugees when their country was torn by war.

This week in the Russia investigations: Two big questions about the second-most famous Russian in the world and Rod Rosenstein fires a warning shot.

Finnish fallout

No Hollywood screenwriter could get away with turning in a treatment for this week. The studio bosses would roll their eyes and ask for the story to be more plausible.

Growing up in Washington, D.C.'s Columbia Heights neighborhood, Rebecca Lemos-Otero says her first experience with nature came in her late teens when her mother started a community garden.

"I was really surprised and quickly fell in love," she recalls. The garden was peaceful, and a "respite" from the neighborhood, which had high crime rates, abandoned lots and buildings, she says.

More than 100 former student athletes have reported "firsthand accounts of sexual misconduct" committed by Ohio State University physician Richard Strauss nearly two decades ago, the school announced on Friday.

Officials said the allegations date from 1979 to 1997. They include students who, at the time, were varsity players in 14 sports and patients of Student Health Services.

In May, Lourdes walked across the bridge from Mexico to El Paso, Texas, and requested asylum. The first step is an interview with an asylum officer.

"I told him that I have the evidence on me," Lourdes said, through an interpreter. She told the asylum officer about the scar on her arm, and the four missing fingers on her left hand — all evidence, she says, of a brutal attack by a gang in her native Honduras.

But the asylum officer rejected her claim.

"I don't know what happened," Lourdes said. "I don't know how I failed."

Along the dry, rocky desert of El Paso, Texas, a brown fence stretches for miles. The fence marks the southern U.S. border that separates El Paso from its Mexican sister city, Juarez.

Twenty-two-year-old Antonio Villaseñor-Baca was born and raised in El Paso. His hometown is part of a huge "borderplex," where three cities — El Paso, Texas; Las Cruces, N.M.; and Juarez, Mexico — converge. Villaseñor-Baca has an uncle in Juarez, and while growing up, his dad would take him back and forth over the border a lot.

To Villaseñor-Baca, Juarez doesn't seem like another country.

Updated at 6:45 p.m. ET Saturday

The father of two students who survived the Parkland school shooting in February was fatally shot Tuesday while working at his convenience store. The man suspected of killing him was arrested Friday, police said.

The Republican National Convention in 2020 will be held in Charlotte, N.C., the party announced on Friday. The city was the only known contender to formally bid for the convention, and it is the city that hosted Democrats' convention in 2012 when President Barack Obama was renominated.

"We look forward to seeing the Queen City take center stage as the Republican Party renominates President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence," Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.

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Arts & Performance

Eakin Howard


Brooklyn Reese is 12 years old and, when she’s healthy, she’s sort of a second mother to her younger sister and brother.

“Before I got sick, I had a lot of responsibility, because Izzy, she had trouble with math and homework, so when we got home from school, I’d help her with her homework,” she said. “And I’d take care of Jackson and give him a sippy and make him a peanut butter sandwich.”

Holly Kays


Holly Kays studied creative fiction in college and saw herself on a path to becoming a novelist.

 

“Everybody who likes to write is writing a book at some point,” she said. “Most of those books never actually wind up being written.”
 

Like most budding novelists, Kays has another job to pay her bills. Unlike most, Kays works for a sympathetic boss.

Natural Born Leaders


Mike Martinez doesn’t like talking about growing up in Union, N.J., but he will say moving to Hendersonville as an 18-year-old saved his life.

“I was getting in trouble in ways I don’t necessarily want to talk about, but I was not headed on a good path,” he said. “I’m not even sure I’d be alive if I lived in New Jersey.”

UNC-Asheville


Jeb Hedgecock didn’t intend to devote his senior year at UNC-Asheville to someone else’s sculptural project. But that someone else was the acclaimed conceptual artist Mel Chin, so Hedgecock figured he might learn more by helping a master realize his vision.

“It’s a completely different thing investing yourself into something you want to into something you don’t necessarily want to but need to,” Hedgecock said.