Michael Cohen congress testimony Donald Trump
(Image: AP/Mary Altaffer)

COHEN TAKES THE STAND

Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen has unloaded on his former boss while testifying to Congress. Cohen alleges that the President — who he claims is “a racist … a conman … [and] a cheat” — had advanced knowledge of 2016 anti-Democrat WikiLeaks materials, and directed Cohen to make illegal hush-money payments to women, amongst other far-reaching allegations.

The Guardian reports that Cohen, who is set to begin a three-year prison sentence over both the illegal payments and lying to Congress, has “suspicions” Trump knew of his team’s meetings with Russia, but does not have evidence. Cohen’s exhibits have now been made public, and include cheques allegedly signed by both Trump and his son Donald Trump Jras well as a letter warning Trump’s former university against releasing the President’s grades

FOR WHOM THE PELL TOLLS

Cardinal George Pell has spent his first night in jail, after his bail application was withdrawn ahead of a March 13 sentencing.

According to The New Daily, which has also begun releasing courtroom diaries, Pell spent last night in the most segregated unit of Melbourne Assessment Prison after a pre-sentence hearing at the County Court of Victoria. Other headlines from the day include John Howard’s glowing character reference, including an assurance that “none of these matters alter my opinion”; mounting lawsuits; and news that the Vatican has dropped Pell as treasurer and opened an investigation that could see him defrocked.

Anyone seeking help can reach Lifeline on 13 11 14, and Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.

FRANKLY MY DEAR

The taxpayer-funded inquiry into Labor’s franking policy is being used by the Prime Minister’s office to produce advertising material, only a week after MP Tim Wilson’s similar franking stoush earned a rebuke from House Speaker Tony Smith.

In the latest revelation over the now highly-politicised inquiry, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Scott Morrison’s video producer has been photographed recording interviews with people testifying, who were then made to sign disclosure agreements. The footage will be used in the Prime Minister’s “retiree tax” social media campaign.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

Labor is a party that lectures us on climate change action, but are opposing changes that will reduce the amount of printing done by parliamentarians.

Alex Hawke

The Special Minister of State takes an interesting approach to defending the freeing up of $22m in taxpayer money for Coalition radio and television ads.

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