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Trump mired in legal morass two years into presidency

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Donald Trump rails on an almost daily basis against the federal probe into whether his campaign colluded with Russia to get him elected to the White House.

But the investigation by former FBI director Robert Mueller into the 2016 election is just one of many ongoing inquiries into Trump, his businesses and his associates.

Trump’s ex-national security advisor, retired lieutenant general Michael Flynn, appeared in court on Tuesday for sentencing after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI.

And New York’s attorney general announced that Trump’s personal charity, the Trump Foundation, had agreed to shut down amid a lawsuit accusing it of engaging in illegal activity.

Exactly how many investigations target Trump is subject to interpretation because many of the probes overlap with others or have spun off in different directions. But the scrutiny is extensive.

And that’s before a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives convenes in January with wide-ranging powers to dig into Trump’s affairs.

Whether Trump could personally face charges while in the White House is a matter of debate — legal experts are divided on whether a sitting president can be indicted.

The following are the main investigations facing Trump as he approaches two years in office:

The core focus of the Special Counsel’s probe is whether there were “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals” associated with the Trump campaign.

While Mueller has yet to file any charges alleging outright collusion between the campaign and Moscow, the probe has led to a host of indictments and guilty pleas.

One focus of the probe is a June 9, 2016 meeting at the Trump Tower in New York in which a Russian lawyer was to offer dirt on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The meeting was attended by Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, his son Donald Jr., and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Mueller is also looking into whether WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange coordinated his leaks of stolen Democratic Party emails with Trump campaign advisor Roger Stone.

Twenty-five Russians and three Russian companies have been indicted for interfering in the 2016 election.

Manafort was convicted of tax evasion and other charges related to his consulting work for pro-Moscow politicians in Ukraine between 2004 and 2014.

Flynn and George Papadopoulos, an advisor to the campaign, pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about their contacts with Russians and have been cooperating with Mueller.

Papadopoulos was given 14 days in prison, while Flynn’s sentencing was delayed until March.

Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer, was ordered to spend three years in prison after pleading guilty to tax evasion, providing false statements to a bank, campaign finance violations and lying to Congress.

Cohen admitted lying to Congress about talks to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, acknowledging the negotiations continued well into the 2016 election campaign.

Trump is facing potential legal jeopardy over hush money payments made to two women who were threatening to go public during the election campaign with claims they had affairs with the Republican candidate.

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Cohen said $130,000 was paid to porn actress Stormy Daniels and $150,000 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Prosecutors have described the payments as illegal campaign contributions intended to influence the election and Cohen said they were made “in coordination and at the direction” of Trump.

The president has said he did not instruct Cohen to break the law and has sought to pin the blame for the payments solely on his long-time “fixer.”

One avenue of the Mueller probe is whether Trump obstructed justice by abruptly firing then FBI director James Comey and asking him to shut down an investigation into General Flynn.

Trump dismissed Comey in May 2017 while he was investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, a probe that was eventually taken up by Mueller.

According to The Wall Street Journal, federal prosecutors in New York are investigating whether Trump’s inauguration committee misspent some of the record $107 million it received in donations.

The newspaper said prosecutors were looking into whether some donors gave money in exchange for access to Trump administration officials.

One of the cases facing the president is linked to his Trump International Hotel in Washington and an obscure provision in the US Constitution known as the Emoluments Clause, which forbids office holders from accepting money from foreign entities.

The attorney generals of Maryland and Washington have sued Trump arguing he is in violation of the clause because his hotel does business with foreign governments.

Trump has turned over operations of his real estate empire to his sons and has pledged while in office to donate revenue from foreign governments to the US Treasury.

TRUMP’S BUSINESS INTERESTS

Trump agreed to shut down his personal charity, the Trump Foundation, after it was targeted in a lawsuit by the New York attorney general.

State attorney general Barbara Underwood filed a lawsuit against the foundation in June, accusing it of “persistently illegal conduct” to advance Trump’s business and political interests.

The suit named Trump, sons Don Jr and Eric and daughter Ivanka, who were on the foundation board.

The suit, which will move forward despite the agreement dissolving the charity, seeks $2.8 million in restitution and to bar Trump, Don Jr, Eric and Ivanka from serving on the boards of other New York non-profits.

In the wake of a New York Times expose about alleged tax evasion by the Trump family, New York state tax authorities said they were looking into the matter.

According to the Times, the Trump family managed in the 1990s to avoid paying taxes on hundreds of millions of dollars through “outright fraud” in some cases.



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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard

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Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.

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However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard

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President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health

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Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.

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Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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