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News Brief: Week of Feb. 24-March 2


Cohen testimony

President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, testified for several hours before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 27, characterizing the president as a conman who encouraged him to lie and threaten others on multiple occasions.

Cohen, who was sentenced to three years in prison in December for lying to Congress and committing campaign finance fraud, described himself as a “fixer” who would cover up extramarital affairs and backroom dealings for Trump. As evidence Trump violated campaign laws, Cohen showed the committee a $35,000 personal check the president wrote to him.

In addition to speaking on the president’s alleged financial misconduct, Cohen also gave his thoughts on Trump’s personal character, calling him a racist who regularly made bigoted comments directed toward African-Americans, as well as impoverished African nations.

On May 6, Cohen will turn himself in and begin his prison sentence.

Trump talks with Kim Jong Un

Looking to strike a deal on nuclear weapons production, Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam on Wednesday, Feb. 27. While Trump requested denuclearization, Kim Jong Un asked for reduced international sanctions.

A day after talks began, negotiations between the two nations broke down over a disagreement on the amount of sanctions relief the U.S. would provide North Korea in exchange for nuclear disarmament.

In addition to receiving criticism over not getting a deal done, some also blasted Trump for saying he believed Kim Jong Un had no knowledge of the treatment of American hostage Otto Warmbier. As a college student visiting the nation while on a study abroad trip, Warmbier was arrested in 2016 by North Korean authorities for stealing a propaganda poster. He was released to the U.S. in June 2017 in a vegetative state and soon died.

On Friday, the Warmbier family released a statement, saying, “Kim and his evil regime are responsible for the death of our son Otto.”

Senate may block national emergency

As Republican support for Trump’s national emergency weakens, the Senate may soon have enough votes to block the president’s declaration.

On Saturday, March 2, Rand Paul became the fourth Republican senator to indicate opposition to Trump’s plan, saying, “I can’t vote to give the president the power to spend money that hasn’t been appropriated by Congress,” at a fundraising dinner in Kentucky.

Of 100 U.S. Senators, there are 53 Republicans, 46 Democrats and one Independent. A two-thirds majority in both chambers is required to override a presidential veto.


Constitutional carry bill passed

Just hours after clearing the Senate floor on Wednesday, Feb. 27, Gov. Kevin Stitt signed into law a bill allowing Oklahoma residents to purchase and carry a firearm without formal training.

House Bill 2597, also known as “constitutional carry,” passed through the House 70-30 and the Senate 40-6 before arriving at the governor’s desk. The law will take effect beginning Nov. 1.

According to several Republican lawmakers who backed the bill, the requirement of training and licensing is an unconstitutional barrier to gun ownership, which disproportionately affects poor people.

While training restrictions to purchase and carry will loosen, background checks will still be a requirement, and firearms will remain prohibited at schools, college campuses and government buildings, including the state capitol.

Ice causes accidents, school and business closures

Several hours of freezing drizzle created hazardous driving and walking conditions across central Oklahoma on Wednesday, Feb. 27.

As roadways became icy early Wednesday, several car accidents were reported across the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. Schools, businesses and colleges, including Oklahoma Christian University, closed early as roadways became treacherous.

While Oklahoma Christian closed at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, conditions beforehand were far from ideal, according to students who took to Twitter to describe slipping on sidewalks and roadways as they traveled to their early morning classes.


Play auditions tomorrow

Auditions for the plays “Fourteen” and “A Sure Bet” will be held tomorrow night, March 5, in Garvey Center Room 113 from 7 to 9 p.m.

All students, regardless of major, are encouraged to try out.

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