- News The Daily Beast
President Donald Trump accused Democrats on Monday of scheming to alter witnesses’ transcripts from the impeachment inquiry, but a lawyer for a key witness said his client’s transcript looks fine. Robert Luskin, who represents Ambassador Gordon Sondland, a key witness and a Trump administration political appointee, said his client’s testimony hadn’t been altered. “No reason to believe that the transcript was altered, and the clarification was released in the form that it was submitted,” Luskin emailed The Daily Beast on Monday morning. Lee Wolosky, a lawyer for ex-Senior Director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs Fiona Hill, confirmed his client’s testimony was unaltered. “We have seen nothing to suggest that Dr. Hill’s transcript was altered (beyond routine correction of errata),” he wrote in an email. Thousands of pages of testimony have already been released and neither lawmakers nor witnesses have complained about the contents of the depositions. In addition to accusing Democrats of misdeeds without evidence, Trump said Republicans should release their own versions of the documents as a check. Sondland testified to the inquiry on Oct. 17, but updated his testimony just last week to say he had suspected the Trump administration withheld military aid from Ukraine to pressure the country into investigating a company linked to former Vice President Joe Biden. Democrats pointed to Sondland’s admission as evidence of their worst suspicions: that the administration put the president’s political goals over support for a key American partner at war with Russian-backed fighters. Sondland, however, also said in his update that nobody in the Trump administration told him about a quid pro quo scheme, and that he still does not know why Trump temporarily withheld the military aid. Sondland’s reversal has been pilloried on the right, with some Republicans even accusing him of working with Democrats. Trump, who a month ago described the ambassador as “a really good man and great American,” has not lashed out publicly at Sondland but planted what seemed to a kiss of death in comments to reporters last week. “I hardly know the gentleman,” Trump said, when asked about Sondland’s edited testimony. And Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of Trump’s most staunch congressional allies, suggested in a Fox News interview that Sondland may have conspired with Democrats to add the damaging material to his testimony. “Why did Sunderland change his testimony?” Graham said, inaccurately referring to Sondland. “Was there a connection between Sunderland and Democratic operatives on the committee? Did he talk to Schiff? Did he talk to Schiff’s staffers?”Trump’s anger with the inquiry is percolating as Democrats gear up for the first week of public impeachment hearings. On Wednesday, State Department officials George Kent and Ambassador Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, are set to testify before the House Intelligence Committee. Then on Friday, former U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch -who represented the U.S. in Kyiv until a scheme helmed by Rudy Giuliani resulted in her removal from that post-will testify. Transcripts from all three witnesses’ closed-door testimonies have been released. They include damaging allegations about Trump’s relationship with Ukraine. But some of the information that could cause the most trouble for the president is second- or third-hand. Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- News CBC
Athletes and a prominent elite running coach from B.C. have joined the chorus of voices supporting an American runner who shocked the sporting world with allegations of abuse with an elite Nike running club.Mary Cain, 23, told her story on the opinion pages of The New York Times this week in a video essay called 'I Was the Fastest Girl in America, Until I Joined Nike.'At 17, Cain was breaking records and competing at the highest level in the world. Her success resulted in an invitation in 2013 to join an elite training group in Oregon sponsored by Nike and coached by former elite world-class marathoner Alberto Salazar.Cain claims after joining the group she was emotionally and physically abused. She said the all-male staff with the team was obsessed with her losing weight in order to get faster. The story has elicited strong reaction within the sport, including here in Canada. "You know it's very upsetting to read all of this stuff," said Natasha Wodak, a Canadian Olympian and the national record holder for the 10,000 metres.Wodak, 37, of Surrey, says she did not face the same abuse about her weight during her career, but is not surprised by Cain's revelations."I've heard comments before - coaches saying to athletes ... at team dinners: 'Are you sure you want to have that brownie or are you sure you want to eat those chicken nuggets," she said.In the Times video, Cain said as the pounds came off, her results worsened.She stopped getting her period, suffered four broken bones and deliberately cut herself as a coping mechanism.She claims she was shamed in front of her peers by team coaches if her weight went above 114 pounds or 52 kilograms.Wodak says she has been fortunate to have supportive coaches and support staff, many of whom have been female. Cain, in the Times piece, said she would like to see more women mentors in the sport.Wodak hopes that Cain's story will empower others who are not getting enough support to also speak out."Mary Cain sharing her experience was, I mean, very brave," she said. "I hope that other young female athletes in women's distance running or any sport that are going through something like that feel that they can they can speak out and they can get help."Brit Townsend, the head track and field coach at SFU for more than 20 years, said she has watched Cain's career since she was a young teenager posting remarkable early results."I think it's difficult because when athletes are so good so young they're also naive," she said. "They have a lot of other people making decisions for them and they are vulnerable."Coaches and team managers, she says, need to be responsible in shaping athletes, and not do harm."How do we manage them so that they can actually reach and realize their potential in a positive, healthy way?" she said.ApologySince the Cain article was published, the athlete has thanked those who have voiced support. Track athlete Cam Levins, from Black Creek on Vancouver Island, trained with Cain in Salazar's program. He apologized over Twitter for not doing more to support Cain in Oregon. The New York Times says Nike has also responded and promised to launch an investigation.In September, Salazar was banned from the sport for four years by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for, among other violations, possessing and trafficking testosterone while training top runners at the Nike Oregon Project.
"Society, a democracy, can die of too many lies - and we’re getting close to that terminal moment," he warns.