VOA NEWS

December 8, 2018

(This is VOA) news. I'm David Byrd in Washington.



Federal prosecutors in New York City on Friday have asked the judge to sentence the former personal lawyer for U.S. President Donald Trump to a substantial term of imprisonment for paying an adult film star hush money on Trump's behalf and evading taxes.

AP's Warren Levinson has details.

The office of special counsel Robert Mueller judges former Trump fixer Michael Cohen's cooperation significant. The U.S. attorney, not so much.

Cohen has pleaded guilty to charges brought by both in Mueller's case, lying to Congress about the extent of candidate Trump's business dealings in Moscow, in the federal prosecutors' case, about his own tax evasion and campaign finance violations for helping to pay off alleged Trump paramours.

The special counsel says Cohen should get due consideration for his cooperation when he's sentenced, but the letter filed by federal prosecutor Robert Khuzami recommends Cohen get only modest credit.

He is to be sentenced Wednesday.

Warren Levinson, New York.



Meanwhile, President Trump has announced he will nominate former Attorney General William Barr to serve in that post again.

As VOA's Steve Herman reports, Barr would replace Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who has been running the Department of Justice since Trump [formed out] forced out, that is, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

President Donald Trump told reporters Friday on the White House South Lawn he wants former U.S. Attorney General William Barr to again take his old job.

"I did not know him for - until recently when I went through the process of looking at people. He was my first choice from day one."

If confirmed by the Senate, Barr would succeed Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who has been running the top federal law enforcement agency since Trump forced out Jeff Sessions a month ago. Whitaker was Sessions' chief of staff.

Steve Herman, VOA news, at the White House.



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A white nationalist who drove his car into a crowd of people protesting a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last year has been found guilty of first-degree murder and nine other counts.

One woman was killed and several others injured when James Fields rammed his car into the crowd on a Charlottesville street.

The jury deliberated for less than a day before convicting Fields of all charges stemming from the deadly confrontation.



OPEC and its Russian-led allies agreed on Friday to slash oil production by more than the market had expected.

As Reuters correspondent Julian Satterthwaite reports, that came despite pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump to reduce the price of crude.

The producer's club meeting in Vienna agreed to reduce production by 800,000 barrels a day. Allies outside the group, mainly Russia, adding half that amount, making a total cut of 1.2 million barrels.

The news saw prices for international benchmark Brent Crude jump 5 percent. That's sure to please de facto OPEC leader, Saudi Arabia.

The one man who won't be happy with the news from Vienna is Donald Trump. He'd been pressing OPEC to keep the taps open. Trump wants low oil prices to support the global economy and he fears higher prices will just give Iran a windfall on its own oil exports.

Reuters correspondent Julian Satterthwaite.



The U.S. Labor Department, meanwhile, says hiring slowed in November but the jobless rate stayed at 3.7 percent.

AP's Mike Hempen reports.

Employers pulled back on hiring, adding just 155,000 jobs last month. That's below this year's average monthly gains but suggests the economy is expanding at a solid pace despite sharp fluctuations in the stock market.

The Labor Department says the unemployment rate remained at a five-decade lower 3.7 percent for the third straight month. Average hourly pay increased 3.1 percent from a year ago. That equals to the October figure, which was the best since 2009.

Mike Hempen, Washington.



The Grammy nominations were announced Friday, with Kendrick Lamar topping nominees with eight, including for his work on the soundtrack of the "Black Panther" movie. Lamar's top ten hit, "All the Stars," is also nominated for both Record and Song of the Year.

Rapper Drake had eight nominations, including for his song "God's Plan." Taylor Swift earned one nomination for Best Pop Album.



Wall Street kept a turbulent week of trading Friday, with a biggest weekly loss since March. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down nearly two and one quarter percent. The S&P 500 fell 2.3 percent. That index has ended lower three out of the last four weeks. The NASDAQ slid 3 percent.



For more, log on to our website. I'm David Byrd, VOA news.