On The Money: Cohen reportedly questioned over Trump dealings with Russia | Trump hails economy | Tells workers to 'start looking' if they want a better job | Internal poll shows tax law backfiring on GOP

On The Money: Cohen reportedly questioned over Trump dealings with Russia | Trump hails economy | Tells workers to 'start looking' if they want a better job | Internal poll shows tax law backfiring on GOP
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Happy Thursday and welcome back to On The Money. I'm Sylvan Lane, and here's your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

See something I missed? Let me know at slane@thehill.com or tweet me @SylvanLane. And if you like your newsletter, you can subscribe to it here: http://bit.ly/1NxxW2N.

Write us with tips, suggestions and news: slane@thehill.com, vneedham@thehill.com, njagoda@thehill.com and nelis@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @SylvanLane, @VickofTheHill, @NJagoda and @NivElis.

 

THE BIG DEAL--ABC: Cohen questioned for hours in Mueller probe about Trump's dealings with Russia: President TrumpDonald John TrumpPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Trump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax MORE's former longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen has reportedly been questioned about Trump's dealings with Russia by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump MORE's team in a series of interviews in recent weeks.

ABC News reported Thursday that Cohen has sat for hours of interviews with Mueller's team, saying they have mainly focused on Trump's financial and business dealings with Russia and Moscow's meddling in the 2016 election.

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Cohen pleaded guilty last month in federal court in Manhattan to bank and tax fraud, as well as campaign finance law violations relating to payments to buy the silence of two women claiming they had affairs with Trump in 2006. Cohen told the court that he violated campaign finance laws at Trump's direction.

ABC reported that Cohen voluntarily agreed to sit for the interviews, which took place both in Washington, D.C., and New York. Prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York -- where Cohen pleaded guilty -- also attended some of the interviews

 

LEADING THE DAY

Trump touts economy: If you're not happy in your current job, 'start looking' President Trump on Thursday encouraged Americans to start looking for new jobs if they are unhappy with their current position, pointing to the strength of the economy.

"Financial and jobs numbers are fantastic. There are plenty of new, high paying jobs available in our great and very vibrant economy," Trump wrote on Twitter.

"If you are not happy where you are, start looking - but also remember, our economy is only getting better. Vote in Midterms!" he added.

Trump has frequently touted the strength of the economy on Twitter and in speeches, citing unemployment near record lows, and a boon in job openings. U.S. job openings in July rose to a record high while the number of people who quit their jobs rose to the highest level in 17 years, the Labor Department reported earlier this month. Job postings exceeded the number of unemployed people by 659,000 in July, the most since 2000.

The GOP is betting on the strong economy to sustain their House and Senate majorities in the upcoming midterm elections, hoping to paper over the myriad scandals and crises of the past two years.

 

GOP poll shows bleak voter view of tax cuts: A poll commissioned by the Republican National Committee found that President Trump's tax law is backfiring for the GOP, with most voters saying it benefits corporations and wealthy individuals more than the middle class.

The poll, which Bloomberg obtained and reported on Thursday, comes weeks before the midterm elections. Republicans had been hoping that the tax cuts would benefit them in the upcoming contests, but the report on the survey says that the GOP has "lost the messaging battle on the issue."

The survey, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, found that 61 percent of participants said that the law helps corporations and the wealthy more than the middle class, while 30 percent said the opposite

 

US sanctions Chinese military firm for buying Russian jets: The Trump administration on Thursday targeted a Chinese military organization and its leader over its purchases of fighter jets and missiles from the Kremlin.

The State Department announced that it had imposed financial restrictions on China's Equipment Development Department (EDD) and its director, Li Shangfu under a Russian sanctions law passed by Congress last year.

The law, known as the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), mandates financial penalties for any person or firm that engages in significant financial transactions with Russian military entities.

EDD and Shangfu were targeted for purchases of Su-35 combat aircraft and equipment for S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia in late 2017 and early 2018, the State Department said.

A first for everything: The designations of EDD and Shangfu mark the first time that the Trump administration has targeted a non-Russian person or entity for violating sanctions meant to punish the Kremlin.

While EDD is a major component of the Chinese military, the State Department official said that administration wants "to emphasize that the ultimate target of these sanctions is Russia" and "are not intended to undermine the defense capabilities of any particular country."

Plenty to go around: The Treasury Department also announced Thursday that it had added 33 Russian nationals and firms connected to the Kremlin's military and intelligence operations to its list of individuals sanctioned under CAATSA. All 33 listed Russians had been subject to financial sanctions under other laws and orders, and include the 25 persons and entities indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller.

 

THE HILL EVENT: Join us Thursday, Sept. 27 for "The Hill's Newsmakers Series" as Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinWorld Bank approves billion-plus annual China lending plan despite US objections On The Money: Congress races to beat deadline on shutdown | Trump asks Supreme Court to shield financial records from House Democrats | House passes bill to explicitly ban insider trading Hillicon Valley: Pelosi works to remove legal protections for tech companies from USMCA | Treasury sanctions Russian group over 0 million hack | Facebook sues Chinese individuals for ad fraud | Huawei takes legal action against FCC MORE sits down for a one-on-one interview with Editor-in-Chief Bob Cusack to discuss the state of the economy, the new tax law, trade issues and other news of the day. RSVP Here.

 

 GOOD TO KNOW

ODDS AND ENDS

 

OTM EXTRA: Female mayors from around the nation are in Washington, D.C. to press their agenda, The Hill's Kenna Sturgeon reports.

On Wednesday night, the National League of Cities held an event to highlight their issues and prep for meetings with policy makers and a visit to the White House.

Mayors were briefed on key issues for building telecom networks and infrastructure, their top issues.

Brittney Kohler, program director for transportation and infrastructure at the National League of Cities said that President Trump's plans for a massive infrastructure bill "were derailed," but that there was hope lawmakers would revisit the issue in the future.

Kohler said there were four main elements to the infrastructure effort, water, transportation, workforce and broadband. She told the mayors that workforce is the most important element now because cities are struggling to find workers to fill jobs.

Carolyn Berndt, the NCL's sustainability program director, briefed the mayors on telecom policy.

Berndt highlighted a growing fight over wireless technology, in particular a Senate bill, the STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act, which supporters say would make it easier to deploy faster 5G broadband networks. But critics worry the bill will limit city governments from regulating or building their own networks.

The briefing was intended to prepare the visiting mayors for a Thursday visit to the White House where they will meet with officials including senior adviser Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayOvernight Health Care: House to vote next week on drug prices bill | Conway says Trump trying to find 'balance' on youth vaping | US spent trillion on hospitals in 2018 White House adopts confident tone after Pelosi signals go on impeachment Conway: Trump trying to find 'balance' on youth vaping issue MORE; deputy director of the White House National Economic Council Shahira Knight; and Mercedes Schlapp, White House director of strategic communications.