Russia Russia Russia
The F.B.I. raided the office and hotel room of President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, on Monday, seizing business records, emails and documents related to several topics, including payments to a pornographic film actress.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating Mr. Cohen for possible bank fraud, and the documents identified in the warrant date back years, according to a person briefed on the search.
The prosecutors obtained the search warrant after receiving a referral from the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III
The searches open a new front for the Justice Department in its scrutiny of Mr. Trump and his associates: His longtime lawyer is being investigated in Manhattan; his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is facing scrutiny by prosecutors in Brooklyn; his campaign chairman is under indictment; his former national security adviser has pleaded guilty to lying; and a pair of former campaign aides are cooperating with Mr. Mueller. Mr. Mueller, meanwhile, wants to interview Mr. Trump about possible obstruction of justice.
The search is an aggressive move for the Justice Department, which normally relies on grand jury subpoenas to obtain records from people who are represented by lawyers and are cooperating with authorities. Search warrants are more often used in cases in which prosecutors do not trust people to preserve or turn over the records themselves. Justice Department rules require prosecutors to first consider less intrusive alternatives before seeking records from lawyers.
I bolded that because DAMN — kind of looks like a lot when you write it all out huh? ????
Michael Cohen, the longtime attorney of President Trump, is under federal investigation for possible bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations, according to a person with knowledge of the case.
Investigators took Cohen’s computer, phone and personal financial records as part of the search of his office at Rockefeller Center, the second person said.
catch that? they searched his home, office, AND hotel and took his computer, PHONE and personal financial records. Other reports show they have his communications with Trump. Y’all that is BIG!
In particular because this isn’t just his lawyer, he is his “fixer”
When your lawyers need lawyers, it’s usually a bad sign. When your lawyers have their offices and homes raided, it’s a really bad sign. News that federal investigators on Monday took the extraordinary step of executing a search warrant at the legal office of Michael Cohen, President Trump’s longtime personal attorney, indicates that Cohen is suddenly in serious legal jeopardy of his own. And although the investigation is not directly related to the Mueller probe, it’s yet another example of the legal walls closing in on one of the people closest to Trump — someone who may have a wealth of information about the president’s own conduct.Cohen, someone extremely close to Trump and who has been known as the president’s “fixer,” appears to have serious legal problems. If federal prosecutors feel they have enough on you to execute a search warrant, it’s never a good sign — just ask Paul Manafort. And to the extent that Cohen, part of Trump’s innermost circle, might have knowledge relevant to Mueller’s inquiry, we can’t rule out the possibility that his own legal troubles could induce him to cooperate in the Russia investigation.Hold on tight — it’s only Monday.
Michael D. Cohen sums up his extraordinary closeness with President Trump in one word: “Loyalty.”
After setting up a committee in 2011 designed to boost the possibility of a Trump presidential bid, he described his role as “fixer” in this way: “It means that if somebody does something Mr. Trump doesn’t like, I do everything in my power to resolve it to Mr. Trump’s benefit. If you do something wrong, I’m going to come at you, grab you by the neck and I’m not going to let you go until I’m finished.”
Loyalty, he has said, spurred him to regularly threaten lawsuits against those he perceived as threats to Trump. Loyalty, he said, prompted him to use a home equity line of credit to finance a payment of $130,000 to adult-film star Stormy Daniels for her silence.
He even compared himself on Twitter to Ray Donovan, the fictional television character who goes to whatever lengths necessary to fix problems for the moguls he serves.
what kind of fixing? all of it:
He was Trump’s liaison on a number of deals around the world, including in the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Kazakhstan.
Early last year, Cohen went beyond his usual role and took part in a fleeting discussion of a peace planbetween Russia and Ukraine that could have enabled Trump to lift sanctions on Russia. Cohen has said he threw away the plan, given to him by a former Trump business partner.
Cohen, meanwhile, was busy handling a number of potential threats to Trump. Karen McDougal, a former Playboy playmate who said she had an affair with Trump in 2006, said she sold her story to the National Enquirer, which did not publish it. McDougal said in a lawsuit that the Enquirer’s parent company, American Media “worked secretly with Mr. Trump’s personal ‘fixer,’ — Cohen — to suppress her story.
However, the payment to Stormy Daniels thrust Cohen into the full glare of scrutiny
I am sure a million interesting articles will be written about all this AS THEY SHOULD. But y’all…. This is a big F-ing deal. They got EVERYTHING from Cohen — from his house, his hotel, his business and, from what I understand, the guy who gave the warrant to do it was one of those guys Trump handpicked so you know they had to have reason to suspect something to allow this level of search. AND word is people at the WH are freaking out about this like nothing else has freaked them out so far, which makes it also seem like this could lead to Trump in big ways AND Daniel’s lawyer said that he is sure Cohen will fold and turn on Trump which would be AWESOME.
So BIG BIG BIG news!
Here is the meme I stole my headline from. Not sure who made it, but I love whomever it was ❤️
more Russia news:
The special counsel is investigating a payment made to President Trump’s foundation by a Ukrainian steel magnate for a talk during the campaign, according to three people briefed on the matter, as part of a broader examination of streams of foreign money to Mr. Trump and his associates in the years leading up to the election.
Investigators subpoenaed the Trump Organization this year for an array of records about business with foreign nationals. In response, the company handed over documents about a $150,000 donation that the Ukrainian billionaire, Victor Pinchuk, made in September 2015 to the Donald J. Trump Foundation in exchange for a 20-minute appearance by Mr. Trump that month through a video link to a conference in Kiev.
Michael D. Cohen, the president’s personal lawyer whose office and hotel room were raided on Monday in an apparently unrelated case, solicited the donation. The contribution from Mr. Pinchuk, who has sought closer ties for Ukraine to the West, was the largest the foundation received in 2015 from anyone besides Mr. Trump himself.
The subpoena is among signs in recent months that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is interested in interactions that Mr. Trump or his associates had with countries beyond Russia, though it is not clear what other payments he is scrutinizing.
Roger Stone, a longtime associate of President Donald Trump, said he knew the date of upcoming WikiLeaks disclosures in October 2016, despite claiming on Friday in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper that he didn’t.“I had no advanced notice of the content source or exact timing of the WikiLeaks disclosures including the allegedly hacked emails,” Stone said on CNN. “I never received anything whatsoever from WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, anyone associated with them, or anyone else, including allegedly hacked emails, and passed them onto Donald Trump.”Those comments stand in sharp contrast with ones he made on the October 2, 2016, episode of InfoWars’ radio show, to discuss a tweet he had sent a day earlier that read, “Wednesday @HillaryClinton is done. #Wikileaks.”Now, an intermediary met with him (Assange) in London recently — who is a friend of mine and a friend of his, a believer in freedom,” Stone said. “I am assured that the motherlode is coming Wednesday. It wouldn’t be an October surprise if I told you what it was, but I have reason to believe that it is devastating because people with political judgment who are aware of the subject matter tell me this. So right now, you see a terrible scrambling by the Clintonites to attempt to discredit Assange, to try to soften the blow.”
Great Election News
Democrats are gearing up to make the culture of corruption President Donald Trump and his allies in Congress have brought to Washington, DC a major theme of the 2018 midterm elections.
Trump himself (favorability, 40 percent) will surely play a starring role in that campaign, as will supporting characters like EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who is amassing corruption scandals at a record-breaking clip, and Republicans in Congress, who refuse to conduct appropriate oversight.
But Republican complicity in the culture of corruption isn’t limited to turning a blind eye to the goings on in the executive branch. To the contrary, the GOP’s signature legislative accomplishment in the Trump era is an artifact of the deep rot of corruption running through Republican politics writ large, and there are new indications that the Democratic Party is prepared to extend the corruption case beyond Trump and his cabinet secretaries to the people who will actually face voters in November.
In a new memorandum scheduled for wide release this week, the Center for American Progress Action Fund—the advocacy arm of the influential Democratic think tank—explores the self-dealing nature of the GOP’s corporate tax cut law, which Republicans enacted in historically opaque fashion late last year.
The memo, provided exclusively to Crooked.com, details how a specific measure in the bill, which was seemingly critical to securing its passage, enriched key Republicans in Congress, some to the tune of hundreds of thousands, or millions of dollars a year, and provides credible estimates of the value of that provision to specific members.
This is a very smart strategy. You can’t run on just how awful Trump is (although frankly, that is enough for me!) I am glad to hear that Democrats have a winning strategy. Speaking of that:
Hundreds of Democratic candidates at different levels are expected to attend a training session next week where they’ll be told that running on policies like Medicare for all and debt-free college are strong ways to run in purple and red districts across the country.
“There’s lots of energy surrounding the resistance and people have decided to get off the bench to run for office,” said Stephanie Taylor, the cofounder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which is holding the program in Washington. “We’re helping these people build the infrastructure they need to win.”
The training comes at a time when a surge of progressive grassroots energy has helped the Democratic Party make inroads in elections that should have easily been won by Republicans in typical years. But these aren’t typical circumstances and the successes the party’s celebrating in races in Virginia, Alabama, and Pennsylvania are accompanied by strenuous intra-party fights that have bubbled to the surface over what kinds of candidates and messages Democrats should be pushing to flip the House seats in congressional districts that lean conservative.
PCCC officials point to candidates like the recently successful Conor Lamb, or like Randy Bryce, the Wisconsin ironworker who’s running to challenge House Speaker Paul Ryan, as examples that Democrats don’t have to shy away from progressive values to gain support or even win in tough districts.
And the Republicans are helping by running like rats deserting a treasonous ship….
Republican House members are leaving Congress at the fastest pace in modern history, according to elections data compiled by Daily Kos.
So far, 37 House Republicans have announced they are retiring, running for another office or resigning outright. Such an exodus usually precedes the beginning of every primary season, but this year is shaping up to break records.
“This is more Republican retirements than any year since at least 1952 (and possibly much earlier than that),” Daily Kos Elections editor Daniel Donner tweeted last week.
By contrast, the comparable number for House Democrats totals 18.
Meanwhile Democrats are running in more races than ever:
Tennessee Democrats are running candidates in 112 out of the state’s 117 legislative districts in an attempt to retake seats in a state legislature dominated by Republicans.
Ninety-seven Democratic candidates are running for state House seats and 15 for Senate seats, according to a statement from the Tennessee Democratic party.
This marks the lowest number of races that will go uncontested in any recent election in Tennessee.
And their strategies of fear and outrage seem to be failing them:
President Trump doubled down last week on his repulsive charge that immigrants from south of our border are “rapists.” It was another sign of what an appalling man he is but also an indication of how much political trouble he faces.
Trump is a demagogue who relies on the angry energy of his supporters. But he finds himself in an untenable position: No matter how many hot buttons he pushes, he cannot arouse the passion he needs on his own side to counter the determination and engagement of those who loathe him.
The upshot is a vicious cycle that could be disastrous for the Republican Party this fall. So far, Trump has failed to stir his base, but he has become, unintentionally, one of the most effective organizers of progressive activism and commitment in the country’s history.
And we are peeling off their voters:
Older, white, educated voters helped Donald Trump win the White House in 2016. Now, they are trending toward Democrats in such numbers that their ballots could tip the scales in tight congressional races from New Jersey to California, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll and a data analysis of competitive districts shows.
and they are left with that hot mess at the top of their party:
Republican lawmakers are returning to Washington this week with their eyes focused on an escalating trade war with China that has roiled the stock market and put them on edge over the economy and this fall’s midterms.
The Arc of Justice
The tactics used by anti-transgender groups—as well as their fixation on transgender people—have never been more transparent, and voters across the country are rejecting them.
U.S. District Judge Mark E. Walker has had it, officially.
In a searing clapback of the kind usually reserved for especially trifling people, Walker struck down a challenge from Gov. Rick Scott’s administration against overhauling Florida’s controversial voting rights restoration process for former felons.
“Rather than comply with the requirements of the United States Constitution, defendants continue to insist they can do whatever they want with hundreds of thousands of Floridians’ voting rights and absolutely zero standards,” Walker wrote. “They ask this Court to stay its prior orders.”
Adult-film actress Stormy Daniels’s lawyer on Sunday filed a renewed motion to depose President Trump and his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, over a $130,000 payment from Cohen to Daniels before the 2016 election.
Daniels’ legal challenge to a contract made with Cohen’s Essential Consultants LLC for her to stay quiet about an alleged affair with Trump is stunningly strong. Her case rests on the claim that Trump never agreed to the deal, which would mean the contract was never actually formed. Trump’s lack of signature on the contract and his own statements, as well as those of his representatives in the White House and those of Cohen, support that very argument.
Great Allies Abound
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has signed an executive order making data on gun violence more accessible to the public.
The so-called “Name and Shame” order will cite the origin of a gun involved in a crime. According to the state, approximately 80 percent of guns involved in crime come from outside of New Jersey.
Now, New Jersey authorities will identify the origins of those guns involved in crimes. Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, who was elected to replace Republican Chris Christie, touts the order as being in the public interest, saying in a statement, “Any death due to gun violence, is one death too many.”
Caring for migrants and the poor is as holy a pursuit as opposing abortion, Pope Francis declared in a major document issued by the Vatican on Monday morning.
“I’ve seen an attempt, no matter how ham-handed, to collude with a foreign government in our national election. I’ve seen an effort to obstruct justice in the investigation of what happened in the 2016 election,” O’Rourke said on KFYO radio in Lubbock when asked if he thought there was enough evidence to call for the impeachment of the president.
The Democratic lawmaker blasted Trump as lacking the “fitness, or competence or judgment” to serve as president.
Legal experts and White House officials say that in Mr. Pruitt’s haste to undo government rules and in his eagerness to hold high-profile political events promoting his agenda, he has often been less than rigorous in following important procedures, leading to poorly crafted legal efforts that risk being struck down in court.
The result, they say, is that the rollbacks, intended to fulfill one of the president’s central campaign pledges, may ultimately be undercut or reversed.
“In their rush to get things done, they’re failing to dot their i’s and cross their t’s. And they’re starting to stumble over a lot of trip wires,” said Richard Lazarus, a professor of environmental law at Harvard. “They’re producing a lot of short, poorly crafted rulemakings that are not likely to hold up in court.”
Six of Mr. Pruitt’s efforts to delay or roll back Obama-era regulations — on issues including pesticides, lead paint and renewable-fuel requirements — have been struck down by the courts. Mr. Pruitt also backed down on a proposal to delay implementing smog regulations and another to withdraw a regulation on mercury pollution.
So lots of good news today! Very promising stuff going on ❤️