Russia Russia Russia
What came out yesterday? Even MORE evidence of obstruction of justice:
The president also pressed his attorney general and FBI director to work more aggressively to uncover derogatory information within the FBI’s files to turn over to congressional Republicans working to discredit the two FBI officials, according to the same sources.
The very next day, Trump met Sessions again, this time without Wray present, and even more aggressively advocated that Strzok and Page be fired, the sources said.
Trump’s efforts to discredit Strzok and Page came after Trump was advised last summer by his then-criminal defense attorney John Dowd that Page was a likely witness against him in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump obstructed justice, according to two senior administration officials. That Trump knew that Page might be a potential witness against him has not been previously reported or publicly known.
Think about that. It seems stunning to me on a few counts. First, it is more evidence of obstruction of justice. Trump KNEW that Page might be a witness and he asked people to find incriminating evidence against her! And to try to get her fired and discredited.
Also… how do we know this? The second meeting sounds like it was just Trump, and Sessions and know about it. That seems important too. Remember, these people are all talking to Mueller. What is each of them telling him? How much of this damning info is out there? What has Sessions told Mueller?
The effort to discredit Strzok and Page has been part of a broader effort by Trump and his allies to discredit and even fire FBI officials who they believe will be damaging witnesses against the president in Mueller’s obstruction of justice probe.
The Democratic party is all over this which is GREAT!:
The Democratic National Committee filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit Friday against the Russian government, the Trump campaign and the WikiLeaks organization alleging a far-reaching conspiracy to disrupt the 2016 campaign and tilt the election to Donald Trump.
The complaint, filed in federal district court in Manhattan, alleges that top Trump campaign officials conspired with the Russian government and its military spy agency to hurt Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and help Trump by hacking the computer networks of the Democratic Party and disseminating stolen material found there.
“During the 2016 presidential campaign, Russia launched an all-out assault on our democracy, and it found a willing and active partner in Donald Trump’s campaign,” DNC Chairman Tom Perez said in a statement.
“This constituted an act of unprecedented treachery: the campaign of a nominee for President of the United States in league with a hostile foreign power to bolster its own chance to win the presidency,” he said.
This is clever and right… and has been done before:
The lawsuit echoes a similar legal tactic that the Democratic Party used during the Watergate scandal. In 1972, the DNC filed suit against former president Richard Nixon’s reelection committee seeking $1 million in damages for the break-in at Democratic headquarters in the Watergate building.
The suit was denounced at the time by Nixon’s Attorney General, John Mitchell, who called it a case of “sheer demagoguery” by the DNC. But the civil action brought by former DNC chair Lawrence F. O’Brien was ultimately successful, yielding a $750,000 settlement from the Nixon campaign that was reached on the day in 1974 that Nixon left office.
Who are they suing?
The suit does not name Trump as a defendant. Instead, it targets various Trump aides who met with people believed to be affiliated with Russia during the campaign, including the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., his son-in-law Jared Kushner, his campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Manafort’s deputy, Rick Gates.
The DNC lawsuit also names as a defendant the Russian military intelligence service, the GRU, which has been accused by the U.S. government of orchestrating the hacks, as well as WikiLeaks, which published the DNC’s stolen emails, and the group’s founder Julian Assange.
The lawsuit was also filed against Roger Stone, the longtime Trump confidante who claimed during the campaign that he was in contact with Assange.
Kind of hard to know what the Republicans were thinking when they asked for the Comey memo to be released. They are trying to spin it as a win for Trump, but it most assuredly is not.
They are saying it is a win because Comey never says in his notes that he thought Trump was obstructing justice. Uh, that doesn’t matter at all. These notes are not about what Comey thought or didn’t think (that came later) the notes were just an attempt to get everything down on paper because it all felt so weird and wrong to him. And yes, obstructiony. But notes like that wouldn’t SAY the conclusion. They are a G-man’s observations. So, this is not a real thing.
I think they are also claiming this is good because Comey never says that Trump told him to end the Russia investigation. Again, this is not a thing. Comey’s claim was that Trump asked him to lay off Flynn.
They are trying to say he leaked classified info since some info might have been classified afterward… not that compelling either.
Instead, these memos show a president obsessed with Russia, his image, and pee pee tapes. Not a pretty picture. And they bring more and more days of headlines about that to the forefront.
Whatever the House Republicans thought they were doing, the release of the memos confirm (at least) four things: Trump tried to lean on Comey in inappropriate ways designed to interfere with the normal operation of the criminal-justice system; Trump is every bit as irrational and unhinged in private as we suspect; Trump is frightened that the salacious dossier allegations might be proved true; and Trump cares not at all about protecting American democracy. Great work there, congressmen.
Oh, and here is another telling revelation in the Comey memos
Once again, House Republicans have carefully laid a rake on the ground, dramatically brought their foot down on it and smashed themselves in the face. I speak, of course, about the release of the memos that then-FBI director James B. Comey wrote in early 2017 describing his meetings with President Trump and other administration officials.
Those memos have raised a whole new set of very uncomfortable questions for the president. I want to focus on one of those questions, a new twist involving former chief of staff Reince Priebus and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Why is that? well…
What’s new here is Priebus’s involvement. The fact that he asked Comey on Feb. 8 about whether Flynn was under surveillance suggests he may have had reason to believe that Flynn’s transgressions were more serious than just lying to Pence.
If that’s true, then the chances that Trump didn’t know that Flynn had done something extremely serious are shrinking. The White House counsel reportedly knew that Flynn lied to the FBI. The White House chief of staff saw fit to ask the FBI director whether Flynn was under surveillance, from which he very well might have concluded something similar. And after all that, Trump asked Comey to let Flynn go.
Why is that important? If he KNEW Flynn broke a law then asking Comey to lay off it some serious obstruction of justice. Will this ever come out? This article thinks that it will:
Robert S. Mueller III’s team interviewed Priebus in October, and you can bet they were extremely interested to find out what Priebus knew and what he told the president. And Flynn has flipped and is cooperating with Mueller. One way or another, the truth is going to come out.
Adding to Trump’s worries: Cohen:
Federal prosecutors can dog him for the rest of his presidency, and he has no power to fire them.
Make no mistake: The presidency of Donald Trump has hit a major inflection point with the investigation of his personal lawyer Michael Cohen by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York.
Now, however, the Southern District can investigate potential Trump crimes in any area connected to Cohen, a fixer who is known to have arranged payoffs to an adult film star who says she had an affair with Trump. These prosecutors can go back as far as they want before the election, not to mention during and after it.
And there’s essentially nothing Trump can do about it. He can’t fire the career civil servant prosecutors who are now on the job. And practically, he can’t order the Southern District to stop investigating him, because such an order would likely be construed by the prosecutors there as a criminal obstruction of justice.
The upshot is that if it’s accurate, as it has been reported, that Trump is more worried about the Cohen investigation than the Mueller one, he’s not wrong.
And more and more stories are coming out about how Cohen will turn on Trump if faced with real hard time. For example:
For years, a joke among Trump Tower employees was that the boss was like Manhattan’s First Avenue, where the traffic goes only one way.
That one-sidedness has always been at the heart of President Trump’s relationship with his longtime lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, who has said he would “take a bullet” for Mr. Trump. For years Mr. Trump treated Mr. Cohen poorly, with gratuitous insults, dismissive statements and, at least twice, threats of being fired, according to interviews with a half-dozen people familiar with their relationship.
That this is coming out right now: meaningful. It even hints that Cohen himself is feeling this one-sided-ness.
since the raid Mr. Cohen has told associates he feels isolated.
Should have been a little nicer to Mike, huh Donnie? Maybe also done a little less crime-ing too, huh Donnie?
Despite being a cowardly, bullying criminal, we’ll be your friends, Mike, if you just… flip on the Donald!
And it sounds like criminal charges are very likely to come: Judge on Cohen Raids: Likely There is ‘Criminal Action to Follow’
U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero said Friday that the FBI’s raid on the home and office of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, could result in a criminal charges, according to the Los Angeles Times. “It is substantially likely there is going to be criminal action to follow,” Otero said during a hearing in Los Angeles
And Cohen isn’t just facing federal charges that Trump could pardon his way out of. NYS is already making some moves: Michael Cohen’s Other Woe: Mounting Unpaid Taxes on New York Cabs
Taxicab companies owned by Michael Cohen or family members just got hit with nearly $80,000 in new claims for unpaid taxes, according to records filed in New York.
The bills show the declining fortunes of some companies linked to Cohen, the longtime personal lawyer to President Donald Trump. Cohen is under a federal criminal investigation into his business and financial dealings that broke into the open this month with FBI raids on his office and residences. All the parties involved are now jostling over how that evidence will be used.
Oh and remember the ENORMOUS allegation in an article that Cohen went to Prague which would be HUGE given that it would support the biggest unsupported contention of the Steele Dossier and totally tie the highest level of this to conspiracy? Remember that? Well check this out:
This report claimed that Cohen, Trump’s well-known fixer, had secretly met with Russian officials in an EU country that August. The next day, Steele sent Fusion GPS a new memo noting this Kremlin insider source had said the supposed Cohen meeting had taken place in Prague.
Cohen revived his denial. He tweeted, “Bad reporting, bad information and bad story by same reporter Peter Stone @McClatchyDC. No matter how many times or ways they write it, I have never been to Prague. I was in LA with my son. Proven!”
What was interesting (at least to me) was Cohen’s claim that he had never—never ever—been to Prague.
While pursuing that angle, I called Cohen. He insisted that there had been no trip to Prague and that he had met with no Russians during the campaign.
This week I reviewed my notes from that phone call. Here’s the direct quote from Cohen: “I haven’t been to Prague in 14 years. I was in Prague for one afternoon 14 years ago.”
What’s notable? In that conversation, Cohen acknowledged he had once been to Prague—but a long time ago. In his recent denial, Cohen, whose home and office were raided last week by FBI agents seeking records related to the Stormy Daniels case and other matters (including taxi medallions), asserted he had “never” been to Prague. How significant is this discrepancy? There is no telling. But it is an inconsistency. Cohen’s lead lawyer could not be reached for a comment.
Sort of like this inconsistency about an important night:
And in a memo Comey wrote following a January 28, 2017, meeting with Trump—which was leaked on Thursday night—Comey noted that Trump had told him he had “spoken to people who had been on the Miss Universe trip with him and they had reminded him that he didn’t stay over night in Russia for that.”
Yet Trump did indeed stay in the hotel that night. In our new book, Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump, Michael Isikoff and I detail Trump’s itinerary in Moscow during that visit, which lasted two days and one night. In fact, Trump’s longtime bodyguard Keith Schiller has told congressional investigators that he escorted Trump to his hotel room that particular night. There is no doubt Trump was in the hotel that evening. Yet he told Comey he wasn’t? That seems odd. Especially for the man who says he has “one of the great memories of all time.”
None of this means that either the Prague or prostitutes allegation is true. But why can’t Cohen and Trump get their respective stories straight?
Most business executives tend to be lawyer-dependent, but for the better part of 50 years, lawyers have done everything for Trump except have his children. They have finagled unprecedented tax abatements, kept him going through multiple corporate bankruptcies (and out of personal bankruptcy), protected his finances from public scrutiny. They are so entwined with every aspect of his public and private life, it is unimaginable that Trump could have gotten anywhere close to where he is today without them. But now, in the aftermath of the FBI raid on the offices and residences of his most prominent personal attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen—he of the $130,000 pre-election payment to the porn star—the same techniques that Trump’s lawyers have employed for decades to smooth his business path are the very things that threaten to blow holes in his still-young political career. For perhaps the first time in his life, a lawyer has become Trump’s biggest problem—instead of his salvation.
And now a lawyer has turned on him: Stormy Daniels’s former lawyer said to be cooperating with the federal probe of Michael Cohen
Keith Davidson, the former attorney for two women who were paid to keep quiet about their alleged affairs with Donald Trump, has been contacted by federal authorities investigating Trump attorney Michael Cohen and is cooperating with them, a spokesman for Davidson confirmed.
Davidson was asked to provide “certain limited electronic information” for the probe led by prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, spokesman Dave Wedge said. “He has done so and will continue to cooperate to the fullest extent possible under the law,” Wedge said in a statement Friday.
That is super bad news for Cohen, and thus for Trump.
Speaking of lawyers, no one reputable it willing to take on his case despite them trying and trying. So look who he is reduced to: hiring Giuliani.
Bringing Rudy Giuliani on to President Donald Trump’s legal team all but guarantees the White House circus becomes a three-ring affair.
While the ex-New York mayor says he’ll have a “limited role” and that Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation “needs a little push,” history shows Trump surrounds himself with loyalists when the end is near. Giuliani’s arrival signals that something darker — perhaps something worse than the Mueller probe — could be lurking around the corner.You don’t call Rudy Giuliani when things are merely awful: His phone rings when the alternative is complete catastrophe.
And he is losing it from this. Middle of the night he tweeted out this crazy:
James Comey illegally leaked classified documents to the press in order to generate a Special Council? Therefore, the Special Council was established based on an illegal act? Really, does everybody know what that means?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2018
LoL. First, what is a Special Council? Second, why is the president unable to learn how to spell basic words? Third, if he starts rage tweeting at 6 AM and is still rage tweeting at 11 PM, when is sleepy time? Fourth, why is this phrased in terms of questions? Is he genuinely asking us to explain this to him?
I’d almost feel bad for him except…. nah, I’ll never feel bad for him. ????
Everyone Hates Trump
He is not the only one refusing to answer that question. LoL. They hate him too. remember that: his support seems strong, but it is just because they are scared for their jobs. His support is *thin*.
Some of the lawmakers who went on the record with reporter Manu Raju tried to avoid the question of endorsing Trump in two years.
“I don’t know what the world is going to look like,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said. “But let’s say it’s not something I’ve given any thought to.”
“Look, I’m focused on opioids,” Senator Lamar Alexander said.
Others suggested that Trump, who filed 2020 campaign paperwork on the day he was inaugurated, might not be even be running.
“We need to make sure that he’s actually moving forward and wants to go after this,” Representative Bill Huizenga said.
Hee Hee. They hate him!
We Have Great Allies
I say “We Have Great Allies” a lot in here as a headline and I want to make something clear: by “great” I do not mean that they are all awesome people who I agree with on everything and would want to hang out with. Indeed, some of them suck in most every way. But what is important is how they do not suck: they see the huge threat to our democratic principles and foundation that is Trump and his gang of thieves and they are willing to stand up and fight. So they are great allies to us now in this important battle for our nation’s soul. And I think we should take them, flaws and all. We can go back to fighting when this whole thing is over ????
to react to Comey’s charges against Trump with a comprehensive assessment of his entire career is to miss the point. James Comey is a critical figure of our time not because of any particular decision, right or wrong, that he made during his tenure in government. He’s important because he exemplifies values — most of all, the pursuit of institutional independence and autonomy — whose presence among career officials safeguards the United States against the threat of systemic corruption.
The greatest safeguard we have against the dangers of Trump’s highly personalized style of leadership and frequently expressed desire to reshape all institutions to serve his personal goal is that officials and bureaucrats have the power to say no. Comey, whatever else he did, said no to his boss and was fired for his trouble. America needs more government officials who are willing to take that stand. In many ways, Comey is not the hero the United States deserves. But in a critical moment, he may be the hero we need.
Also: this asshole → Sessions told White House that Rosenstein’s firing could prompt his departure, too
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently told the White House he might have to leave his job if President Trump fired his deputy, Rod J. Rosenstein, who oversees the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to people familiar with the exchange.
Sessions made his position known in a phone call to White House counsel Donald McGahn last weekend, as Trump’s fury at Rosenstein peaked after the deputy attorney general approved the FBI’s raid April 9 on the president’s personal attorney Michael Cohen.
Sessions’s message to the White House, which has not previously been reported, underscores the political firestorm that Trump would invite should he attempt to remove the deputy attorney general. While Trump also has railed against Sessions at times, the protest resignation of an attorney general — which would be likely to incite other departures within the administration — would create a moment of profound crisis for the White House.
I hate Sessions with the passion of a thousand suns. *BUT* I am grateful that he is working to keep Rosenstein in his job.
Great Election News
House Republicans told themselves 2018 would be better after getting swamped by Democratic cash in 2017. But Republican incumbents are actually in worse financial shape now than at the end of last year.
A whopping 43 House Republicans raised less money than Democratic challengers in the first three months of 2018 — nearly the same number of stragglers the GOP had at the end of last year, according to POLITICO’s analysis of the latest Federal Election Commission filings. An overlapping group of 16 Republican incumbents already have less cash on hand than Democratic challengers, up from the end of 2017, despite hopes that tax reform would open more donor wallets.
It’s another bad omen for the GOP’s hopes of holding the House. ‘Some people just can’t be saved,’ says one strategist
Great Judicial News
Huge news with Gorsuch giving Trump an immigration defeat!
Gorsuch was the tie breaking vote by joining all of the liberal justices in handing Trump and the conservative justices a defeat on immigration anddeportation this morning. Case is Sessions v. Dimaya, 15-1498.
SCOTUS first heard this case in January 2017 but deadlocked when there were only 8 Justices because Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat had not yet been filled — because Senate Republicans would not even hold a hearing for Pres Obama’s nominee — Merrick Garland.
SCOTUS heard this case again after Justice Gorsuch was confirmed. Today, SCOTUS ruled against the Trump Administration in a 5-4 vote with Gorsuch voting with Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan .
The Court today ruled that part of a federal law that makes it easier to deport immigrants convicted of crimes is too vague.
This is amazing news for a bunch of reasons. First, the decision itself is great. It stands up for the most vulnerable amongst us and confirms our democratic principles. In addition, it shows that Gorsuch can be independent and is not just a thoughtless vote for the right (looking at you, Thomas!) That is AMAZING. I don’t think this means he will vote with us all the time but that he might EVER is wonderful. Also, word is he is super pissed off at Trump and that always makes me happy ????
Until recently, communities suing fossil fuel companies over the costs of climate change have been located on the coasts: cities and counties in California, and New York City. But now, the litigation has jumped inland.
Boulder and San Miguel Counties in Colorado, along with the city of Boulder, filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against two oil companies, Exxon Mobil and Suncor Energy, the Canadian giant. The suit, filed in state court, argues that fossil fuels sold by the companies contribute to climate change, which in turn has exacerbated wildfires, droughts, severe storms and other symptoms of a warming planet that have far-ranging effects on agriculture and tourism.
The conservative-leaning Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which hears federal appeals from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, isn’t usually the source of good news. But on Wednesday, the Sixth Circuit came through: It nixed an Ohio law aimed at crippling Planned Parenthood.
In 2016, Republican Gov. John Kasich signed a bill to strip Planned Parenthood centers of non-abortion related funding—the kind of funding that supports “programs for mothers’ and infants’ health, HIV counseling and testing, and sex education.” The law would have cost Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio and Southwest Ohio nearly $1.5 million in annual funding.
Fun Fact: Planned Parenthood has over twice the number of members as the NRA. We are the majority! Don’t let them make you forget that. In these times, it is easy to feel outnumbered, but we make up the heart and mind of this country!
federal judge in D.C. ruled Thursday that the Trump administration’s cuts to the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program were unlawful.
Last summer, the administration notified 81 organizations that their five-year grants through the program would end in 2018, rather than in 2020, prompting multiple lawsuits.
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson ruled in one of those cases Thursday, ordering the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to accept and process applications of four grantees as if they had not been terminated.
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court ruling, thereby preventing the Trump administration from denying grant funds to sanctuary cities nationwide.
A federal appeals court on Thursday ruled that local governments nationwide don’t need to provide certain types of help to federal immigration authorities in order to get millions of dollars in federal grants.
The ruling is a blow to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Justice Department, which had attempted to coerce so-called sanctuary jurisdictions into helping the Trump administration’s immigration agenda.
Stormy Daniels plans to sue Donald Trump for defamation after the president called a forensic sketch of a man who allegedly threatened her a “total con job.”
Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, vowed to file the defamation claim “in short order” following a hearing in Los Angeles federal court on Friday.
“I fully anticipate that we will be amending this complaint in short order, or filing a separate action against Mr. Trump for his defamatory, outrageous statements made earlier this week where he effectively called my client a liar and stated that she was trying to pull a con on the American people,” Avenatti said.
“I very much look forward to placing Mr. Trump under oath and asking him about the basis for those outlandish, outrageous, baseless statements,” he added.
Bad News For Bad Guys
Eight months after a white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville ended in the death of a counterprotester, the loose collection of disaffected young white men known as the alt-right is in disarray.
The problems have been mounting: lawsuits and arrests, fundraising difficulties, tepid recruitment, widespread infighting, fierce counterprotests, and banishment from social media platforms. Taken together, they’ve exhausted even some of the staunchest members.
One of the movement’s biggest groups, the Traditionalist Worker Party, dissolved in March. Andrew Anglin, founder of the Daily Stormer, the largest alt-right website, has gone into hiding, chased by a harassment lawsuit. And Richard Spencer, the alt-right’s most public figure, canceled a college speaking tour and was abandoned by his attorney last month.
“Things have become a lot harder, and we paid a price for what happened in Charlottesville. . . . The question is whether there is going to be a third act,” said Spencer
“Imploding” is how Beirich now describes the alt-right. “The self-inflicted damage, the defections, the infighting is so rampant, it’s to the point of almost being pathetic.”
Hatred is still a huge problem here and in the world and we still need to be vigilant. These problems don’t mean these men will just go away — they won’t. BUT it is still great news that they are having so many setbacks!
That is it for today. Damn, kind of a lot right?!?! Remember, all this good news comes from our hard work. Keep calling, keep writing, keep donating, and get to work registering some voters!
Have a great weekend everyone. I am so proud and lucky to be in this with all of you ❤️ ✊ ❤️