Tuesday Reads: Another Day of Information OverloadPosted: April 10, 2018
I’m illustrating this post with some relaxing photos that you can focus on when it all gets to be too much. Personally, I have a pounding headache after surveying the news this morning, and I need something to help me relax.
Information overload has become the new normal. But can it get even worse? Honestly, I believe it will. Yesterday was a shocking day, but today could easily bring more shocks.
Yesterday the FBI executed no-knock raids on the office, home, and hotel room of Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen; and Trump threw a public tantrum about it.
Michael Cohen, the longtime attorney of President Trump, is under federal investigation for possible bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations, according to three people with knowledge of the case.
FBI agents on Monday raided Cohen’s Manhattan office, home and hotel room as part of the investigation, seizing records about Cohen’s clients and personal finances. Among the records taken were those related to a 2016 payment Cohen made to adult-film star Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had a sexual encounter with Trump, according to a fourth person familiar with the investigation.
In a dramatic and broad seizure, federal prosecutors collected communications between Cohen and his clients — including those between the lawyer and Trump, according to both people.
Some background on Cohen from Trump biographer Michael Kranish at The Washington Post: Trump lawyer Michael Cohen: The loyal ‘fixer’ now under federal scrutiny.
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.
Basically, Cohen is a mafia-type lawyer with one big client, Donald Trump.
Axios describes the Trump tantrum over yesterdays FBI raids: Inside the West Wing with Trump enraged.
What we’re hearing: One of the sources said: “Mueller’s investigation has been drip, drip. This was a giant leap forward … a personal hit. … They were moving in inches. Today, they moved a mile.”
Adam Serwer at The Atlantic: Michael Cohen Has a Big Problem.
Harry Litman at The New York Times: Trump’s One-Night Stand Turns Into a Legal Nightmare.
Rick Wilson at The Daily Beast: FBI Raid on Michael Cohen Is the Most Dangerous Day of Donald Trump’s Life.
Yesterday was also the first day on the job for Trump’s new National Security Adviser John Bolton, who arrived in the midst of a crisis over a gas attack in Syria. This morning, Bolton fired Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert. Business Insider reports:
President Donald Trump’s homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, has been fired from his White House position, Bloomberg’s Jennifer Jacobs reported on Tuesday.
“The president is grateful for Tom’s commitment to the safety and security of our great country,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement confirming Bossert’s departure. “President Trump thanks him for his patriotic service and wishes him well.”
This comes the day after Trump’s new national security adviser, John Bolton, took over as the president’s third national security adviser. Jacobs reported that Bolton asked for Bossert’s resignation, which was reportedly unexpected.
A former deputy homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush, Bossert has been a stalwart defender of the president’s since he joined the administration during the presidential transition, serving as a trusted adviser on terrorism, cybersecurity issues, and natural disasters.
The Cohen raids, obliterated other stories that would have been stunning if they involved a normal president.
PANAMA CITY (AP) — U.S. President Donald Trump’s company appealed directly to Panama’s president to intervene in its fight over control of a luxury hotel, even invoking a treaty between the two countries, in what ethics experts say was a blatant mingling of Trump’s business and government interests.
That appeal in a letter last month from lawyers for the Trump Organization to Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela was apparently unsuccessful — an emergency arbitrator made days later declined to reinstate the Trump management team to the waterfront hotel in Panama City. But it provides hard proof of exactly the kind of conflict experts feared when Trump refused to divest from a sprawling empire that includes hotels, golf courses, licensing deals and other interests in more than 20 countries….
In the March 22 letter to Varela, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, lawyers for the Trump Organization “URGENTLY” request the Panamanian leader’s influence to help reverse the company’s acrimonious eviction as managers of the 70-story luxury high-rise once known as the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel & Tower.
While never mentioning Trump or his role as president, the letter says lawyers representing the Trump Organization were aware of “the separation of powers” in Panama but essentially asks the country’s president to intervene in the judicial process anyway. It goes on to say that the eviction violates an investment treaty signed by the two countries and suggests that the Panamanian government, not the hotel’s new management team, could be blamed for any wrongdoing.
So basically, the Trump Organization threatened that the U.S. government could retaliate against a foreign government over the president’s business interests!
The New York Times: Mueller Investigating Ukrainian’s $150,000 Payment for a Trump Appearance.
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 appearanceby 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.
Mr. Mueller also ordered the Trump Organization to turn over documents, emails and other communications about several Russians, including some whose names have not been publicly tied to Mr. Trump, according to the three people, who would not be named discussing the ongoing investigation. The identities of the Russians were unclear.
The payment from Mr. Pinchuk “is curious because it comes during a campaign and is from a foreigner and looks like an effort to buy influence,” said Marcus S. Owens, a former head of the Internal Revenue Service division that oversees tax-exempt organizations. He called the donation “an unusual amount of money for such a short speech.”
Betsy Woodruff reported at The Daily Beast on more legal trouble for Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort: A Second Paul Manafort Associate Has Turned on Him.
According to court documents, one of Manafort’s former employees led an FBI agent to a storage locker filled with paperwork on Manafort’s businesses and finances. The person’s name is redacted from the filings. But he’s now at the center of a fight over evidence that could play a significant role in the government’s case against Manafort….
This makes the second Manafort associate known to have aided the government in the sprawling investigation into foreign influence in U.S. politics. Rick Gates, Manafort’s long-time right hand, began cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office in February.
Manafort’s attorneys revealed the information about the second former employee in an April 6, 2018, court filing. In the filing, Manafort’s attorneys asked the federal judge overseeing the prosecution to block documents found in a storage unit in Alexandria, Virginia, from being used as evidence against him. They argue the employee did not have the authority to let the FBI agent look into the storage unit, and that, therefore, the FBI violated Manafort’s Fourth Amendment rights.
Read the details at the link.
More news on the Russia investigation broke this morning at CNN: Roger Stone said in July 2016 Russians were ‘most likely’ behind WikiLeaks emails and doing it to help Trump.
Longtime Trump associate Roger Stone said several times in July 2016 that Russia was most likely the source for hacked emails released during the Democratic National Convention and that it was not far-fetched to say the purpose was to help Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, according to a CNN KFile review of Stone’s interviews and appearances.
The comments, made by Stone from late July through August 1, 2016, show Stone stated at the time that Russia was the source of the emails — a sharp contrast to his more recent posture that Russia was not the source for hacked documents released by WikiLeaks throughout the campaign.By August 4, 2016, the same day Stone claimed in an email to have dined with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange the night prior, Stone abruptly changed his tune. In a conference call along with an interview with radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, Stone said that Russia had nothing to do with the hacked emails and they were the sole work of hacker Guccifer 2.0….
The 2016 comments raise more questions and add to an already murky picture about what Stone knew about WikiLeaks and why he subsequently — and seemingly suddenly — began to rule out the Russians as the source of the emails.
“The reason that the Russians are probably leaking this information is because they don’t want a nuclear war either. (Hillary Clinton) is bent on a war that benefits her donors and the multinational corporations and the defense contractors,” Stone told Jones on a July 27, 2016, edition of Jones’ program.
Several days later, on July 31, 2016, Stone said again the Russians were the most likely source for the material.
“The fact that the Russians will — or whoever — are going to continue to drop bombs on the American people in the form of their own documents. Alex, these are like the Watergate tapes. The Clintons have cut their own throat because they assume that no one would ever see all of their secret illegal maneuverings,” Stone told Jones. “This is why they used the unsecured server to hide the very things that I suspect someone — most likely the Russians — is going to drop on the American people like truthbombs throughout this election. She can raise a billion dollars and it may not matter. Trump may beat her like a drum as he pounces on and helps further public knowledge of every one of the bombshells that is coming.”
Read more 2016 direct quotes from Stone at the link.
I’ll have a few more links in the comment thread below. What stories are you following today? And when it comes to storage units, you can rely on and get help from boat storage units redmond wa, they have best service and brandnew storage facility. Go check it now.