Week of 5/15: “Every question they asked me, they already had the answers to.”
Some weeks the “Russia” and “Republicans Against the Law” sections are hard to distinguish…so for this week they’re combined:
Michael Cohen may be guilty not only of bank fraud, but of accepting payments from Russian oligarchs to replenish the account from which he made payments such as those to silence Stephanie Clifford (Stormy Daniels). Cohen used a shell company to make the payments that received deposits from Russian oligarchs, as well as several companies (like AT&T) with business before the White House. Here’s the official brief from Avenatti and Associates, Clifford’s legal representative, and here’s the numbers breakdown. Nonpartisan ethics watchdog group Public Citizen has stated it wants to launch an investigation into whether Cohen should have registered as a lobbyist for his role brokering influence with Donny-boy.
Speaking of the coming storm, several sources close to Donald revealed that he knew about the payments to silence Clifford at the time he vociferously denied it.
Robert Mueller is continuing his investigation despite increasingly shrill panicked Twitter attacks from Donald and his mouthpiece, FOX News. One ex-Trump aide who was interviewed offered a window into the scope of the investigation: “Every question they asked me, they already had the answers to.”
Mueller rejected requests from the White House (which no doubt fears Donald’s vomiting up incriminating truths in a face-to-face interview) for Donald to answer questions regarding the Russia investigation in writing.
Ben Carson is being sued for suspending a fair-housing rule meant to discourage housing discrimination.
Donald hired an Israeli private intelligence agency to create a “dirty ops” campaign against Obama appointees championing President Obama’s Iran nuclear disarmament deal.
Senator Robert Menendez is publicly questioning Donald about a letter written from the Trump Organization to Panama’s president during the legal battle of the Trump-branded hotel in that country to divorce itself from the Trump name and organization for mismanagement. As the Post put it: “That was an extraordinary request: a company owned by the U.S. president asking directly for help from the government of an American ally.”
A Scottish newspaper reported that the Donny-led U.S. government paid thousands of taxpayer dollars to the Trump hotel in Scotland for VIP stays.
Civil and social rights advances:
Women won 16 of the 19 Democratic House primaries last Tuesday, including eight black women; 63 percent of primaries in Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, and West Virginia (the four states that held primary elections last week); and secured half the major party nominations for the House in West Virginia. One of the primary winners included Rachel Crooks for a state legislature seat in Ohio, a woman who accused Donald of forcibly kissing her against her will.
Connecticut joined 10 other states and the District of Columbia in passing a bill to give its presidential electoral votes to the national popular vote winner.
A group of moderate Republicans are joining with Democrats in the House to force a vote on DACA and protect Dreamers.
Ohio overwhelmingly voted for a bipartisan ballot measure to make redistricting law fairer and combat partisan gerrymandering, andsimilar ballot measures could be coming in Missouri, Michigan, Colorado and Utah.
A federal judge has given Texas until Thursday to show how it will comply with the National Voter Registration Act by allowing divers to register to vote when applying for or renewing a driver’s license, per a decades-old federal law.
“Draining the Swamp”
Senior White House staff is pressuring Donald to fire Scott Pruitt, under scrutiny for multiple ethical, legal, and financial violations of his office.
Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen reportedly nearly resigned after a 30-minute tantrum from the man-baby-in-chief about her failings to secure the border.
One of the State Department’s top advisers on nuclear proliferation resigned in the wake of Donald’s withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal.
Congress, the public, and Meghan McCain are calling for the termination of one of Donald’s communications aides after she allegedly commented in a briefing that McCain’s strongly stated objections to Don-John’s nominated CIA director Gina Haspel (“Ms. Haspel’s role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing. Her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying,” McCain says) that it didn’t matter because “he’s dying anyway.” As the White House berated its staff for the leaks but not the comment, nor issued any apologies, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham called it “a pretty disgusting thing to say.” The initial report of the aide’s comment came the same day an air force lieutenant mocked McCain—a POW and a military hero—during a TV appearance on Fox Business, saying, “The fact is…it worked on John. That’s why they call him ‘Songbird John.'” Keep it classy, Trumpies.
The Unintended Irony Files:
On the same day that Melania Trump announced her somewhat grammatically mystifyingly named “Be Best” initiative to focus on children’s health and well-being, her husband announced plans to cut the Children’s Health Insurance Program by a whopping $7 billion.
The same week Donald rescinded $252 million set aside to cope with Ebola, and his top biodefense expert left the National Security Counsel, an Ebola outbreak sprang up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Feel-good Stories of the Week:
A secretary for a law firm quietly amassed millions over her 67-year tenure there by observing her bosses’ investment strategies—thenleft the bulk of her fortune ($8.2 million) to go toward scholarships for needy students. California passed a regulation requiring all new homes built after 2020 to have solar power. No one wants to host the 2020 GOP convention. If you take in no other news this week,watch Auntie Maxine Waters magnificently hand Republicans their asses over attempts to roll back antidiscrimination laws in the auto industry.