White House

Trump Vows That Cohen Will Not Flip

President Trump vowed on Twitter that his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, will not “flip” and cooperate against him in the special counsel investigation into his campaign’s connections to Russia, attacking a New York Times story as part of a “witch hunt” against him, the Washington Post reports.

He also slammed reporter Maggie Haberman and called a former aide quoted in the story as a “drunk/drugged up loser.”

Pressure to Release Comey Memos May Have Backfired

“For days, top Republicans in Congress demanded the release of James Comey’s memos about President Trump, threatening Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, with a subpoena if he failed to share the highly anticipated documents written by the former FBI director,” the New York Times reports.

“But if Mr. Trump and his allies believed that Mr. Rosenstein’s refusal would deliver a pretext to call for his firing, as Democrats asserted, his decision to quickly release all the memos late Thursday night foiled that plan. The memos leaked to reporters hours after being delivered to lawmakers in both parties.”

“And the seven memos, in which Mr. Comey methodically documented his interactions with the president in real time, did little to help Republicans undermine Mr. Comey’s credibility or expose contradictions with his best-selling, tell-all book. Taken together, the 15 pages of detailed notes largely back up the stories that Mr. Comey told in congressional testimony, in the pages of his memoir, A Higher Loyalty, and during numerous television and radio interviews.”

Ex-Stormy Daniels Lawyer Cooperating

“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,” the Washington Post reports.

“Shortly before the 2016 election, Davidson negotiated a confidentiality agreement with Cohen under which porn star Stormy Daniels was paid $130,000.”

“Davidson also represented Karen McDougal, a Playboy centerfold, in the $150,000 agreement she struck in August 2016 with the National Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc., for the rights to her story.”

Sessions Warned He Would Quit If Rosenstein Fired

Attorney General Jeff Sessions “recently told the White House he might have to leave his job if President Trump fired his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election,” the Washington Post reports.

“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.”

Judge Wants Cohen Response Before Ruling on Lawsuit

“A federal judge in California said that he needed to hear from Michael Cohen directly before deciding whether to issue a stay in a civil lawsuit involving porn star Stormy Daniels,” CNN reports.

The judge “gave Cohen’s attorney until Wednesday to file a declaration by Cohen himself indicating whether his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination could be at issue in the civil case due to an ongoing criminal investigation in New York.”

Trump Lied About Spending the Night In Russia

Former FBI Director James Comey wrote in one of his memos that President Trump claimed that he “didn’t stay overnight in Russia” during the Miss Universe pageant in 2013 and instead returned to New York.

As Josh Marshall  points out, this “is the visit in which the ‘pee tape’ was purportedly recorded. There’s no evidence in the memos that that tape exists or that the President spent the night with prostitutes. But again, he clearly and repeatedly lies about the trip itself, specifically how long he was there.”

“There’s ample evidence that Trump stayed not one but two nights. In July 2017, Bloomberg reported out a detailed reconstruction of the trip based on FAA records, social media postings and interviews. They showed clearly that Trump flew from North Carolina to New York on the evening of November 7th (Thursday) and then proceeded on to Moscow overnight and arrived sometime early on November 8th (Friday). He overnighted in Moscow. He was in Moscow all of November 9th (Saturday), the day of the pageant, and departed for New York early November 10th. For the details of how we know these facts, see the Bloomberg article. It is forensic in its detail.”

“Clearly, Trump lied about not spending the night in Russia. It’s conceivable that he forgot he’d spent the night. But again, the whole idea is wildly implausible.”

Comey Memos May Have Contained Classified Info

“At least two of the memos that former FBI Director James Comey gave to a friend outside of the government contained information that officials now consider classified,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Of those two memos, Mr. Comey himself redacted elements of one that he knew to be classified to protect secrets before he handed the documents over to his friend. He determined at the time that another memo contained no classified information, but after he left the Federal Bureau of Investigation, bureau officials upgraded it to ‘confidential,’ the lowest level of classification.”

It’s ironic that this is exactly what happened to Hillary Clinton when some of her emails were retroactively considered classified.

About the Comey Memos

James Hohmann: “These memos only got released because Republicans lawmakers demanded they be turned over and threatened to hold Trump officials at the Justice Department in contempt if they weren’t, even raising the specter of impeachment. It’s hard to overstate how irregular it is for DOJ to release evidence central to an ongoing federal investigation. Special counsel Robert Mueller is probing whether Trump obstructed justice, and these notes would be key building blocks of any obstruction case.”

First Read: The Comey memos hurt Trump more than they help him.

Slate: Why were Republicans so desperate to release the embarrassing Comey memos?

How Trump Lied to Get on the Fortune 400 List

Jonathan Greenberg: “In May 1984, an official from the Trump Organization called to tell me how rich Donald J. Trump was. I was reporting for the Forbes 400, the magazine’s annual ranking of America’s richest people, for the third year. In the previous edition, we’d valued Trump’s holdings at $200 million, only one-fifth of what he claimed to own in our interviews. This time, his aide urged me on the phone, I needed to understand just how loaded Trump really was.”

“The official was John Barron — a name we now know as an alter ego of Trump himself. When I recently rediscovered and listened, for first time since that year, to the tapes I made of this and other phone calls, I was amazed that I didn’t see through the ruse: Although Trump altered some cadences and affected a slightly stronger New York accent, it was clearly him.”

Trump Could Try to Replace Sessions with Giuliani

New York Times: “Some close to the president believe he could try to replace Mr. Sessions with Mr. Giuliani in the coming months, although Mr. Giuliani would face an extremely difficult confirmation hearing in the Senate.”

“When Mr. Giuliani sought the secretary of state job, Trump advisers, including the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, raised concerns about his business dealings and paid speeches to a shadowy Iranian opposition group that until 2012 was on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations.”

Trump Expressed Concern About Flynn’s Judgment

President Trump “expressed concerns about the judgment of his national security adviser Michael Flynn weeks before forcing him to resign, according to memos kept by former FBI director James Comey that recount in detail efforts by Trump to influence the bureau’s expanding investigation of Russia,” the Washington Post reports.

“The memos also reveal the extent of Trump’s preoccupation with unproven allegations that he had consorted with prostitutes while in Moscow in 2013. Trump, according to the memos, repeatedly denied the allegations and prodded Comey to help disprove them, while also recalling being told by Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia has the most beautiful prostitutes.”

New York Times: “Mr. Comey’s decision to brief Mr. Trump on the dossier was based, at least in part, on the fact that American intelligence agencies had corroborated parts of the dossier, according to the memos.”

AP Has Obtained the Comey Memos

The Associated Press has obtained 15 pages of memos that former FBI Director James Comey drafted about his interactions with President Trump.

“The memos include details about several interactions in the first few months of the Trump administration. They include a January 2017 dinner at which Comey says Trump asked him for his loyalty, and a conversation the following month about former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn.”

Trump Adviser Explains Why He Thinks Cohen Will Flip

Longtime Trump legal adviser Jay Goldberg told CNN that he’s thinks Michael Cohen will turn on President Trump and cooperate with federal prosecutors because he’s worried about getting raped in prison.

Said Goldberg: “He’s not suited to stand up to the rigors of jail life… Michael doesn’t see himself walking down Broadway while people are clamoring, ‘you’re going to be my wife.'”

Pruitt Aides Made $45K Trip to Australia

“Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, under fire from lawmakers for travel and security expenses, spent about $45,000 in government money to fly five people to Australia to prepare for a planned trip that was later canceled,” Reuters reports.

“Two of his aides and three security agents flew to Australia last August on business-class tickets costing roughly $9,000 each to set up meetings for the EPA administrator.”