Daily Check-In 06/22/2018

Friday, June 22nd

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is seeking to prevent the defense for Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, from arguing to jurors that he was targeted for prosecution because of his role in Donald Trump’s presidential bid.

In a court filing on Friday, prosecutors asked a federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia, to bar any selective prosecution claims during Manafort’s looming trial on tax evasion, bank fraud and other charges.

“Manafort should … be precluded from arguing that he has been singled out for prosecution because of his position in the campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump, or otherwise asserting that he has been selectively prosecuted by the Special Counsel’s Office,” Mueller’s team wrote.

Prosecutors noted that Manafort never filed a legal motion asking for the case to be dismissed on selective-prosecution grounds.

“Courts have consistently held that claims of selective (or vindictive) prosecution must be presented to the court before trial and cannot be argued to the jury,” the government filing said. “The government’s reasons for initiating a prosecution have nothing to do with whether the evidence at trial proves the elements of the charged offenses, which is the sole question that the jury must answer.”

 

COHEN

Comedian Tom Arnold said Friday that he and President Trump’s former, longtime personal lawyer are teaming up to “take down” the president.

Arnold tweeted a photo with Michael Cohen on Thursday with the caption, “I Love New York,” which Cohen retweeted without comment.

Arnold then told NBC News that he met with Cohen as part of a show he is working on for Vice, in which he searches for incriminating videos of the president.

“This dude has all the tapesthis dude has everything,” Arnold told NBC News. “I say to Michael, ‘Guess what? We’re taking Trump down together,’ and he’s so tired he’s like, ‘OK,’ and his wife is like, ‘OK, f— Trump.’”

The idea for the Vice program followed the leak of the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape during the 2016 campaign, in which Trump bragged about grabbing women “by the p—-.” The show will feature Arnold’s hunt for other unflattering video and audio footage of the president.

During the presidential campaign, National Enquirer executives sent digital copies of the tabloid’s articles and cover images related to Donald Trump and his political opponents to Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen in advance of publication, according to three people with knowledge of the matter — an unusual practice that speaks to the close relationship between Trump and David Pecker, chief executive of American Media Inc., the Enquirer’s parent company.

Although the company strongly denies ever sharing such material before publication, these three individuals say the sharing of material continued after Trump took office.

“Since Trump’s become president and even before, [Pecker] openly just has been willing to turn the magazine and the cover over to the Trump machine,” said one of the people with knowledge of the practice.

During the campaign, “if it was a story specifically about Trump, then it was sent over to Michael, and as long as there were no objections from him, the story could be published,” this person added.

WASHINGTON — When the National Enquirerreported without proof in March 2016 that Sen. Ted Cruz had been caught cheating with five mistresses, Cruz blamed the “tabloid smear” on “Donald Trump and his henchmen.”

When the supermarket tabloid asserted two months later that Cruz’s dad took part in a conspiracy to assassinate John F. Kennedy — based on an exceedingly creative interpretation of a decades-old photo of a man who vaguely looked like the elder Cruz handing out pamphlets with Lee Harvey Oswald — Trump gleefully spread the claim to discredit his GOP presidential rival.

On Friday, The Washington Post reported that throughout the 2016 campaign, executives from the Enquirer sent copies of its articles about Trump and his opponents — including Cruz — to Trump attorney Michael Cohen for approval before publication.

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

ANTWON ROSE

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

GOP:  THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

George Will, a longtime political commentator and staunch defender of the conservative movement, made a dramatic exit from the Republican Party Friday, citing the party’s support for Donald Trump in the upcoming 2020 presidential election.

In a speech at a luncheon held by the Federalist Society, Will urged other conservatives not to support Trump as the GOP nominee. “This is not my party,” Will said the speech, noting that while it’s a little too late to find a replacement for him on the ticket, conservatives can “grit their teeth for four years” after making sure that Trump loses.

Will mentioned that he had switched his voter registration from Republican to “unaffiliated” in the state of Maryland. He told the Washington Post, where he writes a column, that he made the change several weeks ago, after House Speaker Paul Ryan endorsed Trump for the 2020 election.

 

SCOTUS DECISIONS

 

U.N. POVERTY REPORT

 

ECONOMY

 

ELECTION 2018 AND BEYOND

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

 

 

That’s it for Friday.  Yes, I know it’s Tuesday when I posted this, and that I added absolutely zero wit, snark, or depth to any stories.  I’m going to post an update in a few minutes explaining why, and why I won’t be as regular with my updates for the next couple weeks.

It’s a good reason.  I’ll also explain why I’ve been so cagey recently.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

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