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'Cohen Is Going to Be in a World of Hurt': Avenatti Explains Why Trump's Lawyer Will Turn on the President

May 22, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

The remarks came after a business associate of the president's lawyer apparently flipped and cooperated with the government.


Attorney Michael Avenatti said that the report Tuesday that an associate of President Donald Trump's fixer Michael Cohen has flipped and begun cooperating with prosecutors only bolsters his judgment that Cohen will eventually turn on the president himself.

“There's going to be significant charges that will be brought on the federal level, there will be significant charges that could be brought on the state level against Michael Cohen,” Avenattti said in a phone interview with “The Beat” host Ari Melber on MSNBC.

He continued: “Look, I've said it before, maybe I haven't been clear enough: Michael Cohen is going to be in a world of hurt in a very short period of time. He's going to have very few options. And that's why I've said repeatedly that I think ultimately he's going to flip on the president of the United States.

Faced with the fact that friends of Cohen's have said he is absolutely devoted to the president and is committed to never turning on him, Avenatti noted that many people in Cohen's position say that initially. Eventually, though, when they realize what is at stake in these kinds of investigations, they change their minds.

“You would be amazed at how quickly they soften and take a different position,” Avenatti said.

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Source: ALTERNET

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Michael Cohen's Business Associate Has Now Reportedly Flipped — Which Is Bad News for Trump

May 22, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Federal investigators have an increasing number of cooperating witnesses.


Evgeny “Taxi King” Freidman, a business associate of President Donald Trump's lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to tax evasion as part of what the New York Times reports was a deal with prosecutors in which he agreed to cooperate with other investigations.

In other words, he flipped.

The Times notes that Freidman's cooperation with prosecutors suggests that he may be used to raise the pressure on Cohen, who may turn out to be a significant player in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of the Trump campaign. As Trump's attorney, Cohen may have access to extensive evidence of any wrongdoing Trump himself may have participated in. 

Cohen's office and hotel room were searched by federal investigators last month, and they reportedly seized documents and records, some of which relate to Trump. Cohen has been reported to have a practice of recording his phone calls.

The Times notes that Freidman has been accused of evading taxes in the amount of $5 million and of grand larceny, charges which could result in a sentence of more than 25 years in prison.

The deal Freidman accepted had him plead guilty to only $50,000 worth of tax evasion, and he'll be on probation for five years. The apparent leniency of this deal suggests that prosecutors think he has something of particular value to offer as a cooperating witness.

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Source: ALTERNET

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Trump Revealed the Real Reason He Attacks the Press in Off-Camera Meeting

May 22, 2018 in Blogs

By David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement

He didn't even hide his authoritarian strategy.


After he won the Republican Party's nomination for president, Donald Trump finally explained why he attacks the press. CBS News veteran journalist Leslie Stahl revealed what then-GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump told her, when she spoke in New York City at the Deadline Club's Awards Dinner Monday evening.

Trump has a long and ugly history of attacking the press. For example, here he is one week before the 2016 election, calling out the “dishonest” press and even one NBC News journalist. It wasn't the first time Trump had singled Katy Tur out by name. Months earlier he did and it was so bad she had to be escorted to safety by the Secret Service after his attack.

So what Trump told Stahl should come as no surprise.

He said, according to the CBS News veteran journalist, that he attacks the press to “discredit” them – so at some point Americans will no longer believe the media.

Stahl, a reporter since the 1970's, was the first to interview Trump after he won the election. On Monday evening she told the assembled group of journalists that before she won that prestigious interview she had met with him in Trump Tower.

“He really is the same off camera that he is on camera,” she said, explaining the only ones present at that meeting were Trump, her editor, and herself.

“At one point he started to attack the press,” Stahl told reporters.

“There were no cameras, and I said, 'You know, that is getting tired. Why are you doing this? You're doing it over and over and it's boring an it's time to end that. You won the nomination – why do you keep hammering at this?'” she says she asked.

“'You know why I do it?'”  Stahl says Trump admitted. “'I do it to discredit you all, to demean you all so when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you.'”

The Intercept's Vanessa Gezari was the first to break the news, which she did via Twitter.

Stahl's co-host at the event, PBS veteran journalist Judy Woodruff looked …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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CNN's Tapper Shuts Down GOP Lawmaker Pushing Anti-FBI Conspiracies: 'You Don't Know What You're Talking About'

May 22, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Rep. Matt Gaetz is still pushing ridiculous claims about the Russia investigation.


CNN's Jake Tapper interviewed Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) Tuesday to discuss his charges of misconduct against the FBI's investigation into President Donald Trump's campaign, and he had to repeatedly shoot down the lawmakers ridiculous talking points that have been disproven.

“You're not on the House Intelligence Committee, you haven't seen the underlying intelligence,” Tapper said in response to Gaetz claims about misconduct at the FISA courts, which the FBI used to surveil Trump aide Carter Page. “How do you know that anything improper was done before the FISA court?”

Gaetz cited briefings from the Justice Department and a memo released by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) as providing evidence of this misconduct.

“No, no, no, no,” Tapper said. “That memo made it very clear that it was Papadopoulos's meeting with the Australian diplomat in which he acknowledged that he had talked to someone with Kremlin connections about dirt on Hillary Clinton… The Nunes memo said specifically that that was the reason that the investigation was launched.”

“But that's didn't lead to the application before the FISA court,” Gaetz said. “There would not have been any presentation to the FISA court.”

“I have talked to people at the Justice Department who say you keep saying this, you don't know what you're talking about because you're not on the House Committee on Intelligence,” Tapper replied.

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Source: ALTERNET

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Student Says He Was Forced to Leave School After Refusing to Cover Pro-Trump Shirt — Now He's Suing The District

May 22, 2018 in Blogs

By Elizabeth Preza, AlterNet

He wore a shirt promoting Trump's border wall to a class on immigration.


An Oregon high school student is suing his school district after he was asked to cover up a shirt he was wearing in support of President Donald Trump, KPTV reports.

Eighteen-year-old Addison Barnes, a senior at Liberty High School, says he was asked to leave school on January 19 after he refused to take off a shirt with a graphic saying “Border Wall Construction Company.” Barnes said he wore the Trump tee to his “People and Politics” class on a day they were discussing immigration.

According to Barnes, the assistant principal pulled him out of class after the teacher complained.

“She gave me the option; either I cover the shirt up or I get sent home,” he told KPTV.

At first, Barnes said he relented to the administrator’s demands. 

“And then a few minutes later I decided, you know this isn’t right,” he recalled. “I have my First Amendment and it’s not right what they’re doing.”

Barnes later left school, which was marked on his record as a half-day suspension.

As KPTV reports, Liberty High School does not mention political clothing in its dress code, though the school district code of conduct states “clothing decorated or marked with illustrations, words, or phrases that are disruptive or potentially disruptive, and/or that promote superiority of one group over another is not permitted.”

Friday, Barnes filed suit against Hillsboro School District in federal court.

“If somebody else disagrees with me politically, I think they should be able to express their viewpoints just as I should be able to express my viewpoints in school,” Barnes told KPTV.

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Source: ALTERNET