CNN reports, “A hearing is scheduled Friday morning in federal court in Manhattan related to the FBI search of the office, home and hotel room of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen. No other information has been released yet about the hearing.”

From CNN.



The Independent reports Ted “Malloch is due to testify on Friday 13 April to a grand jury as part of the investigation by Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the US presidential election which allegedly helped Mr Trump to the White House.” The Independent adds Malloch “has told associates that he was able to organise a visit to Trump Tower in New York by Mr Farage, Mr Banks and a another Brexit campaigner, Raheem Kassam. He has known Mr Trump since 1981, he says, and claims that he was involved in arranging Mr Trump’s visit to Brussels and Italy.”

From The Independent.





The AP reports, “Former FBI Director James B. Comey criticizes President Trump as unethical and ‘untethered to truth’ and calls his leadership of the country ‘ego driven and about personal loyalty’ in a forthcoming book.” The AP notes, “He casts Trump as a mafia boss-like figure who sought to blur the line between law enforcement and politics and tried to pressure him regarding his investigation into Russian election interference.” The AP adds Comey adds of the Trump team, “‘They were about to lead a country that had been attacked by a foreign adversary, yet they had no questions about what the future Russian threat might be,’ Comey writes. Instead, he writes, they launched into a strategy session about how to ‘spin what we’d just told them’ for the public.” The New York Times notes, “Comey was a career prosecutor who helped dismantle the Gambino crime family; and he doesn’t hesitate in these pages to draw a direct analogy between the Mafia bosses he helped pack off to prison years ago and the current occupant of the Oval Office.” The Washington Post writess, “According to Comey’s account in a new memoir, Trump ‘strongly denied the allegations,” in the Steele dossier, “asking — rhetorically, I assumed — whether he seemed like a guy who needed the service of prostitutes. He then began discussing cases where women had accused him of sexual assault, a subject I had not raised. He mentioned a number of women, and seemed to have memorized their allegations.’ The January 2017 conversation at Trump Tower in Manhattan ‘teetered toward disaster’ — until ‘I pulled the tool from my bag: “We are not investigating you, sir.” That seemed to quiet him,’ Comey writes. Trump did not stay quiet for long. Comey describes Trump as having been obsessed with the portion dealing with prostitutes in the infamous dossier compiled by British former intelligence officer Christopher Steele, raising it at least four times with the FBI director.” ABC News adds, “Comey, however, makes clear his affection for Obama – and his disdain for Trump and his leadership style,” which will irk Trump. Comey notes, “Though he did not vote in 2016, and secured his first high-profile government jobs under the Republican presidency of George W. Bush, he writes that his wife and daughters voted for Clinton and even participated in the Women’s March, held the day after the inauguration in Washington.”

From the AP, The New York Times, The Washington Post and ABC News.


The Daily Beast
reports, “Within minutes of his firing in May, former FBI Director James Comey received a call from John Kelly, then the head of the Department of Homeland Security and now the White House chief of staff. According to Comey’s account, which is set to appear in his highly anticipated forthcoming memoir, Kelly was ‘emotional’ over the manner in which Comey was let go.” The Daily Beast adds, “Kelly, Comey recalls, said he was ‘sick’ about the situation and ‘intended to quit’ in protest. Kelly ‘said he didn’t want to work for dishonorable people,’ referring specifically to President Donald Trump, who appeared to be upset at the FBI’s persistent investigation into his campaign’s possible collusion with Russian officials.” And yet there he is today, serving this very dishonorable fake Russian bullshit president as his Chief of Staff. The Daily Beast notes, “Comey writes in his book that he encouraged Kelly to remain in his post, saying ‘this president,’ more than his predecessors, needed people of principle and integrity around him.”

From The Daily Beast.



CNN reports, “The White House is preparing talking points designed to undermine Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s credibility”. CNN adds, “The plan calls on President Donald Trump’s allies to cast Rosenstein as too conflicted to fairly oversee the Russia investigation”. CNN notes, “The talking points are still in their preliminary form, and not yet finalized”. CNN adds, “Firing Rosenstein or Mueller himself could inject new turbulence into Trump’s presidency. Legal experts, Democrats and some Republicans have said it could prompt a constitutional crisis. It would almost certainly derail policy efforts as Trump works to enact his agenda ahead of congressional elections in November.” That’s right! POLITICO reports, “Rod Rosenstein, the embattled deputy attorney general overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, met with President Donald Trump at the White House on Thursday amid growing fears that the president may oust Rosenstein in an attempt to rein in the inquiry. A source familiar with the meeting said the topic of the White House meeting was outstanding document requests from Congress”. POLITICO adds, “While the source said Rosenstein exited the meeting with his job still intact, the topic of the meeting — one that would usually be below the level of a presidential discussion — stoked concerns that Trump may be pursuing a backhand way to undercut Mueller’s wider Russia investigation without sparking an outright constitutional crisis.” ABC News notes that attorney Joe diGenova, the lawyer Trump wanted to hire but could not because of conflicts, took to the air waves to say Trump should fire Rosenstein.

From CNN, POLITICO and ABC News.


reports, “If President Trump fires special counsel Robert Mueller, the liberal group MoveOn.org plans a quick and expansive response.” CNN adds, “So far MoveOn’s gotten around 300,000 RSVPs for the rallies” planned in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Two other events could trigger this trip wire of thousands in the streets: “if Trump pardoned key witnesses in the Russia investigation,” and, “if he fired Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or repealed the regulations that established the office of the special counsel”.

From CNN.



New York Magazine reports, “The Republican Party is racing to assassinate James Comey’s character before his tell-all book hits shelves next Tuesday. The former FBI director’s literary debut is expected to paint Donald Trump as an authoritarian oaf with no respect for the rule of law. The Republican National Committee has built a website explaining why you shouldn’t believe that.” New York Magazine adds, “With the White House’s blessing, the RNC is launching a multifaceted campaign to rebrand George W. Bush’s deputy attorney general as ‘Lyin’ Comey.’ The party is airing digital ads and dispersing talking points to Republican officials across the country”.

From New York Magazine.


NBC News
reports, “Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office and President Donald Trump’s legal team are now proceeding with strategies that presume a presidential interview will likely not take place as part of the Russia investigation, after months of talks between the two sides collapsed earlier this week.” NBC News adds, “On Monday Trump’s lawyers were discussing a possible interview with Mueller’s team and had begun to hash out the final sticking points, including the timing, scope and length, according to people familiar with the discussions. One person familiar with the strategy said the president’s lawyers had sought over the weekend to expand his legal team to include individuals who would prepare him for an interview. Another person familiar with the matter, however, said preparations had not yet gone that far.” NBC News notes, “But the prospects for a presidential interview drastically dimmed once the FBI raided the home, office and hotel room of Trump’s long-time personal lawyer, Michael Cohen on Monday, these people said. The president criticized the raid as out of bounds in Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with Trump aides.” According to NBC News, “The president’s lawyers wanted any interview to last only a few hours,” and, “They also wanted Mueller to agree to write a report within at least three or four months after completing the interview”. NBC News adds, “Prior to Monday’s raid, Mueller’s team had been aiming to finalize a report on its findings on whether the president has tried to obstruct justice in the Russia investigation in the coming months, as early as May or as late as July”. But this is not good news for the fake Russian bullshit president as, “Now, according to two sources, Mueller’s team may be able to close the obstruction probe more quickly as they will not need to prepare for the interview or follow up on what the president says.”

From NBC News.



CNN reports, “Stormy Daniels is cooperating with federal investigators”. The Hollywood Reporter adds, “President Donald Trump and his personal attorney Michael Cohen will be filing an application on Friday to pause the Stormy Daniels lawsuit.” The Hollywood Reporter notes, “The case appeared to be headed towards arguments about whether it should be arbitrated, but thanks to a stunning FBI raid on Cohen’s office and residence earlier this week, the lawsuit is now taking an abrupt turn. In a filing Thursday in California federal court, the parties told the judge that the application to stay the case will be made ‘on the grounds that an ongoing criminal investigation overlaps with the facts of this case, and implicates Defendant Michael Cohen’s Fifth Amendment rights.’” The usual pugnacious Cohen now taking the fifth on Stormy is outright exquisite. Curiously, “Cohen is set to argue that to participate in the Stormy Daniels suit will violate his right not to incriminate himself. Although Trump’s own 5th Amendment rights aren’t at issue, he appears to be joining the bid to delay the case.” But he never touched Stormy just as he would never hurt a fly.

From CNN and The Hollywood Reporter.



The Washington Post reports, “President Trump’s personal attorney Michael D. Cohen sometimes taped conversations with associates, according to three people familiar with his practice, and allies of the president are worried that the recordings were seized by federal investigators in a raid of Cohen’s office and residences this week. Cohen, who served for a decade as a lawyer at the Trump Organization and is a close confidant of Trump, was known to store the conversations using digital files and then replay them for colleagues”. The Washington Post adds, “It is unknown whether Cohen taped conversations between himself and Trump. But two people familiar with Cohen’s practices said he recorded both business and political conversations. One associate said Trump knew of Cohen’s practice because the attorney would often play him recordings Cohen had made of his conversations with other top Trump advisers.” The Washington Post notes, “Cohen wanted his business calls on tape so he could use them later as leverage,” adding, “Cohen frequently noted that under New York law, only one party had to consent to the taping of a conversation”. One imagines this is how an enforcer might keep a cabal of liars in line.

From The Washington Post.



The Boston Globe reports, “The FBI agents who raided the office and hotel of President Trump’s lawyer Monday were seeking all records related to the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape in which Trump was heard making vulgar comments about women”. Of course, “The search warrant also sought evidence of whether the lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, tried to suppress damaging information about Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.”

From The Boston Globe.



The New York Times reports, “Defense Secretary Jim Mattis took pains on Thursday to walk back President Trump’s threats of an imminent strike on Syria, reflecting mounting concerns at the Pentagon that a concerted bombing campaign could escalate into a wider conflict between Russia, Iran and the West.” According to The New York Times, “‘We are trying to stop the murder of innocent people. But on a strategic level, it’s how do we keep this from escalating out of control — if you get my drift on that,’ Mr. Mattis said.” The French and the British may be on board, while, “‘Germany will not take part in possible military action — I want to make clear again that there are no decisions,’ Ms. Merkel said after meeting with Lars Lokke Rasmussen of Denmark in Berlin.”  The Washington Post reports, “Fears that a major war could be imminent eased across the Middle East on Thursday after a flurry of tweets and statements by world leaders that suggested they are looking for ways to de-escalate the tensions of recent days.” The Washington Post adds, “In Moscow, the Kremlin sought to tamp down fears of a conflict with the United States by signaling for the first time in days that it might not carry out threats to retaliate against a U.S. strike.” The Washington Post notes, “French President Emmanuel Macron gave the strongest indication yet that France is ready to join the United States in striking Syria, saying that France has ‘proof’ that some form of chemical attack occurred. But in a television interview, he also suggested that strikes were not imminent. He said a decision would be made ‘in due course, when we judge it most useful and effective.’” Additionally, “In Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May met with her top leadership team Thursday to discuss backing military action in Syria. A statement after the cabinet meeting was limited, saying that Britain believes the use of chemical weapons should not go ‘unchallenged.’” Reuters notes, “As U.S. President Donald Trump and his allies ramped up threats of military action against Syria this week, Syria’s military has repositioned some air assets to avoid fallout from possible missile strikes,” according to U.S. officials.

From The New York Times, The Washington Post and Reuters.



The Hill reports, “Ricky Waddell, the No. 2 official on the National Security Council (NSC), plans to leave his post as new national security adviser John Bolton seeks to form his own team.” The Hill notes, “Waddell is the fourth national security aide to leave or be ousted since Bolton started in his new role on Monday.”

From The Hill.


The AP
reports, “Aiming to quell concerns before what is likely to be a narrow confirmation vote, Secretary of State-designate Mike Pompeo vowed on Thursday to ramp up efforts against Russia in ‘each place we confront them.’ But he ducked and dodged when asked whether he supports President Donald Trump’s pounding criticism of the federal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.” The AP adds, “when asked if he would resign if Trump moved to scuttle the probe by firing special counsel Robert Mueller or the deputy attorney general to whom he reports, he said no.” The AP notes, “Pompeo’s nomination faces stiff opposition from a handful of Republicans and many Democrats as well as supporters of the Iran nuclear deal, environmentalists and minority rights groups”. The AP adds, “In his testimony, Pompeo confirmed for the first time publicly that he’s been interviewed by the team of special counsel Mueller,” however, “he wouldn’t answer questions about the contents of the interview, arguing it would be improper since, as CIA director in charge of overseas intelligence gathering, he has been a ‘participant’ in Mueller’s probe,” but that does not make any sense except for in that illogical circuitous MAGA way of thinking by not thinking.

From the AP.



NBC News reports, “Facing the threat of contempt or even impeachment proceedings from top congressional Republicans, the Justice Department on Wednesday said it is giving key lawmakers access to the highly sensitive document that helped launch its Russia investigation. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes had asked the Justice Department in February to supply a completely unredacted version of the so-called Electronic Communication that opened the counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign, saying it was relevant to the committee’s oversight responsibilities.”  So let’s get this straight: the death cult GOP in Congress is willing to impeach Trump’s appointees at the top of the FBI and Department of Justice but not this president. And did not DARKNESS AT NUNES allegedly recuse despite never having actually done so once upon a time?

From NBC News.



Reuters reports, “Democratic lawmakers on Thursday questioned whether the head of a Chicago bank was seeking a favor from the incoming Trump administration when he inquired about the confirmation process for a top U.S. Army position before extending $16 million in loans to Trump’s former campaign chairman.” Reuters adds, “Lawmakers disclosed the inquiry as part of an ongoing probe into loans from Chicago-based Federal Savings Bank to Paul Manafort in the weeks after Donald Trump’s election victory in November 2016. The investigation is being conducted by ranking Democratic members of the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and a national security subcommittee.” Note the initials of that bank coincidentally are FSB. Reuters recalls, “Public records show Federal Savings made two loans to Manafort in December 2016 and January 2017: a $9.5 million mortgage secured by Manafort’s home in the wealthy Hamptons enclave in New York and a $6.5 million loan against a brownstone in Brooklyn.”

From Reuters.



Reuters, citing Russian state-run Interfax, reports, “Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor has asked Facebook to explain how it is complying with a Russian law on data localization”. Reuters adds, “Roskomnadzor has said earlier it would carry out an audit into Facebook’s compliance with Russian legislation in the second half of 2018.”

From Reuters.


reports, “The ruble bounced back from the lowest level since 2016 and bonds climbed as rising oil prices outweighed U.S. and Russian brinkmanship in Syria. The currency was the sole gainer among major emerging markets on Thursday as traders reasoned that the slump caused by geopolitical uncertainty had gone too far. The flipside of the escalation in Syria is also that it has pushed up the price of crude, Russia’s main export earner.” Bloomberg adds, “The ruble sank to a 16-month low in intraday trading on Wednesday after U.S. President Donald Trump warned Russia on Twitter to get ready for missile strikes in Syria. It ended the day in the green on Brent’s gains and a comment by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that he remains opposed to the so-called nuclear option of sanctioning Russia’s sovereign debt,” so thanks Mnuchin for serving a foreign adversary as opposed to our nation, yet again.

From Bloomberg.



Russian state-run Sputnik reports, “A Russian helicopter with two crew members crashed in the Baltic Sea, one body was found”. Russian state-run Sputnik adds, “Russian Ka-29 helicopter while carrying out a test flight in the Baltic Sea at night, the Russian Baltic Fleet said Friday.” The Moscow Times notes, “This appears to be at least the third Russian helicopter crash since the start of the year. On Wednesday, six people were killed when a transport helicopter crashed during a training mission in the Khabarovsk region”.

From Russian state-run Sputnik and The Moscow Times.



Unian Information Agency reports, “Russia’s hybrid military forces mounted 66 attacks on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas in the past 24 hours, with one Ukrainian soldier reported as killed in action (KIA) and another one as wounded in action (WIA).”

From Unian Information Agency.



The Moscow Times reports, “Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has called on his supporters to take to the streets to oppose President Vladimir Putin’s election victory in a pre-inauguration demonstration on May 5.”

From The Moscow Times.





The Washington Post reports, “It is not just that Trump changes his mind often, although he does. It is also that when he speaks his mind, it is often impossible to figure out what he’s saying.” As The Washington Post notes, “Most presidents enter office knowing relatively little about foreign policy and learn a lot on the job. Trump knew less than any of his predecessors and has learned less than any of them. The perpetual fog that clouds his thinking has not lifted an inch; if anything, it is becoming ever more impenetrable,” adding, “This is what happens when you are functionally illiterate: Trump can read in theory but chooses not to, and therefore he is incapable of sustained learning. As The Post reported, ‘He rarely if ever reads the President’s Daily Brief, a document that lays out the most pressing information collected by U.S. intelligence agencies from hot spots around the world.’” The Washington Post adds, “Instead of relying on the written word, Trump relies on the nitwits who opine on the Fox News channel.” However tempting it might be to say “Fox News is Trump’s RT,” it’s worth noting, “that’s not quite right: Putin is too smart to believe what his own propagandists say. Not Trump: If ‘Fox & Friends’ tells him that a ‘caravan’ of Central American refugees is about to invade the United States, Trump will faithfully echo their hysteria. He even seeks out Sean Hannity and Lou Dobbs off air for their fortune-cookie insights.” Ultimately, “In practice, Trump’s policies defy any kind of sense, common or otherwise.” The Washington Post concludes, “Trump prides himself on unpredictability, but, as the attack in Syria showed, there is a price to be paid for leaving allies and enemies alike guessing about your intentions.” The Washington Post adds that just yesterday, “President Trump ordered top administration officials Thursday to look at rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the sprawling trade pact he rejected three days after taking office.” Of course, “The move would mark a stunning reversal for Trump, who sharply criticized the pact as a ‘disaster’ and made opposition to global trade deals a centerpiece of his economic agenda as a candidate.” Of course now that we have a trade war no one asked for but Trump, he sees “An embrace of the TPP would give Trump more leverage in his escalating trade feud with Beijing.” You don’t say?

From The Washington Post and The Washington Post.



The AP reports, “Eight months before the company that owns the National Enquirer paid $150,000 to a former Playboy model who claimed she’d had an affair with Donald Trump the tabloid’s parent made a $30,000 payment to a less famous individual: a former doorman at one of Trump’s New York buildings. As it did with the model, the Enquirer signed the ex-doorman to a contract that effectively prevented him from going public with a tale that might hurt Trump’s campaign for president.” Of note, “Sajudin got $30,000 in exchange for signing over the rights, ‘in perpetuity,’ to a rumor he’d heard about Trump’s sex lifethat the president had fathered a child with an employee at Trump World Tower, a skyscraper he owns near the UN. The contract subjected Sajudin to a $1m penalty if he disclosed either the rumor or the terms of the deal to anyone.” The AP notes, “The parallel between McDougal’s and the ex-doorman’s dealings with the Enquirer raises new questions about the roles that the Enquirer and Cohen may have played in protecting Trump’s image during the election.” The AP adds, “AMI hasn’t said whether federal authorities have sought information from it, but said this week that it would ‘comply with any and all requests that do not jeopardize or violate its protected sources or materials pursuant to our first amendment rights’”.  The AP notes, “On Wednesday, an Enquirer sister publication, RadarOnline, published details of the payment and the rumor that Sajudin was peddling. The website wrote that the Enquirer spent four weeks reporting the story but ultimately decided it was not true. The company only released Sajudin from his contract after the 2016 election amid inquiries from the Journal about the payment.” Additionally, “four longtime Enquirer staffers directly familiar with the episode… said they were ordered by top editors to stop pursuing the story before completing potentially promising threads. They said the publication did not pursue standard Enquirer reporting practices, such as exhaustive stakeouts or tabloid tactics designed to prove paternity.” Worth noting, “The woman at the center of the rumor about Trump denied emphatically to the AP last August that she’d ever had an affair with Trump, saying she had no idea the Enquirer had paid Sajudin and pursued his tip. The AP has not been able to determine if the rumor is true and is not naming the woman.” Saljudin passed a polygraph test administered by AMI.

From the AP.



The Daily Mail reports Aryan princes Ivanka “was all smiles as she toured the Lima Stock Exchange in a $1,693 floral dress by Altuzarra while in Peru for the Summits of the Americas trade conference. The 36-year-old first daughter will be announcing an initiative ‘to propel women’s economic empowerment’ in Latin America on Thursday, and she excitedly took to Instagram Stories to document her trip.” Really, if we were not so distracted as a nation by a Comey memoir, a rumored pee tape and a love child, we would have memed the hell out of these photos Aryan princess Ivanka posted to her Instagram Stories of her looking at quinoa in a factory as it has all the flimsy fashion blogger meets North Korea panache we have grown to expect from Aryan princess Ivanka. The Daily Mail adds, “‘Buenos dias!’ she says in one clip. ‘I am here in Lima, Peru, for the Summit of the Americas conference, and I am really excited about my first stop, which is the Lima Stock Exchange, where I am going to meet with some incredible women business leaders from right here in Peru.’”

From The Daily Mail.



The Moscow Times reports, “The Kremlin’s claim that there are no oligarchs in Russia has resonated with only 3 percent of the population, according to a state-run poll that also named Roman Abramovich the most famous Russian oligarch.” The Moscow Times adds, “An overwhelming 94 percent of Russians surveyed by the state-controlled VTsIOM pollster said that they believe that their country does have oligarchs. Just under 45 percent said oligarchs ‘bring more harm’ than good to Russia while 9 percent said they ‘bring more benefits.’” It is as if the Russian people do not believe the lies their leaders tell them.

From The Moscow Times.





Think Progress reports, “A group of 12 senators is calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to investigate Sinclair Broadcasting for ‘deliberately distorting news by staging, slanting, or falsifying information.’ The letter comes after a wave of stories about ‘must-read scripts’ given to Sinclair anchors across the country.” Think Progress adds, “That pattern is what is so concerning to the group of senators, referring to themselves as ‘strong defenders of the First Amendment,’ who wrote to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Wednesday.”

From Think Progress.





The New York Times reports, “survey released Thursday, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, found that many adults lack basic knowledge of what happened — and this lack of knowledge is more pronounced among millennials, whom the survey defined as people ages 18 to 34.” Additionally, “Thirty-one percent of Americans, and 41 percent of millennials, believe that two million or fewer Jews were killed in the Holocaust; the actual number is around six million. Forty-one percent of Americans, and 66 percent of millennials, cannot say what Auschwitz was. Only 39 percent of Americans know that Hitler was democratically elected.” The New York Times notes, “Despite the gaps in the respondents’ knowledge, the study found an overwhelming consensus — 93 percent — that all students should learn about the Holocaust at school. And Holocaust denial remains very rare in the United States, with 96 percent of respondents saying they believe the genocide happened.” A bright spot!? Curiously, “In a strange footnote, the head of Schoen Consulting, Doug Schoen, is in the news this week for arranging for President Trump to give a speech during a 2015 event in Ukraine.” What an odd thing to moonlight doing. The New York Times notes, “Worldwide, the estimated number of living Holocaust survivors has fallen to 400,000, according to the Claims Conference, many of them in their 80s and 90s. And Holocaust remembrance advocates and educators, who agree that no book, film or traditional exhibition can compare to the voice of a survivor, dread the day when none are left to tell their stories.”

From The New York Times.


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