Thursday :: April 19, 2018

Does It All Come Down to Prague?

McClatchy is reporting through unnamed sources that Mueller has evidence Michael Cohen went to Prague. Cohen famously denied the allegation at the time.

Read through the McClatchy article and see what it says the import would be for Trump and Cohen if it turns out that Cohen was untruthful when he denied he went to Prague.

Also, today, Cohen dropped his defamation lawsuit against Buzzfeed.

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Wednesday :: April 18, 2018

Wednesday Open Thread: In the News

Tomorrow will be a remembrance day for the media. The second half of April is one of the worst in history.

April 19th is the anniversary of the WACO siege and the Oklahoma City bombing. On April 15, the Boston Marathon bombing occurred. April 20 is the anniversary of the Columbine shootings.

In other news, thee entire island of Puerto Rico is without power after a blast at its power station.

Then there is this news: 'It smells like death:' Alabama endures New York 'poop train' [More...]

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Cuba to Get New President, Miguel Diaz-Canel

Raul Castro is resigning as President of Cuba. His replacement (the sole nominee) will be First Vice President Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez.

Wednesday’s announcement confirms the long-held expectation that Diaz-Canel would take over from Castro in a transition meant to ensure that the country’s single-party system outlasts the aging revolutionaries who created it.

The nomination must be now approved by the 604 delegates attending the National Assembly, which always approves nominations with total or near-total unanimity.

Raul Castro will remain head of the Communist party. Diaz-Canel is expected to ensure that Cuba remains a one party system. He's no reformer.

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Tuesday :: April 17, 2018

R.I.P. Barbara Bush

Former first lady Barbara Bush has died at the age of 92.

The Washington Post obituary is here.

I don't have anything to add to the news. If you do, here's a space to comment in. Please keep in mind that TalkLeft has a policy of not speaking ill of the dead on the occasion of their death.

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Starbucks to Provide Racial Bias Training to 175,000 Employees

Starbucks announced today it will close all of its 8,000 stores and its affilaiate stores for an afternoon next month during which more than 175,000 employees will undergo racial bias training.

The curriculum to be designed by nationally recognized experts and will be available for other companies to use:

The curriculum will be developed with guidance from several national and local experts confronting racial bias, including Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative; Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund; Heather McGhee, president of Demos; former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder; and Jonathan Greenblatt, ceo of the Anti-Defamation League. Starbucks will involve these experts in monitoring and reviewing the effectiveness of the measures we undertake.

I've met Bryan Stevenson and have listened to him speak several times. He is beyond top notch. Good for Starbucks, not only for recognizing the problem, but engaging in meaningful dialogue on how to correct it. And for offering to share the training with other companies. [More...]

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Monday :: April 16, 2018

Hannity and Cohen

I'm actually watching Sean Hannity tonight. He says he is going to address his relationship with Michael Cohen. Alan Dershowitz, who was Hannity's guest along with Joe DiGenova, in a segment trashing James Comey, answered a question about Comey with a light rasp on Hannity's knuckles by volunteering that Hannity should have disclosed his relationship with Cohen when he had Cohen on the show. Hannity responded that his and Cohen's relationship was so minimal -- it was about real estate.

As for diGenova, he had nothing to say other than Comey should be charged with crimes and Hillary should have been made to have pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor before the election over the emails. What planet do these people live on? [more...]

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Monday Open Thread

Trump continues his mismanagement of national and international affairs. Turnover continues, as does his war of words with James Comey.

I'm back to writing about El Chapo -- as soon as I finish the Government's 107 page outline of evidence it intends to introduce at his trial.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Friday :: April 13, 2018

Trump Granted Permission to "Intervene" in Cohen's Request for Restraining Order

Here's the latest on the searches of Michael Cohen's law office, hotel room and electronic devices.

Everybody will be back in court Monday. A lawyer for Donald Trump showed up in court today seeking to intervene in the case and the request was granted.

The key takeaway is that Cohen has been under investigation by the US Attorneys office in the Southern District of New York for months for "offenses "which sound in fraud and evidence a lack of truthfulness." (Govt. Brief, Case 18-mj-03161-KMW Document 1, filed today.) The Government believes Trump is Cohen's only client.


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Trump Pardons Scooter Libby

President Bush granted Scooter Libby clemency so he didn't have to go to prison. Today, Donald Trump granted him a pardon.

Trump sounds like he knows nothing about the Scooter Libby case.

“I don’t know Mr. Libby,” Trump said in a White House statement, “but for years I have heard that he has been treated unfairly. Hopefully, this full pardon will help rectify a very sad portion of his life.”

He's deciding pardons based on what he hears? Has he read any of the case filings, read the trial transcripts? I attended the trial as credentialed media and I didn't think he was treated unfairly. How is this a "very sad" situation? Because he has a felony conviction and can't practice law? When was the last time he practiced law?

Trump is sending a message to Republicans. What is it? [more...]

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Wednesday :: April 11, 2018

Wednesday Open Thread

I think I'm having time management issues. I just realized our last open thread is full, and I'm still catching up with the news.

Paul Ryan isn't running for re-election.

James Comey compares Trump to a "mob boss" in an interview with 20/20 to air Sunday night.(promoting his book).

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Tuesday :: April 10, 2018

Testimony Begins in Bill Cosby Retrial

Bill Cosby, 80 and legally blind, is being retried for drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand. The defense, led by Tom Mesereau, presented its opening argument today, calling Constand a con artist who was out for money.

“Andrea Constand was 30 years old” when she met Cosby, defense attorney Tom Mesereau said in a 50-minute opening argument. “Mr. Cosby was in his 60s. She said she was not attracted to him. She said, ‘He’s older than my father.’ But she was madly in love with his fame and money.”

...“She knew exactly what she was doing and, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, she’s now a multimillionaire because she pulled it off,” he said. “She’s a con artist. Well prove it.”

The defense team has 7 members who are exasperating the Judge with all their motions. [More...]

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Monday :: April 09, 2018

Michael Cohen's Office Searched by Feds

Trump Attorney Michael Cohen was the subject of an FBI raid at his offices today. They took material related to Story Daniels, and the Russia investigation.

Mueller referred the raid to prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, which implies to me that this is more about money laundering than Russia, although it may involve Trump.

Cohen's lawyer said he and Cohen had already turned over Russia-related stuff and the warrant isn't necessary. Trump called it unfair.,

The F.B.I. also seized emails, tax documents and business records, the person said. The seized records include communications between Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen, which would likely require a special team of agents to review because conversations between lawyers and clients are protected from scrutiny in most instances.

Sounds like Mueller is going the extrea mile by appointing a Taint Team to review the seized material, so Cohen has less to cry foul about in terms of breach of attorney client privilege. [More...] [More...]

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Thursday :: April 05, 2018

When ISIS Ran City Hall

The New York Times has conducted an intensive investigation of files ISIS left behind in Iraq. What did it find? Among other things, that ISIS was self-financed, and its biggest income producer was not oil and gas, but tax revenue.

How did a group whose spectacles of violence galvanized the world against it hold onto so much land for so long? Part of the answer can be found in more than 15,000 pages of internal Islamic State documents I recovered during five trips to Iraq over more than a year. [More...]

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Wednesday :: April 04, 2018

Wednesday Open Thread

Yesterday I was all caught up on the news. Today, I'm not. But we do need a new open thread until I find some blogging time, so here it is, all topics welcome.

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Thursday :: March 29, 2018

Thursday Open Thread

The DEA is putting out bids for equipment to unlock iphones, including the new iPhone X

Grayshift, the company behind GrayKey, provides two different versions of the product: an online model for $15,000 which provides 300 unlocks, and an offline version for $30,000 with unlimited uses. The DEA is looking for the latter, according to the listing.

The Judge in El Chapo's case has unsealed (over the objection of the government) the letter El Chapo wanted to read to the court at his latest court hearing.

Vicente Zambada-Niebla is finally going to get sentenced in December. He'll have 6 years in good time. (One awaiting extradition in MX and 8 here.) He's likely to get a 10 year sentence, which means time served. Assuming he testifies against El Chapo, which many media reports and pleadings suggest, how can he go home to Mexico safely? He can't. In his plea agreement, the U.S. agreed to make efforts to allow him and his family to stay in the U.S.[More...]

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