Michael Cohen Knee Deep In Shit. Wonkagenda For Thurs., May 17, 2018

Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today, and none of them involve "Yanny" or "Laurel!"

Michael Cohen is knee deep in shit this morning as the FBI probes his bribedeal with a Korean aerospace company, and new reporting from Yahoo News shows Cohen was trying to open up a Trump Tower in Moscow in May of 2016, right as Trump was becoming the Republican nominee. But the kicker comes in the form of new reporting by Ronan Farrow who says that the leaking of Cohen's financials was done by a law enforcement official who feared someone might be trying to hide evidence of financial fuckery. Now, all of the piling on has left Cohen feeling abandoned, telling friends, "I just can't take this anymore." :( [Morning Maddow] [Archive]

New financial disclosures from Trump show a $100,000 repayment to Michael Cohen last year, and now ethics nerds are FREAKING OUT about Stormy Daniels, especially after acting director of the Office of Government Ethics sent a letter to Rod Rosenstein saying, "You may find the disclosure relevant to any inquiry you may be pursuing..."

Early this morning Michael Avenatti went on Morning Joe and revealed that he's vetting two other women who may have been paid to STFU about banging Trump. WHOA (and eww) if true!

Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Chris Wylie says that CA and Steve Bannon wanted to use the stolen information from Facebook users to start a culture war that could suppress black voters during the 2016 campaign. Well, we mean, duh.

Evil Russian lawyers for Putin's Chef got into a shouting match with Mueller's prosecutors yesterday over the Russian troll farm case after Mueller's team gave the evil lawyers a bunch of evidence ... in Russian.

Robert Mueller has sent subpoenas to Roger Stone's social media guy, so of course Stone immediately ran to Alex Jones to cry about it.

In a series of stuttered sentence fragments loosely strung together, Rudy Giuliani went on Laura Ingraham to talk about Plan B and Plan C. Giuliani says that they never used the Russian "dirt" on Hillary Clinton (ergo NO COLLUSION), that Mueller's team told him that "they can't indict" Trump, there were SPIES in the Trump campaign, and that Michael Avenatti is a "make-believe lawyer."

Fox News spent yesterday desperately trying to spin DJTJ's Trump-Russia transcript, even going so far as to claim that Hillary Clinton sent that Russian lawyer lady to Trump Tower.

Everyone is looking back on the first year of the Mueller investigation this morning, and Politico has some details about the mysterious cadre of specialists he's tapped to help him investigate Russian fuckery.

Trump invited some California cops to the White House so they could take turns blowing him on camera while he railed against sanctuary cities and immigrants, stating, “You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people, these are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before.”

Kirstjen Nielsen was grilled by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee yesterday, and denied allegations that she was THIS CLOSE to quitting, or that she's been ordered to break apart immigrant families.

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden has sent a letter to the DOJ demanding to know more about secret stingray tech. Stingrays have quietly been used by law enforcement officials big and small to intercept cellphone data, drawing fierce criticism from legal and privacy advocates.

Paul Ryan is threatening Republicans in the House who are attempting to force an immigration vote, saying that it would be a "big mistake" to take a vote on DACA right now.

As the new farm bill takes shape, House Freedom crazies sense blood in the water and are attempting to leverage their support by pushing an immigration bill.

There's a big push to get former US Attorney Preet Bharara to make a run for New York AG, and he hasn't exactly said no.

Political royalty is not exclusive to monarchies as the US continues to create political dynasties well into the 21st Century. Just look at the mysterious Greg Pence!

The GOP is waging a secret war to save the House with the Congressional Leadership Fund. The PAC is dumping millions of dollars and thousands of student volunteers in flyover country to knock on doors and remind people about the Trump tax cuts (for the super rich).

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is reaching out to Hollywood's super rich donor network in order to fund his likely 2020 presidential run. #HesRunning2020

That MSD security guard who ran during the shooting is getting an $8,700 state pension. Just FYI.

Steve Mnuchin and Peter Navarro were arguing like foul-mouthed school children while they were attempting to hammer out Trump's trade war.

The US ambassador to Moscow, Jon Huntsman, has decided not to speak the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum seeing as how it might look bad to appear in a photo with Viktor Vekselberg.

Comedian and SNL cast member Pete Davidson says that Trump faked a phone call to brag about book sales during a table meeting before his appearance on the show. Davidson concludes, "I swear on my life. We were all, like, ‘Yo, that phone didn’t ring.'"

REXXON emerged from his hidey-hole to give a sobering speech to VMI graduates about "alternative realities" threatening democracy, adding, "If we do not as Americans confront the crisis of ethics and integrity in our society and among our leaders in both public and private sector — and regrettably at times even the nonprofit sector — then American democracy as we know it is entering its twilight years." Should have thought about that before you gutted the State Department, dick.

GOOD NEWS! The Senate passed a measure to overrule the repeal of net neutrality! The legislation now faces an uphill battle in the House, but could become a flashpoint issue in upcoming elections.

Over the last three days a series of startling discoveries have shown that encrypted messages aren't as secure as we thought.

NICE TIME! Astronaut Scott Kelly reminisces about how, when he was a failing college student, the late Tom Wolfe inspired him to become on astronaut.

And here's your morning Nice Time! PENGUINS!

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Dominic Gwinn

Dominic is a broke journalist in Chicago. You can find him in a dirty bar talking to weirdos, or in a gutter taking photos.


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