Michael Cohen's Shell Game. Wonkagenda For Thurs., May 10, 2018
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today, but first, A BABY PORCUPINE! Hang in there, buddy!
Michal Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer who does business things for many businesses, raked in MILLIONS from corporations and law firms via the same sketchy shell company that he used to pay off Stormy Daniels. The NYTimes reports that Cohen pitched himself as the "gatekeeper" to Trump world, despite warnings from other power players. They even have this hilariously bad infographic. One of the firms who employed Cohen noted that this was Cohen's side hustle. Shortly after the inauguration, Cohen reportedly told a friend that he was, "Crushing it. [Archive]
In a totally unique coincidence, Trump's OTHER personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, was employed by one of the Russian-owned companies (known for bribing officials) that was paying Michael Cohen for...business things. [Morning Maddow]
Mysterious evil lawyers for the alleged Russian trolls under the arm of a firm run by "Putin's Chef" have plead not guilty, with defense attorneys arguing, "The government indicted a proverbial ham sandwich..." Legal analysts think the firm is playing chicken with Robert Mueller.
The Senate Intel Committee has released their findings and recommendations from the investigation into Russian fuckery during the 2016 election. TLDR: It's bad, states needed to get their shit together four years ago, and we should be using two-factor authentication, as well as paper back-ups.
Early this morning Mike Pence licked his lips, did his best Spiro Agnew impression, and said he thinks it's time to kill the Trump-Russia investigation.
Republicans are desperate to appease Jared Kushner and support a Kushner-endorsed prison reform bill, but Democrats keep calling them out on bullshit job placement programs, and are threatening to walk away over a lack of sentencing reforms. The story between the lines here is that Jared's dad, an ex-con, still can't get job.
The Trump administration may let SOME of the 60,000 Honduran hurricane victims on Temporary Protected Status stay in the country, but it still prefers they all self-deport themselves ASAP.
A number of House Republicans are pissed at Paul Ryan and his refusal to do anything about DACA, so they're attempting use the "queen of the hill" rule to put proposals up on the House floor and force a vote.
Mick Mulvaney is just fucking with Congress after he sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee recommending $327 million in cuts from its $3.8 billion Legislative Branch funding bill. This prompted Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan to fire back, "I didn’t hear calls for restraint from Director Mulvaney when the Administration used taxpayer dollars to buy a $43,000 phone booth or a $31,000 dining room table..."
Democrats are pissed about a Republican proposal in the new farm bill to include frozen, canned, pureed, and dried produce to the US Agriculture Department's Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, noting that frozen fruits and vegetables contain added sugar and preservatives to keep them from rotting. Iowa Democratic Rep. Tom Harkin fumed to reporters, “People have wanted to include peanuts and trail mix and God knows what else. Now this guy from Maine wants frozen or canned blueberries.”
The House Armed Services Committee approved a $716 billion defense authorization bill for fiscal 2019 that includes upgrades and replacements for really old aviation systems, an investigation into a rash of aviation disasters, orders for two Virginia-class submarines and some combat ships, money for more nuclear weapons, and Trump's stupid wall. It also axes the Defense Intelligence Agency, while pressing the "GO" button on the "Space Force. The bill now moves to the House floor.
Trump is trying to brag about raising military pay for the first time in 10 years, but history shows we've raised military pay every year for the past 30 years. Thanks, Obama.
Democrats attempted to claw back money for Trump's big dumb military parade, but Republicans REALLY want "motorized vehicles, aviation platforms, munitions...and operational military units" to show all the veterans demanding VA service that America is grateful for their sacrifices.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Joseph Dunford and Defense Sec. Mattis told the Senate that many women in combat roles still don't have body armor. The military industrial complex apparently never planned on boobs being in kevlar.
John Bolton wants to scuttle the White House cyber security job while simultaneously attempting to ramp up offensive cyber operations -- and that's FREAKING OUT cyber policy wonks who are warning against such a schizoid move.
Trumpers in the Pentagon are trying to remove language about the dangers of climate change, so instead they're telling people to be aware of the dangers of "climate."
John McCain isn't dead yet, and as he looks back on his military and political career, he's vowed be a thorn in Trump's ass.
Trump was quick to take credit for the return of Americans held captive in North Korea early this morning, telling a gaggle of reporters, “I think you probably broke the all-time in history television rating for three o’clock in the morning. That I would say.” See? he cares.
Wisconsin Republican Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson is refusing to apologize for questioning the "cognitive thought process" of Democratic veterans, and now veterans groups and Tammy Duckworth are weighing in. Yesterday, a spokesman for Nicholson told a press gaggle, "Liberal politicians begging for apologies are just trying to cover up their own missteps."
McClatchy has a bitchy story about Krystal Ball's PAC, the People’s House Project. FEC filings show Ball rewarded herself for having the balls to recruit unconventional progressive House candidates in deep red districts, like Randy "Iron Stache" Bryce and Richard Ojeda. Meh, nobody writes these stories unless you start scaring the super rich power players on K street.
Now that he's got his tax cut, an embassy in Jerusalem, and a looming war with Iran, Sheldon Adelson is dumping $30 million into the GOP's Congressional Leadership Fund in an effort to snuff out the raging dumpster fires in
flyover country the heartland.
Republican gerrymandering has left the decks stacked against Democrats in
flyover country the heartland for decades, but the threat of the Blue Wave is real, according to political fortune tellers.
Body cam footage of police in Rialto, California show the racial profiling of three black Airbnb renters, one of whom was the granddaughter of Bob Marley, after a neighbor thought they were robbing the place. In a statement to reporters, the homeowner said, "If the kids had simply smiled at (my neighbor) and waved back..."
A man in North Carolina with ties to white supremacist groups has been indicted for attempting to have his neighbor killed, and requesting a "flaming cross" be left in the yard. The man also attempted to buy a so-called "ghost gun." No, not a Ghostbusters Proton Pack.
As Trump continues to humiliate European allies: this morning German Chancellor Angela Merkel noted, "It is no longer such that the United States simply protects us, but Europe must take its destiny in its own hands." [via AFP]
Israel launched a bunch of missiles and bombed more than a dozen Iran-linked military sites in Syria this morning. Israel says the barrage is in response to recent Iranian attacks in Golan Heights.
Rand Paul is bitching about Afghanistan. Again. He's even started to convene hearings where he is literally the only person in attendance.
US-backed Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) were spotted jumping out of MRAPs in Syria, but the Pentagon doesn't know HOW that could of happened...It's a mystery!
Here's a sad and pathetic photo of FORMER Sheriff David Clarke in a Canadian tuxedo looking very sad on an airplane. Poor bastard has to fly in steerage with the rest of the proles. Can't even call the posse out to frisk people who look at him wrong, poor guy.
Sassy advice columnist Dan Savage has some words for gay Trump supporters.
HEY EVERYONE! Let's all point and laugh at how poor Richard Spencer's credit card was declined for $4 drinks! AWW, is the neo-Nazi gonna' cry?
Page Six gossips that Fox News talking head Kimberly Guilfoyle continues to screw her way through Trump's inner circle banging DJTJ. Real Talk: Y'all mother fuckers need Tinder, or something, bunch of incestous bastards.
The California Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that Tinder engages in age discrimination. Seriously, DJTJ should stop plowing his way through Fox.
And here's your morning Nice Time! SUPER CUTE LION CUBS!