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Republicans can't defend Trump against the substance of Cohen's attacks

Republicans can’t defend Trump against the substance of Cohen’s attacks
All they can do is try to paint Cohen as a liar.
By Zack Beauchamp@zackbeauchampzack@vox.com Feb 27, 2019, 1:15pm EST

Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s testimony before the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday morning has been damning — both for President Donald Trump and his Republican allies in Congress.

Cohen has testified that Trump knew about illegal hush money payments to Stormy Daniels during the campaign, knew about Wikileaks’ dump of Hillary Clinton’s emails before they happened, and repeatedly said racist things in private. He has painted a picture of the president as a greedy, untrustworthy, cruel man who cares nothing for the country that he leads.

The Republicans on the committee, led by ranking Rep. Jim Jordan (OH), have spent limited time engaging Cohen on the specifics of these charges. Their responses have instead focused overwhelmingly on trying to discredit Cohen personally as a liar acting out of self-preservation — pointing out that he has pled guilty to lying to Congress before. One Republican even trotted out a poster of Cohen’s face with the caption “liar, liar, pants on fire.”

But the logic underlying this charge is profoundly wrong. The fact that Cohen lied before, and even committed financial crimes, doesn’t mean that he is doing it now. Time and again, when Republicans pressed Cohen on why he might be lying this time, they could not come with a persuasive explanation — leading to House members flailing as Cohen shot down their arguments.

The best argument that Republicans could come up with concedes that Trump employed a guy to lie and commit crimes for him for years, yet still fails to successfully indict his current testimony. That this is the best Trump’s defenders in the House GOP caucus could up with shows just how brutal Cohen’s testimony is for the White House.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Feb 27, 2019, 02:03 PM (1 replies)

Gosar v. Cohen


Exchange of the Day
February 27, 2019 at 12:21 pm EST By Taegan Goddard

ABC News captured this exchange between Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Michael Cohen during today’s House Oversight Committee hearing:

GOSAR: You’re a pathological liar. You don’t know truth from falsehood.

COHEN: Sir, I’m sorry, are you referring to me or the President?
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Feb 27, 2019, 01:55 PM (7 replies)

House Panel Wants to Question Trump's Tax, Ethics Lawyers: Report


House Panel Wants to Question Trump’s Tax, Ethics Lawyers: Report

The House of Representatives’ Oversight Committee seeks to depose Trump’s tax attorney and his White House ethics counsel, according to letters sent to the pair cited Wednesday by Reuters. The targets of the deposition are his long-serving tax lawyer Sheri Dillon and Stefan Passantino, his former deputy White House counsel in charge of compliance and ethics. The panel reportedly plans to probe the pair on a number of issues, including the president’s financial ethics disclosures, payments to former fixer Michael Cohen, and personal finances, and could focus specifically on when Trump reported making payments to Michael Cohen in ethics disclosure forms. The letters were reportedly sent just hours before Cohen is scheduled to appear before the committee, and deliver what will likely be blockbuster allegations against Trump.
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Feb 27, 2019, 11:01 AM (2 replies)

Trump Will Stay Up All Night to Watch Cohen Testimony

Oh, goody, he's watching. I imagine tweets are forthcoming.


Trump Will Stay Up All Night to Watch Cohen Testimony
February 27, 2019 at 8:14 am EST By Taegan Goddard

White House aides know that Michael Cohen will be a huge spectacle today, and that it is going to overshadow much of what the president does at his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam, CNN reports.

The expectation, according to a senior White House official, is that Trump “will stay up overnight in Hanoi and watch.”
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Feb 27, 2019, 10:51 AM (1 replies)

Democrats Unveil 'Medicare for All' Bill Favored by Liberal Base

Democrats Unveil ‘Medicare for All’ Bill Favored by Liberal Base
By Sahil Kapur and John Tozzi
February 26, 2019, 5:30 PM EST

A leader of House Democrats’ progressive wing is proposing “Medicare for all” legislation that would replace almost all private health insurance, an idea that’s galvanizing the party’s liberal base and winning endorsements from many of its top presidential contenders.

The legislation by Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Pramila Jayapal would steer all Americans — not just those 65 and older — into the Medicare program in two years. It would cover comprehensive health care services and, in a radical departure from the existing system, limit private insurance to supplemental benefits not provided by the government-run program.

“The state of our health care system is absolutely atrocious,” Jayapal of Washington told reporters on a conference call Tuesday. “Americans are literally dying because they can’t afford insulin or they can’t get the cancer treatment they need. Americans are going bankrupt.”

She said the measure will be introduced Wednesday with more than 100 co-sponsors.

Jayapal didn’t say how much it would cost or how it would be funded. The measure would eliminate all premiums, deductibles and co-pays while guaranteeing universal health care access to “every person living in the United States,” according to a summary provided by Jayapal’s office. The summary said combining all coverage into one program would reduce administrative costs and let Medicare set doctors’ fees, hospital budgets, and negotiate drug prices.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Feb 27, 2019, 10:13 AM (2 replies)

Michael Cohen: Trump sent letters to his schools threatening them not to release his test scores


Michael Cohen: Trump sent letters to his schools threatening them not to release his test scores
[The Independent]
Tom Embury-Dennis
,The Independent•February 27, 2019

Donald Trump threatened his high school and college with legal action in order to prevent them releasing his exam scores, according to explosive testimony Michael Cohen is due to deliver before Congress.

Mr Cohen, the US president’s former lawyer and personal fixer, will tell the House oversight and reform committee on Wednesday how his then client directed him to send letters warning Mr Trump’s schools against releasing his grades.

The revelation is part of a larger picture Mr Cohen plans to sketch of Mr Trump as “a racist, a conman, and a cheat” who, he will claim, knew his campaign was communicating with WikiLeaks in order to damage his 2016 presidential rival Hillary Clinton.

“When I say conman, I’m talking about a man who declares himself brilliant but directed me to threaten his high school, his colleges, and the College Board to never release his grades or SAT scores,” Mr Cohen will say, according to a transcript first obtained by the New York Times.

“As I mentioned, I’m giving the committee today copies of a letter I sent at Mr Trump’s direction threatening these schools with civil and criminal actions if Mr Trump’s grades or SAT scores were ever disclosed without his permission.”

He will continue: “The irony wasn’t lost on me at the time that Mr Trump in 2011 had strongly criticized President Obama for not releasing his grades.”

Mr Trump branded Barack Obama a “terrible student” in an interview nine years ago with the Associated Press, in which he pressured the former president to release his academic records.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Feb 27, 2019, 09:25 AM (12 replies)

MAGA Personalities Launch Website About Themselves

MAGA Personalities Launch Website About Themselves
Will Sommer
02.26.19 7:32 PM ET

This story originally appeared in Right Richter, a newsletter by Will Sommer. Subscribe now to see what’s happening in right-wing media from the safety of your inbox.

Facing dwindling public enthusiasm for Trump and a lack of interest from outlets like Fox News, a collection of MAGA-world personalities have started a new publication devoted to themselves.

The new site is called Culttture, and it’s basically a repository of whatever drama is going on with the members of the pro-Trump “New Right” this week.

Has Laura Loomer shouted at someone lately? Culttture will have the video. Did some former Breitbart reporter get banned from Facebook? Culttture has a take. Did Mike Cernovich post a picture of his latest dinner? Culttture will, for some reason, have that as well.

They even have a terrible rap song, “For the Culttture,” which serves a rallying cry for a generation of young Trumpsters who have been kicked off social media.

“Had an Instagram, which also got banned,” goes one representative line.

No one from Culttture responded to my requests for comment. No one even explained why Culttture has three “T’s” in its name.


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Feb 26, 2019, 07:50 PM (7 replies)

Rachel Maddow Dominates Fox News With Huge February Ratings


Posted on Tue, Feb 26th, 2019 by Jason Easley
Rachel Maddow Dominates Fox News With Huge February Ratings

Rachel Maddow’s domination of Fox News continued in February as she bested Sean Hannity as was the #1 show on cable news.

According to Neilson ratings provided to PoliticusUSA by MSNBC, “MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” was the #1 primetime cable news program in A25-54 for the 3rd straight month in February (including all specials), according to Nielsen. “Maddow” at 9pm averaged 549,000 viewers A25-54 (vs. FOX News’ 526,000 at 9pm and 538,000 at 8pm, and CNN’s 363,000). In total viewers, “Maddow” was #1 at 9pm (including all specials).

In other MSNBC ratings news, “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams was #1 in A25-54 and total viewers at 11pm, topping FOX News and CNN in both demographics for the 3rd month in a row. “The 11th Hour” averaged 327,000 viewers A25-54 (vs. FOX News’ 289,000 and CNN’s 269,000), up +1% over February 2018 (vs. FOX News’ -23% and CNN’s -11%). “The 11th Hour” averaged 1.8M total viewers (vs. FOX News’ 1.4M and CNN’s 828,000), up +22% over February 2018 (vs. FOX News’ -9% and CNN’s +5%). For the 3rd month in a row, “Deadline: White House” at 4pm was #1 in total viewers. “Deadline: White House” averaged 1.7M total viewers (vs. FOX News’ 1.55M and CNN’s 946,000).”

Rachel Maddow Has Pulled Ahead of Fox News

Fox News moved Sean Hannity to 9 PM to be their Maddow momentum killer because the entire Fox News brand is centered around being number one. While Hannity does run close to Maddow, he has not been able to give Fox News the number one show on cable news.

Rachel Maddow has built her audience with her tireless and dogged coverage of the Russia investigation. The first twenty plus minutes of Maddow’s show is the closest thing that cable news has to nightly long-form storytelling.

Maddow delivers a compelling and informative show. Her program also serves as the antidote for the lies and poison that Trump injects into the nation’s discourse.

As Fox News sinks under the weight of Trump failure, The Rachel Maddow Show is soaring by giving the public the knowledge and information that they need.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Feb 26, 2019, 07:01 PM (11 replies)

Activists Blast DNC for Even Considering a Fox News Debate

Activists Blast DNC for Even Considering a Fox News Debate
The party is divided among those who want to directly engage the opposition and those who think that’s totally insane.
Gideon Resnick,
Maxwell Tani
02.26.19 4:43 AM ET

Months before the first of a dozen Democratic primary debates is set to air, some activists within the party have begun raising concerns about one possible host: Fox News.

The right-leaning network with deep ties to the Trump administration hasn’t hosted a Democratic primary debate in over a decade. But that may change this year.

During a brief interview in late January, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez spoke with Fox anchor Bret Baier about the upcoming 2020 presidential election. In response to a question posed by Baier about whether Fox News could possibly host one of the many debates set to take place between 2019 and 2020, Perez said, “Absolutely, we’re having discussions with Fox and others.”

The comment was not universally well received. Democratic groups and politicians have long taken issue with the rightward bend of Fox News’ coverage, particularly in its primetime hours. And DNC staffers have not forgotten the role the network played in spreading a debunked conspiracy theory about the 2016 murder of former DNC staffer Seth Rich, who police say was killed in a botched robbery. In early 2018, Rich’s parents sued Fox News for a retracted story that said investigators had evidence showing Rich was tied to the leaking of DNC emails to WikiLeaks.

Over a week ago, the founder of the progressive website Daily Kos, Markos Moulitsas, delivered a petition to the DNC with over 100,000 signatures, calling on the committee to reject Fox News as a possible host for a Democratic debate. And he reserved blame for one person in particular.

“The DNC is giving Fox News and the conservative movement a giant credibility boost by even considering granting them a debate,” he told The Daily Beast. “At a time when activists have worked so hard to convince advertisers to abandon that den of racism, bigotry and misogyny, here comes Tom Perez like a jackass undermining all that work.”


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Feb 26, 2019, 06:51 AM (7 replies)

White House press corps evicted from hotel ahead of North Korea summit


White House press corps evicted from hotel ahead of North Korea summit
The forced move was highly unusual because the White House had approved of and supported the use of the space by media who cover the president.
Feb. 25, 2019, 11:54 PM EST / Updated Feb. 26, 2019, 4:15 AM EST
By Jonathan Allen

HANOI, Vietnam — The White House press corps was evicted from its workspace here Tuesday as a red carpet was rolled out at the same hotel to welcome North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for his nuclear summit with President Donald Trump.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted Tuesday morning that the reporters who cover Trump would be relocated from their planned staging ground at the Melia Hotel — including a 200-seat ballroom and stand-up spots for broadcast reporters — to an international media center.

“You must go now! This way,” a Vietnamese security officer barked at members of the press corps in the hotel lobby Tuesday morning.

The forced move was highly unusual because the White House had approved of and supported the use of the space by media who cover the president.

It was not immediately clear who made the decision to boot the White House reporters: North Korea, Vietnam, the U.S. or a combination of those governments.

Kim and Trump are meeting this week for the second time in a year to discuss a possible denuclearization of North Korea.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Feb 26, 2019, 06:14 AM (24 replies)
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