Author Archive | Partisan

If Cohen Flips on Trump, Let the Wild Rumpus Start

President Donald Trump's long-time personal attorney Michael Cohen arrives at a New York court on April 16, 2018 in New York City. Trump's lawyers on Sunday night asked a federal judge to temporarily block prosecutors from reviewing files seized by the FBI from Cohen's offices and hotel room last week. Trump's lawyers have argued that many of the documents are protected by attorney-client privilege. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s long-time personal attorney Michael Cohen arrives at a New York court on April 16, 2018 in New York City. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Speculation has begun to grow that Michael Cohen, Trump’s long-time personal attorney whose office and home were raided by the FBI, may agree to cooperate with Robert Mueller’s investigation. If so, he could go down in history with Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano, the mobster whose testimony ultimately destroyed the Gotti crime family.

President Donald Trump's long-time personal attorney Michael Cohen arrives at a New York court on April 16, 2018 in New York City. Trump's lawyers on Sunday night asked a federal judge to temporarily block prosecutors from reviewing files seized by the FBI from Cohen's offices and hotel room last week. Trump's lawyers have argued that many of the documents are protected by attorney-client privilege. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)President Donald Trump’s long-time personal attorney Michael Cohen arrives at a New York court on April 16, 2018 in New York City. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The Schofield Kid: Yeah, well, I guess they had it coming.

William Munny: We all have it coming, Kid.

— “Unforgiven”

When your current lawyer has his home and office plundered of all paperwork by FBI agents bearing judge-certified warrants, and your old lawyer tells you your current lawyer is almost certainly going to give you up to the feds to save himself, you are having a bad day.

This is precisely the predicament Mr. Trump finds himself in, according to his old attorney, Jay Goldberg, who represented Trump’s interests for many years. In an interview with CBS News, Goldberg said he was all but certain Michael Cohen …read more

Via:: Truthout



Why Black Stories Matter: They Build Empathy and Heal Trauma

When she was growing up, Rachel Bailey was taught that only rich, self-indulgent White people suffered from mental health issues. Black people were supposed to be tougher. Although she remembers struggling with what was later diagnosed as bipolar disorder since she was 4 years old, it wasn’t until age 34 that she began to seek treatment, checking herself into a psychiatric ward after a severe mental breakdown.

“People of other races, especially White people, they get to be crazy and have their reasons and their subtle shades of insanity,” Bailey says. “It’s unfair that you get to be insane in colorful ways and I just get to be nuts and go to jail and rot there.”

Bailey was one of 11 Black performers who shared their stories in front of an audience of 600 people at TMI Project’s inaugural #BlackStoriesMatter show in 2017.

Among the performers was Tina-Lynn Dickerson, who spoke about becoming homeless after being evicted from her home in the now gentrified Harlem neighborhood she grew up in, and Micah Blumenthal, who spoke about how the lack of meaningful Black characters in film affected him as a child.

TMI Project is a nonprofit based in Kingston, New York, that works to uplift the voices of underrepresented populations in the community by helping them share their stories publicly. This is done through monologue-writing workshops that, if the writer chooses, culminate in a performance in front of an audience.

The goal is to raise awareness about different social issues, give people new perspectives, and inspire people to take action, says Eva Tenuto, co-founder and executive director of TMI …read more

Via:: Truthout



Mexico in the Time of the Caravan

Puebla, Mexico, 8 April 2018: An annual Easter march to shine a light on the plight of Central Americans living in a region with the highest murder rate in the world drew the attention of international aid groups, the United Nations … and the President of the United States. While the U.N. admonished the government of Mexico to provide safe conduct to the approximately 1,200 persons who crossed the southern border of their country, Donald Trump reacted with incommensurate fear, threatening to deploy National Guard troops to his own border, 1,200 miles (2,000 km) away.

The march, or caravan, is also known as the Via Crucis del Migrante (Migrant Stations of the Cross). A more-or-less yearly event, the caravan has been organized by Pueblo Sin Fronteras (People Without Borders), an NGO with a presence in Arizona, for over a decade. The original Via Crucis recalls the path Jesus Christ took to his execution according to the Christian religion: a fourteen-step journey that recounts the burdens, humiliations, consolations, torture and death he suffered, before being resurrected and ascending to heaven on what was to become Easter Sunday. In historically Catholic Central America, marking the Stations is a significant event.

Usually numbering less than a hundred, Via Crucis del Migrante 2018 grew unexpectedly, according to organizer Irineo Mújica, though not unpredictably in retrospect. This year’s caravan has a high number of Hondurans, reflecting that country’s extreme levels of violence and deepening political crisis following a contested presidential election in November that resulted in widespread protests and “excessive use of …read more

Via:: Truthout



The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Blunt Talk

By Elaine Godfrey

Today in 5 Lines

  • In a statement, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced plans to introduce legislation to decriminalize marijuana on the federal level, saying his thinking on the issue “has evolved.”

  • The Democratic National Committee filed a lawsuit against the Trump campaign, the Russian government, and the WikiLeaks organization, alleging that the three parties conspired to disrupt the 2016 presidential campaign.

  • Thousands of students across the country participated in school walkouts to protest gun violence on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting.

  • Foster Friess, a major Republican donor, announced that he will run for governor of Wyoming. “It’s only going to be one term and I’m going to donate my salary to charities that the people in Wyoming pick,” Friess said.

  • President Trump will not join Melania Trump in attending Saturday’s funeral service for former First Lady Barbara Bush. The White House said he’s missing the event “to avoid disruptions” and out of respect for the Bush family and friends.

Today on The Atlantic


High school students call for gun-control laws as they protest and rally in …read more

Via:: <a href= class="colorbox" title="The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Blunt Talk” rel=nofollow>The Atlantic



The Comey Memos Won’t Derail the Mueller Probe

By Adam Serwer

The release of former FBI Director James Comey’s memos detailing his early interactions with Donald Trump are unlikely to harm Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, legal experts say.

“Ordinarily, prosecutors conducting grand-jury investigations need to keep their cards close to the vest. That goes double for obstruction-of-justice investigations. If corrupt witnesses know what evidence and testimony have already been accumulated, they can build a false story around it without fear of contradiction,” said Bruce Green, a former federal prosecutor and a law professor at Fordham. “As far as the Comey memos are concerned, these considerations stopped mattering once so much of their content had leaked.”

On Thursday evening, the Department of Justice complied with demands from Republicans in Congress to turn over Comey’s memos of his interactions with Trump, in which Comey recounts Trump’s preoccupation with allegations that he consorted with sex workers in Moscow, and details an effort by the president to persuade Comey to shut down an investigation into Trump’s former national-security adviser Michael Flynn. The memos promptly leaked to the press. Democrats on the committee have accused the majority of attempting to shield the president from Mueller’s probe. The Department of Justice initially resisted turning over the memos, saying they were relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation.

The release of the Comey memos is unlikely to hurt that investigation however, because so much of their content was publicly known from Comey’s public testimony last year, his recently released book, and his public appearances. Rather than undercut Comey, they bolster his credibility, because contemporaneous accounts are considered more accurate than recollections.

“Witnesses’s notes are often used to refresh their recollections of the conversations they described right afterwards. So insofar as Comey testifies consistently with the memos, his credibility will be enhanced,” said Green. “That’s particularly so because lawyers are trained …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



What Comey Did Wrong

By James Fallows

As mentioned last week, I’m nostalgically trying to piece together some elements of the olden-days blogging culture in the current, very different online environment.

Today’s installment: A long note from a reader working through why he has changed his mind about Comey’s Choice™—former FBI Director James Comey’s decision to ignore the practice of his predecessors and comment openly about the investigative status of candidates during an election.

The reader begins about the overall process of collaborative thinking-out-loud:

I confess to using [emails to me and other writers] as a foil against which to flesh out my thoughts and ideas. I hope it hasn’t been an irritating distraction. It’s certainly helped me. I’m at least hoping that the elaboration of my own denseness has helped you to understand how much (or little) of the media’s message is being absorbed and understood by people in the general population who think about it.

In that spirit, I just listened to the Colbert-Comey interview; I’d listened to the Maddow interview, and read summaries of a couple of others. And I was about to sit down and ask you an honest question: Why was Comey’s decisions to make public pronouncements about Clinton’s e-mails wrong? The case he states makes sense, especially given the impossible consequences of going in either direction.

I’ve seen your many tweets challenging both the decision and the media handling of it. But his case still is highly persuasive. He was facing, in his statement, a Hobson’s choice between tainting an election, or tainting a presidency, depending upon the outcome, given his perception that the independence of Justice (Loretta Lynch) being questioned.

And then, amidst my shower this morning, I got it. And I want to share it with you because, honestly, I haven’t seen, or perhaps more accurately, been able to pull out of the mishmash …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



The Rift Between McCabe and Comey Could Help Trump

By Natasha Bertrand

The growing tension between two frequent targets of President Trump, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and his old boss, former FBI Director James Comey, was laid bare Friday morning.

“Andy is upset and disappointed in some of the things Comey has said,” McCabe’s lawyer Michael Bromwich said at a briefing for reporters Friday morning. Comey told the Justice Department’s internal watchdog that McCabe never alerted him to disclosures he planned to authorize to The Wall Street Journal in October 2016. McCabe, who was fired last month after the Justice Department Inspector General determined that he lied about those disclosures, insists that Comey knew—and that there are email and phone records that prove it. The IG has referred McCabe for possible prosecution to the U.S. Attorney for Washington, D.C.

The open conflict between the two former associates reveals the stark reality of McCabe’s defense strategy, and its unlikely intersection with Trump’s: Both McCabe and Trump’s efforts to defend themselves against allegations that they acted improperly—McCabe through self-serving leaks, Trump through attempts to influence the FBI investigation into his former national-security adviser—now depend in large part on their ability to impeach Comey’s credibility. Trump, whose new nickname for the former FBI director is “Lyin’ Comey,” has taken this a great deal further than Bromwich, who has attributed the disagreement between McCabe and Comey’s version of events to Comey’s “fallible memory.” But Bromwich’s suggestion that Comey’s recall may be faulty comes at a particularly sensitive time for Comey, who has been trying to convince the public—through the launch of a new book and a whirlwind media tour—that he can be trusted to recall the details of his private conversations with the president.

An attorney for Comey declined to comment.

Leaks about Trump’s private interactions with both Comey and McCabe over the last …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



Is Rural America Getting Tired of Tough-on-Crime Policies?

By Vann R. Newkirk II

Incarceration policy represents the reddest of red meat. From Richard Nixon’s calls for “law and order,” to George H.W. Bush’s Willie Horton ads, to President Trump’s promises to jail or deport “bad dudes,” modern American leaders have reliably used punitive rhetoric to get elected—and have overseen the expansion of the carceral society that inevitably followed.

There’s evidence now, however, that the allure of these appeals may be waning. A new poll, released Thursday by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and the Vera Institute of Justice, provides the latest data in a growing body of evidence suggesting that Americans actually want fewer prisons—and now favor policies and politicians that put fewer people in them.

The GQR/Vera poll finds that a plurality of Americans believe incarceration rates are too high. Forty percent of those polled said too many people are incarcerated, versus 33 percent who said the number is just about right and 9 percent who said rates are too low. These results track with other surveys, such as those cited by Peter Enns in Incarceration Nation, showing that, overall, Americans’ punitive attitudes have decreased since their 1995 peak. A recent Morning Consult poll found that even more Americans, at 51 percent, believe there are too many people in prison.

The main value of the GQR/Vera poll is not its confirmation of these evolving attitudes, however. Rather, its value stems from its approach to assessing who is driving those attitudes, and how those attitudes interact with policy. The poll compares people in rural areas to the general population, and measures the geographic differences in where prisons are built and where people are most likely to be jailed or imprisoned. By comparing rural residents with the broader pool of Americans, it creates …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



White Evangelicals Can’t Quit Donald Trump

By Robert P. Jones

With two alleged extramarital affairs looming over the presidency, white evangelicals are doubling down on their support for Donald Trump. But the near-term political gains their support is yielding may come at a high cost for the future of the faith.

A new survey released this week by PRRI, where I serve as the CEO, finds white evangelical support for Trump remains strikingly high, with 75 percent holding a favorable view of the president and only 22 percent holding an unfavorable view. This level of support far exceeds his favorability among all Americans, which is at 42 percent. Among all non-white evangelical Americans, Trump’s favorability is only 36 percent.

This is hardly the first time white evangelicals have chosen to weather a Trump scandal. Despite revelations of taped boasts of sexual assault during the 2016 campaign, moral equivocation about white supremacy during his first year as president, and a host of other controversies, white evangelical support for Trump has steadily increased over time. While his favorability never reached 50 percent during the 2016 primary season, by the early fall of 2016, it jumped to 61 percent. Until this week, the highest level of support from white evangelicals PRRI had measured was 74 percent, shortly after his inauguration. Since the start of his presidency, there have been minor fluctuations, but overall his favorability with this group has never dipped below 65 percent.

Even with the recent allegations of infidelity—with adult-film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, whose respective lawsuits have become tangled in the Russia investigation—white evangelical Protestants are showing no signs of a sunset on their support. By a margin of 3 to 1, or 69 percent versus 23 percent, white evangelical Protestants who identify with or lean toward the Republican Party say they would prefer Trump over …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



Trump’s Attacks on Comey Collide With Reality

By David Frum

Samuel Johnson once stood talking with James Boswell about a theory expressed by a certain Bishop Berkeley that the external world was made up entirely of representations. There was no reality, only beliefs. Disgusted, Johnson said: “I refute it thus!”—and aimed a kick at a nearby boulder.

The point being: You can believe what you want, but if you ignore the rocks, you’ll badly hurt your toe. The Republican world would do well to take this story to heart.

It’s another familiar story that conservatives have built themselves a closed information system. The system generates and repeats agreed fictions, and people are rewarded according to their ability to internalize, repeat, and embellish these fictions.

The system has revved itself into hyper-activity in the Trump years. And no Trump-era fiction has been more profoundly internalized and repeated within the closed conservative information system than the fiction that Trump is the victim of a plot by the FBI. This particular fiction is exceedingly complicated. Its details shift from day to day. It is most often repeated not as a coherent statement of checkable facts, but as an outraged sequence of bullet points: Fusion GPS! Deep State! The Democrats are the real colluders!

Even on its own terms, the story does not make sense. Within the closed information system, it is simultaneously believed—for example—both that former FBI Director James Comey deserved to be fired for his unfairness to the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign and also that Comey cannot be trusted because of his flagrant bias in favor of the Clinton’s presidential campaign. But the whole point of a closed information system is that the things are not believed because they make sense. Things are believed because the closed information system has ratified and repeated them.

In some times and places, closed information systems are backed with coercive …read more

Via:: The Atlantic