As I try to pull all this stuff together, I wanted to mention a few more fascinating details. Yesterday we noted that renegade Ukrainian MP Andrii Artemenko says he's known Cohen for years. They first met when Cohen was setting up that ethanol business with family in Ukraine. Artemenko also says he started talking to Cohen about his "peace plan" for Russia and Ukraine back during the presidential primaries - long before the meeting in early February with Cohen and Felix Sater, which the Times reported last week. We also noted that in addition to Artemenko and the ethanol business, Cohen seems to have a lot of business and personal ties to Ukraine. Almost everywhere you look actually.
Well, it turns out there's more.
Recent desecrations of cemeteries in St. Louis and Philadelphia and the low-fi terror campaign of bomb threats against Jewish community centers across the country reminds us why in the post-Emancipation era, European Jews and subsequently American Jews, have gravitated heavily toward progressive political orientations. This is not always the case. In various times and regions, Jews have belonged to conservative parties like the UK tories or French Gaullist parties, for instance. But they are virtually absent from rightist politics. The reason is clear enough. Anti-semitism is almost inevitably and almost always part of rightist political movements. It is a natural feature. This is not always explicitly so. It is not always that way at first, but eventually it is always there.
That is the case with Trumpism.
Over the weekend I was involved in some Twitter back and forth about the outcome of the DNC leadership race. My take, as someone who has been a big fan of both Ellison and Perez for years and was genuinely uncertain about which candidate I preferred, was that it drove me a bit crazy seeing Perez labeled as a "corporate Democrat" or "establishment pick." The first description is ridiculous; the second is simplistic. But I think Dave Weigel's take on the outcome is on the mark and gets at some key dynamics of the race, beneath the labels, which proved determinative.
I noted yesterday that President Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, appears to have a longer-standing relationship than he'd let on with that renegade member of the Ukrainian parliament, Andrii V. Artemenko. Artemenko is the guy who met with Cohen and erstwhile Trump business associate Felix Sater to discuss Artemenko's "peace plan" to settle things between Ukraine and Russia. Cohen originally told The New York Times that he took a copy of the "peace plan" in a sealed envelope and passed it on to Trump's National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, days before Flynn resigned in disgrace.
A day later Cohen denied doing so.
Confused yet? Welcome to my life.
I was intrigued to learn a few days ago that President Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, once founded an ethanol business in Ukraine. It's referred to as a family business. So presumably he set it up with relatives of his wife, who is Ukrainian. This isn't any big scoop I uncovered with my masterly reporting skills. It's referenced right in one of the biggest stories of the last week in The New York Times, the one about Cohen, Felix Sater and Andrii V. Artemenko, the renegade Ukrainian MP who pitched Cohen (and, he hoped, Mike Flynn and Donald Trump) on his 'peace plan' for Russia and Ukraine and who is now being investigated by the government of Ukraine for treason.
I have mentioned a few times that we are currently hiring three new investigative reporter positions in our DC (2) and New York (1) offices. I wanted to let you know that we are also currently hiring for two existing positions in our New York office: one Newswriter (junior reporter position) and Social Media Editor. We're looking to fill these positions quickly. See the listings for both positions after the jump.
We've gotten to the bottom of that rather mysterious outbreak of Russophilia at CPAC where a bunch of feral young Trumpers starting waving Russian flags with the name "Trump" emblazoned on them with chants of "USA, USA!".
It was masterful trolling by some progressive activists who pranked the Trumpers.
You've probably seen that today the White House held a daily gaggle (an informal, off-camera Q&A) in which only a few select news outlets - including Breitbart, The Washington Times and One America Network - were allowed to attend. CNN, NYT, LAT, Politico and apparently others were barred. In other words, two shlock 'news' outlets and one highly conservative but still legitimate news organization. The places breaking the unwelcome Trump/Russia stories are blocked.
In his speech at CPAC earlier Donald Trump had his routine complaints about the press and "fake news". His latest line is that there should be no anonymous sources. Sources should be named and made to 'say it to his face.'
Here's one key quote.
I'm against the people that make up stories and make up sources. They shouldn't be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody's name. Let their name be put out there. Let their name be put out. A source says that Donald Trump is a horrible, horrible human being. Let them say it to my face. Let there be no more sources.
We are publishing today my interview with master organizer Marshall Ganz. It's on the eve of the meeting of the Democratic National Committee in Atlanta at which a new chair will be chosen. In the interview, Marshall is skeptical about focusing the initial efforts of liberals and left on taking over the party,. He thinks the most important task is to build an organized movement on the ground that can shape the Democrats and challenge the Republicans. But it will be difficult to do this effectively, and I want to put Marshall's reasoning in my own words.
Trying to get to the bottom of this. Section of the crowd starts waving what appeared to be Russian flags at the Trump speech ...
Crowd at CPAC waving these little pro-Trump flags that look exactly like the Russian flag. Staffers quickly come around to confiscate them. pic.twitter.com/YhPpkwFCNc
— Peter Hamby (@PeterHamby) February 24, 2017
Putin faction? Trolling?