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?
Trump At CPAC: "We also inherited a failed health care law that threatens our medical system with absolute and total catastrophe. Now I've been watching and nobody says it but Obamacare doesn't work, folks. I could say, I could talk. And now people are starting to develop a little -- but the people that you're watching, they're not you. They're largely, many of them are the side that lost. They lost the election. It's like how many elections do we have to have? They lost the election. But I always say Obamacare doesn't work and these same people two years ago and a year ago were complaining about Obamacare."
An article in the travel publication Frommer's describes a dramatic drop off in travel from abroad since Donald Trump became President. This is not surprising on a variety of levels. There's lots of press about a crackdown on immigrants or foreign visitors or at a minimum more scrutiny of both groups. But the Frommer's article gives an overview of the scope of the drop-off from the travel press generally and also groups that track travel statistics.
In response to CNN's story about the White House asking the FBI to deny the Trump/Russia stories, Press Secretary Sean Spicer is digging deeper. Spicer told CNN: "We didn't try to knock the story down. We asked them to tell the truth."
There are a number of ways to interpret this statement. But the most logical one is that what the FBI actually has been saying is not the truth. Another is that the truth is the opposite of what the FBI appears to have found ... so far.