The Pentagon has announced that on November 12th the Army recovered additional remains of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, a month after his body was found. Remember that Johnson’s widow was not permitted to view his body and she even publicly speculated about what was really in her husband’s coffin. It now seems they didn’t tell her that what was in the casket was not her husband’s entire body.
Obviously, terribly things happened to bodies in war, mutilation, dismemberment, decapitation. That is war. The issue here is that it seems the Pentagon kept this information from Johnson’s wife and family.
We now know that in 2015 Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) settled a sexual harassment claim with a former staffer. The story originated when the notorious alt-right figure Mike Cernovich provided settlement documents to Buzzfeed. Buzzfeed, rightly, independently confirmed the story. The story was thus based on the documents but no longer relied on the documents or their authenticity. Conyers’ office has now confirmed the key details of the story. Conyers denies the underlying accusations and notes that he admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement. But that’s really beside the point since that’s in the nature of confidential settlements.
Yesterday the CEO of AT&T came out in response to the just-announced DOJ lawsuit and said in CEO-speak that they are going to court and ready to use full discovery powers to determine whether President Trump’s animus toward CNN is what is driving this dispute. That makes me really wonder if the Trump White House knows what it’s getting into. Are they really ready for the exposure of discovery and do they realize it could and likely will go directly to the President.
But I wanted to flag a note from an anonymous TPM Reader, TPM Reader AN. He’s an antitrust lawyer. And while I think he agrees that the government’s argument in this case represents a dramatic reversal of recent decades of antitrust enforcement (especially for a GOP administration) he notes some technical factors that may put the government in a better position to win this case than people realize.
CNN is reporting that DOJ has decided to sue to block AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, which owns both CNN and HBO. You may have read what I’ve written about this before. I generally oppose all mega-mergers like this for a host of reasons. But I have very little doubt that what is driving this is President Trump and his feud with CNN. There’s abundant evidence to that effect, which makes this highly dangerous.
Buzzfeed reported this morning that multiple sources claim that National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster called President Trump an “idiot” and a “dope” in a private dinner with Oracle CEO Safra Catz. McMaster also criticized Steve Bannon, Rex Tillerson and said presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner has no business being involved in national security issues at all. According to Buzzfeed, Catz told one source “[the conversation was so inappropriate that it was jaw-dropping.”
As the Russia story again heats up, let’s remember the ties between Russia and the US evangelical right as a critical backdrop and predicate for the entire story. Here’s my backgrounder on the topic (sub req.)
There are a number of different developments in the Russia story that I wanted to flag and discuss as we begin this Thanksgiving-shortened week.
The NRCC, the campaign committee charged with electing Republicans to the House of Representatives is holding a lottery to send a “lucky conservative (and a friend)” for an all expense paid weekend at the Trump Hotel in Washington, DC. You just have to contribute a minimum of ten dollars.
When I first saw this, I was stunned. A big piece of the Russia puzzle. In a little watched campaign video from Sam Clovis’s failed 2014 Senate run, Clovis stated staunchly pro-Russian views about the Ukraine crisis. This was on March 17th, 2014, a day before the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and more than a year before Donald Trump even announced his candidacy. At one point in the video Clovis says that “Russia, [by] placing forces on the ground in Ukraine, will help assist them in moving back into the Russian empire.” Read our report here.
Yesterday I appeared on a panel about digital publishers who are ‘pivoting to video’. I’ve written about this before. But in case you’re new to it, there have been numerous cases over the last six months to a year in which digital publishers have announced either major job cuts or in some cases literally fired their entire editorial teams in order to ‘pivot to video.’ The phrase has almost become a punchline since, as I’ve argued, there is basically no publisher in existence involved in any sort of news or political news coverage who says to themselves, my readers are demanding more of their news on video as opposed to text. Not a single one. The move to video is driven entirely by advertiser demand.