Two days ago the Times published a story about Michael Cohen and his relationship with Columbus Nova, the U.S. investment arm of the behemoth holding company of Viktor Vekselberg, the Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin. The article is mainly about Cohen’s dealings with Andrew Intrater, Vekselberg’s cousin who is the CEO of Columbus Nova and a U.S. citizen. There are lots of very interesting details in the piece. But buried down in the 9th paragraph is this eye-popping revelation.
Diplomatic communications are usually worded with great care and precision. They aren’t letters one person writes to another. They are documents which communicate specific realities and goals between states. In this case, I completely believe that Donald Trump himself wrote this letter or dictated it. In fact, I feel almost certain he did. The words resonate with a genuine hurt and anguish, mixed with moments of menace and still hope for the future. It reads needy. It’s like a letter you write to a romantic partner who has abandoned you without saying so. You write, hurt, finalizing what is already clear.
GOP Rep. Diane Black of Tennessee has introduced a bill that would set up a Kickstarter/Gofundme-style crowdfunding site to fund Trump’s wall.
I just finished listening to a CNN segment where “norms” figured heavily in the discussion. It was a good segment. I clipped a couple snippets of video because they were so good. But we need to stop talking so much about “norms”. And it’s not just CNN. The term has come up a number of times in our editorial conversations at TPM just today. I’ve talked about them. But we need to stop talking so much about norms. Because it doesn’t capture what is happening or the situation we’re in. In every kind of communication, clarity is the most important thing. By talking so much about “norms” and the violation of “norms” we’re confusing the situation and even confusing ourselves.
The BBC is reporting that after being kept at arms length by the White House, the President of Ukraine paid Michael Cohen at least $400,000 to arrange a meeting between the President Poroshenko and Trump.
Good morning. Here’s what our team has its eyes on today.
Here is a very notable passage from a new Bloomberg article about PSY Group, the psy-ops company run by Joel Zamel, the Israeli social media expert who was in that Trump Tower meeting with Don Jr pitching his services in August 2016 …
With so many bewildering things happening in the news, it’s important not to lose the thread. The FBI’s counter-intelligence division was confronted with evidence that the Trump campaign was riddled with operatives colluding with a hostile foreign government to throw the 2016 election. Those fears have now all been amply confirmed. The agents assigned to the case used the least invasive, most conservative means to investigate the evidence they had.
You’ve probably only heard his name if you’re very deep into the arcana of the Trump/Russia probe or if you keep up on the New York City taxi business. But the deal Evgeny “Gene” Freidman struck today with state prosecutors is likely very bad news for Michael Cohen and, perhaps at least indirectly, Donald Trump.
Here’s the story.
Key moments on the collapsing North Korean summit and “spies” in the Trump campaign from President Trump’s just completed press appearance…
This is perhaps my favorite bizarre nugget of information of the last 24 hours – and there are many. President Trump’s lawyer’s lawyer is a foreign agent for the government of Qatar. Or at least he was last year when a lot of the shenanigans we’re discussing were happening.