Here and there we've reported on the Hulk Hogan lawsuit against Gawker. As you probably know, Hogan won the case and won a massive judgment of $115 million dollars and an additional $25 million in punitive damages. While it is widely believed that the verdict is likely to be reversed on appeal or at least the judgment dramatically reduced, Gawker had to immediately place $50 million into escrow. The anticipated need to produce that sum forced Gawker to sell an undisclosed amount of the company to a Russian oligarch named Viktor Vekselberg. Simple fact: It's hard to feel too much sympathy when a publication gets sued for publishing excerpts of someone's sex tape. But some new information emerged this morning that, in my mind, significantly changes the picture.
I've been working on a piece about the different threads of information that make me think Donald Trump is dramatically less rich than he claims (probably why he's afraid to release the tax returns). But damn, trying to skim a bit off the veterans. It may be worse than I imagine.
In all seriousness, Trump seemed to go to great lengths not to follow through on his personal donation to a vets group after that debate skip fundraiser. The other billionaire contributors had given their contributions weeks earlier. Only getting pressed by The Washington Post forced Trump to cough up the money.
When asked if he'd only given the money after being pressed by reporters, a stung Trump told the Post's David Fahrenthold: "You know, you’re a nasty guy. You’re really a nasty guy. I gave out millions of dollars that I had no obligation to do."
As I mentioned yesterday, the three big networks and in fact the major national dailies continue to blast out Donald Trump's charges that Hillary Clinton's husband raped or assaulted other women. And yet, CNN, MSNBC, let alone Fox refuse to discuss that at least twice Trump has himself been accused of sexual assault or rape in sworn statements - once by his wife and again a decade ago in a lawsuit brought by a woman named Jill Harth. But in discussing how to approach the issue of how to approach Trump's history of accusations of sexual violence or harassment the question came up, what exactly is Trump trying to accomplish by using Bill Clinton's past against Hillary?
For those too young to remember, "Vince Foster" was Vince Foster, a close friend of the Clintons and law partner with Hillary Clinton who came to Washington with the First Couple to work in the White House Counsel's office. Foster's tragic suicide only a few months after the inauguration was taken up by DC Republicans and used as a political cudgel with a series of conspiracy theories about how the Clintons had allegedly had him murdered. If you're looking for a modern analogue, think of Birtherism. Washington Republicans were able to get multiple independent counsel investigations to reinvestigate his suicide, all concluding that it was a suicide as it obviously was from the beginning. It is in short a horrifyingly shameless tale of political exploitation of a very sad story, one man's death, the shattering of a family which we're apparently about to relive once again.
We sent TPM's Allegra Kirkland to Tennessee to cover a national conference of White Nationalists. She found that they're united and excited in support of Donald Trump. "I've never felt this sense of energy in our movement," the conference host, Jared Taylor, said in his opening remarks. "I've never been more optimistic." Here's Allegra's full report from Burns, Tennessee.