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It's All So Confusing (The Michael Cohen File)

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.

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There's More to the Michael Cohen Story

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.

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We Are Hiring in New York

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.

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Mystery Solved

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.

Cowardice and Freedom

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.

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The Folly of Bashing 'Anonymous Sources'

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.

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Can the Democrats mount an enduring Challenge to Trump and the GOP?

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.

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"How Many Elections Do We Have to Have?"

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."