Hello, Prime subscribers. Here’s a recap of what happened in Prime this week.
You likely heard that Michael Cohen was in court. Ahead of the court date, Josh Marshall pulled together the various “threads of sleaze and criminality” to explain why, while the Cohen story is ostensibly separate from the Russia probe, the two are likely closely interwoven.
Ahead of the hearing, one of the big questions was who Michael Cohen’s secret, third client was, Zack Roth wrote. We got the answer in court: Fox News talker Sean Hannity. Stormy Daniels, meanwhile, showed up, seemingly to troll Cohen. Allegra Kirkland was there, and she took in the scene. Josh, meanwhile, wondered why Hannity was so bent on having his cake and eating it too: He appeared to want to make clear that Michael Cohen was not his lawyer while also maintaining attorney-client confidentiality about their discussions.
That start to the week virtually assured that this would be another in which Cohen — and speculation about what his legal troubles meant for the President — would dominate the headlines. Trump allies came out of the woodwork to allege that Cohen would flip on the President, implying, Allegra points out in her Weekly Primer on the investigations, that the President is not innocent. Even if the President chooses to pardon Cohen, Cohen still could be in trouble in the state of New York, Josh wrote. Meanwhile, Josh continued to dig in to Cohen’s past, including some of his ties to wealthy Ukrainian immigrants who have thrown quite a bit of money into the taxi business.
Paul Manafort was also in court, where Tierney Sneed witnessed his lawyers arguing that their client should be able to pay them with millions of his dollars — dollars that he currently can’t touch due to money laundering allegations. And James Comey was out on tour, expounding on the “emptiness” behind the President’s eyes for rooms full of fans; Allegra attended one such event.
Beyond the vacuum-like pull of the Russia probe news, a judge held Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in contempt of court and, David Kurtz writes, all but accused him of lying. Kobach has long pushed claims of widespread voter fraud — claims that bought him political capital but that did not hold up in court. Democrats, meanwhile, are running on an agenda of expanding voting rights and repairing gerrymandered district maps, but if they are to succeed, author Dave Daley told me in a Q&A this week, they’ll have to do more than win legislative seats: They’ll have to win key offices that control the redistricting process. Exactly what those offices are vary from state to state.
In her Weekly Primer on voting rights, Tierney Sneed noted that advocates of expanding the franchise won a key victory when New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed an automatic voter registration bill. The state’s Democratic legislature was on a roll, and also sent Murphy bills to stabilize Obamacare markets and put in place a statewide individual mandate to replace the Obamacare mandate that was tossed out with last December’s GOP tax cuts. Alice Ollstein has the details of those measures in her Weekly Primer on the battle over the future of Obamacare.
That’s it for Prime this week. But another week’s coming. Hang in there.