Allegra Kirkland

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.

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A new complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission Tuesday uses recent comments by President Trump, his 2020 campaign, and attorneys for his longtime fixer Michael Cohen to accuse the three parties of violating federal election law in their handling of the Stormy Daniels affair.

The complaint was brought by the American Democracy Legal Fund (ADLF), a Washington, D.C.-based progressive advocacy group.

According to the complaint, at which TPM was given an exclusive first look, the Trump team is “trying to have it both ways” by claiming that a hush money payment made by Cohen to Daniels, an adult film star who claims she had an affair with Trump, had nothing to do with the 2016 presidential campaign, while also acknowledging that Cohen represented Trump in what the President recently referred to as the “crazy Stormy Daniels deal.”

Campaign funds can only be spent on campaign-related expenses, which can include staffer’s legal bills that cover matters that directly arise from a campaign or a candidate’s tenure in office.

The Trump 2020 campaign acknowledged this week that they paid a total of $228,000 to McDermott Will & Emery, the firm representing Cohen, for “legal consulting” but insisted the payments “were related strictly to the Russia investigations.” The same McDermott attorney, Stephen Ryan, is also representing Cohen in the various litigation brought against him by Daniels, as well as a federal criminal investigation into Cohen’s financial dealings in the Southern District of New York.

Brad Woodhouse, ADLF treasurer, told TPM that claims the McDermott payments on Cohen’s behalf were only applied to their work on the Russia investigations don’t “pass the laugh test.”

As Woodhouse noted, Special Counsel Robert Mueller referred the probe into Cohen’s financial affairs to prosecutors in New York, signaling that they don’t have “anything to do with the Russia probe.”

The Trump re-election campaign has not yet filed its quarterly FEC report covering the period after the Daniels suits and SDNY investigation surfaced. So the amount they’ve paid to McDermott in recent months is not yet known.

Then there is the matter of the $130,000 October 2016 hush money payment Cohen made to Daniels, which is already the subject of another FEC complaint filed by the good government group Common Cause. Though Cohen initially claimed he paid out the funds in his own capacity, he sent emails related to them from a Trump Organization email address while serving as a surrogate for the campaign on TV. Campaign finance experts agree it was likely a violation of campaign finance law for Cohen to make the payment to buy Daniels’ silence while using Trump Organization resources. If Cohen did it on his own volition, as he claimed, the Trump campaign would have had to claim the money as an in-kind donation, which it did not.

Trump claimed in a recent Fox & Friends interview that the Daniels affair was one of the only matters in which Cohen represented him, after previously saying he knew nothing about the payment or the source of the funds.

Read the ADLF’s full complaint below.

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An interim U.S. attorney appointee who was personally interviewed by President Trump last year will stay indefinitely in his post, potentially giving him influence over the unfolding federal probes of Trump and his associates.

Judges in the Southern District of New York voted unanimously last week to keep Geoffrey Berman as Manhattan’s top federal prosecutor for the time being. Berman was one of 17 interim attorneys appointed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in January to serve 120-day terms under the Justice Department’s vacancy policy — a deadline set to expire on May 4.

The White House has yet to formally nominate US attorneys in key judicial districts, including the SDNY. Berman will serve in his post until Trump nominates, and the Senate confirms, a permanent replacement.

Until then, Berman, a donor to Trump’s presidential campaign and former law partner of Trump pal Rudy Giuliani, will oversee federal criminal matters in the district where the Trump Organization is based, potentially making him a key player in the sprawling investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

Already, Berman reportedly has recused himself from the federal probe into the business affairs of Trump’s longtime fixer, Michael Cohen. Neither Berman nor his office has explained the recusal, which came before federal agents raided Cohen’s premises earlier this month. The office’s number two, Robert Khuzami, a former top SEC official, has taken charge of the probe.

Miller, the former federal prosecutor, told TPM the recusal was a curious decision.

“It would be typical for you to liberally disclose any potential conflicts,” Miller said, “and then zealously safeguard the independence and conflict-of-interest free operation of any U.S. Attorney’s office, let alone the Southern District of New York.”

But the situation underscores how the Trump administration has flouted the typical process for filling these critical posts in the U.S. justice system.

“One would expect the judges would be acting in a non-partisan capacity and would only appoint him if they had a great deal of confidence in his impartiality and professionalism,” former federal prosecutor Steven Miller told TPM in a phone interview. Still, Miller called the situation “unusual.”

Trump has not given any explanation for his decision not to formally nominate Berman, but Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) promised to block Berman’s nomination over his one-on-one interview with Trump, which was first revealed in October 2017. The President also sat for interviews with Jessie Liu, who was confirmed last summer as U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, and Ed McNally, a partner at the firm of Trump’s own onetime lawyer Mark Kasowitz, who was floated as U.S. attorney for New York’s Eastern District.

All three jurisdictions are relevant to the federal Russia investigation.

At the time of Berman’s appointment, Gillibrand spokesman Glen Caplin said that receiving the stamp of approval from Trump presented conflicts of interest given “potential jurisdiction on matters that could affect the president personally.”

Caplin followed up with another statement last Wednesday blaming Trump for attempting “to undermine our institutions by doing an end-run around the U.S. Senate’s advise and consent responsibility for U.S. attorney nominations.”

Gillibrand’s fellow New York Democrat, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, also reportedly told the White House back in January that he was “not supportive” of Berman’s nomination.

Robert Costello, former deputy chief of the criminal division in the Southern District U.S. Attorney’s Office, told TPM that concerns about Berman’s potential conflicts were overblown. As Costello pointed out, the former U.S. Attorney in the district, Preet Bharara, served as Schumer’s chief counsel prior to his appointment.

This winding series of affairs was set into motion last March with Sessions’ firing of 46 U.S. attorneys held over from the Obama era — a fairly standard move for a new administration. Trump has since nominated 65 people to fill the 93 total U.S. attorney positions, 63 of whom been confirmed.

Then in January, Sessions used his executive authority to step in and appoint 17 interim U.S. attorneys. That announcement came one day before the acting U.S. attorneys filling in after the mass March 2017 dismissal hit the 300-day deadline limiting how long they can legally serve.

The White House did not respond to TPM’s requests for comment on whether Trump would nominate Berman, or on the delay in rolling out the rest of his nominations.

A Justice Department spokeswoman told TPM she would defer to the White House on the timeline for filling these posts. For now, local district courts will, as in New York, appoint people to hold them until Trump and Congress can agree on permanent selections.

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A new poll out Monday offers more evidence that the scandals plaguing Gov. Eric Greitens may be dragging down Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley in his neck-and-neck U.S. Senate race against Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill.

Fifty-four percent of Missouri voters want Greitens out of office, according to an Emerson College survey. His approval rating has fallen to just 33 percent, compared to 46 percent who disapprove of his job performance.

Greitens has been indicted for allegedly using a non-consensual nude photo to blackmail a woman with whom he had an affair, as well for alleged campaign finance violations. He has rejected calls from the state’s top Republicans to step down, and said he’ll be vindicated at trial.

McCaskill and Hawley, who is well ahead in the GOP primary and widely expected to become the nominee, are tied with 45 percent of the vote each. Eleven percent of voters are undecided.

These numbers align with an internal poll released by Hawley’s campaign Monday, which showed the Republican politician edging out McCaskill 47 to 46 percent, with 7 percent undecided.

A look at the polling trend-line in the race suggests Greitens is doing his party no favors. According to Real Clear Politics, in the four public polls taken before news of the blackmail claims broke in late January, all conducted by a GOP pollster, Hawley led the race by an average of 4.5 points. Hawley hasn’t led in any of the four public polls taken since January.

Though Hawley has worked hard to distance himself from the governor, Greitens’ shadow looms over the race. McCaskill’s team has painted Hawley as an opportunist who aligned himself with Greitens until the political winds shifted following his February indictment on a felony invasion of privacy charge.

Greitens has not taken these developments well, attacking Hawley’s credibility and even trying to take out a restraining order against him. A judge on Friday rejected Greitens’ request, saying Hawley’s calls for the governor to step down do not disqualify him from investigating the alleged campaign finance violations.

The Emerson poll was conducted from April 26-29 among 600 likely registered Missouri voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.2 percent.

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President Trump distanced himself from Michael Cohen this week, as both of the cases against Cohen — the civil case involving Stormy Daniels and the federal criminal case in New York — continued to progress.

Judge Kimba Wood appointed veteran prosecutor Barbara Jones as special master in the criminal probe, where she’ll be tasked with combing through materials seized from Cohen to determine which are covered by attorney-client privilege. Cohen announced this week that, because of that criminal investigation, he is pleading the Fifth in the Daniels suit. Daniels is suing Cohen for defamation and his role in a nondisclosure agreement related to payouts she received during the 2016 campaign to keep quiet about her alleged affair with Trump.

The President touched on both investigations in a freewheeling Thursday Fox interview, where he admitted for the first time that Cohen represented him in the “crazy Stormy Daniels deal.” Though Cohen worked exclusively for the Trump Organization for years, Trump insisted he had “nothing to do with” Cohen’s business dealings and that Cohen handled only a “tiny, tiny little fraction” of his legal work. (In January 2017, Cohen told the Wall Street Journal he had “no shortage of work” for Trump, including “all aspects of his life from his business to the personal.”)

In the same Fox interview, Trump denied telling Comey that he did not stay overnight while in Moscow for the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions acknowledged this week that he will retain partial oversight of the New York Cohen probe. Because of that decision, Sessions will reportedly receive regular briefings on the investigation.

Robert Mueller’s team divulged in court filings that FBI agents who raided Paul Manafort’s home and storage unit last summer were authorized to look for information on the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, as well as on Manafort’s work in Ukraine. Those revelations were intended to push back against Manafort’s arguments that the searches were illegal.

A consortium of news organizations asked that court documents in Manafort’s criminal case be unsealed due to the intense public interest.

Former FBI Director James Comey acknowledged he’s retained former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald — the special counsel in the Valerie Plame affair — as a personal attorney. Trump last week pardoned Scooter Libby, the former Bush aide who lied to Fitzgerald’s team about divulging Plame’s identity. It was a move that some — including Plame — say was meant to send a signal to former Trump allies who may be considering flipping on the President. Trump this week dismissed a query about whether he would pardon Cohen as “stupid.”

The House Intelligence Committee released its final report on its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election; Democrats say the committee did not do due diligence.

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a bill to protect Robert Mueller from being improperly fired by the President. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the bill will not receive a vote.

Rudy Giuliani, meanwhile, doesn’t seem quite ready to bring an end to the Mueller investigation as he pledged he would. He’s reportedly restarted conversations with the special counsel about having Trump sit for an interview.

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The sheriff says he’s following the law. The inmates say they’re going hungry.

According to a string of reports from, Sheriff Todd Entrekin of Etowah County, Alabama, has pocketed over three quarters of a million dollars intended for inmates’ meals, buying himself an expensive beach house, among other items, while leaving detainees eating rotten or contaminated food. Not long after acting as a source for’s reporting, one local man found himself charged with a felony by Entrekin’s office.

Entrekin has been taking advantage of a state law, passed before World War II, that allows sheriffs to keep for themselves any excess taxpayer dollars intended to feed inmates in their jails. He’s one of 49 Alabama sheriffs named in a lawsuit filed in January by human rights groups alleging abuse of the law. The groups say that because Alabama sheriffs have complete discretion over what inmates eat, the law incentivizes sheriffs to cut costs on food.

In response, Entrekin, who is running for reelection this year, has come out swinging, calling the claims “fake news” churned out by the “liberal media.”

Entrekin did not immediately return TPM’s questions seeking comment.

Entrekin bought a $750,000 beach house, spent food funds on lawn mowing

Entrekin has admitted to accumulating extraordinary sums in what he calls his “food provision” fund. In forms filed with the Alabama Ethics Commission and obtained by, Entrekin reported he made “more than $250,000” per year over the last three years in excess government funds intended to feed inmates.

The sheriff has been cagier about where that money went. reported that despite pulling in an annual salary of around $93,000, Entrekin and his wife in September purchased a $740,000 four-bedroom house on the Gulf Coast, and own several other properties as well.

In a March press conference, Entrekin adamantly denied using inmate-feeding funds to buy a beach house, insisting that he and his wife sold a condominium they owned to cover the $592,000 mortgage.

But surfaced other purchases, including a series of checks Entrekin used in 2015 to pay a local teenager for mowing his lawn. Matthew Qualls, now 20, showed the newspaper copies of one of the checks, which was printed with the words “Sheriff Todd Entrekin Food Provision Account.”

Inmates say they were forced to eat rotten food, went hungry

In a complaint filed in Hale County circuit court, lawyers for the Southern Coalition for Human Rights say they receive frequent letters from inmates throughout Alabama reporting that their food is “inadequate in quantity or nutritional value, spoiled, or contaminated, such as with insect or rodent droppings, or foreign objects.”

Conditions in Entrekin’s Etowah County jail are particularly well-documented, thanks to’s interviews with former inmates who worked in the kitchen. They routinely served up a meat product whose plastic wrapping was labeled “Not Fit For Human Consumption.”

Expired or contaminated food — processed mystery meat, rotten chicken, cereal past its expiration date — is donated to the prison by local non-profits and corporations and repurposed into meals, the former inmates told

Inmates who refused to eat the spoiled food go hungry. That’s led to inmate unrest and, in at least one occasion detailed by the newspaper, a suicide attempt.

Entrekin said in a March press conference that his facility always passed inspections with “flying colors.” Calling the meals served at his jail “nutritious, healthy and balanced,” Entrekin cracked that the inmates can’t expect Domino’s, grandma’s cooking, or “cake on their birthday”

“This is a jail, this is not a bed and breakfast,” he said.

A source who spoke out against Entrekin was arrested

Four days after Matthew Qualls went on the record with about his lawn-mowing work for Entrekin, he was arrested for the first time on an anonymous tip.

Officers from the Rainbow City Police Department arrested Qualls at an apartment in town after receiving a call that marijuana smoke was emanating from inside. They charged him with second-degree marijuana possession, drug paraphernalia possession, and felony possession of a controlled substance for possessing Adderall pills without a prescription, per the newspaper’s report.

Then the Etowah County Sheriff’s Office got involved.

Qualls was subsequently charged with a second paraphernalia charge, a second felony controlled substance possession charge, and, most significantly, felony drug trafficking, for which some Alabamans have been sentenced to prison for life. Though the total amount of marijuana buds found in the apartment was well under the 2.2-pound state threshold for trafficking charges, Entrekin’s office decided to count the full 2.3 pound weight of a large container of weed butter found on the premises when calculating Quall’s charges, even though there was only about half an ounce of weed in it.

Rainbow City Police told that they would not have made such a decision. Etowah County’s Drug Enforcement Unit said they interpreted the regulations differently.

Entrekin blames the “liberal media” for the controversy over his actions

As the bad headlines have piled up, Entrekin has become increasingly vented at the “liberal media,” and its “miscellaneous fake news.”

At his March press conference, the sheriff lashed out at reporters who “don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story,” blaming the press for scaring people from running for office by promoting “false attacks” and “half-truths.”

“That’s what’s wrong with politics today,” Entrekin said, describing himself as the victim of a “political smear campaign.”

The sheriff went on a similar tear during an interview this week with the Gadsden Times, describing the frequent tours inspectors make of his facility and accusing of printing “the very definition of bogus news.”

“This is the same media that argues against the death penalty for murderers, against prison time for drug dealers and against deportation of criminal, illegal immigrants,” Entrekin said.

Other sheriffs have also profited from inmate-feeding funds

Entrekin is only the latest in a long series of sheriffs who have profited from this law.

Ledgers provided to SCHR by Monroe County Sheriff Thomas Tate show that Tate pocketed around $110,000 over a three-year period in “excess” funds. As reported, that sum rose each year, even though the per diem amounts paid to his office by the state, municipal and federal government remained the same between 2014 and 2016.

In one infamous 2009 incident, Morgan County Sheriff Greg Bartlett was jailed by a U.S. district judge for underfeeding inmates while pocketing tens of thousands of dollars. Bartlett managed this, in part, by shelling out $500 for “half of an 18-wheeler load of insurance-salvaged corn dogs,” which he fed to inmates for two meals a day for weeks, as local station WHNT reported.

Bartlett’s successor as sheriff, Ana Franklin, argued in federal court last year that there was nothing improper about her decision to loan $150,000 from her inmate’s food fund to a now-bankrupt used car dealership. Allegations that inmates were receiving reduced rations, like “a sandwich with half a slice of cheese on it,” were, she said, unrelated to Franklin’s decision to keep what she deemed additional funds.

Franklin settled with the court, returning the funds and paying a $1,000 fine. She remains in office.

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NEW YORK — A federal judge on Thursday appointed a special master to review a trove of materials seized from Michael Cohen, to determine which are covered by attorney-client privilege.

Judge Kimba Wood named Bracewell partner Barbara Jones, a former mob prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s office and longtime U.S. District judge, to sort through material seized earlier this month from the office, hotel room, and apartment of Cohen, President Trump’s longtime fixer.

Jones’ work for both the government and in private practice lent her “all of the different points of view you would want to bring to these documents,” Wood said.

Though Jones was not on the suggested list of special masters offered by the parties involved in the case, no objection was made to her selection. Stephen Ryan, Cohen’s lead attorney, called her a “wonderful choice” to lead the review of materials seized as part of a wide-ranging federal grand jury investigation into Cohen’s personal and business dealings.

Joanna Hendon, the lead attorney representing Trump in the Cohen matter, said the situation represented a “compromise” for her client. She said Trump wanted to make initial privilege determinations about documents relating to him, but called the judge’s decision “acceptable.”

There was more of a conflict over what exactly Jones’ purview will be. Lawyers representing the Southern District of New York argued strenuously that it should be tightly limited to the privilege issue, and that Jones should not be empowered to determine evidence what evidence is irrelevant to the probe.

Both Jones and the Cohen team will be permitted to use keywords to sort through all of the seized documents to root out anything they consider privileged, the government agreed. But it was “very important,” assistant U.S. Attorney Tom McKay said repeatedly, that once that process was finished, a government “filter team” receive all of the materials deemed privileged “for the sole purpose of lodging any exception” to those designations.

If they don’t know what a particular privileged document says, McKay argued, they can’t decide whether or not it’s pertinent.

Wood said Cohen, like any criminal defendant, would likely feel uncomfortable having the government rifling through deeply personal documents like a child’s medical records.

After a brief volley, McKay insisted the government had no interest in doing so, but that the matter at hand was attorney-client privilege, not Cohen’s privacy. There was “no precedent,” he said, for a special master determining what personal materials that may have been seized could be relevant to their probe.

McKay suggested that “Cohen’s personal relationships” were in fact pertinent, and that he was concerned about “mission creep” and “slippage” if Jones or Cohen’s attorneys were to pull out specific documents that they deemed utterly unrelated to the investigation.

All parties ultimately agreed that privilege was the priority. If Jones or Cohen’s team happened in the course of their privilege review to come across a document that was, as Wood put it, completely “unresponsive,” they could set it aside, Wood said.

There were also vague hints of tension between lawyers for Cohen and Trump, who until now have been largely on the same page. After McKay made extensive comments about what materials the government should be able to review for objections, both Ryan and Hendon rushed to respond.

Hendon, already standing, began to speak, when Ryan stood and interrupted, saying, “I think it’s my turn.”

Hendon flushed and continued speaking until Ryan sat down, saying, “As the privilege holder, I appreciate your courtesy, Mr. Ryan.”

Also present at the hearing was Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for adult film star Stormy Daniels. Avenatti asked to intervene in the case on behalf of his client, who Cohen paid $130,000 just days before the 2016 presidential election to keep her from going public about allegations that she carried out an affair with Trump. After the government expressed concerns about the privilege review getting “sidetracked” by Avenatti’s involvement, Wood said she’d take a few days to review their arguments and make a formal decision.

The parties are next expected to reconvene at Manhattan’s DanielPatrick Moynihan courthouse for a status conference May 24.

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Shortly after police say Alek Minassian plowed a rental van down a Toronto sidewalk Monday, killing 10 people and injuring 15 others, a Facebook post circulated in which he appeared to praise Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old Californian who blamed his 2014 killing spree on his rejection by women.

“All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger,” the message read in part.

Canadian law enforcement acknowledged in a Tuesday press conference that Minassian “is alleged to have posted a cryptic message on Facebook minutes before” he got into the vehicle. And Facebook confirmed to outlets including TPM that the since-deleted account belonged to the suspect.

Many important details about the case are still unknown, and extremist experts noted that it’s odd that the post contained no other messages expressing an affiliation with the misogynistic, hateful ideology Rodger espoused. But they also told TPM that Rodger has become an icon among the most extreme members of the men’s rights and “incel,” or “involuntary celibate,” communities. And they said they wouldn’t be surprised if Rodger inspired the gruesome Toronto attack.

“For a certain segment of misogynists, Elliot Rodger is like the Columbine killers,” Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University San Bernardino told TPM.

“We have a subculture of misogyny that has its glorified leaders, its folklores, its treatises,” Levin added.

One of the most influential of those treatises was left by Rodger. In the weeks and days before he fatally stabbed his roommates and went on a shooting spree on the University of California Santa Barbara campus in May 2014, Rodger spent a great deal of time on the Internet. His now-defunct YouTube and Facebook accounts were filled with first-person monologue videos in which he expressed envy for men who were successful with women. He posted heavily on Bodybuilding Forum and, a site that took aim at the “pickup artist” community, about his visceral loathing of women.

Immediately before heading to the Alpha Phi sorority house to begin his massacre, Rodger, who committed suicide during the rampage, uploaded a video about his plan to “punish” women for rejecting him romantically, calling himself “the supreme gentleman.”

As the blogger David Futtrelle documented, since the Toronto attack, some users on the forum were quick to herald Minassian as a Rodger successor.

“Alek Minassian. Spread that name, speak of his sacrifice for our cause, worship him for he gave his life for our future,” one post read.

Another post saying Minassian “went ER,” a reference to Elliot Rodger, said he “could be a new saint.”

As with all forum threads, it’s difficult to tell which posts are sincere and which are just trolling. By Tuesday evening, several posts complained that they’d been “infiltrated” by “normies” drawn by media coverage of Minassian’s alleged ideology who were creating bogus accounts.

But even before Toronto, Rodger was being lionized in the darkest corners of the “incel” and far-right communities, Keegan Hankes, a senior intelligence analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center, told TPM.

That’s in part because he left behind a violent, racist, 107,000-word manifesto called “My Twisted World” expressing his desire to watch women starve to death in concentration camps.

“Leaving long documents, long online footprints for people who love to dive into this stuff and get conspiratorial helps that legacy grow,” said Hankes, who co-authored an exhaustive report for the SPLC that labeled Rodger the first “alt-right” killer.

On forums like Reddit, posts have proliferated — some hiding behind irony, some sincere — calling Rodger the “supreme gentleman” and “saint Elliot.” Users have praised him as “the only one who ever stood up for us” and lamented that he was unable to “take more people with him.” (Reddit took down the incel channel several months ago).

One of those fans was William Atchison, the 21-year-old who killed two students and himself at a New Mexico high school last December. Atchison surfed the web using the pseudonym “Elliot Roger” and wrote posts praising the “supreme gentleman.”

Observers of these communities note that not all “incel” adherents embraced Rodger and that there are divisions between the “incel” and broader men’s rights activist community.

As the journalist Arshy Mann put it in a Tuesday Twitter thread: “MRAs deploy a human rights framework to argue men are oppressed. Incels don’t talk about rights, they just hate.”

These amorphous extremist groups are hard to characterize. Some “incels” are racists; some gamers are men’s rights activists; many members of the “alt-right” and white nationalist community express virulently misogynist views but have nothing to do with these two groups.

But the connective tissue between self-identified “incels” and men’s rights activists is a deeply misogynistic worldview that embraces physical and sexual violence against women.

Minassian’s purported Facebook post plays on these communities’ tropes.

“The Incel Rebellion has already begun!” it reads.

“We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys,” it continues, using “incel” slang for stereotypically attractive, sexually active men and women. “All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger.”

Extremist experts say shining a brighter light on the violent fixations of some members of this community is essential.

Plenty has been written about the link between the perpetrators of domestic violence and the overwhelmingly male individuals who carry out mass shootings or terrorist attacks. But while media and law enforcement are primed to look for criminal suspects’ racial, religious or political bias, they’re less likely to see gendered hatred in itself as a motivator for violent rampages.

The Minassian attack “really highlights the need to take a more gendered lens when we consider extremism and terrorism,” said Barbara Perry, hate crime expert at University of Ontario’s Institute of Technology.

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Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens promised supporters that he’d continue to fight for conservative policies in a Saturday speech that came on the heels of his second felony charge.

“We have been viciously attacked by the liberal media and their allies,” Greitens told a crowd at the Texas County Lincoln Day dinner, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Though the audience appeared receptive, Greitens’ ability to lead the state is in serious jeopardy as the scandals swirling around him continue to metastasize.

The governor was charged Friday evening with felony computer tampering, for allegedly using a donor list from the veterans’ charity he founded to raise funds for his 2016 gubernatorial campaign. The St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s office, which brought that charge, is already pursuing a separate felony charge against Greitens for allegedly taking a nonconsensual nude photo of a woman and threatening to leak it.

As the twin scandals have played out in recent months, the governor has remained defiant, insisting he only engaged in an affair with the woman and committed no crime. In a Friday night statement, he also defended his work with the veterans’ charity.

“We helped thousands of veterans, won national awards for excellence, and became one of the finest veterans’ charities in the country,” Greitens said. “I stand by that work.”

Legislative leaders and Attorney General Josh Hawley, all Republicans, have called for Greitens to resign immediately. Republican Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard announced that he’s even planning discussions with Democratic leadership about keeping pieces of legislation passed by both chambers off the governor’s desk. Minority Floor Leader Gina Walsh has cast Greitens as an illegitimate leader, saying she doesn’t believe bills he signs should become law, according to the Associated Press.

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Allies of President Donald Trump spent the week suggesting that Michael Cohen will ultimately turn on his former boss and share all with the federal agents investigating his business dealings. This oddly unanimous (occasionally unsolicited) opinion implies, of course, that Cohen possesses some evidence that Trump may have committed a crime.

Trump’s 2020 campaign has made payments to the firm representing Cohen in the various Russia investigations, which is now also representing Cohen in his financial probe. Trump covering some of Cohen’s hefty legal bills could make Cohen less likely to flip.

In court this week, lawyers for Trump’s “fixer” were forced to reveal that Cohen had represented Sean Hannity as a legal client. (Hannity denies that they had a formal attorney-client relationship.) Judge Kimba Wood is permitting both Cohen and the U.S. government to review records seized from Cohen to determine which may be covered by attorney-client privilege, and both parties are expected to return for a status conference in late May.

Cohen dropped defamation lawsuits he’d filed against Buzzfeed and Fusion GPS for publishing the Christopher Steele dossier, blaming his decision on his preoccupation with the new federal probe. Cohen’s legal troubles also apparently inspired Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to ask lawmakers to change the state’s double jeopardy law to prevent those pardoned by Trump from escaping accountability under New York law.

As Cohen held the spotlight, TPM dug further into how Cohen’s family background fit into his relationship with Trump. A soon-to-be-released book by investigative journalist Seth Hettena reports that Cohen was introduced to Trump by his father-in-law, Fima Shusterman, who may have connected Trump with Russian investors. (Cohen called this claim “fake news.”) Shusterman was convicted of a money-laundering related offense in 1993.

James Comey is out on tour promoting his new book “A Higher Loyalty.” The media appearances are infuriating Trump, who has called the former FBI official “slippery” and repeatedly insisted that Comey should be in jail. Contradicting his past statements, the President is also insisting his decision to fire Comey had nothing to do with the Russia investigation.

The book release ended up being overshadowed by a Thursday night leak of the memos Comey made of his private conversations with Trump, which mostly corroborated Comey’s congressional testimony. The memos also documented that Trump was fixated on allegations he consorted with prostitutes during a 2013 trip to Moscow, and that he and Comey joked about imprisoning leakers and journalists.

The DOJ inspector general has referred his findings from Comey’s former deputy, Andrew McCabe, to the D.C. U.S. attorney for possible criminal charges. McCabe — who was ousted for misleading investigators about his leaks to the media — insists he’s not worried about this turn of events.

In an oddly timed lawsuit, the Democratic National Committee is suing the Trump campaign, Russia and WikiLeaks for conspiring to throw the 2016 election.

And Trump’s legal team gained a new member: Rudy Giuliani, who seems confident that he can help bring the Mueller probe to a conclusion within a few weeks.

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At 7 p.m. on Thursday, an animated crowd of mostly older, mostly white New Yorkers gathered at the Town Hall theater on Manhattan’s West Side hoping James Comey would tell them something new.

The former FBI director is sitting for multiple interviews a day as part of a whirlwind tour to promote his new book “A Higher Loyalty,” but New Yorker editor David Remnick, who hosted the event in collaboration with WNYC, tried to push Comey to cover new ground.

Remnick was most successful at unearthing more of Comey’s personal thoughts on the President’s character. Asked if he hates or dislikes the man who perfunctorily fired him from his dream job, Comey said he actually “feels sorry” for Trump.

“I think he has an emptiness inside of him, and a hunger for affirmation, that I’ve never seen in an adult,” Comey continued. “It’s all, ‘What will fill this hole?’”

“Something is missing in his life,” Comey added.

Though the former FBI official dodged Remnick’s question about whether Trump was a “bigot,” he called the President’s comments equivocating the Charlottesville neo-Nazis to the anti-racist activists there to protest them “shameful” and said they were “one of the reasons I think he’s morally unfit to be President.”

Comey also reiterated that he thinks “it’s possible” that Russia has something on Trump.

Other insights: Comey wishes Anthony Weiner had never had a laptop, and had “probably never even been born.”

He now shrugs when he sees tweets from Trump saying he should be in jail — a reaction he worries proves he and the rest of the American public are “becoming numb.”

He didn’t investigate Trump’s shady business practices and mob ties while serving as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York because of the need to justify, with a “factual predicate,” launching an investigation into a particular individual.

He stands by his opposition to the phrase “mass incarceration,” which Remnick pressed him on at length. According to Comey, the phrase implies an “intentionality” that appears to be “blaming police” for the fact that black and Latino Americans are arrested and imprisoned at rates that far outpace their white counterparts. Remnick noted that the disproportionate arrests did seem to be intentional and were clearly indicative of a systemic problem. But Comey insisted that the phrase “strikes a discordant note” to law enforcement.

And the former FBI director was similarly defensive when asked about the matters surrounding the 2016 election, including his two momentous announcements about the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the probe into Russia’s interference. Comey has no regrets, he insisted; he has nothing to apologize for, never considered the political implications, didn’t ever act out of self-interest. Though he acknowledged that the U.S. would be better off if Clinton were president, he insisted the facts about her email probe he learned in late October 2016 were a “nightmare.”

The crowd seemed receptive throughout, laughing at Comey’s jokes and nodding their heads in agreement. Several rows jumped up from their creaky, red velvet-covered seats to give him a standing ovation as he left the stage.

Shortly after the event wrapped and attendees spilled into the still-cold spring night, the memos Comey kept of his private conversations with Trump leaked to the press, including TPM. They mostly corroborated his testimony to Congress, and don’t, as Trump claimed, absolve the President of obstruction and collusion. But they also revealed that Comey thought the travel ban was legally valid and that he and Trump repeatedly joked about tracking down government leakers and imprisoning journalists. This unsettling coda suggested that morality is not so black and white after all.

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