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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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Two much-discussed phone calls Donald Trump Jr. made prior to the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting were not to his father, CNN reported Thursday.

Three sources “with knowledge of the matter” told CNN that records provided to the Senate Intelligence Committee establish that the calls to blocked numbers were actually between Trump Jr. and two unnamed business associates.

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Michael Cohen is mixing up his legal defense team as he continues to cooperate with federal and congressional investigators, Cohen’s spokesman Lanny Davis announced Monday.

A pair of new attorneys—former federal prosecutr Michael Monaco and criminal defense lawyer Barry Spevack—“will represent Mr. Cohen going forward as he continues to cooperate with the Office of the Special Counsel, the Southern District of New York, the Office of the New York Attorney General’s Office as well as the committees of the US Congress seeking testimony from Mr. Cohen,” according to Davis.

In a joint statement, Monico and Spevack said: “We look forward to helping Mr. Cohen fulfill what he has told us is his only mission – to tell the truth as he knows it and to turn the corner on his past life and taking ownership for his past mistakes by cooperating as best as he can with all governmental authorities in search of the truth.”

The duo will replace Guy Petrillo, the well-respected former chief of the criminal division at the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office, who helped Cohen navigate his plea deal in the financial crimes case brought by federal prosecutors from that office. At Cohen’s December sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge William Pauley applauded Petrillo’s “superb” representation. Amy Lester, Petrillo’s colleague at Petrillo Klein & Boxer and his co-counsel in the Cohen case, will also be departing from Cohen’s team.

This switch-up of Cohen’s defense team comes as several congressional committees press forward with their efforts to compel the testimony of President Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer. The Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Cohen last week after Cohen backed out of a scheduled hearing before the House Oversight Committee, citing Trump’s “threats” to his family.

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Roger Stone was arrested and indicted Friday morning as federal agents stormed his homes in Florida and New York. In an indictment, special counsel Robert Mueller laid out communication between Stone and the Trump campaign during the summer and fall of 2016. Stone suggested repeatedly during that time that he was in touch with Wikileaks, and, according to the indictment, was in touch with Steve Bannon and an unidentified “senior campaign official.”

Ahead of a court appearance Friday, Paul Manafort submitted a court filing pushing back on Mueller’s claims that Manafort lied to investigators after entering into a plea agreement. Manafort’s lawyers said that he did not share any “intentional falsehoods.” In court Friday, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson scheduled a hearing for February 4 during which she will assess whether Manafort lied.

Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen was subpoenaed by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday. Cohen will sit for an interview, presumably before he reports to prison in March.

That sit-down will replace Cohen’s scheduled February 7 public testimony before the House Oversight Committee. Republican lawmakers on that committee complained this week that Cohen’s appearance would essentially be worthless as he would be barred from discussing the multiple federal investigations with which he is cooperating. Instead, they said, Cohen would use the opportunity to share unflattering stories about President Trump. On Wednesday, Cohen called the appearance off, citing threats to his family from Trump and Rudy Giuliani.

The President has for some time been publicly urging investigators to look into Cohen’s father-in-law, Fima Shusterman, a Ukrainian immigrant who pleaded guilty to money laundering in the 1990s and reportedly provided one of the links between Trump and Cohen.

The Senate Intelligence Committee also subpoenaed Jerome Corsi, the Roger Stone ally and conspiracy theorist.

Giuliani has reportedly drawn Trump’s ire for his media appearances about the Russia probe. Over the past week, Giuliani has claimed that Trump personally told him work on Trump Tower Moscow continued until Election Day 2016, then said he had no idea if that was true, but was just speaking in “hypothetical[s].”

Giuliani also divulged that Trump’s lawyers reached out to special counsel Robert Mueller to ask him to publicly discredit a BuzzFeed article reporting that Trump told Cohen to lie to Congress about the Moscow project. BuzzFeed is standing by their story, saying they remain “100 percent behind it.”

Mueller is probing the Trump campaign’s links to the NRA, according to CNN.

An unknown company owned by a foreign government was granted permission to ask the Supreme Court to consider its appeal of a grand jury subpoena linked to the Mueller probe.

Former GOP fundraiser and ex-Cohen client Elliott Broidy filed a new lawsuit accusing a trio of D.C. operatives of accepting millions of dollars from the Qatari government to extort him after hacking his emails.

And Russian pop star Emin Agalarov, who brokered the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, is cancelling his U.S. tour after his lawyers were unable to negotiate the parameters of his testimony before Mueller and Congress.

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Michael Cohen is postponing his scheduled February 7 testimony before the House Oversight Committee, citing “threats against his family” from President Trump and his allies, Cohen’s lawyer announced Wednesday.

“Due to ongoing threats against his family from President Trump and Mr. Giuliani, as recently as this weekend, as well as Mr. Cohen’s continued cooperation with ongoing investigations, by advice of counsel, Mr. Cohen’s appearance will be postponed to a later date,” Cohen representative Lanny Davis said in a statement. “Mr. Cohen wishes to thank Chairman Cummings for allowing him to appear before the House Oversight Committee and looks forward to testifying at the appropriate time.”

Trump has publicly suggested on multiple occasions that Cohen only agreed to plead guilty to financial crimes and cooperate with federal prosecutors in order to protect his father-in-law, Fima Shusterman. Trump recently suggested that investigators should look into Shusterman because “that’s the money in the family.”

Cohen was reportedly concerned that these mentions of his family members by the president could prompt Trump’s supporters to target him or his loved ones.

House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) released a joint statement calling Cohen’s safety concerns “completely legitimate.”

“As we stated previously with our colleague, Chairman Jerry Nadler of the Judiciary Committee, efforts to intimidate witnesses, scare their family members, or prevent them from testifying before Congress are textbook mob tactics that we condemn in the strongest terms,” the statement said.

The chairmen said that they still intended to require Cohen’s testimony at some point, saying “not appearing before Congress was never an option.”

“We will not let the President’s tactics prevent Congress from fulfilling our constitutionally mandated oversight responsibilities,” they wrote. “This will not stop us from getting to the truth.  We expect Mr. Cohen to appear before both Committees, and we remain engaged with his counsel about his upcoming appearances.”

Another reason why it might not make sense for Cohen to testify in the next few weeks: he’s still cooperating with multiple investigations out of the New York Attorney General’s office, the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office, and special counsel Robert Mueller. Cohen would likely be unable to discuss any matters related to those probes, as his statement suggests.

Two Republican members of the committee sent Cohen’s criminal defense attorney a letter on Wednesday asking for proof that their client’s testimony would be more than just a “media stunt” given these constraints.

According to those GOP lawmakers, Davis told the committee that Cohen’s testimony would focus on “his personal anecdotes about his time working for the then-private citizen Donald J. Trump, and his experiences after Mr. Trump became President.”

This post has been updated.

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