Mshuham2

Matt Shuham

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously associate editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

Articles by Matt

Former White House staffer and “Apprentice” star Omarosa Manigault Newman on Sunday played a recording of what she characterized as White House chief of staff threatening her to depart the White House in a “friendly” manner, or else face “difficulty” with her “reputation.”

The mere fact that Manigault Newman, who has a new book out, managed to secretly record the White House chief of staff and purportedly in the White House situation room, no less — is itself newsworthy.

Elsewhere in the interview, Manigault Newman said she was “complicit with this White House deceiving this nation,” and that she was “totally complicit” in aiding the President blame both white nationalists and anti-racist protesters for the violence in Charlottesville last year.

“I had a blind spot where it came to Donald Trump,” she said. “I wanted to see the best in him. And obviously I felt miserably, because after that he gets up and he says that there are good people on both sides when he should have been denouncing what we saw as clearly racist, Nazis, going against the grain of this country.”

Manigault Newman didn’t resign her position in the White House after Charlottesville, though, instead staying on for several months before being fired in December of last year. (She previously falsely claimed she had resigned.) 

“I was so much a part of this, and I accept and I admit that I was,” she said.

“This book is riddled with lies and false accusations,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has said, in part, about the book. Trump called Manigault Newman a “lowlife” Saturday.

Manigault Newman explained Sunday that she’d resisted leaving the White House because “I was working to try to find someone who could take my place,” noting the White House hasn’t hired another African American presidential aide since her departure.  

Elsewhere in the interview, Manigault Newman said she’d personally heard the “n-word tape” — of the President using the racial slur during a taping of “The Apprentice” — though she said she heard the audio after the book was completed. She’d previously claimed to NPR’s “Morning Edition,” incorrectly, that her book describes her listening to the tape.

“I have heard for two years that it existed, and once I heard it for myself it was confirmed what I feared the most, that Donald Trump is a con and has been masquerading as someone who is actually open to engaging with diverse communities,” she said Sunday. “But when he talks that way, the way he did on this tape, it confirmed that he is truly a racist.”

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Talk about verbal gymnastics.

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said Sunday that he definitely didn’t say what he said President Donald Trump said last month, but that if he did say what he said Trump said — which he did — he was saying what former FBI Director James Comey said Trump said, and that he would never have said Trump said that himself.

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Update August 10 at 12:13 p.m.: Judge T.S. Ellis ruled late Thursday that the portion of the bench conference related to Gates’ interviews with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team would remain under seal.

Original story: Special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors requested Thursday that part of a conversation they had with Judge T.S. Ellis III and defense lawyers for Paul Manafort two days earlier be kept private, because it revealed “substantive evidence pertaining to an ongoing investigation.”

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The independent federal commission that in January unanimously rejected the Trump administration’s shady plan of simply pouring money into failing coal and nuclear power plants might soon have a new member — one of the people responsible for coming up with that shady plan.

There’s a shadow Veterans Administration and, surprise, its made up of a bunch of civilians whose only qualification is their willingness to give the President money.

Finally, the truth is out: the FCC lied to the public and members of Congress. There was no cyberattack on its public comment system last year, the FCC’s inspector general said, just a whole bunch of comments from politically engaged people angry about net neutrality. Faced with the truth, Chairman Ajit Pai deflected blame.

Yes, the Education Secretary’s family yacht was mysteriously untied and left to float off into Lake Erie last month. But did you know it flies a Cayman Islands flag, which allows the DeVoses to avoid a buffet of taxes and regulations?

Early in 2017, then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt reversed an Obama administration effort to ban a pesticide, chlorpyrifos, which EPA scientists had found damaged children’s brains. Environmental groups and several states sued. At one point, it was revealed that a nominee (who eventually withdrew) to lead the Office of Chemical Safety took money from Dow Chemical, which makes the pesticide, and also trashed scientific studies critical of the pesticide.

On Thursday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the EPA to ban the pesticide, and chastised the agency for ignoring Pruitt’s critics and clear science.

The Trump administration is shrinking the Office of Financial Research, created after the financial crisis as an independent watchdog within the Treasury Department tasked with identifying risky financial behavior.

ICE simply lied to the Texas Observer about a van crash involving 8 detained immigrant mothers. “There was no crash,” a spokesperson said, a day after the agency admitting to a congressman that there had been a crash. Elsewhere, The Intercept profiled an 18-year-old in ICE custody who was also questioned — and pressured to become an informant — by FBI agents.

A Mexican mother whose 16-year-old son was shot and killed across the border fence by a Border Patrol officer in 2012 can sue the officer who fired the shot and the government, the Ninth Circuit said Tuesday. The boy “had a Fourth Amendment right to be free from the unreasonable use of deadly force by an American acting on American soil, even though the agent’s bullets hit him in Mexico,” a judge wrote.

Yes, the Trump administration can massively shrink national monuments like Bears Ears and Grand-Staircase Escalante. No, it doesn’t have to release documents showing us why.

Finally, read this profile to learn how Commerce Secretary Wilbur “Short Sale” Ross may have stolen $120 million from business partners over the years.

“If even half of the accusations are legitimate, the current United States secretary of commerce could rank among the biggest grifters in American history,” Forbes reports. “The SEC has never initiated any enforcement action against me,” Ross responds, inaccurately.

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Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach will not recuse himself from a potential Kansas Republican gubernatorial primary recount — despite being in the race himself.

“The secretary of state’s office merely serves as a coordinating entity overseeing it all but not actually counting the votes,” Kobach said in his defense, according to the Kansas City Star.

Kobach faced off against incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer (R) Tuesday night in attempt to kick the state’s current executive out of the governor’s mansion. Kobach won the primary by just 191 votes, before counting provisional and mail-in ballots.

According to The Kansas City Star, unless he recuses himself, Kobach will get to set the price of a bond Colyers must file with the secretary of state’s office to cover the cost of a recount, if he chooses to pursue one.

Kobach’s involvement in that step, experts told the paper, may appear to bias the process, even if the secretary of state’s office isn’t involved in the actual county-by-county vote tabulations.

“He could set the bond so high that no one could afford that,” Kansas City attorney Mark Johnson told the Star.

Read the Star’s full report here.

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According to Wednesday’s indictment accusing Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) of insider trading and lying to the FBI, the congressman, formerly an Innate Immunotherapeutics board member and the company’s largest shareholder, received some “extremely bad news” about a major drug trial at around 6:55 p.m. ET on June 22, 2017.

Innate’s CEO explained to his board in an email that the company’s marquee drug had experienced a “clinical failure.” Shareholders, the CEO was saying, were about to lose a bunch of money.

Fifteen seconds after responding to the email (“Wow. Makes no sense. How are these results even possible???” Collins wrote, according to prosecutors), Collins repeatedly tried to reach his son on the phone. After “several missed calls,” they “connected and spoke for six minutes.” What followed, according to the indictment, was a phone tree of insider trading violations.

As it happens, Collins attended the White House’s congressional picnic on the evening of June 22, 2017. President Trump spoke at 7:30 p.m. ET, according to a pool report.

Photo and video from that night, therefore, may show Collins in the very first minutes of his alleged insider trading scheme.

See any other evidence of Collins at the picnic? Maybe in the photos below? Send it to us.

<<enter caption here>> on June 22, 2017 in Washington, DC.
WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 22: Guests attend a Congressional Picnic at the White House June 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Trump and the first lady hosted their first Congressional Picnic with the theme, Picnic in the Park, which is modeled after a summer evening in Central Park in New York. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
<<enter caption here>> on June 22, 2017 in Washington, DC.
WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 22: Guests attend a Congressional Picnic at the White House June 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Trump and the first lady hosted their first Congressional Picnic with the theme, Picnic in the Park, which is modeled after a summer evening in Central Park in New York. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
<<enter caption here>> on June 22, 2017 in Washington, DC.
WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 22: Guests attend a Congressional Picnic at the White House June 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Trump and the first lady hosted their first Congressional Picnic with the theme, Picnic in the Park, which is modeled after a summer evening in Central Park in New York. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump greet guests at the Congressional picnic at the White House in Washington, DC, on June 22, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (CR) and First Lady Melania Trump (CL) greet guests at the Congressional picnic at the White House in Washington, DC, on June 22, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM

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Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano criticized U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III on Wednesday for his handling of special counsel Robert Mueller’s case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

“I’m not happy with this judge,” Napolitano told Fox News’ Dana Perino. “He’s making too much of the case about him and he’s showing an extraordinary bias against the government. If you feel that negatively about the government, you shouldn’t be on the case, or you have to keep those feelings to yourself not manifest them.”

“You and I were talking during the break, the jury can’t be happy with this judge because of the snide, snarky comments,” he added to Perino.

Ellis, known for his courtroom humor and occasional scolding of lawyers, has set strict boundaries on Manafort’s trial. He banned the word “oligarch” from the courtroom for being “pejorative” and complained last week about prosecutors’ attempts to put Manafort on trial “for having a lavish lifestyle.”

“If it doesn’t say Men’s Warehouse, then I don’t know it,” Ellis said after learning the pronunciation of the “House of Bijan,” where Manafort bought some particularly high-end goods.

“I understand how frustrated you are,” he told a prosecutor Monday. “In fact, there’s tears in your eyes right now.”

Watch below:

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