Get More Smarter on Friday (August 24)

At least you’re not Jeff Sessions. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY… 

► This can’t be good news for President Trump, as the Washington Post reports:

Allen Weisselberg, chief financial officer for the Trump Organization, was one of the executives who helped arrange $420,000 in payments to Donald Trump’s longtime attorney Michael Cohen to help reimburse him for hush money he paid an adult-film star.

Weisselberg was granted immunity by federal investigators in New York in exchange for his truthful testimony about his role in the payments, according to people familiar with the discussions. [Pols emphasis]

Weisselberg is the person identified in court filings as “Executive-1,” who prosecutors said helped authorize $420,000 in payments to Cohen, one person said. He testified last month before a grand jury investigating Cohen.

In addition to being the longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, Weisselberg is also one of two trustees of the trust that controls the president’s assets.

Weisselberg’s name is not as well known — publicly, at least — as other Trump “advisers” like Michael Cohen, but his cooperation with the government could be devastating for Trump. As NBC News reported late last month, Weisselberg “knows where all the financial bodies are buried within the Trump organization.”

News of Weisselberg’s cooperation is the latest blow for Trump in what has been a terrible week for the White House. The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that David Pecker, chairman of the company that publishes the National Enquirer, has also been granted immunity in exchange for his cooperation.

From NPR:

Pecker…was granted immunity in exchange for giving prosecutors information about Cohen and Trump’s knowledge of those payments, according to The Wall Street Journal and other media outlets.

The Enquirer allegedly used a tactic known as “catch-and-kill” — when a publication buys the rights to a damaging story for the purpose of sitting on it and keeping that story out of the news.

The Associated Press reported Friday that the magazine even had a location where records of these payments were stored: a safe full of documents, not only relating to Trump, but similar “catch-and-kill” deals with other celebrities.

 

► Arizona Republican Senator John McCain is discontinuing treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer, his family announced on Friday. From CNN:

Although McCain’s colleagues had braced for the worst following his cancer prognosis a year ago, Friday’s announcement left them shaken. It effectively closes a tumultuous Washington career that included two unsuccessful presidential runs and saw McCain emerge as a singular political figure, an icon of the Senate and latterly as a vehement critic of President Donald Trump.

“Last summer, Senator John McCain shared with Americans the news our family already knew: he had been diagnosed with an aggressive glioblastoma, and the prognosis was serious. In the year since, John has surpassed expectations for his survival. But the progress of disease and the inexorable advance of age render their verdict. With his usual strength of will, he has now chosen to discontinue medical treatment,” the family of the Arizona Republican said in a statement.

As CNN explains further, this latest news about McCain hit hard on Capitol Hill.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…

 

► As the Washington Post reports, President Trump’s bizarro interview on “Fox and Friends” Thursday demonstrates exactly why Trump confidants don’t want the President to talk with special investigator Robert Mueller:

…many experts believe the president may have inadvertently confessed to breaking campaign finance law with his latest account of how he reimbursed Michael Cohen for paying hush money so two of his alleged mistresses would stay silent before the 2016 election.

That’s just some of the fallout from a 12-minute interview that aired Thursday morning on “Fox and Friends.” It was Trump’s most problematic sit-down since he told NBC’s Lester Holt last year that the Russia investigation was indeed on his mind when he fired James Comey as FBI director — undercutting the official explanation from White House officials.

It underscored why Trump’s legal team has become so determined to stop special counsel Bob Mueller from getting access, specifically demanding that questions related to potential obstruction of justice be off limits in any presidential interview. Trump’s lawyers say they’re afraid Mueller will lay “a perjury trap,” but the Fox hit shows Trump probably doesn’t need to be coaxed like some bear in the backwoods of Maine with doughnuts. He seems perfectly capable of entangling himself in potential legal and political jeopardy with little prompting.

 

President Trump continued to attack Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday after a back and forth a day earlier in which Sessions took the unusual step of barking back at the President. Two Republican Senators said on Thursday that they would not oppose Trump if he decided to fire Sessions after the mid-term election. 

 

► Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Victor Mitchell is taking shots at GOP nominee Walker Stapleton over disputes from this year’s Primary campaign and Stapleton’s continued embrace of President Trump.

Meanwhile, another former Republican gubernatorial candidate — Steve Barlock — is warning that any Colorado Republican who refuses to support Trump is risking a recall election.

 

► Republicans apparently are not expecting President Trump to campaign for top-ticket candidates in Colorado. That’s probably good news for them.

 

► California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter is in a heap of trouble over allegedly using hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds for personal expenses. Duncan’s strategy to counteract these claims appears to be to use his own wife as a human shield, as CNN explains:

The turn to pushing his wife directly under the bus is a change even from 24 hours earlier when Hunter insisted that the 47-page indictment detailing 200 separate instances of the misuse of campaign funds for personal use was nothing more than the “Democrats’ arm of law enforcement” (aka the Justice Department) organizing a “witch hunt” (his words) against him just like they did with President Donald Trump.

This is what panic looks like when facing down an onrushing federal prosecution that could lead to significant jail time. You’ll say or do anything to lessen your legal jeopardy — up to and including insisting that your wife did it all and you tried to tell her no but she wouldn’t listen…

…Hunter’s new strategy of putting all the blame on his wife has a major hole in it, however. And that hole is this: He was repeatedly warned about her misuse of the campaign credit card and not only refused to take it from her but also kept her in a job running his campaign.

Classy.

 

9News does another “Truth Test” of a television ad (from out of state interests) targeting Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis.

 

► The Colorado Independent breaks down the latest news on potential ballot measures this fall.

 

► State Rep. Lori Saine (R-Firestone) eagerly exploits tragedy in order to make a statement about abortion.

 

► Governor John Hickenlooper issued more than two dozen pardons for Coloradans on Thursday.

 

► State health officials want to do more air quality tests in Lakewood because of concerns about potential elevated risks of cancer related to the Terumo BCT plant.

 

 Southwestern Colorado continues to feel the impacts of a severe drought.

 

 

Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

 

A group of white supremacists apparently visited Denver recently but didn’t want anyone to know about it until they left. 

 

► The White House is mad at El Salvador for being nice to China.

 

► Fox News is losing reporters on account of not actually doing real journalism.

 

ICYMI

 

► The White House isn’t even trying to dispute allegations that official Presidential visits are being used as campaign events to benefit Republican candidates.

 

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6 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DENependent says:

    In "At Least He's Not Our Senator" news a Quinnipiac University poll finds that half of voters in New Jersey believe Sen. Robert Menendez to be involved in "serious wrongdoing".  Only 38% of Democrats believe this, but then there is plenty of "my party right or wrong, still my party" on both sides in America.

    With approval ratings that look like Trump's and a lead of just 6 points over his challenger it is possible, but less likely, that Republicans flip this seat in October.

    • Given New Jersey politics, party is probably a safer voting strategy than perceived corruption: both parties there have serious corruption issues. His opponent is a board member and former president of lobbying group PhRMA – he is Big Pharma.

      • Bob Hugin, Menendez's opponent, is CEO of Celgene, a pharma company that just last year settled a $280m lawsuit for fraudulent off-label use of its drugs.

        So… party might as well be party.

        • DENependent says:

          I think that makes the single digit lead in the polls for Menendez in New Jersey all the more striking. This ought to be a cakewalk for the Democrats in a year like this. Two deeply flawed candidates facing off.

          • RepealAndReplace says:

            Remember how the Jersey Dems yanked Bob Torricelli a few weeks before the 2002 election and substituted Frank Lautenberg? It worked then, it could work again. (Well, except it will need to be with someone other than Lautenberg, but you get the picture….)

          • Rule number I'm-not-sure of pollwatching: New Jersey always breaks the hearts of Republicans. It looks close, but in the end if it isn't obviously the bag for the GOP, they lose.

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