This week, Steve Zuckerberg defended his controversial decision to allow Infowars/Alex Jones to remain on Facebook. Jones is the prime pusher of Sandy-Hook-was-crisis-actors and many other ridiculous conspiracy theories. Many would point to Facebook posts like the one below, which was posted today, to argue that entities like Infowars are dangerous, so Facebook should bar these entities from the site.
The F.B.I. seized the recording this year during a raid on Mr. Cohen’s office. The Justice Department is investigating Mr. Cohen’s involvement in paying women to tamp down embarrassing news stories about Mr. Trump ahead of the 2016 election. Prosecutors want to know whether that violated federal campaign finance laws, and any conversation with Mr. Trump about those payments would be of keen interest to them.
The recording’s existence further draws Mr. Trump into questions about tactics he and his associates used to keep aspects of his personal and business life a secret. And it highlights the potential legal and political danger that Mr. Cohen represents to Mr. Trump. Once the keeper of many of Mr. Trump’s secrets, Mr. Cohen is now seen as increasingly willing to consider cooperating with prosecutors.
Rudy Giuliani confirmed that the conversation took place, but said it lasted less than two minutes and payment was never made. Of course, Giuliani seems willing to say anything these days.
We do know that Trump's friend, David Pecker of the National Enquirer, bought McDougal's story, then didn't run it. So McDougal did receive a payment, but from a friend of Trump. Keep in mind, McDougal was represented by Keith Davidson, the same attorney who represented Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) a few months earlier in her agreement with Trump. In that case, Cohen was the attorney for Trump (aka David Dennison).
On Cohen's roster of three clients, there was also Elliot Broidy. Broidy paid off another model to hide an alleged affair and pregnancy. There is speculation that Broidy was enlisted as cover for yet another Trump affair and payoff. Coincidentally, the woman in that case was also represented by Keith Davidson.
If Pecker and Broidy's payments were used to protect the Trump campaign from revelations about his affairs, the payments could constitute illegal campaign contributions. This is how the Cohen tape could matter. If the recorded conversation shows that Trump knew of backdoor payments to silence women with whom he had affairs, and if the purpose was to protect the campaign, Trump could be implicated in a criminal conspiracy to evade federal campaign finance laws.
My question now is: who leaked this? Was it Cohen, perhaps pressuring Trump to help him? Was it some gossip in the SDNY's office or did the SDNY deliberately leak this to pressure Cohen or someone else? If it was the SDNY's office, was there coordination or approval from Mueller?
Sarah Huckabee Sanders suggested the idea was under consideration. “The president is going to meet with his team, and we’ll let you know when we have an announcement on that,” she said at Wednesday’s press briefing. “He said it was an interesting idea. He didn’t commit to anything. He wants to work with his team and determine if there’s any validity that would be helpful to the process…. It was an idea they threw out,” she added.
This is, of course, absurd. We don't hand over ambassadors for interrogation by the Russians. Imagine the howling outrage if the Obama WH ever even gave a hint that he would let the Russians interrogate a current or former ambassador to Russia. Putin himself knows the request is absurd whataboutism, but absurdity in plain sight is standard operating procedure for dictators and authoritarian leaders.
President-elect Donald Trump, two weeks before taking the oath of office in January 2017, was shown highly classified intelligence claiming Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered Russian interference efforts into the 2016 presidential election, according to a report.
The data was backed up by emails and texts from Russian military officers and a top-secret source close to Putin, who told the CIA how the Kremlin decided to start its hacking and disinformation efforts against U.S. targets, the New York Times reported.
Trump was “grudgingly convinced” by the assessment, according to the Times, which spoke with several other people who attended the intelligence briefing.
The meeting occurred Jan. 6, 2017, at Trump Tower in New York City, and Trump was briefed by a number of officials, including now-fired FBI Director James Comey and John Brennan, who was then director of the CIA.
If this report is true, Trump had easy-to-grasp evidence of Russian interference (more than IP addresses & technical data) through all the doubts expressed and equivocations.
No matter what comes out of Monday’s summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump has already lost. That’s thanks to a tweet the American commander-in-chief sent shortly after 9 a.m. in Helsinki:
In one fell swoop, President Trump blamed poor U.S. relations with Russia on the “foolishness and stupidity” of his predecessors in the Oval Office as well as on a criminal and counterintelligence investigation, authorized by Trump’s own Department of Justice, that only days earlier indicted 12 Russian military intelligence agents for interference in the 2016 election. Trump did not attribute those bad relations on Putin’s aggressive incursion and annexation Crimea, territory held by our ally Ukraine, in 2014; not on Putin’s war against the sovereign state of Georgia six years earlier; not on more than a decade of Russian pressure on our allies in eastern Europe; not on Putin’s propping up of Bashar al-Assad’s murderous regime in Syria; not on Russia vetoing six U.S.-backed UN resolutions against Assad since 2012; not on Russia’s courting of ostensible U.S. ally Turkey away from Washington and into Moscow’s sphere of influence; not for Putin’s terrible record on freedom in his own country; and not for numerous other offenses to the free world Putin has so cavalierly made in his nearly two decades of power.
And now that we've seen the joint press conference, let's see what some conservatives are saying.
As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I am deeply troubled by President Trump’s defense of Putin against the intelligence agencies of the U.S. & his suggestion of moral equivalence between the U.S. and Russia. Russia poses a grave threat to our national security.
After an extensive review of the research and an examination of multiple research designs and confounds, these authors concluded that evidence is sufficient to infer causation regarding spanking and poorer outcomes on a number of important measures of health and well-being. From their conclusion:
This article summarized three key conclusions about spanking and physical punishment that bear on psychologists’ views about it: (a) Research on physical punishment has met the requirements for causal conclusions, despite there being few true experiments; (b) Research on spanking and physical punishment is highly consistent in showing links to detrimental child outcomes for children; (c) Spanking and physical punishment are linked with the same harms to children as physical abuse; (d) Spanking and physical punishment have been linked with harm to children across multiple contexts; (e) Spanking and physical punishment are disavowed by a number of professional organizations outside psychology; and (e) Human rights organizations and 53 countries agree that spanking and physical punishment are forms of violence that infringe on children’s human rights. The message to parents, psychologists, and policymakers is clear—it is time to end the debate about physical punishment and to end this outdated parenting practice.