Good Thursday morning. Happy Pi day!
Here is what's on President Trump's agenda today:
- The president meets with the prime minister of Ireland
- President Trump participates in an expanded bilateral meeting with the prime minister of Ireland
- The president participates in the Friends of Ireland luncheon
- President Trump and the first lady participate in the Shamrock Bowl presentation by the prime minister of Ireland
Short-lived Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was sentenced yesterday in Washington D.C., to an additional 3.5 years for a bunch of crimes unrelated to the RUSSIA collusion scandal.
In one of her most publicized declarations, Judge Jackson noted that it would be “hard to overstate” how often Manafort had lied, the extent of the fraud he had committed and the large amounts of money involved. “And there is no good explanation that would warrant the leniency requested,” she added.
“This is not just a failure to comport to some pesky regulations,” Jackson said, directly contradicting a defense’s downplaying of administrative infractions viz. the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). “The defendant hid the proceeds of his international lobbying work from the United States,” she noted.
This was a deliberate effort to obstruct and conceal his work from the U.S. government, the judge said.
And it gets better. After the federal court got done with him, New York State stepped up for its piece of the Manafort pie.
The New York indictment on mortgage fraud, conspiracy, and other state charges alleges that the 69-year-old Manafort and others falsified business records to illegally obtain millions of dollars. The new charges were announced by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance just minutes after U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, of the District of Columbia, sentenced Manafort as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, leaving him with 81 months to serve behind bars as part of that case.
So why pile on Manafort? He's old, 69, and he's got 7.5 years in the clink ahead of him. The New York Times tells us, "The president has broad power to issue pardons for federal crimes, but has no such authority in state cases."
OH. Now it makes sense. It's just a bitchy move to punish Manafort for his Trump association. But Manafort's lawyers might challenge the New York indictments.
Mr. Manafort’s lawyers likely will challenge the new indictment on double jeopardy grounds. New York state law includes stronger protections than those provided by the United States Constitution, but prosecutors in Mr. Vance’s office have expressed confidence that they would prevail, people with knowledge of the matter said.
State Supreme Court Justice Maxwell Wiley unsealed the charges in the early afternoon, but it will likely be weeks before Mr. Manafort is brought to New York to be arraigned.
It's curious why government officials want to make sure Manafort is unpardonable and will spend the rest of his life in jail.
One former White House official close to the Trump legal team, reached for comment by INSIDER, put it bluntly when reacting to the new charges: "Manafort's f---ed," this person said.
More fall-out from the college bribery scandal
Lori Loughlin, one of the Hollywooders involved in the college bribery scandal, is out on $1 million in cash money. Loughlin paid $500k smackers to get her kids into USC. The system is not taking kindly to this bribery operation. Hollywooder Felicity Huffman was the recipient of some Elian Gonzalez treatment.
I'm guessing the FBI needs to rehabilitate itself after the agency's Trump scandals dominating the headlines for the last couple of years. With clowns like Comey, McCabe, Lisa Page and various and sundry DOJ employees engaged in questionable anti-Trump political activity, the FBI and DOJ need some redemption. Folks are probably scratching their heads wondering what it is they actually do for America at the agency. This is a great case everyone can rally around and point fingers at: rich people buying favor. What's not to like?
RUSSIA tried to interfere in midterm elections
According to a U.S. government official, RUSSIA sought to interfere with the 2018 midterm elections.
The revelation comes on the heels of testimony earlier in the day from Army Gen. Paul Nakasone, chief of the US Cyber Command, who had alluded to a potential incident in testimony earlier in the day.
"US Cyber Command, working in partnership with the National Security Agency, provided indicators of compromise to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security," Nakasone told lawmakers on the House Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Cybersecurity in testimony Wednesday.
Further alarm was raised for the 2020 elections because we gotta keep that narrative alive in case Trump wins again.
"I know what they did in '16. I know that they tried to do in '18. What will they do in 2020?" Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Chris Krebs asked. "That's what keeps me up at night."
"However, we recognize that there is a significant technology deficit across SLTT governments, and state and local election systems, in particular. It will take significant and continual investment to ensure that election systems across the Nation are upgraded and secure, with vulnerable systems retired," his prepared testimony read.
"We have to get out of this model where we are paying to patch and paying to modernize," Krebs said, adding that he is excited about information technology modernization efforts that will allow the government to "design, configure IT securely" rather than add security on top of existing systems.
"We continue to have outdated legacy infrastructure out there," he added.
Consider yourself warned.
Historical picture of the day:
I'll have what she's having. Mindblowing Orgasm Leads To Stroke For UK Woman
Another metaphor alert. Injured bald eagle stuck on train tracks near Washington prompts rescue efforts
And that's all I've got, now go beat back the angry mob!
Beto 2020: Do as I say, don't do as I do.
Big 2020 news: Hollywood as first lady?
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) is dating Rosario Dawson.
Maybe he's just trying to suck the air from Beto...
Bernie Sanders supporter defects...
Huge SPLC news.
First, the co-founder is out.
Oh, and a helpful reminder of just how destructive this nefarious organization is.
Steve, your "Snow Bomb" report brings to mind the Blizzard of '78. Dozens of people died -- many of them stranded in their cars after they ignored warnings to stay home. Gov. Rhodes called in the National Guard and the Ohio Turnpike was closed for the first and only time in its history. State authorities plowed a 30-foot-high snow barricade across Route 30 to keep people off the roads.
I reminisced about it here. The video at the top of the post with the news coverage from that week is amazing (well, the video is actually pretty crummy by today's standards, but the audio is pretty good). Being stranded in a vehicle was infinitely more dangerous back then due to the 1970s-era gas-guzzling cars. Once you ran out of gas, you had the choice to either abandon your icy tomb and face the hurricane-force winds and snow drifts or stay in your car until help arrived -- or you died.
The moral of the story: When authorities tell you to stay home, you listen.
Meanwhile, it's a balmy 72 degrees in Ohio and I'm enjoying my outside office at the PJM Wayne County bureau (aka the back deck) for the first time this year. Glorious! (Sorry, Steve.)
Twelve Republicans voted against Trump's national emergency declaration, with some interesting last-minute flips.
I'm not a fan of the emergency declaration, but it seems like Trump's veto will hold.
Here are the names:
...and Trump will veto.
Our fire chief got on the NextDoor app this morning -- it's kind of like Facebook for neighborhoods -- to tell everyone to stay at home. The roads are so jammed with abandoned cars that the plows can't do their job, and the first responders can't even get to everyone stuck in their cars.
The last thing they need for areas hit by the Snow Bomb is for more people in more cars to clog up the roads any more than they already are.
So sit tight, and practice your day-drinking, because you shouldn't be going anywhere.
UPDATE: My wife tells me one of the local stations she follows reports 150 stranded cars on the 18-mile "gap" on I-25 between Monument (just north of Colorado Springs) and Castle Rock (just south of Denver).
It looks like the icy version of the opening credits to The Walking Dead.
If the pilot doesn't like the plane...
This article chronicling the pilots' complaints reads like a list of things from a horror novel about fear of flying.
Two Stanford University students filed a lawsuit this week against eight elite universities following allegations that wealthy parents, as well as school coaches and administrators, engaged in a bribery scam to ensure admissions for their children.
Erica Olsen and Kalea Woods on Wednesday sued Stanford, the University of Southern California (USC), Yale University and UCLA, among others, arguing they were not given an equal admission opportunity and that their degrees are less valuable because of the scandal, multiple news outlets reported Thursday.
The complaint reportedly says “unqualified students found their way into the admissions rolls of highly selective universities, while those students who played by the rules and did not have college-bribing parents were denied admission.”
That was fast but can you really blame these students? The last thing these colleges want to do is open up their shifty admissions system.