News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: Cohen/Hannity, Comey, Midterms and Much, Much More

U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood, Monday, April 16, 2018, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

Good Tuesday morning.

Here is what’s on the president’s agenda today:

  • The President has a 1:1 bilateral meeting with the prime minister of Japan
  • President Trump has a restricted bilateral meeting with the prime minister of Japan
  • The president and the first lady have dinner with the prime minister of Japan and Mrs. Abe

GASP: Trump lawyer Michael Cohen claims Sean Hannity is a client

Last week, Robert Mueller’s stormtroopers raided the hotel, home, and offices of President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen looking for items related to Cohen’s business and his past work for the president. Many people are scratching their heads, wondering why pre-President Trump doesn’t enjoy attorney-client privilege with his lawyer. Others, like myself, see this as an instance of the anti-Trump bureaucratic leviathan and its #resistance allies fishing for anything they can smashmouth in the headlines and anyone they can railroad with process charges.

The Cohen team appeared in court yesterday to argue they should be able to evaluate the material before the feds get it (and start leaking it to the media, as is the usual plan). The government argued that since Cohen doesn’t have “a lot” of clients there should be no privilege. WUT? Is there some heretofore unknown threshold before attorney-client privilege kicks in? What kind of precedent does this set?

In the course of arguments in court yesterday, it was revealed that one of Cohen’s clients is Sean Hannity. The media went bananas. BANANAS. ABC News describes that upon the big reveal, “Gasps could be heard echoing throughout Wood’s stately, large courtroom.” What a bunch of clowns.

FUN THOUGHT EXPERIMENT: Does Marc Elias of Perkins Coie have attorney-client privilege with clients such as the DNC, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and/or Fusion GPS?

Hannity articulated his relationship with Cohen, denying a traditional client/lawyer relationship.

“Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter,” Hannity tweeted. “I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees. I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective. I assumed those conversations were confidential, but to be absolutely clear, they never involved any matter between me and a third party.” I would guess Cohen claimed Hannity as a client to protect any notes he might have taken about their conversations.

Judge Kimba Wood, failed Clinton attorney general nominee and central figure in the Nannygate scandal in the ’90s, ruled against Cohen.

U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood said that she had faith in the Justice Department’s so-called “taint team” to isolate materials protected by attorney-client privilege, but added that she would consider allowing a neutral third party requested by Cohen to weigh in.

I don’t have faith in the Justice Department. DOJ brain trust Sally Yates legitimately feared that Lt. General Michael Flynn was open to RUSSIAN blackmail because he had a conversation with RUSSIAN diplomat Sergei Kislyak during the presidential transition. DOJ officials also thought that Flynn violated the Logan Act in this phone call because it is alleged that Flynn discussed Obama’s RUSSIAN sanctions with Kislyak. These are the absurd judgement calls from the DOJ. No thanks.

Now, completely out of left field, the media heavyweights are concerned that Sean Hannity spoke about Michael Cohen without revealing he was a client. Like George Stephanopolous revealed he donated $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation when he interviewed former FBI director James Comey? (The Clinton Foundation is under FBI investigation.) Which journalists and media figures have gotten money from Fusion GPS? The media talking about ethics and disclosure, it’s too much.


Will Sean Hannity face disciplinary action over Michael Cohen? Fox News isn’t saying

The public could’ve remained in the dark about the identity of Michael Cohen’s third client — until one lawyer representing The New York Times and CNN stepped in

Hannity’s ethics under fire

Juan Williams to Hannity: Why didn’t you disclose your relationship with Michael Cohen to viewers?

Dershowitz confronts Hannity: ‘You should have disclosed your relationship with Cohen’

It’s Comey book day

Today is the day that fired FBI Director/Twitter personality James Comey’s book drops. Are you sick of him and his book yet?

On Sunday, Comey appeared in an hour-long infomercial on ABC News with Clinton Foundation patron George Stephanopoulos. How were the ratings for this highly publicized and promoted show? Comey interview draws 9.8 million for ABC, less than Country Music Awards on CBS, The Hill tells us.

Former FBI Director James Comey’s Sunday night interview on ABC drew 9.8 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research ratings.

That was less than the 12.1 million viewers CBS’s broadcast of Country Music Awards drew. The awards show began at 8 p.m. and ran through the 11 p.m. hour, while Comey’s interview ran from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.

I’m curious how many folks just changed the channel in the middle of the show, especially after the content of the interview took the shape of a therapy session.

The interview, which was more than five hours long and edited down for the one hour special, included Comey’s assertion that the president acts “like a mob boss” and is “morally unfit” to sit in the Oval Office, among other jabs that included mocking the size of the president’s hands, his height and his tan.

Comey will also appear on FNC with Bret Baier and on PBS with Judy Woodruff if you are interested in watching some more hardcore sanctimony.


Meghan McCain castigates Comey over interview: ‘He clearly loves the media’

‘He said nothing’: James Comey says Jeff Sessions left him ‘on his own’ when he pleaded for Sessions to step between him and Trump

ABC News slammed for aggressively editing James Comey’s sit-down with George Stephanopoulos

James Comey got so freaked out by the fact he never saw Trump laugh he trawled YouTube looking for clips

Midterms are just around the corner

Midterm elections are inching closer. The Democrats and their handmaidens, the media/Hollywood class, have promised that we will see a BLUE WAVE in November 2018 that will correct for the election of President Trump. They’ve promised this. So how are they doing?

According to a new ABC News poll,

A 10-point Democratic lead among all adults narrows to 4 points among registered voters and 5 points among those who say they’re both registered and certain to vote; neither of those is statistically significant. In January, by contrast, Democrats held similar margins in all three groups – 13, 12 and 15 points, respectively.

Considering the Democrat/media party has launched an unprecedented, full-scale, no-holds barred-attack (even using gun control spokeschildren) against the center-right and President Trump, I’d say this result is sad. The fruits of their labor: a “slide in self-reported registration among Democrats, which is a sign of waning engagement.” And here is the icing on the cake:

The share of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who report being registered to vote has slipped from 84 percent in November to 79 percent in January and 75 percent now. That contrasts with 87 percent among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, up slightly from 82 percent three months ago.

Good job, liberals.


Progressive groups launch $30M midterm initiative in three battleground states

Your daily WTF:

The Times Just Won 3 Pulitzers. Read the Winning Work

Historical picture of the day:

Fidel Castro, fresh from a visit to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, poses in front of the Capitol today. The 32-year-old Cuban Prime Minister paid an unheralded visit to the Capitol April 17, 1959, and chatted with members of the committee. (AP Photo)

Other morsels:

Pennsylvania House passes bill banning abortions for Down syndrome

Cop-Killer Assata Shakur Gets $15K Check From North Carolina Court

Senators introduce new war powers resolution days after Syria strike

British chemical weapons inspector: Russia blocking access to Douma

GOP Rep. Zeldin to lead call for second special counsel

Starbucks CEO Wants ‘Unconscious Bias’ Training For Employees

Mattis, Dunford to brief Congress on Syria strikes

Senate to allow Duckworth to bring newborn onto floor

California rejects border duties for National Guard troops

Trump has reportedly halted new sanctions against Russia

35 reported cases of E. coli linked to romaine lettuce: CDC

Now go beat back the angry mob!