News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: Avenatti Claims RUSSIANS Paid Cohen and Much, Much More

Iranian lawmakers prepare to burn two pieces of papers representing the U.S. flag and the nuclear deal as they chant slogans against the U.S. at the parliament in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, May 9, 2018. Iranian lawmakers have set a paper U.S. flag ablaze at parliament after President Donald Trump's nuclear deal pullout, shouting, "Death to America!". President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the deal on Tuesday and restored harsh sanctions against Iran. (AP Photo)

Good Wednesday morning.

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

  • The president holds a Cabinet meeting
  • President Trump participates in the Celebration of Military Mothers and Spouses event
  • The president has dinner with members of Congress

Get results of yesterday’s primary elections here.

BOMBSHELL: Porn star’s lawyer has “evidence” RUSSIANS paid Cohen

Or something. This story broke last night. The hardest working attorney in America, Michael Avenatti, claimed he has evidence that a company “tied” to a RUSSIAN oligarch paid Trump attorney Michael Cohen $500,000. And this payment “might” have been used to pay off his porn star client.

Let’s take a step back. How does Avenatti have Michael Cohen’s bank records? You cannot just get someone’s back records. This leads me to believe that something very illegal is going on here. Where does this fit on an index of lie to FISA court to snoop on opposing political campaign and leak the newshook for CNN to report the fake dossier, is hard to say at this early stage.

Even Chris Hayes wonders:

Or to quote someone who uses the language I say in my head but don’t write in the Briefing, “How the f*ck did Avenatti find out?” Numerous media outlets claim they have seen Avenatti’s paperwork so he must have something, although many of these media outlets print all kinds of stories that turn out to be false, so who knows.

At this point it’s obvious that this entire lawsuit is merely an op continuing the work of the Fusion GPS/RUSSIA-collusion conspiracy theory hysteria. Who is paying Michael Avenatti? This guy is working 24/7 and lawyers are expensive, more expensive than the $ 130,000 she got as a payout.

The company implicated by Avenatti denies his sensational claims:

In a statement, Columbus Nova lawyer Richard Owens of Latham & Watkins insisted that Vekselberg did not have a controlling interest in the firm. “Reports today that Viktor Vekselberg used Columbus Nova as a conduit for payments to Michael Cohen are false. The claim that Viktor Vekselberg was involved in or provided any funding for Columbus Nova’s engagement of Michael Cohen is patently untrue,” Owens said. “Neither Viktor Vekselberg nor anyone else outside of Columbus Nova was involved in the decision to hire Cohen or provided funding for his engagement.”

Expect many, many more stories on this because that’s one of the main reasons this whole Stormy Daniels production is happening.

Related:

Mueller’s team questions Russian oligarch about payments to Cohen

Gina Haspel’s confirmation hearing is today

I’ll be watching. Let’s just agree that anyone in the CIA is/was involved in some shady stuff. Haspel is getting slammed for her proximity to torture but wouldn’t anyone with the experience to run the Agency be in proximity to some torture? It seems like another lifetime ago, long before the CIA director’s business was orchestrating a soft coup on the duly elected president of the United States, around 9/11 when the Agency was trying to hunt terrorists.

I would like someone to ask Ms. Haspel about this: A former CIA officer was charged with conspiracy to deliver secrets to China.

Jerry Chun Shing Lee, 53, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Virginia on one count of conspiracy to gather or deliver national defense information to aid a foreign government and two counts of unlawfully retaining documents related to the national defense.

Lee, who worked for the CIA from 1994 to 2007, was arrested in January at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. He is a resident of Hong Kong.

Seems important.

Round up: [Alleged] racist, violent, pervert and Democrat Party darling Schneiderman

Will Democrats Return Money Fundraised With Schneiderman? Yeah, right after they return the Weinstein money

Samantha Bee: Hey, I’m really sorry for portraying Eric Schneiderman as a superhero

Cuomo announces special prosecutor to probe Schneiderman allegations

Stick a fork in the Iran deal

It’s OVAH. Yesterday President Trump put the horrific Iran deal (JCPOA) out of its misery. We can’t get the billion plus in cash money Obama forked over to Hezbollah Iran to take over the Middle East, but at least we’ve put Iran on notice.

Obama had some sadz one of his flagship “accomplishments” was wiped out.

“Walking away from the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] turns our back on America’s closest allies, and an agreement that our country’s leading diplomats, scientists, and intelligence professionals negotiated,” Obama wrote in his statement.

“Because of these facts, I believe that the decision to put the JCPOA at risk without any Iranian violation of the deal is a serious mistake,” Obama said. “Without the JCPOA, the United States could eventually be left with a losing choice between a nuclear-armed Iran or another war in the Middle East.”

As opposed to the deal we have now, which includes a nuclear-armed Iran and another war in the Middle East? The Daily Caller reports that Logan Act violator John Kerry’s meddling help push Trump towards jettison the deal.

A source inside the White House with knowledge of the decision process tells TheDC that the Iran deal was “done” when Trump found out about Kerry’s lobbying behind the scenes. “Trump was headed that way but Kerry just took away any of the teeth of the detractors,” the source said on background. “[Kerry’s] bulls**t ultimately killed the deal.”

Another source inside the West Wing confirms to TheDC that there was a frantic last-minute lobbying effort to keep the deal in place and that the timing of the Kerry news was “ironic.” The source specifically blames Kerry’s meddling in the process as a key decision point in the calculus for pulling out of the de.

“It was by no means the reason [Trump] decided to pull out, but it certainly influenced the final decision,” the source continued. “I mean, read the tweets.”

Israel celebrated by launching some airstrikes into Syria.

Nine pro-Syrian fighters were reportedly killed in an Israeli airstrike near the Syrian capital of Damascus on Tuesday, shortly after Israeli forces determined “abnormal movements of Iranian forces” in Syria.

On Tuesday night, state-owned media outlets in Syria reported that its air defenses intercepted two Israeli missiles; however, the Syrian media is believed to have inflated its defensive capabilities in the past.

The reported strikes targeted an “arms depot belonging to Hezbollah and the Iranians,” according Rami Abdel Rahman, the director of the Syrian Observatory for Human rights, according to the AFP.

The Iran echo chamber is alive and well so keep your eyes out for an avalanche of “Trump just started a war with Iran” stories. Oh, and there’s this:

Your daily WTF:

School hauls pro-Second Amendment student in for questioning over gun flag: ‘It’s not an actual gun’

Historical picture of the day:

Ronald Reagan kneels to accept a plaque from 5-year-old Natasha Reyna of Fremont, California during his visit to the Glankler School in Fremont, Friday, May 9, 1980 as he campaigned in the Bay Area. After visiting the school in Fremont, Reagan headed for San Francisco to address a luncheon meeting of the Commonwealth Club. (AP Photo/Jim Palmer)

Other morsels:

Pompeo arrives in North Korea to prepare for meeting with Kim Jong Un

Pompeo to return from North Korea with 3 US captives: South Korea

Emails Cast Doubt On House Democrats’ Latest Claim Against Scott Pruitt

WHAT Legalizing marijuana could lead to police K9 dogs being killed, Illinois official warns

Mormon church to end 105-year relationship with the Boy Scouts

Four more Nike executives exit after harassment allegations inquiry: NYT

Orrin Hatch: Hey, sorry for suggesting McCain has some duty to invite Trump to his funeral

YES Feinstein: Trump wants to undo everything Obama has done

Senate GOP warms to Trump’s rescissions package

Bill O’Reilly On Threatening To Choke CNN’s Acosta ‘I Don’t Want To Hurt Him, Just Scare Him’

Comey casts doubt on judge who slammed Mueller probe

GOP lawmakers confident Trump will override DOJ on Nunes’ request

Utah’s “free-range parenting” law gives kids more freedom to roam

Uber flying taxis get a boost from Army, NASA

Christiane Amanpour permanently replaces Charlie Rose in PBS late-night slot

MSNBC’s Joy Reid reportedly sees ‘significant decrease in audience size’

‘Inclusive’ cheerleading policy rolled out at high school after parent complained child missed the cut

And that’s all I’ve got, now go beat back the angry mob!