News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: Manafort Trial Begins Today and Much, Much More

Good Tuesday morning.

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

  • The president signs H.R. 2353, the “Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act,” into law
  • President Trump has lunch with the vice president and the secretary of State
  • The president delivers remarks on workforce development and participates in the ceremonial signing of H.R. 2353, the “Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act,” in Tampa, Florida
  • President Trump hosts the Make America Great Again rally in Tampa, Florida

“You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort.”

Today is a big day for witch-hunter Robert Mueller, The Paul Manafort Show Trial begins today! Manafort is not on trial for anything related to treasonous RUSSIAN collusion, he is on trial for working for President Trump’s campaign and for being a sleazy political consultant, which is a crime every other person is guilty of inside the beltway. It also appears like Manafort is on trial for his luxurious lifestyle.

A Mercedes-Benz and multiple Range Rovers. A $3 million brownstone in Brooklyn, bought with cash. More than $1 million worth of clothes purchased at elite boutiques on both coasts, and an almost $940,000 tab over two years at an antique rug store in Alexandria, Va.

Those lavish expenditures are now evidence in the high-stakes bank and tax fraud trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, which is set to begin with jury selection Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

The stakes are high for Mueller because he will look bad if he doesn’t get a win at this trial. He also has a different trial in D.C. so, between the two, he should be able to nail Manafort on something (unrelated to treasonous RUSSIA collusion, of course) and the NeverTrumpers can crow on about impeaching the president.

The trial, which is expected to last about three weeks, centers on accusations that Manafort intentionally hid millions of dollars he earned from the Ukrainian government and oligarchs to lobby on behalf of since-deposed pro-Russian leader Viktor Yanukovych.

Little is known yet about the defense’s strategy. But prosecutors say they will show that Manafort failed to report a “significant percentage” of the nearly $60 million in income from his Ukraine work on his tax returns, and did not properly indicate that he maintained bank accounts in foreign countries.

They also alleged that Manafort committed bank fraud and bank fraud conspiracy in several instances. In one case, prosecutors claimed, Manafort falsely told Rhode Island-based Citizens Bank on a loan application that a condominium he used as security for a $3.4 million loan was not being used as a rental property.

In another instance, Mueller’s team alleged, Manafort and former Trump aide Rick Gates lied to Chicago-based Federal Savings Bank by providing false profit and loss statements to obtain nearly $16 million in loans.

And it goes on:

Other witnesses Mueller has signaled may testify include those with information about Manafort’s allegedly lavish spending habits: an employee at a car dealership where Manafort’s wife bought a high-end Mercedes, a New York Yankees season ticket salesperson, and an employee at a clothing boutique where Manafort reportedly splurged on suits worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

LOCK HIM UP! We can all rest a little better tonight, now that this sleazy consultant will be brought to justice.


Manafort drops appeal in suit challenging Mueller’s authority

Jim Carrey needs a psychiatrist. Jim Carrey really wants to play Paul Manafort and compared him to an ‘alien in a skin suit’

Why Mueller needs a win in the Manafort trial

Giuliani says he’s not sure collusion is a crime despite Mueller investigation

Giuliani rejects purported Cohen claim of second Trump Tower meeting

CBS’s Les Moonves accused of #MeToo shenanigans

Ronan Farrow has a new investigative story out about elite media power broker Les Moonves of CBS. Remember, these are the people who we are supposed to take moral direction from and who use their media platforms to shame and wag their fingers at us filthy casuals. BONUS: Moonves allegedly has a rape button-type device on the door to his office, according to one accuser’s story. Check out this guy’s cover; I mean he certainly has the appearance of being a good ally, right?

In recent months, Moonves has become a prominent voice in Hollywood’s #MeToo movement. In December, he helped found the Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, which is chaired by Anita Hill. “It’s a watershed moment,” Moonves said at a conference in November. “I think it’s important that a company’s culture will not allow for this. And that’s the thing that’s far-reaching. There’s a lot we’re learning. There’s a lot we didn’t know.”

But not so fast.

But Moonves’s private actions belie his public statements. Six women who had professional dealings with him told me that, between the nineteen-eighties and the late aughts, Moonves sexually harassed them. Four described forcible touching or kissing during business meetings, in what they said appeared to be a practiced routine. Two told me that Moonves physically intimidated them or threatened to derail their careers. All said that he became cold or hostile after they rejected his advances, and that they believed their careers suffered as a result. “What happened to me was a sexual assault, and then I was fired for not participating,” the actress and writer Illeana Douglas told me. All the women said they still feared that speaking out would lead to retaliation from Moonves, who is known in the industry for his ability to make or break careers. “He has gotten away with it for decades,” the writer Janet Jones, who alleges that she had to shove Moonves off her after he forcibly kissed her at a work meeting, told me. “And it’s just not O.K.”

You should read the whole story — it’s long. The CBS board met yesterday to “handle” the situation, but took no action other than to select “outside counsel to conduct an independent investigation.”

Moonves released a statement about the allegations:

“Throughout my time at CBS, we have promoted a culture of respect and opportunity for all employees, and have consistently found success elevating women to top executive positions across our company. I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely. But I always understood and respected—and abided by the principle—that ‘no’ means ‘no,’ and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career. This is a time when we all are appropriately focused on how we help improve our society, and we at CBS are committed to being part of the solution.”


Your daily WTF:

How do you steal a shark?? Shark stolen from San Antonio aquarium reportedly in good condition

Psychiatrist says no evidence of Trump ‘anxiety disorder,’ calls it ‘partisan pop psychology’

Look at these morons. ‘Hot water challenge’ leaves teen seriously injured: “While the teen was sleeping, his friend reportedly dumped boiling water on him, causing serious burns on his back, chest and face.”

‘Bigfoot erotica’ takes center stage in Virginia congressional race

Historical picture of the day:

A U.S. Infantryman of the 25th division balances a M60 machine gun on his shoulder as he rushes into position behind smoke rising from a burning village near Duc Pho, about 325 miles North of Saigon on July 31, 1967. Air strikes had been called in on the village when elements of the division met resistance during a search and clear operation. (AP Photo)

Other morsels:

The reporter is “Fusion Ken” Dilanian NBC reporter dismisses Daily Caller as ‘Trump’s pet media’ following White House press conference

Donald Trump says he’s willing to meet with Iran on new nuclear agreement

Boohoo. Acosta Whines That Trump Aide Shouted At Him While He Was Shouting At President Trump

Good. Trump supporters pelted by eggs, punches can sue San Jose cops after attack, court says

Spy photos show North Korea is building new missiles

A new study estimates Bernie Sanders’ ‘Medicare for all’ plan would cost $32.6 trillion over 10 years

Chicago activists call on Emanuel to resign ahead of massive anti-violence protest

Clinton maxes out to 19 Democratic House candidates

Linda Tripp speaks publicly for first time in nearly 20 years at National Whistleblower Day event

Portland Police Refused To Help ICE Agents Who Called 911, Agents Say

ICE agents accuse Oregon mayor of abetting ‘Abolish ICE’ protesters

Of course. Bob Woodward’s new book puts readers ‘face to face with Trump’

There was an Obama-Biden reunion at a DC bakery

Accused gunman in Annapolis newsroom shootings pleads not guilty

More than 450 Floridians ordered to surrender guns under ‘red flag’ law

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announces creation of ‘religious liberty task force’

DNC Chair Tom Perez Spotted Carrying $1,840 Designer Bag At Airport After Calling Socialism ‘Future’ Of Party

Ted Cruz Challenger Is Running On Anti-PAC Platform Despite Accepting PAC Money From Anti-Jewish Group

Bill Kristol Considering Run For President In 2020

Conservative Watchdog Head Claims He Was ‘Shadowbanned’ on Twitter After Trump Mentioned Him

Dem dam broken: Kavanaugh meets with swing-vote West Virginia Sen. Manchin

Lawsuit filed in fatal duck boat sinking seeks $100 million

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