News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Jeff Sessions and Much, Much More

Thomas Zehnle, second from right, attorney for Paul Manafort, walks with other members of the defense team to Alexandria Federal Courthouse in Alexandria, Va., Monday, Aug. 6, 2018. Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, is on trial for tax evasion and bank fraud. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Good Tuesday morning.

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

  • The president has dinner with business leaders

Manafort witch hunt trial continues into week two

Short-lived Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is on trial for tax evasion working for President Trump’s election campaign. We are now in the second week of this event. Yesterday, Manafort’s former business partner testified that he and Manafort intentionally broke the law and did not report a treasure chest of foreign booty to the U.S. authorities.

During his testimony on Monday, Gates told jurors he and Manafort failed to report over a dozen offshore accounts to the government and admitted to shielding several million dollars over the years, all of which “at Mr. Manafort’s direction,” Gates said.

Manafort’s lawyers are claiming that Gates went rogue and engaged in shenanigans on his own. “Rick Gates had his hands in the cookie jar and he didn’t want his boss to find out,” defense attorney Thomas Zehnle told the court in opening statements, accusing Gates of being “willing to say anything to save himself.”

Probably true. When will we get to the part about RUSSIAN collusion?

Related:

Important: Court Says Comey And Other DOJ Officials Must Answer BuzzFeed’s Questions About The Steele Dossier

Judge Ellis keeps on spanking the prosecution

CIRCUS ‘Manhattan Madam’ expected to appear before Mueller grand jury on Friday

Gates says he and Manafort didn’t report 15 foreign accounts, knew it was illegal

Trump allies back fund for aides’ legal defense in Mueller probe

CNN Goes To Motorcycle Rally To Talk Russian Collusion — Gets Reality Check From Man Dressed As Skeleton

EEK! Rand Paul, in Moscow, invites Russian lawmakers to Washington

UNHINGED Rosie O’Donnell thinks the attendees at Trump rallies are paid to show up

Trump admin reopens 87 asylum cases of Iraqi Christians, religious minorities

Eighty-seven Christians and religious minorities have been waiting in limbo over in Austria after the U.S. denied their asylum applications earlier this year.

Lawyers for the group said the latest DHS action, which they were notified about last week, reversed an earlier blanket denial of their refugee applications back in February and could be a breakthrough in allowing them to reunite with other family members already living in the United States.

“We were very happy to hear that the government re-opened these cases, and we’re hoping this will bring them closer to being able to reunite with their families,” Mariko Hirose, the litigation director for the International Refugee Assistance Project in New York, told the Washington Free Beacon.

“This is a specific group of people who this administration and several prior administrations has recognized have been persecuted and have committed to helping,” she added. “We hope that the government will process these cases quickly, so our clients can reach the safety of the United States.”

Sessions rips DACA judge

Attorney General Jeff Sessions ripped into the judge who reinstated the unconstitutional DACA program the Trump administration wiped out. The DACA program was not part of any legislation, but rather was part of Obama’s “pen and phone” governance where he would make up regulations that would never be able to get through Congress and then enforce their execution. So while Obama was able to create laws out of whole cloth, a judge has decided Trump doesn’t have the exact same authority to undo those laws. U.S. District Judge John Bates has ordered the government to start up the DACA program in full.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday unloaded on a federal judge who ordered the administration to reinstate the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy last week, saying the ruling was “improper” and vowing to keep up enforcement efforts against illegal immigration “aggressively.”

Sessions added that the judge had effectively “eviscerated” the legal authority of the executive branch and Congress, and strongly suggested the administration would appeal the ruling.

In a statement, Sessions said Bates’ decision was based on a “number of decisions in which courts have improperly used judicial power to steer, enjoin, modify, and direct executive policy.”

“The judicial branch has no power to eviscerate the lawful directives of Congress—nor to enjoin the executive branch from enforcing such mandates,” Sessions said.

“This ignores the wisdom of our Founders and transfers policy making questions from the constitutionally empowered and politically accountable branches to the judicial branch,” he added. “It also improperly undermines this Administration’s ability to protect our nation, its borders, and its citizens. The Trump Administration and this Department of Justice will continue to aggressively defend the executive branch’s lawful authority and duty to ensure a lawful system of immigration for our country.”

“The last administration violated its duty to enforce our immigration laws by directing and implementing a categorical, multipronged non-enforcement immigration policy for a massive group of illegal aliens,” Sessions said, adding that the Trump White House has “simply reestablished the legal policies consistent with the law.”

“The executive branch’s authority to simply rescind a policy, established only by a letter from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, is clearly established,” he said. “The Department of Justice will take every lawful measure to vindicate the Department of Homeland Security’s lawful rescission of DACA.”

Historical picture of the day:

Muhammad Ali, former world heavyweight boxing champion, toys with the finely combed hair of television sports commentators Howard Cosell before the start of the Olympic boxing trials, Aug. 7, 1972, in West Point, NY. (AP Photo)

Other morsels:

RIP Former Nevada Sen. Paul Laxalt dies at 96

West Hollywood passes resolution to remove President Trump’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star

Berkeley police under fire for publishing anti-fascist activists’ names and photos

Congressional candidate calls First Lady a ‘hoebag’

Threats, backlash after lobster pageant winner dethroned

‘I Have Someone in My Head’: 5 Takeaways from Nikolas Cruz’s Massive Confession Transcript

It’s getting kind of silly at this point Emmy-winning Showtime series “Homeland” to end with season 8 in 2019

New disturbing details emerge from New Mexico compound where 11 abused children found

The share of Republicans who think there’s a lot of discrimination is plummeting

The KKK Is Trying to Recruit New York Racists with Snickers Bars

U.S. judge rules against Trump policy restricting transgender troops

Advocacy groups plan offensive against Trump’s Supreme Court pick

For Islamophobia: Daily Mail removes ‘Powder Keg Paris’ report after complaints

First Harvard Sorority Shuts Its Doors Because Of Single-Gender Penalties

Ohio Judge Refuses to Allow Transgender Teens to Change Their Names: Lawsuit

‘Snapchat dysmorphia’ fuels new, cartoonish plastic surgery requests, experts say

Trump labeled ‘racist’ who supports ‘internment camps’ in LSAT prep test

Bay Area expats who flee to Washington and Oregon are apparently being welcomed with ‘California sucks’ graffiti and threats of violence

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