Posts tagged with "MSNBC"

Swalwell: Congress is working to extend criminal statute of limitations for sitting presidents

March 20, 2019

Representative Eric Swalwell (D-California) revealed during an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on March 19 that House lawmakers are penning legislation to extend the statute of limitations for crimes committed by presidents—allowing them to be charged once their terms end, Politico reported.

With the Russia investigation expected to wrap up in the coming weeks, Swalwell told hosts Joe Scarborough and Mica Brzezinski that Congress is preparing for the prospect that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s much-awaited report will conclude that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russia.

“I don’t think any person should be above the law,” Swalwell said, adding, “What concerns me is that right now the president may escape criminal liability because he could win a reelection and the statute of limitations could run” out.

Indeed, freezing the statute of limitations during a president’s term—a move that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-New York) said he was considering last year—could allow for prosecution once a president leaves office.

When asked whether he is writing the proposed legislation, Swalwell said it is “in the works,” according to Politico.

“But I do believe there are indictments waiting for this president,” said Swalwell, a member of the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees.

The statute of limitations in most federal cases is five years, a deadline that could play a role, Politico said, in any case involving Trump.

Swalwell — who is mulling a 2020 presidential run — said he believes circumstantial evidence of collusion exists and that he feels confident the public will see Mueller’s report once the probe is complete.

Research contact: @politico

Travelers ask agents to book other aircraft after Boeing 737 MAX is grounded

March 14, 2019

Travel agents and websites have begun to respond to consumer concerns by rerouting passengers on other aircraft after the grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX planes by nations worldwide—including China, Singapore, India, Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Canada, and the European Union—Reuters reports (and finally, the USA).

Several news outlets, including MSNBC,  reported that the United States had not grounded its 737 MAX aircraft, following a call received by President Donald Trump from Boeing President Dennis Muilenburg, imploring him to let them fly. (Editor’s note: That was true until late afternoon on March 13, when the president bowed to pressure and grounded the Boeing 737 MAX planes in the United States.)

However, U.S. passengers have the same fears as their global counterparts: Two of the new Boeing aircraft have crashed within the past five months—both just moments after takeoff—including Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10 and Indonesian Lion Air Flight JT610 on October 28.

The pilots of both flights had reported a technical issue when the controls were switched to autopilot after departure. Indeed, according to flight data from the earlier Lion Air incident, the aircraft took a sudden downward turn after the autopilot was switched on and made a sharp nosedive into the sea.

Boeing, itself, has commented, “[We are] deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a 737 MAX 8 airplane. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew on board and stand ready to support the Ethiopian Airlines team. A Boeing technical team will be travelling to the crash site to provide technical assistance under the direction of the Ethiopia Accident Investigation Bureau and U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.”

Among the U.S. carriers that operate the Boeing 737 MAX are Southwest (with 34 of the planes), American Airlines (24), and United (14).

But, whether or not they are ticketing and flying, U.S. travelers do not want to board the aircraft until authorities worldwide have said it is good to go. Therefore, travel agents and websites are moving fast, Reuters says.

Kayak.com, part of the Booking.com stable, was the first big travel search website to say it would modify search filters to allow customers to exclude particular types of planes from queries, Reuters notes.

“We’ve recently received feedback to make Kayak’s filters more granular in order to exclude particular aircraft models from search queries,” a spokesperson for the website told Reuters in an email responding to questions., adding, “We are releasing that enhancement this week and are committed to providing our customers with all the information they need to travel with confidence

Several travel agents said they were dealing with the cancellation of flights due to the grounding of nearly two-thirds of the Boeing 737 MAX planes in most countries outside North America, prompting a wave of re-bookings.

Carlson Wagonlit Travel, which manages travel for big global businesses, said some clients wished to explore the possibility of temporarily restricting travel on Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes.

U.S. travel firm Expedia, Germany’s Trivago and Indian online travel agents MakeMyTrip and Yatra did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment about the impact the crash is having on bookings.

According to Reuters, the twin crashes have spooked the airline industry and heaped pressure on Boeing, whose shares have plunged, wiping $25 billion off its market value in the space of less than three days.

Research contact: @Morrison1996

As GOP moves to cut coverage of pre-existing conditions, its candidates say the opposite

October 25, 2018

Republicans candidates are feverishly back-pedaling on their plundering of Obamacare—and are regretting filing lawsuits to relieve insurers of their responsibility to cover pre-existing conditions, according to a report by Rachel Maddow of MSNBC on October 23.

A poll released on October 18 by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, found that fully 71% of U.S. voters say healthcare is the most important issue driving them to the polls in the midterm elections. That’s good for Democrats who are running, but bad for the GOP, Maddow said.

But that’s not stopping Republican candidates—and the president—from misrepresenting their true positions, the cable news anchor said.

In fact, Maddow identified five candidates who, she said, are lying about their overall support for healthcare—and their antipathy toward coverage of pre-existing conditions.

Among those whom Maddow said had voted against the Affordable Care Act, but who now say they support it are Representative Martha McSally (R-2nd District-Arizona); Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas); Senator Dean Heller (R-Nevada); Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-48th District-California); and Representative Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota).

In particular, Senator Ted Cruz once spoke for more than 21 hours about his opposition to Obamacare, including a dramatic reading of the Dr. Seuss classic “Green Eggs and Ham” on the Senate floor, The Washington Post reminded readers on October 25. The speech was styled as a filibuster, but was not actually one — no vote was being delayed; Cruz was just making a memorable stink about how much he did not like Obamacare.

President Donald Trump also is prevaricating about his true position: “Republicans will always protect people with pre-existing conditions,” Trump said at a rally on October 23 in support of Senator Dean Heller in Nevada.

However, Maddow’s Producer Steve Benen wrote on her blog on October 24, “In reality, Republicans continue to fight to gut the ACA’s protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions, and a total number of zero Democratic officials “have been talking about” scaling back the existing Obamacare safeguards”(although the GOP claims they are).

“This is not a fight in which a complex truth lurks in some gray area in between partisan talking points. Republicans have not only fought for years to strip Americans with pre-existing conditions of their protections; they’re also–right now – trying to get the courts to gut these protections, too,” Benen wrote.

He noted, “If the midterm elections are going to be about which party is sincere about championing protections for those with pre-existing conditions, Republicans are likely to have a rough year.”

Research contact: @stevebenen

Michael Avenatti says credible, new Kavanaugh witness will come forward by Thursday

September 26, 2018

Judge Brett Kavanaugh said on Fox News on September 24 that he’s “not going anywhere,” despite the claims of at least two women that he sexually harassed one and sexually attacked the other during his college and high school days, respectively.

The declaration represents a very unusual public defense by a Supreme Court nominee of his fitness to serve, CBS News reported on September 25.

The network news organization also noted that Kavanaugh sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, proclaiming adamantly that he “would not be intimidated into withdrawing.”

However, on the same night, Michael Avenatti—the lawyer who took down “ fixer” Michael Cohen over a payoff to Stormy Daniels and, in doing so, implicated the president—appeared on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show to say that he had more incriminating information from a very credible witness that would be released before the new round of hearings on Thursday.

Specifically, on Fox, Kavanaugh strongly denied allegations of sexual misconduct from Christine Blasey Ford—now a psychologist at Palo Alto University—who attended a “sister school” (the Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Maryland) to his own boys-only high school, Georgetown Prep.

He also refuted the accusations of one of his classmates at Yale University, Deborah Ramirez, who claimed that he had exposed himself to her after an evening of drinking games  (Today, Ramirez is a board member and volunteer at Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence, an organization that helps victims of domestic violence.)

Kavanaugh insisted that he was not a rowdy teen and claimed he was a virgin during the years in question. “I was focused on academics and athletics and going to church every Sunday at Little Flower, working on my service projects and friendship,” Kavanaugh said.

But, CBS News said, his yearbook page repeatedly referenced drinking and in a statement, his former Yale roommate reportedly described Kavanaugh as “a notably heavy drinker” who “became aggressive and belligerent when he was very drunk.” The former Yale roommate James Roche admits he “did not observe” Ramirez’s account firsthand but that he believes her.

According to the CBS report, Avenatti says that he has a client who knew Kavanaugh in high school and accused him of setting up girls to be raped.

“When the American people hear from her, they will determine, as I have, that she is to be believed,” Avenatti said during a press conference Monday evening. Kavanaugh called that claim outrageous.

Avennati has not identified the accuser yet. but said that her name will be revealed within the next 48 hours. He offered some details on her background, including that she worked for the U.S. Mint, Justice Department,  and State Department.

Research contact: @nancycordes

Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg is granted immunity by federal prosecutors in Cohen probe

August 27, 2018

Just when President Donald Trump might have thought it was safe to look at the news again, Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, has been granted immunity by New York federal prosecutors in their investigation into the POTUS’s former personal attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen—in which Trump already has been implicated, The Wall Street Journal  and MSNBC reported on August 24.

Cohen pleaded guilty on August 22 to violating campaign finance laws at Trump’s direction, when he paid hush money to prevent the stories of Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, two women who allegedly had extramarital affairs with Trump, from going public during Trump’s 2016 campaign.

According to the Journal’s report, Weisselberg was called to testify before a federal grand jury in the investigation last month—however, the details of that testimony remain unknown. It is unclear whether the CFO knew, or talked about, Trump’s knowledge of the payments.

However, a former Trump organization executive told the news outlet that Trump would sometimes point out to him how loyal Weisselberg had been to him for decades.

A spokesperson for the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment to the Journal about Weisselberg’s  role in the investigation—and a spokesperson for the Trump Organization didn’t respond either.

According to the news outlet, “The subpoena illustrates that investigators are seeking input from Trump’s closest colleagues in the Trump Organization, particularly those with knowledge of the company’s financial dealings.”

The Huffington Post reported on August 24 that “No one knows Trump’s finances better than Weisselberg.” Aside from Trump himself, the HuffPost said, Weisselberg is the longest-serving employee of the Trump Organization. He has worked for the company since the 1970s, beginning as an accountant with Fred Trump, the president’s father, and working his way up to chief financial officer.

A poll of registered voters released by Fox News on August 23 shows approval of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian intervention in the 2016 U.S. presidential election is at 59%, up 11 points from July. What’s more, 40% expect the probe will find President Donald Trump committed criminal or impeachable offenses.

Research contact: @foxnewspoll 

Trump tied to Cohen’s guilty plea; Manafort considers next steps

August 23, 2018

“If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!” President Donald Trump tweeted early on August 22, following a day in which his former “fixer” surrendered to the FBI in New York City and pleaded guilty to eight violations of banking, tax, and campaign finance laws–implicating the POTUS in the process.

The feeling is mutual: For years, one of Trump’s most trusted confidantes, as well as his personal attorney, Cohen made it abundantly clear in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York that he has flipped and is willing to talk to Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team about the Russia case—less than a year after he said he “would take a bullet for” the president.

His only loyalty now, he has said, remains with his wife, his children, and the American people.

Specifically, in court, he said that, during the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump [referred to as a candidate for federal office] directed him to make payments to two women who claimed they had affairs with the president in exchange for their silence.

According to his lawyer Lanny Davis—who also represented President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal—Cohen has information that would be of “significant interest” to Mueller’s team. Davis told MSNBC that the information pertains both to “knowledge of a conspiracy to corrupt American democracy by the Russians and the failure to report that knowledge to the FBI.”

Although Cohen’s recommended sentence for his crimes currently stands at five years, the implication is that—if he is of sufficient use to the Mueller team—that sentence may be reduced.

Also on August 21, Trump’s former Campaign Manager Paul Manafort was found guilty by a jury in Alexandria, Virginia, on eight out of 18 tax and bank fraud charges leveled against him by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in a case meant to bring pressure against the defendant to turn on his former boss.

Manafort is due back in court in Washington, D.C., next month for a second trial centered on allegations of lying to the FBI, money laundering and foreign lobbying, according to the Washington Post. Pundits said he “had plenty to think about” on Wednesday night.

Trump has continued to call Manafort’s prosecution “sad” and to insist that his former campaign aide has been swept up in a “witch hunt” instigated by the Democratic Party.

“Paul Manafort’s a good man,” Trump told reporters in West Virginia. The verdict, he said, “doesn’t involve me, but I still feel, you know, it’s a very sad thing that happened.”

On August 22, according to Gallup, Trump’s favorability rating remained stable, at 42%.

Research contact: datainquiry@gallup.com

Trump Calls Omarosa Manigault Newman ‘That Dog’

August 15, 2018

On Tuesday, August 14—the morning that former White House Assistant to the President Omarosa Manigault Newman’s book, Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump Administration went on sale—the POTUS tweeted his thoughts at 7:31 a.m. “When you  give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!”

In response, Manigault Newman told Katy Tur of MSNBC that, if her former boss called her a “dog” in public, she wondered what he called her privately.

During that same interview, Manigault Newman said that she had told Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is conducting the investigation on Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election, that “there was a lot of corruption” in the campaign and the administration. She added that Trump had known about the “hacked emails” before they were released.

And the plot continues to thicken, as Trump and Newman expertly lob insults—and damning new information—at each other.

Trump has deployed the “dog” insult previously, The New York Times reported. In one case , the news outlet said, Trump claimed that his onetime political rival Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) “lies like a dog” and, in another, he called Arianna Huffington, co-founder of HuffPost, a “dog.”

On Monday, NBC released a tape Manigault Newman made of her speaking to Trump, which she said was recorded the day after she was fired. In the recording, the president said he knew nothing about this personnel decision and told her, “I don’t love you leaving at all.”

Last December 12, White House Chief of Staff, John F. Kelly, fired her in the Situation Room, the most secure conference room in the White House. Manigault Newman has released a recording of that conversation, as well.

Kelly said, according to her new book, “I’d like to see this be a friendly departure. There are pretty significant legal issues that we hope won’t make it ugly for you.” However, he declined to hash over the rationale for letting her go, saying “This is a nonnegotiable discussion.”

Manigault Newman has said she has more audio recordings, and in an interview Monday on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” she said she would continue to cooperate with the special counsel, if asked. “Anything they want, I’ll share,” she said.

Just the day before, on August 13, a Trump tweet confirmed, after months of confabulation on the issue, that Manigault Newman had been forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Such agreements are illegal, unless they are confined to information that is top secret and highly secure.

The POTUS’s job approval rating registered at 39% on August 12, according to the Gallup poll.

 Research contact: datainquiry@gallup.com

Trump ‘considers’ Putin request to hand over McFaul for interrogation

July 20, 2018

As U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin mentioned at their July 16 press conference in Helsinki, Finland, Russia has offered to cooperate in the questioning of 12 of its citizens who have been indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for hacking the Democratic National Committee (DNC) during the run-up to the 2016 election.

In turn, Putin has requested that the United States turn over former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, as well as several other Americans, for questioning by its Federal Security Service (FSB) over what McFaul has said are “trumped up” charges.

According to White House Spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders, that request from Putin is currently “under consideration” by the Trump administration—and the president will provide his answer after he meets with his team.

The Trump administration’s ambiguity over whether the former U.S. ambassador would be made available for questioning by the Russians has the U.S. diplomatic community up in arms and has left the seasoned diplomat in question “flabbergasted” over Trump’s seeming unwillingness to defend him against Putin, Mediaite reported on July 18.

Speaking to top MSNBC commentator Rachel Maddow on her show on July 18, Mediaite reports that McFaul explained that Putin had been trying to get at him for years. “Vladimir Putin has been after me for a long time, even when I was ambassador, harassing me in ways no other U.S. Ambassador there has ever experienced,” he said to Maddow. “He’s done some outrageous things around the world but even to our diplomats and even to me personally.”

Then, referring to the fact Trump seemed willing to turn a U.S.citizen and diplomat over to Russia for questioning, he added: “What I was totally flabbergasted by was [that] the White House would not defend me. I’m an American citizen. I worked for the government for five years. It would have been so easy to bat it back.” 

Indeed, showing his diplomatic chops, McFaul said that he hoped the White House would come around to the correct answer—a resounding “no”—soon.

In further discussion with Maddow, McFaul made it clear that exposing him to the Russians would be an “outrageous act.”

“You just have to push back on crazy stuff like that. It’s in not just the interests of people like me …; it’s in the American national interests. You can’t in any way dignify such an outrageous claim of tit for tat, moral equivalency, which for some reason our president continues to do when it comes to Vladimir Putin.”

Research contact: @Mediaite

Giuliani disclosure dumps Trump into Cohen legal mess

May 4, 2018

Just last week, a Politico/Morning Consult poll found that Americans nationwide suspected that Stormy Daniels was telling the truth about her affair with, and payoff by, President Donald Trump. Now, thanks to the POTUS’s new lawyer, Rudy Guiliani, we know it.

Specifically, the poll found, a majority of the U.S. public believed that Trump had bedded the adult film actress.  Fully 56% of respondents said they believed the two had an affair; and 51% said they believed Daniels’ allegations.

Now, in breaking news on May 3, Politico reported that, overnight, Guiliani had told the Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity that the POTUS had reimbursed his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen for a $130,000 payment to Daniels (whose real name is Stephanie Clifford), meant to keep her quiet.

That revelation may represent the final nail in the coffin for Trump’s continuing claims (and legal case) that he did not cheat on his wife or pay off Daniels in an attempt to keep the tryst(s) out of the news.

Indeed, the actress’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti on Thursday said he might send a gift basket to Fox for breaking open the story, according to MSNBC.

In response, Trump continued to deny that he or Cohen had done anything wrong. In early morning tweets, the president said “Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement , a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement or NDA.

The president said that non-disclosure agreements are “very common” among celebrities and “people of wealth,” and noted that this one was invoked to stop “false and extortionist accusations.”

This follows repeated statements by the president that he knew nothing about the payment and had not reimbursed his lawyer for it.

Research contact: jyuan@politico.com