The “Drunk Pelosi” Smear

White House Speaker Nancy Pelosi After White House Meeting: ‘I Pray For The President’ | MSNBC

The Story: 

A video that purported to show the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, slurring her words in a manner that suggested she was under the influence of alcohol, ricocheted around social media, with help from the President and from his personal attorney, beginning on May 22. The video was a fake, and this fakery has enhanced the already considerable polarization of politics in the United States.

The Fakery:

After President Trump walked out of a scheduled meeting about infrastructure initiatives with the Democratic leadership, Speaker Pelosi gave a statement saying that “we” (that leadership) “want to give this President the opportunity to do something historic for this country,” that is, rebuild roads and bridges to last.

A part-time sports blogger in the Bronx, who also appears to be a deep-dyed Trump admirer, slowed down the audio of Pelosi making that “we want to give …” statement, and altered her voice tone, producing the impression of drunkenness.

Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City who now serves as the President’s private lawyer, posted the doctored footage on his twitter feed with the comment, “What is wrong with Nancy Pelosi? Her speech pattern is bizarre.”

The Thing to Know: 

The facts that (1) the fraud spread as quickly as it did, and (2) it then unravelled as completely as it did, suggests both reasons for pessimism and for optimism with regard to the world’s plague of fake news in general.

Giuliani rails against Mueller report as Democrats mull Trump impeachment

Donald and Melania Trump arrive at the Bethesda-by-the-Sea church for Easter services in Palm Beach, Florida.

As the White House mounted a furious assault on the Mueller report and critics of a president not found to have conspired with Russia but not cleared of obstruction of justice, the chair of the House judiciary committee said obstruction, if proven, “would be [an] impeachable” offence.

Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani toured the Sunday talk shows, arguing with interviewers in a series of chaotic encounters.

On Fox News Sunday, he claimed Robert Mueller’s 448-page report, which was released with redactions on Thursday, was full of “calumny, lies and distortion”.

On CNN’s State of the Union, the former New York mayor called one of Mueller’s lawyers a “hitman” and claimed the special counsel’s team “came close to torturing people” in questioning and confining Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, who was convicted and sentenced on financial charges.

Asked on NBC’s Meet the Press why Trump was so angry at Mueller and former White House counsel Don McGahn, a key witness, Giuliani replied: “Because they tried to frame him.”

The first volume of Mueller’s report concerns Russian election interference and the Trump campaign’s warm reception to “offers of assistance” including an infamous June 2016 meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer offering “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.

Giuliani told CNN: “There’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians. It depends on where it came from.”

On ABC’s This Week, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, who previously called the inquiry a “a political proctology exam”, took a different tone, saying: “The campaign I managed in those last few months did not welcome help from Russia. In fact, I don’t recall getting, being offered help from Russia. It would have been a ridiculous prospect.”

In his second volume, Mueller considers potential obstruction of justice by Trump or his campaign, of which 11 instances are listed. He passed judgment on the issue to Congress.

House judiciary committee chair Jerrold Nadler told NBC that if evidence shows Trump obstructed justice, “some of this would be impeachable, yes”. He added that Democrats plan to “go where the evidence leads”.

Democrats remain split on impeachment, which would begin in the House they control but almost certainly fail in the Republican Senate. Some fear it would galvanise Trump’s supporters and win him sympathy among independents.

On Fox, House intelligence chair Adam Schiff said to impeach or not to impeach was “going to be a very consequential decision and one I’m going to reserve judgment on until we have a chance to fully…

How Michael Cohen Turned Against President Trump

T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

Michael D. Cohen was at a breaking point. He told friends he was suicidal. He insisted to lawyers he would never go to jail. Most of all, he feared that President Trump, his longtime boss, had forsaken him.

“Basically he needs a little loving and respect booster,” one of Mr. Cohen’s legal advisers at the time, Robert J. Costello, wrote in a text message to Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s lead lawyer. “He is not thinking clearly because he feels abandoned.”

That was last June. The “booster” from Mr. Trump never arrived. And by August, Mr. Cohen’s relationship with him had gone from fraught to hostile, casting a shadow on the Trump presidency and helping drive multiple criminal investigations into the president’s inner circle, including some that continued after the special counsel’s work ended.

In the biggest blow to the president personally, federal prosecutors in Manhattan effectively characterized Mr. Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator in a criminal case against Mr. Cohen involving hush money payments to a pornographic film actress. Mr. Cohen, and evidence gathered by prosecutors, implicated the president.

Now, as Mr. Cohen prepares to head to prison in two weeks, dozens of previously unreported emails, text messages and other confidential documents reviewed by The New York Times suggest that his falling out with Mr. Trump may have been avoidable.

Missed cues, clashing egos, veiled threats and unaddressed money worries all contributed to Mr. Cohen’s halting decision to turn on a man he had long idolized and even once vowed to take a bullet for, according to the documents and interviews with people close to the events. Some of the documents have been turned over to the prosecutors in Manhattan, and a small number were mentioned in the special counsel’s report released on Thursday, which dealt extensively with Mr. Cohen and referred to him more than 800 times.

Mr. Cohen held out hope for a different outcome until the very end, when he pleaded guilty and confessed to paying the illegal hush money to avert a potential sex scandal during the presidential campaign. Just hours earlier, wracked with indecision, he was still seeking guidance, looking, as one informal adviser put it, “for another way out.”

Mr. Cohen’s anxiety, on display in the documents, played a role in the undoing of his relationship with Mr. Trump, as did Mr. Costello’s lack of success in serving as a bridge to the White House. But also looming large were Mr. Giuliani’s and Mr. Trump’s failures to understand the threat that Mr. Cohen posed, and their inability — or unwillingness — to put his financial and emotional insecurities to rest.

After the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Mr. Cohen’s home, office and hotel room last April, two of Mr. Cohen’s advisers explored whether the president might be open to a pardon, but Mr. Giuliani offered no assurances.

In June, Mr. Costello proposed that he and Mr. Giuliani, who have been friends for decades, meet urgently with Mr. Cohen to address his grievances and ease his anxieties. “Are we going to meet Thursday or Friday?” Mr. Costello texted Mr. Giuliani on a Monday. “I would like to get back to Michael with a response.”

But Mr. Giuliani did not respond. And when Mr. Costello followed up, “Can I get a response on the possible meeting?” Mr. Giuliani hesitated, replying, “Not yet because haven’t talked to President,” who was out of the country.

The next day, Mr. Cohen’s private admission to friends that he was open to cooperating with prosecutors suddenly appeared in the news. And Mr. Cohen relayed his growing displeasure with the Trump camp to Mr. Costello, sending the lawyer an article that suggested the president and his allies intended “to discredit Michael Cohen” and commenting in the email that “they are again on a bad path.” He also complained to Mr. Costello that the president had stopped covering his legal expenses.

Mr. Costello, who spoke with The Times after Mr. Cohen waived attorney-client privilege in February, said that without Mr. Cohen’s team and the president’s lawyers in sync, it was impossible to navigate the tumultuous relationship.

“What we had here was a failure to communicate,” said Mr. Costello, who was never formally retained by Mr. Cohen. “My mission was to get everyone tuned in to the same channel. My thought was a face-to-face meeting among all the lawyers together with Cohen would put everyone on the same channel. The meeting never happened, and the rest is history.”

In an interview, Mr. Giuliani acknowledged that the Trump team had pulled back from Mr. Cohen, saying it did so because prosecutors might have viewed friendly overtures as witness tampering, and because Mr. Cohen’s legal problems extended beyond his relationship with the president.

“It seemed like an unfortunate but sensible decision,” he said of the Trump team’s reticence toward Mr. Cohen. “The more I look back at it, the more I wonder if it was inevitable that Michael was going to crack.”

Mr. Cohen declined to comment, but his spokesman, Lanny Davis, suggested that the Trump team had initially tried to keep Mr. Cohen in “the liar’s club” of people covering for the president.

After pleading guilty in August, and hoping to reduce his three-year prison sentence, Mr. Cohen told federal prosecutors about Mr. Trump’s role in the hush-money scheme, as well as other aspects of the president’s company, where he had worked for a decade. He also suggested Mr. Trump’s team had dangled a pardon to keep him loyal, according to Mr. Davis, who described the effort as more an attempt “to keep Cohen in the tent of those lying and protecting Trump than anything else.”

Mr. Giuliani denied that a pardon had been offered. Mr. Costello told prosecutors in a recent meeting that the pardon discussion had been initiated by Mr. Cohen and rejected by Mr. Giuliani.

Unencumbered by the restraints on the investigation by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, the prosecutors are now scrutinizing a wider swath of the president’s associates. About a dozen investigations are underway, including an inquiry into the Trump inaugural committee, which Mr. Cohen had assisted. Mr. Cohen also delivered congressional testimony that accused Mr. Trump of being a racist and a “con man.”

‘Blowing This Whole Thing’

The relationship between Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump was looking up, at least for a brief period, last April.

Just days after F.B.I. agents searched his hotel room on Park Avenue, Mr. Cohen received a phone call from the president. “Stay strong,” Mr. Trump told him, according to the Mueller report and a person with knowledge of the call.

Mr. Cohen thanked Mr. Trump repeatedly, and later told people the message was clear: The president, who had a history of treating Mr. Cohen poorly, wanted to keep him on his team.

As federal prosecutors in Manhattan built a criminal case against Mr. Cohen, he set out to find a lawyer who had experience with the Manhattan United States attorney’s office, known as the Southern District of New York. That’s when an acquaintance at a local law firm emailed him to pitch the services of his colleague Mr. Costello. The firm was eager to become associated with such a high-profile case, and quickly embraced Mr. Cohen.

“I am really sorry to read about your troubles,” the acquaintance, Jeffrey Citron, wrote. “My partner Bob Costello was formerly the deputy chief of the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District.” He said that if Mr. Cohen wanted to connect with Mr. Costello and obtain “his insight into your situation, it would be my pleasure to arrange.”

Mr. Cohen jumped at the offer: “I do. Can you connect me to him?”

Mr. Cohen met that day with Mr. Citron and Mr. Costello in a conference room at the Loews Regency Hotel, where he had been staying while his home underwent renovations. After drawing the curtains, Mr. Cohen revealed the depths of his despair.

“I was up on the roof. I was thinking of jumping,” Mr. Cohen told the two men, according to Mr. Costello.

Over the course of the two-hour meeting, Mr. Cohen and Mr. Costello discussed options for digging out of the mess, including possibly seeking immunity from prosecution in exchange for cooperation. They also talked about whether state prosecutors…

Giuliani reacts to details emerging from Mueller report

Giuliani reacts to details emerging from Mueller report

‘You’re not going to find a darn thing’ in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report that shows that the Trump campaign ‘had any kind of connection with whatever the Russians were doing,’ says President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. #AmericasNewsroom #FoxNews

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Trump on Mueller report release: I’m having a good day

Trump on Mueller report release: I'm having a good day

Speaking at a White House event honoring the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride, President Trump renews calls for an investigation into the origins of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. #AmericasNewsroom #FoxNews

FOX News operates the FOX News Channel (FNC), FOX Business Network (FBN), FOX News Radio, FOX News Headlines 24/7, FOXNews.com and the direct-to-consumer streaming service, FOX Nation. FOX News also produces FOX News Sunday on FOX Broadcasting Company and FOX News Edge. A top five-cable network, FNC has been the most watched news channel in the country for 17 consecutive years. According to a 2018 Research Intelligencer study by Brand Keys, FOX News ranks as the second most trusted television brand in the country. Additionally, a Suffolk University/USA Today survey states Fox News is the most trusted source for television news or commentary in the country, while a 2017 Gallup/Knight Foundation survey found that among Americans who could name an objective news source, FOX News is the top-cited outlet. FNC is available in nearly 90 million homes and dominates the cable news landscape while routinely notching the top ten programs in the genre.

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Giuliani slams leaks from Mueller team about Barr’s handling of obstruction of justice

Giuliani slams Mueller leak
Giuliani slams Mueller leak

President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani said on Sunday that he’s upset with the media for reporting on leaks from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team that Attorney General William Barr failed to properly summarize the contents of the highly anticipated inquiry.

Giuliani, who told Fox News’ Howard Kurtz on “MediaBuzz” that he would like to see the Mueller report released in its entirety, slammed The New York Times’ sources for saying there were concerns raised by some members of Mueller’s team that the report was more damning of Trump than Barr has publicly indicated.

“That leak really indicates all you need to know about Mueller’s prosecutors,” Giuliani said on the Times’ unnamed sources. “Leaking like that…that’s been the biggest canard in this investigation.”

Giuliani’s comments come just days after The New York Times reported on the upset among some Mueller staffers over Barr’s handling of the report – particularly the attorney general’s four-page summary that noted there was no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and Barr’s decision not to proceed with obstruction of justice charges against Trump. Mueller’s decision to skip prosecutorial judgment “leaves it to the attorney general to determine whether the conduct described in the…

The politics of “collusion delusion”

Stories
Attorney General Bill Barr leaves his house in McLean yesterday; Robert Mueller drives himself to work on Thursday. (Getty Images)

With Robert Mueller’s delivery of his report, and word from the Justice Department that he would have no more indictments, President Trump’s legal team believes the immediate threat to the presidency has passed.

What we’re hearing: “Sounds like it’s over for us but of course it’s not over until it’s over,” Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s lawyers, texted me. “Cautious optimism. Still watchful waiting.”

No one named “Trump” will be indicted by the special counsel.

  • But remember that, as Axios has outlined, what Mueller revealed in the…

NYT: Feds Want Info On Cohen’s ‘Back Channel’ With Trump Lawyer Giuliani | The 11th Hour | MSNBC

NYT: Feds Want Info On Cohen's 'Back Channel' With Trump Lawyer Giuliani | The 11th Hour | MSNBC

Federal prosecutors reportedly have new questions about possible conversations between Trump’s attorneys and Michael Cohen on the topic of pardons. Our panel discusses.
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NYT: Feds Want Info On Cohen’s ‘Back Channel’ With Trump Lawyer Giuliani | The 11th Hour | MSNBC