The Jury Talks Back

2/28/2019

Cohen’s Testimony Further Undermines Jason Leopold’s BuzzFeed Story

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 7:55 am

Last month, I warned people not to be too credulous when it came to Jason Leopold’s blockbuster story claiming that “President Donald Trump directed his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.” I noted that Leopold has a history of getting such stories spectacularly wrong, and said: “This, I’ll believe when I see it in Mueller’s report.”

I also said: BuzzFeed Is Probably Not Entirely Wrong About Trump, You Know

BuzzFeed overstepped by saying they have proof that Trump told Cohen to lie. What’s much more likely is that Trump and Cohen agreed Cohen would testify to x; there’s evidence to show Trump knew the truth was not x, and Trump is going to shrug it off as a case of “who can remember every deal they have in the works with the Kremlin?” and his superfans will buy it.

So, although nobody ever knows anything for sure, that’s my best guess as to what happened and how this is all going to play out. We’ll know soon enough whether I’m right or wrong.

Always trust content from Patterico. From Michael Cohen’s prepared testimony yesterday:

Mr. Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress. That’s not how he operates.

In conversations we had during the campaign, at the same time I was actively negotiating in Russia for him, he would look me in the eye and tell me there’s no business in Russia and then go out and lie to the American people by saying the same thing. In his way, he was telling me to lie.

There were at least a half-dozen times between the Iowa Caucus in January 2016 and the end of June when he would ask me “How’s it going in Russia?” –referring to the Moscow Tower project.

You need to know that Mr. Trump’s personal lawyers reviewed and edited my statement to Congress about the timing of the Moscow Tower negotiations before I gave it.

Precisely what I thought.

Oddly, Cohen seemed to have nothing in the way of documents to back up his assertions, despite Leopold’s claims of having seen “internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents.” Ah well. Maybe Mueller has that stuff?

This, I’ll believe when I see it in Mueller’s report.

2/27/2019

Open Thread: Michael Cohen Testifies Before House Oversight Committee

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 10:33 am

[guest post by Dana]

From Michael Cohen’s opening statement this morning:

I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is. He is a racist. He is a conman. He is a cheat. He was a presidential candidate who knew that Roger Stone was talking with Julian Assange about a WikiLeaks drop of Democratic National Committee emails.

A lot of people have asked me about whether Mr. Trump knew about the release of the hacked Democratic National Committee emails ahead of time. The answer is yes.

President Trump, who is currently in Hanoi meeting with his “friend” Kim Jong Un to discuss denuclearization (among other things), tweeted this before the Cohen hearing began:
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–Dana

2/26/2019

Congressman Threatens Witness

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 9:20 pm

Congressman Matt Gaetz:

Gaetz should be censured. Norms matter. We can’t stand by when stuff like this happens and pretend it’s OK. It’s not.

But he’s just taking after his President, who already threatened the same witness’s family.

These people make me sick.

Democrats Say No To Providing Medical Care To Infants Who Survive Abortion

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 11:31 am

[guest post by Dana]

The is the heart and soul of the Democrat party laid bare for all to see in the full shame of their extremism: A piece of legislation that does not touch abortion rights but mandates that a baby who survives an abortion is to receive the same level of medical care from a doctor as any other baby born alive is rejected by Democrats, with the exception of a mere three individuals courageous enough to cross the aisle and vote for a simple act of mercy toward the most vulnerable among us.

The Senate vote on Ben Sasse’s Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act took place yesterday. The legislation, which would have augmented existing law by mandating that abortionists send born-alive babies hospitals for care, fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance. The final vote was 53-44. Democrats Joe Manchin, Bob Casey and Doug Jones voted with Republicans in support of the legislation. The three Republicans missing the vote were Tim Scott and Kevin Cramer (both due to delayed flights), and Lisa Murkowski.

Had the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act passed, it would have ensured that a baby who survived an abortion would be entitled to “the same degree” of care that a baby born alive would be given, as well requiring babies born alive to be immediately sent to hospitals for care:

“(1) DEGREE OF CARE REQUIRED; IMMEDIATE ADMISSION TO A HOSPITAL.—Any health care practitioner present at the time the child is born alive shall—

“(A) exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age; and

“(B) following the exercise of skill, care, and diligence required under subparagraph (A), ensure that the child born alive is immediately transported and admitted to a hospital.

Failure to enact these protections by medical professionals would have rendered serious consequences:

Doctors who violate those requirements and other medical staffers who don’t report violations could face fines and up to five years in prison. Doctors who intentionally kill a child born alive after an abortion would face prosecution under federal murder statutes — potentially a death penalty or life in prison.

Sasse stressed that the bill was not an attempt to restrict a woman’s access to abortion, but it instead focused solely on the care and well being of a baby who survives an abortion:

I urge my colleagues to picture a baby that’s already been born, that’s outside the womb gasping for air. That’s the only thing that today’s vote is actually about. We’re talking about babies that have already been born. Nothing in this bill touches abortion access.

Sasse also refuted the Chuck Schumer’s dishonest claims “that the born-alive bill “is carefully crafted to target, intimidate, and shut down reproductive health care providers,” [and] claimed the bill “would impose requirements on what type of care doctors must provide in certain circumstances, even if that care is ineffective, contradictory to medical evidence, and against the family’s wishes.”

Repeating their own words back to them Sasse appealed to the leading Democratic candidates to support the legislation. Unfortunately, their lofty words proved empty when moral courage was needed:

Cory Booker: We ought to build a country where no one is forgotten, no one is left behind.

Kamala Harris: I knew that the people in our society who are most often targeted by predators are also most often the voiceless and vulnerable.

Elizabeth Warren: No matter where you live in America …no matter where you live in America, you deserve a path to opportunity…

Kirsten Gillibrand: I’m going to run for president of the United States because as a young mom, I am going to fight for other people’s kids as hard as I would fight for my own.

It couldn’t have been easier: Do you believe that an infant who has survived an abortion should receive medical treatment and be cared for by a doctor just like any other baby that is born alive? The legislation did nothing to curtail or inhibit abortion rights, in spite of Democrats’ dishonest claims otherwise. It simply asked that these tiny little lives be afforded some humanity in the aftermath of a barbaric act.

As Joni Ernst made very clear:

My colleagues across the aisle are debating a bill that’s not in front of us. They are talking about health care for women, which is abortion. This bill does not address abortion. . . . What this bill does is address the health care of a baby that is born alive after a botched abortion. We’re not talking about abortion, folks. We’re talking about the life of a child that is born.

Of course Planned Parenthood Director Leana Wen threw in her two cents:

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Her claims are amusing in light of a report Sen. Tom Cotton points to, which shows at that in Florida alone, at least 11 babies were born alive during abortions in 2017.

It’s so telling that Democrats are more than willing to loudly voice their love and concern for children when it helps advance the party’s agenda, but if the existence of little ones presents an obstacle to their goals, then they are more than happy to literally, and figuratively, abandon them in their time of need. So expendable are these little souls…

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

2/24/2019

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 24

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the seventh Sunday after Epiphany. Today’s Bach cantata is “Ein ungefärbt Gemüte” (An open mind).

Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 6:27-38:

Love for Enemies

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Judging Others

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

The text of today’s piece is available here. It contains these words, echoing the “Golden Rule” announced by Jesus in today’s Gospel:

If you desire God as a friend,
then do not make your neighbor into an enemy
through falsehood, treachery and deceit!
A Christian
should imitate the manner of doves
and live without falsehood and tricks.
Make yourself into such an image,
as you would have your neighbor be!

Now all that you want the people to do for you, do even so for them.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

2/22/2019

New Jersey Considers Requiring Candidates’ Tax Returns in Order to Appear on Presidential Ballot

Filed under: Uncategorized — JVW @ 12:00 pm

[guest post by JVW]

From the South Jersey Courier Post:

New Jersey Democrats are reviving a controversial effort to force President Donald Trump to release his tax returns or be denied a spot on the state’s 2020 ballot.

The state Senate on Thursday approved a bill — which the Legislature passed once before, in 2017, but which then-Gov. Chris Christie blocked by issuing a scathing veto — that would prohibit candidates for president and vice president from appearing on the ballot unless they make their tax returns public.

Similar legislation has been introduced in at least 30 states but never enacted, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, meaning New Jersey would be the first to impose such a disclosure requirement if its measure is also approved by the Assembly and signed by Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat.

Good for the Garden State, right? I mean, it’s important that our political leaders be above reproach with their financial dealings so that we, who consent to be governed, know that we have honest and ethical leaders. This is such a great idea that it really should apply to elected officials everywhere, right? Well, not quite:

In a similar spirit, state Sen. Joe Pennacchio, R-Morris, sought to amend the latest bill during Thursday’s Senate voting session to make it apply to all gubernatorial, state Senate and Assembly candidates as well as presidential and vice presidential candidates.

“What’s good for the goose is what’s good for the gander,” Pennacchio said in a statement explaining the move. “If this really is about making sure voters are well-informed, then common sense dictates that S-119 should apply to all of us.”

Democrats blocked the amendments.

Ah, Jersey. Never change, you rascals you.

– JVW

2/21/2019

Trump Threatens to Claw Back Bullet Train Funding: Newsom Objects

Filed under: Uncategorized — JVW @ 4:47 pm

[guest post by JVW]

The saga of California’s ill-fated High Speed Rail (HSR) project to at long last link citizens of Lerdo and Cowchilla via a 70-minute bullet train has unsurprisingly taken another interesting, if totally predictable, turn. No sooner did Governor Gavin Newsom acknowledge that the initial plans were a product of fantasyland and had to be brought back to reality (while still trying to assure his Big Government supporters that he hasn’t totally abandoned HSR once and for all) than his arch-nemesis President Donald Trump announced that California ought to return nearly one billion dollars in federal grant money that had been doled out to the state for the project.

As we have chronicled here in the past, the HSR project is a colossal mess of misplaced idealism, cynical opportunism, and egocentric legacy-making that should never have been given the greenlight to begin with. But with the vote to authorize the issuance of bonds coming in 2008, an election year dominated by Democrats, coupled with the new Obama Administration’s obsession with spending “stimulus” money on infrastructure no matter how questionable the project, the Golden State was able to finagle $3.5 billion in initial grant money to begin work on the Bakersfield to Madera portion of the line (estimated cost at the time for that segment was $6 billion, and it quickly ballooned to over $10 billion), with the promise of additional federal matching funds once that part of the project had been completed.

Now the wishful thinking and duplicity of the HSR advocates is obvious, and we’re faced with a huge white elephant project that has almost no feasible path to completion. After serving as the foil to Governor Newsom’s progressive white knight in the state of the state address last week, President Trump is striking back:

The demand for the entire $3.5 billion probably stems from Gov. Newsom’s careless and offhanded quip in the address, “With all due respect, I have no interest in sending back $3.5 billion of federal funding that was allocated to this project to President Donald Trump.” The reality of the situation is that the $3.5 billion was advanced specifically for the Bakersfield-Madera segment, so provided that is eventually completed the state will have met its obligation, as long the feds are willing to overlook the California HSR Authority blowing by the initial timetable and cost estimates. Unfortunately for fast choo-choo enthusiasts, however, not all of that sum has been distributed yet, so President Trump’s Department of Transportation has seen fit to fire a shot across the Governor’s bow:

Naturally, the Newsom Administration is up in arms about the federal spigot being shut off, understanding that would imperil the completion of the Central Valley segment. So this whole mess is the perfect encapsulation of California vs. Trump in 2019: philosophical differences and petty grievances, adjudicated by incessant lawsuits. I think all of you can guess whose side I am taking in this scuffle, though it is painfully fascinating to watch Gov. Newsom and his allies go through their “we can’t build HSR right now but we’ll be able to do it eventually if given enough time” gyrations. What a colossal mess, and those of us in the Golden State would do well to remember this fiasco next time some film-flam artists suggest a massive project with wishful timetables and uncertain financing.

– JVW

2/20/2019

Correction: Our Story Was Garbage from Beginning to End

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 9:29 pm

Man. How did the New York Times botch this so badly?

NYT Correction

Correction: Jussie Smollett is not a beloved Doonesbury character, as this story originally reported, but rather an actor on “Empire.” Also, he told police he had been confronted by homophobic racist Trumpers — not, as the article said in the initial version, by a herd of tutu-wearing sheep bleating racist chants.

H/t Beldar.

Did AOC’s Chief of Staff Use a PAC to Funnel Illegal Contributions to Her?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:59 am

Not sure if y’all followed the kerfuffle when conservative Luke Thompson questioned AOC about her boyfriend having a House email address. AOC herself snapped that it was a way for the boyfriend to monitor her calendar; all the spouses do it (though he’s not a spouse); and Thompson was briefly suspended from Twitter for “doxxing” AOC’s boyfriend with, um, publicly available information.

Anyway, that was a stupid controversy but it led to Thompson firing back with this Medium piece, which is worth your time.

The piece is complicated but (if I understand it correctly) the upshot is that AOC’s wealthy Chief of Staff Saikat Chakrabarti co-founded a PAC that provides campaign services to newbie politicians. The PAC also serves to fuzz up the source of campaign contributions. AOC used the services of the PAC, which subsequently hired AOC’s boyfriend as a “marketing consultant” despite his apparent relative lack of marketing experience, and paid him thousands. Thompson wonders if this was a way for Chakrabarti (using the PAC) to funnel money directly to AOC in excess of campaign finance contribution limits — especially given that she hired the PAC’s co-founder as her chief of staff once the campaign was over.

Swampy!

Might be worth further investigation. Of course, campaign finance laws don’t matter when Donald Trump violates them, but I bet we can care about them if AOC broke them!

AOC: Making America Care About Character Again!

2/18/2019

Patterico at PJ Media: Trump and the “Team of Vipers” Lawsuit

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 12:44 pm

I have a piece posted at PJ Media titled Trump Courts Streisand Effect in Legal Action Against ‘Team of Vipers’ Author Cliff Sims. Excerpt:

Trump had his lawyers go after Sims, filing an arbitration claim seeking to enforce a non-disclosure agreement. Again with the NDAs? What is it with Trump and stupidly enforcing NDAs? The last time he tried that, it started a chain of events that led to his lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen admitting that Trump had directed him to commit a felonious campaign finance violation. Trump’s like the guy in the joke who has bandages on both his ears, and explains to his co-worker that his wife was ironing when his sister-in-law called, and he accidentally picked up the iron and held it to his ear. When the co-worker asks why the bandage over the other ear, he explains: “She called back.”

Yes, Trump learns lessons slowly when he learns them at all. And he has not realized that enforcing this NDA is likely to go nowhere. While Trump might have the ability to muzzle Sims about events on the campaign trail, legal experts tend to be very skeptical about a government official trying to silence public officials about their experiences in government. For his part, Sims is now suing Trump in federal court, seeking a declaratory judgment stating that Trump cannot enforce the NDA to the extent that Sims has written about his White House experience.

I’ll probably be posting pieces there every week or so. When I do, I’ll link and excerpt them here.

2/17/2019

Can A “Top Cop” Effectively Lead The Country If She Hollers ‘Hate Crime’ Before An Investigation Has Been Completed?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 10:14 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Here we go. I haven’t posted about this subject for obvious reasons. The main one being that the Jussie Smollett case is still being investigated and we don’t know for sure what happened. So while I’ve stayed on the sidelines keeping my mouth shut and not jumping to conclusions, the leading Democratic candidates didn’t realize that they too should show some restraint and patience and wait for an investigation before spouting off. Obviously the reason we wait is because investigations into high-voltage incidents like the alleged Smollett attack can reveal that what the situation appeared to be, was in fact something very different. No caution for this group though. Heck no. They happily jumped into the sordid mess with both feet in an effort to advance themselves like the grifters they are. As they self-righteously beat their chests in angry indignation at the horrible stench of assumed racist hate wafting through the air, they made their assumptions based on seemingly little more than an initial report of the incident. Certainly they reacted before there was even an opportunity for an investigation to take place. (Date of alleged incident: Jan. 29. Date of the three candidates’ tweets: Jan. 29.) But sadly, the assumptions they made were necessary if they were going to out-woke the competition. And yet, while grifters are gonna grift, when a candidate for the highest office in the land, who spent six years as “California’s top cop,” still cannot resist the urge to make hasty, premature accusations about an alleged hate crime, as well as effectively announcing that she *knew* what happened – even before any investigation – then the seriousness of that individual who hopes to become the next Commander in Chief should be in question. I’m looking at you, Kamala Harris. It’s almost as if investigations, facts, and evidence are pesky mundane issues to be swatted away because girl wants to become the president, and pushing one’s cause, no matter how premature or inaccurate, is the path to a needed win. As caution and prudence go out the window, a foolish mentality of “strike while the iron is hot or forever lose that woke opportunity” becomes the guiding light for the self-proclaimed “top cop”. Maybe it’s just me, but shouldn’t we expect more of a presidential candidate who has been a state’s chief law enforcement officer and top lawyer for six years in one of the nation’s most populous states?

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Anyway, the police want to interview Smollett again after two brothers who were interviewed by investigators claimed that they were paid [by Smollett] to take part in a staged attack.

P.S. No response from Kamala Harris or Kirsten Gillibrand on the changing tide of the story. Cory Booker, while not acknowledging his earlier rush to judgment, said today that he is now going to withhold from commenting further “until all the information actually comes out from on the record sources.”

Gosh, what a novel idea.

–Dana

Is the Mere Existence of a Law a Sufficient Reason to Use It? Ask the Resistance!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 12:01 am

After Alan Dershowitz said that Andrew McCabe’s musing about using the 25th Amendment to the Constitution would be “unconstitutional,” all the Smart People derided Dershowitz:

Ha, ha, get it? Invoking the 25th Amendment can’t be unconstitutional because it’s in the Constitution! It doesn’t matter that McCabe’s proposed invocation of that provision would be bogus! The provision is there! And that’s all you need to know!

But these same Smart People are saying that Trump can’t just declare an emergency! It’s unlawful!

But Congress gave the President the power to declare an emergency. The provision is right there in the law! All of a sudden it matters whether someone is invoking the provision in a way not intended by the drafters?

If I didn’t know better, I might think that the Smart People aren’t being entirely consistent…

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