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Monthly Archives: September 2018

Kavanaugh and Ford might both be telling the truth. And that says something profoundly troubling about our world.

Brett Kavanaugh claims he has no memory of Christine Blasey Ford. Furthermore, he “never did anything remotely resembling what Dr. Ford describes.” To her. Or to anyone.

Either he is lying. Or he is telling the truth.

Throughout today’s hearing, I noted Dr. Ford’s repeated attempts to reign in emotion (she didn’t always succeed.) Judge Kavanaugh, on the other hand, with his fiery pulpit delivery – broken only by sniffs and warbles – unleashed his emotion with abandon. I have little doubt their feelings are sincere. But it’s important to note Dr. Ford’s attempt to control hers versus Kavanaugh’s propensity to let’em rip.

There’s a widely accepted explanation for this: emotional displays threaten to undermine a woman’s credibility — they make them seem “irrational”– a phenomenon of which Dr. Ford, like all women, is already aware.

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But her efforts to conceal her feelings are about more than defeating gender stereotype and maintaining credibility.

People – both men and women – don’t necessarily strive to hide all emotions. We mostly focus our efforts on concealing emotional pain: those feelings that threaten to engulf and destroy, because they reveal our most vulnerable selves. Emotional pain is difficult to express anywhere, let alone in public, let alone on a media-frenzied global stage.

I believe Dr. Ford visibly struggles to hide her feelings because she needs to protect herself: she is, at heart, a person in pain.

In contrast, Judge Kavanaugh, has little trouble blubbering on the stand. He is not someone defined by pain, but rather someone who’s had a bad couple weeks. His primary emotion, revealed through gritted teeth and mottled cheeks, is anger. Not pain. Rage. That classic defense against shame.

So, is Kavanaugh’s huff and bluster masking a guilty conscience? I hope so. Because much more terrifying is the alternative: Brett Kavanaugh is being totally straight with us. He really has no memory of Christine Blasey Ford. Just as he has no memory of committing an act of sexual violence – against her, against anyone.

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How that’s possible comes directly from Dr. Ford herself, prompted by a Senator’s question: “Three people at the party besides yourself and Brett Kavanaugh have given statements under penalty of felony to the committee,” she began. “Are you aware that they say that they have no memory or knowledge of such a party?”

Dr. Ford replied:

“I don’t expect that P.J. and Leland would remember this evening. It was a very unremarkable party. It was not one of their more notorious parties. Nothing remarkable happened to them that evening. They were downstairs. Mr. Judge [the friend alleged to be in the room with her and Kavanaugh during the assault] is a different story. I would expect that he would remember.”

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Her remarks bring to mind a poignant painting by Pieter Breugel, The Fall of Icarus.

The painting depicts a tranquil day by the sea. In the foreground, a farmer plods after his horse and plow, and a humble shepherd herds his sheep. Ships drift by in the shining bay, sails taut with wind. It’s a picturesque scene, and it’s not until after some scrutiny that the viewer finally spots Icarus, plunging headfirst into the sea, legs flailing in a spray of foam.

Now, imagine, if instead of drowning, Icarus had survived. No doubt he would remember that day – the trauma of plummeting thousands of feet into an abyss indelibly seared into his hippocampus (to borrow Dr. Ford’s appropriately Greek word). But what about the shepherd? The farmer with his plow? Or, the sailors manning the ships? Would they remember this day? Would they remember it 40 years later? No. Because, “nothing remarkable happened to them.”

Far worse than a scenario in which one person is lying, and the other telling the truth, is the scenario in which both are telling the truth.

The scenario in which Kavanaugh truly doesn’t remember this night, or this party, or having ever met Christine Blasey Ford, and is truly astounded to find himself accused. How could he forget something so horrible?

Maybe because, for him, to Mark Judge, “the night was unremarkable.” The incident didn’t sear into his brain. It didn’t eat away at his conscience – what he did was normal. He, like so many entitled, carelessly brutal men before him, assaulted a young woman. It was just a regular party. A regular day with his horse and plow.

It was ordinary – and he forgot.

This article originally appeared o

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Full Senate Will Vote on Kavanaugh—Here’s Who Could Stop Him

 

 

In the end, it was business as usual. Sort of.

A day after Christine Blasey Ford’s powerful testimony and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s emotional defense, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who previously expressed doubts about Kavanaugh, ultimately joined the 11-vote GOP majority against the 10 Democratic votes. But he added what could be a potential monkey wrench: He voted yes on the condition that the full Senate vote be delayed for one week to allow time for the FBI to reopen its background investigation into Kavanaugh amid multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, NBC News reports. The final Senate vote to confirm Kavanaugh had been scheduled for Tuesday.

Four Senators—Susan Collins, R-Maine (pictured above); Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.; and Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va.—have not indicated how they will vote. If only one votes yes and the rest of the Senate votes along party lines, Kavanaugh will be approved, according to an analysis by The Washington Post.

The American Bar Association, meanwhile, said the Senate should not hold a confirmation vote until the FBI has investigated sexual assault allegations by Ford and other women.

Before the committee voted, it denied a motion by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., to subpoena Mark Judge, Kavanaugh’s high school classmate whom Ford said was a witness to her alleged sexual assault.

Several committee Democrats—including Blumenthal; Sen. Mazie Hirono, Hawaii; Sen. Kamala D. Harris, Calif.; and Sheldon Whitehouse, R.I.—walked out in protest when the GOP majority approved scheduling a final committee vote for Friday afternoon.

Watch TYT’s live coverage of the story today at 6 p.m. ET.

 

 

Why you should worry if Rosenstein leaves

Rosenstein to meet Trump Thursday as job hangs in balance

By ZEKE MILLER and ERIC TUCKER –

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House delayed until at least Thursday a decision on the fate of Rod Rosenstein, the Justice Department official overseeing the Trump-Russia investigation, following chaotic hours of breathless and sometimes conflicting reports anticipating his imminent departure.

His future hanging in the balance over revelations that he had discussed possibly secretly recording the president, Rosenstein expected to be fired as he headed for the White House on Monday for what was later described as a prescheduled meeting.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Instead, the White House said that Rosenstein and Trump would meet Thursday after the president’s return to Washington, suggesting the deputy attorney general may be in his job for at least several more days. The meeting is set for the same day as an extraordinary Senate committee hearing that is to feature Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and a woman who has accused him of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school.

Any termination or resignation would have immediate implications for special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of possible collaboration between Russia and the Trump campaign before the 2016 election. Rosenstein appointed Mueller and oversees his investigation.

Rosenstein and Trump, who is in New York for a U.N. meeting, had an extended conversation to discuss recent news stories about negative comments Rosenstein is reported to have made last year about the president, said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

The deputy attorney general was reported as having discussed possibly secretly recording the president and invoking the Constitution to have the Cabinet remove him from office. The Justice Department issued two statements from Rosenstein denying the remarks and released a separate statement from someone who said he recalled the recording comment but insisted that it was meant sarcastically.

As Trump mulled Rosenstein’s fate and consulted on how to respond, Rosenstein was summoned to the West Wing on Friday evening by White House chief of staff John Kelly.

He also spoke with White House counsel Don McGahn over the weekend to say he was considering resigning, according to a person familiar with the conversation. McGahn told Rosenstein they should discuss the issue Monday, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private conversation.

Rosenstein was captured by photographers leaving the White House after his meetings Monday and was led out by Kelly.

“At the request of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, he and President Trump had an extended conversation to discuss the recent news stories,” Sanders said in a statement. “Because the President is at the United Nations General Assembly and has a full schedule with leaders from around the world, they will meet on Thursday when the President returns to Washington, D.C.”

It’s unclear what will happen Thursday.

Despite his “You’re Fired!” tagline from his “The Apprentice” reality show days, the president has shown himself reluctant to directly fire aides himself.

While his White House has been marked with unprecedented staff turnover, Trump has often left the task to deputies, including Kelly. He dispatched his former bodyguard to fire former FBI Director James Comey — though Comey was out of town. In other cases, Trump has publicly and privately shamed a staffer, pushing them to resign of their own volition.

President Donald Trump gestures as he arrives at Springfield-Branson in Springfield, Mo. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

The reports about Rosenstein add to the turmoil roiling the administration, just six weeks before midterm elections with control of Congress at stake. In addition to dealing with the Mueller investigation, the White House is also struggling to win confirmation of Kavanaugh, in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations.

The latest speculation surfaced Monday morning amid conflicting reports about Rosenstein’s plans. One person with knowledge of the situation said he expected to be fired, though other reports suggested that he would resign.

Trump, who on Friday suggested that he would remove a “lingering stench” from the Justice Department, did not publicly reveal any plans over the weekend.

As of Sunday, Trump said he had not decided what to do about Rosenstein. He angrily asked confidants, both inside and outside the White House, how to respond. He received mixed messages. Some urged him to fire Rosenstein. Others suggested restraint while seeing if the report was incorrect or if it was planted by some adversary.

Congressional Republicans, Democrats and some Trump aides have warned for months that the president shouldn’t fire Rosenstein, saying such a move could lead to impeachment proceedings if the Democrats retake the House in the upcoming midterms.

Though Trump has mostly spared Rosenstein from some of the harsher and more personal attacks he has directed at Attorney General Jeff Sessions, he has occasionally lashed out with angry tirades at the Justice Department’s No. 2 official, including after FBI raids in April targeting the president’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Rosenstein appointed Mueller in May of last year after Sessions, who ordinarily would have overseen the investigation, recused himself because of his close involvement in the Trump campaign.

Those developments came one week after Rosenstein laid the groundwork for the firing of Comey by writing a memo that criticized Comey’s handling of the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server. The White House initially held up that memo as justification for Comey’s firing, though Trump himself has said he was thinking about “this Russia thing” when he made his move.

Were he to be forced out, Solicitor General Noel Francisco, the highest-ranking Senate confirmed official below Rosenstein in the Justice Department, would take control of the Mueller investigation. A spokesman for Mueller declined to comment.

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, whose private memos document comments made by Rosenstein, said Monday he was concerned that a Rosenstein departure would put the investigation at risk.

“There is nothing more important to the integrity of law enforcement and the rule of law than protecting the investigation of special counsel Mueller,” McCabe said in a statement. “I sacrificed personally and professionally to help put the investigation on a proper course and subsequently made every effort to protect it.”

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Miller reported from the United Nations. Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo, Chad Day and Jon Lemire contributed to this report.

 

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Manafort agrees too flip his dealer: Trump

Paul Manafort plea deal includes ‘broad’ cooperation with special counsel

Paul Manafort, the onetime campaign chairman for President Donald Trump, has agreed to fully cooperate with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy in a federal courthouse on Friday, a dramatic shift coming on the eve of a second trial.

In court Friday morning, prosecutors revealed that Manafort had completed a successful meeting with investigators in which he offered them information they considered valuable. They did not specify what information he agreed to share, but made clear the cooperation would be “broad” and would include participation in “interviews, briefings, producing documents, [and] testifying in other matters.”

“You understand that you are agreeing to cooperate fully and truly” in this agreement? the judge asked. Manafort replied, “I do.”

Special Counsel prosecutor Andrew Weissman told the court Manafort’s “proffer session and cooperation … led us to today.”

The agreement marked a significant shift for the Mueller investigation – providing them cooperation from someone who participated in the now-infamous Trump Tower meeting, in which a Russian lawyer came to New York during the campaign promising “dirt” on Trump’s Democratic opponent. As the campaign chairman, Manafort was also privy to the inner workings of the Trump campaign for critical months in 2016.

Prosecutors did not spell out what sentence reductions Manafort could expect in return for his assistance with the probe into possible Russian meddling in the 2016 elections. New court filings and court statements indicate that prosecutors have taken a number of the earlier charges against Manafort, including a money laundering charge that could, on its own, bring a 20-year sentence, and folded them into two charges that could yield five years for each count.

In a federal courtroom in Washington Friday, Judge Amy Jackson ran through the potential consequence Manafort could face if he breached his agreement with the Special Counsel, including additional prison time and the possibility of additional monetary fines.

Shortly after noon, an ashen Manafort was led out of court and back to confinement, with no chance to visit with his wife, who looked on. His lead attorney called it a “tough day” and told ABC News Manafort will fully cooperate.

“He accepted responsibility,” attorney Kevin Downing said. “He wanted to make sure his family was able to remain safe and live a good life.”

Former prosecutor Robert Minsk told ABC News the deal helped Manafort “because it caps his exposure.”

“Make no mistake, this plea deal signals Manafort’s full cooperation with the special counsel,” Minsk said.

On Thursday, ABC News reported that Manafort’s legal team had reached a tentative deal with Mueller’s team after an hours-long meeting at the special counsel’s downtown Washington, D.C., offices.

As part of his agreement with prosecutors, Manafort admitted guilt to ten related charges in Virginia that a jury was unable to reach consensus on at a trial last month.

Prosecutors, who made a point of noting the activity occurred “at least through 2016,” used bank records and other documents to show what they say Manafort did to hide evidence of his work for Ukrainian politicians, hide millions in proceeds in offshore accounts, and then spend the money lavishly on clothing, luxury items, homes and cars.

PHOTO: Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort stands in a court room sketch, on the opening day of his trial on charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Muellers investigation in Alexandria, Va., on July 31, 2018. Bill Hennessy/Reuters
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort stands in a court room sketch, on the opening day of his trial on charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation in Alexandria, Va., on July 31, 2018.more +

Prosecutors also noted that Manafort was involved in dealings with several large Washington D.C. law firms, including one led by a one-time powerhouse in Democratic Party circles, Anthony Podesta. Podesta has denied wrongdoing but shuttered his firm not long after charges against Manafort were brought due in part to financial concerns.

PHOTO: Paul Manafort, President Donald Trumps former campaign chairman, leaves the Federal District Court after a hearing, in Washington, DC, May 23, 2018.Jose Luis Magana/AP, FILE
Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, leaves the Federal District Court after a hearing, in Washington, DC, May 23, 2018.more +

Just under a year ago, the 69-year-old veteran GOP operative was charged in Washington, D.C., with several counts of fraud and failing to register as a foreign agent by the special counsel.

A second case was opened in Virginia earlier this year on related charges that ended with a jury finding Manafort guilty on eight counts out of an 18-count indictment, facing a maximum of 80 years behind the bars, though under sentencing guidelines the term is likely to be closer to seven years. He has not been sentenced in that case.

Both the White House and the Trump legal team stressed they believe the plea offers nothing new about the president or his campaign with Rudy Giuliani, counsel to the president, saying: “The reason: the President did nothing wrong and Paul Manafort will tell the truth.”

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told ABC News: “This had absolutely nothing to do with the President or his victorious 2016 Presidential campaign. It is totally unrelated.”

The White House made similar statements last month and Trump expressed sympathy for Manafort’s legal plight.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. “Justice” took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to “break” – make up stories in order to get a “deal.” Such respect for a brave man!

 

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‘Dine-and-dash’ dater allegedly left 10 women with hefty restaurant bills, telling one: ‘Order whatever you want’

‘Dine-and-dash’ dater allegedly left 10 women with hefty restaurant bills, telling one: ‘Order whatever you want’

by Tom Embury-Dennis –

A “dine-and-dash” dater is facing years in prison for allegedly forcing a string of first dates to pay for their expensive meals by sneaking out of upscale restaurants after he had finished eating.

Paul Guadalupe Gonzales, from Los Angeles, faces 10 counts of extortion, fraud, and petty theft against at least 10 women over the past two years.

The 45-year-old would reportedly chat to women online, offering to take them to restaurants across the city, before vanishing without a word after consuming large amounts of food and alcohol.

Appearing in court in Pasadena for his preliminary hearing, Mr Gonzales listened as women testified about their experiences dating the alleged tab-skipper.

Martha Barba said she was due to meet Mr Gonzales at a Chipotle outlet in July 2016, before he convinced her into a meal close by at an upscale eatery called Houston’s.

“I didn’t want to go. He didn’t look like his pictures. I wasn’t attracted to him,” Ms Barba said, who nevertheless agreed to go to be “nice”, according to NY Daily News.

“He kept saying, ‘I got you. Order whatever you want. It’s on me. Don’t worry about it’,” Ms Barba said. “He ordered steak, wine, salad, just whatever you could order.”

At one point, Mr Gonzales stood up to take a call and suggested she order dessert while he stepped away to talk, she added. He allegedly never came back, forcing Ms Barba to pay the $120 (£92) bill.

“I felt embarrassed and didn’t want to say anything… I felt humiliated,” Ms Barba, a single mother, told the court. She said she had to use her rent money to cover the cost.

Another woman, Yolanda Lora, told the newspaper she accepted an invite from Mr Gonzales to a sushi restaurant in West Hollywood last year.

“I remember he was talking really fast and eating really fast and then said his youngest son was calling him,” Ms Lora said. She claimed Mr Gonzales ordered two glasses of wine within 15 minutes of each other.

After getting up, she alleges he never returned.

“What kind of monster does this? I was so embarrassed. I’m not an insecure woman, but it made me feel very insecure,” she said. “I’m just glad he got caught. I don’t want any other women to have to go through that.”

According to police, Mr Gonzales ordered expensive wines, steaks, lobster and desserts during more than a dozen dates in which he ran away without paying. He apparently did little to cover his tracks.

While his dates were generally forced to pick up the bill, two restaurants took pity on the women and did not charge them, prosecutors said.

A criminal complaint reads: “In short, the defendant’s wrongful conduct induced innocent third parties to pay for his meal, using the implied threat of public humiliation or being viewed as an accomplice.”

Mr Gonzales has pleaded not guilty, but if convicted could face up to 16 years in jail – justified, prosecutors say, because he “set up a third party to take the fall”.

Mr Gonzales has previously been accused of getting his hair dyed and cut at a hair salon, before running away without paying, still dressed in the salon’s robe.

After the hearing, a judge is set to rule on whether the case should be taken to trial.

 

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