Day 456: Unprecedented treachery.
1/ The Democratic National Committee filed a lawsuit against the Russian government, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks alleging a conspiracy to help Trump win the 2016 election. The 66-page lawsuit claims that Russian hacking, the Trump associates’ contacts with Russia, and the public cheerleading by the campaign of the hacks amounted to conspiracy to interfere in the election and cause damage to the Democratic Party. DNC Chairman Tom Perez said in a statement: “This constituted an act of unprecedented treachery: the campaign of a nominee for President of the United States in league with a hostile foreign power to bolster its own chance to win the presidency.” If the lawsuit proceeds, Trump and his campaign aides could be forced to submit to depositions that require them to answer questions under oath. (Washington Post / Reuters / New York Times / CNN)
2/ Trump invited Putin to the U.S. during a phone call on March 20. Trump reportedly said he “would be glad to see [Putin] in the White House,” according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. (Reuters)
3/ Roger Stone: Trump has long treated Michael Cohen “like garbage.” Trump’s lawyers and advisers believe Cohen, faced with the prospect of legal fees and criminal charges, could end up cooperating with federal officials investigating him for the work he did for Trump. A half-dozen people familiar with the relationship, say Trump had treated Cohen poorly for years, with insults, dismissive statements and, at least twice, threats of being fired. Cohen, who once said he would “take a bullet” for Trump, tried to apologize to Melania Trump for the news about Stormy Daniels. (New York Times)
4/ A federal judge said Michael Cohen will needs to plead the Fifth Amendment in order to delay the Stormy Daniels lawsuit. The judge gave Cohen until next Wednesday to do so. Cohen wanted the judge to grant a stay for at least 90 days. (NBC News)
5/ The Justice Department sent partially redacted copies of James Comey’s memos – 15 pages in total – to Congress, which leaked to the public within hours. The memos cover the first three months of the Trump administration. Following the release, Trump tweeted that the memos “show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION.” (Associated Press / New York Times / Washington Post)
James Comey Memos just out and show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION. Also, he leaked classified information. WOW! Will the Witch Hunt continue?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 20, 2018
READ: James Comey’s memos. (DocumentCloud)
Six takeaways from the Comey memos. (New York Times)
What the Comey memos tell us about Trump. (Axios)
At least two of the memos that Comey gave to a friend contained information that officials now consider classified, prompting a review by the Justice Department’s internal watchdog. (Wall Street Journal)
6/ Trump was annoyed with Michael Flynn for making Putin wait six days for a return congratulatory phone call. Trump complained that Flynn “has serious judgment issues” as a result. Days before Michael Flynn was fired, then-White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus asked Comey if Flynn’s communications were being monitored under a FISA surveillance warrant. (Reuters / The Guardian)
7/ Trump tweeted that Michael Flynn’s life is now “totally destroyed” while “Shadey James Comey can Leak and Lie and make lots of money from a third rate book.” Flynn pleaded guilty in December to lying to federal agents and is cooperating with Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and whether the Trump campaign was involved. (Bloomberg)
So General Michael Flynn’s life can be totally destroyed while Shadey James Comey can Leak and Lie and make lots of money from a third rate book (that should never have been written). Is that really the way life in America is supposed to work? I don’t think so!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 20, 2018
8/ Putin once told Trump that Russia has “some of the most beautiful hookers in the world,” according to Comey. In a memo dated Feb. 8, 2017, Comey writes that Trump “brought up the ‘Golden Showers thing,’” saying that “‘the hookers thing’ is nonsense.” (The Hill)
9/ Comey explained why he thinks “it’s possible” that Russia has compromising information on Trump. First, he says, is that “the President is constantly bringing it up with me to deny it.” And, second, Trump “wouldn’t criticize Vladimir Putin even in private, which struck me as odd.” (CNN)
10/ Trump pressed Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray to find derogatory information on two senior FBI officials. Trump wanted to know why Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were still in their jobs, following allegations by his allies that they had been disloyal and had unfairly targeted him and his administration. Trump wanted information about Strzok and Page turned over to congressional Republicans in order to discredit them. (Vox)
Strzok helped oversee the probe of Hillary Clinton’s email use and the investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Page provided legal and strategic advice about both investigations to both Comey and McCabe.
The two repeatedly disparaged Trump in their private text messages to each other.
11/ Trump’s legal team is still negotiating a possible interview with Robert Mueller, according to White House lawyer Ty Cobb. “The Cohen searches have not yet changed our strategy or level of cooperation with the special counsel,” Cobb said, referring to recent raids on the home, hotel room and workplace of Michael Cohen. At the time, it was reported that Trump was “less inclined” to sit for an interview with Mueller. (Daily Beast)
12/ Trump complained to advisers that Neil Gorsuch has been too liberal in recent cases. Trump was “incensed” that Gorsuch voted against the administration on an immigration case, renewing Trump’s doubts that Gorsuch would be a reliable conservative. (Washington Post / The Hill)
13/ In May 1984, Trump – pretending to be a Trump Organization executive – lied about his wealth to a Forbes reporter so he could make the Forbes 400 list. Trump, posing as “John Barron,” called Jonathan Greenberg and claimed he was worth $100 million. At the time, Trump was worth less than $5 million. (Washington Post)
Trump will not attend Barbara Bush’s funeral in order to “avoid disruptions” and out of respect for her family and friends. (CNN)
Scott Pruitt spent $45,000 to fly a five-person “advance” team to Australia to prepare for meetings that were later canceled. (Reuters)
Mitch McConnell is intent on confirming as many conservative judges as possible to lifetime appointments this year, in part out of concern that Democrats may take back the Senate. Trump has already nominated 69 judges, but there are still 149 total vacancies. (Politico)
Andrew McCabe plans to sue the Trump administration for defamation and wrongful termination and other possible civil claims. (Axios / The Hill)
Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp will support Mike Pompeo’s nomination for secretary of state, becoming the first Democrat to say she’ll vote for the current CIA director. Pompeo is expected to receive an unfavorable recommendation from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but GOP leaders plan to bring the nomination to the Senate floor anyway late next week. (CNN / New York Times)
A man linked to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks was captured in Syria by U.S.-backed forces more than a month ago. The 9/11 Commission report, a Congressional account of the 2001 attacks, said Mohammad Haydar Zammar was an “outspoken, flamboyant Islamist” who extolled “the virtues of violent jihad.” (Reuters)
Jared Kushner’s family business received a federal subpoena. Investigators are looking into whether the real estate company repeatedly filed false paperwork that claimed it had zero rent-regulated tenants, when it had hundreds. (Wall Street Journal / The Hill)
Wall Street banks saved at least $3.59 billion combined in taxes last quarter under Trump’s new tax law. (Associated Press)
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