Republicans Are Excusing a Criminal Conspiracy
The Trump Organization’s CFO appears to be the focus of the Manhattan DA’s criminal probe
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s criminal investigation of the Trump Organization is scrutinizing the actions of one of the president’s oldest and most trusted deputies, ProPublica has learned.
The focus on Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, a 72-year-old accountant now running the business with Trump’s two adult sons, stems from his involvement in arranging a payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump (which Trump has denied).
Federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York, or SDNY, contended that the Trump Organization had improperly booked reimbursements for the hush-money scheme as “legal expenses,” with the aid of sham invoices. They granted legal immunity to Weisselberg and later closed their 18-month investigation with the guilty plea of one Trump associate, Michael Cohen. But Weisselberg’s immunity deal applied only to federal proceedings.
Now Vance’s state grand jury is examining whether Weisselberg, among others — and even the Trump Organization — should face state criminal charges for falsification of business records, according to a source familiar with the investigation.
Fortunately for Democrats, this wasn’t their only effort to obtain Trump’s tax returns
President Donald Trump won’t have to release his tax returns to get on California’s 2020 primary ballot following a unanimous ruling from the state Supreme Court on Thursday that invalidated a new state law.
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 27 into law in July to compel presidential and gubernatorial candidates to release five years of tax returns to get on California’s primary ballot.
… The court ruled the added requirement for tax returns “is in conflict with the (state) constitution’s specification of an inclusive open presidential primary ballot.”
Meanwhile in Israel …
For the first time in Israel’s history, a sitting prime minister is accused of bribery: Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit announced Thursday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be charged with bribery, fraud and breach in three corruption cases, dubbed Cases 4000, 2000 and 1000.
The indictment comes after a four-day hearing with Netanyahu’s defense team last month, followed by weeks of intensive discussion at the attorney general’s offices.
Fact check: true
If Donald Trump can’t overhear phone calls, no one can
A preview of Fiona Hill’s testimony
A former top White House official will offer on Thursday a full-throated rebuttal to the “fictional narrative” pushed by President Donald Trump and his GOP allies about Ukraine’s role meddling in American politics, according to a source familiar with her testimony.
Fiona Hill, who served as Trump’s top Russia adviser until she left the administration this summer, will also warn the House Intelligence Committee as part of the impeachment inquiry that the Kremlin is prepared to strike again in 2020 and remains a serious threat to American democracy that the United States must seek to combat, the source said.
In her brief opening statement, Hill will offer a strong pushback to the claims peddled by Trump, his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and some congressional Republicans that Ukraine may have interfered in the 2016 elections to help Hillary Clinton.
The dangers of getting all your news from Fox
No prison time for Border Patrol agent who hit migrant with his truck
A former Border Patrol agent who hit a fleeing Guatemalan migrant with his truck in 2017 — and who, more than two weeks before the encounter, referred to immigrants in a text message as “subhuman” and “mindless murdering savages” — was sentenced Wednesday to three years of probation.
The agent, Matthew Bowen, 39, pleaded guilty in August to deprivation of rights under color of law, a misdemeanor. His case had intensified national scrutiny of the treatment of migrants during the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration.
Mr. Bowen had faced up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
But Judge Thomas Ferraro of United States District Court in Tucson imposed a sentence of 36 months of probation and 150 hours of community service and directed Mr. Bowen to repay the migrant’s medical costs, which have yet to be determined.
Booker pled for support to make the stage in December during his closing remarks
Booker with the line of the night
The word is “oof”
Hence the rather subdued tone
This got a laugh
Harris is having her best debate in a while
A somewhat feisty exchange between these two on climate
A welcome development
Harris goes after Gabbard
“Buddied up to Steve Bannon to get a meeting with Donald Trump.”
Tulsi Gabbard continues to be a strange presence in the race
Neither Andrew Yang nor Tom Steyer have spoken 25 minutes in
He did not, um, look younger than this during his first answer
Warren seamlessly segues into a core campaign theme
Good luck getting Americans to read
An essential Twitter feed for tonight’s coverage