Today in 45 stuff
Alex Wilhelm links to the big headline of the day, Trump inaugural committee ordered to hand over documents to federal investigators (280,000+ shares), which Maggie Haberman and Ben Protess report on at The New York Times. On Twitter, Haberman notes, “This subpoena is huge in scope and what the SDNY is looking at. Another reminder that as Mueller prepares to wind down, legal issues related to Trump are going to hang around in lower Manhattan for a long time.”
Rosalind Helderman and Michael Kranish have more details at The Washington Post, Federal prosecutors issue sweeping subpoena for documents from Trump inaugural committee, a sign of a deepening criminal probe (40,000+ shares). The subpoena indicates that prosecutors are investigating crimes related to conspiracy to defraud the United States, mail fraud, false statements, wire fraud and money laundering.
Helderman and Kranish also note that it specifically seeks all communications with Los Angeles venture capitalist Imaad Zuberi and his firm, Avenue Ventures, which donated $900,000 to the inaugural committee. Tweets Matea Gold, “UPDATED with new details via @PostRoz @PostKranish: Zuberi accompanied Qataris to meeting at Trump Tower with Flynn & Bannon in Dec. 2016. Zuberi rode elevator up but did not attend meeting, his spox says.”
The New York Times and Washington Post stories build on a report by John Santucci and Josh Margolin of ABC News, New York prosecutors seek records from Trump inauguration committee (43,000+ shares).
In case you hadn’t noticed, Jim Roberts points out, “With subpoena from prosecutors for documents from Trump inaugural committee, virtually everything connected to the president, including his business, his ‘charitable foundation’ and his campaign, are under criminal investigation.” Tweets Adam Weinstein, “Imagine If Obama Etc. Etc., Vol. MMXVII.”
Meanwhile, “Hello! $500,000 in ‘suspicious’ payments -- many in cash -- to the lobbyist from the now-famous Trump Tower meeting.” Ariel Kaminer links to the story by Tanya Kozyreva, Emma Loop, Anthony Cormier, John Templon and Jason Leopold of BuzzFeed News, Lobbyist at Trump Tower Meeting Received Half A Million Dollars In Suspicious Payments. Highlighting those bylines, Claudia Koerner says, that’s “when you know it’s going to be a banger.”
Kenneth Vogel notes this “TANTALIZING NUGGET: RINAT AKHMETSHIN, the Russian-American lobbyist who attended the 2016 Trump Tower mtg with the lawyer promising dirt on @HillaryClinton, received $$$ from ‘a veteran Republican operator with ties to the TRUMP campaign,’ per @BuzzFeed.” And Alex Campbell points to “One of the better no comments I have read in a while”: “Veselnitskaya also declined to answer questions. ‘Don’t bother with questions,’ she told BuzzFeed News in Russian. ‘Your article is paid for and you have your text ready. Don’t be distracted from what you consider the meaning of life.’”
Azeen Ghorayshi, Leopold, Cormier and Loop of BuzzFeed News have also published a massive trove of Trump Tower Moscow documents that they obtained over the course of a year, along with a comprehensive timeline about the project. For that, check out Secret Files Show How Trump Moscow Talks Unfolded While Trump Heaped Praise On Putin. Tweets Kaminer, “Trump Tower Moscow news!! This timeline reveals for the first time how the secret business negotiations lined up with the Trump's over-the-top public praise for Putin. Read ALL THE DOCUMENTS RIGHT HERE.”
In other 45 stuff, Josh Partlow and David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post report that the purge of undocumented workers by the president’s company spreads to at least 5 Trump golf courses, with the firing of at least 18 undocumented workers from golf courses in New York and New Jersey in the past two months.
And POLITICO’s Nancy Cook takes a look at the plan to keep Trump’s taxes hidden. In essence: “Delay, undermine legitimacy, counterpunch. Repeat,” tweets Christopher Rowland.
Next up, Olivier Knox says, “This would be bad news. I read @carolrosenberg and have had her on my show. She is doing superb journalism.” He links to Erik Wemple’s column at The Washington Post, McClatchy buyouts could claim chain’s full-time Guantanamo reporter. Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald is the only reporter covering Guantanamo Bay on a full-time basis, as she has been since 2002. Steve Vladeck says, “It’s hard to single out specific media buyouts/layoffs on grounds of onerousness, but @carolrosenberg is utterly irreplaceable. It’s not just that she’s the only reporter for _any_ outlet who regularly covers #GTMO; it’s that we’d all be lost without her.” The New York Times’ Charlie Savage tells Wemple, “Carol’s work is a public service, serving as a sentinel for the world. If she is unable to keep her franchise going, there will be nobody left writing about the factual reality of what is happening at Gitmo on a daily basis.”
Can’t lay off a robot
At The New York Times, Jaclyn Peiser writes about The Rise of the Robot Reporter, and before you get nervous about that headline, Hasani Gittens tweets, “Don't worry about that robot taking your job, it's just doing the stuff you didn't really want to. And with no typos!” And so, Michael Tackett says, “Hello sweetheart, get me the robot.” Adds Frank Scandale, “As a former #Reuters earnings reporter, I would have given up my lunch every day to have one of these.” David Sable wonders, “Anyone think this is the solution for the decline in trust of news sources? Guess the advantage is you can’t lay off a robot.” Peter Svensson of Bloomberg News notes, “Bloomberg News Automation makes the news! The story is a bit confused about how things work here (Cyborg is just one part of our system) but hits the main points.”
In other journalism news, “Today freelance journalists are calling upon the media industry to pay its freelancers fairer, better and faster. If you believe in fair pay for freelancers, please read our open letter #FairPayForFreelancers.” Anna Codrea-Rado links to the Google Doc, #FairPayForFreelancers. The radical idea: “We want to work together towards a sustainable future for our industry. We believe this starts with media outlets paying freelancers fairly and on time.”
As Doug Bandow says, “Virginia politics usually is boring. No longer. Who did what? Who is backstabbing whom? Who knows??” Jonathan Martin and Alan Blinder are continuing to update their reporting at The New York Times, with the latest describing a rift between top Democrats in the state. This morning, Martin tweets, “TUESDAY AM NEWS: as part of his investigation into the yearbook, @RalphNortham is planning to hire a private eye. which is not the sort of thing somebody does if they are about to resign.”
Also, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of Virginia Denounces Sexual Assault Allegation as a ‘Smear,’ Martin reports, tweeting, “EVENING NEWS: Fairfax softens on claiming Northam is behind the sexual assault claims, but hints in second gaggle that Richmond mayor @LevarStoney - his would-be rival for governor in ’21 - had a role. Stoney:: ‘100 pct not true’ and ‘it’s offensive.’”
And from Theresa Vargas of The Washington Post, Va. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax denies sex assault allegation from 2004. However, she writes, “The Post did not find ‘significant red flags and inconsistencies within the allegations,’ as the Fairfax statement incorrectly said.” Rachel Van Dongen’s assessment: “What a mess.”
If you were wondering why Liam Neeson was trending on Twitter yesterday, well, as Dean Van Nguyen says, “Out of nowhere, these are pretty startling admissions from Liam Neeson.” Clemence Michallon of the Independent sat down with Neeson for a press junket a few weeks ago, and “Um!” as Kate Aurthur tweets, linking to that Liam Neeson interview: Rape, race and how I learnt revenge doesn’t work. How to describe it? Heidi Moore offers, “This is...what. Unbelievable. Repugnant.” But Josh Greenman says, “Liam Neeson didn't hurt anyone. He is talking about how he felt after a crime, and how he's now deeply ashamed of what was going through his mind. Worth reading in context.”
Counterpoint: “WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING,” tweets Guy Lodge. Adds Lola Adesioye, “Welcome to Day 4 of Black History Month in which Liam Neeson confesses to going around with a cosh looking for any black man - as he calls them ‘a black bastard’ - to kill because his friend was apparently raped by one. I’m tired.” And just to be clear, “He really volunteered this information, for the first time, to a journalist,” notes Sophie Prideaux.
Peak, peak American journalism right here
Here’s a three-part investigation you’re going to want to set aside some time to read. To find out why Michael Kruse says, “There's nobody working in journalism quite like @thomaslake,” check out the CNN series by Thomas Lake on The Circus Singer and the Godfather of Soul. Tweets Lake, “Two years ago, I got a phone call from a woman who sang in the circus. She said she could prove that James Brown had been murdered. Here's the story of what happened next.” “This by @thomaslake is the craziest story I've ever read,” says Adam Wren. Adds Kadhim Shubber, “This is peak, peak American journalism right here.” As Keith Phipps tweets, “Me, an hour ago: No way anyone will publish anything as twisting and strange as yesterday's A.J. Finn story. CNN, now: Who killed James Brown?: A Three Part Investigation.”
- Shelby Grad tweets, “Congrats to @frankshyong -- whose new Metro column begins today. He revisits the movie ‘Chinatown,’ saying the real Chinatown is a place of hope, not cynicism. And offers a vision of how he wants to chronicle LA.” Read Frank Shyong’s inaugural Metro column in the Los Angeles Times, Forget it, Jake: If Chinatown is a metaphor for anything, it’s America.
- Matthew Yglesias tweets, “TIL suicides are up 30% in America over the past twenty years even as they’ve fallen globally.” But as Cynthia Koons and Robert Langreth report at Bloomberg Businessweek, Ketamine Could Be the Key to Reversing America’s Rising Suicide Rate.
- “A woman was killed by a foul ball at a Dodgers game in August and it wasn’t reported by the media or Major League Baseball until today.” Peter W. Singer links to William Weinbaum’s report at ESPN, Coroner: Fan struck in head by foul ball during Dodgers game died of blunt force injury.
- Anna Mehler Paperny links to Jamelle Bouie in The New York Times “On the problem with our ‘pics or it didn’t happen’ standard for racism”: Blackface Is the Tip of the Iceberg. As Bouie tweets, “here’s me on the kinds of racism that get you in trouble in american politics.”
- From Splinter News’s Molly Osberg, Here Are The Racist Conspiracy Emails Rotting Right-Wing Billionaire Joe Ricketts’ Brain. Kim Janssen’s take: “Assuming these emails are real (and he acknowledged the earlier leaks to Splinter News were) Joe Ricketts is a racist scumbag.”
- Robert Barnes of The Washington Post was there as Ruth Bader Ginsburg made her first public appearance since cancer surgery. The 85-year-old justice attended a production of “Notorious RBG in Song” at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington.