If you’re inclined to feel sorry for General Flynn, don’t.
18 U.S.C. § 219(a) provides that:
Whoever, being a public official, is or acts as an agent of a foreign principal required to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 or a lobbyist required to register under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 in connection with the representation of a foreign entity, as defined in section 3(6) of that Act shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than two years, or both.
A retired military officer is a “public official” for the purposes of 18 U.S.C. § 219. See here at footnote 5.
Now, read the indictment of Bijan Rafiekian, a/k/a “Bijan Kian” and Kamil Ekim Alptekin. As you do, recognize that “Person A” is General Flynn.
Then remember that this is the same individual who led a mob-like crowd to shout about the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, a former Secretary of State, “Lock her up!”
(BTW, the “Truth Campaign” was the original working title for the campaign that Flynn et al. were working on for the Turkish government. The name of the campaign was later changed to “Operation Confidence.”)
New York marijuana law should include reparations, supporters say. Pot stores are coming to New York, but Cuomo won’t say what they’ll look like. Could weed save New York‘s awful subways? Cuomo may include marijuana legalization in budget proposal next month.
Will New Jersey vote this year on legalizing weed? It all depends on a big meeting this week. What will New Jersey get from legal weed taxes? Vote on New Jersey legal marijuana unlikely by the end of the year, top Dems say. Expungement debate threatens to hold up New Jersey marijuana legalization.
Connecticut progressive caucus to push for marijuana legalization.
Marijuana legalization seems headed to Minnesota, but it’s unclear when.
US states hope legalized marijuana will solve their pension crisis. When the makers of Marlboro and Corona get into marijuana. Ron Paul: Marijuana federalism’s time has come. Does the law require the Drug Czar to lie about legalization? Marijuana legalization is working; most in US are on board. Ending weed prohibition hasn’t stopped drug crimes.
Jon Caulkins foresees dirt-cheap weed, THC appetizers, and a big impact from Canada.
Some Canada cannabis vendors are selling placebo weed oils, researchers say.
New Zealand embraces medical marijuana with new law, now campaigners set sights on broader legalization.
Strains over Thailand legalization of marijuana.
I have uploaded the opinion handed down this evening by the U.S.D.C. for the Northern District of Texas (O’Connor, J.) overturning the ACA. Needless to say, I thought that the decision was important enough that it should be uploaded even before I had an opportunity to read it. Thus, I cannot summarize it or comment upon it at this point.
I am not clear on the current procedural posture of the case. For instance, it does not appear that the court issued some sort of relief to the plaintiffs that would, without a stay, either immediately stop the ACA or give a right to an appeal without further proceedings in the district court.
I will update as matters are clarified.
Today, America Media, Inc. (“AMI”) the parent entity of the National Enquirer entered into a non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. I have posted it here. I suspect that, due to the sentencing of Michael Cohen, the AMI agreement will not get as much attention as it deserves. It is, however, a blockbuster.
The agreement has as an exhibit a two-page “Statement of Admitted Facts” that provides, in part, as follows:
- “In or about August 2015, David Pecker, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AMI, met with Michael Cohen, an attorney for a presidential candidate, and at least one other member of the campaign [presumably Donald Trump]. At the meeting, Pecker offered to help deal with negative stories about that presidential candidate’s relationships with women by, among other things, assisting the campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased and their publication avoided. Pecker agreed to keep Cohen apprised of any such negative stories.” Statement of Admitted Facts, ¶ 3.
- “In or about June 2016, an attorney representing a model and actress attempting to sell her story of her alleged extramarital affair with the aforementioned presidential candidate contacted an editor at the National Enquirer. Pecker and the editor called Cohen and informed him of the story. At Cohen’s urging and subject to Cohen’s promise that AMI would be reimbursed, the editor began negotiating for the purchase of the story. On June 20, 2016, the editor interviewed the model about her story. Following the interview, AMI communicated to Cohen that it would acquire the story to prevent its publication.” Statement of Admitted Facts, ¶ 4.
- On or about August 5, 2016, AMI entered into an agreement with the model to acquire her “limited life rights” to the story of her relationship with “any then-married man,” in exchange for $150,000. It was also agreed that AMI would feature her on two magazine covers and could publish over one hundred magazine articles authored by her. AMI agreed to pay the model $150,000 — substantially more money than AMI otherwise would have paid to acquire the story — because of Cohen’s assurances to Pecker that AMI would ultimately be reimbursed for the payment. Despite the cover and article features to the agreement, AMI’s principal purpose in entering into the agreement was to suppress the model’s story so as to prevent it from influencing the election. At no time during the negotiation for or acquisition of the model’s story did AMI intend to publish the story or disseminate information about it publicly. On or about August 10, 2016, AMI sent $150,000 to an attorney representing the model. Statement of Admitted Facts, ¶ 5.
- At all relevant times, AMI knew that corporations such as AMI are subject to federal campaign finance laws, and that expenditures by corporations, made for purposes of influencing an election and in coordination with or at the request of a candidate or campaign, are unlawful. At no time did AMI report to the Federal Election Commission that it had made the $150,000 payment to the model. Statement of Admitted Facts, ¶ 8.
As reported in an article by Eric Wemple in the Washington Post, Tucker Carlson: Trump Is a Crime Victim,
Trump apologist Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson is quoted as follows:
Remember the facts of the story. These are undisputed: Two women approached Donald Trump and threatened to ruin his career and humiliate his family if he doesn’t give them money. Now, that sounds like a classic case of extortion. Yet for whatever reason, Trump caves to it and he directs Michael Cohen to pay the ransom. Now more than two years later, Trump is a felon for doing this. It doesn’t seem to make any sense. Oh, but you’re not a federal prosecutor on a political mission. If you were a federal prosecutor on a political mission, you would construe those extortion payments as campaign contributions. You’d do this even though the money in question did not come from or go to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Then you’d claim that Trump and Michael Cohen violated campaign finance law because they didn’t publicly disclose those payments, despite the fact that disclosing them would nullify the reason for making them in the first place, which was to keep the whole thing secret. That is the argument you would make, both in federal court and through your proxies on cable television. It is insultingly stupid but because everyone in power hates the target of your investigation, nobody would question you, and that’s what’s happening right now.
(Emphasis in the WaPo original.)
Based on the Statement of Admitted Facts in the AMI matter, we now know:
- As to Karen McDougal, at least, there was no extortion involved. Rather, she simply wanted to profit from her relationship with Trump. It was Trump’s agent, acting on Trump’s behalf, who brought the matter to Trump’s attention. McDougal never requested money from Trump, did not know that AMI was acting as Trump’s agent, and expected the full and complete story to make its way in the public domain. Manifestly, she was not being paid for her public silence, but rather for her willingness to use the AMI publications to broadcast the story.
- Carlson’s contention that the payments were not campaign contributions is palpably false. As ¶ 4 of the Statement of Admitted Facts states: “At the meeting, Pecker offered to help deal with negative stories about that presidential candidate’s relationships with women by, among other things, assisting the campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased and their publication avoided. Pecker agreed to keep Cohen apprised of any such negative stories.” In other words, from the very beginning, even before it was known that McDougal was willing to publicly disclose her story, Trump, Cohen, and Pecker planned to put her story or any similar story within a cone of silence in order to aid the campaign.
Distilled to its essence, with regard to McDougal at least, (1) Trump was not the victim of an extortion attempt and (2) the payment of hush money to McDougal was a deliberate and calculated campaign violation.
Oh, yeah. We know that Tucker Carlson is nothing but a dishonest Trump apologist.
A new revenue source for NYC mass transit: Legalizing and taxing cannabis. Long Island public hearing centers on legalizing recreational marijuana. Minority entrepreneurs look to break into burgeoning New Jersey pot industry. Jersey City tells cops to keep arresting people for pot.
Could Minnesota be next to legalize marijuana?
North Carolina legislature to consider marijuana legalization in 2019.
Missouri lawmaker files marijuana legalization bill after voters approve medical cannabis.
As Altria eyes pot, Philip Morris ignores peer pressure. Altria invests $1.8 billion in cannabis company Cronos. Navigating cannabis legalization 2.0. Major alcohol association briefs Congress on marijuana legalization. In 90-second clip, Fox & Friends pushes string of misleading claims about marijuana. Investing in marijuana dispensary stocks could be a big mistake.
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Given the momentous events concerning the various criminal investigations of Trump, an important opinion by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit may go virtually unnoticed.
The ruling comes in the case of East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Trump. That’s the case I posted earlier in which the District Court (per Tigar, J.) issued a nationwide injunction against enforcement of the rule that, together with Trump’s proclamation, had the effect of making “any alien who enters the United States across the southern border at least over the next ninety days, except at a designated port of entry, is categorically ineligible to be granted asylum.” The appeals court, by a 2-1 majority, maintained in place the TRO. You may recall that it was Judge Tigar’s initial decision that caused Trump to go off on a rant against the Ninth Circuit.
So, today was a bad day for Trump:
- He was presented with prosecutors clearly closing in on him and his family for their criminal activities.
- The stock market continued its downward course.
- His first Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, was so critical of Trump that Trump had to Tweet: “Rex Tillerson didn’t have the mental capacity needed [to be Secretary of State]. He was dumb as a rock and I couldn’t get rid of him fast enough. He was lazy as hell.”
- And, finally, the Ninth Circuit blocked him from causing harm to immigrants seeking asylum.
What have I missed?
Revised and Updated I’ve revised and updated this post. Below, you will find the links to all three of the filings by the prosecutors today in the Cohen case and in the Manafort case.
As noted earlier, presumably tomorrow or Sunday, I will be uploading the transcript of Comey’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.
Further Update: Comey Transcript
As promised, here’s the Comey Transcript. I have not had the opportunity to review it, but I understand that it is redacted.
New Jersey officially on path to recreational marijuana. New Jersey faith leaders are getting involved with legalized weed. How a push to legalize pot in New Jersey became a debate on race and fairness. Coupling expungement with marijuana legalization in New Jersey means the cannabis industry can do well by doing good. After major vote, how soon could New Jersey see legal weed?
With Illinois legal marijuana possibly on horizon, Oak Park prepares to reap tax benefits. Activist voices opposition to legal Illinois marijuana salesHundreds of millions of dollars from legal weed will help balance Illinois budget, Pritzker says. Growing marijuana at home would be banned under new bill in Michigan. Michigan marijuana tax revenue would be gutted by lame duck bill. Legal weed in Michigan could produce more legal problems in northern Indiana. There’s still a lot to unravel with legal marijuana in Michigan.
Cuomo administration to back New York adult use marijuana bill. New York police prepare for potholes on road to legal marijuana. New York marijuana legalization gets boost as Democrats win state Senate control. With New York on brink of marijuana legalization, first-of-its-kind conference lays out blueprint for legalization rooted in racial, economic, and social justice. Counties raise concerns over New York marijuana legalization.
With Sessions out at DOJ, the marijuana movement exhales. House Democrats push to allow banks’ pot business. Laughable But Widely Cited Report Does Not Even Try to Measure Costs of Legalized Marijuana. Marijuana legalization threatens these dogs’ collars. Legalizing marijuana and gay marriage seemed impossible. Cash-strapped states turn to legal marijuana for tax revenue, but some say they’re not charging enough. Setting up states to profit from marijuana legalization.
Today, in Tairou v. Whitaker, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (per Gregory, C.J.) held that for purposes of granting asylum:
- An individual who is gay is a member of a valid particular social group (citing Bringas-Rodriguez v. Sessions, 850 F.3d 1051, 1073 (9th Cir. 2017) and Nabulwala v. Gonzales, 481 F.3d 1115, 1117 (8th Cir. 2007);
- A threat of death constitutes a threat of persecution;
- If an individual receives multiple death threats, the death threats establish that the individual was subjected to past persecution;
- If an individual proves that he or she was subjected to past prosecution, the individual is entitled to a rebuttable presumption that he or she has a well-founded fear of future prosecution.
In this case, Tairou was a citizen of Benin. He was either gay or bi-sexual (the opinion is unclear on this) and his wife is a lesbian. He and his family were the subject of physical attacks and threats both from his family and his neighbors. The immigration judge had determined that the Tairou “had established membership in a particular social group defined [by the Immigration Judge] as ‘homosexuals in Benin.'” The Fourth Circuit held that:
Tairou proved that he was subjected to past persecution in Benin, he is entitled to the presumption of a well-founded fear of future persecution. We do not decide whether the Government can rebut this presumption. Instead, we remand to the BIA to reconsider the question under the proper presumption.
Slip op. at 11. (Citations omitted.)
One point that is of some interest is that “country conditions” in Benin concerning the danger to gay individuals was based in part on a Canadian governmental travel advisory that painted a more dangerous picture for gay individuals than the U.S. State Department Benin Country Report (“A Canadian governmental travel advisory for Benin stated that although homosexuality was not illegal, it could lead to arrest under laws such as indecent exposure. . . . However, a United States State Department Benin Country Report indicated that homosexual behavior was discouraged but ‘neither prosecuted nor persecuted.’”)