Sessions, Echo Chamber, Allen Weisselberg: 3 Stories You Should Read 8/24/2018
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In the category of: The Elf has a spine.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired back at President Donald Trump Thursday afternoon, after Trump said he “never took control” of the Justice Department.
“While I am Attorney General, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations. I demand the highest standards, and where they are not met, I take action. However, no nation has a more talented, more dedicated group of law enforcement investigators and prosecutors than the United States,” Sessions said in a statement.
“I took control of the Department of Justice the day I was sworn in, which is why we have had unprecedented success at effectuating the President’s agenda — one that protects the safety and security and rights of the American people, reduces violent crime, enforces our immigration laws, promotes economic growth, and advances religious liberty.”
“I am proud to serve with them and proud of the work we have done in successfully advancing the rule of law,” he added.
In the category of: P.R. of a whole different kind.
The 2017 document, titled “The Echo Chamber,” accused former Obama officials of undermining the incoming Administration.
In early 2017, some of Donald Trump’s advisers concluded that they faced a sophisticated threat responsible for “coordinated attacks” on the new Administration. They circulated a memo, titled “The Echo Chamber,” which read like a U.S. military-intelligence officer’s analysis of a foreign-insurgent network. Instead of being about enemies in a distant war zone, however, the network described in the memo consisted of former aides to President Barack Obama.
The memo claimed that the “communications infrastructure” that the Obama White House used to “sell Obamacare and the Iran Deal to the public” had been moved to the private sector, now that the former aides were out of government. It called the network the Echo Chamber and accused its members of mounting a coördinated effort “to undermine President Trump’s foreign policy” through organized attacks in the press against Trump and his advisers. “These are the Obama loyalists who are probably among those coordinating the daily/weekly battle rhythm,” the memo said, adding that they likely operated a “virtual war room.” The memo lists Ben Rhodes, a former deputy national-security adviser to President Obama, as “likely the brain behind this operation” and Colin Kahl, Vice-President Joe Biden’s former national-security adviser, as its “likely ops chief.” Rhodes and Kahl both said in interviews that the allegations are false and no such organization exists.
In the category of: Trump’s very bad awful week.
Federal prosecutors granted immunity to President Donald Trump’s longtime CFO for providing information regarding hush-money payments during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, has been granted immunity in federal prosecutors’ investigation into President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen, The Wall Street Journal and other news outlets reported Friday.
Cohen pleaded guilty Tuesday to violating campaign finance laws at Trump’s direction, when he made payments to prevent the stories of Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, two women alleging they had extramarital affairs with Trump, from going public during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Weisselberg was subpoenaed in the investigation last month. According to The Wall Street Journal, it is unclear if Weisselberg testified as to whether Trump himself knew about the payments.
On Thursday, David Pecker, the CEO of the company that owns the tabloid the National Enquirer, was also granted immunity in the investigation. In a practice known as “catch and kill,” Pecker allegedly helped Cohen suppress potentially damaging stories about Trump.
No one knows Trump’s finances better than Weisselberg. Aside from Trump himself, Weisselberg is the longest-serving employee of the Trump Organization. He has worked for the company since the 1970s, beginning as an accountant with Fred Trump, the president’s father, and working his way up to chief financial officer.
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