Many were stunned to learn that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office Friday night issued an extremely rare statement disputing aspects of Buzzfeed’s Thursday bombshell. That bombshell, as you know, says that President Donald Trump instructed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress.
First, it’s important to read the statement issued by Mueller’s spokesperson, Peter Carr.
“BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate.”
So, to be clear, Mueller is not stating the story itself, that the President told Cohen to lie to Congress, is false. He’s saying the way Buzzfeed described “specific statements,” documents, and testimony “are not accurate.”
Here’s what Buzzfeed’s Editor-in-Chief, Ben Smith, told Rachel Maddow Friday night:
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 19, 2019
Also on Maddow, former U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg, who served as the the acting head of the DEA says point blank: “the core of the Buzzfeed story is accurate.”
And here’s what some other legal and experts and former government officials are saying.
Mariotti is a former federal prosecutor and currently a CNN Legal Analyst:
It means that the sources didn’t capture some important nuance or qualification and thus overstated the evidence that Mueller has.
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) January 19, 2019
Former Chief Spokesperson for the U.S. Dept. of Defense:
FWIW my take as a former government spokesman: the statement from the Special Counsel’s office tonight is not a full-throated denial of the @BuzzFeed story, but a way of saying to the public: “the arc of the story has merit but we disagree with the nuance.”
— George Little (@georgelittledc) January 19, 2019
Former National Security Council Spokesperson:
Take it from me, this is how a gov spox says “Parts of the story are wrong and parts are right, but I can’t tell you which parts are which because it would require confirming some things or refuting with info that I don’t want to reveal (because it’s sensitive or damaging).” https://t.co/aDjCcnRaZf
— Caitlin Hayden (@CaitlinHayden) January 19, 2019
National security journalist Marcy Wheeler:
Mueller has spent 1.5 years ensuring they never get accused of leaking. If BF’s sources were SDNY, then SDNY just endangered that effort. And THAT is prolly why SCO made a statement, not (primarily) bc of what BF said.
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) January 19, 2019
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Cops Called After COVID-Positive Palin’s Dinner Partner Allegedly Accosts Photographer
Sarah Palin, who is unvaccinated and recently tested positive for COVID-19 three times, was caught dining out in New York City Wednesday evening. A credentialed news photographer was reportedly accosted after he asked her dining companions if they were “concerned” the Republican former governor “tested positive for COVID.”
One man stood up, walked over to the photographer, and according to the website Upper East Site, “roughed up a news photographer filming them dining outdoors.”
Palin, who is in NYC for her defamation case against The New York Times, waved at the photographer, but one of her dinner companions got up and repeatedly asked the journalist, “Are you looking for trouble?” as the video below shows.
“Are you going to hurt –?” the photographer replied, but then the camera shakes as if it had been knocked down, and the video ends.
“The unidentified, large man dining with Palin grabbed the victim’s fingers with both hands, wrenching and twisting them down, slamming the camera to the concrete, the photographer told Upper East Site.”
Police were called and an assault report was filed, Upper East Site reports.
Looks like Sarah Palin’s dinner date wasn’t happy about being filmed. pic.twitter.com/sM8JSBSIZJ
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) January 28, 2022
Read the entire story here.
Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license
Josh Hawley’s ‘Losing Fight’ Against Biden’s Supreme Court Nominee Mocked by Conservative Strategist
Republicans will be making a political mistake if they seek to go all-in against President Joe Biden’s nomination to replace Stephen Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court, a top GOP strategist explained on Friday.
Former George W. Bush White House speechwriter Marc Thiessen wrote in The Washington Post that “while Biden now gets to pick a justice, he is powerless to change the court’s ideological makeup.”
“The truth is, while every Supreme Court appointment is consequential, this will be the least consequential appointment in decades. So, Republicans should be gracious in victory, and let Democrats have their day,” he counseled.
His advice runs contrary to the approach of one GOP senator.
“Already, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) is warning that if Biden “chooses to nominate a left wing activist who will bless his campaign against parents, his abuse of the FBI, his refusal to enforce our immigration laws, and his lawless vaccine mandates, expect a major battle in the Senate.” Here’s a better idea: Unless Biden appoints someone obviously unqualified, don’t pick a losing fight,” he wrote. “After all, the confirmation of Biden’s nominee is virtually assured. Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have supported all of Biden’s judicial nominees, and it is difficult to imagine that they will treat this one differently.”
He urged Republican senators to treat the nominee “graciously.”
Read the full column.
Palm Beach Lawmaker Sues Local Paper Over Attempt to Access Jeffrey Epstein Records
The Palm Beach Post is reporting that the local County Clerk of the Courts is asking the courts to make the paper pay the legal fees he incurred while blocking attempts to access grand jury records related to a 2006 Jeffrey Epstein investigation.
Getting right to the point, the Post’s Jane Musgrave wrote, “Despite insisting he wants the public to know why serial molester Jeffrey Epstein escaped serious punishment 15 years ago, Palm Beach County Clerk of Courts Joe Abruzzo wants to punish The Palm Beach Post for trying to open secret records that could do just that.”
As the report notes, Abruzzo employed the Tampa law firm belonging to Shane Vogt to fight the request at a cost of $32,794 and, in a motion before Circuit Judge Donald Hafele, seeks double that plus additional costs.
At issue are the grand jury transcripts that the Florida lawmaker successfully kept away from the paper.
Explaining the Post’s case, Musgrave wrote, “The newspaper went to court after records showed only one teen was called to testify to the grand jury even though dozens told police Epstein sexually abused them at his Palm Beach mansion.”
“Further, sources familiar with the grand jury proceedings said the 14-year-old girl was vilified by state prosecutors,” she added. “Rather than focus on her claims of abuse, lieutenants for then-State Attorney Barry Krischer quizzed her about her online social media posts where she talked about drinking and boys, they said.”
The report continued, “In court papers, The Post’s attorneys argued that releasing the records would reveal what happened and whether Krischer bowed to pressure from Epstein’s high-octane defense team.”
You can read more here.
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