The New York Times is reporting on President Donald Trump‘s five “mystery” meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In the wide-ranging and lengthy article, several odd and disturbing events stand out.
First, video of President Trump in July of 2017 at a G-20 dinner, the one where First Lady Melania Trump sat next to Putin and President Trump later went to speak with Putin without any U.S. officials present.
What was especially odd about that dinner was, aside from there is no record of what the two world leaders said to each other, this video that was not widely reported on.
Here’s how The Times describes it:
“Videotape later made public showed Mr. Trump pointing at Mr. Putin, who was seated across and down a long table, then pointing at himself and then making a pumping motion with his fist.”
Here is that video. It’s hard to make out and the quality is poor but President Trump can be seen in the lower left corner of the image:
Here’s Donald Trump desperately trying to get Vlad’s attention at the G20 dinner. pic.twitter.com/5sIKuJvtu8
— Jennifer Hayden (@Scout_Finch) July 19, 2017
Also disturbing is that President Trump, according to The Times, a day after that G-20 Summit, called a Times reporter and told them that Russia was wrongly accused of interfering in the U.S. election.
Again, direct from The Times:
“The day after the two meetings, as Mr. Trump was on Air Force One taking off from Germany heading back to Washington, he telephoned a Times reporter and argued that the Russians were falsely accused of election interference. While he insisted most of the conversation be off the record, he later repeated a few things in public in little-noticed asides.”
One more aspect of the Times article that has received the most attention.
President Trump “said that he raised the election hacking three times and that Mr. Putin denied involvement. But he said Mr. Putin also told him that ‘if we did, we wouldn’t have gotten caught because we’re professionals.’ Mr. Trump said: ‘I thought that was a good point because they are some of the best in the world’ at hacking.”
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WATCH: The Mueller Report Star-Studded Live Stream Video
So this happened. Eighteen of Hollywood’s biggest celebrities convened to bring The Mueller Report to the stage – and the star power behind the effort was mind-boggling.
The players included Annette Bening, Kevin Kline, John Lithgow, Frederick Weller, Ben McKenzie, Michael Shannon, Noah Emmerich, Justin Long, Jason Alexander, Gina Gershon, Wilson Cruz, Joel Grey, Alyssa Milano, Kyra Sedgwick, Alfre Woodard, Piper Perabo, Zachary Quinto, and Aidan Quinn.
The live reading, titled The Investigation: A Search for the Truth in Ten Acts, was written by Robert Schenkkan and presented by Law Works Monday night.
Now, without further ado: watch history unfold before your eyes.
‘I Was Happy to Do It for You’ GOP Congressman Who Threatened Michael Cohen Tells Trump: Report
President Donald Trump reportedly called Rep. Matt Gaetz Wednesday night. Gaetz, the Florida Republican who very publicly threatened Michael Cohen, told President Trump he was “happy to do it for you,” according to a reporter for The Atlantic.
Gaetz, after a warning from Speaker Nancy Pelosi and massive outrage across the nation, apologized to Cohen for the threat, which many agree was designed to intimidate him just hours before his explosive testimony Wednesday before the House Oversight Committee.
The Atlantic’s Edward-Isaac Dovere posted this tweet Thursday morning:
President Trump called @mattgaetz last night from Hanoi to talk the Cohen testimony and the threats (since rescinded) Gaetz made about Cohen.
“I was happy to do it for you. You just keep killing it,” Gaetz was heard telling him.
(Gaetz told me he doesn’t discuss calls w/POTUS)
— Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere) February 28, 2019
Dovere adds to his reporting that Trump called Gaetz “as he headed into his meetings” with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. Trump was in Hanoi to broker a denuclearization deal. Talks ended quickly and abruptly, and for the second time there is no deal.
Dovere’s report has not been confirmed by other news outlets.
Gaetz is now facing an investigation by the Florida Bar Association for the threat he made to Cohen. It’s possible the House Ethics Committee could also investigate, especially after Speaker Pelosi suggested they “vigilantly monitor” possible intimidation of witnesses by Members of Congress.
Former Obama Office of Government Ethics chief Walter Shaub weighed in on Dovere’s report that Trump had called Gaetz, suggesting the Florida Bar use that information as part of its investigation:
.@TheFlaBar, this is relevant to your investigation of @mattgaetz: (1) he threatened a committee witness; (2) he’s not a committee member; (3) his allegations were not raised in the hearing, suggesting he had no basis; and now (4) he reportedly admitted to doing it for Trump.
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) February 28, 2019
Inmates on the Possibility of Trump in Prison: ‘He’s Worse Than Any Dope Dealer’
As an imprisoned Donald Trump becomes ever more likely, people on the other side of the criminal justice system debated what it would take to get him there — and why he would deserve it.
“He went out and got himself a real mob lawyer in [Rudy] Giuliani,” an imprisoned Chicago man who goes by “Po’ Boy” told VICE.
“If he don’t go to jail for all the crimes, and I mean all the crimes he’s committed, then no one should ever say we have equal justice in this country,” Po’Boy said. “Let’s keep it real: Trump’s worse than any dope dealer or white-collar criminal in here. He makes Bernie Madoff look like a saint.
Po’ Boy, who is doing time for a parole violation and asked the website to not use his real name for fear of retribution, said that he’s sickened by the double standard between the conservative treatment of “a real criminal” like Trump and former President Barack Obama.
“As a black man who was proud to have Obama as president and sick to see how Fox News treated him,” he said, “I now watch how Fox treats Trump—a real criminal—and it makes me sick.”
“Show Boat,” an ex-cop imprisoned for robbery, said that he wants “to see Trump go to prison.”
“We have a president whose entire life has been a con,” he told VICE, “and he was so good at it that he conned his way into the White House, aided by a poor Democratic presidential candidate and foreign governments.”
Although many of the imprisoned people VICE interviewed for the article agreed that the president appears to have broken laws, “the prevailing sentiment was that despite how bad it may look for Trump, he’ll never be locked up,” the report noted.
“There would have to be some kind of protective custody situation, even in low-security prisons,” Jeremey Fontanez, a man serving a life sentence for murder and robbery in West Virginia, told VICE.
Fontanez noted that although it seems ridiculous to consider a Secret Service detail in federal prison, he “wouldn’t put it past them.”
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