RULE (not law)

Jul 18, 2019

Breaking this morning, Adam Edelman and Tom Winter of NBC News report on the release of the previously redacted documents from a campaign finance case against Michael Cohen that show the FBI believed then-candidate Donald Trump was closely involved in a scheme to hide hush-money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels. “But it doesn't matter because of this INANE RULE (not law) that says a sitting POTUS can't be indicted. So ridiculously absurd,” tweets Lesley Abravanel.

‘Contagion number’

Also, new this morning, leaked documents obtained by McClatchy and the Miami Herald show Jeffrey Epstein kept money in offshore accounts around the world, as Kevin Hall and Nicholas Nehamas of the Miami Herald report. But can the money be tracked? McClatchy D.C. data reporter Ben Wieder also contributed to that report.

Meanwhile, As the Jeffrey Epstein Case Grows More Grotesque, Manhattan and DC Brace for Impact, writes Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman, who notes that Epstein continued to socialize with Elon Musk, Bill Gates and other elites even after being a registered sex offender. Claire Landsbaum shares this quote: “‘It’s going to be staggering, the amount of names. It’s going to be contagion numbers’ a source told @gabrielsherman of the Jeffrey Epstein dragnet. Wild stuff.”

Maximillian Potter thinks it’s “Amazing how once you buy/fake your way into these circles of wealth/influence/ fake, everybody is ‘friends’ yet none are actual friends. Transactional club. A repulsive truth emerges that everyone knew/ignored—suddenly, ‘we were never really friends.’”

In that piece, Sherman writes that attorneys David Boies and Alan Dershowitz are already at war over the case. Joe Palazzolo and Jacob Gershman of The Wall Street Journal have more on that, revealing that the four-year battle between Boies and Dershowitz is turning uglier as the Epstein scandal brings the legal titans to blows. Said Dersh, “I would put my sexual probity up against David Boies’s any day of the week.”

And Rosalind Helderman and Beth Reinhard of The Washington Post take us behind the scenes the night Trump partied at Mar-a-Lago with Jeffrey Epstein and NFL cheerleaders. “You're gonna want to read,” says Carol Leonnig. Tweets Helderman, “How did NBC originally get this footage of the cheerleader party? It’s a not-so-funny story. Trump agreed to appear on Faith Daniels’ show after he kissed the married news anchor on the lips at a public event while her husband’s back was turned.”

So sad we have come to this

A heartbreaking story by Christina Goldbaum and Miriam Jordan of The New York Times, A Border Kept Him From His Daughter. Now He’s Here to Say Goodbye. Tweets Jordan, “On July 3, she took a phone-charging cable, fashioned it into a noose and tried to end her life. Her aunts found a lawyer to help release Manuel. He arrived in N.Y., in time to say goodbye. Brain dead, Heydi never knew he was by her side. Read the story.” 

“This is absolutely gut-wrenching. So sad we have come to this,” tweets Scott Thurm. As Kim Murphy says, “The immigrant’s story in America is one of families stretched between continents. A 13-year-old Honduran girl prayed that her father would join her. Repeatedly stuck at the border, he promised he’d come. But he came too late.”

Josh White links to an “Amazing must-read scoop from @ahauslohner and @mariasacchetti.” As Abigail Hauslohner and Maria Sacchetti of The Washington Post report, a Border Patrol agent in Clint has been accused of harassing the mother of a 12-year-old migrant who was in custody. According to a complaint filed with CBP and obtained by The Washington Post, as well as interviews with the mother, the agent sent the undocumented Guatemalan woman living in California Facebook messages and asked her to watch a live video of him masturbating, all while her son was in custody in Clint.

Where’d you go, Ivanka?

And now, “Our country's foremost Ivanka-watcher, @elainaplott, asks an important question,” tweets Jeffrey Goldberg, specifically, Where Is Ivanka? That’s Elaina Plott, writing at The Atlantic on Ivanka Trump’s silence about the border crisis and her father’s racist tweets. After all, even the Mooch spoke out. (POLITICO’s Marc Caputo reports that Anthony Scaramucci has been disinvited from a Florida GOP fundraiser for bashing Trump’s ‘racially charged’ attacks.)

Plott points out, “When flashy opportunities arise—such as the chance to play diplomat with Kim Jong Un—the edges of her purview, which she often defines as ‘women’s economic empowerment,’ become conveniently blurry. But when the issue du jour is particularly messy, she is quick to clarify its limits, thus absolving herself of accountability for problems that exist outside it.” David Rutz says it’s a “Great @elainaplott piece here on Ivanka Trump, who wants it every which way (NB the president's daughter should never have held this position in the first place).”

Oh, you’re paying

Seriously, when are you going to learn. As John Koetsier writes at Forbes, the Viral App FaceApp Now Owns Access To More Than 150 Million People's Faces And Names (1 million+ shares), and Ellen McNamara offers up this terrifying thought: “The company that created the FaceApp is in Russia. Think about every single photo that is in your camera roll. Besides selfies, have you ever taken a photo of a check? Or a photo of a password so you don't forget?”

As Ian Bremmer says, “If it’s online and ‘free’ you’re paying with personal data.” So, what have we learned? Apparently, “When millennials want to see what they look like as boomers, they act like boomers. Might as well change our passwords to 123456789,” tweets Francesca Fiorentini. Also, “Toldya,” tweets Morgan Fogarty.

Looking for more toldyas? Read Geoffrey Fowler at The Washington Post, You downloaded FaceApp. Here’s what you’ve just done to your privacy (60,000+ shares).

No wonder the DNC is warning 2020 campaigns not to use FaceApp ‘developed by Russians,' (65,000+ shares), as Donie O'Sullivan reports for CNN

Homeland not-so-much-Security

While you’re still alarmed, a Los Angeles Times investigation by David Willman has found that Homeland Security has gutted programs aimed at detecting weapons of mass destruction, a story Dan Rather calls “A real scandal. Quality investigative journalism from the @latimes.” Tweets Brandon Scott, “Homeland Security's getting rid of counter-terrorism training exercises, policy experts & scientists. It's also cutting back on tech for protecting us against nuclear & radiological threats. If this is what is, don't touch my hair at the airport anymore.”

Media news: The good, the insane, no comment

HuffPost UK Executive Editor Jess Brammar tells us, “Today I am beyond excited to announce a project that has been a long time in the making - we are working with Birmingham City University to open the HuffPost School of Journalism from September, to help train the next generation of journalists.” She links to her article on Why We’re Launching The HuffPost School of Journalism.

“Leaning on editors about stories about advertisers. Asking sites to quadruple traffic with no new resources. Publicly remarking about ethnic stereotypes. My piece on the first months of G/O Media’s new CEO.” That’s Maxwell Tani, who links to his story at The Daily Beast, Gizmodo Media Staff Enraged at New CEO’s ‘Insane’ Direction. “Sounds like it’s going well,” as Kashmir Hill tweets. Veronica de Souza’s take: “Jim Spanfeller might be the dumbest media ceo, and there’s some REAL competition in that space!!” “lol. Yep, this tracks. What a clown,” adds Foster Kamer.

James Temple is “Glad to see this @CJR piece calling out big tech's background only media strategies, which they employ to force outlets to articulate their positions (and criticisms) for them.” He’s referring to Tech journalism’s ‘on background’ scourge, by Brian Merchant of Columbia Journalism Review. “Right on, @bcmerchant: the default Silicon Valley on-background response that can neither be quoted nor attributed generally boils down to cowardly control-freakery,” tweets Rob Pegoraro. When reached for comment Alex Heath said, “On deep background, this is totally spot on. But off the record I decline to comment.”


And finally today, “🚨 ALERT ALERT 🚨 My first story for @nprmusic: the rap-loving head of Iowa’s Dept of Human Services, who was fired after quoting Tupac in an all-staff, four-thousand-person email blast: I present to you, our interview with Jerry Foxhoven.” Tim Mak is excited about his new piece for NPR Music, Fired Over Too Much Tupac? A Rap-Loving Bureaucrat From Iowa Says He Hopes Not. “Bless @timkmak for this & the 300+ pages he’s reviewed. (One email to a staffer: ‘I might seem a little down because today is the 22nd anniversary of 2Pac’s death.’ A superfan, for sure.),” tweets Anastasia Tsioulcas

Ashley Kindergan says, “I'm going to have to assume they meant to promote him instead of fire him and just got confused.” Adds Patrick Sauer, “It’s become an internet joke, but all seriousness, Jerry Foxhoven seems like a really good dude working in one of this government jobs that know-nothings ridicule but actually makes people’s lives better. And who doesn’t like Tupac? #FreeJerryFoxhoven.” As Mak writes, “Keep ya head up, Jerry Foxhoven.”

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