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Stormy Daniels tells friends she’s ‘free to talk’ after Michael Cohen breached their contract

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A Hollywood tabloid is reporting that Stormy Daniels thinks that she is free to speak since Michael Cohen acknowledged that she was paid by him to keep her mouth shut about an alleged affair with President Donald Trump.

The Blast reported Wednesday that Daniels told friends she fully intends to speak out in wake of Cohen’s public statement.

Gina Rodriguez, a manager for Daniels, confirmed to The Associated Press that she believes Trump’s lawyer invalidated the non-disclosure agreement.

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Sources told The Blast that Daniels’ legal team notified Trump’s legal team, including Cohen, that they are in violation of the 2016 agreement. Presumably their agreement was to not discuss if there was an agreement. While speaking to Jimmy Kimmel, Daniels wouldn’t confirm or deny anything. Instead, she stayed silent. If Cohen acknowledged that there was a deal when Daniels did not, it’s possible that violated the agreement.

Cohen announced late Tuesday that he paid Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, the $130,000 independently of the Trump campaign and the Trump organization. The payout occurred just weeks prior to the 2016 election and Cohen indicated it was to keep her mouth shut.

“Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly,” he said in a statement.

The source revealed to The Blast that Daniels now believes she is excused from “further performance of the non-disclosure agreement” between herself and Cohen.

Cohen called the payment “lawful” in his statement, though he didn’t disclose whether Trump knew about the money. Nor did he indicate any specifics about the deal other than the sum of money. He maintained that the allegations Daniels made were false.

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“Just because something isn’t true doesn’t mean that it can’t cause you harm or damage. I will always protect Mr. Trump,” Cohen said.

(Note: Updated with confirmation from the Associated Press)

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Trump has committed 6 impeachable offenses: Harvard Law’s Laurence Tribe says ‘the evidence is all there’

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Constitutional law expert Laurence Tribe broke down the six impeachable offenses President Donald Trump has committed during a Thursday appearance on MSNBC's "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell.

Tribe has argued 36 cases before the United States Supreme Court and taught at Harvard Law for 50 years. He co-authored the 2018 book To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment with Joshua Matz.

"Everyone was in the loop, it was no secret. That was the testimony from Ambassador Gordon Sondland yesterday as he implicated the president, Secretary of State, White House chief of staff, and former National Security Advisor John Bolton and other administration officials in the plot to bribe the president of Ukraine to publicly launch an investigation into Joe Biden in exchange for U.S. military aid to Ukraine that was authorized by Congress and that the president was withholding," O'Donnell reported.

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Rachel Maddow breaks down how public opinion is catching up with the facts of Trump’s impeachment

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow on Thursday broke down how the details from the televised impeachment hearings are being reported in local newspapers.

The host read the headlines from multiple newspapers following the damning testimony by Ambassador Gordon Sondland.

The Los Angels Times headlined, "Sonland implicates president." "Envoy says Trump directed effort," was The Wall Street Journal headline.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch headlined, "'Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret': Defiant Sondland says he followed Trump's orders."

"Trump directed pressure on Ukraine, ambassador says," headlined The Kansas City Star.

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Shep Smith blasts autocrats in first public remarks since leaving Fox News — and donates $500,000 to protect journalists

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On Thursday, for the first time since exiting Fox News, reporter Shepard Smith gave public comments at the International Press Freedom Awards — and used the occasion to blast autocratic leaders who use their power to suppress journalism.

"Intimidation and vilification of the press is now a global phenomenon. We don’t have to look far for evidence of that,” said Smith. "Our belief a decade ago that the online revolution would liberate us now seems a bit premature, doesn’t it? Autocrats have learned how to use those same online tools to shore up their power. They flood the world of information with garbage and lies, masquerading as news. There’s a phrase for that."

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