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‘How the f*ck did Avenatti find out?’: New York Times, NBC News back up Stormy Daniels’ lawyer on Cohen claim

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The news that Donald Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen received $500,000 from Russia oligarch Viktor Vekselberg after the 2016 presidential election did not come from the New York Times, NBC News, or any traditional news outlet—though most major publications were able to corroborate that report.

Instead, the source of the day’s bombshell came from Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, who tweeted out an “executive summary” Tuesday afternoon—a fact that reportedly stunned sources.

“After significant investigation, we have discovered that Mr. Trump’s atty Mr. Cohen received approximately $500,000 in the mos. after the election from a company controlled by a Russian Oligarc with close ties to Mr. Putin,” Avenatti tweeted. “These monies may have reimbursed the $130k payment.”

“How the fuck did Avenatti find out?” one source asked The Daily Beast when pressed on Cohen’s payment from Vekselberg.

In documents released via Twitter, Avenatti also alleged “[Cohen’s company] Essential received $200,000 in four separate payments of $50,000 in late 2017 and early 2018 from AT&T.” Shortly after Avenatti’s tweet, AT&T admitted it retained Cohen for “insight” into the Trump administration.

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The New York Times on Tuesday referenced Avenatti’s document release in an article on Vekselberg’s payments to Cohen:

“References to the transactions first appeared in a document posted to Twitter on Tuesday by Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for Stephanie Clifford, the pornographic film star who was paid $130,000 by Essential Consultants to keep quiet about her alleged affair with Mr. Trump. The lawyer’s six-page document, titled ‘Preliminary Report of Findings,’ does not explain the source of his information but describes in detail dates, dollar amounts and parties involved in various dealings by Mr. Cohen and his company.

The Times’s review of financial records confirmed much of what was in Mr. Avenatti’s report. In addition, a review of emails and interviews shed additional light on Mr. Cohen’s dealings with the company connected to Mr. Vekselberg, who was stopped and questioned at an airport earlier this year by investigators for Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel examining Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.”

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Though originally noting Avenatti “provided no documentation for his claims,” NBC News was also able to “review financial documents that appear to support” the attorney.


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‘Washington is no longer functional’: Brian Williams admits he’s sad to report that ‘our government is broken’

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MSNBC anchor Brian Williams on Tuesday reported that America's federal government is broken.

"This was day 908 of the Trump Administration and while there is no joy in it, one way of summing up today is this: Our government’s broken, our politics are broken, Washington is no longer functional, and the cracks in our society are deepening," Williams reported.

"Much of this day was taken up by the discussion of racist statements by the president. Then tonight came the news that had so many people thinking back to when we were different, the death just tonight of retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens at the age of 99," he said.

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Trump ignored being condemned by Congress and instead praised Republicans on Twitter for defending his racism

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President Donald Trump celebrated on Tuesday night despite the House of Representatives having voted earlier in the day to condemn his racist statements.

By a final vote of 240 to 187, Congress voted for a resolution saying, "Trump’s racist comments have legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.”

The resolution said Congress “strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color by saying that our fellow Americans who are immigrants, and those who may look to the President like immigrants, should “go back” to other countries, by referring to immigrants and asylum seekers as “invaders,” and by saying that Members of Congress who are immigrants (or those of our colleagues who are wrongly assumed to be immigrants) do not belong in Congress or in the United States of America.”

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The tortured madness of Donald Trump: It’s clear the president is out of his mind

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Where’s Shakespeare when we need him? Only the Bard of Avon could do literary justice to the tortured madness of Donald Trump, who fluctuates between petulant self-pity and weird self-praise.

His brags are especially weird because they usually involve achievements he hasn’t made. It’s as though his saying something makes it true — even though everyone except his most naive devotees can clearly see that he’s either hallucinating or lying. In June, for example, at a rally launching his reelection campaign, he retrumpeted an old campaign promise to “drain the swamp,” assuring the adoring crowd that “that’s exactly what we’re doing right now.”

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