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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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Donald Trump is mirroring the career path of Vladimir Putin: Scientology doc maker Alex Gibney

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According to the director of the "Going Clear," the definitive documentary on Scientology, the rise of both Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin neatly mirror each other in the way that they have propelled themselves into office by using media manipulation as their most potent weapon.

As part of a discussion with the Daily Beast about his latest work, Citizen K, a look at the life of Russian dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Alex Gibney said Putin's career trajectory became a major part of his story -- and he noticed extraordinary parallels with Trump.

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Princeton historian delivers the definitive smackdown of Trump’s ‘insulting’ lynching tweet

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Princeton University History Professor Kevin Kruse on Tuesday delivered a thorough takedown of President Donald Trump's claim that House Democrats' impeachment inquiry represents a "lynching."

In calling the tweet "twelve different kinds of bullsh*t," Kruse began by discussing the constitutional mechanics of the impeachment process in the House that only require a bare majority of lawmakers to favor in order to advance. Concerns about due process in impeachment only come into play in the Senate, where the president is ensured a fair trial and where two-thirds of lawmakers are needed to convict the president and remove him from office.

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CNN panel busts Trump for ‘grotesque’ lynching comment in effort to create chaos before key impeachment hearing

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Moments after Donald Trump fired off a tweet calling his impending impeachment a "lynching" a CNN panel hammered the president for making the horrific comparison -- but also pointed out that the president's use of the word was timed for a very specific reason.

Admitting a reluctance to read Trump's tweets on the air, "New Day" host Alisyn Camerota nonetheless, recited the president's tweet, reading, "So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights,” Trump tweeted. “All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching. But we will WIN!” with obvious disgust.

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