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MSNBC panel: Michael Cohen’s tapes are an ‘insurance policy’ to protect him from Trump

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MSNBC’s Craig Melvin had a fascinating panel to read the tea leaves following the bombshell report that the FBI has recording made by Donald Trump confidante Michael Cohen discussing a hush money payout to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who allegedly had an affair with Trump in 2006, shortly after Melania Trump gave birth.

Melvin was joined by MSNBC chief legal correspondent Ari Melber and the Rev. Al Sharpton, who had breakfast with Cohen hours before the New York Times published their story on the tape’s existence.

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“He reached out this last week and said, ‘let’s hook up and ‘talk. I have known him for 20 years, he’s the guy that when you are fighting with Donald Trump on some issues in New York, he’ll set up the meeting and he was the go-to guy for Trump,” Sharpton explained. “I think Cohen made it clear to many this morning that he’s not going to be some sacrificial lamb for something that was done wrongly.”

“I left there feeling that he’s definitely going to say what he knows and means when he says,” Sharpton added.

MSNBC chief legal correspondent Ari Melber dissected what could be deduced from Friday’s revelation that the tape exists.

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“If the New York Times story bears out that this recording was made, the legal question becomes why was the attorney recording his client this way?” Melber wondered.

“One of the ways that you protect attorney/client privilege is you keep it in your brain and you don’t make too many detailed records, not usually recordings, because it could ultimately get in the wrong hands, get hacked, and be detrimental to your client, he explained.

“Kanye West said, ‘I got a lawyer to keep what’s in my safe, safe,'” Melber continued. “The question is, ‘did Michael Cohen put these recordings in his safe for his client — be that a Trump or a Kayne figure — or did he do it to protect himself?”

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“We’ve seen clues here, the ways this is leaking and coming out, this is to protect himself, which is fascinating and potentially bad news for the White House,” he continued.

“An insurance policy of sorts,” Melvin replied.

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Coal knew: Explosive report shows industry was aware of climate crisis as far back as 1966

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"It wasn't just big oil that knew about climate change decades ago."

A new report shows conclusively that the coal industry was aware of the climate impacts of burning fossil fuels as far back as 1966—and, like other sectors of the fossil fuel industry with knowledge of the consequences of their business model, did next to nothing about it.

The revelation was published in an article by Élan Young at HuffPost Friday.

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Devin Nunes’ hometown paper flooded with letters from disgusted out-of-towners

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The Frenso Bee, which hails from the San Joaquin Valley where California GOP Congressman Devin Nunes is from, published a series of letters from people around the country who watched his performance in this week's impeachment hearings. The letters all had one thing in common: a notable "absence of pro-Nunes sentiment," which the Fresno Bee's Marek Warszawski said was not intentional on his part.

"Angry people tend to send letters, not those who are pleased," he writes.

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WATCH: Lindsey Graham flees Iraq War vet who politely asks to talk about Trump’s conduct

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Friday was filmed running away from a war veteran who tried to talk with him about President Donald Trump's impeachable conduct.

In a video posted by progressive veterans organization Common Defense, a man who identifies himself as an Iraq War veteran from Louisiana calmly walks up to Graham and tells the senator that he believes that he's being treated unfairly by the media.

"I believe that you honestly believe in our democracy as I do," the man tells him.

"I do," Graham replies.

"I came here to D.C. because I'm a Marine, I went to Iraq, and I believe, as I believe that you do, that President Trump is not acting in accordance to his oath," the veteran continued. "The oath that you took and I did to defend the Constitution."

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