New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio took a swipe at Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday for not doing “anything” to move the needle on the city’s long-stalled congestion pricing plan since taking office more than four months ago. De Blasio, who is likely to launch a 2022 primary challenge against Hochul after he leaves office Saturday, made the thinly veiled jab at the governor while noting he did his part in July by recommending an appointment to the Transit Mobility Review Board, an entity tasked with laying the groundwork for the congestion pricing initiative. “The state, the MTA have not named anyo...
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On Monday, The New York Times reported that longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg is nearing a plea agreement with prosecutors in Manhattan — but that he is still unwilling to cooperate with investigators against his former boss.
"His plea deal, if finalized, would bring prosecutors no closer to indicting the former president but would nonetheless brand one of his most trusted lieutenants a felon," reported Ben Protess, William K. Rashbaum, and Jonah E. Bromwich. "On Monday, Mr. Weisselberg’s lawyers and prosecutors met with the judge overseeing the case, according to a court database. The judge scheduled a hearing for Thursday in Mr. Weisselberg’s case, a possible indication that a deal has been reached and a plea could be entered then."
"While Mr. Weisselberg, 75, is facing financial penalties as well as years in prison if convicted at trial, a plea deal would scrap a high-profile trial and most likely would spare him from a lengthy sentence," said the report. "One person with knowledge of the matter said that Mr. Weisselberg was expected to receive a five-month prison sentence, an unexpectedly favorable outcome for him."
"The other terms of Mr. Weisselberg’s deal were not clear, and his lawyer, Nicholas A. Gravante Jr., confirmed that he was in discussions with prosecutors, but declined to discuss the specifics," the report continued. "Another lawyer for Mr. Weisselberg, Mary E. Mulligan, declined to comment, as did a spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg."
The prosecution of Weisselberg came out of an investigation into the finances of the Trump Organization, which allegedly kept two sets of books, giving a higher valuation of their assets to banks when seeking a loan, and a lower valuation to the IRS to avoid paying taxes.
"The plea negotiations with Mr. Weisselberg came to light after a New York State judge, Juan Merchan, last week declined to toss out the criminal case against the Trump Organization and Mr. Weisselberg," the report added. "The attorney general, Letitia James, a Democrat, is conducting a civil inquiry into some of the same conduct that the district attorney is investigating."
On Monday, former solicitor general Neal Katyal took to Twitter to analyze the significance of the Justice Department's unwillingness to release the unredacted affidavit that helped them secure the search warrant for President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
One of the key points in the document, Katyal argued, will give Trump further cause for alarm.
"DOJ is appropriately resisting disclosure of the Mar-a-Lago search affidavit because it will compromise their ongoing investigation. This is very standard and right," wrote Katyal. "That said, what they said — especially about witnesses — will invariably drive Trump to be even more worried."
In the DOJ's filing, officials stated that the affidavit would require so many redactions as to be of little practical use to the public.
"Disclosure at this juncture of the affidavit supporting probable cause would ... cause significant and irreparable damage to this ongoing criminal investigation," said the filing. "As the Court is aware from its review of the affidavit, it contains, among other critically important and detailed investigative facts: highly sensitive information about witnesses, including witnesses interviewed by the government; specific investigative techniques; and information required by law to be kept under seal pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e)."
This also comes as Trump and his allies reportedly are searching for a "mole" within Mar-a-Lago who may have worked with the FBI to give them information about where and what classified information might have been stashed on the former president's property.
The Independent is reporting that an insider of Donald Trump's community revealed that the ex-president was playing a kind of game of chicken with Attorney General Merrick Garland over possible illegal behavior.
A confidante spoke to the site about that the distinction between the latest scandal and previous ones where he went up against the Justice Department.
"They suggested that the rapidly changing excuses emanating from Trumpworld reflects his inner circle’s lack of capacity to handle what could end up being the first-ever criminal indictment of a former president," the report explained.
One point that the Independent makes is that Trump doesn't have the top-tier lawyers that he once did as the president during the Russia probe.
“He's not even lined up with the best legal team to defend him in this situation. He's run through all the attorneys who would take one for him,” a former Trump administration and campaign official told the site.
The ever-evolving excuses have become a point of conversation on cable news, but also mockery among social media activists claiming the ex-president can't get his story straight.
Meanwhile, Trump doesn't fully understand the seriousness of the situation, the piece claimed. People around him are divided into two opinions: those that know it's serious and those who think Garland would never act on a former president.
“He doesn’t think Garland has the balls to truly take him on,” the Trump insider said. “And the people who think this is a political problem are drowning out the ones who actually understand how this stuff works.”