News from the note…
A round up of the day’s news that might be of interest to you.
Consider this an OPEN THREAD, folks. Chat about any of the stories listed, share links to stories that caught your eye today, and generally have a good time discussing whatever you want.
Cambridge Analytica LLC, the American branch of the political consultancy firm that was hired by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, filed for bankruptcy late Thursday. The filing reveals previously unknown details about financial relationships at the organization, which was thrown into disarray due to revelations that it mishandled the Facebook data of millions of people.
The New York–based arm of the British outfit submitted a voluntary petition to declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy in a federal bankruptcy court in Manhattan. SCL USA, the US-based affiliate of Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, SCL Group, also filed for bankruptcy in the same court on Thursday.
From The Hill
President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani on Friday downplayed Trump’s claim that there was an FBI or Justice Department “informant” embedded in his campaign.
Giuliani told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that neither he nor Trump knows “for sure” if there was an informant.
“I don’t know for sure, nor does the president, if there really was one,” he said.
Quick: What’s the basis of the civil lawsuit that high-profile attorney Michael Avenatti is pursuing on behalf of adult film actress Stormy Daniels?
It might take you more than a few seconds to recall that the suit is based on an agreement that Daniels signed shortly before the 2016 election, promising not to disclose her (alleged) sexual relationship with Donald Trump. She’s asking a California trial judge to declare that the agreement isn’t enforceable against her because Trump (or his pseudonym, David Dennison) never signed the document, and because it’s void for public policy reasons, too. Avenatti has been racing from one microphone and news camera to another, blaring damning information about Trump’s sometime attorney, Michael Cohen (and, by implication, the president himself). The suit, and Avenatti’s aggressive TV lawyering, has rattled Trump’s legal team, provoking Rudy Giuliani into a series of damaging admissions—including the revelation that Trump did indeed reimburse Cohen for his $130,000 payoff to Daniels.
Rudy Giuliani said Friday that special counsel Robert Mueller has agreed to narrow the scope of a potential interview with President Donald Trump from five topics to two.
The former New York City mayor, who is now one of Trump’s lawyers in the Russia investigation, told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day” that Mueller is not considering asking the President about his former personal attorney Michael Cohen, who’s under investigation in New York over his business dealings.
President Donald Trump will donate his salary for the first quarter of 2018 to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the White House announced Thursday.
Acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said at a press briefing that the money would go toward caregiver support programs, including mental health, peer support, research, education, training and financial aid.
A Ukrainian politician who communicated with Trump associates about a controversial plan to resolve Ukraine’s conflict with Kremlin-backed rebels said Monday that he has been called to testify before a grand jury connected to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Andrii Artemenko said he could not provide details of his upcoming appearance before the grand jury, which he said is scheduled for Friday. But he said he assumed he would be asked about the peace plan, about which he communicated with Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney, in early 2017.
On Wednesday, two more Republicans signed on to a petition that would force an open-ended and unpredictable immigration debate onto the House floor — a nightmare scenario that the White House and GOP leaders seem, at least at the moment, unable to stop.
The decisions by Republican Reps. John Katko of New York and Dave Trott of Michigan to sign on to the petition came in the wake of private urgings from House Speaker Paul Ryan to his GOP colleagues not to add their names to the list. The duo’s act of defiance brought the number of Republicans signed onto the effort to 20, just five short of the number they need to force votes on four competing measures aimed at preserving the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. (That math — 25 Republicans — is dependent on all 193 Democrats supporting the effort.)
President Trump has personally pushed U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan to double the rate the Postal Service charges Amazon.com and other firms to ship packages, according to three people familiar with their conversations, a dramatic move that probably would cost these companies billions of dollars.
Brennan has so far resisted Trump’s demand, explaining in multiple conversations occurring this year and last that these arrangements are bound by contracts and must be reviewed by a regulatory commission, the three people said. She has told the president that the Amazon relationship is beneficial for the Postal Service and gave him a set of slides that showed the variety of companies, in addition to Amazon, that also partner for deliveries.
Before President Trump made his surprise announcement that Robert Wilkie would be his pick to run the government’s second-largest agency, Trump consulted two of his key advisers on Veterans Affairs: Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter and Fox and Friends host Pete Hegseth.
Behind the scenes: A source familiar with their interactions said that before making his decision, Trump called Hegseth — an Iraq war veteran whom Trump had considered for VA Secretary — to ask his opinion of Wilkie.
U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed a key assistant of long-time Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone, two people with knowledge of the matter said, the latest sign that Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election is increasingly focusing on Stone.
The subpoena was recently served on John Kakanis, 30, who has worked as a driver, accountant and operative for Stone.
Kakanis has been briefly questioned by the FBI on the topics of possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, the WikiLeaks website, its founder Julian Assange, and the hacker or hackers who call themselves Guccifer 2.0, one of the people with knowledge of the matter said.