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.
President Donald Trump has shaken up his legal team in the last three weeks — and he’s still not happy.
The president has been griping to associates that Rudy Giuliani, his new personal attorney, has failed to shut down the Stormy Daniels hush money saga. And he has expressed frustration that Giuliani’s media appearances are raising more questions than they are answering, turning the story into a days-long drama capped by the admission Sunday that the president may have made similar payments to other women.
A Russian pro-democracy advocate says the controversial June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer — who has since been reported to have close ties to the Kremlin — shows the importance of the Magnitsky Act to the Putin regime.
“I think this Trump Tower meeting shows primarily how important the Magnitsky Act is to the Putin regime and how important weakening it, overturning it, potentially repealing it — how much of a priority that is for the Kremlin,” Vladimir Kara-Murza told David Axelrod on “The Axe Files,” a podcast from the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN.
From The Hill
The poll, which comes nearly a year after Mueller’s investigation began, found that 53 percent of people think there are political motives to the investigation, while 44 percent think the investigation is justified.
From New York Mag
Let me offer an alternative explanation of the affair and the payoff. It is still just a hypothesis, but, I would argue, it fits more comfortably with what we know about the various players than the reported version of events: Donald Trump, not Elliott Broidy, had an affair with Shera Bechard. Bechard hired Keith Davidson, who had negotiated both Playboy playmate Karen McDougal’s deal with the National Enquirer and Stormy Daniels’s NDA with Trump. Davidson called Cohen, and the two of them negotiated a $1.6 million payment to Bechard.
Trump’s lawyers tried to walk the president through a practice interview with Mueller. It didn’t go well.
From The Week
The White House legal team has been preparing President Trump for a possible interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller on the chance that the two sides reach an agreement in the coming weeks, The Wall Street Journal reports. In a four-hour practice session, though, lawyers were only able to get through two questions with the president due to “the frequent interruptions on national security matters along with Mr. Trump’s loquaciousness,” the Journal writes. Mueller has more than four dozen questions prepared for Trump.
From The Hill
“I’m taking my time right now and seeing what’s out there in the world,” Cohn told CNBC in his first sit-down interview since resigning in March.
“I feel freer, I feel rested, I feel happier,” he added.
Republicans will learn something about their party’s capacity for self-control in Tuesday’s big primaries in West Virginia and Indiana
Republicans fighting to hold Congress will learn something Tuesday about their party’s capacity for self-control.
In West Virginia, a critical target for preserving their Senate majority, Republican primary voters are considering a wealthy coal executive who recently completed a prison term resulting from his role in a mine explosion that killed 29 people. The executive, Don Blankenship, has smeared Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell and his “China person” in-laws in a crude campaign he calls “Trumpier than Trump.”
A Blankenship victory, which polls suggest is possible, would improve the chances that vulnerable Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin could hold his seat in November’s general election. And it would signal anew, as 2018 primaries begin in earnest, that President Donald Trump has helped revive the penchant for self-inflicted wounds that limited GOP gains in Obama-era Senate campaigns.
Trump’s approval rating rarely went higher than 40 percent between May 2017 and April 2018, the pollster noted, adding that it hit 41 percent late last May and in April of this year.
In the past two weeks, Trump’s approval rating increased to 42 percent.