Sex, Lies and Audio Tapes Edition
APPROVAL ALERT AT PRESS TIME:
Gallup Poll: 42% — down from 43% last week
Rasmussen Poll: 46% — up from 44% last week
Welcome to Trumplandia, a place where with a bit of wit and snark, we keep the world caught up on all of the tasty Nuggets-O-Trump you may have heard about but were too busy to care. Because most of this minutia occurs just below the massive headlines about the POTUS, it’s in a land of its own. Here, an infusion of social media, video clips and print media meld with our outdated political views to make more delicious “Fake News” about our Commander-in-Chief.
So just like the president, we start it all with a little tweet like this:
My Mike Sounds Nice
The week of our Trump — July 21, 2018: Filled with salacious allegations, a trio of new mistresses and lies, lies and more lies, the third week in July 2018 proved to be the most scandalous week of the month to date for Führer Trump.
Despite a soaring economy, the threat of impeachment for the deputy attorney general overseeing the Russian investigation and the destruction of his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — again, the week’s Trump headlines were overwhelmed by the disclosure of secret tapes, seized from the president’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, and featuring sound bites by the philanderer-in-chief himself.
Secretly recorded by the one-time Trump consiglieri, Trump’s least favorite cable news network, CNN, first reported on the leaked tapes on July 24. Revealed on the “Cuomo Prime Time” news program, the cable news network billed the eight-minute clip as an exclusive and proof that the president lied about the reported payment of $150,000 to quash former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal’s story about her affair with him.
As part of a “catch-and-kill” strategy to keep damaging stories about Trump from the media, American Media CEO David Pecker, who runs and owns the National Enquirer, allegedly paid McDougal for the story but never published it. The released tapes contain a conversation between Cohen and Trump referencing the scheme and how funds would be paid.
Recorded two months before the 2016 election, Trump is heard questioning Cohen about which method he should use, “cash” or “check.” Cohen lays out his plan to set up a company to handle the transfer of funds.
Trump has denied the 10-month affair with McDougal in 2006, which like another relationship outside his marriage. By addressing the affair and discussing with Cohen how to pay McDougal, earlier statements by the White House that denied knowledge of the tryst were contradicted.
The release of the tape appears to torpedo Cohen’s relationship with Trump, who employed Cohen for decades. Trump’s one-time “fixer” once famously said he would take a bullet for the president.
Cohen is under criminal investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan for his business dealings, including his role in paying former adult film actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 around the same time through an apparent shell company.
Speculation centers on whether Cohen will cooperate with the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is looking into a Russian attack on the U.S. election system and possible collusion by President Trump or members of his campaign. To date, Cohen has not been charged with any crimes, but his office and private residence were raided by federal authorities in April 2018.
Since the tape’s release, the media has speculated that at least 100 secret recordings were seized from Cohen. Trump said the court-ordered raid was outrageous and an attack on the country as well as on attorney-client privilege.
Months ago, he praised Cohen as a “honorable man, since the release of the McDougal tape, Trump and current attorney and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani have attacked him. They now say that Cohen “has lied all his life” and portray him as a “snitch, a weakling and a traitor.”
On July 26, media outlets reported that Cohen also contradicted Trump on his knowledge of the meeting between Trump’s son, Donald Jr., and Russian agents who promised politically damaging information on Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton.
Trump, who was in the building at the time of the June 2016 meeting, has denied knowing anything about it. Cohen allegedly is willing to offer his knowledge on when Trump was made aware of the meeting to the special counsel.
That same day, it was reported that Allen Weisselberg, the finance chief for Trump’s organization, was named as a person of interest in the Mueller probe.
In the end, no one knows why the tapes emerged or who leaked them to CNN, but to answer the president’s rhetorical question about what kind of lawyer would tape a client, the answer is one that you hired, sir, one you hired.
This week the orange louse had another rough one with past and present trysts bubbling to the surface.
In fact, somewhere between the First Lady Melania Trump’s mistuned television aboard Air Force One and more allegations from Stormy Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, the stable genius reportedly blew his top.
The FLOTUS visited Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and blew soap bubbles while playing with children born dependent on drugs. Mrs. Trump attended a roundtable meeting on treatment options for infants of opiod-addicted mothers as part of her “Be Best” initiative.
About a week earlier, the media reported that Mr. Wonderful was “furious” that the FLOTUS had a television on Air Force One tuned to CNN. He reportedly raged that all the televisions on the aircraft should be on Fox News Channel, according to The New York Times.
The flap caused FLOTUS spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham to tell CNN that Lady Melania was not restricted in what she watches on television on Air Force One. The Times also reported that White House staff ordered two additional televisions that can support a streaming device for the couple’s separate hotel rooms when they travel.
Meanwhile, Avenatti, the attorney best known for his work defending adult film star and Trump hush money recipient Stormy Daniels, announced he has added three additional women to his roster of clients who were allegedly tied to the president.
Avenatti disclosed the information during a community forum in West Hollywood, Calif., on Friday. He said the women contacted him months ago and claimed they were also paid hush money from Trump prior to the 2016 presidential election.
Avenatti did not divulge the names of his new clients, but implied that one may have been pregnant.
The fiery attorney was sued earlier in the month by Shera Bechard, another former Playboy model with ties to Republican fund-raiser Elliott Broidy, who was said to have been paid for an abortion.
Unfounded speculation stated that Trump, not Broidy, may have fathered a child with Bechard, with Cohen involved in payment of $1.6 million for the abortion and to silence Bechard. She sued Cohen last month alleging that he colluded with her former attorney and that of McDougal to get her to appear on Fox News and falsely deny the affair with Trump.
The president has denied involvement with both women in 2006.
During the National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Kansas City, Mo., our wannabe autocrat got all Orwellian on the crowd of hero supporters by vilifying the media and literally taking a line from “1984” on how information should be consumed.
Already herded into the room and stuffed with tasty lunch, Trump trotted out newly confirmed VA Secretary Robert Wilkie and summoned the boos and jeers from his audience when he urged people to hate the media and anyone opposed his plans to place tariffs on goods from countries in the European Union and China.
“It’s all working out. Just remember: What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”
The statement, which is eerily similar to a central quote from the dystopian novel written by George Orwell, is a reminder of the dark side of our current presidential administration and some of its policies.
At press time, a court-ordered deadline to reunite all families separated at the border by the Trump administration had elapsed, and media reports said that one in three children was still not reunited with their parents.
CNN reported that more than 700 children remain in government custody and are unable to reunite with their parents, who in many circumstances have been already deported.
Meanwhile, Trump, who casually refers to the Fourth Estate as dishonest and the enemy of the American people, disallowed a reporter from CNN from attending a press briefing because he did not like her line of questioning.
Also this week, MSNBC’s television journalist Rachel Maddow reported that the White House transcript of the news conference between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had had left out questions posed to Russian President Vladimir Putin by Reuters reporter Jeff Mason.
Mason asked Putin:
“Did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?”
Putin’s response of:
“Yes, Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.”
Considered the official record of the meeting, White House officials said the omission was not malicious and blamed the mistake on an audio mixer. The omission in the transcript was repaired by July 26, according to CNN.