Kanye West just told the TMZ newsroom why he believes slavery is a choice and why he decided to sport his “Make America Great Again” hat … and it all went down Tuesday morning on “TMZ Live.”
Ex-Playmate Karen McDougal is clear to spill the beans about her alleged affair with Donald Trump … and, perhaps most importantly to her, make a ton o’ money off it.
McDougal had sued the National Enquirer’s parent company, American Media, over a non-disclosure agreement she signed with them in 2016. She got $150k and some promotional perks, and the Enquirer got her exclusive story about the 2006 affair with Trump. She sued to get out of the deal.
Well, they reached a settlement … according to the New York Times, and is now allowed to talk all she wants about her Trump relationship. You’ll recall, McDougal sat down with Anderson Cooper last month for a CNN special.
So, why does the settlement matter? It’s pretty clear based on the terms, which include American Media getting $75k of any future profits Karen makes off selling the Trump story.
Start the countdown to Karen’s tell-all book hitting stores — but ya gotta wonder what’s left for her to reveal. The NYT says she also gets to keep her $150k fee.
The paparazzi lingering outside the Loews Regency on Park Avenue, hoping to get a photo of U.F.C. fighter Conor McGregor, appeared not to notice the stream of F.B.I. agents that entered the New York hotel early Monday morning, as they made their way up to the room where the president’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, has been staying.
A handful of them remained upstairs for several hours, according to a source familiar with the situation. “Today the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York executed a series of search warrants and seized the privileged communications between my client, Michael Cohen, and his clients,” Cohen’s attorney, Stephen Ryan, said in a statement. “I have been advised by federal prosecutors that the New York action is, in part, a referral by the Office of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.”
Downstairs, hotel jazz blared on speakers, as women with Louis Vuitton totes and men in Gucci loafers and gold-button blazers checked in and out, while kids in Yeezys and fur-trimmed puffer coats chased each other around the lobby. A woman who looked awfully like Caroline Kennedy made a quick pass through the restaurant, and hotel security seemed to arrange a way for a guest, perhaps McGregor, to make an exit through a side door without being spotted.
The cheery hotel scene belied what has become a growing legal headache for Cohen, as Mueller’s Russia probe has expanded to include inquiries into the Trump Organization’s business records and foreign dealings, including in Russia. Last week, McClatchy reported that the special counsel’s investigators showed up with subpoenas to the home of an associate of the Trump Organization, compelling sworn testimony and electronic records. The report indicated that investigators were interesting in interactions involving Cohen.
Later Monday, The Washington Post reported that Cohen is under federal investigation for possible bank fraud, wire fraud, and campaign finance violations. Cohen’s home and Manhattan office were also raided.
Cohen’s lawyer called the tactics “completely inappropriate and unnecessary,” and said the documents seized concerned protected attorney-client communications. “These government tactics are also wrong because Mr. Cohen has cooperated completely with all government entities, including providing thousands of non-privileged documents to the Congress and sitting for depositions under oath.”
In brief comments to the White House press pool Monday afternoon, Donald Trump railed against the treatment of his personal attorney, calling the raid “a disgraceful situation” and repeating his assertion that the Mueller investigation is a witch hunt. “It’s an attack on our country . . . what we all stand for.”
A spokesman for the special counsel’s office declined to comment on Monday, as did the F.B.I.’s New York office. Cohen’s cell phone, which is typically ringing off the hook, went straight to voice mail all day on Monday. The New York Times separately reported that the warrant was related to payments Cohen made to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, among other issues.
Cohen, a loyal fixer for the Trump Organization and longtime personal friend of the Trump family, has been a person of interest in the Mueller probe since 2016, when his name surfaced in the Trump-Russia dossier compiled by Christopher Steele—a controversial opposition-research document that included claims that Cohen had traveled to Prague to meet with Russian operatives to “clean up the mess.” (Cohen has told me repeatedly that he has never been to Prague, and that the claims in the dossier are untrue; he filed a defamation suit earlier this year against Fusion GPS, which commissioned the dossier, and BuzzFeed, which published it, seeking $100 million in damages.) Last year, it was reported that Cohen had been working on a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, which did not materialize. In September, he was questioned by congressional committees over the course of two days as part of their investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.
More recently, Cohen’s relationship with the president has become headline news because of the payment he made to Daniels 11 days before the 2016 election. In January, The Wall Street Journal reported that a shell company set up by Cohen had paid Stephanie Clifford, who goes by the stage name Stormy Daniels, $130,000 as part of a non-disclosure agreement barring her from discussing her allegation of a 2006 affair with Trump. Her attorney has since filed a lawsuit claiming that the agreement is void because Trump did not sign it; attorneys for Cohen have filed their own suit attempting to bring the matter into arbitration. Trump, who has denied the affair through spokespeople, said aboard Air Force One on Thursday that he did not know about the agreement—a contention Cohen has repeatedly made as well. While ethics experts have suggested that the payment could represent an illegal campaign contribution if it were deemed to have been made for electoral purposes, Cohen has repeatedly told me that the payment came out of his own pocket and that it had nothing to do with the election. “What I did defensively for my personal client, and my friend, is what attorneys do for their high-profile clients,” Cohen told me last month. “I would have done it in 2006. I would have done it in 2011. I truly care about him and the family—more than just as an employee and an attorney.”
The arrival of F.B.I. agents at the Regency marks another dramatic escalation of the Mueller probe. While Trump’s allies have dismissed many of the people in the special counsel’s crosshairs as low-level campaign officials, or waved away the charges against Paul Manafort as unrelated to Trump, Cohen is inextricably and emotionally linked to the Trump family. He worked in Trump Tower every day, and still remains one of Trump’s personal attorneys, though he left the Trump Organization around the presidential inauguration. Last summer, he told me he would “take a bullet for the president.”
For months after Mueller’s appointment, Trump and Cohen did not speak regularly, at the advice of counsel, but earlier this year, they started to communicate more. He has had dinner twice at Mar-a-Lago in recent months, including a meeting with Trump on the eve of Stormy Daniels’s sit-down on 60 Minutes.
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort chose to avoid a guilty plea that would have forced him to concede to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Russian government’s possible interference on the President’s behalf in the 2016 elections. Thus, Manafort will go to trial to fight a bevy of charges that could get him a 300+ year prison sentence for illegal business dealings he had with pro-Russia foreign nationals in Ukraine.
Two separate trials await Manafort, with one scheduled to begin in Virginia in July and one set for September in Washington, D.C. If convicted on multiple bank fraud, conspiracy, and tax violations he’s facing he could be slammed with a maximum of 305 years by a Virginia court alone.
Then conspiracy and foreign lobbying violations could potentially give him an additional 20 years if found guilty in D.C. The defense will be faced with the task of disproving that Manafort hid earnings he made off of Ukrainian politicians (while working as a U.S. official) in shell companies and offshore accounts. He is accused of then using the money to fund a lavish lifestyle and purchase property.
Due to the nature of Manafort’s crimes and fear that he may have built an elaborate enough network of international connects to flee and go missing, he is being restricted to house arrest with a pair of GPS monitors and must request permission to leave his home for anything other than religious services, meetings with his attorneys, or medical emergencies. His bail has been set at an unsecured $10 million.
President Donald Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, lost a heated battle in Central America this week. Orestes Fintiklis, the majority owner of what was once a Panamanian Trump International Hotel, won a huge legal battle on Monday, allowing him to remove the “Trump” name from the outside of his hotel.
Fintiklis was forced to make a brief public address when he arrived at the hotel, stating,“This is a purely commercial dispute that just spun out of control, and today this dispute has been settled by the judges and the authorities of this country.” He also sat down and played a baby grand piano that was on display in the hotel lobby. He proudly sang “Accordeon” as he played, which is a Greek song about the fight against fascism.
Although it appears as if Fintiklis has won the war, he has simply won one battle. The Trump Organization released a statement soon after their name was stripped from the building stating that the hotel initiated “the appointment of a temporary, third-party administrator to oversee the management of the property while the underlying dispute is being litigated.”
Fintiklis is also suing the Trump Organization for $15 million. He states that the company’s “utterly incompetent management of the hotel” has repelled hundreds of customers, leading to large financial loses.
Stormy Daniels is suing President Trump over a “hush” pact she says they drew up days before he was elected — but he refused to sign.
In the lawsuit, Stormy claims Trump did her dirty by not signing the agreement, which intended to keep her from talking about their alleged 2006 affair, and hurting his presidential campaign. The ex-porn star says she signed on the dotted line, as did Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen.
She says they used aliases — Trump was David Dennison and she was Peggy Peterson — in the contract to maintain confidentiality, but he still never signed it.
According to docs, obtained by TMZ, Cohen contacted the ex-porn star shortly after the Access Hollywood tape came out. Stormy says Trump and Cohen caught wind she might go public, and “aggressively sought to silence” her with the “hush agreement.”
As for her signing bonus, the now infamous $130k — Stormy says it was routed through an entity called Essential Consultants LLC. She says the company was created right before the election purely to hide the source of the payment. Cohen has claimed he used his own personal funds to pay her.
She’s suing to get a judge to rule the agreement is invalid … which, presumably, would clear the path for her to tell all about her alleged relationship with Trump.
NBC News first reported the lawsuit.
On January 19, after not reaching the required votes, the government shutdown all three branches of government under the rulership of the same party. This was the first time that this has happened in modern U.S. political history.
While the shutdown caused mayhem and fury across the nation, one person that allegedly angrier than anyone was Donald Trump and it wasn’t because the government shut down, it was because the shutdown reportedly caused him to miss a party.
The Daily Beast reports that sources close to the president said he became angered by the shutdown because it affected a trip that a trip that he had planned for his inauguration anniversary in Mar-a-Largo at a black-tie gala event. The sources told the Daily Beast that as the vote became close to close, Trump concerns grew because he had scheduled the event for Saturday night and if the government were to shut down it would stop him from going to “my party.”
Scott Dworkin, who is the Democratic Coalition co-founder took to Twitter to confirm that he also received similar reports about the Trumps concerns. Taking to Twitter, he wrote, “Multiple people close to the White House told me this morning that Trump is furious he hasn’t been able to leave for Mar-a-Lago yet. Now they are trying to figure out a way for him to get to Florida without much backlash. I don’t think that route exists. #TrumpShutdown.”
The further the speculation about the canceled trip, the White House was able to confirm that Trump’s trip to Mar-a-Lago was canceled over the shutdown. The Daily Beast was able to reach some of the Representatives who disagreed with the statements saying the closure, “would not necessarily impede the president’s travel plans to Mar-a-Lago or elsewhere.” Another official at the White House Told CNN that it made sense to scrap the trip as it would not be a good look for POTUS.