Author: Peter Boykin

Page: 5

Federal prosecutors claim Roger Stone used a “The Godfather Part II” reference to advocate for a witness to lie and motioned to use a clip from the movie as evidence in the trial of the one-time Trump campaign adviser.

“The relevant scene is important context for understanding Stone’s references — including what Stone intended to communicate to the witness and how Stone would have understood the witness’ likely understanding of those messages,” Friday’s motion read.

The evidence will be used to help prove alleged witness tampering “with Person 2” via a text message that read “Start practicing your Pantagele [sic],” according to prosecutors.

“The movie clip makes clear that in his communications with Person 2, Stone used the name ‘Frank Pentangeli’ and the lines spoken by that character to persuade Person 2 to behave as Frank Pentangeli did in the movie, i.e., to falsely tell a congressional committee that he did not have knowledge of incriminating information that could lead to perjury charges,” the motion argued.

“The movie clip shows the jury the image that Stone intended to evoke in Person 2’s mind when he sent those communications. To not show the clip at trial would deprive jurors of significant context for understanding critical messages in this case.”

In “The Godfather Part II,” Pentangeli was to testify about his involvement in organized crime but changed his mind and denied any knowledge of Michael Corleone’s crime family when the mob boss entered the hearing.

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“The Post camped outside City Hall and called dozens of city workers and the best they could come up with was a story about a few eyerolls. That’s because City Hall continues to deliver for New Yorkers.” Some City Hall staffers think Mayor Bill de Blasio’s run for the White House is a “joke” and that he “can’t win,” the New York Post reported. “It’s a joke,” one unnamed aide told the news outlet. “The chances seem so low,” that unnamed staffer said. “If we saw a clear shot for winning or polling higher, I think it would make more sense.” A spokeswoman for the mayor, Freddi Goldstein, responded: Another unnamed source told the Post “the look is not great” when de Blasio was in Iowa during a July 13 blackout that hit a large swath of Manhattan’s West Side. “He probably should have come back a little faster.” “I think that he knows that he can’t win. It’s just a lot of eye-rolling . . . He’s doing it because he’s got a big ego and needs to prove something, and I don’t think he’s going to quietly go away and become an adjunct professor at Hunter.” Ahead of the second Democratic presidential candidates’ debate, and just months after his announcement, “multiple” staffers mock and are baffled at the bid, according to the Post.

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Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., faces a challenge for re-election from a 30-year-old Massachusetts mayor campaigning on the House Ways and Means Committee chairman’s inaction on obtaining President Donald Trump’s tax returns, NBC News reported. “So, when you look at the timing here, we’re now very unlikely to see any result before the 2020 election, because Congressman Neal dragged his feet. We also have people in New York that have worked tirelessly to give the American people access to his New York state tax returns.” “I think his action is emblematic of a kind of leader, or lack thereof, that’s he’s been over the last 30 years,” Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse told NBC News about Neal’s authority to obtain President Trump’s state returns. Rep. Neal has held off using the New York state law to obtain his state tax returns because it might jeopardize the ability to obtain federal returns, according to the report. President Trump filed a federal lawsuit this week to block Rep. Neal from using the state law to obtain the federal return. “I know people here in western Massachusetts, and people around the country, are frustrated with the way in which he’s handled this issue from day one. I mean, Democrats took back the House, and it took [months] to put a letter together. I know it doesn’t take us that long to put letters together at City Hall when we have to look at legal issues. “It’s unfortunate that there are folks who aren’t living what he’s living, making statements and comments and Monday morning quarterbacking the situation,” a source told NBC News of Rep. Neal.

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“Somebody goes out and shoots somebody they are called a murderer. We all agree with that, put them away,” Sanders said at the fundraiser. “Put them away. But what happens if somebody runs a pharmaceutical industry and artificially jacks up the price…”  In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” host Jake Tapper noted that in Detroit on Saturday, Sanders made that case. “In the case of insulin, people are dying, the cost has soared in recent years and you have three companies that control over 90% of the insulin market.” “Murderers,” the crowd answered back. Democratic presidential primary candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on Sunday repeated his comparison of the pharmaceutical executives who jack up the prices of life-saving drugs to murderers. “This is a philosophical issue that we have to deal with,” Sanders said Sunday. “If I have a product that cost me a few dollars to make, and I jack up that price, and you can’t afford it, and you die, what do you call them?” he added. The Democratic socialist has pushed for Medicare for all. 

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Recently leaked documents are raising new concerns surrounding Chinese tech giant Huawei. On Monday, leaked internal documents obtained by the Washington Post revealed Huawei worked with a Chinese-state owned tech firm for at least eight years on a variety of projects centered in North Korea. One of those projects included the development and maintaining of the country’s first commercial 3G wireless network.

The detailed spread sheet was shared by a former Huawei employee, who claimed the information is of public interest. However, the person’s identity has not been released out of fear of retaliation.

If the reports are true it would bring up a new conflict between the U.S. and China as such a move would raise questions of whether Huawei, which has used U.S. technology in its components, violated American export controls to send equipment to North Korea.

People walk past a Huawei retail store in Beijing, Sunday, June 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

The documents appear to confirm what U.S. officials have long feared — that Huawei is a national security risk.

“…you’ve seen…our effort to ensure that the networks in which American information flows are trusted, that we understand where that information is going, who’s the end user, and wanting to make sure the information doesn’t end up in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”

— Mike Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of State

This latest development comes after the Trump administration agreed in June to lift some sanctions on the company, allowing U.S. companies to sell certain products to the the Chinese tech giant.

According to the Washington Post, Huawei has not directly responded to the report, but a spokesperson said the company does not have business in North Korea.

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A pair of conservative columnists say Democrats have still not been held accountable for their antics during Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings.

In a recent radio interview with Breitbart, senior editor for The Federalist — Mollie Hemingway — put Democrat senators on blast for “willfully abandoning” Senate procedures to attack Kavanaugh. She singled out Senator Kamala Harris and Senator Corey Booker, saying they unfairly lobbed unsubstantiated accusations at the now Supreme Court justice and were never penalized for it.

Hemingway said not punishing politicians for slander during the confirmation hearing has allowed lasting damage to be done to Kavanaugh’s reputation:

“Damaging someone’s reputation is a real harm. We think of crime as being about actual acts of physical violence, but damage to a reputation causes real harm and it needs to be taken seriously, so that these things don’t happen again. Part of it is just about people being aware of what the left does with confirmation battles, but there also needs to be accountability.”

Brett Kavanaugh, listens to a question during the third round of questioning on the third day of his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

In a separate interview, her counterpart and chief counsel of the Judicial Crisis Network — Carrie Sevarino — doubled down on that stance. She said Democrats willingly peddled misinformation and false allegations to obstruct Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Hemingway and Sevarino said the conduct of Democrats during the hearing is another example of how the party has fallen prey to the “politics of personal destruction.” The duo are currently on tour promoting their book “Justice on Trial,” which chronicles Kavanaugh’s contentious confirmation process.

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OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 10:39 AM PT – Friday, July 19, 2019

The Justice Department has announced an overhaul to the federal criminal justice system as momentum behind the bipartisan First Step Act takes effect. The department has already rolled out key elements of the law. In a landmark display, President Trump will give 2,200 non-violent federal inmates what he calls “a second chance at life.”

“We will have done something that hasn’t been done in many many years and it’s the right thing to do,” he stated.

The plan includes a risk and needs assessment program, which is the cornerstone upon which inmates qualify for freedom. Offenders must have a history of good behavior and complete the assessment in order to have their release dates recalculated. The course reportedly includes everything from community transition awareness, job training, and re-offending prevention among other criteria.

Attorney General William Barr watches as inmates work in a computer class during a tour of a federal prison Monday, July 8, 2019, in Edgefield, S.C. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Back in 2018, President Trump said this will reduce crime and mainly allow low-level drug offenders a chance at redemption.

“Prison reform legislation that will reduce crime while giving our fellow citizens a chance at redemption, so if something happens and they make a mistake they get a second chance at life,” he explained.

The Trump administration has also tapped the private sector to help inmates reenter society by helping them find jobs and housing after release. The effort is being applauded by civil rights groups, who say the measure aims to undo tough-on-crime policies which disproportionately affected minorities and nonviolent offenders back in the 80’s and 90’s.

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An old quote from the 1980s has resurfaced in which former Vice President Joe Biden, the leading Democrat in the race for the White House, bragged about Delaware siding with the South during the Civil War.

According to Rolling Stone, the quote appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer on September 20, 1987.

“We [Delawareans] were on the South’s side in the Civil War,” Biden is quoted as saying during a campaign speech he delivered in Alabama.

The same story also claims that Biden bragged to others about how he was given an award by former Alabama Gov. George Wallace, a high-profile racist during his day.

The Biden campaign responded with a statement to Rolling Stone that labeled President Donald Trump a “racist maniac.”

“As a young Senator, Joe Biden declared that if George Wallace — an unhinged, racist maniac — became the presidential nominee of his party, he would support Gerald Ford,” the campaign said. “If more GOP leaders had a scintilla of that same courage in 2016, they wouldn’t be debasing themselves this very minute by defending another unhinged, racist maniac.”

Delaware was a border state during the Civil War and supported slavery at the time.

Biden came under fire last month during a Democratic presidential debate when Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., criticized him for opposing busing during the 1970s.

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The presidential candidates are off to the races, speaking to voters, visiting small towns — and burning through cash reserves faster than donors are giving.

In the last fundraising quarter, nearly half of the Democratic presidential candidates spent more than they raised in donations. Campaigns with high “burn rates,” as the deficits are known, usually need to make a big splash during debates or on the campaign trail to attract new donors and maintain a viable financial picture.

FIELD LOCKED IN, BUT STAGE IS STILL IN FLUX, FOR ROUND 2 OF DEM DEBATES

Among those with the highest burn rates, according to Federal Election Commission records, are New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney was also listed as having spent several million more than he raised, but the candidate has since said the numbers were misreported.

Highest burn rates, second quarter

    Kirsten Gillibrand:

    Raised $2.3 million. Spent $4.2 million

    Beto O’Rourke:

    Raised $3.6 million. Spent $5.3 million

    Cory Booker:

    Raised $4.5 million. Spent $5.3 million

    Tulsi Gabbard:

    Raised $1.6 million. Spent $1.9 million

While all the candidates still maintain substantial amounts of cash on hand, running a deficit this early into their campaigns is not usually a harbinger of a successful race, observers say.

“It’s never a good sign,” Larry Sabato, director of University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, said. “I’m not going to write them all off, let’s see what happens in the second debate.”

Delaney, for instance, has large cash reserves, albeit through his own personal fortunes. To date, he’s loaned his campaign $24 million. He’s polling at 1 percent.

Sabato, who runs Sabato’s Crystal Ball through the university, said that money isn’t the most important aspect of a presidential campaign, but it’s certainly an essential component.

Among the candidates flagging in the polls and cutting deeply into their coffers is O’Rourke. The most recent Morning Consult poll, released Monday, had the former congressman polling at 3 percent nationally. His campaign spent $5.3 million in the last quarter and only brought in $3.6 million. The Texas Democrat still has more than $5 million on hand thanks to strong fundraising early on, but observers say he likely can’t run in the red for too much longer and remain viable.

“I would say that for O’Rourke, and several of the others really, a stellar debate performance is essential,” Sabato said. “No one could watch his campaign and say that Beto O’Rourke was doing really well. He’s not. They expected a lot more than this.”

O’Rourke, who generated national enthusiasm for his 2018 senate campaign against Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, has struggled for attention in the crowded primary since shortly after launching his bid for the White House this year.

Sabato said South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg has cut into O’Rourke’s popularity with young people and Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts have cut into his progressive appeal.

Democratic presidential candidate former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke gestures during a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Democratic presidential candidate former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke gestures during a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

None of those candidates ran a deficit last quarter, and each raised at least $11 million – with Buttigieg leading the trio with $24 million in donations. Warren followed with $19 million in donations. O’Rourke has yet to tap into his massive $80 million war chest amassed during his Senate run against Cruz.

O’Rourke is running a campaign he says is supported by grassroots organizing and donations. The bottom-up efforts are apparent in their early state operations. According to a press release from the campaign, they’ve recently opened 11 field offices in Iowa and massed more than 100,000 volunteers across the country.

“You have to add Trump and the RNC together, [Democrats] are nowhere near that total. … They’ve been raising money all along and banking it.”

— Larry Sabato

A source in the O’Rourke campaign said the campaign is planning to grow its New Hampshire team after a period of expansion in the state. They also say they have the resources they need, largely from more than $13 million raised in the first four months after Beto’s announcement.

Contributions, the source said, come from nearly 200,000 individual donors from every state. They said many of their donors are teachers, students and nurses.

Booker, too, is playing a long game when it comes to donors and polling, though how successful remains to be seen. His campaign, which is based on ideas of unity and focused on a building a coalition of voters across demographic lines, says it pulled in 72,000 new donors in the second quarter.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., speaks during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., speaks during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Unlike Beto, Booker has tapped into the money from earlier Senate runs. In the second quarter alone, he pulled $2.7 million from his Senate campaign. In total, he’s transferred more than $3.6 million to his presidential campaign.

His campaign spent a total of $5.3 million in the second quarter, but raised $4.5 million. Fellow Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand spent $4.2 million, but raised $2.3 million.

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Sabato sees the heavily populated Democratic field as a potentially fracturing force during the general elections. He said there are degrees to voters’ support and, even if they coalesce to vote for the eventual Democratic nominee, they might not open their pocketbook for donations. Such an outcome may weaken their ad-buying and campaigning power in a contest against the president.

“You have to add Trump and the RNC together, [Democrats] are nowhere near that total,” Sabato said. “They’ve been raising money all along and banking it.”

Although the Republican National Committee and the president have raked in donations – Trump alone to the tune of $56 million – Sabato said the general election is far from a foregone conclusion.

“I don’t believe in the end that money will be the factor that determines the elections. … It’ll be the candidates and the conditions of the election year,” like the economy, scandals surrounding the candidates, and the policies they adopt, Sabato said. “It’ll be the big things that normally determine elections.”

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A security guard in charge of protecting Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was working only his third day and sent his fellow colleague to the wrong building to check on the alert when the fire first broke out, according to a new report.

The April 15 blaze sparked worldwide shock as people watched history burn while firefighters struggled to contain the fire.

In this image made available on Tuesday April 16, 2019 flames and smoke rise from the blaze after the spire toppled over on Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, Monday, April 15, 2019.

In this image made available on Tuesday April 16, 2019 flames and smoke rise from the blaze after the spire toppled over on Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, Monday, April 15, 2019. (AP)

Prosecutors investigating the cause of the blaze said last month there is no evidence thus far to suggest the fire was a criminal act. Instead, the Paris prosecutor’s office said in a statement Wednesday several hypotheses into the cause of the April 15 blaze include a malfunctioning electrical system or a smoldering cigarette.

NOTRE DAME FIRE MAY HAVE BEEN CAUSED BY CIGARETTE OR POWER FAILURE, INVESTIGATORS SAY

But while the cause of the blaze remains unclear, the events in the early stages of the fire suggest some of the damage could have been contained had the novice guard went to the right building.

A major miscommunication occurred amid the early warnings of the blaze as one of the guards went to check the fire-free sacristy, not the attic of the Cathedral, a move that delayed the response to the fire, the New York Times reported in a lengthy investigation.

Only 30 minutes later, the cathedral staff realized they made a mistake and sent the guard to the attic – also known as “the forest” for its aged timber beams that hold up the roof – only to find that the fire was already in full swing.

US DONORS HAVE BEEN FOOTING NOTRE DAME WORK BILLS INSTEAD OF FRENCH TYCOONS

The report found that the person who notified the location of the fire to the guard was working there only his third day and that he just started getting used to the alert system.

The system itself was complex and dated, prompting questions whether the person in charge of it even understood the alert in general.

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The massive blaze ripped through the medieval cathedral, destroying the spire which toppled into the flames. It has left the crippled monument, once a major tourist attraction, barricaded to the public, and the skyline of Paris noticeably altered.

French President Emmanuel Macron set a target of five years – which will be when France is set to host the 2024 Summer Olympics – for the completion of Notre Dame restoration efforts.

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