WTF Community

Day 733

Updated 1/22/2019 1:08 PM PST

1/ The Supreme Court granted the Trump administration's request to enforce its ban on transgender people serving in the military while the legal challenges continue in the lower courts. The vote was 5 to 4, with the court's five conservative members in the majority and its four liberal members in dissent. More than 15,000 transgender Americans are currently serving in the U.S. military and that more than 134,000 are veterans. (New York Times / ABC News / Washington Post)

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BuzzFeed is not letting up on its Trump Tower Moscow reporting. Here they push back against claims Giuliani made over the weekend. They also take the opportunity, once again, to stand behind their reporting that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress.

The plan was dazzling: a glass skyscraper that would stretch higher than any other building in Europe, offering ultra-luxury residences and hotel rooms and bearing a famous name. Trump Tower Moscow, conceived as a partnership between Donald Trump’s company and a Russian real estate developer, looked likely to yield profits in excess of $300 million.

The tower was never built, but it has become a focal point of the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Trump’s relationship with Russia in the lead-up to his presidency.

The president and his representatives have dismissed the project as little more than a notion — a rough plan led by Trump’s then-lawyer, Michael Cohen, and his associate Felix Sater, of which Trump and his family said they were only loosely aware as the election campaign gathered pace.

On Monday, his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said “the proposal was in the earliest stage,” and he went on to tell the New Yorker that “no plans were ever made. There were no drafts. Nothing in the file.”

However, hundreds of pages of business documents, emails, text messages, and architectural plans, obtained by BuzzFeed News over a year of reporting, tell a very different story. Trump Tower Moscow was a richly imagined vision of upscale splendor on the banks of the Moscow River. …

“The building design you sent over is very interesting,” the Russian real estate developer Andrey Rozov wrote to Cohen in September 2015, “and will be an architectural and luxury triumph. I believe the tallest building in Europe should be in Moscow, and I am prepared to build it.” …

A show-stopping apartment like that could have been marketed for $50 million. But as BuzzFeed News reported in November, Trump’s fixers planned not to sell it — but to give it away for free, to none other than Vladimir Putin himself. Two US law enforcement officials confirmed that Cohen discussed the idea with an aide to Putin’s press secretary.

BuzzFeed News reported on Thursday that Trump received at least 10 updates about the plans, and then directed Cohen to lie to Congress about when those negotiations ended in order to obscure his own involvement. Mueller’s office issued a statement Friday saying that “BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate.” BuzzFeed News stands by its story and the two law enforcement sources who informed it.


France and Germany seek to form a European Army, in light of the shifting and poor relations that DJT has created within the NATO alliance.

France and Germany Sign Deal That ‘Contributes’ to ‘European Army’ to Defend Against China, Russia and U.S.

France and Germany have signed a treaty set to bring the two allies a step closer to forming a European army, independent from the U.S.-led NATO Western military alliance, in a sign of strained transatlantic ties.**

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel signed the Franco-German Treaty on Cooperation and Integration in Aachen on Tuesday, exactly 56 years after the two European powers signed the Élysée Treaty, ending a centuries-long rivalry. Though the neighbors have feuded throughout much of their history, France and Germany now find themselves closely aligned at a time of shifting geopolitical dynamics.

The estranged relationship between President Donald Trump and his French and German counterparts has contributed to European anxieties over security, and both Macron and Merkel have called for the formation of a European army. Merkel said Tuesday that Germany was “committed to developing a common military culture, a common defense industry and a common line on arms exports” and that the new agreement “contributes to the creation of a European army.”


Rudy’s going to BE curbed on some of his public appearances…and not just that he screws up all of what he says, shifting the narrative, moving the goal posts or whatever descriptor you want to give…but he’s making T n’ Co nervous

Trump was frustrated with Giuliani, according to three White House officials and Republicans close to the White House who were not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations. The president told advisers that he felt his lawyer had obscured what he believed was a public relations victory: the special counsel’s rare public statement disputing portions of a BuzzFeed News story that Trump instructed his former attorney, Michael Cohen, to lie before Congress.

The president told confidants that Giuliani had “changed the headlines” for the worse and raised the possibility that Giuliani do fewer cable hits, at least for a while, according to the officials and Republicans.

Some of Trump’s allies have suggested that Giuliani be barred from evening interviews because of concerns that he was going on TV after drinking, according to three Republicans close to the White House.

Giuliani has previously insisted he does not have an issue with drinking, denying to Politico last May that it affected his interviews. He added: “I may have a drink for dinner. I like to drink with cigars.


Michael Cohen Indefinitely Postpones Testimony to Congress

Mr. Cohen was scheduled to appear before the House Oversight Committee on Feb. 7 at the invitation of Representative Elijah Cummings, Democrat of Maryland and the chairman of the committee, but backed out because of ongoing threats against his family, his lawyer Lanny Davis said in a statement. He cited Mr. Trump’s verbal attacks on Mr. Cohen and some of his relatives.

“By advice of counsel, Mr. Cohen’s appearance will be postponed to a later date,” Mr. Davis said in the statement. “Mr. Cohen wishes to thank Chairman Cummings for allowing him to appear before the House Oversight Committee and looks forward to testifying at the appropriate time.” He added, “This is a time where Mr. Cohen had to put his family and their safety first.”


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