Trump Is Feuding With the Mayor of Minneapolis Over Security Costs for His Rally

The Trump campaign is locked in a battle with Minneapolis after the city insisted the president’s team cover $530,000 in security costs for a rally later this week.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that city officials told the Target Center, where Trump is planning to hold a re-election rally, that it would have to cover the security costs. The company that manages the arena, AEG, then reportedly passed those costs on to Trump’s campaign, which has now threatened legal action if it’s not assured by Tuesday that the arena would be available for the rally later in the week.

The Trump campaign also slammed Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, a Democrat, saying he was using the rally to boost his profile.

“This is an outrageous abuse of power by a liberal mayor trying to deny the rights of his own city’s residents just because he hates the President,” Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement. “People want to hear from their president, and no mayor looking to beef up his resume for a run for higher office should stand in the way.”

Frey has been a critic of Trump, and when it was announced that Trump would hold a rally in the city, he said the president’s “message of hatred will never be welcome in Minneapolis.”

Frey got into a spat with Trump on Twitter on Tuesday, after the president said the “lightweight mayor is hurting the great police and other wonderful supporters.”

“Yawn… Welcome to Minneapolis, where we pay our bills, we govern with integrity, and we love all of our neighbors,” wrote Frey in response.

The Trump campaign has come under fire for not paying its costs in the past. A report from the Center for Public Integrity in June revealed that Trump’s campaign owed city governments at least $841,219 in unpaid bills for public safety–related expenses.

There’s no legal obligation for campaigns to cover the costs that cities incur during rallies, but they are allowed to use campaign funds to do so. Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal told the Star Tribune that “it’s not fair” for residents to have to cover security costs at events.

“It doesn’t matter who the candidate is or what the event is. If it’s anticipated that there will be a need for additional response … a source of revenue for that needs to be found,” she told the paper.

[Vice]

Trump sues Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance over subpoena for his tax returns

President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit Thursday against Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, who subpoenaed Trump’s accounting firm for eight years of Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns earlier this month.

The subpoena stems from Vance’s criminal investigation into the Trump Organization about hush money payments made to two women who have alleged affairs with the president. Trump has strongly denied the affairs.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, names Vance and the president’s tax preparer, Mazars USA, as defendants. It argues that the Manhattan district attorney should not receive Trump’s tax returns because “‘[v]irtually all legal commenters agree’ that a sitting President of the United States is not ‘subject to the criminal process’ while he is in office.”

“The framers of our Constitution understood that state and local prosecutors would be tempted to criminally investigate the President to advance their own careers and to advance their political agendas,” the lawsuit adds. “And they likewise understood that having to defend against these actions would distract the President from his constitutional duties. That is why the Framers eliminated this possibility and assigned the task to supermajorities of Congress acting with the imprimatur of the nation as a whole.”

Jay Sekulow, the president’s lawyer, commented on the constitutionality of Vance’s probe in a statement Thursday, saying, “In response to the subpoenas issued by the New York County District Attorney, we have filed a lawsuit this morning in Federal Court on behalf of the President in order to address the significant constitutional issues at stake in this case.”

Vance’s spokesman Danny Frost said in response to the lawsuit,”We have received the plaintiff’s complaint and will respond as appropriate in court. We will have no further comment as this process unfolds in court.”

Vance’s office is probing hush money payments made during the 2016 election to adult film star Stormy Daniels and ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal, both of whom have alleged affairs with Trump, which he has denied.

In addition to Trump’s company, Vance’s office has also subpoenaed the publisher of the National Enquirer, The New York Times has reported. The publication was involved in negotiations with adult Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Giffords, and paid $150,000 to silence McDougal, according to federal prosecutors.

The president’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, admitted in August of last year to making an illegal $130,000 payment to Daniels in order to keep her quiet in the days ahead of the 2016 election. Cohen is currently serving a three-year prison sentence for tax evasion, bank fraud, breaking campaign finance laws with the hush money payments, and lying to Congress.

Prior to his congressional testimony earlier this year, Cohen released copies of two checks with the president’s signature, which he said was used to reimburse him for his payment to Daniels. NBC News has previously reported that Cohen was cooperating with prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

Last year, American Media Inc., the Enquirer’s parent company, entered into a nonprosecution agreement with federal prosecutors and admitted that it worked with the Trump campaign to buy the rights to the women’s stories in order to silence them. The practice, known in the industry as “catch-and-kill,” involves paying for the exclusive rights to stories with the intention of never actually publishing them.

At his sentencing last year, Cohen said that “time and time again, I felt it was my duty to cover up [Trump’s] dirty deeds.”

Trump tweeted after the sentencing that he “never directed Michael Cohen to break the law. He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law. It is called ‘advice of counsel,’ and a lawyer has great liability if a mistake is made. That is why they get paid.”

[NBC News]

President Donald Trump Is Suing Omarosa And Others For Confidentiality Breaches

President Trump announced today during his regular weekend tweetstorm that he is suing former aide and The Apprentice arch-villian Omarosa Manigault Newman and unspecified others for a breach of confidentiality agreements.

“Yes, I am currently suing various people for violating their confidentiality agreements,” Trump tweeted. “Disgusting and foul mouthed Omarosa is one. I gave her every break, despite the fact that she was despised by everyone, and she went for some cheap money from a book. Numerous others also!”

While the President is pursuing some cases, his most recent breach, Madeleine Westerhout, will not be one of them. The former personal assistant met with reporters in what was allegedly an “off-the-record” session, but her imprudent remarks on the President and his relationships with his family found their way into the media.

Politico reported that she Trump does not appear with daughter Tiffany in pictures because she’s overweight., adding that Trump “couldn’t pick Tiffany out of a crowd.”

While Westerhout “has a fully enforceable confidentiality agreement, she is a very good person and I don’t think there would ever be reason to use it,” Trump tweeted. “She called me yesterday to apologize, had a bad night. I fully understood and forgave her! I love Tiffany, doing great!”Omarosa is another story. Her book, Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House, was a highly critical account of her time with Trump on televisioni and in the White House. Trump’s campaign, Donald J. Trump For President Inc.,  filed for arbitration against Manigault Newman for allegedly breaching a 2016 confidentiality agreement. The disposition of that case has not been revealed, and it’s unclear whether that’s the lawsuit Trump referenced in his tweet today.Manigault has kept a relatively low profile since her book came out. The non-fiction account did well in its first week, then sunk, despite a huge media blitz by the talkative former aide.

[Deadline]

Trump Threatens legal actions over confidentiality in wake of Westerhout firing

President Donald Trump on Saturday stressed his ongoing legal battles to keep details of his administration’s inner workings from emerging in books and press reports following the firing of his personal assistant.

“Yes, I am currently suing various people for violating their confidentiality agreements. Disgusting and foul mouthed Omarosa is one. I gave her every break, despite the fact that she was despised by everyone, and she went for some cheap money from a book. Numerous others also!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Trump’s attack on his former White House adviser, Omarosa Manigault Newman, followed the firing of his personal assistant, Madeleine Westerhout, who was let go Thusday for revealing to reporters details of her relationship with Trump and his daughters.

Trump also appeared to rebut a report by the New York Times stating that Westerhout did not sign a non-disclosure agreement.

“While Madeleine Westerhout has a fully enforceable confidentiality agreement, she is a very good person and I don’t think there would ever be reason to use it. She called me yesterday to apologize, had a bad night. I fully understood and forgave her! I love Tiffany, doing great!” Trump wrote.

Trump’s 2016 campaign team, transition team and political appointees are typically expected to sign a non-disclosure agreement, even if the legal foundations of such agreements are murky. Trump Organization employees would also be routinely required to sign such agreements.

NDAs are not typically signed by federal workers as they’re thought to be public servants who are not beholden to any individual, which would include White House staff. Any agreement is therefore not easily enforceable.

Omarosa claimed she refused to sign “that draconian NDA” during her tenure at the White House following the release of a tell-all book, although she stated she signed two non-disclosure agreements during Trump’s presidential campaign and her time on “The Apprentice” in 2003.

Following her acrimonious firing, Omarosa also released audio of conversations recorded at the White House.

[Politico]

DOJ Says It’s Been ‘Instructed’ By Trump To Try To Get Citizenship Question Back On Census

The Justice Department told a federal judge on Wednesday that it had been “instructed” to try to find a way to get the citizenship question back on the 2020 census, after the Supreme Court blocked its previous effort to do so last month.

The update came after President Trump tweeted Wednesday that previous government statements that the administration was backing down from its census citizenship fight were incorrect. U.S. District Judge George Hazel convened a teleconference hearing on Wednesday as confusion swirled around the issue. Both the Justice Department and the Commerce Department had said on Tuesday that the forms had been sent off to printers without the question on it.

Jody Hunt, a top DOJ official, told the judge that the administration believed there may be a “legally available” path to getting the question re-added while still complying with the Supreme Court’s ruling, according to a transcript of the hearing obtained by TPM (see below).

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1M3Y6vj3QlQpSdlYcCdq3BkbnnWIrEPlf/view

Hunt said the plan, if the government goes down that route, is to go directly to the Supreme Court to get instructions on how to streamline future proceedings over its efforts to re-add the question.

A couple of hours after the hearing, the Justice Department filed an update (see below) in a separate census case in New York reaffirming that the administration had reversed course and was looking for a way to add the citizenship question.

“In the event that the Commerce Department adopts a new rationale for including the citizenship question on the 2020 Decennial Census consistent with the decision of the Supreme Court, the Government will immediately notify this Court,” the DOJ filing said.

[Talking Points Memo]

Trump says he would challenge impeachment in Supreme Court

President Trump on Wednesday said that he would attempt to challenge impeachment in the Supreme Court if Democrats carried out such proceedings, though it’s unclear the high court would hear such a case.

“The Mueller Report, despite being written by Angry Democrats and Trump Haters, and with unlimited money behind it ($35,000,000), didn’t lay a glove on me. I DID NOTHING WRONG,” Trump tweeted.

“If the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court. Not only are there no ‘High Crimes and Misdemeanors,’ there are no Crimes by me at all,” he continued.

The president accused Democrats, Hillary Clinton and “dirty cops” of being guilty of criminal activity.

“We waited for Mueller and WON, so now the Dems look to Congress as last hope!” Trump concluded.

The House holds the power to carry out impeachment proceedings, while the Senate is responsible for whether to convict the individual in question. The chief justice of the Supreme Court, currently John Roberts, would preside over the Senate trial.

There is little precedent to support the idea of the Supreme Court weighing in on the merits of impeachment, as a sitting president has not previously challenged impeachment proceedings in the high court.

The Supreme Court ruled in the 1993 case of federal Judge Walter Nixon that whether the Senate properly conducted an impeachment trial was a political question, and therefore nonjusticiable.

Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard University, rejected the possibility of Trump taking an impeachment to the Supreme Court.

“Not even a SCOTUS filled with Trump appointees would get in the way of the House or Senate, where [Chief Justice] Roberts would preside over Trump’s Impeachment Trial,” tweeted Tribe, an outspoken critic of the president.

The president has been fixated in recent days on pushing back against the specter of impeachment proceedings, while maintaining that he is “not even a little bit” concerned about the possibility of removal from office.

Democratic leaders have largely said they don’t yet support starting the impeachment process, but remained open to the possibility in the wake of special counsel Robert Mueller‘s full report.

In the partly redacted document, investigators did not establish that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 election, but did not exonerate Trump on the question of obstruction of justice. 

Investigators instead detailed 10 episodes they reviewed for potential obstruction by the president, with Mueller saying that Congress has the authority to conduct potential obstruction probes.

Talk of whether to carry out impeachment hearings has split Democrats, and discussions have intensified in the aftermath of Mueller’s report.

“I do believe that impeachment is one of the most divisive forces, paths that we could go down to in our country,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday. “But if the facts, the path of fact-finding takes us there, we have no choice. But we’re not there yet.”

House Democrats have launched a flurry of investigations into the president, seeking to review his finances, potential abuse of power and corruption within the administration.Trump later asserted in a pair of tweets that he had been cooperative with the Mueller investigation, and suggested Congress should focus on legislation instead of seeking additional information from the White House as part of its own probes. “Millions of pages of documents were given to the Mueller Angry Dems, plus I allowed everyone to testify, including W.H. counsel. I didn’t have to do this, but now they want more,” Trump tweeted. “Congress has no time to legislate, they only want to continue the Witch Hunt, which I have already won. They should start looking at The Criminals who are already very well known to all. This was a Rigged System – WE WILL DRAIN THE SWAMP!”

[The Hill]

Trump, Trump Organization sue House Oversight’s Elijah Cummings to block subpoena

President Trump and the Trump Organization filed suit against House Oversight Committee chairman Elijah Cummings in federal court on Monday in an attempt to block Cummings’ subpoena of Trump’s longtime accountant, Mazars USA LLP.

The big picture: Cummings wrote last week that the subpoena — for all of Trump’s financial records — is a result of testimony from Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, who claimed that the president “altered the estimated value of his assets and liabilities on financial statements.”

  • Trump’s suit claims that Cummings and House Oversight are “assuming the powers of the Department of Justice, investigating (dubious and partisan) allegations of illegal conduct by private individuals outside of government” solely to dig up dirt ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

Trump dismisses Cliff Sims as ‘low-level staffer,’ ‘mess;’ lawsuit threat over tell-all book

President Donald Trump is distancing himself from Cliff Sims, the former conservative blogger turned presidential adviser, just as the Alabama’s native’s tell-all book about his time in the White House is released.

In a Tuesday morning tweet, Trump described Sims as a “low-level staffer” and “a mess.”

“A low level staffer that I hardly knew named Cliff Sims wrote yet another boring book based on made up stories and fiction. He pretended to be an insider when in fact he was nothing more than a gofer. He signed a non-disclosure agreement. He is a mess!,” Trump tweeted.

Michael Glassner, chief operating officer of Donald J. Trump for President Inc., wrote on Twitter that the campaign planned to sue Sims to violating a nondisclosure agreement.

Sims’ book, “Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House,” was released Tuesday following a round of media appearances by Sims. The book details infighting and dysfunction inside the White House.

Founder of the conservative blog Yellowhammer, Sims took a leave of absence from that job in 2016 to work for the Trump presidential campaign. In 2017, he was named Assistant to the President and Assistant Communications Director for White House Message Strategy.

Sims left the White House in May amid claims of tension with other staff and reports he was moving to a new role with the Secretary of State. That appointment never occurred, however.

Sims is the latest Trump staffer to write about their time in the White House. Former aides Sean Spicer and Omarosa Manigault Newman have previously penned works.

[AL.com]

Trump: ‘Unfair’ coverage should be tested in courts

President Trump early Sunday ripped “one sided” and “unfair” media coverage, saying it should be tested in courts.

“A REAL scandal is the one sided coverage, hour by hour, of networks like NBC & Democrat spin machines like Saturday Night Live,” he tweeted.

“It is all nothing less than unfair news coverage and Dem commercials. Should be tested in courts, can’t be legal? Only defame & belittle! Collusion?”

Trump posted the tweet after NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” pondered a world in which the president was not elected in its latest cold open.

The president also knocked the sketch comedy show after its season premiere earlier this year, saying it was “just a political ad for the Dems.”

Trump often labels negative coverage “fake news” and calls the media the “enemy of the people.”

In October, he blamed what he deemed unfair media coverage for causing “great anger” in the country.

The president said in a pair of tweets following a violent week of mail bombs and a shooting that killed 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue that the “Fake News Media” is “the true Enemy of the People.”

“There is great anger in our Country caused in part by inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news. The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People, must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly,” Trump wrote.

“That will do much to put out the flame of Anger and Outrage and we will then be able to bring all sides together in Peace and Harmony,” he added.

Trump in September repeated his suggestion that NBC’s “license” should be challenged. In a tweet, he attacked the network’s “journalistic standards” following reports that it had passed on a damning exposé about Harvey Weinstein.

“NBC FAKE NEWS, which is under intense scrutiny over their killing the Harvey Weinstein story, is now fumbling around making excuses for their probably highly unethical conduct,” the president wrote.

“I have long criticized NBC and their journalistic standards-worse than even CNN. Look at their license?” he added.

Broadcasting licenses are granted to individual stations instead of networks like NBC,  however.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai repeatedly said last year that the FCC would not revoke those licenses on the basis of a station’s content.

Satire is also protected by the First Amendment.

[The Hill]

Judge orders Stormy Daniels to reimburse Trump’s legal fees

A US judge has ordered porn actress Stormy Daniels to reimburse President Donald Trump’s legal fees after her defamation case was thrown out.

Ms Daniels, who says she had sex with Mr Trump in 2006, sued him after he mocked her claim that a stranger had threatened her to keep quiet.

On Tuesday, a judge ordered her to pay over $293,052.33 (£234,000) – roughly 75% of Mr Trump’s legal fees.

A lawyer for Mr Trump celebrated the ruling as a “total victory”.

In Tuesday’s ruling, Los Angeles Judge James Otero declined to impose the “significant additional sanctions” requested by the US president’s legal team against Ms Daniels.

Mr Trump’s attorney, Charles Harder, had earlier requested that Ms Daniels be forced to pay almost $800,000 after her lawsuit was dismissed in October.

He said on Tuesday that the penalty includes $1,000 for having filed a “meritless” case.

“The court’s order,” Mr Harder said, “along with the court’s prior order dismissing Stormy Daniels’ defamation case against the President, together constitute a total victory for the President, and a total defeat for Stormy Daniels in this case.”

Ms Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said in a tweet that the ruling “will never hold up on appeal”.

Mr Avenatti is representing Ms Daniels in another lawsuit against Mr Trump and his former attorney Michael Cohen.

The adult film actress is seeking to void a nondisclosure agreement about her alleged affair with the president.

What was the defamation case about?

Ms Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, said last April that she had been threatened by a man in a car park to keep quiet about the alleged affair.

She shared a sketch of the man who she claimed had threatened her and her child.

Mr Trump retweeted the image, calling it a “total con job”, and describing the image as being of a “non-existent man”.

She sued arguing that the president’s tweet was defamatory as it accused Ms Daniels of “committing a serious crime” – namely, falsely accusing a person of threatening her.

But in October, the judge ruled that Mr Trump’s tweet was protected under the First Amendment, which guarantees the right to freedom of speech.

The judge said Mr Trump’s tweet was merely a “hyperbolic statement” against a political antagonist.

After that initial court victory, Mr Trump promptly took to Twitter, saying his legal team could now “go after Horseface and her 3rd rate lawyer”.

Who is else is involved?

Mr Trump’s former personal attorney, Mr Cohen, will be sentenced in New York on Wednesday for paying Ms Daniels $130,000 to keep the alleged liaison private.

According to prosecutors, Mr Cohen was directed to make the payment to Ms Daniels – and to another woman – by Mr Trump.

Mr Trump has acknowledged the payment was made, describing it only this week as “a simple private transaction”, though he denies having a sexual relationship with her.

Mr Cohen has admitted the payment, which was not reported to election officials, was a violation of campaign finance laws.

[BBC]

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