Attorney says Trump ‘assumed’ he would be arrested: ‘He was reacting toward a lot of leaks’

Attorney Joe Tacopina, who represents former President Trump, said on Sunday that Trump’s claim earlier this month that he expected to be arrested last Tuesday was based on “a lot of leaks” from the Manhattan district attorney’s office. 

Trump called on his supporters to protest while predicting his arrest last week, which did not materialize. The grand jury is scheduled to meet again early this week in the case, which centers on an alleged hush money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

“Why did your client, Mr. Trump, make that claim that turned out not to be true? Did he make it up?” NBC’s Chuck Todd asked Tacopina on “Meet the Press.”

“No, he didn’t make it up, he was reacting towards a lot of leaks coming out of the district attorney’s office. There had been a leak, Chuck, that Monday, the day before that Tuesday, there was a law enforcement meeting including Secret Service and NYPD that was going to go through the logistics of the arraignment,” Tacopina responded. 

“And then there was, of course, a lot of rumors regarding the arraignment being the next day. So I think he just assumed based on those leaks that that’s what was going to happen. So it wasn’t about making it up, and certainly he doesn’t want to be arrested,” Tacopina said of Trump. 

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has said his office will not be intimidated; however, the office has repeatedly declined to comment on reports and rumors of Trump’s possible arrest. The Hill has reached out for comment on the alleged leaks.

Trump has warned of “death and destruction” if he is charged, while his allies argue the case is politically motivated.

Tacopina also said Sunday that Trump’s attacks on Bragg were “ill-advised.” The attorney said he’s “not a Trump PR person,” but argued that the Manhattan case “would not be brought for anyone other than Donald Trump.”

If Trump does face criminal charges, he would be the first former president to be indicted.

Trump knocked the Manhattan case in his first official campaign rally for his 2024 White House run on Saturday.

“When this election is over, I will be the president of the United States,” Trump said at an airport tarmac  in Waco, Texas. “You will be vindicated and proud, and the thugs and criminals who are corrupting our justice system will be defeated, discredited and totally disgraced.”

Click here to see original article

Jon Stewart says Senate is ‘like an assisted-living facility’

Comedian and political commentator Jon Stewart joked that the U.S. Senate is like “an assisted living facility,” reflecting on his time spent on Capitol Hill fighting for benefits for veterans, first responders and their families.

“Our country is held together by hundreds of really talented legislative aids,” Stewart said on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS .” “Their bosses, many times, are wind up dolls… if you go down there, especially the Senate, is like an assisted living facility.”

Stewart, whose run on “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central in the 2000s established him as a leading political satirists, has been in close proximity in recent years with some of those lawmakers.

He helped advocate for the passage of a bill that extended health benefits for veterans that were exposed to toxic burn pits during their service time. President Biden signed the bill into law last summer.

Stewart praised legislative aids and grassroots organizers are who affect change in the U.S., but argued they are stymied many times by lobbyists and influential interest groups.

“It’s held together by these legislative aids that are relentlessly trying to do the right thing and by the thousands of grassroots activists that are trying to get access,” Stewart said. “And they’re blocked by a moat of lobbyists and monied interests.”

Stewart’s joke about the age of some Senators follows Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Az.) blasting the chamber as a place where “old dudes are eating Jell-O” at a reception with Republican lobbyists in Washington this year, according to Politico.

“Old dudes are eating Jell-O, everyone is talking about how great they are,” Sinema said of Senate Democrats’s weekly lunches. “I don’t really need to be there for that. That’s an hour and a half twice a week that I can get back.”

Stewart, who now hosts a show called “The Problem with Jon Stewart” on Apple TV+, said that even though some of the aids in the legislative process are people he disagrees with, he can still work with them because they are “honest brokers.”

“If you can find honest brokers down there, you can work with them,” Stewart said. “What I’m saying is that forcefield around it is made up of not honest brokers.”

Click here to see original article

US charges Russian spy whose ICC ploy was foiled

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced charges this week against a Russian national who it accuses of working as an “illegal” agent for the Russian government, who allegedly tried to infiltrate the International Criminal Court using a fake Brazilian alias.

Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov, 37, is accused of being an agent for the Russian Intelligence Service. The indictment — charging him with acting as an agent of a foreign power, visa fraud, bank fraud and wire fraud, among other crimes — details his decade-long mission to gain information on the U.S. and other entities.

According to the DOJ indictment, Cherkasov adopted the Brazilian alias “Victor Muller Ferreira,” which he used starting in 2012 in Brazil. He used the alias to gain admission to Johns Hopkins University and moved to the U.S. in 2018. He left the country after getting his degree in 2020 and tried to gain employment at the International Criminal Court (ICC), but was turned away by Dutch officials when he tried to enter the country in 2022. 

When he returned to Brazil, he was arrested on fraud charges. He was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in jail last July.

The federal investigation into Cherkasov was conducted by the FBI’s Washington field office, which coordinated with the bureau’s counterintelligence division.

“When foreign adversaries, such as Russia, send undercover operatives into the United States, we will find them and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Matthew M. Graves in a statement. “Such adversaries seek to operate in secret to undermine our national security in ways that could jeopardize the safety of our citizens.”

The revelation of Cherkasov’s alleged plot to gain employment at the ICC comes as the court has issued a warrant this month for Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of war crimes. It is also further investigating Russian officials for other crimes in its war against Ukraine.

Click here to see original article

Kellyanne Conway on ‘delay’ in Bragg charging Trump: ‘they know it’s weak’

Former Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway said Saturday that Manhattan prosecuter Alvin Bragg’s “delay” in indicting Trump stems from the case being “weak.”

Conway offered her thoughts on Trump’s possible indictment brought forward by Bragg’s investigation into the former president’s involvement in a hush-money payment made to adult-film star Stormy Daniels to cover up an alleged affair. She said that the case is “weak,” and claimed that there was no affair between Trump and Daniels.

“I think the brush back and the delay here is because they know it’s weak and they tried to build a case based on the testimony of Michael Cohen and to a lesser extent, Stormy Daniels,” she said on Fox Business’s “WSJ at Large.” “You simply can’t do that.”

Trump has also denied any affair between him and Daniels.

Conway said that Bragg and the assistant district attorney are not “that interested” in prosecuting a case that will convict Trump, but are more interested in saying that they were the first people to preside over the possible indictment of a former president.

“I think it’s enough for them to wave the flag and say, ‘we were the first’ – because the left cares about optics and being the first – ‘we’re the first to preside over the indictment of a sitting former president,'” she said.

Trump and his allies have denounced Trump’s possible indictment as “politically motivated” and an “abuse of power.” The Manhattan grand jury did not meet on Wednesday or Thursday of last week, so any possible charges brought against Trump would not be filed until the beginning of this week at the earliest.

She also said that while “nobody wants to be indicted or arrested,” Trump’s possible indictment benefits him.

“If you take the long view, it’d be hard to see how this doesn’t benefit President Trump because it plays right into what he has always said, which is ‘they’re out to get me,’ which means they’re out to get you,” she said.

Click here to see original article

Philadelphia recommends bottled water after chemical spill in Delaware River tributary

Philadelphia officials suggested residents of the city use bottled water Sunday after more than 8,000 gallons of chemicals used in latex finishing spilled into a tributary of the Delaware River Saturday night.

The spill is believed to have originated from a burst pipe at the Trinseo PLC plant in Bristol, Pa., which spilled some 8,100 gallons into Otter Creek.

In a statement Sunday, Mike Carroll, deputy managing director for the Philadelphia Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability (OTIS), said no contaminants have been detected thus far. However, he said the Baxter Drinking Water Treatment Plant, the largest such facility in the state, closed intakes around 5 a.m. on Sunday.

Carroll said health risks are “very low if present at all” and that the city was issuing the advisory out of an abundance of caution. Residents were advised to begin using bottled water beginning at 2:00 p.m. Sunday.

“Nonetheless, because we cannot be 100 percent sure that there won’t be traces of these chemicals in the tap water throughout the afternoon, we want the public to be aware so that people can consider switching to bottled water to further minimize any risk,” he said.

“Therefore, we are notifying the public in the customer service area that they may wish not to drink or cook with tap water. We will update this information later this afternoon.”

The Delaware River supplies water to about 58 percent of the city. A map of affected areas provided by the city indicated the advisory applies to every neighborhood but the western and southwestern sections of Philadelphia, as well as parts of its northwest corner.

The spill comes just over a month after a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, on the state’s border with Pennsylvania.

Samuel Manka, a marine science technician with the U.S. Coast Guard, told a Philadelphia ABC affiliate the materials in Saturday’s spill were far less potentially hazardous.

It also follows a water crisis in Jackson, Miss., last year when torrential rains knocked a water treatment plant out of commission, leaving residents of the majority-Black city under a boil-water advisory.

Click here to see original article

Kashkari: ‘Fundamentally, the banking system is sound’

The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Neel Kashkari reinforced on Sunday that the banking system is “sound.”

“The banking system is resilient, and it’s sound,” Kashkari told Margaret Brennan on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “The banking system has a strong capital position and a lot of liquidity and has the full support of the Federal Reserve and other regulators standing behind it. Now, I’m not saying that all of the stresses are behind us, I expect this process will take some time.”

“But fundamentally, the banking system is sound,” he added.

Kashkari’s comments come after weeks of turmoil in the banking industry, as Signature Bank and Silicon Valley Bank collapsed earlier this month and First Republic Bank needed to be bailed out by a group of other banks. These incidents have sparked market concerns about whether a larger banking crisis is imminent.

His comments echo those of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who said last week that the U.S. banking system remains “sound and resilient.” 

Kashkari said the question of whether big banks are too large to fail is “now beyond doubt,” saying that regional and community banks in the United States are under “enormous pressure,” which needs to be addressed.

“It’s an unfair playing field that’s put enormous pressure on regional banks and community banks and that needs to be addressed,” he said. “We need regional banks in America. We need community banks in America.”

“Once we get through the stress period, we have to come up with a regulatory system that ensures the soundness of our banking system but is fair and even so that community banks and regional banks can thrive,” he added.

Click here to see original article

Chris Christie says DeSantis not engaging Trump attacks is ‘bad strategy’

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said it’s a “bad strategy” for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) not to engage former President Trump’s attacks ahead of a possible 2024 GOP presidential primary showdown.

Christie said in a radio interview with Fox News’s Brian Kilmeade last week that he “wasn’t surprised” to see DeSantis, who has hinted he could run for the White House in 2024 but has not formally announced a bid, shift recently to take a firmer stance against the former president, who announced his reelection campaign just after the midterms.

“I think it belies the idea that people have been talking about that you can ignore Donald Trump, not engage with them. I think that’s not only probably physically impossible, but I think it also is bad strategy,” Christie said.

“You know, you have to engage. The guy’s the former president of the United States. He’s the front-runner for the Republican nomination. And if you’re gonna run … you’re gonna have to engage with the front-runner.”

The Florida governor in a recent interview with Fox Nation’s Piers Morgan dismissed Trump’s name-calling and said it’s “not important” to be “fighting with people on social media,” positioning the pair as having different leadership styles.

“I still think [DeSantis is] trying to have it both ways, you know, just kind of be cute about what he’s saying about the former president. You know, so we’ll see how he conducts himself going forward if he gets into the race, but I don’t think there’s any way to avoid confronting and engaging with the front-runner,” Christie said.

Trump, on the other hand, has been vocal in his attacks against DeSantis, who — though he’s not declared his candidacy — has regularly polled as a top potential contender in a hypothetical GOP primary.

Christie is also considering a bid, and said Sunday he plans to make a decision on whether to get in the ring in the next 60 days. 

Click here to see original article

Bharara: Idea that Trump hush money probe is unprecedented ‘is just false’

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara on Sunday said that it’s “just false” to claim that the Manhattan district attorney’s probe into former President Trump over an alleged hush money payment is unprecedented.

“We had, you know, a melange of Republicans saying, ‘No crime here. Nobody would ever charge this case. It’s unseemly. It’s irrational. It’s never happened before.’ But it did. It happened with respect to Michael Cohen, who was not only charged with this type of crime, this particular crime, and he thought it was a crime, pled guilty to it,” Bharara said on NBC News’s “Meet the Press,” referring to Trump’s former personal attorney.

A grand jury in New York is investigating Trump in connection to a payment made to Stormy Daniels to stop the adult film star’s allegations of an affair with the former president, which Trump denies occurred. Cohen has admitted to setting up the payment and was sentenced to three years in prison.

“[Cohen’s] lawyer thought it was a crime, allowed him to plead guilty to it. The prosecutors in the Southern District of New York thought it was a crime. The judge accepted the guilty plea, thought it was a crime,” Bharara said on Sunday.

“So you can argue about whether or not it’s appropriate to bring such a case. You can argue about the optics of it. But the idea that this is unprecedented is just false. It’s just wrong,” the former U.S. attorney added, referring to the Trump investigation.

Cohen testified earlier this month before the Manhattan grand jury.

Trump had indicated he expected to be arrested last Tuesday as the Manhattan prosecutor probes the case, though that day has since passed. The former president has lodged attacks against New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) and called for his supporters to protest a possible arrest.

Bharara on Sunday called Bragg “careful and deliberative,” defending the district attorney against accusations that he’s pursuing an easy case to attack the former president.

“We can have an argument about the merits and strengths of the case once we see an indictment with respect to the campaign finance part of it, but you can’t say about Alvin Bragg that he’s rushing to the court to indict a former president on flimsy charges,” Bharara said.

Click here to see original article

Kirby says Biden committed to keeping US troops in Syria

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Sunday that President Biden is committed to keeping American troops in Syria in the wake of Iranian-backed attacks.

“We’re going to always act to defend our troops and our facilities,” he told Margaret Brennan on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Kirby added that Biden is “absolutely” committed to keeping American troops in Syria, where they are stationed to fight back any remnants of ISIS forces.

“Here’s what’s not gonna change… the mission in ISIS is not gonna change,” Kirby said. “We have under 1,000 troops in Syria that are going after that network which is, while greatly diminished, still viable and still critical.”

U.S. officials said that an Iranian-backed group launched a drone attack on an American base in northeast Syria last Thursday, leaving one American contractor dead and five U.S. service members and another contractor injured. Biden directed U.S. forces to respond the same day with precision airstrikes.

Kirby on Sunday said Biden acted “swiftly and boldly,” saying additional U.S. action has not been ruled out.

“I’m certainly not going to rule out the potential for additional U.S. action if the president deems it appropriate and necessary to continue to protect our troops and our facilities,” Kirby said. “We’re going to keep at that and that message is sent loud and clear.”

“And we demonstrated here this week, that the United States will always act decisively to protect our people,” he added.

Click here to see original article

House Democrat: ‘War criminal Putin cannot be trusted’

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) on Sunday said Russian President Vladimir Putin is a “war criminal” who “cannot be trusted” as Moscow continues its yearlong war in Ukraine and after Putin announced plans to set up tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.

“War criminal Putin cannot be trusted. We know how we got into this war with his aggression starting out in Belarus. We will pay very close attention to what has taken place. To me, it is very serious because we can see that he cannot be trusted. He’s already committed war crimes,” Meeks said on MSNBC’s “The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart.”

Putin on Saturday announced plans to station tactical nuclear weapons in neighboring Belarus, seen as a warning to Western continues continuing to back Ukraine. Putin said the move was a reaction to Britain’s recent decision to send Ukraine uranium-based ammunition.

Meeks said he’s not seen “any movement with regards to actually utilizing tactical nukes” at this point, though Ukraine has accused Moscow of “nuclear blackmail.”

Meeks noted that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for the Russian president over alleged war crimes, including the unlawful deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia, underscoring his distrust of Putin.

“We’ve been watching and talking very closely. But do I, if you’re asking me, do I have concerns? Yes, because I don’t trust him. But I know we have intelligence and I know that that there will be some action taking place if, in fact, we think that he actually will move them there and or any indication of him utilizing any type of tactical nukes,” Meeks said.

Click here to see original article