Can a Flagpole File a Harassment Lawsuit? Because Old Glory seemed horrified when President Trump enveloped her in an unreciprocated bear hug at the CPAC conference last Sunday—proving that the president not only grabs women by their private parts, but inanimate objects as well. Then again, maybe the commander-in chief was just looking for a buddy? This hasn’t been the world’s greatest week for the leader of the free world: his summit with North Korea has collapsed, his trade policies are resulting in record high deficits, his blasted wall is far from being built, and he has even broken up with his old sweetheart, right-wing pundit Ann Coulter, going so far as to call her in a tweet, a “wacky nut job.” Guess who is eyeing a presidential pardon? Well, for one, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, convicted on Thursday of a host of fraud and financial crimes. Manafort received a mere 48 months behind bars, which must have been a delightful surprised to this felon, since the sentencing guidelines recommended a 19- to 24-year stint. The judge didn’t just raise eyebrows with that sentencing gift, he also stated, to universal astonishment, that Manafort, who spent decades working for the world’s most heinous dictators, had lived a “blameless life.” But another shoe is yet to drop: next week, a different judge will sentence him on two conspiracy counts, charges that each carry a maximum of five years, which could potentially add years to his time in the pokey.
Did former Trump attorney/fixer seek a pardon as well? Cohen seemed pretty credible on the witness stand on February 27th when he said, “I have never asked for it, nor would I accept a pardon from President Trump.” (But then again, Cohen is going to prison for lying, so you gotta wonder.) Despite his denial, the Washington Post reports that Cohen had instructed his lawyer to discuss a pardon with Trump’s people, back when the two were still thick as thieves. The president himself weighed in on the matter on Friday, tweeting, “Bad lawyer and fraudster Michael Cohen said under sworn testimony that he never asked for a Pardon. His lawyers totally contradicted him. He lied! Additionally, he directly asked me for a pardon. I said NO. He lied again! He also badly wanted to work at the White House. He lied!”
In other news of those who once wanted to work at the White House: On Friday, Communications Director Bill Shine tendered his resignation, allegedly to play a role in the president’s reelection campaign. But it is no secret inside the Beltway that the president had been unthrilled with this former Fox News co-president for months, nicknaming him Bill Un-shine. (Shall we remind you of Shine’s history at Fox as Roger Ailes lackey, and his role in defending Ailes against sex abuse charges?) Also on Friday, NBC News reported that “Customs and Border Protection has compiled a list of 59 mostly American reporters, attorneys and activists who are to be stopped for questioning by border agents when crossing the U.S.-Mexican border at San Diego-area checkpoints, and agents have questioned or arrested at least 21 of them.’’ The ACLU immediately termed this chilling enemies list, “an outrageous violation of the First Amendment.”
And lastly, on Wednesday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was once again asked about the administration’s policy of holding refugee children in cages. “Sir, we don’t use cages for children,” she declared, described the chain-link enclosures as “areas of the border facility that are carved out for the safety and protection of those who remain there while they’re being processed.” When Rep. Bonnie Watson Cole man pressed her, asking, “What is a chain-link fence, enclosed into a chamber on a concrete floor represent to you? Is that a cage?” the Secretary responded. “It’s a detention space, as you know, that has existed for decades… It’s larger. It has facilities. There are places to sit, to stand, to lay down.” “So does my dog’s cage,” Watson Coleman responded.