On Monday, surrounded by military and national security leaders, President Trump said that the New York federal prosecutor's office had launched "an attack on our country" and "an attack on what we all stand for" by ordering an FBI raid on his longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen, and suggested he might fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller and/or Attorney General Jeff Sessions. But he was angrier in private, White House sources tell The Washington Post, The Associated Press, and other news organizations.
Trump found out about the raids on Cohen's office and residences late Monday morning, and "caught off guard and furious with the encroaching inquiry, the president showed a flare of temper watching cable news coverage of the raid Monday afternoon," AP reports. Trump also complained frequently about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, The Washington Post adds, "and stewed all afternoon about the warrant to seize Cohen's records ... and asked detailed questions about who was behind the move."
There are several reason this is different that Mueller's indictments of other people in Trump's orbit. First, the investigation is from the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, whom Trump appointed. Second, it reportedly includes Cohen's $130,000 payment to porn star and purported Trump paramour Stormy Daniels in October 2016, exposing Trump to a raft of potential new criminal charges. But mostly, it's because "Cohen is Trump's virtual vault — the keeper of his secrets, from his business deals to his personal affairs," the Post explains. Jeffrey Toobin elaborated on CNN Tuesday morning:
— New Day (@NewDay) April 10, 2018
"This search warrant is like dropping a bomb on Trump's front porch," former U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance tells the Post. "This strikes at the inner sanctum: your lawyer, your CPA, your barber, your therapist, your bartender," adds Washington attorney Mark Zaid. "All the people who would know the worst about you." If Cohen was involved in shady business, Trump may not be able to count on attorney-client privilege, either. Peter Weber
Former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio became the third Republican with a conviction to jump into a major 2018 race, The Washington Post's Aaron Blake noticed Tuesday. Arpaio is running for the soon-to-be-vacated seat of Sen. Jeff Flake (R) and is still legally guilty of criminal contempt of court despite President Trump's decision to pardon him last year. "The judge in Arpaio's case has said pardons moot punishments in criminal cases but don't erase convictions," The Associated Press reported in October.
Some 2,000 miles away from Phoenix, in West Virginia, Don Blankenship has filed to run in the Republican primary for a chance to take on incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin (D). The former chief executive of coal company Massey Energy, Blankenship served a year in prison for a misdemeanor charge of conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards after a 2010 mine explosion killed 29 people.
In New York, a convicted Republican is eyeing a chance to serve in Congress — again. Michael Grimm, a former congressman representing Staten Island, has formally announced plans to take on Rep. Dan Donovan (R) for the Republican nomination. Grimm formerly served seven months in prison for one count of tax evasion. "A convicted felon, Grimm isn't prohibited from running for federal office," SIlive.com explains. "The Constitution has age, citizenship, and residency requirements — it is silent on felony status and thus it's allowed. The state Legislature has a specific prohibition on those convicted of a felony — they're not allowed to serve. But other state and city positions are fair game."
Democrats are not exempt from convictions, either. In New Mexico, David Alcon is running for the 2nd Congressional District seat. He was convicted of misdemeanor trespassing and aggravated stalking almost 10 years ago and was arrested on a felony stalking charge in October 2017, The New Mexican reports. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has announced that it will not support his candidacy. Jeva Lange
On Thursday, a federal judge in Phoenix ruled that Joe Arpaio is still legally guilty of criminal contempt of court despite the Aug. 25 pardon from President Trump. Arpaio's lawyers and the Justice Department had asked U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton to vacate her July 31 guilty verdict, to wipe his record clean and prevent the conviction from being used against him in other litigation. She refused. Arpaio had been scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 5
"The power to pardon is an executive prerogative of mercy, not of judicial recordkeeping," Bolton wrote in her 4-page ruling, quoting a 1990 appeals court ruling. "To vacate all rulings in this case would run afoul of this important distinction. The court found defendant guilty of criminal contempt. The president issued the pardon. Defendant accepted. The pardon undoubtedly spared defendant from any punishment that might otherwise have been imposed. It did not, however, 'revise the historical facts' of this case."
Arpaio's lawyers immediately filed an appeal with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Arpaio, 85, was sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, for 24 years before being voted out last year. He is an immigration hardliner and significant Trump supporter. After his pardon, Arpaio suggested that he might get back into politics. Peter Weber
Sgt. Ikaika Erik Kang was arrested in Honolulu on Saturday and charged with attempting to provide classified military documents and training to the Islamic State, court records unsealed Monday said.
The 34-year-old is an air traffic control operator with the 25th Infantry Division at the U.S. Army Pacific Command. He was under investigation for a year, the records show, and the FBI said authorities arrested him Saturday shortly after he pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and said he wanted to "kill a bunch of people." Court documents say he was referred to the FBI by the Army in August 2016, several years after he began making threatening remarks and pro-ISIS statements.
Kang had the highest level of combat instructor training, the FBI affidavit said, and gave lessons to a person he believed was a member of ISIS, taping their trainings so they could be shown to other ISIS fighters. The FBI also said it searched computer hard drives belonging to Kang, and discovered 18 military documents labeled "Secret," with 16 of those still classified. They also found close to 500 documents that reference ISIS or violence, and 13 issues of al Qaeda's Inspire magazine.
Kang's father, Clifford, told KHNL his son grew up on Oahu and enlisted in the Army after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He served in Afghanistan, South Korea, and Iraq, and received several commendations. Birney Bervar, Kang's attorney, said he "may have some service-related mental health issues which the government was aware of, but neglected to treat." A preliminary hearing is set for July 24. Catherine Garcia
Cardinal George Pell, Australia's most senior Catholic and the Vatican treasurer, is back in the country to face sexual assault charges.
He arrived at Sydney Airport on Monday. Pell, 76, was granted a leave of absence by the Vatican to defend himself against the charges, the BBC reports. Police said the allegations are based on "historical" incidents reported by "multiple complainants," and Pell will appear in a Melbourne court on July 26. He has denied any wrongdoing, saying last month, "I'm looking forward to having my day in court. I am innocent of these charges, they are false. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me." Catherine Garcia
The Trump administration wants to open a new private prison specifically for undocumented immigrants
The Bureau of Prisons has begun the process of acquiring at least one new private prison specifically for housing undocumented immigrants, BuzzFeed News reports. "Given Attorney General [Jeff] Sessions' strong focus on a priority for the investigation and prosecution of immigration offenses, we do expect an increase in additional immigration offenders over the weeks and months ahead," said the acting director of the bureau, Dr. Thomas Kane.
The Bureau of Prisons is seeking bids for a prison with up to "9,540 beds." "The population will be low-security adult male inmates that are primarily criminal aliens with ordinarily 90 months or less remaining to serve on their sentences," the notice says.
"We're extremely concerned," the American Civil Liberties Union's deputy director of legislative affairs in Washington, Jesselyn McCurdy, told BuzzFeed News. "We have seen how people have been mistreated, abused, and in many cases, not been given proper medical care and died as a result of being in private prisons."
A woman is on trial this week for laughing during Jeff Sessions' congressional confirmation hearing in January when Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) attested the attorney general nominee had a record of "treating all Americans equally under the law." Desiree Fairooz, 61, is accused of "disorderly and disruptive conduct" that was intended to "impede, disrupt, and disturb the orderly conduct" of the hearing, The Huffington Post reports.
Another protester escorted out of Sessions hearing. Her original offense appeared to be simply laughing. pic.twitter.com/p6lWzBVFRW
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) January 10, 2017
Fairooz is an activist associated with the group Code Pink, but she said she had not planned to disrupt the hearing. Writer Elizabeth Croydon dismissed Fairooz's charges on Twitter, claiming "if my hero Desiree Fairooz wanted to make a scene, she would have made a scene. Desiree just had an involuntary reaction to a bogus lie that was told bold-faced in front of the American people. Jefferson Sessions has a record of not treating every American equally."
A rookie officer who had never worked at a congressional hearing or arrested someone before was responsible for arresting Fairooz. On Tuesday, an attorney asked the officer, Katherine Coronado, if Fairooz's laughter was "loud enough to draw your attention" or if it made people turn around. Coronado agreed it had, and said Fairooz had been laughing "very loudly."
In a video of her arrest, Fairooz can be seen expressing surprise at the reaction of the officers. "Why am I being taken out of here?" she wanted to know as she was escorted her out. "I was going to be quiet, and now you're going to have me arrested? For what?" Jeva Lange
The second night of protests against President-elect Donald Trump were generally smaller in cities around the country, but in Portland, Oregon, police blamed a small group of "anarchists" for the "riot" that grew out of a largely peaceful protest of some 4,000 demonstrators downtown. Some protesters smashed store windows, damaged a car lot, threw firecrackers, hurled objects at police, and ignited a dumpster fire. Early Friday morning, Portland police said they had arrested 26 people and "deployed less lethal munitions such as OC spray and vapor (pepper spray), rubber ball distraction devices, rubber baton rounds."
As the protest started getting destructive, the Portland Police tweeted out this ominous, poorly worded message:
Due to extensive criminal and dangerous behavior, protest is now considered a riot. Crowd has been advised.
— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) November 11, 2016
Before the mayhem, Trump suggested on Twitter that the "professional protesters" had been "incited by the media" and being "very unfair," but the protesters in some cities were at least as angry at the media. The Portland protesters had largely dispersed by early morning. You can watch raw footage from The Associated Press below. Peter Weber