Trump Lawyer Fumbles Michael Cohen Cross - The Wednesday AM Quickie 5/15/24

Spectacular jailbreaks seem to be a distinctly French phenomenon. -Jacob

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Trump Team Struggles to Provoke Michael Cohen in Cross

Yesterday Todd Blanche, the current attorney in Donald Trump's rotating cast of MAGA-brained ambulance chasers, cross-examined former Trump fixer Michael Cohen as part of the Stormy Daniels hush-money case. Blanche tried to throw Cohen off by quoting back to him some incendiary lines Cohen had tossed off over the years – including about Blanche. "On April 23, you went on TikToK and called me a 'crying little shit?'" asked Blanche. "Sounds like something I would say," replied Cohen.

Cohen, who, despite repeated requests from the court, continues to talk about the case in public posts, didn't really take the bait. Cohen remained uncharacteristically measured when Blanche ticked off a list of nice things Cohen had once said about the former president and then challenged him to account for his years of obsequious loyalty to a man he now claims to despise. "At that time, you weren’t lying, right?" asked Blanche. "At that time, I was knee-deep into the cult of Donald Trump, yes," replied Cohen.

Pity for us!

Anyway, the cross-examination will continue today, as vice presidential hopefuls continue to march down to the courthouse to support the big guy in his criminal trial. Yesterday featured Vivek Ramaswamy, the millennial biotech executive with the irritating debate-kid affect. As Speaker of the House Mike Johnson loomed nearby, Ramaswamy accidentally called Trump a "sham politician." Oh well.

They're not the only ones coming to kiss the ring. J.D. Vance strolled through. Tim Scott and Doug Burgum could be next. Do you want to be vice president? Get yourself to lower Manhattan immediately!

Last Summer Was the Hottest in 2,000 Years

In the latest mark of ongoing climate doom, a new study found that the summer of 2023 was the hottest summer in the northern hemisphere in the last 2,000 years. Combining the work of scores of researchers, "the study goes back before the advent of thermometers and weather stations, to the year A.D. 1, using evidence from tree rings," notes the New York Times. The study's authors called last summer's weather "unparalleled" for, well, a couple millennia. Some scientists have quibbled with the study's methodology. But there's little doubt that the planet is warming at a pace that will cause us to blow past the 1.5 degree Celsius threshold that was once considered crucial to keeping the planet livable.


  • Boeing Violated Government Settlement And Could Be Prosecuted The Justice Department said that Boeing failed to live up to the terms of a settlement agreement reached after two 737 Max plane crashes five years ago. It could lead to the government prosecuting the aircraft maker for fraud or other crimes related to the deaths. via Associated Press.
  • Biden Admin Sends $1 Billion In Weapons to Israel After the Biden administration's completely inconsequential one-week pause in weapons shipments to Israel, the spigot has been re-opened. The State Department has sent a $1 billion military package to Congress for its rubber stamp, as Israel continues to bombard Rafah. via Reuters.
  • Giuliani Can't Even Do Bankruptcy Right Rudy Giuliani, who owes a $148 million defamation judgment as part of his proliferating legal problems, remains a disorganized mess who has failed to file required disclosure reports, sell his property, or even stop defaming his victims. "I am disturbed," said the judge. via Politico.
  • 6,000 University of Washington Instructors Announce Strike Teaching assistants, tutors, researchers, and other staff at the University of Washington are on strike, protesting low pay. The University has said it wants to negotiate a resolution. Their action follows a successful strike last June by UW scientists and engineers. via Seattle Times.


$1 million

That's how much money Jacob Helberg, an adviser to Palantir's CEO, recently donated to Donald Trump's campaign, according to the Washington Post. Helberg, who led the hawkish lobbying campaign to ban TikTok (he thinks it's a Chinese "weapon of war"), has made deep inroads with Trump and reflects the growing comfort with MAGA politics shown by many Silicon Valley notables, who have been racing to denounce Biden and line themselves up behind Trump.


5/15: It's Hump Day! Sam speaks with writer and labor organizer Mindy Isser to discuss her recent piece in In These Times entitled "In Labor’s Mission to Organize the South, Another Domino Could Soon Fall." Then, he speaks with Anna Clark, reporter at ProPublica covering issues in the MidWest, to discuss her recent reporting on the Flint water crisis, 10 years later.


Morning Joe Humiliated During Israel-Palestine Debate

Joe Scarborough will always have to live with the knowledge that his eminent father-in-law thought he was a dumbass.

Should You Argue With Libertarians In Real Life?

Only if you have an audience. Sam explains why.


"Alice Munro is to literature what Lee Iacocca is to automaking. @BretEastonEllis is to literature what Lee Iacocca is to literature."

-- From a series of tweets, in 2013, by the late comic Norm Macdonald, razzing shock-jock novelist Bret Easton Ellis for his criticism of short-story writer Alice Munro, who had just won the Nobel Prize. Munro died yesterday, at the age of 92.

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