Michael Avenatti has just been arrested. Mark Geragos has been named as a co-conspirator. (He was fired by CNN today) The people who caught him were federal prosecutors in Manhattan. They set up a sting conducted on March 19th and caught him trying to extort millions from Nike. The person who announced the arrest was Geoffrey S. Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. That would be the same Geoffrey Berman who recused himself from the investigation into Michael Cohen. He recused himself because that case was a referral from Robert Mueller. This is the same Geoffrey Berman who replaced Preet Bharara. Avenatti is a huge critic of Trump, but Berman didn’t have to recuse himself because this wasn’t a referral from Mueller and the Mueller investigation is over.
There are a lot of people speculating that Federal Prosecutors from the Southern District of New York will now take the lead in investigating everything Trump. Perhaps this should give them pause. If this is any indication, they are more interested in real crimes than the made up stuff reported on CNN.
The Trump campaign sent a letter to CNN. Here is a copy of that letter from Tim Murtaugh:
It details several instances where CNN allowed guests to make what Murtaugh called outlandish and false claims. He is demanding that CNN take action to prevent this from happening again:
The letter is very stunning, primarily because unlike the reporting by CNN, this is so obviously true. Here is a list of the guests and the obvious lies told on CNN with zero pushback from CNN news reporters.
- Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT): “The evidence is pretty clear that there was collision between the Trump campaign and the Russians…” (MSNBC, “All In,” 10/17/18)
- Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): “I think there’s plenty of evidence of collusion or conspiracy in plain sight.” (“CBS This Morning,” 8/5/18)
- Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY): “There was obviously a lot of collusion. The question is how high. Every day we – every day – every so often we get new information about involvement.” (CNN, “Erin Burnett OutFront,” 10/27/17)
- Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA): “In our investigation, we saw strong evidence of collusion.” (CNN, “Wolf,” 3/16/18)
- DNC Chairman Tom Perez: “And over the course of the last year we have seen, I think, a mountain of evidence of collusion between the campaign and the Russians to basically affect our democracy.” (NBC, “Meet the Press,” 4/22/18)
- Former CIA Director John Brennan: “I called his behavior treasonous which is to betray one’s trust and to aiding and abet the enemy and I stand very much by that claim.” (NBC, “Meet the Press,” 8/19/18)
Here is the challenge given to CNN:
“Moving forward, we ask that you employ basic journalistic standards when booking such guests to appear anywhere in your universe of productions. You should begin by asking the basic question:
“Does this guest warrant further appearances in our programming, given the outrageous and unsupported claims made in the past?”
At a minimum, if these guests do reappear, you should replay the prior statements and challenge them to provide the evidence which prompted them to make the wild claims in the first place.”
This letter probably went off like a bomb in the CNN Board Room. Actually, it is probably the Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. board that is dealing with this. CNN is only part of the Turner Broadcasting System. I have dealt directly with board members for a major corporation and I can guarantee that they are not amused. Jeff Zucker is the President of CNN Worldwide. We can be certain that he is being asked some very tough questions, including: “How exactly can we trust you to deal with this?” Remember, Zucker was picked to take over as President of CNN Worlwide in January 2013. That means this happened on his watch. This is at best embarrassing. Few CEOs being asked those kinds of questions by the Board of Directors survive. None survive unless they can convince the board that they are smart enough and mean enough to fix this.
This is just the start. The summary of the Mueller report was only delivered at 4:00 p.m. EST yesterday. However, it is clear that people have been preparing for this day for a long time. A lot of people, including some that will shock the world, are going to be indicted. Did any of you expect the news about Avenatti? The Mueller report cleared the decks for action and this is likely to get very ugly in the blink of an eye. It has already energized people like Lindsey Graham and Kevin McCarthy. Last week, they were still in defensive mode. This morning they smell blood and they are moving in for the kill. The smell of victory is in the air, so is the odor of defeat.
We have seen this many times before. One recent example was the 2004 Boston Red Sox. They Yankees were ahead in the playoffs 3 to 0. They had outscored the Red Sox 32 to 19. The Red Sox were down 4-3 going to the bottom of the ninth in game four. If they lost that game their season was over. Mariano River, the greatest closer in baseball history was on the mound for the Yankees. The Red Sox tied the game and then won it in the bottom of the ninth. They never lost again and won the next three games against the Yankees and swept the Cardinals in the World Series. Victory is a beautiful thing and winning is always contagious. Like I said, victory has 1,000 fathers.