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Is This How Avenatti Found Out?

TPM Reader TH thinks he knows where Michael Avenatti got his amazingly specific details. And it sounds right to me …

I want to shed some light on tonight’s post re: Cohen/Avenatti, specifically this line:

“They’ve also confirmed the dollar amounts. So while we still don’t know where or how Avenatti got this information he must have had access to one of Cohen’s ledgers, a bank statement or perhaps an investigative document. The details are simply too specific.”

I work as an Anti-Money Laundering and Bank Secrecy Act Specialist at a financial institution. Every bank/credit union/etc will have someone who’s responsibility it is to examine transactions and file Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) with FinCEN, a department of the Treasury. This is what I do.

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Tonight's Staggering Revelations

Tonight we have what I’d say may be the most staggering revelations since the tangle of “Trump/Russia” investigations began almost two years ago. This is not hyperbole.

Late this afternoon Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti posted what he called a “Preliminary Report” on financial transactions of Michael Cohen. The claims were staggering. But this wasn’t a legal filing in which the attorneys in question need to vouch for their accuracy. For all the fancy language it was simply a press release, with no clear explanation of the basis for the various claims. (It’s an example of how TPM is in many ways a much more conservative operation than many mainstream media publications. Bloomberg for instance published basically all the claims even though they were clear that it could not independently verify them. To be clear, this is not necessarily a criticism. These are fact sets for which there is little obvious precedent.) In any case, the key claims are now being confirmed – in most cases to the letter.

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This is Embarassing

Our new Secretary of State thinks Kim Jong Un is referred to as “Chairman Un”.

Today what we’re hoping to do is – there have been discussions between that day to now, and we’ve continued to develop both administratively and sort of begin to put some outlines around the substance of the agenda for the summit between the President and Chairman Un. And today we’re hoping to nail some of those down to say – to put in place a framework for a successful summit between the two presidents.

Trumps Play Rough, Don't They?

Not long ago, Donald Trump Jr. and his wife Vanessa Trump announced they were divorcing. The divorce appears to be getting acrimonious. For decades Donald Trump used The New York Post as a press tool to pump up his brand and attack enemies. The New York press world and the high octane real estate families who are fodder and enablers of it are all notoriously corrupt. And now – surprise, surprise! – The Post appears to be in the lead with dramatic dirt on Trump’s estranged wife – specifically, that in high school she dated and had a years-long relationship with a member of the Latin Kings, a notoriously violent Latino street gang which is the bigger brother, as it were, of MS-13, the street gang with roots in Central America and among Central American immigrants which Donald Trump endlessly cites as an example of the need for his draconian immigration policies.

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Michigan wants to attach work requirements to Medicaid. But its plan for how to implement the requirements is under fire for favoring the state’s rural, white, poor over poor residents of color in urban areas. Alice Ollstein has more in our Weekly Primer on the battle over the future of Obamacare (Prime access), which rounds up all of this week’s developments on the health care front.

The Mystery Deepens

Yesterday we discussed reports that opponents of the Iran Nuclear Deal, or at least opponents of at least two former Obama administration foreign policy staffers, had hired the Israeli private intelligence firm Black Cube to spy on and run a black ops operation against these two men, Ben Rhodes and Colin Kahl.

Now The New York Times has obtained a copy of the report.

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Staggering Accusations

Four women accuse New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of a range of sexual misconduct and abusive, violent behavior. The New Yorker has the story.