TPM News

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Move over, Las Vegas. The Republican Party will host its 2020 presidential nominating convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Republican National Committee finalized its convention site on Friday, picking an East Coast swing state over Las Vegas, the only other finalist. The vote came as hundreds of Republican activists gathered in Texas for the RNC’s summer meeting.

The pick ensures that tens of thousands of political activists, protesters and journalists will crowd into Charlotte in the summer of 2020. The same city hosted the Democratic national convention in 2012.

Earlier in the week, a divided Charlotte City Council narrowly approved a bid to welcome the convention.

Mayor Vi Lyles, Charlotte’s first black female mayor, emphasized the vote to approve the bid isn’t an endorsement of President Donald Trump.

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Russia’s Foreign Ministry took to Twitter Thursday to publicize its support of alleged Russian agent Mariia Butina after she was indicted this week on conspiracy against the U.S. and acting as an unregistered foreign agent.

Using the hashtag #FreeMariaButina, the Russian MFA’s official Twitter account also urged Twitter users to change their profile photo to one with Butina’s image. So far, it appears that suggestion isn’t catching on.

The Russia MFA’s endorsement of the alleged Russian agent comes on the heels of Tuesday’s indictment that accuses Butina of spending years forging connections with top conservative officials, including many associated with a “gun rights organization,” “for the purpose of advancing the interests of the Russian Federation.”

On Monday, the Russia MFA retweeted President Donald Trump’s criticism of U.S.-Russia relations, blaming years of poor dialogue with Russia on his predecessors and the Russia probe.

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In a video posted to her YouTube channel, a flustered and discombobulated Roseanne Barr screams about Obama administration aide Valerie Jarrett, shrieking, “I thought the bitch was white! Fuck!” at the top of her lungs.

When the video begins, she is talking to an off-camera producer who’s encouraging her to speak like she’s giving a presidential address. She seems to have a hard time understanding him and keeps dropping her head into her hands.

“I’m trying to talk about Iran,” she says loudly to the producer. “I’m trying to talk about Valerie Jarrett wrote the Iran Deal. That’s what my tweet was about.”

“I know,” he responds. “You’ve explained this literally 300 times.”

“I thought the bitch was white!” Barr screams. “Goddamnit! I thought the bitch was white! Fuck!”

She then takes a drag on her cigarette and looks offscreen.

The video is titled “Roseanne explains the Valerie Jarrett tweet.”

In late May, Barr tweeted about Jarrett, saying that she was the offspring of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Planet of the Apes. The backlash was so intense that ABC cancelled the “Roseanne” reboot.

Barr has a history of racist and generally unhinged tweets, and has specifically likened a black Obama administration official—former national security adviser Susan Rice—to an ape before.

Watch below:

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Michael Cohen secretly recorded a 2016 conversation in which he and President Trump discussed paying hush money to a former Playboy model who claims she slept with Trump, the New York Times reported Friday. The FBI is in possession of the recording.

Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, confirmed that the taped conversation about the payments to Karen McDougal occurred. Giuliani told the Times that the brief recording contained no suggestion that Trump has “any knowledge of it in advance” and said it was actually “powerful exculpatory evidence.”

Giuliani also said that the recording is interrupted twice because “someone brings soda in for them,” suggesting the conversation happened in person rather than over the phone.

The Times reported that the conversation reportedly focused on the $150,000 that the National Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc., gave to McDougal to “catch and kill” her story about her alleged yearlong 2006 affair with Trump, as well as an additional payment that Cohen planned to make directly to McDougal.

Maggie Haberman, one of the Times reporters who broke the story, said on CNN that Giuliani was trying to argue that Trump instructed Cohen to send the money by check “so that it was done properly, as opposed to cash,” which would not be traceable. That additional payment was never actually sent, Haberman said.

The Washington Post subsequently published a notably different account by a “person familiar with the recording.” That individual said that the pair discussed a plan for Cohen to try to purchase the rights to McDougal’s story from AMI for $150,000.

These differing accounts leave it not yet clear whether Trump and Cohen discussed sending an additional payment to McDougal, or instead reimbursing AMI the $150,000 it spent on McDougal’s story in order to take control of her rights.

The recording was among the huge trove of materials that the FBI seized from Cohen’s Manhattan office in an April raid. Cohen is under criminal investigation in New York for a host of financial dealings, including the payments he doled out during the 2016 campaign to silence women who claimed to have had sexual relationships with Trump.

Those payments could violate federal finance laws.

“Three people briefed on the matter” told the Times that Cohen’s lawyers discovered the recording when reviewing the seized materials for anything covered by attorney-client privilege, and shared it with Trump’s attorneys.

Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis told the Times he had “nothing to say on this matter.”

Later Friday afternoon, Davis sent a tweet saying the recording “will not hurt” Cohen.

The story of McDougal’s alleged affair with Trump came to light in March, when the former Playboy model sued AMI for an alleged breach of contract. McDougal said she sold the story of her affair to the tabloid, but that the publication, which is owned by Trump’s friend David Pecker, declined to publish it to protect Trump.

Former adult film star Stormy Daniels also received funds from Trump, via Cohen, to keep her silent about her own alleged affair with the president.

Rumors about Cohen’s habit of recording phone conversations first circulated when the FBI raided his office, apartment and hotel room in April. Friday’s revelation leaves open the possibility that the feds may have seized recordings of other conversations between Cohen and Trump.

This post has been updated.

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Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle is reportedly leaving the network to help Donald Trump Jr. campaign for the 2018 midterm elections, according to Vanity Fair and CNN.

Guilfoyle, who is dating Trump Jr., is planning to work for the non-profit, America First Policies, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke to CNN. A second person familiar with discussions said America First, which supports President Donald Trump’s stances, has been trying to get her to join the organization for a while.

Trump Jr. and his wife Vanessa Haydon are recently divorced. The New York Daily News has been closely documenting Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle’s budding relationship.

A Fox News spokesperson did not immediately return TPM’s request for comment.

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The father of two students who survived the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in February was shot and killed in his own convenience store this week, according to local reports.

The father of four, Ayub Ali, was forced into the back office of his store by the robber, who took money from the cash register and left, according to NBC Miami. The suspect returned minutes later and shot Ali. Police found him in the back room of his store and he was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Two of Ali’s children were in the Parkland high school on Valentine’s Day when a former student entered the school with his own legally purchased AR-15 and other weapons and opened fire on the students and teachers, killing 17 people. Students who survived the attack ignited a nationwide effort to end school shootings.

Ali’s shooting death will likely add fuel to those efforts, which include advocating for common sense gun reform and encouraging other young people to vote out politicians who are largely funded by the National Rifle Association.

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THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. (AP) — Charges have been filed against two City Council members in Minnesota who were involved in a knockdown, chair-swinging brawl that resulted from a discussion about a children’s splash pad.

The Pennington County attorney has charged Joshua Hagen with fifth-degree assault and Jerald Brown with disorderly conduct stemming from the physical fight at a Thief River Falls City Council meeting more than a week ago.

Brown tells the Star Tribune a heated discussion over swimming pool money and a splash park went from bad to worse.

Charging documents say both men were shoving each other and ended up on the floor. Brown suffered injuries to his face. Hagen sustained abrasions to his back and chest. Brown says he doesn’t plan to contest the charges. Hagen resigned his council seat earlier this week, citing medical reasons.

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Among the changes in the voting rights landscape after a 2013 Supreme Court decision gutting the Voting Rights Act was an uptick in voter purges in states and localities that, before the ruling, had to get federal approval for changes to their elections policies, a new report from the Brennan Center said.

The decision, Shelby County v. Holder, ushered in a slew of voting restrictions passed by the states that previously had to go through a so-called “preclearance” process, where a federal judge or the Justice Department had to OK their election policies, due to their history of racially discriminatory voting laws.

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