TPM News

NEW YORK (AP) — In an about-face, U.S. Rep. Chris Collins is ending his re-election bid days after the Republican was charged with insider trading.

Collins released a statement Saturday morning saying his will suspend his campaign and fill out the rest of his term. Collins was indicted Wednesday on charges he used inside information about a biotechnology company to make illicit stock traders. He had said later that day he would remain on the ballot despite the indictment and fight the charges.

“I have decided that it is in the best interests of the constituents of NY-27, the Republican Party and President Donald Trump’s agenda for me to suspend my campaign for re-election to Congress,” the statement said.

He went on to say he will fill out his term and “continue to fight the meritless charges brought against me.” He has denied any wrongdoing.

Wednesday’s indictment charges Collins and two others, including his son, with conspiracy, wire fraud and other counts.

Prosecutors say the charges relate to a scheme to gain insider information about a biotechnology company headquartered in Sydney, Australia, with offices in Auckland, New Zealand.

Jessica Proud, a spokeswoman for the New York state Republican party, said no decision has been made about a possible replacement for Collins on the ballot. She said the party is weighing its options.

Read More →

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The counting of the last ballots in the tight and contentious Republican primary for Kansas governor will stretch out over the next week and still might not settle the race.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach leads Gov. Jeff Colyer by 110 votes out of 313,000-plus cast after late mail-in ballots from all 105 counties were added Friday to totals from advance voting and ballots cast at the polls Tuesday. The state’s 105 counties still must review nearly 9,000 provisional ballots and determine how many of them were cast in the Republican primary — and how many will be counted. They have until Aug. 20 to finish that process and certify their local results.

A look at the process for counting the remaining votes and a possible recount:

MAIL-IN BALLOTS

The Legislature last year changed the state’s law on mail-in ballots so that they were to be counted if they were postmarked Tuesday, the day of the primary, and arrived by Friday. Previously, they had to arrive by Election Day, and in the 2016 general election, more than 500 arrived afterward, said Bryan Caskey, the state elections director in the secretary of state’s office.

WHO COUNTS

While Kobach’s office provides guidance on the handling of ballots and supervises the counting, the work is done by the counties.

The chief elections officer in each county appoints a bipartisan board of election workers to handle the individual ballots.

The secretary of state appoints an election commissioner in the state’s four most populous counties, Johnson, Sedgwick, Shawnee and Wyandotte, and the chief elections officers in the other 101 are elected clerks.

The elections chiefs present their workers’ recommendations on whether provisional ballots should be counted to the county commission, which then decides and certifies the final results.

PROVISIONAL BALLOTS

Voters receive provisional ballots at the polls when election workers are not sure they are eligible to vote at that location, or at all. Those ballots are sealed in envelopes and set aside to be reviewed later, with notes about the issues involved. The eligibility of the voters is determined before workers unseal the ballots. Once a ballot is unsealed, workers can see whether it was cast in the Republican or Democratic primary before counting any relevant votes.

Kobach said based on past elections, it’s likely that about two-thirds of 9,000 provisional ballots that were filled out Tuesday were cast in the Republican primary and that a majority of them will be counted.

COUNTING DAYS

State law says counties can begin their canvassing Monday. Seventy-six counties plan to start then, including Johnson and Sedgwick.

An additional 14 plan to start Tuesday, two on Wednesday and six on Thursday, including Shawnee and Wyandotte counties. Rooks County in northwest Kansas has scheduled its canvassing for Friday, and six counties have set it for Aug. 20, the deadline to finish.

REQUESTING A RECOUNT

Under a Kansas law specific to statewide races, a candidate must ask for a recount by 5 p.m. Friday. State law has no provision for an automatic recount, no matter how close the race.

A candidate can ask for a recount no matter how large the margin, but he or she must put up funds to cover the full cost of the recount. If the recount changes the result, the candidate seeking it gets his or her money back, and the counties and state cover their costs.

The candidate can seek a recount in only one or a handful of counties, dozens of counties, or statewide. Also, the candidate chooses whether the recount will be machine re-scanning of paper ballots or a hand count of those ballots.

The cost of the recount is determined by the secretary of state’s office. Caskey said the office would survey the counties involved in a recount for their estimated costs, then add “a small amount” to cover the state’s administrative expenses.

There’s no frame of reference for what a recount would cost because there hasn’t been one in a statewide race in at least several decades.

A recount must start the day after the candidate requests one, even if the work would start on a Saturday. Counties involved have five days to finish, meaning all of it would be done by Aug. 22 at the latest.

Read More →

SEATAC, Wash. (AP) — A “suicidal” airline employee stole an empty Horizon Air turboprop plane, took off from Sea-Tac International Airport and was chased by military jets before crashing into a small island in the Puget Sound on Friday night, officials said.

Preliminary information suggests the crash occurred because the 29-year-old man was “doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills,” the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said.

Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the sheriff’s department, said on Twitter the man was suicidal and there was no connection to terrorism. The man’s condition after the crash wasn’t immediately known.

Video showed the Horizon Air Q400 doing large loops and other dangerous maneuvers as the sun set on the Puget Sound. There were no passengers aboard. Authorities initially said the man was a mechanic but Alaska Airlines later said he was believed to be a ground service agent employed by Horizon. Those employees direct aircraft for takeoff and gate approach and de-ice planes.

Witnesses reported seeing the plane being chased by military aircraft before it crashed on Ketron Island, southwest of Tacoma, Washington. Troyer said F-15 aircraft scrambled out of Portland, Oregon, and were in the air “within a few minutes” and the pilots kept “people on the ground safe.”

The sheriff’s department said they were working to conduct a background investigation on the Pierce County resident, whose name was not immediately released.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Saturday morning that President Donald Trump is “monitoring the situation.” He’s currently at his New Jersey golf club.

The aircraft was stolen about 8 p.m. Alaska Airlines said it was in a “maintenance position” and not scheduled for a passenger flight. Horizon Air is part of Alaska Air Group and flies shorter routes throughout the U.S. West. The Q400 is a turboprop aircraft with 76 seats.

Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor said the man “did something foolish and may well have paid with his life.”

The man could be heard on audio recordings telling air traffic controllers that he is “just a broken guy.”

An air traffic controller called the man “Rich,” and tried to convince the man to land the airplane.

“There is a runway just off to your right side in about a mile,” the controller says, referring to an airfield at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

“Oh man. Those guys will rough me up if I try and land there,” the man responded, later adding “This is probably jail time for life, huh?”

Later the man said: “I’ve got a lot of people that care about me. It’s going to disappoint them to hear that I did this…Just a broken guy, got a few screws loose, I guess.”

Flights out of Sea-Tac, the largest commercial airport in the Pacific Northwest, were temporarily grounded during the drama.

The U.S. Coast Guard sent a 45-foot (14-meter) vessel to the crash scene after witnesses reported seeing a large plume of smoke in the air, Petty Officer Ali Flockerzi said. Video showed fiery flames amidst trees on the island, which is sparsely populated and only accessible by ferry.

Alaska Airlines said no structures on the ground were damaged.

Royal King told The Seattle Times he was photographing a wedding when he saw the low-flying turboprop being chased by two F-15s. He said he didn’t see the crash but saw smoke.

“It was unfathomable, it was something out of a movie,” he told the newspaper. “The smoke lingered. You could still hear the F-15s, which were flying low.”

“Our hearts are with the family of the individual aboard, along with all of our Alaska Air and Horizon Air employees,” Horizon Air Chief Operating Officer Constance von Muehlen said in a video posted on Twitter.

Spokesmen for the Transportation Security Administration, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Aviation Administration directed inquiries to local authorities.

Gov. Jay Inslee thanked the Air National Guard from Washington and Oregon for scrambling jets and said in a statement “there are still a lot of unknowns surrounding tonight’s tragic incident.”

Read More →

Previously, on Keeping Up With Kris Kobach:

[Pan to campaign headquarters, tighten on TV]

News Anchor: It is still too close to call here in the Sunflower State, with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Gov. Jeff Colyer neck-and-neck in this heated Republican gubernatorial primary. It looks like nothing will be decided tonight, and we will likely have to wait to count those provisional and mail-in ballots.

[Transition to Kobach in a confessional]

Kobach: I don’t know, I just feel really good about my chances. I absolutely deserve it. Do you know how much energy it takes to maintain passion and keep writing speeches about a voter fraud issue that literally does not exist? And I don’t know what it is, just something in the air…I just really feel like I got this.

[Switch to Colyer]

Colyer: He is literally the one who heads the office that tallies the ballots and sets the price of a recount?? How is this fair at all?

Kobach: Wait, what’s he saying? He just doesn’t understand the system. I’m the Kansas secretary of state, for cryin’ out loud, I don’t dirty my own hands with those grimy little ballots! I just tell people how to count them for me. I mean I guess if he really wants me to recuse myself as well, but it seems like an extreme overreaction.

Colyer: Yes, I absolutely want him to recuse himself, I honestly can’t believe I have to say it.

Kobach: [Hastily stuffing ballots into coat pockets] Sorry, what was the question?

—-

The above is a dramatization — but only just. This week, Kobach took us on an ethically dizzying rollercoaster ride as he and Colyer finished just 191 votes apart in the Republican Kansas gubernatorial election primary Tuesday night.

Though Kobach’s position as secretary of state may not specifically dictate that he is personally involved in the counting of the ballots, there is something extremely fishy about his multi-day reluctance to just recuse himself and avoid all appearances of impropriety.

To compound that weirdness, on Thursday, it was revealed that the office Kobach heads gave him 100 more votes than it ought to have. Thomas County Clerk Shelly Harms confirmed that the secretary of state’s office gave Colyer only 422 voters from the county on Election Day when he actually earned 522. May sound like pennies, but it shrank Kobach’s lead to 91 votes.

On top of that, Harms came to a startling conclusion about the mistake: she double checked the scan that the county had sent to Kobach’s office—522 votes for Colyer. It was only at the secretary of state’s office that the vote total somehow got altered. Harms added that her handwriting may be to blame for the mistake.

But, Friday afternoon, after Colyer poked around the Kansas statehouse for more “misplaced ballots,” he went on Fox News and accused Kobach of instructing counties to not count some legitimate mail-in ballots. In an incredible understatement, he said that he’s not “entirely comfortable” with the rest of the vote tallying. No kidding.

We don’t want to jump to any conclusions here. Admittedly, we don’t know for sure that the Case of The Mysterious Voter Disenfranchisement was not accidental. And we don’t know if Colyer’s claims are true. But what we do know is that for someone keen on fabricating voter fraud by scapegoating undocumented immigrants, Kobach is pretty loosey goosey with the integrity of his own election.

After traveling up and down the country, setting up a bogus committee backed by bogus research to attack undocumented immigrants for messing with our elections, Kobach, if not actively tampering with the his own race, is at least putting up a really good show of it.

For hating voter fraud so much that he conducts weekend seminars to teach ballot counters to smudge 5s into 4s, Kris Kobach is our duke of the week.

Read More →

Hello Prime subscribers. Happy Saturday.

August is usually when political news slows down. The House is out, the Senate is out, sometimes the President takes a vacation. Not this August. Alas, another norm broken.

Here’s what happened this week in Prime.

  • The Manafort trial is providing documents that back up some of what we already knew from reporting, Josh Marshall writes: That, at the time he joined the Trump campaign, Manafort was out of money and desperate.
  • Who will be the next member of the Trump administration to wash out in a flood of scandal? Matt Shuham offers three candidates.
  • Caitlin MacNeal gave us two behind-the-scenes looks at the Manafort trial this week. In one, she describes the tense atmosphere in the courtroom as Manafort’s former deputy Rick Gates took the stand. In another, she takes a look at Manafort and his wife’s surprisingly lighthearted demeanor.
  • Rep. Chris Collins was indicted this week for insider trading. But he wasn’t the only member of Congress who bought the stock. Was there some kind of pump and dump scheme going on? Josh asks. Rep. John Culberson has a particular problem, he notes.
  • Four states held primaries this week. In Kansas, Cameron Joseph writes, the memory of the very unpopular, tax-slashing and government-service-cutting former governor Sam Brownback hung over the race.
  • North Carolina politics are, once again, getting crazy, Tierney Sneed writes.
  • The Trump administration is shrinking the Office of Financial Research, created after the financial crisis as an independent watchdog within the Treasury Department tasked with identifying risky financial behavior, Matt Shuham writes. What could go wrong?
  • Obamacare is becoming a rallying cry in the fight to oppose Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, I write in the weekly health care primer.
  • An email in the Manafort trial suggested, but certainly didn’t confirm, that Manafort may have had a closer relationship with Trump than was known in 2013
  • Omarosa Manigault Newman’s likely to dominate the news with her new book in the upcoming week. Buckle up.

Read More →

There are plenty of self-help books and online courses devoted to improving productivity, yet true productivity remains elusive. Frequently, those books and classes focus solely on productivity as an offshoot of willpower and mental strength, but failing to look at your life as a whole creates an ineffective program. The 30 Days of Genius Bundle is a collection of courses from Tim Ferriss’s comprehensive 4-Hour Life: Healthy, Wealthy & Wise program (he’s the New York Times Bestselling author of The 4-Hour Workweek), with the selected courses covering entrepreneurship, health, time-management and creative problem-solving. It gives you all the tools you need to look at your life objectively and harness the productivity you’ve been seeking.

Entrepreneurship: Start a Profitable Online Business

A lifestyle entrepreneur, new media expert, and video marketing pro lead this set of 14 lectures designed to kick-start your online company. Once you’ve developed a product that sells with tried-and-true tips, you’ll be introduced to online marketing tools, like email lists, and other strategies for creating lead magnets (incentives that reward customers for providing their email address or other contact information). Armed with your new knowledge, you’ll be ready to build your brand’s authority, attract influencers for attention from your industry, and bring in revenue in the most efficient way possible

Health: Maintain Your Body for Long-Lasting Health & Mobility

The concept of improving mobility might sound like it’s for older people or someone who’s recovering from an accident, but little factors like bad posture, weightlifting with poor form, and even walking or running inefficiently can cause pain and musculoskeletal issues. The best defense is a good offense, and Crossfit founder Kelly Starrett’s course will help you fend off mobility issues before they have a chance become painful and start chipping away at your time and productivity.

Time Management: The 4-Hour Life

Tim Ferriss, the author of The 4 Hour Work Week, takes his new program beyond the office with this holistic life strategy. Inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s quotes about staying healthy, wealthy and wise. It’s full of hacks and tricks on everything from learning a new language, improving your athletic performance, validating your business, creating a startup and more, all as efficiently as possible.

Problem Solving: 30 Days of Genius

This class has a month’s worth of interviews with some of today’s most influential and successful people, like Richard Branson and Mark Cuban. The lectures hone in on how creativity helped every person break out of a creative rut to solve problems and move forward in their career. Hearing about their successes and failures will inspire you to create actionable insights for yourself, avoiding potholes on the road to success and using your newfound productivity techniques to reach your goals faster.

Normally this powerful four-course bundle goes for $696, but right now it’s on sale for 88% off — snag it for just $79.

 

Read More →

ALEXANDRIA, VA — Paul Manafort purchased season tickets for the New York Yankees from 2010 through 2017, with at least some of those seasons in the “Legends Suite,” according Irfan Kirimca, the senior director of ticket operations for the Yankees.

A ticket agreement admitted by prosecutors from 2014 showed that Manafort had purchased tickets for a “Legends Suite,” which “provides first-class accommodations,” according to the MLB website. Those accommodations include a private entrance, cushioned seats, all inclusive food and in-seat wait service.

In a humorous moment, prosecutor Brandon Van Grack on Friday asked Kirimca to explain what the New York Yankees is, prompting Kirimca to explain that it’s a Major League Baseball team.

Evidence about Manafort’s season tickets has slowly trickled in throughout Manafort’s Virginia trial, and Friday’s testimony from Kirimca completed the circle.

As an employee from the Federal Savings Bank testified earlier on Friday, Manafort had a $300,000 outstanding balance on his credit card when he applied for a loan as of February 2016. Manafort’s former deputy Rick Gates testified earlier this week that in order to explain away this liability, Manafort had Gates write a letter claiming that he borrowed Manafort’s card to purchase the tickets but had not yet paid him back.

Kirimca testified Friday afternoon that the Yankees have no record of Gates purchasing tickets and that Manafort was a season ticket holder through 2017.

In an email with Yankees employees in March of 2016 shown in court, Manafort confirmed enthusiastically that he and his wife would be attending opening day for the team that year.

An email chain from November 2011 indicated that at that time, Manafort was paying for his tickets with money from foreign accounts. Manafort told an employee for the Yankees to expect a $226,800 wire from one of the foreign accounts he allegedly used as payment for his 2012 season tickets.

Read More →

The feeling of putting pen to paper is still something smartphones and tablets haven’t fully been able to capture. It’s understandable why plenty of people have chosen to put down pens and pencils: they run out of ink or lead quickly, they’re a pain to hold on to, and they’re not always comfortable to write with. Omega AXL’s Inkless Pen takes the need for replacements out of the equation and gives you that old-school writing experience with a modern twist.

The Omega AXL has a metal tip that writes in alloy, putting down a dark gray line. This means that the pen won’t smudge and can’t be erased — your writing will even survive if you drop your notebook in a puddle. Even though the pen writes using metal, such a small amount of the alloy comes off that the pen will never get dull or run out of ink. The pen’s shaft is constructed from anodized aluminum, making it comfortable to write with and cool to the touch when you pick it up. And since you’ll never have to replace the pen or any of its parts, it’s an eco-friendly solution for those times when you need to write by hand.

Usually, the Omega AXL Inkless Pen costs $39.99, but right now it’s on sale for $29.99 (that’s a 25% savings).

 

Read More →

LiveWire