Monday open thread michael avenatti bombshell qatari investor accused of bribery met cohen and flynn at trump tower 3chicspolitico gas in dogs

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Ice Cube, the rapper and actor, and his business partner Jeff Kwatinetz recently filed a $1.2 billion lawsuit that includes an allegation that Al-Rumaihi and other Qatari officials who invested in the men’s BIG3 basketball league indicated interest gaining access to people connected to Trump. “Mr Al-Rumaihi requested I set up a meeting between him, the Qatari government, and Stephen Bannon, and to tell Steve Bannon that Qatar would underwrite all of his political efforts in return for his support,” Kwatinetz said in the court filing. Kwatinetz says he rejected the offer, which he viewed as a bribe.

In response, Kwatinetz claims, “Al-Rumaihi laughed and then stated to me that I shouldn’t be naive, that so many Washington politicians take our money, and stated ‘do you think Flynn turned down our money?’” That’s a reference to Michael Flynn, who was fired as Trump’s national security adviser after lying about his contacts with then Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Sports Trinity, a group that included the Qatari investors in BIG3, claims that Kwantinetz is lying. “The statements in Mr. Kwatinetz’s declaration are pure Hollywood fiction,” a spokesperson for the group said in a statement. “Mr. Kwatinetz is engaging in a xenophobic PR smear campaign against Sport Trinity, the largest investor in BIG3 basketball, to cover up his own mismanagement and erratic behavior with respect to the league.”

Last week Avenatti released a report, later largely confirmed, that detailed secret payments by a several corporations to a limited liability company set up by Cohen. In another picture Avenatti posted along with the photos of Al-Rumaihi, Cohen speaks with Flynn. Avenatti’s photo of Flynn appears to be a screenshot of a YouTube video that does not feature the footage of Al-Rumaihi. Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents and is cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump campaign ties to Russia.

At the same time, the resistance is avoiding the suicidal tendencies of the Tea Party, which nominated radical candidates who blew winnable races for the Senate, such as Sharron Angle in Nevada, Todd Akin in Missouri, and Richard Mourdock in Indiana. In 2010 and 2012 the movement defeated Republican incumbents with strong general election appeal such as Delaware’s Mike Castle and Indiana’s Dick Lugar, only to watch Democrats win those races. “The only significant races we won in 2010 were in races where Republicans ate themselves alive,” says Senator Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat. “What should scare the hell out of Republicans is that we have energy and relative unity. That’s hard, because with energy usually comes some opposing forces, and that has not happened in any meaningful way so far.”

While red states such as Indiana and West Virginia drew the most attention on May 8, Democrats also stopped populist insurgents in important swing states like Ohio. Democratic leaders had worried that their preferred candidate, former Obama official Richard Cordray, might lose to Dennis Kucinich, the outspoken populist ex-congressman who won the backing of Our Revolution, an advocacy group that emerged from the Bernie Sanders campaign. But Cordray trounced Kucinich by 40 points. Rather than representing a broad divide between two poles of the party, Cordray says, he and Kucinich shared many policy positions, lessening the temptation of grass-roots activists to defect to his left-wing rival.

As the Trump administration moves aggressively to allow more states to impose mandatory work requirements on their Medicaid programs, several states have come under fire for crafting policies that would in practice shield many rural, white residents from the impact of the new rules.

In the GOP-controlled states of Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio, waiver proposals would subject hundreds of thousands of Medicaid enrollees to work requirements, threatening to cut off their health insurance if they can’t meet an hours-per-week threshold.

Those waivers include exemptions for the counties with the highest unemployment, which tend to be majority-white, GOP-leaning, and rural. But many low-income people of color who live in high-unemployment urban centers would not qualify, because the wealthier suburbs surrounding those cities pull the overall county unemployment rate below the threshold.

“This is sort of a version of racial redlining where they’re identifying communities where the work requirements will be in full effect and others where they will be left out,” George Washington University health law professor Sara Rosenbaum told TPM. “When that starts to result in racially identifiable areas, that’s where the concern increases.”

A Washington Post analysis found that while African Americans make up about 23 percent of Medicaid enrollees in Michigan, they would make up just 1.2 percent of the people eligible for an exemption. Meanwhile, 57 percent of Michigan Medicaid enrollees are white, but white residents would make up 85 percent of the population eligible for an exemption.

Ohio’s Medicaid work requirement proposal — recently submitted for federal approval — is of a similar design, and would have the same disparities between urban residents of color in Cleveland and Columbus and rural white residents in the rest of the state.