In other news, the Wall Street Journal reports that federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York have obtained evidence that Trump was directly involved in all of the decisions to buy the silence of women before the 2016 election. The evidence was apparently handed over by Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen and tabloid executive David Pecker.
As a presidential candidate in August 2015, Donald Trump huddled with a longtime friend, media executive David Pecker, in his cluttered 26th floor Trump Tower office and made a request.
What can you do to help my campaign? he asked, according to people familiar with the meeting.
Mr. Pecker, chief executive of American Media Inc., offered to use his National Enquirer tabloid to buy the silence of women if they tried to publicize alleged sexual encounters with Mr. Trump.
Eric Trump is also directly implicated in this story as he served as a go-between.
Meanwhile, Florida Governor Rick Scott spoke to the press last night and said he was sending state law enforcement to investigate election officials in Broward County who are still counting votes from Tuesday's election, but state authorities say they aren't investigating because there's nothing to investigate. Scott never actually ordered a probe and there have been no complaints of fraud.
Finally, Justice Department officials who spoke to the Daily Beast aren't pleased about Trump's interim appointment of Matthew Whitaker as the acting attorney general.
“He’s a fucking fool,” one trial attorney inside the department said of the new AG. “He’s spent so much time trying to suck up to the president to get here. But this is a big job. It comes with many responsibilities. He just simply doesn’t have the wherewithal.” [...]
“We’ve seen this over and over again with the Trump administration. They never vet these people,” said one former official from the department. “It shows that they don’t really have a strategy when it comes to these things and then they end up having to backtrack.”
Here are some other stories I didn't get to during this hellish week:
A federal judge has temporarily blocked construction of a portion of the Keystone XL pipeline extension in Montana.
Senate Democrats are reportedly considering filing a lawsuit challenging Matthew Whitaker's appointment as acting attorney general because he was not confirmed by the Senate for another position.
House Democrats are considering intervening in the Republican-led state lawsuit against Obamacare's coverage for pre-existing conditions.
The Trump regime has sided with Sudan over American families who filed a lawsuit against the government of Sudan for supporting the USS Cole bombers.
Public records show that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have been buying surveillance cameras that can be secretly embedded in street lights and even orange traffic barrels.
Authorities say the gunman who attacked a bar in Thousand Oaks, California on Wednesday night was posting updates to social media during his attack.
The former high school track coach of the Thousand Oaks shooter says he sexually assaulted her but school officials pressured her not to report it to authorities.
Bloomberg reports that the Saudi Government has already begun rolling back Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s economic transformation plans.
In related news, Associated Press reports that hackers posing as journalists have been trying to intercept the communications of a Saudi critic living in Washington.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto says he quickly cut off the phone call when Trump called him after the Tree of Life shooting because, well, Trump is not a normal human who is capable of feeling or expressing appropriate emotions at appropriate times.
Before the true toll of that evil was known, before bomb squads had secured the building, before the heart-wrenching condolence calls, before the crying, before the string of funerals, before his city was forced into a near-constant state of mourning, Peduto’s phone rang again.
It was President Trump.
The three-minute phone call with the president jarred Peduto, 54, the popular second-term Democratic mayor of the Steel City, just as he was trying to get his head around what was happening. After offering thoughts and prayers — and pledging anything Peduto needed, including a direct line to the White House — Trump veered directly into policy, Peduto recalled. The president, Peduto said, insisted on discussing harsher death penalty legislation as a way to prevent such atrocities. Peduto was stunned into silence.
“I’m literally standing two blocks from 11 bodies right now. Really?” Peduto said, noting that he was numb and believed that talking about the death penalty wasn’t “going to bring them back or deter what had just happened. . . . I ended the conversation pretty quickly after that.”
Programming note... the past two weeks have been mentally and physically exhausting and Monday is a federal holiday so we'll back in action here on Tuesday. Have a good weekend.