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Manafort faces up to 10 years in prison in second sentencing

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By Dartunorro Clark

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s onetime campaign chairman, faces up to 10 years in prison in his second and final round of sentencing on Wednesday.

Manafort, 69, will appear before Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington, D.C., federal court, where he pleaded guilty to two conspiracy charges.

Berman Jackson will decide if his sentence will be served concurrently or consecutively with the 47-month sentence he received last week in a Virginia federal court, which prompted criticism that his sentence was too light.

After the longtime political operative was convicted on eight felony counts in his Virginia case, Manafort pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charges in the D.C. courtroom last September. The first count is participating in a conspiracy against the United States, which involved money laundering, tax fraud, failing to file Foreign Bank Account Reports, violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act, and lying and misrepresenting to the Department of Justice.

The second count, conspiracy to obstruct justice, is tied to his efforts to guide witness testimony after he was indicted in 2017.

Manafort and his legal team have a contentious relationship with Berman Jackson. She has often scolded his legal counsel for their conduct, enough so that Manafort’s lead counsel, Kevin Downing, largely handed off arguments to another defense lawyer, Richard Westling. She also revoked Manafort’s bail and sent him to jail last June after allegations of witness tampering surfaced.

“I cannot turn a blind eye to this,” Jackson said at the time. “This isn’t middle school, I can’t take your phone.”

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European elections 2019: France TORN in heated EU debate – judgement day for Macron

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SUPPORT in France is on the rise for Marine Le Pen’s far-right party just days before crunch elections to the European parliament, but President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist movement is nipping at its heels, an opinion poll published on Thursday showed.

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As Trump rages, Democrats wonder how to harness the chaos

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By Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Carrie Dann

WASHINGTON — As President Trump rages, Democrats have a dilemma on their hands.

In the last 48 hours, the president of the United States has:

  • Walked out of an infrastructure meeting with Democratic leaders;
  • referred to the House Speaker as “Crazy Nancy” after she asked the country to pray for him and for his staff to intervene;
  • called himself (again) a “stable genius”;
  • asked his staff to testify about his temperament in that short-lived infrastructure meeting;
  • tweeted an edited/deceptive video of Pelosi;
  • and, oh, gave his attorney general sweeping powers to investigate the investigators into Russian interference in the ’16 election.

While this kind of behavior is a significant reason why Trump’s job rating is stuck in the 40s — despite a humming economy — it presents quite the quandary for Democrats.

Do they fight fire with fire? (How did that work out for Hillary Clinton?)

Do they ramp up the impeachment talk? (Trump and the GOP clearly want Dems to go there, thinking it will lead to his exoneration or suck Dems into their chaos.)

Or do they try to rise above the noise and focus on the issues they want to talk about? (Remember health care?)

Trump has successfully dragged Democrats into his vortex of chaos, as our friends at Politico have observed.

When Democrats were in the minority in 2017-2018, they got to avoid some of this chaos. But now with a House majority, they’re sharing it.

And it does present the Democratic presidential candidates with a real opportunity to focus on matters outside of Washington’s mess.

Their challenge: Can they get enough voters to pay attention?

Private testifier

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., told MSNBC Rachel Maddow last night that Robert Mueller will testify before Congress — but in private.

“Mueller has told … Nadler that he is willing to make a public opening statement, but leave his testimony behind closed doors,” per NBC News.

That isn’t a positive development for Democrats — if they’re looking for a moment to change the public’s mind about the Russia investigation.

In the Trump Era, images are much more important than transcripts.

Bernie’s bad month

Joe Biden’s first full month as a 2020 presidential candidate has been mostly bad news for Bernie Sanders.

Before Biden got into the race, Sanders was within single digits of the former vice president in national polls.

Now it’s double digits.

A month ago, Elizabeth Warren was running behind Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg.

Now she’s running ahead of the two in recent polls – arguably at Sanders’ expense.

And to top it off, last week, Sanders gave a very prickly interview to the New York Times’ Sydney Ember that didn’t get that much attention.

Imagine the reaction if, say, Amy Klobuchar, had said this:

NYT: In the top of our story, we talk about the rally you attended in Managua and a wire report at the time said that there were anti-American chants from the crowd.

Sanders: The United States at that time — I don’t know how much you know about this — was actively supporting the Contras to overthrow the government. So that there’s anti-American sentiment? I remember that, I remember that event very clearly.

NYT: You do recall hearing those chants? I think the wire report has them saying, “Here, there, everywhere, the Yankee will die.”

Sanders: They were fighting against American —— Huh huh —— yes, what is your point?

NYT: I wanted to ——

Sanders: Are you shocked to learn that there was anti-American sentiment?

[snip]

NYT: Do you think if you had heard that directly, you would have stayed at the rally?

Sanders: I think Sydney, with all due respect, you don’t understand a word that I’m saying.

There’s a divergent view of Sanders in Democratic and political circles: Is he merely an insurgent candidate?

Or is he someone — despite Biden’s current lead — who could very well win the Democratic nomination, or at least come close? (Remember his base, his money and his name ID.)

If it’s the latter, you have to conclude he’s had a really bad month.

2020 Vision: A fairly busy Memorial Day weekend

On the campaign trail today: Kirsten Gillibrand spends the day in Iowa, hitting West Des Moines, Gowrie, Storm Lake and Fort Dodge… Pete Buttigieg is in New Hampshire, making stops in Londonderry and Exeter… And Jay Inslee stumps in Nevada.

Saturday: Gillibrand remains in Iowa… Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren also campaign in the Hawkeye State… Buttigieg stays in New Hampshire… And Bernie Sanders holds a rally in Vermont.

Sunday: Gillibrand, Klobuchar and Warren all remain in Iowa.

Tweet of the day



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European elections results UK: The 13 candidates to watch as countdown for results in ON

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BRITONS took part in the European elections yesterday and voters were expected to vent their frustration over the current Brexit deadlock. These are 13 UK candidates who look likely to take seats in European Parliament.

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