If you thought things would calm down for Trump, think again


What do a porn star, Donald Trump's personal lawyer and a conservative TV news host have in common?

It's a weird triangle but that's 2018 folks, and that's where we start this week.

After the FBI raided the office of Michael Cohen, the President's personal lawyer had his first of what will likely be many days in court.

Legally, this case has a long way to run and Mr Trump's "fixer" is just one of several allies that we've seen paraded in front of the cameras entering a courthouse.

However, the difference here is that Mr Cohen's arrival at court was followed by the arrival of an adult film star.

Stormy Daniels, who allegedly had a one-night stand with Mr Trump and was given $130,000 in the form of hush money from Mr Cohen before the 2016 election, was in the gallery.

Outside court she made it clear that she was not going away:

"For years, Mr Cohen has acted like he is above the law … He has never thought that the little man, or especially women, or, even more, women like me, matter. That ends now."

If you thought things would calm down in the Trump administration at some point, now might be a good time to think again.

Will the pressure on Mr Cohen cause him to flip? Politico is reporting that Mr Trump's advisers are worried he might if severe charges are threatened.

Hannity remains silent on dealings with Cohen

While the hearing itself was mainly circus over substance, it did reveal who Mr Cohen's mysterious third client is: conservative talk show host and close friend of Mr Trump, Sean Hannity.

This caused a literal gasp from those inside the courtroom, followed by a collective "duh, natch" from outside it.

It would, perhaps, explain why Sean Hannity was so outraged when the FBI raided Mr Cohen's offices:

External Link: Hannity: Robert Mueller has officially gone rogue

But did he mention his own dealings with Mr Cohen? Nope.

It was so serious that Hannity started getting criticised by the regulars on his own show.

He argues that he has the right to privacy and in a statement said:

External Link: Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter. I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees. I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective.External Link: An early look at Tuesday's front…

Stormy Daniels' sketch sparked social media search

Continuing to capitalise on her media moment, Daniels and her lawyer followed their court appearance with an appearance on The View, releasing a sketch of the man who supposedly threatened her to keep quiet about her one night stand with Mr Trump.

With a $US100,000 reward up for grabs, folks on web were quick to try and find the culprit:

External Link: Stormy Daniels sketchExternal Link: Stormy Daniels sketch of man who threatened her in 2011…and Tom Brady in 2011.External Link: The Stormy Daniels guy looks like he was sent from the future to rescue Sarah Connor and then got really sidetracked

Okay, okay, guys.

It was enough to get the President to bite:

External Link: A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!

Oh, and the account he retweeted there? It belongs to Sheena Fox — a Scottish fan of Mr Trump — who stole thousands of dollars from a local choir in a bid to "meet her hero", according to The Mirror.

James Comey in the spotlight for his new book

James Comey book

Speaking of making the most of a media moment, former FBI director James Comey has been everywhere on the talk show circuit trying to sell his new book: A Higher Loyalty.

Mr Trump clearly isn't phased by his return to the spotlight as shown by his tweets from the weekend:

External Link: Unbelievably, James Comey states that Polls, where Crooked Hillary was leading, were a factor in the handling (stupidly) of the Clinton Email probeExternal Link: I never asked Comey for Personal Loyalty. I hardly even knew this guy. Just another of his many lies. His “memos” are self serving and FAKE!External Link: Slippery James Comey, a man who always ends up badly and out of whack (he is not smart!), will go down as the WORST FBI Director in history, by far!

While Mr Comey hasn't gone so far as to call the current President a slimeball, he too has taken to Twitter to have a crack at the Commander-in-Chief:

External Link: My book is about ethical leadership & draws on stories from my life & lessons I learned from others. 3 presidents are in my book: 2 help illustrate the values at the heart of ethical leadership; 1 serves as a counterpoint. I hope folks read the whole thing and find it useful.

It will certainly help sales but he's not making any friends. Check out how Mr Trump's backers over on Fox News have characterised it:

External Link: Fox News has spent a lot of time comparing James Comey to an "emotional girl"

The President and friends

Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe listen during a meeting.

Meanwhile, Mar-a-Lago once again played backdrop to diplomacy.

External Link: "Careful," Trump cautioned the Japanese press who scrambled into the room at Mar-a-Lago, shoving and noisy.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dropped by for talks on trade, North Korea and a quick round on the links:

External Link: Prime Minister @AbeShinzo of Japan and myself this morning building an even deeper and better relationship while playing a quick round of golf at Trump International Golf Club

The round with Australian ambassador to the US Joe Hockey on Sunday must have been a warm-up act.

Two men, one wearing a white cap and one with salt-and-pepper hair - stand next to each other grinning at the camera

While at Mar-a-Lago the President revealed that efforts to prepare for historic talks with North Korea are further underway than many thought.

First, he revealed that there are five locations being considered to host the historic meeting (Mar-a-Lago is not one of the five).

External Link: "We have not picked a site yet, but we picked five sites where it is potentially going to be," Trump says of possible meeting locations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un"

Second, he spilt the beans that current CIA Director (and nominee for Secretary of State) Mike Pompeo has been in North Korea meeting with Kim Jong-Un.


Mr Pompeo's surprise trip over the Easter weekend has raised eyebrows. Particularly about the capacity in which he visited.

Was it in his role as CIA Director or as the incoming Secretary of State? The latter is not yet guaranteed.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will attempt to vote Mr Pompeo out of committee on Monday. Watch that space.

Trump addresses rumours he's going to fire Mueller

Meanwhile, the Senate is trying to mark up legislation to protect special counsel Robert Mueller.

But Senate Leader Mitch McConnell doesn't seem all that willing to entertain it:

External Link: Here is Mitch McConnell saying he will not permit a Senate floor vote on the bipartisan bill now moving through Senate Judiciary Committee that would heighten protections against Trump forcing an arbitrary firing of Mueller

Is the President going to fire the Special Counsel? It's a question that we've asked repeatedly in recent weeks, months, years.

The Hill reports that police in Pittsburgh have been told to bring their full riot gear to work in case Mr Trump does move on Mr Mueller.

This week, Mr Trump set the record straight:

"They've been saying I'm going to get rid of them for the last three months, four months, five months, and they're still here. So we want to get the investigation over with, done with, put it behind us."

Clarity, right?

Confusion over new sanctions on Russia

Well, knowing what the administration will do one day to the next is a near impossible feat:

External Link: Monday (left) Tuesday (right) Wednesday TBD

Just ask Nikki Haley.

On Sunday, she said new sanctions on Russia were imminent.

When that didn't happen, White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow explained that the US ambassador to the UN had gotten "ahead of the curve".

Not according to Ms Haley, who provided this curt response:

External Link: This is an amazing graphic

Mr Kudlow apologised but Ms Haley has drawn a red line, she will not be embarrassed publicly by Mr Trump — unlike some other members of cabinet.

(For example, the "very weak", beleaguered Attorney-General Jeff Sessions).

Ms Haley didn't know — but, according to CNN, the Russians did.

External Link: Senior admin official confirms to CNN that the Trump Admin informed the Russian embassy on Sunday that there would not be another round of sanctions for now

When asked how her relationship was with the President after the kerfuffle, Ms Haley simply replied, "perfect".


So why didn't the sanctions go ahead? Apparently, the President changed his mind. But, when pressed by the press, Mr Trump simply said:

"There has been nobody tougher on Russia than President Trump".


What I'm reading:

Barbara Bush, husband George Bush and son George W Bush in 1955

Coming up next week

The White House Correspondents' Association dinner is next weekend.

But it looks like the President won't be there, again. He's happened to schedule a rally far, far away from Washington DC.

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ABC .net

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