Michael Avenatti Says He’s Talking to Trump’s Legal Team — And Would Testify for the Ex-Prez
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Citizen Frank



Disgraced Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti has been in contact with former President Trump’s legal defense team and is ready and willing to testify against his former client, he told The Post in an interview from jail.

“The defense has contacted me,” Avenatti told The Post in a phone call from Terminal Island, a minimum-security federal prison in Los Angeles where he is currently serving a 19-year sentence for extortion, tax evasion, fraud, embezzlement and other federal crimes.

“I’d be more than happy to testify, I don’t know that I will be called to testify, but I have been in touch with Trump’s defense for the better part of year,” Avenatti said.

The ex-litigator refused to offer any details about the specifics of his conversations with Team Trump.

A person close to the former president confirmed the ongoing discussions.

While Avenatti made his name as one of Trump’s most ferocious critics — and even publicly called for Trump’s indictment in 2018 — the defense attorney sang a different tune from the clink.

“There’s no question [the trial] is politically motivated because they’re concerned that he may be reelected,” Avenatti said. “If the defendant was anyone other than Donald Trump, this case would not have been brought at this time, and for the government to attempt to bring this case and convict him in an effort to prevent tens of millions of people from voting for him, I think it’s just flat out wrong, and atrocious.

“I’m really bothered by the fact that Trump, in my view, has been targeted. Four cases is just over the top and I think there’s a significant chance that this is going to all backfire and is going to propel him to the White House,” he added.

“Depending on what happens, this could constitute pouring jet fuel on his campaign.”

Once an obscure California litigator, Avenatti vaulted into public prominence in 2018 while representing Stormy Daniels, the porn star who alleged Trump had an affair with her in 2006.

While the former president has consistently denied the charge, the $130,000 payment to Daniels to allegedly buy her silence during the 2016 presidential election now lays at heart of the Manhattan criminal case against him.

At his height, the quotable attorney was such a regular presence on MSNBC that he frequently slept in their New York City headquarters.

Former CNN host Brian Stelter and Trump confidante Steve Bannon both suggested Avenatti would be a formidable presidential candidate.

He visited Iowa.

A show with former Trump communications director Anthony Scaramucci was floated (but went nowhere).

But it all came crashing down.

In November 2018 he was booked on charges of domestic violence.

In 2020 he was convicted of trying to extort Nike for up to $25 million.

In June 2022 he was found guilty for stealing $300,000 in book advance money from Daniels.

That same month he also pled guilty to federal fraud and tax charges.

His combination of crimes have earned him nearly two decades behind bars.

Avenatti conceded he had made some “mistakes” and exercised “bad judgment” in the past — but insisted his sentence was overly draconian.

Of his former client, Avenatti was scathing — and warned New York City prosecutors that he expected Daniels to commit perjury should she be called as a witness.

“Stormy Daniels is going to say whatever she believes is going to assist Stormy Daniels and putting more money in her pocket,” Avenatti said. “If Stormy Daniels lips are moving, she’s lying for money.”

Avenatti said she would be a poor witness in the approaching trial, citing her past claims of speaking to dead people and her possession of a “haunted” doll named Susan.

“I don’t know how you can possibly put someone who makes those claims on the witness stand and use them as a star witness in a case against a former president United States who’s running for president. That is just absolutely ludicrous to me.”

Avenatti said if the election were held today, Trump would win.

The lawyer said he saw much of his own struggles in Trump’s current ordeal — adding they were both in the crosshairs of a weaponized justice.

“I think that we were both targeted by the justice system,” Avenatti said. “There’s a lot of people on the left that were very concerned about my potential rise within the Democratic Party and my potential rise in Democratic politics. And the fact that I was not someone that was easily controlled.”

Avenatti insisted he wasn’t fishing for clemency in a potential second Trump term — and his change of heart was not motivated by the former president’s famous susceptibility to flattery.

“I’m not saying any of this because I’m seeking a pardon,” Avenatti said.

And he claims he never would have penned his New York Times Op-Ed against Trump in 2018 had he known at the time that Daniels was a “serial liar.”

“I wish I would have never met Stormy Daniels. I should have left her where I found her.”

Reached by phone, Daniels called Avenatti a “lunatic” and a “scumbag.”

“I was about to say that I also wish I’d never met him but I’m actually glad because I’m the one that helped convict him so he couldn’t steal from even more unsuspecting clients,” Daniels said.

Read 9 Comments
  • Avatar Sandy says:

    Thank You ! Mr Avenatti !!

  • Avatar dguested says:

    Yeah, and what’s in it for you dude? Just another feeder lookin’ for a payout. Write out your affidavit paper and have it notarized by the appropriate person then mail it. Do it with no recompense and then maybe it will be worth something. Maybe nothing. Questionable at the least, and a trap at best.

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    Trump Attends Son Barron’s Graduation

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    Donald Trump set his legal woes aside for the morning as he jetted into Florida Friday to see youngest son Barron graduate high school.

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    WATCH: Chaos Erupts in Hearing as Greene, Ocasio-Cortez Clash Over ‘Fake Eyelashes’ Jibe at Crockett

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    World’s Top Golfer Scottie Scheffler Arrested for Assaulting Officer at PGA Championship Event

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    Storms Leave Trail of Damage in Houston — 800,000 Out of Power, Flights Grounded

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    French Police Kill Armed Algerian After Trying to Burn Down Synagogue

    Citizen Frank



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    French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said this month that the sharp spike in antisemitic acts in France that followed the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israel has continued into this year.

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    “We are witnessing an explosion of hatred,” he said.

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    Putin Meets Xi in China

    Citizen Frank



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    Xi greeted Putin on a red carpet outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, where they were hailed by marching People’s Liberation Army soldiers, a 21-gun salute on Tiananmen Square and children waving the flags of China and Russia.

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    “China is willing to … jointly achieve the development and rejuvenation of our respective countries, and work together to uphold fairness and justice in the world.”

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    Washington casts China as its biggest competitor and Russia as its biggest nation-state threat.

    The U.S. views both as authoritarian rulers who have quashed free speech and exerted tight control at home over the media and the courts. Biden has referred to Xi as a “dictator” and has said Putin is a “killer” and even a “crazy SOB”. Beijing and Moscow have scolded Biden for the comments.

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    Two Migrants in ICE Custody After Attempting to Breach Virginia Marine Base — One Was on Terror Watchlist

    Citizen Frank



    The Marine Corps prevented two people from breaking onto a Marine installation in Virginia on May 3 and turned them over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    The two people drove up to the Fuller Road Gate of Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, in a box truck and were stopped by military sentries, Capt. Michael Curtis, a spokesman for the base, said in a statement to Marine Corps Times on Tuesday.

    “When asked, the operator of the truck informed the military police officers they worked for a company subcontracted by Amazon and were making a delivery to the U.S. Post Office located in the Town of Quantico,” Curtis said in the statement.

    Because the two had no affiliation with the Marine base and no credentials to enter it, military police officers directed them to go to a holding area to undergo standard vetting procedures, according to Curtis. But the driver blew past the holding area and attempted to drive onto the base.

    Officers put up the vehicle denial barriers, blocking the truck from getting any farther onto the base, and detained the pair.

    No one was injured, according to Curtis.

    The Marine Corps later turned the pair over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. That agency did not respond by time of publication to a Marine Corps Times request for more information about the two people who were detained.

    “When any vehicle and its occupants fail to comply with the clear direction of the on-duty Police Officers, specific steps are taken by those officers to restrict any further access,” Curtis said in the statement. “Those actions by our on-duty Police officers helped maintain the safety and security of all who live and work on Marine Corps Base Quantico.”

    Potomac Local News, which first reported the attempted breach, reported hearing from multiple unnamed sources that one of the truck’s occupants was a Jordanian national who had recently crossed the southern border into the United States and that one occupant was on the U.S. government’s terrorist watch list.

    Located in northern Virginia, Marine Corps Base Quantico is less than an hour’s drive from Washington. To enter the town of Quantico, Virginia, where the pair claimed to be heading, vehicles have to drive through the Marine installation.

    The installation is home to the Corps’ Combat Development Command, which is dedicated to modernizing the force, plus a smattering of Marine schools and other elements. It also hosts some activities of the FBI, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency and other federal agencies.

    In January 2023, a car caught fire after coming into contact with vehicle denial barriers when its driver tried to gain unauthorized access to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California.

    Military police in September 2023 shot at and ultimately detained a driver who had gained unauthorized access to Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California. In March, military law enforcement at the same base nabbed a Chinese national who had tried to get onto the same base.

    Chinese nationals have accessed military installations and other sensitive facilities in the United States around 100 times in recent years, sometimes by posing as tourists, The Wall Street Journal reported in September 2023.

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    Biden Asserts Executive Privilege to Block Release of Audio Interview with Special Counsel

    Citizen Frank



    President Joe Biden has asserted executive privilege to block House committees from obtaining audio recordings of his own interviews with special counsel Robert Hur about Biden’s handling of classified documents.

    The White House counsel’s office notified House GOP investigators of the move hours before Republicans were expected to recommend holding Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress for refusing to hand over the audio. Rather than changing the GOP’s plan, the privilege assertion sparked a wave of outrage from Republicans, who are moving forward with their planned contempt vote.

    Hur’s description of his interviews with Biden — laid out in a 345-page report released in February — fueled a firestorm over the president’s memory and mental fitness. In that report, Hur said Biden could potentially defend himself in court, if charges were recommended, by appealing to jurors as a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.” Biden pushed back with a fiery news conference defending his acuity.

    While the transcripts of the interviews have already been released, Biden’s effort to block the recordings puts him in a politically awkward position: He has insisted that Hur has mischaracterized the interviews but is nonetheless trying to maintain secrecy over the raw audio.

    “The absence of a legitimate need for the audio recordings lays bare your likely goal — to chop them up, distort them, and use them for partisan political purposes,” White House Counsel Ed Siskel wrote in the letter to Republican House leaders Thursday morning revealing Biden’s decision. “Demanding such sensitive and constitutionally-protected law enforcement materials from the Executive Branch because you want to manipulate them for potential political gain is inappropriate.”

    Garland asked Biden to block release of the audio recordings, citing concerns that making them public could prompt high-ranking White House officials to be less cooperative in future investigations.

    “The Committees’ needs are plainly insufficient to outweigh the deleterious effects that productions of the recordings would have on the integrity and effectiveness of similar law enforcement investigations in the future,” Garland wrote in a letter to Biden dated Wednesday.

    During a brief exchange with reporters at the Justice Department Thursday morning, Garland defended the privilege claim as a principled one and suggested the House was demanding the audio as part of a broader campaign to delegitimize the department and federal law enforcement more generally.

    “We have gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that the committees get responses to their legitimate requests, but this is not one,” the attorney general said. “To the contrary, this is one that would harm our ability in the future to successfully pursue sensitive investigations.”

    White House Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre dismissed scrutiny of the decision, telling reporters on Thursday that “for one, the transcript, as you all know, is already out there.” “The attorney general made it clear that law enforcement files like these need to be protected, and so the president made his determination at the request of the attorney general,” she said.

    Jean-Pierre declined to address questions about the White House’s concern that Republicans would use the audio for political purposes, saying she didn’t “want to dive into the specific point” and referring further inquires to the White House counsel’s office.

    Republicans are reviewing Hur’s investigation and Biden’s handling of classified documents as part of a sweeping impeachment inquiry into the president. Though the broad impeachment effort has largely stalled thanks to skepticism from a broad swath of Republican lawmakers, Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Oversight Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) are still quietly investigating.

    And the arguments from DOJ and the White House did little to tamp down Republican angst, from Donald Trump’s campaign to House Republican leadership. The Judiciary Committee is meeting on Thursday morning to vote on its contempt recommendation for Garland; the Oversight Committee is scheduled to meet on Thursday evening to recommend the same.

    However, Biden’s action on Thursday effectively precludes any criminal prosecution of Garland for failing to comply with the Hill subpoenas.

    Republicans lobbed criticism largely from two angles: That Biden was afraid of the audio recordings’ release because they believe it would add fodder to Hur’s description of his memory, and that the privilege assertion is designed to squash congressional oversight.

    “President Biden is apparently afraid for the citizens of this country and everyone to hear those tapes. They obviously confirm what special counsel is about and would likely cause, I suppose, in his estimation such alarm with the American people that the President is using all of his power to suppress their release,” Speaker Mike Johnson told reporters on Thursday.

    Steven Cheung, a Trump campaign spokesperson, accused Biden of having “irretrievably politicized the key constitutional tenet of executive privilege” and trying to use it to “run political cover for Crooked Joe.”

    Jordan argued that transcripts, which the DOJ has already handed over, “are not sufficient evidence of the state of the president’s memory.” The White House and Biden’s counsel have both contested Hur’s descriptions of Biden and asked him to correct the report.

    “This last-minute invocation does not change the fact that the attorney general has not complied with our subpoena,” Jordan said.

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    House Judiciary Committee Votes to Hold AG Garland in Contempt

    Citizen Frank



    The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday advanced a measure to hold in contempt Attorney General Merrick Garland in an 18-15 party-line vote, a step Republicans on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee are also expected to take later this evening.

    A last-minute move from President Biden to claim executive privilege over audio recordings from his interview with special counsel Robert Hur did not dissuade the GOP from proceeding, even as Garland said those asserting the privilege “cannot be prosecuted for criminal contempt of Congress.”

    Republicans already have the transcript of Hur’s conversation with Biden, but they argue the audio recordings will be more revealing, suggesting pauses could speak to Hur’s commentary about the president’s cognitive functions or show a hesitancy to ask questions.

    To Democrats, the only rationale for seeking the tapes is so the GOP can use them in campaign commercials, arguing they are misusing power purely for political gain.

    “Transcripts do not capture demeanor evidence,” Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) said at the top of the hearing.

    “Transcripts are often imperfect, especially to convey the timing of question and answer and disfluencies of a witness, or hesitations, among other things. All of that is demeanor evidence.”

    The vote took place while many Republicans were in New York to show support for former President Trump during his hush money trial.

    That pushed the Oversight panel to delay their consideration of the matter until 8 p.m. EDT Thursday vote, shuffling a mark-up meant to take place at roughly the same time as Judiciary’s proceedings.

    The passage of the contempt resolution leaves it heading to the full House floor for consideration.

    However, the move is largely symbolic, as it acts as a referral to the Justice Department, which must weigh whether charges are fitting.

    That looked unlikely well before Biden asserted executive privilege over the audio files, as DOJ had already declined to share them, arguing the panels have no need for law enforcement files that are unrelated to their investigation.

    Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) nodded to those Republicans at the New York trial in commenting on the decision to hold Garland in contempt.

    “Republicans on this committee have moved from being the criminal defense firm for the president to being essentially an adjunct of the president’s media advertising firm,” he said.

    “We’re holding the Attorney General of the United States in contempt. And for what? Because he won’t give video material for a campaign commercial to this committee on behalf of a president who is a criminal defendant in a hush money payment to a porn star case in New York, the first of many criminal trials that he will face.”

    In the background of the effort to gain access to the tapes was Republicans’ assertion that they could be useful for their impeachment investigation and back up their allegations of influence peddling. They’ve argued in prior letters that Biden may have taken classified documents to aid in the writing of his memoir while suggesting the audio files could include evidence that he took actions to benefit his family.

    Hur noted classified information was not referenced in Biden’s book and that personal entries from Biden’s diaries, which also referenced classified information and events, formed the basis for the memoir.

    It’s also clear from the transcripts the discussion did not include items of relevance to the impeachment probe.

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    Texas Gov Abbott Pardons Army Sergeant Who Killed Armed BLM Protester

    Citizen Frank



    Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday issued a full pardon for a former U.S. Army sergeant convicted of murder in the shooting death of an armed protester during a 2020 Black Lives Matter march.

    The move by Abbott came minutes after a unanimous recommendation by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles that Daniel Perry be pardoned and have his firearms rights restored.

    Under Texas law, the governor cannot issue a pardon without a recommendation from the board, which the governor appoints.

    “The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles conducted an exhaustive review of U.S. Army Sergeant Daniel Perry’s personal history and the facts surrounding the July 2020 incident and recommended a Full Pardon and Restoration of Full Civil Rights of Citizenship,” Abbott said in a statement.

    “Among the voluminous files reviewed by the Board, they considered information provided by the Travis County District Attorney, the full investigative report on Daniel Perry, plus a review of all the testimony provided at trial,” Abbott said. “Texas has one of the strongest ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws of self-defense that cannot be nullified by a jury or a progressive District Attorney. I thank the Board for its thorough investigation, and I approve their pardon recommendation.”

    Perry was convicted of murder last month in the 2020 shooting death of 28-year-old Garrett Foster, who was legally carrying an AK-47 rifle through downtown Austin during a summer of nationwide riots.

    Perry was sentenced to 25 years in prison for Foster’s murder.

    Perry’s attorney, Douglas K. O’Connell, said his client is “thrilled and elated to be free” and “optimistic for his future.”

    “He wishes that this tragic event never happened and wishes he never had to defend himself against Mr. Foster’s unlawful actions,” O’Connell said. “At the same time, Daniel recognizes that the Foster family is grieving. We are anxious to see Daniel reunited with his family and loved ones.”

    Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza blasted the pardon as a “mockery of our legal system.”

    “The board and the governor have put their politics over justice,” Garza said. “They should be ashamed of themselves. Their actions are contrary to the law and demonstrate that there are two classes of people in this state where some lives matter and some lives do not. They have sent a message to Garrett Foster’s family, to his partner, and to our community that his life does not matter. ”

    Prosecutors argued Perry could have driven away without opening fire and witnesses testified that they never saw Foster raise his gun. The sergeant’s defense attorneys argued Foster, who is White, did raise the rifle and that Perry had no choice but to shoot. Perry, who is also White, did not take the witness stand and jurors deliberated for two days before finding him guilty.

    Perry served in the Army for more than a decade. At trial, a forensic psychologist testified that he believed Perry has post-traumatic stress disorder from his deployment to Afghanistan and from being bullied as a child.

    At the time of the shooting, Perry was stationed at Fort Cavazos, then Fort Hood, about 70 miles north of Austin.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    NIH Official Finally Admits Taxpayers Funded Virus Research in Wuhan — After Years of Denials

    Citizen Frank



    At long last, National Institutes of Health (NIH) principal deputy director Lawrence Tabak admitted to Congress Thursday that US taxpayers funded gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China in the months and years before the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “Dr. Tabak,” asked Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, “did NIH fund gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology through [Manhattan-based nonprofit] EcoHealth [Alliance]?”

    “It depends on your definition of gain-of-function research,” Tabak answered. “If you’re speaking about the generic term, yes, we did.”

    The response comes after more than four years of evasions from federal public health officials — including Tabak himself and former National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director Dr. Anthony Fauci — about the controversial research practice that modifies viruses to make them more infectious.

    Tabak added that “this is research, the generic term [gain-of-function], is research that goes on in many, many labs around the country. It is not regulated. And the reason it’s not regulated is it poses no threat or harm to anybody.”

    Dr. Bryce Nickels, a professor of genetics at Rutgers University and co-founder of the pandemic oversight group Biosafety Now, told The Post the exchange “was two people talking past each other.”

    “Tabak was engaging in the usual obfuscation and semantic manipulation that is so frustrating and pointless,” Nickels said, adding that the NIH bigwig was resisting accountability for risky research that can create pathogens of pandemic potential.

    “Instead of addressing this directly, Tabak launched into a useless response about how ‘gain-of-function’ encompasses many types of experiments,” he added.

    In July 2023, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) barred the Wuhan Institute of Virology from receiving federal grants for the next 10 years.

    EcoHealth Alliance, whose mission statement declares it is “working to prevent pandemics,” had all of its grant funding pulled by HHS for the next three years on Tuesday.

    EcoHealth Alliance president Dr. Peter Daszak, in a hearing earlier this month before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, testified that his organization “never has and did not do gain-of-function research, by definition.”

    But that claim directly contradicted Daszak’s private correspondence, including a 2016 email in which he celebrated the end of an Obama administration pause on gain-of-function research.

    The EcoHealth head was also called out in sworn testimony to the COVID panel by Dr. Ralph Baric, a leading coronavirologist who initiated the research himself and declared it was “absolutely” gain-of-function.

    In an October 2021 letter to Congress, Tabak had acknowledged NIH funded a “limited experiment” at the Wuhan Institute of Virology that tested whether “spike proteins from naturally occurring bat coronaviruses circulating in China were capable of binding to the human ACE2 receptor in a mouse model.”

    He did not describe it as gain-of-function research — but disclosed that EcoHealth “failed to report” the bat coronaviruses modified with SARS and MERS viruses had been made 10,000 times more infectious, in violation of its grant terms.

    The NIH scrubbed its website of a longstanding definition for gain-of-function research the same day that the letter was sent.

    Tabak also noted in his October 2021 letter that the “sequences of the viruses are genetically very distant” from COVID-19 — but other grant proposals from EcoHealth have since drawn scrutiny for their genetic similarities.

    Fauci has repeatedly denied that the Wuhan lab research involved gain-of-function experiments, clashing with Republicans in high-profile hearings and “playing semantics” with the term during a closed-door interview with the House COVID panel earlier this year.

    “He needs to define his definition of gain-of-function research, because as I have through this process in the last three years, read many, many published articles about gain-of-function research, or creation of a chimera, this is a new one,” COVID subcommittee Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) said following Fauci’s grilling in January.

    The ex-NIAID head and White House medical adviser under President Biden was escorted by Capitol Police and his attorneys to and from the committee room for his two days of interviews — and repeatedly dodged The Post’s questions about gain-of-function research and pandemic lockdown restrictions.

    In 2021, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) held Fauci’s feet to the fire over the evasions in several hearings.

    “The NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” Fauci declared that May.

    In another House hearing the same month, then-NIH director Dr. Francis Collins testified that researchers at the Wuhan lab “were not approved by NIH for doing gain-of-function research.”

    “We are, of course, not aware of other sources of funds or other activities they might have undertaken outside of what our approved grant allowed,” Collins added cautiously at the time.

    That ignorance about what experiments came about as a result of the NIH grants was underscored by Daszak during his COVID subcommittee hearing last week.

    The EcoHealth leader acknowledged he had not asked longtime collaborator and Wuhan Institute of Virology deputy director Shi Zhengli for any viral sequences since before the pandemic began.

    In his own closed-door testimony to the House subcommittee released Thursday, Collins echoed Tabak’s comments but went further by saying there “is a generic description of gain-of-function which is utilized in scientific and public conversation, but is not appropriate to apply that to a circumstance where we’re talking about a potential pathogen.”

    “We need to be highly cognizant of the risks of gain-of-function technology now that scientific capabilities exist for creating something in a lab that didn’t exist 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago,” Wenstrup told The Post following Thursday’s hearing.

    “Drs. Fauci and Collins, over a decade ago, both conceded that there are risks associated with gain-of-function research.”

    EcoHealth received more than half a million dollars for its work with the Wuhan Institute of Virology as part of a grant of more than $4 million to study the emergence of bat coronaviruses between 2014 and 2024.

    That grant was revoked in 2020, reinstated in 2023 and finally suspended and proposed for debarment this week.

    The House subcommittee is still investigating whether COVID-19 accidentally leaked out of a lab in Wuhan, which has been described as the most likely cause of the pandemic by the FBI, US Energy Department, ex-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Dr. Robert Redfield and former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe.

    Nickels also slammed Tabak Thursday for still claiming the evidence points to SARS-CoV-2 originating in a “wild animal market in Wuhan.”

    “No credible scientist still believes this. In fact, the wet market theory has even been refuted by the world’s leading coronavirus expert, Ralph Baric, in his testimony from January,” Nickels said.

    The Rutgers prof added that Thursday’s hearing highlighted the lack of oversight for scientific research on pathogens that poses a threat to humans, making it “up to the grantee to oversee themselves,” as Wenstrup put it.

    “It’s pure insanity to continue to delegate responsibly for risk/benefit analysis of research that poses an existential threat to humanity to the scientist that will perform the work and their institutions,” Nickels claimed.

    “We just had a devastating pandemic likely caused by creation of a [Pathogen with Enhanced Pandemic Potential] in a lab, and yet scientists want the public to trust them that they can police themselves?” he balked. “That’s just total and complete nonsense.”

    Fauci is scheduled to answer questions about the gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab and theories of the origin of the pandemic in a public subcommittee hearing set for June 3.

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    ‘That Was a Lie!’: Trump Lawyer Clashes with Michael Cohen in Hush-Money Trial

    Citizen Frank



    Tensions – and voices – rose on Thursday as Donald Trump’s lawyer hit back against prosecutors, accusing their star witness repeatedly of lying.

    On the most tense day yet of cross-examination, Michael Cohen, Mr Trump’s former fixer, described talking to the former president directly about a hush-money payment to an adult-film star.

    But attorney Todd Blanche all but shouted Cohen’s testimony was “a lie.”

    Records, he said, show Cohen called Mr Trump’s bodyguard about a prank caller.

    Mr Blanche’s alternate theory of the phone call was designed to sow doubt on Cohen’s third day on the stand, as the jury watched the furious exchange with intense focus.

    Following the heated moment, Mr Blanche stormed back to the defence table and sat down next to his client. When the judge announced an afternoon recess, there was a collective exhale in the room.

    Mr Trump is charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, for allegedly disguising payments to Cohen as legal expenses when they were in fact reimbursements for paying off film star Stormy Daniels, who claims she had sex with him.

    Prosecutors allege Mr Trump sought to keep damaging information from the public to protect his 2016 presidential campaign. Mr Trump has pleaded not guilty to all counts and denied having sex with Ms. Daniels.

    On the stand Thursday under pressure, Cohen maintained that his previous testimony was true, and that he spoke to Mr Trump about the payout to Ms. Daniels on a call on 24 October 2016.

    Earlier this week, prosecutors asked Cohen about the call to help establish Mr Trump’s alleged direct knowledge of the payoff scheme. Cohen testified that he kept his boss aware during every step of the process of paying Ms Daniels.

    As the man at the centre of the payout, Cohen’s testimony is crucial for prosecutors to prove whether or not Mr Trump had knowledge of the allegedly fraudulent reimbursement plan.

    But Cohen’s criminal record, history of lying to Congress, and profane public criticism of Mr Trump makes him a flawed witness. In 2018, he pleaded guilty to federal campaign finance crimes over the hush-money payment, but maintains that he sent the money at Mr Trump’s direction.

    The defence seized on Cohen’s credibility issues for nearly two days and sought to paint him as a liar with a vendetta against Mr Trump.

    On Thursday morning, Mr Blanche played recordings from Mr Cohen’s podcast, Mea Culpa, where the witness expressed a desire to see the former president go through the booking process and said of Mr Trump, “I want this man to go down.”

    Mr Blanche also confronted Cohen with an X post where he called the former president “Dumbass Donald.”

    “Does the outcome of this trial affect you personally?” Mr Blanche asked him.

    “Yes,” Cohen replied.

    The president’s attorney pressed Cohen repeatedly about his guilty plea for lying to Congress, and aggressively questioned Cohen about previous statements that he did not believe prior tax evasion charges he pleaded guilty to were fair.

    Several hours of similar questioning all led to the dramatic showdown over the 24 October 2016 phone call.

    Mr Blanche first asked Cohen if he recalled receiving harassing calls in late October 2016. Cohen confirmed he had.

    Mr Blanche then displayed communications between Cohen and Mr Trump’s bodyguard, Keith Schiller, on 24 October discussing how to deal with the prank calls.

    Amid their discussions about the prank caller, is a call between Cohen and Mr Schiller, that Cohen previously testified he made to discuss the payout to Ms Daniels with Mr Trump. That call lasted a minute and 36 seconds.

    Mr Blanche expressed scepticism that Cohen could have discussed both the prank caller and the six-figure payout in such a brief period.

    But Cohen countered that part of that call was about “the 14-year-old” who was behind the calls. He knew that Mr Schiller was with their boss at the time, and the call was about more than just the harassment, he said.

    Cohen insisted he always ran “everything by the boss” immediately, and that he did so on that call.

    The response drew a dramatic reaction from Mr Blanche: “That. Was. A. Lie,” he declared loudly.

    Numerous Republican members of Congress filled the benches behind Mr Trump on Tuesday in a show of partisan support.

    A Trump campaign spokeswoman attended, as did his son, Eric Trump.

    Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, and Andy Biggs were among the entourage, which was so large that some lawmakers had to sit in the back of the courtroom.

    Cohen’s testimony has piqued public interest. The line to get into court stretched down the block Thursday morning, and journalists and members of the public had hired line sitters to save them a spot overnight.

    One line sitter, whose employer did not show, offered others in line $400 for her spot.

    Despite the immense public interest, however, the defendant did not express much enthusiasm in the courtroom: Mr Trump sat back silently in his seat for most of the morning session. At a few points, he focused intently on the cross-examination.

    Though one of his biggest public nemesis sat just a few feet to his right, most of the time, Mr Trump just stared straight ahead.

    “I think it was a very interesting day,” Mr Trump told the waiting cameras as he left the courtroom. “A fascinating day.”

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    Top Executive Quits Tucker Carlson’s Company

    Citizen Frank



    The president of Tucker Carlson’s news startup, Justin Wells, is leaving his position at the former Fox News star’s streaming service, Semafor reported.

    Wells produced Carlson’s primetime Fox program for years, and stayed with Carlson to help him launch his new show on X after Fox fired both the conservative talking head and Wells in April 2023. Wells has launched his own production company, a person familiar with his plans said.

    The reasons for the move are unclear, but he doesn’t seem to be going far — one person said Wells has a new multiyear consulting contract with Carlson as a senior advisor, where he will continue working closely with the host on various upcoming projects.

    “He didn’t really go anywhere and I hope he never will,” Carlson said in a text message to Semafor.

    Go deeper ( < 1 min. read ) ➝


    ‘Don’t Be Weak and Gay’: Missouri GOP Candidate Releases Campaign Ad

    Citizen Frank



    A 25-year-old GOP candidate for Missouri Secretary of State is going viral for a recent video in which she implored Americans not to be “weak and gay. ”

    “In America, you can be anything you want, so don’t be weak and gay,” Valentina Gomez, a real estate investor and former D1 swimmer at Tulane University, said in a Sunday Twitter video.

    “President Trump and I are leading the charge to take our country back from the weak and gay Biden-Harris administration that has destroyed our nation,” Gomez told the Daily Caller.

    “I look forward to accepting his endorsement so I can ensure a free and fair election to the people of Missouri, where dead people and illegals will never be voting. All of these cases against President Trump are baseless and if he is facing jail time for defending our freedoms and constitution, I am ready to speak the truth and defend him from this unconstitutional gag order from a compromised judge in the biggest election interference case in history.”

    Gomez, a self-described MAGA candidate is “running so [she] can give the people their freedoms back,” she told the Daily Caller.

    When asked to give some examples of people being weak and gay, Gomez responded “Joe Biden, Justin Trudeau, Zelenskyy, George Bush.”

    Gomez, who also went viral in February for taking a flamethrower to a pile of LGBTQ books, gave her recommendations on how to not be weak and gay.

    “Put God First, Pray, workout, and I do recommend listening to Dr. Jordan B Peterson as well as Andrew & Tristan Tate. Also, get your testosterone levels up,” she told the Daily Caller.

    Gomez faces a wide field of eight opponents in her August 6 GOP primary. She was polling at 10 percent, just behind field leader Denny Hoskins at 12 percent in a February Remington Research poll though over half of the poll’s respondents noted they were still undecided.

    Gomez’s camp maintains they run their own polls and that she’s ahead in all of them, they told the Daily Caller.

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    US Capitol Police Investigate Cocaine Discovery at Headquarters

    Citizen Frank



    The U.S. Capitol Police announced that a small bag of cocaine had been found in a “heavily trafficked” hallway of its headquarters.

    In a press release Wednesday, the agency announced that around 1 p.m., a roughly one-inch-by-one-inch bag filled with a “white powdery substance” was found in the middle of the floor at the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) headquarters in Washington, D.C.

    The USCP said that the substance field tested positive for cocaine.

    The cocaine was found on the second floor of the USCP headquarters in an area that was used for storing furniture and other supplies.

    USCP said that the hallway area was frequented by various contractors and employees and is also near the Prisoner Processing, Crime Scene, Intel and Reports Processing offices.

    An officer found the bag “in the middle of the floor” and immediately reported it to a supervisor, USCP said.

    USCP announced that it had opened an investigation and will test the residue further and conduct DNA testing of the bag.

    The finding of the “powdery white substance” came just 10 months after cocaine was also found in the White House.

    On July 2, 2023, the cocaine, which was found in the West Wing, sparked an evacuation and emergency response.

    “The White House complex went into a precautionary closure as officers from the Secret Service Uniformed Division investigated an unknown item found inside a work area,” the U.S. Secret Service said in a statement to Fox News Digital.

    “The DC Fire Department was called to evaluate and quickly determined the item to be non-hazardous. The item was sent for further evaluation and an investigation into the cause and manner of how it entered the White House is pending,” the statement added.

    Go deeper ( < 1 min. read ) ➝


    Biden Plans Executive Order to Shut Down Border

    Citizen Frank



    President Biden is planning executive action that would allow him to shut down the US-Mexico border once the number of migrant crossings reaches 4,000 per day, a source close to the White House told The Post Wednesday.

    The order would match a provision in the bipartisan border bill that failed to pass the Senate in February, which gave the president authority to expel migrants when border crossings reached the same daily average.

    The legislative proposal would have given the homeland security secretary discretionary authority to carry out removals — but would have made deportations mandatory when illegal entries surpassed 5,000 per day over a one-week period.

    The bill allowed for the suspension of that authority two weeks after the seven-day average falls to 75% of those levels.

    A federal government source confirmed to The Post that an executive order to limit entries was coming, though it was unclear when it would be announced.

    In April, southwestern border authorities stopped an average of 5,990 migrants per day, according to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) — a figure which does not include so-called “gotaways” who escaped detection and arrest.

    Traditionally, the number of border crossing dips in the summer months, with migrants less inclined to try and enter the US illegally in the intense heat. However, last year, the average number of border crossers encountered per day rose from 4,819 in June to 5,919 in July to 7,515 in August to 8,991 in September.

    The US Border Patrol currently has more than 10,000 migrants in custody nationwide, according to internal CBP data exclusively obtained by The Post.

    Five Border Patrol sectors have exceeded their migrant holding capacity, with the San Diego region keeping 1,675 migrants in facilities that can only hold a total of 1,000 individuals.

    A spokeswoman for House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) — who has repeatedly called on Biden to take action on the border — said the executive order would “prove” the president “doesn’t need Congress to pass legislation to take action on the border.”

    In January, Biden insisted that lawmakers had to approve the border bill before he could take further action to limit illegal immigration, telling reporters he had “done all I can do.”

    “Just give me the power. I’ve asked from the very day I got into office,” he said at the time. “Give me the Border Patrol, give me the people, the judges — give me the people who can stop this and make it work right.”

    However, the president has changed his tune since public polling has consistently shown that he faces an uphill battle for re-election in November, with illegal immigration and enhanced border enforcement ranked as a top concern for voters.

    The administration recently introduced new restrictions for asylum interviews taking place at the southern border to allow officers to quickly remove migrants who don’t have a “credible fear” of returning to their home country from the US.

    “We’re examining whether or not I have that power,” Biden, 81, told Univision’s Enrique Acevedo last month of another order reportedly under consideration that would raise the “credible fear standard” for asylum seekers.

    The president had also mulled executive action to ban migrants from being granted asylum if they cross the border illegally between ports of entry — and remove others at designated entries when crossings met an unannounced threshold, Politico reported in February.

    Meanwhile, congressional Democrats have shifted their own border messaging.

    Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is also considering resurrecting the failed border legislation, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to The Post.

    In February, the bill came up short of the 60-vote filibuster threshold by 11 votes — five of whom were Democrats.

    “The status quo cannot continue,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “The only way we’ll solve this issue is with real, bipartisan action, not partisan talk.”

    “Apparently it’s time to give the commander-in-chief kudos on his handling of a crisis that still lets nearly 5,000 people cross our border illegally in a day,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said wryly in his own floor speech.

    “Of course, President Biden does have the authority he needs to start rapidly undoing the damage of the historic crisis that unfolded on his watch,” added McConnell, who voted against the Senate border bill.

    Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), who also voted against the bill, called the move “a cheap election year ploy” since “Biden has lost all credibility on the border.”

    “Democrats have completely failed on the issue for the past three and a half years and will have to own that failure in front of American voters,” Schmitt told The Post.

    “Chuck Schumer should spend his time convincing Biden to reinstate the successful Trump policies Biden reversed like Remain in Mexico that created a 45-year low in illegal immigration,” he added, referencing the levels of Border Patrol arrests in 2017.

    Axios first reported on Schumer discussed bringing the border bill back to the floor during a Senate Democratic caucus lunch meeting last week.

    “Senator Schumer and Senate Democrats already have a House-backed bill that has bipartisan support which will solve the southern border catastrophe engineered by the Biden Administration, but they’re letting it collect dust in the Senate,” Johnson also told The Post in a statement.

    “The End the Border Catastrophe Act, which includes core components of H.R. 2, the Secure the Border Act of 2023, would institute Remain in Mexico, reform the parole and asylum laws, and build the border wall,” Johnson added.

    On Friday, the campaign arm for House Democrats also released a memo encouraging members to go “on the offensive” against Republicans “who joined [former President Donald] Trump in killing a bipartisan border deal so that they could campaign on the border.”

    Trump, 77, has promised to roll out the “largest mass deportation effort” in US history if he wins election to another term Nov. 5, removing “nearly 20 million” illegal immigrants who they say are currently in the US.

    By October, more than 8 million migrants are expected to be living illegally in the US, according to a court docket of asylum cases involving non-citizens released into the interior by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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    WATCH: Biden Trips, Barely Avoids Nasty Fall While Honoring Fallen Police Officers

    Citizen Frank



    President Biden just missed taking a brutal spill Wednesday, catching his foot on a step as he took the stage at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service at the Capitol.

    The 81-year-old Biden managed to reach the microphone without further incident before paying his respects to law enforcement officers who have given their lives in the line of duty.

    Eagle-eyed critics of the president were quick to share video of the near-tumble, led by the Republican National Committee’s rapid response X account.

    The close call with the stairs came hours after Biden released a dramatic challenge to his rival, former President Donald Trump, to face him in a debate.

    By midday, the presumptive Republican and Democratic nominees had agreed to showdowns on June 27 and Sept. 10, hosted by CNN and ABC News, respectively.

    In his remarks, Biden told his audience of police officers that Americans “owe you as a nation.”

    “Police officer is not just what you do,” the president said. “It’s who you are.”

    Age has loomed large in the Nov. 5 presidential election. Biden is the oldest commander-in-chief in US history and would be 86 at the end of a second four-year term.

    Trump, 77, would surpass Biden as the oldest president if he wins the rematch and serves out a full term himself.

    Biden has acknowledged his age is a legitimate concern and poked fun at it from time to time. His aides and allies have been adamant that he is as sharp and vibrant as ever.

    However, voters may be spooked by a number of incidents of Biden struggling to keep his balance, including repeated stumbles on the steps of Air Force One and a heavy fall on the stage of the Air Force Academy’s graduation ceremony in June last year.

    When told Biden is too old to be effective as president, 69% said they either somewhat or strongly agreed, while only 27% somewhat or strongly disagreed, according to a recent New York Times/Siena College survey.

    By contrast, just 41% somewhat or strongly agreed that Trump was too old to be effective, compared to 56% who either strongly or somewhat disagreed.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    CNN Debate Moderators Named for Trump-Biden Matchup

    Citizen Frank



    The CNN debate moderators were named after President Trump and Joe Biden agreed to a debate.

    Joe Biden and President Trump on Wednesday accepted an invitation from CNN for a debate on June 27 without a live audience.

    The CNN debate will take place in Atlanta, Georgia. Jake Tapper and Dana Bash will moderate CNN’s June debate.

    Trump also accepted ABC News’ invitation to debate Biden on September 10.

    This is months after President Trump has repeatedly challenged Joe Biden to a debate. Joe Biden is such a coward that he has avoided committing to a debate until he was practically forced to because of pressure.

    However, Biden will only debate Trump if there is no audience, Trump’s mic is muted while he’s speaking, and if left-wing networks/moderators are in charge of the matchup.

    President Trump challenged Joe Biden to a third debate hosted by Fox News and moderated by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum.

    Biden snubbed the invite to a third debate.

    “President Biden made his terms clear for two one-on-one debates, and Donald Trump accepted those terms,” Biden Campaign Chair Jen O’Malley Dillon said in a statement. “No more games. No more chaos, no more debate about debates.”

    Go deeper ( < 1 min. read ) ➝

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