Jeff Bezos Publicly Accuses The National Enquirer Of Blackmail And Extortion
Rantt Rundown, Day 749 of Trump’s presidency – Today’s top stories:
1. The blackmail of Bezos: Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon and owner of The Washington Post, published a truly remarkable piece on Medium. In it, Bezos alleges an attempt on the part of American Media Inc. (AMI), the parent company of the National Enquirer, to blackmail him with nude photos and text messages between himself and Lauren Sanchez. Bezos published emails that appear to confirm representatives of AMI threatened to publish these photos and messages if Bezos didn’t stop his investigation into how they obtained his private messages the National Enquirer previously published. Bezos is also probing whether or not their coverage is politically motivated, claiming: “For reasons still to be better understood, the Saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive nerve.”
AMI, who we know purchased Karen McDougal’s affair story on behalf of Donald Trump, is known to “catch and kill” stories, so this blatant extortion isn’t all too surprising, but the manner they went about it surely is. They targeted the richest man in the world, who clearly isn’t moved by the same motivations as their other targets. Bezos has signaled there are others: “If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can? (On that point, numerous people have contacted our investigation team about their similar experiences with AMI, and how they needed to capitulate because, for example, their livelihoods were at stake.)”It’s important to note that the Chairman and CEO of AMI, David Pecker, has been granted immunity and is cooperating with federal prosecutors who probed Michael Cohen and Donald Trump’s conduct.
2. Trump lashes out at checks and balances: President Trump awoke today feeling triggered by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s wide-ranging probe into his corruption, finances, and Russia ties. “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT” he tweeted. We responded:
What Trump calls “presidential harassment” is actually the House executing on their constitutional duty to hold Trump accountable for his unprecedented corruption.
Actual presidential harassment is falsely claiming the first black POTUS was born in Kenya.https://t.co/cp3Lx21JPL
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) February 7, 2019
House Intel isn’t the only committee who is increasing their oversight. Today, the House Ways and Means Committee began laying the groundwork for their effort to obtain President Trump’s tax returns. Also, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on the Trump administration’s migrant child separation policy and their inability to properly track and reunite families. In related news, after Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker tried to seek an assurance he will not be subpoenaed if he testifies, the House Judiciary Committee will question the acting AG tomorrow at 9:30 am ET about his conversations with the White House about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
3. Mueller update: Today, we learned that Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort continued his Ukraine lobbying work into 2018 even while under investigation. In a court filing, prosecutors allege that Manafort met with Russian Intelligence operative Konstantin Kilimnik several times, including when Kilimnik was in DC for the inauguration as well as in February 2017 and 2018. They discussed the Russia-Ukraine peace plan (which would’ve lifted sanctions). We were already aware they had discussed this in August 2016 when Manafort handed campaign polling data to Kilimnik. It’s unclear whether this is related to the Ukraine Peace plan Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen and associate Felix Sater worked on and reportedly delivered to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
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