on the record
June 27, 2019

E. Jean Carroll says she told two friends after President Trump allegedly sexually assaulted her in the mid-1990's. Those two friends say they remember it all.

Last week, an excerpt from the advice columnist's forthcoming book published in New York Magazine described how Trump allegedly assaulted her in a dressing room. New York Magazine corroborated the account with two friends of Carroll's who she reportedly told about the assault, but who remained unnamed in the article. But in a Thursday interview with The New York Times, those women — author Lisa Birnbach and former news anchor Carol Martin — went on the record.

Both Birnbach and Martin remember hearing Carroll's allegation, and recounted their responses to Carroll for both New York Magazine and the Times. Birnbach told Carroll to call the police, she told the Times, while Martin said she told Carroll "I wouldn't tell anybody this." Both women say they'd met Trump before the alleged assault, with Birnbach having interviewed him at Mar-a-Lago and Martin saying she had a friend who dated him.

The Times also spoke with Carroll following last Friday's article, and she again recounted her allegation against Trump. She says she kept silent for years because she viewed the alleged assault as partially her fault. And while she no longer believes that, Carroll "does not want to consider herself a victim and does not describe the incident as a rape," the Times writes.

Read more in The New York Times, or listen to portions of the Times' interviews with Birnbach and Martin at The Daily. Kathryn Krawczyk

February 14, 2019

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe has confirmed that Justice Department officials in 2017 discussed whether the 25th Amendment could be invoked to remove President Trump from office.

CBS's Scott Pelley revealed Thursday that, in an interview with McCabe set to air on 60 Minutes Sunday, he goes on the record about the 25th Amendment talk. "There were meetings at the Justice Department in which it was discussed whether the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet could be brought together to remove the president of the United States under the 25th Amendment," Pelley said, summarizing the McCabe interview.

These meetings reportedly came in between Trump's firing of former FBI Director James Comey and the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Pelley notes that McCabe is the first source to go on the record to confirm The New York Times' reporting in September that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed getting Cabinet officials to declare Trump unfit to serve as president. According to Pelley, McCabe says they were "counting noses" and discussing which Cabinet members "would be with us."

That Times report also said Rosenstein suggested wearing a wire to secretly record Trump, and McCabe confirms this in the 60 Minutes interview. McCabe additionally tells CBS he began an FBI investigation into Trump because he was afraid he would be "removed quickly."

This interview comes ahead of a new book McCabe is set to publish, in which he writes, according to an excerpt published by The Atlantic, that Trump is a "deliberate liar who will say whatever he pleases to get whatever he wants." Brendan Morrow

January 18, 2019

A line of questioning from William Barr's confirmation hearing has taken on far greater significance after a new report about President Trump.

Trump's nominee for attorney general made clear multiple times during his hearing earlier this week that if a president commits the behavior Trump has since been accused of committing, this would be obstruction of justice. He said as much when Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) asked him, "A president persuading a person to commit perjury would be obstruction, is that right?" Barr responded simply, "Yes," The Washington Post reports.

In case it wasn't clear enough, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) separately asked Barr, "If there was some reason to believe that the president tried to coach somebody not to testify or to testify falsely, that could be obstruction of justice?" Barr responded, "Yes." Barr had previously written in June 2018, "Obviously, the President and any other official can commit obstruction in this classic sense of sabotaging a proceeding’s truth-finding function."

This is precisely what a new report from BuzzFeed alleges: that Trump personally directed his then-attorney, Michael Cohen, to commit perjury by falsely telling Congress a business deal with Russia ended long before it actually did. Cohen in November pleaded guilty to lying to Congress, and BuzzFeed quotes two federal law enforcement officials as saying Cohen has informed Special Counsel Robert Mueller that Trump directed him to make these false statements. Mueller reportedly already knew this through separate interviews with multiple witnesses.

Trump has not yet personally responded to the report, but his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, released a statement dismissing Cohen's credibility. Brendan Morrow

July 20, 2018

The FBI reportedly has a tape, secretly recorded by Michael Cohen, of President Trump talking about hush money payments to former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Michael Avenatti says it's not the only one.

The lawyer for Stormy Daniels, a porn star who's also gotten hush money payments via Trump's ex-lawyer Cohen, has repeatedly said there are multiple "Trump tapes" out there. And after The New York Times reported one's existence on Friday, Avenatti immediately demanded its release.

"I know for a fact this is not the only tape," Avenatti told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell. "And I think that any and all tapes Michael Cohen has in his possession relating to this president should be released immediately for the benefit of the American public and they can decide what happens next."

Avenatti claimed Cohen is "one of the world's great hoarders of evidence" in a June MSNBC appearance, and predicted secret recordings had already been seized during an FBI raid of Cohen's office in April. He was at least partly right, as the Times revealed Cohen taped a discussion with Trump about a payment to McDougal, who alleged she had an affair with Trump in 2006.

Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted that this appears to be the only tape. Avenatti, for his part, wouldn't say how he apparently knows there are more recordings out there — just that he knows. Kathryn Krawczyk

July 18, 2018

President Trump is waging a war against "fake news," but he's fighting battles without the proper weapons.

Beck Dorey-Stein, who worked as a White House stenographer for five years, told CNN's New Day on Wednesday that Trump's aversion to recorded conversations makes it difficult to parse the truth when questions arise later. Dorey-Stein worked under the Obama administration before spending only a few months with the Trump administration before resigning.

Dorey-Stein recalled how she used to sit in the Oval Office with former President Barack Obama, recording his every interaction with the press. If people later questioned his words or the context for a quote, she explained, Obama would simply refer to the transcript of the conversation. Trump, on the other hand, "does not like microphones near his face," she said. "Even if a stenographer is present," she continued, "he doesn't often say 'check the transcript,' because the transcript will reveal the truth." She said that if Trump was "really interested in fighting 'fake news,'" he would encourage recordings and fall back on the transcripts to prove his claims.

She said that his lack of understanding and respect for official stenographers was partially responsible for the friction between him and British Prime Minister Theresa May, whom he denied criticizing until a recording of his criticism emerged.

"I quit because I couldn't be proud of where I worked any more," Dorey-Stein explained. "I felt like President Trump was lying to the American people, and not even trying to tell the truth." Watch the segment below, via CNN. Summer Meza

May 16, 2018

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday published transcripts of interviews with several of President Trump's top campaign officials who met with Russians at Trump Tower in June 2016.

Among the 2,000 pages of documents was the transcript of the interview with Donald Trump Jr., who invited a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer to offer "dirt" on then-candidate Hillary Clinton. In the panel interview, Trump Jr. described how the team handled things once news of the meeting got out. In a July 2017 statement, Trump Jr. said that the meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya was mostly about about an adoption program, but he later had to walk the statement back after his emails — which he released himself — showed that he had hoped for ammunition against Clinton.

The transcripts released Wednesday show that Trump Jr. hoped to leave his father, President Trump, out of the drama when it came to drafting a statement about the infamous meeting. When asked whether reports that the president had helped draft the statement were true, Trump Jr. said, "I don't know. I never spoke to my father about it." Many people were involved with the draft, Trump Jr. explained. He acknowledged that his father "may have commented through Hope Hicks," then the White House communications director, but maintained that he didn't ask his father for guidance because he "didn't want to bring him into something that he had nothing to do with."

Read more about the transcripts at CNN. Summer Meza

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