Raid on Trump’s Lawyer Sought Records on ‘Access Hollywood’ Tape

The F.B.I. agents who raided the office and hotel of President Trump’s lawyer on Monday were seeking all records related to the “Access Hollywood” tape in which Mr. Trump was heard making vulgar comments about women, according to three people who have been briefed on the contents of a federal search warrant.

The search warrant also sought evidence of whether the lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, tried to suppress damaging information about Mr. Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

.. People close to Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen regard the warrant as an attempt by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, to pry into Mr. Trump’s personal life — using other prosecutors as his proxy.

Trump’s successes are thanks to Republicans. His failures are thanks to Trump.

Vice President Pence’s obsequiousness at a recent Cabinet meeting — “Thank you for seeing, through the course of this year, an agenda that is truly restoring this country. . .” and on, and on — might be appropriate at a Communist Party Central Committee meeting or at a despot’s birthday party.

.. The divestment of self-respect is a qualification for employment in the Trump administration. Praising the Dear Leader in a Pence-like fashion seems to be what the Dear Leader requires — not in the way we might need dessert after dinner, but in the way an addict needs drugs.

.. President Trump divides the world into two categories: flunkies and enemies. Pence is the cringing, fawning high priest of flunkiness

.. Any Republican president from the 2016 primary field would have appointed conservative judges, continued the offensive against the Islamic State, and cut taxes and regulations. (He or she would also, in all likelihood, have succeeded at an Obamacare replacement.)

.. Trump spent the political capital of his first year — the highest it will ever be — on a few, generic GOP goals.

  • .. Trump has tried to undermine the credibility of important institutions — the courts, the FBI, intelligence agencies, the media — that check his power and expose his duplicity.
  • He has used his office (and Twitter account) to target individual Americans for harm without due process.
  • He attacks the very idea of truth in a daily torrent of despicable lies.
  • The moral authority of the presidency is in tatters.
  • He has made our common life more vulgar and brutal, and complicated the moral education of children.
  • Racists are emboldened and included in the GOP coalition.
  • He has caused a large portion of Republicans to live in an alternate reality of resentment and hatred,
  • which complicates the possibility of governing and is likely to discredit the party among the young, minorities, women and college-educated voters for decades to come.

.. Almost all of Trump’s accomplishments are the work of traditional Republican policy staffers and congressional leaders. Almost all of Trump’s failures are functions of his character. And that isn’t going to change.

George W. Bush comes out of retirement to deliver a veiled rebuke of Trump

Bush offered a blunt assessment of a political system corrupted by “conspiracy theories and outright fabrication” in which nationalism has been “distorted into nativism.”

..  “Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone and provides permission for cruelty and bigotry. The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them.”

.. Just hours after Bush completed his speech, Obama also made a veiled critique of the Trump era, calling on Democrats at a New Jersey campaign event to “send a message to the world that we are rejecting a politics of division, we are rejecting a politics of fear.”

.. That Trump’s two most recent predecessors felt liberated, or perhaps compelled, to reenter the political arena in a manner that offered an implicit criticism of him is virtually unprecedented in modern politics, historians said.

.. George W. Bush was taking aim at Trump’s “roiling of the traditional institutions of the country and, in particular, demeaning the office of the president by a kind of crude or vulgar bashing of opponents,”

.. “I think this is Bush throwing down the gauntlet and feeling that this is a man who has gone too far,” Dallek said. The discretion former presidents traditionally afforded their successors “is now sort of fading to the past because of the belligerence of Trump.”

.. McCain’s critique prompted Trump to warn him to “be careful” because he is prepared to “fight back.”

.. The common thread among Bush’s and McCain’s words was a defense of the post-World War II liberal order

  • which supported strong security alliances,
  • a defense of human rights and an
  • open economic system of free trade

.. “The hallmark of McCain’s and Bush’s speeches was to try to re-center us on what have been, since 1945, these traditional ends,”

.. He cautioned at the time, however, that he would speak out if he saw “core values” at risk.

.. the unifying themes between Obama and Bush are “humanity and empathy towards the American public.”

.. Bush opened his remarks by speaking in both English and Spanish and noting that refugees from Afghanistan, China, North Korea and Venezuela were seated in the audience.

.. Bush also warned that “bigotry seems emboldened” in a passage that evoked the aftermath of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville

.. “Bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed,” Bush said in a line that drew the most applause.

.. “Politics are now about discrediting people by ad hominem attacks, not by argumentation,” Cohen said. Those who opposed Bush’s wars have a fair point of view, he said, but their constant “demonization does help make it easier for Trump.”

Save the Phony Weinstein Outrage, Republicans

Trump is more consistent. He is a pig in public as well as behind closed doors. In 1992, New York Magazine reported that he said the best way to deal with women is to treat them like excrement, though he used a more vulgar term. He has followed his own advice. His first wife, Ivana Trump, accused him of raping her in a fit of rage. (She later denied that the events she’d recounted were rape “in a literal or criminal sense,” but stuck to the underlying story.)

.. He owned beauty pageants and, by his own admission, would barge into changing rooms to ogle the naked contestants. The makeup artist Jill Harth said that he tried to rape her. Multiple women have accused him of groping and sexual harassment.

.. Somehow, in the wake of the Weinstein revelations, the president’s supporters appear to believe they hold the moral high ground. Donald Trump Jr. — a man who once said that women who can’t handle workplace sexual harassment “should go maybe teach kindergarten” — has been tweeting about Weinstein incessantly.

.. For the past 11 months, many feminists have been reeling from the defeat of the first female major-party presidential candidate by a predatory misogynist. The confirmation that a hugely powerful man who is supposed to be on our side is just as bad as Trump is shattering.

.. Yes, Ailes had to leave Fox News after charges that he’d demanded sexual favors from women in exchange for professional opportunities. But in the aftermath, conservatives did not ostracize him. Instead, Trump defended Ailes and defamed his accusers, then brought him on as an adviser