Trump’s multiple sex scandals endanger U.S. national security

By Andrew Kreig and Wayne Madsen

Recent claims that Donald Trump paid hush money before the 2016 election to porn star Stormy Daniels to cover up a 2006 affair underscore far more sinister events.

Such a payoff would show not simply Trump’s low morals and high arrogance — but also his propensity for outright crime in ways potentially damaging to the United States and many of its residents.

These grim possibilities are especially relevant to our recent exposé “Welcome to Waterbury,” which drew on 2016 lawsuit allegations that Trump and his billionaire friend Jeffrey Epstein in 1994 raped “Maria,” age 12, and “Jane Doe,” age 13, also known as Katie Johnson, in a New York City luxury townhouse then being used by Epstein. Details are here in the Wayne Madsen Report and the Justice Integrity Project (JIP).

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Today, we compare those claims by underage girls with the ones by Stormy Daniels, as reported by, among other places, In Touch magazine in column last week.

The In Touch cover story, illustated at left, was based on her blunt recollections of sleeping with Trump and otherwise socializing with him shortly after his wife Melania gave birth to son Barron in March 2006, according to the Daniels account years ago. In Touch did not publish it at the time but did so this month to follow up the Wall Street Journal’s report on Jan. 12 that Daniels received $130,000 shortly before the 2016 election from Trump attorney Michael Cohen via a company temporarily created to make the payment, thus obscuring its origin and purpose.

Cohen and Daniels (born Stephanie Clifford) later denied an affair or hush money. More generally, Trump and his representatives have issued blanket denials against all of those nearly 20 women who have alleged sexual harassment or assault. The many news reports of such accusations and denials include Donald Trump says women who accuse him of sexual assault are lying and The 19 Women Who Accused President Trump of Sexual Misconduct

Donald Trump, Arianne Zucker, Billy Bush in screenshot from Access Hollywood tape

To explore this further, we examine more closely the Daniels and Maria/Jane Doe stories. An extensive appendix below illustrates both Trump-related news coverage of these points, as well the emerging #MeToo movement protesting rape, harassment and cover-up by powerful men victimizing women and, in some cases, underage children of both sexes.

To buttress Trump's denials, he allegedly used his celebrity status (much like he described in the Access Hollywood tape that surfaced during the presidential campaign, as illustrated by the screenshot with Arianne Zucker and Billy Bush) to do what he wanted. The stories demonstrate that Trump has an established system whereby his minions can threaten and/or bribe his targets to cover up crimes or infidelity.

But the true danger is not the superficial embarassment that Trump might experience. Instead, the threat to the nation is what blackmailers, global and national, might extort from Trump and his administration to keep his secrets.

'Utter Immorality'

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Two big factors are another commonality in the accounts of the alleged Trump rapes of the underaged girls and the consensual affair with the porn star:  

One is the utter immorality of each scandal. That should concern any decent observer and not just the evangelicals and other “family values” proponents that Trump currently courts. The horrid impact of sexual harassment, assault and pedophilia have become increasingly visible, as evident in the #MeToo movement by victims beginning last fall. Public outrage against powerful abuses reached a landmark of sorts this week with the courtroom statements of many of the estimated 160 child sexual abuse victims of former Olympic gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar and his sentence to up to 175 years in prison by a judge who stated "I've just signed your death warrant."

Another similarity is the pure recklessness of the alleged behavior. As indicated by the Nassar sentencing (but not so far in Epstein or Trump allegations), any activity with underage girls is supposedly harshly punished by the legal system. And relations by a married new father with a porn star, while not illegal, would be less than prudent, even as a private citizen as Trump was at the time.

But that's clearly not stopped Trump, as evident in many ways through the decades. These include this week's reprisal in the Doonesbury comic strip of cartoons first published three decades ago mocking Trump for bragging about his affairs.

More broadly, best-selling Trump White House chronicler Michael Wolff claimed in his tell-book Fire and Fury this month that former Trump campaign manager and White House strategist Steve Bannon claimed, according to one news account, Trump's lawyer 'took care' of 'a hundred' women during the presidential campaign.

The bottom iine is no joke. Any such scandal — even as a voyeur with prostitutes as claimed regarding the highly dubious and probably phony “pee-pee tape,” much less with underage girls as alleged in the Katie Johnson lawsuits and our Welcome to Waterbury investigation — would place Trump and the nation in a position of acute danger of blackmail.

Blackmailing of the President of the United States would be the most-prized gem imaginable for any foreign intelligence agency as well many greedy risk-takers among domestic interests,

These are the ways that sex scandals surrounding Trump place the national security of the United States in extreme danger in ways few in the mainstream media dare mention. At this point, however, a change in that deference to Trump and what he represents is more than justified.

To be continued.

Contact the co-author This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Selected Harassment, Assault, Rape Scandals Reported Since Jan. 1

Shown below is an archive of news stories and commentaries that the Justice Integrity Project (JIP) has excerpted from major news organizations since Jan. 1 about harassment, assault and rape allegations, including some of those made regarding Trump. Illustrating the bloodletter among government, media and business executives in recent months, the top ten stories are drawn from Jan. 24 coverage, the date of the above column's first publication on the Wayne Madsen Report.

Other JIP archives extending into the last months of the 2017 calendar year cover the topics of Trump Probes and, separately, #MeToo, Sex & Blackmail Scandals. The column Welcome To Waterbury: The City That Holds Secrets That Could Bring Down Trump published on Jan. 9 has an extensive appendix on allegations against Trump and his responses dating back many years.

2018

February

Feb. 13

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On June 1, White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter, 40, assists President Trump with Vice President Pence (r) and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus

ny times logochristopher wray cropped SmallNew York Times, F.B.I. Contradicts White House on Porter Timeline, Michael D. Shear, Feb. 12, 2018. Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, contradicted on Tuesday the White House timeline about the domestic abuse scandal involving Rob Porter, the president’s former staff secretary. Mr. Wray (shown in a file photo) said that the bureau delivered to the White House a partial report on problems in Mr. Porter’s background in March, months earlier than the White House has admitted receiving the information.

Mr. Porter, one of President Trump’s top aides, was forced to resign last week after allegations of abuse by his two ex-wives were made public, sparking a week of shifting explanations by White House officials about who knew about Mr. Porter’s past and when they knew it.

Testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mr. Wray did not disclose the contents of the bureau’s inquiry. But he said that after the partial report in March, the F.B.I. gave the White House “a completed background investigation” in late July. He said the bureau received a request for a “follow-up inquiry” and provided more information about Mr. Porter’s background to the White House in November.

Related story: washington post logofbi logoWashington Post, FBI followed protocol in security clearance for ex-White House aide, director says, Ellen Nakashima and Shane Harris​, Feb. 12, 2018.​ Bureau Director Christopher A. Wray's testimony before a Senate panel comes as the White House tries to deflect criticism over its handling of a security clearance for senior aide, Rob Porter, who stepped down last week after being accused of spousal abuse.

At the same hearing, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats testified that he expects Russia will continue to use propaganda, false personas and other tactics to undermine this year’s midterm elections.

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Images of Colbie Holderness after an alleged incident with her then-husband Rob Porter in the early 2000s. (Courtesy of Colbie Holderness)

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Rob Porter is my ex-husband. Here’s what you should know about abuse, Colbie Holderness, Feb. 13, 2018 (print edition). .Colbie Holderness was the first wife of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Sunday that she has no reason not to believe statements that Jennifer Willoughby and I have made about our ex-husband, former White House aide Rob Porter. I actually appreciated her saying that she at least did not not believe us.

rob porter fileBut I was dismayed when Conway, appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” went on to say that she does not fear for White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, who has reportedly been dating Porter (shown at right). “I’ve rarely met somebody so strong with such excellent instincts and loyalty and smarts.”

Borrowing Conway’s words, I have no reason not to believe her when she says that Hicks is a strong woman. But her statement implies that those who have been in abusive relationships are not strong. I beg to differ.

Recognizing and surviving in an abusive relationship take strength. The abuse can be terrifying, life-threatening and almost constant. Or it can ebb and flow, with no violence for long periods. It’s often the subtler forms of abuse that inflict serious, persistent damage while making it hard for the victim to see the situation clearly.

For me, living in constant fear of Rob’s anger and being subjected to his degrading tirades for years chipped away at my independence and sense of self-worth. I walked away from that relationship a shell of the person I was when I went into it, but it took me a long time to realize the toll that his behavior was taking on me. (Rob has denied the abuse, but Willoughby and I know what happened.)

Telling others about the abuse takes strength. Talking to family, friends, clergy, counselors and, later, the FBI, I would often find myself struggling to find the words to convey an adequate picture of the situation. When Rob’s now ex-girlfriend reached out to both Willoughby and me, she described her relationship in terms we each found familiar, immediately following up her description with “Am I crazy?” Boy, I could identify with that question.

Then there is the just-as-serious issue of being believed and supported by those you choose to tell. Sometimes people don’t believe you. Sometimes they have difficulty truly understanding what you are trying to tell them. Both Willoughby and I raised our cases with clergy. Both of us had a hard time getting them to fully address the abuse taking place. It wasn’t until I spoke to a professional counselor that I was met with understanding.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Sarah Huckabee Sanders is at her worst at a strange time — when she’s talking about respect for women, Margaret Sullivan, Feb. 12, 2018.​  A briefing on Monday showed the press secretary's trademark disrespect for reporters and represented a new rock bottom from the podium at the Trump White House. And that is really saying something.

sarah huckabee sanders screenshotAnd that is really saying something, given the lying-from-day-one reign of Sean Spicer, along with Sanders’s own fulsome history of dissembling, and the 10-day flameout of Anthony Scaramucci last summer.

With her dismissive gestures, her curled-lip sneers, her ready insults and guilt-free lies, Sanders is a conduit — a tool — for Trump’s own abusive relationship with journalists. Does it really make sense to keep coming back for more?

Law, Politics Around the Nation: A Young Siegelman Runs In Alabama

Feb. 12

jennie willoughby nbc today tease

Jennifer Willoughby, shown above right, in an NBC News interview

washington post logojennifer rubin twitterWashington Post, Opinion: Trump has chosen the wrong women to demean, Jennifer Rubin (shown at right), Feb. 12, 2018. Jennie Willoughby, an ex-wife of disgraced former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, has had quite enough of Trump’s routine. In response to his Saturday tweet whining that men’s lives are being “shattered” when their abusers step forward (“Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false.....There is no recovery for someone falsely accused — life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”), Willoughby writes:

The words “mere allegation” and “falsely accused” meant to imply that I am a liar. That Colbie Holderness is a liar. That the work Rob was doing in the White House was of higher value than our mental, emotional or physical wellbeing. That his professional contributions are worth more than the truth. That abuse is something to be questioned and doubted. . . .

I think the issue here is deeper than whether Trump, or General John Kelly, or Sarah Huckabee Sanders, or Senator Orrin Hatch, or Hope Hicks, or whether anyone else believes me or defends Rob. Society as a whole has a fear of addressing our worst secrets. (Just ask any African-American citizen). It’s as if we have a societal blind spot that creates an obstacle to understanding. Society as a whole doesn’t acknowledge the reality of abuse.

Columnist Rubin, continued: Trump and his defenders make a grave error in making this a battle between Trump, who a large majority of Americans think is dishonest, and victimized women. His devoted cult may take his side, although judging from my interactions with Republican women loyalists, some are becoming more and more agitated and frustrated that their spinning isn’t working and that they are being placed in the position of defending the indefensible. (Tip: You put yourselves there. Stop doing it.) What Trump is doing is summoning once again an army of women and fighting against a cultural tide, far deeper and wider than a political “issue.”

Feb. 9

ny times logoNew York Times, Kelly Is Now Center of the Storm He Was Hired to Tame, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, Feb. 9, 2018. President Trump is calling the chief of staff he pushed out, Reince Priebus, to complain about John Kelly (shown at right), the chief of staff who took Mr. Priebus’s place.

See also, washington post logoWashington Post, Kelly offers account of Porter exit that some White House aides consider untrue, Philip Rucker and Josh Dawsey, Feb. 9, 2018. White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly on Friday morning instructed senior staff to communicate a version of events about the departure of staff secretary Rob Porter that contradicts the Trump administration’s previous accounts, according to two senior officials.

During a staff meeting, Kelly told those in attendance to say he took action to remove Porter within 40 minutes of learning abuse allegations from two ex-wives were credible, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because discussions in such meetings are supposed to be confidential.

“He told the staff he took immediate and direct action,” one of the officials said, adding that people after the meeting expressed disbelief with one another and felt his latest account was not true.

That version of events contradicts both the public record and accounts from numerous other White House officials in recent days as the Porter drama unfolded. Kelly — who first learned of the domestic violence allegations against Porter months ago — issued a glowing statement of support for Porter’s personal character after the allegations first surfaced publicly Tuesday and privately urged him to remain on the job until the next day when his resignation was announced.

nbc news logoNBC Today, Rob Porter’s ex-wife Jennifer Willoughby: He was ‘verbally and emotionally abusive,’ Staff report, Feb. 9, 2018. (6:18 min. video). Joining TODAY live, Jennifer Willoughby, an ex-wife of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, describes him pulling her out of the shower during an argument as well as “attacks on my character and intelligence.” She says that “of course” she believes the allegations of physical abuse by Porter made by his first wife, Colbie Holderness, and says there was no coordination between her and Holderness.

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Praises Top Adviser Accused of Abusing Ex-Wives, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman, Feb. 9, 2018. “We wish him well,” President Trump said, as a nearly all-male top White House staff appears to have looked the other way about allegations against the disgraced adviser, Rob Porter.

President Trump on Friday praised Rob Porter, the White House staff secretary who resigned on Wednesday amid spousal abuse allegations, saying it was a “tough time” for the disgraced former aide and noting that Mr. Porter had denied the accusations.

“We wish him well,” Mr. Trump said of Mr. Porter, who was accused of physical and emotional abuse by two ex-wives. The president added, “As you probably know, he says he is innocent.”

“He worked very hard,” Mr. Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. He said he had only “recently” learned of the allegations against Mr. Porter and was surprised.

“He did a very good job when he was in the White House, and we hope he has a wonderful career, and he will have a great career ahead of him,” Mr. Trump said. “But it was very sad when we heard about it, and certainly he’s also very sad now.”

The glowing praise of a staff member accused of serial violence against women was in line with the president’s own denials of sexual impropriety despite accusations from more than a dozen women and his habit of accepting claims of innocence from men facing similar allegations. Among them was Roy Moore, the former Republican Senate candidate in Alabama, who is accused of molesting teenage girls.Continue reading the main story

Mr. Trump’s comments came as a new timeline emerged indicating that top officials knew much earlier than previously disclosed that Mr. Porter faced accusations of violence against women.

washington post logoWashington Post, Breaking with tradition, Trump skips president’s written intelligence report and relies on oral briefings, Carol D. Leonnig, Shane Harris and Greg Jaffe, Feb. 9, 2018. For much of the past year, President Trump has declined to participate in a practice followed by the past seven of his predecessors: He rarely if ever reads the President’s Daily Brief, a document that lays out the most pressing information collected by U.S. intelligence agencies from hot spots around the world.

cia logoTrump has opted to rely on an oral briefing of select intelligence issues in the Oval Office rather than getting the full written document delivered to review separately each day, according to three people familiar with his briefings. Reading the traditionally dense intelligence book is not Trump’s preferred “style of learning,” according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

The arrangement underscores Trump’s impatience with exhaustive classified documents that go to the commander in chief — material that he has said he prefers condensed as much as possible. But by not reading the daily briefing, the president could hamper his ability to respond to crises in the most effective manner, intelligence experts warned.

Feb. 7

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On June 1, White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter, 40, assists President Trump with Vice President Pence (r) and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus

Daily Mail Online, Hope Hicks' new boyfriend Rob Porter RESIGNS from White House after BOTH ex-wives accuse him of abuse -- including one who told DailyMail.com that he CHOKED and PUNCHED her, Feb. 7, 2018. Rob Porter has resigned from his role as White House staff secretary after a series of DailyMail.com revelations about violence towards his ex-wives.

Rob Porter has resigned from his role as White House staff secretary after his first ex-wife told DailyMail.com that he choked and punched her during their marriage.

Colbie Holderness, 37, who is a senior analyst for the U.S. government, spoke on the record to DailyMail.com about her five-year marriage to Porter, detailing physical and mental abuse.

She said he broke down her confidence so badly with his verbal and emotional abuse that she took an extended leave of absence from grad school.

Holderness's revelations follow DailyMail.com's exclusive interview on Tuesday evening with Porter's second wife, Jennifer Willoughby.

She told how Porter, 40, once dragged her wet and naked out of the shower and was verbally abusive, calling her a f***ing b***h' on their honeymoon.

The White House initially gave Porter its full support. But just hours after the second set of revelations, Porter resigned while still protesting his innocence.

'These outrageous allegations are simply false. I took the photos given to the media nearly 15 years ago and the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described,' Porter said in a statement Wednesday. 'I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign.

'My commitment to public service speaks for itself. I have always put duty to country first and treated others with respect. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have served in the Trump Administration and will seek to ensure a smooth transition when I leave the White House.'

Colbie Holderness married Porter in June 2003 at New College Chapel in Oxford, England where Porter was attending as a Rhodes scholar. Holderness, 37, who is a senior analyst for the U.S. government, spoke on the record to DailyMail.com about her five-year marriage following the on-the-record allegations by Rob Porter’s second wife, Jennifer Willoughby.

hope hicks strategic communications directorPorter, 40, has been described as one of the most important players in Trump's daily Oval Office orbit, and helped him write last week's State of the Union Address. Hope Hicks, 29, was seen leaving her D.C. apartment with White House Staff Secretary Porter 10 days ago.

On Wednesday, it was alleged that Hicks (shown in a file photo) was involved in crafting the response to DailyMail.com from the White House for Porter following Willoughby's on-the-record allegations of domestic abuse. colbie holderness rob porter Custom

Images of Colbie Holderness after an alleged incident with her then-husband, Rob Porter, in the early 2000s. (Courtesy of Colbie Holderness)

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Look at the picture, Ruth Marcus, Feb. 7, 2018. The woman’s eye socket is the sickly green-yellow of a healing bruise. Around the eyelid, and in a sickening swoosh underneath, there is the deep plum of blood pooling around broken capillaries.

The picture, if you haven’t seen it, shows Colbie Holderness, one of two ex-wives who have accused senior White House aide Rob Porter of physically abusing them. Porter, in the statement announcing his resignation Wednesday, declared that “these outrageous allegations are simply false. I took the photos given to the media nearly 15 years ago and the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described.”

Explain how White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, who reportedly knew of the FBI reports, could assert, in a statement circulated before and after the abuse photos emerged, “Rob Porter is a man of true integrity and honor and I can’t say enough good things about him. He is a friend, a confidante and a trusted professional.”

Consider Porter, the seeming golden boy. Harvard University. Rhodes scholar. Republican bona fides (his father, Roger Porter, worked for President George H.W. Bush; Rob Porter served as chief of staff to Utah Sen. Orrin G. Hatch) to match what the Deseret News called his “strong Latter-day Saint pedigree.” A man like that wouldn’t abuse his wife, would he?

January

Jan. 27

steve wynn headshotPolitico, RNC finance chair Steve Wynn resigns after sexual harassment allegations, Alex Isenstadt, Jan. 27, 2018. Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn on Saturday stepped down as Republican National Committee finance chairman, according to three senior Republicans briefed on the decision. The decision followed a Friday report in the Wall Street Journal alleging that Wynn engaged in sexual harassment.

Wynn, 76, was President Donald Trump's handpicked choice for the finance position. It has not yet been determined who will replace him.

"Today I accepted Steve Wynn’s resignation as Republican National Committee finance chair," said RNC chair Ronna Romney McDaniel, who spoke about the Wynn situation with the president on Saturday morning, according to a person with knowledge of the conversation. Trump returned from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday evening.

mar a lago aerial CustomWynn has had a long relationship with the president, himself a former casino owner. After the 2016 election, Trump tapped the Las Vegas Republican to oversee the RNC's fundraising heading into a perilous midterm election for the party. Last Saturday, Wynn headlined a fundraiser for the president's reelection campaign and the RNC at Trump's posh Mar-a-Lago resort (shown in an aerial view). During recent fundraising events — including one recent one in New York City — Wynn has praised Trump as a history-changing president in the mold of Lincoln and Reagan.

But the sexual misconduct allegations against Wynn put Republicans in an untenable situation after the RNC and other GOP officials had ripped the Democratic Party last fall for its connections to Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced movie mogul who raised and contributed large amounts of money for Democrats.'

In a statement emailed to Politico Friday, Wynn said the allegations are “the continued work of my ex-wife Elaine Wynn, with whom I am involved in a terrible and nasty lawsuit in which she is seeking a revised divorce settlement.”

“The idea that I ever assaulted any woman is preposterous,” Wynn added. “We find ourselves in a world where people can make allegations, regardless of the truth, and a person is left with the choice of weathering insulting publicity or engaging in multi-year lawsuits.”

Jan. 26

cnn logoCNN, What happens when judges judge themselves? Sexual misconduct by judges kept under wraps, Joan Biskupic, Jan. 26, 2018 (with video). Joan Biskupic is a CNN legal analyst and Supreme Court biographer. Statistics compiled by Aaron Kessler.

In recent months, powerful men in Hollywood, the media, Congress and other spheres have been accused of sexual harassment. A common theme has been men abusing their positions in settings where women feel they have no recourse.The abuse women have suffered in the nation's courthouses has been a largely untold story. And its system for complaints -- where judges police fellow judges -- is a world so closely controlled and cloaked in secrecy that it defies public scrutiny.

alex kozinski informal wRarely do sexual misconduct allegations against federal judges become public, even belatedly, as in the Waco episode or as they did in late 2017, with myriad complaints against California-based U.S. Appeals Court Judge Alex Kozinski (shown at right) that drew national attention in the current #MeToo moment, forcing his resignation.

The federal judiciary occupies a distinct place in American life that makes what happens there potentially more striking than in other spheres. The nearly 900 federal judges who sit on trial and appellate courts are appointed for life. They have the authority to interpret the law on sex-based offenses. Their attitudes about harassment could reverberate in legal disputes that arise in other realms.

But the judiciary itself is hiding the depth of the problem of misconduct by judges.

CNN compiled and reviewed nearly 5,000 judicial orders related to misconduct complaints and available online over the past 10 years. The documents, covering an array of misbehavior beyond sexual misconduct, are remarkably short on details.

The CNN analysis found that:

  • Very few cases against judges are deeply investigated, and very few judges are disciplined in any way. In many years, not a single judge is sanctioned.   
  • None of the actual complaints (more than 1,000 are filed annually) are made public.
  • In the public judicial orders, claims are sparingly summarized, and accused judges' names rarely appear. Some orders refer to "corrective action" by a judge without saying what happened.
  • Judicial orders are dumped onto circuit court websites as a series of numbered files with no indication of the allegations, person complaining or outcome.

The practice makes it even more difficult to identify the most serious misconduct cases hidden among the opaque lists of documents because each order must be opened and individually read to gain even minimal information about the nature of the complaint.

 

djt melania liberty ball inauguration 2017Daily Mail, Melania 'staying in hotel' after Stormy Daniels scandal, Ryan Parry, Jan. 26, 2018. Melania Trump has spent a number of nights at a posh D.C. hotel away from President Trump following allegations of a fling with porn star Stormy Daniels, White House sources told DailyMail.com. The first lady (shown at an inaugural ball a year ago) opted for time away from her husband since news of a possible $130,000 payoff from the President's lawyer to Daniels to cover up an alleged tryst was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Then, last week, to add insult to injury, a celebrity magazine published a cringe-worthy 2011 interview with Daniels in which she talked about the alleged 2006 sexual encounter with the future president in a hotel room at a casino in Lake Tahoe, Nevada following a celebrity charity golf tournament. 'It's been upsetting and humiliating; her relationship with President Trump has become strained,' a White House source told DailyMail.com.

djt stormy daniels 2006Over two hours after DailyMail.com posted this story, Melania's  spokesperson, Stephanie Grisham, tweeted: The laundry list of salacious & flat-out false reporting about Mrs. Trump by tabloid publications & TV shows has seeped into "main stream media" reporting.'

She did not say specifically what, if  any, part of the DailyMail.com was 'false.' Grisham did not respond to several requests for comment from DailyMail.com regarding Melania's hotel stays, although given several days notice prior to publication.

ny times logo

burns striderNew York Times, Hillary Clinton Chose to Shield a Top Adviser Accused of Harassment in 2008, Maggie Haberman and Amy Chozick, Jan. 26, 2018. A senior adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign who was accused of repeatedly sexually harassing a young subordinate was kept on the campaign at Mrs. Clinton’s request, according to four people familiar with what took place.

Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager at the time recommended that she fire the adviser, Burns Strider (shown at right). But Mrs. Clinton did not. Instead, Mr. Strider was docked several weeks of pay and ordered to undergo counseling, and the young woman was moved to a new job.

Mr. Strider, who was Mrs. Clinton’s faith adviser, a co-founder of the American Values Network, and sent the candidate scripture readings every morning for months during the campaign, was hired five years later to lead an independent group that supported Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 candidacy, Correct the Record, which was created by a close Clinton ally, David Brock.

He was fired after several months for workplace issues, including allegations that he harassed a young female aide, according to three people close to Correct the Record’s management.

Mr. Strider did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Hillary Clinton

A spokesman for Mrs. Clinton (who is shown at right in a file photo) provided a statement from Utrecht, Kleinfeld, Fiori, Partners, the law firm that had represented the campaign in 2008 and has been involved on sexual harassment issues.

“To ensure a safe working environment, the campaign had a process to address complaints of misconduct or harassment. When matters arose, they were reviewed in accordance with these policies, and appropriate action was taken,” the statement said. “This complaint was no exception.”

The woman’s experience and the reaction to it have not been previously reported. Until now, former Clinton associates were unwilling to discuss the events for publication. But that changed in the wake of the #MeToo movement, in which dozens of men across the country and across different industries, have been fired or suspended for sexual misconduct.

Top Secret Writers via Daily Beast, CIA Agent Says Agency Supplies Pedophiles With Children, Gabrielle Pickard, Jan. 26, 2018. In what has to be one of the most damning revelations of misconduct by the CIA, a veteran CIA agent has exposed the Central Intelligence Agency for running a child trafficking network, which involves providing children to elite pedophiles around the world.

john kiriakou welcome home partyJohn Kiriakou (shown in a 2015 photo upon his release from prison) had been an agent for the CIA for 14 years and left the Agency in 2004. He is also associated with Hollywood, having worked as an advisor in the movie industry.

Speaking at a recent (1) World Beyond War event (Sept. 23 to 25, 2017 in Washington, DC), the former CIA agent blew the whistle on how the Intelligence Agency provides child sex slaves to powerful oligarchs in the showbiz industry, in Washington D.C., and further afield.Kiriakou continued that the CIA would provide these rich and powerful “sources” with a constant stream of “child prostitutes” in exchange for information. The children are usually raped and killed, and likely to be never seen again, continued Kiriakou.

The CIA veteran described how he would meet up with an elite source in a hotel. In return for information, the source would demand a child.

Kiriakou explained how he would think of the elite oligarchs as being “scumbags”, but that he would be forced to “give them what they wanted”.

In this clip of Kiriakou’s revelations about the American intelligence agency on YouTube, the CIA agent asks the audience who would meet a rich oligarch’s demands for a prostitute? When few people raise their hands, Kiriakou then asks:

“But what if he asks for a child prostitute?”

The CIA agent then proceeds to tell the audience: “Your job as a CIA agent is to break the laws of the country you are serving. That’s your job: Your job is to commit espionage, which in most countries is a death penalty crime.”

He continued: “Your job is to convince people to commit treason for you because they like you so much or they like the money that you’re giving them so much. So, because it’s the nature of your job to break the law they’re the rules that are written for you to carry out that job.”

Jan. 24

ny times logo

New York Times, Will Testifying Help Nassar’s Sexual Abuse Victims Heal? Benedict Carey, Jan. 26, 2018. The psychological effects of disclosing a traumatic secret — of telling your story — depend on the audience, the nature of the trauma and other factors.

The spectacle of more than 150 young women telling their stories of sexual abuse before a court, the world, and the perpetrator himself seemed straight from the movies, a cathartic ending to a dark, yearslong drama that had been all too real.

It is rare, perhaps unprecedented, for so many victims to stand in court and, with the encouragement of a judge, to describe aloud for days the abuse they endured. Therapists said that the chance to testify at the sentencing hearing of Dr. Lawrence B. Nassar was worth taking for those who felt ready to do so.

The women were taken at their word; they were part of group, bonded by shared experience; and they saw justice done before their eyes

“I can’t think of a better scenario,” said Elaine Ducharme, a psychologist in Glastonbury, Conn., who specializes in treating trauma from sexual abuse and other violations. “To have the judge hear them, to allow their stories to influence her decisions, and all without putting them through the trauma of an actual trial. Most of them are likely to have felt tremendous relief.”

Yet such scenarios are rare, as many less prominent victims know. Disclosing a traumatic secret — telling your story in all its awful detail — is a dicey proposition that may or may not bring relief, depending on who’s listening and the nature of the trauma itself, Dr. Ducharme and other experts said.

“The assumption that telling the story will automatically be healing is optimistic,” said Nadine Wathen, a researcher at the University of Western Ontario’s Center for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children. “All women have different experiences of abuse — all people dealing with trauma do.”

In a 2009 study, a research team including Dr. Wathen tested the impact of giving women who visit emergency rooms and other health clinics a domestic violence questionnaire — a brief, confidential checklist. Providers got the results of the questionnaire before seeing the women, and advised them based on the added information; the study tracked them over 18 months.

Wall Street Journal, Dozens of People Recount Pattern of Sexual Misconduct by Las Vegas Mogul Steve Wynn, Alexandra Berzon, Chris Kirkham, Elizabeth Bernstein and Kate O’Keeffe, Jan. 26, 2018. Wynn Resorts employees and others described a CEO who sexualized his workplace and pressured workers to perform sex acts. Mr. Wynn responded: ‘The idea that I ever assaulted any woman is preposterous.’ 

Not long after the billionaire casino mogul Steve Wynn opened his flagship Wynn Las Vegas in 2005, a manicurist who worked there arrived at the on-site salon visibly distressed following an appointment in Mr. Wynn’s office. Sobbing, she told a colleague Mr. Wynn had forced her to have sex, and she repeated that to others later.

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Washington Post, Casino mogul and RNC finance chairman Steve Wynn faces allegations of sexual misconduct, Ed O'Keefe​, Jan. 26, 2018. A new Wall Street Journal report included interviews with dozens of people who have worked at Wynn’s casinos or been told of his behavior, including allegations that he pressured some employees to perform sex acts.

Casino mogul Steve Wynn has no immediate plans to relinquish his role as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee in the wake of reports detailing decades of alleged sexual misconduct, according to a company spokesman. A report by the Wall Street Journal published Friday included interviews with dozens of people who have worked at Wynn’s casinos or been told of his alleged behavior, including allegations that he pressured some employees to perform sex acts.

Jan. 24

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New York Times, Dr. Larry Nassar Sentenced to 40 to 175 Years for Sexual Abuse, Scott Cacciolo and Victor Mather, Jan. 24, 2018. After an extraordinary seven-day hearing that drew more than 150 young women to speak out publicly about sexual abuse they said was committed by Dr. Lawrence G. Nassar, the former team doctor for the American gymnastics team, a judge sentenced him on Wednesday to 40 to 175 years in prison.

larry nassar gymnastics plea [Dr. Nassar, shown at left in a court hearing with his attorney, has been sentenced to 60 years in prison on federal child pornography charges.]

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who had opened her courtroom to all the young women who wanted to address Dr. Nassar directly, and forced him to listen when he pleaded to make it stop, handed down the sentence, saying to him, “You’ve done nothing to deserve to walk outside a prison again.”

He had faced a minimum term of 25 to 40 years.

Just before sentencing Dr. Nassar, the judge read parts of a letter he submitted to the court last week. In the letter, he complained about his treatment in a separate federal child pornography case and wrote that his accusers in this case were seeking news media attention and money. “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” he wrote in the letter. There were audible gasps from the gallery when the judge read the line.

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rosemarie aquilinaNew York Times, Gymnastics Abuse Victims Find Advocate in Judge, Scott Cacciola, Jan. 24, 20178 (print edition). Clearing her docket, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina let more than 100 young athletes make statements about Larry Nassar, the former U.S.A. Gymnastics doctor convicted of sexual abuse. Judge Rosemarie Aquilina listened on Monday morning as yet another gymnast, one of scores coming forward in her courtroom, took her turn excoriating Lawrence G. Nassar, a prominent doctor for U.S.A. Gymnastics who has pleaded guilty to multiple sex crimes.

The young woman finished, and Judge Aquilina, who has now allowed nearly 140 girls and women, including several prominent Olympic gymnasts, to give statements against Dr. Nassar, leaned forward from the bench. She smiled at the gymnast, Bailey Lorencen, and delivered her own heartfelt statement in a manner and tone befitting a therapist.

“The military has not yet come up with fiber as strong as you,” Judge Aquilina told Ms. Lorencen, calling her a “heroine” and a “superhero.” She added: “Mattel ought to make toys so that little girls can look at you and say, ‘I want to be her.’ Thank you so much for being here, and for your strength.”

Belying the stone-faced image of dispassionate jurists, Judge Aquilina has emerged as an unusually fierce victims’ advocate in a sentencing hearing that has drawn national attention for the scope of Dr. Nassar’s abuse and for the role that institutions like U.S.A. Gymnastics and Michigan State University played in employing him for decades.

Judge Aquilina’s vow to let every victim speak has also unexpectedly turned the hearing into a cathartic forum that has emboldened dozens of women who had remained silent to come forward with accounts of abuse by Dr. Nassar. Court officials initially had expected 88 young women to speak when the hearing began last week, but the number is expected to top 150 by the time these proceedings conclude, likely Wednesday morning.

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New York Times, Sentencing Larry Nassar Is Only a Start, Editorial Board, Jan. 24, 2018. Others must also be held accountable for full justice to be served.

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lou anna simonNew York Times, Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon Resigns Amid Nassar Fallout, Matthrew Hag and Marc Tracy,  Jan. 24, 2018. Lou Anna Simon, who has come under fire because of the university’s ties to Dr. Lawrence G. Nassar, has worked at the school for more than four decades.

Global Scandals

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New York Times, Afghan Pedophiles Get Free Pass From U.S. Military, Report Says, Rod Nordland, Jan. 24, 20178 (print edition). A special inspector says the American military uses loopholes to exempt Afghan security forces from punishment for enslaving and raping children, and other gross human rights violations.

defense department combatting trafficking logoOn 5,753 occasions from 2010 to 2016, the United States military reported accusations of “gross human rights abuses” by the Afghan military, including many examples of child sexual abuse. If true, American law required military aid to be cut off to the offending unit.

Not once did that happen.

That was among the findings in an investigation into child sexual abuse by the Afghan security forces and the supposed indifference of the American military to the problem, according to a report released on Monday by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, known as Sigar.

The report, commissioned under the Obama administration, was considered so explosive that it was originally marked “Secret/ No Foreign,” with the recommendation that it remain classified until June 9, 2042. The report was finished in June 2017, but it appears to have included data only through 2016, before the Trump administration took office.

The report released on Monday was heavily redacted, and at least in the public portions it did little to answer questions about how prevalent child sexual abuse was in the Afghan military and police, and how commonly the American military looked the other way at the widespread practice of bacha bazi, or “boy play,” in which some Afghan commanders keep underage boys as sex slaves.

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china flagNew York Times, ‘Me Too,’ Chinese Women Say. Not So Fast, Censors Reply, Javier C. Hernandez and Zoe Mou, Jan. 24, 20178 (print edition). Demands for better treatment are clashing with a male-dominated culture and an authoritarian system that tightly controls free speech.

U.S. Media / Entertainment

garrison keillor reader cover

Garrison Keillor, shown on the cover of his book "The Keillor Reader"

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New York Times, Garrison Keillor’s Accuser Described ‘Dozens’ of Offenses Over ‘Period of Years,’ Maya Salam, Jan. 24, 2018. In a letter to listeners, Minnesota Public Radio pushed back on Mr. Keillor’s account that all he’d done was touch a woman’s back. The network cut ties with him last year.

Congressman Claims Defense

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patrick meehan oNew York Times, Congressman Says Accuser ‘Invited’ His Romantic Overtures, Kenneth P. Vogel and Katie Rogers, Jan. 24, 20178 (print edition). Representative Patrick Meehan, Republican of Pennsylvania (and shown at right), denied any impropriety and said that he was emotionally wounded when a former aide filed a sexual harassment complaint against him.

Presidential Blackmail?

wayne madsen new observerWayne Madsen Report (WMR), Trump’s multiple sex scandals endanger U.S. national security, Andrew Kreig and Wayne Madsen (shown at left), Jan. 24, 2018. Recent claims that Donald Trump paid hush money before the 2016 election to porn star Stormy Daniels to cover up a 2006 affair underscore far more sinister events. Such a payoff would show not simply Trump’s low morals and high arrogance —but also his propensity for outright crime.

Undercover At Posh UK Club

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Washington Post, Female journalist goes undercover at posh ‘men only’ London fundraiser, reports widespread groping, Fred Barbash, Jan. 24, 2018. Watch a reporter go undercover at scandalous ‘men only’ fundraiser.’ Financial Times reporter Madison Marriage went undercover to report on The President’s Club Charitable Trust’s annual fundraising dinner. Men only, except for 130 “hostesses” hired to cater to the needs of the roughly 360 attendees.

huff post logoHuffPost, Prestigious Men-Only Charity In London To Close Amid Sexual Harassment Claims, Antonia Blumberg, Jan. 24, 2018. A prominent, decades-old U.K. charity known for its annual, men-only fundraising dinners announced that it will close following reports that some of its guests groped and sexually harassed hostesses hired for an event last week.

Jan. 22

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pope francis 2013 SmallNew York Times, Pope Apologizes to Abuse Victims but Again Doubts Them, Jason Horowitz, Jan. 22, 2018. The pope’s doubting of sexual abuse victims, most recently in Latin America, has prompted concerns that he will not hold the church hierarchy fully accountable.

Jan. 21

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New York Times, Congressman Combating Harassment Settled His Own Misconduct Case, Katie Rogers and Kenneth P. Vogel, Jan. 21, 2018 (printed edition). Rep. Patrick Meehan, a Pennsylvania Republican who has taken a leading role in fighting sexual harassment in Congress, used thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to settle his own misconduct complaint after a former aide accused him last year of making unwanted romantic overtures to her, according to several people familiar with the settlement.

patrick meehan oA married father of three, Mr. Meehan, 62, had long expressed interest in the personal life of the aide, who was decades younger and had regarded the congressman as a father figure, according to three people who worked with the office and four others with whom she discussed her tenure there.

As a member of the Ethics Committee, Mr. Meehan was tasked with being a part of the solution. The panel has initiated investigations into sexual misconduct claims against at least four congressmen in recent months. Two have resigned: Trent Franks, Republican of Arizona, and John Conyers Jr., Democrat of Michigan. The other two, Blake Farenthold, Republican of Texas, and Ruben Kihuen, a freshman Democrat from Nevada, remain in office but have said they will not seek re-election.

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Washington Post, What should scare us about Trump’s porn star scandal, Molly Roberts, Jan. 21, 2018 (print edition). It’s not the sex, it’s the secrecy.

The Wall Street Journal reported last Friday that a lawyer for Donald Trump paid an adult-film actress $130,000 one month before the 2016 election in exchange for her silence about an alleged sexual encounter with the then-candidate 10 years earlier.

Adult performer Jessica Drake accused Trump of offering her $10,000 for sex the same year he allegedly slept with Daniels, and she claims she can’t say more because of a nondisclosure agreement. And, according to a separate Journal story from just four days before the election, the company that owns the Trump-friendly National Enquirer awarded a former Playboy centerfold model $150,000 for the rights to her story of an affair with Trump in, yes, 2006 again. Then, the tabloid quashed it.

The problem here isn’t Trump’s repeated ethical lapses alone, although they do induce a certain squeamishness. The problem is the possibility of blackmail against a presidential team willing to pay big to cover up misbehavior.

Jan. 20

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stormy daniels djt insight 1 19 2018 CustomWashington Post, The case for taking the Trump-Stormy Daniels saga seriously, Aaron Blake​, Jan. 20, 2018 (print edition). It's salacious, yes. But the story seems to have gone beyond tabloid fluff and it’s worth asking some very serious questions.

By Friday, the magazine InTouch published what it said was a previously unpublished 2011 interview with Daniels (shown with Trump in a publicity photo) in which she describes having sex with Trump in 2006, when he was newly married to Melania Trump, who is now first lady.

What's perhaps most notable about the interview is how many of the details deal with things that weren't and aren't widely known about Trump.

New York Times, Congressman Combating Harassment Settled His Own Misconduct Case, Katie Rogers and Kenneth P. Vogel, Jan. 20, 2018. Rep. Patrick Meehan, a Pennsylvania Republican who has taken a leading role in fighting sexual harassment in Congress, used thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to settle his own misconduct complaint after a former aide accused him last year of making unwanted romantic overtures to her, according to several people familiar with the settlement.

A married father of three, Mr. Meehan, 62, had long expressed interest in the personal life of the aide, who was decades younger and had regarded the congressman as a father figure, according to three people who worked with the office and four others with whom she discussed her tenure there.

But after the woman became involved in a serious relationship with someone outside the office last year, Mr. Meehan professed his romantic desires for her — first in person, and then in a handwritten letter — and he grew hostile when she did not reciprocate, the people familiar with her time in the office said.

Life in the office became untenable, so she initiated the complaint process, started working from home and ultimately left the job. She later reached a confidential agreement with Mr. Meehan’s office that included a settlement for an undisclosed amount to be paid from Mr. Meehan’s congressional office fund.

On Saturday, John Elizandro, Mr. Meehan’s communications director, issued a statement saying that the congressman “denies these allegations” and “has always treated his colleagues, male and female, with the utmost respect and professionalism.”

After this article was published online, AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan, said that Mr. Meehan was being removed immediately from the House Ethics Committee, where he has helped investigate sexual misconduct claims, and that the panel would investigate the allegations against him. In addition, Mr. Ryan told Mr. Meehan that he should repay the taxpayer funds, Ms. Strong said.

As a member of the Ethics Committee, Mr. Meehan was tasked with being a part of the solution. The panel has initiated investigations into sexual misconduct claims against at least four congressmen in recent months. Two have resigned: Trent Franks, Republican of Arizona, and John Conyers Jr., Democrat of Michigan. The other two, Blake Farenthold, Republican of Texas, and Ruben Kihuen, a freshman Democrat from Nevada, remain in office but have said they will not seek re-election.

The exact amount of the settlement could not be determined, partly because Mr. Meehan’s office paid it from a congressional office fund that allows such payments to be disguised as salary and reported months after they were made.

Mr. Meehan’s accuser paid her own lawyers’ fees, and the settlement she reached was not enough to cover her legal and living expenses while she was out of work, according to a person with whom she discussed her finances. 

Jan. 19

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Washington Post, In this #MeToo, moment, let’s not forget abused children, Adam Rosenberg and Joyce Lombardi, Jan. 19, 2018. In this #MeToo and #TimesUp moment, just as we’ve been shocked by the abuse, we are also disturbed by the enablers, the seemingly good people who either knew or strongly suspected that something foul was afoot but chose not to act.

It is utterly human for otherwise good people to look away and to give themselves a dozen reasons (such as disbelief and self-interest) for doing so. This is especially true — and damaging — in cases of child abuse. Unfortunately, predators do not stop until they have to. And that is precisely why every state requires adults, especially front-line workers such as teachers and nurses, to report suspected child abuse.

Even when they don’t want to.

Adam Rosenberg is executive director of the Baltimore Child Abuse Center. Joyce Lombardi is director of government relations and legal services at the Baltimore Child Abuse Center.

Vox, Stormy Daniels: Donald Trump’s alleged porn star affair and hush money scandal explained, Dylan Matthews, Jan. 19, 2018. In July 2006, Donald Trump allegedly had a “sexual encounter” with adult film star Stormy Daniels (shown with Trump in file photos) following a celebrity golf tournament at Lake Tahoe, and, the month before the 2016 presidential election, reportedly sent her a $130,000 payment through his lawyer as hush money to keep the matter private.

john edwards senate wThat claim, first reported on January 12, 2018, by the Wall Street Journal, is explosive enough to conceivably topple just about any other politician. Infidelity, and attempts to cover up infidelity, ended the careers or forced the resignations of former Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards (left), former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, Republican Sen. John Ensign, and Republican Gov. Robert Bentley of Alabama(below right)robert bentley, just to name a few from the past decade.

But this is Donald Trump we’re talking about. When the Journal blockbuster landed, it was competing for space with Trump’s labeling of Haiti, El Salvador, and seemingly all countries of Africa as “shithole” countries, ongoing congressional negotiations around the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program, and the Journal’s own bizarre interview with Trump and his subsequent claims that the Journal mis-transcribed his statements about North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

If anyone is capable of somehow making an affair with a porn star into a non-story, it’s Donald Trump.

By the following week, Trump’s physical health exam and attempts to evade a government shutdown were dominating political news.

stormy daniels djt insight 1 19 2018 CustomThe Stormy Daniels scandal, however, continues to mount. On Wednesday, the celebrity news magazine In Touch published an interview with Daniels conducted in 2011 in which she says she had an affair with Trump, including sex after that golf event. Subsequent reporting by the Wall Street Journal revealed that Trump attorney Michael Cohen set up shell companies through which to make the $130,000 payment to Daniels.

Other reports have suggested that multiple news outlets, including Fox News and Slate, had the story before the 2016 election and didn’t report or publish it. And Daniels might not be the only woman Trump silenced with a nondisclosure agreement.

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Washington Post, Los Angeles Times CEO and publisher investigated for inappropriate, ‘frat-house’ behavior, Samantha Schmidt, Jan. 19, 2018.  The Los Angeles Times chief executive and publisher is the latest media executive under investigation for inappropriate behavior, following an extensive NPR report.

Tronc, the parent company of the Los Angeles Times, began investigating Ross Levinsohn on Thursday after NPR reported he had been named a defendant in two sexual harassment lawsuits as an executive at two different companies, Alta Vista and News Corp, before joining the Times. Levinsohn’s former colleagues and employees described him as a party-loving executive who created a fraternity-like environment, often making women feel uncomfortable.

“The portrait that repeatedly emerges is one of a frat-boy executive, catapulting ever higher, even as he creates corporate climates that alienated some of the people who worked for and with him,” wrote NPR’s media correspondent David Folkenflik. His report was based on a review of court documents, financial filings and interviews with 26 former colleagues and associates. Tronc learned of the allegations of inappropriate behavior this week, Tronc chief executive Justin Dearborn said in a note to employees, according to the Los Angeles Times, which featured a story about the investigation prominently on its website’s home page.

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djt melania liberty ball inauguration 2017Washington Post, ‘I’ll give her a week’ to lose the baby weight, Trump said of Melania, months before alleged tryst with porn star, Callum Borchers, Jan. 19, 2018. Seven months before an alleged tryst with porn star Stormy Daniels, Donald Trump told radio host Howard Stern that he would give his pregnant wife, Melania (shown at a 2017 Inaugural ball), a couple of days — or maybe a week — to regain her model figure after giving birth.

“You know, Howard, she’s got the kind of a body and makeup where, about one day after the baby, it’s going to be the same as it was before,” Trump said during an appearance on Stern’s show on Dec. 7, 2005.

“You’re giving her one day?” Stern asked.

“One or two,” Trump replied.

Jan. 18

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Washington Post, Why are we only now hearing of a porn star’s tale about Trump? Paul Farhi, Jan. 18, 2018 (print edition). Journalists said they held back on a story that Stormy Daniels had allegedly had an affair with Donald Trump in 2006 because they couldn’t independently corroborate key elements of the account, including in one instance from Daniels herself. Several journalists surely knew who Stormy Daniels was in 2016, and it probably wasn’t because they’d seen her in one of the many porn films she’d made.

djt ivanka stormy daniels nydaily news The adult-film actress (shown in a New York Daily News cover with a reported quotation from Trump referencing his daughter) was on the radar of a number of mainstream news outlets in the waning days of the presidential campaign. Reporters from ABC, Fox News, the Daily Beast and Slate.com were pursuing a potentially explosive story: that Daniels had allegedly had an affair with Donald Trump in 2006, only months after Trump’s wife, Melania, had given birth to their son, Barron.

Yet no one went with the story.

Huffington Post, Dylan Farrow: Woody Allen Sexually Abused Me While I Played With Toys, Hayley Miller, Jan. 18, 2018. The filmmaker’s adopted daughter leveled molestation allegations in her first TV interview. Dylan Farrow is opening up about what she says was sexual abuse by her adoptive father, filmmaker Woody Allen, when she was 7 years old.

woody allen tribeca festival 2009 david shankboneIn her first TV interview, Farrow, 32, alleged Allen (shown in a 2009 photo by David Shankbone at a film festival) sexually assaulted her in the Connecticut home of actress Mia Farrow, her adoptive mother.

“I was taken to a small attic crawl space,” Farrow said in an interview with “CBS This Morning” that aired Thursday. “He instructed me to lay down on my stomach and play with my brother’s toy train that was set up, and he sat behind me in the doorway. And, as I played with the toy train, I was sexually assaulted.”

She continued: “As 7-year-old, I would say he touched my private parts. As a 32-year-old, he touched my labia and my vulva with his finger.” Allen has denied the allegation.

djt stormy daniels screengrabMediaite, Stormy Daniels Reportedly Spanked Trump With A Copy of Forbes Magazine, Rachel Dicker, Jan. 18, 2018. In the wake of a Wall Street Journal article that alleges Trump lawyer Michael Cohen paid off porn star Stormy Daniels (shown with Trump in a screengrab) to keep quiet about a 2006 sexual encounter with now-president Donald Trump, several other stories about Daniels’ rendezvous with Trump have surfaced – including one account that she spanked Trump with a copy of Forbes.

Mother Jones reports that during a May 2009 “listening tour” of Louisiana when considering a run for Senate, Daniels compiled a list of potential campaign contributors, all of whom came from contacts in her cell phone, and one of whom was Donald Trump.

Upon receiving this list, one consultant expressed surprise that Trump’s number was in Daniels’ cell phone. Another consultant named Andrea Dubé, who confirmed the veracity of this exchange to Mother Jones, replied: “She says one time he made her sit with him for three hours watching ‘shark week.’ Another time he had her spank him with a Forbes magazine.”

Jan. 17

djt official portraitNew Republic, The Triumph of Porn Over Social Conservatism, Jeet Heer, Jan. 17, 2018. Why Trump's alleged affairs with erotic stars aren't hurting him on the right. Trump’s ascendency over the Republican Party marks a little noticed, but real shift in American politics: Social conservatives, who once led the crusade against smut, have made their peace with a porn-saturated culture. 

Pornography was a political hot button topic from the 1960s until the 1990s, when changes in censorship law and new technologies like video recording made erotic imagery much more pervasive. Along with opposing abortion and gay rights, being anti-porn was one of the key organizing principles of the religious right.

djt stormy daniels nydaily 1 13 18 CustomIn 1997, Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell spoke for many social conservatives when he told CNN, “pornography hurts anyone who reads it, garbage in, garbage out. I think when you feed that stuff into your mind, it definitely affects your relationship with your spouse, your attitude towards life, morality.” But today, Jerry Falwell’s son, Jerry Falwell Jr., is one of Donald Trump’s biggest supporters. (In 2016, he was photographed at Trump’s office in front of a framed copy of a Playboy cover featuring Trump.)

It’s easy for liberals to decry the hypocrisy of Republicans, the putative party of family values, embracing Trump as its avatar.

But there is no real hypocrisy here. The core value is patriarchy, which can take different forms. There is an older patriarchy which wears the mask of chivalry, and offers women protection in exchange for submissiveness.

But the age of chivalry is no more. We now have raw patriarchy, which asserts its rights through naked displays of power. And the president, with his porn star mistresses, his boasting of sexual assaults, and even his phallic tweets about the size of his nuclear button, is the perfect leader for conservatives’ post-chivalric world.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and First Lady Sheena Greitens at 2017 Inaugural Ball (Missouri National Guard Photo)

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and First Lady Sheena Greitens at 2017 Inaugural Ball (Missouri National Guard Photo)

Legal Schnauzer, As more audiotapes become known, Missouri GOP governor Eric Greitens faces evidence that he used state resources to help cover up a personal sex scandal, Roger Shuler, Jan. 17, 2018. The sex scandal swirling around Missouri Governor Eric Greitens has officially entered cover-up mode, with revelations that Greitens used a state-paid attorney to try to keep the story from hitting the press. If Missouri history is an indicator, that could be a sign that Greitens, considered a possible future GOP presidential candidate, is headed down a slippery slope that ends with a forced resignation.

As if the news could not get much more treacherous for the embattled former Navy SEAL, reports broke last night that the ex husband of Greitens' mistress has more audiotapes than had originally been made known to the public -- and he has turned them over to the FBI and state law-enforcement officials. On top of that, five GOP lawmakers in Jefferson City called on Greitens to resign. The angle of Greitens using a state-paid attorney in an attempt at damage control could prove to be his undoing.  

You don't have to go too far back in Missouri history to find another politician who paid dearly for using public resources for personal gain. Like Greitens, William Webster was considered possible presidential timber. But in the early 1990s, Webster became ensnared in a federal investigation.

The Hill, Adult film star: Trump cheated with me, Rebecca Savransky, Jan. 17, 2018. A former adult film star in the past claimed that President Trump had sex with her in 2006, when he was married to first lady Melania Trump.

In Touch published excerpts from an interview Wednesday it conducted in 2011 with Stormy Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford. In the excerpts, Daniels talks about a sexual encounter she says she had with Trump in 2006.

donald trump apprentice black and white“[The sex] was textbook generic,” Daniels said. “I actually don’t even know why I did it, but I do remember while we were having sex, I was like, ‘Please, don’t try to pay me.’ ” Daniels told the publication in 2011 that after the encounter, Trump (shown in an Apprentice publicity photo) kept saying: “ ‘I’m gonna call you, I’m gonna call you. I have to see you again. You’re amazing. We have to get you on The Apprentice.’”

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Trump arranged a six-figure payment to Daniels to keep her from discussing a sexual encounter with Trump. A White House official declined to comment to the Journal about the payment, but said that the allegations of the interaction between Trump and Daniels were “old, recycled reports, which were published and strongly denied prior to the election.”

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Washington Post, Opinion: Staffers at The Hill press management about the work of John Solomon, Erik Wemple, Jan. 17, 2018.  A group of newsroom staffers at The Hill have complained to management about stories written by John Solomon, the publication’s executive vice president of digital video. The complaints were launched in December when Solomon and reporter Alison Spann broke a story under this headline: “Exclusive: Prominent lawyer sought donor cash for two Trump accusers.”

The gist of Solomon and Spann’s story: Prominent California lawyer Lisa Bloom worked to secure payments for women who “made or considered making sexual misconduct allegations against Donald Trump during the final months of the 2016 presidential race.” The story cited “documents and interviews,” plus the on-the-record explanations by Bloom herself.

The story impressed the conservative media world. Fox News host Sean Hannity called it a “bombshell report,” while conservative websites aggregated away.

A New York Times story two weeks later noted that accuser-financing arrangements weren’t invented for the Trump era: Paula Jones’s harassment lawsuit against Bill Clinton received funding from the Rutherford Institute.

Huffington Post, Climate Denial Group Protected Former Executive Charged With Stalking Colleague, Ex-Staffers Say, Alexander C. Kaufman, Jan. 17, 2018. A former Heartland Institute director faced charges for violating a female subordinate’s restraining order. An official at the think tank came to his defense.

Eugene Koprowski’s temper earned him a reputation around the office pretty quickly. Former colleagues say Koprowski enjoyed protected status in the office because of his friendship with Joseph Morris, a conservative Chicago lawyer who is also a major fundraiser for Heartland and a close ally to its chief executive, Joseph Bast.

Heartland, they said, fostered a culture that allowed Koprowski, 52, to relentlessly harass a female subordinate half his age ― to the point where she took out a restraining order against him in October 2015. And though Koprowski was apparently fired sometime after the woman complained to human resources, her former colleagues say his termination came in response to other misbehavior ― not his repeated, undesired romantic pursuit of the woman who reported to him.  

The previously-unreported case of alleged stalking comes to light just as Heartland has become more powerful than ever. The think tank transformed itself over the past two decades from a defender of the tobacco industry ― under the banner of “smokers rights” ― to a leading proponent of climate change denial and champion of fossil fuels.

Since the Trump administration came to power, Heartland has enjoyed unprecedented influence at the Environmental Protection Agency, and works closely with hard-line science skeptics in Congress such as Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.). EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt joined the members of Congress in November to speak at Heartland’s America First Energy Conference in Houston.

Jan. 16

Huffington Post, Opinion: On Aziz Ansari And Sex That Feels Violating Even When It’s Not Criminal, Emma Gray, Jan. 16, 2018.  If the #MeToo movement is going to last, we need to renegotiate the sexual narratives we’ve long accepted.

American Freedom Radio, Jeffrey Epstein and Donald Trump, interview Justice Integrity Project Editor Andrew Kreig and Wayne Madsen Report Editor Wayne Madsenby Pearse Redmond, host of Porkins Policy Review and an expert on the Epstein pedophia case, Jan. 16, 2018 (120 mins.).

Jan. 15

simone biles usa team

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Washington Post, Olympian Simone Biles says she was abused by USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, Bryan Flaherty, Jan. 15, 2018. Simone Biles (shown in a file photo), a four-time Olympic gold medalist, said in a statement that she, too, was sexually abused by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, adding her name to the list of more than 140 women, including fellow Team USA members Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney, who have accused Nassar of abuse during his time with the sport’s governing body and while at Michigan State.

“I too am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar,” Biles, 20, wrote. “Please believe me when I say it was a lot harder to first speak those words out loud than it is now to put them on paper. There are many reasons that I have been reluctant to share my story, but I know now it is not my fault.

“It is not normal to receive any type of treatment from a trusted team physician and refer to it horrifyingly as the ‘special’ treatment. This behavior is completely unacceptable, disgusting, and abusive, especially coming from someone whom I was TOLD to trust.”

larry nassar gymnastics pleaNassar, shown at left in a court hearing with his attorney, has been sentenced to 60 years in prison on federal child pornography charges. He also has pleaded guilty to seven sexual assault charges in Michigan and faces sentencing beginning Tuesday.

As part of his plea agreement, the minimum sentence range for the charges involving a victim who was younger than 13 will be set between 25 and 40 years; he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison on those charges. The Michigan attorney general’s office is seeking a sentence of 40 to 125 years.

Jan. 14

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alcee hastings oWashington Post, A congressional harassment claim led to a secret $220,000 payment. Both sides see a broken system, Kimberly Kindy and Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Jan. 14, 2018. The payment to Winsome Packer, a former aide to Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla., shown at right), was one of the largest known settlements paid out in recent years by a fund for claims made against members of Congress. But with lawmakers working on legislation that would alter the process for handling accusations, both sides say their dispute reveals a flawed law that is unfair and abusive to the accuser and the accused.

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New York Times, Porn Star Was Reportedly Paid to Stay Quiet About Trump, Megan Twohey and Jim Rutenberg, Jan. 13, 2018 (print edition). A lawyer for President Trump orchestrated a $130,000 payment to a pornographic-film actress in October 2016 to prevent her from going public with claims of a consensual sexual encounter with Mr. Trump, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

The reported payment came shortly before the presidential election and as the actress, Stephanie Clifford, 38, was discussing sharing her account with ABC’s “Good Morning America” and the online magazine Slate, according to interviews, notes and text messages reviewed by The New York Times.

Jacob Weisberg, editor-in-chief of the Slate Group, said on Friday that in a series of interviews with Ms. Clifford in August and October 2016, she told him she had an affair with Mr. Trump after meeting him at a 2006 celebrity golf tournament.

michael cohen 7 14 2015 cnnShe told him that Michael D. Cohen, a lawyer for Mr. Trump (and shown in a screen grab), had agreed during the presidential campaign to pay her the $130,000 if she kept the relationship secret, Mr. Weisberg said, adding that Ms. Clifford had told him she was tempted to go public because the lawyer was late in making the payment and she feared he might back out of their agreement.

Daily Beast, Trump Accuser Jessica Drake Has an NDA Preventing Her from Talking About Donald Trump, Marlow Stern and Aurora Snow, Jan. 13, 2018. The porn star came forward to accuse then-candidate Trump of sexual misconduct in October 2016.

djt jessica drakeThe Daily Beast was informed late Friday that porn star Jessica Drake (shown with Trump in a previous publicity photo published by The Daily Beast) is not allowed to discuss President Donald J. Trump on account of a non-disclosure agreement she signed barring her from any such talk. NDAs are often deployed as part of settlements to silence accusers.

“Jessica’s NDA blankets any and every mention of Trump, so she’s legally unable to comment,” her publicist informed The Daily Beast. “Jessica signed a non-disclosure agreement after her allegations of misconduct, and she can’t do as much as peep his name publicly.”

The White House has not yet responded to requests for comment.

In late October 2016, Drake became the 14th woman to accuse then-candidate Trump of sexual misconduct. At a public press conference, Drake, flanked by her attorney Gloria Allred, claimed that after she met Trump in July 2006 at Nevada’s American Century Celebrity Golf Championship, where she was working a promotional booth on behalf of the adult film company Wicked Pictures, he made a pass at her. Trump’s wife, Melania, had recently given birth to their son Barron at the time.

She alleged that Trump later called her and asked, “'What do you want? How much?” and then offered her $10,000 for sex. “This is not acceptable behavior for anyone, much less a presidential candidate,” Drake said at the presser.

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New York Times, Male Models Claim Sexual Exploitation, Jacob Bernstein, Matthrew Schneier and Vanessa Friedman, Jan. 13, 2018. Models and assistants said Mario Testino and Bruce Weber, two prominent fashion photographers, used their authority to engage in unwanted sexual behavior. Representatives for both said they were dismayed and surprised by the allegations.

Jan. 12

djt stormy daniels nydaily 1 13 18 CustomPalmer Report, Analysis: Donald Trump propositioned three different porn actresses for extramarital sex in the same weekend, Bill Palmer, Jan. 12, 2018. Earlier today, the Wall Street Journal reported that Donald Trump had consensual sex with porn actress Stormy Daniels (shown in a New York Daily News front page story on Jan. 13) at a Lake Tahoe event in 2006, and that he later paid her during the election to keep it quiet. Another porn actress, Jessica Drake, previously accused Trump of inappropriately touching her and unsuccessfully offering her $10,000 for sex during that same event. Now a third porn actress says Trump propositioned her for sex during that same weekend.

Alana Evans is confirming to the Daily Beast that Trump and Daniels had sex during that lake Tahoe event. How does she know? She was also at the event, and they called her on the phone and asked her to join them for a threesome (link). Evans declined the offer. She says that she spoke with Daniels the next day, and Daniels confirmed that sexual activity did take place between them. This stands in direct contrast to the statement produced by Trump’s attorney today, supposedly written and signed by Daniels, which disputes that any of it occurred.

Daily Beast, Porn Star: Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels Invited Me to Their Hotel Room, Marlow Stern and Aurora Snow, Jan. 12, 2018. ‘I ended up with Donald in his hotel room. Picture him chasing me around his hotel room in his tighty-whities,’ Stormy Daniels told fellow porn star.

The Daily Beast had also been in protracted talks with Daniels about arranging an interview after three sources — including fellow porn star Alana Evans — told The Daily Beast that Daniels and Trump were involved. She ultimately backed out on Nov. 3, just five days before the 2016 election.

Cohen on Friday did not address the alleged payout to Daniels but provided the following statement to The Daily Beast: “These rumors have circulated time and again since 2011. President Trump once again vehemently denies any such occurrence as has Ms. Daniels.” The attorney also provided a letter dated Jan. 10, 2018, allegedly signed by Daniels, that denied any “sexual and/or romantic affair” with Trump or the receipt of any “hush money” from Trump.

Wall Street Journal, Trump Lawyer Arranged $130,000 Payment for Adult-Film Star’s Silence, Michael Rothfeld and Joe Palazzolo, Jan. 12, 2018. Agreement just before election required woman to keep quiet about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump in 2006, people familiar with the matter say.

michael cohen iowa politics.com via flickr preston kempA lawyer for President Donald Trump arranged a $130,000 payment to a former adult-film star a month before the 2016 election as part of an agreement that precluded her from publicly discussing an alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump, according to people familiar with the matter.

Michael Cohen (right), who spent nearly a decade as a top attorney for the Trump Organization, arranged payment to the woman, Stephanie Clifford, in October, 2016 after her lawyer negotiated the nondisclosure agreement with Mr. Cohen, these people said.

steve bannon heritage foundationBusiness Insider, Steve Bannon suggests Trump's lawyer 'took care' of 'a hundred' women during the presidential campaign, Eliza Relman, Jan. 12, 2018. Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump's former top strategist, alleged in journalist Michael Wolff's tell-all book (Fire and Fury) about the Trump White House that the president's longtime attorney, Marc Kasowitz, "took care" of 100 women during the presidential campaign.

marc kasowitz color portrait"Look, Kasowitz has known [Trump] for twenty-five years. Kasowitz has gotten him out of all kinds of jams," Bannon reportedly said. "Kasowitz on the campaign - what did we have, a hundred women? Kasowitz [shown below at left] took care of all of them."

This apparently off-hand remark may take on new significance after The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that another lawyer for the president, Michael Cohen, sent $130,000 to a porn star just weeks before the 2016 presidential election to keep her silent about an alleged 2006 sexual encounter with Trump.

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Washington Post, Fox drops Patty Hearst biopic after she blasts the Jeffrey Toobin book it was based on, Travis M. Andrews, Jan. 12, 2018. Twentieth Century Fox said Thursday that it’s canceling an upcoming biopic of newspaper heiress Patty Hearst, a film based on a book by Jeffrey Toobin that chronicles Hearst’s 1974 kidnapping and eventual conviction for bank robbery.

jeffrey toobinAlthough the studio did not explain why the film had been pulled, the announcement came just hours after Hearst released a lengthy statement criticizing Toobin’s book, American Heiress, as factually incorrect and for “romanticizing my rape and torture.” Hearst, now 63, also said she was “saddened and appalled” that Fox “agreed to finance and produce a movie based on Toobin’s book.”

Toobin (shown in a file photo, a New Yorker magazine staff writer who also serves as the senior legal analyst for CNN, has not responded to Hearst’s statements. A CNN documentary, also based on Toobin’s book, is set to air on Feb. 11.

patty hearst mugHearst, the granddaughter of media mogul William Randolph Hearst, was kidnapped by a radical group that called itself the Symbionese Liberation Army when she was 19 years old. The group publicly claimed that it radicalized her and she was later photographed participating in a bank robbery while carrying an assault rifle. Shown at left in a mugshot, she served nearly two years of a seven-year prison sentence before President Jimmy Carter commuted the sentence. President Bill Clinton eventually granted her a full pardon.

In releasing her statement critical of Toobin to Deadline on Thursday, she said she was inspired to speak out after hearing the “incredibly moving testimony” of women at Sunday’s Golden Globes, echoing the #MeToo movement.

“It’s no secret that I was abducted, raped, and tortured at 19,” she said. “What followed was a series of events that were the direct result of a child having been destroyed both inside and out.” She pointed out that she’s given many interviews over the years “to discuss my ordeal” but that “each time I do, it puts me back in the nightmare which, as you might imagine, is deeply painful. This is why for the last several years, I have declined to answer any more questions.”

“It was offensive to me that a man would have the audacity to tell a woman that he would have the last word on her trauma,” said Hearst, who described her kidnapping experience in a 1981 memoir, which she expanded in 1988. “This project is attempting to rewrite history and directly flies in the face of the present #MeToo movement where so much progress is being made in regard to listening, and providing a voice, to those who have suffered abuse,” she said in her statement.

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New York Times, Wall St. Executive’s Downfall Was Years in the Making, Kate Kelly and Andrew Ross Sorkin, Jan. 12, 2018 (print edition). A female reporter accused Harold E. Ford Jr., a former congressman, of inappropriate behavior. Morgan Stanley found no proof but fired him. Why? It depends on whom you ask.

harold ford jr oLate last year, Morgan Stanley got a tip: Reporters were asking about allegations that a high-profile executive, the former congressman Ford (shown while representing a Memphis-areaa district in Tennessee as a Democrat), had harassed a female journalist.

Morgan Stanley conducted a quick investigation, interviewing the accuser and Mr. Ford, who denied the allegations. According to Morgan Stanley officials briefed on the internal process, the Wall Street bank concluded that it was a he-said, she-said situation and didn’t find proof of harassment.

Then Morgan Stanley fired Mr. Ford. Why?

Jan. 11

national human trafficking awareness day jan 11 Custom

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is observed annually on January 11. Beginning in 2010, by Presidential Proclamation, each January has been designated National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Following the start of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, with the help of non-government organizations, National Human Trafficking Day began and is observed annually on January 11.

defense department combatting trafficking logoU.S. Department of Defense, Human Trafficking Has No Place in DoD, Pentagon Official Says, Terri Moon Cronk, Jan. 11, 2018. Combating human trafficking is a responsibility the Defense Department takes very seriously, Anthony M. Kurta, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military personnel policy, said today. Human trafficking is modern-day slavery, he added. “It not only destroys the lives of those victimized, but also destroys countless families and poses a direct threat to the security and well-being of the entire world.”

Kurta spoke at the Pentagon Force Protection Agency’s Human Trafficking Awareness Day seminar in the Pentagon. Today is Human Trafficking Awareness Day, and January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

Those who engage in human trafficking exploit the weak and the vulnerable and capitalize on those who patronize the sex-trade industry and those involved in forced labor, Kurta said. For those reasons, DoD is committed to continuing its aggressive stance against human trafficking, he said, and will further training its personnel to expand awareness. 

Down With Tyranny, Welcome To Waterbury: The City That Holds Secrets That Could Bring Down Trump, Guest Post by Andrew Kreig and Wayne Madsen, Jan. 11, 2018 (republished).

eric greitens mike pence

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, a first-term Republican, is shown meeting Vice President Mike Pence in a file photo

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Washington Post,  Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens admits extramarital affair but denies reports he blackmailed woman with nude photo, Fred Barbash, Jan. 11, 2018.Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R), responding to media reports, acknowledged Wednesday night that he was unfaithful to his wife “a few years ago” before being elected. But his lawyer denied sensational allegations aired by a local TV station that Greitens threatened to distribute naked photos he took of the woman with whom he was having a relationship if she ever said anything about it.

The woman, who has not been named publicly, was Greitens’s hair stylist, according to media reports confirmed by The Washington Post with a source familiar with the situation.

A joint statement posted Wednesday night by Greitens and his wife, Sheena, said in part that “a few years ago . . . there was a time when he was unfaithful in our marriage. This was a deeply personal mistake. Eric took responsibility, and we dealt with this together honestly and privately.”

Greitens, 44, is a relatively new star in the Republican Party who boasts an extraordinary résumé: Former Navy SEAL and Lt. Commander, attended Duke University on scholarship; Rhodes scholar at Oxford; PhD, author and White House Fellow during the administration of President George W. Bush. He is the author of “Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life” and, according to a profile in St. Louis Magazine, has had presidential aspirations since he was a young man. His wife, Sheena Chestnut Greitens, is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Missouri, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Center for East Asian Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and First Lady Sheena Greitens at 2017 Inaugural Ball (Missouri National Guard Photo)

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and First Lady Sheena Greitens at 2017 Inaugural Ball (Missouri National Guard Photo)

Legal Schnauzer, Eric Greitens, Missouri's "Navy Seal" Republican governor, admits to an extramarital affair, as blackmail allegation hangs over his national political aspirations, Roger Shuler, Jan. 11, 2018. How bad could this get for Eric Greitens, who rose to high office mainly because his bio includes a stint as a Navy Seal? Well, the admitted affair likely will stick a fork in any "pro family" credentials he might have had. And the affair story includes allegations of blackmail that could prove especially troubling for Greitens.

Is the blackmail claim false? There seems to be quite a bit of doubt about that. From stltoday.com:

eric greitens oWhen questioned by News 4 (Blackmail alleged as Governor Greitens admits to extramarital affair,), Greitens (shown in an official photo) did not address the issue of the photograph but the Governor and his wife did release the following statement:

"A few years ago, before Eric was elected Governor, there was a time when he was unfaithful in our marriage. This was a deeply personal mistake. Eric took responsibility, and we dealt with this together honestly and privately. While we never would have wished for this pain in our marriage, or the pain that this has caused others, with God’s mercy Sheena has forgiven and we have emerged stronger. We understand that there will be some people who cannot forgive – but for those who can find it in your heart, Eric asks for your forgiveness, and we are grateful for your love, your compassion, and your prayers."

James Franco (screenshot from CBS appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Jan. 10, 2018)

James Franco (appearance on CBS The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Jan. 10, 2018)

Los Angeles Times, Five women accuse actor James Franco of inappropriate or sexually exploitative behavior, Daniel Miller and Amy Kaufman, Jan. 11, 2018. It should have been a pure moment of triumph for James Franco. He collected one of Hollywood’s top prizes at the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, validating an untraditional career in which he’s been a bankable leading man, Ivy League academic and eccentric auteur.

But as he stood on the ballroom stage, some were paying more attention to the Time’s Up pin on his lapel than the gold statue he picked up for his turn in “The Disaster Artist.”

It “was like a slap in my face,” said Sarah Tither-Kaplan, a former acting student at the film school Franco founded who went on to appear in several of his productions.

Tither-Kaplan is one of five women who, in interviews with The Times, accused Franco, 39, of behavior they found to be inappropriate or sexually exploitative. Four were his students, and another said he was her mentor.

In some cases, they said they believed Franco could offer them career advancement, and acquiesced to his wishes even when they were uncomfortable.

“I feel there was an abuse of power, and there was a culture of exploiting non-celebrity women, and a culture of women being replaceable,” said Tither-Kaplan, who was one of many women who took to Twitter on Sunday night to vent anger over Franco’s win.

She told The Times that in a nude orgy scene she filmed with Franco and several women three years ago, he removed protective plastic guards covering other actresses’ vaginas while simulating oral sex on them.

Two other student actresses also recounted negative on-set experiences. Both said Franco became angry when no women, while at the shoot, would agree to be topless.

Franco’s attorney, Michael Plonsker, disputed all of the women’s allegations and directed The Times to Franco’s comments Tuesday night on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.”

“Look, in my life I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I have done,” he told Colbert. “I have to do that to maintain my well being. The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate. But I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn’t have a voice for so long. So I don’t want to shut them down in any way.”

“If I have done something wrong,” he added, “I will fix it — I have to.”

The Hill, Washington Post suspends reporter for 'inappropriate workplace conduct,' John Bowden, Jan. 11, 2018. Washington Post reporter Joel Achenbach has been suspended for 90 days over "inappropriate workplace conduct," according to a Post report. In his statement to the Post reporter, Achenbach, a science and politics reporter, admitted to the misconduct but did not specify the nature of the claims made against him, only confirming that "women" were the victims.

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New York Times, Storm Grows Over ‘Media Men’ List as Creator Outs Herself, Jacyln Peiser, Jan. 11, 2018 (print edition). Harper’s found itself under heavy pressure to conceal the identity of the creator of a list of men in the media industry accused of sexual harassment. Then the creator herself came forward.

Fortune, Elon Musk Says He Accidentally Attended a Silicon Valley 'Sex Party.' But He Didn't See Any Sex, Abigail Abrams, Jan. 11, 2018. Even tech superstars sometimes get confused. It turns out Elon Musk unwittingly attended a now-infamous sex party held last summer at a venture capitalist’s Silicon Valley home. The event in question was mentioned in a Vanity Fair excerpt from journalist Emily Chang’s upcoming book Brotopia about the lavish and intense culture of Silicon Valley. The June 2017 party allegedly featured open drug use and public sexual behavior, according to the excerpt. 

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Washington Post, Two face life in prison for sex trafficking teenage girls, Rachel Weiner, Jan. 11, 2018. Ivan Williams and Dennis Davis used the proceeds from prostitution to start rap careers, prosecutors said.Two men face up to life in prison when they are sentenced in April for trafficking teenage prostitutes across the D.C. area.

Ivan Williams, 28, and Dennis Davis, 26, were found guilty by a jury in Alexandria federal court Wednesday evening. Prosecutors said the men used the proceeds from prostitution to fund their dreams of rap stardom.

Several former prostitutes testified against the two men, including two women who pleaded guilty to helping traffic minors. One, Davis’s ex-girlfriend, had worked for him as a prostitute when she was underage. When he went to prison for that crime, she had his name tattooed on her hip. She testified against him in this case, she said, because he had attacked her younger brother.

Jan. 10

KMOV-TV (St. Louis), Blackmail alleged as Governor Greitens admits to extramarital affair, Laura Trager and John O'Sullivan, Jan. 10, 2018. Governor Eric Greitens (shown at right) on Wednesday night confirmed to News 4 he had an extramarital affair, an admission a months-long News 4 investigation prompted.

In a recording obtained by News 4, a woman says she had a sexual encounter with Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and that he tried to blackmail her to keep the encounter quiet.

The details were provided to News 4 by the woman’s ex-husband, claiming the sexual relationship happened between his now ex-wife and Greitens in March 2015. News 4 is not naming the woman and she has not made an on-the-record comment about the story.

According to the ex-husband, the recording was made just days after Greitens’ and the woman’s first sexual encounter. And also that Greitens took a photograph during the encounter to use as “blackmail” according to the ex-husband.

Her now ex-husband said that statement upset him.

“He took a picture of my wife naked as blackmail. There is no worse person,” the ex-husband told News 4. And that is still what upsets him. He told News 4, “I think it's as bad as it gets, It’s as bad as it gets when someone takes advantage of something.”

In the recorded phone conversation, the woman takes on some of the blame and says that Greitens apologized after the encounter -- and told her he had deleted the picture.

During his campaign and while serving in his first year in office as Missouri’s Governor, Eric Greitens has billed himself a family man. During his campaign announcement, he stated: “I'm Eric Greitens, I'm a Navy SEAL, native Missourian and most importantly, a proud husband and father."

The Hill, Dems to invite sexual assault survivors as guests to Trump's State of the Union: report, Brandon Carter, Jan. 10, 2018. Some House Democrats are planning to invite sexual assault survivors as their guests to President Trump’s first State of the Union address, according to a new report.

An aide to Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) told NBC News that some Democrats are planning the invitations to bring awareness to the issue. "Some members will be bringing survivors of sexual assault and advocates as their guests," the aide told NBC News.

jackie speier abcThe report comes on the heels of Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), shown at right, saying Tuesday that she and other female House members are inviting lawmakers to weak black to Trump’s State of the Union in solidarity with the anti-sexual harassment “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” movements.

"This is a culture change that is sweeping the country and Congress is embracing it," Speier told The Hill in a statement. Speier said the Democratic Women’s Working Group, which includes all of the female House members, was encouraging lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to wear black to the event, and that support is very high.

More than a dozen women came forward to publicly accuse Trump of sexual harassment during the 2016 presidential campaign. Last month, three of the women banded together for the first time to call for a congressional investigation into Trump.

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Washington Post, A pastor admitted a past ‘sexual incident’ with a teen. His congregation gave him a standing ovation, Kyle Swenson, Jan. 10, 2018. During a Jan. 7 church service, pastor Andy Savage admitted to and apologized for a “sexual incident” that occurred between him and a teenage woman in 1998.

On Dec. 1, as headlines across the country blared with news about Matt Lauer’s surprise firing from the “Today” show for sexual misconduct, a woman named Jules Woodson tapped out a short email. It ran only about 80 words but was nearly 20 years in the making. “Do you remember?” the subject line read.

When Savage failed to respond to Woodson’s December email, she took her allegations public on Jan. 5, posting a detailed account of the alleged sexual assault on a blog for abuse survivors. Evangelical circles started spinning with reports of a then-college student forcing a sexual encounter with a student. She closed with three words and a hashtag. “Well I REMEMBER,” the email said. “#me-too.”

The message landed in the inbox of Andy Savage, a pastor at Highpoint Church, an evangelical Memphis mega-congregation that draws more than 2,000 Sunday worshipers.

ap logoAssociated Press, Ex-Idaho lawmaker facing sex-abuse inquiry kills himself, Kimberlee Kruesi, Jan. 9, 2018. A former Republican state lawmaker from Idaho who was facing a sexual abuse investigation has shot and killed himself, authorities said Tuesday. Brandon Hixon was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in his home early Tuesday, Canyon County Coroner Vicki DeGeus-Morris said. A family member discovered his body. Officials have released no details about the criminal investigation into Hixon, 36, except that it was related to possible sexual abuse.

Daily Mail, Marvel creator Stan Lee, 95, is accused of groping nurses and demanding oral sex in the shower at his $20m Los Angeles home -- but says he is victim of a 'shake down,'  Ryan Parry, Jan. 9, 2018. Comic book legend Stan Lee has been hit with several allegations of sexual assault and harassment by nurses caring for him at his Hollywood Hills home.

The Marvel creator, 95, is alleged to have repeatedly groped and harassed a string of young female nurses employed to care for him. He is said to have asked for oral sex in the shower, walked around naked and wanted to be 'pleasured' in the bedroom.

The nursing company which employs the women and caters for celebrities and high-end clients is now in a legal dispute with icon Lee. But as yet no police complaint has been made and no lawsuits filed.

A lawyer representing Lee told DailyMail.com that Lee 'categorically denies' the 'false and despicable' allegations and fully intends to clear his 'stellar good name' and suggested the allegations could be part of a shakedown. Lee, 95, is the former president and chairman of Marvel and co-created Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, the X-Men, Hulk among many other beloved comic book heroes.

Jan. 4

nbc news logoNBC News, Future of Miss America, beauty pageants in question in the wake of #MeToo, Daniella Silva, Jan. 7, 2017. "Potentially big changes" are coming to the Miss America pageant, according to its new chairwoman Gretchen Carlson. The former Fox News anchor, who was crowned Miss America in 1989, has been a high-profile voice against workplace sexual harassment and her appointment comes after leaked sexist emails led to a shakeup of the organization's leadership.

Associated Press via Time Magazine, Roy Moore Accuser Leigh Corfman Files Defamation Lawsuit Against Him, Staff report, Jan. 4, 2018. A woman who says failed U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore molested her when she was 14 has filed a defamation lawsuit Moore and his campaign. Leigh Corfman filed the lawsuit Thursday. The suit says Moore and his campaign defamed her and made false statements as they denied the accusations in the midst of the U.S. Senate race in Alabama.

Corfman says Moore sexually abused her when she was 14 and then “called me a liar and immoral when I publicly disclosed his misconduct.”

Corfman says she was 14 when Moore, then a prosecutor in his 30s, touched her during an encounter. Moore has denied the allegations. Corfman was one of several women who said Moore pursued them when they were teenagers. The lawsuit asks Moore to publicly apologize.

Newsweek via Raw Story, Ivanka Trump unfollowed Steve Bannon on Twitter, Summer Meza, Jan. 4, 2018. Ivanka Trump no longer follows former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon on Twitter, as of Thursday afternoon. She either unfollowed or blocked Bannon, according to the bot account @TrumpsAlert, which tracks changes to the Trump family’s Twitter accounts. The change comes one day after dozens of salacious details disparaging the Trumps were revealed in excerpts from journalist Michael Wolff’s upcoming book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.

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Washington Post, Lawyer claims donations fall far short of high costs of defamation suit against Trump, Frances Stead Sellers, Jan. 3, 2018. Facing questions about how a defamation suit against President Trump is being funded, a lawyer for plaintiff Summer R. Zervos has issued a statement saying that the Internet fundraising appeal she has hosted on her website has brought in only a fraction of what it will take to pursue the case.

gloria allred 2012 Custom“To date the fund has received donations of just under $30,000,” wrote prominent women’s rights lawyer Gloria Allred in a statement published Sunday on her Facebook page. (She is shown at right in a file photo from 2012.)

“We anticipate that the costs alone in this case will be hundreds of thousands of dollars,” wrote Allred, who said that she is not charging any fees for her own legal work, that neither of the two law firms involved in the case has been paid fees, and that “the donated funds have not and will not be used to personally benefit Ms. Zervos in any way.”

The statement comes as the #metoo movement continues to roil the spheres of show business, media and politics, and in the immediate wake of an article published in the Hill alleging that Allred’s daughter, Lisa Bloom, “sought to arrange compensation from donors and tabloid media outlets for women who made or considered making sexual misconduct allegations against Donald Trump.”