It's not Perry Mason or Law & Order, but there's plenty of drama in federal Judge Kimba Wood's Manhattan courtroom over which of Michael Cohen's seized files federal prosecutors will be able to see, and when. In court on Monday, President Trump's lawyer Joanna Hendon asked Wood to allow Trump first review of the materials, and when Wood rejected the stay — she is considering a neutral "special master" or a "taint team" of federal prosecutors — Hendon said she has no idea what to tell Trump about what's in Cohen's files. "You're getting into areas that we don't need to address now," Wood replied, according to Bloomberg News. But what's in Cohen's files is very much on the minds of Trump and his allies, Axios reports.
"Cohen is a potential Rosetta stone to Trump's final decade in private life," Axios' Mike Allen writes. "Cohen knows more about some elements of Trump's life than anyone else — because some stuff, Ivanka doesn't want to know."
"The guys that know Trump best are the most worried," a former Trump campaign official told Axios. "People are very, very worried. Because it's Michael [effing] Cohen. Who knows what he's done? ... People at the Trump Organization don't even really know everything he does. It's all side deals and off-the-books stuff. Trump doesn't even fully know; he knows some but not everything."
"The media is excited about what might emerge from Cohen's legal travails, and for good reason," Tim O'Brien, who wrote a book about Trump, counters at Bloomberg View. But nobody should "assume that his evident downfall portends doom for Trump's presidency." Cohen has only worked for Trump since 2006, and he never had a leadership role at Trump's business. If prosecutors ever become interested in Jason Greenblatt, Trump's company's general counsel who signed off on almost every significant deal, or CFO Allen Weisselberg, O'Brien writes, then Trump is in serious trouble. Peter Weber
An 8-year-old with a robotic hand is close to realizing her dream of becoming the first person to throw out the first pitch at all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums. Hailey Dawson has Poland syndrome, a rare congenital disorder that caused her to be born without part of her right hand. But with a 3D-printed hand built by a team at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Dawson can do anything she wants — including toss balls at MLB batters. She notched her 21st stadium last week with a pitch at Fenway Park. "I want people to know that if I can do it you can do it," Dawson told ABC News. Christina Colizza
President Trump on Thursday blamed "the real enemy of the people, the fake news media" for portraying his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin as a failure.
He insisted that the meeting, which was met with alarm by Republicans, Democrats, and national security experts, was a "great success," and additionally said that he looked forward to a "second meeting" to move forward on "stopping terrorism, security for Israel, nuclear proliferation," and more.
The Summit with Russia was a great success, except with the real enemy of the people, the Fake News Media. I look forward to our second meeting so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed, including stopping terrorism, security for Israel, nuclear........
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2018
Intelligence officials have condemned Trump's apparent defense of Putin regarding Russia's interference in U.S. election systems. In a second tweet, Trump baselessly claimed that most media ignored his acknowledgement of Russian meddling out of a desire to "see a major confrontation with Russia." He did, however, praise Fox News for showing clips of him discussing Russia's interference, condemning the rest of the media for wanting "no part of that narrative." Summer Meza
Disney is very, very close to securing its purchase of 21st Century Fox.
Comcast and Disney have gone back and forth over purchasing Rupert Murdoch's empire since November, but Disney always appeared to have the lead. Now, Comcast is officially dropping its $65 billion bid, practically ensuring victory for Disney, The Associated Press reports.
Rumors of Disney purchasing Fox first sprouted in November, and Comcast joined the fray soon after. In December, Disney placed a $52.4 billion bid for Fox's TV and film studios, as well as its cable TV channels. Comcast countered with $65 billion in cash in June, but Disney posted a $71.3 billion offer in cash and stock later that month. Fox touted Disney's higher chance for U.S. regulatory approval at the time.
That big Disney deal appears to be the winner after Comcast dropped out of the running Thursday, CNN says. It helps that a Disney-Fox merger got U.S. Justice Department approval after the $71.3 billion offer, provided Disney doesn't keep Fox's sports networks. (Disney already owns the ESPN networks.)
A successful Comcast bid would have made it one of the most indebted companies in the world, per CNN. But that doesn't seem to bother the media giant, as it's still bidding against Fox for U.K.-based Sky News. Comcast seems more likely to win that battle, as British regulators hinted in February that a deal with Fox wouldn't get government approval.
Fox's shareholders officially vote to accept the Disney deal on July 27, which includes the 20th Century Fox film studio and cable channels such as FX, per AP. Fox News, Fox Sports, and local TV stations will be spun off into a new company. Kathryn Krawczyk
Republican party leaders were by and large not impressed with how President Trump declined to side with the U.S. intelligence community regarding Russian election interference while in Helsinki on Monday. Republican party members, meanwhile, think the president did a great job.
An Axios and SurveyMonkey poll published Thursday found that 79 percent of Republicans approve of how Trump handled his joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Just 18 percent of Republicans said they did not approve.
In stark contrast, 91 percent of Democrats disapproved of Trump's performance, with 7 percent saying they approved. Among independents, 62 percent disapproved and 33 percent approved. Axios additionally noted that 85 percent of Republicans see the topic of Russian interference as "a distraction," while 85 percent of Democrats say it's a "serious issue." Overall, more than half of those polled said they don't trust the Trump administration to prevent foreign interference in the 2018 elections.
President Trump's 2020 dreams are getting more vivid every day.
Trump is now envisioning former Vice President Joe Biden on the other side of the ballot, he told CBS News' Jeff Glor on Wednesday. Yet while running against Biden would be "a dream," he's not shying away from any potential Democratic opponent.
Biden is Trump's fantasy opponent, but not because he'd be a challenge. "Look, Joe Biden ran three times," Trump told Glor. "He never got more than 1 percent and President Obama took him out of the garbage heap, and everybody was shocked that he did." Trump is a little off on the numbers there, as Biden only ran for president twice. In both his 1988 and 2008 campaigns, Biden didn't win the Democratic nomination, and he did do pretty dismally in the primaries too.
While Trump is having Biden-filled dreams, he told Glor he'd still like to run against any of the "seven or eight" candidates Democrats are tossing around right now. Biden will decide if he's in that mix by January, the former veep revealed to CNN on Tuesday.
The Trump-Biden feud has gone on for months, even escalating to threats of physical violence in March. Numerous polls have placed Biden on top of the pile of possible Democratic candidates. Kathryn Krawczyk
President Trump isn't the only one who thinks his Monday meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin went well. Putin himself on Thursday deemed the Helsinki summit "successful," The Associated Press reports. And he isn't happy with Trump critics who have said otherwise.
Before the summit, Putin thought U.S.-Russia relations were "in some ways worse than during the Cold War," he told Russian diplomats Thursday, per AP. But his meeting with Trump put the two countries on "the path to positive change."
After the summit, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats felt the need to remind everyone that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. Republicans, Democrats, and intelligence officials widely criticized Trump for going soft on Putin, but Putin said Thursday these "forces" are simply trying to block an improvement in U.S.-Russia relations.
Still, he's open to seeing "how things develop further" with America, and expressed interested in cooperating in the Syria war and arms control, AP reports. Kathryn Krawczyk
Amazon's Prime Day broke another sales record for the e-commerce giant this week, TechCrunch reports, but it also helped lift sales for other massive retailers by 54 percent, according to an Adobe Analytics report.
Target held a one-day sale on Tuesday to rival Prime Day, and said the day was its biggest online shopping day of 2018, in terms of both traffic and sales. Walmart attracted shoppers by offering free two-day shipping and cutting prices on Google Home devices, to compete with Amazon's Prime Day discounts on its Echo devices. Smaller retailers with sales under $5 million didn't fare so well, seeing an 18 percent decrease in online sales on Prime Day, Adobe said. Harold Maass