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March 12, 2019

Michael Avenatti announced on Tuesday that he is no longer representing Stormy Daniels, the porn star who says she had a sexual encounter with President Trump in 2006.

Avenatti did not provide any details, beyond saying that after many long discussions, he notified Daniels in February that he would be terminating their agreement. He began representing her in February 2018, and was a regular on the cable news circuit defending his client and criticizing Trump.

Daniels announced on social media that she has hired a new attorney, Clark Brewster, and he will "review all legal matters," The Associated Press reports.

Just before the 2016 presidential election, Daniels received $130,000 in exchange for her silence on the alleged affair, as part of a deal set up by Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. She sued to get out of the nondisclosure agreement, and when a federal judge tossed her case out last week, he found that the agreement was invalid. Catherine Garcia

February 5, 2019

Stormy Daniels, the porn star who says she had an affair with President Trump, officially withdrew her lawsuit against attorney Michael Cohen on Tuesday, reports The Washington Post.

Daniels sued Trump last March over a nondisclosure agreement that said Daniels couldn't discuss the alleged affair, and later added the president's ex-lawyer to the suit. Daniels claimed Cohen signed the agreement, not Trump, meaning it was invalid, and alleged that Cohen defamed her when he suggested she was lying.

U.S. District Court Judge James Otero agreed to dismiss the case at Daniels' request in November, but the terms of the dismissal weren't yet arranged, NBC News notes. The California judge ruled Tuesday that Daniels could officially drop the lawsuit and did not have to pay Cohen's legal fees. Daniels cannot sue Cohen again over this matter, the judge also ruled.

In November, Daniels said she never wanted to sue Trump for defamation, adding that her lawyer Michael Avenatti did it "against my wishes." Kathryn Krawczyk

July 2, 2018

Former Republican National Committee official Elliott Broidy is no longer making hush payments to a Playboy model he had an affair with, his lawyer told The Wall Street Journal on Sunday.

Broidy, a married businessman, former deputy finance chairman of the RNC, and top GOP fundraiser, admitted that he had an affair with Shera Bechard. Last year, President Trump's longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, negotiated an agreement with Bechard, guaranteeing $1.6 million from Broidy in exchange for Bechard's silence regarding their relationship. The $1.6 million was to be paid in eight installments, with the third payment due Sunday.

Broidy's lawyer, Chris Clark, told the Journal he didn't make the payment because Keith Davidson, Bechard's lawyer at the time she signed the agreement, allegedly improperly discussed the matter with another lawyer, Michael Avenatti, who is representing Stormy Daniels, the adult film star who signed a $130,000 agreement brokered by Cohen in exchange for her keeping quiet about an affair she said she had with Trump in 2006.

"Elliott specifically was paying for confidentiality that would shield his family from the embarrassing mistake he made," Clark said. "We can prove there was an intentional breach that renders the contract null and void." Davidson's spokesman said he did nothing wrong, and Avenatti is encouraging Bechard "to disclose everything she knows about this situation to the public." In April, FBI agents raided Cohen's office, home, and hotel room, and people familiar with the matter said he's being investigated over whether these agreements violated campaign finance or other laws. For more on Broidy and Bechard's relationship, and the tangled web that connects all these attorneys, visit The Wall Street Journal. Catherine Garcia

January 3, 2018

President Trump has disbanded his voter fraud commission, citing the refusal of many state election officials to hand over voter data due to privacy concerns.

In a statement attributed to Trump on Wednesday, the White House said that "despite substantial evidence of voter fraud, many states have refused to provide the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity with basic information relevant to its inquiry. Rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense, today I signed an executive order to dissolve the commission, and have asked the Department of Homeland Security to review these issues and determine next courses of action." The White House did not provide any examples of evidence showing voter fraud.

Trump established the commission in May, and its leaders wanted states to share personal information on voters, including their birth dates and partial Social Security numbers. Its vice chairman, conservative Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, would not go on record saying Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, and in an email to the Justice Department prior to his appointment, member Hans Von Spakovsky from the Heritage Foundation said he didn't think any Democrats, moderate Republicans, or academics should be allowed on the panel. Catherine Garcia

August 8, 2017

Disney announced Tuesday that it's dumping Netflix. In 2019, Disney will end its streaming deal with Netflix as it launches its very own streaming service later that year.

Disney and Netflix struck their deal back in 2012, though The Verge noted it "only kicked into effect last year." It appears Netflix will retain the Disney movies that it already has in its repertoire, though it won't get any more movies once the deal ends.

Disney's new streaming service will host its latest movies, starting with its planned 2019 releases like Frozen 2 and Toy Story 4, and Disney said it also intends to make a "significant investment" in developing movies and TV programs exclusive to its streaming platform. The platform will be based on technology developed by BAMTech — a video company founded by MLB — in which Disney announced Tuesday it is acquiring a majority stake.

In addition to its theatrical streaming service, Disney in 2018 will launch an ESPN streaming service. Becca Stanek

July 28, 2017

After spending seven years promising a repeal of ObamaCare, Senate Republicans on Friday morning were unable to pass their latest version of a health-care proposal, the Health Care Freedom Act, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declared "it's time to move on."

With three Republican senators — Susan Collins of Maine, John McCain of Arizona, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — joining Democrats in voting against the plan, it failed by one vote in what was "clearly a disappointing moment," McConnell said. He claimed that due to "skyrocketing costs," "plummeting choices," and "collapsing markets, our constituents have suffered through an awful lot under ObamaCare. We thought they deserved better."

McConnell also praised Republicans for "working hard" on the bill, which wasn't finalized until Thursday, and accused Senate Democrats of "not wanting to engage in a serious way to help those suffering under ObamaCare." Catherine Garcia

July 17, 2017

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) acknowledged Monday night that his health-care proposal is in a death spiral, and he said his new plan is to repeal ObamaCare with a two-year delay, with no replacement plan.

"Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of ObamaCare will not be successful," McConnell said in a statement. "So, in the coming days, the Senate will vote to take up the House bill with the first amendment in order being what a majority in the Senate has already supported in 2015 and that was vetoed by then-President Obama: a repeal of ObamaCare with a two-year delay to provide for a stable transition period to a patient-centered health-care system that gives Americans access to quality, affordable care."

Two GOP senators, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), announced Monday they would not support the motion to proceed on the current version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, joining Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), leaving McConnell without the necessary number of votes to pass the GOP health-care proposal. President Trump called on Republicans to repeal ObamaCare now and "work on a new health-care plan that will start from a clean slate." Catherine Garcia

July 13, 2017

On Wednesday night, President Trump informed reporters on Air Force One that his proposed border wall needs to be see-through, or at least have holes in it, so Americans don't get crushed by falling bags of drugs, the White House transcript of the conversation shows. Trump reportedly held court with the traveling press pool for more than an hour while en route to Paris for a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.

"One of the things with the wall is, you need transparency," Trump said. "You have to be able to see through it. In other words, if you can't see through the wall — so it could be a steel wall with openings, but you have to have openings because you have to see what's on the other side of the wall."

Trump then offered reporters "an example."

"As horrible as it sounds, when they throw the large sacks of drugs over, and if you have people on the other side of the wall, you don't see them — they hit you in the head with 60 pounds of stuff? It's over," Trump said. "As crazy as that sounds, you need transparency through that wall."

As crazy as it sounds, indeed. Jeva Lange

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