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October 10, 2019

Rudy Giuliani's life is getting more complex by the day.

The Atlantic's Elaina Plott wrote on Thursday that she was scheduled to have lunch with Giuliani, President Trump's personal lawyer, on Thursday. That's the only time that would work, he told her Wednesday night, because he was flying to Vienna on Thursday night. Their conversation took place at about the same time two of Giuliani's associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested at a Washington, D.C. airport, carrying one-way tickets to an international destination. The Wall Street Journal later reported they were headed to Vienna.

Parnas and Fruman have been charged with campaign finance violations. Plott met Parnas, Fruman, and Giuliani at a cigar bar earlier this year, she wrote, and Parnas told her they were "great friends" who "work together." Wanting to know why the men were all going to Vienna around the same time, Plott said she called Giuliani, and was surprised when a woman answered, saying she was his communications director. The woman told Plott she'd have to call her back, and then Plott heard Giuliani yell "Asshole!" in the background. The woman apologized, and told Plott he was shouting at the television.

Plott wrote that she finally got a response from Giuliani about an hour later, but he didn't say anything about why everyone was going to Vienna, or why, as he told the Journal, he wasn't meeting with Parnas and Fruman in Austria but rather in D.C. when everyone was back. "I can't comment on it at this time," he said. Read more at The Atlantic. Catherine Garcia

June 22, 2018

Is Tom Arnold filling a President Trump–shaped hole in Michael Cohen's life?

Probably not, but Arnold and Cohen, Trump's longtime personal attorney, did hang out on Thursday, and their get-together was documented on — where else? — Twitter. "I love New York," Arnold captioned the photo showing him next to a smiling Cohen. Arnold, a Trump critic, is working on a show for Vice called The Hunt for the Trump Tapes, using his show-business connections to try to find video evidence of Trump engaging in bad behavior. NBC News asked Cohen, who retweeted the photo, about the meeting, but he referred inquiries to Arnold.

There are a few links between the two — Cohen, now under investigation by federal prosecutors for his business dealings, served as Trump's fixer for years. Arnold's ex-wife, Roseanne Barr, is a vocal Trump fan, and it's a mutual thing, with Trump expressing his support for her. Maybe the latest connection will turn into a collaboration between Cohen and Arnold. Catherine Garcia

February 14, 2018

Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump are enthusiastic hunters, although that does not explain why their 171-acre private hunting preserve in Wingdale, New York, sounds "like you're in a war zone," as one neighbor put it to The Associated Press.

It's not just the regular deer hunting rifle fire residents are used to, though. Neighbors say they hear the deafening sounds of target practice as well as exploding targets and gunfire ringing out from a wooden tower on the property. "It's bad," said another neighbor. "It shakes the windows."

The Trumps bought the property anonymously in 2013 after unsuccessfully attempting to get a discount by arguing it was haunted. The brothers used a limited liability company to scoop up the land, although paperwork traces back to Trump Jr. and Eric Trump directly.

Jeffrey Ferraro, who is listed as the LLC's organizer and manages the land, told one neighbor who complained about the noise that his partners "have the Secret Service coming, and they shoot, too." When confronted by the AP, Ferraro said: "Guns make noise. That's all I can tell you." Jeva Lange

October 13, 2017

Nearly the entire defense team for the USS Cole bombing suspect has resigned under the suspicion that the U.S. government has been spying on their conversations with their client at Guantanamo Bay, the Miami Herald reports. "At present, I am not confident that the prohibition on improper monitoring of attorney-client meetings at [Guantanamo] ... is being followed," wrote the chief defense counsel, Brig. Gen. John Baker. "My loss of confidence extends to all potential ... meeting locations at [Guantanamo]."

The defense lawyers cannot discuss the specific details for their departure with either their client or the public because it involves classified information.

Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri of Saudi Arabia stands accused of organizing the 2000 al Qaeda suicide bombing on the USS Cole off of Yemen, which killed 17 Americans. The death-penalty case was the first at Guantanamo in the post-9/11 era. "Pretrial hearings in the USS Cole case have gone on for nearly six years with both sides still litigating over what evidence Nashiri or his lawyers can see, how to substitute for destroyed CIA evidence, and how much damage Nashiri suffered while in CIA custody from 2002 to 2006," the Miami Herald writes. "Unclassified documents show he was waterboarded, abused rectally, confined to a coffin-sized box, and subjected to other 'enhanced interrogation techniques' to break him in interrogation."

On Friday, defense attorney Rick Kamman was released from the case, followed by the exit of two other defense attorneys. Nashiri is now only represented by the legal team's most junior member, who has no death penalty experience. Legally, the case cannot move forward without an experienced capital punishment lawyer.

Family members of victims and survivors claim the departures are a stunt by the defense, although Kammen said: "If the government would declassify all the various pleadings that are classified, they would understand why it's not. They would understand." Read the report at the Miami Herald. Jeva Lange

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