Today in Trump’s America: Manafort plea agreement could come as early as Friday
Welcome to Mic’s daily read on Donald Trump’s America. Want to receive this as a daily email in your inbox? Subscribe here.
Good morning from Emily Singer at Mic.
Here’s what’s happening in Trump’s America:
• Things in the political world are mostly quiet as Hurricane Florence makes landfall on the Carolina coast.
About last night: Progressive wave fizzles in New York primaries
Primary season is officially over after voters in New York went to the polls to choose their nominees in state races.
Progressives, who were hoping for wins in the gubernatorial, lieutenant governor and attorney general primaries, all came up short.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo easily defeated actress and activist Cynthia Nixon — who blamed her loss on high turnout and anti-Trump sentiment. (Kind of an odd argument for a Democrat, given both those things stand to benefit Democrats in general elections this fall.)
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul beat back a primary challenge from Jumaane Williams, who had the backing of progressives in the state. Williams, however, came close to ousting Hochul, losing by just 6.6 points, according to the New York Times.
And in the primary for state attorney general — a high-profile job that gives the eventual winner the ability to investigate Trump and his business — Tish James, a Cuomo ally, defeated progressive favorite and law professor Zephyr Teachout by a comfortable margin.
The biggest surprises in the race came down ballot in state Senate contests, where Democrats ousted six of the eight members of the Independent Democratic Conference — a group of “turncoat” Democrats who caucused with Republicans, giving the GOP control of the upper chamber of the state legislature. It turns out aligning yourself with Republicans when you run as a Democrat is a great way to lose a Democratic primary.
Overall, turnout in the state was off the charts, more than double the 2014 Democratic primary turnout. It’s yet another data point showing high Democratic enthusiasm in 2018.
Today in Trump’s America: Paul Manafort close to plea deal
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has tentatively agreed to plead guilty to some or all of the charges he faces in an upcoming trial in Virginia, according to ABC News. The network reported Thursday evening that Manafort has reached a tentative agreement with special counsel Robert Mueller.
It’s unclear for now what charges Manafort will plead guilty to or what he received in exchange for his plea. It’s also unclear if Mueller’s team will force Manafort to cooperate as part of the deal, according to ABC News.
Either way, Manafort is expected to appear in federal court Friday in Washington, D.C., where his trial on money laundering, illegal foreign lobbying and obstruction of justice is scheduled to begin jury selection Sept. 17.
Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani told Politico he is not worried about a Manafort plea agreement because he does not think Manafort has anything damaging to say about the president.
“From our perspective, we want him to do the right thing for himself,” Giuliani told Politico. “There’s no fear that Paul Manafort would cooperate against the president because there’s nothing to cooperate about, and we long ago evaluated him as an honorable man.”
Politico also reported Thursday that Trump and Manafort have a joint defense agreement, which means the two teams can share privileged information.
Trump has previously praised Manafort for not “flipping.”
“I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family,” Trump tweeted after Manafort was convicted in August. ”‘Justice’ took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to ‘break’ - make up stories in order to get a ‘deal.’ Such respect for a brave man!”
Capitol Hill happenings: Senate Democrats refer letter on Brett Kavanaugh to the FBI
The confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh took a bizarre turn on Thursday, when Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) confirmed she referred a letter she received from a source with allegations against Kavanaugh to the FBI.
Feinstein did not elaborate on what the letter alleges. But the New York Times reports it was from a woman who accused Kavanaugh of possible sexual misconduct when both the woman and Kavanaugh were in high school.
The news came out the same day Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) announced his committee will vote Sept. 20 on whether to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate. Given Republicans control the Senate and therefore have a majority on the committee, Kavanaugh is expected to advance.
Republicans said the letter was a desperate attempt by Democrats to block Kavanaugh’s nomination at the 11th hour.
“Senator Schumer promised to ‘oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination with everything I have,’ and it appears he is delivering with this 11th hour attempt to delay his confirmation,” White House spokesperson Kerri Kupec said in a statement.
And the rest…
Trump’s hurricane denialism: Trump’s claim that the death toll in Hurricane Maria was a ploy by Democrats to make him “look as bad as possible” has created yet another storm, so to speak, for Republicans — who were forced to come out against his comment without angering the GOP base.