‘Fiasco’: The short life and ignominious death of de Blasio’s national progressive agenda

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s first major attempt to be a national player was a monthslong comedy of errors involving City Hall staffers and some of the biggest political operatives in New York, according to thousands of pages of emails — many of them previously undisclosed — reviewed by POLITICO.

De Blasio’s Progressive Agenda nonprofit was ostensibly designed to champion issues the mayor held dear — income inequality, voter enfranchisement, education — with de Blasio as the central force behind the “movement.”

But the more-than-$860,000 effort yielded little in the end — no public debates, a couple of events including one that failed spectacularly, and no political upside for a mayor singularly obsessed with becoming a national liberal leader.

What it did yield were reams of emails that paint a portrait of de Blasio as a micromanager who allowed confusion and frustration to reign among his staff and stable of Continue reading “‘Fiasco’: The short life and ignominious death of de Blasio’s national progressive agenda”

Cuomo sails to primary victory, with eyes to the White House

NEW YORK — This time, conventional wisdom proved right.

The Associated Pressed called the Democratic Party vote for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday within a half hour of polls closing, beating back Cynthia Nixon’s anti-establishment attack from the left with a message of experienced leadership.

Cuomo had 66 percent of the vote to Nixon’s 34 percent with 33 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.

Although Cuomo tried to position the race as a contest between himself and President Donald Trump, who is deeply unpopular in many areas of his home state, the primary election became a referendum on Cuomo’s eight years in office, his centrist style of governing and the state’s Democratic establishment.

Now as Cuomo positions himself for a possible 2020 presidential run, he’ll do so as the head of New York’s sizable Democratic majority in a state that fashions itself as a leader Continue reading “Cuomo sails to primary victory, with eyes to the White House”

Mueller probe plunders New York tabloid swamp

12 tapes seized in Michael Cohen raid handed over to prosecutors

Twelve audio recordings seized from President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen in an April FBI raid were handed over to federal prosecutors on Friday, according to a court filing made public Monday.

The tapes were handed over on the same day that Trump’s attorneys confirmed the existence of a September 2016 recording in which Trump and Cohen discussed a possible payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who has said she and Trump had a 10-month affair that ended in 2007.

The 12 audio recordings had initially been designated as “privileged,” meaning prosecutors wouldn’t get to look at them as part of their ongoing criminal investigation into Cohen, which includes his role in providing hush payments to women who claim they had affairs with Trump.

But on July 20, “the parties withdrew their designations of ‘privileged’ as to 12 audiotapes that were under consideration by the Special Master,” Continue reading “12 tapes seized in Michael Cohen raid handed over to prosecutors”

From future speaker to primary loser: Inside Crowley’s crushing defeat

NEW YORK — Joe Crowley missed the political groundswell happening in his district, ending Tuesday night conceding to a political novice and playing “Born to Run” on a Queens stage instead of preparing a possible run for Speaker of the House.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s stunning defeat of the 10-term New York incumbent — until Tuesday a kingmaker in New York City politics who sat atop one of the city’s last political machines — is rocking the Democratic establishment from New York to Washington. Combined with the tight victories that his House colleagues Carolyn Maloney and Yvette Clarke eked out, it’s certain to put more incumbent Democrats on edge.

New York insiders say that the Crowley campaign failed to grasp the signs in his district — one of the nation’s most diverse— where Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old Bernie Sanders organizer with Puerto Rican roots, made the Irish-American Crowley’s establishment ties a central issue.

New Continue reading “From future speaker to primary loser: Inside Crowley’s crushing defeat”

Donovan banks on Trump — and overwhelms Grimm

NEW YORK — Maybe Donald Trump’s endorsement counts for something in New York after all — at least on Staten Island.

Incumbent Rep. Dan Donovan successfully fought off a challenge on Tuesday from the Republican who held his seat before him — former Rep. Michael Grimm, a charismatic, mercurial ex-Marine who resigned in disgrace in 2015 after pleading guilty to felony tax fraud in federal court. Donovan is leading his challenger by nearly 30 points.

How did he do it? In recent months, Donovan sharpened his language on immigration, proposed a bill to require a portrait of Donald Trump in U.S. post offices, and took pains to highlight areas where he agrees with the president, as he and Grimm both sought the coveted presidential endorsement in a district where Trump has high approval ratings from Republican voters.

The strategy marked a significant shift in tone if not in action Continue reading “Donovan banks on Trump — and overwhelms Grimm”

Challengers put trio of New York Democrats under new scrutiny

NEW YORK — Three veteran New York House Democrats are facing unusually stiff primary battles from young challengers who have drawn energy from the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic party — and put less flattering parts of the incumbents’ longtime records on display ahead of Tuesday’s New York primary.

None of the three have much chance of winning, but they’ve already begun moving the incumbents to the left and drawing attention to some potential weaknesses, from Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s support of the anti-vaxxers to Rep. Yvette Clarke’s lack of legislative mojo.

The line of attack against the young Democrats is that they are upstarts, with little political experience or ability to navigate Washington. But they’ve each embraced that designation, spinning their ages and relative inexperience as positives, and arguing that the incumbents have lost touch with their districts and have grown too complacent to lead a newly energized party Continue reading “Challengers put trio of New York Democrats under new scrutiny”

Maloney goes on attack in debate with primary challenger

Incumbent Rep. Carolyn Maloney defended her 13 terms in Congress and questioned the experience of her Democratic primary challenger, Suraj Patel, as the pair faced off Tuesday in the only televised debate in the race for New York’s 12th Congressional District.

Maloney is seeking reelection in a district redrawn in 2010 to encompass not only parts of Manhattan’s East Side, but also Long Island City in Queens and Greenpoint in Brooklyn. Patel, a 34-year-old hotel executive and professor, has never held elected office.

But the race, one of a wave of primary challenges by liberal insurgents against incumbent Democrats in some of the country’s bluest districts, has become surprisingly bitter. Maloney’s supporters criticize Patel’s campaign as superficial, pointing to records showing Patel was registered to vote in Indiana and in Suffolk County in recent years. And Patel’s supporters have accused Maloney of being out of touch with the district and Continue reading “Maloney goes on attack in debate with primary challenger”

Grimm and Donovan brawl in first of 2 primary debates

Incumbent Rep. Dan Donovan and former Rep. Michael Grimm repeatedly attacked, belittled and interrupted each other over the course of an hour-long debate Monday that largely mirrored what has been a particularly nasty race so far to represent New York’s 11th Congressional District.

Monday’s exchange was the first of two head-to-head debates between the two men before they face off in the June 26th primary as Donovan tries to defend the seat he’s held since 2015 against Grimm — a fast-talking former FBI agent elected to the seat covering Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn in 2010.

Grimm amassed a centrist record over two terms in office before resigning in 2015 after pleading guilty to tax fraud. He’s trying for a comeback as a Trump-style populist, and the race has become a contest for each man to demonstrate his fealty to the president.

On Monday the pair fought over immigration, Continue reading “Grimm and Donovan brawl in first of 2 primary debates”

Judge: Trump can be deposed in Summer Zervos lawsuit

A judge ruled Tuesday that President Donald Trump can be deposed in a defamation lawsuit brought last year by Summer Zervos, a former contestant on "The Apprentice” who says Trump kissed and groped her after she appeared on the show.

Zervos is one of more than a dozen women who have accused Trump of unwanted sexual contact. The president has vehemently denied all of the women’s claims, which he called “100 percent fabricated,” and he retweeted a tweet describing Zervos’s claim as a “hoax.” Zervos filed a defamation claim against Trump in January 2017 over those denials.

Lawyers for both sides must issue their demands for documents as part of discovery by July 13, and those responses must be provided by Sept. 27, Judge Jennifer Schechter ordered Tuesday. Both parties are ordered to submit third party subpoenas by March 23, 2019.

Schechter ordered both parties to submit to depositions Continue reading “Judge: Trump can be deposed in Summer Zervos lawsuit”

Grimm leads Donovan by 10 points in new NY1-Siena poll

Former Rep. Michael Grimm is leading his Republican primary opponent, incumbent Dan Donovan, by 10 points in his hard-fought battle to win back his congressional seat, despite Donovan’s recent endorsement by President Donald Trump.

A new NY1/Siena poll shows Grimm winning against Donovan by 10 points, 47 to 37 percent in New York’s 11th Congressional District. Roughly 16 percent of likely voters don’t know who they’ll vote for. Because of the timing of the poll, it does not fully account for any effect the president’s endorsement last week may have had.

Grimm won his seat in 2010, and is trying for a comeback as a Trump-style populist after he resigned following a conviction for tax fraud in 2014.

That conviction has apparently not tempered Grimm’s popularity among Republicans on Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn. The poll shows both candidates have identical favorability ratings — 57 percent of those polled Continue reading “Grimm leads Donovan by 10 points in new NY1-Siena poll”

Grimm makes first ad buy against Trump-backed Donovan as race tightens

NEW YORK — Former Rep. Michael Grimm is running his first cable ads attacking incumbent Rep. Dan Donovan, just days after President Donald Trump endorsed Donovan in the closely watched Staten Island Republican primary race that’s become a referendum on which candidate is closest to the commander in chief.

The 30-second ad, which will run exclusively on Fox News — it’s titled “Donovan Says NO to Trump” — attacks Donovan for his “no” votes on, or opposition to, specific pieces of legislation Trump supported. The initial ad buy is $29,990, and the ads are set to run Saturday through June 24. The primary is June 26.

The ad features black-and-white photos of Donovan and a voice-over narration.

“Every time it mattered, Dan Donovan voted against President Trump. Dan Donovan voted no to repealing Obamacare. No to lowering our taxes. Even no to banning sanctuary cities while supporting amnesty. Donovan Continue reading “Grimm makes first ad buy against Trump-backed Donovan as race tightens”

Trump endorses Donovan over Grimm

President Donald Trump endorsed incumbent GOP Rep. Dan Donovan in his primary battle against former Rep. Michael Grimm, who has attacked Donovan as insufficiently loyal to the president.

"There is no one better to represent the people of N.Y. and Staten Island (a place I know very well) than @RepDanDonovan, who is strong on Borders & Crime, loves our Military & our Vets, voted for Tax Cuts and is helping me to Make America Great Again. Dan has my full endorsement!" Trump said in a tweet posted Wednesday evening.

The endorsement comes a little less than a month before Donovan and Grimm will face off in New York’s 11th Congressional district, which covers Staten Island and parts of southern Brooklyn.

Grimm is hoping for a comeback after resigning from Congress and pleading guilty to federal tax fraud charges shortly after winning re-election in 2014. He served Continue reading “Trump endorses Donovan over Grimm”

Michael Cohen’s lawyers accuse Avenatti of ‘reckless and improper’ behavior

Attorneys for President Donald Trump’s associate Michael Cohen and adult film actress Stormy Daniels sniped at each other in court Wednesday, accusing each other of leaking to the press and otherwise behaving badly.

Cohen’s attorney Stephen Ryan accused Michael Avenatti, Daniels’ lawyer, of committing “a premeditated drive-by shooting of my client’s rights" by publishing details of large corporate payments made in recent years to Cohen, the president’s longtime personal attorney.

Avenatti denied doing anything improper and accused Cohen’s legal team of leaking audiotapes to reporters of Cohen talking to Daniels’ former attorney.

The two sides were in court in Manhattan as lawyers grapple over materials seized from Cohen’s home and office in an April FBI raid. Avenatti — whose client says Cohen paid her $130,000 just before the 2016 election to keep quiet about a sexual encounter with Trump — had been trying to muscle his way into that New Continue reading “Michael Cohen’s lawyers accuse Avenatti of ‘reckless and improper’ behavior”

New York Attorney General Schneiderman resigns in wake of bombshell report

NEW YORK — New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a frequent antagonist of President Donald Trump, resigned his post following an explosive report that detailed allegations against him of physical abuse by four women.

Schneiderman, who had been a rising star in the Democratic Party, said he will resign effective Tuesday at the close of business. He challenged the accusations of abuse by women with whom he had romantic relationships.

The New Yorker report began a startling and immediate fall for Schneiderman with politicians including New York‘s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo — a presidential aspirant who is facing a rising primary threat from Cynthia Nixon — calling for the attorney general’s resignation.

“It’s been my great honor and privilege to serve as Attorney General for the people of the State of New York. In the last several hours, serious allegations, which I strongly contest, have been made against me,” Schneiderman Continue reading “New York Attorney General Schneiderman resigns in wake of bombshell report”

Schneiderman resigns hours after allegations of abuse made public

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the state’s highest-ranking law enforcement official, will resign Tuesday, a day after four women accused him of violent physical abuse in an explosive article published by the New Yorker.

Schneiderman announced his resignation in a statement just three hours after the article was published.

“It’s been my great honor and privilege to serve as Attorney General for the people of the State of New York," he said.

"In the last several hours, serious allegations, which I strongly contest, have been made against me. While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the office’s work at this critical time. I therefore resign my office, effective at the close of business on May 8, 2018.”

‘Arguably the most desperate act I’ve ever seen a sitting member of Congress do’

There are two massive portraits of President Donald Trump behind the bar at Grant City Tavern. The first is a framed photograph. The second, a painting by a popular local artist, features the president from the waist up, his head superimposed on the body of a muscular man with his bulging arms folded across his chest, wearing a tight muscle T-shirt that says “POTUS 45.” Next week, the bartender says, the tavern is hosting a “Lesbians for Trump” event.

Welcome to the East Shore of Staten Island. This is Trump country, and the president is playing a central role in what might be the nastiest Republican congressional primary in America.

Almost without exception, Republican Party leaders on Staten Island, in New York City and in Washington have thrown their weight behind Rep. Dan Donovan. They don’t like Michael Grimm, the former congressman who’s trying to win back his old Continue reading “‘Arguably the most desperate act I’ve ever seen a sitting member of Congress do’”

Scaramucci to host fundraiser for Grimm

Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci is headlining a fundraiser in support of former Rep. Michael Grimm’s GOP primary bid in New York’s 11th Congressional District. Grimm is challenging incumbent Dan Donovan.

Scaramucci’s support comes as Grimm — who pleaded guilty to federal tax fraud in 2014, resigned his seat in 2015 and then served eight months in prison — is trying to demonstrate his closeness to the president.

The fundraiser will be held May 19 on Staten Island. The primary election takes place June 26.

Michael Cohen names Trump, GOP fundraiser Broidy as legal clients after FBI raid

Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen disclosed Monday that he’s had 10 clients in his solo practice since 2017, including the president and GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy, but the attorney declined to name eight other clients in response to a judge’s order.

Cohen’s attorneys said he had three legal clients in the past year, including Trump, former Republican National Committee finance co-chair Broidy, and a third person who "indicated that they did not authorize their name to be publicly filed in connection with this matter and directed Mr. Cohen to appeal any order to disclose their name."

For the seven other clients, who Cohen’s attorneys also did not name, "the work appears to be providing strategic advice and business consulting," his lawyers wrote in a filing made public Monday.

Cohen is scheduled to appear later Monday at a hearing to determine whether a judge will allow federal prosecutors to Continue reading “Michael Cohen names Trump, GOP fundraiser Broidy as legal clients after FBI raid”

Can Nixon get female voters to break up with Cuomo?

Cynthia Nixon, the highly recognizable star of the beloved show “Sex and the City” and a noted activist, is entering the New York gubernatorial race seeking an edge with female voters.

But Nixon will need to peel away support from incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a relatively popular governor with a record of progressive legislation on "women’s issues" who has consistently scored high favorability ratings with female voters in recent years.

“Cynthia Nixon would need substantial voter turnout and a significant portion of women to be competitive,” said Jennifer Lawless, a professor of government at American University.

When Nixon kicked off her campaign last week in Brownsville, Brooklyn — one of New York City’s poorest neighborhoods — she made an explicit appeal to female voters.

“This year, thousands of women all over America are running for office for the first time,“ she said. “We’re realizing that if we want things to Continue reading “Can Nixon get female voters to break up with Cuomo?”