A look at October 31st a/k/a Halloween but a quick recap of Monday’s events.
While the big news was the unsealing of the 12-count indictment against Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul J. Manafort, Jr. and his protégé, Richard W. Gates III for money laundering, conspiracy, and other charges, the court documents also revealed that George Papadopolous, a former foreign policy advisor to President Donald Trump, plead guilty to lying to the FBI about his contact with a Russian professor and a representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
According to the Department of Justice, Office of Special Counsel, Papadopoulos met the Russian contacts days after joining Trump’s campaign and the professor took interest in him “because of his status with the campaign.”
Trump took to Twitter soon after the arrests saying that Manafort’s actions happened outside the scope of the campaign and it wasn’t collusion. However, no response as to Papadopolous except for White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders who downplayed his interaction with the campaign as “extremely limited” and a “volunteer.”
Manafort & Gates surrendered to the FBI and plead not guilty to all charges. Both are currently under house arrest and their next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 2.
Tech & Russia: In what can only be described in PR terms as bad timing, social media giants Facebook, Twitter, and Google are on the Hill this week to testify about Russian interference on their platforms.
On Tuesday, October 31st, tech execs will answer questions before the Senate Judiciary Committee and according to prepared testimony Facebook submitted in advance, an estimated 126 million Americans, roughly one-third of the nation’s population, received Russian-backed content on Facebook during the 2016 campaign.
On Wednesday, November 1st, it’s a double-header with testimony in open session before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in the morning followed by the House Intelligence Committee in the afternoon. C-SPAN and MSNBC are offering live video coverage or you can click on livestreams of the hearings via committee page:
Senate Judiciary Committee — Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.(EDT)
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence — Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. (EDT)
House Intelligence Committee — Wednesday at 2 p.m. (EDT)
Catalonia: after the Catalan parliament voted to declare independence from Spain last week, Madrid now seeks sedition charges against 14 former members of the regional government including the recently deposed president, Carle Puigdemont. NYT reports that the Catalonia leader has surfaced in Belgium where he may seek asylum.
And finally, Michael Jackson is atop the Forbes list of top-earning dead celebrities for the fifth straight year, with $75 million USD. Forbes says Jackson’s earnings are boosted by a new greatest hits album, a Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil show and a stake in the EMI music publishing catalog.