Pearls & Vodka

Cancelled: Manafort, Cohen and The Big Bang Theory

Paul Manafort’s freedom, Michael Cohen’s friendship with the President and The Big Bang Theory all cancelled this week. Here’s the latest edition of The Happy Hour!

Oh how the cookie crumbles

Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman was found guilty this week on 8 counts, during his financial fraud trial. Many view his conviction as a victory for special counsel, Robert Mueller whose team of prosecutors presented extensive evidence that Manafort hid millions of dollars in foreign accounts to evade taxes and lied to banks repeatedly to obtain millions of dollars in loans. Manafort was convicted of five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failure to disclose to a foreign bank. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on the remaining 10 charges and the judge declared a mistrial on those.

Ironically, as Mr. Manafort’s convictions were read aloud in the US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s personal attorney, was pleading guilty to violating campaign finance law and other charges in a court in Manhattan.

For Paul Manafort the trials are not over as he now heads to Washington to face more charges. As it stands today, without a pardon from President Trump, Manafort is facing a decade in prison. If he is convicted in this second trial, he can expect to tack on another 20 years. President Trump appears to be both distancing himself from Manafort but remaining peaceful and friendly. The same can not be said of the President’s relationship with his former attorney, Michael Cohen. 

It’s likely that President Trump is feeling betrayed by Cohen who apparently secretly recorded the President and has now flipped, so to speak. I’d say Cohen’s chances of a Presidential pardon are slim to none. As part of his plea deal, Cohen agreed to not challenge a prison sentence ranging from 43-63 months.

All that to say, maybe not the most stellar week in the White House. 

The President has taken to Twitter on multiple occasions this week to both berate Mr. Cohen and argue that Manafort is a victim of the “witch hunt.” Reports say that Trump has been advised to not entertain any pardons until the Mueller investigation is completed. Will he listen? Your guess is as good as mine. I think those on the Trump is getting impeached” train need to pump the breaks a bit. There’s a long road in front of us before we arrive at that stop, if we do. There’s a lot of sense to the argument that those talks could heat up if the Republicans lose the mid term elections, but that’s a hypothetical at this point and would also require incoming freshman Democratic lawmakers to be willing to plant the flag in partisanship impeachment proceedings and some may not be willing to go there yet; particularly if they won by narrow margins.

One Last Big Bang

While there was quite a “Big Bang” in the political word with the Manafort/Cohen news, there was also some big news coming out of the west coast in Hollywood. Warner Brothers and CBS announced this week that the next twenty-four episodes will close out the uber popular sitcom “The Big Bang Theory’s” 12 season run. Rumors are that Jim Parson, the loveable, quirky Sheldon, was the catalyst for the conclusion. CBS had tried to neogitate two more seasons but Parsons walked away from the offer. All good things must come to and end.

New Beginnings

In other news from “The Hills” of Hollywood, Speidi is back! Let me be clear, I have always been Team Lauren, but I did have a major crush on Jason Wahler back in the day! It’s called The Hills: New Beginnings and is set to premiere in 2019. A good deal of the original cast are coming back, but not the most important piece in my mind, Lauren Conrad will not be returning. Spencer Pratt along with wife Heidi and son Gunner, his sister Stephanie, Audrina Partridge, Frankie Delgado, Justin Bobby, Jason Wahler and his wife Ashley, along with Whitney Port will be part of the reprisal. The show is rumored to be covering a lot of the children, Gunner Pratt, Delilah Wahler, and Audrina’s little girl Kirra. There are also rumors that Brody Jenner is in negotations to rejoin the show as well and for me that would be a homerun! There are apparently going to be some newcomers as well with two Hollywood bloggers and Kyle Massey, from That’s So Raven!

Tiger vs. Phil

Some more news from the west coast this week, Las Vegas. It was confirmed this weekend amonst wide speculation that the one-on-one battle between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will take place Thanksgiving weekend in Vegas. This is clearly the largest item I’m requesting for Christmas and I appreciate all prayers for this to happen for me! I’ve always been Team Phil, clearly my dog’s middle name is Mickelson; but the chance to see those two go head-to-head would be epic. I can’t wait, even if I am likely just to be watching on television.

The truth will always find you, no matter how many wins you have

In the sports world, Urban Meyer’s official suspension of three games was handed down. I’ve never been a Meyer fan back to his Florida days. In the five years that Urban was in Gainesville, 31 of his players were arrested. Sure some charges were for typical, dumb college stuff. But there were a fair share of violent acts committed by his players under his watch. He’s always claimed to be a big believer in allowing a team to help rehabilitate a troubled player. This time, it’s a coach. Urban’s linency with giving Assistant Coach Zach Smith a second-chance in 2009 is no surprise. Coach Meyer claims he didn’t believe Smith was really involved in a domestic dispute as his wife did not file charges. Apparently it wasn’t just one second-chance. Reports show that there was a long standing habit of Urban threatening to fire Smith but never doing it, for a myriad of reasons; drug use, big bills at strip clubs, lying about going on recruiting trips, and the list goes on. Coach Meyer has tried to play the ignorance card that he was unaware of what was going on between Zach Smith and his then-wife Ashley. Unfortunately for Urban there is record of him saying something to Zach about firing him if he had hit Ashley. Ignorance may be bliss, but the truth will always find you.

The Maverick says no more

There was some sad news out of Arizona today. Longtime Republican Senator John McCain released an official statement through his office that he would no longer be seeking medical treatment for the aggressive form of brain cancer he has been fighting. I am heartbroken by this announcement. One of the great honors of my life was to serve on Senator’s McCain’s 2008 Presidential Campaign staff and I will forever be grateful to the Senator for his service to our country as a member of our military and our government. They don’t make men like John McCain anymore. Good, decent men who care more about the country than they do the party line. My prayers are with his family in the days to come. He deserves this final rest, but oh how this country needs a man like him.

And with that, happy Friday y’all, enjoy your weekend and your family and friends; life is short.

Photo by Ye Jinghan on Unsplash