* Anthony Cormier and Jason Leopold report on yet another thing Trump insisted again and again that wasn’t true:
All through the hot summer campaign of 2016, as Donald Trump and his aides dismissed talk of unseemly ties to Moscow, two of his key business partners were working furiously on a secret track: negotiations to build what would have been the tallest building in Europe and an icon of the Trump empire — the Trump World Tower Moscow.
Talks to construct the 100-story building continued even as the presidential candidate alternately bragged about his relationship with Vladimir Putin and rejected suggestions of Russian influence, and as Russian agents worked to sway US public opinion on Trump’s behalf.
While fragments of the Trump Moscow venture have trickled out — most recently in a report last night by Yahoo News — this is the definitive story of the Moscow tower, told from a trove of emails, text messages, congressional testimony, architectural renderings, and other documents obtained exclusively by BuzzFeed News, as well as interviews with key players and investigators. The documents reveal a detailed and plausible plan, well-connected Russian counterparts, and an effort that extended from spearfishing with a Russian developer on a private island to planning for a mid-campaign trip to Moscow for the presidential candidate himself.
The really cool thing about this is that Felix Sater, a convicted criminal, government informant, and Trump associate who is up to his eyeballs in the president’s dirt, is singing like a bird.
* Shane Harris and Karoun Demirjian report that Gina Haspel has been confirmed:
The Senate voted Thursday to confirm Gina Haspel as the next CIA director after several Democrats were persuaded to support her despite lingering concerns about her role in the brutal interrogation of suspected terrorists captured after 9/11.
Lawmakers approved her nomination 54 to 45, with six Democrats voting yes and two Republicans voting no, after the agency launched an unprecedented public relations campaign to bolster Haspel’s chances. She appears to have been helped by some last-minute arm-twisting by former CIA directors John Brennan and Leon Panetta, who contacted at least five of the six Democrats who voted to endorse her bid to join President Trump’s Cabinet, according to people with knowledge of the interactions.
So we missed an opportunity to make a statement that the Bush administration’s torture program was an abomination and anyone associated with it shouldn’t be allowed in polite company, let alone elevated to positions of power.
* Jeremy Scahill reports that a doctor who examined one suspect tortured under Haspel’s supervision, and who has treated torture victims from all over the world, says he is “one of the most severely traumatized individuals I have ever seen.”
* Rudy Giuliani claims that “if there was collusion with the Russians,” then the Trump camp “would have used it.” Philip Bump explains why Giuliani is completely wrong: There was collusion, and they did use it.
* And Maggie Haberman and Katie Rogers report that the White House is trying to stop leaks by limiting the number of people who attend the morning communication meeting. That ought to do it!