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Daily Recap — 25 Feb

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**Author’s note: Coverage of the Rocket Man summit will begin over the next couple days. It’s not in this recap.

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HERE WE GO AGAIN

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With the Russian collusion narrative on life support, the president looking to make strides with both China and North Korea and a prominent Virginia Democrat facing sexual assault allegations of his own, our Dim friends have returned to the well once more to dredge up new accusations against #YourFavoritePresident.

This time, a former Trump campaign staffer is suing PDT and his campaign, alleging that he kissed her without her consent during the 2016 race.

Oh come on, like you’ve never received an unsolicited kiss and sued over it 3 years later.

The woman, Alva Johnson from Alabama, alleges in the lawsuit that PDT grabbed her hand and forcibly kissed her without her consent inside an RV in Florida in August 2016. While candidate Trump was meeting with volunteers and signing autographs inside the RV, “Ms. Johnson noticed that Defendant Trump was watching her and appeared to be trying to make eye contact with her,” the lawsuit alleges. After candidate Trump was alerted by Secret Service that he was due for his next rally, she urged him “to go in there and ‘kick ass.’”

Candidate Trump then allegedly grasped her hand and praised her efforts. “As Defendant Trump spoke, he tightened his grip on Ms. Johnson’s hand and leaned towards her. He moved close enough that she could feel his breath on her skin,” the lawsuit states. “Ms. Johnson suddenly realized that Defendant Trump was trying to kiss her on the mouth, and attempted to avoid this by turning her head to the right. Defendant Trump kissed her anyway, and the kiss landed on the corner of her mouth.”

The lawsuit alleges that several witnesses saw incident, including then-Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, then-State Director Karen Giorno, and Regional Directors Earl “Tony” Ledbetter, Mitch Tyner and Nick Corvino. Johnson claims that Bondi smiled when the incident occurred and Giorno “grabbed Ms. Johnson’s elbow and gave it an approving tug.”

After the incident, on her way to the campaign’s state headquarters in Sarasota, Florida, the suit claims that “Johnson called her partner, and then her parents, to tell them about what had happened, crying as she recalled the incident.” Johnson says Giorno had arrived in Sarasota earlier “and was already sharing the details with other Campaign staff.” 

So Giorno was not only giddy that PDT had tried to kiss Johnson, she was so happy about it that she was telling others. That’s…weird. Probably because it’s a load of bull.

Pam Bondi has released a statement that the allegations Alva Johnson are making are nonsense. 

“As a career prosecutor and Attorney General, had I seen anything improper I would have taken action,” Bondi said. “I was with the president in the RV and these allegations are false.”

Giorno hasn’t released a statement regarding the matter, but both she and Bondi told the Failing Washington Post that they did not recall the incident in the RV and denied reacting in the manner which Johnson described.

Johnson, whose background is in event planning and human resources, is (shocker!) a registered Democrat and voted for them in previous election cycles. “However, she was intrigued by the possibility of working on the campaign of a relatively unknown political outsider like Defendant Trump,” the lawsuit states. 

But prior to being hired, Johnson says she first met Trump in November 2015 at a Birmingham, Alabama rally. At that first encounter, Johnson alleges that he engaged in inappropriate behavior. When Johnson walked up introduced herself to Trump, he allegedly, “looked her up and down and said, ‘Oh, beautiful, beautiful, fantastic.’”

It was so inappropriate that Johnson gleefully went to work for the campaign.

She was hired in January 2016, but after the “Access Hollywood” tape was publicized in October 2016, allegedly sought legal counsel for guidance over the RV incident. About a week after the tape’s release, Johnson quit the campaign. The lawyer ultimately decide not to take the case, according to the lawsuit. At her former lawyer’s arrangement, Johnson supposedly saw a therapist. “She continued to feel considerable emotional distress because of the forced kiss, and had nightmares about it,” the lawsuit claims.

Oh give me a damn break. This lady got PTSD from a dodged kiss? Pardon my insensitivity but let’s use a little common sense here. By her standard, millions of women nationwide should be seeing shrinks every week and waking up throughout the night in cold sweats.

Trump’s literally-Hitler-ism doesn’t end there, though. The lawsuit also claims that Johnson did not receive fair compensation, claiming that she was “vastly underpaid” when compared to her former male colleagues, all because of her gender, of course. Never mind that PDT has a history of hiring women and paying them well. He just had it in for Alva.

“Ms. Johnson was also underpaid compared to similarly qualified and less qualified male staffers,” the lawsuit states. “She did not know this fact until very recently. Ms. Johnson’s experience is not isolated— indeed, the Campaign engaged in systemic gender discrimination in pay against its female employees.”

One of those poor lil underpaid female Trump campaign staffers, Kayleigh McEnany, responded to those allegations in a statement:

“The Trump campaign has never discriminated based on race, ethnicity, gender, or any other basis. Any allegation suggesting otherwise is off base and unfounded.”

Now, you may be wondering what took her so long to file this suit, especially when myriad others have been trying to cash in. There’s actually a really good explanation for that.

Hahaha…no there isn’t.

Hassan Zavareei, Johnson’s Washington-based attorney, says that Johnson is coming out publicly with her allegations after two and half years because she “decided that she couldn’t be silent anymore.”

“She tried to hire a lawyer immediately after the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape came out … After the lawyer decided it was basically too big a case for them and they weren’t going to take it on, she decided to try to move on with her life,” Zavareei said. But after Trump’s election, Zavareei said Johnson has been overcome with a “sense of guilt and responsibility” for any role she may have played in helping Trump win the election. 

So now we’re to believe that a lawyer actually advised Johnson not to take this case? How stupid do they think we are? There were hordes of lawyers (and reporters) reaching out to every woman who may have remotely encountered PDT at some point in their lives in the hopes of bringing lawsuits. Now we’re to believe that Johnson found the only lawyer in America who wouldn’t pursue such a case, at which point she went home and got therapy until her conscience no longer allowed inaction?

Yeah…that’s dumb.

According to her current lawyer, it was immigration policy that finally got her to step forward after all this time, especially as it relates to migrant families.

“I think the thing that moved her most was seeing the forced separations — she’s a mother and feels very deeply about — was very emotionally affected, personally affected, by seeing Trump put young children and put them in cages. She decided that she couldn’t be silent anymore,” said Zavareei.

Fear not though, he says, for this totally isn’t political. This lawsuit is completely unique, doncha know.

“Unlike so many of the other victims, she’s the only one with the ability to sue him directly for his sexual misconduct. The other lawsuits have been for defamation or some of the victims haven’t been able to bring any lawsuits at all because they’ve been barred by statute of limitations,” he said. “For that reason, I think she’s uniquely situated to hold him accountable for an actual act of sexual assault.”

And let’s not forget about the race card, because no Trump allegation is complete without at least a hint of racism somewhere:

“She knows as an African-American woman who worked on the campaign and now coming out against Trump, she’s probably going to take it from both sides. But she’s ready to stand up and take responsibility for what she did,” Zaveeri said, adding that Johnson is now focused on doing “what she can to hold him accountable for his sexist and racist conduct.”

Wait…I thought this was directly about sexual assault? I can’t keep up with all this stuff.

That could be because Alva isn’t exactly the most stable lady ever, a fact of which she appears to be acutely aware. According to WaPo, three months after hiring Zavareei last year, Johnson “moved to seal a years-old court case in which two family members sought a temporary restraining order against her,” and was enjoined in the request to seal the records by the family members.

When asked about the reporting in the Post about her relatives in Georgia, Zavareei said it was a “silly sideshow” and that “everybody’s on good terms” now. “It’s a private family matter,” Zavareei said, adding that is “totally irrelevant” to Johnson’s case. Asked why Johnson and her family took this action, Zavareei said through a spokesperson that it was “to protect the privacy of her family.”

It’s pretty odd that Johnson went out of her way to go to court and get records sealed for a “silly sideshow.” Basic logic tells us that it was done because whatever is in those records would hurt her current case.

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Big Picture

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Look, we all know this was a matter of time. PDT has a well-documented past as a skirt-chaser. It’s probably his worst vice. And he’s on tape telling Billy Bush that he “just starts kissing them,” referring to beautiful women he encounters.

Put those two facts together and a suit like Alva Johnson’s becomes an inevitability. The Access Hollywood tape will be deemed supporting evidence in the case (although it isn’t) by a media who are all too willing to find something — indeed anything — to lob at this president.

Trump isn’t perfect, but that doesn’t make this story true. The issues raised in this piece should provide enough reasonable doubt for the case to go nowhere. Then again, if it’s tried in D.C., who knows what sort of jury nullification is possible.

Either way, it’s not going to bring him down. It will barely represent a blip on the presidential radar, and may not even survive the current news cycle.

Another day, another smear. Such is life in the era of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

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