The Weekend That Was

President Donald Trump said he may ask Vladimir Putin to extradite 12 Russian intelligence agents indicted Friday for hacking Democratic email accounts during the 2016 campaign, and said he has “low expectations” for his summit tomorrow with the Russian leader.

The U.S. homeland security secretary said there are no signs that Russia is targeting this year’s midterm elections with the same “scale or scope” as it targeted the 2016 presidential election.

Scottish police say they are trying to trace a paraglider who flew a Greenpeace protest banner over the golf resort where Trump was staying at the time.

Before arriving in Scotland, the president managed repeatedly to plug Turnberry, one of two Scottish resorts that bear his name, as he dealt with some of the most pressing diplomatic problems facing his administration to date. This alarmed ethics watchdogs.

British Prime Minister Theresa May says that Trump advised her to “sue” the European Union in the negotiations over Britain’s exit from the bloc, but she found the suggestion too “brutal.”

Trump took aim at his predecessor Barack Obama for failing to do more in preventing Russia’s cyber attack on Democratic email servers while fanning the flames of a deep web conspiracy theory.

The controversial separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border was only a small piece of the Trump administration’s overall effort harden the system on multiple fronts to curb immigration, carving a path around various court rulings to do so.

Red state Democratic senators aren’t exactly lining up behind Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in his fight to stop Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, with several saying they’ll make up their own minds as they weigh the political consequences back home.

The carefully crafted narrative around Kavanaugh plays down his legacy as a charter member of elite Washington.

NY-14 Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are campaigning together in Kansas in July to make a case for their left agenda in red states.

A former judge sifting through the cache of documents and electronics belonging to Trump’s former fixer and personal lawyer Michael Cohen released 883,634 more items to prosecutors late Friday, bringing the total to more than 2 million pieces of evidence.

Presidential son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner still doesn’t have the security clearance to read the country’s most classified documents.

House Republicans have drawn up impeachment documents against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — and could file the papers as soon as tomorrow.

The Chicago Tribune ranks the top 15 potential Democratic presidential candidates in 2020, putting Gov. Andrew Cuomo at No. 12, former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg at No. 10, and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand at No. 6. (No. 1 is Sanders).

Gillibrand on whether she’ll re-evaluate her political options after the November election: ““I’m sure I will look at things in the future, but I’m very focused serving in the U.S. Senate.”

Cuomo, who once called Alain Kaloyeros a genius and “New York’s secret weapon,” acted Friday like he barely knew the guy he entrusted with the corruption-ridden “Buffalo Billion” project.

The conviction of Kaloyeros, Cuomo’s onetime economic development guru, on federal corruption charges has provided a timely and powerful cudgel to a raft of critics and political opponents running to replace him.

“For any other governor in America, this would be earth-shattering,” Nixon said of the Kaloyeros conviction, as she stood in front of a federal courthouse in Manhattan. “But in Andrew Cuomo’s Albany, it was just a Thursday.”

Nixon also called on Cuomo to return thousands in campaign cash from donors convicted in the “Buffalo Billion” case. A Cuomo spokeswoman said his campaign has “segregated” funds it received from people connected to the Kaloyeros trial and is consulting with law enforcement on what to do with the cash.

He’s got money, the power of incumbency, name recognition and a big Democratic enrollment edge, but Cuomo, as he heads into full-throttle mode in his re-election campaign for a third term, doesn’t have what he had in his first successful run for governor in 2010: a squeaky-clean administration.

Louis P. Ciminelli and other defendants in the “Buffalo Billion” trial probably lost their case the moment one of Ciminelli’s former underlings decided to plead guilty and cooperate with the government. But defense lawyers have a potentially strong legal argument as they seek to overturn the convictions on appeal.

“Ignore that Buffalo Billion conviction. We’re legalizing pot!”

“The situation on marijuana is changing,” Cuomo said, though he stopped short of saying he would back legalization in the state in response to the report, but then spoke of logistics as if he would.

The federal conviction of Louis P. Ciminelli on wire-fraud charges could create more caution on the part of contractors in dealing with government bidding, leaders from various companies said.

The second set of corruption convictions of former Cuomo associates has renewed calls to reform the governor’s multibillion dollar economic development program that was at the heart of the bribery and bid-rigging cases, but the governor himself says the problem has already been fixed.

During the time former Cuomo aide Joe Percoco, now convicted of corruption charges, was running the governor’s 2014 campaign and not on the state payroll, the taxpayer-funded phone line in Percoco’s former government office was routinely used for campaign-related business in violation of state regulations.

Cuomo, in a sharply-worded letter Saturday, ripped Trump while urging the redirection of $1 billion spent on detaining immigrant kids to a variety of beneficial programs.

In her first major appearance in the Lower Hudson Valley, Nixon took aim at the controversial Algonquin pipeline during a press conference on a pier overlooking the Hudson River.

Nixon made a first-time stop on Staten Island Saturday afternoon as a candidate, touring the borough and promising to help fix the Island’s transportation woes and enact a number of progressive policies.

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Extras

Twelve Russian nationals were indicted for hacking into the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton presidential campaign in 2016, the Justice Department announced.

For some light reading…here’s the indictment.

Among the revelations in the indictment was that the hackers communicated with individuals in the United States — including “a person who was in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump,” who is not named, but is widely believed to be GOP consultant Roger Stone.

The indictments are “are good news for all Americans,” according to Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, who added: “The Russians are nailed. No Americans are involved. Time for Mueller to end this pursuit of the President and say President Trump is completely innocent.”

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for Trump to cancel his upcoming summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying: “Glad-handing with (Putin) on the heels of these indictments would be an insult to our democracy.”

GOP Arizona Sen. John McCain said if Trump isn’t prepared to hold Putin “accountable” for aggression toward the U.S. then he should cancel their meeting.

Crowds on a scale not seen in years filled the streets of central London, marching to Trafalgar Square for a rally to express the nation’s anger at Trump’s presidency – and his invitation to Britain.

Queen Elizabeth II welcomed the president and First Lady Melania Trump to Windsor Castle as protests against their visit raged across the country.

After the Buffalo Billion verdict, it seems the governor canceled his $1,000-per-person fundraiser planned at the home of a wealthy developer, Michael Falcone, in Skaneateles. He also nixed a trip to Wolff’s Biergarten for a more accessible event.

NY-14 candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is hosting a volunteer call Sunday for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon and LG candidate Jumaane Willians, a Brooklyn councilman.

Nixon called on the state attorney general to investigate the Cuomo administration after a Manhattan jury delivered a bombshell guilty verdict against another of his former top cronies, Alain Kaloyeros.

NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson is actively backing former NYC Comptroller John Liu’s comeback bid to knock out incumbent state Sen. Tony Avella in the Sept. 13 Democratic primary — another indication of a deep rift within the party.

The jury in the federal corruption retrial of former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son, Adam, deliberated for four hours after receiving additional instructions from the judge in the case and will return on Monday.

WNY Assemblyman Erick Bohen on why he won’t run in the Democratic primary: “As a life-long Democrat, I did not make this decision lightly; however, I cannot attempt to run on a line with Governor Cuomo, who is completely out of touch with this community. I cannot align myself with the Governor and his Democratic Party.”

Several states, counties and cities billed as safe havens for undocumented immigrants seeking reprieve from federal immigration enforcement – including NYC and the New York State – are continuing to contract with ICE despite being labeled as “sanctuary” jurisdictions.

For the first time ever, disgraced former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein admitted in an interview that he offered “acting jobs in exchange for sex” — but according to him, “so does everyone.”

State Adirondack Park Agency board Chairman Sherman Craig announced his retirement after just two years in the head seat at the agency’s monthly meeting this Thursday.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli took the rare step of divesting all direct state pension fund holdings in private prison companies, amid concerns about President Donald Trump’s stepped up immigration detainment policies.

Cuomo today sent a letter thanking the prosecutors in the murder case of his aide Carey Gabay, following closing arguments that finished yesterday.

A number of streets and ramps around the city of Albany will close next week for the filming of a new network television show called “Crime,” city officials said.

Vanessa Williams has a go-to Tim Horton’s order, and would like someday to have a second home in Buffalo – preferably on the lakefront.

Gillibrand Says Kaloyeros Guilty Verdict Doesn’t Change Cuomo Endorsement

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Friday reaffirmed her support for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election, saying the guilty verdict in the Buffalo Billion bid rigging trial for former SUNY Polytechnic President Alain Kaloyeros is a symptom of corruption that impacts all levels of government.

“Obviously, corruption is in all institutions, not just the state government, but the federal government as well,” she said during a stop in Troy. “I think there are very saddening reports, but my job is to stop corruption where I can in Congress.”

As for supporting the governor’s re-election, she said, “No, it doesn’t change my endorsement.”

Cuomo is seeking a third term this fall and faces Cynthia Nixon, an education advocate and actress, in a Sept. 13 primary.

Gillibrand is also running for re-election this year and faces Republican Chele Farley.

Nixon Campaign Releases Video, Criticizes Cuomo-Buffalo Billion Ties

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s political adversaries are wasting no time on Friday making sure the public is keeping tabs on New York corruption trials.

Cynthia Nixon’s campaign released a video Friday morning starring the four defendants found guilty on all corruption charges in yesterday’s close of the Buffalo Billion trial. The video depicts a close relationship between Cuomo and the convicted men–Joseph Girardi, Steven Aiello, Louis Ciminelli and notably, former SUNY Polytechnic president Alain Kaloyeros.

“Governor Cuomo will say that he had no knowledge of Kaloyeros’ activity, just like he said he knew nothing about the crimes his top aide Joe Percoco was committing in his own office. We’re supposed to believe that Andrew Cuomo, a notorious micromanager, had no idea what his right-hand man was doing right under his nose?”

Kaloyeros was indicted for his hand in unfairly securing economic development contracts for upstate developers favoring those who had donated to Cuomo’s campaign in the past.

Cuomo on Friday defended his administration’s response to the initial indictments of Kaloyeros and the developers, noting the contracting changes his office made to economic development spending in the wake of the charges.

At the same time, Cuomo said he would be open to new oversight measures as long as they would be effective in combating wrongdoing.

The video released by Nixon’s campaign harkens back to the March 2018 trial of ex Cuomo aide Joe Percoco, who was convicted on multiple charges of bribery, then lambasts the Governor’s abrupt dismantling of the Moreland Commission in 2014:

“This left us with just JCOPE, a puppet body controlled by the Governor, with zero credibility to take on corruption,” Cynthia continued. “If the governor truly wants to restore the people’s trust, he’ll allow for a thorough, independent investigation — one he can’t control and can’t shut down.”

U.S. Attorney General Preet Bharara’s investigated the circumstances surrounding the shuttering the Moreland Commission, but the investigation ultimately ended due to lack of sufficient evidence.

Nixon hasn’t been shy about criticizing Cuomo for what she sees is a lapse in ethical practices, and attention on this trail of corruption trials is proving to be an obvious area of discomfort for the Governor.

“We can’t clean up Albany until we clean out the governor’s mansion. Nothing is going to change until we change who’s in charge,” said Cynthia. “When I’m governor, I will convene a new, independent Moreland Commission on day one to investigate and clean up the rampant corruption in Albany.”

Nixon has pledged to “get big money out of politics and close the LLC loophole,” seeking to put distance between her campaign’s fundraising efforts and that of Cuomo.

Though the developers found guilty in the Buffalo Billion case were Cuomo donors, the donations to the governor’s campaign were not at issue during the trial.

Meanwhile, a day after the trial ended, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul issued statements knocking both Nixon for not releasing previous tax returns. Nixon has released one year of returns so far.

“Cynthia Nixon’s failure to release her tax returns proves again that there’s a difference between reading from a script and real life governing,” Hochul said. “She can’t even live up to her anti-choice running mate Jumaane William’s resolution calling for Presidential candidates to release five years of tax returns. Instead, Ms. Nixon and Mr. Williams have followed the reality TV show Trump standard and failed to do even that. Ms. Nixon released only one year of returns after being publicly shamed for weeks.”

SD-5: NYSUT Endorses Gaughran

The New York State United Teachers union on Friday endorsed Democratic state Senate candidate Jim Gaughran in the 5th Senate district on Long Island.

The endorsement is interesting, given the Republican Gaughran wants to unseat is Sen. Carl Marcellino, the chairman of the Education Committee in the chamber.

“I thank the educators at NYSUT for endorsing my campaign and supporting my efforts to serve in the State Senate,” Gaughran said in a statement. “I am especially proud to have earned this endorsement because public service and supporting public education are core values to me. Our students deserve a world-class education, and that will only be possible if we invest in our public schools. I will fight to ensure our public schools and educators have the support and resources they deserve.”

NYSUT unsuccessfully this year pushed for the approval of a bill that would decouple state examinations from teacher evaluations, a measure that did not gain a vote in the Senate.

“After every single Senate Republican and several Democrats turned their backs on New York teachers and public school students at the end of this year’s legislative session, NYSUT vowed to remember who failed to stand with us. In this critical race, Jim Gaughran is clearly the better choice for public school teachers and their students,” said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta. “We are committed to standing shoulder to shoulder with Gaughran as we fight to restore local control of our schools and advocate for working families.”

Assembly Economic Development Committee Chair Pushing For Reform

Western New York Legislator and Assembly Economic Development Committee Chairman Robin Schimminger, D, sees opportunity in yesterday’s Buffalo Billion bid-rigging convictions.

Schimminger said he agreed with the governor’s response that the state cannot tolerate anyone who tries to defraud the system but he believes that should be taken even further. He said the Legislature should not tolerate a system or person who enables a tainted system to exist.

Schimminger beat the drum last session for a number of measures to add transparency and oversight with regards to New York’s economic development polices. However, bills creating a searchable “database of deals” and giving the comptroller the power to assess state contracts before they were finalized, for instance, ultimately did not pass.

The Democrat said the trial and convictions ultimately could be the spark to push those measures through next session or sooner.

“There are already people who are saying that the Legislature should return to Albany to make these kinds of changes,” he said. “Certainly it has to make the likelihood of getting some change made, greater. It doesn’t lessen the likelihood.”

Schimminger, who has butted heads with the administration in the past, does not think the jury’s decisions will stop the Governor Andrew Cuomo’s aggressive economic development policies. He noted, not long after the defendants were indicted, the governor announced and began moving forward with a second phase of the Buffalo Billion.

The assemblyman said it will be up to legislators to make sure they’re enabling an atmosphere where more wrongdoing could take place.

“There’s a whole cast of characters beyond these who were part of this construct that, if you will, enabled this to happen, so that’s the next level of analysis which really has to be done here,” he said.

As for the projects, like the RiverBend manufacturing facility of which many of the allegations centered around, Schimminger said there will be a cloud over it but the businesses that have moved in since should be unaffected.

After Kaloyeros Guilty Verdict, Cuomo Defends Response

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday said he would be open to “any additional checks and balances” on economic development while he also defended his office’s response to bid rigging charges leveled against former SUNY Polytechnic President Alain Kaloyeros following the guilty verdict in the case a day earlier.

But at the same time, Cuomo said there isn’t anything he would or could have done differently to prevent the corruption case from happening in the first place.

“I’m open to any additional checks and balances as long as they’re effective and get the job done,” Cuomo told reporters.

Kaloyeros, along with prominent upstate developers, were found guilty of rigging bids connected to the Buffalo Billion economic development program, an effort devised by Cuomo to boost the western New York economy.

Cuomo insisted the Kaloyeros case was a surprise, given his track record in state government that pre-dated the current administration.

“Mr. Kaloyeros was surprising to everyone because he was a 20-25 year state employee,” Cuomo said. “He pre-dated me. He had done great work under Gov. Pataki. The Albany regional turnaround, becoming the nano capital of the world, was really one of the great economic development projects in this state, in decades.”

The comments Friday were the most extensive to date Cuomo has given since the indictments, which had been part of the same case against Cuomo’s former close aide, Joe Percoco. The cases were separated, and Percoco earlier this year was convicted of bribery and fraud charges.

During the Buffalo Billion case, Cuomo has been pushed to back oversight and transparency reforms, and restore contract review powers to the state comptroller’s office.

Cuomo pointed to controls instituted by his office after Kaloyeros was indicted as recommended by the report of an outside consultant, Bart Schwartz.

“Can you stop people from doing stupid things? No. Can you stop people from doing criminal things? No. Can you stop people from doing venial things? No. But you can have a system in place that allows the law to be aggressively prosecuted,” Cuomo said, adding, “We overhauled the whole system and we brought in the best accounting person.”

The developers in the case were also donors to the governor’s campaigns, but the donations were not made an issue in the trial, a fact Cuomo repeatedly pointed out to reporters.

“Let’s get the facts straight,” he said. “The question is how do you stop bid rigging by SUNY, because it had nothing to do with any campaign contributions.”

As for that money, Cuomo separated funds given to him by Louis Ciminelli, Steven Aiello and Joseph Girardi after their indictments. It is not clear what Cuomo will ultimately do with those donations.

“We segregated the money that we gave when we first heard about it,” he said. “We’ll talk to the Southern District. I want to make sure we get there input what we do with the funding.”

The guilty verdicts have been seized on by Cuomo’s political rivals, Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro and Cynthia Nixon, who is challenging the governor in a Democratic primary.

Nixon on Friday cast doubt on whether Cuomo would be adept enough to combat corruption in New York, comparing it to a bull trying to clean up a China shop.

“OK,” Cuomo said in response. “That’s her opinion.”

Cuomo Links RHA To Same-Sex Marriage Vote

As he campaigns for a vote on the Reproductive Health Act in the state Senate, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday drew a direct comparison to the 2011 vote to legalize same-sex marriage that was supported by four Republican senators.

Speaking in Brooklyn in the morning, Cuomo noted the 1970 vote that led to the adoption of the state’s abortion laws was due to Republican lawmakers voting in favor of the legislation, which also led to political consequences for them.

“By the way, to pass marriage equality in 2011, we needed four Republicans to vote yes,” Cuomo said. “The four Republicans who voted yes all lost their seat. But they are people who I respect.”

The Reproductive Health Act, a bill meant to strengthen abortion rights in the state, has stalled in the Republican-controlled state Senate since it was first introduced 11 years ago.

But supporters of the legislation contend the measure could receive GOP votes in support of it should it be allowed for a vote.

“It’s about voting your conscious,” Cuomo said. “The Senate Leader in 1970 did not have to allow them to vote on that bill. That’s always been the Albany game. All the members get to say, oh I would support it. If it comes to the floor I would support it. But then a wink and a nod, the Senate Leader never allows the bill to come to the floor. So you never really know.”

Cuomo has called on the Senate to return to Albany voluntarily and pass the legislation, which has already cleared the Democratic-controlled Assembly.

Republicans, however, are unlikely to take up that vote, even as one GOP lawmaker, Sen. Marty Golden of Brooklyn, is pushing for a special session to extend speed cameras in New York City near schools, a program due to lapse on July 25.

For now, Cuomo has not called lawmakers back to Albany and does not have the power to directly force a vote in the Legislature.

Cuomo’s nod to the same-sex marriage vote is interesting, given it was a vintage victory for him during the first year of his first term.

The law likely led to President Obama’s re-affirmation of support for marriage for gay couples, as well as the Supreme Court ruling that provided for marriage rights to same-sex couples nationwide.

Cuomo largely was the focal point of the effort in the Senate to pass the bill, a process that include lots of closed-door arm twisting and legislative maneuvering to get done.

Buffalo Mayor Brown Responds To Bid-Rigging Convictions

Much of the Buffalo Billion case, of which four defendants were found guilty yesterday, surrounded the state tailoring a bid for $750 million RiverBend manufacturing facility to a specific developer.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, D, said he has no tolerance for public wrong-doing but was adamant the convictions do not diminish the “transformational effect” of the governor’s signature economic development plan which funded the factory.

“It has transformed lives,” Brown said. “It’s helping to transform this community and those resources are very much a part of Buffalo’s renaissance.”

The mayor said the funding continues to flow into the Western New York community, with projects in progress and others still to come. He assured developer, who may have felt cheated by the bid-rigging connected to RiverBend, that they will have their chances as well.

“There will be ample opportunities for people to participate in the resources that have been provided through the Buffalo Billion,” Brown said.

The question though, will developers be on a level playing field when those opportunities come around. Brown said at the local level, the city is always reviewing its process to ensure they are working and he expects the state will take its own steps to “make sure any mistakes, any wrongdoing are less likely going forward.”

County Execs Team Up On Shared Services Push

County executives later this month will team up to discuss shared services effort with a panel discussion led by Suffolk’s Steve Bellone.

The panel, due to include Putnam County Executive Mary Ellen Odell, as well as Albany’s Dan McCoy, Nassau’s Laura Curran and Westchester’s Goerge Latimer, will discuss efforts to consolidate government functions such as procurement, purchasing and other municipal functions.

“Here is Suffolk County we are always examining how we can make government more efficient. This first of its kind conference on Long Island is the first step in the process and will bring together both government officials and field experts to share ideas and insights,” Bellone said. “I look forward to working with my fellow County Executives from across New York State to find new and innovate ways to implement best practices and save our taxpayers money.”

The conference will be held July 24 and will feature Comptroller Tom DiNapoli as a keynote speaker.

The effort to share and consolidate services has been a long-standing one in New York on the local government level as well as a pet project of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who sought to devise various carrot-and-stick approaches to the issue, which he’s linked to the property tax burden (though fiscal experts point out the real cost-drivers for taxes on the local level are not layers of government, but mandated spending costs such as Medicaid administration, pension payments, etc).

In Suffolk County, the Bellone-backed plan is expected to save $37 million over the next two years.