Monthly Archives: May 2018

Expert explains why a federal judge wasn’t sympathetic to Michael Cohen’s argument on the biggest item in his case

Michael Cohen.

Michael Cohen.
Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

  • US District Judge Kimba Wood set a mid-June deadline for Michael Cohen’s lawyers to finish reviewing more than 2 million documents.
  • Cohen’s team wanted that deadline to be in mid-July.
  • One expert explained why Wood wasn’t sympathetic to Cohen’s argument.

As US District Judge Kimba Wood was deciding Wednesday on a deadline for Michael Cohen’s lawyers to finish their review of documents seized by the FBI during raids on Cohen’s home, office, and hotel room, Cohen’s attorneys made a pitch.

Todd Harrison, one of the attorneys for Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer, said that in pushing for a mid-July completion date their team was “working around the clock” and “as fast as we can” to finish the review. Harrison said one member of his team had a “tremor in his hand from lack of sleep.”

Harrison said Cohen’s team of attorneys comprises 15 lawyers and two data specialists, all of whom are reviewing the documents to try to determine what constitutes privileged communications. Over the past month, Cohen’s team has reviewed, along with lawyers for Trump and the Trump Organization, more than 1.3 million documents, designating slightly more than 250 as protected by attorney-client privilege and unable to be used in a potential prosecution of Cohen.

Still, the team has nearly 2.5 million documents left to examine.

But Wood wasn’t sympathetic to their time span, instead setting a June 15 deadline. If Cohen’s team isn’t done by then, the remaining documents would be turned over to a separate group of government lawyers, known as a “taint team.”

US District Judge Kimba Wood.

US District Judge Kimba Wood.
Amy Sussman/Getty Images

That’s exactly the option Cohen and Trump didn’t want to have happen while Cohen is the focus of a criminal investigation in the Southern District of New York into whether he violated campaign-finance laws or committed bank fraud.

Cohen’s team successfully argued in April to have a “special master” appointed to oversee the document review. Wood agreed to do so on one condition – that the review process wouldn’t take any longer than it would if it was being handled by the “taint team.”

Why Cohen lost

There’s a simple reason Wood was unimpressed with team Cohen’s pitch, one expert told Business Insider: Fifteen lawyers and two data specialists is nowhere near the level of personnel you’d use for such a review.

Mitchell Epner, an attorney at Rottenberg Lipman Rich and former assistant US attorney, told Business Insider that he was confident the size of that team would at least triple. Under orders to meet a deadline, he said he’d seen review teams as large as 60 attorneys.

“The statement by Michael Cohen’s attorneys that they have a team of 15 attorneys and two data specialists working around the clock on this is not likely to have impressed Judge Wood as a big effort,” he said.

He added: “It is not unusual for large law firms like McDermott Will and Emery (which has about 1,000 attorneys) to create teams of more than 50 attorneys to meet tight discovery deadlines. A team of 15 attorneys to review over 3 million documents would likely strike Judge Wood as designed to guarantee that the process would stretch on for months.”

Stephen Ryan, one of Cohen’s attorneys, did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

Earlier this week, the special master, Barbara Jones, released her most in-depth report yet on the review process. After that was published, experts zeroed in on the surprisingly low number of documents that Cohen, Trump, and the Trump Organization had designated as privileged.

“For a person who claims to be a lawyer, the minuscule amount of allegedly privileged matter is surprising, and what it tells us is that Cohen wasn’t acting as a lawyer very often,” Roland Riopelle, a partner at Sercarz & Riopelle and a former federal prosecutor with the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, told Business Insider.

“He was doing something else,” Riopelle said.

During an interview on “Fox & Friends” late last month, Trump seemed to suggest that the investigation into Cohen appeared to focus more on Cohen’s business dealings than on his work as an attorney. But on April 10, the day after the raids, Trump tweeted, “Attorney-client privilege is dead!”

Meanwhile, in a Thursday court filing, Wood announced that Jones would issue a report next week detailing which of the roughly 250 items Cohen, Trump, and the Trump Organization designated as privileged she believes should actually fall under that designation. Any objections to her recommendations would then need to be filed by Cohen, Trump, and the Trump Organization within a week.

Homophobic chant reportedly heard at LA Galaxy game during the team’s ‘Pride Night’

Los Angeles Galaxy fans.

Los Angeles Galaxy fans.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

  • Chants of the word “puto,” which is commonly seen as a homophobic slur, were recently heard at an L.A. Galaxy game on the team’s “Pride Night.”
  • Despite the word’s reputation, it remains popular among fans, especially in Mexico, who insist upon its harmlessness.

Chants of the homophobic slur “Puto” were heard at a recent Los Angeles Galaxy home match, which was also the club’s “Pride Night,” a night to celebrate LGBTQ inclusion, according to Cyd Zeigler of Outsports.

Outsports’ report meshes with Twitter statements from an LA Galaxy supporters group and an L.A. Times writer.

2018 05 31_16 30 26

Twitter/Angel City Brigade

Puto remains a popular chant, particularly, but not exclusively, among supporters of the Mexican National Team. Use of the chant has been defended with the claim that it is not a slur, a claim that is highly dubious, and even FIFA has come down strongly against the chant.

Traditionally, the LA Galaxy have had a solid track record on LGBTQ issues, after all, the team at one point featured Robbie Rogers, the first openly gay professional athlete in North America.

Major League Soccer has also promoted the inclusion of LGBTQ fans with its Soccer For All campaign.

However, Ziegler called for the league to take much stronger action in his report.

“It is time for Major League Soccer to choose whether it is going to end this behavior or equivocate on it. There is no longer a middle ground,” he wrote.

“The first time during a match any league or team employee, including officials, hears the ‘puto’ chant, the game officials must stop the match. Team or league representatives should address the fans with a warning and ask them to identify anyone who has chanted the slur. Those people must be removed, their game tickets withdrawn, and any season tickets revoked.

After the game re-commences, if the slur is chanted again, the stadium must be cleared of all fans and the match completed in front of an empty stadium.”

A spokesperson for MLS declined to provide an official statement to Business Insider at this time, while the Galaxy did not respond to a request for a comment.

Trudeau says Trump was on the brink of a big trade deal with Mexico and Canada but one confounding demand blew it up

US President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau in 2017.

US President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau in 2017.
Reuters/Carlos Barria

  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the US, Canada, and Mexico were at a “final dealmaking moment” on the North American Free Trade Agreement.
  • Trudeau said President Trump agreed to meet and hash out final details.
  • But on Tuesday, Trudeau said, Vice President Mike Pence called and requested the inclusion of a controversial sunset clause.
  • Trudeau called the precondition unacceptable and canceled the meeting.

A monumental trade deal may have slipped away because of a controversial US demand, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters Thursday.

Trudeau held a press conference to announce Canada’s response to President Donald Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs. He said the US and Canada were inches away from locking down a new version of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.

But the Trump administration made one demand a precondition of talks, Trudeau said, which ruined the chances of a deal.

Trudeau said the three countries were down to a “final dealmaking moment” for NAFTA last Friday. With a deal so close, the Canadian leader told Trump that the two should meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to hash out final details. Typically, such high-level talks come only later in the negotiations.

But Trudeau received word on Tuesday from Vice President Mike Pence that any sit-down would require that Canada agree to a sunset clause for the new version of NAFTA.

“The United States has been taken advantage of for many decades on trade,” Trump said in a statement later Thursday. “Those days are over. Earlier today, this message was conveyed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada: The United State will agree to a fair deal, or there will be no deal at all.”

A sunset clause would require the three countries to reevaluate NAFTA after five years at a time. The sunset clause could allow any of the countries to walk away from the deal at those intervals.

Canada and Mexico are staunchly opposed to the sunset clause because the provision would introduce significant uncertainty into their respective economies. For example, a business considering where to place a new factory may not want to build in Canada if there a chance the US would pull out of NAFTA before it built the factory.

Instead of a sunset clause, Canada and Mexico have proposed a five-year review to study the effects of NAFTA on the members countries. In contrast to the US proposal, this type of review would not give the countries the option to jump out of the deal.

Given Canada’s opposition to the sunset clause, Trudeau told reporters that he called off the meeting.

A White House official disputed the prime minister’s characterization of the events to Business Insider. According to the official, Trudeau exaggerated just how close to a NAFTA deal the three sides were.

“It’s simply inaccurate for the prime minster to frame it as the parties having been on the cusp of a deal and then it fell apart over a sunset clause,” the official said. “There were still major issues that needed to be resolved.”

The official said that Trump and Pence believe that a high-level meeting with Trudeau on NAFTA would still be “premature” given the issues left to resolve.

In addition to the sunset clause, the three countries are also hung up on rules pertaining to auto imports and investor disputes with governments of the other members.

Delaware becomes first new state to legalize sports betting and will be ready to go in days

Delaware will be the first state to cash in on the Supreme Court's recent ruling that gave states the right to allow sports betting and will be open to bettors starting on June 5, with many other states expected to follow suit by the time football season comes around.

Delaware will be the first state to cash in on the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that gave states the right to allow sports betting and will be open to bettors starting on June 5, with many other states expected to follow suit by the time football season comes around.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

  • Delaware is set to become the first state to offer legal, single-game sports betting outside of Nevada since the Supreme Court’s decision that lifted the de facto nationwide ban.
  • Three locations in Delaware will begin taking single-game sports bets at 1:30 p.m. on June 5.
  • New Jersey and other states are expected to follow soon after.

Delaware will become the first state to offer single-game sports betting outside of Nevada, with three properties – Delaware Park, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, and Harrington Raceway & Casino – opening for sports betting business on Tuesday, June 5, the state announced on Thursday.

The news comes after the Supreme Court’s decision three weeks ago that declared the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) unconstitutional. While New Jersey was the state that brought the case to the Supreme Court, it looks as though Delaware will beat them to the market for bettors on the East Coast.

Delaware is not entirely new to the world of sports betting – the state had received a partial exemption from PASPA that allowed it to offer parlay wagers on NFL football, requiring gamblers to pick three games together per bet. According to ESPN, approximately $46 million was bet legally in the state on the NFL in 2017. Starting on Tuesday, single-game bets will be available to Delaware bettors.

The state’s existing laws regarding gambling was one of the factors that made the quick turnaround possible.

“Delaware has all necessary legal and regulatory authority to move forward with a full-scale sports gaming operation, and we look forward to next week’s launch,” Delaware Gov. John Carney said in a statement. “We’re hopeful that this will bring even more visitors into Delaware to see firsthand what our state has to offer.”

New Jersey is also reportedly aiming to begin offering sports betting in June, with other states likely following soon after.

America’s ‘transactional and visceral’ approach to world trade risks derailing the global recovery


  • President Donald Trump has started the trade war anew with fresh announcements of steel and aluminum tariffs that prompted swift threats of retaliation from key allies.
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his disappointment with the decision, taken as the US, Canada, and Mexico are attempting to renegotiate the North America Free-Trade Agreement.
  • “It’s ramping up the whole trade war tone and it’s unnecessary particularly with our allies,” Dec Mullarkey, managing director of investment research at Sun Life Investment Management, told Business Insider.

Just ten days after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the US trade war against major commercial partners was on hold, President Donald Trump unveiled a new round of tariffs targeting some of America’s closest allies.

US stocks took a dive after Trump, having previously vacillated on the issue, announced Mexico, Canada, and European Union member countries would be hit with new tariffs on steel and aluminum. The move sparked immediate threats of retaliation from those nations, renewing fears of a damaging global trade war.

“It doesn’t make any sense,” Dec Mullarkey, managing director of investment research at Sun Life Investment Management, told Business Insider.

“The current administration is very transactional and visceral but our allies are very strategic and deliberate. It comes just as there had been quite a bit of progress on NAFTA” deliberations, Mullarkey said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau certainly minced no words.

While market participants hope Trump is blustering and may not actually follow through with many of the harshest proposed measures, the increasing uncertainty is starting to hang over the global economy.

“It’s ramping up the whole trade war tone and it’s unnecessary particularly with our allies,” Mullarkey said. The bigger concern, according to Mullarkey, is that threats to curb auto imports from countries like Germany could become policy at any moment, threatening a huge sector of the global economy with potentially wide supply chain ramifications.

China, on the other, hand, is taking the long road with Trump. They see it as in their interest to appear to make some concessions to the US president, all the while flexing their global muscle as the world’s second largest economy, and increasingly, a chief champion of open trade, a historic role reversal.

“They will give Trump wins but they are looking at this through the China 2025 lens. They want to become a powerhouse in artificial intelligence, technology, automated vehicles. They’re very serious about building a coalition with Europe and others,” Mullarkey said.

That risks leaving the United States behind.

Trump was ‘not surprised’ that Michael Avenatti’s day in court didn’t go as planned

Donald Trump.

Donald Trump.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

  • President Donald Trump’s outside attorney Rudy Giuliani told Business Insider that he and the president discussed the appearance by Stormy Daniels’s attorney, Michael Avenatti, in court on Wednesday.
  • Avenatti appeared in longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s court case.
  • Giuliani mentioned that Judge Kimba Wood chided Avenatti.
  • He also recalled that Trump said he was not surprised by the news.

President Donald Trump’s outside attorney Rudy Giuliani told Business Insider in a Thursday phone interview that the president was “not surprised” by the turn Michael Avenatti’s court appearance took on Wednesday.

Avenatti is the attorney for porn star Stormy Daniels, and he appeared in the court proceeding involving Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen.

Cohen facilitated a hush money payment to Daniels before the 2016 presidential election to keep her quiet about allegations of an affair with Trump. He’s now the focus of a criminal investigation in the Southern District of New York into whether he violated campaign-finance laws or committed bank fraud.

Giuliani said he gave the president a Wednesday evening update on what happened before US District Judge Kimba Wood in the Southern District earlier that day.

“I said, ‘from my understanding … the judge basically told Avenatti that he doesn’t have the character, the background, too many ethical problems to be admitted pro hac vice – which is done routinely,'” Giuliani said, recalling his conversation with the president. Avenatti had motioned to be admitted to appear before the court “pro hac vice,” which means “for the occasion,” in Cohen’s case.

“‘Well, that’s not surprising,'” Giuliani recalled Trump responding.

Avenatti responded to Giuliani’s comments in an email to Business Insider, criticizing Trump’s attorney for his version of events that he relayed to the president.

“At least we now know that Mr. Giuliani doesn’t just lie to the American people, he lies to his client Mr. Trump as well,” Avenatti said. “Is Mr. Giuliani so dense that he does not even try and become informed as to the facts? It is frightening that this two guys are at the forefront of making critical decisions that impact millions of people. Will there ever be an adult in the room?”

Giuliani’s recounting of Avenatti’s day in court served as his extrapolated interpretation of the proceedings. But Wednesday did not go as planned for the porn star’s lawyer.

The dramatic proceeding was highlighted by the battle between Avenatti and the lawyers for both Cohen and Trump. Avenatti ended up withdrawing his petition to appear before the court.

Avenatti’s client, Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is suing Cohen and Trump in California, seeking to get out of the nondisclosure agreement tied to her $130,000 hush money payment. Trump recently admitted to reimbursing Cohen for that expenditure.

During the Wednesday hearing, Wood needled Avenatti for his “publicity tour,” saying Avenatti’s frequent press appearances would have to end if Cohen faces a criminal trial and Avenatti is allowed to appear before the court because of its potential effect on a jury pool.

She said that would mean no more document dumps from Avenatti – such as when he released information on Cohen’s financial dealings – and no opinions on Cohen’s abilities.

“Michael’s lawyer is the one who really fought back here,” Giuliani said of Cohen’s attorney, Stephen Ryan, adding that Wood’s comments to Avenatti were the most important. “It’s one thing if people on the other side of the case say that, it’s another thing if a judge says that.”

In concluding the proceedings, Wood put Avenatti’s motion to appear on hold.

“Until you are admitted here, I don’t expect you to stand and be heard here,” she said.

Wood did not throw Avenatti out of the courtroom, as Giuliani claimed during a Wednesday night interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, however, and she did not express judgment about his ethics.

After his appearance in court, Avenatti withdrew his petition to appear, saying he’d refile the motion “if necessary, at a later time.” Daniels has a separate motion in the case to become an intervenor, and that motion is on hold.

‘Trump probably feels terrible that’ Avenatti’s ’caused so many problems for Michael Cohen’

As Avenatti has taken to the airwaves and social media to repeatedly take shots at the president, Trump has, seemingly out of character, not taken public shots back at Avenatti. Meanwhile, Giuliani has not held back in blasting Avenatti over the past month.

“I don’t think the president pays much attention to him really,” Giuliani said. “I mean he tries to engage us. He wanted to debate me and I laughed at it. I mean the president just thinks he’s a fool, and he probably feels terrible that he’s caused so many problems for Michael Cohen, who doesn’t deserve it.”

Pointing to Daniels, Giuliani said she “hasn’t gotten anything yet” out of Avenatti’s representation of her.

“She’s not going to get anything,” he said.

Trump’s all-out trade war is rattling Washington — even his strongest allies

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

  • The Trump administration on Thursday announced tariffs on Canada, Mexico, and the European Union for steel and aluminum imports.
  • The White House cited national security as the primary reason for the tariffs.
  • Republicans and Trump allies broke from the administration, calling the tariffs “dumb” and a threat to the economy.

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s decision announced on Thursday to impose tariffs on Canada, Mexico, and the European Union for steel and aluminum has reignited tremendous frustration from his Republican allies on Capitol Hill and elsewhere, breaking from longtime free-trade orthodoxy on the right.

The tariffs will amount to 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum that previously did not apply to certain trading partners. The White House justified the tariffs in a statement that current steel and aluminum imports “threaten to impair national security” and “are driven in large part by the worldwide glut from overproduction by other countries.”

The tariffs announcement has already begun to have adverse effects on markets, with trading partners saying retaliations are in order and signaling a large-scale trade war on the horizon.

Republicans say tariffs are ‘dumb’ and hurt economic gains

But the decision to include Mexico and Canada increased the level of anger in Washington, especially among Republicans.

“This is dumb,” Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said. “Europe, Canada, and Mexico are not China, and you don’t treat allies the same way you treat opponents. We’ve been down this road before— – blanket protectionism is a big part of why America had a Great Depression. ‘Make America Great Again’ shouldn’t mean ‘Make America 1929 Again.'”

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady said the tariffs “are hitting the wrong target” that “puts American workers and families at risk, whose jobs depend on fairly traded products from these important trading partners. And it hurts our efforts to create good-paying U.S. jobs by selling more ‘Made in America’ products to customers in these countries.”

US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sen. Orrin Hatch, a reliable ally for Trump, said the tariffs amounted to “a tax hike on Americans and will have damaging consequences for consumers, manufacturers and workers.”

“We should build on our success in overhauling the nation’s tax code with complementary trade policies that, rather than favoring one narrow industry, make all sectors of the US economy more competitive,” Hatch added.

Even House Speaker Paul Ryan dismissed the decision as counterproductive.

“I disagree with this decision. Instead of addressing the real problems in the international trade of these products, today’s action targets America’s allies when we should be working with them to address the unfair trading practices of countries like China,” Ryan said in a statement. “There are better ways to help American workers and consumers. I intend to keep working with the president on those better options.”

Heritage Foundation economist Tori Whiting told Business Insider that the move by the Trump administration represented a “tremendous misstep” that would harm American companies.

“Sixteen percent of our steel imports come from Canada, our closest neighbor. Roughly 60% of our aluminum imports come from Canada, our closest neighbor,” Whiting said. “And that’s not only going to reduce supply of those products for manufacturers here in America that use them in their production, but it’s also going to result in the prices for those products increasing even more domestically – not just for those companies that buy imports but also for companies that buy domestically.”

“I think that anytime you are imposing tariffs on your friends, it’s a poor move, especially when we want these other countries to help us with China,” Whiting added. “And dealing with trade complications between the US and China, we want the EU and Canada and Mexico to help us with that. So I wouldn’t necessarily say that this is the beginning of a trade war. … But I would say it’s not conducive to maintaining a long-term relationship with those countries and having them help us in other areas of trade.”

Other tariffs, like one Trump is considering on foreign cars, caused similar levels of concern in Washington.

“The announcement that foreign automobiles might be subjected to similar tariffs does not bode well for the economy or for the Trump economic record,” wrote American Enterprise Institute Resident Scholar Benjamin Zycher in a Wednesday op-ed for National Review. “Because there is no obvious limit on the national-security rationale for protectionism, this policy will engender substantial uncertainty in the economy.”

The decision by the White House comes after the initial tariffs announcement caused a stir among lawmakers, who pleaded with administration officials to take a more lenient approach when including American allies.

Republicans have felt unease about the tariffs for much of the year. Republican Study Committee Chairman and North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker told reporters in March that harsh trade policies like tariffs could damage an otherwise stellar economic record from Republicans.

“I still think that several of us, as well as others, are continuing to communicate that we want to see this economic recovery continue to go and we feel like any potential trade war would dissipate that momentum to some degree,” Walker said. “So that’s what we’re concerned about.”

But there is no sign Congress is willing to act on their frustrations, which leaves major trade policies to the Trump administration.

The 7 artists you need to see at Governors Ball music festival this weekend

Governors Ball Music Festival on Randall's Island, New York.

Governors Ball Music Festival on Randall’s Island, New York.
Daniel Goodman / Business Insider

Governors Ball returns to New York City’s Randalls Island Park this weekend for its eighth annual music festival.

Headlined this year by Jack White, Travis Scott, and Eminem, the festival’s lineup also features a handful of acclaimed indie acts and an altogether impressive showing for hip-hop artists, including a last-minute addition of rapper Pusha-T.

For those attending, we’ve highlighted a selection of the best performers to help streamline your festival experience.

Here are the 7 artists you need to see at Governors Ball music festival this weekend:

Jack White

Day: Friday

Set time: 9:15-11 pm

Stage: Gov Ball NYC Stage

Jack White is the headlining act on Friday. His latest album, “Boarding House Reach,” is a bizarre, protean mix of funk-rock influences that should make for a raucous and compelling live set. If you’re in the mood for more of a chill set to close out your night, consider seeing English producer-singer James Blake instead. Blake is performing in the same time-slot as White on the Honda Stage.


Day: Saturday

Set time: 3:45-4:45 pm

Stage: American Eagle Stage

R&B singer Kelela’s debut full-length album, “Take Me Apart,” was one of the best-reviewed LPs of 2017. Her versatile singing compliments her great ear for idiosyncratic, electronic production from indie artists like Arca and Kwes.

Cut Copy

Day: Saturday

Set time: 4:45-5:45 pm

Stage: Gov Ball NYC Stage

The Australian indie-rock trio Cut Copy makes striking guitar-led music backed by panoramic synths and accessible melodies – all of which translates well in a festival setting. The singles from its most recent album, 2017’s “Haiku from Zero,” are all stellar, “Airborne” (see above) in particular.


Day: Saturday

Set time: 5:45-6:45 pm

Stage: American Eagle Stage

Following the release of his critically acclaimed, Kanye West-produced album, “Daytona,” and a ruthless, headline-grabbing diss track against Drake, rapper Pusha-T is set to replace the California rap group Brockhampton on Saturday’s lineup. Brockhampton canceled its remaining tour dates last month after ousting its founding member Ameer Vann amid sexual misconduct allegations against the rapper.

Travis Scott

Day: Saturday

Set time: 9:30-11 pm

Stage: Gov Ball NYC Stage

In advance of his highly anticipated third studio album, “Astroworld” (which is slated for release later this year), rapper-producer Travis Scott headlines the festival on Saturday. “Watch,” his first single from the album, featured Kanye West and Lil Uzi Vert, and it peaked at No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart last month.

Vic Mensa

Day: Sunday

Set time: 5:45-6:45 pm

Stage: American Eagle Stage

Chance The Rapper and Kanye West collaborator Vic Mensa brings his dynamic, genre-bending songwriting to the festival on Sunday. The rapper-singer’s latest release, 2017’s “The Autobiography,” was a fittingly titled, personal album that boasted production credits from Pharrell Williams and No ID.


Day: Sunday

Set time: 6:45-8 pm

Stage: Honda Stage

Several months after the release of its first album in over seven years, Pharrell Williams’ trio N.E.R.D will play its first US music festival of the year at Gov Ball on Sunday. The band’s self-titled 2017 album featured a top 40 hit in the Rihanna-featuring single “Lemon.”

Truck drivers say the latest measure to keep roads safe has left them ‘chained up,’ ‘more reckless than ever,’ and unable to support their families

The main appeal of truck driving is the freedom, drivers say, and that's been curtailed with this latest mandate.

The main appeal of truck driving is the freedom, drivers say, and that’s been curtailed with this latest mandate.
Dennis Van Tine/MediaPunch/IPX

  • Truckers aren’t happy with the electronic-logging device (ELD) mandate, a new US rule that effectively makes it impossible for drivers to work more hours than the legally mandated limit.
  • Supporters of the law say the ELD mandate is crucial for enforcing labor laws and preventing accidents on the road.
  • But as a result of the ELD mandate, truck drivers told Business Insider that their salaries are taking a hit, their independence is being curtailed, and they can’t find places to park and sleep.

The US government is forcing Steven Wright to take naps.

The 47-year-old college graduate has been a long-haul truck driver since 1995. He used to set his own schedule during his nearly 100-hour workweeks: He’d drive for eight hours, take a nap for four to six hours as the receiving company slowly unloaded his truck, and then drive for another five hours or so before getting a proper sleep.

That’s no longer possible. Since December, drivers like Wright have been required to keep an electronic-logging device (ELD) in their trucks to ensure they don’t drive for more than 11 hours a day, work 14 hours a day total, and take regular breaks.

“The longer you spend on the road, the more money you get,” said Wright, who lives in the Northeastern Ohio town of Cuyahoga Falls. Because of ELD, Wright and other drivers said they aren’t able to drive as much as they used to.

The rule arose from safety concerns, but Wright said it’s not practical.

Truckers are paid by the mile, but usually don’t spend a full 11 hours driving. They might spend six unpaid hours at unloading sites, which cuts into how many hours they spend driving and earning money. With the cap now set at 14 hours of overall work a day, Wright is unable to squeeze in an extra five hours of driving after unloading his truck.

In addition, Wright said drivers are also forced to take 30-minute breaks every eight hours, even if they just spent six of those hours at an unloading site.

A few hours here and there add up over time. Wright said squeezing in an extra 1,000 miles in a week translates to $450.

What’s more, because nearly everyone takes their 10-hour breaks at the same time, Wright said parking is scarce at trucker stops. There’s nowhere for drivers to park the trucks they’ll sleep in for weeks, he said.

“Nobody actually listens to us,” Wright told Business Insider. “People in Washington, DC, or wherever they are, make these rules.”

While the ELD mandate was designed to lessen driver fatigue and make the roads safer, in practice the ELD mandate has lowered productivity, according to freight-exchange service DAT solutions and supply-chain management company Zipline Logistics. It’s also raised the cost of shipping.

And it’s especially angered truck drivers, who number 1.8 million nationwide.

truck driving fatalities

Business Insider/Andy Kiersz, data from Highway Loss Data Institute

The ELD rule was designed to protect drivers’ safety

The ELD rule came into effect in December under a larger act passed by former President Barack Obama in 2012. Called MAP-21, the act was the first highway legislation with long-term provisions since 2005.

MAP-21 set aside $105 billion for new programs improving existing highways, restructuring federal transportation programs, and “supporting Department of Transportation’s (DOT) aggressive safety agenda.”

One component of that agenda was the ELD mandate. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimated in 2014 that ELDs could prevent up to 1,714 crashes, 522 injuries, and 24 deaths each year.

“The theory is that drivers are working longer hours to make more money, which is causing them to drive while exhausted, which poses a safety risk on the roads,” Andrew Lynch, the cofounder and president of Columbus-based supply-chain company Zipline Logistics, told Business Insider.

The hours of service rules haven’t actually changed, according to Collin Mooney, executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, which oversees the coordination of commercial vehicle-safety enforcement across the US, Canada, and Mexico.

The only thing that’s changed is that these hours are now tracked electronically rather than by paper and pen.

“Drivers in general are covering fewer miles in a day than they were before the ELD mandate,” Lynch said. “The little cheats and fudges they could pull off on their log books before the mandate went live are no longer available to the large population of drivers that were running on paper logs.”

truck driver

David McNew/Getty Images

In practice, drivers say they’re becoming more reckless

Nashville area resident Steve Manley, 51, has been driving for more than 20 years. He said the ELD hasn’t benefited drivers’ safety.

“The electronic logs are supposed to make it safer, but really it has created a hazardous race to beat the clock,” Manley told Business Insider. “Drivers are now more reckless than ever trying to make it to their destination before the clock runs out with the mandatory breaks and such.”

“The DOT says it’s to prevent driver fatigue, but in reality it’s just another way to control us as drivers, and the country has to pay for it,” truck driver and West Virginia resident Brian Lawson, who has been driving for six years, told Business Insider. “Truck drivers used to be free, and now we are chained up.”

Drivers are also less able to find a place to park their trucks at truck stops, as sleep schedules have been forced into a 10-hour break time.

“If the mandate exacerbates the truck-parking constraints, which it is … then any safety gains from better rest could be lost to other behaviors,” Lynch told Business Insider.

trucker pay change

Business Insider/Andy Kiersz, truck driver Steven Wright

Some of the most experienced drivers are quitting to seek a living elsewhere

Albert Ratcliffe was a truck driver for more than 40 years. But he recently retired, in part because of the ELD mandate.

Dozens of drivers told Business Insider they’re becoming fed up with the trucking industry. “Many veteran drivers quit when the mandate happened,” Lawson said.

The main appeal of truck driving is the freedom, they say, and that’s been curtailed with this latest law.

“Nobody in the industry is in favor of this, as the flexibility of being a driver with these devices has gone way down,” Reno resident Sam Chahal, 31, told Business Insider.

But most frustratingly for these career drivers, trucking has become less and less lucrative. As drivers now travel fewer miles a day, they’re paid less.

A rookie trucker earns a median of 28 cents a mile, while experienced drivers like Wright can earn up to 45 cents a mile. A few years ago, Wright could expect to drive about 3,300 miles a week. Now, due to recent regulations and a failure of efficiency for shippers and receivers to adapt, he says he’s down to 2,700 miles a week.

That ultimately works out to $270 less a week – or $14,040 less for the entire year.

The money used to be worth it for Wright, who said his hectic work schedule caused his 27-year-old daughter to become estranged from him.

“I wasn’t there for my daughter when she was growing up because I was trying to make money,” Wright said. “That’s just the price you pay.”

Now he works fewer hours, but he’ll still be away from his wife and son for weeks, and paid less for it.

“Drivers don’t think about how many hours they work,” Wright said. “They think about how long they were away from home.”

For Wright, the payoff isn’t there anymore.

Are you a truck driver with a story about the industry? Email the author at

Samantha Bee should be criticized — just not by Trump supporters

“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee”/TBS

  • Republicans who voted for President Donald Trump but are outraged by Samantha Bee bring hypocrisy to a whole new level.
  • The Trump administration has no right to be outraged by Bee’s admittedly vulgar remarks.

Samantha Bee went on TV and called Ivanka Trump a “feckless c—.”

This isn’t complicated: Bee said something vulgar and cruel. Does she deserve to be criticized? Certainly.

Also certain: it’s the height of hypocrisy for any of her critics to either have voted for or work for Donald Trump.

Our president was caught on tape saying he liked to grab women “by the pussy.” Republicans responded to that charming earful by deciding that he was fit to lead our nation anyway.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders called Bee’s words “vile and vicious,” and called out the left and mainstream media for its “collective silence.” (Never mind the fact that the mainstream media was far from silent on the topic.) She demanded that Time Warner and TBS “demonstrate that such explicit profanity about female members of this administration will not be condoned on its network.”

Bee is a comedian whose relevance and name recognition will not last forever. Donald Trump will go down in the annals of history. If Sanders or any other member of the administration is disturbed by Bee’s commentary, perhaps they should rethink the implications of their employment.