Friday April 6th
THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION
The following is a comment from Reddit user /u/CitCeasar. Here’s the permalink.
Earlier this week, CNN broke the story that Mueller had stopped several oligarchs asking questions about Russian money being funneled to the campaign or inauguration. That story indicates that Mueller and his team were focused on two methods to accomplish this:
- One area under scrutiny, sources say, is investments Russians made in companies or think tanks that have political action committees that donated to the campaign.
- Another theory Mueller’s office is pursuing, sources said, is whether wealthy Russians used straw donors — Americans with citizenship — as a vessel through which they could pump money into the campaign and inauguration fund.
Previous stories from the Dallas Morning News have also raised questions about straw donors. One of these stories, “How Putin’s oligarchs funneled millions into GOP campaigns”, focused on several specific people:
- Len Blavatnik, a dual U.S.-U.K. citizen and one of the largest donors to GOP political action committees in the 2015-16 election cycle. […] Data from the Federal Election Commission show that Blavatnik’s campaign contributions dating back to 2009-10 were fairly balanced across party lines and relatively modest for a billionaire. […] In 2015-16, everything changed. Blavatnik’s political contributions soared and made a hard right turn as he pumped $6.35 million into GOP political action committees, with millions of dollars going to top Republican leaders including Sens. Mitch McConnell, Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham.
- Andrew Intrater, according to Mother Jones, is Vekselberg’s cousin. He is also chief executive of Columbus Nova, Renova’s U.S. investment arm located in New York. (FEC records list his employer as Renova US Management LLC.). Intrater had no significant history of political contributions prior to the 2016 elections. But in January 2017 he contributed $250,000 to Trump’s Inaugural Committee. His six-figure gift bought him special access to a dinner billed as “an intimate policy discussion with select cabinet appointees,” according to a brochure obtained by the Center for Public Integrity.
- Alexander Shustorovich, chief executive of IMG Artists, attempted to give the Republican Party $250,000 in 2000 to support the George W. Bush presidential campaign, but his money was rejected because of his ties to the Russian government, according to Quartz. So why didn’t the Trump team reject Shustorovich’s $1 million check to Trump’s Inaugural Committee?
- Simon Kukes is an oil magnate who has something in common with Intrater. From 1998 to 2003, he worked for Vekselberg and Blavatnik as chief executive of TNK. Redacted CIA documents released in 2003 under the Freedom of Information Act said “TNK president Kukes said that he bribed local officials.” The CIA confirmed the authenticity of the reports to The Guardian newspaper but would not comment further. In 2016, Kukes contributed a total of $283,000, much of it to the Trump Victory Fund. He had no significant donor history before last year’s election.
Another name worth looking at is Timothy Kasbe, who was discussed in the Washington Post’s story about well-connected Russians who attended the Trump inauguration.
Prior to donating $150,000.00 to the Trump inauguration, Kasbe had no prior history of political contributions/donations. Kasbe was also an executive at a Russian-based jean company at the time he made the donation. Kasbe then left the country to take a job in New Zealand shortly after the inauguration.
Why was he covered in the WaPo story? It’s because he was the one who invited Alexey Repik, one of the wealthy Russians with rumored ties to the FSB who attended the inauguration. Kasbe told the WaPo that the Repiks were “family friends from California,” while Repik said “they had met months earlier during a tour of Silicon Valley companies for Russian business executives that Kasbe helped host on behalf of a headhunting firm.”
Repik had access to some major players during his inauguration visit. He attended various events where he met President Trump, Mike Pence, Reince Priebus, Rex Tillerson, and Mike Pompeo, posting some of these encounters on a public Facebook post and discussing others with the WaPo.
How did Repik get access to these power players? Well, Kasbe’s inauguration donation would have provided some access. However, it appears Kasbe told the New Zealand Herald that the event where Repik met President Trump was unrelated to his inauguration tickets/donations.
Who invited Repik to that event? According to Repik’s own Facebook post, it was Reince Priebus.
- Trump supporter, Putin ally meeting may not have been by chance: Sources
- Mueller has evidence raising questions about Prince testimony on Seychelles meeting
George Nader has given information to Mueller’s team at least 7 times so far; 3 interviews and 4 grand jury appearances. This is on top of the documents he provided to the team.
If the warrants against the five phones are “not the subject of either of the current prosecutions involving Manafort,” then they would seem to not be connected to the crimes arising out of the Ukrainian imbroglio, which is the subject of his current prosecutions. By process of elimination, they are related to either a potential collusion case against Manafort, or additional targets. If there are additional targets, though, they would have to be connected in some way to Mueller’s wider mandate to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and/or the Trump campaign’s potential cooperation with that interference and links to Russia.
In other words, Mueller appears to be going after someone for collusion using the Manafort connection.
Legal analyst Renato Mariotti observed on Twitter that this new warrant could very well mean that Mueller is seeking “historical cell site information” for Manafort’s old phones, which would mean he’s trying to track the timing of Manafort’s previous movements. Again, this all came soon after Gates began cooperating with the investigation. Gates has already plead guilty and confessed to lying in February to the FBI about his knowledge of a meeting between Manafort, Mercury Public Affairs lobbyist and former Congressman Vin Weber, and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher at the Capitol Hill Club in 2013. (Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was recorded in 2016 saying that he—“swear to God”—believed Rohrabacher was on Putin’s payroll, which his staff first denied and then argued was “clearly an attempt at humor.”)
By the way, here’s a link to the Mueller filing re: Manafort search warrants. Enjoy. Here is also the Manafort Motion Bill of Particulars – Mad Dog PAC, courtesy of Spicy Mic.
- Putin has dirt on Trump, claims Russian treason defence lawyer
- The indictment dilemma wouldn’t be a dilemma if Republicans upheld their oaths
- Rosenstein has a duty to make Mueller’s report public — even if it means facing Trump’s wrath
- The Washington Post: Trump administration imposes sweeping new sanctions on Russian elite
- U.S. Targets Russian Oligarchs in New Sanctions – The Wall Street Journal
- US sanctions Russians, including oligarch linked to Paul Manafort
- Sanctions? 🇷🇺What Sanctions🇷🇺 = GOP dark money
Here are the Russians people and entities that were hit with the sanction hammer:
- Andrey Akimov
- Vladimir Bogdanov
- Oleg Deripaska
- Alexey Dyumin
- Mikhail Fradkov
- Oleg Govuron
- Sergei Fursenko
- Alexander Torshin
- Viktor Veksleberg
- Suleiman Kerimov
- Vladimir Kolokoltsev
- Konstantin Kosachev
- Miguel Jose Leone Martinez
- Alexey Miller
- Nikolai Patrushev
- Jesus Perez Alvear
- Vladislav Reznik
- Igor Rotenberg
- Kirill Shamalov
- Evgeny Shkolov
- Andrei Skoch
- Timur Valiulin
- Alexander Zhorov
- Viktor Zolotov
- AgroHolding Kuban
- Basic Element Limited
- B-Finance Ltd.
- EN+ Group PLC
- JSC EuroSibEnergo
- Gazprom Burenie, 0 0 0
- Ladoga Menedzhment, 0 0 0
- NPV Engineering Open Joint Stock Company
- Renova Group
Full list Here.
- Exclusive: Trump adviser played key role in pursuit of possible Clinton emails from dark web before election
Joseph Schmitz, former Inspector General at the Pentagon, used to work with Blackwater. Just like George Nader.
Gee, I wonder how Mueller found out about this guy.
CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA AND FACEBOOK
- Facebook admits Zuckerberg wiped his old messages—which you can’t do
- Sheryl Sandberg: We could’ve addressed Cambridge Analytica years ago – Axios
THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE
When Geraldo Rivera is calling something bullshit, it’s bullshit.
- Eighty-six US teenagers have been killed by gun violence in the 50 days since Parkland, Florida school shooting
- S.C. Republicans introduce bill to consider secession over gun rights | TheHill
- Police Shootings Are Also Gun Violence
- Locals Knew He Was Mentally Ill. The Officers Who Shot Him Did Not. – The New York Times
- GOP lawmaker pulls out loaded gun in constituent meeting | TheHill
- Town Hall Cheat Sheet: Gun Safety (GIFFORDS.org)
THAT’S KIND OF A WAR CRIME…
- Donald Trump asks ‘why did you wait?’ after CIA delayed drone strike to prevent civilian deaths
- In Display of ‘Actual Sociopathy,’ Trump Reportedly Asked CIA Why Drone Didn’t Also Kill Target’s Family
- Britain Pinpoints Secretive Russian Facility That Made Deadly Nerve Agent – The Daily Beast
WHITE HOUSE CHAOS: TRUMP IS A THIN SKINNED PANSY AND PRUITT IS STILL EMPLOYED?
- Trump skipping White House Correspondents dinner
- Pelosi calls on Pruitt to resign
- Pruitt met with fossil fuel reps 25 times more than environmentalists in first seven months
- Lobbyist couple cited for not having proper permits to rent room to Pruitt
- White House Chief of Staff Urges Trump to Remove EPA Chief Pruitt
- John Kelly wants Scott Pruitt out
- Company fined for renting condo to Scott Pruitt
- Scott Pruitt asked to use sirens in D.C. traffic and was told no for non-emergency – CBS News
- Agent on security detail reassigned after telling Pruitt he couldn’t use siren for nonemergencies: report | TheHill
- Too Crooked to Fail: Why Scott Pruitt Still Has His Job (for Now)
- Ex-GOP lawmaker: If Pruitt worked for Obama, everyone on Fox News ‘would be calling for his head’
- AP sources: EPA chief spent millions on security and travel
- A Whistle-Blower Alleges Corruption in Rick Perry’s Department of Energy
RED STATE TEACHER STRIKES
- Amid Massive Teacher Revolt Over Starving Schools, Kentucky GOP Passes ‘Huge Tax Cut for the 1%’
- Oklahoma teachers’ walkout in 5th day – CNN – CNN.com
SAY GOODBYE TO THE ECONOMY
- Trump Doesn’t Know Anything About Anything. Unfortunately, China’s Leaders Do.
- China tariffs are ‘worst kind of news’ for Iowa farmers on the edge
- Stock Market Plummets After Trump Explores $100 Billion in New Tariffs Against China
- Larry Kudlow: Just found out about new Trump China tariffs ‘last night’
- Dow falls nearly 700 points as trade fears rattle investors Stocks fell sharply on Friday as worries of a trade war between the U.S. and China grew.
- Trump attacked Amazon over taxes — but his own online store reportedly collects sales tax from only 2 states
- Conservative Koch network breaks with Trump over brewing trade war with China
- Markets Tumble Again as U.S.-China Trade Tensions Continue to Rise
- Ivanka Trump’s clothing company will be spared from tariffs, thanks to her dad
STORMYWATCH, FROM THE STORMCENTER 6000 METEOROPORNOLOGICAL CENTER
- Stormy Daniels lawyer: Trump ‘finally cracked,’ threw his attorney under the bus
- Evangelical leaders planning sit down with Trump over Stormy Daniels | TheHill
- ‘Even Rape?’: CNN Host Asks Jerry Falwell Jr How Deep His Support for Trump Runs | pluralist
- Stormy…with a chance of Depositions
CAN WE GET BACK TO POLITICS?
- Blue wave to hit Tennessee? Democrat holds double-digit lead over Trump-backed Republican
- Puerto Rico to close 283 schools amid sharp enrollment drop after hurricane, economic crisis
- In reaction to Trump, millions of Americans are joining protests and getting political
- Georgia politician declares Confederate History Month and uses the n-word
- Homeland Security will start collecting data on hundreds of thousands of journalists
- A key Virginia GOP state senator says he is willing to break ranks and vote to expand Medicaid
- Gowdy: ‘I don’t have a lot to show for the last seven years’ in Congress | TheHill
- Blake Farenthold resigns abruptly from Congress
Here’s part of his press statement
Since being elected to Congress in 2010, I’ve worked to make government more efficient and responsive, cut government spending, repeal Obamacare, protect life and reduce the debt. Locally, I’ve worked tirelessly to get federal funding for the widening and deepening project at the Port of Corpus Christi and help our other area ports and military facilities. I’ve also been extremely successful in working with our communities on recovering from Hurricane Harvey. Most importantly, I’ve been able to help countless people, especially veterans with their problems with the federal government.
“While I planned on serving out the remainder of my term in Congress, I know in my heart it’s time for me to move along and look for new ways to serve.
RUMOR MILL: DARK MONEY
I’m beginning to think that Spicy Mic had the day off from work today, and spent a lot of it doing research.
Below is a link to a tweet about dark money ties from Viktor Vekselberg to Len Blavatnik. From Len to the GOP, as Len is an American citizen.
That’s it for today. In the future, I’ll do a run-through of all the recently sanctioned Russians and their companies.
Thank you, and have a good one.
“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”
– Katy Tur