Daily Check-In 05/30/2018

Wednesday, May 30th.



Michael Cohen is a fucking idiot, part 317:  Types of shredders.

Straight cut shredders use cutting blades that move in one direction and produce long, skinny strips of paper.  Cross-cut shredders use blades that cut in two directions which produce tiny diamonds.  Micro-cut shredders turn the paper into dust.

Straight-cut documents can be put back together “fairly easy.”  Cross-cut is harder, requiring scanners and computer software.  Micro-cut shredders require a time machine.

A smart person looking to destroy things in 2018 would use a micro-cut shredder, or at the very worst a cross-cut.  Micro-cut shredders exist across all price points.  Someone could get one of these from Staples for less than $100.

Michael Cohen uses a straight-cut shredder.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s ten years old and has a name, like Old Cutty.  The FBI will have recreated everything they found in Old Cutty within the next couple weeks.

Michael Avenatti has withdrawn his request to represent adult film star Stormy Daniels in the case centered on the FBI raid of President Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen.

Shortly after a conference hearing Wednesday in a federal district court in Manhattan, Avenatti withdrew his request to weigh in on the case.

In the document Avenatti filed in court Wednesday, he said he is withdrawing his request to intervene and will re-file it, if necessary, at a later time.

There’s a lot of legalese involved, but the short version is that Avenatti’s still representing Stormy Daniels.  It’s just that he’s not currently involved in the evidentiary process of United States vs. Cohen because he’s already working with them, and another lawyer working with Stormy that is natively licensed in New York can speak for them.

The cost to perform this review is substantial.  How much?  Let’s figure that out…

According to the transcripts, Cohen’s lawyers have been working “day and night” for weeks.  They have 15 high priced lawyers, plus 2 data entry folks.  Per yesterday’s report on the Special Master (Daily Check-In 05/29/2018), an hourly rate of $700 per hour is not unreasonable for this work.  The data entry folks will cost less, but I’ll say $100 per hour.

To me, “working day and night” is a minimum of 16 hours per day, but to keep from killing people, I’ll use 80 hours per week.  That’s a full shift on top of normal work, but enough to be spread out over the weekends.

So, we have 15 lawyers at $700 per hour working 80 hours a week, plus 2 data entry people at $100 per hour at 80 hours per week.  [(15 * 700 * 80) + (2 * 100 * 80)] = [ 840,000+ 16,000] =$856,000 per week.  Considering this has been going on for weeks, and assuming this lawyer wasn’t blowing smoke up the judge’s ass, Cohen’s legal bills from this procedure will approach $4 million, and that’s before they go to trial.

He might flip just to avoid going broke.

The fact that the inauguration meeting included all three parties could perhaps be understood as a coincidence. Vekselberg, after all, is Intrater’s cousin in addition to running an affiliated company, the Renova Group. And the inauguration is an event with many attendees and perhaps some impromptu introductions and meetings. That idea that Cohen may have met Vekselberg there without them forming a relationship and without Vekselberg being involved in Columbus Nova’s hiring of Cohen is plausible.

But three meetings involving both Intrater and Vekselberg? That reduces the likelihood that this was just happenstance. The Times reported a couple of days ago that Vekselberg met with Cohen “multiple times.” Now we know the details of the first meeting and that there was a third — which may have even come after Columbus Nova hired Cohen (he was hired in late January, after the inauguration). That’s a lot of meetings to have, in relatively proximity, with a third party who had nothing to do with the arrangement between Columbus Nova and Cohen.

Are we to believe Cohen’s business relationship with Columbus Nova didn’t come up at these meetings? Are we to believe Vekselberg somehow didn’t know about it and didn’t use it to push for influence over the Trump administration’s Russia policy (which was the stated subject matter for the first meeting)? At the very least, having a Russian oligarch in these meetings at a time when the Trump campaign’s Russia ties were at-issue would seem to be a bad decision just from a pure public relations perspective. And since then, Vekselberg has featured on a list of oligarchs who have been sanctioned by the Trump administration.

Three meetings in a short time span with Vekselberg and his cousin.  Like Admiral James T. Kirk said in the Wrath of Khan, “This is damn peculiar.”



Bill Browder was arrested earlier this morning on an Interpol warrant issued by Russia.  This isn’t the first time Russia has tried this shit.  This happened a few months ago, but it doesn’t usually result in Bill getting arrested.

Fortunately, he was able to get this cleared up, and he’s back in London.


























That’s it for today.  There is a difference between the parties, and I think I’m going to write about it when I get time.  That’s the joke now.


Thank you, and have a good one.


“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur


Daily Check-In 05/29/2018

Tuesday, May 29th.



For the second time in six days, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has moved to begin the process for sentencing a cooperating defendant in his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, this time a California man charged with a Russian Internet trolling operation in February.

Richard Pinedo, 28, of Santa Paula, Calif., pleaded guilty Feb. 12 in Washington to creating hundreds of bank accounts, often using stolen identities, and selling some to unidentified offshore users, including suspects connected to the Russia probe.

And when individuals like that are in the orbit of a major political campaign in America, the FBI, who is in charge of counterintelligence investigations, should look at people like that,” Rubio said. “But they’re not investigating the campaign, they’re investigating those people.”

Read that last sentence again.  They’re investigating the people.

Here’s a question that Trump’s team has never answered.  Why did his campaign have at least four foreign agents working on it?

“Mr. Trump, who had told aides that he needed a loyalist overseeing the inquiry, berated Mr. Sessions and told him he should reverse his decision (to recuse from the Russia investigation), an unusual and potentially inappropriate request.”

Yeah, anyone who’s wondering, that’s not the reaction of an innocent man.

Arkady was shot and killed in Kiev earlier today.





Michael Avenatti, the attorney for the adult-film actress known as Stormy Daniels, released emails on Tuesday that he claims show that The Wall Street Journal sat for months on a story about the $130,000 hush-money payment made to his client days before the 2016 presidential election.

The emails were between Wall Street Journal reporter Joe Palazzolo — one of two reporters to break the story on the Daniels payment earlier this year — and Keith Davidson, Daniels’ initial attorney who had negotiated the agreement between Daniels and President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen.

In sharing the emails between Palazzolo and Davidson, Avenatti wrote that The Journal “had the story in the closing days of the campaign but sat on it” and “Davidson lied to them and conspired with Mr. Cohen in 2016.”

“This is why we have demanded to see all of Davidson’s” documents for months “and will sue if need be,” he tweeted.

The email exchange showed that Palazzolo reached out to Davidson just before the 2016 election to ask him about women he was representing in connection to Trump. Palazzolo did not make any mention in the email of Daniels, a hush-money agreement, Cohen, or women such as Karen McDougal, a Playboy model whom Davidson had represented in a similar hush-money agreement before the 2016 election.


The special master assigned in the criminal case against Michael Cohen announced Tuesday that Cohen, President Donald Trump and the Trump Organization had made 252 claims of privileged or “highly personal” material out of the initial items reviewed.

Investigators seized the materials during raids on Cohen’s home, office and hotel room on April 9.







She might be in New York for good.  Check the Rumor Mill for more details.







The tweet came early in the morning.  The anger on Twitter was palpable by lunchtime.  How long will it take ABC, the network airing Roseanne’s show, to respond?

Well, that was quick.  By early afternoon, a couple hundred people were fired from their jobs because the star, creator, and executive producer of their show is a racist pig.



We’ve covered Missouri politics a little bit here, but

SAN FRANCISCO—A 23-year-old man who hacked into Gmail accounts on behalf of Russian intelligence was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday, less than the government sought in a case trumpeted as a warning to cybercriminals and foreign intelligence services alike.

Karim Baratov, a Canadian citizen born in Kazakhstan, pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy and identity theft charges last November in connection with a black market no-questions-asked hacking service he operated from 2010 until his arrest in March 2017. Baratov charged customers about $100 to obtain another person’s webmail password, using phishing attacks that tricked users into entering their passwords into a fake password reset page. He cracked more than 11,000 accounts in Russia and the US before he was caught.

One of Baratov’s clients was an officer with Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, who used an alias to commission hacks on 80 targets in all, including people in other Russian agencies, and government officials in neighboring Eastern European nations. Prosecutors had sought a sentence of seven years, 10 months in prison, in part to make other hackers think twice about offering their skills—knowingly or unknowingly—to hostile intelligence agencies.







Pace has had a couple interesting tweets over the past weekend about Melania Trump’s whereabouts.

According to Pace, Melania left D.C. for New York at least a week ago.  She spent the last couple days at the Waldorf Astoria, and spent today looking for a new condo.

He has a source that’s a recently retired Secret Service agent.  Considering he is one, and has posted proof in the past backing up this claim, that part is feasible.  I’m not making any claims on the accuracy of them, simply reporting what’s being reporting.  I’m also not inferring that Melania left the Dotard.

But, I wouldn’t surprised if she’s finally had enough.



That’s it for today.  Most of Washington is still on break, so it’s a bit of a “slow news day.”  Ok, by the new definition of slow, in which we get to watch the complete collapse of a cultural icon in less time than it takes to make chili in a CrockPot, the death toll in Puerto Rico is about two orders of magnitude greater than originally told, enough details come out about Trump trying to obstruct the Russian Investigation that there’s no doubt about his guilt, Mrs. Trump hasn’t been seen in public in two weeks, and a corrupt governor resigned right before he got bitchslapped by his own party.


Thank you, and have a good one.


“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 05/25/2018

Friday, May 25th through Memorial Day



A Russian oligarch who was questioned by special counsel Robert Mueller and recently sanctioned by the US visited President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen in Trump Tower during the presidential transition in January 2017, according to video reviewed by CNN.

The January 9, 2017, Trump Tower appearance by Viktor Vekselberg, which was also reported Friday by The New York Times, adds to the questions swirling over the payments to Cohen, which Mueller’s team questioned Vekselberg about after the FBI stopped his private jet at a New York-area airport earlier this year.

Vekselberg, chairman of Russian asset manager Renova Group, was accompanied at Trump Tower by Andrew Intrater, who is Vekselberg’s cousin and head of Columbus Nova. Vekselberg is Columbus Nova’s biggest client.


Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has been probing Roger Stone’s finances as it summons a series of witnesses to gather more information about one of President Donald Trump’s longtime advisers, according to people familiar with the situation.

So far, Mueller’s team has contacted at least eight of Stone’s current or former associates, Stone told NBC News on Sunday. He subsequently told CNN “they are all young people who have no knowledge about my personal, political or business activities.”


Spanish authorities confirmed on Friday night that they had given the FBI copies of wiretaps that they gathered between Alexander Torshin and his allies in the Kremlin, discussing an upcoming meeting with Donnie Jr. at the May 2016 NRA meeting.  We’ve covered that meeting before, and how the Spaniards have been on Torshin for a long time.



Immigration and Customs Enforcement recently asked the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA), which instructs federal agencies on how to maintain records, to approve its timetable for retaining or destroying records related to its detention operations. This may seem like a run-of-the-mill government request for record-keeping efficiency. It isn’t. An entire paper trail for a system rife with human rights and constitutional abuses is at stake.

ICE has asked for permission to begin routinely destroying 11 kinds of records, including those related to sexual assaults, solitary confinement and even deaths of people in its custody. Other records subject to destruction include alternatives to detention programs, regular detention monitoring reports, logs about the people detained in ICE facilities, and communications from the public reporting detention abuses. ICE proposed various timelines for the destruction of these records ranging from 20 years for sexual assault and death records to three years for reports about solitary confinement.



(WASHINGTON) — Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, met with a Russian oligarch and discussed U.S.-Russia relations just 11 days before Trump was inaugurated as president, according to a person familiar with the meeting.

A firm connected to the oligarch, billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, later paid Cohen $500,000 for consulting work.

Vekselberg met with Cohen for about 20 minutes in Cohen’s 26th-floor office in Trump Tower in New York , said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the meeting publicly. The two men were joined by Andrew Intrater, Vekselberg’s American cousin, who heads a New York private equity firm that manages financial assets for the Russian.













Oh, by the way, he’s now an “alcoholic.”  You know you’re a supreme level dick when admitting to being a lush is your best defense against other crimes.




Harvey Weinstein was arrested and charged with rape and other abuse charges Friday, months after allegations of sexual violence and harassment toppled the once-powerful Hollywood mogul.

Weinstein, 66, was charged with rape, criminal sex act, sexual abuse and sexual misconduct for cases involving two women, according to the New York Police Department.

After his arraignment on Friday morning Weinstein posted $1 million bail and surrendered his passport. He will wear an electronic monitoring device at all times, and face other travel restrictions.





“The FBI recommends any owner of small office and home office routers reboot the devices to temporarily disrupt the malware and aid the potential identification of infected devices,” the bureau’s cyber division wrote in a public alert.

“Owners are advised to consider disabling remote management settings on devices and secure with strong passwords and encryption when enabled. Network devices should be upgraded to the latest available versions of firmware.”

Like I said in Daily Check-In 05/23/2018, do it now!











That’s it for the weekend.  Not only was it busy in the news, but personally as well.  I may not have time to write an update every night, as I have several things going on at once.  I’ll go into more detail late June, early July.


Thank you, and have a good one.


“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur










Daily Check-In 05/24/2018

Thursday, May 24th.



I know we’ve been waiting for months on Roger and Julian to go to prison, but it feels like the pace is accelerating.  I’m not sure when, but something will happen soon.  Just don’t ask me to quantify soon.

Following yesterday’s (Daily Check-In 05/23/2018) news about the DOJ briefing about the FBI Informant into the Trump Campaign, it was decided that the Gang of 8, along with Adam Schiff, Democratic lead of the House Intelligence Committee, would attend their own briefing.

Two other people that were there that had no right to be were White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, and Trump’s impeachment lawyer Emmett Flood.

A lawyer, representing a client who is the subject of an ongoing investigation, attending a meeting about how evidence was collected for said investigation.

That’s about 50 Shades of Fucked Up.

Supposedly, Flood left after making an opening statement, but the mother fucker should never have been there to begin with.  And depending on what he did say and do while there, he exposes himself to legal jeopardy, including possible Obstruction of Justice charges.

As far as why the informant was there, he wasn’t “planted.”  He was monitoring the Russians as they talked to Page, Papadopoulos, and Manafort.  And Flynn.  And Clovis.  And Sessions.  And EVERY OTHER FUCKER IN THE CAMPAIGN THAT TALKED TO A RUSSIAN!  Normally, that’s one or two people.  With Trump, it’s like everyone.

The Associated Press, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post and Politico are suing for the unsealing of various types of warrants used in the special counsel’s investigation, as well as sealed court documents specific to the case of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was indicted last fall.

“The fact that certain charges have been brought does not imply that the Special Counsel’s investigation into the assigned matters is closed,” Mueller said, arguing against the release of the records. “Nor does it imply that the search warrant materials could be unsealed at this time without creating a serious risk of jeopardizing the ongoing and interconnected aspects of the investigation.”

In the filing, Mueller also said that many media reports about the nature of the investigation “may be inaccurate or incomplete” and may be “based on unofficial sources, half-understood facts, or speculation.”

Mueller, in the filing, said that he was not opposed to unsealing the two Manafort warrants that have been subject to legal challenges that Manafort has brought seeking to throw out certain evidence, with Mueller acknowledging that many of the details about them were already coming out in open court proceedings.

This is interesting, but not unexpected.  Mueller’s team is working on many things that haven’t been released to the media yet, and giving them everything they’re asking for would cripple their other investigations.






For the first time, the Dutch-led team said the missile had come from a unit based in western Russia.

All 298 people on board the Boeing 777 died when it broke apart in mid-air flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

It was hit by a missile fired from rebel-held territory in Ukraine. Russia says none of its weapons was used.

But on Thursday Wilbert Paulissen, a Dutch official from the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), told reporters: “All the vehicles in a convoy carrying the missile were part of the Russian armed forces.”

He restated the JIT’s conclusion that the plane had been destroyed by a Russian-made Buk missile, adding that it had been supplied by the country’s 53rd anti-aircraft brigade in Kursk.

At a news conference in the Dutch city of Utrecht, the investigators also showed social media pictures which they said traced the route the missile convoy had taken to reach eastern Ukraine.

MH17 was shot down flying over Europe by a missile launched from Crimea, the part of Ukraine that Russia invaded in 2014.  Here are the two hypothesis in place.

Russia’s story, at first, was that the plane was shot down by Ukrainians.  Then, it was “Ukranian Rebels” using Ukrainian missiles.  Somehow, this evolved to the exploits of a B-grade action movie where a handful of rebels, armed with AK-47’s, commandeered a missile launcher from a fully armed convoy (though no soldiers were lost, no injuries sustained, and no equipment damaged).  Then, used the missile they just stole, and instead of attacking a Russian Air Force jet, of which there were plenty of targets, they decide to shoot down a passenger plane flying overhead.  Just to frame the Russians.

The second hypothesis is the Russians shot the plane down themselves and blamed Ukraine for it.

The first stretches credulity.  The second fits all know facts, evidence, and known patterns.



I’ve said for a while, but nearly ANYONE ELSE would be better as a President than Donald Trump.  Anyone.  Pick a random stranger off of the street, they’d do a better job.


This random person would be so scared of the job duties, and sobered by the overwhelming responsibility of each and every action, that they would view each and every action with panic-inducing fear, and would be forced to ask experts what to do.  Trump’s narcissism is so complete that he doesn’t think, but he KNOWS that he’s smarter than the experts.  Combine the narcissism with incompetence, impatience, and mendacity, and Trump is a shit sandwich with a side of shit.



A lot of ink has been spilled over the last year and a half explaining how congressional Republicans are complicit in the damage Trump is doing to the country because of their failure to hold him accountable. I certainly don’t disagree with that. But based on what has been reported from behind the scenes, it is obvious that most of them know that he is unfit for office, but are too afraid to say so in public. That represents a new level of political cowardice, but the truth is that they are simply trying to protect their jobs in an atmosphere where Republican base voters won’t tolerate disloyalty to the president.







The NFL got played, and played itself.  This new policy is a blatant violation of free speech, and since there was no official vote by the owners, also in violation of their own guidelines.

Expect lawsuits against this by the end of June.



Morgan Freeman?  That sucks.  I could use some good news to cheer me up after that.

YEAH!!!!!  That’s what I needed.

The lawsuit is from an employee of Alpha Omega Winery, who was asked to work a 2015 charity cruise on the San Francisco Bay. What may have begun as a charity event was filled with men who “appeared to be cocaine and ‘drawing straws’ for which sex worker to hire” the lawsuit says. The cruise was part of a night that was auctioned off at a fundraiser. The winning bidders were allegedly “important investors in Alpha,” the lawsuit revealed.

The staffer, Alene Anase, described the sounds of “sexual activity” happening in bedrooms and saw one man “fondling and suckling” sex workers’ breasts. She noted that the sex workers also seemed to be “too young to consent” to the activity.

I heard a rumor from Pace that Devin was about to have a prostitution problem.  Not sure if this is it, but it’ll be interesting to see how close this gets to him.  I can only hope he’s balls deep in this scandal.

The Pun Jar is now $26.











Keep this in mind for when the sex abuse cases against Trump and his ilk ramp up.  When I get time, I’ll link to the actual case documents from here.


That’s it for Thursday.  This post is going on up on Friday, as Thursday night was hectic.  This weekend will be as well, but I hope to get something posted.  I have a few articles on deck.  Maybe I’ll dive into one of those.


Thank you, and have a good one.


“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur