Monday, May 14th.
COHEN: FOLLOW THE MONEY
Introducing Ahmed Al-Rumaihi as the Elevator Man
- Michael Avenatti’s Cryptic Tweets Stoking Suspicions of Another Bombshell
- Michael Avenatti’s Mother’s Day bombshell, explained
- Qatari Investor Accused in Bribery Plot Appears With Michael Cohen in Picture Posted by Stormy Daniel’s Lawyer
Members of the Trump transition team appear to have met on December 12, 2016 with a group from Qatar that included Ahmed Al-Rumaihi, the former Qatari diplomat and current head of a division of Qatar’s massive sovereign wealth fund who is accused in a recent lawsuit of scheming to bribe Trump administration officials.
Back in December 2016, Ahmed Al-Rumaihi of the Qatar Investment Authority visited Trump Tower, just a couple days after QIA finalized a deal to purchase 19.5% of Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil company. The 19% chunk stayed with QIA, but 0.5% of it disappeared. According to the Steele Dossier, pages 9 and 30-31, that chunk was a brokerage fee paid to Trump as a bribe to promote a Pro-Russia policy stance. In 2016 money, that comes out to $282 million, but could easily increase if policies were enacted that would cause oil prices to increase, like the United States leaving the Paris Climate Accords, relaxed sanctions on Russia, or the United States leaving the JCPOA, also known as the Iran Nuclear Deal.
Nearly every action that Trump has executed since then has aligned with the goals of increasing Rosneft’s value. Increasing Rosneft’s value increases the value of the 0.5%.
The main players in this deal were Michael Flynn, Carter Page, and Michael Cohen. Mike Flynn has already flipped (Cooperating Witnesses, The Indicted), and Carter Page is a known Russian asset. That leaves Trump’s fixer, Cohen.
Cohen’s name is littered all over the Dossier, and with the events of the last few days, we know that he was openly soliciting money for “access and insights into the administration.” Last week, Michael Avenatti, the attorney for Stormy Daniels, released an executive summary detailing several payments to Essential Consultants, LLC., the shell company that Cohen used to pay off Daniels. (Daily Check-In 05/10/2018)
Last week, Mr. Avenatti promised more information if involved parties didn’t come clean with what they did. On Sunday, he delivered on that information, and Twitter went nuts.
Avenatti tweeted a few pictures, and links to a YouTube video that was a recording from C-SPAN on December 12, 2016. Out of this elevator came Michael Cohen, and a man who remained unnamed for a few hours. Later, that man, the Elevator Man, was revealed to be Ahmed Al-Rumaihi, of Qatar Investment Authority. Two pics included Al-Rumaihi, one with him and Cohen. The third pic was of Cohen meeting with Mike Flynn from the same day. (Either that, or Cohen wore that ugly pink tie multiple times in December.)
This places QIA in Trump Tower within two days of the Rosneft sale being finalized, and puts Michael Cohen and Michael Flynn there as well.
Where was Carter Page? Meeting with Rosneft in Russia. (Daily Check-In 11/07/2017)
Qatar has not been quiet about their desire to get in to the White House, or constrained in their ways of getting there.
- Ice Cube swept up in bizarre bribery plot involving Steve Bannon, Michael Flynn, and the Qatari government
- Qatar used Ice Cube basketball league in Steve Bannon bribe plot, lawsuit claims
The Qatari government reportedly attempted to court favour with key aides of President Donald Trump through the basketball league of hip hop superstar Ice Cube, a business associate of Ice Cube has alleged.
The rapper, real name O’Shea Jackson, and his business partner Jeff Kwatinetz claim in a new $1.2bn lawsuit that a prominent Qatari investor and former diplomat attempted to set up a meeting with Mr Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon by using them for access.
The suit, filed against several high-profile Qataris last month and first reported by Britain’s Daily Mail, alleges that investors from Doha used the pair’s BIG3 basketball league to get greater access to the inner circle of the US leader.
Ahmed Al Rumaihi, an alleged member of the Qatari royal family and the head of Qatar Investments, a $100 billion sovereign wealth fund of the Qatar Investment Authority (QNA), promised to invest $20.5m into the league.
But the high-level Qatari only paid $7.5 million and had other motives, according to the lawsuit. It alleges that he was acting as a front for the Qatari government and that his real target was Mr Bannon.
“Mr Al Rumaihi requested I set up a meeting between him, the Qatari government, and Steven Bannon, and to tell Steve Bannon that Qatar would underwrite all of his political efforts in return for his support,” Mr Kwatinetz said in the court filing.
He added that he turned down the offer and called it a “bribe” that had left him “appalled”.
Mr Al Rumaihi is also accused in the suit of bragging about giving money to other top aides to Mr Trump, including his now-fired former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
The court document says: “Mr Al Rumahi laughed and then stated to me that I shouldn’t be naive, that so many Washington politicians take our money, and stated ‘do you think Flynn turned down our money?’”
Wait, what? Ice Cube’s involved in this? The QA test continues. (Daily Check-In 05/11/2018)
Ice Cube is suing a trio of Persian Gulf investors for $1.2 billion, claiming they tried to seize control of his fledgling Big3 basketball league even as they broke promises to fund it.
The suit by the legendary rapper and his talent-agent partner Jeff Kwatinetz alleges that the investors, connected to the royal family of Qatar, ponied up only a third of their $20.5 million commitment to Big3.
That, in turn, has crippled efforts to elevate the league’s 3-on-3 basketball games with former NBA stars like Allen Iverson, Julius Erving and Amar’e Stoudemire “to the professional setting of NBA-style arenas and broadcast games,” according to the suit.
I take ONE DAY off from following the Russian Investigation, and not only do we get evidence of a significant part of the Steele Dossier being confirmed (Rosneft bribing Trump through Qatar), but now we’ve got Steve Bannon and Ice Cube connected through their attorney.
Al-Rumaihi and QIA tried to use Ice Cube’s Big3 basketball league to bribe Steve Bannon, because Ice Cube’s partner is Jeff Kwatinetz, who is Steve Bannon’s former Hollywood business partner.. While trying to bribe Kwatinetz, Al-Rumaihi namedropped Michael Flynn. The same Michael Flynn that flipped to Robert Mueller.
Ice Cube to Robert Mueller in 3 degrees of separation. 2018 is weird.
Below is the text from Kwatinetz’s legal filing in January 2018, tying Al-Rumaihi to this whole mess.
Declaration of Jeff Kwatinetz
Gregaros & Gregarso, APC
On or around Jaunary 2018, Mr. Al-Rumaihi invited me on a hike. I found this unusual, but I assumed we would be talking about the money the Defendants owed the Big3 since I was consistently requesting Defendants complete the funding they owed and had set a rapidly approaching deadline.
This hike was after the Michael Wolff book regarding President Trump was published and it was reported that Rebekah Mercer, and the Mercer family had pulled support from Bannon.
During the hike, Mr. Al-Rumaihi stated to me that he wanted me to convey a message from the Qatari government to Steve Bannon.
Mr. Al-Rumaihi requested I set up a meeting between him, the Qatari government, and Steve Bannon, and to tell Steve Bannon that Qatar would underwrite all of his political efforts in return for his support.
I immediately let Mr. Al-Rumaihi know that I was offended by this rquest, that I was trying to run a basketball league and need our money paid, and I stated that neither I nor Steve Bannon would ever take, or even entertain the concept, of a bribe of any kind. I was appalled.
Mr. Al-Rumaihi laughed and then stated to me that I shouldn’t be naive, that so many Washington politicians take our money, and stated, “do you think [Michael] Flynn turned down our money?”
Again, I flatly rejected Mr. Al-Rumaihi and stopped the conversation and told him to never offend me again by bringing this up.
I did not relay the message to Mr. Bannon and never conveyed any offer of any kind, nor would I ever.
Apparently, in response to the lawsuit, the Qatari government has issued public statements distancing itself from Mr. Al-Rumaihi. Yet, Mr. Al-Rumaihi told me that he was a relative of the royal Al-Thani family, and that Emir was “like a brother” to him, and that the Sovereign Fund was involved in funding the Big3.
- Trump reportedly vents about the FBI raids of his lawyer Michael Cohen as often as ’20 times a day’
- Michael Avenatti threatens to sue Daily Caller reporters over ‘hit pieces’
Just a reminder that Fox News’ Tucker Carlson owns and runs Daily Caller.
- Uber rebuffed Michael Cohen’s consulting offer despite promises to share White House insight: report
Aside from the four companies that paid bribes, at least two others, Ford and Uber, were solicited by Michael Cohen. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that is barely scratching the surface. I don’t have many nice to say about Short Bus Saul Goodman, but he at least works hard. Nobody this corrupt, connected, diverse, and involved as Cohen could ever be called lazy. Sloppy, forgetful, unoriginal, and stupid, but not lazy.
- Mark Ko, of Demeter Direct, claims to only be a translator for Cohen
- Novartis’s Cohen Payment Is Subject of Swiss Prosecutor Talks
- Out of loopholes, Trump must disclose Stormy Daniels debt in next financial report
President Trump has a big decision to make. Unless he requests an extension, his personal financial disclosure report is due on Tuesday. Under the Ethics in Government Act, he has to disclose all liabilities that exceeded $10,000 at any time during calendar year 2017, even if he repaid them later that year. That includes his debt to Michael Cohen for the $130,000 payment Cohen made in October 2016 to adult film star Stormy Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford).
$20 says he files for an extension, then another, and another.
THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION
- One Year Into Russia Probe, Trump Gripes He Needs Better ‘TV Lawyers’
- The Mueller investigation is about to enter its 2nd year
- Mueller’s Probe is Even More Expansive Than It Seems
- ‘Buckle up’: As Mueller probe enters second year, Trump and allies go on war footing
A year in, and the only thing I’m absolutely certain of is that Mueller is months ahead of the rest of us. That, and this mess is far greater than any of us guessed at first. And that the scope of this is historic. And that I shouldn’t say “the only thing” before I count the points out.
- If Trump Is Laundering Russian Money, Here’s How It Works
- Suspicions, Demands and Threats: Devin Nunes vs. the Justice Dept. – The New York Times
- Russian firm accused of funding U.S. election trolling disputes Mueller charge
- Ukrainian politician behind controversial peace proposal to appear in Mueller probe
- Robert Mueller Subpoenas Ukrainian Politician to Testify Before Grand Jury
- Mueller Refutes Manafort’s Claim of Grand Jury Leaks by Government
The Ukrainian politician is Andrii Artemenko, and he was the one who allegedly handed a crazy-ass “peace plan” to Cohen to give to Trump.
THE ISRAELI EMBASSY
- Romney: ‘Religious Bigot’ Should Not Give Opening Prayer At Embassy
- U.S. Embassy opens in Jerusalem amid unrest in Gaza
- Most American Jews Do Not Want Trump to Move US Embassy to Jerusalem
- Jared Kushner is hyping a peace deal as Israel kills scores of Palestinian protesters during US embassy move to Jerusalem
- Jerusalem welcomes the new U.S. Embassy as Palestinians decry ‘hostile’ move
- Israelis kill dozens of Palestinians in Gaza protesting U.S. Embassy move to Jerusalem
- At least 55 dead, 1,200 wounded in Gaza protests as U.S. Embassy opens in Jerusalem
- The White House is pretending Kushner didn’t say Gaza protesters are “part of the problem”
COLD WAR 2.0
- Republican Sen. Marco Rubio warns: Trump’s reversal on China’s ZTE is a national security risk
- Rubio pushes back on Trump: ‘Crazy’ to allow ZTE to operate in US without tight restrictions
- President Trump Puts ‘America First’ On Hold To Save Chinese Jobs
- Trump’s U-turn on Chinese mega-firm ZTE damages U.S. power and credibility
- Former Obama aide ‘speechless’ at Trump reversal on ZTE
- US Bans ZTE From Buying Parts From American Companies for 7 Years
- Penalties against China telecom giant ZTE become a bargaining chip as White House, Chinese officials discuss potential trade deal
- Trump Indonesia project is latest stop on China’s Belt and Road | South China Morning Post
- White House can’t explain how Chinese financing of Trump-linked project doesn’t violate Constitution
- China Contributing $500 Million to Trump-Linked Project in Indonesia
- We now know why Trump suddenly reversed course on sanctions against a Chinese tech giant
Aside from a blatant violation of the Emoluments Clause, ZTE was accused and found to use American components in their phones, which were then specifically engineered to allow Chinese Intelligence to use them as listening devices.
Oh, it gets worse.
Ever wonder why you’ve never seen a ZTE phone at the AT&T store? Or the T-Mobile store? Or the Cricket store? Or Boost Mobile? Or as a burner phone from 7-11? They were mostly sold on military bases, where their primary customers were American soldiers.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Not only was ZTE busted for spying on American soldiers, but they were banned from sales in the United States for 7 years. Then, this morning, the Dotard tweets out that ZTE should be allowed back in the United States. A few hours later, news comes out that Trump Org took out $500 million in loans from the Chinese government.
All it takes for Trump to sell out American security is money. According to Dante, there’s a special place for traitors.
- US stealth fighters intercept Russian bombers off the coast of Alaska
- North Korea will open air space, invite media to cover dismantlement of nuclear test site
- Why are we taking Donald Trump’s Korea diplomacy seriously?
- The Russian authorities want to jail people for observing or even promoting Western sanctions — Meduza
WHITE HOUSE CHAOS
- Meghan McCain still waiting for public apology for White House aide’s comment about her father
- Inside the room: White House flare-up over McCain leak – Axios
- Aide told Meghan McCain she would apologize publicly for morbid joke
- The Trump administration is trying to turn the McCain death joke into a ‘leak’ scandal
- Sanders scolded staff for leak of White House official’s ‘dying’ McCain comment: report | TheHill
- President Trump just unveiled a new White House ‘faith’ office. It actually weakens religious freedom.
- Bolton says ‘it’s possible’ US will sanction European companies working with Iran
- Melania Trump undergoes kidney surgery
- Melania Trump hospitalized, undergoes medical procedure ‘to treat a benign kidney condition’
“I support people who are passionate about the second amendment. It is a right, but we know with all rights come responsibilities, with all rights come restrictions,” said Andrea Halperin of Moms Demand Action Orlando.
- Florida to monitor Broward election chief after judge finds ‘unlawful’ ballot destruction in Wasserman Schultz race
- Emma4Change: June March
- PRESS RELEASE: Gov. Fallin Vetoes Senate Bill 1212
- David Hogg: Oklahoma Vetoes Non-licensed Concealed Carry
- Kansas governor signs bill banning police officers from having sex during traffic stops | TheHill
- Dallas Restaurant That Defied N.R.A. Donates to ‘Gun Sense’ Group Expressing support for gun ownership with “reasonable” regulations, Ellen’s restaurant gives $15,000 in memory of five police officers killed at a 2016… nytimes.com
THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE
- Donald Trump and Sean Hannity Like to Talk Before Bedtime
- Alarming new revelations about Trump’s addiction to Fox News
- Trump Staffers Impersonate Each Other When They Leak
- White House Leaker Covers Tracks by Impersonating Coworkers
- Michael Avenatti has appeared on CNN and MSNBC 108 times since March 7, says Free Beacon | TheHill
- George Will just exposed Mike Pence’s Faustian bargain
- White House claims Palestinian deaths are ‘propaganda’
- A near-universal health-care plan that wouldn’t break the bank
- Ferguson, Mo., Activists Are Dying and It’s Time to Ask Questions
- The Real Reason Behind Recent Teacher Strikes — And Why They’re Likely to Continue
- Democrats Elizabeth Warren, Richard Blumenthal and Ron Wyden Demand Answers From AT&T and Novartis About Payments to Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen’s Firm
- Democrats to force vote Wednesday on net neutrality
- States are free to authorize sports betting, Supreme Court rules
Now it’s time to argue whether or not this clusterfuck is a sport.
GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD
- Report: DeVos dismantles team probing fraud at for-profit colleges
- Trumpism is fascism
- Kelly: It’s not cruel to separate undocumented immigrant families | TheHill
- Almost 1,500 Migrant Children Placed in Homes by the U.S. Government Went Missing Last Year
- Face facts: Immigrants commit fewer crimes than U.S.-born peers
- Legal Exemption from Work Requirements for White Welfare Recipients in Michigan?
- GOP rep: Trump wouldn’t last very long under torture | TheHill
- Michael Cohen maintains RNC role, despite ongoing controversies
- 911corlebra777: Sinepec, Rosneft, and Mike Pompeo
- Andrew Laufer on ZTE cell phones being sold at PX’s
- Riotwomennn: Thread on how we got here
- Asha Rangappa: The Moscow Project
- Lincoln’s Bible: How much?
- Spicy Mic: Glittering Steele and Cambridge Analytica
- Seth Abramson: Elevator Man
That’s it for today. Over the next couple weeks, I’m planning on taking things a little easy. I don’t like talking about myself or my family here, but let me just say that we’ve got a lot that we have to do by the end of June. That means that I can’t spend as much time writing each night.
I still plan on doing these posts each day, as well as a few others as time permits, it’s just for the time being, I can’t spend as much time here every night.
Thank you, and have a good one.
“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”
– Katy Tur