Daily Check-In 05/16/2018

Wednesday, May 16th.  Remember yesterday (Daily Check-In 05/15/2018 ) I said the following:

Tomorrow’s post will be pretty light.  At least, that’s the plan.  Watch tomorrow be the day that shit goes sideways with Ice Cube capping some fool from QIA and Mike Pence gets busted for having an underage black boyfriend.

If that does happen, I don’t know if I should apologize or not.

Dude, I’m sorry.  Today’s been a little crazy.  And by “a little crazy”, I mean a complete and total clusterfuck.  By 4PM EST, we’ve got Cohen asking Qatar for bribes, Senate Judiciary dropping transcripts and evidence pertaining to the June 9 meeting, Senate Intel coming out saying that the Russians helped Trump, the Kremlin used the NRA to get to Trump, Trump admitting to paying Cohen for Stormy, and Mueller subpoenaing Roger Stone’s social media adviser.

In the evening, the Office of Government Ethics referred Trump’s financial disclosure to the Department of Justice for investigation as to whether this constitutes a felony, Chris Wylie from Cambridge Analytica testified before the Senate today, and Ronan Farrow broke that Michael Avenatti got Cohen’s financial info from a whistleblower who leaked one SAR because two other SARs disappeared.

Oh, by the way, there was a mole in the Trump Campaign.

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

The agents summarized their highly unusual interview and sent word to Washington on Aug. 2, 2016, two days after the investigation was opened. Their report helped provide the foundation for a case that, a year ago Thursday, became the special counsel investigation. But at the time, a small group of F.B.I. officials knew it by its code name: Crossfire Hurricane.

The name, a reference to the Rolling Stones lyric “I was born in a crossfire hurricane,” was an apt prediction of a political storm that continues to tear shingles off the bureau. Days after they closed their investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, agents began scrutinizing the campaign of her Republican rival. The two cases have become inextricably linked in one of the most consequential periods in the history of the F.B.I.

Crossfire Hurricane?  It’s the opening line to Jumpin’ Jack Flash.  “I was born in a Crossfire Hurricane.”

The first thing the FBI did was interview the Australian Ambassador about George Papadopoulos.  That alone is highly unusual.  Everything about Crossfire Hurricane was unusual, but above board.  Due to the sensitive nature, they couldn’t move too fast.  They did what they could, but had to tread cautiously.

I haven’t had time to go through this whole article, but this next paragraph confirms something I wrote about a while back.

The F.B.I. obtained phone records and other documents using national security letters — a secret type of subpoena — officials said. And at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said. That has become a politically contentious point, with Mr. Trump’s allies questioning whether the F.B.I. was spying on the Trump campaign or trying to entrap campaign officials.

That’s right, there was an informant for the FBI inside of the campaign.  I could play the game of “Who’s the Mole?” (I think it was someone on the Foreign Policy team, approached after George met with the Aussies), but it’s more important that the FBI knew what was going on for a long time.

Also, Carter Page is a Russian Asset.

Crossfire Hurricane began with a focus on four campaign officials. But by mid-fall 2016, Mr. Page’s inquiry had progressed the furthest. Agents had known Mr. Page for years. Russian spies tried to recruit him in 2013, and he was dismissive when agents warned him about it, a half-dozen current and former officials said. That warning even made its way back to Russian intelligence, leaving agents suspecting that Mr. Page had reported their efforts to Moscow.

Even the warning made it’s way back to Russia.

The Senate Judiciary Committee released the transcripts of the testimony of everyone involved with the June 9 meeting.

Here’s a link to the Senate Documents

Here’s the notes from Paul Manafort’s iPhone.

Bill browder
Offshore – Cyprus
133m shares
Companies
Not invest – loan
Value in Cyprus as inter
Illici
Active sponsors of RNC
Browder hired Joanna Glover
Tied into Cheney
Russian adoption by American families

Some of this is still unknown, but let’s break it down point by point.

  • Bill Browder was the driving force behind the Magnitsky Act.  He worked with Juleanna Glover, a former staffer to Vice President Dick Cheney.
  • Putin responded to the Magnitsky Act by banning Americans from adopting Russian orphans.  However, the only children that were eligible for adoption were disabled, terminally ill, or both.
  • Cyprus is a money laundering haven, and they serve as an intermediary between the United States and Russian money.
  • Shell companies are used to hide illicit payments, such as political donations to groups like the Republican National Committee.
  • Loans are easier to use for money laundering and holding leverage.  Direct investments don’t offer long term extortion like a loan does.
  • 133m shares of what?  That’s the one piece of the notes I don’t understand.

There are two main foci of the inquiry into the June 9 meeting.  What happened at the meeting itself, and what happened when the news of the meeting broke.  The following covers that a little bit.

Shortly after his election, President Trump’s spokeswoman had said that no campaign officials had dealings with Russians during the campaign. Excerpts from the newly released testimony show that the president’s lawyers and associates were anxious about any reports on Trump Jr.’s meeting, which contradicted that claim.

“[Trump’s lawyers are] concerned because it links Don Jr. to officials from Russia, which he has always denied meeting,” Goldstone wrote in an email to Emin Agalarov on June 26, 2017, a few weeks before the New York Times first reported on the meeting.

Ultimately, lawyers working for the Trump Organization crafted statements they asked other participants in the meeting to distribute, a move that could draw scrutiny from Mueller if it involved communicating with witnesses or otherwise hiding the true purpose of the meeting from investigators. .

Trump himself contributed to an initial statement about the meeting and released by his son, Trump Jr. told the committee. It misleadingly stated said the meeting had been “primarily” about the adoption of Russian children by Americans. The Kremlin halted adoptions in retaliation for the Magnitsky Act, the policy issue that appeared to be at the heart of Veselnitskaya’s presentation.

After Goldstone was interviewed by The Washington Post for the first time about his participation in the meeting in July 2017, the promoter tried to assure two Trump organization lawyers that he too had offered a similar account.

*“I said only that the meeting appeared to have been about adoption issues and was quickly terminated,” he wrote in an email at the time. Meanwhile, Goldstone secretly fretted about the scrutiny he predicted would follow.,

“I hope this favor was worth it for your dad,” he wrote to Emin Agalarov. “It could blow up.”

You’re goddamned right it blew up.

The Senate Judiciary Committee said Wednesday that the Russian government apparently used the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016.

Documents suggest the Kremlin used the NRA to offer the campaign a back channel to Moscow—including a potential meeting between Trump and Vladimir Putin—and might have secretly funded Trump’s campaign, the committee said. One of the Russians named in the report even bragged she was part of the Trump campaign’s communications with Russia, The Daily Beast reported last year.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has determined that the intelligence community was correct in assessing that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. election with the aim of helping then-candidate Donald Trump, contradicting findings House Republicans reached last month.

“Our staff concluded that the [intelligence community’s] conclusions were accurate and on point,” the panel’s vice chairman, Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), said Wednesday in a joint statement with Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), its chairman. “The Russian effort was extensive, sophisticated, and ordered by President Putin himself for the purpose of helping Donald Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton,” Warner continued.

Oh, that also happened today.  The Senate Intelligence Committee released part of their report.  Remember, when Trump goes to trial after impeachment, that trial happens in the Senate.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller has issued two subpoenas to a social media expert who worked for longtime Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone during the 2016 presidential election campaign.

The subpoenas were delivered late last week to lawyers representing Jason Sullivan, a social media and Twitter specialist Stone hired to work for an independent political action committee he set up to support Trump, Knut Johnson, a lawyer for Sullivan, told Reuters on Tuesday.

The subpoenas suggest that Mueller, who is probing Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, is focusing in part on Stone and whether he might have had advance knowledge of material allegedly hacked by Russian intelligence and sent to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who published it.

Soon, it’ll be Roger Stone’s time in the barrel.  I can’t wait to see him go down hard.

 

COHEN:  FOLLOW THE MONEY

Last week, Michael Avenatti supposedly had dinner with Ronan Farrow.  Now we know why.

Farrow interviewed the source of Cohen’s financial information; a law enforcement official with access to the FinCEN system.

That source, a law-enforcement official, is speaking publicly for the first time, to The New Yorker, to explain the motivation: the official had grown alarmed after being unable to find two important reports on Cohen’s financial activity in a government database. The official, worried that the information was being withheld from law enforcement, released the remaining documents.

First Republic Bank, where Essential Consultants banked through, filed 3 Suspicious Activity Reports on him, but only 1 remained in the FinCEN system.  The one that remained referred to the missing two.  It’s like if I link to a story that gets deleted after I post the article: it existed when I wrote it, but it’s gone.

SARs don’t disappear.  They don’t vanish, or walk away on their own.  While it’s possible in the fine print, in practice it just isn’t done.  This freaked the whistleblower out.  It scared them so much, they’re willing to risk 5 years in prison to make sure this sees the light of day.

There are two reasons these two SARs vanished; they were hidden by SDNY or Mueller’s office to keep from hurting the investigation, or someone removed them to keep them quiet for nefarious purposes.

Spicy says it better than I do.

There is an above zero percent chance these reports were hidden or removed to protect Cohen and Trump.  This isn’t done quickly, and database deletions leave a trail, especially in heavily audited government ones used by law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

If these were removed, three things can be inferred:

  1. It would leave a trail that would lead back to the perpetrators.
  2. The person making the order would have to be more loyal to Trump than to the United States, the Treasury Department, or the Rule of Law.
  3. This person doesn’t understand that the bank that filed the SAR keeps the original paperwork.

All of this leads to Steve Mnuchin, someone close to him, or another political appointee by Trump to the Treasury.  That’s a pretty short list.  Further, the change itself would likely require someone from IT making the change, and if this database has any auditing at all, then the tech that made the change left their fingerprints all over it.  Knowing IT people in government, they don’t scratch their asses without a form filled out in triplicate signed off by their superiors.

In other words, there’s a paper trail.

 

In financial disclosure documents filed this week, President Trump reported reimbursing his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, for an expenditure over $100,000 last year — an apparent reference to the $130,000 that Cohen paid to ensure the silence of an adult-film actress who claimed she had an affair with Trump.

Trump had previously said he did not know about the 2016 payment to Stormy Daniels, which Cohen said he made through funds he obtained through his home-equity line of credit.

The Office of Government Ethics, which released the documents, also sent a letter to the Justice Department saying the payment should have been disclosed.

Whether or not this is a slap on the wrist crime, or a full-blown felony depends on intent.  At this point, “oops, I forgot”, doesn’t cut it.

 

BLUE WAVE

Congratulations to Sara Innamorato and Summer Lee on their victories last night.  They defeated the Costa cousins in two different races in very progressive parts of Pittsburgh.  No Republicans are running in either district in the General Election.

Here’s a clip of him from the Colbert Report a few years ago.  Braddock, PA, is a former steel town in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, and he’s bent over backwards to make Braddock not a shithole.  It’s not great, but it’s come a long way.

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

From /u/Lady-vor

“This means that in addition to Facebook data being accessed in Russia, there are reasonable grounds to suspect that CA may have been an intelligence target of Russian security services…(and) that Russian security services may have been notified of the existence of CA’s Facebook data,” Wylie said in his written testimony. Wylie added that Cambridge Analytica “used Russian researchers to gather its data, (and) openly shared information on ‘rumour campaigns’ and ‘attitudinal inoculation’” with companies and executives linked to the Russian intelligence agency FSB.

What is “attitudinal inoculation”?

Attitude inoculation is a technique used to make people immune to attempts to change their attitudeby first exposing them to small arguments against their position. It is so named because it works just like medical inoculation, which exposes a person’s body to a weak version of a virus. Link

The inoculation effect in psychology (theory) is when one person tries to convince another (and/or themselves) to strengthen their particular belief(s) by warning them of the constant threats out there of them losing their belief. Thus putting the person on-guard to “attack”/”threats. Link

ETA:

Someone wrote, in 2016, an analysis of attitude inoculation and Trump voters:

https://socialpsyq.com/tag/attitude-inoculation/

So, while Russian trolls may have continued this…this is the The Brainwashing of Your Dad/Mom/Grandparents. It’s been going on a very long time. The innovation here is the targeting and attacking psychologically vulnerable candidates on social media, not the tactic itself.

 

FUCK YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is just the first step.  This bill still has to get past the House, then survive a likely veto, but it’s at least a start.

 

GOP:  THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for today.  We’re coming up on 1 year since Robert Mueller was named as the Special Counselor, and a ton of stuff drops all in one day.  It’s almost like we’re getting ready for something major to drop, like more indictments, or details on the bribes paid to Cohen.

I’m not sure what’s coming in the next few days, but I’m trying to take it easy the next couple days.

I’m sorry in advance for breaking the universe.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

 

 

 

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