Friday, June 1st.
THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION
WASHINGTON — A close friend of Jared Kushner has come under scrutiny by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for his proximity to some key meetings between Trump associates and foreign officials, according to five people familiar with the matter.
Richard Gerson, a hedge-fund manager in New York, was in the Seychelles in January 2017, less than two weeks before President Donald Trump’s inauguration and around the time Trump associate Erik Prince secretly met with Russian and United Arab Emirates officials, including Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi, four of the people said.
While in the remote Indian Ocean island nation, Gerson met with Prince Mohammed — also known by his initials as MBZ — and communicated with a Lebanese-American businessman with close ties to the UAE, George Nader, who had organized the Erik Prince meeting, according to text messages Gerson sent at the time and a person familiar with the meeting.
Mueller’s interest in Gerson is another sign that he is examining connections between the UAE and Trump associates. Counterintelligence investigators have been scrutinizing UAE influence in the Trump campaign since before Mueller was appointed as special counsel, and the probe has continued in coordination with Mueller’s team, according to two people briefed on the investigation.
Surely this is the only crazy thing to come from this story, right?
Gerson had met Nader just weeks earlier when Trump officials, including Kushner, gathered for a secret meeting with MBZ at a Four Seasons hotel in New York, four people familiar with the meeting said. Trump’s incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn and chief political adviser Steve Bannon, as well as the UAE’s ambassador to the U.S., Yousef Otaiba, also attended the meeting.
The Four Seasons Meeting took place in December 2016, and served as the launching board for the Seychelles backchannel meeting.
The spokesman said Gerson’s involvement in the December meeting at the Four Seasons in New York was limited to escorting former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to the meeting
Tony Blair was at the December Four Seasons meeting?
Rick Gerson was Kushner’s man at the Seychelles meeting. He was at the Four Seasons meeting with MBZ in December, and was known to everyone involved.
I’m honestly not surprised that Kushner had someone at the meeting representing his interests. I’m amazed that it’s taken this long to hear anything about him.
Remember, George Nader has been a known cooperating witness since at least March. Everything he knows, Mueller knows.
- Robert Mueller’s Russia Probe Spent $4.5 Million From October to March, Way Below Trump’s ‘Witch Hunt’ Claim
- Trump’s spent far more going to Mar-a-Lago alone than the Mueller probe has cost
- President Trump reportedly pressured Attorney General Sessions to retake control of Russia probe on at least four occasions
- John Brennan: I will speak out until integrity returns to the White House
- Bombshell report reveals Trump could be indicted under seal without his knowledge
- Puerto Rico’s governor says there will be ‘hell to pay’ if officials withheld mortality data
- Americans viewed Hurricane Maria as if it was happening in another country
- Puerto Rico agency sues government to obtain death data
- On Trump’s watch, the single most deadly natural disaster in modern America
- Trump callously brags about Puerto Rico response, ignoring more than 4,600 deaths
- Stormy Daniels’s Lawyer Sought Help From Democrats in Fight With Trump
- Michael Avenatti: I Turned Down $200K from GOP Backers Looking to Hurt Trump
- Michael Avenatti: Trump Won’t Tweet at Me Because ‘He Knows I’ll Hand Him His Ass’
- Nixon 2.0? After Audio of Michael Cohen Threatening Reporter Emerges, Avenatti Says Trump Tapes ‘A Whole Different Level’
- New York’s acting AG: Trump undermining rule of law with D’Souza pardon
- A.G. Underwood And Acting Tax Commissioner Manion Announce Conviction Of Queens Attorney For Role In “Taxi King” Evgeny Freidman’s Theft Of Nearly $5 Million In MTA Taxes | New York State Attorney General
Freidman pled guilty recently, and is a cooperating witness against Michael Cohen. It looks like the lawyer who helped Freidman also flipped. I’d wage dollars to donuts that this is for taking down Cohen.
TARIFFS, COAL BAILOUTS, INSIDER TRADING
- America Declares War on Its Friends
- Macron Warns Trump: ‘Economic Nationalism Leads To War’
- Macron to Trump: Tariffs are ‘economic nationalism that will penalise everyone including the US’
- Republicans gobsmacked by Trump’s tariffs
- Schwarzenegger mocks Trump on coal bailout: Protect pagers, Blockbuster too
- Trump Is Preparing to Prop Up Unprofitable Coal Plants With ‘Emergency’ Subsidies
- Coal Barons Who Donated $1 Million to Trump’s Increasingly Suspicious Inauguration Fund May Get Huge Favor
- Trump breaks from decades of protocol with tweet on jobs report before its release
- Trump’s jobs report tweet in advance of release appears to have violated federal rules
The term for this is Insider Trading. How much do you wanna bet that he contacted some of his buddies like Carl Icahn?
- China’s ZTE was built to spy and bribe, court documents allege
- The very purpose of the Chinese tech company ZTE is to spy on other countries, a competitor alleges in new court documents
- ZTE Hired Trump Campaign Veteran One Day After US President Said He Might Help the Company Out; Two Weeks Later, a Deal Was Announced
And two weeks after it hired Bryan Lanza, an account manager at lobbying giant Mercury Public Affairson May 14, the White House announced that a tentative deal had been struck with ZTE to relieve the crippling restrictions, The Daily Beast reported on Friday.
Mercury Public Affairs is currently involved in the Manafort investigation for allegedly covering up his ties to Ukraine. A “lobbyist” from the very same firm knee deep in the Manafort case and Mueller investigation helped coordinate the ZTE deal.
TRUMP MEETS NORTH KOREAN SPYMASTER IN OVAL OFFICE
- Kim Yong Chol’s smile conceals his hard-line North Korean brain Secretary of State Mike Pompeo might be smiling, but be cautious of the good news coming out of the New York minisummit between Pompeo … washingtonexaminer.com
As if this wasn’t stupid enough…
- U.S. in Early Talks for Potential Summit Between Trump and Putin The White House is planning for a possible summit between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to people… wsj.com
WHITE HOUSE CHAOS
- Signs of sophisticated cellphone spying found near White House, U.S. officials say
- Drug access law Trump just signed will cripple FDA—senator is making sure of it
- Melania Trump’s absence continues, skipping Camp David weekend
- EPA’s Pruitt spent $1,560 on 12 customized fountain pens from Washington jewelry store
- APNewsBreak: Pentagon to take over security clearance checks
- “Climate change is real!!!” postcard was one of “threats” to Pruitt
- Government watchdog says White House is blocking its investigations
- Jared Kushner’s Father, Charles: Ethics Watchdogs Are ‘Jerks’
- Jared Kushner’s billionaire ex-con father claims ethics watchdogs are ‘jerks’ who want ‘poor, not successful’ people in government
- Grieving mother after meeting Trump: ‘It was like talking to a toddler’
- Texas Shooting Victim’s Mom: Talking to Trump ‘Was Like Talking to a Toddler’
- Trump “acted like a toddler, kept talking about arming teachers”, Texas school victim shooting mom says after meeting
- Santa Fe Victim’s Mom Challenges Trump on Gun Violence | PEOPLE.com
- Emma4change: Bill to modernize gun registrations
- How the NRA transformed from marksmen to lobbyists
COLD WAR 2.0
- ‘We found Russian hit-list of 47 people’, Ukraine tells allies
- Bill Browder: Inside the Arrest of ‘Putin’s Number One Enemy’ – Rolling Stone
- Spanish PM Rajoy forced out of office
THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE
- Rantt Rundown: Media Covers Celebrities’ Words Over 4,600 Puerto Rican Deaths – Rantt
- Calling an Administration Official a “Feckless Cunt” Is Not the Same as Racism
- Roseanne Tried to Use ‘Roseanne’ to Prove that Trump Voters Aren’t Racist. There Was Just 1 Problem.
- Kathy Griffin: Standing Up to Trump
GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD
- UN: US inequality reaching a dangerous level due to Trump’s ‘cruel’ measures
- Republicans are very mad that automated Google summaries tie them to Nazism
- Google listed “Nazism” as the ideology of the California Republican Party
- Kansas governor candidate chooses wife as running mate
Former state Sen. Jim Barnett announced that Rosie Hansen is his pick for lieutenant governor. Hansen is a Kansas native and a former foreign services officer who has been posted at several U.S. embassies overseas.
- A 64-year-old put his life savings in his carry-on. U.S. Customs took it without charging him with a crime.
- Illegal border crossings remained high in May despite Trump’s crackdown
- Facebook discrimination: Facebook, Amazon and hundreds of companies post targeted job ads that screen out older workers
- Outgoing Missouri governor signs ‘revenge porn’ law
- Congressional Candidate In Virginia Admits He’s A Pedophile
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
- Arizona case shows why Mormon bishops are not reporting sex abuse to police every time. That has a prosecutor complaining about the church’s lawyers.
- ‘Black lives don’t matter,’ lawyer says after jury awards $4 in police killing
PROGRESS IS PROGRESS
- Costco to boost its minimum wage to $14 an hour
- Banning Drug Offenders From Food Stamps Ended Up Backfiring, New Study Finds
- Register to Vote today: How to register to vote in every US state and territory
- IMSI Catchers Around White House Suggest Trump Is Spy Target | Observer
- Ale on Gerson
- Lizzie Oh Really: Thread on Jobs Report and Insider Trading
That’s it for today. Looks like we’ve got a new name in the game with Rick Gerson. Jared’s friend, and involved in multiple meetings, including the Seychelles meeting.
Rick’s role was very simple. He was Jared’s stand-in. There was too much heat on Jared for him to attend the meeting in the Seychelles less than two weeks before the inauguration. There was no way he could go to this meeting without half of the journalists in America finding out. Then, as soon as they found out where he was going, they’d look into who else was there, and BAM! backchannel blown.
Also, we might have a second cooperating witness against Michael Cohen for tax fraud in New York. I wouldn’t be surprised to see charges against Cohen by the end of Summer, but part of that could depend on if and when New York modifies their double jeopardy standards to exclude presidential pardons. To truly get around the possibility of a pardon, assuming Trump isn’t already under a sealed indictment (very likely) or at least an unindicted co-conspirator, the state double jeopardy exception would need to be stricken from law before charging Michael Cohen in Federal court. If Cohen were pardoned in federal court with the protections in place, his lawyers could easily argue that any following attempts to prosecute him in state court would be an ex post facto action.
Ex post facto is a latin term meaning after the fact, or retroactive. Per the U.S. Constitution, a person cannot be charged with a crime or punished for doing something that was legal at the time but made illegal afterward. For example, there were many things “people that I knew” did with computers in the early days of the internet that were legal then, but became illegal later on. Or like laws outlawing smoking in restaurants. A woman can’t be fined today for smoking in a restaurant 3 years ago when it was legal 3 years ago.
The New York gameplan probably goes as follows; State legislature passes the change to the legal code concerning pardons and double jeopardy. Shortly thereafter, Cohen gets charged with about 30 or 40 felonies. He then makes a choice. Cohen could either take his chances with a pardon, which only means that New York state would charge him with the same crimes, and probably more, or he flips on Trump. Considering he’s already looking at a 7 figure legal bill, he might flip for that reason.
Finally, we might be on the verge of the first Presidential Divorce while in office. Melania Trump hasn’t been seen in public in about 3 weeks, and the only peeps from here were tweets that didn’t fit her normal cadence. Multiple rumors have her in New York City, and her and her son are not going to Camp David this weekend. Not a glimpse in front of the press pool, not a single confirmed meeting. Hell, not even an Instagram or Twitter Video post from inside the White House.
I’m wondering, did she flip on Donald? A person cannot be compelled to testify against in New York, but that wouldn’t stop voluntary testimony.
I’ll try to write something this weekend, if just to stretch the writing legs. I’m not sure about what, but I have about 20 or 30 things I could attack. As far as the next couple weeks, I may have to disappear for a few days at some point. I’ll explain why when it happens, but in those cases, I’ll try to do a “What’d I miss?” post for those days.
Thank you, and have a good one.
“Without Journalists, it’s all just propaganda.”
– Katy Tur