Daily Check-In 06/12/2018

Tuesday, June 12th.



U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller warned that Russian intelligence services have active “interference operations” in the U.S. and asked a judge to limit the pretrial evidence provided to a Russian firm indicted over meddling in the 2016 election.

Mueller asked a federal judge in Washington for an order that would protect the handover of voluminous evidence to lawyers for Concord Management and Consulting LLC, one of three companies and 13 Russian nationals charged in a February indictment. They are accused of producing propaganda, posing as U.S. activists and posting political content on social media as so-called trolls to encourage strife in the U.S.

The threat of public or unauthorized disclosure of evidence would help foreign intelligence services, particularly in Russia, in “future operations against the United States,” Mueller’s prosecutors wrote in a filing Tuesday.

A federal judge has ordered special counsel Robert Mueller to identify by Friday all the individuals and organizations involved in former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s alleged scheme to lobby on behalf of Ukraine without registering as a foreign agent under U.S. law.

Among the people Mueller will be required to identify to the defense are top European former politicians who took part in the influence campaign, as well as others whose testimony Manafort has been accused of trying to influence in recent months. Manafort’s alleged effort to shape the accounts of those people led to two new felony obstruction of justice charges last week.

The ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson Tuesday represents a rare courtroom win for Manafort’s defense, which is battling Mueller’s prosecutors in two different federal courts and faces two looming jury trials.

Prosecutors resisted the defense motion, but the judge’s decision is not likely to be significant since many of the names are well known to the defense and have been reported in the media.

For instance, former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi and former Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer have acknowledged some involvement in paid lobbying work for Ukraine. However, they have said they were not paid by Manafort.

Several prominent Russians, some in President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle or high in the Russian Orthodox Church, now have been identified as having contact with National Rifle Association officials during the 2016 U.S. election campaign, according to photographs and an NRA source.

The contacts have emerged amid a deepening Justice Department investigation into whether Russian banker and lifetime NRA member Alexander Torshin illegally channeled money through the gun rights group to add financial firepower to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential bid.

Justice Department officials dispute the recounting of the closed-door meeting detailed in the story, and Rosenstein now plans to “request that the House general counsel conduct an internal investigation of these Congressional staffers’ conduct” when he returns from a foreign trip this week, a Justice Department official said.
“The Deputy Attorney General never threatened anyone in the room with a criminal investigation,” the official said. “The FBI Director, the senior career ethics adviser for the Department, and the Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs who were all present at this meeting are all quite clear that the characterization of events laid out here is false.
“The Deputy Attorney General was making the point — after being threatened with contempt — that as an American citizen charged with the offense of contempt of Congress, he would have the right to defend himself, including requesting production of relevant emails and text messages and calling them as witnesses to demonstrate that their allegations are false,” the official added. “That is why he put them on notice to retain relevant emails and text messages, and he hopes they did so.”







A British public interest group has filed a lawsuit in a Mississippi court against two companies controlled by Arron Banks, the pro-Brexit donor, following allegations that the firms may have violated UK data protection rules in an attempt to sway the 2016 vote to leave the EU.

Fair Vote Project, a British activist group that is campaigning for changes to UK election rules, has launched the legal action against Eldon Insurance and a Bristol-based software development group, Big Data Dolphins. Fair Vote has asked a judge to permanently bar the firms from destroying any data that they might be holding in Mississippi.

At the heart of the complaint is an allegation that the companies may have used data that had been mined in the UK and combined it with information that had been collected from Eldon Insurance, which sells car insurance in the UK.

The suit further alleges that the data may have been brought to the University of Mississippi, where the companies sought to create their own version of Cambridge Analytica, the controversial firm that used data mined from social media networks to try to sway voters’ behaviour.

Fair Vote and the lead plaintiff in the case, a British resident called Kyle Taylor, have said in court filings that they want to determine whether any UK data was illegally transferred to Mississippi as part of the groups’ plans.





“Nuclear nonproliferation is a pillar of America’s national security.   We respect any serious and real diplomatic efforts to achieve that goal on the Korean peninsula.  Apparently, the President handed Kim Jong-un concessions in exchange for vague promises that do not approach a clear and comprehensive pathway to denuclearization and non-proliferation.

“In his haste to reach an agreement, President Trump elevated North Korea to the level of the United States while preserving the regime’s status quo.  The millions of families currently living in fear of nuclear weapons in the region deserve strong and smart leadership built on diplomacy and engagement with our regional partners and allies.

“The President’s marginalization of the vast expertise of the State Department and his habitual disparaging of our allies as demonstrated at the G7 Forum hinders a lasting, stable pathway to peace.”

”Honestly, I think he’s going to do these things. I may be wrong,” Trump said. “I may stand before you in six months and say, ‘hey, I was wrong.’ I don’t know that I’ll admit that but I’ll find some kind of an excuse.”



The South Korean military issued a statement to NBC News saying: “Regarding President Trump’s comment regarding ending of the combined military drills..We need to find out the exact meaning or intention behind his comments at this point.”

Historically, the US has asserted that the bilateral, planned, and transparent military drills are legal while North Korea’s nuclear program is not, so it would be blackmail to suspend them for Pyongyang.















This month, the state attorney general in Pennsylvania is expected to release an 884-page report that will detail decades of clerical sexual abuse and cover-ups by the Roman Catholic church in six of Pennsylvania’s eight Catholic dioceses. The report has not yet been made public, but has been shared with the bishops in the six dioceses: Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton.



The truth of the matter is that anyone who willingly declares themselves a Republican is aligning themselves with an administration whose official policy is to torment minorities, to empty the public purse both for private gain and for sheer cruel parsimony, to strip away healthcare from the afflicted and to comfort the wealthy.

It is high time, when you find yourself next at a dinner party with someone who has gone Trump, to smash your glass to shards and leave. It is time to push yourself away from the table. It is time to cease to behave with subservient politesse towards those who embrace barbarity with unfettered glee.

Politics have always been about the fates of others; it is the height of privilege to pretend that they are merely a game, or a supplement to identity. To be a Trumpist should mean earning the total condemnation of your peers. The counterrevolution against cruelty will not be accomplished through appeasement. There is no other way to proceed but to fight.

Read more: https://forward.com/opinion/402990/no-we-dont-have-to-be-friends-with-trump-supporters/






That’s it for Tuesday.

Expect more information about the investigation on Wednesday.  Several stories came out over night that could have future importance.

I didn’t post this last night, even though I was 90% done early in the day.  As I said on Monday, we had to put our cat to sleep, and to be honest, I was in no mood to do anything but sulk and cry.  Wednesday, I’m back in the lineup.


Thank you, and have a good one.


“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur




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