Daily Check-In 08/30/2018

Thursday, August 30, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Part distraction, part disinformation, and part NPD, Trump is now claiming that the Lester Holt video was faked, or altered, or fudged, or selective edits to show him admitting that he fired Comey for the “Russia Thing”.  He did the exact same thing following the Billy Bush tape, claiming that was faked, too.

It’s interesting why he decided to pick now to make this claim.

 

COHEN

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

This statement, at least the headline, reminds me of the old phrase “A broken clock is right twice a day.”  I agree that those companies are too large and should be broken into smaller companies, but definitely not for the reasons Trump says.

For the young kids out there, clocks used to be analog and had these things called hands that would move.  When the clock would break, the hands stuck in the same spot.  Eventually, twice a day, the broken hands would match the current time, hence the phrase above.

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

McCAIN

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

ATTACKS AGAINST JOURNALISTS

 

 ENVIRONMENT

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

PREGNANCY

 

NFL

From this comment in the NFL Subreddit /r/nfl

A reminder, since there’s some misinformation that pops up in every single one of these threads:

• ⁠If Kaep win this, it does not immediately void the CBA.It doesn’t void it at all. There’s an almost infinitesimally small chance it would even open the door to the CBA being voided.

• ⁠This is a labor grievance as laid out in the CBA, similar to appealing a suspension.It is not currently a lawsuit against the league, like Brady and Elliot’s cases were.

• ⁠Just because there may be a legitimate reason that people wouldn’t hire him doesn’t mean collusion didn’t also happen.

editing to add

• ⁠If he wins this, he only wins “the amount by which the collusion damaged him,” i.e. whatever the impartial arbitrator thinks he should have earned had he been signed.That’s going to an especially the interesting part of the case, if it gets that far. My guess is it would be somewhere in the realm of the average cost of a serviceable backup’s contract, like a McCown or a Fitzpatrick.

• ⁠The burden of proof for Kaepernick is “a preponderance of the evidence,” or 51% of the evidence.This is the “more probable than not” phrasing that the league used in the Brady case.

• ⁠Kaep does not need to prove collusion between all 32 teams.He needs to prove it between any two of 33 parties: the 32 teams and the league office.Two teams agreeing that neither would sign him would constitute collusion. A single team agreeing with the league office would also constitute collusion.

• ⁠Whether or not Kaep turned down contracts is irrelevant to whether or not collusion happened.He could say no to thirty straight offers, but if the last teams in the league got together and said “well, no way in hell we’re signing this ingrate,” that would constitute collusion.

• ⁠Even if he turned down contract offers from all thirty two teams wouldn’t mean he wasn’t colluded against. If every team agreed not to offer him anything more than the veteran minimum, and they all did, and he turned them all down…that would still be collusion.

• ⁠It’s true that Kaep opted out of his contract with San Francisco, but he did so after being told explicitly by John Lynch that if he didn’t the team would be cutting him even later in the year.There was absolutely no reason for him not to opt out to get a head start on free agency.Regardless, that point is irrelevant — see above.

edit 2:

I’m aware that the New York Times article says his damages could be tripled.Based on the language in the CBA (defining compensatory damages as “the amount by which any player has been injured as a result of such violation” and allocating “compensatory damages shall be paid to the injured player or players” and “non-compensatory damages, including any fines, shall be paid directly to any NFL player pension fund, any other NFL player benefit fund [or other charities]”) implies to me that that’s not the case.It reads as though teams can be subject to escalators if they’ve been found guilty of collusion under this CBA at least once already.To my recollection, none have, so it’s unlikely that punitive damages would be awarded, and it’s certain that that money would not go to Kaep.

I’m not a lawyer, though, so I could be missing some nuance — in particular with regards to the Times’ reference to an “open hearing.”Feel free to set me straight.

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

DOXXING

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

#METOO

 

ELECTION 2018

Florida

 

Texas

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Thursday.  There are some rumors floating around about something big happening on Friday, but those are still just rumors.

I’m changing some of the section headings around and checking to see what stays, what gets moved around, and what goes.  Each one has a reason for being included, but there’s not always stories for it for the day.  Plus, with all of the headings, this post gets longer every day.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 08/29/2018

Wednesday, August 29th.

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

While it was common knowledge in the White House that counsel Don McGahn planned to depart after Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed, McGahn was “surprised” by Trump’s abrupt tweet announcing his departure, The Washington Post reported.

According to people familiar with the matter who spoke to the Post, McGahn was not angered by Trump’s tweeted, but rather saw it as the exact way he’d expect the Twitter President to behave.

“Of course it happened this way,” McGahn reportedly said, according to a person familiar with McGahn.

Don McGahn, the White House Counsel and the Mr. Smithers to Trump’s Montgomery Burns, is leaving the White House this fall.  This was known around the White House, but leave it to the Dotard to announce it to the world in some kind of “I’m firing him” tweet.  If it doesn’t look or smell bad, it should.

McGahn, while a crook, asshole, and racist, appears to have limits on what he’ll do for Trump.  He has stopped Trump from trying to pardon Manafort (Daily Check-In 08/27/2018), so I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump tries to get someone in that job that would let him do it.

 

When federal prosecutors charged Maria Butina with infiltrating the conservative movement on behalf of the Kremlin, questions began to swirl around a Washington think tank that had published her pro-GOP writing—and hosted then-candidate Donald Trump’s Russia-friendly first foreign-policy speech.

The executive director of the organization, the Center for the National Interest, insistedthat its interaction with Butina was “very limited.”

But previously unreported emails and direct messages between Butina and officials at the Center show her relationship with the think tank’s president—former Richard Nixon adviser Dimitri Simes—was closer than previously understood. The two didn’t just make plans to have dinner together. According to emails and Twitter DMs reviewed by The Daily Beast, Simes looked to use his connections with Butina and her associate, Russian Central Bank official Alexandr Torshin, to advance the business interests of one of the Center’s most generous donors.

The Center’s executive director, Paul Saunders, declined to comment on the record for this story, as did Butina’s lawyer. An attorney for the donor—Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the one-time CEO of insurance and financial services giant AIG—said he did nothing inappropriate. Indeed, there’s no evidence that Greenberg requested the outreach or was even aware of it.

It’s been about six weeks since Maria Butina was arrested, and we’re still figuring out how deep the honeypot goes. (Daily Check-In 07/16/2018).

 

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether a fugitive Malaysian financier laundered tens of millions of dollars through two associates and used the funds to pay a U.S. legal team that includes former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and a lawyer who represents President Trump, according to people familiar with the matter.

Jho Low, the Malaysian businessman, has been described in U.S. court filings as playing a central role in the alleged embezzlement of $4.5 billion from a Malaysian fund called 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

Malaysian authorities this week separately charged Low with money laundering in the case, which investigators suspect may be one of the biggest financial frauds in history. He has been moving around Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China in recent months, according to people with knowledge of his whereabouts.

Low was close to former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Rajak, who unexpectedly lost an election in May and was arrested last month in Kuala Lumpur. Najib has pleaded not guilty to charges of money laundering and criminal breach of trust in connection with the 1MDB scandal.

Time for 6 Degrees of Corruption…

Low worked for 1MDB, who hired Elliot Broidy to help kill the DoJ’s investigation into them.  Broidy, a convicted felon, was named Deputy Finance Chair of the Republican National Committee.  Broidy hired his fellow Deputy Finance Chair Michael Cohen to supposedly represent him to pay off his mistress.  Michael Cohen is… Michael Cohen.

 

A letter that Rudolph W. Giuliani, one of President Trump’s personal attorneys, sent to Romanian officials opposing a corruption crackdown in that country has drawn the attention of the State Department and renewed questions about his continued work for foreign clients while representing the president.

In his letter last week to Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and Premier Viorica Dancila, Giuliani criticized anti-corruption efforts in that country, expressing concern about “continued damage to the rule of law in Romania, committed under the pretext of law enforcement.”

Writing under the letterhead of his consulting firm, Giuliani Partners, the former New York mayor criticized the “excesses” of Romania’s anti-corruption agency and warned that recent moves could affect foreign investment.

Giuliani’s letter caused significant ripples in Romania and raised questions about his decision to work for foreign clients while serving as one of Trump’s chief attorneys dealing with the Russia investigation.

It also put him in opposition with the State Department, which has supported efforts to prosecute corruption in Romania. The United States joined with 11 other countries in June in a statement warning Romania not to take measures that would weaken its “ability to fight crime or corruption.”

Giuliani received a call from State Department officials this week about his letter, he said in an interview Wednesday.

Here’s a gentle reminder that Giuliani has not filed his work for Romania under the FARA Guidelines.  Ask Paul Manafort about how being an unregistered lobbyist for a foreign power worked out for him.

[N]ew documents show that American bank examiners delved deeper into the embassy’s financial activity than was previously known — and reveal why they flagged two of the transactions as suspicious.

The first, made just 10 days after the US presidential election in 2016, was a $120,000 lump-sum check to then-ambassador Sergey Kislyak that was twice as large as any payment he’d received in the previous two years.

The second, just five days after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, was a blocked attempt to withdraw $150,000 in cash that a bank official feared was meant for Russians the US had just expelled from the country.

In their investigations into 2016 election interference, special counsel Robert Mueller and the FBI are scrutinizing the financial activity by the Russian embassy, according to three federal law enforcement sources with direct knowledge of the matter. Last November, BuzzFeed News began revealing suspicious embassy transactions, including a $29,000 wire transfer to the embassy’s US bank account to “finance election campaign of 2016”; $325,000 in payments to the Russian Cultural Centre in Washington; and $2.4 million paid to small home-improvement companies controlled by a Russian immigrant living in Virginia.

Hmm… sounds like Money Laundering.  Better questions are who was the money from, and what was it for?

The decision puts to rest weeks of public hand-wringing by his wife, Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos, who has been acting as an informal spokeswoman for her husband. She said in an interview with ABC News earlier this month that her husband was strongly considering backing away from the agreement he struck with Mueller that led him to plead guilty to lying to the FBI.

Good move George.  You just saved yourself from a world of pain. (Daily Check-In 08/16/2018)

 

COHEN

A portion of voters for President Donald Trump—a small portion, but a portion nonetheless—said they would have changed their vote if the Stormy Daniels affair allegations had surfaced the week before the 2016 election, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

The survey from YouGov/The Economist asked a series of Daniels-related questions, including: “If the week before the 2016 Presidential election you had heard a news story in which a porn star claimed she had an affair with Donald Trump just after Melania Trump had given birth to their son, would that have changed your vote for President?”

Five percent of respondents who voted for Trump said, “Yes, I would have voted differently,” according to the surveyEighty-nine percent of Trump voters, however, said they would have voted the same. Seven percent of Trump voters responded they weren’t sure if their vote would have changed in that hypothetical universe.

That’s what the payment to Stormy Daniels was worth.  5 percent.

5 percent might not sound like much, but in one of the “closest” elections in history, 5 percent changes the score completely.

Using the figures from the 2016 Election, let’s have some fun.  Let’s first look at all of the states that Trump won with less than a 5 percent margin of victory (MOV), and their Electoral Votes (EV).  And Georgia, because it was very, VERY close to that threshold.

  • Arizona: 3.55% MOV, 11 EV to Trump
  • Florida: 1.20% MOV, 29 EV to Trump
  • Georgia: 5.13% MOV, 16 EV to Trump
  • Michigan: 0.22% MOV, 16 EV to Trump
  • Nebraska 2nd District: 2.24% MOV, 1 EV to Trump
  • North Carolina: 3.66% MOV, 15 EV to Trump
  • Pennsylvania: 0.72% MOV, 20 EV to Trump
  • Wisconsin: 0.76% MOV, 10 EV to Trump

That’s 118 Electoral Votes.  Remember, the election wen 306 to 232 in Trump’s favor, and 270 are needed to win the election.

Now, let’s say that 5 percent of Trump voters decided to not vote for him because the Stormy Daniels news breaks withing 2 weeks of the election.  They don’t vote for Hilary, but they don’t vote for Trump.  What do those numbers look like?

  • Arizona: 1.14% MOV, 11 EV to Trump
  • Florida: 1.28% MOV, 29 EV to Clinton
  • Georgia: 2.66% MOV, 16 EV to Trump
  • Michigan: 2.20% MOV, 16 EV to Clinton
  • Nebraska 2nd District: 0.12% MOV, 1 EV to Clinton
  • North Carolina: 1.19% MOV, 15 EV to Trump
  • Pennsylvania: 1.73% MOV, 20 EV to Clinton
  • Wisconsin: 1.64% MOV, 10 EV to Clinton

With just 5 percent of Trump voters not voting for Trump, that takes away 4 states and 1 congressional district from Nebraska from hin and gives them to Clinton.  76 Electoral Votes.  Moving 76 from Trump to Clinton makes the new total 230-308 in favor of Clinton.  Hell, even just a 2 percent change flips Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, giving Clinton the victory.

Now, let me qualify this… this math assumes 5 percent in each state or district, nothing like all of them from California, Illinois, or New York.  There would bound to be some fluctuation from state to state, but this also assumes that not a single one of those 5 percent would vote for Hilary Clinton.  And it also assumes that Russian wouldn’t pull even more last minute shenanigans against her.

This is why Cohen’s plea deal is so disastrous for Trump.  It shows that her payment influenced the campaign and swayed the election in Trump’s favor.  This was never about sex, it was about whether or not the payment benefited the campaign.

 

A second Trump Organization employee discussed a potential immunity deal with the federal prosecutors who charged Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, according to people familiar with the matter.

That employee ultimately did not receive immunity after prosecutors in the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York decided against granting such protection. The person was not called to testify before the grand jury, the people familiar with the matter said.

The employee’s identity couldn’t be determined by CNN. Spokespeople for the US Attorney’s office and Trump Organization declined to comment.

This has really got to chap Trump’s ass.  Not only did his CFO flip, but we wasn’t the only person who talked with the government about a deal.

I see two reasons why this deal didn’t happen.  Either this person didn’t have enough of value, they didn’t have Weisselberg yet and once they got Allan, they no longer needed this person.

That is terrible for Trump.  That means there are multiple people that can corroborate Cohen’s story, and that even more people are in legal jeopardy and could flip on him.

 

Trump Tower

 

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

FBI Building Interference

 

China Bullshit

 

IMPEACHMENT AND INDICTMENT TALK

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

IMMIGRATION

 

PUERTO RICO

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

SCOTUS

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

The United States Postal Service has released the entire federal security clearance application of a former CIA officer running for Democratic Congressional seat, in what experts say is a highly unusual and perhaps unprecedented move, given the extensive, highly personal nature of the information contained in such documents.

In an interview with the New York Times published Tuesday, the former officer, Abigail Spanberger, accused the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan, of improperly obtaining the document, and suggested that the Trump administration may have leaked the information for partisan purposes.

But BuzzFeed News can confirm that an unredacted copy of the federal security clearance application was obtained by America Rising, a research group allied with the Republican Party, through what the organization believed was a response to its July 9 Freedom of Information Act request from the US Postal Service’s human resources section. Once America Rising obtained the documents it then shared it with its client, the Congressional Leadership Fund.

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS

 

GAY CONVERSION “THERAPY”

 

ELECTION 2018

 

WEED

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT OF THE DAY

 

RUMOR MILL

 

 

That’s it for Wednesday.  I’m looking forward to a nice, long weekend.  I need to spend some time recuperating. At some point in the last week, I injured my back.  It’s not the first time, it won’t be the last, but I need to spend a day or two lying down with an ice pack strapped on.

Like I said earlier this week, I want to write a piece about Michael Cohen being the linchpin of this whole operation, and who’s connected to him.  Not only is he the most connected person in this whole process, but as the fixer he knows all of the dirty shit Trump did over the years.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 08/28/2018

Tuesday, August 28th, 2018.

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

AUB’s success came despite the Russia Central Bank’s 2006 warning against doing business with AUB. The key to overcoming allegations of financial impropriety? Installing former American officials — specifically onetime GOP presidential candidate Bob Dole, as well as former senator J. Bennett Johnston — on its board.

While Dole’s involvement with the bank didn’t generate much coverage in the United States, it played a seminal role in revealing just how easily supposedly pro-democracy American officials could be bought. As one former Kyrgyz official told ThinkProgress about Dole, “I remember being disgusted by how cheap U.S. politicians [were] on sale.”

For years, it’s been a mystery how and why Dole ended up joining AUB’s board. Not anymore. ThinkProgress spoke with Eugene Gourevitch, one of the key players in AUB’s operations, about Dole’s role with the bank. Described by Bloomberg as a “finance whiz” — and identified by Foreign Affairs as Kyrgyzstan’s “premier financier” — Gourevitch, an American citizen, was sentenced in 2014 on fraud charges stemming from his work in Kyrgyzstan.

Gourevitch — who was recently released from prison — described to ThinkProgress how Dole, who didn’t respond to ThinkProgress’s request for comment, first joined the bank’s board, how few questions Dole asked about the bank’s operations, and what that said about the state of affairs in Washington.

The story about Dole was this: Back in 2006, the Russian Central Bank issued a letter basically instructing its client banks to suspend all operations with AUB because AUB was involved with an [illegal] imports scheme. The Western partners that AUB had, they came running to us saying, “We can’t possibly continue clearing your dollar and Euro transactions, because even though this is Russia, it just doesn’t look good on us to continue doing this.” We had a brainstorm and said, “Well, what is it we can do to sort of fight back against this?” One of the ideas that we had was to bring in, since we had U.S.-based shareholders, a U.S. consulting company to see if there was anything we can to do to sort of reassure Western partners.

We brought in [U.S.-based PR firm] APCO Worldwide, and APCO Worldwide already had a reputation for taking on risque clients. We approached them, and their recommendation was, “Well, why don’t we get somebody on your board who’s really a heavyweight and who will sort of stand up and say that the bank is a squeaky clean institution and that it’s doing absolutely nothing wrong, etc., etc.” We asked who they could get, and they started throwing around names that we honestly thought there was no way they could get. My feeling was that there was absolutely no way any of these reputable people would ever get involved with a bank in a small country, and I certainly wouldn’t expect a former presidential candidate to even consider it.

But I didn’t know how Washington worked, and that people are basically willing to sell their reputation to the highest bidder, which we now keep seeing again and again and again.

What really surprised me, jumping ahead a bit, was how little understanding the senators and the professionals at APCO had about anything having to do with the banking business. And I like Dole — he’s obviously a war hero, and it’s not like I have anything personally negative to say about him. But there was this lack of even the most basic curiosity about what we do, even just as simple as asking, “How is this Central Asian bank able to generate the money to pay me what they pay me?”

Dole’s and Johnston’s job was they had to show up in [Kyrgyzstan] once or twice a year, and we had to charter a private plane and bring their whole entourage there. We would also show up and have a board meeting in Washington once in a while, and come there, and we’d bring the financial reports and presentations, but that was all. And the senators would pat us on the back and congratulate us on doing a tremendous job, to keep doing it. It was all this fluff.

At first, there was just a sense of disbelief — when [they] brought up Dole’s name, our jaws universally dropped. We thought, like, maybe APCO can get some former junior congressman no one had heard of — but they said Dole would listen. But then they brought him in, and the guy didn’t ask any questions. My expectation was Dole would say, “You guys are all fucking insane, how dare you even suggest this, don’t you know who I am.” And then when I met him, and he looked at the presentation and was open to it, it was just a revelation. It was absolutely surreal.

With Dole, it was like if I was invited to join the board of an aerospace engineering firm. I could pretend to know what was going on, but I wouldn’t really. It was the same thing with Dole. He had no expertise in banking or Central Asia. In my opinion, he was there for the money.

There’s always been this weird, dangling thread that’s hung off this tale like that one dangling string from the collar of a new shirt from the discount bin at Penney’s.  And, just like tugging on that thread unravels everything, asking this question brings down the entire facade of this operation.

Why was Bob Dole on the Board of Directors for a Kyrgyzstan bank that was so corrupt even Russia noped the fuck out of there?  Money.  A truckload of money.  Enough money that a former Senator and Presidential candidate didn’t even ask questions as to how the bank makes money, wants him, or can afford him.  He’s the face of legitimacy endorsing the lousy product.  He’s Krusty the Clown, and that bank is the Krustyburger franchise that sells deep fried rat.

Manafort’s trial showed his connections to AUB, and in turn their connections to Bob Dole.  That name stuck out like a sore thumb.  That’s like hearing about the cops raiding a Meth Den and finding out that the High School Principal was in the building when they showed up.  The first question you ask “what the fuck is that he doing there?”

Turns out, he was there for money.  But digging into this instance of someone cashing out by unethical means digs up a hornet’s nest of shadiness.  Dole was hired by the bank after an audit was performed by an industry leader named Kroll’s, but Kroll’s didn’t do a full audit because they were only hired to audit one portion of the company, and only that portion was audited because Dole was joining, and Dole joined because of Kroll’s, and so on.  They’re all giving each other plausible deniability.  A said B said X was clean, B said C said X was clean, and C said A said X was clean, but no one actually looked at X.  It’s like if the Krustyburger from earlier only had the freezer inspected by the Health Department because Krusty showed up and asked for the freezer to be inspected because it was a new freezer and the installer wanted to impress Krusty, but everyone closed their eyes and said the rest of the place was clean because the freezer worked.

This raises several questions.  How many of these sweetheart deals where ex-politicians serve on company boards are dirty AF and only using them to gussy up their image?  How many have other problems under the surface?  How many companies are involved in this whitewashing game?

 

According to two people familiar with his trip across the pond who requested anonymity to discuss the chairman’s travels, Devin Nunes, a California Republican, was investigating, among other things, Steele’s own service record and whether British authorities had known about his repeated contact with a U.S. Justice Department official named Bruce Ohr. To that end, Nunes requested meetings with the heads of three different British agencies—MI5, MI6, and the Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ. (Steele was an MI6 agent until a decade ago, and GCHQ, the United Kingdom’s equivalent of the National Security Agency, was the first foreign-intelligence agency to pick up contacts between Trump associates and Russian agents in 2015, according to The Guardian.)

A U.K. security official, speaking on background, said “it is normal for U.K. intelligence agencies to have meetings with the chairman and members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.” But those meetings did not pan out—Nunes came away meeting only with the U.K.’s deputy national-security adviser, Madeleine Alessandri. The people familiar with his trip told me that officials at MI6, MI5, and GCHQ were wary of entertaining Nunes out of fear that he was “trying to stir up a controversy.” Spokespeople for Alessandri and Nunes did not return requests for comment, and neither did the press offices for MI5 and MI6. GCHQ declined to comment.

If this sounds familiar, Devin’s aides tried the same thing with Christopher Steele last summer.  It’s not uncommon for the head of the Intelligence Committee to meet with British Intelligence, but it is highly unusual that it’s for a dirt digging mission against an American bureaucrat, and even more unusual that said head can’t meet with anyone higher up than a mid-level manager.

Pace might be on to something.  Check his statement in the Rumor Mill.

 

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

How Christian

 

Google

 

GSA

 

 

IMPEACHMENT AND INDICTMENT TALK

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

PUERTO RICO

 

McCAIN

 

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

This is not the first time that Giuliani has copped publicly to the game he’s playing. He has admitted that he aims “to attack the legitimacy of the investigation” and said he’s mostly preparing for the potential impeachment battle lying ahead — given that it appears Mueller doesn’t believe he can indict a sitting president. “It is for public opinion, because eventually the decision here is going to be impeach, not impeach,” Giuliani said in May.

But the latest comment is especially telling. Giuliani isn’t just saying that the investigation is illegitimate — as he has many times before — or that he’s preparing for the after-action. He’s admitting that job No. 1 is to undermine the man in charge of it. It’s the end that justifies all the unholy means. It’s the thing that makes him a good lawyer for his client.

It’s often said that politics ain’t beanbag, and that’s true. We should probably expect that a lawyer like Giuliani would have this goal, and it’s certainly what Trump demands of his lawyers. But what’s remarkable here is the wager that Giuliani has placed on that whole strategy, his admission that it is all just a strategy and the cost at which it may come for him personally.

Giuliani’s defense of himself isn’t, “What I’m saying is just the truth,” but instead, “What I’m saying is working because it’s tearing down my opponent,” who happens to be a respected longtime law enforcement official. It’s a uniquely Trumpian philosophy, so perhaps it’s only appropriate that it’s become Trump’s chief line of defense in an increasingly embattled presidency.

Can we PLEASE ignore Rudy now?

 

SCOTUS

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

STUDENT LOANS

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS

 

#METOO

 

ELECTION 2018

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE…

Take the time to watch this.  It is funny as fuck.

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Tuesday.  It’s a little light on some of the extras, but that’s what happens from time to time.

One thing I’m absolutely thrilled about was Rachel Maddow’s A block.  Instead of starting off with election coverage, she went into explicit detail about Bruce Ohr’s history, and focused quite a bit on his work against Russian Mafia Boss of Bosses Semion Mogilevich.  Semion’s name is getting air time, and not just on any show, but on Rachel Fracking Maddow.  He’s now tied to this mess.  If there’s one thing he hates, it’s exposure, and being prominently featured on the opening segment of the most watched cable news program in America sure isn’t helping him keep a low profile.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 08/27/2018

Monday, August 27th, 2018.

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

The talks between the defense and prosecutors occurred last week as the Virginia jury was deliberating, people familiar with the matter told the Journal. The newspaper said it was unclear what issues Mueller raised or what terms for a potential plea might have been proposed.
Representatives for Manafort and Mueller declined to comment to the Journal.

Here’s the thing when it comes to making a deal with prosecutors; you have to have something they want and don’t already have.  Rick Gates likely gave them everything already anyway.  Whatever Manafort has that Gates doesn’t, like personal conversations with Trump or with Russian Oligarchs, he has to be willing to give it up.

 

WASHINGTON — When a lawyer for one of Russia’s most powerful reputed crime bosses arrived at F.B.I. headquarters one day around 2006, he wanted to cut a deal. The Russian, Semion Y. Mogilevich, had been indicted three years earlier by the department on charges of defrauding a company outside Philadelphia out of $150 million and could not travel for fear of arrest.

As the lawyer made his pitch, a supervising F.B.I. agent and a senior career Justice Department official, Bruce G. Ohr, both listened intently, according to a former bureau official who described the meeting. The case was significant for American law enforcement. It had made headlines and laid the groundwork for Justice Department efforts to combat Russian organized crime overseas.

Finally, the F.B.I. agent spoke. No deal, he said; Mr. Mogilevich must surrender. Mr. Ohr said little, but his unwillingness to negotiate was signal enough: The Justice Department would not compromise with the Russian mafia.

In nearly three decades at the Justice Department, Mr. Ohr has made a career of supporting and facilitating important cases that targeted Russian organized crime. Now he is a target of President Trump, who has put his security clearance under review and attacked him publicly, and allies. They have cast Mr. Ohr and his wife — who worked as a contractor at the same research firm that produced a damaging dossier of information about Mr. Trump — as villains, part of a pro-Clinton cabal out to destroy the president.

But Mr. Ohr, 56, is far from corrupt, friends and former colleagues said. An experienced law enforcement official, he has a deep understanding of the underworld of Russian organized crime, they said, including raising concerns about at least one oligarch whose name has resurfaced amid the scrutiny of contacts between Trump associates and Russia.

As part of this work, Mr. Ohr met a British spy who specialized in Russia, Christopher Steele, and the two men developed a bond based on their shared expertise. Mr. Steele went on to investigate ties between Mr. Trump and Russia for the same research firm, Fusion GPS, where Ms. Ohr was a contractor.

Those connections have upended Mr. Ohr’s once relatively anonymous life, dragging him into the maelstrom of the Russia investigation. Justice Department officials transferred Mr. Ohr, an associate deputy attorney general, to a less powerful post last year after learning about his contacts with Mr. Steele and the scope of his wife’s work. If he loses his security clearance, he would probably be forced to leave federal law enforcement after nearly three decades.

“Until 9/11, organized crime was one of the main priority criminal programs at the Justice Department,” said Mr. Lowrie, who retired in 2008. “Russian organized crime was a focus. Bruce knew a lot of the Russia stuff and traveled there.”

Mr. Ohr’s section supported the 2000 prosecution of Pavlo Lazarenko, the former prime minister of Ukraine, who was convicted of money laundering, wire fraud and extortion in a case brought by the office of the United States attorney in San Francisco at the time, Robert S. Mueller III, who is now the special counsel.

Mr. Ohr was a manager, not a litigator, who built bridges with law enforcement agencies around the world, former Justice Department officials said. He sent top deputies to Hungary to root out the nascent Russian mob in the early 2000s. F.B.I. agents viewed the commitment as a sign of his seriousness about combating Russian organized crime.

In 2006, Mr. Ohr was part of a group of government officials who revoked the visa of Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire and aluminum magnate. Officials were concerned that Mr. Deripaska might try to come to the United States to launder illicit profits through real estate, a former law enforcement official said.

Mr. Deripaska, a close ally of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, has been tied to the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was convicted last week of tax and bank fraud. In 2016, Mr. Manafort offered private campaign briefings to Mr. Deripaska, raising concerns about the prospect of Russians wielding influence inside the White House. In April, the United States imposed sanctions on Mr. Deripaska.

In 2007, Mr. Ohr met Mr. Steele, who was still with MI-6, the British spy service, according to a former senior American law enforcement official who knows both men. Both governments approved their contacts, the former official said.

Mr. Ohr moved on to other senior jobs, starting in 2010 as counsel for international relations in the Justice Department’s transnational organized crime and international affairs section, where he bolstered partnerships with foreign law enforcement agencies. In 2014, he became the director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces, distributing grant money to bolster prosecutorial work.

Bruce Ohr, everyone.  The mid-level DOJ official who has fought against the Russian Mafia for the better part of 30 years, and according to Cult45 Public Enemy #1.

Think about this for a second.  Trump’s Enemies List includes FBI Agents, Lawyers who investigated Russia, a former spy, members of the Intelligence Community, and a Politician who connected all of these people together.

Also, we’re finally getting Semion Mogilevich’s name in the paper.  He is the Boss of Bosses in Russian organized crime, and runs Moscow.  If there is one person that could control Putin, it’s this guy.  Think of every shady, illegal, violent, and disgusting thing ever associated to a Russian criminal, and it all ties back to Semion.

Fuck Glenn Greenwald with a rusty spiked dildo.

 

McCAIN

Here’s the short, short version of Monday’s events at the White House…

The White House, like the rest of Washington, flew the flag at half-mast out of respect for John McCain.  Trump is petty bitch who ordered it back to full height.  Everyone called him out, including the American Legion.  Trump cracked like a bitch and “ordered” it lowered back to half-mast.  Fox News will say some shit like “John McCain deserved it” or “Trump’s not an asshole for this”.

Fuck him and anyone who defends Trump on this.  If anyone ever tries to pull that “He loves the troops” bullshit ever again, show them this.  Remind them of how Trump “honored” the memory of a Navy Veteran, POW, and Senator.

 

COHEN

$210,000 is a slap on the wrist.  Meanwhile, they evicted dozens, if not hundreds of people from their homes illegally.  Unless this is used to establish greater criminal charges, I’m pissed about this.

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

After Michael Cohen’s plea deal last week, Donald Trump spiraled out of control, firing wildly in all directions. He railed against “flippers” in a rambling Fox & Friends interview, and lashed out on Twitter at Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Justice Department, and Robert Mueller.  In the wake of his outbursts, White House officials have discussed whether Trump would listen to his closest New York City friends in an effort to rein him in. Two sources briefed on the matter told me that senior officials talked about inviting Rudy Giuliani and a group of Trump’s New York real-estate friends including Tom Barrack, Richard LeFrak, and Howard Lorber to the White House to stage an “intervention” last week. “It was supposed to be a war council,” one source explained. But Trump refused to take the meeting, sources said. “You know Trump—he hates being lectured to,” the source added. (Spokespeople for LeFrak and Lorber say they have no knowledge of a meeting. A spokesperson for Barrack didn’t comment.)

Trump is self-destructing.  Not that any of this is a surprise to anyone paying attention, but he’s now trapped in his own bubble with the walls closing in.  He’s lashing out at everyone and everything, unsure about what to do, but convinced he needs to do something, without realizing that any action he does will only make the situation worse.  He can’t sit still and let things work themselves out, or let the experts do the work.  He has to do something, anything, because in his broken, feeble little mind, he’s the only one smart enough to do anything to fix his problems.

Take the issue with trying to pardon Paul Manafort.  I’ve gone into detail before about why that’s a bad idea, (GTKYG-Pardon Limitations), and all of the lawyers and smart people in the White House agree with me that Trump’s attempts to continue down this path are a bad idea.  Trying to swing a pardon around like a hammer will break his presidency, but he can’t help himself.  He won’t listen to anyone that doesn’t agree with him, and he’s too focused on himself to see that what he’s asking his lawyers to do will ruin their lives.

 

 

IMPEACHMENT AND INDICTMENT TALK

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

SCOTUS

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

The FBI and Capitol Police want to talk with Rep. Maxine Waters’ 2018 Republican opponent about a fake letter he posted to Twitter that falsely indicated the congresswoman wants to resettle tens of thousands of refugees in her Los Angeles district.

The Republican candidate, Omar Navarro, said he will meet with FBI agents at his California campaign office Wednesday at their request.

 

In December, Waters formally asked the FBI and Capitol Police to investigate the letter,which appears to be on Waters’ House office stationery and includes her signature.

 

It is a federal crime to impersonate a federal official and misuse a federal seal.

Navarro told The Times after Waters filed the December complaint that someone he did not know sent his campaign the letter on Facebook, and he did not vet whether it was real before putting it online.

 

“I don’t know why they are looking into me since I’m not the one who fabricated the letter,” Navarro said Monday. He said he has not had contact with the person who sent him the letter since December.

 

Navarro has not deleted the tweet from his account and it continues to be retweeted, totaling more than 800 times as of this week.

 

He reacted online to the FBI meeting Monday, tweeting, “Let’s get this straight I tweet a letter which says Maxine Waters wants to bring 41,000 Somali refugees. I only tweet according to this document asking a question. Now the FBI is on me for her complaint. She threatens the president and his supporters and no investigation on her.”

Really?  This ignorant mother fucker wants to play the victim card?  Really?

Let’s start with him saying that he was given this forged letter and didn’t confirm the contents.  That alone should disqualify him from running a fucking Wendy’s Drive-Thru window, let alone running for Congress.

Next we get to him still hosting it, even though it’s a proven fake.  Making a fake letter on Congressional letterhead is illegal, but hosting a copy of the fake might not be, but he’s still disseminating it AFTER it’s been proven to be a fake.  Any credibility this fucktard ever had is gone.

Then he wants to pull a case of Whataboutism because Maxine was mean to the Orange One and recommended peacefully calling out the racist, traitorous pieces of shit for what they really are, while his idol has literally called for his supporters to physically attack people they don’t like.

Fuck this guy.  I hope the FBI break his fucking spirit.

 

PRIESTS

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

ELECTION 2018

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Monday.  I’d like to say I’m glad it was a little “slower” of a newsday, but I can’t.  Right now I’m sitting in pain with a jacked up back, and everything hurts.  It happens from time to time.

My next couple pieces, outside of the Daily’s, should be about Michael Cohen and the differences between the Democrats and Republicans.  Not just the policy points, but the whole lawlessness and corruption vs. holding assholes accountable thing.  That’s been overlooked recently.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 08/24/2018

Friday, August 24th, 2018 and the weekend.

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Manafort

Back in 2006, the U.S. landed a bunch of Marines in Ukraine as part of a NATO goodwill mission.  They were to show up, be friendly with the neighbors, and do things like build parks and playgrounds.  That didn’t happen.

Right after they landed, the Marines were harassed by the locals.  They yelled at them, pushed them around, even threw rocks and garbage at them.  The locals chased them all the way to where the Marines were staying, and the harassment continued from there.  Eventually, the Marines had to call the whole thing off.

Later on, it was determined that these locals weren’t just regular locals, but were members of the Party of Regions.  Yes, the same party that Paul Manafort worked for and the same party that was in cahoots with Putin.  This attack was the brainchild of Paul Manafort, as an attempt to build hostility against NATO and the United States.

Paul Manafort helped organize an attack against American troops.  Remember that when you hear Trump talk about how Paul is “a good guy.”

 

McCain

There’s an entire section devoted to the Maverick towards the end of this post.

 

Stone

With all of the weirdness flying around, my money on the craziest shit to occur will be when Roger Stone gets indicted.  Not only will his first public indictment only be for something tangentially connected to Russia, but it will also include a metric fucktonne of extortion, blackmail, money, and sex crimes.  I think this will be on purpose.  The best way to get public opinion back on the side of the investigation is to first show that everyone involved is a criminal and was one before they took part in the Russian Conspiracy.  This will destroy the reputations of the people before their trials for espionage and treason.  Those are knockout punches, but the body needs softened up a bit first.  That’s what’s happening with Manafort, and will happen next with Stone.

 

Dems On The Hill

Check the Election 2018 section for why the GOP is so scared of the potential of a blue wave.

 

Butina

That request ain’t gonna happen.  All Maria has to do to escape the country is walk up to a car belonging to the Russian Embassy, hop in, and ask for asylum.  She was arrested while moving.  She is the definition of a flight risk.

 

Russia

 

This is yet another reminder that Mike Pence is neck deep in this shit.  He was hand-picked by Manafort to be the Vice President, was the head of the Trump Transition Team, and has repeatedly lied about who knew what about Russia, and when they knew.

 

COHEN

Cohen is the linchpin of the entire clusterfuck.  I’ll go into more detail in a future post, but his fingers are all over everything.

 

What a Pecker

A former Trump World Tower doorman who says he has knowledge of an alleged affair President Donald Trump had with an ex-housekeeper, which resulted in a child, is now able to talk about a contract he entered with American Media Inc. that had prohibited him from discussing the matter with anyone, according to his attorney.

On Friday, Marc Held — the attorney for Dino Sajudin, the former doorman — said his client had been released from his contract with AMI, the parent company of the National Enquirer, “recently” after back-and-forth discussions with AMI.

Back on Daily Check-In 04/12/2018 I mentioned this story that was originally broken by Ronan Farrow involving one of Trump’s old doormen claiming that he had knowledge that The Dotard knocked up the help.  This didn’t get a lot of traction because, well, we live in a fucked-up timeline where the President of the United States possibly having an illegitimate child with one of his cleaning ladies wasn’t even the worst news out of the Trump Organization that week.  That was the week Cohen got his shit raided. (Daily Check-In 04/09/2018)

It’s not so much that I don’t believe the doorman that Trump has a few baby mommas on the side, I’m counting on it.  In fact, I’m liable to believe this story just because AMI tried to spike it.  I think the only thing I’m surprised about is that there aren’t more cases of this.  Hell, I’m surprised that someone hasn’t done an AncestryDNA test or 23AndMe and that it hasn’t shown that one of the Trump children are step siblings.

Please, oh please, oh please, let the baby momma be a woman of color.  I’m sure that the MAGA’s will do some mental gymnastics to justify this along with their cries of White Power from Mommy’s basement, while the Evangelicals will give Trump yet another mulligan with some goalpost moving slogan like “at least he didn’t pay for her abortion” or some trite shit like that.  This will last just until the first wave of returned checks from the Trump Foundation for the local abortion clinic get entered into evidence in New York State.

 

CFO

In late 2016, I had lunch with a former high-ranking Trump Organization executive, a person who said he was happy to share dirt on his old boss, but who confessed to not having much dirt to share. This executive wrote a list of people whom I might contact to find out about anything potentially illegal or unethical that Donald Trump may have done. At the bottom of the list was the name Weisselberg. “Allen is the one guy who knows everything,” the person told me. “He’ll never talk to you.” I have had nearly identical conversations with different people who work or have worked for the Trump Organization many times since. They all described his role similarly: Allen Weisselberg, the firm’s longtime chief financial officer, is the center, the person in the company who knows more than anyone.

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal broke the story that Weisselberg had been granted immunity by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York so that he could share information in the investigation of Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney and dealmaker. It is safe to say that the entire world of Trump watchers—those journalists, political folks, and advocates who carefully monitor every bit of Trump news—went bonkers. Weisselberg is the man to whom those people most want to speak. He is also the man who has, for decades, been the most circumspect.

As the C.F.O., Weisselberg tracked the money that came into the Trump Organization and the money that went out of it, former employees told me. I often found myself wondering what the Weisselberg part of the operation looked like. (I called and e-mailed him a few times, but, not surprisingly, never heard back.) Some told me he had a couple of bookkeepers, but that he personally handled most of the paperwork. Weisselberg knew who was paying or lending money to Trump, and he knew to whom Trump was giving money. When Trump became President, he placed his business interests in a revocable trust overseen by his son Donald Trump, Jr., and Weisselberg.

Uh oh.  How many times have we seen this movie?  The criminal organization is under investigation, but the cops can’t get anything to stick to the boss.  Then, they bust the bookkeeper, who decides that dying in prison isn’t a good retirement option, so they help the investigators.  Next thing you know there’s a montage of bad guys getting arrested, and we cut to a subdued celebration by the cops that flipped the accountant.

Allan Weisselberg, Chief Financial Officer for Trump Organization, has been granted immunity for his testimony against Michael Cohen.  That’s not the big part of the story.  The big part is that the CFO of Trump’s company, charity, campaign, and every other operation they run had enough information for the government that they decided it was better to grant immunity for his unabashed testimony than it was to prosecute him.

We’ve talked about Allan once or twice before (Daily Check-In 07/26/2018), but he’s always stayed out of the limelight.  Now, he’s become a worldwide name overnight thanks to this investigation.

The Feds didn’t need Weisselberg to take down Cohen.  They had more than enough on him down on taxes and other crimes alone.  But they still offered Allan immunity.  Why?

Because doing so let the U.S. Government tie Michael Cohen to AMI to McDougal and Daniels, and it all tied back to the Trump Campaign, the Trump Organization, and the Trump Foundation.  The accountant ties all of it together.

I’ve mentioned before how the Trump Organization is being investigated like a mob family, and that RICO and Enterprise Corruption charges were the end-goal for the organization. (Daily Check-In 8/7/2017Daily Check-In 02/05/2018)  The first steps in that would be to prove that a pattern of criminal activity has occurred, and that the business benefited from it.  After showing this pattern, the next step is to show that individuals associated to the company benefited.  Once the conspiracy is established, it’s just a matter of time before everyone does down.

The Feds don’t give immunity to someone take down one little fish.  They do it to take down a big fish, and the only fish bigger than Pecker and Weisselberg in TrumpWorld have the last name Trump.

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

IMPEACHMENT AND INDICTMENT TALK

 

TRAITOR TOTS

Rand Paul

 

Duncan Hunter

 

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

IMMIGRATION

 

ATTACKS FROM RUSSIA: THE ANTI-VACCINE EDITION

Check out Jay’s thread.  It includes stories from all of the Traitor Tots associated to this scandal.  Both Paul family members, Alex Jones, Jill Stein, Trump, Roger Stone, and several others all spouting the same “talking points” about vaccines, all around the same time that Russia was pushing the Anti-Vax movement in Europe and here.

Want to know if someone has had Russian ties for a while?  Look at their stance on vaccines back from 2012 to 2016, and then see if they also supported Brexit, the Sandy Hook Hoax, Shrinking or Limiting NATO, Trump, Stein, or Bernie.  If they checked three of those boxes, they’re in Putin’s pocket.

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

SCOTUS

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY 

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS

 

#METOO

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

ELECTION 2018

Congressional Republicans are getting ready for hell. Axios has obtained a spreadsheet that’s circulated through Republican circles on and off Capitol Hill — including at least one leadership office — that meticulously previews the investigations Democrats will likely launch if they flip the House.

Why this matters: Publicly, House Republicans are putting on a brave face about the midterms. But privately, they are scrambling to prepare for the worst. This document, which catalogs requests Democrats have already made, is part of that effort.

It has churned Republican stomachs. Here are some of the probes it predicts:

  • President Trump’s tax returns
  • Trump family businesses — and whether they comply with the Constitution’s emoluments clause, including the Chinese trademark grant to the Trump Organization
  • Trump’s dealings with Russia, including the president’s preparation for his meeting with Vladimir Putin
  • The payment to Stephanie Clifford — a.k.a. Stormy Daniels
  • James Comey’s firing
  • Trump’s firing of U.S. attorneys
  • Trump’s proposed transgender ban for the military
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s business dealings
  • White House staff’s personal email use
  • Cabinet secretary travel, office expenses, and other misused perks
  • Discussion of classified information at Mar-a-Lago
  • Jared Kushner’s ethics law compliance
  • Dismissal of members of the EPA board of scientific counselors
  • The travel ban
  • Family separation policy
  • Hurricane response in Puerto Rico
  • Election security and hacking attempts
  • White House security clearances

The spreadsheet — which I’m told originated in a senior House Republican office — catalogs more than 100 formal requests from House Democrats this Congress, spanning nearly every committee.

  • The spreadsheet includes requests for administration officials to be grilled by committee staff, requests for hearings to obtain sworn testimony, efforts to seize communications about controversial policies and personnel decisions, and subpoena threats.
  • These demands would turn the Trump White House into a 24/7 legal defense operation.

The bottom line: Thanks to their control of Congress, Republicans have blocked most of the Democrats’ investigative requests. But if the House flips, the GOP loses its power to stymie. Lawyers close to the White House tell me the Trump administration is nowhere near prepared for the investigatory onslaught that awaits them, and they consider it among the greatest threats to his presidency.

 

 

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

JOHN McCAIN

There’s going to be a lot about John McCain in the news for the next week, some good and some bad.  No matter what I thought of his individual stance on positions, I never doubted his patriotism, love of this country, or his desire to make sure that democracy survived another generation.

John McCain was Putin’s Enemy #1.  He led the fight through the Senate to get the Magnitsky Act passed.  He was the first Senator to meet with Bill Browder and get it going through committee.  He was also the go-between for the Steele Dossier, making sure it was personally delivered to James Comey. (Daily Check-In 8/23/2017Daily Check-In 10/19/2017Daily Check-In 05/15/2018Daily Check-In 05/14/2018). He was an outspoken critic of Trump’s, and in his last public speech he said that Rand Paul was working for the Kremlin.

His passing also marks the end of the Republican Party as we knew it.  It’s now perverted into the Party of Trump.  Without more people like McCain to stand up for the GOP, the GOP won’t survive the next few years.  Without more people like McCain, the GOP doesn’t deserve to survive the next few years.

 

RUMOR MILL

I’m glad you touched on “a more perfect union”, as it’s something I’ve been thinking about the last couple of weeks.

Based on what I’ve read about the American revolution and the earliest days of the nation, I get the impression that the founding fathers were aware that the government they were working on wasn’t perfect, but that didn’t stop them from trying to include every possible protection for us against tyranny and corruption. The result was a more perfect union that gave us the tools to improve things as we went along, so that our government can adapt to the world as it changes.

Back in 2016, when Trump was asked in an interview about his admiration for Putin, a man who has killed anyone who stands in his way, Trump fired back with “You think we’re so perfect?” And to me, that underscores his lack of understanding about what this country is about, who we are, and where we should be going. The United States government has done some awful things throughout our history. While we should never forget or attempt to whitewash those things, we shouldn’t dwell on them either. We should remember our errors and shortcomings, and we should strive to never repeat them. Perfection is not in our past, but we should never stop working to make it a part of our future.

Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, and every person between them have highlighted the fact that our democracy is not as secure as we would like to believe, not from foreign threats, and certainly not from domestic ones. Once this entire matter is resolved, we must work toward securing our election process and expanding it so that as many people as possible can make their voice heard. We must work toward rooting out corruption and the corporate influence at all levels of government, so that the voice of the people is never drowned out. We must better educate our children and young adults so that they can be informed voters and less susceptible to propaganda. We must elect leaders who truly lead by example, and demonstrate compassion, cooperation, and honor. We must earn back the trust and respect that we have lost. We must give people something to fight for, instead of something to fight against. We must do these things together, as one nation, indivisible. It’s going to require hard work, hard questions, and honest answers.

We may not be that perfect union, and we may never become a perfect union, but we must never, ever stop working toward it. We owe it to generations past, and generations yet to be born.

As MSM becomes more comfortable discussing Trump in the context of organized crime/mafia/mob, I’d like to give a simple review of how television polarized this issue about him, long ago. Let’s explore what happened to US – you & me, when a mobster played CEO on TV… – THREAD –

  1. NYC is an incredible place. But it has a real problem. A dangerous problem. It’s soaked in organized crime. In the mob. It has been for a century. So, folks there know the mafia all too well. It’s in their family. Their businesses. It’s on the ladder to their dreams…
  2. They touch the mob – day in, & day out. This is life for them. It’s normal. The mob is the city and the city is the mob. So, Donald Trump – all his life – was just another mobbed-up crook to them. A con man. They knew his game, & shrugged it off. And then a TV show happened…
  3. “The Apprentice” – where the mobbed-up conman was presented as a CEO billionaire extraordinaire. This was pure bullsh*t. NYC knew it. The greater trip-state area knew it. Everyone in D.C. who’d ever encountered him knew it. And every NYC journalist & media outlet knew it. So..
  4. Trump became a colossal joke. Not that he wasn’t 1 already – from all the John Barron, Genovese-Cohn fixing, Gambino-concrete building, Epstein-partying ridiculousness & horror. But “The Apprentice” was just over the top 4 New Yorkers. So, they shrugged him off completely…
  5. And here’s the thing about New Yorkers: it’s kinda unfathomable 2 them that the rest of the world doesn’t know what they know. Especially, something as OBVIOUS and LONG-DOCUMENTED as Donald Trump & the mob. So, they didn’t blare the alarm. Not really. Not en masse. In fact…
  6. Many are not alarmed about the mob themselves. Because it’s in their families, & businesses, & on that ladder to their dreams. They’ve made themselves immune to the stakes of organized crime. Immune to the human misery that mobsters profit off of. Not all, but enough…
  7. They defend their mob friends on TV, even. Calling them good dads, and patriots. Near tears that their friends are finally facing accountability for a lifetime of profiting off organized crime. Perhaps, that mirror is just too tough to face. Meanwhile…
  8. For the rest of the country, Trump as a mobster was not a known thing. It wasn’t. Most all Americans know him as the business CEO that The Apprentice presenting him as being. As unthinkable as this is for the trip-state area in which Donald was raised…
  9. It’s true. The vast majority of Americans believed that Donald was a successful businessman. “The Apprentice” made sure of that. And the largely NYC-based, MSM press went right along with it. Despite what they knew was true. So, that coverage of him throughout his campaign…
  10. …the repeated narrative of Donald as “the billionaire businessman” served to reinforce the only thing the majority of Americans knew (in addition to the birther stuff), from “The Apprentice.” Just like that, in the eyes of the American voter, he became what he played on TV.
  11. Now, here is where it gets REALLY dangerous. On BOTH sides. For New Yorkers & tri-state, he’s a joke. Combine that with how immune most of them are to the stakes of organized crime – because of how normal it is to them, and we have a real problem…
  12. The normalization, 4 those who knew Trump best, is blinding/distracting them from grasping the national security threat this a**hole presents. This includes the NYC press. For those of us who study organized crime, we get it. He’s going to rip it all down 4 his overlords…
  13. The mob wants to traffic & exploit. They want the resources of our nation in their wallets. And they don’t give a f*ck who or what they have to destroy to have it. In fact, they relish the misery. That’s where the big money is – that’s what they know how to do best.
  14. Anyone from NYC – especially in the media, who continues to joke or laugh about Donald’s mob history – rather than report on it seriously (as they should have 3 years ago) is participating in the disinformation about him. They are polarizing, when they should be informing…
  15. Because that other end of the Donald spectrum – the rest of America, who were sold “the billionaire businessman” lie? Yeah. They’re still in that confusion. I’m experiencing it everyday. Even out in Hollywood, where folks get that reality TV is a lie. Here’s where they’re at:
  16. They absolutely can’t wrap their minds around the fact that it was known that Trump was mobbed-up, and no one reported on it. Or, if it was reported, it wasn’t above-the-fold, 24/7 headline news throughout the election. They cannot fathom why MSM, especially NYC-based…
  17. Did NOT report on all his mob history, non-stop. This is a big deal – that a President launders money for global organized crime. This seems, to them, to be the biggest story in the history of stories. And for NYC, including the media? Yeah…
  18. The fact that no one already knew this about Donald seems unfathomable to them. Also, they’re not quite sure if it’s a big threat – or newsworthy, because it’s their daily life, and they seem to be doing okay. So, that’s our pickle. In a nutshell.
  19. I’m going to keep putting out information on not just donald and the mob behind him, but on the truth about organized crime as a whole: its history, its tactics, its goals, its role in Trump-Russia and beyond. If the MSM press were to start prioritizing the same…
  20. We might just find our way out of this… And back to each other. – END –

PS – I promise “trip-state” is not my creation. It is Twitter, doing its spell-check thing. And, for once, I kinda love it.

 

 

That’s it for the last couple days.  Yes, I know that last tweet thread is a big block of text, but I liked it so much I felt the need to copy it down, lest it disappear into the ether.

Reading that makes me think of living in a rough part of town.  In my past, I’ve lived in a few “shady” areas.  I’ve also crashed in more than a couple projects, and used to travel to several others for work.  At the time, I was actually pretty comfortable in them, because I was young, stupid, and had some experience with shadiness myself.  It was just part of the culture.  No one thought twice about the fact Johnny was dealing or Frankie was carrying a stolen pistol.  That was normal.  It was only when getting outside of that culture that hanging out with criminals felt weird.  Even when I tell friends nowadays about some of the crew I ran with, I get sideways looks.

That is what Lincoln’s thread reminds me of.  In New York, not only is the mob a thing, but it’s such an ingrained part of the culture that no one thinks about it.  It’s only when Cousin Timmy from Topeka hears about how “dangerous” New York is on TV that they give any thought to the mob.  Even then, the image they get is something from a movie of gentleman criminals only hurting each other.  The regular New Yorker knows to keep their head down and stay out of the their way.  If they told Timmy about all they knew, then Timmy would ask too many questions about how you know.

The MSM, who has their own ties to the mob, let Trump run roughshod all over this country, and only now are they asking questions about his mob ties.  Now, they’re finally digging into Trump’s ties to La Cosa Nostra and the Russian Mafia.

It’s about fucking time.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 08/23/2018

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018.

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Manafort

If Trump pardons Manafort on the charges from this month’s federal case alone, then he would still face prosecution in three very blue states (New York, Illinois, and California) and one increasingly blue-ish state (Virginia). Those are four jury pools that would potentially be altogether worse for Manafort. If, in this month’s trial, Manafort could only persuade one juror out of 12 on about half of these charges, his chances would seem pretty low at running the table in four more trials in Manhattan, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Northern Virginia. And we haven’t even discussed the charges in the second federal trial next month and whatever additional state criminal liability Manafort might face that has not been charged at the federal level. And Mueller still might be strategically holding off on other charges.

It’s also unlikely that a Trump pardon would at least get Manafort out of jail temporarily while awaiting state trials. Judge Amy Berman Jackson in D.C. took Manafort’s jury tampering so seriously that she revoked his bail. One of those state judges would probably deny bail, too, even if Manafort is pardoned for this alleged tampering. And that would put Manafort in state jail, not “Club Fed.” That’s another reason Manafort might not want a federal pardon: he might prefer federal prison over any state prison.

Something to keep in mind when it comes to pardon talk.  There is nothing Trump can do about state crimes.

The document Winner compromised did, in fact, contain TOP SECRET information about the sources and methods used to acquire the intelligence described in the report.  That means it revealed how U.S. Intelligence Agencies obtained information.  U.S. Government subject matter experts have determined that Winner’s willful, purposeful disclosure caused exceptionally grave damage to U.S. national security.  That harm included, but was not limited to, impairing the ability of the United States to acquire foreign intelligence information similar to the information the defendant disclosed.  This was, by no means, a victimless crime.

What’s more, Winner’s exceptionally damaging disclosure was not a spontaneous, unplanned event, but was the calculated culmination of a series of acts.  She researched whether it was possible to insert a thumb drive into a Top Secret computer without being detected, and then inserted a thumb drive, WHICH THE GOVERNMENT NEVER RECOVERED, into a Top Secret computer.  She researched job opportunities that would provide her access to classified information.  At the same time, she searched for information about anti-secrecy organizations, and she celebrated claimed compromises in U.S. classified information.

Approximately eight days before she started work as a contractor with a security clearance, Winner installed sophisticated software tools on her computer designed to render her internet activity anonymous and untraceable.  Two days before starting work, Winner captured an image of a webpage listing eight “securedrop” addresses for media outlets seeking leaked information.  Then, her first day on the job, she sent messages mocking her security training.  On that same day, Winner signed a non-disclosure agreement with the government in which she promised to keep secret classified information, and attested she was accepting this responsibility “…without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.”  Yet, she wrote shortly thereafter that she was “#gonnafail” her polygraph examination when asked if she had “ever plotted against” the government.  She claimed to hate America.  When asked, “…you don’t actually hate America, right?” she responded, “I mean yeah I do its literally the worst thing to happen on the planet.”

She was the quintessential example of an insider threat.

Let’s stop pretending that Reality Winner is some kind of hero of the masses, or some fighter for the freedom of information.  She entered into this endeavor solely to leak information to press, and the only one that bit was Edward Snowden’s buddy Glenn Greenwald.

Reality Winner got off light.

In early 2017, some of Donald Trump’s advisers concluded that they faced a sophisticated threat responsible for “coordinated attacks” on the new Administration. They circulated a memo, titled “The Echo Chamber,” which read like a U.S. military-intelligence officer’s analysis of a foreign-insurgent network. Instead of being about enemies in a distant war zone, however, the network described in the memo consisted of former aides to President Barack Obama.

The memo claimed that the “communications infrastructure” that the Obama White House used to “sell Obamacare and the Iran Deal to the public” had been moved to the private sector, now that the former aides were out of government. It called the network the Echo Chamber and accused its members of mounting a coördinated effort “to undermine President Trump’s foreign policy” through organized attacks in the press against Trump and his advisers. “These are the Obama loyalists who are probably among those coordinating the daily/weekly battle rhythm,” the memo said, adding that they likely operated a “virtual war room.” The memo lists Ben Rhodes, a former deputy national-security adviser to President Obama, as “likely the brain behind this operation” and Colin Kahl, Vice-President Joe Biden’s former national-security adviser, as its “likely ops chief.” Rhodes and Kahl both said in interviews that the allegations are false and no such organization exists.

The memo is unsigned and undated, and Trump Administration officials familiar with it offered conflicting accounts of who authored it and whether it originated inside or outside the White House. The officials said that it was circulated within the National Security Council and other parts of the Trump White House in early 2017. They said the memo may have had additional pages. A National Security Council spokesperson declined to comment.

Ronan Farrow’s work into this matter stemmed from a connection to Black Cube, the same group that Harvey Weinstein used to harass the women he raped. (Daily Check-In 03/27/2018).  Black Cube was also employed by the Trump Administration to spy on Americans.

In any normal universe, this alone would be grounds for criminal investigations and impeachment.  We passed normal a long time ago.

 

COHEN: PECKER OF NATIONAL ENQUIRER GETS IMMUNITY FOR TESTIMONY AGAINST COHEN, TRUMP; COHEN SUBPOENAED BY NY STATE TAX DEPARTMENT

Pecker and the National Enquirer

David Pecker, the chief executive of the company that publishes the National Enquirer, was granted immunity by federal prosecutors for providing information about Michael Cohen and President Trump in the criminal investigation into hush-money payments for two women during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to people familiar with the matter.

In exchange for immunity, Mr. Pecker, the CEO of American Media, Inc. and a longtime friend of Mr. Trump, has met with prosecutors and shared details about payments Mr. Cohen arranged in an effort to silence two women who alleged sexual encounters with Mr. Trump, including Mr. Trump’s knowledge of the deals, some of the people said.

Prosecutors in the Cohen investigation have indicated they won’t proceed with criminal charges against either Mr. Pecker or Dylan Howard, chief content officer of American Media, for their participation in the deals, according to people familiar with the matter.

Messrs. Pecker and Howard and American Media didn’t immediately respond to request for comment.

Mr. Pecker’s immunity deal comes at a delicate time for American Media, which is struggling financially. The firm, which publishes Us Weekly, Star magazine and Ok!, among other gossip and fitness titles, has been engaged in restructuring its substantial debt, the Journal previously reported.

The company ended last year with an outstanding debt load of $920 million and added approximately $80 million more in June when it acquired gossip titles In Touch, Life & Style and Closer, as well as other magazines. The deal gave American Media control over nearly every tabloid weekly sold in the U.S., aside from Meredith Corp.’s People magazine.

American Media’s business woes stretch back several years. The company declared bankruptcy in 2010 and underwent a restructuring in 2014 that handed control to its two biggest creditors, Chatham Asset Management LLC and hedge-fund manager Leon Cooperman.

Prosecutors said that in August 2015, shortly after Mr. Trump announced he would run for president, Mr. Pecker offered to help Mr. Cohen find negative stories about Mr. Trump’s relationships with women and arrange for them to be purchased, but never published. This is a practice known in tabloid media as “catch and kill.”

In June 2016, Mr. Pecker and Mr. Howard—who are identified in the documents as “Chairman-1” and “Editor-1” respectively—contacted Mr. Cohen to say Ms. McDougal, the 1998 Playmate of the Year, was trying to sell a story about an alleged affair she had with Mr. Trump in 2006 and 2007, according to prosecutors.

Mr. Cohen urged them to reach a deal with Ms. McDougal and promised to reimburse the company, which ultimately purchased the rights to her story in August 2016 for $150,000. The company also agreed to put her on magazine covers and publish articles under her byline.

Mr. Cohen created a dummy corporation, Resolution Consultants LLC, to then purchase the rights to the story for $125,000 from American Media, but in October 2016, Mr. Pecker backed out of the deal, prosecutors said.

Mr. Pecker’s lawyers advised him not to transfer the rights of the story to Mr. Cohen, because doing so would undermine any legal argument that the purchase was made for journalistic purposes, according to people familiar with the matter. The company has previously said it reached a deal with Ms. McDougal for editorial reasons, not to help the Trump campaign.

Wow.  I always knew Trump’s Pecker would get him in trouble, but I didn’t imagine it this way.  Trump has to be worried about that Pecker leaking.

The Pun Jar total is now $64.

I’ve never liked the National Enquirer, but for the last few years, they turned into a propaganda rag for Trump.  Every grocery store in America sells this tabloid, and everyone sees this.  Normally, it’s just some lousy gossip, but for the last 2 years, it’s been a propaganda piece for Trump.  It attacks all of his enemies, praises his successes, and has gone all-in on the Trump Train.

To keep that train running, AMI has been involved in multiple catch-and-kill stories.  It’s not just McDougal or Daniels.  There are more women, more secrets, and enough skeletons in that safe to fill a mass grave.

And the holder of the secrets just became a cooperating witness.

Sleep tight, you fat fuck.

 

Trump Organization, Trump Foundation, and Campaign Finance Law

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Michael Cohen personally called tax officials in New York on the same day he received a subpoena from state investigators looking into the Trump Foundation.

A state official confirmed the call from the former personal attorney and “fixer” for President Donald Trump, but would not divulge the details of the exchange, which came Wednesday just hours after Cohen received the subpoena. The official was not authorized to discuss the case publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Associated Press first reported the existence of the subpoena on Wednesday. It was issued as part of the state’s ongoing investigation into Trump and the Trump Foundation to determine whether the Republican commander in chief or his charity broke state law or misstated their tax liabilities.

Cohen pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court Tuesday to campaign-finance violations and other charges, saying he and Trump arranged the payment of hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model to influence the election.

The subpoena was issued after Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, said on television that his client has information that would be of interest to investigators in Washington, as well as New York state.

Cohen is a lawyer. A bad one, and probably not for much longer, but he’s still a lawyer today, and he knows what accepting a pardon entails.

Accepting a pardon is an admission of guilt, per SCOTUS (Burcick vs US). This admission can be used as evidence in Federal civil cases and at the state level for similar crimes, and since most state charges wouldn’t constitute as Double Jeopardy, he’d be boned like a porn star.

Also, accepting a pardon waives the persons ability to invoke their 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination for anything related to why they were pardoned.

Here’s some more info on Pardon Limitations.

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

Election Security

Gee, I wonder why they would block a bill requiring a paper trail for the elections?

Panic Tweet

Waking up a couple hours early and tweeting all caps is the surest sign of innocence, right? Right?

Sessions

We’ve been through this game before, but now Lindsey Graham is pulling this “yes, but let’s wait” game.  Russia/Putin/Trump have to have a ton of photos of the Senator sucking some serious cock to have corrupted him this much.

Flipping and Distance

 

IMPEACHMENT AND INDICTMENT TALK

When one has to preemptively defend themselves from an impeachment, things are going to hell in a handbasket.

Also, notice the tone of the warnings.  They sound a lot like the posturing of the Doom and Gloom that comes from Russia each and every time they get squeezed a little.

 

TRAITOR TOTS

Duncan Hunter

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

IMMIGRATION

 

ATTACKS FROM RUSSIA: THE ANTI-VACCINE EDITION

This one really pisses me off.  The Anti-Vax movement is another one of these internet movements of ill-informed people that have rejected science, but almost certainly filled by left wingers and liberals.  Meanwhile, conservatives and right wing types fight against the scientific consensus of climate change.

Now, we have proof that the Anti-Vax movement is getting pushed from Russia.  The rates of vaccination are dropping in countries that Russia views as their enemies, but not for their allies.  The U.S. and E.U. are seeing a decrease in childhood vaccination and in increase in dead babies.

It’s time to cut Russia off from the Internet.  No contact with the outside world until they deliver Putin’s head on a platter to the Hague.  It’s optional whether the rest of the body is attached.

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

SCOTUS

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

None of the social media posts on this subject offered any sources or information documenting that President Trump bore the cost of Manigault Newman’s wedding, or that hosting the couple’s rehearsal dinner and brunch reception at a Trump-branded venue cost upwards of $200,000.

Furthermore, these posts were inaccurate in stating that Manigault Newman was married at Trump Tower, which is in New York. Her rehearsal dinner and brunch reception took place at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., on 8 April 2017. The tweeted wedding photograph used in posts promoting the rumor even notes the location at which it was taken — “Trump International Hotel”:

Additionally, multiple individuals with certain knowledge of the situation told us that neither President Trump nor the Trump Organization covered the cost of the wedding, while the White House declined to respond to our request for comment. Barring any additional information, this claim appears to be a fabricated one.

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

It took just 80 minutes after racially incendiary emails started flying for the Claremont Institute, a conservative think tank, to shut down an email Listserv connecting hundreds of high-profile conservatives.

The emails that sparked the controversy began ricocheting midday Tuesday, in response to a plea from Darren Beattie, a recently fired speechwriter for President Donald Trump, for “those on this list with media influence” to come to his defense. The White House over the weekend dismissed Beattie after CNN revealed that he had spoken at a conference alongside a racial provocateur.

Charles Johnson, an alt-right provocateur and Trump loyalist, was first to respond.

“Beattie’s offense is that he spoke at an event where — gasp! — there were white nationalists afoot!” Johnson wrote the group. “Heaven forbid that some thinkers — like the American founders who favored our country be majority white — think that the U.S. of A should stay majority white! Perish the thought. Can’t have that.”

A little more than an hour later, as senior administration officials and white-shoe lawyers asked to be removed from the list, the Claremont Institute had scuttled it entirely.

Claremont Institute’s president, Ryan Williams, injected himself into the discussion on Tuesday after one participant asked “why we allow this garbage on it,” referring to Johnson’s note. Others asked to be removed from the Listserv (to which this reporter subscribed). “I’ll save everyone the trouble of responding in kind and I’ll shutter the group entirely,” Williams wrote.

“When Charles Johnson, one of our more than 650 alumni, began using a private email group to espouse views that are incompatible with the principles of the Founding Fathers and Claremont’s mission,” Williams said in a statement, “I thought it best to spare the others unwanted spam and acrimony and close the group. We host many forums for civil discourse, and the unmoderated Listserv had ceased to serve our alumni community well.”

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

#METOO

 

ELECTION 2018

WASHINGTON — Republicans are struggling to make the $1.5 trillion Trump tax cuts a winning issue with voters in the midterm congressional elections, but the cuts are helping the party in another crucial way: unlocking tens of millions of dollars in campaign donations from the wealthy conservatives and corporate interests that benefited handsomely from it.

Billionaires and corporations that reaped millions of dollars in tax cuts are pumping some of that windfall into the Congressional Leadership Fund, a “super PAC” closely aligned with Speaker Paul D. Ryan that is flooding the airwaves and front porches of swing congressional districts with increasingly sharp attacks on the Democratic candidates vying to wrest control of the House.

The fund’s donors include the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who has given $30 million, and whose company, Las Vegas Sands, reported a nearly $700 million windfall from the tax law earlier this year; Timothy Mellon, chairman and majority owner of Pan Am Systems, a privately held collection of companies that includes rail, aviation and marketing services, who has contributed $24 million; Valero Services, a Texas oil refining company that reported a $1.9 billion benefit from tax cuts in the first quarter, and which has given $1.5 million; and a collection of other corporations, executives and financial fund managers.

Well over a quarter of the group’s donations have come through the American Action Network, a separate legal entity that focuses on issues and does not reveal donors, but that spent heavily to promote the tax cuts before and after President Trump signed them into law late last year.

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT OF THE DAY

Goldberg, the former Professional Wrestler, had a run in with…  No, I’m not even going to go into it.

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Thursday.  Friday’s looking to be nuts.  There’s another high profile person that received immunity in the Cohen case.

I’m going to be busy on Saturday, so I’m going to try to get back on schedule and get Friday’s post up late Friday.  That way, I can get something posted on Sunday, too.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 08/22/2018

Wednesday, August 22, 2018.

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Manafort

Now that Paul Manafort is a convicted felon, let’s take a moment to enjoy the fact that he has ANOTHER trial in less than a month, and that he might be retried on the ten counts that ended in a mistrial.

Good times.

 

COHEN

It’s not clear whether federal prosecutors knew in advance that Cohen would implicate Trump, but if they had any reason not to believe him, they were obligated not to permit Cohen to lie to the judge. Because they didn’t, we know that his statements were consistent with the other evidence in their possession.

So Cohen wanted to publicly reveal that Trump directed him to commit crimes. The implication of his statement is obvious — it is a crime to direct someone else to commit a crime. And Cohen is not done. His attorney Lanny Davis told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Tuesday night that Cohen is willing to provide information to Mueller about a possible “conspiracy to collude” with Russia and whether Trump “knew ahead of time” about computer hacking.

Tuesday’s statement by Cohen was a jiujitsu move that evaded Trump’s disinformation campaign, and it might not be the last such move. More evidence of crimes that don’t fit Trump’s narrative could weaken the resolve of Trump’s base, or cause some high-profile Republicans to break with the president. Or a Democratic victory in November, along with a stronger PR campaign by Democrats on corruption and impeachment, could ultimately sway enough Republicans to make a difference.

I could probably spend an entire weekend tearing apart everything that we know about Cohen, and I’d really like to, but here’s the TL:DR; (Too Long, Didn’t Read) version.

Trump is fucked.  He’s so fucked, that it is almost mathematically impossible to quantify the level of fucked he’s at, and it’s only going to get worse.  Michael Cohen can link everything together.  EVERYTHING. The hush money payments, the money laundering, the espionage and treason, the mob shit, the charity crimes, ALL OF IT.  Cohen was Trump’s right hand man for more than a decade.  He handled all of the details.

And now the feds have all of it, and Cohen is talking.

 

IMPEACHMENT AND INDICTMENT TALK

Impeachment

 

Indictment

 

Resignation

 

ATTACKS ON THE ELECTION

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

Duncan Hunter

 

FIGHTING BACK

The first denial that Donald Trump knew about hush-money payments to silence women came four days before he was elected president, when his spokeswoman Hope Hicks said, without hedging, “We have no knowledge of any of this.”

The second came in January of this year, when his attorney Michael Cohen said the allegations were “outlandish.” By March, two of the president’s spokesmen — Raj Shah and Sarah Huckabee Sanders — said publicly that Trump denied all the allegations and any payments. Even Cohen’s attorney, David Schwartz, got in on the action, saying the president “was not aware of any of it.”

In April, Trump finally weighed in, answering a question about whether he knew about a payment to porn star Stephanie Clifford, who uses the stage name Stormy Daniels, with a flat “no.”

It’s now clear that the president’s statement was a lie — and that the people speaking for him repeated it.

 

So now it’s confirmed, as a matter of legal record, that President Donald Trump organized a scheme to violate federal election laws. He directed his longtime personal attorney to pay at least one woman for silence. That attorney got the money by lying to a bank to get a home-equity line of credit.

It’s a matter of legal record, too, that Trump’s campaign chair was a huge-scale crook. Despite his desperate financial straits, he volunteered to work for Trump for free—and Trump accepted.

These two cases complete the beginnings of the story. They are not the story in full. The Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort cases are like the first rocky outcroppings a ship passes as it makes landfall. They are examples of the kind of people willing to work for Trump—and the way that those people carried on their business. They indicate why one of Trump’s sons would write “I love it” when offered stolen information about the Hillary Clinton campaign by a purported representative of the Russian government, how so much doubtful money flowed into the Trump Organization after 2006, and why Trump dares not publish his tax returns.

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

Davis was a fixture on Wednesday morning’s TV news programs, sitting for at least five interviews that aired before 9 a.m., including all three network morning shows — NBC’s “Today,” ABC’s “Good Morning America” and “CBS This Morning.”

He told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, was a “significant turning point” for Cohen in deciding to turn against the president, Cohen’s attorney said Wednesday. Cohen, who has worked alongside the president and his family since 2006, went through an “evolutionary” process before taking the plea deal he formally accepted on Tuesday, Davis said.

“Helsinki was a significant turning point, as he worried about the future of our country with the president of the United States aligning with somebody who everybody in his intelligence community who he appointed, including [Director of National Intelligence] Dan Coats, said that Putin interfered and tried to help Trump get elected,” Davis said. “And Trump is the only one left denying that. And that shook up Mr. Cohen.”

Earlier this summer, Trump met face-to-face with Russian president Putin in Helsinki, meeting one-on-one and then with aides. Those meetings were followed by a bilateral press conference where Trump seemed to accept Putin’s denials that Russia was not behind a campaign of cyberattacks aimed at interfering with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, apparently taking the word of the Russian president over that of the U.S. intelligence community.

 

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

SCOTUS

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

ELECTION 2018

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Wednesday.  After Tuesday’s events, this entry is a little light.  That, and my arm hurts, which makes typing a little slower.  Fuck it, I’m tired.

I updated The Indicted to include Cohen, Hunter, and Collins.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur