Daily Check-In 08/07/2018

Tuesday, August 8th.

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

The Manafort Trial

Day 6 continued with Rick Gates testifying all day.  The first few hours were spent with him guiding the prosecution through everything from how the bank accounts were set up to the use of shell companies to hide payments to corroborating the evidence of other witnesses like the accountant and bookkeeper.  The bank accounts and companies were purchased “off the shelf” by their Ukranian partners, and were set up by their lawyer in Cyprus.  The Ukranian Oligarchs would pay one shell company, then that company would pay Manafort’s shell company in Cyprus, then Manafort would pay himself from the shell companies.  Over time, there was a crackdown on Cyprus bank accounts, so they set up accounts in The Grenadines to use as a stopover.

Rick Gates also explained the fake invoices.

Rick Gates explained several apparently fake invoices from vendors who did work for Paul Manafort: He created those for banks in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

When Manafort moved his banking from Cyprus to the Grenadines, Gates explained, they required more documentation. “They asked for invoices” that had the name of the companies Manafort was using on them, Gates said. So at Manafort’s direction, he would make a “modified invoice.”

“The payment was legitimate,” he said. But “it had to have the name of the company itself” — and the vendors hadn’t provided those.

He said he took the information on the invoices from Manafort — suggesting any typos were his boss’s fault. The vendors never actually saw those invoices.

So they created fake invoices from real companies for real dollar amounts to give to their new bank to justify the withdraw of large amounts of money.  The invoices never made their way to the vendors, so when they were shown them on the witness stand, it was the first time they’ve seen these fakes.

The cross examination was tense.  Rick admitted that he committed crimes with Paul Manafort, and stole from him as well.  He also admitted that it’s possible he may have stolen from the Trump Campaign and the Trump Inauguration Committee by submitting false or exaggerated expense reimbursements.  Not really surprising, considering he stole from a mobbed-up criminal like Manafort.

Also, we finally heard about Federal Savings Bank and Steve Calk.  We’ve talked about Steve before (Daily Check-In 02/21/2018Daily Check-In 02/22/2018Daily Check-In 02/23/2018Daily Check-In 07/23/2018) but for a brief refresher, he’s the head of Federal Savings Bank in Chicago, a bank that mostly offers mortgages to veterans.  I say mostly because FSB also approved a loan for Paul Manafort.  An illegal loan, that was a complete farce, as has already been entered into evidence.  It’s been rumored that this loan was part of a pay for play scheme involving Steve Calk becoming the Secretary of the Army in exchange for giving Manafort this loan.  Rick Gates just admitted it was under oath.

One thing that will likely further back up this claim is that two of the witnesses granted immunity in this trial are employees of FSB.  Steve Calk does not appear on the witness list.  He’s probably getting ready for his own date with the FBI.

 

 

COHEN

I just made this joke the other day (Daily Check-In 08/02/2018), but once again the neglectful parent of the Russian Investigation is back, this time with a gift card for his kids after he forgot to pick them up from a school dance and they had to get an Uber home.

According to several reports, Investigators are looking into Cohen’s taxes for possible, fuck it, likely illegalities.  They’re doing this with the help of Cohen’s old business partner the “Taxi King” Evgeny Freidman (Cooperating Witnesses).  Freidman pleaded guilty to Tax Evasion.  Freidman and Cohen used the same accountant.

 

ROSS

Wilbur Ross could be “among the biggest grifters in American history,” according to Forbes magazine, amid new allegations that he may have wrongly siphoned off more than $120 million from business associates. An investigation, citing 21 people who have worked with the man who is now President Trump’s commerce secretary, claims Ross stole “a few million here and a few million there” from various companies. Forbes reports: “All told, these allegations—which sparked lawsuits, reimbursements, and a Securities and Exchange Commission fine—come to more than $120 million.” Ross’ former colleagues offer very unkind words about him. “He’ll push the edge of truthfulness and use whatever power he has to grab assets,” said New York financier Asher Edelman, while another of Ross’ former colleagues said: “He’s a pathological liar.” They say he is obsessed with money, with two former colleagues recounting that he took handfuls of Sweet’ N Low packets from a restaurant near his office, so he didn’t have to go out and buy some for himself. (A Ross spokesman disputed that claim—and denied that he sweetens his coffee.)

Each time I hear about Wilbur Ross, he sounds like a bigger thief.  There was his appearance in the Paradise Papers that linked him to Putin’s son-in-law (Daily Check-In 11/06/2017).  Then there was the insider trading (Daily Check-In 12/12/2017).  Then there was him not selling his stakes in a company co-owned by the Chinese government while serving on the Cabinet ( Daily Check-In 06/18/2018). Now, we get another report of him not just being a cheapskate, skinflint, and thief, but a petty one at that.

Really, $120 million?  That’s twice the amount that Manafort laundered for Deripaska over the years.

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

Here’s the pic, in case it disappears from Twitter

RU Allies

For those of you that don’t read Russian, neither do I.  But I recognize the faces and can decipher symbols.

Top Row, Left to Right:

  • Dennis Kucinich (D)
  • Dana Rohrabacher (R)
  • Ron Paul (R)

Bottom Row, Left to Right:

  • Bernie Sanders (Independent but one time Democrat)
  • Michael Flynn (R)
  • Rand Paul (R)

All of them have historically defended Russia to a fault.  Mike Flynn was indicted for lying to the FBI about his ties to Russia, and I’ve talked more than once about his affinity for Putin.

The other five are all examples of Horseshoe Theory.  Dennis and Bernie have always been on the edge of the left wing for years, having long been the faces of the Progressive Socialist movement.  Rand and his father Ron are the faces of the Libertarian movement.  Dana is the most normal out of these five, and even then most of his colleagues think he’s a Russian stooge.

 

While financial terms were not disclosed in the announcement, theWall Street Journal reported that the Kushner Companies will use the money from the Brookfield lease to buy out Vornado, according to the Journal. Brookfield will also pay the entire 99-year rent up front in order to allow Kushner Companies to deal with the debt, typically 99-year lease structures include an annual ground rent according to the Journal.

Brookfield agreed to an investment in the building early in the year, but the sale of the 99-year lease is a much larger deal than originally expected. According to the Journal, the sale will ensure that the company is able to repay the debt from the building, but it’s not clear if it would net any profit.

Jared Kushner, the president’s adviser and husband to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, helped run the Kushner Companies at the time of 666 Fifth Avenue’s purchase. Kushner’s real estate interests were placed in a trust controlled by other members of his family when he joined the White House.

Originally, the Kushner Companies planned to use $7.5 billion in capital from Chinese insurance giant Anbang to remodel the aging tower into a mixed-use retail, condo, and hotel space. The deal eventually fell through.

Brookfield will sink $600 million into renovations for the building according to the Journal.

 

FIGHTING BACK

Regrets

There are a lot of people out there who are coming around to acknowledge what they did and how terrible Trump is.

Welcome them to the party, there’s punch and pie in the back.

 

INFOWARS

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

#NEVERAGAIN

During the presidential campaign, Everytown for Gun Safety took note of Pence’s role in the gun pipeline that threatens cities like Chicago: “Rather than strengthening public safety laws—even as Indiana continued to supply crime guns to cities around the country—Governor Pence has parroted the gun lobby’s talking points and promoted their extremist agenda of pushing guns everywhere, for everyone, no questions asked.”

Pence received NRA endorsements in all of his elections between 2002 and 2012, and received an “A” grade for opposing gun safety legislation during that time as well.

As governor, Pence signed legislation increasing immunity from liability for gun manufacturers and repeatedly signed bills that increased the variety of guns that could be used in Indiana.

In its most recent survey of gun flows, Indiana was by far the biggest source of guns to Illinois. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), 1,366 guns recovered in Illinois could be traced to Indiana. The next closest for a neighboring state was Missouri, with 434.

Conservatives have often cited Chicago’s problem with gun crime as an argument against gun laws, but ignore the role of lax gun laws in allowing the flow of firearms.

Chicago is also often invoked by the Right due to its large black population. But as the protests after the shootings show, that populace has often spoke out in favor of action — it’s just a series of actions that the NRA and Republicans oppose.

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

FCC

The reason for the supposed DDoS attack was John Oliver telling all of his viewers to contact the FCC and tell them how they felt about Net Neutrality.  The turnout was so great that the FCC comment website went down.  Instead of acknowledging the outpouring of support, that worthless fuckstick Ajit Pai claimed that the site was hacked and under attack, because there was no way that many people could comment about Net Neutrality.

Fuck Ajit Pai.

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

SCOTUS

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

CALIFORNIA FIRES

 

ELECTION 2018

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

RUMOR MILL

Deep in the thread above is a piece of RUMINT (Rumored Intelligence, or high-level gossip) that I didn’t catch about Jared Kushner flipping and cooperating for the last few months.

Looks like things are heating up.  That’s the second time in less than a week I’ve talked about FEATHERS.  Keep an eye out.

 

That’s it for Tuesday.  Wednesday has some fun stuff on the agenda.  The Manafort Trial enters it’s seventh day, results from some elections are coming in, I have yet another reason to hate the Green Party, and a Congressman gets arrested for Insider Trading.

In the Rumor Mill section, there’s a tweet in there about how Jared Kushner might have flipped after December and has been cooperating ever since.  I personally don’t buy it yet.  If this is the case, it’s an extremely well-kept secret.  Not that I’m the end-all be-all on secrets, but this isn’t even floating around the normal parts of the mill.  Jared is an extremely high-ranked target, and there’s enough out in the press to nail him for tons of financial crimes, conspiracy, espionage, and treason.  The only two people above him in this cavalcade of fuckery are Trump and Pence.  The only way that he gets a deal and accepts it is if he personally delivers Trump on the worst of the accusations.  While that is possible, I still doubt that it’s happening.  If I hear more that he is cooperating, I’ll post it here.

 

That’s it for today.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

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