Thursday, August 9th
THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION
The Manafort Trial
- Special Counsel Is Granted Request to Keep Inquiry Details Private
- Spicy Mic: Why would the Defense press Gates on his plea deal?
- Spicy Mic: Motion to seal sidebar granted
- Robert Mueller requests Trump-related portion of Manafort’s trial be kept secret because it revealed ‘substantive’ evidence – NY Daily News
- Paul Manafort trial Day 8: Judge Ellis apologizes for outburst at prosecutors
The trial started with the Judge apologizing for making a mistake earlier in the week by yelling at prosecutors for letting an expert witness watch the trial. Jude Ellis allowed it, then said he didn’t. He admitted his mistake Thursday morning.
The first witness was Melinda James, a loan officer from Citizens Bank. She testified that Manafort lied about his SoHo apartment to obtain a loan for it. He claimed that this rental property was a second home, since the bank would allow him to borrow more on a second home than on a rental. She also testified that he lied about a loan he had on another property in Brooklyn.
The next witness was Darin Evenson, an executive from Airbnb. He testified that the SoHo apartment that Manafort claimed as a second home was listed on the rental site for 1,125 nights, the maximum allowed on the site. He also said that the listing was removed twice. The second time was during the loan application process for the aforementioned loan.
Next was Peggy Miceli, a VP at Citizens Bank. She explained that the loan amounts available are lower for rental properties as opposed to second homes, and they have higher interest rates as well. This could have motivated Manafort to claim that the SoHo apartment was a second home and not a rental. A second home loan also allowed Manafort to take that money directly from his bank account, which is not allowed for rental properties.
Following her was Taryn Rodriguez, an Assistant Loan Officer at Citizens Bank. She testified that he applied for a $5.5 million loan on a property on Union Street in Brooklyn just 30 to 45 days after the SoHo loan was approved. Several loans in a short period of time is a major red flag for bank fraud.
The last witness of the day was Gary Seferian, a VP at Banc of California. He testified that Manafort applied for a $5 million loan to flip houses with his son-in-law Jeffrey Yohai (The Indicted). but received only $1 million after falsifying records for his loan application. Gary also said that if DMP’s income was $400,000 and not the $4,400,000 that the loan application claimed, his bank would have not likely approved the loan.
Maria Butina, the Russian national accused of infiltrating the NRA and Republican political circles, received funding for her American activities from a Moscow billionaire. That’s according to U.S. prosecutors in their indictment of Butina.
But what the prosecutors didn’t say was that when Butina needed money from the oligarch, Konstantin Nikolaev, she went to a Kremlin-linked public relations power player named Igor Pisarsky for the cash. That’s according to two sources familiar with her activities, speaking to The Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity.
Pisarsky was Butina’s point of contact for the Nikolaev money, according to these sources—the face of the financing. According to one of the sources, he essentially acted like he was distributing grant money.
This information, previously unreported, highlights the breadth of Butina’s support network; she had friends in a wide variety of high places. In Paul Erickson, she had a longtime Republican insider with close ties to the right’s most powerful groups. In Alexander Torshin, she had a Kremlin ally who was deeply involved in Russia’s banking sector. In Konstantin Nikolaev, she had an oligarch willing to help bankroll her undertakings. And now, in Igor Pisarsky, she had a worldly, sophisticated public relations professional whose firm boasts having worked for a host of Kremlin entities, as well as Vladimir Putin’s political party. Pisarsky’s firm also has worked for two banks whose CEOs have faced U.S. sanctions, according to its website and reports.
Butina’s attorney declined to comment for this story. Pisarsky also declined to comment.
His friend Svetlana Bolshakova, an orchestra musician and editor of the musical radio broadcaster Orpheus, told The Daily Beast that Pisarsky is currently traveling in South America.
“Igor is far from both politics and politicians. He is all about a good party, a good trip, or a good meal,” Bolshakova said. “Last time I saw him was about a month ago in a crowd of Moscow’s hip elite. I don’t think he ever hangs out with any government people, at least I’ve never seen him around any officials. He is an independent person, a co-owner of two hip restaurants. He adores cooking.”
Pisarsky and Butina are Facebook friends, and she has liked several of his pictures. She also wrote about him on her blog: An entry on March 12, 2015, describes Pisarsky as a “good friend” and says she attended his birthday party.
So far we’ve learned that Mueller’s team has subpoenaed and/or interviewed Roger Stone’s protege (Sam Nunbert), his Social Media assistant (Andrew Miller), his Madam (Krisin Davis), and his old friend (Randy Credico).
- There is no rule that says Robert Mueller must end his investigation by September as Giuliani claims
- Toobin on Giuliani’s ‘perjury trap’ warning: ‘It is not a perjury trap if you tell the truth’
Can we just stop listening to Rudy? His job is just to lie for Trump to the Fox News crowd. Everything that comes out of his mouth is either a blatant lie or the ramblings of someone with dementia. Usually both.
TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET
- Donald Trump is a ‘Wimp’ and ‘Liar’ for not Speaking with Mueller says Watergate-era Congresswoman
- Enough already. Trump needs to answer Robert Mueller’s questions.
- Trump won’t stop lying about origins of the Mueller investigation. Here are the facts.
- How on earth have we let Trump get away with hiding his tax returns?
- It Shouldn’t Be This Hard To Protect an Innocent Man
- Trump obliterates his dishonesty record: 132 false claims last week, 280 for July
- Pence details plan for creation of Space Force in what would be the sixth branch of the military
- Pence launches Space Force, says U.S. needs to prepare for ‘next battlefield’
- David Hogg: Your distraction from Russia is not only dumb but it also breaks the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies Signed by the United States on January 27th 1967
Space Force. Just in case the Vulcans arrive and get a little uppity with their logic and pointy ears…
Here’s the hypocrisy of Republicans in a nut shell. Pence said that starting the Space Force would cost $8 billion over the next 5 years. But, they can’t afford $1.6 billion in funds for Veterans Affairs (Daily Check-In 07/19/2018). The money they want to spend on making sure Space is safe could instead be spent on the VA. But, fuck the veterans. Until the GOP needs to use them as props for some parade or to shout down any sign of dissent or disapproval with the state of the country.
- Today in Trump’s America: Rep. Devin Nunes admits to trying to protect Trump from legal jeopardy
- Devin Nunes, Trump’s political stooge, is at it again
- Finally, Devin Nunes admits what his charade is all about – CNN
- Four Biggest Takeaways From Bombshell Leaked Audio Of Rep. Devin Nunes
- In leaked audio, Devin Nunes makes strong case for Democratic Congress
- Nunes secretly recorded at fundraiser: We have to protect Trump from Mueller
- Garamendi: Nunes should be removed as chair
At President Trump’s rally in Tampa last week, a familiar face made it back in the national news. Maurice Symonette, also known as Michael the Black Man, was front and center in a crowd hurling invective at CNN reporter Jim Acosta, waving a “Blacks for Trump” sign. Symonette has been a regular at Trump rallies all over Florida and as far away as Arizona. Just last month, he popped up at the U.S. border to appear in a video with disgraced sheriff-turned-pardoned-Senate-candidate Joe Arpaio.
All that national exposure raises an obvious question: Who is paying the bills for Symonette, a former member of Miami’s murderous Yahweh ben Yahweh cult, to represent “Blacks for Trump” at Trump rallies? Since Blacks for Trump isn’t a registered political organization with the Florida Division of Elections or the Federal Election Commission, there are no public records of any donations funding the group’s operations.
It seems unlikely Symonette is fronting the cash for his travel himself because he filed for bankruptcy this past May. In federal court records, he reports that he’s unemployed, generates no income, and has $0 in the bank. He also says four banks have staked claims on $2.9 million worth of property around Dade County.
So how is he getting to Arizona and Tampa to stand behind Trump on national TV? Reached on his cell phone, Symonette declined to discuss his group’s financing. “You guys are horrible racists,” he said. “You are lawbreakers and you’re mean… God is going to punish you horribly.”
Throughout the ’80s, Symonette — then known as Maurice Woodside — was a devoted follower of Yahweh ben Yahweh, a charismatic preacher who wore white robes and called himself the Messiah. Federal prosecutors later accused Yahweh, whose real name was Hulon Mitchell Jr., of ordering his followers to murder at least 14 people, including random white vagrants who were massacred as an initiation rite.
Symonette was charged in federal court along with Mitchell and 15 other followers in 1990; while the cult’s leader was later convicted of 14 charges of murder conspiracy and served nearly two decades in prison, Symonette and six other cult members were acquitted.
Symonette filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on May 16, listing Washington Mutual, Homecomings Financial, HSBC Bank, and Indymac Bank as his creditors; each institution laid claim to one of four houses. Three are in North Miami-Dade County, and one is near Kendall.
In his bankruptcy case, he’s repeated those allegations about the banking system being crooked to Judge Laurel M. Isicoff. He’s also repeatedly sought to change hearings that overlapped with Trump events. Symonette suggested the scheduling conflicts are a sinister plot to keep him away from the spotlight at Trump rallies.
“Creditors know that I have a rally in Arizona on July 25 and deliberately set the hearing on that date to cause me and my musical band to miss the performance and the rally with the bus we rented,” he wrote in a motion filed the same morning as the Phoenix rally. “The creditors overheard that at the house we are disputing… and set that hearing on the same date just to harm me.”
That motion was denied, as was another he filed on July 30, just before Trump’s Tampa rally. “As founder of Blacks for Trump, (I) have rented vans to go to Trump’s rally. We need to make the country aware how the banks (FOREIGNERS FROM THE EAST) are illegally taking WHITE AND BLACK PEOPLE’S houses away.”
I’m shocked. Not that the “Blacks for Trump” guy is nuts, but that he’s former-member-of-a-death-cult crazy. There’s not much room above death cult crazy in the Cray Cray Pyramid.
Here’s some free advice for Beto O’Rouke…
Use this request in attack ads on Ted Cruz. Show clips of Trump attacking Ted, his wife, and his father. Cut it together with news of this request. Include a Voice Over (VO) saying “If Ted Cruz won’t protect his own family, what makes you think he’ll protect Texas?”
- NFL players kneel during national anthem before first preseason game
- No, Jared Kushner, it was not okay to delete my journalists’ work
- Michael Avenatti in Iowa: ‘I’m exploring a run for the presidency of the United States’
- ‘We have a lawless president,’ impeachment advocate Tom Steyer tells Tulsa crowd
- Schiff blasts GOP for Russia probe conduct: ‘That’s how you obstruct an investigation, not how you conduct one’
- ‘I want to die’: Was a 5-year-old drugged after being separated from his dad at the border?
- Now the Trump administration is trying to punish legal immigrants for being poor
- Federal immigration judges accuse Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions of interfering with their autonomy
- Army suspends discharges of foreign-born recruits who enlisted through citizenship program
- Judge halts mother-daughter deportation, threatens to hold Sessions in contempt
- Judge orders plane carrying deported mother and child turned around, blocks more removals
- Sessions threatened with contempt after asylum-seeker in court hearing put on deportation plane
COLD WAR 2.0
- Ruble Tumbles as U.S. Sets Out New Sanctions on Russia
- Russia: US sanctions are ‘categorically unacceptable’ – CNN
- Russian Hackers Have Broken Into Some of Florida’s Voter-Registration Systems, Senator Says
- Russia has breached Florida state election systems
- Bill Browder: Big Russian law enforcement raid at Khodorkovsky’s foundation in Moscow. I think this is a reaction to MBK sending journalists (who were brutally killed) to Central African Republic to investigate Putin’s mercenaries there.
- Former chief of staff to Colin Powell: Trump is sitting with devil by working with Saudi Arabia
- Saudi Arabia Rejects Human-Rights Criticism, Then Crucifies Someone
- “We just bombed a school bus”: Top Democratic senator slams the US for its involvement in bloody Yemen war after bus full of children hit in airstrike
- Cuomo questions how NRA can be broke AND fund a $1m effort to get Trump Supreme Court nominee confirmed
- David Hogg: WOW Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa just blatantly lied
- US suspect was ‘training children to commit school shootings’
THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE
- Laura Ingraham Doesn’t Love Her Country Anymore
- Laura Ingraham enforces racist stereotypes about people of color as she laments demographic changes
- Laura Ingraham Has Been Peddling White Nationalism For Years: A Reminder
- Laura Ingraham Shows Her Bigotry on Immigration
- Laura Ingraham’s new racist rant is aimed at legal immigrants—like her own daughter
- Lieu to Fox’s Ingraham: I served in the military to defend your right to make racist statements
- What Laura Ingraham said was awful. And unsurprising.
- Alex Jones’ Lawyer Seeks To Make Sandy Hook Parents’ Home Addresses Public
- Infowars’ Alex Jones Wants Sandy Hook Parents’ Addresses Made Public
- Twitter says Infowars hasn’t ‘violated our rules.’ It looks like that’s not the case
- Some Alex Jones content removed from Twitter after being mentioned by CNN | TheHill
- Even the people at Twitter can’t explain why Alex Jones is still able to tweet
- How did Alex Jones become possible? Because we tolerated “lesser” lies for too long
- Sinclair’s Bid to Monopolize Local TV News Is Officially Dead
- Tribune Media Terminates Merger Agreement With Sinclair Broadcast Group
- Tribune withdraws from Sinclair merger, sues for $1 billion in damages over ‘breach of contract’
- Tribune withdraws from Sinclair’s $3.9 billion media merger plan
WHITE HOUSE CHAOS
- Melania Trump’s Parents Become US Citizens as Lawyer Acknowledges ‘Chain Migration’
- Pence Said the President Should Resign for Lying About Adultery. Just Not This One.
- Trump officials attended conference where speaker said carbon dioxide makes planet ‘greener’
- Puerto Rican Government Quietly Admits 1,427 Died in Hurricane
- Puerto Rico admits hurricane death toll 20 times higher than it first claimed
- Puerto Rico Government Quietly Acknowledges Hurricane Death Toll of 1,427
- Where is Job Growth in the U.S. Happening? Not In Trump’s America
- Bankruptcy is increasingly a rite of passage for America’s seniors. It doesn’t have to be this way.
GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD
So this is where we are. The Republican Party can’t win using ordinary methods. On the process side, they can win only by inflating the white vote via gerrymandering, cracked-and-packed districts, and ruthless black voter suppression. On the policy side, they can win only with heavy dollops of strident and outright bigotry against Mexicans, Muslims, blacks, Hispanics, Chinese, and anyone else who comes along. Even Canadians will do in a pinch.
Today, the Republican Party exists for one and only one purpose: to pass tax cuts for the rich and regulatory rollbacks for corporations. They accomplish this using one and only method: unapologetically racist appeals to win the votes of the heartland riff-raff they otherwise treat as mere money machines for their endless mail-order cons.
Like it or not, this is the modern Republican Party. It no longer serves any legitimate purpose. It needs to be crushed and the earth salted behind it, while a new conservative party rises to take its place. This new party should be conservative; brash; ruthless when it needs to be; as simpleminded as any major party usually is; and absolutely dedicated to making Democrats look like idiots. There should be no holds barred except for one: no appeals to racism. None. Not loud ones, not subtle ones. Whatever else it is, it should be a conservative party genuinely open to any person of any color.
When that happens, I will change my mind about how we should fight the Republican Party. Until then, no, I don’t think Brett Kavanaugh deserves any help from Democrats and I don’t think liberals should waste any time tut-tutting over Twitter mockery from 2013 that all of us know perfectly well doesn’t represent any genuine anti-white sentiment.
Nos victi Reipublicae. That’s it. Whatever works best, I’m in.
- Permit approved for white power rally in DC a year after deadly protest
- Uber Says Its Drivers Can Kick Out White Supremacists
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
- A Judge Just Ruled That the Government Can’t Lock You Up for Being Broke
- A West Virginia House panel has voted to impeach the entire state Supreme Court
- A.G. Underwood Announces Major Court Win In Challenge To Trump EPA Over Toxic Pesticide | New York State Attorney General
- Bad policing, bad law, not ‘bad apples,’ behind disproportionate killing of black men
- Sexual assault cases against 3 celebs sent to LA DA
- US suspect was ‘training children to commit school shootings’
- Beto O’Rourke Tells a Packed House That Texas Needs to Fix Its Education System
- Ted Cruz Allows Last Shred of Dignity to Slip Away, Asks Trump for Help Campaigning
- Millennials Are Sick of Old Politicians but Too Poor to Replace Them
- How Bad are Things for the GOP? A Democratic House Candidate got 30,000 Write-In Votes in Michigan
- New data makes it clear: Nonvoters handed Trump the presidency
- The primaries don’t show Democrats divided. They show a party mature enough to handle debate.
- Kobach’s Lead in Kansas GOP Governor Primary Cut in Half After Vote Mistake Discovered
- Kobach’s lead in Kansas race falls to 91 votes
- Mass. governor signs automatic voter registration bill into law
PROGRESS IS PROGRESS
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Echoes Bernie Sanders: Our Pockets Are Empty for Education, Healthcare, But Not ‘Unlimited War’
- California’s destructive summer brings blunt talk about climate change
- Trump is driving progressive and moderate Democrats together, not sparking a civil war
- The Koch Brothers Commissioned a Survey of Americans and Found Most Like a $15 Minimum Wage, Free College, and Universal Health Care
- Millennials Are Sick of Old Politicians but Too Poor to Replace Them
- Why the Democratic Socialists of America Won’t Stop Growing
That’s it for Thursday. Friday is going to be a weird one. As I’m wrapping this post up, Andrew Miller is in contempt of court, the Manafort Trial started the day on a different foot, and Omarosa’s getting attacked by the dumbest White House in
Thank you, and have a good one.
“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”
– Katy Tur