Daily Check-In 08/10/2018

Friday, August 10th and the weekend

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

The Manafort Trial

Day 9 of the Manafort Tax Trial started off a little weird.  The first few hours were spent with the lawyers and judge in meetings, and the judge giving a couple warnings to the jury.

The testimony didn’t start until 2:25 PM with Dennis Raico (Daily Check-In 07/23/2018) of Federal Savings Bank taking the stand.  Raico, a Senior Vice President at the bank, testified that Manafort received $16 million in two separate loans that the bank was originally going to reject because Manafort kept screwing around with the paperwork and changing the terms of the loan.  The loans were approved when the CEO of the bank, Steve Calk, personally intervened on Manafort’s behalf.  Raico testified under immunity protection.

Raico also testified that Manafort disputed a $200,000 charge on his AmEx card by saying that Rick Gates purchased Yankees season tickets with the card.  This was further disputed by the next witness, Irfan Kirimca, Senior Director for the New York Yankees.  Irfan testified that Manafort was a season ticket holder from 2010 to 2017.  Manafort purchased $226,800 worth of tickets for 2017.  $700 per seat for 81 home games for 4 people.  If $700 per ticket sounds crazy, they are.  That is front row seats, right along the dugout.  Any closer and you’d have to wear pinstripes.

The final witness of the day was Andrew Chojnowski, lending officer at FSB.  He testified that Paul Manafort signed the loan documents attesting that he had disclosed all of his debts.

The prosecution will call it’s final witness on Monday.  James Brennan  (Daily Check-In 07/23/2018) is an employee of FSB and will be testifying under immunity protection.

 

Peter Smith

The FBI, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office and Senate Intelligence Committee investigators are all scrutinizing the cash transactions of GOP activist Peter W. Smith, who sought Hillary Clinton’s emails from hackers. BuzzFeed News reports that Smith transferred $9,500 from a bank account dedicated to his email-finding efforts to his personal account, then took about $6,100 in cash out in three separate withdrawals. Both the FBI and Senate Intel are now trying to find out if “Smith paid anyone connected with the Russian government,” and Mueller’s office has reportedly “interviewed people who Smith tried to recruit” for his operation. The FBI has reportedly gathered information about how Russian hackers were discussing passing the Clinton emails to Gen. Michael Flynn “through a cutout.” Mueller’s team is also allegedly pursuing the Flynn angle, with their office trying to determine if “Flynn assisted Smith” in his effort to obtain Clinton’s emails during the 2016 campaign. Smith, who told the Wall Street Journal last year that he never intended to pay any of the hackers who gave him what they said were sample emails, committed suicide ten days after the paper’s story was published.

This story just gets crazier and crazier.  Peter Smith (Daily Check-In 10/17/2017,Daily Check-in 10/25/2017) withdrew large amounts of cash while on the hunt for HRC’s emails.

Here’s a question.  Why would the Russian hackers, who we know by now were GRU, want paid for the work they did when they’re already doing it for Russian Intelligence and the Trump Campaign?

Because it would give them financial Kompromat over other people.  Think how useful it could be to hold leverage over some wealthy mark like Peter Smith.

 

Rudy

There is no rule saying that an investigation has to wrap up before September to keep from interfering in the election.  Just ask Hilary about Comey’s October Surprise.  Hell, ask Rudy, he knew about it before anyone else did.

 

Roger Stone

Friends of Roger

Andrew Miller is under Civil Contempt of Court.  It hasn’t reached a criminal complaint, but I’m pretty sure we’re in Bench Warrant territory.  Miller, currently working as a house painter in St. Louis, just fought an extensive legal battle challenging the legality of the Mueller Investigation.

What the fuck is a house painter doing with high-rolling attorneys?

 

An investment company based in Las Vegas, with oil and gas interests in the Middle East claimed that they received a commitment of more than three hundred million dollars from Carter Page’s Global Energy Capital after Page’s involvement in the Trump campaign.

The investment company, RD Heritage Group, claimed on their website that they they secured a capital commitment of hundreds of millions of dollars from Page and his company:

“$350MM capital commitment by Global Energy Capital … an investment management and advisory firm focused on the energy sector primarily in emerging markets. Global Energy Capital was founded by Carter Page, CFA. Carter has spent 7 years as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch in London, Moscow and New York…Carter was also a foreign policy advisor to Presidential candidate Donald Trump.”

It is unclear if Page ever actually followed through with his commitment. The exact timing of the alleged partnership between RD Heritage and Global Energy Capital is unknown, though it happened after Carter Page’s involvement with the Trump campaign.

Take this with a grain of salt, but there could be something here that links the Sheldon Cooper of Treason to the Rosneft sale brokerage.  Also would explain how he’s able to travel the world with no discernible income stream.

 

Mobbed Up

When Manafort’s turncoat lieutenant Rick Gates took the stand to detail their alleged conspiracies, I was transported to the day back in 1992 when Gotti’s underboss Sammy Gravano began singing at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn. Gotti’s lawyers attacked Sammy the Bull by demanding to know how many people he’d whacked. Manafort’s team asked Gates how many affairs he’s had.

If it seems harsh to compare Manafort to a mobster, take it up with President Trump, who got the ball rolling with a tweet before the trial began. “Looking back at history, who was treated worse, [Al] Capone, legendary mob boss . . . or Paul Manafort?” Trump mused.

And the president ought to know: He has spent plenty of time in mobbed-up milieus. As many journalists have documented — the late Wayne Barrettand decorated investigator David Cay Johnston most deeply — Trump’s trail was blazed through one business after another notorious for corruption by organized crime.

New York construction, for starters. In 1988, Vincent “the Fish” Cafaro of the Genovese crime family testified before a U.S. Senate committee concerning the Mafia’s control of building projects in New York. Construction unions and concrete contractors were deeply dirty, Cafaro confirmed, and four of the city’s five crime families worked cooperatively to keep it that way.

This would not have been news to Trump, whose early political mentor and personal lawyer was Roy Cohn, consigliere to such dons as Fat Tony Salerno and Carmine Galante. After Cohn guided the brash young developer through the gutters of city politics to win permits for Trump Plaza and Trump Tower, it happened that Trump elected to build primarily with concrete rather than steel. He bought the mud at inflated prices from S&A; Concrete, co-owned by Cohn’s client Salerno and Paul Castellano, boss of the Gambino family.

Coincidence? Fuhgeddaboudit.

Trump moved next into the New Jersey casino business, which was every bit as clean as it sounds. State officials merely shrugged when Trump bought a piece of land from associates of Philadelphia mob boss “Little Nicky” Scarfo for roughly $500,000 more than it was worth. However, this and other ties persuaded police in Australia to block Trump’s bidto build a casino in Sydney in 1987, citing Trump’s “Mafia connections.”

His gambling interests led him into the world of boxing promotion, where Trump became chums with fight impresario Don King, a former Cleveland numbers runner. (Trump once told me that he owes his remarkable coiffure to King, who advised the future president, from personal experience, that outlandish hair is great PR.) King hasn’t been convicted since the 1960s, when he did time for stomping a man to death. But investigators at the FBI and U.S. Senate concluded that his Mafia ties ran from Cleveland to New York, Las Vegas to Atlantic City. Mobsters “were looking to launder illicit cash,” wrote one sleuth. “Boxing, of all the sports, was perhaps the most accommodating laundromat, what with its international subculture of unsavory characters who play by their own rules.”

But an even more accommodating laundromat came along: luxury real estate — yet another mob-adjacent field in which the Trump name has loomed large. Because buyers of high-end properties often hide their identities, it’s impossible to say how many Russian Mafia oligarchs own Trump-branded condos. Donald Trump Jr. gave a hint in 2008: “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.”

For instance: In 2013, federal prosecutors indicted Russian mob boss Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov and 33 others on charges related to a gambling ring operating from two Trump Tower condos that allegedly laundered more than $100 million. A few months later, the same Mr. Tokhtakhounov, a fugitive from U.S. justice, was seen on the red carpet at Trump’s Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.

Obviously, not everyone in these industries is corrupt, and if Donald Trump spent four decades rubbing elbows with wiseguys and never got dirty, he has nothing to worry about from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. But does he look unworried to you?

Sorry for the wall of text, but I’ve been waiting for the MSM to pick up on Trump’s mob ties for a long time.  Trump’s family has been involved with the mob since before he was a gleam in a bottle of bourbon.  If it’s not that obvious by this point, here’s a nice, easy equation:

Trump = Mob.

As I said before many times, such as in Money Laundering, Trump is the laundromat for various mob groups, allowing them to spend their money wherever they please.  His deals, many of which “fail”, are the perfect vehicle for moving large sums of money.

And get the romantic, Mario Puzo-inspired schlock or Scorsese-directed films out of your head involving gentlemen Italians looking out for the little guy in the neighborhood or the Wiseguys playing footsie with the cops.  These people are criminals that make truckloads of money off of human suffering.  Gambling, drug dealing, prostitution, sex trafficking, murder, extortion, blackmail, slavery, ripping tags off of mattresses, they have their hands in it all.  If it helps, know that the Russians are in charge now, and no one has made any movies turning the Russian Mafia into folk heroes.

 

COHEN

A court-appointed special master who since April has been poring over a trove of documents and electronic files seized this spring from Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former fixer and personal lawyer, said on Thursday that she had finished her review.

In her sixth and final report to the Manhattan federal judge who is overseeing Mr. Cohen’s case, the special master, Barbara S. Jones, echoed what she said in her previous reports: Only a tiny fraction of the nearly four million files federal agents seized when they raided Mr. Cohen’s office, apartment and hotel room were protected by attorney-client privilege.

That means prosecutors can use the vast majority of the files in their wide-ranging inquiry into Mr. Cohen’s business dealings, including hush-money payments he helped arrange for women who say they had affairs with Mr. Trump.

The end of the laborious review marked a milestone in the investigation and brings the prosecutors from the public corruption unit of the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan one step closer to deciding whether to file charges against Mr. Cohen or, perhaps, to seek his cooperation in other inquiries, including one being led by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into potential ties between Russia and Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Out of the millions of pieces of evidence the FBI seized from the raid on Cohen’s everything (Daily Check-In 04/09/2018), only a tiny portion was deemed by the Special Master to be protected by Attorney-Client privilege.  Out of that, some of it has already been leaked to the press (McDougal Tape, Daily Check-In 07/20/2018).

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

Imagine that U.S. military leaders spent most of 1941 warning President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his Democratic Party of a coming Pearl Harbor attack. Then imagine history’s harsh judgment against FDR’s party had it ignored those concerns, voted against efforts to fortify the Pacific fleet and plotted the firing of generals who were working to expose the looming Japanese threat. Historians would have rightly savaged these politicians as traitors to their country.

Seventy-seven years later, President Trump and his Republican Party are showing a disturbing ambivalence toward Russia’s attacks on U.S. democracy. What exactly are we to make of their disturbing behavior? Even after Trump’s intelligence chiefs handed Republicans incontrovertible evidence of Russian malevolence, Trump dismissed the warnings as a hoax, the GOP House Intelligence Committee chairman secretly plotted against those leading the Russia investigation and Senate Republicans voted in lock step against a Democratic bill providing a stronger defense against future Russian attacks.

So now is the time to ask again why Trump lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani is demanding a speedy end to the damning Russia investigation, when the Whitewater probe of the Clintons lasted much longer. And why did Vice President Pence spend months denying the Trump team’s contacts with Russian officials, only to pivot this past year to calling for a quick end to the investigation?

Will Pence’s future presidential primary challengers remember that Americans would have never uncovered the scope and scale of Putin’s plot against Western democracies if Pence had had his way? Do House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes’s constituents in California understand that their representative is trying to use his chairmanship to destroy the careers of officials overseeing the Russia investigation? Let us hope the answer is yes.

One thing is certain: Republicans can no longer plead ignorance when it comes to Putin. Our country’s national security community has sounded the alarm. Congress has been warned that our democracy is under attack by the Russians. How GOP leaders respond to this threat will determine not only the legacy of their political party but also the resilience of a political system they have carelessly ceded to a buffoon. Unless Republican leaders begin putting country ahead of party, history’s judgment against them all will be harsh.

We’ve long since passed the moment when the Republican Party should have abandoned Trump en masse.  Right now, an entire political party is defending one man at the cost of the country.  One man who knows no loyalty to others, who will do anything to save his own skin, and who openly attacks anyone and anything he sees as a threat.

There are four groups of Republicans that are supporting Trump.  The believers, the cowards, the enablers, and the complicit.  History will not be kind when details of the deals they made with the Russians come out.  (Scandal Speed Run)

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

IMMIGRATION

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

SCOTUS

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

Omarosa

In early 2017, Manigault Newman says she walked Michael Cohen, then Trump’s personal lawyer, into the Oval Office for a meeting with Trump — and saw the president chewing up a piece of paper while Cohen was leaving the office. Another White House official confirmed that Manigault Newman brought Cohen into the White House and was later rebuked for it. The two remain in contact, according to people familiar with the relationship.

“I saw him put a note in his mouth. Since Trump was ever the germophobe, I was shocked he appeared to be chewing and swallowing the paper. It must have been something very, very sensitive,” she writes in her book.

I’d like to say this is the most shocking thing I’ve read this weekend, but it’s not even in the Top 5.  I’ve seen two reasons for the paper eating and tearing.

First is that Trump is deteriorating mentally and that this is a sign of dementia.

Second is that he’s mob, and ate a note to keep it from being seen by anyone else.

I say “Why not both?”

I mean, it’s not like anything else coming from the White House is shocking, right?

She recorded everything, including stuff from the Situation Room?  HAHAHAHAHAHAHA HOW IN THE CRYSTAL PEPSI FLAVORED FUCK DID THEY NOT SEE THIS COMING!!???!?!

Ok, ok, ok.  Maybe it was some clubhouse and they told her it was the Situation Room so that she wouldn’t go in there.

No, it was the actual goddamned SITROOM?  Fuck.

Remember that scene from Casino, where where the Feds bugged a deli and the owner talked about everything that happened, right in the open?  This is a whole hell of a lot worse.

How much worse? Let’s assume for a moment that this was her personal phone, and not an NSA or USSS approved device.  If any bad actors had that number, it wouldn’t take too much to hack it and get ALL of the recordings off of it.  Every meeting, comment, side conversation, everything.

I’ve got $20 that says she uses an iPhone, backed it up to her iCloud account, and the password is something like Donny4Ever!.  I hope I’m wrong.

The above is the actual NDA they sent her for her “work” on the Trump Campaign for President in 2020.  I’m not a lawyer, but after giving it a brief look, here’s a couple things that stick out as likely illegal and/or unenforceable.

Section 1, Paragraph e: Person cannot hand over information, documents, or assist with an investigation or legal request for documents without first informing the Trump Campaign, and only cooperate to the extent that Trump’s lawyers say you should.

Section 2: No disparagement of Team Trump, ever, in any way, shape, or form.  And it would outlast the life of the contract.

Section 6, Paragraph a: Any and all financial information is confidential.  All of it, even though as a public servant, it should all be public anyway.

Section 10: The terms will survive the end of the contract with no end date.

The rest of this is pretty onerous, even for an NDA.  In exchange for keeping her mouth shut for the rest of time, the Trump Campaign would pay Omarosa $15,000 a month each month until the end of 2018 to work as an Independent Contractor on the campaign.  Less than $180,000, and she still has to pay her own health care.  To stay quiet forever.

Fuck that shit.

My guess is that Omarosa saw what and how much they were offering, weighed that with all of the shit that she put up with, saw that there was a good chance that if she joined up with the campaign that she’d spend more in legal fees than she’d make, then decided to say “fuck that shit”, then decided to write a book.  She’ll likely make more money from the book than she would have from this agreement.  Plus, she knows she has negative credibility.  Each and every claim she makes has to be backed up with evidence.  If she said that Jared once ate food, she would need to prove it.  If she’s got the receipts, which it sounds like she does, we could be in for an ugly fight between the White House and Trump’s Black Friend.

 

THAT’S RACIST

 

Unite The Right

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

CALIFORNIA

 

ELECTION 2018

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

RUMOR MILL: DEATH IN TRUMP TOWER EDITION

 

That’s it for the last few days.  The Manafort Tax Trial continues Monday, and there’s bound to be some fallout from Trump’s Black Friend.  Also, it’s Monday, which means Sacha Baron Cohen will be up to some crazy shit, “tricking” GOP members into some crazy stuff.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

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