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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s