Wednesday, August 29th.
THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION
- White House Counsel McGahn to leave in the fall
- Trump says White House counsel Don McGahn will leave in the fall
- Trump says White House Counsel Donald McGahn will leave his job in the fall
- Schiff: McGahn’s resignation shows White House is in ‘attack mode’ against Mueller
- McGahn ‘Surprised’ By Trump Announcement Of His Departure: ‘Of Course It Happened This Way’
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.
- Accused Russian agent Maria Butina was talking to FBI in South Dakota
- All the times alleged Russian spy’s lawyer went on Fox News and didn’t say who he was
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).
- Frank Schaeffer: Breaking from the WSJ: “The Justice Department is investigating whether a fugitive Malaysian laundered tens of millions of dollars through two associates and used the funds to pay a legal team including ex-N.J. Gov. Chris Christie and a lawyer who represents President Trump.”
- U.S. probing whether laundered funds used to pay Chris Christie, Trump lawyer
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.
- Trump lawyer Giuliani got paid to lobby Romanian president
- Giuliani letter criticizing Romania’s anti-corruption drive draws State Department attention
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.
- The FBI and Citibank are reportedly investigating a suspiciously large 2016 payment from the Russian embassy to their ambassador to the US
- “Suspicious” Transactions At Russian Embassy Sparked Deeper Bank Probe Than Previously Known
[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?
- Mueller wants to review emails between Manafort, former lawyer
- Manafort to Learn If Feds Will Add Third Trial to Deepening Woes
- Mueller fights Russian firm’s attempt to ‘intervene’ in Roger Stone aide’s appeal
- Russian Intelligence Is Co-opting Angry Young Men
- After weeks of uncertainty, Papadopoulos decides to accept plea deal with Mueller
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)
- 5 Percent of Trump Voters Would’ve Changed Their Vote if Stormy Daniels Allegations Surfaced Week Before Election, Poll Finds
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 survey. Eighty-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.
- Avenatti asks court for expedited deposition of President Trump
- Michael Cohen is resigned to going to prison to protect his family
- Sources: Second Trump Org employee discussed immunity deal
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.
- CNN stands by story about whether Trump knew of meeting
- CNN fires back at Trump: ‘CNN does not lie’
- Don’t forget Donald Trump Jr. and his Trump Tower meeting. He broke the law, too.
TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET
- Trump personally lobbying GOP senators to flip on Sessions
- Trump tells Christian leaders he changed key tax law (but he didn’t)
- Trump spars with Andrew Gillum as marquee race for Fla. governor takes shape
FBI Building Interference
- Beyer On IG Revelations Of Trump’s Involvement In FBI Headquarters Decision: “This Looks Like A Cover-Up”
- New government report confirms Trump’s involvement in FBI headquarters project near his Washington, DC, hotel
- Trump, without evidence, blames China for hacking Clinton emails
- No evidence Clinton server was compromised, FBI says
- FBI contradicts Trump’s claim about Hillary Clinton’s emails being hacked by China
- FBI: No evidence Clinton server hacked despite Trump tweet
IMPEACHMENT AND INDICTMENT TALK
- CNN New Day: Trump Predicting Violence if GOP Loses Midterms is ‘Dangerous New Low’
- Hey, GOP, there’s already more evidence to impeach than the last time you did it
- People with a conspiracy mentality show less of a bias in favor of historical experts, study finds
- Graham from 2016: Russians hacked my campaign email account
- Why Is the Most Powerful Man in Hollywood Hiding the Other Trump Tapes?
- Devin Nunes explains why he’s less conservative than he used to be
- Duncan Hunter on campaign funds indictment: ‘Leave my wife out of it’ | TheHill
- Trump’s Downfall: A Neuroscientist Explains What Happens When a Narcissist Starts to Lose Power
- If You Still Think The Resistance is About Politics—You’re Not Listening
- No, 96% of Google news stories on Trump aren’t from left-wing outlets
- Trump Was Forced To Unblock His Twitter Critics. Now They’re Getting Sweet Revenge.
- John McCain Picks Anti-Putin Russian Poisoned, Almost Killed as Pallbearer in Apparent Dig Against Trump
- Nevada files to force NRC official’s recusal from Yucca Mountain
- Stricter vetting for migrant youth means taxpayers spend more — and parents wait
- Trump Administration Revoking Passports and Deporting Hispanic Citizens
- U.S. is denying passports to Americans along the border
- US is denying passports to Americans along the US-Mexico border, throwing their citizenship into question
- WaPo: Trump Admin Surges Birth Certificate-Based Passport Denials, Revocations
- Hispanic citizens are being denied passports because Trump administration thinks they were born in Mexico
- Trump Administration Is Trying to Systematically Strip Citizenship From Many Americans Born Near Mexico Border
- San Juan mayor says the Trump administration killed thousands through neglect during Hurricane Maria
- ‘We did a fantastic job in Puerto Rico’: Trump defends response despite spike in deaths after Hurricane Maria
- Trump Says He Did A “Fantastic Job” In Puerto Rico — The Day After It Was Revealed Nearly 3,000 People Died
COLD WAR 2.0
- Japan and North Korea held secret meeting as Shinzo Abe ‘loses trust’ in Donald Trump
- Mattis on Afghan war: ‘Privatizing it is probably not a wise idea’
- Defense Sec. James Mattis suggests U.S. military exercises near N.K. border are back on
- Soup Kitchens and Soaring Deficits Hang Over Fraught Brazil Election
- Lawmakers Push to Sanction Chinese Officials Over Xinjiang Camps – WSJ
THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE
- How Trump relies on his cable news cabinet as much as the real one
- All the times alleged Russian spy’s lawyer went on Fox News and didn’t say who he was
- Fox News denounces DeSantis’s ‘monkey’ remark on Dem rival
- Trump Mocked For Calling Anonymous Sources ‘Fiction’ Hours After Sharing Story With Anonymous Sources
WHITE HOUSE CHAOS
- Ivanka Trump Was More Than Complicit In Obama Equal Pay Rollback—She Had A Hand In It, Watchdog Alleges
- Leaked Emails Reveal Another Trump Staffer With Ties to White Nationalism
- The very white house: intern photo shows decline in diversity under Trump
TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY
GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD
- Debate crowd laughs after GOP lawmaker says he’s been ‘accessible’
- In Unprecedented Move, The US Postal Service Released A Former CIA Officer’s Security Application to Republican Group
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
GAY CONVERSION “THERAPY”
- Facebook Reportedly Targeted LGBTQ Users with “Gay Cure” Ads
- California Might Make Conversion Therapy Consumer Fraud
- Christina Wilkie: Mike Pence just publicly congratulated Martha McSally for winning the #AZSen GOP primary. None of the ballot counts have been announced in that race. Pence deleted the tweet, but here it is. NYT live results showed 0% of AZ precincts reporting when he sent it.
- Winners and losers from the Arizona and Florida primaries
- Arizona’s Voters Have Spoken and Rendered Joe Arpaio Irrelevant
- 2018 midterms: millennials prefer Democrats, but only half plan to vote
- Andrew Gillum: Progressive Values Give Voters Something to ‘Vote for, Not Just Against’
- DeSantis Moderates Hate-Filled Facebook Group That Attacks African-Americans, Parkland Survivors and Muslims
- DeSantis warns Floridians not to “monkey this up” by electing Gillum
- Dictionary.com posts definition of ‘dog whistle’ in response to DeSantis’s ‘monkey’ comment
- Fox News denounces DeSantis’s ‘monkey’ remark on Dem rival
- Gillum after upset win in Florida: ‘We can run wholly on our values’
- Gillum: ‘I’m Not Going To Get Down In The Gutter With DeSantis And Trump’
- Federal Judge demands Sec. of State Kemp explain why Ga. can’t switch to paper ballots
- GOP lawmakers who opposed teacher pay bill voted out in Oklahoma runoff elections
- GOP uncovers humiliating evidence suggesting nation might be interested in dating Beto O’Rourke
- Oklahoma Teachers Just Purged the Statehouse of Their Enemies
- The first openly transgender gubernatorial nominee from a major party is getting death threats
- Democrats Are Going To Get Trump’s Tax Returns If They Win The House
- Democrats Just Confirmed Lots Of Trump’s Judges So They Could Skip Town
- Florida’s Republican Candidate For Governor Just Said A Vote For His Black Rival Would “Monkey” Up The State
- Goodbye, Joe Arpaio: Last in the Senate Race, First in ‘Blood, Slime, and Misery’
- Texas GOP Succeeds in Making Beto O’Rourke Look Extremely Cool
- Texas Republican Party Accidentally Creates Killer Campaign Ad for Beto O’Rourke
- Trump’s marijuana task force ordered to ignore data that shows positive impacts: report
- The Trump Administration Has Secretly Launched an Anti-Weed Committee
- The White House Is Gearing Up for a Secret War on Legal Weed
- Warren: If Democrats take Senate, they’ll vote on marijuana bill
PROGRESS IS PROGRESS
WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT OF THE DAY
- Greg Olear: Greg Olear Verified account @gregolear Following Following @gregolear More Let’s clear up a few things about Trump, as we head into Labor Day weekend. [THREAD]
- Molly McKew: Kudos to @maddow for dedicating huge block tonight to this piece + very overlooked fact that many of DoJ/FBI officials who find themselves in POTUS/radical R crosshairs are experts who have been prosecuting Russian organized crime/illicit Kremlin activities their whole careers
- Red T Racoon: I’ve been noticing an uptick in OLD videos of animal abuse, child abuse, and racial/police violence being shared. Before you send out a “find this person” tweet, do some background on the event. Don’t be the person that sensationalizes a graphic video just to get retweets.
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