Daily Check-In 08/24/2018

Friday, August 24th, 2018 and the weekend.

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Manafort

Back in 2006, the U.S. landed a bunch of Marines in Ukraine as part of a NATO goodwill mission.  They were to show up, be friendly with the neighbors, and do things like build parks and playgrounds.  That didn’t happen.

Right after they landed, the Marines were harassed by the locals.  They yelled at them, pushed them around, even threw rocks and garbage at them.  The locals chased them all the way to where the Marines were staying, and the harassment continued from there.  Eventually, the Marines had to call the whole thing off.

Later on, it was determined that these locals weren’t just regular locals, but were members of the Party of Regions.  Yes, the same party that Paul Manafort worked for and the same party that was in cahoots with Putin.  This attack was the brainchild of Paul Manafort, as an attempt to build hostility against NATO and the United States.

Paul Manafort helped organize an attack against American troops.  Remember that when you hear Trump talk about how Paul is “a good guy.”

 

McCain

There’s an entire section devoted to the Maverick towards the end of this post.

 

Stone

With all of the weirdness flying around, my money on the craziest shit to occur will be when Roger Stone gets indicted.  Not only will his first public indictment only be for something tangentially connected to Russia, but it will also include a metric fucktonne of extortion, blackmail, money, and sex crimes.  I think this will be on purpose.  The best way to get public opinion back on the side of the investigation is to first show that everyone involved is a criminal and was one before they took part in the Russian Conspiracy.  This will destroy the reputations of the people before their trials for espionage and treason.  Those are knockout punches, but the body needs softened up a bit first.  That’s what’s happening with Manafort, and will happen next with Stone.

 

Dems On The Hill

Check the Election 2018 section for why the GOP is so scared of the potential of a blue wave.

 

Butina

That request ain’t gonna happen.  All Maria has to do to escape the country is walk up to a car belonging to the Russian Embassy, hop in, and ask for asylum.  She was arrested while moving.  She is the definition of a flight risk.

 

Russia

 

This is yet another reminder that Mike Pence is neck deep in this shit.  He was hand-picked by Manafort to be the Vice President, was the head of the Trump Transition Team, and has repeatedly lied about who knew what about Russia, and when they knew.

 

COHEN

Cohen is the linchpin of the entire clusterfuck.  I’ll go into more detail in a future post, but his fingers are all over everything.

 

What a Pecker

A former Trump World Tower doorman who says he has knowledge of an alleged affair President Donald Trump had with an ex-housekeeper, which resulted in a child, is now able to talk about a contract he entered with American Media Inc. that had prohibited him from discussing the matter with anyone, according to his attorney.

On Friday, Marc Held — the attorney for Dino Sajudin, the former doorman — said his client had been released from his contract with AMI, the parent company of the National Enquirer, “recently” after back-and-forth discussions with AMI.

Back on Daily Check-In 04/12/2018 I mentioned this story that was originally broken by Ronan Farrow involving one of Trump’s old doormen claiming that he had knowledge that The Dotard knocked up the help.  This didn’t get a lot of traction because, well, we live in a fucked-up timeline where the President of the United States possibly having an illegitimate child with one of his cleaning ladies wasn’t even the worst news out of the Trump Organization that week.  That was the week Cohen got his shit raided. (Daily Check-In 04/09/2018)

It’s not so much that I don’t believe the doorman that Trump has a few baby mommas on the side, I’m counting on it.  In fact, I’m liable to believe this story just because AMI tried to spike it.  I think the only thing I’m surprised about is that there aren’t more cases of this.  Hell, I’m surprised that someone hasn’t done an AncestryDNA test or 23AndMe and that it hasn’t shown that one of the Trump children are step siblings.

Please, oh please, oh please, let the baby momma be a woman of color.  I’m sure that the MAGA’s will do some mental gymnastics to justify this along with their cries of White Power from Mommy’s basement, while the Evangelicals will give Trump yet another mulligan with some goalpost moving slogan like “at least he didn’t pay for her abortion” or some trite shit like that.  This will last just until the first wave of returned checks from the Trump Foundation for the local abortion clinic get entered into evidence in New York State.

 

CFO

In late 2016, I had lunch with a former high-ranking Trump Organization executive, a person who said he was happy to share dirt on his old boss, but who confessed to not having much dirt to share. This executive wrote a list of people whom I might contact to find out about anything potentially illegal or unethical that Donald Trump may have done. At the bottom of the list was the name Weisselberg. “Allen is the one guy who knows everything,” the person told me. “He’ll never talk to you.” I have had nearly identical conversations with different people who work or have worked for the Trump Organization many times since. They all described his role similarly: Allen Weisselberg, the firm’s longtime chief financial officer, is the center, the person in the company who knows more than anyone.

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal broke the story that Weisselberg had been granted immunity by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York so that he could share information in the investigation of Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney and dealmaker. It is safe to say that the entire world of Trump watchers—those journalists, political folks, and advocates who carefully monitor every bit of Trump news—went bonkers. Weisselberg is the man to whom those people most want to speak. He is also the man who has, for decades, been the most circumspect.

As the C.F.O., Weisselberg tracked the money that came into the Trump Organization and the money that went out of it, former employees told me. I often found myself wondering what the Weisselberg part of the operation looked like. (I called and e-mailed him a few times, but, not surprisingly, never heard back.) Some told me he had a couple of bookkeepers, but that he personally handled most of the paperwork. Weisselberg knew who was paying or lending money to Trump, and he knew to whom Trump was giving money. When Trump became President, he placed his business interests in a revocable trust overseen by his son Donald Trump, Jr., and Weisselberg.

Uh oh.  How many times have we seen this movie?  The criminal organization is under investigation, but the cops can’t get anything to stick to the boss.  Then, they bust the bookkeeper, who decides that dying in prison isn’t a good retirement option, so they help the investigators.  Next thing you know there’s a montage of bad guys getting arrested, and we cut to a subdued celebration by the cops that flipped the accountant.

Allan Weisselberg, Chief Financial Officer for Trump Organization, has been granted immunity for his testimony against Michael Cohen.  That’s not the big part of the story.  The big part is that the CFO of Trump’s company, charity, campaign, and every other operation they run had enough information for the government that they decided it was better to grant immunity for his unabashed testimony than it was to prosecute him.

We’ve talked about Allan once or twice before (Daily Check-In 07/26/2018), but he’s always stayed out of the limelight.  Now, he’s become a worldwide name overnight thanks to this investigation.

The Feds didn’t need Weisselberg to take down Cohen.  They had more than enough on him down on taxes and other crimes alone.  But they still offered Allan immunity.  Why?

Because doing so let the U.S. Government tie Michael Cohen to AMI to McDougal and Daniels, and it all tied back to the Trump Campaign, the Trump Organization, and the Trump Foundation.  The accountant ties all of it together.

I’ve mentioned before how the Trump Organization is being investigated like a mob family, and that RICO and Enterprise Corruption charges were the end-goal for the organization. (Daily Check-In 8/7/2017Daily Check-In 02/05/2018)  The first steps in that would be to prove that a pattern of criminal activity has occurred, and that the business benefited from it.  After showing this pattern, the next step is to show that individuals associated to the company benefited.  Once the conspiracy is established, it’s just a matter of time before everyone does down.

The Feds don’t give immunity to someone take down one little fish.  They do it to take down a big fish, and the only fish bigger than Pecker and Weisselberg in TrumpWorld have the last name Trump.

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

IMPEACHMENT AND INDICTMENT TALK

 

TRAITOR TOTS

Rand Paul

 

Duncan Hunter

 

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

IMMIGRATION

 

ATTACKS FROM RUSSIA: THE ANTI-VACCINE EDITION

Check out Jay’s thread.  It includes stories from all of the Traitor Tots associated to this scandal.  Both Paul family members, Alex Jones, Jill Stein, Trump, Roger Stone, and several others all spouting the same “talking points” about vaccines, all around the same time that Russia was pushing the Anti-Vax movement in Europe and here.

Want to know if someone has had Russian ties for a while?  Look at their stance on vaccines back from 2012 to 2016, and then see if they also supported Brexit, the Sandy Hook Hoax, Shrinking or Limiting NATO, Trump, Stein, or Bernie.  If they checked three of those boxes, they’re in Putin’s pocket.

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

SCOTUS

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY 

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS

 

#METOO

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

ELECTION 2018

Congressional Republicans are getting ready for hell. Axios has obtained a spreadsheet that’s circulated through Republican circles on and off Capitol Hill — including at least one leadership office — that meticulously previews the investigations Democrats will likely launch if they flip the House.

Why this matters: Publicly, House Republicans are putting on a brave face about the midterms. But privately, they are scrambling to prepare for the worst. This document, which catalogs requests Democrats have already made, is part of that effort.

It has churned Republican stomachs. Here are some of the probes it predicts:

  • President Trump’s tax returns
  • Trump family businesses — and whether they comply with the Constitution’s emoluments clause, including the Chinese trademark grant to the Trump Organization
  • Trump’s dealings with Russia, including the president’s preparation for his meeting with Vladimir Putin
  • The payment to Stephanie Clifford — a.k.a. Stormy Daniels
  • James Comey’s firing
  • Trump’s firing of U.S. attorneys
  • Trump’s proposed transgender ban for the military
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s business dealings
  • White House staff’s personal email use
  • Cabinet secretary travel, office expenses, and other misused perks
  • Discussion of classified information at Mar-a-Lago
  • Jared Kushner’s ethics law compliance
  • Dismissal of members of the EPA board of scientific counselors
  • The travel ban
  • Family separation policy
  • Hurricane response in Puerto Rico
  • Election security and hacking attempts
  • White House security clearances

The spreadsheet — which I’m told originated in a senior House Republican office — catalogs more than 100 formal requests from House Democrats this Congress, spanning nearly every committee.

  • The spreadsheet includes requests for administration officials to be grilled by committee staff, requests for hearings to obtain sworn testimony, efforts to seize communications about controversial policies and personnel decisions, and subpoena threats.
  • These demands would turn the Trump White House into a 24/7 legal defense operation.

The bottom line: Thanks to their control of Congress, Republicans have blocked most of the Democrats’ investigative requests. But if the House flips, the GOP loses its power to stymie. Lawyers close to the White House tell me the Trump administration is nowhere near prepared for the investigatory onslaught that awaits them, and they consider it among the greatest threats to his presidency.

 

 

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

JOHN McCAIN

There’s going to be a lot about John McCain in the news for the next week, some good and some bad.  No matter what I thought of his individual stance on positions, I never doubted his patriotism, love of this country, or his desire to make sure that democracy survived another generation.

John McCain was Putin’s Enemy #1.  He led the fight through the Senate to get the Magnitsky Act passed.  He was the first Senator to meet with Bill Browder and get it going through committee.  He was also the go-between for the Steele Dossier, making sure it was personally delivered to James Comey. (Daily Check-In 8/23/2017Daily Check-In 10/19/2017Daily Check-In 05/15/2018Daily Check-In 05/14/2018). He was an outspoken critic of Trump’s, and in his last public speech he said that Rand Paul was working for the Kremlin.

His passing also marks the end of the Republican Party as we knew it.  It’s now perverted into the Party of Trump.  Without more people like McCain to stand up for the GOP, the GOP won’t survive the next few years.  Without more people like McCain, the GOP doesn’t deserve to survive the next few years.

 

RUMOR MILL

I’m glad you touched on “a more perfect union”, as it’s something I’ve been thinking about the last couple of weeks.

Based on what I’ve read about the American revolution and the earliest days of the nation, I get the impression that the founding fathers were aware that the government they were working on wasn’t perfect, but that didn’t stop them from trying to include every possible protection for us against tyranny and corruption. The result was a more perfect union that gave us the tools to improve things as we went along, so that our government can adapt to the world as it changes.

Back in 2016, when Trump was asked in an interview about his admiration for Putin, a man who has killed anyone who stands in his way, Trump fired back with “You think we’re so perfect?” And to me, that underscores his lack of understanding about what this country is about, who we are, and where we should be going. The United States government has done some awful things throughout our history. While we should never forget or attempt to whitewash those things, we shouldn’t dwell on them either. We should remember our errors and shortcomings, and we should strive to never repeat them. Perfection is not in our past, but we should never stop working to make it a part of our future.

Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, and every person between them have highlighted the fact that our democracy is not as secure as we would like to believe, not from foreign threats, and certainly not from domestic ones. Once this entire matter is resolved, we must work toward securing our election process and expanding it so that as many people as possible can make their voice heard. We must work toward rooting out corruption and the corporate influence at all levels of government, so that the voice of the people is never drowned out. We must better educate our children and young adults so that they can be informed voters and less susceptible to propaganda. We must elect leaders who truly lead by example, and demonstrate compassion, cooperation, and honor. We must earn back the trust and respect that we have lost. We must give people something to fight for, instead of something to fight against. We must do these things together, as one nation, indivisible. It’s going to require hard work, hard questions, and honest answers.

We may not be that perfect union, and we may never become a perfect union, but we must never, ever stop working toward it. We owe it to generations past, and generations yet to be born.

As MSM becomes more comfortable discussing Trump in the context of organized crime/mafia/mob, I’d like to give a simple review of how television polarized this issue about him, long ago. Let’s explore what happened to US – you & me, when a mobster played CEO on TV… – THREAD –

  1. NYC is an incredible place. But it has a real problem. A dangerous problem. It’s soaked in organized crime. In the mob. It has been for a century. So, folks there know the mafia all too well. It’s in their family. Their businesses. It’s on the ladder to their dreams…
  2. They touch the mob – day in, & day out. This is life for them. It’s normal. The mob is the city and the city is the mob. So, Donald Trump – all his life – was just another mobbed-up crook to them. A con man. They knew his game, & shrugged it off. And then a TV show happened…
  3. “The Apprentice” – where the mobbed-up conman was presented as a CEO billionaire extraordinaire. This was pure bullsh*t. NYC knew it. The greater trip-state area knew it. Everyone in D.C. who’d ever encountered him knew it. And every NYC journalist & media outlet knew it. So..
  4. Trump became a colossal joke. Not that he wasn’t 1 already – from all the John Barron, Genovese-Cohn fixing, Gambino-concrete building, Epstein-partying ridiculousness & horror. But “The Apprentice” was just over the top 4 New Yorkers. So, they shrugged him off completely…
  5. And here’s the thing about New Yorkers: it’s kinda unfathomable 2 them that the rest of the world doesn’t know what they know. Especially, something as OBVIOUS and LONG-DOCUMENTED as Donald Trump & the mob. So, they didn’t blare the alarm. Not really. Not en masse. In fact…
  6. Many are not alarmed about the mob themselves. Because it’s in their families, & businesses, & on that ladder to their dreams. They’ve made themselves immune to the stakes of organized crime. Immune to the human misery that mobsters profit off of. Not all, but enough…
  7. They defend their mob friends on TV, even. Calling them good dads, and patriots. Near tears that their friends are finally facing accountability for a lifetime of profiting off organized crime. Perhaps, that mirror is just too tough to face. Meanwhile…
  8. For the rest of the country, Trump as a mobster was not a known thing. It wasn’t. Most all Americans know him as the business CEO that The Apprentice presenting him as being. As unthinkable as this is for the trip-state area in which Donald was raised…
  9. It’s true. The vast majority of Americans believed that Donald was a successful businessman. “The Apprentice” made sure of that. And the largely NYC-based, MSM press went right along with it. Despite what they knew was true. So, that coverage of him throughout his campaign…
  10. …the repeated narrative of Donald as “the billionaire businessman” served to reinforce the only thing the majority of Americans knew (in addition to the birther stuff), from “The Apprentice.” Just like that, in the eyes of the American voter, he became what he played on TV.
  11. Now, here is where it gets REALLY dangerous. On BOTH sides. For New Yorkers & tri-state, he’s a joke. Combine that with how immune most of them are to the stakes of organized crime – because of how normal it is to them, and we have a real problem…
  12. The normalization, 4 those who knew Trump best, is blinding/distracting them from grasping the national security threat this a**hole presents. This includes the NYC press. For those of us who study organized crime, we get it. He’s going to rip it all down 4 his overlords…
  13. The mob wants to traffic & exploit. They want the resources of our nation in their wallets. And they don’t give a f*ck who or what they have to destroy to have it. In fact, they relish the misery. That’s where the big money is – that’s what they know how to do best.
  14. Anyone from NYC – especially in the media, who continues to joke or laugh about Donald’s mob history – rather than report on it seriously (as they should have 3 years ago) is participating in the disinformation about him. They are polarizing, when they should be informing…
  15. Because that other end of the Donald spectrum – the rest of America, who were sold “the billionaire businessman” lie? Yeah. They’re still in that confusion. I’m experiencing it everyday. Even out in Hollywood, where folks get that reality TV is a lie. Here’s where they’re at:
  16. They absolutely can’t wrap their minds around the fact that it was known that Trump was mobbed-up, and no one reported on it. Or, if it was reported, it wasn’t above-the-fold, 24/7 headline news throughout the election. They cannot fathom why MSM, especially NYC-based…
  17. Did NOT report on all his mob history, non-stop. This is a big deal – that a President launders money for global organized crime. This seems, to them, to be the biggest story in the history of stories. And for NYC, including the media? Yeah…
  18. The fact that no one already knew this about Donald seems unfathomable to them. Also, they’re not quite sure if it’s a big threat – or newsworthy, because it’s their daily life, and they seem to be doing okay. So, that’s our pickle. In a nutshell.
  19. I’m going to keep putting out information on not just donald and the mob behind him, but on the truth about organized crime as a whole: its history, its tactics, its goals, its role in Trump-Russia and beyond. If the MSM press were to start prioritizing the same…
  20. We might just find our way out of this… And back to each other. – END –

PS – I promise “trip-state” is not my creation. It is Twitter, doing its spell-check thing. And, for once, I kinda love it.

 

 

That’s it for the last couple days.  Yes, I know that last tweet thread is a big block of text, but I liked it so much I felt the need to copy it down, lest it disappear into the ether.

Reading that makes me think of living in a rough part of town.  In my past, I’ve lived in a few “shady” areas.  I’ve also crashed in more than a couple projects, and used to travel to several others for work.  At the time, I was actually pretty comfortable in them, because I was young, stupid, and had some experience with shadiness myself.  It was just part of the culture.  No one thought twice about the fact Johnny was dealing or Frankie was carrying a stolen pistol.  That was normal.  It was only when getting outside of that culture that hanging out with criminals felt weird.  Even when I tell friends nowadays about some of the crew I ran with, I get sideways looks.

That is what Lincoln’s thread reminds me of.  In New York, not only is the mob a thing, but it’s such an ingrained part of the culture that no one thinks about it.  It’s only when Cousin Timmy from Topeka hears about how “dangerous” New York is on TV that they give any thought to the mob.  Even then, the image they get is something from a movie of gentleman criminals only hurting each other.  The regular New Yorker knows to keep their head down and stay out of the their way.  If they told Timmy about all they knew, then Timmy would ask too many questions about how you know.

The MSM, who has their own ties to the mob, let Trump run roughshod all over this country, and only now are they asking questions about his mob ties.  Now, they’re finally digging into Trump’s ties to La Cosa Nostra and the Russian Mafia.

It’s about fucking time.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

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

Daily Check-In 08/22/2018

Wednesday, August 22, 2018.

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Manafort

Now that Paul Manafort is a convicted felon, let’s take a moment to enjoy the fact that he has ANOTHER trial in less than a month, and that he might be retried on the ten counts that ended in a mistrial.

Good times.

 

COHEN

It’s not clear whether federal prosecutors knew in advance that Cohen would implicate Trump, but if they had any reason not to believe him, they were obligated not to permit Cohen to lie to the judge. Because they didn’t, we know that his statements were consistent with the other evidence in their possession.

So Cohen wanted to publicly reveal that Trump directed him to commit crimes. The implication of his statement is obvious — it is a crime to direct someone else to commit a crime. And Cohen is not done. His attorney Lanny Davis told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Tuesday night that Cohen is willing to provide information to Mueller about a possible “conspiracy to collude” with Russia and whether Trump “knew ahead of time” about computer hacking.

Tuesday’s statement by Cohen was a jiujitsu move that evaded Trump’s disinformation campaign, and it might not be the last such move. More evidence of crimes that don’t fit Trump’s narrative could weaken the resolve of Trump’s base, or cause some high-profile Republicans to break with the president. Or a Democratic victory in November, along with a stronger PR campaign by Democrats on corruption and impeachment, could ultimately sway enough Republicans to make a difference.

I could probably spend an entire weekend tearing apart everything that we know about Cohen, and I’d really like to, but here’s the TL:DR; (Too Long, Didn’t Read) version.

Trump is fucked.  He’s so fucked, that it is almost mathematically impossible to quantify the level of fucked he’s at, and it’s only going to get worse.  Michael Cohen can link everything together.  EVERYTHING. The hush money payments, the money laundering, the espionage and treason, the mob shit, the charity crimes, ALL OF IT.  Cohen was Trump’s right hand man for more than a decade.  He handled all of the details.

And now the feds have all of it, and Cohen is talking.

 

IMPEACHMENT AND INDICTMENT TALK

Impeachment

 

Indictment

 

Resignation

 

ATTACKS ON THE ELECTION

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

Duncan Hunter

 

FIGHTING BACK

The first denial that Donald Trump knew about hush-money payments to silence women came four days before he was elected president, when his spokeswoman Hope Hicks said, without hedging, “We have no knowledge of any of this.”

The second came in January of this year, when his attorney Michael Cohen said the allegations were “outlandish.” By March, two of the president’s spokesmen — Raj Shah and Sarah Huckabee Sanders — said publicly that Trump denied all the allegations and any payments. Even Cohen’s attorney, David Schwartz, got in on the action, saying the president “was not aware of any of it.”

In April, Trump finally weighed in, answering a question about whether he knew about a payment to porn star Stephanie Clifford, who uses the stage name Stormy Daniels, with a flat “no.”

It’s now clear that the president’s statement was a lie — and that the people speaking for him repeated it.

 

So now it’s confirmed, as a matter of legal record, that President Donald Trump organized a scheme to violate federal election laws. He directed his longtime personal attorney to pay at least one woman for silence. That attorney got the money by lying to a bank to get a home-equity line of credit.

It’s a matter of legal record, too, that Trump’s campaign chair was a huge-scale crook. Despite his desperate financial straits, he volunteered to work for Trump for free—and Trump accepted.

These two cases complete the beginnings of the story. They are not the story in full. The Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort cases are like the first rocky outcroppings a ship passes as it makes landfall. They are examples of the kind of people willing to work for Trump—and the way that those people carried on their business. They indicate why one of Trump’s sons would write “I love it” when offered stolen information about the Hillary Clinton campaign by a purported representative of the Russian government, how so much doubtful money flowed into the Trump Organization after 2006, and why Trump dares not publish his tax returns.

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

Davis was a fixture on Wednesday morning’s TV news programs, sitting for at least five interviews that aired before 9 a.m., including all three network morning shows — NBC’s “Today,” ABC’s “Good Morning America” and “CBS This Morning.”

He told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, was a “significant turning point” for Cohen in deciding to turn against the president, Cohen’s attorney said Wednesday. Cohen, who has worked alongside the president and his family since 2006, went through an “evolutionary” process before taking the plea deal he formally accepted on Tuesday, Davis said.

“Helsinki was a significant turning point, as he worried about the future of our country with the president of the United States aligning with somebody who everybody in his intelligence community who he appointed, including [Director of National Intelligence] Dan Coats, said that Putin interfered and tried to help Trump get elected,” Davis said. “And Trump is the only one left denying that. And that shook up Mr. Cohen.”

Earlier this summer, Trump met face-to-face with Russian president Putin in Helsinki, meeting one-on-one and then with aides. Those meetings were followed by a bilateral press conference where Trump seemed to accept Putin’s denials that Russia was not behind a campaign of cyberattacks aimed at interfering with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, apparently taking the word of the Russian president over that of the U.S. intelligence community.

 

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

SCOTUS

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

ELECTION 2018

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Wednesday.  After Tuesday’s events, this entry is a little light.  That, and my arm hurts, which makes typing a little slower.  Fuck it, I’m tired.

I updated The Indicted to include Cohen, Hunter, and Collins.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 08/21/2018

Tuesday, August 21, 2018.  Just another Tuesday.  Nothing crazy happened today…

Oh, what was that?

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

The Manafort Tax Trial: Day 16

MANFORT FOUND GUILTY ON 8 COUNTS

Paul Manafort, former Campaign Manager for President Donald J. Trump, was convicted of 8 felony counts covering tax evasion, filing false forms for the IRS, and not reporting foreign bank accounts on his taxes.  The jury was hung on the remaining 10 counts, and the judge declared a mistrial for those counts.  It is not clear yet whether or not the government will decide to pursue those ten counts in another trial.  Manafort is scheduled for another trial in September.

8 out of 18 might not sound great, but it’s actually pretty good news.  We’re not talking about a QB’s completions and attempts stat line, we’re talking about a jury coming to a unanimous decision on whether or not Paul Manafort committed these crimes.  And he did.  1 guilty verdict out of 18 would make him a convicted felon.  8 guilty verdicts still makes him a felon.

Also, he’s still looking at about the same punishment for 8 as he is 18.  It will be up to the judge to determine the exact punishment, but the sentencing guidelines only require a preponderance of guilt, not guilt proven beyond a reasonable doubt.  If Judge Ellis feels that there is sufficient evidence that Paul Manafort committed the other 10 crimes, those will be taken into account during his sentencing.

 

Flynn

In even more bad news for Trump, Michael Flynn’s sentencing has been pushed back… again.  This could mean several things, but the consensus is that he’s cooperating with the Special Counselor and still providing him with valuable information.  Of course, we made the same assumption about Papadopoulos, and look how that worked out (Daily Check-In 08/17/2018).

 

McGahn

Every time Trump worries about a lawyer screwing him over, an angel gets their wings.

 

Steele Dossier

The former MI6 officer Christopher Steele has won a legal battle in the United States against three Russian oligarchs who sued him over allegations made in his dossier about the Trump campaign and its links with Moscow.

The oligarchs – Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and German Khan – claimed that Steele and his intelligence firm, Orbis, defamed them in the dossier, which was leaked and published in early 2017. The Russians own stakes in Moscow-based Alfa Bank. All are billionaires.

On Monday, a judge in the District of Columbia, Anthony C Epstein, upheld a motion by Steele to have the oligarchs’ case thrown out. Epstein did not determine whether the dossier – which Donald Trump has repeatedly dismissed as “fake” – was “accurate or not accurate”.

But the judge concluded that it was covered by the US first amendment, which protects free speech. He ruled that the oligarchs had failed to prove a key part of their case: that Steele knew that some information in the dossier was inaccurate, and had acted “with reckless disregard as to its falsity”.

The ruling is a piece of good news for Steele, who has maintained silence in the face of a mountain of abuse from Trump and his enraged supporters. This month, the president called Steele a “lowlife” on Twitter and described the dossier as “phony”, “discredited” and paid for by “Crooked Hillary”.

More good news coming from this investigation.  I wonder if anything else happened today…

 

 

COHEN PLEADS GUILTY TO 8 FELONY COUNTS

Michael Cohen, formerly the personal attorney to Donald J. Trump, and until June (Daily Check-In 06/20/2018) the Deputy Finance Chair of the Republican National Committee, pled guilty to 8 felonies in Federal Court in Manhattan.

The Defendant
1. From in or about 2007 through in or about January

2017, MICHAEL COHEN, the defendant, was an attorney and employeeof a Manhattan-based real estate company (the “Company”). COHENheld the title of “Executive Vice President” and “Special Counsel”to the owner of the Company (“Individual-1”).

2. In or about January 2017, COHEN left the Companyand began holding himself out as the “personal attorney” to Individual-1, who at that point had become the President of the United States.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Fuck you, President Individual-1.

That’s just the opening two paragraphs of the indictment.  Let’s see where this goes from here.

The indictment includes the following charges:

  • 5 counts of Evasion of Assessment of Income Tax Liability for tax years 2012 through 2016.
  • 1 count of False Statements to a Bank to get his Home Equity Line of Credit increased, which he then used to pay off Stormy Daniels.
  • 1 count of Causing an Unlawful Corporate Contribution for the Karen McDougal payoff.
  • 1 count of Excessive Campaign Contribution for the Stormy Daniels payoff.

The first 5 counts are him not paying over a million dollars in back taxes.  Charge 6 was lying to a bank to get the money to pay off Stormy Daniels.  An argument could, and likely will be made by the Right Wing Media, that the first several counts were because Cohen was a slime ball and these weren’t tied to the campaign.  That argument requires a lot mental gymnastics, and I’m not that limber.

Counts 7 and 8 are where things get REAL interesting.  Let’s start with Count 7.

42. From in or about June 2016, up to and including inor about October 2016, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, MICHAEL COHEN, the defendant, knowingly and willfully caused a corporation to make a contribution and expenditure, aggregating $25,000 and more during the 2016 calendar year, to the campaign of a candidate for President of the United States, to wit, COHEN caused Corporation-1 to make and advance a $150,000 payment to Woman-1, including through the promise of reimbursement, so as to ensure that Woman-1 did not publicize damaging allegations before the 2016 presidential election and thereby influence that election.

Cohen worked with Corporation-1 AMI, owners of the National Enquirer) to pay off Woman-1 (Karen McDougal). (Daily Check-In 01/12/2018Daily Check-In 03/16/2018Daily Check-In 03/22/2018).

44. On or about October 27, 2016, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, MICHAEL COHEN, the defendant, knowingly and willfully made and caused to be made a contribution to Individual-1, a candidate for Federal office, and his authorized political committee in excess of the limits of the Election Act, which aggregated $25,000 and more in calendar year 2016, and did so by making and causing to be made an expenditure, in cooperation, consultation, and concert with, and at the request and suggestion of one or more members of the campaign, to wit, COHEN made a $130,000 payment to Woman-2 to ensure that she did not publicize damaging allegations before the 2016 presidential election andthereby influence that election.

Cohen made an illegal campaign donation to Individual-1 (Trump), with the knowledge of multiple people on the campaign, paid Woman-2 (Stormy Daniels) so that she would keep quiet about an affair her and Individual-1 had years earlier.  This was done specifically to help Individual-1 during the election. (Daily Check-In 02/14/2018Daily Check-In 01/12/2018).

That was just the indictment.  Cohen’s testimony while under oath was even more damning.  When asked to describe the events in his own words, he said that he made this  payment AT THE INSTRUCTION OF THE CANDIDATE.  When the judge asked Cohen if he knew this was illegal, he said yes, and that he still did it at the instruction of the candidate.

Holy shit.  That, ladies and gentlemen, is the beginning of the end of the Trump Presidency.  From this moment on, he is personally tied to felonious behavior executed at his instruction by people working for him.

Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States of America, is as of this moment an unindicted co-conspirator of a criminal investigation.

By the way, Cohen’s lawyer said that Cohen has a lot of things that Mueller would love to hear, and that there is no way that Cohen would accept a pardon from Trump.

I wonder if anything else happened today…

 

TRAITOR TOTS

Duncan Hunter indicted on using campaign funds for personal use

Really?  Another fucking indictment?

When this story broke, I had to check a few places just to make sure this wasn’t some kind of joke or hoax.  It’s like “what else is going to happen?”

Duncan Hunter, Republican representative from CA-50, was indicted along with his wife Margaret for using more than $250,000 of campaign funds for personal expenses.  They lived WAAAYYY out of their means, and used the campaign donations as their own piggy bank.

Duncan is the son of former California congressman Duncan Hunter, who also represented the same district for many years.  It was his father who helped get his donors to support his son.

If the story of a congressman getting indicted for shady white collar crimes, Chris Collins was arrested a couple weeks ago. (Daily Check-In 08/08/2018). Collins and Hunter were the first two members of Congress to endorse Donald Trump and formed the Trump Caucus.  Seriously, these two men were the first to endorse Trump for POTUS, and they’re both indicted within 2 weeks of each other.

Naturally, Duncan blamed his campaign manager for this fraud, and has so far refused to step down from his re-election bid.  I give it a week or two before he feels the need to suspend his campaign so he can “spend time with his family.”

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

The President of the United States is now, formally, implicated in a criminal conspiracy to mislead the American public in order to influence an election. Were he not President, Donald Trump himself would almost certainly be facing charges. This news came in what must be considered the most damaging single hour of a deeply troubled Presidency.

On Tuesday morning, it was still possible to believe that Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort might be exonerated and that his longtime attorney Michael Cohen would only face charges for crimes stemming from his taxicab business. Such events would have supported Trump’s effort to portray the Mueller investigation as a “witch hunt” perpetrated by overzealous partisan prosecutors. By late afternoon, though, Cohen, the President’s longtime adviser, fixer, and, until recently, personal attorney, told a judge that Trump explicitly instructed him to break campaign-finance laws by paying two women not to publicly disclose the affairs they had with Trump. At precisely the same moment, Manafort was learning of his fate: guilty on eight counts of bank and tax fraud, with the jury undecided on ten other counts.

The question can no longer be whether the President and those closest to him broke the law. That is settled. Three of the people closest to Trump as he ran for and won the Presidency have now pleaded guilty or have been convicted of significant federal crimes: Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, and Michael Flynn. The question now becomes far narrower and, for Trump, more troubling: What is the political impact of a President’s criminal liability being established in a federal court? How will Congress respond? And if Congress does not act, how will voters respond in the midterm elections?

Almost.  This trial was about Manafort not paying his taxes.  The trial that starts next month gets into collusion.

 

Clearances

 

ATTACKS ON THE ELECTION

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

Journalist April Ryan said in a new interview that the White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders should cover the costs for Ryan’s security detail amid death threats from people who are critical of her coverage of the Trump administration.

“I’ve had some people wait for me outside the White House,” Ryan told The Hollywood Reporter. “There is a concern now. I mean, I’ve had death threats, I’ve had craziness, so I have a real concern.”

“Do I have a bodyguard?” Ryan said. “Yes, I do. Am I paying for it? Yes, I am. And, I think [Sanders] should have to pay for it, especially if she’s stirring it up with her boss.”

“I did not sign up for this. I was just doing a job,” Ryan, the White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, added.

Ryan said months ago that she received death threats after she asked Sanders if President Trump had considered resigning.

“They’re angry. I’ve been getting death threats and we’ve been calling the FBI and I mean, I put one on social media and this is real,” Ryan said at the time to CNN, where she is a contributor.

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

SCOTUS

 

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

Omarosa

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

Trump has surrounded himself with Wall Street alumni “who have behaved with weapons-grade venality … and Master of the Dick affects. They were there … only for the tax bill. Nothing else ever mattered to any of them.”

The Trump administration has been “a hotbed of remarkably obvious pay-to-play and crony capitalist game-playing. How obvious? Think 1970s Times Square hooker on the corner obvious … The degree to which this president has monetized the presidency for the direct benefit of himself, his soft-jawed offspring, and his far-flung empire of bullshit makes the Teapot Dome scandal look like a warm-up act in the Corruption Olympics.”

I listened to this book last week, and I highly recommend it.  Rick Wilson has a way with words and phrases that I am honestly jealous of.

For a moment, I thought that maybe, just maybe, this was the beginning of a local upswell of Republicans who wanted to put the corruption aside and reclaim their conservative values, and I was hopeful for a moment.  Then I finished the sentence.  Nope, just a bunch of racist assholes who don’t think anyone darker than a latte should be in this country.

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

Washington –Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is targeting Russian actors’ efforts to circumvent U.S. sanctions.  This action was taken pursuant to authority provided under Executive Order (E.O.) 13694, “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities,” as amended, and as codified by the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), to designate two entities and two Russian individuals in order to counter attempts to evade U.S. sanctions.

“The Treasury Department is disrupting Russian efforts to circumvent our sanctions,” said Steven T. Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury.  “Today’s action against these deceptive actors is critical to ensure that the public is aware of the tactics undertaken by designated parties and that these actors remain blocked from the U.S. financial system.”

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

DESIGNATED ENTITIES AND INDIVIDUALS

The individuals and entities identified below are being designated based on the actions they undertook for Divetechnoservices, a Russian entity sanctioned on June 11, 2018 pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended, for procuring a variety of underwater equipment and diving systems for Russian government agencies, to include the Federal Security Service (FSB).  The FSB was sanctioned on December 28, 2016, pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended, and on March 15, 2018, pursuant to CAATSA Section 224.

Vela-Marine Ltd. was designated pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended, for having attempted to act or purported to act for or on behalf of Divetechnoservices.  As of July 2018, Divetechnoservices utilized Vela-Marine Ltd. in an attempt to circumvent U.S. sanctions.

Marina Igorevna Tsareva (Tsareva) was designated pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended, for having acted for or on behalf of Divetechnoservices and Vela Marine Ltd.  Tsareva has worked as an Import Manager for Divetechnoservices and attempted to help Divetechnoservices circumvent U.S. sanctions through Vela-Marine Ltd.

Anton Aleksandrovich Nagibin (Nagibin) was designated pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended, for having acted for or on behalf of Divetechnoservices.  As of July 2018, Nagibin was a Divetechnoservices’ employee involved in helping the company attempt to circumvent U.S. sanctions.

Lacno S.R.O. was designated pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of, Divetechnoservices.  As of May 2018, Lacno S.R.O., which is based in Slovakia, attempted to facilitate a payment for over $20,000 on behalf of Divetechnoservices.  As of April 2018, Divetechnoservices planned to utilize Lacno S.R.O. to purchase equipment.

Identifying information on the individuals and entities designated today.

 

ENVIRONMENT

Perhaps the summer of 2018 will be remembered as the one that foretold the cataclysm. Maybe the cataclysm has already arrived. Nearly every day, there is some new bulletin about a raging wildfire or a ferocious typhoon or a biblical flood. Often, it’s buried by news of a Presidential Porn Star Payoff, or a tape from Omarosa. But it’s still happening.

The American West is still on fire, even if we refuse to pay attention—except when the president is doling out moronic advice on how to deal with it. Large portions of Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent spent the summer drowning in floodwater. Greece, too, spent the month of July on fire. Europe fried in a heatwave, as portions of the British Isles recorded their highest-ever June temperatures, Sweden had its hottest July in 260 years, and the temperature in Siberia ticked up to 90 degrees.

It’s in that vein that Tuesday’s news arrives, a startling report in The Guardian that even the portion of Arctic ice that scientists have long thought the most secure has already begun to falter:

The oldest and thickest sea ice in the Arctic has started to break up, opening waters north of Greenland that are normally frozen, even in summer. This phenomenon – which has never been recorded before – has occurred twice this year due to warm winds and a climate-change driven heatwave in the northern hemisphere … The sea off the north coast of Greenland is normally so frozen that it was referred to, until recently, as “the last ice area” because it was assumed that this would be the final northern holdout against the melting effects of a hotter planet.

While the most immediate worry around melting ice is rising sea levels that will endanger coastal communities, there’s growing concern among scientists that it will also fuel feedback loops that accelerate warming. For instance, ice is lightly colored and reflective. But as it melts, it reveals the darker-colored land or ocean water below. Those surfaces will absorb more heat, accelerating the rate at which nearby ice melts and sea levels rise. As the permafrost melts in Siberia and elsewhere, it will release methane—a gas that does not linger as long in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide but is about 30 times more powerful in trapping heat.

 

ELECTION 2018

Pennsylvania state Sen. Scott Wagner, the Republican candidate to unseat Gov. Tom Wolf (D) in the Keystone State, joked Friday that the Russian government would help him win this November.

In a recording obtained by the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and provided to HuffPost, Wagner is heard cracking the joke to a crowd in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania.

“By the way, the Russians are going to help me with Tom Wolf,” Wagner says, prompting a round of laughter and applause from the audience. “If I have to use Paul Manafort, I will.”

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

MY FAVORITE HEADLINE OF THE DAY

 

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Tuesday.  I don’t have a clue where we go from here.  This is one of those historic, game-changing days.  I see a few paths, but none of them are set, and all of them end with Trump out of office by 2020, if not sooner.

If the Republicans in Congress weren’t corrupt shits that are complicit in their own crimes against this country, we would see impeachment proceedings begin by the end of the day.  Hell, even in a special session, Paul Ryan would put out a press release saying that the first thing that Congress should do when they return in September would be to debate Articles of Impeachment in the Judiciary Committee.  That would the be best-case scenario for the Republican Party.  Get Trump out of office before the elections, know that you’re going to take a pounding in the polls but get ready for a fight in 2020, and hope Mike Pence doesn’t shit the bed as a President.

They won’t do that.

Instead, I don’t think they’ll do anything until the Mueller report on Obstruction of Justice is complete, and even then they’ll pussyfoot around the subject.  They’ll do whatever they can to keep Trump in the White House until after the congressional session ends and the next Congress is sworn in.  It’ll be around that time that major damaging information about Mike Pence will come out, and by that point both the President and VP will be looking at Impeachment or Resignation.

It’s a long shot, but I wouldn’t be too surprised to see President Nancy Pelosi by mid-2019.   That’s how fucked up this timeline is.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur