Daily Check-In 09/24/2018

Monday, September 24, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Once again, the New York Times sticks their dick in the potato salad.  It’s bad enough that Daily Check-In 09/21/2018 when they ran that plant of a story against Rosenstein that was debunked in about 30 seconds flat.  Now, they run a story with a SINGLE FUCKING SOURCE claiming that Rod Rosenstein resigned.

At what point does incompetence become conspiratorial behavior?  Cause I think we’re pretty fucking close to that standard.

Anyway, a few other places picked up this story and ran with it, each using their own “sources”.  Eventually, WaPo and NBC got through the bullshit; Rod Rosenstein had not resigned, nor offered his resignation, but he was expecting to get fired.

Fast forward a couple hours to a White House meeting between Rosenstein and Chief of Staff John Kelly.  They meet, and…. nothing.  No quitting, no firing, nothing.  They have a meeting, then go about their business.  Rosenstein is scheduled to have a meeting with Trump on Thursday, around the same time that the Kavanaugh hearing is set to take place.

Following the meeting, a Senior Administration Official made the claim that Rod has offered his resignation, but Kelly turned it down.  In about 43 nanoseconds, the anonymous twitter accounts called bullshit on that claim, and said that Rod had refused to quit, and that he would have to be fired instead.  Also, Kelly got cold feet when 3/4 of Washington called him at once.

 

Special counsel Robert Mueller asked questions about the relationship between President Trump and the billionaire Russian-Azerbaijani family who arranged the June 2016 meetingbetween Trump campaign aides and a Russian lawyer linked to the Kremlin, according to a participant of the meeting.

Rob Goldstone, who worked as a publicist for the Agalarov family and contacted Donald Trump Jr. in June 2016 on their behalf, spent roughly eight hours talking to Mr. Mueller’s team in March. Weeks later, he testified before the special counsel’s grand jury probing Russian interference in the 2016 election and any possible collusion between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Moscow. The president and Russia deny any collusion.

In his 2016 email to the president’s son arranging the meeting, Mr. Goldstone said the Russian lawyer had damaging information about Democrat Hillary Clinton that had been collected by the Russian government as part of an effort to help Mr. Trump.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, he said Mr. Mueller’s investigators were particularly interested in how the relationship between Mr. Trump and the Agalarov family began, as well as a 2013 trip by Mr. Trump to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant. The Agalarovs sponsored the pageant, which Mr. Trump co-owned at the time.

“They wanted to know about what I thought their relationship was with the Trumps, and what their relationship was with any Russian government officials, [including] the Kremlin,” Mr. Goldstone said.

Reflecting on his role in one of the key episodes of the special counsel investigation, Mr. Goldstone has written a book titled, “Pop Stars, Pageants and Presidents: How an Email Trumped My Life.” In the book, set to be released Tuesday, Mr. Goldstone describes his testimony before Mr. Mueller’s team and the grand jury.

In their meeting with Mr. Goldstone, investigators asked about the relationship between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Aras Agalarov, whose real-estate company has won several state contracts in Russia, and to whom Mr. Putin in 2013 awarded the Order of Honor of the Russian Federation, a high-profile civilian prize.

Mr. Goldstone said he never heard the elder Mr. Agalarov describe himself as friends with the Russian president, but said he was “very proud” of the projects he had done for the state.

Mr. Mueller last fall requested an interview with Emin Agalarov, which as of last month hadn’t yet been arranged, according to a lawyer for the Agalarovs. The lawyer didn’t respond to a request for comment on Monday.

Back to the investigation, Mueller is closing in on the ties between the Trump family and the Agalarov’s, and the millions of dollars of suspicious money transfers that took place between them.

 

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

SCOTUS & #METOO

Avenatti Email

There is a long list of things I thought I’d never have to explain or describe when I started this blog.  I mean, this blog is focused mostly on politics.  So, I never thought that I would have to define “Running a train”, or any other related terms.

Since we’re gonna hear a few terms that most normal people might not be familiar with, I feel that I should help where I can, just to keep things somewhat organized.

Running a Train, or Pulling a Train, is a sexual act in which several men, at least 3 by rules of grammar but some might say only 2, take turns having sex with a woman.  Once one guy finishes up, the next takes over.

This is not to be confused with a Gang Rape, or the somewhat confusing and semi-related term Gang Bang.  Gang Rape is exactly that; rape performed by 3 or more men, usually with the implication that at least 2 men are involved at the same time throughout the act.

Running a Train and a Gang Bang can both be either consensual or non-consensual, while a Gang Rape, by its very definition, is non-consensual.  Consent has to be gained and maintained from beginning to end.  It is all too common for one of these acts to get out of hand.  For example, if the woman agreed to screw 4 guys, but a fifth joined in, that’s not cool.  If she agreed to a gang bang, but said no ass to mouth, if someone broke that rule, that would be cause for her to revoke consent.

One case where there is no consent given is when a bunch of guys get a woman so drunk she passes out, and they guys fuck her unconscious body.  There’s a term for that…

Gang rape.

Back in the 80’s and 90’s, it had more “innocent” sounding terms like how she was the “girlfriend of the fraternity” or a “frattress”, or frat mattress.  This behavior was somewhat common in meathead and creep circles on college campuses.  In other words, this was “typical frat behavior.”  Now, I’m not saying that all all fraternities took part in getting girls drunk and fucking them against their will, or that this shit required Greek letters on the building.  It’s just that during my time in college, the places and people most associated with this flavor of rape were jocks and meatheads and party bros.

Did High School kids pull this shit?  Sure, I just never heard of any instances personally.  Of course, I also wasn’t partying much in High School, and when I did it was with all guys that treated girls with high regard, so I had no knowledge of that, but there were the occasional rumors that floated around.

Do I think Brett Kavanaugh and his buddies were capable of this?  From everything I’ve heard about him over the last few days, absolutely.  Even before the allegations came from Dr. Ford, here’s a preppy jock kid going to a fancy private school right outside of D.C., his Mommy was a Prosecutor, he pledged to a fraternity at Yale that was so rowdy that Animal House looked tame in comparison, and every controversial decision involving treating women like second class citizens, he’s been there.  He’s the poster boy for Republicans living out their Handmaiden’s Tale fantasies.  There are a lot of psychological characteristics that misogynists and rapists have in common, so none of this is really a stretch.  As soon as Dr. Ford came forward, I had a sickening feeling that we were just scratching the surface.  The letter with 65 women in defense of him was a little too quick on the return volley.  It’s not standard operating procedure to have a letter defending your character from one group of people unless there’s a specific thing they’re waiting for.  If he had a letter signed by 65 black guys saying how not-a-racist he was, I’d be expecting someone to come out with a racist tirade where he’s dropping the n-word more often than Eazy E from his N.W.A. days.  If he’s got a letter signed by 65 fat people talking about how great he is to the fat community, somewhere there’s a video of him torturing fat people at an amusement park by dangling a doughnut from a fishing pole in front of some fat person on a Rascal scooter with Type 2 diabetes.

He’s a severe asshole who grew up too privileged and never paid the consequences for his actions.  He grew up into an adult asshole who hasn’t had to suffer yet.

 

 

A possible fourth person has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, Maryland law enforcement officials told a Maryland newspaper.

An anonymous witness told Montgomery County investigators over the weekend about another incident that occurred while Kavanaugh was in high school, according to a Monday report in the Montgomery County Sentinel.

In a response to this report, The Montgomery County Police Department put out a statement that said it had not received a request from an alleged victim to start a criminal investigation — though it’s unclear if the witness from the Sentinel’s report is an alleged victim.

“At this time, the Montgomery County Police Department has not received a request by any alleged victim nor a victim’s attorney to initiate a police report or a criminal investigation regarding Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh,” the statement said.

How many will we hear about before Thursday?  I think the over/under total will be 6.  Two more will substantiate existing claims.  What’s my source?  Thin air, but this is ramping up pretty quick.

 

Yep, that’s right.  Brett’s mommy was a prosecutor in their jurisdiction that handled family court.  Imagining that prick using his mom’s position to intimidate people is less of a stretch than pulling my phone out of my pocket.  In other words, highly fucking likely.

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

ELECTION 2018

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Monday.  The Rosenstein smoke bomb really pulled a lot out of the day.  Even though the long-timers on the Rumor Mill are still relaxed, I’m not as calm.  I’m confident that Justice will prevail and that the Russian Investigation can’t be buried by a simple firing, but at the same time, I’ve learned to not put my full trust in only a few people on the Internet.

I’m confused.  Was the Rosenstein Ploy an attempt to distract from the Kavanaugh Shit Show, or is the Kavanaugh Shit Show an attempt to distract from the Rosenstein Ploy?

Hopefully on Tuesday I won’t have to describe any more sex acts in detail.  Not that I’m completely opposed to that, but this is supposed to be a political blog, not one where I debate the finer points of Train-Running Etiquette.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 09/21/2018

Friday, September 21, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

The New York Times article on Friday was a fucking hit piece, designed to give a reason to get rid of Rod Rosenstein, and it might work.  The Fox News crowd has been calling for his firing ever since the story came out, and it looks like Monday will be the day we find out if he’s fired, resigned, or gave everyone a big one finger salute.

They’ve been sitting on this story for a while, and could have dropped it at any time.  Why now?  My guess is to draw attention from the sexual assault accusation against Brett Kavanaugh.

Wait, I have that wrong.  I meant to say ACCUSATIONS.  In the plural tense.  As in more than one.  See the really big section in the middle of this article for details.

This tells us how important Kavanaugh is to Trump’s plans.  Trump could have picked any one of ten other judges from Heritage Foundation petri dish and he would have sailed through confirmation with nary a blink.  Instead, Trump picked the only one that argued that a President is above the law, that refuses to recuse himself from any matters involving Trump, and is compromised more ways than a rickety old bridge.  He needs Kavanaugh, and is willing to nuke his Presidency to do it.

I would like to point out something, though.  This has been wargamed by Mueller’s team.  They didn’t just plan on Rod getting fired someday, they planned FOR it.  Daily Check-In 11/06/2017 was the first mention of the Dead Man’s Switch, but Daily Check-In 04/03/2018 showed that this was in place since the beginning.  If Mueller is fired or if the SCO is disbanded, the Senior Assistant Special Counselor has full authority to bring all charges forward.  And there’s about a half dozen Senior Assistant Special Counselors.

K.T. McFarland, who briefly served as Flynn’s deputy, has now said that he may have been referring to sanctions when they spoke in late December 2016 after Flynn’s calls with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, these people said.

When FBI agents first visited her at her Long Island home in the summer of 2017, McFarland denied ever talking to Flynn about any discussion of sanctions between him and the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, in December 2016 during the presidential transition.

For a time, investigators saw her answers as “inconsistent,” putting her in legal peril as the FBI tried to determine if she had lied to them.

 

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

 

WOODWARD AND THE ANONYMOUS OP-ED

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

SCOTUS & #METOO

WASHINGTON—Vehemently defending the Supreme Court nominee against recent allegations of sexual assault, GOP officials declared Wednesday that Brett Kavanaugh shouldn’t be held accountable for something he did as a white teenager. “We’re talking about something that occurred when Mr. Kavanaugh was a mere 17-year-old Caucasian,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), adding that it was ridiculous to allow a single incident that happened when Kavanaugh was in an elite and mostly white high school ruin the career of such an accomplished white person. “I expect most of my colleagues here in the Senate remember what it’s like to be a young white man and make mistakes. The important thing is that we learn from those mistakes and grow up to be responsible white adults. It’s shameful that my Democratic colleagues feel the need to sully Judge Kavanaugh’s reputation when they, too, surely understand that boys of European descent will be boys of European descent.” McConnell went on to state that the assault would hardly even be noteworthy had the victim not been a 15-year-old white girl.

This is all satire, but sadly accurate.  As I said on Daily Check-In 09/18/18, it’s not just about a sexual assault, but race plays a part here, too.  The same old white men that are bending over backwards to defend

Aaaand…. that’s the Republican Party losing women.

Alyssa Milano on Friday announced on Twitter that she was sexually assaulted, but didn’t report it right away, in response to Trump’s dipshit question “Why didn’t she go to the cops if it was so bad?”  On her thread, many women, and some men too, explained why they didn’t report their sexual assaults to the police.  The responses were… sobering.

I read through dozens of them, and they left me both pissed off and sad.  Pissed off this this was so pervasive, and sad that many of the responses included the loved ones of the victims making matters worse.

When people talk about Rape Culture, this is it in a nutshell.

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I have known men of great character from Georgetown Prep. My son is named after one, another is my daughter’s Godfather. I would trust those men with my life. 1/ @ChuckGrassley@SenFeinstein@JohnCornyn@SenWhitehouse@SenSasse@SenAmyKlobuchar@JeffFlake@SenKamalaHarris

A man either has character or he doesn’t. When one has character, power and wealth cannot diminish that. When one lacks character, power and wealth amplify the damage he leaves in his wake. 2/ @senorrinhatch@SenBooker@SenTedCruz@ChrisCoons@SenThomTillis@SenBlumenthal

I was sexually assaulted in the mid-80’s at the home of one of Kavanaugh’s schoolmates. The host of that party added his name to this letter to the Judiciary Committee attesting to Kavanaugh’s character. https://bit.ly/2MOJ1gH 3/ #metoo@LindseyGrahamSC@SenatorDurbin

This week has been a difficult one for women like me who are forced to relive the spectre of being assaulted by one young man as another watches the door. The pain is compounded by the crucification of Kavanaugh’s accuser in the media, the twittersphere and the U.S. Senate. 4/

Decades ago, when we were sexually assaulted, we didn’t report it. “Date rape” was barely entering the lexicon. We thought rape and assault were things that happened in parking garages or dark alleys. We didn’t know how to quantify these actions by men in our own peer groups. 5/

When we were assaulted, we blamed ourselves for drinking excessively or being in the wrong place or trusting the wrong person. We were humiliated and we saw no examples of recourse. We know better now. We want our sons and daughters to know better. 6/ @MikeCrapo@SenatorLeahy

Here’s the deal about character: if you are not rapey, you don’t sexually assault women. If you are, you might. Can you grow out of being rapey? I hope so. I’d like to believe in redemption. But I do think a rapey past should disqualify you from a seat on the Supreme Court. 7/

I have seen the signatures of my schoolmates saying Kavanaugh never treated them with disrespect. Perhaps they don’t realize that some men in their social circles did not treat the women on the periphery of those circles with the same reverence as the ones in the center. /8

I see myself in Dr. Blasey because of our shared experiences. I don’t know if Kavanaugh disrespected women in his youth. I do know that his documented values suggest he does not respect their agency now. I am clearly biased. 9/ #metoo#ibelieveher

I am biased. The Senate Judiciary Committee is also biased. That is why Blasey and Kavanaugh should be afforded a thorough, nonpartisan investigation, not a rushed political side-show. 10/ @SenMikeLee@maziehirono@SenatorCollins@SenJohnKennedy

To our elected representatives: – rape is non-partisan – sexual assault survivors are watching you – our children are watching you. Are you sure that rape is the hill you want to die on? 11/ #angrywomenvote

To the man who assaulted me in the basement of that house decades ago: I learned this week that there is no statute of limitations for felony sexual assault in Montgomery County, MD. I sincerely hope your nights will be as sleepless as mine as I consider my next steps. /end

 

 

Oh shit.  Byline by Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer.

As Senate Republicans press for a swift vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Senate Democrats are investigating a new allegation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh. The claim dates to the 1983-84 academic school year, when Kavanaugh was a freshman at Yale University. The offices of at least four Democratic senators have received information about the allegation, and at least two have begun investigating it. Senior Republican staffers also learned of the allegation last week and, in conversations with The New Yorker, expressed concern about its potential impact on Kavanaugh’s nomination. Soon after, Senate Republicans issued renewed calls to accelerate the timing of a committee vote. The Democratic Senate offices reviewing the allegations believe that they merit further investigation. “This is another serious, credible, and disturbing allegation against Brett Kavanaugh. It should be fully investigated,” Senator Mazie Hirono, of Hawaii, said. An aide in one of the other Senate offices added, “These allegations seem credible, and we’re taking them very seriously. If established, they’re clearly disqualifying.”

The woman at the center of the story, Deborah Ramirez, who is fifty-three, attended Yale with Kavanaugh, where she studied sociology and psychology. Later, she spent years working for an organization that supports victims of domestic violence. The New Yorker contacted Ramirez after learning of her possible involvement in an incident involving Kavanaugh. The allegation was conveyed to Democratic senators by a civil-rights lawyer. For Ramirez, the sudden attention has been unwelcome, and prompted difficult choices. She was at first hesitant to speak publicly, partly because her memories contained gaps because she had been drinking at the time of the alleged incident. In her initial conversations with The New Yorker, she was reluctant to characterize Kavanaugh’s role in the alleged incident with certainty. After six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney, Ramirez said that she felt confident enough of her recollections to say that she remembers Kavanaugh had exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party, thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away. Ramirez is now calling for the F.B.I. to investigate Kavanaugh’s role in the incident. “I would think an F.B.I. investigation would be warranted,” she said.

Ramirez said that, when both she and Kavanaugh were freshmen at Yale, she was invited by a friend on the women’s soccer team to a dorm-room party. She recalled that the party took place in a suite at Lawrance Hall, in the part of Yale known as Old Campus, and that a small group of students decided to play a drinking game together. “We were sitting in a circle,” she said. “People would pick who drank.” Ramirez was chosen repeatedly, she said, and quickly became inebriated. At one point, she said, a male student pointed a gag plastic penis in her direction. Later, she said, she was on the floor, foggy and slurring her words, as that male student and another stood nearby. (Ramirez identified the two male onlookers, but, at her request, The New Yorker is not naming them.)

A third male student then exposed himself to her. “I remember a penis being in front of my face,” she said. “I knew that’s not what I wanted, even in that state of mind.” She recalled remarking, “That’s not a real penis,” and the other students laughing at her confusion and taunting her, one encouraging her to “kiss it.” She said that she pushed the person away, touching it in the process. Ramirez, who was raised a devout Catholic in Connecticut, said that she was shaken. “I wasn’t going to touch a penis until I was married,” she said. “I was embarrassed and ashamed and humiliated.” She remembers Kavanaugh standing to her right and laughing, pulling up his pants. “Brett was laughing,” she said. “I can still see his face, and his hips coming forward, like when you pull up your pants.” She recalled another male student shouting about the incident. “Somebody yelled down the hall, ‘Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie’s face,’ ” she said. “It was his full name. I don’t think it was just ‘Brett.’ And I remember hearing and being mortified that this was out there.”

 

Oh, and this came in around the same time…

Want to know why the Senate Republicans have such a hard-on for getting this confirmation through?  It’s the same reason that they have a letter with 65 women supporting Kavanaugh ready to release minutes after Dr. Ford’s accusations came out.  It’s also the same reason why everyone in the Republican Party told Trump it was a bad idea to pick Brett Kavanaugh: Dr. Ford wasn’t the only one.  Far from the only one.

And this one took place when Kavanaugh was an adult, in college.  Remember when Senator Hirono from Hawaii asked him if he was ever accused of sexual harassment or assault as an adult, and he said no while under oath?  Yeah, this makes that statement Perjury.  Or lying to the Senate under oath.  Both of those are felonies.

This week coming up is going to be nuts.

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

ELECTION 2018

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

I’m not gonna name names because I’m not a complete asshole, but let me just say: I’ve looked into some of the women who signed the “Kavanaugh didn’t assault US” letter and I found I don’t quite trust their judgement on what a man of integrity really is like. Why not? Well…

One’s husband is a known adulterer-a news article about his infidelity said his dalliances *while he was an elected official* would “make Anthony Weiner blush.” That same dude owns a rehab facility that was put under serious review by the state it’s in for assaulting CHILDREN in their care with needles. They profit off the opioid crisis, just FYI. One belongs to a family with a major commercial interest in “conservative” propaganda, aka for-profit “news.” Another has a sibling directly linked to AMI, as in:  John Schindler link about AMI, owners of National Enquirer

So, darling provokunts and traitortwats, just want you to know…I’m still working my way through the list. And I’m REAAAALLY REAAAALLY GOOD AT THIS STUFF. And you, quite clearly, suck at anticipating the research skills of housewives you offend with your blatant misogyny.

P.S. more on AMI from Mob Oracle

Link to Lincoln’s Bible thread on AMI being funded by Mob Money

 

That’s it for the weekend.  Prepare for the shitstorm.  Get your marching boots ready, it’s about to go down.

This is one of my longer posts, but dammit, too many things happened, and as much as I’d like to say “screw it, I need a night off,” I can’t be that selfish.  I feel like we are entering into a historic time in the world, and we need to know years from now what happened this week.

Rumors floated around for a long time that something major was going to break in late September.  I know, I hate those vague warnings too.  They sound like half-assed prophets claiming that the world will end next Thursday, then on Friday will either rejoice at the world being saved, or make a new prediction for a few days later.  But late September has been pretty consistent.  I’m not sure what’s going to happen, but I can’t shake this feeling that something big is going to happen, but the shape is still nebulous.

I’d say screw it and let’s get drunk, but this is one of those times I want to remember what’s going on.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 09/20/2018

Thursday, September 20, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has participated over the last month in multiple interview sessions lasting for hours with investigators from the office of special counsel, Robert Mueller, sources tell ABC News.

The special counsel’s questioning of Cohen, one of the president’s closest associates over the past decade, has focused primarily on all aspects of Trump’s dealings with Russia — including financial and business dealings and the investigation into alleged collusion with Russia by the Trump campaign and its surrogates to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, sources familiar with the matter tell ABC News.

Investigators were also interested in knowing, the sources say, whether Trump or any of his associates discussed the possibility of a pardon with Cohen.

Over the 16 months that Mueller has been investigating, the president has repeatedly bashed the investigation as a partisan witch hunt, insisting there has been no collusion and no obstruction of justice.

The interviews with Cohen took place in Washington, D.C., and New York City. They were also attended in part by prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York.

Cohen’s participation in the meetings has been voluntary — without any guarantee of leniency from prosecutors, according to several people familiar with the situation.

ABC News has also learned that Cohen is also cooperating with a separate probe by New York state authorities into the inner workings of the Trump family charity and the Trump Organization, where Cohen served as an executive vice president and special counsel to Trump for 10 years.

The news of Cohen’s dealings with federal and state investigators comes close on the heels of another potentially perilous legal development for the president: the guilty pleas last week from Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who struck a deal with Mueller’s prosecutors in exchange for his cooperation.

As the Manafort deal was taking shape — Mueller’s team had already been talking to Cohen.

And given Cohen’s prolonged time spent in proximity to Trump, his family and the inner-workings of the Trump Organization, some insiders consider his cooperation with authorities to be one of most serious potential legal threats to confront the president.

At a plea hearing in August, Cohen told a federal judge that he had arranged for the payments to two women “in coordination with, and at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” referring to then-candidate Trump, and added that he participated in the transactions with the principal purpose of influencing the election.

Those statements, under oath, were an about-face from Cohen’s public comments about his role in the deals with Karen McDougal and Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels. Cohen had previously insisted that he’d paid Clifford with his own money, on his own initiative and without the knowledge of Trump.

The president has long denied the allegations of the affairs with McDougal and Clifford and has claimed he did not know in advance about the deals Cohen secured. On the day of Cohen’s court appearance, the president openly mocked him on Twitter.

Since entering his guilty pleas last month — Cohen has also been in contact with the New York Attorney General’s office, according to multiple people close to the matter.

In June, the acting New York Attorney General, Barbara Underwood, filed a civil lawsuit accusing Trump’s charitable foundation and its directors of having “operated in persistent violation of state and federal law governing New York State charities” for more than a decade by paying off legal bills with charitable funds, promoting Trump hotels, and purchasing personal items.

The lawsuit names Trump, his sons Don Jr. and Eric, and his daughter, Ivanka, as defendants.

A representative of the Trump Foundation called the lawsuit, “politics at its very worst.”

Underwood’s office has not ruled out launching a state criminal investigation into the foundation if evidence warrants it. And she has also asked the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Election Commission to look into the charity’s operations.

Oh, shit.  While Manafort was negotiating his plea deal and starting his proffer, Cohen was already talking to Robert Mueller’s team.  (Daily Check-In 09/14/2018)  That means Mueller’s team met with both Trump’s Consigliere  and his Campaign Chairman in the same week.

Cohen can put Trump in the pre-meeting meeting for the June 9 Trump Tower meeting with the Russians.  He also implicated him Campaign Finance violations, and admitted to bank fraud to further those violations.  That’s just a couple of the thousands of shady things he’s been accused of participating in.

According to the Steele Dossier at AnnotatedDossier.com, Cohen was involved with previous attempts to open a Trump Tower in Moscow, met with Kremlin agents in Prague, served as a liaison between the Trump Campaign and the Kremlin, and tried to cover up Manafort’s Ukrainian scandal and Carter Page’s meetings with Rosneft.

Now, Mueller has verbal confirmation from Cohen on all of it.

Mueller almost certainly had this information for a long time, but now he’s got the confession.  One rumor I’m hearing that will be in Friday’s post is that Cohen had his personal phone with him on the Prague trip.  I feel like I’ve mentioned this before, but I wanted to say this again.  If Cohen had his normal, personal, not a burner phone with him on this trip to Prague, then it wouldn’t take much to track his movements.  Hell, even a burner or international phone could be tracked, if they knew what to look for.

How?  Tower triangulation, to start.  Every active cell phone is looking for a connection, and the companies running those towers have to keep track of them, so that they can route calls from one tower to the next.  If Cohen is on a train or driving, the phone will ping multiple towers, looking for the one with the best signal, and the network will route the call.  The carrier will have it in their logs that Cohen’s phone pinged the following towers at the following times with the following response times.  Using a little bit of math, his location can be pinpointed within a dozen or so meters for the entire trip.  If he made calls or texts to other numbers when he was up to some shady shit, then the investigators will do the same with those numbers, and if they’re within a few meters of each other at any point, Bingo.  This is also assuming they didn’t hotmic his phone, or have surveillance on him or the people he communicated with.

More importantly, Cohen is working with the New York State Attorney General’s Office on the several state investigations into Trump Organization and Trump Foundation.  As much as Mueller is the largest threat to Trump, New York is the dangerous for different reasons.  As I’ve mentioned many times before, state charges cannot be pardoned by the Federal government.  If Cohen delivers Trump and his family to New York State, he’s toast.  His only hope then would be to never leave office and hope that he can’t be removed due to state criminal charges.

Something of note, there is no public cooperation agreement between Cohen.  Not saying that there isn’t a private one, but I find that part interesting.  That tells me that either Cohen is hoping for a deal, they have a private one, the prosecutors want to see what he knows first, or Cohen doesn’t care and just wants to bury Trump.  There’s probably some combination of factors, but I really like the last idea the most.  Remember when Trump leaked the information about the McDougal payoff after the Special Master in the case decided that it was privileged information? (Daily Check-In 07/20/2018)  Cohen talking to Muells is payback for Trump fucking Cohen.  At least in part.  There’s probably the whole not-dying-in-prison-or-tried-for-treason thing too, but the fact that revenge is a motivator makes me feel all warm inside.

 

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

See above.  I try to keep these separate, but pretty soon the crossovers will look like one of those CW Superhero specials with 38 shows working together for a very complicated theme.

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

Agency officials aren’t assenting to Trump’s demand for “immediate declassification” of some materials related to the Russia investigation, and are likely to push for redactions, according to people with knowledge of the matter. At the same time, the FBI is willing to probe sexual assault allegations that have jeopardized Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court — despite Trump’s claims otherwise — but it can’t do so without a formal White House request.

The tension adds to an already fraught relationship between the president and the law enforcement agencies he oversees. Trump has repeatedly attacked Attorney General Jeff Sessions for failing to quash Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling in the 2016 elections, and he’s accused the Justice Department and FBI of targeting him and Republicans because of political bias.

The controversies are seen as a test for FBI Director Christopher Wray, who has repeatedly vowed to defend the agency’s work from political manipulation. While Sessions has taken the brunt of the president’s ire, the FBI was on the receiving end last month when Trump said he’d “get involved” if the Justice Department and FBI didn’t “start doing their job.” He accused the agencies of turning a blind eye to possible ties between Democrats and Russia, and instead focusing on him and his campaign.

 

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

SCOTUS & #METOO – THE KAVANAUGH RAPEYTIME ADVENTURE SERIES

Ford might choose to appear on Monday, and make a powerful opening statement accusing Republicans of running a sham investigation. Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has figured out it would be a good idea to interview her in advance of Monday’s hearings, but the staffers conducting the interview would be unlikely to have the ability or the will to follow up on investigative leads. Ford can and should refuse to give her inquisitors two bites at the apple. When she gets in front of the cameras, she should remind the country:

• This concerns attempted rape, something far more serious than the allegations raised by Anita Hill against Clarence Thomas during his 1991 confirmation hearings.

•  The FBI investigated Hill’s claims within three days (Republicans could have sent the FBI and gotten a report back by now if they hadn’t been stalling).

• Mark Judge allegedly witnessed the attack, but Republicans refuse to call him as a witness, so we can assume that they regard him as a person who would harm Kavanaugh’s defense.

• Republicans’ insistence that Ford provide even more detail is hypocritical (since they don’t want an FBI investigation) and misguided, given the large body of research concerning memories of victims of sexual assault (e.g., gaps in memory are common).

• If Kavanaugh was an excessive drinker in high school, as has been alleged, he’s in no position to testify accurately as to what he did and didn’t do.

• The unsubstantiated attacks on Ford by members such as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) reveal that they have predetermined the outcome of the hearing. (“She had plenty of chances to bring it up, she did not,” Graham said. “We’re not going to play this game anymore. We [want] Miss Ford to be heard but clearly to me, in August, she hired a lawyer who’s a very activist lawyer, who does not like President Trump and paid for a polygraph.”) But this is no “game,” and Ford has every right to seek counsel to fend off attacks like the very ones that Republican senators are making.

• There is no need to rush to a vote in the next few days. None. Republicans have set an artificial deadline for fear that more damaging information might come out.

In short, Ford can use the hearing to put the senators, who have behaved shabbily, on defense.

Ford has another option: Hold a news conference with her own experts and make the case directly to the American people. She can sit down for an interview with a respected TV journalist. She can say whatever she wants, make certain that experts are heard and even recount the much more extensive investigative efforts undertaken when Hill stepped forward. To make her case to the American people and convince them that she is sincere, honest and credible, Ford doesn’t need the Senate.

Ford also might have the ability to go to local police to investigate if the White House refuses to activate the FBI. The Hill reports: “Can Brett Kavanaugh be investigated for an attempted rape he allegedly committed over three decades ago? In Maryland, it’s entirely possible under the law, according to some experts. Now members of the American public are calling for Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh to open an investigation, especially if the FBI doesn’t.” That would be a process over which neither the Senate nor the Trump administration would have any control.

At least he’s got the approval Kiddie Diddler Crowd.

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

Nothing will change for the better in their home market, they and other D.C. vendors say, until the sellers form a union to take on Levy, EMS, and Skins management. A group of peeved vendors showed up at FedExField on Sunday to hand out union cards and information sheets about the pay discrepancies between their hometown and others.

There was also a movement to get vendors to boycott FedExField this coming Sunday, when the Skins will play the Packers. The Eagles and Ravens will also have home games, and vendor organizers advised those that weren’t already planning on staying away from FedExField to do so.

“I will not work there,” Harol said. “I will not contribute to what they’re doing.”

Skins spokesman Tony Wyllie told Deadspin that while the team is responsible for bringing the new concessionaire, Levy, into the stadium, vendor issues are not the team’s problem. “Our deal is with Levy,” Wyllie said. “[Beer sellers] are not Redskins employees. We have no insight on what they pay. We don’t make the deals.”

 

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

It’s not 2Pac, but at least he’ll spend most of, if not the rest of his life in jail.

 

PRIESTS

 

ENVIRONMENT, HURRICANES, AND SCIENCE

 

ELECTION 2018

 

PUERTO RICO

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Thursday.  If history is any clue, Friday will be nuts.

One of these days, I’m going to go through all of these posts to find the posts I’ve talked about doing.  I keep saying I want to write this or that, but then I get distracted by the next shiny object or ball of twine.

I wonder what Friday’s Ball of Twine will be.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

 

 

 

 

Daily Check-In 09/19/2018

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

In July 2016, Steele reportedly sent an FBI agent in Rome the information he had collected. That agent then sent the opposition research to an agent in the FBI’s New York office, according to ABC’s sources. The documents were sent to the “wrong person,” ABC’s sources said, and the documents sat untouched in the field office for weeks, as counterintelligence officials in D.C. began looking into former Trump campaign associate Carter Page and chairman Paul Manafort.

“It took a long period of time for the New York field office to see it and realize what it was,” another source told ABC News. FBI officials in D.C. did not receive the dossier until September 2016.

I just finished listening to Russian Roulette yesterday, and Steele’s trip to Rome was discussed.  Steele gave the first memos from the Dossier to his FBI contact, who gave them to his superiors in the NY office.  Meanwhile it got “misplaced” and ignored for more than a month while the DC office started the Crossfire Hurricane operation.

I can see two explanations.  The first, and most likely, is it got lost by accident.  Things happen in an office, emails get missed, paperwork gets sent to the wrong person.  Shit happens.

The second and more sinister explanation is that someone in the NY office, which contained some notorious Anti-Clinton people, buried it on purpose.  By the time it came to light, it was only two months before the election.

Most likely, it was the first.  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen emails and memos get lost in a sea of information.  However, I’m not ruling out the second one yet.  There was enough weirdness with the Weiner Laptop and Giuliani’s involvement that I don’t rule anything out.

 

By early August, the sense of alarm had become so acute that CIA Director John Brennan called White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. “I need to get in to see the president,” Brennan said, with unusual urgency in his voice.

Brennan had just spent two days sequestered in his office reviewing a small mountain of material on Russia. The conference table at the center of the dark-paneled room was stacked with dozens of binders bearing stamps of TS/SCI — for “top secret, sensitive compartmented information” — and code words corresponding to collection platforms aimed at the Kremlin.

There were piles of finished assessments, but Brennan had also ordered up what agency veterans call the “raw stuff” — unprocessed material from informants, listening devices, computer implants and other sources. Clearing his schedule, Brennan pored over all of it, his door closed, staying so late that the glow through his office windows remained visible deep into the night from the darkened driveway that winds past the headquarters building’s main entrance.

The description of Brennan and this article is adapted from “The Apprentice: Trump, Russia and the Subversion of American Democracy,” a Washington Post book, which will be published Oct. 2 by Custom House.

Looks like I’ve got another one for the book club.

I wish I could say I was surprised, but no. No, I’m not surprised.

I’m not surprised that Donald Trump, a man who has not shown even the slightest bit of intellectual curiosity and has likely never read a full book in his entire life, would listen to a bunch of television hosts and producers for his propaganda outfit over the real professionals and experts in the White House.  They want to talk about a scandal, and are not above making up one to suit their narrative.  They did it with Seth Rich (Daily Check-In 8/3/2017).

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

 

WOODWARD AND THE ANONYMOUS OP-ED

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

We should note that if Trump even bothered to pretend the Russia investigation should be conducted with professionalism and objectivity, he would agree that it doesn’t matter whether it’s being overseen by the attorney general, the deputy attorney general or any other official. The only reason why it would be “unfair” for Sessions to follow Justice Department guidance and recuse himself from the Russia investigation is that it means he can’t protect Trump.

All this is familiar, but it offers a reminder that, for Trump, all this — the Russia investigation, the identity of the people who are in senior leadership at the Justice Department — is intensely personal. When he’s feeling wronged or put-upon, he lashes out. Which is why, after November, his cold war with the Justice Department could turn hot.

If the Democrats take control of the House after the midterm elections, they will immediately move to provide the oversight of the administration that has been absent over the last 20 or so months, which means a raft of investigations and a mountain of subpoenas. That will certainly include investigations of the Russia scandal (and when Republicans claim they’re making too big a deal out of an unprecedented attack on the American electoral system by a hostile foreign power, we might remember that Republicans launched seven separate investigations of Benghazi).

These investigations will involve demands for documents, administration and campaign officials being called to testify, televised hearings, and a drumbeat of negative news that no amount of tweets shouting “No collusion!” will make disappear. Trump will inevitably become enraged.

We know that, more than almost any other president who came before him, Trump chafes at the restraints of the job — a Congress that won’t do what he wants, media that criticize him instead of celebrating his limitless greatness, courts that tell him what he can and can’t do, and pesky laws that limit his ability to see his every impulse carried out. If he finds himself “unfairly” besieged by congressional Democrats who suddenly have actual power, how is he likely to react? Probably by using what power he does have to strike back.

That will, in all likelihood, mean lashing out at a Justice Department that he feels has unfairly failed to protect him. Which would mean not just saying “I don’t have an attorney general,” but firing the one he does have and replacing him with one who knows where his primary loyalty is supposed to lie. He’ll probably fire Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, too. Then that new attorney general can do the “fair” thing, fire special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, and shut this whole “witch hunt” down. And for good measure, maybe initiate a purge of the whole department, rooting out and jettisoning anyone whose loyalty to Trump is in question.

Trump already believes there is a conspiracy in the Justice Department to undermine him — what he calls “a cancer in our country” — and has been doing things such as ordering the disclosure of documents he think will prove embarrassing to the department. Next year, he may find ways to go after them that we haven’t even thought of yet. He’ll be scared and angry and desperate, so there’s no telling what he might do.

I’ve been trying to wargame this out, but honestly, I don’t want to get my hopes up by predicting events if good things happen, and Trump is cornered like a wounded animal.  However, I do see a timeline forming.

If the Democrats win the House, regardless of what happens in the Senate, Trump will go nuts and fire people during the Lame Duck session.  Lame Duck is the term used for a politician or legislative body for the time period between the election of their successor and their last day in office.  In a normal universe, nothing happens in this time aside from some last minute bills or ceremonial functions.  Occasionally, if the Lame Duck Congress was voted out and would cause a major shift in policy or procedure, they’ll try to pass all of their wish list items that they couldn’t before.

Anyway, back to my point.  If the Democrats win the House, Trump will fire a bunch of people because he’s a petulant bitch and he’ll blame everyone but himself for his behavior.  Anyone who wasn’t “loyal enough” to him will get fired.  For most, this will be a blessing, as they no longer have to work with this dipshit.  Trump will blame Jeff Sessions, and will fire him and try to appoint Lindsay Graham or Chris Christie or Matlock to the Attorney General’s job, hoping that they will kill the Mueller Investigation.  Not only will this not end the investigation, but would only give them 45 days to appoint a new Attorney General and get them through the Senate before the next session starts and they have to start all over again.  That’s a very small window.

If the Dems win both the House and Senate, Trump’s screwed.  Any firings that require an appointment will have to go through the new Senate.  McConnell might try to force through as many appointments as he could, but there wouldn’t be enough time to replace half the Cabinet.  Any appointments that come through will have to be a compromise.  Any SCOTUS replacements, any Cabinet officials, any Ambassadors, any and all of them can be held up, and should.  This is on top of the dozens of investigations that would start up in January 2019.

Worst case scenario is if the Republicans keep both houses of Congress.  Trump will feel emboldened to do whatever the fuck he wants, and he’ll still screw shit up.

All I can predict is we’ll see some crazy shit.

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

SCOTUS AND #METOO – THE KAVANAUGH RAPEYTIME ADVENTURE SERIES

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

HURRICANES

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

ELECTION 2018

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Wednesday.  I could really use a nice, slow, meandering day, but screw that.

I’m not sure what’s coming around the bend on the Kavanaugh stuff.  The GOP are posturing, demanding a show trial without any investigation into the claims, and without any other witnesses.  It’s a shit show.  Out of the ten Republican members of the Judiciary Committee, only 1 is running for reelection, and that’s Ted Cruz.  Only one of these fuckers are facing the voters this year, and he’s so despised by everyone no one on the committee will miss him.

I don’t know how this will go.  Whatever happens, I’ll cover it.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur