Daily Check-In 10/02/2018

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

When Sen. Mitch McConnell was told by then–CIA Director John Brennan before the 2016 election that Vladimir Putin and Russia were attempting to interfere with the goal of assisting Donald Trump, McConnell’s response took him aback, according to Greg Miller, a Washington Post reporter who has just released a book about Putin, Trump, and the election. The majority leader said he wouldn’t sign on to any condemnation of Russia’s actions and that if the administration went public with the intelligence, McConnell would in turn call out Brennan as a partisan intervening on behalf of Hillary Clinton, Miller colorfully revealed in a CNN interview Tuesday.

Mitch calling the Russian Interference a partisan attack isn’t much of a surprise, but that he pulled this shit against the CIA  Director is a new level of WTFness.  Turtle got into a screaming match with the head of the CIA, saying that if Obama or them went forward with any claims that the Russians were interfering, he’d attack those claims as a partisan witch hunt.

Sound familiar?

Mitch McConnell is one of the most evil mother fuckers in history.  There’s a part of me that wants to say that this was just him seeing the world through his hyperpartisan viewpoint, but this meeting with Obama and Brennan took place after the RNC Convention, after the DNC Convention, after the email leaks from Wikileaks, and after the GOP leadership met with Sergei Kislyak in Cleveland.  By this point, Mitch either had to know something was up, was being blackmailed or was complicit.  Possibly both of the last two.

Remember, the Republicans had their emails hacked, too.  Those just weren’t released for the world to see.

Staff Changes

Kyle Freeny and Brandon Van Grack are leaving the team.  I’ll speculate on that in the Rumor Mill section.  I’ll also update The Justice League after posting this.

 

Gamble v United States

I had a couple conversations on Tuesday about the upcoming Gamble v United States case headed to the SCOTUS. I talked about the case HERE and HERE, but there’s a lot that got left off of the Reddit and Twitter arguments last week.  I’m going to put all of these thoughts in one post eventually, but I want to try to dispel some of the myths around that case.

The basic question before the court is whether or not the Feds can charge a person with the exact same crime that they were already tried for in a different sovereign jurisdiction. It’s not questioning whether the state can do the same, or if a person pardoned for a crime in one jurisdiction can or can’t be charged with similar crimes in other jurisdictions.

The hypothesis running around last week was that a partisan SCOTUS would overturn 150 years of precedent and rule that a crime can only be charged in one jurisdiction. Then, Trump would pardon everyone involved with every crime he’s taken part in, and those blanket pardons would prevent the states from ever charging any of his co-conspirators with crimes.

There are several holes with that hypothesis.

First, the hypothesis doesn’t match the question before the court.  The question facing the court is whether the United States can charge a person with the exact same crime that the person was charged with in state court.

Second, the ruling would have to be so vague and wide ranging that it would fall apart on even the slightest review. The only way that the ruling could work that way would be if it were written to include any and all state statutes that could be similar.  I call this the Worst Case Scenario Ruling, or WCSR.

Third, this assumes the states would interpret “similar” the same way.  One state may decide that state tax evasion is similar to federal tax evasion, but another would not because they use distinct forms.  Others might argue that since the wording between drug possession statues have a comma in the wrong place, the meaning changes altogether and are therefore different statutes.

Fourth, pardons only work on criminal penalties, not civil. Sure, they might not go to prison, but that doesn’t mean the states and the feds can’t use that pardon as proof of guilt and take everything they’ve ever owned.  I recommend checking out Civil RICO.

Finally, this argument assumes blanket pardons like Nixon received from Gerald Ford, not pardons for specific crimes. A blanket pardon covers a wide range of potential crimes, but if done preemptively before any crimes are charged, then we get to the next great legal questions;

Is it Double Jeopardy if a person was never charged with a crime but accepted a pardon in a different jurisdiction before they were charged? How could it be Double Jeopardy if they were never in Single Jeopardy to begin with? If the person was never charged with a crime at the federal level before accepting a pardon, how could the state ever know if they would have been charged with the exact same crime to invoke DJ protections?

The states could make a good argument that since they didn’t know what the defendant could have been charged with, they have to assume that only some charges would have been brought forward, not all of them.

Also, even in the WCSR, the states would almost certainly challenge this ruling on 9th and 10th Amendment grounds.  Per the U.S. Constitution:

Article [IX] (Amendment 9 – Unenumerated Rights)

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Article [X] (Amendment 10 – Reserved Powers)

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

These two amendments are trotted out every time some right-winger wants to cry foul about “government overreach” on liberal policies, like the ACA or the Interstate system.  These two are usually used in combination with each other to make an argument that unless it was specifically laid out in the Constitution, then the Federal government can’t do it.  The WCSR would be a violation of both of these in that it would take the power of the states to prosecute their own crimes away from them.  The WCSR would be challenged faster than a kid running to his PS4 to play Fortnite.

I don’t think there’s too much to worry about with Gamble at this time. Several states including New York already have Double Jeopardy protections on their books preventing them from charging a person for the same crime the feds charged them for, but they have their own crimes on the books that they can go after.

Still, keep an eye on that case when it comes up.

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

Stormy Daniels

President Trump personally directed an effort in February to stop Stormy Daniels from publicly describing an alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump, people familiar with the events say.

In a phone call, Mr. Trump instructed his then-lawyer Michael Cohen to seek a restraining order against the former adult-film actress, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, through a confidential arbitration proceeding, one of the people said. Messrs. Trump and Cohen had learned shortly before that Ms. Clifford was considering giving a media interview about her alleged relationship with Mr. Trump, despite having signed an October 2016 nondisclosure agreement.

Mr. Trump told Mr. Cohen to coordinate the legal response with Eric Trump, one of the president’s sons, and another outside lawyer who had represented Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization in other matters, the people said. Eric Trump, who is running the company with his brother in Mr. Trump’s absence, then tasked a Trump Organization staff attorney in California with signing off on the arbitration paperwork, these people said.

Direct involvement of the president and his son in the effort to silence Ms. Clifford hasn’t previously been reported. The accounts of that effort recently provided to The Wall Street Journal suggest that the president’s ties to his company continued into this year and contradict public statements made at the time by the Trump Organization, the White House and Mr. Cohen.

The White House referred a request for comment to the president’s outside counsel. Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, declined to comment. A person close to the situation said Eric Trump had acted as the president’s son and not in his role as a company executive. The Trump Organization declined to comment. Lanny Davis, a lawyer for Mr. Cohen, declined to comment.

Holy shit, this is big.  We know that Cohen tried to get a restraining order against Stormy Daniels earlier this year to keep her from speaking to the media, but now we know that he was ordered to do so by then-President Trump.  While he was in the White House.  And that Eric Trump, who’s supposed to be running an independent Trump Organization, helped.

Cohen pleaded guilty on Daily Check-In 08/21/2018, and has been cooperating with EVERYONE since then.  Mueller, SDNY, State of New York, New York City.  Hell, I’m expecting to hear that Cohen is working with the March of Dimes to seize one of the Trump properties in lieu of payment owed.

Donald Trump is already an unindicted co-conspirator on election fraud charges.  Cohen said in court that he was ordered to pay off Stormy Daniels using campaign funds.  Now, here is the President of the United States ordering his personal attorney to work with the head of a private company to silence a critic and opponent in a lawsuit.  Sounds like several crimes there.

Being implicated in trying to silence a porn star that he paid off with campaign funds.  There’s no way his day can get any worse, right?

Right?

<Cue Something Big>

From /u/The-Autarkh, summing up the points.

  1. The Trumps’ tax maneuvers show a pattern of deception, tax experts say
  2. Donald Trump began reaping wealth from his father’s real estate empire as a toddler
  3. That ‘small loan’ of $1 million was actually at least $60.7 million — much of it never repaid
  4. Fred Trump wove a safety net that rescued his son from one bad bet after another
  5. The Trumps turned an $11 million loan debt into a legally questionable tax write-off
  6. Father and son set out to create the myth of a self-made billionaire
  7. Donald Trump tried to change his ailing father’s will, setting off a family reckoning
  8. The Trumps created a company that siphoned cash from the empire
  9. The Trump parents dodged hundreds of millions in gift taxes by grossly undervaluing the assets they would pass on
  10. After Fred Trump’s death, his empire’s most valuable asset was an I.O.U. from Donald Trump
  11. Donald Trump got a windfall when the empire was sold. But he may have left money on the table.

Yep.  This is big.  A couple years too late, but it is certainly big.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

Holy shit.  The Self-Made Billionaire myth is just that: a myth.

Fred Trump made a lot of money, and had deep ties to organized crime.  He set up trusts for all of his kids and made sure they were well off from the beginning.  He came up with tax tricks and cheats to move and hide his wealth from the government, and eventually give it to his kids through illegal means.  And Fred realized that Donald sucked at business.

Donald Trump is a con-man fraud hack, but we know that already.  Now, the New York Times has the receipts.  Literally.  They have the fucking receipts from the fake purchasing company.

Ever since the 80’s when Donald Trump tried to create his own empire, with money laundering a main source of income, self-promotion was a big part of it. He’s the poor man’s idea of the rich man, and plays it up by slapping his name on everything he can while his properties are a laundromat for criminals of all sizes.

Part of the way he gets away with it is that he’s up front with it. Most people ignore the obnoxious jerk, as long he stays to himself or plays in his own yard. Cops are looking for guy sneaking in the shadows, not the one screaming “I’m doing illegal shit.” There’s a scene from High Anxiety where they’re trying to get past airport security without being noticed. Instead of skulking around, they’re loud, obnoxious, screaming at each other. Eventually, the cops let them go because they don’t want to deal with them. That’s been Trump since the 80’s. He’s so loud and obnoxious, most people didn’t look into how much of a crook he is, because how stupid would someone have to be to draw unnecessary attention to themselves?

Donald Trump stupid, that’s how stupid.

Here’s a guy who ran for President because he’s been bullshitted into believing he could do it and/or was blackmailed into it.  He won with the help of every corrupt organization around (including the Russians), and put himself, his family, his businesses, his relationships, and everyone who’s ever known him under a microscope.

That microscope is here.

The most egregious violations came after Donny tried getting his daddy to change the will, giving him access to more money up front.  Fred and his daughter Maryanne Trump-Barry, a sitting Federal Judge at the time, said it “didn’t pass the smell test.”  But, they realized that Fred was getting old and sick, and if he died right away, his billion dollar empire would mostly go to taxes.  They created All County Building Supply & Maintenance to funnel money to the children.  Fred Trump’s company would buy equipment for his properties through All County, like a boiler or stoves or construction supplies, but at a significant markup.  $10,000 in washing machines become $20,000.  A $2,000 furnace repair becomes $5,000.  All County would make the purchase, then bill Fred Trump’s company the inflated amount.  Fred would pay the inflated amount, then the owners of the company would split the profits.

The owners of All County Building Supply & Maintenance were Donald Trump, his siblings, and cousins.

These purchase would show up on taxes as legitimate purchases.  Fred Trump would claim them as business expenses, All County would write off even more expenses, and the adult children made millions off of this scheme.

What makes this even worse is that the Trump’s would then petition the city to increase the rents on their rent controlled properties because their expenses increased.  So, they fraudulently increased their expenses to increase the rent their tenants paid, which created more money to launder, which created more expenses, which increased the rents, and so on.

Donald Trump received $413 million from his father, and paid taxes on a sliver of that.  Him and his siblings, including Maryanne Trump-Barry, benefited to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars from fraudulent purchases, wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering.

Unfortunately, it’s highly likely that these crimes are all far beyond the criminal statute of limitations.  But, not civil statutes, and the State of New York has already said they’re investigating these claims.

Also, just a reminder, Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg  is a Cooperating Witnesses.  He’s been around since Fred’s days, and likely played a part in all of this.

 

SCOTUS & #METOO

In an unprecedented move, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday released an explicit statement that purports to describe the sexual preferences of a woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh of misconduct.

The statement, which was circulated to the hundreds of journalists on the Judiciary Committee’s press list, was from Dennis Ketterer, a former Democratic congressional candidate and television meteorologist who said he was involved in a brief relationship with Kavanaugh accuser Julie Swetnick in 1993.

Swetnick said last week in an affidavit that Kavanaugh was present at a house party in 1982 where she alleges she was the victim of a gang rape, a claim he vehemently denies.

In his statement, Ketterer said Swetnick once told him that she sometimes enjoyed group sex with multiple men and had first engaged in it during high school. Ketterer said the remark “derailed” their relationship, which he described as involving “physical contact” but no intercourse.

Ketterer said Swetnick “never said anything about being sexually assaulted, raped, gang-raped or having sex against her will” and “never mentioned Brett Kavanaugh in any capacity.” He described their relationship as lasting for a “couple of weeks.”

It was highly unusual for a congressional committee to release a statement that included such explicit and unconfirmed details about a member of the public. The Republican side of the panel, which said the statement was provided by Ketterer “under penalty of felony,” emailed excerpts to journalists and posted the full statement on its website.

Ketterer said that his “lasting impression” of Swetnick was that she was “smart, fun and funny.” He also described her as “an opportunist” who sought him out at the bar where he said they first met.

“I felt she only had interest . . . because I was on television and well-known,” he said.

Reached by phone Tuesday night, Ketterer said he provided the statement to the committee Monday night after hearing Swetnick’s allegations last week and discussing his memories of her with local leaders in his church. Ketterer described himself as a longtime member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) and lives in the Salt Lake City area.

“We talked about doing the right thing, and the right thing was not to hold it back,” Ketterer said in an hour-long interview.

Eventually, he said, one church leader reached out to a former LDS bishop who had a connection to the office of Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee and is also a member of the church.

Ketterer said he spoke with Hatch’s staff last Friday and was then handed off to staff for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), who he said pressed him in a long phone interview about his knowledge of Swetnick’s background and her family relationships.

Ketterer lost his bid to represent Maryland’s 8th Congressional District as a Democrat in 1996. Now a registered Republican, he says he identifies more strongly as a political independent and does not support President Trump.

Ketterer said he has never met Kavanaugh and did not know who he was until Trump nominated him to the Supreme Court. Ketterer said he provided his statement because he wanted to “do the right thing” and because he sympathized with Kavanaugh’s wife, Ashley.

When the sexual assault defense gets to the slut shaming phase, the defense is desperate.

The standard operating procedure of fighting a sexual assault case is to first deny any involvement.  If that’s not possible, attack the character of the victim or witnesses, claiming that they can’t be trusted because of their background.  When that fails, dig up any dirt whatsoever on the victim and play the “it can’t be rape because she likes sex” routine.  Of course, this hurts the defense even more, because they can no longer claim that there was no encounter between them.

Slut shaming a rape victim is the last ditch effort of the rape defense.

 

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

Shooting the coach?  Really?  They should have done what every other parent of a low-talent player does and join the booster club.

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

ELECTION 2018

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Tuesday.   Like I said earlier, two of the lawyers are leaving Mueller’s team, and there’s speculation on both sides as to what that means.

The Right Wing claims that this is an obvious sign that there is nothing more to investigate, and that Mueller is wrapping things up.  Obviously, because there wasn’t anything there.

The Right Wing claims that this is an obvious sign that there is nothing more to investigate, and that Mueller is wrapping things up.  Obviously, because they found everything and are finished with their job.

There’s another hypothesis that I want to float around, and that’s that this is perfectly normal.  The people that have left have returned to their previous assignments because the part of the case they were working on being taken over by other departments or people.

The Mueller Team is a black box.  We don’t know what’s going on inside of it, and only learn about events well after the fact.  For all we know, they’ve likely coordinated with every law enforcement agency in the country, handed off what they’ve discovered, and tasked those groups to unleash hell on the command word “Alfalfa.”

I’ve got a story in the pipeline about Mueller’s Gameplan, and I think this fits with it.  There’s so many avenues to pursue, one team couldn’t do it on their own.  Outsourcing the work to every field office is just one part of it.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

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