Daily Check-In 11/19/2018

Monday, November 19, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Emma Briant, an academic expert on disinformation at George Washington University, has unearthed new e-mails that appear to reveal the earliest documented role played by Bannon in Brexit. The e-mails, which date back to October of 2015, show that Bannon, who was then the vice-president of Cambridge Analytica, an American firm largely owned by the U.S. hedge-fund billionaire Robert Mercer, was in the loop on discussions taking place at the time between his company and the leaders of Leave.EU, a far-right nationalist organization. The following month, Leave.EU publicly launched a campaign aimed at convincing British voters to support a referendum in favor of exiting the European Union. The U.K. narrowly voted for the so-called Brexit in June, 2016. The tumultuous fallout has roiled the U.K. ever since, threatening the government of the Conservative Prime Minister, Theresa May.

Bannon did not respond to requests for comment. But his name and private e-mail address appear on the chain of three e-mails in October, 2015, between Brittany Kaiser, the director of program development at Cambridge Analytica, and Arron Banks, who headed the Leave.EU campaign and referred to himself in the title of his memoir as one of “The Bad Boys of Brexit.” Banks could not be reached for comment regarding the e-mails, which were first published Saturday by the British Web site openDemocracy.

The precise role played by foreign entities in promoting and possibly funding Brexit has been clouded in mystery and controversy. British law forbids foreign contributions to its political campaigns—just as U.S. law bars foreign campaign contributions. The laws are designed to prevent international manipulation of domestic affairs. Executives working for Cambridge Analytica, which filed for bankruptcy this spring, have categorically denied that the firm was paid to do any work for the Leave.EU campaign. The new e-mails do not contradict that, but show that, even if the firm was not paid for its services, it laid some of the early groundwork for the Leave.EU campaign. The e-mails show that Banks and others in the Leave.EU leadership met with Cambridge Analytica executives in 2015, and discussed what Banks called a “two-stage process” that would “get CA”—Cambridge Analytica—“on the team.”

In an e-mail dated October 24, 2015, Banks also discussed tasking Cambridge Analytica with helping him raise funds through the U.S. for the Leave.EU campaign. In a note to the Cambridge Analytica executives with whom he had met, Banks wrote, “It’s clear that major donors are sitting on the fence, but we aim to do something about that.” Banks returns to the topic later in the note, adding, “We would like CA to come up with a strategy for fund raising in the states and engaging companies and special interest groups that might be affected by TTIP”—the pending Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

Banks did not address the potential illegality of direct foreign donations, but suggested a strategy that might circumvent the letter of the campaign-finance laws, if not their intent. Banks suggested enlisting Cambridge Analytica’s help in reaching out to Americans “with family ties to the UK.” Evidently, by targeting Americans with British relatives, the hope was that they could avoid campaign-finance-law violations. He suggested that Cambridge Analytica, which boasted of having access to two hundred and thirty million Americans’ voter-registration data, as well as other personal information, could be solicited “to raise money and create SM [social media] activity.”

The following day, a Cambridge Analytica staffer sent an e-mail back to Banks, again with Bannon included on the chain, suggesting that the firm was on board with the idea of developing a proposal that would include “US-based fundraising strategies.”

This is pretty interesting, and helps remind us of how much things are tied together.  I know I’ve covered similar things before, but it’s time I do a quick refresher.

Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway worked for Cambridge Analytica, the company that helped microtarget political ads over social media, as well as specialize in other political dark arts.  (Daily Check-In 12/14/2017) Their clients seem to lean towards populist, nationalist, and autocrats looking to shore up their election results. (Daily Check-In 03/19/2018) Cambridge Analytica was owned by Robert Mercer until November 2017, when he gave control of the company to his daughters.  (Daily Check-In 11/2/2017) One of them, Rebekha Mercer, was romantically linked Steve Bannon before Bannon spent time testifying before the Special Counselor back in early 2018.

Before CA worked with Trump, they worked with Leave.EU on the Brexit campaign.  Brexit is where they fine tuned a lot of their tactics that they used in the U.S. in 2016.

Steve Bannon was included on at least 3 email chains discussed in this story.  At least one of those chains discussed bypassing the law to launder U.S. money into the U.K. for use in the Brexit campaign.

This is why I cover Brexit news.  The people involved with that are neck deep in the Russian Investigation.

What’s more interesting (though not at all controversial) is that Mueller maintains he still has the full authority of a US Attorney.

Similarly, by regulation, the Special Counsel has and continues to “exercise, within the scope of his or her jurisdiction, the full power and independent authority to exercise all investigative and prosecutorial functions of any United States Attorney.” 28 C.F.R. § 600.6; see United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683, 695 (1974) (“So long as [a] regulation is extant it has the force of law.”).

He relies on US v. Nixon to lay out what it will take to withdraw that authority: changing the regulations he operates under.

Perhaps most important, though, is that Mueller argues that Whitaker’s appointment cannot change the validity of the subpoena (and, one would assume by extension, anything else) that occurred before Whitaker’s appointment.

Because the subpoenas here issued under the signature of the Special Counsel’s Office long before the change in the identity of the Acting Attorney General, that change cannot affect the validity of the subpoenas. And the designation of a different Acting Attorney General while the case is on appeal cannot vitiate the district court’s order holding Miller in contempt.

This would seem to suggest that if Mueller has anything banked — sealed indictments or complaints — then he holds that nothing changes their validity or the DC District’s authority to preside over them.

He also maintains that he retains the authority to appear before the Court.

Second, the change in identity of the Acting Attorney General has no effect on the Special Counsel’s authority to appear in this case. The Special Counsel continues to hold his office despite the change in the identity of the Acting Attorney General.

This would be what he would need to unseal any existing indictments.

None of that is that controversial. But it does make it clear that he views his authority to continue unchecked even with Trump’s hatchet man in place.

Ok, so what does this legalese mean?  It means that as long as Mueller is still the Special Counselor, there ain’t a damn thing that Whitaker can do to stop him.  He can’t stop sealed indictments, he can’t bury the investigation, he can’t do anything to halt anything that has been worked on in the last 18 months.  Changing the Acting AG over the case does not invalidate any of the work done to this point.

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

…But Her Emails!!!

Once again, the corpse of Irony is being abused.

In what can only be considered Trump-level stupidity, Ivanka used her personal email to conduct White House business.  While her father was screaming from the campaign podium that it was “the worst thing a person can do.”

If this sounds familiar, it is. (Daily Check-In 10/3/2017).  This is once again coming to the forefront because several news organizations noticed her email address in forms that they received through FOIA requests.

There isn’t a current investigation into this yet.  Expect that to start in January when the new House Oversight Committee is sworn in.

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

Just as a reminder to Tangerine Tojo, that “little schitt” will have subpoena power come January.

 

TRUMP VS. MILITARY

Remember when talking shit about a war hero was frowned upon by the Republicans, and it was a sign of “not supporting the troops”?  Pepperidge Farm remembers.

 

TRAITOR TOTS

Wohl vs. Avenatti

 

WHITAKER

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

 

KHASHOGGI & SAUDI ARABIA

 

#METOO & WOMEN’S RIGHTS

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

Acosta’s Hard Pass

 

White House Correspondents Dinner

 

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS & RELIGION

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

CONGRESS

 

ELECTION 2018

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

TURKEY DAY

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

Well, 2B fair, Bush & Clinton weren’t laundering vast sums of money 4 Semion Mogilevich at the time. You were. So, yes – you knew all about Mogilevich’s biz partner, OBL. BTW – was it your Genovese or Gambino masters who gave Semion the WTC blueprints (out of port authority)?

I’ve had enough of this guy. Zero f*cks left. Here you go. Two threads: 1.

Port Authority, was it? Wonder what’s up with them?

LB’s 9/11 Thread

3. And this thread is for you, dotard. Recognize anything?

The Belly Button Thread. It’s worth digging into.

Ok, that last one got pretty weird.  Even weirder than the 9-11 threads. (Daily Check-In 09/11/2018)  But it shows how deep the Russian Mob hole goes, and she names a lot of names.

 

That’s it for Monday.  We’re coming up on a short work week this week, so I don’t know how much will break in the next couple days.  My guess is things will be relatively quiet on the Mueller front until Tuesday or Wednesday next week.  Now that I’ve said that, I apologize in advance if things go sideways this week.

We’re coming up on the anniversary of Mike Flynn’s flip, which happened the week after Thanksgiving.  I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if something massive struck then.  There’s already a report of Mueller’s team meeting with Randy Credico next week, likely to strike some kind of deal.  I’m getting confused with all of Roger Stone’s shady ass friends.  I should write something to keep them organized.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

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