2018 Retrospective

This time last year, I wrote the 2017 Retrospective.  That piece served as a quasi-nostalgia piece/best of/how did I get here essay/predictions for the upcoming year.  As much as I don’t like Best-of lists and other looks back, I feel like this is needed to keep perspective.

 

WHERE WE LEFT OFF IN 2017?

At the end of 2017, we were just starting to get a picture of how big the Russian Conspiracy truly was.  We were also witness to the most dysfunctional presidential administration of the modern era.  A cabinet rife with corruption that was looking for new and interesting ways to destroy their departments while lining their pockets.  Meanwhile, rumors and stories about the depths of cooperation with foreign powers kept rising to the surface.  Every so often, a new story highlighting a new part of the conspiracy arose.  The NRA.  The National Prayer Breakfast.  Oleg Deripaska.  Alexander Torshin.  Maria Butina.  Kostya Kilimnik.

The Rumor Mill was still months ahead of the active story from the Mainstream Media.  While the MSM was hung up on Trump’s tweets, the Rumor Mill was talking about the NRA being used as the primary source for laundering Russian money into the Republican National Committee for use in the 2016 election.

 

KICKING OFF 2018

January started off with the first of several major books exposing the dysfunction of the Trump Administration.  “Fire and Fury” was the first major book to show how bad things are inside the White House.  Nothing gets done, everyone is ready to stab the other in the back at a moment’s notice, and everything revolves around the whims of a septuagenarian in a diaper.  This book also established a pattern.  The worse it makes Trump look, the more he freaks out about it on Twitter and through Wall-Eye Sanders.  The worse they react, the more likely it is to be true.  The more likely it’s true, the better the sales.  This book sold like beer at a football game.  My favorite quote from it was a conversation between Steve Bannon and Trump after Trump said in an interview with his frenemy Maggie Haberman that investigating his finances would be “crossing a red line.”

“You’ve got the LeBron James of money laundering investigations on you, Jarvanka. My a–hole just got so tight!”

I don’t want to imagine Steve Bannon’s asshole, but it’s a worthy response when finding out Andrew Weissmann is looking into your finances. (Daily Check-In 01/05/2018)

We also saw the beginning of the year kick off with Republicans in both the House and Senate rally around Trump at all opportunities to either demonize his enemies or obstruct investigations into Trump and his cronies.  This is when I learned two important procedural rules.  House committees can only release transcripts after a vote, but the ranking chairperson of a Senate committee can do whatever the fuck they feel like, including releasing transcripts. (Daily Check-In 01/09/2018). Diane Feinstein did with Glenn Simpson’s testimony.  Glenn is the head of Fusion GPS, the group that ran Opposition Research against Trump and ultimately hired Christopher Steele.

The only committee in either house of congress that acted like grown-ups this year was the Senate Intelligence Committee.  They’re work is still ongoing.

The most off-the-rails thing to happen in January was a news report showing that Michael Cohen had paid adult film star Stormy Daniels $130,000 a couple weeks before the election.  At the time, it seemed rather…weird and unrelated.  Turns out it would have HUUUGE consequences throughout the year. (Daily Check-In 01/12/2018)

What should have been the biggest story of the early year happened on Daily Check-In 01/25/2018 when it came out that the Dutch had pwned the GRU and had proof that they were involved with the attacks on the United States.  Instead, Maggie Haberman dropped a story for the New York Times talking about how Trump had tried to fire Robert Mueller back in June.  It also turns out that this was the weekend that Trump was supposed to interview Mueller at Camp David, but pulled out at the last minute.

Throughout the month, more stories started to break into the MSM talking about Trump’s ties to the Russian Mob, and the NRA’s ties to the Russians.  On Daily Check-In 01/30/2018, the weirdest thing happened thus far: Sean Hannity was suspended from Twitter.  While his account was dark, a parody account arose and sounded so much like him that Julian Assange of Wikileaks DM’ed him.

Another thing we saw at the beginning of the year was the back and forth, will he or won’t he, about Mueller’s attempts to interview Trump.  It was widely viewed at the beginning of the year by the MSM that Mueller was only looking into Obstruction of Justice and had very little to go on for Russian connections.

 

FEBRUARY 2018:  THERE ARE INDICTMENTS

As I said, the MSM pushed the story that Mueller was only interested in investigating Obstruction of Justice.  That narrative fell apart on Daily Check-in 02/16/2018 when Special Counselor Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russians and 3 Russian companies for attacking the United States during the 2016 election by spreading propaganda, organizing Americans against each other, and committing a metric fucktonne of identity theft.  Mueller also got a guilty plea from Richard Pinedo for assisting the Russians by helping them get bank accounts that they then used to spoof PayPal.

Early February saw yet another attempt by the Republicans to distract from Mueller and discredit the investigation with the Nunes Memo.  (Daily Check-In 02/01/2018). That attempt lasted all of about 30 seconds everywhere outside of Fox News.  That how long it took to debunk the claims in Devin Nunes’ memo.

February also brought other stories like Hope Hicks trying to organize a cover-up of the June 9th meeting on a conference call, Steve Bannon interviewing with Robert Mueller, and that several states were hacked by the Russians. (Daily Check-In 02/07/2018).

Something tragic not related to the Russian Conspiracy occurred on Daily Check-In 02/14/2018 with the Parkland Massacre.  17 high school students were murdered by one of their classmates.  But this shooting was different.  This one was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  This shooting didn’t disappear from the news within a week like all the rest.  The kids stuck around.  They organized.  They marched.  They protested.  They registered to vote.  And they’re making a difference.

On Daily Check-In 02/26/2018 Trump asked his Energy Secretary Rick Perry to cancel a trip to India to instead go to London to meet with Saudis to negotiate nuclear reactors.

Also, Rick Gates flipped. (Daily Check-In 02/23/2018).  His old attorney Alex Van Der Zwaan pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

 

MARCH 2018: THE NRA AND THE GRAND BARGAIN TAKES SHAPE

I didn’t know it at the time, but March saw several interesting developments that lead to the Grand Bargain Theory.

George Nader flipped. (Daily Check-In 03/06/2018). He was Erik Prince’s right hand man and an adviser to the United Arab Emirates.  George was also with Prince at the Seychelle’s meeting.  He’s also a convicted pedophile who was stopped at the border on New Year’s Eve and decided to cooperate with Mueller to avoid a fate worse getting shanked in prison.  Elliot Broidy also made his way into the news in March with trying to kill the 1MDB money laundering investigation. (Daily Check-In 03/05/2018)

Cambridge Analytica made the front page finally for their work in fucking with the election by microtargeting voters for ads. They stole user profiles from Facebook, shared them with the Russians, and used those profiles to attack individuals with ads targeted specifically to them. (Daily Check-In 03/21/2018).

The Russians tried to kill a former spy on British soil.  (Daily Check-In 03/12/2018).  Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke out about this attack.  Trump fired him the next day.

That was also the same day the House Intel Committee “ended” their investigation after finding “no evidence that the Russians assisted Donald Trump.”  Remember that.

On the campaign finance front, March saw Stormy Daniels and her new attorney Michael Avenatti go on the offensive against Michael Cohen.  More details emerge about how completely nutty this payment was, how it was made, and where the funds ultimately came from.  We also know that at least one other woman was paid off by Michael Cohen.  Karen McDougal was also paid off in 2016 to stay silent during the election. (Daily Check-In 03/16/2018)

The Mueller Investigation kept moving forward with subpoenas to the Trump Organization, requests for info about the Seychelles trip, and interviews with many staffers.

 

APRIL 2018: THE SUBJECT OF AN INVESTIGATION

On April 3rd, we found out that Donald Trump was officially the subject of a criminal investigation. (Daily Check-In 04/03/2018). We also got the evidence and explanation of the poison pill built into the Special Counselor’s investigation.  If Robert Mueller is fired, then all of his Senior Assistant Special Counselors are authorized in their dual roles as United States Attorneys to pursue any open investigations to their completion.  Also, those investigations were outsourced to various jurisdictions and indictments were filed under seal.

One of those investigations was United States versus Michael Cohen.  On April 9th, the FBI raided his home, his office, and hotel.  (Daily Check-In 04/09/2018).  They got ALL THE THINGS.  This might go down as the beginning of the end of the Trump Presidency.  I’ve probably said that a few hundred times, but when things are so bad that a judge said that the least intrusive way of getting the info they needed was multiple no-knock raids, things are bad.  Over the next few weeks, more of Cohen’s shadiness came out.  These included accepting payments for access to Trump, running cab companies, and his ties with mobsters.

Jared Kushner unloaded the 666 Fifth Avenue albatross to a group using Qatar as a middleman. (Daily Check-In 04/23/2018)

We also found out that several subjects and target were getting stopped entering the country, in that little in-between area where laws are a bit…different. (Daily Check-In 04/03/2018)

Sean Hannity is involved in some shady shit with Cohen, when it was revealed that he was one of Cohen’s three clients. (Daily Check-In 04/18/2018). Hannity was involved in some slightly shady real estate purchases.  That, and pushing Russian propaganda.

We got the flight details of Trump’s trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant in 2013.  These records contradict Trump’s claims that he didn’t spend the night in Russia. (Daily Check-In 04/23/2018)

James Comey’s book “A Higher Loyalty” was released. On the night he was on Rachel Maddow to talk about it, his memos about his meetings with Trump made the news.  (Daily Check-In 04/19/2018)

We finish April with the New York Times getting a list of questions from Jay Sekulow that he says are the questions that Mueller wants to ask Trump. (Daily Check-In 04/30/2018)

 

MAY 2018: SOMETHING ROTTEN IN NEW YORK

The Trump Organization is under various investigations, The Trump Foundation is under a microscope, Cohen is fucked 8 ways from Sunday, but that’s not the only weirdness in New York.  On Daily Check-In 05/07/2018 then NYAG Eric Schneiderman resigned after 4 women accused him of sexual assault in a story written by Ronan Farrow and Jane Meyer.  From the time the story dropped, it took about 2 hours for him to resign.  He was replaced by NYAG Underwood.  This would turn out to be the worst thing for the Trump Organization, the Trump Family, and anyone associated with Trump in New York.

At first, Trump Jr. was celebrating this move, but he’s an idiot with no strategic thinking.  My hypothesis is that they had shit on him for years, and were either waiting for him to come after them to release it or were going to use it to blackmail him.  Instead, he gets removed from the playing board and an unknown comes into play.  This unknown, by the way, would make Trump’s life even more of a living nightmare by the end of the year.

Cohen was implicated in a pay to play scandal with several companies, including AT&T. Within a month of engaging Cohen, they had a meeting with Ajit Pai in an attempt to kill net neutrality. (Daily Check-In 05/11/2018). Right after that, we get direct ties to the Qatar Investment Authority. (Daily Check-In 05/14/2018).

Trump and Nunes tried to expose top secret sources to protect themselves. (Daily Check-In 05/18/2018)

Daily Check-In 05/25/2018 revealed that Cohen met with Viktor Vekselberg during the transition, and the Spanish had wiretaps that showed Donnie Jr. was in contact with Alexander Torshin and his associate Maria Butina.

 

JUNE 2018:  A LITTLE BUSY

Jared Kushner’s buddy Richard Gerson was at the Seychelles Meeting.  He met with Prince Mohammed (MBZ) and George Nader. (Daily Check-In 06/01/2018). Gerson was also around when MBZ visited Kushner and Nader in New York City.  Gerson claimed he was only there to escort former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to the meeting.

Paul Manafort and Kostya from the GRU were indicted for witness tampering on Daily Check-In 06/04/2018.

The Brexit Backers were caught playing nice with the Russians.  This included passing info to and from Wikileaks. This produced even more visible ties to the Russian Conspiracy. (Daily Check-In 06/11/2018). We also heard of EVEN MORE contacts between the Russians and the NRA.

On June 15th, Paul Manafort went to prison.  I still get a smile on my facing knowing that he has most likely spent his final day as a free man. (Daily Check-In 06/15/2018).  That day, we also found out about the cut-out the Russians used to get the DNC emails to Wikileaks.

I was a little busy at the end of June and beginning of July. (Irregular Posts)

 

JULY 2018: RUSSIAN SPIES AND VERBAL BLOWJOBS

The three biggest stories of July involved Russia.  Surprise, surprise.

While Trump was on his way to Helsinki for a summit meeting with his boss Vladimir Putin, Robert Mueller indicted 12 members of the Russian GRU for hacking the DNC. (Daily Check-In 07/13/2018)

The next big story was Trump giving Putin a verbal blowjob in Helsinki, where he parroted everything Putin said, including how he believed him over all of the United States Intelligence Community. (Daily Check-In 07/16/2018)

While that was happening, news broke that a Russian woman named Mariia Butina was arrested for being an unregistered agent of the Russians.  She was a spy for the Russians that worked for Alexander Torshin and the Russian Government to infiltrate the National Rifle Association.  Over the next couple weeks a lot of her contacts came to light, including deep ties to the Religious Right and even some members of Congress.

A weird narrative developed on Daily Check-In 07/20/2018 as details emerged from the Cohen Investigation in SDNY.  Out of the million plus documents that the feds seized, only a handful of them were within the realm of Attorney-Client Privilege.  Some of that info were recordings Cohen made covering his meetings with Trump.  Trump then went after Cohen, and Cohen fought back.  Eventually a tape of Trump getting briefed on the Karen McDougal payoff was released.  Also, Cohen said Trump knew of the June 9th meeting, because he told him about it on June 7th. (Daily Check-In 07/26/2018). That prep meeting included 6 people.  Trump, Donnie Jr., Paul Manafort, Cohen, Trump’s secretary Rhona, and Paul’s second Rick Gates. (Daily Check-In 07/27/2018)

Paul Manafort’s tax evasion trial began on Daily Check-In 07/31/2018.

 

AUGUST 2018: MANAFORT FOUND GUILTY

While the Manafort trial was underway, more news about Roger Stone came out.  His crew has been under investigation for a long time. Long enough to make the constant jokes about him being in a barrel feel like they need thrown in a barrel.  (Daily Check-In 08/10/2018)

Omarosa released a book.  While talking about it, she let it be known that she was interviewed by Mueller’s team and that Trump knew about the Wikileaks email dump beforehand, (Daily Check-In 08/14/2018)

Don McGahn interviewed with the Special Counselor’s team for more than 30 hours.  As the White House Counsel, nothing he said was covered under privilege. (Daily Check-In 08/20/2018)

Paul Manafort was found guilty on 8 of his 18 counts in his tax evasion trial.  It came out that one juror didn’t convict on the charges related to money laundering.  (Daily Check-In 08/21/2018)

Bob Dole’s involved in a bank so corrupt even the Russians won’t do business with it. (Daily Check-In 08/28/2018)

Sam Patten, an associate of Manafort who worked with Cambridge Analytica, pleaded guilty to FARA violations. (Daily Check-In 08/31/2018)

Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to 8 felony counts the same day that Manafort was convicted.  In his plea deal, Cohen said flat out that Trump directed him to pay off Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.  Trump’s CFO Allen Weisselberg and the head of the National Enquirer David Pecker were given immunity for their assistance in the Cohen and Trump investigations.

 

SEPTEMBER 2018:  KAVANAUGH, FEAR, AND FLIPPING.  OR SO WE THOUGHT

Bob Woodward’s new book “Fear” is released.  Around the same time, an anonymous Op-Ed is published in the New York Times that describes Trump as dangerous. (Daily Check-In 09/06/2018).

Paul Manafort appeared to flip on Trump on Daily Check-In 09/14/2018.

Supreme Court Justice Kennedy retired, allowing Trump to nominate Brett Kavanaugh.  During his confirmation hearings, reports of multiple sexual assaults involving Brett made the news.  This led to possibly the most disgraceful performance by the Senate in modern history.  They decided to half-heartedly reopen the investigation into the allegations.  They also agreed to hear Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford, but pussed out and hired a woman to interview her.

Devin Nunes used this distraction to release transcripts (Daily Check-In 09/28/2018).

 

OCTOBER 2018:  THE COMING STORM

The Mueller front was rather quiet during October, for the most part.

Elena Alekseenvna Khusyaynova, Accountant from Project Lakhta was indicted on 10-19-18. Daily Check-In 10/19/2018. Elena was the accountant in charge of Project Lakhta, Russia’s project to influence the 2018 Election.  She received a Criminal Complaint for Conspiracy to Defraud the United States.

On Daily Check-In 10/02/2018 the New York Times dropped a big story destroying the myth of Trump being a self-made millionaire.  His daddy bailed him out all the time, and his siblings took part along with him in schemes to avoid paying taxes.  His sister was a federal judge.

In October, news about the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.  (Daily Check-In 10/12/2018).  Jamal was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Turkey.  While the free world lined up to blame Mohammed Bin Salman for his role in the murder, Trump and Kushner bent over backwards to cover for their buddy, the Saudi Crown Prince.

 

NOVEMBER 2018:  THE BLUE WAVE

Dmitry Ryobolev, the Russian Oligarch who paid $95 million for a Trump property worth less than $40 million, was busted on Daily Check-In 11/06/2018.

The Democrats won control of the House of Representatives.  In overwhelming fashion.  Halfway through the following day, Trump fired Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. (Daily Check-In 11/07/2018). Matt Whitaker was named as Acting AG.

Steve Bannon’s role in Brexit came to the foreground (Daily Check-In 11/19/2018).

Trump finally submitted his written answers for Mueller’s questions. (Daily Check-In 11/20/2018).

Mueller’s team pulled their deal from Paul Manafort, saying that he lied to them and fed Trump information. (Daily Check-In 11/26/2018).  This likely implicates Trump on lying to investigators and committing perjury.  Only Trump could get caught cheating on a take-home test.

Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to Lying to Congress. (Daily Check-In 11/29/2018).

 

DECEMBER 2018:  SENTENCING AND THE WHEELS FALL OFF

Michael Cohen was sentenced to 3 years in jail. (Daily Check-In 12/12/2018). During his sentencing, Cohen once again said that he committed his crimes at Trump’s direction. Most importantly, he said that all of the crimes he did, he did at Trump’s direction.

The Special Counselor recommended that Flynn not serve prison time because of how helpful he’s been.  Then Flynn tried some “But I was entrapped” shit.  That didn’t sit well with the Judge, who flat out asked if Flynn committed Treason at his sentencing. (Daily Check-In 12/18/2018)

Bijan Kian and Kamil Ekim Alptekin, Turkish nationals were indicted on Daily Check-In 12/17/2018.  Bijan Kian was the second in command of Flynn Intel Group.  Kamil Alptekin set up Inovo BV, a Dutch company designed to hide payments from Turkey’s government.  Kamil and Bijan were both indicted for FARA violations and Acting as a Foreign Agent.

Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from Syria.  Jim Mattis resigned in protest. (Daily Check-In 12/20/2018).  And for the third time this year, there’s a government shutdown.

 

HOW HAVE THINGS CHANGED?

At this time last year, it felt like screaming at a brick wall to get people to pay attention to the criminality of Donald Trump, let alone anyone else in his retinue.  Now, there’s no doubt that he’s at least surrounded by criminals.  It’s kind of hard to have a personal attorney who’s going to jail for three years, who implicated him in his crimes, and have the Federal attorneys say that there is ample evidence to charge him with multiple crimes.  Plus, the Trump Foundation was shut down for being a slush fund.

I didn’t include some of the other crazy shit like the border policies of separating children from their parents, or GOP’s attempt at rigging electoral systems across the country.  I also barely touched on how big the Democrats won in the election.  They claimed about 40 seats in the House, and won in places like Utah and Oklahoma.  They won legislative victories in Wisconsin and Michigan.  The only major races they lost are covered in so much controversy that those races are tainted, and one of them is currently headed towards a rerun.

I have no clue when the Mueller probe will end, or how big it will be when it ends.  Anyone who says they know is full of shit.  But things have changed in the last year.

I feel a sense of inevitability about impeachment.  It’s no longer a question of “if” but “when” and “for which crimes?”  This isn’t just because the Democrats won the House, but because of the continuing pile-on of crimes.  Everyone in Trump’s orbit is up to their necks in some criminal behavior.  It’s only a matter of time before we have to answer the following:

  • Can a sitting President be indicted by the Federal Government?
  • What about a state?
  • How many countries are involved in the Grand Bargain/Russian Conspiracy?
  • Is treason the worst of the crimes?
  • How long will Mike Pence be President?
  • What about Nancy Pelosi?
  • How many people will Maria Butina link up with?

As of the end of the year, there have been…

Gimme a second…

34 to 45 people indicted in 2018, depending on who gets counted.  That’s a lot of witches for this witch hunt.

 

That’s it for today.  I have one more post for the year covering the weekend and New Year’s Eve.  Aside from that, I’ll see yinz next year.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

Daily Check-In 12/28/2018

Friday, December 28, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

New Jersey prosecutors have collected evidence that supervisors at President Trump’s Garden State golf club may have committed federal immigration crimes — and the FBI as well as special counsel Robert Mueller have played part in the inquiry, the Daily News has learned.

Anibal Romero, a Newark attorney who represents several undocumented immigrants who used to work at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, said Friday he recently met with investigators from the state attorney general’s office and handed over fraudulent green cards and Social Security numbers that management at the club allegedly procured and gave his clients, Victorina Morales and Sandra Diaz.

Before he met with the state prosecutors, Romero said he reached out to Mueller’s office because, while he wanted to contact federal authorities, he was concerned about looping in the Justice Department, which was headed by Jeff Sessions at the time.

“I wasn’t sure, one, if they’d take me seriously and, two, if this could backfire on my clients,” Romero told The News, referencing the Trump administration’s aggressive immigration agenda.

Mueller’s office, which is separately investigating Trump’s campaign for possible collusion with Russians during the 2016 election, made contact and informed Romero the matter was not within their jurisdiction.

A few weeks later, an FBI agent in New Jersey called Romero.

“He said to me that he had received a referral from Robert Mueller’s office and that he already knew the specifics and that he wanted to meet with me in person,” Romero said.

Romero then met with two agents at a federal office in Branchburg, N.J., and outlined the same evidence he had already given the AG prosecutors. The agents said they would “coordinate” with the AG’s office, according to Romero.

Romero said he’s stayed in touch with the FBI and the attorney general’s office but declined to confirm whether either of the agencies have formally opened investigations.

“I’m confident that federal and state authorities will conduct a complete and thorough investigation,” Romero said.

Remember the story a few weeks ago about Trump’s Bedminster club in New Jersey employing illegal immigrants, and they were provided with fake SSN cards and paperwork by the resort? (Daily Check-In 12/06/2018) It’s another one of those stories that got lost in the shuffle of a crazy day, but the short version is that Trump’s Bedminster golf club and resort hired at least 5 illegal immigrants.  To get them on the payroll, the supervisors at the company produced fake paperwork like Social Security Cards for the illegals.

This is… highly illegal.  So illegal that the lawyer for the illegal workers went to the New Jersey Attorney General and Bobby Three Sticks.  Since this isn’t directly associated to Russia, they said it wasn’t their jurisdiction but did refer it to the FBI New Jersey office.

Nothing like an investigation across multiple sovereignties to raise the holiday spirits.

 

SHUTDOWN

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET A.K.A. INDIVIDUAL-1

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS & RELIGION

56% of all abortions are by white women. 89% of which consider themselves Christian. Instead of being up in my mentions pretending you give a #%#* about black babies being aborted, you hypocritical evangelicals need to go have a talk with your own wives, daughters & mistresses.

You hypocritical bigots talking about black abortions are the same ones who want to take away healthcare & assistance programs from the Black women you want to have the babies, stereotype them as irresponsible & promiscuous, and label the kids as ‘thugs’ when cops murder them.

All while you erroneously use the ‘immorality’ of Black people to sound your fake moral alarm, you evangelical ‘christians’ are supporting pedophiles, rapists & sexual predators for elected office & think a porn star banging unrepentant racist pathological liar is God‘s anointed.

When it comes to the vile, degenerate profligacy of your morally deficient ‘anointed’ leader in the WH, you evangelical charlatans bend over backwards lowering the standards of moral living to excuse away his malfeasance in the name of grace, which you never offer anyone else.

Evangelicals use ‘Black abortions’ as a racist cudgel to delegitimize Black Lives Matter. They minimize the legitimate grievance of the extra judicial murder of Blacks by police because of abortion, a practice legalized by white Republican judges to benefit white women.

Evangelicals harp on ‘Black abortions’ but turn a blind eye to their GOP heroes like Scott Lloyd, Elliott Broidy, Tim Murphy, & Scott DesJarlais, who push anti abortion legislation while simultaneously knocking up their mistresses/girlfriends and insisting they have abortions.

There is something very wrong with your theological and political ideology when your “pro life“ champion is a POTUS who tried to have his daughter Tiffany aborted and has paid for at least eight other mistresses to have abortions.

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

CONGRESS

 

RUMOR MILL

This is gonna give me nightmares for a while.  Macs are much harder to get into and pwn, but it is possible.  The Fruitfly malware took advantage of three elements to get access to a system.

  1. Users leaving the default functionalities like Back to My Mac open.
  2. Weak or no passwords
  3. Most Mac users don’t run antivirus software.

I could go into the specific details and fill a couple papers with the security differences between Windows and MacOS, but the short version is that MacOS s a Unix operating system with a really pretty front end.  Because it’s Unix, functionality for different user roles is sandboxed off from each other.  This makes standard virus exposure just from visiting a site next to impossible, but like I’ve said before in Voter Rolls – The Easy Target, there’s more than one way into a system.

Most Mac malware infections come from either phishing attacks or trojans.  Both require the user doing something stupid.  Given a lifetime around computers and their users, I can categorically say the weakest part of any computer security system is the user.

Where Fruitfly differs is that the infector installed it directly on the computer using built-in backdoors for Apple software like Apple File Protocol or Back to My Mac.  These programs would default to a set number of ports on the computer.  The infector would scan those port numbers (which is actually pretty easy to do) and see what was there.  If they came back with the default apps, the infector would try to connect to the Mac.  If he hit little or no resistance on the user name and password, he would go in and install his little program buried so deep in the computer that nothing would find it.  He’d then use that program to occasionally connect back to his server and upload pics from the target computers.

If the port numbers didn’t have the default apps, he wouldn’t go further.  That means that either the apps he needs to use as a backdoor are either offline or moved.  If they’re offline, he can’t get in.  If they’re changed, then he’s dealing with a power user, and if they’re going to the trouble of changing port numbers, then they probably have a bunch of booby traps and tough passwords.

This also explains why Back to My Mac was discontinued in Mac OS Mojave a few months ago.

What’s Ming getting at?  I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear about Republican operatives trying to use similar methods to pwn various devices of Democrats and others.

Daily Check-In 12/20/2018 first mentioned this story, but Sara breaks down a very peculiar past for Brian Kolfage.  This is definitely worth a read, but the main takeaway is that starting in 2011 he went from organizing for Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona to getting caught up in Sheriff Joe’s shenanigans in Maricopa County.  Joe Arpaio is “allegedly” mobbed up to his neck, and this Kolfage guy bounced around from Arizona to Ukraine (while Manafort was there) to Florida.

Also, this GoFundMe attracted A LOT of attention from the Russians.

This is the part that historians will point out that this is the third shutdown in 2018, and the only times that a shutdown occurred when one party had control of the White House, the Senate, and the House.  That’s like an NFL team losing a game to a High School JV team, and accusing the JV team of cheating.

This is once again splitting hairs on the Cohen Prague story, but is worth a deeper look.  Louise’s sources said that Cohen’s device accessed the hotel WiFi, but didn’t say if it was a phone, tablet, or laptop.  Other sources are saying it was one of his phones that pinged cell phone towers.  It’s possible they could both be correct.  If Cohen used his laptop at the hotel to check his mail, his phone could independently contact the cell tower.  I talked about how that works yesterday. (Daily Check-In 12/27/2018)

There is so much shady shit going on in Dubai and the related area that anyone tied to Erik Prince should be very, very worried right now.

Remember, Rand Paul hand delivered a letter from Trump for Putin. (Daily Check-In 08/08/2018)  That’s not standard operating procedure for an open and clear communication channel.  That’s the kind of shit spies and mobsters do.

I’m going to make a Jill Stein/Green Party primer, so that any time someone pulls some Pro-Stein bullshit, I can send them a list of her shadiest shit.

So, sometime in the next few weeks, get ready for this story to drop.  By the way, accepting hacked emails is a crime.  Especially if they came from a foreign government and were meant to sway an election.

 

That’s it for Friday.  I’m going to start on my retrospective piece in the next few hours, along with other some work on the site.  It’s time to update the Russian Hypothesis and create a page for the Grand Bargain Theory.

Like I said yesterday, I’m putting the weekend on Monday’s post, and starting fresh on Tuesday with a new year.  I also want to do some housecleaning on the site.  One idea is to go through the Daily Check-In Collection and put a quick blurb next to each day with the highlights.  It might help with navigating the site.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

 

 

Daily Check-In 12/27/2018

Thursday, December 27, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

WASHINGTON – A mobile phone traced to President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen briefly sent signals ricocheting off cell towers in the Prague area in late summer 2016, at the height of the presidential campaign, leaving an electronic record to support claims that Cohen met secretly there with Russian officials, four people with knowledge of the matter say.

During the same period of late August or early September, electronic eavesdropping by an Eastern European intelligence agency picked up a conversation among Russians, one of whom remarked that Cohen was in Prague, two people familiar with the incident said.

Both of the newly surfaced foreign electronic intelligence intercepts were shared with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, people familiar with the matter said. Mueller is investigating Russia’s 2016 election interference and whether Trump’s campaign colluded in the scheme. Mueller also is examining whether Trump has obstructed the sweeping inquiry.

McClatchy reported in April 2018 that Mueller had obtained evidence Cohen traveled to Prague from Germany in late August or early September of 2016, but it could not be learned how that information was gleaned.

If the foreign intelligence intercepts are accurate, the big questions now are whether Cohen has acknowledged to investigators that a meeting in Prague occurred, informed them what transpired and revealed what, if anything, he told Trump about it.

Four people spoke with McClatchy on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of information shared by their foreign intelligence connections. Each obtained their information independently from foreign intelligence connections.

The story they’re talking about was released on Daily Check-In 04/13/2018, but the new part is McClatchy has more sources and each source is independent of one another.  So they’ve got four spooks saying that an Eastern European Nation **coughRomanianscough** were listening to the Russians and caught them talking about meeting with Michael Cohen.  Even better, one of Cohen’s phones was caught pinging a cell tower in a suburb of Prague in 2016.

Here’s the thing with cell phone towers.  If your phone has even the slightest amount of battery charge, it’s going to try to get a signal.  It will send a request out to any nearby cell phone towers, and if one is available, it will respond with a time to return the message.  Since we’re dealing with electricity and the speed of light, this happens in milliseconds.  If there’s only one tower in range, there will be a record saying the phone is a certain time away, which can be calculated to a distance pretty easily, but all that means is that the phone is a certain distance from one tower.  Most places, like a major city like Prague, will have multiple towers for the phone to ping.  When multiple distances from known points are calculated together, that is called triangulation.  The triangulation is usually accurate to within 50 feet.  It’s not enough to find it in your apartment, but accurate enough to find what building it’s in.  We’re not even talking about GPS yet, either.

The phone, the tower, and the provider all have a record of this transaction.

I wonder who he supposedly met.

It said Konstantin Kosachev, a longtime member of the Russian Senate and chairman of the Federation Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee, “facilitated” the gathering.

Wow.  The same person that Rand Paul met on behalf of the Russian Government also worked on the Cohen Prague meeting.  What a coinkidink.

Jan Neumann, the assumed name of a former Russian intelligence officer who defected to the United States years ago, said that Cohen’s electronic cell tower trail appears to reflect sloppy “tradecraft.”

“You can monitor and control cell phones in Europe same as you do it here in US,” Neumann told McClatchy. “As long as the battery is physically located in the phone, even when it’s turned off, the mobile phone’s approximate location can be detected and tracked. Any attempt to use an app, to get mail, send texts, connect to a Wifi network, your phone and your location will be detected.”

“It would not be very professional to take your phone to a secret meeting,” said Neumann, who has consulted for the U.S. intelligence community. In this case, he said, “it would be more logical to leave it turned on and connected to a WIFI network in a hotel in Germany.”

It was during the same late August-early September time span in 2016 that an Eastern European intelligence agency eavesdropped on a conversation in which a Russian official advised another that Cohen was in Prague, two of the sources said.

The sources could not definitively pin down the date or dates that the intelligence indicated Cohen was in the vicinity of Prague. Cohen has insisted that he was in Southern California with his son from Aug. 23-29, 2016, but his public alibis have not been so airtight as to preclude flights to and from Europe during the relevant period.

-McClatchy, citing 4 sources, says Cohen was in Prague-area in Summer 2016 -2 sources tell me that another major news org has confirmation. -Cohen tweets he has never been to Prague -WSJ says Cohen told them he went to Prague in 2001.

Greg Gordon of McClatchy told a colleague of mine 10 days ago, “We publish what we have nailed down to an editor’s satisfaction…I can’t help noting that I was a Pulitzer finalist and also contributed to our Pulitzer Prize-winning work on the Panama Papers three years ago.”

McClatchy has updated their story to include Cohen’s recent denials. Privately to me, a source tells me that they “absolutely” stand by the story.

This is one of the last major pieces from the Steele Dossier that hasn’t been completely confirmed yet, along with the Rosneft sale and the Pee tape.  Even though we’ve seen things pointing to those parts, we haven’t gotten hard confirmation from the mainstream press yet.

Yet.

I guess you could say that we’re making… Prague-ress on this story?

How about that this story… Czech’s out?

The Pun Jar is now at $250.

Most likely, this is a nude selfie of the troll, but it might be worse.  Much worse.  Like Chris Christie or Sam Clovis naked worse.

 

 

 

 

SHUTDOWN: DAY 6

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET A.K.A. INDIVIDUAL-1

 

TRAITOR TOTS

Whitaker

 

Mercer

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

 

SCOTUS & COURTS

 

#METOO & WOMEN’S RIGHTS

 

IMMIGRATION

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

STUDENT ISSUES

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS & RELIGION

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

ELECTIONS

  1. NEW: FEC filings released today reveal Cindy-Hyde Smith is NOT honoring requests from corporations for refunds of their campaign contributions. Union Pacific, Boston Scientific, Walmart, Leidos, AT&T, Pfizer, Ernst & Young, Facebook and Walgreens did not get their money back
  2. Two entities, MLB and Amgen, were able to reverse their contributions but only by canceling their checks. (Cattlemen’s Association refund appears unrelated.)
  3. Hyde-Smith did return money from the majority owner of the San Francisco Giants and his wife. (They are major GOP donors so perhaps there was pressure from above.) She also returned 5K to Peter Zieve after a http://Popular.infothat showed he was an outspoken racist
  4. Hyde-Smith is not legally obligated to return the money, but it may make it harder for her to raise money in the future. It’s like a clothing store that stops accepting returns. She’s strapped for cash. Only about 60K on hand and another election in 2020.
  5. I’ll be continuing to closely monitor this story in 2019. We’ll see who donates when they think no one is watching. To support the independent journalism that forced these companies to repudiate Hyde-Smith, please subscribe to my newsletter.

Popular Information Original research and fresh insight into the political news that matters most. popular.info          

 

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Thursday.  I’m planning on doing a retrospective piece this weekend along with Friday’s Check-In.  As far as next week, I’d like to not carry anything across the year change, so the weekend and Monday will be one post, then New Year’s Day for another.

There’s also some housecleaning I need to do with this site.  I’d like to get that done as well.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 12/26/2018

Wednesday, December 26, 2018 and the Christmas Holiday.

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Roberts on Sunday temporarily halted a contempt order the company is facing for resisting the subpoena, including the fines the company is accruing for defying the subpoena. Roberts’ order is public, but it provided no new details about the case. His move came after the company on Saturday requested the stay, in a filing that is noted in the court’s docket but is not available to be read publicly.

Roberts on Sunday ordered briefing on the matter due by noon on Dec. 31. It is possible those filings will be under seal.

Previously, an appellate court panel upheld the subpoena, in a vaguely worded judgement. The court revealed that the case had been brought by an unnamed company, owned by “Country A,” that had claimed that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act made the company immune from the subpoena. The appellate court affirmed a district court’s decision that said the matter fell within an exception in the law for commercial activities.

Even during a holiday, we still get some Mueller case news.  As far as I know, this is the first time that the Supreme Court will hear a case under seal.  Of course, that’s as far as I know.

 

SHUTDOWN

As of this post, the government has been shut down for almost a week, with no end in sight.  There should be some opportunities for negotiations on Thursday and Friday, but if nothing happens by then, I wouldn’t expect it to end until after the new Congressional session starts on January 3rd.

 

TRADE WAR, HEALTH CARE, & ECONOMY

In the past week, the stock market has started to tank based off of the activity of the last year with the tariffs and the last couple weeks with Trump and Mnuchin being dumbasses at best.  Last week was especially harsh.  Personally, my tiny little portfolio dropped 10 percent IN ONE WEEK.  That’s bad.

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET A.K.A INDIVIDUAL-1

I’m not going to go into the whole Santa thing.  Insulting a child for believing in Santa Claus on Christmas Eve should be a major faux pas in a regular universe, but in this timeline it’s not even the worst or stupidest thing of the week.

For the first time since becoming President, Trump visited troops in something resembling a war zone.  At first I wasn’t sure if this was real or not.  Then, I saw the stories about Trump screwing up.  That was enough proof.

That’s the kind of world we live in.

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

 

TRAITOR TOTS

Whitaker

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

 

IMMIGRATION

 

SCOTUS 

 

#METOO & WOMEN’S RIGHTS

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

STUDENT ISSUES

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS & RELIGION

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

CONGRESS

 

ELECTIONS

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for the last few days.  I stayed off of Twitter for the last couple days.  It was quite refreshing.  I plan on writing a 2018 retrospective piece in the next couple days.

We’re in the lull of the holidays, but things still happen.  Thursday’s post will include a little something about Cohen’s visit to Prague.  Looks like there’s some …. Prage-ress on that front.

The Pun Jar is now at $243.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 12/21/2018

Friday, December 21, 2018 and the weekend.

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Jill Stein

And now, the obligatory picture of Jill Stein…

img_5419

 

Flynn

 

Whitaker

So, after the Cohen guilty plea came out, Trump lost his shit on Whitaker and asked him why he didn’t stop the attorneys in SDNY from naming him as an unindicted co-conspirator.

Obstruction of Justice exhibit #4,398, 209.

 

Reality Check

 

Working During the Shutdown

 

Mystery Subpoena Case

Assuming that SCOTUS hears the case, they’ve never taken one on before that was sealed this tight the whole way up.  That we know of.

 

 

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

Here’s the thing with this newest shutdown: Nobody wins in the United States.  If the Democrats cave and give in to the wall, they lose their high ground and will screw themselves in the future with the next shutdown when Trump says he wants more money, which he will.  The only reason he won’t is if he’s gone by February, and that feels a little soon for his ouster.

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

ISIS, Syria, Turkey, Mattis, Et. Al.

As much as I hate saying it, everything is connected.

Erdogan wants three things following the Jamal Khashoggi murder.

  1. Mohammed Bone Saw to face charges in the murder.
  2. Gulen sent to him for other crimes.
  3. The U.S. out of Syria.

Since Trump, Kushner, and Pompeo are accessories to murder after the fact, Option 1 isn’t happening.  And as much as Trump want to send Gulen to Turkey, we have this thing called Due Process, so Option 2 is out.  That leaves Option 3.  Trump will order the U.S. out of Syria to cover up his crimes.

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET A.K.A. INDIVIDUAL-1

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

 

SCOTUS & COURTS

 

#METOO & WOMEN’S RIGHTS

 

IMMIGRATION

GoFundMe, GoFuckYourself

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS & RELIGION

 

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

CONGRESS

 

ELECTIONS

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for the last few days.  This post is very light on the explanations and editorializing because, quite frankly, I’m running out of time.  I’m posting this on Christmas Eve, and I have about 6 hours of cleaning to do in about 2 hours.  It’s not impossible, it’s just a pain in the ass.

I’ll be back in a couple days.  I’ll cover the Christmas holiday and Boxing Day on one post.  I’ll also try to get a couple essays done this week.

Happy Holidays everyone.

To those who Christmas is your thing, Merry Christmas.  If you prefer to celebrate the Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Saturnalia, Mithras, Yule, Kwanza, Diwali, or Sir Isaac Newton’s Birthday, then enjoy your thing.

Yes, I know that Ramadan moves based off of the Lunar calendar and is currently in the Summer and Diwali is in October.  Screw it, I’m putting them in the list in case I missed anyone.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

 

 

 

 

Daily Check-In 12/20/2018

Thursday, December 20, 2018.

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Fuckery at the Treasury

This is bad.  Real bad.  There are four stories rolled into this bombshell from BuzzFeed News.

  1. The Russians were able to convince people in the Treasury Department to hand over sensitive financial documents to anonymous Gmail and Hotmail accounts.
  2. There are people in the Treasury that are at best idiots and criminally negligent, and at worst spies for Russia.
  3. There is an interoffice battle between all of the various investigative groups inside and outside of the Treasury that has devolved into a pissing contest.
  4. Things are so fucked that career officials feel the need to go to the press with their concerns because no one they work for or with gives a fuck.

Remember the FinCEN official that leaked Paul Manafort’s SAR to a BuzzFeed reporter after it disappeared from the official system?  (Daily Check-In 10/17/2018)  The following section speaks to Point 4.

The report indicates that there is some turmoil behind closed doors at FinCEN:

At least 10 FinCEN employees have filed formal whistleblower complaints about the department. The whistleblowers say they tried multiple times to raise concerns about issues they believed threatened national security, but that they faced retaliation instead of being heeded. Some of FinCEN’s top officials quit in anger. One senior adviser has been arrested and accused of releasing financial records to a journalist.

The arrested and accused adviser referred to in that last line was Edwards. Remarkably, Edwards is said to have raised her concerns about Russian efforts to access confidential bank records of Hillary Clinton supporters in the Summer of 2016, months before the election.

Edwards reportedly spoke with “six different congressional committee staffers to air her concerns.” Then, in July and August 2018, she purportedly met with “staffers of one of the Senate committees investigating Russian interference during the presidential campaign.” It was then that she claimed that FinCEN “withheld documents revealing suspicious financial transactions of Trump associates that the committee had requested.” Edwards and an unnamed colleague reportedly had “lawful documented evidential disclosures of violations of law, rule, and regulations, gross mismanagement, gross waste of funds, abuse of authority, and substantial and specific danger to public safety.”

Holy fuck on a fuck fig newton, this is bad.  She went to her boss, her boss’s boss, HR, the Inspector General, the Office of Special Counsel (Different from Mueller), several Congressional staffers and at least one Senate staffer, and NOTHING?  Are you fucking kidding me?  Everyone either ignored her, blew her off, were covering shit up, or too worried about how things would look for them if the news got out that people at FinCEN sent financial records for Hilary Clinton supporters and enemies of the Kremlin to anonymous email addresses associated with Russia instead of the secured system they’re supposed to use.

Wait, what the actual fuck?

US Treasury Department officials used a Gmail back channel with the Russian government as the Kremlin sought sensitive financial information on its enemies in America and across the globe, according to documents reviewed by BuzzFeed News.

The extraordinary unofficial line of communication arose in the final year of the Obama administration — in the midst of what multiple US intelligence agencies have said was a secret campaign by the Kremlin to interfere in the US election. Russian agents ostensibly trying to track ISIS instead pressed their American counterparts for private financial documents on at least two dozen dissidents, academics, private investigators, and American citizens.

Yeah, it gets worse.  Much, much worse.

The first chapter in this extraordinary chain of communications began in late 2015, when a unit of the Treasury Department called the Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes entered into an agreement, named the ISIL Project, that called for Russia and the US to share information on financial institutions in the Middle East suspected of supporting ISIS.

Even more concerning: Documents show senior officials within the Terrorist Financing unit were communicating with Hotmail and Gmail accounts set up by the Russians, rather than using the standard secure channels.

When she found out, FinCEN’s chief of staff was stunned.

“They sent this to a GMAIL account? Is that normal?” she asked in an email to a half dozen colleagues on Nov. 28, 2016.

The chief of staff was responding to Treasury colleagues who were discussing with Rosfinmonitoring the outlines of their agreement to track terrorism financiers.

“Unfortunately, Rosfin does prefer throwaway gmail accounts as their preferred method to communicate,” a FinCEN intelligence official responded.

This is some absolutely terrible OpSec.  FinCEN has a secured communication line that everyone in the world uses to keep the documents secure.  If Jordan wants a copy of a report, they log in to the system and request it from FinCEN.  They get what they need, and that’s it.  The information stays in the system.

Email is not secure.  Even a “secured” email is very weak.  And sending an attachment to an email guarantees that no one will have control over it from that point on.  Once an email is sent, the recipient can do with it what they want.  We normally trust people to not be dicks with that mail, but every so often someone does something dickish.

The Russians are the definition of being dicks with email.  Just ask the DNC, John Podesta, the RNC, and Westinghouse.

In reference to the second point, there are some ridiculously naive people working in the Treasury Department, and that’s a best case scenario.  In a worst case scenario, they’re actively committing espionage against the United States of America.

But don’t worry, it gets worse.

Most startlingly, Russia requested sensitive documents on Dirk, Edward, and Daniel Ziff, billionaire investors who had run afoul of the Kremlin. That request was made weeks before a Russian lawyer showed up at Trump Tower offering top campaign aides “dirt” on Hillary Clinton — including her supposed connection to the Ziff brothers.

Let me break this down to show how absolutely fucked up this scenario is.

A few weeks before the June 9 Trump Tower meeting between Team Trump and Natalia Veselnitskaya’s team Rosnefmonitoring asked for and likely received sensitive financial documents for investors tied to HRC.  Around this time, Aras Agalarov hears about this from the Russian equivalent of the Attorney General, who wants to pass along this information to their asset in the United States, Donald Trump.  Aras calls Emin who contacts Rob Goldstone who emails Donnie Jr. who says “If it’s what you say it is, I love it.  Especially later in the summer.”

What am I saying?  I’m saying that it’s highly possible that someone at FinCEN or another Treasury Department team sent the Russians the “dirt” they claimed they had on HRC for their meeting with Team Trump.

That covers points 1 & 2.  For point 3, well…

In May 2017, a bomb exploded at an Ariana Grande concert in northwest England and killed 23 people. The following month, knife-wielding terrorists attacked pedestrians near London Bridge.

Because the US has access to the largest set of financial records in the world, the British turned to the Americans for help. In the first frantic moments following an attack, FinCEN’s financial databases can reveal important information about the killers, others in their network, or whether another plot is imminent.

FinCEN analysts sprang into action, racing to their headquarters in Northern Virginia to begin searching for clues on a Saturday night. But when they arrived, they discovered that everyone on duty had been locked out of the classified networks that they depended upon. They couldn’t open links from the FBI about the suspected terrorists they were supposed to be chasing and they couldn’t trace the suspects’ funding.

That night, two dozen FinCEN employees learned that the digital keys they needed to unlock classified data had expired without warning. The suspects remained on the run in London, but FinCEN was unable to help track them.

The office that administered those security keys was OIA, FinCEN’s rival department.

Staffers were furious.

“We have escalated the critical problem to key individuals,” one of the whistleblowers wrote in an email, “and we still DO NOT have the ability to complete our mission or fully protect the American people.”

OIA blamed the FinCEN employees for forgetting to update their permissions. But more than a dozen FinCEN officials said they saw the incident as retaliation for their earlier power struggle. OIA had sent its own staffers an email weeks earlier reminding them to apply for new keys, but had not sent that same email to anyone at FinCEN. OIA officials blamed that oversight on “time” and “resource restraints.”

The divide grew, and made its way to Congress, where Republican Steve Pearce, chair of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance, demanded answers. The Treasury Department’s inspector general stepped in again to investigate, and concludedthat OIA had done nothing wrong — though he did acknowledge the strained relationship between OIA and FinCEN.

The whistleblowers told BuzzFeed News they have largely given up on seeing anyone at FinCEN, OIA, and TFFC held accountable for the chaos that they say has torn the Treasury apart over the past two years.

“It is very hard to measure the sum total of the damage done,” said one of the whistleblowers, a senior FinCEN official. “We are treading water right now.”

I know I’m bouncing around, but so does this article.  This final point is that the Treasury Department is an interdepartmental clusterfuck manned by a handful of petty dicks getting into a pissing contest with each other, and this pettiness and desire to not look like complete and total fuckups creates the atmosphere that everything is a clusterfuck.

There’s one good side of this article.  The authors of this piece, Leopold and Cormier, are in contact with Mueller’s team and wouldn’t release this piece unless they got the go-ahead.  If this is making the press, something big is about to drop like a Hamilton Mix-Tape.

 

Whitaker’s Refusal of Recusal

Here’s the short, short version; Matt Whitaker asked the DOJ Ethics Advisors if he should recuse from the Mueller Investigation.  They said “Recuse.” He didn’t like that answer, so he kept bouncing around until he found someone that said yes.  He then took that yes, ran to reporters and said “See, I can haz Mueller.”  It took a couple hours for the news to come out to straighten this out.

 

Barr Should Be Barred

Looks like we’ll have to relive this mess in a few months.

 

Roger’s Testimony

I talked about this yesterday (Daily Check-In 12/19/2018), and I’m honestly surprised they did this.  I was expecting things to go downhill faster than an alpine skier losing an edge.

 

 

COLD WAR 2.0

Syria, Afghanisatan, and Mattis

This is bad.  The only person in the United States that thinks this is a good move is Tangerine Tojo.

Gee, I wonder how this can get worse.

Oh, fuck.

Fuck.

FUCK.

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!

Defense Secretary James Mattis has resigned. Here’s the letter:

This might be the most “Fuck you and the horse you rode in on” letter I’ve seen in quite a while.

I’ll talk more about Mad Dog’s “Retirement” in the Coda.

 

 

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET A.K.A. INDIVIDUAL-1

Shutdown

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

 

#METOO & WOMEN’S RIGHTS

 

IMMIGRATION

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

CONGRESS

 

ELECTIONS

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Thursday.  Fuck.  I’m not sure how to react with Mattis’s firing.  He was the last adult in the room.  At least, the last one who isn’t a complete sycophant.  He’s kept an air of normalcy around the White House.  No matter how nutty things got with Trump, at least Mattis was there to keep things under control.  But abandoning Syria was a bridge too far for him, and he resigned.  His letter skipped all of the “It was an honor to serve for you” and the similar platitudes.  The nicest part in that letter was “Dear Mr. President.”

On one hand, I’m worried about what will happen.  On the other hand, this might be the final straw.  If putting up with Trump is too much for a guy named “Mad Dog” then expect some pushback from the establishment Republicans.  At least those that aren’t completely compromised.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 12/19/2018

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Deripaska Sanctions

 

Syria Withdrawl

“It is premature for the President to declare a sweeping victory against ISIS when, just a few weeks ago, our military led more than 250 coalition-conducted airstrikes against targets in Iraq and Syria.  All Americans should be concerned that this hasty announcement was made on the day after sentencing in criminal proceedings began against the President’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who admitted that he was a registered foreign agent for a country with clear interests in the Syrian conflict.

“We must also ask why the President did not make this decision in the context of advancing peace negotiations.  The deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Syria remains a stain on the conscience of the world.  Syrian families caught in the middle of this conflict continue to endure heartbreaking horrors every day.

“When we take the gavel, our Democratic Majority will uphold the Congress’ constitutional oversight responsibilities to ensure that the President’s decisions advance our national security interests, not his personal or political objectives.  The American people deserve a smart, strong and strategic Syria policy that keeps America safe, protects our interests and advances peace in the region.”

A day after a judge asks prosecutors whether or not Michael Flynn committed treason, Donald Trump’s administration pulls two crazy stunts that independently make no sense but when combined point to one outcome.

Trump is compromised and working for Russia.

Pulling out of Syria in a hurry only benefits one party: Putin’s Russia.  It creates chaos among our allies, strengthens our enemies, and leaves the region in chaos.

As far as removing sanctions on Rusal and Deripaska…

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!!

This mother fucker is intimately tied into an attack on America, and instead of punishing him, his companies, his family, and everyone who’s ever looked at him, we’re letting him do business in this country?

Oleg should be on the receiving end of asset forfeiture procedures and a loooooooooooong prison sentence, not getting allowed back into the American business world.

 

As I mentioned yesterday, the letter of intent helps illustrate how deep Trump is involved personally.  (Daily Check-In 12/18/2018)  This letter surfacing showing that he intended to work with VTB, who is part of the Rusal Shell Game mentioned above, only paints the picture to the world that Trump knew and the Russians have him in their pocket.

The Trump campaign funneled money to ad buyers alleged to have facilitated illegal coordination between the campaign and the NRA by routing funds through a secretive LLC that appears to be little more than a shell company, an investigation by the Center for Responsive Politics has found.

While the Trump campaign stopped reporting payments to ad buyers alleged to have facilitated illegal coordination between the campaign and the NRA after the 2016 election cycle, Trump’s 2020 campaign has continued to deploy the same individuals working for the firms at the center of the controversy through payments to Harris Sikes Media LLC — a low-profile limited-liability company operating with no website or public-facing facade whatsoever.

Facing the illegal coordination allegations are National Media, Red Eagle Media Group and American Media & Advocacy Group (AMAG), closely tied consultancies that share staff, resources and adjacent storefronts in Alexandria, Va.

CRP’s analysis of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) records found that Trump campaign political ad disclosures on file with stations across the country have continued to include signatures and names of individuals working for National Media, despite no mention of National Media or its known affiliates on any FCC or Federal Election Commission (FEC) disclosures. Those individual ad buyers’ names have simultaneously continued to be included in ad documents for the National Rifle Association (NRA) and America First, but with the ad buyers’ affiliation listed as National Media or one of its affiliates.

Jesus fucking Christ on a cracker, could the corruption be any more blatant?  We talked about this two weeks ago on Daily Check-In 12/06/2018.  Now, it looks like the Trump 2020 campaign is doing the EXACT SAME ILLEGAL SHIT WITH THE EXACT SAME PEOPLE.

This pisses me off.  I could use some good news.

 

There’s some good news.  And this puts Devin Nunes in a losing position.

If  the Intel Committee votes against releasing the testimony to Mueller now, it will only be along partisan lines, and will be reversed in a couple weeks when the Democrats take over the House.  If they vote for releasing the testimony, they draw the ire of the TrumpFox crowd.  Either way, Mueller will get his hands on that testimony, whether it be now or a couple weeks from now.

 

 

 

WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a defamation lawsuit against BuzzFeed News over the publication of a dossier in January 2017 that alleged several years of links between Russia and then–president-elect Donald Trump.

A Cypriot businessman, Aleksej Gubarev, was named in the dossier, and his name wasn’t redacted in the version originally published by BuzzFeed. Gubarev sued shortly after the article came out, claiming he was defamed by having his name included.

US District Judge Ursula Ungaro in Florida found that BuzzFeed News was shieldedagainst defamation claims because the dossier was the subject of official proceedings — both Trump and then-president Barack Obama had been briefed on it, according to reporting at the time, and the FBI investigated allegations in the documents. The judge concluded that BuzzFeed News was protected by what’s known as the “fair report” privilege.

Ungaro also found that the BuzzFeed News article was “fair and true” because it just reproduced the dossier — it didn’t express any opinions about it.

 

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET A.K.A. INDIVIDUAL-1

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

KHASHOGGI & SAUDI ARABIA

 

SCOTUS & COURTS

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS & RELIGION

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

CONGRESS

 

ELECTIONS

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

 

 

That’s it for Wednesday.  It’s a little light on the content.  I need at least one night a week with more than 4 hours of sleep to recharge.  I was completely exhausted from everything going on this time of year, and needed a few hours to recuperate.

Speaking of time off, this Holiday season I’m cutting down on the Daily posts next week.  I’ll make a post for this Friday and the weekend, but Monday through Wednesday will be in one post.  Depending on what happens, I might change that plan.  I would like to do some essays during that time if possible.  I have a few ideas floating around.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur