Daily Check-In 12/18/2018

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Trump Signed Moscow Project Letter

(CNN)A newly obtained document shows President Donald Trump signed a letter of intent to move forward with negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Russia, despite his attorney Rudy Giuliani claiming on Sunday the document was never signed.

CNN’s Chris Cuomo obtained a copy of the signed letter of intent that set the stage for negotiations for Trump condominiums, a hotel and commercial property in the heart of Moscow. The letter is dated October 28, 2015, and bears the President’s signature.

When asked on Sunday about the letter, Giuliani incorrectly told CNN’s Dana Bash that it had not been signed.

“It was a real estate project. There was a letter of intent to go forward, but no one signed it,” Giuliani told Bash.

The non-binding document is also signed by Andrey Rozov, owner of I.C. Expert Investment Co., the Russian firm that would have been responsible for developing the property.

This story came in late Tuesday, after everything else was planned for this post.  But this could be pretty damn big for one of two reasons.

First, if this is accurate, it shows that Trump is directly implicated in the cover-up of collusion and lying to the American people.

Second, if this isn’t accurate, it pretty much blows up CNN and their reporting from here on out.

I’m waiting for confirmation on either front, but I’m leaning towards the first.  CNN has broken a lot of stuff, and this is likely from Cohen’s team directly or some inside source at SDNY.

The funniest part about this is his signature is easily proven.  Trump writes with a Sharpie.  That’s like a pair of house robbers leaving a “calling card” of flooding the house.  Easy to trace and stupid as shit.

 

Flynn Sentencing

Now, here’s what should be the biggest story of the month, in any normal universe.  The former National Security Advisor to the President of the United States shows up for sentencing on a guilty plea. His lawyers ask for no jail time, the prosecutors ask for no jail time, and everything goes to shit.

After the stunt Flynn’s lawyers pulled last week with his “But I was entrapped” scheme (Daily Check-In 12/14/2018) and Mueller’s team releasing the sort-of-full 302 form (Daily Check-In 12/17/2018), the judge wasn’t hearing any of it.  Judge Sullivan tore Flynn a new asshole.  He laid into him like Flynn owed him money, then proceeded to ask the prosecutors what other crimes they were thought about charging him with.  Things went off the rails when the judge asked “Could he have been charged with treason?”

Damn, son.  Everyone in the courtroom was caught off guard, and more than a few people’s heartbeats spiked on that point.  One of them was Brandon Van Grack.  He hesitated, hemmed and hawed, then answered with a non-answer.  While nearly everyone is freaking out about the question, it’s the answer that made me lose my shit in a glorious, uproarious laughter.

Why?  Because lawyers are not allowed to lie in court, he didn’t have an answer for this question at the ready, and was trying to pull together an answer at the last second that tried to push this away.  He didn’t say yes, but he also didn’t say no. That is huge.

Mueller’s team won’t show their whole hand, but if they hadn’t discussed charging Flynn for treason, all they would have had to say was “No, your honor”, and leave it at that.  The judge would have asked another question, and that would be that.  But he didn’t deny it.  Van Grack can’t say yes without tipping off everyone that treason is on the menu, but he can’t lie, so he’s looking for a non-answer answer.

It’s sort of like this; Yesterday I gave an example of burying the lede in a story in which one spouse was accused of burning down their workplace.  Let’s say that couple is back, and the husband asks the wife questions like “Did you set the fire? Did the building burn? Was there anyone in there?” and as she’s expecting those answers, he asks her an unexpected question like “I mean, it’s not like your boss was running a drug smuggling operation out of the basement, right?” And the wife pauses because her boss was running drugs out of the basement, but no one outside of the office knew.  The husband stumbled on a completely unknown fact that changes EVERYTHING.

That’s what happened with Flynn.  After a short recess, and the judge basically telling Flynn that he was so pissed that he was going to send his ass to jail if he didn’t ask for an extension, Flynn asked for an extension.  They’ll be back on March 13th.

Also, the judge completely shredded Flynn’s argument like it was made of tissue paper.

 

Unknown vs Mueller

We’ve got new information on the secret case.  Turns out it wasn’t a person fighting a subpoena, but a company.  And said company argued that complying with this subpoena would violate the laws of their home country, which also owns the company.  The court said tough shit, pony up.

Instead of guessing who the person was, let’s guess the company.  Turns out, this is a lot harder than it sounds.

We’re dealing with a company owned by a country, and they’re involved in the Mueller Investigation.  The most obvious suspects are either Russian companies like Rosneft, Alfa Bank, or RT, or Qatari like the Qatar Investment Authority.  But if we’re casting a wide net, it could be any of a couple dozen companies from countries like Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Netherlands, Panama, Venezuela, Zaire, Thailand, and The Philippines.

It’s beyond fucked that that this hypercorrupt Rube Goldberg machine has so many moving parts that I’m having a hard time picking a continent, let alone a company.

 

Disinformation Campaign

It’s “uncanny” how Team Trump and Russia use the exact same methods, tools, messages, people, equipment, and bots.  Funny how that works.

 

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

Trump Foundation Go Bye-Bye!

The Trump Foundation is being forcibly dissolved by the state of New York, and it’s few assets are being disbursed.

Tell me again which candidate had the charity they used as a slush fund?

 

“Enquiring” Minds Want To Know

Most likely the criminal behavior includes taking foreign money, bribery, and other white collar fraud.  But, there’s a part of me that hopes that it’s REALLY nasty.  Like ******************** with a *************** while a ***************** and ****************.  That would be fucked up.

 

Incoming

I’ll talk about this a little in the Coda.

 

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

 

Shutdown

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

 

 

Dershowitz

 

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

 

SCOTUS & COURTS

 

#METOO & WOMEN’S RIGHTS

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

I am obsessed with the ever-shifting conspiracy theory being created in real time to discredit the Mueller investigation, by Nunes, Meadows, K Strassel, Mollie Hemingway, et al. 1) What’s the theory called? (eg, “QAnon.”) 2) Who’s got a good rundown of the state of play?

Like all conspiracy theories, it:

A) Seeks evidence to prove an unshakeable point of faith (in this case, NO COLLUSION!)

B) Ignores/dismisses all contrary evidence

C) Makes ample use of “poisoned trees.” If one element can be discredited, then the whole thing is invalid.

D) If any contrary witness makes a minor mistake of fact or ethics, then anything from that person is discredited.

E) Anybody attacking the conspiracy theory is part of the conspiracy (Cabal of FBI/CIA/Dems/Liberal Media!)

F) Memory-holes any prior claims if discredited

I have been fascinated by conspiracy theories since researching/writing a play about Holocaust denial, which is a prime example of all the above. The irony here is that these conspiracy theories are protecting an actual conspiracy.

As if in answer to my plea, Ben Weingarten of the Federalist provides a nifty little primer. Doesn’t hit all the points – no “dirty dossier” — but lots of them.

 

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

STUDENT ISSUES

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

CONGRESS

 

ELECTIONS

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

Penny Marshall

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Tuesday.  Also known as “What the fuck just happened?” Day.

Over the last couple days, I’ve heard a rumblings about a possible soft landing for Trump et. al.  It goes along the lines of Trump’s team and Mueller’s team striking a deal where Trump gets to resign and Mueller doesn’t go after him or his family, and they get to keep their assets.  Think less Nixon and more Spiro T. Agnew.

Agnew was Nixon’s VP until late 1973 when he abruptly resigned and pleaded guilty to tax evasion charges to avoid jail time.  Agnew was caught up in a bribery and extortion racket that swallowed up Maryland politics.  While Watergate was going full speed ahead, Agnew was looking at hard time for accepting bribes while in office as Baltimore Mayor, Maryland Governor, and even in the White House.  The AG made a deal with Agnew’s team; resign in 24 hours with a guilty plea to a felony, and they won’t come after him for restitution or jail time.

I’m not buying it.  Not for a second.

First, it doesn’t match with any of the previous information that I’ve heard or seen over the past two years.  While quitting when the going gets tough matches Trump’s personality, the only way a deal helps him is if there’s absolutely no way that anyone comes after him.  If he thinks for a moment that New York will come for his ass on Enterprise Corruption charges (they most likely will), any deal he strikes with Mueller only helps him with one jurisdiction.

Second, Trump isn’t Agnew.  Trump isn’t Nixon.  Not even close.  They were criminals, but they didn’t coordinate with a foreign government to swing an election.  Ok, maybe Nixon with Vietnam, but that’s another story.  Nixon didn’t work with the VC for over a year as part of a quid pro quo.  Nixon didn’t commit enough crimes to fill a Felony A Day Daily Calendar.  Trump is a traitor to the United States, and doesn’t deserve a soft landing.

Finally, I’m not buying it where it’s in the best interest of the country to let a traitor and his traitorous friends and family walk away. There needs to be an example set.  One that will last hundreds of years, that some favors come with too high a cost.  He needs to stand trial for his crimes.  And so do his accomplices.  Letting a traitor walk away from justice sends a message to the future that the laws don’t matter if you’re rich.

That is the wrong message to send to our children, grandchildren, and progeny.  We must tell them that the fundamental truth of a democratic society still stands, and will stand.

No one is above the law.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

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