Daily Check-In 01/08/2019

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Veselnitskaya 

A Russian lawyer whose role at a 2016 meeting at Trump Tower has come under scrutiny from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III was charged Tuesday in a separate case with obstructing justice in a money-laundering investigation.

Natalia Veselnitskaya became a central figure in Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election when it was revealed that in June 2016, she met with Donald Trump Jr. and other senior Trump campaign advisers after an intermediary indicated she had dirt on Hillary Clinton.

The indictment unsealed Tuesday relates to a different legal fight involving the Russian and U.S. governments, and charges Veselnitskaya made a “misleading declaration” to the court in a civil case arising from an investigation by federal prosecutors in Manhattan into suspected Russian money laundering and tax fraud. She did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Her work on that case attracted little attention at the time, but her role in the Trump Tower meeting made her the subject of intense investigative interest in the United States, as Mueller’s team has sought to determine whether that meeting was part of any broader conspiracy by Trump associates to seek the Kremlin’s help in defeating Clinton.

While Vesenitskaya has long proclaimed she is innocent and not a representative of the Russian government, the indictment argues she has worked closely with senior Russian officials for years.

In 2014, U.S. authorities were investigating whether Prevezon Holdings, a Cyprus-based real estate corporation, orchestrated a tax scheme in Russia by stealing the identities of companies and filing sham lawsuits to incur fake losses to generate tax refunds.

Veselnitskaya represented Prevezon Holdings in a civil case in which the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan sought millions of dollars in forfeiture from the company and others. The Justice Department had alleged in a civil complaint that a Russian criminal organization ran an elaborate tax refund scheme.

The way prosecutors described it, the members of the organization stole the identities of companies that were part of the Hermitage Fund, then filed sham lawsuits against those companies. In the lawsuits, the members of the organization posed as both plaintiffs and defendants, admitting wrongdoing so they would have large money judgments which they could claim as losses and get refunds.

The parent company of the victim firms hired attorneys to investigate after learning of the sham lawsuits, including Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, and they uncovered the fraud scheme, in which Russian government officials were complicit, American prosecutors said.

Magnitsky was arrested in Russia and died in custody. On the day he died, prosecutors said, he was beaten by guards with a rubber baton, and an ambulance crew called to treat him was deliberately kept outside of his cell until he was dead.

The incident sparked the United States to pass the Magnitsky Act, which allowed the U.S. government to sanction officials found to have committed human rights violations in Russia.

As New York officials pursued the financial investigation, they sent a formal request to Russian prosecutors for assistance. In response, Russian prosecutors sent what they called “the results of the investigation carried out in its territory,” according to the new indictment. The document laid out the reasons why the Russian government “was unwilling to provide the records requested,” according to the indictment.

In November of 2015, Veselnitskaya submitted a declaration to the judge overseeing the Prevezon case, asserting that she had gone to great lengths to achieve a copy of the Russian document. In 2017, the U.S. attorney’s office settled its civil case against Prevezon for more than $5.8 million.

Veselnitskaya, who has deep experience in Russian political and legal matters, had been brought on by Prevezon to fight the lawsuit, though she also lobbied more broadly against the political outgrowths of the allegations against the company. When she met with Trump Jr. and others, she talked about her opposition to the Magnitsky Act.

Veselnitskaya has in the past sought to dispute her characterization as a “government attorney,” noting that she worked only in the prosecutor’s office of the province that surrounds but does not include Moscow. “A regional prosecutor is not the Kremlin,” she said previously.

This is some good news.  The lawyer-spy at the heart of both the Trump Tower Meeting and their work covering up Russia’s crimes in the Sergei Magnitsky case was indicted for Obstruction of Justice for lying to investigators about Magnitsky.

Yes, she wasn’t indicted on a Mueller-related charge, but she is still indicted.

I wonder if there’s any more Russia related news today…

 

Manafort

Paul Manafort shared 2016 presidential campaign polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik, a former employee whom the FBI has said has ties to Russian intelligence, according to a court filing from his defense attorneys.

The apparently inadvertent revelation indicates a pathway by which the Russians could have had access to Trump campaign data.

The former Trump campaign chairman on Tuesday denied in a filing that he broke his plea deal by lying repeatedly to prosecutors working for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III about that and other issues.

In his rebuttal to the special counsel’s claims of dishonesty, Manafort exposed details of the dispute, much of which centers on his relationship with Kilimnik. The Russian citizen, who began working for Manafort’s consulting firm starting in 2005, has been charged with helping his former boss to obstruct Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference into the 2016 election. He is believed to be in Moscow.

The special counsel alleged Manafort “lied about sharing polling data with Mr. Kilimnik related to the 2016 presidential campaign,” according to the unredacted filing, and discussed Ukrainian politics with Kilimnik during that time.

“Manafort ‘conceded’ that he discussed or may have discussed a Ukraine peace plan with Mr. Kilimnik on more than one occasion,” his attorneys quote the special counsel as saying, and “’acknowledged’ that he and Mr. Kilimnik met while they were both in Madrid.”

Welp, there it is.  Ladies and gentlemen, THERE’S YOUR COLLUSION.

In what I can only describe as either the dumbest moment of the last 20 minutes or a desperate attempt to get Trump’s attention, Paul Manafort’s attorneys forgot to redact a couple very important sections of their response to Robert Mueller’s claim that their client lied to the Special Counselor.  In the unredacted information, we got some really juicy info.

First, Paul Manafort handed over Trump’s internal polling data to Konstantin Kilimnik, who then gave that info to Oleg Deripaska.  Think about that for just a second.  Paul Manafort, along with his aide Rick Gates, gave the internal information on American voters to a person with ties to the GRU (the same group that hacked the DNC), who was instructed to brief an Oligarch that had Manafort by the balls and had close ties to Putin and the Kremlin.

Next, Manafort also shared with Kostya his ideas for a “Ukranian Peace Plan.”  Remember how Michael Cohen and Mike Flynn floated the exact same idea around? Yeah, Paulie Walnuts pushed the same plan around.

Also, we found out that Manafort kept in contact with the Trump Administration until as late as May 2018.  Paulie had direct contacts with people in the White House until the time around his first arrest, and sent someone to talk to a pal of his by dropping his name.

Finally, we also know that Rick Gates was involved in a lot of this shit.  Rick flipped almost a year ago and gave Mueller everything.  Manafort, being the compulsive lying narcissist that he is, never stopped to think that his second in command would give Bobby Three Sticks all of his emails, documents, and calendars that prove that he’s lying.

This snafu could be the biggest self-inflicted wound since Donnie Jr. sent out his email chain.  That is, unless this was intentional.  Check out the Rumor Mill section for more on that.

 

 

 

The Mystery Supreme Court Case

A mystery company appears poised to file a U.S. Supreme Court appeal that could offer new details about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s criminal investigation.

A new filing on the high court’s online docket promises an appeal of a lower court ruling that upheld fines against the company for not complying with a grand jury subpoena. The company is owned by an unidentified foreign country.

The filing, submitted Monday but appearing on the court’s website Tuesday, seeks permission to file an appeal under seal. It also asks the Supreme Court to let a redacted version of that appeal be made public, according to the court’s docket.

The high court rarely, if ever, hears cases that are under seal. In the famous 1971 Pentagon Papers case the court rejected a government request to hold part of the argument behind closed doors, though the sides were allowed to file briefs under seal. The court later ruled that the government couldn’t stop the New York Times and Washington Post from publishing the government’s secret history of the Vietnam War.

The grand jury dispute has been shrouded in mystery, in part because officials closed an entire floor of a federal courthouse in Washington during arguments on Dec. 7. Politico linked the case to Mueller in October, citing a conversation overheard by a reporter in the court clerk’s office.

The appeals court order rejected contentions that a federal sovereign-immunity law shielded the company from having to comply.

The cases are In Re Grand Jury Subpoena, 18A669, and In Re Grand Jury Subpoena, 18M93.

 

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

 

SHUTDOWN

 

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

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

 

MIDDLE EAST

 

SCOTUS & COURTS

 

#METOO & WOMEN’S RIGHTS

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

1/ A whole bunch of formerly conservative — now Trumpist — think tanks better get ready to pull down all their articles opposing eminent domain seizures.

2/ While they’re at it, they might want to scrub all the policies about Obama’ untrammeled abuse of executive power.

3/ Also, let’s skip that whole “rule of law” question from now on, ok? The new standard of “conservatism” is being set tonight, and since Washington’s Vichy GOP policy establishment dropped their petticoats to keep the Trumpists happy, they might as well go all the way.

4/ A phony crisis to pretend to build a vaporware wall is totes worth it, though! After all, precedents NEVER stick, right? The key lesson of Trumpism a Cartmanesque gunt of “Ah do what ah wannnnt!” So when there’s a Democratic president, y’all just sit down and color.

5/ Since the Tucker-Hannity Dental Purity brigade is heavily in my TL, I’ll give you a counterfactual scenario. (Google it, Trumpist dolts)

6/ It’s January 2021. Donald Trump choked on a KFC chicken bone or died in an autoerotic asphyxiation game gone wrong. Doesn’t matter how. For this scenario, we have a shiny new Democratic President. Call her, just for the sake of argument, Kamala Warren.

7/ She sweeps into the Oval Office and asks for a national TV address to declare a state of emergency. “My fellow Americans: the crisis of climate change can no longer be ignored, and Congress will not act fast enough.”

8/ “Powerful forces are at work, and by any standard this crisis is an emergency, so following the precedent set by President Trump, I am today declaring the following actions. First, the Federal government will immediately seize certain oil and natural gas facilities and lands.

9/ “All refining facilities will be closed. Oil and natural gas lands will be repurposed for solar and wind power only, and we will offer job retraining for their owners. The Federal government will control these lands in perpetuity to prevent additional damage to the climate. “

10/ “This is a hard step, and we do not take it lightly, by as President Trump seized hundreds of thousands of acres of land under eminent domain, we have followed his precedent to the letter, because the climate emergency demands it.”

11/ “To prevent any illegal drilling, I am ordering the U.S. military to build appropriate walls, fences, minefields, and other security structures around these lands and facilities. Walls work, in the words of President Trump, and this emergency demands them.”

12/ “We will also take Federal action to end the lawless behavior of Carbon Sanctuary States. Because of this emergency, Federal power must Trump (hehe) the rights of the states. It’s an *emergency*. Carbon Sanctuary States endanger us all, and they must be brought to heel.”

13/ See how this goes? I could go on, and on, and on, but once you open these doors, other people will walk through them. Other people will use powers of the executive in ways you *really* won’t like. But it’s ok. There will never be a Dem President again, right?

This is one of the reasons why I think that the MAGA movement is so dangerous.  All of their actions are performed with no thought about what might come in the future.  It’s why zealots are lousy at wargaming.  It also screams that they can’t imagine a world where they aren’t in power.  As Rick once said, “they can’t imagine the jackboot being on the other foot.”

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS & RELIGION

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

CONGRESS

 

ELECTIONS

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

Dammit. We have been right every step of the way. Every single prosecutorial advance – from SDNY to SC – will prove us out. F*ck everyone who stole from & belittled us. And thank you to all who follow along & contribute. There’s a sh*t ton more to unveil.

Want to know how we do it? 1. We believe in & TRUST our DOJ & Intelligence community. Yes. That’s right, all you Assange-SnowdenWald-PutinCept apologists. We’re the good guys. You are traitors. 2. We read. History, DOJ & FBI reports, real investigative journalism, court filings.

I’m a professional writer, yet there are simply no words to encapsulate how much individual & cooperative effort this has taken. We did it b/c we saw a desperate need. We saw both the failings of corporate news & the attack that the 4th Estate was under. And so we dug in 2 help.

I love investigative journalism & understand the critical role of the 4th Estate in ensuring democracy. Those whom I collaborate with are also professional people w/ expertise. Most with decades of it, incl. advanced degrees & executive experience. Stop sh*tting on us.

 

Note: the fauxdacted #Manafortfilings say that Manafort met the GRU in Spain to discuss a “Ukranian peace plan”. You know who else worked on a “Ukranian peace plan”? Michael Cohen.

  1. The no doubt deliberate fauxdactions warn others what OSC wants hidden. Important in that they show what OSC is presently trying to redact: 1. A meeting in Spain with the GRU 2. About the Ukr plan 3. Handed Trump polling data over 4. Ongoing contacts w Trump campaign
  2. What are the cumulative implications of those redactions? a) that Manafort continued to act for Trump b) that in that capacity he received polling help from Russian intelligence c) in exchange for the same sanctions relief on Ukraine Cohen was working on That’s collusion.
  3. The redactions, seen in this light, continue to bolster the Steele Dossier. They show that OSC is demanding redaction on broadly the same actions, taken by Manafort, as Steele says were taken by Cohen – hacking help from Russian intelligence in exchange for sanctions relief

5 and final – the Ukrainian peace plan is absolutely key. @MichaelCohen212continued this, with Russian intelligence, after @RealDonaldTrumpwas elected. Chris Steele’s raw intelligence dossier is sustained directly and indirectly by these redactions.

Louise has an interesting take on the Manafort redaction fuck-up.  What if this apparent fuck-up wasn’t a fuck-up at all?  What if Manafort’s attorneys, who are already in some deep shit for allegedly passing intel from the Mueller investigation to Trump’s legal team through the Joint Defense Agreement, did this on purpose to send a message to Team Trump that Mueller had proof that Kilimnik passed along the polling data?

Since they got busted last year abusing the JDA, they have to know that Mueller knows everything, but they couldn’t get the message across.  All of their communications with the JDA are now suspect and possibly criminal.  If they tried to pass a message along through other channels, they could be be partaking in some serious obstruction activities.

How does one get a message to someone when all of the private methods are down or being monitored?  Go public.

It’s not as crazy as it sounds, and probably pretty easy to pull off.  Manafort’s team knows that this case has a lot of interest in it from the press.  Any small action gets coverage.  If they intentionally made a mistake to ensure that it was reported, they could easily do that.  If they timed the error perfectly, they could guarantee that it gets in the news and makes a big enough splash to alert everyone involved.  The judge won’t like this move, but if it’s the first time they’ve tried this, there’s no pattern of behavior to point to as evidence of this hypothesis.

I’m not saying that this is what happened, but keep an eye out for any other behavior like this.

 

That’s it for Tuesday.  Notice how I didn’t cover Trump’s speech?  Because I was busy looking into Manafort and Veselnitskaya instead.  That, and I wanted to wait until after I read the transcripts from all of the speeches and checked out the fact-checking, and waited to see how bad the shitshow was before I weighed in.  That, and I’d rather hang out with my family for a little bit than listen to Tangerine Tojo spout lies on television.

See you tomorrow.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

3 thoughts on “Daily Check-In 01/08/2019

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