Daily Check-In 01/09/2019

Wednesday, January 9, 2019




According to reports, Deputy Attorney General will be leaving his office shortly.  This is where the reports get confusing.  One source said that he would leave shortly after William Barr is confirmed as Attorney General.  Other sources report that he won’t leave until either after Robert Mueller submits a report, or is so close that nothing could stop it.

People are putting two and two together and concluding that this means that Mueller will submit at least part of his report in the coming weeks.


Нет сговора! That’s “No Collusion!” in Russian.

WASHINGTON – Members of President Donald Trump’s campaign and transition team had more than 100 contacts with Russian-linked officials, according to a new report.

The milestone illustrates the deep ties between members of Trump’s circle and the Kremlin. The findings, tracked by the Center for American Progress and its Moscow Project, come amid reports that special counsel Robert Mueller is nearing the conclusion of the two-year investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by the president.

“This wasn’t just one email or call, or one this or that,” said Talia Dessel, a research analyst for the left-leaning organization. “Over 100 contacts is really significant because you don’t just have 100 contacts with a foreign power if there’s nothing going on there.”

The organization used publicly available court documents and reporting to tally up the number of contacts with Russian-linked officials, which includes those with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and others tied to Russian intelligence, banks and politicians.

The organizations counted each meeting and message as a separate contact.

The number of contacts was raised to 101 this week after it was reported that Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, a former campaign aide, shared polling data with Manafort’s former Russian business partner Konstantin Kilimnik.

Over 100 contacts.  100.  We’re well past the coincidence stage at this point.  A couple meetings is one thing, but we’re in triple digits now.  With a lot of them coming AFTER they were warned by the FBI.



Today is a good day to remember that Tad Devine, Bernie’s chief strategist, worked with Paul Manafort for many years. In Ukraine. Paul Manafort – the guy who handed over our data to GRU.

Devine went directly from working with Manafort to Bernie’s campaign. Sanders was a long-time client of Devine’s. Devine was doing work with Manafort in June 2014, and by November it was announced that he’d be doing Bernie’s campaign.

Have you ever done contract or consulting work? If you have, you know that the work + communications on a project rarely end when the contract does. There are always loose ends to tie up. Especially if you’re working with someone who’s a long-time collaborator/friend/client.

On top of that, while you’re working on one project, you’re likely also in negotiations for the next project. And big projects – such as a presidential campaign – take a lot of negotiation, meetings, calls, proposals, strategizing, and so on.

When it was announced that Devine was working for Bernie, it’s not as though Bernie called him that day and said “hey, wanna work for me?” and Devine was like, “yeah! Let’s call Politico and tell them right now!” There were likely months of negotiations beforehand.

Or at least that’s been my experience. Even with people who know me well and have worked with me many times in various capacities. Because it’s not just me and the other person involved – it’s us, plus boards, plus VIPs, plus key team members + …

And that’s just for low-stakes (compared to preserving our democracy, anyway) performing arts events.

My point: I don’t see how there wasn’t overlap, whether that particular year, or in the years prior when Devine was working for Manafort and also interacting with his longtime client and friend, Bernie (Devine’s words).

Overlap, while Devine was working for Manafort, and Manafort was working with GRU. To me, it’s an impossibility that Devine could work with Manafort for many years, and not know/understand that Manafort was also working with Russia.

So the same person who spent years working with Paul Manafort in Ukraine up until their client fled decided to work with Bernie Sanders.  Bernie, the same one who had Russian bots push his story on the internet, who cried foul at HRC even though he lost by millions of votes, and stood by while the DNC mails were released to the public.


“I had a 17-inch laptop that was dying and it needed new space. I also turned over the time machine application with the hard drive backup that had all e-mails, whether I’d erased them or not, and I knew they were all there. I was trying to keep an old computer running because I liked that 17-inch. To do so, I had to erase e-mails. It was not a plan to erase evidence.”

There are several things that are shady AF about this story, and having an IT background, very little of what he said makes sense.

His first explanation, in the same interview with Ari Melber, was that his wife wanted a computer to work on and he was going to give her this one.  He then asked his son to clean it up so that she would have a fresh machine to work with.  Then he said it was dying and on its last legs and he need to make space.

Deleting mail from a laptop to save space is like throwing out pizza boxes from a hoarder’s house.  Unless there’s a literal ton of them, it’s not making a big difference.

Next, he mentions Time Machine.  He didn’t say backup, he said Time Machine.  That implies an Apple computer.  The only 17 inch laptops made by Apple in the last decade and a half are MacBook Pro models.  Those are their top of the line workhorses, designed for video editing and 3D modeling.  They can take a pounding.

It’s possible that the stories line up, but both at the same time feels like bullshit.  If my wife asked me to get her a new laptop, I’m not giving her a refurb that’s a decade old.  I might use that as an excuse to get a brand new one and give her my current one, but only a dick would give his wife a dying laptop.

Then again, he is friends with Roger Stone.


This isn’t news to anyone who’s been paying attention, but it does need brought up from time to time.

Mueller knows EVERYTHING.


When they drag Donnie Jr. in front of Congress, I hope to fuck it’s an open session broadcast live across the world.  I want to see him squirm.



A RICO conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 1961 hinges on proof that the underlying offenses demonstrate a “pattern of racketeering activity.” The statute delineates several hundred or so predicate acts that can contribute to a pattern of racketeering activity. Conduct may be charged under RICO as part of a pattern of racketeering activity even when the defendant has previously been convicted and sentenced for that conduct. As such, prior criminal convictions and civil suits relative to individual predicate acts do not inure against a RICO prosecution. This is key.

Further, RICO allows for a pattern of activity to encompass up to 10 years with regard to the underlying predicate counts as long as the last one falls within the statute of limitations. For example, should a federal prosecutor seek to charge mail or wire fraud counts against the Trump Organization in 2017, then the prosecutor could go back as far as 2007 to capture the full scope of the pattern of activity. This is also crucial.

The RICO statute allows for asset forfeiture actions to be initiated early in order to prevent criminal assets from being transferred beyond law enforcement’s reach. The government can take various legal actions to freeze assets upon indictment while the criminal prosecution unfolds.

Trump Foundation.  Trump Organization.  Trump University.  Trump SoHo.  Trump’s hotels across the world.  Trump’s branding opportunities.  Every aspect of his life is covered in criminal ties.

Also, remember that there’s Criminal RICO and Civil RICO.  The criminal part puts people in jail, while the civil part takes their shit.  Only the criminal part can be pardoned, and a civil case can use accepting a pardon as evidence of guilt.

If I were to write emoticons on this blog, this is where a super big grin would go.









































THREAD: I’m just an advertising guy, but thought I’d put a marketing lens on the news of Manafort sharing “polling data” with a Russian operative.

Seems benign in the grand scope of everything, right? It’s not.

Like politics, the goal of advertising is persuasion. And like politics, we call our efforts a campaign.

At the heart of any campaign, big or small, is data. Data about the market, people, the competition. In politics, this is called “polling.” Same thing.

Data is the raw material in the battle that brands fight to win hearts and minds, and get people to choose one product over another. To vote with their wallets.

Gleaning the data is very expensive, it’s labor intensive, and it takes a LOT of time.

Big companies will spend hundreds of millions on various versions of this undertaking, and employ thousands of people. The results of all this data, and the way it’s sliced and diced, is kept behind firewalls, under lock & key, privileged access.

Data (polls) is one of the most valuable resources a company has.

Anyone who works for a major company knows that Big Data is the business battle of our time.

What do we do with the data? We use it to decide who to target. To position the brand as distinctive from other brands. To develop messaging and ads. To de-position and conquest the competition (and lots more).

Back to Manafort. Sharing polling data with anyone is opening a door to collaborate with them. It’s allowing them to use your raw materials, your valuable resources, your manpower.

It’s like arms dealing, except the weapons can’t be tracked because no one knows they’re explosive except for the collaborators.

Sharing polling data means you’re working together. Conspiring. Making decisions together. Working to destroy the competition.

Imaging for a moment if Apple and Microsoft collaborated on pooling their data resources in an attempt to bring down Samsung…

But there’s SOMETHING EVEN MORE IMPORTANT TO THE STORY. To continue the analogy, imagine that Apple and MSFT then together hacked into Samsung’s servers and stole some of their proprietary data, in the form of emails about their data…

Then it’d be game over.

So, if you’ve got Manafort sharing valuable and proprietary data with a Russian intelligence operative, and you’ve got a Russian hacking operationg stealing the competition’s (the DNC’s and the Clinton campaign’s) data…then you’ve got it all.

Everything you need to destroy the competition. Not so benign anymore. You know who knows a lot about this? @KellyannePolls— someone should ask her.



That’s it for Wednesday.  I’ll be back on Thursday.  Hopefully things don’t go too far off of the rails by then.

I updated The Indicted to include Natalia Veselnitskaya’s Obstruction indictment from yesterday. (Daily Check-In 01/08/2019). Out of all of the names I’ve put on that list recently, hers was the most satisfying.  Sure, she may never see the inside of a prison cell, but the fact that from now on everywhere she goes, she’ll have to check to see if her connecting flight goes to a country with an extradition treaty to the United States warms my heart.  The same way it stays warm realizing that Paul Manafort will likely never taste freedom.

Once again, that’s where the grin emoji would go.


Thank you, and have a good one.


“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

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