Daily Check-In 01/10/2019

Thursday, January 10, 2019

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Here’s a new wrinkle in the polling data handover.  Serhiy Lyovochkin, a Ukrainian oligarch with a long past connected to Paul Manafort, received the polling data from Konstantin Kilimnik.  Lyovochkin owed Manafort money, and Manafort owed Deripaska.  Kostya from the GRU connected them together.  Lyovochkin was also the oligarch that paid Sam Patten for the seats to the inauguration.  (Daily Check-In 01/08/2019Daily Check-In 01/09/2019Cooperating Witnesses)

This is where I’d normally lay out the connections, but I’ll get to that right after we get two big pieces of info from the next section.

Tony Fabrizio was hired to the Trump Campaign by Paul Manafort.  Tony also has a long history with Paulie.  At first, Trump avoided pollsters.  He said he “trusted his own gut” more than someone who could run numbers and ask questions.  It was also when his campaign was transitioning from primary laughing stock to assumed candidate and sacrificial lamb.

Manafort hired Fabrizio, who also worked with him and Kostya in Ukraine around 2013, compiled the campaign’s first comprehensive polling data.  Also in the arena at that time was Rick Gates, Sam Patten, Oleg Deripaska, and Serhiy Lyovochkin.  Patten worked with both Cambridge Analytica and the Trump Inauguration.  That last part, he worked with Tom Barrack and Rick Gates.

Now that the players are on the board, let’s connect the dots.  And mix metaphors like a chef at a DJ booth.

Trump, through a mix of ratfuckery, cheating, running against Ted Cruz, and exploiting a system rife with corruption, wins the Republican nomination for President.  He’s the presumptive nominee for a couple months until he’s officially nominated at their convention in Cleveland.  But there’s no way that his half-assed methods will work against HRC and the Democrats.  Not without some major help.

It’s around this time that his current campaign manger Corey Lewandowski proves how much of a fucknut he is by beating up a female reporter for Breitbart.  Jared and Ivanka hate his ass and want to replace him.  At this point, Tom Barrack gets wind of this and recommends, of all people, Paul Manafort to lead the campaign.  A five minute Google search shows that he’s dirty AF, but this is the one place in the world where that’s seen as a feature, not a bug.

Trump hires Manafort to lead his campaign for free.  Manafort then hires Rick Gates as his second in command and Tony Fabrizio as his head pollster.  Fabrizio gathers the data and gives it to Manafort.  Manafort and Gates pass this data along to Konstantin Kilimnik, their co-worker and “former” member of the GRU, Russia’s elite military intelligence unit and the group responsible for the hacks on the DNC and John Podesta.  They instruct Konstatntin, a.k.a. Kostya from the GRU to share this information with Oleg Deripaska and Serhiy Lyovochkin.  Manafort owes Oleg big time, and Serhiy owes Manafort.  This polling data helps to make Manafort even with both.  He gives the data to Oleg as part of the intelligence he’s feeding to the Kremlin, and he tells Serhiy to pass the data along to Sam Patten, who’s working over at Cambridge Analytica.  By this point, CA had data they had stolen on more than 50 million Americans through Facebook and other social media, and were using their data to target ads to very specific people and groups in an effort to sway how they voted.  Using this data, combined with the polling data gained from Fabrizio’s work and what they had from various DNC and RNC actions, they were able to target American voters specifically to do what they wanted them to do.  After the win, Lyovochkin reimbursed Patten and Kostya for buying tickets to Trump’s inauguration.  Money that Manafort couldn’t touch, but Tom Barrack could.

This, ladies and gentleman, is collusion.  It’s conspiracy.  It’s espionage.  It’s treason.

Also, Mueller’s known this for almost a year.  The article said this meeting took place in February 2018, right before Rick Gates flipped.  And it’s just coming out today.  So they’ve had this information for 11 months.  A lot can happen in an investigation in 11 months.

 

Riiight…  Just like how he never paid a porn star hush money using campaign funds or told the American people that Mexico would pay for the wall.

Trump is a micromanging prick.  There is absolutely no chance that he could have operated through this whole scenario without knowing what was going on.

 

Technically, these lawyers joined the White House and work for the White House Counsel.  They do not work specifically for Trump.

 

THREAD ON WHETHER MUELLER REPORT WILL BE PUBLIC, AND @washingtonpostSTORY ABOUT TRUMP HIRING MANY NEW LAWYERS TO ASSERT EXEC PRIVILEGE. Short Answer: It will be public.

1.The special counsel rules, which I drafted at DOJ 20 years ago, contemplate 2 kinds of reports. One is a report from Mueller to the AG, at the close of his investigation: “a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel.”

That document is to be confidential. But there is a second, separate reporting requirement, which forces the AG to notify Congress “with an explanation for each action…upon conclusion of the Special Counsel’s investigation, including…

… a description and explanation of instances (if any) in which the AG concluded that a proposed action by a Special Counsel was so inappropriate or unwarranted under established Departmental practices that it should not be pursued.”

4.That report must explain why the investigation has concluded, and any instance in which the AG overruled the Special Counsel. The provision was designed to ensure “Congressional and public confidence in the integrity of the process.”

5.Notably, we wrote the circumstances for an AG to overrule a Special Counsel very tightly—it has to violate “established Departmental practices.”

So, to take one hypothetical example, generic DOJ opinions about whether a sitting President could be indicted do not create an “established Departmental practice” about whether an individual could be indicted for successfully cheating in a Presidential election.

7.There is no DOJ established practice that says if a Presidential candidate cheats enough and wins the Presidency, that he gets a get-out-of-jail-free card.

8.There is one other important aspect to the regulations. If a Special Counsel is worried that the AG may cover something up, the regs give him an important weapon.

9.Because they require a mandatory report to Congress about any instance of the AG overruling a Special Counsel, they put the thumb on the scale of a Special Counsel telling the AG he will take a sensitive act and waiting for AG to say no. That triggers the reporting requirement.

It is a safeguard to prevent a cover-up, it creates a mandatory report to a separate and coequal branch of govt. So that is why I believe Mueller has a move left to play if Whitaker or Barr (if confirmed) try to stymie him and his full report.

Now the President can try to claim executive privilege. Nixon tried that, it didn’t turn out so well. He got crushed in the Supreme Court. Trump’s claim appears even weaker—much wont even concern presidential deliberations&the part that might (Comey) has been waived by Trump.

12.And here, there is another problem: Trump’s legal team has been saying they don’t think a sitting President can be indicted.

Leaving aside the point above in (6) and (7), the only way that claim makes any sense is if the President must be impeached first. Every real scholar who says a sitting President can’t be indicted couples that with a view that impeachment is the remedy.

So if the President asserts the view he can’t be indicted, he has to allow the turnover of all investigative material to Congress. Otherwise he would be no different than King George III, literally above the law.

15.This point is fleshed out in my NYT op-ed below. The key point is that even if you think Trump won’t be indicted, his legal claims about his immunity from indictment set up&invite the launch of impeachment investigation+eviscerate his exec priv claims.

Bottom line: the President can try to hide the Mueller Report. He will lose to the public’s right to know.

Trump’s attempted position is a Catch-22.  If the White House claims that a sitting President cannot be indicted, then means impeachment is the option to deal with a President accused of crimes.  If that’s the case, arguments of Executive Privilege can’t be used because Congress now becomes the primary investigative body.

I covered Executive Privilege in more detail on Daily Check-In 01/07/2019.

 

 

 

Better late than never.  Welcome to the party.  We’ve got punch and pie in the back.

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

In more good news, former Deputy Finance Chair for the Republican Party and Convicted Felon Michael Cohen has agreed to testify before a public congressional hearing chaired by the House Oversight Committee.  Oversight would have jurisdiction over campaign finance violations.

There will be questions about Mueller, but the focus of the hearing is how Trump instructed Cohen to use campaign money to pay off his mistresses.  Which is pretty fucking illegal.

 

SHUTDOWN & IMMIGRATION

 

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

 

TRAITOR TOTS

The donor, then-Republican National Committee finance chairman and casino magnate Steve Wynn, was embroiled in litigation involving Obama-era rules governing how companies could distribute tips gathered by their employees. Months after the meeting request, the Trump administration revised those rules to make them far friendlier to employers.

It is unclear why the White House made the request for the meeting with acting Solicitor General Jeff Wall, which was uncovered in a Freedom of Information Act discovery by the group American Oversight and has not been previously reported. Nor is it clear if Wall actually met with White House officials about Wynn’s case. Both the White House and the Department of Justice did not return requests for comment.

Top legal officials of past administrations said it was not uncommon for White House officials to meet with the solicitor general or top DoJ officials to discuss pending business before the courts. But the email still struck legal ethicists as problematic, as it showed the Trump White House eager to keep tabs on litigation directly affecting one of the president’s highest-profile donors.

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

 

SCOTUS/#METOO & WOMEN’S RIGHTS

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

The National Rifle Association appears to have illegally coordinated its political advertising with Republican candidates in at least three recent high-profile US Senate races, according to Federal Communications Commission records. In Senate races in Missouri and Montana in 2018 and North Carolina in 2016, the gun group’s advertising blitzes on behalf of GOP candidates Josh Hawley, Matt Rosendale, and Richard Burr were authorized by the very same media consultant that the candidates themselves used—an apparent violation of laws designed to prevent independent groups from synchronizing their efforts with political campaigns.

In December, the Trace and Mother Jones reported on a similar pattern of coordination between the NRA and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. In that case, Trump and the NRA hired affiliates of the same company—National Media Research, Planning and Placement—to direct their ad spending. Employees of that firm, operating under different corporate identities, placed ads for both Trump and the NRA on television stations across the country, with the apparent goal of reinforcing each other’s message.

Representatives of National Media, operating under the name Red Eagle Media, also bought ads on behalf of the NRA in support of some of the group’s preferred Senate candidates, and simultaneously bought ads for those Senate candidates while acting as a supposedly separate entity called American Media & Advocacy Group (AMAG). In at least 10 instances across the Missouri, Montana, and North Carolina races, FCC records show that ad purchases for both the NRA and the Senate campaigns were authorized by National Media chief financial officer Jon Ferrell.

Remember when the NRA and Trump got busted coordinating their campaign messages through these same groups? (Daily Check-In 12/19/2018, Daily Check-In 12/06/2018)  Looks like three senators were caught up in the same scheme.

Why do I have a feeling that further investigation will expose a fuckton more of this behavior?

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

TRADE WAR, HEALTH CARE, & ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

1/ You’re a Republican Senator. You’re up for reelection in 2020. Maybe you bought in to the idea that the tax bill would sustain a few cycles of prosperity that would lift you. Maybe you thought you could trim up the middle on Trump. Maybe you feared his base.

2/ Maybe you don’t want a primary. (Lookin’ at you, Lindsay) Maybe you thought Trumpism is the new normal and just rode the wave. Maybe you’re an actual True Believer. (seek counseling.) This is your periodic reminder that Trump will screw you over, directly and collaterally.

3/ The Wall fight gains you *nothing* *even* in shrinking, fickle, short-attention-span base of Cletuses and Lurleens. Remember, they *worship* him and they barely *tolerate* you on a good day. You’re always suspect. The MAGAe don’t trust anyone except him.

4/ When the Wall doesn’t get built, you know this line from the Orange Gibbon’s twitter feed is coming: “Weak Republicans wouldn’t back me on Wall. Sad!” He will always, always, always fuck you over. His “snake” poem is utterly obvious projection. This will end in tears.

5/ McConnell, for whatever his reasons, is letting this play out. He’s canny, and maybe he has a plan, but it doesn’t feel that way. It feels like he’s trapped between Donnie Tantrum and political reality. The pressure is to be loyal to Trump in every way.

6/ But the 2020 landscape isn’t going to look like 2018. More GOP seats up, by 3x. a *much* more D turnout year. The wall issue is agitporn for the xenophobia crowd, and it makes you look stupid and shitty to suburban voters. (You know, the ones who blew out 40 R seats in Nov?)

7/ Hey, though. You could stick with blind adherence, try to ride this national emergency shiz out, and hope for the best. Or you could act like grown-ass adults and exercise the power the voters gave you.

8/ Stop the magical thinking. Tear off the band-aid before the economic (and political, but I repeat myself) damage spreads. Get the lights back on. He’ll throw a hissy fit, but you might live to tell the tale. Finis.

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS & RELIGION

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

CONGRESS

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

RUMOR MILL

Dear @SpeakerPelosi@HouseDemocrats@SenSchumer@SenateDems, You are in a semantic war with a Russian asset, trained for 30+ yrs in propaganda tactics. He was also raised at the knee of mob bosses, who were the slickest liars in history. Some advice… (cont)

  1. When you hang your argument on a semantic, like “We are for Border Security”, he will steal it & turn it on you. His minions re-inforce this. “Border Security” is a problem for you now – as a semantic. He co-opted it in speaking to the public. So now, you’re on the defensive.
  2. Stop using valuable air time on cable news to triple-down on a rational argument for the semantic that you’ve now lost. This is not the high road. It’s the boring road. And it’s just giving Trump & his far right propaganda machine more content. Instead…
  3. Talk about his behavior. His motivations. Talk about HIM. Call his sh*t out. Like this, “He’s saying ‘Border Security to all of you, but in rooms with us, he’s saying ‘Wall’, then twisting it. He’s a liar. He’s a baby. He’s having a fit because…
  4. “…Ann Coulter & Rush Limbaugh OWN him. And American workers are paying for it. When the market starts reacting, he’s going to hurt even more people & our economy. Because “THE WALL” is his toy. He even makes fake tv posters out of it, like this is some show he’s putting on.
  5. “…Well, you can’t help people or protect this nation with a fake poster. You can’t put food on people’s tables with tweets. Open the government.” This puts him back on the defensive & he melts down when he is. He is a bad at it. Knock him back on his heels & hold him there.
  6. Stop collapsing zingers with red meat. You need zingers. They are not the low road, they are the dirt that buries people on it. Example: “We were all patient with him in the beginning, because he’d never worked in government before. Well, he’s been here TWO YEARS…
  7. “…And all he’s learned how to do is pour millions of tax payer dollars into his properties, concoct cover stories for bone saw regimes, and make fake posters. Open the government.”
  8. Here’s another one: “He wants to declare a national emergency & take this to the courts? Fine. Let him use the military to seize property. Let him set that precedent. When we have the White House, we’ll use it for the real national emergencies like climate change and guns…
  9. “… Open the government.” Get it? Good. Use the air time wisely, please. You’re in a propaganda war, whether you like it or not. Fight.

CODA. Almost forgot. If you’re going to coordinate messaging around a semantic, NEVER do so without defining it. Example: I have yet to hear the list of things that make up your definition of “Border Security.” If you had listed them, he would’ve been forced to cling to “Wall”.

ZINGER STRING: (will add as they come) “The President has been credibly accused by the State of New Jersey of laundering money thru his casinos. He’s partnered w/convicted human & drug traffickers on his properties. If he wants to be tough on crime, he should start w/ a mirror.”

“OPEN THE GOVERNMENT.” Is a great zinger at the end of every statement. Deliver it with the same tone as, “Go to your room.” He wilts then flails in non-coherent rants when scolded.

“Let’s run @GOP‘s “National Emergency Off-Ramp” through: When the military shows up to seize land under eminent domain, will our land owners have the right – under 2nd Amendment – to take up arms? Isn’t this why the NRA justifies assault rifles? What then? Open the Government.”

 

 

That’s it for Thursday.  Friday will likely be another standoff over wall funding, and short of Trump finally cracking or Mitch doing his job, this shutdown will become the longest in history.  I think that’s part of Trump’s plan.

There is no way that a Democratic House will ever pass funding for his wall under anything resembling normal circumstances.  The only chance Trump has of getting one is to hope that Pelosi and Schumer capitulate before he does.  The longer this drags on, the more regular people will feel the pain.  We’re already seeing longer delays at airports because of this, and other sectors of the government have stopped altogether.

Trump thrives on chaos, and right now chaos is the only thing keeping the bad news at bay.  He’s created one disaster to distract from another.  It’s an old marketing and disinformation trick.  It’s like wrecking a car to cover up a robbery.  It’s desperate, but Trump is desperate.  Beyond desperate.

At this point, Trump has everything riding on the hope that he can survive expulsion by the Senate after impeachment, and that he cannot be indicted or arrested while in office.  The only way to stay out of handcuffs is to stay in office.  If he doesn’t get reelected, he’s fucked.  The only way he gets through expulsion and gets reelected is if he can get the racists behind him enough to pressure the GOP senators into voting to keep him in office.  That math only works if the economy stays good and the wall gets built, and nothing worse happens in the Russian Investigation.

Well, it’s gonna get worse, and any attempts he makes at trying to force the wall through will backfire.  He’s going all in with a 2-10 off suited hand and doesn’t realize that everyone around him is playing Fortnite.

There is one exception that I could see where the Democrats accept the border wall: rescind the tax break on the 1%.  Raise the taxes for the wealthy donors that benefited the most and are bankrolling Trump’s reelection campaign.  Make him choose between his donors or his base voters.  Either he gets the wall or gets to run for reelection.

Also, keep a couple dates in mind.  January 20th and February 7th.

The first will be the official halfway point of Trump’s term, and what I’ll call Free Time for Mike Pence.  If Trump leaves office at any point after that time, it does not count as a term served according to the 22nd Amendment.  Once they’re in Free Time, they’re less likely to stay married to Trump.  If he becomes too costly, they might cut him loose.

The second date is Cohen’s testimony.  That should be self-explanatory, but expect Trump to lose his shit before this, possibly to distract from it.  At this point, I don’t put anything past him.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

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