Daily Check-In 02/01/2019

Friday, February 1, 2019 and the weekend

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Deutsche Bank

The plot thickens.  Trump went to Deutsche Bank for another loan in 2016, but this time was turned down.  Most likely that Trump’s profile had risen from glorified money launderer for Russian Mafia to Presidential Candidate, and there was a real chance that they’d have to foreclose on a sitting President of the United States.

 

Blocked Calls

The more I hear about Lorber, the worse this sounds.  It wasn’t Daddy calling his son before and after a meeting, but one of Daddy’s BFF’s that has experience dealing with Russians calling before and after a meeting with Russia, and calling the day after that BFF was in an all-day meeting with Daddy.  If anything, this adds even more questions, like “Was Lorber instructed to call, or did he call of his own volition?” and “How did Lorber find out about the meeting?”  Someone had to tell him about the meeting with the Russians, and more than just that a meeting was planned.  He needed to have details of who was there, where it was scheduled, and when it started and stopped.  He’d have to know how long it would last, and if it ran over or not.  And Junior would have to know that Lorber was calling him, too.  Who answers a blocked phone number these days?  There is a 99.9% chance that a blocked number is coming from someone you don’t want to talk to.  Which tells me that either Junior is an idiot and answers every call he gets on his special phone, or he knew that someone specific was calling.  While I don’t doubt the former, this sounds like something organized ahead of time.

 

Stone

 

Trump Tower Moscow

 

Deripaska

 

NRA

 

Legal Fights

new court filing submitted on Wednesday by Special Counsel Robert Mueller revealed that a Russian troll farm currently locked in a legal battle over its alleged interference in the 2016 election appeared to wage yet another disinformation campaign late last year—this time targeting Mueller himself.

According to the filing, the special counsel’s office turned over 1 million pages of evidence to lawyers for Concord Management and Consulting as part of the discovery process. The firm is accused of funding the troll farm, known as the Internet Research Agency. But someone connected to Concord allegedly manipulated the documents and leaked them to reporters, hoping the documents would make people think that Mueller’s evidence against the troll farm and its owners was flimsy. The tactic didn’t seem to convince anyone, but it appeared to mark yet another example of Russia exploiting the U.S. justice system to undercut its rivals abroad.

Last year, I detailed how Russia has figured out how to use the U.S. immigration courts and so-called red notices issued by Interpol to harass and even detain its enemies. But it doesn’t end there. Experts say Kremlin proxies have targeted their rivals and other disfavored individuals by exploiting U.S. courts to pursue bogus claims via “superficially legitimate lawsuits,” Anders Aslund, a resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, said in a recent report. He worked as an economic adviser to the Russian government from 1991 to 1994. The Kremlin proxies have done so not only to perpetuate global harassment campaigns against their perceived enemies, Aslund argued, but also to “enrich themselves through bad faith claims made possible by the Russian state’s abuse of disfavored individuals and their businesses.”

When Mueller indicted Concord in February 2018, along with two other corporate entities and 13 Russian nationals allegedly connected to the Internet Research Agency, it seemed highly unlikely that the indictment would result in a trial, because Russians cannot be extradited to the United States. But Concord unexpectedly hired the well-connected American law firm Reed Smith to fight Mueller, arguing that the charges should be dropped because the special counsel was illegally appointed. The judge in the case, Dabney Friedrich, has twice refused to dismiss the case and recently lambasted Concord’s American lawyers for submitting “unprofessional, inappropriate and ineffective” court filings, and the legal battle has raged on.

Now, according to the Mueller filing this week, unidentified actors working out of Russia appear to have weaponized the U.S. discovery process to Concord’s benefit. More than 1,000 files on the website that hosted the leaked documents “match those produced in discovery,” the special counsel said. The documents were published from a computer with a Russian IP address, according to Mueller, and whoever released them clearly “had access to at least some of the non-sensitive discovery produced by the government.” But forged documents were mixed into the trove, too, apparently in an attempt to accuse Mueller of characterizing American websites and Facebook pages such as Occupy Democrats as Russian disinformation operations. The website also inserted irrelevant documents into folders with unique names—known only to those with access to the discovery materials—and characterized them as the sum total of Mueller’s evidence “in an apparent effort to discredit the investigation,” the special counsel said.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Reed Smith denied responsibility for the breach, claiming that the data at issue were hosted by a third-party vendor working for Concord and were never stored on Reed Smith’s internal computer systems. “Reed Smith and its lawyers have at all times complied with the protective order in this case,” the firm said. A Reed Smith attorney representing Concord didn’t return a request for comment.

In October, legal and national-security experts expressed concern to ABC News that, in the Concord case specifically, the Russian government may be trying to use the discovery process in a “graymail” strategy designed to make Mueller drop the case in order to prevent sensitive U.S. national-security information from being made public. Mark Zaid, an attorney based in Washington, D.C., who focuses on national-security law, said he viewed the latest incident involving Concord and the hoax website “as part of a consistent strategy by the Russians to hinder, obstruct, and derail” Mueller’s probe. “One wonders whether pursuing the criminal charges against the Russians was worth the difficulty and these current problems,” Zaid said, “particularly given the odds of ever gaining custody of any individual is unlikely.”

Michelle Estlund, a criminal-defense attorney who focuses on international criminal prosecutions and politically motivated prosecutions, told me last year that the problem is that while the U.S. courts operate in good faith to assist Russian authorities, the Russian courts frequently do not. “Our courts act like, and think that, they are operating on the same type of playing field as the Russians,” Estlund said. “But they’re not. The system there is completely different from here. And when the courts are properly responding to what appears to be a legally authorized request for assistance with discovery, often what they’re doing is assisting with an extremely corrupt court proceeding.” Another lawyer who follows this phenomenon closely and requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press echoed Estlund’s assessment. “The Russians have figured out how to weaponize this,” he said. “We have this tremendous system of justice here, which isn’t equipped to address nonjudicial questions like ‘Is this litigant seeking to abuse our entire judicial system?’ ”

 

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

 

SHUTDOWN & IMMIGRATION

 

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

A Lack of Intelligence

 

INF Treaty

 

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

CONGRESS

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

 

NORTHAM

Republican Donald Trump’s past: -1973: Sued by Nixon admin. for refusing to rent to black tenants -1980s: Accused of discrimination for allegedly ordering black employees into the back when he and Ivana came into his casino -1989: Central Park Five ad (“modern day lynching”) 1/

Ronna McDanielVerified account @GOPChairwoman

Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam’s past: 1981: You had a racist nickname in your college yearbook.…

Trump’s past, continued: -1991: Says “laziness is a trait in blacks” – a comment he later admits to saying (http://www.playboy.com/articles/the-art-of-the-donald …) -1992: Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino had to pay a $200K fine for moving black & women dealers off tables to satisfy the demands of a high roller. 2/

Trump’s past, continued: -2011: Floats racist birther conspiracy to delegitimize first black POTUS. Not surprisingly, belief in birtherism is strongly associated w/racism. (https://wpsa.research.pdx.edu/papers/docs/Birthers.pdf …) -2011: Suggests Obama wasn’t smart enough for Columbia or Harvard Law. 3/

Trump’s past, continued: -2016: Still believes Central Park Five are guilty, despite DNA evidence. -2017: Called Nazis “very fine people.” -2017: Said people from Haiti “all have AIDS,” & that people from Nigeria would never “go back to their huts” once they saw America. 4/

Trump’s past, continued: -2017: Calls Haiti and African nations “shithole countries.” -2017: Defends the confederacy just days after Charlottesville nazi riot -Ongoing: Targeted racist attacks against black women, black reporters, and black athletes. https://shareblue.com/trump-charlottesville-anniversary-white-supremacists-racism-hate-groups-grow/ …

Trump’s presidency has awakened and emboldened the racists among us, from Charlottesville to Covington. Racists recognize their own kind, and they see a kindred spirit in the White House.

I wrote about Trump’s white supremacist supporters back in 2017, and the words still ring just as true today. White supremacists view Trump as a vehicle for their racist ideology, and he has proven them right at every turn.

So @GOPChairwoman, maybe you had a sudden change of heart and started caring about racism because of Ralph Northam. If so, go ahead and condemn Trump’s racist history, as outlined in this thread — or admit you’re only pretending to care about racism to score political points.

 

SCOTUS & COURTS

 

#METOO & WOMEN’S RIGHTS

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

TRADE WAR, HEALTH CARE, AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS & RELIGION

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

ELECTIONS

 

Electoral College

 

Texas

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

SUPER BOWL

 

RUMOR MILL

Thread. Could this be Individual-1’s defense team, the FARA-registered firm, Alston-Bird? They specialize in defending RICO, foreign corruption…

PS. It’s Bob Dole’s old lobbying firm where they represented RUSSIA, Taiwan, Montenegro, etc.

Ketchum was the PR agency that got Vladimir Putin an OpEd in the New York Times ON SEPTEMBER 11, 2013 of all days.

In Spicy’s latest brilliant thread, note that Trump’s morning shitter tweets went insane the day this docket moved forward in 2018.

The firm in this sealed case employed Bob Dole, who worked for sanctioned Russian oligarch OLEG DERIPASKA, the guy who bought Trump’s house for double.

 

 

That’s it for the last few days.  There’s a lot that happened, but a lot that I didn’t go into.  This was a weird weekend, the kind where I want Monday to show up just so I can put it behind me.

If there’s one thing that pisses me off, it’s a cheater.  Whether it’s a foreign government exploiting our judicial system for corrupt purposes, or a bunch of partisan racists acting like one shitty act from 4 decades ago is somehow worse than the gigantic pile of racist shit they did last week, or just watching the Patriots win yet another championship, it can be pretty disheartening.  Especially while trying to be one of the good guys.

I hate being one of the good guys.  Being a good guy means fighting by a code.  That’s all well and good when all of the fighters follow that code, but when my opponent ignores the rules, why should I follow them?  Why should I restrict myself when the stakes are high and my opponent is cheating to win?

Take the Northam stuff for example.  I promised my wife I wouldn’t go too deep on this subject, but I’m sick and tired of watching the Democrats eat themselves because they have a conscience while the Republicans literally have White Nationalists, Neo-Nazis, open racists, and indicted felons holding high offices in this country.  It makes me sick with anger.  Where the fuck was their indignation when Ron DeSantis called his black opponent a monkey during the campaign trail?  Or their disgust with dead kids locked up in internment camps along the southern border? Or their confusion that the same person who said that Neo-Nazis were “very fine people” less than a year and a half ago, and wasn’t the worst or most racist thing he’s done in that time, is calling for a man to quit his job because of a picture taken back in the 1980’s in Virginia?

Oh, by the way, let’s not act like rural Virginia was always some bastion of racial equality.  The capital of the Confederacy was Richmond.  And the 80’s were a good time for racists.  Blackface was still somewhat accepted.  Anyone remember Soul Man?  It was  a movie about a white kid who… okay, even the description is cringeworthy nowadays, but this was the 80’s.

Soul Man is a 1986 American comedy film about a white man who temporarily darkens his skin in order to pretend to be black and qualify for a black-only scholarship at Harvard Law School. The film was directed by Steve Miner[2] and stars C. Thomas HowellRae Dawn ChongArye GrossJames Earl JonesLeslie NielsenJames B. Sikking, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.[2]

The title refers to the Sam and Dave song “Soul Man“. The original soundtrack includes a version performed by Sam Moore and Lou Reed.

That’s as far as I’m going to go with this today.  I look forward to Monday because it’s a new day.

By the way, Fuck the Patriots and Fuck the Rams.  That was the most boring Super Bowl I’ve watched in my lifetime.  It wasn’t so much a defensive showdown as it was like watching paint dry.  The only player I was excited to see was Johnny Hekker, the Rams punter.  When a team is so bland that their punter is the best performer, they suck.  At least I can go back to hating Stan Kroenke for fucking over St. Louis.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

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