Daily Check-In 03/19/2019

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Cohen’s Search Warrant

NEW YORK (AP) — Special counsel Robert Mueller began investigating President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, for fraud in his personal business dealings and for potentially acting as an unregistered foreign agent at least nine months before FBI agents in New York raided his home and office, according to documents released Tuesday.

The series of heavily redacted search warrant applications and other documents revealed new details about the timing and depth of the probe into Cohen, who ultimately pleaded guilty to tax fraud, bank fraud, campaign finance violations and lying to Congress.

The records show the inquiry into Cohen had been going on since July 2017 — far longer than previously known— and that a big part of its focus was Cohen’s taxi businesses and misrepresentations he made to banks as part of a scheme to relieve himself of some $22 million in debt he owed on taxi medallion loans.

Prosecutors were also interested in money that was flowing into Cohen’s bank accounts from consulting contracts he’d signed after Trump won office. Some of those payments were from companies with strong foreign ties, including a Korean aerospace company and Columbus Nova, an investment management firm affiliated with Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg.

Cohen was ultimately not charged with failing to register as a foreign agent.

Many sections of the records dealing with the campaign-finance violations Cohen committed when he paid two women to stay silent about alleged affairs they had with Trump were redacted. A judge ordered those sections to remain secret after prosecutors said they were still investigating campaign finance violations.

Lanny Davis, an attorney for Cohen, said the release of the search warrant “furthers his interest in continuing to cooperate and providing information and the truth about Donald Trump and the Trump organization to law enforcement and Congress.”

 

Oh boy.  I wonder if this is what drove Twitler over the edge this past weekend. (Daily Check-In 03/15/2019)

This won’t be a surprise to many readers here, but we finally received confirmation that Mueller was looking heavily into Michael Cohen’s work immediately after the Special Counselor’s investigation began.

This release shows that Mueller investigation into Cohen initially grabbed onto Cohen’s taxi medallion company that was essentially committing fraud to stay afloat, and that led to the campaign finance violations, FARA violations, and all of the other crimes that he took part in.  Taxi medallions are used in major cities to denote “official” career cab drivers, and are a racket.  Literally, they are barely legal on the best days.  A cab driver would pay tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars for a medallion, then sell that to the next driver.  This worked well until a couple years ago when Uber and Lyft entered the picture.  Michael Cohen ran companies that owned these medallions, sort of like a broker.  The problems came when the value of the individual medallions dropped like a rock, but he owed loans based on the original values.  Think of it like being underwater on a car loan, but a lot worse.

The scariest part of this is once again what we don’t see.  19 pages of redacted text going into explicit details about the campaign finance scheme.  This is what Cohen’s going to jail for.  Why redact it?

As the judge said, it’s part of an ongoing investigation.  If Cohen pled guilty, he’s no longer being investigated.  The only things left are his co-conspirators and their companies.  Per previous reporting, that list is the following people.

Trump, Trump Jr., Allan Weisselberg, David Pecker, Dylan Howard, Keith Davidson, Trump Org, and the Trump Campaign.  Allan, the Trump Org CFO, was granted limited immunity for his testimony and evidence against Cohen.  The same with David Pecker and Dylan Howard of AMI.  Keith Davidson was the lawyer that represented Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, but has said he’s willing to provide all of the information he has on this situation to investigators.  That only leaves people and groups with Trump in the name.  And keeping a file redacted like this is exactly what a court would do if there were sealed indictments on file.

What makes this brilliantly ironic is that the first attempt to get Cohen’s mails from Google didn’t work.  Even though Cohen’s in America, and he’s using Gmail, his account information was stored on servers overseas.  Because of that, Google refused to hand over his information.  This would have stayed this way until Trump signed one of the bills to prevent a shutdown.  Buried in the spending bill was a law that would allow law enforcement to get electronic information on Americans from overseas servers.  As soon as that was passed, Mueller’s team applied for a new warrant, and they saw ALLLLLLLLLL of Cohen’s illegal activities.

Trump signed the very piece of legislation which will destroy him.  Beautiful, ain’t it?

 

Rosenstein Sticking Around

I disagree with the framing of “Mueller report delivery” currently being repeated…Why do we believe Barr hasn’t already received a report? How would we know? At a minimum I imagine Barr has been briefed in detail. I see Rosenstein staying as a sign.

Mueller report delivery is likely a little anti-climatic as to how its being discussed publicly, it won’t be carried on a chariot into the DoJ with a big ceremony. AG Barr took office a month ago, after getting settled, I’d imagine he wanted a FULL update on the SCO investigation

I’d guess by week 3/4, Barr in discussions with SCO types of reports to be delivered, see here for good perspective we’ve already seen key departures SCO in both investigators & prosecutors, signs SCO investigation splintered into multiple jurisdictions

AG Barr if he’s not already received some form of report, I imagine would see it soon, & then he needs and deserves the right to think through what to do about 1 of the most important investigations in our nation’s history. I’d think a month at least to review & think it through

Barr has to make huge decisions affecting institutions & national security, how much to reveal publicly vis-a-vis Russia, what to further investigate, whether a conspiracy charge should be levied or not, and has 3 audiences (POTUS, Congress, Public) all wanting different things

I don’t think anyone right now, to include AG Barr, knows exactly closure of Mueller investigation will be, when report revealed, but a guess might be. Report delivered AG = now or soon, AG decides strategy = April, Congress demands see it = May/June, Public sees “some” = summer

in conclusion, I hope we let our institutions and their leaders take their time, so they can do what’s right. Barr, Rosenstein and Mueller are the only ones that know all the details to make the best decision for the country. Let’s hope, whatever the outcome, they get it right

Regarding Rosenstein staying as a sign, I see it as, Rosenstein offered to leave let Barr pick his own team (normal) & cause he’s seen enough crossfire. Barr arrives, reviews facts 1st time & situation (“wow, this is complicated”) sees need Rosenstein stay help sort things out

Sure Barr criticizes Mueller appointment, Rosenstein said Barr hadn’t seen all the facts, now he has, & unlike our President and Congressmen – Barr, Rosenstein, Mueller are professionals & can disagree at times but still work with each other for the common good

The non-conspiratorial part of me thinks that this is pretty standard.  Barr’s DAG nominee hasn’t been confirmed yet, so the job would go to someone to act as DAG until they’re approved by the Senate, so why go through that hassle for a few weeks or a couple months?

The other part of me thinks that Barr wants Rosenstein to stick around until this mess is further along.  He knows he’ll need a fall guy when the shit hit the fan, and what better fall guy than Rod, the man that led the investigation from the beginning?

 

Deutsche Bank

Trump is a malignant narcissist who built his entire image around being rich and powerful.  Those lies fuel his cult.  When his lies are exposed for what they are, and he’s shown to be the charlatan that he is, how many of his cult will stick around?

Daily Check-In 03/18/2019 showed some of the lengths that DB went to to continuously give Trump more and more money.

 

 

Mueller’s Team

The Justice Department says a senior prosecutor is leaving Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team, the latest sign that Mueller’s probe into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government is winding down. Special Counsel spokesperson Peter Carr confirmed to CBS News that Zainab Ahmad, a top terrorism prosecutor, concluded her detail with the Special Counsel’s office. Ahmad will continue to represent the office on “specific pending matters that were assigned to her during her detail.”

Ahmad, until recently an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, has prosecuted more than a dozen international terrorist suspects, traveling all over the world to find witnesses and gather evidence. She has yet to lose a single case she has pursued against an international terrorist suspect.

Zainab Ahmad is returning to the Eastern District of New York.  Remember what I said about the Justice Hydra? (Daily Check-In 04/03/2018)  This is what it looks like.  US Attorneys going to different jurisdictions with their knowledge and likely with their case loads.

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

 

CONGRESS

 

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

 

TRAITOR TOTS

“Dipshit Cowpoke” Devin Nunes

Not only is parody an accepted and protected form of speech, but Devin Nunes is, unfortunately, a public person.  That makes the bar for defamation so ridiculously high that this will get laughed out of court.

As far as the ‘shadowban conspiracy’ goes, Twitter has cracked down repeatedly on bots.  They do a bot purge every so often.  When they do, there is a direct correlation between accounts that were supported by those bots seeing a drop in their retweets and likes.  This is because the bots that were retweeting them were deleted.

Devin Nunes is the perfect cross between an old person who can’t tech, someone who bought into their own manufactured press hype, and a precious right-wing snowflake who got his feelings hurt.  Twitter will show that Devin’s account was supported by Russian bot farms that were deleted, and once they were deleted, no real people were sharing his tweets.

 

CONWAY

The Conway’s are trying to play both sides against the middle.  They’re trying to keep both their MAGA and NeverTrump street cred.  I don’t buy it.

 

FIGHTING BACK

EMERGENCIES, SHUTDOWN & IMMIGRATION

I included the list in yesterday’s post. (Daily Check-In 03/18/2019) Under Wall Project PDF.

 

RACISM, RIGHT WING TERRORISM, & WHITE NATIONALISM

 

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

 

STUDENT ISSUES

Operation Varsity Blues

 

Stupid Ideas About Student Loans

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS & RELIGION

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

ELECTIONS

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

Bernie Sanders

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Tuesday.  Damn, another crazy day.  Remember when 2 big stories breaking in a day was a cause for freakout?  Pepperidge Farms Remembers.

I want to address something real quick about editing tweets.  Ever since I decided to copy the content of the tweet into the links I post, I’ve always been at odds with how to address edits and changes to them.  Typically, what I’ll do is leave the original as is, but there is the occasional edit I’ll make, but only for typos that the original poster pointed out themselves.  For example, the tweet from Kaz listing the states where the immigrant blacksites are located originally said AK (Alaska) instead of AR (Arkansas).  She corrected herself in a reply, but I edited the tweet itself.  Going forward, I think I’ll notate where and when I make corrections.

For the record, I think I’ve done that less than a dozen times in the past two years, but it still bothers me when I do that.  I feel like I’m changing their words without their permission, even though they admitted it.  I’ll mark the tweet somehow going forward.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

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