Daily Check-In 12/12/2018

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Cohen Gets 3 Years

“Today is the day that I am getting my freedom back,” Cohen told U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley, a Bill Clinton appointee who minutes later handed down the prison sentence. “I have been living in a personal and mental incarceration ever since the day that I accepted the offer to work for a real estate mogul whose business acumen that I deeply admired.”

Ouch.  I wonder what the Special Counselor’s team had to say about Michael Cohen.

Special Counsel’s Office prosecutor Jeannie S. Rhee said that Cohen provided “credible” and “valuable information” regarding “any links between a campaign and a foreign government.” “Mr. Cohen has sought to tell us the truth,” Rhee said. “There’s only so much we can say about the particulars at this time, given our ongoing investigation,” Rhee said.

Lordy, lordy, lordy.  Former Deputy Finance Chair of the Republican National Committee and personal attorney to President Donald J. Trump Michael Cohen has been sentenced to 3 years in federal prison for tax evasion, campaign finance violations, and lying to Congress.  But that’s not the interesting part.

What’s interesting is that the makings of a solid case against Donald Trump exists for multiple felonies, and SDNY sounds like they’re ready to pull the trigger on going after his orange ass.  And that might be the least of his problems.

First, Cohen directly said that he committed the campaign finance violations and related tax evasions, at the direction of and in coordination with Donald Trump.  The main crimes he was charged with was organizing payoffs for Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels back in 2016.  These payoffs used campaign money to keep these women quiet about affairs with Trump back in 2005.  In both cases, money was laundered from the Trump Presidential Campaign through middlemen to the women with the caveat that they couldn’t talk about their experiences.  Karen’s payoff went through AMI and the National Enquirer, while Stormy’s went though an LLC that Cohen set up for this specific cause, Essential Consultants LLC.  That last one bit Cohen in the ass when he used that shell company for selling “access” to the President as a lobbyist of sorts.  (Daily Check-In 11/29/2018Daily Check-In 12/11/2018Daily Check-In 08/21/2018Daily Check-In 01/12/2018)

 

National Enquirer

Next, David Pecker and AMI, the publishers behind the National Enquirer, are cooperating with federal prosecutors in exchange for immunity from the Cohen case.  Pecker has a safe full of embarrassing info on Trump which included the McDougal story.  It’s almost a certainty that Pecker gave the Feds the contents of that safe so he could walk away. (Daily Check-In 07/27/2018)

How does this get worse for Trump?

 

Cooperation with Congress

Michael Cohen was in the room where it happened.  He organized, handled, and coordinated activities between the Trump Organization, the Trump Campaign, and all of the ne’er-do-wells that wanted to work with them, like the Russian government, Cambridge Analytica, or the National Enquirer.  And he’s willing to testify before Congress about all he knows.

 

Hannity Deletes Cohen Tweets

Trump’s not the only person shitting bricks right now.  One of Cohen’s other clients spent most of the day deleting tweets.  Sure, it could be completely coincidental that a man whose lawyer was getting sentenced in federal court tried to delete tweets that tied him to various efforts to obfuscate his dealings, but if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn for sale.

 

Implications

U.S. Attorneys said in no uncertain terms that Donald Trump committed crimes with Michael Cohen.  They can’t say that unless they’ve got the proof and are ready to use it.

Remember when Cohen’s shit was seized, and there was this big hubbub about Cohen recording all of his conversations with Trump?  Only a small fraction of Cohen’s work was deemed as privileged information, and then Trump blows up his confidentiality anyway.  The feds have those recordings.

 

Flynn

Something that gets lost in the shuffle with this whole “Lying to Investigators” story is the caliber of the lie.  They’re not bringing criminal charges for forgetting that he sent an email when he said he didn’t, or said he ate steak when he had chicken, or lied to his buddies about banging some chick he brought home from the bar when instead he went home and jerked off to the underwear section of the weekly Walmart ad.  No, they caught him lying repeatedly in the same conversation about a pretty big deal.  It’s akin to asking a husband if he cheated on his wife and he said no a dozen times, even though he was a dumbass and streamed it to PornHub.

What freaked out the investigators the most was that here was the fucking NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.  They should be on the same side.  And Flynn was the head of the DIA, one of the major intelligence organizations.  Being the head of an intel group should make him paranoid AF.  Instead, the thought never crossed his mind that someone might be bugging the phone line of the Russian Ambassador right after all of the national intelligence organizations signed on to a report that they attacked the United States.  And cops, feds, and investigators don’t like to ask questions they don’t already know the answer to.  If Flynn said “Yeah, I talked to that fat fuck and told him to chill the fuck out and let’s talk when DT’s in house”, then the investigators would be cool with that.  Instead, Flynn lied when he didn’t have to lie, and dug himself even deeper.  When they looked into his story more, they uncovered a trash pile of treasonous activities.

 

Butina

Looks like we’re waiting until Thursday to hear from Red Sparrow.

 

Simona says she is looking forward to pursuing a Hollywood career now that she and her man are ‘at the end, I hope, of a dark period’. She’d already landed a part as Brigitte Bardot in an unfinished film called Affairs on Capri, directed by a British man called Paul Wiffen.

Wiffen, it turns out, is the former Chairman of UKIP London, a contributor to Russia Today, a fierce opponent of George Soros, and somebody who once attended a party with Anna Chapman, the former Russian intelligence agent turned media personality. That background will do nothing to quell rumors that somehow Simone Mangiante Papadopoulos is part of a sinister Kremlin plot

Funny how it is the international relations expert from Italy who speaks with a Russian accent and lied on her passport suddenly thinks that she’s an actress, and is staring in a play financed by someone with suspicious ties to Russia.

On second thought, scratch that.  This suddenly makes sense.

 

 

NEW YORK, EMOLUMENTS, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

Here’s your friendly reminder that a President cannot pardon state crimes.

 

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

Calls for Violence

People underestimate these calls for violence, but think about it like this.

A puppet madman dictator wannabe with delusions of grandeur and has rallied the most deplorable members of society to his cause while creating a cult-like atmosphere of fanatical dipshits who, coincidentally, are both afraid of everything and armed to the teeth, calls upon his cult to rise up and attack those who seek to unseat Dear Leader from his golden toilet.  Do we forget the MAGABomber? (Daily Check-In 10/24/2018)

This is why when the case is made to remove Trump, the worst and most vile evidence has to be released.  There will still be some crazies out there, but the first step to avoiding violence is breaking the will to do so.  Nothing will do that quite like treason, theft, ties to murder, human trafficking, and pedophilia.

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

 

KHASHOGGI & SAUDI ARABIA

 

SCOTUS & COURTS

 

#METOO & WOMEN’S RIGHTS

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

“Career prosecutors here in New York have evidence that the president of the United States committed a felony by ordering and paying Michael Cohen to break the law,” Napolitano said while speaking on Fox News. “How do we know that? They told that to the federal judge. Under the rules, they can’t tell that to the federal judge unless they actually have that hardcore evidence. Under the rules, they can’t tell that to the federal judge unless they intend to do something with that evidence.”

When Fox News says Trump’s fucked, Trump’s fucked.  And he’s fucked.

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS & RELIGION

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

CONGRESS

 

ELECTIONS

 

North Carolina

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Wednesday.  Damn.  Thursday’s gonna be busy too, with Butina pleading guilty to conspiracy and the like.  Plus, we’re hearing that Mueller is looking into Trump’s ties in the Middle East.  Makes the Grand Bargain sound more likely all of the time.

The walls are closing in, and things are accelerating.  We’ll probably get a lull around the holidays, but the stream of incoming news feels like it’s accelerating to something big.  Something that will shake people to their core.  Remember, most people aren’t paying attention to the details and only get a piece of the picture.  Once they get all of it, things could get ugly.  Hopefully, it’ll get ugly in a good way.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 12/11/2018

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Flynn and Manafort

I didn’t have time to dig into this in depth, but his sentencing is scheduled for December 18th.  Both Mueller’s team and Flynn’s team argue for no jail time for this crime due to how much he cooperated.  We’ll see how this goes.

Butina

Remember, she has ties to EVERYONE.

 

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

 

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

Shutdown and Temper Tantrum

Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight, and don’t bring a Pence to a Pelosi fight.

Here’s the setup: Trump & Pence invite Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer over to the White House for negotiations to avoid another government shutdown.  Trump wants $5 Billion for his border wall, and since he’s the shittiest businessman to ever fail up, he won’t accept anything less than that.  During the negotiations, Trump invites the Press into the Oval Office.  Tangerine Tojo thinks this will pressure Nancy and Chuck into caving into his demands.  Instead, he gets his ass handed to him by two expert fighters.  They proded Trump into saying, damn near yelling that he’d be “proud to shut down the government” over the wall funding.

Trump got played like a fiddle.  Nancy emasculated him by saying that the wall must be about his manhood, Chuck let him screw himself, and Pence sat on the chair like the guy at the party who smoked too much.

Trump.  World’s Worst Negotiator.

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

Epstein

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

 

KHASHOGGI & SAUDI ARABIA

 

SCOTUS & COURTS

 

#METOO & WOMEN’S RIGHTS

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

Google at Congress

 

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

Comey is, or at least was until recently, a Republican.

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

STUDENT ISSUES

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS & RELIGION

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

CONGRESS

 

ELECTIONS

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

Looks like someone’s a bit nervous.  Good.

 

That’s it for Tuesday.  I was busy most of the night, so the editorializing is a little on the light side.  Sometimes life happens.

Cohen’s sentencing and Maria’s plea deal are scheduled for Wednesday.  Let’s see how this goes down.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 12/10/2018

Monday, December 10, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Butina

Well, ain’t that interesting.  Maria Butina, the Red Sparrow, is about to plead guilty and become a cooperating witness for the United States government.

Maria, who was arrested on Daily Check-In 07/16/2018 for being an unregistered agent of Russia.  She spent the previous couple years developing backchannel communications between Russia and the Republican Party through the NRA and Religious Right organizations.  She has met with everyone from Donnie Jr. to Congressmen, Senators, and leaders in the PAC community.  She was able to help pull enough strings to make sure that her “boyfriend” Paul Erickson called in favors to keep Mitt Romney from being appointed Secretary of State.  She helped connect Russians like Alexander Torshin, an accused money launderer, together with senior figures in the Republican Party through the National Rifle Association, in the year where they donated between $30 and $70 million to candidates from a part of their organization where they aren’t required to identify their donors.

According to reports, she’s prepared to plead guilty on Wednesday and become a cooperating witness.

If I were David Clarke, Scott Walker, Rick Santorum, anyone in the NRA or National Prayer Breakfast conference, or John Bolton, I’d be pretty nervous right now.

 

Rudy

I talked about his yesterday (Daily Check-In 12/07/2018), but it’s good to see that someone is going after Rudy for this.

 

Round-Up

 

Abandonment Issues

Like I said yesterday, I want to see how long this lasts.  If this survives a couple news cycles, be prepared for Individual-1 to have a lot fewer friends come springtime.

 

Impeachment and Indictment Talk

 

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

 

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

 

TRAITOR TOTS

Stories this weekend lead to unmistakeable conclusion that Kushner is compromised (debt) and immoral (“weather the storm” re Saudis), but also that he’s in deep trouble. Both IC and LE communities are making that clear. Kushner is going to have one hell of a week. #No1inlaw1/

Here is story. nytimes.com/2018/12/08/wor3/

I think those who say he does good work in criminal justice reform have run their course. The president could care less. And Kushner can no longer represent a noble cause. People are complicated. But Kushner is complicit in serious criminality now against the country. 4/

That Kushner wanted Comey fired wasn’t his original sin. It began long before that. And for two years this country has been witness to Kushner covering up political, election and financial malfeasance, let alone murder. 5/

He must know options closing. He may be arrogant but the Kushners and Trumps are keenly aware of self preservation. Will the Kushner/Trump alliance hold? God knows. But Jared has been selling us (our democracy, our tax money, our security) for long enuf. Its Kushner time. 6/6

 

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

 

KHASHOGGI & SAUDI ARABIA

 

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

 

STUDENT LOANS

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS & RELIGION

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

One of the things that made me stop in my tracks and do a hard reset on self-driving or even semi-autonomous cars is when someone pointed out that they could detect and prevent vehicle attacks like James Fields’s.

I’ve talked before about the ethics of autonomous vehicles, and how the Trolley Problem isn’t even a real-world issue. Because the ethical issue underlying the Trolley Problem is not the choice of the innocent bystander, but the existence of the amoral actor.

What we have with the rise of vehicle attacks is actually the closest real-world scenario we’ll ever get to the Trolley Problem, and the solution is still the same: fix the bad actor.

But we can actually get to the point where the car can detect a crowd and prevent the driver from driving into it. Or at least prevent the driver from fleeing.

 

CONGRESS

Hatch dismisses allegations of Trump crimes over hush money. Asked if he had any concerns, Hatch said: “The Democrats will do anything to hurt this president.” Told it was alleged by SDNY, Hatch told me: “Okay but I don’t care; all I can say is he’s doing a good job as President”

Hatch added this when asked if he was concerned about allegations. “No because I don’t think he was involved in crimes but even then, you know, you can make anything a crime under the current laws; if you want to you can blow it way out of proportion you can do a lot of things.”

Hatch also told me: “President Trump before he became president that’s another world. Since he’s become president this economy has charged ahead. … And I think we ought to judge him on that basis other than trying to drum up things from the past that may or may not be true.”

Grassley, the Senate Judiciary chairman, similarly dismisses the federal prosecutors’ argument: “They based it on what a liar says, so it hurts the credibility of it.”

 

ELECTIONS

Florida

 

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Monday.  To be honest, I’m tired.  Very tired.  There’s a part of me that wants to take time off, but screw that, there’s a job to do, and this week is promising to be explosive.

With the Butina plea deal, SDNY calling Trump an unindicted co-conspirator, and Flynn, Cohen, and Manafort due back in court this week, it feels like we’re heading into the home stretch.  Really, we’re maybe a third or halfway through this battle.  It’s a long battle, but it’s worth it.  That doesn’t mean I don’t want to take a few days off to rest and relax, but I’m not good at resting or relaxing.  I don’t like sitting still, laying down for too long unless I’m sleeping, or generally not doing something constructive.  That’s just how I’m wired.

I updated the Daily Check-In Collection last night.  I’ve been due to update the site and do some basic maintenance for quite some time.  I took a half-hour on that last night.  I still have a lot to do around here, but at least I got that done.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 12/07/2018

Friday, December 7, 2018 and the weekend

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Cohen

I have been reading the Cohen sentencing memorandum, thinking “Yeah, ok…yeah, ok..” Not much of a reaction. Clearly Cohen, Trump et. al. are smarmy as hell. Then…OMIGOD! Trump Organization $ laundering, illegal campaign contributions, done in coordination with…someone..

2…it is jaw dropping. If Trump knew ANYTHING about this (which Cohen had said he does) he must not only be impeached, he must go to prison. Cohen borrowed $130,000 from his HELOC, washed it through a bogus corporation, paid Stormy Daniels. Ok, knew that. THEN, he goes back….

3…to the Trump Organization, submits a bill for CAMPAIGN expenses. He also submitted a $50,000 bill for campaign related IT expenses. The company then pays him $180,000, rounds it up so he breaks even on taxes (to $360,000), THEN kicks in a $60,000 bonus for $420,000. To….

4…disguise the nature of the payment – one massive payout in an illegal campaign contribution from Trump Organization – they break it up into multiple payments distributed over the year of $35,000 each. This is conspiracy, money laundering, campaign finance violations, fraud…

5…depending on how it reported on the books, it could also be tax fraud. If Trump knew ANYTHING about this payout, he is a criminal. When Fox bleats “nothing about collusion” it would be as if they said on B. Clinton “nothing about Lewinsky, ignore the bank robbery in there.”

So, where do we begin?

On Friday, there were three major court filings in Trumpland.

The first from SDNY was their sentencing memo, where they recommended nailing Michael Cohen to the wall, then setting the wall on fire.  Figuratively, not literally.  They said that while he was somewhat cooperative, he didn’t go all-in and therefore he can pound sand.  For his counts of tax evasion and campaign finance violations, they’re recommending a substantial prison sentence between 3 and 4 years.  They described in meticulous detail how he had broken multiple laws in coordination with and at the direction of “Individual-1”.

Who is Individual-1?

Individual1

As we saw in the August Guilty Plea (Daily Check-In 08/21/2018), Individual-1 is none other than Donald J. Trump, President of the United States.

The Department of Justice just said that Trump committed multiple felonies regarding campaign finance violations.  Those violations were in regards to covering up the payouts in 2016 to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.

But that’s not even the worst part of the Cohen news.

The second filling came from Robert Mueller’s team, where they recommend a lighter sentence for this guilty plea for lying to Congress, and that it could be served concurrently with his other prison term.  They pointed out how forthcoming he’s been in regards to the Russian Investigation, and how much he’s helped them.  They even said that Michael Cohen reported an attempt by the Russians to strike “political synergy” with the Trump Campaign back in November 2015.

Wait, what?  The Russians reached out to Trump back in 2015?  And Cohen told Trump about it?  That’s changes things.  That means that according to this timeline Trump was approached by the Russians after they hacked the DNC and allegedly the RNC too.  The Russians wanted to work with Trump, and he wanted to work with them.

This is Collusion.  This is Conspiracy.  And this ain’t even the worst news of the weekend.

 

THREAD 1/Don’t worry, we’re going to do a deep dive in the next episode, but I wanted to clarify that while the Cohen and Flynn documents are sentencing recommendations, the Manafort document is the support to breach the plea agreement…

2/ Basically, the Manafort document is a “here’s how Manafort lied and why we’re blowing up the plea deal” and not “Here’s all the crimes Manafort committed”. Those crimes are still unknown and I think we will find out in superseding indictments…

3/ March 5th is his sentencing for the charges he’s been found guilty on, but if he’s hit with superseding indictments for conspiracy, he will have a chance to plea to those and we could go back to trial…#beans#conjecture

 

 

Manafort

Later on in the evening on Friday, Mueller’s team filed a submission against Paul Manafort as to why they’re cancelling the plea deal.  They laid out a ton of information outlining how often they met, how much Manafort participated, and the basis for his lies.

The submission details 12 meetings between Manafort and Mueller’s team, along with 2 Grand Jury appearances.  3 of those meetings were before his agreement in September (Daily Check-In 09/14/2018).  During this time, they discovered that Paul was lying to them on several material matters.  He actively lied about the following five major areas.

  1. Interactions with Konstantin Kilimnik
  2. Kilimnik’s role in the Obstruction Conspiracy
  3. Payment to a firm working with Manafort
  4. Another DOJ Investigation
  5. Contacts with the Administration

A lot of the first point is redacted, but as I literally read between the lines it looks like Manafort connected Konstantin, or “Kostya from the GRU”, to someone else in the conspiracy, and Manafort lied about those interactions.  He also likely lied about his connections to Oleg Deripaska.

The second part was Manafort lying about his witness tampering charges.  He insisted that Kostya wasn’t involved in the witness tampering, but then changed his story.  Daily Check-In 06/06/2018 and Daily Check-In 06/08/2018 covered those events.

The third point is about a payment from March 2017 and is heavily redacted, but was likely covered in his tax evasion trial.

We don’t know who the target of the investigation in the fourth point is, nor what his lie was.

The fifth point is the most dangerous to the Trump Administration.  By a long shot.  Manafort claims he didn’t have any contacts with any members of the Trump Administration while they were working there.  He had contacts, but either before or after they left.  He also said that he had no direct or indirect communications.  He had a text conversation on May 26, 2018 where he authorized a person to speak with an Administration official on his behalf.  (Daily Check-In 05/29/2018)  That was Memorial Day weekend, and he was battling Mueller in court that weekend to get his hands on classified info behind the search warrants into his stuff.  He also was in direct communication with an Administration official until February 2018.  My guess is his contact left the White House then.

 

Comey

I’ve been following this thread for a while.  ( Daily Check-In 02/13/2018, Timing, others), but as a tweet I saw over the weekend said, there’s a Pulitzer waiting for the person who uncovers Rudy’s ties to the FBI and how they leaked to him.

Here’s the short version:  Rudy has a lot of friends in the FBI NYC Field Office.  These ties go back to when he was the U.S. Attorney for New York, then it’s Mayor.  Not only are they friends with Rudy, they hated Hilary Clinton.  Like, REALLY hated her.  Even though they didn’t work on the HRC email case, they were convinced that she should go down for it.  At some point in September to October 2016, months after Anthony Weiner was arrested and his laptop seized and scanned, rumors float around that some of HRC’s emails ended up on it.  Anthony’s wife at the time was Huma Abedin, Campaign Chair for HRC.  Supposedly, she used that laptop a couple times to check her email, and in this process, mails that HRC forwarded to Huma ended up on the laptop.  This only works if she launched Outlook, Mail.App, or another mail program which downloads mailboxes.

Anyway, sometime before the election, this news made it’s way to James Comey, who had already been dragged through the mud for how he handled the HRC mail fiasco earlier by making it a press conference and spectacle when he said they wouldn’t press charges.  What really screwed him was saying if anything new arose, he’d inform Congress about it.  This lead to the hypothesis that GRU hackers were able to get HRC’s emails on the laptop through catfishing Weiner, but I still take that claim with a grain of salt.

However they ended up on the laptop, they were there, and only a handful of people knew.  The FBI techs who handled the laptop, the agents in New York close by, Comey and a couple agents who worked on the case and …. Rudy Giuliani?

In the interim between Comey finding out about this in the background and him announcing to Congress the reopening of the investigation, Rudy goes on television talking about how an “October Surprise” is coming out of the FBI New York office.  And he didn’t just say it once, but several times while stumping for Trump on television.  Something wasn’t right.

There had been rumors floating around for years regarding Rudy having friends in the FBI Office, but for the most part it seemed relatively benign.  In hindsight, especially taking into account LB’s work on the mob, his activities were anything but benign.

Comey asked for an investigation to be conducted on the New York office, but he was fired before it was completed.  That was almost a year and a half ago.

 

So where do we go from here?  Good question.  I’ll answer that down in the Coda.

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

Epstein

 

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

DaGoz [score hidden] 

Holy shit, you aren’t kidding. For those who didn’t see, here’s his Twitter feed, arranged into a more coherent(?) format:

Robert Mueller and Leakin’ Lyin’ James Comey are Best Friends, just one of many Mueller Conflicts of Interest. And bye the way, wasn’t the woman in charge of prosecuting Jerome Corsi (who I do not know) in charge of “legal” at the corrupt Clinton Foundation? A total Witch Hunt…

….Will Robert Mueller’s big time conflicts of interest be listed at the top of his Republicans only Report. Will Andrew Weissman’s horrible and vicious prosecutorial past be listed in the Report. He wrongly destroyed people’s lives, took down great companies, only to be….

…..overturned, 9-0, in the United States Supreme Court. Doing same thing to people now. Will all of the substantial & many contributions made by the 17 Angry Democrats to the Campaign of Crooked Hillary be listed in top of Report. Will the people that worked for the Clinton….

….Foundation be listed at the top of the Report? Will the scathing document written about Lyin’ James Comey, by the man in charge of the case, Rod Rosenstein (who also signed the FISA Warrant), be a big part of the Report? Isn’t Rod therefore totally conflicted? Will all of….

…the lying and leaking by the people doing the Report, & also Bruce Ohr (and his lovely wife Molly), Comey, Brennan, Clapper, & all of the many fired people of the FBI, be listed in the Report? Will the corruption within the DNC & Clinton Campaign be exposed?..And so much more!

From a Reddit post I wrote earlier

The Justice League. Here’s a write-up I did of the lawyers working on the Special Counselor’s case.

In his tweetstorm, Tangerine Tojo attacked two members of the team specifically; Jeanine Rhee and Andrew Weissman. I’m not surprised at the attacks at Rhee, but it’s very interesting that he decided to go after Andrew Weissman directly. Weissman is THE expert on money laundering and financial crimes. He led the Enron Task Force from 2002-2005. Before his time breaking board members, he took down mob bosses for the Gambino, Genovese, and other crime families.

I wonder if Trump received some bad news last night?

 

TRAITOR TOTS

Pence Rumors

 

Tillerson

 

 

FIGHTING BACK

  1. Today I did the annual story on holiday decorations at the Governor’s residence. I’ve done it every year, for years. A very light but very fun story. Every year my reporting partner was Wendi Winters. This year, it was Selene. Wendi was murdered in June.

Joshua McKerrow added,

Donald J. TrumpVerified account @realDonaldTrump

FAKE NEWS – THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!

  1. Selene did a great job, of course. And I really thought I could hold it together. I moved through the rooms with my tripod, focusing on the trees and ornaments. All I could think about was Wendi. I felt like she was with me, that she was actually present.
  2. Not in a “ghost” sense, I hope she has moved on to a better world then Capital feature stories : ) But she was there in my mind. I could almost hear her voice echoing through the empty rooms. “How many cookies are you making this year?”, her favorite question..
  3. I was ok til the very end. Interviewed the butler, like I have every year, and when we were done she took me aside and whispered, “I really miss Wendi. Next year I’m going to name a cookie for her.”
  4. And that was it. The tears started, and I’m standing in the Maryland Governors home weeping to myself about my dead friend. She died in The Capital newsroom on June 28th, shot by a man who wanted to kill every journalist he could.
  5. We don’t know what set him off yet. After years of silence. What finally pushed him far enough that he loaded his shotgun, drove the 40 minutes from Laurel, parked his car, walked through the busy lobby, barricaded our back exit, blasted the simple fragile glass door.
  6. Five people died, Rebecca, Wendi, Gerald, Rob, John. I always type their names in the order I think they were killed. I think, Rebecca first, at the door. Wendi charged him. Gerald and Rob were trapped in their cubicle. John, trying to get out the blocked exit.
  7. Wendi was no ones enemy.
  8. Every year Wendi made us all Oreo holiday cookies. except for the one year she made us jarred pesto. The question came up yesterday in the newsroom, who is going to make the cookies this year? Selene spoke up, I will.
  9. I don’t have a wrap-up to this story. I cried on and off all day. I miss her very much. I’m comforted that in a way she’s still with me, when I do the work that she loved to do. Journalism. Patriotic, truth telling, American. We’ll keep on doing the work.
  10. And if we die for it, someone else will pick up the threads, and report on the holiday decorations at the Governor’s house. Its what we do. -30-

 

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

I’m tired in a way I can’t quite explain. I’m heartbroken in ways that will take me a book to describe. There has been so much, for so long. And when this trial finally ends, I think all I’m going to do is sob, and be grateful for the release it brings. We still await a verdict

There’s a thing I haven’t talked a lot about. I’ve told parts of the story before. But maybe I’ve never framed it like this. Or maybe I’ve never made it explicit enough.

I was close to the attack. I know exactly where. There are photos and videos of me. I’ve said before I knew it was an attack right away.

I also experienced the violence of the torch mob the night before. And for those of you who have been following me since before the events, you know I spent a lot of time screaming about what was coming.

Because of that outspoken activism, I had been receiving dozens of death threats leading up to the event. And because of the violence the night before, my wife asked me to promise her I wouldn’t go near the front that day. I didn’t. But I ended up on the front when it came to us.

Because of those threats, I was armed. And because I knew it was an attack, the first thing in my head was that he might have a gun, that he might jump out and start shooting.

I was maybe 10-15 feet away from where he ended up, on the driver’s side. Not a lot of people between me and him. And that meant that if he did come out and start shooting, I was maybe the only person in position to shoot back.

For some people, August 12 was the day they almost died. For me it was the day I almost had to kill. And that leaves a mark on your soul, y’know? To be put in that place. And to be certain you would have.

We all tried so hard to save so many lives that day. You have no idea. You have no idea how much work was put in to trying to prevent the violence and the bloodshed.

When you work so hard to prevent violence and terror the last thing you want is to be forced into a position where that’s the only option left. It feels like failure.

That’s the trauma that I carry from that day. If I had been just a little bit closer to his car, James Fields might not have been here to stand trial. That’s what his trial means to me. That I didn’t have to.

 

 

KHASHOGGI & SAUDI ARABIA

 

SCOTUS & COURTS

 

#METOO & WOMEN’S RIGHTS

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

Barr

 

Pruitt

 

Nauert

 

Kelly

NEW: White House chief of staff John Kellyn was interviewed by special counsel Mueller’s team in recent months, per 3 sources w/ knowledge of the matter. Kelly answered Q’s as part of the obstruction probe, focusing on Trump’s attempt to fire Mueller.

Kelly responded to Mueller’s questions after White House lawyers initially objected to the request to do the interview earlier this summer. Kelly is widely expected to leave his position in the coming days & is **no longer on speaking terms with Trump**

White House officials have repeatedly and consistently claimed that they’ve cooperated fully with Mueller’s probe. But per : “The White House counsel’s office initially fought [Mueller’s] request.” Emmett Flood reportedly wanted to make sure “ground rules” were negotiated.

One of the older rumors was about John Kelly.  When he leaves, it’s endgame.  He was sticking around to make sure Trump didn’t do anything momentously stupid like start a war with France or launch a nuke at the Moon.  Supposedly, his leaving means that everything is over but the crying.  Once again, take that with a grain of salt.

 

Ayers

Nick Ayers turned down the job for Presidential Chief of Staff, presumably because he’s already accepted a position to run a Dark Money PAC.  Which says a lot about how bad being Chief of Staff to Trump is.  The CoS position is a kingmaker job.  People who do this are typically set up for life.  Unless the POTUS is an unrepentant assclown like Trump.  In which case, this job is an albatross around the neck of one’s career.

Of course, it could also be that Nick doesn’t want to answer questions about how he made $54 million through his “political connections” by his mid-thirties.

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

STUDENT LOANS

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

CONGRESS

 

ELECTIONS

 

Wisconsin

 

North Carolina

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

GEORGE H.W. BUSH

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

Puff, Puff, Pass

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

 

 

That’s it for the last few days.  Owww.  That’s a lot for 72 hours.  Hell, that’s a lot for a month.  But where do we go from here?

Keep an eye out over the next couple weeks for who says what and when.  I know that’s vague and cryptic, so let me clarify that a bit.

How much does the narrative change among Trump’s enemies, the media, and his allies, and his co-conspirators is of great importance.  Trump has now been named by his own Justice Department as an unindicted co-conspirator in multiple felonies at the very least.  Serious conversations about whether or not a President can be indicted will begin in earnest among his enemies and unfriendly media.  Places like Fox News will probably talk about pandas mating at the zoo, caravans of widows and children invading the U.S. and making us eat avocado toast, and how anyone who doesn’t say Merry Christmas is a dirty “globalist.”  His allies will try to prop him up until it’s no longer in their best interest, leaving only his co-conspirators.  They’ll be the only ones left.

When Fox News abandons Trump, he’s done.  When they start with the “Pence is great” stories, he’s finished.

This feels different, but I want to wait a few days.  This should be beginning of the end for Tangerine Tojo, but I’ve thought that before at least a dozen times.  At this point, until I see an Impeachment resolution hit the House Floor for a vote, we’re still in the thick of this battle.  Even then, we’re still fighting for our country and our democracy.

A spoiler for Monday, it looks like Maria Butina’s about to cop a plea deal.  I can’t say that I’m surprised by that at this point, and I’m wondering what she’ll plea to and admit, but at this point she still looks like the linchpin in the NRA/GOP/Russia connections.  She inserted herself into situations with the NRA to get close to GOP operatives, who then used those positions to get close to other groups and spread Russia’s influence by being, well, a spy.  Butina was instrumental in getting Trump to chose Rex Tillerson instead of Mitt Romney to be his first Secretary of State.  She influenced multiple people like J.D. Gordon and Paul Erickson to exert influence to put Rex’s name in the running, even though no one in the White House knew a thing about him.  He had an hour and a half interview for one of the most important and powerful positions in the government, and he’s coming in with absolutely no government experience.  Whom did he beat out?  Former Republican Presidential candidate and current Senator-Elect from Utah Mitt Romney.  Russia didn’t want Mitt because Mitt knew as far back as 2012 that Russia was an aggressive state and a current and future enemy.  Rex, on the other hand, was a long time friend of Russia who would personally benefit from removing sanctions on them.

Butina ties together a lot of this fucktangular mess.  Her ties to Alexander Torshin and Putin’s Krelmin got her an in with the National Rifle Association.  That connections got her close to other power players in the Republican party, and those connections helped her spread Russia’s message.

It’ll be interesting to see where we go from here.  I don’t know what other Mueller news is coming out this week, but Cohen’s sentencing is scheduled for Wednesday.  Let’s see what happens.

And that puts this post at over 10,000 words.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 12/06/2018

Thursday, December 6, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Washington (CNN)In the hectic eight days after President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and top FBI officials viewed Trump as a leader who needed to be reined in, according to two sources describing the sentiment at the time.

They discussed a range of options, including the idea of Rosenstein wearing a wire while speaking with Trump, which Rosenstein later denied. Ultimately, then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe took the extraordinary step of opening an obstruction of justice investigation even before special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed, the sources said. The obstruction probe was an idea the FBI had previously considered, but it didn’t start until after Comey was fired. The justification went beyond Trump’s firing of Comey, according to the sources, and also included the President’s conversation with Comey in the Oval Office asking him to drop the investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The new details about the genesis of the obstruction case into Trump that became a key element of the Mueller probe shed light on the chaotic week following Comey’s firing and the scramble to decide how best to respond. They also help to explain the origins of the Mueller investigation that has stretched across 19 months, consumed Trump’s presidency and is building toward a dramatic day of courtroom filings on Friday.

As if we needed any more proof that Andrew McCabe was targeted by Trump for his role in the Russian Investigation, we get this report that in the time between Comey’s firing and Mueller’s hiring that an Obstruction of Justice investigation was officially opened into Donald Trump.

McCabe was fired on Daily Check-In 03/16/2018.

 

WASHINGTON — The president’s lawyers have resumed discussions with the office of special counsel Robert Mueller in recent days, the first time that’s been acknowledged since President Donald Trump submitted written responses to questions regarding the possibility of collusion between his 2016 campaign and Russia, two people familiar with the matter told NBC News on Thursday.

The president submitted answers to some questions on Nov 20th. At the time, his lawyers said publicly that he would only answer questions regarding the Russia probe and nothing regarding the possibility of obstruction of justice.

The sources would not characterize the nature of the discussions: whether Mueller is pressing for an in-person interview, or how close the process is to wrapping up.

Joyce Vance, a former federal prosecutor and an MSNBC contributor, told NBC news the next logical step for prosecutors would be to focus on two types of further inquiries. The first would be follow-up questions.

“They may ask for clarification or additional information on some of the answers,” Vance said.

“The second is they will reopen the conversation about whether the president will submit to an in-person-interview,” she added.

When asked about the timing, Vance said: “The timeline makes sense. We’re coming into the holidays, they likely don’t want to let it lag for too long. If they want to follow up before the holidays, then this week would be the time to do that.”

It will be interesting to see what happens from here on out on this topic.  Assuming that they’re just asking for clarification, this could wrap up soon.  If Mueller still wants the in-person interview, I’m not sure if that will actually happen or if the delay will keep things busy long enough to wrap everything else up.

 

A very interesting new development today courtesy of this American Oversight FOIA request. Brian Benczkowski led the “landing team” for the Trump transition at the Dept of Justice. Then, right after the transition, he was hired by Alfa Bank specifically on the controversy over those mysterious computer communications during the campaign between Russia-based servers for Alfa Bank, and servers for the Trump Org. That was a red flag for some Senators when Benczkowski was then nominated by Trump to head the Criminal Division at DOJ.

Benczkowski said at his hearings that he would recuse himself at DOJ from anything involving Alfa Bank, but he would *not* commit to recuse himself from the Mueller investigation more broadly. He was confirmed as Assistant Attorney General. But now today…

American Oversight’s FOIA has turned up this:

In the end, Benczkowski **is** recused… er, “screened off” from everything having to do with Mueller. Three questions. (1) Why the change since his confirmation hearings? (2) Is this related to Alfa? Or is he “screened off” for a different reason? and (3)…

Why is DOJ able to communicate this info about Benczkowski (again, he’s Assistant Attorney General & head of the Criminal Division at DOJ) but they are not able/willing to do the same about Acting AG Matt Whitaker? American Oversight FOIA Materials here:

ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL WITH TIES TO RUSSIAN BANK RECUSED FROM MUELLER INVESTIGATION

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

 

Check out the #NEVERAGAIN section for more details.

 

Flynn

In this crazy, mixed-up timeline, let’s not forget that it was only two days ago that Flynn’s sentencing memo was released, showing exactly how screwed Team Trump really is.  (Daily Check-In 12/04/2018)

 

Butina

Judge is holding a last-minute conference in alleged Russian agent Maria Butina’s case. A brief portion was on the record, Butina’s lawyer said they’re okay cancelling a status conference set for 12/19, anticipate not needing to pursue a subpoena, then asked to seal the hearing

We’ve now left the courtroom as the judge hears from Butina’s lawyer why this part of the hearing should be under seal (govt did not take a position)

(Deleted a previous tweet that referred to serving a subpoena, I’m actually not sure off the top of my head if the subpoena deadline referred to in court was for serving it or the deadline for the subpoena itself)

Recall that on Nov. 28, the lawyers said they were still in the process of negotiating a deal for Butina

And we’re told the judge has left the bench, so it appears she’ll let the latter part of the hearing in Butina’s case today remain sealed and we’re not going to learn anything else right now

To recap: – There was a status conf set for 12/19, but the lawyers asked to have a telephone conference today instead – We learned Butina’s lawyer is okay cancelling the 12/19 hearing and he said they prob won’t need to pursue a subpoena – Butina’s lawyer wanted the rest sealed

NEW: The court has appointed federal public defender AJ Kramer as “advisory counsel” to alleged Russian agent Maria Butina — no other information provided

We don’t have any more info on this right now. This doesn’t necessarily mean AJ Kramer is going to be her lawyer — he’s been brought in before to advise defendants when there are issues related to their lawyers (this happened in the Inauguration Day rioting cases, for instance)

The judge has now given Maria Butina until Dec. 10 at 5pm to explain why the transcript of the sealed part of today’s hearing shouldn’t be made public

Looks like things are accelerating with Butina and a possible plea deal.  We found out yesterday that her “boyfriend” Paul Erickson is fucked. (Daily Check-In 12/05/2018)  If she’s working on a plea deal, or possibly a cooperative deal, shit could get real interesting real fast.

 

Giuliani

The client says answering the questions was easy.  The lawyer says it was a nightmare.  They’re both deep into writing the report, and haven’t started yet.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is a shit show.

 

Assange

This just in: Mouse rejects deal between Cat, Snake.

 

The House Remembers

I should really make a list of everyone the House Intel Committee under Adam Schiff wants to bring in for questioning.

The Minority Report from Daily Check-In 04/27/2018 and Here is a good place to start.

 

Under His Thin Skin

By this time next week, I expect every sentence to include “But Mueller…”.

 

Friday

Not gonna lie, I’m nervous about what’s coming.

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

Trump Organization Employs Illegal Immigrants

Check out the Immigration section for more info.

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

Pence

 

Epstein

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

 

KHASHOGGI & SAUDI ARABIA

 

SCOTUS & COURTS

 

#METOO & WOMEN’S RIGHTS

 

IMMIGRATION

NEW: Undocumented workers get the job done at President Trump’s golf club. My story about who makes his bed, waters the greens and more.

A few months ago, an undocumented immigrant named Victorina Morales decided that she wanted to share her story about working for Donald Trump

I met Victorina and another immigrant, who had worked at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminister when she was undocumented, named Sandra Diaz. Both women were hurt by the president’s disparaging comments about unauthorized immigrants. Both said they understood the risks.

I visited both women in their homes in New Jersey, where they have lived for several years, and conducted interviews with them. They liked their work at the beautiful golf club, they said. They described Mr. Trump as a tough taskmaster who was kind and generous w tips.

Ms. Morales, a Guatemalan with little schooling, said she will never forget when he helped her wipe windows she couldn’t reach because she is short. He gave her $50. Ms. Diaz got $100 after Mr. Trump checked the dust in a room and expressed satisfaction with her work.

But they decided that now was the time to tell their stories about the contributions that immigrants make to the Trump business.

So, the ultra-racist immigrant hating xenophobe who bitches about immigrants taking American jobs employs MANY illegal immigrants across his properties.  I’d like to say I’m surprised, but who am I kidding?  Not only have we known about this for a long time, he’s built his businesses off of the backs of illegal labor.  Why?  Because he knows they can’t do shit to protect themselves.

 

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

So, here’s the dilly, yo.

It’s legal for an outside group to spend money on a campaign.  They can spend unlimited amounts of money.  But, they’re not allowed to coordinate with the candidate.  If they coordinate, then that becomes an in-kind campaign contribution, and the group is restricted to a maximum of $5,000 in donations.  They can’t coordinate content of ads, placement of ads, or anything like that.

Sometimes what happens is a media buyer will have multiple clients working for different clients on the same campaign.  To make sure they aren’t coordinating ads, they’ll break up into silos and assign different people to the teams.  So, if the candidate and a PAC hire the same buyer, Person A will work with only the candidate and Person B will work only with the PAC.

What happened here with Trump and the NRA was the initial appearance of separation, but only on the surface.  In the background, it was the same 4 people working for both the NRA and the Trump campaign at the same time.  This is illegal AF, and that they used different front companies just screams cover-up.

 

My God. Gun violence is the second leading cause of death for U.S. children; 35% of child/teen gun deaths are suicides—900+ per year. In 80% of cases, the gun belonged to a parent or relative. Yet she’s telling parents it’s not about responsible storage. The @NRA tried (and failed) to prevent doctors from talking to patients about gun safety. They oppose mandatory training and responsible storage guidelines for gun owners. They tried (and failed) to lower the federal age to buy a handgun to 18. They don’t care if our kids die. This is a uniquely American problem, thanks to the @NRA. Compared to other high-income countries, American children are 14 times more likely to be killed by guns. In part because 4 million American children live in homes with unsecured guns. Get the facts:

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

STUDENT LOANS

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

CONGRESS

 

ELECTIONS

 

GOP Shenanigans

Republicans in Michigan and Wisconsin lost elections on Nov. 6. Rather than respect the will of voters, they’re using their last few weeks in office to pass laws limiting the power of new governors and put roadblocks on voting. It’s not just anti-Democratic. It’s anti-democratic.

Over the last few days, Republicans in Wisconsin’s state legislature have pushed through bills to shift power to their Republican-controlled legislature and away from the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general.

In Michigan, voters chose Democrats to be governor, attorney general, and secretary of state. Since then, the Republican-controlled legislature has passed bills to gut minimum wage, slash paid sick leave, and limit the new secretary of state’s powers.

This is not in line with American values, and it’s a dangerous path. It’s a fundamental building block of democracy that elected representatives respect the outcome of elections. To ignore those outcomes is to silence voters and endanger the health of our democracy itself.

 

North Carolina

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

GEORGE H.W. BUSH

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Thursday.  At this point, I’m waiting for Friday’s news to drop.  At the time of this writing, about noonish EST, nothing Mueller related has dropped.  We did get a story about Rex Tillerson talking about his time with Trump, though.  I don’t expect the Manafort and Cohen stuff to come out until much later at night, and a lot of it will probably be redacted to hell.

That being said, I’m looking forward to burning the midnight oil.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 12/05/2018

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Flynn

Remember I was talking about this yesterday? (Daily Check-In 12/04/2018)  This is by no means definitive proof that Trump is the target of one of the hidden investigations, but it doesn’t help disprove it.  Without going into a deep dive on fonts, this document appears to be written in Times New Roman, which is a proportional serif font.

So, what the hell does that mean?

Font Examples

The serif is that little flourish or squiggly thing hanging off of the edge of a letter.  Look at that capital “L”.  If you’re viewing this in Times New Roman, which is the font I’m typing this in, you should see that little upswing at the bottom of the ‘L’  That’s a serif.  It’s also on the ‘T’, ‘l’, ‘r’, and pretty much every letter and number.  If a font is Sans Serif, that means it doesn’t have a serif or flourish.

Proportional fonts are fonts in which each character has a different width, depending on the width of an a character.  For example, the ‘i’ takes less space than a ‘W’, since it is much more narrow.  Monospaced fonts, on the other hand, give each character the same width.  This is usually done by squeezing larger letters and extending smaller ones.

Now that that’s out of the way, why is any of that important?

The sentencing document was written in Times New Roman, 12 point font.  That last number is how big the typeface is.  Since TNR is a proportional font, that means that words or sentences of the same character length would have different physical lengths.  The words ‘Penguin’ and ‘Feature’ both have 7 letters, but are different lengths on the screen and printed copy.  It’s not much of a difference to the naked eye, but it’s there.  This difference expands as the word or sentence gets longer.  The phrase ‘Pittsburgh Penguin Center Sydney Crosby’ has as many letters as ‘I would like to ride a Pegasus to Ohio!’, but they are not the same length.

Pegasus

The longer a phrase or sentence gets, it becomes less likely that a two random phrases have the exact same length.  Unless all of the characters are the exact same, it’s pretty difficult to get two phrases longer than a couple words to match up perfectly.  That’s why what Scott Stedman found is so interesting.  The redacted block of text identifying the target of the criminal investigation matches perfectly with ‘President Donald J. Trump’.

Don’t get me wrong, this is all speculation at this point, and it could be anything else.  However, this is like a key.  It’s possible that two random keys fit the same lock, but the likelihood that both keys are completely independent of each other, yet located nearby and used in the same context is highly unusual.

 

Butina

Paul Erickson, a longtime Republican politico whose Russian girlfriend is in jail on charges she acted as a covert foreign agent, has been informed that he may face similar accusations. The Daily Beast reviewed a “target letter” that federal investigators sent Erickson’s lawyer, which said they are considering bringing charges against him under Section 951 of the U.S. code—the law barring people from secretly acting as agents of foreign governments.

The letter also said the government may bring a conspiracy charge against Erickson, who is the boyfriend of accused foreign agent Maria Butina. The letter, which was sent in September by investigators working out of the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, does not accuse Erickson of any crimes or guarantee that he will face charges.

Uh oh.  Looks like someone’s in trouble…

Paul Erickson, a GOP Operative and Maria Butina’s “boyfriend”, just received a target letter from a U.S. Attorney.  Erickson, who helped Maria gain access to the highest levels of the GOP Establishment, is likely to be charged with being an agent of a foreign government.  If that sounds like espionage, it’s pretty damn close.  This law, often called spy-lite, is about as close to being charged as a spy as one can get without facing the death penalty.

Butina was arrested on July 16th, and it wasn’t long after that details of Erickson’s involvement came to the forefront. (Daily Check-In 07/16/2018Daily Check-In 07/31/2018Daily Check-In 07/20/2018).

 

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

Lobbyists representing the Saudi government reserved blocks of rooms at President Trump’s Washington, D.C., hotel within a month of Trump’s election in 2016 — paying for an estimated 500 nights at the luxury hotel in just three months, according to organizers of the trips and documents obtained by The Washington Post.

At the time, these lobbyists were reserving large numbers of D.C.-area hotel rooms as part of an unorthodox campaign that offered U.S. military veterans a free trip to Washington — then sent them to Capitol Hill to lobby against a law the Saudis opposed, according to veterans and organizers.

At first, lobbyists for the Saudis put the veterans up in Northern Virginia. Then, in December 2016, they switched most of their business to the Trump International Hotel in downtown Washington. In all, the lobbyists spent more than $270,000 to house six groups of visiting veterans at the Trump hotel, which Trump still owns.

Those bookings have fueled a pair of federal lawsuits alleging Trump violated the Constitution by taking improper payments from foreign governments.

During this period, records show, the average nightly rate at the hotel was $768. The lobbyists who ran the trips say they chose Trump’s hotel strictly because it offered a discount from that rate and had rooms available, not to curry favor with Trump.

“Absolutely not. It had nothing to do with that. Not one bit,” said Michael Gibson, a Maryland-based political operative who helped organize the trips.

Wow.  Just, wow.  As if this couldn’t get any crazier, here come the Saudis paying Trump over a quarter of a million dollars by using a lobbyist of theirs to house veterans at Trump’s DC hotel for the inauguration.

Here’s where it gets interesting.  When Trump was asked before whether or not the Saudis had any business at his hotels, they said no.  Technically speaking, that wasn’t wrong, as it was the lobbyist who paid for the rooms.  That’s what we call a middleman.  The middleman is the one on the receipt.  They turned around, put a markup on it, and gave it to the Saudis who paid them.

What’s worse is that they used veterans for this scam.

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

Rudy

Rudy Giuliani accidentally tweeted a domain. Someone bought that domain and wrote that Trump is a “traitor.” Giuliani is now blaming Twitter for this. The man in charge of the cyber. Just absolutely baffling.

New from me: I talked to Jason Velazquez, who bought and whom Giuliani thinks “invaded [his] text.” “This would normally be a place where’d I’d make a big political statement, but the nature of this is so hilarious maybe I won’t.”

Rudy Giuliani falsely blames Twitter after typo points to anti-Trump website

Rudy Giuliani alleged Twitter concocted a conspiracy to “invade my text” after he accidentally tweeted a URL to a website. Rudy did get very unlucky, though: The guy who bought the domain he inadvertently tweeted was a web designer late for improv class.

Remember, Trump named him the head of Cybersecurity.

Epstein

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

 

KHASHOGGI & SAUDI ARABIA

 

SCOTUS & COURTS

 

#METOO & WOMEN’S RIGHTS

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

STUDENT LOANS

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS & RELIGION

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

CONGRESS

 

ELECTIONS

Wisconsin

 

Michigan

 

North Carolina

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

GEORGE H.W. BUSH

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

RUMOR MILL

With due respect , , there were numerous citizen journalists from Dec 2016 onwards that broke story after story. People like & plagiarized the work of & Dr John Schindler while concurrently attacking them both

The reasons it was important to call out Abramson & Nance were numerous. First, they both repeatedly stole work from various authors, attributing it as their own & monetized it. Second, in Nance’s case he misrepresented his roles & expertise in US IC

 

That’s it for Wednesday.  After the bombshells from Tuesday, it felt almost slow.  Well, as slow as a massive voter fraud, emoluments lawsuit, and an senior member of the Republican Establishment about to charged with being a foreign agent can get.

Manafort’s sentencing document is due Friday.  I don’t think we’ll see it before then.

I’m going to update Cooperating Witnesses to include Michael Cohen.  I forgot to do that last week.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 12/04/2018

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Flynn

Yep.  The fecal matter has hit the air circulation device.  This is a little bit of what we’ve been waiting for. (Daily Check-In 12/03/2018).  It’s been a little over a year since Mike Flynn was arrested and officially cooperated with Special Counselor Robert Mueller. (Daily Check-In 12/01/2017).  Now, we finally see how much he’s cooperated, and what direction they’re heading in.

Well, not quite.  A lot of the information was redacted.  But that won’t stop me from reading between the lines.  In some cases, literally reading between the lines.

Here’s what we know for certain: Mueller says Flynn’s cooperation was timely, firsthand, thorough, honest, and helped get others to flip.  Flynn met with the SCO 19 times.  19.  There’s also multiple investigations that he’s cooperating with.  He gave Mueller documents, communications, and anything else he had.  Flynn was so helpful that Mueller recommend no jail time.

What don’t we know for certain: We don’t know what those other investigations include, or how many there are.  We don’t know who are the targets, what are their scopes, or how far along they are.

What will we speculate: Oh boy, we’re going to Speculation Land!

First, he sung like a canary.  He gave up EVERYTHING.  Mike Flynn was in some serious trouble. (Flipping Flynn).  Bribery, FARA, Espionage, Treason, Kidnapping, and a few other things like leaving the toilet seat up and not tipping 15% for good service.  He might still get charged with those other crimes under superseding indictments, but assuming he doesn’t, Mueller’s recommending he doesn’t serve any jail time for his crimes.

Why give such a lenient sentence?  Because he hand-delivered bigger fish.  He saw everything, knew everyone and everything, and took part in all of it.  The only way he doesn’t get prison time is he has enough evidence to build a solid case against the people above him.  And, in the Grand Bargain, there were only a few people above him.  Trump and Pence are two of the most likely suspects.

Second, there are probably 3 investigations going on that Flynn gave up information on, and two of them are so secret that they were redacted.  Well, mostly redacted.  One line  ends with “Criminal Investigation”, and I’ll post the tweet tomorrow from Scott Stedman where he speculates that, based on the size of the redact, that it’s an investigation into Trump himself.  The third investigation is completely hidden from view.  That’s the interesting one.

Finally, Mueller isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.  We can safely speculate that all of this information is safely in the hands of the courts.  All of it.  Flynn’s almost certainly testified before a grand jury.  The unredacted version is sitting in a DC courtroom today, along with all of the related evidence.  Everything is ready, waiting for a Senior Assistant Special Counselor to say the word and unseal EVERYTHING.

The FBI started investigating Team Trump in Summer 2016.  That’s 2 and a half years ago.  Mueller’s been on the case since May 2017.  They’ve had all the time in the world to plan this out.  Trump just lashes out like a toddler having a temper tantrum.  All of his moves are telegraphed long ahead of time, and easy to predict and deflect.

 

Roger Stone

1/ Generally speaking, the Fifth Amendment does not apply to the production of documents. The exception is when the mere act of producing the documents would itself be incriminating.

CNNVerified account @CNN

President Donald Trump’s confidant Roger Stone is rebuffing a request from the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee for documents and an interview connected to 2016 Russian election meddling, invokin…

2/ For instance, if you’re under investigation for stealing classified information, and you’re subpoenaed for that information, the mere act of producing the information would incriminate you.

3/ It is very rare for the “act of production” to incriminate you, and for that reason, I suspect that Stone is likely improperly asserting the Fifth here. To get around that, prosecutors can give “act of production” immunity.

4/ That essentially means that the prosecution can still use the document, but they can’t say where they got it from. Here, I suspect House Democrats will discuss with Mueller whether giving “act of production” immunity would undercut him at all. /end

1/ Roger Stone’s attorney was once with the firm of Rothstein, Rosenfeldt, Adler. All three of those men went to jail for their role in a massive $1.8 billion Ponzi scheme. Roger worked in their offices and was paid over $400,000 for “services” to Scott Rothstein,

2/ This is one of about a bazillion South Florida politics stories where Roger is up to his ass with weirdos, skeeze, and scammers.

3/ Some of RS’s work for Rothstein was to help relect the Charlie Crist. Rothstein once spent $52,000 on a cake for Crist. lol.

Roger picked the best day possible to do this.  Most other days, news that the former Presidential Advisor planned on pleading the Fifth Amendment would be the biggest story.  Not so today.

The Fifth Amendment protects a person from testifying against oneself and incriminating oneself in a crime.  However, like all things with Roger and his buddies, they screwed something up.  A person can only plead the fifth for testimony, not for producing documents.  Only in a situation where producing said document would be illegal in itself can it be protected.  Secret Twitter messages and texts won’t count.

 

 

NRCC HACK

At this point, we don’t have evidence that the Russians performed this hack.  However, we do know that they hacked the Republican Party in 2016, and this fits their Modus Operandi.

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

Emoluments

 

Epstein

 

Stormy

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

WHITAKER

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

 

KHASHOGGI & SAUDI ARABIA

 

#METOO & WOMEN’S RIGHTS

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

STUDENT LOANS

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

Chaos has erupted at a conservative think tank after it was revealed that one of its new donors is Len Blavatnik, the Ukrainian-born billionaire who owns the Warner Music record label.

Charles Davidson — the founder of the Hudson Institute’s Kleptocracy Initiative, a group dedicated to exposing threats by authoritarian regimes to US democracy — said he quit as its executive director upon learning that the Hudson Institute had accepted a $50,000 donation from Blavatnik.

“Russian kleptocracy has entered the donor pool of Hudson Institute,” Davidson said in an exclusive interview with The Post. “Blavatnik is precisely what the Kleptocracy Initiative is fighting against — the influence of Putin’s oligarchs on America’s political system and society — and the importation of corrupt Russian business practices and values.”

Blavatnik — long friendly with bigwig politicians like Bill Clinton and movie makers like Martin Scorsese — made his fortune in the controversial privatization auctions of 1990s post-Soviet Russia, scooping up valuable aluminum companies on the cheap.

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS & RELIGION

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

CONGRESS

 

ELECTIONS

Wisconsin & Michigan

 

Georgia

 

North Carolina

Ok, this is a crazy ass story that needs more attention.  It’s been brewing for a few weeks, but it might have finally gained critical mass.  Here’s the election fraud that the Republicans scream about all of the time.  Except, they’re the ones performing it.

Here’s how the scheme worked:  A GOP Operative hired some people to collect mail-in ballots from people that haven’t been mailed in yet.  They’d get those people to sign them, but not seal them, whether or not they’ve been filled in.  It’s better if they’re not filled in or sealed because what they’ll then do is fill them out for their candidate, usually the Republican.

It sounds like there’s been an ongoing investigation since 2016, when similar shenanigans took place.  Plus, it might be that this was done for the Sheriff of Bladen County, not for the House seat.

The reason why this investigation started is the statistics didn’t make sense.  In every other county in North Carolina, there were more Democratic absentee ballots submitted than Republican, and they typically voted along party lines.  Except Bladen County.  Here, it was overwhelmingly Republican votes, regardless of party affiliation.  There were no mitigating factors that could explain the discrepancy.  Bladen didn’t have any special elections or amazing characters running for office.  Why the difference?

Turns out it looks like voter fraud.  And this year, the result was close enough that they had to look closely at the mail-in votes.

 

GEORGE H. W. BUSH

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

Fuck.  When Countercheckist smiles, people in the White House get nervous.

 

That’s it for Tuesday.  The week is just heating up, and it already feels like it should be over.  But, we still have a long way to go.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur