Flipping Flynn

This past Thursday, while most of America was eating turkey or trying to get a jump start on their Holiday shopping, The New York Times released a whopper of a story about Mike Flynn, the former head of the DIA, and short tenured National Security Advisor to Donald Trump.

The story released by The Grey Lady contained some juicy details, but the crux of the story is that Flynn’s legal team is no longer sharing information about Mueller’s investigation with Donald Trump’s legal team.

This might not sound like a big deal, and a little bit too much of insider gossip, but this could be the beginning of the end for Donald Trump’s presidency.

Let me break this down, point by point.

Before I get lost down a rabbit hole, there’s this little matter of sharing information between legal teams.  Depending on who gets asked, there could be some laws getting bent, but the general consensus is that if two or more parties are targets of the same investigation, and they have legal counsel, they can share information between them.  This becomes vital in cases where the investigators keep everything under wraps, and every sliver of information is worth its weight in gold.  If Trump’s lawyers hear something about the investigation, or get asked questions about Flynn, or Kushner, Donnie, or Mike Pence, it would be considered a courtesy to give those legal teams a heads up, so they know what kind of questions to expect.

So, what does it mean when one legal team stops sharing information?  And what can we glean from this story?

Normally, there are three reasons why a legal team might stop sharing information.  First, what they’re sharing is illegal and/or unethical and could place their clients in jeopardy, or they are no longer on the same side of the investigation.  Considering they were previously sharing info, and that they aren’t exactly the pillars of ethical behavior, the likely answer is that Flynn is no longer on the same side of the investigation as Trump.

Well, what does that mean?

That means exactly what I said.  They’re no longer on the same side.  Either one of their investigations took a turn down a dark path, or one of them isn’t being investigated anymore.  Let me work both of those scenarios.

In the first case, where an investigation into one party takes a turn, then it wouldn’t make sense for the teams to share information, as that could cause more legal problems than it would solve.  Let’s say, during Flynn’s questioning, the FBI asked him about a bunch of missing Russians that disappeared after visiting one of Trump’s properties.  People kept disappearing, until one day, a bunch of bodies washed up along the Atlantic City coast.  They ask Flynn what he knew, but all of this is a shock, and has nothing to do with the previous investigation, it’s just something that washed up.  If Flynn tells Trump about this line of questioning, he could be considered an accessory after the fact.  Telling Trump would be a very bad idea for Flynn.

The second case is that one of them isn’t being investigated anymore.  While this is a slight possibility, it’s as slight as the Cleveland Browns winning the Super Bowl, after being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.  Sure, there are some technicalities, and if a few teams died in plane crashes, then they might be given a pass to the playoffs, but it’s not happening.

There are two sides to the Mueller Probe; those that worked with Trump, and those investigating the Trump Team.  If Flynn is no longer on the Trump Team, the only team left is the Investigators.

But does that necessarily mean that Flynn is working with Mueller?  Not really, but it’s very likely.

Back in the Spring, when Russia was just starting to hit the Main Stream Media, Mike Flynn offered to testify before the Senate, the House, and the FBI, in exchange for immunity.  All three of them said no.

Over the past several months, more and more information has come out about Mike Flynn, and all of the shady business he’s involved with.  He’s been caught in multiple phone calls with the Russian Ambassador, received money from Russia and Turkey for lobbying on their behalf, was in a meeting in December 2016 in Trump Tower working on a back channel connection to Russia using their diplomatic connections, he lobbied on behalf of Kaspersky AFTER working as the head of the DIA when they announced to the rest of the IC that Kaspersky is an arm of Russian Intelligence, he lied on his security clearance background check and renewal, solicited stolen emails from the HRC campaign, and asked others to do the same, didn’t register as a foreign agent under FARA, he shot down a program to arm Kurdish rebels against ISIS because Turkey didn’t like it, and he’s been connected to several meetings with Turkish officials discussing the release of a known money launder, attempted to negotiate several deals to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East on behalf of Russian companies, and the kidnapping and extradition of a political opponent of the Turkish President.  There’s also rumors that he leaked classified information to Erdogan which allowed him to circumvent the attempted coup against him.

This doesn’t include him “lying to the Vice President”, which was the excuse used to fire him 18 days after the White House was informed of his likely compromised position.

That gigantic pile of accusations includes the following crimes:

  • Corruption
  • Abuse of Power
  • Perjury
  • Money Laundering
  • Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping
  • Violations of the Logan Act
  • Failure to Register as a Foreign Agent
  • Violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice
  • Conspiracy to Commit Election Fraud
  • Conspiracy Against the United States
  • Conspiracy to Benefit from Hacking
  • Accepting Campaign Gifts and Donations from a Foreign Power
  • Bribery
  • Conspiracy to Commit Espionage
  • Espionage
  • Conspiracy to Commit Sedition
  • Sedition
  • Recruiting for Service Against the United States
  • Conspiracy to Commit Treason
  • Misprision of Treason
  • Treason

The crimes in italics carry a penalty of life in prison.  Those in bold are capital offenses, and in the United States, carry the death penalty.

Did I mention that his son, Michael Flynn, Jr., was involved in almost all of those alleged crimes as well?

See, Mike Flynn brought his son along with him everywhere after he was fired from his job at the DIA.  Both Mike Flynn’s started the Flynn Intelligence Group, a lobbying firm to take advantage of his previous experience.  There, he worked with many people across the world, including Russians, Iranians, Syrians, and Turks.  Both Flynn’s were involved in everything from accepting bribes to giving away state secrets.

Junior is in a world of hurt, and will receive the same punishment as his father.

And that is how Mueller flipped, or will flip, Flynn.  By using his son as leverage, Mueller will get Mike Flynn to spill his guts on everyone and everything.  If Flynn cooperates, then Junior doesn’t die a traitors death.  Senior is still screwed, but if he hand delivers Trump and Pence, he might get life in prison instead of the death penalty.

According to the rumors that I’ve heard for the last few months, a deal has been on and off a few times, but has been pulled by Mueller’s team when Junior goes and does something stupid.  Senior then has to beg harder and give up more.

As big of a fish as Mike Flynn is, there are a few more that are bigger that he worked with throughout the campaign, transition, and into the White House.  Flynn worked with Manafort on several money deals.  He worked with Jared Kushner, and likely Ivanka Trump, on setting up the December 2016 Trump Tower meeting.  He worked with Steve Bannon and the Mercers on Cambridge Analytica.  Flynn worked with Mike Pence on the Transition Team.

And, don’t forget, but Mike Flynn was on the “Very Short List” to be Donald Trump’s Vice President.  Yep, the man that Donald Trump asked the FBI Director to “let him go” was originally considered for the position of Vice President.  Even with all of his various ties to Russia and Turkey.

By the way, the reason Flynn ended up as National Security Advisor in the White House is funny.  Trump originally wanted him to head the CIA, but that position would require Senate confirmation, which they felt Flynn wouldn’t get.

Flynn can take down everyone, but if I were a betting man, my guess is that he is used to take down Jared Kushner next.  Flynn WAS in Trump’s inner circle.  Jared IS Trump’s inner circle.

Flynn can take down Mike Pence, Jared can take down Donald Trump.

Indictment Eve

I’m writing this on Sunday, October 29th, 2017, at around 8pm EST.

On a Sunday Night.

Normally, on Sunday Night, I would write about one of the hundred or so ideas I’ve got on the list, like about the red herring of voter fraud or life in the echo chamber, but tonight is different.

On Friday, just as I was wrapping up the Daily Check-In 10/27/2017, news came that indictments were coming in from Mueller’s team, and could be executed as early as Monday.

That’s tomorrow.

Tonight is the night before indictments could be served.  Indictment Eve.

Quick refresher:  an indictment is when a Grand Jury returns a recommendation that there is probable cause that a crime was committed.  This recommendation is then given to the prosecutor of the case, usually a District Attorney or Assistant DA, and they’ll coordinate either with Law Enforcement to arrest the target of the indictment, or work with the target themselves to broker a deal, like a plea bargain or become a witness in a larger crime.

There are indictments, as a direct result of the Russian Investigation.

But what’s going to happen?  Let me run through a few ideas, about what I think will happen, what won’t happen, and why things are about to get really fucking weird.

OPTION 1: NOTHING HAPPENS TOMORROW

I don’t think this will actually be the case, but I’ve gotten used to disappointment in my life.  When my hopes get raised, they have a bad habit of getting crushed.

I’m afraid that this could be a repeat of the Dan Rather Disinformation Op that ended his career at CBS.  He had a sure-fire story about how George W. Bush abused the system to avoid going to combat in Vietnam, but it turned out that the story he ran with was a fake.  That fake killed any and all chances of anyone else reporting on W’s Vietnam history, even though there was a legit story there.

OPTION 2: ONE OR TWO KNOWN NAMES GET TAGGED

There’s been talk for months about Paul Manafort being indicted, and Mike Flynn was the first name to get everything going with his Turkish and Russian connections.  Roger Stone completely lost his shit on Twitter this weekend, resulting in a ban, and Carter Page is the Sheldon Cooper of treason.

In a traditional investigation, arrests would be made of the small fish, and they would be turned to get the bigger fish.  While those names are some pretty big fish, they are bass.  Mueller wants a whale.

OPTION 3: TRICKLE-DOWN INDICTMENTS

Notice what I said in that last paragraph, “In a traditional investigation.”  This is nowhere near traditional.  There is a good chance that Donald Trump will try to pardon those around him, try to pardon himself, and fire the team bringing the indictments.

One way to prevent those from happening is to indict Donald Trump right off the bat for Obstruction of Justice.  Multiple indictments can be unsealed at different times, but there’s more than enough evidence, just from Open Source Intelligence (OSINT, think the press and what can be Googled), to bring Obstruction charges against him.

Doing this would not only tie his tiny little hands on using pardons, and give Congress a reason to bring Impeachment charges immediately, but any actions taken to fire Mueller would be immediately seen as criminal.

OPTION 4: THE FLOODGATES OPEN

Louise Mensch has a great write-up on many of the actors involved, and what they’re being investigated for.  And that’s not even a complete list of all the rumors, whispers, and stories that have floated around that I’ve seen over the last several months.  That’s not including staff members who are in hot water like Hope Hicks, Sean Spicer, Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, or Wilbur Ross, or half the cabinet members who are up to their necks in their own scandals.

Serving indictments to the President, VP, SecState, SecTreasury, Speaker of the House, Senate Majority Leader, two White House staffers that are children of the President, and several staffers and support personnel at once would be completely unprecedented.

Then again, so is a person winning the Presidency with the help of the Russians.

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

If anyone takes any unexpected trips or travels this week, Like Jared Kushner taking an unannounced trip to Saudi Arabia, should have an eye kept on it.  Might be nothing, but then again, it’s Indictment Eve.  The night of the year when emergency trips are made, passports are frozen, and warrants for arrest are made to people leaving their families behind.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there is an early morning raid on Monday.  This whole investigation has looked like a crime family going down, not like a bunch of bank executives going down for embezzlement.  @lauferlaw and @Alt_Spicerlies brought this idea up a few moments ago, and the more I think about it, the more it makes sense.  Scooter Libby didn’t get a perp walk, and most of the people arrested in Watergate were given the chance to turn themselves in.  I doubt that same courtesy will be given to most of the members from Team Trump.

Also, here’s my weirdest prediction for this whole affair.  Someone, I’m not sure but I’m thinking Carter Page or one of Pence’s staffers, will pull an will pull an R. Budd Dwyer at a press conference, and it won’t even be the craziest thing that happens that day.

Don’t be surprised if this whole thing spreads across all of Washington.  People all over the place are going down.  2017 has been pretty fucking weird so far, and the people I mentioned above inferred that others might be implicated that we never heard of, especially some Democrats in power.

Finally, expect Trump to try to fire Mueller in some kind of Hail Mary move to save his ass.  And it expect it to fail.  There are two ways he can try this.  The first would be to fire Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein as Deputy Attorney General, Dana Boente, and all the way down to Rachel Brand, or further if she won’t fire Mueller.  The second way would be to fire Jeff Sessions, and immediately try naming a current member of the Cabinet to replace him, bypassing the Senate confirmation process.  I highlighted that here in Lateral Movement, but I don’t think it would work.  Any chance that Trump has of even trying this end around has to be done before the indictments are served.  Any actions taken after Monday Morning will likely be interpreted as criminal.

This is a nation of laws, not of men, or wealth, or personality.  Laws and Justice.  There’s a phrase that I heard a while back, Fiat Justitia Ruat Caellum.  It’s Latin for “Let Justice Be Done, Though the Heavens Fall.”

Sounds like someone’s yelling “TIMBER!”

 

Good night, sleep tight.  Take a deep breath, things are about to get really fucking weird.

Obstruction of Justice

Welcome back to Crime Time, where I do my best to explain the various crimes involved in the Russian Investigation.

Today’s crime is a bit nebulous, a little vague as to what it covers, but has quite a bite.

Obstruction of Justice

QUICK OVERVIEW

Obstruction of justice is the impedance of an investigation, or other criminal matter, usually by someone who isn’t directly under investigation at the time.

In English, that means screwing with the cops, lawyers, or judges.

Obstruction of Justice is often tacked on to other charges like bribery, witness tampering, or destruction of evidence.

EXAMPLES

Let’s say Tony, a mafia boss, finds out that his lieutenant Mike is under investigation for running an illegal casino out of his house. If Mike gets busted, not only does Tony lose a revenue source, but he could get implicated as well.

Tony decides to call in a favor owed to him by a local politician. Tony gets the politician to get the District Attorney to not prosecute the case against Mike. Just to be on the safe side, Tony gets Mike to destroy some evidence that could implicate him, and also puts some pressure on a few witnesses.

Tony did quite a few illegal things, but they all fall under Obstruction of Justice.

PENALTIES

Depending on the jurisdiction, jail time and fines. If the person was in a position of public trust, they’ll get removed from that.

FAMOUS EXAMPLE

Richard M. Nixon. When he gave the go-ahead for his staff to cover up the Watergate break-in, Nixon committed Obstruction of Justice.

WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH TRUMP?

On multiple occasions, Trump has attempted to kill the Russian Investigation. He has fired attorneys looking into it, he hired an Attorney General specifically to keep it from getting to him, and has tampered with witnesses and press statements regarding the investigation.

Oh, and he fired the Director of the FBI, gave a false reason for it on paper, then said he did it because of the “Russian thing”, and bragged about it the next day to the Russian Ambassador.

Money Laundering

Let’s talk about Money Laundering, the process of taking money and profits gained from a criminal activity and converting it to legally clean cash.

WARNING: This is NOT a How-To guide, nor an instructional document. I do not condone nor encourage any of the illegal activities described. Everything described is from research, supposition, and investigation. Plus, I’ve watched a lot of movies.

WHAT IS MONEY LAUNDERING?

Per Wikipedia money laundering is the process of converting illegally gained assets to something that at least appears legitimate.

WHY IS IT NEEDED?

Ever heard of the phrase “crime doesn’t pay”?

Well, that’s not completely true. Crime does pay, quite well sometimes. It’s just difficult to spend the money. Why? Even criminals need to pay taxes.

That might sound a little counter-intuitive, but let me explain.

Let’s say that there is a mild-mannered high school chemistry teacher, who decides to make crystal meth. Why isn’t important to this example, but let’s call him… Walter. Walter makes a lot of money from making drugs, but he has a problem. He has to explain on his taxes where the money came from.

Something that attracts the attention of Law Enforcement is when a high school teacher making $50,000 a year suddenly has half a million bucks in the bank. Even more suspicious when his tax forms only list the $50,000.

If Walter wants to keep his money from making drugs, and not go to jail, he needs to find a way to launder his money.

WHO DOES IT?

Pretty much any criminal that wants to use their money in “polite society” needs to launder their assets, at least a little. Bank robbers, drug dealers, mobsters, embezzlers, they all need to wash their cash.

WHERE CAN I LAUNDER MONEY?

Why did you just ask that question? Are you trying to get me in trouble?

Ok, I’ll talk hypotheticals in the next section.

HOW IS IT DONE?

This section is completely hypothetical. All people and events are made up. Poorly.

There and several factors that determine how one would launder money. The biggest ones are amount, frequency, location, currency, and turn-around time.

How much, how often, where, what form, and how fast.

Each of those variables can easily affect the answer. Moving $10,000 once is different than moving $1,000 a month.

The most important thing to remember with money laundering is that it has to look normal on taxes. It’s not crazy if Walter made an extra $1,000 a month, but and extra $50,000 will raise some eyebrows.

The easiest way to split this up is by frequency. How often. Is this a one-time cash windfall, or is it a steady stream?

If it’s a one time event, the biggest factor is how much needs laundered. Hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions? Billions?

If it’s less than a set amount, which I think is $10,000, then banks and casinos don’t have to report it to the IRS. Easiest way to launder small amounts, historically, has been the casino. Walk in with a few thousand bucks in dirty money, buy some chips, play a few hands of blackjack, lose a little money, then cash out the chips for clean money.

But what if it’s more money?

Let’s say Rob robs a bank, and gets away with a million dollars. It’ll be a little obvious if he goes to the casino a few hundred times. Plus, it gets a little suspicious if someone doesn’t work at all, yet pays all of his bills?

Break it up into smaller pieces, and sit on it. Feed a few installments in over time until there’s enough saved up to purchase a revenue stream that makes it easier to launder the rest. Once there’s a front set up, slide the rest of the money in to stream over time.

There are some tax loopholes like gifts from relatives and other windfall windows that let someone keep their mom, but I’m not as familiar with those. Talk to a lawyer about that.

Now, what if there’s a revenue stream.

Let’s say Joe makes $20,000 a month, each month from running a brothel. Profit after expenses.

In this case, Joe might want to open a cash-heavy business, like a laundromat, nail salon, contractor, or take-out restaurant.

Here’s how it works…

Joe sets up a business, like general contractor. He hires a small crew, like a cousin who can keep his mouth shut and is good at fixing things. He pays his cousin to work some jobs, while Joe “cooks the books.” He adds some extra made up jobs, like a kitchen remodel for $10,000 or a bathroom repair for $5,000. He pays his share in taxes, but the rest is cleaned. As long as he doesn’t get too greedy, he should be ok.

By hiding the money with a legitimate revenue stream, and keeping it realistic in numbers, that $20,000 can easily be mixed in with the real sales.

One way to make the money trail harder to trace is the use of shell companies. A shell company is a company, often fake, that exists as a separate entity. They exist to confuse and distract, just like the shells in the shell game or the extra cards in Three Card Monte.

Let’s say Joe wants to move his money around a little bit. He already owns a construction company. Why not make some shell companies related to his contractor company? Joe would start a roofing business, a plumbing business, and a building supply business. He would then send money from one company to another. On paper, this cleans up the money a little more.

Maybe Joe wants to put some money away for a rainy day. He could do that with a bank or credit union, but if the law comes calling, they can freeze his bank accounts. In that case, Joe would buy some art, or collectible cars, property, or anything else that people put value in.

Now, let’s say Joe starts building up too much money, and he needs to move more of it. The best way to launder large sums of money is with real estate.

Why real estate? Because it has no value except what people agree to. The numbers are large, inexact, and it’s easy to hide money.

So, Joe buys a condominium in a luxury apartment building, or a couple houses. He sits on those for a couple years, then sells those at a profit. Completely clean. This could take a while, but it will get Joe’s money clean without the use of armies of accountants.

Now, let’s say Joe needs to get some of his dirty money into Euros, or Rubles, or Pounds. What then?

There are two options available.

The traditional method is to route the money using shell companies and banks in various countries like Cyprus and Panama, to move the money from one place to another until it finally arrives in a bank in the destination country.

The newest method is with cryptocurrency like BitCoin. Joe sets up a BTC transaction between himself in the United States, to convert dollars to BTC, then purchases that BTC using Rubles. Back and forth this goes, until Joe gets the money where he needs it to be.

WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES?

Each state has their own laws on this, as does the Federal government. Fines, imprisonment, and asset forfeiture are options the government can use.

WHAT ARE SOME OBVIOUS THINGS TO LOOK FOR?

If you’re looking for a path of money laundering, the first place to look are for shell companies. Several companies using the same address is an obvious place to start. Also, if they do have different addresses, but those addresses all belong to one party.

Another place to look for money laundering is in art sales, or other collectible communities. Ever wonder why someone would pay millions for an ugly painting? Because they know someone will buy it in a few years, and they’ll get their money back.

Real estate is the easiest way to launder large sums of money. I’ve said that so often my phone just auto filled that sentence. Remember those stories about some rich person buying apartments for their pets? Don’t be surprised if you find out they were laundering money.

WHO INVESTIGATES MONEY LAUNDERING?

Every state has their own financial crimes units, but at the federal level, the heavy lifting is done by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network or FinCEN, and the IRS Criminal Investigation unit, or CI.

If they’re coming after you, expect to have some very bad days in the future.

WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH TRUMP AND RUSSIA?

Good question.

For awhile, I was a little confused on this as well. Then, thinking of The Producers. It’s a movie about an accountant and a broadway producer who figure out that they could make a fortune if they produced a flop. An utter disaster. An abortion on stage. So they created “Springtime for Hitler”, a love story about Adolf Hitler. This is one of the greatest movies of all time. Watch it.

Thinking of this movie made me realize something.

Donald Trump is The Producers.

His business isn’t real estate, or casinos. Not even politics. It’s money laundering.

He may very well be the world’s premier money launderer. When billionaires need their money cleaned, he’s the go-to.

Think about it for a moment. How does one lose money running casinos? Why does he have so many connections to organized crime? Why do so many of his development deals fall through? Why do so many of his buildings get foreclosed on after only a couple of years? Why do so many of his properties get sold to Russians with ties to organized crime? Why does Trump have so many LLC’s (limited liability corporations) to his name,his family, and his main company? Why didn’t he release his taxes like every other candidate?

Because Donald Trump is a criminal.

A real estate developer wants to build properties. A hotelier wants to own and run successful hotels. A casino owner wants to own and run a casino. A television producer wants to create successful television shows and movies.

Trump doesn’t do any of those. He provides cover for other criminals to move their money around, and he takes some off of the top.

Here’s how…

If there’s a few million dollars to move, he’ll provide an apartment for sale in New York or Miami. I wonder how many of his condos have humans living in them.

If there’s a few hundred million dollars to move, it’s time for a failed hotel development. Trump will announce a deal to build some spectacular hotel at some crazy, ridiculous price like $3 billion. They’ll hire architects, designers, accountants, engineers, and lawyers. They’ll put the money they’ve gathered so far into escrow, through a shell company or two, and wait a couple years as the interest in the project wanes. The deal will fall through, and all of the money, minus fees, gets returned to the investors. Laundered.

If there are billions to launder, the hotel will get made. Trump will receive a licensing fee for his name. Then, after construction, the other investor will take out a mortgage on the property for more than the building’s value. They then run out of town with the money, if the bank comes looking for it. If they don’t, they’ll swallow the loss. If they don’t want to swallow the loss, they’ll foreclose on the property and sell it off.

So, Trump failed up when he got elected. He probably wanted to go into media after the election, and keep doing his deals. Instead, he’s on the biggest stage in the world, and doing everything he can to distract and discredit those looking into him and his actions.

By the way, CI and FinCEN have been on to him for a while.

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Thank you, and have a good one.