Daily Check-In 01/11/2019

Friday, January 11, 2019.  It’s Friday, so it should be quiet, right?

Wait, what?  Ah, son of a …

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

WASHINGTON — In the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests, according to former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation.

The inquiry carried explosive implications. Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security. Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.

The investigation the F.B.I. opened into Mr. Trump also had a criminal aspect, which has long been publicly known: whether his firing of Mr. Comey constituted obstruction of justice.

Agents and senior F.B.I. officials had grown suspicious of Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign but held off on opening an investigation into him, the people said, in part because they were uncertain how to proceed with an inquiry of such sensitivity and magnitude. But the president’s activities before and after Mr. Comey’s firing in May 2017, particularly two instances in which Mr. Trump tied the Comey dismissal to the Russia investigation, helped prompt the counterintelligence aspect of the inquiry, the people said.

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, took over the inquiry into Mr. Trump when he was appointed, days after F.B.I. officials opened it. That inquiry is part of Mr. Mueller’s broader examination of how Russian operatives interfered in the 2016 election and whether any Trump associates conspired with them. It is unclear whether Mr. Mueller is still pursuing the counterintelligence matter, and some former law enforcement officials outside the investigation have questioned whether agents overstepped in opening it.

The criminal and counterintelligence elements were coupled together into one investigation, former law enforcement officials said in interviews in recent weeks, because if Mr. Trump had ousted the head of the F.B.I. to impede or even end the Russia investigation, that was both a possible crime and a national security concern. The F.B.I.’s counterintelligence division handles national security matters.

After Mr. Comey was fired on May 9, 2017, two more of Mr. Trump’s actions prompted them to quickly abandon those reservations.

The first was a letter Mr. Trump wanted to send to Mr. Comey about his firing, but never did, in which he mentioned the Russia investigation. In the letter, Mr. Trump thanked Mr. Comey for previously telling him he was not a subject of the F.B.I.’s Russia investigation.

The second event that troubled investigators was an NBC News interview two days after Mr. Comey’s firing in which Mr. Trump appeared to say he had dismissed Mr. Comey because of the Russia inquiry.

“I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do it,” he said. “And in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself — I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.”

Always on a Friday.

When I saw this story come across the wire, I said to myself “Self, this seems like it’s pretty big.”  And it is.  This is a major revelation in the Russian Investigation.  But at the same time, it’s bigger for what it means for those of us who’ve been following the events of the last few years.

It’s confirmation.  Confirmation of the early moments of the investigation, and how serious the FBI took this threat.  It’s confirmation of a lot of the rumors I’ve heard over the years, and it’s confirmation that this is much farther along than most people think.

Let’s break this down and look at it, one piece at a time.

First, this report establishes that Trump’s actions throughout the campaign and the early parts of his presidency were alarming enough for the FBI, and that they saw enough “coincidences” in Trump’s behavior toward Russia, that they decided to open a counterintelligence investigation into the President of the United States.  They felt that he was a security risk.

The President of the United States was seen as a security threat to the United States of America.  Let that sink in.

Next, the purpose of the investigation was to determine whether Trump was an unwitting asset or a full-on spy for the Russians.  Notice how I didn’t say he wasn’t involved at all?  Because by this point, there were too many coincidences for Trump to not be involved with Russia.  That, and the FBI had been investigating those around him for almost a year at this point.

Further, it looks like the Comey Firing was a panic point for the FBI and was the line that shouldn’t be crossed.  And it wasn’t just that Comey was fired, but HOW he was fired.  In my life, I’ve had more than a few conversations with HR.  I’ve also had to do a lot of studying and training into various legalities about when, who, and how a person can be relieved from their position.  One of the things I’ve learned is that when asked for an official reason for firing an employee, it should not reference anything to do with any protected class such as race, creed, sexuality, nor should it refer to any actions that could be involved in litigation.  It also shouldn’t reference performance unless that behavior can be backed up with paperwork, and keep ones mouth shut after just in case they decide to challenge this in court or in front of the unemployment board.

Trump fucked all that up with the Comey Firing.  He stated to assistants that he wanted to fire him over Russia, had a letter written to that point, and even after the White House Counsel killed that one and got a better reason from the Deputy Attorney General, Trump still referenced Russia in his personal firing letter.  Then, he goes on national television the VERY NEXT FUCKING NIGHT and says he fired Comey over Russia.  And he repeated it to the Russians IN THE OVAL OFFICE!  If I were in Comey’s shoes and needed to prove to the Labor Board that my firing was based off of the Russian Investigation, I would have a slam dunk case against Trump.

Next, remember the craziness that occurred with Comey’s laptop around his firing? It’s referred to here, but I’ll give the short, short version.  Keith Schiller, Trump’s longtime bodyguard, followed him to D.C. to serve some bullshit position as his muscle.  When Trump fired Comey, he officially sent Schiller to FBI HQ to hand deliver the firing letter.  Unofficially, he was supposed to get Comey’s laptop and computer files while he was there.  That last part didn’t work for two reasons.  The FBI wouldn’t let him leave with anything, and the laptop wasn’t there. See, Trump is an idiot and doesn’t realize that people on a work trip would take their work laptop with them.  Comey was visiting the FBI Los Angeles Office when he was fired.  He took his laptop with him.  Eventually, according to rumors, they did get their hands on it through Jeff Sessions and others at the Justice Department, but that didn’t end well for them.  There were some tracking files placed on Comey’s laptop that let the FBI trace who had access to it after Comey was fired.  But that’s another story for another time.

Also, keep in mind that this was the one of the craziest weeks in American history.  From May 9th 2017 to 2017, here’s a short list of what happened:

  • President Trump fired FBI Director Comey.
  • The Deputy Attorney General essentially becomes the head of the Russian Investigation.
  • The FBI had multiple criminal and counterintelligence investigations looking Trump, his campaign, his family, his associates, the Russians he talked to, other foreign leaders, and the like.
  • Trump brags to the Russian Foreign Minister and Ambassador about firing Comey removed pressure from the Russian Investigation.
  • Trump then burns an above top secret program to the Russians involving an Israeli spy embedded deep inside of ISIS in Syria.
  • The White House denies the meeting happened, American press were barred from covering it, and Trump denies anything happened.
  • Russian press outlets like RT and Sputnik release pictures and transcripts from the meeting.
  • The DAG, Rod Rosenstein, gets dragged through the mud for being the reason that Comey was fired, as his letter critiquing the handling of HRC’s emails is floated as the official reason to the American people for a couple days.
  • Trump then goes on national television and admits to Lester Holt that he was thinking about Russia when he fired James Comey.
  • DAG Rosenstein interviews Robert S. Mueller III for possibly taking over the Russian Investigation.
  • Trump interviews Mueller for the open FBI Director position.  He also interviews Andrew McCabe and a few other people with connections to the FBI.
  • The WannaCry ransomware attack starts with the first reports of infected systems coming from Ukraine. It then spread through Eastern Europe and into America pretty damn quick.  Initial reports on who created it pointed to Iran, but the release schedule pointed to Russian GRU.  It was likely designed by Iranians, but introduced into the wild by Russia.
  • Trump tweets out that Comey better not lie about his conversations with him because “there might be tapes”, inferring that he recorded their conversations.
  • Comey tells his friend at Columbia University to tell the Press that Comey wrote multiple extraneous memos about his meetings with Trump.
  • Putin offered to vouch for Trump about leaking classified intel.
  • News of even more ties between Trump, Putin, and Russian banks come out.
  • DAG Rosenstein appoints Mueller as Special Counselor for the Russian Investigation, and assigns all of the open investigations to him.  He’s authorized to go wherever the evidence leads him.
  • The White House has a shit fit about the Mueller news.

Yeah, that all happened in about 10 days.  The same period that this story comes from.

Finally, the article points out two very important points:

No evidence has emerged publicly that Mr. Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian government officials. An F.B.I. spokeswoman and a spokesman for the special counsel’s office both declined to comment.

That’s some awfully interesting phrasing there.  I highlighted the most important word of that sentence.  Publicly.  That’s a very interesting word to insert into an article about an investigation into whether or not Trump is a spy for the Russians.

Take this as a spoiler.  More shit is on the way.

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, took over the inquiry into Mr. Trump when he was appointed, days after F.B.I. officials opened it. That inquiry is part of Mr. Mueller’s broader examination of how Russian operatives interfered in the 2016 election and whether any Trump associates conspired with them. It is unclear whether Mr. Mueller is still pursuing the counterintelligence matter, and some former law enforcement officials outside the investigation have questioned whether agents overstepped in opening it.

Of course this is why we haven’t heard this confirmation until today.  It’s inside of Mueller’s Black Box.  Nothing escapes without permission.

Rudolph W. Giuliani, a lawyer for the president, sought to play down the significance of the investigation. “The fact that it goes back a year and a half and nothing came of it that showed a breach of national security means they found nothing,” Mr. Giuliani said on Friday, though he acknowledged that he had no insight into the inquiry.

This is complete and utter horseshoe being spewed by Colludy Giuliani.  What makes him think that if, even if, his client were under a counterintelligence investigation that the FBI would be under any obligation to tell him?  Especially if they suspect that it’s true, that he’s not an unwitting asset but an accomplice?  The FBI isn’t exactly known for going up to spies and saying “by the way, we think your a spy, so stop spying, mmkay?”

 

President Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal details of his conversations with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, including on at least one occasion taking possession of the notes of his own interpreter and instructing the linguist not to discuss what had transpired with other administration officials, current and former U.S. officials said.

Trump did so after a meeting with Putin in 2017 in Hamburg that was also attended by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. U.S. officials learned of Trump’s actions when a White House adviser and a senior State Department official sought information from the interpreter beyond a readout shared by Tillerson.

The constraints that Trump imposed are part of a broader pattern by the president of shielding his communications with Putin from public scrutiny and preventing even high-ranking officials in his own administration from fully knowing what he has told one of the United States’ main adversaries.

As a result, U.S. officials said there is no detailed record, even in classified files, of Trump’s face-to-face interactions with the Russian leader at five locations over the past two years. Such a gap would be unusual in any presidency, let alone one that Russia sought to install through what U.S. intelligence agencies have described as an unprecedented campaign of election interference.

Well, this makes things even more interesting.  Trump has gone out of his way to keep the notes of his meetings and calls with Vladimir Putin out of the hands of his staff and administration.  This includes keeping it from the Intelligence Community, the State Department, and even his own archivists.

I don’t know about all y’all, but that sounds like covering something up.  Almost like he’s going out of his way to keep something out of reach.  Like, how he’s Putin’s Cock Holster.

Trump Dodges Question on Fox News if He’s a Russian Asset 

In a on air phone call with Judge Jeanine on Fox News Saturday night President Trump respond to new reports this week by the New York Times that revealed the FBI had opened an investigation into president Trump for fear he was acting as foreign agent for Russia—knowingly, or unknowingly. Trump would not give a straightforward answer when host Jeanine Pirro pressed him on whether or not he’s working as a Russian asset. “Are you now or have you ever worked for Russia Mr. President?” Pirro asked the President. “I think it’s the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked. I think it’s the most insulting article I’ve ever had written,” Trump responded. “And if you read the article you’d see that they found absolutely nothing.” When Pirro moved on to questions regarding the follow-up report by the Washington Post revealing how the president went to unusual lengths to keep conversations with Russian president Vladimir Putin under wraps Trump denied ever doing so and said he would be happy to share the details of those conversations. “Well Jeanine I would, I don’t care,” Trump said. “I’m not keeping anything under wraps, I couldn’t care less.”

A… How… Wha…

The author of this site is now shaking his head after trying to make sense of the world salad he was just fed.  He didn’t ask for the Bullshit Dressing to go with his Word Salad, but instead of returning it, he’ll dive in.

What in the fuck was that?  All he had to do was say “No, that’s absurd”, and then Judge Leadfoot could go on to the next softball question like “What’s your favorite color?” or “What’s two plus two?”

Oh, who am I kidding, he’d fuck those up, too.

This interview reminds me of Jerry Sandusky’s interview with Bob Costas following his arrest for fucking several young boys over a span of about 30 years.  Jerry was Joe Paterno’s long time defensive coordinator and friend.  Many of Jerry’s crimes took place on campus. The fallout that occurred at Penn State when it came out that his crimes were at least partially covered up destroyed Paterno’s legacy.

In the interview, Bob Costas asked Jerry Sandusky if he was attracted to young boys.  This is a pretty easy question.  All he has to say is “No, of course not.”  Instead, he’s talking about he “horsed around” with them and the like.

Trump fucked up worse than Jerry Sandusky.  I never thought I’d have to write that sentence.  I need a fucking drink.

 

Legendary journalist Carl Bernstein has said that he’s been told that special counsel Robert Mueller’s report will show how President Donald Trump helped Russia “destabilize the United States.”

Bernstein, who is renowned for his coverage of the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of former President Richard Nixon, appeared on CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday to discuss two bombshell reports released this weekend, one from The New York Times and one from The Washington Post, which revealed new details about whether or not Trump and his aides have colluded with Russia.

This is something that should be abundantly clear by now to anyone paying attention, but the bulk of Mueller’s work is not just an Obstruction inquiry, but whether or not Trump is working for the Russians.

Just in the past week, we’ve heard several new pieces of information that point to this conclusion.  Why?  I’ll answer that in the Coda.

 

Rudy Giuliani says President Trump‘s legal team should be allowed to “correct” special counsel Robert Mueller‘s final report before Congress or the American people get the chance to read it.

The claim, made in a telephone interview with The Hill on Thursday evening, goes further than the president’s legal advisers have ever gone before in arguing they have a right to review the conclusions of Mueller’s probe, which is now in its 20th month.

“As a matter of fairness, they should show it to you – so we can correct it if they’re wrong,” said the former New York City mayor, who is a member of Trump’s personal legal team. “They’re not God, after all. They could be wrong.”

The special counsel’s office declined to comment.

Seriously?  Assuming for a moment that Colludy Rudy isn’t just trying to blow smoke up people’s asses, which he is, let’s think about this for a second.

A former prosecutor who is representing a client on a criminal investigation is insisting that he and his client be allowed to edit the report that lays out the criminal behavior his client engaged in.

In what universe does he think that’s acceptable?  This is just more of “Colludy Rudy Lubing the Truth”.

 

 

 

Round-Up

 

“Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.” The efforts to lift sanctions on Russia. The Helsinki capitulation. Mueller saw all of it through the lens of this investigation

I think Mueller’s report is about to be significantly different than many people have anticipated. The fact this probe was opened into whether Trump has been acting as a Russian asset DURING his presidency, and Mueller took it over, changes the context dramatically.

The FBI launched a probe, that Mueller took over, into whether the President of the United States is a Russian asset. This is wild.

Regarding this NYT story from this weekend, imagine you are a FBI Agent working Russian counterintelligence in 2016 and you witness the following:

– you witnessed Russian hackers targeting a wide swath of Americans including the DNC, DCCC, former Secretary of State & a Presidential candidates staff
– someone previously targeted by Russian Intelligence joins the Trump campaign and then appears on a stage in Moscow supporting Russia policy and speaking negatively of US policy
– A Presidential candidate hires a new campaign manager whose not been in the business in the states for years, but has been seen pushing a Russian agenda in Ukraine and has Russian intel contacts
– an Australian official contacts you and says the Russians have stolen emails of a Presidential candidate & may want to give them to the candidate’s competitor
– a Russian lawyer & others tied to Russian government visit a Presidential candidate’s son in the candidate’s building in NYC
– Candidate Trump stands on a stage and calls out Russia and asks about emails from his competitor, says they will be rewarded if they have them and release them
– website that’s released sensitive & classified documents from US for years, helped deliver a US insider to The Kremlin, begins publishing document & emails during Dem convention, content you know was stolen by Russia. Site administrator once hosted a TV show on Russia State TV
– A strange, unexpected policy change occurs at RNC convention, the change is a less supportive position toward Ukraine and is advantageous to Russia
– candidate’s campaign manager goes on CNN and asserts a false terrorist attack in Turkey, one tied to and advanced by Russian propaganda
– during this time, you watch a campaign associate tweet with a Russian account that’s pointing people to stolen documents from the opposing campaign. The campaign associate predicts something will happen to the opposing campaign manager- his emails are later released
– as Election Day approaches, Presidential candidate makes allegation, without evidence, voter Fraud & Election Rigging, Russia propaganda echoes this, social media accounts associated Kremlin do the same, at same time, you watch Russian Hackers hit state election infrastructure
After election, current President issues sanctions against Russia, but the incoming National Security advisor makes calls to Russian officials from 3rd country, when approached for clarification post inauguration, the advisor lies about contents of phone call w/Russian officials
During summer fall leading into the election, you receive raw intelligence from highly reliable source whose proven invaluable on other investigations. source provides intelligence on Russia’s efforts to support a presidential candidate, the info is consistent with other info
Before inauguration your bosses, your leaders from all intelligence agencies brief president elect on classified info showing Russia influenced the election on behalf of President elect. President elect rejects intelligence from all your superiors and suggests Russia innocent
From the summer of 2015 all the way through the election and after inauguration, you watch as the candidate, president elect and now president offers overt effusive support for Vladimir Putin who you know has been helping the President get elected.
Shortly after inauguration, your new commander-in-chief spouts false information about Polish aggression toward Belarus. This is not supported by the Intelligence community you are in, and the only source for this viewpoint is Russian propaganda
After firing of National Security Advisor that lies to you agencies investigators, the President corners your boss 1-1 asks him to go easy on National Security Advisor who lies about his conversation with Russians
During this period, the President inexplicably and repeatedly asks your boss if he’s under investigation with regards to Russia, despite your boss and other intel heads going out of their way to brief the President about Kremlin efforts to potentially compromise & manipulate him
While Congressional committees investigate Russian interference, the President fires your boss for his handling of an email investigation into the President’s opponent, an investigation that helped elevate the President rather than hurt him
You later find out a draft memo from President to your boss regarding his firing cited the Russia investigation
The President then goes on national television and in an interview says he fired your boss because of the Russia investigation
A week after firing your boss, the President invites Russian leaders into the Oval Office, Russian photographers capture the moment, but US media is not allowed to observe. President then brags to Russian leaders about firing your boss
Sometime during the spring, if you’re not already aware, you read a news story alleging the President’s son-in-law may have sought a way to communicate with Russia via a back channel not monitored by you and your colleagues
During summer, you watch the President attend NATO summit and shove Montenegro PM, in an Interview claim Montenegro is aggressive, might start a war. This mirrors Russian propaganda & you know Russia backed covert operation destabilize Montenegrin election
For next year, either you, your colleagues and your organization, FBI, are discredited by President. He mixes true and false information in public disclosures which you are not allowed to respond to. If you do respond, your accused of leaking and could be fired or even jailed
Documents & information from confidential sources you’ve pledged to protect, are selectively leaked into public through those who are supposed to provide government oversight. These inappropriate disclosures make your job as an investigator nearly impossible & hurts your sources
At some point during the summer or before, you learn that the President’s son was receiving & responding to direct messages from website that was releasing emails stolen from the President’s opponent by Russia
1st two years President’s term, you watch him take a negative, adversarial stance toward NATO and particularly Germany. This strains your relationship with your most valuable intel partners, your Counterterrorism agent colleagues depend on them & they help fight war on terror
Over next 2 years, President aggressively seeks meetings with Putin who helped elect him. Need for meetings is not clear. one President meets in private with Putin for 2 hours without witnesses but translator. To this day, you, your bosses don’t really know what was discussed
President emerges from private meeting with Putin and on world stage in Helsinki accepts and validates Russian denials about election interference & rejects years of your teams intel work. This badly damages your reputation and partner trust with your organization
Separately, your President publicly discusses a Russian proposed partnership on cyber security, this insane concept is mind boggling to you as an investigator as you’ve just spent years tracking these same Russians who just attacked your country
Even further, your President publicly mentions a possible exchange where Russian investigators might interview and interrogate you and other Americans about their attack on you and America. A crazy, frightening and bizarre threat to you as a civil servant.
Throughout your investigation into Russian interference, you watch as your President’s attacks on the Special Counsel, Justice Department & FBI are amplified and spread in America by the very Russian troll social media accounts and state sponsored propaganda you are investigating
Throughout the Special Counsel indictments, hearings and trials, you watch the President and his legal team publicly interject, discredit witnesses and discuss pardons, all subverting the rule of law and justice which you’ve dedicated your life to protect and defend
You either know or learn a parallel investigation shows Russians representing a bogus Russian gun rights movement penetrated the political party hosting members who’ve tried to discredit you – you recognize this as a TEXTBOOK espionage/influence op you learned at FBI academy
After two years, the Attorney General over you, who appropriately recused himself from Russia investigation, is fired for seemingly no clear reason after taking public lashings from the President
Your AG is replaced by an acting AG whose unqualified for position, has limited experience justify such high level appointment, you’ve watched him on TV discrediting your agency and your team’s investigation despite seeing none of evidence or knowing anything Russian influence
The same month, the President’s personal lawyer pleads guilty in federal court and says he continued negotiations throughout almost the entire Presidential campaign for a Tower in Moscow. This is in opposition to President’s public denials.
You read public reporting that the best apartment in the Moscow Tower project pursued by the President’s business was offered to Russia’s President Putin, the same Putin your President always sides with over you and your agency, the Putin who helped your President win
You either knew or learned through a redaction error that the President’s campaign manager was alleged to have lied about providing polling data to a Russian whom he owed money, via a former Russian GRU contact
Wrote thread through day from memory without web searches, I’m sure I missed a lot, & this is all on the public, can’t imagine what it must feel like to serve FBI during this investigation,we clearly don’t know everything Mueller team knows, I imagine there is much more to learn
Special Counsel investigation must continue, this is a crisis, this is a national emergency

That’s just the short version of events.

 

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

 

SHUTDOWN & IMMIGRATION

 

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

Pro-Trump Dark Money Groups Are Gearing Up to Sabotage the 2020 Dem Primary

Trump goes on Twitter tear after learning FBI investigated him as a possible Russian agent

Trump rages about FBI’s reported probe into Comey’s firing

Trump administration lays groundwork to declare national emergency to build wall

Trump apparently plans to raid Army disaster relief and construction funds to build his wall

Trump may declare a national emergency in the border wall battle. Here’s what that means.

Trump Wants To Take Money From Actual Crises To Fund One He Made Up 

Trump’s Threat of National Emergency Declaration Explained

Trump is the president of the Republican base — not the country

Trump Goes On Racist Tirade Against Elizabeth Warren Amid New Russia Scandals | HuffPost

As Trump eyes a potential national emergency, Democrats see a possible lawsuit

Spicy Mic: A couple of thoughts: Seperation of powers, sure @realDonaldTrump “can” declare a National Emergency but expect a gladiator style fight. Article 1 Section 8 of Article 1 But more importantly, Trump should read SCOTUS👇🏻Youngstown, Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U.S. 579. THREAD

 

TRAITOR TOTS

GoFundMe Border Wall Campaign Implodes, Turns to Kris Kobach and Sheriff Clarke

GoFundMe is refunding all donations made to the ‘Build the Wall’ fundraiser

Senate Democrats Call For DOJ Ethics Probe After Whitaker Non-Recusal 

Senate Democrats want Matthew Whitaker investigated by Justice Department for not recusing himself in Mueller probe

The Death Logic behind Trumpism: Even nuclear winter would be worth it to own the libs

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

I didn’t get it until just now. The reason it’s so easy for many southern conservative Evangelicals to praise Putin and to reach out to him for help in their culture war is because they’ve never felt like Americans. They’re confederates fighting their War of Northern Aggression.

They see, perhaps unconsciously, reaching out to a foreign country to help them win their war as a natural thing allies do. To them it isn’t treason. To them the Civil War never ended. And Mr. Trump whose father was close to the KKK if not a member is Jefferson Davis reincarnate.

The last known Civil War veteran died in 1956. My parents were teenagers then. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Woolson …

All of the “exits” Putin has been pushing in America are a version of secession. It plays right into deep psychological southern sentiments even when his dupes urge it for California and doubly so when they urge it for Texas.

 

KHASHOGGI & SAUDI ARABIA

 

SCOTUS & COURTS

 

#METOO & WOMEN’S RIGHTS

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

Alex Jones

 

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

CONGRESS

 

ELECTIONS

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

I fucking know it is. I know for a fact he was abusing her when she was 5 years old. Our daycare teachers called cps on her and it was covered up.

This is a pretty outrageous claim, but we’ve seen similar rumors before.  Not only does this fit with a lot of Trump’s behavior, but it wouldn’t be the first time that a rich person had a claim against them squashed.  According to the comments in this thread, the user claims that there was a CPS claim made against Trump for abusing Ivanka back in winter 1987.  The user claimed this happened at Unity Montessori School.  After the claim was made to CPS, nothing happened.  He says he made multiple calls to investigators and at least 6 news outlets, but so far the story has not been picked up on.

It’s not my job to investigate this type of claim, but doing a very cursory search, this place is in the Delray Beach area, right outside of Palm Beach.  The tuition is ridiculously expensive, and the pictures were overwhelmingly filled with white kids.  And the timing goes from winter to Easter 1987.  This was during the time Tony Schwartz was writing “Art of the Deal”, and he did stay at Mar-a-Lago during that time.  The club is about twenty minutes from the daycare.

Like I said, there’s been rumors and reports of Trump preying on girls before, but none of the reports thus far have been about a five year old girl.  Then again, it’s his daughter Ivanka.

 

 

That’s it for the last few days.  A crazy few days it’s been, too.  And it’s going to get even weirder from here on out.

A lot of the stories that came out in the last couple days weren’t revelations to anyone who’s been paying attention, but are bombshells to the masses.  Hearing that the FBI thought that the President might be a spy while dozens of people around him had multiple contacts with the Russians, all while trying to keep the translators from telling anyone what happened in meetings between the President and the head of a country that continues to attack us to this day is disturbing at best.  And all of this comes out while the President refuses to budge on his demands for funding for a border wall that is forcing the government into a shutdown.

For a while, I’ve tried to look at all of Trump’s actions through the lens of a criminal and an asset of a foreign power.  Is there anything that he’s done in office that would be different from the Manchurian Candidate?  So far, I can’t find a single thing that’s different.  Everything he’s done has at least a shade of shadiness to it.  Nothing he’s done could be considered selfless, professional, presidential, or altruistic.

Take for example the current government shutdown.  He’s acting out of fear.  Fear for knowing that if he caves on the wall, he’ll never get it and his “base” will turn on him faster than yinzers after Big Ben throws a Pick 6.  But if he doesn’t cave, the rest of the country will suffer.  If the shutdown lasts much longer, airline travel will collapse, food inspections that are getting missed will kill people, and the economy will teeter further into a recession.  He’s back himself into a corner, and his only options are to hope Chuck and Nancy blink first, capitulate on his demands, try to find a compromise, or try the emergency declaration route.  Only one of those options has Trump come out on top without screwing everything up, and that looks less likely by the day.  But all of the options hurt the United States and help our enemies.

If Trump gets Chuck and Nancy to blink here, he’ll do it again and again again.  He’s already shown he can’t be trusted, so they won’t trust him.

If Trump backs down on his demand for a wall, his base will eat him alive.  He needs them to survive an Impeachment trial.  If enough senators are scared of his voters, they might not vote to expel him.  I’m assuming at this point that Impeachment is a question of When, not If.

The only way I can see them give Trump a wall is if they tie it to a whole bunch of things that have to happen first, like rescinding the tax cut on the one percent, expand Medicare to everyone, and go all-in on DACA.  They would make an offer so onerous for Trump that if he accepted it, the Senate would destroy him.

If he declares a national emergency to bypass Congress, he will lose in the courts and the court of public opinion.  Anyone who thinks that him declaring an emergency is a good thing doesn’t have the country’s best interests in mind.

None of these actions are good for the United States, but they’re great for our enemies.  The longer we’re dicking around with fighting over this stupid wall, the more it hurts our standing in the world, the worse it hurts our economy, and the worse it hurts our allies.  The only people that benefit from this are our enemies.

Which begs the question, why would the President of the United States want to hurt the country so bad if he was loyal to the United States?

If he’s not loyal, then his actions make sense.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 01/10/2019

Thursday, January 10, 2019

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

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

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

 

SHUTDOWN & IMMIGRATION

 

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

 

TRAITOR TOTS

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

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

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

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

 

SCOTUS/#METOO & WOMEN’S RIGHTS

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

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

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

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

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

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

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

TRADE WAR, HEALTH CARE, & ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS & RELIGION

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

CONGRESS

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

RUMOR MILL

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 01/09/2019

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Rosenstein

According to reports, Deputy Attorney General will be leaving his office shortly.  This is where the reports get confusing.  One source said that he would leave shortly after William Barr is confirmed as Attorney General.  Other sources report that he won’t leave until either after Robert Mueller submits a report, or is so close that nothing could stop it.

People are putting two and two together and concluding that this means that Mueller will submit at least part of his report in the coming weeks.

 

Нет сговора! That’s “No Collusion!” in Russian.

WASHINGTON – Members of President Donald Trump’s campaign and transition team had more than 100 contacts with Russian-linked officials, according to a new report.

The milestone illustrates the deep ties between members of Trump’s circle and the Kremlin. The findings, tracked by the Center for American Progress and its Moscow Project, come amid reports that special counsel Robert Mueller is nearing the conclusion of the two-year investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by the president.

“This wasn’t just one email or call, or one this or that,” said Talia Dessel, a research analyst for the left-leaning organization. “Over 100 contacts is really significant because you don’t just have 100 contacts with a foreign power if there’s nothing going on there.”

The organization used publicly available court documents and reporting to tally up the number of contacts with Russian-linked officials, which includes those with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and others tied to Russian intelligence, banks and politicians.

The organizations counted each meeting and message as a separate contact.

The number of contacts was raised to 101 this week after it was reported that Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, a former campaign aide, shared polling data with Manafort’s former Russian business partner Konstantin Kilimnik.

Over 100 contacts.  100.  We’re well past the coincidence stage at this point.  A couple meetings is one thing, but we’re in triple digits now.  With a lot of them coming AFTER they were warned by the FBI.

 

Manafort

Today is a good day to remember that Tad Devine, Bernie’s chief strategist, worked with Paul Manafort for many years. In Ukraine. Paul Manafort – the guy who handed over our data to GRU.

Devine went directly from working with Manafort to Bernie’s campaign. Sanders was a long-time client of Devine’s. Devine was doing work with Manafort in June 2014, and by November it was announced that he’d be doing Bernie’s campaign.

Have you ever done contract or consulting work? If you have, you know that the work + communications on a project rarely end when the contract does. There are always loose ends to tie up. Especially if you’re working with someone who’s a long-time collaborator/friend/client.

On top of that, while you’re working on one project, you’re likely also in negotiations for the next project. And big projects – such as a presidential campaign – take a lot of negotiation, meetings, calls, proposals, strategizing, and so on.

When it was announced that Devine was working for Bernie, it’s not as though Bernie called him that day and said “hey, wanna work for me?” and Devine was like, “yeah! Let’s call Politico and tell them right now!” There were likely months of negotiations beforehand.

Or at least that’s been my experience. Even with people who know me well and have worked with me many times in various capacities. Because it’s not just me and the other person involved – it’s us, plus boards, plus VIPs, plus key team members + …

And that’s just for low-stakes (compared to preserving our democracy, anyway) performing arts events.

My point: I don’t see how there wasn’t overlap, whether that particular year, or in the years prior when Devine was working for Manafort and also interacting with his longtime client and friend, Bernie (Devine’s words).

Overlap, while Devine was working for Manafort, and Manafort was working with GRU. To me, it’s an impossibility that Devine could work with Manafort for many years, and not know/understand that Manafort was also working with Russia.

So the same person who spent years working with Paul Manafort in Ukraine up until their client fled decided to work with Bernie Sanders.  Bernie, the same one who had Russian bots push his story on the internet, who cried foul at HRC even though he lost by millions of votes, and stood by while the DNC mails were released to the public.

 

“I had a 17-inch laptop that was dying and it needed new space. I also turned over the time machine application with the hard drive backup that had all e-mails, whether I’d erased them or not, and I knew they were all there. I was trying to keep an old computer running because I liked that 17-inch. To do so, I had to erase e-mails. It was not a plan to erase evidence.”

There are several things that are shady AF about this story, and having an IT background, very little of what he said makes sense.

His first explanation, in the same interview with Ari Melber, was that his wife wanted a computer to work on and he was going to give her this one.  He then asked his son to clean it up so that she would have a fresh machine to work with.  Then he said it was dying and on its last legs and he need to make space.

Deleting mail from a laptop to save space is like throwing out pizza boxes from a hoarder’s house.  Unless there’s a literal ton of them, it’s not making a big difference.

Next, he mentions Time Machine.  He didn’t say backup, he said Time Machine.  That implies an Apple computer.  The only 17 inch laptops made by Apple in the last decade and a half are MacBook Pro models.  Those are their top of the line workhorses, designed for video editing and 3D modeling.  They can take a pounding.

It’s possible that the stories line up, but both at the same time feels like bullshit.  If my wife asked me to get her a new laptop, I’m not giving her a refurb that’s a decade old.  I might use that as an excuse to get a brand new one and give her my current one, but only a dick would give his wife a dying laptop.

Then again, he is friends with Roger Stone.

 

This isn’t news to anyone who’s been paying attention, but it does need brought up from time to time.

Mueller knows EVERYTHING.

 

When they drag Donnie Jr. in front of Congress, I hope to fuck it’s an open session broadcast live across the world.  I want to see him squirm.

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

A RICO conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 1961 hinges on proof that the underlying offenses demonstrate a “pattern of racketeering activity.” The statute delineates several hundred or so predicate acts that can contribute to a pattern of racketeering activity. Conduct may be charged under RICO as part of a pattern of racketeering activity even when the defendant has previously been convicted and sentenced for that conduct. As such, prior criminal convictions and civil suits relative to individual predicate acts do not inure against a RICO prosecution. This is key.

Further, RICO allows for a pattern of activity to encompass up to 10 years with regard to the underlying predicate counts as long as the last one falls within the statute of limitations. For example, should a federal prosecutor seek to charge mail or wire fraud counts against the Trump Organization in 2017, then the prosecutor could go back as far as 2007 to capture the full scope of the pattern of activity. This is also crucial.

The RICO statute allows for asset forfeiture actions to be initiated early in order to prevent criminal assets from being transferred beyond law enforcement’s reach. The government can take various legal actions to freeze assets upon indictment while the criminal prosecution unfolds.

Trump Foundation.  Trump Organization.  Trump University.  Trump SoHo.  Trump’s hotels across the world.  Trump’s branding opportunities.  Every aspect of his life is covered in criminal ties.

Also, remember that there’s Criminal RICO and Civil RICO.  The criminal part puts people in jail, while the civil part takes their shit.  Only the criminal part can be pardoned, and a civil case can use accepting a pardon as evidence of guilt.

If I were to write emoticons on this blog, this is where a super big grin would go.

 

SHUTDOWN

 

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

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

 

#METOO & WOMEN’S RIGHTS

 

IMMIGRATION

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS & RELIGION

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

CONGRESS

 

ELECTIONS

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

THREAD: I’m just an advertising guy, but thought I’d put a marketing lens on the news of Manafort sharing “polling data” with a Russian operative.

Seems benign in the grand scope of everything, right? It’s not.

Like politics, the goal of advertising is persuasion. And like politics, we call our efforts a campaign.

At the heart of any campaign, big or small, is data. Data about the market, people, the competition. In politics, this is called “polling.” Same thing.

Data is the raw material in the battle that brands fight to win hearts and minds, and get people to choose one product over another. To vote with their wallets.

Gleaning the data is very expensive, it’s labor intensive, and it takes a LOT of time.

Big companies will spend hundreds of millions on various versions of this undertaking, and employ thousands of people. The results of all this data, and the way it’s sliced and diced, is kept behind firewalls, under lock & key, privileged access.

Data (polls) is one of the most valuable resources a company has.

Anyone who works for a major company knows that Big Data is the business battle of our time.

What do we do with the data? We use it to decide who to target. To position the brand as distinctive from other brands. To develop messaging and ads. To de-position and conquest the competition (and lots more).

Back to Manafort. Sharing polling data with anyone is opening a door to collaborate with them. It’s allowing them to use your raw materials, your valuable resources, your manpower.

It’s like arms dealing, except the weapons can’t be tracked because no one knows they’re explosive except for the collaborators.

Sharing polling data means you’re working together. Conspiring. Making decisions together. Working to destroy the competition.

Imaging for a moment if Apple and Microsoft collaborated on pooling their data resources in an attempt to bring down Samsung…

But there’s SOMETHING EVEN MORE IMPORTANT TO THE STORY. To continue the analogy, imagine that Apple and MSFT then together hacked into Samsung’s servers and stole some of their proprietary data, in the form of emails about their data…

Then it’d be game over.

So, if you’ve got Manafort sharing valuable and proprietary data with a Russian intelligence operative, and you’ve got a Russian hacking operationg stealing the competition’s (the DNC’s and the Clinton campaign’s) data…then you’ve got it all.

Everything you need to destroy the competition. Not so benign anymore. You know who knows a lot about this? @KellyannePolls— someone should ask her.

 

 

That’s it for Wednesday.  I’ll be back on Thursday.  Hopefully things don’t go too far off of the rails by then.

I updated The Indicted to include Natalia Veselnitskaya’s Obstruction indictment from yesterday. (Daily Check-In 01/08/2019). Out of all of the names I’ve put on that list recently, hers was the most satisfying.  Sure, she may never see the inside of a prison cell, but the fact that from now on everywhere she goes, she’ll have to check to see if her connecting flight goes to a country with an extradition treaty to the United States warms my heart.  The same way it stays warm realizing that Paul Manafort will likely never taste freedom.

Once again, that’s where the grin emoji would go.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 01/08/2019

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Veselnitskaya 

A Russian lawyer whose role at a 2016 meeting at Trump Tower has come under scrutiny from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III was charged Tuesday in a separate case with obstructing justice in a money-laundering investigation.

Natalia Veselnitskaya became a central figure in Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election when it was revealed that in June 2016, she met with Donald Trump Jr. and other senior Trump campaign advisers after an intermediary indicated she had dirt on Hillary Clinton.

The indictment unsealed Tuesday relates to a different legal fight involving the Russian and U.S. governments, and charges Veselnitskaya made a “misleading declaration” to the court in a civil case arising from an investigation by federal prosecutors in Manhattan into suspected Russian money laundering and tax fraud. She did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Her work on that case attracted little attention at the time, but her role in the Trump Tower meeting made her the subject of intense investigative interest in the United States, as Mueller’s team has sought to determine whether that meeting was part of any broader conspiracy by Trump associates to seek the Kremlin’s help in defeating Clinton.

While Vesenitskaya has long proclaimed she is innocent and not a representative of the Russian government, the indictment argues she has worked closely with senior Russian officials for years.

In 2014, U.S. authorities were investigating whether Prevezon Holdings, a Cyprus-based real estate corporation, orchestrated a tax scheme in Russia by stealing the identities of companies and filing sham lawsuits to incur fake losses to generate tax refunds.

Veselnitskaya represented Prevezon Holdings in a civil case in which the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan sought millions of dollars in forfeiture from the company and others. The Justice Department had alleged in a civil complaint that a Russian criminal organization ran an elaborate tax refund scheme.

The way prosecutors described it, the members of the organization stole the identities of companies that were part of the Hermitage Fund, then filed sham lawsuits against those companies. In the lawsuits, the members of the organization posed as both plaintiffs and defendants, admitting wrongdoing so they would have large money judgments which they could claim as losses and get refunds.

The parent company of the victim firms hired attorneys to investigate after learning of the sham lawsuits, including Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, and they uncovered the fraud scheme, in which Russian government officials were complicit, American prosecutors said.

Magnitsky was arrested in Russia and died in custody. On the day he died, prosecutors said, he was beaten by guards with a rubber baton, and an ambulance crew called to treat him was deliberately kept outside of his cell until he was dead.

The incident sparked the United States to pass the Magnitsky Act, which allowed the U.S. government to sanction officials found to have committed human rights violations in Russia.

As New York officials pursued the financial investigation, they sent a formal request to Russian prosecutors for assistance. In response, Russian prosecutors sent what they called “the results of the investigation carried out in its territory,” according to the new indictment. The document laid out the reasons why the Russian government “was unwilling to provide the records requested,” according to the indictment.

In November of 2015, Veselnitskaya submitted a declaration to the judge overseeing the Prevezon case, asserting that she had gone to great lengths to achieve a copy of the Russian document. In 2017, the U.S. attorney’s office settled its civil case against Prevezon for more than $5.8 million.

Veselnitskaya, who has deep experience in Russian political and legal matters, had been brought on by Prevezon to fight the lawsuit, though she also lobbied more broadly against the political outgrowths of the allegations against the company. When she met with Trump Jr. and others, she talked about her opposition to the Magnitsky Act.

Veselnitskaya has in the past sought to dispute her characterization as a “government attorney,” noting that she worked only in the prosecutor’s office of the province that surrounds but does not include Moscow. “A regional prosecutor is not the Kremlin,” she said previously.

This is some good news.  The lawyer-spy at the heart of both the Trump Tower Meeting and their work covering up Russia’s crimes in the Sergei Magnitsky case was indicted for Obstruction of Justice for lying to investigators about Magnitsky.

Yes, she wasn’t indicted on a Mueller-related charge, but she is still indicted.

I wonder if there’s any more Russia related news today…

 

Manafort

Paul Manafort shared 2016 presidential campaign polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik, a former employee whom the FBI has said has ties to Russian intelligence, according to a court filing from his defense attorneys.

The apparently inadvertent revelation indicates a pathway by which the Russians could have had access to Trump campaign data.

The former Trump campaign chairman on Tuesday denied in a filing that he broke his plea deal by lying repeatedly to prosecutors working for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III about that and other issues.

In his rebuttal to the special counsel’s claims of dishonesty, Manafort exposed details of the dispute, much of which centers on his relationship with Kilimnik. The Russian citizen, who began working for Manafort’s consulting firm starting in 2005, has been charged with helping his former boss to obstruct Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference into the 2016 election. He is believed to be in Moscow.

The special counsel alleged Manafort “lied about sharing polling data with Mr. Kilimnik related to the 2016 presidential campaign,” according to the unredacted filing, and discussed Ukrainian politics with Kilimnik during that time.

“Manafort ‘conceded’ that he discussed or may have discussed a Ukraine peace plan with Mr. Kilimnik on more than one occasion,” his attorneys quote the special counsel as saying, and “’acknowledged’ that he and Mr. Kilimnik met while they were both in Madrid.”

Welp, there it is.  Ladies and gentlemen, THERE’S YOUR COLLUSION.

In what I can only describe as either the dumbest moment of the last 20 minutes or a desperate attempt to get Trump’s attention, Paul Manafort’s attorneys forgot to redact a couple very important sections of their response to Robert Mueller’s claim that their client lied to the Special Counselor.  In the unredacted information, we got some really juicy info.

First, Paul Manafort handed over Trump’s internal polling data to Konstantin Kilimnik, who then gave that info to Oleg Deripaska.  Think about that for just a second.  Paul Manafort, along with his aide Rick Gates, gave the internal information on American voters to a person with ties to the GRU (the same group that hacked the DNC), who was instructed to brief an Oligarch that had Manafort by the balls and had close ties to Putin and the Kremlin.

Next, Manafort also shared with Kostya his ideas for a “Ukranian Peace Plan.”  Remember how Michael Cohen and Mike Flynn floated the exact same idea around? Yeah, Paulie Walnuts pushed the same plan around.

Also, we found out that Manafort kept in contact with the Trump Administration until as late as May 2018.  Paulie had direct contacts with people in the White House until the time around his first arrest, and sent someone to talk to a pal of his by dropping his name.

Finally, we also know that Rick Gates was involved in a lot of this shit.  Rick flipped almost a year ago and gave Mueller everything.  Manafort, being the compulsive lying narcissist that he is, never stopped to think that his second in command would give Bobby Three Sticks all of his emails, documents, and calendars that prove that he’s lying.

This snafu could be the biggest self-inflicted wound since Donnie Jr. sent out his email chain.  That is, unless this was intentional.  Check out the Rumor Mill section for more on that.

 

 

 

The Mystery Supreme Court Case

A mystery company appears poised to file a U.S. Supreme Court appeal that could offer new details about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s criminal investigation.

A new filing on the high court’s online docket promises an appeal of a lower court ruling that upheld fines against the company for not complying with a grand jury subpoena. The company is owned by an unidentified foreign country.

The filing, submitted Monday but appearing on the court’s website Tuesday, seeks permission to file an appeal under seal. It also asks the Supreme Court to let a redacted version of that appeal be made public, according to the court’s docket.

The high court rarely, if ever, hears cases that are under seal. In the famous 1971 Pentagon Papers case the court rejected a government request to hold part of the argument behind closed doors, though the sides were allowed to file briefs under seal. The court later ruled that the government couldn’t stop the New York Times and Washington Post from publishing the government’s secret history of the Vietnam War.

The grand jury dispute has been shrouded in mystery, in part because officials closed an entire floor of a federal courthouse in Washington during arguments on Dec. 7. Politico linked the case to Mueller in October, citing a conversation overheard by a reporter in the court clerk’s office.

The appeals court order rejected contentions that a federal sovereign-immunity law shielded the company from having to comply.

The cases are In Re Grand Jury Subpoena, 18A669, and In Re Grand Jury Subpoena, 18M93.

 

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

 

SHUTDOWN

 

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

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

 

MIDDLE EAST

 

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

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

1/ A whole bunch of formerly conservative — now Trumpist — think tanks better get ready to pull down all their articles opposing eminent domain seizures.

2/ While they’re at it, they might want to scrub all the policies about Obama’ untrammeled abuse of executive power.

3/ Also, let’s skip that whole “rule of law” question from now on, ok? The new standard of “conservatism” is being set tonight, and since Washington’s Vichy GOP policy establishment dropped their petticoats to keep the Trumpists happy, they might as well go all the way.

4/ A phony crisis to pretend to build a vaporware wall is totes worth it, though! After all, precedents NEVER stick, right? The key lesson of Trumpism a Cartmanesque gunt of “Ah do what ah wannnnt!” So when there’s a Democratic president, y’all just sit down and color.

5/ Since the Tucker-Hannity Dental Purity brigade is heavily in my TL, I’ll give you a counterfactual scenario. (Google it, Trumpist dolts)

6/ It’s January 2021. Donald Trump choked on a KFC chicken bone or died in an autoerotic asphyxiation game gone wrong. Doesn’t matter how. For this scenario, we have a shiny new Democratic President. Call her, just for the sake of argument, Kamala Warren.

7/ She sweeps into the Oval Office and asks for a national TV address to declare a state of emergency. “My fellow Americans: the crisis of climate change can no longer be ignored, and Congress will not act fast enough.”

8/ “Powerful forces are at work, and by any standard this crisis is an emergency, so following the precedent set by President Trump, I am today declaring the following actions. First, the Federal government will immediately seize certain oil and natural gas facilities and lands.

9/ “All refining facilities will be closed. Oil and natural gas lands will be repurposed for solar and wind power only, and we will offer job retraining for their owners. The Federal government will control these lands in perpetuity to prevent additional damage to the climate. “

10/ “This is a hard step, and we do not take it lightly, by as President Trump seized hundreds of thousands of acres of land under eminent domain, we have followed his precedent to the letter, because the climate emergency demands it.”

11/ “To prevent any illegal drilling, I am ordering the U.S. military to build appropriate walls, fences, minefields, and other security structures around these lands and facilities. Walls work, in the words of President Trump, and this emergency demands them.”

12/ “We will also take Federal action to end the lawless behavior of Carbon Sanctuary States. Because of this emergency, Federal power must Trump (hehe) the rights of the states. It’s an *emergency*. Carbon Sanctuary States endanger us all, and they must be brought to heel.”

13/ See how this goes? I could go on, and on, and on, but once you open these doors, other people will walk through them. Other people will use powers of the executive in ways you *really* won’t like. But it’s ok. There will never be a Dem President again, right?

This is one of the reasons why I think that the MAGA movement is so dangerous.  All of their actions are performed with no thought about what might come in the future.  It’s why zealots are lousy at wargaming.  It also screams that they can’t imagine a world where they aren’t in power.  As Rick once said, “they can’t imagine the jackboot being on the other foot.”

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS & RELIGION

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

CONGRESS

 

ELECTIONS

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

Dammit. We have been right every step of the way. Every single prosecutorial advance – from SDNY to SC – will prove us out. F*ck everyone who stole from & belittled us. And thank you to all who follow along & contribute. There’s a sh*t ton more to unveil.

Want to know how we do it? 1. We believe in & TRUST our DOJ & Intelligence community. Yes. That’s right, all you Assange-SnowdenWald-PutinCept apologists. We’re the good guys. You are traitors. 2. We read. History, DOJ & FBI reports, real investigative journalism, court filings.

I’m a professional writer, yet there are simply no words to encapsulate how much individual & cooperative effort this has taken. We did it b/c we saw a desperate need. We saw both the failings of corporate news & the attack that the 4th Estate was under. And so we dug in 2 help.

I love investigative journalism & understand the critical role of the 4th Estate in ensuring democracy. Those whom I collaborate with are also professional people w/ expertise. Most with decades of it, incl. advanced degrees & executive experience. Stop sh*tting on us.

 

Note: the fauxdacted #Manafortfilings say that Manafort met the GRU in Spain to discuss a “Ukranian peace plan”. You know who else worked on a “Ukranian peace plan”? Michael Cohen.

  1. The no doubt deliberate fauxdactions warn others what OSC wants hidden. Important in that they show what OSC is presently trying to redact: 1. A meeting in Spain with the GRU 2. About the Ukr plan 3. Handed Trump polling data over 4. Ongoing contacts w Trump campaign
  2. What are the cumulative implications of those redactions? a) that Manafort continued to act for Trump b) that in that capacity he received polling help from Russian intelligence c) in exchange for the same sanctions relief on Ukraine Cohen was working on That’s collusion.
  3. The redactions, seen in this light, continue to bolster the Steele Dossier. They show that OSC is demanding redaction on broadly the same actions, taken by Manafort, as Steele says were taken by Cohen – hacking help from Russian intelligence in exchange for sanctions relief

5 and final – the Ukrainian peace plan is absolutely key. @MichaelCohen212continued this, with Russian intelligence, after @RealDonaldTrumpwas elected. Chris Steele’s raw intelligence dossier is sustained directly and indirectly by these redactions.

Louise has an interesting take on the Manafort redaction fuck-up.  What if this apparent fuck-up wasn’t a fuck-up at all?  What if Manafort’s attorneys, who are already in some deep shit for allegedly passing intel from the Mueller investigation to Trump’s legal team through the Joint Defense Agreement, did this on purpose to send a message to Team Trump that Mueller had proof that Kilimnik passed along the polling data?

Since they got busted last year abusing the JDA, they have to know that Mueller knows everything, but they couldn’t get the message across.  All of their communications with the JDA are now suspect and possibly criminal.  If they tried to pass a message along through other channels, they could be be partaking in some serious obstruction activities.

How does one get a message to someone when all of the private methods are down or being monitored?  Go public.

It’s not as crazy as it sounds, and probably pretty easy to pull off.  Manafort’s team knows that this case has a lot of interest in it from the press.  Any small action gets coverage.  If they intentionally made a mistake to ensure that it was reported, they could easily do that.  If they timed the error perfectly, they could guarantee that it gets in the news and makes a big enough splash to alert everyone involved.  The judge won’t like this move, but if it’s the first time they’ve tried this, there’s no pattern of behavior to point to as evidence of this hypothesis.

I’m not saying that this is what happened, but keep an eye out for any other behavior like this.

 

That’s it for Tuesday.  Notice how I didn’t cover Trump’s speech?  Because I was busy looking into Manafort and Veselnitskaya instead.  That, and I wanted to wait until after I read the transcripts from all of the speeches and checked out the fact-checking, and waited to see how bad the shitshow was before I weighed in.  That, and I’d rather hang out with my family for a little bit than listen to Tangerine Tojo spout lies on television.

See you tomorrow.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 01/07/2019

Monday, January 7, 2019

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

One of the things that’s getting lost in the conversation here is that Executive Privilege has limits. It can’t be claimed simply because it makes the President look bad, and certainly not at the end of a trial.

In all previous examples where Executive Privilege was cited and upheld, it has been claimed either at the beginning of an investigation or at the discovery phase, only applies to information which is sensitive and cannot risk being entered into the public record, only applies to events that occurred during the current administration, and also only applies if it is not talked about by the Executive branch.

None of those three cases apply here. The report itself is near the culmination of an investigation, not the inception. Evidence has already been gathered from witnesses who spoke on the record to investigators, so trying to claim Executive Privilege now is like talking to the police about a crime, giving a confession, laying out all of the details, then claiming that their attorney was stuck in traffic so it doesn’t count. The report will also likely cover events that happened before Trump became President, so there’s no chance of Executive Privilege when he wasn’t the Executive yet. Finally, because Trump can’t keep his mouth shut, he keeps talking about EVERYTHING that happened during this time, including details and accounts that were not known publicly before. Him talking about these events alone has waived Executive Privilege. Combined with everything else, he doesn’t have a pot to piss in.

 

 

SHUTDOWN

 

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

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

 

KHASHOGGI & SAUDI ARABIA

 

SCOTUS & COURTS

 

#METOO & WOMEN’S RIGHTS

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

Someone on Reddit asked “How can a constitutional right be subject to that same interpretation?”

From the Federal level, this is due to the 9th and 10th amendments, where it states that only those powers that are authorized by the Constitution are to within the jurisdiction of the Federal government, and all other powers reside to the states to decide how to execute them.  The Pennsylvania Constitution has a similar clause.

For example, let’s take obscenity and decency laws.  There are municipalities in Pennsylvania that have restrictions on when, where, who, and how individuals can buy porn or visit a strip club.  While those are both protected forms of free speech guaranteed under the first amendment, localities are still allowed to have reasonable restrictions on them, like they have to be at least 500 feet from the nearest school, can’t be completely nude and offer alcohol, or can’t operate on certain days of the week.

Note the term “reasonable”.  Unreasonable restrictions are just that: unreasonable.  Completely outlawing guns inside city limits or requiring strippers to only perform to a funeral dirge are unreasonable restrictions.

There’s also nothing to stop Robinson, Scott, or any other town from enacting their own restrictions, aside from the likelihood of lawsuits from the Commonwealth and the NRA, which could easily cripple a smaller town.  If Pittsburgh is successful, then other towns might follow.  Or do the opposite and allow unfettered gun ownership.  It’s up to the individual town at that point.

That’s where the reasonable conversation ended.  Things went downhill after that.

I don’t like the gun enthusiasts or open carry movement at all.

First, it’s the ultimate expression of White Privilege.  It’s almost always white people carrying their security blanket AR-15’s, pretending that they’re one loud noise away from going all Dirty Harry or Rambo on the scene because they’ve seen one too many action movies.  If they were black, the cops would get called in a heartbeat and the black person gets shot because they were “armed and dangerous.”

Unfortunately, these people are likely to get trigger happy,  looking for a reason to “be the hero” in their own little story.  Next thing, someone gets murdered for cutting in line or driving like a jerk.  It’s easier to shoot someone when constantly armed.

Also, the people that organized this are not even from Pittsburgh.  Protesters driving in from Erie or Cleveland to combat a proposed law in Pittsburgh is a dick thing to do.  Sounds like the projected claims of busing in out of state protesters.

 

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

This is, quite literally, the exact same faulty reasoning that tech companies keep citing to justify not taking action to combat disinformation and manipulation on their platforms. They knew there was a problem, but failed to act because they wanted to avoid right-wing backlash.

Brian StelterVerified account @brianstelter

TV exec texts: “He calls us fake news all the time, but needs access to airwaves… If we give him the time, he’ll deliver a fact-free screed without rebuttal. And if we don’t give him the time, he’ll call every network partisan. So we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t.”

This is what I’m talking about –> Facebook was aware of their “fake news” problem and had the tools to fix it. But they chose not to act b/c they were “paralyzed” by “fear about upsetting conservatives.” Now major networks are falling into the same trap.

Memo to media/news execs: Trump is going to go to war with you regardless of what you do or how much coverage you give him. He’s still going to call you “fake news,” even if you let him hijack your airwaves with his speech.

By giving Trump free reign to spew propaganda on the airwaves, news organizations are not just broadcasting Trump’s toxic lies — they’re helping him achieve his goal of eroding public trust in the press. They’re destroying themselves to placate someone who wants to destroy them.

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

STUDENT ISSUES

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

BREAKING:#cyntoniabrownhas been granted full clemency by the governor of Tennessee.

And while having her sentence commuted is worth celebrating, remember that Cyntoia Brown has been in prison for 14 years and will be on parole for 10 years. We must question the justice system that allowed this, and fight for others in similar situations who haven’t been freed.

 

PRIESTS & RELIGION

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

CONGRESS

 

ELECTIONS

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

Yeah, so that happened.

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Monday.  I feel like I’m coming down with something, so I might not be on the ball as much the next couple days.  Hopefully it’s not too much to put out of the fight.

One spoiler for Tuesday’s post, Natalia Veselnitskaya is back in the news.  She was indicted on an unrelated money laundering case.  I’ll try to have more on that later on.

I don’t know what’s going to come of Tangerine Tojo’s Televised Tantrum, but I’ll cover that as much as I can.  At least, I’ll cover others covering it.  I might be several shots of NyQuil deep into the night by then.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 01/04/2019

Friday, January 4, 2019 and the weekend.

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Grand Jury Extended

This grand jury was impaneled back in July 2017, and was approaching the 18 month limit.  They can be extended for 6 months.  This jury will likely continue until July 2019.

Whelan

There’s something beyond fishy with Paul Whelan.  The U.S. wouldn’t send him in to Russia to spy without some type of cover, and picking a man who was dishonorably discharged from the Marines for breaking crimes of trust.

There’s two interesting theories I’ve heard.  The first is that Whelan was picked up by the Russians because he’s one of their spies and went off the reservation.  The second is he was arrested for trade bait.  Not Butina, but the next guy.

 

Nevidomy

Vladimir Nevidomy ties to Trump’s Florida towers, which are used to launder Russian money and serve as a location for Russian Anchor Babies.  He could take down the whole operation.

 

House

Remember, Adam Schiff has access to the really good stuff.

 

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

It looks like Burke was busted on an extortion racket.  He refused to let a Burger King restaurant get a building permit for a remodel unless they hired his law offices to do their taxes.  He was caught in a sting when he said this on the phone, into a wiretap.  During the raid on his offices, it’s almost a certainty that the Feds also found stuff about Trump’s taxes.

 

SHUTDOWN

 

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

A Different Kind of Emergency

If only the Republicans cared about our country sliding into a dictatorship as much as they do about a young woman of color dancing or another dropping the F-bomb, then I might not be so mad all the time.

Of course, there is no legal basis for this move.  I’ll have more about that tomorrow.

 

Russian Talking Points

 

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

Mother Fucker

 

Rick Wilson

1/ In the midst of something close to 2000 emails along the lines of “Suck it, looser” and “I’m going to kill you” there have been a few heartfelt messages expressing hurt over my “ten tooth” line. Allow me to make a few observations about this current moment.

2/ Obviously, not all Trump supporters are ten-toothed rubes, but I’d bet you a hundred quatloos research would prove all ten-toothed rubes are Trump supporters. But that’s not really the point, is it? The point is that Trump’s base proudly endorses the most lavish cruelty.

3/ They adopt this language and attitude of unearned swagger and strength, of “fuck your feelings” and imitation of Trump’s own cruelty, vulgarity, unjustified chest-thumping. Trumpism isn’t, for the 1000th time, conservatism. It’s a parasitic infection feeding on hatred.

4/ The reaction to my throwaway line was a sign of 2 things; the unbelievable political and status insecurity of the Trump voter. They were offended by the dental comment, but they should have been offended by the “rube” comment. Because *I* didn’t make them rubes. Trump did.

5/ Do you want a participation trophy and a pat on the head from me for your utterly credulous dumbassery over Trump’s endless list of lies, deceptions, scams, venality, and corruption? I thought unearned merit was what you hated about the *left*.

6/ The story of the reaction is also a window into the dumbfuckery of the Trump-right outrage machine. It’s is the perfect mirror image of the dumb language-and-tone policing of the worst cliches of the social justice crowd. It’s failbot Alinsky for dumbasses.

7/ I’m not going to coddle and cosset people who are proud of being conned, or who embrace cruelty as governance. I was told the new order was all about “fuck your feelings” but apparently MAGA feefees are so delicate a bald dude with big ears and glasses can trigger you.

8/ Social and status insecurity is the key underpinning of racially inflected nationalism that Trump and Russia (but I repeat myself) weaponized. You don’t like someone who pokes it? You don’t like someone who calls your shit? I am not your safe space.

 

Impeachment Argument

  1. The unrelenting chaos that President Trump creates can sometimes obscure the big picture. But the big picture is simple: The United States has never had a president as demonstrably unfit for the office.
  2. Trump’s high crimes and misdemeanors can be separated into four categories. And this list is conservative. It does not include the possibility that his campaign coordinated strategy with Russia, nor his lazy approach to the job, like his refusal to read briefing books.
  3. This list instead focuses on demonstrable ways that Trump has broken the law or violated his oath. ONE: Trump has used the presidency for personal enrichment. TWO: He has violated campaign finance law. THREE: He has obstructed justice. FOUR: He has subverted democracy.
  4. For the country’s sake, there is only one acceptable outcome, just as there was after Americans realized in 1974 that a criminal was occupying the Oval Office. The president must go.
  5. Achieving this outcome won’t be easy. And it should not involve a Democratic House quickly impeaching him — which would actually be a favor to Trump. But achieving his removal from office is more plausible than many people seem to realize.

 

Pelosi

 

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

 

SCOTUS & COURTS

 

#METOO & WOMEN’S RIGHTS

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

Germany Hacked by GRU

 

NASA Visit DENIED

 

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS & RELIGION

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

CONGRESS

 

THE ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ SHOW

 

THINKING AHEAD

Warren

 

Just, Don’t

 

Electoral College

Two years ago, the Arizona House of Representatives voted to eliminate the Electoral College.

It’s a great idea.

Long overdue.

The House passed a bill that would have given all of Arizona’s 11 electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote no matter who wins the in-state vote. Both Democrats and Republicans voted for it.

Twelve states already have passed similar laws, with a combined number of 165 electoral votes. When enough states pass such bills to equal 270 electoral votes it would guarantee that the popular vote winner would win the presidency.

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for the last few days.

Something I need to get better at is curating how many stories I include, especially on the weekend.  It’s not like it was super, duper, crazy, but I need to stop grabbing each and every headline.  It takes hours to organize all of this.

I expect to talk about gun rights a little bit tomorrow.  There was a rally in Pittsburgh where a bunch of open carry enthusiasts (read: white guys from outside the city with small penises and who are generally afraid of minorities) protested downtown because the city proposed banning assault weapons from inside city limits, as well as allowing the police to seize firearms from someone if people go to the cops and report that person as a danger to themselves or others.  You know, like a responsible society would do.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 01/03/2019

Thursday, January 3, 2019.  First day of the new Congressional Session.

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Guthrie: Should the special counsel honor and observe the Department of Justice guidance that states a sitting president should not be indicted?

Pelosi: Do I think that that is conclusive? No I do not.

Guthrie: So you think it’s possible that special counsel Mueller could legally indict a sitting president?

Pelosi: Let’s just see what Mueller does. Let’s spend our time on getting results for the American people.

Guthrie: As you well know, there is longstanding DOJ guidance that states a sitting president should not be indicted. But it is not the law.

Pelosi: It is not the law. Everything indicates that a president can be indicted after he is no longer president of the United States.

Guthrie: What about a sitting president?

Pelosi: Well, a sitting president, when he is no longer president of the United States.

Guthrie: A president who is in office? Could Robert Mueller come back and say, “I am seeking an indictment”?

Pelosi: I think that that is an open discussion. That is an open discussion in terms of the law.

 

From Russia With Espionage Charges

BREAKING NEWSPaul Whelan was discharged from the Marines because he submitted HIMSELF for various awards -Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medaletc via the online awards system of the Commanding General of the Third Marine Aircraft Wing.

BOOMWhelan’s attempts to fraudulently secure awards for himself through a system he had admin access to, was caught when the poorly written forms were flagged by the Commanding General’s staff.

Paul Whelan also falsified orders so he would not have to return to his primary unit in Michigan and he could stay at Miramar. He was also drawing BAH and Commuted Rations pay while living in an apartment in LaJolla when he lacked orders that he was stationed there

He was convicted at a special court-martial in January 2008 as a Staff Sergeant on several charges related to larceny and was given a bad-conduct discharge in Dec 2008 at the rank of Private- subsequently he gets no veterans benefits

Here’s my take… a Marine that would fake acts of bravery and service for commendations and awards he didn’t earn and would rather go to Russia on leave then be w family and friend is a perfect mark for the FSB to recruit. Kelly Services made a huge error in hiring him

If Whelan can lie about his record, falsify forms for pay, has zero honor or integrity -than he’s very capable of selling out to the Russians. As a global security expert he was privy to a lot of secrets, key cards, passwords, key codes, access to cameras

Perhaps Putin was telling the truth. Maybe Whelan was apprehended while on a ‘spy mission’- EXCEPT- he was on the mission so Putin could trade” him for Butina. CrazySure. But hasn’t it been insane for the last few years

Well… apparently Whelan was caught red handed at the Metropol Hotel w a USB drive he obtained from a Russian citizen. It’s data contained info on the makeup of staff of Russian Intel and Agencies. He’s in Lefortovo prison which is known for its very harsh conditions

Paul Whelan is in a “dungeon”.

A key goal will be to drum up as much concern for Whelan’s well being as possible so that the public outcry for the trade of Butina for Whelan is massive. Expect Russian bot and # hashtag participation in drumming up support for this “ex” marine

Putin and Trump did not realize that we would find out that the ex marine is not a patriot and that it would undermine our sympathy for him. He was basically attempting his own version of “stolen valor” by falsifying docs to make himself out to be a hero. It’s despicable

In addition, Whelan also used someone’s social security number and wrote bad checks, according to military court documents. A military judge also found him guilty of attempted larceny and three specifications of dereliction of duty

Russia is claiming that Whelan has spent 10 years cultivating acquaintances and friends through social sites in order to gather RU secrets- this time a flash drive w names of Russian spies at various agencies

The translation is rough, but it’s weirdly interesting…

 

No Honey pots for Paul Whelan… Russian intel services note that “it was striking that Whelan was not at all interested in pretty RU women, preferring to drink w male acquaintances of the Internet”

 

Paul Whelan’s lawyer in Moscow, Vladimir Zherebenkov, said his client “is confident and has a great sense of humor and hopes for objectivity of the investigation”

 

Vladimir Zherenbenkov, Whelan’s defense attorney, has represented some interesting defendants

Whelan‘s atty also represented Andrei Kovalchuk, charged with organising large-scale trafficking in cocaine from Argentina to Russia

Whelan, accused formally of espionage by Russia, has 59 friends on his VK page, including former students at the Military University of the Russian Ministry of Defence. He met w one VK friend in 2008

We aren’t the only ones curious that Ambassador Huntsman rushed to see Whelan. It was called a “rookie mistake” by a RU foreign policy analyst. “It esculates the situation…” Was it really a ‘mistake’ or part of a pre-arranged plan?

Whelan’s brother David isn’t aware if his brother Paul is still a Canadian citizen… Canada was briefed when Paul was detained that they had an Ottawa man in custody. My question: did Whelan use a Canadian passportWhy would Canada be notified

BREAKING NEWSWhelan’s attorney, Zherebenkov, is talking about a prisoner exchange”I myself hope that we can RESCUE and bring home one Russian SOUL” He’s talking about Maria Butina…

JFCNo self respecting lawyer or RU intel officer would refer to a male spy as a ‘Russian soul’ or use the term “rescue”… This ruse is becoming more transparent by the minute

Luckily, for Whelan, Vladimir Zherebenkov, his defense defense atty, is very familiar w extradition cases

Can anyone help me find the rest of Paul Whelan’s Court Martial

Venture Capital added,

Venture Capital @kelly2277

Here is the first page of Whelan’s Court Martial

This must have been planned by a mastermind C’mon, did Whelan really arrange a transfer of a classified USB in the Metropol hotel – the same day of his friend’s wedding and where he and other guests were stayingHe couldn’t have gone to a park? https://metropol-moscow.ru/en/offers/546/ 

The irony… it’s like when we found out Manafort was using 007 for his password. The Metropol was the hotel that Count Rostov lived in under house arrest in this novel

@detroitnewsadded that Whelan’s duties at Kelly Services put him in contact w an FBI division embedded in embassies overseas. That’s odd given that he was court martialed and discharged from the Marines. Why was he given these critical responsibilities at Kelly Services

 

 

 

CONGRESS

The first day of the new Congress, and the first day of the beginning of the end of the Trump Presidency.

I said I’d go into more detail, but the big points are covered already.  Nancy Pelosi, the boogeywoman of the Right Wing World, is now the Speaker of the House.  That makes her the second person in the Chain of Succession for the President of the United States.  In the normally-unlikely event that both the Pres and VP leave office around the same time, she would become the President.

It was a needlessly ugly fight, but I’d like to point out something.  In a span of about three weeks, she was able to whip together enough votes from the “No way we’ll vote for her” crowd and built enough of a coalition to win, while also giving enough wiggle room for the handful of candidates who ran on the “I won’t vote for Nancy” platform to not vote for her.  Plus, she hit the big hits on her acceptance speech, and within the first night passed the exact same spending laws that the Senate passed last year to reopen the government.

Will it always be smooth sailing?  Oh, hell no.  But, for the first time in a long time, there’s a sense of hope that part of the government will DO IT’S FUCKING JOB!

 

SHUTDOWN

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

 

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

This video from Rachel Maddow is definitely worth watching.  Using multiple instances she asks a very simple question.

How is it that Donald Trump, an ignorant, bloated, lazy, idiotic waste of space pulls obscure Russian propaganda out of his ass and says it so well that he might as well work for the Politburo?

This isn’t a new thing for Trump.  After his trip to Moscow in 1987, the notoriously cheap man spent his own money on an Anti-NATO ad in the New York Times.  I covered him reciting their stuff on the campaign trail a couple days ago (Daily Check-In 01/01/2019), and this video brings up a couple weird Russian talking points, like blaming Poland for invading Belarus when it was Russia, or repeating Russia’s claims on how dangerous Montenegro could be if they joined NATO.  Then, Trump pulls the “They invaded Afghanistan to stop terrorism” spiel that is actually Putin’s ploy to rewrite history. (Daily Check-In 01/02/2019)

Considering that Trump is semi-literate at best, he’s probably not reading this in some obscure book on Eastern European history, so he’s getting this fed to him somehow.

Who’s feeding him the Russian talking points?

 

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

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

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS & RELIGION

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

ELECTIONS

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Thursday.  I’ll see whether I’ll post Friday by itself or with the weekend.  Partly, it depends on how much happens and when I get time to write.

A spoiler for tomorrow, one story that I’m seeing is that 5 reps, 4 Democrats and a Republican, have just moved forward a resolution to create an amendment to the Constitution overturning Citizens United.  Hopefully I can go into more details on my next post.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur