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Scandal Watch III

This is a continuation of the topic Scandal Watch II.

This topic was continued by Scandal Watch IV.

Pro and Con

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Jul 31, 2017, 9:32pm Top

Trump dictated son’s misleading statement on meeting with Russian lawyer
Ashley Parker, Carol D. Leonnig, Philip Rucker and Tom Hamburger July 31, 2017

On the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Germany last month, President Trump’s advisers discussed how to respond to a new revelation that Trump’s oldest son had met with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign — a disclosure the advisers knew carried political and potentially legal peril.

The strategy, the advisers agreed, should be for Donald Trump Jr. to release a statement to get ahead of the story. They wanted to be truthful, so their account couldn’t be repudiated later if the full details emerged.

But within hours, at the president’s direction, the plan changed.

Flying home from Germany on July 8 aboard Air Force One, Trump personally dictated a statement in which Trump Jr. said that he and the Russian lawyer had “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children” when they met in June 2016, according to multiple people with knowledge of the deliberations. The statement, issued to the New York Times as it prepared an article, emphasized that the subject of the meeting was “not a campaign issue at the time.”

The claims were later shown to be misleading.

...The extent of the president’s personal intervention in his son’s response, the details of which have not previously been reported, adds to a series of actions that Trump has taken that some advisers fear could place him and some members of his inner circle in legal jeopardy.

As special counsel Robert S. Mueller III looks into potential obstruction of justice as part of his broader investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, these advisers worry that the president’s direct involvement leaves him needlessly vulnerable to allegations of a coverup.

...misleading the public or the news media is not a crime

..Air Force One took off from Germany shortly after 6 p.m. — about noon in Washington. In a forward cabin, Trump was busy working on his son’s statement, according to people with knowledge of events. The president dictated the statement to (Hope Hicks, the White House director of strategic communications and one of the president’s most trusted and loyal aides), who served as a go-between with Trump Jr., who was not on the plane, sharing edits between the two men, according to people with knowledge of the discussions...


Aug 1, 2017, 7:38am Top

Scott Ritter has issued a critique of the latest VIPS memo (which he did not sign). In agreement with the broad thrust, but highlights some technical errors. Worth re-reading in its entirety.

Aug 2, 2017, 5:55pm Top

This is from last week, but I thought it was interesting.

Conway's advice to White House staff: Don't treat Trump like a peer

"The reason I said that is because I do think that it is important to set up that level of deference and humility when you’ve got someone who’s your boss, now the president of the United States, now the chief of staff, a general, a secretary, who is clearly your senior, your superior,” she said.

Gee, I thought we were a nation of peers.
Humility? That is such a poor word choice.

Aug 2, 2017, 6:00pm Top

>1 margd: Aaron Blake at the Washington Post:

"But every so often you see this kind of leak: the send-a-message-to-the-boss leak -- the spreading of unhelpful information about the president because advisers see no other way to make it stop."

Aug 3, 2017, 3:26am Top

Kushner Companies has been subpoenaed over its use of the controversial EB-5 visa program to court investors:

U.S. Attorney Subpoenas Kushner Cos. Over Investment-For-Visa Program
Records sought from development firm owned by family of White House adviser Jared Kushner
Erica Orden et al. | August 2, 2017


Edited: Aug 3, 2017, 10:18pm Top

The investigations which are encircling Trump are exactly what the GOP planned to drop on President HRC ~ apparently fate had other plans.

Edited: Aug 4, 2017, 3:48am Top

60% chance of impeachment...

Today's Impeach-O-Meter: Things Are Happening, You Guys
Ben Mathis-Lilley | Aug 3, 2017

...(WSJ) Special counsel Robert Mueller has convened a grand jury to help conduct his investigation of the Trump campaign's ties to Russia...provide Mueller with more legal tools to compel testimony and the disclosure of documents.

CNN...Manafort...encouraged Russia to support Trump.

(US Senate)...introduced a bill that would protect special counsel investigators such as Mueller from being fired without cause.



Obstruction of justice case stronger than outsiders may have believed. I think Trump transparency in tweeting his latest thought--or accusing others of something he does--plus his impulsivity and extreme narcissism in not realizing that other people/countries have their own interests and defense instincts got him in some very hot water:

...Two senior federal law enforcement officials have told me that the new revelations illustrate why they believe the potential case against Trump is stronger than outsiders have thought.

“What you are going to have is the potential for a powerful obstruction case,” a senior law enforcement official said. “You are going to have the former FBI director testify, and then the acting director, the chief of staff to the FBI director, the FBI’s general counsel, and then others, one right after another. This has never been the word of Trump against what James Comey has had to say. This is more like the Federal Bureau of Investigation versus Donald Trump.”

Trump and his supporters have long argued that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for the special counsel to bring an obstruction case against Trump. The case would rely on the word of one man versus another, that of the president of the United States versus the FBI director he fired. But this was never the case.

Including Comey, as many as 10, and possibly more, of the nation’s most senior law enforcement officials are likely to be questioned as part of the investigation into whether Trump committed obstruction of justice, according to two government investigators with firsthand knowledge of the matter. Comey’s notes on his conversations could also be used as evidence, according to many reports...


Aug 4, 2017, 3:55am Top

Senate blocks Trump from making recess appointments over break
Jordain Carney | 08/03/17

...locked in nine "pro-forma" sessions — brief meetings that normally last roughly a minute.

The move, which requires the agreement of every senator, means the Senate will be in session every three business days throughout the August recess...


Aug 5, 2017, 5:00am Top

This Trump real estate deal looks awfully like criminal tax fraud
Two tax lawyers break down the president’s sale of two condos to his son.
David Herzig and Bridget Crawford | August 4, 2017

...According to a recent story by ProPublica and the Real Deal, in April 2016, a limited liability company managed by Trump sold two condominium apartments to a limited liability company managed by Eric Trump. They were on the 13th and 14th floors of a 14-story, full-service, doorman building at 100 Central Park South in Manhattan. This is a prime Midtown neighborhood, yet the sale price for each condo was just $350,000. Although the condition and square footage of apartments 13G and 14G are not readily known, a popular real estate website shows that G-line apartments on both the fifth and eighth floors are one-bedroom, one-bath units of just over 500 square feet. Two years before the Trump transaction, apartment 5G sold for $690,000. Maybe the two units in question were in terrible shape, but two months before the sale to Eric Trump’s LLC, they were advertised for $790,000 (on the 13th floor) and $800,000 (on the 14th floor), according to ProPublica.

...In our combined 40 years of experience as tax lawyers, we are unaware of a situation in which a taxpayer would report a transaction as a fair market value between strangers on the state level (and thus incur real estate taxes) but treat it as a gift at the federal level (and thus incur an additional tax). It’s fair to infer that Trump didn’t follow the rules.

Willful failure to file a tax return, including a gift tax return, is a misdemeanor , punishable by a $25,000 fine, imprisonment of up to one year or both. Fraudulent failure to file — meaning an overt act of evasion — may elevate willful failure to a felony . That carries a fine of up to $100,000, imprisonment of up to five years or both, along with the costs of prosecution. According to internal guidance provided by the IRS to its agents, factors indicating potential fraud include repeated contacts by the IRS, failure to cooperate with IRS agents or employees, knowledge of the filing requirements, offering implausible or inconsistent explanations, substantial tax liability, and refusal or inability to explain failure to file.

Presidential income tax returns are subject to mandatory audit . The IRS can decide whether Trump’s transfers were truly gifts. If they were, which seems likely, Trump’s failure to file a gift tax return opens him up to penalties and fines, or even criminal charges. Perhaps such a charge wouldn’t go anywhere, since the president must consent to being indicted by a federal prosecutor. But tax law would permit them.


Aug 6, 2017, 9:50am Top

Et tu, Pence? Hello, President Ryan? President Pelosi?

Robert Mueller’s latest move signals he just might take down Mike Pence too
Bill Palmer | Aug 5, 2017

...Michael Flynn...Robert Mueller is now demanding that the White House turn over any documents it has in relation to Flynn’s employment as a foreign agent during the time that he was working for the Donald Trump campaign. Further, Mueller is now said to be investigating whether Flynn was taking secret kickbacks from foreign governments while working for the Trump campaign. This is a far more serious crime – legally defined as fraud – than simply being an unregistered paid foreign agent, which is essentially just a failure to file paperwork.

...back in April confirmed that Michael Flynn informed the Trump transition team that he was a paid foreign agent, and they hired him to be National Security Adviser anyway (link). Mike Pence was the head of the transition team, which means that he knew all about it. So when Pence went on television after inauguration and claimed Flynn was clean, he was knowingly lying.

Now that Robert Mueller is confirmed to be investigating Michael Flynn for having taken secret foreign kickbacks, the question becomes whether Mike Pence knew that Flynn’s crimes included the kickbacks. If so, then it means Pence may have committed obstruction of justice – a crime he might not survive. The Republicans would be loathe to impeach Pence no matter how guilty he may be. But if the Democrats take the majority in the midterms, they could then impeach Pence based on Mueller’s evidence against him.


Edited: Aug 6, 2017, 3:56pm Top

An absolute must-read from Alastair Crooke:

Playing Politics with the World’s Future
The strategy of neutering President Trump in his dealings with Russia – and his administration’s own ignorance about complex Mideast issues – are combining to create grave dangers, writes ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke.
Finally … the U.S. Congress has produced a piece of legislation. And it passed with quasi-unanimous, bi-partisan support. Only its substance is not so much a deep reflection on the foreign policy interests of America, but rather, the desire to hurt, and incapacitate the U.S. President in any future dealings with Russia. (And never mind the worrying impulse towards conflict with Russia this entails, or its collateral damage on others).

The aim has been to see President Trump hog-tied, and “tarred and feathered” for his “risky behavior” on Russia. This aim simply has overpowered any other considerations – such as likelihood that the outside world will conclude that America’s ability to pursue or even to have a foreign policy is non-existent in the face of its internal civil war. It is a key juncture. For an overwhelming majority of Democratic and Republican Senators and Congressmen, bringing down “The Donald” is all – and the devil take the consequences for America, in the world....


It pairs well with B's assessment out today, which is very useful in presenting a Continental perspective. He may or may not be correct in his speculations regarding LNG, but his invocation of Brzezinski seems on point.
The bottom line: "I fail to see how the current strategy, now enshrined by congressional sanctions, could ever end up in an overall advantage for the United States."

And finally, see how the mice make merry.

Aug 7, 2017, 11:41am Top

Jeff Flake is a Republican senator from Arizona. This article has been excerpted from his new book, Conscience of a Conservative.

My Party Is in Denial About Donald Trump
We created him, and now we're rationalizing him. When will it stop?
JEFF FLAKE | July 31, 2017

...Under our Constitution, there simply are not that many people who are in a position to do something about an executive branch in chaos. As the first branch of government (Article I), the Congress was designed expressly to assert itself at just such moments. It is what we talk about when we talk about “checks and balances.” Too often, we observe the unfolding drama along with the rest of the country, passively, all but saying, “Someone should do something!” without seeming to realize that that someone is us. And so, that unnerving silence in the face of an erratic executive branch is an abdication, and those in positions of leadership bear particular responsibility...



Once Again, the Guardrails Hold
The Trump presidency is a stress test, and America is passing.
Charles Krauthammer | August 3, 2017

...At five separate junctures, the sinews of our democracy held against the careening recklessness of this presidency. Consequently, Donald Trump’s worst week proved a particularly fine hour for American democracy:

1) The military says no to Trump on the transgender ban.
2) The Senate saves Sessions.
3) Senate Republicans reject the Obamacare repeal.
4) The Boy Scouts protest.
5) The police chiefs chide.

...Whatever your substantive position on the various issues involved above, we should all be grateful that from the generals to the Scouts, from the senators to the cops, the institutions of both political and civil society are holding up well. Trump is a systemic stress test. The results are good, thus far.


Edited: Aug 8, 2017, 10:15am Top

Joe Lauria has a very well-reported piece out today on the latest developments in a lightning-rod story, which has been subject to large amounts of manipulation and disinformation from all sides. Please read before frothing at the mouth. Objective reporting of this quality on the subject is a real public service.


Aug 10, 2017, 7:42am Top

FBI raids Manafort. Trump expresses 'appreciation' for Mueller. Trump pal attacks Manafort in National Enquirer.

FBI raid a warning to Paul Manafort – and more
Bob McGovern | August 10, 2017

...(The July raid on one of Paul Manafort's residences), and the idea that investigators had probable cause to conduct it, also puts pressure on President Trump’s former campaign chairman to spill the beans if there are any beans to be spilled.

“I think federal investigators may have found the weak link they have been looking for,” said David Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor in Florida. “They may now think they have enough to squeeze him for information. They can try to squeeze him until he breaks.”

Raiding a house can be seen as a heavy-handed approach. Manafort says he has been cooperating with congressional investigators and has already turned over a trove of documents. But investigators may think he is hiding something, and conducting a daybreak search is one way to ensure that nothing is being hidden or destroyed.

Going after someone like Manafort is also a classic investigatory technique, according to Weinstein. When investigating a situation that may involve both high-ranking officials and rank-and-file underlings, it’s important to start somewhere in the middle.

“You look at someone who isn’t at the top or bottom of the food chain. You want a target in the middle who may be of value to you,” Weinstein said. “You work those people so you can get to those you want to get to: the people at the top.”



News Wrap: Trump reportedly sent Mueller private messages through attorney
August 8, 2017

There’s word President Trump has exchanged private messages with Robert Mueller, the special counsel for the Russia investigation. USA Today reports that Mr. Trump has sent messages of — quote — “appreciation” through his attorney to Mueller. The president has publicly called the Russia probe a — quote — “witch-hunt” and was said to be considering firing Mueller.



National Enquirer attacks Paul Manafort after news breaks about FBI's raid of his home
Josh Siegel | Aug 10, 2017

On the same day news broke that the FBI raided the home of Paul Manafort last month, the gossip magazine National Enquirer reported Wednesday night that the president's former campaign chairman cheated on his wife with a younger woman.

The timing of the Enquirer's Manafort story provoked skepticism by media outlets, and others, who noted Manafort's central role in various Russia investigations, and the implications for President Trump.

Bill Kristol ✔ @BillKristol
2:20 PM - Aug 9, 2017
Whoa. Does this National Enquirer attack on Manafort mean he's turned on Trump? http://www.nationalenquirer.com/photos/paul-manafort-sex-scandal-mistress/


Aug 11, 2017, 8:59pm Top

Hacked text messages allegedly sent by Paul Manafort's daughter discuss 'blood money' and killings, and a Ukrainian lawyer wants him to explain
Natasha Bertrand | Mar. 21, 2017

...In a series of texts reviewed by Business Insider that appear to have been sent by Andrea to her sister, Jessica, in March 2015, Andrea said their father had "no moral or legal compass."

"Don't fool yourself," Andrea wrote to her sister, according to the texts. "That money we have is blood money."

"You know he has killed people in Ukraine? Knowingly," she continued, according to the reviewed texts. "As a tactic to outrage the world and get focus on Ukraine. Remember when there were all those deaths taking place. A while back. About a year ago. Revolts and what not. Do you know whose strategy that was to cause that, to send those people out and get them slaughtered."

...In a later exchange with a man who appeared to be Andrea's cousin — and one of her father's former employees — Collin Bond, Andrea appears to have said her mother and father couldn't go through a "public divorce" because Manafort had "too many skeletons" and "his work and payment in Ukraine is legally questionable." ...


Edited: Aug 19, 2017, 6:05am Top

Meanwhile, back in the swamp...

Billionaire and early Trump supporter Carl Icahn worked on biofuel proposal, benefits significantly:

Icahn steps down as regulatory adviser to Trump
Lydia Wheeler | 08/18/17

Investor Carl Icahn announced...that he is stepping down from his role as special adviser to President Trump on issues relating to regulatory reform.

Icahn, who owns a substantial stake in the oil and refining company CVR Energy, said in a letter to Trump on Friday that he is choosing to “end this arrangement (with your blessing) because I did not want partisan bickering about my role to in any way cloud your administration or Ms. Rao’s important work,” referring to newly minted Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Administrator Neomi Rao.

...Earlier this year six Senate Democrats, including Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), reportedly called on the White House Counsel to investigate Icahn’s refusal to divest his private sector interests, citing conflicts of interest, after reports Icahn had worked closely on a planned executive order to overhaul the Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard.

The senators claimed Icahn significantly benefited from a policy proposal to shift the burden of complying with biofuel quotas from refiners to fuel blenders. They cited the Wall Street Journal, which reported CVR stocks increasing by 3.5 percent the day the proposal was sent to the White House...



Surprise! Lawyer with links to bottled water industry appointed Deputy Secretary of Interior. Parks may no longer ban sale of plastic water bottles.

Trump administration kills push to ban bottled water in national parks
Kurtis Alexander | August 16, 2017

...The National Park Service announced Wednesday that, effective immediately, it will no longer allow parks to ban the sale of plastic water bottles, which have long been criticized for littering lakes and forests.

Since 2011, as part of the Green Parks Plan adopted under former President Barack Obama, the Park Service has encouraged the use of tap water and refillable bottles on federal lands, while allowing parks the option to prohibit the sale of disposable water bottles in shops, hotels and vending machines.

...Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, who was confirmed in June, previously spent eight years as an attorney at the Denver law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, whose clients include water bottler Nestle.

“Just as we’ve seen across the board with the Trump administration, this is an example of the industry working behind the scenes to protect its profits,” said Lauren DeRusha Florez, associate campaign director at Corporate Accountability International, a national nonprofit group that advocates sustainable business practices....


Aug 19, 2017, 5:50am Top

>15 margd: I sort of half-read that one when you first posted it. Now I see it again, and you've DEFINITELY got my attention.

Aug 24, 2017, 4:53pm Top

World leaders conclude: Trump is a liability, not a leader

To outsiders, Trump seems to be shunning the American dream in favor of something far more sinister. Britain's former ambassador to the United States, Peter Westmacott, tweeted this in response to the Arizona rally: "Shades of 1933 Germany. And an invitation to autocrats w/o America's checks & balances to play the same game more dangerously. Leadership??"

Aug 25, 2017, 7:03am Top

Overview of The Duck walking, talking...

7 times Trump tried to call off the dogs on Russia
Aaron Blake | August 24, 2017

1) Trying to get (Sen) Tillis to back off (Mueller protection bill)
2) Venting to (Sen) Corker about sanctions bill
3) Complaining to (Majority Senator Leader) McConnell about not getting protection (from Russian investigations)
4) Asking (then FBI Director) Comey for loyalty
5) Suggesting Comey be lenient on Michael Flynn (former NSA director)
6) Asking Comey to say Trump wasn't under investigation
7) Asking (National Intelligence Director) Coats and (NSA Director) Rogers to deny evidence of collusion


Aug 26, 2017, 12:49pm Top

Trump to Manafort, Flynn, et al:
If I can pardon Arpaio, I'll pardon ANYBODY.

Aug 26, 2017, 2:05pm Top

> 20

You mean, trump to Mueller and Congress, don't you?

Aug 26, 2017, 4:31pm Top

>21 JGL53: No, the message is to Flynn and Manafort that you don't have to make a deal with Mueller to flip on Trump because Trump will pardon you.

Edited: Aug 26, 2017, 6:38pm Top

> 22

Well, yes, of course. I was referring to the message being sent to Mueller and Congress - that trump himself can never be prosecuted for any crime whatsoever as he will pardon himself, along with pardoning any underling who might go down initially.

Of course I realize he can be forced to resign one day under threat of impeachment and conviction but I doubt he worries about that. Such would not be a real punishment for anything but would just give him an out and he could then claim to be the victim who was a HUGE success as President but that the professional politicians conspiracy did him dirty.

Aug 27, 2017, 6:17am Top

>20 margd: Interesting parallel to Flynn case? Long before pardoning Arpaio, Trump looked into dropping govt case:

Trump asked Sessions about closing case against Arpaio, an ally since ‘birtherism’
Philip Rucker and Ellen Nakashima | August 26, 2017

...The president asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions whether it would be possible for the government to drop the criminal case against Arpaio, but was advised that would be inappropriate, according to three people with knowledge of the conversation.

After talking with Sessions, Trump decided to let the case go to trial, and if Arpaio was convicted, he could grant clemency.

So the president waited, all the while planning to issue a pardon if Arpaio was found in contempt of court for defying a federal judge’s order to stop detaining people merely because he suspected them of being undocumented immigrants...


Edited: Aug 28, 2017, 5:21pm Top

Smoke from early days of Trump campaign:

Trump’s business sought deal on a Trump Tower in Moscow while he ran for president
Carol D. Leonnig, Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman | August 27, 2017

... in late 2015 and early 2016 (before R primaries), (Trump's) company was pursuing a plan to develop a massive Trump Tower in Moscow

As part of the discussions, a Russian-born real estate developer (Russian-born Felix Sater, who served time in jail after assaulting a man with the stem of a broken margarita glass during a 1991 bar fight and then pleaded guilty in 1998 to his role in an organized- crime-linked stock fraud, and whose sentencing was delayed for years while he cooperated with the federal government on a series of criminal and national security-related investigations) urged Trump to come to Moscow to tout the proposal and suggested that he could get President Vladimir Putin to say “great things” about Trump, according to several people who have been briefed on his correspondence.

...As the talks progressed, Trump voiced numerous supportive comments about Putin, setting himself apart from his Republican rivals for the nomination.

By the end of 2015, Putin began offering praise in return...



Top Trump Organization executive asked Putin aide for help on business deal
Rosalind S. Helderman, Carol D. Leonnig and Tom Hamburger | August 28, 2017

...A top executive from Donald Trump’s real estate company emailed Vladi­mir Putin’s personal spokesman during the U.S. presidential campaign last year to ask for help advancing a stalled Trump Tower development project in Moscow, according to documents submitted to Congress Monday.

Michael Cohen, a Trump attorney and executive vice president for the Trump Organization, sent the email in January 2016 to Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s top press aide.

...Cohen’s email marks the most direct interaction yet documented of a top Trump aide and a similarly senior member of Putin’s government.

The email shows the Trump business official directly seeking Kremlin assistance in advancing Trump’s business interests, in the same months when Trump was distinguishing himself on the campaign trail with his warm rhetoric about Putin...

...Cohen has been one of Trump’s closest aides for more than a decade. He did not take a formal role in the campaign however sometimes spoke to reporters on Trump’s behalf and appeared on television as a surrogate while Trump was running...



Felix Sater, Trump Associate, Boasted That Moscow Business Deal ‘Will Get Donald Elected’

...The associate, Felix Sater, wrote a series of emails to Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, in which he boasted about his ties to Mr. Putin and predicted that building a Trump Tower in Moscow would highlight Mr. Trump’s savvy negotiating skills and be a political boon to his candidacy.

“Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” Mr. Sater wrote in an email. “I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.”...


Aug 28, 2017, 10:44am Top

It’s Time: Congress Needs to Open a Formal Impeachment Inquiry
Benjamin Wittes, Jane Chong | August 28, 2017

...no conscientious member of the House of Representatives can at this stage fail to share McConnell’s doubts about Trump’s fundamental fitness for office. As the Trump presidency enters its eighth month, those members of Congress who are serious about their oaths to "support and defend the Constitution" must confront a question. It’s not, in the first instance, whether the President should be removed from office, or even whether he should be impeached. It is merely this: whether given everything Trump has done, said, tweeted and indeed been since his inauguration, the House has a duty, as a body, to think about its obligations under the impeachment clauses of the Constitution—that is, whether the House needs to authorize the Judiciary Committee to open a formal inquiry into possible impeachment.

...Article I, section 4 of the Constitution provides that the president “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” This last bucket of impeachable offenses is broad—but it is not formless. As Charles Black, Jr., explains in his classic 1974 handbook on the subject, some acts are not crimes but are sufficiently abusive or ignominious to render an individual unfit for the nation's highest office...

...In our view, Congress should be evaluating at least three baskets of possible impeachable offenses. There is a good deal of overlap between these classes of misconduct, but they are sufficiently distinct to warrant individual attention:

his abuses of power, most obviously exemplified by his conduct with respect to the investigations into his campaign’s collusion with Russia;

his failures of moral leadership; and

his abandonment of the basic duties of his office.

At the extreme, each type of misconduct not only denigrates the presidency but also fundamentally undermines the security of the United States.

...In sum, Trump has embarrassed the presidential office in innumerable ways, and members of the House and Senate are obliged to organize these incidents in their heads and get a handle on their constitutional significance. There is a wrong way and a right way to go about this task. The wrong way is to treat the launch of an impeachment inquiry as a matter of political popularity or opportunism. On this view, the relevant vectors might include polls on Trump’s approval ratings, the results of next year’s midterm elections, and worldwide Google searches for "impeachment" (which soared when Trump fired Director Comey in May and has otherwise ebbed and flowed with the news tide). The right approach is to commit to a clear-eyed and ongoing assessment of Trump’s words and actions against the obligations of the office and to trace out the effects of his misconduct on the security and welfare of the United States.

In 1833, Justice Joseph Story explained that impeachment is not limited to "crimes of a strictly legal character" but also "has a more enlarged operation, and reaches, what are aptly termed political offenses, growing out of personal misconduct or gross neglect, or usurpation, or habitual disregard of the public interests, various in their character, and so indefinable in their actual involutions, that it is almost impossible to provide systematically for them by positive law." This is a near-perfect description of Trump’s wide-ranging abuses and the challenge that now lies with Congress: the order that the positive law is unable to provide is now its to impose.


Aug 29, 2017, 4:05am Top

Witness tampering?

Mueller Team Asking If Trump Tried to Hide Purpose of Trump Tower Meeting (Donald Jr, Kushner, Russians)
Julia Ainsley and Tom Winter | Aug 28, 2017

...A person familiar with Mueller's strategy said that whether or not Trump made a "knowingly false statement" is now of interest to prosecutors.

"Even if Trump is not charged with a crime as a result of the statement, it could be useful to Mueller's team to show Trump's conduct to a jury that may be considering other charges." ...


Edited: Aug 29, 2017, 10:35am Top

Some Republicans are critical of the presidential pardon of Joe Arpaio.

Kasich, McCain, Flake, Ryan, Ana Navarro

"What differentiates the US from more repressive countries, she said on CNN’s State of the Union, is that “here, government officials are held accountable when they behave like thugs. The message that Trump is sending with this pardon to other government officials, to other law enforcement officials is a very bad message.”

Danielle Pletka, senior vice-president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative thinktank, suggested the pardon represented a breakdown in the rule of law.

Noah Feldman laid out precisely why the pardon was wrong.

Aug 30, 2017, 7:59am Top

Special counsel subpoenas Manafort's former attorney and spokesman
Evan Perez | August 29, 2017

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has issued subpoenas to a former lawyer for Paul Manafort and to Manafort's current spokesman, an aggressive tactic that suggests an effort to add pressure on the former Trump campaign chairman...


Aug 31, 2017, 12:30pm Top

Trump and Manafort get big reminder that pardon power does not extend to state crimes
Fred Barbash | August 31, 2017

...New York’s attorney general Eric Schneiderman is now working with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III in the probe of financial transactions involving Paul Manafort...

...Manafort’s personal finances may be totally unrelated to Mueller’s probe into possible coordination of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign.

But Mueller could conceivably use any jeopardy faced by Manafort in New York to gain his cooperation into the broader investigation, without the hindrance of a Trump pardon of Manafort...


Aug 31, 2017, 3:01pm Top

Manafort Notes From Russian Meet Contain Cryptic Reference to 'Donations'
Ken Dilanian and Carol E. Lee | Aug 31 2017, 1:52 pm ET

Paul Manafort's notes from a controversial Trump Tower meeting with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign included the word "donations," near a reference to the Republican National Committee, two sources briefed on the evidence told NBC News.

The references, which have not been previously disclosed, elevated the significance of the June 2016 meeting for congressional investigators, who are focused on determining whether it included any discussion of donations from Russian sources to either the Trump campaign or the Republican Party.

It is illegal for foreigners to donate to American elections. The meeting happened just as Trump had secured the Republican nomination for president, and he was considered a longshot to win. Manafort was the campaign chairman at the time...


Sep 1, 2017, 2:44am Top

Mueller Enlists the IRS for His Trump-Russia Investigation
Will the accountants take down key members of Team Trump? Or force the president’s tax returns into the open?
Betsy Woodruff | 08.31.17

...(Mueller) probe has enlisted the help of agents from the IRS’ Criminal Investigations unit...the IRS’ Criminal Investigations unit...—known as CI—is one of the federal government’s most tight-knit, specialized, and secretive investigative entities. Its 2,500 agents focus exclusively on financial crime, including tax evasion and money laundering.

...the IRS has access to Trump’s tax returns...

...the special counsel’s team is trying to “flip” Paul Manafort, the president’s former campaign CEO, in hopes he will provide evidence against his former colleagues...one of Manafort’s biggest legal liabilities could be to what’s called a “check the box” prosecution. Federal law requires that people who have money in foreign bank accounts check a box on their tax returns disclosing that. And there’s speculation that Manafort may have neglected to check that box, which would be a felony. This is exactly the kind of allegation the IRS would look into.

...As special counsel, Mueller is subject to the same rules as U.S. Attorneys. That means that if he wants to bring charges against Trump associates related to violations of tax law, he will need approval from the Justice Department’s elite Tax Division. Trump hasn’t yet named his pick to run the division, which is a post that requires Senate confirmation. At the moment, career officials are helming the division.

One former Tax Division prosecutor told The Daily Beast that this could cause trouble for Trump...it could have benefitted Trump if he had an appointee in the division as these proceedings unfold—and that he’s now missed that opportunity...


Sep 1, 2017, 3:13am Top

Trump support slips, but still formidable among Republican voters:

Fox News Poll: Voters' mood sours, 56 percent say Trump tearing country apart
Dana Blanton | August 30, 2017

...Trump’s first job rating on the Fox News Poll is the only one that’s been in positive territory: 48-47 percent (February 2017).

Since that time he’s lost the most ground with conservatives (down 7 points), Republican men (-9 points), and whites without a college degree (-9 points).

... his best job ratings on handling the economy (49-43 percent).... positive scores on terrorism (47-45) and Hurricane Harvey (44-26 percent), with the caveat that the poll was conducted mostly before he went to Texas.

He receives net negative ratings on North Korea (43-50), taxes (37-45), immigration (43-54), Russia (35-56), the environment (36-56), and health care (34-60).

His worst marks are on race relations (33-61 percent), where disapproval outweighs approval by 28 points...

Virtually all Trump voters (96 percent)....are satisfied with their 2016 vote for president.

...Trump voters say they’re sleeping better (since Trump took office.) (62 percent).

...An overwhelming majority of Trump voters (92 percent) say he’ll finish (his term).


Edited: Sep 1, 2017, 4:17am Top

Not technically illegal(?), but given Manafort's cryptic reference to "donation" and "RNC" in his notes from Trump Tower meeting...

GOP campaigns took $7.35 million from oligarch linked to Russia
Ruth May August 7, 2017

Donald Trump and the political action committees for Mitch McConnell, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Lindsey Graham, John Kasich and John McCain accepted $7.35 million in contributions from a Ukrainian-born oligarch who is the business partner of two of Russian president Vladimir Putin's favorite oligarchs and a Russian government bank.

During the 2015-2016 election season, Ukrainian-born billionaire Leonard "Len" Blavatnik contributed $6.35 million to leading Republican candidates and incumbent senators. Mitch McConnell was the top recipient of Blavatnik's donations, collecting $2.5 million for his GOP Senate Leadership Fund...Marco Rubio's Conservative Solutions PAC and his Florida First Project received $1.5 million...Other high dollar recipients of funding from Blavatnik were PACS representing Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker at $1.1 million, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham at $800,000, Ohio Governor John Kasich at $250,000 and Arizona Senator John McCain at $200,000.

In January, Quartz reported that Blavatnik donated another $1 million to Trump's Inaugural Committee. Ironically, the shared address of Blavatnik's companies is directly across the street from Trump Tower on 5th Avenue in New York.

Len Blavatnik, considered to be one of the richest men in Great Britain, holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and the U.K. He is known for his business savvy and generous philanthropy, but not without controversy.

...Blavatnik's relationships with Russian oligarchs close to Putin, particularly Oleg Deripaska, should be worrisome for Trump and the six GOP leaders who took Blavatnik's money during the 2016 presidential campaign. Lucky for them no one has noticed. Yet.

...The convoluted web that links Putin's oligarchs to Trump's political associates and top Republicans is difficult to take in...



Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska...what a web Republicans, not just Trump, seem to have fallen into!

Paul Manafort’s Overseas Political Work Had a Notable Patron: A Russian Oligarch
Efforts by the former Trump campaign chairman to advance interests in Ukraine, Georgia and Montenegro were often connected to Oleg Deripaska
Brett Forrest | Aug. 30, 2017

Paul Manafort’s political-consulting firm was active for more than a decade doing work that often dovetailed with Russian political interests not only in Ukraine, but also in Georgia and Montenegro, other countries the Kremlin considered to be in its sphere of influence.

A Wall Street Journal examination shows these efforts were broader in scope and ambition, and took place for longer, than previously reported—starting in 2004 and continuing through 2015.

They often involved one principal figure, Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a politically connected international operator whose ventures have sometimes aligned with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s foreign-policy objectives. “I don’t separate myself from the state,” he told the Financial Times in 2007. “I have no other interests.”

The work by Mr. Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, across Eastern Europe, as well as his links to Mr. Deripaska, help explain why he is of such interest to investigators probing alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Congressional investigators looking into Mr. Manafort’s business and political connections want to know more about his history with Mr. Deripaska, according to people with knowledge of the probes...


Sep 1, 2017, 2:43pm Top

Evidence of obstruction?

Mueller Has Early Draft of Trump Letter Giving Reasons for Firing Comey

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has obtained a letter that President Trump and a top political aide drafted in the days before Mr. Trump fired the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, which explains the president’s rationale for why he planned to dismiss the director.

The May letter had been met with opposition from Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, who believed that some of its contents were problematic, according to interviews with a dozen administration officials and others briefed on the matter.

Mr. McGahn successfully blocked the president from sending Mr. Comey the letter, which Mr. Trump had composed with Stephen Miller, one of the president’s top political advisers. A different letter, written by the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, and focused on Mr. Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, was ultimately sent to the F.B.I. director on the day he was fired.

...Mr. Miller drafted the letter at the urging of Mr. Trump during a weekend in May, when Mr. Trump and his team were at the president’s private golf club in Bedminster, N.J. During that same weekend, as Mr. Trump and a small group of aides were in Bedminster devising a rationale for Mr. Comey’s dismissal, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Mr. Rosenstein were working on a parallel effort to fire Mr. Comey...


Sep 3, 2017, 7:00am Top

35 contd. With tar-baby Trump, it must be near impossible for WH officials to stay out of legal hot water, no matter how much one wishes to stay clean?

Trump Letter Justifying Comey Firing Could Expose VP Pence to Legal Trouble
David Boddiger | Sept 2, 2017

...If (Mueller) investigation discovers evidence of wrongdoing in the drafting and circulation of (Miller-Trump first draft letter firing Comey), which was shared with top advisers and the vice president, the dragnet of conspiracy and obstruction of justice accusations could sweep Pence up along with Trump, Fordham University law professor Jed Shugerman argued.

...Trump fired Comey on May 9. Then, White House officials, including Pence, began speaking publicly about the firing with information that not only appeared contradictory at the time, but also now seems to have been untrue.

...Jed Shugerman @jedshug: Pence's statements on May 10 on Trump's reasons for firing Comey were not half-truths. They were deliberate lies, part of cover-up.

...“There are lots of people we suspected before of participating in obstruction of justice. The biggest name tonight is Vice President Pence,” Shugerman said on MSNBC on Friday.

He added:

After this letter is edited, Mike Pence then tells the media the Comey firing was not connected to the Russian probe, and he said it was due to Rod Rosenstein’s recommendation…Those statements are untrue and it implicates Mike Pence now in a combination of conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice, aiding and abetting of obstruction of justice, and also a relatively less–known felony, called misprision of a felony…


Sep 6, 2017, 1:02am Top

Congressional investigations, Mueller, state lawsuits, now civil lawsuit related to Russia:

Trump campaign urges court to toss out WikiLeaks hack lawsuit

President Donald Trump’s attorneys on Tuesday asked a federal judge to toss out a Democratic-driven lawsuit that accuses his 2016 campaign of conspiring with Russian operatives to publish stolen Democratic National Committee information on WikiLeaks.

The case, filed in July by two Democratic Party donors and a former DNC staff member, contends that both the Trump campaign and longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone invaded their privacy by working with Russia to disseminate the hacked DNC emails and other campaign files that became an embarrassing but central storyline during the closing months of the 2016 presidential race.

...Trump campaign attorney Michael Carvin countered that the Democrats’ lawsuit should be dismissed because the plaintiffs failed to provide any “factual grounds” that the Republican campaign “conspired with Russian agents” to publish the stolen DNC data.

“This is a meritless case,” Carvin wrote. “Plaintiffs do not assert the Campaign helped steal the emails in the first place — only that it conspired to publish them after they had been stolen.”

...While Trump isn’t personally named as a defendant, Carvin argued the lawsuit “foreshadows a fishing expedition” if allowed to proceed, opening the door to a full-fledged, court-approved investigation involving the president’s tax returns, his real estate projects and past business relationships and financial ties.

“This lawsuit threatens to interfere with the president’s ability to discharge his duties,” Carvin wrote, citing judicial precedents designed to protect the president from private lawsuits that can drain time and resources in legal discovery. “It is obvious that Plaintiffs plan to do just that here.”

“Worse, this lawsuit threatens to interfere with a pending criminal investigation,” Carvin wrote. “A parallel civil case, with parallel discovery proceedings, handled by a group of self-appointed private investigators, will surely complicate those efforts.”...

...They also maintain the case should be dismissed because both tort law and the First Amendment “prohibit liability for revealing documents about public issues, even if the documents also happen to include some private facts.”

...One of the plaintiffs, Scott Comer, a former DNC finance department chief of staff, said in the lawsuit that the public disclosure of his emails revealed internal fights with co-workers and details that led his grandparents to deduce his sexual orientation...


Sep 11, 2017, 2:48pm Top

Trump promised not to work with foreign entities. His company just did
Anita Kumar | September 11, 2017

A major construction company owned by the Chinese government was hired to work on the latest Trump golf club development in Dubai despite a pledge from Donald Trump that his family business would not engage in any transactions with foreign government entities while he serves as president.

Trump’s partner, DAMAC Properties, awarded a $32-million contract to the Middle East subsidiary of China State Construction Engineering Corporation to build a six-lane road as part of the residential piece of the Trump World Golf Club Dubai project called Akoya Oxygen, according to news releases released by both companies. It is scheduled to open next year.

The companies’ statements do not detail the exact timing of the contract except to note it was sometime in the first two months of 2017, just as Trump was inaugurated and questions were raised about a slew of potential conflicts of interest between his presidency and his vast real estate empire...


Edited: Sep 11, 2017, 3:50pm Top

2 more Trump associates lawyer up as Mueller's investigation escalates

President Donald Trump's former chief of staff and current White House counsel have hired a lawyer following reports that special counsel Robert Mueller wants to interview them as part of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Reince Priebus, Trump's former chief of staff, and Don McGahn, the White House counsel, have hired William Burck, a prominent white-collar criminal defense attorney from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, Law360 reported this weekend.

And Hope Hicks has too.

Edited: Sep 12, 2017, 9:37am Top

The Atlantic has an article out today, by Jack Goldsmith:

Will Donald Trump Destroy the Presidency?

"Trump is a Frankenstein’s monster of past presidents’ worst attributes: Andrew Jackson’s rage; Millard Fillmore’s bigotry; James Buchanan’s incompetence and spite; Theodore Roosevelt’s self-aggrandizement; Richard Nixon’s paranoia, insecurity, and indifference to law; and Bill Clinton’s lack of self-control and reflexive dishonesty."

The rest of the article analyses his presidential norm breaking and the resulting norm breaking of other entities in response.

Sweet graphics, as usual.

Edited: Sep 12, 2017, 6:29pm Top

A great John Oliver piece on the Arpaio pardon.

Sep 13, 2017, 2:03pm Top

Mike Flynn’s Son Is Subject of Federal Russia Probe
Carol E. Lee, Julia Ainsley and Ken Dilanian | Sept 13, 2017

...Michael G. Flynn accompanied his father, for instance, on a trip to Moscow in December 2015 for the elder Flynn to deliver a paid speech at a gala for the state-sponsored Russian television network RT. He can be seen in video from an associated event.

... A former business associate of Michael Flynn's said the younger Flynn had a heavy hand in the day-to-day operations of Flynn Intel Group and served as his father's chief of staff. Those responsibilities included attending meetings with his father and communicating with prospective clients, the former business associate said.

Several legal experts with knowledge of the investigation have told NBC News they believe Mueller, following a classic prosecutorial playbook, is seeking to compel key players, including Flynn and Manafort, to tell what they know about any possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia. Mueller has brought onto his team a federal prosecutor known for convincing subjects to turn on associates. Any potential criminal liability for Michael G. Flynn could put added pressure on his father, these legal experts said...


Edited: Sep 13, 2017, 4:54pm Top

Dems to Mueller: Flynn failed to disclose trip to broker Saudi-Russian business deal
Manu Raju and Marshall Cohen | September 13, 2017

House Democrats sent special counsel Robert Mueller what they say is evidence that former national security adviser Michael Flynn failed to disclose a trip he took to the Middle East to explore a business deal with the Saudi government and a Russian government agency.

..."It appears that General Flynn violated federal law by omitting this (summer 2015) trip and these foreign contacts from his security clearance renewal application in 2016 and concealing them from security clearance investigators who interviewed him as part of the background check process," according to the letter from the House Democrats to Flynn's business partners...



Flynn Promoted Nuclear-Plant Project While in White House
Then-Trump security adviser had his staff meet with those involved in Middle East proposal that once included Russian firms
Christopher S. Stewart, Rob Barry and Shane Harris | Sept. 13, 2017

As President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn promoted a controversial private-sector nuclear power plan in the Middle East that had once involved Russian companies, according to former security-council staffers and others familiar with the effort...


Sep 14, 2017, 12:46pm Top

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin requested government jet for European honeymoon
JUSTIN FISHEL Brian Ross Jordyn Phelps | Sep 13, 2017

Secretary Steven Mnuchin requested use of a government jet to take him and his wife on their honeymoon in Scotland, France and Italy earlier this summer, sparking an “inquiry” by the Treasury Department's Office of Inspector General, sources tell ABC News.

Officials familiar with the matter say the highly unusual ask for a U.S. Air Force jet, which according to an Air Force spokesman could cost roughly $25,000 per hour to operate, was put in writing by the secretary's office but eventually deemed unnecessary after further consideration of by Treasury Department officials...


Sep 15, 2017, 2:03pm Top

Did Jared Kushner’s Data Operation (and/or Mercer/Bannon/Cambridge Analytica and/or Paul Manafort) Help Select Facebook Targets for the Russians?
The Russians used social media to rile the electorate. Investigators wonder if they had inside help.
Chris Smith | September 15, 2017

...did any Americans help target the (Russian)memes and fake news to crucial swing districts and wavering voter demographics?... probers are intrigued by the role of Jared Kushner, the now-president’s son-in-law, who eagerly took credit for crafting the Trump campaign’s online efforts in a rare interview right after the 2016 election. “I called somebody who works for one of the technology companies that I work with, and I had them give me a tutorial on how to use Facebook micro-targeting,” Kushner told Steven Bertoni of Forbes. “We brought in Cambridge Analytica. I called some of my friends from Silicon Valley who were some of the best digital marketers in the world. And I asked them how to scale this stuff . . . We basically had to build a $400 million operation with 1,500 people operating in 50 states, in five months to then be taken apart. We started really from scratch.”

...Brad Parscale, who Kushner hired to run the campaign’s San Antonio-based Internet operation, has agreed to be interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee.

Bigger questions, however, revolve around Cambridge Analytica. It is unclear how Kushner first became aware of the data-mining firm, but one of its major investors is billionaire Trump backer Robert Mercer. Mercer was also a principal patron of Breitbart News and Steve Bannon, who was a vice president of Cambridge Analytica until he joined the Trump campaign.

Senator Martin Heinrich is leading the charge to update American election laws so that the origins of political ads on social media are at least as transparent as those on TV and in print...“Paul Manafort made an awful lot of money coming up with a game plan for how Russian interests could be pushed in Western countries and Western elections,” Heinrich said, referring to a mid-2000s proposal Manafort pitched to a Russian oligarch. “Suddenly he finds himself in the middle of this campaign. If there is a person who I think is very sophisticated in this stuff, and runs in pretty dicey circles, that is the place where I would dig.”

No evidence has emerged to link Kushner, Cambridge Analytica, or Manafort to the Russian election-meddling enterprise; ... Yet analysts scoff at the notion that the Russians figured out how to target African-Americans and women in decisive precincts in Wisconsin and Michigan all by themselves. “Could they have hired a warehouse full of people in Moscow and had them read Nate Silver’s blog every morning and determine what messages to post to what demographics? Sure, theoretically that’s possible,” said Mike Carpenter, an Obama administration assistant defense secretary who specialized in Russia and Eastern Europe. “But that’s not how they do this. And it’s not surprising that it took Facebook this long to figure out the ad buys. The Russians are excellent at covering their tracks. They’ll subcontract people in Macedonia or Albania or Cyprus and pay them via the dark Web. They always use locals to craft the campaign appropriately. My only question about 2016 is who exactly was helping them here.”...


Sep 16, 2017, 1:31pm Top

Mueller just obtained a warrant that could change the entire nature of the Russia investigation
Natasha Bertrand | Sept 16, 2017

...Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti, now a partner at Thompson Coburn LLP, said that the revelation Mueller obtained a search warrant for Facebook content "may be the biggest news in the case since the Manafort raid." (In July.)

... The Facebook warrant "means that Mueller has concluded that specific foreign individuals committed a crime by making a 'contribution' in connection with an election," Mariotti wrote on Saturday.

"It also means that he has evidence of that crime that convinced a federal magistrate judge of two things: first, that there was good reason to believe that the foreign individual committed the crime. Second, that evidence of the crime existed on Facebook."

That has implications for Trump and his associates, too, Mariotti said.

"It is a crime to know that a crime is taking place and to help it succeed. That's aiding and abetting. If any Trump associate knew about the foreign contributions that Mueller's search warrant focused on and helped that effort in a tangible way, they could be charged." ...


Edited: Sep 19, 2017, 7:07am Top

Trump's Former Campaign Manager Was Reportedly Wiretapped By US Investigators
Paul Manafort's communications came under scrutiny before and after the November election and are part of an FBI investigation into Russian interference in the vote.
Claudia Koerner | Sept 17, 2017

...Intelligence gained from the wiretapping has led to some evidence — though possibly inconclusive — that Manafort may have encouraged Russians to help with Trump's campaign, the network reported.

...The wiretapping came under the authority of two secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court orders: following the beginning of the FBI's investigation into Manafort in 2014, then another that allowed the wiretapping to continue until early 2017, CNN reported.

...Mueller's prosecutors have told Manafort he will be indicted. In the raid of Manafort's home, agents sought evidence that he had set up offshore bank accounts... The investigation is also considering whether Manafort was involved in money laundering, violating tax laws, or improperly lobbying, it said...



Exclusive: US government wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman
Evan Perez, Shimon Prokupecz and Pamela Brown | September 18, 2017

...FBI interest deepened last fall because of intercepted communications between Manafort and suspected Russian operatives, and among the Russians themselves, that reignited their interest in Manafort, the sources told CNN...

The conversations between Manafort and Trump continued after the President took office, long after the FBI investigation into Manafort was publicly known, the sources told CNN. They went on until lawyers for the President and Manafort insisted that they stop, according to the sources...


Sep 20, 2017, 10:10pm Top

Wonder if anything Mueller can do to "flip" Manafort is more influential than what murderous Putin is known to do do to keep any cat in bag.
(Lock HER up???)

Manafort offered to give Russian billionaire ‘private briefings’ on 2016 campaign
Tom Hamburger, Rosalind S. Helderman, Carol D. Leonnig and Adam Entous | September 20, 2017

Less than two weeks before Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination, his campaign chairman offered to provide briefings on the race to a Russian billionaire closely aligned with the Kremlin, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Paul Manafort made the offer in an email to an overseas intermediary, asking that a message be sent to Oleg Deripaska, an aluminum magnate with whom Manafort had done business in the past, these people said.

...Deripaska, one of Russia’s richest men, is widely seen as an important ally of President Vladi­mir Putin. A U.S. diplomatic cable from 2006, published by WikiLeaks, referred to Deripaska as “among the 2-3 oligarchs Putin turns to on a regular basis.”...


Sep 21, 2017, 7:54am Top

Mueller casts broad net in requesting extensive records from Trump White House
Carol D. Leonnig and Rosalind S. Helderman | September 20, 2017

...The requests broadly ask for any document or email related to a series of highly publicized incidents since Trump became president, including the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn and firing of Comey, the people said.

The list demonstrates Mueller’s focus on key moments and actions by the president and close advisers that could shed light on whether Trump sought to block the FBI investigations of Flynn and of Russian interference.

His team is also eyeing whether the president sought to obstruct the earlier Russia probe overseen by Comey.

...Mueller has requested that the White House turn over all internal communications and documents related to the FBI interview of Flynn in January, days after he took office, as well as any document that discusses Flynn’s conversations with then­-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December. Mueller has also asked for records about meetings then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates held with White House counsel Don McGahn in late January to alert him to Justice Department concerns about Flynn, as well as all documents related to Flynn’s subsequent ouster by the White House.

Regarding Comey, Mueller has asked for all documents related to meetings between Trump and Comey while Comey served at the FBI, records of any discussions regarding Comey’s firing and any documents related to a statement by then-press secretary Sean Spicer made on the night Comey was fired. He has also asked for any documents related to a meeting Trump held in the Oval Office with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov the day after Comey was fired.

Mueller has also asked for all records related to the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer hosted by the president’s son, as well as all documents related to the White House’s response to the publication of accounts of that meeting in July 2017...


Edited: Sep 21, 2017, 3:02pm Top

Same Question to "You Guys" : "Goodness! Why, now, I wonder: how did it happen that no one here has posted anything on this story which broke Sept. 19th?--two days ago!"


Oh, well, then. You _have_ posted on the story here. But no one's used those words "I was wrong", now has he? has she? Nope. Didn't think so.


This kind of stuff is just too "precious" :

"But even that explanation wouldn't make total sense. Shortly after Trump's tweets, both then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway suggested he didn't literally mean “wiretapping.” “The president used the word 'wiretaps' in quotes to mean, broadly, surveillance and other activities,” Spicer said. Conway added that, “What I can say is there are many ways to surveil each other,” and she mentioned the possibility of doing so with both TVs and microwaves. So if Trump didn't literally mean wiretapping, CNN's Manafort story wouldn't be confirmation."

(cited from)
"CNN says Manafort was wiretapped. Does that vindicate Trump’s Obama-spied-on-me claims?"
By Aaron Blake September 19


Gi ahead, Aaron--embarrass yourself! LOL!

Sep 21, 2017, 4:21pm Top

45 (Mnuchin govt plane honeymoon, solar eclipse), contd.

Price’s private-jet travel breaks precedent
HHS secretary took chartered aircraft on five flights last week, while his predecessors would fly commercial.

...The secretary’s five flights, which were scheduled between Sept. 13 and Sept. 15, took him to a resort in Maine where he participated in a Q&A discussion with a health care industry CEO, and to community health centers in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, according to internal HHS documents.

...Price, a frequent critic of federal spending who has been developing a plan for departmentwide cost savings, declined to comment.

HHS spokespeople declined to confirm details of the flights or respond to questions about who paid for them, with a spokesperson saying only that Price sometimes charters planes when commercial flights aren’t feasible. All three organizations that hosted Price last week — the Massachusetts-based health IT firm athenahealth, Goodwin Community Health Center in New Hampshire and the Mirmont Treatment Center in Pennsylvania — told POLITICO they did not pay for his flights or other travel costs.

...Members of the Trump administration have come under scrutiny for excessive use of government travel resources. The president and his family have rung up travel expenses at a faster rate than previous presidential families. The inspector general of the Environmental Protection Agency recently announced a probe into Administrator Scott Pruitt's frequent travel to his home state of Oklahoma. The Treasury Department’s inspector general is looking into Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s use of a government jet on a trip to Fort Knox, Kentucky, that involved viewing the solar eclipse. Most recently, ABC News reported that Mnuchin had requested a government plane to take him on his overseas honeymoon. The request was withdrawn on the grounds that it was unnecessary....



Good on Betsy DeVos to foot her own travel luxuries. (I assume there is reason for DeVos's protection, so no reason to question it.)

Betsy DeVos uses her own plane when she travels — and does not bill the government
By Moriah Balingit September 21

...DeVos has billed the government only once for travel since she took office — $184 for a round-trip Amtrak ticket to Philadelphia. Hill said DeVos plans to donate her government salary.

...DeVos has also faced criticism over her high-priced security detail: She is the only Cabinet member to get protection from the U.S. Marshal’s Service at a cost of nearly $8 million over eight months...


Edited: Sep 22, 2017, 7:54am Top

"Scandal Watch" = is a fool's admission that he doesn't have a clue and cannot learn anything even when disaster strikes down his idiotic assumptions.

Hey, everybody!, let's watch Trump's "scandals"!--which our puppet-masters gin-up to dazzle us but, which, on examination, fall flat, like our own thinking-skills --and meanwhile, Trump simply kicks our asses when, that is, we aren't beating him to it by kicking our own asses as he looks on.
We're losing because we're stupid--and we're too stupid to grasp that-- even when our opponents point it out.


""Winning is the first goal of governing," ... "You can't have a governing part without a winning part." But before the party comes together, first it has to banish the furies that threaten to tear it apart."

says the moron, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Actually, from asshole Emanuel,"winning"--which DLC idiot-Democrats have just demonstrated they can't do--isn't just the "first" thing. It's the first, last and everything in between since, obviously, they're focused blindly on that to the exclusion of everything else--which includes all the things which make "winning" worth doing in the first place. As most Americans have now begun to grasp (after being bludgeoned for decades by a treacherous DLC Democratic party), "winning" translates into basically nothing of interest or value for them, for their futures. With the DLC Democrats, most Americans have begun to grasp, they have no "future" worth the DLC's "winning" office for.

"But before the party comes together, first it has to banish the furies that threaten to tear it apart."

(says one of the dip-shits who's a primary actor in the "furies ...tear(ing) itself apart" stuff.)

"Schumer says the party lost the White House in 2016 because it had a "namby-pamby" message on the economy."

Saves the dumb-ass Schumer from having to admit that "the party lost the White House in 2016 because" it was being controlled and mismanaged by fuck-heads like himself, Pelosi and their aging egotistical cohort of hacks.

Sep 22, 2017, 10:03am Top

Exclusive: Russians Appear to Use Facebook to Push Trump Rallies in 17 U.S. Cities
‘Being Patriotic,’ a Facebook group uncovered by The Daily Beast, is the first evidence of suspected Russian provocateurs explicitly mobilizing Trump supporters in real life.
Ben Collins Gideon Resnick Kevin Poulsen Spencer Ackerman | 09.20.17

Suspected Russia propagandists on Facebook tried to organize more than a dozen pro-Trump rallies in Florida during last year’s election...

The demonstrations—at least one of which was promoted online by local pro-Trump activists— brought dozens of supporters together in real life. They appear to be the first case of Russian provocateurs successfully mobilizing Americans over Facebook in direct support of Donald Trump.

...The Being Patriotic Facebook page was closed in August 2017—right when Facebook purged accounts secretly operated by a notorious St. Petersburg troll factory called Internet Research Agency. According to a public report by U.S. intelligence agencies (PDF), Internet Research Agency is financed by “a close Putin ally with ties to Russian intelligence.” Being Patriotic’s posts included scores of pro-Trump or anti-Clinton memes framed and watermarked in the same style as those found on the Heart of Texas and Secured Borders Facebook pages previously identified as Russian operations.

...the discovery of the Being Patriotic rallies suggests that the fraudulent activity on Facebook did indeed involve messaging on behalf of Trump, did prompt at least some Americans to rally on Trump’s behalf, and did result in the Trump campaign volunteers subsequently sharing material from those events...


Edited: Sep 23, 2017, 5:01am Top

>55 margd:

So what?

Your posts remind me of this

“I have here in my hand a list of 205 (State Department employees) that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department.”

--February 9, 1950 at Wheeling West Virginia "Lincoln Day" speech to the Republican Women's Club.

Are you anti-Putin? (So am I.) Anti-russian? (I'm not.)

Do you use "social media"--website chat fora--to denounce people or causes you oppose or advocate for people or causes you approve?

Ya do? Well, then, why the fuck are others ("Russians") doing the same things supposed to be denounced and deplored by readers here, hmm?

“a close Putin ally with ties to Russian intelligence.”

What precisely do the terms

“a close",

"Putin ally"

"with ties to"

and "Russian intelligence” mean?

Are you "a close Hillary Clinton ally"? Do you have any ties to organizations or individuals who work with or for HRC? Are any of them in "intelligence"

Edited: Sep 30, 2017, 9:50am Top

In February 2016--NINE months before the 2016 Presidential election / ELEVEN months before expiry of Obama's term--Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate should not confirm a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia until after the 2016 election. Now Neil Gorsuch, the beneficiary of McConnell's dereliction of duty, tours McConnell's home state with the Senate Majority leader in "home turf victory lap". (McConnell's popularity is low these days.) So much for independence of the judiciary...

Supreme Court's Neil Gorsuch, of Boulder County, touts conservative role for judges
Bruce Schreiner | 09/21/2017 09

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — New Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, of Boulder County, espoused a limited role for the judiciary in a speech Thursday in the hometown of the powerful Kentucky lawmaker who championed his confirmation.

...Thursday's appearance amounted to a home turf victory lap for McConnell, who helped prevent Democratic President Barack Obama from filling the seat last year with Judge Merrick Garland. The Kentucky senator blocked Garland's nomination for nearly a year, refusing to even allow a confirmation hearing, so the next president could make the nomination after the election.

When Senate Democrats tried to block Gorsuch's confirmation, McConnell led his Republicans in a unilateral rules change to lower the vote threshold for Supreme Court nominees from 60 to a simple majority in the 100-member Senate. That paved the way for the confirmation of Gorsuch, a veteran of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

When introducing Gorsuch at his alma mater Thursday, McConnell called the judge a "thoughtful public servant," and said "I could not have been happier" when his nomination was sent to the Senate.

"I knew he'd be great for our country," the Kentucky Republican said.

Gorsuch's tour of the Bluegrass state with McConnell continued with a scheduled appearance Thursday evening at the University of Kentucky in Lexington...



How Badly Is Neil Gorsuch Annoying the Other Supreme Court Justices?
Jeffrey Toobin | September 29, 2017

Sep 23, 2017, 7:58am Top

Mnuchin flew on government jet to Washington following appearance at Trump Tower
Drew Harwell | September 22, 2017

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin...flew to Washington aboard a C-37 piloted and maintained by the U.S. Air Force after Trump’s Aug. 15 news conference, during which the president blamed “both sides” for brutal violence days earlier during a clash of neo-Nazis and protesters in Charlottesville, Va.

...The C-37, a military-outfitted version of the Gulfstream V executive jet, has a reimbursable rate of up to $10,000 an hour, Pentagon documents show.

The 200-mile path between New York and Washington is one of the most well-connected travel routes in the country, and millions have maneuvered it via one-hour commercial flights and three-hour trips aboard passenger trains such as Amtrak’s Acela Express.

...(Transportation Secretary Elaine) Chao also took the government jet for at least one leg of the Trump Tower appearance...


Sep 23, 2017, 8:22am Top

>56 proximity1:
Do you use "social media"--website chat fora--to denounce people or causes you oppose or advocate for people or causes you approve?

Ya do? Well, then, why the fuck are others ("Russians") doing the same things supposed to be denounced and deplored by readers here, hmm?

The difference would be if (and only if) these "Russians" were falsely identifying themselves as Americans whilst making these posts (which I believe is what is being claimed).

People elsewhere in the world (like me!) do take an interest in what goes on in countries other than their own (just as Americans are often voluble about the internal affairs of foreign countries).
And Internet address is not proof of nationality - Russians live in America and Americans in Russia...

Sep 23, 2017, 8:34am Top

>54 proximity1: 'We're losing because we're stupid--and we're too stupid to grasp that-- even when our opponents point it out.'

Not much a dope can do about it then, is there?

Sep 23, 2017, 9:18am Top

New details cast doubt on why Tom Price needed a private jet
Missed trip to Ritz-Carlton led to charter use.
DAN DIAMOND | 09/22/2017

HHS Secretary Tom Price has been taking private jets because an unreliable commercial flight once forced him to cancel an important meeting, a Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson says, part of his agenda to meet with average Americans outside of Washington.

But the flight in question — to a two-day industry conference at a Ritz-Carlton hotel in Southern California — didn't get off the ground on a day when storms virtually shut down air traffic in the Washington region, preventing even private jets from getting out.

...Price’s planned trip was to the Health Evolution Summit in early April, a 550-person event mostly attended by health industry executives and investors, say three individuals with knowledge of Price’s schedule. HHS has justified Price’s subsequent use of taxpayer-funded charter jets as necessary for official business, particularly given the risk of commercial flights being canceled or delayed.

...at least 24 subsequent charter jet flights, costing more than $300,000, taken by Price at taxpayer expense in the past four months.

...the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel...is “one of the finest luxury resorts in California,” known for its 150-foot bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The lowest room rate on websites like Orbitz was $499 per night when booked in advance.

Two attendees of the conference said that while the meeting was packed with industry executives — nearly 60 percent of attendees were company CEOs, chairmen, founders or presidents, according to the meeting’s website — there are often similar events in cities like Washington, D.C., and New York City. Price was the only government official listed on the conference’s website as a scheduled speaker.

...“There was no pressing business on the other end,” said one attendee with knowledge of Price’s schedule. “I was there and was shocked he was planning to come.”...


Edited: Sep 23, 2017, 11:54am Top

>59 Guanhumara:

"The difference would be if (and only if) these "Russians" were falsely identifying themselves as Americans whilst making these posts (which I believe is what is being claimed)."

IS this being alleged?

From the linked "news" "story", I cite below the uses of "Russian/s" and "fraud"/"fraudulent"

which yields this (all emphasis below is added):

"Exclusive: Russians Appear to Use Facebook to Push Trump Rallies in 17 U.S. Cities"


"the first evidence of suspected Russian provocateurs"


"They appear to be the first case of Russian provocateurs successfully mobilizing Americans over Facebook in direct support of Donald Trump. "


"On Sept. 6, Facebook acknowledged for the first time that inauthentic accounts from 2015 to 2017 promoted what the company’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, characterized as 'divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum.' But Stamos said that most of the fraudulent activity it found—some 3,000 ads connected to 470 now-shuttered accounts linked to Russian troll farms—'didn’t specifically reference the U.S. presidential election, voting, or a particular candidate.' "


"But the discovery of the Being Patriotic rallies suggests that the fraudulent activity on Facebook did indeed involve messaging on behalf of Trump, did prompt at least some Americans to rally on Trump’s behalf, and did result in the Trump campaign volunteers subsequently sharing material from those events. "


"It’s difficult to determine how many of those locations actually witnessed any turnout, in part because Facebook’s recent deletion of hundreds of Russian accounts hid much of the evidence."


"Being Patriotic had 200,000 followers and the strongest activist bent of any of the suspected Russian Facebook election pages that have so far emerged."


"According to a public report by U.S. intelligence agencies (PDF), Internet Research Agency is financed by 'a close Putin ally with ties to Russian intelligence.' "


"Being Patriotic’s posts included scores of pro-Trump or anti-Clinton memes framed and watermarked in the same style as those found on the Heart of Texas and Secured Borders Facebook pages previously identified as Russian operations."


"A Facebook spokesman told The Daily Beast the company was “not able to confirm any of the details here,” in response to a question about the Russian origin of Being Patriotic, but did not challenge The Daily Beast’s reporting."


"After The Daily Beast found known Russian accounts that used Facebook’s Events tool to promote rallies inside the United States, the company said that it was not well positioned to determine “if something like coordination occurred” between the Trump campaign and Russia—something investigators and security researchers doubt because of the social network’s massive trove of information on its customers. "


"Legislators investigating Russian involvement in the 2016 election have expressed frustration over what they describe as insufficient disclosures to Congress, and have indicated that they will seek public testimony from Facebook and other social-media companies. "


"Watts, the former FBI agent and a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, noted that “plausible deniability is built into any Russian active-measures strategy,” such as using troll farms in St. Petersburg or Macedonia to conceal influence campaigns. But compelling unsuspecting Americans to gather in the streets on behalf of Trump shows the reach and efficacy of those efforts."

Read the following again carefully :

"Watts, the former FBI agent and a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, noted that “plausible deniability is built into any Russian active-measures strategy,” such as using troll farms in St. Petersburg or Macedonia to conceal influence campaigns. But compelling unsuspecting Americans to gather in the streets on behalf of Trump shows the reach and efficacy of those efforts."


"Compelling them to gather on the streets on behalf of Trump" !?

This shit is truly laughable--and pathetic. Call me when you FIND SOMETHING!!!

Sep 23, 2017, 12:18pm Top

>62 proximity1:
Yes, that IS what is being claimed:

But HOW Facebook is identifying these accounts as "fake" is a very interesting question.

Edited: Sep 24, 2017, 4:48am Top

>63 Guanhumara:

Perhaps you overlooked it: one of the citations I included states flatly (and, for me, significantly if true!) that,

"After The Daily Beast found known Russian accounts that used Facebook’s Events tool to promote rallies inside the United States, the company said that it was not well positioned to determine “if something like coordination occurred” between the Trump campaign and Russia"...

If some of or all of the "suspected" accounts are "known" Russian accounts, then I ask what precisely is being said here, in the following early cited remark?,

"They appear to be the first case of Russian provocateurs successfully mobilizing Americans over Facebook in direct support of Donald Trump."

what is the "first case"? First case of "Russian" actors--alleged as "provocateurs"? or first case of "provocateurs"--who happen to be "Russian"? of first case of "Russian provocateurs"? Any one of these could be the meaning of the phrase. But which!? Personally, I can't be sure. Can you?


I know of a person who (at least then) was a regular user of FB under an entirely phony profile. He invented it to use FB while remaining under a mask because he prizes his privacy and, if he used all authentic information, he believed he'd have seriously compromised that. I understand that. In fact, it's a key reason--besides my view that FB is an idiotic site designed by and often used by idiotic people for reasons and purposes which are idiotic--that I never have and never shall have any FB account under any user name--real or assumed. My point here is that, as I know the person rather well, I can tell you that he would not have used his account to post "faked" derogatory comments about any political candidate. Whatever he posted would have reflected his own true beliefs and opinions. And, to that, like the above, I say, WTF is wrong with that?

IMPORTANT: I would very much like anyone here subscribing to the tenor of the Daily Beast "news" "story" to please explain to me :

how such alleged uses of these sites can fairly be conceived to "compell unsuspecting Americans to gather in the streets on behalf of Trump."

I'll wait.

Sep 23, 2017, 1:34pm Top

>64 proximity1: My opinion of the quality of reportage is not high.

What I am querying is: what are the facts?

What makes an account "known" to be Russian?

If a Facebook poster self-identifies as Russian, and succeeds in influencing the American public, then nothing underhand has occurred.

If they claim to be American, how is it being determined that they are Russian?
By IP address? Nope - an American could post from a Russian IP.
By language used in PMs, perhaps? So what - I communicate in whatever language is convenient (or that I want to practice!)
Because their location tag does not match their IP? Well, my insurer advises me not to advertise on social media when I am away from home.

How are these "fake accounts" being identified?

Either hypotheses are being stated as facts, or the identity of the account owners must be being established by correlation with other data. Facebook T&C's make it clear that they own the rights to (and can therefore read) anything you post, whether "public" or "private". But if other data streams are being accessed, then something more intrusive is going on than the "Russian intervention".

After all, if I were to try to persuade you how to vote, you should be persuaded (or not!) by the soundness of my arguments, not whether or not I prefaced them with "My fellow Americans :"

Sep 24, 2017, 1:00am Top

declined to confirm
(like me!)
(or not!)
Overview of The Duck
You know he has killed people in Ukraine
among the 2-3 oligarchs Putin turns to on a regular basis
There was no pressing business
on the other end
I was there and was shocked

Sep 25, 2017, 4:33am Top

A nothing-burger except that Kushner once sought back-door communications with Russians and he failed to disclose contacts in security clearance application. Cue outrage? Lock him up!

Kushner used private email to conduct White House business
The senior adviser set up the account after the election. Other West Wing officials have also used private email accounts for official business.
JOSH DAWSEY | 09/24/2017

Aides who have exchanged emails with Kushner on his private account since President Donald Trump took office in January include former chief of staff Reince Priebus, former chief strategist Steve Bannon, National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, and spokesman Josh Raffel....At times, Bannon and Priebus have also used private email accounts to correspond with Kushner and others.

...Kushner...set up...private family domain late last year before moving to Washington from New York...At the time, Kushner — who served as a senior campaign adviser — was expected to be named to a White House role...

Kushner's representatives declined to detail the server or security measures on it.

... account...was primarily set up for Kushner’s personal communications, but he has used it to communicate with acquaintances outside the White House about matters relating to Trump and the administration...

...Private email traffic among White House aides — some of it sent between personal email accounts rather than to or from government addresses — could skirt the requirements of the Presidential Records Act, which requires all documents related to the president’s personal and political activities to be archived.

...Other White House officials have also sometimes used personal accounts to correspond with Kushner and with each other...They have also used encrypted apps like Signal and Confide that automatically delete messages, prompting former press secretary Sean Spicer in February to issue a warning to communications staffers that using such apps could violate the Presidential Records Act...


Edited: Sep 25, 2017, 12:16pm Top

A catalog of so-called Liberals' terribly pressing matters since the election of Donald J. Trump :

Trump is a crypto (or an open) agent of Putin's Kremlin, and so must be impeached and convicted and removed,

Trump is a White Supremacist and apologist for the Ku Klux Klan and so must be impeached and convicted and removed,

Are we today "closer to '1933' " ( or '34, '35, '36, '37, '38, or '39) than we have ever been before?

Shouldn't (or Why) general officers of the U.S. military (should) refuse to carry out Trump's orders?

Can any means be found to remove Trump from office as mentally unfit?

Why Trump MUST be removed from office as mentally unfit,

(supposed or suspected) Foreigners' (i.e. non-Americans') use of internet "social-media" sites to advocate for Trump's election and who, in so doing, have compelled large numbers of Americans to take to the streets in support of candidate or President Trump,

Protest marches pro & con: Statues of Confederate Army officers,

College campus speakers-- who ought to be welcome? and who ought not be welcome?,

Pro and Con : Black NFL players who drop to one bended knee rather than standing at respectful attention during the pre-game stadium-performance of the U.S. national anthem,

Calls (Por or Con) for monetary reparations from the U.S. government due to Black Americans as descendants of former slaves,

Trump's Appointees who have resigned

Trump's Appointees who haven't resigned but who supposedly ought to resign,


Issues yet to come:

Latent sexism of the "Hello Kitty" line of products,

Is spinach really safe to eat?

What driver-less cars think about when they sit idle or "off,"

Sep 26, 2017, 1:22am Top

Oh, the hypocrisy!

At Least 6 White House Advisers Used Private Email Accounts

WASHINGTON — At least six of President Trump’s closest advisers occasionally used private email addresses to discuss White House matters, current and former officials said on Monday.

Jared Kushner ... Stephen K. Bannon... Reince Priebus..Gary D. Cohn...Stephen Miller...Ivanka Trump...

Officials are supposed to use government emails for their official duties so their conversations are available to the public and those conducting oversight. But it is not illegal for White House officials to use private email accounts as long as they forward work-related messages to their work accounts so they can be preserved...


Edited: Sep 26, 2017, 8:25am Top

Sounds like Trump may have crossed the line at a raucous political rally for Republican Senate candidate Luther Strange (Huntsville Alabama, Sept 22, 2017):

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag to say get that son of a bitch off the field right now? Out. He's fired.


TRUMP: He's fired! He's fired!


...Trump said that by walking out of the stadium, and not watching games on TV, fans can force the league's hand. Implicit in that calculus is the role played by sponsors, which in theory have the financial leverage to force change, though they almost never use it...



18 U.S. Code § 227 - Wrongfully influencing a private entity’s employment decisions by a Member of Congress or an officer or employee of the legislative or executive branch

(a) Whoever, being a covered government person, with the intent to influence, solely on the basis of partisan political affiliation, an employment decision or employment practice of any private entity—
(1) takes or withholds, or offers or threatens to take or withhold, an official act, or
(2) influences, or offers or threatens to influence, the official act of another,
shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than 15 years, or both, and may be disqualified from holding any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.
(b) In this section, the term “covered government person” means—
(1) a Senator or Representative in, or a Delegate or Resident Commissioner to, the Congress;
(2) an employee of either House of Congress; or
(3) the President, Vice President, an employee of the United States Postal Service or the Postal Regulatory Commission, or any other executive branch employee (as such term is defined under section 2105 of title 5, United States Code).
(Added Pub. L. 110–81, title I, § 102(a), Sept. 14, 2007, 121 Stat. 739; amended Pub. L. 112–105, § 18(a), Apr. 4, 2012, 126 Stat. 304.)


Edited: Sep 26, 2017, 7:57am Top

>70 margd:

Fucking hilarious. Yes, really, go sue. Call up your nearest U.S. Attorney and explain this *deep legal insight* of yours.

"(1) takes or withholds, or offers or threatens to take or withhold, AN OFFICIAL ACT, or
(2) influences, or offers or threatens to influence, THE OFFICIAL ACT of another," ...

What OFFICIAL ACT did President Trump take or withhold, or offer or threaten to take or withhold?

Can you tell us, please? No, you can't. There is none in this case.

Whatever you paid for your law-school training, you overpaid. You should demand your money back--since your tutors ought to have had a duty to inform you that people who cannot read and comprehend basic English are not qualified to be in law school in the first place.

Sep 26, 2017, 7:17am Top


Oct 4, 2017, 8:39am Top

UN ambassador Nikki Haley warned over Trump retweet
Zachary Cohen | October 4, 2017

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley was warned on Tuesday that her retweet of a political message posted by President Donald Trump in June endorsing then-South Carolina congressional candidate Ralph Norman was a violation of the Hatch Act, according a letter posted by a Washington watchdog group.

"The Office of Special Counsel issued Haley a warning letter noting that any future engagement in prohibited political activity will be considered 'a willful and knowing violation of the law, which could result in further action,'" according to a press release from the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW), which filed the original complaint.

...The Hatch Act prohibits employees in the executive branch, except the President, vice president and some other high-level officials, from engaging in political activity...


Oct 4, 2017, 12:33pm Top

Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. Were Close to Being Charged With Felony Fraud
Jesse Eisinger and Justin Elliott, ProPublica, and Andrea Bernstein and Ilya Marritz, WNYC Oct. 4, 4 a.m. EDT

"New York prosecutors were preparing a case. Then the D.A. overruled his staff after a visit from a top donor: Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz."


Oct 6, 2017, 2:01am Top

Treasury Department Inquiry Finds Mnuchin Spent $800,000 on Seven Military Flights
By Elliot Hannon | Oct 5, 2017

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was in the spotlight again for his liberal use of America’s fleet of military planes with the New York Times reporting the former Goldman Sachs banker has burned through more than $800,000 in military aircraft usage since taking over the Treasury Department.

... the Treasury Secretary had broken any laws by over-indulging in military plane usage, but that Mnuchin’s justification for needing to use the aircraft was, well, a stretch.

...The rationale deployed by Mnuchin to justify using a military plane usually revolves around his need to make a secure phone call of some sort. In some cases, like Mnuchin and Linton’s sun-gazing trip to Kentucky, the justification was even more flimsy. From the Times: ... Mr. Mnuchin had asked for a Gulfstream 550 military jet in case the runway at Fort Knox was wet and because a plane with “communications capabilities is requested in the event that the secretary’s participation on a call during travel arises.” The flight cost $26,900.25.

(Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price spent $900K on charter & military flights)

...“Ryan Zinke, the interior secretary, used a chartered airplane for several flights, including a $12,000 trip to deliver a speech celebrating a new professional hockey team in Las Vegas," according to the Times. "Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, has spent more than $58,000 on chartered and military flights, and David Shulkin, the veterans affairs secretary, took his wife on a 10-day trip to Europe that mixed business meetings and sightseeing, according to The Washington Post.”


Oct 6, 2017, 11:12am Top

Your tax dollar at work. (NOT!)

Dems seek investigation into EPA chief’s $25K soundproof booth
Timothy Cama | 10/05/17

...The EPA this summer signed a contract worth nearly $25,000 to buy and have installed a soundproof booth in Pruitt’s office... The agency said the secure facility is needed for Pruitt to discuss sensitive matters and that numerous other Cabinet secretaries have similar facilities.

The EPA already has a dedicated Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility elsewhere in the headquarters building.

(Dem congressmen) wants the EPA’s Office of Inspector General to investigate the purchase.

“The reported installation of this equipment is unprecedented and may represent yet another example of bureaucratic malfeasance by the Trump administration,” ...“The installation of a dedicated communications booth in the administrator’s office raises questions regarding why such equipment is needed and what types of conversations Administrator Pruitt is having that would warrant a private soundproof booth,” ...


Oct 6, 2017, 11:39am Top

On the question of nepotism:

DOJ releases slew of memos lobbying against presidential appointments for family

Monday's newly released memos -- first reported by Politico, which filed a Freedom of Information Act request -- illustrate why the reversal was so stark.

Edited: Oct 13, 2017, 3:54am Top

Amazing that Kushner still has security clearance! Lock him up!

Jared Kushner Hid One of His Companies On A Disclosure Form — Then Profited
Chris Riotta | 10/12/17

Jared Kushner "enriched himself" by not revealing his ownership of a real estate tech business that raised millions of dollars while he served in the government, said a member of the House Judiciary Committee, calling it part of a pattern of unethical behavior that he believes should cause the White House Senior Adviser to be stripped of his security clearance.

...Cadre operates as an online platform, connecting wealthy investors like Soros, for example, to emerging real estate properties in which they can buy partial ownership. The billionaire was one of Cadre's initial key investors, opening up a $250 million line of credit between his family offices and Kushner’s start-up.

But ethics experts think the real estate investing platform may allow foreign investors to hide their identities to the public, though not to Cadre insiders...


Philippe Reines‏Verified account @PhilippeReines 4h4 hours ago
Replying to @PhilippeReines

On Pg 2 of the SF-86 security clearance form it states that concealing material is a crime punishable by 5 yrs in prison.

So he owes us 20.


Background check chief has 'never seen' mistakes and omissions at level of Jared Kushner forms
Kara Scannell | October 12, 2017

The head of a government bureau responsible for clearing background checks told lawmakers Wednesday he has "never seen that level of mistakes" when asked about numerous omissions in Jared Kushner's security clearance application.

Charles Phalen, the director of the National Background Investigations Bureau, a newly created division within the Office of Personnel Management, made the comment in response to a question during a House subcommittee oversight hearing...


Oct 13, 2017, 3:28am Top

Your tax dollar at work. Small thing, but telling...

Where’s Zinke? The interior secretary’s special flag offers clues
Lisa Rein October 12 at 6:04 PM

At the Interior Department’s headquarters in downtown Washington, Secretary Ryan Zinke has revived an arcane military ritual that no one can remember ever happening in the federal government.

A security staffer takes the elevator to the seventh floor, climbs the stairs to the roof and hoists a special secretarial flag whenever Zinke enters the building. When the secretary goes home for the day or travels, the flag — a blue banner emblazoned with the agency’s bison seal flanked by seven white stars representing the Interior bureaus — comes down.  

In Zinke’s absence, the ritual is repeated to raise an equally obscure flag for Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt.

...The flag ritual is unique in President Trump’s administration. The White House does not raise the presidential flag when Trump alights at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. There is no Defense secretary’s flag atop the Pentagon.

...British tradition of announcing the queen’s presence by raising her personal heraldic flag...


Oct 14, 2017, 3:56am Top

Manafort Had $60 Million Relationship With a Russian Oligarch
Aggelos Petropoulos and Richard Engel | Oct 13, 2017

LONDON — Paul Manafort, a former campaign manager for President Donald Trump, has much stronger financial ties to a Russian oligarch than have been previously reported.

An NBC News investigation reveals that $26 million changed hands in the form of a loan between a company linked to Manafort and the oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire with close ties to the Kremlin.

The loan brings the total of their known business dealings to around $60 million over the past decade, according to financial documents filed in Cyprus and the Cayman Islands...


Oct 14, 2017, 4:57pm Top

Porn publisher offers up to $10 million for dirt on Trump
Associated Press | October 14, 2017

WASHINGTON — Pornography publisher Larry Flynt is offering “up to $10 million” to anyone who produces information that leads to President Donald Trump’s impeachment and removal from office.

He lays out the offer in a full-page ad in the Sunday edition of The Washington Post...



See pic of ad at pic.twitter.com/6SgK1khFDi:

3:30p FBN EXCLSV: @washingtonpost will run a Sun.Hustler Mag's @ImLarryFlynt offers $10m 4 info on @realDonaldTrump pic.twitter.com/6SgK1khFDi
— Liz Claman (@LizClaman) October 13, 2017

Oct 16, 2017, 3:49am Top

Trump campaign subpoenaed over sexual assault allegations
Kevin Bohn | October 15, 2017

Lawyers for one of the women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual assault subpoenaed his campaign for all documents relating to her, all communications with or about her and "all documents concerning any woman who asserted that Donald J. Trump touched her inappropriately."

...Summer Zervos, a former contestant on "The Apprentice" who (in October) accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in 2007.

...Zervos claims Trump kissed her twice on the lips during a lunch meeting in his New York City office and on a separate occasion in Beverly Hills, she alleges he kissed her aggressively and touched her breast.

...The subpoena, issued in March, is just coming to light now and is part of a defamation lawsuit filed by Zervos in January in the New York State Supreme Court against Trump following his denials.

...The subpoena was served to the campaign, but Zervos' lawyers and the campaign agreed to suspend the response date until after a motion to dismiss the lawsuit is decided...


Oct 16, 2017, 7:39am Top

she alleges he kissed her aggressively

Oct 16, 2017, 12:58pm Top

Reviewing the audio tape any woman who didn't get her pussy grabbed by trump got off easy.

Oct 18, 2017, 8:52am Top

Mueller has interviewed the cybersecurity expert who described being 'recruited to collude with the Russians'
Natasha Bertrand | 10/17/2017

A cybersecurity researcher (Matt Tait, a former information-security specialist at Britain's Government Communications Headquarters) who described being recruited to vet hacked Hillary Clinton emails last year by a GOP operative tied to President Donald Trump's campaign team has been interviewed by the FBI's special counsel, Robert Mueller, Business Insider has learned.

The interview was part of a broader effort by Mueller to examine the relationship between the longtime GOP operative, Peter Smith, and the former national security adviser Michael Flynn and whether Flynn played any role in seeking out the stolen emails during the election. Smith killed himself in May after talking to The Wall Street Journal about his experience.

...In a piece titled "The Time I Got Recruited to Collude with the Russians" (on the national-security blog Lawfare), Tait recalled how Smith had approached him to help verify the authenticity of emails he said were given to him by dark-web hackers.

"Smith implied that he was a well-connected Republican political operative," Tait wrote, adding that Smith had contacted him because he believed "that Clinton's private email server had been hacked — in his view almost certainly both by the Russian government and likely by multiple other hackers too."

...it was "immediately apparent that Smith was both well connected within the top echelons of the campaign and he seemed to know both Lt. Gen. Flynn and his son well."

Tait said Smith also listed the top Trump advisers Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon, and Sam Clovis as part of a group he had formed to conduct opposition research on Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee...


Oct 19, 2017, 1:27am Top

Trump Campaign Staffers Pushed Russian Propaganda Days Before the Election
Kellyanne Conway and Donald Trump Jr. pushed messages from an account operated from Russia’s ‘troll farm’—including allegations of voter fraud a week before Election Day.
Betsy Woodruff, Ben Collins, Kevin Poulsen, Spencer Ackerman | 10.18.17 5:51 PM ET

Some of the Trump campaign’s most prominent names and supporters, including Trump’s campaign manager, digital director, and son, pushed tweets from professional trolls paid by the Russian government in the heat of the 2016 election campaign.

The Twitter account @Ten_GOP, which called itself the “Unofficial Twitter account of Tennessee Republicans,” was operated from the Kremlin-backed “Russian troll farm,” or Internet Research Agency, a source familiar with the account confirmed with The Daily Beast.

The account’s origins in the Internet Research Agency were originally reported by the independent Russian news outlet RBC. @Ten_GOP was created on Nov. 19, 2015, and accumulated over 100 thousand followers before Twitter shut it down. The Daily Beast independently confirmed the reasons for @Ten_GOP’s account termination.

The discovery of the now-unavailable tweets presents the first evidence that several members of the Trump campaign pushed covert Russian propaganda on social media in the run-up to the 2016 election...


Edited: Oct 20, 2017, 10:04am Top

Senator suggests blocking US attorney candidates who meet with Trump

The concern is that New York and DC are where Trump's businesses cluster. Assurances of independence are needed.

Oct 20, 2017, 5:22am Top

Obstruction-of-justice dept...

Trump personally interviewed U.S. attorney candidates
One potential nominee would have jurisdiction over Trump Tower and be in a position to investigate the Trump administration

...The Southern District of New York is an especially notable position since it has jurisdiction over Trump Tower.

...It is rare for a president to interview candidates for the 93 U.S. attorney jobs. Former President Barack Obama never interviewed a U.S. attorney candidate during his two terms...

..earlier this year showed Trump met with Jessie Liu, the candidate for U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, earlier this spring as she was being interviewed for the federal prosecutor post.

...since been confirmed, but...California Sen. Dianne Feinstein raised concerns that she had personally met with Trump before she was nominated to the position that would be in charge of investigating the Trump administration.

"To be very blunt, these three jurisdictions (Southern District of New York, Eastern District of New York, District of Columbia) will have authority to bring indictments over the ongoing special counsel investigation into Trump campaign collusion with the Russians and potential obstruction of justice by the president of the United States,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said in an interview Thursday. “For him to be interviewing candidates for that prosecutor who may in turn consider whether to bring indictments involving him and his administration seems to smack of political interference."

...Other U.S. attorneys who have been nominated to posts around the country do not appear to have had similar interviews with Trump...

“The U.S. attorney for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York — like the U.S. attorney for Washington D.C. — would have jurisdiction over many important cases, including those involving President Trump’s personal and family business interests,” Feinstein said in a statement Thursday.

...U.S. attorneys are also subject to the “blue-slip process,” meaning home-state senators could try to unilaterally block a nominee moving forward. For the New York position, Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand would be the ones giving the green light for the nominee to advance.


Edited: Oct 24, 2017, 8:44am Top

Putin tax corruption unveiled by Russian lawyer Magnitsky.
Magnitsky dies painfully in Russian prison.
A Magnitsky client, British financier Browder, lobbies for western countries (now four, including US) to freeze assets and lift visas of those responsible.
Putin bans American adoption of Russian orphans.
Russians lobby Trump Jr., Kushner, Manafort in meeting at Trump Tower.
Russia accuses BROWDER of Magnitsky murder as part of a supposed WESTERN INTELLIGENCE operation.
On fifth try Russia succeeds in having Browder placed on Interpol wanted list.
US revokes Browder's visa.
'Nuff said?

Why Is Bill Browder Banned from America?
Jay Nordlinger | October 22, 2017

...(William) Browder...is the financier whose lawyer was Sergei Magnitsky, who became a prisoner of the Russian state and was tortured to death — real slow. Thereafter, Browder dedicated himself to the cause of justice in Russia.

In 2012, the U.S. Congress passed the Magnitsky Act, which targets Russian human-rights abusers: It freezes their assets and deprives them of visas...Four countries have Magnitsky acts: the U.S., Britain, Estonia, and now Canada...Browder is a driver behind these Magnitsky acts...

...In the wake of Canada’s new Magnitsky act, Putin has tried...for a fifth time. Interpol has accepted his request (to put Browder on wanted list).

Worse, the U.S. government... has revoked Browder’s visa. (American-born, Browder is a British citizen.)



Turning Tables in Magnitsky Case, Russia Accuses a Nemesis of Murder
ANDREW E. KRAMER | OCT. 22, 2017

...Mr. (Sergei) Magnitsky, who worked for William F. Browder, a hedge fund manager who was once the largest foreign portfolio investor in Russia, was jailed on tax evasion charges while unraveling a $230 million government tax “refund” that Russian officials had fraudulently granted themselves. He died in prison after being beaten and denied medical care, earning the Kremlin widespread condemnation.

Mr. Browder, who was living in London at the time, began lobbying Western governments to punish those responsible for Mr. Magnitsky’s death, an effort that bore fruit when the United States, Estonia and most recently, Canada, imposed sanctions on Russians involved in Mr. Magnitsky’s death.

That campaign touched off a nasty confrontation with the Kremlin, and the two sides have been trying ever since to undermine the credibility of the other. Recently, however, Russian prosecutors have taken that effort to a remarkable new level, claiming that Mr. Magnitsky was actually murdered by Mr. Browder.

...While they were about it, the prosecutors used the so-called intercepts, written in grammatically flawed English, to wrap into the plot two other Kremlin nemeses — Grigory A. Yavlinsky and Aleksei A. Navalny, prominent Russian opposition politicians. The supposed scheme was called Operation Quake.

The prosecutors say that Mr. Browder was assigned the code name Agent Solomon by Western intelligence, while Mr. Navalny was called Agent Freedom.

...The measure that Mr. Browder campaigned for in the United States passed in 2012 as the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law and Accountability Act. It denied visas and blocked access to the American financial system for Russians deemed to have committed human rights abuses and avoided punishment at home, including those involved in the Magnitsky tax fraud case...



Browder now cleared to enter US.

Oct 24, 2017, 8:51am Top

Mueller Now Investigating Democratic Lobbyist Tony Podesta
Tom Winter and Julia Ainsley | Oct 23, 2017

Tony Podesta and the Podesta Group are now the subjects of a federal investigation being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller...

The probe of Podesta and his Democratic-leaning lobbying firm grew out of Mueller's inquiry into the finances of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort...

Manafort had organized a public relations campaign for a non-profit called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU). Podesta's company was one of many firms that worked on the campaign, which promoted Ukraine's image in the West.

The sources said the investigation into Podesta and his company began as more of a fact-finding mission about the ECMU and Manafort's role in the campaign, but has now morphed into a criminal inquiry into whether the firm violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act, known as FARA.

Under FARA, people who lobby on behalf of foreign governments, leaders or political parties must file detailed disclosures about their spending and activities with the Justice Department. Willful failure to file the forms is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison, though such prosecutions are rare...


Edited: Oct 25, 2017, 7:07am Top

Cross-post from Puerto Rico thread:
PR Power issues huge contract with teeny, new co. from Interior Secretary Zinke's home town. Money to come from feds? OMB investigates.

Small Montana firm lands Puerto Rico’s biggest contract to get the power back on
Steven Mufson, Jack Gillum, Aaron C. Davis and Arelis R. Hernández | October 23, 2017

For the sprawling effort to restore Puerto Rico’s crippled electrical grid, the territory’s state-owned utility has turned to a two-year-old company from Montana that had just two full-time employees on the day Hurricane Maria made landfall.

...Whitefish Energy...signed a $300 million contract with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) to repair and reconstruct large portions of the island’s electrical infrastructure.

...PREPA, opted to hire Whitefish rather than activate the “mutual aid” arrangements it has with other utilities. For many years, such agreements have helped U.S. utilities — including those in Florida and Texas recently — to recover quickly after natural disasters.

The unusual decision to instead hire a tiny for-profit company is drawing scrutiny from Congress and comes amid concerns about bankrupt Puerto Rico’s spending as it seeks to provide relief to its 3.4 million residents, the great majority of whom remain without power a month after the storm.

...Whitefish Energy is based in Whitefish, Mont., the home town of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

...With the entire Puerto Rican commonwealth in bankruptcy, and the utility itself in default on $9 billion in debt, spending for the recovery is drawing scrutiny from the Trump administration and Congress. Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and José Carrión, chairman of the federal oversight board created to resolve the island’s long-running financial crisis, were summoned to Washington last week for a meeting with the Office of Management and Budget...

... (PR Gov) Rosselló said Wednesday that the island would spend $490 million on the initial phase of repairing the commonwealth’s grid, adding that “a large portion of that would probably go to Whitefish” and another contractor. The utility gave Whitefish a $3.7 million initial payment for “mobilization of personnel and equipment,” the contract says. Whitefish could be paid as much as $300 million for up to two years of work.

Under the contract, the hourly rate was set at $330 for a site supervisor, and at $227.88 for a “journeyman lineman.” The cost for subcontractors, which make up the bulk of Whitefish’s workforce, is $462 per hour for a supervisor and $319.04 for a lineman. Whitefish also charges nightly accommodation fees of $332 per worker and almost $80 per day for food.

...Whitefish’s contract surpasses the $240 million contract the Army Corps awarded to engineering giant Fluor to “augment ongoing efforts” to repair the power grid.

...The Puerto Rican utility has not replied to offers of assistance from mutual-aid partners, according to the American Public Power Association, which coordinates such operations.

...(Chief executive, Andy) Techmanski...asked Zinke for help in getting personnel and equipment to the territory. Chiames, the Whitefish spokesman, confirmed that “Once the company got the go-ahead from PREPA on September 26 to begin work, company executives did reach out to contacts in case they could help expedite getting qualified linesmen to the island.”

..(PR Gov) Rosselló said recently that 95 percent of the power would be restored by Christmas.

Techmanski...“I don’t know where he got that and what information he was using,”



See photo of cabin at address for Whitefish Energy! It's a nice cabin, but headquarters for a $300 million contract in Puerto Rico??

How A Two-Person Montana Company Ended Up With The Biggest Energy Contract In Puerto Rico
With ties to the Interior Department secretary and a Trump donor, is it a swampy deal — or innovation at work?
Anne Helen Petersen and Charlie Warzel | October 24, 2017

...Ten miles south of Whitefish, Montana, a paved road turns into gravel, before turning into forest. On one side, there’s a small horse farm. On the other, signs read “Private Property” and suggest the area is being patrolled in order to prevent poaching. At the end of a long private drive lined with towering pines, an RV is parked on the grass in front of a log and stone cabin. This is the home of Whitefish Energy, a tiny company that has been awarded a contract valued at $300 million — the biggest to date — to restore power in Puerto Rico, where an estimated 76% of the island is still without electricity four weeks after Hurricane Maria.

...when Whitefish Energy attempted to build a transistor plant on a Superfund site in nearby Columbia Falls last year, then-congressman (now Secretary of Interior)Zinke’s office reached out to the city manager...

...What’s more, Joe Colonnetta, the head of one of Whitefish Energy’s major funding sources, Dallas-based HBC Investments, has made significant donations to Trump’s election campaign and PACs supporting Trump’s election. Colonnetta also contributed to the campaigns of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, as well as then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry...

...hiring Whitefish Energy would make sense if the company was actually bringing down large crews with experience doing utility repair in Montana — something a company like Montana Dakota Utilities, or Northwest Energy, would be capable of providing. But apart from (Whitefish Energy CEO Andy) Techmanski, it’s unclear that the crews on the ground actually possess such expertise...


Oct 24, 2017, 5:32pm Top

Trump Decides Not to Deport Dissident After Learning He’s a Mar-a-Lago Member
Isobel Thompson | October 24, 2017

...Guo Wengui, a billionaire Chinese dissident dubbed the “Che Guevara of Chinese crony capitalism”..., who built a real-estate empire in Beijing, fled China in 2014 after learning that a state security associate was about to be arrested.

...(At a WH meeting on Chinese trade) Trump reportedly said that he knew of at least one “Chinese criminal” that America needed to deport immediately. “Where’s the letter that Steve brought?” he called to his secretary. “We need to get this criminal out of the country.” ... referring to a letter (from China) that (Republican National Committee finance chairman Steve Wynn, a casino tycoon with links to the Chinese-controlled gambling haven Macau), whose multiple-billion-dollar gambling properties... must be approved annually by Chinese authorities, had given him at a private dinner.

...Trump was reportedly on the verge of deporting Guo—until aides informed him that Guo also happens to be a member of his Mar-a-Lago resort, a privilege that costs $200,000 in initiation fees plus $14,000 in annual dues. The president subsequently changed his mind, exposing a secondary set of even more problematic biases. Apparently, Trump was more than happy to allow a wealthy friend to pressure him on foreign policy—until he was made aware of an even more pressing concern, that is....


Oct 25, 2017, 9:08am Top

Trump Fails To Sanction Russia Over Election Meddling and Defies Congress With Three-Week Delay
Greg Price | 10/23/17

...New sanctions resoundingly flew through both chambers of Congress in July, President Donald Trump signed the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” on August 2. The bill called for fresh sanctions not only on Russia but Iran and North Korea as well.

But the administration missed the October 1 deadline to “issue regulations or other guidance” to indicate who from Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors—like its powerful Federal Security Service—would be targeted by the new sanctions.

The bill did give Trump until early next year to actually impose new sanctions on specific parts of Russia’s economy like finance and energy, according to LawFare.

...The administration has taken action against North Korea since the bill’s passing.

...Trump has also railed against Iran.


Oct 26, 2017, 11:44pm Top

by Conrad Black | Updated 25 Oct 2017

It is delicious to see, even more suddenly and completely than anyone had anticipated, the breakdown of the steamroller media smear of Donald Trump. A trinitarian deus ex machina descended.

The Washington Post, struggling desperately in its discomfort, a few days ahead of the information being forcibly extracted by congressional subpoenas, acknowledged that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee had paid for the assembly of the Steele dossier.

This rotten fish of lies and gossip was universally regarded at first as rubbish so scurrilous no one would publish it for months until Buzzfeed, the bottom of the web barrel, took it up, which emboldened the flounder skimming the bottom, CNN, to present it as a major triumph of journalistic enterprise and to popularize it.

Carl Bernstein, one of America’s most Pulitzer-laden mythmakers, was exhumed to pronounce it an important document.

Finally, after everything else had led nowhere, bloodthirsty Trumpophobes like the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sens. Burr and Warner, acknowledged that Steele was all they could go on, and they could not get at its sources because of the intervention of special counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, preventing FBI officials from testifying before Congress.

CNN, through the pleasing Erin Burnett, wagging her puckered nose at us, tiresomely repeated that some aspects of the Steele dossier had been “proved,” but some were not corroborated, and that the dossier was initiated by Fusion GPS at the request of anti-Trump Republicans, whose place was taken first by the Clinton campaign, when Trump clinched the Republican nomination, and then by the FBI.

In fact, none of it has been seriously corroborated, and the only part of it with the slightest relevance to Trump’s legitimacy as president is a completely unsubstantiated suggestion that some promises might have been made to alter U.S. policy toward Russia favorably if the Russian government could affect the U.S. election’s outcome in Trump’s favor.

There is not a shred of evidence to support this, despite fervent efforts by the Obama administration and the special counsel to unearth some. Nor is there any evidence of actual Russian influence on the election result or of any policy change by the present administration toward Russia that the Kremlin would welcome. Nor, though The New York Times clings to the story, has any evidence surfaced that Fusion GPS was initially retained on this file by anti-Trump Republicans.

It was inexpressibly pleasant to see a CNN “expert” refer to the revelation that the sole remaining, pitiful wisp of hopeful damage to Trump and support of the collusion canard was this bit of slime bought and paid for by the Clinton campaign as, get ready for it, “A talking point for the Republicans!”

As this hydrogen balloon was blowing up like the Hindenburg at the mast at Lakehurst, New Jersey, in 1937, the Uranium One affair was boiling over as a new congressional investigation was launched into the whole issue of about $131 million to $145 million being pledged or paid to the Clinton Foundation as Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 for an ordinary speech in Moscow. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder agreed to sell 20 percent of American uranium resources to Russia, through Russian intermediaries then under intensive investigation by the FBI director, Robert Mueller, and by then U.S. attorney in Maryland Rod Rosenstein.

I am not quick to allege criminal wrongdoing, and the businessman chiefly involved is someone I know and respect, and it is not clear that anything harmful to national security occurred. But at the least, considering their ambitions to move back into the White House, the Clintons should have been more careful.

The trifecta was completed with the revelation that the investigation of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was not based on his brief relations with Donald Trump, but on his lengthy connection with the Democratic Podesta brothers, and the extent to which he helped them funnel wealthy and influential Russians into high governmental circles in Washington.

There need not be anything wrong with this either, but it has nothing to do with Trump and the entire fraudulent defamation that Trump did anything improper with the Russians, much less engage in anything compromising the validity of the 2016 presidential election. That claim is an outrage whose time for asphyxiation has come. Still to be unearthed are the full stories of the Wasserman Schultz skullduggery, and the real story of improper and probably illegal surveillance at Trump Tower. As that will get all the way to President Obama, it may be expected to ooze out slowly and reluctantly, sluggish and foul.

Whatever anyone might have done, unless the Clintons took outright bribes for defined illegal services (very unlikely), the whole miasma should be blown away amid a consensus to stop and not to revive this baleful practice of criminalizing policy differences and political rivalries. There is even now no probative evidence that Richard Nixon committed any illegalities, though some of those about him clearly engaged in a criminal conspiracy to subvert justice. Nixon was an outstandingly competent and successful president.

Oct 27, 2017, 5:47am Top

Trump campaign used this firm to access stolen email. And it was likely the Russians stole the email. Mueller time.
-Richard W. Painter‏ @RWPUSA Oct 26, 2017

The Trump campaign is scrambling to distance itself from Cambridge Analytica amid Assange-Hillary Clinton email flap
Natasha Bertrand | Oct 25, 2017

Key members of President Donald Trump's campaign team scrambled Wednesday to distance themselves from the data mining and analysis company Cambridge Analytica, whose CEO reportedly reached out to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during the presidential campaign to offer help in finding Hillary Clinton's "missing" emails.

The Trump campaign hired Cambridge Analytica in June 2016 to help target ads using voter data collected from approximately 230 million US adults.

Multiple outlets, including NBC News and The Washington Post, reported that the campaign paid Cambridge Analytica more than $5 million in September alone, up from $250,000 in August....


Edited: Oct 27, 2017, 12:46pm Top

93 contd. Admin provides guidance for implementing Russia sanctions, but scraps State Dept office that coordinates them...

State Department Scraps Sanctions Office
The Trump administration is three weeks late on Russia sanctions. But it’s killed the office that coordinates them.
By Robbie Gramer, Dan De Luce | October 26, 2017, 7:26 PM

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson eliminated the Coordinator for Sanctions Policy office, which had been led by a veteran ambassador-rank diplomat with at least five staff...

Instead, the role of coordinating U.S. sanctions across the State Department and other government agencies now falls to just one mid-level official — David Tessler, the deputy director of the Policy Planning Office...

The sanctions office was dissolved after the administration missed a key Oct. 1 deadline to implement new penalties against Russia adopted by Congress in August...



Oct 26 2017

Washington, D.C. ­– U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement today on the administration's guidance for the implementation of Russia sanctions legislation:

“The administration’s announcement is a step in the right direction toward holding Russia accountable for its attack on our election. By issuing guidance for the implementation of the sanctions legislation, the administration is slowly but surely carrying out the law that Congress passed overwhelmingly this summer.

“We are encouraged that the sanctions list includes many targets from the Russian defense and intelligence sectors that Congress previously identified and look forward to more closely reviewing the list to ensure that it is comprehensive. As the implementation moves forward, Congress will continue to conduct oversight of each step to ensure the administration is following both the letter and the spirit of the law—including persuading entities to stop doing business with those on the list, coordinating with European allies and other key partners, and briefing and consulting Congress on a regular basis.

“Moving forward, we will closely examine how the administration decides to define ‘significant transaction.’ The guidance allows for notable discretion in this regard as cases arise. We will conduct focused oversight on this issue and stand ready if appropriate and necessary to apply relevant provisions of the sanctions law related to congressional review.

“We also encourage the State Department to dedicate robust staffing and resources to the implementation effort, especially in light of reports that the sanctions office has been closed, a number of its staff have resigned, and the mandate for sanctions implementation has been shifted to the Policy Planning staff, which has not traditionally played an operational role. Providing dedicated staffing and resources within the State Department will demonstrate the administration’s commitment to carrying out this vitally important law.”



State Department Scraps Sanctions Office
The Trump administration was three weeks late on a Russia sanctions deadline. But it’s killed the office that coordinates them.
Robbie Gramer, Dan De Luce | October 26, 2017

...Secretary of State Rex Tillerson eliminated the Coordinator for Sanctions Policy office, which had been led by a veteran ambassador-rank diplomat with at least five staff

...Instead, the role of coordinating U.S. sanctions across the State Department and other government agencies now falls to just one mid-level official — David Tessler, the deputy director of the Policy Planning Office. The Policy Planning Office, which previously operated as a small team providing strategic advice to the secretary but did not manage programs or initiatives, has grown in power under Tillerson’s “redesign” of the department.

While the sanctions office was dissolved, the administration missed a key Oct. 1 deadline to implement new penalties against Russia adopted by Congress in August. The move reinforced concerns among both Democratic and Republican lawmakers that the Trump White House is mismanaging the State Department and undercutting the role of U.S. diplomacy.

...Former officials and experts are torn on whether or not eliminating the Coordinator for Sanctions Policy office will undercut the State Department’s ability to oversee sanctions. Sanctions have become a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy toward adversaries such as Iran and North Korea.


Edited: Oct 27, 2017, 1:57pm Top

Russian Officials Overheard Discussing Trump Associates Before Campaign Began
It isn’t clear whether Mr. Trump’s associates had any connection to his presidential aspirations
Shane Harris | July 12, 2017

WASHINGTON—Investigators are re-examining conversations detected by U.S. intelligence agencies in spring 2015 that captured Russian government officials discussing associates of Donald Trump, according to current and former U.S. officials, a move prompted by revelations that the president’s eldest son met with a Russian lawyer last year.

In some cases, the Russians in the overheard conversations talked about meetings held outside the U.S. involving Russian government officials and Trump business associates or advisers, these people said.

Russian officials are routinely monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies, and it wouldn’t be unusual for them to discuss people who have business interests in Russia.

...In 2015, intelligence agencies weren’t sure what to make of the surveillance reports, which they viewed as vague and inconclusive, the current and former officials said. But the volume of the mentions of Trump associates by the Russians did have officials asking each other, “What’s going on?” one former official said...

In the spring of 2016, U.S. intelligence officials’ suspicions about Russian meddling in the election grew after their counterparts in Europe warned that Russian money might be flowing into the presidential election, according to officials with knowledge of the warning. It remains unknown if or whether those funds were funneled to a particular campaign or to others to spend it on behalf of candidates.
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In June 2016, officials at the Democratic National Committee revealed that their computer networks had been penetrated by hackers, whom the FBI and intelligence agencies later determined worked for the Russian intelligence services. Emails taken in those incursions subsequently were published by WikiLeaks, and in October, the site released emails that had been stolen from Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.

At that point, intelligence officials had little doubt that the Russian government was attempting to interfere in the election. By the end of 2016, they concluded publicly that the Russian hacking campaign was meant to undermine Mrs. Clinton and help Mr. Trump...



Trump associate Cohen sold four NY buildings for cash to mysterious buyers
Peter Stone And Greg Gordon | October 25, 2017 5:00 AM

...In 2014, a mysterious buyer using a limited liability company that hid the purchaser’s identity paid $10 million in cash for a small apartment building on New York’s lower east side that Cohen had purchased just three years before for $2 million. The handsome appreciation came despite the fact that the assessed value of the property, at 172 Rivington St., hardly budged in these years, hovering around the price Cohen paid for it.

...Three other properties Cohen bought and sold in roughly the same time frame followed a similar pattern. Each was purchased by a different LLC, but were tied together by the fact that a lawyer, Herbert Chaves, served as the LLCs’ manager...



Talking Points Brought to Trump Tower Meeting Were Shared With Kremlin

Natalia V. Veselnitskaya arrived at a meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016 hoping to interest top Trump campaign officials in the contents of a memo she believed contained information damaging to the Democratic Party and, by extension, Hillary Clinton.

... The coordination between the Trump Tower visitor and the Russian prosecutor general undercuts Ms. Veselnitskaya’s account that she was a purely independent actor when she sat down with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, and Paul J. Manafort, then the Trump campaign chairman. It also suggests that emails from an intermediary to the younger Mr. Trump promising that Ms. Veselnitskaya would arrive with information from Russian prosecutors were rooted at least partly in fact — not mere “puffery,” as the president’s son later said.

In the past week, Ms. Veselnitskaya’s allegations — that major Democratic donors were guilty of financial fraud and tax evasion — have been embraced at the highest levels of the Russian government.

The matching messages point to a synchronized information campaign. Like some other Russian experts, Stephen Blank, a senior fellow with the nonprofit American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, said they indicate that Ms. Veselnitskaya’s actions “were coordinated from the very top.”

...Russian elites have been known to mount independent initiatives to curry favor with the Kremlin. But a number of well-known Russian analysts called it inconceivable that Ms. Veselnitskaya would have bypassed her own government to deliver what are now unmistakably official allegations to an American presidential campaign.

Said Gleb O. Pavlovsky, the president of the Fund for Effective Politics, a Moscow research institute: “She had guidance.”


Oct 27, 2017, 3:40pm Top


...Puerto Rico Public Affairs Secretary Ramon Rosario told reporters on Friday that he wasn't familiar with the contract's details when asked why it includes a clause that prohibits an audit or review of "the cost and profit elements of the labor rates."

Rosario said only that Puerto Rico's governor already has requested an audit and that the government will turn over all pertinent documents...


Oct 28, 2017, 12:27am Top

Panetta: Intelligence Committee Needs to Look into Clinton/DNC Dossier Payment

Former CIA Director Leon Panetta told CNN that the Intel Committee need to look into the DNC and Clinton campaign.

October 27, 2017
11:38 am

Former CIA Director Leon Panetta said that the Senate Intelligence Committee is going to have to look into the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for funding the controversial Trump dossier during an interview on Thursday.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Panetta how it was possible that neither “the chair of the DNC and the Clinton campaign” knew about payments for the dossier.

“Well, it’s obviously something that the Intelligence Committee is going to have to look at,” Panetta said. “You know, knowing presidential campaigns, they’re big operations and somehow the left hand may not know what the right hand is doing. And that could be the case here.”

Panetta continued, “I really do think that the committee is going to have to get into this, determine just exactly what happened. Who knew what and when?”

Blitzer followed up by asking Panetta why Clinton campaign attorney Marc Elias didn’t tell Clinton campaign chair, John Podesta, they had paid for the dossier.

Elias was the lawyer was represented the Clinton campaign and DNC, during the election and is alleged to have paid Fusion GPS for the Trump dossier.

“Well, it certainly makes the situation very awkward,” Panetta said. “If you’re testifying and saying you have no knowledge, and the attorney sitting next to you is one of those that knew what was involved here, I think it does raise an issue that the committee is going to have to look at and determine just exactly who knew what.”

Edited: Oct 28, 2017, 8:54am Top

Friday night: it's Mueller time! Person(s) charged Friday night are to be taken into custody early next week--Monday perhaps. My guess is it's Manafort for money laundering, etc., though Flynn also a likely candidate and Mueller had access to others' tax returns. Charge could pull Kushner's security clearance(?), which govt should have done anyway. Mueller's timing and secrecy must maximize discomfort among lawbreakers in presidential set. Allies of a WH that knew something in the works might raise Hillary & uranium, release JFK files, direct missives toward Mueller, engage in tweet wars? Will we see a Saturday night massacre?

First on CNN: First charges filed in Mueller investigation
Pamela Brown, Evan Perez and Shimon Prokupecz | October 27, 2017


Mueller Has Reportedly Issued His First Charges. Who Might Be Indicted?
Jeremy Stahl | Oct 27, 2017

...On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort was under investigation by the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office for possible money laundering. In July, the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted a pre-dawn raid on his home.

Former Trump foreign policy advisor Carter Page spoke with Senate investigators for five hours on Friday, according to NBC News. Last summer, the FBI obtained a FISA warrant to monitor his communications as part of its investigation into Russia.

Longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen testified before both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees this week. According to NBC, “there was an extended focus on emails he received in 2015 from Felix Sater, a former Trump associate with a criminal past, about a potential deal to open a Trump Tower in the Russian capital.” At the time, Sater wrote to Cohen: “Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.” (margd--see #97 real estate purchases)

...direct investigation of President Donald Trump for possible obstruction of justice in the Russia affair...Comey, in contemporaneous memos, documented private meetings with Trump in which the former FBI Director claimed he was pressured to drop an investigation into former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

Flynn was fired for lying to Vice President Trump Mike Pence about discussions regarding former President Obama’s sanctions on Russia in private meetings with the Russian ambassador. He also reportedly misled the FBI about this meeting.

Donald Trump Jr. appears to have violated campaign finance law when he sought campaign aide from Russians, one of whom brought talking points to a meeting with Trump Jr. directly from the Kremlin.

Senior Trump official and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner has had to file at least three updates to his SF-86 national security questionnaire since he entered the White House after failing to disclose meetings with Russians and Russian officials...



Note: Trump recently offered ~$466K for colleagues' legal costs (= fight on, pls?)

CNN legal analyst: Charges filed in Mueller probe means it will last 'well into 2018'
Brandon Carter - 10/28/17

...CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said that news of the first charges...means the probe will last “well into 2018.”

“If anybody thinks the Mueller investigation is going to be wrapping up in the next couple of months, this decision today pretty much guarantees the Mueller office will be up and running well into 2018,” ...

...Toobin called the news “a major landmark in the course of this investigation” and said the indictments will likely be aimed at garnering cooperation in the probe.

“In white-collar investigations, usually the first indictments are against individuals that you hope will plead guilty and cooperate against others,” Toobin said. “You don’t indict the big fish first, you indict smaller fish in hopes of getting the big fish.”...


Oct 28, 2017, 5:43am Top

APNewsBreak: Georgia Election Server Wiped After Suit Filed
APNewsBreak: Georgia election server wiped clean by custodians shortly after lawsuit filed against officials.
Oct. 26, 2017

...Plaintiffs in the lawsuit, mostly Georgia voters, want to scrap the state's 15-year-old vote-management system — particularly its 27,000 AccuVote touchscreen voting machines, hackable devices that don't use paper ballots or keep hardcopy proof of voter intent. The plaintiffs were counting on an independent security review of the Kennesaw server, which held elections staging data for counties, to demonstrate the system's unreliability.

Wiping the server "forestalls any forensic investigation at all," said Richard DeMillo, a Georgia Tech computer scientist following the case. "People who have nothing to hide don't behave this way."

...The FBI is known to have made an exact data image of the server in March when it investigated the security hole. The Oct. 18 email disclosing the server wipe said the state attorney general's office was "reaching out to the FBI to determine whether they still have the image" and also disclosed that two backup servers were wiped clean Aug. 9, just as the lawsuit moved to federal court...

...Atlanta security researcher Logan Lamb while doing online research in August 2016. He informed the election center's director at the time, noting in an email "there is a strong possibility your site is already compromised."

Based on his review of the emails, Lamb believes that electronic polling books could have been altered in Georgia's biggest counties to add or drop voters or to scramble their data. Malicious hackers could have altered the templates of voting machine memory cards to skew results. An attacker could even have potentially modified "ballot-building" files to corrupt the outcome, said Lamb, who works at Atlanta-based security firm Bastille Networks...



Edited: Oct 29, 2017, 4:23am Top

Explains HRC, uranium, opposition research etc. emerging in the news all of a sudden. Disconcerting how easily media STILL can be distracted, and how difficult it makes for Republican-dominated Congress to act. The point, I guess...

As Mueller Pushes Ahead, Trump Distracts
Ryan Lizza | October 28, 2017


Trump team’s response to Russia news: Focus on Clinton, leaks or anything else
Caught off guard by reports of criminal charges in the Russia probe, Trump advisers sought to keep up their political attacks and divert attention from allegations of Russian collusion.
ANNIE KARNI | 10/28/2017

...The lack of information, on a case that could have major ramifications for the president, left many current and former Trump advisers livid, focusing their rage on how the information leaked and on a forever target: Hillary Clinton.

...On Saturday, the president appeared to be abiding by his wait-and-see strategy on Russia. His Twitter feed remained unusually quiet for a weekend morning, and he spent the warm fall day at his Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia.

In recent days, the president has been sticking to his long-held mantra when it comes to Russia, according to associates who have spoken with him. He maintains that Mueller is on a wild goose chase if he’s trying to find any connection between the president and Russia, because there’s nothing to find.

...This was a tremendously successful week,” counselor Kellyanne Conway said in a text message Saturday, slapping away any sense of dread building in the West Wing. “Budget passed, which is a critical step toward tax cuts; GDP again at 3%; ‘Russia collusion’ boomeranged toward the Democrats; the President and the First Lady delivered a major policy speech and nationwide call to action on opioids and drug demand; POTUS is preparing for his first trip as President to Asia.”

The rest of the administration’s media strategy on Saturday consisted of a scramble to shift any conversation about Russian collusion over to Hillary Clinton's failed campaign — a difficult sell when it was former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta whose personal email account was hacked by the Russians last year. “The evidence Clinton campaign, DNC & Russia colluded to influence the election is indisputable,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted Saturday morning, with a link to an article from The Federalist website detailing how Democrats paid for the Steele dossier on Russia.

Outside surrogates pushed the same line. “The speculation is so insane right now,” former Trump adviser Corey Lewandowski told Fox News on Saturday. “What we should be focusing on are the continued lies of the Clinton administration.” It was not clear what “Clinton administration” he was referring to.

Sebastian Gorka, a former White House official who now runs a pro-Trump super PAC, said in an interview: “It’s very peculiar that just as we’re finding out about Hillary’s responsibility with the dodgy dossier, now’s the time that we can expect some action out of the special prosecutor’s office. It’s far too suspicious.”



Roger Stone Twitter Account Suspended After Obscene, Threatening Rant At CNN Anchors – Update
Greg Evans | October 28, 2017 3:42pm

...(Roger) Stone, the consultant and lobbyist whose devotion to Republicans from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump was chronicled in the Netflix documentary Get Me Roger Stone, flew into high dudgeon Twitter mode after Lemon tweeted the news that a Washington D.C. grand jury filed first charges in Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

The first tweet targeted Tapper, with Stone writing that the anchor “must be held accountable for his lies and very severely punished.”

Stone then went after Lemon, calling him an “ignorant, lying covksucker” (sic), a “dumb piece of sh*t” and a “dull witted arrogant partyboi.” He said Lemon must be “confronted, humiliated, mocked and punished.”

The menacing tone seemed particularly inflammatory coming just days after the New York Police Department confirmed an investigation into “threatening and anti-black messages” tweeted to Lemon.

Here is Stone’s NSFW diatribe:...


Oct 29, 2017, 11:18pm Top

These 13 Wire Transfers Are A Focus Of The FBI Probe Into Paul Manafort
Jason Leopold & Anthony Cormier | October 29, 2017

BuzzFeed News has learned of a series of wire transfers, made by companies linked to Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, that federal officials deemed suspicious. Many of the wires went from offshore companies controlled by Manafort to American businesses.


Edited: Oct 30, 2017, 10:35am Top

Breaking--wonder what conspiracy against the US means?
ETA: Conspiracy against the US, #37-39 on p 23 of indictment (below)
Putin kills people--bet Manafort & Gates won't flip / trust witness protection program. Putin might just kill to stop the case?

Manafort, (Rick) Gates charged with conspiracy against US
Jeremy Herb | October 30, 2017



@RyanLizza (NYer) 2h2 hours ago

Unlike Manafort, who was forced out last year, Gates continued to work on the Trump campaign and even the inaugural committee


Full text of indictment: https://www.scribd.com/document/363002353/Indictment-U-S-v-Paul-J-Manafort-Jr-and-Richard-W-Gates-III#from_embed


Oh, great--Trump heads off to Asia, Nov 3-14. All kinds of opportunity to create diverting news. : (
(Pls, generals, keep an eye on that football!)

Edited: Oct 31, 2017, 7:27am Top

Trump listed George Papadopolous (oil/energy guy) among his foreign policy advisors

Search for June 19, 2016 on page 9 of statement of offense



Summary: Papadopoulos Pleads Guilty to Making False Statements to the FBI
Sabrina McCubbin | Monday, October 30, 2017

The Stipulation
Plea Agreement



Trump campaign adviser admitted to lying about Russian contacts
Rosalind S. Helderman and Carol D. Leonnig | October 30, 2017



"Special Counsel Mueller appears to have a cooperating witness, George Papadopoulos. That is significant. Time will tell how significant."

@PreetBharara 4h4 hours ago

Oct 30, 2017, 4:53pm Top

Trump is being fitted with tiny, gold Tiffany handcuffs.

Edited: Oct 30, 2017, 5:53pm Top

1) I think Mueller is going to have to a) either turn Manafort and/or Gates or 2) have further indictments against other Trump aides and to be able to turn somebody else. Those he can't turn he's going to need to really stick it to them hard.

2) In his time in office Trump has spent a lot more time and energy on judge/justice appointments than he has on any kind of legislative detail. IMO he's been circling the wagons since January with the aim of circumnavigating and circumventing the law. He and his legal advisors have been strategizing how best to save his ass. Just saying.

Edited: Oct 30, 2017, 5:58pm Top

>107 lriley: Attorneys and DoJ appointees who could be helpful are also getting attention these days. Sure hope Congress will be on its toes for any they need to confirm!


"Paul Manafort laundered money through the Bank of Cyprus. Sec. of Commerce Wilbur Ross was Vice-Chairman of that bank. So, there's that..."

@altNOAA 2h2 hours ago


"To @POTUS, WhiteHouse, etc: All of u who spoke w/ Papadop since July is almost guaranteed to be on tape. Think about what uve said to him."

@kurteichenwald 1:17 PM - 30 Oct 2017

Edited: Oct 31, 2017, 7:56am Top

>105 margd: contd. Papadopolous spoke to three others in campaign

Carter Page: I may have discussed Russia in emails with Papadopoulos
BRENT D. GRIFFITHS | 10/30/2017

...While not mentioned in the indictment, Page has come under the fire in the past for a trip he took to Russia during the campaign. Page has stressed that the trip had nothing to do with the campaign....



You bet there's collusion: And other reasons Donald Trump should be nervous after Robert Mueller's indictments
Max Boot | October 30, 2017

...The contention that there is “NO COLLUSION” became even less compelling a few minutes after the Manafort and Gates indictments when Mueller unveiled another blockbuster indictment: Former campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos pled guilty to lying to FBI agents about his efforts to solicit “dirt” on Hillary Clinton from an unnamed “professor” in London who was closely connected to the Kremlin. According to the indictment, “The Professor” told Papadopoulos in April 2016 that the Russians “ ‘have dirt on her’; ‘the Russians had emails of Clinton’; ‘they have thousands of emails.’”

Note that the Russian hacking had only occurred in March and did not become public until June. So Papadopoulos clearly was in touch with someone who had access to top-secret details of the Russian plot to influence the U.S. election—and Papadopoulos let his superiors at the campaign know what he was up to. In other words, he was as eager for Vladimir Putin’s help as Donald Trump Jr. was when he wrote “I love it” on June 3, 2016, in response to another offer of incriminating information on Hillary from another Russian emissary. If this isn’t collusion, then the word has lost any meaning...



Though this article is 5 months old...

Nigel Farage is 'person of interest' in FBI investigation into Trump and Russia
Exclusive: FBI interested in former Ukip leader’s ties with people connected to US president and WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange
Stephanie Kirchgaessner, Nick Hopkins and Luke Harding | Friday 2 June 2017

...Many people would like to see @Nigel_Farage represent Great Britain as their Ambassador to the United States. He would do a great job!
@realDonaldTrump 10:22 PM - Nov 21, 2016

Donald Trump.
The US president’s campaign team and people close to him are being investigated for possibly colluding with Russian state actors to influence the outcome of last November’s election. Trump, who has called the investigation “fake news” and recently fired the FBI director leading the case, was a staunch defender of Farage’s Brexit campaign and has met the former Ukip leader, whom he proposed several times as a possible UK ambassador to the US. While Trump recently said he would be OK with the US arresting Assange for leaks of sensitive information, he has previously sided with the Wikileaks founder, repeating Assange’s claim that he did not receive support from Russia.

Nigel Farage
The former Ukip leader was an enthusiastic supporter of Trump’s presidential campaign and attended the 2016 Republican national convention. He also has links with Steve Bannon, Trump’s White House strategist, and Roger Stone, the president’s decades-long political mentor. Farage has praised Vladimir Putin as a strong leader and has appeared several times on RT, Russia’s English-language propaganda channel. Farage has declined to say how much money RT paid him. Sources say Farage is a “person of interest” in the FBI’s investigation into whether Trump’s associates colluded with Russia during the presidential election.

Steve Bannon
The president’s chief White House strategist, who served as chief executive of the Trump campaign, has known Farage since 2012, when he was working as a senior editor at Breitbart News, the rightwing news website. The former investment banker – seen as the driving force behind Trump’s “America First” nationalist policies – hosted Farage in the US while he was leading Ukip and introduced him to key US conservatives. Breitbart strongly supported the leave campaign during the EU referendum in the UK and Bannon is seen as the main conduit between Trump and Farage.

Roger Stone
The Republican operative, who has known Trump for decades, is at the centre of the FBI investigation. Stone, who reportedly keeps in touch with Trump, boasted last year that he had a “back channel” to Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder, and predicted the release by Wikileaks of emails that damaged Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Last summer, Stone tweeted that he had dinner with Farage – confirming the pair’s relationship – and had contact with Guccifer 2.0, who claimed responsibility for the hacking of Democratic party emails.

Julian Assange
The editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks played a key role in the release of hacked Democratic party emails, according to US intelligence agencies. They allege Russian hackers working for two Moscow spy agencies – the GRU and the FSB – gave the emails to Assange in London. WikiLeaks then published the leaked emails in July and October. This damaged Clinton’s campaign and helped Trump’s, US intelligence says. Assange denies the emails came from a state. In March, Farage visited Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, just days after he had dined with Trump in Washington.


This oughta give admin lawyers pause!

Mueller team won battle to force testimony from lawyer for Manafort and Gates
Judge concluded there was substantial evidence attorney was duped into relaying falsehoods to Justice Department.
JOSH GERSTEIN | 10/30/2017

...Lawyers for Manafort and Gates fought the prosecution's drive to intrude on attorney-client communications. But Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that an exception, which involves using a lawyer to commit crime or fraud, applied to contacts with an attorney who helped respond to inquiries about why the pair had not filed foreign-agent lobbying registrations with the Justice Department.

... "The implications of this decision are significant. First, a judge has decided that the clients were committing a crime or fraud and using a lawyer to do it. So that tells us something about the strength of the OSC’s evidence. The OSC had the burden of proof and it met it," (New York University law professor Stephen Gillers) said. "Further, once you can pierce the privilege, there’s no telling what information you can go on to discover. This decision will be useful in other contests to discover lawyer-client communications, even communications with different law firms, if any."...


Edited: Oct 31, 2017, 9:04am Top

FWIW this whole thing is a time bomb waiting to go off and it might have adverse effects on both sides of the political divide. I don't think there's any doubt that the Trump team colluded with Russian agents 1) to dig up dirt on the Clinton's and 2) to rig the election. The second (if not the first) would be criminal and bordering if not crossing the line on treason.

On the other hand the allegation that the Clinton team and/or the DNC spent over $9 million (monies not exactly accounted for as of yet) to take over the oppositional research of one ex MI6 agent Christopher Steele for an entity calling itself Fusion GPS that was originally funded by a cabal of anti-Trump republicans via the DNC friendly law firm Perkins Coie might be damning too. Apparently much of the information that Steele collected came from sources within the Russian govt. and that's being investigated if I'm not mistaken by Mueller and his people as well....

Edited: Oct 31, 2017, 9:19am Top

Robert Mueller’s Show of Strength: A Quick and Dirty Analysis
Susan Hennessey, Benjamin Wittes | October 30, 2017

...President Trump, in short, had on his campaign at least one person, and allegedly two people, who actively worked with adversarial foreign governments in a fashion they sought to criminally conceal from investigators. One of them ran the campaign. The other, meanwhile, was interfacing with people he “understood to have substantial connections to Russian government officials” and with a person introduced to him as “a relative of Russian President Vladimir Putin with connections to senior Russian government officials.” All of this while President Trump was assuring the American people that he and his campaign had "nothing to do with Russia."

...As opening salvos go, (Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s is) a doozy.

...the Papadopoulos stipulation offers a stunningly frank, if probably incomplete, account of what occurred during the spring of 2016 in the Trump campaign.

...Mueller’s opening bid is a remarkable show of strength. He has a cooperating witness from inside the campaign’s interactions with the Russians. And he is alleging not mere technical infractions of law but astonishing criminality on the part of Trump’s campaign manager, a man who also attended the Trump Tower meeting.

Any hope the White House may have had that the Mueller investigation might be fading away vanished Monday morning. Things are only going to get worse from here.



Worth the read:

The Daily 202: 10 takeaways from Mueller’s shock-and-awe gambit
James Hohmann | October 31, 2017

1. We now know that multiple members of the Trump campaign at least entertained the idea of getting help from the Russians.
2. Sam Clovis is about to be in the hot seat...awaiting Senate confirmation to serve in the Agriculture Department’s top scientific post...“At one point, Papadopoulos emailed Clovis and other campaign officials about a March 24, 2016, meeting he had in London with a professor, who had introduced him to the Russian ambassador and a Russian woman he described as ‘Putin’s niece"
3. Papadopoulos is helping the government, but we still don’t know how much.
4. The updated timeline raises a host of new questions about what Trump knew and when he knew it.
5. Mueller is playing hardball as he tries to flip Manafort and Gates.
6. Mueller’s moves are designed to send a message to everyone else entangled in the probe that he's not messing around.
7. Unsealing the guilty plea was an insurance policy that makes it politically untenable for Trump to fire Mueller.
8. Yesterday’s indictments will contribute to a climate of fear in the White House that makes it harder for Trump and his staff to be effective.
9. Mueller has proven that his investigation is not partisan...Tony Podesta..
10. The indictments cast fresh doubts on Trump’s judgment and his discernment in surrounding himself with good people...Mike Pence is only vice president today because Manafort persuaded Trump to pick him...


Oct 31, 2017, 10:18am Top

#111--hopefully there is some serious serious jail time Mueller can play hardball with. 20 years-50 years like.

....you can't forget Trump's pardoning of Arpaio either. What will he do to delay and obstruct?....nor can we forget that Trump's entire history is one story after another of evading legality. Again the one thing he has done with purpose since he's come into office is mess around with the entire apparatus of our justice system. He's fired and replaced and fired and replaced. It's almost as if he knew all this was going to be coming.

Nov 1, 2017, 5:32am Top

Papadopolous, who appears NOT to have kept his Russian activities close to his vest was not only at meeting table with Trump and Sessions, he sat next to then-Senator Sessions at campaign dinner. Incredible that a sitting US Senator, however ambitious, did not distance himself from such behavior???

Ex-Trump staffer at center of Mueller probe sat next to Sessions at campaign dinner: report
By Jacqueline Thomsen - 10/31/17

The former Trump campaign staffer who pled guilty to lying to FBI agents about his contacts with Russian officials was in contact with top Trump campaign officials, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

George Papadopoulos was reportedly seated next to Attorney General Jeff Sessions at a dinner weeks ahead of the Republican National Convention. A spokeswoman for Sessions declined to comment to The Post about the report.

Papadopoulos also reportedly bragged to a British official that he was in touch with senior officials in the Russian government, according to The Post...


Edited: Nov 5, 2017, 8:37am Top

Interesting thread--techies, is analysis sound?

"BOOM! More than 250 Trump Organization Subdomains are in Communication with Computers in Russia!!"
@mikefarb1 11:23 AM - 31 Oct 2017


One of them there backdoor channels Kushner was looking for?

AP finds hackers hijacked at least 195 Trump web addresses
tami abdollah — Nov 4, 2017

Four years ago, well before the furor over allegations Moscow meddled in the 2016 election that put Donald Trump in the White House, at least 195 web addresses belonging to Trump, his family or his business empire were hijacked by hackers possibly operating out of Russia....

The Trump Organization denied the domain names were ever compromised.... And it was not until this past week, after the Trump camp was asked about it by the AP, that the last of the tampered-with addresses were repaired.

After the hack, computer users who visited the Trump-related addresses were unwittingly redirected to servers in St. Petersburg, Russia, that cybersecurity experts said contained malicious software commonly used to steal passwords or hold files for ransom. Whether anyone fell victim to such tactics is unclear.

A further mystery is who the hackers were and why they did it.

...The affected addresses, or domain names, included donaldtrump.org, donaldtrumpexecutiveoffice.com, donaldtrumprealty.com and barrontrump.com. They were compromised in two waves of attacks in August and September 2013, according to the review of internet records.

The attacks took place as Trump was preparing to travel to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant, which was held on Nov. 9, 2013, at a property owned by a wealthy Russian real estate developer.

Many of the addresses were not being used by Trump...

...hackers hijacked the addresses by penetrating and altering the domain registration records housed at GoDaddy.com, a seller of web addresses.

...There was no evidence the hackers ultimately broke into server computers at the Trump Organization or other Trump interests.

...Vixie said the Trump Organization's apparent failure to detect what was happening probably suggests inadequate cybersecurity at the company...


Edited: Nov 1, 2017, 4:40pm Top

113, contd.

Trump didn't dismiss idea when foreign policy adviser suggested setting up Putin meeting
Manu Raju and Jim Acosta |November 01, 2017

(CNN) Candidate Donald Trump did not dismiss the idea of arranging a meeting with Russia's president when it was suggested in a meeting with his campaign foreign policy advisers last year, according to a person in the room.

The idea was raised by George Papadopoulos as he introduced himself at a March 2016 meeting of the Republican candidate's foreign policy advisers, according to a court filing.

"He didn't say yes and he didn't say no," the official said, declining to be more specific about Trump's response to Papadopoulos.

But the chairman of Trump's national security team, then Alabama senator and now attorney general Jeff Sessions, shut down the idea of a Putin meeting at the March 31, 2016, gathering, according to the source...

...J.D. Gordon, a former Pentagon spokesman and Trump campaign national security adviser who attended the meeting, told CNN he was "surprised to learn this week what George Papadopoulos was up to during the campaign."

"He obviously went to great lengths to go around me and Sen. Sessions," he added.

...Papadopoulos attended another campaign policy meeting, though Trump was not in attendance. Sessions, however, did attend, and he and Papadopoulos sat next to each other...

In all, there were five or six advisory meetings of the national security team. Papadopoulos attended two. Trump only attended one...


Edited: Nov 1, 2017, 5:56pm Top

The following link is from Fox news but IMO it's still worth a watch:


It pretty much lays out the timeline of events regarding the FBI's interest in Papadopolous and the events that followed from that interest and what it might mean going forward. Shepard Smith at the end mentioned Trump calling it all fake and Napolitano's reaction to that is worth watching if nothing else.

Edited: Nov 2, 2017, 11:50am Top

>116 lriley:


"But wait. Shortly after the indictments were unsealed, the media’s spirits were suddenly boosted when the special counsel revealed that a former adviser to Trump pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian national during his time on the Trump campaign. Surely this was evidence of illegal “collusion,” right?

"Wrong. George Papadopoulos pled guilty to a single charge of making a false statement to the FBI. He was not charged with so-called “collusion” because no such crime exists in American statutory law, except in anti-trust matters. It has no application to elections and political campaigns.

"It is not a crime to talk to a Russian. Not that the media would ever understand that. They have never managed to point to a single statute that makes “colluding” with a foreign government in a political campaign a crime, likely because it does not exist in the criminal codes."


It's sad but it seems that Papadopoulos was spooked into thinking that his statements to FBI agents were clearly inculpating. He should never have entered a guilty plea and, if he could, he should retract it and demand a either that the charges be dropped or that the case be brought to trial--if the US Attorney actually thinks there's something here on which to try a case. I bet that when he was interviewed he spoke without an attorney's counsel and did not understand that he might himself be a target of a criminal investigation. For, in fact, it's not a crime for him to have placed these calls, made these contacts, sought to arrange meetings, etc. What's really sad is that it seems clear he was doing all this merely to try and make himself seem more important to the Trump campaign and thereby gain in position and influence--if he could arrange such meetings, that is. As it happened, the meetings never took place anyway and, if Papadopoulos had admitted the actual dates and times, rather than worrying about these somehow possibly putting either himself or others in the Trump campaign in legal jeopardy, he wouldn't be in this (mess) position today--nor, of course, would he be in it if he'd simply declined to answer the F.B.I.'s questions in the first place. But it seems they spooked him into thinking he could be in BIG TROUBLE if he didn't cooperate and talk to them.

Note to the reader: the proper answer in such a case is, "No comment. I prefer not to answer your queries. If you are not charging me with a crime, I'd like to leave now. If you have any questions later, please direct them to my lawyer."

Most of my current reading is in the court politics of Elizabeth I and her successor, James II and the behavior of courtiers, nobles and high-appointed gentry who become nobles through their work at the royal court. There's a lot of intrigue, shennanigans, people trying to improve their positions and at the same time undermine their advesaries' in the eyes of the Queen or King. It's a pathetic spectacle and so much of contemporary politics resembles the jockeying for place and favor which is typical of lives spent in and around the royal court. The Tudors had far more discretionary powers and used them. As a corrupt system continued to rot, eventually, titles and favors were simply sold like merchandise. Things were only somewhat less frankly rotten under Elizabeth's reign:

"If the sixteenth century nobility were powerfully attracted by the Court and were eager competitors for royal office, the Crown was no less anxious to encourage them in their ambitions. Like the other monarchs of Europe, the Tudors realized the importance of an alluring court as a stabilizing political factor." (p. 476)


"Even with this extravagant supply of free food and drink, a majority of courtiers were spending heavily in order to keep up a style which the world expected of them. For every one who stayed and flourished, there were many who just made ends meet and many who fell by the wayside. The first years at Court were always the cause of heavy debts and if this period of apprenticeship was not rewarded in the end, the situation was grim indeed. Allured by the glamour and excitement of the Court, many noblemen lived out their futile lives in a vain struggle for office and profit that left them cynical, servile, and impoverished. Few predicaments can have been as desperate as that of the ageing unsuccessful courtier, passing his days in anxious attendance in the ante-rooms of the great, fawning and flattering with practised hypocrisy in the hopes of some small pickings from the table of Dives, consumed with hatred and jealousy as younger and more attractive personalities fought their way to the front and elbowed him ruthlessly into the background. And yet, such was the magnetic power of the Court that few could tear themselves away and retire to rustic solitude to salvage something from the wreckage before they had spent deeply of both life and fortune." (p. 450)

Lawrence Stone, The Crisis of the Aristocracy, 1558-1641 Oxford, (1965)

"I have been begging sixteen years in court,
Am yet a courtier beggarly, nor could
Come pat betwixt too early and too late
For any suit of pounds."

Henry VIII, (II. iii.)

Mueller is going to wind up making Kenneth Starr's Whitewater special-counsel fiasco look responsible by contrast.

"In 2004, Starr expressed regret for ever having asked the Department of Justice to assign him to oversee the Lewinsky investigation personally, saying, "the most fundamental thing that could have been done differently" would have been for somebody else to have investigated the matter."



28 CFR 600.6 - Powers and authority.

Authorities (U.S. Code)

prev | next
§ 600.6 Powers and authority.

Subject to the limitations in the following paragraphs, the Special Counsel shall exercise, within the scope of his or her jurisdiction, the full power and independent authority to exercise all investigative and prosecutorial functions of any United States Attorney. Except as provided in this part, the Special Counsel shall determine whether and to what extent to inform or consult with the Attorney General or others within the Department about the conduct of his or her duties and responsibilities.

( from: U.S. Attorneys » Resources » U.S. Attorneys' Manual
Title 9: Criminal )

"9-2.010 - Investigations

"The United States Attorney, as the chief federal law enforcement officer in his district, is authorized to request the appropriate federal investigative agency to investigate alleged or suspected violations of federal law. The federal investigators operate under the hierarchical supervision of their bureau or agency and consequently are not ordinarily subject to direct supervision by the United States Attorney. If the United States Attorney requests an investigation and does not receive a timely preliminary report, he may wish to consider requesting the assistance of the Criminal Division. In certain matters the United States Attorney may wish to request the formation of a team of agents representing the agencies having investigative jurisdiction of the suspected violations."

Nov 2, 2017, 1:15pm Top

Oversight Dems Sue Trump Admin Over Trump DC Hotel Documents
Caitlin MacNeal | November 2, 2017 11:43 am

The Democrats on the House Oversight Committee on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Trump administration over its refusal to share documents about President Donald Trump’s Washington, D.C. hotel.

...17 Democratic members of the committee asked the court to compel the Trump administration to turn over the documents they have requested about the hotel’s operation and the General Services Administration’s oversight of the lease.

...In the lawsuit, the Democratic members argue that they have a right to obtain this information under the “Seven Member” statute, which states the federal government must turn over requested documents to any seven members of the House Oversight Committee. The statute has not been used frequently since it became law in 1928, but a district court judge ruled in 2002 that the Bush administration were required to turn over data to Democrats on the House Oversight Committee, based on the “Seven Member” rule. The federal government appealed the ruling, but the matter was resolved in a separate Freedom of Information Act case.

...In the complaint, the Democratic members argue that they need the documents from the GSA in order to evaluate the GSA’s oversight of the lease, determine whether Trump is benefitting from the lease, and determine whether the Trump hotel has received payments from foreign entities.



In 2013, the General Services Administration leased Washington’s historic Post Office Pavilion to the Trump Organization for $180 million... The Trump Organization’s lease with GSA (states) that “no … elected official of the Government of the United States … shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease, or to any benefit that may arise therefrom.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/11/15/trump-needs-to-give-up-his-trump-hotel-lease-right-now/?utm_term=.ee31d4e4aefa

Nov 2, 2017, 1:17pm Top

#117--FWIW I'm no expert on legal language. I have seen the use of the term 'collusion' critiqued by a lot of legal experts who do not like how it has been used in this case.

Papadopolous has been caught out lying to the FBI--Napolitano in the Fox clip believes he and his lawyers have already made a deal to lighten the charges against him and Napolitano believes part of that deal was to wear a wire and to bring other people into their net and as Napolitano describes it it makes sense to me. Papadopolous is trying to save his ass quite obviously and whether or not the Trump administration goes down in flames that doesn't appear to be his primary concern. The FBI isn't doing all this for nothing--they have an aim. If Papadopolous were to recant I imagine whatever lightening of the charges against him would then be on his ass again. I think the chances of that happening are remote and will be even more remote if the FBI turn another person or two connected to the Trump campaign.

If you're asking me personally I think both parties are corrupt as hell. If one of them gets walloped at the expense of the other all I can say is 'sucks to be them'. Trump is really really bad and a crook--has no idea how to run the govt. he's leading and could easily lead the country into more war and very possibly much much worse war than we've ever been in. He's a disaster for the environment--a disaster for civil rights of any and every kind--a disaster for our country's economic well being--a disaster for both domestic and foreign policy. Just on all that he has to go. Let alone the fact that he's not qualified for the job he can't even make an appearance of qualification. Do I think he and/or members of his campaign (with his consent) consorted with people in the Russian govt?---looking for dirt on the democrats. Yep. FWIW I think it's pretty clear the Clinton camp was doing the same kind of shit too.

Edited: Nov 3, 2017, 7:21am Top

Sen. Franken: “You don’t believe that surrogates from the Trump campaign had communications with the Russians?”
Jeff Sessions: “I did not, and I’m not aware of anyone else that did. And I don’t believe it happened.”

Congressional Judiciary Committee grilled Carter Page more than six hours yesterday.
Mueller's team is now lining up interviews with Hope Hicks and others.
Perhaps already cooperating(?), charges are expected for Michael Flynn.
Blamed by Trump for Manafort etc., Kushner handed over documents to Mueller.
Trump Jr. must be at risk--I wonder if he will be second to last to be charged. ("If it's what you say, I love it.")

(General Kelly, all is forgiven if you can just keep the nuclear football away from The Donald!)

Trump and Sessions Denied Knowing About Russian Contacts. Records Suggest Otherwise.

...At a March 31, 2016, meeting between Mr. Trump and his foreign policy team, Mr. Papadopoulos introduced himself and said “that he had connections that could help arrange a meeting between then-candidate Trump and President Putin,” according to court records.

“He went into the pitch right away,” said J. D. Gordon, a campaign adviser who attended the meeting. “He said he had a friend in London, the Russian ambassador, who could help set up a meeting with Putin.”

Mr. Trump listened with interest. Mr. Sessions vehemently opposed the idea, Mr. Gordon recalled. “And he said that no one should talk about it,” because Mr. Sessions thought it was a bad idea that he did not want associated with the campaign, he said.

Several of Mr. Trump’s campaign advisers attended the March 2016 meeting, and at least two of those advisers are now in the White House: Hope Hicks, the communications director, and Stephen Miller, a senior policy adviser.

...Another member of the foreign policy team, Carter Page, said on Thursday that he told Mr. Sessions in passing in June 2016 that he planned to travel to Russia for a trip “completely unrelated” to his volunteer role in the campaign.

...White House officials and others in the case are bracing for charges against Mr. Flynn, a retired three-star general who had a short and tumultuous tenure as national security adviser. Mr. Mueller is investigating Mr. Flynn for not disclosing his Russian contacts or his foreign lobbying work.

Mr. Manafort was indicted on seldom-used charges of concealing foreign lobbying, as well as for lying on federal documents — the same activities for which Mr. Flynn is being investigated...



...(Carter) Page traveled to Moscow for a few days in early July 2016, where he gave a lecture critical of US foreign policy and later met with Russians whom he described as academic scholars and business leaders. He has said that the topic of sanctions might have come up in his conversations but that he was not there as an emissary of the Trump campaign. After the trip, the FBI grew concerned that he had been compromised by Russian operatives, US officials previously told CNN...



...The FBI had (Carter) Page on their radar for at least four years, according to court documents and US officials.

The bureau also knew about Page from its 2013 investigation into a Russian spy ring in New York.

...He also traveled to Russia frequently and interacted with officials that the FBI was concerned were acting on behalf of the government.

His trip to Russia in July 2016 revived the FBI's interest, when he delivered a lecture at a graduation ceremony for the New Economic School. The university opened after the fall of the Soviet Union and is ranked as one of the best universities for economics in Russia. Former President Barack Obama gave a speech there during his first official trip to Russia in 2009.

But Page's lecture sounded different than what would be expected from most Americans. He parroted Kremlin talking points by chastising the West for prolonging "Cold War tendencies."

"Ironically, Washington and other Western capitals have impeded potential progress through their often hypocritical focus on democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change," he said, adding that US foreign policy toward Russia was "condescending" and "hostile."...

Page stressed to the audience that he was there as a private citizen and not a Trump surrogate. But a spokesman for the school told CNN that Page's ties to Trump helped secure the invitation...


Edited: Nov 3, 2017, 10:28am Top

>119 lriley:

Making a false statement to the F.B.I. can cover _any_ factual statement:

Q. "Did you personally shop for the Christmas gift you gave your wife (or your mother)?"

A. "Yes."

If you didn't, you've made a false statement to the F.B.I. and that's your fucking "crime."

Q. "Did you have any contacts with Russian nationals?"

A. "Only prior to joining the Trump election campaign."

(F.B.I.. (later) : We've found evidence of your having contacted Russian nationals after joing the Trump campaign."

Give me a fucking break. If the shoe were on the other foot, you wouldn't be going along with this bullshit.



This following,

"He's a disaster for the environment--a disaster for civil rights of any and every kind--a disaster for our country's economic well being--a disaster for both domestic and foreign policy. Just on all that he has to go. Let alone the fact that he's not qualified for the job he can't even make an appearance of qualification. Do I think he and/or members of his campaign (with his consent) consorted with people in the Russian govt?---looking for dirt on the democrats. Yep. FWIW I think it's pretty clear the Clinton camp was doing the same kind of shit too."

is a flat repudiation of equal justice before the law, a rejection of the principle that the electorate gets to decide who--among a slate of legally-qualified candidates for office--is, in their judgment, best for the office sought, a mockery of the idea itself of "civil rights". Shit! You mean to tell me you give a damn about civil rights?! Not where it counts: in practice, you don't. You "care" about "civil rights" in some weird abstract sense which obviously does not include the public's use of the ballot-box to determine who they deem most fit for the office of president of the United States.

The Trump presidency has been a great eye-opening exercise for separating "the men from the boys" on the fair and principled practice of law and justice. A hell of a lot of "lib'ruls" are looking like the people they spent decades denouncing for their moral lapses.

Edited: Nov 3, 2017, 11:12am Top

>120 margd:


Trump and Sessions Denied Knowing About Russian Contacts. Records Suggest Otherwise.

"...At a March 31, 2016, meeting between Mr. Trump and his foreign policy team, Mr. Papadopoulos introduced himself and said “that he had connections that could help arrange a meeting between then-candidate Trump and President Putin,” according to court records."

(Which is not illegal.)

“He went into the pitch right away,” said J. D. Gordon, a campaign adviser who attended the meeting. “He said he had a friend in London, the Russian ambassador, who could help set up a meeting with Putin.”

(Which is not illegal.)

Mr. Trump listened with interest."

( Which is not a crime.)

Mr. Sessions vehemently opposed the idea, Mr. Gordon recalled.

(Not a crime, either.)

“'And he said that no one should talk about it,' because Mr. Sessions thought it was a bad idea that he did not want associated with the campaign, he said."

(This is called 'advising the boss.' It's not a crime.)

"Several of Mr. Trump’s campaign advisers attended the March 2016 meeting, and at least two of those advisers are now in the White House: Hope Hicks, the communications director, and Stephen Miller, a senior policy adviser."

(The horror!)

"...Another member of the foreign policy team, Carter Page, said on Thursday that he told Mr. Sessions in passing in June 2016 that he planned to travel to Russia for a trip 'completely unrelated' to his volunteer role in the campaign."

(So what?)

..."White House officials and others in the case are bracing for charges against Mr. Flynn, a retired three-star general who had a short and tumultuous tenure as national security adviser. Mr. Mueller is investigating Mr. Flynn for not disclosing his Russian contacts or his foreign lobbying work."

Mr. Manafort was indicted on seldom-used charges of concealing foreign lobbying, as well as for lying on federal documents — the same activities for which Mr. Flynn is being investigated...



...(Carter) Page traveled to Moscow for a few days in early July 2016, where he gave a lecture critical of US foreign policy and later met with Russians whom he described as academic scholars and business leaders. He has said that the topic of sanctions might have come up in his conversations but that he was not there as an emissary of the Trump campaign. After the trip, the FBI grew concerned that he had been compromised by Russian operatives, US officials previously told CNN...



...The FBI had (Carter) Page on their radar for at least four years, according to court documents and US officials.

The bureau also knew about Page from its 2013 investigation into a Russian spy ring in New York.

...He also traveled to Russia frequently and interacted with officials that the FBI was concerned were acting on behalf of the government.

His trip to Russia in July 2016 revived the FBI's interest, when he delivered a lecture at a graduation ceremony for the New Economic School. The university opened after the fall of the Soviet Union and is ranked as one of the best universities for economics in Russia. Former President Barack Obama gave a speech there during his first official trip to Russia in 2009.

But Page's lecture sounded different than what would be expected from most Americans. He parroted Kremlin talking points by chastising the West for prolonging "Cold War tendencies."

"Ironically, Washington and other Western capitals have impeded potential progress through their often hypocritical focus on democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change," he said, adding that US foreign policy toward Russia was "condescending" and "hostile."...

Page stressed to the audience that he was there as a private citizen and not a Trump surrogate. But a spokesman for the school told CNN that Page's ties to Trump helped secure the invitation...

Edited: Nov 3, 2017, 11:00am Top

#121--whatever the lie was though he was caught out and he's now cooperating---and the nature of the lie is superfluous to that fact. One can only think that GP is driven by a fear of what might happen to him if he doesn't cooperate--so the impression of that to his mind is kind of important. The fact that he knows something and is cooperating and could cause other dominos to fall is what the problem is for the Trump administration. If you're comparing it to a Red Scare Joe McCarthy kind of thing--creating a crime out of thin air--well I suppose......OTOH this digging for dirt anywhere and anyhow you can get it that both the Republicans and Democrats are doing needs to stop. Using whatever spying services wherever you can find them--government, non-government needs to stop too. So if this administration which I detest gets taken down by some minutiae well fuck it, I don't give a shit. Better that than a nuclear war with North Korea and better that than all the climate denial and better that than their faux reworking of the Nafta, the ACA and better that than their corporate friendly tax reform and better that than their anti-Muslim, anti-hispanic, anti-gay, anti-choice horseshit. And like it or not Trump and his cronies are for the most parts a bunch of fucking crooks....notwithstanding the fact they have a lot of company on the other side. If tax evasion is what it took to take down Al Capone--Trump needs to be taken down too.....the thing being then you get Mike Pence who could be even worse.

Nov 3, 2017, 11:30am Top

>123 lriley:

Did you know that "The Clinton campaign and the DNC, through the law firm, continued to fund Fusion GPS’s research through the end of October 2016, days before Election Day." ?

The voting public had these allegations against Trump laid out long before election-day--"early voting" included. Had they considered them a matter of importance, they could have acted on that judgment and voted accordingly. It is bizarre--the pathetic spectacle of the Clinton campaign, right up to the last week of campaigning, holding out desperate hope that finally, something might turn up to definitively scuttle Trump's election designs and that this would come not from any singularly sound case made by candidate Clinton and her team, but, rather, from this behind-the-scenes source of scuttlebut.

RE: "OTOH this digging for dirt anywhere and anyhow you can get it that both the Republicans and Democrats are doing needs to stop."

Actually, that's called, "campaigning" for/and/against -- and, rather than putting a stop to it, we "need," rather, to let the public see, hear, and weigh the claims and counter-claims, the charges and the denials, the real or supposed "evidence", and decide for themselves which parties are more to be believed, and on what points and for what reasons. And then allow them to vote and respect that outcome.

You have repeatedly shown us here that you are not prepared to do that. You should be ashamed.

Nov 3, 2017, 2:03pm Top

Conservative Republicans demand Mueller recuse himself over uranium deal
Karoun Demirjian November 3 at 7:42 AM

Three conservative House Republicans are expected to file a resolution Friday calling on special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to recuse himself from his probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, accusing him of conflicts of interest.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who wrote the resolution, accuses Mueller of having a conflict of interest because he was serving as FBI chief when the Obama administration approved a deal allowing a Russian company to purchase a Canada-based mining group with uranium operations in the United States, according to a draft obtained by The Washington Post.

President Trump has often brought up the Uranium One deal in 2010 as a way to accuse Hillary Clinton of potential corruption and foreign collusion, despite scant evidence she was directly involved in the decision to allow it to proceed. Nine government agencies make up the government committee that reviews such deals, along with five other observer agencies; the FBI is not one of them...


Edited: Nov 5, 2017, 8:26am Top

Trump comments on Sayfullo Saipov & Bergdahl sentencing and on political-opponent prosecution, but also "defames" potential government witness, George Papadopolous. (General Kelly (and Trump lawyers) might be wondering, hopefully, could Mueller actually enforce a gag order? :-)

Trump's push for inquiries challenges Justice Dept. independence
By going after political opponents for prosecution, the president risks a major breach of protocol.

...(Trump) also used social media to go after George Papadopoulos, dubbing the former foreign-policy campaign adviser a “liar” soon after unsealed court documents showed that he had pleaded guilty to charges of lying to the FBI — and suggesting he had become a cooperating witness in Mueller’s investigation.

...several of Trump’s remarks have raised alarm for the effect they could have on active legal proceedings. Bergdahl’s lead attorney said that the president’s previous remarks about the case could be used during the appeals process to get any sentence overturned. In the Papadopoulos case, former Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman warned that the president had defamed a potential government witness who is likely to be called in a federal trial.

“This could be grounds for Mueller to obtain a gag order on Trump,” Akerman said. “It would be unprecedented, but he is interfering with the government’s right to a fair trial.”...



Judge mulls gag order in Manafort, Gates case
Parties discuss April 2018 trial on indictment over foreign lobbying and money laundering.
JOSH GERSTEIN | 11/02/2017

(Amy Berman Jackson)...indicated Thursday she was already wary of the intense media coverage of the case and said she was considering issuing a gag order limiting public statements by lawyers involved.

"This is a criminal trial, and it's not a public relations campaign," Judge said as she conducted her first hearing in the case filed by special counsel Robert Mueller...

"I expect counsel to do their talking in this courtroom and in their pleadings and not on the courthouse steps"...Manafort's attorney on Monday had called the indictment "ridiculous" during a statement to reporters outside the courthouse.

Jackson cited a court rule allowing gag orders in "widely publicized or sensational criminal cases" and gave the prosecution and defense until Tuesday to weigh in on whether she should issue one. "In the meantime, I expect you to abide by the court's admonition"...



More pressure on the legal system: Justice Dept asks the Supreme Court to force Doe’s lawyers to “show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken” against the ACLU—either by the court itself or by state bars—for “material misrepresentations and omissions” designed to thwart an appeal. (Doe was the undocumented minor seeking an abortion.)

The Justice Department Declares War on Attorneys Who Dare to Oppose the Trump Administration
Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern

On Friday, the Department of Justice filed an astonishing appeal with the Supreme Court, urging the justices to intervene in the Jane Doe case that seemed to have ended last week. Doe, an undocumented 17-year-old in a federally funded Texas shelter, was denied abortion access by the Trump administration, which argues that it can force undocumented minors to carry unwanted pregnancies to term. On Oct. 24, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that Doe must be allowed to terminate her pregnancy, which she did the next day. Now the DOJ is urging the Supreme Court to vacate that decision—and punish the ACLU attorneys who represented Doe...

...Because Doe obtained her abortion, Friday’s appeal might seem pointless, presenting no live controversy for the justices to adjudicate. But the DOJ has three goals here. First, it wants the Supreme Court to punish the D.C. Circuit for issuing a decision that it believes to be egregiously wrong by wiping the entire ruling off the books. Second, the DOJ wants to eradicate a decision that sets a legal precedent it despises. Doe’s lawsuit was initially brought as part of a class action, and the ACLU will continue to litigate its broader claim against the Trump administration’s absolute bar on abortion access for undocumented minors. As long as the D.C. Circuit’s decision remains on the books, those lawsuits are almost guaranteed to succeed. The Justice Department wants it gone so that it can litigate this issue anew.

Third, and most importantly, Friday’s appeal is a flagrant effort to crucify the individual attorneys who represented Doe, and to terrify likeminded lawyers into acquiescence. The DOJ thus asks the Supreme Court to force Doe’s lawyers to “show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken” against the ACLU—either by the court itself or by state bars—for “material misrepresentations and omissions” designed to thwart an appeal.

In other words, the DOJ is using the full weight of a government agency to threaten professional ruin upon the lawyers who defended Jane Doe...


Edited: Nov 4, 2017, 11:09am Top

>124 proximity1: What is really pathetic to me is your incessant inability to understand what your interlocutors are saying. By now you have absolutely no idea which of them takes which stance. Iriley, for instance, has demonstrated repeatedly that he is not a Clinton supporter and in fact has been, strangely, attacked for voting for Jill Stein.

His lament regarding dirty politics is nothing new, but it is a fair lament to make, particularly when the process you applaud (apparently), which includes your apparent acceptance of oligarchic money establishing political leaders (you claim to be a leftist?) (I think you have claimed that) and campaigns that veer as far away from substantive quotidian issues that affect the citizens of your country, has led you to serving under a president who refers to Elizabeth Warren as Pocahontas with no repercussions whatsoever, not even a red face on someone in his own party.

You should not be ashamed. You are what you are.

ETA: fixed one mistake so far

Nov 4, 2017, 11:52am Top

#124--check out #110.

As for ashamed if you voted for Trump--IMO you should be ashamed. I voted for neither because I didn't like either. Because I thought they were both awful....and as for criminality--yeah that too. If you voted for Trump you voted for a crook and you can say all you like about only two choices but there were more than two choices along with the choice to abstain. And if you voted for Trump and continue to bleat about how Hillary is a crook too--that's still not an excuse for Trump and if he deserves to be impeached or imprisoned he deserves it.

Edited: Nov 4, 2017, 1:01pm Top

Wonder how forthcoming Trump's former "body man", Keith Schiller, will be to Senators about Trump's 2013 trip to Russia: former cop (NYPD), rough guy on campaign trail, longtime bodyguard, probably counts on Trump pardon for any fed charge if he perjures himself. He might be feeling slighted, though, by new chief of staff cutting his access. (He quit in Sept.) WH seems confident.

Longtime Trump bodyguard to face questions about 2013 Moscow trip
Carol D. Leonnig and Greg Miller | November 3, 2017

...The House Intelligence Committee has called former longtime bodyguard Keith Schiller to appear for an interview Tuesday as part of its probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Investigators plan to press Schiller about allegations in the 35-page dossier that Russian officials obtained compromising information about Trump’s personal behavior when he visited Moscow for the 2013 Miss Universe pageant...

...Schiller, who began serving as Trump’s director of security at the Trump Organization in 2005, shadowed Trump on the road as he campaigned for the Republican nomination and the presidency. He has long been considered one of Trump’s most loyal aides, and when Trump won the presidential election in November, he asked Schiller to join him in the White House as director of Oval Office Operations.

After nine months, he left the White House in September, frustrated by a newly arrived Chief of Staff John F. Kelly and strict limits he set on access to the president...

The House panel also plans to ask Schiller about another episode that is a central focus in the investigations by congressional committees and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III: the firing of former FBI Director James B. Comey.

Trump tasked Schiller with hand-delivering to the FBI the president’s letter terminating Comey. Investigators are examining whether Trump was attempting to obstruct the criminal investigation into Russian meddling by firing Comey.

Schiller, a former New York police detective, has been a controversial figure, bringing a rough-and-tough approach to security during last year’s campaign rallies...


Nov 5, 2017, 12:43pm Top

???Kushner makes secretive visit to Saudi Arabia days before arrests???
Curious entangling of public and private business...

Here's how the Saudi power players — and Trump — connect to each other
Everett Rosenfeld | Nov 5, 2017

Over the weekend, Saudi Arabia arrested a host of powerful officials and businessmen as part of a supposed anti-corruption crackdown
Many see the move as a way for Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to consolidate power
Donald Trump has connections to both the crown prince and arrested billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal

...Trump has ties to both the Crown Prince Bin Salman and the billionaire investor Bin Talal.

In addition to having likely orchestrated Trump's trip to Saudi Arabia, Bin Salman has reportedly developed a relationship with White House advisor Jared Kushner — the husband of the president's daughter and another 30-something man who has ridden family connections to the center of the world stage.

In fact, Kushner made a secretive trip to Saudi Arabia last week — just days before Bin Salman's sweeping set of arrests.

...Between 1991 and 1995, Bin Talal came to the rescue of Trump, whose real estate empire was in financial trouble. Bin Talal purchased a yacht from the New York real estate mogul and was part of a group that helped take the city's floundering Plaza Hotel off Trump's hands.

But...in 2015, Bin Talal bashed Trump for his rhetoric during the presidential campaign, and even called for him to drop out.

"You are a disgrace not only to the GOP but to all America," he said in a Twitter post. "Withdraw from the U.S presidential race as you will never win."

Trump responded: "Dopey Prince @Alwaleed_Talal wants to control our U.S. politicians with daddy's money. Can't do it when I get elected. #Trump2016"...


Nov 5, 2017, 2:30pm Top

"A Russian in every closet..."

What are the Paradise Papers?

The Paradise Papers is a special investigation by the Guardian and 95 media partners worldwide into a leak of 13.4m files from two offshore service providers and 19 tax havens' company registries. The files reveal the offshore financial affairs of some of the world’s biggest multinational companies and richest individuals, and set out the myriad ways in which tax can be avoided using artificial structures.


Paradise Papers
Trump commerce secretary's business links with Putin family laid out in leaked files
Jon Swaine and Luke Harding | Nov 5, 2017

Donald Trump’s commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, is doing business with Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law through a shipping venture in Russia.

Leaked documents and public filings show that Ross holds a stake in a shipping company, Navigator, through a chain of offshore investments. Navigator operates a lucrative partnership with Sibur, a Russian gas company part-owned by Kirill Shamalov, the husband of Putin’s daughter Katerina Tikhonova.

Ross, a billionaire and close friend of Trump, retained holdings in Navigator even after taking office this year. The relationship means that he stands to benefit from the operations of a Russian company run by Putin’s family and close allies, some of whom are under US sanctions..



...Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary in the Trump administration, shares business interests with Vladimir Putin’s immediate family, and he failed to clearly disclose those interests when he was being confirmed for his cabinet position...


Paradise Papers
Russia funded Facebook and Twitter investments through Kushner associate
Jon Swaine and Luke Harding | Nov 5, 2017

Two Russian state institutions with close ties to Vladimir Putin funded substantial investments in Twitter and Facebook through a business associate of Jared Kushner, leaked documents reveal.

The investments were made through a Russian technology magnate, Yuri Milner, who also holds a stake in a company co-owned by Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser.

The discovery is likely to stir concerns over Russian influence in US politics and the role played by social media in last year’s presidential election. It may also raise new questions for the social media companies and for Kushner...



Nov 6, 2017, 4:32am Top

Papadopolous continues to be key to Mueller investigation?

The Conspicuous Gap In Mueller’s Case Against Trump Adviser Papadopoulos
Tierney Sneed | November 5, 2017

...For more than three months, starting in March 2016, George Papadopoulos communicated regularly — on occasion, multiple times a week — with three figures who presented themselves as connected to the Russian government...

But the timeline laid out in the filings by prosecutors comes to an abrupt halt on July 22, 2016...the day Wikileaks began publishing the hacked Democratic National Committee emails.

...If Papadopoulos’ communications with his Russian connection continued after the Wikileaks emails were released, it could be key to the case Mueller is putting together – or at the very least, a tool he could use to vet the honesty of the other witnesses he is interviewing.

It is certainly possible that that the explanation for the gap is the simplest one: that Papadopoulos stopped communicating with the Russian-linked figures, perhaps because he got spooked with Wikileaks’ release of the hacked emails.

...Another possibility, (Renato Mariotti a former assistant U.S. attorney who is now running for Illinois attorney general) said, was that those communications contained something that’s politically sensational — such Papadopoulos’ cheering on the Wikileaks’ release — but not necessarily pertinent to any criminal allegations...

...“The statement does not include all of the facts known to me regarding this offense,” Papadopoulos conceded.


Edited: Nov 8, 2017, 4:01am Top

>127 RickHarsch:

"ETA: fixed one mistake so far"

Well, that leaves a few others--

"By now you have absolutely no idea which of them takes which stance. Iriley, for instance, has demonstrated repeatedly that he is not a Clinton supporter and in fact has been, strangely, attacked for voting for Jill Stein."

Stein, Schmein. She's no friend of mine. Stein's voters conceivably* could be argued to have cost Clinton at most the Electoral College (EC) votes in two states where Trump's margin of victory was the smallest-- WI (10 EC votes) and MI (16 EC votes). Even together, they're not sufficient to have altered the election's outcome. For Clinton to have won, she'd have had to seriously dig into the votes which went to the (so-called) Libertarian party's candidates, Gary Johnson and Wm. Weld:

WI and MI are the two states in which the Green party’s votes alone could have swung the states’ electors to Clinton. So it’s possible to say that, in Wisconsin, either the Greens or the Constitution party and the Independent’s voters combined, cost Clinton WI’s 10 electoral votes. So Stein posed no effective challenge to Clinton's --and, through her, the despicable DLC's--domionation of the Democratic (Rich People's Other) Party. Trump's candidacy was the one and the only serious challenge to the idiotic assumption that, between them, the political world of the U.S. is adequately "bounded" (LOL!) by these two hardly-distinguishable parties. That does not change significantly if one throws the feckless Greens into the mix. Jill Stein, like Elizatbeth "Pocahontas" Warren, presents no challenge at all to the status quo. Not even Bernie Sanders himself, had he been elected, should have presented any serious challenge to the pathetic status quo. So, for me, Riley's support of Stein--or, should it happen, Warren--leaves me underwhelmed as a "leftist's" politics go.

Vote Stein in the primaries, get Clinton as the Dem. Party nominee and, in the general election, Trump as the Electoral college victor. And that latter, alas, is the "good" news. For, had Clinton won, there'd be nothing in Democratic party "soul-searching" , not even any pretended "soul-searching," going on on the part of Democrats. Even as it is, Nancy Pelosi has the incredible nerve to assert, in the face of her catastrophic record ( an arch-conservative's dream-come-true) that her continued "leadership" is "worth" all the frustration.

RE this:

"His lament regarding dirty politics is nothing new, but it is a fair lament to make, particularly when the process you applaud (apparently), which includes your apparent acceptance of oligarchic money establishing political leaders (you claim to be a leftist?) (I think you have claimed that) and campaigns that veer as far away from substantive quotidian issues that affect the citizens of your country, has led you to serving under a president who refers to Elizabeth Warren as Pocahontas with no repercussions whatsoever, not even a red face on someone in his own party."

I recommend you re-read that carefully and slowly. For me, it's incoherent, not a complete sentence and something less than a complete thought and I simply don't know what it's supposed to mean.

I don't "applaud"--even figuratively-- whatever this process is which includes oligarchic money (alone) establishing political leaders and, as for campaigns that veer "far away from substantive quotidian issues that affect the citizens of (the U.S.), " how about entire political parties which do this consistently and continuously?! I refer to the Democrats since they're the only major party which has ever had any pretence of having once cared for "substantive quotidian issues that affect the citizens of (the U.S.). " The Republicans, with Trump, are not doing other than their usual looting and pillaging the public interests for the benefit of the top 0.1%

As far as I'm concerned, if Trump wants to lampoon the Steins, the Warrens, the Clintons and the other phonies standing in the way of genuine progressive political action, he's quite welcome to call them names.

To have defeated Trump—prevented his gaining the required 270 electoral votes—in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton needed 43 electoral votes—note that 5 electors who were ostensibly won by Clinton refused to cast their ballots in her favor, thus, these don't (right?) constitute 5 of the 43 votes short of 270. Still, of course, had those five cast their ballots for Clinton, the election outcome should not have been altered. So, Clinton needed 43 electors who would actually vote for her or, alternatively, 43 more electors than she actually won and who were already supposed to vote for her.

To get those votes she needed some combination of states she failed to win. These included

TX. (38*)
FL. (29)
PA. (20)
OH. (18)
MI. Or GA. (16)
TN., IN., AZ., (11)
WI. (10)

Since TX has the largest complement, it with any other state should have swung the election to Clinton. So, lets examine the results in TX. First and then see where next-best results were to be found--

TX.: Trump 4 685 047 (*two TX electors won by Trump refused him their ballots)
Clinton 3 877 868 (shortfall: 807 180 )
Lib, (Johnson/Weld) 283 492
Stein 71 558

Neither Johnson/Weld’s Lib. Party votes nor Stein’s Green party votes, even combined, should have given Clinton a winning margin in TX.

Next, FL. (29)

Trump 4 617 886
Clinton 4 504 975 (shortfall: 112 911 )
√Lib. 207 043
Green 64 399

Florida could have given Clinton 29 of the 43 needed EC votes had some combination of Lib and Green voters switched their votes to her.
In FL., the Lib. Party votes alone should have been sufficient to give Clinton a win over Trump. But the Green party vote by itself should not have altered the outcome. So, Johnson/Weld kept Clinton from winning Florida if we assume that all their voters should have voted for Clinton in their absence.

PA. (20)
Trump 2 970 733
Clinton 2 926 441 (shortfall: 44 292 )
√Lib. 146 715
√Green 49 941

Unlike in FL., in PA. had either all the Lib. Party’s votes or all the Green Party’s votes gone to Clinton, she’d have defeated Trump in the state. So, those two states together could have swung the election to Clinton—had she won some combination of 112 911 votes in FL. And 44 292 in PA. Thus, if all the Green party votes had gone to Clinton in the two states of FL. And PA., she’d have won in PA. And she’d have needed an additional 48 512 votes from the Lib. party’s voters in FL to win that state.

Ohio (out of the question)
In OH. There is no way Clinton could have defeated Trump even if all the third-party or “other candidates’ ” ballots cast (261 318 ) had gone to Clinton instead. Trump had a margin of over 400k votes in OH.

Michigan could have given Clinton 16 of the 43 needed electoral votes.
IN Michigan, only 10 704 separated Clinton from Trump—so few votes that any of the next three finishers’ party’s votes alone should have given Clinton Michigan’s 16 electoral votes. Even the two last-place parties votes, if combined, should have almost sufficed to swing the outcome to Clinton’s favor had those votes gone to her. So, in Michigan, even the “Independent” and the “Natural Law” parties’ votes could have given Clinton a win.

Trump 2 279 543
Clinton 2 268 839 (shortfall: 10 705)
√Lib. 172 136
√Green 51 463
√U.S. Taxpayers 16 139
√Independent 8 177
√Natural Law 2 209

Georgia (out of the question)
Like OH there is no way that Clinton could have made up the needed votes in GA. from the only other party on the ballot beside the Republicans—the Lib. Party. Clinton was 211141 votes behind Trump’s total and that is more than the Lib. Party’s total ballots polled.

Tennessee (11) (out of the question)
Trump polled 652230 more votes in TN than Clinton—more by far than all the other parties’ candidates combined.

Indiana (out of the question)
In Indiana, Trump walked away with the vote. As in TN he polled far more than all the other parties’ candidates combined.

Arizona (11)

Trump 1 252 401
Clinton 1 161 167
√Lib. 106 327
Green 34 345

In Arizona, some combination of votes from the Lib party’s and the Green party’s voters could have given Clinton a victory had those votes totaled 91235 or more.

In WI, Clinton needed 22 749 to overcome Trump’s lead. She could have found these in numerous ways:

Trump 1 405 284
Clinton 1 382 536
√Lib. 106 674
√Green 31 072
{ Constitution 12 162 }
{ Independent 11 855 }

* PA, WI and MI are the three states in which the Green party’s votes alone could have (conceivably--i.e., "possibly, in theory") swung the states’ electors to Clinton. So it’s possible to say that, in Wisconsin, either the Greens or the Constitution party and the Independent’s voters combined, cost Clinton WI’s 10 electoral votes.

So, from the review, we see that FL (29), PA (20), Michigan (16) AZ (11) and WI (10) could have swung to Clinton individually and, in one or another combination, two or three together should have sufficed to change the Electoral College outcome.

FL + PA;
FL + MI;
PA + MI + AZ; etc.

Trump showed up the entire Democratic party establishment as a bunch of cardboard cut-out figures; that's a good thing. Jill Stein and Elizabeth Warren are not, by their entirely establishment-power based profiles, going to usher in any serious challenge to the status quo. Warren actually went on the campaign trail and stumped with or on behalf of Clinton. She spoke in Colmbus, Ohio, claiming that "we believe in overturning 'Citizens United', getting money out of politics and returning this democracy to the people" -- how we do this in electing Hillary Clinton was not explained. Instead, lots was said about how terrible Trump is and would be as president.

That's just not good enough any more. As for Jill Stein and 'Pocahontas,' Riley and his variety of leftists can keep them. "Even" Sanders stumped for Clinton--not recognizing or failing to take seriously enough the salutary effects of Tump's giving Clinton a good drubbing in the Electoral College where, under this contorted system, elections are won or lost.

Nov 8, 2017, 2:38pm Top

The electoral college was originally put in place as a concession to the slavery states, which were lower in population and thus wanted an edge in elections.

The POTUS election every four years is a done deal before the first vote is cast in any particular state that is hard core red or blue. The actual election takes place in the purple states - a minority of about 13 or 14 states.

It is an asshole system created by asshole racist white people in the past and perpetuated by asshole racist white people in the present.

People by a large per cent hate trump's fucking guts, today as they did a year ago? Damn straight. I piss on that piece of shit, as do a majority of my fellow Americans.

But there seems to be a problem with many lefties living in some bubble or personally created reality or something. They do not understand that the majority of Americans hated HRC too. They really hate her. As much as trump? What difference does it make? Those two assholes are number one and number two on the political asshole chart, with a bullet, and the margin of difference is slight.

In 2016 a good majority did not vote for either. Many if not most of the voters who voted third party were not ideological but were just making the point that both major parties had fucked up royally and given us the shittiest candidates possible to select from - a Hobbesian choice they refused.

The 2016 POTUS race was sui generis. IOW, that shit is very unlikely to ever happen again. I.e., I predict the Democrat nominee for POTUS in 2020 will have the usual human flaws but will not be a lying sack of narcissistic shit like HRC - and that person will win, unless the repukelicans can manage some miraculous turnaround between now and then.

So, the libs and the greens were NEVER going to vote for HRC anyway, so dreaming about such and counting up the numbers is a fucking waste of time.

Unfortunately, unless there is some miracle on the other side, the repukelicans will continue to have some sort of electoral success, especially at the local level, because the Democrat party is mainly a bunch of self-interested bumbling fools who can never quite seem to get their shit sufficiently together to take advantage of general repukelican insanity.

Edited: Nov 8, 2017, 3:25pm Top

#134--the electoral college should be done away with. It anti-democratic. It should be a straight popular vote like is done for practically every other elected position in the United States whether we're talking US Senator, congressperson or Governor or whether talking district councilperson, county judge or dog catcher.

Why it remains is as you say--white patriarchal dominance of politics which is why we also have white patriarchal dominance in everything economic as well.

The democrats can fix their house--the republicans cannot. The main problem with the democrats is that they don't think it needs fixing and it does.

Some of Proximity's contentions about greens, libertarians, socialists and other third party voters are ludicrous. IMO he has a hatred for the Clinton's that borders on unhealthy. I would say I simply just detest them but anyway anyone who claims they are for Sanders and Corbyn and then votes for Trump and then defends him at almost every turn....especially when it becomes plain as day that the Donald has no intention of doing anything but serve the same corporate and financial masters as the Clintons have always done. Trump has done great damage already to poorer, working and middle class people with his climate denial, his attacks on the ACA and his proposed tax reform bill is just one more attack.

Voting green for me meant voting for a clean environment, living wages, single payer government sponsored health care and education, an end to corporation sponsored resource wars such as those in the Middle East and Afghanistan....and not making trade deals that don't include legitimate voices from environmental and labor concerns....amongst other things. If Hillary had been on board for things like these I would have voted for her. These are examples of things to me that should be a litmus test for any democrat that runs for congress or the Senate or to be a governor or POTUS. These are things that Corbyn fights for in the UK. Though you might get them right off they are not unattainable. But Proximity's got all his stats, charts and theories when what we really need are fucking policies that work for everyone and not just the rich and powerful. We're not going to get those from fucking Trump.

Edited: Nov 9, 2017, 11:17am Top

>135 lriley:

"The democrats can fix their house--the republicans cannot. The main problem with the democrats is that they don't think it needs fixing and it does."

Trump's drubbing of Clinton makes that "think" more difficult--much more difficult for them to ignore. It was not just the best gift-in-disguise which real leftists have had come our way in a too hell of a long time, it was also the best we could have hoped for out this broken system as well as the indispensible first-step on any road which leads us away from the continuing state of pseduo-democratic government by a patrician class.


"Voting green for me meant voting for a clean environment, living wages, single payer government sponsored health care and education, an end to corporation sponsored resource wars such as those in the Middle East and Afghanistan....and not making trade deals that don't include legitimate voices from environmental and labor concerns....amongst other things."

Even if we stipulate that all of that--that which "voting Green" means (and, then, a year ago, meant) for you -- also applied and applies today to all those who also "voted Green," this still means that, out of 136,669,237 total ballots tallied nationwide, you and your fellow Green Party voters amounted to 1,457,216 votes in all, or, 1.07% of the total votes cast.

As important as principles are to me, not all principles are equally worthy, equally important, equally compelling. Your principles allow you to glow with the satisfaction that you didn't lend any active support to either the defeat of Hillary Clinton or the victory of Donald Trump. The very same should of course have been true if the actual outcome had been the reverse and Clinton had been elected. Thus, your vote did not weigh in any significant manner, not even as part of a greater aggregation of votes, in the election's outcome.

Meanwhile, those who actively or, in my case, passively, through argument and debate rather than via a ballot paper in a ballot-box, urged voters to support Trump in order to eliminate Clinton as an elected officer in the U.S. national government's apparatus--these people can say that their strategy and their hopef-for outcome did come about.

Thus getting Clinton out--keeping her from taking up the office of PotUS-- meant then and means today real, and potentially effective and useful partisan change for the country's political status-quo. That, of course, depends--as is ALWAYS the case ANYWAY--on what people now do with the opportunities opened to them by this change of course.

Under your reasoning, and in your glow of self-satisfied standing-apart from the actual race, you did nothing to help open those opportunities and, thus, at best, I regard you as yet another of the stumbling-blocks to getting real AND EFFECTIVE opportunities for political change.

Nov 9, 2017, 12:44pm Top

Another nutjob, Matt Gaetz, speaks:

‘We are at risk of a coup’: GOP Congressman demands Mueller resign

The video appears to show him speaking to an empty room.

So, what happened to the fact that Trump's Justice Department appointed Mueller?

Nov 10, 2017, 4:41am Top

Salacious kompromat file:
Staffer of Putin-linked entertainer offered Trump five women.
Security guard laughs off offer.
Did Trump?

Ex-Trump security chief testifies he rejected 2013 Russian offer of women for Trump in Moscow
Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb | November 9, 2017


Nov 10, 2017, 10:53am Top

Early start to the weekend--Flynn file...

Mueller Probing Possible Deal Between Turks, Flynn During Presidential Transition
Carol E. Lee and Julia Ainsley | Nov 10, 2017

Federal investigators are examining whether former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn met with senior Turkish officials just weeks before President Donald Trump's inauguration about a potential quid pro quo in which Flynn would be paid to carry out directives from Ankara secretly while in the White House, according to multiple people familiar with the investigation.

...Mueller is looking into whether Flynn discussed in the late December meeting orchestrating the return to Turkey of a chief rival (Gulen) of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who lives in the U.S. Additionally, three people familiar with the probe said investigators are examining whether Flynn and other participants discussed a way to free a Turkish-Iranian gold trader, Reza Zarrab, who is jailed in the U.S. Zarrab is facing federal charges that he helped Iran skirt U.S. sanctions.

...Flynn was offered upwards of $15 million

...Investigators also are looking into what possible role Flynn's son, Michael G. Flynn, may have played in any such efforts.

...grand jury is continuing to interview witnesses...over the next week

...Rudy Giuliani, who was a top Trump campaign surrogate alongside Flynn, is part of Zarrab's defense team. The New York Times reported that Giuliani met with Erdoğan in late February and discussed an agreement under which Zarrab would be freed in exchange for Turkey's help furthering U.S. interests in the region...


Nov 12, 2017, 8:40am Top

Summarized on p 2 of letter to House Oversight Committee, 13 policy recommendations to strengthen govt ethics program:

Press Release...Walter Shaub, senior director, ethics, at Campaign Legal Center (CLC), met with House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings to discuss 13 policy recommendations to strengthen the government ethics program. He released these policy ideas publicly today, as the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) is going through the reauthorization process in Congress. Shaub developed this proposal based on his experience as Director of OGE, a position he served from January 2013 through July 2017....


Nov 13, 2017, 7:16am Top

Papadopolous, Miller, Trump & Sessions: lock them up, right?

Stephen Miller May Have Some Problems
Josh Marshall | November 10, 2017

...(Stephen) Miller is the “senior policy advisor” referenced in the Papadopoulos court documents...one of the top Trump advisors Papadopoulos was keeping posted on his efforts to set up meetings between Russian officials and Trump campaign official

... The day before he learned about the hacked (DNC?) emails, Mr. Papadopoulos emailed Mr. Miller, then a senior policy adviser to the campaign, saying Mr. Trump had an “open invitation” from Mr. Putin to visit Russia. The day after, he wrote Mr. Miller that he had “some interesting messages coming in from Moscow about a trip when the time is right.”


First: The most mundane is that Miller was at the highest level of Trump’s campaign advisors and remained in at least as high a role into the White House and up until today...innermost circle.

Second: Miller was also one of the advisors pressing hard for President Trump to fire James Comey...also wrote a first draft of Trump’s firing letter...in seeking to fire Comey he was at least in part seeking to kill an investigation into himself.

Third: Miller came to Trump via Jeff Sessions...At a minimum, Miller getting updated on Papadopoulos’ adventures makes it much less credible that Sessions knew nothing about the channels opening up between the campaign and Russia...


Nov 14, 2017, 5:46am Top

"With today’s news about Don Jr. & Wikileaks, nearly every Trump aide is now caught up in the Russia scandal", and

Then-Governor Pence once again 'mis-spoke':
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Pence said when asked by Fox News anchor Steve Doocy if Donald Trump’s campaign is “in cahoots” with the website releasing the emails."


The Secret Correspondence Between Donald Trump Jr. and WikiLeaks
Julia Ioffe | Nov 13, 2017

The transparency organization asked the president’s son for his cooperation—in sharing its work, in contesting the results of the election, and in arranging for Julian Assange to be Australia’s ambassador to the United States.



CNN's timeline of correspondence with and about Wikileaks is interesting scan:

Once again (Oct 14, 2016), Pence was in the dark--or lying...


"With today’s news about Don Jr. & Wikileaks, nearly every Trump aide is now caught up in the Russia scandal:

-Don Jr

Sure I’m missing a few..."

11h11 hours ago

Nov 14, 2017, 2:37pm Top

Jus' following the money?

Secret Finding: 60 Russian Payments "To Finance Election Campaign Of 2016”
Jason Leopold, Anthony Cormier, Jessica Garrison | November 14, 2017

The FBI is scrutinizing more than 60 money transfers sent by the Russian foreign ministry to its embassies across the globe, most of them bearing a note that said the money was to be used “to finance election campaign of 2016.”

On Aug. 3 of last year, just as the US presidential election was entering its final, heated phase, the Russian foreign ministry sent nearly $30,000 to its embassy in Washington. The wire transfer, which came from a Kremlin-backed Russian bank, landed in one of the embassy’s Citibank accounts and contained a remarkable memo line: “to finance election campaign of 2016.”

That wire transfer is one of more than 60 now being scrutinized by the FBI and other federal agencies investigating Russian involvement in the US election. The transactions, which moved through Citibank accounts and totaled more than $380,000, each came from the Russian foreign ministry and most contained a memo line referencing the financing of the 2016 election.

The money wound up at Russian embassies in almost 60 countries from Afghanistan to Nigeria between Aug. 3 and Sept. 20, 2016...


Nov 16, 2017, 3:49am Top

Trump would like Sessions write-in--maybe even proposed it. If Sessions out of the way, Trump can appoint an AG who hasn't recused himself from all things Russian, i.e., Mueller. But under Hatch Act, Sessions must either quit Justice Dept or disavow any write-in campaign: https://twitter.com/waltshaub/status/930829000502599680

McConnell proposes Sessions as a write-in to replace Moore
Maegan Vazquez | November 15, 2017

Nov 16, 2017, 4:29am Top

'Dossier' author Christopher Steele: Trump's hotel and land deals with Russians need to be examined
Natasha Bertrand | Nov 15, 2017

Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who wrote the explosive dossier alleging ties between Donald Trump and Russia, told The Guardian's Luke Harding last year that Trump's land and hotel deals with Russians needed to be examined.

Steele did not go into further detail, Harding said, but seemed to be referring to a 2008 home sale to the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev.

Richard Dearlove, who headed the UK foreign-intelligence unit MI6 between 1999 and 2004, said in April that Trump borrowed money from Russia for his business during the 2008 financial crisis.....

..."Check their values against the money Trump secured via loans," the former intelligence officer, Christopher Steele, told The Guardian's Luke Harding. "The difference is what's important." ...


Mueller Investigation Warned to 'Stay Away' from Donald Trump's Real Estate Deals
Alan Ewart | Nov 15, 2017

...President Trump and his lawyers have warned Mueller to “stay away” from President Trump’s real estate deals. In fact, as long ago as July, President Trump told the New York Times that he would consider it “a violation” if Mueller’s investigators looked into his personal finances.

Just last week, President Trump’s attorney, Jay Sekulow, said that he would lodge formal objections if the Mueller investigation were to look at things like Trump’s real-estate deals. Sekulow said that they would view that as “outside the scope of legitimate inquiry.”

According to The Week, the Mueller investigation team consists of 17 federal prosecutors and is led by three prosecutors who have expertise in “money laundering, fraud, foreign bribery, and organized crime.” It increasingly looks like the Mueller investigation is using the tried and tested investigative technique of “following the money.” If that money trail leads to the Trump White House, we could yet see President Trump impeached or indicted by the Mueller investigation.


Nov 16, 2017, 2:52pm Top

>146 2wonderY: Wow:

"...Pressing for more media attention to its cache of purloined emails, WikiLeaks encouraged Trump Jr. in October 2016 to tweet a link that would facilitate reporters’ review of the material. He did just that, two days later. More strikingly, within minutes of WikiLeaks’ message, Trump Sr.—one month before he was elected president—tweeted a complaint about the “very little pick-up” the “dishonest media” had given the group’s cache of emails..."

Edited: Nov 16, 2017, 4:19pm Top

Senate Judiciary Committee: Kushner forwarded emails about a 'Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite'
Natasha Bertrand | Nov 16, 2017

Jared Kushner has evidently failed to produce documents to lawmakers that they say "are known to exist" about a "Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite" and communications with a Belarusian-American businessman named Sergei Millian.

It had not been reported that a "Russian backdoor overture" was discussed in emails that Kushner "forwarded," the senators say, or that anyone on the campaign had communicated with Millian.

Reports emerged earlier this year that Millian was "Source E" in the dossier alleging ties between President Donald Trump and Russia...


Edited: Nov 17, 2017, 4:58am Top

Meanwhile from the Glass--er, White--House:

...President Trump has yet to comment on the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against Republican Alabama Senate nominee Roy Moore, but he condemned Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who was accused on Thursday of kissing and groping a woman for the camera in 2006.



When Has Trump Been Accused of Rape or Attempted Rape? Allegations Include a Child, His Wife and a Business Associate
Chris Riotta | 11/16/17


Trump recorded having extremely lewd conversation about women in 2005
David A. Fahrenthold | October 8, 2016

...following sharp criticism by Republican leaders, Trump issued a short video statement saying, “I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize.”...He said that his “foolish” words are much different than the words and actions of Bill Clinton, whom he accused of abusing women, and Hillary Clinton, whom he accused of having “bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims.”

“I’ve never said I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone that I’m not. I’ve said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more than a decade-old video are one of them. Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am,” Trump said.

In an apparent response to Republican critics asking him to drop out of the race, he said: “We will discuss this more in the coming days."...

...“Grab them by the p---y,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”...



Eew, just eew...

Donald Trump to Howard Stern: It's okay to call my daughter a 'piece of ass'
Andrew Kaczynski, Chris Massie, and Nate McDermott | October 9, 2016


Edited: Nov 17, 2017, 5:43am Top

Special counsel subpoenas Trump campaign for more documents
Gloria Borger and Sophie Tatum | November 16, 2017

Special counsel Robert Mueller has issued a subpoena to the Trump campaign for more Russia-related documents...

The special counsel had previously received the information that had already been handed over to Congress, but investigators felt there were things they didn't see...


Dollar slips on concerns Russia probe is moving closer to Trump
Nov 17, 2017

...“Mueller has already filed charges against some peripheral people, but this is apparently the first time (as far as the public knows) that he has asked for something from the campaign, which is much closer to Trump himself,” said Marshall Gittler, chief strategist at ACLS Global, in a note to clients.

“U.S. bond yields were falling in Asian trading, adding to the downward pressure on the dollar. If Trump is in trouble, USD is likely to be in trouble, too,” he said.

• “Bigger picture, I think the euro and pound stand to gain in an environment where risk markets are exposed and the U.S. administration is promoting a soft dollar policy,” said Joel Kruger, currency strategist at LMAX Exchange, in emailed comments.


Nov 19, 2017, 7:25am Top

How has Kushner's security clearance not been cancelled?
This time he sent a message to top campaign officials rejecting (proposed Trump-Putin meeting),
but apparently failed to disclose outreach to Senate Judiciary Committee in the first place...

Kushner failed to disclose outreach from Putin ally to Trump campaign
Ken Dilanian and Carol E. Lee | Nov 18, 2017


Nov 19, 2017, 7:38am Top

2016 Trump Tower mtg: obstruction of justice file?

Moscow meeting in June 2017 under scrutiny in Trump probe

Earlier this year, a Russian-American lobbyist and another businessman discussed over coffee in Moscow an extraordinary meeting they had attended 12 months earlier: a gathering at Trump Tower with President Donald Trump’s son, his son-in-law and his then-campaign chairman.

The Moscow meeting in June, which has not been previously disclosed, is now under scrutiny by investigators who want to know why the two men met in the first place and whether there was some effort to get their stories straight about the Trump Tower meeting just weeks before it would become public

...Scott Balber, a lawyer for Kaveladze, confirmed that his client and Akhmetshin met over coffee and that the Trump Tower meeting a year earlier was “obviously discussed.” But Balber denied his client had been contacted by associates of Trump before he took the meeting with Akhmetshin, or had been aware of plans to disclose the Trump Tower gathering to the U.S. government.

Balber said the men did not discuss strategy or how to line up their stories, and did not meet in anticipation of the Trump Tower meeting becoming public and attracting a barrage of news media attention.

He said Akhmetshin did convey during coffee the possibility that his name could come out in connection with the Trump Tower meeting and cause additional, unwanted scrutiny given that he had been linked in earlier news reports to Russian military intelligence, coverage that Akhmetshin considered unfair. Akhmetshin has denied ongoing ties with Russian intelligence, but acknowledged that he served in the Soviet military in the late 1980s as part of a counterintelligence unit.

...Mueller’s investigation has included scrutiny of the White House’s drafting of the initial incomplete statement.... (adoption, not sanctions)


Nov 19, 2017, 2:25pm Top

The acorn file (as in not far from the tree?):

Ivanka’s signature real estate deals were disasters linked to drug cartels and money laundering
Casey Michel | Nov 18, 2017

The president’s daughter has been at the center of a pair of the presidential projects tied most closely to grand corruption...

Before her father became president, Ivanka Trump tied herself more closely to two of her father’s international projects than any others.

One, in Panama, was the current president’s first international foray — a building, according to the developer, that Donald Trump wanted to be Ivanka’s “baby.” The other, in Azerbaijan, was a project Ivanka herself claimed she “oversaw” — one for which, according to an Azeri lawyer involved with the project, the president’s daughter “personally approved everything.”

...The president and his daughter appear to have been, at best, unwitting accomplices to money laundering and grand corruption on a significant scale...


Edited: Nov 20, 2017, 5:21am Top

Obstruction of justice file: Trump, Sessions, Rosenstein?

Special Counsel sends wide-ranging request for documents to Justice Department
MIKE LEVINE | Nov 19, 2017

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team investigating whether President Donald Trump sought to obstruct a federal inquiry into connections between his presidential campaign and Russian operatives has now directed the Justice Department to turn over a broad array of documents, ABC News has learned.

In particular, Mueller's investigators are keen to obtain emails related to the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the earlier decision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the entire matter.

...The latest move suggests the Special Counsel is still actively digging into, among other matters, whether Trump or any other administration official improperly tried to influence an ongoing investigation...


Nov 21, 2017, 4:22am Top

Describes how USSR groomed agents and contacts in the time of Reagan and Gorbachev:
Trump may have been on Russian radar for a very long time...

The Hidden History of Trump’s First Trip to Moscow
LUKE HARDING | November 19, 2017

In 1987, a young real estate developer traveled to the Soviet Union. The KGB almost certainly made the trip happen.

...(KGB) secret personality questionnaire, advising case officers what to look for in a successful recruitment operation. In April 1985 this was updated for “prominent figures in the West.” The directorate’s aim was to draw the target “into some form of collaboration with us.” This could be “as an agent, or confidential or special or unofficial contact.”

The form demanded basic details—name, profession, family situation, and material circumstances. There were other questions, too: what was the likelihood that the “subject could come to power (occupy the post of president or prime minister)”? And an assessment of personality. For example: “Are pride, arrogance, egoism, ambition or vanity among subject’s natural characteristics?”

The most revealing section concerned kompromat. The document asked for: “Compromising information about subject, including illegal acts in financial and commercial affairs, intrigues, speculation, bribes, graft … and exploitation of his position to enrich himself.” Plus “any other information” that would compromise the subject before “the country’s authorities and the general public.” Naturally the KGB could exploit this by threatening “disclosure.”

Finally, “his attitude towards women is also of interest.” The document wanted to know: “Is he in the habit of having affairs with women on the side?”...


Edited: Nov 23, 2017, 6:47am Top

Fed employee Conway violates Hatch Act (again). A firing offense...last time she got a talking-to...

Former ethics director: Kellyanne Conway violated Hatch Act with Roy Moore comments
Miranda Green | November 22, 2017

...she attacked GOP Alabama Senate hopeful Roy Moore's opponent on television Tuesday.

...2016...ruling from the Office of Special Counsel (found) then-Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro guilty of violating the Hatch Act (5 U.S.C. § 7323(a)(1)) for endorsing a candidate on air.

...Conway found herself in hot water earlier this year when she plugged President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka's clothing and accessory line...


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