82_28 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:54 pm wrote:I think Pence can be dealt with in a more "sober" manner. I think. There ain't enough evangelical fundies in this country any more I don't think. Plus nobody anywhere gives a shit about "the gays" anymore for instance.
Federal Inquiry of Fox News Moves to a Grand Jury, but Without Preet Bharara
By JIM DWYER and WILLIAM K. RASHBAUMMARCH 13, 2017
Preet Bharara was fired by the Trump administration on Saturday after refusing to resign. Whoever Mr. Trump nominates to replace Mr. Bharara as the United States attorney in Manhattan will inherit an ongoing investigation of Fox News. Credit Drew Angerer/Getty Images North America
The political drama around the federal courthouse in Manhattan did not end with the sudden, unexplained turnabout of President Trump in firing Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York.
While that prominent post always gets attention, one candidate frequently mentioned as a possible successor to Mr. Bharara could sharpen the scrutiny to new levels: Marc L. Mukasey, a former prosecutor who now works in white-collar criminal defense.
As it happens, Mr. Mukasey has represented Roger E. Ailes, the former chairman of Fox News, who has long had a mogul-to-mogul relationship with Mr. Trump.
Whomever Mr. Trump nominates to replace Mr. Bharara will inherit an investigation of Fox News.
A federal grand jury sitting in Manhattan is expected to soon hear testimony from at least two witnesses to testify in coming days about business practices at Fox News when it was led by Mr. Ailes, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. Mr. Ailes, who was forced out in July amid revelations of multiple accusations of sexual harassment, has denied those charges.
With Preet Bharara’s Dismissal, Storied Office Loses Its Top Fighter MARCH 10, 2017
The current inquiry, which began in September and appears to be in an early stage, may be focused, at least in part, on settlement payments, a person with knowledge of the matter said.
Marc L. Mukasey leaving Manhattan federal court last month. Mr. Mukasey, who has represented Roger E. Ailes, the former Fox News chairman, has been named as a possible successor to Mr. Bharara. Credit Nate Raymond/Reuters
One of those subpoenaed, according to the two people, is Mark Kranz, the former chief financial officer for Fox News who oversaw the network’s finances when it paid millions of dollars in settlements. Mr. Kranz was appointed to his position by Mr. Ailes in 2004, and resigned last year, a week after Mr. Ailes had done so.
Mr. Ailes helped prepare Mr. Trump ahead of debates in last year’s campaign. In 2014, Mr. Trump intervened in a dispute between Mr. Ailes and a former aide who said he had damaging information about Mr. Ailes and the network.
Mr. Trump negotiated a settlement on behalf of Mr. Ailes, and later boasted of his work, telling the journalist Gabriel Sherman, “When Roger was having problems, he didn’t call 97 people, he called me.”
The existence of the grand jury investigation of Fox News was disclosed in a state court proceeding last month by Judd Burstein, a Manhattan lawyer representing a former daytime host for Fox, Andrea Tantaros, who said her career suffered after spurning advances from Mr. Ailes. She charged that the network operated like a “sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult.”
The second witness subpoenaed by the grand jury is not Ms. Tantaros, Mr. Burstein said, but another client he had previously represented and refused to name.
Fox News did not have any comment on Monday. In February, the network said in a statement that it had been in communication with federal prosecutors for months, and would cooperate with the inquiry, the first known criminal investigation associated with the Fox harassment claims.
It is customary for presidents to replace the United States attorneys, but it appeared that Mr. Bharara would stay on: He met with Mr. Trump after the election and said he was asked to remain as the head of the office. But on Friday, the Trump administration instructed nearly all federal prosecutors appointed by President Obama, including Mr. Bharara, to resign.
Mr. Bharara refused. He said in a Twitter post that he was fired on Saturday, and did not resign.
Mr. Burstein said he was perplexed by the shifts at the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan.
“The firing of Preet, who did an extraordinarily evenhanded job is not remarkable — it’s just more the way it happened after he was told that he would stay on,” Mr. Burstein said. “The timing with respect to the Ailes stuff is troubling. Stopping this investigation would destroy the credibility of the U.S. attorney’s office, which has always been the crown jewel of federal prosecutors’ offices.”
He said that if Mr. Mukasey were to be appointed to replace Mr. Bharara, he would certainly have to recuse himself from any involvement in a case that touched a former client.
In an email, Mr. Mukasey, a former federal prosecutor who is a partner in Greenberg Traurig, said he would have no comment.
Mr. Mukasey’s firm has handled real estate development matters for the family of Jared Kushner, who is married to Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka. Among his partners is Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York mayor and vigorous advocate for Mr. Trump during the campaign.
Mr. Mukasey is the son of Michael Mukasey, a former federal judge and former attorney general under President George W. Bush, and longtime friend of Mr. Giuliani’s. Asked last month about the possibility of stepping into the United States attorney’s office, Mr. Mukasey told the New York Law Journal that he loved his job, but, “If asked to serve my country, that is something I take very seriously.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/13/nyre ... arara.html
Kushners set to get $400 million from Anbang on Manhattan tower: Bloomberg
A company owned by the family of Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law, stands to receive over $400 million from China's Anbang Insurance Group, that is investing in a Manhattan building owned by the Kushners, Bloomberg reported.
Details of the agreement are being circulated to attract additional investors, Bloomberg reported on Monday. (bloom.bg/2nm6PwG)
The building, a 41-floor tower located at 666 Fifth Avenue, was purchased by Kushner Companies in 2006 for $1.8 billion, which at the time was the highest sales price for a single building in Manhattan.
The planned $4 billion transaction includes terms that some real estate experts consider unusually favorable for the Kushners, the Bloomberg report said.
"Kushner Companies is in active discussions around 666 5th Avenue, and nothing has been finalized," spokesman James Yolles told Reuters via email.
Anbang could not immediately be reached for comment.
Reuters reported in January that the Chinese group was in talks to invest in a project to redevelop the New York City building.
Anbang, established in 2004 as an auto insurer, has emerged as one of China's most aggressive buyers of overseas assets in the past two years, spending more than $30 billion buying luxury hotels, insurers and other property assets.
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-anban ... SKBN16K2DY
That concern exists with Trump, but he presents a unique problem when it comes to conflicts of interest: He and his companies have borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars. These are loans that potentially afford his lenders leverage over Trump. This creates the possibility that Trump may find himself in the position of choosing between US interests and his lenders' interests. There's no better example of this than the $364 million Trump owes the struggling Deutsche Bank, which is staggering under fierce pressure from US financial regulators who want the bank to pay for its misdeeds during the run-up to the 2008 mortgage crisis. (Trump is in a real estate partnership that borrowed $950 million from a group of banks including a subsidiary of Deutsche Bank and the state-owned Bank of China.)
As it has hit trouble, Deutsche Bank's stock has fallen in the past year to levels so dangerously low that the German government was reported to be considering stepping in to prop up the bank. But on January 20, the newly inaugurated President Trump will have the ability to remove all that pressure on one of his most loyal creditors.
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/201 ... lict-loans
David Cay Johnston: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
Published 8:33 pm EDT, March 14, 2017 Updated 8:59 pm EDT, March 14, 2017 Comment By Brendan Morrow
David Cay Johnston will appear on Rachel Maddow’s show this evening to break major news about Donald Trump’s tax returns.
This comes after an election season in which Trump repeatedly refused to release his tax returns as presidential candidates typically do. On the evening of March 14th, Rachel Maddow tweeted that she has Trump’s tax returns, and David Cay Johnston subsequently tweeted that he would be the one breaking the news.
Here’s what you need to know about David Cay Johnston.
1. He Wrote ‘The Making of Donald Trump’ in 2016
David Cay Johnston is an investigative reporter who in 2016 released a book about Donald Trump.
In August 2016, Johnston released The Making of Donald Trump, which he wrote in just 27 days, according to The New York Times.
However, this came after Johnston had spent over three decades covering Donald Trump. He first met Trump in 1988 while working as a reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
“I almost immediately recognized Donald as the P.T. Barnum of our age,” Johnston told The New York Times.
Johnston explained that when he first met Donald Trump, he said something deliberately wrong during the conversation to see how Trump might respond; rather than correcting him, Trump “embraced my false fact in his answer,” which taught Johnston that “Donald doesn’t know anything.”
Johnston promised in that New York Times Interview, “I’m going to follow [Donald Trump] for the rest of his life.”
The Making of Donald Trump became a New York Times bestselling book.
2. He Won a Pulitzer Prize for His Tax Reporting
It makes sense for David Cay Johnston to be the one to break this Donald Trump tax return story, as he has spent much of his career reporting on tax issues.
From February 1995 to April 2008, David Cay Johnston worked as a tax reporter for The New York Times. In 2001, he received the Pulitzer Price for his work exposing loopholes in the U.S. tax code.
Some of his stories for The Times that he won the Pulitzer Prize for include “I.R.S. More Likely to Audit the Poor and Not the Rich,” “I.R.S. Sees Rise In the Evasion of Gift Taxes,” “A Shelter Plan Tests the Limits Of the Tax Law,” and “Sham Shelters for Businesses Flourish as Scrutiny Fades.”
During his reporting, Johnston exposed the fact that many corporations were using loopholes to pay less in taxes than many ordinary Americans. He also investigated Republicans’ claim that estate taxes hurt farmers, and he found that this virtually never happens.
Three years after winning the Pulitzer Prize, Johnston was again a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2003 for additional stories about the tax code being manipulated by wealthy people and corporations.
Outside of The New York Times, Johnston has written about tax policy for Tax Notes and The Nation. He has also written a number of books on tax related issues including Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich—and Cheat Everybody Else and Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense and Stick You With The Bill.
3. He Says That Donald Trump is a Racist & May Have Committed Tax Fraud
David Cay Johnston has not minced words when discussing his opinion of Donald Trump, saying that he believes the 45th president is a racist.
“Donald Trump is a racist and we need to recognize we’ve put a racist in the White House,” Johnson said in an MSNBC interview, according to The Raw Story. “We also need to recognize Donald doesn’t know anything. Donald doesn’t know a Sunni from a Shi’a from a Sikh nor why that would matter.”
This was during a conversation about Donald Trump’s travel ban. During the same interview, Johnston also questioned the fact that no countries that Donald Trump has investments in were included on the list of banned nations.
In an October article at National Memo, Johnston calls Trump “a vulgar, ignorant, racist, sexist blowhard.”
Johnston has also previously said that there is strong evidence that Trump may have committed tax fraud.
“He reported zero income and $626,000 of expenses, with no receipts and no documentation,” he told Democracy Now. “That’s something that could be construed as tax fraud.
In a July 2015 article on The National Memo called “21 Questions For Donald Trump,” Johnston asked a series of questions of the then Republican candidate, including asking why Trump has not donated to his own foundation since 2006. He also talks about the fact that public records show that as Trump’s career took off, he legally reported a negative income and paid no income taxes. With that in mind, he asks Trump, “Will you release your tax returns? And if not, why not?”
4. He Founded DCReport in 2016
In late 2016, David Cay Johnston founded DC Report.
This is a news website that covers the Trump administration, with the goal of covering Donald Trump in more depth than other reporters might.
“Others quote Trump Tweets,” the website’s about page reads. “We report on what this administration does. Want to know how the Trump administration will affect you? You have the right to White House news. Find out what you can do before changes take effect.”
DCReport’s website notes that Johnston “literally wrote the book on the president elect” and that he “wants to make sure you know what they’re doing to your government!
On Thursday night, DCReport’s Twitter page tweeted about the tax return story, writing, “#BREAKING We have a Trump tax return . @DavidCayJ will be on @maddow @MSNBC at 9pm & @Lawrence at 10pm EST to discuss it.”
5. He Is Married & Has Eight Children
David Cay Johnston is married to Jennifer Leonard.
Leonard is the CEO of the Rochester Area Community Foundation, an organization that works with philanthropists who want to donate money to help improve the lives of people in Rochester, New York. Leonard is also a leader in promoting ethical standards in philanthropy, according to Johnston’s website.
In May 2015, Leonard wrote a piece for Democrat & Chronicle which is addressed to her younger self. She discusses the fact that she interned at a movie studio and always wanted to work on documentary films, but she ended up decided that this was not for her.
“That documentary film company will ask what you’re writing right now,” Leonard writes to her younger self. “And what do you have to show them? Nothing. That’s because in your heart, you know you want to be working with people to make things happen, not writing about other people making things happen.”
After struggling to make ends meet for a while after college, Leonard was offered a job with the American Heart Association.
“Follow your heart and take the one that engages low-income volunteers in improving their neighbors’ health,” she writes to herself. “Please don’t turn it down because you think the Heart Association isn’t ‘exciting.’ This will start you on a creative, fulfilling career with lots of writing, speaking and working across institutions with diverse people for positive change.”
David Cay Johnston has eight children.
http://heavy.com/news/2017/03/david-cay ... -children/
Yachts of Trump financial backer, Russian oligarch seen close together
By John Pacenti - Palm Beach Post Staff Writer 3
PALM BEACH POST STAFF WRITER
Two yachts believed to be the Anna, owned by Dmitry Rybolovlev, and the Sea Owl, owned by President Donald Trump’s financier Robert Mercer, are seen in a cove near the British Virgin Islands on Friday, March 10. (Provided)
Updated: 9:16 p.m. Tuesday, March 14, 2017 | Posted: 6:40 p.m. Tuesday, March 14, 2017
The coincidences are piling up.
After disavowing any contact with President Donald Trump this past week, Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev’s state-of-the-art yacht Anna sat anchored in the British Virgin Islands on Friday night when another equally resplendent luxury liner, the Sea Owl, sidled up, according to a website that tracks the movement of yachts.
The owner of the dark-hulled yacht? President Donald Trump’s biggest financial supporter and Breitbart News moneyman, Robert Mercer.
Rybolovlev has repeatedly said he has never met Trump or had any dealings with anyone in his campaign. The oligarch did purchase a Palm Beach mansion from the developer in 2008 through a family trust, Rybolovlev’s spokespeople say.
Within days of the election this past year, Trump’s and Rybolovlev’s jets were parked on the airport apron in Charlotte, N.C., on Nov. 3. Trump had a campaign rally that day in Concord, N.C. Rybolovlev said he was there for business.
The two planes were also in Las Vegas at the same time in October.
Since the CIA and FBI said Russia launched a campaign to interfere with the U.S. election in an attempt to benefit Trump, ties between one of America’s longtime nemeses and the president have surfaced on several fronts, including Rybolovlev.
Russia is the top suspect in hacking the emails of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, which were released through WikiLeaks.
The president’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former campaign adviser Carter Page all have had interactions with Russian officials. Trump has business ties with Russians who developed properties with him in Fort Lauderdale and New York.
There is also a possible connection through Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who has part ownership in the Bank of Cyprus, which has ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Rybolovlev also owned shares in the bank. Ross also has a home on Palm Beach where Trump owns Mar-a-lago, now dubbed the Winter White House.
Then there is the Deutsche Bank connection. The former CEO now runs the Bank of Cyprus. Deutsche Bank is Trump’s top creditor to the tune of about $300 million. Deutsche just paid $425 million in fines to the state of New York for laundering $10 billion in Russian money.
Now one of the president’s chief financial backers during the campaign has been spotted within one-tenth of a nautical mile of oligarch Rybolovlev in the aquamarine waters of the Caribbean. The yachts stayed near each other on Saturday then later motored away from each other, but were in the same vicinity during the weekend.
A source provided The Palm Beach Post photos of Mercer’s Sea Owl and Rybolovlev’s Anna anchored off the North Sound near Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. One photo shows the two yachts separated only by a few sailing vessels between them.
The two vessels were a couple hundred feet away from each other on Friday and about 1,000 feet apart as late as Monday, according to data from http://www.marinetraffic.com obtained by the Palm Beach Post.
Besides taking photos of the boats up close and from a distance, the source did not reveal any other information or the motivation in reaching out to The Post. Neither Rybolovlev or Mercer were observed on the vessels.
“Mr. Rybolovlev has never met Robert Mercer and has no relationship with him whatsoever,” said Brian Cattell, the oligarch’s spokesman, said Tuesday.
A staffer at Mercer’s residence in Suffolk County, N.Y., answered the phone and took a message, but no call was returned for comment.
How important was Mercer to Trump being elected president? He supported U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, before throwing his support to Trump.
Along with Mercer’s support came Stephen Bannon, the man who ran the right-wing website Breitbart News. Bannon took over Trump’s campaign and engineered the biggest upset in American politics in decades. Now Bannon serves as chief strategist to President Trump.
Cattell, Rybolovlev’s spokesman, used to write for Breitbart. He said he never met Mercer.
Rybolovlev’s known tie to Trump is the purchase of a 62,000-square-foot mansion in 2008 on North County Road in Palm Beach for $95 million, the highest price paid at the time for a residence in the U.S.
The oligarch’s jet showed up in places where Trump just happened to be campaigning, Las Vegas in October and Charlotte, N.C., in November. This past week, for the first time, Rybolovlev through a spokesman said he and his plane did share the airport apron at the same time as Trump but it was purely coincidental.
“Particular attention has been focused on a trip made by Mr. Rybolovlev to North Carolina,” said Sergey Chernitsyn, an adviser to Dmitry Rybolovlev. “He was in North Carolina for a business meeting and we can state categorically that he did not have any contact with Mr. Trump or any of his advisers at the time he was there.”
The statement did not address the time when the president and the oligarch were both in Las Vegas or why his plane was in Miami on the weekend of Feb. 11 when Trump was at Mar-a-Lago entertaining the Japanese prime minister.
Now enter Robert Mercer, who along with his daughter Rebekah, have supported right-wing causes, whether it be Breitbart or Super PACS, including Make America Number 1, which supported Cruz before getting behind Trump.
In December, Trump, Bannon and senior aide Kellyanne Conway attended a lavish Christmas costume party Heroes and Villains at the Mercers’ Long Island family estate.
Mercer worked for IBM for two decades before getting wealthy when he joined the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies.
The political clout, though, tends to be wielded through his daughter, Rebekah. Politco in November reported that she was playing a major role in shaping Trump’s administration.
Cattell, Rybolovlev’s spokesman, said the oligarch did not know Mercer’s daughter.
The Mercers have poured at least $1.4 million into organizations that cast doubt on climate change science and $34.6 million to 30 conservative non-profits from 2011-2014, according to Politico.
This past month, the Guardian profiled Robert Mercer, noting he had a $10 million stake in Cambridge Analytica, that specializes in “psyops” — “election management strategies” and “messaging and information operation.”
Also reportedly on the board of Cambridge Analytica: Steve Bannon.
The company can psychologically analyze Facebook users — reportedly without their knowledge — based on their activity.
“We are thrilled that our revolutionary approach to data-driven communication has played such an integral part in President-elect Trump’s extraordinary win,” Alexander James Ashburner Nix, the CEO of Cambridge Analytica, said after the election
http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/nat ... rQ0hm9zlN/
Trump Cyprus Companies Found In Russian Offshore Tax Haven #TrumpLeaks
James Comey to officially reveal if FBI is investigating Trump's ties to Russia during presidential election
FBI director James Comey will say if the FBI is investigating Trump-Russia ties
He will confirm if there is an ongoing investigation in a hearing on Wednesday
He told senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Lindsey Graham of the news Tuesday
Both of the men had requested the FBI provide evidence of wiretapping claims
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z4bM4pMRDB
Here's the Biggest Revelation From Donald Trump's Leaked Tax Return
His proposed tax plan would benefit no one more than him.
RUSS CHOMAMAR. 14, 2017 10:05 PM
President Donald Trump earned $150 million and paid $38 million in taxes in 2005, according to the cover page of his tax returns from that year, which were leaked to reporter David Cay Johnston and highlighted on the Rachel Maddow Show Tuesday night. According to an analysis of the returns posted on Johnston's website, Trump and his wife Melania paid just $5.3 million in income taxes, a rate of about 4 percent. The couple paid another $31 million in the alternative minimum tax.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump called for the elimination of the alternative minimum tax (AMT), which is a tax designed to make sure that all taxpayers pay a certain amount even if they manage to reduce their tax liability. In his proposed tax policy, Trump would create just four tax brackets and do away with the AMT.
The White House preemptively announced the top-level tax numbers before Maddow's broadcast and complained that the publication of Trump's tax returns is illegal—which is not true.
Appearing on Maddow's show, Johnston said the cover pages of Trump's 2005 return were sent to him and he was unsure by whom. The fact that Trump paid little in the way of income taxes—he should have paid a rate of about 35 percent—is what is important, Johnston noted. If not for the AMT, Trump would have paid an extremely low rate.
"On $153 million, almost, of income, he would have paid a little over $5 million," Johnston said, pointing out that would be a rate of less than 4 percent. Johnston said that rate is less than half of what the lowest tax rate is for Americans who make the least money.
Instead, Johnston said, Trump paid about 24 percent of his income in taxes, which is equivalent to the tax rate of a married couple who earn $400,000 a year.
"[In 2005] Donald Trump and his wife made $418,000 a day," Johnston said.
According to Johnston, Trump was able to claim a variety of deductions and listed a negative income of $103 million, which helped reduce his tax liability.
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/201 ... rns-maddow
Pocan: More to come on Russia
TIM DAMOS firstname.lastname@example.org 4 hrs ago 0
TIM DAMOS/News Republic
U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Black Earth, speaks during a town hall event Monday in Baraboo.
TIM DAMOS/News Republic
Constituents listen Monday evening as U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Black Earth, speaks inside the R.G. Brown Theatre at the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County campus.
A Wisconsin congressman says there is much the public does not yet know about the Russian government’s alleged meddling in the U.S. presidential race.
“Let’s just say there’s going to be a lot more coming out regarding Russia and their interference in the elections,” U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Black Earth, said Monday during a Baraboo town hall event.
Pocan said the information contained within that report – coupled with Trump’s suggestion at the time that he would be open to lifting Russian sanctions – caused him to have “real concerns.”
Pocan said many in Congress still have not read the full report. And although he cannot provide details, he said, there is much the public does not yet know that eventually will be revealed. He said he supported the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the matter. Republican leaders have opposed that.
http://www.wiscnews.com/baraboonewsrepu ... 0ba17.html