Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Election

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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:08 am

Aug 5, 2018. "A day that shall live in stupidity."


The Day Trump Told Us There Was Attempted Collusion with Russia

Adam Davidson
August 5, 1974, was the day the Nixon Presidency ended. On that day, Nixon heeded a Supreme Court ruling and released the so-called smoking-gun tape, a recording of a meeting, held two years earlier, with his chief of staff, H. R. Haldeman. Many of Nixon’s most damaging statements came in the form of short, monosyllabic answers and near-grunts—“um huh,” the official transcript reads, at one point—as he responds to Haldeman’s idea of asking the C.I.A. to tell the F.B.I. to “stay the hell out of” the Watergate investigation. The coverup is clearly of Haldeman’s design. Nixon’s words are simple: “All right. Fine.” Then, “Right, fine.”

Haldeman’s idea seemed clever. He believed the F.B.I. was close to concluding that the break-in at the Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate hotel was the work of a C.I.A.-led operation, which had something to do with Cuba and the Bay of Pigs. Nobody would have to actually lie, he seems to suggest—it wasn’t “unusual” for the C.I.A. to warn the F.B.I. to drop an investigation that could harm national security. “And that will fit rather well because the F.B.I. agents who are working the case, at this point, feel that’s what it is. This is C.I.A.”

Nixon’s strongest statement to Haldeman is, surprisingly, a word of caution. “Don’t lie to them to the extent to say there is no involvement, but just say this is sort of a comedy of errors, bizarre, without getting into it,” he says. “Say that we wish, for the country, don’t go any further into this case, period!” When Nixon released the tape, he acknowledged that it would lead to his impeachment. Three days later, he resigned the Presidency.

Listening to the tape today, it’s hard not to imagine an alternate strategy, one that Nixon’s aide, Roger Ailes—hired at Haldeman’s request—would surely have endorsed. Nixon could have released the tape himself and declared it as proof of his innocence, pointing out that he did, in fact, tell Haldeman not to lie. He could have argued that he didn’t mean “yes” when he said “um huh”—that the transcript should have read “unh-unh,” a clear sign that he was against the whole scheme. Instead of embracing impeachment, congressional Republicans could have supported an effort to do just what Haldeman and Nixon had attempted: end the investigation.

On August 5, 2018, precisely forty-four years after the collapse of the Nixon Presidency, another President, Donald Trump, made his own public admission. In one of a series of early-morning tweets, Trump addressed a meeting that his son Donald, Jr., held with a Russian lawyer affiliated with the Russian government. “This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics - and it went nowhere,” he wrote. “I did not know about it!”

The tweet contains several crucial pieces of information. First, it is a clear admission that Donald Trump, Jr.,’s original statement about the case was inaccurate enough to be considered a lie. He had said the meeting was with an unknown person who “might have information helpful to the campaign,” and that this person “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children.” This false statement was, according to his legal team, dictated by the President himself. There was good reason to mislead the American people about that meeting. Based on reporting—at the time and now—of the President’s admission, it was a conscious effort by the President’s son and two of his closest advisers to work with affiliates of the Russian government to obtain information that might sway the U.S. election in Trump’s favor. In short, it was, at minimum, a case of attempted collusion. The tweet indicates that Trump’s defense will continue to be that this attempt at collusion failed—“it went nowhere”—and that, even if it had succeeded, it would have been “totally legal and done all the time.” It is unclear why, if the meeting was entirely proper, it was important for the President to declare “I did not know about it!” or to tell the Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, to “stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now.”

The President’s Sunday-morning tweet should be seen as a turning point. It doesn’t teach us anything new—most students of the case already understand what Donald Trump, Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner knew about that Trump Tower meeting. But it ends any possibility of an alternative explanation. We can all move forward understanding that there is a clear fact pattern about which there is no dispute:

The President’s son and top advisers knowingly met with individuals connected to the Russian government, hoping to obtain dirt on their political opponent.

Documents stolen from the Democratic National Committee and members of the Clinton campaign were later used in an overt effort to sway the election.

When the Trump Tower meeting was uncovered, the President instructed his son and staff to lie about the meeting, and told them precisely which lies to use.

The President is attempting to end the investigation into this meeting and other instances of attempted collusion between his campaign staff and representatives of the Russian government.

It was possible, just days ago, to believe—with an abundance of generosity toward the President and his team—that the meeting was about adoption, went nowhere, and was overblown by the Administration’s enemies. No longer. The open questions are now far more narrow: Was this a case of successful or only attempted collusion? Is attempted collusion a crime? What legal and moral responsibilities did the President and his team have when they realized that the proposed collusion was underway when the D.N.C. e-mails were leaked and published? And, crucially, what did the President know before the election, after it, and when he instructed his son to lie?

Earlier on Sunday, Trump wrote another tweet, one that repeated a common refrain: journalists are the enemy of the people. “I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American People,” it read. In a way, he did provide a great service. He allowed us to move away from a no-longer-relevant debate about whether or not he and his campaign had done anything wrong. Our nation can now focus on another question: What do we do when a President has openly admitted to attempted collusion, lying, and a coverup?
https://www.newyorker.com/news-desk/swa ... ith-russia





LOLGOP

Why didn't anyone tell me I wasn't supposed to solicit stolen property from a foreign adversary in exchange for sanction relief and other foreign policy concessions in an explicit conspiracy against the the United States?






U.S. Code Title 52 Section 30121 says:

It shall be unlawful for a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value in connection to a federal, state, or local election.
Coons continued reading the statute:


Or for a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described above from a foreign national.
The Senator explained how this ties into Trump and his presidential campaign’s alleged clandestine activities.

“It seems pretty clear to me,” Coons said, “that anything like a treasure trove of thousands of hacked emails (it is a thing of value), being solicited, accepted by an American campaign from Russian nationals would be a clear violation of U.S. code.”

Actions to work together with Russian nationals to subvert our code would be illegal collusion.

Senator Chris Coons
https://secondnexus.com/news/donald-tru ... 3302272904




Rex Huppke

Interestingly, in high school, Donald Trump Jr. was voted "Most Likely to Accidentally Do a Treason and Bring Down His Dad's Presidency."Image



All of this misogyny is making me nostalgic for treason
on trump/russia
"Colluded" is only a word confused people use
The word and crime is conspiracy
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Aug 06, 2018 5:44 pm

Rick Gates says he committed crimes with former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort

Kevin Breuninger
Richard Gates arrives at the Prettyman Federal Courthouse for a hearing February 23, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Rick Gates, the star witness in special counsel Robert Mueller's fraud and conspiracy trial against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, took the stand Monday to testify that he committed crimes with his former business partner.

In a blow to the case being laid out by Manafort's defense team, Gates then told prosecutors that he had been directed by Manafort to report overseas income as loans as a way to lower his taxable income.

Since their opening statement last week, Manafort's lawyers have sought to blame Gates for breaking finance laws, framing him as a liar who abused Manafort's trust and embezzled millions of dollars from him.

Gates, clad in a blue suit and sporting an uncharacteristically clean-shaven face, did admit in court that he stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort by filing false expense reports.

But while sitting just a few feet from Manafort, Gates testified that Manafort had worked with him to commit financial crimes, including filing false tax returns. Manafort had directed him to commit other crimes, Gates said, such as not disclosing foreign bank accounts and omitting information from a court deposition.

Gates pleaded guilty in February to lying to investigators and conspiracy against the United States, and struck a plea deal to fully cooperate with the special counsel. His potential sentence was drastically reduced to nearly six years, and the special counsel holds the power to petition the court to further reduce his sentencing time based on his cooperation.

In court on Monday, Gates said that under sentencing guidelines he could face as few as 57 months for his crimes.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty to the 18 criminal counts against him in the Virginia federal criminal case, as well as similar charges in a case set to go to trial in September in Washington district court. Mueller's team lodged charges against Manafort in both cases, though neither are directly related to the special counsel's ongoing probe of potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The absence of a direct connection between so-called collusion and Manafort's alleged crimes has not gone unnoticed by Trump. He tweeted on the Aug. 1 — the second day of Manafort's trial — that "these old charges have nothing to do with Collusion - a Hoax!"


In fact, in a February 2018 indictment, the special counsel accused Manafort of hiding his ties to foreign bank accounts as recently as 2016.

In a follow-up Twitter post two hours later, Trump compared Manafort's treatment by federal authorities with notorious mobster Al Capone.


Gates follows more than a dozen witnesses brought in by the U.S. attorney to testify against Manafort. Prosecutors have highlighted dozens of invoices, email threads and financial statements to bolster their accusations that Manafort filed false tax returns and committed bank fraud to maintain his lavish spending habits.

While Gates' testimony had almost always been expected, it was unclear precisely when he would be called into the courtroom. The Washington Post reported that defense lawyer Kevin Downing revealed Monday that Gates was on deck while cross-examining Manafort's accountant, Cindy Laporta, who returned to testify for a second day under the protection of immunity.

The government instead initially called witness Paula Liss to testify on Monday afternoon, according to reports, but Gates ended up taking the stand shortly after.
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/06/rick-ga ... onday.html



Gates says he and Manafort didn't report 15 foreign accounts, knew it was illegal

Who is Rick Gates?
Alexandria, Virginia (CNN)Rick Gates, the key prosecution witness in the tax and fraud trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, testified Monday he had committed crimes alongside and at the direction of his former partner -- and had also stolen from Manafort himself.

Swamp on trial: Why people are hooked on the Manafort case
In stunning testimony at Manafort's trial on tax and fraud charges, Gates stated he and Manafort had 15 foreign accounts they did not report to the federal government, and knew it was illegal. Gates said he did not submit the required forms "at Mr. Manafort's direction."

Gates then admitted that he also turned the tables on Manafort -- cheating him out of "several hundred thousand" dollars by submitting false expense reports that were paid out of some of the undisclosed foreign bank accounts in Cyprus.

The testimony from Gates, a former adviser to Donald Trump, comes after reaching a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller earlier this year to testify against his former partner in a lucrative international political consulting firm.

Manafort stared directly at Gates as he read aloud the details of his plea agreement, which could see him receive a reduced sentence, at the direction of a prosecution lawyer.

Gates did not make eye contact with Manafort as he took the stand wearing a yellow tie and navy blue suit.

Prosecutors allege that Manafort financed a lavish lifestyle featuring sumptuous residences and extravagant wardrobes by using millions of dollars in profits that he hid from tax authorities then turned to bank fraud when his income started to dry up. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Gates outlines false expense reports, financial crimes


The defense in the case is likely to subject Gates to an intensive cross-examination after arguing during opening statements that he embezzled millions of dollars from Manafort and then turned against him under pressure from Mueller.

Track the latest developments in the trials of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Gates told the jury that as part of his plea with prosecutors, he revealed several other crimes that were not previously known and that were not included in the federal indictments against him and Manafort.

Aside from admitting to the false expense reports, Gates said he also created a fake letter to an investment company for a different colleague, Steve Brown. He also over-reported his income on mortgage and credit card applications and lied to his own personal tax accountant.

Gates also said he lied in a lawsuit deposition years ago, after Manafort "asked me not to include" certain things in the deposition.

As well as serving as Manafort's right-hand man in their multimillion-dollar business, Gates was also Manafort's deputy on the Trump campaign.

His testimony represents the biggest test yet for Mueller's investigation even though this case does not directly play into the issue of alleged cooperation by the Trump campaign in Russian election interference.

The President is watching proceedings carefully as Mueller appears to be moving closer to his inner circle on multiple fronts and has complained that Manafort has been treated like a mobster -- even as the White House has tried to open up some distance between Trump and his former campaign chairman.

Monday's court proceedings began with Manafort's accountant Cindy Laporta completing her testimony. Last week, she said that Manafort asked her to falsify numbers related to his company's profits. Other bookkeepers who worked with Manafort testified that he was intimately involved in all his financial dealings.
https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/06/politics ... index.html
All of this misogyny is making me nostalgic for treason
on trump/russia
"Colluded" is only a word confused people use
The word and crime is conspiracy
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:21 pm

Defiant Manafort Enters Trial Wearing Coat Made Of Live Puffins
Image



Trump’s Tweet About Donald Jr. and the Russians Is a Gift to Mueller

The president’s story about the Trump Tower meeting keeps changing. That’s blood in the water for prosecutors.

President Donald Trump’s weekend tweet regarding the 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians may seem like just one more of many he has posted that tend to incriminate himself, but this time it contained an explicit admission about a fact that he has vehemently denied and this time he might also have implicated his son, Donald Trump Jr.

On Sunday, Trump tweeted about the now well-known meeting that occurred in June 2016 at Trump Tower with Russians. Trump tweeted that it was “Fake News, a complete fabrication” that he was concerned about the meeting that his “wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower.” In doing so, Trump made a somewhat stunning admission: “This was a meeting to get information on an opponent.”

Let that sink in.

After dozens of tweets and statements, many in all caps, that “there was NO COLLUSION!” by anyone in the Trump campaign, Trump has now publicly admitted that, in fact, there was collusion (yes, we are purposefully using the “collusion” word instead of the legal term “conspiracy” here) by his own son, Donald Trump Jr. Of course, Trump followed that admission it with his newest line of defense that it’s “[t]otally legal and done all the time in politics - and it went nowhere.” Oh, and “I did not know about it,” he said of the meeting.

So, putting aside the fact that Trump now has admitted he lied repeatedly and publicly about “no collusion” what does the tweet mean for the legal implications and the real “c” word—conspiracy—for Trump and his son? Let’s break it down.

First, the conduct that occurred before and during the meeting was likely not “totally legal.” Campaign finance laws make it illegal to solicit or accept a “thing of value” from a foreign national. The reason for this law is to prevent foreign individuals or governments from having undue influence over candidates for public office. Accepting a donation from a foreign source, let alone a hostile foreign government, could divide the loyalties of successful candidates who go on to become public servants. The law removes this conflict of interest by banning foreign contributions.

Second, Trump included in his tweet the statement that he did not know about the meeting. Why include such a statement if it is totally legal? Michael Cohen has reportedly suggested that Trump was told about and approved the meeting in advance. If so, Trump, along with the others who participated, could possibly be charged with a conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws (even if a president cannot be indicted, he could be named as an unindicted co-conspirator in an indictment with Trump Jr.).

“Trump, along with the others who participated, could possibly be charged with a conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws.”

If Trump or his son became aware of hacked emails and provided guidance about how or when to disseminate them, they could be guilty of accessory-after-the-fact to a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act or conspiracy to defraud the United States by interfering with the administration of elections. Special counsel Robert Mueller would need only to supersede the indictment he has already filed against 12 Russian intelligence agents to add either of these counts. In addition, if it is discovered that the real subject of the meeting was a quid pro quo—such as dropping sanctions on Russia for help with Trump’s campaign—federal bribery laws could also be implicated by the meeting and its aftermath once Trump was the Republican nominee.

Third, this tweet could contribute to the growing pile of evidence of obstruction of justice. This tweet contradicts the press release that Trump reportedly dictated aboard Air Force One, describing the meeting as “primarily about adoptions.” While a press statement or a tweet standing alone is unlikely to constitute an obstruction of justice offense, it can provide evidence of the corrupt intent necessary to prove such a charge.

This tweet could be significant when combined with other evidence, including his demand of former FBI Director James Comey for a loyalty pledge, his request to Comey to let go of the investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, the subsequent firing of Comey, his statement to Lester Holt that he fired Comey because of Russia, and his tweet that he had to fire Flynn because Flynn lied to the FBI.

The fact that Trump now contradicts his earlier claim that the meeting was about adoption may tend to show that Trump acted with the “corrupt purpose” required for an obstruction charge. By misleading the public in the press release, Trump was seeking to hide the truth (from the public and even possibly from congressional and FBI investigators) about his campaign’s contacts with Russia. Was he doing the same when he took steps to end the FBI’s Russia investigation?

“The fact that Trump now contradicts his earlier claim that the meeting was about adoption may tend to show that Trump acted with the ‘corrupt purpose’ required for an obstruction charge.”

Finally, Trump’s admission almost certainly answers the question of whether his son lied, and therefore likely committed perjury, when he testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee that was not “aware” of foreign governments other than Russia offering or providing assistance to the Trump campaign and that he had not sought such help.

One response to all of this by Trump and his supporters is the “whataboutism defense.” What about the fact that the Democratic National Committee retained a law firm that hired Fusion GPS, which in turn hired Christopher Steele, a U.K. citizen, to conduct opposition research about Trump and create the so-called Steele dossier? Isn’t that just as bad as taking information, documents or emails from the Russians?

Well, no.

First, Steele was paid, and was not making a contribution, so Hillary Clinton was not in any way indebted to Steele, in compliance with the language and spirit of the law. In fact, by all indications, the Clinton campaign did not know that the law firm it retained had hired Steele. Even if Steele was talking to foreign individuals for his work, no foreigners were donating information directly to her campaign, which was paying a law firm for research. Because the Clinton campaign did not solicit or accept “a thing of value” from foreign nationals, the Steele project did not potentially compromise Clinton the way the Trump Tower meeting could potentially compromise Trump.

Second, there’s just no argument that several of the potential crimes mentioned above—computer hacking, bribery, obstruction of justice, perjury—could be implicated by the DNC or Clinton campaign’s actions.

The bottom line is this: Trump has completely shifted his story about the meeting at Trump Tower from “NO COLLUSION” to “maybe collusion but no conspiracy crime” and has shown evidence of “consciousness of guilt.” That is, people typically don’t need to change their stories unless they have something to hide. Trump’s shifting stories about the purpose of the meeting could indicate that he knows that he and/or his campaign or his son broke the law.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/trumps-tw ... to-mueller




The Ultimate Betrayal of Paul Manafort

When Rick Gates turned against his former boss, he described a parallel ethical universe where lying and cheating were as comfortable as a well-tailored ostrich suit.

Franklin Foer is a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He is the author of World Without Mind and How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization. He is the former editor of The New Republic
6:45 AM ET

Bill Hennessy / Reuters
You know what would be surprising? If Rick Gates and Paul Manafort had suddenly suspended their apparently deeply ingrained habits of fraudulence and thievery during the three months that they ran the Trump campaign.

Other chapters of their recent history—the chapters bracketing the campaign—include alleged episodes of witness tampering, lying to federal prosecutors, bank and tax fraud, as well as failure to register as agents of a foreign government. Therefore, given all that has emerged about their shared ethical framework, it’s hard to imagine that the public has received the exhaustive account of those months.

To understand just how ingrained their slippery habits had become, consider a defining moment from Monday’s proceedings of the Paul Manafort trial. In the course of turning state’s witness against his old boss, the former lobbyist Rick Gates admitted to the court that he repeatedly defrauded Manafort by inflating the expense reports he submitted to him. It wasn’t a trivial sum that he siphoned. He described his take as amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Or put it this way: Gates defrauded Manafort who was, in turn, allegedly defrauding banks and the United States government (with his potemkin tax returns).

More Stories


Rick Gates


Nor was there anything necessarily spiteful about Gates filching a little cash on the sly. Based on everything I’ve ever heard or read in the course of my reporting on Manafort, Gates worshipped his boss. He felt a sense of subservience, love even. And the warmth was mutual and could be described as filial. But that bond was never going to get in the way of bilking Manafort. They had spent nearly a decade in Ukraine, working for oligarchs and politicians. During those years abroad, the pair adopted the business practices of the Ukrainian political elite.

We know how Paul Manafort and Rick Gates were paid—a method that has been revealed in a memo that prosecutors have introduced in the course of the trial. According to court documents, Manafort would ask Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych for a massive sum of money. (The tone of one memo he wrote to Yanukovych is strangely confessional; Manafort described his precarious financial position to the president, even as he thanked him for getting paid millions.)

The president would then ask his chief of staff to collect contributions from the financial patrons of his political party. One Manafort associate told me that in the course of passing the hat to oligarchs, the chief of staff would collect more money than the bill required. The chief of staff would pocket some of that surplus cash for himself, a small tax for his efforts. In Ukraine, the rich excel at finding novel ways to exact fees, to skim money, to capture rents. Having participated in the system for so long, it seems Paul Manafort and Rick Gates internalized these techniques themselves.

So what? One strand of conventional wisdom holds that the Manafort trial has little to do with Donald Trump, let alone Russian collusion. Indeed, there’s a strong argument to be made that this case stands on its own as a significant moment in political history. But we’re still staring at a highly incomplete version of the full narrative—and it’s too soon to foreclose the possibility that this trial is merely prologue, filled with foreshadowing and suggestive hints of how everything might ultimately tie together.

Last week, I argued that Paul Manafort needs to be understood as a symptom of a global epidemic of kleptocracy—a virus that he imported into the United States. We know that his tenure in the Trump campaign contains at least some evidence that he infected the campaign, too. According to Robert Mueller’s prosecutors, Manafort promised a job on the campaign to a Chicago banker, in exchange for $16 million in loans. The banker ended up as one of the Trump campaign’s 13 official economic advisors. Could it be possible that’s the only instance of Manafort and Gates applying their Ukrainian education to the Trump campaign?

With Rick Gates’s testimony, Robert Mueller has orchestrated an important demonstration project. He’s shown how he can turn protege against mentor, how he can weaponize a devoted underling to destroy his beloved boss. How once he can get a campaign insider talking, what flows is damning beyond expectations. The question is now whether Gates’s testimony represents the culmination of a long and corrupt story, or the opening pages of a much more complicated tale.
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/ar ... al/566945/




Olga Lautman

It’s unreal that @RandPaul is in Russia but what’s infuriating is that the Russians are lobbying him in help with releasing Russian spy Butina. Apparently @randpaul has priorities and it’s not the protection of America
Image

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https://twitter.com/olgaNYC1211



Posted on Aug 04, 2018

How Maria Butina fooled the Russian opposition

Maria Butina, arrested in the United States on charges of promoting Russia's interests as a "foreign agent" without registration, participated in human rights and opposition projects in Russia before coming to America, and none of the activists who knew her could even imagine that she was working for the government or special services. This was reported by the press secretary of the Russian Bar Association for Human Rights Julia Guseinova in an interview.

"Maria participated in many of our events until 2015. We conducted an excellent study on life expectancy around the world, collected data on the human potential index with a forecast until 2050. I did not notice any "jingoism" on her part. On the contrary, Butina expressed a very sober assessment of what was happening and was strongly opposed to many initiatives of the authorities – very sober and reasonable. She was one of the few speakers who did not need to be told what needs to be said at the events. Also, Masha took a very tough and confident position against sexual harassment," Julia recalls.

According to Yuliya Guseinova, Maria Butina showed particular interest in the topic of space exploration and the gender equality in this field.

"Maria entered the women's space program, very much wanted to fly into space, prepared, trained by herself. She was very purposeful in terms of space exploration, constantly communicated with us about this, always posted information on this topic, carefully followed the developments in this area. This, of course, was very disarming. That's why for us there was no hint that she had a hidden agenda," – summed up Julia.

Maria Butina made a similar impression on the lawyer and human rights activist Maria Bast. On July 16, when information about the Russian woman's arrest became public, Maria Bast wrote on her Facebook page that Butina's eyes sparkled while talking about space.

"She joined our Women's Space Program, spoke out about discrimination against women in the space industry, we filed a protest permit to demonstrate against Roskosmos in defense of women's rights," Bast remembers, although adding that Butina may have been tempted "by money and position to the detriment of her dream."

According to the Russian opposition members living in the US, Maria Butina tried to make contacts with them, but nothing came of it.

"Once she came to meet us when we picketed the Russian embassy in Washington. However, after Maria said that she was involved in the movement to legalize guns in Russia, I immediately realized that this sounds very strange, and something is not right here. We did not maintain any contact after this", one of the initiators of the adoption of the Magnitsky Act, human rights activist Tanja Nyberg told in her comments.

Some other Russian dissidents living in the US also noted the discrepancy between Butina's behavior in America and the image created by her in Russia.

"The Russian authorities are afraid even of unarmed schoolchildren who participate in anti-government rallies. The regime is based on the intimidation of people and the constant use of force. How could anyone seriously believe that a person who promotes such a dangerous and unpopular among authorities idea as the unlimited gun ownership by citizens in a totalitarian country would enjoy such support and favor of the authorities? Of course, Butina's image appealed to elderly American gun lobbyists, but for those who are familiar with Russian realities, her legend seemed to be nonsense," the activists say.

As a reminder, on July 16, the US Justice Department announced the arrest of a Russian woman Maria Butina; she is accused of trying to promote Russian interests in the US without registering as a "foreign agent". The founder of the public organization "The Right to Arms", Butina is thought to be close to the deputy chairman of the Central Bank, former senator Alexander Torshin – judging by the American indictment, he was in charge of her activities in the US.

According to the FBI, Butina met with a Russian diplomat, whom US intelligence officials suspect of intelligence activities, actively made friends with prominent politicians and tried to create a shadow channel of communication between the Kremlin and the administration of Donald Trump. At the same time, she informed her American contacts that the channels she created were approved by the Administration of the President of Russia and personally by Vladimir Putin.
https://eutoday.net/news/human-rights/2 ... opposition



Accused Russian Agent's Journey To Washington Began In South Dakota

Maria Butina learned about Americans on a very local level — and found that gun rights would be a winning issue to get close to conservatives.

Vera Bergengruen
06:25 PM - 29 Apr 2014
Image
Facebook; Joe Ahlquist for BuzzFeed News; Getty Images; BuzzFeed News
Map of Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Reporting From

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Posted on August 6, 2018, at 6:31 p.m. ET

Long before she became a fixture at NRA conventions, and years before she allegedly attempted to set up a back channel between the Kremlin and Republican officials, Maria Butina got her foothold in the US in South Dakota.

She was invited to family dinners of buffalo steaks, shot pheasants with local hunters, and established a track record of speaking to American students about gun rights. It would eventually become the blueprint for her outreach efforts to Washington and the NRA, where the FBI says she established connections “based on common views and a system of conservative values.”

Now a growing number of people in this sparsely populated state best known as the home to Mount Rushmore are flabbergasted to find themselves in photos or Facebook friends with an alleged Russian agent. Last month, Butina was arrested and jailed as an unregistered foreign agent for carrying out a years-long campaign to infiltrate US conservative organizations, which prosecutors say was directed by a high-ranking Russian official and funded by a Russian billionaire. She has pleaded not guilty.

“I met a Russian spy 3 years before she was outed,” reads the recently edited caption of an Instagram photo posted in 2015 by Nick Johnson, now an enlisted US Marine, who posed with Butina at a Young Republicans summer camp.

butina2 .tiff


He is part of a growing group — the pilot who took her flying, the restaurant owner who introduced her to the Moscow Mule, the local hunters who counted trophies with her, the congressional candidate who invited her to speak to kids about gun rights — asking the same question: What was Butina doing in South Dakota?

Butina made Sioux Falls, the state’s largest city, her home base in the US for several stays in 2014 and 2015 before moving to Washington on a student visa. It was there that she got her first US cellphone, with a South Dakota area code, and wrote detailed observations of how American institutions worked, from local elections to college campuses. While the FBI has focused on “the groundwork that Butina and the Russian official laid to influence high-level politicians” in 2015, her time in South Dakota was mainly spent with average Americans.

That fits with what former intelligence officers told BuzzFeed News her likely purpose was — to gather information and develop access to influential US figures.

“When she was connecting on a very local level, she was getting information on how our society works and building her backstory,” said Alex Finley, a former CIA operations officer.

In that sense, Butina's time in the US was similar to that of Russians who traveled to several states in 2014 for the Internet Research Agency, a state-sponsored troll farm indicted for trying to meddle in the 2016 election — “she was figuring out how things work, what are the political divisions on the local level, what could you exploit,” Finley said.

Although her subsequent efforts to set up high-level meetings were often clumsy, and not always successful, her time in South Dakota seemed to prove that when it came to the issue of gun rights, Russians had found a valuable access point to US conservatives.

South Dakota, The Rushmore. Это даже более потрясающе, чем я могла представить. Хотя думала, что работа древнее

Maria_Butina / Twitter / Via Twitter: @Maria_Butina
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“[Sioux Falls] reminded me of my native Siberia.”

Butina first visited South Dakota in April 2014, accompanied by her US partner and eventual boyfriend, Paul Erickson, a 56-year-old South Dakota Republican political operative and businessman. She’d met him five months earlier in Moscow, where he was part of a group of American gun activists who attended her group's annual meeting. The US delegation was headed by David Keene, a former NRA president whom Erickson had known since 1995.

The first thing she noticed when she got off the plane in Sioux Falls was that it smelled like home — “the frosty air and even the smell of the local flora reminded me of my native Siberia,” she wrote in an article for a Russian magazine in 2016.

The other was the large orange banner — “Welcome Hunters!” — at the airport, which proudly notes it is named for a former governor who served as an NRA president.

It was the perfect entry point in the US for the then–25-year-old gun enthusiast, who in conversations with locals often brought up that she had a lot in common with South Dakota’s culture.

In Washington, she often came off as overly solicitous in her introductions, and her fervent offers to connect made some uncomfortable, people who met her told BuzzFeed News.
Image
Interstate 29, south of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Joe Ahlquist for BuzzFeed News
Interstate 29, south of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

In South Dakota’s largest city — which at 150,000 is still a fraction of the size of her native Barnaul in Siberia — the stakes were lower, and people were friendly. Her stories of fighting for citizens’ access to weapons tapped into the fear — and sympathy — of avid Second Amendment supporters in a state where billboards on the highway read “Eat steak. Wear furs. Keep your guns. The American way.”

On her first visit, touring the state after attending the annual NRA convention in Indianapolis, she hit the main sights, from Mount Rushmore (“I thought the work was more ancient”) to bison (“looks terrifying, right?”)

Half a year later, she was back again, going pheasant hunting with a local outdoor group.

Photos of her posted by Missouri River Outdoors that November refer to her as “our guest hunter, Maria, from Moscow, Russia,” with Erickson never far from her side — rare glimpses of the duo together.

“When we got there, we were told a Russian model was going to join the hunting group,” Kevin Connelly, who lives in Elk Point and was part of the group that day, told BuzzFeed News. In the company of men, Butina often brought up that she had been featured in Russian GQ, posing with guns.


“It was perfect for her mission.”

In the words of local blogger Cory Allen Heidelberger, “Boy, there’s gotta be a promo for South Dakota tourism in here somewhere.”

Heidelberger, who runs the liberal Dakota Free Press, has been crowdsourcing photos to find Butina’s hunting companions and not been surprised to get comments like “no way, that’s my boss!”

“South Dakota doesn’t make the news much, so now there’s so much intrigue because it really does intersect with almost every one of our lives,” he said. “People thought, ‘Here’s a girl who grew up shooting, she’s like my sister,’ and that’s all you needed to get a foot in the door."

Downtown Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Joe Ahlquist for BuzzFeed News
Downtown Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

While the later years of Butina’s work have been in the headlines, described by the FBI as a “calculated, patient” influence operation that left a trail of $300,000 in financial transactions, Erickson’s neighbors have been dissecting the time she spent in South Dakota.

“It’s so freaking crazy and surreal, I feel like there are now almost zero degrees of separation between myself and the most fascinating yet frightening true story of my lifetime,” said Nicole Allen, who said seeing news coverage of an alleged Russian agent living in her complex was “wild af” and that neighbors have been joking about the common areas being bugged. “It’s a rural, gun-loving state so I believe that’s why it was perfect for her mission.”

It was to that Sioux Falls apartment that Butina’s lawyer, Robert Driscoll, says she was planning to move with Erickson when she was arrested last month. He told BuzzFeed News the recent American University graduate was planning on starting a business there.

“Maria Butina was incredible”

Erickson used his local connections to give Butina a platform that would build a reputation in US gun activist circles.

Her local speaking engagements over the course of a few months in 2015 show how she used these low-key events, which were carefully documented on social media and written up on her blog, to establish herself.

“Maria Butina was incredible,” the organizer of a weeklong summer camp for teenage Republicans tweeted in July 2015, with a photo that shows Butina speaking, with Erickson standing behind her holding a map. “The kids *loved* her stories of working for freedom in Russia.”

Now that organizer, Dusty Johnson, is the Republican candidate for South Dakota’s lone US House seat and has found himself having to explain to critics how an alleged Russian agent ended up speaking to kids at his event.

“Expecting that people at a summer camp would sniff out a Russian spy as part of a 25-minute speech about freedom is probably expecting more than any rational person could,” he told the Argus Leader newspaper.

Johnson’s defense — that he had looked up Butina online before inviting her, and had been reassured because she had previously spoken at local schools and universities — shows that Butina and Erickson’s strategy of establishing a track record had been successful. Johnson didn't respond to a request for comment from BuzzFeed News.

Earlier that year, in April 2015, Butina had spoken at the University of South Dakota, Erickson’s alma mater in his hometown of Vermillion.

Image
University of South Dakota
A flyer for the event featured a professional headshot of Butina and a biography that portrayed her as the face of Russia’s gun rights movement. She hit all the now-familiar points, according to an outline of her speech posted on her website, telling students that South Dakota reminded her of Siberia, praising US gun laws, and ending with a Bible verse. In a Russian-language blog, she recounted that they had asked good questions and she had not found the stereotype of “dumb” American college students to be true, describing them as “not dumber and not smarter than our guys.”

A USD spokesperson told BuzzFeed News Butina was invited “as an international guest lecturer upon the recommendation of Paul Erickson,” who is listed as a “life executive member” of the W.O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership, a USD program.

Even when the issue was far removed from guns, Butina did not turn down any opportunity to speak in front of an audience. That same summer, she spoke to high school students at an “Academy of Finance” workshop in Sioux Falls about women and entrepreneurship, describing her experience running furniture stores in her hometown. The teacher later posted a thank-you note saying it was “priceless to have a leader like Maria Butina and Paul Erickson in our classroom to role model” for the students.

“There was no political discussion whatsoever” at her event, Sioux Falls School District spokesperson Ben Schumacher told BuzzFeed News.

He confirmed that it was arranged by Erickson, who at the time was a volunteer with the Junior Achievement of South Dakota program.

The Sioux Falls apartment building where Butina stayed with Erickson.
Joe Ahlquist for BuzzFeed News
The Sioux Falls apartment building where Butina stayed with Erickson.

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Despite him playing a major role in setting up all of these events, Butina does not seem to mention Erickson once in her more than 4,000 blog entries, as well as thousands more posts and photos on Facebook, Instagram, VK, and Twitter. It appears to be a glaring omission for the live-in “boyfriend” her lawyer said she was moving to South Dakota for after a years-long relationship.

She only mentions him in her gun group’s promotion for an event in Moscow where he was speaking in September 2014, describing him as a “life member” of the NRA, a gun collector, a Christian, and airplane aficionado who had served as a political consultant in six presidential campaigns. The NRA did not respond to BuzzFeed News' repeated requests for comment.

According to the FBI affidavit, Butina’s relationship with Erickson was a cover that she “appears to treat…as simply a necessary aspect of her activities.” Later on, she “expressed disdain” about having to live with him, prosecutors allege.

Erickson’s Sioux Falls apartment, where Butina lived on her visits in 2014 and 2015, lies in a quiet complex centered around an American flag, silent except for the wind chimes on neighbors’ balconies and the muted roar of a nearby highway. Families of deer circle behind a patch of trees by the bike path she used for morning runs and yoga. The listed address for Erickson’s business, Compass Care, is right across the street, in the same complex as the local office for US Sen. John Thune. Last month, it looked abandoned, with boxes of files sitting on the floor of the darkened front office.

It must have been a stark contrast to Butina’s life in Moscow, which, according to friends in Russia and photographs, was often a whirlwind of television appearances, interviews, speeches, and dinners at which she was the center of attention as the face of her organization.

“She is not a private person; she’s a public person,” her lawyer argued in court last month. “She was famous in Russia before she came to the US.”

Living in the Sioux Falls complex with Erickson, neighbors told BuzzFeed News, she was friendly but mainly kept to herself. Often spotted in running clothes, and once with her leg in a cast, she did not appear to make any personal friends and spent a lot of her time online, blogging about her workouts and healthy recipes on her personal account.

However, a number of Butina’s online posts were long, detailed observations about how things worked in the US that showed an unusual interest for a twentysomething who was visiting a rural state. She wrote about local school board elections in Sioux Falls, detailing the process of how IDs and tablets were used to vote and saying she was “fortunate to observe how local self-government is realized here.”

A white-tailed deer fawn along the bike path Maria Butina used in Sioux Falls.
Joe Ahlquist for BuzzFeed News
A white-tailed deer fawn along the bike path Maria Butina used in Sioux Falls.

Her posts for and about her gun rights organization — which experts doubt was a legitimate grassroots organization, but rather a cover for her activities — increasingly incorporated US-centered and NRA talking points.

She often wrote about US crime and gun ownership statistics. She spoke and wrote about the mass shootings at Sandy Hook and Fort Hood, and shared US news stories about non-gun violence, for example, a 2014 story about about 24 people injured at a high school stabbing in Pittsburgh.

Although she almost always posted in Russian, the memes she shared were often in English, so the Americans she met and friended on social media were able to comment on them. They often featured graphic images to make their point — bloody knives, terrified women cowering from an aggressor, a victim shot in the head, and glamour shots of herself with weapons.

Her posts also became more political.

“According to supporters of the US Democratic Party, Russians can not be trusted with weapons,” she says in one of her blog's headlines in 2014. She often referenced NRA posts critical of President Barack Obama’s policies. The following year, when Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy, she shared a post titled “Hillary Equates Gun Owners With Terrorists, Says They Are 'Prone to Violence,'" and later posted the NRA’s anti-Clinton ad.

She also wrote about wanting to get her pilot’s license while she was in South Dakota. In November 2015, she took a discovery flight with Legacy Aviation, a flight school 10 minutes from Erickson’s apartment. She posted several photos taken in the air and posed with her pilot log announcing her “flying classes had started today.”

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The co-owner of the school, Mark Isackson, told BuzzFeed News that he had seen Butina in the news and was surprised to recognize one of his flight instructors in half a dozen photos with the alleged Russian spy three years earlier. “Oh…that’s Kurt, all right. That’s Kurt,” he said when a BuzzFeed News reporter showed him the pictures posted by Butina.

Kurt Andersen said he had “no recollection of this short introductory flight whatsoever.”

Butina never registered for formal flying lessons with the school, Isackson said. As a Russian citizen, she would have had to register through the TSA’s Alien Flight Student program, a post-9/11 screening process that requires noncitizens to undergo a "security threat assessment" before being cleared to attend flight school.

“My guess is there were many Butinas out there.”

In the background of all her activities in South Dakota is the presence of Erickson, usually the person taking her photo with the Americans she met. He is rarely pictured with Butina except for a few photos posted by other groups — the Right to Bear Arms convention, the outdoor group’s collection of photos from the pheasant hunt, a USD alumni event in Washington.

Erickson has not been accused of any wrongdoing, but prosecutors said in court filings that he was "instrumental in aiding her covert influence operation, despite knowing its connections to the Russian official." His efforts included helping in efforts to organize a meeting at the May 2016 NRA convention between then-candidate Trump and Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia's central bank and a former Russian senator who was allegedly Butina’s handler in Russia.

Friends and former colleagues who spoke to BuzzFeed News described Erickson as a longtime bachelor, a “wild character,” a “bumbling bullshitter,” a “mystery wrapped in an enigma,” and “a sharp political guy” with a colorful past, known for hyping his connections and driving a bright red 1990s Mustang with the license plate RTWING.

In the small world of South Dakota politics, most people had run across him at some point, they said. His career spanned a bizarre range of work, including being a top staffer in Pat Buchanan’s presidential campaign, coproducing the anti-communist action movie Red Scorpion with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and lobbying for an African dictator.

The office building where Paul Erickson has kept an office in Sioux Falls.
Joe Ahlquist for BuzzFeed News
The office building where Paul Erickson has kept an office in Sioux Falls.

In his memoir, Abramoff described Erickson as a “tall, thin raconteur” who “successfully hypnotized most of Washington's official media” when he worked with the College Republicans.

“No one was better to parachute into a crisis than Erickson,” he wrote.

Others describe him as a cash-strapped “con man” who according to South Dakota public records has at least seven court judgments totaling $421,212 against him and his companies since 2003, a fraud with an overblown sense of importance who, like Butina, was a compulsive networker. He kept connections from his time at the University of Virginia and Yale — for example, South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford, who was recently surprised to discover he had hosted the alleged Russian agent for Thanksgiving.

“He’s a connector; he’s one of those guys that knows a lot of people, or pretends to, and puts himself in the middle of everything,” a friend of Erickson’s who worked in the same circles told BuzzFeed News. “We’d sit around and wonder what Paul is doing; does he really know the people he claims to know? Does he really own homes in Manhattan Beach and LA? You just don’t know.”

In his messages to Butina, revealed in court filings, he similarly bragged about the lists of influential people he could introduce her to, assuring her, “If you were to sit down with your special friends and make a list of ALL the most important contacts you could find in America…NO ONE could build a better list.”

While details of the years-long relationship among Butina, Erickson and Torshin continue to emerge, former intelligence officials and Russia analysts say theirs was just one of what was likely a large number of similar efforts.

John Sipher, a former member of the CIA clandestine service, said Russians “may well have dispatched a number of folks in different ways” to see what stuck.

Finley, the former CIA operations officer, agreed, saying Butina’s actions can’t be seen as “some giant master plan” but rather a part of Russians' countless low-cost, low-risk operations.

“When they sent her over, they didn’t know she’d infiltrate the NRA and meet high-level people, but as opportunities arose they’d take them. They were casting as wide a net as they could,” she said. “My guess is there were many Butinas out there.”
https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/ve ... -trump-nra



Robert Mueller Saw Trump Coming in 2011

Gaslit Nation
Aug 7, 2018

In the third installment of Gaslit Nation's look back at 2016 we dig into election hacking, the recount, dead Russians, and Mueller's 2011 predictions.
In this third installment looking back on 2016, a gaslit year, we take you through election hacking, the recounts, and warnings from Robert Mueller, then director of the FBI, in 2011 whose “Iron Triangles” speech laid-out the coalition of corruption at the heart of RussiaGate. Here is an excerpt of that speech:

“Some believe that organized crime is a thing of the past. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Traditional criminal syndicates still con, extort, and intimidate American citizens.

As you know, just last week we arrested nearly 130 members of La Cosa Nostra in New York, New Jersey, and New England. We will continue to work with our state and local partners to end La Cosa Nostra’s lifelong practice of crime and undue influence.

But the playing field has changed. We have seen a shift from regional families with a clear structure, to flat, fluid networks with global reach. These international enterprises are more anonymous and more sophisticated. Rather than running discrete operations, on their own turf, they are running multi-national, multi-billion dollar schemes from start to finish.

We are investigating groups in Asia, Eastern Europe, West Africa, and the Middle East. And we are seeing cross-pollination between groups that historically have not worked together. Criminals who may never meet, but who share one thing in common: greed.

They may be former members of nation-state governments, security services, or the military. These individuals know who and what to target, and how best to do it. They are capitalists and entrepreneurs. But they are also master criminals who move easily between the licit and illicit worlds. And in some cases, these organizations are as forward-leaning as Fortune 500 companies.

This is not “The Sopranos,” with six guys sitting in a diner, shaking down a local business owner for $50 dollars a week. These criminal enterprises are making billions of dollars from human trafficking, health care fraud, computer intrusions, and copyright infringement. They are cornering the market on natural gas, oil, and precious metals, and selling to the highest bidder.

These crimes are not easily categorized. Nor can the damage, the dollar loss, or the ripple effects be easily calculated. It is much like a Venn diagram, where one crime intersects with another, in different jurisdictions, and with different groups.

How does this impact you? You may not recognize the source, but you will feel the effects. You might pay more for a gallon of gas. You might pay more for a luxury car from overseas. You will pay more for health care, mortgages, clothes, and food.

Yet we are concerned with more than just the financial impact. These groups may infiltrate our businesses. They may provide logistical support to hostile foreign powers. They may try to manipulate those at the highest levels of government. Indeed, these so-called “iron triangles” of organized criminals, corrupt government officials, and business leaders pose a significant national security threat.

Let us turn for a moment to the link between transnational organized crime and terrorism. If a terrorist cannot obtain a passport, for example, he will find someone who can. Terrorists may turn to street crime—and, by extension, organized crime—to raise money, as did the 2004 Madrid bombers.

Organized criminals have become “service providers.” Could a Mexican group move a terrorist across the border? Could an Eastern European enterprise sell a Weapon of Mass Destruction to a terrorist cell? Likely, yes. Criminal enterprises are motivated by money, not ideology. But they have no scruples about helping those who are, for the right price.

Intelligence and partnerships are key to our success in countering these threats.

In the past nine years, we in the FBI have shifted from a law enforcement agency to a national security service that is threat-driven and intelligence-led.

With organized crime, we are using intelligence to expand upon what we already know, from phone, travel, and financial records to extensive biographies of key players. And we are sharing this information with our partners around the world.

But we are also building a long-term strategy for dismantling these enterprises. Last year, we set up two units, called Threat Focus Cells, to target Eurasian organized crime. The first focuses on the Semion Mogilevich Organization; the second on the Brother’s Circle enterprise.

For those of you not familiar with either group, their memberships are large, their reach is global, and their scope of operations is broad, from weapons and drug trafficking to high-stakes fraud and global prostitution. If left unchecked, the resulting impact to our economy and our security will be significant. Indeed, Semion Mogilevich is on the FBI Top Ten Most Wanted List, and he will remain so until he is captured.”

Semion Mogilevich was removed from the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List in 2015 under James Comey.

If you missed our previous episodes, you can check out episode 1 here and episode 2 here.

https://www.damemagazine.com/2018/08/07 ... g-in-2011/



Donald Trump’s endgame: He may admit collusion — and claim he was saving America from Hillary

Trump’s supporters literally accept whatever he says, and the GOP will never stand up. This will end very badly

Chauncey DeVega
Donald Trump's presidency is like a poorly written spy thriller turned into real life. The newest twist in this painful never-ending story? After many months of denying that his son and other campaign representatives met with a Russian agent to discuss receiving damaging information about Hillary Clinton -- the cover story being that the meeting in Trump Tower was about the adoptions of Russian children -- on Sunday Trump admitted on Twitter that this was all a lie. He proclaimed: “This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics - and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!”

I have explained on numerous occasions that Donald Trump colluded with Russia in plain sight to steal the 2016 presidential election from Hillary Clinton and the American people. Trump has also continued to obstruct justice to conceal what was probably a crime and certainly a treasonous act.

In the New Yorker, Adam Davidson provides this context:

The President’s Sunday-morning tweet should be seen as a turning point. It doesn’t teach us anything new — most students of the case already understand what Donald Trump, Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner knew about that Trump Tower meeting. But it ends any possibility of an alternative explanation.

We can all move forward understanding that there is a clear fact pattern about which there is no dispute:

The President’s son and top advisers knowingly met with individuals connected to the Russian government, hoping to obtain dirt on their political opponent.
Documents stolen from the Democratic National Committee and members of the Clinton campaign were later used in an overt effort to sway the election.
When the Trump Tower meeting was uncovered, the President instructed his son and staff to lie about the meeting, and told them precisely which lies to use.
The President is attempting to end the investigation into this meeting and other instances of attempted collusion between his campaign staff and representatives of the Russian government.
It was possible, just days ago, to believe — with an abundance of generosity toward the President and his team — that the meeting was about adoption, went nowhere, and was overblown by the Administration’s enemies. No longer.

What happens next?

Trump and his spokespeople and other allies have been shifting the narrative from whether Donald Trump and his inner circle colluded with Russians during the 2016 election to "So what! Collusion is not illegal!" Trump's confession on Sunday is but the next step in an overall strategy of normalizing the heretofore unthinkable in American politics and society. In many ways, this is the Trump's administration's guiding principle.

Donald Trump will also continue his assault on Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party and their voters' loyalty, patriotism and humanity. This too is but an extension of a decades-long strategy by Republicans and the right-wing media, in which violent and eliminationist rhetoric -- and stochastic terrorism -- directed at liberals, progressives, and Democrats is the norm.

Trump's final move

Trump may finally admit that he worked with the Russians to stop Hillary Clinton because she was a "threat" to the American people and the "American way of life." Donald Trump will hide his behavior, and that of his allies, behind a mask that their goal was pure and patriotic.

On Monday, Donald Trump again signaled in that direction. He tweeted this:

Collusion with Russia was very real. Hillary Clinton and her team 100% colluded with the Russians, and so did Adam Schiff who is on tape trying to collude with what he thought was Russians to obtain compromising material on DJT. We also know that Hillary Clinton paid through a law firm, eventually Kremlin connected sources, to gather info on Donald Trump. Collusion is very real with Russia, but only with Hillary and the Democrats, and we should demand a full investigation.

Will it work?

Yes.

Trump's political movement meets the definition of a cult. As explained by Steven Hassan, one of the world's foremost experts on the subject, "Donald Trump fits the stereotypical profile of a cult leader. His followers fit the model as well. Many of them, especially the ones that say, 'He could do anything and we would still believe him, we would still follow him,' sound like people who have been indoctrinated into a totalistic mindset."


Republicans and other conservatives are increasingly authoritarian and possess a deep disdain for democracy. Research by political scientists and others has revealed that "winning at any costs" -- even if that means subverting democracy -- is increasingly all that matters for many on the American right.

Other polling data and research shows that Republican voters also hold increasingly positive views of Russia and Vladimir Putin.

Extreme political polarization and negative partisanship dictates that any criticism of Donald Trump is taken to be a personal affront and an attack on one's own personal identity by his voters and other supporters.

Fox News and the right-wing echo chamber function as a type of state-sponsored media who help to legitimate most if not all of Trump's policies and behavior.

Donald Trump is one of the most popular Republican presidents among his own party's members and supporters in the history of modern public opinion polling. Republican elected officials largely agree with his policies and do his bidding. Republicans, both elites and rank-and-file voters, will not abandon Donald Trump.

READ MORE: Right-wing talk show host Joe Walsh tells Salon: Donald Trump "betrayed his country"

Responsible voices in the mainstream American news media will be aghast at Donald Trump's admission of guilt and his claims that collusion is just another word for "patriotism." But given the malignant reality that Trump and his enablers have created, all efforts by the fourth estate to be the watchdog of democracy will once again fail to stop Trump and the Republican Party's war on democracy and the truth. For Trump and his public, journalists and are "enemies of the people," to be vilified and, if need be, targeted for violence.

What can be done?

Of course the Republican Party and their voters and news media will never stand up against Donald Trump. This will be true even if Robert Mueller uncovers incontrovertible evidence that Trump and his allies intentionally and in violation of law colluded with Russia to undermine American democracy and that Trump personally obstructed justice in an effort to conceal the crimes.

Optimally, Donald Trump should be impeached, convicted and removed from office. That should also be the fate of any Republican elected officials who aided and abetted Trump's betrayal of American democracy and his treasonous behavior. Unfortunately, this is exceedingly unlikely. Democrats may well win a majority in the House of Representatives this fall, but most polling models and forecasts suggest they will be unable to do so in the Senate. (In any case, a two-thirds majority is required to convict a president in the Senate, and no party is ever likely to hold such a margin.)

The American people are the country's remaining hope. They will need to engage in nationwide strikes and protests that disrupt day-to-day life. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons that range ranging from cowardice to learned helplessness and exhaustion, most Americans have become used to the moral, ethical,and political abomination that is Age of Donald Trump. Their outrage is spent.

As historian Richard Frankel warned in a previous interview about the rise of the Nazis and its lessons for America, "The unfortunate aspect is that if you set the bar so high in terms of outrage and horror then people all too often let things continue when they could have been stopped earlier. Once it gets to that point it's way too late." He is correct. History's epitaph for American democracy -- that less-than-perfect time before the irreparable harm inflicted on our country's democracy and culture by Trump's presidency -- may well include the observation that Americans surrendered their country with surprisingly little struggle.
https://www.salon.com/2018/08/07/donald ... m-hillary/



Manafort was paid 4 million dollars a year to help Viktor Yanukovych run the Ukrainian government starting in 2010


Image




Image
All of this misogyny is making me nostalgic for treason
on trump/russia
"Colluded" is only a word confused people use
The word and crime is conspiracy
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby BenDhyan » Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:11 am

I know, I know, it's Fox, it's Hannity, and it's Giuliani, but I post it for the record. Their expectation is either serious or merely wishful thinking, and as things seem to be coming to a head with the Mueller investigation winding down soon, we can at some time look back to this and assess which it was.

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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby 82_28 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:04 am

For "eye/ear wash" I love this clip of "sassy trump" and hannity:



I wonder if there is a sassy ghouliani? I will have to check.
There is no me. There is no you. There is all. There is no you. There is no me. And that is all. A profound acceptance of an enormous pageantry. A haunting certainty that the unifying principle of this universe is love. -- Propagandhi
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby BenDhyan » Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:22 am

^ Hilarious, President Milo Trump..
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby BenDhyan » Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:33 am

Definitely approaching end game...

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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:15 am

FauxNews is FauxNews


Fox News Now Airs Unabashed White Nationalism in Primetime
https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a ... r-carlson/



We are no where near end game


Many more indictments to come .......Roger Stone’s time in a barrel is coming soon


Mueller request signals Gates may still be cooperating
Alexandria, Virginia (CNN) — A court filing from special counsel Robert Mueller signals that Rick Gates may be assisting the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election beyond the case against Paul Manafort


In a filing Thursday, Mueller's team said it wanted to keep secret a discussion between trial attorneys and Judge T.S. Ellis regarding a question to Gates secret because the transcript of the conversation would "reveal details of the ongoing investigation."

When Gates pleaded guilty and flipped on Manafort in February, he also agreed to help the special counsel with its investigation into Russian election interference as he was needed. It's unclear how he has aided the special counsel's probe beyond the Manafort case, but Gates was a deputy to Manafort on the Trump campaign and worked on the transition and presidential inauguration.

The still-secret conversation occurred Tuesday afternoon in the middle of Gates' testimony against Manafort, who served as Trump's campaign chairman in 2016.

Defense attorney Kevin Downing had asked Gates, "Were you interviewed on several occasions about your time at the Trump campaign?"

Prosecutor Greg Andres objected to the question before Gates could answer.

The lawyers and Ellis then huddled in the far corner of the courtroom to discuss whether the question could be asked. The courtroom's overhead noise machine was turned on so that Gates, the jury and the public in the room couldn't hear what they said.

Ellis called for a break in the proceedings immediately after the short discussion ended, and Downing tried to ask about the Trump campaign investigation again.

During the discussion -- one of many during a trial, often called a "sidebar conference" in court lingo -- the prosecutors now say they discussed "new" details about their "ongoing criminal investigation" into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible coordination with the Trump campaign.

"Disclosing the identified transcript portions would reveal substantive evidence pertaining to an ongoing investigation ... In addition, sealing will minimize any risk of prejudice from the disclosure of new information relating to that ongoing investigation," the special counsel's team wrote in a court filing Thursday. "The government's concerns would continue until the relevant aspect of the investigation is revealed publicly, if that were to occur."
https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2018/08/09/poli ... ssion=true



Manafort trial will be good today

Roger Stone’s friend got a subpoena

Roger Stone’s madam friend is talking to Mueller today

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LONG LIVE SPACE FORCE!

Why are Trumpers so obsessed with “Space Force?”

Because in space, they can’t hear you use the n-word.



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Last edited by seemslikeadream on Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:43 am, edited 2 times in total.
All of this misogyny is making me nostalgic for treason
on trump/russia
"Colluded" is only a word confused people use
The word and crime is conspiracy
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:37 am

“On some days, the water I’m carrying for Trump and the White House is so heavy that my knuckles scrape the ground.”

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All of this misogyny is making me nostalgic for treason
on trump/russia
"Colluded" is only a word confused people use
The word and crime is conspiracy
User avatar
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Posts: 28081
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:33 am

somebody is going to jail and it's Roger Stone's friend .....why wouldn't Miller want to testily ...fraidy cat don't want to rat out your buddy? :P


Witness in Mueller probe refuses to appear before grand jury


A witness in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation has refused to appear for scheduled grand jury testimony Friday, prompting a sealed hearing before a federal judge.

Andrew Miller, a former aide to longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone, had fought and lost a court battle earlier this month to quash a subpoena, after a judge issued a 93-page opinion saying Miller must testify before the grand jury.

Peter Flaherty, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative nonprofit that is funding Miller’s legal fight, said Miller had refused to appear before the grand jury in response to a subpoena.

When a subpoenaed witness refuses to testify before a grand jury, that person can be held in contempt. In some cases, such a contempt finding can lead to a witness being sent to jail until the person agrees to testify.

Mueller is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether any Trump associates conspired with those efforts.

[How an ex-madam, a political trickster and a toddler got tangled up in the Russia investigation]

Stone has been under scrutiny by Mueller in part because of a series of public statements and tweets he made during the 2016 campaign appearing to suggest he had advance knowledge of hacked Democratic emails released by the group WikiLeaks. The publication of the emails embarrassed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and helped disrupt the presidential race.

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded the Russian government was behind the hacking of the material from the Democratic Party and the personal email account of Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.

A grand jury indicted 12 Russian military officers in July for orchestrating the hacks.

Miller worked for Stone during the 2016 presidential campaign, handling duties such as setting up media interviews. He is one of at least a half-dozen of Stone’s associates to be called to testify. Others include his driver, John Kakanis, and a social media consultant, Jason Sullivan. Kristin Davis, who gained notoriety in the 2000s as the “Manhattan Madam” when she ran a high-end prostitution ring, is also expected to testify to the grand jury.

Stone has accused Mueller’s team of harassing his associates.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/73e27130 ... fbe3f95f25




How a Blacklisted Russian Firm Won (and Lost) a Break From Trump’s Tariffs

Aug. 9, 2018

A Rusal refinery in Siberia. Rusal’s first 19 requests for an aluminum tariff exemption were denied by Commerce Department officials. In late July, its 20th request was granted.Ilya Naymushin/Reuters
WASHINGTON — Hundreds of companies have asked the Trump administration for a special break from its sweeping aluminum tariffs. Few have succeeded. One that managed to get an exemption is a Russian firm currently subject to Treasury Department sanctions.

How Rusal America — a branch of a Russian metals giant controlled by an oligarch with close ties to President Vladimir V. Putin — managed to win an exclusion highlights the chaotic and unwieldy process surrounding President Trump’s tariffs.

While Rusal and its controlling stakeholder, Oleg V. Deripaska, are restricted by American sanctions, one of the company’s dozens of exemption requests was granted by the Commerce Department in July, apparently for the simple reason that no American manufacturer objected.

Department officials reversed the decision this week, after concluding that an American aluminum manufacturer had meant to object, but made a mistake in its paperwork.

The Trump administration has cited national security concerns in imposing tariffs of 10 percent on aluminum and 25 percent on steel, saying a flood of cheap foreign metals could degrade the American industrial base and make the United States military and others too dependent on imported metals. The tariffs hit dozens of countries, including Canada, Mexico, China and Russia, as well as the European Union.

To help American manufacturers obtain products they are unable to get from domestic suppliers, the administration established a process for companies to request exemptions.

Companies must file an exclusion request for every product they want to import, and, so far, just a few have gotten the green light. Since May, companies have filed nearly 3,000 requests for aluminum exclusions. By the start of this month, the Commerce Department had granted 115 of those requests and denied 111; the rest remain under review. The department has denied nearly 650 steel requests and approved more than 1,300, out of more than 22,000 requests filed.

Rusal is an unlikely company to win an exemption. Mr. Deripaska, its major shareholder, was blacklisted by the United States in April as part of an effort to punish members of Mr. Putin’s inner circle for interference in the 2016 election and other Russian aggressions. Mr. Deripaska and six other wealthy Russians were hit with sanctions that restricted their ability to travel to the United States or do business with any company in the West. As part of that effort, Rusal and other entities were also constrained from engaging in transactions with Western companies.

Mr. Deripaska was once close with Paul Manafort, who served as Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, and who is currently on trial over allegations of financial fraud. During the campaign, Mr. Manafort suggested providing campaign briefings to Mr. Deripaska. There is no evidence that such briefings occurred.

Rusal has been struggling to operate with the American sanctions in place and has appealed to the Treasury Department for relief. The United States has said it will consider lifting the ban if Mr. Deripaska cedes control of the company, and Rusal has begun the process for that to occur. In an interview with Reuters last month, the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, said he was open to easing the sanctions on Rusal, which the company has said pose a threat to its operations. “Our objective is not to put Rusal out of business,” he said.

Despite the cloud of sanctions, Rusal filed more than 100 requests for exclusions that would allow it to import aluminum products from its Russian parent company to produce furniture, portable ladders and other goods. An American aluminum titan, Century Aluminum, filed objections to all but a few of those requests.

Rusal’s first 19 requests were denied by Commerce Department officials. In late July, its 20th request was granted. To date, Commerce Department officials say they have never approved a request that another company objected to properly.

Democrats in Congress who noticed the exclusion were prepared to protest what they called suspicious timing, given that the exemption coincided with Mr. Trump’s summit meeting with Mr. Putin in Finland.

Commerce Department officials dismissed that criticism last week, saying they had coordinated with the Treasury Department unit that oversees sanctions in considering the Rusal application. The officials said that unit, the Office of Foreign Assets Control, was ultimately the decider on whether sanctions should prevent approval of an exclusion.

Treasury officials, however, denied that they had played a role in the exclusion request.

The Commerce Department “implements authorities that are separate and distinct from sanctions implemented by Treasury’s O.F.A.C.,” a Treasury spokesman said in an email. “This was a Commerce Department decision, and we were not specifically consulted.”

The Commerce Department said that the approval review lasted 12 weeks, and that “there were no objections posted by American companies for the approved request” during the monthlong comment period.

“The Commerce decision on this exclusion request simply acknowledges that this product is not available from U.S. manufacturers,” a department spokesman said.

This week, the department reversed course on the exclusion, after The New York Times inquired about whether Century Aluminum had, in fact, filed an objection, given its pattern of objecting to nearly every other Rusal application. Department officials determined that Century had meant to file an objection to Rusal’s request, but had erred in submitting the paperwork. The department effectively fixed Century’s error, then ruled that the objection was valid — and that Rusal’s exclusion was void.

In light of Century’s “clear intent to file the required objection form, not completed due to its clerical error,” the department said in a statement, officials have now “considered the objection on its merits and determined it supports a denial.”

Rusal officials declined to comment on the issue this week. “Thank you for your interest in our company,” a spokesman, Andrey Vetvinskiy, wrote in an email. “Unfortunately, we will not be able to arrange an interview with our top management this month.”

The Commerce Department’s reversal has raised new questions from Democrats, including Representative Lloyd Doggett of Texas and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who say the department should have never considered granting an exclusion to a company under sanctions in the first place.

“The Trump administration granted this tariff exclusion, certifying no national security concerns, to a sanctioned subsidiary owned by a sanctioned Russian aluminum company, a mere three days after Trump’s surrender in Helsinki to President Putin,” Mr. Doggett, who sits on the Ways and Means subcommittee for trade, said on Thursday. “This is not about the failure of one of those American companies to object, but about continuing, very objectionable favoritism toward Putin.”

Ms. Warren sent the Commerce Department a 10-page letter earlier this week, laying out concerns with the Rusal approval, which her staff had found in a database of exclusions. “The Trump administration undermined our national security by handing out a tariff exemption for millions of dollars of aluminum imports to a sanctioned Russian company — only to reverse this decision after my investigation revealed this giveaway,” she said Thursday. “They owe the American people an explanation for how this fiasco happened.”

Criticism of the exclusions process has crossed party lines. On Thursday, Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, sent the commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, a letter detailing frustrations that companies have experienced in applying for exclusions, and demanding answers for how exclusions are determined.

“Although you promised the process would be ‘fair and transparent,’” Mr. Johnson wrote, “a number of Wisconsin business leaders have expressed concerns to me about the uncertainty and arbitrary nature of the exclusions process.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/09/us/p ... ption.html
All of this misogyny is making me nostalgic for treason
on trump/russia
"Colluded" is only a word confused people use
The word and crime is conspiracy
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:05 pm

Russian Orphans Devastated After Realizing Trump Tower Meeting Not About Getting Them Adopted
Monday 3:24pm
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NORILSK, RUSSIA—Following the president’s disclosure that the purpose of the controversial June 2016 Trump Tower meeting was in fact held to collect opposition research on Hillary Clinton, hundreds of Russian orphans were devastated Monday after realizing that Donald Trump Jr. did not in fact call Russian lobbyists to the headquarters of his father’s business in order to arrange their adoptions. “We truly believed the nice Americans were going to save us from this hopeless life of hardship and toil,” said Evgeny Mikhailov, age 9, tearfully unpacking a small suitcase in his boarding house room in a frigid industrial city at the northernmost edges of Siberia and comforting his six hungry, tired siblings as best he could while they sobbed themselves to sleep. “This was the glimmer of hope we needed after the tractor factory took our Mamka and Papenka, but we learn now that all is a sham. We thought the Americans really cared for us, but they were just trying to cover their deceitful tracks.” The more than 25,000 orphans betrayed by the scandal have gone on record to express their satisfaction at learning how President Putin was at least helping oppose the deceitful Trump by supporting American Democrats.
https://politics.theonion.com/russian-o ... 1828141136




LIKE A RAT-FUCKING STONE: RUSSIANS AND ROGER READING FROM THE SAME VOTER SUPPRESSION SCRIPT

August 11, 2018/28 Comments/in 2016 Presidential Election, Mueller Probe /by emptywheel
As I disclosed last month, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post.

In my post outlining all the investigative steps the Mueller team has taken with Roger Stone since Rick Gates flipped, I pointed to some things that seem to relate to questions Mueller has asked.

That’s one reason why the circumstances of Stone’s flip-flop in early August 2016, in which Stone went from admitting that the DNC hack was done by Russia to claiming it was not seemly in one day in which he was in Southern California is so important: because he established a contemporaneous claim he has relied on to excuse any coordination with Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks. Given the import of Stone’s flip-flop, I find it interesting that so much of the funding for his SuperPAC came from Southern California, especially from John Powers Middleton. Did he meet with his donors when he orchestrated the flip-flop that makes it harder to argue his discussions and foreknowledge of Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks events count as entering into a conspiracy to break one or several laws?

Whatever the circumstances of that flip-flop, from that point forward, Stone pushed several lines — notably the Seth Rich conspiracy — that would be key to Russian disinformation. A big chunk of his SuperPAC funds also spent on “Stop the Steal,” which may also tie to Russian disinformation to discredit the election.

One of the complexities Mueller may have spent months digging through may be whether and how to hold Stone accountable for willfully participation in disinformation supporting Russia’s larger efforts to swing the election to Donald Trump.


Last week, I started to look more closely at how Stone’s PAC may relate to this. There are, in my opinion, a number of really interesting details about his PAC (which admittedly isn’t dealing with that much money).

That was before, last week, materials in Andrew Miller’s challenge to the subpoena were unsealed, which first revealed Miller wanted a grant of immunity to testify about things pertaining to work he did for Stone’s PAC.

A hearing transcript from June 18 shows that Miller was subpoenaed for information about Stone, as well as key figures in the 2016 hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the public release of Democrats’ emails. According to that transcript, the subpoena seeks information from Miller about WikiLeaks and Assange. WikiLeaks published large volumes of Democrats’ hacked emails during the campaign.

The subpoena also seeks information about Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks. Investigators say both were online fronts invented by Russian intelligence operatives to spread the hacked documents. DCLeaks was a website that posted hacked emails of current and former U.S. officials and political aides, while Guccifer 2.0 claimed to be a Romanian hacker.

Miller had asked for “some grant of immunity” regarding financial transactions involving political action committees for which he assisted Stone, according to Alicia Dearn, an attorney for Miller.

On that issue, Miller “would be asserting” his Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer questions, Dearn said.

As for the hacking and WikiLeaks questions, Dearn said at the hearing, “We don’t believe he has any information” about those topics.


Along with Miller, Kristin Davis also got paid by one of Stone’s PACs. Neither was paid enough to pay for the legal fees they’ve incurred covering their testimony (though a conservative group has paid for Miller’s challenge to his subpoena). Citroen Associate owner John Kakanis, who also testified, got paid more, though maybe not enough to pay for legal representation.

There are a number of notable things about Stone’s PACs that — at least on their face — are not unusual. There is one detail — that the bulk of the expenditures paid a personal injury law firm, one whose family members appear to have served as treasurers of the PACs — that is unusual. Most interesting of all, however, is how Stone’s Stop the Steal PAC’s voter suppression efforts before the election so closely paralleled Russian efforts.

GUY WITH THE NIXON TATTOO’S SOCAL FUNDING


First, remember the mysterious funding from SoCal aspect to the Watergate scandal? There was good reason for that for Nixon; after all, he was from SoCal. Maybe Stone’s just doing most of his fundraising there for old time’s sake, because more than half the funding of Stone’s Committee to Restore American Greatness PAC (referred as CRAG below) comes in serial donations from John Powers Middleton, the son of the Philadelphia Phillies’ owner, who makes shitty movies. A good number of the other substantial donations come from SoCal too. And two PACs Stone operated in 2016 were run out of a UPS store in Santa Ana, CA.

That Middleton largely bankrolled this PAC is in no way unique or legally problematic (indeed, the numbers involved are much smaller than other such PACs). It is notable, however, that contributions to Stone’s PAC were Middleton’s only contributions in 2015-2016, and (apparently) his only recent FEC tracked political contributions, though Middleton played a big role in a youngish Republican group in his 20s. It’s also odd how he gave installments, including two smaller ones, in the same time period or even on the same day as other more sizable ones.

ROBERT SHILLMAN’S PASS THROUGH

The timing of the donations make it clear that the sole campaign contribution Stone’s PAC made — $16,000 in two donations to Trump, which paid for Clear Channel billboards — were pass throughs of San Diego County executive Robert Shillman donations. He’s a big donor to GOP causes, but spent much bigger money on PACs supporting Carly Fiorina ($25,000) and Marco Rubio ($75,000) in the primary. Interestingly, he also maxed out in direct donations to Ron DeSantis in 2015-2016, and is backing Devin Nunes this cycle. For some reason I don’t understand, the FEC recorded the first of those donations, made in August, as a primary donation (that’s true of a number of other smaller donations made in the fall as well). Shillman has also donated to Islamophobic fearmongering in the past.

This pass through is also not unusual, but it is notable for how obvious it is and because the pass through is the only donation to a political campaign in this PAC.

THE PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS IN BED WITH STONE

What is unusual is the centrality of the Costa Mesa office of personal injury lawyers Jensen & Associates in all this. One of the firm’s only lawyers, Erin Boeck, may be the spouse of Brad Boeck, who served as treasurer for two of Stone’s PACs. The principal, Paul Jensen, may be related to Pamela Jensen, who set up Stone’s Women v Hillary PAC.

Jensen & Associates made two loans to CRAG of very specific amounts: 2398.87 and 2610, which were repaid less than a week after the second one was made. And in 2016, CRAG paid the firm almost $100,000, including $20,000 in April when Stop the Steal was set up, $23,700 in four different payments in July 2016, and a $9,500 payment on August 3, when Stone was out in LA claiming to Sam Nunberg to be dining with Julian Assange.

According to its website, Jensen & Associates does things like sue for dog bites, not set up political rat-fucking PACs.

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THE REVOLVING DOOR BETWEEN STONE’S RAT-FUCKING PACS

Which brings us to another detail that is typical of many PACs.

Stone and his buddies were shifting money back and forth between a 527 named Stop the Steal and CRAG.

CRAG was set up in 2015 (though it didn’t file its FEC paperwork until July 2016). Stop the Steal was set up on April 6 2016, at a time when Trump was worried about knocking down a Convention rebellion (which is why Paul Manafort first got hired). The day it was set up, CRAG transferred $50,000 to Stop the Steal. Though by April 13, Stop the Steal was claiming to want to fundraise $262,000, money that never showed up in Stop the Steal’s IRS filings, if it did raise that kind of money.

Among the things Mueller questioned Michael Caputo about were meetings he and Rick Gates had with Stone. One of those meetings, to discuss the effort to ensure the loyalty of GOP delegates, took place in the weeks after Stop the Steal was first set up.

“I only have a record of one dinner with Rick Gates,” he said, adding that the guest list included two other political operatives: Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign aide who was recently interviewed by Mr. Mueller’s investigators, and Paul Manafort, who soon after took over as chairman of Mr. Trump’s campaign. But Mr. Manafort canceled at the last minute, and Mr. Gates, his deputy, attended in his place.

Mr. Stone said the conversation during the dinner, which fell soon after the New York primary in April 2016, was about the New York State delegate selection for the Republican National Convention. The operatives expressed concern about whether delegates, at a time of deep division among Republicans, would be loyal to Mr. Trump’s vision for the party, Mr. Stone said.


Stop the Steal’s 527 filings show two expenditures for rallies in this earlier incarnation.

On July 12, 2016, Stop the Steal transferred $63,000 to CRAG. Its IRS paperwork doesn’t appear to show how, having made expenditures and raised negligible money in the interim period, it had that much money to return to CRAG, suggesting it may not have reported all its donations.

In the fall, Stop the Steal was repurposed to conduct Stone’s voter suppression efforts, including an effort to register “exit pollers” based on the inflammatory rhetoric about rigging the election that Trump had been pushing for some time, with an added focus on the voting machines.

Help us to reveal the TRUTH! Be an Exit Poller! Register Now!

Donald Trump thinks Hillary Clinton and the Democrats are going to steal the next election. “I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged, I have to be honest,” he told a campaign rally last week.

The issue is both voter-fraud and election theft through manipulation of the computerized voting machines. The truth is both parties have used these DIEBOLD/ PES voting machines to rig results of elections at the state and federal election. The party in power in a given state controls the programming of the voting machines.

Here is how easy it is to rig these machines:

We now know, thanks to the hacked e-mails from the Democratic National Committee that the Clintons had to cheat and rig the system to steal the Democratic nomination from Bernie Sanders. Why wouldn’t they try to steal the election from Donald Trump?If this election is close, THEY WILL STEAL IT.

The Washington Post even ran an editorial saying it was “impossible” to steal an election. Then, incredibly, Barrack Obama called Donald Trump’s concerns about a rigged election “ridiculous.”

Plus they intend to flood the polls with illegals. Liberal enclaves already let illegals vote in their local and state elections and now they want them to vote in the Presidential election.

What can we do to stop this outrageous steal? We must step up to the plate and do this vital job? That’s why I am working with a staticians attorneys and computer experts to find and make public any result which has been rigged

We at THE EMERGENCY COMMITTEE TO STOP THE STEAL WILL:

– Demand inspection of the software used to program the voting machines in every jurisdiction prior to the beginning of voting by an independent and truly non-partisan third party.

– Conduct targeted EXIT-POLLING in targeted states and targeted localities that we believe the Democrats could manipulate based on their local control, to determine if the results of the vote have been skewed by manipulation.

– Retain the countries foremost experts on voting machine fraud to help us both prevent and detect voting machine manipulation by putting in a place to monitor polling, review the results and compare them to EXIT POLLS we must conduct.

– Recruit trained poll watchers for the key precincts in key states to monitor voting for fraud. Between the Trump campaign and our efforts we believe we can cover every precinct in the crucial states.


The effort also included a fundraising aspect, with a stated goal of raising $1 million. Stop the Steal reported $20,894 in small donations for the period covering the election, with $32932 reported for the year-to-date.

The Democratic Party sued Stone, Trump, and the state Republican parties in four swing states to get a Temporary Restraining Order against these activities.

THE PARALLEL RUSSIAN AND RAT-FUCKER EFFORT TO SUPPRESS THE VOTE

Stone’s voter suppression effort is not surprising. It’s the kind of thing the rat-fucker has been doing his entire life.

Except it’s of particular interest in 2016 because of the specific form it took. That’s because two aspects of Stone’s voter suppression efforts paralleled Russian efforts. For example, even as Stone was recruiting thousands of “exit pollers” to intimidate people of color, Guccifer 2.0 was promising to register as an election observer, in part because of the “holes and vulnerabilities” in the software of the machines.

INFO FROM INSIDE THE FEC: THE DEMOCRATS MAY RIG THE ELECTIONS
I’d like to warn you that the Democrats may rig the elections on November 8. This may be possible because of the software installed in the FEC networks by the large IT companies.

As I’ve already said, their software is of poor quality, with many holes and vulnerabilities.

I have registered in the FEC electronic system as an independent election observer; so I will monitor that the elections are held honestly.

I also call on other hackers to join me, monitor the elections from inside and inform the U.S. society about the facts of electoral fraud.


More interesting still, the GRU indictment makes it clear that GRU’s information operation hackers were probing county electoral websites in swing states as late as October 28.

In or around October 2016, KOVALEV and his co-conspirators further targeted state and county offices responsible for administering the 2016 U.S. elections. For example, on or about October 28, 2016, KOVALEV and his co-conspirators visited the websites of certain counties in Georgia, Iowa, and Florida to identify vulnerabilities.


Whether or not GRU ever intended to alter the vote, Russia’s propagandists were providing the digital “proof” that Republicans might point to to sustain their claims that Democrats had rigged the election.

This is a line that Wikileaks also parroted, DMing Don Jr that if Hillary won his pop should not concede.

Hi Don if your father ‘loses’ we think it is much more interesting if he DOES NOT conceed [sic] and spends time CHALLENGING the media and other types of rigging that occurred—as he has implied that he might do.


DOES MUELLER HAVE THE PROOF THIS PARALLEL EFFORT WAS COORDINATION?

As I noted, the public record makes it clear these are, at the least, complementary parallel efforts. But Mueller’s relentless focus on Stone — and his inclusion of Wikileaks and Guccifer 2.0 in the subpoena to Andrew Miller (whose research on voter fraud is one of the things Mueller wants to present to the grand jury) — suggests he thinks this is not so much a parallel effort, but a coordinated one.

h/t to Susan Simpson and Adam Bonin for help with understanding the numbers here.

Update: TC notes that there are 14 instances of known Russian troll accounts hashtagging Stop the Steal. The examples are most interesting for the date range: the earliest is September 10, 2016; the most recent is February 24, 2017. And they certainly were prepped to go on election day and the day after.

Update: You can pull up the times where Roger Stone’s twitter account hashtagged Stop the Steal in the Trump Twitter archive. Of note, the first instance in the fall campaign was August 4, when Stone was out in LA claiming he was dining with Assange. Two of the earlier incarnations @ Manafort. Also of note are the differing platforms the tweets come from — including Twitter’s web client, TweetDeck, Twitter for iPhone, and Mobile Web — as that may suggest some of the associates who’ve been interviewed did the tweeting.

Update: MS notes that Stone was talking about rigged voting machines as early as July 29.

Update: Now that I’m looking at the saved versions of Stone’s various websites, it’s clear he wasn’t segregating the fundraising for them, and I wonder whether some of his email fundraising involved other possible campaign finance violations. For example, here’s the Stop the Steal site as it existed on March 10, 2016. It was clearly trying to track fundraising, carefully instructing people to respond to emails if they received one. But it claimed to be TCTRAG (what I call CRAG), even though the incoming URL was for Stop the Steal.

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That remained true even after Stop the Steal was formally created, on April 10. Even after the website changed language to disavow Stop the Steal being a PAC by April 23, the fundraising form still went to TCTRAG (what I call CRAG).

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And that remained true on May 12, when the site was aiming to raise $262,000. When the campaign had shifted to voter suppression targeted Democrats (this is October 16), the entire site redirected to a TCTRAG nation-builder site. Though it appears the Stop the Steal URL was returning both a direct site and a redirect (and it appears it was either hammered, or pretending to be hacked, on election day).

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TIMELINE
November 10, 2015: Jensen & Associates loans $2,398.87 to CRAG

November 10, 2015: CRAG pays Entkesis 2373.87

December 24, 2015: CRAG pays Newsmax 10803.55

December 31, 2015: CRAG pays Newsmax 1585.76

February 4, 2016: Jensen & Associates loans $2,610 to CRAG

February 10, 2016: Loans from Jensen & Associates repaid

March 1, 2016: John Powers Middleton Company donates $150,000 to CRAG

March 6, 2016: First tweet in spring Stop the Steal campaign

March 9, 2016: John Powers Middleton donates $50,000 to CRAG

March 11, 2016: John Powers Middleton donates $25,000 to CRAG

March 14, 2016: John Powers Middleton donates $25,000 to CRAG

April 6, 2016: Stone (Sarah Rollins) establishes Stop the Steal in same UPS post box as CRAG

April 6, 2016: CRAG gives $50,000 to Stop the Steal

April 6, 2016: CRAG pays Jensen & Associates $11,000

April 6, 2016: CRAG pays Jensen & Associates $9,000

April 6, 2016: Stone tweets Stop the Steal toll free line to “report voter fraud in Wisconsin” primary

April 12, 2016: John Powers Middleton donates $60,000 to CRAG

April 13, 2016: Stop the Steal pays Sarah Rollins $386.72

April 14, 2016: CRAG pays Tim Yale $9,000

April 14, 2016: Stop the Steal pays Jim Baker $1,500 in “expense reimbursements for rally”

April 15, 2016: Stop the Steal pays Sarah Rollins $500

April 15, 2016: John Powers Middleton donates $15,000 to CRAG

April 15, 2016: John Powers Middleton donates $2,000 to CRAG

April 15, 2016: $1,000 refunded to John Powers Middleton

April 18, 2016: John Powers Middleton donates $1,000 to CRAG

April 18, 2016: CRAG pays Citroen Associates $40,000

April 25, 2016: CRAG pays Paul Nagy $2,500

April 25, 2016: CRAG pays Sarah Rollins $500 plus $41.66 in expenses

April 29, 2016: John Powers Middleton donates $50,000 to CRAG

May 1, 2016: Last Stone tweet in spring Stop the Steal campaign

May 2, 2016: CRAG pays Sarah Rollins $800

May 4, 2016: CRAG pays Jensen & Associates $5,000

May 13, 2016: CRAG pays Sarah Rollins 93.50

May 15, 2016: Stop the Steal pays Sarah Rollins $500

May 16, CRAG pays Andrew Miller $2,000

May 16, 2016: CRAG pays Citroen Associates $10,000

May 16, 2016: CRAG pays Sarah Rollins $400

May 16, 2016: CRAG pays Kathy Shelton $2,500

May 24, 2016: Stone PAC RAPE PAC, aka Women v Hillary, announced

June 2, 2016: Pamela Jensen sets up Women v Hillary PAC out of a different mailboxes location in Costa Mesa

June 7, 2016: FEC informs CRAG it must submit filings by July 12, 2016

June 7, 2016: CRAG pays Jensen & Associates $4,790

June 8, 2016: Stop the Steal pays Paul Nagy $800 in “expense reimbursements for rally”

June 17, 2016: CRAG pays Andrew Miller $3,000

July 5, 2016: CRAG pays Jensen & Associates $14,500

July 6, 2016: CRAG pays Michelle Selaty $10,000

July 6, 2016: CRAG pays Drake Ventures $12,000

July 11, 2016: CRAG pays Cheryl Smith $4,900

July 12, 2016: Stop the Steal gives $63,000 to CRAG

July 12, 2016: CRAG pays Jensen & Associates $7,200

July 15, 2016: CRAG pays Jason Sullivan $1,500

July 18, 2016: CRAG pays Jensen & Associates $7,500

July 20, 2016: CRAG pays Jensen & Associates $3,000

July 29, 2016: CRAG pays Jensen & Associates $6,000

August 1, 2016: CRAG pays Andrew Miller $4,000; Stone flies from JFK to LAX

August 3, 2016: CRAG pays Jensen & Associates $9,500

August 3, 2016: CRAG pays Josi & Company $2,500

August 3-4, 2016: Stone takes a red-eye from LAX to Miami

August 4, 2016: Stone flip-flops on whether the Russians or a 400 pound hacker are behind the DNC hack and also tells Sam Nunberg he dined with Julian Assange; first tweet in the fall StopTheSteal campaign

August 5, 2016: Stone column in Breitbart claiming Guccifer 2.0 is individual hacker

August 9, 2016: CRAG pays Jason Sullivan $1,500

August 15, 2016: CRAG pays Jensen & Associates $19,500

August 29, 2016: CRAG pays Law Offices of Michael Becker $3,500

August 31, 2016: Robert Shillman gives $8,000 to CRAG

September 12, 2016: CRAG gives $8,000 to Donald Trump

September 14, 2016: CRAG pays $3,000 to Citroen Associates

September 21, 2016: Robert Shillman gives $8,000 to CRAG

September 22, 2016: CRAG gives $8,000 to Donald Trump

October 13, 2016: Stop the Steal pays Andrew Miller $5,000

October 23, 2016: Stone tweets out message saying Clinton supporters can “VOTE the NEW way on Tues. Nov 8th by texting HILLARY to 8888”

October 28, 2016: GRU officer Anatoliy Kovalev and co-conspirators visit websites of counties in GA, IA, and FL to identify vulnerabilities

October 30, 2016: Ohio Democratic Party sues Ohio Republican Party to prevent Stop the Steal voter suppression; Democrats also sue in NV, AZ, and PA

November 4, 2016: Judge James Gwyn issues Temporary Restraining Order against Trump, Stone, and Stop the Steal

November 4, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 post claiming Democrats may rig the elections

November 3, 2016: Filings in ODP lawsuit describing Stop the Steal (declaration, exhibits)

November 7, 2016: Sixth Circuit issues a stay in OH TRO

December 14, 2016: Women versus Hillary gives $158.97 to CRAG

December 19, 2016: Stop the Steal pays $5,000 to Alejandro Vidal for “fundraising expenses”

December 19, 2016: Stop the Steal pays $3,500 to C Josi and Co.

December 21, 2016: Stop the Steal pays $1,500 to The Townsend Group

December 27, 2016: Stop the Steal pays $3,500 to Kristen [sic] Davis

December 28, 2016: Stop the Steal gives $94 to CRAG

December 29, 2016: Stop the Steal pays Jerry Steven Gray $4,000 for “fundraising expenses”

December 30, 2016: Stop the Steal pays 2,692 total to unnamed recipients

January 19, 2017: Stop the Steal pays $5,000 for fundraising expenses to Alejandro Vidal

February 8, 2017: Stop the Steal pays Kristen [sic] Davis $3,500 for “fundraising expenses”

February 15, 2017: Stop Steal pays Brad Boeck $862 for sales consultant consulting fee
https://www.emptywheel.net/2018/08/11/l ... ing-stone/
All of this misogyny is making me nostalgic for treason
on trump/russia
"Colluded" is only a word confused people use
The word and crime is conspiracy
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:50 pm

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Jules Suzdaltsev

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UPDATE: Thanks to several people’s research, this “Biker for Trump” Nazi is Jimmy Willingham, a member of Patriot Prayer in Portland, Oregon - which is directly associated with the Proud Boys (RIP).




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Energy investment group claims $350M capital commitment from Carter Page after 2016 election

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An investment company based in Las Vegas, with oil and gas interests in the Middle East claimed that they received a commitment of more than three hundred million dollars from Carter Page’s Global Energy Capital after Page’s involvement in the Trump campaign.
The investment company, RD Heritage Group, claimed on their website that they they secured a capital commitment of hundreds of millions of dollars from Page and his company:
“$350MM capital commitment by Global Energy Capital … an investment management and advisory firm focused on the energy sector primarily in emerging markets. Global Energy Capital was founded by Carter Page, CFA. Carter has spent 7 years as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch in London, Moscow and New York…Carter was also a foreign policy advisor to Presidential candidate Donald Trump.”
It is unclear if Page ever actually followed through with his commitment. The exact timing of the alleged partnership between RD Heritage and Global Energy Capital is unknown, though it happened after Carter Page’s involvement with the Trump campaign.
In his November 2017 testimony to Congress, Page testified under oath that he had “no other income beyond [passive] investments” in 2016 and 2017. When asked to clarify his statements by Representative Swalwell, Page reiterated that he no clients in 2016 and 2017 and he had no income.

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With no clients, no income, and no public business transactions, it is entirely unclear how Page’s company could commit $350M to RD Heritage. Emails, messages, and calls to RD Heritage, its manager John Dean Harper, founder Robert Davis, and Page over the course of weeks were not answered or returned.
The registered address of RD Heritage is a mailbox located within a UPS store in Las Vegas. The only other publicly announced business deal that RD Heritage has struck since its inception in 2013 was earlier this year with LeanLife Health, a Canadian pharmaceutical company. RD Heritage and all of its partners are not accused of any wrongdoing.
Less than 48 hours after the first emails and messages were sent to RD Heritage requesting comment, the company scrubbed their website of any mention of Page or Global Energy Capital. The paragraph detailing Page’s investment was subsequently altered to read, “$350MM capital commitment from an energy focused fund.” A cached version of the website saved the original description of Page’s involvement.

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RD Heritage website as of July 24, 2018.

RD Heritage website as of July 25, 2018, one day after being contacted and asked for comment.
RD Heritage’s main partner in the Middle East is Hadi Al Alawi of the Al Hayat Group, a Bahrain investment company. The company’s website features pictures of one of its principals, Robert Davis, alongside Alawi and various Gulf government officials. The group also touts relationships with major oil/gas companies such as Qatar Petroleum, Kuwait Petroleum, and Saudi Aramco.
A Bloomberg profile of Page in 2016 featured a photo of the then-Trump adviser with Mr. Alawi, confirming that there exists a relationship between the two.
The question of how and why Page was in a position to commit $350,000,000 to a relatively obscure investment company remains completely unknown. Multiple banking experts with whom I spoke cast doubt on the possibility that this money could’ve been a loan from a bank. Page, being the subject of a publicly reported FISA warrant which claimed he was a secret agent of Russia, would’ve been a risky client for any bank.
Page testified that he had no income in 2016 and 2017 except for “passive investments” in publicly traded companies, and that he was “burning through savings.” If he truly did commit $350M in capital to RD Heritage Group after his tenure as a Trump adviser, his Congressional testimony appears to have been misleading or incomplete at best.
https://medium.com/@ScottMStedman/energ ... 4fe7ce33e0





GOP Operative Made "Suspicious" Cash Withdrawals During Pursuit Of Clinton Emails
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Peter W. Smith withdrew $4,900 in cash the day after he finalized a plan to work with “dark web” hackers.

Jason Leopold
BuzzFeed News Reporter

Anthony Cormier
BuzzFeed News Reporter
Posted on August 10, 2018, at 5:22 p.m. ET

BuzzFeed News; Getty Images (2); Smith courtesy Chicago Sun-Times
In one of the most intriguing episodes of the 2016 presidential campaign, Republican activist Peter W. Smith launched an independent effort to obtain Hillary Clinton’s emails to help defeat her and elect Donald Trump. His quest, which reportedly brought him into contact with at least two sets of hackers that he himself believed were Russian, remains a key focus of investigations into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin.

Now, BuzzFeed News has reviewed documents showing that FBI agents and congressional investigators have zeroed in on transactions Smith made right as his effort to procure Clinton’s emails heated up. Just a day after he finished a report suggesting he was working with Trump campaign officials, for example, he transferred $9,500 from an account he had set up to fund the email project to his personal account, later taking out more than $4,900 in cash. According to a person with direct knowledge of Smith’s project, the Republican operative stated that he was prepared to pay hackers “many thousands of dollars” for Clinton’s emails — and ultimately did so.

Peter W. Smith
Courtesy Chicago Sun-Times
Peter W. Smith
Smith is dead, and his lawyer, former business partner, and wife did not respond to numerous requests for an interview. The White House did not immediately return a message seeking comment, but the president has frequently denied colluding with Russia and denounced special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe as a partisan witch hunt. Smith said in a press interview that he was not part of the Trump campaign and was working independently.

The money trail, made public here for the first time, sheds new light on Smith’s effort, in which he told people he was in touch with both Russians on the dark web and Trump campaign officials — particularly Michael Flynn, who was then a top adviser to the Trump campaign and later served as national security adviser before having to resign after misleading White House officials about his meetings with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

Intelligence agencies have given the FBI information that Russian hackers talked about passing Clinton’s emails to Flynn through a cutout, according to two law enforcement officials with direct knowledge of the matter. It is not known if that cutout was in any way connected to Smith.

The Wall Street Journal, which spoke with Smith about 10 days before he killed himself last year, broke the story about his operation to obtain Clinton’s emails and his alleged connections to Flynn. Smith’s obsession with the Clintons dates back at least to the 1990s, when he spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to expose Bill Clinton’s extramarital affairs. His attempt to procure Hillary Clinton’s emails apparently began in the summer of 2016, around the time Trump secured the Republican nomination.

Smith reached out to various people he thought could help track down or authenticate the emails Clinton had routed through a private server in her home. One of those people was Matt Tait, a former information security specialist in Britain’s spy agency GCHQ, who was writing publicly about a different email hack, that of the Democratic National Committee.

In a phone call in August, Smith told Tait that he believed Clinton’s private server had been hacked by the Russian government and others, and that a person from the dark web had contacted him, claiming to have some of Clinton’s emails. Smith wanted Tait to help verify the emails, something Tait said he refused to do.

As Labor Day approached, Smith assembled a group of people including experts in technology, lawyers, and even a Russian-speaking investigator to figure out how to obtain Clinton’s emails, according to the Journal. On the Friday before the Labor Day weekend, Smith incorporated a company called KLS Research. In a proposal Smith put together describing the effort to obtain the emails, he named the company as the “preferred vehicle” for the research into Clinton’s email, and Smith would tell Tait that KLS Research would also help “avoid campaign reporting.”

Smith and his longtime business partner, John Szobocsan, were the two signers for a bank account linked to KLS Research. The men were partners in other private equity ventures, and had known one another for decades. Tait wrote that Szobocsan joined at least one of the calls with Smith. Neither Szobocsan nor his lawyer returned detailed messages seeking comment.

Soon after Labor Day, Smith appears to have finished an operational plan, which included the names of top Trump campaign officials, some of whom have denied speaking with Smith anytime during the campaign. Smith’s report is dated Sept. 7.

The next day, Smith withdrew $9,500 from the KLS Research account and deposited it into his personal bank account, both held at Northern Trust. From there, Smith took out a little more than $4,900 in cash and sent checks to an accountant and an LLC controlled by a private real estate company. Later in September, Smith made withdrawals of $500 and $700 from KLS Research.

These transactions came to light after Northern Trust received a subpoena from the FBI for Smith’s records last December. The subpoena specifically sought information about the $9,500 withdrawal from KLS Research’s account.

After scouring nine accounts that Smith controlled, Northern Trust turned over documents showing 88 suspicious cash withdrawals totaling about $140,000 between January 2016 and April 2017, including a $3,000 withdrawal six days after the election. Northern Trust found these transactions suspicious because officials could not determine the purpose of the withdrawals and because some of them took place over the time Smith was engaged in his project to obtain Clinton’s emails. Many of the cash transactions, the bank noted, were less than $10,000, small enough not to trigger an automatic alert to the government. After receiving the subpoena, the bank sent a report to Treasury’s financial crimes unit, which shared its findings with the FBI, special counsel Robert Mueller, and Senate Intelligence Committee investigators.

By law, bankers must alert Treasury to transactions that bear hallmarks of money laundering or other financial misconduct. Such suspicious activity reports can support investigations and intelligence gathering — but by themselves they are not evidence of a crime, and many suspicious activity reports are filed on transactions that are perfectly legal.

A spokesperson for Northern Trust declined to comment.

Now, according to the three US law enforcement officials, Smith remains an important figure in the government's investigation. FBI and Senate Intelligence Committee investigators are trying to follow the money to learn whether Smith paid anyone connected with the Russian government. The FBI suspects Smith used some of the cash to fund his operation and paid hackers who provided him emails, according to two bureau sources who told BuzzFeed News that view is based on a close review of his banking activity and interviews with other people.

Separately, investigators working for special counsel Mueller have also interviewed people who Smith tried to recruit and others who worked on his operation to obtain Clinton’s emails, according to the three law enforcement sources and a fourth person with direct knowledge of the interviews. Mueller’s team has also tried to determine if Flynn assisted Smith in his operation, according to two FBI agents. They added that Smith’s suspicious financial transactions are key to that effort.

Michael Flynn
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
Michael Flynn
Flynn and his attorney did not return phone calls or emails seeking comment. Kelsey Pietranton, an FBI spokesperson, declined to comment, noting that it’s the bureau’s policy to neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation. A spokesperson for Mueller’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

In a first-person account published on the website Lawfare last year, Tait, the former GCHQ information security officer, said he warned Smith about the Clinton email operation.

“If this dark web contact is a front for the Russian government, you really don’t want to play this game. But [Smith and Szobocsan] were not discouraged. They appeared to be convinced of the need to obtain Clinton’s private emails and make them public, and they had a reckless lack of interest in whether the emails came from a Russian cut-out,” he wrote. “I never found out who Smith’s contact on the ‘Dark Web’ was. It was never clear to me whether this person was merely someone trying to dupe Smith out of his money, or a Russian front, and it was never clear to me how they represented their own credentials to Smith.”

Smith, in his only press interview before he died, told the Journal that he and his team found five groups of hackers who claimed to have Clinton’s emails, including two groups he said were Russians.

Smith also told the newspaper that he never intended to pay for emails obtained by hackers — a contention the person with direct knowledge of Smith’s plan disputed, saying Smith did pay for what he was told were Clinton’s emails. This source also said that Smith purposely omitted any mention of paying hackers from his written plan for the operation.

Smith’s quest to find Clinton’s emails appears to have fizzled. He never released any of the email samples he reportedly received, because he could not verify them. About 10 days after being interviewed by the Journal, Smith went to a Minnesota hotel room and killed himself.

Investigators do not believe there was any foul play. They discovered that Smith had been in failing health and was concerned about an expiring life insurance policy. Inside his room, the Chicago Tribune reported, authorities discovered that Smith left behind carefully curated files and a receipt for an item used in the suicide.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/ja ... lynn-money
All of this misogyny is making me nostalgic for treason
on trump/russia
"Colluded" is only a word confused people use
The word and crime is conspiracy
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:13 pm

Kyle Cheney

NEWS: A Trump-appointed judge has upheld the validity of the Mueller investigation, rejecting a bid by lawyers for the accused Russian-troll company to end the probe.

Background on the case here:

‘Be brave’: Russian firm urges judge to nix Mueller indictment

KYLE CHENEY08/03/2018 03:50 PM EDT


Concord Management, a Russian company which has been indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller, has directly challenged Mueller's authority to bring such charges. | J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo
Lawyers for a Russian company accused of financing a massive political influence operation in the United States urged a federal judge Friday to “be brave” and declare special counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment invalid.

At a federal courthouse just steps from the U.S. Capitol, the Russian firm’s attorney — James Martin, an appellate lawyer with the Pittsburgh-based firm Reed Smith — urged District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich to look past Supreme Court precedent recognizing the appointment of the Watergate special prosecutor in the 1970s.

Mueller indicted the Russian company, Concord Management, in February along with 13 individual Russians — including a Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The indictment alleges that Concord, Prigozhin's firm, funded and organized an army of internet trolls, the purchasing of social media ads and even directed operatives to travel to the United States to set up political rallies. Their goal, Mueller alleged, was to sow discord in the 2016 U.S. election and ultimately assist Donald Trump candidacy.

Concord, through its attorneys, has pleaded not guilty in the case, and has even directly challenged Mueller's authority to bring such charges. And though the indicted Russians behind the firm aren’t expected to attend the proceedings in person, their participation has been viewed as a gambit to gain access to Mueller’s troves of evidence and understand more of his investigative tactics.

During Friday's hearing, Friedrich at times appeared open to Martin’s legal argument, even calling it “compelling” at one point, but underscored the significance of that Supreme Court precedent.

“Don’t I as a district court judge have to follow that?” she asked.

Martin argued that the Watergate precedent didn’t apply in this case because it was an acknowledgment made “in passing” by the Supreme Court at the time. As Friedrich wondered aloud about whether she should consider contradicting that precedent, Martin offered her advice.

“Well,” he said with a slight smile, “be brave.”

Martin argued that the Watergate precedent didn’t apply in this case because it was an acknowledgment made “in passing” by the Supreme Court at the time and didn’t deeply analyze the matter.

At the heart of Concord’s argument are three complaints about Mueller’s appointment. The company contends that his appointment violates the Constitutions’ “appointments clause” because he was picked by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein instead of Trump or Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The company also asserts that the regulations governing special counsels — set out in 1999 — are “unlawful” and usurp congressional authority. Finally, Concord maintains that Rosenstein’s order to appoint Mueller last year improperly gave him nearly unchecked authority.

Courts have already ruled twice to uphold Mueller’s appointment, most recently this week when the D.C. District Court’s chief judge Beryl Howell rejected an effort by Andrew Miller — a longtime associate of Trump confidant Roger Stone — to invalidate a Mueller-issued subpoena to testify. Miller's attorney had incorporated many of Concord’s arguments into his own briefs.

Miller’s lawyer Paul Kamenar looked on from the front row of the courtroom on Friday as Martin sparred with Mueller's attorneys.

Friedrich, the first Trump-appointed judge to weigh the matter, gave few clues as to how she would ultimately rule on the question during the two-hour hearing, at times sharply questioning Mueller's deputy Michael Dreeben’s argument that various federal statutes — as well as the Watergate precedent — justified Mueller’s appointment.

At one point, Friedrich asked Dreeben whether anything “other than a Supreme Court case” supported his argument.

“I don’t know that the court needs additional authority than a Supreme Court case,” he replied.

Friedrich also sought details about Mueller’s relationship with Rosenstein, amid questions by Concord's attorneys about whether Mueller makes unilateral decisions or relies on Rosenstein for direction and approval. The judge said she interprets the special counsel’s regulations as giving Mueller authority to overrule Rosenstein in matters on which they disagree — and that Rosenstein’s ability to remove Mueller as special counsel is severely limited.

Dreeben emphasized that Mueller’s team and Rosenstein consult regularly and apprise the deputy attorney general of all major decisions in advance. Dreeben also said he believes Rosenstein would have the ability to revoke or overturn decisions made by Mueller — and even remove him if he believed Mueller’s decision-making were “out of bounds.”

Though Concord’s lawyers are prominent American defense attorneys, their Russian clients loomed over the proceedings. At one point, another Concord attorney, Eric Dubelier, complained about the timing of Thursday's decision by Howell — Friedrich’s colleague on the D.C. district court — calling it an “unusual circumstance that I’ve never seen before.” Howell ruled on the matter secretly, without offering Concord a chance to argue its position, a decision that Dubelier worried could color the company’s chances of succeeding.

“I have a Russian client who doesn’t speak English and doesn’t understand U.S. law and when they see the sequencing of what happened in the last three days, that’s really darn hard to explain to somebody,” he said.

Dubelier asked for 30 days to enable Mueller’s team to release the filings in the Howell matter and allow Concord to file additional arguments. Friedrich, though, said she didn’t need more briefing material and said she might not consider Howell’s ruling at all when making her own.

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/08/ ... ave-761787


https://twitter.com/kyledcheney/status/ ... 8405317634




emptywheel

emptywheel Retweeted Big Cases Bot
The pro-Trump pro-Russia side is now 0-4 in challenges to Mueller's authority, though the WAY Trump appointee Dabney Friedrich did this may be designed to set up the appeal
https://twitter.com/emptywheel.




Henry Farrell

1. Quick thread, building on stuff that @emptywheel talks about in this piece https://www.emptywheel.net/2018/08/11/l ... ing-stone/ … on Roger Stone and Russia. Short version: if you want to understand the Russian hacking/social media operations, your best guide may be Mel Brooks' The Producers.


2. What Marcy notes is a consonance between the strategies of Roger Stone and GRU hackers. Both were _very_ interested in highlighting the vulnerabilities of the US election system. Stone's Stop the Steal and Guccifer 2.0 both suggested that the election would be stolen by Dems.


3. In Marcy's words: "Whether or not GRU ever intended to alter the vote, Russia’s propagandists were providing the digital 'proof' that Republicans might point to to sustain their claims that Democrats had rigged the election."


4. That ties in well with a key claim from this piece on cybersecurity+elections - https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm ... id=2852461 … "Simply put, the attacker might not care who wins; the losing side’s belief that the election was stolen from them may be equally, if not more, valuable."


5. The piece also notes that efforts to hack the election in Ukraine plausibly seemed as much designed to generate political confusion and faction around disputed results, as to actually change the results as such. All this helps support the "Springtime for Putin" hypothesis:

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6. Which is: that the primary goal of the hacking wasn't to get Trump elected, but to ensure that there was as much chaos, disarray, dispute, angry claims of stolen elections and fraud, bitterness, faction, στάσις and what have you in the wake of a presumed Trump defeat.


7. That Trump actually went and got elected plausibly screwed things up very badly for Stone, making what he ex-ante thought of as common-or-garden ratfucking into something much more legally serious.
We'll see more to prove/disprove hypothesis when/if Stone is formally indicted.
https://twitter.com/henryfarrell/status ... 3878965248







Stephen Miller Is an Immigration Hypocrite. I Know Because I’m His Uncle.

If my nephew’s ideas on immigration had been in force a century ago, our family would have been wiped out.

JACK SHAFERAugust 13, 2018


Let me tell you a story about Stephen Miller and chain migration.

It begins at the turn of the 20th century in a dirt-floor shack in the village of Antopol, a shtetl of subsistence farmers in what is now Belarus. Beset by violent anti-Jewish pogroms and forced childhood conscription in the Czar’s army, the patriarch of the shack, Wolf-Leib Glosser, fled a village where his forebears had lived for centuries and took his chances in America.

He set foot on Ellis Island on January 7, 1903, with $8 to his name. Though fluent in Polish, Russian, and Yiddish he understood no English. An elder son, Nathan, soon followed. By street corner peddling and sweat-shop toil Wolf-Leib and Nathan sent enough money home to pay off debts and buy the immediate family’s passage to America in 1906. That group included young Sam Glosser, who with his family settled in the western Pennsylvania city of Johnstown, a booming coal and steel town that was a magnet for other hard-working immigrants. The Glosser family quickly progressed from selling goods from a horse and wagon to owning a haberdashery in Johnstown run by Nathan and Wolf-Leib to a chain of supermarkets and discount department stores run by my grandfather, Sam, and the next generation of Glossers, including my dad, Izzy. It was big enough to be listed on the AMEX stock exchange and employed thousands of people over time. In the span of some 80 years and five decades, this family emerged from poverty in a hostile country to become a prosperous, educated clan of merchants, scholars, professionals, and, most important, American citizens.

What does this classically American tale have to do with Stephen Miller? Well, Izzy Glosser is his maternal grandfather, and Stephen’s mother, Miriam, is my sister.

I have watched with dismay and increasing horror as my nephew, who is an educated man and well aware of his heritage, has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country.

I shudder at the thought of what would have become of the Glossers had the same policies Stephen so coolly espouses— the travel ban, the radical decrease in refugees, the separation of children from their parents, and even talk of limiting citizenship for legal immigrants— been in effect when Wolf-Leib made his desperate bid for freedom. The Glossers came to the U.S. just a few years before the fear and prejudice of the “America First” nativists of the day closed U.S. borders to Jewish refugees. Had Wolf-Leib waited, his family would likely have been murdered by the Nazis along with all but seven of the 2,000 Jews who remained in Antopol. I would encourage Stephen to ask himself if the chanting, torch-bearing Nazis of Charlottesville, whose support his boss seems to court so cavalierly, do not envision a similar fate for him.

Like other immigrants, our family’s welcome to the USA was not always a warm one, but we largely had the protection of the law, there was no state sponsored violence against us, no kidnapping of our male children, and we enjoyed good relations with our neighbors. True, Jews were excluded from many occupations, couldn’t buy homes in some towns, couldn’t join certain organizations or attend certain schools or universities, but life was good. As in past generations there were hate mongers who regarded the most recent groups of poor immigrants as scum, rapists, gangsters, drunks and terrorists, but largely the Glosser family was left alone to live our lives and build the American dream. Children were born, synagogues founded, and we thrived. This was the miracle of America.

Acting for so long in the theater of right wing politics, Stephen and Trump may have become numb to the resultant human tragedy and blind to the hypocrisy of their policy decisions. After all, Stephen’s is not the only family with a chain immigration story in the Trump administration. Trump's grandfather is reported to have been a German migrant on the run from military conscription to a new life in the USA and his mother fled the poverty of rural Scotland for the economic possibilities of New York City. (Trump’s in-laws just became citizens on the strength of his wife’s own citizenship.)

These facts are important not only for their grim historical irony but because vulnerable people are being hurt. They are real people, not the ghoulish caricatures portrayed by Trump. When confronted by the deaths and suffering of thousands our senses are overwhelmed, and the victims become statistics rather than people. I meet these statistics one at a time through my volunteer service as a neuropsychologist for the Philadelphia affiliate of HIAS (formerly the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), the global non-profit agency that protects refugees and helped my family more than 100 years ago. I will share the story of one such man I have met in the hope that my nephew might recognize elements of our shared heritage.

In the early 2000s, Joseph (not his real name) was conscripted at the age of 14 to be a soldier in Eritrea and sent to a remote desert military camp. Officers there discovered a Bible under his pillow which aroused their suspicion that he might belong to a foreign evangelical sect that would claim his loyalty and sap his will to fight. Joseph was actually a member of the state-approved Coptic church but was nonetheless immediately subjected to torture. “They smashed my face into the ground, tied my hands and feet together behind my back, stomped on me, and hung me from a tree by my bonds while they beat me with batons for the others to see.”

Joseph was tortured for 20 consecutive days before being taken to a military prison and crammed into a dark unventilated cell with 36 other men, little food and no proper hygiene. Some died, and in time Joseph was stricken with dysentery. When he was too weak to stand he was taken to a civilian clinic where he was fed by the medical staff. Upon regaining his strength he escaped to a nearby road where a sympathetic driver took him north through the night to a camp in Sudan where he joined other refugees. Joseph was on the first leg of a journey that would cover thousands of miles and almost 10 years.

Before Donald Trump had started his political ascent promulgating the false story that Barack Obama was a foreign-born Muslim, while my nephew, Stephen, was famously recovering from the hardships of his high school cafeteria in Santa Monica, Joseph was a child on his own in Sudan in fear of being deported back to Eritrea to face execution for desertion. He worked any job he could get, saved his money and made his way through Sudan. He endured arrest and extortion in Libya. He returned to Sudan, then kept moving to Dubai, Brazil, and eventually to a southern border crossing into Texas, where he sought asylum. In all of the countries he traveled through during his ordeal, he was vulnerable, exploited and his status was “illegal.” But in the United States he had a chance to acquire the protection of a documented immigrant.

Today, at 30, Joseph lives in Pennsylvania and has a wife and child. He is a smart, warm, humble man of great character who is grateful for every day of his freedom and safety. He bears emotional scars from not seeing his parents or siblings since he was 14. He still trembles, cries and struggles for breath when describing his torture, and he bears physical scars as well. He hopes to become a citizen, return to work and make his contribution to America. His story, though unique in its particulars, is by no means unusual. I have met Central Americans fleeing corrupt governments, violence and criminal extortion; a Yemeni woman unable to return to her war-ravaged home country and fearing sexual mutilation if she goes back to her Saudi husband; and an escaped kidnap-bride from central Asia.

President Trump wants to make us believe that these desperate migrants are an existential threat to the United States; the most powerful nation in world history and a nation made strong by immigrants. Trump and my nephew both know their immigrant and refugee roots. Yet, they repeat the insults and false accusations of earlier generations against these refugees to make them seem less than human. Trump publicly parades the grieving families of people hurt or killed by migrants, just as the early Nazis dredged up Jewish criminals to frighten and enrage their political base to justify persecution of all Jews. Almost every American family has an immigration story of its own based on flight from war, poverty, famine, persecution, fear or hopelessness. These immigrants became the workers, entrepreneurs, scientists and soldiers of America.

Most damning is the administration's evident intent to make policy that specifically disadvantages people based on their ethnicity, country of origin, and religion. No matter what opinion is held about immigration, any government that specifically enacts law or policy on that basis must be recognized as a threat to all of us. Laws bereft of justice are the gateway to tyranny. Today others may be the target, but tomorrow it might just as easily be you or me. History will be the judge, but in the meanwhile the normalization of these policies is rapidly eroding the collective conscience of America. Immigration reform is a complex issue that will require compassion and wisdom to bring the nation to a just solution, but the politicians who have based their political and professional identity on ethnic demonization and exclusion cannot be trusted to do so. As free Americans, and the descendants of immigrants and refugees, we have the obligation to exercise our conscience by voting for candidates who will stand up for our highest national values and not succumb to our lowest fears.

Dr. David S. Glosser is a retired neuropsychologist: formerly a member of the Neurology faculties of Boston University School of Medicine and Jefferson Medical College.
https://www.politico.com/magazine/story ... cle-219351


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and oh lordy there are more tapes!



3 missing men at the Manafort trial
Yahoo News Luppe B. Luppen ,Yahoo News•August 13, 2018

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — As the trial of President Trump’s former campaign chairman resumes today, it appears prosecutors from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office have decided not to call three seemingly key figures. The absence of these witnesses offers intriguing hints about potential ongoing investigations and additional prosecutions that could yet take place.

It became clear these witnesses would not appear when Greg D. Andres, Mueller’s lead prosecutor at Paul Manafort’s trial for alleged financial fraud, confirmed to Judge T.S. Ellis III before court let out last week that the prosecution has only one or two more witnesses to present to the jury. The prosecutors’ final witnesses will be James Brennan, an officer of the Federal Savings Bank, and potentially Paula Liss, a senior special agent at the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

Last week, Richard Gates, Manafort’s erstwhile right-hand man who pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with the Mueller team earlier this year, provided both damaging testimony against Manafort and an opportunity for the defense team to take some heat off their client with a withering cross-examination, which featured dramatic exchanges about Gates’s marital infidelity, his padding of expense reports and his admitted theft of Manafort’s funds.

While the drama over Gates’s appearance captured a great deal of attention, the absence of other key figures has gone largely undiscussed. This brief list, which is by no means comprehensive, includes several people who are knowledgeable about Manafort’s alleged crimes, according to the testimony of other witnesses, but who are not being called by prosecutors to the stand:

1. Jeffrey Yohai – Manafort’s former son-in-law. Given earlier reporting that he was cooperating with federal investigators, Yohai’s absence from the prosecution’s witness list in Alexandria is one of the towering mysteries in the case. Manafort’s daughter Jessica divorced Yohai last year, but before the marriage broke up, Yohai was Manafort’s real estate partner.

One part of the alleged bank fraud scheme involves Yohai and Manafort seeking loans from the Banc of California to buy or build houses and apartment complexes to rent out in Southern California. A Banc of California employee called to the stand this week testified that Yohai did not bring much to the relationship. Yohai personally offered “very weak financial support,” Gary Seferian testified, and the properties he and Manafort asked the bank to finance were less complete than Yohai had claimed. Prosecutors also had Seferian read from a May 2016 email he’d written indicating that Yohai had “no experience” flipping the sort of expensive Los Angeles homes he and Manafort planned to buy. Unimpressed with Yohai, the bank looked to Manafort’s assets and income as the primary source of repayment for their loans, and prosecutors allege that Manafort had misrepresented those finances.

A separate part of the alleged bank fraud scheme involved Manafort seeking more favorable terms on loans from Citizens Bank by misleading the bank and its appraisers about the use of his condo in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan. Jurors heard testimony from Citizens Bank employees and were shown emails indicating that Manafort recruited his own daughter and Yohai into putting on a charade for the bank’s appraiser. “Remember, he believes that you and Jessica are living there,” Manafort wrote to Yohai in one email. The purpose of the ruse was to persuade Citizens Bank that the extended Manafort family was using the condo as a second home, when in truth Manafort was renting out the condo on Airbnb and similar websites. (A former Navy SEAL who now works at Airbnb described to the jury how often the condo was listed on the site.)

Several media outlets reported earlier this year that Yohai had struck a plea agreement with the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles and agreed to cooperate with the government, including the special counsel’s office, in exchange for reduced charges relating to a bank fraud conspiracy in his real estate business. That agreement, if it exists, remains under seal. The government has not publicly charged Yohai with a crime.

The most natural venue for Yohai’s cooperation would have been this Manafort trial, where the alleged bank fraud is at issue. (Manafort has a second trial coming up in D.C., but it will focus on his alleged unregistered lobbying on behalf of foreign governments.) Were the reports of a deal wrong? Is the special counsel’s office saving Yohai’s testimony for something else, perhaps involving Manafort’s foreign activities? Has it lost confidence in Yohai as a witness?

In response to these questions and others, Peter Carr, the spokesman for the special counsel’s office, declined to comment “beyond what was said in court.” A member of the defense team did not respond to a request for comment.


Jeffrey Yohai, Steve Calk and David Fallarino. (Photos: BFA, Federal Savings Bank, Facebook)
More
2. Steve Calk — the founder, chairman and CEO of the Federal Savings Bank in Chicago. On Friday, after hours of mysterious delays that scuttled the morning session and kept jurors and spectators in suspense for much of the afternoon, the prosecution called Dennis Raico as its first witness. Raico testified under a grant of immunity about how the bank Calk runs came to give Paul Manafort $16 million of loans — with one of the loans closing shortly after the 2016 presidential election and the other shortly before the 2017 presidential inauguration.

Raico testified that the timing was no coincidence. Calk, he told the court, was angling for a role in the Trump administration, and he took an unusual interest in Manafort’s loan applications, repeatedly meeting privately and socially with Manafort and discussing loan terms with him directly. Raico testified that he had never seen the bank’s CEO previously get involved with an individual loan application. During the summer of 2016, Manafort had already exercised his influence to put Calk on a Trump campaign advisory committee, and Calk indicated to Raico that he wanted to be part of a future Trump administration. A few days after Trump won the election, and shortly before the first loan closed, Calk called Raico and asked him to call Manafort to inquire whether Calk “was up for treasury secretary or HUD?” Raico was uncomfortable with the request and didn’t make the call.

Email evidence initially introduced earlier showed that Manafort had used his influence during the transition to push Calk for a post as secretary of the Army. Raico’s testimony was bracing and persuasive, and Monday’s witness will likely make a similar impression. However, these other bank officers are generally able to testify only about their limited firsthand knowledge, they were not at all the dinners and privy to all the phone conversations between the bank CEO and the campaign chairman. Calk’s own immunized testimony against Manafort would almost certainly be much more powerful, yet the prosecutors do not plan to call him. Why not?

Raico’s testimony potentially implicates Calk as well as Manafort. It is a federal offense for a person to give or offer money or other things of value to someone in exchange for that second person’s promise to use his or her influence to get the first person appointed to a government job. In addition, Raico’s testimony raises questions of whether Calk defrauded the bank, its investors and its regulators in some way. The government has no apparent plans to call Calk as a witness, and so it’s reasonable to conclude they haven’t offered him any kind of immunity and he may be in grave legal jeopardy. However, as of this writing, he has not been publicly charged with a crime.

3. David Fallarino — Manafort’s front office banker at Citizens Bank. Jurors heard testimony on Thursday last week from two of Fallarino’s assistants, who were asked to describe a number of emails Fallarino had sent and received, framing the sort of financial information he needed to receive from Manafort. Earlier in the week, jurors had seen evidence of how Manafort took these emails as instructions showing how to effectively falsify his financial documents to win approval of the loan he desired. On Thursday, jurors also heard from an underwriting supervisor at the bank who processed the Manafort loans Fallarino had recommended.

The testimony of Fallarino’s assistants, his underwriting colleague and the raft of emails prosecutors introduced into evidence all make clear that Fallarino was the main point of contact between Manafort and Gates and Citizens Bank, and Fallarino almost certainly has the most information surrounding any misrepresentations. So what explains Fallarino’s absence from the stand? One theory, which I think best fits the facts, is that Fallarino refused to testify without immunity, and the government refused to grant it. That would reflect the prosecutors’ judgment that they could prove the elements of their case against Manafort that relate to Citizens Bank with the testimony of the lower level employees who ultimately appeared without being granted immunity, and that they preferred not to give up the government’s ability to prosecute Fallarino. While Fallarino has not been publicly charged with a crime, it appears that he too may be in substantial legal jeopardy.

It’s not clear whether the defense will seek to call Yohai, Calk or Fallarino to testify on Manafort’s behalf, but the evidence introduced in court thus far makes that possibility appear remote. By not procuring testimony from these potential witnesses, the special counsel’s office appears to have accepted some added difficulties in its prosecution of Manafort in order to protect the Department of Justice’s ability to pursue other ongoing inquiries. It’s a fair bet there’s a lot more to come from this story.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/3-missing-me ... 20387.html





emptywheel

Kudos to Roger for getting ConFraudUs right -- probably from a witness' subpoena.
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All of this misogyny is making me nostalgic for treason
on trump/russia
"Colluded" is only a word confused people use
The word and crime is conspiracy
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:35 pm

Trump-Appointed Judge Rules Against Indicted Russian Firm
August 13, 2018 BRAD KUTNER FacebookTwitterGoogle+Email
WASHINGTON (CN) – A federal judge appointed by President Donald Trump denied a Russian company’s motion Monday to dismiss criminal charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, rejecting claims about the legitimacy of the investigation into interference in the 2016 election.


Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, the special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, departs Capitol Hill following a closed door meeting in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
Concord Management and Consulting’s attempts to discredit the investigation were shot down in a 41-page ruling from U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich, who was appointed by Trump to the District of Columbia bench last year.

Owned by indicted Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, a caterer whose connections to the Russian president have earned him the nickname “Putin’s chef,” Concord faces a conspiracy charge for allegedly funding the troll farms that went into overdrive for Trump in 2016.

Concord was indicted along with two other Russian companies and 13 Russian individuals but remains the sole entity to respond in court. Included among this group is Prigozhin himself and another of his companies, Concord Catering.

In late June, Reed Smith lawyers representing Concord filed a motion to stifle the prosecution, claiming Department of Justice regulations governing Mueller violate separation-of-powers principles.

Concord’s tactic echoed one that proved unsuccessful previously for Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman who is currently on trial in Virginia.

Unlike Manafort, however, Concord challenged the constitutionality rather than the breadth of Mueller’s appointment, along with the legality of the Justice Department’s special counsel regulations.

But Judge Friedrich was not persuaded and denied the company’s motion to dismiss Monday.

“Even though no statute explicitly authorizes the acting attorney general to make the appointment, Supreme Court and D.C. Circuit precedent make clear that the acting attorney general has the necessary statutory authority,” she wrote. “The appointment does not violate core separation-of-powers principles. Nor has the special counsel exceeded his authority under the appointment order by investigating and prosecuting Concord.”

Friedrich, a Florida native, served as associate counsel to the president under the George W. Bush Administration and as chief crime counsel to Republican U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah.

She made headlines last week when she approved the use of “firewall” counsel to handle sensitive discovery in the Concord case.
https://www.courthousenews.com/trump-ap ... sian-firm/




"The formidable parade of more than 20 witnesses and hundreds of exhibits has further eroded the notion, advanced by Trump, that the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, Robert S. Mueller III, is on a 'witch hunt.'”


The Rise and Fall of Paul Manafort: Greed, Deception and Ego

Aug. 12, 2018

The arc of Paul Manafort’s life has taken him from the son of a small-town mayor to a jet-setting international political consultant to Trump campaign chairman and now to prisoner in a Virginia jail awaiting a jury verdict.Yuri Gripas/Reuters
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A week before the Trump presidential campaign announced that it had hired Paul Manafort, a Yankees ticket specialist alerted him that his annual season tickets would soon be arriving at his 43rd-floor apartment at Trump Tower in New York.

“Will you and Kathy be attending opening day?” the specialist asked in an email in late March 2016, referring to Mr. Manafort’s wife. “Yes, Kathy and I will be attending,” Mr. Manafort replied. The four seats — prime spots behind the Yankees’ dugout, with access to the owner’s suite — cost $210,600 for the season.

But Mr. Manafort didn’t have the money to pay for them. Six months later, he still had not paid the American Express bill that included the charge.

He didn’t have money to make payments on the $5.3 million loan he had just taken out against his Brooklyn brownstone, either, which was heading toward foreclosure as he ran the Trump campaign. His political consulting firm was at least $600,000 in debt and had not had a single client after taking in more than $60 million in five years from the Ukrainian oligarchs funding the country’s pro-Russia president.

The whole trajectory of Mr. Manafort’s life — from the son of a blue-collar, small-town mayor to a jet-setting international political consultant to Trump campaign chairman and now to prisoner in an Alexandria, Va., jail awaiting a jury verdict — is a tale of greed, deception and ego. His trial on 18 charges of bank and tax fraud has ripped away the elaborate facade of a man who, the story went, had moved the swimming pool at one of his eight homes a few feet to catch the perfect combination of sun and shade, and who worked for the Trump campaign at no charge to intimate that for a man of his fabulous wealth, a salary was trivial.

His trial also underscores questions about how someone in such deep financial trouble rose to the top of the Trump campaign, spreading a stain that has touched the president’s innermost circle. The formidable parade of more than 20 witnesses and hundreds of exhibits has further eroded the notion, advanced by President Trump, that the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, Robert S. Mueller III, is on a “witch hunt.”

The trial is also a spectacle of small humiliations for Mr. Manafort, 69. His once perfectly coifed dark hair, admired by Mr. Trump, is now gray and shaggy without the benefit of a stylist. His shirts, which he once bought by the half dozen for $1,500 each, are now delivered by his wife to his lawyer in a white plastic bag. Their communication consists of him winking at her or forming a silent kiss as he is led in and out of the courtroom. He has been admonished not to turn around in his courtroom seat to look at her.

A subplot of the saga is the betrayal of Mr. Manafort by his longtime deputy Rick Gates, who had been at his side for the last dozen years. A former senior official of both the Trump campaign and the Trump inaugural committee, Mr. Gates has testified that he helped execute Mr. Manafort’s fraudulent schemes while simultaneously stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from him, apparently because he felt that Mr. Manafort was not dividing the riches from Ukraine fairly.

Mr. Gates, 46, has pleaded guilty to two felony charges and is hoping that by helping Mr. Mueller prosecute Mr. Manafort, he might receive probation despite the long list of additional crimes with which he has been charged. On the witness stand Tuesday, he sneaked a furtive glance at Mr. Manafort at a moment when his former boss was looking at his notes. In testimony, he stated that he had decided to come clean, but that Mr. Manafort had decided otherwise.

Some of Mr. Manafort’s associates now say they had predicted that greed would be his downfall. Blessed with extraordinary political instincts and his Georgetown Law School degree, Mr. Manafort built his political consultancy into a power center in Reagan-era Washington, where the name of Black, Manafort and Stone became synonymous with string-pulling, insider access and electoral success.

But along the way, many say, he became a mercenary, willing to serve brutal dictators and corrupt industrialists as long as they paid handsomely. Riva Levinson, an international lobbyist who worked for Mr. Manafort from 1985 to 1995, said she initially accepted his explanation that he served strongmen to push them closer to Western democratic ideals. But “as time went on,” she said in an interview, “it seemed to me, he became all about money, big money.”

The Russia-aligned oligarchs backing Viktor F. Yanukovych, the Ukrainian president whose rise to power Mr. Manafort helped stage-manage, provided very big money for at least five years. But when a popular uprising forced Mr. Yanukovych from power in 2014 and that financial spigot shut off, the government claims, Mr. Manafort resorted to bank fraud rather than give up his lifestyle.

“Paul never believed that the rules applied to him,” said Ms. Levinson, who described him as “brilliant” in her 2016 memoir. “They were for others who couldn’t outsmart the system.”

President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been accused of attempting to tamper with witnesses in his federal tax and money laundering case. But this isn’t Mr. Manafort’s first public scandal.Oct. 30, 2017Image by Erin Schaff for The New York Times
A Power Player

Paul John Manafort Jr. was born in New Britain, Conn., about 12 miles from Hartford. He caught the political bug from his father, the town’s mayor, when P.J., as Paul was then known, was in high school. His father was indicted over accusations of perjury in a municipal corruption scandal in 1981 but never convicted.

As an undergraduate and then a law student at Georgetown University, Mr. Manafort gravitated toward Republican politics. By the time he married Kathleen Bond, a George Washington University graduate, in 1978, he had already worked on Gerald Ford’s presidential campaign, and he would soon be hired by Ronald Reagan’s.

Tall, good-looking, with an authoritative air, Mr. Manafort thrived in political boiler rooms. But he distinguished himself even more as a lobbyist. He and two colleagues from his days with the Young Republicans and the Reagan campaign created two linked consulting firms that broke the mold in Washington, achieving legendary success. Shrewd and aggressive, Mr. Manafort, Charlie Black and Roger J. Stone helped elect politicians, then scored contracts to lobby those same politicians on behalf of businesses and foreign interests.

“After Reagan won the election, we started getting calls from people who wanted to know if we wanted to lobby,” Mr. Black said. “I didn’t think much of it,” he added, but Mr. Manafort “knew that it could be profitable.”

He also began to indulge his expensive tastes. He was attracted to displays of “opulence,” Mr. Stone said. “Manafort thought that if something was expensive, it meant it was good.”

His partners objected to some of his business expenses, questioning his Concorde flights to Paris and suites at the city’s lavish Hôtel de Crillon. In 1995, Mr. Manafort struck out on his own, focusing in part on clients in the former Soviet states where a clutch of oligarchs exercised control over entire industries. Washington seemed less hospitable. Mr. Manafort later told one associate that Karl Rove, the longtime Republican Party strategist, had “banished” him from the capital. In a 2016 memo seeking a position on Mr. Trump’s anti-establishment campaign, he cast his distance from the Republican elite as a positive.

By 2005, Mr. Manafort had forged bonds with two oligarchs in the former Soviet bloc. One was Oleg V. Deripaska, a Russian aluminum magnate who is close to President Vladimir V. Putin. One witness in Mr. Manafort’s trial testified that Mr. Deripaska lent Mr. Manafort $10 million in 2010, saying she saw no evidence it was ever repaid. Later, Mr. Deripaska sued him.

The other oligarch was Rinat Akhmetov, who with estimated assets of more than $12 billion was the richest man in Ukraine. At Mr. Akhmetov’s urging, Mr. Manafort agreed to try to engineer a political comeback for Mr. Yanukovych, a former coal trucking director, twice convicted of assault, who had lost a bid for the presidency in 2004.

In the words of federal prosecutors, Mr. Akhmetov and several other oligarchs backing Mr. Yanukovych became Mr. Manafort’s “golden goose.” Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian citizen who prosecutors have said had ties to Russian intelligence, served as Mr. Manafort’s man on the ground in Kiev.

“Thank you for your unexpected generosity,” Mr. Manafort wrote to Mr. Yanukovych in an email with the subject line “bonuses” in 2010, the year that Mr. Yanukovych became Ukraine’s president.

Prosecutors allege that between 2010 and 2014, Mr. Manafort was paid more than $60 million from his Ukrainian patrons and hid much of that income in secret foreign bank accounts in the names of 15 or more shell companies. He avoided paying taxes on at least $16.5 million of it, they allege. The remainder, they said, might be considered nontaxable business expenses, construed broadly enough to include $45,000 for cosmetic dentistry.

Mr. Manafort used his tax-free dollars, prosecutors have said, to support a lifestyle of staggering extravagance. In 2012 alone, he bought three homes.

Mr. Gates has testified that he helped Mr. Manafort conceal his true income, hiding the foreign bank accounts from his accountants and disguising several million dollars in income as nontaxable loans from companies that Mr. Manafort secretly controlled.

At the same time, he admitted, he embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Mr. Manafort’s accounts by falsifying his expense reports. A father of four, he suggested to others later that it seemed unfair that Mr. Manafort paid him an annual salary of $240,000 while raking in tens of millions.


A subplot of the saga is the betrayal of Mr. Manafort by his longtime deputy Rick Gates, who had been at his side for the last dozen years.Erin Schaff for The New York Times
For his part, Mr. Manafort seemed to trust Mr. Gates implicitly to handle both his business and personal finances. When he joined the Trump campaign in 2016, Mr. Manafort introduced Mr. Gates as “my deputy in the campaign” and “my deputy in my life.”

Money Dries Up

Mr. Yanukovych’s fall from power in Ukraine in 2014 was cataclysmic for Mr. Manafort. Even though the oligarchs regrouped to fund a new political party for which Mr. Manafort worked, the payments to him dwindled fast, and he complained about unpaid bills. When Mr. Gates told him in April 2015 about his estimated tax bill for the previous year’s earnings, he erupted in anger. “WTF,” Mr. Manafort demanded in an email. “How could I be blindsided like this.”

“This is to calm down Paul,” Mr. Kilimnik, the Russian aide in Ukraine, wrote to Mr. Gates in mid-2015 in an email that promised that $500,000 would be wired soon.

Ukrainian prosecutors had begun investigating the payments to Mr. Manafort and others, turning to the F.B.I. for help. Agents interviewed both Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates in 2014, but considered them only witnesses to the theft of Ukrainian government funds.

At about the same time, Mr. Manafort’s family confronted him over an affair he was having with a much younger woman, whose rent and credit card bill they believed he was paying, according to interviews and text messages hacked from one of his daughters. He entered an Arizona clinic to try to put his life back together, texting his younger daughter that he had emerged with newfound self-awareness.

But prosecutors claim that his schemes continued. They say he and Mr. Gates kept accountants at two firms and officials at three banks busy with a round robin of made-up explanations and doctored financial records.

For example, Mr. Manafort had falsely reported $1.5 million in income from Ukraine as a loan to lower his tax bill. He then claimed the same nonexistent loan had been “forgiven” in order to inflate his income so banks would agree to lend to him.

Mr. Manafort’s deceptions grew increasingly convoluted throughout 2016, prosecutors say, but the Trump campaign appears to have been oblivious to that. Like nearly everyone else hired by the campaign, Mr. Manafort was not vetted. The recommendation of Thomas J. Barrack Jr., a private equity investor who has been close to Mr. Trump for years, was enough. Also in his favor was Mr. Manafort’s offer to work at no charge, both because Mr. Trump is a notorious skinflint and because Mr. Manafort apparently thought Mr. Trump would be more likely to hire a man of seeming great wealth like himself.

How Prosecutors' Allegations Overlap With The Time Manafort and Gates Worked for Trump

Paul Manafort and Rick Gates attempted to get Mr. Manafort out of financial trouble while they were working on the president’s campaign and inauguration, prosecutors say.


Paul Manafort is hired to manage Donald J. Trump’s strategy for the Republican convention. Rick Gates joins as his deputy.

Mr. Manafort secures a $3.4 million mortgage loan using false information, hid other debt and inflated his income with the help of Mr. Gates and his accountant.

An expanded campaign role for Mr. Manafort is announced.

Mr. Manafort obtains a $1 million business loan from Banc of California using false information.

Mr. Manafort’s promotion to campaign chairman and chief strategist is announced.

Mr. Gates helps Mr. Manafort attempt to secure a fraudulent construction loan.

Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates attend the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Stephen M. Calk, the founder and chief executive of the Federal Savings Bank of Chicago, helps expedite a loan approval for Mr. Manafort. Days later, Mr. Manafort asks for his résumé.

The Times reports on a ledger listing undisclosed cash payments earmarked for Mr. Manafort from a pro-Russian political party.

Mr. Trump hires Stephen K. Bannon as campaign chief, and Mr. Manafort resigns two days later. Mr. Gates becomes a liaison between the Republican National Committee and the campaign.

Mr. Manafort tells Mr. Calk that he must have had a “blackout” when he misrepresented his debts to him during a lunch.

Mr. Gates helps Mr. Manafort doctor profit-and-loss statements to inflate his income for lenders.

Mr. Trump is elected. Mr. Gates eventually works on his inaugural committee.

Mr. Calk helps secure a $9.5 million loan to Mr. Manafort. His bank later approves another $6.5 million loan.

Mr. Manafort asks Mr. Gates to promote Mr. Calk for a position in the administration.

Mr. Manafort soon had plenty of detractors among the campaign staff. He won few points by calling Mr. Trump “Donald” in his first CNN appearance, as if he were Mr. Trump’s peer. Some aides suggested he was unfamiliar with all the changes in politics — most notably the rise of the internet — since 1996, when he last worked on an American presidential campaign. Others described him as lazy, carefully noting when he took off on Fridays for the Hamptons. Mr. Manafort said he had built a television studio at his home there so he could appear on Sunday talk shows remotely.

He lasted only five months, three of them as campaign chairman. When The New York Times revealed that a ledger found by Ukrainian investigators had listed $12.7 million in off-the-books cash payments to Mr. Manafort’s firm, one former campaign aide said that Mr. Trump was enraged. But another article detailing how Mr. Manafort and others were begging Mr. Trump to stop picking public fights equally angered Mr. Trump. When Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, told Mr. Manafort he was out, Mr. Trump was barely speaking to him.

By then, Mr. Manafort’s financial house of cards was on the verge of collapse. Less than two weeks after he left the campaign, one lender informed him that it had started to foreclose on his Brooklyn brownstone. He had paid cash for it when he was financially flush four years earlier, then borrowed $5.3 million against it that February. Five months had passed with no payments.

Mr. Gates managed to retain his affiliation to Mr. Trump as a liaison between the campaign and the Republican National Committee, although Mr. Trump disliked him so much that he was barred from flying on the candidate’s private plane. Mr. Manafort tried to use his lingering connection to Mr. Trump to land consulting work and to persuade banks to bail him out. He dangled a possible cabinet secretary post in front of Stephen Calk, chairman of Federal Savings Bank in Chicago, pressing Mr. Gates to promote him as a possible secretary of the Army.

He continued to treat Mr. Gates as his aide, asking him how to convert profit-and-loss statements from PDF format into Word in order, prosecutors said, to inflate his income and appear more creditworthy to banks. After the election, Mr. Calk approved two loans to Mr. Manafort for a total of $16 million. Mr. Manafort used some of it to save his Brooklyn property from foreclosure.

But even Mr. Calk was getting worried. On Dec. 7, 2016, he wrote to another top bank official: “Nervousness is setting in.” Less than a year later, Mr. Mueller’s team filed the first of a series of indictments against Mr. Manafort. Mr. Mueller granted a plea deal to Mr. Gates and immunity from prosecution to five of the nearly dozen witnesses for the prosecution.

On Sunday, Mr. Manafort celebrated his 40th wedding anniversary in jail. He was allowed three visits limited to 30 minutes each. A notice on the website for his legal defense fund read: “Paul and his family are reaching out to anyone who can assist him at this time.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/12/us/p ... trial.html


southpaw


An indication in the trial brief the Special Counsel's Office filed this afternoon about what Friday's long delay was all about (at least in part):

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More on what we know about Steve Calk here:


3 missing men at the Manafort trial


Yahoo News photo Illustration; photos: AP, Getty
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — As the trial of President Trump’s former campaign chairman resumed Monday, it appeared prosecutors from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office had decided not to call three seemingly key figures. The absence of these witnesses offers intriguing hints about potential ongoing investigations and additional prosecutions that could yet take place.

It became clear these witnesses would not appear when Greg D. Andres, Mueller’s lead prosecutor at Paul Manafort’s trial for alleged financial fraud, confirmed to Judge T.S. Ellis III before court let out last week that the prosecution has only one or two more witnesses to present to the jury. The prosecutors’ final witnesses will be James Brennan, an officer of the Federal Savings Bank, and potentially Paula Liss, a senior special agent at the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

Last week, Richard Gates, Manafort’s erstwhile right-hand man who pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with the Mueller team earlier this year, provided both damaging testimony against Manafort and an opportunity for the defense team to take some heat off their client with a withering cross-examination, which featured dramatic exchanges about Gates’s marital infidelity, his padding of expense reports and his admitted theft of Manafort’s funds.

While the drama over Gates’s appearance captured a great deal of attention, the absence of other key figures has gone largely undiscussed. This brief list, which is by no means comprehensive, includes several people who are knowledgeable about Manafort’s alleged crimes, according to the testimony of other witnesses, but who are not being called by prosecutors to the stand:

1. Jeffrey Yohai – Manafort’s former son-in-law. Given earlier reporting that he was cooperating with federal investigators, Yohai’s absence from the prosecution’s witness list in Alexandria is one of the towering mysteries in the case. Manafort’s daughter Jessica divorced Yohai last year, but before the marriage broke up, Yohai was Manafort’s real estate partner.

One part of the alleged bank fraud scheme involves Yohai and Manafort seeking loans from the Banc of California to buy or build houses and apartment complexes to rent out in Southern California. A Banc of California employee called to the stand this week testified that Yohai did not bring much to the relationship. Yohai personally offered “very weak financial support,” Gary Seferian testified, and the properties he and Manafort asked the bank to finance were less complete than Yohai had claimed. Prosecutors also had Seferian read from a May 2016 email he’d written indicating that Yohai had “no experience” flipping the sort of expensive Los Angeles homes he and Manafort planned to buy. Unimpressed with Yohai, the bank looked to Manafort’s assets and income as the primary source of repayment for their loans, and prosecutors allege that Manafort had misrepresented those finances.

A separate part of the alleged bank fraud scheme involved Manafort seeking more favorable terms on loans from Citizens Bank by misleading the bank and its appraisers about the use of his condo in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan. Jurors heard testimony from Citizens Bank employees and were shown emails indicating that Manafort recruited his own daughter and Yohai into putting on a charade for the bank’s appraiser. “Remember, he believes that you and Jessica are living there,” Manafort wrote to Yohai in one email. The purpose of the ruse was to persuade Citizens Bank that the extended Manafort family was using the condo as a second home, when in truth Manafort was renting out the condo on Airbnb and similar websites. (A former Navy SEAL who now works at Airbnb described to the jury how often the condo was listed on the site.)

Several media outlets reported earlier this year that Yohai had struck a plea agreement with the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles and agreed to cooperate with the government, including the special counsel’s office, in exchange for reduced charges relating to a bank fraud conspiracy in his real estate business. That agreement, if it exists, remains under seal. The government has not publicly charged Yohai with a crime.

The most natural venue for Yohai’s cooperation would have been this Manafort trial, where the alleged bank fraud is at issue. (Manafort has a second trial coming up in D.C., but it will focus on his alleged unregistered lobbying on behalf of foreign governments.) Were the reports of a deal wrong? Is the special counsel’s office saving Yohai’s testimony for something else, perhaps involving Manafort’s foreign activities? Has it lost confidence in Yohai as a witness?

In response to these questions and others, Peter Carr, the spokesman for the special counsel’s office, declined to comment “beyond what was said in court.” A member of the defense team did not respond to a request for comment.


Jeffrey Yohai, Steve Calk and David Fallarino. (Photos: BFA, Federal Savings Bank, Facebook)
2. Steve Calk — the founder, chairman and CEO of the Federal Savings Bank in Chicago. On Friday, after hours of mysterious delays that scuttled the morning session and kept jurors and spectators in suspense for much of the afternoon, the prosecution called Dennis Raico as its first witness. Raico testified under a grant of immunity about how the bank Calk runs came to give Paul Manafort $16 million of loans — with one of the loans closing shortly after the 2016 presidential election and the other shortly before the 2017 presidential inauguration.

Raico testified that the timing was no coincidence. Calk, he told the court, was angling for a role in the Trump administration, and he took an unusual interest in Manafort’s loan applications, repeatedly meeting privately and socially with Manafort and discussing loan terms with him directly. Raico testified that he had never seen the bank’s CEO previously get involved with an individual loan application. During the summer of 2016, Manafort had already exercised his influence to put Calk on a Trump campaign advisory committee, and Calk indicated to Raico that he wanted to be part of a future Trump administration. A few days after Trump won the election, and shortly before the first loan closed, Calk called Raico and asked him to call Manafort to inquire whether Calk “was up for treasury secretary or HUD?” Raico was uncomfortable with the request and didn’t make the call.

Email evidence initially introduced earlier showed that Manafort had used his influence during the transition to push Calk for a post as secretary of the Army. Raico’s testimony was bracing and persuasive, and Monday’s witness will likely make a similar impression. However, these other bank officers are generally able to testify only about their limited firsthand knowledge, they were not at all the dinners and privy to all the phone conversations between the bank CEO and the campaign chairman. Calk’s own immunized testimony against Manafort would almost certainly be much more powerful, yet the prosecutors do not plan to call him. Why not?

Raico’s testimony potentially implicates Calk as well as Manafort. It is a federal offense for a person to give or offer money or other things of value to someone in exchange for that second person’s promise to use his or her influence to get the first person appointed to a government job. In addition, Raico’s testimony raises questions of whether Calk defrauded the bank, its investors and its regulators in some way. The government has no apparent plans to call Calk as a witness, and so it’s reasonable to conclude they haven’t offered him any kind of immunity and he may be in grave legal jeopardy. However, as of this writing, he has not been publicly charged with a crime.

3. David Fallarino — Manafort’s front office banker at Citizens Bank. Jurors heard testimony on Thursday last week from two of Fallarino’s assistants, who were asked to describe a number of emails Fallarino had sent and received, framing the sort of financial information he needed to receive from Manafort. Earlier in the week, jurors had seen evidence of how Manafort took these emails as instructions showing how to effectively falsify his financial documents to win approval of the loan he desired. On Thursday, jurors also heard from an underwriting supervisor at the bank who processed the Manafort loans Fallarino had recommended.

The testimony of Fallarino’s assistants, his underwriting colleague and the raft of emails prosecutors introduced into evidence all make clear that Fallarino was the main point of contact between Manafort and Gates and Citizens Bank, and Fallarino almost certainly has the most information surrounding any misrepresentations. So what explains Fallarino’s absence from the stand? One theory, which I think best fits the facts, is that Fallarino refused to testify without immunity, and the government refused to grant it. That would reflect the prosecutors’ judgment that they could prove the elements of their case against Manafort that relate to Citizens Bank with the testimony of the lower level employees who ultimately appeared without being granted immunity, and that they preferred not to give up the government’s ability to prosecute Fallarino. While Fallarino has not been publicly charged with a crime, it appears that he too may be in substantial legal jeopardy.

It’s not clear whether the defense will seek to call Yohai, Calk or Fallarino to testify on Manafort’s behalf, but the evidence introduced in court thus far makes that possibility appear remote. By not procuring testimony from these potential witnesses, the special counsel’s office appears to have accepted some added difficulties in its prosecution of Manafort in order to protect the Department of Justice’s ability to pursue other ongoing inquiries. It’s a fair bet there’s a lot more to come from this story.


https://www.yahoo.com/news/3-missing-me ... 20387.html





I'm going to post the full 8 page trial brief; it's really interesting imo. Part 1

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Part 2 (there are 9 total pages, but the last one is just a certificate of service so I've left it out)

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We can infer what the defense is arguing, in essence: the jury can't convict Manafort for defrauding to TFSB because it wasn't material that he told it a bunch of lies. Calk (corruptly) wanted a job w Trump and pushed the approval, making Manafort's various falsehoods immaterial



https://twitter.com/nycsouthpaw/status/ ... 5375112206


why did it take till the last day to get to Calk? :)

why didn't Calk get immunity?


exhibit 452

email

Nov 15 2016 :)

the next secretary of the Army ......Steve Calk :)
All of this misogyny is making me nostalgic for treason
on trump/russia
"Colluded" is only a word confused people use
The word and crime is conspiracy
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby BenDhyan » Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:59 pm

Drip....

FBI agent who criticised Trump sacked

14 August 2018

Peter Strzok, the FBI agent who came under fire by US President Donald Trump and other Republicans for sending text messages that disparaged the candidate during the presidential campaign, has been sacked, his lawyer says.

Strzok is the third high-ranking person to be fired from the FBI during the Trump administration, including former Director James Comey. During his FBI career, he rose to deputy assistant director, focusing on counterintelligence.

After Justice Department internal investigators found the texts, Strzok was reassigned from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign. The firing came after a lengthy internal investigation.

Strzok's lawyer, Aitan Goelman, said in a statement on Monday that FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich made the decision to terminate his client.

https://au.news.yahoo.com/fbi-agent-criticised-trump-sacked-223320606--spt.html



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Last edited by BenDhyan on Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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