Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Election

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

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:44 pm

look what just popped up in the news

the exact charges prosecutors want to bring against him are unclear, they may involve the Espionage Act


southpaw


@nycsouthpaw
14m14 minutes ago
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With opaque sourcing, WSJ says the Justice Dept. is preparing to prosecute Assange
.
U.S. Is Optimistic It Will Prosecute Assange

Over the past year, U.S. prosecutors have discussed several types of charges they could potentially bring against the WikiLeaks founder

Ryan Dube Nov. 15, 2018 6:05 p.m. ET

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange walks onto the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.


The Justice Department is preparing to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and is increasingly optimistic it will be able to get him into a U.S. courtroom, according to people in Washington familiar with the matter.

Over the past year, U.S. prosecutors have discussed several types of charges they could potentially bring against Mr. Assange, the people said. Mr. Assange has lived in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since receiving political asylum from the South American country in 2012.

The people familiar with the case wouldn’t describe whether discussions were under way with the U.K. or Ecuador about Mr. Assange, but said they were encouraged by recent developments.

Ecuador’s relationship with Mr. Assange has deteriorated sharply since last year’s election of President Lenin Moreno, who has described him as a “stone in our shoe” and said his continued presence at the embassy is unsustainable.

An indictment from special counsel Robert Mueller that portrayed WikiLeaks as a tool of Russian intelligence for releasing thousands of hacked Democratic emails during the 2016 presidential campaign has made it more difficult for Mr. Assange to mount a defense as a journalist. Public opinion of Mr. Assange in the U.S. has dropped since the campaign.

Prosecutors have considered publicly indicting Mr. Assange to try to trigger his removal from the embassy, the people said, because a detailed explanation of the evidence against Mr. Assange could give Ecuadorean authorities a reason to turn him over.

The exact charges Justice Department might pursue remain unclear, but they may involve the Espionage Act, which criminalizes the disclosure of national defense-related information.

In an interview last week, the head of the Justice Department’s national security division, John Demers, declined to comment on the possibility of prosecuting Mr. Assange, saying, “On that, I’ll just say, ‘we’ll see.’”

Ecuador has been looking to improve relations with the U.S., hosting Vice President Mike Pence in 2018 amid interest in increasing trade.

Ecuador’s Foreign Relations Ministry declined to comment. This month, Foreign Relations Minister José Valencia told a radio station the government hadn’t received an extradition request for Mr. Assange.

Mr. Assange has clashed with his Ecuadorean hosts in over internet access, visitors, his cat and other issues. Last month, he sued Ecuador over the conditions of his confinement. At a hearing last month, at which a judge rejected Mr. Assange’s claims, Mr. Assange said he expected to be forced out of the embassy soon.

A lawyer for Mr. Assange, Barry Pollack, said he hadn’t heard a prosecution was in the works.

“We have heard nothing from authorities suggesting that a criminal case against Mr. Assange is imminent,” Mr. Pollack said. “Prosecuting someone for publishing truthful information would set a terrible and dangerous precedent.”

The U.S. hasn’t publicly commented on whether it has made, or plans to make, any extradition request. Any extradition request from the U.S. would likely go to British authorities, who have an outstanding arrest warrant for Mr. Assange related to a Swedish sexual assault case. Sweden has since dropped the probe, but the arrest warrant stands.

Any extradition and prosecution would involve multiple sensitive negotiations within the U.S. government and with other countries.

Mr. Moreno, who was vice president when the country granted Mr. Assange asylum, likely wants to avoid being blamed if the WikiLeaks founder is imprisoned and has repeatedly said he wouldn’t hand him over to a country with the death penalty. Ecuador granted Mr. Assange citizenship in December, thinking he could then leave the embassy if he had diplomatic status, but the British government said that wouldn’t protect him from arrest if he stepped outside the building.

The Justice Department has investigated Mr. Assange for years, beginning in 2010 after disclosures by WikiLeaks of thousands of classified Afghan War reports and other material, for which former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning was found guilty at a court-martial.

Under the Obama administration, then-Attorney General Eric Holder drew a distinction between WikiLeaks and news organizations, saying WikiLeaks didn’t deserve the same First Amendment protections. Investigators, however, were unable to uncover evidence that Mr. Assange had induced Ms. Manning to leak the documents and didn’t bring a prosecution.

President Trump has sent conflicting messages about Mr. Assange, saying “I love WikiLeaks” during the 2016 campaign and praising the group after its disclosures of the hacked Democratic National Committee emails.

Longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone told an associate earlier this year he was working to get Mr. Assange a blanket pardon from Mr. Trump, according to text messages reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. He wrote editorials and publicly advocated for such a pardon, though he told the Journal that he had never discussed his efforts with the president.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, however, said last year when he was CIA director that WikiLeaks is akin to a foreign “hostile intelligence service” and a U.S. adversary. Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Mr. Assange’s arrest was a “priority.”

The Trump Justice Department has considered several potential cases against Mr. Assange, including prosecuting him in connection with the cables Ms. Manning provided and his more recent involvement in the DNC disclosures. Prosecutors have also considered tying Mr. Assange to foreign intelligence services, people familiar with the discussions said.

Mr. Mueller obtained an indictment earlier this year against a dozen Russian officers accused of hacking into Democrats’ computer networks and staging the release of the documents, including through WikiLeaks, during the 2016 campaign.

After a series of criminal cases against Russian and other foreign intelligence officers, U.S. officials have grown more comfortable with disclosing the sensitive material required for such prosecutions, people familiar with the matter said. Prosecutors would need to rely on such evidence if they wanted to portray Mr. Assange as an agent of a foreign government.

In October, a judge threw out the lawsuit Mr. Assange had filed against Ecuador to prevent the government from implementing stricter rules for his stay.

Ecuador issued a written document saying that while at the embassy, Mr. Assange is prohibited from political activities that could affect Ecuador’s relations with other nations. It also said the embassy would provide Mr. Assange with Wi-Fi, but he had to pay for phone calls and other communication.

His visitors would need to provide the embassy with information about cellphones and social media activities, the government said.

The rules also include housekeeping duties Ecuador says are needed to create a “harmonious relationship” between Mr. Assange and embassy staff. Mr. Assange and his guests will need to clean the bathroom, the document said, and the WikiLeaks founder must feed and clean up after his cat.

“Ecuador hasn’t violated the rights of anyone,” Attorney General Íñigo Salvador said after the court ruling. “It has provided asylum to Mr. Assange, and he should comply with the rules to live harmoniously inside Ecuador’s public installations in London.”

Assange’s attorneys said they would appeal the ruling.

Ecuador issued its rules seven months after the Foreign Relations Ministry cut Mr. Assange’s internet connection at the embassy in response to his criticism of Britain on social media for expelling Russian diplomats for the poisoning of a former Russian spy.

—Dustin Volz and Shelby Holliday contributed to this article.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-is-opt ... 1542323142


I'm posting this for you Elvis ...though I can't figure why Hedges doesn't care at all about the crimes committed by the trump crime family and why Assange wasn't helpful in that matter

Crucifying Julian Assange

What is happening to Assange should terrify the press. And yet his plight is met with indifference and sneering contempt.

Chris Hedges
Julian Assange’s sanctuary in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London has been transformed into a little shop of horrors. He has been largely cut off from communicating with the outside world for the last seven months. His Ecuadorian citizenship, granted to him as an asylum seeker, is in the process of being revoked. His health is failing. He is being denied medical care. His efforts for legal redress have been crippled by the gag rules, including Ecuadorian orders that he cannot make public his conditions inside the embassy in fighting revocation of his Ecuadorian citizenship.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has refused to intercede on behalf of Assange, an Australian citizen, even though the new government in Ecuador, led by Lenín Moreno—who calls Assange an “inherited problem” and an impediment to better relations with Washington—is making the WikiLeaks founder’s life in the embassy unbearable. Almost daily, the embassy is imposing harsher conditions for Assange, including making him pay his medical bills, imposing arcane rules about how he must care for his cat and demanding that he perform a variety of demeaning housekeeping chores.

The Ecuadorians, reluctant to expel Assange after granting him political asylum and granting him citizenship, intend to make his existence so unpleasant he will agree to leave the embassy to be arrested by the British and extradited to the United States. The former president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, whose government granted the publisher political asylum, describes Assange’s current living conditions as “torture.”

His mother, Christine Assange, said in a recent video appeal, “Despite Julian being a multi-award-winning journalist, much loved and respected for courageously exposing serious, high-level crimes and corruption in the public interest, he is right now alone, sick, in pain—silenced in solitary confinement, cut off from all contact and being tortured in the heart of London. The modern-day cage of political prisoners is no longer the Tower of London. It’s the Ecuadorian Embassy.”

“Here are the facts,” she went on. “Julian has been detained nearly eight years without charge. That’s right. Without charge. For the past six years, the U.K. government has refused his request for access to basic health needs, fresh air, exercise, sunshine for vitamin D and access to proper dental and medical care. As a result, his health has seriously deteriorated. His examining doctors warned his detention conditions are life-threatening. A slow and cruel assassination is taking place before our very eyes in the embassy in London.”

“In 2016, after an in-depth investigation, the United Nations ruled that Julian’s legal and human rights have been violated on multiple occasions,” she said. “He’d been illegally detained since 2010. And they ordered his immediate release, safe passage and compensation. The U.K. government refused to abide by the U.N.’s decision. The U.S. government has made Julian’s arrest a priority. They want to get around a U.S. journalist’s protection under the First Amendment by charging him with espionage. They will stop at nothing to do it.”

“As a result of the U.S. bearing down on Ecuador, his asylum is now under immediate threat,” she said. “The U.S. pressure on Ecuador’s new president resulted in Julian being placed in a strict and severe solitary confinement for the last seven months, deprived of any contact with his family and friends. Only his lawyers could see him. Two weeks ago, things became substantially worse. The former president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, who rightfully gave Julian political asylum from U.S. threats against his life and liberty, publicly warned when U.S. Vice President Mike Pence recently visited Ecuador a deal was done to hand Julian over to the U.S. He stated that because of the political costs of expelling Julian from their embassy was too high, the plan was to break him down mentally. A new, impossible, inhumane protocol was implemented at the embassy to torture him to such a point that he would break and be forced to leave.”

Assange was once feted and courted by some of the largest media organizations in the world, including The New York Times and The Guardian, for the information he possessed. But once his trove of material documenting U.S. war crimes, much of it provided by Chelsea Manning, was published by these media outlets he was pushed aside and demonized. A leaked Pentagon document prepared by the Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch dated March 8, 2008, exposed a black propaganda campaign to discredit WikiLeaks and Assange. The document said the smear campaign should seek to destroy the “feeling of trust” that is WikiLeaks’ “center of gravity” and blacken Assange’s reputation. It largely has worked. Assange is especially vilified for publishing 70,000 hacked emails belonging to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and senior Democratic officials. The Democrats and former FBI Director James Comey say the emails were copied from the accounts of John Podesta, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, by Russian government hackers. Comey has said the messages were probably delivered to WikiLeaks by an intermediary. Assange has said the emails were not provided by “state actors.”

The Democratic Party—seeking to blame its election defeat on Russian “interference” rather than the grotesque income inequality, the betrayal of the working class, the loss of civil liberties, the deindustrialization and the corporate coup d’état that the party helped orchestrate—attacks Assange as a traitor, although he is not a U.S. citizen. Nor is he a spy. He is not bound by any law I am aware of to keep U.S. government secrets. He has not committed a crime. Now, stories in newspapers that once published material from WikiLeaks focus on his allegedly slovenly behavior—not evident during my visits with him—and how he is, in the words of The Guardian, “an unwelcome guest” in the embassy. The vital issue of the rights of a publisher and a free press is ignored in favor of snarky character assassination.

Assange was granted asylum in the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to answer questions about sexual offense allegations that were eventually dropped. Assange feared that once he was in Swedish custody he would be extradited to the United States. The British government has said that, although he is no longer wanted for questioning in Sweden, Assange will be arrested and jailed for breaching his bail conditions if he leaves the embassy.

WikiLeaks and Assange have done more to expose the dark machinations and crimes of the American Empire than any other news organization. Assange, in addition to exposing atrocities and crimes committed by the United States military in our endless wars and revealing the inner workings of the Clinton campaign, made public the hacking tools used by the CIA and the National Security Agency, their surveillance programs and their interference in foreign elections, including in the French elections. He disclosed the conspiracy against British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn by Labour members of Parliament. And WikiLeaks worked swiftly to save Edward Snowden, who exposed the wholesale surveillance of the American public by the government, from extradition to the United States by helping him flee from Hong Kong to Moscow. The Snowden leaks also revealed, ominously, that Assange was on a U.S. “manhunt target list.”

What is happening to Assange should terrify the press. And yet his plight is met with indifference and sneering contempt. Once he is pushed out of the embassy, he will be put on trial in the United States for what he published. This will set a new and dangerous legal precedent that the Trump administration and future administrations will employ against other publishers, including those who are part of the mob trying to lynch Assange. The silence about the treatment of Assange is not only a betrayal of him but a betrayal of the freedom of the press itself. We will pay dearly for this complicity.

Even if the Russians provided the Podesta emails to Assange, he should have published them. I would have. They exposed practices of the Clinton political machine that she and the Democratic leadership sought to hide. In the two decades I worked overseas as a foreign correspondent I was routinely leaked stolen documents by organizations and governments. My only concern was whether the documents were forged or genuine. If they were genuine, I published them. Those who leaked material to me included the rebels of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN); the Salvadoran army, which once gave me blood-smeared FMLN documents found after an ambush; the Sandinista government of Nicaragua; the Israeli intelligence service, the Mossad; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Central Intelligence Agency; the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) rebel group; the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO); the French intelligence service, Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure, or DGSE; and the Serbian government of Slobodan Milosovic, who was later tried as a war criminal.

We learned from the emails published by WikiLeaks that the Clinton Foundation received millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two of the major funders of Islamic State. As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton paid her donors back by approving $80 billion in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, enabling the kingdom to carry out a devastating war in Yemen that has triggered a humanitarian crisis, including widespread food shortages and a cholera epidemic, and left close to 60,000 dead. We learned Clinton was paid $675,000 for speaking at Goldman Sachs, a sum so massive it can only be described as a bribe. We learned Clinton told the financial elites in her lucrative talks that she wanted “open trade and open borders” and believed Wall Street executives were best-positioned to manage the economy, a statement that directly contradicted her campaign promises. We learned the Clinton campaign worked to influence the Republican primaries to ensure that Donald Trump was the Republican nominee. We learned Clinton obtained advance information on primary-debate questions. We learned, because 1,700 of the 33,000 emails came from Hillary Clinton, she was the primary architect of the war in Libya. We learned she believed that the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi would burnish her credentials as a presidential candidate. The war she sought has left Libya in chaos, seen the rise to power of radical jihadists in what is now a failed state, triggered a massive exodus of migrants to Europe, seen Libyan weapon stockpiles seized by rogue militias and Islamic radicals throughout the region, and resulted in 40,000 dead. Should this information have remained hidden from the American public? You can argue yes, but you can’t then call yourself a journalist.

“They are setting my son up to give them an excuse to hand him over to the U.S., where he would face a show trial,” Christine Assange warned. “Over the past eight years, he has had no proper legal process. It has been unfair at every single turn with much perversion of justice. There is no reason to consider that this would change in the future. The U.S. WikiLeaks grand jury, producing the extradition warrant, was held in secret by four prosecutors but no defense and no judge. The U.K.-U.S. extradition treaty allows for the U.K. to extradite Julian to the U.S. without a proper basic case. Once in the U.S., the National Defense Authorization Act allows for indefinite detention without trial. Julian could very well be held in Guantanamo Bay and tortured, sentenced to 45 years in a maximum-security prison, or face the death penalty. My son is in critical danger because of a brutal, political persecution by the bullies in power whose crimes and corruption he had courageously exposed when he was editor in chief of WikiLeaks.”

Assange is on his own. Each day is more difficult for him. This is by design. It is up to us to protest. We are his last hope, and the last hope, I fear, for a free press.

“We need to make our protest against this brutality deafening,” his mother said. “I call on all you journalists to stand up now because he’s your colleague and you are next. I call on all you politicians who say you entered politics to serve the people to stand up now. I call on all you activists who support human rights, refugees, the environment, and are against war, to stand up now because WikiLeaks has served the causes that you spoke for and Julian is now suffering for it alongside of you. I call on all citizens who value freedom, democracy and a fair legal process to put aside your political differences and unite, stand up now. Most of us don’t have the courage of our whistleblowers or journalists like Julian Assange who publish them, so that we may be informed and warned about the abuses of power.”
https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018 ... an-assange
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby Elvis » Thu Nov 15, 2018 8:47 pm

Thanks, Slad, I'll have to read the Hedges piece later, but this is my take-away from the WSJ piece:

The Justice Department has investigated Mr. Assange for years, beginning in 2010 after disclosures by WikiLeaks of thousands of classified Afghan War reports and other material, for which former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning was found guilty at a court-martial.

The "Justice" Dept. is blowing smoke pursuing WikiLeaks as "a tool of Russian intelligence."

The corrupt, murderous, neocon-infested State Dept. and other fascist entities have always wanted to hang Assange for one reason: the crime of exposing them.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:39 pm

Seamus Hughes

Verified account


You guys should read EDVA court filings more, cheaper than a Journal subscription
Image
4:48 PM - 15 Nov 2018


To be clear, seems Freudian, it’s for a different completely unrelated case, every other page is not related to him, EDVA just appears to have assange on the mind when filing motions to seal and used his name

https://twitter.com/SeamusHughes/status ... 7674162176



southpaw

A couple notes I'd add to @SeamusHughes's brilliant catch of what looks like a very consequential find and replace error in an unrelated case.
-I could find no public criminal (or civil) cases in EDVA with the surname Assange. ..
Image

-The reference to "sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case" doesn't seem to fit with the obscure case in which the doc was filed. I think that's also from the base doc prosecutors used to start drafting this motion and therefore describes "Assange."
.

This was also three months ago.....

Charlie Savage

Charlie Savage Retweeted Seamus Hughes
Here is the full EDVA court filing @SeamusHughes points to with the weird mistake, whose underlying cause is murky, referring to a purported indictment of "Assange" rather than the defendant in the case. https://pacer-
https://pacer-documents.s3.amazonaws.co ... 235200.pdf


what is going to happen in the next 10 days?

Jamie O'Grady
BREAKING: Mueller asks court for ten-day delay in joint status update in Manafort case. This suggests Special Counsel expects Manfort's cooperation to come to a head very, very soon.

Image

Image
https://twitter.com/search?q=manafort&r ... r%5Esearch




• Papadopoulos: Pleaded guilty. Sentenced.
• Patten: Pleaded guilty.
• Manafort: Pleaded guilty.
• Cohen: Pleaded guilty.
• van der Zwaan: Pleaded guilty. Sentenced.
• Gates: Pleaded guilty.
• Pinedo: Pleaded guilty.
• Flynn: Pleaded guilty.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby Elvis » Fri Nov 16, 2018 12:00 am

Bizarre...

Del Quentin Wilber
‏Verified account @DelWilber
44m44 minutes ago
Replying to @SeamusHughes

Can you post the entire document?



Replying to @DirkSchwenk @SeamusHughes

Azure Ghost

Charlie Savage
Verified account @charlie_savage

Here is the full EDVA court filing @SeamusHughes points to with the weird mistake, whose underlying cause is murky, referring to a purported indictment of "Assange" rather than the defendant in the case. https://pacer-documents.s3.amazonaws.co ... 235200.pdfhttps://twitter.com/SeamusHughes/status ... 7674162176
6:58 PM - 15 Nov 2018


Government's motion to seal (quoted in Tweet):
https://pacer-documents.s3.amazonaws.co ... 235200.pdf


Nothingburger concerning Assange, but who is Seitu Sulayman Kokayi and why are documents pertaining to his felony child sex charges sealed?

The case: United States v. Kokayi (1:18-cr-00410)

Defendant
Seitu Sulayman Kokayi

Description Disposition
Pending Count 18:1470 Transfer of Obscene Materials to a Minor (FORFEITURE)(3) None
Pending Count 18:2422(b) Coercion and Enticement of A Minor (FORFEITURE)(1-2) None
Complaint 18:2422(b) Coercion and enticement of a juvenile to engage in unlawful sexual activity None

Highest Offense Level (Opening): Felony

Highest Offense Level (Terminated): None
Plaintiff


Docket Entries:

1
Aug 22, 2018

SEALED COMPLAINT as to Seitu Sulayman Kokayi (1). (dest, ) [1:18-mj-00406-TCB] (Entered: 08/23/2018)

Main Doc­ument

2
Aug 22, 2018

AFFIDAVIT by USA as to Seitu Sulayman Kokayi 1 Complaint (Sealed) (dest, ) [1:18-mj-00406-TCB] (Entered: 08/23/2018)

Main Doc­ument

4
Aug 22, 2018

Redacted Criminal Case Cover Sheet (dest, ) [1:18-mj-00406-TCB] (Entered: 08/23/2018)

Main Doc­ument

5
Aug 22, 2018

MOTION to Seal by USA as to Seitu Sulayman Kokayi. (dest, ) [1:18-mj-00406-TCB] (Entered: 08/23/2018)

Main Doc­ument

6
Aug 22, 2018

ORDER granting 5 Motion to Seal until the further order of the court as to Seitu Sulayman Kokayi (1). Signed by Magistrate Judge Theresa Carroll Buchanan on 8/22/2018. (dest, ) [1:18-mj-00406-TCB] (Entered: 08/23/2018)

Main Doc­ument

7
Aug 22, 2018

Arrest Warrant Issued by Magistrate Judge Theresa Carroll Buchanan in case as to Seitu Sulayman Kokayi. (dest, ) [1:18-mj-00406-TCB] (Entered: 08/23/2018)

Main Doc­ument

8
Aug 23, 2018

Arrest Warrant Returned Executed on 8/23/18 in case as to Seitu Sulayman Kokayi. (tfitz, ) [1:18-mj-00406-TCB] (Entered: 08/23/2018)

Main Doc­ument

9
Aug 23, 2018

Minute Entry for proceedings held before Magistrate Judge Theresa Carroll Buchanan:Initial Appearance as to Seitu Sulayman Kokayi held on 8/23/2018. USA appeared through K. Dwyer. Deft appeared w/o counsel. Deft informed of rights, charges and penalties. Court to appoint counsel (FPD). USA seeks detention-Granted. Preliminary/Detention Hearing set for 8/24/2018 at 02:00 PM in Alexandria Courtroom 500 before Magistrate Judge Theresa Carroll Buchanan. Deft remanded to the custody of the USMS.(Tape #FTR.)(tfitz, ) [1:18-mj-00406-TCB] (Entered: 08/23/2018)

Main Doc­ument

10
Aug 23, 2018

Temporary Detention Order as to Seitu Sulayman Kokayi. Signed by Magistrate Judge Theresa Carroll Buchanan on 8/23/18. (tfitz, ) [1:18-mj-00406-TCB] (Entered: 08/23/2018)

Main Doc­ument

11
Aug 23, 2018

ORAL ORDER APPOINTING FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER as to Seitu Sulayman Kokayi. Elizabeth Ann Mullin for Seitu Sulayman Kokayi appointed. Ordered by Magistrate Judge Theresa Carroll Buchanan on 8/23/18. (tfitz, ) [1:18-mj-00406-TCB] (Entered: 08/23/2018)

Main Doc­ument

12
Aug 24, 2018

Minute Entry for proceedings held before Magistrate Judge Theresa Carroll Buchanan:USA appeared through K. Dwyer. Deft appeared w/counsel E. Mullin. Preliminary Hearing as to Seitu Sulayman Kokayi held on 8/24/2018. USA calls witness and adduced evidence (Affidavit); Agent adopts the affidavit as part of his testimony. Affidavit entered into evidence as USA's exh# 1; Crossexamination of witness. No argument as to PC; Court finds PC. Matter continued for further proceedings before the grand jury. Detention Hearing as to Seitu Sulayman Kokayi held on 8/24/2018. USA seeks detention; Deft argues for bond w/conditions-DENIED. Deft remanded to the USMS w/o bond pending trial. (Tape #FTR.)(tfitz, ) [1:18-mj-00406-TCB] (Entered: 08/24/2018)

Main Doc­ument

13
Aug 24, 2018

ORDER OF DETENTION PENDING TRIAL as to Seitu Sulayman Kokayi. Signed by Magistrate Judge Theresa Carroll Buchanan on 8/24/18. (tfitz, ) [1:18-mj-00406-TCB] (Entered: 08/24/2018)

Main Doc­ument

14
Aug 30, 2018

Arrest Warrant Returned Executed on 08/23/2018 in case as to Seitu Sulayman Kokayi. (jlan) [1:18-mj-00406-TCB] (Entered: 08/30/2018)

Main Doc­ument

15
Aug 31, 2018

MOTION for Protective Order by USA as to Seitu Sulayman Kokayi. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(jlan) [1:18-mj-00406-TCB] (Entered: 08/31/2018)

Main Doc­ument

16
Aug 31, 2018

MOTION for Limited Unsealing by USA as to Seitu Sulayman Kokayi. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(jlan) [1:18-mj-00406-TCB] (Entered: 08/31/2018)

Main Doc­ument

17
Sep 4, 2018

ORDER granting 16 Motion for Limited Unsealing as to Seitu Sulayman Kokayi (1). Signed by Magistrate Judge Theresa Carroll Buchanan on 09/04/2018. (c/s to filing party) (jlan) [1:18-mj-00406-TCB] (Entered: 09/04/2018)

Main Doc­ument

18
Sep 4, 2018

ORDER granting 15 Motion for Protective Order as to Seitu Sulayman Kokayi (1). Signed by Magistrate Judge Theresa Carroll Buchanan on 09/04/2018. (c/s to parties) (jlan) [1:18-mj-00406-TCB] (Entered: 09/04/2018)

Main Doc­ument

19
Sep 12, 2018

Sealed Transcript. (rban, ) [1:18-mj-00406-TCB] (Entered: 09/12/2018)

Main Doc­ument

20
Sep 19, 2018

NOTICE OF ATTORNEY APPEARANCE: Mark John Petrovich appearing for Seitu Sulayman Kokayi. (jlan) [1:18-mj-00406-TCB] (Entered: 09/19/2018)

Main Doc­ument

21
Sep 19, 2018

CONSENT MOTION for Extension of Time to Indict by USA as to Seitu Sulayman Kokayi. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(jlan) [1:18-mj-00406-TCB] (Entered: 09/19/2018)

Main Doc­ument

22
Sep 20, 2018

ORDER granting 21 Motion for Extension of Time to Indict; ORDERED that the time period for indicting the defendant Seitu Sulayman KOKA YI be and is hereby extended up to and including October 25, 2018. as to Seitu Sulayman Kokayi (1). Signed by District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema on 09/20/2018. (jlan) [1:18-mj-00406-TCB] (Entered: 09/20/2018)

Main Doc­ument

23
Sep 24, 2018

MOTION for Substitution of Counsel by USA as to Seitu Sulayman Kokayi. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(jlan) [1:18-mj-00406-TCB] (Entered: 09/25/2018)

Main Doc­ument

24
Sep 26, 2018

ORDER granting 23 Motion for Substitution of Counsel as to Seitu Sulayman Kokayi (1). Signed by Magistrate Judge Theresa Carroll Buchanan on 09/26/2018. (jlan) [1:18-mj-00406-TCB] (Entered: 09/26/2018)

Main Doc­ument

25
Sep 26, 2018

NOTICE OF ATTORNEY APPEARANCE: Anthony Hamilton Nourse appearing for Seitu Sulayman Kokayi (jlan) [1:18-mj-00406-TCB] (Entered: 09/27/2018)

Main Doc­ument

26
Oct 18, 2018

SECOND CONSENT MOTION for Extension of Time to Indict by USA as to Seitu Sulayman Kokayi. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(jlan) [1:18-mj-00406-TCB] (Entered: 10/18/2018)

Main Doc­ument

27
Oct 19, 2018

ORDER granting 26 Motion for Extension of Time to Indict; ORDERED that the time period for indicting the defendant be and is hereby extended up to and including November 8, 2018 as to Seitu Sulayman Kokayi (1). Signed by District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema on 10/19/2018. (c/s to counsel of record) (jlan) [1:18-mj-00406-TCB] (Entered: 10/19/2018)

Main Doc­ument

28
Nov 8, 2018

NOTICE OF ATTORNEY APPEARANCE Dennis Fitzpatrick appearing for USA. (Fitzpatrick, Dennis) [1:18-mj-00406-TCB] (Entered: 11/08/2018)

Main Doc­ument

29
Nov 8, 2018

INDICTMENT as to Seitu Sulayman Kokayi (1) count(s) 1-2, 3. (lcre, ) (Entered: 11/08/2018)

Main Doc­ument

32
Nov 8, 2018

Redacted Criminal Case Cover Sheet (lcre, ) (Entered: 11/08/2018)

Main Doc­ument

33
Nov 9, 2018

NOTICE of Intent to Use FISA Information by USA as to Seitu Sulayman Kokayi (Fitzpatrick, Dennis) (Entered: 11/09/2018)

Main Doc­ument

34
Nov 9, 2018

NOTICE OF ATTORNEY APPEARANCE Dennis Fitzpatrick appearing for USA. (Fitzpatrick, Dennis) (Entered: 11/09/2018)

Main Doc­ument



https://twitter.com/SeamusHughes
Seamus Hughes
‏Verified account @SeamusHughes
Nov 14

Seitu Sulayman Kokayi was charged with enticing a minor. First indication there was more there there was the notice of appearance of assistant us attorney who covers national security, second was a notice of the use of FISA which ain’t something you use in these cases 2/3


And is there some possible connection to a possible case brought against Assange?
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby Elvis » Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:25 am

Most interesting...someone mixed up paperwork of two different cases?...accidentally?...deliberately?...was anything actually revealed?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/julian-assange-has-been-charged-prosecutors-reveal-in-inadvertent-court-filing/2018/11/15/9902e6ba-98bd-48df-b447-3e2a4638f05a_story.html?utm_term=.be2b2bed0e0c
National Security
Julian Assange has been charged, prosecutors reveal inadvertently in court filing


By Matt Zapotosky and
Devlin Barrett
November 15 at 11:19 PM

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been charged under seal, prosecutors inadvertently revealed in a recently unsealed court filing — a development that could significantly advance the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and have major implications for those who publish government secrets.

The disclosure came in a filing in a case unrelated to Assange. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer, urging a judge to keep the matter sealed, wrote that “due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged.” Later, Dwyer wrote the charges would “need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested.”

Dwyer is also assigned to the WikiLeaks case. People familiar with the matter said what Dwyer was disclosing was true, but unintentional.

Joshua Stueve, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of Virginia, said, “The court filing was made in error. That was not the intended name for this filing.”

An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment.

Federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia have long been investigating Assange and, in the Trump administration, had begun taking a second look at whether to charge members of the WikiLeaks organization for the 2010 leak of diplomatic cables and military documents that the anti-secrecy group published. Investigators also had explored whether WikiLeaks could face criminal liability for the more recent revelation of sensitive CIA cybertools.

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III also has explored WikiLeaks’ publication of emails from the Democratic National Committee and the account of Hillary Clinton’s then-campaign chairman, John D. Podesta. Officials have alleged that the emails were hacked by Russian spies and transferred to WikiLeaks.

Mueller also has been exploring, among other things, communications between the group and associates of President Trump, including political operative Roger Stone and commentator and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi.

In July, Mueller’s office charged 12 Russian military spies with conspiring to hack DNC computers, stealing the organization’s data and publishing the files in an effort to disrupt the election, and referred in an indictment to WikiLeaks, described only as “Organization 1,” as the platform the Russians used to release the stolen emails.

A spokesman for the special counsel’s office declined to comment.

It was not immediately clear what charges Assange would face. In the past, prosecutors had contemplated pursuing a case involving conspiracy, theft of government property or violating the Espionage Act. But whether to charge the WikiLeaks founder was hardly a foregone conclusion. In the Obama administration, the Justice Department had concluded that pursuing Assange would be akin to prosecuting a news organization. In the Trump administration, though, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions had taken a more aggressive stance and vowed to crack down on all government leaks.

Barry J. Pollack, one of Assange’s attorneys, said, “The only thing more irresponsible than charging a person for publishing truthful information would be to put in a public filing information that clearly was not intended for the public and without any notice to Mr. Assange. Obviously, I have no idea if he has actually been charged or for what, but the notion that the federal criminal charges could be brought based on the publication of truthful information is an incredibly dangerous precedent to set.”

The filing in the Eastern District of Virginia came Aug. 22 in a case that combines national security and sex trafficking. Seitu Sulayman Kokayi, 29, was charged with enticing a 15-year-old girl to have sex with him and send him pornographic images of herself. But he was detained in part because he “has a substantial interest in terrorist acts,” according to the court filing.

His father-in-law, according to the filing, has been convicted of terrorist acts. The case involves previously classified information, according to government filings, and prosecutors plan to use information obtained under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Kokayi was indicted last week and is set to be arraigned Friday morning.

The case had been sealed until early September, though by itself it attracted little notice. On Thursday evening, Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, who is known for scrubbing court filings, joked about the apparent error on Twitter — which first brought it to the attention of reporters.

Even if he is charged, Assange’s coming to the United States to face trial is no sure thing. Since June 2012, Assange has been living in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London, afraid that if he steps outside he will be arrested.

When he first sought asylum in the embassy, he was facing possible extradition to Sweden in a sex crimes case. He has argued that case was a pretext for what he predicted would be his arrest and extradition to the United States.

In the years since, the Swedish case has been closed, but Assange has said he cannot risk leaving the embassy because the United States would attempt to have him arrested and extradited for disclosures of U.S. government secrets. Throughout that time, the United States has refused to say whether there are any sealed charges against Assange.

If Assange were to leave the embassy and be arrested by British authorities, he would likely still fight extradition in the British courts.



Rachel Weiner and Ellen Nakashima contributed to this report.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby Elvis » Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:57 am

https://news.google.com/articles/CAIiEE ... id=US%3Aen
http://archive.is/ARCUy

Prosecutors Have Prepared Indictment of Julian Assange, a Filing Reveals
By Charlie Savage and Michael S. Schmidt
Nov. 16, 2018

It was not clear if prosecutors have filed charges against Mr. Assange.
. . .

While the filing started out referencing Mr. Kokayi, federal prosecutors abruptly switched on its second page to discussing the fact that someone named “Assange” had been secretly indicted, and went on to make clear that this person was the subject of significant publicity, lived abroad and would need to be extradited — suggesting that prosecutors had inadvertently pasted text from a similar court filing into the wrong document and then filed it.
. . .

Members of the Obama legal policy team from that era have said they did not want to establish a precedent that could would chill investigative reporting about national-security matters by treating it as a crime.
. . .

“You guys should read EDVA court filings more, cheaper than a Journal subscription,” wrote Mr. Hughes, is the deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University.



Seamus Hughes is an interesting figure, and I wonder just how accidental/coincidental all of this is.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby Elvis » Fri Nov 16, 2018 7:15 am

The unison chorus is amazing...

https://news.google.com/stories/CAAqOQg ... id=US%3Aen

"Assange has been charged" .."Assange charged" ..."charges filed"

Amid dozens of such hyperventilations, the Irish Times calmly lets us know that Assange "may have been charged." ABC News wisely hedges its bets, saying "court filing hints at charges."

Motivations are unclear but this somehow seems orchestrated. Testing the waters?
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:31 am

southpaw
@nycsouthpaw
-The reference to "sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case" doesn't seem to fit with the obscure case in which the doc was filed. I think that's also from the base doc prosecutors used to start drafting this motion and therefore describes "Assange."

Per court records, the charges in the obscure case were filed under seal on August 22, the defendant was arrested the next day, the case was unsealed on September 4, and the grand jury indictment was only handed down last week, on Nov. 8--after some mutually agreed extensions.

·
To throw maybe just a dash of cold water on this, here's the corresponding paragraph from a 2016 motion to seal signed by the same prosecutor for some hackers in Latvia and Russia (details: (link: https://www.thedailybeast.com/russian-n ... acks-in-us) thedailybeast.com/russian-nation…). It's far more detailed about extradition and travel issues.
Image
4D07C306-E92E-4B88-BDA7-CE68C3F68399.jpeg
4D07C306-E92E-4B88-BDA7-CE68C3F68399.jpeg (121.95 KiB) Viewed 869 times

I'd generally expect to find the same language in a 2018 motion for renowned international fugitive Julian Assange... and it's not evident in the filing Seamus found, fwiw. (Not saying this outweighs the presence of the name "Assange" in the analysis, but it adds to the puzzle)



southpaw

It took just about 3.5 hours from
@SeamusHughes
’s tweet until WaPo published confirmation, with a quote on the record from an EDVA spokesman. Kinda like DOJ didn’t feel to motivated to fight this disclosure, which is interesting.

NYT files a slightly different report from WaPo, saying prosecutors have “prepared an indictment” against Assange but that it isn’t clear whether it’s been filed.


Chuck Smith
·
2h
Replying to
@nycsouthpaw
And thank you for using "different... from" instead of "different... than
@Roadette33
·
4h
Replying to
@nycsouthpaw
Well, yeah, but it's a direct quote that "charges have been filed." Hard to think WaPo would have put it in quotes if it's not what Dwyer said. Or do they think Dwyer is wrong? Hmmm...





emptywheel

As I note, what Assange did w/Schulte and the CIA hacking files goes well beyond journalism, particularly w/repeated threats to release them if the USG didn't give him immunity.

I will and have defended Assange against prosecution and suit for stuff other journalists do. I'll even defend him preferring to publish stuff to attack one side (like, say, Fox).

But we don't know all he has done.



BUT WE DON’T KNOW ALL HE HAS DONE


emptywheel

2h2 hours ago

Also, note I've said REPEATEDLY that I think Assange may have things that go beyond publishing wrt the Vault 7 releases. That case has venue in EDVA (which Schulte waived). Mueller does not.


Dear all, especially those who claim to be liberals in the Big L or little l sense:

Our legal system is built on precedents formed in the prosecutions of assholes. Please don't applaud treatment of Assange you'd find improper with others.
https://twitter.com/emptywheel



US GOVERNMENT REVEALS IT HAS VIDEO EVIDENCE OF JOSHUA SCHULTE SHARING CLASSIFIED INFORMATION AS ECUADOR RESTRICTS ASSANGE’S LEGAL VISITS

November 2, 2018/36 Comments/in 2016 Presidential Election, emptywheel, Mueller Probe, WikiLeaks /by emptywheel
In a letter sent Thursday to Paul Crotty, the judge in the case of alleged Vault 7 WikiLeaks source, Joshua Schulte, prosecutors described the investigation conducted when, “in or about early October 2018,” they discovered he had been communicating clandestinely with third parties outside of the Metropolitan Corrections Center, where he has been held since December. They described discovering a truly stupendous amount of communications gear to store in a jail cell, amounting to multiple cell phones and other devices, from which Schulte was running 13 email and social media accounts.

In or about early October 2018, the Government learned that Schulte was using one or more smuggled contraband cellphones to communicate clandestinely with third parties outside of the MCC. The Government and the FBI immediately commenced an investigation into Schulte’s conduct at the MCC. That investigation involved, among other things, the execution of six search warrants and the issuance of dozens of grand jury subpoenas and pen register orders. Pursuant to this legal process, in the weeks following the Government’s discovery of Schulte’s conduct at the MCC, the FBI has searched, among other things, the housing unit at the MCC in which Schulte was detained; multiple contraband cellphones (including at least one cellphone used by Schulte that is protected with significant encryption); approximately 13 email and social media accounts (including encrypted email accounts); and other electronic devices.


Now, the prosecutors use that word “encrypted” twice, as if it means extra spooky, but these days, a cellphone with significant encryption could mean an iPhone (though in jail Schulte might be able to get state of the art spook or crook phones) and “encrypted email accounts” often means ProtonMail.

In any case, that’s a whole lot of legal process for a one month investigation of someone sitting in a jail cell (Schulte was moved to solitary when the investigation started on October 1), but then Schulte allegedly had a shit-ton of hardware. The 6 search warrants were presumably used for Schulte’s devices, and the “dozens of grand jury subpoenas and pen registers” would probably have been used for those email and social media accounts, perhaps with both used for each account (I have a working theory that for encrypted comms it may take more than one pen register to get the data).

Schulte was using all this hardware and software, according to the prosecutors, to — among other things — do two things: send details about the search warrants to investigate him, as well as yet more classified information, to third parties.

As a result of these searches and other investigative steps, the Government discovered that Schulte had, among other things, (i) transmitted classified information to third parties, including by using an encrypted email account, and (ii) transmitted the Protected Search Warrant Materials to third parties in direct contravention of the Court’s Protective Order and the Court’s statements at the May 21 conference.


The prosecutors included a superseding indictment with their letter, adding two extra counts to his already life sentence-threatening indictment: a new Count Eleven, which is contempt of court for blowing off the protective order covering his search warrant starting in April, and a new Count Four, which is another count of transmitting and attempting to transmit unlawfully possessed national defense information (793(e)) during the period he has been in MCC.

With regards to Count Eleven, on Monday a letter Schulte sent to Judge Crotty that was uploaded briefly to PACER (I believe this is the third time Schulte has succeeded in getting such letters briefly uploaded to the docket), revealing that he had been moved to solitary, but also complaining about corrections the government had made to his original search warrant:

I beg you Judge Crotty to read the first search warrant affidavit and the government’s Brady letter; the FBI outright lied in that affidavit and now acknowledge roughly half of these lies. Literally, they [sic] “error” on seeing dates of 3/7 where there were only 3/2 dates and developing their entire predicate based on fallacious reasoning and lies. They “error” in seeing three administrators where there were “at least 5” (ie. 10). They [sic] “error” in where the C.I. was stolen who had access, and how it could be taken — literally everything.


While I absolutely don’t rule out the government either focused on Schulte back in March 2017 for reasons not disclosed in the search warrant application, or that they parallel constructed the real reasons badly (both of which would be of significant interest, but both of which his very competent public defender can deal with), the docket suggests the Vault 7 case against him got fully substantiated after the porn case, perhaps because of the stuff he did last year on Tor that got him jailed in the first place. As I noted, that Tor activity closely followed one of Julian Assange’s more pubic extortion attempts using the Vault 8 material Schulte is accused of sharing, though Assange has made multiple private extortion attempts both before and since.

Which brings me to the second new charge, transmitting and attempting to transmit national defense information to a third party, with a time span of December 2017 to October 2018. Effectively, the government claims that even after Schulte was jailed last December, he continued to share classified information.

I’m particularly interested in the government’s use of “attempted” in that charge, not used elsewhere. The time period they lay out, after all, includes a period when Ecuador restricted Julian Assange’s communication. Effectively, the government revealed on Wednesday that they have video evidence of Schulte sharing classified information with … someone.

Meanwhile, in the Ecuadoran embassy in London, things have been heating up between Assange and his hosts.

About halfway through the period after which Schulte had been put into solitary so the government could investigate a bunch of communications devices they claim they didn’t know about before around October 1, Ecuador announced what seemed to be a relaxation of restrictions on Assange, but actually was more of an ultimatum. He could have visitors, but first they’d have to apply 3 days in advance and supply their social media handles and identifying details for any devices they wanted to bring with them. Assange, too, has to register all his devices, and only use Ecuador’s wifi. If anyone uses unapproved devices, they’ll be deemed a security threat to Ecuador under the protection of the UK, basically giving the UK reason to prosecute them to protect Ecuador. Assange has to have regular medical exams; if he has a medical emergency, he’ll be treated off site. Starting on December 1, he has to start paying for food and other supplies. He has to start cleaning up the joint. He has to start taking care of his cat.

Assange immediately sued over the new rules. But he lost that suit on Monday. But even as he appeals that verdict, according to Courage Foundation, Ecuador has restricted even legal visits, something that hadn’t been the case before. Those restrictions appear to have been put in place on Wednesday, the same day the new Schulte charges were rolled out. They’ll remain in place until Monday.

A piece by Ryan Goodman and Bob Bauer renewed discussion this morning about the First Amendment limits on suing or prosecuting WikiLeaks for conspiring with Russia to swing the 2016 election; I hope to respond to it later, but wrote about the same lawsuit in this post. I think their view dangerously risks political journalism.

But I also think that you don’t necessarily need to charge WikiLeaks in the conspiracy to sustain a conspiracy charge; you can make them unindicted co-conspirators, just like Trump would be. I have long noted that you could charge Assange, instead, for his serial attempts to extort the United States, an effort that has gone on for well over 18 months using the very same files that Schulte is alleged to have leaked to WikiLeaks (extortion attempts which may also involve Roger Stone). Assange has accomplished those extortion attempts, in part, with the assistance of his lawyers, who up until this week (as far as I understand from people close to Assange) were still permitted access to him.

Say. Have I observed yet that these events are taking place in the last days before Mueller’s election season restrictions end?
https://www.emptywheel.net/2018/11/02/u ... al-visits/




Effectively, the government revealed on Wednesday that they have video evidence of Schulte sharing classified information with … someone.



______________________________


NEW: A judge ruled today that special counsel Mueller’s case against Concord Management - the Russian firm accused of funding the Internet Research Agency ("troll factory") -- can proceed, denying the firm’s motion to dismiss for a 2nd time.

In their argument to dismiss, lawyers for Concord Management (the Russian company accused of funding the "troll factory") cited a 2011 decision on foreign spending in U.S. elections written by Brett Kavanaugh.

It failed.


Judge: Mueller case against Russian firm linked to alleged troll farm can proceed


PHOTO: FBI Director Robert Mueller speaks during a farewell ceremony in Muellers honor at the Department of Justice, Aug. 1, 2013.Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Coming upRobert Mueller: Everything you need to know

A U.S. district judge ruled on Thursday that special counsel Robert Mueller’s case against a Russian firm allegedly involved in the state-sponsored effort to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election can proceed, denying the firm’s motion to dismiss for a second time.

Concord Management and Consulting, LLC, which is purportedly owned by a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is among the three Russian entities and 13 individuals who were indicted in February on charges related to the alleged interference operation.

Concord, which has pleaded not guilty to a conspiracy charge, is specifically accused of funding an infamous St. Petersburg “troll factory” that prosecutors say created hundreds of fake social media accounts in which Russians pretended to be Americans online to sow discord, inspire doubt in democratic institutions and support then-candidate Donald Trump.

(MORE: 'Firewall counsel' to protect government secrets in Russian election meddling case)
In a motion to dismiss filed in July and in oral arguments last month, an American law firm Reed Smith representing Concord argued that the special counsel was trying to charge the firm with the “made up” crime of misrepresenting yourself online and engaging in political speech.

“This argument is beyond belief,” Concord’s lead attorney Eric Dubelier told the court in October. “They want to regulate what people say on the internet.”

But prosecutors alleged Concord was involved in a conspiracy to defraud three specific government agencies: the Department of Justice, the Department of State and the Federal Election Commission, each of which have responsibilities relevant to foreign participation in political activity in the United States. Proving a single underlying crime was unnecessary, the government argued, as long as the conspiracy involved multiple instances of deceit that interfered with those government functions.

PHOTO: A view of the four-story building known as the troll factory in St. Petersburg, Russia, Feb. 17, 2018.Naira Davlashyan/AP, FILE
A view of the four-story building known as the "troll factory" in St. Petersburg, Russia, Feb. 17, 2018.
Ultimately, U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich sided with the special counsel.

“At bottom, Concord’s concerns amount to a single attack: that the government has charged Concord based on conduct that is not illegal,” Friedrich wrote in her opinion accompanying the order to deny the motion to dismiss. “But Concord cannot escape the fact that the course of deceptive conduct alleged is illegal because [18 U.S. Code 371] makes it illegal. The indictment need not allege a violation of any other statute.” (Emphasis in original.)

Concord previously tried to get the case dismissed by arguing that special counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment was unconstitutional. That argument, too, was struck down.

(MORE: Is Russia playing a double game in Mueller court battle?)
Of the three Russian entities and 13 Russian nationals indicted in the troll factory case, Concord is the only one to have responded in court to the indictment. National security and legal experts previously told ABC News they were concerned the Kremlin was using the court case to play a double game by attempting to gather intelligence on Mueller and U.S. investigative and intelligence methods through the discovery process.

Attorneys for Concord at Reed Smith have repeatedly declined to comment on the case.

The judge did, however, preview a challenge for prosecutors, should the case go to trial.

“The difficulty for the government, however, is not identifying deceit – of which there is plenty – but connecting that deceit to the lawful government function of ‘administering federal requirements for disclosure,’ which the defendants allegedly conspired to impair,” Friedrich wrote.
https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/judge-r ... d=59224515


Caroline Orr


@RVAwonk
14h14 hours ago
More
Kavanaugh's interpretation of the Federal Elections Campaign Act would leave the door open for unlimited spending by foreign powers on "issue advocacy," meaning that most of the campaign activity attributed to Russian operatives in the 2016 election would've been legal.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJS35lyRj-Y

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

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:18 am

Cenk Uygur: Avenatti Should Sue TMZ; Harvey Levin is a ‘Clear, Biased, Trump-Supporting Clown’
by Colby Hall | Nov 16th, 2018, 6:57 am 198


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPgjOxStBJU
Cenk Uygur shared remarkably pointed words about TMZ’s Harvey Levin Thursday when he described him as a “clear, biased, Trump-supporting clown.”


What raised Uygur’s ire? TMZ’s misreporting of Michael Avenatti’s arrest over domestic violence charges. Since breaking Wednesday the story has only become more unclear. Avenatti has vigorously denied the charges and has suggested that he is the victim of a conspiracy led by Jacob Wohl, who’s company Surefire Intelligence tweeted “Surefire Intelligence strikes again.”

The original story, however, was mistakenly reported by TMZ that Avenatti had committed domestic violence against his estranged wife. That was proven untrue when Lisa Storie-Avenatti released a statement to defend Avenatti.


“It’s unclear what’s really going on,” Ana Kasparian said as she discussed the known details of the story, “the original story was reported by TMZ. Harvey Levin who runs TMZ is a huge Trump supporter…that’s not to say that there was malicious intent.”

“TMZ usually has videos. Did they have a video on this one?” Cenk Uygur said, “why are we listening to TMZ? Don’t listen to any Trump allies, they’re total liars.”

“Clear, biased, Trump supporting clown,” Uygur added.

Kasparian explained that police are not releasing more details other than Avenatti was arrested on domestic violence accusations and there’s an investigation.

“TMZ is a Trump ally. They’re not real. They’re not a real news organization. National Inquirer is not real. Gateway Pundit is total crap,” Uygur said, arguing that a lot of people in Washington rely on these outlets as sources.

Uygur argued that Avenatti “should sue TMZ out of existence” over what he clearly sees as their libelous report.

Watch the clip above courtesy of The Young Turks.
https://www.mediaite.com/online/cenk-uy ... ing-clown/



Michael Avenatti


I just received a call from Sinclair broadcasting asking me for comment on a claim that the incident being reported about was actually with a man. Completely bogus and false. If anyone thinks the right does not see me as a threat to Trump, they are living under a rock.


Lisa wasn’t even there, there was no woman on the sidewalk, there was no incident in the lobby, there was no attempt to get on the elevator, there was no red marks/bruises on a face, etc. It is Trump’s sycophant Levin (just like Pecker) trying to save him.



Whomever wrote and approved that TMZ article better get their checkbook ready because it was purposely malicious and false. It was designed to harm Lisa, me and my family and we are going expose TMZ for what they did. No journalist should rely on or defend garbage like that.


.@seanhannity - I have been asking you to have me on your show to discuss various issues for 8 months. You refuse. The last two nights, you have gone after me over my beliefs re “due process.” Have me on and let’s have a real discussion about due process for me & Kavanaugh.


Contrary to @foxnews and others, I have always advocated for due process including with Judge Kavanaugh (we demanded a full and thorough investigation repeatedly). Any claim to the contrary is bogus. Many of these “pundits” don’t even know what legal due process is.


As if there was a doubt politics was involved, there can now be none. And once again, to be clear, I HAVE NOT been charged with anything regardless of what the RNC may be wishing for.

Image
Image

There is a lot of inaccurate reporting out there. For example, (1) I have NOT been charged with anything, let alone a felony; (2) Lisa wasn't even with me Tues; etc. Numerous other "facts" being reported are completely bogus. Why is TMZ's news "standard" the new standard?



First Mueller and now me. When we are fully exonerated I am coming for you Jacob Wohl aka Surefire.


Michael Avenatti Retweeted Dianne Gallagher
The stmt issued earlier from my second wife Lisa, together with stmts made to @mj_lee of CNN.Michael Avenatti added,

Dianne Gallagher
Verified account

@DianneG
“I haven’t see Michael in months. It’s a complete fabrication. It’s a lie. It’s all a lie,” his estranged-wife Lisa-Storie Avenatti tells @mj_lee. “Bruises on my face? It is insanity. He wouldn’t hit anybody. Especially a…
Show this thread

Michael Avenatti Retweeted Christine Avenatti Carlin
The stmt issued earlier from Christine, my first wife.Michael Avenatti added,
Christine Avenatti Carlin

@avenatticarlin
Replying to @krassenstein
I have known @MichaelAvenatti for over 26 years we met when he was 21 years old and we were married for 13 years. Michael has ALWAYS been a kind loving father to our two daughters and husband to me. He has NEVER been abusive to me or anyone else. He is a good man.


I want to be clear: I DID NOT commit domestic violence nor have I ever committed domestic violence. I did not strike any woman nor have I ever. I did not strike my ex-wife in the face nor did I hit anyone else in the face. I am a decent man & I look forward to being exonerated.


Thank you to everyone who has reached out with supportive messages and offers of assistance. It means the world to me. I have always been an advocate of women's rights and equality & I always will be. I will not be intimidated into stopping my pursuit of justice and what is right

https://twitter.com/MichaelAvenatti?ref ... r%5Eauthor



Mueller refers sex assault scheme targeting him to FBI
viewtopic.php?f=52&t=41388




White House Must Restore Press Credentials for CNN’s Jim Acosta, Judge Rules
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/16/busi ... trump.html


BETSY DEVOS'S ARMED SECURITY DETAIL IS COSTING TAXPAYERS NEARLY $20 MILLION
https://www.newsweek.com/betsy-devos-se ... on-1219161


that would be Eric Prince's sister



Today is trump's 666th day in office.


Top Cheney Aide in Mueller’s Sights as Probe Expands

Mueller’s investigators have examined an array of operatives with ties to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the UAE—including John Hannah, Dick Cheney’s former national security adviser.

11.16.18 4:42 AM ET
Dick Cheney’s former top national-security aide has come under scrutiny from special counsel Robert Mueller, two people with knowledge of the probe tell The Daily Beast. It’s the latest sign that Mueller’s probe has expanded beyond the narrow bounds of Russian interference in American politics.

Mueller’s team has been looking into the communications and political dealings of John Hannah, the former Cheney adviser who later worked on Trump’s State Department transition team. This includes interactions with Lebanese-American businessman and fixer George Nader, who brokered meetings between foreign dignitaries and Team Trump, and Joel Zamel, a self-proclaimed social-media guru with deep ties to Israeli intelligence. The Daily Beast previously reported that the three men met with a top Saudi general in the days leading up to Trump’s inauguration to discuss plans to undermine and overthrow the government of Iran.

Hannah, who has not been accused of any wrongdoing, is close with Nader and Zamel, both of whom the special counsel has questioned, according to two people with knowledge of those relationships. Hannah is listed on the website of one of Zamel’s firms, Wikistrat, as a member of its advisory council. Nader worked with Hannah on Iraq policy during the George W. Bush administration, according to four people who worked with the two or who knew of their interactions during the war. Hannah is now a senior counselor for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a pro-Israel think tank known for its criticism of the Iranian regime.

Hannah and his attorney did not respond to requests for comment for this story. The Special Counsel’s Office declined to comment. A representative for Nader declined to comment. And a lawyer for Zamel did not respond to requests for comment.

Nader and Zamel have both been questioned by the Special Counsel’s Office and are reportedly cooperating with its probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Nader has been questioned about his ties to high-level officials in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, his relationship with Zamel, and his interactions with the Trump campaign. Mueller has questioned Zamel about his role pitching top campaign officials on an influence operation to help Trump win the election—which could have broken federal election laws.

Mueller’s interest in Hannah’s communications and interactions with the two suggest the special counsel’s probe is broader than previously understood.

“Mueller might be opening another front here,” said John McLaughlin, the former acting director of the CIA. “His mandate is to examine Russian collusion, but there’s the clause in his mandate that’s very open-ended—to the effect of ‘and any associated matters.’ It could be a separate line of inquiry about efforts to influence the election by foreigners.”

“Mueller might be opening another front here. His mandate is to examine Russian collusion, but there’s the clause in his mandate that’s very open ended.”

— Former acting CIA director John McLaughlin

Since the investigation’s launch in 2017, the Special Counsel’s Office has looked at various aspects of the Trump campaign, including payments to former porn stars, foreign lobbying by campaign aides, and hacking by Russian spies into U.S. computer networks. Mueller has so far indicted more than a dozen people and is preparing for the sentencing of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman.

Less has been said about Mueller’s probe of individuals involved in meetings that seem to lie on the outside of the main focus of the investigation. For example, the special counsel has looked at the January 2017 Seychelles meeting between Nader, former Blackwater head Erik Prince, and Kirill Dmitriev, the head of a Russian sovereign wealth fund. And it has asked witnesses about the offer by Zamel to employ social-media manipulation to help Trump defeat Republican primary opponents and Hillary Clinton, according to two individuals who worked with the group.

Mueller’s probe of Hannah’s interactions and communications with Nader, Zamel, and other Trump officials sheds new light on what appears to be a lesser-known side of the special counsel’s investigation—one that deals with Israeli, Emirati, and Saudi influence in the 2016 presidential elections.

Hannah is one of the individuals who sits at the center of that nexus.

“These are countries that are extremely powerful that operate outside of a Democratic framework converging in the most sacred of America’s democratic institutions: its election,” said Karen Greenberg, director of Fordham University’s Center for National Security.

“The Cheney group was often doing things... outside the customary boundaries of America’s internal and external politics,” she added. “If Mueller finds evidence of wrongdoing, it would make us wonder why we as a community—whoever we are—weren’t paying attention to Cheney alums’ persistent presence in American domestic politics.”

During the Republican primaries, Hannah was working as one of the senior leaders at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He often spoke publicly about the need for the U.S. to address the Iranian threat in the Middle East, especially as it related to Israel.

He introduced Nader to Zamel sometime in 2016, according to two people involved in the interaction.

One of Zamel’s companies, Wikistrat, was well-connected in Washington and had built up a base of high-level American military and intelligence officials to serve—or, at least, to appear to serve—as consultants to the firm. Meanwhile, Zamel’s other company, Psy Group, was in the midst of trying to sell the Trump campaign on an online influence strategy and was communicating with several Trump officials, including Rick Gates, who has since pleaded guilty to conspiracy and lying to the FBI. The New York Times was first to report the connection between Psy Group and Gates.

Eventually, the Psy Group plan was presented to Donald Trump Jr. and other campaign officials in August 2016 in a meeting that included Prince, Nader, and Zamel. The campaign never moved forward, according to individuals with knowledge of Psy Group’s work. But others familiar with Zamel and his interactions in the summer of 2016 told The Daily Beast it is unclear if the social-media plan was ever dropped.

Nader paid Zamel a large sum of money after Trump was elected, the Times reported, but it is unclear what that payment was for or if it related to Psy Group’s work.

Nader, for his part, was also developing his relationship with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of the UAE as well as senior Saudi officials, which included Mohammed Bin Salman, the de-facto leader of the kingdom. Throughout 2016 and 2017, Nader met with the two Gulf leaders and developed strategy on how to work with the Trump campaign. In one instance in January 2017, less than a week before the Seychelles meeting, Nader met in New York with Zamel, Trump campaign officials and Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, the head of Saudi intelligence, to discuss a plan to topple the regime in Tehran.

Hannah, too, was in touch with Gulf officials, including the UAE’s ambassador to the U.S., Youssef Otaiba, according to emails published by The Intercept in 2017.

“If Mueller finds evidence of wrongdoing, it would make us wonder why we as a community—whoever we are—weren’t paying attention to Cheney alums’ persistent presence in American domestic politics.”

— Fordham University's Karen Greenberg

At the same time, Hannah was working on the State Department’s transition team. He helped advise former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Middle East policy. Matters he advised on included a possible embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to two people who worked with him. The rest of the advisers came from various corners of Washington, including think tanks and other political offices.

Those who worked on the transition team said Hannah was a somewhat unusual figure. In a team largely stocked with relative amateurs and policy outsiders, he was one of the few who “actually understood how government worked.”

In November 2017, Hannah wrote an op-ed for Foreign Policy, praising the Trump State Department.

“With time and learning, there’s reason to believe that the administration more broadly can overcome its initial stumbles. Whether the same can be said of [Trump’s often-embattled Secretary of State Rex] Tillerson is much less clear,” Hannah wrote, acknowledging his time on the department’s transition team. “If your objective is to maximize the effectiveness of American foreign policy, it’s essential that the secretary of state be universally perceived as having the full backing of the commander in chief.”

Hannah is still working at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. It is unclear if he is still in touch with the Trump administration.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Nov 20, 2018 7:03 pm

Trump Wanted to Order Justice Dept. to Prosecute Comey and Clinton

Nov. 20, 2018
President Trump stoked his enmity for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 race and since taking office has publicly and privately revisited the idea of prosecuting her.Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Glamour


President Trump stoked his enmity for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 race and since taking office has publicly and privately revisited the idea of prosecuting her.Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Glamour
WASHINGTON — President Trump told the White House counsel in the spring that he wanted to order the Justice Department to prosecute two of his political adversaries: his 2016 challenger, Hillary Clinton, and the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, according to two people familiar with the conversation.

The lawyer, Donald F. McGahn II, rebuffed the president, saying that he had no authority to order a prosecution. Mr. McGahn said that while he could request an investigation, that too could prompt accusations of abuse of power. To underscore his point, Mr. McGahn had White House lawyers write a memo for Mr. Trump warning that if he asked law enforcement to investigate his rivals, he could face a range of consequences, including possible impeachment.

The encounter was one of the most blatant examples yet of how Mr. Trump views the typically independent Justice Department as a tool to be wielded against his political enemies. It took on additional significance in recent weeks when Mr. McGahn left the White House and Mr. Trump appointed a relatively inexperienced political loyalist, Matthew G. Whitaker, as the acting attorney general.

It is unclear whether Mr. Trump read Mr. McGahn’s memo or whether he pursued the prosecutions further. But the president has continued to privately discuss the matter, including the possible appointment of a second special counsel to investigate both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Comey, according to two people who have spoken to Mr. Trump about the issue. He has also repeatedly expressed disappointment in the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, for failing to more aggressively investigate Mrs. Clinton, calling him weak, one of the people said.

A White House spokesman declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the F.B.I. declined to comment on the president’s criticism of Mr. Wray, whom he appointed last year after firing Mr. Comey.

“Mr. McGahn will not comment on his legal advice to the president,” said Mr. McGahn’s lawyer, William A. Burck. “Like any client, the president is entitled to confidentiality. Mr. McGahn would point out, though, that the president never, to his knowledge, ordered that anyone prosecute Hillary Clinton or James Comey.”

It is not clear which accusations Mr. Trump wanted prosecutors to pursue. He has accused Mr. Comey, without evidence, of illegally having classified information shared with The New York Times in a memo that Mr. Comey wrote about his interactions with the president. The document contained no classified information.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers also privately asked the Justice Department last year to investigate Mr. Comey for mishandling sensitive government information and for his role in the Clinton email investigation. Law enforcement officials declined their requests. Mr. Comey is a witness against the president in the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

Mr. Trump has expressed disappointment in the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, for failing to more aggressively investigate Mrs. Clinton.Al Drago for The New York Times


Mr. Trump has expressed disappointment in the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, for failing to more aggressively investigate Mrs. Clinton.Al Drago for The New York Times
Mr. Trump has grown frustrated with Mr. Wray for what the president sees as his failure to investigate Mrs. Clinton’s role in the Obama administration’s decision to allow the Russian nuclear agency to buy a uranium mining company. Conservatives have long pointed to donations to the Clinton family foundation by people associated with the company, Uranium One, as proof of corruption. But no evidence has emerged that those donations influenced the American approval of the deal.

In his conversation with Mr. McGahn, the president asked what stopped him from ordering the Justice Department to investigate Mr. Comey and Mrs. Clinton, the two people familiar with the conversation said. He did have the authority to ask the Justice Department to investigate, Mr. McGahn said, but warned that making such a request could create a series of problems.

Mr. McGahn promised to write a memo outlining the president’s authorities. In the days that followed, lawyers in the White House Counsel’s Office wrote a several-page document in which they strongly cautioned Mr. Trump against asking the Justice Department to investigate anyone.

The lawyers laid out a series of consequences. For starters, Justice Department lawyers could refuse to follow Mr. Trump’s orders even before an investigation began, setting off another political firestorm.

If charges were brought, judges could dismiss them. And Congress, they added, could investigate the president’s role in a prosecution and begin impeachment proceedings.

Ultimately, the lawyers warned, Mr. Trump could be voted out of office if voters believed he had abused his power.

For decades, White House aides have routinely sought to shield presidents from decisions related to criminal cases or even from talking about them publicly. Presidential meddling could undermine the legitimacy of prosecutions by attaching political overtones to investigations in which career law enforcement officials followed the evidence and the law.

Perhaps more than any president since Richard M. Nixon, Mr. Trump has been accused of trying to exploit his authority over law enforcement. Witnesses have told the special counsel’s investigators about how Mr. Trump tried to end an investigation into an aide, install loyalists to oversee the inquiry into his campaign and fire Mr. Mueller.

In addition, Mr. Trump has attacked the integrity of Justice Department officials, claiming they are on a “witch hunt” to bring him down.

Mr. Trump has accused the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, without evidence, of illegally having classified information shared with reporters.Justin Tang/The Canadian Press, via Associated Press

Mr. Trump has accused the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, without evidence, of illegally having classified information shared with reporters.Justin Tang/The Canadian Press, via Associated Press
More significant, Mr. Mueller is investigating whether the president tried to impede his investigation into whether any Trump associates conspired with Russia’s campaign to sow discord among the American electorate during the 2016 presidential race.

Mr. Trump stoked his enmity for Mrs. Clinton during the campaign, suggesting during a presidential debate that he would prosecute her if he was elected president. “If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation,” Mr. Trump said.

“It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country,” Mrs. Clinton replied.

“Because you would be in jail,” Mr. Trump shot back.

But two weeks after his surprise victory, Mr. Trump backed off. “I don’t want to hurt the Clintons, I really don’t,” Mr. Trump said in an interview with The Times. “She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways, and I am not looking to hurt them at all. The campaign was vicious.”

Nonetheless, he revisited the idea both publicly and privately after taking office. Some of his more vocal supporters stirred his anger, including the Fox News commentator Jeanine Pirro, who has railed repeatedly on her weekly show that the president is being ill served by the Justice Department.

Ms. Pirro told Mr. Trump in the Oval Office last November that the Justice Department should appoint a special counsel to investigate the Uranium One deal, two people briefed on the discussion have said. During that meeting, the White House chief of staff, John F. Kelly, told Ms. Pirro she was inflaming an already vexed president, the people said.

Shortly after, Attorney General Jeff Sessions wrote to lawmakers, partly at the urging of the president’s allies in the House, to inform them that federal prosecutors in Utah were examining whether to appoint a special counsel to investigate Mrs. Clinton. A spokeswoman for the United States attorney for Utah declined to comment on Tuesday on the status of the investigation.

Mr. Trump once called his distance from law enforcement one of the “saddest” parts of being president.

“I look at what’s happening with the Justice Department,” he said in a radio interview a year ago. “Well, why aren’t they going after Hillary Clinton and her emails and with her, the dossier?” He added: “I am not supposed to be doing the kind of things that I would love to be doing. And I am very frustrated.”

Michael S. Schmidt reported from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from New York.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/20/us/p ... tment.html
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby BenDhyan » Thu Nov 22, 2018 2:51 am

EXC: MI6 battling Donald Trump over release of classified Russia probe documents

November 22, 2018

MI6 chiefs are secretly battling Donald Trump to stop him publishing classified information linked to the Russian election meddling investigation.

The UK is warning that the US president would undermine intelligence gathering if he releases pages of an FBI application to wiretap one of his former campaign advisers.

However Trump allies are fighting back, demanding transparency and asking why Britain would oppose the move unless it had something to hide.

It forces the spotlight on whether the UK played a role in the FBI's investigation launched before the 2016 presidential election into Trump campaign ties to the Kremlin.

The Telegraph has talked to more than a dozen UK and US officials, including in American intelligence, who have revealed details about the row.

British spy chiefs have “genuine concern” about sources being exposed if classified parts of the wiretap request were made public, according to figures familiar with discussions.

“It boils down to the exposure of people”, said one US intelligence official, adding: “We don’t want to reveal sources and methods.” US intelligence shares the concerns of the UK.

Another said Britain feared setting a dangerous “precedent” which could make people less likely to share information, knowing that it could one day become public.

The current row is deemed so politically sensitive that staff at the British embassy in Washington DC have been barred from discussing it with journalists.

Theresa May, who already has a testing relationship with Mr Trump, has also been kept at arms-length and is understood to have not raised the issue directly with the US president.

continues...

https://www.yahoo.com/news/exc-mi6-battling-donald-trump-204257046.html

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

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Nov 23, 2018 3:02 pm

emptywheel


@emptywheel
24m24 minutes ago

I can't imagine Mueller is all that happy that Corsi is telling the media (presumably off the record to WaPo, but on the record to AP) about his ongoing plea negotiations.

Associate of Roger Stone in plea talks with Mueller

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A conservative writer and associate of Trump confidant Roger Stone said Friday that he is in plea talks with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.

Jerome Corsi told The Associated Press he has been negotiating a potential plea but declined to comment further. He said on a YouTube show last week that he expected to be charged with lying to federal investigators, though he said at the time that he was innocent of wrongdoing.

Mueller’s team questioned Corsi as part of an investigation into Stone’s connections with WikiLeaks. American intelligence agencies have assessed that Russia was the source of hacked material released by WikiLeaks during the 2016 election that damaged Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Mueller’s office is trying to determine whether Stone and other associates of President Donald Trump had advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ plans.

The Washington Post first reported on Corsi’s plea negotiations.

Corsi, the former Washington bureau chief of the conspiracy theory outlet InfoWars, cooperated with the probe for about two months, turning over two computers and a cell phone and providing the FBI access to his email accounts and tweets.

But he said talks with investigators recently had “blown up.”

“I fully anticipate that in the next few days, I will be indicted by Mueller,” he said last week, as he made a pitch for donations to his legal defense fund.

Stone, who also has said he is prepared to be indicted, has denied being a conduit for WikiLeaks, which published thousands of emails stolen from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta in the weeks before the election.

In a telephone interview with the AP earlier this month, Stone said: “I had no advanced notice of the source or content or the exact timing of the release of the WikiLeaks disclosures.”

He told AP in a separate statement Friday, “It is clear from his recent videos and his recent interviews that my friend Dr. Corsi has been under a tremendous amount of pressure and it is beginning to affect him profoundly. He has stated publicly that he is being asked over and over to say things he simply does not believe occurred.”
https://www.apnews.com/83a7e797f6eb48399bbe9530e4bce9a3



What, has George Pap given him tips about how to deal w/lawyers?

Image






Amy Spitalnick

#BREAKING: NY Supreme Court throws out Trump’s motion to dismiss @NewYorkStateAG Underwood’s Trump Foundation lawsuit: https://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/fbem/D ... ystem=prod

As the AG’s lawsuit detailed, the Trump Foundation functioned as a personal piggy bank to serve Trump's business & political interests


Some highlights from the decision:

Justice Scarpulla finds she has jurisdiction over Trump.

She also denies the motion to dismiss on statute of limitations grounds or due to Trump’s claims of political bias, “given the very serious allegations set forth in the [AG’s] petition”



Scarpulla also finds that AG’s petition sufficiently alleges breach of fiduciary duty, as well as our claim that Trump intentionally used Foundation assets for his private interests knowing it might not be in the Foundation’s best interest.

She denies Trump request for discovery


Scarpulla says that the AG’s petition sufficiently alleges that Trump’s interests in the Iowa fundraiser & disbursements were financial in nature & substantial. She rejects argument that the benefits were incidental, & cites NY statute’s “strong remedial purpose” re self-dealing

Here’s @NewYorkStateAG Underwood’s statement on this decision —>
Image
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Sat Nov 24, 2018 3:34 pm

Papadopoulos to start 14-day prison sentence Monday, unless judge intervenes



WASHINGTON – Unless a long shot bid to avoid prison comes over the weekend, Chicagoan George Papadopoulos, a former Trump foreign policy campaign advisor, is supposed to surrender Monday to start his 14-day sentence for lying to FBI agents working on Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

Papadopoulos, one of the first to be charged by Mueller, pleaded guilty and told U.S. District Court Judge Randolph Moss at his Sept. 24 sentencing he was remorseful and “made a terrible mistake.”

Turns out, that’s not the end of the story.

In recent weeks, Papadopoulos has said on Twitter he regretted his plea. He is represented by a new team of lawyers who replaced his Chicago-based attorneys.

Papadopoulos is pushing a conspiracy theory about the Australian diplomat whose tip about Papadopoulos discussing “dirt” the Russians had on Hillary Clinton helped launch the Mueller investigation.

Meanwhile, his wife, Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos,‏ has been pressing President Donald Trump on Twitter for a pardon for her husband and trying to raise money on a GoFundMe account.

As of Friday the account had $15,938 towards the $250,000 goal, raised in the last five months from 356 people.

She said in a Friday Tweet: “George worked for your success, for your country, he was building a brilliant career when he became the mean to a target, all his efforts vanished, his career interrupted ! @FLOTUS @realDonaldTrump this is totally unfair, you only can help! Pardon @GeorgePapa19 #fairness #justice”

The motion to delay Papadopoulos’ 14-day sentence has thrust George and Simona Papadopoulos once again in the news, which may benefit their drive for a presidential pardon.

On Nov. 13, the Papadopoulos Chicago lawyers, Thomas Breen and Robert Stanley asked Moss for permission to withdraw from the case, which was granted.

Friday, I asked Breen why he withdrew.

“We felt it best to withdraw from the case based on George’s public statements that he gave contrary to the facts in the case. We know that George and his wife are interested in a pardon but we could not in good conscience support their method of attempting to get a pardon,” Breen told me.

He added, “George was not communicating with us so we were unable to advise him properly.”

And what would that advice have been, I asked.

“We felt that he should stop making public statements, even though it is his right to do so.”

Papadopoulos lawyers argue that Papadopoulos should be granted a “modest stay” until an appellate court rules in a separate case challenging the legality of Mueller’s appointment.

“…If the appeal is successful, then the Special Counsel lacked constitutional authority to prosecute Mr. Papadopoulos in the first instance.”

They also argue that Papadopoulos will endure “hardship” if he can’t remain out of prison on bail.

Papadopoulos will serve his 14 days at a federal facility in Oxford, Wisc., a medium-security prison which includes a minimum-security camp where he will likely land.

Government lawyers, in their response, noted that Papadopoulos, after sentencing, “made a variety of public statements that appear to be inconsistent with his stated acceptance of responsibility.”

They cited, among other statements, his Nov. 9 Tweet, “Biggest regret? Pleading guilty.”

Concluded the government: Papadopolous “received what he bargained for, and holding him to it is not a hardship.”
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Nov 27, 2018 7:04 pm

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Jerome Corsi has sold out Roger Stone after all – and things just turned ugly
Bill Palmer | 5:07 pm EST November 27, 2018

Jerome Corsi is still adamantly insisting that he’s not going to cut a plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, after their negotiations failed over the weekend. But it turns out Corsi is selling out his longtime associate Roger Stone after all. Instead of just giving the damning testimony to Mueller, Corsi is giving it to the whole world. Stone is firing back, and things just got very ugly.

Jerome Corsi is releasing a new book, and an advance copy has leaked to pro-Trump propaganda site Daily Caller. In the book, Corsi says that after Roger Stone screwed up by admitting in a tweet that he knew WikiLeaks was about to release John Podesta’s emails, Corsi helped Stone concoct a “cover story” involving a phony Corsi memo. Meanwhile, Corsi is still insisting that he wasn’t actually Stone’s go-between with WikiLeaks. If that sounds confusing, here’s the upshot.

Corsi is asserting that Roger Stone lied when he claimed his tweet was unrelated to the WikiLeaks dump. Corsi presumably gave this same testimony to Robert Mueller’s grand jury. Either way, he’s incriminated Stone; Mueller can use the book as evidence if need be. Suffice it to say that Stone isn’t happy about this. On his Instagram page, he responded by yelling “PANTS ON FIRE” and adding “How much did [Corsi] have to drink or how hard did the prosecutors have to squeeze him to make this nonsense up?”

Meanwhile, NBC News is now reporting that Robert Mueller has the emails between Jerome Corsi and Roger Stone, and that they are incriminating. In addition, NBC says that Mueller offered Corsi probation, and not prison, if he had agreed to the plea deal. But the real upshot here is that, even without the plea deal, Corsi has sold out Stone.
https://www.palmerreport.com/analysis/u ... old/14289/



Mueller has emails from Stone pal Corsi about WikiLeaks Dem email dump

"Word is (Julian Assange) plans 2 more dumps...Impact planned to be very damaging," Jerome Corsi said in email to Stone, say draft court documents.

Nov. 27, 2018 / 2:57 PM CST
Two months before WikiLeaks released emails stolen from the Clinton campaign, right-wing conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi sent an email to former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone anticipating the document dump, according to draft court papers obtained by NBC News.

"Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps," Corsi wrote on Aug. 2, 2016, referring to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to the draft court papers. "One shortly after I'm back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging."

The email was revealed in a draft court document, known as a statement of the offense, sent to Corsi by special counsel Robert Mueller's office. Mueller also sent Corsi a draft plea agreement stipulating that the special counsel would not oppose Corsi requesting a sentence of probation if he agreed to plead guilty to one count of lying to federal investigators.

As NBC News reported on Monday, Corsi said he has rejected the deal. He has described Mueller's team as "thugs" and insisted that he did not "intentionally lie" about his communications related to WikiLeaks.


The draft court documents obtained by NBC News provide the most extensive account to date of Corsi's contact with Mueller's prosecutors.

The interviews began on Sept. 6 when Corsi told investigators that an associate, identified by Corsi as Stone, asked him in the summer of 2016 to get in touch with an organization, identified by Corsi as WikiLeaks, about unreleased materials relevant to the presidential campaign, the draft court papers say.

"Get to (Assange) [a]t Ecuadorian Embassy in London and get the pending (WikiLeaks) emails," read the email to Corsi dated July 25, 2016, according to the draft court documents.

Corsi said he declined the request and made clear to Stone that an attempt to contact WikiLeaks could put them in investigators' crosshairs, according to the draft court documents.

But Mueller's team said that was a lie.

Instead of turning down the request, Corsi in fact passed it along to a person in London, according to the draft court documents. Corsi said that person was conservative author Ted Malloch.

Eight days later, Corsi sent the email to Stone saying that WikiLeaks possessed information that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton's campaign and planned to release it in October.

Jerome Corsi during an interview at NBC News in New York on November 27, 2018.Chelsea Stahl / NBC News
"Time to let more than (Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta) to be exposed as in bed w enemy if they are not ready to drop HRC (Hillary Rodham Clinton)," Corsi added in the Aug. 2, 2016, email, according to the draft court papers. "That appears to be the game hackers are now about."

On Oct. 7, 2016, WikiLeaks released the first of two batches of emails that Russian hackers stole from Podesta, altering the trajectory of the presidential race.

Mueller's team says in the court papers that Corsi scrubbed his computer between Jan. 13, 2017, and March 1, 2017, deleting all email correspondence that predated Oct. 11, 2016, including the messages from Stone about WikiLeaks and Corsi's email to Malloch.

Corsi remained in contact with Stone in 2017 when the former Trump adviser's connections to WikiLeaks came under investigation by the FBI and congressional committees, according to the draft court papers.

On Nov. 30, 2017, Stone emailed Corsi asking him to write about a person whom Stone had told congressional investigators was his "source" or "intermediary" to WikiLeaks, according to the draft court papers.

Corsi and Stone have identified that person as Randy Credico, a radio host and one-time friend of Stone.

"Are you sure you want to make something out of this now?" Corsi responded, according to the draft court papers. "Why not wait to see what (Credico) does? You may be defending yourself too much — raising new questions that will fuel new inquiries. This may be a time to say less, not more."

Stone responded by telling Corsi that Credico will "take the 5th — but let's hold a day," the draft court document says.


The draft court documents says that Corsi met with the special counsel's office for several additional interviews and provided access to his email accounts and electronic devices.

In the interviews, the draft court papers say, Corsi said that his claims to Stone, beginning in 2016, that he had a way of obtaining confidential information from WikiLeaks were false.

Corsi, the former Washington bureau chief of the conspiracy theory outlet InfoWars, has told NBC News that he had no direct or indirect contact with WikiLeaks. Corsi claims to have anticipated WikiLeaks' release of the hacked emails by "connecting the dots" between public statements from Assange and other available materials.

"Why did I think they were coming out in October? Because I said to myself if I had these emails I'd use them as the October surprise," Corsi told NBC News on Tuesday. "And why did I think they would come out serially, drip by drip? Because Assange is very strategic. He understands the news cycle."

A spokesman for Mueller's office declined to comment. Corsi's lawyer, David Gray, also declined to comment.

Robert Mueller testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee in 2013.Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call,Inc. file
But in a letter drafted by Gray and addressed to Mueller's team, Corsi's lawyer argued that he should not be charged with a crime based on a faulty memory.

"I understand that this plea to making a false claim is predicated on the fact that Dr. Corsi had emails and phone calls wherein he was in fact interested in WikiLeaks," Gray wrote.

"He had not had the benefit of reviewing all of his emails prior to the interview and you graciously allowed him to review his emails and amend his statements — which he did. Now, after various amendments to his statements, Dr. Corsi is being asked to affirmatively state that he lied to FBI agents. The issue is that the statements that Dr. Corsi made were, in fact, the best he could recall at the time."

Gray also noted that if Corsi were to plead guilty, he would have to give up his securities license and cease his online chats until sentencing, depriving him of crucial sources of income.

Daniel Goldman, a former federal prosecutor who is now a legal analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, said the documents suggest that Mueller has more on Corsi than is laid out in the draft court papers.

"Based on reviewing these documents, I believe that the office of the special counsel may have more evidence of criminal wrongdoing by Corsi beyond the false statements, and that is why they engaged in plea negotiations," Goldman said.

Goldman also said that the documents indicate that Mueller and his investigators are "really circling Stone."

"He is a clear target of the investigation," Goldman added.

Stone, who has repeatedly insisted that he had no advanced knowledge of the WikiLeaks email dump, said Tuesday that the newly-released emails don't suggest otherwise.

"None of these emails provide any evidence or proof that I knew in advance about the source or content of any of the allegedly stolen or allegedly hacked emails published by WikiLeaks," Stone said.

"Since when did gossip become a criminal offense? Where is the WikiLeaks collaboration? Where is the evidence that I received anything whatsoever from WikiLeaks and passed it on to Donald Trump? These emails prove nothing other than the fact that Jerry Corsi is an aggressive investigative reporter."

Anna Schecter is a producer for the investigations unit of NBC News.

Rich Schapiro contributed.
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/justic ... il-n940611
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:55 am


The Inside Story Of How The FBI And Tech Industry Took Down A Massive Ad Fraud Scheme


Eight men are facing 13 charges for allegedly running a sophisticated global ad fraud scheme.

Craig Silverman
Posted on November 27, 2018, at 5:01 p.m. ET


Ben King / BuzzFeed News
Scott Spencer in Google's New York City offices on Nov. 26.

In August 2017, the FBI organized a secret meeting of digital advertising and cybersecurity experts in a secure room in a Manhattan federal building. The roughly 30 people in attendance met to create a coordinated response to a massive ad fraud scheme that posed a risk to the global digital advertising industry and sparked a criminal investigation.

After an introduction by FBI agents, representatives from Google and bot-detection firm White Ops outlined the details of what the tech employees say is one of the largest and most sophisticated digital ad fraud operations they’d encountered.

Sandeep Swadia, the CEO of White Ops, called it a “very complex, ever-shifting maze,” while Scott Spencer, a Google product manager, labeled it a “multiheaded beast” in exclusive interviews with BuzzFeed News.

Eventually, they gave it a name: 3ve (pronounced “eve”).

Today the Department of Justice announced it has unsealed a 13-count indictment against eight men for charges including wire fraud, computer intrusion, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering for their alleged role in masterminding and operating 3ve. The government alleges they stole tens of millions of dollars by using "sophisticated computer programming and infrastructure around the world to exploit the digital advertising industry through fraud."

The accused are Aleksandr Zhukov, Boris Timokhin, Mikhail Andreev, Denis Avdeev, Dmitry Novikov, Sergey Ovsyannikov, Aleksandr Isaev, and Yevgeniy Timchenko. Three of the men have been arrested and are awaiting extradition to the United States, while the rest remain at large, according to the DOJ press release.

This comes almost exactly a month after the FBI initiated a takedown of 3ve that saw agents seize Swiss bank accounts, more than 30 web domains, and information from over 80 servers used in the scheme. As that was happening, Google, White Ops, and other tech companies worked to shut down 3ve’s botnets in a coordinated operation.

Sandeep Swadia in White Ops' New York City offices on Nov. 26.
Ben King / BuzzFeed News
Sandeep Swadia in White Ops' New York City offices on Nov. 26.

At its peak, 3ve involved about 1.7 million PCs infected with malware, an array of servers that could generate mountains of fake traffic with bots, roughly 5,000 counterfeit websites created to impersonate legitimate web publishers, and over 60,000 accounts with digital advertising companies to help fraudsters receive ad placements and get paid. The indictment also alleges the fraudsters created their own advertising networks to help facilitate the fraud.

This complex infrastructure served one goal: steal as much money as possible from the $250 billion global digital ad industry while avoiding detection.


BuzzFeed News
Ad fraud is the world’s most lucrative yet low-risk form of criminality today. Billions are stolen every year by people and companies that exploit the complex systems used to buy and sell digital ads. But it’s rare for perpetrators of ad fraud schemes to face criminal charges or serious consequences. That’s one reason why ad fraud is on pace to be eclipsed only by the illicit drug trade in terms of annual revenue, according to the World Federation of Advertisers. An estimated $19 billion will have been stolen this year by ad fraudsters.

“Ad fraud is one of the most profitable crimes with the least amount of risk,” said Tamer Hassan, the chief technology officer of White Ops.

With today’s charges and the takedown of 3ve’s systems, the Department of Justice is sending a message that it now recognizes ad fraud for what it is: a global criminal industry that’s stealing billions with impunity and little fear of prosecution.

“This case sends a powerful message that this Office, together with our law enforcement partners, will use all our available resources to target and dismantle these costly schemes and bring their perpetrators to justice, wherever they are,” said Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

The revelation of 3ve and resulting criminal charges come at a moment when the digital ad industry is facing intense scrutiny from law enforcement and lawmakers. The FBI continues to pursue a criminal investigation into the media buying practices of ad agencies and is asking for brands to cooperate. After BuzzFeed News revealed a different ad fraud scheme last month, Sen. Mark Warner, the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate ad fraud and pay close attention to the actions of dominant ad industry players like Google.

Tamer Hassan at White Ops' New York City offices on Nov. 26.
Ben King / BuzzFeed News
Tamer Hassan at White Ops' New York City offices on Nov. 26.

Google and White Ops say the fact that roughly 15 companies, some of which are competitors, came together to tackle 3ve shows the industry’s commitment to fighting “invalid traffic,” the technical term used for fake or low-quality traffic.

“What I'm hoping people will take away from the takedown of this is, first and foremost there’s a group actively working to find out when invalid traffic is happening and to try and protect the overall [digital advertising] ecosystem,” Spencer, the Google product manager, said.

But while companies point to 3ve as an example of the industry’s ability to fight fraud, the sophistication and scale of this scheme is also a reminder of how ad fraud has been allowed to become a multibillion-dollar problem that requires FBI intervention. Experts say that other schemes will rise up to take 3ve’s place, a reality that Google and White Ops acknowledge.

“I don’t pretend any single action will take care of the challenge,” Spencer said, though he is optimistic that a push from law enforcement can deter some would-be fraudsters.

In the case of 3ve, he likened the operation to a professionalized company created to steal advertising dollars.

“In many ways this was operating like a corporation or a company where they had diversified tactics where they were trying to maximize their profits and rapidly scale the way they were creating invalid traffic,” he said.

“What stands out about 3ve is how ambitious and global and complex and multilayered it was,” Swadia said.

One of the biggest challenges, according to Swadia and Spencer, was to ensure that the countermeasures used to contain 3ve as the investigation proceeded didn’t tip off the scheme’s perpetrators. If the people running 3ve realized that the industry and law enforcement were onto them, they could have shut it down and made changes to avoid future detection.

“The challenge here was to keep this all under wraps,” Swadia said. “We couldn’t let the [criminals] know their cover was blown, or they would go underground and we would lose all the evidence.”

Swadia (left) and Hassan at White Ops' office.
Ben King / BuzzFeed News
Swadia (left) and Hassan at White Ops' office.

In early 2017, Google and White Ops began sharing information about a small botnet they were both tracking. The bots were programmed to visit specific websites to generate pageviews and ad impressions that resulted in revenue for the fraudsters.

Google and White Ops identified the fake traffic from the operation and filtered it out of the digital advertising systems they own or are integrated into. The goal was to prevent the websites receiving bot traffic from earning money.

After just a few months, the once-small botnet began to grow quickly. Google and White Ops investigators said they realized this was more than a simple botnet when it began to evade efforts to filter and contain its traffic. Each time they tried to implement measures to filter the traffic out of advertising systems, the ad fraudsters would adapt.

“The thing that was really different here was the number of techniques that they used, their ability to quickly respond when they thought they were being detected, and to evolve the mechanisms they were using in real time,” Spencer said. “We would start to filter traffic and we’d see them change things, and then we’d filter a different way and then they’d change things.”

They dubbed the fraud operation 3ve. By March 2017, Google and White Ops felt they’d gathered enough evidence against 3ve to get in touch with the FBI. “We decided this was worth referring to law enforcement, which is not a normal move for us,” Spencer said.

Meanwhile, 3ve continued to grow and morph. By summer 2017, Google and White Ops were bringing in industry partners to fight it. “It became clear to us that this thing was not a run-of-the-mill bot operation. It was capable of bringing instability and mistrust to the entire [digital ad] ecosystem. And you couldn’t block it,” Swadia said.

Advertising companies including Adobe, the Trade Desk, Amazon Advertising, and Oath pitched in. They were joined by cybersecurity firms such as Malwarebytes, ESET, Proofpoint, Symantec, F-Secure, McAfee, and Trend Micro.

They were all focused on defeating 3ve, but in the short term that meant letting the fraudsters continue earning at least some revenue. Cutting them off completely would signal to 3ve’s operators that they’d been discovered.

Google, for example, let 3ve’s counterfeit websites earn revenue through its ad systems and later refunded its partners for ads that ran. “We actually lose money in this process because we do have to pay out,” Spencer said. (He declined to say how much the company paid out in refunds to partners or to the fraudsters directly.)

Part of the White Ops team that worked to uncover the 3ve operation.
Ben King / BuzzFeed News
Part of the White Ops team that worked to uncover the 3ve operation.

What started as a low-level botnet eventually became an operation with three distinct but connected elements. The name 3ve was chosen because of this three-pronged approach.

One part of 3ve involved the use of malware to infect residential computers. These Windows PCs were used to direct fake traffic at counterfeit websites to generate ad impressions and revenue. At its peak, the malware had infected at least 1.7 million Windows computers. These computers provided 3ve’s operators with IP addresses linked to real human users, a valuable commodity that helps evade detection.

The technique used by 3ve’s operators to infect PCs also reveals how the ad industry itself can play a role in enabling fraudsters. Many of the millions of computer users who downloaded the malware became infected after being tricked by misleading ads appearing on websites including the hugely popular adult site Pornhub.

These malicious ads, referred to as malvertising, popped up as users visited the site and tricked them into thinking their browser required a “critical” update, or that Adobe Flash software needed updating, according to samples gathered by security firm Proofpoint.

Three of the malicious ads that tricked users into downloading Kovter malware.
Proofpoint
Three of the malicious ads that tricked users into downloading Kovter malware.

In October 2017, Proofpoint revealed that Kovter, a type of malware used to power 3ve, infected Pornhub users by running malvertising on the site through an ad network called Traffic Junky. These ads used false claims to manipulate users into downloading and installing the malware.

“The combination of large malvertising campaigns on very high-ranking websites with sophisticated social engineering schemes that convince users to infect themselves means that potential exposure to malware is quite high, reaching millions of web surfers,” Proofpoint wrote at the time. (It noted that Traffic Junky and Pornhub acted swiftly to remove the ads after being notified.)

Proofpoint said that Kovter had been actively infecting people for about a year when it detected the attack on Pornhub. Along with Kovter, 3ve also made use of computers infected with malware called Boaxxe and Miuref.

Google's Spencer said the malware included “anti-forensics” features designed to prevent it from being detected or removed from infected computers. The malware would not run on a computer if it saw that the user had installed security software, and the malware was also programmed not to run if it detected other malicious programs.

“The operators programmed their system to not run [on a PC] if they saw cryptomining software or other malware on the computer, in order to avoid detection,” Spencer said. “So these guys were working very carefully. This was a carefully developed piece of code.”

Along with the malware botnet, 3ve included two operations that used servers in data centers to generate bot traffic. The fraudsters set up or rented servers and then programmed bots to run on them.

3ve’s operators also combined their malware botnet with the data center bots, according to a white paper authored by Google and White Ops, which was provided to BuzzFeed News. The fraudsters used infected computers as gateways to pass high volumes of fake traffic generated by bots hosted on servers. Without users knowing it, their PCs were used as tunnels for bots to pass through on their way to view ads.

In some cases, 3ve’s operators resold fake traffic to third parties who wanted to commit ad fraud, the researchers found. Buying and selling of fake traffic is very common, and 3ve’s bots offered different varieties of fake visitors to customers. The bots could, for example, appear as if they were users on an Android mobile device.

“When combined, the three 3ve sub-operations constituted one of the most widespread ad fraud operations ever uncovered,” the researchers wrote.

They said just one of 3ve’s two data center operations was similar in size to Methbot, a huge ad fraud scheme revealed in late 2016.

In their 3ve white paper, the researchers wrote that Methbot “was likely the largest known ad fraud operation at that time.” Two years later, it would have only made up one part of 3ve.

3ve’s three fake traffic operations were used to execute the scheme’s final part, which saw the bots load and view ads on about 5,000 counterfeit websites set up by the fraudsters. These sites were in many cases nothing more than a skeleton template with little content. The key was that these sites masqueraded as brand-name publishers in advertising exchanges. One example in the white paper juxtaposes a fake 3ve site with the real site for the American cable channel TBS.com:


Google/White Ops
An agency or advertiser looking to place an ad would only see the name of TBS.com in the ad exchange and not know they were buying ad space on a counterfeit site. Then the bots would visit the fake site and view the ad to generate revenue. (This technique of masquerading as a legitimate publisher is called domain spoofing. It’s a long-running issue, though a new standard called ads.txt is helping curb it.)

Once on the websites, the bots were programmed to mimic human behavior such as mouse movements and clicks, and to click play on videos to ensure lucrative ads were displayed.

Swadia
Ben King / BuzzFeed News
As the researchers advanced their understanding of 3ve’s operations, it continued to morph to avoid detection. They said they were constantly concerned that 3ve’s operators would realize they were being watched. This challenge became even greater after Google and White Ops began to recruit other companies into a cross-industry working group.

By then, the FBI investigation was in full swing, and the bureau signaled it wanted to bring everyone together for a meeting in New York in August 2017. Participants were summoned to a secure room, called a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, for a briefing and working session. FBI agents told everyone the meeting was confidential and participants could only share details with those in their organizations who needed to know, according to White Ops.

“The first briefing was definitely something — it was memorable; it was very humbling,” Swadia said.

He was struck by the fact that “some of the largest internet companies of our generation, platforms that traditionally compete with each other, [were] coming together and sitting next to each other.”

Along with the industry presence, the room included 10 FBI agents and multiple Department of Justice attorneys, according to some of those in attendance.

“Our favorite moment was at the end of the meeting when an assistant US attorney and prosecutor took on the podium to thank the group and underscore that they were serious about unraveling the incentives of ad fraud,” said Hassan of White Ops.

The working group convened for additional meetings as the operation evolved. Law enforcement participated but did not share details of the people and companies it was zeroing in on, according to White Ops and Google.

Then, in October 2018, the FBI informed the industry working group that the bureau was ready to take down 3ve. The goal was to launch a coordinated effort to free infected PCs from its botnet, block the fake traffic, seize servers and domains, kill the counterfeit websites, and take other action to render 3ve powerless. As part of the takedown, the FBI seized control of 31 internet domains, as well as information from 89 computer servers, according to the DOJ. It also seized "multiple international bank accounts in Switzerland and elsewhere that were associated with the schemes."

FBI agents set Oct. 22 as the date. The white paper includes a graph showing the volume of bids for ads submitted to advertising systems from sites associated with 3ve. It went from a high of roughly 375,000 bids per second on midnight of Oct. 22 to almost zero by 6 p.m.:


Google/White Ops
“3ve was dead after 18 hours,” Swadia said. With 3ve seemingly dismantled, the industry partners were left to marvel at how an operation involving more than 15 companies and federal law enforcement managed to keep everything under wraps until the signal was given to take 3ve out.

“It was amazing that the [operational security] was good enough that none of the evidence got destroyed,” Hassan said.

In the month since then, Google and White Ops said they were kept in the dark about the charges coming for 3ve’s alleged operators, who these people were, and exactly what the FBI found during its investigation.

When he read today’s press release from the DOJ announcing the charges, Swadia was struck by how hard the FBI and prosecutors had worked to learn about digital advertising, and then to apply this knowledge to secure an indictment.

“Prosecutors and agents across one of the best cybercrime units in the bureau spent two years unraveling the mechanics of programmatic advertising," he said. "This signals a new area in investigation.”
https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/cr ... i-takedown


this Sept 18 story by Kevin G Hall described how Methbot virus included in yesterday's DOJ ad fraud indictment, was virus spread thru XBT Holdings which owns Webzilla - Aleksej Gubarev's company that was in Steele dossier



Cloak-and-dagger saga over cybercrime, Trump dossier plays out in Miami courtroom

BY KEVIN G. HALL

KHALL@MCCLATCHYDC.COM

September 21, 2018 08:55 AM
Washington
A federal courtroom in Miami is now the intersection for a celebrity attorney, two major cybercrimes and a foreign tech firm with an ephemeral South Florida address and entanglement in the Trump-Russia probe.

District Judge Ursula Ungaro in Miami is hearing the defamation lawsuit brought early last year by Cyprus-based entrepreneur Aleksej Gubarev against online news outlet Buzzfeed. It published the infamous collection of research memos dubbed the Trump dossier. She must decide, potentially as early as Friday, whether to dismiss the case or set a trial date.

The dossier was was the work of former British spy Christopher Steele, a Russia expert, who was also sued individually in London by Gubarev. Since the suits were filed in early 2017, however, they’ve grown into a much more complicated affair.

Steele.png
Christopher Steele is the author of the Trump-Russia dossier.
That’s because Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, unsuccessfully tried to force Judge Ungaro to hand over copies of Steele’s deposition in the Miami lawsuit, which could be useful in undercutting Steele’s credibility in the Trump-Russia probe. Grassley was rebuffed in early September.


“If you want the real story of the DNC hack ask Gurvits to let you read Gubarev’s deposition,” Roy Black, the colorful lawyer hired by Buzzfeed, tweeted on June 7, upping the stakes in a reference to Gubarev’s attorney, Val Gurvits.

Black, who conducted the deposition, is a prominent Miami defense attorney, known for defending police officers involved in shooting deaths and taking celebrity clients such as radio talker Rush Limbaugh and singer Justin Bieber. He declined to elaborate further, citing a court order to keep silent about the substance of the case, much of it sealed.


Gubarev is the founder and largest shareholder of Luxembourg-based XBT Holdings, whose family of tech companies provides servers, web hosting and an array of services. XBT owns South Florida-based Webzilla, which operates servers in Dallas, and both companies are identified in the controversial Steele dossier.

BLACK20090205022_a.JPG
Miami attorney Roy Black
C.M.Guerrero The Miami Herald file photo
The dossier is actually a collection of private “opposition research” memos, paid for first by people close to Trump’s primary opponents and later by a Hillary Clinton supporter. Steele’s dossier claimed on the final page of the 35-page document that XBT was used as a platform for the hack of the Democratic National Committee and subsequent release of private emails.

That allegation, unsupported with evidence, put a little-known company under an international spotlight. Gubarev sued Buzzfeed, claiming he never got a chance to dispute the unverified claims. The news site published the dossier on Jan. 10, 2017, weeks before President Trump’s inauguration.

A new investigation by McClatchy-Miami Herald shows that going to trial might force XBT’s owner to testify about uncomfortable topics. The investigation found that companies owned and operated by XBT were either used by or affiliated with companies connected to the spread of two notorious computer viruses —the Gozi virus and the Methbot virus.


The findings do not prove or disprove claims made about XBT in the dossier, but show how the company could have been used by cyber criminals, wittingly or unwittingly.

McClatchy found evidence that a web hosting company that is part of the broad XBT family was one of the many platforms used to spread the Methbot virus, a sophisticated operation that tricked online advertisers into paying for fake views of video ads.

The investigation found that Nikita V. Kuzmin, the creator of the Gozi virus, which stole online banking data, incorporated at least three companies in South Florida, with the administrative assistance of Webzilla officer Constantin Luchian. He’s a Moldova-born naturalized U.S. citizen who runs a company called Incorporate Now, which had been based in Fort Lauderdale and now operates out of Lake Worth.

Citing court documents and regulatory filings, McClatchy reported last November that XBT and its affiliates as well as Luchian had drawn the ire of anti-piracy groups. A chunk of the company’s business involves hosting file-sharing sites, where pirated music, videos or movies can be downloaded. These downloads can also be baited with malware that can adversely affect a computer user’s operating system in sundry ways.


Music industry associations and attorneys who investigate copyright infringement described XBT/Webzilla as a facilitator of piracy, something XBT’s attorney vigorously denied.

Why XBT was named in a dossier was never clear and Steele has been silent. Several people familiar with Steele’s thinking have said he does not know why his Russian sources fingered XBT. The dossier alleged that “XBT/Webzilla and its affiliates had been using botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct ‘altering operations.’ ” These are among the allegations that XBT denies and form the basis of the defamation suit.

The dossier also alleged that Gubarev had been coerced by the Russian government because it had compromising information on him, something he flatly denied to McClatchy when giving his first interview on the topic to any news organization, the day after Buzzfeed published the dossier.

Using tools to study digital fingerprints on the Internet, McClatchy stumbled on an email in code language associated with what is known as the Methbot virus. That address appeared in Internet traffic moving via a Fort Lauderdale-based web hosting company called Wz Communications.


Florida documents show it was incorporated in 2009 by XBT employee Kostyantyn Bezruchenko. His LinkedIn page lists him as chief technology officer for Servers.com, owned by XBT, and shows that in 2009 he was in the same role for Webzilla.

In a statement to McClatchy, Gubarev acknowledged that a blogger accused the company in December 2016 of being used in the Methbot fraud.

“As soon as Webzilla learned of the accusation, we immediately closed the client’s account and retained the relevant hard drives — which we have kept in case they may be useful to law enforcement,” Gubarev said. “To date, no law enforcement agency has contacted us about that alleged fraud or the hard drives.”

screen shotjpg.jpg
Aleksej Gubarev is suing the news website Buzzfeed.
The Methbot virus was largely unknown until the security firm WhiteOps, which took the unusual step in December 2016 of putting out a free report to expose what it called “an army of automated web browsers run from fraudulently acquired IP addresses.” These automated commands, called bots, made it look like 300 million video ads were being viewed daily by people sitting at computers, attracting millions of dollars from Internet advertisers.


WhiteOps officials did not answer requests for comment, but in the 2016 report said that Methbot was unique because rather than launching bots through infected computers at homes and offices it used infected computer data centers — anywhere between 800 and 1,200 computer servers at any given time. The physical servers, it said, were in Dallas and the Dutch city of Amsterdam.

WhiteOps did not identify companies so it is unclear whether that is a reference to XBT, which has seven subsidiaries spread across three continents. In the Netherlands, Webzilla operates a data center with 6,000 servers. On its own website, Webzilla says it operates a data center in Dallas and 3,000 servers in the United States.

Both Dallas and Amsterdam have technology clusters, and there is no evidence XBT or its affiliated companies had any direct role in or knowledge of Methbot. But the spread of Methbot underscores how XBT or its affiliates could have been used in Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election campaign.

“Webzilla is one of the largest internet providers in Europe. It is impossible for an internet provider with tens of thousands of clients and hundreds of thousands of IP addresses to monitor all traffic going through its network,” said Gubarev. “Much like a phone company cannot monitor all of its customers’ conversations or how its customers use their telephones, no one on our team was aware [and could not possibly have been aware] of any improper activity.”


Both the dossier and Gubarev can be right, offered Andrew Weisburd, a cyber security and intelligence expert at the German Marshall Fund, a foreign policy think tank.

“Their explanation is entirely plausible, as is the Steele Dossier’s description of Mr. Gubarev as essentially a victim of predatory officers of one or more Russian intelligence services,” said Weisburd. “I have some difficulty squaring those two things with … Gubarev’s aggressive pursuit of Steele and BuzzFeed. Neither BuzzFeed nor Steele have accused Gubarev of being a willing participant in wrongdoing.”

XBT also has an indirect overlap with the Gozi virus. The virus dates back to the mid-2000s and used so-called zombie malware to hack into a computer’s browser and mimic its behavior in order to steal online banking logins and other vital information.

Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York arrested its creator, Nikita V. Kuzmin, in 2013. He was nabbed while visiting San Francisco, and prosecutors said at the time that his signature virus infected more than 100,000 computers worldwide, about 25 percent of them in the United States, including some at NASA, causing tens of millions of dollars in losses.

The Gozi virus was so successful that Kuzmin rented it out to other criminal organizations for a cut of the proceeds. He was sentenced to time served in May 2016 and sent home to Russia, but part of what led to his discovery was an email from Nikita@youdo.ru.

Kuzmin happened to be director of YouDo Inc., registered in Fort Lauderdale in 2010 by Incorporate Now, run by Webzilla officer Constantin Luchian. He also handled the registration for Kuzmin Fresh IT Solutions Inc. in 2010 and ServerClub Inc. in 2011.

It appears that Luchian continues to do business with Kuzmin because ServerClub remains an active Florida company, with Kuzmin listed in its 2017 annual report as its chief director. On its website, ServerClub describes itself as a dedicated hosting provider operating on leased servers. The address listed for Server club in documents and one its website is the same one as Incorporate Now in Lake Worth, and as Wz Communications, the web hosting company thought to have been used in the spread of the Methbot virus.

XBT said Incorporate Now is Luchian’s business and is not related. He did not respond to calls left at Incorporate Now, whose mailing address leads to a shared office space that until recently housed a restaurant. He is listed on the website of the shared-space operator Social House, which calls itself “a boutique creative co-working and event space.” Its owners did not return calls and emails seeking information about Incorporate Now.
http://amp.mcclatchydc.com/latest-news/ ... ssion=true


Russia inquiry: House Democrats aim to unmask Trump Jr.’s blocked call

Nicole GaudianoUpdated 5:05 p.m. ET Nov. 27, 2018

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says Democrats will "strive for bipartisanship" when they take over the majority next year after wresting control of the House in Tuesday's midterm elections. (Nov. 7) AP

WASHINGTON – A blocked number in Donald Trump Jr.’s phone records may be among the first targets for Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee in January as they investigate possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Rep. Adam Schiff, who is poised to lead the committee when Democrats take over the House majority, told USA TODAY his committee will have to prioritize the most important witnesses and records that Republicans blocked them from pursuing. The “clearest example” of that obstruction, he said, is phone records that would show whether the blocked phone number – logged as Trump Jr. arranged a meeting in 2016 with a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower – belonged to presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Trump’s son arranged the meeting in June 2016 after being promised “dirt” on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. At first, Trump Jr. said he never told his father of the meeting, then he told Senate investigators he couldn't recall whom he spoke with that night.

Schiff said the committee, under GOP Rep. Devin Nunes' leadership, refused to seek records that would unmask the blocked call, leaving a major question unanswered.

“Republicans refused to look at the phone records so that we could find out because they were afraid of what the answer might be,” the California Democrat said.

Democrats will revisit witnesses Republicans wouldn’t call, records they wouldn’t obtain and witnesses that showed up but refused to answer questions without any legal basis for doing so, Schiff said.

GOP Intelligence Committee spokesman Jack Langer said Schiff “doesn’t have the best track record in proving his various conspiracy theories – but good luck to him on his hot cellphone lead.”
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/pol ... 119341002/
does announcing genocide on twitter violate terms of service?
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