Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Election

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

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:49 pm


Scott Stedman

NEW: Michael Flynn's lawyers seem to suggest that Joseph Mifsud attended the infamous December 2015 Russia Today dinner. (h/t @HansMahncke)
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Martyn McLaughlin

EXCL The US Defence Dept has postponed a lucrative new refuelling deal for military aircraft at Prestwick Airport amid a Congressional investigation into spending at the heavily-indebted hub & @realdonaldtrump’s Turnberry resort. My @TheScotsman latest:
https://twitter.com/LincolnsBible?ref_s ... r%5Eauthor


US military fuel deal with Prestwick 'kicked into long grass' over Trump investigation
A US Congressional committee investigation is scrutinising US Defence Department payments to President Donald Trump's Turnberry resort and Glasgow Prestwick Airport. Picture: John Devlin

By
MARTYN MCLAUGHLIN
Email
Published: 15:21
Wednesday 11 September 2019
A US Defence Department agency has postponed a lucrative new military aircraft refuelling deal with Glasgow Prestwick Airport amid multiple investigations and growing political scrutiny on both sides of the Atlantic into US military patronage and spending at the loss making hub and President Donald Trump’s flagship Scottish resort.
The Scotsman can reveal that the expanded EUCOM Into-Plane agreement covering the Scottish-Government owned airport and the US Defence Logistics Agency (DLA), which was due to come into force in a matter of weeks, has been put on hold until December at the earliest.

One source familiar with the deal said the deal was being “kicked into the long grass” as a result of a newly-disclosed investigation by the US House Oversight Committee.

However, the DLA said the decision was not related to or influenced by such developments, and said an extension to its existing contract - which subsequently pushed back the start of the new deal - had been ratified on 28 August.

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While that predates the launch of an internal US Air Force inquiry, and details of the House Oversight's Committee being made public, it postdates the committee's first communications with the US Defence Department. It first wrote to the Pentagon in 21 June regarding the DLA and Prestwick deal.

The House committee is conducting a wide-ranging inquiry into the US Defence Department’s spending at Prestwick and Mr Trump’s nearby Turnberry resort over concerns of “serious conflicts of interest” and potential violations of the foreign emoluments clause of the US constitution.

It is understood one strand of the inquiry is focusing on the arrangement struck between Prestwick and the DLA, a Virginia-based body which manages the global supply chain for the US Army, Navy, and Air Force.

As The Scotsman revealed in June, the airport’s parent company, Glasgow Prestwick Airport Limited, received more than £9.02m between October 2017 and March this year for at least 644 separate aviation turbine fuel orders placed by the DLA. It has received a further £4.8m for hundreds more orders in the six months since.


With the existing deal set to expire at the end of the month, the pending extension promised to be even more gainful for the heavily indebted airport, which was put up for sale earlier this year by Scottish ministers and is reliant on the DLA for the vast majority of its revenue.

The new EUCOM deal covers not only Prestwick, but a host of European airports as far afield as Estonia, Iceland, Norway, and Poland, who supply US military aircraft with fuel.

Documentation obtained by The Scotsman shows the DLA attribute the postponement to issues with the “extensive pre-award process.”

However, sources familiar with the combat logistics support agency’s existing and future agreements with Prestwick said the controversy engulfing the airport, Trump Turnberry, and the US Defence Dept was directly to blame. .


One said the new deal has been “kicked into the long grass” in light of the increased scrutiny surrounding hub and its financial relationship the US defence apparatus.

ScotRail is nearly 5 percentage points below its punctuality target. Picture: Neil Hanna
ScotRail now won't hit its punctuality target until 2022
“The DLA’s excuse for the delay is that it is slightly behind schedule in determining contract renewals. That’s nonsense,” added the source.

“They don’t want to do anything until the Congressional committee’s investigation has concluded.”

READ MORE: Greens demand Prestwick Airport not sold to US military

Prestwick, which has decades-long ties with the US military, remains an approved DLA site and is continuing to supply fuel to US aircraft in the meantime - it is understood the existing arrangement will simply continue until it is renewed.


But one source said the “political heat” meant it was likely US Air Mobility Command movements through Prestwick would reduce in number as they are routed through other European locations.

The monetary value of the planned new deal is unclear, but it is expected to surpass the terms of the existing arrangement, which is worth as much as £16.91m to Prestwick.

The debt owed by the airport to the Scottish Government stands at £38.4m. Its most recent accounts show its holding company’s annual losses total £7.6m.

It comes as Scotland’s transport secretary, Michael Matheson, today refused to rule out the sale of the airport to the US military.

Up to three offers for Prestwick are being assessed following the deadline for full bids last Friday. The sale is due to be completed early next month.

Mr Matheson told Holyrood’s connectivity committee that discussing potential bidders would “infringe on the integrity" of the sale process.

While the US Air Force (USAF) has launched its own review of the use of overseas airports and hotels, Politico reported today that Senator Gary Peters, the top Democrat on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, has formally requested an independent investigation into the USAF’s increased use of Prestwick and overnight stays at Mr Trump’s loss making hotel, which itself remains reliant on £107m in loans.

In a letter to the Pentagon, the Michigan senator wrote: “I am disturbed by the growing number of those in government willing to engage in questionable taxpayer funded travel to and lodging at properties owned by the president - properties from which President Trump can draw income at any time.”

A spokeswoman for Glasgow Prestwick Airport said: “The existing DLA approval has been extended by two months, until 30 November 2019. This is a European wide extension and not specific to the Glasgow Prestwick Airport location.”

The DLA said it was inaccurate to describe the changed dates regarding the deal as a "delay,"

It said there were more than 60 locations across Europe that required site inspections, "extensive negotiations," and technical evaluations of various proposals in order to "eventually determine which offeror will receive a contract award for a particular location."

The DLA energy technical and contracting teams, it added, have a "limited number" of members who are working simultaneously on multiple expansive programmes with "unique challenges and demands."

Asked if the decision was influenced by or related to the Congressional inquiry surrounding Prestwick and Mr Trump, a spokesman for the DLA said: "No. This decision was made in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations."

He said the DLA anticipated awarding a long-term contract to Prestwick by the end of November, adding: "As long as the US Department of Defence customer has a requirement at that location then the DLA Energy contracting office will continue to support the mission."
https://www.scotsman.com/news/us-milita ... -1-5002381


A judge threatened a 2-year-old migrant with an attack dog. Trump just promoted him.

Judge Promoted by Trump Administration Threatened a 2-Year-Old With an Attack Dog
“Want me to go get the dog?” the judge yelled at a Guatemalan boy. “Do you want him to bite you?”


Mother Jones illustration; Democracy Now!; Getty
On March 30, 2016, in an immigration courtroom in Charlotte, North Carolina, a 2-year-old boy was doing what you might expect: He was making some noise. But Judge V. Stuart Couch—a former Marine known to have a temper—was growing frustrated. He pointed his finger at the Guatemalan child and demanded that he be quiet.

When the boy failed to obey his command, the threats began. “I have a very big dog in my office, and if you don’t be quiet, he will come out and bite you!” Couch yelled.

Couch continued, as a Spanish-language interpreter translated for the child, “Want me to go get the dog? If you don’t stop talking, I will bring the dog out. Do you want him to bite you?” Couch continued to yell at the boy throughout the hearing when he moved or made noise.

Kathryn Coiner-Collier, the only independent observer in the courtroom that day, says her mouth was on the floor as Couch made his threats. She sometimes saw Department of Homeland Security dogs sweeping the court building, and it was completely plausible to her that dogs could have been there that day. Coiner-Collier, then a coordinator for a project run by the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy to assist immigrants who couldn’t afford attorneys, says she “ferociously scribbled everything” Couch was saying. Soon after, she wrote an affidavit containing the dialogue above, and Kenneth Schorr, the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy’s executive director, submitted a complaint to the Justice Department in April 2016.

“I was outraged,” Schorr says about learning of the threats. “I’ve been practicing law for over 40 years and I have never experienced judicial conduct this bad.” Coiner-Collier says Assistant Chief Immigration Judge Deepali Nadkarni, Couch’s superior, interviewed her multiples times about the affidavit and told her that it was accurate. Schorr says Nadkarni told him that everything in the affidavit was corroborated by the internal investigation. Nadkarni wrote to Schorr in June 2016, “Judge Couch acknowledged he did not handle the situation properly and assured me it will not occur again.”


V. Stuart Couch. Credit: National Security Archive
Schorr doesn’t think that Couch should have been able to remain on the bench after his threat to call in a dog on a child. In an unexpected way, he got his wish: In August, the Trump administration promoted Couch and five other judges to the Justice Department’s Board of Immigration Appeals, which often has the final say over whether immigrants are deported. All six judges reject asylum requests at a far higher rate than the national average; Couch granted just 7.9 percent of asylum claims between 2013 and 2018, compared to the national average of about 45 percent. (Before becoming an immigration judge, Couch served as a military prosecutor and attracted widespread attention for refusing to prosecute a Guantanamo detainee because he had been tortured.)

The boy’s mother declined to comment for this story, telling her attorney that she is still afraid of Couch. The Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review, which oversees the country’s immigration courts, declined to answer questions about the incident. The interpreter who translated for Couch at the hearing declined to speak on the record about the incident.

During the hearing, Coiner-Collier says Couch turned off the courtroom’s recording device as he threatened the boy. After turning it back on, he made a statement in which she believes he intentionally inflated the boy’s age to obscure the fact that he had threatened someone who was a few months shy of his third birthday, according to his passport. “I will have the record reflect that [the boy] is a 5-year-old respondent that has been very disruptive during this hearing,” Couch said, according to her recollection in the affidavit. “The court had tried to control the child behavior’s and has been unsuccessful…The court is using a strong voice and strong language with him in the absence of parental control.” (Coiner-Collier did not have access to the recording when she wrote the affidavit, but she says Nadkarni confirmed that there were multiple breaks in the recording when Couch went off the record.)

The boy was only 2, Coiner-Collier stated in the affidavit. “Anybody in their right mind looking at this child would know he is not 5, would know he is not 4,” Coiner-Collier recalls. “He was a little dude…He probably wasn’t even taller than the table.” It’s also unclear how many of Couch’s commands he was able to understand, since his first language was not Spanish but K’iche’, a Mayan language.

After Couch made the statement about his strong language, he asked Coiner-Collier to remove the boy from the courtroom. When she asked the boy to come with her, he began to cry and grabbed onto his mother. Coiner-Collier picked him up and tried to carry him out, but he got free and ran back to the courtroom. She eventually took him to a nearby room, where he screamed and cried. A few minutes later, the hearing ended, and the boy’s mother, who was also crying, rejoined her son. Others did, too. “The women and children that day—I will never forget—left court hysterically crying, almost all of them,” Coiner-Collier says. (About her own reaction, she wrote in a text message to the mother’s attorney the next year, “I have never lost my composure like I did that day…I was…red in the face sobbing along with her.)

When she went back to the courtroom to file paperwork, Couch told her, “I owe you an apology.” He said he knew it wasn’t her job to watch over children. Then he made a comment that suggested he had threatened other children. Coiner-Collier paraphrased what he said in her affidavit: “Usually when I threaten children with scary animals, it works. Not with this kid.” (Coiner-Collier and others who have appeared before Couch never witnessed him threaten another child.)


Coiner-Collier quickly told her supervisor and Schorr what had happened. Schorr asked her to draft an affidavit. Two weeks after the hearing, Schorr submitted the complaint to the Justice Department’s assistant chief immigration judge for conduct and professionalism. Schorr says Nadkarni, Couch’s superior, told him that the Justice Department would take appropriate action, but Nadkarni was not able to offer any specifics. Schorr still doesn’t know whether Couch was disciplined. (Coiner-Collier says Couch later told her that she put his job on the line by complaining.)
https://www.motherjones.com/politics/20 ... ttack-dog/



Exclusive: Michael Cohen is interviewed for probe into Trump Organization
(CNN) — Prosecutors with the New York district attorney's office interviewed Donald Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen in recent weeks as part of their investigation of the Trump Organization's handling of hush money payments, according to people familiar with the matter.

Officials from the district attorney's office, led by Cyrus Vance, interviewed Cohen at the federal prison in Otisville, New York, where he is serving a three-year sentence after pleading guilty to multiple crimes including campaign finance violations tied to payments to two women alleging affairs with Trump a decade ago. Trump has denied having affairs with the women.
The district attorney opened the investigation last month and sent subpoenas to the Trump Organization and American Media Inc. seeking documents and records relating to payments made to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal to silence their allegations ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

The investigation is looking into whether the Trump Organization violated a New York state law involving false business records. Investigators are exploring whether the real estate company falsified its records in describing the reimbursement to Cohen for the payments.
Lanny Davis, a lawyer for Cohen, declined to comment. A spokesman for Vance's office also declined to comment.

Marc L. Mukasey, attorney for the Trump Organization, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Mukasey previously called the investigation "a political hit job" and added, "It's just harassment of the President, his family and his business, using subpoenas and leaks as weapons. We will respond as appropriate."

The investigation is a sign that legal issues continue to swirl around Trump and his business. House Democrats are suing to obtain the tax and bank records of Trump and his family members. The New York state attorney general has subpoenaed Trump's banks for loan documents relating to certain Trump Organization projects.
The state investigation, which is still in the early stages, began after the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York closed its own probe in July.
Prosecutors met with Cohen shortly after they opened their investigation, according to one of the people familiar with the matter. Cohen is one of several people with knowledge of the payments who would be of interest to investigators, but he has credibility issues for any potential case. Cohen pleaded guilty last year to lying to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

Cohen was the only individual prosecuted as part of the federal investigation. He pleaded guilty to paying $130,000 to Daniels to keep her from going public with her allegation before the election.

American Media Inc., publisher of the National Enquirer, signed a non-prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors for its own role in the hush money scheme. AMI admitted to making a payment of $150,000 in cooperation with some members of Trump's campaign to prevent McDougal's claims of an affair from becoming pubic.
Federal prosecutors alleged that the Trump Organization paid Cohen $420,000 to reimburse him for the $130,000 hush money payment, increasing the amount to cover taxes and a bonus. Cohen was directed to submit monthly invoices and the payments were made in installments of $35,000 over 12 months, according to prosecutors in the Cohen case. The Trump Organization accounted for the fees as legal expenses even though, prosecutors alleged, Cohen did no legal work for the company in 2017. The Trump Organization was not charged with any wrongdoing.
https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/11/politics ... index.html



House Democrats Are Examining Whether the Middleman in Trump’s Secret Moscow Deal Withheld Information

But Felix Sater says he has cooperated fully with the probe of Trump’s covert Russia venture.


Felix Sater arrives for his closed-door testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on July 9, 2019. Stefani Reynolds/CNP via Zuma
When the Democrats took over the House of Representatives, there seemed to be the promise of vigorous investigations and high-profile hearings related to a long array of Donald Trump controversies, including the Trump-Russia scandal and one particular component of that affair: Trump’s secret effort to score a large project in Moscow while he was running for president. Yet the House Dems, as they debated what to do on the impeachment front, have rarely succeeded in mounting probes and holding hearings on Trump that shape the ongoing (and, yes, often crazy) political agenda of the day, week, or month. And the story of Trump’s covert venture in Moscow—like many other tales of Trump corruption—has drifted from public view. The House Intelligence Committee, though, is still on that case, and it is examining whether a key witness in that investigation, a former business associate of Trump, has tried to obstruct its probe—an allegation this onetime Trump ally fiercely denies.

First, some background. During the 2016 campaign, Trump repeatedly asserted he had nothing to do with Russia. And when he was asked in December 2015 about his relationship with a man named Felix Sater—a former asset for US intelligence and law enforcement in key terrorism and mafia cases who also has a criminal record—Trump lied and essentially denied knowing the guy: “Felix Sater, boy, I have to even think about it. I’m not that familiar with him.”

Yet Trump had worked closely with Sater, a fellow developer, on the Trump Soho, a hotel condominium that opened in 2010 in New York City, and after that Sater had served as a scout for Trump, looking for projects in Russia and elsewhere. Sater even carried a business card identifying him as a Trump Organization consultant. Starting in September 2015, Sater became the middleman in Trump’s latest attempt to develop a tower in Moscow, which had long been a goal for Trump. Collaborating with Michael Cohen, then Trump’s lawyer and fixer, Sater hooked up the Trump Organization with a Russian company for this Moscow deal that could, if successful, reap Trump hundreds of millions of dollars. Trump himself signed a letter of intent for the project in October 2015. In emails to Cohen, Sater maintained that this deal could help Trump win the 2016 election.

The gargantuan venture certainly could not have succeeded if Russian President Vladimir Putin and his regime felt unkindly toward Trump. So Trump, as he campaigned, was in no position to speak critically of Putin or his government—that is, if he gave a damn about this project. And indeed Trump often gushed positively about Putin and refused to endorse criticism of the Russian leader (who, as it turned out, had ordered a clandestine attack on the American election in part to help Trump). In January 2016, Cohen even contacted Putin’s office for help on the project and spoke to an assistant to a key Putin aide about the venture. Cohen and Sater also considered giving Putin a $50 million penthouse in the tower to lure Russian oligarchs to buy into the project.

The Moscow tower project eventually fizzled out in mid-2016, as Trump neared winning the GOP nomination. Yet Trump never disclosed these negotiations to the public. He kept saying he had no interests in Russia and that he was an America First kind of candidate—not a pol who pursued a clandestine business deal that could not proceed if he criticized a foreign adversary. And after the election, once Trump’s private negotiations for this project had become public, Cohen lied to the House and Senate intelligence committees about the Moscow deal, falsely claiming that he had cut it off in January 2016 and that he had not spoken to Putin’s office about it. Cohen later admitted to special counsel Robert Mueller he had misled congressional investigators, and that’s one reason he is currently residing in a federal facility in upstate New York.

Sater, too, has been questioned by the House Intelligence Committee—twice. Both times were private sessions. The committee so far has chosen not to hold a public hearing with Sater. In fact, there have been no public congressional hearings dedicated solely to Trump’s secret Moscow deal, though Cohen did appear before the House Oversight Committee in February and testified that Trump had indirectly encouraged him to lie to congressional investigators about the project.

Sater tells Mother Jones that he has no objection to releasing the transcripts of his two sessions with the intelligence committee. And, he adds, he would like to testify publicly. Such a hearing could be explosive, if it places in the spotlight the secret negotiations Trump held for the Russian project as he ran for president. (Some Democrats have noted they have questions about Sater’s credibility—though there is no doubt about the fundamental elements of this episode: Sater spent months working with Cohen to broker this deal for Trump. And Sater has handed over to the committee records related to this project. )

Asked whether the House Intelligence Committee would release the transcripts of its sessions with Sater, a committee staffer provided this statement: “Mr. Sater still has not fully cooperated with the committee in providing documents we believe to be in his possession, and he remains under subpoena until he fully complies. We plan on releasing Mr. Sater’s transcript once that thread of our investigation is completed.” And this staffer adds, “We are still actively pursuing a number of open questions, including whether Mr. Sater played a role in assisting Michael Cohen to obstruct the committee’s investigation.”

This suggests that Sater is on the hot seat and possibly a target of the committee’s investigation. But Sater and his lawyer, Robert Wolf, deny he has withheld information, maintaining he has cooperated fully. In a statement sent to Mother Jones, Wolf says:

Over a month ago Mr. Sater completely produced all responsive documents requested by the subpoena and fully complied with the Committee’s July 30, 2019 letter requiring those documents be unredacted. In that same letter the Committee said they would address in separate correspondence Mr. Sater’s prior objections based upon attorney client privilege. However, no further correspondence has been received from the Committee in the last six weeks addressing the privilege objection. Nor has the Committee disputed the completeness of Mr. Sater’s production. In fact, there have been no communications whatsoever with the Committee since July 30th and obviously there have been no open questions directed to Mr. Sater.

Responding to Wolf’s assertions, the House Intelligence Committee staffer insists the previous statement “still is accurate” and says, “We have nothing additional to add.”

From the outside, it’s tough to determine the details of the conflict between Sater and the committee. But one thing is certain: The story of Trump’s secret dealings in Russia and the grand deception he pulled off about it during the 2016 campaign is more important than this dispute. That is a tale that still deserves the amplification and attention that congressional scrutiny and hearings can provide.

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/20 ... formation/
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:47 pm

Press Releases

Chairman Schiff Issues Subpoena for Whistleblower Complaint Being Unlawfully Withheld by Acting DNI from Intelligence Committees
f t # e
Washington, September 13, 2019
Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, issued a subpoena to the Acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Joseph Maguire to compel the production of a whistleblower complaint that the Intelligence Community Inspector General’s (IC IG) determined to be credible and a matter of “urgent concern,” as well as the IC IG’s determination and all records pertaining to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s (ODNI) involvement in this matter, including any and all correspondence with other Executive Branch actors such as the White House. The Acting DNI was required by statute to submit the complaint to the congressional intelligence committees more than 10 days – but he refuses to do so.

Prior to issuing the subpoena, the Committee learned that the complaint involves confidentially and potentially privileged communications by persons outside the Intelligence Community and the ODNI refused to rule out that the underlying conduct relates to an area of active investigation by the Committee, raising serious concerns that the whistleblower complaint is being withheld to protect the President or other Administration officials. Absent compliance with the subpoena, the Committee plans to require Acting Director Maguire to appear before the Committee in an open hearing on Thursday, September 19, 2019.

Chairman Schiff stated:

“A month ago, a whistleblower within the intelligence community lawfully filed a complaint regarding a serious or flagrant problem, abuse, violation of law, or deficiency within the responsibility or authority of the Director of National Intelligence. The Inspector General of the Intelligence Community found that complaint not only credible, but urgent. More than ten days since the Director was obligated to transmit the complaint to the intelligence committees, the Committee has still not received the disclosure from the Director, in violation of the law.

“A Director of National Intelligence has never prevented a properly submitted whistleblower complaint that the IC IG determined to be credible and urgent from being provided to the congressional intelligence committees. Never. This raises serious concerns about whether White House, Department of Justice or other executive branch officials are trying to prevent a legitimate whistleblower complaint from reaching its intended recipient, the Congress, in order to cover up serious misconduct.

“After Watergate exposed significant intelligence abuses, a critical bargain was struck: in exchange for the Intelligence Community’s willingness to reveal closely guarded national security secrets, the congressional intelligence committees and leadership promised to handle that information responsibly. It was also of vital importance that intelligence officials have a lawful and protected means of bringing misconduct to the attention of Congress and the public. By withholding a credible whistleblower complaint that potentially deals with executive branch wrongdoing, the DNI is in violation of the applicable statute and has made itself a party to the concealment of potentially serious misconduct.”

The Committee learned that the DNI was withholding from the Committee an authorized and protected whistleblower disclosure involving an “urgent concern,” which is defined by law as “a serious or flagrant problem, abuse, violation of law or Executive order, or deficiency relating to the funding, administration, or operation of an intelligence activity within the responsibility and authority of the Director of National Intelligence involving classified information.”

On September 9, 2019, the IC IG transmitted a letter to the Committee notifying it of the existence of a whistleblower complaint. The following day, on September 10, 2019, Chairman Schiff requested the full and unredacted whistleblower complaint, the IC IG determination related to the complaint, and all records pertaining to the ODNI’s involvement in this matter, including any and all correspondence with other Executive Branch actors including the White House. As noted in Schiff’s letter to Acting DNI Maguire:

“We do not know whether this decision to withhold the disclosure was made only by you, or whether it involved interference by other parties, including the White House. The Committee’s recent experience has heightened concern of improper White House efforts to influence your office and the Intelligence Community. The failure to transmit to the Committee an urgent and credible whistleblower complaint, as required by law, raises the prospect that an urgent matter of a serious nature is being purposefully concealed by the Committee.”

On September 13, 2019, the Committee received a letter from the ODNI declining the Chairman’s request and stating that the DNI, contrary to an unambiguous statutory command, is withholding the complaint from the Committee because, in part, it involves confidentially and potentially privileged communications by persons outside the Intelligence Community.

In Schiff’s September 13, 2019 letter to the DNI accompanying the subpoena, Schiff writes:

“… in violation of the statute’s explicit command, and in a stark break with the unbroken practice of previous Directors of National Intelligence, you have refused to transmit to the Committee the whistleblower disclosure, along with the IC IG’s determination that the information in the disclosure represents a credible urgent concern—even after the Committee’s formal request on September 10, 2019. So far as the Committee is aware, this marks the first time a Director of National Intelligence has ever sought to overrule the IC IG and conceal from Congress a whistleblower complaint—in this case, one the IC IG has already determined to be a credible urgent concern. You have also refused, in further contravention of the statute, to provide the whistleblower with required direction, through the IC IG, on how to contact the Committee directly in a secure manner.

“As Acting Director of National Intelligence, you have neither the legal authority nor the discretion to overrule a determination by the IC IG. Moreover, you do not possess the authority to withhold from the Committee a whistleblower disclosure from within the Intelligence Community that is intended for Congress.

“Your office has attempted to justify doing so based on a radical distortion of the statute that completely subverts the letter and spirit of the law, as well as arrogates to the Director of National Intelligence authority and discretion he does not possess. Under the statute, the Director serves as a conduit to transmit the complaint to the congressional intelligence committee with any comments the Director considers appropriate and consistent with proper security practices.

“Even though the disclosure was made by an individual within the Intelligence Community through lawful channels, you have improperly withheld that disclosure on the basis that, in your view, the complaint concerns conduct by someone outside of the Intelligence Community and because the complaint involves confidential and potentially privileged communications. In a further departure from the statute, your office consulted the Department of Justice about the complaint, even though the statute does not provide you discretion to review, appeal, reverse, or countermand in any way the IC IG’s independent determination, let alone to involve another entity within the Executive Branch in the handling of a whistleblower complaint. Your office, moreover, has refused to affirm or deny that officials or lawyers at the White House have been involved in your decision to withhold the complaint from the Committee. You have also refused to rule out to me that the urgent concern, and underlying conduct, relates to an area of active investigation by the Committee.

“The Committee can only conclude, based on this remarkable confluence of factors, that the serious misconduct at issue involves the President of the United States and/or other senior White House or Administration officials. This raises grave concerns that your office, together with the Department of Justice and possibly the White House, are engaged in an unlawful effort to protect the President and conceal from the Committee information related to his possible “serious or flagrant” misconduct, abuse of power, or violation of law.

“Accordingly, due to the urgency of the matter and the unlawful decision by your office to withhold from the Committee an Intelligence Community individual’s credible “urgent concern” whistleblower disclosure, the Committee hereby issues the attached subpoena compelling you to transmit immediately to the Committee the disclosure, in complete and unaltered form, as well as to produce other related materials.”

Schiff’s letter to the Acting DNI on September 10, 2019 can be found here. Schiff’s letter to the Acting DNI accompanying the subpoena on September 13, 2019 can be found here.

https://intelligence.house.gov/news/doc ... mentID=688



Kyle Cheney


HMMM: SCHIFF has issued a cryptic subpoena, claiming an intel community whistleblower's complaint has been withheld from Congress -- and could, perhaps, involve the president.

Image

NEW: Schiff is hinting at a potentially massive whistleblower complaint against Trump or other senior WH officials coming from an intelligence official.

But in a statement, accompanied by a subpoena, Schiff says it's been illegally withheld form Congress.



Schiff accuses top intel official of illegally withholding 'urgent' whistleblower complaint
KYLE CHENEY09/13/2019 08:12 PM EDT
Adam Schiff

The nation's top intelligence official is illegally withholding a whistleblower complaint, possibly to protect President Donald Trump or senior White House officials, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff alleged Friday.

Schiff issued a subpoena for the complaint, accusing acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire of taking extraordinary steps to withhold the complaint from Congress, even after the intel community's inspector general characterized the complaint as credible and of "urgent concern."

“A Director of National Intelligence has never prevented a properly submitted whistleblower complaint that the [inspector general] determined to be credible and urgent from being provided to the congressional intelligence committees. Never," Schiff said in a statement. "This raises serious concerns about whether White House, Department of Justice or other executive branch officials are trying to prevent a legitimate whistleblower complaint from reaching its intended recipient, the Congress, in order to cover up serious misconduct."

Schiff indicated that he learned the matter involved "potentially privileged communications by persons outside the Intelligence Community," raising the specter that it is "being withheld to protect the President or other Administration officials." In addition, Schiff slammed Maguire for consulting the Justice Department about the whistleblower complaint "even though the statute does not provide you discretion to review, appeal, reverse, or countermand in any way the [inspector general's] independent determination, let alone to involve another entity within the Executive Branch."

"The Committee can only conclude, based on this remarkable confluence of factors, that the serious misconduct at issue involves the President of the United States and/or other senior White House or Administration officials," Schiff wrote in a letter to Maguire on Friday.

The initial whistleblower complaint was filed last month, and Schiff indicated that it was required by law to be shared with Congress nearly two weeks ago. His subpoena requires the information to be turned over by Sept. 17 or else he intends to compel Maguire to appear before Congress in a public hearing on Sept. 19.

Schiff said Maguire declined to confirm or deny whether the whistleblower's complaint relates to anything the Intelligence Committee is currently investigating or whether White House lawyers were involved in the decision-making about the complaint.
https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/ ... ce-1496135



Rather than turn over the complaint as statute requires, Schiff claims DNI Maguire shared it with DOJ lawyers and claimed it might be privileged.

Schiff says the confluence extraordinary maneuvers suggest it implicates someone senior in the admin.


https://twitter.com/kyledcheney/status/ ... 2277689346

And the letter he sent tonight with the subpoena:
https://intelligence.house.gov/uploaded ... bpoena.pdf


emptywheel


Note the whistleblower complaint the Acting DNI is suppressing would date to not long after Susan Gordon was tired.


And fired!

Maybe not? I thought this report was weird at the time, but it makes sense now. Coats barged into Gordon’s meeting and encouraged her to resign. Possibly he knew of the whistleblower and didn’t want Gordon take the blame? She left the same day he did.

Top intel official interrupted meeting to urge his deputy to resign
Updated 5:32 PM EDT, Fri August 09, 2019
Washington(CNN) — The country's No. 2 intelligence official, Sue Gordon, knew it was likely she would have to eventually step down from her post, but the timing of that decision became more urgent on Thursday after her boss -- outgoing spy chief Dan Coats -- interrupted a meeting she was holding on election security and asked his deputy to submit her letter of resignation, sources familiar with the events told CNN.

While details of the conversation between Gordon, an intelligence veteran of more than 30 years, and Coats remain unclear, sources say that the situation clearly abruptly changed after the meeting was interrupted.

Shortly after her encounter with Coats, Gordon submitted her letter of resignation to Vice President Mike Pence, though the document itself was addressed to Trump, according to officials, a highly unusual move that prompted some confusion among some West Wing officials who waited for the President's tweet confirming the news.

Not surprised

Ultimately, White House officials told CNN they were not surprised by the fact that Gordon chose to resign, as it was clear the President was never going to select her for the top job, or even the acting position.

White House officials had been signaling such a move for days, saying the President would prefer to have a political loyalist in the acting role until a permanent nominee is selected.

While Trump has said in recent days that he liked Gordon personally, officials said that he believed she was too closely tied to individuals in the intelligence world, such as former CIA Director John Brennan and even Coats himself, a theory some advisers pushed.

Under normal protocol, Gordon would have become acting director after Coats resigned. But administration officials told CNN that the White House was reviewing whether it could legally choose an acting director outside the line of succession.

The circumstances surrounding Gordon's resignation, including the role Coats appears to have played in the timing of her announcement, seem to indicate she was forced out for political reasons.

"I offer this letter as an act of respect & patriotism, not preference. You should have your team," she wrote in a handwritten note to the President that was released by the White House.

Gordon's abrupt departure, with only one week's notice, and Trump's longstanding hostility toward the intelligence community -- which he has publicly derided, likened to Nazis and disagreed with -- is likely to heighten concerns that the President may be trying to politicize agencies that are meant to stand apart from partisanship or politicking.

Intelligence professionals emphasize the need to keep politics out of their work in order to offer policy makers the clearest assessment they can of threats and opportunities.

Yet, Trump has made clear his desire to bring to heel US intelligence agencies, which have produced evidence he disagrees with on Iran, North Korea, Russia's interference in US elections and other issues.

Spy chief debacle sends Trump back to the drawing board
When discussing his attempt to replace Coats with Texas Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe on July 30, the President told reporters that intelligence community needed "somebody like that that's strong and can really rein it in. As you've all learned, the intelligence agencies have run amok. They've run amok."

But the dramatic implosion of Ratcliffe's nomination last week only fueled uncertainty surrounding who would be tapped to lead the intelligence community, both in an acting capacity and as the permanent choice.

Leaders in both parties had expressed confidence in Gordon, with many advocating for her to get the top job. Her departure is likely to unsettle lawmakers eager for stability in the aftermath of Coats' resignation and the fallout after Trump's chosen successor, Ratcliffe, fell by the wayside after scathing criticism.

"Sue Gordon's retirement is a significant loss for our Intelligence Community," said Sen. Richard Burr, the North Carolina Republican who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Trump addressed one of those questions Thursday after Gordon's resignation, naming Joseph Maguire, the leader of the National Counterterrorism Center, as his interim choice.

'A great job'

Maguire "has a long and distinguished career in the military, retiring from the US Navy in 2010. He commanded at every level, including the Naval Special Warfare Command. He has also served as a national security fellow at Harvard University.

"I have no doubt he will do a great job!" the President tweeted.

Current and former intelligence officials have acknowledged that they are unhappy with the way Gordon is having to retire and noted that her departure is a blow to the community due to her level of experience and track record of speaking the truth.

But at the same time, Trump's decision to name Maguire as acting DNI is not expected to prompt any sort of mass exodus or overwhelming outrage from career intelligence professionals, one official told CNN.

This official added that Maguire is well respected within the intelligence community, particularly due to his military background and is not viewed as an overly partisan pick for the acting DNI position.

Trump says Ratcliffe will 'rein in' US intelligence agencies as spy chief
"Maguire's deep military background and work at NCTC means that he brings to the job a welcome understanding of IC capabilities and experience with current policy and IC leadership. However, his assignment to the acting position means that NCTC is deprived of his leadership at a time when the policy community is grappling with the issue of domestic terrorism," a former senior intelligence official said.

"I am confident, however, that this leadership shuffle will have little impact on ongoing IC operations," the former official said.

Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Mark Warner said Friday that he expects Maguire to embody the same apolitical leadership style as both Coats and Gordon.

"Given the circumstances of his appointment as Acting DNI, it is more important than ever that Admiral Maguire stands by that commitment to speak truth to power," Warner said in a statement. "His success or failure in this position will be judged by the quality of work produced by the intelligence community, not by how those intelligence products make the President feel."
https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2019/08/09/poli ... ssion=true




My theory is Trump found out that Coates knew about whatever so he fired him. Coates had told Gordon about it so he then told her to quit before Trump found out she knew too and fired her.

In this administration, she’s probably always tired. I am and I’m just a constituent.




Explosive news. International implications. Major spy scandal.


Shutdown Facebook

Replying to @emptywheel
How much should we bet that both Coats/Gordon firing relate to this complaint, at least in terms of cause and timing of their departures?


Replying to @emptywheel
Think you meant "fired".

Replying to @emptywheel
Who's Susan Gordon?

She was the Deputy to DNI Coates. They left ODNI at the same time. Rumor is he interrupted a meeting she was holding to tell her to resign immediately. Perhaps all of this is related. Coates and may have found out something so Trump fired him and Coates told Gordon about it.


Thanks Lynne.....all very intriguing!

Why doesn’t the whistle blower make it public. I am sure they can remain anonymous

I was around for Watergate, and throughout all of this I have believed two things: 1st, whistleblowing takes incredible courage and anonymity harder, and 2) the Supreme Court would never vote as they did then, for the NYT to publish. And Senate wasn't quite so bought.


The resignation of DNI & forced resignation of PDDNI concurrently are looking curiouser & curiouser w/ each new report regarding the IC, including this new subpoena from the HPSCI Chairman re a Whistleblower report:


Carrie Cordero

Complaint was filed 4 days after PDDNI submitted her resignation as demanded; her/DNI’s last day in office was 3 days after complaint filed but before IG referred it to Acting DNI. Whatever it was, I’m confident she would have sent it to Congress had she been appointed Acting DNI
5:54 PM - 13 Sep 2019
147 Retweets 469 Likes Aniri FdezBarb HuberMary Anne McDonnellJMTVicky can't wait for SDNYJill PorterLori Scarbrough BoneAyaya2six

Some questions: did Coats & Gordon know it was coming? If high ranking official, hard to imagine person didn’t bring to their attention before filing w/ OIG. When was DOJ informed? Was WH informed about it? If so, before or after Gordon asked to resign?

...Was Macguire informed of complaint before or after assuming Acting DNI position? Was WH informed of complaint before Maguire? Does DNI GC (a Senate-confirmed position) concur in interpetation that DNI can withhold complaint from HPSCI?

A couple more: what is SSCI’s view? Has SSCI received complaint or also been rebuffed by Acting DNI? Recall that SSCI Chairman’s view was that PDDNI should have become Acting DNI, because, law.

...could all be a coincidence, of course...but the timing + highly unusual refusal to follow the IRTPA to appoint Acting DNI + highly unusual HPSCI subpoena....surely warrant a close look.
https://twitter.com/carriecordero/statu ... 8007047168





On the Mystery of the McCabe Grand Jury
Did a federal grand jury refuse to hand up an indictment of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe?

No media organization has reported that this is what happened Thursday, but something clearly happened when the grand jury met—and that something wasn’t the McCabe indictment that everyone was expecting.

Support Lawfare

McCabe’s indictment had been expected on charges related to alleged lies to internal Justice Department investigators about his contacts with the media in 2016. On Thursday, Sept. 12, the New York Times and the Washington Post reported that the deputy attorney general had rejected McCabe’s final appeal within the department to avoid prosecution. According to the Post, McCabe received a communication from the Justice Department informing him that “[t]he Department rejected your appeal of the United States Attorney’s Office’s decision in this matter …. Any further inquiries should be directed to the United States Attorney’s Office.” The Times writes that the decision was made by Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, and that Rosen’s top aide, Ed O’Callaghan, reached out to McCabe’s team on the matter.

There is a great deal of uncertainty around what happened next, almost certainly because Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure forbids the government, court officials or grand jurors from disclosing matters before the grand jury. This may make the McCabe story a particularly hard nut for reporters to crack. But here’s what we know.

Normally, when the Justice Department informs a criminal target that it is moving ahead with charges, particularly when the target is a high-profile one, the indictment follows immediately. Yet in this case, no indictment materialized. And that wasn’t because the grand jury didn’t meet.

According to the Post, rather, the grand jury was reconvened on Thursday—but no public charges against McCabe were filed. Now, McCabe’s lawyer, Michael Bromwich, has written to U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu, whose office is handling McCabe’s case, stating that the defense team has heard “rumors from reporters … that the grand jury considering charges against Mr. McCabe had declined to vote an indictment”—though the defense has “no independent knowledge of whether the reporting is accurate.” Bromwich added that “based on our discussion with” government lawyers, “it is clear that no indictment has been returned.”

The possibility of a criminal case against McCabe has smelled bad for a while. As one of us has spelled out in detail, this is not the kind of case that normally ends up as a criminal matter. While the Justice Department inspector general report that led to McCabe’s dismissal from the bureau is sharply critical of his conduct, indictments for false statements in internal Justice Department investigations, without some exacerbating factor, are exceedingly rare. This sort of misconduct is normally handled in internal disciplinary proceedings—and McCabe was already fired. Indeed, there’s nothing about the inspector general’s findings about McCabe that seem to make his case a likely candidate for a criminal disposition. What makes McCabe’s situation distinctive, rather, is the public campaign against him by the president of the United States, who has tweeted and spoken repeatedly about McCabe and publicly called for his prosecution.

Without saying a word in defense of McCabe’s conduct—which, if accurately described by the inspector general, is condemnable—there are good reasons to be anxious about a case that both seems far from the sort normally prosecuted and involves someone the president has singled out for persecution. There have also long been reasons to doubt the strength of the case, not the least of which is that two of the prosecutors who supervised it have dropped off the matter.

All of this is the background to whatever happened yesterday, when the grand jury met after McCabe’s lawyers had been informed that an indictment would be sought—and yet no indictment emerged.

It is hard to express what an incredibly rare occurrence a grand jury refusal to return what is called a “true bill” would be, if that is indeed what took place. It may not be quite accurate that, as the saying goes, a prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich, but the sentiment gets at something real. The Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that between October 2013 and September 2014—the last year these data were publicly available—the department investigated almost 200,000 cases and declined to prosecute roughly 31,500. Of the latter category, just five of those cases were declined because a grand jury returned no true bill—a percentage so small that the Bureau of Justice Statistics declines to actually write it out. Between October 2010 and September 2011, and October 2011 and September 2012, the proportion of declined cases explained by grand juries returning no true bills is a momentous 0.1 percent.

Again, we don’t know yet if that is what happened in McCabe’s case. There are possibilities other than the grand jury balking. It’s conceivable, for example, that prosecutors for some reason simply did not ask the grand jury to return an indictment on Thursday. This would be unusual: According to the Post, the grand jury panel originally investigating McCabe was reconvened on Thursday after an absence of months. One possibility is that this detail in the Post’s reporting may be incorrect and that the grand jury convened is a new one, not the one that already heard all the evidence—and that it thus needs to be read the transcripts of the earlier grand jury testimony. That could take time, and it would mean that the new grand jury might not be ready to reach a decision right away. But we have no reason to doubt the Post’s reporting on this point and can think of no obvious reason why, if the grand jury was recalled, the question of an indictment would not have been put to it.

The other possibility is that the grand jury did return an indictment but did so under seal. This would explain why McCabe’s defense team is not aware of any charges. But this possibility seems unlikely for a different reason: It’s far from clear why the government would want to keep the indictment off the public record, or why the court would permit it. Law enforcement typically may keep an indictment sealed only if it has a legitimate prosecutorial interest in doing so. It’s hard to imagine what legitimate prosecutorial interest could justify sealing an indictment of McCabe once major news organizations have already reported that charges against him are on the way and the Justice Department has informed his counsel that it is proceeding against him. McCabe is hardly likely to skip town.

Then there is a third possibility: that the grand jury actually declined to indict McCabe, instead returning no true bill.

This would be a very big deal—a huge rebuke to the Justice Department’s conduct of this case. Grand juries do not need to be unanimous. They need to have a quorum of their 23 members, and they require only a majority of at least 12—that is, a majority of the full grand jury, no matter how many grand jurors are present—to return an indictment. They also don’t proceed by proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the standard at trial. Instead, an indictment issues on the lower standard of probable cause. In other words, if this is really what happened, it would mean that the Justice Department couldn’t even persuade a majority of people who have heard from all of the witnesses that there is even probable cause to proceed against McCabe.

If this turns out to be true, such a rebuke would raise another question: Will the Justice Department try again? There’s nothing that actually prevents this. The Justice Manual (formerly known as the U.S. Attorneys’ Manual) states that after a grand jury returns no true bill, prosecutors may resubmit the matter to another grand jury—as long as they do so with the approval of the relevant U.S. attorney. In 1920, the Supreme Court held in United States v. Thompson that a court may not require a U.S. attorney to seek permission from a judge before making a resubmission, ruling instead that “the power of the grand jury is continuous, so that unfavorable action does not exhaust the authority of that or of another grand jury to examine.” Prosecutors may not even need to alert the second grand jury that the first grand jury returned no true bill: The Justice Department’s Federal Grand Jury Practice Manual states that it “may be appropriate” to inform the new grand jury of such (emphasis added). Suffice to say that the Justice Department has an enormous amount of leeway in deciding whether or not to resubmit a case after a grand jury returns no true bill.

But whether or not the department could try again to seek an indictment of McCabe—if trying again is indeed necessary—is a very different question from whether it would be wise or appropriate or decent to do so. One would hope, of course, that a rebuke of this type—so rare as to be particularly biting—would put an end to the McCabe matter. The department already engineered McCabe’s firing mere days before his retirement. It already conducted a lengthy criminal investigation, endeavored to prosecute him and put the matter in front of a grand jury. If the first grand jury has balked, would it really try for a do-over? One hopes cooler heads would prevail.

Again, we don’t know what happened before the grand jury this week—and it would, of course, be very inappropriate, illegal actually, for the department to give the public the explanation the situation demands. But at the Justice Department, people do know what happened. They know whether at least 12 of 23 grand jurors just told them to stand down.
https://www.lawfareblog.com/mystery-mccabe-grand-jury



The notice of a whistleblower (as I understand it) came 72 hours later, on August 12th. FYI.



:)
Seung Min Kim

A @rachaelmbade @thamburger scoop: House Judiciary negotiating with *Jeff Sessions* for his testimony
https://twitter.com/seungminkim/status/ ... 0543800320



Eric Columbus

I’m a broken record on this, but Trump can’t stop Sessions from talking. As a former employee, Sessions need not comply with any WH effort to invoke executive privilege.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics ... ssion=true

3:06 PM - 13 Sep 2019


Of course, whether and to what extent Sessions wants to spill the beans on Trump — and whether he has any new beans to spill — are different questions altogether.

https://twitter.com/EricColumbus/status ... 2791104513
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:21 am



Kavanaugh should be impeached and maybe/hopefully he will

Ronan Farrow

Two @nytimes rep
Two @nytimes reporters, @rpogrebin and @katekelly, spent months independently reporting out Deborah Ramirez’s allegation against Brett Kavanaugh and found it credible—and documented another serious claim of misconduct with an eyewitness:



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Joyce Alene

There must be a full Congressional investigation to determine whether someone, and if so who, gave orders that kept the FBI from investigating credible allegations & speaking to witnesses who reached out to them. We were told this was a full investigation.


A source with a copy of the forthcoming book sent along the page describing the Stier scoop.
Image

Brett Kavanaugh Fit In With the Privileged Kids. She Did Not.
Deborah Ramirez’s Yale experience says much about the college’s efforts to diversify its student body in the 1980s.
ImageJudge Brett M. Kavanaugh during the announcement of his nomination to the Supreme Court on July, 9, 2018.
Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh during the announcement of his nomination to the Supreme Court on July, 9, 2018.CreditCreditDoug Mills/The New York Times
Robin PogrebinKate KellyBy Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly
Ms. Pogrebin and Ms. Kelly are reporters with The Times and authors of the forthcoming book, “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation.”
Sept. 14, 2019

Deborah Ramirez had the grades to go to Yale in 1983. But she wasn’t prepared for what she’d find there.
A top student in southwestern Connecticut, she studied hard but socialized little. She was raised Catholic and had a sheltered upbringing. In the summers, she worked at Carvel dishing ice cream, commuting in the $500 car she’d bought with babysitting earnings.
At Yale, she encountered students from more worldly backgrounds. Many were affluent and had attended elite private high schools. They also had experience with drinking and sexual behavior that Ms. Ramirez — who had not intended to be intimate with a man until her wedding night — lacked.
During the winter of her freshman year, a drunken dormitory party unsettled her deeply. She and some classmates had been drinking heavily when, she says, a freshman named Brett Kavanaugh pulled down his pants and thrust his penis at her, prompting her to swat it away and inadvertently touch it. Some of the onlookers, who had been passing around a fake penis earlier in the evening, laughed.
To Ms. Ramirez it wasn’t funny at all. It was the nadir of her first year, when she often felt insufficiently rich, experienced or savvy to mingle with her more privileged classmates.
ImageThe yearbook photo of Deborah Ramirez in The Yale Banner in 1987.
The yearbook photo of Deborah Ramirez in The Yale Banner in 1987.
“I had gone through high school, I’m the good girl, and now, in one evening, it was all ripped away,” she said in an interview earlier this year at her Boulder, Colo., home. By preying upon her in this way, she added, Mr. Kavanaugh and his friends “make it clear I’m not smart.”
Mr. Kavanaugh, now a justice on the Supreme Court, has adamantly denied her claims. Those claims became a flash point during his confirmation process last year, when he was also fighting other sexual misconduct allegations from Christine Blasey Ford, who had attended a Washington-area high school near his.
Ms. Ramirez’s story would seem far less damaging to Mr. Kavanaugh’s reputation than those of Dr. Ford, who claimed that he pinned her to a bed, groped her and tried to remove her clothes while covering her mouth.
But while we found Dr. Ford’s allegations credible during a 10-month investigation, Ms. Ramirez’s story could be more fully corroborated. During his Senate testimony, Mr. Kavanaugh said that if the incident Ms. Ramirez described had occurred, it would have been “the talk of campus.” Our reporting suggests that it was.
At least seven people, including Ms. Ramirez’s mother, heard about the Yale incident long before Mr. Kavanaugh was a federal judge. Two of those people were classmates who learned of it just days after the party occurred, suggesting that it was discussed among students at the time.
We also uncovered a previously unreported story about Mr. Kavanaugh in his freshman year that echoes Ms. Ramirez’s allegation. A classmate, Max Stier, saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student. Mr. Stier, who runs a nonprofit organization in Washington, notified senators and the F.B.I. about this account, but the F.B.I. did not investigate and Mr. Stier has declined to discuss it publicly. (We corroborated the story with two officials who have communicated with Mr. Stier.)
Mr. Kavanaugh did not speak to us because we could not agree on terms for an interview. But he has denied Dr. Ford’s and Ms. Ramirez’s allegations, and declined to answer our questions about Mr. Stier’s account.
Yale in the 1980s was in the early stages of integrating more minority students into its historically privileged white male population. The college had admitted its first black student in the 1850s, but by Ms. Ramirez’s time there, people of color comprised less than a fifth of the student body. Women, who had been admitted for the first time in 1969, were still relative newcomers.
Mr. Kavanaugh fit the more traditional Yale mold. His father was a trade association executive, his mother a prosecutor and later a judge. They lived in tony Bethesda, Md., and owned a second home on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. As a student at a prominent Jesuit all-boys school, Georgetown Prep, Mr. Kavanaugh was surrounded by the sons of powerful Washington professionals and politicians. He was an avid sports fan and known to attend an annual teenage bacchanal called “Beach Week,” where the hookups and drinking were more important than the sand and swimming.
Ms. Ramirez grew up in a split-level ranch house in working-class Shelton, Conn., perhaps best known for producing the Wiffle ball, and didn’t drink before college. Her father, who is Puerto Rican, rose through the Southern New England Telephone Company, having started as a cable splicer. Her mother, who is French, was a medical technician.
Before coming to Yale, Ms. Ramirez took pride in her parents’ work ethic and enjoyed simple pleasures like swimming in their aboveground pool, taking camping trips and riding behind her father on his snowmobile. She was studious, making valedictorian at her Catholic elementary school and excelling at her Catholic high school, St. Joseph.
She and her parents took out loans to pay for Yale, and she got work-study jobs on campus, serving food in the dining halls and cleaning dorm rooms before class reunions.
She tried to adapt to Yale socially, joining the cheerleading squad her freshman year, sometimes positioned at the pinnacle of the pyramid. But Ms. Ramirez learned quickly that although cheerleading was cool in high school, it didn’t carry the same cachet at Yale. People called her Debbie Cheerleader or Debbie Dining Hall or would start to say “Debbie does … ” playing on the 1978 porn movie “Debbie Does Dallas.” But Ms. Ramirez didn’t understand the reference.
“She was very innocent coming into college,” Liz Swisher, who roomed with Ms. Ramirez for three years at Yale and is now a physician in Seattle, later recalled. “I felt an obligation early in freshman year to protect her.”
There were many more unhappy memories of college. Fellow students made fun of the way she dropped consonants when she spoke, but also ribbed her for not being fluent in Spanish. They mocked her knockoff black-and-red Air Jordans. They even questioned her admission on the merits. “Is it because you’re Puerto Rican?” someone once asked her.
“My mom would have preferred me to go to a smaller college — looking back at it, she was right,” Ms. Ramirez said. At Yale, “they invite you to the game, but they never show you the rules or where the equipment is.”
It wasn’t until she got a call from a reporter and saw her account of Mr. Kavanaugh described as “sexual misconduct” in The New Yorker that Ms. Ramirez understood it as anything more than one of many painful encounters at Yale.
Ms. Ramirez also did not see herself as a victim of ethnic discrimination. The college campuses of the 1980s had yet to be galvanized by the identity and sexual politics that course through today’s cultural debates.
Years after graduating, however, she started volunteering with a nonprofit organization that assists victims of domestic violence — the Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence, or SPAN. She became a staff member for a time and continues to serve on its board. Gradually she embraced her Puerto Rican roots.
This awakening caused Ms. Ramirez to distance herself from the past. She fell out of touch with one Yale friend — who had asked Ms. Ramirez to be her daughter’s godmother — after the friend’s husband made fun of a book she was reading on racial identity. The husband, a Yale classmate, was one of the students she remembered being at the dorm party that difficult night.
“If I felt like a person in my life wasn’t going to embrace my journey or would somehow question it,” she said, “I just let them go.”
Mr. Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings were wrenching, as he strained to defend his character after Dr. Ford’s searing testimony. Thousands of miles away, Ms. Ramirez, who was never asked to testify, also found the hearings distressing. Her efforts to backstop her recollections with friends would later be cited as evidence that her memory was unreliable or that she was trying to construct a story rather than confirm one.
Ms. Ramirez’s legal team gave the F.B.I. a list of at least 25 individuals who may have had corroborating evidence. But the bureau — in its supplemental background investigation — interviewed none of them, though we learned many of these potential witnesses tried in vain to reach the F.B.I. on their own.
Two F.B.I. agents interviewed Ms. Ramirez, telling her that they found her “credible.” But the Republican-controlled Senate had imposed strict limits on the investigation. “‘We have to wait to get authorization to do anything else,’” Bill Pittard, one of Ms. Ramirez’s lawyers, recalled the agents saying. “It was almost a little apologetic.”
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island and member of the Judiciary Committee, later said, “I would view the Ramirez allegations as not having been even remotely investigated.” Other Democrats agreed.
Ultimately, Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, concluded, “There is no corroboration of the allegations made by Dr. Ford or Ms. Ramirez.” Mr. Kavanaugh was confirmed on Oct. 6, 2018, by a vote of 50-48, the closest vote for a Supreme Court justice in more than 130 years.
Still, Ms. Ramirez came to feel supported by the very Yale community from which she had once felt so alienated. More than 3,000 Yale women signed an open letter commending her “courage in coming forward.” More than 1,500 Yale men issued a similar letter two days later.
She also received a deluge of letters, emails and texts from strangers containing messages like, “We’re with you, we believe you, you are changing the world,” and “Your courage and strength has inspired me. The bravery has been contagious.”
College students wrote about how Ms. Ramirez had helped them find the words to express their own experiences. Medical students wrote about how they were now going to listen differently to victims of sexual violence. Parents wrote about having conversations with their children about how bad behavior can follow them through life. One father told Ms. Ramirez he was talking to his two sons about how their generation is obligated to be better.
Ms. Ramirez saved all of these notes in a decorative box that she keeps in her house, turning to them even now for sustenance. One person sent a poem titled “What Is Justice” that has resonated deeply with her.
“You can’t look at justice as just the confirmation vote,” she said. “There is so much good that came out of it. There is so much more good to come.”
This essay is adapted from the forthcoming book “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation.”
http://archive.is/sOCSN#selection-259.0-642.0




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vrV4Iiarhs



@RepAdamSchiff said on CBS today that the Director of National Intelligence has told the Intel Committee that he was instructed not to turn over the whistleblower's complaint by a "higher authority":
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Sep 16, 2019 4:38 pm

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New York attorneys subpoena eight years of Trump tax returns: report
Prosecutors in New York are reportedly escalating their efforts to obtain President Trump's tax returns as part of their investigation into hush money payments made to women who have alleged affairs with the president.

State prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney’s office sent subpoenas late last month to Trump's accounting firm, Mazars USA, in an attempt to obtain eight years of the president's personal and business tax filings as part of a broader effort to analyze his financial records, The New York Times reported Monday.

The office is investigating payments made to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, who has claimed to have received payments in exchange for her silence during the 2016 election after allegedly having an affair with Trump.

Former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen testified earlier this year that he delivered the payment to Daniels at the behest of Trump and said he had been reimbursed by the president and his organization.

Trump has denied the affair and any other wrongdoing.

A spokesperson for the district attorney's office declined to comment.

The prosecutors are requesting Mazars USA provide both federal and state tax returns for Trump and the Trump Organization dating back to 2011.

The subpoena marks the latest effort from Democrats at multiple levels of government to obtain and examine Trump's tax returns.

Trump is the first president in decades to refuse to release any of his tax returns. He has cited an IRS audit for why he hasn't made them public available, but the IRS has said audits don't prevent people from disclosing their own tax information.

It could be challenging for Trump to try to block a subpoena in this instance because it's part of a criminal investigation with a sitting grand jury, the Times reported, while noting that the Trump Organization could attempt to negotiate with the district attorney's office to limit the scope of the subpoena.

If the Manhattan district attorney's office is able to obtain Trump's tax returns, the documents would be subject to grand-jury secrecy rules and wouldn't be made public unless they were evidence in a criminal case, according to the Times.

House Democrats have been pursuing a number of routes in their effort to obtain Trump's tax returns.

The House Ways and Means Committee is seeking to obtain six years of Trump's federal returns, arguing the documents are needed for oversight of how the IRS enforces tax laws against presidents. The committee filed a lawsuit in July in an effort to obtain the documents, after the Treasury Department and IRS rejected requests and subpoenas.

The House Financial Services and Intelligence committees have issued subpoenas to Deutsche Bank for tax returns and financial records of Trump, his three oldest children and his businesses. Last month, Deutsche Bank told a federal appeals court in New York that it has tax returns responsive to the subpoenas, but did not publicly state whose tax returns it had.

At the state level, New York has enacted a law that allows Congress to request Trump's state tax returns from the state's department of taxation and finance, and California has enacted a law to prevent presidential candidates from appearing on the state's primary ballot unless they disclose their tax returns. Trump has filed lawsuits challenging both of those laws.

The district attorney’s office isn’t the only entity that has subpoenaed Trump financial records from Mazars. The House Oversight Committee issued a subpoena to the accounting firm in April, and Trump is challenging that subpoena in court.

Separately, the House Judiciary Committee has pledged to examine the hush money payments as part of its sprawling probe into obstruction, public corruption and other abuses of power.

While Judiciary Democrats say Cohen has already provided testimony on the matter, they are considering bringing in David Pecker, the CEO of the company that publishes National Enquirer. Members have offered varied answers as to whether they will bring in the two women involved in the hush money payments.

The National Enquirer came under scrutiny after The Wall Street Journal reported in November 2016 that the tabloid had withheld a story about an alleged affair with former Playboy Model Karen McDougal, another woman who claims she had an affair with Trump.

Cohen also played a role in arranging a payoff to McDougal through the Enquirer that totaled $150,000.

Cohen, who pleaded guilty to lying to congressional investigators as well as other crimes in November, implicated Trump in the hush money scheme when he testified before Congress earlier this year. He cooperated with prosecutors as part of his plea agreement.

Cohen has alleged that Trump directed him to mislead the public about the president’s knowledge of a payment Daniels during a phone call in February 2018 when news of the payments was beginning to surface.

The president, in return, has attacked his onetime confidante, calling him a “rat” who is lying to investigators to reduce his time in prison.

Cohen is serving a three-year sentence.

Updated at 4:36 p.m.
https://thehill.com/policy/finance/4616 ... rns-report


trump administeration says nuclear war is winnable!

Lincoln's Bible


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Just gonna inject this into the discourse:
1. ESPIONAGE IS NOT WHISTLE-BLOWING.
2. FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE FRONTS that distribute fruits of espionage ARE NOT PUBLISHERS.
3. Repeat 1 & 2.




Director of National Intelligence Tells Congress to Fuck Off

Stefani Reynolds/CNP via ZUMA
A few days ago the inspector general for the intelligence community notified Congress of a whistleblower complaint that was both credible and a matter of “urgent concern.” Rep. Adam Schiff, the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, naturally asked the Director of National Intelligence to provide a copy of the complaint, as required by law. The DNI told him to pound sand. Now Schiff is pissed off:

As Acting Director of National Intelligence, you have neither the legal authority nor the discretion to overrule a determination by the IC IG. Moreover, you do not possess the authority to withhold from the Committee a whistleblower disclosure from within the Intelligence Community that is intended for Congress.

….Your office, moreover, has refused to affirm or deny that officials or lawyers at the White House have been involved in your decision to withhold the complaint from the Committee….The Committee can only conclude, based on this remarkable confluence of factors, that the serious misconduct at issue involves the President of the United States and/or other senior White House or Administration officials. This raises grave concerns that your office, together with the Department of Justice and possibly the White House, are engaged in an unlawful effort to protect the President and conceal from the Committee information related to his possible “serious or flagrant” misconduct, abuse of power, or violation of law.

Accordingly, due to the urgency of the matter and the unlawful decision by your office to withhold from the Committee an Intelligence Community individual’s credible “urgent concern” whistleblower disclosure, the Committee hereby issues the attached subpoena compelling you to transmit immediately to the Committee the disclosure, in complete and unaltered form, as well as to produce other related materials.

The acting DNI, unsurprisingly, is claiming that the whistleblower complaint contains confidential and privileged information, which means he’s not required to turn it over. This has become the Trump administration’s go-to move, despite the fact that, almost by definition, everything the intelligence community deals with is confidential and privileged.

Stay tuned.
https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/ ... -fuck-off/


the president is locked and loaded this morning

he is waiting for Saudi Arabia to tell him what to do

Saudi Arabia owns the entire 45th floor of the trump World Tower

And that a Saudi/UAE agent told Trump Jr in August 2016 that the dictators wanted to help the Trump campaign. And there’s evidence that a social media manipulation campaign was conducted for Trump funded by Saudi.


In May 2017 after only 4 months in our WH, Trump recd Saudi Arabia's highest civilian honor of a gold medallion. Excerpt: "...Trump was being honoured for his efforts to strengthen the relationship between US & Saudi Arabia..."


Donald J. Trump

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Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!



Kevin M. Kruse
@KevinMKruse
As everyone knows, Article I of the US Constitution clearly states that the power to declare war is vested with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.




Remember when Erik Prince had a big contract to keep Saudi Arabia safe?


The Improbable Comeback of Erik Prince
When Erik Prince arrived at the Four Seasons resort in the Seychelles in January 2017 for his now-famous meetings with a Russian banker and UAE ruler Mohammed bin Zayed, he was in the middle of an unexpected comeback. The election of Donald Trump had given the disgraced Blackwater founder a new opportunity to prove himself. After years of trying and failing to peddle a sweeping vision of mercenary warfare around the world, Erik Prince was back in the game.

Bin Zayed had convened a group of close family members and advisers at the luxurious Indian Ocean resort for a grand strategy session in anticipation of the new American administration. On the agenda were discussions of new approaches for dealing with the civil wars in Yemen, Syria, and Libya, the threat of the Islamic State, and the United Arab Emirates’ longstanding rivalry with Iran. Under bin Zayed’s leadership, the UAE had used its oil wealth to become one of the world’s largest arms purchasers and the third largest importer of U.S. weapons. A new American president meant new opportunities for the tiny Gulf nation to exert its outsized military and economic influence in the Gulf region and beyond.

Prince was no stranger to the Emiratis. He had known bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and de facto ruler of the UAE, since 2009, when he sold the sheikh on creating an elite counterterrorism unit. That deal ended badly for Prince, but Trump’s election had recalibrated his usefulness. As a prominent Trump supporter and close associate of Steve Bannon, not to mention the brother of incoming cabinet member Betsy DeVos, Prince was invited to the meeting as an unofficial adviser to the incoming administration.

Prince’s meeting with a Putin intimate shortly before Trump’s inauguration has drawn intense interest from Congress, the Mueller investigation, and the press.
When Prince joined the Emirati royals and other government officials on a deck overlooking the Indian Ocean, bin Zayed made it clear to everyone there that “Erik was his guy,” said a source close to the Emirati rulers, who was briefed by some of those in attendance. Prince, in bin Zayed’s view, had built and established an elite ground force that bin Zayed had deployed to wars in Syria and Yemen, the first foreign conflicts in his young country’s history. It was because of Prince, bin Zayed said, that the Emiratis had no terrorists in their country. Prince had solved their problem with Somali pirates. “He let his court know that they owed Erik a favor,” the source said.

Part of that favor apparently involved facilitating an introduction to Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of an $8 billion Russian sovereign wealth fund and a close associate of President Vladimir Putin. Prince repeatedly and under oath in testimony to Congress denied that his meeting with Dmitriev had anything to do with the Trump administration, describing it as no more than a chance encounter over a beer.

“We were talking about the endless war and carnage in Iraq and Syria,” Prince told the House Intelligence Committee. “If Franklin Roosevelt can work with Joseph Stalin after the Ukraine terror famine, after killing tens of millions of his own citizens, we can certainly at least cooperate with the Russians in a productive way to defeat the Islamic State.”

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 5, 2017: Russian Direct Investment Fund CEO Kirill Dmitriev (C) attends the Russian-Saudi Investment Forum at the Ritz-Carlton Moscow Hotel. Sergei Bobylev/TASS (Photo by Sergei BobylevTASS via Getty Images)
Russian Direct Investment Fund CEO Kirill Dmitriev, center, attends the Russian-Saudi Investment Forum at the Ritz-Carlton Moscow Hotel on Oct. 5, 2017.
Photo: Sergei Bobylev/TASS via Getty Images
Although the UAE has been a very good customer of U.S. arms dealers, bin Zayed had grown frustrated with the Obama administration’s refusal to work with Russia to end the war in Syria. Russia was actively courting the UAE, and from bin Zayed’s perspective Russia was a key player that couldn’t be ignored, according to a current and a former U.S. intelligence official. Trump’s public infatuation with Putin and his apparent eagerness to improve relations with Russia gave the UAE a chance to play dealmaker and diminish Iran’s position in the Middle East, starting with the war in Syria.

Prince’s 30-minute meeting with a Putin intimate shortly before Trump’s inauguration has drawn intense interest from Congress, the Mueller investigation, and the press. The Mueller report established that the meeting was a pre-arranged attempt to establish a backchannel between Russia and the incoming Trump administration and has led House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff to make a criminal referral to the Justice Department for perjury. Yet the focus on Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election has deflected scrutiny from what the meeting reveals about Prince’s unique role in the world of covert services.

Blackwater made Prince an infamous symbol of U.S. foreign policy hubris, but America’s most famous mercenary has moved on. Although he continues to dream of deploying his military services in the world’s failed states, and persists in hawking a crackpot scheme of privatizing the U.S. war in Afghanistan, Prince has diversified his portfolio. No longer satisfied with contracting out former special forces operators to the State Department and Pentagon, Prince is now attempting to offer an entire supply chain of warfare and conflict. He wants to be able to skim a profitable cut from each stage of a hostile operation, whether it be overt or covert, foreign or domestic. His offerings range from the traditional mercenary toolkit, military hardware and manpower, to cellphone surveillance technology and malware, to psychological operations and social media manipulation in partnership with shadowy operations like James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas.

This account is based on interviews with more than a dozen of Prince’s former colleagues and peers, as well as court records, emails, and internal documents provided to The Intercept. An examination of Prince’s time working with the UAE in particular reveals suspicious financial transactions at a moment when his personal finances were under stress and his mercenary ventures were failing. The picture that emerges is one of a man desperately trying to avoid U.S. tax and weapons trafficking laws even as he offers military services, without a license, in no fewer than 15 countries around the world.

Prince’s former and current associates describe him as a visionary, a brilliant salesman with remarkable insight into the future of warfare, who is nonetheless so shady and incompetent that he fails at almost every enterprise he attempts. And yet he endures. Prince is thus, in many ways, an emblematic figure for the Trump era.

Suitcases Full of Cash

Prince’s partnership with bin Zayed got underway, fittingly, with a slapstick moment in early 2010, when two of Prince’s men, a veteran of the Canadian special forces and a Lebanese fixer, were ordered by Emirati security officials to meet at an Abu Dhabi intersection. There, a few government employees helped Prince’s men load the trunk of a Chevy Impala with more than half a dozen carry-on suitcases, most worn and with busted wheels. The two drove back to their hotel, Le Méridian, where they unloaded the bags, returned to their room, and summoned their immediate supervisor, a former Navy SEAL who had known Prince in the military, telling the American that they had a problem. Their new company, Reflex Responses, often called R2 for short, was so new it didn’t yet have a bank account or even an office with a safe.

When the former SEAL entered their hotel room, the contents of the suitcases had been largely removed, much of it dumped onto a bed: bricks of new, sequential $100 bills, in $10,000 stacks, each bound by a green and white band. The three men counted each stack, measuring the height to be sure that they all had 100 $100 bills, until they tallied it all: roughly $13 million. For the first two weeks of the program, the hotel room, always occupied by a security guard or a company employee, served as the Reflex Responses vault. Hotel staff were not allowed to clean the room, and by the time R2 opened a bank account and deposited the money, the room was covered in empty whiskey bottles and ashtrays overflowing with cigarette butts.

Prince had arrived in the UAE at a low moment. The Obama administration had made clear in its first months that it would not welcome new Blackwater contracts. The company had become infamous after Blackwater security contractors shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians and wounded dozens more in Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007. By 2010, Prince had changed Blackwater’s name and sold the company, ceasing to work on any U.S. government contracts. As Prince negotiated a settlement with the Justice Department for a series of Blackwater arms trafficking violations, then-CIA Director Leon Panetta discovered a secret assassination program involving Blackwater operatives that former Vice President Dick Cheney had hidden from Congress. Prince was bitter, blaming the Obama administration for leaking his CIA role and comparing himself to exposed CIA operative Valerie Plame. Prince couldn’t understand why the American public viewed him as a villain. “He was genuinely upset,” said a former colleague who discussed the public scrutiny of Blackwater. “He kept asking, ‘Why do they hate me?’”

A converted Catholic raised by Christian fundamentalists and the scion of a Midwestern auto-parts fortune would seem to be an unlikely ally to the Muslim crown prince of a tiny, oil-rich Arab kingdom, but from their first meeting in 2009, Prince and bin Zayed hit it off. Almost immediately it was clear they shared common enemies: Islamic militants and, especially, Iran. Prince was introduced to bin Zayed after pitching a two-page schematic of a light attack airplane — an agricultural crop duster modified with surveillance and laser-guided munitions — to the Emirati government as the Blackwater sale to a private equity group was being negotiated. When the Emirati ambassador to the U.S., Yousef Al Otaiba, learned that Prince’s legal problems with the Justice Department would mean that he wouldn’t be able to be involved in building, selling, or brokering armed aircraft, the Emirati government approached another aviation manufacturer to help establish an entire air wing of armored and weaponized crop dusters. In exchange for Prince bowing out of the deal quietly, Otaiba introduced him to bin Zayed explicitly in order to find another role in which he could assist the UAE government.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (known as MBS, not pictured in this photo) receives Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (known as MBZ) in Jeddah on June 6, 2018. Photo by Balkis Press/Abaca/Sipa USA(Sipa via AP Images)
Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Jeddah on June 6, 2018.
Photo: Balkis Press/Abaca/Sipa via AP
Bin Zayed was determined to bolster the UAE’s sphere of influence and project power in the Middle East. Despite Prince’s tarnished reputation, bin Zayed saw in him a glimpse of the future. It didn’t hurt that “Erik could sell you your own hat,” according to one former associate. The former SEAL and self-described CIA “asset” saw in bin Zayed a willing buyer who shared his desire to play soldier. Prince sold bin Zayed on the idea of creating a half-billion-dollar program in which he would train, equip, and lead an elite cadre of foreign soldiers called the Security Support Group that would serve as a presidential guard for the Emirati monarchies and help quell any internal unrest. Bin Zayed insisted that Prince use non-Muslim ex-soldiers, according to two senior advisers who helped build the unit, telling him that he did not believe Muslim soldiers could be trusted to kill other Muslims. Eventually, Prince also sold bin Zayed on the creation of an armed aviation wing, a team to protect the Emirates from a weapons of mass destruction attack, and a separate force to combat Somali piracy.

One indication of both Prince and R2’s growing value to bin Zayed was that Prince became a favored foreign policy and military adviser, joining bin Zayed’s inner sanctum. Prince told his colleagues at R2 that bin Zayed, whom Prince often referred to as “the boss,” gave him ownership of two side-by-side villas in Abu Dhabi, which were originally worth $10 million each. The wealthy enclave was built as a luxury community, each villa with a private beach, and quickly housed several foreign embassies. Prince’s neighboring houses sat at the end of a residential peninsula and had expansive views of central Abu Dhabi across a sea channel, a pool, and beachfront in the Persian Gulf. Prince built a dock for his sailboat, which has a Blackwater logo across the port side.

Despite Prince’s tarnished reputation, bin Zayed saw in him a glimpse of the future. The former SEAL and self-described CIA “asset” saw in bin Zayed a willing buyer who shared his desire to play soldier.
The $13 million in the suitcases was an advance on $110 million the UAE gave Prince to get Reflex Responses off the ground. The deal gave Prince and his team a guaranteed 15 percent profit margin on whatever the company spent in addition to salaries. Prince had long tried to own a piece of each part of the foreign conflict supply chain: planes, ships, vehicles, weapons, intelligence, men, and logistics. Reflex Responses gave him a blank check to do just that.

Structurally, Reflex Responses became a model for how Prince masks his involvement in selling or providing military services, which was a necessity given that he’s unlikely to obtain an arms trafficking license under the U.S. State Department’s International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Officially, Prince was never an R2 employee. He officially worked for a company called Assurance Management Consultants, which shared a floor in an Abu Dhabi office tower with Reflex, where he oversaw the entire military program. It was Prince who hired and installed Reflex’s senior management, according to people directly involved in the effort. And it was Prince who recruited and hired the subcontractors who fulfilled Reflex’s contractual requirements. Prince flew to South America, where he helped oversee the recruitment of former Colombian soldiers who served as both hired guns and a training cadre for the fledgling Emirati security force.

prince-permit-1556169193
Erik Prince’s residency visa for the UAE, showing that he was, at the time, employed by Assurance Management Consultancy. Some personal information has been redacted for privacy.
Photo: Provided to The Intercept
Prince’s approach to management created problems almost immediately, issues that would arise again and again in his various projects. In what would become a pattern, Prince’s American colleagues at Reflex were troubled by his directives about ITAR regulations. Prince argued to his lawyers that because Reflex was an Emirati company, working on an Emirati government contract, he was not required to have an ITAR license from the State Department to sell military services. “We’d tell him, ‘No, that’s not how it works. You’re an American,’” said one of Prince’s former colleagues involved in Reflex Responses. “It was stupid, honestly. There was a way to do it legally and make lots of money, but Erik didn’t care. When Erik wakes up in the morning, Erik does whatever he feels like doing. I always assumed that’s how it is when your father is a billionaire.”

In response to a request for comment, a Prince spokesperson stated: “Mr. Prince at all times relied upon the advice of counsel, including both in-house compliance counsel and outside experts, to ensure compliance with ITAR and other laws.”

Prince also hid his financial interest in subcontractors working with R2. Six months into the project, senior executives discovered that Prince had an arrangement with Thor Global, the company that he’d insisted Reflex use to hire the Colombian soldiers. On paper, Thor Global was wholly owned by Robert Owens, a former aide to Oliver North during the Iran-Contra affair, but Prince received a substantial amount of the money R2 paid Thor Global, according to court documents and two former Prince colleagues familiar with the arrangement. “I asked Erik if the crown prince knew he was self-dealing,” said one of the former colleagues. “Erik wouldn’t answer.”

Prince had long tried to own a piece of each part of the foreign conflict supply chain: planes, ships, vehicles, weapons, intelligence, men, and logistics. Reflex Responses gave him a blank check to do just that.
Owens’s involvement and connection to North is not incidental. Prince and North are friends, and Prince has told others over the years that he greatly admires the former Marine officer and Reagan National Security Council staffer, who was convicted on three felony counts during the Iran-Contra scandal. (The convictions were reversed in 1991.)

A former colleague said it took him some time to recognize that Prince generally works to control the entire supply chain of any mercenary or security contract. “Everything he does, he skims,” said the former colleague, who has known Prince for two decades and described how Prince generally operates as a military services provider. “He will run a contract through two companies and then dictate that those two companies have to subcontract out to another eight companies. What he doesn’t disclose is that he owns all or part of those eight companies and will take 25 percent from each company. Then, he can use those same eight entities to make the money disappear.”

After Prince’s first team of U.S. executives quit, he brought in another former SEAL and a former CIA officer. That team conducted audits and quickly discovered financial problems. “There was massive embezzlement going on inside R2,” said a third former employee with direct knowledge of the company’s finances. “Overbilling, false billing, missing cash — millions were gone.”

According to four former Reflex employees and consultants, the alleged graft and embezzlement ran through two of Prince’s lieutenants, who handled logistics and administration for R2. The first was a former Blackwater employee who told colleagues at Reflex that he’d done intelligence work in the Middle East for the Pentagon’s intelligence agency. Internal R2 documents list him as the first employee of the company. Several of Prince’s colleagues confronted him about the missing money and his lieutenants’ conduct, but Prince rebuffed any effort to remove them. Contacted by The Intercept for comment, Prince’s lieutenant denied that he had ever embezzled or stolen money and denied ever working for R2. He said that he had worked for Assurance Management and occasionally “consulted” for R2.

Prince did not respond on the record to questions about the financial improprieties.

While money was disappearing from Reflex Responses’s accounts as a result of these financial shenanigans, Somali pirates were engaging in a more traditional form of robbery off the Horn of Africa, harming UAE shipping interests. Prince had a solution: a sea, air, and land battalion to eradicate the pirates. He established a group for this purpose within Reflex Responses known as Special Projects and hired a former South African special forces officer named Lafras Luitingh, who also worked for Executive Outcomes, a private military company comprised mainly of apartheid-era South African soldiers.

Members of the Puntland Maritime Police Force on patrol for pirates near the village of Elayo, Somalia. The Puntland Maritime Police Force is a locally recruited, professional maritime security force. It is primarily aimed at preventing, detecting and eradicating piracy, illegal fishing, and other illicit activity off of the coast of Somalia, in addition to generally safeguarding the nation's marine resources.In addition, the Force provides logistics support to humanitarian efforts. (Photo by jason florio/Corbis via Getty Images)
Members of the Puntland Maritime Police Force on patrol for pirates near the village of Elayo, Somalia, on Sept. 18, 2011.
Photo: Jason Florio/Corbis via Getty Images
Together, Prince and Luitingh created the Puntland Maritime Police Force in northeastern Somalia, in a semiautonomous region home to the most active Somali pirates. A United Nations monitoring team subsequently documented extensive violations of the U.N. arms embargo of Somalia, including falsifying export paperwork for small arms and attacks that left civilian casualties by Luitingh’s company, Saracen, a subcontractor on the project. The two-year program resulted in “an elite force outside any legal framework … answerable only to the Puntland presidency,” according to a U.N. investigation into the PMPF. Both Prince and the UAE denied involvement, but one source with knowledge of the operation witnessed Emirati intelligence officers providing a suitcase with millions of dollars in $100 bills to Luitingh for his payroll. Citing Prince’s involvement in the police force, the U.N. report said, “This externally financed assistance programme has remained the most brazen violation of the arms embargo by a private security company.”

Although Prince and the UAE’s involvement was meant to be largely clandestine, Prince sought publicity for the program, according to a person with direct knowledge. Prince arranged for a February 2012 Fox News segment from North, then a military analyst for Fox News, who embedded with the PMPF in Puntland and explicitly reported that the UAE was behind the fledgling military unit. The media attention enraged the Emirati government, according to one of Prince’s former colleagues who worked with him at the time, and blamed him for the unwanted publicity.

The program’s lack of legal legitimacy was perhaps the least troubling legacy of Prince’s vision, however. The program shut down shortly after a South African mercenary was murdered by one of the local soldiers hired to fight the pirates during one of the first operations the Puntland force conducted. According to a contemporaneously filmed documentary of the anti-piracy effort, the killer was a relative of a pirate targeted by the unit. The unit had been infiltrated from the beginning, a failure of basic counterintelligence, which a former CIA officer, who was also involved, readily admitted in on-camera interviews. The U.N. would later report “credible” allegations of human rights violations stemming from corporal punishment, which led to severe injuries and a death at the South African-run PMPF camp.

Robert Young Pelton, an author who worked for Prince on the Somalia project and helped write Prince’s autobiography (and recently lost a civil suit against Prince over a contract dispute), said Prince’s efforts were “delusional. He operates with a 12-year-old’s mindset of war. He’s romanticized the South African mercenaries who fought those ugly wars.” Pelton said when Prince first showed him a map with plans for the security force, he realized that Prince had never been to Somalia. Pelton said Prince told him that the idea for an anti-piracy force came from reading “The Pirate Coast,” a book detailing a secret American operation in 1805 to end piracy off the coast of Libya.

As with the Security Support Group, the anti-piracy force suffered from mismanagement. According to two individuals who worked on the program, at least $50 million meant for the anti-piracy force had gone missing by the time the Emirates decided to stop funding the effort. Among the items that were never returned or accounted for were several aircraft, including at least one cargo plane and two helicopters, as well as several ships. Before he was asked by the Emirates to end his involvement in the program, Prince brought in a former intelligence operative to conduct an audit of the PMPF program. The American identified $38 million in cash that the UAE had delivered to Luitingh, for which the former South African mercenaries refused to provide accounting or receipts. “I told Erik, ‘[Luitingh] and the South Africans couldn’t account for $38 million,’” said a former Prince employee. “Erik wasn’t upset at all. He just said, ‘I’m sure they are just saving it for a rainy day.’” Luitingh did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

“When Erik wakes up in the morning, Erik does whatever he feels like doing. I always assumed that’s how it is when your father is a billionaire.”
Over a six month period beginning in late 2011, after the New York Times exposed Prince’s involvement with the UAE’s Security Support Group and the deployment of the anti-piracy force, bin Zayed gradually removed Prince from his multiple projects for the government. The parting of ways came as a result of the unwanted media exposure, U.N. pressure, and ongoing financial audits. The UAE shut down Reflex Responses and rolled what they wanted to keep into new companies with new management.

As his private military ventures with the UAE stumbled, Prince shifted to private equity, establishing an investment fund focused on African natural resources called Frontier Resource Group. But Prince’s income dried up after the UAE stopped funding him and he began having cash-flow problems. One of his personal bankers grew alarmed as Prince cashed out Treasury bonds to fund Frontier Resource. According to tax, banking, and internal business documents obtained by The Intercept, Prince at the time was worth less than $100 million, and much of his wealth was tied up in real estate and fixed-income investments. One of Prince’s creditors, Michigan’s Huntington Bank, refused a request for a $6 million increase on a $17.5 million line of credit, according to emails and other documents obtained by The Intercept. In turning Prince down, the bank reduced his line of credit by $2.5 million.

In late 2011, the Emirati government asked one of Prince’s former colleagues, Reno Alberto, if he would take over Prince’s aviation contract. Alberto was a former Navy SEAL who Prince originally hired to help save the Reflex Responses project. An Emirati general offered Alberto the job on two conditions: Reflex Responses needed to be shuttered so that a new corporate entity could take its place, and Prince could not be involved. Alberto agreed and created a new, temporary holding company called Vulcan Management. Vulcan would take the roughly $100 million resulting from the liquidation of R2 and hold it until a new entity could be established to create a wing of armed helicopters for the UAE air force.

Prince soon came calling on Alberto, however, claiming that a portion of the roughly $100 million left over from Reflex Responses was his and that any future contract for Alberto was a consequence of Prince’s efforts and therefore should result in him receiving a percentage. Prince claimed repeatedly to Alberto that bin Zayed had directed that some of the leftover R2 funding be paid to him. Prince and his business adviser Dorian Barak arranged to structure the payout as a loan from Alberto’s Vulcan Management to one of Prince’s holding companies in Bermuda. Barak, on behalf of Prince, requested that the loan be divided into 10 transactions, which Prince could then call on Vulcan to pay out as needed. Prince told several other colleagues that he felt he was owed upwards of $40 million for his effort in getting bin Zayed to create the SSG and establish R2. Alberto, who stood to make millions in his new venture, reluctantly agreed to pay his former boss through a loan.

On July 26, 2012, Barak emailed Prince, informing him that a wire transfer of approximately $5.9 million was sent by Vulcan, according to an email obtained by The Intercept. The money was wired to Prince’s Frontier Resource bank account in Abu Dhabi.

“That was fast. Well done,” Prince responded.

email-redact-1556654073
An email exchange between Dorian Barak and Erik Prince in July 2012. Some personal information has been redacted for privacy.
Screenshot: The Intercept
Prince pitched Frontier Resource to potential investors as a $500 million private equity fund. Fund documents state that Prince would provide 10 percent of the funding. In late 2011 and early 2012, as FRG tried to get off the ground, Prince had soft commitments from investors in the UAE, including bin Zayed’s brother Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed, the Emirati national security adviser. But by the time he’d taken his first draw of the Vulcan loan, Prince was toxic, and the outside financial commitments had withered and disappeared. Sheikh Tahnoon, however, appears to have invested at least $5 million, according to internal Frontier Resource documents provided to The Intercept.

Then, in October 2012, Prince directed Alberto and Vulcan to make a second wire transfer. This one, however, was not sent to Prince or his companies. According to documents reviewed by The Intercept, and confirmed by a person with direct knowledge of the transaction, more than $9 million was wired to Zafra Group, the company Sheikh Tahnoon had originally created to invest in Prince’s Frontier Resource. It is unclear why Prince wanted the Vulcan money routed to Zafra Group, but he told Vulcan that the payment had been ordered by “the boss,” according to the person with direct knowledge of the transaction. In effect, Prince had steered UAE government money meant for an armed helicopter wing to one his fund’s investors, a senior member of the Emirati royal family.

When Prince asked for $10 million in the third installment, Alberto refused and subsequently told Prince that no more installments would be paid. According to a person with knowledge of the dispute, Alberto learned that no one in the Emirati royal family had ordered the payments to Prince.

The loan to Prince, which has not been previously reported, was not repaid to Vulcan, and the entire $15 million was written off as a loss by the company in subsequent years, according to a person with direct knowledge of the transaction. Prince did report the $5.9 million payment as a loan on his personal tax returns that year.

The Intercept sent Prince a detailed list of questions for this article. In response, a Prince spokesperson stated that “Vulcan Management’s loan, which was made in connection with FRG’s investment activity, was at all times fully disclosed to both FRG’s auditors and the IRS.” Prince would not comment for the record about the circumstances of the loan, or why he directed the $9 million payment to Zafra.

prince-china-meeting-1556168475
Erik Prince, center, in one of his first meetings in China with Chinese investors for Frontier Services Group in 2013. At the far right is Johnson Ko, a Hong Kong tycoon.
Photo: Obtained by The Intercept
A New Frontier

Over the next several years, as his speculations in African natural resources turned into losers time and again, Prince looked to China for new funds, creating Frontier Services Group with an investment banker and former Marine named Gregg Smith. For Smith, the business model seemed simple enough: Frontier Resource would find undervalued, distressed assets, and Frontier Services would transport the materials out of Africa. Smith says he saw the potential of a logistics company to move freight and natural resources across Africa, where the Chinese were increasingly active. “We wanted to start a straightforward logistics company,” Smith said recently. “Trucks and planes and that’s it.”

Prince had other ideas, as did some Chinese investors, who made it clear that they wanted a “Blackwater China.” Although Frontier Services attracted a $110 million investment from a Hong Kong tycoon named Johnson Ko and the China International Trust Investment Corporation, a state-owned investment company, Prince’s investment fund lost money, and several projects ended in a total loss, according to three people with knowledge of Prince’s investment portfolio. Instead, Prince would end up directing FSG to purchase companies that Prince had a financial interest in — as well as services from such companies — in an effort to salvage his private-equity fund’s investment. In total, according to documents, FSG spent $8.5 million on Prince-connected businesses. And as he had with Thor Global and Reflex Responses, Prince failed to disclose his financial interest to the FSG board prior to most of the transactions. The board eventually passed a resolution prohibiting undisclosed self-dealing.

For two years, beginning in 2013, while Frontier Services executives ran a legitimate logistics and aviation company, Prince was traveling around Africa pitching paramilitary services under the Frontier Services banner. As reported by The Intercept, Prince proposed creating counterterrorism forces, a private air force, and a “black ops” program for Nigeria to defeat Boko Haram. He made a similar pitch to President Salva Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan to help him defeat rebels there. There were meetings and proposals for Libya, Cameroon, and Kurdish Iraq, none of which found a buyer. Although Prince failed to sell an entire paramilitary force, he did make money across the continent and the Middle East “advising” countries on how to fight wars. According to one of his closest colleagues, over a roughly five-year period, including his time as chair of the board of FSG, Prince earned as much as $10 million from his meetings. Prince’s efforts were nothing if not ambitious. “Erik was trying to create a private JSOC,” said a former senior military officer who discussed many of Prince’s ideas with him. Since he left Blackwater, Prince has sold or pitched his war supply chain in no fewer than 15 countries, nearly all of them with majority Muslim populations.

Since he left Blackwater, Prince has sold or pitched his war supply chain in no fewer than 15 countries, nearly all of them in countries with majority Muslim populations.
Prince tried to hawk surveillance products and services as well. In 2014, he demonstrated for some of his Frontier Services colleagues cellphone geolocation software that he said he had licensed from an Israeli company. At a strip mall diner in Washington, D.C., Prince pulled out a laptop and punched in a cellphone number. The program identified the most recent cell tower the phone had connected with, allowing the user to locate the target within 300 meters and revealing the last 10 calls the targeted user made. Prince, according to one person who discussed the software with him, believed his time at Frontier Services had “cleaned” his image up with the U.S. government enough that he approached both the CIA and the Pentagon, offering to run the software in counterterrorism operations. He was rebuffed. Later, he and one of his deputies claimed that they sold the program to the Saudi and Emirati air forces to locate bombing targets in Yemen.

In 2015, Prince became involved in the ongoing conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed area of Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan spent hundreds of millions of dollars equipping and training their small military. Prince was brought in by a former Russian weapons supplier to help create a training force. Prince would ultimately be kicked off the contract after his business partners accused him of wildly padding the proposed contract by adding a series of unnecessary expenditures that would have been provided by companies to which Prince had financial ties. In an effort to smooth over Prince’s anger at being fired, the Russian weapons supplier offered him $5 million, according to three people with direct knowledge of the offer. Prince agreed to take the money but insisted the payment be made through a complex series of loans between companies that Barak would set up. When his Russian colleague refused the terms and offered a simple check made out to Prince for the total amount, Prince walked away from the deal, according to a person with direct knowledge of the incident.

In response to questions from The Intercept, a Prince spokesperson stated: “FSG contemplated a logistics, construction, and aviation support project in Azerbaijan, but neither FSG nor Erik Prince ever moved forward with it, and neither FSG nor Mr. Prince was ever offered money to abandon the project.”

As The Intercept has reported previously, when Frontier Services Group discovered that Prince had secretly modified two crop dusters to be used as light attack aircraft, and had used an Austrian company he’d secretly purchased a stake in, FSG hired the law firm King & Spalding to conduct an investigation to determine whether Prince had violated arms trafficking laws. (Prince attempted to sell the two weaponized aircraft to Azerbaijan as part of their buildup — another potential violation of ITAR). The attorneys, supervised by current FBI Director Christopher Wray, concluded that Prince had likely violated U.S. law in his effort to sell the crop dusters. In 2016, FSG disclosed the ITAR violations to the Justice Department, which opened an investigation.

Then-White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting on cyber security in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
Then-White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting on cybersecurity at the White House on Jan. 31, 2017.
Photo: Evan Vucci/AP
The Rise of Trump

Although Prince’s turn in Africa as a mercenary was a bust, he was somewhat successful at recasting himself as a globetrotting businessman through Frontier Services Group. The 2016 presidential election and the rise of Donald Trump now promised a full-scale rehabilitation. The potential for a Republican administration would be an opportunity for new U.S. government contracts and, possibly, something even more lucrative. After Trump had clinched the Republican nomination, Prince told his Chinese business and government contacts that if Trump won, he would be the next secretary of defense.

Prince’s family has a history of supporting right-wing and conservative causes. Edgar Prince, Erik’s father, was a major financial contributor to former President Gerald Ford, and in recent years, the family has supported Mike Pence, first as a member of Congress and later as Indiana governor. While in Congress, Pence helped Prince navigate Capitol Hill in the aftermath of the killing of four Blackwater contractors in Fallujah in 2004. Prince became an enthusiastic Trump supporter. By Election Day, Prince had donated $250,000 to Trump’s 2016 election effort.

During the campaign, Prince solidified his relationship with Steve Bannon, appearing on his Breitbart radio show on SiriusXM less than a month before Bannon formally joined the Trump campaign. Four days before the 2016 election, Prince went on Bannon’s show and smeared Hillary Clinton, claiming without evidence that a New York City police investigation into former Rep. Anthony Weiner had uncovered extensive criminal activity by the Democratic presidential candidate. Prince claimed that the Obama administration had suppressed the investigation implicating Clinton using “Stalinist tactics.”

In apparent coordination with Trump’s advisers, Prince had also begun exploring the world of domestic information warfare. In August 2016, according to the New York Times, Prince brokered a meeting at Trump Tower between George Nader, an aide to bin Zayed, Donald Trump Jr., and Joel Zamel, the owner of Psy-Group, an Israeli private intelligence company that specialized in manipulating elections using social media accounts and untraceable websites. The Trump campaign apparently passed on the offer. Prince already had familiarity with private Israeli intelligence companies through Dorian Barak. Several years earlier, Prince had been offered a financial stake in what was then a fledgling company called Black Cube, run by former Mossad officers. The company gained notoriety during the #MeToo movement when a firm representing Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein hired Black Cube to help stop publication of an account of his abuses. Black Cube hired an operative who used false identities to approach actress Rose McGowan, as well as a reporter looking into the multitude of sexual misconduct and assault allegations against Weinstein.

Prince declined to invest in Black Cube, but appears to have liked the idea of selling a service that provided undercover operatives. During the 2016 election, he became involved with James O’Keefe and Project Veritas, a group of conservative provocateurs who specialize in using hidden-camera footage and secret recordings. O’Keefe, a protégé of the conservative firebrand Andrew Breitbart, describes himself as a “guerrilla journalist” and has used undercover cameras in an effort to expose purported liberal bias in political groups and the media. Trump often promoted O’Keefe’s videos and met with O’Keefe just days after he declared his candidacy. (A few weeks before that, Trump had donated $10,000 to Project Veritas through his foundation.) It is unclear if Trump’s support of Project Veritas spurred Prince’s interest in the group, but in late 2015 or early 2016, Prince arranged for O’Keefe and Project Veritas to receive training in intelligence and elicitation techniques from a retired military intelligence operative named Euripides Rubio Jr. According to a former Trump White House official who discussed the Veritas training with Rubio, the former special operative quit after several weeks of training, complaining that the Veritas group wasn’t capable of learning. Rubio did not respond to requests for comment.

“Erik was weaponizing a group that had close ties to the Trump White House.”
In the winter of 2017, Prince arranged for a former British MI6 officer to provide more surveillance and elicitation training for Veritas at his family’s Wyoming ranch, according to a person with direct knowledge of the effort. Prince was trying to turn O’Keefe and his group into domestic spies. For his part, O’Keefe posted photos on Instagram and Twitter from the Prince family ranch of himself holding a handgun with a silencer attached and wearing pseudo-military clothing. He described the ranch as a “classified location” where he was learning “spying and self-defense,” in an effort to make Project Veritas “the next great intelligence agency.”

“Erik was weaponizing a group that had close ties to the Trump White House,” said the former White House official familiar with Prince’s relationship with O’Keefe and Project Veritas.


In February 2017, O’Keefe and another Project Veritas associate, Seijah Drake, posted photos on their individual Twitter accounts of them training at Prince’s family ranch in Wyoming.Screenshots: The Intercept

It is unclear how much involvement Prince has with the selection of targets for O’Keefe’s stings and undercover operations, but several months after the organization received training in Wyoming, a Project Veritas operative was exposed by the Washington Post after she posed as a sexual assault victim of Roy Moore, who was then a Senate candidate in Alabama.

After Trump won the election, Prince began sending defense and intelligence policy proposals to the Trump team via Bannon, including his plan for privatizing the war in Afghanistan. The plan called for removing all U.S. troops and replacing them with a small cadre of security trainers, a small fleet of light attack aircraft, and a surge of covert CIA operations. In an attempt to appeal to Trump, Prince tweaked his proposal with a plan to secure mining concessions for Afghanistan’s vast untapped mineral resources, an idea with obvious parallels to his failed efforts in Africa. But the national security establishment was uniformly opposed and it failed to gain traction.

Armed with his beliefs about reshaping the Middle East and Afghanistan, and enjoying his new status as an unofficial adviser to the next U.S. president, Prince was invited back to Mohammed bin Zayed’s royal court.

Prince later testified before the House Intelligence Committee that his invitation was linked directly to Trump’s victory. “I think the Obama administration went out of their way to tarnish my ability to do business in the Middle East, and, with a different administration in town, [the Emiratis] probably figured that that downdraft wasn’t present anymore … so it was not a surprise that the meeting happened. And those are the kind of things we talked about, whether it’s Somalia and terrorism there or Libya, Nigeria, and of course all the places that are even closer to the UAE.”

Meanwhile, Prince’s relationship with Bannon has gone from fellow ideological traveler to business partner. According to a former Trump White House official and the former U.S. official close to the UAE royal family, Prince has teamed up with Bannon to offer a newer version of the armed crop duster to the Emirati air force. The pitch includes Israeli-made avionics and surveillance software for geolocating targets on the ground. Prince and Bannon are also offering a different package to the Emirate’s despised rival, Qatar. According to a former senior U.S. official who reviewed the proposal, Prince is currently hawking proposals for preventing social and political unrest from Qatar’s foreign laborers before and during the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The proposal specifically names Project Veritas as a partner and offers the Qatari government an ability to infiltrate the community of foreign laborers, who make up almost 90 percent of the country’s population of roughly 2.3 million. The pitch is designed to appeal to Qatari fears of a popular uprising and to fend off and neuter political dissent leading up to the soccer tournament. The proposal also offers social media monitoring and messaging — something Bannon would be familiar with from his past work for Cambridge Analytica.

In response to questions from The Intercept, Prince’s spokesperson said, “Mr. Prince supports Project Veritas’s mission of uncovering government largesse and corruption, and has allowed Project Veritas to use his family’s ranch in Wyoming. Mr. Prince has no business relationship with Steve Bannon, James O’Keefe, or Project Veritas, and has never pitched a project with Mr. Bannon to the Qatari or any other government.” Bannon would not comment.

To those who know him best, Prince’s latest proposals suggest that he sees business opportunities in services that are closer to political skullduggery than outright conflict. By marrying the two capabilities — social media manipulation and undercover surveillance by trained operatives — Prince has moved further along the spectrum of contemporary warfare. If a government won’t pay him for a heavily armed paramilitary force in a hot conflict, he appears prepared to offer services that utilize a less obvious, but perhaps more insidious, kind of weaponry.

Given his wealth and political ties, it may be that the Department of Justice will never have the political fortitude to thoroughly investigate Prince for defense brokering and trafficking violations, or to challenge his questionable ties to China’s intelligence service. But he does face legal scrutiny. The FBI is currently probing Prince’s work at Frontier Services Group, with a team assigned from the Washington field office. It is unclear whether the investigation is a continuation of the 2016 probe or stems from the Mueller investigation. Three different congressional committees are also investigating Prince, including his relationship with the Chinese government. The FBI declined to comment and would not confirm the existence of an investigation. Prince’s spokesperson stated that “other than his well-documented cooperation with the Special Counsel’s Office, Mr. Prince has had no interaction, directly or through counsel, with the FBI in years.”

Erik Prince, chairman and executive director of Frontier Services Group Ltd., walks to a closed-door House Intelligence Committee meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017. Prince, best known for running the Blackwater private security firm whose employees were convicted of killing Iraqi citizens, was a presence during Donald Trump's presidential transition and worked in part with Michael Flynn. Photographer: Aaron P. Bernstein/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Erik Prince walks to a closed-door House Intelligence Committee meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 30, 2017.
Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Prince’s role in the Trump-Russia affair perfectly encapsulates his latest effort to refashion himself, this time as a self-appointed warrior diplomat. According to the Mueller report, Prince flew to the Seychelles a week before the inauguration, at least in part to meet with Kirill Dmitriev, who was acting as Putin’s emissary and sought a backchannel to the incoming Trump administration. But Prince repeatedly denied in his testimony that he flew to the Seychelles to meet Dmitriev. Prince also failed to disclose that he met with Dmitriev twice during his stay at the Four Seasons.

The Mueller investigation relied on the cooperation and testimony of George Nader, who arranged the meeting at bin Zayed’s behest. Nader testified that Dmitriev was “not enthusiastic” about meeting Prince. To help sell the meeting, Nader described Prince to Dmitriev as Bannon’s chosen representative for the Kremlin-directed meeting: “this guy [Prince] is designated by Steve [Bannon] to meet you!” Which suggests that Prince presented himself to Nader as an influential member of Trump’s circle. Testimony from both Bannon and Prince cast doubt on whether Prince flew to the Seychelles with Bannon’s knowledge or approval. If Bannon’s testimony is accurate, it’s quite possible that Prince oversold his influence with Trump and Trump’s inner circle to get the meeting with Dmitriev.

Although in his congressional testimony Prince described only a single interaction with Dmitriev at the resort bar, there was an earlier, longer private meeting in Nader’s villa. After the first meeting, Prince learned that an Russian aircraft carrier was moving off the coast of Libya, according to the Mueller report. Prince, who has spent years offering his paramilitary services in Libya, was incensed at the news, calling Nader to demand a second meeting with Dmitriev. Prince told Nader that he’d just checked with his “associates” and needed to convey an important message to Putin’s emissary. Prince told Mueller that he was speaking only for himself, based on his three years as a Navy SEAL. In the second meeting, Prince went off-script and warned Dmitriev that the U.S. could not accept Russian involvement in Libya.

As the report describes Dmitriev’s complaints to Nader after meeting Prince, he expected to meet a member of the Trump team who had more authority and substance: “Dmitriev told Nader that [redacted] Prince’s comments [redacted] were insulting [redacted].” As in so many other episodes involving Prince over the last decade, his involvement in the Trump-Russia political scandal is a result of his relentless ambition, combined with his snake-oil salesmanship and his ability to gain entry to rooms with genuine power, even if it quickly becomes apparent that he doesn’t belong there.
https://theintercept.com/2019/05/03/eri ... t-veritas/




The Domestic Conspiracy Is Hiding In Plain Sight Erik Prince
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viewtopic.php?f=8&t=40085

DOT Secretary Elaine Chao Investigated by House Panel for Possible Conflicts. Investigators are examining her actions related to her family's shipping company, which has deep financial ties with Chinese government.


Eric Lipton

And here is the letter that the House sent to Sec. Chao today asking for documents related to her family's Foremost Group shipping company and the Vulcan Materials issue. See link for the full letter. https://int.nyt.com/data/documenthelper ... pdf#page=1
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https://twitter.com/EricLiptonNYT/statu ... 8562409474
does announcing genocide on twitter violate terms of service?
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:14 pm

Today House Judiciary Committee holds the 1st impeachment hearing at 1 o'clock cspan 3

Where's Ben? I miss you, we definitely disagree on things but you are the best of what Jeff wanted here, disagreements without personal attacks, and I will always think very fondly of you, a real true gentleman. Your kindness made my being here a whole lot easier in the face of vicious personal attacks for the last 3 years. Thank you
I hope you return so we can watch the impeachment hearings together. :lovehearts: :hug1:

It's getting serious now :)

Re: Where's SLAD?
Postby BenDhyan » Thu May 30, 2019 7:06 am
There is an irony in that now that Slad has stopped posting, her "The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump" thread lies idle while the talk of impeaching him has grown feverish among the Dems of late. Reminds me of the case of the boy who called wolf....we've heard it so often we are no longer taking it seriously.


The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump
Republicans were ready to start the impeachment hearings on day one against Hillary Clinton, he said. The other side needs to be ready to roll right now to do whatever needs to be done
Michael Moore

ELECTION 2016
Trump's Big Win Was Predicted by This Professor: Now Hear His Shocking New Omen
According to election predictor Allan Lichtman, Trump will soon be impeached.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:55 pm

Big detail buried in article on whistleblower complaint @RepAdamSchiff escalated:

"The individual once worked on the staff of the White House National Security Council, which frequently borrows intelligence community personnel"


[img]‏https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EEqjc8HW4AEIJH_.png[/img]
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Adam Schiff
Under the White House legal theory, witnesses are immune from subpoena if they have:

- Worked for the President (or not)
- When he was President (or not)
- About conversations the President was in (or not)

Wrong. Corruption isn't a privilege. And compliance isn't voluntary.




Natasha Bertrand

MORE from @SchreckReports: Air Force crews are not Turnberry’s only conspicuous guests. Earlier this summer, according to a resort staffer, a group of Saudi royals stayed at the resort for about a week, bringing a party of 25 people.
https://twitter.com/NatashaBertrand/sta ... 0591401984


Air Force crews stayed at Trump’s Turnberry resort for days at a time
VIP pins, Scottish shortbread and plush surroundings greet officers who choose Trump Turnberry for their layovers.

BEN SCHRECKINGER09/17/2019 05:00 AM EDT

TURNBERRY, Scotland— Air Force officers who have earned medals for their tours of duty can pick up some more brass with a short pit stop in Southwest Scotland.

As part of its relationship with the Air Force, the Trump Turnberry resort occasionally gifts high-ranking officers a version of its “Pride Pin,” a lapel pin featuring the property’s iconic lighthouse — an honor reserved for VIPs — upon their arrival, according to a resort staffer familiar with the practice.

Rank-and-file members can expect a more basic welcome package in their rooms, featuring goodies like Scottish shortbread.

A five-day visit to Turnberry and the surrounding region revealed that the regular visits from Air Force crews on layovers from Prestwick Airport have become a major facet of the life of the resort. It also revealed that, rather than being restricted to single-night refueling stops, some visits last multiple nights, expanding the known dimensions of the relationship between the president’s luxury resort and the U.S. military.

One reason for the multinight stays, which were described by a half-dozen staffers, is inclement weather that prevents the crews from taking off from the airport 40 minutes up the road. In at least one instance earlier this year, a crew was laid up for multiple nights while its plane underwent repairs, allowing the group to hit the links on Turnberry’s world-class course and purchase mementos from the pro shop, where a child’s golf shirt runs 55 British pounds, about $68.

A Trump Organization spokeswoman did not respond to an email requesting comment.

The extended contact has allowed service members to bond with staff, who are tickled that the airmen sometimes address them as “sir” or “ma’am,” rather than vice versa. Occasionally friendships continue on social media.

While crews were spotted at the resort this summer, one longtime staffer said that they more frequently show up in the winter low season and stay at the lodges — more spacious, freestanding structures downhill of the main hotel, which looks out over the seashore. They usually show up in uniform and at night, sometimes pulling up to the ornate stone fountain fronting the lobby entrance as late as 2 a.m.

Earlier this month, POLITICO reported the Air Force had been putting up flight crews at the resort, prompting widespread scrutiny of the relationship between President Donald Trump’s private business, the U.S. military, and the Scottish government-owned Prestwick Airport, which has struggled for years to achieve commercial viability.

On Friday morning at 10, the airport’s spacious terminal was empty save for a few staff, and a WHSmith bookstore stood closed. Prestwick Aviation Services, the office that books the Turnberry stays on behalf of the military, referred a reporter to the airport information desk, which in turn pointed to airport spokeswoman Nicola Taylor-Barr, who declined to answer questions.

News about the airport has put the Scottish government on the defensive over its relationship with a president who is unpopular in the country.

Philippa Whitford, a member of the Scottish National Party who represents the area around Prestwick in the British Parliament, sought to deflect scrutiny to the other side of the Atlantic, citing a statement from the airport that it only books Turnberry when the military requests it or other accommodations are unavailable.

"I understand the disquiet of Air Force people staying over at Turnberry,” she said. “I’m just not really sure in what way Prestwick is to blame."

Instead, Whitford said, it is the U.S. military that should face further questions about the arrangement. "What are crew being told? Are they being told, ‘Ask for Turnberry’? Are they being told, 'You may ask for Turnberry'?"

Turnberry is further from Prestwick — 20 miles — than most of the other hotels used to house airmen and significantly more opulent. But staff at several of the hotels near the airport shrugged at the business being sent to their competitor.

“It’s not unusual at all,” said Robert Muir, a manager at the Adamton House in Monkton, a rambling, 265-room country estate little more than a stone’s throw from Prestwick. Muir said the hotel had last turned down an Air Force booking request from Prestwick for lack of space the week before. He said the airport regularly books Air Force crews at the Glasgow Marriott, which he described as the largest hotel in the region, and which, like Turnberry, is a 40-minute drive from Prestwick.

At the Mercure Hotel in Ayr, a town 4 miles from the airport, a receptionist said the hotel, which is regularly used by the Air Force, too, was often full.

Motorcade
President Donald Trump's motorcade during a visit to Scotland. | Leon Neal/Getty Images

Prestwick has hosted U.S. military flights for decades — Adamton House displays a 2004 thank you note from the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment — but it struck a deal meant to increase flight traffic at the end of the Obama administration, not long after it reached an arrangement with the Trump Organization to send more guests to Turnberry. The Air Force has said its crews have made roughly 40 stays at Turnberry since 2015, but has not specified how many of those have occurred since Trump took office in January 2017. The resort was closed for renovations from September 2015 to June 2016.

The House Oversight Committee began probing the Air Force’s use of the resort earlier this year. After POLITICO’s report, the Air Force opened its own internal review of the matter.

While staying at Turnberry, the crews mostly stay on resort grounds. Aside from servers at the Balkenna Tea Room, a mile from the resort, who said they had served uniformed service members of unknown nationality within the past week, staffers at the handful of establishments in the resort’s vicinity said they were unaware of a regular military presence there.

Occasionally, Air Force members in civilian clothes venture into the nearby countryside to visit Culzean Castle, where Dwight Eisenhower was once given permanent use of an apartment, or to eat Indian food in the nearby town of Girvan.

They are not the resort's only conspicuous guests. Earlier this summer, according to a staffer, a group of Saudi royals stayed at the resort for about a week at the tail end of extended travel, bringing a party of 25 people and more than a hundred pieces of luggage.

Despite the controversy around the stays, and Trump’s generally strained relationship with the country, locals near both Prestwick and Turnberry mostly expressed gratitude for the jobs and investment he has brought to the region.

“I appreciate the fact he gets local tradesmen in,” said Gloria Miller, who has worked as a baker for half a century in Girvan. She said Trump has been the best caretaker of the storied resort that she has seen yet.

Though Trump has put his ownership interest in the Trump Organization into a trust, which is managed by his sons Donald Jr. and Eric, the president can withdraw money from it any time.

Trump, amid all the controversy over the business steered to his company by U.S. officials, political allies and foreign governments, has maintained that he is no longer involved in running the Trump Organization.

And at Turnberry, there were at least some signs of the operation’s independence from its owner.

While Trump’s campaign has made hay over its opposition to paper straws, painting them as liberal nonsense, Turnberry introduced them over the summer, phasing out plastic ones. At the snack bar inside the course’s trademark lighthouse, they have also recently instituted bamboo cutlery, marketed as an eco-friendly alternative to plastic. The move has drawn complaints from customers, especially when they try to eat soup.

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/ ... ry-1499298



William Barr’s Radical New Attempt to Block the Full Mueller Report
Ashwin PhatakSept 17, 20191:00 PM

Alex Wong/Getty Images
On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee continues its investigation of whether to recommend impeachment of President Donald Trump with testimony from former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Keeping with its unprecedented obstruction of House oversight efforts, the White House has sought to place extraordinary limits on Lewandowski’s testimony and separately block two former White House aides from testifying on Tuesday. This latest blockade of information comes just a few days after another extraordinary effort to block the committee’s investigation in the courts. Fortunately, however, the recent attempt by the administration to prevent the committee from accessing certain evidence underlying special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation should end in defeat—and hopefully soon.

On Friday, the administration argued in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that Congress has no right to access portions of Mueller’s report on Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 election—and on Trump’s efforts at obstructing that investigation—that had been redacted because they concern grand jury matters. The administration’s arguments are at odds not only with the law, but also with the executive branch’s own past positions.

It is true, as Attorney General William Barr has repeatedly noted, that Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e) generally requires that grand jury matters be kept secret. However, the rule includes several exceptions that permit the District Court to release such materials where appropriate, including “preliminarily to or in connection with a judicial proceeding.” Citing that provision, in July, the House Judiciary Committee requested that the District Court overseeing the Mueller grand jury release several portions of the Mueller report that had been redacted under Rule 6(e).

The House Judiciary Committee’s request for these grand jury materials is also consistent with centuries of precedent.
Because impeachment is a judicial proceeding, the District Court plainly has authority under Rule 6(e) to grant the House’s request. Although impeachment may not take place in a courtroom, Congress acts as a judicial forum when it decides impeachment. The House functions as the equivalent of a grand jury that decides whether to bring impeachment charges, and the Senate as a tribunal—over which the chief justice of the United States presides—that decides whether to remove the official from office. Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution specifically uses the language of judicial proceedings when referring to impeachment, stating that “the Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments,” that “no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present,” and that “judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office.” Further, Article III, Section 2 says that “the Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment; shall be by Jury,” implying that impeachment is a type of “trial” for “crimes.”

For that reason, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit—the appellate court in Washington—has on two separate occasions confirmed that a House impeachment investigation qualifies as “preliminar[y] to a judicial proceeding” under Rule 6(e). First, 45 years ago, in a case called Haldeman v. Sirica, the full District of Columbia Circuit affirmed a court decision to disclose grand jury materials regarding the Watergate investigation to the House Judiciary Committee, which was considering whether or not to impeach President Richard Nixon. Second, just this year, in a case called McKeever v. Barr, the District of Columbia Circuit explained that, in its view, a congressional impeachment inquiry qualifies as a judicial proceeding under Rule 6(e), offering that this was the basis for the court’s previous decision in Haldeman.

The House Judiciary Committee’s request for these grand jury materials is also consistent with centuries of precedent. As early as 1811, a grand jury in the Mississippi Territory forwarded to the House of Representatives its presentment specifying charges against federal territorial Judge Harry Toulmin, which set in motion a House inquiry regarding whether or not to initiate formal impeachment proceedings.

More recently, the House has routinely received grand jury materials in similar circumstances. In addition to the Watergate episode, a federal court in Miami in 1987 permitted the disclosure of the record of a grand jury that indicted Judge Alcee Hastings to the House Judiciary Committee to further its impeachment investigation of him for soliciting a bribe to influence a judicial decision. Similarly, in 2010, a Louisiana district court approved the release of grand jury materials to the House for use in its impeachment investigation of Judge G. Thomas Porteous Jr.

Importantly, in each of these cases, the Department of Justice consented to the release of the grand jury materials to Congress to further Congress’ impeachment investigations of Nixon, Judge Hastings, and Judge Porteous. But not this Department of Justice, which appears to be acting as Trump’s personal law firm in its efforts to stymie congressional investigations. Instead, in Friday’s filing, the DOJ offered a number of reasons why the District Court shouldn’t grant the House’s request. None of them has any merit.

First, the department argues that a congressional impeachment investigation is never “preliminar[y] to a judicial proceeding” under Rule 6(e). That claim is directly at odds with the District of Columbia Circuit decision from this year, which is binding on the court considering the House’s request. And stunningly, this argument suggests that in the department’s view, the Watergate grand jury materials should never have been released to Congress, despite the fact that both Nixon (through his personal lawyers) and the Department of Justice consented to their release.

Second, the department argues that the committee’s investigation isn’t actually preliminary to impeachment because the committee’s investigation could result in many possible outcomes—like legislation or further investigations—only one of which is impeachment. But as the House Judiciary Committee has clearly stated, it is assessing “whether to approve articles of impeachment with respect to the President,” and that should be the end of the matter as far as the court is concerned. Indeed, Jefferson’s Manual—Thomas Jefferson’s book of parliamentary procedure—actually requires that the House Judiciary Committee consider impeachment following an impeachment resolution introduced by a member, which is precisely what has happened in this Congress. Of course, the House could decline to approve articles of impeachment, but the point is that these materials will help it determine what path to take.

Third, the department argues that withholding this information from the House would not prevent the carrying out of justice. However, in declining to indict the president for obstruction of justice, the Mueller report explicitly pointed to alternative “constitutional processes for addressing presidential misconduct”—referring, of course, to impeachment. It would be an obvious miscarriage of justice if Congress were prevented from viewing information plainly relevant to its impeachment investigation simply because that evidence was also presented to a grand jury. As the court that released the Watergate grand jury materials explained, “It would be difficult to conceive of a more compelling need … for an unswervingly fair inquiry based on all pertinent information” than a presidential impeachment investigation.

Finally, the department argues that these materials should not be released because there are other ongoing and pending criminal and national security matters that relate to the Mueller grand jury’s deliberations. But the need for secrecy is lessened where, as here, the committee seeks disclosure only to a limited number of authorized individuals, and the committee has explained that it will seek the Senate Select Intelligence Committee’s assistance in ensuring the materials’ secrecy.

In short, there is no good reason why the House should be prohibited from viewing these redacted passages from the Mueller report, along with all underlying investigative materials, which it also seeks. In the past, the Department of Justice has consented to similar requests, and its failure to do so here is just its latest effort to stonewall any meaningful investigation of the president. Fortunately, the District Court has lots of good reasons to reject its arguments.
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/201 ... -jury.html



Seth Abramson

Seth Abramson Retweeted Kenneth P. Vogel
Bahrain is the "B" in the BRUISE (Bahrain, Russia, UAE, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt) conspiracy, which in Proof of Conspiracy I call the "Red Sea" conspiracy, as it was begun on a yacht on the Red Sea.

Trump can readily negotiate with MBS (Saudis) and MBZ (Emiratis) via Bahrain.
Seth Abramson added,

Kenneth P. Vogel

RUDY’S CLIENTS: TRUMP met with the Crown Prince of Bahrain in the Oval Office today.

@RudyGiuliani serves as Trump’s personal attorney.

@RudyGiuliani’s security company signed a contract this year to consult with Bahrain’s police force. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/12/us/p ... broad.html

1/ Not surprisingly, Giuliani has been a chief emissary between Trump and several of the BRUISE countries ("Bruisers"?), including Bahrain and Israel. Remember that Trump's collusion requires a *very* small network of allies who are fully "in the know." For Trump, it's about ten.

2/ In 2016, the (American) ten were:

Bannon
Barrack
Flynn
Gates
Giuliani
Kushner
Manafort
Nader
Prince
Trump Jr.

There were other Americans on the outskirts (e.g. McFarlane, later McFarland, Gerson, Broidy, Pecker, Hook, and others) and foreigners like Zamel, Dermer, al-Otaiba.

3/ All were either friends who'd never snitch as they already know Trump is a criminal (Barrack, Giuliani), family (Kushner, Trump Jr.), foreign agents (Prince, Nader, Flynn, Broidy), criminals recommended by friends (Manafort, Gates, McFarlane), or desperate ideologues (Bannon).
7:58 AM - 17 Sep 2019

4/ As some of these folks have been arrested (Flynn, Manafort, Gates) or put under investigation (Barrack, Kushner, Trump Jr.), Trump has relied on the still-"clean" friends (Giuliani) and new stooges like Pompeo and Hook. But the whole group is under 20 in size. So, very small.

5/ We've seen that Trump is regularly surrounded by dozens (even scores) of enablers, so the idea that his innermost circle of enablers and (in many cases) criminals and other rogues would be able to help him effectuate clandestine foreign collusion(s) is not much of a surprise.

6/ Those who've rejected Trump, like Comey, have reported that from the moment you meet the man he's testing you to see if you're corruptible. He only wants to be surrounded by people who can be corrupted and who are willing to keep his secrets and possibly commit crimes for him.

7/ You can be certain that if Trump allows there to be another National Security Advisor during his administration, it won't be someone he must publicly place outside his circle of trust, like Bolton, but someone who has proven themselves deeply corruptible, like Pompeo or Hook.

8/ The simple way to explain Bolton's tenure as NSA is that he came aboard the Trump administration long after Trump had reached certain understandings with certain foreign parties, none of which Bolton had been a party to or approved of. He was on the outside from the beginning.

https://twitter.com/SethAbramson/status ... 1197421568




LEWANDOWSKI September 17, 2019
one obstruction of justice articles of impeachment down 10 to go

many times....many times write this down

"I have no obligation to have a candid conversation with the media."
Image


The acting Intel Chief's counsel wrote to Chairman Schiff that the whistleblower's still-undisclosed allegations don't meet the legal definition of an "urgent concern." In a statement, Schiff points out that the Intel IG has already determined they do. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/17/us/p ... laint.html

New Escalation: Acting Intelligence Chief Refuses to Testify, Prompting Standoff With Congress



Schiff's statement tonight echoes the letter he sent last week. https://intelligence.house.gov/uploaded ... bpoena.pdf … (see FN 5 and accompanying text)

Image

Politico got the DNI counsel’s letter

“This complaint, however, concerned conduct by someone outside the Intelligence Community....”
Image
https://twitter.com/nycsouthpaw/status/ ... 0377406464
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Sep 19, 2019 8:01 am

TRUMP IS THE SUBJECT OF AN INTELLIGENCE COMPLAINT

Trump communication reportedly at center of whistleblower complaint
The complaint the administration is withholding from Congress was filed by an intelligence officer after a phone call the president had, according to a former official.

Sept. 18, 2019, 9:50 PM CDT / Updated Sept. 19, 2019, 6:28 AM CDT
A whistleblower complaint by an intelligence officer that the Trump administration is withholding from Congress involves a phone conversation had by the president, a former U.S. intelligence official familiar with the matter confirmed to NBC News on Wednesday night.

The Washington Post, citing two former U.S. officials familiar with the matter, first reported that the complaint was by an intelligence official troubled by a promise Trump made during communication and interaction with a foreign leader.

The fact that the complaint had been filed by an intelligence official was known, but the subject had been a closely guarded secret.

A whistleblower complaint by an intelligence official about a private presidential phone call would be an extraordinary development, likely without precedent in U.S. history.

It was not immediately clear which foreign leader Trump was speaking with or what he pledged to deliver, The Post reported. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The office of Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire and the office of House intelligence committee chairman Adam Schiff had no comment Wednesday night about the report.

Joseph MaguireAl Drago / Getty Images file
Over the last several days, the secret whistleblower complaint has been the subject of an increasingly acrimonious standoff between the acting intelligence chief and Schiff, who has demanded Maguire's testimony and a copy of the complaint. Maguire has agreed to testify publicly next week, Schiff announced Wednesday.

The inspector general “determined that this complaint is both credible and urgent,” Schiff said in the statement released Wednesday evening. “The committee places the highest importance on the protection of whistleblowers and their complaints to Congress.”

The matter burst into public view Friday, when Schiff disclosed that an unspecified whistleblower complaint had been filed with the inspector general of the intelligence community, but was being withheld from his committee. That independent watchdog deemed the matter an “urgent concern” that he was required by law to turn over to the congressional intelligence committees.

But Maguire, after consulting with the Justice Department, overruled him, according to a series of letters between a DNI lawyer and Schiff that have been made public.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif.J. Scott Applewhite / AP
Schiff said that was illegal and raised the specter of a coverup. The DNI argued it was acting legally. Jason Klitenic, the DNI general counsel, said in a letter to congressional leaders on Tuesday that the activity covered in the complaint “involves confidential and potentially privileged communications.”

Schiff said Maguire told him he was withholding the complaint pursuant to a higher authority, but the DNI has not explained whether he was acting on orders from the White House.

Ken Dilanian is a correspondent covering intelligence and national security for the NBC News Investigative Unit.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/all/trump- ... t-n1056196


Trump’s Promise to Foreign Leader Subject of Whistleblower Complaint
JON PARTONSeptember 18, 2019

President Donald Trump pauses as he speaks at the 2019 House Republican Conference Member Retreat Dinner in Baltimore, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
(CN) – A new report Wednesday evening revealed that President Donald Trump is the subject of a whistleblower complaint the Trump administration is keeping from Congress regarding a phone conversation between the president and a foreign leader.

First reported by The Washington Post, the story cited two former U.S. officials familiar with the matter speaking on the condition of anonymity. The conversation included a troubling “promise” Trump made to the foreign leader, prompting an intelligence officer to file a complaint on Aug. 12.

It was not immediately clear what Trump had promised or which foreign leader he was speaking to, the Post reported. According to White House records, the president had interactions or conversations with five foreign leaders in the preceding five weeks before the complaint was filed, including a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 31.

The complaint was given to Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who determined it to be a matter of “urgent concern,” which would require sharing the complaint with congressional intelligence committees.

But Atkinson’s decision was overruled by acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire, according to a series of letters between Maguire and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., which Schiff made public. Maguire has since refused to hand over the complaint to Congress.

According to a letter by Maguire’s office sent to Schiff Tuesday, the complaint involves “stakeholders within the Executive Branch” rather than intelligence officials, making it less than an “urgent concern.”

“The IC IG determined that this complaint is both credible and urgent, and that it should be transmitted to Congress under the clear letter of the law. The committee places the highest importance on the protection of whistleblowers and their complaints to Congress,” Schiff said in a statement on Wednesday.

Atkinson is scheduled to appear for questioning before the House Intelligence Committee in closed session on Thursday, while Schiff announced Wednesday that Maguire had been scheduled to testify to the committee next week.
https://www.courthousenews.com/trumps-p ... complaint/




Neal Katyal

This is going to be huge. DOJ& Admin are contorting themselves backwards to try to hide this. Truth will come out. There are probably tapes and transcripts documenting a gross abuse of power by Trump. Gonna be ugly.And enablers should all face consequences
https://twitter.com/neal_katyal



Ned Price

Apropos of nothing, this July 31 Trump-Putin phone call, which Trump initiated ostensibly to offer assistance for wildfires in Siberia, has never made sense to me. Also, California was burning at the time, and Trump barely lifted a finger.
https://twitter.com/nedprice/status/1174491182350704640


Jed Shugerman

Is it just a coincidence that Trump forced out DNI Dan Coats 5 weeks ago and replaced him with Acting DNI Joseph Maguire, roughly when a whistleblower sent "urgent" information about Trump's "promise" to a foreign leader?
I'm constructing a timeline. 1/

9:59 PM - 18 Sep 2019


2/ "The [whisteblower's] complaint was filed with Atkinson’s office [inspector general] on Aug 12...
White House records indicate Trump had conversations... w/ at least 5 foreign leaders in preceding 5 weeks [including] Putin that WH initiated on July 31."


3/ On July 28:
"Trump announced Dan Coats would step down as the director of national intelligence after a fraught tenure marked by tension with the Oval Office, and he tapped one of his staunch defenders, Representative John Ratcliffe, to take over." Hmm.


4/ Correction: Trump forced out the uncooperative DNI Dan Coats 7 weeks ago, coinciding with some suspected contacts with foreign leaders.
Trump first tries to appoint his loyalist Ratcliffe, but fails, so he then ditches him 5 weeks ago in order to appoint Maguire acting DNI...

5/ And it just so happens, just before the inspector general received the whistleblower's info (Aug. 12), Trump scrambled to get Maguire into office (meaning Coats would be out by mid-Aug).
It is conceivable that Trump heard something was afoot before Aug. 12.

6/ "After fielding the complaint on Aug. 12, [inspector general] Atkinson submitted it to [acting DNI] Maguire two weeks later."
Maguire has since refused to share this complaint with Congress.
My goodness, how lucky Trump had gotten rid of that pesky Coats just in time.

7/ This #Qatar #whistleblower nugget in the article was interesting:
"Trump met with other foreign leaders at the White House in July, including the PM of Pakistan, the PM of Netherlands, and the emir of Qatar."
Putin and Qatar just keep popping up in this storyline.
Remarkable.

Jed Shugerman Retweeted Operative_X
8/ This person created an even more concise timeline:
Jed Shugerman added,
Operative_X

@OperativeXRay
7/28 Coats resigning soon
7/31 Trump-Putin 'wildfire' call
8/2 US out of INF Treaty…

Jed Shugerman Retweeted E PLURIBUS UNUM
9/ I'm just going to collect good timelines, because lots of people are spotting striking coincidences in late summer in questionable foreign policy moves...
Jed Shugerman added,
E PLURIBUS UNUM

@swatkins109
Interesting timeline
Jul 31 trump calls Putin
Aug 12 whistleblower files…


Scott Stedman

Replying to @jedshug
Coats had weeks prior announced his retirement

OK. But the timing on an acting, and giving up on Senate confirmation, is quite a coincidence. Sure seems he was quick to drop Ratcliffe as he faltered and to appoint Maguire as acting - just in time to get Coats out.

And my thread corrected: July 28, Coats announced plans to step down soon. The contacts in question may have been before or after, but either way, Trump moved quickly to appoint an acting DNI around the time the IG received whistleblower reports.
Maybe just a coincidence, but...


E PLURIBUS UNUM

Replying to @jedshug
Interesting timeline
Jul 31 trump calls Putin
Aug 12 whistleblower files
Aug 15 Coates resigns
Aug 15 Sue Gordon resigns
Sep 6 $770 million cut from fund Obama put in place to protect NATO/Europe from Russian aggression


Terence Mckenna

Coates interrupted a meeting on August 8th to tell Gordon to resign. Why would Coates do that?


What is the possibility the whistleblower is either Dan Coats or Sue Gordon? Timeline is interesting!

Terence Mckenna


They are very good possibilities. If it was Gordon I'd think she'd know to get out quickly, so Coates warning her in a rush makes me think Coates. But who knows... we will find out at some point.
https://twitter.com/jedshug/status/1174548567148638209


Here’s the law on whistleblower info to Congress.
Image


XX
@SisterChromatid

Replying to @joshtpm
I wonder if it’s related to this... put out out on July 31–
Image
https://twitter.com/SisterChromatid/sta ... 2199917568




Now running DHS:

Acting Secretary
Acting Deputy Secretary
ACTING GENERAL COUNSEL
Acting Under Secretary for Management
Acting CBP Commissioner
Acting ICE Director
Acting USCIS DIrector
Acting FEMA Administrator

We don't even have a nominee for any of these except the last one.

More
NEW: The whistleblower is being represented by Andrew P. Bakaj, a former CIA officer.
Others familiar with the whistleblower’s complaint have confirmed to @politico that it involves the president’s communications.

https://twitter.com/nycsouthpaw

Trump denies triggering whistleblower report
CAITLIN OPRYSKO09/19/2019 11:33 AM EDT
Donald Trump
According to the Washington Post, the president's call included a “promise” that was concerning enough to initiate the complaint. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
President Donald Trump on Thursday dismissed reports that an intelligence official was so concerned about an alleged “promise” the president made to a foreign leader in a phone call that the official filed a whistleblower complaint.

“Virtually anytime I speak on the phone to a foreign leader, I understand that there may be many people listening from various U.S. agencies, not to mention those from the other country itself. No problem!” the president wrote in a tweet, calling the controversy “another Fake News story out there.”

“Knowing all of this, is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially ‘heavily populated’ call,” he asked. “I would only do what is right anyway, and only do good for the USA!”

“It never ends!” Trump wrote, complaining in another tweet that the explosive allegations were yet another example of “Presidential Harassment!”

The president’s denial came as the intelligence community's inspector general briefed members of the House Intelligence Committee about the complaint. Its existence first came to light earlier this week when committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) demanded it be turned over to Congress.

The contents of the complaint were shrouded in secrecy from lawmakers and the public alike until Wednesday evening. Both The Washington Post and NBC News reported new details about the complaint in question, notably that it centered on the president’s communications with a foreign leader and that it stemmed from a phone call. According to the Post, the call included a “promise” that was concerning enough to initiate the complaint.

The whistleblower is being represented by Andrew P. Bakaj, a former CIA officer and managing partner at the Compass Ross Legal Group, a national security law firm.

Bakaj, who formerly worked as a lawyer in the CIA Office of the Inspector General, declined to comment on his client or the Post’s story. Others familiar with the whistleblower’s complaint, however, confirmed its broad outlines and that it involves the president’s communications.

The intelligence community inspector general deemed the complaint “urgent” and credible, which Schiff asserted should have triggered the Office of the Director of National Intelligence's whistleblower statute, which requires such complaints to be passed along to lawmakers.

But acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire intervened to block the documents from being transmitted to lawmakers, according to Schiff, diverting the complaint to the Justice Department and telling Schiff’s panel he would refuse to share it because it involved someone outside the intelligence community and might involve matters of confidentiality and privilege.

Maguire’s general counsel insisted in a letter to Schiff this week that the Maguire had followed the letter of the law in blocking the transmission of the complaint, arguing that the whistleblower statute governing his agency only applies when the complaint involves a member of the intelligence community.

Wednesday’s reports were also the first time Trump’s involvement has been disclosed in what could blossom into a major political controversy. In his letter to Maguire this week, Schiff accused the intel chief of withholding the complaint in order to protect the president. Also this week, Schiff issued a subpoena to force Maguire to produce the complaint.

The allegations are sure to further strain what is already an extremely tenuous relationship between the president and the intelligence community.

Most glaringly, Trump has publicly and repeatedly cast doubt on the intelligence community’s findings of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Earlier this summer he responded to reports that the CIA had tried to recruit North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s brother as an informant by announcing his opposition to such a plan. In 2017, the president is said to have revealed classified intelligence regarding U.S. operations in Syria to Russian diplomats while in the Oval Office.

The president has long sparred publicly with former intelligence community officials who served under President Barack Obama, including former FBI Director James Comey, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan. His battles with the intelligence community date back to hsi 2017 transition period, when he compared the nation's spy agencies to Nazi Germany.

It is unclear which foreign leader Trump had been speaking to when he allegedly made the troubling promise, but the Post report notes that in the preceding five weeks before the whistleblower lodged their complaint, White House records showed communications between Trump and five world leaders. That list includes Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whom Trump spoke on the phone at the end of July. He also met with several foreign leaders at the White House and said he’d received multiple letters from North Korea’s Kim.
https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/ ... er-1502945
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:30 pm

Just throwing this out there....
that whistleblower complaint? It was filed on Monday, August 12.

Also of note: that's the very first business day following Epstein's suicide on Saturday, Aug 10.
Of course, It's probably Vladik, but does anybody else wonder if "foreign leader" might be a broad generalization that could include a member of the ruling family who describes themselves as being in "intelligence" - like a Prince?
Image
https://twitter.com/soychicka




Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire privately testified to Congress today that the complaint wasn’t limited to any one specific incident.


Turns out the Trump whistleblower complaint isn’t just about a phone call to Putin – it’s the mother lode
Bill Palmer | 4:20 pm EDT September 19, 2019

Last night we learned that the whistleblower complaint against Donald Trump documented an inappropriate promise he made during a phone call with a foreign leader who, based on the available timeline, appeared to be Vladimir Putin. Now it turns out the complaint actually goes far beyond just one phone call.

The earlier reporting about the phone call included in the whistleblower complaint came from the Washington Post. But now the New York Times is reporting that Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire privately testified to Congress today that the complaint wasn’t limited to any one specific incident. This was obviously an attempt on Maguire’s part to be vague and steer attention away from the phone call to Putin. But Maguire is new at this, having only held the Acting DNI position for a few weeks now, and he apparently didn’t realize what he just gave away in the process.

Now we know that whistleblower complaint doesn’t just document one specific phone call; it documents a whole series of incidents. That means the complaint is a treasure trove of documentation. It also means that this wasn’t filed by some random person who just happened to be walking past a phone call at the right time and happened to hear a stray sentence; this whistleblower is someone in the Trump regime who had routine access to Trump’s most sensitive interactions with foreign leaders

No wonder House Intel Committee Adam Schiff is pulling out all the stops to try to get his hands on this whistleblower complaint. It’s becoming more clear by the hour that this document is enough to end Donald Trump’s presidency – and maybe even end it in immediate fashion. As Trump’s people scramble to try to keep this document from coming out, Trump’s time is running short. You have to wonder if he’ll have the sense to cut a resignation plea deal before the whistleblower complaint inevitably leaks.


Watchdog Refuses to Detail Whistle-Blower Complaint About Trump
The complaint, being discussed in a closed meeting with House lawmakers, addresses a commitment that President Trump was said to have made to a world leader.
ImageRepresentative Adam Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said none of the previous directors of national intelligence had ever refused to provide a whistle-blower complaint to Congress.
Representative Adam Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said none of the previous directors of national intelligence had ever refused to provide a whistle-blower complaint to Congress.CreditCreditErin Schaff/The New York Times
By Nicholas Fandos, Eileen Sullivan, Julian E. Barnes and Matthew Rosenberg
Sept. 19, 2019Updated 11:43 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON — The internal watchdog for American spy agencies declined repeatedly in a briefing on Thursday to disclose to lawmakers the content of a potentially explosive whistle-blower complaint that is said to involve a discussion between President Trump and a foreign leader, according to two people familiar with the briefing.
During a private session on Capitol Hill, Michael Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community, told lawmakers he was unable to confirm or deny anything about the substance of the complaint, including whether it involved the president, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the closed-door conversation. The meeting was still underway.
The complaint, which prompted a standoff between Congress and Mr. Trump’s top intelligence official, involves a commitment that Mr. Trump made in a communication with another world leader, according to a person familiar with the complaint. The Washington Post first reported the nature of the discussion. The acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, has refused to give the complaint to Congress, as is generally required by law, the latest in a series of fights over information between the Democratic-led House and the White House.
Few details of the whistle-blower complaint are known, including the identity of the world leader. And it is not obvious how a communication between Mr. Trump and a foreign leader could meet the legal standards for a whistle-blower complaint that the inspector general would deem an “urgent concern.”
Under the law, the complaint has to concern the existence of an intelligence activity that violates the law, rules or regulations, or otherwise amounts to mismanagement, waste, abuse, or a danger to public safety. But a conversation between two foreign leaders is not itself an intelligence activity.
And while Mr. Trump may have discussed intelligence activities with the foreign leader, he enjoys broad power as president to declassify intelligence secrets, order the intelligence community to act and otherwise direct the conduct of foreign policy as he sees fit, legal experts said.
Mr. Trump regularly speaks with foreign leaders and often takes a freewheeling approach. Some current and former officials said that what an intelligence official took to be a troubling commitment could have been an innocuous comment. But there has long been concern among some in the intelligence agencies that the information they share with the president is being politicized.
Andrew P. Bakaj, a former C.I.A. and Pentagon official whose legal practice specializes in whistle-blower and security clearance issues, confirmed that he is representing the official who filed the complaint. Mr. Bakaj declined to identify his client or to comment.
Mr. Trump denied wrongdoing on Thursday, explaining that he would not “say something inappropriate” on calls where aides and intelligence officials from both sides routinely listen in.
But whatever Mr. Trump said was startling enough to prompt the intelligence official to file a formal whistle-blower complaint on Aug. 12 to the inspector general for the intelligence agencies. Such a complaint is lodged through a formal process intended to protect the whistle-blower from retaliation.
Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has been locked in the standoff with Mr. Maguire over the complaint for nearly a week. He said Mr. Maguire told him that he had been instructed not to give the complaint to Congress, and that the complaint addressed privileged information — meaning the president or people close to him were involved.
Mr. Schiff said none of the previous directors of national intelligence, a position created in 2004, had ever refused to provide a whistle-blower complaint to Congress. The House Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena last week to compel Mr. Maguire to appear before the panel. He briefly refused but relented on Wednesday and is now scheduled to appear before the committee in an open hearing next week.
Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence panel, said on Thursday that he and the committee’s Republican chairman, Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, also expected both the inspector general and acting director to brief them early next week and “clear this issue up.”
Mr. Maguire and Mr. Atkinson are at odds over how the complaint should be handled. Mr. Atkinson has indicated the matter should be investigated, and alerted the House and Senate Intelligence committees, while Mr. Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, says the complaint does not fall within the agencies’ purview because it does not involve a member of the intelligence community — a network of 17 agencies that does not include the White House.
The inspector general of the intelligence community “determined that this complaint is both credible and urgent, and that it should be transmitted to Congress under the clear letter of the law,” Mr. Schiff, Democrat of California, said in a statement on Wednesday evening.
Mr. Maguire was named the acting director in August, after the president had announced that the previous director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, would be stepping down. Mr. Trump had planned to nominate Representative John Ratcliffe, Republican of Texas, a Trump loyalist without an extensive background in intelligence. But the president dropped the plan after lawmakers from both parties raised concerns about Mr. Ratcliffe’s qualifications and possible exaggerations on his resume.
The reports about the whistle-blower complaint touched off speculation about what Mr. Trump said and to whom.
In the weeks before the complaint was filed, Mr. Trump spoke with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan and the prime minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte.
And current and former intelligence officials have expressed surprise that during his first few months as president, Mr. Trump shared classified information provided by an ally, Israel, with the Russian foreign minister.
Such disclosures are not illegal, but Mr. Trump flouted intelligence-sharing decorum by sharing an ally’s intelligence without express permission.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:20 pm

Ukraine

Zelensky defends relationship with US after Trump accused of pushing Ukraine to meddle in 2020 election

Ukraine’s new president insists that relations are ‘very good’ with the US and that there will be a meeting ‘soon’

Kim Sengupta Kiev
1 day ago

US president Donald Trump boards Air Force One in California on Tuesday ( Reuters )
Ukraine’s new president Volodymyr Zelensky was fulsome in expressing his gratitude to Donald Trump for the military aid package.

The former professional comedian insisted his relationship with the former reality TV star was “very good” and that he was “sure we will have a meeting in the White House”.

But the $250m (£280m) of arms for Ukrainian forces, which are confronting Russian backed separatists, has been enmeshed in a bitter battle between the US president and his opponents over accusations that he has tried to manipulate it for underhand political reasons.

The Trump administration had in fact suspended the “Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative”, only agreeing to unblock it after rising bipartisan clamour from congress.

The ostensible reason for the hold-up was to ensure that it tallied with US interests.

The real reason, claim critics, was to pressure the Ukrainian government to target Joe Biden – the possible Democrat candidate for next year’s election – through an investigation into corruption allegations against his son.

Members of the Trump administration have claimed that Mr Biden, then Barack Obama’s vice president, had pressured the Ukrainian authorities to drop an investigation into Burisma, an energy company operating in the country, on which his son Hunter was a board member.


The claims against Mr Biden have been denied to a number of news organisations, including The Independent, by Ukrainian and western European officials.

Three Democrat-controlled house committees – Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Government Reform – have announced that they would investigate whether a host of ethical and legal rules have been violated.


Speaking at the annual Yalta European Strategy (YES) conference held in Kiev last weekend, Mr Zelensky said that he had been careful not to comment publicly on the issue of the American security assistance because he did not want to interfere while the decision was under review.

But the president stressed he was delighted with the decision to release the package, and also with reports that the State Department was putting together a separate aid package worth $140m.

“Now we can say we have very good relations with the US because now we will get not only $250m but [an additional] $140m. When you are waiting for $250m have the possibility to get $390m, I like this sort of relationship,” said Mr Zelensky, adding that he hoped to meet the US president soon.

“I am sure we will have a meeting in the White House, because I was invited,” he said.

But there have been claims that Mr Trump had refused to meet Mr Zelensky after his election this year, and that US officials have warned this would continue to be the case unless the Ukrainian authorities reopened the Burisma files.

The house committees’ chairs say they will scrutinise a telephone call between the US president and Mr Zelensky on 25 July, during which Mr Trump allegedly told the Ukrainian president to reopen the Biden investigation if he wanted to improve relations with the US.

They claim that Kurt Volker, the US special representative for Ukraine, was told to intercede with President Zelensky by the White House, and they are looking into the activities of Rudy Giuliani, Mr Trump’s personal lawyer.

Mr Giuliani urged Mr Zelensky soon after his election to focus on the Biden case, but the Ukrainian president is said to have refused, protesting that he did not want to get drawn into American internal politics.

This led to Mr Giuliani cancelling a trip to Kiev, saying he felt that he would be “walking into a group of people that are the enemies of our president ... in some cases the enemies of the United States”.

Mr Giuliani had subsequently met Yuriy Lutsenko, Ukraine’s then chief prosecutor, in New York, a meeting which was followed by Mr Lutsenko beginning an investigation into another Republican claim, that the Hillary Clinton campaign colluded with the previous Ukrainian government of Petro Poroshenko in an effort to obtain damaging information about Mr Trump and the Kremlin.

Mr Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was convicted and jailed over millions he earned from a former boss, Viktor Yanukovych – the pro-Russian leader who had to flee to Russia following the revolution six years ago – in the “Russiagate” investigation carried out by special counsel Robert Mueller.

There was also scrutiny of a Ukrainian MP, Andrii Artemenko, over an alleged deal with Moscow that drew in Michael Cohen – Trump’s former personal lawyer jailed in the Mueller inquiry – and Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, who was also convicted by the special counsel.

Mr Giuliani had, in particular, asked for an inquiry into the “Black Ledger”, a tranche of information about Manafort which was supposedly forged.


Donald Trump accused of lying after claiming that Latinos also want the wall
The Mueller investigation concluded that the documents were genuine.

It was reported that Mr Lutsenko had reopened the Biden case.

He denied this, but after facing criticism from the Trump camp, said he was preparing to pass on details of payments made by Burisma to US attorney general William Barr, in case American authorities wanted to check on whether Hunter Biden paid adequate taxes on his income.

Mr Lutsenko, however, was replaced by President Zelensky in August with Ruslan Riaboshapka.

This, according to the house committee officials as well as legal sources in Ukraine, led to a push by the Trump administration to ensure that the new chief prosecutor would pursue the Biden claims.

Mr Giuliani spoke to Andriy Yermak, a Ukrainian aide, in Madrid in the summer and acknowledged, when news of the meeting was revealed, that he had “strongly urged” the Kiev authorities to investigate whether Mr Biden had interfered in the Ukrainian legal process.

Mr Giuliani admitted that his talks with Mr Yermak had been arranged through the State Department but stressed that he had been travelling as a “private citizen” and not an official. He told the New York Times that he urged Mr Yermak to “just investigate the damn things” and left “pretty confident that they’re going to investigate it”.

Mr Biden had been among many western politicians who had criticised the Poroshenko government for doing nothing like enough to tackle corruption, after pledging it would do so in return for massive amounts of aid from Europe, the US and international organisations.

In March 2016, Mr Biden warned that $1bn in loan guarantees would be withheld by the US unless Kiev addressed the issue of graft and replaced Viktor Shokin, the prosecutor general. Mr Shokin claimed he had started an inquiry into Burisma when he was removed.

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But Ukrainian prosecutors have denied to The Independent that the Burisma inquiry, part of a wider investigation into companies owned by Mykola Zlochevsky, a former minister, was even active when the prosecutor general was fired.

Vitaliy Kasko, Mr Shokin’s deputy, has produced documents which appear to show that the probe was, in fact, dormant.

Mr Shokin had faced strong criticism from a number of national and international figures.

Anders Aslund, the eminent Swedish economist and senior fellow at the think tank Atlantic Council, had stressed to The Independent when the story first surfaced that it was well known Mr Shokin had “failed to prosecute anybody of significance, protecting both the Yanukovych circle and the Poroshenko group”.

Daria Kaleniuk, the executive director of the Anti-Corruption Centre in Ukraine, wanted to point out that Mr Shokin was fired for failing to prosecute cases of corruption, not to block his crusading zeal for doing so.

The main source of the Clinton/Ukraine conspiracy in the 2016 campaign comes from a Ukrainian MP, who claims to have a recording of the head of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, Artem Sytnyk, admitting to trying to help the Democrats.

Mr Sytnyk had denied the claim and the authenticity of the recording has been questioned by lawyers and the media.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/worl ... 11106.html



Ryan Goodman


“A whistleblower complaint about President Trump made by an intelligence official centers on UKRAINE”

WaPo scoop: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national ... story.html

Now you better read this @just_security backgrounder

@rgoodlaw
For those considering whether the whistle blower complaint relates to Trump-Giuliani pressure on Ukraine to create false dirt on Biden...

This is a great backgrounder



https://www.justsecurity.org/66101/trum ... explainer/

Now that whistle blower complaint involves Ukraine, important to revisit Pence’s very odd response to question of quid pro quo and Giuliani asked by AP reporter (@colvinj) on Sept 2.

Eagle eye @violagienger spotted and analyzed VP Pence’s reply here:


AP's @colvinj asked Pence a very pointed question on Sept 2, 2019 in Poland:

"Can you assure Ukraine that the hold-up of that money [U.S. security assistance] has absolutely nothing to do with efforts, including by Rudy Giuliani, to try to dig up dirt on the Biden family?"



Pence's reply was NOT a denial. If anything, he referred to Trump wanting the new government to move ahead with process against "corruption." That's the same word Giuliani uses in reference to his (false) Ukraine-Biden conspiracy.

Read Pence's non-response for yourself:


Here's Giuliani referring to Biden-Urkaine allegations as "corruption."




This is telling:

Giuliani tonight appears to be defending idea of Trump's tying security aid to Ukraine on condition of pursuing "corruption" if it “bleeds over” into the United States (eg Biden).

“If I were president, I would say that,” Giuliani added.


"According to officials who handle foreign policy in the US and Ukraine, Giuliani’s efforts created the impression that the Trump administration’s willingness to back Zelensky was linked to his government’s readiness to in turn pursue the investigations sought by Trump’s allies."

Time to recall this WaPo editorial:

"We’re reliably told that the president has a second and more venal agenda: He is attempting to force Mr Zelensky to intervene in the 2020 U.S. presidential election by launching an investigation of the leading Democratic candidate, Joe Biden"

"Mr. Trump is not just soliciting Ukraine’s help with his presidential campaign; he is using U.S. military aid the country desperately needs in an attempt to extort it."

And the link to the WaPo editorial Sept 5, 2019:

Now, recall that when Trump placed a hold on the security assistance to Ukraine it was OVER THE PENTAGON'S OBJECTIONS

If Trump blocks the $250M in military aid to Ukraine (a gift to Putin), looks like it will be over Pentagon’s objection…

Giuliani connects the dots for us. He told @kenvogel:

"I’m going to give them [Ukraine] reasons why they shouldn’t stop it [Biden probe], because that information will be VERY, VERY HELPFUL TO MY CLIENT, and may turn out to be helpful to MY GOVERNMENT.”







Lincoln's Bible

Oh boy. Now looks like this guy is under Trump-Barr threat from telling the truth as well.
This is the mobbiest administration ever.

6:21 PM - 19 Sep 2019
https://twitter.com/LincolnsBible/statu ... 7212210176
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby Belligerent Savant » Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:03 pm

.

Was this referenced here yet? Given how this thread purports to be a curation of TRUMP/IMPEACHMENT-related content, I'd assume it would be.


https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/ ... nt-1501755




'Feel free to leak this': Inside the Pelosi-Nadler impeachment schism

The longtime allies are increasingly in conflict over the push to oust President Donald Trump.

By SARAH FERRIS, HEATHER CAYGLE and JOHN BRESNAHAN

09/18/2019 05:00 AM EDT

In a closed-door meeting last week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi stunned lawmakers and aides with a swipe at Democratic staff on the House Judiciary Committee.

Pelosi criticized the panel’s handling of impeachment in harsh terms, complaining committee aides have advanced the push for ousting President Donald Trump far beyond where the House Democratic Caucus stands. Democrats simply don’t have the votes on the floor to impeach Trump, Pelosi said.

“And you can feel free to leak this,” Pelosi added, according to multiple people in the room. Pelosi’s office declined to comment on the meeting.

It was the latest sign of the widening schism between Pelosi and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, two longtime allies who are increasingly in conflict over where to guide the party at one of its most critical moments.

Both Pelosi and Nadler, who have served in the House together for more than 25 years, insist their relationship remains strong. But their rift over impeachment is getting harder and harder to paper over amid Democrats’ flailing messaging on the topic and a growing divide in the caucus.

Whether the two veteran lawmakers can get on the same page will determine whether the party avoids a rupture that threatens its chances of holding on to the House majority and beating Trump in 2020.



Edited to add the timestamp to the article, dated yesterday.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:09 pm

old news...after what is happening right now

the last 24 hrs have been fantastic

UKRAINE

the president is self-impeaching

Pence was on the phone with the president of Ukraine yesterday. :)

Rudy Giuliani melts down and confesses on live television tonight :)


Wendy Siegelman


Ukraine presidential candidate Zelensky reportedly financed in part by Konstantin Malofeev, sanctioned by US for funding Russian separatists in Crimea - he partnered w/Dugin to create Tsargrad TV, reportedly sponsors anti-LGBTQ World Congress of Families & funded Marine Le Pen

Online media claim that Zelenskyi's campaign in #Ukraine was part financed by individuals in #Donbass linked to #Russia|n chauvinist businessman Malofeyev & #Kremlin official Surkov:



The source of the story is information provided to Ukrainian News by the Security Services of Ukraine (SBU)

"This is stated in the response of the Security Service of Ukraine to the request of Ukrainian News."\https://twitter.com/WendySiegelman/status/1118542214194499586


Amazing thread from @TheViewFromLL2 from before the WaPo story broke

Susan Simpson

I know there's a lot of plausible speculation that the whistleblower's complaint relates to Trump's July 31st call with Putin, but after reading the IG's letter, I'm more concerned about Trump's July 25th call with Ukraine's President Zelensky.

IC Inspector General: "I set forth my reasons for my concluding that the subject matter involved... not only falls within the DNI's jurisdiction, but relates to one of the most significant and important of the DNI's responsibilities to the American people." https://twitter.com/nycsouthpaw/status/ ... 0780968961
Show this thread

The White House's readout of the July 25th call contained nothing of substance, but Ukraine's readout noted that Trump was focused on Ukraine's ability to "complete investigations into corruption cases that have hampered Ukraine-US cooperation."


There is only one way this reference can realistically be interpreted: during the call between Trump and Zelensky, Trump expressed his desire that Ukraine carry out a criminal investigation into his political opponent, former VP Joe Biden.

Susan Simpson Retweeted U.S. Embassy Kyiv
The day following this call, US Special Rep Volker had his own meeting with President Zelensky. And, a few days after that, Trump's personal attorney Giuliani flew to the Spanish countryside for a secret meeting with Zelensky's right-hand man, Yermak.

.@SpecRepUkraine Volker and @USAmbEU Gordon Sondland met with President @ZelenskyyUa to discuss U.S.-Ukraine cooperation and to express unwavering U.S. support for Ukraine’s democracy, security, and…



Per NYT, the whistleblower's complaint is about a series of events that includes, but is not limited to, a statement made by Trump to a foreign leader. That could suggest that whatever Trump promised on the call was later followed up on by other agents. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/19/us/p ... e=Homepage

Image


Under this hypothetical scenario, Trump wouldn't need to make inappropriate promises over a call. Instead, Trump would just need to say something that would confirm for Zelesky that, later, when Trump's agents make promises to Ukraine in secret, they do so on his knowing behalf.

Giuliani has admitted that he flew to Spain to pressure the Ukrainian president's aide into launching a criminal investigation into Joe Biden. I wonder if perhaps, in addition to offering a stick, Giuliani was also there to offer some kind of carrot. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/21/us/p ... raine.html
Image
https://twitter.com/TheViewFromLL2/stat ... 0245066753
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby Belligerent Savant » Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:34 pm

.
Fantastic, huh.

And yet, the Empire rolls on unimpeded. By all means, continue to root for your team, even though they serve interests that are decidedly not aligned with those of the average American. In that respect they're just like the team on the other side. See Pelosi above as example # 9694354064096835069348534095834609684560348963406983460684560948654096.



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

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:36 pm

I don't have a fucking team

have a nice evening


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFDYuO53BUk
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby Belligerent Savant » Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:41 pm

.
seemslikeadream » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:36 pm wrote:I don't have a fucking team



Right. Keep on hopin' for that impeachment. Right around the corner, surely.

We'll be right here, waiting to eat our hats when it happens.

[and then after the smoke clears, there it'll be: The EMPIRE. Just as before.]
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:42 pm

impeachment is happening right now...it started on July 26.. ....try and keep up
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