Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Election

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

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Sep 22, 2019 8:29 am

Scott Stedman

This YouTube channel is fake. It is a front for Israeli private intelligence Psy Group. In the videos, the leaders of
are slandered. This is the same group that Giuliani is now attacking. Ask yourself: Who hired Psy Group to make these fake vids? ... B6-R82Dzig
Storozh Ukraina
We are a group of Ukrainian citizens who are wanting to evacuate our country of corruption. We work to single out anyone who lies to our countrymen and we wi...


Psy Group ran 2017 operation against anti-corruption activists in Ukraine | FORENSIC NEWS
In September 2016, a merchandizing professional in Zagreb, Croatia named Maja Bogovic received an email from a management and consulting services company based in Hong Kong. Bogovic learned that an...

In 2017, these videos popped up and were viewed 20,000+ times. Nobody knows who hired Psy Group to do this. Everything was cloaked in secrecy. The actors you see were hired off of Fiverr. ... 3488154624

Last updated on May 20, 2019

In September 2016, a merchandizing professional in Zagreb, Croatia named Maja Bogovic received an email from a management and consulting services company based in Hong Kong. Bogovic learned that an executive at the company, Francesco Gianelli, was looking for a personal assistant. She assumed that the company had looked at her LinkedIn profile and thought of her as a potential candidate for the expanding management business, Contrell.
Bogovic and her potential new boss, Gianelli, met for the first time in late September 2016. During the meeting, Gianelli handed Bogovic his business card and confirmed her interest in working for the company.

Business card given to Bogovic
Through the end of 2016 and into 2017, Bogovic completed various tasks for Gianelli, such as incorporating a company in the British Virgin Islands, and purchasing domain names.

Over a year after Bogovic’s initial meeting with Gianelli, however, Google notified her that information from a Gmail account that was set up to do work for Gianelli was being provided to a third party because of a court proceeding. She thought the message odd and told Gianelli, who brushed it off as no big deal.
messages between Bogovic and Gianelli about the Google notification

A little over a month later, Bogovic’s emails to Gianelli stopped delivering.

“I received automatic message delivery failure notifications advising that their email addresses no longer existed. I also could not reach them through WhatsApp,” Bogovic said in an affidavit. “It was at that point that, for the first time, I became skeptical about the situation.”

Co-opted by Psy Group

In early 2018, Bogovic’s world turned upside down when she was informed that the court proceeding was a case out of Canada, and Gianelli was not who he said he was. In fact, he was a covert operative for Psy Group, an intelligence-gathering and social media manipulating company based in Israel and staffed with multiple former Israeli spies.

Legal documents in Canada and reporting in the New Yorker confirm that the name Francesco Gianelli was used by Psy Group.

Bogovic has since fully cooperated in the Canadian court case where West Face Capital alleges that rival Catalyst Capital Group hired Psy Group to defame West Face. The case is ongoing. Psy Group co-opted not only Bogovic but also a number of other people to carry out their tasks, such as various advertisement groups and industrial printers.

Hundreds of pages of court documents as well as interviews with multiple people familiar with Psy Group’s operations have shown, for the first time, that the company ran a disinformation campaign targeting two prominent anti-corruption activists in Ukraine. This campaign resulted in at least two YouTube videos spreading false information about the Ukrainian activists. The videos remain online today.

The existence of the campaign to smear the anti-corruption fighters in Ukraine raises questions about Psy Group’s clients in the months following their pitches to aid the Trump campaign and their business partnership with Cambridge Analytica. As previously reported, the founder of Psy Group, Joel Zamel, met with Donald Trump Jr, Erik Prince, and George Nader in the Summer of 2016 offering election assistance to the Trump campaign. After the election, Nader paid Zamel a sum of approximately $2,000,000 for reasons that remain unknown.

The targets of the Psy Group operation

The two targets of the Ukraine operation, of which Bogovic was unknowingly apart, were Vitaliy Shabunin and Daria Kaleniuk, two well-known figures fighting against corruption in the Ukrainian government. Kaleniuk, when contacted for comment about this story, was entirely unaware of Psy Group’s involvement in her own smear campaign.

“This is first time I’ve heard about Psy Group,” Kaleniuk said. When shown the YouTube video, Kaleniuk responded, “Of course i know this video, but we did not connect it to [Psy Group].” Kaleniuk said that she and those in her orbit have faced repeated attacks, online and in person. In 2018, Shabunin, who is the co-founder alongside Kaleniuk of Anti-Corruption Action Centre (AntAC), was attacked and burned with a green liquid by unknown assailants.

Shabunin and AntAC are also key allies of Ukrainian politician Serhiy Leshchenko, who was among the first high-profile officials to promote the existance of Paul Manafort’s name and signature on former pro-Russian President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych’s so-called “black ledger”. That revelation, originally disclosed by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, led to Manafort resigning from the Trump campaign in August 2016. Foreign Policy has since dubbed Leshchenko, “The Ukrainian Who Sunk Paul Manafort”. Leshchenko subsequently became a target of prominent conservative political leaders for playing a role in the conspiracy theory that the Clinton campaign colluded with the Ukrainian government.

Leshchenko, like Kaleniuk was entirely unaware of the details of the operation. “I have never heard about this company [Psy Group]. I know AntAC leaders as fair and brave anticorruption activists. We make a lot activity together,” Leshchenko told me exclusively.

When shown the Psy Group-created video smearing Kaleniuk, Leshchenko said, “yes, I remember this video. We didn’t understand how it hapenned, now it is clear.”

Conservative columnist John Solomon named Shabunin and Kaleniuk’s AntAC group as being directly involved with an entirely unsubstantiated Obama/George Soros effort to damage Trump by revealing Manafort’s illegal dealings in Ukraine. “AntAC wasn’t just the benefactor of well-connected patrons,” wrote Russia Today summarizing Solomon’s article, “at the time it was also collaborating with FBI agents to uncover then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s business dealings in Ukraine.”

In 2017, Manafort continued to advise the Trump administration to “allege — albeit with no evidence to back up said charges — that the pro-Western Ukrainian government had colluded with the Democratic National Committee to try to help Hillary Clinton win…” As the previously linked Vox article mentions, the Trump adminstration did run with this talking point for a few weeks.

At precisely the same time that Manafort was advising the Trump White House to push the “DNC-Ukraine collusion” narrative that was largely based on Leshchenko’s 2016 actions, Psy Group was running an operation to smear one of Leshchenko’s closest allies — Vitaliy Shabunin.

“On May 4, 2017, Gianelli sent me an email with instructions to in to log an account on the website, which is another website that provides a marketplace through which users can purchase various freelance services on demand.
The two services that Gianelli directed me to purchase were: (1) the creation of a “Breaking News VIDEO Commercial Special Offer”; and (2) the creation of a “News Style Spokesperson Video in HD.'”

–Maja Bogovic in her sworn affidavit
Bogovic made the purchases and the two men whom she hired off of the freelancer marketplace Fiverr went to work creating the news videos. Both men declined to comment on this article specifically. One of the men featured as the news host, Michael-John Wolfe, said he’d rather not talk because it was stressful for his wife and family.

“Fiverr is how I support my family,” Wolfe said, but he deleted his Fiverr less than 24 hours after he sent his last message. Neither Wolfe nor anyone else involved in the videos is suspected of any wrongdoing. It appears that no one involved knew this was a Psy Group operation.

The videos attracted over 21,000 views, and shine a light on one aspect of Psy Group’s information warfare tactics. They were but one part of a bigger campaign against Shabunin, per a person familiar with the operation.

In her sworn affidavit, Bogovic said,

“On May 9, 2017, Gianelli sent me another email with instructions to purchase three items: (1) an article template, or “theme,” from WordPress, a blog site; (2) a plug-in for WordPress that enabled multilingual translation; and (3) 40 “credits” from 123RF, a website that allowed users to license images, illustrations, videos and other media for online use.”

Though the end results of the WordPress website remain unknown, the Ukrainian operation was the only Gianelli-project with which Bogovic was involved at the time. After the creation of the website, Bogovic didn’t complete any other tasks for Gianelli for over four months.

The full extent and nature of Psy Group’s campaign against the Ukrainian anti-corruption activists is yet to be revealed. According to at least one source, the Psy Group operation went beyond the YouTube videos and the WordPress website.

In various interviews, members of the small AntAC team expressed surprise that Psy Group was behind the operation. “We knew that lobbyists were engaged in a set of attacks against AntAC,” Kaleniuk said, “but I am impressed with the fact that Israeli elite ‘private Mossad’ firm was behind that as well.”

“We are under constant pressure from Ukrainian army of trolls and corrupt law enforcement agencies and we got used to that. However, hiring foreign intelligence firms to attack a 20 people NGO in Ukraine is something more profound & dangerous. It means that our activity exposing grand corruption of Ukrainian kleptocracts and their western enablers might harm also some very important and influential crooks outside of Ukraine.”
–Exclusive AntAC statement

Connections to Russia investigated by Mueller
The focus on Ukrainian anti-corruption leaders at the same time that Manafort was advising the Trump White House to spread the unsubstantiated claim that the DNC colluded with Ukraine raises new questions about Psy Group’s clientele and/or funding/ownership. Previously it was discovered that Ukrainian oligarch Vasyl Khmelnytsky used the parent company of Psy Group in his own business structure.

That parent company, Protexer Limited, has its own connections to Russian commerce and state-owned entities.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigated Psy Group as it related to the Russian interference in the 2016 election, but brought no charges in this area and his long-awaited report made no mention of the company. Mueller’s decision to not mention Psy Group in the report has led some in Washington, DC to believe that Mueller may have handed this case off to another DOJ office. If he could not prove that Psy Group was involved directly with the Russian effort, then he may have viewed the situation as outside of his scope, per two Congressional staffers.

“Given that Paul Manafort successfully directed the White House to target Trump’s opponents and U.S. investigators with smear campaigns, one must ask whether he or any of his associates were involved with the Psy Group smear attacks aimed at Ukrainian anti-corruption officials,” an American political operative active in Ukraine told me.

“The lesson we learned in 2016 is that Americans are vulnerable targets of foreign intelligence surveillance and intimidation tactics, regardless of whether they’re conducted by governments or private firms composed of former government spies and professional propagandists. When utilized by powerful political operatives who run in the Kremlin’s circles, no one is safe from being their targets.”

Included in his report, Mueller listed 14 active investigations that he transferred to other DOJ offices around the country after consulting with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who had the power to determine Mueller’s scope. 12 of those investigations remain redacted:

“During the course of the investigation, the Office periodically identified evidence of potential criminal activity that was outside the scope of the Special Counsel’s jurisdiction established by the Acting Attorney General. After consultation with the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, the Office referred that evidence to appropriate law enforcement authorities, principally other components of the Department of Justice and the FBI.” ... n-ukraine/

'Everyone' at the White House has read the whistleblower report, in another blatant violation of law

Mark Sumner
Daily Kos Staff
2019/09/20 · 12:45

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 20: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office while meeting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison September 20, 2019 in Washington, DC. Trump announced that the U.S. has issued new sanctions on Iran's central bank at the "highest level". (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Donald Trump’s morning press event was like politics brought to you by Benadryl, as everyone there seemed to be 90% asleep, and the most challenging questions were about all the wonderful things “First Lady” had done to prepare for an upcoming dinner. But before that official “press conference,” Trump did handle a few Little League deliveries from the local press, including one question about the whistleblower report that should be blowing up Washington. In response to questions about the report that he had extorted political favors from a U.S. ally by holding up the aid it needs to survive, Trump was dismissive.

He declared that he didn’t know the identity of the whistleblower. However, “I just hear it’s a partisan person, meaning it comes out from another party.” That being the party that supports the rule of law. But if Trump didn’t know the identity of the whistleblower, it’s not because the White House or the acting director of national intelligence is safeguarding this information all that closely. When it comes to the White House staff, Trump says, “Everybody’s read it, they laughed at it.” Because that’s what you do with a whistleblower report that the inspector general of the intelligence community described as “urgent” and “credible.”

The New York Times’ coverage of the report also noted, “Administration officials have shared at least some details of the accusations with the White House, to allow officials to weigh whether to assert executive privilege.”

What’s happened is exactly as if someone went to the police to report a crime, and the police responded by asking the criminal if it should be investigated and turning all the documents over to him.

A whistleblower filed a confidential report over a matter that, by definition, isn’t an issue of policy, but a serious breach of law or threat to national security.
That report was supposed to go to Congress. It did not.
Rather than notify Congress of the existence of the report, acting DNI Joseph Maguire shared the report with the subject of the report, asking if it should be withheld.
Congress found out about the report only because it was notified by the inspector general.
Maguire ordered the inspector general not to assist the whistleblower in meeting with Congress, as the law requires.
The White House and the Department of Justice moved to smother the report, claiming that it is not in the scope of an intelligence report—but the law does not allow them to make this judgment.
The report now appears to have been shared broadly across the White House, meaning that the identity of the whistleblower is deeply endangered, and Trump’s team is at this very minute getting a chance to remove evidence of wrongdoing without anyone being aware. ... ion-of-law

Israeli Spies, Ukrainian Honey Traps: The Dirty Tricks Used by Cambridge Analytica, the Firm Behind Facebook Data Breach
Cambridge Analytica - that worked on Trump's election campaign and gained improper access to data on 50 million Facebook users - also used bribes to entrap politicians

Haaretz Mar 20, 2018 11:27 AM

FILE PHOTO: CEO of Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix, speaks during the Web Summit, Europe's biggest tech conference, in Lisbon, Portugal, November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Pedro Nunes/File Photo\ Pedro Nunes/ REUTERS
Cambridge Analytica, the firm that harvested private information from millions of Facebook users in order to sway voters, used various tricks to entrap the rivals of their clients, reports in the U.K. revealed.

>> Election results are in. Subscribe now - save 30%

Britain's Channel 4 News secretly taped executives from the company admitting that they used British and Israeli spies, honey traps and fake news campaigns to help their clients – among which was Donald Trump's presidential campaign - and bring down their competitors.

>> Cambridge Analytica, Trump and 50 million Facebook accounts: What you need to know <<

“It sounds a dreadful thing to say, but these are things that don’t necessarily need to be true as long as they’re believed,” Cambridge Analytica's CEO Alexander Nix is recorded as saying in one exchange, describing the types of tricks employed by the firm.

"We use some British companies, we use some Israeli companies," Nix was quoted as saying by British media. "From Israel. Very effective in intelligence gathering."

According to The Guardian, Nix offered details regarding the services provided by the former spies: “We have two projects at the moment, which involve doing deep deep depth research on the opposition and providing source ... really damaging source material, that we can decide how to deploy in the course of the campaign.”

FILE PHOTO: The sun rises behind the entrance sign to Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park before the company's IPO launch, May 18, 2012. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach/File Photo\ Beck Diefenbach/ REUTERS
The New York Times and The Observer of London reported over the weekend that Cambridge Analytica exploited information from over 50 million Facebook users as it was developing techniques to support President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign. The newspapers reported that the data breach was one of the largest in the history of Facebook.

Cambridge Analytica has ties to both former Trump chief counselor Steve Bannon and Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale. Facebook suspended the company on Friday after finding that it had violated its data privacy policies, preventing it from buying ads or administer client pages.

According to The Guardian, the recordings were made when the executives met with an undercover reporter posing as a representative of a wealthy Sri Lankan family that was seeking to gain political clout. Initially they denied that Cambridge Analytica used entrapment techniques, but later boasted about using bribes, digging up "damaging materials" and "creating a sex scandal."

They also used Ukranian sex workers to try and entrap politicians, the report said.

Facebook said on Monday it had hired digital forensics firm Stroz Friedberg to carry out a comprehensive audit of Cambridge Analytica, which had agreed to comply and give the forensics firm complete access to their servers and systems.

Cambridge Analytica said it strongly denies the media claims, and that it deleted all Facebook data it obtained from a third-party app in 2014 after learning the information did not adhere to data protection rules.

Facebook said on Friday it had learned in 2015 that a Cambridge University psychology professor lied to the company and violated its policies by passing data to Cambridge Analytica from a psychology testing app he had built.

Facebook said it suspended the firms and researchers involved. It also said the data had been misused but not stolen, because users gave permission. ... -1.5918177

Where Rudy Giuliani’s Money Comes From ... comes-from


Manafort offered to give Russian billionaire ‘private briefings’ on 2016 campaign

Manafort trial has Ukraine freshly nervous about Trump

Poroshenko paid Michael Cohen $400,000 for a “drop-in” meeting with President Trump in June 2017.

Poroshenko may not have gotten anything much for his $400k, Trump-Manafort-Cohen-et all certainly did.

Trump lawyer 'paid by Ukraine' to arrange White House talks

Ukrainian politician behind controversial peace proposal to appear in Mueller probe

soon after the administration okayed the sale of Javelin missiles to Ukraine, Ukrainian officials ended their cooperation with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and essentially suspended a series of domestic investigations which touch on Paul Manafort.

Yuri Vanetik with Paul Manafort, February 7, 2017.


Mueller Reveals New Manafort Link to Organized Crime
Trump’s former campaign manager didn’t just do business with accused gangsters. One of them transferred millions into a Manafort account, allegedly used for money laundering.


President Trump, Just the Facts
The man in 40 sentences.
By David Leonhardt
Opinion Columnist
Sept. 22, 2019

Sometimes it’s worth stepping back to look at the full picture.
He has pressured a foreign leader to interfere in the 2020 American presidential election.
He urged a foreign country to intervene in the 2016 presidential election.
He divulged classified information to foreign officials.
He publicly undermined American intelligence agents while standing next to a hostile foreign autocrat.
He hired a national security adviser whom he knew had secretly worked as a foreign lobbyist.
He encourages foreign leaders to enrich him and his family by staying at his hotels.
He genuflects to murderous dictators.
He has alienated America’s closest allies.
He lied to the American people about his company’s business dealings in Russia.
He tells new lies virtually every week — about the economy, voter fraud, even the weather.
He spends hours on end watching television and days on end staying at resorts.
He often declines to read briefing books or perform other basic functions of a president’s job.
He has aides, as well as members of his own party in Congress, who mock him behind his back as unfit for office.
He has repeatedly denigrated a deceased United States senator who was a war hero.
He insulted a Gold Star family — the survivors of American troops killed in action.
He described a former first lady, not long after she died, as “nasty.”
He described white supremacists as “some very fine people.”
He told four women of color, all citizens and members of Congress, to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came.”
He made a joke about Pocahontas during a ceremony honoring Native American World War II veterans.
He launched his political career by falsely claiming that the first black president was not really American.
He launched his presidential campaign by describing Mexicans as “rapists.”
He has described women, variously, as “a dog,” “a pig” and “horseface,” as well as “bleeding badly from a facelift” and having “blood coming out of her wherever.”
He has been accused of sexual assault or misconduct by multiple women.
He enthusiastically campaigned for a Senate candidate who was accused of molesting multiple teenage girls.
He waved around his arms, while giving a speech, to ridicule a physically disabled person.
He has encouraged his supporters to commit violence against his political opponents.
He has called for his opponents and critics to be investigated and jailed.
He uses a phrase popular with dictators — “the enemy of the people” — to describe journalists.
He attempts to undermine any independent source of information that he does not like, including judges, scientists, journalists, election officials, the F.B.I., the C.I.A., the Congressional Budget Office and the National Weather Service.
He has tried to harass the chairman of the Federal Reserve into lowering interest rates.
He said that a judge could not be objective because of his Mexican heritage.
He obstructed justice by trying to influence an investigation into his presidential campaign.
He violated federal law by directing his lawyer to pay $280,000 in hush money to cover up two apparent extramarital affairs.
He made his fortune partly through wide-scale financial fraud.
He has refused to release his tax returns.
He falsely accused his predecessor of wiretapping him.
He claimed that federal law-enforcement agents and prosecutors regularly fabricated evidence, thereby damaging the credibility of criminal investigations across the country.
He has ordered children to be physically separated from their parents.
He has suggested that America is no different from or better than Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
He has called America a “hellhole.”
He is the president of the United States, and he is a threat to virtually everything that the United States should stand for.
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:43 pm

Reporters Should Stop Helping Donald Trump Spread Lies About Joe Biden and Ukraine
Robert Mackey
September 22 2019, 8:23 p.m.
President Donald Trump appears increasingly desperate to deflect questions about the flagrant abuse of power he seems to have committed this summer by withholding aid to Ukraine as he pressed that country’s new president to open an investigation into the false claim that Joe Biden abused his power as vice president to protect his son’s business interests in Ukraine in 2015.

Since the news broke that Trump repeatedly pressed his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, to open an investigation into Biden, while delaying $250 million in military aid to Ukraine, the president has urged reporters again and again to look instead at the viral conspiracy theory that the former vice president had admitted on camera that he blackmailed Ukraine’s former president.

A Republican Conspiracy Theory About a Biden-in-Ukraine Scandal Has Gone Mainstream. But It Is Not True.
In fact, as a detailed review of the evidence conducted by The Intercept in May showed, Biden’s intervention in Ukrainian affairs that year, when he successfully pressed Ukraine’s then-president to dismiss a chief prosecutor who had failed to pursue corruption investigations, was no secret and was widely praised by Ukrainian anti-corruption activists and international donors to the country.

The reason there is footage of Biden boasting about this intervention on stage at a public event in 2018 is that he knew he had nothing to hide.

Put simply, there is no evidence to support the conspiracy theory that Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani want Ukraine to validate by opening an investigation. Still, it has become an article of faith among Trump supporters that Biden got the chief prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, dismissed to derail a corruption investigation of a Ukrainian firm his son was paid to advise.

But journalists at leading American news organizations — including CNN, the New York Times, Politico, ABC News, and MSNBC — have helped weaponize this disinformation by repeating the baseless smear over and over, without promptly and accurately conveying that Trump and Giuliani are lying about what the former vice president did in Ukraine. So lies and misinformation have been broadcast nationwide, reaching millions of people who will never read subsequent fact checks debunking them.

This began in May, when Giuliani’s embrace of the conspiracy theory was reported on the front page of the Times, in an article that forced readers to wait until the 19th paragraph to find out that “No evidence has surfaced that the former vice president intentionally tried to help his son by pressing for the prosecutor general’s dismissal.” Even so, the Times politics reporter who interviewed Giuliani, Ken Vogel, claimed on Twitter that this meant “The BIDENS are entangled in a Ukrainian corruption scandal.”

As I reported at the time, the truth is not that hard to determine. There is little doubt that Biden’s son Hunter did benefit from his father’s position by securing a spot on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company in 2014, a legal but ethically dubious move. But when Joe Biden subsequently conveyed a threat from the Obama administration to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine unless the chief prosecutor was dismissed, his intervention made it more rather than less likely that the oligarch who paid his son would be subject to prosecution for corruption.

That’s because one of the most prominent cases of official corruption that Shokin had failed to pursue was against a former environment and natural resources minister, Mykola Zlochevsky, who had oversight of all Ukrainian energy firms, including the largest independent gas company, Burisma, which he secretly controlled through shell companies in Cyprus. After Zlochevsky was forced from office in 2014 — in the popular uprising that toppled a pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, and forced his political adviser, Paul Manafort, to look elsewhere for work — Burisma appointed Hunter Biden to its board.

Shokin’s reluctance to pursue Zlochevsky was loudly condemned by the Obama administration shortly before Biden traveled to Ukraine at the end of 2015. In a speech to the Odessa Financial Forum that September, U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt complained that the chief prosecutor’s office had “undermined prosecutors working on legitimate corruption cases,” like, for example, “the case of former Ecology Minister Mykola Zlochevsky.”

“Shokin was fired,” the executive director of Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Action Center, Daria Kaleniuk, told me in May, “because he failed to do investigations of corruption and economic crimes of President Yanukovych and his close associates, including Zlochevsky, and basically it was the big demand within society in Ukraine, including our organization and many other organizations, to get rid of this guy.”

Despite the debunking of this conspiracy theory by The Intercept and other news outlets when Giuliani first raised it in May, the president’s lawyer was invited on CNN this week and allowed, over the course of 20 minutes on national television, to make a series of false claims about Biden and Ukraine, uncorrected by the host, Chris Cuomo, who admitted that he had almost no knowledge of the facts of the case.

Cuomo Prime Time

CNN's @ChrisCuomo: "Did you ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden?"@RudyGiuliani: "Of course I did"

President Trump's attorney says he had spoken with a Ukrainian official about Joe Biden's possible role in that government's dismissal of a prosecutor who investigated Biden's son.
Embedded video

8:23 PM - Sep 19, 2019
Twitter Ads info and privacy

5,818 people are talking about this

Although Giuliani’s wild demeanor and rambling, self-contradictory remarks were widely mocked, Cuomo’s failure to interrupt his salvo of lies with corrections, captured in clips from the exchange created by Trump supporters, helped Giuliani’s false claims spread like wildfire online.

Had Cuomo been better prepared for the interview, he could have stopped Giuliani in his tracks and helped his viewers understand that the president and his lawyer have taken sides in a battle currently raging in Ukraine, between supporters of the old system and anti-corruption activists who are pressing for reform and transparency.

Trump and Giuliani have taken sides in a battle currently raging in Ukraine, between supporters of the old system and anti-corruption activists pressing for reform and transparency.
Giuliani began with an opening salvo of lies that, properly debunked, reveal the nature of the scam being perpetrated on the American people. The former New York mayor started by telling Cuomo that he had been looking into “complaints that the Ukrainian people, several people in Ukraine, knew about a tremendous amount of collusion between Ukrainian officials and Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, including a completely fraudulent document that was produced in order to begin the investigation of Manafort.”

This is a reference to what Ukrainians call the black ledger, a book of handwritten accounting records officials from Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau discovered among the papers of deposed president Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party after the 2014 uprising. Those records, which documented $12.7 million in secret cash payments made to Manafort by Yanukovych’s party, were posted online by the anti-corruption agency in August 2016, prompting Manafort to resign as Trump’s campaign chairman.

Despite Giuliani’s claim, there is no evidence at all that these records of off-the-books payments were “fraudulent.” Andrew Kramer, the Moscow-based Times foreign correspondent who first revealed the secret payments to Manafort, reported at the time that others in Ukraine who were also named in the ledger had confirmed that the document was genuine.

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Sergii Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist and reformist member of parliament who helped publicize the off-the-books payments, told me on Friday that Giuliani “is a liar” for saying that the black ledger was a forgery. “It is a real document, with real signatures,” Leshchenko said in a telephone interview, explaining that it had been examined by Ukrainian law enforcement experts.

But if there is no evidence that the payment records incriminating Manafort were fake, where did Giuliani get this idea? In his interview with Cuomo, he attributes the claim to “people in Ukraine” who “were trying to get to us, but they were being blocked by the ambassador, who was a Obama appointee, in Ukraine, who was holding back this information.”

This is a reference to a part of the conspiracy theory developed by John Solomon, an opinion columnist for the Hill in Washington, who relied on the word of a disgraced Ukrainian prosecutor, Nazar Kholodnytsky. Last year, Kholodnytsky was wiretapped by Ukraine’s independent anti-corruption bureau and caught on tape advising suspects in a corruption probe on how not to get caught. Kholodnytsky told Solomon that the ledger “was not authenticated.”

After Kholodnytsky was caught in that sting operation, Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, the Obama appointee who was the top American diplomat in Ukraine until May, demanded that he be fired. Kholodnytsky retaliated by helping Solomon and other right-wing pundits smear Yovanovitch as an anti-Trump, deep-state plotter, prompting the State Department to recall her from Kiev.

Solomon’s other main source for the claim that the ledger was false was Konstantin Kilimnik, Manafort’s former Ukrainian business partner, who has been linked to Russian intelligence.

Despite the questionable nature of his sources, Solomon’s reporting that the black ledger records were fake has been accepted as fact by the president and his surrogates.

Giuliani also wrongly claimed that, last December, there was “a finding by a court in Ukraine that a man named … Leschenko that he produced a phony affidavit that was given to the American authorities and an FBI agent named … Greenwood, and they found him guilty of that.”

In reality, as the reformist Ukrainian politician and journalist Sergii Leshchenko told me on Friday, “there was an administrative court ruling” in December that he, and the head of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, had wrongly interfered in the 2016 presidential election in the United States, by publicizing the secret payments to Manafort, who was then leading Trump’s campaign. “But this decision of the court was never implemented, because I appealed and won that appeal in July,” Leshchenko added. The appeals court overturned the administrative court’s ruling against both men.

“Giuliani is continuing to misinform American society” about the ledger, Leshchenko told me, “by saying it’s fraudulent.” As for the allegation that he gave false testimony to an American investigator, Leshchenko said, “It’s total nonsense. I never made any affidavit to the FBI.”

“I told the FBI only about one payment to Manafort,” he said. “I met with an FBI person in 2017 only once, and I gave them a contract found in the office of Manafort in Kiev.”

That contract, Leshchenko explained, showed that “former President Yanukovych paid Manafort $750,000 in 2009 to sell 1,000 computers to an offshore company registered in Belize, and this company had its accounts in Kyrgyzstan.” The agent he met with was also not named Greenwood, Leshchenko said. Giuliani was possibly struggling to recall the name Karen Greenaway, a supervisory special agent in the FBI’s International Corruption Unit, who supported the efforts of anti-corruption activists in Ukraine to recover looted assets and was attacked by John Solomon for doing so.

“I will always be angry at Manafort,” Leshchenko wrote in a rebuttal to Giuliani published on Saturday by the Washington Post. “His work contributed greatly to Yanukovych’s election victory in 2010; Yanukovych then used his position as president to enrich himself and his inner circle. I have no doubt that Yanukovych paid Manafort for his services out of the funds he robbed from Ukrainian taxpayers.”

“My desire to expose Manafort’s doings was motivated by the desire for justice,” he continued. “Neither Hillary Clinton, nor Joe Biden, nor John Podesta, nor George Soros asked me to publish the information from the black ledger. I wanted to obtain accountability for the lobbyist whose client immersed Ukraine in a blood bath during the Revolution of Dignity and the subsequent war in eastern Ukraine, when Yanukovych called on Russia to send troops.”

Early in the CNN interview, Giuliani also claimed that, by threatening to withhold loan guarantees unless the chief prosecutor who failed to pursue corruption cases was removed, Biden had, “bribed the president of the Ukraine in order to fire a prosecutor who was investigating his son.”

What’s most telling about this claim is that while there is no evidence at all that Biden abused his power over U.S. aid to Ukraine to advance his own interests, there is plenty of evidence that Trump did delay $250 million in U.S. military aid to Ukraine this summer just as he was pressing its new president, Zelensky, to do him a political favor by opening a phony investigation into the man he trails in general election polls.

The whistleblower complaint filed by a member of the intelligence community last month reportedly concerns, in part, Trump’s conversation with Zelensky on July 25.

As the Kiev-based foreign correspondent Christopher Miller noted, an account of that call released that night by Zelensky’s office reported that “Donald Trump is convinced that the new Ukrainian government will be able to quickly improve image of Ukraine, complete investigation of corruption cases, which inhibited the interaction between Ukraine and the USA.”

Senior administration officials admit that the American president suggested eight times during that call that his Ukrainian counterpart should work with Giuliani to open an investigation into the Biden family. On Sunday, Trump told reporters outside the White House that his call with Zelensky “was largely corruption — all of the corruption taking place, was largely the fact that we don’t want our people, like Vice President Biden and his son, creating to the — the corruption already in Ukraine.” He then urged reporters to pay more attention to “the horrible thing that Joe Biden said,” when he “bragged” in 2018 about his role in pressing Ukraine to fire its then-chief prosecutor during a trip to Kiev in late 2015.

While Zelensky has clearly resisted calls to investigate Biden — “This is definitely not our war,” a source close to him told the Washington Post in May — he may also have antagonized Trump by resisting the American president’s efforts to have Russia readmitted to the Group of Seven industrialized nations. Last month, one day after Trump called for Russia to be readmitted to the G7, Zelensky tweeted, in English, that Russia should not be invited back to the group since it still occupies Crimea and sponsors separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Володимир Зеленський

Returning Ukraine’s occupied Crimea, cessation of hostilities in Donbas & releasing over 100 political prisoners & Ukrainian sailors that Kremlin currently holds would signal the world that Russia can be allowed back to its place at the top table of the global diplomacy.

5:27 PM - Aug 21, 2019
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Володимир Зеленський

Since March 2014, when Russia was suspended from the G8, nothing has changed. The Ukrainian Crimea is still occupied, the Ukrainian Donbas is still suffering from the war. Grateful to those countries that have consistently supported Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty

5:27 PM - Aug 21, 2019
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In his CNN diatribe, Giuliani also claimed that President Zelensky was under the influence of “people who worked for George Soros.” Pressed, gently, as to whether he had proof of that, Giuliani replied, “I absolutely do. I have proof.” He then said, “George Soros has a not-for-profit called Antac. Antac is the one that developed all of the dirty information that ended up being a false document that was created in order to incriminate Manafort.”

Antac is an acronym for Ukraine’s nonprofit Anti-Corruption Action Centre, run by the American-educated lawyer Daria Kaleniuk. It is not, in fact, controlled by Soros or responsible for the records of secret payments to Manafort.

As Kaleniuk wrote in April, in response to attacks by John Solomon on her group, the center has received funding from Soros’s Open Society Foundation but also from “the E.U., the U.S., the governments of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, the Global Fund,” and hundreds of concerned Ukrainian citizens.

The independent anti-corruption center is also not affiliated with Zelensky, a former television star who is new to politics but backed by a powerful oligarch who was accused by the previous administration of siphoning off millions of dollars in fraudulent loans from a private bank that had to be bailed out.

Since 2016, Kaleniuk wrote, she and her co-founder, Vitaliy Shabunin, have “faced a series of well-planned attacks from various corrupt officials and oligarchs” in retaliation for their efforts to expose corruption and demand transparency.

In much the same way that Russia’s leading anti-corruption activist, Aleksei Navalny, has been falsely accused of corruption and subjected to politically motivated prosecutions aimed at punishing him for exposing the kleptocracy overseen by President Vladimir Putin, the Antac activists have been constantly harassed by powerful Ukrainians who see their work as a threat.

“Smear campaigns on national TV owned by oligarchs, fake news, political harassment, physical attacks, U.S. lobbyists hired to intimidate Antac in foreign media and among decision-makers in the West — we’ve seen all that,” Kaleniuk wrote.

Later in the CNN interview, Giuliani referred to one of those attempts to discredit Antac. “The prosecutor was removed,” Giuliani said of Shokin, the focus of Biden’s intervention, “because he was investigating the son and he was investigating Soros’s charity or whatever the hell it was, Antac.”

As Kaleniuk explained on Twitter in response to Giuliani’s charge: “In 2016 we called for resignation of corrupt prosecutor Shokin for intimidating reformers in his agency and failure to investigate corruption crimes of Yanukovych associates, including Burisma case. In response Shokin fabricated criminal case against us.”

As the independent investigative journalist Scott Stedman revealed in May, court documents from a Canadian lawsuit show that the campaign of harassment against the Ukrainian activists even included the production of fictional news reports about Kaleniuk and Shabunin, apparently orchestrated by the private Israeli intelligence firm Psy-Group to mislead Ukrainians into believing that the politically motivated investigation by Shokin’s prosecutor general’s office was the subject of international news coverage.

Those actual examples of fake news, created to smear Antac’s founders, were, as The Economist noted, “an illustration of the increasingly hostile environment facing anti-corruption activists, journalists and reformist officials in Ukraine.”

Yaroslav Hrytsak, a historian at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, has described the pressure on the anti-corruption activists as part of “a counter-revolution” in Ukraine. “The counter-revolutionary propaganda machine is now trying to impose the idea that there are not, and cannot be honest people in Ukrainian politics. This blanket statement is supposed to convince people that the system is invincible, and fighting it is a waste of time,” Hrytsak wrote in the weeks after those fake reports were posted on YouTube.

For Giuliani to suggest now that Shokin’s investigation of those same anti-corruption activists was warranted means that he wants the United States government to take the side of Ukraine’s corrupt oligarchy in the counter-revolution against its reformers.

After watching Giuliani smear Antac on CNN as “Soros’s charity or whatever the hell it was,” Kaleniuk offered the president’s lawyer a simple explanation on Twitter. “We are a group of dedicated Ukrainians aimed to create hell for corrupt Ukrainian crooks and oligarchs,” she wrote. “We do that to stop thugs from robbing our country and thus turning it into a hell for Ukrainians.”

On Monday, she reposted images on Twitter of protests her group led in the summer of 2015, fivve months before Biden’s intervention, at which they demanded the resignation of Shokin, the chief prosecutor Giuliani now praises.

Daria Kaleniuk
This is July 14, 2015. Our first protest in front of "tough prosecutor" (as @RudyGiuliani says) office. Shokin just opened criminal case against reformers in his office, who were investigating senior prosecutors corruption at PGO
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8:44 AM - Sep 23, 2019
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Daria Kaleniuk
This is July 24, 2015. Jointly with other NGOs we are running protest in front of prosecutors general office demanding Shokin resignation - because of his corruption, attacks on reformers and failure to investigate corruption of Yanukivych associates ... okuratury/
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8:28 AM - Sep 23, 2019
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Chris Cuomo’s failure to properly challenge Giuliani on the jumbled details of the conspiracy theory he presented on live television on Thursday was followed on Friday by more coverage of the smearing of Biden seen primarily through the lens of politics, in which a presumed obligation to treat both sides equally has obscured the fact that one side is lying.

A prime example was a new report from Ken Vogel in which he described the uproar over the president pushing his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate his political rival as “a clash between congressional Democrats and the White House over whether Mr. Trump used the powers of his office and United States foreign policy in an effort to seek damaging information about a political rival.” But Trump was not looking for “damaging information,” he was trying to coerce a foreign government into manufacturing false information about his Democratic rival so as to lend credence to a baseless conspiracy theory.

On the airwaves, coverage of the viral rumors about Biden pushed by the White House has led to a flood of commentary from political reporters and cable news pundits, who are more eager to talk about how effective the tactic might be than to clearly inform the American people that they are being lied to. Notably absent from the discussion have been the voices of anti-corruption reformers in Ukraine, who welcomed the former vice president’s efforts to help them tackle endemic corruption in a country still run by and for a small group of powerful oligarchs with outsized political influence.

On Saturday, the feedback loop — in which Trump and his surrogates fill the airwaves with lies about Biden, and political reporters discuss them as a problem for the Democrat — was closed with the release of an attack ad from Trump’s campaign, featuring a highlight reel of speculation about Biden from pundits, reporters, and anchors on six different news shows, all echoing the president’s false claim that Biden’s intervention in Ukraine, might, somehow, be scandalous.

Donald J. Trump

This is the real and only story!
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7:53 AM - Sep 21, 2019
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On Monday morning at the United Nations, the president who has refused to make his tax returns public, secretly pursued a deal to build a tower in Moscow as he campaigned for office, handed his daughter and son-in-law jobs in the White House without asking them to divest themselves of business interests, and used the presidency to constantly promote his golf resorts and hotels, told reporters that he was really just concerned about the former vice president’s son having apparently benefited from his father’s position. “What Biden did is a disgrace; what his son did is a disgrace,” he said.

Asked to say what he told the Ukrainian president about Joe Biden and his son during the phone call in July, Trump then accidentally offered a clear explanation of why Biden’s intervention as vice president — pressing Ukraine to tackle corruption in return for U.S. aid — was logical and correct. “We’re supporting a country, we want to make sure that country’s honest,” the president said. “It’s very important to talk about corruption. If you don’t talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt? One of the reasons the news president got elected is he was going stop corruption. It’s very important that on occasion you speak to somebody about corruption.”


President Trump: "It's very important to talk about corruption. If you don't talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt?...It's very important that on occasion you speak to somebody about corruption."
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10:04 AM - Sep 23, 2019
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When another reporter followed up by asking, “Are you willing to clear this up by releasing the whistleblower report, sir?” Trump just pointed his finger at him and said, “Quiet.”

Updated: Monday, Sept. 23, 11:39 a.m. EDT
This article was updated to report new comments from the president of the United States at the U.N. on Monday and evidence of protests by anti-corruption activists in Ukraine in 2015. ... n-ukraine/

How Giuliani Is Conning The World Into Buying A False Biden-Ukraine Narrative
Josh Kovensky

Rudy Giuliani attempts to spin a false narrative about Joe Biden's involvement in Ukraine. (TPM Illustration/Getty Images)
While President Trump may be breaking new ground in political corruption, his lawyer has reached a new peak in bad faith with his smears of Joe Biden.

Lies, mischaracterizations, fibs — whatever word you have doesn’t fully capture what Giuliani is selling. It’s less a specific falsehood than an all-encompassing false narrative that’s ready-made for news organizations to pick up, more like a redux of the Benghazi scandal than a single lie.

The media’s approach to it thus far illustrates the point: outlets covering the burgeoning scandal hasten to state that there is no evidence of Biden committing any wrongdoing in Ukraine. A true statement, but one that misses the point.

There is overwhelming evidence that Giuliani and Trump are running a smear operation, abetted in part by the U.S. foreign policy apparatus. It shouldn’t be hard to explain, and yet we struggle to capture it.

Giuliani weaves different misrepresentations and untruths together to tell a story about Biden abusing his office to quash an investigation into his son.

In fact, there was no investigation to quash. Biden was arguably the most influential in a cacophony of western voices calling for the prosecutor’s resignation as part of the West’s bid to help the former Soviet republic root out corruption.

All this comes after it emerged that Giuliani — and Trump — have pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open investigations into the matter.

From the starting point of Hunter Biden’s seat on the board of a scandal-ridden Ukrainian gas company, Giuliani has made up a narrative of abuse of power tailored to support allegations of corruption against the Democratic frontrunner, while demanding that Kyiv supply likely fabricated evidence to support his narrative.

Everyone wanted the prosecutor out

Reforming Ukraine’s graft-ridden law enforcement institutions was at the top of the country’s western backers’ agenda in the years following the 2014 EuroMaidan revolution. Then-chief prosecutor Viktor Shokin was widely seen as refusing to investigate any cases of high-level corruption and came to represent one of the biggest obstacles towards establishing rule of law.

Calls for Shokin’s removal dominated news coverage of Ukraine for months in 2016, as the IMF and EU threatened to withhold financial support from the country if he stayed in the job.

Biden, at one point, threatened to withhold a $1 billion loan guarantee until Shokin was removed. “Son of a bitch, he got fired,” Biden later said, recounting the response.

Giuliani spins that situation into a personal vendetta of Biden’s to protect his son.

The crux of Giuliani’s allegation against Biden is as follows: he leaned on Shokin in a bid to prevent him from conducting an investigation into Hunter Biden’s involvement in a Ukrainian gas firm called Burisma.

The accusation is essentially abuse of power, that Biden — as President Obama’s point man on the Ukraine crisis – used his position to protect his son from a criminal investigation.

In some ways, it’s a mirror image of what’s under investigation by the House Intelligence Committee: U.S. foreign policy being turned into a personal political tool.

But Giuliani’s allegation completely misstates the environment around Shokin, and winds up wittingly or unwittingly playing as PR for the former prosecutor.

Burisma was dirty. But Shokin wasn’t investigating.

Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian gas company, was at the center of a massive grand corruption scandal, after owner Mykola Zlochevsky fled Ukraine following the country’s February 2014 revolution. Zlochevsky, who before the revolution was minister of natural resources, had awarded Burisma lucrative gas drilling licenses, leading to allegations that he was embezzling state resources on a massive scale.

It’s not known how much members of Viktor Yanukovych’s former government stole before they were overthrown, but estimates range as high as $40 billion. Zlochevsky’s alleged theft was a drop in the ocean, but it struck many as the kind of low-hanging fruit that a new government could go after in its bid to prosecute high-level corruption.

The British government froze $23 million in Zlochevsky’s accounts in March 2014 — a potential symbolic victory if it could be repatriated back to Ukraine.

But within a year, the case fell apart, largely because Shokin’s office refused to reply to British legal requests demanding evidence supporting corruption allegations.

The brazenness of the self-dealing in this case — awarding gas permits to yourself — and the involvement of the U.K. made the case a high-profile failure of Shokin’s tenure, and contributed to calls for his removal.

Hunter Biden joined the board of Burisma in April 2014.

Giuliani and others — including the American journalist John Solomon— have relied on Shokin to allege that Hunter Biden’s role at Burisma was the focus of a criminal investigation by his office. But a close look at the facts and at Shokin’s own activities at the time paints a drastically different picture.

The Burisma investigation was dead when Biden supposedly killed it.

Shokin had shelved the Burisma investigation in 2015, one year before Biden is accused of stepping in to quash it.

Former members of Shokin’s office from that time have confirmed that the Burisma case was halted more than a year before Biden called for Shokin’s resignation.

Giuliani — in part through the New York Times — has alleged that Biden fired Shokin in a bid to halt a criminal investigation that threatened his son.

“In the course of investigating that, I found out this incredible story about Joe Biden, that he bribed the president of the Ukraine in order to fire a prosecutor who was investigating his son,” Giuliani told CNN’s Chris Cuomo in a head-spinning Thursday night interview. “That is an astounding scandal of major proportions which all of you have covered up for about five or six months.”

Giuliani has not offered any evidence to support the allegations. ... -narrative

The Whole Team is In on It
Josh Marshall

President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting on July 16th, 2019. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
The only reasonable response to the President’s effort to force Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 presidential election is to demand the President resign and be prosecuted for criminal abuse of power after he leaves the White House. The President has deserved to be impeached for years. But last week’s revelations have an immediate bearing on the President’s foreign policy team and his top advisors at the White House.

As I’ve noted in posts below, simply on the basis of what are now undisputed facts, the President committed a grave abuse of power: the President repeatedly pressured a vulnerable foreign government to intervene in the 2020 election campaign, both through personal demands in at least one phone call (July 25th) and repeatedly through his personal ambassador, Rudy Giuliani. The White House is disputing that he explicitly stated a quid pro quo in which he would release congressionally approved military aid in exchange for election interference. But this is a non-point. Both literal military aid ($250 million) and perhaps as important the diplomatic and symbolic weight of US military backing are existential concerns for Ukraine, which has had part of its territory annexed and other regions occupied by Russian proxy forces. If a man is dangling by his fingers on the ledge of a skyscraper and you stand over him asking if you can buy his house for half its value, the threat that you won’t help him back off the ledge doesn’t need to be stated explicitly. It’s obvious. The parallel here is pretty much exact.

But the call in question, which took place on July 25th, was almost two months ago. There was apparently no effort to stop what was happening or sound an alarm by anyone at the White House or administration. It is basically a given that the top members of the President’s national security team would be read in on a call like this if indeed they weren’t on the call while it was happening. On top of this, at least according to Rudy Giuliani, the State Department assisted him in arranging meetings with Ukrainian government officials. So he not only issued threats and demands on behalf of the President, he had the assistance of the diplomatic corps. Finally, we don’t know who the intelligence community whistleblower is. But however this person found out about the call and other related activities, this means pretty clearly this wasn’t some secret the President was keeping just between him and Rudy Giuliani. Nor is this the first we’re hearing about a broader effort involving Giuliani. Josh Kovensky and other reporters have been reporting for months on Giuliani’s efforts and he was apparently behind the firing of the US Ambassador to Ukraine back in May.

The point is that something this egregious happened. It directly involved in the President in explicit demands to a foreign leader. Some or all of the President’s top advisors and certainly his top foreign policy team (National Security Advisor, Secretary of State, et al.) knew this was happening. And they were apparently okay with it. At a minimum, they allowed it to happen and participated in it and made no attempt to stop it. There is only a story because some unknown whistleblower decided to blow the whistle. Just as importantly, a Trump appointee, Inspector General Michael Atkinson, decided to force the matter by informing Congress of the existence of the whistleblower complaint even though administration officials prevented him from disclosing its substance.

This all has pretty dramatic implications beyond this one bad act. Many have assumed or at least left open the possibility that the President’s advisors keep him from participating himself in the most egregious wrongdoing. Maybe he has underlings like Rudy Giuliani or Corey Lewandowski do things outside government channels. Maybe the Saudis just know he’ll be happy if they pump millions of dollars into one of his hotels. We hear that the President often makes outrageous or nonsensical suggestions in staff meetings. But his advisors know to discreetly ignore these directives.

Apparently none of this is the case.

This new episode suggests that the President can personally commit the most egregious wrongdoing, clearly impeachable offenses, in full view of his most senior advisors, and we hear nothing about it. We only know about this because of this whistleblower, who is him or herself now being attacked publicly as a Deep State partisan. Could Trump have made financial demands of Gulf monarchies to help his private businesses? Could he have asked Vladimir Putin for election assistance in 2020? Given that the demand on Ukraine was considered acceptable and is now being affirmatively defended, there’s no reason to think that these actions wouldn’t have been deemed acceptable and within the President’s purview as well.

Why would a demand for election assistance from Ukraine be acceptable and ones of Russia or Saudi Arabia wouldn’t? Why would demands for assistance to his personal businesses be worse than ones for election interference? (To me, they’d be less problematic. The President profiting personally from the presidency is wrong but it’s less damaging to the country than preventing a free and fair election.) Clearly I can hypothesize any kind of wrongdoing and say that it’s now possible and that his team would go along with it. But that’s the point: whatever in extremis guard rails we may have been thinking existed, at least for what the President does in full view of the chiefs officers of state, clearly don’t exist.

We know the President wants to do all manner of bad acts and sees nothing wrong with them. This new development suggests he probably has, that his top advisors know about those bad acts and decided it was okay. ... s-in-on-it
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Sep 24, 2019 7:12 am

"when I took over the United States"
- donald trump Sept 23, 2019

Manafort worked for Dymtro Firtash and Ivan Fursin part owners of RosUkrEnergo. The other owner is Semion Mogelivich.

Mob gonna mob.
this is SO mafia-like. Hold back the spoils until the victim pays up

We are getting so close to Firtash.

And let's not forget who that brings us to...


Russian lobbyist testifies before Mueller grand jury ... grand-jury

So how are we closing in with the two pieces of news today?

Rinat worked for Ivanov, who ordered the assassination of Litvinenko.
More soon on who Lit. was hunting w/ MI6 b4 his murder.
(hint: mob)

2. ... ral-242191
There is no Manafort without Deripaska.
Mueller teams up with New York attorney general in Manafort probe ... ral-242191

Deripaska takes us to??
That's right. The same mob.
And interestingly, Deripaska is tied to the other hunter of this mob...


Deripaska also got some righteous help from some former politicians, turned lobbyists.
See that name?
Trent Lott..?


He lobbied successfully to get Semion off the Most Wanted Top Ten.

Combine all this w/ Felix Sater news - and the already, overly posted, trail of reporting and evidence between Sater & Semion, and I ask...


Oh. Of course.

mob. mob. mob. mob. ... 2551101440

speaking of Ukraine

the richest man in Ukraine hires new lawyers.......trump's very favorite Fox TV lawyers
Firtash has hired Trump-friendly lawyers Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova

Dmitry Firtash was charged in the Northern District of Illinois as the mastermind of an international titanium scheme in 2014

somebody is trying to get trump's attention

Trump-Friendly Lawyers Join Legal Team of Ukraine’s Firtash
Greg FarrellSeptember 23, 2019, 5:00 AM CDT
Politics & Policy

Trump’s Ukraine Call Runs Some Impeachment Traps

The president apparently learned nothing from the Mueller investigation. He could clear things up by releasing the transcript of his call to Zelensky about Biden.

Timothy L. O'Brien
Let’s make a deal.

Photographer: Alastair Pike/AFP/Getty Images
Timothy L. O’Brien is the executive editor of Bloomberg Opinion. He has been an editor and writer for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, HuffPost and Talk magazine. His books include “TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald.”
Read more opinion Follow @TimOBrien on Twitter
“Listen to me. Listen. Listen to me. Listen to me. Listen to me. I assume many people are on the line. I know that before I make the call. And you have intelligence agencies, everybody listening. That call was a great call. It was a perfect call. A perfect call.” - President Donald Trump, telling reporters Sunday about a phone call in which he encouraged Ukraine’s president to dig up dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

When Donald Trump moved into the Atlantic City gambling market in 1981, he contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation seeking guidance. He wanted to know how best to keep organized crime out of his operation. Fair enough, but for the inconvenient fact that Trump’s first two business partners there were, as he already knew, mobbed up.

Two months later, Trump met again with the FBI and said he welcomed undercover operatives in his casino “to show that he was willing to fully cooperate,” according to an FBI memo from the time. He asked for advice about staying the course in Atlantic City, and called on the agents yet again a few months later. At some point during those chats, the FBI agents discouraged him from visiting a fourth time, and gambling regulators eventually forced Trump to buy out his early, tainted partners.

Law enforcement and regulators in Atlantic City never prosecuted or penalized Trump for any of this; other operators (Hugh Hefner, Barron Hilton) lost their licenses for similar problems, but not Trump. Trump wore his transgressions on his sleeve — and he skated.

In 2005, while Trump was showing me the grounds of his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, he told me that one of the biggest mistakes he ever made was personally guaranteeing about $900 million of some $3.2 billion in loans he couldn’t pay back in the early 1990s — recklessness that brought him to the brink of personal bankruptcy.

“My father was a pro, my father knew, like I knew, you don’t personally guarantee. So I wrote a book called ‘The Art of the Deal,’ which as you know is the biggest of all time,” Trump told me. “In the book, I say, ‘Never personally guarantee.’ … And I’ve told people I didn’t follow my own advice.”

The Trump talking to me in 2005 presented himself as a financially chastened guy who wouldn’t overreach and imperil himself, his family and his business ever again. Personal guarantees were like time bombs, he assured me. He had learned his lesson.

But he hadn’t.

A month before telling me all of this, Trump had already personally guaranteed $40 million of a $640 million Deutsche Bank loan he was using to build a new hotel and residential building in Chicago. That one was a time bomb too, and it exploded in 2008 when the global financial crisis threatened to topple the project. Messy litigation ensued, yet Deutsche Bank wound up deciding to spare Trump and continued doing business with him.

Openly flaunting lawlessness — and sometimes convincing authorities that nothing was amiss because otherwise why would he have been talking about it so candidly? — is vintage Trump. Taking potentially self-destructive risks because he’s undisciplined, irrational and narcissistic — while pretending to be otherwise — is also vintage Trump.

Here we are in 2019 and Trump is president. And the Trump of today strong-armed Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, reportedly asking him eight times — eight times — during a July 25 phone call to pair up with his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to try to uncover improper dealings in the country by a political opponent, Joe Biden.

Just the day before, on July 24, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller had testified for several hours before Congress, a day that essentially marked the end of Mueller’s probe into whether Trump and his team had been part of a criminal conspiracy with Russia to tilt the 2016 presidential election against Hillary Clinton. Mueller said there had been ample collusion between the Trump camp and Russia, but not enough evidence existed to prove a conspiracy. He presented evidence that Trump had obstructed justice but left that to Congress to adjudicate.

The end of the Mueller probe, an investigation that came close to ensnaring Trump, should have chastened him and left him acutely aware that seeking political backing from a foreign government can carry criminal charges. But that presumes the president is a rational actor. Instead he stuck to his time-worn pathologies (lawlessness, existential risk-taking) by hopping on the phone with Zelensky the very next day — and proceeded to run, broadly speaking, the same play Mueller had examined: inviting a foreign power to interfere in a U.S. election.

Ukraine had a $250 million aid package from the U.S. in motion at the time of the call, and in late August the White House put it under review before finally releasing the package almost two weeks ago.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a person familiar with the July 25 call with Zelensky said that Trump didn’t mention the aid during the conversation or any other “quid pro quo for his cooperation on any investigation.” It’s unlikely that Zelensky wasn’t aware that the aid package might be imperiled if he didn’t go along. But did Trump need to specifically mention quid pro quos for this episode to be problematic? Legally, yes, of course — an explicit quid pro quo is exactly what you need if you’re going to tee up bribery and extortion charges in a courtroom.

From a pure abuse-of-power standpoint — the “high crimes and misdemeanors” that lead to impeachment — it’s not clear that a quid pro quo is essential. Trump muscled the leader of a foreign power to interfere in U.S. affairs so he could get something for himself: a second term as president. As George T. Conway III and Neal Katyal wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post on Friday night, the framers of the Constitution “believed that a president would break his oath if he engaged in self-dealing — if he used his powers to put his own interests above the nation’s.”

Giuliani and Trump have tried to paint their tag-teaming in Ukraine as an effort to establish that Biden, somehow, some way, was the one mucking with national security by trying to get his son out of harm’s way there years ago when a corruption probe was launched. As my Bloomberg News colleagues Stephanie Baker and Daryna Krasnolutska reported in May, a Ukrainian official familiar with the corruption push said that no U.S. officials pressured anyone to close cases that might have involved Biden’s son. And Biden’s own focus on corruption in Ukraine came one to two years after Ukraine prosecutors had already dropped the case Trump and Giuliani are so interested in. Adam Entous, a New Yorker reporter, drew the same conclusion, noting that “there is no credible evidence that Biden” did anything untoward. Politifact conducted a thorough fact-check of its own and concluded there was “no evidence to support the idea that Joe Biden advocated with his son's interests in mind” in Ukraine.

The Biden stuff is a non-starter and the focus should stay on the president himself. Trump could clear this up by releasing the transcript of his call with Zelensky, something he said he would consider when he met with reporters at the White House on Sunday and acknowledged that he had discussed a corruption probe of Biden with the Ukraine leader. His candor should be tested, because, just like decades ago in Atlantic City, Trump being candid doesn’t mean he’s being truthful.

The State Department coordinated Giuliani’s trips to Ukraine, so it probably has helpful records related to those events. Giuliani is ripe for an interview as well, possibly with federal law enforcement officials, though I don’t imagine Attorney General William Barr is looking at all of this with “rule of law” on his mind.

The man in the Oval Office is the same person who hurtled into the gambling business in Atlantic City decades ago and couldn’t stop playing chicken with his own well-being for years after. And Trump’s above-the-law presidency, riddled from the beginning with financial conflicts of interest and animated by an executive branch charting a course outside congressional scrutiny, is going to stay on the same path unless American institutions assert themselves.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners. ... -s-firtash

ICYMI: Thread connecting Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska →Russin mafia boss Semyon Mogilevich & his top leutinient Birshtein [father in-law of Trump business partners Schnaider] and to Manafort, plus a dash of Dmitry Firtash.
wash, rinse, repeat

Recall: In 2011, Tymoshenko sued Manafort, along w/ his biz partner Zackson [Fred Trump's former aide], Russian mafia boss Mogilevich, & oligarch/RU mobster Dmitry Firtash, alleging their $885M Drake Hotel project was a money laundering operation.


Firtash & his silent partner Mogilevich had complete control over CMZ, owned by Manafort & Fred Trump's former top aide Zackson


Manafort memo to Zackson [Fred Trump's former top aide] re his vision statement for Firtash & Russian mafia boss Mogilevich
Hi Rick Gates!


MERCER invested in data science firm CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA. MERCER insisted TRUMP campaign hire CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA to design its social media strategy. Through CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA and its owner Vincent TCHENGUIZ, MERCER is connected to PUTIN protégé Dmitry FIRTASH and Russian Intelligence Services (RIS). (3, 4)

Another prominent lawyer, Dan Webb, declines offer to represent Trump in Mueller's Russia investigation "due to conflicts." Webb is the lawyer of DIMITRYO FIRTASH, top-tier comrade of Russian mafia boss Semyon Mogilevich. That's some conflict.

Cambridge Analytica’s parent company was until recently owned by a British-Iranian businessman with ties to Putin-linked Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash who is wanted for bribery by the U.S. and was allegedly involved in a racketeering scheme with Paul Manafort.

Why would a Russian oil company be targeting American voters?
After the invasion of the Ukraine, a Russian born researcher at Cambridge University began harvesting private data of 30 million U.S. Facebook users for Cambridge Analytica.
Add to this, a mysterious server in Trump Tower which is suspected of compiling a massive database of hacked voter information with Russia’s Alfa Bank and the DeVos family-owned Spectrum Health, and you begin to see a clearer picture of how Cambridge Analytica may have gotten all this data. Cambridge Analytica’s parent company was until recently owned by a British-Iranian businessman with ties to Putin-linked Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash who is wanted for bribery by the U.S. and was allegedly involved in a racketeering scheme with Paul Manafort.

Pre-election reporting by Politifact only revealed that Paul Manafort worked for Akhmetov as a business consultant. His political work has been ascribed mainly to his relationship with Dimitry Firtash, an oligarch currently detained in Austria, awaiting extradition to America on federal bribery charges.

The owner of Trump's Moscow developer, Christodoulos Vassiliades, currently works for the Russian oligarch that bailed out Manafort's Ukrianian business partner Dmytro Firtash for $174 million. The Vassiliades-Vasily Anismov partnership began in early

That isn’t Fursin’s only connection to Manafort. He is also a lawmaker for the Party of Regions, which paid at least $17 million to Manafort’s firm.
In addition, Fursin’s longtime business associate, Ukrainian billionaire Dmitry Firtash, has an off-again, on-again partnership with Manafort. Together, they tried to buy the Drake Hotel in Manhattan for a cool $850 million. Firtash also bankrolled Ukraine’s Party of Regions.
Firtash has his own legal complications. He is currently under indictment in U.S. federal court for allegedly orchestrating an international titanium mining racket. The acting U.S. attorney in Chicago recently dubbed him an “organized-crime member” and an “upper-echelon associat[e] of Russian organized crime.” His attorneys say those charges are mere “innuendo,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

A December 2005 report from the Austrian Federal Criminal Investigation Agency said the FBI described Fursin and Firtash as senior members of the Semion Mogilevich Organization.

Manafort set up a similarly suspect offshore company with Ukrainian oligarch Dmitro Firtash. They hatched a plan to buy New York’s Drake Hotel then cancelled the deal leaving employees stranded without salaries. Firtash is wanted in the U.S. on suspicion of bribery and organized criminal activity. He was arrested in Austria in 2014 and is expected to be extradited to the US soon. Firtash may provide direct evidence to implicate Manafort. Both of Manafort’s known offshore holding were exposed in the Panama Papers.

But prosecutors say they are concerned that Firtash — who is wanted on racketeering charges and has ties to President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort — will jump on a private jet to Russia if a Chicago judge rules against him before he is handed over to U.S. authorities.

They revealed in court for the first time that they wiretapped telephone conversations in which Firtash allegedly discussed a co-defendant's trip to Chicago to meet with Boeing executives.

Firtash, who has friends in Russian President Vladimir Putin's Kremlin, has been fighting extradition from Austria since his high profile 2014 arrest in Vienna. Accused of masterminding an international titanium-mining racket involving Boeing, he claims he was targeted by the Obama administration as punishment for Putin's annexation of Crimea.

I just found out that the same man who wrote Clinton Cash (the bogus story alleging corruption at the Clinton Foundation) is also behind this Hunter Biden story. Why isn't this a bigger angle in stories about Trump blackmailing Ukraine?
BIDEN 2020
Sean Hannity says he’s unhealthy. Sinclair says he’s corrupt. How Republicans are working to turn Joe Biden into Hillary 2.0.
JUNE 10, 2019

As former Vice President Joe Biden emerges as the Democratic primary's clear front-runner, Republicans are responding with a familiar strategy. A year and a half before the general election, conservative news outlets have already been taking a page from their Hillary Clinton playbooks, hitting back against the not-quite-presumptive Democratic nominee by making dubious claims about Biden's health and family business dealings. Perhaps unsurprisingly, some of those critiques are even coming from one of the Clintons' most persistent adversaries: Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer.

Sinclair Broadcast Group, a conservative-leaning media conglomerate and the largest owner of local television stations in the country, has recently been pushing an interview with Schweizer on its news stations, in which he discusses the ongoing conspiracy theories concerning Biden's son, Hunter Biden. Following talking points that first attracted attention in the New York Times, Schweizer expresses concern over Hunter Biden's business ties in China and Ukraine and alleges that the countries' governments were attempting to influence the former vice president through his son. “Foreign governments and foreign oligarchs are looking to recruit the family members of politicians because they believe by striking commercial bargains with them—helping politician families become rich—that they're going to get favorable treatment,” Schweizer said in his Sinclair interview.

Sinclair's interview isn't the first time the right has latched on to Hunter Biden. Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani has been the conspiracy theory's biggest proponent, even going so far as planning a trip to Ukraine to try to convince the government to investigate Biden's son—which was then called off when opponents pointed out the move looked like an attempt to influence the 2020 election. The right's decision to cling to the allegations of impropriety seem based more on bias than fact; even Giuliani's point man in the Ukrainian government has admitted the government “[does] not see any wrongdoing” in Hunter Biden's actions. And Schweizer isn't exactly the most reliable source. Media Matters chronicled the journalist's “long history of errors, retractions, and questionable sourcing” back in 2015, and his Clinton Cash book was criticized for errors that included making accusations without evidence and relying on a fake press release as a source. (A Biden spokesperson described the accusations against his family as “a politically motivated hit piece based on a series of demonstrable, factual errors” in a statement to the Wall Street Journal.)

But that isn't the only strategy the conservative media is repeating from 2016. In a callback to the days of the far-right's obsession with #HillarysHealth, Fox News commentators have started raising the idea that 76-year-old Biden's health could be in decline—while offering zero evidence. Citing a comparison Bernie Sanders made between Clinton and Biden, which referred to the lack of enthusiasm around their campaigns, Fox Business Network host Lisa Kennedy said, “The more damage that [comparison] does, you go, ‘You know we haven’t seen Joe a lot, maybe he has hidden health issues, is always wearing an overcoat.’” Trump ally Sean Hannity also alluded to Biden's health, saying on a recent episode of his program, “Joe Biden’s tired. He does not have the energy for this. He’s not up for this challenge. They’re already hiding him like they hid Hillary. They don’t want him out there.” The Biden campaign's national press secretary T.J. Ducklo said in a statement to the Daily Beast the comments “are baseless lies meant to stoke fear in their viewers.”

The GOP's decision to start trotting back out their Clinton talking points comes amid a broader party strategy to take down Biden even before he faces a direct match-up against Trump. As Washington Examiner contributor David M. Drucker reported for Vanity Fair in May, Republican operatives are currently at work on “a vast, coordinated opposition-research effort” to destroy Biden's presidential chances, which digs into a “bountiful harvest of research” from Biden's long-spanning political career. With so much information reportedly at Republicans' fingertips, the latest reveals about Biden's family business deals could just be the tip of the iceberg.

But will their strategy work? The right's pre-emptive Biden fears seem to stem from a realization that “Uncle Joe” could be a formidable challenger to Trump in a general election, and current polls see Biden besting Trump in key regions like the Rust Belt. While Republicans' efforts to start disseminating anti-Biden information has already begun, though, it seems to have had little effect on Biden's current stronghold over the Democratic field. But just as the right's anti-Clinton propaganda likely played a role in her razor-thin electoral loss, could using that playbook once again on Biden similarly tip the scales just enough to benefit another primary challenger—or Trump? That still remains to be seen. “There’s a lot of Hillary Clinton 2.0 in Joe Biden,” a senior Republican opposition-research specialist told Drucker. “I think he is one of those rare politicians where everything old can be new again.” ... -joe-biden
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Sep 24, 2019 11:56 pm

Seth Abramson

(INTERVIEW) Here's my 21-minute interview (cell used for call quality) on Proof of Conspiracy and Trump's impeachable offenses with @Thom_Hartmann of The Thom Hartmann Program. Many thanks to Thom—one of the top talkers in the U.S.—for the excellent chat.


criminal conspiracy between trump and Rudy?

now just who would be talkin' that trash?

we tired so hard to stop donny from cutting off aid to Ukraine's not our fault Rudy did it Rudy did it :P :P

Giuliani pursued shadow Ukraine agenda as key foreign policy officials were sidelined

By Greg Miller ,
Josh Dawsey ,
Paul Sonne and
Ellen Nakashima
September 24 at 8:30 PM
President Trump’s attempt to pressure the leader of Ukraine followed a months-long fight inside the administration that sidelined national security officials and empowered political loyalists — including the president’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani — to exploit the U.S. relationship with Kiev, current and former U.S. officials said.

The sequence, which began early this year, involved the abrupt removal of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, the circumvention of senior officials on the National Security Council, and the suspension of hundreds of millions of dollars of aid administered by the Defense and State departments — all as key officials from these agencies struggled to piece together Giuliani’s activities from news reports.

Several officials described tense meetings on Ukraine among national security officials at the White House leading up to the president’s phone call on July 25, sessions that led some participants to fear that Trump and those close to him appeared prepared to use U.S. leverage with the new leader of Ukraine for Trump’s political gain.

As those worries intensified, some senior officials worked behind the scenes to hold off a Trump meeting or call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky out of concern that Trump would use the conversation to press Kiev for damaging information on Trump’s potential rival in the 2020 race, former vice president Joe Biden, and Biden’s son Hunter.

[Pelosi announces formal impeachment inquiry of Trump]

“An awful lot of people were trying to keep a meeting from happening for the reason that it would not be focused on Ukraine-U.S. relations,” one former official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter.

What Trump has said about his Ukraine conversations

After initially declining to discuss his conversations with Ukraine, President Trump on Sept. 22 appeared to acknowledge the two leaders discussed Joe Biden. (Video: JM Rieger/Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
White House officials disputed these accounts, saying that no such concerns were raised in National Security Council meetings and that Trump’s focus was on urging Ukraine to root out corruption. A White House spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

But Trump admitted this week that he had done some of what his own advisers feared, using the call to raise the issue of Biden with Zelensky. And the wave of consternation triggered by that call led someone in the U.S. intelligence community to submit
an extraordinary whistleblower complaint, setting in motion a sequence of events that now includes the start of an impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives.

Though the whistleblower report focuses on the Trump-
Zelensky call, officials familiar with its contents said that it includes references to other developments tied to the president, including efforts by Giuliani to insert himself into U.S.-Ukrainian relations.

Trump announced Tuesday that he would release a transcript of his call, insisting that it would show there was “NO quid pro quo!” and would reveal a conversation that was “friendly and totally appropriate.”

But even within Trump’s party, few have gone so far as to say they would consider it appropriate for the president to solicit foreign help in an American election. And his political fate may hinge on how lawmakers and the public assess not only his intentions on the call but also the actions of his subordinates in the events surrounding it.

U.S. officials described an atmosphere of intense pressure inside the NSC and other departments since the existence of the whistleblower complaint became known, with some officials facing suspicion that they had a hand either in the complaint or in relaying damaging information to the whistleblower, whose identity has not been revealed and who is entitled to legal protection.

[A dozen House Democrats have pivoted toward impeaching Trump. Here’s why each is a big deal.]

One official — speaking, like others, on the condition of anonymity — described the climate as verging on “bloodletting.”

Trump has fanned this dynamic with his own denunciations of the whistleblower and thinly veiled suggestions that the person should be outed. “Is he on our Country’s side. Where does he come from,” Trump tweeted this week.

Trump’s closest advisers, including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who was ordered by Trump to suspend the aid to Ukraine, are also increasingly targets of internal finger-pointing. Mulvaney has agitated for foreign aid to be cut universally but has also stayed away from meetings with Giuliani and Trump, officials said. But the person who appears to have been more directly involved at nearly every stage of the entanglement with Ukraine is Giuliani.

“Rudy — he did all of this,” one U.S. official said. “This s---show that we’re in — it’s him injecting himself into the process.”

Several officials traced their initial concerns about the path of U.S.-Ukrainian relations to news reports and interviews granted by Giuliani in which he began to espouse views and concerns that did not appear connected to U.S. priorities or policy.

The former New York mayor appears to have seen Zelensky, a political neophyte elected president of Ukraine in April and sworn in in May, as a potential ally on two political fronts: punishing those Giuliani suspected of playing a role in exposing the Ukraine-related corruption of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and delivering political ammunition against Biden.

[How Trump and Giuliani pressured Ukraine to investigate the president’s rivals]

After the conclusion of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Russia’s role in the 2016 election, Giuliani turned his attention to Ukraine, officials said, and soon began pushing for personnel changes at the embassy while seeking meetings with Zelensky subordinates. He also had his own emissaries in Ukraine who were meeting with officials, setting up meetings for him and sending back information that he could circulate in the United States.

The U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, became a primary Giuliani target.

Yovanovitch, a longtime State Department Foreign Service officer, arrived in Ukraine as ambassador at the end of the Obama administration, more than two years after an uprising centered on Kiev’s Independence Square ousted the Russian-leaning government.

Though she was widely respected in the national security community for her efforts to prod Ukraine to take on corruption, Giuliani targeted Yovanovitch with wild accusations including that she played a secret role in exposing Manafort and was part of a conspiracy orchestrated by the liberal financier George Soros.

“She should be part of the investigation as part of the collusion,” Giuliani said in a recent interview with The Washington Post, adding that “she is now working for Soros.” Yovanovitch is still employed by the State Department and is a fellow at Georgetown University. She declined to comment.

Giuliani also said the entire State Department was a problem, and officials familiar with his actions say he regularly briefed Trump on his Ukrainian endeavors. “The State Department is a bureaucracy that needs to change,” he told The Post.

Many of Giuliani’s charges were either recycled from, or subsequently echoed by, right-wing media outlets.

In late March, the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. amplified this campaign with a tweet calling for the removal of “Obama’s U.S. Ambassador.”

Yovanovitch, who was to depart in July after a three-year assignment, was prematurely ordered back to Washington, a move that both baffled and unnerved senior officials at the State Department and the White House, officials said.

Within days of her ouster on May 9, Giuliani seemed determined to seize an unsanctioned diplomatic role for himself, announcing plans to travel to Ukraine to push for investigations that would “be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.”

Giuliani canceled the trip amid an ensuing backlash over his purpose but later met with one of Zelensky’s senior aides in Madrid and pressed the issue of Ukraine’s helping against Biden.

In a May 19 interview on Fox News, Trump recited repeatedly disproved allegations that then-Vice President Biden had coerced Ukraine to drop an investigation into the owner of an energy company, Burisma, for which Biden’s son Hunter was a board member.

The allegations were baseless. Though Hunter Biden had served on the Burisma board for five years — a questionable decision given his father’s influential position — he was never accused of any wrongdoing by Ukrainian authorities. The probe had been shelved before any action by the vice president, and the elder Biden’s efforts involved removing a prosecutor widely criticized by the West as failing to tackle corruption.

Nevertheless, Trump is alleged to have used his July 25 call with Zelensky to get Ukraine to revive this dormant inquiry and widen it to include possible wrongdoing by Biden.

In Washington, officials outside Trump’s inner circle who were dismayed by Yovanovitch’s ouster reacted with growing alarm and confusion over Giuliani’s subsequent activities.

Then-national security adviser John Bolton was outraged by the outsourcing of a relationship with a country struggling to survive Russian aggression, officials said. But by then his standing with Trump was strained, and neither he nor his senior aides could get straight answers about Giuliani’s agenda or authority, officials said. Bolton declined to comment.

Giuliani told The Post that one of his calls with a top Ukrainian aide was partially arranged by Kurt Volker, a State Department official, and that he briefed the department afterward.

“We had the same visibility as anybody else — watching Giuliani on television,” a former senior official said. Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev were similarly deprived of information, even as they faced questions from Ukrainians about whether Giuliani was a designated representative.

“The embassy didn’t know what to do with the outreach,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who traveled to Ukraine this month.

In an interview Tuesday on Fox News, Giuliani said he had been enlisted by the State Department to intervene on the Ukraine matter. "You know who I did it at the request of? The State Department," he said, holding up his cellphone to indicate that call records would back up his claim. He also said that he began pursuing the issue in late 2018 after a visit from an investigator he did not identify.

The perception of a parallel, hidden agenda intensified in the summer as officials at the NSC, Pentagon and State Department began reacting to rumors that hundreds of millions of dollars of military and intelligence aid to Ukraine was being mysteriously impeded.

“There were never any orders given, any formal guidance from the White House to any of the agencies,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter. “And the NSC was scratching their heads: How is this possible?”

NSC officials, including Tim Morrison, who had replaced Fiona Hill as the senior director for European and Russian affairs, began organizing meetings to try to understand these hidden forces affecting Ukraine policy, officials said.

But even then, clear answers proved elusive. Officials were told that the money was being blocked by the Office of Management and Budget, without any accompanying explanation.

“It was bizarre,” the official said.

A former official familiar with the meetings said participants began to file out raising troubling questions about what was driving the White House to withhold the aid as well as a meeting with Trump that had been all but promised to Zelensky.

Although the question of a linkage or leverage never came up in the formal NSC discussions, participants began to believe that Trump was “withholding the aid until [Ukraine] gave him something on Biden or Manafort.”

It was during this stretch, in July, when some officials began to hesitate about the wisdom of proceeding with a Trump call with Zelensky. In part, there was a desire to hold off until after Ukraine’s parliamentary elections. But, mindful of Giuliani’s agitation and influence, some worried that even if Trump were coached before the call, the president would not be able to resist pressing Zelensky for dirt on Biden.

On July 24, Mueller testified before Congress on the outcome of the Russia investigation, a probe that had threatened Trump for much of his presidency and was focused on whether he had conspired with Moscow to influence the U.S. election.

The next day, Trump spoke with Zelensky on a call, and the vague misgivings that had risen over the preceding five months hardened into alarm. Among those who listened in on the call or were in position to see a transcript, the president’s persistence with Zelensky on the corruption probe marked the crossing of a perilous threshold. ... story.html

In terms of Rudes being some out of control rogue agent whispering zany ideas into Trumps ear, where do we think Rudes got the idea or mission that he needed to prove Paul Manafort had been framed? He and Paul go way back? The Manafort angle is the tell no one is focusing on.

well Josh I've been focusing on for some time now
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Sep 30, 2019 2:30 pm

Wendy Siegelman

OFAC Specially Designated Nationals & Blocked Persons list new updates related to Internet Research Agency Yevgeniy Prigozhin

Denis Igorevich Kuzmin
Igor Vladimirovich Nesterov

Autolex Transport Ltd
Beratex Group Ltd
Linburg Industries Ltd ... 90930.aspx



Treasury Targets Assets of Russian Financier who Attempted to Influence 2018 US Elections - action increases pressure on Yevgeniy Prigozhin targeting his physical assets, including three aircraft and a yacht, & employees of the IRA which Prigozhin finances

Sandy Skipper

"In 1981, he was sent to prison for nine years for robbery, fraud, and child prostitution." ... 33/photo/3
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Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Sep 30, 2019 3:08 pm

Seth Abramson
(per his statements)

1. Those investigating me are traitors and must be put to death.

2. My political enemies must be imprisoned.

3. Those who oppose me who aren't put to death or imprisoned will face armed insurrection by my supporters.


Illegal Solicitaion (Foreign Donation)
Illegal Classification
Witness Tampering
Making False Statements

Abuse of Power
Obstruction of Congress
Oath Violation ... 9344440322

These are the circumstances that could actually force Trump to resign: history professor
1 min ago
It’s highly unlikely — though not impossible — that President Donald Trump could step down to avoid being thrown out of office.

House Democrats have launched a formal impeachment inquiry that’s already gathered new public support, but Trump’s history suggests he’ll fight to the bitter end — no matter what it costs the nation, according to CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University.

“The prospects of Trump ending his career rather than forcing others to do it for him — either Congress or the electorate — seem remote,” Zelizer argued. “Trump loves a fight and seems to be revved up by the prospect of taking on the Democratic House.”

Trump loves to feel like he’s punching back, and he seems to think he’s entering the impeachment fight with the full support of the Republican Party.

“With memories of the 1998 midterms, when the electorate punished the GOP for impeaching President Bill Clinton, Trump is betting that voters will turn against the Democrats rather than him, putting him in an even stronger position by Election Day,” Zelizer wrote.

But some observers believe he could eventually be forced to abandon the fight if resignation is all that’s left to keep him from being prosecuted upon leaving office.

“If Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell met with Trump to deliver the news that his colleagues would not support the administration should a trial prove that articles of impeachment were sound, the President would suddenly be the one sitting on the other end of the boardroom table about to be told, ‘You’re fired!'” Zelizer wrote.

Right now, congressional Republicans have signaled they support the president, but eventually the pressure to turn on Trump may become too great, Zelizer wrote.

“The power of partisanship on which Trump has depended might turn against him if the party no longer sees him as being in its best interests,” Zelizer wrote. “More than good conscience or realism, the loss of Republican support in the Senate will be the only development that can leave President Trump standing alone, with no choice but to step down.” ... ssion=true
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Sep 30, 2019 3:18 pm

Is the Ukraine scandal the smoking gun that will take down Trump?
6 mins ago
Sometimes a moment of clarity can change everything. The question is whether President Trump’s communication with the Ukrainian president about former Vice President Biden this past summer provides that moment of clarity in the impeachment inquiry that now has been launched by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Impeachment under our Constitution was meant to be a rare event. The Founders did not want Congress to impeach a president over sloppy, negligent or even immoral conduct—the Founders called it “maladministration.” If someone turned out to be a terrible administrator or ineffective or even malignant politician, that was not to be the basis for impeachment. In fact, the Founders argued at length as to whether to have an impeachment outlet at all, knowing that they already were providing a fixed term for a president (as opposed to a life term for Article III judges). The election was seen as the mechanism to remove poor or even rogue actors from the presidency.

But one concern caused the Founders to pause. What if a president was nothing but a tool of a foreign power? What if a president was paid by a foreign country to commit treachery against his own government? George Washington described how he did not want the United States to be turned into the “playground of European powers.”

Start with the words “Treason” and “Bribery” and you begin to see how the impeachment clause in Article II took shape. A president guilty of treason or bribery could certainly be impeached. But what about other acts? The term “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” was inserted with Treason and Bribery to describe other impeachable crimes against the state, major political crimes that undermined the integrity of the government or its proper functioning.

So in Watergate, the House Judiciary Committee voted to send to the House three articles of impeachment. The first concerned the cover-up of the Watergate crimes by the president and his advisors. That included paying hush money to the burglars to keep them from testifying and the dangling of pardons to E. Howard Hunt, one of the masterminds of the Watergate operation. The article contained nine instances of obstructive conduct. The second article of impeachment alleged various abuses of presidential power, such as using the IRS to harass political enemies and illegal wiretapping of citizens. Five paragraphs described a myriad of conduct. The third article alleges the president ignored lawful subpoenas from Congress in violation of duty to see that the laws be faithfully executed, including responding to duly authorized subpoenas.

The three articles, thus, concerned abuses of political power that interfered with the lawful investigation of conduct by the president and his associates who were involved in sabotaging the nation’s free and fair election process through political espionage and trying to hide who was involved through various means of obstructing the investigation into the criminal activity

All that said, there is still something decidedly opaque about the term “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” and legal scholars can and do debate when a president’s conduct obstructs justice given that the president is empowered under Article II with the discretion to decide who and when to prosecute wrongdoers as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer. It was a muddle

Like the Mueller Report, the average voter was easily lost in the all the minutia of the Watergate crimes, even with live witnesses like John Dean laying out on national television instance after instance of presidential involvement in the cover-up. When some select tapes began to circulate, like Dean’s March 21, 1973 “cancer on the presidency” warning, the public and many Republicans still could not be persuaded that impeachable offenses had been committed. There was a fog of charges and countercharges, with most people aligning along a partisan divide. Nixon actually used the word “witchhunt.

It took a moment of clarity to change everything. This is not to discount the cumulative effect of the “drip, drip, drip” of disclosures during Watergate. The Senate hearings in the summer of 1973 took a toll on Nixon’s popularity. The fight over the tapes, once discovered, and the firing of Archibald Cox as the Special Prosecutor in the fall of 1973 also raised the temperature in the debate over whether Nixon should go. But still, as 1973 surrendered to 1974, there was no clear consensus that Richard Nixon should be impeached. The House Judiciary Committee opened its impeachment inquiry and voted along mainly party lines to send articles of impeachment to the House in late July 1974. And yet, eleven Republicans on the Committee still demurred, failing to find Nixon guilty of obstruction of justice.

The defining moment came when the United States Supreme Court issued its ruling in United States v. Nixon, ordering the president to turn over certain subpoenaed tapes. One of those tapes was of a conversation that took place just a week after the break-in. On Friday, June 23, 1972, Richard Nixon met with his Chief of Staff, Bob Haldeman, to discuss how to get ahead of the Watergate investigation being conducted by the FBI. Haldeman suggested, and Nixon agreed, that the CIA should be asked to intervene and ask the FBI to “turn off” its investigation of the crime, as it might lead to CIA activity given that Howard Hunt had been involved in CIA activity like the disastrous Bay of Pigs operation.

It was a false narrative. The CIA had nothing to do with the Watergate break-in. The presidential directive to have the CIA intercede with the FBI, though, was easily understood as the kind of abuse of presidential power that was impeachable. When the tape and its transcript became available on August 5, 1974, it was the end. The tape became known as the “Smoking Gun” tape, as it clearly showed Nixon knew of and indeed directed the cover-up from the start. The Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee who had not voted for Article I (obstruction of justice) changed their minds and declared that in the June 23 tape Nixon all but confessed his guilt. Amazingly, these Republicans still felt that the other evidence—payment of hush money, dangling of pardons—did not rise to the level of impeachable conduct. Days later, Nixon’s support totally evaporated in the House and the Senate and Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974.

The point is that the June 23 tape presented a simple, understandable, irrefutable example of an abuse of presidential power. The president was directly involved in the wrongdoing. He clearly was using his power to try to stop an investigation by misusing the CIA and the FBI. This was easy to digest. It did not have the confusing narrative of “who knew what and when.” It was stark and it provided the basis for impeachment.

There is a similar feel about the Ukraine incident. The president is directly involved. He is misusing his official power to investigate political opponents. He is using his office to ask a foreign power to essentially intermeddle in domestic politics, perhaps influencing the 2020 election. The story may involve a quid pro quo—the withholding of military aid as a means of pressuring a foreign state to dig up or even manufacture dirt on an opponent.

There is none of the confusion or impenetrable detail of the Mueller Report. Instead this scandal provides easy-to-digest facts that show a president acting in a way that should allow the House to impeach and an unbiased Senate to convict.

Could this be President Trump’s “smoking gun”?

James D. Robenalt is a lawyer and the author of four nonfiction books, including January 1973, Watergate, Roe v Wade and Vietnam, And The Month That Changed America Forever. He lectures nationally with John W. Dean, Nixon’s White House Counsel, on Watergate and legal ... ssion=true

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

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Oct 04, 2019 10:36 am



Russian witness thrown from a window after his name was exposed by Trump Tower lobbyist: emails
By Tom BoggioniOctober 4, 2019
According to a report from the Daily Beast, a witness who was taking part in a U.S. trial aimed at Russian corruption — and who fell from a window to his death — reportedly had his name exposed in emails connected to alleged pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign operative Natalia Veselnitskaya.

Emails uncovered by the Beast point the finger directly at Veselnitskaya, who met with Don Trump Jr. at Trump Tower in 2016 that became a major part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian involvement in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Noting the death of Nikolai Gorokhov, who was reportedly thrown from the window of a hotel in Moscow prior to appearing in a corruption trial, the Beast reports, “A cache of emails obtained by the Dossier Center, which is a Russian opposition organization based in London, exposes the depth of foreign asset entanglement in Trump’s America at the precise moment that the president’s dealings with Ukrainian officials threaten to pull the Department of Justice and State Department into an unseemly impeachment fight.”

The report goes on to state that “The cache of emails that detail Veselnitskaya’s legal campaign and lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C., were shared with The Daily Beast by the Dossier Center, which is funded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, one of Putin’s most prominent exiled critics, ” before adding, “The emails cannot be independently verified by The Daily Beast via a digital signature but elements contained within them including cell phone numbers, bank details, planning, email addresses, and hearing dates can be confirmed by cross-checking with subsequent court papers, lobbyist filings and other reporting.”

“New emails from the same cache, which includes messages from and to Veselnitskya and her aide and translator Murat Glashev, shed light on Veselnitskaya’s lobbying and legal campaign against the Magnitsky Act and appear to suggest that it may have been carried out in breach of another U.S. law and court orders,” the report continues. “Some of the emails suggest the breaking of an order put in place by a New York court to protect the identity of Gorokhov, a Russian witness who testified in a sealed deposition. His evidence was hidden amid fears of reprisals back home.” ... st-emails/

Email Leak Exposes Trump Tower Russian’s Dirty Lobbying Operations
According to leaked emails from Natalia Veselniskaya, Russia’s disinformation campaign may have broken U.S. law and exposed details of a witness who later fell from a window.

Nico Hines
London Editor
Updated 10.04.19 9:35AM ET
Published 10.04.19 6:01AM ET
Dmitry Serebryakov/AP
LONDON—The identity of the U.S. government’s star witness in a high-profile trial—who subsequently fell out of a fifth-story Moscow window—was compromised in the course of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign run by Natalia Veselnitskaya, according to leaked emails.

The Russian lawyer who took part in the infamous Trump Tower meeting with senior Trump campaign officials was part of a secretive campaign on American soil that—according to the emails—may also have involved contempt of court and the violation of lobbying laws. She already has been indicted by the Southern District of New York on obstruction of justice charges.

A cache of emails obtained by the Dossier Center, which is a Russian opposition organization based in London, exposes the depth of foreign asset entanglement in Trump’s America at the precise moment that the president’s dealings with Ukrainian officials threaten to pull the Department of Justice and State Department into an unseemly impeachment fight.

The leaked emails offer an unprecedented look into the cynical world of Russia’s remorseless influence campaign within the U.S. Veselnitskaya was representing a company called Prevezon, which was facing an American trial over a $230 million fraud that began in Russia and implicated the Russian authorities.

An American law firm that had been working for Prevezon at the direction of Veselnitskaya was barred from the case by an extremely rare writ of mandamus handed down by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals because of conflict of interest with a former client. Emails suggest BakerHostetler, a major U.S. law firm that has also worked for The Daily Beast and its parent company, IAC, continued to operate as a kind of shadow counsel in what would have been a clear breach of the court order.

Other emails suggest another court order was violated when the testimony given by a Russian witness leaked, endangering his life before he was due to return to New York to give evidence at the trial.

It was later reported in the Russian media that the witness—Nikolai Gorokhov—had fallen five floors from an apartment building in Moscow. He survived with a fractured skull. He said his fall was no accident, but could not remember exactly what happened.

Cristy Phillips, a former U.S. government prosecutor with the Southern District of New York (SDNY) who worked on the case, said she fears that the emails shared with The Daily Beast indicate deep corruption hidden within the American legal system.

“The integrity of our judicial system depends on lawyers upholding their obligations as officers of the court. Most fundamentally, if a court issues an order, lawyers have to follow it and make sure that others on their side follow it. There were numerous senior lawyers on these emails and they all clearly violated a Second Circuit court order. And these were not inexperienced lawyers, several of them are former Department of Justice attorneys,” she told The Daily Beast.

“We’re talking about a case where witnesses had died and other witnesses’ lives and safety had been threatened. These were not low-stakes decisions.”

The cache of emails that detail Veselnitskaya’s legal campaign and lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C., were shared with The Daily Beast by the Dossier Center, which is funded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, one of Putin’s most prominent exiled critics.

The emails cannot be independently verified by The Daily Beast via a digital signature, but elements contained within them including cellphone numbers, bank details, planning, email addresses, and hearing dates can be confirmed by cross-checking with subsequent court papers, lobbyist filings, and other reporting.

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Emails from the same leak led to an indictment against Veselnitskaya, who has known Kremlin links, that was filed by prosecutors from the SDNY earlier this year. U.S. government officials obtained the emails—first published by the Dossier Center and NBC News—that suggest that Veselnitskaya conspired directly with Russian officials to mislead an American court.

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When Veselnitskaya was confronted with some of the Dossier Center emails on camera by NBC News, she confirmed that she recognized some of the documents. She later told Russia’s Interfax news agency that her emails had been hacked.

New emails from the same cache, which includes messages from and to Veselnitskaya and her aide and translator Murat Glashev, shed light on Veselnitskaya’s lobbying and legal campaign against the Magnitsky Act and appear to suggest that it may have been carried out in breach of another U.S. law and court orders.

Some of the emails suggest the breaking of an order put in place by a New York court to protect the identity of Gorokhov, a Russian witness who testified in a sealed deposition. His evidence was hidden amid fears of reprisals back home.

According to the Dossier Center leak, Veselnitskaya’s lawyer, Mark Cymrot, wrote a series of emails concerned that his Russian client may have allowed details of Gorokhov’s testimony to be passed on after she was granted access to the testimony under U.S. discovery laws—but only under tight restrictions.

The emails suggest Gorokhov’s secret deposition was leaked to Andrei Nekrasov, a Russian filmmaker who was making a pro-Kremlin movie against the Magnitsky Act at the time.

According to an email dated April 17, 2016, Cymrot says to Veselnitskaya: “[Nekrasov] was using part of Gorokhov’s deposition and separately he said we showed him non-public information… we are under court order to keep [Gorokhov’s] deposition and name confidential.”

Nekrasov told The Daily Beast that he does not have this material in his possession. “Neither Mark nor myself have done anything illegal, or just wrong, professionally or morally,” he said. “I do not recall anyone sharing any confidential material from that case with me.”

Cymrot did not answer detailed questions put to him by The Daily Beast.

Preet Bharara, who was the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York at the time, was so concerned about Gorokhov’s safety that he submitted a letter to the judge under seal in October 2015, requesting additional measures to protect him. Bharara informed the court that “Mr. Gorokhov and his family are temporarily staying in the United States due to well-founded concerns that they could be endangered by individuals in Russia seeking to prevent Mr. Gorokhov from testifying.”

“It’s totally unacceptable that that information got out,” Phillips said. “It is on the record that the government took extraordinary measures to protect him. But at the end of the day, we could only protect him insofar as the defense respected the court order that said the information was highly confidential and should be shared with no one.” It is not suggested that any leaked information from the case led to Gorokhov’s fall.

The civil forfeiture case in question concerned allegations of money laundering by a company called Prevezon, which was accused by American prosecutors of disposing of some of the proceeds of a $230 million fraud in Russia. The defendant, Prevezon, eventually settled the case, paying $5.9 million.

The alleged fraud took on major geopolitical significance after the lawyer who uncovered it, Sergei Magnitsky, died in Russian custody amid allegations that the Russian state and its criminal accomplices had tried to cover it up. The Magnitsky Act, which sanctioned the individuals involved, was named in his honor after former client and fraud victim Bill Browder, a U.S.-born hedge-fund CEO, launched a global campaign for justice.

The emails also reveal new details about Veselnitskaya’s efforts to have America’s Magnitsky sanctions overturned on behalf of Moscow. The sanctions in question were targeted against corrupt Russian officials by the Magnitsky Act, which had infuriated President Vladimir Putin.

In retaliation for the Magnitsky Act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2012, Putin banned American adoptions of Russian babies. It was supposedly to discuss the “adoption issue” that Veselnitskaya met in Trump Tower with Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., and Paul Manafort, who was chairman of Trump’s presidential campaign at the time.

Overturning the Magnitsky Act was one of Putin’s top foreign-policy goals at the time, and spawned an extensive lobbying and public-relations effort.

Leaked emails between Veselnitskaya and her American lawyers raise a number of potential legal issues in their campaign.

BakerHostetler, a major firm that represents Major League Baseball and was briefly hired by House Republicans to sue President Barack Obama, never registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) to cover the work for Veselnitskaya and Prevezon. FARA registration is required to operate on behalf of foreign principals and a leading lobbying expert said the emails appeared to show that Baker did provide strategic and communications advice to Veselnitskaya and her employer, Denis Katsyv, who owns Prevezon.

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Nico Hines

On May 30, 2016, an email suggests Cymrot wrote to Veselnitskaya to prepare for an upcoming congressional hearing at which she would give evidence. “Do you want us to prepare your written statement or at least the first draft? We also should prepare you for the questions.”

After the hearing, which took place in June 2016 during the trip to the United States when Veselnitskaya went to Trump Tower, Cymrot reached out again, according to a leaked email, to say that one of his colleagues had written a draft of Veselnitskaya’s supplementary evidence to the committee. According to a leaked email dated July 27, he followed up to say that he had made some edits personally, and could deliver the document to Congress on her behalf.

“Here you have multiple pieces of evidence that would seem to trigger registration under FARA,” said Brendan Fischer, the director of federal reforms at the Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit that scrutinizes campaign finance and ethics. “These emails and documents certainly raise serious questions about whether Cymrot and BakerHostetler violated FARA by failing to register.”

BakerHostetler declined to comment.

Another part of the lobbying effort included an attempt to recruit Sen. Jeff Sessions, according to the leaked emails. Sessions had become the first senior Republican to formally endorse Donald Trump in the presidential race in February 2016. He would go on to be named U.S. attorney general once Trump was elected.

Rinat Ahkmetshin, a former Soviet counterintelligence officer and Washington lobbyist, boasted that he had recruited the Alabama senator to launch an investigation into U.S. sanctions against Russia, according to a leaked email from Cymrot.

Akhmetshin reportedly was hired by Prevezon before he started to get paid by an ostensible human-rights NGO, which BakerHostetler and Akhmetshin helped to set up.

The leaked emails suggest Cymrot wrote to Veselnitskaya on April 17, 2016, to outline their progress: “Rinat has told us that Senator Jeff Sessions is willing to start an investigation into how the Magnitsky Law came about.”

After denying any 2016 contact with Russian officials during his attorney general confirmation hearing, Sessions admitted that he had failed to disclose meetings with the Russian ambassador. His story about whether he discussed the election with Sergei Kislyak changed over the following months but even by October 2017—when he appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee and confirmed his meetings with Kislyak—he was still adamant that he had not discussed the sanctions with anyone. “I don’t believe I’ve ever had any discussion at any time about the Magnitsky Act,” he said, under oath.

Sessions, who was a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time, never did publicly call for an investigation into the Magnitsky Act.

Sessions’ lawyer, Charles Cooper, told The Daily Beast that Sessions “has no recollection of the matters discussed in the emails that you referenced. Nor do any of the people who were the relevant members of his Senate staff in 2016. Neither he nor his Senate staff recall meeting any of the people referenced in the email you sent. And he certainly did not pursue any kind of hearings or other inquiry into the Magnitsky Act, which he cosponsored in 2011.”

Another arm of the pro-Kremlin lobbying effort was orchestrated by an ostensible NGO called the Human Rights Accountability Global Initiative Foundation (HRAGIF).

At the end of April 2016, emails suggest a BakerHostetler invoice addressed to HRAGIF described professional services at a cost of $111,387.45, including issues relating to the Magnitsky list, which named the sanctioned individuals, for “review and markup materials regarding issues with Magnitsky Act” and “materials for Congressional committee.” It also included numerous line items on time spent discussing “lobbying registration requirements” and “review of… FARA requirements,” as well as drafting the “certificate of incorporation” to set up HRAGIF in the first place.

According to a leaked email dated July 14, 2016, Cymrot wrote to Veselnitskaya to explain the invoices. “Natalia: I am attaching the HRAGIF and Prevezon matter,” the email says. “It now contains 5 months of Baker time, which is largely support for the public relations effort.”

“It seems that the purpose in creating this nonprofit was to avoid registration under FARA, and they would not be the first law firm to try and use that tactic to avoid registration,” Fischer, from the Campaign Legal Center, told The Daily Beast. “That’s what Manafort did on behalf of the Ukrainian political party and it’s also what helped lead to the charges against him because the evidence showed—and he knew—that the beneficiary of his activities was actually the Ukrainian political party not this innocuously named sham nonprofit.”

Paul Manafort was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison on a raft of charges that stemmed from the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in U.S. politics.

Before working with Veselnitskaya for Prevezon, BakerHostetler previously had been engaged by Browder, a major target of Veselnitskaya and the Kremlin. BakerHostetler’s John Moscow had signed up in September 2008 to help Browder bring a U.S. prosecution over the $230 million fraud even before Magnitsky was arrested in Russia. He met with the U.S. Department of Justice in December of that year to lay out the entire criminal enterprise.

Five years later, by the time the DOJ finally acted against the Russian fraud when the Southern District of New York filed a forfeiture and money-laundering claim against Prevezon in September 2013, BakerHostetler was about to effectively switch sides.

In October 2013, John Moscow appeared in court on behalf of Prevezon, having previously advised Browder’s Hermitage, the alleged victim of the fraud implicating Prevezon. Crossing over to fight for the other side in a legal battle is not allowed under U.S. law. Browder’s lawyers filed a complaint, which would ricochet through the courts for the next three years until the Second Circuit Court of Appeals eventually disqualified BakerHostetler from serving as counsel to Prevezon in October 2016.

When handing down the disqualification, the judge explained why BakerHostetler must not be allowed to represent Prevezon after working so closely with Browder, who was now being accused of wrongdoing. “The danger here is not limited to BakerHostetler overtly using confidences in the litigation. There is a risk that BakerHostetler, while not explicitly using confidences, may use such confidences to guide its defense of Prevezon in other ways.”

Emails apparently sent to and from lawyers at BakerHostetler, however, suggest that the law firm continued to serve Prevezon as a kind of shadow counsel even after the disqualification.

Once that ruling had been handed down, leaked emails indicate that in November 2016 Cymrot at BakerHostetler suggested an alternative lawyer who could be hired by Veselnitskaya to work for Prevezon. In an email sent five months later, Cymrot said BakerHostetler had still discussed the case “on a regular basis” and would continue to hold “team” meetings with the new counsel.

Despite being disqualified from taking part in the case, the emails suggest BakerHostetler helped draft the settlement with the U.S. government in May 2017 and even acted as a go-between, passing on messages and an invoice from the new lawyer, Mike Hess. Hess did not respond to questions from The Daily Beast. BakerHostetler was asked about this and other allegations, but did not respond.

A second new lawyer also joined the team. At the time, Faith Gay was working for Quinn Emanuel, the U.S. law firm that also replaced BakerHostetler in the Republican case against Obama when staff at Baker raised fears that the case was too heavily partisan.

Emails indicate that she also continued to work with the disqualified BakerHostetler firm. According to a leaked email dated May 1, 2017, she wrote to Veselnitskaya and her translator colleague Glashev, reassuring them that she was still working closely with BakerHostetler. “The judge removed Baker from the case. We have been trying to talk with them informally as much as possible.”

Gay declined to comment.

When faced with possible disclosure of emails later that year, one of Gay’s associates emailed Veselnitskaya on Aug. 16, 2017, raising concerns that, “Disclosure could also result in a question being raised about Baker representing Prevezon’s interests well beyond the district court’s disqualification of them as Prevezon’s counsel.”

The issue could be particularly sensitive because Prevezon’s defense effectively accused Browder of committing the fraud.

Former prosecutor Phillips said: “They violated the very essence of the order.”

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Damning Trump Team Texts Detail Pressure Campaign on Ukraine
“It’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” objected the charge d’affairs in Kyiv.
Jackie Kucinich
Spencer Ackerman
Asawin Suebsaeng
Updated 10.04.19 8:35AM ET / Published 10.04.19 12:40AM ET
Democratic committee chairmen released a stunning cache of text messages late Thursday night detailing exchanges among senior U.S. diplomats as they went to great lengths to play along with President Trump’s campaign to pressure a foreign government to launch an investigation into his political rival.

The texts laid bare, with great specificity, a coordinated effort among State Department officials and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani to compel the new Ukrainian government of Volodymyr Zelensky to publicly commit to investigating a firm tied to former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, thereby making foreign aid contingent on the Ukrainians helping Trump’s re-election efforts.

By September, that effort so alarmed the recently appointed chargé d’affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Bill Taylor, that he called it “crazy” and spiraling toward a “nightmare scenario.” Another Trump appointee, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, insisted Taylor was “incorrect” about Trump dangling a “quid pro quo” before Zelensky—the same quid pro quo that Sondland and his colleagues, from Trump on down, had spent months orchestrating.

“As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” Taylor said in a message dated Sept. 9, 2019, referring to the White House decision to mysteriously withhold nearly $400 million in military assistance that Ukraine needs to fight back against Russian forces waging war against the country in the east.

The Washington Post reported that Trump ordered the funds withheld nearly a week before his July 25 phone call with Zelensky, the contents of which were presented in a memo released last week by the White House.

With the Ukrainians alarmed over having their military aid from Washington suddenly frozen, Taylor grew urgent. “The message to the Ukrainians (and Russians) we send with the decision on security assistance is key,” he texted Sondland. “With the hold, we have already shaken their faith in us. Hence my nightmare scenario.”

The letter, which included the text messages, was written jointly by the chairmen of the House committees on intelligence, Oversight and Reform, and Foreign Affairs, and was circulated publicly following a marathon deposition on Capitol Hill from one of the pressure campaign’s key participants, the Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker, whom Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pushed into resigning last week.

“These text messages reflect serious concerns raised by a State Department official about the detrimental effects of withholding critical military assistance from Ukraine, and the importance of setting up a meeting between President Trump and the Ukrainian president without further delay,” the chairmen wrote. “He also directly expressed concerns that this critical military assistance and the meeting between the two presidents were being withheld in order to place additional pressure on Ukraine to deliver on the president’s demand for Ukraine to launch politically motivated investigations.”

Giuliani, in comments to The Daily Beast late Thursday, said “military aid never came up in the conversations I had with [Gordon] Sondland or Kurt” Volker, adding “I feel vindicated when I look at the texts. It certainly shows I was being directed by them [in the State Department]. They brought me into it. They were calling the shots. There were a lot of things they were doing that I didn’t know about. It shows they weren’t upset with anything I was doing. Nor do I find anything they did irregular... Seems to me they were doing their jobs effectively. Nothing at all sinister about it.”

While the impeachment inquiry is being spearheaded by the intelligence committee, led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who has become a main target of Trump and his allies, the House Oversight and Government Reform and Foreign Affairs Committees led by Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings and New York Rep. Eliot Engel, respectively, also have ongoing investigations as a part of an impeachment inquiry.

Less than a week before Trump’s infamous July 25 phone call with Zelensky—in which the president responded to Zelensky’s interest in buying additional anti-tank missiles by asking Zelensky for “a favor”—Volker connected Zelensky adviser Andrey Yermak with Giuliani. He texted with Sondland afterward that it would be “most impt” that Zelensky say on the upcoming call between the two presidents “that he will help investigation.”

Taylor began to grow concerned. He texted Sondland that the Ukrainians did not want to be seen as “an instrument in Washington domestic, reelection politics.” Sondland, whom the committees seek to depose over Pompeo’s objections, replied that “we need to get the conversation started and the relationship built, regardless of the pretext.”

"WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 30: Rudy Giuliani, former New York City mayor and current lawyer for U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks to members of the media during a White House Sports and Fitness Day at the South Lawn of the White House May 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. President Trump hosted the event to encourage children to participate in sports and make youth sports more accessible to economically disadvantaged students. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)"
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The texts also indicate that the senior National Security Council official responsible for Russia and related affairs, Tim Morrison, was aware of the effort in some form. Sondland texted three days before the Trump-Zelensky call—something Giuliani “was advocating,” Volker texted on July 22—that he spoke with Morrison.

On July 25, shortly before the call occurred, Volker said he had heard “from White House” that they might work out an in-person meeting between Trump and Zelensky “assuming President Z convinces trump he will investigate/’get to the bottom of what happened’ in 2016.” On the call, Trump pressed Zelensky for help discrediting Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s already-completed investigation into Russian interference in the election, which pointedly did not exonerate Trump.

Zelensky appeared to think his meeting with Trump was on. Sondland noted on Aug. 9, “I think potus really wants the deliverable”: a public commitment to investigate Trump’s enemies. Sondland proposed getting a draft statement from the Ukrainians. Yermak told Volker that Zelensky wanted a commitment for a bilateral meeting before the Ukrainians made their announcement. The Americans reached out to Giuliani about the statement.

By Aug. 13, Volker and Sondland texted about the proposed Ukrainian statement. It was to declaim “interference in the political processes of the United States” while roping Ukraine into them, through promising a “transparent and unbiased investigation” that specifically mentioned Burisma, the natural-gas concern on whose board Biden’s son Hunter sat for no reason besides his name, “and the 2016 elections.” Four days later, Sondland asked, “Do we still want Ze to give us an unequivocal draft with 2016 and Burisma?” Volker replied: “That’s the clear message so far…”

But neither the statement nor the meeting happened. Yermak panicked after reading a Politico story about Trump holding up the military aid for Ukraine. Then Trump canceled the plans for the two leaders to meet.

By Sept. 1, Taylor grew panicked himself. Incredulous, the charge d’affairs texted Sondland: “Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?” Whatever Sondland replied was not contained in the texts. “Call me,” he told Taylor instead. (On Friday morning, Ukraine’s top prosecutor announced a review of the closure of past investigations of Burisma.)

That call is likely to be of substantial interest to the House Democratic impeachment inquiry. The three chairmen told their colleagues late Thursday in their letter, “This is not normal or acceptable. It is unethical, unpatriotic and wrong.” ... ref=scroll
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
User avatar
Posts: 32090
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Oct 08, 2019 2:29 pm

Discredits 45 admin. and DOJ's attempts to blame election corruption on Ukraine/Biden

Tim Mak

NEW: The Senate Intelligence Committee has released Vol 2 of its report on 2016 election interference... this is on Russia's use of social media ... olume2.pdf
11:53 AM · Oct 8, 2019·

FINDING from the majority GOP committee:

"The Committee found, that the IRA sought to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential
election by harming Hillary Clinton's chances of success and supporting Donald Trump
at the direction of the Kremlin."

FINDING from the majority GOP committee:

"the Committee found that IRA social media activity
was overtly and almost invariably supportive of then-candidate Trump"

FINDING from the majority GOP committee:

"The Committee found that the Russian government tasked and supported the IRA' s
interference in the 2016 U.S. election"

FINDING from the majority GOP committee: "the preponderance of the operational focus... was on socially divisive issues-such as race, immigration, and Second Amendment rights-in an
attempt to pit Americans against one another and against their government"

FINDING: "The Committee found that no single group of Americans was targeted by IRA
information operatives more than African-Americans. By far, race and related issues
were the preferred target of the information warfare campaign designed to divide the
country in 2016" ... 6536051717
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Sat Oct 19, 2019 6:37 pm

Sarah Kendzior

"The Democratic candidate in 2020 is going to be running against the Russian mafia."

Oct 15 at 11:01pm
Fraud Guarantee: Ukraine, Syria, and the Trump Crime Catastrophe

We don’t want to say “We told you so” – because we didn’t want to be right! Unfortunately, the nightmare of which we have long warned accelerated this week with atrocities in Ukraine, Syria, and here in the US as the Trump crime cult tightens its grip.

This week we discuss Rudy Giuliani, his goons Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, their mafia master Dmytro Firtash, and their connections to the Trump/Kremlin mafia states. We discuss the welcome testimony of former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and the latest news on the whistleblower. Then we turn our attention to the horrors taking place in northern Syria, where our Kurdish allies face genocide and the balance of world powers shifts further toward an axis of autocrats.

Finally, we discuss two new viral videos showcasing the Trump admin’s extremism – a demand for domination disguised as a plea for piety from Iran Contra Clean-Up Guy Bill Barr, and the meme of Trump massacring politicians and media outlets that is intended to stoke violence against them. It’s been a terrible week for those who value freedom and justice, but in order to stop this crisis, we need to understand it in depth – and that’s why we’re doing this show.

For our bonus feature, available to Patreon subscribers at the “Truth-Teller” level and higher, we discuss Hunter Biden, Ivanka, Jared, and how elite nepotism can turn into a national security crisis. We also debunk the myth of fellow corrupt power couple Kellyanne and George Conway and encourage you not to fall for their “good guy/bad guy” hoax!

Reminder that signing up at the “Truth-Teller” level gives you access not just to this week’s bonus feature but to all previous bonus material, including extra interview chats with Gaslit Nation guests. Join us today!


Destination Vienna Connecting Giuliani's Two Fixers and a Ukrainian Oligarch ... garch.html

How Two Soviet Born Emigres Made It Into Elite Trump Circles and the Center of the Impeachment Story ... story.html

Gazprom's Nordstream 2 Will Help Putin Cut Off Natural Gas Supplies to Europe ... to-europe/

Why Putin's Pal Germany Ex-Chancellor Hasn't Landed on a Sanctions List ... tions-list

Trump reportedly discussed Biden and Warren in call with China's president – as it happened ... ers-latest

Indicted Giuliani associate worked on behalf of Ukrainian oligarch Firtash ... SKBN1WQ2H5

Married to the Ukrainian Mob ... inian-mob/

SPECIAL REPORT-Putin's allies channelled billions to Ukraine oligarch ... QD20141126

Ex-Ambassador To Ukraine Reveals Details Of Her Ouster By Trump ... -testimony

Syria must be freed from foreign military presence: Putin ... SKBN1WR09X

Comey notified Congress of email probe despite DOJ concerns ... index.html

Trump: "You know President Putin is KGB... Putin is fine. He's fine. We are all fine, we're all people" ... 45889?s=19

U.S. "preparing to evacuate" remaining troops from northern Syria, defense secretary says ... he-nation/

Turkish attack on Kurdish-held town allows 950 ISIS detainees to escape ... coNZe3r1bg

Ask me anything: Ukraine's president holds 14-hour press conference ... nald-trump

Giuliani aide linked to rich Ukrainian fighting extradition to Chicago ... -/5612232/

Treasury will again borrow $1 trillion to pay for tax cuts, spending ... 44797.html

Brett McGurk: Turkish state-backed media hails a “successful operation” to “neutralize” an unarmed 35-year old woman working to unite Arabs, Christians, and Kurds in NE Syria. Ms. Hevrin Khalef was reportedly dragged from a vehicle and shot to death. That’s a war crime. ... 94208?s=19

NEW: DOJ now threatening it may cut-off information sharing w/House about Mueller probe if queries are deemed part of impeachment and not just oversight Doc: SOURCE: ... 4857952256

Trump Has Abandoned Ukraine To Russia. It's A Missing Piece Of The Impeachment Debate. ... he-missing

Ukraine's president @ZelenskyyUa clapbacks at a homophobic heckler during his yesterday's 14-hour presser in Kyiv: 'Won't say anything bad about gay people to you, because where are living in a free society. Leave those people alone, for God's sake!' ... 1899220993

Excerpt of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s testimony to Congress: ... 5021169664
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
User avatar
Posts: 32090
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

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

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Oct 22, 2019 12:55 pm


Wendy Siegelman

Scoop from @NigelJaquiss who found a previously unreported link from Gordon Sondland to key figure in Trump's orbit, ex-RNC Finance cmte co-chair Elliott Broidy. In 2016 a Sondland company invested $200,000 in Broidy's company Threat Deterrence Capital LLC
New Reporting Shows Gordon Sondland’s Proximity to Donald Trump ... ald-trump/

New Reporting Shows Gordon Sondland’s Proximity to Donald Trump
WW has learned of an unreported link from Sondland to a key figure in Trump’s orbit, the California financier Elliott Broidy.

Portlanders protested outside the Heathman Hotel on Oct. 13. The hotel is managed by a company founded by Gordon Sondland. (Briana Ybanez)
As Gordon Sondland, the Portland hotelier and U.S. ambassador to the European Union, prepares to give closed-door testimony to the House Intelligence Committee on Oct. 17, more information about his role in the Trump administration's dealings with Ukrainian officials is coming to light.

Sondland will present his version of events beginning at 9:30 am Thursday, following preparation with his legal team, led by Jim McDermott, his longtime Portland personal attorney, and Robert Luskin, a Washington, D.C., attorney who represented GOP strategist Karl Rove in the Valerie Plame affair and cyclist Lance Armstrong in his anti-doping case.

New reporting this week shows how Sondland emerged as a central figure in the impeachment investigation.

1. The New York Times reported that Fiona Hill, a former intelligence officer who worked under Presidents Bush and Obama and as a Trump adviser on Russia and Europe, testified Oct. 14 about an explosive July 10 meeting that Sondland and former National Security Adviser John Bolton held with Ukrainian representatives. The Times says Hill testified that Bolton got into a "tense exchange" with Sondland over an alleged "rogue effort" by Sondland, Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani, and chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to get Ukraine to investigate Democrats. Hill said Bolton was so concerned that he ordered Hill to alert White House lawyers about the meeting. Hill also reportedly said that when she asked Sondland why he was involved in Ukrainian matters, since Ukraine isn't part of the E.U., he said Trump had picked him. "He told her that he was in charge of Ukraine, a moment she compared to Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr.'s declaration that he was in charge after the Ronald Reagan assassination attempt," the Times reported.

2. In a lengthy profile of Sondland, The Washington Post reported he hoped to parlay his diplomatic work into a more senior position. "Current and former U.S. officials and foreign diplomats say Sondland seemed to believe that if he delivered for Trump in Ukraine, he could ascend in the ranks of government," the Post reported. "A person close to Sondland disputed that notion, but other officials said Sondland had been talked about in the administration as a possible successor to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross." In the same story, Sondland's wife, Katherine Durant, decried the dogpile on her husband, including calls to boycott Provenance Hotels, the chain he founded. "This environment is so sad and vicious that there is no one who will stick up for him," Durant told the Post. "I find it really pathetic."

3. WW has learned of an unreported link to a key figure in Trump's orbit, the California financier Elliott Broidy. Broidy served as deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee as well as vice chair of the Trump Victory Committee and Trump's inauguration. In 2016, one of Sondland's companies invested $200,000 in a Broidy company, Threat Deterrence Capital LLC. (The two men were "casual political friends in Republican donor circles," according to McDermott.) When Trump tapped Sondland for his ambassadorship, Sondland assigned the investment to his two children in response to a State Department divestment request. Broidy later resigned from the RNC after The Wall Street Journal reported that he'd paid a Playboy playmate $1.6 million after getting her pregnant. When Broidy's legal troubles became big news in 2018, the Sondland children sold their stake in Threat Deterrence back to the company for $200,000. McDermott says the Broidy investment was "unrelated" to Sondland's nomination to his ambassadorship. ... ald-trump/

mentions Here's Gordon Sondland's OGE Financial Disclosure report signed May 2019 showing he divested his stake in Elliott Broidy's company Threat Deterrence Capital LLC in August 2018


mentions Per Pro Publica Aryeh Lightstone, senior adviser to US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman also had a stake in Elliott Broidy's Threat Deterrence Capital LLC

Lightstone's 2018 OGE shows Threat Deterrence stake of $15-50K…

Top Official at U.S. Embassy in Israel Is Owed Money From Israel Advocacy Group — ProPublica
An ethics expert questions why the State Department has cleared the arrangement. ... cacy-group

mentions Last year @JustinGlawe reported VA-based Circinus LLC owned by Elliott Broidy had secured at least $800 million in foreign defense contracts since Trump took office

Many Circinus contracts are listed under global vendor name Threat Deterrence Capital LLC
Elliott Broidy’s Company Got Its Biggest U.S. Government Job Ever While He Pitched Trump Administration
The GOP mogul didn’t just get rich off defense contracts in the Middle East in 2017. He also scored a record haul for his company from the Pentagon. ... ref=scroll

Elliott Broidy’s Company Got Its Biggest U.S. Government Job Ever While He Pitched Trump Administration
The GOP mogul didn’t just get rich off defense contracts in the Middle East in 2017. He also scored a record haul for his company from the Pentagon.

Justin Glawe
Updated 05.24.18 4:25PM ET
Published 05.21.18 9:05PM ET

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast
Editor’s Note, 5/24/18: This article has been updated throughout to clarify Circinus secured jobs from the Defense Department in 2017 on a contract that was signed in 2014. The article previously stated a lawyer for Broidy was contacted but did not respond. We regret the error.

At the same time Elliott Broidy was cashing in on his access to President Trump by pitching him on behalf of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, he was also receiving the biggest payouts in the history of his company from the U.S. government.

Monday, the Associated Press reported on the months-long 2017 lobbying effort carried out by Broidy and George Nader that brought the pair close to securing nearly $1 billion in contracts with the Saudis and the Emiratis in exchange for lobbying against their enemy, Qatar. Also during the pair’s lobbying blitz in the fall of 2017, Broidy’s company received its largest jobs to date from the federal government on a previously signed contract, The Daily Beast has learned.

The company, a Virginia-based security firm called Circinus LLC, is owned by Broidy and has secured at least $800 million in foreign defense contracts since Trump took office. All of those payouts came after Broidy reportedly worked his contacts in D.C.—including Trump—to advocate for positions favorable to the countries that Circinus now lists as clients. Broidy has denied any wrongdoing.

In addition to its newfound international fortune, Circinus received Defense Department payments totalling more than $4 million in August and September 2017, the largest in the company’s history, a review of available contracts found.

(Two months later, Broidy funneled almost $200,000 into Michael Cohen’s bank accounts to pay off a Playboy model Broidy had impregnated, according to financial documents leaked to The New Yorker last week. The model received $1.6 million for her silence and Broidy resigned from his position with the RNC in the ensuing public relations fallout.)

Circinus, formed in 2001, has been bidding on jobs, known as “task orders,” with the Pentagon since 2011, but has had limited success. In 2014, the company signed a contract with the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) for unidentified intelligence services. It won a task order for $5,000 that year, according to public records. Broidy purchased Circinus in 2015.

Prior to 2017, Circinus had been paid a total of just $7,501 for its work on various defense jobs, according to the government’s contract database.

“The government site only tracks prime contract holders revenue and not sub-contracted work,” a lawyer for Broidy told The Daily Beast. “The majority of Circinus’s revenue was through subcontracts, which are simply not reported on the government database.”

Then, in August 2017 it finally received $3.9 million for a task order, nearly doubling the company’s income for the year. The following month, Circinus received $242,011 from the Defense Security Service for a separate task order.

The INSCOM task orders were made possible thanks to a 2015 Government Accountability Office decision to quash a protest over the bidding process brought by one of Circinus’ competitors. Other administrative changes to the contract pushed back the payment date to Aug. 18, 2017.

INSCOM did not respond to a request for comment regarding the payment or details of the contract. Representatives of Circinus could not be reached for comment and the company’s website was taken down some time after Feb. 8, according to the Internet Archive.

"U.S. President Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., October 10, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC1FB140B390"
Imam Targeted in Mosque Attack Blasts Trump’s Rally Rhetoric
Circinus has seen a boon in business since Trump took office. In addition to the more than $4 million in U.S. defense task orders it inked in late 2017, Broidy’s company has secured a reported $200 million in deals with the state-owned Romanian defense company Romarm. That’s in addition to the $600 million contract Broidy secured with the UAE, which came after two Oval Office meetings with Trump in late 2017 where Broidy lobbied the president on several fronts favorable to the Emiratis.

The Romanian contracts came after Broidy gave “unsolicited input” to Rep. Ed Royce, a California Republican who serves as chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, just before Royce visited Romania in August 2017. Documents obtained by McClatchy appear to show that Broidy was in Romania at the same time. Broidy also worked Royce on behalf of the Saudis and Emiratis, claiming he had “shifted” the lawmaker into “being critical of Qatar,” the AP reported on Monday.

Royce—who received the maximum legal campaign contribution from Broidy—eventually backed legislation critical of Qatar.

Broidy’s personal emails, hacked and shared with several media outlets in February, show that the fall of 2017 was a particularly busy time for him—and not just because Circinus had received the biggest government payouts in its history.

In August, Broidy tried to influence a Justice Department investigation into the Malaysian state-run company 1MBD, according to the emails. Included in the hacked correspondences was a draft of a contract that would have netted Broidy $75 million if the Justice Department investigation came to an end, according to emails obtained by The Wall Street Journal. Broidy’s attorney denied his client tried to insert himself into the investigation.

But in addition to his direct access to Trump, Broidy also has a relationship with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who sought Broidy’s recommendations for U.S. attorney nominees shortly after Trump was elected, ProPublica reported. Broidy, a lifelong venture capitalist with interest in developing movies, has no background in legal work.

Broidy’s emails also reportedly show how he used his access to Trump to work on behalf of the UAE, with whom Circinus first went into business when it signed hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of contracts shortly after the election. More would follow, thanks to Broidy’s access to Trump and Nader working his benefactors among Saudi and Emirati royalty.

In October 2017, Broidy provided a dispatch of an Oval Office meeting between himself and Trump to Nader, who had cultivated Broidy as a partner in working within the White House to advocate for the positions of the Saudis and Emiratis. During one of two Oval Office visits, Broidy advocated for getting rid of then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was seen as insufficiently hostile to Qatar.

In the same Oval Office meeting, Broidy made clear that Tillerson had to go.

“President Trump asked me about the job Rex was doing,” Broidy reported to Nader following the meeting. “I responded that he was performing poorly and should be relieved but only at a good time, politically.”

It now appears that Nader’s cultivation of Broidy as a White House contact—and the pair’s success in achieving some of the goals of the Saudis and Emiratis—was the culmination of a lobbying long game that began before Americans even went to the polls in November 2016.

On Sunday, The New York Times reported that Nader attended a meeting just before the 2016 election that included Donald Trump Jr., Trump campaign senior adviser Stephen Miller, Blackwater co-founder Erik Prince, and others. At the meeting, Nader spoke on behalf of the Emiratis and Saudis who offered support for Trump in his quest for the presidency. ... ref=scroll

mentions Here are listings for contract actions for Elliott Broidy's Circinus with Threat Deterrence Capital as global vendor name - the company Gordon Sondland and Aryeh Lightstone (senior adviser to US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman) had stakes in…


mentions I'm sure there's more to come where Broidy is concerned

Wendy Siegelman
Replying to @WendySiegelman
At some point 1MDB and Elliott Broidy are going to resurface in the news - Elliott Broidy was paid millions to lobby the WH to have the DOJ drop the 1MDB investigation ... 36704?s=20
Wendy Siegelman
Replying to @WendySiegelman
The entire prosecution of 1MDB case needs to be watched, including Benczkowsk's role - millions of dollars in bribes were intended to get DOJ & WH to drop the case - ex-RNC finance cmte co-chair Elliott Broidy was paid $6 mil to lobby the WH to drop case ... 7526521856

10:37 AM - Oct 18, 2019
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mentions Great catch by @thebax33 - a company related to Broidy's Circinus called Circinus Law Enforcement was renamed LEO Technologies, LLC

Per website their "solutions are built by cops for cops", they provide tech to law enforcement & intelligence community

Replying to @WendySiegelman
Is this the same co?
The business was originally called Circinus Law Enforcement, LLC but in 2018 it was renamed LEO Technologies, LLC.

5:12 PM - Oct 21, 2019
Twitter Ads info and privacy ... 7989711872
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
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