Page 16 of 30

Re: “The Storm”

PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2018 4:03 am
by seemslikeadream

Giuliani’s FBI ‘Stormtroopers’ Smear Is the Key to Trump’s Authoritarian Mind-set
Jonathan Chait@jonathanchaitMay 3, 2018 10:51 am

In 1995, National Rifle Association president Wayne LaPierre signed his name to a fundraising letter referring to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents as “jack-booted government thugs.” The implicit association of American federal law enforcement with fascists provoked a furor. Former president George H. W. Bush publicly resigned his NRA membership in protest; LaPierre had to apologize.

Last night, in the midst of a long, deeply incriminating interview, Rudy Giuliani called FBI agents “stormtroopers.” Here was the president’s lawyer, not an outside lobbyist, comparing federal law enforcement to Nazis directly, rather than indirectly. The Washington Post’s account of Giuliani’s interview noted the remark in a single sentence, in the 30th paragraph of its story. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Politico accounts of Giuliani’s interview did not even mention the stormtrooper remark at all.

No doubt the flurry of hair-on-fire legal jeopardy unleashed by Giuliani’s remarks helped bury the newsworthiness of his stormtrooper line. Still, the casualness with which the line was uttered and received does indicate something important about the way Republican thinking about law enforcement has evolved. The party’s respect for the rule of law is disintegrating before our eyes, and in its place is forming a Trumpian conviction that the law must be an instrument of reactionary power.

None of the insults lobbed at the FBI by Giuliani should be confused with the long-standing, principled critique of law enforcement. Civil libertarians have spent decades articulating objections to the power of law enforcement and defending them regardless of whether they happened to benefit the right or the left. (The ACLU is famous for its commitment to defend civil liberties for the far right.) Substantial evidence has shown pervasive racial bias in law enforcement.

But conservatives are not arguing for civil liberties in the abstract, or promoting a generalized policy of more lenient treatment of criminal suspects. Indeed, in the same interview, Giuliani called for James Comey to be prosecuted and Hillary Clinton to be thrown in prison, beliefs that, in the Trump era, have become almost banal. Republicans simultaneously advocate total impunity for their presidency from the law coupled with harsh and even extra-legal punishments for their enemies.

The potential for abuse in turning law enforcement into a weapon of the party that controls government is so terrifying that any democracy has to limit it. For decades, federal law enforcement has observed a series of norms, codified after Watergate, designed to wall it off from partisan considerations. The system hasn’t worked perfectly — it broke down in 2016, when James Comey violated FBI policy and announced one of the candidates was under federal investigation. Comey was attempting to placate Republican demands that the Bureau put more pressure on Clinton, and — assuming she would win — tried to head off postelection recriminations. It was a disastrous miscalculation. But many leading Democrats afforded him some measure of absolution for his error because they respected the norm he was attempting, however clumsily, to defend.

Republicans are now engaged in a concerted effort to break down these protections altogether. Trump and his allies in Congress have repeatedly demanded that the Department of Justice ramp up their investigation of Trump’s opponents and ease up or stop the investigation of Trump’s campaign collusion with Russia. Republicans in Congress have made a series of demands that Rod Rosenstein, the acting attorney general, turn over a wide array of documents related to the Russia probe. The Department of Justice has customarily walled off active investigations from congressional involvement, but Rosenstein (like Comey) has been trying to appease Republicans by giving them unusual access to his evidence.

Rosenstein appears to have reached a limit. The New York Times reported yesterday that Rosenstein and some FBI officials “have come to suspect that some lawmakers were using their oversight authority to gain intelligence about that investigation so that it could be shared with the White House.” The Republican document-demanding game is that they either force Rosenstein to compromise the investigation, letting them inside the prosecution so they can help Trump undermine it, or else he refuses their demands, giving them a pretext to fire him and install a more pliable figure. Rosenstein publicly declared the other day the game was up and he wasn’t going to be extorted any more.

The Wall Street Journal, which has served as a reliable mouthpiece for Trump’s legal defense, defends Congress’s right to take control of the investigation. “Congress is acting through its committees as a separate and co-equal branch of government—the branch that funds Justice and has the right and obligation to exercise oversight,” it editorializes. Rather than denying Rosenstein’s charge that his department is being extorted, the editorial confirms it, treating him like a cowering store owner who hasn’t quite got the message. “We don’t want to see Mr. Rosenstein fired or impeached,” the Journal concludes, “but he and the FBI need to recognize Congress’s constitutional authority.” Nice Department you got there, Rosenstein. We’d hate to see something happen to it.

Earlier this week, Vice-President Mike Pence went out of his way to honor former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio. The case of Arpaio epitomizes the cutting-edge Republican philosophy about the rule of law. Arpaio has devoted his career to running roughshod over the law, including defying court orders, in order to intimidate immigrant communities who may or may not have run afoul of immigration law. The veneration of Arpaio, including Trump’s pardon of him, expresses their simultaneous belief in the law as something to applied with unrestrained brutality in their own hands, but that can be ignored altogether when they run afoul of it.

The duality of thought is the key to understanding it. Just as Giuliani can call the famously straight-laced Comey “perverted” in the very same interview he casually conceded that his own client habitually pays hush money to porn stars, Republicans can both fear the law as an instrument of terror while coveting it for the same purpose. This duality is how they can toggle between demanding ruthless authoritarian power and then, when describing their own legal predicament, squealing like the most unhinged anti-government radicals, comparing the FBI to Nazis. Trump holds this view with long-standing fervor, and has always combined a, shall we say, casual approach to legal scruples with demands for merciless law enforcement against the other (from Hillary Clinton to the Central Park Five) without any cognitive dissonance.

But Trump is not sui generis; his authoritarian impulses merely represent a more extreme iteration of a growing impulse on the right. At some point, the power of Trump’s government will either break the rule of law, or be broken by it. ... eller.html

Trump Mimics Paris Terror Attack to Criticize France on Gun Control: ‘Boom! Come Over Here, Boom!’
by Tamar Auber | 3:29 pm, May 4th, 2018

During a free-wheeling rally style speech at the National Rifle Association annual convention in Dallas on Friday, President Donald Trump invoked the Paris attacks to mock France’s tough gun control laws.

“So let’s talk about guns, shall we?” to the roar of the NRA crowd.

“Paris, France, has the toughest gun laws in the world,” Trump continued on, before invoking the Paris attacks.

“We all remember more than 130 people plus tremendous numbers of people that were horribly, horribly wounded. You notice nobody ever talks about them. They talk about the people that die. But they never mention that 250 people had horrible, horrible wounds. I mean they never mention that,” Trump opined.

Then he re-enacted the horror.

“They were brutally killed by a small group of terrorists that had guns. They took their time and gunned them down one by one. Boom. Come over here. Boom. Come over here. Boom. If you were in those rooms, one of those people and the survivors said it just lasted forever. But if one employee or just one patron had a gun or if one person in this room had been there with a gun, aimed at the opposite direction, the terrorists would have fled or been shot. And it would have been a whole different story.” ... here-boom/

In total there are 108 users online :: 3 registered, 3 hidden and 102 guests (based on users active over the past 5 minutes)

Re: “The Storm”

PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 7:20 pm
by seemslikeadream

Re: “The Storm”

PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 5:35 pm
by seemslikeadream
Theory: Playboy Model Who Got $1.6 Million Had Affair With Trump, Not Broidy

Michael Cohen arranged a $1.6 million payout to a model allegedly impregnated by GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy. But was Broidy covering for Trump?

Paul Campos
Updated on May 8, 2018 2:15 pm

Why do all the facts about Elliott Broidy’s (supposed) affair with Shera Bechard point to Donald Trump?


On May 2, Rudy Giuliani revealed that the Trump administration has been lying for months about the fact that Donald Trump reimbursed his personal attorney Michael Cohen for the $130,000 he fronted to buy porn star Stormy Daniels’s silence about her affair with Trump. Until then, Trump had been claiming that he didn’t know about any settlement, and that he hadn’t had a sexual liaison with Daniels. (The official White House line continues to be that Daniels is lying about having sex with Trump, but almost no one believes this.) Giuliani has claimed that Trump gave him the okay last week to contradict several months’ worth of denials, by revealing Trump’s payments to Cohen.

In journalism this is known as getting out in front of a story. After federal law-enforcement officials raided Cohen’s office on April 9, they surely had documentary evidence of these financial transactions, which meant it was inevitable the truth would eventually come out.

We should consider the strong possibility that the same tactic — i.e., shameless, baldfaced lying — may have played a role in the exposure of yet another Trump-related sex scandal. The Wall Street Journal published a story on April 13 revealing the existence of another nondisclosure agreement involving an affair between an adult entertainer and a client of Cohen’s. The NDA employed the pseudonyms David Dennison and Peggy Peterson — the same names used in the Stormy Daniels NDA — and was otherwise very similar to the Trump-Daniels agreement.

5 of the Most Blatantly Unethical Moves by the Trump Administration

According to this newly revealed NDA, Dennison agreed to pay Peterson $1.6 million, in exchange for Peterson’s promise not to reveal the affair or her claim that Dennison had impregnated her. This NDA, like the Trump-Daniels document, was negotiated by attorneys Keith Davidson, on behalf of Peterson, and Michael Cohen, on behalf of Dennison. Payments were also delivered through Essential Consultants LLC, the same LLC created by Cohen to facilitate payments in the Stormy Daniels deal.

Whatever source revealed the existence of this NDA to the Journal also disclosed that, according to another document in Cohen’s office, the Dennison in this agreement was not Donald Trump but rather Elliott Broidy, a top Republican fundraiser, while Peterson was Shera Bechard, Playboy’s Miss November 2010. Apparently, Bechard had been Broidy’s mistress until he got her pregnant, at which point she hired Davidson, who contacted Cohen to demand the payment of hush money.

By a stroke of good fortune, Cohen already had a sex-scandal-with-an-adult-entertainer-hush-money-NDA template in his hard drive, since he had recently drafted at least one for Donald Trump. Indeed, Cohen didn’t even bother to change the pseudonyms. (That economical use of attorney resources explained away what otherwise could have been a very awkward detail in the narrative.)

This is the story that was leaked to the Journal — and to the New York Times, and CNN, which the Journal beat to the punch by publishing it first. It has since been repeated as fact by just about every major media outlet in the country. But there are good reasons to consider whether it might not be yet another audacious lie from Trumpworld.

Let me offer an alternative explanation of the affair and the payoff. It is still just a hypothesis, but, I would argue, it fits more comfortably with what we know about the various players than the reported version of events: Donald Trump, not Elliott Broidy, had an affair with Shera Bechard. Bechard hired Keith Davidson, who had negotiated both Playboy playmate Karen McDougal’s deal with the National Enquirer and Stormy Daniels’s NDA with Trump. Davidson called Cohen, and the two of them negotiated a $1.6 million payment to Bechard.

At this point Cohen needed to find a funding source. Cohen asserts he took out a home equity loan to come up with a mere $130,000 to pay off Stormy Daniels, so it seems clear he couldn’t have fronted the $1.6 million for the Bechard deal himself. So Cohen reached out to Elliott Broidy, a very rich Republican fundraiser with several pending and highly lucrative business deals with foreign governments: deals that hinged on whether Broidy could convince the U.S. government to take various actions. By stepping up to take responsibility for the affair and to fund the seven-figure settlement, Broidy was ensuring that he could continue to peddle his influence with Trump to governments around the world.

Which is to say, it was a cover-up concealing a bribe. Indeed, it turns out that Broidy not only has a history of bribing public officials, but of bribing them in an uncannily similar fashion to the method which I hypothesize he employed in this case.

So, according to this hypothesis, when Cohen’s office was raided by federal prosecutors, they found documentation of what was actually a fabricated affair, concocted by Cohen and Davidson to create a justification for funneling Broidy’s money to Bechard, while creating a paper record designed to protect Trump from further exposure.

This account — as bizarre as it may seem at first glance — is actually more plausible than the story leaked to the Journal, the New York Times, and CNN.

We, of course, do not know what actually happened. But it is worth noting that, two weeks after the story broke, Michael Avenatti, the lawyer Stormy Daniels hired to replace Davidson, hinted to Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC that the real story might be quite different from that which had been reported so far: “I think at some point we are going to find out, if in fact the client in connection with the [$1.6 million] settlement was, in fact, Mr. Broidy,” Avenatti said. “I’m going to leave it at that.”

When I laid out the alternative scenario presented in this article to Avenatti, he had this to say: “There are considerable and serious questions as to this alleged settlement. Many things about it simply do not appear to add up or pass the smell test.”

Note too that this alternative account presents a narrative in which the behavior of all of the primary parties in this matter — Trump, Cohen, Broidy, and Bechard — is fundamentally consistent with their well-documented personal histories, unlike the story reported by the media.

The New David Dennison Sounds Exactly Like the Old Donald Trump

David Dennison slept with a Playboy playmate, impregnated her, and then had Cohen negotiate a hush-money deal. Trump has a well-documented history of having unprotected sex with women in the adult-entertainment industry, and then subsequently buying their silence via proxies. Trump also has a history of being obsessed specifically with Playboy playmates. Trump had a long-standing close friendship with Hugh Hefner, and often visited the Playboy mansion, to which he brought contestants from his television show The Apprentice. One such contestant noted:

Toward the end of the evening, I found myself in a small circle, conversing with Trump, Hefner, and another contestant. With a wry smile, Trump looked at Hefner and said, ‘It’s hard for me to tell which of these girls are yours and which ones are mine.’

Bechard was actually at one time Hefner’s girlfriend, while Trump and Hefner’s friendship mysteriously came to an end in 2016.

In November of 2016, it was revealed that McDougal, another Playboy model, had been paid $150,000 to sell her story of an affair with Trump to the National Enquirer, so that the tabloid, whose publisher is a major Trump supporter, could kill the story rather than publish it. McDougal was represented in this transaction by none other than Keith Davidson. (Davidson has since been fired by McDougal, Daniels, and Bechard, as all three women have apparently come to the all too plausible conclusion that Davidson was actually working with Michael Cohen to protect Trump, rather than independently representing their interests, as he was legally required to do after he accepted them as clients.)

While having sex with Playboy playmates might be a common enough fantasy among certain older married men, history suggests that the combination of reckless narcissism and personal shamelessness necessary to actually pursue it and then pay the various costs associated with fulfilling it is rarer. How many sex scandals involving Playboy playmates and men not named Donald Trump can you recall?

Elliott Broidy Seems Exactly Like Someone Who Would Pay $1.6 Million to Protect a Lucrative Influence-Peddling Business

Broidy has a history of bribing public officials to enhance the economic prospects of his business ventures. In 2009, he pleaded guilty to bribing New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi. As part of a plea deal which led to the convictions of seven of his co-conspirators, Broidy admitted he made more than $1 million in illegal payouts and gifts to New York pension authorities. The payoff for these bribes came when the New York State Retirement Fund invested $250 million with Markstone Capital, Broidy’s private equity firm. As part of the plea deal, Broidy also agreed to pay back $18 million in investment fees that the state pension fund had paid to Markstone.

Remarkably enough, as Andrew Prokop pointed out this morning, one of Broidy’s bribes even involved paying off the girlfriend of one of the officials he was bribing:

Broidy paid over $90,000 to the girlfriend of a high-ranking [Office of the New York State Comptroller] official from April 2004 through October 2005. The payments were used to cover the girlfriend’s living expenses and rent. Broidy also covered the girlfriend’s hospital bills. Broidy also agreed to pay $5,500 a month to a relative of the girlfriend beginning in October 2003, for a total of $44,000. These payments were concealed through a sham loan agreement between Broidy and the relative.

In March 2018, the previously obscure Broidy was the subject of a slew of national stories regarding his remarkably aggressive influence-peddling in the wake of Trump’s election. For example, the Journal reported that Broidy was slated to make tens of millions of dollars by getting the Justice Department to drop a probe into a multibillion-dollar bribery scandal involving 1MDB, the Malaysian state investment fund. One email revealed a plan to pay Broidy and his wife $75 million if they could successfully lobby the DOJ to drop the probe into 1MBD.

A few days later, the New York Times published an extensive account detailing how Broidy was “marketing his Trump connections to politicians and governments around the world,” by, for example, “suggesting to clients and prospective customers of his Virginia-based defense contracting company, Circinus, that he could broker meetings with Mr. Trump, his administration and congressional allies.” Other stories detailed Broidy’s partnership with Trump-allied businessman George Nader, in which both men tried to influence White House policy in favor of Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. (Nader has since become a co-operating witness in Robert Mueller’s independent counsel investigation.) According to these accounts, Nader dangled the prospect of more than $1 billion in contracts for Circinus before Broidy, as he assiduously cultivated Broidy’s influence with “the Chairman,” a.k.a. Donald Trump.

Who Is Shera Bechard More Likely to Date?

While Broidy’s business dealings are the epitome of the sort of swampy sleaze that Trump promised to drain from federal government decision-making, his home life is by contrast extremely stable, and, to all appearances, quite conventional. Broidy is 60 years old, and has been married for over 25 years to a woman of about his own age, with whom he has had three children. His wife is an attorney who was previously a senior vice-president at 20th Century Fox (she has reportedly been involved in some of Broidy’s more questionable business dealings). While of course it’s not impossible that Broidy chose to pursue a dangerous liaison with Miss November 2010, his biography is not that of a man who has the appearance of a likely candidate to have an affair with a Playboy playmate several decades younger than himself. He is not, in other words, a thrice-married serial adulterer with an established record of sleeping with models, playmates, and porn stars.

It Doesn’t Make Sense That Davidson Would Have Reached Out to Cohen

Several parts of the story leaked to the media make no sense at all. Consider Cohen’s involvement. The official story is that Davidson reached out to Cohen, who then contacted Broidy. Why in the world would Davidson tell Cohen about an illicit affair involving Broidy? Cohen was Trump’s lawyer, not Broidy’s. Cohen didn’t represent Broidy at that time and therefore had no duty of confidentiality or loyalty to Broidy (or Bechard for that matter). And the information that Broidy had an affair with Bechard was extremely sensitive, as Bechard was set to make seven figures for agreeing to keep that information private.

Spilling the beans to Cohen, who would then have been free to tell anyone else what Davidson had told him, would risk Bechard’s payoff in two ways. If Cohen failed to keep Broidy and Bechard’s affair confidential, the settlement value to Broidy of a potential nondisclosure agreement could have been greatly diminished or even completely destroyed. Also, Cohen merely knowing about Broidy’s supposed affair could have jeopardized both Broidy’s position as co-chair of the Republican National Committee’s finance committee — a position he actually shared with, of all people, Cohen — and his elaborate and ongoing influence-peddling with the government. (Someone who has had conversations with Davidson about this matter says that, according to Davidson, Broidy did not even know Cohen before he contacted him about Bechard.)

Simply put, Davidson communicating with Cohen about Broidy had no conceivable legal justification, and was profoundly counterproductive to Davidson’s client’s interest. In short, while it is possible that Davidson could have suggested to Broidy that he contact Cohen himself, given Cohen’s experience with sex scandal NDAs, the idea that Davidson unilaterally decided to tell Cohen about Bechard’s affair with Broidy is absurd on its face.

The Sum of the Settlement Is Fishy

The size of the payment to Bechard — $1.6 million — is also a little weird. Broidy was a largely anonymous person in late 2017, when the NDA was signed. His biggest claim to fame at the time was a felony conviction for corruption. Why would a man in his position need to pay $1.6 million to keep Bechard quiet about an affair to which the public at large would be completely indifferent? (And if the explanation for the massive payment is that Broidy was desperate to keep this secret from his family and the RNC, why, as detailed below, did he admit to the affair the very first time a journalist asked him about it?) Furthermore, according to the Journal, Bechard provided no proof to Broidy that she was pregnant by him, or indeed pregnant at all. Under these circumstances, a seven-figure hush-money payment seems hard to explain.

Consider that Trump and the National Enquirer collectively paid less than one-fifth of that amount to keep both Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal quiet about affairs with a major-party presidential candidate.

By contrast, while it seems unlikely that Broidy would pay $1.6 million to hush up Bechard, it is eminently understandable that Trump would do so — or, more accurately, find someone else to. After all, by the time Bechard demanded payment for her silence Trump was already president. And, if anything could shake Trump’s crucial core support among Evangelical Christians, a brand-new affair (many of those supporters forgive Trump’s many previous sins on the grounds that he is now a “baby Christian”) with a Playboy playmate, who then aborted what these supporters would consider Trump’s unborn child, might produce that outcome.

Are We Really Supposed to Believe That Broidy Wanted Cohen to Represent Him?

Elliott Broidy is a very wealthy and legally sophisticated man, who has hired the best legal talent over the years to deal with his many complex business entanglements. Yet we are supposed to believe that, when he gets an out-of-the-blue phone call from Cohen, revealing that he somehow knows about Broidy’s affair with Bechard, Broidy’s reaction is to hire Cohen? That is, to retain a man who is barely even a lawyer, and who obviously has a disturbingly close working relationship with Bechard’s own attorney — rather than seeking top-shelf independent legal representation to deal with this serious personal and financial crisis? (The fact that Cohen has admitted in court that Broidy was his “client” is perfectly compatible with a narrative in which Broidy agreed to allow Cohen and Davidson to paper up the record with a fraudulent NDA.)

Broidy’s Actions Don’t Add Up

Broidy’s behavior following the raid is simply inexplicable. The current assumption is that Broidy knew that his payments to Bechard (through the LLC) would eventually become public, given that they were now in the possession of the Feds. But in fact, it was far from certain that they would. Cohen’s lawyers and Trump’s lawyers were fighting to keep Cohen’s attorney-client communications confidential, and it is quite possible that Broidy’s payments would never come to light. And even if they did, he could surely deny to the press that they were his. Broidy claims to have paid $1.6 million to keep his affair with Bechard quiet. Why throw away that entire investment at the first sign that this secret might eventually be exposed? By reacting in the manner he did, Broidy ensured that what was still at the time only a worst-case scenario became an immediate certainty, as opposed to remaining a down-the-line possibility.

If this theory is correct, the press bears some of the blame for allowing a self-serving and corrupt lie to enter the public record as news. At the bottom of this whole tangled situation, there are two undeniable facts: Trump has a habit of having sex with women exactly like Bechard, and then paying them off to stay silent, and Broidy is a man who pays large sums of money, legally and illegally, to influence powerful politicians. That convergence should have set off alarm bells in the minds of journalists when someone decided, immediately after Cohen’s office was raided, to reveal the existence of an NDA between Broidy and Bechard.

But those alarm bells apparently never went off in the offices of the WSJ, the Times, or CNN. And it’s easy enough to understand why: Broidy’s confession seemed, at least under the pressures of deadline journalism, like a classic example of what lawyers call an admission against interest, that is, a statement that should be treated as presumptively true.

But what if Broidy was actually faced with the choice of either falsely confessing to impregnating Bechard or, in the alternative, candidly confessing to having paid a seven-figure bribe to the president of the United States? That would certainly explain his otherwise remarkable willingness to instantly confess to a reporter the very secret he had supposedly paid so much money to keep out of the public eye.

What is most striking about this affair is that the story leaked to the media has no evidence to support it, other than the assertions of people who have every reason to lie about it. Consider what the narrative would look like if, when the story broke, the public had learned that Cohen’s office had a copy of another NDA, that provided for the payment of $1.6 million to a Playboy playmate to buy her silence about an affair, and that Broidy had agreed to pay that sum into the very same LLC that Cohen had created to funnel the money paid to hush up Trump’s liaison with Stormy Daniels. Would anyone believe Broidy’s after-the-fact protestations that, despite all appearances, he wasn’t paying off yet another of Trump’s mistresses, as a quid pro quo to his beleaguered patron? At a minimum, one would hope the veracity of Broidy’s confession would actually have been investigated. (According to the Journal’s story, Bechard claimed that Broidy had been paying her for an exclusive sexual relationship that lasted one to two years. Such an arrangement should be easy to document.)

Again, we do not know if this alternative account, or something like it, is true. What we do know is that the White House’s version of the story got into print without any apparent journalistic inquiry into whether that account was accurate, or an elaborate ruse. If it turns out that Trump had an affair with Bechard, and that Broidy paid a massive bribe to the president to help cover the affair up, this will prove to be another instance of the administration’s perverse ability to generate fake news about a scandal, in order to obscure the even more scandalous truth. ... roidy.html

Stormy Daniels’ Most Shocking Penthouse Revelations: On Trump’s Hair, Penis, and More

The adult acting legend, who’s currently suing the president of the United States for alleged defamation, opens up to the adult magazine.

Marlow Stern

05.07.18 9:45 PM ET
Ever since the news broke in January that Michael Cohen, President Trump’s longtime attorney/fixer, paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 for her silence in the final weeks of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the porn legend has been caught up in a media whirlwind.

Daniels alleges that the president conducted an extramarital affair with her beginning in 2006—mere months after first lady Melania Trump gave birth to their son, Barron; that Cohen paid her off in the remaining weeks of the 2016 campaign in violation of campaign-finance laws; that the NDA she signed as part of the settlement is null and void, since the agreement wasn’t signed by Trump; and that someone acting on behalf of the president threatened her life in a parking lot back in 2011, when she first came forward with the Trump-tryst story to In Touch. She is also presently suing the president for alleged defamation after he called the composite sketch she released of her alleged parking-lot assailant “a total con job” on Twitter.

In the weeks since her 60 Minutes interview in late March, Daniels has been mostly absent from the media spotlight—save an appearance on The View and a surprise cameo on this past weekend’s Saturday Night Live—while her TV-friendly lawyer, Michael Avenatti, has been busy frequenting the cable news networks.

That will change a bit on Tuesday, May 8, when Daniels’ Penthouse cover story hits newsstands (and the internet). The issue, which names her the “Penthouse Pet of the Century,” was teased by The Daily Beast last month, where we exclusively revealed that should Daniels win her case, she plans to donate $130,000 to Planned Parenthood in Trump and Cohen’s names.

Now we’ve gotten a sneak peek at the rest of Daniels’ Penthouse interview. Here are some of the most eye-opening bits.

Odd Strip-Club Requests

Daniels has embarked on a “Make America Horny Again” strip-club tour—she didn’t choose the name—in the months since the payoff story broke, and according to an anecdote she gave to Penthouse, the anti-Trump crowds at her performances have been making some strange requests. At a strip club in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Daniels recalls coming face-to-face with a huge crowd of gay men clutching bags of Cheetos and offering to pay her $20 to stomp Cheetos into the ground. “Money was exchanged, Cheetos were scattered, and the hardworking porn star turned international news story ground them to orange powder beneath her high-heeled stripper shoes,” read the piece.

Re: “The Storm”

PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 8:02 pm
by Iamwhomiam
Two killer articles, those of Chait and Campos.

I really didn't expect the swamp to be drained, but I never imagined in the fix, an aborted fetus floating about.

Re: “The Storm”

PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 8:06 pm
by seemslikeadream

drain the swamp? PAY TO PLAY
huge news with Cohen tonight....LOTS of Russian money.....MILLIONS


Michael Avenatti

We are just getting started...


Actually interested in the genesis of the 4 different Cohen stories tonight. Did Patton Boggs spring a leak?

Ari Melber

BREAKING: Michael Cohen accused of taking $500,000 from a *sanctioned* Russian Oligarch *while Trump was President* and misleading the bank about it.

This allegation comes from @MichaelAvenatti & involves the company Cohen created to pay Stormy Daniels

Implicates Bank Fraud Act

Re: “The Storm”

PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 10:09 pm
by BenDhyan
When one parses the headline, "Firm Tied to Russian Oligarch Made Payments to Michael Cohen", it seems it does not demote it was the oligarch who made the payments, but a company called Columbus Nova, an investment firm in New York whose biggest client is a company controlled by Viktor Vekselberg,

Among the previously unreported transactions were payments last year totaling about $500,000 from Columbus Nova, an investment firm in New York whose biggest client is a company controlled by Viktor Vekselberg, the Russian oligarch. A lawyer for Columbus Nova, in a statement Tuesday, described the money as a consulting fee that had nothing to do with Mr. Vekselberg."

Re: “The Storm”

PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 10:18 pm
by seemslikeadream
Michael Cohen accused of taking $500,000 from a *sanctioned* Russian Oligarch *while Trump was President* and misleading the bank about it.

And so much much more..........

Michael Cohen



Is This How Avenatti Found Out?
By Josh Marshall | May 8, 2018 9:23 pm

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 16: Stormy Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti arrives to the Federal Court hearing related to the FBI raid on Michael Cohen's hotel room and office on April 16, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)Yana Paskova/Getty Images North America
TPM Reader TH thinks he knows where Michael Avenatti got his amazingly specific details. And it sounds right to me …

I want to shed some light on tonight’s post re: Cohen/Avenatti, specifically this line:

“They’ve also confirmed the dollar amounts. So while we still don’t know where or how Avenatti got this information he must have had access to one of Cohen’s ledgers, a bank statement or perhaps an investigative document. The details are simply too specific.”

I work as an Anti-Money Laundering and Bank Secrecy Act Specialist at a financial institution. Every bank/credit union/etc will have someone who’s responsibility it is to examine transactions and file Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) with FinCEN, a department of the Treasury. This is what I do.

Upon reading Avenatti’s document, it’s obvious that he has his hands on (multiple, I think) SARs that have been filed on Cohen. They are structured almost exactly as we write them. The KYC information at the beginning is a huge tipoff. This is something every bank is required to compile when a business account is opened, and it’s what AML staff would refer back to it when examining transactions to see if the account is “behaving” differently than expected. This KYC information would never be included in a bank statement or a ledger. It would only come from a financial institution, and is what is included in SARs narratives to justify their filing. Furthermore, there’s info in the document from multiple banks. Unless Avenatti has people at multiple different banks leaking him info on Cohen (he doesn’t) it comes from a SARs.

We know from the WSJ that at least one bank has filed a SARs on Cohen: ... 1520273701

I’m pretty gobsmacked that someone would leak SARs to Michael Avenatti, but we live in crazy times. I’ve been trying to think who all would have access, and it’s basically: FinCEN staff, law enforcement who request them, regulators, the bank staff who filed them originally, and possibly independent auditors who come in to make sure banks are filing BSA paperwork properly. My guess would be it’s someone at FinCEN doing it, but I wouldn’t bet a massive amount of money on it.

I would, however, bet massive amounts of money that Avenatti somehow has his hands on SARs filed on Cohen.

I have no idea who leaked this or whether it was a leak per se. But this is extraordinarily detailed information. It all seems accurate. I think TH is likely on the right track here. ... -found-out

Re: “The Storm”

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 7:44 am
by American Dream
Fox News tells Seth Rich's family that they should be grateful for how the network slandered him
Blog ››› May 8, 2018 6:04 PM EDT ››› MELISSA RYAN


Fox News has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit that the family of slain Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer Seth Rich filed against it, which claims the network published “false and fabricated facts” about Rich’s murder that fanned conspiracy theories circulating about him. In its motion, Fox has included an outlandish claim: The suit should be dismissed because the channel ’s retracted story portrayed Rich as a patriot and a hero.

In a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Seth Rich's parents, Fox News says some readers may have walked away from its retracted story believing Seth Rich was a hero because its story portrayed him as a patriotic whistleblower

Fox News’ attempt to abdicate its responsibility is gross. Seth Rich was a real person whose family members have had to cope with the nightmare of their son’s murder becoming the target of conspiracy theories that he was killed for providing the DNC’s emails to Wikileaks while they mourned his loss. The network, led by host Sean Hannity, was the only cable news outlet to cover the conspiracy theories, presenting them as plausible facts. For weeks, Hannity covered the rumors incessantly on the air -- even after Fox News was forced to retract its initial story claiming that Rich had been in touch with Wikileaks.

Hannity didn’t declare that he would find the “truth” out of concern for Rich or his family, but rather to distract his audience from the news about the Trump administration’s dealings with Russia.

And Rich’s portrayal as a whistleblower out to expose the political establishment wasn’t based in reality; it distorted who he was. By all accounts, Rich enjoyed working at the DNC and, as his his parents wrote, on the day of his murder, he was “excited about a new job he had been offered on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.” Since his death, the far-right has turned Rich into a character his friends and family wouldn’t recognize. His image has been turned into countless memes, his political views and beliefs distorted. And Fox and Hannity have helped fuel the lies. Fox didn’t honor Seth Rich’s life or his memory. It slandered him and his work for its own political gain.

To this date, Fox has neither explained how it got the story so wrong nor apologized for its actions. ... him/220157

Re: “The Storm”

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 2:51 pm
by American Dream
What smells funny around here?

‘Pizzagate’ Activists Reboot Conspiracy Theories After Eric Schneiderman’s Resignation

By Jared Holt | May 8, 2018 12:56 pm

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman speaks at a press conference in Penn Station on Tuesday, May 13, 2014. (Photo: Patrick Cashin/Metropolitan Transportation Authority)

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman resigned last night after news broke that four women had accused him of physical abuse, which inspired current and former “Pizzagate” activists to post not-so-subtle nods toward the original allegations surrounding the hoax.

Pizzagate, as it came to be known, was an elaborate conspiracy theory alleging that top Democratic officials and global leaders were involved in a satanic child sex ring operating out of Comet Ping Pong, a Washington pizza restaurant. Many figures ceased mentioning the pizzeria after a gunman fired rounds inside the restaurant, but the premise of the conspiracy has lived on in many forms, such as “The Storm.”

The New Yorker broke news yesterday that four women had accused Schneiderman of physical abuse against them during nonconsensual sex acts as part of what one woman described as “abusive, demeaning, threatening behavior.” Three hours after the publication of the New Yorker article, Schneiderman resigned.

Liz Crokin, who insists to this day that the Pizzagate conspiracy theory is true, viewed Schneiderman’s resignation as validation of the theory that President Trump is secretly working to take down a “global child sex trafficking ring.”

Jack Posobiec, a Pizzagate promulgator once so involved in the hoax that he filmed himself inside of Comet Ping Pong, said that “none of this would have happened if we had never seen Podesta’s emails,” an apparent reference to the belief among Pizzagate activists that leaked emails from former Clinton aide John Podesta proved that he was involved in a sex cult.

Posobiec also posted photos of Schneiderman pictured at an event with Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin, whom Pizzagate conspiracy theorists allege are involved in a nonexistent snuff film that they claim was found on former Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner’s laptop after it was seized by the FBI.

Mike Cernovich, a once-prominent “Pizzagate” activist who has since attempted to distance himself from his role in the conspiracy theory, posted a poll on Twitter asking his fans whether they believed that “CNN refuse to cover the Schneiderman story for several hours, and then buried it at bottom of page in fine-print” because the network was “Protecting Democrats” or if the “CNN execs” were “in on it”:

Cernovich spent most of last night speculating that various bogeyman of the Right were somehow involved in the Schneiderman story. He posted a photo of Alex Soros, son of billionaire philanthropist George Soros, posing with Schneiderman, asking “What were they doing behind closed doors?” Cernovich later posted a photo he claimed depicts the younger Soros with “a mock dead body behind him.” He also questioned whether Special Counsel Robert Mueller was covering up pedophilia and used New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s initial refusal to comment on Schneiderman’s to suggest that the two had “orgies together.”

Andrew Meyer, a man made famous by the “Don’t Taze Me Bro” video who now works as host and producer for Cernovich, used the Schneiderman news to suggest that journalists are part of the NXIVM sex cult, which is widely reported to have branded women with its co-founder’s initials. ... signation/

Re: “The Storm”

PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 5:02 pm
by elfismiles
QAnon Compromised: Intel Source Hijacked By The Deep State’s Disinformation Campaign
The intelligence leaker’s online identity has been stolen
The Alex Jones Show - May 11, 2018 ... -campaign/

Dr. Jerome Corsi joins Alex Jones live via Skype to break down how the anonymous intelligence leaker, AKA QAnon, has had his identity hijacked by the deep state to spread disinformation using his reputation.

Re: “The Storm”

PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 12:19 am
by BenDhyan
^ Or possibly Alex Jones and Jerome Corsi have both now come to believe that Q never was the real thing from the get go, and they are now getting off the ship that they believe will eventually sink, and thus salvage a win of sorts.

Re: “The Storm”

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2018 8:24 am
by American Dream
Robert Jeffress, Set To Pray At Jerusalem Embassy Celebration, Argues That Land-For-Peace Efforts Are Opposed By God
By Peter Montgomery | May 13, 2018 10:19 pm


Pastor Robert Jeffress, one of President Trump’s most devoted supporters and defenders, said during a Dove TV interview on Thursday that he is going to be delivering the opening prayer on Monday at the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Israel in Jerusalem. Jeffress, among the Religious Right leaders who lobbied hard for Trump to fulfill his campaign pledge to move the embassy, gushed that Trump is “the most faith-friendly president we’ve ever had.”

Christian leaders in Jerusalem strongly criticized Trump’s decision to move the embassy, warning that it would “yield increased hatred, conflict, violence and suffering in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, moving us farther from the goal of unity and deeper toward destructive division.” But Religious Right leaders in the U.S. were ecstatic. Christians United for Israel’s John Hagee said that because of the embassy move, Trump “will be remembered for thousands of years.”

Jeffress, like many other Religious Right leaders, has opposed the “two-state solution,” long an anchor of U.S. policy in the Middle East, because he believes that it would violate God’s will for Israel to give up control of land in the West Bank to a future Palestinian state.

In an interview with the Christian Post at the end of 2016, Jeffress declared that President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry were “on the wrong side of God on this issue” when the U.S. chose not to veto a United Nations resolution on Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Jeffress said the Bible declares that “God will judge any nation that divides the land that God gave to Israel.” He said the Bible was clear that the “geography of the land that he was giving to his people” includes “what we call today the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights, all of that was a part of God’s gift to his people.”

Jeffress further insisted that “the Palestinians have no claim” to the land.

While a coalition of Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant churches praised the Obama administration decision, many conservative evangelicals opposed it. As Baptist News reported last year, the nation of Israel figures prominently in the end-times theology of many evangelicals:

A 2015 study by LifeWay Research found that seven in 10 evangelical Christians believe the modern nation of Israel was formed as a result of biblical prophecy and that God has a special relationship with the state of Israel declared in 1948. Nearly three in four U.S. evangelicals said current events in Israel fulfill prophecies in the New Testament Book of Revelation.

Other Religious Right leaders who have opposed any exchange of land for peace with Palestinians include televangelist Pat Robertson, who said in 2006 that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s stroke and the earlier assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin were divine punishments for “dividing God’s land,” and “historian” David Barton, who said in 2014 that God had established Israel’s boundaries and that politicians who talk about giving up land would be “messing directly with God.”

The 2016 Republican Party platform, shaped strongly by Religious Right leaders, dropped the party’s previous support for a two-state solution. Liberty Counsel praised Trump’s choice of David Friedman as U.S. ambassador to Israel in part because he has been “an opponent of the so-called two-state solution.” Liberty Counsel’s Matt Staver has also praised the Trump administration’s decision to drop the term “occupied” in reference to the West Bank and Golan Heights; Religious Right leaders refer to disputed territories by the biblical names of Judea and Samaria and insist that Israel has a divine deed to all the territory. ... ed-by-god/

Re: “The Storm”

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 6:25 pm
by American Dream
Infowars’ attempt to hijack and exploit the wild conspiracy theory that is QAnon is backfiring

Alex Jones fed a growing monster. Now the monster is trying to eat him.


Jones decided to confront the attacks head-on on May 11. He claimed “Q” had been compromised and said he had talked by phone with “folks who were out playing golf with people that have been involved in QAnon” and say “that’s been taken over.” He also said he had personally “talked to QAnon” and that it’s “no longer QAnon.” Corsi appeared to say that while “the White House for a long time did support QAnon,” the identity was “now completely hijacked,” and bemoaned his attackers as trolls.

“Q,” who followers for some reason assume is male, responded to Jones and Corsi in the usual cryptical fashion, perhaps effectively ending Jones’ ability to profit from the batshit conspiracy theory.

Image ... ing/220213

Re: “The Storm”

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 8:02 pm
by SonicG
Schism among Qanoners?


Re: “The Storm”

PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2018 8:02 pm
by BenDhyan
And thus the actual storm begins...

Trump seeks probe into FBI election campaign 'infiltration'

President Donald Trump says he will demand an inquiry into whether his election campaign was infiltrated for political purposes.

In a tweet, Mr Trump said he wanted to know whether his predecessor's administration ordered such a move.

The request, which will be made officially on Monday, comes after US media reports suggesting the FBI had an informant meeting campaign aides.

There is already an investigation into all aspects relating to the campaign.

Mr Trump's demand came amid a series of tweets on Sunday denouncing a "witch hunt" that, he said, had found no collusion with Russia.

Twitter post by @realDonaldTrump
I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes - and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!
3:37 AM - May 21, 2018 104K people are talking about this

This refers to the ongoing investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 US election, whether there was any collusion between the Kremlin and Mr Trump's election campaign and whether the president tried unlawfully to obstruct the inquiry.