Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Election

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Re: NSA Chief Russia Hacked '16 Election Congress Must Inves

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun May 20, 2018 6:19 pm

Jonathan Landay

Key words: “inappropriate purposes.” A counter intelligence investigation into Russian election meddling is not “inappropriate.”

Robert Costa

The Deputy Attorney General issued the following statement tonight: “If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action.”







emptywheel

After expressing disinterest in Russians, Israelis, Saudis, Emirates, Syrians, and Turks paying to brush up against Trump aides, Devin Nunes has finally found a spook outreach he hates: America.


NUNES OUTRAGED THAT [AMERICAN] SPIES PAID TO BRUSH UP AGAINST TRUMP AIDES

May 20, 2018/32 Comments/in 2016 Presidential Election, Mueller Probe /by emptywheel
I just saw this Devin Nunes quote, from a WaPo story on the fight over releasing details on Stefan Halper investigative activities into the infiltration of Trump’s campaign by Russian assets.

Nunes said he and his colleagues have been troubled by reports and indications that sources may have been repeatedly reaching out to Trump campaign members and even offering aides money to encourage them to meet. The president, he said, has ample reason to be angry and suspicious.

“If you are paying somebody to come talk to my campaign or brush up against my campaign, whatever you call it, I’d be furious,” Nunes said.


The reference to “paying somebody” is presumably a reference to Halper paying George Papadopoulos $3,000 for research as a way to get an opportunity to ask, in a possibly recorded phone call, about the DNC emails.

As TheDCNF reported back in March, Halper contacted Papadopoulos through email on Sept. 2, 2016, offering to fly him to London to discuss writing a policy paper about energy issues in Turkey, Israel and Cyprus. Halper offered to pay $3,000 for the paper.

Papadopoulos made the trip and had dinner multiple times with Halper and a Turkish woman described as his assistant. Sources familiar with Papadopoulos’s version of their meetings said Halper randomly asked Papadopoulos whether he knew about Democratic National Committee emails that had been hacked and leaked by Russians.

Papadopoulos strongly denied the allegation, sources familiar with his version of the exchange have told TheDCNF. Halper grew agitated and pressed Papadopoulos on the topic. Papadopoulos believes that Halper was recording him during some of their interactions, sources said.

Halper’s assistant, who is named Azra Turk, brought up Russians and emails over drinks with Papadopoulos. Turk also flirted heavily with Papadopoulos and attempted to meet him in Chicago, where he lives, a source told TheDCNF.


I’d be curious to see Papadopoulos’ notoriously inflated resume to see whether he included the research project on it after he completed it.

That Nunes thinks Trump should be outraged about this one incident is particularly notable, given that neither Nunes nor anyone else running cover for the Trump administration has ever expressed similar outrage about all the Trump aides that other countries were dangling money and other goods to brush up against. Those include (and this list is far from comprehensive):

Russian academics paying Carter Page to speak in Moscow
A pro-Russian Syrian group paying Don Jr to speak in Paris
Multiple Russian banks floating massive amounts of support to Jared
Russia’s RT paying Mike Flynn to appear at an event with Putin
Turkish pass-throughs paying Flynn to make a movie
Saudi, Israeli, and Emirati sources offering campaign assistance
Oleg Deripaska offering to forgive Paul Manafort’s $20 million debt for updates on the Trump campaign
Russians offering dirt on Hillary to get a meeting with Trump’s campaign manager, son, and son-in-law
I mean, even the Carter Page Moscow trip was more lucrative than the Papadopoulos research. And the other valuable things offered to campaign aides, by spooked-up sources from a range of countries, were tens or millions of dollars more valuable than what Halper offered, usually without any legit purpose tied to it.

And yet the only intelligence source that Nunes has expressed any outrage about — the only one! — is one associated with the United States, a person with long ties to the Republican party.

I mean, maybe Nunes is just dumb and doesn’t understand the stance he has now publicly adopted. Maybe he didn’t mean to say the only spies who shouldn’t be able to test whether Trump aides were willing to sell information for a price are American spies.

But thus far, the only lucrative outreach by spies that Nunes has objected to are American ones.
https://www.emptywheel.net/2018/05/20/n ... ump-aides/
We will find it’s all connected UK/US election interference the Brexit debacle
All of it the work of a trans national crime syndicate who managed to figure out the wormhole needed to pit us against one another for their benefit
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Re: NSA Chief Russia Hacked '16 Election Congress Must Inves

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon May 21, 2018 2:06 pm

THE FLYNN CONSPIRACY CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE [WHITE] HOUSE

May 21, 2018/22 Comments/in 2016 Presidential Election, Mueller Probe /by emptywheel
Maggie and Mike have another of their “scoops” where they repeat what Trump’s lawyers tell them uncritically. In addition to mis-reporting the import of an alleged Mueller comment that he would release a report describing Trump’s obstruction within 2 months of mid-terms, the piece describes some letters Trump’s lawyers sent DOJ in an attempt to exonerate Trump. Among the topics addressed in the letters was whether it was obstruction for Trump to fire Comey because he wouldn’t stop the investigation into Mike Flynn.

The lawyers did not say whether Mr. Trump had asked for an end to the Flynn investigation. But their letters cited statements by the White House that denied Mr. Comey’s account.

The lawyers also argued that Mr. Trump could not have impeded the investigation because there was no inquiry to obstruct. The letter said that the F.B.I. had concluded that Mr. Flynn had not committed a crime when he told agents in January 2017 that he did not discuss sanctions with the Russian ambassador during the transition, an assertion later found to be false.

The lawyers said that law enforcement officials had told the White House that the bureau did not believe Mr. Flynn had lied. “For all intents, purposes and appearances, the F.B.I. had accepted Flynn’s account; concluded that he was confused but truthful; decided not to investigate him further; and let him retain his clearance,” the letters said.

It is not clear what basis his lawyers have for those assertions. Mr. Flynn pleaded guilty in December to lying to investigators and is cooperating with the special counsel inquiry.

The letters also said that Mr. Comey had told Congress in a closed-door briefing in March 2017 that Mr. Flynn had not lied to the F.B.I. in the interview and was merely confused. Mr. Comey said last month on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that that assertion was not accurate.

On top of revealing that Trump’s lawyers apparently do not deny that Trump asked Comey to back off the Flynn investigation (even if they contest Comey’s take more generally), these letters make it clear that a conspiracy the frothy right has adopted lately — that Flynn should never have been investigated — is coming from inside the White House.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkcGm-pWwsQ

That scoop is useful, then, for making it clear where dumb propaganda (and Congressional pushback) is originating.

But Maggie and Mike barely mention how obviously problematic the Trump story is. Trump’s lawyers apparently argued to DOJ that the Trump couldn’t have obstructed any investigation by firing Comey because, “there was no inquiry to obstruct.” They support that claim by stating, “Mr. Comey had told Congress in a closed-door briefing in March 2017 that Mr. Flynn had not lied to the F.B.I. in the interview and was merely confused.”

Never mind that this claim ignores that there was already a counterintelligence investigation into Flynn when he was incidentally collected assuring Sergey Kislyak that the Trump Administration would work with Russia on sanctions. That investigation was premised on events that included a meeting with Kislyak in the Ambassador’s private residence in 2015, in advance of his trip to the big RT shindig, that Flynn’s spawn considered “very productive.”

But per the HPSCI Russia report, it’s a misstatement of what Comey actually told Congress in March 2017. That report says,

Director Comey testified to the Committee that “the agents … discerned no physical indications of deception. They didn’t see any change in posture, in tone, in inflection, in eye contact. They saw nothing that indicated to them that he knew he was lying to them.”


Indeed, the White House version doesn’t even cohere with the story spun by Chuck Grassley in a recent effort to grill an FBI agent involved.

According to that agent’s contemporaneous notes, Director Comey specifically told us during that briefing that the FBI agents who interviewed Lt. General Michael Flynn, “saw nothing that led them to believe [he was] lying.” Our own Committee staff’s notes indicate that Mr. Comey said the “agents saw no change in his demeanor or tone that would say he was being untruthful.”


In both versions offered by very partisan Republicans, the FBI agents talked about physical signs of deceit. The HPSCI report goes on to make clear that the same agents also recognized Flynn’s statements in the interview were “inconsistent” with the call intercept.

Yet somehow Trump’s lawyers decided to claim to DOJ that FBI concluded Flynn was just confused, a claim that apparently conflicts with evidence from at least 5 current or former DOJ employees currently unaffiliated with the Mueller probe, including Sally Yates, from whom the White House first obtained information about the Flynn interview.

There’s a lot more that’s crazy about Trump’s lawyers’ efforts to invent a story inconsistent with all known records. First, relying on a still classified HPSCI report makes it crystal clear (as if it wasn’t already) that HPSCI is sharing classified information with the White House. The logic of this claim is that Comey’s contemporaneous spoken statements to numerous DOJ officials should be dismissed but his spoken statements to Congress are credible. Leaking this story makes it clear that the White House is behind the worst conspiracies floating among the far right.

But, if the NYT portrayal of the letter is accurate, it also shows that in an attempt to explain away Trump’s actions, the White House is inventing facts. Inventing easily checked facts seems like a really curious strategy to proclaim someone’s innocence.
https://www.emptywheel.net/2018/05/21/t ... ite-house/


Presidents who never said "I hereby demand":

Obama
Bush 43
Clinton
Bush 41
Reagan
Carter
Ford
Nixon
Johnson
Kennedy
Eisenhower
Truman
Roosevelt
Hoover
Coolidge
Harding
Wilson
Taft
Roosevelt
McKinley
Cleveland
Harrison
Arthur
Garfield
Hayes
Johnson
Lincoln

You get the picture.






Countries whose spies Devin Nunes is fine paying to brush up against Trump aides:
Russia
Israel
UAE
KSA
Syria
Turkey


Country whose spies he objects to paying to brush up against Trump aides:
USA

Obstruction in broad daylight


Laurence Tribe

Telling DOJ what to investigate as though it was WH staff — especially when the directive is clearly aimed at outing a top secret national security asset to conceal evidence of presidential wrongdoing — may well be part of an impeachable pattern


impeachable pattern

Benjamin Wittes


Benjamin Wittes Retweeted Donald J. Trump
I normally ignore presidential tweets. This one requires attention, because it could genuinely produce a crisis with the Justice Department and the FBI. Here’s an explanatory thread that may (or may not) be useful. /1/Benjamin Wittes added,
Donald J. Trump

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!


Benjamin Wittes

The President in this tweet announces that he will tomorrow formally demand of the Justice Department a specific investigation—to wit, one about whether the DOJ and FBI spied on the Trump campaign and if the Obama administration demanded such action of them. /2/

There is no doubt that he has the constitutional authority to make this demand. /3/

There is also no doubt in my mind that neither the attorney general (who is recused anyway) nor the deputy attorney general nor the FBI director can in good conscience comply with such an order. And I don’t believe they will. /4/

This is a nakedly corrupt attempt on the part of the President to derail an investigation of himself at the expense of a human source to whose protection the FBI and DOJ are committed.

See @qjurecic and my piece on this from yesterday. /5/


So if the President really gives Rod Rosenstein or Chris Wray an order (as opposed to Twitter bluster) demanding a particular investigation not properly predicated under FBI/DOJ guidelines for this overtly political purpose, I believe both men will resign rather than comply. /6/

In other words, this tweet is different from other Trump craziness tweets. It’s one that promises a specific action on a specific date (tomorrow) with respect to a specific agency that will, if it takes place, precipitate a showdown. /7/

Trump is a wuss, so he may well back down. He was going to fire Rosenstein, and he wussed out. He was going to fire Mueller and he wussed out. So I don’t want to overstate this. There’s lots of ways this could peter out. But this tweet is no joke. /8/

As Quinta and I wrote yesterday, “Don’t underestimate this episode. It will have a long tail and big consequences—all of them terrible.” Those consequences, if you believe the President, may start tomorrow. /9/

Eyes open people. /10/

That’s all I got. /11/



Jonathan Karl

ABC News has learned President Trump will meet today at the White House with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray. The meeting is scheduled for 3pm. I'm told this "demand" will be a topic of discussion ...
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Re: NSA Chief Russia Hacked '16 Election Congress Must Inves

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon May 21, 2018 4:47 pm

GEORGE PAPADOPOULOS WAS TRYING TO HIDE EVIDENCE HE THOUGHT MIGHT AMOUNT TO TREASON WHEN HE LIED TO THE FBI

May 21, 2018/2 Comments/in 2016 Presidential Election, Mueller Probe /by emptywheel
Chuck Ross’ description of a September 2016 conversation between Stefan Halper and George Papadopoulos has evolved over the course of his reporting on it. In March, he described it this way:

According to a source with knowledge of the meeting, Halper asked Papadopoulos: “George, you know about hacking the emails from Russia, right?”

Papadopoulos told Halper he didn’t know anything about emails or Russian hacking, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign. The professor did not follow up on the line of inquiry.


In his next story on the exchange, Ross described it this way:

Sources familiar with Papadopoulos’s version of their meetings said Halper randomly asked Papadopoulos whether he knew about Democratic National Committee emails that had been hacked and leaked by Russians.

Papadopoulos strongly denied the allegation, sources familiar with his version of the exchange have told TheDCNF. Halper grew agitated and pressed Papadopoulos on the topic. Papadopoulos believes that Halper was recording him during some of their interactions, sources said.


The very next day, here’s how Ross described it:

During one of their dinners, Halper asked Papadopoulos whether he was involved in the Russian theft of Democrats’ emails, sources familiar with Papadopoulos’ account have told TheDCNF. Papadopoulos denied the allegation, saying that stealing emails would be treason.

Halper grew frustrated, according to sources.

This is the first story in this series where Ross describes what Papadopoulos pled guilty to, but he gets it wrong in a key way I’ll describe below.

Finally, Ross offers yet another description in a new story today.

Sources familiar with Papadopoulos’ version of events say that during one conversation, Halper asked Papadopoulos whether he was involved in the release of DNC emails. Papadopoulos denied it, telling Halper that hacking emails would be treason. Halper grew frustrated, according to the sources.


Today’s story claims we don’t know what Alexander Downer told FBI. We do know one detail he omitted: That Downer told the FBI that Papadopoulos told him Mifsud said the Russians were going to release the emails to help Trump.

Now, as I said, in yesterday’s story, Ross described the substance of the lies Papadopoulos told the FBI slightly wrong.

Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the timing of his encounters with Mifsud and two Russian nationals. He did, however, tell the FBI in his initial interviews that Mifsud mentioned Clinton documents.


Ross leans on his misunderstanding of Papadopoulos’ guilty plea to argue today that FBI should have interviewed Papadopoulos back in August, rather than ask a lifelong Republican to ask the same questions while hiding the FBI interest.

Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to the special counsel’s office for lying to the FBI during that interview. As part of his plea deal, Papadopoulos admitted he lied about the timing of his interactions with two Russian nationals and a Maltese professor named Joseph Mifsud. Papadopoulos initially told FBI agents that the contacts occurred prior to joining the Trump campaign when, in fact, they occurred after he learned that he would be joining the Trump campaign in March 2016.

FBI defenders could point to Papadopoulos’ deception in the January 2017 interview to argue that he would have lied had he been questioned earlier in Crossfire Hurricane. But that argument is undercut by what else Papadopoulos said in his FBI interview.

According to a statement of offense Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed, Papadopoulos told FBI agents that Mifsud mentioned the stolen Clinton emails.

And sources familiar with Papadopoulos’s version of the FBI interview say he claims that he, and not the FBI agents, first mentioned Mifsud during the interview, which was conducted in Chicago without lawyers present.


That is, Ross argues that because Papadopoulos offered up that he met a weird guy named Mifsud who told him the Russians were offering dirt in the form of Hillary emails, he could be trusted to have been honest had the FBI asked him in August.

As I said, though, Ross’ first description of Papadopoulos’ guilty plea is wrong in several ways. Ross hides how important Papadopoulos said Mifsud seemed; the FBI describes Papadopoulos claiming Mifsud was just BSing. The former Trump aide similarly denied having any relationship with the Russian woman Mifsud introduced him to. Both those details make Papadopoulos’ lies about the timing more important: he lied about how important he believed these two were and he lied about the way their outreach to him tied to his role on the campaign.

In Ross’ first description of his plea, however, he suggested that Papadopoulos affirmatively lied “about the timing of his encounters with Mifsud and two Russian nationals,” the second of whom we know to be Ivan Timofeev. That’s wrong. In the first interview, Papadopoulos (successfully) hid the entire existence of Timofeev. That’s key because Papadopoulos was forwarding communications from Timofeev, a Russian official, talking about setting up meetings with campaign officials. He was forwarding these emails to the campaign in the weeks leading up to the June 9 meeting. Indeed, Papadopoulos told Timofeev that Trump’s first campaign speech was a sign that the candidate was willing to meet. By hiding Timofeev, Papadopoulos was hiding high level campaign knowledge of the outreach (including Paul Manafort).

Ross fails to mention another damning thing the purportedly forthcoming Papadopoulos did the day after his second FBI interview: delete his Facebook account, and with it his communications with Timofeev, and get a new cell phone, presumably destroying secure communications.

There is no way Papadopoulos would have been any more honest with FBI in August 2016 than he was in January.

And if the third and fourth version of Ross’ description of the Halper-Papadopoulos exchange is any indication, then it’s very clear why Papadopoulos would have always lied about the communications: because he considered the very same kind of back and forth with Russians tied to the email release treason.

Papadopoulos was trying to cover up evidence he thought might prove treason.
https://www.emptywheel.net/2018/05/21/g ... o-the-fbi/
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Re: NSA Chief Russia Hacked '16 Election Congress Must Inves

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue May 22, 2018 10:07 am

Wendy Siegelman


Who is Joel Zamel, the Australian-Israeli linked to Mueller’s Trump Probe? His company Psy-Group engaged in private intelligence gathering work, while Wikistrat was contracted by the UAE to conduct war game scenarios on the political situation in Yemen


Who Is Joel Zamel, the Australian-Israeli Linked to Mueller’s Trump Probe?

The Israeli social media expert, allegedly linked to the Trump campaign through an online manipulation campaign, founded several companies, including one offering 'honey traps' and 'deep web' capabilities

Allison Kaplan Sommer May 21, 2018 5:22 PM
Image

A screenshot of the lead image of the Psygroup promotional brochure Psygroup
The news that special counsel Robert Mueller dispatched FBI agents to the Middle East to interview witnesses and worked with the Israel Police to seize computers affiliated with a company that specializes in "social media manipulation," hit Israel like a bombshell.

The name thrust into the spotlight by Saturday’s New York Times report is that of Joel Zamel, described as an “Israeli social media expert.” His company, Psy-Group, the article said, developed “an online manipulation campaign that involved usage of thousands of fake social media accounts to help Trump get elected.”

Zamel, the Times reported, met Donald Trump, Jr. together with George Nader, a special adviser to the leadership of the United Arab Emirates three months before the 2016 election and allegedly pitched his company expertise to help Trump defeat Hillary Clinton and discussed ways to help the Republican candidate’s campaign through social media manipulation.

It wasn’t the first time Zamel’s name has arisen in connection with the Mueller probe, which is looking into alleged foreign meddling in the 2016 elections. On April 3, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Mueller team was examining the nine-year-old company owned by Zamel and his business partner Daniel Green, then a consulting firm called Wikistrat.
Image

A screenshot of an image inside the Psygroup brochure.Psygroup
The Journal said that Wikistrat was contracted by the UAE beginning in 2015 to conduct war game scenarios on Islamist political movements in Yemen and had developed close relationships with the Emirate’s security establishment and business community. According to the newspaper, the work included Wikistrat putting together a war game concerning the political situation in Yemen for the UAE and then briefed top Emirati national security officials on the results.

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That job, it said, had “morphed into what one person close to the company referred to as ‘intelligence lite’—using local on-the-ground sources to anticipate threats.”

Zamel’s two companies appear to be radically different.

PsyGroup has a minimal footprint - a one-page website that gives a Cyprus address and a slogan “Shape Reality.” A Hebrew language job recruiting site lists it as being a small “media, marketing and advertising company” and says it has between 11 to 50 employees.
Image

A screenshot from the Psygroup brochure featuring the info on "dark net"Psygroup brochure
A more detailed picture of PsyGroup was painted in a Wall Street Journal story published the same day as the Times report. The Journal described the company as engaging in “private intelligence gathering work.” It said “one of its main rivals was Black Cube—another Israeli firm which achieved notoriety after it was used by Harvey Weinstein to counter probes into his alleged sexual abuse of actresses. Several people linked to the firm are veteran Israeli intelligence officials, with experience in areas that include psychological operations. According to the firm’s marketing materials reviewed by the Journal, Psy-Group offered clients an array of services—including “honey traps,” a term used by spy agencies for an intelligence-gathering tactic using romantic or sexual relationships to extract information.

The article included a link to a Psy-Group company brochure online showing the services they advertise - including honey traps - as well as “deep web and Darknet capabilities.”

By contrast, Wikistrat is a large, established company with a much higher and extremely public profile. It was founded in Israel in 2010 and is now based in Washington, D. C. It bills itself as “the world’s first crowdsourced consultancy. We leverage a worldwide community of several hundred strategic thinkers to run simulations of likely international events and unfolding global trends, wargame future conflict or crisis scenarios, and conduct strategic planning exercises.”

Wikistrat’s list of clients on its website includes numerous U.S. government and intelligence agencies. Its advisory council includes many former U.S. intelligence officials, as well as familiar names like Dennis Ross, former Middle East peace negotiator, Elliot Abrams, former Deputy Director of the National Security Council and John P. Hannah, former National Security Advisor to then U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. While his name doesn’t appear on the company website, a Bloomberg online biography lists Zamel as Wikistrat’s founding director and chief executive officer, relating that he “developed the strategic planning methodology of Collaborative Competition, on which Wikistrat’s flagship system is based. He has a Bachelor of Mining Engineering from the University of New South Wales and a Masters Degree in Government, Diplomacy and Strategy from the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, specializing in Counter-Terrorism and Homeland Security.”
Image

A screenshot from the Psygroup brochure featuring the info on "honey webs"Psygroup brochure
In 2011, the company courted publicity by sponsoring a “Grand Strategy Competition” that it said would provide participants with a “Wikipedia meets Facebook collaborative space for generating content” aimed at “bringing together leading analysts of the future, who will be challenged to come up with long-term national strategies for selected countries based on five issues: global energy security, global economic “rebalancing,” Jihadist terrorism, the Sino-American relationship and nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.”

In an article about the event in The Jerusalem Post, Zamel and his Wikistrat co-founder Daniel Green are described as “Australian expats” in Israel.

A third company, with an even lower profile than Psy-Group was mentioned in the Times article, which said that in December 2016, Nader utilized another company “linked” to Zamel, one called WhiteKnight and based in the Philippines. He reportedly bought from them “a presentation demonstrating the impact of social media campaigns on Mr. Trump’s electoral victory.”

The Times said that when asked about the purchase, “a representative of WhiteKnight said: “WhiteKnight delivers premium research and high-end business development services for prestigious clients around the world. WhiteKnight does not talk about any of its clients.”

Speaking for Zamel and Wikistrat in April, attorney Marc L. Mukasey, chairman of white collar defense at the law firm Greenberg Traurig, said in April to The Wall Street Journal that the company has said they possess “only a tenuous connection to the special counsel’s investigation and are cooperating fully.”

Regarding the more recent revelations regarding Psy-Group, Mukasey said that Zamel “offered nothing to the Trump campaign, received nothing from the Trump campaign, delivered nothing to the Trump campaign and was not solicited by, or asked to do anything for, the Trump campaign.” He said reports that Zamel had engaged in “social media manipulation” were incorrect and that his client’s companies “harvest publicly available information for lawful use.”

Much has been made across social media regarding the fact that among Zamel’s company’s clients include Russian oligarchs implicated in other parts of the Mueller probe. The Times reported that one of Zamel’s firms “had previously worked for oligarchs linked to Mr. Putin, including Oleg V. Deripaska and Dmitry Rybolovlev, who hired the firm for online campaigns against their business rivals. Mr. Deripaska, an aluminum magnate, was once in business with the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who has pleaded not guilty in the special counsel investigation to charges of financial crimes and failing to disclose the lobbying work he did on behalf of a former president of Ukraine, an ally of Mr. Putin. Mr. Rybolovlev once purchased a Florida mansion from Mr. Trump.”

In the political blog, Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall pointed out the interconnectedness when it came to legal representation in the Trump probe.

“Zamel is represented by a man named Marc L. Mukasey,” Marshall wrote. “You may recognize the name because he’s the son of the former Attorney General Michael Mukasey. For our present purposes what is important is that Mukasey has been the deputy and the law partner of Rudy Giuliani for years.”

For over a decade, Mukasey and Giuliani worked together at the law firm of Bracewell and Patterson. In January 2016, Giuliani moved to Greenberg Traurig.

In June 2017, Giuliani travelled to Israel to attend a cybersecurity conference in his role as as a Senior Advisor to Greenberg Traurig’s Executive Chairman and as Chair of Cybersecurity, Privacy and Crisis Management Practice. During that visit, he said one of the reasons he chose the firm was because it was the “only international law firm with an office in Tel Aviv” and praised Israel’s “capitalist free market economy” saying it was “one of the most innovative countries in the world” with “cutting edge technology in cybersecurity.”
https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.pr ... -1.6104963


in December 2016, Nader utilized a third company “linked” to Zamel, called WhiteKnight based in the Philippines and reportedly bought from them “a presentation demonstrating the impact of social media campaigns on Mr. Trump’s electoral victory.” https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.pr ... -1.6104963
Image

The Times reported that one of Zamel’s firms “had previously worked for oligarchs linked to Mr. Putin, including Oleg V. Deripaska and Dmitry Rybolovlev, who hired the firm for online campaigns against their business rivals”



TPM pointed out that Zamel is represented by Marc Mukasey who has been the deputy and the law partner of Rudy Giuliani for years. https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.pr ... -1.6104963

Image


For Now, We'll Trust That Rod Rosenstein Is Playing the President* Like a Five-Cent Violin

The indications are the Deputy AG is a crafty bureaucrat.

BY CHARLES P. PIERCE
MAY 21, 2018

Every day that Robert Mueller and his tunnel rats continue to labor under the foul mire that is this administration* is a day when the White House loses. Every day in which Mueller goes home at night still in the same job is a day when the president* is one day closer to possibly losing his.

So it’s easy to read too much into the meeting late Monday afternoon when deputy AG Rod Rosenstein and FBI director Chris Wray dropped by the White House to talk to the president* in response to the latest administration* fever dream about how the previous administration had gone all Gordon Liddy on the Trump campaign—and just because that campaign was lousy with crooks, mountebanks, and influence-pedding in a dozen different languages.

THAT CAMPAIGN WAS LOUSY WITH CROOKS, MOUNTEBANKS, AND INFLUENCE-PEDDING IN A DOZEN DIFFERENT LANGUAGES.

So, Rosenstein and Wray dropped by and, when the meeting was over, the three principals issued a very curious statement. It stated that the DOJ’s inspector-general will expand his ongoing investigation to include “tactics” employed by the FBI in its investigation of the Trump campaign. Further:

"It was also agreed that White House Chief of Staff Kelly will immediately set up a meeting with the FBI, DOJ, and DNI together with congressional leaders to review highly classified and other information they have requested."
Nobody seems to know what that second part means. The intelligence community would be out of its mind to hand over material vitally important to its investigation to the leakiest White House since before they put the roof on the joint. At the same time, it seems that Rosenstein et.al. have agreed to give to the administration* material that the FBI has fought tooth-and-claw to keep from the congressional Republicans.

For the moment, I’m going to give Rosenstein credit for being a gifted bureaucratic infighter and survivor who has played the president* like a five-cent violin. (There are precedents supporting this view to be found just this morning.) There are a dozen ways for Rosenstein to slow-play the review of any classified documents. I think the president* got played on behalf of all of us.

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/p ... ting-wray/



The reported fee for Trump to pose with convicted pedophile George Nader: $189,000
Image
Written by Max de Haldevang
In the middle of a furious lobbying campaign last year, convicted pedophile George Nader had a big request—a photo of himself with president Donald Trump, the AP reports.

Nader, a close associate of the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, had allied with Elliott Broidy, another convicted felon who was then deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, to lobby Trump’s administration against Qatar. The administration had initially banned Nader from meeting Trump—the exact reason why was unclear, the AP reports—so, the photo request was a big one.

Broidy reportedly told Nader, who served a year in Czech prison in 2003 for ten counts of sexually abusing children, that a donation of $100,000 to $250,000 to the RNC could secure the photo. A picture of Nader and Trump in front of the American was duly taken. On Nov. 30, Broidy made three donations to the RNC, totaling $189,000—more than he had donated in over two decades of fundraising, the AP writes. Earlier in the year, Broidy had invoiced Nader $2.5 million (pdf, p.9) for “consulting, marketing and other advisory services.”


Nader, a Lebanese-American, has reportedly been complying (paywall) with special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into foreign influence over Trump’s election campaign, with new questions emerging over whether Middle Eastern powers helped Trump win election. Broidy recently resigned from his RNC role after the Wall Street Journal reported (paywall) that he had paid $1.6 million to a former Playboy model who said he had impregnated her
https://qz.com/1284238/donald-trumps-ph ... donations/



The dealmaker: Mueller witness helped broker $4.2 billion Iraq-Russia arms deal

Laura Rozen March 8, 2018

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s latest interest, Lebanese-American businessman George Nader, has a long history of mysterious dealings in the Middle East despite a low profile in Washington.
GETTY/Alex WongSpecial Counsel Robert Mueller (C) leaves after a closed meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the Capitol in Washington, June 21, 2017.
A Lebanese-American businessman reported to be cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe helped broker a controversial 2012 Iraq-Russia arms deal valued at $4.2 billion, Iraqi sources tell Al-Monitor.

Russia arms deal

George Nader, 58, traveled to Moscow in 2012, telling Russian interlocutors that he represented Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the deal should be negotiated through him, according to two Iraqi sources. Nader’s role in the deal was controversial to Iraqi officials because Iraq’s minister of defense was in Russia to conduct the negotiations, and they were unaware that Maliki was working with Nader to bypass official channels.

One of the Iraqi sources, a former Iraqi official who spoke to Al-Monitor on condition that he not be named, personally witnessed Nader’s interactions with Maliki in their Moscow hotel when he accompanied Maliki to Moscow in October 2012 to sign the arms deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Nader’s career as a deal broker in Iraq ran from the mid-2000s until Maliki left office in 2014, the Iraqi sources said. Nader then became an adviser to the powerful Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. It is in that capacity that Nader’s meetings with members of the incoming Donald Trump administration in 2016-17 — including Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former chief strategist Steve Bannon — brought Nader to Mueller’s attention.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that Nader was arrested and questioned by the FBI when he landed at Washington Dulles International Airport on Jan. 17 en route to celebrate Trump’s first year in office at Mar-a-Lago in Florida. He was questioned by Mueller’s grand jury March 2 and is reported to now be cooperating with Mueller’s probe. One line of inquiry Mueller is reported to be questioning Nader about is whether the United Arab Emirates (UAE) might have funneled money to members of the incoming Trump administration in an effort to curry influence with them, including in their dispute with Qatar.

From journalist to dealmaker

Nader’s recent career as a Middle East deal broker is both an outgrowth and departure from his past. As an editor of Middle East Insight magazine in Washington in the 1980s and 1990s, Nader interviewed President Bill Clinton and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

During this time, Nader also served as a frequent go-between in informal Syrian-Israeli talks encouraged by the Clinton administration before abruptly disappearing from the Washington scene around 2000.

“He was a reliable go-between, a facilitator,” Martin Indyk, who knew Nader when Indyk served as Clinton’s assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs and ambassador to Israel in the 1990s, told Al-Monitor. “He was not a con man.”

Nader was connected to the Hafez al-Assad regime through then-Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa and then-Syrian Ambassador to the United States and current Foreign Minister Walid Moallem, Indyk said. “He was going to Israel from time to time. He set up an interview of [Syrian Foreign Minister al-Sharaa] with Israeli journalist Ehud Yaari as a confidence-building measure. George is the one that made that happen. … Then he hooked up with [Ron] Lauder. He traveled with Lauder 16 times to Damascus in 1998” in efforts to advance an Israeli-Syrian peace agreement.

“And then when the Clinton administration was gone, George was gone,” Indyk, now executive vice president of the Brookings Institution, said.

“Last time I heard from [Nader] was after the US invasion of Iraq,” journalist Hisham Melham told Al-Monitor. “He called me from Kurdistan. But why would MBZ [the crown prince] need him when he has [UAE Ambassador] Yousef Al Otaiba?”

From dabbling in Syria-Israel peace talks to Iraq postwar dealmaker

Nader appeared in Iraq in the mid-2000s, looking to translate his Rolodex of connections from his Middle East Insight days into work advising various Iraqi political clients, including some of Iraq’s new Shiite political leaders, as well as Kurdish officials.

According to Iraqi sources, Nader helped arrange meetings for the 2005 visit to Washington of leading members of an Iraqi Shiite political party with close ties to Iran, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. In 2010, Nader similarly arranged meetings for then-Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani with high-level UAE officials, including the crown prince, a second Iraqi source now living in exile told Al-Monitor. But Nader failed to win over the KRG leader, the second Iraqi source said.

“Nader got Nechirvan Barzani meetings with MBZ and [Lebanese Prime Minister] Saad Hariri,” the second Iraqi source said, adding that he advised Iraqi Kurdish interlocutors at the time to be wary of Nader.

Nader had a “knack for claiming that he had unique access to 'mysterious' persons,” the second Iraqi source said. “This way he would be able to latch on from one new confidant to another.”

By 2012, Nader had forged close ties with the Iraqi prime minister and Maliki’s son and deputy chief of staff, Ahmed Maliki, Iraqi sources said. Nader had worked with the younger Maliki on power generation projects, the former Iraqi official said. The relationship that Nader forged with Maliki’s son apparently brought Nader into the father’s inner circle when the huge Russian arms deal was being negotiated.

In August 2012, Iraq’s Minister of Defense Saadoun al-Dulaimi spent 24 days in Moscow to finalize negotiations for the $4.2 billion Russian arms deal. But during the negotiations, the former Iraqi official told Al-Monitor that he received a message from former Russian Energy Minister Yuri Shafranik warning him that there were other people in Moscow claiming that they, and not the defense minister, were representing Maliki, and that the deal should go through them.

Eventually, on Oct. 3, 2012, Shafranik went to Baghdad to try to clarify the situation with Maliki, the former Iraqi official said. Shafranik even offered Maliki a direct communication line with Russian President Vladimir Putin to avoid confusion and leaks.

“The third of October, Yuri [Shafranik] came to Baghdad, met the prime minister and told him clearly that ‘Mr. Putin is suggesting direct relations between you and him to avoid any leakage and … cut any unhealthy things,’” the former Iraqi official said. “The prime minister welcomed that.”

Maliki assured the officials that he welcomed the suggestion to streamline their contacts and signaled that the confusion over who represented Baghdad in the arms deal would be resolved.

So the former Iraqi official was astonished when he accompanied Maliki to Moscow in October 2012 to sign the Russian arms deal to see Nader enter their hotel and take the elevator to Maliki’s suite.

“We were in a Radisson hotel in Moscow,” the former Iraqi official said. “And all of a sudden, George Nader came, walking very fast, entered the elevator, went up and, I saw from the screen over the elevator, went to the level where the prime minister was staying.

“When the minister of defense came down to the ground floor, I asked, did you notice George Nader? And he said yes; he saw him entering the prime minister’s suite,” the former Iraqi official said. “By that time I realized the issue is in-house. The corrupted party, which went to Moscow to represent Maliki, they are not … strange people. They are in the circle with Maliki.”

The former Iraqi official continued, “Also, while we were there we discovered new facts. I myself did not know that those people who traveled to Moscow at the end of August, that they are connected to Maliki and his son. But George Nader I knew very well. I was shocked. Then it immediately came to me — Nader’s relations with the son of Maliki.”

Over the course of the trip to Moscow, “we came to know that one of the three people who had been in Moscow presenting themselves as [Maliki’s] representative was George Nader,” the former Iraqi official said.

A call Wednesday by Al-Monitor to an attorney who represented Nader in an earlier case was not returned. A spokesman for the Iraqi Embassy said it did not have information on the matter.

The Iraqi-Russian arms deal was controversial in Iraq and long suspected to have involved corruption. In November 2012, just a month after it was signed, Iraq’s then-acting Defense Minister Dulaimi announced that the deal was canceled, “citing possible corruption in the contract,” Reuters reported.

But Maliki’s then-media adviser Ali al-Moussawi was cited by Reuters as saying that the deals would be renegotiated and any suspension of the contract was “a precautionary measure because of suspected corruption."

From Iraq to the UAE

After the end of Maliki’s run as Iraq's prime minister in 2014, Nader made his way to become an adviser to the Abu Dhabi crown prince. Until Trump’s election, however, he had maintained such a low profile that even several Washington consultants who have advised the Emirates said they were entirely unaware of his role.

It may now be left to Mueller to help deepen understanding of Nader’s mysterious activities and what role they may have played in influencing the Trump administration’s policies toward the Middle East.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/origina ... z5GF8QTALK
We will find it’s all connected UK/US election interference the Brexit debacle
All of it the work of a trans national crime syndicate who managed to figure out the wormhole needed to pit us against one another for their benefit
For money and power
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Re: NSA Chief Russia Hacked '16 Election Congress Must Inves

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue May 22, 2018 11:38 am

But buckle your seat belts and grab the oxygen masks. It’s about to get interesting.




Paul Manafort will plead guilty soon -- according to ex-prosecutor who worked under Rudy Giuliani

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election is picking up steam as the summer approaches, and one former federal prosecutor believes we’re in for a rocky road over the next few months.

Nelson W. Cunningham, a former prosecutor who served under current Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani in the Southern District of New York, writes in Politico that he believes former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort will soon plead guilty after he exhausts his current “Hail Mary” strategy of challenging Mueller’s authority to prosecute him on alleged money laundering charges.

“Once his Hail Mary motions fail, Manafort (and Mueller) will have every incentive to quickly reach a resolution,” he writes. “Manafort, who is 69, does not want to spend the rest of his years in prison.”

If Manafort decides to cooperate, it would set the stage for Mueller’s team to interview Trump himself — and here, Cunningham believes that Trump’s legal team will cut some kind of deal with the special counsel’s office to avoid having the president being subpoenaed.

“The president’s team truly does not want to receive that subpoena. Witnesses enter the grand jury room alone, without a lawyer, and must answer the prosecutors’ questions unaided,” he writes. “While the president would be free to step outside the room to consult with counsel, it is the nightmare of Trump’s lawyers that they will be outside a room where he is being submitted to determined cross-examination.”
https://www.rawstory.com/2018/05/paul-m ... -giuliani/


3 Predictions for What Mueller Will Do Next

As a former prosecutor, here’s where I think the special counsel is headed.

Edward-Isaac Dovere
May 21, 2018

Robert Mueller’s investigation is now 1 year old. Watching the slow reveal of witnesses, search warrants and subpoenas, the president’s supporters and his opponents may despair that it will never come to an end.

But buckle your seat belts and grab the oxygen masks. It’s about to get interesting. From my vantage point as a former federal prosecutor, Senate Judiciary aide and White House lawyer, the special counsel’s path forward seems very clear—almost inevitable. With the caveat that the future is of course uncertain, here are three predictions for the dramatic weeks ahead:

Mueller will likely wrap up his investigation this summer. It is an ironclad principle that prosecutors should not take action that could influence an election. As George W. Bush’s attorney general, Michael Mukasey, told his prosecutors by written guidance in 2008, “Law enforcement officers and prosecutors may never select the timing of investigative steps or criminal charges for the purpose of affecting any election, or for the purpose of giving an advantage or disadvantage to any candidate or political party.” The Hatch Act, he continued, “prohibits us from using our authority for the purpose of affecting election results.”

Mukasey’s declaration was such a clear and obvious declaration of principle that four years later, President Barack Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, reissued it in virtually identical language. That guidance still stands.

Indeed, the bipartisan reaction among legal scholars and former officials to FBI Director James Comey’s public declaration in October 2016 that he was reopening the Hillary Clinton email investigation formed the bulk of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s justification for the Comey firing one year ago.

So Mueller must act fast to finish his investigation—or he must wait until after the November 2018 elections. And if he waits, he knows every action he takes in those months leading up to the election will be scrutinized for political effect. Surely, he does not want to have to explain in his memoirs how his actions unintentionally affected the election.

How fast must he move? When does the window for action close? Kenneth Starr did not issue his report recommending the impeachment of Bill Clinton until September 11, 1998, also a midterm election year. The timing of that late move was widely criticized, and Starr argued that Clinton’s delaying tactics were to blame. In political terms, it had the unexpected consequence of boosting Clinton’s popularity and indeed, the Democrats very unusually won congressional seats in those midterm elections.

But Starr is not likely to be Mueller’s model. Here, Comey provides a positive example: In 2016, his team finished the bulk of its work on the Hillary Clinton email investigation by June, his agents interviewed the former secretary of state on July 2 and he publicly closed the investigation on July 5.

Another high-profile precedent is the indictment of former Senator Ted Stevens on corruption charges in a year when he was on the ballot. The date: July 29.

So history suggests that Mueller should act by July—bringing charges or recommendations, or declining to act. Trump’s new lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, asserted Sunday that Mueller’s team had told him its deadline was the end of August. Whether July or August, that is at most three months away.

What could happen in these three months? A lot. And that’s why it’s about to get interesting.

Mueller will interview Trump. Unless the president takes the Fifth. There is a debate, fomented by the president’s lawyers and by conservative legal commentators, over whether Trump will submit to an interview with Mueller’s team. But the legal precedent is crystal clear: He has no choice.

Presidents going back to Thomas Jefferson have submitted to court subpoenas. Presidents Grant, Ford, Carter and both Bushes provided testimony in criminal investigations or court matters. The Supreme Court in U.S. v Nixon unanimously held that a president could not resist a criminal trial subpoena to turn over the Watergate tapes. In 1998, the court ruled, again unanimously, in Clinton v. Jones that President Clinton could not claim immunity during his presidency from civil charges emerging from his private conduct. The court left it to the District Court to determine when and how the president could be called to testify, but there was no question that he could, and he was.

And if a president can be compelled to submit to a civil deposition and trial, then there is no question that he can be called in a criminal matter. Indeed, after Clinton v. Jones, President Clinton gave testimony not only in the civil case, but he spent almost six hours being grilled by independent counsel Starr’s team. In deference to the office and his schedule, Clinton testified from the White House, but the grand jury watched by live video feed from the courthouse. (I will pass over the irony that it was conservative lawyers who pressed for the unanimous Clinton v. Jones decision against Clinton, which now bites back against a Republican president.)

So why the loud claims from Trump’s lawyers and supporters that he need not submit? Consider it just public bargaining over the terms of the inevitable interview. Or consider it delaying tactics, to push into the dead zone past July where many a prosecutor would hesitate to act. Just this weekend, Giuliani suggested that the president may begin preparations—but not until after the June 12 Korea summit. He also insisted that Mueller first identify a confidential informant who may have spoken to outside campaign advisers. Also Sunday, Trump joined that call. For the president, delaying Mueller’s report past the November midterms would count as a substantial win.

But whether the talks fail or drag on, Mueller no doubt already has in his hand a signed subpoena ready to deliver. Like all federal grand jury subpoenas, it starkly directs: “YOU ARE COMMANDED to appear in this United States district court at the time, date, and place shown below to testify before the court's grand jury. When you arrive, you must remain at the court until the judge or a court officer allows you to leave.”

The president’s team truly does not want to receive that subpoena. Witnesses enter the grand jury room alone, without a lawyer, and must answer the prosecutors’ questions unaided. While the president would be free to step outside the room to consult with counsel, it is the nightmare of Trump’s lawyers that they will be outside a room in which he is being submitted to determined cross-examination. So no question, they will negotiate a compromise. Mueller will get his testimony.

Trump’s lawyers may also choose to litigate, both in hopes of achieving a Hail Mary court result, and in delaying the interview past Mueller’s July deadline. If so, they should recall that Clinton’s efforts to delay his own inevitable grand jury testimony formed a key part of Count XI of Starr’s recommended Grounds for Impeachment—so Trump might only be fueling the case for obstruction of justice by seeking a delay of his own.

If indeed compelled to testify, of course, the president also has the right of any citizen to cite his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination. Here, the politics are brutal. To quote Trump himself from September 2016, “The mob takes the Fifth. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” Good luck on that one, Mr. President.

Paul Manafort will plead guilty in the coming weeks. The two indictments against Trump‘s former campaign, relating to his work for Ukrainian backers and his efforts to evade federal registration and to pay taxes on the proceeds of his work, are exceptionally strong. His junior partner in crime (and Trump’s deputy campaign manager) Rick Gates has already pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate. And just last week, Manafort’s former son-in-law (and former business partner), Jeffrey Yohai, pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate. There is little question, in prosecutors’ circles, that Manafort faces certain conviction and a long prison term.

Manafort at the moment is exercising his own Hail Mary defense: claiming that Mueller has exceeded his authority in charging him. That claim was roundly dismissed last week in the D.C. court, and in all likelihood the Alexandria court will follow suit. Rosenstein’s charge to Mueller to investigate allegations that Manafort “[c]ommitted a crime or crimes arising out of payments he received from the Ukrainian government” could not be more clear.

Once his Hail Mary motions fail, Manafort (and Mueller) will have every incentive to quickly reach a resolution. Manafort, who is 69, does not want to spend the rest of his years in prison. And Mueller needs to secure Manafort’s testimony and get his cases resolved before his July “deadline.”

With Trump’s interview in hand, and Manafort’s cooperation secured, we can expect that Mueller’s crack team will quickly finish the report or reports that they are doubtless already drafting.

And then, in or before July, the next chapter in this saga will unfold, also quickly: The delivery of reports to Rosenstein; the deputy attorney general’s decision whether to release the reports to the Congress and to the public; and the president’s efforts to prevent or delay Rosenstein from doing so. Whether those transpire on a weekend evening or not, Trump’s response could make the Nixon-era’s Saturday Night Massacre look like a moot court exercise.

Stay tuned. Air pockets ahead.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story ... ext-218410




Michael Cohen Helped Trump Donor Seek Investment From Qatar Fund

Trump lawyer was a consultant in pitch seeking funds for nuclear power plant

Michael Rothfeld and Updated May 21, 2018 6:55 p.m. ET

President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer helped a major donor to Mr. Trump’s inauguration pitch a nuclear-power investment to the Qatari sovereign-wealth fund at a meeting in April, according to people familiar with the matter.

The donor, Franklin L. Haney, is seeking to complete a pair of unfinished nuclear reactors in Alabama known as the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant. His company is lobbying the Trump administration for an extension of tax credits, federal disclosures show.

Mr. Haney, 77, recently hired Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, as a consultant, one of the people familiar with the matter said. It isn't clear how much Mr. Haney paid Mr. Cohen. On April 5, Messrs. Cohen and Haney met with the vice chairman of the Qatar Investment Authority, Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani, to seek an investment in the plant, the people familiar with the matter said.

The meeting took place at the Four Seasons Hotel at the Surf Club near Miami Beach, where a Qatari delegation, which was in town for a roadshow aimed at pairing U.S. investors with Qatari business executives, spent several days. There is no indication whether the Qataris have decided to invest with Mr. Haney. Mr. Cohen also pitched Sheikh al-Thani on a separate infrastructure project that didn’t involve Mr. Haney, one of the people familiar with the matter said. Details of that project and how large of an investment Messrs. Haney and Cohen were said to be soliciting are unclear.

The Atomic Energy Act prohibits the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from issuing licenses to nuclear operators that are “owned, controlled or dominated” by a foreign corporation or government.

Mr. Cohen didn’t respond to a request for comment. Mr. Haney couldn’t be reached for comment and requests for comment made to his company and family members weren’t returned.

Qatar’s spokesman in Washington said Mr. Cohen requested and was granted a meeting with Mr. Al-Thani on April 5, but didn’t elaborate further. A spokesman for the Qatar sovereign-wealth fund declined to comment.

Mr. Cohen is under federal criminal investigation in New York for possible campaign-finance violations and bank fraud, according to court filings and people familiar with the matter. Investigators are examining, among other things, a $130,000 payment he made to former adult-film actress Stephanie Clifford, professionally known as Stormy Daniels, before the 2016 election in exchange for her silence about an alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump a decade earlier. Mr. Cohen has denied wrongdoing. Mr. Trump has denied the affair but one of his attorneys confirmed the president repaid Mr. Cohen.

Mr. Cohen attended a reception with some members of the Qatari delegation on April 5 and spent that night on Mr. Haney’s yacht before leaving the area the following morning, one of the people familiar with the matter said. The Federal Bureau of Investigation raided his apartment, hotel room and office a few days later, on April 9.

The April meetings weren’t Mr. Cohen’s first time seeking money from the Qatari government. More than a year earlier, in December 2016, Mr. Cohen solicited $1 million from Ahmed al-Rumaihi, who at that time was head of the Qatar Investment Authority’s investment division, Mr. al-Rumaihi said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Cohen solicited the funds in a meeting at the Peninsula Hotel in New York days before a Qatari delegation met with Trump transition officials at Trump Tower, Mr. al-Rumaihi said. He said Mr. Cohen asked him for $1 million for his consulting services as the two were discussing a possible investment by Qatar in a U.S. infrastructure project.

Mr. al-Rumaihi left the Qatar Investment Authority in March 2017. The spokesman for Qatar said the state “has never been a client of Mr. Cohen.”

Mr. Haney in December 2016 donated $1 million to the Trump inaugural fund through an LLC called HFNWA, Federal Election Commission records show. He had previously backed Democrats, including former President Barack Obama, giving $33,400 to the Democratic National Committee in 2015 and $1 million to the pro-Democratic Senate Majority PAC in 2014, according to the FEC records.

In the 18 months since Mr. Trump was elected president, Mr. Cohen sought to pitch his consulting services and his insight into the new administration to a wide swath of corporations. Some, including AT&T Inc. and Novartis AG , hired him for sizable fees early last year; others, including Uber Technologies Inc. and Ford Motor Co. , said they turned down his pitches.

Last year, Mr. Cohen grew eager for more lucrative contracts and sought to enter the foreign consulting world. He discussed with associates how to pitch foreign governments, including Qatar and Singapore, on multiple occasions last year, according to people familiar with the conversations.

Mr. Haney, who worked his way through the University of Tennessee as a Bible salesman and ran for governor of Tennessee as a Democrat in his 20s, built a successful real-estate development business, often through the use of tax-exempt financing.

An entity created by Mr. Haney, Nuclear Development LLC, entered into a contract in November 2016 to purchase the partially completed Bellefonte Nuclear Plant from the Tennessee Valley Authority for $111 million. Mr. Haney said at the time that his entity would invest up to $13 billion to finish constructing the plant. Mr. Haney’s company won the right to buy the two unfinished nuclear sites at an auction. He has until November of this year to finalize the sale of the property, a spokesman for the Tennessee Valley Authority said.

Mr. Haney’s company, Franklin L. Haney Co., has spent more than $500,000 since the beginning of 2017 lobbying the administration and Congress to extend nuclear production tax credits past their scheduled expiration in 2021, according to federal lobbying records.

Foreign Agent Registration Act filings disclosed last week another link between Mr. Cohen and Qatar: Steve Ryan, an attorney who has been representing Mr. Cohen since mid-June of 2017.

In a June 30 letter to the Qatari ambassador, Mr. Ryan and a colleague at his law firm, McDermott Will & Emery, wrote that they would be “principally responsible” for lobbying on behalf of the Gulf state, including “establishing and conducting liaison with executive branch officials and members of Congress.” Qatar agreed to pay the firm $40,000 a month starting on July 1.

About two months later, on Aug. 31, Mr. Ryan terminated his registration on behalf of Qatar, according to a FARA filing. When asked for comment for this article, Mr. Ryan referred to the termination of his FARA registration as evidence that he had ended the engagement. A law-firm representative didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Cohen wasn’t the only Trump associate to meet with the Qataris on their Florida visit. At a second reception held on April 7 in honor of the Qatari emir, Rudy Giuliani —a lawyer whose consulting firm has worked for Qatar—mingled with other business executives and investors in attendance, according to people familiar with the event.

Mr. Giuliani joined the president’s legal team less than two weeks later.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/michael-co ... ge=1&pos=1


Wendy Siegelman

Michael Cohen met with Qatari official and nuclear plant owner last month, by @dfriedman33


Michael Cohen Met With Qatari Official and Nuclear Plant Owner Last Month

Here’s another action that might be of interest to federal investigators.

Dan FriedmanMay. 21, 2018 3:51 PM

Michael Cohen leaves court in Manhattan on Monday April 16, 2018.Go Nakamura/ZUMA Wire

At a meeting in Miami on April 5, Franklin Haney, the owner of an inoperative nuclear power plant in Hollywood, Alabama, sought a major investment for his facility, according to two sources familiar with the gathering. His target, the sources say, was Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, Qatar’s minister of economy and commerce and deputy chairman of the Qatar Investment Authority, the $300 billion sovereign wealth fund of the natural gas-rich Persian Gulf state. Also at the meeting, according to the sources, was Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and fixer. (Several days later, Cohen’s office and home would be raided by federal agents.) Now, as the Trump scandal expands to include Cohen’s business deals and possible interactions between Trump associates and officials of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, any relationship between Cohen and Qatar would likely be of interest to federal investigators.

“Michael doesn’t do anything without getting paid.”
Last week, Foreign Policy reported that Cohen met with Al Thani in Florida that same week on the sidelines of the Qatar-US Economic Forum but noted that its sources would not say what was discussed at the meeting between Cohen and Al Thani. A Qatari embassy spokesman told Foreign Policy that Cohen requested the meeting with Al Thani but would not say if it took place. “The State of Qatar has never been a client of Mr. Cohen,” the spokesman said.

The two sources familiar with the discussions between Cohen and Al Thani tell Mother Jones that the two men met with Haney to discuss possible Qatari investment in his nuclear power plant. Marinetraffic.com, a website that tracks the location of large ships, shows that Haney’s $50 million, 167-foot yacht, the Emelina, was docked in Miami’s Miamarina from April 2 through April 7. (Haney’s yacht is usually based in Washington, DC.)

If a deal were struck, Cohen could have expected to receive a finder’s fee, according to the sources. “Michael doesn’t do anything without getting paid,” said one of the sources, who knows Cohen. It’s unclear whether any agreement was reached.

Cohen’s presence at the meeting would raise questions about his relationship with Qatar, a US ally that has been involved in a bitter diplomatic dispute with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, a conflict that has played out among officials and lobbyists within Washington. Ahmed Al-Rumaihi, who formerly served as the head of the investments division at the Qatari sovereign fund (known as the QIA) and as a Qatari diplomat, recently told the Washington Post and the Intercept that in December 2016 Cohen demanded a fee of $1 million in exchange for connecting Al-Rumaihi with potential partners on US infrastructure projects. Al-Rumaihi, who left the QIA in March 2017, said he rejected Cohen’s request. Cohen told the Intercept it was “untrue” that he had sought payment from Al-Rumaihi. But Cohen, according to the sources who spoke with Mother Jones, still managed to make a connection with the QIA.

Haney, 77, a Chattanooga, Tennessee, native who made a fortune largely through leasing office space to federal agencies, bought the unfinished Bellefonte Nuclear Plant from the federal Tennessee Valley Authority for $111 million in 2016. Work on the plant started in 1975 but was halted in 1988 and never completed. Haney still needs to line up financing—an estimated $13 billion—to complete work on two nuclear reactors at the plant. Haney also needs Trump administration help. He is seeking an extension of an Energy Department loan guarantee, nuclear power tax credits, and various Nuclear Regulatory Commission approvals. And if the plant is eventually completed, Haney will need business from the TVA, the only viable customer for the plant’s electricity.

Haney has aggressively courted the Trump administration. After giving heavily to Democrats for years, he donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee through one of his companies. He has also contributed at least $125,000 to the Republican National Committee this year, according to Federal Election Commission records. Bloomberg reported last year that Haney had bragged to associates that he has dined with Trump at least a dozen times since the election. Haney is also a member of Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida club, according to the report.

Cohen’s attorney and Haney did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for the Qatari Investment Authority declined to comment.

Federal prosecutors in New York are investigating Cohen, and that investigation appears partly focused on Cohen’s efforts after Trump’s election to pitch his relationship with the president to individuals and companies seeking assistance from the new administration. Earlier this month, Michael Avenatti, a lawyer for Stormy Daniels, the porn star who says she had an affair with Trump, revealed a series of payments to Cohen, which were detailed in suspicious financial activity reports compiled by a bank Cohen used. AT&T; Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis; and Columbus Nova, the US investment manager for Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian oligarch recently sanctioned by the Treasury Department, have all confirmed making payments to a Cohen firm called Essential Consultants. After news of these payments broke, several companies claimed that Cohen failed to deliver the assistance they sought.

Cohen’s meeting with Al Thani suggests he was seeking to capitalize on his connection to Trump as recently as last month. The Miami meeting came the week before an April 10 Oval Office meeting between Trump and the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. In 2017, Trump supported a blockade imposed on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and others, and he accused Qatar of funding terrorist groups. During this White House meeting, in a sharp reversal, Trump praised the emir for cracking down on terror funding.
https://www.motherjones.com/politics/20 ... ast-month/

Michael Cohen discussed a nuclear plant in Alabama here's thread on Michael Flynn discussions with ACU Strategic Partner about US/Russian partnership to build a nuclear plants in the Middle East and to invest in Bellefonte nuclear plant in AlabamaWendy Siegelman added,
Wendy Siegelman


This Oct 2016 article describes ACU Strategic Partner proposal for US/Russian partnership to build a nuclear plants in the Middle East, and to also invest in a Bellefonte nuclear plant in... Alabama!
http://s.al.com/sMjJ0LW

Foreign Policy story published last week on Michael Cohen meeting with Qatar’s minister of economy and commerce, Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, Days Before FBI Raid, by

Trump Lawyer Met With Qatari Government Official Days Before FBI Raid

Was Michael Cohen seeking to add foreign governments as clients of his consulting business?

Elias GrollMay 18, 2018, 2:46 PM
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, chats with friends near the Loews Regency hotel on Park Ave on April 13, 2018 in New York City. Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, chats with friends near the Loews Regency hotel on Park Ave on April 13, 2018 in New York City. Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images

President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, who made millions over the past 18 months soliciting funds from clients seeking entree and influence at the White House, met with a senior Qatari official in Florida last month, just days before the FBI raided Cohen’s home and office, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The sources would not say what was discussed at the meeting with Qatar’s minister of economy and commerce, Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani. But the Washington Post reported this week that Cohen had offered his services to a different Qatari official at a meeting in December 2016, promising access to the White House in exchange for $1 million.

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The Qatari turned down the offer at the time, according to the report.

The meeting last month took place on the sidelines of the glitzy Qatar-U.S. Economic Forum in Miami. The gathering brought together U.S. investors and Qatari businessmen for talks on joint projects and promoted investment opportunities tied to the 2022 World Cup.

It also attracted lobbyists looking to sign up Qatar as a client.

A Qatari Embassy spokesman said Cohen requested the meeting with Al Thani but would not say if it took place. “The State of Qatar has never been a client of Mr. Cohen,” the spokesman said.

Cohen’s attorney, Stephen Ryan, did not respond to repeated requests for comment on the meeting.

After Trump was elected U.S. president in 2016, Cohen pitched himself as a consultant to companies looking for insight into the operations of the White House. He landed several big-name clients, including telecom giant AT&T, Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, and an investment firm linked to a Russian billionaire recently sanctioned by the U.S. government.

The FBI is investigating Cohen for possible bank fraud and campaign finance violations.

His trip to Miami is likely to raise questions about whether he was seeking to expand his consulting business to foreign governments.

Cohen’s pitch to multinational companies touted his access to Trump and his unique understanding of the administration’s key players. Advocacy groups have questioned whether this consulting work fell afoul of American lobbying laws, including whether Cohen should have registered as a foreign agent.

Qatar has in recent months hired teams of lobbyists and public relations consultants in the United States to win White House support for the lifting of a blockade on the resource-rich emirate imposed by its adversaries in the region, including Saudi Arabia.

“They’ve done an awful lot to bring people into a favorable view of them,” says Gerald Feierstein, a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia and the director for Gulf affairs and government relations at the Middle East Institute, a Washington think tank.

Qatari state-backed investors have pledged to inject $45 billion into the U.S. economy, including in possible infrastructure projects prized by the Trump administration. Investors linked to Qatar have also eyed investments in Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner’s family real estate company. The New York Times reported on Thursday that a Canadian real estate company backed by the Qatar Investment Authority is close to a deal that would bail out a financially troubled, Kushner-owned office tower on Fifth Avenue in New York.

During the presidential transition, Cohen discussed infrastructure projects with Ahmed al-Rumaihi, the Qatari executive from whom he solicited a $1 million payment. According to the Intercept, Cohen told al-Rumaihi that he would require the fee before offering his advice on infrastructure projects in which the Qataris should invest.

The Miami forum kicked off a four-city tour that brought Qatari officials and businessmen to South Carolina, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C. The tour coincided with a high-level visit of Qatari officials to Washington that included an Oval Office meeting between Qatari ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Trump.

At the meeting, Trump praised his counterpart as a partner in combating terrorist financing. The comment seemed to conflict with Trump’s previous description of Qatar as a “funder of terrorism at a very high level.”

According to a person who attended the Miami forum, Cohen sat in on at least one roundtable discussion. The forum included a large Qatari government delegation and private businessmen from the Gulf state interested in investing in U.S. real estate, the hospitality industry, and sports franchises.
http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/05/18/tru ... -fbi-raid/


Today @dfriedman33 reveals Franklin Haney, owner of an inoperative nuclear power plant in Hollywood, Alabama, sought investment in his facility from Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, Qatar Investment Authority/QIA deputy chairman, at Apr 5 mtg

[img]‏https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Ddv2SZ_VQAAMFpT.jpg[/img]

Haney bought the unfinished Bellefonte Nuclear Plant from the federal Tennessee Valley Authority for $111 million in 2016 - Bellefonte is the same plant Michael Flynn's business partner Alex Copson at ACU Strategic Partners bid for unsuccessfully in 2016
https://www.motherjones.com/politics/20 ... ast-month/


In 2016 when Copson (who Michael Flynn allegedly texted during the inauguration) and ACU were bidding for the Bellefonte plant, Copson aimed to seek the help of Alabama Senators - Jeff Sessions was AL senator at that time

The person Flynn allegedly contacted at the inauguration, Alex Copson, pitched a US/Russia nuclear deal in which the "Alabama senators can help the next (presidential) administration move this project…

End of conversation
https://twitter.com/WendySiegelman/stat ... 2501164033




Polly Sigh


Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen, who made millions over the past 18 months selling access to the White House, met with a senior Qatari minister in Miami – just days before the FBI raided his home & office,
http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/05/18/tru ... -fbi-raid/
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Sources wouldn't say what was discussed at Michael Cohen & Qatari official Al Thani's Apr 2018 meeting in Miami but @dfriedman33 reports that they met w/Haney re a Qatari investment for his nuclear plant in Alabama. Recall, Flynn's nuclear scheme.
https://www.motherjones.com/politics/20 ... ast-month/
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Alex Copson [Flynn's Russian-Saudi nuclear deal partner whom he allegedly texted during the inauguration] pitched a US/Russia nuclear deal in in 2016 in which "Alabama senators [Sessions] can help the next administration move this project forward."


There's already an Alabama grand jury investigation into Bellafonte nuclear plant owned by Michael Cohen "client" Frank Haney, who donated $1M to Trump’s inaugural, seemingly to grease the wheels of regulatory agencies.

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seemslikeadream » Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:51 pm wrote:General Yellowkerk was treason texting 11 minutes after trump was sworn in!

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Copson told him, “Mike [Flynn] has been putting everything in place for us. I am going to celebrate today…This is going to make a lot of very wealthy people.” Copson, the whistleblower recalled, also complained that Obama had “fucked everything up in my nuclear deal with the [Russian] sanctions.” Copson, in the whistleblower’s account, explained that the the United States would have to provide military support to “defend these installations” and that doing so would provide the US government a pretext for placing US troops in these countries.




Flynn Business Associate Hoped to Get Sessions to Support Russia-Related Nuclear Project

The goal was to build nuclear plants throughout the Middle East.

DAVID CORN AND AJ VICENSDEC. 6, 2017 4:53 PM



On Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) released a letter noting that his staff has spoken with a “whistleblower” who says that on the day Donald Trump was inaugurated as president, Michael Flynn, who was about to become national security adviser, was texting with a former business associate named Alex Copson to tell him that their plan to work with Russia to build nuclear reactors throughout the Middle East was “good to go.” According to the whistleblower, Copson said that day that Flynn would make sure that US sanctions imposed on Russia would be “ripped up” and that doing so would clear the way for the ambitious nuclear project. Cummings’ letter suggests that Flynn, who had previously worked as a private consultant for Copson’s company, was still in cahoots with Copson and intended to use the White House position he was about to assume to facilitate this controversial deal. Months earlier, Copson was also hoping to enlist Jeff Sessions, who at the time was a US senator from Alabama, to help advance the deal.

Copson and his company, ACU Strategic Partners, had a grand vision: to form a joint project with Russia to develop more than three dozen nuclear power plants throughout the Arab world. Copson claimed this scheme would stabilize the region. One of the first steps in that plan was buying an unfinished nuclear power plant in north Alabama.

“Alabama senators can help the next [presidential] administration move this project forward.”
Last year, the Tennessee Valley Authority put up for auction the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant, located in Hollywood, Alabama. The minimum asking price was $36.4 million. And Copson’s company came knocking. It submitted a proposal to obtain the facility, spend $20 billion to fix it up, and then export $300 billion worth of nuclear material to Middle East nuclear plants over 40 years. But ACU Strategic Partners was not offering to buy the plant. Instead, it proposed that the TVA transfer Bellefonte to it in return for “an equity position in the super consortium” pulling together the Middle East deal with Russia.

Under this plan, once the two reactors at Bellefonte were completed, the plant would be a training center for the Middle East project. “Completion of Bellefonte 1 & 2 is very important to the US/Russian collaboration to stabilize the Middle East through nuclear power,” Copson said in 2016. “It’s a very good training vehicle to complete those reactors.”

Copson told Al.com at the time that he was looking to Alabama’s Republican senators—Sessions and Richard Shelby—to assist with this project. “Alabama senators can help the next [presidential] administration move this project forward,” he said. By this point, Sessions was also a top campaign adviser to Donald Trump.

ACU Strategic Partners was part of an international consortium that, according to the Wall Street Journal, included companies that were seeking “to build as many of 40 nuclear reactors in countries including Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt” and “to partner with either the Russian or Chinese governments, which would be responsible for taking the spent fuel from the reactors and disposing of it.”

Obama administration officials took a skeptical view of the project. And Copson hired Flynn in 2015 to promote the plan. Flynn later reported on a financial disclosure form that he served as an “advisor” to ACU Strategic Partners from April 2015 to June 2016. In June 2015, he flew to the Middle East to talk up the project and was paid $25,000 by Copson’s company.

There is no public indication that Copson succeeded in enlisting Sessions’ help for the deal. Sessions is now the attorney general. Asked whether Sessions had ever been contacted by Copson or ACU Strategic Partners regarding this nuclear deal, the Justice Department declined to comment.

In late 2016, the Bellefonte nuclear facility was sold for $111 million, but Copson’s company didn’t end up making a final offer. Still, ACU Strategic Partners pushed ahead with its overall plan to construct nuclear power facilities in the Middle East with Russia.

Cummings letter indicates that even when Flynn was about to enter a government position—and was no longer officially working for Copson—he remained keen on making this deal happen. The Washington Post recently reported that “Flynn continued to support the idea of the nuclear project during the presidential transition. He encouraged Tom Barrack, one of Trump’s closest friends, to pursue a related plan.”

The whistleblower cited by Cummings maintains that on Inauguration Day, Copson told him, “Mike [Flynn] has been putting everything in place for us. I am going to celebrate today…This is going to make a lot of very wealthy people.” Copson, the whistleblower recalled, also complained that Obama had “fucked everything up in my nuclear deal with the [Russian] sanctions.” Copson, in the whistleblower’s account, explained that the the United States would have to provide military support to “defend these installations” and that doing so would provide the US government a pretext for placing US troops in these countries.

According to the Cummings letter, Copson was working hard to influence the US government so this Russia-related project could proceed. Flynn’s role in all this obviously warrants investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller and congressional committees. But any probe of this matter should cast a wider net to determine whom else Copson recruited to influence the US government and grease the way for his scheme to work with Russia to nuclearize the Middle East.
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/201 ... r-project/



The Last Temptation of Michael Flynn
Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn arrives to a swearing in ceremony of White House senior staff in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017.

By JAMES STAVRIDIS December 7, 2017
IDEAS
Admiral Stavridis was the 16th Supreme Allied Commander at NATO and is Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University
Lieutenant General Michael Flynn’s enormous fall from grace is an object lesson in the seductive allure of money, fame and power. His story is perhaps not quite a Greek tragedy, but rather a kind of 21st-century parable with morals for us all.

Throughout my time in uniform with Mike, he was a determined, hard-edged and highly effective intelligence officer — the best ever to serve on my team personally, which he did in Afghanistan while I was the Supreme Allied Commander at NATO and the strategic commander for that mission. Both General Stan McChrystal — his immediate boss — and I would often comment on how lucky we were to have then Major General Mike Flynn on our team in combat from 2009–2010. How did he end up a convicted criminal, nationally disgraced, financially ruined and struggling to put his life together again?

Born in a middle-class family, Mike Flynn was never part of the West Point aristocracy of the Army, nor was he a tactical commander in the field. He attended the University of Rhode Island in his home state and entered the Army through the Reserve Officer Training Corps route as an intelligence officer — destined not to command sweeping armies, but rather to serve as the consigliore and advisor to the warrior commanders, a kind of Machiavelli to the Prince. In uniform and especially in the field, he was widely acknowledged for his innovation, grit and competence, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan in counter-terror campaigns.

But there are three key facts to understand about Mike Flynn that set the stage for all that has unfolded.

First, his worldview is distinctly threat-based, like most senior military officers. He sees danger and hostility everywhere, and is quick to judge it as well as react aggressively, often with immediate effect. This tendency to listen to the darker angels of his nature served him well in combat, less so in civilian life. It made him highly receptive to the worldview of President Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and others who are so resolutely predisposed to look at the world through a dark lens.

Second, his background and role as an intelligence specialist led him to search for levers and keys to influencing others, especially our nation’s opponents. In the Cold War during the early part of his career, he focused on the Soviet Union and watched with fascination and satisfaction as it imploded. He observed the rise of Vladimir Putin and came to understand the emergence of new threats from Moscow. The chance to go and see Putin up close and personal must have been irresistible to him, and — along with the cash — contributed to his decision to sit next to Putin at the infamous Moscow dinner in 2015, a decision I am certain he would happily reverse in retrospect. It also made him a logical candidate for the position of National Security Advisor and the conduit for some level of interaction with Russia during the presidential campaign.

Third, like all active-duty military, he never had an opportunity to make significant amounts of money. Over the 33 years of his service in the Army, he would have earned somewhere around $70,000 annually, averaged out through those decades of service — certainly enough to live on, but hardly a chance to build wealth for his family. Like many other senior military, especially those like Mike who were nationally known, upon retirement he was deluged with offers from the financial world. He created a consulting company and made a series of choices about where to provide advice — something he had done throughout his military career — which turned out to lead him into the orbit of Russia in ways that have caught him up.

Thus big money, a chance for real power and the ability to confront the nation’s enemies all came into play, creating someone who could leave many of us shaking our heads as he took the podium at the Republican National Convention and led chants of “lock her up.”

Entering politics for any retired military officer is a deeply dangerous zone, because service in the military hardly prepares you for the unique cut-and-thrust of domestic politics. Some have done it well — think George Marshall or Colin Powell — and others have crashed and burned, from Ollie North to Michael Flynn.

How his story ends is yet to be determined. Much will turn on the results of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation and his cooperation with it. Mike Flynn has always struck me as forthright and honest at his core.

Mike called his controversial memoir, published soon after he retired, The Field of Fight. He is in for the fight of his life in rebuilding his reputation; but luckily for him, this is a country built on second chances. He gave this nation great service throughout a long and distinguished military career, and the choices he makes in the weeks and months ahead will tell us whether he will win this most challenging battle.

http://time.com/5054583/michael-flynn-p ... ump-power/

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=40188&p=648114&hilit=Bellefonte+Nuclear+Plant.#p648114



Moglevich➡️Fursin➡️Gates➡️Broidy➡️VanDerZwaan➡️Nikulin➡️Dokuchaev➡️Giulani➡️WeberRohrbacher➡️Manafort➡️Pence➡️Trump

Erdogan➡️Zarrab➡️Gulen➡️FlynnJr➡️Flynn➡️Nader➡️Zamel➡️➡️Prince➡️Kushner➡️Pence

Lavrov➡️Mifsud➡️Papadopoulos➡️Miller➡️Sessions
Pinedo
Sater
Page
18 Russians
Ed Kutler
Ivanka
Stone
Corallo
Paul Ryan
100+ FELONY CHARGES
Cambridge Analytica➡️BCCI 2.0
We will find it’s all connected UK/US election interference the Brexit debacle
All of it the work of a trans national crime syndicate who managed to figure out the wormhole needed to pit us against one another for their benefit
For money and power
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby stillrobertpaulsen » Wed May 23, 2018 3:33 pm

Bumping this to highlight title change. This change was done at the request of the OP poster who needed me to facilitate that. This new title more accurately reflects the ever-evolving multiplicity of Trump scandals, both in how multiple foreign countries seem complicit in financial legerdemain with the current administration and how the GOP has shared in that complicity.

So, going forward:

Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Election
"Huey Long once said, “Fascism will come to America in the name of anti-fascism.” I'm afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security."
-Jim Garrison 1967
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed May 23, 2018 4:05 pm

Thank you

GEORGE PAPADOPOULOS WAS TRYING TO HIDE EVIDENCE HE THOUGHT MIGHT AMOUNT TO TREASON WHEN HE LIED TO THE FBI

May 21, 2018/102 Comments/in 2016 Presidential Election, Mueller Probe /by emptywheel
Chuck Ross’ description of a September 2016 conversation between Stefan Halper and George Papadopoulos has evolved over the course of his reporting on it. In March, he described it this way:

According to a source with knowledge of the meeting, Halper asked Papadopoulos: “George, you know about hacking the emails from Russia, right?”

Papadopoulos told Halper he didn’t know anything about emails or Russian hacking, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign. The professor did not follow up on the line of inquiry.


In his next story on the exchange, Ross described it this way:

Sources familiar with Papadopoulos’s version of their meetings said Halper randomly asked Papadopoulos whether he knew about Democratic National Committee emails that had been hacked and leaked by Russians.

Papadopoulos strongly denied the allegation, sources familiar with his version of the exchange have told TheDCNF. Halper grew agitated and pressed Papadopoulos on the topic. Papadopoulos believes that Halper was recording him during some of their interactions, sources said.


The very next day, here’s how Ross described it:

During one of their dinners, Halper asked Papadopoulos whether he was involved in the Russian theft of Democrats’ emails, sources familiar with Papadopoulos’ account have told TheDCNF. Papadopoulos denied the allegation, saying that stealing emails would be treason.

Halper grew frustrated, according to sources
.

This is the first story in this series where Ross describes what Papadopoulos pled guilty to, but he gets it wrong in a key way I’ll describe below.

Finally, Ross offers yet another description in a new story today.

Sources familiar with Papadopoulos’ version of events say that during one conversation, Halper asked Papadopoulos whether he was involved in the release of DNC emails. Papadopoulos denied it, telling Halper that hacking emails would be treason. Halper grew frustrated, according to the sources.


Today’s story claims we don’t know what Alexander Downer told FBI. We do know one detail he omitted: That Downer told the FBI that Papadopoulos told him Mifsud said the Russians were going to release the emails to help Trump.

Now, as I said, in yesterday’s story, Ross described the substance of the lies Papadopoulos told the FBI slightly wrong.

Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the timing of his encounters with Mifsud and two Russian nationals. He did, however, tell the FBI in his initial interviews that Mifsud mentioned Clinton documents.


Ross leans on his misunderstanding of Papadopoulos’ guilty plea to argue today that FBI should have interviewed Papadopoulos back in August, rather than ask a lifelong Republican to ask the same questions while hiding the FBI interest.

Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to the special counsel’s office for lying to the FBI during that interview. As part of his plea deal, Papadopoulos admitted he lied about the timing of his interactions with two Russian nationals and a Maltese professor named Joseph Mifsud. Papadopoulos initially told FBI agents that the contacts occurred prior to joining the Trump campaign when, in fact, they occurred after he learned that he would be joining the Trump campaign in March 2016.

FBI defenders could point to Papadopoulos’ deception in the January 2017 interview to argue that he would have lied had he been questioned earlier in Crossfire Hurricane. But that argument is undercut by what else Papadopoulos said in his FBI interview.

According to a statement of offense Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed, Papadopoulos told FBI agents that Mifsud mentioned the stolen Clinton emails.

And sources familiar with Papadopoulos’s version of the FBI interview say he claims that he, and not the FBI agents, first mentioned Mifsud during the interview, which was conducted in Chicago without lawyers present.


That is, Ross argues that because Papadopoulos offered up that he met a weird guy named Mifsud who told him the Russians were offering dirt in the form of Hillary emails, he could be trusted to have been honest had the FBI asked him in August.

As I said, though, Ross’ first description of Papadopoulos’ guilty plea is wrong in several ways. Ross hides how important Papadopoulos said Mifsud seemed; the FBI describes Papadopoulos claiming Mifsud was just BSing. The former Trump aide similarly denied having any relationship with the Russian woman Mifsud introduced him to. Both those details make Papadopoulos’ lies about the timing more important: he lied about how important he believed these two were and he lied about the way their outreach to him tied to his role on the campaign.

In Ross’ first description of his plea, however, he suggested that Papadopoulos affirmatively lied “about the timing of his encounters with Mifsud and two Russian nationals,” the second of whom we know to be Ivan Timofeev. That’s wrong. In the first interview, Papadopoulos (successfully) hid the entire existence of Timofeev. That’s key because Papadopoulos was forwarding communications from Timofeev, a Russian official, talking about setting up meetings with campaign officials. He was forwarding these emails to the campaign in the weeks leading up to the June 9 meeting. Indeed, Papadopoulos told Timofeev that Trump’s first campaign speech was a sign that the candidate was willing to meet. By hiding Timofeev, Papadopoulos was hiding high level campaign knowledge of the outreach (including Paul Manafort).

Ross fails to mention another damning thing the purportedly forthcoming Papadopoulos did the day after his second FBI interview: delete his Facebook account, and with it his communications with Timofeev, and get a new cell phone, presumably destroying secure communications.

There is no way Papadopoulos would have been any more honest with FBI in August 2016 than he was in January.

And if the third and fourth version of Ross’ description of the Halper-Papadopoulos exchange is any indication, then it’s very clear why Papadopoulos would have always lied about the communications: because he considered the very same kind of back and forth with Russians tied to the email release treason.

Papadopoulos was trying to cover up evidence he thought might prove treason.
https://www.emptywheel.net/2018/05/21/g ... o-the-fbi/


A THINKING PERSON’S GUIDE TO THE STEFAN HALPER CONSPIRACY THEORY

May 22, 2018/85 Comments/in 2016 Presidential Election, FISA, Mueller Probe /by emptywheel
For some time, I’ve been agnostic about whether Chuck Ross’ series on Stefan Halper derived from his own discussions with George Papadopoulos, Carter Page, and Sam Clovis, or whether he relied on leaks from HPSCI.

Today, he gave one of the leading comments he often does, about Paul Ryan’s claimed concern about “FISA abuse.” (Ryan, remember, pushed through 702 reauthorization this year without reforming a single one of the abuses laid out in this report, but apparently Chuck’s gonna play along with the notion that Ryan gives a shit about FISA.)

Image

That mirrors Ross’ own logically nonsensical focus on the dossier as a source for the Carter Page FISA order in conjunction with Halper. Which, especially since other journalists are making it clear the Halper focus is coming from Hill Republicans, suggests Ross was getting leaks from Republicans.

That’s even more true of this interview with Sam Clovis. In it, Clovis makes it very clear the meeting did not stick out in his memory.

It was an academic meeting. It was not anything other than him talking about the research that he had done on China.

[snip]

No indication or inclination that this was anything other than just wanting to offer up his help to the campaign if I needed it.


After describing how he hadn’t opened up attachments Halper sent later in the month, he said, “that is how little this registered with me.”

And yet, somehow, by March, someone had told Ross about this meeting.

Halper also requested and attended a one-on-one meeting with another senior campaign official, TheDCNF learned. That meeting was held a day or two before Halper reached out to Papadopoulos. Halper offered to help the campaign but did not bring up Papadopoulos, even though he would reach out to the campaign aide a day or two later.


Clovis seems to derive his memory of the meeting, in significant part, from the documentation he does (four emails setting the meeting up) and doesn’t (any notes) have about it.

There’s a record of the exchange of emails that we had, four emails to set the appointment.

[snip]

I had my notebook. Always take notes and always keep track of what’s going on. And there wasn’t anything — I didn’t have any notes on the meeting cause there must not have been anything substantive that took place.


That suggests someone knew to go back to look for communications involving Halper. Now, if HPSCI requested all the comms campaign aides had with investigative target Carter Page, then Clovis would have turned over these emails (which mentioned Page but probably discussed China, not Russia), and HPSCI staffers could have found the tie. If HPSCI only asked for Russia-related comms involving Page, then someone got Toensing or Clovis to search for Halper emails themselves.

Clovis explains that he’s bothered, now, about the meeting because he thinks he was used as an excuse to reach out to George Papadopoulos.

He had met with Carter Page. He had used that to get the bona fides to get an appointment with me.

[snip]

Then I think he used my meeting as bona fides to get a meeting with George Papadopoulos.

Remember, one of the inane complaints in the Nunes memo is that the Carter Page FISA application mentioned Papadopoulos.


[img]https://www.emptywheel.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Screen-Shot-2018-05-22-at-5.39.47-PM-1030x164.png
[/img]

The Schiff memo explains that Papadopoulos got mentioned because, after Alexander Downer told the FBI that Papadopoulos had told him the Russians were going to release Hillary emails to help Trump, they opened a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign.

Image

In other words, the frothy right likely believes, like Clovis, that Halper was networking as a way to get to Papadopoulos, and that in some way ties to the FISA application against Page.

And he may well have done so! As TPM clarifies some confusion created by WaPo, both Page, Clovis, and Clovis lawyer Victoria Toensing agree that Halper mentioned Page when he reached out to Clovis.

Clovis’ lawyer, Victoria Toensing, previously said, according to the Washington Post that the informant had not mentioned his other Trump contacts when reaching out to Clovis. Clovis said he wasn’t sure “where she got that information,”since she had access to the emails setting up the September 2016 meeting.

Toensing, in an phone interview Tuesday with TPM, backed up Clovis’ account. She told TPM that the informant had said in an email to Clovis that Page had recommended that they meet. She also claimed that the informant had told Page when they met at the conference that he was a big fan of Clovis’. Page confirmed Toensing’s account in an email to TPM.


Halper met with Clovis on September 1 and then reached out to Papadopoulos the next day.

Though note: Page says Halper raised Clovis at the July conference where they met, a meeting that occurred before dossier reports started getting back to FBI (particularly to the people investigating the hack-and-leak) and before the Papadopoulos report. That either suggests the FBI already had concerns about Clovis by then, or Halper was more generally networking with Page along with checking out someone who had been a live counterintelligence concern in his own right since March and for years beforehand.

Here’s where things start to go off the rails for this whole conspiracy theory, though. Clovis (who, remember, testified to Mueller’s team in the days before Papadopoulos’ cooperation agreement was unsealed, and who therefore may have his own false statements to worry about) believes that the FBI had no business trying to ask Papadopoulos about his April knowledge of Russians dealing Clinton emails in a way that would not arouse Papadopoulos’ suspicion.

What unsettled me … is what he tried to do with George Papadopoulos and that was to establish an audit trail from the campaign or somebody associated with the campaign back to those Clinton emails, whether or not they existed we don’t know.


Clovis believes, as does the entire frothy right, that the FBI had no reason to check out leads from someone who predicted the Russians would leak dirt from Hillary to help Trump a month before it became publicly known.

What were they investigating? To be investigating, there has to be some indication of a crime. And there does not appear to have been any indication for a crime. And by the way the Fourth Amendment protects you in your place and your person from investigation without a clear indication of what, uh, probable cause.

Somehow, Clovis conveniently forgets that stealing emails is a crime. And the FBI had been investigating that crime since June 2016, a month before learning that Papadopoulos might have known about the stolen emails before the FBI itself did.

In other words, at the core of this entire conspiracy theory (on top of pretending that Carter Page wasn’t already a counterintelligence concern in March, as all the designated GOP stenographers do) is the GOP fantasy that the FBI had no business trying to chase down why Papadopoulos knew of the theft before the DNC itself did.

And they’re making an enormous case out of the fact that FBI used Halper — a lifelong Republican to whom Papadopoulos could and did lie to without legal jeopardy — to interview someone Clovis claims was “ancillary” to the campaign at the time.

It’s also clear to me that they misread George’s relationship with the campaign entirely, so, because he was not, he was ancillary at best at that point.


So that appears to be where this is heading: an attempt to criminalize a Republican networking with a goal of learning whether George Papadopoulos, and through him, Sam Clovis and the rest of the campaign, committed what Papadopoulos himself has said (though this is legally incorrect) might amount to treason.

Ultimately, it comes down to this: the GOP doesn’t think Russian theft of Democratic emails was a crime and therefore doesn’t think FBI had reason to investigate Papadopoulos’ apparent foreknowledge of that crime.
https://www.emptywheel.net/2018/05/22/a ... cy-theory/


NEW: Michael Cohen received a secret payment of at least $400,000 to arrange talks between Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko & Trump.

Shortly after the visit last June, Ukraine's anti-corruption agency stopped its investigation into Paul Manafort.

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

By Paul Wood BBC News, Kiev
Poroshenko shakes hands with TrumpGetty Images
Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko (left) meets US President Donald Trump at the White House in June 2017
Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, received a secret payment of at least $400,000 (£300,000) to fix talks between the Ukrainian president and President Trump, according to sources in Kiev close to those involved.

The payment was arranged by intermediaries acting for Ukraine's leader, Petro Poroshenko, the sources said, though Mr Cohen was not registered as a representative of Ukraine as required by US law.

Mr Cohen denies the allegation.

The meeting at the White House was last June. Shortly after the Ukrainian president returned home, his country's anti-corruption agency stopped its investigation into Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort.

A high-ranking Ukrainian intelligence officer in Mr Poroshenko's administration described what happened before the visit to the White House.

Mr Cohen was brought in, he said, because Ukraine's registered lobbyists and embassy in Washington DC could get Mr Poroshenko little more than a brief photo-op with Mr Trump. Mr Poroshenko needed something that could be portrayed as "talks".

This senior official's account is as follows - Mr Poroshenko decided to establish a back channel to Mr Trump. The task was given to a former aide, who asked a loyal Ukrainian MP for help.

He in turn used personal contacts in a Jewish charity in New York state, Chabad of Port Washington. This eventually led to Michael Cohen, the president's lawyer and trusted fixer. Mr Cohen was paid $400,000.

There is no suggestion that Mr Trump knew about the payment.

Michael Cohen leaves US courthouse in New YorkGetty Images
Michael Cohen (centre) is under criminal investigation in the US
A second source in Kiev gave the same details, except that the total paid to Mr Cohen was $600,000.

There was also support for the account from a lawyer in the US who has uncovered details of Mr Cohen's finances, Michael Avenatti. He represents a porn actress, Stormy Daniels, in legal action against President Trump.

Avenatti said that Suspicious Activity Reports filed by Mr Cohen's bank to the US Treasury showed he had received money from "Ukrainian interests".

As well as Mr Cohen, the two Ukrainians said to have opened the backchannel for their president also denied the story.

The senior intelligence official in Kiev said Mr Cohen had been helped by Felix Sater, a convicted former mobster who was once Trump's business partner. Mr Sater's lawyer, too, denied the allegations.

The Ukrainian president's office initially refused to comment but, asked by a local journalist to respond, a statement was issued calling the story a "blatant lie, slander and fake".

As was widely reported last June, Mr Poroshenko was still guessing at how much time he would have with Mr Trump even as he flew to Washington.

The White House schedule said only that Mr Poroshenko would "drop in" to the Oval Office while Mr Trump was having staff meetings.

That had been agreed through official channels. Mr Cohen's fee was for getting Mr Poroshenko more than just an embarrassingly brief few minutes of small talk and a handshake, the senior official said. But negotiations continued until the early hours of the day of the visit.

The Ukrainian side were angry, the official went on, because Mr Cohen had taken "hundreds of thousands" of dollars from them for something it seemed he could not deliver.

Right up until the last moment, the Ukrainian leader was uncertain if he would avoid humiliation.

"Poroshenko's inner circle were shocked by how dirty this whole arrangement [with Cohen] was."

You might also be interested in:

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'I wish Mum's phone was never invented'
Mr Poroshenko was desperate to meet Mr Trump because of what had happened in the US presidential election campaign.

In August 2016, the New York Times published a document that appeared to show Mr Trump's campaign manager, Paul Manafort, getting millions of dollars from pro-Russian interests in Ukraine.

It was a page of the so-called "black ledger" belonging to the Party of the Regions, the pro-Russian party that employed Mr Manafort when he ran a political consultancy in Ukraine.

The page appeared to have come from Ukraine's National Anti Corruption Bureau, which was investigating him. Mr Manafort had to resign.

Former Trump campaign manager Paul ManafortReuters
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort maintains his innocence
Several sources in Ukraine said Mr Poroshenko authorised the leak, believing that Hillary Clinton was certain to win the presidency.

If so, this was a disastrous mistake - Ukraine had backed the losing candidate in the US election. Regardless of how the leak came about, it hurt Mr Trump, the eventual winner.

Ukraine was (and remains) at war with Russia and Russian-backed separatists and could not afford to make an enemy of the new US president.

So Mr Poroshenko appeared relieved as he beamed and paid tribute to Mr Trump in the Oval Office.

He boasted that he had seen the new president before Russia's leader, Vladimir Putin. He called it a "substantial visit". He held a triumphant news conference in front of the north portico of the White House.

A week after Mr Poroshenko returned home to Kiev, Ukraine's National Anti Corruption Bureau announced that it was no longer investigating Mr Manafort.

At the time, an official there explained to me that Mr Manafort had not signed the "black ledger" acknowledging receipt of the money. And anyway, he went on, Mr Manafort was American and the law allowed the bureau only to investigate Ukrainians.

US charges facing Paul Manafort

conspiracy against the US, conspiracy to launder money and failure to disclose foreign assets - all related to his work in Ukraine and filed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He pleaded not guilty
tax and bank fraud charges later filed by Mueller in US state of Virginia, also denied by Manafort
Read more about Manafort: The man who helped Trump win

Ukraine did not terminate the Manafort inquiry altogether. The file was handed from the Anti Corruption Bureau to the state prosecutor's office. It languished there.

Last week in Kiev, the prosecutor in charge of the case, Serhiy Horbatyuk, told me: "There was never a direct order to stop the Manafort inquiry but from the way our investigation has progressed, it's clear that our superiors are trying to create obstacles."

Anti-Russian protests in KievGetty Images
Anti-Russian protests in Kiev this year
None of our sources say that Mr Trump used the Oval Office meeting to ask Mr Poroshenko to kill the Manafort investigation. But if there was a back channel, did Michael Cohen use it to tell the Ukrainians what was expected of them?

Perhaps he didn't need to.

One source in Kiev said Mr Poroshenko had given Trump "a gift" - making sure that Ukraine would find no more evidence to give the US inquiry into whether the Trump campaign "colluded" with Russia.

Mr Poroshenko knew that to do otherwise, another source said, "would be like spitting in Trump's face".

More on Michael Cohen


Was Trump's Stormy Daniels payment legal?
Who is Michael Cohen?
The big question at heart of Stormy Daniels saga
Why the raid on Trump's lawyer is a big deal
A report by a member of a Western country's intelligence community says Mr Poroshenko's team believe they have established a "non-aggression pact" with Mr Trump.

Drawing on "senior, well placed" intelligence sources in Kiev, the report sets out this sequence of events…

As soon as Trump was elected, the report says, Ukraine stopped "proactively" investigating Manafort.

Liaison with the US government was moved away from the National Anti Corruption Bureau to a senior aide in the presidential administration.

The report states that Poroshenko returned from Washington and, in August or September, 2017, decided to completely end cooperation with the US agencies investigating Manafort. He did not give an order to implement this decision until November 2017.

The order became known to the US government after scheduled visits by Poroshenko's senior aide to see Mueller and the CIA director, in November and December, were cancelled.

The report says that an "element of the understanding" between Poroshenko and Trump was that Ukraine agreed to import US coal and signed a $1bn contract for American-made diesel trains.

These deals can only be understood as Poroshenko buying American support, the reports say.

In March, the Trump administration announced the symbolically important sale of 210 Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine.

Even under President Obama, the US did not sell arms to Ukraine. A well known figure in Kiev, now retired from his old job in government, told me he didn't like what had happened with the Manafort inquiry; however, Ukraine was fighting for its survival.

"I want the rule of law," he said, "but I am a patriot."

He said he had kept in touch with his former subordinates and had heard many of the details about a "Cohen backchannel".

Michael Cohen in an elevator at Trump TowerGetty Images
Michael Cohen visited Donald Trump at Trump Tower in 2016
He said that if Ukrainians came to believe that a corrupt deal had been done over Mr Manafort: "This thing might destroy support for America."

Ukraine's domestic intelligence service, the SBU, did their own - secret - report on Mr Manafort.

It found that there was not one "black ledger" but three and that Mr Manafort had been paid millions of dollars more from Ukraine than had been made public. (Mr Manafort has denied any wrongdoing.)

This information was given to me by a very senior police officer who saw the report. He said it had not been passed to the Americans.


http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44215656


The payment was arranged by intermediaries acting for Petro Poroshenko, but Michael Cohen was not registered as a representative of Ukraine as required by US law.

NEW: Michael Cohen received a secret payment of at least $400,000 to arrange talks between Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko & Trump.

Shortly after the visit last June, Ukraine's anti-corruption agency…


Senior intelligence official in Kiev also said Cohen had help (arranging the talks) from Felix Sater, a convicted former mobster who was once Trump's business partner.

NEW: Michael Cohen received a secret payment of at least $400,000 to arrange talks between Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko & Trump.

Shortly after the visit last June, Ukraine's anti-corruption agency…
https://twitter.com/RVAwonk/status/999323238873387008




Cohen received a secret payment to “fix” talks between tRUmp and Ukraine’s President. Which is a clear FARA violation since Cohen is not registered for Ukrainian work. He’s not the only one who’ll be having legal issues over FARA & Ukraine

Get to know Elliott Broidy, the next major Trump scandal figure
By Paul Waldman
May 22
Email the author

(Evan Vucci/AP)
Like any good drama, the Trump omni-scandal, a story of corruption and greed that crosses years and continents, has a collection of colorful supporting players. It can be hard to keep up with them all — you surely know Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels, but only true aficionados are aware of the details about Felix Sater or Oleg Deripaska or other minor figures.

But today, we turn our attention to one Elliott Broidy, who may well be moving into the first tier of Trump scandal players. His is a tale of government influence, foreign machinations, piles of money, and even a Playboy model mistress.

A new article from the Associated Press lays out a remarkable campaign that Broidy and his partner George Nader waged in 2017 in order to obtain huge consulting contracts from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, in exchange for which they would use Broidy’s connections to the new president to help the Saudis and the UAE in their conflict with Qatar, a U.S. ally that houses a critical American military base.


And as the Daily Beast reports, after years of trying with almost no success to obtain federal military contracts, in 2017, Broidy’s company, Circinus LLC, received millions of dollars in defense work. The Trump presidency has been very good to Broidy, and he may have also been very good to President Trump himself.

But let’s back up. The first time most of us heard Elliott Broidy’s name was when Michael Cohen’s home and office were raided by federal prosecutors. In the ensuing legal proceedings, Cohen told the court that he had three legal clients: Trump, Sean Hannity and Broidy, a major Republican donor who had given hundreds of thousands of dollars to GOP candidates and who had held finance positions in the party. Cohen represented Broidy in an arrangement with a former Playboy model named Shera Bechard, who was paid $1.6 million to keep quiet about an affair she supposedly had with Broidy, which resulted in a pregnancy that she aborted.

From the start, many parts of this story didn’t quite add up. Broidy is a very rich man, but not necessarily someone who has occasion to hang out with Playboy models, unlike some people you might be familiar with. And he was not a public figure, which makes the $1.6 million payoff seem wildly excessive. To put it bluntly, $1.6 million is “Keep this out of the papers because it’ll be a huge story” money, not “Don’t tell my wife” money. And why would Broidy, who has access to the most high-priced and discreet legal talent in the country, retain someone like Cohen to take care of this delicate matter for him?


All of which leads to the theory that Broidy was acting as a cut-out for the person who really had the affair with Bechard: Trump. That theory is, at the moment, unproven but compelling.

There’s one more piece to this puzzle. We all know about Trump’s weird relationship with his daughter Ivanka Trump, how he often comments on her body and says things like “If she weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.” Both Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, the Playboy model who says she had an affair with Trump, said that Trump compared them to his daughter, which is a rather odd thing to say to a woman you’re having sex with. Whatever the true nature of Trump’s feelings, it’s clear that he’s attracted to women who remind him of Ivanka Trump. I bring this up because Shera Bechard is a dead ringer for Ivanka Trump. An absolute dead ringer.

But if the theory about Trump being the person who really had the affair with Bechard is true, why would Broidy step in and put up $1.6 million of his own money to do Trump a solid in this way? The explanation is that he may have stood to gain much, much more. And he had been involved in this kind of arrangement before. In 2009, Broidy pleaded guilty to a felony charge of rewarding official misconduct; he stayed out of jail by testifying against his co-conspirators. He gave $1 million in illegal gifts to New York State officials, and the state invested $250 million with his investment firm. One of the interesting details was that as part of the gifts, Broidy paid $90,000 to the mistress of one of the New York officials.

Fast forward to 2017. With Trump in office, Broidy was ready to really cash in. According to emails obtained by the Wall Street Journal, he was negotiating a deal in which he would use his influence to get the Justice Department to drop its investigation of a Malaysian company called 1MDB, for which Broidy and his wife would be paid $75 million. But the biggest haul was set to come from the Middle East.

Broidy teamed up with George Nader, a Lebanese American who had lots of connections in the region and his own run-ins with the law: He had been convicted of sexually abusing minors in the Czech Republic and spent a year in prison there. Now Nader was based in the UAE and had built a relationship with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, as well as Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. According to the AP:

From the start, the men had a two-track mission: to carry out a campaign against Qatar that would curry favor with the princes, and to then turn that success into millions of dollars in defense deals, documents show.

They would sell the Saudis and the UAE on consulting contracts for intelligence services and building a new Muslim fighting force of 5,000 soldiers, for which Broidy and Nader would be paid more than $1 billion. In exchange, they would get the American government on board with the Saudi/UAE campaign against Qatar.

The details are complex, but among the things we know is that Broidy had multiple meetings with Trump, in which he urged the president to support the Saudis and Emiratis against Qatar. American policy toward Qatar has been erratic; Trump supported the Saudi/UAE blockade of Qatar, but we haven’t removed our military base.

And there’s much more to be learned about George Nader as well. On Saturday, the New York Times reported that in 2016 Nader met with Donald Trump Jr. and offered the help of the Saudis and Emiratis in getting his father elected:

Mr. Nader was quickly embraced as a close ally by Trump campaign advisers — meeting frequently with Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, and Michael T. Flynn, who became the president’s first national security adviser. At the time, Mr. Nader was also promoting a secret plan to use private contractors to destabilize Iran, the regional nemesis of Saudi Arabia and the Emirates.

Like many aspects of the Trump corruption scandal, when you peel back one layer, you find more and more layers. For instance, you’ll be unsurprised to learn that Nader also has ties to Russia. Like Broidy, at the very least he could be facing criminal charges for acting as an agent of a foreign government without registering. And Nader is now cooperating with Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation.

Once we learn everything there is to learn, the Trump scandals may not wrap up into a neat and easily understandable package. But all the Trump scandals all lead back to one story — a story about incredibly corrupt people, including the president himself, trampling over the law and the interests of the country in order to stuff their own pockets. And it just keeps getting bigger.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/pl ... a9e4f42054



Evgeny Friedman, a Russian immigrant who earned the nickname "the Taxi King


One of Michael Cohen's business partners — known as 'the Taxi King' — just reportedly agreed to cooperate with the government


One of Michael Cohen's business partners is now cooperating with the government, The New York Times reported.
That could increase the likelihood of Cohen's cooperation, The Times wrote.
The business associate is known as "the Taxi King."
One of Michael Cohen's business partners, known as "the Taxi King," agreed to cooperate with the government as a potential witness as part of a plea deal, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

The Times wrote that his cooperation could be used as leverage to get Cohen, President Donald Trump's longtime lawyer, to work with special counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and whether the Trump campaign engaged in any collusion with Russian officials.

Evgeny Friedman, a Russian immigrant who earned the nickname "the Taxi King," will avoid jail time under the agreement and will assist federal and state prosecutors in investigations, The Times reported.

Cohen is currently under criminal investigation in the Southern District of New York. He has not been charged with a crime. Mueller initially reviewed Cohen's conduct prior to referring it to the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. Cohen's next court date in that case is set for Thursday.

The FBI raided Cohen's home, office, and hotel room last month, and those documents are currently undergoing a review, which is being overseen by a special master to determine what falls under attorney-client privilege and what can be used by the government in a potential prosecution of Cohen. Federal investigators sought Cohen's business documents in the raids.

Cohen is a significant operator in the taxi business, owning a substantial number of taxi medallions, and was partners with Friedman for years.

As The Times wrote, Trump's lawyers know there is a strong chance that the investigation into his businesses leads to Cohen cooperating with the government. Friedman's cooperation only makes the chances of that stronger, the publication noted.

Friedman faced charges of criminal tax fraud and grand larceny, all felony charges.
http://nordic.businessinsider.com/micha ... ent-2018-5



Moglevich➡️Fursin➡️Gates➡️Broidy➡️VanDerZwaan➡️Nikulin➡️Dokuchaev➡️Giulani➡️WeberRohrbacher➡️Manafort➡️Pence➡️Cohen➡️Friedman➡️Trump

Erdogan➡️Zarrab➡️Gulen➡️FlynnJr➡️Flynn➡️Nader➡️Broidy➡️Zamel➡️Prince➡️Kushner➡️Pence

Lavrov➡️Mifsud➡️Papadopoulos➡️Miller➡️Sessions
Pinedo
Sater
Page
18 Russians
Ed Kutler
Ivanka
Stone
Corallo
Paul Ryan
100+ FELONY CHARGES
Cambridge Analytica➡️BCCI 2.0


Image
We will find it’s all connected UK/US election interference the Brexit debacle
All of it the work of a trans national crime syndicate who managed to figure out the wormhole needed to pit us against one another for their benefit
For money and power
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby BenDhyan » Wed May 23, 2018 7:28 pm

Suspicions are growing that Trump was spied on...

8 signs pointing to a counterintelligence operation deployed against Trump's campaign

Sharyl Attkisson, 05/23/18 11:15 AM EDT

It may be true that President Trump illegally conspired with Russia and was so good at covering it up he’s managed to outwit our best intel and media minds who've searched for irrefutable evidence for two years. (We still await special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings.)

But there’s a growing appearance of alleged wrongdoing equally as insidious, if not more so, because it implies widespread misuse of America’s intelligence and law enforcement apparatus.

Here are eight signs pointing to a counterintelligence operation deployed against Trump for political reasons.

Code name

The operation reportedly had at least one code name that was leaked to The New York Times: “Crossfire Hurricane.”

Wiretap fever

Secret surveillance was conducted on no fewer than seven Trump associates: chief strategist Stephen Bannon; lawyer Michael Cohen; national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn; adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner; campaign chairman Paul Manafort; and campaign foreign policy advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.

The FBI reportedly applied for a secret warrant in June 2016 to monitor Manafort, Page, Papadopoulos and Flynn. If true, it means the FBI targeted Flynn six months before his much-debated conversation with Russia’s ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.

The FBI applied four times to wiretap Page after he became a Trump campaign adviser starting in July 2016. Page’s office is connected to Trump Tower and he reports having spent “many hours in Trump Tower.”

CNN reported that Manafort was wiretapped before and after the election “including during a period when Manafort was known to talk to President Trump.” Manafort reportedly has a residence in Trump Tower.

Electronic surveillance was used to listen in on three Trump transition officials in Trump Tower — Flynn, Bannon and Kushner — as they met in an official capacity with the United Arab Emirates’ crown prince.

The FBI also reportedly wiretapped Flynn’s phone conversation with Kislyak on Dec. 31, 2016, as part of “routine surveillance” of Kislyak.

NBC recently reported that Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney, was wiretapped. NBC later corrected the story, saying Cohen was the subject of a “pen register” used to monitor phone numbers and, possibly, internet communications.

National security letters


Another controversial tool reportedly used by the FBI to obtain phone records and other documents in the investigation were national security letters, which bypass judicial approval.

Improper use of such letters has been an ongoing theme at the FBI. Reviews by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General found widespread misuse under Mueller — who was then FBI director — and said officials failed to report instances of abuses as required.

Unmasking


“Unmasking” — identifying protected names of Americans captured by government surveillance — was frequently deployed by at least four top Obama officials who have subsequently spoken out against President Trump: James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence; Samantha Power, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; Susan Rice, former national security adviser; Sally Yates, former deputy attorney general.

Names of Americans caught communicating with monitored foreign targets must be “masked,” or hidden within government agencies, so the names cannot be misused or shared.

However, it’s been revealed that Power made near-daily unmasking requests in 2016.

Prior to that revelation, Clapper claimed ignorance. When asked if he knew of unmasking requests by any ambassador, including Power, he testified: “I don't know. Maybe it's ringing a vague bell but I'm not — I could not answer with any confidence.”

Rice admitted to asking for unmasked names of U.S. citizens in intelligence reports after initially claiming no knowledge of any such thing.

Clapper also admitted to requesting the unmasking of “Mr. Trump, his associates or any members of Congress.” Clapper and Yates admitted they also personally reviewed unmasked documents and shared unmasked material with other officials.

Changing the rules


On Dec. 15, 2016 — the same day the government listened in on Trump officials at Trump Tower — Rice reportedly unmasked the names of Bannon, Kushner and Flynn. And Clapper made a new rule allowing the National Security Agency to widely disseminate surveillance material within the government without the normal privacy protections.

Media strategy

Former CIA Director John Brennan and Clapper, two of the most integral intel officials in this ongoing controversy, have joined national news organizations where they have regular opportunities to shape the news narrative — including on the very issues under investigation.

Clapper reportedly secretly leaked salacious political opposition research against Trump to CNN in fall 2017 and later was hired as a CNN political analyst. In February, Brennan was hired as a paid analyst for MSNBC.

Leaks

There’s been a steady and apparently orchestrated campaign of leaks — some true, some false, but nearly all of them damaging to President Trump’s interests.

A few of the notable leaks include word that Flynn was wiretapped, the anti-Trump “Steele dossier” of political opposition research, then-FBI Director James Comey briefing Trump on it, private Comey conversations with Trump, Comey’s memos recording those conversations and criticizing Trump, the subpoena of Trump’s personal bank records (which proved false) and Flynn planning to testify against Trump (which also proved to be false).

Friends, informants and snoops

The FBI reportedly used one-time CIA operative Stefan Halper in 2016 as an informant to spy on Trump officials.

Another player is Comey friend Daniel Richman, a Columbia University law professor, who leaked Comey’s memos against Trump to The New York Times after Comey was fired. We later learned that Richman actually worked for the FBI under a status called “Special Government Employee.”

The FBI used former reporter Glenn Simpson, his political opposition research firm Fusion GPS, and ex-British spy Christopher Steele to compile allegations against Trump, largely from Russian sources, which were distributed to the press and used as part of wiretap applications.

These eight features of a counterintelligence operation are only the pieces we know. It can be assumed there’s much we don’t yet know. And it may help explain why there’s so much material that the Department of Justice hasn’t easily handed over to congressional investigators.

Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) is an Emmy-award winning investigative journalist, author of The New York Times bestsellers “The Smear” and “Stonewalled,” and host of Sinclair’s Sunday TV program, “Full Measure.”

http://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/388978-growing-signs-of-a-counterintelligence-operation-deployed-against-trumps

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

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed May 23, 2018 7:42 pm

old news....always has been counterintelligence

trump was WARNED

The candidates were urged to alert the FBI about any suspicious overtures to their campaigns, the officials said.

now when was that trump tower meeting?

oooopsy trump didn't tell

FBI warned Trump in 2016 Russians would try to infiltrate his campaign
by Ken Dilanian, Julia Ainsley and Carol E. Lee / Dec.18.2017 / 11:08 AM ET / Updated Dec.19.2017 / 12:23 AM ET

WASHINGTON — In the weeks after he became the Republican nominee on July 19, 2016, Donald Trump was warned that foreign adversaries, including Russia, would probably try to spy on and infiltrate his campaign, according to multiple government officials familiar with the matter.

The warning came in the form of a high-level counterintelligence briefing by senior FBI officials, the officials said. A similar briefing was given to Hillary Clinton, they added. They said the briefings, which are commonly provided to presidential nominees, were designed to educate the candidates and their top aides about potential threats from foreign spies.

The candidates were urged to alert the FBI about any suspicious overtures to their campaigns, the officials said.
Trump's first intelligence briefing as Republican nominee was Aug. 17, 2016, sources told NBC News at the time.

Trump was "briefed and warned" at the session about potential espionage threats from Russia, two former law enforcement officials familiar with the sessions told NBC News. A source close to the White House said their position is that Trump was unaware of the contacts between his campaign and Russians.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/fb ... gn-n830596


The Rosenstein Order provides that Mueller shall be “appointed to serve as Special Counsel” in order “to ensure a full and thorough investigation of the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.” The Order does not itself specify the scope of the investigation, but rather cross-references congressional testimony by former FBI Director James Comey about a preexisting FBI investigation. It directs Mueller “to conduct the investigation confirmed by then-FBI Director James B. Comey in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on March 20, 2017, including . . . any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.” (The Order also authorizes an investigation of matters “that arose or may arise directly from the investigation” or “other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a).”) At the same time, the Order declares “applicable” the provisions in the Part 600 regulations, specifically “[s]ections 600.4 through 600.10 of Title 28 of the Code of Federal Regulations.”

The Comey testimony that the Order cross-references, in turn, discloses an FBI investigation, “as part of our counterintelligence mission,” into “the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election” including “the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.” The testimony also discloses that “[a]s with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.”

The Order thus appears to contemplate that Mueller will conduct a “counterintelligence investigation” that may include an “assessment of whether any crimes were committed.” Understanding the difference between a counterintelligence investigation and a criminal one is therefore critical to understanding the meaning of the Rosenstein Order and the resulting statutory and regulatory issues.



Counterintelligence Investigations and the Special Counsel’s Mandate: Part I

By Aditya Bamzai Friday, May 26, 2017, 9:51 AM


FBI Director Robert Mueller leads a briefing for the President on the Boston Marathon bombings, April 2013 / Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
Ever since Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a Special Counsel to investigate allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election, commentators have raised questions about the investigation’s scope. Some have claimed that the Special Counsel’s mandate is too expansive; others, too narrow; and still others, simply too vague. On Lawfare, the issue has been addressed by Andrew Kent and David Kris. All appear to have assumed, however, that the scope of the investigation will be governed by 28 C.F.R. Part 600, the 1999 regulation authorizing the appointment of a “Special Counsel” that was enacted in the wake of the lapse of the independent-counsel statute.

But does this regulatory apparatus govern the Mueller investigation? I am not so sure. The order appointing Mueller (what I’ll call the “Rosenstein Order”) invokes—and commentators have naturally focused on—the regulations contained in 28 C.F.R. Part 600 (what I’ll call the “Part 600 regulations”), because they expressly authorize the appointment of a Special Counsel. But as I explain below, these regulations do not contemplate the delegation of a counterintelligence investigation to a Special Counsel; they focus on criminal investigations. The two kinds of investigations are significantly different in scope and function and rely on different investigative tools. The Rosenstein Order, however, appears to delegate a counterintelligence investigation to the Special Counsel under the criminal-prosecution-focused Part 600 regulations, thereby creating some confusion on the appropriate scope and type of investigation. By seemingly directing Mueller to conduct a counterintelligence investigation while at the same time limiting his authority to the criminal investigations authorized by the Part 600 regulations, the Rosenstein Order points in different directions on the scope of the Special Counsel’s mandate.

In this post, I will explain why the counterintelligence investigation that Rosenstein appears to have intended to delegate to the Special Counsel is inconsistent with the criminal focus of the Part 600 regulations. The delegated investigation, in short, does not comply with the limits on the Special Counsel’s authority imposed by the regulations. In a subsequent post, I will explain that Rosenstein may delegate a counterintelligence investigation to the Special Counsel under his general statutory authority, 28 U.S.C. § 510. But if he intends to do so, he should clarify that the Part 600 regulations are inapplicable.



A. The Rosenstein Order and the Difference between Counterintelligence and Criminal Investigations

The Rosenstein Order provides that Mueller shall be “appointed to serve as Special Counsel” in order “to ensure a full and thorough investigation of the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.” The Order does not itself specify the scope of the investigation, but rather cross-references congressional testimony by former FBI Director James Comey about a preexisting FBI investigation. It directs Mueller “to conduct the investigation confirmed by then-FBI Director James B. Comey in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on March 20, 2017, including . . . any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.” (The Order also authorizes an investigation of matters “that arose or may arise directly from the investigation” or “other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a).”) At the same time, the Order declares “applicable” the provisions in the Part 600 regulations, specifically “[s]ections 600.4 through 600.10 of Title 28 of the Code of Federal Regulations.”

The Comey testimony that the Order cross-references, in turn, discloses an FBI investigation, “as part of our counterintelligence mission,” into “the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election” including “the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.” The testimony also discloses that “[a]s with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.”

The Order thus appears to contemplate that Mueller will conduct a “counterintelligence investigation” that may include an “assessment of whether any crimes were committed.” Understanding the difference between a counterintelligence investigation and a criminal one is therefore critical to understanding the meaning of the Rosenstein Order and the resulting statutory and regulatory issues.

As the FBI’s website notes, its Counterintelligence Program is “responsible for identifying and neutralizing ongoing national security threats from foreign intelligence services.” The FBI is thus “the lead agency for exposing, preventing, and investigating intelligence activities on U.S. soil, and the Counterintelligence Division uses its full suite of investigative and intelligence capabilities to combat counterintelligence threats,” by (among other things) “[p]rotect[ing] the secrets of the U.S. Intelligence Community,” “[p]rotecting the nation’s critical assets,” and “[c]ountering the activities of foreign spies.”

Counterintelligence investigations are different from criminal investigations in several ways. For one thing, the goal of a counterintelligence investigation may be different from, and perhaps broader than, a criminal investigation. A criminal investigation would ordinarily pursue allegations of criminal conduct. A counterintelligence investigation, by contrast, may pursue allegations of “coordination” between U.S. persons and foreign hackers that may be unseemly and problematic if true, but potentially not criminal—such as, to use Professor Kent’s example, the possibility that a person within the United States coordinated to distribute material previously hacked by agents of a foreign government. As the Attorney General’s Guidelines for Domestic FBI Operations explain, the FBI is “not limited to ‘investigation’ in a narrow sense, such as solving particular cases,” but may also collect information to support “broader analytic and intelligence purposes.” In the case of the FBI, the line between counterintelligence and criminal investigations may not be a bright one. “In many cases,” as the Guidelines put it, “a single [FBI] investigation will be supportable as an exercise of a number of these authorities—i.e., as an investigation of a federal crime or crimes, as an investigation of a threat to the national security, and/or as a collection of foreign intelligence”—because the FBI has a role in enforcing both criminal law and “in collecting foreign intelligence as a member agency of the U.S. Intelligence Community.”

For another, a counterintelligence investigation may use tools distinct from a criminal investigation. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, for example, authorizes the government to conduct surveillance for “foreign intelligence” purposes where certain statutory requirements are met and “there is probable cause to believe that . . . the target of the electronic surveillance is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power.” A similar kind of test exists for pen registers. In a similar vein, the FBI may obtain information from internet service providers using “National Security Letters” if the Bureau meets certain statutory requirements and certifies that the records are “relevant to an authorized investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.” These statutes, and other comparable “foreign intelligence” authorities, require a showing that the government has reason to believe that the target is “a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power” and the information collected will be of a “foreign intelligence” nature. Critically, these tools do not require a showing that evidence of a crime will be discovered, which is the predicate for comparable criminal investigative tools contained in the Wiretap Act or the Pen Register Statute. While FISA surveillance may ultimately uncover evidence of criminal wrongdoing, each FISA application must establish that “a significant purpose of the surveillance is to obtain foreign intelligence information.”

In the case of the Rosenstein Order, the key questions are whether the purpose of the Special Counsel’s investigation will include the uncovering of noncriminal counterintelligence information, and whether the Special Counsel is authorized to rely on counterintelligence investigative techniques.



B. Delegation under the Part 600 Regulations

Although the Rosenstein Order suggests an intent to delegate a counterintelligence investigation to the Special Counsel, the Order’s application of the Part 600 regulations to the investigation calls into question this intention. That is because, on their face, the Part 600 regulations authorize the Attorney General to delegate a criminal investigation—and not a counterintelligence investigation—to a Special Counsel. There are four reasons why this interpretation makes the most sense of the regulatory scheme.

First, the Part 600 regulations authorize the Attorney General (or an Acting Attorney General in the case of recusal) to “appoint a Special Counsel when he or she determines that criminal investigation of a person or matter is warranted.”

Second, the regulations grant the Special Counsel the “power and independent authority to exercise all investigative and prosecutorial functions of any United States Attorney.” By statute, U.S. Attorneys are authorized to “prosecute [ ] all offenses against the United States”; to litigate civil actions on behalf of the United States and certain of its officials; and to “make such reports as the Attorney General may direct.” Unlike the FBI, however, U.S. Attorneys do not have authority over counterintelligence investigations. A U.S. Attorney, for example, would not seek authorization for counterintelligence surveillance under FISA, but would rather request that a member of the U.S. intelligence community conduct such surveillance—at which point the U.S. intelligence community member would have to satisfy itself that the surveillance was being conducted for “foreign intelligence” purposes. Other parts of the regulation, moreover, confirm that its focus is on the Department of Justice’s litigating functions, by providing that the ground for appointment of a Special Counsel includes the Attorney General’s belief that “investigation or prosecution of that person or matter by a United States Attorney’s Office or litigating Division of the Department of Justice would present a conflict of interest for the Department or other extraordinary circumstances.”

Third, the Part 600 regulations confirm the intended “criminal” scope by carving out of the grant of authority to the Special Counsel the ordinary civil litigation functions of U.S. Attorneys. Thus, the regulations provide that a “Special Counsel shall not have civil or administrative authority unless specifically granted such jurisdiction by the Attorney General.” Instead, should the Special Counsel find appropriate “administrative remedies, civil sanctions or other governmental action outside the criminal justice system,” he must “consult with the Attorney General with respect to the appropriate component to take any necessary action.”

Fourth, the remaining parts of the regulations further confirm this interpretation of the operative provisions by repeatedly referring to criminal authorities. The regulations permit the Attorney General to establish the “original jurisdiction” of the Special Counsel “with a specific factual statement of the matter to be investigated,” which includes the “authority to investigate and prosecute federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with, the Special Counsel’s investigation.” The regulations also specify that the “Special Counsel shall notify the Attorney General of events in the course of his or her investigation in conformity with the Departmental guidelines with respect to Urgent Reports,” which the United States Attorneys’ Manual defines as reports that “United States Attorneys’ offices and Department litigating divisions must submit” under certain specified circumstances. In a similar vein, the regulations require that, at the close of an investigation, the Special Counsel “shall provide the Attorney General with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel.” And they require the Special Counsel to treat “releases of information” pursuant to “generally applicable Departmental guidelines concerning public comment with respect to any criminal investigation, and relevant law.”

To sum up, the regulations focus on criminal prosecution. They anticipate a delegation of criminal investigative authority to the Special Counsel (§ 600.1); grant the Special Counsel the powers of a U.S. Attorney to pursue that investigation (§ 600.6); carve out of the grant of power the civil functions of a U.S. Attorney (§ 600.4); and repeatedly refer to the Department’s criminal jurisdiction and authorities as the touchstone for the scope of any investigation (§§ 600.4, 600.8, 600.9). They do not authorize, nor provide the appropriate tools to conduct, a counterintelligence investigation.
https://www.lawfareblog.com/counterinte ... ate-part-i


Counterintelligence Investigations and the Special Counsel’s Mandate: Part II

In my first post on this topic, I explained that the Department of Justice’s regulations governing the appointment of a “Special Counsel” (what I have called the “Part 600 regulations”) are a poor fit for the investigation that Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appears to have delegated to former FBI Director Robert Mueller. Those regulations authorize the delegation of a criminal investigation to a Special Counsel and give the Special Counsel the powers of a “United States Attorney”—a litigating official within the Department of Justice who lacks the authority to conduct a counterintelligence investigation. The Order appointing the Special Counsel (the “Rosenstein Order”), however, appears to seek to delegate a counterintelligence investigation, while at the same time declaring the Part 600 regulations “applicable.” The mismatch between the regulatory provisions and the delegated investigation raises questions about the investigation’s purpose and the investigative tools available to the Special Counsel.

In this post, I will address whether the Acting Attorney General may delegate a counterintelligence investigation to a Special Counsel under some authority other than the Part 600 regulations. I believe that he may—subject to certain statutory restrictions—though the issue is a novel one. Specifically, the Attorney General possesses a general authority to delegate tasks within the Department of Justice under 28 U.S.C. § 510, which is best read to permit delegation of the FBI’s and National Security Division’s counterintelligence functions to other attorneys within the Department—albeit limited by provisions requiring statutorily specified officials to approve certain kinds of investigative techniques. Indeed, in the most famous investigation by a Special Counsel following the promulgation of the Part 600 regulations, James Comey (at that time, the Deputy Attorney General) elected not to rely on the regulations to authorize the investigation pursued by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald in the Valerie Plame matter, declaring that his “conferral . . . of the title of ‘Special Counsel’ in this matter should not be misunderstood to suggest that [Fitzgerald’s] position and authorities are defined and limited by 28 C.F.R. § 600.”

This seemingly technical distinction between the sources of authority for the Mueller investigation may have serious, though hard to predict, downstream ramifications. I will explore some of the legal implications below, but it is important to get the law right for its own sake. To prevent any further legal confusion, it would be wise to clarify the Rosenstein Order and to specify the Special Counsel’s jurisdiction with greater precision.

A. Delegation under the Attorney General’s Statutory Authority

Federal statutes grant the Attorney General broad authority to delegate functions within the Department of Justice. At the same time, however, Congress has enacted various provisions limiting the Attorney General’s authority to delegate functions in the specific area of national security. How these statutory provisions interact determines the legality and scope of the Rosenstein Order’s delegation.

Start with the broad and general authority to delegate. Section 510 provides that the Attorney General “may from time to time make such provisions as he considers appropriate authorizing the performance by any other officer, employee, or agency of the Department of Justice of any function of the Attorney General.” By statute, with some exceptions not relevant here, “[a]ll functions of other officers of the Department of Justice and all functions of agencies and employees of the Department of Justice are vested in the Attorney General.” And by statute, the “Federal Bureau of Investigation is in the Department of Justice.”

The Supreme Court has understood statutory frameworks of this nature to allow the head of a Department to “subdelegate” authority to a subordinate within the Department, absent a restriction prohibiting such delegation. In Touby v. United States, for example, the Supreme Court interpreted a statutory provision similar to section 510 as “permit[ting] the delegation of any function vested in the Attorney General . . . unless a specific limitation on that delegation authority appears elsewhere in the statute.” Although courts of appeals (such as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in U.S. Telecom Association v. FCC) have held that this principle does not apply to delegation “outside” a department, Director Mueller has resigned from his law firm partnership and ought not to be considered an “outside” party in the sense in which the term has been used in this context—to refer to state public utility commissions and the like.

In the case of the Rosenstein Order’s delegation of a counterintelligence investigation to Mueller, it is useful to think of two possible sources of limits on the Attorney General’s authority—the first, regulatory, and the second, statutory.

As an initial matter, one might argue that, by providing that the Attorney General may delegate a criminal investigation to a “Special Counsel,” the Part 600 regulations implicitly prohibit the delegation of a counterintelligence investigation. Any violation of this implicit prohibition, the argument would go, is unlawful under the principle (commonly attributed to the Supreme Court’s decision in Accardi v. Shaughnessy) that an agency must follow its own regulations. That argument does not strike me as particularly strong. Even assuming that the regulations could not be waived at will (as a U.S. district court suggested during the Watergate investigation in Nader v. Bork), the Part 600 regulations do not purport to be exclusive or to limit the authority of the Attorney General to delegate investigations outside the regulations’ scope. Rather, the regulations provide one way of appointing a Special Counsel, leaving open the possibility of other institutional arrangements. That is how the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (as well as the Comptroller General) understood the scope of the Part 600 regulations in United States v. Libby, noting that the parties did not contend “that the Deputy Attorney General was required to follow these regulations, and they are therefore of no moment.” (In that case, Deputy Attorney General Comey appointed as a special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, at the time the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, which would have contravened the requirement in the Part 600 regulations that the Special Counsel be “selected from outside the United States Government.”)

The complex statutory scheme that governs the Department of Justice’s national security apparatus, however, raises thornier legal problems. As a matter of background law, Congress may limit a Department head’s general authority to delegate within an agency by enacting specific statutory restrictions. In a leading case on this issue, United States v. Giordano, the Supreme Court held that a provision in the Wiretap Act—which at the time specified that a wiretap application could be authorized by the “Attorney General, or any Assistant Attorney General specially designated by the Attorney General”—did not permit delegation to “the Attorney General’s Executive Assistant” or any other individual within the Department. The government had contended that “merely vesting a duty in the Attorney General . . . evinces no intention whatsoever to preclude delegation to other officers in the Department of Justice.” The Court rejected the government’s contention because it understood the Wiretap Act as “specifically limit[ing]” the Attorney General’s delegation authority to the statutorily designated individual. In doing so, the Court acknowledged that the Wiretap Act did not use “precise language forbidding delegation,” but it concluded that the provision, “fairly read, was intended to limit the power to authorize wiretap applications to the Attorney General himself and to any Assistant Attorney General he might designate.” Because Congress had specified by statute the individuals who would perform certain functions under the Wiretap Act, the Giordano Court held that other individuals within the Department could not perform those functions.

In the case of national security investigations, there are several questions about whether and how Congress has statutorily limited delegation by the Attorney General within the Department. To begin with, the 2006 statute creating the “National Security Division” of the Department of Justice expressly provides that the Division “shall consist of the elements of the Department of Justice (other than the Federal Bureau of Investigation) engaged primarily in support of the intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the United States Government,” including the counterterrorism and counterespionage sections of the Department or successor organizations. As in Giordano (where the Court understood the specific listing of certain officials as implicitly precluding delegation to others), one could understand the statutory provision conferring authority on the National Security Division over “the intelligence and intelligence-related” functions of the Department of Justice as implicitly prohibiting delegation of “intelligence-related” investigations to officials outside of the Division.

One could understand the statute that way—though, on balance, I do not. Several factors distinguish the provision creating the National Security Division from the Wiretap Act provision at issue in Giordano. First, the inference from the statutory text is not as strong: The language of the text speaks of organizing the existing “elements of the Department of Justice.” While there is little reason for the Wiretap Act to list the individuals who can authorize wiretap applications (other than an intention to exclude other individuals within the Department), there are a number of reasons why Congress would have statutorily authorized the creation of the National Security Division—the Department’s first litigating division in nearly half a century—other than an intention to prohibit delegation to other parties. Second, the inference of exclusivity where Congress lists specific individuals (as in the Wiretap Act) seems stronger than where Congress assigns a function to a component of a department. Third, the Court in Giordano focused on the extensive and specific legislative history indicating a congressional intent to preclude subdelegation.

All of this goes to show that the Attorney General may delegate a counterintelligence investigation, writ large, to a Special Counsel outside of the National Security Division. But notwithstanding the general delegation authority, there are certain functions that Congress has by statute specifically lodged in certain Department officials, thereby making their further delegation by the Attorney General impermissible. At a more granular level, Congress has expressly mandated that various national-security investigative techniques must receive authorization from high-ranking Department of Justice officials. FISA, for example, expressly defines “Attorney General” to include solely “the Attorney General of the United States (or Acting Attorney General), the Deputy Attorney General, or, upon the designation of the Attorney General, the Assistant Attorney General designated as the Assistant Attorney General for National Security.” Likewise, National Security Letters may be requested by the “Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or his designee in a position not lower than Deputy Assistant Director at Bureau headquarters or a Special Agent in Charge in a Bureau field office designated by the Director.” As with the provision of the Wiretap Act at stake in Giordano, these statutes prohibit further delegation within the Department to ensure political accountability over national-security investigations.

To sum up: Acting Attorney General Rosenstein likely has the authority to delegate a counterintelligence investigation to a Special Counsel under section 510, not the Part 600 regulations. But Rosenstein lacks the authority to delegate approval for certain investigative techniques, such as signing FISA applications and issuing National Security Letters, which Congress has made non-delegable by statute.

B. Some Implications and Conclusions

In light of the foregoing, let’s consider both the practical legal consequences for the Mueller investigation in particular, as well as the broader implications for national security and special counsel investigations generally.

First—and concretely—there is a mismatch between the Rosenstein Order’s declaration that the Part 600 regulations are “applicable” to the Special Counsel and the Order’s delegation of a counterintelligence investigation. The appropriate fix, in my view, would be to clarify the Order with a subsequent writing, either by specifying that the Special Counsel possesses solely the authority to pursue a criminal investigation or by specifying that the Part 600 regulations, in whole or in relevant part, do not apply to the investigation. That course would be consistent with then-Deputy Attorney General Comey’s actions, both in his initial delegation of authority and in a subsequent clarification that his “conferral . . . of the title of ‘Special Counsel’ [on Patrick Fitzgerald] in this matter should not be misunderstood to suggest that [his] position and authorities are defined and limited by 28 C.F.R. § 600.”

Absent a clarification, there may be questions about whether the Special Counsel is acting ultra vires and, to the extent that Director Mueller relies on national security investigative tools, whether he has properly invoked them. To be sure, any such concerns are speculative at this stage, and there would also be questions whether the Part 600 regulations’ declaration that they “may not be relied upon to create any rights . . . enforceable at law or equity” precludes any such legal arguments. But were litigation to occur, the uncertain basis for the Special Counsel’s authority could prompt disputes over, for example, whether the “purpose” of any information-gathering under FISA or other related authorities was truly foreign-intelligence-related.

Second—and more abstractly—this analysis highlights the shifting nature of the legal framework for national security investigations. One might ask, in light of the foregoing, whether the authors of the Part 600 regulations, among them some truly impressive lawyers, simply missed the possibility that a future Attorney General might simultaneously delegate both counterintelligence and criminal functions to a Special Counsel. The answer, in my view, is that their intuitions were perfectly appropriate when the regulations were adopted in 1999. At that time, intelligence and law enforcement were separated by a legal “wall,” which was only dismantled following the enactment of the USA Patriot Act in 2001. As the FISA Court of Review later explained, “to avoid running afoul of the primary purpose test used by some courts” to assess the legality of surveillance under FISA, the “wall” “limited contacts between the FBI and the Criminal Division [of the Department of Justice] in cases where FISA surveillance or searches were being conducted by the FBI for foreign intelligence [ ] or foreign counterintelligence [ ] purposes.” (For an excellent discussion of the “wall” and related issues, the reader should turn to sections 10:5 to 10:15 of David S. Kris and J. Douglas Wilson’s National Security Investigations & Prosecutions.) Against that backdrop, the authors of the Part 600 regulations may have seen no need to address a Special Counsel’s jurisdiction over intelligence-related matters, because they may have assumed that no prosecutor would simultaneously perform intelligence-gathering and law-enforcement functions.

Finally, and irrespective of the scope of the Rosenstein Order’s delegation, the foregoing analysis throws into stark relief the unique nature and the unique complications attending an “independent” counterintelligence investigation conducted by a Special Counsel, as opposed to the criminal investigations apparently envisioned by the Part 600 regulations. The regulations seek to create “independence” by limiting the reasons for removal of a Special Counsel to “misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or for other good cause.” If Director Mueller relies on standard foreign-intelligence investigative tools, however, he will need the approval of the Department of Justice’s political appointees, thereby prompting a level of coordination with other Department personnel that may well be unusual compared to other investigations conducted by independent and special counsels. This point bolsters what others have already suggested—that, in the context of a counterintelligence investigation, the very notion of a Special Counsel’s legal “independence” may be tested. But the lack of “independence” in law does not necessarily mean that the nation will be deprived of “independence”—or more importantly, a fair and just investigation—in fact. For that, however, we will have to rely, not on technical “independence” by statute or regulation, but rather the good faith and probity of the relevant Department of Justice personnel.
https://www.lawfareblog.com/counterinte ... te-part-ii
We will find it’s all connected UK/US election interference the Brexit debacle
All of it the work of a trans national crime syndicate who managed to figure out the wormhole needed to pit us against one another for their benefit
For money and power
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby JackRiddler » Wed May 23, 2018 10:48 pm

Interesting title change. At least I don't have to see that "NSA chief says" propaganda and incomplete word that's been annoying me daily for two years. Please feel free to correct other titles of yours, especially the run-ons.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby Belligerent Savant » Wed May 23, 2018 11:31 pm

.

Different title. Same output.

Also: where does one post about domestic influence in '16 (and historical) Election(s)?
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby BenDhyan » Thu May 24, 2018 2:35 am

Looking good for Jared...

Kushner's security clearance restored, met with Mueller team a second time

By Evan Perez, Gloria Borger and Pamela Brown, CNN Updated 1917 GMT (0317 HKT) May 23, 2018

(CNN)President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, had his White House security clearance restored Wednesday, a person familiar with the matter said, after months of uncertainty stemming in part from his role in the ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Kushner met with Mueller's investigators a second time in April and answered questions for seven hours, according to his attorney, Abbe Lowell. He had previously sat for an interview last November that was largely focused on former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who soon after pleaded guilty to charges of making false statements to the FBI.

These developments come as the Mueller's investigators appear to be trying to complete parts of their inquiry.

The Kushner team believes he is now finished with all ongoing inquiries, which also include the investigations by congressional committees, according to a person close to Kushner.

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/05/23/politics/jared-kushner-security-clearance/index.html

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

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu May 24, 2018 6:15 am

Exclusive: FBI Seizes Control of Russian Botnet

The FBI operation targets a piece of sophisticated malware linked to the same Russian hacking group that hit the Democratic National Committee in 2016.


FBI agents armed with a court order have seized control of a key server in the Kremlin’s global botnet of 500,000 hacked routers, The Daily Beast has learned. The move positions the bureau to build a comprehensive list of victims of the attack, and short-circuits Moscow’s ability to reinfect its targets.

The FBI counter-operation goes after “VPN Filter,” a piece of sophisticated malware linked to the same Russian hacking group, known as Fancy Bear, that breached the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign during the 2016 election. On Wednesday security researchers at Cisco and Symantec separately provided new details on the malware, which has turned up in 54 countries including the United States.

VPN Filter uses known vulnerabilities to infect home office routers made by Linksys, MikroTik, NETGEAR, and TP-Link. Once in place, the malware reports back to a command-and-control infrastructure that can install purpose-built plug-ins, according to the researchers. One plug-in lets the hackers eavesdrop on the victim’s Internet traffic to steal website credentials; another targets a protocol used in industrial control networks, such as those in the electric grid. A third lets the attacker cripple any or all of the infected devices at will.

The FBI has been investigating the botnet since at least August, according to court records, when agents in Pittsburgh interviewed a local resident whose home router had been infected with the Russian malware. “She voluntarily relinquished her router to the agents,” wrote FBI agent Michael McKeown, in an affidavit filed in federal court. “In addition, the victim allowed the FBI to utilize a network tap on her home network that allowed the FBI to observe the network traffic leaving the home router.”

That allowed the bureau to identify a key weakness in the malware. If a victim reboots an infected router, the malicious plugins all disappear, and only the core malware code survives. That code is programmed to connect over the Internet to a command-and-control infrastructure set up by the hackers. First it checks for particular images hosted on Photobucket.com that held hidden information in the metadata. If it can’t find those images—which have indeed been removed from Photobucket—it turns to an emergency backup control point at the hard-coded web address ToKnowAll[.]com.

“One plug-in lets the hackers eavesdrop on the victim’s Internet traffic; another targets a protocol used in the electric grid. A third lets the attacker cripple any or all of the infected devices at will.”

On Tuesday, FBI agents in Pittsburg asked federal Magistrate Judge Lisa Pupo Lenihan in Pittsburgh for an order directing the domain registration firm Verisign to hand the ToKnowAll[.]com address over to the FBI, in order to “further the investigation, disrupt the ongoing criminal activity involving the establishment and use of the botnet, and assist in the remediation efforts,” according to court records. Lenihan agreed, and on Wednesday the bureau took control of the domain.

The move effectively kills the malware’s ability to reactivate following a reboot, said Vikram Thakur, technical director at Symantec, who confirmed to the Daily Beast that the domain was taken over by law enforcement on Wednesday, but didn’t name the FBI. “The payload itself is non-persistent and will not survive if the router is restarted,” Thakur added. “That payload will vanish.”

In other words, average consumers have the ability to stop Russia’s latest cyber attack by rebooting their routers, which will now reach out to the FBI instead of Russian intelligence. According to the court filings, the FBI is collecting the Internet IP addresses of every compromised router that phones home to the address, so agents can use the information to clean up the global infection.

“One of the things they can do is keep track of who is currently infected and who is the victim now and pass that information to the local ISPs,” said Thakur. “Some of the ISPs have the ability to remotely restart the router. The others might even send out letters to the home users urging them to restart their devices.”

The court order only lets the FBI monitor metadata like the victim’s IP address, not content. As a technical matter, Thakur said there’s no danger of the malware sending the FBI a victim’s browser history or other sensitive data. “The threat capability is purely to ask for additional payloads,” he said. “There is no data that is leaked from these routers to the domain that is now controlled by an agency.”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/exclusive ... ia=desktop
We will find it’s all connected UK/US election interference the Brexit debacle
All of it the work of a trans national crime syndicate who managed to figure out the wormhole needed to pit us against one another for their benefit
For money and power
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu May 24, 2018 6:17 am

Branding

Seething over Russia probe, Trump tears into 'spygate'

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has branded his latest attempt to discredit the special counsel’s Russia investigation as “spygate,” part of a newly invigorated strategy embraced by his Republican colleagues to raise suspicions about the probe that has dogged his presidency since the start.

Trump now is zeroing in on — and at times embellishing — reports that a longtime U.S. government informant approached members of his 2016 campaign during the presidential election in a possible bid to glean intelligence on Russian efforts to sway the election. He tweeted Wednesday morning that the FBI has been caught in a “major SPY scandal.”

Trump’s latest broadsides set the stage for an unusual decision by the White House to arrange a briefing about classified documents for just two Republican House members, both Trump allies, in a meeting Thursday, as Trump and his supporters in Congress press for information on the outside informant.

After Democratic complaints and negotiations that went into the late evening Wednesday, the White House said it would also give a second briefing to a group of lawmakers known as the “Gang of Eight” immediately after the briefing for the two House Republicans. The “Gang of Eight” includes the top Republicans and Democrats in each chamber and the top Republicans and Democrats on the House and Senate intelligence committees. According to the Justice Department, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein were also added to the roster after not being included on the original list.


President Donald Trump says he wants transparency from everyone involved in the investigation of Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election. Trump insisted Wednesday, “what I want is total transparency.” (May 23)

It remains unclear what, if any, spying was done. The White House has given no evidence to support Trump’s claim that the Obama administration was trying to spy on his 2016 campaign for political reasons. It’s long been known that the FBI was looking into Russian meddling during the campaign and that part of that inquiry touched on the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russian figures.

Trump has told confidants in recent days that the revelation of an informant was potential evidence that the upper echelon of federal law enforcement has conspired against him, according to three people familiar with his recent conversations but not authorized to discuss them publicly. Trump told one ally this week that he wanted “to brand” the informant a “spy,” believing the more nefarious term would resonate more in the media and with the public.

He went on to debut the term “Spygate” on Wednesday, despite its previous associations with a 2007 NFL scandal over videotaping coaches.

Democrats said Wednesday that the briefing — held as special counsel Robert Mueller investigates Trump’s campaign and whether it was involved in Russian meddling in the U.S. election — was highly inappropriate and asked for the “Gang of Eight” briefing instead of Thursday’s GOP-only meeting. After negotiations with leaders on Capitol Hill, the White House announced the additional bipartisan meeting but said the original briefing would go on as well.

The two House lawmakers — Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Trey Gowdy — will attend both briefings, as will Kelly, Rosenstein, FBI Director Christopher Wray and National Intelligence Director Dan Coats. The second meeting will include all of those people plus Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr will also attend, along with the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence panel, Sen. Mark Warner, and the top Democrat on the House intelligence panel, Rep. Adam Schiff.

Nunes, an ardent Trump supporter, originally demanded the information on an FBI source in the Russia investigation. And Trump took up the cause as the White House tries to combat the threat posed by Mueller’s investigation.

Trump escalated his efforts to discredit that investigation Wednesday, tweeting: “Look how things have turned around on the Criminal Deep State. They go after Phony Collusion with Russia, a made up Scam, and end up getting caught in a major SPY scandal the likes of which this country may never have seen before! What goes around, comes around!”

Former FBI Director James Comey, who was fired by Trump last year, tweeted Wednesday morning that the agency’s use of secret informants was “tightly regulated and essential to protecting the country.”

“Attacks on the FBI and lying about its work will do lasting damage to our country,” he said. “How will Republicans explain this to their grandchildren?

Trump told reporters in response: “What I’m doing is a service to this country and I did a great service to this country by firing James Comey.”

The back and forth between Congress and the Justice Department over the Nunes request — one of many over the course of the Russia investigation — has been simmering for weeks.

The department originally rejected Nunes’ appeal, writing in a letter in late April that his request for information “regarding a specific individual” could have severe consequences, including potential loss of human life. Negotiations over the information stalled, but restarted when Trump demanded in a tweet Sunday that the Justice Department investigate “whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes.”

The Justice Department agreed by expanding an open, internal investigation to determine whether there was any politically motivated surveillance. And the White House said Kelly would organize the meeting with House lawmakers to discuss the documents, although he and other White House staffers would not be present.

The New York Times was the first to report that the FBI had an informant who met several times with Trump campaign officials who had suspicious contacts linked to Russia. No evidence has emerged to show that Obama-era authorities placed an informant inside the Trump campaign.

Separately on Wednesday, Mueller’s prosecutors asked a federal judge to start the process of sentencing former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who has been a key witness in the investigation since his plea last year to lying to the FBI.

Prosecutors had been pushing off Papadopoulos’ sentencing for months as he cooperated in the probe. Information about Papadopoulos’ contact with people linked to Russia during the 2016 campaign triggered the FBI counterintelligence investigation that Mueller took over.
https://apnews.com/23b9456c12484b6cb31c93da269a6159
We will find it’s all connected UK/US election interference the Brexit debacle
All of it the work of a trans national crime syndicate who managed to figure out the wormhole needed to pit us against one another for their benefit
For money and power
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu May 24, 2018 6:19 am

Guess who's baaaaaaack?

TRUMP HAS TO UNBLOCK ME ON TWITTER!!!!!



Evan Rosenfeld

“We hold that portions of the @realDonaldTrump account—the “interactive space”... the blocking of the plaintiffs based on their political speech constitutes viewpoint discrimination that violates the 1st Amendment... We reject the defendants’ contentions”
https://knightcolumbia.org/sites/defaul ... dgment.pdf

Image
We will find it’s all connected UK/US election interference the Brexit debacle
All of it the work of a trans national crime syndicate who managed to figure out the wormhole needed to pit us against one another for their benefit
For money and power
User avatar
seemslikeadream
 
Posts: 32085
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
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