Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Election

Moderators: Elvis, DrVolin, Jeff

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

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Feb 28, 2019 3:56 pm

FANTASTIC...anyway you've got the United States of America Democratic party to spend time on

I am not sure who or how you think is someone going to take down a international crime syndicate

Deputy Fife?

or maybe you don't care if you are ruled by the is really not an option for me

have you ever had to live under the control of the mob? probably not but I have personal is no fun

who would you want to help you if you had been kidnapped? or your child had been kidnapped or your mother's killer was on the loose? Or you were being held as a sex slave?

you tell me who has the capability to take down an illegitimate U.S. president.....Sergeant Preston of the Yukon?

See I live in the U.S. it is personal for me to have a mob family running this government

I've posted the many evils of the FBI in my day but who am I gonna call to take down a criminal president that is in bed with a foreign country? Ghost Busters?
grow up!

Judge Amy Berman Jackson seems tired of people trying to use criminal dockets as a soapbox.

By the end of the House testimony, Giuliani had sent The Daily Beast fourteen texts over six hours—an ad hoc form of rebuttal that was indicative of how Cohen’s blockbuster testimony had pushed broader Trumpworld to a point of near hysteria."

Rudy Giuliani and Trumpworld Raged as ‘Career Criminal Liar’ Michael Cohen Spilled Secrets
It was former Trump fixer Michael Cohen’s turn in the barrel on Wednesday.
Asawin Suebsaeng,
Will Sommer
02.27.19 9:40 PM ET

Photo Illustration by Lyne Lucien/The Daily Beast/Getty
As Michael Cohen, the president’s former fixer-turned-Trumpworld pariah, spent hours on Capitol Hill Wednesday recounting his old boss’s penchant for corruption and deceit, Donald Trump’s current lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, took notes.

Sitting alone, watching live coverage of Cohen’s testimony on TV, the former New York City mayor dashed off insta-reactions to reporters via text. The messages were a form of real-time rapid response with a dash of character assassination—an attempt to diminish the man who was speaking before millions, threatening the president of the United States.

“He is a career criminal liar,” Giuliani wrote of Cohen at one point. “He is demonstrably unable to tell the truth.”

“[I] just pointed out the numerous articles saying he and his father-in-law were alleged to be associated with organized crime,” Giuliani added, defending his salvos against Cohen’s family. “Also they allege there were allegations about his wife. If there was a threat then [it was] not from President [Trump] or me but if true from organized crime.”

Not that Cohen was kind to Giuliani. In his opening remarks to the House Oversight Committee, Cohen referred to Giuliani derisively as Trump’s “TV lawyer.”

TV lawyer or not, Giuliani expressed shock at Cohen’s admission that he taped Trump several times when he was working as Trump’s counsel.

“I never heard of a lawyer surreptitiously taping his client to whom he now claims he was loyal,” Giuliani texted, unprompted, roughly an hour and a half after Cohen’s statement. He went on to allege that Cohen could have “doctored” recorded audio of a conversation with Trump—a theory the president trotted out on Twitter last year.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) speaks with the media about the memo released by the House Intelligence Committee in Washington, U.S., February 2, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein - RC17054D2F30
Trump Ally Matt Gaetz Appears to Threaten Michael Cohen

Florida State Bar Investigating Matt Gaetz Over Cohen Threat
Michael Cohen, former attorney for President Donald Trump, is sworn in before testifying to the House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 election on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019.
Cohen Made Trump Look Like a Gangster
“Also there are a number of people who can testify that [Michael Cohen] was relentlessly seeking a government position and was very upset he did not get one,” Giuliani wrote, contradicting Cohen's testimony that he wasn’t seeking a job in the Trump White House. “Another area of provable perjury.”

By the end of the House testimony, Giuliani had sent The Daily Beast 14 texts over six hours—an ad hoc form of rebuttal that was indicative of how Cohen’s blockbuster testimony had pushed broader Trumpworld to a point of near hysteria. Faced with an insider revealing the president’s secrets, everyone from Trump’s closest advisers and friends to the backbencher Republicans in Congress responded by throwing everything they could at the apostate.

With the president mostly occupied by his overseas summit, he had by Wednesday night tweeted and commented only sparsely about his longtime fixer and legal pitbull. Trump’s pals, however, picked up the slack stateside.

On Tuesday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), a close ally of President Trump’s, tweeted at Cohen’s personal Twitter handle, “Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison. She’s about to learn a lot...”

After being called out by lawmakers including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Gaetz apologized. By Wednesday, the Florida Bar had opened an investigation into whether Gaetz violated professional conduct rules in threatening Trump’s ex-fixer, as The Daily Beast reported.

Like Giuliani and Gaetz, House Republicans on the oversight committee made things as personal as they could push it for Cohen.

GOP lawmakers grilling the president’s former lawyer Wednesday uniformly painted him as a disgruntled former employee trying to make a dishonest buck, with several pressing him on whether or not he will try to land a lucrative book or movie deal when the dust settles or after his prison days are over.

Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Jody Hice (R-GA), suggested, without evidence, that billionaire Democratic donor Tom Steyer had somehow played a role behind the scenes for Cohen’s hearing or paid for his legal fees. This was also echoed by talk radio host and Trump cheerleader Rush Limbaugh who said, “one of the Democrat donors that’s heavily involved in orchestrating this whole thing today is Tom Steyer, who is a Democrat billionaire from California who is a gigantic participant in the worldwide man-made climate change hoax.” (Steyer tweeted during the hearing that he had never paid for Cohen’s legal fees.)

During his Capitol Hill testimony, Cohen also made explosive allegations against those in Trump’s inner circle, including Trump’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow, who, Cohen claimed, had reviewed in advance and edited his previous statement to Congress in 2017. In that testimony Cohen lied about the timeline of behind-the-scenes efforts during the 2016 election by Trump and his business to build a Trump Tower Moscow.

On Wednesday evening, Sekulow told The Daily Beast that Cohen’s claim is “completely false.” When asked to clarify if Trump attorneys had altered any part—not just the Trump Tower Moscow segment—of Cohen’s past statement to Congress, Sekulow declined to comment, stating he is “only" responding to Trump Tower Moscow allegation.

John Dowd, former personal attorney to President Trump, similarly claimed to The Daily Beast that Cohen’s assertion that Trump’s outside counsel edited the statement is “False!”

The effort to cast Cohen as a sniveling, backstabbing, self-centered, lying coward who will stop at nothing to reduce his prison sentence was echoed from the dais of the committee to outside political groups and conservative talk radio helmed by the likes of Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.

“Why would anybody let this man testify, and put his life in even further jeopardy?” Sean Hannity, a Fox News star and close friend of the president, said on his radio show. Hannity used to secretly receive legal advice from Cohen, a fact that was revealed last year.

The Republican National Committee taunted Cohen, one of the RNC’s former deputy finance chairs in the Trump era, by blasting out a video it produced telling Cohen to “HAVE FUN IN PRISON!” America First Action, a Trump-boosting super PAC, sent out its media surrogates to trash Cohen.

Others claimed that the hearing was meant to distract from President Trump’s achievements. Appearing on Hannity’s radio show, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who still informally advises Trump, claimed the hearing was an attempt to draw attention away from the president’s meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in Vietnam this week. “The Cohen hearing was specifically planned to stop the coverage and step on the president,” Gingrich alleged.

Of course, the president’s general absence in the pile-on shouldn’t be mistaken for indifference. One source close to the president recalled a conversation in recent weeks in which Trump loudly lambasted Cohen as a “rat” three times over the course of less than two minutes of conversation. The conversation, originally, had nothing to do with Cohen.

Still, Trump’s West Wing appeared to take something of a backseat to stage-managing the GOP-wide campaign to crush Cohen. By Wednesday evening, three Trump surrogates said they had yet to receive guidance from the White House on attacking Cohen.

Former Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), a Trump surrogate who has also been a friend of Cohen’s, said he had received “none” in terms of official guidance, but shied away from going scorched earth on Cohen.

“I feel sorry for [Michael],” Kingston continued, striking a sympathetic tone. “To both sides he became an expendable pawn in a reckless chess game. His back was slammed against the wall by the [Robert] Mueller [and also New York] prosecutor thugs who stuck a long sentencing barrel down his throat if he didn’t sing their tune.”

—With additional reporting by Erin Banco ... ia=desktop

Cummings: House Oversight will seek interviews with Trump Jr., Ivanka

Zachary Basu1 hour ago
Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr.
Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. at their father's inauguration. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said Thursday that the panel will seek to interview several of the people that Michael Cohen mentioned during his six-hour testimony, including President Trump's children Don Jr. and Ivanka, as well as Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg.

Why it matters: Cohen testified that he believes Trump Jr. and Weisselberg signed one of the $35,000 checks reimbursing him for a hush money payment to Stormy Daniels, which he provided to the committee as part of his testimony. Cohen also claimed that he briefed Trump Jr. and Ivanka about Trump Tower Moscow approximately 10 times, though Trump Jr. testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2017 that he was only "peripherally aware" of the project.

The big picture: Cummings told reporters the committee would "take a look at" all of the names that Cohen brought up during his testimony, and that they have "a good chance of hearing from us — at least an interview," per Politico.

Other names that Cohen mentioned include Trump's longtime assistant Rhona Graff, now-indicted adviser Roger Stone, former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, personal Trump attorneys Jay Sekulow and Rudy Giuliani, and several others at the Trump Organization. ... 0922b.html
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
User avatar
Posts: 32090
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

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

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Feb 28, 2019 5:07 pm



February 28, 2019/0 Comments/in 2016 Presidential Election, emptywheel, Mueller Probe /by emptywheel
One of the things that happened in yesterday’s Michael Cohen testimony is that Gerald Connolly seems to have dated a meeting between the President, Cohen, and Jay Sekulow: May 18, 2017. That’s based off a May 16 email that refers to a Thursday meeting.

Gerry Connolly: There was an email from a special assistant to the President to a Deputy White House Counsel, and the email is dated May 16, 2017 and it says, and I quote, POTUS, meaning the President, requested a meeting on Thursday with Michael Cohen and Jay Sekulow. Any idea what this might be about, end-quote? Do you recall being asked to come to the White House on or around that time, with Mr. Sekulow, May of 2017?

Michael Cohen: Off the top of my head sir, I don’t. I recall being in the White House with Jay Sekulow and it was in regard to the document production as well as my appearance before the House Select Intel.

Thursday that week would have been May 18.

As Cohen lays out in the rest of the clip, at the meeting Trump told him to cooperate but then repeated the lines (Cohen says he knew) Trump wanted him to use: There is no Russia, there is no collusion, there is no deal. This stuff has to end.

If that is, indeed, when Cohen and Sekulow started working on Cohen’s perjurious testimony, it is remarkable timing. This post has a timeline of Cohen’s evolving lies. Of note, the timing in May looks like this:

May 9: Trump fires Jim Comey

May 16: Trump asks for a meeting with Sekulow and Cohen

May 17: Rod Rosenstein appoints Mueller

May 18: Cohen, Sekulow, and Trump meet during which Trump lays out the party line

May 30: Cohen says he won’t cooperate with HPSCI

May 31: HPSCI subpoenas Cohen and his law firm

Among other things, this means that Trump was laying out a party line even before Mueller got appointed. It also means that They recognized the risk of this testimony before the HPSCI request moved to a subpoena.

Remember, according to his testimony yesterday, Cohen claimed Sekulow edited his testimony, including by foreshortening the time during which the Trump Tower deal remained active during the election (though Sekulow denies it). ... ael-cohen/


Rick Gates, following the obsessive coverage of Manafort’s sentencing process in the news, reached out to the Special Counsel a couple weeks ago to provide new evidence, correct the record, and do his old boss a solid. ... ument.html


That document is a wonderland for redaction guessers, btw.


This is the key passage. Gates variously confirmed and questioned some things relied on at the Manafort breach hearing. Whatever he said sent the SCO back to its files, where they found something they had, and had given the defense, but neither side had focused on before...


The rest of the filing goes on to argue that this new(ish) evidence should not disturb the court’s conclusion that Manafort lied about some subject matter—almost certainly the specifics of Manafort sharing the polling data with Kilimnik.

What this says without any doubt is that five days before several news outlets reported that DOJ was preparing to receive Mueller’s final report this week, the Special Counsel and FBI were debriefing a key witness and learning new details about the core of their investigation.

So for future reference, it seems fair to say that these DOJ officials are not necessarily up to date on the absolute latest developments.

Image ... 0346537984

Has Jared Kushner Conspired to Defraud America?

Feb. 28, 2018
Op-Ed Contributor

Jared Kushner, the president’s senior adviser, has conducted foreign policy without officially disclosing all the personal interests he may have been serving.Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Jared Kushner, the president’s senior adviser, has conducted foreign policy without officially disclosing all the personal interests he may have been serving.Alex Brandon/Associated Press
Amid the dizzying details of internet trolls, almost a million dollars’ worth of antique rugs and fake bank accounts, the indictments brought by Robert Mueller, the special counsel, in his investigation of Russian tampering in the 2016 election have one thing in common.

Both the indictment of 13 Russians associated with a troll farm called Internet Research Agency and the indictment of President Trump’s onetime campaign chairman Paul Manafort accuse the defendants of pretending to engage in American politics in good faith but secretly serving someone else’s interest. In both cases, the charge, “conspiracy to defraud the United States,” is an assertion that they were really serving the interests of Russia or of a Russian-backed Ukrainian politician, and that by hiding their true intent, the defendants prevented the United States government from protecting our politics from undisclosed outside influence.

That precedent, and the guilty plea to the same charge by Rick Gates, Mr. Manafort’s deputy, may pose a real danger to Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser. According to reports, Mr. Mueller appears to be assessing whether Mr. Kushner, in the guise of pursuing foreign policy on behalf of the United States, was actually serving the interests of his family and foreign governments.

On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that “officials in at least four countries” — United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico — “have privately discussed ways they can manipulate” Mr. Kushner by taking advantage of his “complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience.” The president gave his son-in-law an expansive foreign policy role, including an effort to negotiate peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The implication in the article is that the United States government has intercepted communications of foreign leaders talking about ways they could take advantage of Mr. Kushner, whose family real estate empire is facing substantial debt woes.

The biggest concern in the Post report — and surely one reason such intelligence led to Mr. Kushner’s being stripped of his interim top-secret security clearance last week — is that foreign countries would offer him personal financial benefits in the same conversations in which he purports to represent America’s best interests.

There has already been ample reporting suggesting that Mr. Kushner may have done just that. During a period when Mr. Kushner was negotiating President Trump’s first visit to China, his family business was trying to sell a debt-ridden property in New York to an insurance company with ties to the Chinese Communist Party. Public scrutiny of the deal scuttled it. Last May, The New York Times described how, immediately after the Trump administration extended a visa program for wealthy investors, Mr. Kushner’s sister invoked Mr. Kushner in a presentation seeking Chinese investment in one of the family’s New Jersey real estate developments.

Such appearances of conflict might not, by themselves, get Mr. Kushner in trouble. The president has broad authority to set the country’s foreign policy, and public corruption laws have been far more difficult to enforce after a 2016 Supreme Court decision overturning the conviction of the former Virginia governor Robert McDonnell on bribery charges.

But Mr. Kushner might face more trouble to the extent he keeps such negotiations secret from those in charge of carrying out United States foreign policy. When the national security adviser, H. R. McMaster, learned of some of Mr. Kushner’s communications only after the fact, he was surprised, one official told The Post, and thought it was “weird.”

Mr. Kushner has been famously tardy in disclosing his business interests and ties with foreigners in his application for a security clearance. He was still making updates to his forms as recently as January. That means he has conducted an entire year of foreign policy without officially disclosing all the personal interests he may have been serving.

Finally, the risk might be greater still if Mr. Kushner negotiated such deals before Mr. Trump’s inauguration. That’s the possibility raised by Mr. Kushner’s pre-inauguration meetings with Russia. In December 2016, Mr. Kushner met with Sergey Gorkov, the head of a bank under American sanctions, Vnesheconombank. That meeting came after Mr. Kushner suggested a back channel of communications in a meeting with Russia’s ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, according to Mr. Kislyak.

Nor did Mr. Trump’s transition team alert the Obama administration before Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates visited New York in December 2016 for a meeting involving Mr. Kushner and others at Trump Tower.

While the proper authorities may not have been informed of this series of meetings, Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser who pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with Mr. Mueller’s investigators late last year, did attend or at least knew of them. Steve Bannon, who recently sat for 20 hours of interviews with special counsel prosecutors, participated in the Zayed Trump Tower meeting along with Mr. Flynn and Mr. Kushner. So if they are a concern to Mr. Mueller, he has recently gotten far more details of what happened at the meetings.

Mr. Kushner’s defense attorney, Abbe Lowell, has been very forthcoming with the press. But he seems to have relied on the same on-the-record quotation since Feb. 16, when news first broke that Mr. Kushner might lose his interim security clearance. Twelve days ago, a statement from Mr. Lowell to The Washington Post directly addressed the gist of the story that just broke Tuesday. Mr. Kushner’s job, Mr. Lowell said, was “to talk with foreign officials,” which, he added, Mr. Kushner has done “properly.”

Perhaps Mr. Kushner is just a person who had no idea what he was doing and wanted to improve his and his family’s finances. Still, there are many reasons to question whether he has talked with foreign officials with the proper disclosures, designed to ensure that those claiming to represent the interests of the United States aren’t hiding their own interests or those of foreign governments.

In pursuing his investigation into Russian tampering, Mr. Mueller appears to be doing something more: restoring the regulatory teeth to ensure that those engaging in American politics are doing what they publicly claim they are. If Mr. Mueller extends this effort to foreign policy, Mr. Kushner may be in real trouble. ... fraud.html
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
User avatar
Posts: 32090
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

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

Postby Elvis » Fri Mar 01, 2019 7:01 am

seemslikeadream » Thu Feb 28, 2019 12:32 pm wrote:quit putting words in my mouth. QUIT MAKING SHIT UP ABOUT can think anything you want I am not forcing you to do ANYTHING!!!





can't reproduce this series of tweets so I will only post the first

So many coincidences tsk tsk

JUNE 22, 2016:
WL asks G2 for the stolen DNC emails

Trump speech:
“So they probably now have a BLACKMAIL FILE over someone who wants to be president of the United States,"

Screenshot 2 & 3 from June 2016 in dossier. ... ton-emails

Starting Aug 2, 2016:
ALFA TRUMP SPECTRUM ... 6076950528


With retorts like this, I think you're derailing your own thread.

seemslikeadream wrote:what you had to post that Corn thing just to get personal with me :P

Reminder: it's not all about you, all the time. If someone responds to something about David Corn, it's about David Corn. It's not about you. You have shouted down RocketMan (not "rocketguy") out of the discussion. Proud of that?
"It seems to be what we have now is a political system which has essentially become, for the last thirty or forty years, a war on the human imagination."
(David Graeber)
User avatar
Posts: 6860
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 7:24 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

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

Postby Elvis » Fri Mar 01, 2019 7:13 am

If people can't post in this thread without being harangued and harrassed for posting different views (or making polite requests), I'm going to lock it.

This is a shared space. SLaD, if you intend this thread to reflect one and only one opinion (yours), then it's you who need to take it to a blog of your own—not force out other RI members and their opinions on this broad topic.
"It seems to be what we have now is a political system which has essentially become, for the last thirty or forty years, a war on the human imagination."
(David Graeber)
User avatar
Posts: 6860
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 7:24 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

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

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Mar 01, 2019 7:26 am

ok you are right

it will not happen again

from now on anyone is welcome to post anything they want in this thread I will not force anyone to do anything


House Intel Will Call Trump Org Moneyman Allen Weisselberg To Testify
The intelligence committee has indicated for months it intends to follow Trump’s money. Allen Weisselberg keeps the Trump Organization’s receipts.
Spencer Ackerman

02.28.19 3:54 PM ET
Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Getty
The House Intelligence Committee intends to call the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer to testify, The Daily Beast has learned.

Allen Weisselberg received renewed congressional attention after disgraced Trump fixer Michael Cohen on Wednesday repeatedly mentioned the Trump Org CFO as crucial to various aspects of dubiously legal practices by President Donald Trump, from the Stormy Daniels hush-money payments to potential insurance fraud.

“The committee anticipates bringing in Mr. Weisselberg,” a Democratic committee aide told The Daily Beast.

Cohen, in marathon testimony to the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday, didn’t directly tie Weisselberg to the Trump camp’s interactions with Russia, the central preoccupation of the House intelligence committee.

But Weisselberg is uniquely positioned to address questions about financial transactions or relationships that concern potential foreign leverage over Trump–which new intelligence committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) has indicated for months that he intends to investigate. Trump famously called any effort by Special Counsel Robert Mueller to look into Trump's finances a “red line” that would trigger Mueller’s firing, and Schiff has stepped into the gap.

The Trump Exec Who Could Take Down the Donald Isn’t Cohen

Adam Rawnsley,
Sam Brodey

Soon after the Democratic victory in November’s House elections, the Democrats on the committee moved to hire money-laundering and forensic accounting specialists to aid their attempts to track Trump’s money. At the time, an Illinois Democrat on the panel, Rep. Mike Quigley, told The Daily Beast that Trump’s financial ties to Deutsche Bank–an institution long suspected of money laundering–appeared to be “an obvious point of investigation.”

And earlier this month, Schiff substantially expanded the probe’s focus from what it was under Republican management. Schiff announced that the committee will investigate whether “any foreign actor” holds leverage over Trump, his family, associates, or the Trump Organization, including financial leverage; and whether they were at any time at risk of or vulnerable to “foreign exploitation, inducement, manipulation, pressure or coercion”–as well as if Trump and his team have acted, while in government, “in service of foreign interests.”


The Trump Exec Who Could Take Down the Donald Isn’t Cohen
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA 28th District), participates in a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, January 3, 2019.
Dems Just Supercharged the House Russia Probe

‘Fox & Friends’: Trump Probes Are Not Whitewater or Benghazi
The intelligence committee’s interest in Weisselberg is unlikely to affect the oversight committee’s similar interest. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the chairman of the oversight committee, indicated Thursday that Weisselberg was among witnesses named by Cohen whom the panel would likely move to interview. A representative for Cummings did not immediately respond to an inquiry, but a different Democratic staffer said the committee still plans on calling Weisselberg in.

Weisselberg is unique in the Trump orbit. In addition to being the Trump Organization CFO, he’s the Trump family accountant. According to the Wall Street Journal, prosecutors with the Southern District of New York granted Weisselberg, a Delphic oracle of financial information about Trump, limited immunity in its successful probe of Cohen over the Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal hush-money payments.

“Allen is the one guy who knows everything,” a former Trump Organization official told The New Yorker’s Adam Davidson, who described Weisselberg as “the person in the company who knows more than anyone.” ... ref=scroll

Michael Cohen’s Testimony Portrays President Trump as a Serial Grifter

From business deals in Moscow to payments to porn stars, there seems to be a lot of lying afoot.

Timothy L. O'BrienFebruary 27, 2019, 5:06 AM CST
No more phoning it in.

Photographer: Yana Paskova/Getty Images North America
Timothy L. O’Brien is the executive editor of Bloomberg Opinion. He has been an editor and writer for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, HuffPost and Talk magazine. His books include “TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald.”
Read more opinion Follow @TimOBrien on Twitter
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, self-described “fixer” and convicted fraudster, testifies Wednesday morning before Congress, flotillas of cameras and legions of television viewers in what is likely to be the first installment of a reality TV series the president has spent his entire life avoiding.

How to Tell if Michael Cohen Was Lying (Again)

On Tuesday night, Bloomberg News published a copy of Cohen’s prepared remarks ahead of Wednesday’s hearing. According to that document, Cohen plans to describe Trump as a “racist,“ a “conman,” and a “cheat” – and someone who knowingly collaborated with Roger Stone, Julian Assange and Wikileaks to secure and distribute emails stolen from Hillary Clinton’s campaign during the 2016 presidential election. Cohen also will provide legislators with a copy of a $35,000 check that Trump “personally signed from his personal bank account” in 2017 “when he was President of the United States” to partially reimburse him for $130,000 in illegal hush money he paid a porn star who allegedly had a sexual encounter with Trump.

Cohen’s testimony also will recount Trump maneuvering to keep his academic records private, masking how he got his draft deferments during the Vietnam war, lying about his wealth and, perhaps most glaringly, scrambling to dissemble about his effort to make “hundreds of millions of dollars” on a project in Russia. Although Cohen lied to Congress about the particulars of that project – telling lawmakers that negotiations had stopped in January 2016, when in fact, they “continued for months later during the campaign” – he says in his prepared remarks that Trump didn’t direct him to lie (contradicting a controversial BuzzFeed article that recently said quite the opposite).

Cohen, however, also plans to say that Trump had no problem lying to the public about his business dealings in Russia. “In conversations we had during the campaign, at the same time I was actively negotiating in Russia for him, he would look me in the eye and tell me there’s no business in Russia and then go out and lie to the American people by saying the same thing,” Cohen will recall. “Trump knew of and directed the Trump Moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it. He lied about it because he never expected to win the election. He also lied about it because he stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars on the Moscow real estate project.”

And this: “The sad fact is that I never heard Mr. Trump say anything in private that led me to believe he loved our nation or wanted to make it better. In fact, he did the opposite.”

For all of that, though, Cohen is a troubled, unreliable narrator. A street fighter who once said he “would take a bullet for the president,” he was nonetheless gradually shunned by the Trump family before he became ensnared in a federal investigation that ultimately found him guilty of lying to Congress about the president’s business forays in Russia, as well as bank fraud, tax fraud, and campaign finance violations. He’s set to serve three years in prison for those crimes and was recently disbarred.

With the strong arm of the law on his shoulder and prison on the horizon late last year, Cohen began cooperating with authorities because, he said, he wanted to protect his family and put “country first.” Yeah, but no. Prosecutors at the U.S Attorney’s office in Manhattan said in December that they didn’t think Cohen's cooperation emerged from “personal resolve.” Rather, they said, Cohen cooperated to save his skin and avoid a harsher prison sentence.

Yet despite Cohen’s comic inadequacies and his operatic taste for financial and political corruption, his congressional testimony is the centerpiece of what may be the broader public’s first vivid exposure to the financial and ethical conflicts, as well as illegalities, that have swirled around Trump and his entourage for a long time. Until now, observers of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Team Trump’s intersection with Russian interests, and the U.S. Attorney’s probe of Cohen and others, have had to rely on news accounts, court documents, and periodic interviews to make sense of things. Television – featuring a real Trump insider interrogated under oath – potentially brings the presidential probes into viewers’ homes in a very human, apprehensible way.

The Cohen hearing also marks the moment when the center of gravity of the various Trump investigations moves away from law enforcement and into the halls of Congress, sped along by television’s reach. Spectacle is spectacle, and the president, a creature of television and digital ubiquity, surely understands the potential long-term political and legal damage the Cohen show and the others that are sure to follow might inflict. Although Trump is trapped at a diplomatic summit in Vietnam while Cohen trolls him back home in epic, Trumpian strokes, the president has already hit back on Twitter and has allies leaping into the fray.

“It’s laughable that anyone would take a convicted liar like Cohen at his word, and pathetic to see him given yet another opportunity to spread his lies,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement Tuesday morning. On Tuesday evening, Representative Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican, attacked Cohen on Twitter, asking him if his “wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends?” and wondering if Cohen’s wife will “remain faithful when you’re in prison.” Gaetz deleted the tweet after coming under fire for possibly engaging in witness tampering, but it was reminiscent of a threat Trump himself had made to Cohen in January during an appearance on Fox News.

If the White House and the president’s compatriots in the GOP had nothing to fear from Cohen’s testimony, they wouldn’t be going out of their way to try to impugn him before the fireworks even begin. That they are is surely because they – and the president – recognize the twin perils that Cohen embodies, especially when his testimony will portray the president as the architect of most of the wrongdoing.

The first of these threats get to core issues that have informed federal prosecutors’ investigations of Trump and his world almost from their respective launches. Was Trump’s potentially lucrative Moscow project a payoff of sorts for any potential collaboration before, during or after the 2016 election – and in exchange for possible promises to the Kremlin, like lifting U.S. economic sanctions on Russia or changing the country’s policy in Ukraine? At a minimum, the very possibility of this scenario casts a shadow over Trump’s stewardship of the U.S.’s national security.

Cohen also has something to say about Trump’s potential participation in a crime that may have taken place in the Oval Office: paying off an alleged paramour to lie about an affair. This one needn’t rely solely on Cohen’s verbal testimony at all – because there are tapes of the president and Cohen discussing some of this, as well as lengthy court filings. It’s also certain that the prosecutors examining Cohen’s role in these events haven’t relied solely on his testimony. There will be other witnesses and more documentation, and possibly a lot of both.

The second set of threats that will emerge from Cohen’s testimony will be directed at the Trump Organization itself and will certainly, unlike the Mueller probe, be centered on New York, where the relevant federal law enforcement offices are based. Any reporter who has covered Trump knows that his obsession with wealth and his elastic definition of his net worth is ever-present. The portions of Cohen’s testimony about Trump and his money ring true. (Trump sued me in 2006 when I was a reporter with the New York Times, claiming that a biography I wrote with his extensive cooperation, “TrumpNation,” misrepresented his wealth and track record as a businessman; he lost the suit in 2011.)

While the media has occasionally portrayed Cohen as someone with deep insight into the Trump Organization’s finances, he has only been with the company since 2006 and was largely kept at bay. The Trump family’s longtime accountant and current chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, has decades more experience with Trump than Cohen and truly knows where many of the financial bodies are buried. Weisselberg is mentioned on at least one of the Trump-Cohen tapes and has been cooperating with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Cohen’s testimony before Congress will outline Weisselberg’s efforts to draft misleading financial statements for the president which “inflated or deflated his net worth for business and personal purposes, including avoiding paying property taxes.” Cohen’s prepared statement indicates that some of those bogus financial statements may have been given to Deutsche Bank AG, a troubled German lender that has been the president’s primary bank for business for years. The Journal also noted that Weisselberg directed that hush money payments given to Cohen be accounted for as “legal fees” on the Trump Organization’s books, even though no such services were provided.

Weisselberg currently runs the Trump Organization with Trump’s two eldest sons, and over the years he has looked after the president’s personal tax returns and helped to oversee the company’s key deals. If Cohen’s testimony makes the CFO an even greater person of interest to congressional investigators or prosecutors, then it will put the probes more firmly on a path Trump has repeatedly warned authorities to avoid: the money trail.

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

Sean Hannity just completely screwed himself

Daniel Cotter
“President” Donald Trump had a taped interview with his bromance on the mainland, Sean “Insanity” Hannity. The two cannot help themselves but tell more sweet nothings to each other, aka lies.

In the interview, Sean Hannity told Trump, while discussing hush-money payments to Trump’s mistresses, “I can tell you personally, [Cohen] said to me at least a dozen times, that he made the decision on the payments and he didn’t tell you.” Hannity, meet House Committees. This injection into the Cohen testimony and your statements will now put you in the chair before various committees, where you will have to testify under oath. And when there, you must remember your party’s brilliant slogan, “Promises Made, Promises Kept.” You will be asked if you intend to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and you will promise to do so. Make sure to keep those promises.

Also, you might want to retain some smart counsel. As you will recall, you fought tooth and nail last April to quash any mention of the fact that you were the third of three Michael Cohen legal clients. Maybe some have forgotten, but I am guessing the freshmen class of House Democrats populating various committees, as well as Chairs Nadler, Waters, and Schiff, have not. You can expect to be asked what that was about. You do have attorney-client privilege on that, but it may not help you.

Trump did himself no favors during the interview, claiming that Cohen made the payments of his own accord. Funny thing, though, crime exceptions to attorney-client privilege and payments of hush money might not fit into the definition of providing legal advice. Fixers and bribers are not traditionally subject to attorney-client privilege. Trump had this to say about the payments, before Hannity gave his statements: “[Cohen] did and he made the decision. Remember this, he’s an attorney – whatever decision he makes, you’re supposed to rely on your attorney to make a decision. … It’s also called reliance.”

Donald Trump’s quote also leaves a question: who told Michael Cohen that payments were necessary in the first place? Oh, and perhaps tread carefully and get some good legal help as well: how do you explain a personal check for $35,000 made payable to Cohen while you were president? ... ete/16343/

Donald Trump Went to Vietnam, and Michael Cohen Made It Hell

On a humiliating twenty-four hours for the President.

Susan B. Glasser

With so much alleged wrongdoing to contemplate, Michael Cohen’s claim that President Trump was both a Vietnam draft-dodger and an inveterate liar about it was almost a throwaway.

Photograph by Mark Peterson / Redux for The New Yorker
During his testimony to the House Oversight and Reform Committee, on Wednesday, Michael Cohen raised his bushy eyebrows and nodded emphatically as he read out the damning particulars of yet another alleged lie that Donald Trump has told the American people. The President, Cohen said in his opening statement, had admitted to him that his decades-old story about why he did not serve in the Vietnam War was false, revealing that he had never had bone-spur surgery, as he claimed in order to receive a medical deferment. The disclosure from Trump came during the 2016 campaign, when Cohen’s job was to shut down the bad press coverage of Trump’s dubious explanation for why he had not served in Vietnam. “You think I’m stupid?” Cohen recalled Trump telling him. “I wasn’t going to Vietnam.”

Amid Cohen’s many sensational claims of criminal wrongdoing by the President, it was perhaps understandable that this one Trump lie of many did not dominate the headlines. In seven hours of testimony, Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer testified that the President had paid hush money to cover up an affair with a porn star and produced signed checks to prove it; that he had known in advance about the WikiLeaks dump of hacked Democratic e-mails during the 2016 campaign; that he had engaged in a wide array of questionable and possibly illegal business practices; and that he had lied to the public about doing business in Russia throughout his race for the Presidency. With so much alleged wrongdoing to contemplate, Cohen’s claim that Trump was both a Vietnam draft-dodger and an inveterate liar about it was almost a throwaway.

Yet Cohen disclosed this on a day when Trump was actually in Vietnam, having travelled there to broker a breakthrough deal on nuclear disarmament with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un. “I find it ironic,” Cohen said in his testimony, addressing the former boss he once promised to take a bullet for, “that you are in Vietnam right now.” Ironic is one word for it; incredible is another. Earlier that morning, Trump had offered a rich example of his you-can’t-make-this-up Presidency. Sitting in his Hanoi hotel room before going to one of the most important negotiating sessions of his Presidency, Trump took the time to preëmpt Cohen’s Vietnam-draft-dodger allegation with an attack of his own, Twitter-taunting the Connecticut Democratic senator Richard Blumenthal (“Da Nang Dick,” in Trumpspeak) as a Vietnam “total fraud,” because he has been accused of misrepresenting his service record. “I have now spent more time in Vietnam” than Blumenthal, Trump tweeted. Some days, Trump is so brazen it is breathtaking. Wednesday was one of those days.

By Thursday morning, however, it was clear that no amount of Trump bluster or deflection could obscure the twin disasters of the last twenty-four hours. Trump had finally gone to Vietnam, and lost the battle, if not the war. Back in Washington, the Cohen testimony had been a humiliation, the most public turning on a President by his lawyer since the White House counsel John Dean warned Richard Nixon, in 1973, that Watergate was a “cancer on the Presidency.” One striking aspect of Cohen’s testimony was that Republican members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee chose not to argue with the substance of the allegations against Trump, in effect refusing to mount a defense of the President. Instead, they concentrated their questioning on matters designed to undercut the already suspect credibility of Cohen, who will soon go to prison for, among other things, lying to Congress. In Hanoi, meanwhile, the deal that Trump had hoped to cut with Kim failed to materialize—even the shameless flattery that Trump had lavished on the young dictator was insufficient to sway Kim from his demands for immediate sanctions relief while maintaining North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. Trump had no choice but to leave Hanoi empty-handed.

President Trump was unable to sway Kim Jong Un from his demands for immediate sanctions relief while maintaining North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.

Photograph by Evan Vucci / AP
The bills of the last two years are coming due for Trump, and if there’s one thing we know about him by now it is that he does not like to pay his bills. Trump was a casino owner for years in Atlantic City, until his operations there went bust; he knows what happens when you make a bad bet. “Sometimes you have to walk,” Trump said, visibly unhappy about it, as he announced the collapse of the talks on Thursday. If his own history is a guide, Trump will call in the bankruptcy lawyers (or, in this case, the State Department) to clean up the mess while he pretends the setback never happened.

On North Korea, it had long been clear that Trump placed his team in a bind with few ways out. He declared victory in his Singapore summit, last year, without having, in fact, achieved the deal he touted, forcing his negotiators to scramble afterward to secure concessions he had already claimed. It wasn’t to be. Still, the sense of relief was palpable and largely bipartisan when Washington woke up to the news of the failed Hanoi summit on Thursday morning. “No deal is better than a bad deal,” Senator Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican and former Presidential-primary candidate who is now an on-again, off-again foreign-policy adviser to Trump, tweeted. Democrats might have felt like gloating, but, given that Trump was actively contemplating giving Kim the Korean War peace declaration he has long wanted and was reportedly considering a reduced U.S. military presence for South Korea, this seemed preferable. Even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters that Trump was right to have left without a deal. “I guess it took two meetings for him to realize that Kim Jong Un is not on the level,” she said.

Trump’s comments before he left Hanoi, however, suggested the President did not by any means accept Pelosi’s analysis. Trump is still Trump; not only did the President not back down from his lavish embrace of a leader so tyrannical that U.S. intelligence officials believe he ordered the murders of his uncle and half-brother, Trump flaunted it. “We like each other,” Trump insisted. “I trust him, and I take him at his word,” citing their relationship as if it were a major diplomatic accomplishment in its own right.

It was a weak performance from a President who, after the events of the last day, had never seemed weaker. Trump has touted himself a dealmaker, but this week was a reminder that he has a better record of blowing up deals than making them. He has defied laws of political gravity for so long that he thought he was immune to them. He has lied so flagrantly and for so many years without consequence that he thought he could always do so. Rarely has a President been so publicly humiliated, in different settings by such different actors, in such a short span of time. You’d never know it to listen to Trump, though; he is not one to accept or even acknowledge the political predicament his own misjudgment has landed him in.

The stubborn, reality-defying character of Donald Trump was very much the theme of Cohen’s testimony on Capitol Hill this week, and I suspect that is what will be remembered about the epic hearing years from now. Cohen’s appearance was a daylong advanced seminar in the study of Trump by one of its most experienced practitioners, and the portrait of the President that emerged was both compelling and devastating. Of course, America has had Presidents of bad character before, but never one whose close confidant was willing to publicly accuse him, under oath in a congressional hearing, of being a “racist,” a “con man,” and a “cheat.”

It’s the little details regarding how Trump operates that stuck with me: the petty scams, the constant lying, insecurity, and meanness that Cohen described. Trump dumped on his son Donald, Jr., as an idiot, Cohen said, with “the worst judgment of anyone in the world.” Trump was so embarrassed about his grades and SAT scores that he ordered Cohen to threaten and intimidate in order to keep them private. At Trump’s direction, Cohen said he hired someone to rig online polls inflating his popularity. He lied about the size of his business, inflating it for publicity purposes, shrinking it at tax time, Cohen said. He gave bad numbers to insurance companies, Cohen said. He told Cohen to lie to his wife about his extramarital affairs.

After listening to this, it was hard not to wonder whether Republicans might (at least secretly) heed Cohen’s warning about being sycophantically devoted to a man devoid of loyalty. “People that follow Mr. Trump, as I did blindly, are going to suffer the same consequences that I’m suffering,” Cohen said. “When Mr. Trump turned around early in the campaign and said, ‘I can shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and get away with it’—I want to be very clear—he’s not joking. He’s telling you the truth,” Cohen warned. “You don’t know him. I do.”

History is unlikely to reflect well on either Donald Trump or Michael Cohen, the fixer who repented only after the F.B.I. showed up and seized evidence of his misdeeds. The jury, however, is out on at least some of their fellow-Republicans. Self-interest, ambition, partisan loyalty, and maybe even, in a few cases, genuine affection have kept them mostly in line with Trump until now. Most still appear determined to stick with him to the end. Cohen’s testimony “doesn’t give me any pause whatsoever about this President,” Kevin McCarthy, the House Minority Leader, told reporters on Thursday, reflecting what remains the predominant sentiment among Republicans on Capitol Hill.

But with Democrats in control of the House and with the 2020 Presidential election coming, Trump’s ability to avoid a genuine reckoning is no longer a foregone conclusion. The reality of divided government is that there will be more bad days for Trump, and soon. There will be more witnesses like Cohen, more hearings. The President’s children may be hauled up to Capitol Hill. Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York are scrutinizing many aspects of his business. The special counsel’s report on Trump and Russia could land any day. Impeachment proceedings are by no means out of the question. Jittery Senate Republicans are threatening to defect en masse from supporting Trump’s sweeping emergency declaration, an executive power grab already rejected by the House in this week of reverses for the President. Trump may end up wishing he had gone to Vietnam and stayed. ... de-it-hell
Last edited by seemslikeadream on Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
User avatar
Posts: 32090
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

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

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Mar 01, 2019 7:57 am

This story reveals how powerful interests in the US & Russia, including a US hedge-fund with ties to trump, Russian banks & Gazprom have converged in the tiny country of Croatia to further Russia’s stealth gas conquest of Europe, by Nafeez Ahmed

White House admits knowing that Trump lobbyists helped Gazprom conquer an entire Balkan state

US and Russian corporations connected to the American President’s inner circle are tying Putin’s gas noose round Europe’s neck

Nafeez AhmedFeb 26
By Nafeez Ahmed


Published by INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a crowdfunded investigative journalism project for people and planet. Please support us to keep digging where others fear to tread.
An abridged ‘digest’ version of this exclusive investigation is published by Byline Media.

A US hedge-fund with ties to President Donald Trump. Russian banks backed by the Kremlin. Gazprom. A gas pipeline route that threatens Russian energy dominance over Europe. Croatia’s largest company. Jeff Sessions. Interpol. And Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen.

Unwittingly or otherwise, these are all key players in a rapidly intensifying competition to dominate Europe’s energy supplies.

Energy is a weapon. For both the US and Russia, the prize for wielding this weapon is political and economic leverage over Europe. But new evidence suggests that far from opposing Russia’s European energy hegemony, key figures tied to Trump are complicit in a colossal betrayal: the facilitation of Russia’s stealth gas conquest of Europe. Yet the key to unearthing how Trump’s collusion with Russia has undermined US and European energy security can be found not in Washington or even in Moscow — but within a murky nexus of power in the Balkan state of Croatia.

By late 2016, Christopher Steele, former head of MI6’s Russia desk, had finished compiling his intelligence report purporting to contain evidence of collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and senior Russian officials.

Among the allegations made in the document was that in return for helping Donald Trump win his election campaign, Trump would be expected to make a range of concessions to Russian interests, including an agreement “to raise US/NATO defence commitments in the Baltics and Eastern Europe to deflect attention away from Ukraine, a priority for Putin who needed to cauterise the subject.”

Excerpt from the Steele dossier (2016)
The document also claimed that Trump’s former foreign affairs advisor, Carter Page, had met with a senior Rosneft official in June 2016, who had pressed him on “issues of future bilateral energy cooperation” between the US and Russia.

In broader terms, the dossier alleged that Trump might play a double-game in the Balkans, the outcome of which would favour Putin on energy. At first glance this may not seem obvious. Trump has made loud noises opposing Russia’s Nord Stream 2 — a pipeline connecting with Germany widely criticised for its potential to cement the European Union’s dependence on Russia.

While those noises have had little tangible effect, senior members of Trump’s inner circle have consistently found themselves working with companies that are intensifying Russia’s energy stranglehold on Europe — a collusion ironically enabled by the increasingly fraught sinews of the capitalist ‘globalism’ that Trump pretends to oppose.

At the centre of these machinations is the tiny country of Croatia, which has fast become a central pivot in a new Great Game. As Croatia has moved into the orbit of American and European power, Russia has ramped up efforts to pull it away — primarily using the carrots of cheap money and cheap gas.

The country entered NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme in 2000, before fully joining the alliance in 2009. Four years later, Croatia joined the European Union, and became a vocal supporter of EU sanctions against Russia.

In late 2016 Croatian prime minister Andrej Plenkovic led an European Parliamentary delegation to Ukraine, where he established a joint Croatia-Ukraine working group to explore the potential for a peace agreement in eastern Ukraine, modelled on Croatia’s 1990 agreement with Slovenia. The visit “raised serious concerns in Russia” according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Pitched to be the first Balkan state to take-over the EU presidency in 2019, and potentially to join the Eurozone, Croatia has fast become a bellwether for the future of the Balkan region and its relations with the US, the EU and Russia.

But perhaps the biggest significance of this small country is its little-known ability to determine the future energy map of Europe. Croatia sits at the centre of a web of potential new energy transhipment routes that could, in theory at least, allow Europe to free itself from chronic dependence on Russian gas.

The New Great Game

The basic concept was first proposed in 2007 by Hungary’s national energy company MOL. The idea was to build a ‘New European Transmission System’ that would link up all of Central and Southeastern Europe’s gas systems from Poland to Croatia. The proposal was greeted with enthusiasm by the European Commission.


Proposed regional section of ‘NETS’ (Source: slide from 2008 annual report of FGSZ, subsidiary of MOL)
Since then, attention has focused on a key pivot for the proposed gas corridor: Croatia’s port of Omisalj on the island of Krk, where the United States and European Union have pushed the idea of building a new liquid natural gas (LNG) terminal. US and EU officials believe the obscure island could hold the key to European energy dependence, with the potential to turn Croatia into a major regional energy hub and a conduit for the supply of US, Qatari and other gas to Europe.


The proposed LNG terminal on Croatia’s port of Krk could play pivotal role in supplying gas across Europe (Sources: Biznes and Interfax)
“Russia is terrified over efforts to construct a new LNG terminal on the island of Krk that would result in LNG being shipped in from the US, Qatar and elsewhere, and sold downstream to other EU-member states,” said one Western diplomat in Zagreb. “The terminal would curb Russian efforts to be the sole supplier of gas to the EU.”

Even as the US and EU have struggled to bring the Krk project to life, Russia has tried every rule in the book to undermine it — ironically, with the help of companies with ties to Trump.

The Krk route is one of the US government’s core missions in the region. Just last October, the State Department issued a new country strategy warning that: “If the Croatian government does not pursue a strategy of energy diversification, Croatia and the region will be increasingly vulnerable to influence by outside interests, including Russia.”

Yet while Russia has tried every conceivable strategy to either scupper or control the Krk project, Trump insiders have ended up facilitating Russia’s rear-guard entry into the Balkans at every step.

The path to the heart is through the belly

In March 2017, Russia found its most potent entry point: Croatia’s largest company, Agrokor — a giant agribusiness conglomerate of 143 companies across the entire Western Balkans — was in deep financial trouble. The company was about to default on 7.6 billion dollars of debt. With some 60,000 employees and total revenues equivalent to 15 percent of Croatia’s GDP, the company’s collapse would have immediately impacted as many as half a million people, triggering a region-wide economic shock.

Agrokor was too big to fail. But after the Croatian government stepped in to bailout the ailing firm, two Russian banks under US sanctions with ties to Donald Trump were the chief beneficiaries — and the deal was arranged by a US hedge-fund with direct ties to the highest levels of the Trump administration.

In April 2017, the Croatian parliament passed into law the government’s ‘Lex Agrokor’ bill, an emergency procedure designed to allow the government to intervene by restructuring and bailing out the company.

Around the same time the following year, leaked email communications obtained by the Croatian news platform Index revealed that senior Croatian government officials had known about Agrokor’s financial woes well in advance, and had planned the bailout in February — about a month before the company was accused of falsifying financial information.

Ante Ramljak, the Croatian government’s appointed special administrator for the ‘Lex Agrokor’ bailout law (Source: TPortal)
Much of that story is well-known within Croatia. Less well-known is that Ante Ramljak, who had been appointed by the Croatian government as the special administrator to oversee Agrokor’s restructuring, had met a week earlier in March 2017 with representatives of the US hedge-fund Knighthead Capital.

How to buy a country

According to an intelligence memorandum for investors prepared in June 2018 by Bearstone Global, a corporate advisory firm in London’s financial district, the sequence of events raised a legitimate suspicion: “The main red flag here is the question whether Knighthead had insider information about the provisions of Lex Agrokor, before making its investments?”

Not only had Knighthead representatives met with Ramljak before the announcement that he would become special administrator with direct influence on the bailout terms, Knighthead’s co-founder Thomas Wagner had “even admitted in public that they’ve decided on the investment after consultations with the Government,” noted the Bearstone memorandum.


From Bearstone Global memo dated 21 June 2018
A year after Lex Agrokor became law, Knighthead’s closed-door deal-making resulted in a stunning victory for two Kremlin-backed banks, Sberbank PJSC and VTB Group. The two banks were together handed a huge 47% stake in Agrokor, converting claims of about $1.7 billion in debt to equity.

This was no trivial victory. Russia has “bought itself a NATO country”, remarked Croatia’s Centre for Development Cooperation. Sberbank is Russia’s largest state-owned bank. VTB is the second largest. Both giant banks are known to operate as proxies for Vladimir Putin and his oligarchic power-base.

Yet both banks also have well-documented ties to Donald Trump despite having been under US sanctions since 2014.

As of 2017, Donald Trump and Sberbank happen to share the same defence lawyer, Marc Kasowitz. But the relationship goes back years. In 2013, Sberbank chairman Herman Gref set up Trump’s meeting with Russian businessmen during the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. The event was primarily sponsored by Sberbank.

At the time, Trump was on the hunt to pull off a real estate deal in Moscow to build a new Trump Tower and Sberbank had eventually agreed to finance around 70 percent of the project. Trump’s then personal attorney Michael Cohen has admitted that talks for a Trump Tower had continued until June 2016.

In November 2015, the Kremlin-connected Russian fixer Felix Sater — whose real estate firm Bayrock Group had signed a deal with Trump’s company in 2005 — had emailed Cohen about his progress in pushing through the real estate deal. In the email, Sater explained that he had arranged a meeting about it with Putin and one of his “top deputies” — and that the VTB Bank would fund the entire project. “I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected,” Sater wrote in a previous email to Cohen. “Buddy our boy can become President of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putins [sic] team to buy in on this.”


That’s not the only Trump connection.

Federal filings reveal that the US hedge-fund, Knighthead, which gifted the largest company in the former Yugoslavia into the coffers of Russia’s largest banks, has ties to the uppermost echelons of the Trump administration through two senior officials: Daris Meeks, then Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Domestic Policy in the Office of Vice President Mike Pence, and Andrew Olmen, Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Deputy Director of the White House National Economic Council.

Daris Meeks with Trump’s Vice President Mike Pence (left) and Andrew Olmem speaking at the Cato Institute (right)
According to official lobbying disclosure documents filed with the US House of Representatives, Meeks and Olmem are long-time Washington lobbyists from the law firm Venable who have represented Knighthead Capital at various times before, during and after terms in office.

Olmem, who still holds his position in the Trump administration, is among a large batch of Trump appointees who had received ethics waivers giving him a green light to continue lobbying activities unimpeded, and is identified in the documents as lobbying for Knighthead in February 2017 when he joined the White House. Meanwhile, Meeks deregistered from Venable in January 2017, but returned there a year later after his resignation whereupon he continued to lobby for Knighthead.

The Gazprom connection

Although the disclosure filings said nothing in relation to Knighthead’s investments in Europe, while working on the Knighthead account Meeks and Olmem worked alongside another Venable partner, William Nordwind (for instance see here and here).

But about a year before the Venable team began lobbying for Knighthead in 2015, Nordwind — who at the time co-chaired Venable’s Legislative and Government Affairs Practice Group — had been caught secretly lobbying for Gazprom, a relationship he had conveniently failed to disclose to Congress.

William Nordwind (Source: Business Insider)
Since 2010, Venable had been hired by New York PR firm Ketchum along with its Brussels-based partner-subsidiary GPlus Europe to work on the Gazprom Export account, advising the company on energy policy in the European Union. Gazprom Export exports Russian gas to 27 countries across Europe and the former Soviet Union.

The lobbying contract was revealed in a US Department of Justice disclosure filing, enclosing a Venable engagement letter in which Nordwind identified himself as “the responsible partner in charge” of Venable’s work for Gazprom Export, under a nice retainer fee of $28,000 a month.

Following outraged media coverage of the relationship, Ketchum slashed its formal ties with Putin in 2015. But the relationship was hardly dead. In a statement at the time, Ketchum admitted that it still represented Russia through its Moscow office, and that the same contract with Gazprom continued via Ketchum subsidiary GPlus.

Gazprom lobbyist Nordwind went on to handle Knighthead Capital’s account alongside Meeks and Olmem the following year. After Trump’s inauguration, the disclosure filings show that Nordwind led the account while Meeks and Olmem took a break from this work as they entered their posts in the White House.

The upshot is that two senior advisors to Trump lobbying for Knighthead had worked in partnership with a colleague previously on the payroll of Gazprom’s European interests.

In a statement, White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere told me: “Andrew Olmem had no involvement with Gazprom Export and Croatia.” However, Deere added an unusual off the record comment, which I am reporting here because it contains crucial information in the public interest:

“It’s my understanding that someone at the firm [Venable] may have worked on issues related to Gazprom and Croatia, but it was not Andrew.”

Screenshot of statement emailed to me from the White House press office
Deere’s astonishing ‘off the record’ statement proves that the Trump White House knew that a Knighthead lobbyist “may have worked on issues related to Gazprom and Croatia”, potentially establishing a direct line of complicity between the White House, Venable, and Knighthead’s activities in Croatia. The White House spokesperson could only have had such an “understanding” of work on Gazprom and Croatia from a senior White House official connected to Venable — likely Olmem himself — who knew about it.

In response to my further inquiries about this off the record admission, Deere denied having any information on Olmem’s colleagues at Venable, ex-White House staffer Meeks and ex-Gazprom lobbyist Nordwind. Neither Knighthead Capital nor its lobbyists at law firm Venable responded to requests for comment.

It is not entirely surprising in this context that the ultimate beneficiary from the Agrokor bailout, negotiated under Knighthead Capital’s leadership, was Gazprom. But before Gazprom got its foot in the door, it needed heavy political and economic leverage, which Knighthead helpfully provided by granting Russian banks Sberbank and VTB their massive stake in Agrokor.

The previous year, Russia’s ambassador to Zagreb, Anvar Azimov, had declared that any Russian assistance on Agrokor would be conditional on Croatia’s “cooperation with Moscow.” And “cooperate” it did.

Having saved Croatia and the wider region from a financial catastrophe, Putin moved swiftly to call in the favour. Within months, Gazprom Export — the Russian energy giant previously represented by Knighthead lobbyist William Nordwind — signed a ten-year gas supply contract with a Croatian oil company, PPD. The PPD has longstanding high-level connections to Croatian government officials, having financed the ruling conservative party, the Croatian Democratic Union, to the tune of 4.2 million kunas in 2016.

Under the new contract, Gazprom would supply Croatia 1 billion cubic meters of gas every year from October 2017 to December 2027, covering 70 percent of the Croatian market. The deal eliminated Croatia’s need for any further imports. It also, therefore, struck a blow against US and EU efforts to encourage Croatia to speed ahead with the Krk project, as it was no longer necessary to cover the country’s immediate gas needs.

Divide and rule

One of the main obstacles to the Krk project is money. To get it off the ground, investors are needed. And they can only be enticed if they know that the gas will find guaranteed buyers. Croatia itself would be a prime customer of gas transported via Krk, but the next major potential buyer is Hungary.

Having shut down the first potential buyer of gas from the Krk route, Russia’s second strategy was to shut down the next. A month after Russia signed the gas supply deal in Croatia, Hungary announced that its gas supply contract with Gazprom, due to expire in 2021, would also be renewed. A year later, Hungary confirmed that Gazprom would continue to supply gas to the country for both 2019 and 2020.

Russia’s third strategy has been to leverage an ongoing dispute between the two countries’ national energy companies — a dispute which seems to have been secretly egged on by interests aligned with both Trump and Putin.

In 2009, Hungary’s national oil firm MOL had acquired a 49 percent stake in Croatia’s state-owned energy company INA. In 2013, Croatia suddenly sought to annul the investment agreement. The Croatian state’s anti-corruption unit, USKOK, accused MOL Chairman Zsolt Hernadi of having rigged the investment deal by bribing former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader. An Interpol warrant was issued for Hernadi’s arrest at Croatia’s request.

According to Jeremy Warner, associate editor at the Telegraph, the Interpol warrant was little more than “a thinly disguised attempt to force the sale of key assets to Russia’s Gazprom.”

Russia has hardly been reticent about where it stands on the issue. In 2014, Gazprom had offered to buy up the entirety of MOL’s shareholding to acquire the Hungarian company’s stake in Croatia’s INA. In 2017, Rosneft followed up with an offer of its own to do the same.

As Croatia has responded coolly to these offers, Russia has tried another strategy. If it can’t beat the Krk project, join it — or rather, control it. Earlier last year, Russia had offered to singlehandedly underwrite the entire development of the Krk terminal with potentially billions worth of investments — throwing in the promise of further cheap Russian gas supplies to boot.

This has led some experts to speculate that the Interpol warrant was engineered by Russia. General Alexander Prokopchuk, Interpol’s Vice Chair for Europe, has been described by Marina Litvinenko, widow of poisoned dissident Alexander Litvinenko, as a close ally of Putin. He has been accused of repeatedly using Interpol to issue arrest warrants for political dissidents opposed to Putin.

Major General Alexander Prokopchuk
Equally, a number of sensitive sources in the region believe that elements of the US government had played a role in the Interpol warrant.

One Croatian diplomat based in an EU capital said that USKOK’s request alone would not be enough to trigger the Interpol warrant. “Only the Americans had enough clout to get that ball rolling”, he added.

A senior Croatian law enforcement official said he was aware that:

“The Americans had used their influence to have Interpol act as the mechanism through which to have Hernadi extradited.”
If true, the Interpol warrant may well have been the result of pressure from both Russia and elements of the Trump administration.

Team Trump targets Croatia

We cannot know for sure, although circumstantial evidence of a common approach between interests linked to both Trump and Putin emerged earlier last year when a major US firm close to Trump’s inner circle made an offer to Croatia premised on MOL breaking relations with INA.

In March 2018, the Croatian government received a letter from American conglomerate Castleton Commodities International (CCI), expressing interest in becoming INA’s “strategic partner” to assist in repurchasing MOL’s shares in the Croatian state energy firm.

“CCI would take over the role of a strategic investor and partner in INA, supporting the Croatian ministries in a range of key sectors,” reads the letter from CCI’s Fabrizio Zichichi. The letter offered help in “securing the financing and as an investment partner, as a commercial partner in contract relations such as the processing of raw oil and oil products, the trade and supply of final products, risk management, running investment projects in all business segments and HR management”.

At first glance the offer looks like a straightforward effort to compete with Russia, especially given that US officials have publicly expressed concern over Russia’s overtures to Croatia to purchase MOL’s shares. But a closer inspection suggests an alarmingly different view.

It was not entirely clear whether CCI’s offer would necessarily reject Russian overtures. And unlike the offers from Gazprom and Rosneft, the letter had not committed CCI to being ready to buy out the entire MOL stake — or ruled out helping another entity, whether Russian or otherwise, to buy in partially. Instead, the letter hinted at the latter by referring vaguely to the prospect of “securing financing” in addition to investing.

What remains clear are CCI’s connections to Trump, and internal sympathies with Russia. The US metals giant and energy trader was a long-time major client of Jay Clayton, Trump’s appointee to Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

SEC Chairman and Trump appointee Jay Clayton
Clayton was previously senior partner at law firm Sullivan & Cromwell, where he profited from the firm’s work advising a wide range of companies doing business with the Russian government and Russian oligarchs.

These included multi-billion dollar energy projects involving efforts by the Russian government, Lukoil and Gazprom to export Russian gas to Central Asia through the Caspian Pipeline Consortium and to Central and Southeast Europe via the South Stream pipeline project. The latter involved contracts with Bulgaria, which Putin pushed through politically by deploying strategic investments from VTB, the Trump-connected bank which invested in Agrokor.

CCI itself was formed in 2012 when a group of hedge-fund and commodity trading hot-shots bought an energy trading business, LDH Energy, from its umbrella company Louis Dreyfus Group, majority-owned by the wealthiest woman in Russia, Margarita Louis-Dreyfus.

Clayton was involved in that deal too according to his own Wall Street bio, which was deleted after his SEC appointment.

The purchase helped fund Louis Dreyfus Group’s agricultural expansion. Operating in Russia, it is one of the largest agricultural conglomerates in the world, working in partnership with various Russian investment firms and regional Russian government agencies.

William C Reed II, President and Chief Executive of CCI
The deal saw LDH Energy’s former chief executive, William C. Reed II, move to head up the new company, CCI. Reed also has ties to Russia. He began his career as a junior energy trader at Enron, where he ended up becoming head of power trading. Before its collapse, Enron played an instrumental role in Russia’s energy assault on Europe, signing a historic agreement with Gazprom to supply gas to Russia in 1993. This set the course for Europe’s future growing dependence on Gazprom. Five years later, Enron signed a further 10-year ‘strategic alliance’ with Russia’s Unified Electricity Systems (UES) to identify joint projects in Russia, Europe and Central Asia.

Fabrizio Zichichi
Fabrizio Zichichi, CCI’s Global Co-Head of Oil Liquids, who signed the offer letter to Croatia, was previously Global Co-Head of the Physical Oil Business at Morgan Stanley. Zichichi had moved to CCI from Morgan Stanley after buying its giant physical oil merchant business for $1bn.

That deal, also advised on by Jay Clayton, only went ahead because the first choice had fallen through: Zichichi and his colleagues had already agreed to sell the business to Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft. The Rosneft deal fell through only because US sanctions were put in place due to the Ukraine conflict.

So the CCI offer was not just aligned closely with Trump’s inner circle — it came from executives with a history of sympathetic economic engagement with Russia, Gazprom and Rosneft. Requests for comment were sent to CCI and the SEC but received no reply.

Even more curiously, just over a month after the CCI offer letter went out, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions — who surfaced in the Trump-Russia collusion inquiry for lying about meetings with Russian government officials during the presidential campaign — made an unprecedented visit to Croatia.

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions at Senate intelligence committee hearing
Sessions met a number of senior Croatian government officials, including President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Prime Minister Andrei Plenković, Justice Minister Dražen Bošnjaković, Interior Minister Davor Božinović as well as Foreign Affairs Minister Andrej Metelko-Zgombić.

Public information on what was discussed during this strange diplomatic excursion is sparse. According to a statement from the US embassy in Croatia, Sessions’ visit was to “discuss bilateral and international law enforcement and judicial cooperation and discuss ways of further strengthening the close law enforcement relationship between the United States and Croatia.”

The US Department of Justice refused to provide me any further details on what this excursion was all about.

Then later that year, the Interpol warrant for MOL’s Hernadi — which had been dropped two years earlier after Hungary refused to comply with it — was suddenly renewed in November 2018.

The new Interpol warrant was issued weeks after US Energy Secretary Rick Perry urged Hungary to resolve its issues with Croatia and support the US-EU backed gas hub project in Krk.

Whoever was behind the Interpol warrant — elements of the Trump administration, Russia or both — it served to make the rapprochement that Perry was publicly calling for far more difficult in reality. Of course, Trump has refused to put money where Perry’s mouth is, failing to offer any financial support for the Krk project — unlike Russia.

There are strong grounds to doubt that the warrant was even justifiable. The basis of the warrant was rejected in 2014 when an arbitration tribunal convened under UNCITRAL, the UN’s highest trade law body, threw out Croatia’s case against Hernadi because it relied almost entirely on the testimony of a single witness in the absence of any material evidence — a witness representing an unexpected convergence of interests stretching from Putin to Trump.

Trial by oil

That witness, on whom the future energy map of Europe might depend, is a little-known Croatian tycoon named Robert Jezic, who happens to be connected to two Russian oligarchs, one of whom also has ties to Trump’s disgraced lawyer Michael Cohen.

Robert Jezic in a Croatian court in Zagreb (source: TPortal)
Jezic is the main witness for the claim that MOL chairman Zsolt Hernadi bribed a former prime minister to push through MOL’s big buy-out of Croatia’s state oil firm.

At the time of the alleged bribe, Jezic was head of the board of Dioki, a petrochemicals plant which operated on Krk, the island where the US and EU hope to support the Croatian government in building a new gas terminal.

But court testimony has alleged that Jezic’s bribery allegation against Hernadi conceals his role as a business partner in a secretive Russian effort to take control of the island. That testimony came from Russian billionaire, Mikhail Gutseriyev, owner of the seventh largest Russian oil company Russneft.

Gutseriyev, who is on a US Treasury list of Russian oligarchs with close ties to Putin, told a Croatian court in 2012 that he had invested €5 million through Jezic’s company, Dioki, to purchase land in the strategic port of Krk. The investment fits with Russia’s broad strategy of attempting to either disrupt or dominate the Krk project.
[img] ... P5GLA.jpeg[/img]
Russian billionaire oligarch Mikhail Gutseriyev (Source: Intellinews)
Unfortunately for the Russians, Jezic had simply stolen the investment — at least according to the oligarch, a claim strenuously denied by Jezic. To complicate matters further, although Jezic was ordered by a Croatian court to return the missing €5m seven years ago, he simply failed to do so.

Gutseriyev himself is a prime beneficiary of murky deals which lead directly to Trump. According to The Globe and Mail, the oligarch’s eldest son, Said Gutseriyev, controls Cypriot shell companies which own shares in a major Russian locomotive factory, a project financed entirely by Kremlin-run bank, VneshEconomBan, or VEB.

Despite being under US sanctions since 2014, VEB’s then chief executive Sergei Gorkov met with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, in the Trump Tower after the 2016 election. The Gutseriyevs also happen to own the Hotel National, where Trump stayed during his first visit to Moscow in 1987.

Gutserieyev’s company, Russneft, was also a big beneficiary of a spike in Russian stocks after Trump’s election victory. Russia’s Micex index rose 3.8 percent, and oil and gas stocks rose 3.7 percent. Days after the election, the Trump-connected banks VTB and Sberbank coordinated the launch of a long-planned IPO for Russneft, which raised $500m.

Russneft is part-owned to the tune of 33 percent by the mining giant Glencore, which in December 2016 co-purchased with the Qatar Investment Authority a 19.5 percent stake in Rosneft, with VTB’s support. That deal seemed to cohere with the Steele dossier’s prescient claim that Rosneft had offered Trump through his advisor Carter Page “the brokerage of up to a 19 per cent (privatised) stake in Rosneft” in return for easing sanctions on Russia.

Jezic’s connection to Russia’s efforts to control the Krk project for its own ends were further corroborated in 2017. Jezic’s company, Dioki, had gone bankrupt in 2013 because it had been unable to pay off its loans — a major creditor was Austrian bank Hypo Alpe Adria. But four years on, a company called Gasfin had taken over the outstanding debt originally owed to Hypo.

Gasfin became the owner of the key area of land in Krk where the proposed LNG terminal is to be built. The company has pushed for an onshore solution, in contrast to US and EU calls to build an offshore terminal due to the inability to get control to the land. Though based in Luxembourg, Gasfin is widely viewed as a proxy for Russian interests — it is operating a number of projects in Russia, including building a major infrastructure project for Gazprom.

The Michael Cohen connection

Court records and testimony further confirm that the disappeared money, which Gutseriyev claimed was stolen from him by Jezic, was funnelled through another company of which Jezic was a shareholder, Xenoplast, whose executive director is Swiss lawyer Stephan Hurlimann.

Stephan Hurlimann, Partner/Of Counsel at Wenger & Vieli
Jezic, other witnesses, and Hurlimann himself have confirmed that the missing €5m was paid into his company Xenoplast’s account. But Hurlimann, who has refused to testify in person in Croatian courts despite multiple requests, had another very odd connection: Trump’s friend, a Russian oligarch, controls a company directly tied to his Swiss law firm.

Hurlimann is partner in the firm Wenger & Vieli. The law firm boasts of dealing with Russian clients, but does not identify them. A glimpse at the kind of clients it deals with emerges from the fact that Wenger & Veili has direct ties to firms controlled by a Putin-linked oligarch, including a company which secretly paid Trump’s disgraced lawyer Michael Cohen.

Dr Wolfgang Zurcher, Partner at Wenger & Vieli
Hurlimann’s fellow senior partner in Wenger & Vieli is Dr Wolfgang Zurcher, who since 2014 has sat on the Board of Directors of Zublin Group in Zurich, which is majority owned by the Russian billionaire oligarch Viktor Vekselberg. Wenger & Vieli did not respond to request for comment on this apparent conflict of interest.

Dr Iosif Bakaleynik and Iakov Tesis, two Vekselberg proxies, are representatives of the largest shareholding (40.7 percent) in Zublin, Lamesa Holding. Both are involved in Vekselberg’s Renova Group. To represent Vekselberg in Zublin, Bakaleynik, who continues to advise the oligarch, left his previous posts as chairman of the board of Renova Management and chairman of the supervisory board of Renova US Holdings, a subsidiary of the Renova Group. Tesis is still a director of Renova Group in Russia, and also acts as the authorised representative of the shareholder of GAZEX, a joint venture between Gazprom and Uncomtech.

Russian billionaire oligarch Viktor Vekselberg (left) with President Vladimir Putin (right)
Vekselberg and his Renova Group, which have been under US sanctions since April 2018, have controversial ties to Donald Trump. Both Vekselberg and his cousin Andrew Intrater had met Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen in person in Trump Tower, just eleven days before the presidential inauguration in January 2017, where they discussed improving US-Russia relations.

Later that year an affiliate subsidiary of Vekselberg’s Renova Group reportedly made substantial payments to Cohen’s account totalling at least half a million dollars.

Mike Pence (left), Donald Trump (middle), Michael Cohen (right)
The subsidiary, Columbus Nova, has been described in federal regulatory filings as an affiliate of the Renova Group, and Renova’s own website once listed Columbus Nova as part of the group. In 2017, Columbus Nova’s CEO Intrater also donated $250,000 to Trump’s inauguration fund and $35,000 to a joint fundraising committee for Trump’s re-election and the Republican National Committee.

And so the circle closes, though not without raising more questions than answers.

Robert Jezic’s direct and indirect alleged ties to Russian oligarchs friendly with both Trump and Putin raise questions about his credibility as the key witness in a case that has soured relations between Hungary and Croatia for years.

He was not only an alleged business partner of a Russian oligarch who owns one of Russia’s biggest oil companies, and wanted to buy up land in Krk; his debts have been absorbed by a company working closely with Gazprom which now controls that land in breach of European interests, and his Swiss law firm has ties to the very sanctioned Russian oligarch implicated in hiring Trump’s personal attorney after Trump was already in power.

It is not unreasonable to wonder whether these cross-cutting interests compromise the integrity of his claims, both past and present, and point to a pattern of behaviour that in different ways could well be serving those dubious interests.

So far the focus of the Trump-Russia collusion inquiry has been on the US presidential elections. But this investigation suggests that the inquiry may have overlooked the heat of the action.

There is mounting evidence that Trump’s liaisons with wealthy Russians, amply lubricated within the murky sinews of global finance, has set the scene for what is happening right now: Russia’s sophisticated pincer movement to consolidate control over Europe’s gas supplies.

The Steele dossier has been a polarising force, with many of its claims hotly contested. One of its suggestions was that Trump’s approach to the Balkans would end up playing into Russian energy interests. This investigation has shown that contention to be accurate.

People and companies who operate as part of Trump’s inner circle have not only systematically interfaced with Russian interests, they have done so in a way that has strengthened Russia’s hold on the Balkans, weakened efforts to pursue alternative energy transhipment routes, and undermined efforts to end Europe’s chronic dependence on Russian gas – all at a time when the world needs to urgently wean itself off fossil fuel dependence to avert dangerous climate change.

Some might consider this treasonous. Trump? He’d probably say it’s just business.

Dr. Nafeez Ahmed is the founding editor of the 100% reader-funded investigative journalism project INSURGE intelligence. His latest book is Failing States, Collapsing Systems: BioPhysical Triggers of Political Violence (Springer, 2017). He is an 18-year investigative journalist, formerly of The Guardian where he reported on the geopolitics of social, economic and environmental crises. He now reports on ‘global system change’ for VICE’s Motherboard. He has bylines in The Times, Sunday Times, The Independent on Sunday, The Independent, The Scotsman, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Quartz, New York Observer, The New Statesman, Prospect, Le Monde diplomatique, among other places. He has twice won the Project Censored Award for his investigative reporting; twice been featured in the Evening Standard’s top 1,000 list of most influential Londoners; and won the Naples Prize, Italy’s most prestigious literary award created by the President of the Republic. Nafeez is also a widely-published and cited interdisciplinary academic applying complex systems analysis to ecological and political violence. He is a Research Fellow at the Schumacher Institute. ... db7dac3240

Seth Abramson

MEDIA, please make these connections:

(1) Cohen met Mueller's team—7 times—for many hours.
(2) Based on cooperation deal, Mueller believes Cohen now.
(3) Cohen says Stone was Trump-WikiLeaks intermediary.
(4) Mueller is charging Stone with crimes.
(5) Russia probe far from over.
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
User avatar
Posts: 32090
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

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

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:11 pm

House Democrats prepare case to request Trump tax returns

House Ways and Means is readying a request for years of Trump’s personal tax returns that should land at the IRS in the next few weeks. Democrats are prepared to "take all necessary steps," including litigation, to get them.

Oversight Cmte is asking for Don jr. and Ivanka

Maxine Waters is going to talk to Deutsche Bank next week

Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs


Lincoln's Bible

Don't. Give. Mobsters. Security. Clearances.



wash. wash. wash. wash. wash. wash. wash. wash. wash. wash. wash. wash. wash. wash. wash. wash. wash. wash. wash. wash. wash. wash. wash. wash.


Stealing from the poor is not a good look. Even for slumlords.
Don't you agree, @VanJones68?


DOJ: Ex-Manafort Associate Firtash Is Top-Tier Comrade of Russian Mobsters ... rs-n786806

The High Court of Justice of England and Wales seized London property of Dmitry Firtash including 2 mansions valued at £50 million - Russia’s VTB Bank made request after Cyprus court ruled in VTB’s favor for claim of 2.5 billion rubles in unpaid loans


Court seizes two Firtash’s mansions in London under request of VTB bank

Published March 1 at 10:43 am

The High Court of Justice of England and Wales has decided to seize property of Ukrainian businessman Dmytro Firtash in the United Kingdom pursuing enforcement of a provisional measure under a request of Russia’s VTB Bank seeking to return loans in the amount of 2.5 billion Russian rubles, the Kommersant publication reported on Feb. 28, referring to the bank.

According to the sources of the publication, two mansions and other property of Firtash were seized in London. Their cost is estimated at over GBP 50 million.

In particular, a five-story mansion with a total area of more than 1,500 square meters in the prestigious Knightsbridge district near Hyde Park and a historic building of about 2,600 square meters, which was part of the former London Brompton Road Underground station, were seized. ... -bank.html

NEW: Austrian prosecutor general opposes extradition of Firtash to US - Austrian prosecutor general has contested decision of Higher Regional Court of Vienna on the extradition of Dmytro Firtash to US made in Feb 2017, Austria Press Agency reported


Austrian prosecutor general opposes extradition of Firtash to US

Published Feb. 28 at 1:18 pm

The Austrian prosecutor general has contested the decision of the Higher Regional Court of Vienna (OLG) on the extradition of Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash to the United States made in February 2017, Austria Press Agency (APA) has reported.

According to the publication, with reference to the prosecutor general’s statement, the OLG did not sufficiently investigate whether the U.S. request for extradition was politically motivated: even with “purely criminal” actions, it is necessary to check whether there is a political motivation.

According to the material, the attorney general recommends that the Supreme Court of Austria (OGH) annul the decision of the OLG. In such a case, the Higher Regional Court of Vienna must re-examine the case on the extradition of Firtash. ... to-us.html

Austrian Prosecutor General said the Vienna court (OLG) did not sufficiently investigate whether the US request for extradition of Dmitry Firtash was politically motivated - now the question of extradition must be decided by the Supreme Court of Austria

12:13 28.02.2019
Генпрокурор Австрии выступил против экстрадиции Фирташа в США – СМИ

Very interested to know why people decided to talk to the NYTimes about the Jared Kushner clearance just now. Any particular reason why people want to make sure the public knows they were opposed to Kushner's clearance?

Sarah Kendzior

I have concluded that I died in early 2016, went to purgatory, and now must recite the same points about the Kushner threat endlessly until someone finally DOES SOMETHING, at which point I go to heaven. There is no other explanation as to why people are THIS SLOW to catch on.

Or possibly I am in hell. Either way *you need to indict Jared Kushner because he is a massive national security threat and you can easily do this by going after his security clearance lies*.

FFS what you waiting for? The loss of our security and sovereignty? ALREADY HAPPENED! ... 3959131137

Jason Leopold

In May 2018, the White House Counsel’s Office recommended to Mr. Trump that Mr. Kushner not be given a clearance at that level. But the following day, Mr. Trump ORDERED Mr. Kelly to grant it to Mr. Kushner anyway, the people familiar with the events said.

In response to the NYT Kushner report, Elijah Cummings threatens to subpoena the White House for records on its security clearance processes: "It may become necessary to consider alternative means to compel compliance.



Trump Ordered Officials to Give Jared Kushner a Security Clearance

Feb. 28, 2019
Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, received a top-secret security clearance despite concerns from intelligence officials.Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, received a top-secret security clearance despite concerns from intelligence officials.Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
WASHINGTON — President Trump ordered his chief of staff to grant his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, a top-secret security clearance last year, overruling concerns flagged by intelligence officials and the White House’s top lawyer, four people briefed on the matter said.

Mr. Trump’s decision in May so troubled senior administration officials that at least one, the White House chief of staff at the time, John F. Kelly, wrote a contemporaneous internal memo about how he had been “ordered” to give Mr. Kushner the top-secret clearance.

The White House counsel at the time, Donald F. McGahn II, also wrote an internal memo outlining the concerns that had been raised about Mr. Kushner — including by the C.I.A. — and how Mr. McGahn had recommended that he not be given a top-secret clearance.

The disclosure of the memos contradicts statements made by the president, who told The New York Times in January in an Oval Office interview that he had no role in his son-in-law receiving his clearance.

In an interview with The Times in January, President Trump said he “was never involved” with the security clearance of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, which was reinstated last year despite concerns from intelligence officials.Tom Brenner for The New York Times
Mr. Kushner’s lawyer, Abbe D. Lowell, also said that at the time the clearance was granted last year that his client went through a standard process. Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter and Mr. Kushner’s wife, said the same thing three weeks ago.

Asked on Thursday about the memos contradicting the president’s account, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said, “We don’t comment on security clearances.”

Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Mr. Lowell, said on Thursday: “In 2018, White House and security clearance officials affirmed that Mr. Kushner’s security clearance was handled in the regular process with no pressure from anyone. That was conveyed to the media at the time, and new stories, if accurate, do not change what was affirmed at the time.”

The decision last year to grant Mr. Kushner a top-secret clearance upgraded him from earlier temporary and interim status. He never received a higher-level designation that would have given him access to need-to-know intelligence known as sensitive compartmented information.

It is not known precisely what factors led to the problems with Mr. Kushner’s security clearance. Officials had raised questions about his own and his family’s real estate business’s ties to foreign governments and investors, and about initially unreported contacts he had with foreigners. The issue also generated criticism of Mr. Trump for having two family members serve in official capacities in the West Wing.

Mr. Kushner has spent this week abroad working on a Middle East peace plan. Among his meetings was one with Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.

While the president has the legal authority to grant a clearance, in most cases, the White House’s personnel security office makes a determination about whether to grant one after the F.B.I. has conducted a background check. If there is a dispute in the personnel security office about how to move forward — a rare occurrence — the White House counsel makes the decision. In highly unusual cases, the president weighs in and grants one himself.

In Mr. Kushner’s case, personnel division officials were divided about whether to grant him a top-secret clearance.

In May 2018, the White House Counsel’s Office, which at the time was led by Mr. McGahn, recommended to Mr. Trump that Mr. Kushner not be given a clearance at that level. But the next day, Mr. Trump ordered Mr. Kelly to grant it to Mr. Kushner anyway, the people familiar with the events said.

The question of Mr. Kushner’s access to intelligence was a flash point almost from the beginning of the administration. The initial background check into Mr. Kushner dragged on for more than a year, creating a distraction for the White House, which struggled to explain why one of the people closest to the president had yet to be given the proper approval to be trusted with the country’s most sensitive information.

John F. Kelly, while he was White House chief of staff, kept contemporaneous documentation about Mr. Trump’s handling of Mr. Kushner’s security clearance, people briefed on the matter said.Samuel Corum for The New York Times

John F. Kelly, while he was White House chief of staff, kept contemporaneous documentation about Mr. Trump’s handling of Mr. Kushner’s security clearance, people briefed on the matter said.Samuel Corum for The New York Times
The full scope of intelligence officials’ concerns about Mr. Kushner is not known. But the clearance had been held up in part over questions from the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. about his foreign and business contacts, including those related to Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Russia, according to multiple people familiar with the events.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Mr. Kushner was part of a group that met with a Russian lawyer who went to Trump Tower claiming to have political “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. And during the presidential transition, Mr. Kushner had a meeting with the Russian ambassador at the time, Sergey I. Kislyak, and the head of a Russian state-owned bank. When he applied for a security clearance, he did not reveal those meetings.

He later made several amendments to that section of his application, known as an SF86. His aides at the time insisted he had omitted those meetings inadvertently.

Mr. Kushner initially operated with a provisional clearance as his background check proceeded.

In an entry to Mr. Kushner’s personnel file on Sept. 15, 2017, the head of the personnel security division, Carl Kline, wrote, “Per conversation with WH Counsel the clearance was changed to interim Top Secret until we can confirm that the DOJ or someone else actually granted a final clearance. This action is out of an abundance of caution because the background investigation has not been completed.”

In a statement to The Times when Mr. Kushner received the clearance last year, Mr. Lowell said that “his application was properly submitted, reviewed by numerous career officials and underwent the normal process.”

During a review of security clearances in February 2018 that was prompted by the controversy surrounding Rob Porter, then the White House staff secretary, who had been accused of domestic abuse, Mr. Kushner’s clearance was downgraded from interim top secret to secret, limiting his access to classified information. At the time, Mr. Kelly wrote a five-page memo, revoking temporary clearances that had been in place since June 1, 2017.

That affected both Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump, who told friends and advisers that they believed that Mr. Kelly and Mr. McGahn were targeting them for petty reasons instead of legitimate concerns flagged by officials.

Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump both complained to the president about the situation, current and former administration officials said. In Mr. Kushner’s case, Mr. Trump would often turn to other aides and say in frustration, “Why isn’t this getting done?” according to a former administration official. On at least one occasion, the president asked another senior official if the person could sort out the issue. That official said no, according to this account.

Mr. Kelly did not believe it was appropriate to overrule the security clearance process and had brushed aside or avoided dealing with Mr. Kushner’s requests, a former administration official said. Mr. Kelly did not respond to a request for comment.

House Democrats are in the early stages of an investigation into how several Trump administration officials obtained clearances, including Mr. Kushner.

Mr. Trump’s precise language to Mr. Kelly about Mr. Kushner’s clearance in their direct conversation remains unclear. Two of the people familiar with Mr. Trump’s discussions with Mr. Kelly said that there might be different interpretations of what the president said. But Mr. Kelly believed it was an order, according to two people familiar with his thinking.

And Mr. Trump was definitive in his statements to The Times in the January interview.

“I was never involved with the security” clearances for Mr. Kushner, the president said. “I know that there was issues back and forth about security for numerous people, actually. But I don’t want to get involved in that stuff.”

A recent report by NBC revealed that Mr. Kline had overruled two career security specialists who had rejected Mr. Kushner’s application based on the F.B.I.’s concerns. A senior administration official confirmed the details laid out in the NBC report.

Mr. Kline was acting on the directive sent down by the president, one of the people familiar with the matter said.

The day that Mr. Lowell described Mr. Kushner’s process as having gone through normal routes, aides to Mr. Kushner had asked White House officials to deliver a statement from Mr. Kelly supporting what Mr. Lowell had said. But Mr. Kelly refused to do so, according to a person with knowledge of the events. ... rance.html

45 years ago today--President Richard Nixon was secretly named an unindicted co-conspirator by same federal grand jury that indicted 7 of his aides for Watergate conspiracy:

You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
User avatar
Posts: 32090
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

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

Postby seemslikeadream » Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:39 am


Ex-Trump Org VP drops bombshell: CFO Weisselberg knows about at least 5 more Trump hush money payoffs

Bob Brigham

President Donald Trump and adult actress Stephanie Clifford, whose stage name was Stormy Daniels, in a 2006 Myspace photo.

Don't miss stories. Follow Raw Story!
Former Trump Organization executive vice president Barbara Res predicted on Friday that Allen Weisselberg, the company’s longtime chief financial officer, knows of at least five additional hush money conspiracies.

Res appeared on MSNBC’s “All In” with Ari Melber to discuss what Weisselberg will likely reveal when called to testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

“Do you think there may be other hush money payments you don’t know about?” Melber asked.

“Yes,” Res answered.

“How many?” Melber asked.

“Just instinctively, lots,” she replied.

“More than five?” he asked.

“Probably,” she answered.

“More than ten?” he asked.

“I can’t say,” she replied.

However many the number, they may have Trump’s signature on the check.

“Trump would do that kind of thing and Alan would be the guy who draw out the check, probably Trump would sign it himself,” she added. ... -payments/

Everything you need to know about Felix Sater

Now We’re Talking
By Josh Marshall | February 28, 2019 5:42 pm

Michael Cohen is going to back for more testimony on March 6th. On March 14th, Felix Sater will testify before the House Intelligence committee in open session. Josh Kovensky talked to Sater on the phone earlier today.

This is, frankly, a critical hearing.

To refresh your memory, here’s one look at Sater’s background I wrote way back in February 2017. Here’s another on Cohen/Sater and the Trump/Russia money channel. Here’s another on the same topic. What happened to the “peace plan” dossier that Cohen hand delivered to Mike Flynn at the White House. Sater is at the center of that too. Finally, Sater is a critical piece of the puzzle in trying to understand what US law enforcement and intelligence knew when about Trump’s business ties with Russia, Ukraine and ex-Soviet organized crime figures.


Trump Associate Felix Sater Will Testify Publicly About Trump Tower Moscow in March

Thos Robinson/Getty
Felix Sater, a New York real estate figure and former business associate of President Trump, will testify before Congress on March 14 about the Trump Tower Moscow deal. House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) announced the news Thursday night, telling reporters that the hearing will be public and the committee will “try to do as much as we can in the open.” “I should tell you, just to set your expectations, not every hearing is going to be like the open hearing with Michael Cohen,” he said. Sater's hearing comes amid renewed scrutiny of the Trump Tower Moscow deal after Cohen testified on Wednesday that Trump lied to the public about his involvement in the project, with discussions still ongoing over the deal even when Trump was the presumptive Republican nominee for president in 2016. Cohen is set to testify again again on March 6. The Daily Beast also reported that Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg will be called to testify in front of House Intelligence. ... w-in-march

Here's a reverse-emoluments case that the Founding Fathers didn't plan for...what happens when trump owes a large debt *to* a foreign government? In Scotland, it's happening.

In Scotland, trump fought the Scottish govt over a windfarm that would alter the view from his golf course. He lost. Now, a court says he's also got to pay his opponents' legal fees.

Scottish government wins Donald Trump wind power legal costs ... d-47400641


Transnational Emergency

This week on Gaslit Nation we discuss the fake “national emergency” and the real crisis of Trump: that aspiring autocrats can pre-schedule a "national emergency" is the actual emergency. We discuss the ineffectiveness of both the Mueller probe and the FBI, and why (still unfairly fired) FBI officials like Andrew McCabe did not adequately respond to the threat of a transnational crime syndicate either before and immediately after the election. In early episodes of Gaslit Nation we discussed how Harry Reid begged Comey and the FBI to reveal to the public what they knew about Trump and his illicit ties to Russia. We don’t think he meant “Do it three years later, but on a book tour!”

We also take a look at what’s happening abroad – particularly in the UK, which is headed toward a disastrous no-deal Brexit and has yet to confront Russian attacks on its own soil. (In our Brexit update, we read from the word's of Guardian columnist Suzanne Moore). We break down decades of intertwined corruption in both the US and the UK and urge officials to seek actual accountability, because time is running out. Kleptocracy anywhere is kleptocracy everywhere, and it is ordinary citizens who pay the most painful price.

Finally we discuss the confirmation of William Barr as attorney general and the installation of his family members into the government. Barr’s daughter is about to work for the US Treasury, which, we note yet again, was infiltrated by Russia in 2015. (Yes, we are still talking about this and can’t believe no one else is!) Barr’s family is indicative of the broader problem of nepotism and corruption in this administration, and we once again discuss the dangers of Ivanka and Jared maintaining power. We also talk Flynn, Stone, Manafort, and more – just another week taking out the trash on Gaslit Nation!

Trump’s latest corrupt move for Jared Kushner may blow up in his face

Greg Sargent
(Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
The news that President Trump privately overruled his own intelligence officials to grant top-secret security clearance for son-in-law Jared Kushner has been met in some quarters with a measure of resignation. After all, it appears Trump has the discretion to do this, as nakedly corrupt as it is, and it’s easy to grow dispirited over his ability to engage in nonstop corruption largely with impunity.

But the way in which this particular trail of corruption is littered with evidence suggests that this time, his action could blow up in his face — in political terms, if not in legal ones.

The New York Times reports that in May 2018, officials in the White House personnel security office — which makes determinations about security clearance, typically after the FBI runs a background check — were divided over whether to upgrade it for Kushner, who had temporary security clearance at the time.

Then-White House counsel Donald McGahn argued against it. If officials are at odds over whether to grant clearance, the White House counsel makes the determination, and in this case, McGahn was mindful that intelligence officials still had concerns about Kushner.

But a frustrated and angry Trump ordered the clearance granted the very next day, the Times reports.

It turns out there’s also a paper trail. As the Times notes, then-White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly wrote a “contemporaneous internal memo” detailing how he had been “ordered” to give Kushner the clearance. McGahn also wrote an internal memo detailing both the concerns that intelligence officials had about Kushner and why he recommended against granting Kushner a top-secret clearance.

House Democrats, who are already looking into how Kushner and other officials were granted security clearances, are likely to investigate this latest move by Trump. The House Oversight Committee issued a statement threatening stepped-up subpoena action.

And Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) said the Intelligence Committee, which he chairs, would lend that effort an assist. Schiff pointed out that the new revelations expose the “deep unease that national security officials have about Kushner’s suitability” for “access to the nation’s most tightly held secrets,” adding: “There is no nepotism exception for background investigations.”

Democrats should subpoena those memos

As part of such an effort, House Democrats can subpoena those memos by Kelly and McGahn and, possibly, try to release them publicly as well.

“Congress should subpoena the memos,” Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif), who is on the Intelligence and Judiciary committees, told me. “They would inform us as to whether the recommendations of experienced background investigators were being ignored, and whether this jeopardized national security secrets. The public should know if our secrets are in the hands of unscrupulous individuals.”

“It’s crucial for the appropriate congressional committees to find out the truth of what happened here, and getting hold of these documents it appears would be the best way to do that,” Noah Bookbinder, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said.

Bookbinder said that House Democrats should try not just to obtain the memos but also to release them, albeit with appropriate redactions. “Ultimately the public needs to know if the president is overriding national security interests based on personal relationships that he has,” Bookbinder said, adding that Democrats should aim for public release of as much information as national security permits, “in the interests of accountability.”

Trump may not have thought this one through

Note that Trump took this step way back in May 2018, long before Democrats took control of the House. At that time, the notion that Congress might exercise real oversight on Trump was probably very far from his mind.

In this case, we’re talking about an act of astonishing corruption and recklessness — with an unusual capacity for doing Trump political damage. Just to be very clear, the Times report notes that intelligence officials didn’t want to grant Kushner top-secret security clearance.

It’s not entirely clear why this was so — the Times says officials had concerns about contacts between Kushner’s and his family’s business ties to foreign investors and governors. But the mere fact that intelligence officials were concerned itself will now invite intensified scrutiny from House Democrats. That will throw Trump’s decision to override those officials into sharper relief.

The task of looking into this will probably be divided among various committees, according to Susan Hennessey, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. The House Intelligence Committee might try to establish what intelligence officials learned about Kushner that raised red flags, while the Oversight Committee might look into how Trump corrupted the security clearance process on behalf of his son in law.

As Hennessey said, the Oversight Committee should subpoena the Kelly memo in particular, because it is focused on detailing how he was “ordered” to grant Kushner the security clearance. Kelly probably wrote this memo precisely because he wanted to create a “paper trail,” Hennessey noted.

“Kelly didn’t just decide to create a contemporaneous memo like this for his own records,” Hennessey told me, adding that he might have been “motivated by an underlying fear that Kushner somehow presents a national security threat.” Hennessey added that this should lead Democrats to treat this as an “urgent” oversight matter, including subpoenaing the document to “share it with the public.”

Trump is still trapped in 2018

To be sure, the White House will fight hard against such a release, invoking executive privilege and national security. “But these committees were set up to be able to review sensitive documents, and they’ve got all kinds of ways to do that,” Bookbinder said.

Trump rage-tweeted a command Friday morning that Congress must find ways of discrediting the devastating testimony offered by his former lawyer Michael Cohen, suggesting Trump still inhabits a mental universe where the House functions as his 24/7 bodyguard against accountability. But now that Democrats control the House, some of the things Trump did during his first two blissful oversight-free years may be transforming into ticking time bombs. ... e4927d5f71


In a notice given to Roger Stone, the government disclosed that evidence relevant to his case was “derived from search warrants executed” in the investigation that led to the GRU indictment. ... Other.html

Stone has filed an objection to the designation of the GRU indictment as a related case, which is how we have this doc. His atty points out, reasonably, that he hasn’t been charged with hacking or conspiring w GRU, just lying and obstructing/witness tampering. Watch this space. ... 1830536192

Roger Stone refuses to deny Mueller has a witness who heard him talking to Trump about WikiLeaks

Jeffrey Toobin’s big New Yorker profile of Trump ally Roger Stone contains a tantalizing nugget about information special counsel Robert Mueller may have about Stone’s conversations with President Donald Trump.

In his interview with Stone, Toobin asks the now-indicted Trump ally to comment on “persistent rumors that Mueller has a witness who says he heard Trump and Stone on a speakerphone discussing WikiLeaks.”

Stone simply replied by saying, “Prove it.”

Stone also told Toobin that “I have no memory of ever talking about WikiLeaks with [Trump].”

Trump and Stone were regularly in contact throughout the 2016 presidential election, when Stone was working to get information about hacked emails that were given to WikiLeaks and that were designed to damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

And as Toobin notes, the Stone indictment “speaks of an unnamed person, possibly Trump himself, who ‘directed’ a senior campaign official to tell Stone to find out what was coming from WikiLeaks” during the 2016 presidential campaign.

In the indictment, Mueller alleges that Stone lied to Congressional investigators about his efforts to reach out to WikiLeaks for information about emails that were stolen from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta. Additionally, Mueller claims that Stone sent threatening messages to talk show host Randy Credico that encouraged him to similarly lie to investigators. ... wikileaks/

Brad Heath

Mueller's office says in a new court filing that investigators executed search warrants on accounts used to "facilitate the transfer of stolen documents for release" and several included communications with Roger Stone.


Mueller's office says the charges against Roger Stone "are part of the same alleged criminal event or transaction" as the ones it filed against Russian intelligence officers for hacking Democratic political organizations.

Image ... 3952496640

Special counsel prosecutors say they have communications of Stone with WikiLeaks

Washington (CNN)Prosecutors said for the first time that they have evidence of Roger Stone communicating with WikiLeaks, according to a new court filing from special counsel prosecutors.

During its investigation of the Russian hack of the Democrats, "the government obtained and executed dozens of search warrants on various accounts used to facilitate the transfer of stolen documents for release, as well as to discuss the timing and promotion of their release," the prosecutors wrote Friday to a federal judge.

"Several of those search warrants were executed on accounts that contained Stone's communications with Guccifer 2.0 and with Organization 1," which is WikiLeaks.

Previously, the prosecutors had only outlined how Stone attempted to get in touch with WikiLeaks' Julian Assange through intermediaries. Stone sought to learn about what the hackers had stolen from the Democratic Party and how he hoped for its release so it could help Donald Trump's campaign, prosecutors have said.

The new filing provided no further details on what was contained in the communications.

There is one known exchange of messages between WikiLeaks and Stone. In February 2018, the Atlantic reported the Stone exchanged direct messages via Twitter with the WikiLeaks account in which Stone was asked to stop associating himself with the site. Both denied they were in contact about the release of Clinton emails.
The prosecutors have not yet explained in full the extent to which Stone actually reached WikiLeaks or Assange, or levied public charges against them for their role in the distribution of the hacked data.

Friday's filing is the strongest detail yet provided by the prosecutors that Stone and WikiLeaks were in touch.

Prosecutors stated that in obtaining the accounts, they found communications between Stone and WikiLeaks, which is only described as Organization 1, as well as Guccifer 2.0 which is the alias used by Russian intelligence to disseminate the documents.

Stone and his legal team will have access to these search warrants as they review evidence in the case to prepare for his trial. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of witness tampering, obstruction of justice and lying.

Case will not be reassigned

Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Friday denied Stone's attempt to get a new judge in his case, by alleging that his charges are unrelated to a case about the Russian hack of the Democrats. Prosecutors say they are indeed related, partly because they both hinge on some of the same search warrants.

Gag order

Jackson also placed a gag order on Stone and attorneys involved in his criminal case, though Stone's ability to speak publicly isn't completely restricted.

Lawyers "for the parties and the witnesses must refrain from making statements to the media or in public settings that pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case," Jackson wrote.

They, their clients and even Stone are also not allowed to speak in and around the courthouse. ... index.html


This is the filing I've been waiting for today. The SCO says evidence in Roger Stone's case was found in accounts that were searched for the GRU case, in which 11 Russian military officers were charged with a conspiracy to interfere in the election.


In other words, following the evidence from the Russian side of the investigation led the Special Counsel's Office to Roger Stone. Consider the implications of that.

For another, it includes the first SCO confirmation of @NatashaBertrand's report that Stone communicated directly with Assange. It also firmly ties Stone to paragraph 44 of the Netyshko indictment, which quoted his DMs with Guccifer 2.0 but didn't name him. ... 6222486528


February 15, 2019/7 Comments/in 2016 Presidential Election, Mueller Probe /by empty wheel

In response to Roger Stone’s bid to get a new judge, the government has submitted a filing explaining why his case is related to the GRU indictment. It explains that Stone’s alleged false statements pertained to an investigation into links between the Russians who stole Democratic emails, entities who dumped them, and US persons like Stone:

The defendant’s false statements did not arise in a vacuum: they were made in the course of an investigation into possible links between Russian individuals (including the Netyksho defendants), individuals associated with the dumping of materials (including Organization 1), and U.S. persons (including the defendant).

More interestingly, it makes clear that Stone’s communications “with Guccifer 2.0 and with Organization 1” were found in some of the accounts used to transfer and promote the stolen emails.

In the course of investigating that activity, the government obtained and executed dozens of search warrants on various accounts used to facilitate the transfer of stolen documents for release, as well as to discuss the timing and promotion of their release. Several of those search warrants were executed on accounts that contained Stone’s communications with Guccifer 2.0 and with Organization 1.

To be clear: We know that Stone had (innocuous) DMs with both Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks. So this passage is not necessarily saying anything new. But given that Stone’s indictment obscures precisely who his and Jerome Corsi’s go-between with WikiLeaks is, it suggests there may be more direct Stone communications of interest.

Stone will get a sealed description of what those warrants are and — eventually — get the warrants themselves in discovery.

The relevant search warrants, which are being produced to the defendant in discovery in this case, are discussed further in a sealed addendum to this filing.

Meanwhile, Amy Berman Jackson has issued a very limited gag in Stone’s case, prohibiting lawyers from material comments on the case, but gagging Stone only at the courthouse. That said, her gag includes lawyers for witnesses, which would seem to include Jerome Corsi lawyer Larry Klayman.

Counsel for the parties and the witnesses must refrain from making statements to the media or in public settings that pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case

ABJ does give Stone the following warnings to shut up, however.

This order should not be interpreted as modifying or superseding the condition of the defendant’s release that absolutely prohibits him from communicating with any witness in the case, either directly or indirectly. Nor does this order permit the defendant to intimidate or threaten any witness, or to engage or attempt to engage in any conduct in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1512.

Finally, while it is not up to the Court to advise the defendant as to whether a succession of public statements would be in his best interest at this time, it notes that one factor that will be considered in the evaluation of any future request for relief based on pretrial publicity will be the extent to which the publicity was engendered by the defendant himself.

So the biggest news here might be that Larry Klayman has to shut up. ... ic-emails/

"Trump is grooming Jared and Ivanka for a dynastic kleptocracy. This is what you see in autocracies and in mafia states. It's a way to keep corruption going and keep that money flowing. This is a massive national security risk."

“It is ridiculous that we are in this deja news cycle where I appear on TV again and again to have the same conversation about Kushner lying on his clearance forms. They need to indict Jared Kushner, indict Ivanka Trump, and get this crime family out of the White House!

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

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

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Mar 03, 2019 11:11 am

a record has to be set before impeachment starts .......,many hearings are needed to collect need the public to hear all the evidence so they understand the crimes.. need evidence to start impeachment...enough evidence is needed to get the Senate to vote for impeachment ....THAT'S HOW IT WORKS

I followed the impeachment of Nixon closely I understand how it works

and then there is the SDNY ...they will prosecute the multiple crimes of the trump crime family in state court where pardons are not going to happen...state crimes are NOT pardonable

we can not allow a situation where Pence is president because he will pardon trump.....there is a plan

On ABC this morning, Judiciary Chairman Nadler announces “we will be issuing document requests to over 60 different people ... including Don Jr and Allen Weisselberg” as part of the committee’s investigation into obstruction

Stephanopoulos: "Do you think the president obstructed justice?"

House Judiciary chair Jerry Nadler: "Yes, I do. It's very clear that the president obstructed justice."

Nadler tells Stephanopoulos that trump giving his son-in-law a clearance was an abuse of power.

A BuzzFeed Reporter Explains His Controversial Reporting on Michael Cohen and Donald Trump

Isaac Chotiner
In January, BuzzFeed published perhaps the clearest accusation against President Trump in all of the reporting about the Russia investigation. Under the headline “President Trump Instructed His Attorney Michael Cohen to Lie About the Moscow Tower Project,” the article, written by the BuzzFeed News senior investigative reporter Jason Leopold and his colleague Anthony Cormier, said that the President had personally instructed Cohen to lie to Congress about when negotiations on the project ended, and that the office of the special counsel, Robert Mueller, had learned about “Trump’s directive for Cohen to lie to Congress through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents.” The story was sourced to “two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter.” However, once it was published, other federal officials spoke up. Mueller’s office released a rare public statement, saying that “BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the special counsel’s office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony are not accurate.” BuzzFeed, and its editor, Ben Smith, have stood by the story.

This controversy, and the underlying question of whether Trump had directed Cohen to lie, were two of the many reasons that people were anxious to hear Cohen’s public testimony on Wednesday to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. In his opening statement, Cohen claimed that “Mr. Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress. That’s not how he operates. In conversations we had during the campaign, at the same time I was actively negotiating in Russia for him, he would look me in the eye and tell me there’s no Russian business and then go on to lie to the American people by saying the same thing. In his way, he was telling me to lie.” The strong language that BuzzFeed used—which described Cohen’s earlier testimony as “the first known example of Trump telling a subordinate to lie directly about his own dealings with Russia”—appeared to conflict with Cohen’s account. At the same time, Cohen confirmed other aspects of BuzzFeed’s reporting, including that he briefed Donald Trump, Jr., and Ivanka Trump on the deal, and that, as BuzzFeed wrote, “attorneys close to the administration helped Cohen prepare his testimony and draft his statement to the Senate panel.” On Wednesday, Cohen said that “Mr. Trump’s personal lawyers reviewed and edited my statement to Congress about the timing of the Moscow Tower negotiations before I gave it.”

I recently spoke by phone with Leopold about his reporting of this story and his other work on the Trump-Russia affair. Leopold, who was previously at Vice News, is considered an expert at using Freedom of Information Act requests and was part of a team of BuzzFeed reporters who were Pulitzer Prize finalists in 2018. He has also been the subject of controversy. In 2002, Salon removed an article from its Web site after Leopold was accused of inaccuracy and plagiarism. Four years later, he incorrectly reported that Karl Rove, George W. Bush’s deputy chief of staff, had been indicted in the investigation into the outing of the C.I.A. agent Valerie Plame. (Leopold was open about past substance abuse and mental health issues in a 2006 memoir, “News Junkie.”) His work with Cormier on the Trump Tower Moscow project has advanced that story significantly, despite the controversy surrounding it. My conversation with Leopold, which has been edited for length and clarity, is below.

Do you have any evidence that what Michael Cohen said to Congress this week was incorrect or dishonest?

Was incorrect or dishonest? You know, I cannot talk about any of the evidence, documents, or anything that I have that may relate to any stories that I will be working on in the future.

So, that’s your answer for that question? You don’t feel like you can go beyond that?

I mean, I will say that I have evidence that what he said to Congress as it pertains to the story that Anthony Cormier and I wrote was correct, but whether he has anything that’s dishonest, I mean, it may relate to things that I am writing in the future. I don’t have anything to say about that.

Do you believe that what Cohen said backs up your story? It seems like you just said that.

Video From The New Yorker

Yes, Cohen confirmed the central thesis of our report. The President met with him before his false testimony, White House lawyers edited his false testimony before he gave it, and Cohen understood that the President was directing him to lie to Congress. [Cohen claimed that the changes were made by Trump’s personal lawyers, not White House lawyers.]

In the piece, you wrote, in what was the central thesis of your story, that this was “the first known example of Trump explicitly telling a subordinate to lie directly about his own dealings with Russia.” Was that language accurate?

So, you know, Cohen totally understood that he was being directed by Trump to lie to Congress. He did not mention how many meetings or explicit words that the President may have spoken that led him to lie. And, you know, more may come out, but Cohen himself made it clear in his testimony that he and Trump both understood this to be explicit, that he should lie to Congress. And he made it clear that it was an explicit command.

Do you think him saying “He did not directly tell me to lie” contradicts at all you writing that this was “the first known example of Trump explicitly telling a subordinate to lie?”

Those people are seizing onto Cohen’s use of the word “directly.” The President didn’t “directly tell me to lie.” That’s an adverb that characterizes the underlying instruction to lie. And Cohen says almost immediately after that that the President was telling him to lie “in his way.” So there is no longer any question about the direction Trump gave Cohen. The debate is now about how the direction was given, and a lot of people don’t want to admit that they were wrong.

And if I could just go back to the question you asked me about “explicit.” Let me just say this: Anthony and I and, obviously, BuzzFeed are standing by what our sources told us, which is not contradicted by Cohen’s testimony, and what he said is that he knew a hundred per cent what the President was telling him to do. You know, Isaac, if that is not an explicit instruction, then everything short of “Michael, please lie for me” isn’t, either. Cohen understood it to be an order, a direction, an instruction.

Cohen’s sentencing memo, which was made public in the month before your story, stated that “We address the campaign finance and false statements allegations together because both arose from Michael’s fierce loyalty to Client-1. In each case, the conduct was intended to benefit Client-1, in accordance with Client-1’s directives.” It seems like what Cohen stated to Congress last week is not really different than what was in the sentencing memo, correct?

It would seem that way, yes, you are absolutely correct.

So then, in terms of the central thesis of your story, how do you think it was different than what Mueller’s sentencing memo said? Do you think it was different?

I feel that it was different because the story itself had many other examples of what Cohen and what Trump were discussing as it pertained to Trump Tower Moscow. That was a single line. What our story did was expand upon certainly what was in the sentencing memo, and we discussed all the contacts that Cohen and Trump had related to the Trump Tower Moscow project. Cohen testified that there were ten discussions he had with Trump, or the Trump family. Our story states, based on these two law-enforcement sources, that they had ten discussions, that Don, Jr., and Ivanka Trump were involved, that Trump was very eager to go to Russia. So our story fleshes out further what the sentencing memo essentially implied.

I don’t want to take away credit from your story for getting things we also heard from Cohen on Wednesday. I am just trying to understand about this central issue. It seems to me that the way in which your story maybe went further than the Mueller sentencing memo about directives was not confirmed by Cohen. Do you think that is fair?

I do not think that’s fair. I think Cohen confirmed that he was directed to lie. I am very comfortable with the use of the word “directed.”

And explicitly? O.K.

I think, at this point, Isaac, that people are twisting themselves into pretzels to justify their earlier reporting that doubted the central claims in our story rather than trying to get at the truth of what Trump actually said to Cohen to make him lie, which Cohen acknowledged multiple times in the hearing.

You wrote, “The special counsel’s office learned about Trump’s directive for Cohen to lie to Congress through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents. Cohen then acknowledged those instructions during his interviews with that office.” Is your belief that this documentary evidence presents any sort of a different picture than the one Cohen provided to Congress, or is it essentially the same?

So, you are going to have to forgive me. When it comes down to at least the documents, standing by what we reported, I don’t want to get into anything else further about the characterization of those documents, largely because there have been calls for a leak investigation. Judicial Watch recently sent a letter to the Inspector General calling for a leak investigation into the two law-enforcement sources who have been leaking for us. So, when it came down to what any documents may or may not say, I don’t even want to discuss that because of those issues.

Cormier said in an interview that you were briefed on the documents, but neither of you had seen them. Is that correct? [In the interview, on NPR, Cormier, when asked if he had seen the documents, stated “I have not. But our two sources [are] fully, a hundred-per-cent read into this. They have reviewed these documents in person.”] ... nald-trump

Remember that phone call from trump after the FBI raid that Cohen said he couldn’t talk about, because it’s under investigation by SDNY?

Lawmakers exploring possible pardon talks involving Michael Cohen - The Washington Post

Lawmakers exploring possible pardon talks involving Michael Cohen

Michael Cohen, President Trump's former personal lawyer, testifies before the House Oversight Committee in Washington on Feb. 27, 2019. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
By Matt Zapotosky ,
Tom Hamburger and
Karoun Demirjian March 2 at 7:30 PM
Lawmakers are investigating whether President Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen was involved in any discussions about possible pardons — which they view as a potentially ripe area of inquiry into whether anyone sought to obstruct justice, people familiar with the matter said.

Cohen has said publicly he never asked for — and would not accept — a pardon from Trump. But people familiar with the matter said his knowledge on the topic seems to extend beyond that statement.

Privately, lawmakers on the House and Senate intelligence committees pressed Cohen this week on whether he had had any discussions about a possible pardon, and if so, when and with whom those conversations took place, the people said. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because the testimony was not public.

It was not immediately clear what, if anything, Cohen told lawmakers to pique their interest. Depending on the details, such pardon talks could be incendiary, suggesting an effort to dissuade Cohen from cooperating with law enforcement. Cohen is to return to the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.

[Congress says it’s not done with Michael Cohen yet]

Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, declined to comment on the closed-door testimony, though he said on MSNBC on Thursday night that “new information was developed that could be game changing,” and it was about “lying and obstruction evidence.”

President Trump’s attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani on July 8 said that there have not been conversations about pardoning Trump’s longtime fixer Michael Cohen. (JM Rieger/The Washington Post)
“It’s pretty explosive,” he said.

Cohen — who pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations, bank and tax fraud and lying to Congress and was sentenced to three years in prison — is not a completely reliable narrator, and he and his allies have been known to exaggerate. Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) wrote Thursday to Attorney General William P. Barr asking him to investigate whether Cohen had perjured himself when he insisted to the House Oversight Committee he had not wanted a job in the Trump administration and was content to serve as Trump’s personal lawyer.

That assertion has been called into question by Cohen’s own public statements and White House officials. Trump tweeted after the hearing that Cohen “committed perjury on a scale not seen before.”

Cohen described in testimony this week how he lied over and over for the president — even if it put himself in legal jeopardy because he sought to cover up crimes, or relayed falsehoods to Congress. But he asserted he was no longer under the spell of the commander in chief and was ready to come clean.

“I am no longer your fixer, Mr. Trump,” Cohen declared.

[A recap of Cohen’s explosive House Oversight Committee testimony]

As part of a broader inquiry into whether the president’s campaign conspired with the Kremlin to win the election, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has been investigating whether Trump sought to obstruct justice. Mueller’s obstruction probe has focused on the firing of James B. Comey as FBI director — which Trump has said publicly he did while thinking about the Russia investigation — as well as Trump’s repeated attacks on the Justice Department and then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from overseeing what would become Mueller’s inquiry.

Mueller is widely expected to be nearing the end of his investigation, and Congress has been pressing to make sure the Justice Department will turn over his findings in full.

Legal analysts said Cohen’s testimony, while noteworthy, probably offered more new details to lawmakers and the public than it did to law enforcement. Cohen has said he would continue to cooperate with the special counsel and federal prosecutors, and he revealed during his testimony that he was in “constant” contact with the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York.

“I can’t imagine he was saying things that suddenly comprised new information for the Southern District of New York or for Mueller to consider,” said James M. Trusty, a former federal prosecutor and Justice Department organized-crime chief now in private practice at Ifrah Law.

Cohen said notably before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday that he knew of no “direct evidence” that Trump and his campaign colluded with Russia. But he alleged that the president knew in advance of a July 2016 email dump by the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks, which obtained Democrats’ emails that Mueller has alleged were hacked by Russian operatives. And Cohen said the president vigorously urged his advisers to send the message that there had been no dealings with Russia — which could inform Mueller’s obstruction case.

[Two days in July: As Republicans convened in Cleveland, did Trump receive a heads-up about WikiLeaks?]

Cohen asserted that the president and his supporters even threatened him as he prepared to testify before Congress. On the eve of his public appearance Wednesday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) tweeted, without evidence, an allegation that Cohen had extramarital affairs. Gaetz soon deleted the message and apologized.

Cohen also hinted at an investigation involving the president, asserting that federal prosecutors in Manhattan had asked him not to discuss his communication with Trump after the FBI raided his home and office in April.

Asked whether there was “any other wrongdoing or illegal act that you are aware of regarding Donald Trump” that had not been discussed at the hearing, Cohen responded, “Yes, and again, those are part of the investigation that’s currently being looked at by the Southern District of New York.” A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York declined to comment.

Perhaps most notable in the area of obstruction, Cohen said that in May 2017, he met with Trump and Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s lawyers, to discuss testimony Cohen was to give to the House Intelligence Committee. Trump, Cohen said, “wanted me to cooperate.” But he said Trump also repeated a refrain that is now familiar to those on Twitter.

“He goes, ‘It’s all a witch hunt,’ and he goes, ‘This stuff has to end,’ ” Cohen said.

“Did you take those comments to be suggestive of what might flavor your testimony?” Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) asked.

“Sir, he’s been saying that to me for many, many months, and at the end of the day, I knew exactly what he wanted me to say,” Cohen responded.

Ultimately, Cohen would testify to Congress that discussions about a possible Trump Tower project in Moscow ended in January 2016 — when in fact they continued for months after that, into the heart of the presidential campaign. Cohen would later plead guilty to the lie.

The topic remains of keen interest to lawmakers. Cohen conceded that Trump had not asked him to lie, though he noted that Sekulow, as well as attorney Abbe Lowell — who represents Ivanka Trump, Trump’s daughter, and her husband, Jared Kushner — reviewed his written testimony before it was submitted.

At one point, Cohen suggested that Sekulow was involved in a change about “the length of time that the Trump Tower Moscow project stayed and remained alive.” And Davis, Cohen’s lawyer, said of the statement on MSNBC on Thursday night, “Everybody knew it was a lie” — effectively accusing Sekulow or others of knowingly passing on Cohen’s false statement.

But Davis corrected the statement and apologized Friday, saying, he had meant to say “the president and many of his advisers must have known” Cohen’s statement was false.

“I should not have used the words that ‘everyone knew’ the statement was false,” Davis said. “My only excuse for the error is sleep deprivation. Apologies.”

A person familiar with Cohen’s account said he cannot say with certainty whether Sekulow, Lowell or other White House advisers knew the discussions about the Trump Tower project extended well into 2016, and thus knew Cohen’s statement was false. Sekulow said in a statement that Cohen’s assertion that “attorneys for the President edited or changed his statement to Congress to alter the duration of the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations is completely false.”

A person familiar with the matter said Lowell did not edit Cohen’s statement but did voice a concern about the accuracy of some mention of Ivanka Trump’s dealings with Russian athlete Dmitry Klokov. Cohen ultimately did not address Klokov in the statement. Lowell declined to comment.

Cohen’s team is working to find drafts of Cohen’s statement that would reflect who edited what, and turn them over to lawmakers, people familiar with the matter said. Even that, though, might not implicate lawyers in knowingly passing along a lie — if their clients had not been truthful with them.

“The greatest fear of the best lawyers is clients who do not come entirely clean with them,” said Jacob Frenkel, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice at Dickinson Wright.

While Cohen said Trump often talked in “code,” he suggested that the president was not always subtle in directing a coverup. For example, Cohen said that at Trump’s direction he paid $130,000 to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels in October 2016 so that she would stay quiet about an alleged affair with Trump, and that Trump reimbursed him for it the following year. Cohen has admitted that the payment violated campaign finance laws.

Cohen said that Trump asked him to lie about the Stormy Daniels matter to Melania Trump, and that he did, and that in 2018, when news of the payments broke, Cohen said Trump called him while he was meeting with a reporter and suggested he say the president “was not knowledgeable of these reimbursements and he wasn’t knowledgeable of my actions.”

Cohen said that in a meeting in the Oval Office, he and the president had discussed Cohen’s being repaid, and he said also that during his presidency, Trump personally signed a check to reimburse him. ... a3f8d90a4a

Stone has violated his gag order

Somebody’s going to be breaking rocks soon. :)

Josh Marshall

So the release of Roger Stone’s book attacking the DOJ and the Mueller probe isn’t “imminent”. A big chunk is already published... just a few examples here

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

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

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Mar 03, 2019 6:14 pm

as expected, the document requests are going out to Donald trump Jr and trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg. But according to a new report from the WSJ this afternoon, the list also includes Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump, and Jared Kushner, along with John Kelly, Don McGahn, and longtime Trump secretary Rhona Graff.

House Judiciary Committee to Seek Documents From Trump’s Sons, Longtime Financial Chief
Nadler plans to contact more than 60 associates of the president as part of House investigation
By Rebecca Ballhaus and Dustin Volz
March 3, 2019 12:40 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON—The House Judiciary Committee this week plans to request documents from more than 60 associates of President Trump, including from his sons and from his longtime chief financial officer, as part of a House investigation into obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power. ... 1551634807

the impeachment process against Donald Trump has now begun –

Ted Lieu is offering additional insight into the probe. Ted Lieu’s statement reads:

The House Judiciary Committee is starting a massive investigation into whether Donald Trump and his family and associates committed crimes or engaged in unethical misconduct. We cannot avert our eyes to the evidence plainly before us that crimes and other misconduct may have been committed by Trump and those within his orbit.

“Unlike the narrow scope of the Special Counsel’s investigation–whether there is enough evidence to charge a person with a crime related to Russian interference–the Judiciary Committee’s oversight mission is far more broad. We want to know if Executive Branch officials, including the President, committed any crimes or engaged in any unethical misconduct.

“We will hold hearings, interview witnesses, analyze documents and build a record. Our investigation will either exonerate Trump and those around him, or it won’t. We will then have a conversation with the American people on how to proceed after we conclude our investigation. I want to commend Chairman Jerry Nadler for his strong and steady leadership, and look forward to working with him on this critical investigation.
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
User avatar
Posts: 32090
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

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

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:58 am

Explicit, implicit, directed, ordered.


The Making of the Fox News White House

Fox News has always been partisan. But has it become propaganda?

Jane Mayer
In January, during the longest government shutdown in America’s history, President Donald Trump rode in a motorcade through Hidalgo County, Texas, eventually stopping on a grassy bluff overlooking the Rio Grande. The White House wanted to dramatize what Trump was portraying as a national emergency: the need to build a wall along the Mexican border. The presence of armored vehicles, bales of confiscated marijuana, and federal agents in flak jackets underscored the message.

But the photo op dramatized something else about the Administration. After members of the press pool got out of vans and headed over to where the President was about to speak, they noticed that Sean Hannity, the Fox News host, was already on location. Unlike them, he hadn’t been confined by the Secret Service, and was mingling with Administration officials, at one point hugging Kirstjen Nielsen, the Secretary of Homeland Security. The pool report noted that Hannity was seen “huddling” with the White House communications director, Bill Shine. After the photo op, Hannity had an exclusive on-air interview with Trump. Politico later reported that it was Hannity’s seventh interview with the President, and Fox’s forty-second. Since then, Trump has given Fox two more. He has granted only ten to the three other main television networks combined, and none to CNN, which he denounces as “fake news.”

Hannity was treated in Texas like a member of the Administration because he virtually is one. The same can be said of Fox’s chairman, Rupert Murdoch. Fox has long been a bane of liberals, but in the past two years many people who watch the network closely, including some Fox alumni, say that it has evolved into something that hasn’t existed before in the United States. Nicole Hemmer, an assistant professor of Presidential studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center and the author of “Messengers of the Right,” a history of the conservative media’s impact on American politics, says of Fox, “It’s the closest we’ve come to having state TV.”

Hemmer argues that Fox—which, as the most watched cable news network, generates about $2.7 billion a year for its parent company, 21st Century Fox—acts as a force multiplier for Trump, solidifying his hold over the Republican Party and intensifying his support. “Fox is not just taking the temperature of the base—it’s raising the temperature,” she says. “It’s a radicalization model.” For both Trump and Fox, “fear is a business strategy—it keeps people watching.” As the President has been beset by scandals, congressional hearings, and even talk of impeachment, Fox has been both his shield and his sword. The White House and Fox interact so seamlessly that it can be hard to determine, during a particular news cycle, which one is following the other’s lead. All day long, Trump retweets claims made on the network; his press secretary, Sarah Sanders, has largely stopped holding press conferences, but she has made some thirty appearances on such shows as “Fox & Friends” and “Hannity.” Trump, Hemmer says, has “almost become a programmer.”

Fox’s defenders view such criticism as unfounded and politically biased. Ken LaCorte, who was in senior management at Fox News for nearly twenty years, until 2016, and recently started his own news service, told me, “The people at Fox said the same thing about the press and Obama.” Fox’s public-relations department offers numerous examples of its reporters and talk-show hosts challenging the Administration. Chris Wallace, a tough-minded and ecumenical interviewer, recently grilled Stephen Miller, a senior Trump adviser, on the need for a border wall, given that virtually all drugs seized at the border are discovered at checkpoints. Trump is not the first President to have a favorite media organization; James Madison and Andrew Jackson were each boosted by partisan newspapers. But many people who have watched and worked with Fox over the years, including some leading conservatives, regard Fox’s deepening Trump orthodoxy with alarm. Bill Kristol, who was a paid contributor to Fox News until 2012 and is a prominent Never Trumper, said of the network, “It’s changed a lot. Before, it was conservative, but it wasn’t crazy. Now it’s just propaganda.” Joe Peyronnin, a professor of journalism at N.Y.U., was an early president of Fox News, in the mid-nineties. “I’ve never seen anything like it before,” he says of Fox. “It’s as if the President had his own press organization. It’s not healthy.”

Nothing has formalized the partnership between Fox and Trump more than the appointment, in July, 2018, of Bill Shine, the former co-president of Fox News, as director of communications and deputy chief of staff at the White House. Kristol says of Shine, “When I first met him, he was producing Hannity’s show at Fox, and the two were incredibly close.” Both come from white working-class families on Long Island, and they are godfathers to each other’s children, who refer to them as “Uncle Bill” and “Uncle Sean.” Another former colleague says, “They spend their vacations together.” A third recalls, “I was rarely in Shine’s office when Sean didn’t call. And I was in Shine’s office a lot. They talked all the time—many times a day.”

Shine led Fox News’ programming division for a dozen years, overseeing the morning and evening opinion shows, which collectively get the biggest ratings and define the network’s conservative brand. Straight news was not within his purview. In July, 2016, Roger Ailes, the co-founder and C.E.O. of Fox, was fired in the face of numerous allegations of chronic sexual harassment, and Shine became co-president. But within a year he, too, had been forced out, amid a second wave of sexual-harassment allegations, some of them against Fox’s biggest star at the time, Bill O’Reilly. Shine wasn’t personally accused of sexual harassment, but several lawsuits named him as complicit in a workplace culture of coverups, payoffs, and victim intimidation.

Shine, who has denied any wrongdoing, has kept a low profile at the White House, and rejects interview requests, including one from this magazine. But Kristol contends that Shine’s White House appointment is a scandal. “It’s been wildly under-covered,” he said. “It’s astounding that Shine—the guy who covered up Ailes’s horrible behavior—is the deputy chief of staff!”

The Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin, another conservative Never Trumper, used to appear on the network, but wouldn’t do so now. “Fox was begun as a good-faith effort to counter bias, but it’s morphed into something that is not even news,” she says. “It’s simply a mouthpiece for the President, repeating what the President says, no matter how false or contradictory.” The feedback loop is so strong, she notes, that Trump “will even pick up an error made by Fox,” as when he promoted on Twitter a bogus Fox story claiming that South Africa was “seizing land from white farmers.” Rubin told me, “It’s funny that Bill Shine went over to the White House. He could have stayed in his old job. The only difference is payroll.”

With Shine, the Fox and White House payrolls actually do overlap. The Hollywood Reporter obtained financial-disclosure forms revealing that Fox has been paying Shine millions of dollars since he joined the Administration. Last year, he collected the first half of a seven-million-dollar bonus that he was owed after resigning from Fox; this year, he will collect the remainder. That sum is in addition to an $8.4-million severance payment that he received upon leaving the network. In December, four Democratic senators sent a letter to the White House counsel’s office, demanding proof that Fox’s payments to Shine don’t violate federal ethics and conflict-of-interest statutes.

Shine is only the most recent Fox News alumnus to join the Trump Administration. Among others, Trump appointed the former Fox contributor Ben Carson to be his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the former Fox commentator John Bolton to be his national-security adviser, and the former Fox commentator K. T. McFarland to be his deputy national-security adviser. (McFarland resigned after four months.) Trump recently picked the former Fox News anchor Heather Nauert to be the Ambassador to the United Nations, but she soon withdrew herself from consideration, reportedly because her nanny, an immigrant, lacked a work permit. The White House door swings both ways: Hope Hicks, Shine’s predecessor in the communications job, is now the top public-relations officer at 21st Century Fox. Several others who have left the Trump White House, including Sebastian Gorka, a former adviser on national security, regularly appear on Fox. Gorka recently insisted, on Fox Business, that one of Trump’s biggest setbacks—retreating from the shutdown without securing border-wall funds—was actually a “masterstroke.”

Other former Fox News celebrities have practically become part of the Trump family. Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former co-host of “The Five,” left Fox in July; she is now working on Trump’s reëlection campaign and dating Donald Trump, Jr. (Guilfoyle left the network mid-contract, after a former Fox employee threatened to sue the network for harassment and accused Guilfoyle of sharing lewd images, among other misconduct; Fox and the former employee reached a multimillion-dollar settlement. A lawyer who represents Guilfoyle said that “any suggestion” that she “engaged in misconduct at Fox is patently false.”) Pete Hegseth and Lou Dobbs, hosts on Fox Business, have each been patched into Oval Office meetings, by speakerphone, to offer policy advice. Sean Hannity has told colleagues that he speaks to the President virtually every night, after his show ends, at 10 P.M. According to the Washington Post, White House advisers have taken to calling Hannity the Shadow Chief of Staff. A Republican political expert who has a paid contract with Fox News told me that Hannity has essentially become a “West Wing adviser,” attributing this development, in part, to the “utter breakdown of any normal decision-making in the White House.” The expert added, “The place has gone off the rails. There is no ordinary policy-development system.” As a result, he said, Fox’s on-air personalities “are filling the vacuum.”

Axios recently reported that sixty per cent of Trump’s day is spent in unstructured “executive time,” much of it filled by television. Charlie Black, a longtime Republican lobbyist in Washington, whose former firm, Black, Manafort & Stone, advised Trump in the eighties and nineties, told me, “Trump gets up and watches ‘Fox & Friends’ and thinks these are his friends. He thinks anything on Fox is friendly. But the problem is he gets unvetted ideas.” Trump has told confidants that he has ranked the loyalty of many reporters, on a scale of 1 to 10. Bret Baier, Fox News’ chief political anchor, is a 6; Hannity a solid 10. Steve Doocy, the co-host of “Fox & Friends,” is so adoring that Trump gives him a 12.

It is hardly unprecedented for American media barons to go beyond their pages to try to influence the course of politics. At the 1960 Democratic National Convention, Philip Graham, the co-owner of the Washington Post, helped broker a deal in which John F. Kennedy selected Lyndon Johnson as his running mate. But now a direct pipeline has been established between the Oval Office and the office of Rupert Murdoch, the Australian-born billionaire who founded News Corp and 21st Century Fox. Multiple sources told me that Murdoch and Trump often talk on the phone. A former aide to Trump, who has been in the Oval Office when Murdoch has called, says, “It’s two men who’ve known each other for a very long time having frank conversations. The President certainly doesn’t kowtow to Murdoch, but Murdoch also doesn’t to him. He speaks to him the same way he would have five years ago.” According to Michael Wolff’s 2018 book, “Fire and Fury,” Murdoch derided Trump as “a fucking idiot” after a conversation about immigration. The aide says Trump knows that Murdoch has denigrated him behind his back, but “it doesn’t seem to matter” that much. Several sources confirmed to me that Murdoch regales friends with Trump’s latest inanities. But Murdoch, arguably the most powerful media mogul in the world, is an invaluable ally to any politician. Having Murdoch’s—and Fox’s—support is essential for Trump, the aide says: “It’s very important for the base.”

Murdoch may be even closer to Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Well-informed sources say that Kushner, an increasingly valued White House adviser, has worked hard to win over Murdoch, showing him respect and asking him for advice. Kushner has regularly assured Murdoch that the White House is a smooth-running operation, despite many reports suggesting that it is chaotic. Kushner now has an almost filial status with Murdoch, who turns eighty-eight this month, and numerous sources told me that they communicate frequently. “Like, every day,” one said.

Murdoch has cultivated heads of state in Australia and Great Britain, and someone close to him says that “he’s always wanted to have a relationship with a President—he’s a businessman and he sees benefits of having a chief of state doing your bidding.” Murdoch has met every American President since Kennedy, but, the close associate says, “until now a relationship has eluded him.” Still, Murdoch’s coziness with Trump may come at a cost. Roger Ailes, during his final days at Fox, apparently warned Murdoch of the perils. According to Gabriel Sherman, a biographer of Ailes who has written about Fox for New York and Vanity Fair, Ailes told Murdoch, “Trump gets great ratings, but if you’re not careful he’s going to end up totally controlling Fox News.”

Trump became famous, in no small part, because of Rupert Murdoch. After Murdoch bought the New York Post, in 1976, he was introduced to Trump through a mutual acquaintance, Roy Cohn, the infamous legal fixer, who, as a young man, was Senator Joseph McCarthy’s chief counsel. Cohn saw the potential for tabloid synergy: Trump could attain celebrity in the pages of the Post as a playboy mogul, and Murdoch could sell papers by chronicling Trump’s exploits.

In private, Murdoch regarded Trump with disdain, seeing him as a real-estate huckster and a shady casino operator. But, for all their differences, the two men had key traits in common. They both inherited and expanded family enterprises—an Australian newspaper; an outer-borough New York City real-estate firm—but felt looked down upon by people who were richer and closer to the centers of power. As Edward Luce, of the Financial Times, has noted, both men have tapped into anti-élitist resentment to connect with the public and to increase their fortunes. Trump and Murdoch also share a transactional approach to politics, devoid of almost any ideology besides self-interest.

Murdoch could not have foreseen that Trump would become President, but he was a visionary about the niche audience that became Trump’s base. In 1994, Murdoch laid out an audacious plan to Reed Hundt, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission under President Bill Clinton. Murdoch, who had been a U.S. citizen for less than a decade, invited Hundt to his Benedict Canyon estate for dinner. After the meal, Murdoch led him outside to take in the glittering view of the Los Angeles Basin, and confided that he planned to launch a radical new television network. Unlike the three established networks, which vied for the same centrist viewers, his creation would follow the unapologetically lowbrow model of the tabloids that he published in Australia and England, and appeal to a narrow audience that would be entirely his. His core viewers, he said, would be football fans; with this aim in mind, he had just bought the rights to broadcast N.F.L. games. Hundt told me, “What he was really saying was that he was going after a working-class audience. He was going to carve out a base—what would become the Trump base.”

Hundt recalled the conversation as “overwhelming.” He said, “I was at this house more expensive than any I could ever imagine. This person’s made a huge mark in two other countries, and he had entered our country and was saying, ‘I’m going to break up the three-party oligopoly that has governed the most important medium of communication for politics and policy in this country since the Second World War.’ It was like a scene from ‘Faust.’ What came to mind was Mephistopheles.”

Blair Levin, at that time the chief of staff at the F.C.C. and now a fellow at the Brookings Institution, says, “Fox’s great insight wasn’t necessarily that there was a great desire for a conservative point of view.” More erudite conservatives, he says, such as William F. Buckley, Jr., and Bill Kristol, couldn’t have succeeded as Fox has. Levin observes, “The genius was seeing that there’s an attraction to fear-based, anger-based politics that has to do with class and race.”

In 1996, Murdoch hired Roger Ailes to create a conservative TV news outlet. Ailes, who died in 2017, was a master of attack politics and wedge issues, having been a media consultant on several of America’s dirtiest and most divisive campaigns, including those of Richard Nixon. Ailes invented programming, Levin argues, “that confirmed all your worst instincts—Fox News’ fundamental business model is driving fear.” The formula worked spectacularly well. By 2002, Fox had displaced CNN as the highest-rated cable news network, and it has remained on top ever since.

In 2011, at Ailes’s invitation, Trump began making weekly guest appearances on the morning show “Fox & Friends.” In a trial run of his campaign tactics, he used the channel as a platform to exploit racist suspicions about President Barack Obama, spreading doubt about whether he was born in America. (In one segment, Trump suggested that Obama’s “family doesn’t even know what hospital he was born in!”) As Hundt sees it, “Murdoch didn’t invent Trump, but he invented the audience. Murdoch was going to make a Trump exist. Then Trump comes along, sees all these people, and says, ‘I’ll be the ringmaster in your circus!’ ”

Trump’s arrival marked an important shift in tone at Fox. Until then, the network had largely mocked birtherism as a conspiracy theory. O’Reilly called its promoters “unhinged,” and Glenn Beck, who at the time also hosted a Fox show, called them “idiots.” But Trump gave birtherism national exposure, and, in a sign of things to come, Hannity fanned the flames. Hannity began saying that, although he thought that Obama had been born in the United States, the circumstances surrounding his birth certificate were “odd.”

Fox’s hostility toward the Obama Administration grew increasingly extreme. Its coverage of the Benghazi debacle—a tragic embassy ambush not unlike others that had claimed American lives in previous Administrations—devolved into a relentless attack on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In certain instances, however, Fox executives enforced journalistic limits. The network cancelled Beck’s show, in 2011, because his paranoid rants had become too embarrassing. (Among other things, Beck accused the White House science adviser of having proposed stemming population growth through forced abortions and “sterilants” in the water.) At the height of the Tea Party rebellion, Ailes reprimanded Hannity for violating the line between journalism and politics. Hannity had arranged to tape his evening Fox show at a Tea Party fund-raiser in Ohio. When Ailes learned of the plan, only hours before the event, he demanded that Hannity cancel his appearance. According to a former Fox executive, Ailes then blew up at Bill Shine, who had authorized Hannity’s trip. “Roger was livid, and ripped the shit out of Shine,” the former executive says, recalling that Ailes yelled, “No one at Fox is shilling for the Tea Party!” Afterward, Shine released a statement criticizing Hannity’s actions. And Murdoch, at a panel about the news, expressed a similar view, saying, “I don’t think we should be supporting the Tea Party or any other party.”

Such niceties no longer apply. In November, Hannity joined Trump onstage at a climactic rally for the midterm elections. Afterward, Fox issued a limp statement saying that it didn’t “condone any talent participating in campaign events” and that the “unfortunate distraction” had “been addressed.” Many Fox News reporters were angry, and provided critical anonymous quotes to the media, but Hannity didn’t apologize, saying that he had been “surprised yet honored” when Trump called him up onstage. This response was dubious: before the rally, Trump’s campaign had advertised Hannity as a “special guest.” When Hannity joined Trump, he not only praised him for “promises kept”; he also echoed the President’s attacks on the press, castigating the rest of the media covering the rally as “fake news.” The evening ended with a high five between Hannity and Shine, who had recently started working at the White House.

For Greta Van Susteren, a host on Fox between 2002 and 2016, Hannity’s rally appearance illustrates the difference at Fox since Ailes’s departure. For all of Ailes’s faults, Van Susteren argues, he exerted a modicum of restraint. She believes that he would have insisted on at least some distance from President Trump, if only to preserve the appearance of journalistic respectability embodied in the motto Ailes devised for Fox: “Fair and Balanced.” (That motto was retired in 2017.) Van Susteren says, “ ‘Hannity’ is an opinion show, but when he went onstage with Trump he became part of the campaign. That was an egregious mistake. It was way over the line.”

Although Ailes paid occasional lip service to journalistic integrity, Fox News was hardly fair and balanced under his leadership. Gabriel Sherman, in his biography, “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” reports that Ailes was so obsessed with bringing down Obama in 2012 that he declared to colleagues, “I want to elect the next President.”

Yet, during the 2016 campaign, Fox executives were initially uneasy about Trump’s candidacy. Murdoch tweeted that Trump was “embarrassing his friends” and “the whole country.” An editorial in the Wall Street Journal, Murdoch’s flagship newspaper, called Trump’s candidacy a “catastrophe.” Murdoch, an immigrant himself, bridled at Trump’s xenophobia. In 2015, when Trump claimed that most immigrants coming from Mexico were criminals and rapists, Murdoch corrected him on Twitter, noting that “Mexican immigrants, as with all immigrants, have much lower crime rates than native born.” He also tweeted that El Paso was “the safest city” in America.

Murdoch’s views could scarcely be more at odds with Fox’s current diatribes about hordes of “illegal aliens” who are “invading” the U.S. and killing innocent Americans, leaving behind grieving “Angel Moms” and “Angel Dads.” Van Susteren told me that she wasn’t surprised by this rhetorical turn. “Don’t kid yourself about his support for immigration,” she said of Murdoch. “Rupert is first about the bottom line. They’re all going out to play to their crowd, whether it’s Fox or MSNBC.” (After leaving Fox, Van Susteren was for a short time a host on MSNBC.) Fox’s mile-by-mile coverage of the so-called “migrant caravan” was an enormous hit: ratings in October, 2018, exceeded those of October, 2016—the height of the Presidential campaign.

Fox’s embrace of Trumpism took some time. Sherman has reported that, when the network hosted the first Republican Presidential debate, in August, 2015, in Cleveland, Murdoch advised Ailes to make sure that the moderators hit Trump hard. This put Ailes in an awkward position. Trump drew tremendous ratings and had fervent supporters, and Ailes was afraid of losing that audience to rival media outlets. Breitbart, the alt-right Web site led by Stephen K. Bannon, was generating huge traffic by championing Trump. What’s more, Ailes and Trump were friendly. “They spoke all the time,” a former Fox executive says. They had lunch shortly before Trump announced his candidacy, and Ailes gave Trump political tips during the primaries. Ken LaCorte contends that Ailes took note of “Trump’s crazy behavior”; but Trump’s growing political strength was also obvious. According to the former Fox executive, Trump made Ailes “nervous”: “He thought Trump was a wild card. Someone Ailes could not bully or intimidate.”

Anthony Scaramucci, a former Fox Business host who was fleetingly President Trump’s communications director, told me in 2016 that the network’s executives “made a business decision” to give on-air stars “slack” to choose their candidates. Hannity was an early Trump supporter; O’Reilly was neutral; Megyn Kelly remained skeptical. Trump had hung up on Kelly after she ran a segment about his 1992 divorce from Ivana Trump, which noted that Ivana had signed an affidavit claiming that Trump had raped her. (Ivana later insisted that she hadn’t meant rape in the “criminal” sense.)

Against this strained backdrop, at the debate in Cleveland, Kelly asked Trump a famously tough question. “You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs,’ ‘dogs,’ ‘slobs,’ and ‘disgusting animals,’ ” she said. Trump interrupted her with a snide quip: “Only Rosie O’Donnell!” The hall burst into laughter and applause.

Kelly kept pressing Trump: “You once told a contestant on ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect President?” But he’d already won over Republican viewers. (Fox received a flood of e-mails, almost all of them anti-Kelly.) The showdown helped shape Trump’s image as shamelessly unsinkable. It also kicked off a feud between Trump and Fox, in which Trump briefly boycotted the channel, hurting its ratings and forcing Ailes to grovel. Four days after the debate, Trump tweeted that Ailes had “just called” and “assures me that ‘Trump’ will be treated fairly.”

Trump has made the debate a point of pride. He recently boasted to the Times that he’d won it despite being a novice, and despite the “crazy Megyn Kelly question.” Fox, however, may have given Trump a little help. A pair of Fox insiders and a source close to Trump believe that Ailes informed the Trump campaign about Kelly’s question. Two of those sources say that they know of the tipoff from a purported eyewitness. In addition, a former Trump campaign aide says that a Fox contact gave him advance notice of a different debate question, which asked the candidates whether they would support the Republican nominee, regardless of who won. The former aide says that the heads-up was passed on to Trump, who was the only candidate who said that he wouldn’t automatically support the Party’s nominee—a position that burnished his image as an outsider.

These claims are hard to evaluate: Ailes is dead, and they conflict with substantial reporting suggesting that the rift between Trump and Fox was bitter. A former campaign aide is adamant that Trump was genuinely surprised and infuriated by Kelly’s question. A Fox spokesperson strongly denied the allegations, and declined requests for interviews with employees involved in the debate.

Kelly also declined to comment, but she broached the subject in her 2016 memoir, “Settle for More.” She wrote that the day before the debate Trump called Fox executives to complain, saying he’d heard that Kelly planned to ask “a very pointed question directed at him.” She noted, “Folks were starting to worry about Trump—his level of agitation did not match the circumstances.” When this passage stirred controversy, Kelly tweeted that her book “does not suggest Trump had any debate Qs in advance, nor do I believe that he did.” Yet her account does suggest that Trump had enough forewarning to be upset, and that he contacted Fox before the debate.

Later in the campaign, WikiLeaks posted stolen e-mails from Donna Brazile, then the interim chair of the Democratic National Committee and a CNN contributor. Without CNN’s knowledge, she had alerted Hillary Clinton’s campaign about questions that the network planned to ask during a televised event. CNN fired Brazile, and Trump has cited the incident as evidence that CNN is “a total fake.” Last April, in an interview on “Fox & Friends,” he said, “Can you imagine, by the way, if you gave me the questions to a debate? They would have you out of business.”

In the summer of 2016, two weeks before Trump secured the Republican nomination, Gretchen Carlson, the former co-host of “Fox & Friends,” sued Ailes for sexual harassment. Her suit alleged that he had propositioned her during a meeting, and that he’d spoken of having the power to “make anything happen” if she “understood” him, and that they “should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago.” Within weeks, Fox had forced Ailes out, giving him a forty-million-dollar severance package. The network apologized to Carlson, and paid her a twenty-million-dollar settlement.

Murdoch was slow to see the gravity of the sexual-harassment issue, but his two sons—James, the C.E.O. of 21st Century Fox, and Lachlan, its executive chairman—were more responsive. At a board meeting held after the news of Carlson’s suit broke, James, the more politically independent of the two, pushed for an outside legal investigation. His demand forced the company to take action, since the notes of the meeting created a public paper trail. Fox’s outside law firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, began an inquiry, and exposed an appalling culture of sexual harassment, intimidation, payoffs, and coverups at Fox.

Ailes, meanwhile, joined Trump’s debate team, further erasing the line between Fox and conservative politicians. Ailes also began developing a plan to go into business with Trump. The Sunday before the election, Ailes called Steve Bannon, Trump’s campaign chairman, and said that he’d been talking with Trump about launching Trump TV, a nationalist competitor to Fox. Ailes was so excited that he was willing to forfeit his severance payment from Fox, which was attached to a non-compete agreement. He asked Bannon to join the venture and to start planning it as soon as Trump lost the election.

“What are you talking about?” Bannon recalls replying. “We’re going to win.”

“Stop the bullshit,” Ailes responded. “It’s going to be a blowout. It’ll be over by eight o’clock.”

Any hopes that Fox would clean house after Ailes’s departure vanished on August 12, 2016, when Fox named two Ailes loyalists as co-presidents: Jack Abernethy, an executive who managed Fox’s local stations, and Bill Shine. The opinion side of Fox News, which Shine had run, had won out, as had his friend Sean Hannity.

For years, Ailes had been the focus of liberal complaints, and so when Fox pushed him out many people thought that the channel would change. They were right. The problem, Fox’s critics say, is that it’s become a platform for Trump’s authoritarianism. “I know Roger Ailes was reviled,” Charlie Black, the lobbyist, said. “But he did produce debates of both sides. Now Fox is just Trump, Trump, Trump.” Murdoch may find this development untroubling: in 1995, he told this magazine, “The truth is—and we Americans don’t like to admit it—that authoritarian societies can work.”

Greta Van Susteren believes that Ailes’s departure posed a huge challenge for his successors: “It’s like what happens when a dictator falls. If you look historically, when you get rid of a Saddam in Iraq, or a Qaddafi in Libya, the place falls apart.” The celebrity opinion-show hosts who drive the ratings became unbridled and unopposed. Hannity, as the network’s highest-rated and highest-paid star, was especially empowered—and, with him, so was Trump.

After Ailes was ousted, Murdoch, then eighty-five, assumed the title of acting C.E.O. of Fox News, and moved into Ailes’s corner office on the second floor of News Corp’s Manhattan headquarters. Lachlan and James wanted their father to hire an outsider with journalistic experience to run the channel, but Murdoch, who still thinks of himself as a newsman at heart, couldn’t resist filling the top slot himself.

The following winter, Murdoch slipped while on Lachlan’s yacht, seriously injuring his back. For months, people close to the family say, he was in very bad shape, convalescing at home in L.A. Ken LaCorte, the former Fox executive, says that Murdoch shouldn’t be discounted because of his age: “He’s definitely got all his marbles, and is one hundred per cent sharp. When it came to numbers, like ratings, revenues, G.D.P. growth—you name it—he’s like a savant. If you made a mistake with a number, he’d usually catch and correct it.” But a Fox insider told me that Murdoch “was gone a lot,” adding, “He’s old. He likes the idea that he’s running it, but the lunatics took over the asylum.”

When Shine assumed command at Fox, the 2016 campaign was nearing its end, and Trump and Clinton were all but tied. That fall, a reporter had a story that put the network’s journalistic integrity to the test. Diana Falzone, who often covered the entertainment industry, had obtained proof that Trump had engaged in a sexual relationship in 2006 with a pornographic film actress calling herself Stormy Daniels. Falzone had worked on the story since March, and by October she had confirmed it with Daniels through her manager at the time, Gina Rodriguez, and with Daniels’s former husband, Mike Moz, who described multiple calls from Trump. Falzone had also amassed e-mails between Daniels’s attorney and Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen, detailing a proposed cash settlement, accompanied by a nondisclosure agreement. Falzone had even seen the contract.

But Falzone’s story didn’t run—it kept being passed off from one editor to the next. After getting one noncommittal answer after another from her editors, Falzone at last heard from LaCorte, who was then the head of Falzone told colleagues that LaCorte said to her, “Good reporting, kiddo. But Rupert wants Donald Trump to win. So just let it go.” LaCorte denies telling Falzone this, but one of Falzone’s colleagues confirms having heard her account at the time.

Despite the discouragement, Falzone kept investigating, and discovered that the National Enquirer, in partnership with Trump, had made a “catch and kill” deal with Daniels—buying the exclusive rights to her story in order to bury it. Falzone pitched this story to Fox, too, but it went nowhere. News of Trump’s payoffs to silence Daniels, and Cohen’s criminal attempts to conceal them as legal fees, remained unknown to the public until the Wall Street Journal broke the story, a year after Trump became President.

In January, 2017, Fox demoted Falzone without explanation. That May, she sued the network. Her attorney, Nancy Erika Smith, declined to comment but acknowledged that a settlement has been reached; it includes a nondisclosure agreement that bars Falzone from talking about her work at Fox.

After the Journal story broke, Oliver Darcy, a senior media reporter for CNN, published a piece revealing that Fox had killed a Stormy Daniels story. LaCorte, who by then had left Fox but was still being paid by the company, told Mediaite that he’d made the call without talking to superiors. The story simply hadn’t “passed muster,” he claimed, adding, “I didn’t do it to protect Donald Trump.” Nik Richie, a blogger who had broken the first story about Daniels, tweeted, “This is complete bullshit. Ken you are such a LIAR. This story got killed by @FoxNews at the highest level. I know, because I was one of your sources.”

Richie told me, “Fox News was culpable. I voted for Trump, and I like Fox, but they did their own ‘catch and kill’ on the story to protect him.” He said that he’d worked closely with Falzone on the article, and that “she did her homework—she had it.” He says he warned her that Fox would never run it, but “when they killed it she was devastated.” Richie believes that the story “would have swayed the election.”

Shine was liked by most of the on-air stars he managed; they describe him as well organized and forthright. Shine, who is tough-looking, with a doughy, dented face, is the son of a New York City policeman. After a brief period working at a Long Island television station, he went on to be Hannity’s producer and rode his coattails at Fox, becoming Ailes’s deputy, enabler, and enforcer. Colleagues say that Shine knew how to coach talent to look good on TV, and how to drive ratings. In 2001, he put psychics on Fox shows to offer opinions about unsolved murders, and in 2007 he defended Fox against what he called “false racism accusations,” after O’Reilly expressed amazement, on the air, that people in Harlem dined at nice restaurants without “any kind of craziness,” just like in “an all-white suburb.”

Angelo Carusone, the president of Media Matters for America, a liberal watchdog group that routinely criticizes Fox News, says that Shine became “an expert in collecting and enforcing soft power,” adding, “He was responsible for on-air contributors to programs, so ultimately you were auditioning for Bill Shine. He was the one who would give you the lucrative contract. He controlled the narrative that way.” Nevertheless, some people at Fox called him Bill the Butler, because he was so subservient to Ailes. A former Fox co-host says, “He’s perfect for the White House job. He’s a yes-man.” Another Fox alumnus said, “His only talent was following orders, sucking up to power, and covering up for people.”

On the fourteenth floor of the network’s headquarters, the former Fox executive told me, Ailes had a “Black Ops” room, where he and others collected dirt on perceived enemies. They allegedly compiled a dossier on Gabriel Sherman as he worked on his Ailes biography, and obtained the phone records of another journalist, Joe Strupp, in an effort to find out who was leaking to him.

Separately, Ailes and a small group kept a close eye on internal talent. “We had a file on pretty much everyone,” the former Fox executive said, adding that Ailes talked about “putting hits” in the media on anyone who “got out of line.” If a woman complained about being sexually harassed, he said, Shine or other supervisors intimidated her into silence, reduced her air time, or discontinued her contract. The former executive recalls, “Shine would talk to the woman with a velvet glove, saying, ‘Don’t worry about it’—and, if that didn’t work, he’d warn her it would ruin her career.”

Shine’s defenders maintain that he was unfairly tarnished by Ailes’s harassment scandals. “He was a victim of sexual McCarthyism,” LaCorte told me. Van Susteren notes that Shine “was never accused of compromising behavior—he was accused of looking the other way.” She adds, “He’s one of those people in management who put out fires. These people often get burned themselves.”

But at least four civil lawsuits against Fox have named Shine as a defendant for enabling workplace harassment. One of these cases, a stockholder lawsuit that Fox settled in 2017, for ninety million dollars, claimed that Ailes had “sexually harassed female employees and contributors with impunity for at least a decade” by surrounding himself “with loyalists”—including Shine. The suit faults Fox for spending fifty-five million dollars to settle such claims out of court.

The use of company funds for payoffs prompted a criminal investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan. In 2017, Shine was subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury, but instead he agreed to be interviewed by prosecutors. The criminal investigation seems to have been dropped after Ailes’s death, but Judd Burstein, an attorney whose client was interviewed by prosecutors, told me, “I don’t think someone can be a serial sexual abuser in a large organization without enablers like Shine.”

In 2011, Fox paid a news booker named Laurie Luhn $3.15 million to keep silent about two decades of sexual mistreatment by Ailes. A copy of the confidentiality agreement shows that Shine co-signed it. The day that Ailes left Fox, Luhn broke her silence. She had sexually serviced Ailes for years, she said, in part because he had blackmailed her with compromising videotapes. According to the stockholder suit, Ailes was abetted by “the direct involvement of Shine,” who scheduled the encounters as work meetings. After Luhn suffered a “mental breakdown,” the suit says, Shine sought a psychiatrist for her. During this period of distress, Luhn claimed, Ailes’s deputies booked her into a New York hotel; Luhn has said that she was required to forward all her e-mails to Shine, for monitoring. A spokesperson for Shine has denied this account, and has said that Shine was unaware that Ailes and Luhn had a sexual relationship. The former Fox executive is dubious that Shine didn’t know, and recalls Shine rolling his eyes and saying, “Laurie Luhn—she’s a problem.”

Fox News struggled under Shine’s leadership. In January, 2017, NBC lured away Megyn Kelly. (She has since left NBC.) Three months later, the Times revealed that 21st Century Fox and Bill O’Reilly had paid a total of thirteen million dollars to five female employees who had accused him of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior. At the time, O’Reilly was negotiating a thirty-two-million-dollar payment to a sixth accuser. (He has dismissed all the accusations as “crap.”) The news sparked advertiser boycotts and street demonstrations, and Fox fired O’Reilly. Shine soon followed him out the door.

Hannity had warned that it would be “the total end” of Fox News if his friend Shine were ousted. But, with O’Reilly and Kelly gone, Hannity was in his strongest position yet: he was now Fox’s top-rated star, and Trump’s highest-profile promoter. He’d taken Kelly’s 9 P.M. slot and was getting even higher ratings—some three million viewers a night. Two months after Shine left Fox, Hannity became a matchmaker, arranging a dinner with the President at the White House, attended by himself, Shine, and Scaramucci, at that time Trump’s communications director. Hannity proposed Shine as a top communications official, or even as a deputy chief of staff. A year later, Shine was both.

By the time Trump was elected, Murdoch had adeptly improved ties with him. In the summer of 2016, he and his fourth wife, Jerry Hall, joined Trump for a visit to Trump’s golf club in Scotland. Murdoch appears to have been wise in securing a rapprochement. Telecommunications is a highly regulated industry, and under Trump the government has consistently furthered Murdoch’s business interests, to the detriment of his rivals. Hundt, the former F.C.C. chairman, told me that “there have been three moves that have taken place in the regulatory and antitrust world” involving telecommunications “that are extremely unusual, and the only way to explain them is that they’re pro-Fox, pro-Fox, and pro-Fox.”

Last June, after only six months of deliberation, the Trump Administration approved Fox’s bid to sell most of its entertainment assets to Disney, for seventy-one billion dollars. The Murdoch family will receive more than two billion dollars in the deal, and will become a major stockholder in the combined company. The Justice Department expressed no serious antitrust concerns, even though the combined company will reportedly account for half the box-office revenue in America. Trump publicly congratulated Murdoch even before the Justice Department signed off on the deal, and claimed that it would create jobs. In fact, the consolidation is projected to result in thousands of layoffs.

In July, the F.C.C. blocked Sinclair Broadcast Group, a conservative rival to Fox, from combining with the Tribune Media Company. The F.C.C. argued that the deal would violate limits on the number of TV stations one entity can own, upending Sinclair’s hope of becoming the next Fox.

The Justice Department, meanwhile, went to court in an effort to stop A. T. & T.’s acquisition of Time Warner, which owns CNN. Time Warner saw the deal as essential to its survival at a time when the media business is increasingly dominated by giant competitors such as Google and Facebook. Murdoch understood this impulse: in 2014, 21st Century Fox had tried, unsuccessfully, to buy Time Warner. For him, opposing his rivals’ deal was a matter of shrewd business. Trump also opposed the deal, but many people suspected that his objection was a matter of petty retaliation against CNN. Although Presidents have traditionally avoided expressing opinions about legal matters pending before the judicial branch, Trump has bluntly criticized the plan. The day after the Justice Department filed suit to stop it, he declared the proposed merger “not good for the country.” Trump also claimed that he was “not going to get involved,” and the Justice Department has repeatedly assured the public that he hasn’t done so.

However, in the late summer of 2017, a few months before the Justice Department filed suit, Trump ordered Gary Cohn, then the director of the National Economic Council, to pressure the Justice Department to intervene. According to a well-informed source, Trump called Cohn into the Oval Office along with John Kelly, who had just become the chief of staff, and said in exasperation to Kelly, “I’ve been telling Cohn to get this lawsuit filed and nothing’s happened! I’ve mentioned it fifty times. And nothing’s happened. I want to make sure it’s filed. I want that deal blocked!”

Cohn, a former president of Goldman Sachs, evidently understood that it would be highly improper for a President to use the Justice Department to undermine two of the most powerful companies in the country as punishment for unfavorable news coverage, and as a reward for a competing news organization that boosted him. According to the source, as Cohn walked out of the meeting he told Kelly, “Don’t you fucking dare call the Justice Department. We are not going to do business that way.”

A spokesperson for Cohn declined to comment, and Kelly did not respond to inquiries from The New Yorker, but a former White House official confirmed that Trump often “vented” in “frustration” about wanting to block the A. T. & T.-Time Warner merger. “The President does not understand the nuances of antitrust law or policy,” the former official says. “But he wanted to bring down the hammer.” (Last month, a federal court ruled against the Justice Department.)

Trump Administration officials say that political considerations did not guide the government’s actions on the three deals. Blair Levin, the former F.C.C. official, told me, “There may be innocent explanations.” But, he adds, “Trump famously said you’re going to get sick and tired of winning, and that may not be true for the rest of America, but it sure is true of Murdoch.” He says of Murdoch, “He’s an incredibly cunning political player. He leaves no fingerprints. He’s been in the game of influencing government behavior to his benefit longer than most of us have been alive.”

David Axelrod, who was Barack Obama’s chief strategist, believes that Murdoch has long put his business interests above any political concerns. He recalls attending a dinner where Murdoch pushed him to move ahead on immigration reform. Axelrod suggested that it would help if Fox stopped fanning nativist hysteria, and he says that Murdoch responded, “You’ll have to talk to Roger about that,” as if he had no sway over Fox. Axelrod says, “There are probably a lot of aspects of Trumpism that he’s uncomfortable with. But ultimately he’s a businessman. And it’s useful to have a friend who’s the President, particularly if there are close regulatory calls, and a President who is untroubled by the rules and norms in that regard.”

During a recent dinner with reporters, the incendiary right-wing commentator Ann Coulter, who has been feuding with Trump over his immigration policy, said that the President told her that “Murdoch calls me every day.” She recalled that, “back when Trump was still speaking to me,” she complained to him that Fox was no longer inviting her to appear. She said that Trump told her, “Do you want me to call Murdoch and tell him to put you on?” Coulter accepted Trump’s offer. He may have called Hannity, not Murdoch, she says, but in any case she was invited back on Fox “within twelve hours.”

As Murdoch’s relations with the White House have warmed, so has Fox’s coverage of Trump. During the Obama years, Fox’s attacks on the President could be seen as reflecting the adversarial role traditionally played by the press. With Trump’s election, the network’s hosts went from questioning power to defending it. Yochai Benkler, a Harvard Law School professor who co-directs the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, says, “Fox’s most important role since the election has been to keep Trump supporters in line.” The network has provided a non-stop counternarrative in which the only collusion is between Hillary Clinton and Russia; Robert Mueller, the special counsel, is perpetrating a “coup” by the “deep state”; Trump and his associates aren’t corrupt, but America’s law-enforcement officials and courts are; illegal immigration isn’t at a fifteen-year low, it’s “an invasion”; and news organizations that offer different perspectives are “enemies of the American people.”

Benkler’s assessment is based on an analysis of millions of American news stories that he and two co-authors, Robert Faris and Hal Roberts, undertook for their 2018 book, “Network Propaganda: Manipulation, Disinformation and Radicalization in American Politics.” Benkler told me that he and his co-authors had expected to find “symmetric polarization” in the left-leaning and the right-leaning media outlets. Instead, they discovered that the two poles of America’s media ecosystem function very differently. “It’s not the right versus the left,” Benkler says. “It’s the right versus the rest.”

Most American news outlets try to adhere to facts. When something proves erroneous, they run corrections, or, as Benkler and his co-authors write, “they check each other.” Far-left Web sites post as many bogus stories as far-right ones do, but mainstream and liberal news organizations tend to ignore suspiciously extreme material. Conservative media outlets, however, focus more intently on confirming their audience’s biases, and are much more susceptible to disinformation, propaganda, and outright falsehoods (as judged by neutral fact-checking organizations such as PolitiFact). Case studies conducted by the authors show that lies and distortions on the right spread easily from extremist Web sites to mass-media outlets such as Fox, and only occasionally get corrected.

When falsehoods are exposed, core viewers often react angrily. According to Media Matters, Fox hosts used the word “invasion” thirty-three times in the thirty days before the midterm elections. After Shepard Smith, the Fox News correspondent, contradicted Trump’s scaremongering about immigrants—declaring, “There is no invasion, no one is coming to get you”—viewers lashed out at him on social media.

Sometimes such pushback has a salutary effect. Recently, Chris Wallace told Sarah Sanders that her claim that “nearly four thousand known or suspected terrorists come into our country illegally” every year was wildly inaccurate. Showing Fox’s clout, the White House has dropped the talking point.

Such breaks with the Trump narrative on Fox are rare, though. Unlike Glenn Beck, Hannity has been allowed to spew baseless conspiracy theories with impunity. For more than a year, Hannity and other hosts spread the lie that the hacking of Democratic Party e-mails during the 2016 campaign was an inside job. Hannity claimed that the hacking had been committed not by Russian cyber-warfare agents, as the U.S. intelligence community concluded, but by a Democratic staffer named Seth Rich, who had been murdered by unknown assailants on a D.C. street. Benkler and his co-authors studied Fox’s coverage, and found that not only did the channel give the Seth Rich lie a national platform; it also used the conspiracy story as a distraction, deploying it as a competing narrative when developments in Mueller’s investigation showed Trump in a bad light. In 2017, after Rich’s parents demanded an apology and advertisers began shunning the network, Fox finally ran a retraction, and Hannity dropped the story.

By then, Fox hosts had begun pushing a different conspiracy: the “Uranium One” story, which Hannity called “the biggest scandal ever involving Russia.” On an October, 2017, broadcast, Hannity claimed that Hillary Clinton, when she was Secretary of State, had given “to Vladimir Putin and Russia twenty per cent of America’s uranium, which is the foundational material to make nuclear weapons.” Ostensibly, the deal was in exchange for giant payments to the Clinton Foundation. Hannity also claimed that “the corrupt, lying mainstream media” was withholding this “bombshell” from Americans, because it was “complicit” in a “huge coverup.” More than a year earlier, the Times had run a front-page story about the deal, based on the right-wing book “Clinton Cash.” But the story had gone cold, because other reporting had poked holes in it, revealing that multiple government agencies had approved the deal, and that the quantity of uranium was insignificant. Yet Fox kept flogging it as the real national-security scandal involving Russia. On “Hannity,” the former Trump White House adviser Sebastian Gorka argued that the Clintons’ crime was equivalent to the Cold War treason of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg—and reminded viewers that the Rosenbergs were executed. Within two days, Trump picked up Fox’s story, tweeting, “Uranium deal to Russia, with Clinton help and Obama Administration knowledge, is the biggest story that Fake Media doesn’t want to follow!”

Alisyn Camerota was a co-host on “Fox & Friends” for years before joining CNN, in 2014. She says that Fox has solid news reporters, but she became so troubled by the lack of standards on “Fox & Friends” that she wrote a thinly veiled novel, “Amanda Wakes Up,” about the blurring of journalistic lines at a cable morning show. “ ‘Fox & Friends’ was a fun show, but it was not a news show,” she says. “It regularly broke the rules of journalism. It was basically Roger’s id on TV. He’d wake up in the morning with some bee in his bonnet, spout it off to Bill Shine, and Shine would tell us to put it on TV.” She says that the show’s producers would “cull far-right, crackpot Web sites” for content, and adds, “Never did I hear anyone worry about getting a second source. The single phrase I heard over and over was ‘This is going to outrage the audience!’ You inflame the viewers so that no one will turn away. Those were the standards.”

To the astonishment of colleagues, the Fox co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle often prepared for “The Five” by relying on information provided to her by an avid fan: a viewer from Georgia named David Townsend, who had no affiliation either with Fox News or with journalism. She’d share the day’s planned topics with Townsend, and then he’d e-mail her suggested content. A former colleague of Guilfoyle’s says, “It was a joke among the production assistants—they were, like, ‘Wait till you hear this!’ She actually got research from him! It was the subject of hilarity.”

Townsend is a frequent contributor to the fringe social-media site Gab, which Wired has called a “haven for the far right.” (He has promoted the idea that “physically weak men” are “more likely to be socialists,” and has argued that it is not anti-Semitic to observe that “the most powerful political moneybags in American politics are Zionists.”) The server company that hosts Gab removed it from the Internet temporarily after it was revealed to have posted hate-filled rants by Robert Bowers, the gunman who killed eleven people at a Pittsburgh synagogue, last October.

When I asked Townsend about his e-mails to Guilfoyle, he said, “Mind your own business. I’m just a Fox fan. I’m a keyboard warrior. I’m a nobody.” He said, “I’ve sent stuff to various people at Fox for years, and I don’t get a penny for it,” and added, “I don’t know what tree you’re barking up but you better be careful.”

Given Fox’s status as a dominant source of information for Trump, some people argue that the network should be especially vigilant about outside influence. Aki Peritz, a former C.I.A. analyst who is an adjunct professor at American University, has written that Fox News has become an inviting target for foreign spy agencies, because “it’s what the President sees.” But a source who spoke to me about Guilfoyle and Townsend says, “It’s even worse than a conspiracy of the dark Web, or something trying to manipulate Fox. It was just a guy in his underwear in Georgia who had influence over Fox News! And Fox News influences the President!”

Officially, Trump’s day begins at 11 A.M., with his national-security briefing. But Matt Gertz, a senior fellow at Media Matters, who has spent more than a year tracking how closely Trump’s tweets correspond to Fox News, told me that “the real briefing is on ‘Fox & Friends,’ four hours earlier.” Judging from the timing of Trump’s tweets, Gertz believes that the President records “Fox & Friends” and views it from the beginning, often with a slight delay. As Trump watches, he frequently posts about points that he agrees with. Since August, 2018, Media Matters has tallied more than two hundred instances of Trump disseminating Fox News items to his fifty-eight million Twitter followers. “Trump serves as a carnival barker for Fox,” Levin says, giving invaluable promotional help to the channel.

Fox hosts sometimes reverse their opinions in order to toe the Trump line: Hannity, who in the Obama era called negotiations with North Korea “disturbing,” now calls such efforts a “huge foreign-policy win.” But Gertz has come to believe that Fox drives Trump more than Trump drives Fox. During the recent standoff with Congress over funding for a border wall, Fox anchors and guests repeatedly pushed Trump to reject compromises favored by Republicans in Congress and by his own staff, and to pursue instead an extreme path favored by Fox’s core viewers.

White House aides confirm that Trump has repeatedly walked away from compromises at the last moment because Fox hosts and guests opposed the deals. Last March, Trump was widely expected to sign an omnibus appropriations bill, thus avoiding a government shutdown. Both Mick Mulvaney, his budget director at the time, and Vice-President Mike Pence had described it as a done deal. But on March 22nd Trump became agitated, a former top aide told me, when the evening hosts at Fox “lit him up,” and the next morning, on “Fox & Friends,” one of the President’s most reliable supporters, Pete Hegseth, “ripped him.” At 8:55 A.M., Trump tweeted that he might veto the bill, because it lacked funding for the “BORDER WALL.” The former top aide said of Trump’s sudden reversal, “It was all Fox.”

Trump’s tweet caused panic in Washington: many members of Congress had left town, and it wasn’t clear that enough were present to pass a stopgap spending bill. Defense Secretary James Mattis rushed to the White House and explained to Trump that, if he vetoed the bill, funding for U.S. troops would run out at midnight. That afternoon, Trump relented and signed the bill.

Mattis prevailed in this instance, but former White House aides and other political players in Washington believe that Trump is more influenced by Fox pundits and guests than by his staff, or by the intelligence experts who brief him. Marc Short, who was formerly in charge of congressional relations for the White House, tried to counter the effect by enlisting Republican allies in the House to go on Fox. According to a Senate staffer, one high-profile Republican senator claims that his preferred way of getting the President’s ear is by going on Fox. He calls a friendly host and offers to appear on the air; usually, before he’s taken his makeup off in the greenroom Trump is calling him. “It’s the way to get into his head,” the Senate staffer says.

Gertz is not alone in believing that Fox hosts played a key part in driving Trump’s recent shutdown of the government and his declaration of a national emergency on the southern border. Hannity and Dobbs urged Trump nightly on their shows to make these moves; according to press reports, they also advised Trump personally to do so.

On December 19th, with Republicans still in control of both houses of Congress, Trump’s staff indicated that he would sign a spending bill with $1.6 billion earmarked for border security. That night, Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh assailed the deal, and the next morning Fox pounded Trump. Representative Mark Meadows, of North Carolina, a member of the far-right Freedom Caucus, appeared on “Fox & Friends,” calling the bill not a “punt” but a “fumble,” and warning Trump not to “cave.” At 7:33 A.M., Hegseth tweeted at Trump, “Don’t listen to squish advisers. . . . No WALL = SHUT IT DOWN.” By the next day, Trump had refused to sign the spending bill, forcing much of the government to shut down. For the next thirty-five days, Hannity and the other Fox hosts kept cheering Trump on, even as polls showed that the American public was increasingly opposed to the shutdown. Oliver Darcy, of CNN, says that Democrats, rather than negotiating with Trump, “might as well call Sean Hannity and get him on the phone,” adding, “It seems we sort of elected Sean Hannity when we elected Trump.”

Gertz, of Media Matters, argues, “The President’s world view is being specifically shaped by what he sees on Fox News, but Fox’s goals are ratings and money, which they get by maximizing rage. It’s not a message that is going to serve the rest of the country.” Blair Levin, the former F.C.C. official, says that Trump and Fox are employing the same risky model: inflaming the base and intensifying its support, rather than building a broader coalition. Narrowcasting may generate billions of dollars for a cable channel, but as a governing strategy it inevitably alienates the majority. The problem for Trump, as one former Fox host puts it, is that “he can’t afford to lose Fox, because it’s all he’s got.”

Similarly, Fox has a financial incentive to make Trump look good. Cable ratings at both Fox and MSNBC dip when the news is bad for their audience’s side. Van Susteren likens the phenomenon to audiences turning away when their sports team is losing. During the Bush Administration’s disastrous handling of Hurricane Katrina, Fox’s ratings slumped so badly, a former Fox producer told me, that he was told to stop covering it. Since the midterms, in which the Republicans lost the House, the Nielsen ratings for Fox’s evening lineup—Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and Laura Ingraham—have fallen by twenty per cent. Few things cause ratings to spike like an exclusive Presidential interview, however, and on February 28th Hannity landed yet another one, during the President’s meeting in Hanoi with Kim Jong Un. At one point in the interview, Hannity addressed the week’s biggest news—Michael Cohen’s testimony before Congress—and assured viewers that, even if Stormy Daniels had been paid off before the 2016 election, the President was innocent of criminal wrongdoing. Cohen, he told Trump, had “said to me at least a dozen times that he made the decision on the payments, and he didn’t tell you.”

“Yeah,” Trump said.

When Hannity lamented that the Cohen hearings had upstaged Trump’s diplomatic effort, intoning, “I thought politics stopped at the water’s edge in America,” Trump called the timing “really inappropriate.”

At the White House, Bill Shine, just as he did at Fox, defers to the man he calls “the boss.” When Trump became irritated by the White House press corps, Shine acted as his enforcer. Disregarding the norms protecting press freedom, he tried to strip the aggressive CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta of his White House pass; he also attempted to “disinvite” the CNN correspondent Kaitlan Collins from covering a Rose Garden event. She had annoyed the President earlier that day with a question about Michael Cohen.

Shine also berated Peter Baker, the chief White House correspondent for the Times, after hearing—inaccurately—that Baker, at a summit in Buenos Aires, had laughed when Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzō Abe, congratulated Trump on his “historic victory” in the midterm elections. Baker declined to comment, but a colleague of his witnessed Shine pulling Baker aside from the press pool. Shine poked a finger in his face and demanded to know if he’d laughed at Trump. The incident was settled amicably after Baker sent Shine an audio recording proving that the accusation was false. But Shine’s attempt to police a veteran reporter was reminiscent of the culture of intimidation at Fox News.

A source close to Trump says that the President has been complaining that Shine hasn’t been aggressive enough. Late last year, Trump told the source, “Shine promised me my press coverage would get better, but it’s gotten worse.” The source says, “Trump thought he was getting Roger Ailes but instead he got Roger Ailes’s gofer.”

In recent months, Shine has practically ended White House press briefings. Trump prefers to be his own spokesman. “He always thought he did it the best,” a former senior White House official says. “But the problem is that you lose deniability. It’s become a trapeze act with no net, 24/7. The shutdown messaging was a crisis. There was no exit strategy.”

As Trump has been condemning reporters as “enemies of the people,” Fox News, too, has been cracking down on dissenting voices. Van Susteren was replaced by Tucker Carlson, and under the leadership of Fox’s current C.E.O., Suzanne Scott, a longtime deputy of Shine’s, the prime-time lineup has become more one-sided than ever. Fox has become Trump’s safe space in times of stress. When he was alone in the White House on New Year’s Eve, he called in to Pete Hegseth’s live broadcast and wished him a happy New Year. A few weeks later, when Trump was humiliated by the news that the F.B.I. had considered launching a counterintelligence investigation of him, he called the Fox host Jeanine Pirro for on-air reassurance. Conservative critics of Trump who used to appear on Fox, such as Stephen Hayes and George Will, have largely vanished; Will told the Washington Post that Fox discontinued his contract, in 2017, without explanation. It’s almost shocking to recall that, as recently as 2009, Fox balanced Hannity with a liberal co-host, Alan Colmes.

Simon Rosenberg, a Democratic veteran of Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign, went on Fox regularly for more than ten years. In November, 2017, he had a heated on-air exchange with a Fox host, Melissa Francis, about the Republican tax bill. When Francis hectored him, accusing him of merely repeating talking points, he vowed on the air never to return. “It was always clear that this wasn’t just another news organization,” Rosenberg told me. “But when Ailes departed, and Trump was elected, the network changed. They became more combative, and started treating me like an enemy, not an opponent.” With Shine joining Trump at the White House, he said, “it’s as if the on-air talent at Fox now have two masters—the White House and the audience.” In his view, the network has grown so allied with the White House in the demonization of Trump’s critics that “Fox is no longer conservative—it’s anti-democratic.”

After Fox completes the spinoff of its entertainment properties to Disney, the news channel will be part of a much smaller company, under the day-to-day supervision of Lachlan Murdoch. Like Rupert, Lachlan is a conservative, but there’s talk around Fox that he may want to bring the news network closer to the center-right. The biggest test yet of Fox’s journalistic standards is the impending showdown over Mueller’s findings. For two years, the network has been priming its viewers to respond with extraordinary anger should the country’s law-enforcement authorities close in on the President. According to Media Matters, in the first year after Mueller was appointed Hannity alone aired four hundred and eighty-six segments attacking the federal criminal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election; thirty-eight per cent of those segments claimed that law-enforcement officials had broken the law. In recent weeks, Hannity has spoken of “a coup,” and a guest on Laura Ingraham’s program, the lawyer Joseph diGenova, declared, “It’s going to be total war. And, as I say to my friends, I do two things—I vote and I buy guns.”

Jerry Taylor, the co-founder of the Niskanen Center, a think tank in Washington for moderates, says, “In a hypothetical world without Fox News, if President Trump were to be hit hard by the Mueller report, it would be the end of him. But, with Fox News covering his back with the Republican base, he has a fighting chance, because he has something no other President in American history has ever had at his disposal—a servile propaganda operation.” ♦

This article appears in the print edition of the March 11, 2019, issue, with the headline “Trump TV.” ... %20Primary

House Judiciary Committee launches investigation into potential Trump abuses

March 4, 2019, 10:31 AM CST
WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee on Monday launched an investigation into potential Constitutional abuses and public corruption by President Donald Trump, sending a sweeping request for documents from the president’s family, businesses and administration.

Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said the requests issued to 81 individuals and entities would help the committee probe three main topics: obstruction of justice, including the potential interference by the president into criminal investigations; public corruption, including violations of the emoluments clause; and abuses of power, including attacks on the free press, the judiciary and law enforcement agencies.

Each topic could form the basis of an impeachment effort of Trump by the Democratic-controlled House, though Nadler and committee aides stress that they begin their inquiry without that specifically in mind.

Recipients of document request letters Monday are a who’s-who of the Trump universe — the administration itself, including the White House, the FBI, and the Justice Department; the Trump campaign, Trump Organization and the transition committee; key campaign advisers and administration figures including Don McGahn, Sean Spicer, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Steve Bannon; and members of his immediate family, including Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

“We have sent these document requests in order to begin building the public record,” Nadler said in a statement, noting that special counsel Robert Mueller and the Southern District of New York are aware of the actions. “We will act quickly to gather this information, assess the evidence, and follow the facts where they lead with full transparency with the American people.”

A committee counsel said the initial goal is to “amass a very large treasure trove of evidence” that it will then begin to comb through to help guide the investigation. The counsel, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of the public announcement, said the committee initially began with a list of more than 150 people before narrowing it down to the final 81. Most if not all of the entities on the list had received some initial contact from the committee to lay the groundwork for the requests.

“For almost everyone on the list, it shouldn’t be a surprise,” the official said.

The committee expects quick responses from some of those on its list with others having informed the committee a subpoena will be necessary. Ultimately, some of the requests may produce clashes with the administration over executive privilege.

The White House confirmed receipt of one of the requests Monday.

“The Counsel’s Office and relevant White House officials will review it and respond at the appropriate time,” press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

Mike Memoli is a political reporter for NBC News based in Washington, D.C. ... es-n978966

Here's who and what are receiving letters Monday:
1. Alan Garten
2. Alexander Nix
3. Allen Weisselberg
4. American Media Inc.
5. Anatoli Samochornov
6. Andrew Intrater
7. Annie Donaldson
8. Brad Parscale
9. Brittany Kaiser
10. Cambridge Analytica
11. Carter Page
12. Columbus Nova
13. Concord Management and Consulting
14. Corey Lewandowski
15. David Pecker
16. Department of Justice
17. Don McGahn
18. Donald J Trump Revocable Trust
19. Donald Trump Jr.
20. Dylan Howard
21. Eric Trump
22. Erik Prince
23. The Federal Bureau of Investigation
24. Felix Sater
25. Flynn Intel Group
26. General Services Administration
27. George Nader
28. George Papadopoulos
29. Hope Hicks
30. Irakly Kaveladze
31. Jared Kushner
32. Jason Maloni
33. Jay Sekulow
34. Jeff Sessions
35. Jerome Corsi
36. John Szobocsan
37. Julian Assange
38. Julian David Wheatland
39. Keith Davidson
40. KT McFarland
41. Mark Corallo
42. Matt Tait
43. Matthew Calamari
44. Michael Caputo
45. Michael Cohen
46. Michael Flynn
47. Michael Flynn Jr.
48. Paul Erickson
49. Paul Manafort
50. Peter Smith (Estate)
51. Randy Credico
52. Reince Priebus
53. Rhona Graff
54. Rinat Akhmetshin
55. Rob Goldstone
56. Roger Stone
57. Ronald Lieberman
58. Sam Nunberg
59. SCL Group Limited
60. Sean Spicer
61. Sheri Dillon
62. Stefan Passantino
63. Steve Bannon
64. Ted Malloch
65. The White House
66. The Trump Campaign
67. Trump Foundation
68. Trump Organization
69. Trump Transition
70. Viktor Vekselberg
71. WikiLeaks
72. The Presidential Inaugural Committee
73. Christopher Bancroft Burnham
74. Frontier Services Group
75. J.D. Gordon
76. Kushner Companies
77. National Rifle Association
78. Rick Gates
79. Tom Barrack
80. Tom Bossert
81. Tony Fabrizio

just as I said this is just the beginning .....
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
User avatar
Posts: 32090
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

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

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Mar 04, 2019 4:32 pm

Trump-Russia dossier author Christopher Steele backs out of public appearance

he backed out on advice of counsel. ... le-1202141

seemslikeadream » Fri Jun 02, 2017 5:20 am wrote:Trump Dossier Analysis:

Corroborating Evidence in the Trump/Russia Dossier

Scott J. Dworkin
Co-Founder & Senior Advisor
The Democratic Coalition

February 20, 2017

Item to note:

Dossier claims Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov had a file on Hillary Clinton


Photos: Dmitry Peskov is the spokesman for the Kremlin as described in the dossier (middle) with Aras Agalarov-the Russian billionaire who paid Trump to have Miss Universe in Moscow.


Items to note:

Dossier claims Paul Manafort & Carter Page were colluding w/Russians
Dossier claims Wikileaks is a front for the Kremlin
Dossier claims Russia had moles within the Dem Party


Former Trump Adviser Carter Page was in Russia multiple times during & after the campaign


Carter Page did an interview with ABC News in February 2017 during which he denies he's the middleman in Russia


Photo: Carter Page on the Russia Today network-Russia’s propaganda network


Items to note:
Dossier claims Carter Page met with CEO of Russian oil company Rosneft Igor Sechin & with Igor Diveykin-a Russian intelligence officer


Yahoo News confirms Carter Page met with Russian oil CEO of Rosneft, Igor Sechin-as described in the dossier


Carter Page wrote a blog post defending Russian oil company Rosneft’s CEO Igor Sechin-the same person as in dossier


Items to note:

Dossier claims Kremlin funded trips for Michael Flynn, Dr. Jill Stein & Carter Page
Dossier claims Kremlin underestimated liberal reaction to DNC Hack


Video: General Flynn was paid by Russia Today, the propaganda network-he confirms and defends the payment in this video:

Image ... 11942.html

Video: Gen Flynn gave Putin standing ovation-Flynn was paid by Putin to be there-as in dossier

Photos: Michael Flynn, Dr. Jill Stein & Putin at an event in Moscow that they were paid by Russia Today Network to be at. Exactly how it’s described in the dossier.


Item to note:

Dossier claims ex-Ukrainian President Yanukovych told Putin he paid Manafort money


Paul Manafort was paid $12.7 million in cash by pro-Russian, Ukrainian leaders-as alleged in the dossier-below is a ledger presented by the country of Ukraine as evidence against Manafort



Item to note:

Dossier claims Russian diplomat was sent back to Russia because of his links to the US election hack by Russia


Russian diplomat in dossier-Mikhail Kulagin-was sent back to Russia in August of 2016


Items to note:

Dossier claims Alpha Group/Bank is close w/Putin
Dossier claims Mikhail Fridman & Petr Aven advise Putin on US
Dossier claims Putin traveled with Oleg Govorun to Uzbekistan
Dossier claims Alpha Group hasn’t given Russia the money it was supposed to after their TNK oil sale to Rosneft



Alpha Group/Bank is VERY close with Putin-just as described in dossier


The Alpha/Alfa Bank in the dossier-is the same bank with an alleged Russian server communicating with Trump Towers


Photos: Mikhail Fridman & Putin; Petr Aven of the Alpha Group & Putin-mentioned in dossier as advisors on US issues to Putin. They are indeed advisors to Putin

Putin went to Uzbekistan in the same timeframe as described in the dossier

Alfa Group ran TNK Oil sale as described in dossier & sold it to Rosneft-the Russian oil company

Item to note:

Dossier claims Russian Aras Agalarov is close to Trump


Trump is close to Aras Agalarov just as described in the dossier.


Trump was paid $20,000,000 by Russian Aras Agalarov- in the dossier it said Agalarov was close to Trump.


Item to note

Dossier claims Rosneft CEO offered Carter Page 19% of Rosneft sale if sanctions lifted



Rosneft sold 19.5% of the company & the dossier stated it would be sold for 19% if Trump lifted Russian sanctions


One of the companies Rosneft sold to is the Qatar Investment Authority which via Qatar Airways had offices in Trump Towers for years


Photos: Trump/Ivanka/Melania w/CEO of Qatar Airways-owned by Qatar Investment Authority which bought part of Rosneft months ago


Item to note:

Dossier claims Oleg Solodukhin runs Russian NGO in Prague



Oleg Solodukhin does indeed run the NGO in the dossier out of Prague, Czech Rep.

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

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

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Mar 04, 2019 4:59 pm

Jane Mayer

New from me: Fox News HAD the story of Trump's hush money payoffs to Stormy Daniels BEFORE the election but killed it because the reporter said she was told, "Good reporting Kiddo, but Rupert Murdoch wants Donald Trump to win. So set it aside." Reporter sued, is bound by an NDA.

5 zaniest revelations from New Yorker’s bombshell exposé about Fox News’ influence on Donald Trump

The president ranks reporters on a scale of 1 to 10 for their “loyalty” to him — and Steve Doocy is a 12

Matthew Chapman
On Monday, The New Yorker published Jane Mayer’s stunning exposé into how Fox News, always a right-wing network, has morphed into an overt propaganda instrument of President Donald Trump’s White House, and how the symbiotic relationship between the president and Fox’s billionaire international news mogul owner Rupert Murdoch has effectively created something that has never before existed in American politics.

To some degree, the article covers ground that has long been known or suspected — the way that Trump’s policy decisions on everything from the federal government shutdownto the transgender military ban are informed by his daily binge-watching of Fox talk shows; how former Fox executive Bill Shine has blurred the Fox and White House payrolls since being hired as Trump’s Deputy Chief of Staff; and how Fox itself has discarded the few journalistic guardrails it had during President Barack Obama’s years, with hosts like Sean Hannity and Lou Dobbs now free to openly join political rallies and offer advice to the president.

But there are some new, mind-blowing revelations in Mayer’s article. Here are five of the most significant:

1. Trump ranks reporters on a scale of 1 to 10 for their “loyalty” to him — and Steve Doocy is a 12.

Trump is well known for assigning numbers to women based on how attractive he thinks they are. But according to Mayer’s reporting, he does the same thing for reporters based on how loyal he thinks they are to him. “Bret Baier, Fox News’ chief political anchor, is a 6; Hannity a solid 10. Steve Doocy, the co-host of ‘Fox & Friends,’ is so adoring that Trump gives him a 12.”

Needless to say, this is a dangerous development. Trump has a track record of rewarding and punishing reporters based on his whims. During the presidential transition, he reserved a seat at a press conference for a Breitbart reporter. And last year, Trump suspended the press pass of CNN’s Jim Acosta after he challenged the president’s claims on special counsel Robert Mueller and the Honduran migrant caravan. He later relented after one of his own judicial appointees ordered him to restore Acosta’s credentials.

2. Jared Kushner is effectively Rupert Murdoch’s direct pipeline to the White House.

Despite having essentially no qualifications for any of it, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has worn numerous hats in the administration, from meeting with foreign heads of state to working on the Middle East peace plan to fixing the opioid epidemic — and Trump trusts him enough to have overridden intelligence officials to give him a top-secret security clearance.

One other person who trusts him, according to Mayer’s article, is Murdoch. In fact, Kushner may be Murdoch’s most direct liaison with the Trump administration.

Sources told The New Yorker that Kushner routinely asks Murdoch for advice, has “assured Murdoch that the White House is a smooth-running operation, despite many reports suggesting that it is chaotic,” and that the two of them communicate “Like, every day.” Given that the White House has given Kushner such a massive portfolio of responsibility and trust, Murdoch’s relationship with Kushner is likely one of the biggest influences he has on the executive branch.

3. Roger Ailes allegedly fed Trump questions before the GOP debates.

During the presidential election, it was reported that former Fox News host Megyn Kelly — who famously tried to question Trump on his treatment of women at the GOP debates only to have Trump dismiss her as on her period — asserted that Trump had help with the debate questions ahead of time. She later denied saying or believing this — but Mayer’s reporting now backs up this idea:

A pair of Fox insiders and a source close to Trump believe that Ailes informed the Trump campaign about Kelly’s question. Two of those sources say that they know of the tipoff from a purported eyewitness. In addition, a former Trump campaign aide says that a Fox contact gave him advance notice of a different debate question, which asked the candidates whether they would support the Republican nominee, regardless of who won.

It is hard to know whether this claim is accurate, as Ailes is deceased and contemporary reporting suggested that Fox was not yet in Trump’s orbit at that point of the Republican cycle. But if true, this would be highly damning — especially considering Trump asserted that the incident where former Democratic National Committee Chief Donna Brazile gave Hillary Clinton CNN questions ahead of time proved the network was “a total fake.”

4. Fox News uncovered the Stormy Daniels scandal during the election — but buried the story and retaliated against the reporter who found it.

The revelation that Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen made an illegal hush payment to silence an affair between Trump and porn star Stormy Daniels, first reported in January 2018 by the Wall Street Journal, was a huge story that led to a massive federal investigation, jail time, and congressional investigations.

But all of it could have come out much sooner — because as Mayer reports, Fox News had the story during the 2016 presidential election, killed it, and may have retaliated against Diana Falzone, the reporter who uncovered it:

Falzone had worked on the story since March, and by October she had confirmed it with Daniels through her manager at the time, Gina Rodriguez, and with Daniels’s former husband, Mike Moz, who described multiple calls from Trump. Falzone had also amassed e-mails between Daniels’s attorney and Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen, detailing a proposed cash settlement, accompanied by a nondisclosure agreement. Falzone had even seen the contract.

But Falzone’s story didn’t run—it kept being passed off from one editor to the next. After getting one noncommittal answer after another from her editors, Falzone at last heard from LaCorte, who was then the head of Falzone told colleagues that LaCorte said to her, “Good reporting, kiddo. But Rupert wants Donald Trump to win. So just let it go.” LaCorte denies telling Falzone this, but one of Falzone’s colleagues confirms having heard her account at the time.

According to The New Yorker, Fox then proceeded to demote Falzone, without explaining why. She later sued Fox, which settled the case and made her sign a nondisclosure agreement that prohibits her from discussing the details of her employment.

5. Trump personally ordered an economic adviser to use antitrust lawsuits to attack Fox News’ competitors.

The Justice Department’s opposition to the AT&T-Time Warner merger, which is cleared to go through after federal courts demolished the antitrust lawsuit, has always seemed legally suspicious — indeed, one of the reasons judges rejected it is that AT&T put forward compelling evidence that Trump personally wanted to kill the deal to harm CNN.

According to Mayer’s reporting, that’s exactly what was going on. Trump ordered his then-economic adviser Gary Cohn to pressure the Justice Department to block the merger — something Cohn refused to do, but which the department eventually followed through with. Trump showed no such anti-corporate sentiment with Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox, a deal of similar scope but which would benefit Murdoch financially.

This development also puts the Federal Communications Commission’s unexpected decision last year to kill the Sinclair Broadcast Group’s merger with Tribune Media, which was arguably good for the local news market, in a more sinister light: that merger could have strengthened Fox’s biggest competitor in conservative television broadcasting.

Antitrust law is a powerful pro-consumer tool when applied fairly and equitably, but in the hands of someone like Trump, it can also be used to chill freedom of the press by rewarding and punishing news organizations. ... p_partner/


March 4, 2019/6 Comments/in 2016 Presidential Election, emptywheel, Mueller Probe /by emptywheel
In this post, I’ll try to make sense of the requests House Judiciary Committee sent out today.

The requests — which they’ve run by Mueller and SDNY — don’t all make sense. Generally, people are being asked for the documents they’ve already turned over (or had seized) to some investigation. A lot of this is boilerplate, though, so some people are being asked for documents they don’t have.

Alan Garten gets a request, but not Alan Futerfas, in spite of the fact that both Trump lawyers were involved in coaching June 9 meeting testimony.

It excludes some obvious intelligence targets — it doesn’t ask for documents concerning Oleg Deripaska, and Sergei Millian is not on this list — but not others — like WikiLeaks.

Ivanka Trump and Sam Patten are not included.

This is a first run of either the most important association or some surprising ones. I’ll be doing rolling updates of this after more detailed review of the request letters.

Carter Page (letter, document requests) ... tter_1.pdf ... rPageA.pdf

Christopher Bancroft Burnham (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... rnhamA.pdf

Erik Prince (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... rinceA.pdf

George Papadopoulos (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... oulosA.pdf

Jared Kushner (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... shnerA.pdf

Jason Maloni (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... aloniA.pdf

Jeff Sessions (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... sionsA.pdf

Jerome Corsi (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... CorsiA.pdf

KT McFarland (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... rlandA.pdf

Michael Cohen (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... CohenA.pdf

Paul Erickson (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... cksonA.pdf

Paul Manafort (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... afortA.pdf

Rick Gates (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... GatesA.pdf

Roger Stone (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... StoneA.pdf

Tom Bossert (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... ertA_0.pdf


Christopher Bancroft Burnham (letter, document requests) July 7, 2017, November 11, 2017, July 16, 2018, and November 30, 2018 ... Letter.pdf ... rnhamA.pdf

Corey Lewandowski (letter, document requests) July 7, 2017, November 11, 2017, July 16, 2018, and November 30, 2018. ... Letter.pdf ... owskiA.pdf

Eric Trump (letter, document requests) July 7, 2017, November 11, 2017, July 16, 2018, and November 30, 2018 ... Letter.pdf ... TrumpA.pdf

Erik Prince (letter, document requests) July 7, 2017, November 11, 2017, July 16, 2018, and November 30, 2018 ... Letter.pdf ... rinceA.pdf

Hope Hicks (letter, document requests) July 7, 2017, November 11, 2017, July 16, 2018, and November 30, 2018 ... tter_0.pdf ... HicksA.pdf

Reince Priebus (letter, document requests) July 7, 2017 ... Letter.pdf ... iebusA.pdf

Rick Gates (letter, document requests) July 7, 2017 and November 11, 2017 ... GatesA.pdf ... Letter.pdf
Rhona Graff (letter, document requests) July 7, 2017, November 11, 2017, July 16, 2018, and November 30, 2018 ... Letter.pdf ... GraffA.pdf

Steve Bannon (letter, document requests) July 7, 2017, November 11, 2017, July 16, 2018, and November 30, 2018 ... Letter.pdf ... annonA.pdf

Tom Bossert (letter, document requests) July 7, 2017, November 11, 2017, July 16, 2018, and November 30, 2018 ... Letter.pdf ... ertA_0.pdf


Alan Garten (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... tenA_0.pdf

Anatoli Samochornov (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... ornovA.pdf

Donald Trump Jr. (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... umpJrA.pdf

Hope Hicks (letter, document requests) ... tter_0.pdf ... HicksA.pdf

Irakly Kaveladze (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... ladzeA.pdf

Jared Kushner (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... shnerA.pdf

Jason Maloni (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... aloniA.pdf

Mark Corallo (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... ralloA.pdf

Paul Manafort (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... afortA.pdf

Rinat Akhmetshin (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... tshinA.pdf

Rob Goldstone (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... stoneA.pdf

Steve Bannon (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... annonA.pdf


Allen Weisselberg (letter, document requests) ... elberg.pdf ... lbergA.pdf

Donald Trump Jr. (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... umpJrA.pdf
Felix Sater (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... SaterA.pdf

Jay Sekulow (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... kulowA.pdf

Matthew Calamari (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... amariA.pdf

Michael Cohen (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... CohenA.pdf

Ronald Lieberman (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... ermanA.pdf

Sam Nunberg (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... nbergA.pdf

Sheri Dillon (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... illonA.pdf

Stefan Passantino (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... ntinoA.pdf


Carter Page (letter, document requests) ... tter_1.pdf ... rPageA.pdf

Erik Prince (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... rinceA.pdf

George Papadopoulos (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... oulosA.pdf

Jared Kushner (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... shnerA.pdf

Jason Maloni (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... aloniA.pdf

J.D. Gordon (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... ordonA.pdf

Jeff Sessions (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... sionsA.pdf

Jerome Corsi (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... CorsiA.pdf

KT McFarland (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... rlandA.pdf

Michael Cohen (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... CohenA.pdf

Paul Manafort (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... afortA.pdf

Rick Gates (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... GatesA.pdf

Roger Stone (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... StoneA.pdf

Tom Bossert (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... ertA_0.pdf


Alexander Nix (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... NixA_0.pdf

Brad Parscale (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... scaleA.pdf

Brittany Kaiser (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... aiserA.pdf

Cambridge Analytica (letter, document requests) ... tter_2.pdf ... yticaA.pdf

Concord Management and Consulting (letter, document requests) ... tter_0.pdf ... ltingA.pdf

Jared Kushner (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... shnerA.pdf

Julian David Wheatland (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... tlandA.pdf

Paul Manafort (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... afortA.pdf

Rick Gates (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... GatesA.pdf

Sam Nunberg (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... nbergA.pdf

SCL Group Limited (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... mitedA.pdf

Tony Fabrizio (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... rizioA.pdf


John Szobocsan (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... ocsanA.pdf

Matt Tait (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... tTaitA.pdf

Peter Smith (Estate) (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... stateA.pdf


Allen Weisselberg (letter, document requests) ... elberg.pdf ... lbergA.pdf

American Media Inc (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... iaIncA.pdf

David Pecker (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... eckerA.pdf

Donald J Trump Revocable Trust (letter, document requests) ... tter_0.pdf ... TrustA.pdf

Dylan Howard (letter, document requests) ... tter_0.pdf ... owardA.pdf

Jared Kushner (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... shnerA.pdf

Keith Davidson (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... idsonA.pdf

Matthew Calamari (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... amariA.pdf

Michael Cohen (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... CohenA.pdf

Ronald Lieberman (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... ermanA.pdf

Steve Bannon (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... annonA.pdf


Alan Garten (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... tenA_0.pdf

Allen Weisselberg (letter, document requests) ... elberg.pdf ... lbergA.pdf

Andrew Intrater (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... raterA.pdf

Christopher Bancroft Burnham (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... rnhamA.pdf

Columbus Nova (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... sNovaA.pdf

Donald Trump Jr. (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... umpJrA.pdf

Erik Prince (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... rinceA.pdf

58th Presidential Inaugural Committee (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... itteeA.pdf

Flynn Intel Group (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... oupInc.pdf

Frontier Services Group (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... GroupA.pdf

George Nader (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... NaderA.pdf

Jared Kushner (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... shnerA.pdf

Kushner Companies (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... iesA_0.pdf

Matthew Calamari (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... amariA.pdf

Michael Cohen (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... CohenA.pdf

Michael Flynn (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... nn%20A.pdf

Michael Flynn Jr (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... ynnJrA.pdf

Ronald Lieberman (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... ermanA.pdf

Sheri Dillon (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf

Stefan Passantino (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... ntinoA.pdf

Tom Barrack (letter, document requests) ... tter_0.pdf ... rrackA.pdf

Viktor Vekselberg (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... lbergA.pdf


Annie Donaldson (letter, document requests) ... tter_0.pdf ... ldsonA.pdf

Don McGahn (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... cGahnA.pdf

Eric Trump (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... TrumpA.pdf

Hope Hicks (letter, document requests) ... tter_0.pdf ... HicksA.pdf

Jared Kushner (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... shnerA.pdf

Jason Maloni (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... aloniA.pdf

Jay Sekulow (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... kulowA.pdf

Jeff Sessions (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... sionsA.pdf

KT McFarland (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... rlandA.pdf

Mark Corallo (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... ralloA.pdf

Reince Priebus (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... iebusA.pdf

Sean Spicer (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... picerA.pdf

Steve Bannon (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... annonA.pdf

Tom Bossert (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... ertA_0.pdf


Mark Corallo (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... ralloA.pdf

Michael Cohen (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... CohenA.pdf

Michael Flynn (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... nn%20A.pdf

Paul Manafort (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... afortA.pdf

Rick Gates (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... GatesA.pdf


Jerome Corsi (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... CorsiA.pdf

Julian Assange (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... sangeA.pdf

Michael Caputo (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... aputoA.pdf

Randy Credico (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... edicoA.pdf

Roger Stone (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... StoneA.pdf

Sam Nunberg (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... nbergA.pdf

Ted Malloch (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... llochA.pdf

Wikileaks (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... leaksA.pdf


Department of Justice (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... sticeA.pdf

Federal Bureau of Investigation (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... ationA.pdf

General Services Administration (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... ationA.pdf

NRA (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... ationA.pdf

The White House (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... HouseA.pdf

Trump Campaign (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... paignA.pdf

Trump Foundation (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... ationA.pdf

Trump Organization (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... mpOrgA.pdf

Trump Transition (letter, document requests) ... Letter.pdf ... itionA.pdf ... -requests/
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
User avatar
Posts: 32090
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

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

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:24 am

What inspires me is the corruption of the trump crime family case that is not clear to someone here


Ari Melber
BREAKING: Michael Cohen's lawyer just provided us with the Feb. 2017 $70,000 check from Donald Trump to back up Cohen's House testimony.

This is a new check, different from the checks he provided the House last week.

Seth Abramson

(THREAD) This thread is a guided tour of the 81 PERSONS from whom the House Judiciary Committee is now seeking documents in contemplation of possible impeachment proceedings down the line. These names tell us much about where Congress is headed. I hope you'll read on and retweet.


PERSON #51: MICHAEL FLYNN JR. Flynn Jr. secretly went with his dad to Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak's private residence in December 2015—while his dad was advising Trump on national security. Flynn Sr. called it a productive discussion of US-Russian relations—i.e., sanctions.


PERSON #74: TONY FABRIZIO. Fabrizio—a Trump campaign pollster—collected the high-value polling data that Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort secretly gave to Kremlin agent Konstantin Kilimnik during the campaign. Fabrizio was working for George Birnbaum, a top Netanyahu adviser.


PERSON #46: MATT TAIT. This former British spy was approached by the late GOP operative Peter W. Smith, who was secretly working with Michael Flynn, Steve Bannon, Sam Clovis, and Kellyanne Conway to get Clinton's emails from Russian hackers via the Dark Web. Tait refused to help.


PERSON #72: TOM BARRACK. A Trump/Manafort pal, Barrack got Trump to hire Manafort when Manafort—who repped pro-Putin pols for millions for a decade—told Barrack he "had to get to Trump" to work for free. Barrack ran the inaugural and lobbied Trump to give the Saudis nuclear tech.


PERSON #64: SAM NUNBERG. Nunberg—a Roger Stone mentee—advised Trump in the years before Trump's run and in the early weeks of the campaign. He says that Trump knew he'd run by November 2012—which resets the Trump-Russia "quid pro quo" timeline. Trump says he chose to run in 2015.


PERSON #43: KT MCFARLAND. A Bud McFarlane mentee and Flynn's deputy, McFarland lied to Congress on the Flynn-Russia sanctions negotiations and is closely tied to a cadre of Trump associates—like McFarlane and Flynn—who were secretly lobbying Trump to give the Saudis nuclear tech.


PERSON #53: PAUL ERICKSON. A top GOP operative and Russian spy Maria Butina's boyfriend, Erickson not only aided Butina—financially and more—in convincing the NRA to generously (historically) fund Trump's campaign, he also worked to connect Kremlin agents with top Trump advisers.


PERSON #47: MATTHEW CALAMARI. A Trump bodyguard who became an Executive VP and COO at the Trump Organization, Calamari accompanied Trump to Moscow in 1996—a trip during which Congressional investigators appear to believe the Kremlin collected blackmail on Trump from wild parties.


PERSON #25: FELIX SATER. A convicted felon and former Russian mobster who Trump famously lied about not knowing—under oath—in 2013, Sater was Trump's Russian fixer from 2003 on, working closely with Trump for a decade (into his presidential campaign) to land him Russian business.


PERSON #22: ERIC TRUMP. Trump's middle son bragged to a journalist in 2014 that Trump's golf courses—a key part of the Trump Organization's asset profile—are wholly funded by Russian banks. It has been widely reported that Eric was more involved in the campaign than many realize.


PERSON #9: BRITTANY KAISER. This Mueller cooperator was a director at Trump's data firm, Cambridge Analytica—in which role, per the Guardian, she funneled donations and payments to WikiLeaks, and met Assange face-to-face just after Trump's inauguration to discuss the election.


PERSON #58: RHONA GRAFF. Trump's secretary for years, Graff has inexplicably evaded investigators' attention until now—despite the fact that she was the gatekeeper for much of the information that flowed to Trump pre-election, including outreach from Kremlin agents the Agalarovs.


PERSON #48: MICHAEL CAPUTO. A former Kremlin and Gazprom adviser who became a Trump adviser during the presidential campaign, Caputo helped a Russian national claiming to have dirt on Hillary Clinton meet with Roger Stone, then a top adviser to Trump with regular access to him.


PERSON #45: MARK CORALLO. A former Trump spokesman, Mark Corallo quit his job as Trump's flack shortly after the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting was revealed and Trump dictated false statements about the event to the public. Corallo said at the time he thought he was being lied to.


PERSON #55: PETER W. SMITH. In 2017, this GOP operative "committed suicide," leaving a note that said "NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER." During the campaign he worked secretly with Flynn, Bannon, Clovis, and Conway to try to get stolen Clinton emails from Russian hackers on the Dark Web.


PERSON #56: RANDY CREDICO. This radio personality, comedian, and Roger Stone frenemy was said by Stone to have been the Trump adviser's intermediary to WikiLeaks—an allegation Credico denies, though emails reveal he told Stone he was able to get info from Assange via a middleman.


PERSON #60: RINAT AKHMETSHIN. This "former" Soviet intel officer attended the June 2016 Trump-Russia meeting at Trump Tower (at which the Kremlin was supposed to deliver stolen Clinton docs to the Trumps). Don Jr. accepted the help—then later said he couldn't remember Akhmetshin.


NOTE #1: I'm not including in this thread many people on Congress's list who everyone already knows: Page, Lewandowski, McGahn, Pecker, Trump Jr., Prince, Papadopoulos, Hicks, Kushner, Assange, Cohen, Flynn, Manafort, Priebus, Gates, Goldstone, Stone, Spicer, Bannon, or Parscale.

NOTE #2: I'm also not including many *institutions* on Congress's list that everyone already knows: Cambridge Analytica, DOJ, FBI, Flynn Intel Group, the GSA, Kushner Companies, the NRA, WikiLeaks, the Trump Organization, the Trump Foundation, and Trump's campaign and transition.

NOTE #3: There are also some obscure entities people would be less interested in, like COLUMBUS NOVA, which hired Cohen to lobby for it under suspicious circumstances, or Erik Prince's FRONTIER SERVICES GROUP, which is related to Prince's incredibly complex role in all of this.

NOTE #4: Many of the names I've written about at such length in Proof of Collusion, and will be writing about in the upcoming Proof of Conspiracy—including some names I mentioned in this thread—that they likely need no re-introduction, for instance Nix, Nader, and (J.D.) Gordon.

NOTE #5: Some names are either exclusively related to the Daniels and McDougal payoffs (e.g., AMI, Pecker, Davidson) or have such small roles in this scandal (e.g., the translator at the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting) that I don't feel the need to go into detail about them here.

PERSON #37: JEFF SESSIONS. Many may assume Congress is only interested in Sessions for the memo he wrote to Trump recommending Comey's firing—but he also ran Trump's NatSec advisory committee pre-election, secretly negotiated sanctions with Kislyak, and lied to Congress about it.


NOTE #6: Some folks—like John Szobocsan, an associate of Peter Smith; or Jason Maloni, a Manafort spokesman; or Jay Sekulow, a Trump "TV lawyer" who Cohen appears to allege made changes to his Congressional statement—I'm laying off for now because their full relevance is unclear.

NOTE #7: There are certainly some names I would've liked to see here that aren't here, like (say) Kellyanne Conway, Joseph Schmitz, Sam Clovis, Joel Zamel, Oleg Deripaska (just so he could publicly refuse), "Nastya Rybka," Keith Kellogg, and Walid Phares—but this is just Round 1.

PERSONS #1, #3, #63: ALAN GARTEN, ALLEN WEISSELBERG, RONALD LIEBERMAN. These Trump Org execs know of Trump's dodgy financial practices, some of which are broadly illegal—like inflating assets when seeking loans—and some of which are Russia-related (like Trump Tower Moscow deals).


PERSON #33: J.D. GORDON. The number-two man on Trump's "National Security Advisory Committee" during the presidential campaign, Gordon told the media that Trump ordered the pro-Kremlin RNC platform change on Ukraine at a March 2016 meeting—and then reversed himself and denied it.


NOTE #8: Some names of persons or entities are so in the weeds they're not worth focusing on here, though they may well be important. For instance, JULIAN DAVID WHEATLAND took over as CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA chief executive after ALEXANDER NIX, and SCL GROUP owns CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA.

NOTE #9: Into this category I also put ANNIE DONALDSON, ex-Chief of Staff to DON MCGAHN; CHRISTOPHER BURNHAM, a Trump transition official who got a job with Deripaska when Trump dropped sanctions on a Deripaska outfit; and two —SHERI DILLON and STEFAN PASSANTINO.

PERSON #70: TED MALLOCH. This London-based Trump adviser is connected to ROGER STONE and "Brexit" guru (and Trump booster) Nigel Farage, and has been suspected of being a WikiLeaks intermediary for Team Trump. He was stopped, searched, and interrogated by Mueller's team in 2018.


NOTE #10: When I wrote "persons" in the first tweet in this thread, I of course knew many entries on the Judiciary Committee's list were entities, not people—but for each entity there's a Keeper of the Records or other agent who'll be tasked with responding to Congress's request.

PERSON #73: TOM BOSSERT. Bossert is Trump's former Homeland Security Advisor, so the list of things he might be able to tell Congress about is too long to list here. Just remember, Trump's entire foreign policy and national security agenda has been corrupted by foreign interests.
Image ... 9802420225
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
User avatar
Posts: 32090
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

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

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:17 pm


RICO anyone? Congressional investigations should show that the Russian Mafia has laundered $ thru trump condos for decades, lived in his bldgs, run ops there, & partnered w trump. They own him. And remember, they are state actors, accountable to Putin.

House Democrats make criminal referral against Jared Kushner

By rule, the Department of Justice will examine the criminal referral and make a decision about whether a criminal investigation and criminal charges are warranted. Congressman Ted Lieu, one of the people who made the referral, reminded everyone this morning that “Making false statements or omitting material info on SF-86 security form is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

Rep Adam Schiff
hires experienced Russia organized crime prosecutor to lead investigation of trump

Adam Schiff Hires a Former Prosecutor to Lead the Trump Investigation

Jeffrey Toobin

Representative Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, has hired a veteran prosecutor with experience fighting Russian organized crime to lead his investigation of the Trump Administration. Last month, according to a committee source, Daniel Goldman, who served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York from 2007 to 2017, joined the committee’s staff as a senior adviser and the director of investigations.

The hiring of Goldman, who will be joined by three other former federal prosecutors on Schiff’s staff, underlines Schiff’s decision to conduct an aggressive investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia during the 2016 Presidential campaign. In the rough division of labor among the various committees in the House of Representatives, Schiff’s panel is tackling the most provocative and, so far, most elusive subject related to the President: whether so-called collusion occurred between the Trump campaign and Moscow. In public comments, Schiff has suggested that Trump’s interest as a private citizen in building a tower in Moscow led him to curry favor with Vladimir Putin, the Russian President. American intelligence agencies long ago concluded that the Russian government made significant efforts, through the hacking of e-mails and use of social media, to help elect Trump over Hillary Clinton. The question of whether the Trump campaign facilitated, assisted, or knew about these efforts has been at the heart of the investigation by the special counsel, Robert Mueller—and will also be central to Schiff’s inquiry.

Goldman seems well suited to lead this effort. As deputy chief of the organized-crime section of the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office, Goldman supervised the prosecution of more than thirty defendants accused of racketeering, gambling, and money laundering. During his decade in the office, Goldman convicted individuals associated with Russian organized crime of securities fraud and health-care fraud, and convicted leading figures in the Genovese crime family of racketeering and murder.

One of Schiff’s previous committee hires drew a critical comment from the President. Last month, Schiff hired Abigail C. Grace, who served as an Asia policy staffer on the National Security Council during the early part of the Trump Administration. In response, President Trump tweeted that the Democrats were going “nuts” and that Schiff was “stealing people who work at the White House.” In response, Schiff pointed out that congressional committees often employ individuals with experience in the executive branch.

The conflict between Trump and Schiff dates back to well before the Democrat took over as chair of the Intelligence Committee, after the midterm elections. In a tweet, Trump once rendered Schiff’s name as “Schitt,” and in his recent speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the President bestowed the congressman with the nickname Shifty Schiff.

Goldman’s hiring comes amid a flurry of investigative activity by Democrats on Capitol Hill. Schiff and Representative Maxine Waters, the chair of the House Financial Services Committee, have agreed to coördinate an investigation of Trump’s long-standing ties to Deutsche Bank, which has paid multimillion-dollar penalties for facilitating the work of Russian money launderers. Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee, led by Representative Jerrold Nadler, revealed that it had demanded testimony and documents from eighty-one people and entities close to Trump relating to the issues of obstruction of justice and abuse of power. And, of course, Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, gave damning testimony to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, last week. All of these investigations appear to be much closer to the beginnings of their efforts than their ends. ... estigation


March 5, 2019/3 Comments/in 2016 Presidential Election, Mueller Probe /by emptywheel
While the rest of us were looking at the content of the letters the House Judiciary Committee was sending out to witnesses yesterday, @zedster was looking at the metadata. The requests have dates and times reflecting three different production days: towards end of the work day on March 1 (Friday), a slew starting just after 3PM on March 3 (Sunday), with some individualized documents between then and Sunday evening, with a ton of work being done until 1:30 AM March 4 (Monday morning), and four more trickling in after that.

I think the production dates likely reflect a number of different factors.

First, the letters are boilerplate, which may explain why most of those were done first. Three things might explain a delay on any of those letters: either a late decision to include them in the request, delayed approval by SDNY or Mueller for the request, or some difficulty finding the proper addressee for the letter (usually, but not always, the person’s counsel of record). Not all of these addresses are correct: as one example, Erik Prince reportedly has gotten a new lawyer since Victoria Toensing first represented him, but has refused to tell reporters who represents him now; his letter is addressed to Toensing.

One other possible explanation for late dates on the letters is that the decision to call them came out of Michael Cohen’s testimony last week (and some of those witnesses would have had to have been approved by SDNY as well). As an example, the last document in this set is the one to Viktor Vekelsberg, which clearly relates to Michael Cohen (though interest in him may have come out of Cohen’s HPSCI testimony).

The other two late letters are Cambridge Analytica and Donald Trump Revocable Trust. Both appear to be revisions — a third revision for the former and a second for the latter.

That said, the letters completed after March 1 are interesting: Aside from some institutional letters (like FBI and GSA), they appear to be likely subjects of ongoing investigative interest, whether because of the investigation into Trump’s inauguration, Roger Stone’s prosecution, Maria Butina’s cooperation, ongoing sensitivities relating to Paul Manafort, or the National Enquirer.

Some of these topics happen to be the last topics listed on the Schedule As (I got this from Jared Kushner’s Schedule A which is one of if not the most extensive), including WikiLeaks, Manafort’s sharing of polling data (with the Ukrainian oligarchs, but no Oleg Deripaska), Michael Cohen’s Russian-related graft, and Transition graft, including with the Gulf States. There’s no separate category of documents tied to the NRA.

The Schedule As were based off boilerplate and tailored very loosely based on the recipient; this may have been an area where prosecutors weighed in. These later approvals include a slew of Cambridge Analytica people (remember, Sam Patten, who had ties to the organization, was not included in this request at all). Alexander Nix’s Schedule A is a revision. So is Trump Organization lawyer Alan Garten’s. Some of the people central to any obstruction inquiry — Don McGahn, Jeff Sessions, former McGahn Chief of Staff Annie Donaldson, and Jay Sekulow — were among the last Schedule As printed out.

All of this is just reading tea leaves.

But it does seem to reflect some ongoing sensitivities (the Gulf States, Cambridge Analytica, and obstruction) that got approved last, with some areas (Oleg Deripaska) being significantly excluded. ... -requests/

New York State regulators issued an expansive subpoena on Monday to the Trump Organization’s longtime insurance broker, Aon, the first step in an investigation of insurance policies and claims involving Trump’s family business.
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
User avatar
Posts: 32090
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)


Return to General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 24 guests