George Papadopoulos

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George Papadopoulos

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed May 16, 2018 9:30 pm

seemslikeadream » Mon Mar 21, 2016 5:19 pm wrote:
Donald Trump unveils foreign policy advisers
By Jeremy Diamond and Nicole Gaouette, CNN
Updated 5:03 PM ET, Mon March 21, 2016 | Video Source: CNN


Donald Trump revealed a list of at least five foreign policy advisers guiding his policies
This comes weeks after Trump has said he would unveil whom advised him on foreign policy
Washington (CNN)Donald Trump on Monday finally named several members of his team of foreign policy advisers in a meeting with The Washington Post's editorial board, also laying out a global posture starkly at odds with longstanding U.S. policy.

The names he provided for his advisory team ended weeks of questions about who forms the Republican front-runner's brain trust on global affairs. But the group's lack of boldface Washington names and clear policymaking track records means there are still unanswered questions about the international direction they would hope to lead the country in. They also don't clarify the GOP candidate's broader global vision, as some have taken positions contrary to those he has articulated on the campaign trail.

Trump told the Post that he wants to reduce American commitments to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a pillar of relations with Europe, and challenged the benefit of American military investment in Asia, one of the world's fastest-growing economic regions.

Trump detailed the position and his foreign policy team just hours before his first major foreign policy test -- a speech before the annual 18,000-strong American Israel Public Affairs Committee gathering in Washington.

Speaking alongside his Democratic and Republican rivals, Trump will have to display a grasp of substance on issues within Israel, such as the peace process and and Israel's qualitative military edge, and in the region, including Iran's nuclear program. In doing so, he could provide an initial sense of how this new group of advisers will shape Trump's world view.

"If he does not make this foreign policy advisers group look good by what's in that speech," political strategist Angela Rye told CNN, "I think he's got a problem."

Comparing the unglamorous business of crafting a foreign policy to sausage-making, Rye added that for Trump, the test is that "it's about knowing what to put in the sausage as well."

The team of foreign policy advisers, led by Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, consists of counter-terrorism expert Walid Phares, energy consultant George Papadopoulos, former Defense Department inspector general Joe Schmitz, managing partner of Global Energy Capital Carter Page and former Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg. Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks confirmed the names to CNN.

"And I have quite a few more," Trump told the Post's editorial board, without offering details. "But that's a group of some of the people that we are dealing with. We have many other people in different aspects of what we do. But that's pretty representative group."

Later at a Washington news conference on Monday, Trump said, "I have a team, we actually have a very good team," calling it, "a top-of-the-line team."

None of the men on Trump's list are leading figures in the Republican foreign policy establishment. Many of the latter group came out publicly against a Trump presidency in a March letter that declared he would make "America less safe" and that he was "utterly unfitted to the office" of president.

One challenge Trump faces is that at this stage of the campaign, he doesn't have a large pool to draw from, Matt Lewis, a CNN political commentator and senior contributor for The Daily Caller, told CNN. "It's tough for Donald Trump," Lewis said.

Describing Trump's advisers as "smart, serious people," Lewis added that, "You're either going to choose people who weren't at the upper, upper echelon, or people who are associated with the George W. Bush era," who Lewis said are known for "nation-building and adventurism."

Another option for Trump, Lewis suggested, would be to go with Democrats.

Trump supporter John Phillips, a KABC radio host, said that the real estate mogul will have no trouble fielding talented help. "No question, as he moves closer to the convention in Cleveland and he looks more and more like the nominee every single day, all of this these people or many of them are going to come on board," Phillips said.

But one of Trump's opponents, John Kasich, blasted the foreign policy names that the former reality TV star announced earlier in the day.

Taking a dig at Trump on Twitter, Kasich sent out a list of his own advisers -- former administration officials and lawmakers who include a former adviser to President Ronald Reagan and a former CIA director.

"This is what it looks like when you build your national security team out of actual experts," Kasich said.

The advisers already with Trump include Phares, a professor at National Defense University and and adviser to the U.S. House of Representatives on terrorism. The Lebanese-born Phares, who previously advised 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, was also a high-ranking official in a Christian militia tied to massacres during Lebanon's civil war.

Carter Page, the founder of Global Energy Capital, has experience as an investment banker in London and Moscow. George Papadopoulos, who worked for former Republican candidate Ben Carson, is an oil and gas consultant focused on the geopolitics of the energy trade, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Joe Schmitz, a lawyer, is a former Defense Department Inspector General and a former executive with the Blackwater security firm, associated with the killing of Iraqi civilians.

And Gen. Joseph Keith Kellogg, at one point a COO at Oracle, led the 82nd Airborne Division and served as chief operating officer of the multinational Coalition Provisional Authority that ran Iraq from 2003 through 2004.

Trump has criticized American involvement in Iraq and said that he was an early opponent of intervention there.

He acknowledged that Kellogg and his perspectives on the conflict diverge.

"He does have a different opinion, but I do like different opinions," Trump told CNN.

And he said more broadly of his advisers: "It doesn't mean that I'm going to use what they're saying."

Trump's meeting with the Post came just hours before the billionaire businessman took questions from the press at the hotel he is building in Washington. This evening, he addresses AIPAC along with Kasich and fellow Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, a Texas senator.

Trump has for weeks said he would release the names of foreign policy advisers but has until now repeatedly missed his own deadlines.

Asked last week in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" about his advisers, Trump first pointed to himself: "I'm speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain."

The foreign policy positions he advanced Monday demonstrated that his thinking on global affairs has led him to advance positions that would turn parts of U.S. foreign policy on their head.

"NATO is costing us a fortune, and yes, we're protecting Europe with NATO, but we're spending a lot of money," Trump said of the alliance in his remarks to the Post. "We certainly can't afford to do this anymore."

And when asked whether the U.S. benefits from its engagement with Asia, Trump responded, "Personally, I don't think so."


Nordic » Tue Mar 22, 2016 2:15 am wrote:Okay here is CRAZY Trump making no sense at all!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/pos ... gton-post/

Contrast this with Hillary's psychopathic blood-lust speech at AIPAC today.


Trump questions need for NATO, outlines noninterventionist foreign policy

Donald Trump outlined an unabashedly noninterventionist approach to world affairs Monday, telling The Washington Post's editorial board that he questions the need for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which has formed the backbone of Western security policies since the Cold War.

The meeting at The Post covered a range of issues, including media libel laws, violence at his rallies, climate change, NATO and the U.S. presence in Asia.

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Speaking ahead of a major address on foreign policy later Monday in front of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Trump said he advocates a light footprint in the world. In spite of unrest abroad, especially in the Middle East, Trump said the United States must look inward and steer its resources toward rebuilding domestic infrastructure.

Donald Trump speaks with Washington Post Publisher Fred Ryan, left, as he departs a meeting with the editorial board of The Washington Post. Editorial page editor Fred Hiatt is on the right. (Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)
"I do think it’s a different world today, and I don’t think we should be nation-building anymore," Trump said. "I think it’s proven not to work, and we have a different country than we did then. We have $19 trillion in debt. We’re sitting, probably, on a bubble. And it’s a bubble that if it breaks, it’s going to be very nasty. I just think we have to rebuild our country."

He added: "I watched as we built schools in Iraq and they’re blown up. We build another one, we get blown up. We rebuild it three times and yet we can’t build a school in Brooklyn. We have no money for education because we can’t build in our own country. At what point do you say, 'Hey, we have to take care of ourselves?' So, I know the outer world exists and I’ll be very cognizant of that. But at the same time, our country is disintegrating, large sections of it, especially the inner cities."

For the first time, Trump also listed members of a team chaired by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) that is counseling him on foreign affairs and helping to shape his policies: Keith Kellogg, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Walid Phares and Joseph E. Schmitz.

Trump praised George P. Shultz, who served as President Ronald Reagan's top diplomat, and was harshly critical of current secretary of state John F. Kerry. He questioned the United States’ continued involvement in NATO and, on the subject of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, said America’s allies are "not doing anything."

"Ukraine is a country that affects us far less than it affects other countries in NATO, and yet we’re doing all of the lifting," Trump said. "They’re not doing anything. And I say: 'Why is it that Germany’s not dealing with NATO on Ukraine? Why is it that other countries that are in the vicinity of Ukraine, why aren’t they dealing? Why are we always the one that’s leading, potentially the third world war with Russia.' "

Listen: Donald Trump's full interview with The Washington Post editorial board
Play Video63:53
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump visited the editorial board of The Washington Post on Mar. 21. Here is audio of the full, unedited interview. (Gillian Brockell/The Washington Post)
Trump said that U.S. involvement in NATO may need to be significantly diminished in the coming years, breaking with nearly seven decades of consensus in Washington. "We certainly can’t afford to do this anymore," Trump said, adding later, "NATO is costing us a fortune, and yes, we’re protecting Europe with NATO, but we’re spending a lot of money."

Trump sounded a similar note in discussing the U.S. presence in the Pacific. He questioned the value of massive military investments in Asia and wondered aloud whether the United States still was capable of being an effective peacekeeping force there.

“South Korea is very rich, great industrial country, and yet we’re not reimbursed fairly for what we do," Trump said. "We’re constantly sending our ships, sending our planes, doing our war games — we’re reimbursed a fraction of what this is all costing."

Asked whether the United States benefits from its involvement in the region, Trump replied, "Personally, I don’t think so." He added, "I think we were a very powerful, very wealthy country, and we are a poor country now. We’re a debtor nation."

Trump cast China as a leading economic and geopolitical rival and said the United States should toughen its trade alliances to better compete.


"China has got unbelievable ambitions," Trump said. "China feels very invincible. We have rebuilt China. They have drained so much money out of our country that they’ve rebuilt China. Without us, you wouldn’t see the airports and the roadways and the bridges. The George Washington Bridge [in New York], that’s like a trinket compared to the bridges that they build in China. We don’t build anymore. We had our day."

Trump began the hour-long meeting by pulling out a list of some of his foreign policy advisers.

"Walid Phares, who you probably know. PhD, adviser to the House of Representatives. He’s a counterterrorism expert," Trump said. "Carter Page, PhD. George Papadopoulos. He’s an oil and energy consultant. Excellent guy. The honorable Joe Schmitz, [was] inspector general at the Department of Defense. General Keith Kellogg. And I have quite a few more. But that’s a group of some of the people that we are dealing with. We have many other people in different aspects of what we do. But that’s a pretty representative group."

Trump said he plans to share more names in the coming days.

Kellogg, a former Army lieutenant general, is an executive vice president at CACI International, a Virginia-based intelligence and information technology consulting firm with clients around the world. He has experience in national defense and homeland security issues and worked as chief operating officer for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad following the invasion of Iraq.

Schmitz served as inspector general at the Defense Department during the early years of President George W. Bush’s administration and has worked for Blackwater Worldwide. In a brief phone call Monday, Schmitz confirmed that he is working for the Trump campaign and said that he has been involved for the past month. He said he frequently confers with Sam Clovis, one of Trump's top policy advisers, and that there has been a series of conference calls and briefings in recent weeks.


[Opinion: The foreign policy 'experts' who will flock to Trump should scare you]

Papadopoulos directs an international energy center at the London Center of International Law Practice. He previously advised the presidential campaign of Ben Carson and worked as a research fellow at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington.

Phares has an academic background, teaching at the National Defense University and Daniel Morgan Academy in Washington, and has advised members of Congress and appeared as a television analyst discussing terrorism and the Middle East.

Page, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and now the managing partner of Global Energy Capital, is a longtime energy industry executive who rose through the ranks at Merrill Lynch around the world before founding his current firm. He previously was a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he focused on the Caspian Sea region and the economic development in former Soviet states, according to his company biography and documents from his appearances at panels over the past decade.

Trump’s meeting with The Post was on the record. An audio recording was shared by the editorial board, and a full transcript will be posted later Monday. Trump was accompanied to the meeting, which took place at The Post's new headquarters, by his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, and spokeswoman, Hope Hicks.

Read more:


seemslikeadream » Sun Feb 12, 2017 8:46 pm wrote:
The Timeline


Gerald Herbert
ByJOSH MARSHALLPublished
FEBRUARY 12, 2017, 1:13 PM EDT

As the allegations surrounding National Security Advisor Michael Flynn escalate, I wanted to put together for my own use a timeline of key events in this story. The story, as I see it, is the pervasive evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election and widespread, though murky, evidence of ties between the Russian government the Trump campaign.

I've always been partial to timelines because ... well, we live in time. Chronology is the basic organizing principle of our existence. It allows us to get our heads around scatterings of facts in much the way a good chart allows us to synthesize numerical data. Of course, a timeline can create the impression of causation where none exists. It's important to keep that in mind. Still, it's helpful to get a lot of information in one place organized in time. It helps us bound what events can possibly be causally related as well as how they may or may not be related.

A few notes.

One point I was trying to illuminate for myself was when Michael Flynn became associated with Donald Trump. I took a renewed interest in this in light of reports that Flynn's communications with the Russian Ambassador to the United States began during the campaign, not during the transition period. So when did the campaign start for Flynn? As nearly as I can tell from contemporaneous press reports, Flynn's first meeting with Trump was in the late summer of 2015. Something like an official advisory role began in the Spring of 2016.

This is a timeline in progress. I'm still adding details. For the moment, I haven't added claims of applications for FISA warrants, first denied and later approved. It seems likely to me that these occurred. But the reporting remains murky. I've tried to keep the timeline to publicly known incidents and events or those attested and confirmed with specific details by multiple, credible news sources.

June 16th, 2015: Donald Trump announces his candidacy for President of the United States.

Circa Summer 2015: The US government alleges that Russian hackers first gain access to DNC computer networks.

Circa August 2015: Trump staff arranges first meeting between Trump and General Flynn, according to Flynn's account in an August 2016 interview with The Washington Post. "I got a phone call from his team. They asked if he would be willing meet with Mr. Trump and I did. … In late summer 2015."

August 8th, 2015: Roger Stone leaves formal role in Trump campaign. Whether he quits or was fired is disputed. Stone will continue as a key, albeit informal advisor, for the remainder of the campaign.

December 10th, 2015: Michael Flynn attends conference and banquet in Moscow to celebrate the 10th anniversary of RT (formerly Russia today). Flynn is seated next to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the concluding banquet.

March 21st, 2016: In a meeting with The Washington Post editorial board, Trump provides a list of five foreign policy advisors. The list includes Carter Page but not Michael Flynn. The list is Walid Phares, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Joe Schmitz, and ret. Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg.

March 28th, 2016: Trump campaign hires Paul Manafort to oversee delegate operations for campaign. Manafort becomes the dominant figure running the campaign by late April and takes over as campaign manager on June 21st with the firing of campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.

February-April 2016: Flynn advisory relationship with Trump appears to have solidified over the Spring of 2016. In late January Flynn is mentioned as an advisor who has "regular interactions" with Trump. There are similar mentions in February and March. Yet as late as mid-March, Flynn appeared to downplay his ties to Trump. By May Flynn is routinely listed as an advisor and by late May is even being mooted as a possible vice presidential pick.

April 2016: DNC network administrators first notice suspicious activity on Committee computer networks in late April, 2016, according to The Washington Post. The DNC retains the services of network security firm Crowdstrike which expels hackers from the DNC computer network. Crowdstrike tells The Washington Post it believes hackers had been operating inside the DNC networks since the Summer of 2015.

June 14, 2016: Washington Post publishes first account of hacking of the DNC computer networks, allegedly by hackers working on behalf of the Russian government.

July 11th-12th, 2016: Trump campaign officials intervene to remove language calling for providing Ukraine with lethal aid against Russian intervention is Crimea and eastern Ukraine. It is, reportedly, the only significant Trump campaign intervention in the platform in which the Trump campaign has allowed activists a free hand.

July 12th, 2016: Official publication date, The Field of Fight by Michael Flynn and Michael Ledeen.

July 22, 2016: Wikileaks releases first tranche of DNC emails dating from January 2015 to May 2016.

July 27th, 2016: Donald Trump asks Russia to hack Clinton's email to find 33,000 alleged lost emails: "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you can find the 33,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press."

August 1st, 2016: Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort denies Trump campaign changed GOP platform on Russia and Ukraine.

August 14th, 2016: The New York Times publishes story detailing handwritten ledgers showing "$12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine’s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau."

August 19, 2016: Paul Manafort resigns from Trump campaign.

August 21, 2016: Trump advisor Roger Stone tweets: "Trust me, it will soon [sic] the Podesta's time in the barrel."

September 26th, 2016: Trump Russia-Europe Policy Advisor Carter Page steps down from campaign while disputing allegations that he engaged in private communications with Russian government officials. A Yahoo News article from three days earlier reported that US intelligence officials were probing whether he met privately with Russian officials in Moscow in July, including an alleged meeting with close Putin ally Igor Sechin, Chairman of Russian oil company Rosneft.

September 26th, 2016: At first presidential debate, Donald Trump casts doubt on Russian role in hacking campaign: "It could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds."

October 7, 2016: A "Joint Statement from the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence" officially accuses the Russian government of being behind hacking of the DNC "to interfere with the US election process."

October 7, 2016: Wikileaks releases first batch of Podesta emails - one hour after release of Access Hollywood Trump tape.

October 12th, 2016: Stone says he has been in contact with Assange through an intermediary.

October 30th, 2016: In response to FBI Director James Comey's letter to Congress about new developments in the Clinton email server probe, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid writes a public letter to Comey in which he claims: “In my communications with you and other top officials in the national security community, it has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government."

December 9th, 2016: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) hand delivers a selection of memos (aka 'the Steele dossier') to FBI Director James Comey.

December 29th, 2016: President Barack Obama outlines a wave a sanctions and expulsions of Russian diplomat in response to Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.

December 29th, 2016: Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov vows retaliation for sanctions.

December 29th, 2016: Incoming National Security Michael Flynn has multiple phone conversations with Russian Sergey Kislyak. It is later reported that the calls covered US sanctions and suggestions that Obama's punitive actions could be undone in a matter of weeks. Trump administration officials had repeatedly denied that the conversations involved more than pleasantries and logistics about future meetings.

December 29th-30th, 2016: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announces preliminary plans to expel American diplomats.

December 30th, 2016: Russian President Vladimir Putin says he will not retaliate against sanctions and expulsions but await presidency of Donald Trump.

January 19th, 2017: The New York Times reports that the FBI is leading an interagency task force probing ties between Russia and three close Trump associates: Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Roger Stone.
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/the-timeline--2




seemslikeadream » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:09 am wrote:
How Did Page Get Picked?

Grigoriy Sisoev
ByJOSH MARSHALL
Published
APRIL 4, 2017, 11:51 AM EDT
One of the abiding mysteries of the Trump saga is just who those five initial foreign policy advisers were, the ones he announced at an editorial meeting with The Washington Post on March 21st, 2016. It was an odd group: five guys, half with sordid pasts and others no one had ever heard of. One of them actually had Model UN work listed as one of his job qualifications! They weren't sending their best!

This was at the point when Trump had no foreign policy advisers and he'd recently said he got his ideas on the topic from watching generals on the cable networks. Because of all this, it's always been plausible that the whole question of how these guys were picked is radically over-determined: maybe the list was just five guys someone grabbed off their rolodex in a panic in time for the Post editorial board meeting. Who knows?

The one thing that makes the list of some abiding interest was that this was the first announcement of Carter Page's association with the campaign. The new story about Page and Russian spies needs a little unpacking. Page didn't pass government documents to these spies. He wasn't in government. The rest of the story appears to show that the Russians didn't think Page knew they were spies, even though they were trying to recruit him. They also thought he was a rube. But given all the rest we've learned in recent months, the fact that Russian intelligence had tried to recruit the guy who two years later became Trump's chief advisor on Russia and Europe seems like a hell of a coincidence. It also makes it worth considering again just where this list came from. My interest was also peaked by new news that former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince also looks to be in the Trumpian mix.

One of the five advisors was Joseph E. Schmitz, the son of a notorious GOP Congressman who was an anti-Semite and member of the John Birch Society. The younger Schmitz served in the Bush administration but eventually got bounced in part because of charges of anti-Semitism against him. It turns out that after Schmitz got bounced from the Pentagon, he went to work as an executive at Blackwater. In other words, he got hired by Erik Prince.

Then there's this.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Mike Flynn's lobbying for Turkey was tied to new gas fields being developed off the coast of Israel ...

Inovo hired Mr. Flynn on behalf of an Israeli company seeking to export natural gas to Turkey, the filing said, and Mr. Alptekin wanted information on the U.S.-Turkey political climate to advise the gas company about its Turkish investments.
That reminded me of this, from a write-up in the Post from last March ...
Almost all [of George Papadopoulos' ] work appears to have revolved around the role of Greece, Cyprus and an Israeli natural gas discovery in the eastern Mediterranean. Yet Jonathan Stern, director of gas research at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, said when asked about Papadopoulos: “He does ring a very faint bell but he’s not written anything very significant on East Mediterranean natural gas and pipelines that I can remember.”
Papadopoulos had written a number of articles on the subject in the English language Israeli press, apparently of little significance to Mr. Stern. But again, he's the guy who listed Model UN on his resume. There's a major difference here: Does Israel pivot to Turkey or Greece and Cyprus and Egypt in selling its offshore natural gas? But it's still a notable connection and Turkey's relationship to Israel and Russia was changing markedly over the course of 2016.

These points of course prove nothing. They are simply suggestive connections that may help figure out just why these four men were chosen. It does make me want to know a bit more about Prince's role in the campaign early on. In any case, with the new Page information, it's about time we find out more about just who put together this list of five people. It's a very odd list. It always was. Even more so now.
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/how ... get-picked


Carter Page: 'I Didn't Want To Be A Spy'

Grigoriy Sisoev
By MATT SHUHAM
PublishedAPRIL 4, 2017, 9:47 AM EDT
4969Views
A one-time foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign denied Monday afternoon that he had ever sought to become a Russian spy.

"I didn't want to be a spy," Carter Page told ABC News. "I'm not a spy."

ADVERTISING

Page, whom the Trump administration has portrayed as a minor player in the 2016 campaign, and who stepped down from his advisory job after it was revealed that the FBI was investigating his possible ties to Kremlin-aligned Russian figures during a trip to Moscow, confirmed to BuzzFeed News that he gave information to undercover Russian agents in 2013.

Two of those agents were under cover of diplomatic immunity when they were charged with conspiracy and aiding and abetting a third agent, who was not officially working in a diplomatic capacity and served time in an Ohio prison for conspiring to act as a foreign agent.

According to ABC News, FBI court filings revealed that spy recruiters were overheard telling one of the agents, Evgeny Buryakov, about “the attempted use of Male-1 as an intelligence source for Russia.” Page confirmed to Buzzfeed that he is “Male-1.”

According to the FBI's filings, ABC reported, Page and one of the agents discussed business, and Page emphasized his ties to the Russian energy giant Gazprom. The agents were later heard laughing, according to the filings, and saying that Page didn’t know they were government agents.

“I shared basic immaterial information and publicly available research documents with Podobny who then served as a junior attaché at the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations,” Page said in a statement to ABC, before explaining that the information was culled from lectures he was giving at the time at New York University.

Watch clips of ABC News' interview with Page below:
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/c ... ussian-spy



seemslikeadream » Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:58 am wrote:
Nice Try on Carter Page, Guys

Grigoriy Sisoev
ByJOSH MARSHALL
PublishedAPRIL 12, 2017, 12:30 PM EDT

There's something a bit funny going on today. The White House is simultaneously claiming that news of the Carter Page FISA warrant vindicates their claims about Obama administration surveillance while also insisting Page had virtually nothing to do with the campaign. This is a complicated story because the Trump campaign - especially at that stage - was so chaotic and disorganized that the line between central and peripheral could be hard to detect and change from one day to the next. But the White House can't get away with saying that Page was an "informal" advisor one with "no official title."

He was as official as it got.



This is another moment when it is important to recur to the timeline. Well into 2016, Trump had no official or unofficial foreign policy advisors. Indeed, he got in trouble for saying that he got his foreign policy knowledge from watching generals talk on cable. When he had to come up with a group of official, named advisors, he did so in concert with now Attorney General Jeff Sessions and he came up with a list of five people. He announced the five at an on the record and high profile meeting with The Washington Post editorial board. There were five of them: Walid Phares, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Joe Schmitz, and ret. Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg.

Page's official stated advisory purview? Europe and Russia.

It was quite formal and quite official. Now, the White House's current line is basically: Come on, the whole campaign was a mess. We barely even knew who he was. In part, this is true. It was a motley bunch, as I've discussed here. Some of these guys went on to big things with Trump. Walid Phares has continued to be a close administration advisor on trashing Muslims and Gen Kellogg was Trump's interim National Security Advisor. He's still at the NSC. Page was official as it got. The fact the campaign was so chaotic and the now-administration either won't say or doesn't remember how certain people got on the list is another issue entirely.

In the Spring of 2016 there were numerous write-ups of Carter Page and his roll in the Trump campaign, which the campaign either didn't object to or cooperated with. Here's one great nugget from a March 30th profile of Page from Bloomberg News ...
When Donald Trump named him last week as one of his foreign-policy advisers, Page says his e-mail inbox filled up with positive notes from Russian contacts. “So many people who I know and have worked with have been so adversely affected by the sanctions policy,” Page said in a two-hour interview last week. “There's a lot of excitement in terms of the possibilities for creating a better situation.”
It is quite true that Page never seems to have been a Trump insider. They claim at least that he never met with Trump - a claim I have little problem believing. Indeed, Page's best defense against being a spy is his own enduring and profound gooberishness. Even the Russian spies the FBI recorded discussing efforts to recruit him in 2013 thought he was a doofus. But again, he was named not on some random secondary advisory panel. He was one of five named Trump foreign policy advisors and remained with that status for months. Our headline the day he was announced: "Donald Trump Finally Releases Partial List Of His Foreign Policy Advisers."



Having followed this evolving story for a year, I do not think for a moment that Page was running the show, directing Trump's actions or even speaking to him regularly or maybe at all. I think there are much bigger fish who are getting much less attention. Why Page was apparently the only one monitored with a FISA warrant is a good question. It's possible he was the only one clumsy and sloppy enough to get the FBI's early attention or provide enough material to get a warrant. It may also tell us how sluggish the FBI's investigation was or that the penetration of the campaign didn't run that deep. Regardless, Page was a high profile, named, titled advisor for the campaign. For months.

Reporters should get snowed into forgetting that.
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/nic ... -page-guys


seemslikeadream » Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:31 pm wrote:
The Most Gobsmacking Details From Trump Jr.’s Russian Meeting Email Chain


J. Scott Applewhite/AP
By ALLEGRA KIRKLAND Published JULY 11, 2017 2:37 PM

After months of incremental reports about meetings and business dealings that President Donald Trump’s associates had with Russian operatives over the course of the 2016 campaign, the motherlode of news bombshells dropped on Tuesday morning.

Donald Trump, Jr. tweeted out what he said was his full email exchange with a family acquaintance who wanted to connect him with a “Russian government attorney” who could provide him dirt on his father’s likely presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton.

The answers to swirling questions about what Trump Jr. knew going into the June 2016 sit-down with the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, came into crystal-clear focus. The emails revealed that the President’s eldest son, his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, attended a meeting that had been expressly billed to Trump Jr. as an opportunity to obtain damaging information about Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to help the Trump campaign.

Here are the most arresting details from Trump Jr.’s email exchange with that acquaintance, the music publicist Rob Goldstone.

The promised Clinton dirt was part of a larger Russian government effort to help Trump

Goldstone unequivocally says the “sensitive” information his contact has to share with Trump Jr. comes from the Russian government in their initial email exchange on June 3.

“Emin just called and asking me to contact you with something very interesting,” Goldstone wrote. “The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.”

There is no “Crown prosecutor” in Russia, and Goldstone may have been referring to that country’s Prosecutor General.

“This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” Goldstone continued.

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When news of the meeting first broke over the weekend, Trump Jr. said his discussion with Veselnitskaya focused primarily on a program allowing U.S. citizens to adopt Russian children before admitting the next day that he’d attended the meeting because he was promised negative information about Clinton. Until he released these emails over Twitter, Trump Jr. had not acknowledged publicly that he knew ahead of time the person he met with was connected to Vladimir Putin’s government.

Trump Jr. said he’d “love” the oppo, “especially later in the summer”

If Trump’s eldest son was concerned about the source of the information he would receive, he gave Goldstone no indication.

“If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer,” Trump Jr. told Goldstone in response to his initial email, expressly noting that it would be more useful to have after the conventions were wrapped and Clinton was formally named as the Democratic nominee.

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Trump Jr. also repeatedly thanked Goldstone for his role in orchestrating the meeting, saying he appreciated his “help” and his assistance “helping set it up.”

Goldstone made clear the meeting would be with a “Russian government attorney”

Goldstone identifies the lawyer’s country of origin in two separate emails. In one June 7 email, he calls her “The Russian government attorney who is flying over from Moscow.” In an emails sent the following day, he refers to her as “the Russian attorney.”


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Trump Jr. has said he did not know the name of the lawyer before the meeting, and Veselnitskaya is not named in the emails he released. But he certainly knew where she was from.

Manafort and Kushner were forwarded an email outlining the meeting’s purpose

Manafort and Kushner were forwarded the entire email chain detailing the purpose and timing of the meeting, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

Their names are visible on one exchange that Trump Jr. tweeted. That email updated them on the time of the gathering, with the subject line “FW: Russia – Clinton – private and confidential.”

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Manafort and Kushner both confirmed to the Times that they attended the meeting, but declined to answer additional questions about it.

Trump Jr. also highlighted their expected attendance in his exchange with Goldstone, writing, “It will likely be Paul Manafort (campaign boss) my brother in law and me.”



Goldstone was open to sharing the dirt with Donald Trump himself
Goldstone apparently considered routing the Clinton dirt sourced from the Russian government to the presumptive Republican nominee himself. In that same June 3 exchange, he proposed passing the compromising information along to Trump through his longtime secretary, Rhona Graff.

“I can also send this info to your father via Rhona, but it is ultra sensitive so wanted to send to you first,” Goldstone wrote to Trump Jr.
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/stunnin ... yer-emails



Look At The Timeline

Patrick Semansky/AP
By JOSH MARSHALL Published JULY 11, 2017 12:56 PM

Over the weekend, as the import of the Donald Trump Jr meeting became clear, but before this morning’s emails release, I started going back through my notes to piece together the timeline of events and whether they looked different in the light of the new revelations. And? Good guess! They look a lot different. For the moment, look at the timeline after the jump starting in April and running through August. That is the critical part. The critical addition of the Don Jr meeting fits right into a critical period when what we understand were Russian intelligence operatives were trying various vehicles to surface emails that were stolen during the spring. Look at the timeline after the jump – again, go ahead to April 2016.

June 16th, 2015: Donald Trump announces his candidacy for President of the United States.

Circa Summer 2015: The US government alleges that Russian hackers first gain access to DNC computer networks.

Circa August 2015: Trump staff arranges first meeting between Trump and General Flynn, according to Flynn’s account in an August 2016 interview with The Washington Post. “I got a phone call from his team. They asked if he would be willing meet with Mr. Trump and I did. … In late summer 2015.”

August 8th, 2015: Roger Stone leaves formal role in Trump campaign. Whether he quits or was fired is disputed. Stone will continue as a key, albeit informal advisor, for the remainder of the campaign.

December 10th, 2015: Michael Flynn attends conference and banquet in Moscow to celebrate the 10th anniversary of RT (formerly Russia today). Flynn is seated next to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the concluding banquet.

March 19th, 2016: Hackers successfully hack into Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta’s email.

March 21st, 2016: In a meeting with The Washington Post editorial board, Trump provides a list of five foreign policy advisors. The list includes Carter Page but not Michael Flynn. The list is Walid Phares, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Joe Schmitz, and ret. Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg.

March 28th, 2016: Trump campaign hires Paul Manafort to oversee delegate operations for campaign. Manafort becomes the dominant figure running the campaign by late April and takes over as campaign manager on June 21st with the firing of campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.

February-April 2016: Flynn advisory relationship with Trump appears to have solidified over the Spring of 2016. In late January Flynn is mentioned as an advisor who has “regular interactions” with Trump. There are similar mentions in February and March. Yet as late as mid-March, Flynn appeared to downplay his ties to Trump. By May Flynn is routinely listed as an advisor and by late May is even being mooted as a possible vice presidential pick.

April 2016: DNC network administrators first notice suspicious activity on Committee computer networks in late April, 2016, according to The Washington Post. The DNC retains the services of network security firm Crowdstrike which expels hackers from the DNC computer network. Crowdstrike tells The Washington Post it believes hackers had been operating inside the DNC networks since the Summer of 2015.

April 19th, 2016: “DCLeaks.com” url/address registered.

May 3rd, 2016: Donald J. Trump becomes becomes presumptive nominee after Ted Cruz and John Kasich withdraw from race.

May 26th, 2016: Donald J. Trump officially secure majority of GOP delegates, officially clinching the nomination of the Republican party.

June 3rd, 2016: First email contact between Rob Goldstone and Donald Trump Jr. about meeting with “Russian government lawyer” with damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

June 7th, 2016: Donald J Trump gives speech in which he promises a major speech about Hillary Clinton’s crimes on June 13th. “I am going to give a major speech on … probably Monday [June 13th] of next week and we’re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons. I think you’re going to find it very informative and very, very interesting.”

June 8th, 2016: First tweet posted to “DCLeaks” Twitter account.

June 9th, 2016: Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort meet with Natalia Veselnitskaya. Trump agreed to take the meeting after being told by Trump associate Rob Goldstone that Veselnitskaya had damaging information about Hillary Clinton which came from a Russian government operation to help his father Donald J. Trump.

June 12th, 2016: Julian Assange first announces that Wikileaks has Clinton emails which are soon to be released. “Wikileaks has a very big year ahead … We have emails related to Hillary Clinton which are pending publication.”

June 14, 2016: Washington Post publishes first account of hacking of the DNC computer networks, allegedly by hackers working on behalf of the Russian government.

June 15th, 2016: “Guccifer 2.0”, later identified by US government officials and other private sector analysts as a fictive persona created by Russian intelligence operatives, contacts The Smoking Gun to take credit for hacking the DNC.

June 27th, 2016: First hacked DNC emails posted to “DCLeaks” website.

July 11th-12th, 2016: Trump campaign officials intervene to remove language calling for providing Ukraine with lethal aid against Russian intervention is Crimea and eastern Ukraine. It is, reportedly, the only significant Trump campaign intervention in the platform in which the Trump campaign has allowed activists a free hand.

July 12th, 2016: Official publication date, The Field of Fight by Michael Flynn and Michael Ledeen.

July 22, 2016: Wikileaks releases first tranche of DNC emails dating from January 2015 to May 2016.

July 27th, 2016: Donald Trump asks Russia to hack Clinton’s email to find 33,000 alleged lost emails: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you can find the 33,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

August 1st, 2016: Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort denies Trump campaign changed GOP platform on Russia and Ukraine.

August 8th, 2016: Trump Advisor Roger Stone tells Southwest Broward Republican Organization “I actually have communicated with Assange. I believe the next tranche of his documents pertain to the Clinton Foundation but there’s no telling what the October surprise may be.”

August 14th, 2016: The New York Times publishes story detailing handwritten ledgers showing “$12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine’s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau.”

August 17th, 2016: Nominee Donald Trump receives his first intelligence briefing with Gen. Michael Flynn and Gov. Chris Christie in attendance.

August 19, 2016: Paul Manafort resigns from Trump campaign.

August 21, 2016: Trump advisor Roger Stone tweets: “Trust me, it will soon [sic] the Podesta’s time in the barrel.”

September 26th, 2016: Trump Russia-Europe Policy Advisor Carter Page steps down from campaign while disputing allegations that he engaged in private communications with Russian government officials. A Yahoo News article from three days earlier reported that US intelligence officials were probing whether he met privately with Russian officials in Moscow in July, including an alleged meeting with close Putin ally Igor Sechin, Chairman of Russian oil company Rosneft.

September 26th, 2016: At first presidential debate, Donald Trump casts doubt on Russian role in hacking campaign: “It could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”

October 7, 2016: A “Joint Statement from the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence” officially accuses the Russian government of being behind hacking of the DNC “to interfere with the US election process.”

October 7, 2016: Wikileaks releases first batch of Podesta emails – one hour after release of Access Hollywood Trump tape.

October 12th, 2016: Stone says he has been in contact with Assange through an intermediary.

October 30th, 2016: In response to FBI Director James Comey’s letter to Congress about new developments in the Clinton email server probe, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid writes a public letter to Comey in which he claims: “In my communications with you and other top officials in the national security community, it has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government.”

December 9th, 2016: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) hand delivers a selection of memos (aka ‘the Steele dossier’) to FBI Director James Comey.

December 29th, 2016: President Barack Obama outlines a wave a sanctions and expulsions of Russian diplomat in response to Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.

December 29th, 2016: Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov vows retaliation for sanctions.

December 29th, 2016: Incoming National Security Michael Flynn has multiple phone conversations with Russian Sergey Kislyak. It is later reported that the calls covered US sanctions and suggestions that Obama’s punitive actions could be undone in a matter of weeks. Trump administration officials had repeatedly denied that the conversations involved more than pleasantries and logistics about future meetings.

December 29th-30th, 2016: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announces preliminary plans to expel American diplomats.

December 30th, 2016: Russian President Vladimir Putin says he will not retaliate against sanctions and expulsions but await presidency of Donald Trump.

January 19th, 2017: The New York Times reports that the FBI is leading an interagency task force probing ties between Russia and three close Trump associates: Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Roger Stone.

January 26th, 2017: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and a senior intelligence official visit to White House Counsel Donald McGahn to deliver the message that National Security Advisor Flynn has deceived the Vice President about the subject matter of his calls and may be subject to Russian blackmail.

February 13th, 2017: Michael Flynn resigns as National Security Advisor.
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seemslikeadream » Thu Aug 24, 2017 2:03 pm wrote:
Thoughts About the New Trump-Russia Email

Trump deputy chief of staff for policy, Rick Dearborn, left, and senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, right, walk down the steps of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, following a meeting. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Susan Walsh/AP
By JOSH MARSHALL Published AUGUST 24, 2017 2:08 PM

I wanted to note briefly the news of this new Russia-related email in the news today. The email is from Rick Dearborn, a key Trump staffer, whose role in the drama we’ll return to in a moment. We don’t have the email itself but rather descriptions of it. And it appears to reference an effort by an individual from West Virginia (who knows?) to set up a meeting between Trump campaign officials and Vladimir Putin. Notably, the email dates from June 2016, around the time of the notorious Trump Tower meeting with Don Jr and just as Russian intelligence operatives were kicking their election disruption campaign into high gear.

Now, who is Rick Dearborn? This is the critical point. Dearborn was Senator Jeff Sessions’s right hand man. For a dozen years before the the 2016 campaign Dearborn had been Sessions’ Senate Chief of Staff. Those Senate chief of staff positions are extraordinarily powerful. If you’ve been in the job for a dozen years you’re a big deal – certainly with that senator and really in the entire world of capitol hill.

Remember, Sessions was a critical figure for Trump. He was far, far right in the Senate. But he was a sitting US senator who endorsed Trump when virtually no one of any standing in the GOP would back him. That was a big deal in symbolic terms. But almost as important it was a big deal in terms of having people on board who had some basic grasp of policy issues and how to run a real campaign. On this front, Sessions brought not just himself but his people. Rick Dearborn was the most important of those people. And he was quickly seconded to the campaign. The other key Sessions staffer? Stephen Miller. But we’ll return to him later.

For our present purposes what is important to note is that Dearborn was charged with putting together Trump’s policy shop and the armada of advisors and wonks who surround and work for every presidential campaign once it seems to have a real shot of winning a nomination. These people are critical not just because you need to generate positions on almost countless issues and start recruiting people who are likely to get appointments if you win the White House, but because doing these things is a key indicator for elite stakeholders – journalists, business, the foreign policy community, the think tank world, campaign donors, etc – that you’re really a serious campaign.

That was Dearborn’s job. And you’ll remember that of the five men Trump announced as his original foreign policy adviser team in March 2016, two have been identified as key figures in the Trump Russia probe. The five were Walid Phares, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Joe Schmitz, and ret. Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg. Carter Page you know about. Papadopoulos, we now know, spent most of his adviser time trying to connect Trump officials up with people from Russia. It’s been claimed that another guy, Sam Clovis, a right wing talk radio show host who Trump recently installed at the USDA, is actually the guy who chose Page. I don’t think we really know who did. I think it’s altogether possible that Dearborn did. But it all took place under Dearborn’s charge.

There’s also Jeff Sessions meeting with Russian officials, most notably the one he had in his Senate office. It’s never been quite clear how or why Sessions got tangled up in these Russia meetings. Dearborn would be an obvious explanation.

In any case, I would say this email is the rare case where the old cliche is true: it raises more questions than it answers. But Dearborn does connect together a number of the Russia threads through the 2016 Trump campaign. And this email – whatever the details behind it and whatever came of it – comes right in the critical period when Russian operatives appear to have been probing for multiple points of contact and entry into the Trump campaign.

I doubt we’ve heard the last of this.
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seemslikeadream » Sun Aug 27, 2017 9:03 pm wrote:
Trump’s business sought deal on a Trump Tower in Moscow while he ran for president
Image
Donald Trump during a 2005 visit to Colorado to speak at a business convention. At his right is Felix Sater, a Russian-born real estate developer. (Cyrus McCrimmon/The Denver Post)
By Carol D. Leonnig, Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman August 27 at 8:48 PM
While Donald Trump was running for president in late 2015 and early 2016, his company was pursuing a plan to develop a massive Trump Tower in Moscow, according to several people familiar with the proposal and new records reviewed by Trump Organization lawyers.

As part of the discussions, a Russian-born real estate developer urged Trump to come to Moscow to tout the proposal and suggested that he could get President Vladimir Putin to say “great things” about Trump, according to several people who have been briefed on his correspondence.

The developer, Felix Sater, predicted in a November 2015 email that he and Trump Organization leaders would soon be celebrating — both one of the biggest residential projects in real estate history and Donald Trump’s election as president, according to two of the people with knowledge of the exchange.

Sater wrote to Trump Organization Executive Vice President Michael Cohen, “something to the effect of, ‘Can you believe two guys from Brooklyn are going to elect a president?’ ” said one person briefed on the email exchange. Sater emigrated from what was then the Soviet Union when he was 6 and grew up in Brooklyn.

Trump never went to Moscow as Sater proposed. And although investors and Trump’s company signed a letter of intent, they lacked the land and permits to proceed and the project was abandoned at the end of January 2016, just before the presidential primaries began, several people familiar with the proposal said.

Nevertheless, the details of the deal, which have not previously been disclosed, provide evidence that Trump’s business was actively pursuing significant commercial interests in Russia at the same time he was campaigning to be president — and in a position to determine U.S.-Russia relations. The new details from the emails, which are scheduled to be turned over to congressional investigators soon, also point to the likelihood of additional contacts between Russia-connected individuals and Trump associates during his presidential bid.

White House officials declined to comment for this report. Cohen, a longtime Trump aide who remains Trump’s personal attorney, and his lawyer have also declined to comment.

In recent months, contacts between high-ranking and lower- level Trump aides and Russians have emerged. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, then a U.S. senator and campaign adviser, twice met Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Donald Trump Jr. organized a June 2016 meeting with campaign aide Jared Kushner, campaign manager Paul Manafort and a Russian lawyer after the president’s eldest son was promised that the lawyer would bring damaging information about Hillary Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to help the campaign.

Internal emails also show campaign adviser George Papadopoulos repeatedly sought to organize meetings with campaign officials, including Trump, and Putin or other Russians. His efforts were rebuffed.

The negotiations for the Moscow project ended before Trump’s business ties to Russia had become a major issue in the campaign. Trump denied having any business connections to Russia in July 2016, tweeting, “for the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia” and then insisting at a news conference the following day, “I have nothing to do with Russia.”

Discussions about the Moscow project began in earnest in September 2015, according to people briefed on the deal. An unidentified investor planned to build the project and, under a licensing agreement, put Trump’s name on it. Cohen acted as a lead negotiator for the Trump Organization. It is unclear how involved or aware Trump was of the negotiations.

As the talks progressed, Trump voiced numerous supportive comments about Putin, setting himself apart from his Republican rivals for the nomination.

By the end of 2015, Putin began offering praise in return.

“He says that he wants to move to another, closer level of relations. Can we really not welcome that? Of course, we welcome that,” Putin told reporters during his annual end-of-the year news conference. He called Trump a “colorful and talented” person. Trump said afterward that the compliment was an “honor.”

Though Putin’s comments came shortly after Sater suggested that the Russian president would speak favorably about Trump, there is no indication that the two are connected.

There is no public record that Trump has ever spoken about the effort to build a Trump Tower in 2015 and 2016.

Trump’s interests in building in Moscow, however, are long-standing. He had attempted to build a Trump property for three decades, starting with a failed effort in 1987 to partner with the Soviet government on a hotel project.

“Russia is one of the hottest places in the world for investment,” he said in a 2007 court deposition.

“We will be in Moscow at some point,” he promised in the deposition.

Sater was involved in at least one of those previous efforts. In 2005, the Trump Organization gave his development company, the Bayrock Group, an exclusive one-year deal to attempt to build a Moscow Trump Tower. Sater located a site for the project — an abandoned pencil factory — and worked closely with Trump on the deal, which did not come to fruition.

In an unrelated court case in 2008, Sater said in a deposition that he would personally provide Trump “verbal updates” on the deal.

“When I’d come back, pop my head into Mr. Trump’s office and tell him, you know, ‘Moving forward on the Moscow deal.’ And he would say, ‘All right,’ ” Sater said.

In the same testimony, Sater described traveling with Trump’s children, including joining Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. on a trip to Moscow at their father’s request.

“They were on their way by themselves, and he was all concerned,” Sater said. “He asked if I wouldn’t mind joining them and looking after them while they were in Moscow.”

Alan Garten, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, told The Washington Post last year that Sater happened to be in Moscow at the same time as Trump’s two adult children. “There was no accompanying them to Moscow,” he said.

Neither Sater nor his attorney responded to requests for comment.

Trump has repeatedly tried to distance himself from Sater, who served time in jail after assaulting a man with the stem of a broken margarita glass during a 1991 bar fight and then pleaded guilty in 1998 to his role in an organized- crime-linked stock fraud. Sater’s sentencing was delayed for years while he cooperated with the federal government on a series of criminal and national security-related investigations, federal officials have said.

During that time, Sater worked as an executive with Bayrock, whose offices were in Trump Tower, and brokered deals to license Trump’s name for developments in multiple U.S. and foreign cities. In 2010, Trump allowed Sater to briefly work out of Trump Organization office space and use a business card that identified him as a “senior adviser to Donald Trump.”

Still, when asked about Sater in 2013 court deposition, Trump said: “If he were sitting in the room right now, I really wouldn’t know what he looked like.” He added that he had spoken with Sater “not many” times.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics ... ab2dc31d20


More on Trump Tower Moscow

By JOSH MARSHALL Published AUGUST 27, 2017 10:17 PM
Image
The Washington Post has a piece up tonight reporting that during the 2016 campaign Donald Trump was trying to put together a deal to build a Trump Tower Moscow. I would not be doing right by TPM’s crack reporting staff if I didn’t note that TPM’s Sam Thielman reported these details in this piece on August 1st. The Times was the first to reference this deal in February, though only obliquely. But in a series of conversations with Theilman, Sater provided considerably more detail about this key project.

From Thielman’s August 1st piece …

“My last Moscow deal [for the Trump Organization] was in October of 2015,” Sater recalled. “It didn’t go through because obviously he became President.” Sater had told the New York Times that he was working on the deal that fall, but over the course of several conversations with TPM, he gave a slightly more detailed timeline. “Once the campaign was really going-going, it was obvious there were going to be no deals internationally,” Sater said. “We were still working on it, doing something with it, November-December.”

That deal was for “The Trump Tower, to develop in Moscow.” It was a similar proposition to the one Trump himself tried to broker with the Agalarovs, a family of vastly wealthy Russian oligarchs who brought Miss Universe 2013 to Moscow and were behind the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting between the President’s oldest son and an attorney said to work for the Russian government.

Sater said he never worked with the Agalarovs on a Moscow deal for Trump: “I don’t work with them and I’ve never worked with them.” When asked who he was working with, Sater chuckled. “A couple of people I’d like to continue working with, and that’s why I don’t want their names in the newspaper. People say, ‘I care about you and love you but why do I need my name in the press?’”

The Post doesn’t reference the Times or TPM. But it does add two important new details. The first is that Michael Cohen was the negotiator on the Trump Organization’s side of the detail. This is not a surprise. It makes sense. Sater and Cohen show up together again and again through the Russia story. And as Thielman was first to report in July, the two knew each other as kids, having a personal relationship long before they both became key business associates of Donald Trump. (Both men grew up in the Russia/Ukrainian emigre world of Brighton Beach and surrounding areas, though Cohen was born in the US.) It was, remember, Cohen and Sater who had that meeting in February of this year where that Ukrainian parliamentarian pitched his ‘peace plan’ for Ukraine and handed over a dossier of documents which Cohen then hand delivered to Mike Flynn at the White House.

Again, it makes perfect sense that Cohen would be the contact in the Trump Organization. But we didn’t know that, at least not the best of my knowledge. As I’ve explained before, Cohen was brought into the Trump Organization because he was conduit for money from the countries of the former Soviet Union. It makes sense.

The other detail is that this information comes from what appear to be subpoenaed Trump Organization emails which the Post says “which are scheduled to be turned over to congressional investigators soon.”

As we noted when we reported this a month ago, the fact that Trump was actively trying to secure a deal to build a major development in Moscow during the early months of the campaign is a big, big deal. This was happening months before Russia became a charged campaign issue in the late summer of 2016. But it was while Trump was making various public comments praising Putin and Putin was, on a more limited basis, doing the same in return. With these emails now in the process of being handed over to investigators we are likely to get much more detail not only about on-going communications between Trump Organization officials and people in Russia because on-going business negotiations. The money negotiations were going through Michael Cohen at the same time he was acting as a key spokesman for Trump’s campaign.
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Trump-McConnell Feud Sets The Stage For A September From Hell

AP/TPM
By ALICE OLLSTEIN Published AUGUST 28, 2017 6:00 AM

As White House spokespeople blithely insist that everything is fine between the Republican president and Republican leaders of the House and Senate, the relationship continues to deteriorate—with vague sniping in the press escalating into screaming private phone calls and public call-outs at rallies and on Twitter.

Always one who thrives on attacking a real or invented enemy, President Donald Trump, whose party controls every level of power in Washington, has targeted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for ridicule, blaming him for just how little Republicans have been able to accomplish in 2017.

The president has also gone after individual lawmakers in his own party, threatening to primary some of the Senate’s most vulnerable GOP members and publicly and privately berating others.

ADVERTISING

The attacks could not come at a worse time.

Because Congress ate up so much of the year with a failed push to repeal the Affordable Care Act, they have an extremely narrow time frame left to pass a budget, raise the debt ceiling, reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Flood Insurance Program and appropriate funding to stabilize Obamacare’s marketplaces. This would be a challenge even with full support from the White House, but it becomes nearly impossible with a president whose spasms of rage, loose grasp of policy, and itchy Twitter finger threaten to derail the delicate deal-making process.

Here comes the September from hell.

The House and Senate return from recess Sept. 5, the day after Labor Day, and will only be in session for 12 days in September. During that time, they must negotiate and pass a slew of bills to keep the government running and avoid defaulting on the national debt.

Besides raising the debt ceiling and approving either a short- or long-term budget by the end of September, Congress must also reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the National Flood Insurance Program before their funding expires.

Republican leaders on the Hill have already conceded that, given the tight deadline, their promises of a return to “regular order” budget votes will have to wait, and the best they can hope for is a short-term continuing resolution to stave off a government shutdown for a few more months.

Trump lobbed a grenade into this tense process by calling publicly for a government shutdown if Congress is unwilling to spend billions on the construction of a wall along the border with Mexico—a cost he repeatedly promised would not fall on U.S. taxpayers.

Republican leaders immediately poured cold water on the president’s threats, with House Speaker Paul Ryan offering assurances that a shutdown was not “necessary” or in anyone’s interest. Many rank-and-file Republicans have agreed, showing no eagerness to back the president’s hard line on border funding, while Democrats remain staunchly opposed and emboldened to make their own demands.

In addition to the looming shutdown showdown, Trump and McConnell are fighting one another in proxy wars in Republican primaries in Alabama and Arizona—with McConnell mobilizing to defend incumbents Jeff Flake and Luther Strange against attacks from Trump and Trump-allied PACs.

As lawmakers scramble over the coming weeks to craft a grand bargain that both sides of the aisle can live with, the escalation of this Republican civil war could prove disastrous.

During the last round of budget negotiations in the spring, Trump’s bluster about border wall funding and other issues fizzled quickly, and he ended up signing a bill that met essentially none of his demands.

Since then, Republicans have only shown themselves more willing to ignore and defy him—on everything from Russia sanctions to taking their traditional August recess to protecting the special counsel’s investigation of Trump.

Lawmakers have similarly waved away the president’s repeated demand that the Senate kill the legislative filibuster and move to a simple majority vote on all bills—a move McConnell and most Republicans firmly oppose, knowing it could backfire if and when Democrats take back the upper chamber.

The president’s ham-handed negotiating tactics during the multi-month health care fight will likely make lawmakers even less willing to risk their own necks to advance his agenda. Holding an over-the-top Rose Garden celebration when the House passed the deeply unpopular Obamacare repeal bill, only to call that bill “mean” weeks later, gave members of Congress whiplash.

And whether he was demanding swing vote Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV) promise to vote for a bill she’d never seen before riding on Air Force One, or dispatching a cabinet member to threaten Alaska’s Republican senators with cuts to their state’s funding, or generally treating lawmakers like his underlings instead of a co-equal branch of government, Trump proved himself unable to use carrots or sticks to get any bill across the finish line.

Now, still bruised from the health care debacle, lawmakers say they will turn their attention to passing tax cuts—a goal they originally pledged to meet by August and now say, dubiously, that they will accomplish by the end of the year. The president will reportedly not contribute any policy proposals of his own.

With a marked uptick in the number of Republicans willing to buck the president’s priorities, and even openly question his fitness for office, Trump may lash out and potentially veto whatever legislation Capitol Hill manages to produce. The famed deal-maker appears far more interested in making sure Congress shoulders the blame for any future failures than avoiding those failures altogether.
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Trump Associate Boasted That Moscow Business Deal ‘Will Get Donald Elected’
By MATT APUZZO and MAGGIE HABERMANAUG. 28, 2017

Donald J. Trump with Felix H. Sater, right, and Tevfik Arif at the official unveiling of Trump SoHo in September 2007. Credit Mark Von Holden/WireImage
WASHINGTON — A business associate of President Trump promised in 2015 to engineer a real estate deal with the aid of the president of Russia, Vladimir V. Putin, that he said would help Mr. Trump win the presidency.

The associate, Felix Sater, wrote a series of emails to Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, in which he boasted about his ties to Mr. Putin and predicted that building a Trump Tower in Moscow would highlight Mr. Trump’s savvy negotiating skills and be a political boon to his candidacy.

“Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” Mr. Sater wrote in an email. “I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.”

Photo

A portion of an email Felix Sater sent to Michael Cohen on Nov. 3, 2015.
The emails show that, from the earliest months of Mr. Trump’s campaign, some of his associates viewed close ties with Moscow as a political advantage. Those ties are now under investigation by the Justice Department and multiple congressional committees.

A Back-Channel Plan for Ukraine and Russia, Courtesy of Trump Associates FEB. 19, 2017
American intelligence agencies have concluded that the Russian government interfered with the 2016 presidential election to try to help Mr. Trump. Investigators want to know whether anyone on Mr. Trump’s team was part of that process.

Mr. Sater, a Russian immigrant, said he had lined up financing for the Trump Tower deal with VTB Bank, a Russian bank that was under American sanctions for involvement in Moscow’s efforts to undermine democracy in Ukraine. In another email, Mr. Sater envisioned a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Moscow.

“I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected,” Mr. Sater wrote.

Mr. Sater said he was eager to show video clips to his Russian contacts of instances of Mr. Trump speaking glowingly about Russia.

There is no evidence in the emails that Mr. Sater delivered on his promises, and one email suggests that Mr. Sater overstated his Russian ties. In January 2016, Mr. Cohen wrote to Mr. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, asking for help restarting the Trump Tower project, which had stalled. But Mr. Sater did not appear to have Mr. Peskov’s direct email, and instead wrote to a general inbox for press inquiries.

The project never got government permits or financing, and died weeks later.

“To be clear, the Trump Organization has never had any real estate holdings or interests in Russia,” the Trump Organization said Monday in a statement.

The Trump Organization on Monday turned over emails to the House Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russian meddling in the presidential election and whether anyone in Mr. Trump’s campaign was involved. Some of the emails were obtained by The Times.

Photo

A portion of an email Mr. Sater sent to Mr. Cohen on Nov. 3, 2015.
None of the emails obtained by The Times include any responses from Mr. Cohen to Mr. Sater’s messages.

In a statement on Monday, Mr. Cohen suggested that he viewed Mr. Sater’s comments as puffery. “He has sometimes used colorful language and has been prone to ‘salesmanship,’” the statement said. “I ultimately determined that the proposal was not feasible and never agreed to make a trip to Russia.”

The emails obtained by The Times make no mention of Russian efforts to damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign or the hacking of Democrats’ emails. Mr. Trump has said there was no collusion with Russian officials. Previously released emails, however, revealed that his campaign was willing to receive damaging information about Mrs. Clinton from Russian sources.

Mr. Sater was a broker for the Trump Organization at the time of his messages to Mr. Cohen, which means he was paid to deliver real estate deals and had an incentive to overstate his business-making acumen. He presents himself in his emails as so influential in Russia that he helped arrange a 2006 trip that Mr. Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, took to Moscow.

“I arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putins private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin,” he said.

Ms. Trump said she had no involvement in the discussions about the Moscow deal. In a statement, she said that during the 2006 trip, she took “a brief tour of Red Square and the Kremlin” as a tourist. She said it is possible she sat in Mr. Putin’s chair during that tour but she did not recall it. “I have never met President Vladimir Putin,” she said.

The Times reported earlier this year on the plan for a Trump Tower in Moscow, which never materialized. On Sunday, The Washington Post reported the existence of the correspondence between Mr. Sater and Mr. Cohen but not its content.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/28/us/p ... ubz=0&_r=0


I told you last night’s Trump Tower Moscow bombshell was merely a teaser. It just got much, much bigger.
By Bill Palmer
Updated: 3:06 pm EDT Mon Aug 28, 2017
Home » Politics

Last night the Washington Post reported that Donald Trump was trying to build Trump Tower Moscow during the election. The story stood out, not only because it’s a major bombshell, but because it had been rushed out in seemingly in half finished fashion – and published while the public was instead focused on Hurricane Harvey flooding. I pointed out last night that this had to be nothing more than a teaser, with more to come. And sure enough, the story got much bigger today.


Now we know why the WaPo was in such a hurry to publish what it had last night: it was racing the New York Times, which was working on a much bigger version of the same story. Now the Times has published its own version today, and it’s nothing short of stunning. Not only were Donald Trump and convicted Russian mafia figure Felix Sater trying to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, they’d been trying to pull it off dating back to 2006, when Sater took Ivanka Trump to the Kremlin. But that’s just the beginning.


During the 2016 election cycle Sater sent an email to Donald Trump’s longtime attorney Michael Cohen, stating “Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it” and “I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process” (NY Times). This may help explain why Cohen has since hired an attorney of his own. The infamous Trump-Russia dossier has asserted that Cohen played a key role in negotiating the terms of the Kremlin’s blackmail over Trump, though Cohen has long denied this. Now he’s allegedly right back to being in the thick of it. But there’s more.

Sater also says that “I arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putin’s private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin.” Ivanka has responded by admitting she toured the Kremlin but insisting that she never met Putin. This is getting deeper by the minute. Remarkably, this is probably still just the warmup act. It’s clear the Washington Post and New York Times are racing each other to unearth the details of this story in real time.
http://www.palmerreport.com/politics/bo ... gger/4552/
656 Children Separated kidnapped by trump at the Border Have Still Not Been Reunited With Their Parents

August 17 2018


Babies in cages were no ‘mistake’ by Trump but test-marketing for barbarism - Fintan O’Toole
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Re: George Papadopoulos

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed May 16, 2018 9:51 pm

seemslikeadream » Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:09 am wrote:
Mueller teams up with New York attorney general in Manafort probe
The cooperation is the latest sign that the investigation into Trump's former campaign chairman is intensifying.
By JOSH DAWSEY 08/30/2017 07:26 PM EDT
Robert Mueller. | AP
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has been looking into Paul Manafort’s lobbying work and financial transactions, including real estate deals in New York. | Jeff Chiu/AP

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is working with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on its investigation into Paul Manafort and his financial transactions, according to several people familiar with the matter.

The cooperation is the latest indication that the federal probe into President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman is intensifying. It also could potentially provide Mueller with additional leverage to get Manafort to cooperate in the larger investigation into Trump’s campaign, as Trump does not have pardon power over state crimes.


The two teams have shared evidence and talked frequently in recent weeks about a potential case, these people said. One of the people familiar with progress on the case said both Mueller’s and Schneiderman’s teams have collected evidence on financial crimes, including potential money laundering.

No decision has been made on where or whether to file charges. “Nothing is imminent,” said one of the people familiar with the case.

Manafort has not been accused of any wrongdoing and has previously denied it. A spokesman for Manafort didn’t return phone calls seeking comment.

A representative for Mueller’s office declined to comment, as did the New York attorney general’s office.

People close to Manafort say the team has pressured him by approaching family members and former business partners. A number of other firms and people who have worked with him have received subpoenas.

Federal agents also conducted an early-morning raid at Manafort’s home in late July, seizing documents and other items.

Manafort did not resist the search, his spokesman Jason Maloni said at the time of the raid.

State and federal prosecutors believe the prospect of a presidential pardon could affect whether Manafort decides to cooperate investigators in the federal Trump investigation, said one of the people familiar with the matter.

While Trump has not signaled any public intention to pardon Manafort or anyone else involved in the Russia investigations, the president has privately discussed his pardon powers with his advisers.

Mueller’s team has been looking into Manafort’s lobbying work and financial transactions, including real estate deals in New York.

Schneiderman has a contentious history with Trump. The president has mocked him relentlessly on social media and TV, denouncing him as a “hack” and “lightweight.”

The attorney general won a $25 million settlement last November after a lengthy investigation into fraudulent practices at Trump University. The president said he settled just to have the matter behind him, though his previous mantra was never to settle cases.

The New York prosecutor’s office also is looking into some of Trump’s business transactions and could potentially share those records with Mueller’s team, one of these people said. Those inquiries are in the preliminary stage.
http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/3 ... ral-242191


Russiagate's Second Smoking Gun
"Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it," a Trump associate wrote last year

Donald Trump with Felix Sater (far right) in 2007. Mark Von Holden/WireImage
By Bob Dreyfuss
10 hours ago

Ever since he glided down the escalator at Trump Tower two years ago to announce his presidential campaign, Donald Trump has said it again and again. "I have nothing to do with Russia, folks," he proclaimed at a campaign rally last fall. A few months ago, in an interview with NBC's Lester Holt, he said, "I have nothing to do with Russia. I have no investments in Russia, none whatsoever. I don't have property in Russia." And, just in case anyone missed the point, last January he tweeted in all caps, "NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA - NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!"


A bombshell 'New York Times' report shows Trump campaign figures were willing to accept assistance from the Russians
Well, not exactly. For three decades, Trump, key members of his family and several first-rank aides to the Trump Organization sought repeatedly to strike deals with top Russian banks and billionaires to build Trump-branded properties in Russia, and Trump's real estate properties have engaged nonstop with Russian oligarchs who've bought lavish houses and apartments in New York, Florida and elsewhere. And now we know, thanks to bombshell revelations by The New York Times and The Washington Post this week, that the most recent effort by Trump & Co. came last year, at the height of his campaign for president. In late 2015 and early 2016, just as the Republican primary was gearing up, two key aides – his top lawyer, Michael Cohen, and a shady business partner, Felix H. Sater – were deep in talks with Russian investors about building what The Post called a "massive Trump Tower in Moscow."

Sater, a career criminal who'd been convicted of slashing someone's face in a bar with the broken stem of a margarita glass and who'd also been found guilty in a $40 million stock fraud case, emailed Cohen positively giddy about his real estate negotiations in Russia – and in terms that, were you Robert Mueller, the dogged special counsel investigating Russiagate, you might consider a smoking gun. "Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it," emailed Sater. "I will get all of Putin's team to buy in on this, I will manage this process."

If we're counting smoking guns, this one should be Number Two. Number One, of course, was the revelation last month that in June 2016 three Trump intimates – Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and then campaign manager Paul Manafort – had met in Trump Tower with a Russian delegation promising to deliver dirt on Hillary Clinton that came straight from Russian intelligence and the Russian state prosecutor. ("I love it!" responded Trump Jr.) Both are being folded into Mueller's high-powered inquiry, along with parallel investigations by Senate and House intelligence committees, which are looking to determine not whether Russian spies meddled in the 2016 election – that's taken for granted now, and was conclusively verified by the U.S intelligence community in a January report – but whether Trump and his allies cooperated or colluded with Russian efforts to throw the election to him.

Ever since Mueller empaneled a Washington, D.C., grand jury and ordered a predawn raid on Manafort's stately Virginia home, revelations have been piling up. (Though not from Mueller's office, which is notoriously tight-lipped, doesn't have a website and issues no press releases.) No one knows the full story yet, since what we know consists of scattered media reports and incomplete testimony from some of those involved. But for Trump, who's intervened at least seven times to slow down or obstruct justice in the investigation – not least by firing FBI Director Jim Comey in May – the Mueller investigation must look not unlike the Terminator: unstoppable. There's no timetable for its conclusion yet, but in the end Mueller's report could lead to indictments of top Trump allies, a devastating report on Trump-Russia collaboration and even a recommendation that the president be impeached. Yes, it's that serious.

Among the recent revelations:

—A series of reports in the Wall Street Journal reveal that Peter W. Smith, a GOP operative who claimed to be working with General Mike Flynn, actively sought cooperation with Russian hackers to obtain Clinton emails in 2016. (Flynn, of course, was Trump's chief national security aide during the campaign, and he served as the president's national security adviser for less than a month before being fired, in February, because of undisclosed conversations with Russia's ambassador to the United States.) "We knew the people who had these [emails] were probably around the Russian government," Smith – who committed suicide two weeks later – told the Journal. Mueller, says the paper, is investigating the report.

—The Washington Post revealed that George Papadopoulos, an eager young Trump aide, repeatedly offered to set up meetings between Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, and Trump campaign officials in 2016. One email, to seven Trump aides, was titled "Meeting with Russian Leadership – Including Putin." Apparently, Papadopoulos' work got no takers from the campaign, although investigators working with the congressional committees are looking into it. "Putin wants to host the Trump team when the time is right," wrote Papadopoulos.

—CNN reported that top Trump official Rick Dearborn, who now serves as deputy chief of staff in the White House, sought to arrange a meeting between Putin and Trump campaign officials in June 2016, around the time Trump Jr., Kushner and Manafort were meeting with Russians in New York. Dearborn and an unnamed Republican in West Virginia sought to bring Trump and Putin together over their "shared Christian values," CNN reported. Many American conservatives, who support Trump's overtures toward Moscow since taking office, believe Putin's reputed strong Russian Orthodox Christian ties make him a likely partner against external enemies, including Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

While any one of these leads – plus, no doubt, many more that have yet to surface from inside the Mueller investigation – could prove not to be incriminating, taken together they make a convincing case that Team Trump knowingly had multiple contacts with Russia in 2016 even as the Obama administration began to uncover evidence that Russia's GRU spy service was involved in the hack attack against the Democratic National Committee and the email account of Clinton campaign manager John Podesta. Among the other officials under scrutiny – besides Flynn, Manafort, Cohen, Sater, Kushner, Trump Jr., Dearborn and Papadopoulos – there's also Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had to recuse himself from overseeing the Russiagate inquiry after it was revealed that he had a series of still unexplained meetings with Sergei Kislyak, then Russia's ambassador. Dearborn served as Sessions' chief of staff.

Mueller has unleashed a flurry of subpoenas since establishing his grand jury last month, aimed at many of those Trump officials and their aides and associates. And Mueller is not restricting himself to collusion with Russia alone, but he's digging deep into the Trump-Kushner real estate and financial empire. In addition, he's investigating whether President Trump tried to obstruct justice by blocking the investigation, firing Comey, threatening to dismiss Sessions and asking U.S. intelligence officials to defend him against Russiagate charges. Most recently, according to NBC, Mueller is "keenly focused" on reports that Trump help craft a misleading statement issued by Trump Jr. when reports of the Trump Tower meeting first surfaced.

And Sater, the convicted felon who worked with Trump over a period of years to find deals in Moscow, could be a prime target. "Michael," Sater wrote to Cohen, Trump's attorney, "I arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putin's private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin. I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected."

And maybe impeached.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/fe ... un-w500294




Russian lobbyist testifies to Mueller grand jury

Rinat Akhmetshin was at controversial meeting with Donald Trump Jr


2 HOURS AGO by: Katrina Manson in Washington
Rinat Akhmetshin, the lobbyist and former Soviet army officer who met senior Trump campaign aides at a controversial meeting last year, has given evidence before a grand jury investigation, according to two people familiar with the matter. 

Mr Akhmetshin gave testimony under oath for several hours on Friday August 11, in a sign that special counsel Robert Mueller is looking at the 2016 meeting as part of his investigation into links between Donald Trump’s election campaign and Russia.

The meeting on June 9, 2016 at Trump Tower in New York has been at the centre of a political storm since it was revealed that Mr Trump’s eldest son, Donald Jr, was promised information and documents that would “incriminate” his father’s rival for the presidency, Hillary Clinton. “If it’s what you say I love it,” Mr Trump Jr replied to an email offering the meeting.

Appointed in May, Mr Mueller has a broad mandate from the justice department to investigate possible links or co-ordination between Mr Trump’s election campaign and the Russian government, and to pursue issues that might arise as a result. He is also able to press criminal charges. The president has characterised the investigation as a “witch hunt”. 

Mr Trump Jr was told the offer of incriminating evidence on Mrs Clinton was part of Russian government support for his father’s bid for the presidency. The Trump team has been criticised for not reporting the offer to the FBI.

The June 9 meeting was also attended by Jared Kushner, Mr Trump’s son-in-law who is now a senior White House official, among others. Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian attorney, and Mr Akhmetshin, a naturalised US citizen who retains his Russian passport and regularly visits Moscow, were among the Russians present.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Akhmetshin refused to comment on the grand jury appearance.

“I don’t know what you're talking about . . . I'm not commenting on anything,” he said, adding he has “deference” for Mr Mueller’s probe and promises “full co-operation” with any investigations. Peter Carr, spokesman for the special counsel’s office, also declined to comment.

Mr Akhmetshin set out details of the meeting, saying that Ms Veselnitskaya brought with her a dossier about “how bad money ended up in Manhattan and that money was put into supporting political campaigns”.

He said that Ms Veselnitskaya discussed a Kremlin ban on Americans adopting Russian children. The ban was introduced by Moscow after the US passed the 2012 Magnitsky Act, which sanctioned some Russian officials and incensed the Kremlin so much that they promised retaliation.

Both Mr Akhmetshin and Ms Veselnitskaya have been vocal critics of that law.


Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian attorney, carried a dossier of evidence on how "bad money" was ending up in US political campaigns, according to Rinat Akhmetshin © AP
He said that he briefly brought up US-Russia relations in the meeting, arguing that the US government had “never checked” the details of the case underlying the Magnitsky law.

Mr Trump Jr initially said the meeting focused “primarily” on adoptions, but other accounts — including later statements by him — cast doubt on that. He subsequently said there was “no meaningful information” about Russian support for Mrs Clinton. In Senate testimony on July 24 this year, Mr Kushner described the short meeting as “a waste of our time” and that he had “no knowledge” of any documents being offered or accepted.

Grand juries in the US are typically used to extract evidence and to determine whether a prosecution should go ahead. Mr Akhmetshin is unlikely to know himself whether he might be a focus of Mr Mueller’s inquiries or a witness in an investigation focused on others. 

“He went into the court for hours,” said one of the people familiar with the matter. “It can’t be fun in the bull’s-eye.”

Mr Akhmetshin had attracted attention on Capitol Hill even before it was disclosed that he attended last year’s Trump Tower meeting. The Senate judiciary committee, led by Chuck Grassley, is investigating Mr Akhmetshin’s US citizenship, his military background and whether he improperly lobbied for Russian interests. 

Friends and colleagues describe Mr Akhmetshin as someone for “hire” rather than a Russian spy, although they say they cannot be sure. Mr Akhmetshin described himself to the FT as “a mercenary”, and denied being a Russian spy or working for the Kremlin.

“I spend other people’s money here to achieve other people's goals,” he said, adding that he works neither for nor against the Russian government.

He said he was working for a Russian-funded, US-registered foundation dedicated to overturning Moscow’s ban on US adoptions of Russian children at the time. Ms Veselnitskaya, meanwhile, worked for Prevezon, whose shareholder Denis Katsyv part funded the foundation.

The US justice department accused Prevezon of laundering money from a $230m fraud that the US says was conducted with the assistance of Russian officials. They settled out of court for $6m earlier this year.

That case is linked to the Magnitsky Act, named after Sergei Magnitsky, the Russian accountant who reported the fraud, was arrested and eventually died in a Russian jail in suspicious circumstances. The law imposes asset freezes and travel bans on Russian officials the US says are associated with his death.

Mr Magnitsky’s employer, the US-born fund manager Bill Browder, campaigned vociferously for the law. A former champion of Vladimir Putin who managed $4.5bn in assets in Russia before he fell out of favour in 2005, Mr Browder’s company, Hermitage Capital Management, wrote to the US justice department in July 2016 saying he believed Mr Akhmetshin violated lobbying disclosure requirements and was working “under the direction of the Russian government”. 

Mr Akhmetshin said he had complied with all disclosure requirements and was not working at the direction of the Russian government.
https://www.ft.com/content/eb36aed6-8d8 ... 6f43c5825d

SPOTLIGHT ON MICHAEL COHEN — TRUMP’S MYSTERIOUS LAWYER WITH UKRAINE TIES

What Can Investigators Learn from Trump’s Long-Time Confidant?

Michael Cohen, Trump Tower_Entrance
Michael Cohen, attorney. Photo credit: IowaPolitics.com / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) and Preston Kemp / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn … all members of President Donald Trump’s inner circle — past and present — have been scrutinized by the media, and their various Russia ties are being investigated by the press and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team. One figure, however, managed to fly largely under the radar until very recently: Michael Cohen, Trump’s former right-hand man and in-house attorney.

Cohen, who came out of nowhere to occupy a prominent spot in Trump’s orbit, has his own unique links to Russia and Ukraine. In fact, he might be one of the missing links that ties the president to shady figures and shady money from the former Soviet Union (familiarly known as FSU).

The following story, in documented detail, lays bare Cohen’s dealings, his ties to the FSU, and how he could trigger a world of trouble for the president if he ever decided to reveal what he knows about Trump’s business empire.

Among the points illustrated below:

— Michael Cohen and Felix Sater, two key figures in Trump’s businesses in recent years, both have backgrounds tied to the FSU

— Both men knew each other; both began entering Trump’s orbit around the same time with money that may have come from FSU sources — and in a period when Trump came to increasingly depend on such monies

— Putin appears to have launched a full-court press on the United States in this time frame through surrogates, and eventually took an interest in Trump as someone who could help advance Russian interests

— Both Cohen and Sater showed up recently as intermediaries to Trump on behalf of pro-Putin policy initiatives

— While Trump has a history of sticking with supporters, even controversial ones, his loyalty does not extend to Cohen, Sater, Manafort (who managed his campaign for a time) and Flynn, who briefly served as National Security Advisor. What do they all have in common? Ties to Russia. Ties that are part of the public record.

Cohen is scheduled to testify before the House Intelligence Committee in early September; although Committee staff have not confirmed this, Cohen said in June that it will be on September 5.

While Manafort and Flynn played only specific and short-lived roles with Trump, Cohen has served as confidant, spokesperson and liaison between his boss and powerful foreign agents over the past decade.

Of all the people Trump could have tapped to function as his main man, the lawyer who is always around him, his legal rottweiler, why Michael Cohen?

The story behind Cohen’s pre-Trump connections to an avalanche of dubiously sourced money from the FSU offers a possible explanation — and the tantalizing prospect of new insight into the president’s curious co-dependence with the Kremlin.

The “art of the deal” seems to be about knowing people who need to move money, and getting them to move it through you.
As WhoWhatWhy previously reported, the crux of Trump’s relationship with Moscow goes beyond the presidential campaign to prior dealings that were central to his business empire.

Those dealings concern investors and business partners from various parts of the FSU. Tied into this network of influence are Russian President Vladimir Putin, wealthy FSU businessmen (“oligarchs”), and allied members of organized crime. And, improbably, Cohen, Trump’s own attorney.

Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump
Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump at the 2017 G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany. Photo credit: President of Russia / Wikimedia (CC BY 4.0)

Enter Cohen, the Ultimate Groupie
.
In 2007, the little-known Cohen, suddenly became visible in the Trump camp. Positioned close to the throne, he became executive vice president of the Trump Organization and special counsel to Donald Trump.

Cohen told a reporter that he first got hooked on Trump after reading his book, The Art of the Deal, twice, cover to cover. If so, he is the ultimate groupie.

“Over the years I have been offered very lucrative employment opportunities, which I summarily dismissed,” he said. “To those of us who are close to Mr. Trump, he is more than our boss. He is our patriarch.”

Indeed, Cohen has a reputation for being a kind of Trump Mini-Me. In July 2015, he vowed to “mess up” the life of a Daily Beast reporter who brought up the decades-old allegation that Trump assaulted his first wife, Ivana. And he tweeted about his desire to “gut” then-Fox anchor Megyn Kelly when she challenged Trump. Cohen’s bravado has earned him comparisons — from Trump Organization colleagues — to Tom Hagen, Vito Corleone’s consigliere in the Godfather movies.

Trump values fiercely protective loyalists, and none has proven more loyal than Michael Cohen.

With the exception of a quixotic run for New York City Council as a Republican in 2003, Cohen had been a lifelong Democrat, voting for Obama in 2008. So it was a quite a change when he decided to formally join the GOP — after Trump’s inauguration.

But neither that switch nor years of devoted service to the Trump Organization could win Cohen a post in the president’s administration, though he had reportedly yearned for and expected to occupy one. And why was that?

Possibly because by the time Trump took office, Cohen’s name had surfaced in headline-grabbing, Russia-related stories — and that is the one kind of publicity from which Trump has tried to distance himself.

Cohen and the Dossier
.
To begin with, the name “Michael Cohen” showed up in the controversial “dossier” put together last year by a former UK foreign intelligence officer doing private research on Russia connections for Trump opponents. The 35-page collection of memos, published in its entirety by Buzzfeed, comprises precise but unverified documentation of continuous contact between Trump associates and Russian operatives during the presidential campaign.

Cohen’s name appeared on page 18 of the dossier, which claimed that he met with Kremlin representatives in Prague last August to conduct damage control on a pair of “western media revelations”: Manafort’s “corrupt relationship” with Ukrainian President Yanukovych and campaign adviser Carter Page’s meeting with “senior regime figures” in Moscow a month earlier.

Cohen has forcefully rejected the notion that he was the man referenced in the dossier. To prove this, he made public his own passport stamps, which indicate he could not have been in the Czech Republic last August.

Shortly after the inauguration, Cohen’s name was in the news again, this time for meeting in late January with a Moscow-connected Ukrainian politician, and in this case his involvement is not in dispute. The Ukrainian had come bearing a “peace agreement” intended to lift punishing economic sanctions that had been imposed on Russia after Putin’s seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea region.

Cohen, Felix Sater, and the Russians
.
Cohen purportedly attended the meeting at the urging of Felix Sater, a one-time mob-connected businessman who went on to work with Trump, and about whom WhoWhatWhy has written extensively.

According to The New York Times, as a result of that meeting, Cohen joined other Trump associates already under scrutiny in the FBI’s counterintelligence inquiry related to Russia.

Why was Cohen even in a meeting about US foreign policy at all? As Cohen himself noted, his role as “special counsel” with Trump was limited to representing Trump personally, not as president.

Since the January meeting, Cohen has become even more ghostlike, and his boss has remained conspicuously quiet as Cohen landed in the crosshairs of both the media and Mueller’s investigative unit — two entities Trump hasn’t been shy about lambasting. Though he retains his official title as the president’s personal advisor and attorney, Cohen appears to have been exiled from Trump’s inner circle. Neither the White House Press Office nor the Trump Organization responded to WhoWhatWhy’s inquiry about Cohen’s current role in the Trump orbit.

Trump is not one to banish someone just because he or she is run-of-the-mill controversial. Witness such highly polarizing, risky figures as Stephen Bannon, Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller who, though relative latecomers to the Trump camp, were kept on long after they were political liabilities, albeit popular with his ever-shrinking base. (And Miller is still on board.)

So why does Michael Cohen’s fate resemble that of Manafort and Flynn, who were ditched when their Russia-related activities drew unwelcome national attention?

In the Spotlight
.
This spring, when it became apparent that members of Congress might wish to question him, the typically brash Cohen declared that he would only testify if he received a subpoena. Which is just what happened — he is now slated to testify before the House Intelligence Committee right after Labor Day.

Compared to some others in Trump’s entourage, he is largely unknown to the public. Notwithstanding those brief moments in the limelight, the media overall (with a few notable exceptions including Talking Points Memo and Buzzfeed) has devoted little attention to him.

But a new development thrust Cohen back into the limelight Monday, when the Washington Post reported that Cohen and Sater had worked together closely in the early months of Trump’s presidential campaign on a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

At Sater’s suggestion, Cohen had emailed Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s personal spokesperson, to solicit the Kremlin’s approval of the lucrative project while Trump, stumping on the campaign trail, was lavishing the Russian president with praise at debates and rallies. The real estate deal, Sater suggested in a string of emails to Cohen, would be a win-win: Trump would look like a great negotiator, and Putin would be boosting the prospects of the candidate he preferred.

“Buddy our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” Sater wrote to Cohen. “I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected.”

The tower never materialized, but their “boy,” of course, did ascend to the presidency. And the Trump Organization renewed ownership of the TrumpTowerMoscow.com domain this July — before the latest controversy, though it has since gone dark.

Cohen’s Own Ukrainian Connections
.
The son of a Long Island physician, Michael Dean Cohen received his law degree from a low-ranked Michigan school, the Thomas M. Cooley Law School — a “diploma mill” according to some, which later rebranded as Western Michigan University. The school, which, like Trump, doesn’t hesitate to sue its critics, has highlighted Cohen as an illustrious alumnus.



Cohen was admitted to the New York Bar in 1992 and became a personal injury lawyer.

He soon began assembling a portfolio of businesses outside the legal profession, virtually all involving Ukrainian immigrants — many of whom were, or became, immensely wealthy.

Perhaps the earliest was a taxi business in partnership with the Ukraine-born Simon Garber, who was at one time involved with a Moscow cab company, and now has huge stakes in cab ownership in New York, Chicago and New Orleans.

By 2003, Cohen and Garber were running more than 200 taxis in New York, allowing Cohen to pull in $90,000 a month in 2011. The partnership imploded in 2012 after a nasty legal dispute, after which Cohen went his own way and entrusted his 15 medallion companies to Evgeny Friedman, a Russian immigrant who holds the single largest collection of medallions in New York.

In partnership with two other Ukrainian immigrants, Cohen went into the casino boat business. His partners, Leonid Tatarchuk and Arkady Vaygensberg, were associated with a man who allegedly had FSU mob ties, and with a lawyer indirectly connected to the late mob legend Meyer Lansky.

The gambling venture was besieged by lawsuits from unhappy workers and investors. Cohen has had other legal problems. He could not explain what had become of $350,000 held in a trust account he managed, according to court documents obtained by Buzzfeed News.

Victory Casino Cruises
Victory Casino Cruises. Photo credit: Rusty Clark ~ 100K Photos / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

In 1998 Michael Cohen incorporated two entities: Ukrainian Capital Partners LP and Ukrainian Capital Growth Fund Corp. The Growth Fund was dissolved in 2002, but, according to New York Department of State records, Capital Partners is still active.

Towering Trump Investments
.
Shortly after the turn of the century, Cohen took a new direction. He began buying — as did his relatives — properties in buildings with the Trump name.

He obtained his first in 2001: a unit in Trump World Tower at 845 United Nations Plaza. And he kept on buying.

Some years later, the Trump-friendly New York Post profiled Cohen and his passion for Trump developments in a real-estate-porn article headlined “Upping the Ante.”

Once some buyers go Trump, they never go back. Take Michael Cohen, 40, an attorney and partner at Phillips Nizer. He purchased his first Trump apartment at Trump World Tower at 845 United Nations Plaza in 2001. He was so impressed he convinced his parents, his in-laws and a business partner to buy there, too. Cohen’s in-laws went on [to] purchase two more units there and one at Trump Grande in Sunny Isles, Fla.

Cohen then bought at Trump Palace at 200 E. 69th St., and Trump Park Avenue, where he currently resides. He’s currently in the process of purchasing a two-bedroom unit at Trump Place on Riverside Boulevard – so, naturally, Cohen’s next step is to purchase something at Trump Plaza Jersey City. He’s now in negotiations for a two-bedroom unit there.

“Trump properties are solid investments,” says Cohen, who’s also looking at the new Trump SoHo project.

By the time he entered Trump’s employ, Cohen, his relatives and his business partner had already purchased a combined 11 Trump properties.

Why did Cohen and company begin buying all those Trump properties? Where did the money come from? And did Cohen use this spending spree to gain an entrance into Trump’s inner circle?

The answers to these questions may lie in what at first appears to be a mere coincidence: Around the time Cohen began buying these properties — 2000-2001 — the aforementioned Felix Sater apparently first approached Trump.

It is interesting to learn that when Cohen was growing up, he had known and run in the same circles as Sater when both lived on Long Island.

Sater and Cohen would go on to play intriguingly interconnected roles in the saga linking Donald Trump to vast supplies of dubiously sourced money from the FSU.

Sater’s family immigrated to the US in the 1970s, landing in the Coney Island-Brighton Beach area, a part of Brooklyn heavily populated by Soviet emigres — and an area where the Trump family owned lots of buildings.

In addition to the Trump units, Cohen owns entire buildings around New York City. In 2015, while working for Trump, he bought a $58 million apartment building on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. According to the New York real estate news site The Real Deal, Cohen also holds multiple luxury apartment units and other buildings on the Lower East Side and in the Kips Bay section of Manhattan.

Trump buildings
Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Rustycale / Wikipedia, Leandro Neumann Ciuffo / Flickr (CC BY 2.0), Americasroof (talk) / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0), Alex Proimos / Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0) and Stepanstas / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Cohen has a seemingly limitless appetite for real estate, and his younger brother Bryan, also a lawyer, entered the real estate trade and is now Chief Administrative Officer of DE Development Marketing, part of the prominent Douglas Elliman real estate brokerage.

More Businesses, More Ukrainians
.
That Cohen buys luxury Trump apartments like others buy shoes — and that he has a seemingly inexhaustible budget — could conceivably be explained, at least in part, by his ties to people who, as noted earlier, became extremely wealthy after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

There are any number of perfectly legitimate ways for Cohen to amass the funds necessary to purchase entire buildings. Usually, however, the source of such wealth can be ascertained. In Cohen’s case, the source is unclear— and Cohen refused to discuss the origin of those funds with WhoWhatWhy.

It should be noted that Russians and others from the former Soviet Union seeking to move funds West are among the biggest buyers of New York real estate.

But Cohen’s Ukrainian ties run even deeper. His wife, Laura, is from the Ukraine. So is Bryan Cohen’s wife, Oxana.

From here we follow a trail through a somewhat complicated cast of characters. At the end, you will see how all of these people are connected to one another as well as to Trump — and to Russia.

The trail begins with Bryan Cohen’s father-in-law, Alex Oronov, born in Kharkiv, Ukraine, who emigrated with his family to the United States in 1978. He ran a Manhattan art gallery, and eventually, and surprisingly, managed to convince the old-school communist government to partner with him to sell lithographs based on the collection of the State Russian Museum. His influence or skills of persuasion were so good that he even persuaded Kremlin authorities to permit him to open a gift shop at the museum, a rarity in the USSR.

Following Ukrainian independence in 1994, Oronov spotted a far more lucrative opportunity: Ukraine’s privatized bounty of grain. Ukraine has some of Europe’s largest acreage of arable land — and it is highly fertile and productive, making it the “breadbasket of Europe.”

He founded an agribusiness firm, Harvest Moon (later rebranded as Grain Alliance); Bryan Cohen notes in his own online biography that he served as General Counsel and Executive Vice President for Grain Alliance, Americas. It’s not clear where the funding for the enterprise, which had more than 100,000 acres in production at one point, came from.

The firm seems to have benefited from the lack of strong central authorities in the Ukraine. According to a brochure from a Kiev-based law firm, “Foreign Investment in Ukrainian Agriculture,” prepared for a 2010 seminar on investment, “Grain Alliance… expanded rapidly over the last five years when Ukraine had no control from any government officials.”

In this and similar ventures Oronov, from a modest start, became wildly wealthy, working with a network of well-connected Ukrainian politicians and businessmen with alleged mob ties. One of his partners was Viktor Topolov, a wealthy Ukrainian closely associated with figures the FBI has identified as “well known” members of the Russian and Ukrainian underworld. A Ukrainian court document obtained by Buzzfeed reveals that Topolov ignored subpoenas and lied about his role in a money-laundering and fraud investigation in the late 1990s.

Semion Mogilevich
FBI Wanted Poster for Semion Mogilevich. Photo credit: FBI

To follow the Trump money trail further requires a brief dip into Ukraine’s recent history, which turns out to be crucial to Michael Cohen’s story.

Ukraine in Tug of War Between East and West
.
Starting around 2000, Ukraine increasingly became the subject of a tug of war between the West and Russia. Ukraine was once one of the most valuable parts of the USSR. Since gaining independence in 1991, it has been drawn closer to the West, and has even toyed with the ultimate snub to Russia: joining NATO, the Western military alliance.

The struggle to control Ukraine, its political leaders and its resources, played a major role in Russia’s decision to enter Ukraine militarily in the summer of 2014. This led the West to impose sanctions that have severely harmed Russia’s economy. Putin has made no secret of his desire to get the sanctions lifted.

Also at stake for Russia in its relations with Ukraine is the future of the pipelines that pass through Ukraine, bringing Russian natural gas to Western Europe. Russia is not happy that its lucrative gas exports, the source of much of its foreign exchange, must be transported across the territory of its now-adversary.

Going head to head in the battles to control the future of this resource are sovereign nations, international corporations, shadowy public-private entities, and shady figures like the Ukrainian-born Semion Mogilevich. The reputed “boss of bosses” of organized crime in today’s Russia is believed to be the most powerful mobster in the world. His sub-boss, Vyacheslav Ivankov, was sent to America, and discovered by the FBI living in a luxury condo in Trump Tower, and later, having fled Manhattan, in a Trump casino in Atlantic City.

Mogilevich was identified as the secret majority owner of the Ukrainian stake in a mysterious intermediary company, half-owned by Russian energy giant Gazprom. Ivankov later stated that Mogilevich and Putin were close; soon after, the man was gunned down on a Moscow street.

One beneficiary of the Ukrainian pipeline situation was future Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was paid millions of dollars by prominent players in the natural gas scramble.

While questions swirled about the international ramifications of the pipeline battle, Sater, then an FBI informant, traveled to Ukraine and Russia — ostensibly searching for properties to develop with the Trump Organization.

Alex Oronov
Alex Oronov. Photo credit: Facebook / TPM

In the past, Cohen has downplayed his connections to the FSU. In a January 2017 interview with Yahoo News, he averred that he had only been to Ukraine twice — “either 2003 or 2004.” The reason? His “brother’s father-in-law [i.e., Oronov] lives in Kiev.”

However, Cohen seemingly would not have to travel to see his relative. Oronov had homes in the US — including one on Long Island and one at the Trump Hollywood in Hollywood, Florida; he was even registered to vote in Florida.

The Cohens said that they knew nothing about Topolov when they pitched the project. But if they didn’t know the background of Bryan Cohen’s father-in-law’s famous longtime business partner, they’re unusually ill-informed, and certainly failed to do due diligence in a situation well-known to be rife with financial criminals.

Cohen and Sater and Trump….Together
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The Trumps themselves have stated that their company came to depend increasingly over the years on monies tied to the FSU. Thus, it would not be illogical to wonder whether Michael Cohen was brought into the Trump Organization because of his ability to help in that regard.

But there’s more here. As mentioned above, Cohen dovetails in interesting ways with another FSU-tied figure who entered Trump’s orbit in roughly the same period: Felix Sater, the one-time mob-connected businessman who worked with Trump in the past, and about whom, as noted earlier, WhoWhatWhy has written extensively. Both bring ostensible ties to people who themselves have links to organized crime, and to those whose interests coincide with those of Vladimir Putin and his oligarchic network.

Take Topolov, with whom Cohen and his brother have done business. Via a conglomerate of his, Topolov employed three executives the FBI have described as members of a violent Russian organized-crime network: one, a mob enforcer closely associated with Mogilevich, the powerful organized crime boss, was reportedly responsible for at least 20 murders.

We previously reported about Mogilevich’s associates’s ties to Trump Tower, dating back to the 1990s. We noted how, from its inception, Trump Tower was a popular place with people having organized crime connections. We noted the various people connected with the FSU, with FSU organized crime, and the ties between those organizations and the Putin regime.

We told the story of Sater, a USSR-born felon who had cut a deal to serve as a confidential source for the FBI in return for leniency after he was caught participating in a major financial fraud with a group of men including one with American organized crime ties.

We explained that tackling FSU influence in Wall Street had become one of the FBI’s highest priorities.

We described how, circa 2001, Sater joined Bayrock, a real estate development company run by FSU emigres in Trump Tower, and eventually began working directly with Donald Trump. Sater and Bayrock were supplying Trump with income during a period when his other investments had been suffering.

Trump Tower
Trump Tower. Photo credit: baba_1967 / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The money spigot was apparent to all. In a 2008 deposition, Sater even testified that, upon Trump’s request, he accompanied Donald Jr. and Ivanka on business trips to the FSU. Donald Jr. would later declare that the region had become the family’s main source of investment.

While Sater was moving up in the Trump orbit, Cohen’s status as a mysterious Trump real estate mega-investor of uncertain wealth and an undistinguished legal practice changed, seemingly overnight.

In 2006, the year before he went to work fulltime for Trump, Cohen suddenly went big-time, becoming, briefly, a partner at a prominent New York firm, Phillips Nizer, where, according to a profile, “he counted [Trump] as one of his many high-profile wealthy clients.”

He was then offered a job by the developer. The reason? “I suspect,” Cohen said, “he was impressed with both my handling of matters as well as the results.”

According to cached images of the Phillips Nizer website found in the Internet Archive, he was first listed as partner in October 2006. By May 2007, about the time he was hired by Trump, Cohen’s title was changed from partner to counsel. He remained in the Phillips Nizer directory as counsel until some time in late 2008.

What exactly did this obscure former personal injury lawyer bring to the firm? It has become increasingly common for law firms to bring on board anyone who can bring business with them. Interestingly, Cohen’s practice there was described as including distressed debt — which certainly could have described Trump’s frequently unstable situation. Mark Landis, managing partner at the firm, declined to comment, saying it is policy not to discuss current or former colleagues.

But in an interview with WhoWhatWhy, Bryan Cohen said that both he and his brother came to Phillips Nizer as part of a merger between Nizer and their entity, the Cohen Law Firm. Asked why Nizer wanted to combine with the much smaller Cohen operation, Bryan Cohen declined to say, terming the question “irrelevant.”

Phillips Nizer
Photo credit: baba_1967 / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Whatever one is to make of Cohen’s sudden affiliation with Phillips Nizer, just as abruptly as he appeared, he moved on. So did Bryan Cohen, who joined the real estate firm, Douglas Elliman.

Michael Cohen officially joined Trump’s organization in a top position — as Executive Vice President and Special Counsel.

With Sater already working with Trump, this meant that for much of 2007, two of Trump’s key people were decidedly unusual fellows with major ties to the FSU.

Thus we see a fascinating pattern in which two childhood acquaintances began entering the Trump orbit at the same time, circa 2000-2001 (with Cohen making his extraordinary string of Trump property purchases and Sater moving into business in Trump Tower) and, by 2007, both were working near each other inside the Trump empire itself.

In this period, we see a third figure who would later become highly controversial for his links into the FSU: Paul Manafort.

It was in 2006 that the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, long a close Putin associate, signed a whopping $10 million a year contract with Manafort based on what Manafort had presented as efforts inside the United States that would “greatly benefit the Putin government.” (As the Daily Beast reported, few have noted that Deripaska soon partnered with Manafort and the Ukrainian alleged gangster Dmytro Firtash in acquiring New York’s Drake Hotel.)

That same year, Manafort himself bought an apartment…. In Trump Tower.

A Whirlwind in the Former Soviet Union
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In September 2007, Trump, Sater and another partner posed for a photo at the opening of their Trump SoHo Hotel in New York.

The celebration would be brief. In December, the Times revealed that Sater had a criminal past.

Donald Trump, Tevfik Arif, Felix Sater
Donald Trump, Tevfik Arif and Felix Sater attend the Trump Soho Launch Party on September 19, 2007 in New York. Photo credit: Mark Von Holden / WireImage

This potentially put Trump in a very difficult spot. If Trump were to admit that he knew Sater was a convicted felon but did business with him nonetheless, he, the Trump Organization, and anyone within the company who knew of it would be potentially liable for sky-high sums. This was especially true for the Trump-Bayrock projects (as noted, many of them financed by FSU figures), as so many of them ended terribly, with multiple lawsuits across many states.

Bayrock unraveled. Trump SoHo went into foreclosure in 2013, after just three years of operation, leaving a slew of unoccupied units in the hands of a new developer. It was the firm’s final deal. As is now well known,Trump, who would later claim to barely know Sater, kept him on in the building and, if anything, he and Sater grew even closer. Indeed, Sater was soon working directly for Trump himself, with an office, business cards, phone number and email address all provided by the Trump Organization. The cards identified him as a “Senior Advisor to Donald Trump.”

In this period, Trump Organization activities in the countries of the former Soviet Union appear to have accelerated.

In 2010 and 2012, while working for Trump, Cohen traveled to the former Soviet Republics of Kazakhstan and Georgia. It’s worth noting that Bayrock had earlier received large infusions of cash from the ultra-corrupt Kazakhstan, and other funds from Georgia, also awash in ill-gotten fortunes.

In 2013, leading up to the Russian-hosted winter Olympics in Sochi, a close Putin ally reached out to Trump.

Aras Agalarov, an Azerbaijani billionaire real estate developer with Russian citizenship who is known as the “Donald Trump of Russia,” paid Trump millions of dollars to bring Trump’s Miss Universe Pageant to Moscow.


An Instagram post by Agalarov’s son shows Cohen with Trump and Agalarov at the Trump Vegas around the time the deal was inked.

Right around this time, Putin awarded Agalarov a state medal for his entrepreneurial and philanthropic contributions to Russia.

The Third American Political Party: Russia
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As Trump’s relationship to the former Soviet Union intensified, so, seemingly, did Russian interest in the American political system and the presidency.

In 2014, we now know, US intelligence secretly identified what it determined was a Russian effort to sow doubt and chaos in the US elections system.

By then, Trump was widely recognized for his long-standing presidential ambitions — he ran for the office as a Reform Party candidate in 2000, garnering more than 15,000 votes in the California primary before abruptly dropping out. The Russians understood that he also had mass appeal, and a personality, temperament and history associated with provoking strong and divisive reactions.

Also, in a GOP primary field with a crowd of lackluster candidates, Trump was guaranteed to draw considerable public and media interest. At a time when Hillary Clinton, an antagonist of Putin, was viewed as virtually a shoo-in, Trump was a dark horse and a wild card, but one with plenty of outside potential to shake things up.

By February, 2015, Trump had already recruited staff in early voting states; a month later, he formed a presidential exploratory committee and delayed the production of “The Apprentice,” the still-running reality television show that established Trump as a pop culture icon in the mid-2000s. Trump officially announced his candidacy for president on June 16, 2015.

The date of the first campaign-related contacts between Trump’s people and the Russians is not clear, though as time passes, we are learning of earlier and earlier interactions.

Matters seem to have come to a head in June 2016, when, at the request of Russians, Donald Trump Jr. convened a meeting in his office.

Paul Manafort, Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner
Paul Manafort, Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner. Photo credit: Watch the video on C-SPAN, Gage Skidmore / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs / Flickr.

When the meeting was revealed in July 2017, a panicked Donald Trump Jr. sought to downplay it, claiming it was to discuss policy toward adoptions of Russian children. Further revelations forced him to gradually disclose bits of information that cumulatively make clear the meeting was in response to Russian offers to help Trump’s candidacy by providing intelligence on Clinton that could be used against her.

Among those attending were Manafort, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and publicist Rob Goldstone — who works for the son of the previously mentioned Russian real estate mogul Aras Agalarov and who brokered the meeting. Also present was Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, a fervent opponent of the Magnitsky Act, which imposed sanctions on certain Russian officials following the imprisonment, and subsequent death, of a Russian tax accountant investigating fraud. Veselnitskaya claimed to hold incriminating information about Hillary Clinton.

Another participant was Rinat Akhmetshin, whose past activities and associations led some to wonder whether he was or is a spy. Sen. Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Grassley, a Republican, speculated that the meeting itself was a classic ploy of Russian intelligence, intended to draw the Trump people into a potentially incriminating relationship. That, perhaps paradoxically, would likely make Trump even more vulnerable and beholden to Putin.

And of course the meeting was arranged via Goldstone, who works for the Agalarovs — who performed such valuable services to Russia that, as noted, Putin gave Aras Agalarov a medal.

Cozier and Cozier
.
To sum up, Trump’s financial fortunes seem — both by appearance and by statements from the Trumps themselves — to have been heavily dependent on money from the former Soviet Union. Besides the Cohen retinue buying at least 11 apartments in Trump buildings, the money that came in through Felix Sater was also from the FSU.

How much of the funds that kept Trump’s shaky financial empire afloat in those lean years had its origins in the part of the world dominated by the Kremlin? Well, how much did not? Even Donald Trump, Jr. declared in 2008 that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

As for Trump, he has repeatedly tweeted and declared that he has no loans “from Russia” and no “deals” in Russia. While that may be technically true, what’s more important is that money that originated in the FSU has played a crucial role in his business career. The “art of the deal” seems to be about knowing people who need to move money, and getting them to move it through you.

Felix Sater, FBI
Felix Sater and Trump business card superimposed over FBI building. Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Cliff / Flickr (CC BY 2.0), 591J / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0) and Boing Boing (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0).

Sater appears to have been an FBI asset for many years, including at least some of the years when Cohen was working with Trump.

Sater denied to WhoWhatWhy that any of his reports to the FBI from Trump Tower concerned organized crime figures in Russia, and asserted that he had never even heard of Mogilevich, though his own father was said to be a Mogilevich underling.

In any case, the FBI agents running Sater were extremely focused on the FSU underworld. It is likely that they would take an interest in the partner of Cohen’s in-law, and all the partner’s ties to organized crime. And they would surely have been interested in how Donald Trump fit into this underworld web all around him.

The Ukraine “Peace Deal”
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Yet Cohen remained mostly out of the public eye, even as myriad Trump associates (including Manafort) ended up in the hot seat for their business dealings in the FSU.

That changed with the report of the January 27, 2017, meeting between Cohen, Sater and Ukrainian politician Andrii V. Artemenko at a luxury hotel in New York.

The three men discussed a proposed Russia-Ukraine peace agreement that would result in the lifting of economic sanctions against Russia. Artemenko told The New York Times that Cohen delivered the proposal to Michael Flynn, who was then Trump’s national security advisor. Cohen has told different stories about his role, but in one interview he confirmed that he delivered a bundle of documents containing the proposal to Flynn’s office while Flynn was still part of the Trump administration. Cohen has insisted he was not aware of any Kremlin involvement.

In bragging about his role in getting such material into the White House, Artemenko comes across as clumsy and artless, seemingly oblivious to how devastating the revelation could have been to Trump had the media and, say, influential congressmen made more of it. But was he naive? Or was this actually a House of Cards-type scenario, where the Russians were deliberately publicizing another bit of incriminating material on Trump in order to gain yet more leverage over him and control over his fate?

The Artemenko “peace plan” was — importantly — accompanied by documents that purported to reveal corruption on the part of Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, which could be used to weaken (and potentially topple) the Ukrainian regime led by an enemy of Putin.

This of course made the current Ukrainian authorities go ballistic. No more has emerged on the document bundle, or what, if anything, resulted from its arrival in the White House. But the intent was clearly to advance Russia’s interests, and that of a pro-Russian Ukrainian politico with historic ties to Manafort.

Andrii V. Artemenko , Michael Cohen
Andrii V. Artemenko superimposed photo of Michael Cohen. Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from IowaPolitics.com / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) and A. V. Artemenko / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Although Felix Sater was present at the meeting as a supposed intermediary, he wouldn’t have been needed for that. Artemenko had known Cohen for years. Cohen’s brother’s father-in-law was, as mentioned earlier, tied to Artemenko through business. Artemenko was also closely tied to Topolov, the allegedly money-laundering Ukrainian politician in business with Oronov, Bryan Cohen’s father-in-law. (Oronov died March 2 after suffering from what Bryan Cohen described to WhoWhatWhy as an “incredibly aggressive” cancer diagnosed three months earlier.)

Artemenko said that his Russia-Ukraine sanctions proposal had been discussed with Cohen and Sater back during the primaries in early 2016, just as Trump was emerging as the frontrunner.

Western sanctions have delivered some crushing blows to Russia’s economy, slashing both its GDP and ruble value by 50 percent in three years, according to a 2017 Congressional Research Service report. Though the economy is expected to resume modest growth, getting out from under the stifling sanctions is for Putin still a national security concern of the highest possible priority. And the Trump camp had been all about lifting the sanctions.

During the 2016 Republican Convention, the party surprisingly removed from its platform a condemnation of Russia over its incursion into Ukraine. Initially, both Donald Trump and campaign manager Paul Manafort denied any knowledge of the platform change. Much later, though, we learned that Trump’s platform chairman, J. D. Gordon, had met with the Russian ambassador during the convention.

In an interview with CNN’s Jim Acosta, Gordon said he had promoted the softening of the language on Ukraine — a softening that Trump himself had advocated earlier in the year, in a meeting with Gordon. Later still, Gordon would attempt to walk back the admission in a parsing reminiscent of Bill Clinton: “I mean, what’s the definition of pushed for the amendment, right? It’s an issue of semantics.”

Semantics or no semantics, the platform was changed.



Trump himself has been very kind to Russia. As a candidate, he worked strenuously to avoid criticizing Russia. He wouldn’t even acknowledge that Russia had seized Crimea, or that it had military units in eastern Ukraine. Even after he was nominated, he told a reporter,

“Just so you understand: [Putin] is not going to go into Ukraine, all right?,” as if that had not already happened two years earlier.

This seeming quid pro quo with Russia suggests the extent to which Russia has compromised the Trump White House.

Having Cohen and Sater deliver the sanctions “peace proposal” to Flynn, a trusted figure with his own Russia connections, keeps Trump himself out of the loop, something Cohen would well understand — that’s one of the core things lawyers do understand, and a role they often play.

We also know that Artemenko’s role in the meetings with Cohen and Sater led Ukraine’s chief prosecutor to open a treason investigation.

Why would Cohen go to such a meeting? It seems crazy. But then the Trump team’s defining trait has been its reckless bravado, and a brash disregard for troubling appearances.

As for Artemenko’s seemingly bumbling admission about the meeting, it is reminiscent of the “indiscretion” of Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US, who went to the Republican convention to meet with Manafort about softening the GOP’s stance toward Russia. Although Trump and Manafort vigorously denied it, Kislyak then went public with his own account of the meeting.

In the complex game being played by Putin, with Russia’s (and Putin’s) future at stake, Trump seems to have been cornered into a precarious dependence on Russian “good will.” As we noted months ago, the FBI has long known much of this. What former FBI director and Special Counsel Robert Mueller will do about it remains to be seen.

WhoWhatWhy sought an interview with Cohen, but he declined. When we offered to send him questions, he wrote back: “You can send questions but not committing to respond.” We did send questions. And he did not respond.

https://whowhatwhy.org/2017/08/30/spotl ... aine-ties/



seemslikeadream » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:58 am wrote:BOOM

Manafort and Gates each face 12 charges including CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE UNITED STATES


page 16 of the indictment.....cover up


Oleg V. Deripaska, a Russian oligarch who is close to President Vladimir V. Putin

Behold the power of FINCEN. Dear @realDonaldTrump: Mueller has your taxes.

"Really excited for the Hillary Clinton and Podesta indictments today over Pizzagate." :roll:

oh Morty where are you? You owe me a new mouse :D

How many soft-handed 68 year old errand boys for Russian oligarchs really do well in Federal prison?

Image

This is consistent with an early indictment to get Manafort to flip.

IT IS PAUL MANAFORT AND GATES


NYT

MANAFORT AND GATES TOLD TO SURRENDER

THE CHAIR OF THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN ...GATES REMAINED ON TRUMP CAMAPAIGN AFTER MANAFORT LEFT


It's Manafort. Trump Campaign Chairman, unregistered foreign agent, and resident of Trump Tower, Paul Manafort.


Gates was still hanging out in the White House in March

Paul Manafort, Who Once Ran Trump Campaign, Told to Surrender

Paul Manafort, Who Once Ran Trump Campaign, Told to Surrender
By MATT APUZZOOCT. 30, 2017
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Paul Manafort, President Trump’s campaign chairman, at the Republican National Convention in July. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times
WASHINGTON — Paul Manafort and his former business associate Rick Gates were told to surrender to federal authorities Monday morning, the first charges in a special counsel investigation, according to a person involved in the case.

The charges against Mr. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, and Mr. Gates, a business associate of Mr. Manafort, were not immediately clear but represent a significant escalation in a special counsel investigation that has cast a shadow over the president’s first year in office.

Mr. Gates is a longtime protégé and junior partner of Mr. Manafort. His name appears on documents linked to companies that Mr. Manafort’s firm set up in Cyprus to receive payments from politicians and businesspeople in Eastern Europe, records reviewed by The New York Times show.

Mr. Manafort had been under investigation for violations of federal tax law, money laundering and whether he appropriately disclosed his foreign lobbying.

Attempts to reach Mr. Gates on Monday were not successful. A spokesman for Mr. Manafort did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/30/us/p ... icted.html


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Manafort has been under investigation since Sept 2016

and I had been posting about him almost the whole 2016 year at another website that banned me in July because they just couldn't allow me to continue..thank you RI for allowing me to express my opinions

Image

Manafort Surrenders To Face Charges In Mueller Probe

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By NICOLE LAFOND Published OCTOBER 30, 2017 8:11 AM
President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort surrendered to the FBI Monday, a seminal moment in the sprawling Russia probe that was captured live by the cable news networks.

Manafort’s appearance entering the FBI field office in downtown Washington, D.C. just after 8 a.m. ET, followed the first charges from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, The New York Times reported Monday.

The charges — which were unsealed Monday — include 12 counts of conspiracy against the U.S., conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act) statements, false statements and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, according to a Mueller spokesperson.

One of Manfort’s business associates, Rick Gates, also turned himself in Monday, according to CNN. The pair were indicted by a federal grand jury on Friday. Gates is linked to Manafort’s business dealings with politicians and corporations in Eastern Europe.

The special counsel has taken a broad approach to its probe into the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election. Mueller has been investigating Manafort for months, looking at Manafort’s foreign business dealings and whether he properly disclosed his foreign lobbying. Manafort has previously denied financial wrongdoings in his various real estate dealings and use of offshore tax shelters. He came under scrutiny and was fired from the Trump campaign for a $12 million payment the Ukrainian president sent Manafort.

The former campaign chairman is the first person to be charged in the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the election. Mueller and his team of prosecutors have taken interest in the Trump campaign, as well as the financial transactions of members of Trump’s team.

The FBI conducted a pre-dawn raid at Manafort’s home in Virginia in July, taking financial and tax documents.

Watch the clip of Manafort arriving at the FBI field house on Monday morning, via CNN:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_cont ... NWkQ-wm22o

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/m ... -surrender


HOW TO INTERPRET ROBERT MUELLER’S CHARGES AGAINST PAUL MANAFORT


Former FBI director Robert MuellerANDREW HARNIK/AP
WITH PUBLIC CRIMINAL charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort announced Monday morning, this year’s biggest political story—the former FBI director Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election—will enter an important new phase, guided not just by whispers and Twitter wars but by written indictments and the rules of federal evidence.
The indictment targeting Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates—itself a political bombshell—is likely to be merely the first step in a potentially long investigation. Details from the indictment—and other emerging public court documents—will immediately help to shed further light on the tangle of relationships that Manafort and others had with various Russian and Ukrainian contacts in recent years, but there are plenty more investigative avenues that Mueller appears to be following, some far removed from Manafort's orbit.

Manafort faces a long list of charges that includes conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, false statements, acting as an unregistered agent as a foreign principal, making misleading statements in violation of the Foreign Agent Registration Act, and seven counts of failing to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts. That's a dozen in all. Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos also pleaded guilty to making false statements, accompanied by a bombshell plea agreement that includes several key details about Russia's alleged attempts to reach out to the Trump campaign.
Here are five rules of federal investigations to keep in mind as you read about the new charges and think about their implications:

1) The FBI takes down whole organizations. The charges announced Monday in Mueller’s investigation are almost assuredly only a first step in what could be an very long and extensive grand jury investigation.
Only rarely does the FBI end up charging a single individual; it’s simply not worth the time and resources of the federal government to go after individuals in cases outside of rare instances, like say, terrorism. Institutionally, the FBI’s modus operandi and DNA is to target and dismantle entire whole criminal organizations—that’s why federal cases usually take so long: The agency starts at the bottom or periphery of an organization and works inward, layer by layer, until it’s in a position to build a rock-solid case against the person at the top.

This investigative method has been the heart of the FBI’s approach since the 1980s, when it and the Justice Department—led by an era of aggressive and brilliant prosecutors like Louis Freeh, Rudolph Giuliani, and Michael Chertoff—began to attack La Cosa Nostra in New York. The FBI relied then on a then-new tool, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, to attack and dismantle entire mafia families, charging dozens or scores of suspects in a single case.

The approach, then and now, has been almost always been similar: Work on peripheral figures first, encourage them to cooperate with the government against their bosses in exchange for a lighter sentence, and then repeat the process until the circle has closed tightly around the godfather or criminal mastermind. There’s no reason to think that this investigation will be any different.

In fact, members of Mueller’s investigative team cut their teeth on a who’s who of the biggest Justice Department targets of the last quarter century, taking that “organization” approach to cases like Enron (prosecutor Andrew Weissmann led the task force), al-Qaeda (aide Aaron Zebley helped investigate the 1998 embassy bombings before 9/11), and organized crime (prosecutor Greg Andres helped investigate the Bonnano family in New York, as well as the $8 billion Ponzi scheme led by Texan financier Robert Allen Stanford, who’s now serving a 110-year prison sentence).
Weissmann—who was spotted Friday outside the grand jury room—is considered an expert on “flipping witnesses,” encouraging people to testify against their colleagues. In the 1990s, he led the case against mobster Vincent “the Chin” Gigante, from the Genovese crime family, with the help of turncoat witnesses.

2) Don’t hold your breath for “collusion.” For all the talk of Russian collusion, there isn’t really a federal crime that matches what the press, critics, and Capitol Hill lawmakers have been calling collusion, a word that refers legally to a narrow segment of antitrust law. And there’s almost zero chance anyone will be charged with treason, a charge that’s only available to use against enemies in a declared war.
Instead, nearly all charges that stem from this case—based, at least on publicly available tea leaves—are likely to focus on targeting individual crimes reflecting aspects of the complex web of Russian influence in 2016, rather than a neatly-tied-up-with-a-bow conspiracy. Early rounds of charges may even likely focus on business dealings far removed from the questions of the 2016 election.

Expect to see garden-variety white-collar crimes—charges like money laundering, mail fraud, wire fraud, and “structuring,” (arranging financial transactions to avoid federal reporting requirements)—as well as the possibility of some more exotic charges like violating the nation’s election laws or the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, or there’s a general catch-all known as 18 USC Sec. 371, “conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud United States.”

There’s also the crime of being an unregistered foreign agent—a charge known inside the Justice Department as a “FARA violation,” after the Foreign Agents Registration Act. A FARA violation is typically the FBI’s go-to way to charge espionage and foreign intelligence officers—the cases are rare and only a few agents in their careers ever have a chance to work a FARA case—but we’ve already seen Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn retroactively register as “foreign agents” this year, showing that they have some legal exposure in this realm.

As the case unfolds, there will almost assuredly also be charges that, in many ways, form the foundation of many federal cases: obstruction of justice, perjury, or lying to federal agents (a.k.a. “making false statements”). These charges are particularly common in special counsel-type investigations—and can end up targeting people unrelated to the original criminal act. During Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation into the leak of Valerie Plame’s name, for example, it was Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, Scooter Libby, who ended up in the hot seat for obstruction and perjury. Similarly, Marine General James Cartwright was charged with lying to federal investigators as part of the investigation into the Stuxnet leak. These charges—perjury, obstruction, false statements—are often used as leverage to seek a witness’s cooperation (see No. 4).

This approach and the reality of federal criminal law means that the full picture of what happened in 2016—and even before—is likely still years away from being understood.

3) There are many threads, including some likely unrelated to others. Based on what we know so far, it appears that Russia’s information operation against the 2016 presidential election might have been less of a top-down conspiracy and more of an opportunistic case of many different arms of the Russian octopus—the strange mix of politicians, intelligence officers, oligarchs, criminals, and professionals who surround the Kremlin—working to exploit every potential opportunity.
Just in the last week, we’ve seen how expansive the Mueller investigation might be inside the nondescript Washington, D.C., office where his team has been assembling evidence for months. He’s evidently covering not just the Trump Tower meeting (coordinated with the Kremlin?), but digging into Paul Manafort’s finances (his realtor testified before the grand jury last week), looking at Michael Flynn’s work with Turkey, and the social media advertising and targeting that went on as well. Add in the hacking of the DNC and John Podesta’s email, which had already been the subject of an FBI investigation before the election even unfolded—and which might represent an entirely separate Russia nexus through Wikileaks—or what we’ve now learned about the attempted penetration of state-level voting machines, and it’s clear that this case will evolve for many months to come. And all of those individual cases or investigative avenues might prove ultimately unrelated to the Big Question: Did President Trump attempt to obstruct justice with his firing of FBI Director James Comey?
4) The first charges are only a starting point—but don’t necessarily wait for the dramatic Perry Mason-style trial. The indictments handed down by a grand jury that lead to a target’s arrest are rarely the charges the target ultimately faces in a courtroom. Federal prosecutions—particularly complex, still unfolding ones like Mueller’s—often go through many legal iterations, with so-called “superseding indictments” either adding additional charges down the road as more information becomes known or, as trial nears, dropping ancillary charges in order to zero in on the most potent and provable ones.
However, as much as Law and Order may have taught us otherwise, very very few cases go to trial—generally more than 90 percent of federal cases are settled via a plea bargain. That’s in part because the government is heavily incentivized to take the bird-in-hand of a lesser charge for a guaranteed success, but also because the government has tremendous leverage in a criminal negotiation, from the length and location of a prison sentence (much better to be in the low- security FCI Danbury prison in Connecticut than it is to be in the high- security FCI Terre Haute in Indiana) to what assets the government might try to seize (think: “Nice house your family lives in—shame if something happened it”) to what the impact of a unfolding case might be on family members. (You have an aunt who overstayed her visa? Maybe the government promises to overlook that. Your son or wife was also in on the scheme? Maybe you plead guilty right now to a heftier charge to stop the investigation of your family.) Weissmann used this tool to effect in the Enron trial, leveraging the charges against former Enron CFO Andrew Fastow and his wife to encourage Fastow to testify against Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling.
Pay particular attention if you start seeing Mueller’s team filing not criminal indictments but “criminal informations,” which are effectively criminal charges done with the cooperation of the target: That means the suspect is cooperating with prosecutors and has likely worked out a deal to provide testimony or evidence against others, or has negotiated the charges in advance and intends to plead guilty quickly.

It’s clear, too, that Mueller is coming at this investigation with an even broader lens: One of the Justice Department veterans he recruited to the team, Michael Dreeben, is known for being the government’s smartest mind on appellate cases—that is, how a case will play out down the road on appeal—and he’s argued 100 cases before the Supreme Court, putting him in a rare class of lawyer who can meld not just the evidence necessary for a trial but also the legal theory and jurisprudence necessary to sustain that case through years and rounds of appeals. There are signs, too, that Mueller is even thinking through how presidential pardons might shape his case.
5) Bob Mueller is after federal crimes, not political problems. It’s important to understand that the task before Mueller’s team of FBI agents and prosecutors isn’t to investigate and make public the full truth of the 2016 election. They have a much more narrow task: To determine whether there are definable criminal violations that amount to federal felonies or misdemeanors and that can be proven in a courtroom beyond a reasonable doubt based upon the federal government’s standard rules of evidence and criminal procedure.
Sally Q. Yates—the acting attorney general fired by President Trump for refusing to implement the so-called Muslim ban—has argued since leaving office that Mueller’s standard should not be the nation’s only test of what happened in 2016. There are any number of behaviors and actions that might fall short of a definable, provable felony that we, as a democratic society and a sovereign nation that eschews foreign involvement in our politics, might find troubling behavior in our commander-in-chief and the leader of one branch of government. But it’s not entirely clear right now how the country might see such behavior or act upon it.

How, if Mueller uncovers such behavior, it remains an open question how he might convey this information to the public and political process. He might write a formal report, akin to what Ken Starr did during his probe into the Monica Lewinsky affair during the Clinton years or what the 9/11 Commission did following its investigation, and turn that over to the Justice Department to present to Congress. Or he might not. When Mueller, working in private practice after his stint as FBI director, was tasked with investigating the NFL’s handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case, he defined his mission as narrowly as possible—examining only the NFL’s handling of a video showing the original assault, rather than getting into the larger questions of, say, whether the League coddles abusers.

This latter category of “political problems” ultimately ends up being the purview of Congress—and it will be almost inseparable from the conversation of whatever criminal charges and information stems from Mueller’s investigation. At each stage, we will see debates in the media and political circles: Are there political high crimes and misdemeanors that warrant action via presidential impeachment? Unfortunately, the Capitol Hill investigations have had a difficult road this year, and there seems little appetite for bipartisan action and a forthright debate about the 2016 election. The House investigation by the Intelligence Committee was quickly undermined by bizarre behavior by chair Devin Nunes and now even the Senate investigation, which at least kept up the appearance of a bipartisan effort, appears to be faltering.
Which is a long roundabout way of saying: Monday’s charges are only the beginning of what’s sure to be a complex and deeply partisan process. And, if this weekend’s release of half-century-old files related to JFK’s assassination is any guide, we, as a country, may never feel like we fully understand what transpired in 2016.

This post has been updated to reflect that the Mueller team's first charges were brought against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates.
https://www.wired.com/story/how-to-inte ... nsiteshare



seemslikeadream » Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:40 am wrote:I am feeling more relief but have to admit overwhelming joy that trump is finally going to go to jail


This is just the beginning


Rick Gates = Mike Pence :evilgrin

George Papadopolous pleading should be more concerning to Trump team than Manafort indictment. It almost certainly means he is cooperating.


"Well Papadopolous was part of the Steele dossier so it's obviously fake..."

Oh. Wait. It wasn't.


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POLITICS 10/30/2017 10:31 am ET Updated 6 minutes ago
Trump Campaign Foreign Policy Adviser Pleads Guilty In Russia Probe
George Papadopolos admitted lying to the FBI.

By Ryan J. Reilly

WASHINGTON ― A foreign policy adviser to President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has pleaded guilty to a charge of lying to FBI agents.

George Papadopoulos, 30, pleaded guilty on Oct. 5, 2017, but the case wasn’t unsealed until Monday, when two other Trump associates were indicted by a federal grand jury. Papadopoulos reached a plea deal with prosecutors, and has since been cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Prosecutors’ statement of the offense alleges Papadopoulos “made material false statements and material omissions” during a Jan. 27, 2017, interview with the FBI. He was arrested July 27. Prosecutors agreed to recommend between no prison time to six months under the plea agreement.

Papadopoulos told the FBI an overseas professor had “told him about the Russians possessing ‘dirt’ on then-candidate Hillary Clinton in the form of ‘thousands of emails,’ but stated multiple times that he learned that information prior to joining the campaign,” according to court documents. In fact, Papadopoulos was contacted after he learned he’d be joining the campaign, and the professor only mentioned the “thousands of emails” after he’d been on the Trump campaign for more than a month.

The professor, the statement indicates, had “substantial connections to Russian government officials” even though Papadopoulos claimed the professor was “a nothing.”
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ge ... dc5fbfa210


Former Trump campaign adviser pleaded guilty to lying to FBI

Photo: Brynn Anderson / AP
George Papadopolous, former policy adviser to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI, the Special Counsel's Office announced today.

Why it matters: He's another Trump campaign official wrapped up in Robert Mueller's charges. But unlike Paul Manafort's indictment, the charges against Papadopolous are explicitly linked to attempts at collusion with Russia.

His involvement: In March 2016, Papadopolous tried to set up a meeting with Russian leadership and the Trump campaign team. He sent an email to the foreign policy team, according to Washington Post, promising a "meeting with Russian Leadership - Including Putin."

Although some members of the team were skeptical of the proposed meeting — including Paul Manafort, who rejected a May 2016 meeting from Papadopolous — he tried to set up at least 6 meetings with Russian officials and the Trump team between March and September 2016, per WashPost.

Legal details: Papadopolous' sentence hearing will be set for a later date, per the Special Counsel's Office. He will face up to six months in prison (though the max for this charge could be 5 years) and $500 to $9,500 in fines, according to the DOJ plea agreement.
https://www.axios.com/george-papadopolo ... 37360.html


George Papadopoulos cuts plea deal against Donald Trump and exposes criminal Trump-Russia collusion
Bill Palmer
Updated: 11:08 am EDT Mon Oct 30, 2017
Home » Politics

Even as the nation is still trying to get to know the name “Rick Gates” after he was arrested alongside Paul Manafort this morning, yet another name is coming front and center in Donald Trump’s Russia scandal. Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos has cut a plea deal with the Feds, and in the process he’s exposed a criminal level of collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and the Russian government during the election.


If you’ve heard the name “George Papadopoulos” before, it’s because the Trump campaign initially tried to throw him under the bus when it first began voluntarily turning over campaign emails to Special Counsel Robert Mueller last month. What’s not clear is whether the campaign knew that Papadopoulos was already working with the Feds. According to numerous major news outlets Papadopoulos was caught lying to the FBI back in January, he was quietly arrested in July, and his plea deal secretly became official earlier this month. He’s confessed to the kind of crimes that leave no doubt about Trump-Russia collusion.


According to lengthy official court documents that became public today (link), George Papadopoulos took a meeting with a Kremlin-connected professor who promised to give him emails that had supposedly been stolen from Hillary Clinton. He initially lied to the FBI by claiming that the meeting took place before he joined the Trump campaign. He’s since confessed that the meeting took place while he was working as a Trump campaign adviser.


So now we have a Donald Trump campaign adviser formally confessing to having colluded with the Russian government on behalf of the Donald Trump campaign. Here’s what stands out: today’s criminal charges filed against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates have nothing to do with what Papadopoulos has given Mueller. That means we’re looking at just the start of the criminal takedowns. Trump tweeted this morning that “there is NO COLLUSION!” He couldn’t be more wrong.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmbaVitct1Q


HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU WILBUR ROSS

I'm watching for General Yellowkerk to get arrested by the end of the day



seemslikeadream » Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:54 am wrote:I'm ready for that ride

"Ivanka and Jared pushed for then-candidate Trump to hire... Manafort as campaign manager in the spring 2016.


Dear Paul Manafort & Richard Gates: Here's a fun fact for you. Federal prosecutors have a conviction rate of 93%.

WH allies were noting Manafort's charges were unrelated to collusion. Then Papadopoulos news broke & they got quiet

Papadopoulos = collusion

Here's the best part of the George Papadopoulos plea:

He was cooperating for 2 months before pleading. And DOJ ain't telling what he said.

Remember how Sessions said he "didn't recall" discussing emails w/Russians?

I'm betting he starts recalling awfully quick.
But Jeff Sessions was SURELY in March 31 meeting at which George Papadopoulos talked abt setting up meeting w/Putin.


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Ukraine Lobbying Contract Linked To Manafort Also Involved Another Trump Aide
Mike McSherry, who helped lead Trump's delegate strategy at the convention, is also listed in lobbying disclosures as having represented a nonprofit group tied to former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.

Posted on August 18, 2016, at 2:37 p.m.
Rosie Gray


ERIC THAYER / Reuters
WASHINGTON — Donald Trump's campaign chairman Paul Manafort is not the only Trump aide to have been involved in lobbying for Ukraine's pro-Russian ex-president.

Mike McSherry, a senior vice president at Mercury Public Affairs who helped lead the Trump campaign's convention committee strategy last month, is listed in Mercury's lobbying disclosure forms as having represented a Brussels-based nonprofit group linked to former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine. The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that Manafort steered the Centre toward hiring two lobbying firms in Washington: Mercury and the Podesta Group, which is run by Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman's brother.

During that era, Manafort was consulting for Yanukovych's Party of Regions. Yanukovych, a close Putin ally, now lives in Russia after being ousted from power in 2014.

Neither the firms nor Manafort filed documents with the Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, despite the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine's close ties to a foreign political leader and Manafort's work for Yanukovych's party. The Centre was founded by a top Party of Regions official. The AP reported that Manafort helped to steer a total of $2.2 million to the two firms in 2012.

McSherry's name appears in documents Mercury filed with the Senate under the Lobbying Disclosure Act.

Trump's campaign brought McSherry on to help with delegate efforts for the convention, and it was reported earlier this month that his role in the campaign was being expanded. McSherry did not respond to BuzzFeed News requests for comment.

An email obtained by BuzzFeed News shows McSherry taking an active role in lobbying for the Centre; in the February 2013 email, he reached out to a Republican senator's office to pass on a request from Vin Weber, the former congressman who is a partner at Mercury and also lobbied for the Ukrainian group, who wanted to set up a meeting for former Polish president Aleksander Kwaśniewsk on behalf of the Centre.

Weber told Yahoo News on Wednesday that Manafort had recruited him to represent the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, and that he had repeatedly asked Manafort who was backing the group financially, but Manafort would not say. Weber told Yahoo that he "never doubted they were tied to Yanukovych.”

The Brussels-based head of the group, Ina Kirsch, told BuzzFeed News she had "nothing to do with Manafort," though she told the AP she had met with Manafort twice.

A former Podesta employee told the AP that Manafort's associate Rick Gates, also now on the Trump campaign, had "described the nonprofit's role in an April 2012 meeting as supplying a source of money that could not be traced to the Ukrainian politicians who were paying him and Manafort."

Though FARA violations are rarely prosecuted, they carry a heavy potential penalty: up to five years in prison or a $250,000 fine. To avoid the stringent disclosures required by FARA, foreign governments and political leaders sometimes use seemingly unconnected groups that can hire lobbyists in their stead. Under the Lobbying Disclosure Act, lobbyists are not required to disclose as much information as under FARA.

Washington lawyer Ken Gross advised Mercury before they took on the client that they did not need to file under FARA. His legal opinion, which was also used by the Podesta Group, was based on the Centre's promise, in writing, that they were not backed by a foreign government or political leader. The written declaration, dated April 30, 2012, and signed by Kirsch, says that the Centre was not "directly or indirectly supervised, directed, controlled, financed, or subsidized in whole or in major part by a government of a foreign country or a foreign political party."

"Mercury fully disclosed activity under the LDA," Gross told BuzzFeed News in an email, referring to the Lobbying Disclosure Act. "Mercury was not required to register under FARA based on the unequivocal written and oral certifications stating that the Centre was a private entity and was not under the direction or funded by the Ukrainian government or foreign political party. If the Centre had advised otherwise, Mercury would have registered under FARA without hesitation."

Gross said he did not think there could be grounds for an investigation because, "We did everything we could have reasonably done under the circumstances" to ensure that the Centre was not being directed by a foreign politician or government.

Podesta Group CEO Kimberly Fritts said that her firm "has a formal process in place, led by in-house counsel, to ensure that we follow the law, which includes determining whether our work for a given client would best be registered and reported under the Lobbying Disclosure Act or the Foreign Agent Registration Act. In this case, because the firm was partnering with Mercury, in-house counsel coordinated with Mercury’s counsel and Mercury’s outside legal counsel. Together, they concluded that LDA was the appropriate reporting route. If counsel had determined FARA was the way to go, we would have gladly registered under FARA."

Fritts said that the Centre attested in writing that it was not being controlled or subsidized by a foreign government or party.

"Further, we were not aware that Rick Gates was a Party of Regions consultant at the time he introduced us to the Centre. We believed he was working for the Centre, as we were hired to do," Fritts said.

Mercury's Weber did not return a request for comment.

In the run-up to the Ukrainian parliamentary elections in 2012, the Centre was behind a covert scheme to spread its talking points among U.S. conservative media. One person involved in the arrangement said they had been paid $500 to do so.

There have been several revelations about Manafort's connections to pro-Russian forces in Ukraine over the course of the campaign. The Times of London also reported on Wednesday that a Ukrainian prosecutor has accused Manafort of fomenting anti-NATO protests in Crimea prior to Russia's annexation of Crimea. And last week, the New York Times reported that a secret Party of Regions letter showed $12.7 million in cash payments listed for Manafort, though Manafort denies receiving the money.
https://www.buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/ukra ... .xkW5zmkzN



Thoughts On the Papadopolous Plea

By JOSH MARSHALL Published OCTOBER 30, 2017 12:06 PM

We can’t know these things for sure. But it certainly seems like Mueller was sending a message and sending a shock to the Trump White House by releasing the Papadopolous charges mid-morning. The Manafort/Gates charges are very serious as crimes and bring heavy punishments. They’re a big deal. But they do not connect directly to the campaign’s ties with Russia or even the campaign itself. The White House can accurately say that these are crimes that do not relate to them, as they have. (Set aside for the moment that they are serious crimes undertaken by the campaign chairman while the campaign was underway and that they provide Mueller with immense leverage to extract more information from Manafort.)

The Papadopolous plea is quite different.

It shows a Trump foreign policy advisor in active communication with what appear to be Russian government officials or spies trying to get dirt on Hillary Clinton, arrange meetings with Russian government officials (even Vladimir Putin, rather ludicrously) and solicit Russian support. That an active foreign policy advisor was taking these actions while in active communication with the campaign about those actions is quite damning. An unnamed campaign official sent back word that a meeting with Trump himself was not happening.

Papadopolous was arrested in July and has apparently been cooperating since. I see no purely legal reason why the news of his arrest in July and guilty plea in early October had to be revealed today, other than keeping the news from Manafort. One other potential reason is that one of the ‘campaign officials’ referenced in the Papadopolous plea appears to be Manafort. It sends two clear messages. First, we’re not at all done with collusion and we’re making progress. Second, we arrested Papadopolous in July and he pled out in October and no one knew. So don’t think you have any idea what we have.

This may be projecting too much. But in revealing the Manafort news early, giving time for the White House to respond as you’d expect (nothing to do with us or Russia or the campaign) and then following up by revealing this Papadopolous indictment certainly has the feel of sucker punching the White House.
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/tho ... olous-plea



There’s a sealed “Indictment (A)” and it looks like it’s against Donald Trump
Bill Palmer
Updated: 12:47 pm EDT Mon Oct 30, 2017
Home » Opinion

For all the attention being given today to the arrests of Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates, the text of their indictment reveals something which may be a far bigger story. It has to do with the legal labeling of the Manafort and Gates indictment in question, which very much reads like there’s also a sealed indictment against Donald Trump.


As caught by the keen eye of Kierán Suckling‏ of the Center for Biological Diversity and then pointed out on Twitter, the Manafort-Gates indictment is labeled “Indictment (B)” (link). This one letter matters greatly, because it means there’s also an Indictment (A), which is still sealed. By the nature of these things, Indictment (A) is more high profile than Indictment (B). That means it’s someone higher profile than Paul Manafort. That’s a very short list. There’s also only one reason for it to still be sealed.


Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos has also been indicted, but he has a different case number altogether – so he can’t be Indictment (A). Nor can it be Michael Flynn, because he’s being pursued by a different federal grand jury in a different district altogether. And again, by definition, Indictment (A) has to be higher profile than Indictment (B). That means it can only possibly be three people: Jeff Sessions, Mike Pence, or Donald Trump. We can narrow it down further, because if it were Sessions, it probably wouldn’t be sealed.

It’s entirely believable that an indictment against Donald Trump or Mike Pence would still be sealed. But it’s highly difficult to imagine that Robert Mueller is indicting Pence for crimes related to Paul Manafort, while not indicting Trump. So the only logical interpretation is that this sealed indictment is against Donald Trump. Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe and others have argued that a sitting president can indeed be indicted.
http://www.palmerreport.com/opinion/sea ... ment/5796/


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3 people involved are not named in the plea deal


$75 million dollars

Someone “low level” has to visit Russia as to not send a signal.
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656 Children Separated kidnapped by trump at the Border Have Still Not Been Reunited With Their Parents

August 17 2018


Babies in cages were no ‘mistake’ by Trump but test-marketing for barbarism - Fintan O’Toole
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Re: George Papadopoulos

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed May 16, 2018 9:57 pm

seemslikeadream » Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:25 pm wrote:I put that in as a reminder to go back to it...I read something that I didn't want to post yet but.....

I have some things I am working on for now there is this

America First Policies

Presidential transition of Donald Trump = Mike Pence and Rick Gates


The group was formed by six former members of Trump and Pence's staffs, including former spokeswoman Katrina Pierson and former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates. The group formed in January to gather people who "believe in the Trump agenda," Gates said at the time.

“This goes beyond Trump supporters,” Gates told the Associated Press in January. “We’re trying to capture all people who believe in the Trump agenda.”
http://thehill.com/homenews/administrat ... r-opposing



Back in January, it was announced that Rick Gates would be part of the Mercer-funded America First Policies non-profit, an organization that is reportedly intended as Trump's version of Organizing for Action, an organization formed to promote President Obama's policies.

Trump Advisers Start 'America First Policies' Nonprofit


Six of President Donald Trump's top campaign aides have banded together to start a nonprofit called "America First Policies" to back the White House agenda.

The group includes Trump's digital and data director Brad Parscale, onetime deputy campaign manager Rick Gates and two campaign advisers to Vice President Mike Pence, Nick Ayers and Marty Obst.

David Bossie and Katrina Pierson also will be involved, according to a statement announcing the group.

"Some of the same like-minded individuals who put their energy into getting Mr. Trump elected are now going to be part of a grassroots group to go out there and help with the agenda, help the White House be successful," Parscale said.


Of course, unlike Organizing for Action, America First Policies is heavily funded by a single American oligarch, Robert Mercer, a man who also has himself a propaganda arm — Breitbart News — and his own PsyOps outfit, Cambridge Analytica. I'm also going to guess that Mercer, whose cadre of operatives (Conway, Bannon and Bossie) took over the top three spots in the Trump campaign after the undeniably Russian-connected Manafort slithered off, ain't quite as keen on the Putin-love as some of the other power players in Failing El Presidente Trump's orbit.

......

Rick Gates out at America First Policies over Manafort ties to Russia


Washington (CNN) Rick Gates, the longtime deputy to President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, was forced to leave his position with a nonprofit supporting Trump this week due to his longstanding relationship with Manafort, two sources familiar with the matter told CNN.

Gates' exit from America First Policies came after the Associated Press reported this week that Manafort had sought to further Russian government interests in his work for a Russian businessman. Gates did not return CNN's requests for comment.

One administration source familiar with the matter called the departure "amicable." A second source told CNN that Gates was asked to leave after his name popped back into the news this week due to his connections to Manafort.

Gates previously served as Manafort's deputy when he was campaign chairman, and has long worked with him in the private sector, including in consulting work for foreign interests.


Gates and five other former Trump staffers, including Digital Director Brad Parscale and longtime Mike Pence aide Nick Ayers, formed a nonprofit called America First Policies with backing from wealthy Republican donors Bob and Rebekah Mercer.



Rick Gates
FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN AIDE/PAUL MANAFORT DEPUTY


Rick Gates is Paul Manafort’s protégé and junior partner who served with him as deputy campaign chairman for the Trump campaign. When Manafort left in August 2016, Gates moved to the Republican National Committee where he was a liaison to the campaign, working on joint fundraising and other agreements. After the election, Gates and five other former Trump staffers, including Digital Director Brad Parscale and longtime Mike Pence aide Nick Ayers, formed a nonprofit called America First Policies with backing from wealthy Republican donors Bob and Rebekah Mercer. The nonprofit’s goal was to support the President’s agenda.

In March 2017, America First Policies asked Gates to leave because of his connection to Manafort, who –The Associated Press discovered – had worked for a Russian billionaire furthering the interests of Vladimir Putin’s government.

In June, a Trump campaign lawyer sent a memo to staffers asking them to save records pertaining to five members of the transition team, including Manafort and Gates, giving the impression Gates either is or will soon be under investigation.

Gates first met Manafort as an intern for Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly -- Manafort’s D.C. consulting firm -- in the 1980s. He then went on to work with lobbyist Rick Davis who formed a new firm with Manafort in 2006.

Davis Manafort opened an office in Kiev, Ukraine and worked for Kremlin-allied president Viktor Yanukovych. At the same time, Davis and Manafort pursued investment deals in Eastern Europe, connecting with Russian oligarch and Putin ally Oleg Deripaska who is suspected of having ties to organized crime. When Davis left to join Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign 2008, Gates took over his part of the business. Gates’ name has turned up on documents connected to shell companies Davis Manafort set up in Cyprus to facilitate deals and accept payments.

Gates claims he and Manafort are being targeted unfairly.
https://investigaterussia.org/players/rick-gates


Trump Waives Ethics Rules for Top Pence Aide to Meet With PAC
By Bill Allison
October 19, 2017, 6:09 PM CDT
Nick Ayers previously worked for Pence’s leadership committee
Ayers called for purge of GOP lawmakers in meeting with donors
https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/ ... ent=safari



Manafort protege Rick Gates worked in Ukraine, made his way into Trump campaign’s inner circle

BY
TERENCE CULLEN
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Monday, October 30, 2017, 9:49 AM
Rick Gates, the longtime protege of ex-Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort, was advised to turn himself in Monday along with his mentor as part of the Russia investigation.

Both were hit with 12 counts Monday, including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, according to the Justice Department.

Gates’s relationship with Manafort goes back decades, and they’ve steadily worked together for more than 10 years.

He followed Manafort overseas to work in Ukraine, and later to the Trump campaign, where he was a senior aide in the future President’s inner circle.

Paul Manafort indicted for money laundering by Russia probe
When Manafort’s role was reduced, Gates stayed with the campaign, however, and went on to run a pro-Trump group after the election.

Connection with Manafort

Gates, 45, first started as an intern three decades ago at Black, Manafort, Stone, Kelly — an influential Washington lobbying firm in the 1980s.

He started there the same year Manafort departed, according to a July profile in the New York Times.

But in 2006 he joined Manafort’s consulting firm, Davis Manafort, working in Kiev, Ukraine.

Wire transfers tied to Paul Manafort in 2012 were flagged to feds
“Rick was Paul’s business guy,” Tad Devine, a Democratic operative who worked with the firm for some time, told the Times last summer.

Among the firm’s high-profile Eastern European clients was Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Moscow politician who they shaped as a reformer. Yanukovych fled Ukraine during an early 2014 revolution and now lives in exile in Russia.

Investigators have reportedly been looking at Manafort’s overseas connections — particularly investment funds and companies set up in Cyprus to receive payments.

Gates worked with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a Kremlin ally accused of having ties to organized crime, in 2008 on a deal with Davis Manafort on a botched deal for communications firms in the Ukraine, Bloomberg reported in September.

Paul Manafort under investigation for possible money laundering
Deripaska, who has had repeated difficulty getting a U.S. visa, late sued Manafort in Cayman Islands court, parts of which were reportedly resolved.

Manafort later came under fire when it was revealed he offered Deripaska personal briefings while he ran the Trump campaign.

Trump campaign

Gates followed Manafort to the Trump campaign, where he rose quickly.

After campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was ousted in favor of Manafort, Gates took on the No. 2 role previously held by Stuart Jolly.

Manafort offered election briefings to Russian oligarch: report
Sunday, July 17, 2016 Photo
Gates, left behind Manafort, has worked with the veteran lobbyist for more than a decade. (MATT ROURKE/AP)
He worked in tandem with Manafort during the heated end of the primary season, as Trump secured the Republican nomination.

Rumors swirled last July that he oversaw Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention, which turned out to have sections lifted from Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech at the Democratic National Convention.

Manafort and other campaign officials said news reports of Gate’s work on the speech weren’t true.

“Rick's not a speechwriter and he doesn't have a role in the campaign's speechwriting process — we have other people for that,” campaign spokesman Jason Miller told CNN at the time. “Anybody saying differently is being intentionally misleading.”

He was, however, involved in the inner circle for the Trump campaign at that time, appearing on stage as the candidate prepared for his speech before the RNC in Cleveland.

Gates was copied on emails from Trump urging them to back up his attacks on a judge of Mexican descent.

Gates’ role in the campaign was apparently so prominent that Kellyanne Conway referred to him as part of the campaign’s “core four,” along with herself, Manafort and Bannon, to the Washington Post in August.

After Manafort resigned from the campaign, Gates stayed on for weeks. He served as a liaison to the RNC, and was reported to be out of the campaign by late September.

At the time, the Washington Post reported Gates wasn’t paid during his time on the Trump campaign.

After the campaign

Gates went on to play a role in arranging President Trump’s inauguration committee, and was considered Manafort’s man on the inside, CNN reported in December.

He helped launch the "America First Policies" non-profit after the election with five other Trump campaign aides.

Trump digital director Brad Parscale and former Pence aide Nick Ayers were among the co-founders.

Gates was nudged out of the group in late March, after reports of Manafort’s overseas dealings — particularly with Russian figures — started to spill out.

A source told CNN the split was “amicable.”

John Weaver, a Republican strategist, told the Times in July that the ongoing probe is “the only reason Rick Gates isn’t in the West Wing and why Paul Manafort doesn’t have a thousand clients in Washington.”
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/nationa ... -1.3599032



How the Russia Investigation Entangled a Manafort Protégé
By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE and BARRY MEIERJUNE 16, 2017

Rick Gates said that criticism of him and Paul Manafort was based on flawed news media reports and documents whose authenticity the two men question. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times
Nearly everywhere Paul Manafort went, it seemed, Rick Gates followed, his protégé and junior partner. Election campaigns in Eastern Europe and Africa. Business ventures with a Russian tycoon. The upper ranks of Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign.

Mr. Gates survived Mr. Manafort’s purge last summer amid allegations that his mentor had taken millions of dollars from Kremlin allies, retaining a central role on Mr. Trump’s campaign and inaugural committee. But Mr. Gates, 45, soon followed in Mr. Manafort’s footsteps once again: In April, amid new questions about Russian interference in the 2016 election, he was abruptly forced out of a lobbying group formed to advance President Trump’s agenda.

Now, Mr. Gates has been drawn into the burgeoning federal investigations into diplomatic and financial dealings between Russian interests and the president’s inner circle. In a newly disclosed memo, a lawyer for the Trump campaign ordered members of the president’s transition team to preserve records relating to five Trump associates, among them Mr. Manafort — already known to be a subject of the investigation — and Mr. Gates. The memo indicates that transition lawyers believe Mr. Gates’s actions are under scrutiny by the Justice Department or the House or Senate Intelligence Committees — or soon will be.

As investigators examine Mr. Manafort’s financial and political dealings at home and abroad, they are likely to run into Mr. Gates wherever they look. During the pair’s heady days in Ukraine, it was Mr. Gates who flew to Moscow for meetings with associates of Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch. His name appears on documents linked to shell companies that Mr. Manafort’s firm set up in Cyprus to receive payments from politicians and businesspeople in Eastern Europe, records reviewed by The New York Times show.

Following an inquiry from the Department of Justice, Mr. Gates and Mr. Manafort are also now weighing whether to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act in connection with an effort in Washington several years ago to burnish the image of a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.

Mr. Gates said late Thursday night that federal investigators had not been in contact with him. He has not been accused of any wrongdoing and, in recent interviews, he said that criticism of him and Mr. Manafort was based on flawed news media reports and documents whose authenticity the two men question.

“Everything was done legally and with the approval of our lawyers,” Mr. Gates said. “Nothing to my knowledge was ever done inappropriately.”

Mr. Gates’s rapid ascent into Mr. Trump’s orbit, and his sudden ejection from it, is just one example of how the Russia-related controversies have shaken the Trump administration. The federal investigations are also casting a harsh light on the crossroads of Washington lobbying and international deal making, where Mr. Manafort made his fortune — and Mr. Gates once hoped to follow.

“I don’t know if it is a Greek tragedy, but it is certainly ironic,” said John Weaver, a Republican political consultant. Mr. Weaver feuded with a former business partner of Mr. Manafort’s and Mr. Gates’s when their work with Mr. Deripaska, the Russian oligarch, vexed the 2008 presidential campaign of Senator John McCain.

The investigations into Mr. Manafort’s relationships overseas, Mr. Weaver said, are “the only reason Rick Gates isn’t in the West Wing and why Paul Manafort doesn’t have a thousand clients in Washington.”

The two men met nearly three decades ago when Mr. Gates was an intern at Black, Manafort, Stone, Kelly, a high-powered Washington consulting firm.

The firm specialized in running Republican campaigns and then lobbying the politicians they had helped elect. In Washington, Mr. Manafort worked to smooth the rough edges of various dictators and strongmen, among them Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines and Mobutu Sese Seko of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Trump Organization was also a client, employing the firm to lobby the Treasury Department on casino transaction rules and to guide Mr. Trump’s ill-fated New York-Washington airline venture.

Mr. Manafort left the firm the same year Mr. Gates started there. But Mr. Gates worked closely with another rising Republican lobbyist, Rick Davis, and in 2006 joined him and Mr. Manafort at their new company, Davis Manafort.

From an office in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, the firm was working a variation on Mr. Manafort’s Washington business model. While rebranding Ukraine’s Moscow-aligned president, Viktor F. Yanukovych, as a reformist candidate who favored closer ties to the European Union, they sought investment deals with politically connected industrialists in Eastern Europe. One of them was Mr. Deripaska, the Russian aluminum magnate and an ally of President Vladimir V. Putin, who has been denied a visa to the United States, apparently because of allegations linking him to organized crime — charges Mr. Deripaska has denied.

When Mr. Davis left the company to manage Mr. McCain’s 2008 campaign, Mr. Gates took over his duties in Eastern Europe, meeting with potential business partners, developing deals, and negotiating contracts. He often flew to London or Paris, according to a former colleague in the Kiev office, and made at least two business trips to Moscow.

Foreign capitals, of course, have long been a lucrative destination for American political consultants: Big-name campaign operatives can earn a small fortune working for controversial or disreputable candidates, largely out of sight of the American news media. Mr. Yanukovych’s operation boasted numerous veterans of both George W. Bush’s and John Kerry’s presidential campaigns.

“Rick was Paul’s business guy,” said Tad Devine, a Democratic political consultant who worked with Davis Manafort on the Ukraine campaigns. (He quit in 2012, after Mr. Yanukovych jailed a former rival for the presidency.) Working for Mr. Yanukovych, Mr. Devine said, helped position Mr. Gates and his bosses to do business in the country.

“You elect Yanukovych, he is going to make it a market economy, so you work to do deals and get foreign investment — and that’s where the real money was,” Mr. Devine said.

One Davis Manafort venture, a private equity fund called Pericles, was set up to buy small companies in Russia and Eastern Europe within industries that had yet to consolidate: cable television, for example, or pharmaceutical manufacturing. The fund’s biggest investor was Mr. Deripaska, the Russian oligarch.

For Mr. Gates, then in his mid-30s, partnering with moguls such as Mr. Deripaska seemed like a route to the kind of financial success enjoyed by Mr. Manafort, a multimillionaire with vacation homes in the Hamptons and in Palm Beach, Fla. Mr. Gates had read news reports of Mr. Deripaska’s problems with the State Department, but said he was not overly troubled by them; the Russian was already in business with blue-chip American firms like General Motors.

In 2007, Mr. Gates and his wife traded in their $700,000 home in Richmond, Va., taking out a $1.5 million loan for a house in one of the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods, public records show.

“We thought we had a good business model,” Mr. Gates said. “We thought we were going to be successful.”

As it turned out, the fund foundered amid the global economic crisis, and the only deal with Mr. Deripaska devolved into a legal dispute. But today, nearly a decade later, investigators are known to have an interest in the money that Mr. Manafort and his colleagues made in Eastern Europe, how those funds were paid and the offshore conduits such as Cyprus through which that money traveled.

Handwritten ledgers found in a former office of Mr. Yanukovych’s political party indicate that it made $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments to Mr. Manafort between 2007 and 2012. Other recently disclosed documents suggest that a payment earmarked in those ledgers for Mr. Manafort may instead have been paid through an offshore bank account and as a supposed payment for a computer.

Mr. Manafort has insisted that the ledgers were forged and that he never received any secret cash payments. “Paul’s payments for his work abroad have all come through traceable wire transfers to his U.S. accounts,” said Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Mr. Manafort.

Davis Manafort used shell companies in Cyprus both to receive payments for its political consulting and for business investment activities. Documents reviewed by The Times show that Mr. Gates was among the employees who dealt with the Cypriot law firm that registered those companies.

Mr. Gates explained that Mr. Deripaska had recommended the firm, Dr. K. Chrysostomides & Co. Five shell companies were set up to facilitate anticipated business deals with Mr. Deripaska; four others were for payments received for political consulting services in Ukraine, he said.

Cyprus has long been a popular tax haven for Russian oligarchs and businesses. Mr. Gates said he was told that Davis Manafort clients had instructed the firm to use Cyprus as a financial transfer point, because American banks preferred to work with the island’s European Union-regulated banks rather than those in Eastern Europe. A representative for Mr. Deripaska and his companies did not respond to questions from The New York Times. Mr. Davis, who now works at a private equity firm, did not reply to an email seeking comment.

After protesters forced Mr. Yanukovych from power in early 2014, Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates began looking for potential political clients elsewhere: Hungary, Uganda, and Kenya. But then another revolution began to crest — the one back home, in the Republican presidential primary.

In the spring of 2016, when Mr. Trump found himself outmaneuvered in the arcane battle for Republican convention delegates, he turned to Mr. Manafort. Mr. Gates came along as his deputy — the man behind the man in charge. In a campaign known for its factionalism, Mr. Gates won over colleagues by managing the mundane but essential work of daily operations. He traveled often with Mr. Trump and forged relationships with Reince Priebus, the future chief of staff, and Brad Parscale, the campaign’s digital director.

“What made him valuable was, people trusted him, No. 1, and No. 2, he was effective,” said Richard F. Hohlt, a longtime Republican lobbyist who worked on Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee.

Those ties enabled Mr. Gates to outlast his mentor last summer, when Mr. Manafort was ousted. Mr. Gates moved to the Republican National Committee, helping iron out joint fund-raising agreements and other contracts with Mr. Trump’s campaign.

Mr. Gates was soon established in Mr. Trump’s circle. Before the first presidential debate, he glad-handed with Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s top security adviser — now also a subject of the federal investigations — and Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino mogul. At an election night party, Mr. Gates hit it off with Thomas J. Barrack Jr., the wealthy Los Angeles investor, who hired Mr. Gates to help run Mr. Trump’s inaugural.

After Mr. Trump was sworn in, Mr. Gates joined Mr. Parscale and other Trump aides to raise $25 million for a new pro-Trump group, America First Policies. Mr. Gates lined up office space adjacent to the Willard Hotel, a Washington power-breakfast spot, and became a frequent visitor to the White House, hoping to join the new Trump era elite.

“He did it to stand on his own,” Mr. Hohlt said. “He wanted his own presence with Trump.”

But his work in Ukraine cast a long shadow. Amid the Russia investigations, reports on Mr. Manafort’s work for Mr. Deripaska rattled colleagues at America First Policies. Mr. Gates was let go.

Mr. Gates said he and Mr. Manafort were being unfairly smeared by Democrats and Mr. Trump’s enemies. “Everybody has tried to take these instances of anyone in the Trump orbit doing something in Russia, and then fast-forwarding however many years, and then saying it is evidence of collusion with Russia on the election,” Mr. Gates said. “It’s totally ridiculous and without merit.”

Correction: June 16, 2017
An earlier version of this article included an erroneous example in a list of locations where Paul Manafort has vacation homes. Though he has such homes in the Hamptons and in Palm Beach, Fla., he does not have one in France.

Correction: June 20, 2017
An article on Saturday about how the Russia investigation entangled Rick Gates, a protégé of Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, referred incorrectly to work Mr. Gates and Richard Holht did on behalf of President-elect Trump. They worked on his inaugural committee; they were not part of the presidential transition team.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/16/us/p ... ussia.html




more upcoming arrests: at least five from the Washington DC court and at least one from the Virginia court.

U.S. District Court for D.C. has four sealed cases in its docket with case numbers between Papadopoulos' (182) and Manafort's (201).
Image



Robert Mueller arrests Paul Manafort for money crimes, then reveals he has Manafort nailed on Trump-Russia collusion
Bill Palmer
Updated: 4:39 pm EDT Mon Oct 30, 2017
Home » Opinion

After Special Counsel Robert Mueller arrested Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort this morning for an assortment of financial crimes, Trump responded by tweeting “No collusion!” This was a total failure on Trump’s part when it comes to understanding how the legal system works. Sure enough, just hours later Mueller revealed that he also has Manafort nailed on Trump-Russia collusion.



Mueller revealed today that Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos was secretly arrested four months ago for lying to the FBI, and that he’s since cut a deal and spilled his guts. He’s confessing to having colluded with a representative of the Russian government with regard to stealing emails from Hillary Clinton. Moreover, Papadopoulos has named a number of Trump campaign officials who were well aware of what he was doing at the time, making them co-conspirators. Now comes word that Manafort was indeed one of the officials who knew.


Jesse Rodriguez of MSNBC tweeted that according to NBC News, “Manafort is one of the unnamed officials in Papadopoulos document.” This led Brian Fallon of CNN to explain that “Unsealed Papadopoulos plea is thus a warning to Manafort: Mueller has an informant who may ensnare him in collusion.” (link). In other words, Mueller arrested Manafort on financial crimes this morning because they involve the kind of paper trail that allows for comparatively quick and easy proof and conviction – but he's also sending a signal to Manafort that he has him nailed on collusion as well. What's the upshot? Paul Manafort may be counting on Donald Trump pardoning him for the financial crimes. But legally speaking, Trump would have a much harder time successfully pardoning Manafort for collusion crimes, because he'd be pardoning his own co-conspirator; the Supreme Court could strike down the pardon. Robert Mueller is making clear to Manafort that he's boxed in, and he might as well just cut a deal.
http://www.palmerreport.com/opinion/nai ... fort/5801/


stillrobertpaulsen » Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:32 pm wrote:
Robert Mueller’s Show of Strength: A Quick and Dirty Analysis
By Susan Hennessey, Benjamin Wittes
Monday, October 30, 2017, 2:24 PM

Image
(Photo: Wikimedia/The White House)

The first big takeaway from this morning’s flurry of charging and plea documents with respect to Paul Manafort Jr., Richard Gates III, and George Papadopoulos is this: The President of the United States had as his campaign chairman a man who had allegedly served for years as an unregistered foreign agent for a puppet government of Vladimir Putin, a man who was allegedly laundering remarkable sums of money even while running the now-president’s campaign, a man who allegedly lied about all of this to the FBI and the Justice Department.

The second big takeaway is even starker: A member of President Trump’s campaign team now admits that he was working with people he knew to be tied to the Russian government to “arrange a meeting between the Campaign and the Russian government officials” and to obtain “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of hacked emails—and that he lied about these activities to the FBI. He briefed President Trump on at least some them.

Before we dive any deeper into the Manafort-Gates indictment—charges to which both pled not guilty to today—or the Papadopoulos plea and stipulation, let’s pause a moment over these two remarkable claims, one of which we must still consider as allegation and the other of which we can now consider as admitted fact. President Trump, in short, had on his campaign at least one person, and allegedly two people, who actively worked with adversarial foreign governments in a fashion they sought to criminally conceal from investigators. One of them ran the campaign. The other, meanwhile, was interfacing with people he “understood to have substantial connections to Russian government officials” and with a person introduced to him as “a relative of Russian President Vladimir Putin with connections to senior Russian government officials.” All of this while President Trump was assuring the American people that he and his campaign had "nothing to do with Russia."

The release of these documents should, though it probably won’t, put to rest the suggestion that there are no serious questions of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government in the latter’s interference on the former’s behalf during the 2016 election. It also raises a profound set of questions of its own about the truthfulness of a larger set of representations Trump campaign officials and operatives have made both in public, and presumably, under oath and to investigators.

And here’s the rub: This is only Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s opening salvo.

As opening salvos go, it’s a doozy.

Let’s start with the surprise unsealing of the Papadopoulos plea agreement and stipulation of fact. Papadopoulos first became publicly affiliated with the Trump campaign in March 2016. That month, Trump faced significant pressure to announce foreign policy advisors after numerous Republican foreign policy and national security experts publicly vowed never to work for him. In response, Trump produced a list of names of purported experts, a list that included both Papadapoulos and Carter Page.

The Washington Post reported back in August of this year that Papadopoulos, between March and May of 2016, had “offered to set up ‘a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss US-Russia ties under President Trump,’” but that the campaign had rebuffed his numerous attempts. It turns out he did a lot more than that.

His guilty plea is for lying to FBI investigators in a January 27, 2017 interview regarding his own conduct and contacts. As we’ve discussed in the past, it isn’t uncommon for false statements to the Bureau to be prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. § 1001 offenses in these sorts of cases. Proving someone is lying is often easier than proving that the underlying offense violates the law. Here, for example, Papadopoulos’s underlying activity—working with Russian government officials to obtain “dirt” on Clinton and set up a Putin-Trump meeting—may have been legal, if wholly disreputable. Lying about it, however, is a crime. We can assume that Mueller had the goods on Papadopoulos beyond lying to the Bureau in some manner. The lying, after all, is merely the charge he pled to in the context of a plea deal in which prosecutors have cut him a break.

That said, the Papadopoulos stipulation offers a stunningly frank, if probably incomplete, account of what was occurring in the spring of 2016 in the Trump campaign. To wit, during that period, members of the Trump campaign team were actively working to set up a meeting with Russian officials or representatives. And from a very early point in the campaign, those meetings were explicitly about obtaining hacked, incriminating emails.

It isn’t clear which emails the various parties might have been discussing here. There are, after all, the hacked emails of the Democratic National Committee, which first became public on June 14, 2016 though the breach had occurred more than a year prior. There are the hacked emails of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, a breach the occurred on March 19, 2016 but did not become public until October 9, 2016. And there are also the purported 30,000 emails from Hillary Clinton’s time at the State Department, a matter stretching back to 2015, which may not have ever been hacked but which Trump campaign folks clearly believed had been. There is also possibly some other category of alleged emails that wasn’t a matter of public discussion. But it’s clear that Trump campaign officials were after emails and, well, let’s just say they didn’t go to the FBI when they found themselves in conversations with Russian officials about them.

The stipulation also contains some rather damaging information about President Trump himself. Papadopoulos says he attended a “national security” meeting on March 31, 2016 with Trump personally in attendance, along with his other foreign policy advisors. In that meeting, Papadopoulos told the group that he had connections to arrange a meeting between Trump and President Putin. This means that Trump either knew or should have known about his campaign’s effort to interface with Russia, even as news of various criminal hacking and attempts to interfere with the US election were becoming public.

The Manafort-Gates indictment is, in a different way, also dramatic. The amount of money allegedly at issue in breathtaking. According to paragraph 6 of the indictment, “more than $75,000,000 flowed through the offshore accounts” that Manafort and Gates controlled. Eighteen million of these dollars are specifically alleged to have been laundered. This money laundering “to hide Ukraine payments from United States authorities” allegedly took place through the entire period of Manafort’s service in the Trump campaign.

Manafort’s alleged unregistered foreign agency on behalf of Ukraine and its Party of Regions, by contrast, allegedly ended in 2014, when then-Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych was ousted. So President Trump can at least claim that his campaign manager is not under indictment for being an unregistered foreign agent at the time he was running Trump’s campaign.

But that’s about the only good news in the indictment for the President. Because Manafort is alleged to have lied about his foreign agent status and made false statements into this year. In other words, at the same time as Papadopoulos admits he was working Russian government officials for Clinton emails and for a Trump-Putin meeting, Manafort was allegedly still laundering the money he had obtained by illegally representing one of Putin’s allied strongmen.

In the wake of the document releases, Trump naturally took to Twitter to dismiss it all:

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/sta ... 9569041409

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/sta ... 8989715456

We offer no prediction as to how this will play politically or whether such antics will carry any water with Republicans who must be feeling a little uneasy today.

We will say this: Mueller’s opening bid is a remarkable show of strength. He has a cooperating witness from inside the campaign’s interactions with the Russians. And he is alleging not mere technical infractions of law but astonishing criminality on the part of Trump’s campaign manager, a man who also attended the Trump Tower meeting.

Any hope the White House may have had that the Mueller investigation might be fading away vanished this morning. Things are only going to get worse from here.



seemslikeadream » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:05 pm wrote:^^^^ go for it

REMINDER

trump is the president ...Manafort...Gates..... George Papadopoulos are trump's guys

Manafort is the one that has been dealing with the scum of the earth for decades

Rick Gates would be part of the Mercer-funded America First Policies


High odds that Trump at lunch today demanded Sessions fire Mueller. If Trump succeeds, he must be impeached

Papadopoulos was probably wearing a wire for months :P



seemslikeadream » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:19 pm wrote:
Nevertheless, the indictment against Manafort and Gates appears to relate to a period before the Trump presidential campaign.


Robert Mueller arrests Paul Manafort for money crimes, then reveals he has Manafort nailed on Trump-Russia collusion

there is more to the case than the money laundering


SO WHAT? They are/were trump's guys!

AND we have NOT seen trump's tax returns yet


As a former federal prosecutor, it seems to me that there are several angles to Mueller’s strategy with the timing of these announcements.


The most obvious is the effort to squeeze Manafort. Prosecutors indict lower level co-conspirators to get them to flip on their higher level counterparts all day long. The slightly more subtle dynamic is to put Manafort on an island, and let him see those he is protecting cut him loose and distance themselves from him. This will weaken his willingness to hang in and protect others. I think the timing of the release of the Papadopolous plea is designed to press another lever – it lets Manafort know that there is more to the case than the money laundering, and this is going to get a lot worse for him if he doesn’t cooperate. All of these moves are intended to bring maximum pressure on Manafort to cooperate with the investigation.

While I agree that the Papadopolous plea had the effect of blindsiding Trump, I don’t think that was the primary goal of the timing of its release. What Trump tweets doesn’t matter to Mueller. He has his sights set on Manafort and getting him to flip.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/mor ... s-strategy


oh no ...during the campaign...time will tell this is just the beginning ..THIS IS NOT A CLINTON SCANDAL

we have General Yellowkerk to be indicted ...he WAS trump's GUY TOO!

but this is just the start of the indictments....we have plenty more like obstruction of justice

reminder ..Clinton is NOT president ....and that Podesta had NOTHING to do with her campaign

no one is going to turn this into a Clinton scandal no matter how hard they try

remember Papadopolous was probably were a wire for months!!!


Sam Clovis was the direct supervisor of Papadopoulos


Mueller discloses Trump campaign aide pleaded guilty to lying about Russian contacts

Michael Isikoff
Chief Investigative Correspondent
Yahoo NewsOctober 30, 2017

A former Donald Trump campaign adviser was secretly arrested in July and has pleaded guilty to charges of lying to the FBI about contacts with Russia during the 2016 campaign, according to court documents unsealed by special counsel Robert Mueller on Monday.

The former Trump foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, admitted to making “numerous” false statements to the FBI about his repeated efforts to arrange an “off the record” meeting between Trump campaign officials and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s office. He is now cooperating with Mueller’s investigation, according to the unsealed court records.

Among the subjects he is providing information on, according to the court records, are his communications with an unidentified Russian professor in London with close ties to the government in Moscow, who informed him in April 2016 that the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, including “thousands of emails.”

The charges against Papadopoulos provide substantial new details about communications between the Trump campaign and figures close to the Russian government — a central part of the investigation by Mueller. The court records unsealed Monday do not provide a clear account of how senior Trump officials followed up on Papadopoulos’s efforts to set up a meeting with Russian officials.

But they quote one unidentified campaign “supervisor” as emailing him in August 2016 that “I would encourage you” to make a trip to Moscow to arrange such a meeting. A Trump campaign source identified the supervisor as Sam Clovis, a conservative radio host who was co-chairman of the campaign. Another “high ranking” official — identified by the source as campaign chairman Paul Manafort — received an email from Papadopoulos saying that “Russia has been eager to meet Mr. Trump for quite some time and has been reaching out to me to discuss.” Manafort forwarded that email to his associate Richard Gates and wrote: “Let’s discuss. We need someone to communicate that DT is not doing these trips. It should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal.” (Some of these emails were quoted in a Washington Post story this past August that first identified Clovis, Manafort and Gates as the campaign officials who sent and received them.)

Papadopoulos admitted lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts when he was initially interviewed in January, and, according to the “statement of offense” unsealed Monday, by doing so “impeded the FBI’s ongoing investigation into the existence of any links or coordination between individuals associated with the [Trump] campaign and the Russian government’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.”

Trump first mentioned Papadopoulos’s role in the campaign during a meeting with the Washington Post editorial board in March 2016, identifying him as one of five foreign policy advisers who had joined his team. Papadopoulos immediately drew attention because of his apparent lack of foreign policy experience: A 2009 college graduate, he had worked as an intern and researcher at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank, and listed as one of his credentials on his LinkedIn profile his participation in a Model U.N. program for students.

It is far from clear how much influence, if any, he wielded on Trump’s campaign. But the charges laid out by Mueller flesh out what U.S. intelligence officials have long said was a concerted effort by Moscow to cultivate figures close to the Trump campaign — in part by offering damaging information about Clinton. “They set out what appears to be a classic Russian intelligence operation, in which a foreign policy adviser for the Trump campaign was approached — or bumped, in intelligence parlance — by a person claiming to have substantial connections to Russian officials,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

When Papadopoulos joined the Trump campaign in early March 2016, he “understood that a principal foreign policy focus of the campaign was an improved U.S. relationship with Russia,” according to the documents.

A week later, while traveling in Italy, Papadopoulos met a Russian professor based in London who claimed to have “substantial connections” with Russian government officials, the statement says. After learning about his role in the Trump campaign, the professor “appeared to take great interest” in Papadopoulos and later introduced him to a Russian woman whom Papadopoulos described in an email as “Putin’s niece.” (He later learned she wasn’t.) Papadopoulos told the two Russians that he had “connections that could help arrange a meeting between then candidate Trump and President Putin,” the statement says.

That meeting never took place, but key Trump advisers including Donald Trump Jr., campaign manager Manafort — whose indictment on unrelated charges was also unsealed Monday — and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner met at Trump Tower with Russian officials offering compromising material about Hillary Clinton on June 9. It is unclear whether Papadopoulos played any role in setting up that meeting, which is believed to be a focus of Mueller’s probe.

Papadopoulos met the Russian professor on April 26, 2016. It was at this meeting that the professor said he had just returned from a trip to Moscow, where he met with “high level Russian government officials.” The professor told Papadopoulos that the Russians had obtained “dirt” on Clinton, that “the Russians had emails of Clinton” and that “they have thousands of emails.”

After this meeting, Papadopoulos stepped up his efforts to arrange meetings between Trump officials and the Russians. “Have some interesting messages coming in from Moscow about a trip when the time is right,” he emailed a senior policy adviser to Trump the next day, April 27. He emailed another “high ranking campaign official” the same day about “Russia’s interest in hosting Mr. Trump. Have been receiving a lot of calls over the last month about Putin wanting to host him and the team when the time is right.” He also emailed the professor three days later, on April 30, thanking him for his “critical help” in seeking to arrange a meeting between the campaign and Russian officials, adding: “It’s history making if it happens.”

View photos
A photo published on Donald Trump’s Instagram of George Papadopoulos (circled by Yahoo News) at a Trump campaign national security meeting in March 2016.
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As laid out in the statement of offense, Papadopoulos continued to stay in touch with the professor about setting up a meeting and peppered campaign officials with updates about his efforts. On June 19, 2016, just 10 days after the Trump Tower meeting, Papadopoulos emailed a high-ranking Trump campaign official with the subject line “New message from Russia.”

“The Russian ministry of foreign affairs messaged and said that if Mr. Trump is unable to make it to Russia, if a campaign rep (me or someone else) can make it for meetings? I am willing to make the trip off the record if its in the interest of Mr. Trump and the campaign to meet specific people.”

It was after several weeks of communications about this “off the record” meeting that the unidentified Trump campaign supervisor appeared to give the green light: “I would encourage you” and another foreign policy adviser to “make the trip if it is feasible.”

When first questioned by the FBI on Jan. 27, Papadopoulos acknowledged meeting with the Russian professor and hearing about Russian “dirt” on Clinton, but he insisted his communications all took place before he joined the Trump campaign. “I wasn’t even on the Trump team, that wasn’t even on the radar. … This was a year ago, this was before I even got with Trump,” he told them, falsely.

After his FBI interview, Papadopoulos took further steps to conceal his campaign communications by deactivating a Facebook account that contained information about those communications. On July 27, returning to the country from a foreign trip, he was arrested by the FBI at Dulles International Airport, and in subsequent questioning began to “provide information and answer questions,” the statement of offense reads.https://www.yahoo.com/news/mueller-disc ... 02597.html


Lock him up


George Papadopoulos confession may have just sent Jeff Sessions to prison
Bill Palmer
Updated: 5:22 pm EDT Mon Oct 30, 2017
Home » Opinion

Today’s arrests of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates have gotten the most headlines thus far, but the plea deal and confession of George Papadopoulos may prove to be the bigger storyline in Donald Trump’s Russia scandal. It was revealed today that Papadopoulos was secretly arrested four months ago, and has since confessed to using his position with the Trump campaign to collude with the Russian government during the election. In the process he sold two key Trump campaign officials down the river. One of them is likely to flip on Attorney General Jeff Sessions.


George Papadopoulos admits that he met with a Kremlin-connected professor in the hope of getting his hands on emails stolen from Hillary Clinton. This is a first-hand formal confession that the Trump campaign did indeed collude with the Russian government to try to influence the outcome of the election, thus striking down Donald Trump’s months of public denials. In his confession, Papadopoulos spells out that two Trump officials knew what he was doing and went along with it, making them criminally complicit. They’ve now been revealed as Manafort and Sam Clovis (link). Clovis may be the key here.


Sam Clovis was the direct supervisor of Papadopoulos, which is why Papadopoulos ran the collusion past Clovis. But the overall supervisor of the team in question was a guy named Jeff Sessions. It’s difficult to believe Clovis wouldn’t have turned around and run this collusion past Sessions before proceeding. In fact, Mueller is almost surely about to use Papadopoulos’s confession to nail Clovis, who based on his nature is likely to cut his own deal. That would involve giving up whoever he told.


This would mean Jeff Sessions isn’t merely a guy who had a series of suspicious meetings with the Russian Ambassador during the campaign and then lied about it. Instead, it would mean Sessions signed off on his campaign underling’s collusion with the Russian government. That would nail the Attorney General of the United States for one or more felonies. Lock him up.
http://www.palmerreport.com/opinion/pri ... papa/5802/


thanks to robert :lovehearts:


I think I smell pizza!

‘Putin’s Niece’ Catfished Trump Aide, Offered Kremlin Meeting

Image

HONEYPOT?
‘Putin’s Niece’ Catfished Trump Aide, Offered Kremlin Meeting

George Papadopoulos was approached by a mysterious Russian woman and a Kremlin-backed professor. They offered up dirt on Hillary Clinton—and a chance to meet Putin.

KELLY WEILL
10.30.17 12:39 PM ET
Days after becoming a foreign policy advisor for the Trump campaign in 2016, George Papadopoulos started meeting with a woman he believed to be Vladimir “Putin’s niece,” according to a newly unsealed indictment by special counsel Robert Mueller.
The woman, along with a Kremlin-connected, London-based professor, wanted to help Papadopoulos arrange meetings between representatives of then-candidate Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Maybe, the woman said, she could even get the two men to meet face-to- face.
“I have already alerted my personal links to our conversation,” she later emailed. “As mentioned we are all very excited by the possibility of a good relationship with Mr. Trump. The Russian Federation would love to welcome him once his candidature would be officially announced.”
But the woman was not, in fact, Putin’s relative. Papadopoulos had, in a sense, been catfished—and then lied about catfishing to federal investigators.
Papadopoulos, who was arrested in late July, pled guilty to making false statements to the FBI. That plea was unsealed on Monday—as were court paper showing that Papadopoulos, the professor, and the so-called “niece” had been part of an effort to establish a back channel between Trump and the Kremlin, and to obtain thousands of Clinton emails before anyone knew those messages had been hacked.
Papadopoulos was living in London when he was named a foreign policy advisor to Team Trump in March 2016. Approximately eight days after accepting the job, Papadopoulos met another Londoner: a Russian professor who “claimed to have substantial connections with Russian government officials,” the indictment reads.
One of those connections was of particular interest to Papadopoulos. On March 24, the professor invited Papadopoulos to a meeting with a Russian woman, whom he introduced as a relative of Russian president Vladimir Putin. After the meeting, Papadopoulos wrote an email to the Trump campaign, stating that he had just met with the professor, whom he described as a “good friend,” and the alleged “niece.”


Papadopoulos said “Putin’s niece” and the professor had offered “to arrange a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss U.S.-Russia ties under President Trump.”
The woman also allegedly promised to introduce Papadopoulos to the Russian Ambassador in London, but never made good on the offer.
But Trump campaign staffers praised Papadopoulous’s new connections. “Great work,” an unnamed campaign supervisor replied to the email. The supervisor shied away from making any early commitments to a meeting, but promised to “work it through the campaign.”
When Papadopoulos met with Trump and campaign staffers in person later that month, he introduced himself as having connections that could arrange a face-to-face meeting between Trump and Putin. An Instagram post from Trump’s account shows Papadopoulos at the meeting, along with members of the foreign policy team and future Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Absent from that group was foreign policy advisor Carter Page, whose communications with Russian officials have also been the subject of investigation.
After the meeting, Papadopoulos, the professor, “Putin’s niece,” and an official in Russia’s ministry of foreign affairs were in frequent communication about a possible meeting.

“I have already alerted my personal links to our conversation and your request,” the woman posing as Putin’s relative wrote Papadopoulos in April. “As mentioned we are all very excited by the possibility of a good relationship with Mr. Trump.”
Then, on April 26, Papadopoulos met the professor for breakfast at a London hotel. The professor confided in him that he had just been to Moscow, where high-level Russian officials had talked of obtaining “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. “The Russians had emails of Clinton,” the professor told him, according to the indictment. “They have thousands of emails.”
The timing of the leak is critical. The rest of the world did not learn about the Clinton campaign’s and the Democratic National Committee’s leaked emails until months later. But the breach began on March 19, when Clinton campaign chair John Podesta clicked on a phishing link, the New York Times previously reported. In April, the Russian hacking group known as Fancy Bear breached the Democratic National Committee, a report by CrowdStrike found. Those emails did not surface online until July 22.
“The Russians had emails of Clinton. They have thousands of emails.”
— Professor to Papadopoulos
The day after meeting with the professor, Papadopoulos emailed what the indictment describes as an unnamed “senior policy advisor” and an unnamed “high-ranking campaign official” about “interesting messages coming in from Moscow.” Papadopoulos pressed again for the campaign to arrange an in-person meeting between Trump and Putin in Moscow.
While the recipients of those emails are unnamed in the indictment, an August report by the Washington Post revealed sent then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski an April 27 email, stating that “Putin wants to host the Trump team when the time is right,” an invitation that intelligence officials speculated might have been a Russian effort to gauge the Trump campaign’s receptiveness to cooperation.
Over the next several months, Papadopoulos made repeated attempts to send Trump or campaign officials to a meeting in Moscow. The Trump campaign appeared receptive. After weeks of communication about an “off the record meeting” with Russian officials, a Trump campaign supervisor told Papadopoulos in August that “I would encourage you” and another foreign policy advisor to “make the trip, if it is feasible.”
The meeting never materialized. But Papadopoulos’ communications with the professor, the Russian foreign ministry official, and “Putin’s niece” attracted FBI’s attention.
In late January 2017, FBI officials interviewed Papadopoulos about his interactions with Russian officials. Papadopoulos repeated claimed the communications occurred before he joined the Trump campaign.
“This isn’t like [the professor]’s messaging me while I’m in April with Trump,” he told investigators, according to the indictment. “I wasn’t even on the Trump team, that wasn’t even on the radar … This was a year ago. This was before I even got with Trump.” He conceded that it was a “very strange coincidence” to have learned about the “dirt” on Clinton a year before joining the Trump campaign.
Papadopoulos downplayed the professor’s Kremlin ties, calling the man “a nothing” and “just a guy talk[ing] up connections or something.” Papadopoulos claimed he thought the professor was “BSing to be completely honest with you.”
Papadopoulos also minimized his interactions with the woman he had described as “Putin’s niece,” telling FBI investigators that he had no relationship with her, other than sending emails that amounted to “hi, how are you?”
None of those claims were true. Not only did Papadopoulos knowingly connect with the Kremlin-linked professor after he joined the campaign, he also met the mystery Russian woman in person, and Skyped with her multiple times, according to the indictment.
FBI officials interviewed Papadopoulos again on February. The following day, he deleted his Facebook account, where he had been communicating with the professor and a Russian official, and created a new account, scrubbed of all the old messages. Days later, Papadopoulos ditched his phone and started using a new number.
He was arrested July 27 in Dulles International Airport, according to his indictment. Since his arrest, which remained secret until now, Papadopoulos has met with investigators to answer more questions—and cooperate with Robert Mueller’s ongoing probe of ties between Trump Tower and the Kremlin.
“We look forward to telling all of the details of George’s story at the time,” Papadopoulos’s attorney said in a statement.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/putins-ni ... ia=desktop


seemslikeadream » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:48 pm wrote:
Column: Mueller indictments prove one thing: Hillary Clinton is to blame!

Rex Huppke
After reviewing the charges against three former members of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign — the first charges to come from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election — I have reached the following conclusion: LOCK HER UP!

By “HER” I mean Hillary Clinton, and by “LOCK” and “UP” and the exclamation point I mean put Clinton — aka, “HER” — behind bars.

The indictments of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates, along with a guilty plea by former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos show the obscene lengths Clinton went to in an effort to make Trump look bad.

Honestly, it’s shameful. Not only is she responsible for this entire “witch hunt,” as Trump calls the Mueller investigation, but now she’s seeing to it that actual witches get caught, a move that GREATLY LESSENS the dismissiveness of calling something a witch hunt.

LOCK HER UP! LOCK HER UP!

Manafort and Gates are charged with conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money and acting as unregistered foreign agents, among other things. The charges largely revolve around work they did for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine.

Papadopoulos, a 2009 graduate of DePaul University in Chicago, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI as part of a deal. According to court documents, he had multiple interactions during the campaign with an overseas professor he believed to be connected to the Russian government and was told the Russians had “thousands” of Clinton’s emails. The documents say Papadopoulos tried to arrange a meeting between Russian government officials and members of the Trump campaign.

In response to these developments, Trump sensibly tweeted: “But why aren't Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????”

That is such a good question, and it truly merits five question marks.

If there’s one thing we know, Crooked Hillary is to blame for everything. Why? Because Republicans want her to be, and it’s not possible to believe in two controversies at the same time.

You might say, “Gee, couldn’t it be true that Clinton engaged in some dodgy behavior AND people around Trump also engaged in dodgy behavior?”

No. The answer is no. It was decided years ago that there can only be one dodgy person, and it’s Clinton. I don’t make the rules. (Fox News does.)

Knowing that, here’s what we know based on what we have been programmed to think we know:

When she wasn’t busy killing people or loading our precious uranium supplies into Russian nuclear warheads in exchange for money she used to fund a pizza parlor that served as a front for a child sex ring, Clinton convinced Trump’s adult children to advise Trump to hire Manafort to run his presidential campaign.

She even bribed Trump advocate Newt Gingrich to glowingly tweet: “Nobody should underestimate how much Paul Manafort did to really help get this campaign to where it is right now.”

For years before that, Clinton forced Manafort and his business associate Gates to make bazillions of dollars doing political work for Putin-hugging politicos in Ukraine. She then forced them to launder much of that money, setting them up for future charges.

Paying attention even to tiny details, Clinton had the Trump campaign encourage only one change to the GOP platform at its 2016 convention: the removal of language that suggested the United States arm Ukrainians to help them push back against Russian aggression. Clever move, Clinton.

It’s clear from Mueller’s court documents — if you read between the lines with your head in a microwave — that the Russia-connected “overseas professor” who met Papadopoulos was actually Clinton wearing a costume. She is known as a master of disguise, which explains how she hid her identity while shooting President John F. Kennedy, raiding the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and being Charles Manson.

During the presidential campaign, she covertly started chants of “LOCK HER UP!” at Trump rallies, knowing that people who wanted her to go to prison for violating government email rules might later look silly when they shrugged off 12-count federal indictments against Trump supporters as “nothing burgers.”

These facts I’m highlighting should be more than enough to show that Clinton was involved in a wide-ranging conspiracy to create a conspiracy against Trump, one that he and his followers would believe is a conspiracy for which she was to blame. (That woman is devious!!)

But the icing on the Clinton-baked cake is this: Months after she purposely lost the election, she got Mueller — a lifetime Republican highly respected by members of both political parties — to convince a federal judge to convene a grand jury. Then she managed to get her Clinton tentacles on each member of that independent grand jury and force them — presumably under threat of death by uranium poisoning — to indict Manafort and Gates.

And in an act of mercy, she allowed Papadopoulos to cut a plea deal, presumably because she felt bad that she fooled him with that professor costume.

It’s sinister. It’s telling.

And it’s the only possible explanation.

Because Hillary Clinton has to be blamed for everything.

Rules are rules.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opin ... story.html



B
E
G
Hillary isn't getting indicted.
A
Z
I

I smell someone wearing a wire

Image

Image

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stillrobertpaulsen » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:50 pm wrote:This is from all the way back on page 49. You've been on top of this motherfucker from the start. :lovehearts:

seemslikeadream » Mon Mar 21, 2016 5:19 pm wrote:
Donald Trump unveils foreign policy advisers
By Jeremy Diamond and Nicole Gaouette, CNN
Updated 5:03 PM ET, Mon March 21, 2016 | Video Source: CNN


Donald Trump revealed a list of at least five foreign policy advisers guiding his policies
This comes weeks after Trump has said he would unveil whom advised him on foreign policy
Washington (CNN)Donald Trump on Monday finally named several members of his team of foreign policy advisers in a meeting with The Washington Post's editorial board, also laying out a global posture starkly at odds with longstanding U.S. policy.

The names he provided for his advisory team ended weeks of questions about who forms the Republican front-runner's brain trust on global affairs. But the group's lack of boldface Washington names and clear policymaking track records means there are still unanswered questions about the international direction they would hope to lead the country in. They also don't clarify the GOP candidate's broader global vision, as some have taken positions contrary to those he has articulated on the campaign trail.

Trump told the Post that he wants to reduce American commitments to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a pillar of relations with Europe, and challenged the benefit of American military investment in Asia, one of the world's fastest-growing economic regions.

Trump detailed the position and his foreign policy team just hours before his first major foreign policy test -- a speech before the annual 18,000-strong American Israel Public Affairs Committee gathering in Washington.

Speaking alongside his Democratic and Republican rivals, Trump will have to display a grasp of substance on issues within Israel, such as the peace process and and Israel's qualitative military edge, and in the region, including Iran's nuclear program. In doing so, he could provide an initial sense of how this new group of advisers will shape Trump's world view.

"If he does not make this foreign policy advisers group look good by what's in that speech," political strategist Angela Rye told CNN, "I think he's got a problem."

Comparing the unglamorous business of crafting a foreign policy to sausage-making, Rye added that for Trump, the test is that "it's about knowing what to put in the sausage as well."

The team of foreign policy advisers, led by Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, consists of counter-terrorism expert Walid Phares, energy consultant George Papadopoulos, former Defense Department inspector general Joe Schmitz, managing partner of Global Energy Capital Carter Page and former Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg. Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks confirmed the names to CNN.

"And I have quite a few more," Trump told the Post's editorial board, without offering details. "But that's a group of some of the people that we are dealing with. We have many other people in different aspects of what we do. But that's pretty representative group."

Later at a Washington news conference on Monday, Trump said, "I have a team, we actually have a very good team," calling it, "a top-of-the-line team."

None of the men on Trump's list are leading figures in the Republican foreign policy establishment. Many of the latter group came out publicly against a Trump presidency in a March letter that declared he would make "America less safe" and that he was "utterly unfitted to the office" of president.

One challenge Trump faces is that at this stage of the campaign, he doesn't have a large pool to draw from, Matt Lewis, a CNN political commentator and senior contributor for The Daily Caller, told CNN. "It's tough for Donald Trump," Lewis said.

Describing Trump's advisers as "smart, serious people," Lewis added that, "You're either going to choose people who weren't at the upper, upper echelon, or people who are associated with the George W. Bush era," who Lewis said are known for "nation-building and adventurism."

Another option for Trump, Lewis suggested, would be to go with Democrats.

Trump supporter John Phillips, a KABC radio host, said that the real estate mogul will have no trouble fielding talented help. "No question, as he moves closer to the convention in Cleveland and he looks more and more like the nominee every single day, all of this these people or many of them are going to come on board," Phillips said.

But one of Trump's opponents, John Kasich, blasted the foreign policy names that the former reality TV star announced earlier in the day.

Taking a dig at Trump on Twitter, Kasich sent out a list of his own advisers -- former administration officials and lawmakers who include a former adviser to President Ronald Reagan and a former CIA director.

"This is what it looks like when you build your national security team out of actual experts," Kasich said.

The advisers already with Trump include Phares, a professor at National Defense University and and adviser to the U.S. House of Representatives on terrorism. The Lebanese-born Phares, who previously advised 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, was also a high-ranking official in a Christian militia tied to massacres during Lebanon's civil war.

Carter Page, the founder of Global Energy Capital, has experience as an investment banker in London and Moscow. George Papadopoulos, who worked for former Republican candidate Ben Carson, is an oil and gas consultant focused on the geopolitics of the energy trade, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Joe Schmitz, a lawyer, is a former Defense Department Inspector General and a former executive with the Blackwater security firm, associated with the killing of Iraqi civilians.

And Gen. Joseph Keith Kellogg, at one point a COO at Oracle, led the 82nd Airborne Division and served as chief operating officer of the multinational Coalition Provisional Authority that ran Iraq from 2003 through 2004.

Trump has criticized American involvement in Iraq and said that he was an early opponent of intervention there.

He acknowledged that Kellogg and his perspectives on the conflict diverge.

"He does have a different opinion, but I do like different opinions," Trump told CNN.

And he said more broadly of his advisers: "It doesn't mean that I'm going to use what they're saying."

Trump's meeting with the Post came just hours before the billionaire businessman took questions from the press at the hotel he is building in Washington. This evening, he addresses AIPAC along with Kasich and fellow Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, a Texas senator.

Trump has for weeks said he would release the names of foreign policy advisers but has until now repeatedly missed his own deadlines.

Asked last week in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" about his advisers, Trump first pointed to himself: "I'm speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain."

The foreign policy positions he advanced Monday demonstrated that his thinking on global affairs has led him to advance positions that would turn parts of U.S. foreign policy on their head.

"NATO is costing us a fortune, and yes, we're protecting Europe with NATO, but we're spending a lot of money," Trump said of the alliance in his remarks to the Post. "We certainly can't afford to do this anymore."

And when asked whether the U.S. benefits from its engagement with Asia, Trump responded, "Personally, I don't think so."
656 Children Separated kidnapped by trump at the Border Have Still Not Been Reunited With Their Parents

August 17 2018


Babies in cages were no ‘mistake’ by Trump but test-marketing for barbarism - Fintan O’Toole
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Re: George Papadopoulos

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu May 17, 2018 9:35 am

seemslikeadream » Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:21 pm wrote:
Robert Mueller Releases Information Showing Trump Campaign Tried to Collude With Russia

Sorry, Donald Trump, here’s more evidence your crew schemed with the enemy.
DAVID CORN
OCT. 30, 2017 12:45 PM



Special counsel Robert Mueller departs a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill.Andrew Harnik/AP

On Monday morning, shortly after special counsel Robert Mueller announced the indictments of former Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, President Donald Trump tweeted, “There is NO COLLUSION!” But soon after that, Mueller’s office released a “statement of offense” outlining one major instance of when the Trump campaign tried to collude with Russia as the Kremlin was mounting a covert operation against the 2016 election to benefit Trump.

This case involved George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser for the Trump campaign, who has pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI agents investigating the Trump-Russia scandal.

In August, the Washington Post reported that Papadopoulos had tried to set up a meeting between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. Mueller’s statement reveals that Papadopoulos, often with the knowledge of campaign officials, attempted to forge a back-channel bond with Russian officials—and he did so after there were public indications the Kremlin was behind the hack-and-dump operation targeting the Hillary Clinton campaign. The statement also suggests that he hoped to obtain Clinton emails from the Russians.


Here’s what happened. In early March 2016, Papadopoulos, a former intern and researcher at the conservative Hudson Institute in Washington who had briefly advised the presidential campaign of Ben Carson, learned that he would be a foreign policy adviser for the Trump campaign. He was living in London at the time. During a trip that month to Italy, he met a professor based in London who claimed to be well connected with Russian government officials. Papadopoulos thought that if he could cozy up to this person, it would boost his standing within the campaign.

Later, while back in London, he met with the academic, who brought along a Russian woman he introduced as a relative of Vladimir Putin. Afterward, Papadopoulos emailed his campaign supervisor that he had met with these two people and they had discussed setting up a meeting between the campaign and “the Russian leadership” to discuss US-Russia ties under a President Trump. The statement doesn’t identify the supervisor, but the Post reported in August that his supervisor was Sam Clovis, who was heading up the Trump campaign’s policy team. The supervisor replied that Papadopoulos should make no commitments but added, “Great work.”

Two weeks later, Papadopoulos attended a meeting in Washington with Trump and other national security advisers. He told the group he had connections that could arrange a tete-a-tete between Trump and Putin. In the following weeks, Papadopopulos kept in contact with the professor and the Russian woman and discussed a meeting between the campaign and the Russian government. He kept the campaign informed of his efforts.

In April, the professor introduced Papadopoulos through email to a person in Moscow who supposedly had close ties to officials within the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He then had a series of conversations with this person about establishing “the groundwork” for a meeting between the campaign and Russian government officials. At one point, they discussed Papadopoulos getting together in London with the Russian ambassador to discuss the next steps.

In late April, Papadopoulos’ efforts took a turn. The professor (who is not named in Mueller’s statement) told him he had just returned from Moscow where he had met with senior Russian officials and learned that the Russians had obtained “dirt” on Clinton. This included, as Papadopoulos later told the FBI, “thousands of emails.” So at this time, Papdopoulos, as an official representative of the Trump campaign, was talking to a go-between with Russia about inside (and stolen) information on Clinton that Moscow possessed. The statement suggests but does not explicitly state that Papadopoulos was interested in how the campaign could benefit from this material. It also does not indicate whether these emails are related to the Democratic National Committee or John Podesta emails hacked by the Russians. It would not be until June 14, 2016, that the DNC hack would become public.

In early June, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Manafort met with a Russian lawyer whom they were told was bringing them negative information on Clinton as part of a secret Russian government plot to help Trump. Here’s an interesting question: Had any of them been told that Papadopoulos had heard the Russians had emails related to Clinton?

Papadopoulos continued to communicate with campaign officials about arranging a meeting between the campaign and Russian officials. He informed the campaign that Putin was interested in hosting Trump. At one point, according to the statement, one campaign official emailed another, “We need to communicate that DT is not doing these trips. It should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal.” Did that mean the campaign did not want to offend Putin by rejecting the offers Papadopoulos was relaying?

Still, the statement notes that from mid-June through mid-August 2016, Papadopoulos pursued an “off the record” meeting between one or more campaign representatives and “members of Putin’s office” and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On August 15, Papadopoulos’ supervisor told him, “I would encourage you” and another foreign policy adviser to the campaign “to make the trip, if it is feasible.”

By now, there was plenty of information in the public record attributing the hack of the DNC and other Democratic targets and the subsequent release of stolen emails and documents to Russian intelligence. Papadopoulos’ trip to meet the Russians never happened. But these communications show that while Putin was attempting to subvert a US election, Trump campaign officials were hoping to arrange a private meeting with Putin officials.

In the past few weeks, Papadopoulos on his LinkedIn page has asked for recommendations for a speaker’s bureau and a publisher—as if he has a story to tell. Mueller’s statement does indicate that the Trump campaign was attempting to create a secret connection with Putin’s office just as Russia was waging information warfare against the United States. Imagine how the Kremlin might have interpreted such warm and welcoming signals from the Trump campaign. This was not a knock-it-off message. It was a let’s-work-together message being sent to an adversary while it was assaulting US democracy.

The Manafort and Gates indictments may not be directly related to the question of Trump interactions with Russia. But the Papadopoulos statement is further evidence the campaign was looking to collude with Putin’s crew. As significant as the Manafort and Gates arrests are, the Papadopoulos statement is far more important for developing a public understanding of how Trump’s gang did scheme with the enemy.
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/201 ... th-russia/


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:P
Donald Trump’s ‘found hundred pound hacker’ remark may have been about his own adviser Sam Clovis
Bill Palmer
Updated: 8:33 pm EDT Mon Oct 30, 2017
Home » Opinion


During the debates, Donald Trump raised eyebrows when he tried to blame Russian interference in the election on a four hundred pound hacker. It was a bizarrely random and oddly specific remark, even by Trump’s bizarre standards, that it stood out as making no sense. In light of today’s events, Trump may have actually been referring to his own obese campaign adviser, who was incriminated today in Russian collusion.



The confession of former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos was released today, and in it he admitted to having colluded with a Kremlin-connected professor in an effort to get his hands on emails stolen from Hillary Clinton. Papadopoulos also admitted that he ran it past his campaign supervisor, who has since been identified as Sam Clovis. This means that, according to Papadopoulos at least, Sam Clovis is a Russian colluder. Sam Clovis also weighs around four hundred pounds.
http://www.palmerreport.com/opinion/400-hacker/5810/



seemslikeadream » Tue Oct 31, 2017 3:32 am wrote:you are not seeing things correctly..you need to know what you are talking about and stop regurgitating the Faux News version of events..read up 8 you got it all wrong...too bad you failed to read everything ..use your rigorous intuition and not jump to conclusions by only seeing buzz words.....stop skimming that ain't gonna work

Faux News will rot your brain

Sean Hannity is so loosing it that he just called Hillary Clinton "President Clinton" :jumping: :jumping: :jumping:


Interesting you are only reading the trump version on events

I guess you want to be fair and balanced ...can't do that reading just the fair and balanced Faux News

you know there was a GUILTY PLEA today right? You know that was a trump person right? You know this is all about the trump administration right?

You know that George Papadopoulos was wearing a wire for 3 months right?

Here's George Papadopoulos. In London. Five days ago. Wearing a wire.

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You know Manafort was a big time money launderer right?

you don't get a 10 million dollar bail for nothing ..you don't get house arrest for nothing


but none of this was on Faux News so you wouldn't know the whole truth

Throughout his long career as a Republican Party fixer and influence peddler on behalf of what the Center for Public Integrity termed “the torture lobby”—a global cadre of dictators and strongmen who wanted to make sure the United States did not hold them to account—Manafort has been one of most troublesome creatures in the Washington “swamp” that Donald Trump decried as a presidential contender. Yet Manafort has also worked, from the 1980s on, for his client “Donald”—the New York billionaire who relied on Manafort to help clear hurdles for gambling and real estate endeavors.



'''
In detailing the alleged scheme, Mueller's office listed more than 200 transactions involving payments from shell companies and offshore accounts in Cyprus and the Grenadines to unnamed vendors in New York, Virginia, South Carolina, California and Florida

....

the payments allegedly included tens of millions of dollars on home improvements, including $934,350 spent at an antique rug store in Alexandria and $623,910 paid to an antique dealer in New York. The list includes alleged payments of $849,215 at a men's clothing store in New York, $520,440 at a clothing store in Beverly Hills, and payments of $163,705 for three Range Rovers, a $62,750 Mercedes Benz and a $47,000 Range Rover.

Manafort also allegedly used offshore accounts to buy real estate, including $2.85 million for a New York City condo in Soho and a Brooklyn brownstone that cost $3 million.

Separately, court papers were unsealed Monday detailing a guilty plea by George Papadopoulos, a member of the Trump campaign's foreign policy team, on charges of lying to federal agents about his dealings with several Russians who were offering "dirt" on Trump's Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

Papadopoulos admitted to lying about the nature of his interactions with "foreign nationals" who he thought had close connections to senior Russian government officials.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/30/heres-w ... -went.html


Unsurprisingly, a Twitter brigade has formed to spin today's Manafort etc indictments as related to the Democrats rather than trump/Russia
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Volume since midnight for tweets containing both "Manafort" and "Podesta". I'm guessing we haven't seen the end of this one yet.
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This network diagram shows the retweet/reply relationships for tweets containing both "Manafort" and "Podesta" as of 8:00 AM Central.
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Same diagram (Manafort/Podesta tweets) as of 10:30 AM. Cernovich took time out of his busy schedule of babbling about pedophiles to join in.
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Same diagram (Manafort/Podesta tweets) as of 10:30 AM. Cernovich took time out of his busy schedule of babbling about pedophiles to join in.
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I guess they totally missed this part of that story.
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https://twitter.com/conspirator0/status ... 1217268736


Right To Be Worried

By JOSH MARSHALL Published OCTOBER 30, 2017 9:37 PM
6778Views
This is just what I was thinking (from the Post) …

Away from the podium, Trump staffers fretted privately over whether Manafort or Gates might share with Mueller’s team damaging information about other colleagues. They expressed concern in particular about Gates because he has a young family, may be more stretched financially than Manafort, and continued to be involved in Trump’s political operation and had access to the White House, including attending West Wing meetings after Trump was sworn in.

Rick Gates is 45, 23 years younger than Manafort. He was also with Trump much longer than Manafort. Any guesses about whether he saw anything bad when he was in the Trump orbit?

I also found this paragraph interesting. it follows immediately on that one.

Some White House advisers are unhappy with Thomas J. Barrack Jr., Trump’s longtime friend and chair of his inauguration, whom they hold responsible for keeping Gates in the Trump orbit long after Manafort resigned as campaign chairman in August 2016, according to people familiar with the situation. Barrack has been Gates’s patron of late, steering political work to him and, until Monday, employing him as director of the Washington office of his real estate investment company.

Note what I wrote earlier. Barrack played a seemingly central role in bringing Manafort into Trump’s campaign. But the story is murky and vague when it comes to just who was pushing who. I didn’t realize that Barrack had helped keep Gates in the Trump orbit and given him a soft landing after he was finally ejected from Trump world. That’s interesting.

There is finally signs of what I wrote I wrote about in this afternoon’s Backgrounder …

But Trump’s anger Monday was visible to those who interacted with him, and the mood in the corridors of the White House was one of weariness and fear of the unknown. As the president groused upstairs, many staffers — some of whom have hired lawyers to help them navigate Mueller’s investigation — privately speculated about where the special counsel might turn next.

“The walls are closing in,” said one senior Republican in close contact with top staffers who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly. “Everyone is freaking out.”

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/right-to-be-worried



PAUL MANAFORT’S ALLEGED MONEY-LAUNDERING SCHEME WAS EXPOSED MONTHS AGO
David Dayen
October 30 2017, 9:53 a.m.
THE CHARGES AGAINST Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his protégé Rick Gates, the first in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sweeping investigation, primarily involve laundering money earned in Ukraine without paying taxes or registering as a foreign lobbyist. A main conduit for moving these funds from offshore companies to the United States were a series of real estate transactions that The Intercept identified in February.

At that time, we identified over $19 million in home equity loans taken out by Manafort in New York City over a five-year period. The escalating series of transactions included one particularly large and unusual loan from a banker on Trump’s now-shuttered Economic Advisory Council.

The indictment, unsealed this morning, found that Manafort laundered “more than $18 million” through offshore accounts, money earned while working for corrupt former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Manafort and Gates concealed this overseas work in Ukraine and used the offshore accounts to “purchase multi-million dollar properties in the United States,” according to the indictment. Manafort then “borrowed millions of dollars in loans using these properties as collateral, thereby obtaining cash in the United States without reporting and paying taxes on the income.”

The indictment outlines a fairly common money-laundering technique: create an offshore company to accept foreign money and use that company to purchase American property. Then take a loan out against that property. The loan enables the person to have full access to the money without having paid taxes or disclosed the source of the income. Money laundering in the New York City real estate world has become so ubiquitous that it is likely driving up the price of high-end properties. A recent Treasury Department estimate suggested nearly a third of all such properties were obtained suspiciously.

So the dubious home equity loans were critical to the scheme. They became the manner in which Manafort converted Ukrainian earnings into cash he could use in the U.S., while avoiding taxes or reporting.

In the initial story, Julian Russo and Matthew Termine, two New York attorneys who first wrote about the loan data at a blog, indicated the shady nature of the transactions. “It feels like we’re seeing a small piece of the bigger picture here,” Russo said.

Ukrainian journalist and member of parliament Serhiy Leshchenko holds pages showing allegedly signings of payments to Donald Trump's presidential campaign chairman Paul Manafort from an illegal shadow accounting book of the party of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych during a press conference in Kiev on August 19, 2016.The Ukrainian authorities have released line-item entries of payments worth million of dollars that US presidential campaign hopeful Donald Trump's campaign chief allegedly received from the now-ousted Russian-backed leaders in Kiev. The revelations from the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) on August 18, 2016 were followed on August 19 by claims by a top lawmaker that Paul Manafort lobbied in favour of a pro-Kremlin party even after a February 2014 pro-EU revolt had pulled Ukraine out of Russia's orbit. Manafort served as a public relations adviser to Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanukovych -- now living in self-imposed exile in Russia -- and his Regions party in the former republic between 2007 and 2012. / AFP / SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images) Ukrainian journalist and member of parliament Serhiy Leshchenko holds pages showing allegedly signings of payments to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign chairman Paul Manafort from an illegal shadow accounting book of the party of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych during a press conference in Kiev on Aug. 19, 2016. Photo: Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images
FROM 2012 TO 2016, Manafort took out seven home equity loans worth approximately $19.2 million on three separate New York-area properties, owned through holding companies registered to him and his son-in-law Jeffrey Yohai, a real estate investor. The properties include a condo on 27 Howard St. in Manhattan, a condo in Trump Tower, and a four-story, two-unit brownstone in Brooklyn at 377 Union St.

In 2012, Manafort took out a $1.5 million home equity loan on 27 Howard St. from First Republic Bank, through his limited liability company MC Soho Holdings. Four years later, Manafort paid off that loan and got another, even bigger one — for $2.73 million from Citizens Bank.

MC Soho Holdings is named in the Justice Department indictment, which states that Manafort used the Howard Street property as a revenue-generating Airbnb in 2015 and 2016, and took tax benefits associated with owning a rental property. Manafort then represented to the bank that the property was owner-occupied so he could acquire a larger loan. The indictment lists that loan amount at $3.185 million.

In March 2016, Manafort and Yohai purchased a pair of short-term mortgage loans on the 377 Union St. brownstone, worth a total of $5.3 million. The brownstone was listed in the name of MC Brooklyn Holdings, a limited liability company. MC Brooklyn Holdings is also named in the complaint.

By June 1, lender Genesis Capital had filed for foreclosure, alleging a missed payment. In January 2017, MC Brooklyn Holdings transferred the property to Manafort, and two weeks later, Federal Savings Bank, a small lender that normally caters to low- and moderate-income military veterans, issued Manafort’s wife, Kathleen, a $5.3 million loan, evidently to cover the prior Genesis Capital mortgage, and an additional $1.3 million loan. The loan is also short term, due in January 2018.

This $6.6 million in loans to one customer represents roughly 2.2 percent of Federal Savings Bank’s overall assets, and nearly 11 percent of the bank’s total shareholder equity. The total borrowing cost appears to exceed the equivalent market value of a property of that size in the neighborhood, and it’s also unusual from a risk-management standpoint to loan millions of dollars for a home already in default by the same owner.

Adding to the intrigue is the identity of Federal Savings Bank’s founder, CEO, and chair Steve Calk, a Trump campaign supporter and member of the president’s now-shuttered Economic Advisory Council. Neither Federal Savings Bank nor Calk responded to a request for comment in February. Through a spokesperson, Genesis Capital stated that they “do not release information to third parties about the status of our loans.”

MC Brooklyn Holdings bought the 377 Union building for roughly $2.9 million in late 2012, according to local Brooklyn blog “Pardon Me for Asking.” The indictment indicates that all the money for the purchase came from offshore accounts based in Cyprus. In 2013, the New York Department of Buildings approved a permit to turn the two-unit brownstone into a single-family home. That application lists the owner as Paul Manafort. But the home has been empty since the purchase.

The indictment refers to a “home improvement company in The Hamptons, New York” as the recipient of wire transfers from Manafort-linked offshore accounts. One of a series of 13 suspicious wire transfers identified by BuzzFeed on Sunday went from Global Endeavour, Manafort’s offshore political consulting firm that worked for Yanukovych, to SP&C Home Improvement, a remodeling company out of Long Island. According to SP&C, the $200,000 in that wire transfer was for a remodeling project at 377 Union Street, the brownstone in Brooklyn.

That wire transfer occurred in late 2013 and was described as an advance on the remodel. Though work initially started, none has been performed in the last year and a half; cinderblocks and steel beams line the front yard. A stop-work order on the project is dated February 1, after Manafort secured the new loan. Neighbors have complained about Manafort’s “eyesore” of a project. Manafort told the New York Post that he hired a new architect and planned to complete the conversion by the end of this year.

But in December 2015, Manafort told his tax preparer that the money for the home equity loan “will allow me to pay back the [another Manafort mortgage] in full.” The complaint alleges that Manafort had no intention of actually converting the home with those funds.

Manafort also got a $3 million mortgage loan against his Trump Tower property in 2015, issued by UBS Bank USA, which comes due in 2040.

Adding up all the outstanding indebtedness on the Trump Tower, Union Street, and Howard Street properties, and as of February, Manafort had $12.33 million in home equity loans outstanding, less any principal payments made since they were issued.

In February, Manafort never responded to repeated requests for comment. He’s now in FBI custody. The Justice Department will seek to seize the Howard Street and Union Street properties if Manafort is convicted.

Top photo: President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort in New York on May 4, 2016.
https://theintercept.com/2017/10/30/pau ... onths-ago/


Manafort Was in Debt to Pro-Russia Interests, Cyprus Records Show
By MIKE McINTIREJULY 19, 2017

Paul J. Manafort at Trump Tower in Manhattan last August, days before he resigned as Donald J. Trump’s campaign manager. Credit Carlo Allegri/Reuters
Financial records filed last year in the secretive tax haven of Cyprus, where Paul J. Manafort kept bank accounts during his years working in Ukraine and investing with a Russian oligarch, indicate that he had been in debt to pro-Russia interests by as much as $17 million before he joined Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign in March 2016.

The money appears to have been owed by shell companies connected to Mr. Manafort’s business activities in Ukraine when he worked as a consultant to the pro-Russia Party of Regions. The Cyprus documents obtained by The New York Times include audited financial statements for the companies, which were part of a complex web of more than a dozen entities that transferred millions of dollars among them in the form of loans, payments and fees.

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President Vladimir V. Putin with the Russian oligarch Oleg V. Deripaska in 2013. In a 2015 court complaint, Mr. Deripaska claimed that Mr. Manafort and his partners owed him $19 million related to a failed investment in a Ukrainian cable television business. Credit Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters
The records, which include details for numerous loans, were certified as accurate by an accounting firm as of December 2015, several months before Mr. Manafort joined the Trump campaign, and were filed with Cyprus government authorities in 2016. The notion of indebtedness on the part of Mr. Manafort also aligns with assertions made in a court complaint filed in Virginia in 2015 by the Russian oligarch, Oleg V. Deripaska, who claimed Mr. Manafort and his partners owed him $19 million related to a failed investment in a Ukrainian cable television business.

After The Times shared some of the documents with representatives of Mr. Manafort, a spokesman, Jason Maloni, did not address whether the debts might have existed at one time. But he maintained that the Cyprus records were “stale and do not purport to reflect any current financial arrangements.”

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A financial statement for a Cyprus shell company, Lucicle Consultants, showing a $9.9 million loan to a Delaware company connected to Mr. Manafort.
“Manafort is not indebted to Mr. Deripaska or the Party of Regions, nor was he at the time he began working for the Trump campaign,” Mr. Maloni said. “The broader point, which Mr. Manafort has maintained from the beginning, is that he did not collude with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election.” (Mr. Manafort resigned as campaign manager last August amid questions about his past work in Ukraine.)

Still, the Cyprus documents offer the most detailed view yet into the murky financial world inhabited by Mr. Manafort in the years before he joined the Trump campaign.

Photo

Mr. Manafort’s political consulting operation was run out of a first-floor office on Sofiivska Street in Kiev, Ukraine. Credit Joseph Sywenkyj for The New York Times
Mr. Manafort is one of several former Trump associates known to be the focus of inquiries into Russian meddling in the presidential election. He was among those in attendance at a meeting in June 2016 at which Donald Trump Jr. was told they would receive compromising information on Hillary Clinton from a Russian lawyer connected to the Kremlin.

Continue reading the main story


Mr. Manafort’s Cyprus-related business activities are under scrutiny by investigators looking into his finances during and after his years as a consultant to the Party of Regions in Ukraine. He recently filed a long-overdue report with the Justice Department disclosing his lobbying efforts in Ukraine through early 2014, when his main client, President Viktor F. Yanukovych of Ukraine, was ousted in a popular uprising and fled to Russia.

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LOAV Advisers, a Cyprus company linked to Mr. Manafort, reported a $7.8 million loan from an entity associated with Mr. Deripaska.
The Cyprus documents detail transactions that occurred in 2012 and 2013, during the peak of Mr. Manafort’s decade-long tenure as a political consultant and investor in the former Soviet republic, where his past work remains a source of controversy. Last year, his name surfaced in a handwritten ledger showing $12.7 million designated for him by the Party of Regions, and documents recovered from his former office in Kiev suggest some of that money was routed through offshore shell companies and disguised as payment for computer hardware.

The byzantine nature of the transactions reflected in the Cyprus records obscures the reasons that money flowed among the various parties, and it is possible they were characterized as loans for another purpose, like avoiding taxes that would otherwise be owed on income or equity investments.

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Ivan Fursin, a Party of Regions lawmaker, appears to have ties to Lucicle Consultants. Credit UNIAN (Ukrainian Independent News and Information Agency)
One of the Manafort-related debts listed in the Cyprus records, totaling $7.8 million, was owed to Oguster Management Limited, a company in the British Virgin Islands connected to Mr. Deripaska. The debtor was a Cyprus company, LOAV Advisers, that the Deripaska court complaint says was set up by Mr. Manafort to make investments with Mr. Deripaska, a billionaire close to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. The loan is unsecured, bears 2 percent interest and has “no specified repayment date,” according to a financial statement for LOAV.

The other debt, for $9.9 million, was owed to Lucicle Consultants, a Cyprus company that appears to have ties to a Party of Regions member of Parliament, Ivan Fursin. Lucicle, whose precise ownership is unclear, is linked to Mr. Fursin through another offshore entity, Mistaro Ventures, which is registered in St. Kitts and Nevis and listed on a government financial disclosure form that Mr. Fursin filed in Ukraine. Mistaro transferred millions to Lucicle in February 2012 shortly before Lucicle made the $9.9 million loan to Jesand L.L.C., a Delaware company that Mr. Manafort previously used to buy real estate in New York. The loan to Jesand was unsecured, with a 3.5 percent interest rate, and payable on demand.

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There is no indication from the financial statements that the loans had been repaid as of the time they were filed in December 2015. The statements contain a note saying that as of January 2014, the debts and assets for Lucicle and LOAV had been assigned to “a related party,” which is not identified. The records define related parties as entities that are under common control, suggesting that the assignment did not affect the ultimate debtors and creditors. The statements also said there had been no other changes after the financial reporting period covered by them, which was for the 2013 calendar year.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Deripaska declined to comment. Mr. Deripaska appears to have stopped pursuing his court action against Mr. Manafort and his former investment partners, Rick Gates and Rick Davis, in late 2015. In addition to the $19 million he said he had invested with Mr. Manafort, Mr. Deripaska claimed he paid Mr. Manafort an additional $7.3 million in management fees.


Mr. Manafort has previously said any payments he received for his Ukraine activities were aboveboard and made via wire transfers to an American bank. The Cyprus records suggest that at least some transactions originated with shell companies in tax havens like the Seychelles and the British Virgin Islands, and passed through financial institutions on Cyprus, including Hellenic Bank and Cyprus Popular Bank.

Mr. Manafort’s name does not show up in the Cyprus records. However, hints of his dealings in Ukraine appear throughout.

A 23-page financial statement for a Cyprus shell, Black Sea View Limited, lists transactions that include one with Pericles Capital Partners. Both Black Sea View and Pericles Capital are identified in court papers filed by Mr. Deripaska in the Cayman Islands as part of the corporate structure that Mr. Manafort put together to invest in a Ukrainian telecommunications business, Black Sea Cable. The same statement also reports what are described as $9.2 million in loans received in 2012 from four other entities, including one controlled by two Seychelles companies, Intrahold A.G. and Monohold A.G., which Ukrainian authorities have asserted were involved in the looting of public assets by allies of the Yanukovych government. The Black Sea Cable business was controlled at one point by Monohold and Intrahold.

Similarly, Manafort-connected entities appear in the financial records for Lucicle Consultants, the Cyprus shell that received financing from a company associated with Mr. Fursin, the Party of Regions politician in Ukraine. Mr. Fursin did not respond to a request for comment. Lucicle received money from Black Sea View and PEM Advisers Limited, another firm identified in court papers as controlled by Mr. Manafort. It also made the $9.9 million loan to Jesand L.L.C.

Jesand appears to be a conflation of Jessica and Andrea, the names of Mr. Manafort’s two daughters. In hacked text messages belonging to Andrea Manafort that were posted last year on a website used by Ukrainian hackers, Jesand is mentioned in the context of financial dealings involving the Manaforts. Jesand was used by Mr. Manafort and his daughter Andrea in 2007 to buy a Manhattan condominium for $2.5 million.

The condo was one of several expensive pieces of real estate that Mr. Manafort bought, often with cash, during and after his time in Ukraine. He also invested millions with his son-in-law, Jeffrey Yohai, who set up a business to buy and redevelop luxury properties in the Los Angeles area. The business failed amid accusations of fraud by another former investor, who claimed Mr. Yohai had exploited his connection to Mr. Manafort to raise funds.

Last year, while trying to salvage his investments with Mr. Yohai, Mr. Manafort embarked on a borrowing spree in the United States, obtaining mortgages totaling more than $20 million on properties controlled by him and his wife. The F.B.I. and the New York attorney general’s office are investigating some of Mr. Manafort’s real estate dealings, including the loans he obtained last year.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/us/p ... trump.html



What you need to know about Manafort indictment, Papadopoulos guilty plea

By John Kruzel on Monday, October 30th, 2017 at 5:36 p.m.

The special counsel’s investigation into possible ties between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia escalated dramatically with news that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate were indicted on a dozen felony counts, including money laundering.

Separately, a foreign policy adviser to the campaign pleaded guilty to misleading the FBI about outreach efforts to Russian government officials.

These mark the most significant developments to date in special counsel Robert Mueller’s five-month-old investigation. Here’s what you need to know.

The charges against Manafort and Gates
The 12 charges against Manafort and Gates fall broadly into three categories: failing to disclose lobbying activities on behalf of foreign entities, financial crimes and making false statements. (They pleaded not guilty to all charges.)

The first group of charges relates to their work on behalf of Ukraine, for which they’re charged with failing to fully and accurately disclose their activities as foreign agents.

Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates made tens of millions of dollars lobbying on behalf of a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine and the man who led it into power, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

But according to the indictment, from roughly 2008 through 2014, Manafort and Gates did not register with the U.S. attorney general as agents working on behalf of Ukrainian interests, as required by law. A separate count alleges they made false and misleading statements about their activities.

The second group of charges relates to financial crimes, including money laundering.

In order to hide the money from the U.S. government, the indictment states, Manafort and Gates "laundered the money through scores of United States and foreign corporations, partnerships and back accounts." Manafort and Gates also stand accused of failing to report financial interests held overseas.

Finally, one count alleges that Manafort and Gates made false statements on their submissions to the U.S. Justice Department.

Why what they're charged with is criminal
Manafort and Gates have been charged with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, for failing to disclose lobbying activities on behalf of foreign entities. Congress passed this law in 1938 amid worries that foreign governments would try to infiltrate the United States.

The law requires agents of foreign interests to register with the Justice Department and outline the terms of their agreement, as well as income and expenditures on behalf of the foreign interest, and updating their disclosure every six months.

"Lawmakers wanted to create barriers to infiltration and to expose hidden foreign lobbying on questionable positions that don’t focus on ‘patriotic purposes,’ " said Jed Shugerman, a professor at Fordham Law School.

Shugerman said there are longstanding statutes on the books that outlaw money laundering and that require disclosure of foreign assets and bank accounts. He said money laundering laws have been rewritten through the years to create a new tool to combat organized crime and those who assist it.

Statutes that make it illegal to provide false statements date back to before the Civil War, he said.

Shugerman noted that a person does not need to be under oath when they make a false statement to the FBI in order to violate the law. That makes the law broader than perjury laws, which makes it illegal to tell untruths in a judicial proceeding after a witness has sworn an oath.

What Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to
In a separate development, foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos agreed to plead guilty to making false statements to the FBI.

Papadopoulos misled the bureau about the timing of his involvement with the campaign, as well as the significance of interactions he had with people he understood to be connected to Russian government officials.

According to the court filing, Papadopoulos falsely told the FBI that he was not part of the Trump campaign when a person described as an "overseas professor" told him that Russians possessed "dirt" on then-candidate Hillary Clinton in the form of "thousands of emails." In fact, Papadopoulos learned of the "dirt" in late April 2016, more than a month after signing on as a Trump adviser.

Papadopoulos also falsely downplayed the significance of his interactions with the professor. In his interview with the FBI, he dismissed the professor as "a nothing," that he thought the professor was "just a guy talk(ing) up connections or something," and believed he was "BS’ing to be completely honest with you."

But according to the court filing, Papadopoulos "understood the professor to have substantial connections to high-level Russian government officials," including officials in Moscow.

Papadopoulos also failed to disclose to the FBI that the professor had introduced him to someone in Moscow with a purported connection to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He also misled the FBI about the timing and significance of his meeting with a female Russian national who he mistakenly believed was related to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

How it affects or didn't affect 2016 election
There’s no direct evidence of collusion or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia in the Manafort and Gates indictment, Shugerman said.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders emphasized this point during a briefing with reporters.

"We've been saying from day one, there's been no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, and nothing in the indictment today changes that at all," she said.

Sanders said of Papadopoulos’ guilty plea, "it has nothing to do with the activities of the campaign, it has to do with his failure to tell the truth. It doesn’t have anything to do with the campaign or the campaign’s activities."

But the revelations contained in the Papadopolous court filing are less easily dismissed.

Papadopoulos learned in early March 2016 that he would be an adviser to the Trump campaign on foreign policy, and that one of the campaign’s principal goals was to improve U.S.-Russian relations.

It was after joining the campaign that he cultivated relationships he would try to use to broker an overseas meeting between the Trump campaign and Russian government officials. According to the court filing, the proposed trip never took place.

But Papadopolous’ repeated outreach efforts are sure to raise more questions of collusion, particularly in light of the fact that Donald Trump Jr. accepted a meeting during the campaign that was predicated on the promise that a "Russian government attorney" would deliver damaging information to him about his father’s Democratic opponent as part of the Kremlin’s effort to tip the scales in Trump’s favor.

Papadopoulos’ guilty plea is the result of a negotiated resolution between the defendant and the Justice Department, said Andrew D. Leipold, law professor at University of Illinois College of Law.

But Leipold said it's unclear what the terms of the agreement were, including the extent to which the deal was made in exchange for future or past cooperation.

While it’s not clear exactly what Papadopoulos’ guilty plea means, it contains "all kinds of tea leaves and hints about what’s coming next," said Shugerman.

He believes it’s no coincidence that it was revealed just after Manafort’s indictment, and said it puts additional pressure on Manafort to cooperate with the special counsel.

"It triggers the isolation of Manafort, who realizes how much jeopardy he’s in," Shugerman said.
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter ... ent-papad/


Why George Papadopoulos' guilty plea is a much bigger problem for Trump than the Manafort indictment
Chris Cillizza
Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
Updated 5:44 PM ET, Mon October 30, 2017
Former Trump adviser cooperates with Mueller

Former Donald Trump presidential campaign manager Paul Manafort looks on during Game Four of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 17, 2017 in the Bronx borough of New York City.
Toobin on Manafort: Trump is simply wrong

Indictment against Manafort, Gates unsealed


Toobin: Papadopoulos may have worn wire

Toobin on Manafort: Trump is simply wrong

Indictment against Manafort, Gates unsealed


(CNN)Even as President Trump was on Twitter insisting that the indictment of former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was meaningless because it involved activities unrelated to Trump or the campaign came news that former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos had pled guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with, wait for it, Russia.

The Manafort news drew the bigger headlines Monday morning -- understandable given his high-profile role at the top of the Trump campaign. But, the Papadopoulos guilty plea -- and the fact that he has been cooperating with the special counsel investigation since his July arrest -- strikes me as significantly more problematic for Trump and his White House in the medium-to-long term.
This paragraph from the FBI's guilty plea agreement with Papadopoulos is incredible:

"In truth and in fact, however, and as set forth above, defendant PAPADOPOULOS met the Professor for the first time on or about March 14, 2016, after defendant PAPADOPOULOS had already learned he would be a foreign policy advisor for the Campaign; the Professor showed interest in defendant PAPADOPOULOS only after learning of his role on the Campaign; and the Professor told defendant PAPADOPOULOS about the Russians possessing" dirt" on then-candidate Clinton in late April 2016, more than a month after defendant PAPADOPOULOS had joined the Campaign."
So, Papadopoulos copped to lying to the FBI about the timing of his contacts with Russians. In his initial interview in January 2017, Papadopoulos was insistent that he had reached out to his foreign contact "The Professor" (amazing!) before he had formally joined the Trump presidential campaign. He was arrested in July, pleaded guilty in October and appears to have been cooperating in between.
close dialog

And, most importantly the "Professor" only showed interest in Papadopoulos after it became known that he was employed by the Trump campaign.
That. Is. A. Very. Big. Deal.
The obvious question is why Papadopolous initially lied to the FBI -- despite being warned that doing so would have major consequences. Why, if there was nothing to hide about his relationship -- or attempted relationship with Russian officials -- would Papadopoulos feel the need to put himself in serious legal jeopardy by lying about the timing of his conversations with "the Professor"?
We don't know the answer to that question. But, we do know one reason why Papadopoulos was pursuing the relationship with the Russians; he believed they had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton. This, again from Papadopoulos' plea agreement, makes that plain:
"On or about April 26, 2016, defendant PAPADOPOULOS met the Professor for breakfast at a London hotel. During this meeting, the Professor told defendant PAPADOPOULOS that he had just returned from a trip to Moscow where he had met with high-level Russian government officials. The Professor told defendant PAPADOPOULOS that on that trip he (the Professor) learned that the Russians had obtained "dirt" on then-candidate Clinton. The Professor told defendant PAPADOPOULOS, as defendant PAPADOPOULOS later described to the FBI, that "They [the Russians] have dirt on her"; "the Russians had emails of Clinton"; "they have thousands of emails."
The broad goal of the Russian contact with Papadopoulos was to get Trump to visit Russia during the campaign -- a visit where he would huddle with Russian officials and maybe even meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Obviously, that trip never happened.

So, to recap:
1. "The Professor" only expressed interest in Papadopoulos after it became clear that he would play a role in the Trump campaign as a foreign policy advisor.
2. Papadopoulos lied about the timing of his interactions with "The Professor." Those lies were aimed at suggesting the interactions came before Papadopoulos was an adviser to the Trump campaign. But, in fact, those interactions were because Papadopoulos worked for Trump, not in spite of them
3. Papadopoulos' interactions with "The Professor" were driven by the promise of "dirt" on Clinton in the from of "thousands of emails" regarding Clinton.
4. Papadopoulos seems to have been cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation since July.
Given all of that, it's much harder for Trump and his allies to dismiss Papadopoulos than Manafort. What's more, court documents make clear he was in contact with high-ranking campaign officials about his contacts with the Russians. A senior former campaign adviser told CNN's Gloria Borger that Papadopoulos was not a major player.
"He was a zero. A non-event," the adviser said.
But, what Papadopolous has already admitted to doing -- lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russian operatives regarding "dirt" on Trump's general election opponent -- is a very big deal. A bigger deal -- in terms of the investigation into Russia's attempted meddling in the election and allegations of collusion -- than the dozen counts laid out in the Manafort indictment.
And the day is still young!
http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/30/politics/ ... index.html



Manafort Monday Turns Into a Very Bad Day for Trump—and Mike Pence
Paul Manafort put the Trump-Pence ticket together and maintained ties to the veep even after leaving the campaign.
By John NicholsTwitter TODAY 2:55 PM


“The technical term for what we do and what law firms, associations and professional groups do is lobbying. For purposes of today, I will admit that in a narrow sense, some people might term it influence peddling,” Paul Manafort admitted in 1989, when he testified regarding his role in a Reagan-era scandal at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Throughout his long career as a Republican Party fixer and influence peddler on behalf of what the Center for Public Integrity termed “the torture lobby”—a global cadre of dictators and strongmen who wanted to make sure the United States did not hold them to account—Manafort has been one of most troublesome creatures in the Washington “swamp” that Donald Trump decried as a presidential contender. Yet Manafort has also worked, from the 1980s on, for his client “Donald”—the New York billionaire who relied on Manafort to help clear hurdles for gambling and real estate endeavors.

When “Donald” ran for Republican presidential nomination, he needed influence peddlers to help him close the deal and organize a functional party convention in Cleveland. So he brought in the torture lobbyist and his associate Rick Gates to manage the campaign.

Manafort managed things for several months, while Gates remained on the Trump team as a key figure in the campaign, the transition process and the planning of the new president’s inauguration. Manafort also maintained a relationship with “Donald,” reportedly continuing to talk with his longtime associate through the remainder of the campaign and into the transition process.

Now that Manafort and Gates have been indicted on 12 counts of money laundering involving at least $18 million, setting up secret overseas bank accounts through which $75 million flowed, lying to federal authorities, and operating as unregistered foreign agents for the government of a Ukrainian leader who linked with the Russians, and now that it has been revealed that George Papadopoulos (a foreign policy adviser to Trump who urged the candidate meet with Russian officials) has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, the word from the White House is that Trump barely knows these guys and that the indictments by special counsel Robert Mueller has focused on figures who had only “limited” contact with the Trump team.

That sounds like the sort of “I-know-nothing” spin that Manafort counseled his clients to employ back in the day when he was working for the cruelest – and most criminal — dictators in the world. They should be recognized as the self-serving lies that they are.

Trump led the lying project with Monday morning tweets that announced, first, “Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????” and, second, “….Also, there is NO COLLUSION!”

The truth is that Manafort’s role in the Trump campaign was not “limited.” It was definitional. When Manafort was in charge of making sure that the Republican platform-writing process and convention went smoothly, the party suddenly became dramatically friendlier to Russia – to such an extent that a Washington Post headline on an analysis piece published just before the convention read: “Trump campaign guts GOP’s anti-Russia stance on Ukraine.”

There will be many attempts to deny and dissemble. But one thing is certain: Manafort definitely put one man in the West Wing of the White House (and the adjoining Eisenhower Executive Office Building): Mike Pence.

It was Manafort who brought Pence, a scandal-plagued and politically-vulnerable governor of Indiana who had backed Texas Senator Ted Cruz in that state’s Republican primary, into consideration as a vice presidential prospect for Trump. Referring to Trump, Manafort explained last summer that: “I brought him in to meet Pence.” That manipulation, said Manafort, fostered the notion that Pence “had value to Trump as a potential VP nominee.”

But the Manafort-Pence connection was about more than just an introduction of a Republican stalwart the fixer had known for many years to Trump. Veteran Republican strategist John Weaver says: “Remember, Manafort selected the VP and was therefore the most important person on the campaign team.”

Most indications going into the 2016 Republican National Convention were that Trump wanted New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to be his running-mate, and that Christie was ready to take the gig.

But, according a CBS report on the negotiations, “Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager at the time, allegedly had another idea in mind.”

The report explained that:

Manafort had arranged for Trump to meet with his first choice for the job on July 13: Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Afterwards, the plans was for Trump and Pence to then fly back to New York together and a formal announcement would be made, a campaign source said of Manafort’s thinking:

What had previously been reported as a “lucky break” by the New York Times was actually a swift political maneuver devised by the now fired campaign manager. Set on changing Trump’s mind, he concocted a story that Trump’s plane had mechanical problems, forcing the soon-to-be Republican nominee to stay the night in Indianapolis for breakfast with the Pence family on Wednesday morning.

Swayed by Pence’s aggressive pitch, Trump agreed to ditch Christie and make Pence his VP the following day, according to a source.

It should be understood that Manafort had allies, especially Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who was in the anyone-but-Christie camp because the New Jerseyan had as a federal prosecutor sent Kushner’s dad to jail.

But the Manafort-Pence connection ought not be underestimated. Indeed, when CNN reported that in December, that Manafort had “reemerged as a player in the fight to shape the new administration,” the network explained that “with Pence firmly entrenched in Trump’s inner circle… Manafort — who keeps a home in Trump Tower — has a direct line to top decision-makers.”

Pence ran the transition team, which populated the Trump administration with scandalous figures who have been accused of serious wrongdoing, including ousted White House National Security Advisor Mike Flynn. After Flynn exited the administration under a cloud, Pence adopted his own “I-know-nothing” stance. But then it was revealed that Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, had informed Pence in a November 18, 2016, letter that: he was concerned about ethical issues that would arise if “Lt. Gen. Flynn’s involvement in advising Mr. Trump on matters relating to Turkey or Russia – including attending classified briefings on those matters…”

Cummings said Pence and the transition team had “17 or 20 red lights” regarding Flynn, yet Flynn got security post.

There is a fantasy that suggests that Mike Pence is a mere spectator – and an ignorant one at that – when it comes to the scandals associated with the Trump campaign, the Trump transition and the Trump administration. That has never been true. Pence has often been at or near the center of things. And, as attention turns toward Manafort, it must also turn toward Pence.

That does not mean that Vice President Pence’s connections and statements and actions are of more concern that those of President Trump. But it does mean that Trump will not be the only member of the 2016 Republican ticket who is going to face serious scrutiny in 2017 and beyond.
https://www.thenation.com/article/manaf ... ike-pence/


seemslikeadream » Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:16 am wrote:Manafort was 1st president’s former campaign chief indicted since John N. Mitchell during Watergate


July 26 - FBI agents "no-knock" raid of Manafort's home

July 27 - Papadopoulos arrested upon arrival at Dulles


He talked to EVERYONE!

Everyone in the WH is trying to remember speaking to #GeorgePapadopoulos and what they said to him

Mueller knows EVERYTHING!

Manafort protege Rick Gates worked in Ukraine, made his way into Trump campaign’s inner circle
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/nationa ... -1.3599032


October 30, 2017/16 Comments/in Mueller Probe /by empty wheel

There is now some debate about what this footnote, from George Papadopoulos’ plea, means.

On or about May 21, 2016, defendant PAPADOPOULOS emailed another high-ranking Campaign official, with the subject line “Request from Russia to meet Mr. Trump.” The email included the May 4 MFA Email and added: “Russia has been eager to meet Mr. Trump for quite sometime and have been reaching out to me to discuss.”2

2 The government notes that the official forwarded defendant PAPADOPOULOS’s email to another Campaign official (without including defendant PAPADOPOULOS) and stated:

“Let[‘]s discuss. We need someone to communicate that DT is not doing these trips. It should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal.”

The question is, does this mean the speaker was trying to agree to meetings, but keep it low level to hide the intent to cooperate with Russia, or send a low level person to reject the meeting.

As southpaw has noted, this exchange was actually included in a WaPo post this summer claiming that Papadopoulos was ignored by the campaign. The two campaign officials involved are … Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, who were surely shocked to learn Papadopoulos had flipped on them three weeks ago as they pled not guilty today.

Several weeks later, Papadopoulos forwarded the same message from Timofeev to Manafort, the newly named campaign chairman.

“Russia has been eager to meet with Mr. Trump for some time and have been reaching out to me to discuss,” the adviser told Manafort.

Manafort reacted coolly, forwarding the email to his associate Rick Gates, with a note: “We need someone to communicate that DT is not doing these trips.”

Gates agreed and told Manafort he would ask the campaign’s correspondence coordinator to handle it — “the person responding to all mail of non-importance” — to signify this did not need a senior official to respond.

Already, it’s clear that whoever shared this content with WaPo was spinning, hiding the context.

But the complaint against Papadopoulos written to support an arrest this July says something different. It shows that on July 14, Papadopoulos wrote Timofeev proposing an August or September meeting in the UK.

On or about July 14, 2016, PAPADOPOULOS emailed Foreign Contact 2 and proposed a “meeting for August or September in the UK (London) with me and my national chairman, and maybe one other foreign policy advisor and you, members of president putin’s office and the mfa to hold a day of consultants and to meet one another. It has been approved from our side.”

That is, less than two months later, Papadopoulous at least claimed that a meeting including Manafort had been approved, though not including Trump.

Mind you, back to the plea, by August 15 it was decided just Papadopoulous and an unnamed “another foreign policy advisor to the Campaign” should “make the trip[], if it is feasible.” But it then says that the meeting did not take place.

That’s likely not because at that time, August 15, Manafort was being ousted from the campaign because his corrupt ties to Ukraine (basically, the stuff he got indicted on today) was causing a scandal. Which is to say that particular meeting didn’t happen (though Papadopoulos remained on the campaign and — in Facebook messaging he tried to destroy after meeting with the FBI — remained in contact with his Russian handlers as late as October 1), but it didn’t happen not because Manafort wasn’t game, but because Manafort’s ties to Russia became toxic, precisely the kind of “signal” Manafort was trying to avoid in May.

And the connotation of that May 21 email is important because it shows Manafort’s mindset in the weeks before, on June 9, he met with a Russian lawyer hoping for dirt he likely expected to include stolen Hillary emails.
https://www.emptywheel.net/2017/10/30/t ... to-russia/



Paul Manafort Rented Out His Money-Laundering New York Apartment on Airbnb, Indictment Says
By Henry Grabar
OCT. 30, 2017, 11:57 AM
Some SoHo buildings
The SoHo neighborhood, famous for its cast-iron architecture and money laundering.
Flickr/La Citta Vitta
Among the purchases former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort made with his Cypriot bank accounts were two New York City properties, a $3 million Brooklyn brownstone and a $2.9 million SoHo loft, according to the federal indictment unsealed on Monday.

In each case, according to the indictment, he lied to lenders on subsequent applications for mortgages and construction loans. In the case of the SoHo property, he told the bank the apartment was the home of his daughter and son-in-law, when he was in fact renting it out on Airbnb for several thousand dollars a week. Manafort allegedly used renovations on the Brooklyn home to take out a $5 million construction loan, which he then spent paying off a mortgage for a different property and a down payment on a third. In March, WNYC reported he had $6.8 million in loans against the Brooklyn building, which was valued by Zillow at just $4.5 to 5 million.


This is not the first time Manafort’s New York holdings have drawn attention from the media and law enforcement. Various news outlets have covered these purchases and others—a condo in the Trump SoHo among them—and the New York Post reported in March 2016 that Manafort’s properties had drawn a probe from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. (Schneiderman wound up working with special counsel Robert Mueller on this investigation.)

At the time, investigating the purchase of the Union Street building and its languishing renovations, the Post pointed out how curious it was that Manafort would buy yet another New York home for his daughter, Jessica, and her husband, real estate investor Jeff Yohai, “since he had just bought the [SoHo] property for Jess and Yohai to live in earlier that year.” The indictment goes some way to explaining that: Manafort’s daughter and Yohai seem never to have lived in the SoHo apartment.


The Treasury Department has warned that all-cash purchases can signal that luxury residential property is being used for money laundering, and watchdogs in New York in particular have worried about the billions of dollars spent on high-value properties in the city each year. Still, it’s hard to uncover buyers’ identities and harder still to prove anything beyond insinuation about the origins of the money. (Manafort’s role was known, if the nature of his cash transfers and loan applications were not.)

The curious thing is why, after allegedly laundering more than $17 million from foreign bank accounts to fund a “lavish lifestyle” in the United States, Manafort decided to list the SoHo apartment on Airbnb—a move that, unlike all-cash purchases of multiple luxury properties, was explicitly illegal (though widely tolerated) in New York. The guy seems to have had $934,000 to spend on rugs! Did he really need another couple grand from tourists looking for a place to crash? Not even mega-rich operatives are immune to the siren’s call of making an extra buck through illegal short-term rentals.
https://slate.com/business/2017/10/indi ... irbnb.html


Where in Beverly Hills did Paul Manafort spend $500,000 on suits?
http://www.latimes.com/local/california ... story.html



The Tax Havens at the Heart of the Manafort Indictment
Cyprus, Seychelles, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines have long been criticized for their banking regulations.

A general view of the Seychelles
Seychelles, an island paradise and tax havenGetty via Corbis Historical

KRISHNADEV CALAMUR OCT 30, 2017 GLOBAL


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Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, and Richard Gates, Manafort’s business partner, are alleged by an indictment to have, among other things, laundered money through shell companies and foreign bank accounts in Cyprus, Seychelles, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. (Both have pleaded not guilty to the charges in the indictment, which include money laundering.)

In all, the indictment says, $75 million flowed through these accounts, and they funded Manafort and Gates’s lifestyles in the U.S. The indictment emerged from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

A shell company is a legal entity that, as Casey Michael wrote in The Atlantic in July, exists “solely for the purpose of masking ownership of wealth, property, and other assets, serve as a middleman of sorts, helping those behind them move funds from one place to another.” Setting up shell companies, as Manafort and Gates are alleged to have done, isn’t necessarily illegal—nor are they difficult to set up. When it does became illegal, however, is when shell companies are used to evade taxes and launder money—which Manafort and Gates are alleged to have done. Having a foreign bank account isn’t illegal, either. But U.S. citizens with foreign bank accounts with more than $10,000 at the start of the year they are filing taxes must, under U.S. law, report those accounts to the U.S. Treasury. They must also declare any foreign accounts to the Internal Revenue Service while doing their taxes. Manafort and Gates are alleged to have done neither.


What they are alleged to have done is operate shell companies and bank accounts in Cyprus, the Indian Ocean nation of Seychelles, and the Caribbean nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Until recently—some would argue today, too— Cyprus was a favored destination as a tax haven, the term used to describe countries that offer foreign businesses little or no tax liability. Seychelles and St. Vincent and the Grenadines are smaller, but are popular destinations for offshore funds.

There is no fixed definition of what constitutes a tax haven. The International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the club of the world's richest countries, maintain their own lists of such countries using differing methodologies. Both lists have been criticized as politicized. The European Union maintains a black list of tax havens based upon lists maintained by its individual member states. Then there are the lists maintained by organizations like Oxfam, the charity group, and the Tax Justice Network, which specializes in the study of overseas tax havens.

Cyprus, Seychelles, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines feature in some of the multilateral and national lists, as well as the independent lists.

Oxfam included Cyprus in its list of the “world's worst corporate tax havens.” The Tax Justice Network’s financial-secrecy index pointed out that Cyprus does not “require that company ownership details are publicly available online” or that “company accounts be available on public record.” This makes Cyprus an attractive destination for those who want to conceal their identities, and even the fact that a given company exists at all. Cyprus’s laws also don’t require companies on its territory to tell Cypriot tax authorities about payments to non-Cypriots.


Manafort’s financial links to Cyprus were documented earlier this year by The New York Times in a story that referred to Cyprus as a “secretive tax haven.” That label prompted Nicosia’s ambassador to the U.S. to write the newspaper complaining about the “accusatory tone” of its coverage. But Cyprus has long been linked to money-laundering, especially Russian money laundering: Members of the European Parliament urged the country this week to investigate alleged Russian money laundering through banks in Cyprus. Cyprus denies such activities occur, citing the overhaul of its financial system in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis that resulted in its banks needing a bailout that was ultimately provided by the IMF, the European Central Bank, and the European Union.

Seychelles, meanwhile, was labeled a “corruption-haunted archipelago” that is “an offshore magnet for money launderers and tax dodgers” in a 2014 report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The country is far more secretive than Cyprus, according to the Tax Justice Network, allows “harmful legal vehicles,” and lacks laws that discourage foreign tax evasion. Seychelles was among the favorite places where shell companies were set up by Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the heart of the Panama Papers leaks.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines might be small, but it’s far more secretive than either the Seychelles or Cyprus—with various tax and income loopholes that foreigners can employ to avoid paying taxes in their own countries. The Caribbean nation was on a EU black list of states that are insufficiently cooperative with the bloc's financial regulators.

All three countries are among 24 nations that received far more foreign capital than countries of their size typically do. This list was devised by researchers at the University of Amsterdam who pointed out that what makes these countries retain foreign investment is, in part, some lax rules governing corporations, banks, or both.

It is regulations like those, combined with little to no corporate taxes, that allow tax havens to thrive. Gabriel Zucman, the author of The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens, estimates that $7.6 trillion is stashed in tax havens around the world. That accounts for about 8 percent of the world’s personal financial wealth. This hidden money, he argues, amounts to about an additional $200 million in global tax revenue each year. But as my colleague Uri Friedman previously reported: “Other experts claim that the amount of private offshore wealth may be two to four times as high as Zucman’s figure of $7.6 trillion. Needless to say, measuring the size of an industry whose purpose, in part, is to obscure its size isn’t easy or precise.”
https://www.theatlantic.com/internation ... ns/544394/


HOW TO INTERPRET ROBERT MUELLER’S CHARGES AGAINST PAUL MANAFORT


Former FBI director Robert MuellerANDREW HARNIK/AP
WITH PUBLIC CRIMINAL charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort announced Monday morning, this year’s biggest political story—the former FBI director Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election—enters an important new phase, guided not just by whispers and Twitter wars but by written indictments and the rules of federal evidence.
The indictment targeting Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates—itself a political bombshell—is likely to be merely the first step in a potentially long investigation. Details from the indictment—and other emerging public court documents—will immediately help to shed further light on the tangle of relationships that Manafort and others had with various Russian and Ukrainian contacts in recent years, but there are plenty more investigative avenues that Mueller appears to be following, some far removed from Manafort's orbit.

Manafort faces a long list of charges that includes conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, false statements, acting as an unregistered agent as a foreign principal, making misleading statements in violation of the Foreign Agent Registration Act, and seven counts of failing to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts. That's a dozen in all. Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos also pleaded guilty to making false statements, accompanied by a bombshell plea agreement that includes several key details about Russia's alleged attempts to reach out to the Trump campaign.
Here are five rules of federal investigations to keep in mind as you read about the new charges and think about their implications:

1) The FBI takes down whole organizations. The charges announced Monday in Mueller’s investigation are almost assuredly only a first step in what could be an very long and extensive grand jury investigation.
Only rarely does the FBI end up charging a single individual; it’s simply not worth the time and resources of the federal government to go after individuals in cases outside of rare instances, like say, terrorism. Institutionally, the FBI’s modus operandi and DNA is to target and dismantle entire whole criminal organizations—that’s why federal cases usually take so long: The agency starts at the bottom or periphery of an organization and works inward, layer by layer, until it’s in a position to build a rock-solid case against the person at the top.

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This investigative method has been the heart of the FBI’s approach since the 1980s, when it and the Justice Department—led by an era of aggressive and brilliant prosecutors like Louis Freeh, Rudolph Giuliani, and Michael Chertoff—began to attack La Cosa Nostra in New York. The FBI relied then on a then-new tool, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, to attack and dismantle entire mafia families, charging dozens of suspects in a single case.

The approach, then and now, has almost always been similar: Work on peripheral figures first, encourage them to cooperate with the government against their bosses in exchange for a lighter sentence, and then repeat the process until the circle has closed tightly around the godfather or criminal mastermind. There’s no reason to think that this investigation will be any different.

In fact, members of Mueller’s investigative team cut their teeth on a who’s who of the biggest Justice Department targets of the last quarter century, taking that “organization” approach to cases like Enron (prosecutor Andrew Weissmann led the task force), al-Qaeda (aide Aaron Zebley helped investigate the 1998 embassy bombings before 9/11), and organized crime (prosecutor Greg Andres helped investigate the Bonnano family in New York, as well as the $8 billion Ponzi scheme led by Texan financier Robert Allen Stanford, who’s now serving a 110-year prison sentence).
Weissmann—who was spotted Friday outside the grand jury room—is considered an expert on "flipping" witnesses, encouraging people to testify against their colleagues. In the 1990s, he led the case against mobster Vincent “the Chin” Gigante, from the Genovese crime family, with the help of turncoat witnesses.

2) Don’t hold your breath for “collusion.” For all the talk of Russian collusion, there isn’t really a federal crime that matches what the press, critics, and Capitol Hill lawmakers have been calling collusion, a word that refers legally to a narrow segment of antitrust law. And there’s almost zero chance anyone will be charged with treason, a charge that’s available to use only against enemies in a declared war.
Instead, nearly all charges that stem from this case—at least based on publicly available tea leaves—are likely to focus on targeting individual crimes reflecting aspects of the complex web of Russian influence in 2016 rather than a neatly-tied-up-with-a-bow conspiracy. Early rounds of charges may even focus on business dealings far removed from the questions of the 2016 election.

Expect to see garden-variety white-collar crimes—charges like money laundering, mail fraud, wire fraud, and “structuring,” (arranging financial transactions to avoid federal reporting requirements)—as well as the possibility of some more exotic charges like violating the nation’s election laws or the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, or there’s a general catch-all known as 18 USC Sec. 371, “conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud United States.”


There’s also the crime of being an unregistered foreign agent—a charge known inside the Justice Department as a FARA violation, after the Foreign Agents Registration Act. A FARA violation is typically the FBI’s go-to way to charge espionage and foreign intelligence officers—the cases are rare, and only a few agents in their careers ever have a chance to work a FARA case—but we’ve already seen Manafort and Michael Flynn retroactively register as foreign agents this year, showing that they have some legal exposure in this realm.

As the case unfolds, there will almost assuredly be charges that, in many ways, form the foundation of many federal cases: obstruction of justice, perjury, or lying to federal agents (a k a “making false statements”). These charges are particularly common in special counsel–type investigations and can end up targeting people unrelated to the original criminal act. During Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation into the leak of Valerie Plame’s name, for example, it was Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, Scooter Libby, who ended up in the hot seat for obstruction and perjury. Similarly, Marine General James Cartwright was charged with lying to federal investigators as part of the investigation into the Stuxnet leak. These charges—perjury, obstruction, false statements—are often used as leverage to seek a witness’s cooperation (see No. 4).

This approach and the reality of federal criminal law means that the full picture of what happened in 2016—and even before—is likely still years away from being understood.

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The Known Unknowns Swirling Around the Trump-Russia Scandal
3) There are many threads, including some likely unrelated to others. Based on what we know so far, it appears that Russia’s information operation against the 2016 presidential election might have been less of a top-down conspiracy and more of an opportunistic case of many different arms of the Russian octopus—the strange mix of politicians, intelligence officers, oligarchs, criminals, and professionals who surround the Kremlin—working to exploit every potential opportunity.
Just in the last week, we’ve seen how expansive the Mueller investigation might be inside the nondescript Washington office where his team has been assembling evidence for months. He’s evidently covering not just the Trump Tower meeting (coordinated with the Kremlin?), but digging into Manafort’s finances (his realtor testified before the grand jury last week), looking at Flynn’s work with Turkey, and the social media advertising and targeting that went on as well. Add in the hacking of the DNC and John Podesta’s email, which had already been the subject of an FBI investigation before the election—and which might represent an entirely separate Russia nexus through Wikileaks—or what we’ve now learned about the attempted penetration of state-level voting machines, and it’s clear that this case will evolve for many months to come. And all of those individual cases or investigative avenues might prove ultimately unrelated to the Big Question: Did President Trump attempt to obstruct justice with his firing of FBI Director James Comey?
4) The first charges are only a starting point—but don’t necessarily wait for the dramatic Perry Mason–style trial. The indictments handed down by a grand jury that lead to a target’s arrest are rarely the charges the target ultimately faces in a courtroom. Federal prosecutions—particularly complex, still unfolding ones like Mueller’s—often go through many legal iterations, with so-called superseding indictments either adding additional charges down the road as more information becomes known or, as trial nears, dropping ancillary charges in order to zero in on the most potent and provable ones.
However, as much as Law and Order may have taught us otherwise, very very few cases go to trial—generally more than 90 percent of federal cases are settled via plea bargain. That’s in part because the government is heavily incentivized to take the bird-in-hand of a lesser charge for a guaranteed success, but it's also because the government has tremendous leverage in a criminal negotiation, from the length and location of a prison sentence (much better to be in the low- security FCI Danbury prison in Connecticut than the high- security FCI Terre Haute in Indiana) to what assets the government might try to seize (think: “Nice house your family lives in—shame if something happened it”) to what the impact of a unfolding case might be on family members. (You have an aunt who overstayed her visa? Maybe the government promises to overlook that. Your son or wife was also in on the scheme? Maybe you plead guilty right now to a heftier charge to stop the investigation of your family.) Weissmann used this tool to effect in the Enron trial, leveraging the charges against former Enron CFO Andrew Fastow and his wife to encourage Fastow to testify against Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling.

Pay particular attention if you start seeing Mueller’s team filing not criminal indictments but “criminal informations,” which are effectively criminal charges done with the cooperation of the target: That means the suspect is cooperating with prosecutors and has likely worked out a deal to provide testimony or evidence against others or has negotiated the charges in advance and intends to plead guilty quickly.

It’s clear, too, that Mueller is coming at this investigation with an even broader lens: One of the Justice Department veterans he recruited to the team, Michael Dreeben, is known for being the government’s smartest mind on appellate cases—that is, how a case will play out down the road on appeal—and Dreeben has argued 100 cases before the US Supreme Court, putting him in a rare class of lawyer who can meld not just the evidence necessary for a trial but also the legal theory and jurisprudence necessary to sustain that case through years and rounds of appeals. There are signs, too, that Mueller is even thinking through how presidential pardons might shape his case.
5) Bob Mueller is after federal crimes, not political problems. It’s important to understand that the task before Mueller’s team of FBI agents and prosecutors isn’t to investigate and make public the full truth of the 2016 election. They have a much more narrow task: to determine whether there are definable criminal violations that amount to federal felonies or misdemeanors that can be proven in a courtroom beyond a reasonable doubt based upon the federal government’s standard rules of evidence and criminal procedure.
Sally Q. Yates—the acting attorney general fired by President Trump for refusing to implement the so-called Muslim ban—has argued since leaving office that Mueller’s standard should not be the nation’s only test of what happened in 2016. There are any number of behaviors and actions that might fall short of a definable, provable felony that we, as a democratic society and a sovereign nation that eschews foreign involvement in our politics, might find troubling behavior in our commander in chief and the leader of one branch of government. But it’s not entirely clear right now how the country might see such behavior or act upon it.

If Mueller uncovers such behavior, it remains an open question how he might convey this information to the public and political process. He might write a formal report, akin to what Ken Starr did during his probe into the Monica Lewinsky affair during the Clinton years or what the 9/11 Commission did following its investigation, and turn that over to the Justice Department to present to Congress. Or he might not. When Mueller, working in private practice after his stint as FBI director, was tasked with investigating the NFL’s handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case, he defined his mission as narrowly as possible—examining only the NFL’s handling of a video showing the original assault rather than getting into the larger questions of, say, whether the league coddles abusers.

This latter category of “political problems” ultimately ends up being the purview of Congress—and it will be almost inseparable from the conversation of whatever criminal charges and information stems from Mueller’s investigation. At each stage, we will see debates in the media and political circles: Are there political high crimes and misdemeanors that warrant action via presidential impeachment? Unfortunately, the Capitol Hill investigations have had a difficult road this year, and there seems little appetite for bipartisan action or a forthright debate about the 2016 election. The House investigation by the Intelligence Committee was quickly undermined by bizarre behavior by chair Devin Nunes, and now even the Senate investigation, which at least kept up the appearance of a bipartisan effort, appears to be faltering.
Which is a long roundabout way of saying: Monday’s charges are only the beginning of what’s sure to be a complex and deeply partisan process. And, if this weekend’s release of half-century-old files related to JFK’s assassination is any guide, we, as a country, may never feel like we fully understand what transpired in 2016.

This post has been updated to reflect that the Mueller team's first charges were brought against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates.
https://www.wired.com/story/how-to-inte ... w-charges/


I Spent My Day Trying to Figure Out How to Spend Nearly $1 Million on Rugs
By Aaron Mak

How could Paul Manafort spend so much on rugs?
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images.

Paul Manafort pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of money laundering and conspiracy in connection with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

One of the more peculiar tidbits in the 31-page indictment was the accusation that Manafort had spent $934,350 of laundered money at an antique rug store in Alexandria, Virginia:

rug_screenshot
This raised many questions, including: How is it possible to spend nearly a million dollars on rugs? And where could you do it?


ADVERTISING

I started calling Alexandria rug stores and interior decorators once the news broke, contacting anyone who could help me understand where Manafort might have shopped and how easy it would be run up a seven-figure bill. I knew extremely rare rugs could go for millions of dollars. But the pattern described in the indictment was different: The purchases were made over the course of eight visits. I wanted to understand how someone could build such a collection.

As I was a dozen calls in, HuffPost, which had a similar idea, published a story with several stores denying any business with Manafort. Yet it also had one intriguing lead: a store called J&J Oriental Rugs told the reporter that Manafort’s supposed rug transactions were “confidential” and that there was “nothing to be proved.” The interaction ended with the representative telling HuffPost to talk to the store’s attorney.

I was at J&J an hour later to try my luck. The store sits on a leafy, postcard-worthy street in Old Town Alexandria that’s dotted with oyster bars, artisanal cupcake bakeries, yoga studios, and antique shops. The J&J building is one of the largest on the street—almost the size of a small warehouse.

When I stepped through the door, which was flanked by two enormous Chinese vases, I was greeted by the seemingly infinite collection of rugs they had to offer. There were different piles for bathroom-size rugs, living room–size rugs, and rugs so big I don’t know what you could possibly do with them. Some were a single shade, while others featured dizzyingly complex geometric designs.

A shopkeeper approached me and asked if I had any questions about rug sizes or prices. I asked him what their most expensive rug was, and he pointed to an approximately 10-by-20–foot silk rug that hung from the ceiling and covered almost the entire wall. The colors were dark and muted, and the design was a patchwork of squares that featured intricate tableaus of plants in fractal patterns, men on horseback, and delicate vases. It might very well be the Platonic ideal of opulence.

When I asked for the price, he said it was $10,000. I then identified myself as a reporter and asked him if Manafort had purchased a rug there. He told me the shop doesn’t talk to reporters and walked away.

But I left with one possible answer to the question. We don’t know if J&J is the store in question—other than its location and the suspicious-sounding answer, we don’t have any evidence to indicate that it’s the case—but if Manafort had spent nearly $1 million dollars on rugs at place like it, then he could have purchased 100 of these fabric mammoths. How big could his houses possibly be?


ADVERTISING

inRead invented by Teads
I tried another rug store in Alexandria called Art Underfoot, which was housed in a cavernous building across the street. When I introduced myself to the shopkeeper, a grizzled man wearing a red coat and sweatpants named Nick Nasseri, he immediately asked, “Are you here about that political guy? Manafort?”

Nasseri said that he had received “100 calls” from reporters on Monday even though he’s sure that Manafort never purchased any rugs from the store.

I then inquired as to what $934,350 could buy in rugs. Nasseri said that it depends, since some rugs are mass-produced while others are handcrafted. “Our rugs are real works of art. Real antiques,” he told me, pointing to the shop’s most expensive ware: an approximately 6-by-10–foot rug that was crafted in Iran in the 1850s and costs $45,000. Though over 150 years old, its colors and angular designs were still clear and vibrant. Other rugs in the store are priced depending on age and size—the newest rugs are still around 20 years old.

If I were to spend nearly $1 million dollars at Art Underfoot, Nasseri says I could probably buy 20 rooms worth of his most expensive rugs. But not all shops have similar price points. He says he once heard of a rug being sold for $400,000 somewhere down the street, at a store he believes has since closed. (If it still exists, I wasn’t able to find it. Manafort’s purchases happened between 2008 and 2010, so it’s possible this was the spot.)

I came to realize why the question I was asking is so tricky. It’s a bit like asking what millions of dollars could buy you in paintings: You could buy a ton of reprints or spend it all on a single original work by Basquiat.

So perhaps Manafort was a rug connoisseur who was willing to splurge on a valuable vintage. Perhaps, as the indictment seems to allege, he wanted something that would appreciate in value. Or maybe he just had so much money that he could spend it on whatever looked pretty.

Either way, here’s hoping the prosecutor schleps a gorgeous rug into the courtroom and submits it as evidence.http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/ ... sible.html
656 Children Separated kidnapped by trump at the Border Have Still Not Been Reunited With Their Parents

August 17 2018


Babies in cages were no ‘mistake’ by Trump but test-marketing for barbarism - Fintan O’Toole
User avatar
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Posts: 27470
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Re: George Papadopoulos

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu May 17, 2018 9:47 am

seemslikeadream » Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:13 am wrote:The White House continues to lie about this man's role in the campaign. Pathetic.

Papadopolous is the big one - lesser charges but it is about collusion. And he is cooperating. Bad news for Trump.
George Papadopoulos, foreign policy adviser to Trump campaign, admits he lied to FBI


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Feds have been in the midst of a full scale investigation of Trump-Russia election collusion since at least January, when Papadopoulos lied to the FBI.

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Trump Advisor Knew Russians Had Clinton Emails
NEWS | OCT 30, 2017

The newly unsealed Statement of the Offense posted online by the Justice Department Monday reveals that a Russian operative known as the Professor told Trump campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos that Russia had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton in the form of "thousands of emails" in April 2016.

A timeline of Russian cyber attacks shows that hackers breached John Podesta's email on March 19, 2016 and infiltrated the DNC's network (for a second time) in April. The media does not start reporting on the hacks until June 14, 2016.

When questioned, Papadopoulos downplayed the Professor's relevance and connections to Russian officials and lied to the FBI, saying he received that information prior to knowing he would be a part of the Trump campaign:

professor tells papadopoulos about email
Via Buzzfeed:

Papadopoulos' guilty plea to charges of lying to the FBI provides the first suggestion that the Trump campaign knew well before its Democratic rivals that Russia had hacked Democratic computer systems and had purloined thousands of Clinton-related emails.

(...)

But it's not clear who in the Trump campaign Papadopoulos told about the emails or how far up the campaign's hierarchy the information might have gone. The document identifies Papadopoulos' campaign supervisor only as “the Campaign Supervisor” and provides no names for other campaign officials with whom he communicated.

(...)

The summary contains no indication that Papadopoulos passed the information about the emails on to the campaign, but the document says he continued to message the senior policy adviser and a “high-ranking campaign official” about his contacts with the Russians until at least August 2016.
https://investigaterussia.org/media/201 ... ton-emails


Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
GEORGE PAPADOPOULOS’S PLEA DEAL IS VERY, VERY BAD NEWS FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL JEFF SESSIONS
Marcy Wheeler
October 30 2017, 4:12 p.m.
THE BIGGEST NEWS of Mueller Monday — the rollout of a money-laundering indictment against Donald Trump’s former campaign adviser, Paul Manafort and campaign aide Rick Gates, and the unsealing of a false-statements plea deal by another campaign volunteer, George Papadopoulos — may involve someone not named explicitly in either indictment: Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

That’s because Sessions has repeatedly testified to the Senate that he knows nothing about any collusion with the Russians. (Though in his most recent appearance, he categorized that narrowly by saying he did not “conspire with Russia or an agent of the Russian government to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.”)

But the Papadopoulos plea shows that Sessions — then acting as Trump’s top foreign policy adviser — was in a March 31, 2016, meeting with Trump, at which Papadopoulos explained “he had connections that could help arrange a meeting between then-candidate Trump and President Putin.” It also shows that Papadopoulos kept a number of campaign officials in the loop on his efforts to set up a meeting between Trump and Putin, though they secretly determined that the meeting “should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal,” itself a sign the campaign was trying to hide its efforts to make nice with the Russians.

Papadopoulos also learned, on April 26, that the Russians “have dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.” A key part of Papadopoulos’s cooperation must pertain to what he told the Trump campaign about these emails. According to his complaint, he originally claimed he hadn’t told anyone on the campaign about the dirt on Clinton because he didn’t know if it was real. But as his plea makes clear, after being arrested, he “met with the Government on numerous occasions to provide information and answer questions.” There would be no reason for Papadopoulos to lie about the significance of the emails in January unless he did so to hide his discussions of them with the rest of the campaign.

That suggests the campaign knew, a month before Paul Manafort and Donald Trump Jr. took a meeting with a Russian lawyer to get dirt on Clinton, that the Russians had already told Papadopoulos about dirt in thousands of stolen emails.

To be sure, Papadopoulos’s plea perhaps hurts Trump the most. After all, Trump was in the March 31 meeting too, along with Sessions. Trump personally intervened in the White House spin about the June 9, 2016, meeting, pushing the line — and the lie — that it pertained to adoptions rather than obtaining dirt on Clinton.

But unlike Trump, Sessions’s claims about such meetings came in sworn testimony to the Senate. During his confirmation process, Sessions was asked a key question by Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.: “If there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?”

“Senator Franken, I’m not aware of any of those activities,” Sessions responded. “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I didn’t have — did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.”

The question, however, was about Sessions’s knowledge of such communications, and we now know he was in a meeting in which they were discussed.

More recently, on October 18, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., asked Sessions a series of questions about his knowledge of interactions with Russians, including whether he had discussed emails with Russian officials since the campaign. To that question, Sessions said he “did not recall.”

Franken then asked, in an attempt to clarify the confirmation questions, “You don’t believe that surrogates from the Trump campaign had communications with the Russians?”

“I did not — and I’m not aware of anyone else that did. I don’t believe that it happened,” said the attorney general whose own department had, two weeks earlier, already gotten a guilty plea from a campaign surrogate describing such discussions with Russians.

Most curiously, Sessions seemed unable to answer what kind of communication he had had with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. “Have you been requested to be interviewed by the special counsel?” Leahy asked. “You’ll have to ask the special counsel,” the attorney general responded. While Sessions’s spokesperson later made it clear he hadn’t been approached for an interview, that says nothing about any discussions about the possibility of testimony.

It’s part of a pattern that began early for Sessions. He initially denied categorically meeting with Russians during the campaign, but was forced to walk that back when it emerged he had met at least twice with then-Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. He then claimed that the meetings had focused purely on foreign affairs and his senatorial duties, a claim rebutted by Kislyak himself, who told his superiors that he spoke with Sessions about the 2016 campaign.

https://theintercept.com/2017/10/30/jef ... y-general/




The mysterious professor who tried to connect Trump to the Kremlin is probably Joseph Mifsud

WRITTEN BY

Max de Haldevang
OBSESSION

"America First"
October 30, 2017
Trump campaign foreign-policy advisor George Papadopoulos’ relationship with a mysterious unnamed professor was at the center of the first guilty plea in special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia campaign meddling.
In a 14-page Statement of Offense stipulated to by Papadopoulos, Mueller’s office outlines how the campaign aide was in contact with the professor, who put him in touch with a Russian foreign ministry official, and an unnamed women whom Papadopoulos incorrectly believed was Putin’s niece. The contacts were initially aimed at arranging a meeting between then-candidate Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin.
The Washington Post has reported (paywall) that Joseph Mifsud, on the staff of Stirling University in Scotland—and, the Post said, also with the London Academy of Diplomacy—is “likely” the professor in question. The Post based its assessment on an email described to the Post in which Papadopoulos reportedly identifies Mifsud.
(The Post reports Mifsud told them in August that he had “absolutely no contact with the Russian government” and said he was an academic whose only ties to Russia are through “academic links.” Neither Quartz nor the Post have been able to reach Mifsud for comment after news of Papadopoulos’ guilty plea.)
Quartz has found further evidence that Mifsud is probably the professor in question. Here’s what points in that direction:
1. Mifsud attended a conference at Russia’s Valdai Club on the same dates as “the professor”

“I am flying to Moscow on the 18th for a Valdai meeting, plus other meetings at the Duma [Russia’s parliament],” the professor emailed Papadopoulos on April 11, 2016, according to the prosecutors’ statement. Mifsud spoke on April 19 at a panel at the Valdai Club, a think tank with close ties to Putin’s government and at which Putin appears every year for a headline event.
Mifsud has a profile page on the Valdai Club’s website and has written three articles for the think tank.
2. Mifsud matches “the professor’s” description in the affidavit

Papadopoulos told the FBI that a “professor of diplomacy based in London” who is “a citizen of a country in the Mediterranean” and “an associate of several Russian nationals” is the person who told him Russians have “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, including thousands of emails. Mifsud is a Maltese citizen, who reportedly teaches at the London Academy of Diplomacy.
3. Mifsud and Papadopoulos are friends on Facebook

Here’s a screenshot:
5Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 18.52.4
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4. Mifsud knows the man who is probably the Russian foreign ministry contact

The Post has also reported (paywall), based on emails it has seen, that Ivan Timofeev, a “senior MFA [Ministry of Foreign Affairs] official” is likely the Russian official Papadopoulos was in contact with (the men were introduced by “the professor,” according to the prosecutors’ statement.).
Mifsud and Timofeev definitely know each other: Timofeev moderated the panel at which Mifsud spoke in April 2016. The two men were reported to have appeared at an event at the Russian International Affairs Council (a state-funded think tank where Timofeev is listed on the staff) to present Global Energy 2015-2016, a report that they co-authored with several other academics.
5. This wasn’t Mifsud’s first visit to Russia

Diplomacy professor Nabil Ayad, who said he has worked with Mifsud, told Quartz that Mifsud, “Goes to Russia occasionally to attend conferences and meetings. He doesn’t stay for long, normally two or three days but he has, I think, good links with universities there.”
“I know that he has good links with the Russians but I can’t tell whether he has links with officials there,” said Ayad. “But he doesn’t have any professional…it’s a matter of education and relations as far as I know.”
When asked if it was plausible that Mifsud helped connect Papadopoulos to the Russian government, he said: “Maybe it was a casual occasion because he happened to be there and he knew some Russians and introduced them, but I don’t think he was trying to do anything sinister,” he said.
Ayad believed Mifsud is currently in Rome (the court document states that Mifsud and Papadopoulos met in Italy) and was trying to phone Mifsud to put him in contact with Quartz but could not get hold of him. (When Quartz phoned Mifsud’s cell phone, it went straight to voicemail.) “It’s important for him to clear his name,” Ayad said.
6. Mifsud’s profile disappeared from a London legal practice’s website as rumors swirled

On the morning of Oct. 30, Mifsud was listed as the director of International Strategic Development at the London Centre of International Law Practice (LCILP). Later that afternoon, his profile page appeared to have been taken down. (It is still accessible via a cached link.)
The LCILP’s phone went straight to voicemail when called. Early on Monday, the LCILP’s address was listed as: Ground Floor South, 14 Old Square, Lincoln’s Inn, London. When Quartz visited that address—which is at one of London’s four medieval Inns of Court, of which every British barrister has to be a member—it didn’t find the name listed anywhere. A man found exiting the small building told Quartz he works there and he had never heard of the company—”and I spend a lot of time here,” he added.
Later on Monday, that address had been removed from the website. Quartz visited the other address on the website, just around the corner at 8 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, and found a buzzer with LCILP’s name on it. When pressed, a visitor was put straight to an answerphone. Inside the building, LCILP’s name was on a mailbox but there was no other sign of the company in the building, which had at least one floor that seemed to be unoccupied.
So, just who is Joseph Mifsud?

His scrubbed profile on the LCILP website lists myriad positions that Mifsud has filled, as does a profile on the European Parliament’s website (pdf). He is president of the Euro-Mediterranean University in Slovenia, according to the EU, and has worked in Malta’s foreign ministry, representing the island nation at the Council of Europe.
The LCILP says he has worked in Malta’s ministry of education, is a member of the Valdai Club and the European Council on Foreign Relations think tank. It lists his geographical areas of expertise as basically the whole world (outside Latin America): Europe, USA, The Middle East, Africa, and Asia.
Mifsud is listed as a “professorial teaching fellow” at Stirling University. The administration support officer at the university said he was a dean for international development and diplomacy but that “he’s not often on campus here…he does a lot of traveling.”
When Quartz phoned the Academy of Diplomacy at Loughborough University London, a reporter was told that Mifsud was not listed in any of their internal systems.
https://qz.com/1115591/the-professor-in ... ph-mifsud/



Shadowy ‘Professor’ Is at the Center of the Latest Revelation in the Trump-Russia Probe
By Chris Quintana OCTOBER 30, 2017
Updated (10/30/2017, 2:52 p.m.) with news that The Washington Post had identified the professor.

Newly released court documents reveal that a person described only as a “professor” may have played the go-between for an adviser to the Trump campaign and the Russian government, according to The New York Times.

Little is known about the academic other than the brief descriptions provided in the court documents.

The newspaper reported that George Papadopoulos, the adviser in question, spoke in 2016 with the professor, who claimed to know that the Russian government had intelligence on Hillary Clinton.

The documents come on the heels of the news that a former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was indicted on felony charges as part of the investigation led by Robert Mueller, the Department of Justice’s independent counsel. Mr. Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the professor. The Times tried to contact Mr. Papadopoulos, but didn’t receive a response.

“The professor told defendant Papadopoulos, as defendant Papadopoulos later described to the FBI, that ‘they [the Russians] have dirt on her,’” the court documents read. “The Russians had emails of Clinton”; “they have thousands of emails.”

So what else do we know about this professor? According to the documents, he is based in London, and he took interest in Mr. Papadopoulos only after learning that the latter had a connection to Mr. Trump’s campaign. “Initially, the professor seemed uninterested in defendant Papadopoulos,” the documents state. “However, after defendant Papadopoulos informed the professor about his joining the campaign, the professor appeared to take great interest in defendant Papadopoulos.”

The documents also reveal that the professor is close to the Russian government, and allegedly introduced Mr. Papadopoulos to a woman — referred to in the court documents as “the female Russian national” — said to be a relative of the Russian president Vladimir V. Putin. However, Mr. Papadopoulos later learned that was false.

It wouldn’t be the first time something the professor promised to Mr. Papadopoulos failed to materialize. “In addition, while defendant Mr. Papadopoulos expected that the professor and the female Russian national would introduce him to the Russian ambassador in London, they never did,” says a footnote in the court documents.

The professor did appear to introduce Mr. Papadopoulos to a member of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. And in April, over a breakfast with Mr. Papadopoulos in Washington, D.C., the professor claimed to meet with several “high-level Russian government officials,” and learned “the Russians had obtained ‘dirt’ on then-candidate Clinton.”
And the professor, according to the court documents, appeared to serve as a liaison between the Russian government and Mr. Papadopoulos. “We will continue to liaise through you with the Russian counterparts in terms of what is needed for a high-level meeting of Mr. Trump with the Russian Federation," the professor is said to have written to Mr. Papadopoulos.

It’s unclear from the documents where the professor is employed, though at one point he appears to refer to members of the Russian government as “colleagues.” And if the account is true, the professor had the power to arrange meetings.

“I have just talked to my colleagues from the MFA [Ministry of Foreign Affairs],” the professor wrote. “The[y] are open for cooperation. One of the options is to make a meeting for you at the North America Desk, if you are in Moscow.”

Though the professor was unidentified in the court documents, The Washington Post on Monday reported that the unnamed professor was Joseph Mifsud, an academic said to be the director of the London Academy of Diplomacy.

The Post reported that it contacted Mr. Mifsud in August to ask if he had any ties to Russia, and that he denied any connection. He didn’t return the newspaper’s request for comment on Monday.

In 2011, The Chronicle interviewed Mr. Mifsud, in his capacity as then-president of the Euro-Mediterranean University, for an article on how globalization was changing university consortia.
http://www.chronicle.com/article/Shadow ... -at/241602



The Plot Against America
Michelle Goldberg
Michelle Goldberg OCT. 30, 2017


On Monday morning, after America learned that Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and Manafort’s lobbying partner, Rick Gates, had been indicted and turned themselves in to federal authorities, the president tried to distance himself from the unfolding scandal. “Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign,” the president wrote in one tweet. A few minutes later, he added, in another, “Also, there is NO COLLUSION!”

At almost the exact same time, news broke suggesting that the F.B.I. has evidence of collusion. We learned that one of the Trump campaign’s foreign policy aides, George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. about his attempts to solicit compromising information on Hillary Clinton from the Russian government. Despite Trump’s hysterical denials and attempts at diversion, the question is no longer whether there was cooperation between Trump’s campaign and Russia, but how extensive it was.

In truth, that’s been clear for a while. If it’s sometimes hard to grasp the Trump campaign’s conspiracy against our democracy, it’s due less to lack of proof than to the impudent improbability of its B-movie plotline. Monday’s indictments offer evidence of things that Washington already knows but pretends to forget. Trump, more gangster than entrepreneur, has long surrounded himself with bottom-feeding scum, and for all his nationalist bluster, his campaign was a vehicle for Russian subversion.

We already knew that Manafort offered private briefings about the campaign to Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch close to President Vladimir Putin of Russia. The indictment accuses him of having been an unregistered foreign agent for another Putin-aligned oligarch, the former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. Trump wasn’t paying Manafort, who reportedly sold himself to the candidate by offering to work free. But he intended to profit from his connection with the campaign, emailing an associate, “How do we use to get whole?” If there were no other evidence against Trump, we could conclude that he was grotesquely irresponsible in opening his campaign up to corrupt foreign infiltration.


But of course there is other evidence against Trump. His campaign was told that Russia wanted to help it, and it welcomed such help. On June 3, remember, the music publicist Rob Goldstone emailed Donald Trump Jr. to broker a Trump Tower meeting at which a Russian source would deliver “very high level and sensitive information” as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Trump Jr. responded with delight: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

The guilty plea by Papadopoulos indicates what information Trump Jr. might have been expecting. An obscure figure in foreign policy circles, Papadopoulos was one of five people who Trump listed as foreign policy advisers during a Washington Post editorial board meeting last year. A court filing, whose truth Papadopoulos affirms, says that in April 2016, he met with a professor who he “understood to have substantial connections to Russian government officials.” The professor told him that Russians had “dirt” on Clinton, including “thousands of emails.” (The Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta had been hacked in March.)

In the following months, Papadopoulos and his supervisors emailed back and forth about plans for a campaign trip to Russia. According to the court filing, one campaign official emailed another, “We need someone to communicate that D.T. is not doing these trips.” D.T. clearly stood for Donald Trump. The email continued, “It should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal.”

Thanks to an August Washington Post story, we know that this email was sent by Manafort. Some have interpreted the exchange to mean that Manafort wanted a low-level person to decline the invitation, not to go to Russia. But the court filing also cites a “campaign supervisor” encouraging Papadopoulos and “another foreign policy adviser” to make the trip. Papadopoulos never went to Russia, but the foreign policy adviser Carter Page did.

So here’s where we are. Trump put Manafort, an accused money-launderer and unregistered foreign agent, in charge of his campaign. Under Manafort’s watch, the campaign made at least two attempts to get compromising information about Clinton from Russia. Russia, in turn, provided hacked Democratic emails to WikiLeaks.


Russia also ran a giant disinformation campaign against Clinton on social media and attempted to hack voting systems in at least 21 states. In response to Russia’s election meddling, Barack Obama’s administration imposed sanctions. Upon taking office, Trump reportedly made secret efforts to lift them. He fired the F.B.I. director James Comey to stop his investigation into “this Russia thing,” as he told Lester Holt. The day after the firing, he met with Russia’s foreign minister and its ambassador to America, and told them: “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

We’ve had a year of recriminations over the Clinton campaign’s failings, but Trump clawed out his minority victory only with the aid of a foreign intelligence service. On Monday we finally got indictments, but it’s been obvious for a year that this presidency is a crime.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/30/opin ... d=tw-share


While the world was marveling at Trump’s crowd size fetish during that fateful first week of his presidency, George Papadopoulos and allegedly Mike Flynn were lying to the FBI, Sally Yates was scrambling to warn the White House, and Donald Trump himself was pressing Jim Comey for personal loyalty in a private dinner. Notably, the seeds of what would become the first charges in the special counsel probe came four months before Robert Mueller arrived on the scene. Sam Thielman reviews the newly updated timeline for the last week of January.
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/the ... as-a-doozy


First Charges In Mueller’s Russia Probe Stem From Trump Admin’s Earliest Days


By SAM THIELMAN Published OCTOBER 31, 2017 6:00 AM

During the Trump administration’s very first week in office, the seeds were planted for the initial charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

Thanks to an indictment unsealed Monday morning, we now know former campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos lied about the extent of his Russian contacts in an interview with FBI agents on Jan. 27, exactly one week after the inauguration. Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to making false statements in that interview about his Russian contacts.

Mueller’s appointment didn’t come until May, after Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey, who had been overseeing the bureau’s probe into Russian interference in the U.S. election—and the collection of evidence for that investigation had already begun before Trump had even taken his hand off the Bible. The day before inauguration, the New York Times reported that law enforcement and intelligence sources were already looking at intercepted communications and financial records “as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.” Comey later testified before Congress that the FBI investigation into those links began in July 2016; Manafort was arrested on Monday.

Papadopoulos wasn’t even the first campaign adviser accused of misleading the FBI during the initial week of Trump’s presidency: Three days before Papadopoulos’ interview, Michael Flynn, at the time Trump’s national security advisor, denied to FBI investigators that he had discussed sanctions on Russia with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak—even though the Washington Post cited U.S. officials saying Flynn had indeed discussed sanctions with Kislyak before Trump took office.

The same day that Papadopoulos met with the FBI, then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates met with White House Counsel Don McGahn to share her concerns about Flynn’s “underlying conduct” for a second time.

The following Monday, Trump fired Yates.

Under oath before Congress, Yates later asserted that problems with Flynn went much farther than being “compromised by the Russians,” as she said the Justice Department believed under her tenure.

“Not only did we believe that the Russians knew this but that they likely had proof of this information,” Yates said in May. “And that created a compromise situation, a situation where the national security advisor essentially could be blackmailed by the Russians.”

Mueller’s investigators are looking into Flynn’s failure to disclose contacts with Russian officials during the campaign and transition, as well as his work on a lobbying contract for a Turkish businessman, and whether he played any role in a former GOP operative’s efforts to obtain Hillary Clinton’s private emails. Flynn has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

That same Friday Papadopoulos lied and McGahn met Yates, Trump also surprised Comey with a private dinner, just the two men alone.

“I need loyalty, I expect loyalty,” Trump told him, according to Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Comey interpreted the dinner as “at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship,” he told the committee.

Trump went on to fire Comey on May 9, giving rise to Mueller’s appointment.
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/ ... first-week



Robert Mueller Is Just Getting Started

Legal experts said Monday's revelations show the special counsel is “maximizing the clout” of the Russia investigation.

Matt Ford and Adam SerwerOct 30, 2017
Updated at 5:04 p.m.

With the release of his first indictments and a surprise plea deal on Monday morning, Special Counsel Robert Mueller sketched a partial outline of his team’s investigation into Russian electoral meddling and took control of a news narrative that had been increasingly dominated by his conservative critics.

Legal experts said the court filings indicate Mueller is running a serious, deliberative, and far-sighted inquiry. “I would say this is High-Level Special Counsel Investigation 101,” said Richard Ben-Veniste, a member of the Watergate special-prosecutor task force. “Mueller is operating by the book.”

The first wave of charges came against two top Trump campaign officials, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates. Their indictment describes a conspiracy to evade taxes and launder at least $75 million of foreign income into the United States from offshore accounts. According to the special counsel’s office, Manafort used the money to “enjoy a lavish lifestyle” by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on expensive suits, antique rugs, and other luxuries.

Both men were charged with 12 criminal counts related to their business activities in Ukraine before the election, including conspiracy to commit money laundering, filing false statements about millions of dollars in foreign income, and acting as an unregistered foreign agent. Manafort and Gates pled not guilty to all of them in a court appearance Monday afternoon. If convicted, both men would face significant prison time.


“These are very serious criminal charges, and it reflects a lot of detail and appears to be a strong, very professional federal criminal case,” said John Q. Barrett, a St. John’s University law professor and former Iran-Contra associate special counsel. “I doubt it’s the only front, or that it’s the end point of the investigative activity.”

Manafort and Gates pled not guilty in federal court on Monday afternoon. Manafort’s attorney, Kevin Downing, issued a statement calling the indictment “ridiculous” and accusing Mueller of pursuing a “novel theory” of prosecution under the Federal Agents Registration Act. Downing stopped short however, of specifically denying any of the charges laid out in the indictment. He also said that “President Donald Trump was correct. There is no evidence the Trump Campaign colluded with the Russia government.”

Shortly after the Manafort and Gates indictments went public, President Trump took to Twitter in response. He dismissed the allegations against his two former staffers, noting the reported activity predated their time on his campaign. He also repeated his attempts to shift the focus onto Hillary Clinton, his former 2016 opponent.



Conservative media outlets had embraced a similar theme in the run-up to Monday’s revelations. Trump allies seized on reports over the last week that Clinton campaign officials helped fund the controversial Steele dossier in an apparent effort to delegitimize Mueller’s probe. They also rehashed discredited allegations about her involvement in an Obama-era uranium deal that involved Russia. By Friday, Fox News commentators claimed a media cover-up on Clinton’s behalf, while The Wall Street Journal editorial board opined that Mueller should step down.


However, their efforts would soon be interrupted. Just over an hour after the Manafort indictment went public on Monday, the special counsel’s office revealed that George Papadopoulos, a former foreign-policy adviser for the Trump campaign, had become a cooperating witness. As part of a plea deal, Papadopoulos admitted to lying to federal investigators about his interactions with Russian nationals and their associates during the campaign.

His indictment offered a trove of new details on the extent of internal Trump campaign discussions about overtures from Moscow’s intermediaries. It described Papadopoulos’s encounters after joining the campaign in early 2016 with “the Professor,” an unnamed figure in London who proffered high-level connections within the Russian government, as well as an unnamed Russian woman claiming to be Putin’s niece. (A footnote in the indictment clarified that she isn’t related to the Russian president.)

Papadopoulos admitted to prosecutors that he tried to use those connections to set up a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. In April 2016, the Professor told him the Russian government had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, including a cache of thousands of her emails. Those claims came after Russian hackers had penetrated the Democratic National Committee, but months before the cyber-attacks became public knowledge. Along the way, Papadopoulos reportedly received support and encouragement from unidentified Trump campaign officials.


“Manafort might be a bigger fish, but Papadopoulos is a bigger story,” said Steve Vladeck, a University of Texas law professor. “To me, this is the kind of plea deal that puts the c-word—collusion—back on the table.” He pointed to parts of the Papadopoulos indictment that indicated he knew about stolen Clinton campaign emails before Wikileaks began releasing them. Barrett said the indictment also sends a message to the unnamed campaign officials referenced within it. “This is a very strong signal of government interest, relevance, and consequences if they haven’t been forthcoming,” he said.

Papadopoulos’s indictment doesn’t directly prove collusion on its own, but it undermines the Trump White House’s claims of ignorance on behalf of the president and his inner circle. “Russians pursued [Papadopoulos], and he pursued Russians, and the context was the Trump campaign,” Barrett said. “It doesn’t allege anything being accomplished by this channel, but it suggests serious Russian governmental interest in contact with the Trump campaign.”

The one-two punch of the Manafort and Gates indictment, followed by the Papadopoulos plea deal just over an hour later, also suggested that Mueller was taking the hostile political climate into consideration. Before Monday, many observers thought Manafort was the likeliest subject of an expected indictment. But the Papadopoulos revelations came as a complete surprise and undermined conservative talking points.


“Not only does this suggest that Mueller is taking into account the optics and the politics of the moment, but that he’s actually trying to take advantage of them to maximize the clout of the investigation and to control the narrative,” Vladeck said.

Other filings released Monday revealed Papadopoulos was actively cooperating with Mueller’s investigation as part of his plea deal. “One assumes that the plea deal was in exchange for something” on Papadopoulos’s part, Vladeck said. “And the ‘something’ is clearly not related to the Manafort indictment. So the real question is, what exactly did Papadopoulos give up?”

Papadopoulos’s plea agreement was initially sealed. According to a motion filed in July, were its particulars publicly known at the time, they would have hampered his ability to work on behalf of investigators as a “proactive cooperator.” According to Barrett, that phrase could refer to Papadopoulos “having law enforcement-monitored meetings,” including wearing a wire or arranging “calls or emails with other subjects of the investigation who are unaware that he is cooperating with the government.”

Reading between the lines, legal experts said Monday’s indictments also made sense as pieces of a larger investigative puzzle. A common prosecutorial tactic in high-level white-collar and organized-crime investigations is to seek convictions for lesser crimes on the outer fringes of their main focus. The threat of long prison sentences allows investigators to extract plea deals from potential witnesses, which can then be used to bring charges against more significant targets.


The Manafort-Gates indictment “doesn’t directly involve allegations of collusion with Russians in the 2016 presidential election,” Ben-Veniste observed. “However, it may act as a vehicle to exert significant pressure on them to provide information in connection with other possible violations of law involving other persons.”

“[Mueller]’s setting up the scene,” said Ali Soufan, a former FBI agent who now runs a security firm called the Soufan Group. He noted that the special counsel could file additional charges in the future. “This indictment is a living document,” Soufan explained. “It’s going to continue to change based on the evidence and on the investigative strategy of the special counsel.”

Most importantly, the filings and indictments signified that Mueller’s wide-ranging investigation is nowhere near over. The surprise revelation of Papadopoulos’s plea deal raises questions about what other evidence or witnesses Mueller might secretly have at his disposal that aren’t publicly known. Papadopoulos’s statement also includes a tantalizing clause that it “does not include all of the facts known to me regarding this offense”—a sign that other shoes could potentially drop in the future.

“I’ve thought all along that the real question after the Manafort indictment [would be] whether this was the beginning of the story or the end,” Vladeck said. “The Papadopoulos news sure makes it seem like it’s the beginning.”
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/ar ... urce=atltw


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Upstairs at home, with the TV on, Trump fumes over Russia indictments

What we know about the first charges from the special counsel probe

President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Manafort's former business associate Rick Gates and Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos have all been charged in the special counsel's investigation into Russian election interference. (Video: Jenny Starrs/Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)
By Robert Costa, Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker October 30 at 8:04 PM
President Trump woke before dawn on Monday and burrowed in at the White House residence to wait for the Russia bombshell he knew was coming.

Separated from most of his West Wing staff — who fretted over why he was late getting to the Oval Office — Trump clicked on the television and spent the morning playing fuming media critic, legal analyst and crisis communications strategist, according to several people close to him.

The president digested the news of the first indictments in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe with exasperation and disgust, these people said. He called his lawyers repeatedly. He listened intently to cable news commentary. And, with rising irritation, he watched live footage of his onetime campaign adviser and confidant, Paul Manafort, turning himself in to the FBI.

Initially, Trump felt vindicated. Though frustrated that the media were linking him to the indictment and tarnishing his presidency, he cheered that the ­charges against Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, were focused primarily on activities that began before his campaign. Trump tweeted at 10:28 a.m., “there is NO COLLUSION!”

But the president’s celebration was short-lived. A few minutes later, court documents were unsealed showing that George Papadopoulos, an unpaid foreign policy adviser on Trump’s campaign, pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the FBI about his efforts to broker a relationship between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The case provides the clearest evidence yet of links between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.

George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in early October to lying to federal officials about his contacts with Russian nationals. He is one of three former Trump campaign officials facing criminal charges. (Elyse Samuels/The Washington Post)
For a president who revels in chaos — and in orchestrating it himself — Monday brought a political storm that Trump could not control. White House chief of staff John F. Kelly, along with lawyers Ty Cobb, John Dowd and Jay Sekulow, advised Trump to be cautious with his public responses, but they were a private sounding board for his grievances, advisers said.

“This has not been a cause of great agita or angst or activity at the White House,” said Cobb, the White House lawyer overseeing Russia matters. He added that Trump is “spending all of his time on presidential work.”

[Three former Trump campaign officials charged by special counsel]

But Trump’s anger Monday was visible to those who interacted with him, and the mood in the corridors of the White House was one of weariness and fear of the unknown. As the president groused upstairs, many staffers — some of whom have hired lawyers to help them navigate Mueller’s investigation — privately speculated about where the special counsel might turn next.

“The walls are closing in,” said one senior Republican in close contact with top staffers who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly. “Everyone is freaking out.”

Trump is also increasingly agitated by the expansion of Mueller’s probe into financial issues beyond the 2016 campaign and about the potential damage to him and his family.

This portrait of Trump and his White House on a day of crisis is based on interviews with 20 senior administration officials, Trump friends and key outside allies, many of whom insisted on anonymity to discuss sensitive internal matters.

Who’s who in the government’s investigation into Russia ties VIEW GRAPHIC
Trump and his aides were frustrated that, yet again, Russia steamrolled the start of a carefully planned week of policy news. Trump is preparing to nominate a new chairman of the Federal Reserve and is scheduled to depart Friday for a high-stakes, 12-day trip across Asia, and House Republicans are planning to unveil their tax overhaul bill.

“I’d like to start the briefing today by addressing a topic that I know all of you are preparing to ask me about, and that’s tax reform,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at Monday afternoon’s news briefing. It was a lighthearted prelude to a question-and-answer session immediately overtaken by queries about the indictments.

Away from the podium, Trump staffers fretted privately over whether Manafort or Gates might share with Mueller’s team damaging information about other colleagues. They expressed concern in particular about Gates because he has a young family, may be more stretched financially than Manafort, and continued to be involved in Trump’s political operation and had access to the White House, including attending West Wing meetings after Trump was sworn in.

Some White House advisers are unhappy with Thomas J. Barrack Jr., Trump’s longtime friend and chair of his inauguration, whom they hold responsible for keeping Gates in the Trump orbit long after Manafort resigned as campaign chairman in August 2016, according to people familiar with the situation. Barrack has been Gates’s patron of late, steering political work to him and, until Monday, employing him as director of the Washington office of his real estate investment company.

Trump and his aides tried to shrug off the ominous headlines, decorating the South Portico of the White House in black bats and faux spider webs to welcome costumed children for Halloween trick-or-treating. As the sun set on Monday, the president and first lady Melania Trump handed out goody bags to little princesses and pirates.

[Mueller’s moves send message to other potential targets: Beware, I’m coming]

The Russia drama has been distracting and damaging for Trump — from a public relations perspective if not, eventually, a legal one. The president’s inner circle on Russia matters has tightened in recent months. In addition to his lawyers, Trump has been talking mostly with Kelly and members of his family, including Melania, as well as daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, both senior White House advisers. Trump also leans on two senior aides, counselor Kellyanne Conway and communications director Hope Hicks, as well as some outside friends for advice.

Still, Trump has little ability to influence the ongoing Russia probe save for firing Mueller — the sort of rash decision that his lawyers insisted Monday he is not considering.

“Nothing about today’s events alters anything related to our engagement with the special counsel, with whom we continue to cooperate,” Cobb said. “There are no discussions and there is no consideration being given to terminating Mueller.”

Sekulow, one of Trump’s outside lawyers, said: “There’s no firing-Robert-Mueller discussions.”

Asked whether Trump is considering pardons for Manafort or Gates, Cobb said, “No, no, no. That’s never come up and won’t come up.”

On Capitol Hill, meanwhile, some of Trump’s allies are privately revving up their own version of a counterattack against Mueller. Several top Republican legislators plan to raise questions in the coming days about the FBI’s handling of a “dossier” detailing alleged ties between Trump and Russian interests. They intend to argue that Mueller’s team has become overly reliant on a document that was funded in part by Democrats, according to two people involved in the discussions. Mueller does not appear to have relied on the dossier for the cases revealed on Monday, however.

For Trump and his team, the bad news began as disconcerting drips last Friday, when CNN first reported that indictments were probably coming Monday. The only question: of whom?

The White House had no inside information beyond what was public in news reports, officials said, and were left to scramble and speculate as to what might happen. Reliable information was hard to come by, as Trump’s team was scattered. Cobb was at his home in South Carolina until Monday afternoon, while Trump spent much of Saturday at his private golf club in Virginia and went out to dinner with Melania and their son, Barron, at the Trump International Hotel’s steakhouse in Washington.

Among the many unknowns, the Trump team arrived at an educated guess that Manafort was likely to be indicted — in part, according to one White House aide, because they heard that television news crews were preparing to stake out Manafort’s Virginia home.

“This wasn’t a shocking development,” Sekulow said.

[As Russia case unfolds, Trump and Republicans go to battle with Clinton and Democrats]

When the first pair of indictments came naming Manafort and Gates, there was palpable relief inside the West Wing. The 31-page document did not name Trump, nor did it address any possible collusion between Russia and the president’s campaign.

Moreover, aides were simply happy that the initial batch of indictments did not include Michael Flynn, Trump’s former and controversial national security adviser, who was fired from his top White House perch after misleading Vice President Pence about his contacts with Russian officials. Flynn had been intimately involved in both the campaign and the early days of the administration, and a Flynn indictment, most staff believed, would have been far more damaging.

The indictment of Gates — who had played a quiet, behind-the-scenes role in Trump’s orbit — was more of a surprise, though he had served as Manafort’s campaign deputy and protege. Trump’s team quickly settled on a messaging plan: The duo’s alleged misdeeds, the White House argued, had nothing to do with the president or his campaign.

Privately, aides and allies acknowledged that the campaign had perhaps not sufficiently vetted the two men before bringing them on board.

Michael Caputo, a former campaign adviser whom Trump praised on Twitter Monday morning for his appearance on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends,” later called the indictments “one big, huge fail.”

“Rick and Paul, I would consider them friends of the president because they worked so closely with him,” Caputo said. “The president’s watching closely and he should be concerned for his friends’ welfare, but he has absolutely no concern about collusion with Russia because there was none.”

On Sunday, Trump had attempted to seek refuge from the political squall with another round of golf at his Virginia club. Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) were set to join him, according to two people briefed on the plans — an afternoon of camaraderie and talk about his tax proposal.

It was not to be. Rainy weather forced the White House to cancel the outing — yet another disappointment, beyond the president’s control.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics ... b2754c047e


Trump Campaign Adviser Pleads Guilty to Lying About Some Very Interesting Contact With Russia
By Ben Mathis-Lilley

The headline news of the morning seemed to be that special counsel Robert Mueller has indicted Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort for a number of crimes related to his pre-campaign work for a Russia-aligned political party in Ukraine. But it's starting to look like a guilty plea that the Department of Justice announced with little fanfare on its website may be even more consequential going forward. Specifically, the DOJ posted some very intriguing information related to Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to making a number of false statements to the FBI about his 2016 contact with individuals purporting to represent the government of Russia.

Here's the official summary Papadopoulos' plea, which took place on Oct. 5 and was kept under seal until Monday:

screen_shot_20171030_at_12.46.09_pm
Screenshot/DOJ

Another court document lays out who these "foreign nationals" were. One was an unnamed professor who "claimed to have substantial connections to Russian government officials" and who Papadopoulos met coincidentally (or "coincidentally"?) while traveling in Europe in March 2016 after he'd agreed to advise the Trump campaign. Another was a "female Russian national," purportedly related to Vladimir Putin, who the professor introduced him to. A third was a Moscow-based individual who purported to have connections within Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The DOJ says Papadopoulos corresponded with these individuals for several months about the possibility of setting up a meeting between Trump campaign staffers—or Trump himself—and Russian officials.

Meanwhile, Papadopoulos also repeatedly told "high-ranking" Trump campaign officials about his Russia contacts in an effort to make the meeting happen:

screen_shot_20171030_at_12.52.23_pm
Screenshot/DOJ

The formal Trump campaign–Russia meeting that Papadopoulos was attempting to broker never took place. Based on earlier Washington Post reporting, though, we know that one of the "high-level officials" Papadopoulos was in touch with was Paul Manafort. And the DOJ also says that Papadopoulus was told in person by one of his contacts in April 2016 that Russia possessed "thousands of emails" involving "dirt" on Hillary Clinton.

screen_shot_20171030_at_1.06.22_pm
Screenshot/DOJ

Signs of Russia-directed incursion into the Democratic National Committee's email system were detected as early as November 2015, and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta was hacked in March 2016. But the first DNC emails weren't released publicly by WikiLeaks until July.

Crucially, the DOJ document does not say whether Papadopoulos told Manafort or any other Trump campaign officials about this "dirt." But it does say he lied to the FBI and deleted his Facebook account in an attempt to cover up the extent of his communications—and that after being arrested and, presumably, informed that he was in way over his head unless he struck a cooperation plea deal, he met with investigators on "numerous occasions" to "provide information."

So, what we have here is evidence that a Trump campaign adviser was told by Russian contacts that the Russian government possessed incriminating emails related to Hillary Clinton. We also know that Papadopoulos made top Trump campaign officials, including Paul Manafort, repeatedly aware that he was in touch with these purported representatives of the Russian government. And we know that Papadopoulos was cooperating with investigators for months—cooperation that was kept secret until the same day that Manafort was taken into custody.

Stay tuned!
http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/ ... llary.html


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BE CAREFUL MR. trump ...you have no idea who is wearing a wire now


seemslikeadream » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:18 am wrote:
Trump nominee Sam Clovis blasted progressives as 'race traders' and 'race traitors' in old blog posts
http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/02/politics/ ... index.html


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According to the criminal charge filed yesterday, Clovis encouraged Papadopoulos to “make the trip” to meet with Russian officials.

Papadopoulos told Clovis that he was arranging a meeting “between us and the Russian leadership.” Clovis told Papadopoulos “great work.”

Clovis was nominated by Trump to be Undersecretary of Agriculture. Is he “young” and “low level” too?



Sam Clovis’s really bad excuse for greenlighting a Trump campaign meeting with Russians

Sam Clovis was always a pretty suspect pick by President Trump to become the chief science adviser at the Agriculture Department — mostly because he's not actually a scientist. His chief qualification for the job seems to be that he was national co-chairman of Trump's 2016 campaign. Democrats have also spotlighted his past comments skeptical of climate change and suggesting that laws protecting LGBT rights could lead to the legalization of pedophilia.

And now we can add another reason his nomination could be a key battle for Democrats — and a dicey proposition for Republicans.

The Washington Post's Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger reported Monday night that Clovis was one of those anonymous campaign officials cited in former Trump aide George Papadopoulos's plea deal. Clovis was the one named as a “campaign supervisor,” and he both praised Papadopoulos's efforts to broker a meeting with the Russians as “great work” and later urged Papadopoulos to make the trip rather than Trump.

“Make the trip, if it is feasible,” Clovis told Papadopoulos.

Clovis's attorney, Victoria Toensing, told The Post that Clovis was only being nice and that he actually opposed the campaign meeting with Russians:

She said Clovis was “being polite” when he encouraged Papadopoulos to meet with Russian officials in August, adding that the campaign had a “strict rule that no person could travel abroad as a representative of the campaign.” Clovis could not stop an American citizen from traveling abroad “in his personal capacity,” she said.

. . .

Toensing described Clovis as a “polite gentleman from Iowa” who “would always have been courteous to a person offering to help the campaign.”

Er, okay. So basically, Clovis told someone to do something he opposed and was against campaign rules because he was only being a polite Midwesterner and he couldn't technically prevent him from doing it. (As a Minnesotan, I'll gladly try to use this excuse going forward.)

The strained explanation speaks to just how problematic this could be for Clovis. The campaign and the Trump transition team claimed over and over again that it had no contact with Russians during the campaign. Here we have a former Trump foreign policy aide actively setting up a potential meeting with the Russians, and Clovis giving him the thumbs-up. At one point, Papadopoulos specified that the meeting was requested by the Russian MFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), so there was no mistaking who was requesting the meeting.

If nothing else, Clovis is a microcosm of Trump's problems right now. Trump seems to surround himself with people who either aren't terribly qualified for their jobs or haven't been carefully vetted, and many of those decisions have come back to bite him.

The latter was certainly the case when it came to Paul Manafort, his former top campaign aide who was indicted on Monday, and Papadopoulos, whom the White House is now seeking to dismiss as basically a gadfly who campaign aides said nice things to and then disregarded. Trump's affinity for former national security adviser Michael Flynn certainly fits into this category. And the appointments of Ben Carson as housing and urban development secretary and other lower-level appointees have led to plenty of questions about qualifications.

We'll see how the Clovis confirmation process pans out, but his nomination certainly fits a pattern of Trump playing fast and loose — and potentially dealing with the consequences later.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the ... 6104891373



and surely here at RI there would be no one that would want this guy for the Science Post

[ BLOG ] UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS



Scientists to Senate: Reject Sam Clovis for USDA Science Post

KAREN PERRY STILLERMAN, SENIOR ANALYST, FOOD AND ENVIRONMENT | OCTOBER 31, 2017, 9:00

For months, controversy has swirled around the Trump administration’s…shall we say…deeply flawed nominee for USDA chief scientist. A former business professor, talk radio host, and Trump campaign advisor, Sam Clovis has embraced unfounded conspiracy theories and espoused racist and homophobic views. And did I mention he has no scientific training whatsoever?

It’s true. And while Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is standing by the nomination, thousands of the nation’s scientists are having none of it.


Experts say no way to unqualified “chief scientist”

In a highly unusual move, a group of more than 3,100 scientists and researchers—including leading experts in agriculture and food systems from all 50 states and the District of Columbia—today sent a letter to the Senate agriculture committee expressing opposition to the president’s choice to lead science at the USDA. The letter describes the nomination of the severely under-qualified Sam Clovis to be under secretary for research, education, and economics and chief scientist as “an abandonment of our nation’s commitment to scientifically-informed governance,” and calls on the Senate committee to reject it.

One of the letter’s lead signers is Dr. Mike Hamm, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Regional Food Systems, and C.S. Mott Professor of Sustainable Agriculture at Michigan State University. Dr. Hamm has a PhD in human nutrition and decades of experience at the intersection of food and agriculture, and his research interests include community-based food systems, food security, sustainable agriculture and nutrition education. In addition to his academic posts, he served as a member of the governor-appointed Michigan Food Policy Council from 2005 to 2013 and was instrumental in developing the Michigan Good Food Charter.

I asked Dr. Hamm why this nomination has him so concerned, and what the practical impacts might be if Clovis were to take charge of scientific research at the USDA.


Dr. Mike Hamm is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Regional Food Systems and C.S. Mott Professor of Sustainable Agriculture at Michigan State University.

KPS: Scientists don’t usually rally by the thousands to oppose nominees for relatively obscure government positions. Why is this nomination so alarming to you personally?

MH: I was really concerned when I heard about this nomination, as were a number of colleagues. We look to the USDA as an authoritative source of scientific, economic, and statistical information about the nation’s food system, and it seemed extremely careless to put all that into the hands of an unqualified person. Also, we rely on the USDA to develop research funding programs that not only tackle issues of concern to agricultural production and the food system right now but also look for probable challenges down the road—finding solutions takes time and thoughtfulness, and it is clear to me that the nominee hasn’t demonstrated the ability to do this in a scientific manner.

KPS: This under secretary position holds the purse strings for $3 billion in annual research grants to universities and other institutions. How significant is that investment in the universe of agricultural and food systems research?

MH: It’s impossible to overstate the importance of this. Whether it’s developing strategies to improve current yields while reducing environmental impacts of agricultural production, or identifying resilience strategies for increasingly prevalent issues, the person in this position has to be both reactive to current events and proactive about likely future scenarios. The under secretary controls the budget for this very broad range of research needs.

KPS: What worries you most about the prospect of the USDA going backward on science?

MH: The breadth of knowledge we now have on a wide range of strategies for agricultural production and the food system is remarkable. We know a great deal about strategies for producing a greater variety and quantity of crops under different conditions and with increasingly agro-ecosystem strategies. To lose this momentum would be a disservice to the agricultural community and to consumers and the general public. Whether it’s water use in California, Texas, and other water challenged states, or late frosts for tart cherries in Michigan, we can ‘see’ an increasing range of challenges in the near future. Going backwards means not thinking about these. Going backwards means not looking for ever more ecologically sound solutions to emerging issues and recognizing that we can often improve the situation to a range of societal issues while improving agriculture. This is frightening.

Scientists speak…but is the Senate listening?


Ecologist Irit Altman speaks to a staff person for Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) in August about the need for a qualified chief scientist to oversee USDA research on climate change and agriculture.

Scientists and their allies around the country have been mobilizing for months to oppose Clovis’s nomination. They’ve published letters to the editor in newspapers across the country, including Chicago, Illinois; Bloomington, Indiana (paywall); Wichita, Kansas; Missoula and Great Falls, Montana; Scottsbluff, Nebraska; Nashville, Tennessee; and Spokane, Washington. They’ve also met with Senate staff and delivered petitions from UCS supporters directly to key Senate offices in Maine, Colorado, and Ohio (see photos from the Maine petition delivery below).


Dr. Altman was joined by local Maine farmers Lindsey and Jake Roche in delivering a petition opposing the Clovis nomination to Senator Collins.

Sam Clovis to (finally) get a hearing

Today’s letter comes as the Senate agriculture committee is expected to announce that it will hold a long-awaited hearing on November 9 to hear directly from the nominee, and to dig into Clovis’s credentials and suitability for the chief scientist position. While many Senators, including key Senate leaders, have expressed opposition to the Clovis nomination, others are still uncommitted or even supportive.

Those Senators had better think hard about it, because the scientific community is watching. As 3,100+ experts have now told them, “We expect that when your committee evaluates Clovis’ record and qualifications, you will similarly conclude that he is unfit for this position.”

ACTION NEEDED! The time to act is now, and we can win this fight. The scientists’ letter has been delivered to the Senate, but you can still tell the Senate to reject the Clovis nomination.
http://blog.ucsusa.org/karen-perry-stil ... ience-post


Iowa Farmers Union opposes nomination of Sam Clovis at the USDA
http://www.ktiv.com/story/36553364/2017 ... t-the-usda


Sam Clovis, campaign "supervisor" of Papadopoulos, is due for confirmation hearing as USDA top scientist next week


THE KREMLIN ASSET IN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN: “IF THIS ISN’T COLLUSION, I DON’T KNOW WHAT COLLUSION IS.”
The administration says it hardly knows George Papadopoulos. But he knows Jeff Sessions and Paul Manafort and Donald Trump, and now he’s a cooperating witness for Robert Mueller's investigation.
Image
https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/10 ... estigation



seemslikeadream » Tue Oct 31, 2017 2:12 pm wrote:
White House Stands By USDA Nom Clovis Despite His Emails With Papadopolous


Carolyn Kaster/AP
By CAITLIN MACNEAL Published OCTOBER 31, 2017 3:13 PM
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday afternoon indicated that the administration will stand by Sam Clovis as the nominee to be the top scientist at the Agriculture Department, even though court documents and subsequent news reports revealed that Clovis encouraged a Trump campaign staffer to travel to Russia to meet with government officials.

“I’m not aware that any change would be necessary at this time,” Sanders told reporters at the daily press briefing when asked about the status of Clovis’ nomination.

Earlier on Tuesday, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Pat Roberts (R-KS), who oversees USDA nominations, told Politico that his plans to hold Clovis’ confirmation hearing on Nov. 9 has not changed.

“I don’t think he’s a target of any investigation,” Roberts said.

Court documents from the guilty plea of George Papadopolous, a foreign policy adviser to Trump’s campaign, revealed that a “campaign supervisor” encouraged Papadopolous to travel to Russia. The Washington Post identified the “campaign supervisor” as Clovis, and his attorney, Victoria Toensing, confirmed it. Toensing told the Post that Clovis “always vigorously opposed any Russian trip for Donald Trump and/or the campaign” and that his emails to Papadopoulos were the result of him being “a polite gentleman from Iowa.”

Since the release of court documents on Monday, the White House has downplayed Papadopolous’ role in the campaign. On Tuesday, Sanders told reporters that Papadopolous lied to federal investigators, which should reflect on him, not on the campaign. She added that the Trump campaign cooperated with the federal probe and handed over Papadopolous’ emails to investigators
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/s ... cks-clovis


'I want to quit': Fox News employees say their network's Russia coverage was 'an embarrassment'
by Oliver Darcy @oliverdarcy
October 31, 2017: 2:24 PM ET

Some employees at Fox News were left embarrassed and humiliated by their network's coverage of the latest revelations in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling, according to conversations CNN had with several individuals placed throughout the network.
"I'm watching now and screaming," one Fox News personality said in a text message to CNN as the person watched their network's coverage. "I want to quit."
"It is another blow to journalists at Fox who come in every day wanting to cover the news in a fair and objective way," one senior Fox News employee told CNN of their outlet's coverage, adding that there were "many eye rolls" in the newsroom over how the news was covered.
The person said, "Fox feels like an extension of the Trump White House."
The employees spoke to CNN on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. A Fox News spokesperson told CNN the network covered the breaking news accurately and fairly across both news and opinion programming.
On Monday, it was revealed that President Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort and another associate Rick Gates had been indicted by a grand jury on 12 counts, including conspiracy against the United States. Unsealed court records also revealed that another Trump associate, George Papadopoulos, had pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the FBI weeks ago.
The revelations jolted through the news media, and Fox News -- the highest rated network in the country -- did cover it as its top story. But in contrast with CNN and MSNBC, which aired non-stop rolling coverage throughout the day, Fox News found plenty of time to cover other topics, like the NFL protests, North Korea, and tax reform.
Related: How Fox News is covering the toughest day of the Trump presidency
Additionally, Fox News aired segments that questioned Mueller's credibility and many were framed around how Trump and his allies were responding to the news. On Fox News' homepage, the lead story at one point was focused on Trump slamming the indictment. Another lead story cited Manafort's lawyer, and asked, "Mueller's 'ridiculous' claims?"
"This kind of coverage does the viewer a huge disservice and further divides the country," one Fox News personality told CNN.
Fox News journalists took significant issue with their network's opinion hosts, who deflected from the news and, in Sean Hannity's case, characterized Mueller's investigation as a "witch hunt," a term Trump used on Sunday in a angry tweet to describe the probe.
"That segment on Outnumbered [questioning Mueller's integrity] was absurd and deserves all the scorn it can get," a Fox News employee told CNN, referring to the network's noontime talk show.
The person added that it was "laughable seeing Hannity and [Laura] Ingraham," two Fox News opinion hosts who are openly supportive of Trump, "tripping over themselves saying [Mueller's team has] found nothing thus far."
"It's an embarrassment," another Fox News employee echoed to CNN. "Frankly, there are shows on our network that are backing the President at all costs, and it's that short term strategy that undermines the good work being done by others."
This story has been updated to include comment from a Fox News spokesperson.
http://money.cnn.com/2017/10/31/media/f ... 135PMStory




The not-so-hidden message in Mueller's court filings
The special prosecutor's indictments of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates — and the plea deal struck with low-level adviser George Papadopoulos — suggest a road map for additional charges still to come.
By DARREN SAMUELSOHN 10/30/2017 07:42 PM EDT Updated 10/30/2017 08:55 PM EDT


Special counsel Robert Mueller's filings in the Paul Manafort and Rick Gates cases showed that he leaned hard on the work of investigators from the Treasury Department, IRS and the FBI. | J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Robert Mueller delivered a punch in the rapidly expanding Russia investigation by simultaneously indicting Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, two of the most prominent figures in Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

But the special counsel sent a more powerful signal to others around the president with the public release of a plea deal struck with low-level loyalist George Papadopoulos, which was full of details about the former foreign policy adviser’s email traffic to still-unnamed high-ranking campaign officials about a “request from Russia to meet Mr. Trump.”

“In unsealing it, he knows he’s sending messages to at least three or four other operatives and their lawyers that he’s got somebody in his corner who could be damaging to their interests,” said Randall Samborn, a former senior aide on the George W. Bush-era special counsel investigation into who leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

Top White House officials including press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that despite the latest developments the Mueller probe is still moving toward a quick conclusion. But that brand of optimism ran counter to the analysis provided by several veterans from previous special counsel investigations who said they expect more targets to wind up in court.

“I’d be very surprised if it’s the last indictment we see,” said Julie Myers Wood, a former lead prosecutor during Kenneth Starr’s independent counsel investigation into President Bill Clinton.


Solomon Wisenberg, also a former Starr prosecutor, said Mueller’s opening moves demonstrated the probe has been “moving quickly” thanks in part to the work the FBI had done before his mid-May appointment.

He said Manafort and Gates are now on track for a criminal trial that begins anywhere from nine to 16 months from now. And in the meantime, with his Monday disclosures, Mueller has helped insulate himself against presidential attacks by filing the criminal charges against two of Trump’s highest-ranking campaign aides.

“Nobody can say this is a chicken-shit prosecution,” Wisenberg said. “It makes it that much harder, I think, for somebody to try to either pardon someone like Manafort or get Mueller fired.”

Trump himself reacted to the indictments via his favorite platform: Twitter. There, he riled up his supporters by noting Mueller’s charges involve actions predating the 2016 campaign, all the while turning the focus back on his erstwhile Democratic nemesis.

“Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus????” Trump posted Monday, adding a few moments later, “… Also, there is NO COLLUSION!”

Meantime, some of Trump’s top allies, including former top White House strategist Steve Bannon, are urging Trump to undermine Mueller’s investigation by going after its budget, according to multiple people familiar with his thinking. Republicans over the weekend also complained that Mueller’s office was behind the initial leak to the media that the indictments were coming — a criminal offense if proved true.

Yet the special counsel demonstrated that his prosecution team can avoid leaking big news. Papadopoulos’ July arrest at Dulles International Airport, his subsequent meetings with the government “on numerous occasions to provide information and answer questions,” and his plea deal all remained secret until they were released by Mueller on Monday.

Mueller’s office over the past five months has avoided much in the way of public comment on anything beyond its staffing hires and other basic logistical moves. On Monday, his office launched a new website under the Justice Department’s banner with his unsealed court filings, contact information and a link to his underlying mandate.

prosecutors said Mueller made a smart strategic decision by waiting until Monday to release the Papadopoulos plea, which signals legal exposure to anyone who was in contact with the foreign policy aide during the campaign as well as people who were in touch with him in more recent months without knowing he was cooperating with investigators.

“I’m sure there are a lot of phones ringing off the hook to folks’ lawyers,” Myers Wood said. “They’re rethinking any interaction with him in the last few months.”

The plea document revealed the FBI, for example, first interviewed Papadopoulos on Jan. 27, 2017 — just a week after Trump's inauguration and the same day then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates met with White House counsel Don McGahn to raise red flags about then-national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Mueller’s filings in the Manafort and Gates cases leaned hard on the work of investigators from the Treasury Department, IRS and the FBI — a sign that those teams are seamlessly supporting Mueller’s core team of prosecutors.

“It’s obvious they’ve got good ones,” Wisenberg said of the FBI agents and other staffers detailed to Mueller’s investigation far. “That’s important. You don’t always get good people.”

David Sklansky, a Stanford Law School professor, said the criminal charges against the former campaign chairman and his deputy would “put considerable pressure” on both men to start cooperating with the special counsel.

Even if neither man flips, Sklansky added, the indictments showed Mueller’s team had managed to untangle complex transactions. “They can follow money trails designed not to be followed, they can unravel complicated webs of deceit and collusion crossing international borders, and they can do this relatively rapidly,” he said.


Mueller’s first indictments came at a much faster pace than the 17-month average seen in the nine previous independent counsel and special counsel cases, dating to the Carter administration, in which criminal charges were filed, according to a Politico analysis of the historic legal record. The only case that moved at a faster pace than Mueller’s — Whitewater — had certain similar circumstances.

In that probe, the first independent counsel, Robert Fiske, inherited a number of earlier investigative efforts involving the Clintons’ land deal in Arkansas that sped along his first major action just two months after his January 1994 appointment. Fiske notched a guilty plea on federal fraud charges against David Hale, an Arkansas political insider and former municipal judge who alleged that Bill Clinton as governor had pressured him to approve an illegal government-subsidized loan.

Hale, in turn, agreed to cooperate with Fiske as part of a wider Whitewater investigation that would last more than seven years and end up covering the suicide of White House attorney Vincent Foster, irregularities in the White House travel office, allegations of misuse of confidential FBI files, false statements by a top White House attorney and, finally, the president’s sexual affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

“The game has just begun,” said Paul Rosenzweig, a senior counsel from the Starr investigation. “Don’t expect a resolution anytime soon — this is just the bottom of the second inning in a long game.”
https://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/ ... ump-244344




Papadopoulos’ Bumbling Effort To Conceal Russia Contacts Did Him In


By ALLEGRA KIRKLAND Published OCTOBER 31, 2017 1:04 PM

Given the lack of savviness with which George Papadopoulos tried to disappear a months-long effort to get Trump campaign officials in a room with Russian government officials who had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, he may as well have been just a campaign “coffee boy.”

According to Papadopoulos’ guilty plea unsealed Monday, the former Trump campaign advisor attempted to conceal that work from the FBI, destroying records and lying to agents. So instead of landing what he billed to other campaign staff as a “history making” meeting between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Papadopoulos’ back-channel dealings landed him federal charges.

His first missteps came during his initial interview with FBI agents in Chicago on Jan. 27. Papadopoulos’ statement of offense makes no mention of any counsel accompanying him to that sit-down, where agents informed him that the interview was “completely voluntary,” that lying to the FBI was a “federal offense” and that he could get “in trouble” for doing so.

Papadopoulos proceeded to tell all manner of falsehoods about the “extent, timing, and nature of his communications” with multiple individuals with close ties to the Russian government, according to the statement. One was that a professor with links to Russian officials who supposedly had “dirt” on Clinton approached him about said dirt before he joined the campaign, when in fact he did so over a month after Papadopoulos joined the Trump campaign.

Nick Oberheiden, a federal criminal defense attorney, told TPM that Papadopoulos’ false statements likely served as the “little mosaic pieces” that provided the FBI with the “slam dunk required to make it over the probable cause hurdle” to obtain a search warrant to dig through his online communications.

Once the FBI did, they found copious emails detailing Papadopoulos’ efforts to coordinate an in-person meeting between senior Russian officials and high-level Trump campaign staffers that directly contradicted what he’d told them.

As those communications made clear, growing scrutiny of Trump’s fondness for Putin, which escalated after the GOP candidate urged the Russian government to hack Clinton’s emails in a July 2016 press conference, didn’t dissuade Papadopoulos from continuing to try to organize such a meeting.

Papadopoulos went on to express eagerness to cooperate in a second interview with the FBI on Feb. 16, this time with his counsel present. According to the statement of offense detailing the case, the very next day Papadopoulos deactivated a Facebook account he’d maintained since 2005 that contained records of his communications regarding Russia; several days later, on Feb. 23, he stopped using his cell phone and acquired a new number.

Papadopoulos’ attorneys did not respond to TPM’s request for comment on whether he notified them that he would be taking those steps, which were later cited as evidence he was trying to “impede the FBI’s ongoing investigation.”

As Oberheiden, the criminal defense attorney noted, “I would not advise a client to delete Facebook or anything that may contain information regarding this investigation because then you really get into the obstruction of justice area and that’s a tricky offense.”

Trump and his allies have dismissed the notion that Papadopoulos could possess any information damaging to the campaign, arguing that the 30-year-old, who until recently listed Model U.N. as experience on his LinkedIn profile, was a “volunteer” and “coffee boy” with no real influence. But he was one of just five people Trump named as members of his foreign policy advisory team in March 2016, and emails show he was in frequent touch with senior campaign staffers, forwarding them lengthy chains detailing his efforts to set up a meeting with Russian officials.

And Oberheiden and other attorneys point out that the special counsel likely targeted Papadopoulos precisely because he was a low-level aide who would be easy to “flip,” convincing him to provide any information he may possess about other campaign staffers in exchange for a reduced sentence. The statement of offense notes that in the three months since Papadopoulos was arrested at Dulles International Airport, he has “met with the Government on numerous occasions to provide information and answer questions.”

Until the content of those conversations comes out, Trump’s team is reduced to arguing that the people the campaign named to advisory roles had no idea what they were doing.
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/ ... y-mistakes


Nigel Farage is 'person of interest' in FBI investigation into Trump and Russia

Exclusive: FBI interested in former Ukip leader’s ties with people connected to US president and WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange

Stephanie Kirchgaessner, Nick Hopkins and Luke Harding
Friday 2 June 2017 05.31 EDT First published on Thursday 1 June 2017 07.30 EDT
Nigel Farage is a “person of interest” in the US counter-intelligence investigation that is looking into possible collusion between the Kremlin and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the Guardian has been told.

Sources with knowledge of the investigation said the former Ukip leader had raised the interest of FBI investigators because of his relationships with individuals connected to both the Trump campaign and Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder whom Farage visited in March.

He’s right in the middle of these relationships. He turns up over and over again
WikiLeaks published troves of hacked emails last year that damaged Hillary Clinton’s campaign and is suspected of having cooperated with Russia through third parties, according to recent congressional testimony by the former CIA director John Brennan, who also said the adamant denials of collusion by Assange and Russia were disingenuous.

Farage has not been accused of wrongdoing and is not a suspect or a target of the US investigation. But being a person of interest means investigators believe he may have information about the acts that are under investigation and he may therefore be subject to their scrutiny.

Sources who spoke to the Guardian said it was Farage’s proximity to people at the heart of the investigation that was being examined as an element in their broader inquiry into how Russia may have worked with Trump campaign officials to influence the US election.

“One of the things the intelligence investigators have been looking at is points of contact and persons involved,” one source said. “If you triangulate Russia, WikiLeaks, Assange and Trump associates the person who comes up with the most hits is Nigel Farage.

“He’s right in the middle of these relationships. He turns up over and over again. There’s a lot of attention being paid to him.”

The source mentioned Farage’s links with Roger Stone, Trump’s long-time political adviser who has admitted being in contact with Guccifer 2.0, a hacker whom US intelligence agencies believe to be a Kremlin agent.

Roger Stone in his office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Photograph: Miami Herald/MCT via Getty Images
Farage’s spokesman said he had never worked with Russian officials, and described the Guardian’s questions about Farage’s activities as “verging on the hysterical”.


“Nigel has never been to Russia, let alone worked with their authorities,” the spokesman said. But he did not respond to questions about whether Farage was aware of the FBI inquiry; had hired a lawyer in connection to the matter; or when Farage first met Trump.

The spokesman also declined to comment on whether Farage had received compensation from the Russian state-backed media group RT for his media appearances. RT, which has featured Farage about three times over the last 18 months, also declined to comment, citing confidentiality.

On Thursday Farage dismissed the story as “fake news”. He said he visited Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in March at the behest of LBC Radio “with a view to conducting an interview”.

He added: “I consider it extremely doubtful that I could be a person of interest to the FBI as I have no connections to Russia.”

Farage has said he only met Assange once has but declined to say how long the two have known each other.

The FBI’s national press office said it had no comment on Farage.

The former Ukip leader has voiced his support for the Russian president, calling Vladimir Putin the leader he most admired, in a 2014 interview. Ukip also has history with Assange: Gerard Batten, a Ukip member of the European parliament (MEP), defended the Wikileaks founder in a speech in the European parliament in 2011.


One source familiar with the US investigation told the Guardian that the examination of Farage’s activities was considered especially delicate given his role as an MEP.

Neither Farage nor Trump have made a secret of their admiration for one another. They emerged as unlikely winners last year in contests that have reshaped the world order: Britain’s vote to leave the EU and Trump’s surprise ascendency to the White House.

Both men credited their ability to tap into the worries of struggling and neglected citizens for their victories. But at the heart of the US investigation lies a deeper question: whether Trump campaign officials and people close to the former reality TV star sought to work with state players in Russia to try to influence the US election result.

Last July, Farage attended the Republican national convention in Cleveland, Ohio, when Trump became the party’s nominee.

According to an account by the Ukip donor Arron Banks, Farage first met Trump at a campaign stop in Mississippi in August, where he spoke at a Trump campaign event.

But Farage’s relationships with people close to the US president began years earlier. Farage first met Steve Bannon, Trump’s strategist and former campaign chief executive, in the summer of 2012, when Bannon, who was interested in rightwing movements in Europe, invited the then Ukip leader to spend a few days in New York and Washington, according to an account in the New Yorker magazine.

There Farage was introduced to, among others, the staff of the then senator Jeff Sessions, who is now the US attorney general. Speaking of his longtime admiration for Bannon, Farage told the New Yorker last year: “I have got a very, very high regard for that man’s brain.”

Nigel Farage dismisses Russia link as ‘hysterical nonsense’
Two years later, in 2014, Breitbart News, of which Bannon was executive chair, opened an office in London. A top editor, Raheem Kassam, later went on to work as Farage’s chief of staff.

In 2015, Breitbart News arranged a dinner in Farage’s honour at “the embassy”, the nickname for the house the news group rented in Washington. According to a report in Bloomberg, attendees were “blown away” by Farage’s speech at the event, which was also attended by Sessions.

Then, on 24 June last year, the day after the UK voted to leave the EU, Farage thanked Bannon during an interview for Breitbart News’s coverage of the leave campaign. Bannon, in turn, congratulated Farage on his victory, saying he had led an extraordinary “David v Goliath” campaign.

Farage’s ties to Stone are also under scrutiny, it is understood. Stone has frequently publicised his relationship with Assange and described him on Twitter as “my hero”.

Stone publicly predicted the 2016 release of hacked emails from the Clinton campaign that now lie at the heart of the federal inquiry. Democrats on the House intelligence committee have named Stone in their hearings and, according to the New York Times, he is now under investigation.

Last summer, just a few weeks before Farage met Trump in Mississippi, Stone bragged about having a “mutual friend” who served as an intermediary between himself and Assange. He also mentioned in a separate tweet that he had dinner with Farage, though the date of the encounter is unclear.

After Trump’s victory, Farage was one of the first foreign politicians to meet and celebrate with the Republican president-elect, and had his picture taken with Trump in front of a golden elevator in Trump Tower just days after the US election.

View image on Twitter
Nigel Farage ✔@Nigel_Farage
It was a great honour to spend time with @realDonaldTrump. He was relaxed and full of good ideas. I'm confident he will be a good President.
6:38 PM - Nov 12, 2016
2,309 2,309 Replies 14,221 14,221 Retweets 25,106 25,106 likes
Twitter Ads info and privacy
In November, Trump suggested in a tweet Farage should become the UK’s ambassador to the US.

Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump
Many people would like to see @Nigel_Farage represent Great Britain as their Ambassador to the United States. He would do a great job!
9:22 PM - Nov 21, 2016
14,479 14,479 Replies 21,532 21,532 Retweets 63,903 63,903 likes
Twitter Ads info and privacy
The tweet prompted a curt response from Downing Street, which pointed out that there was “no vacancy”. A spokesman said: “We already have an excellent ambassador.”

The pair met again in February, when they had dinner together with Trump’s daughter and adviser, Ivanka, and her husband and White House adviser, Jared Kushner.

Farage was asked about his relationship with Assange in a recent interview with Die Zeit, the German newspaper, after he was seen on 9 March leaving the Ecuadorian embassy where Assange has lived for years. Farage, who declared he had “never received a penny from Russia”, said he met Assange for “journalistic reasons”.

Pressed on his meetings with Russian officials in the past, Farage initially denied having had any, but then acknowledged that he had met Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian ambassador to the UK, in 2013.

Asked by Die Zeit what he was doing now, and whether he saw himself as a politician or a journalist, Farage concluded: “Changing public opinion. That’s what I have been doing for 20 years. Using television, media. Shifting public opinion. That’s what I am good at.”

A spokesman for Farage told the Guardian he had only met Assange on that one occasion. “The meeting was organised by a broadcaster, they could have easily sent another presenter instead.”
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/20 ... and-russia


You bet there's collusion: And other reasons Donald Trump should be nervous after Robert Mueller's indictments

President Trump and his defenders are anxious to portray Monday’s indictments from Special Counsel Robert Mueller as a “nothing burger.” The quasi-official state broadcaster, Fox “News,” in fact, was trying to distract viewers’ attention with an actual story about cheeseburgers — or, to be, exact, cheeseburger emojis--as the big news was breaking. That may work for those who have already drunk the Kool-Aid along with their cheeseburgers. It won’t wash for anyone who retains even a speck of objectivity.

It is not every day that a president’s former campaign manager and another campaign worker are indicted on felony charges. In fact the last time it happened was 1974, when Nixon’s campaign manager John Mitchell was indicted. Trump’s claims that “this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign,” aren’t true. The indictment says that the money laundering and conspiracy for which Manafort and his associate Rick Gates are being charged continued “through at least 2016” — i.e., through the period, from March 29 to August 19, 2016, when Manafort was working for Trump. Gates remained at the campaign even after Manafort was ousted.

Trump’s other claim — “Also, there is NO COLLUSION!” — is marginally more compelling, insofar as it’s true that the indictment of Manafort and Gates does not accuse the Trump campaign of colluding with the Kremlin. But that’s like Al Capone bragging that his indictment didn’t say anything about racketeering. Money laundering and tax evasion are offenses that prosecutors charge in order to nail a suspect for a whole range of other egregious behavior.

In this case, the likelihood is that Mueller is going to use the pressure of major jail time to force Manafort and Gates to come clean about what they know regarding the Trump campaign’s dealings with the Russians. Odds are that Manafort knows a lot, given his close connections to the Russians. The money he was charged with hiding from U.S. authorities came, after all, from his pro-Russian clients in Ukraine.

Trump advisor Papadopoulos deactivated Facebook after FBI probe

Not Released (NR)
The indictment of President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort (above) and another campaign worker on charges of laundering $18 million may seem to involve little evidence of collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia, but Monday's indictments are likely to foreshadow more damning revelations.
(Win McNamee/Getty Images)
The contention that there is “NO COLLUSION” became even less compelling a few minutes after the Manafort and Gates indictments when Mueller unveiled another blockbuster indictment: Former campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos pled guilty to lying to FBI agents about his efforts to solicit “dirt” on Hillary Clinton from an unnamed “professor” in London who was closely connected to the Kremlin. According to the indictment, “The Professor” told Papadopoulos in April 2016 that the Russians “ ‘have dirt on her’; ‘the Russians had emails of Clinton’; ‘they have thousands of emails.’”

Note that the Russian hacking had only occurred in March and did not become public until June. So Papadopoulos clearly was in touch with someone who had access to top-secret details of the Russian plot to influence the U.S. election—and Papadopoulos let his superiors at the campaign know what he was up to. In other words, he was as eager for Vladimir Putin’s help as Donald Trump Jr. was when he wrote “I love it” on June 3, 2016, in response to another offer of incriminating information on Hillary from another Russian emissary. If this isn’t collusion, then the word has lost any meaning.

It is important to keep in mind, moreover, that we have seen only a small portion of the evidence that Mueller is accumulating. What has been reported in the media is damning enough. Just last week, for example, we learned that the head of Cambridge Analytica, the data firm paid $5.9 million by the Trump campaign, contacted Julian Assange of Wikileaks to ask for help in finding Hillary Clinton’s emails. Just imagine how much Mueller knows that isn’t public knowledge. No one in the media, for example, was talking about Papadopoulos until Monday. Mueller will learn even more if he can “flip” more of his “targets” and turn them into cooperating witnesses against the president — something that has already happened with Papadopoulos.

Not Released (NR)
President Donald Trump speaks to the media Wednesday.
(SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
This is how a prosecutor builds his case — and Mueller has assembled a team of the best prosecutors in the Department of Justice. There’s a good reason why, the day before the indictments were unsealed, Trump was having a meltdown on Twitter. Among his Sunday morning tweets was this desperate plea to his supporters: “DO SOMETHING!” This sounds like something that Al Pacino, as Tony Montana, might have said near the end of “Scarface” as he saw an army of gunmen invading his mansion.

Here’s what we know about Donald Trump’s ties to Russia

The only salvation for Trump now may be to try to fire Mueller and to issue blanket pardons to his campaign associates. That would be the legal equivalent of Tony Montana going down guns blazing. Or would it?

If Trump were to use his authority as president to try to shut down the special counsel investigation, he would be guilty of obstruction of justice and should be impeached. But as a practical matter impeachment would only be possible if Democrats win a majority of the House next year and a number of Senate Republicans are willing to convict the president. Republicans, in other words, could soon be forced to choose whether they are loyal to the rule of law or the rule of Trump. I fear that by this point the “rule of law” caucus will constitute only a small minority of a once-proud party.
http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/bet- ... ?cid=bitly


stillrobertpaulsen » Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:12 pm wrote:
Oct 31 2017, 4:03 pm ET
Top Trump Campaign Aide Clovis Spoke to Mueller Team, Grand Jury

by Ken Dilanian and Mike Memoli

WASHINGTON — Sam Clovis, the former top Trump campaign official who supervised a man now cooperating with the FBI's Russia investigation, was questioned last week by special counsel Robert Mueller's team and testified before the investigating grand jury, a person with first-hand knowledge of the matter told NBC News.

Clovis, who is President Donald Trump's pick to be the Department of Agriculture's chief scientist, could not be reached for comment. His lawyer, Victoria Toensing, would neither confirm nor deny his interactions with the Mueller team.

"I'm not going to get into that," she said in an interview.

George Papadopoulos was arrested in July and began cooperating with agents, records show — disclosing his interactions with a professor and other Russians whom the FBI suggested in court documents may have been working for Russian intelligence agencies. He pleaded guilty to making false statements on Oct. 5.

The court documents unsealed Monday describe emails between Papadopoulos and an unnamed "campaign supervisor." The supervisor responded "Great work" after Papadopoulos discussed his interactions with Russians who wanted to arrange a meeting with Trump and Russian leaders.

Toensing confirmed that Clovis was the campaign supervisor in the emails. Clovis, a former Air Force officer and Pentagon official who unsuccessfully ran for Iowa State Treasurer in 2014, was the Trump campaign's chief policy adviser and national co-chairman.

He is currently serving as an unpaid White House adviser to the Agriculture Department, awaiting Senate confirmation before the Agriculture Committee for the scientist job. He is not a scientist.

In a statement, Toensing's office said Clovis set up a national security committee in the Trump campaign that included Papadopoulos, "who attended one meeting and was never otherwise approached by the campaign for consultation."

She disputed a suggestion in the Papadopoulos documents that he was told by Clovis that a top campaign priority was improving relations with Russia.

In August 2016, according to court documents, Papadopoulos told Clovis about his efforts to organize an "off the record" meeting with Russian officials.

"I would encourage you" and another foreign policy adviser to the campaign to "make the trip, if it is feasible," Clovis responded.

In the statement, Toensing said the Trump campaign had a strict rule prohibiting travel abroad on behalf of the campaign, but said that Clovis would have had no authority to stop Papadopoulos from traveling in his personal capacity.

"Dr. Clovis has not communicated with Mr. Papadopoulos since prior to the 2016 election," the statement says.

Democrats have already targeted Clovis' nomination to what is often referred to as the department's chief scientist because he has previously stated doubts about climate change.

In a 2014 interview when he was a candidate for U.S. Senate in Iowa, Clovis described himself as "extremely skeptical" of the overwhelming assessment of climate scientists that human behavior is responsible for warming trends. "A lot of the science is junk science," he said then.

In his role in the Trump campaign Clovis, a 25-year Air Force veteran, helped assemble Trump's National Security Advisory Committee, chaired by then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), which was publicly announced in March 2016.

A public Senate confirmation hearing would give Democrats on the committee an opportunity to question Clovis about his interactions with Papadopoulos and the campaign's deliberation about meetings with Russian officials.

"I’m not aware that any change would be necessary at this time," White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters at the daily press briefing when asked about the status of Clovis’ nomination.

The Agriculture Committee is chaired by Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, a former chairman of the Intelligence Committee. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which is conducting its own Russia-related probe, is also a member of the Agriculture Committee, as are Democrats Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

"A hearing later this week is to be determined," said Roberts. "We'll make that determination after we check with all members of the ag committee. I know the Democrats have marching orders to oppose him and so we usually operate in a bipartisan manner. We'll see."

Clovis was also interviewed recently by the Senate Intelligence Committee, according to a source with direct knowledge. Roberts told Politico Tuesday that Clovis was "a fully cooperative witness."

Clovis has continued to work at the Agriculture Department even as his nomination is pending. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has referred to Clovis as a "trusted adviser and steady hand" in his work for USDA in his current role, noting when his nomination was announced that he "was one of the first people through the door."


Toensing. :puke: One of the few lawyers that might be slimier than Sekulow.
656 Children Separated kidnapped by trump at the Border Have Still Not Been Reunited With Their Parents

August 17 2018


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Re: George Papadopoulos

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu May 17, 2018 9:49 am

seemslikeadream » Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:34 pm wrote:thanks rp...who was Toensing representing before...didn't she quit on someone?

here's Palmer's take on it

Trump adviser Sam Clovis appears before grand jury: he’s either flipped or he’s about to be arrested
Bill Palmer
Updated: 5:25 pm EDT Tue Oct 31, 2017
Home » Opinion

Yesterday, court documents revealed that Donald Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty and confessed to campaign collusion with the Russian government. The media then subsequently confirmed that the two redacted Trump campaign officials fingered by Papadopoulos were Paul Manafort and Sam Clovis. Now comes word of Clovis appearing before a Robert Mueller grand jury. There are only two possible explanations of what’s going on here – and they’re both terrible for Trump himself.



Sam Clovis testified before a Trump-Russia grand jury last week, according to a new NBC News report (link). Details are very scarce, but the most crucial detail is the timeframe. Clovis testified well after the Papadopoulos indictment and plea were signed off on. Moreover, Clovis was the campaign supervisor of Papadopoulos, and these kinds of charges flow upward, not downward. That means Clovis testifying in a different Trump-Russia criminal case, and higher stakes one.



The first possibility is that Sam Clovis was testifying in Trump-Russia criminal case against himself. In this scenario, the Papadopoulos confession would serve as evidence against Clovis, and Clovis would have been testifying in his own defense. If this is the case, it means Mueller is looking to indict Clovis so he can arrest him, and then force him to cut a deal. Clovis would have been the last witness in a case against himself, meaning that – assuming Mueller continues to succeed in getting the indictments he wants – Clovis could be arrested at any minute.



The second possibility is that Sam Clovis was testifying in a Trump-Russia case against someone further up the chain. If this is the case, it means Clovis has either formally cut a deal, or he’s informally been informed he won’t be charged if he cooperates with his testimony. Either way, it would mean Clovis has flipped. His testimony would most likely have been against his campaign supervisor, Jeff Sessions, or the other adviser involved in the Papadopoulos conspiracy, Paul Manafort. The bottom line is that the collusion-related charges are working their way closer to Donald Trump himself.


Clovis said to be 'cooperative witness' in Senate Russia probe
By CATHERINE BOUDREAU and JOSH DAWSEY 10/31/2017 12:44 PM EDT Updated 10/31/2017 05:07 PM EDT
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Sam Clovis, President Donald Trump’s controversial nominee to be the Agriculture Department’s chief scientist, has been “a fully cooperative witness” in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts told POLITICO.

Clovis, a former co-chair and policy adviser to Trump’s campaign, knew that another campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, was talking to Russians, according to documents released Monday as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe and campaign and administration officials.


Papadopoulos was arrested in late July and pleaded guilty to a charge that he made false statements to the FBI about his contact with a professor who has ties to the Kremlin and promised thousands of pages of emails related to Hillary Clinton.

Meanwhile, NBC News reported Tuesday that Clovis has been questioned by Mueller's team and has testified before Mueller's grand jury.

Clovis’ nomination to the top scientific job at the Agriculture Department has already drawn significant opposition from Democrats and scientists who have raised concerns about his climate-change skepticism, his credentials and his history of making disparaging statements about blacks, women, LGBT individuals and others. But there's been no public opposition from Republicans.

Roberts said Monday that he planned to continue with a scheduled Nov. 9 confirmation hearing. But on Tuesday, when asked whether he'd consider delaying the hearing amid the Russia developments, he said that was "to be determined."

“I don’t think he’s a target of any investigation,” Roberts said of Clovis on Monday, describing him as someone likely on the fringes of the inquiry.

Clovis brought Papadopoulos into the campaign in March 2016, when he was asked to put together a foreign-policy advisory committee, according to the administration and campaign officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Trump felt pressure to hastily assemble a team because he was getting criticism for a lack of foreign policy manpower, these people said.

But Clovis, an Air Force veteran and radio host who taught management and public policy at Morningside College in Iowa until 2015, didn’t have foreign-policy connections and scrambled to find people willing to align themselves with Trump. He brought in a group of people with little vetting, the officials said.

Papadopoulos had little contact with most campaign insiders, but he was in touch with Clovis, the people said.

Victoria Toensing, a lawyer representing Clovis, said in an e-mailed statement that after an initial meeting of the advisory panel, all of Papadopoulos' communications with the campaign were "self-generated," and that Clovis did not believe an improved relationship with Russia should be a foreign policy focus of the campaign.

"Dr. Clovis always vigorously opposed any Russian trip for Donald Trump or staff," Toensing said. "However, if a volunteer made any suggestions on any foreign policy matter, Dr. Clovis, a polite gentleman from Iowa, would have expressed courtesy and appreciation."

Neither Senate Intelligence Committee officials nor the USDA press office responded to a request for comment.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Agriculture ranking member Debbie Stabenow, along with a handful of other Democrats, have publicly announced their opposition to Clovis. They argue that Clovis does not have the academic and research background required for the post, and also point to the disparaging comments, including some about former President Barack Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.


https://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/ ... ion-244370




All roads lead to Jeff Sessions. He chaired the campaign’s NATSEC committee that Clovis & Papadopoulos were on...



What do the indictments mean for Trump? Former White House ethics chief explains
CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Monday, October 30, 2017 10:20PM EDT


On Monday, Donald Trump’s campaign chair Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates were indicted on a dozen charges in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Meanwhile, a little-known Trump adviser named George Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians.
CTV’s Chief Anchor Lisa LaFlamme spoke with Richard Painter, the former chief White House ethics counsel to George W. Bush, about what the charges could mean for Trump.
Of the three named today, who is Donald Trump most concerned about?
Well he ought to be most concerned about George Papadopolous, his former campaign aide who has (pleaded) guilty, who is co-operating with the government and is talking presumably about collaboration with the Russians. So that's the person I'd be most concerned about.
Interesting, since Papadopolous is a 30-year-old volunteer who has nowhere near the profile of Manafort or Gates. Does any of this touch on Trump’s own actions?
I don't know what he knows, but this is a 30-year-old volunteer who was apparently sitting in a room with candidate Trump and they have a picture that they've been broadcasting on television down here of him sitting in a room with then-candidate Donald Trump with very high-ranking people in the room. So we'll find out what this man knows. But he was collaborating with the Russians, with a Russian agent called the professor, and we're going to have to find out what that was all about. And I think Bob Mueller is going to find out because this man is co-operating with the government.

So the big question: Did Trump’s presidential campaign collude at any level with Russian operatives to sway the 2016 U.S. presidential election?


It's obvious they colluded with the Russians. We know that from the Trump Tower meeting. We know that from today's guilty plea. They clearly colluded with the Russians. The legal question is whether the collusion with the Russians was illegal, whether they violated campaign finance laws or whether they were trafficking in stolen emails in violation of hacking laws, and that has yet to be determined.
So Trump’s reaction today, a series of tweets, (was) not surprising. But was it smart? And does his reaction even matter today?
Well, when I was chief ethics lawyer at the Bush White House, we made it very clear that our policy was not to comment on pending investigations. The President of the United States also did not comment on pending investigations. Every one of President Trump's tweets on this Russia investigation has hurt him a lot, either legally in helping build a case against him for obstruction of justice or politically with the American people who don't want to hear any more about Hillary Clinton. They want to hear what Donald Trump is going to do as President to rejuvenate our economy and to conduct foreign policy and protect us from threats from abroad, which is North Korea. They don't want to hear more nonsense about Hillary Clinton's uranium deal that Congress has had years to look at from a long time ago.
So if you were working in this administration, what signal did all the insiders, did all the staff receiving today?
I don't think they got the right message. They should not be commenting on this investigation at all. They shouldn't be talking about the Russia investigation. They shouldn't be talking about Hillary Clinton. That election was a year ago. They need to focus on doing their jobs and they are making it that much easier to prosecute the White House staff and perhaps even the President for obstruction of justice every time they turn around make a comment about this investigation.
So what then is the next phase of this investigation?
That's for Robert Mueller to determine, who is he going to indict next, who is he going to persuade to co-operate. Michael Flynn is somebody I would keep an eye on. We don't know what's going on with him, whether he is cooperating, whether he's worked a plea deal or whether he’s going to … be prosecuted. But he is somebody I would keep an eye on for sure.
How nervous is Trump now that these first charges have been laid?
Well, I think he'd be quite nervous about it. But he would have been so much better off if he had just let it alone, not talked about the Russia investigation, not fired James Comey from the FBI and just did his job as president. Because then in order to remove him from office it would have had to have been established that he had known about and condoned criminal conduct by his campaign and that might have been very, very hard to show. But the number of people that lied about dealings with the Russians and then also the obstruction of justice scenario where the president himself fired the FBI director in order to derail this investigation, those are the developments that are really going to hurt President Trump, probably much more so than the underlying collaboration with the Russians.
http://www.ctvnews.ca/mobile/world/what ... -1.3656277



Low level staff committed crimes during Watergate that brought down the President of the United States. Just sayin'.



Special counsel's office: Papadopoulos 'small part' of 'large scale investigation'

Former Trump adviser cooperates with Mueller

Washington (CNN)Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos' guilty plea Monday appears to hint toward even more threads of the ongoing Russia collusion investigation than what the court revealed.

Lawyers from the Justice Department's special counsel office have repeatedly hinted at how Papadopoulos would contribute to a larger, sensitive investigation.

Why George Papadopoulos' guilty plea is a much bigger problem for Trump than the Manafort indictment
"The criminal justice interest being vindicated here is there's a large-scale ongoing investigation of which this case is a small part," Aaron Zelinsky of the special counsel's office said during Papadopoulos' October 5 plea agreement hearing, records of which were unsealed Monday.
The special counsel's office sought to keep Papadopoulos' plea agreement confidential because it didn't want to dissuade witnesses and persons of interest from sharing information with investigators.

"Although the government is moving expeditiously to interview individuals of immediate interest to the investigation, news that the defendant has been charged with and pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents may make those individuals reluctant to speak with investigators," the special counsel's office wrote on October 3.

"Revealing the defendant's plea would likely chill individuals to be interviewed in the coming weeks," the filing added.

In a transcript of his plea hearing, Zelinsky also referred to a "road map" it feared revealing about the larger investigation.

Neither Hill intel committee has interviewed Papadopoulos
Papadopoulos' court proceedings were unsealed Monday. He pleaded guilty to a charge of making false statements to the FBI, about his contact with three people who enticed him with the idea of a meeting between Trump and Russian government officials, after cooperating with the special counsel investigation.

It's possible that Papadopoulos' interviews with federal investigators contributed to the charges brought against former campaign advisers Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, though those counts had little to do with contact with Russian officials.
http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/30/politics/ ... 07PMVODtop



Papadopoulos claims Jeff Sessions was in the room when he sought approval for his Russian collusion meeting. Even if Sessions claims he didn’t hear it or didn’t understand it, Clovis may have testified otherwise last week. Proving that Sessions lied about his own Russian meetings would require proving that those meetings were nefarious in intent. But Sessions said “I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected to the Trump campaign.” He knew about the Papadopoulos meeting, which Papadopoulos admits was an attempt at collusion with Russia. This means Mueller can arrest Sessions for perjury and pressure him to flip on Trump.
http://www.palmerreport.com/opinion/arr ... ller/5827/

Image


seemslikeadream » Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:26 pm wrote:Image


Team Trump Indictments Suggest AG Jeff Sessions Could Be Facing Trouble:
'BradCast' 10/31/2017
Guest: Journalist Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel; Also: Reporter Mike Stark violently arrested covering VA's GOP Gubernatorial candidate...

By BRAD FRIEDMAN on 10/31/2017, 6:05pm PT
To paraphrase an infamous tweet from the now-suspended Twitter account of long-time dirty trickster and Trump ally Roger Stone, it could soon be Attorney General Jeff Sessions' "time in the barrel", according to my guest on today's BradCast. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The Trump Administration and his supporters have been very busy today, working hard to downplay the Monday indictments unsealed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller against three campaign officials. Two of them, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, pleaded not guilty. The other, George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty, has been quietly cooperating with prosecutors for several months. The Campaign's former foreign policy advisor, has since been dismissed by Team Trump as little more than a "low-level volunteer" and a "coffee boy" over the 24 hours since the indictments were unsealed, revealing that Papadopoulos was charged with lying to federal prosecutors about conversations he had had with an unnamed "professor" said to be tied to Russia and claiming that Moscow had "thousands of emails" revealing "dirt" on Hillary Clinton.

I'm joined today by investigative journalist MARCY WHEELER of Emptywheel to help separate partisan hope from partisan hype regarding Mueller's investigation. We focus on the Papadopoulos case specifically, discuss whether it reveals "collusion" with Russia (which both the Trump Administration and Russian officials strongly deny), and why she believes, as reported at The Intercept, that, more than anything, the specific charges in that case may signal very bad news for Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

We also discuss what we now know (and don't) about the email hacks, what Mueller may have gained by waiting until Monday to reveal the indictments (Hello, unqualified USDA nominee Sam Clovis! Sam who?), and whether it's possible --- or even likely --- that Papadopoulos may have been wearing a wire during conversations with Trump officials in the months since he agreed to cooperate with federal investigators.

"Papadopoulos plead guilty for lying. We don't know why he lied, and why everyone keeps lying," Wheeler observes, adding a note of caution for the many anti-Trumpers who have been giddy since "Mueller Monday". "There's some smoke there. There may well be fire. I just think that everyone who opposes Trump has to be very careful about screaming 'fire' before we have evidence of fire. We have a legal system to sort that out. And until Trump does something to fire Mueller, or in another way thwart the investigation, we should let the investigation do what our legal system is supposed to do."

Also covered on today's show...

Reporter Mike Stark of ShareBlue, who has been dogging Virginia's Republican Gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillsepsie with questions about his lobbying past in advance of the state's November 7 election next Tuesday, was violently arrested over the weekend. Stark appeared on The BradCast as our guest just last week. We've got details on what happened, including comment from Stark;
A new poll finds Americans very pessimistic about the current state of American democracy and politics (including the vast majority of those who lived through the Vietnam era.);
Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with what suffices for some 'good news' updates out of Puerto Rico and much more;
And, we end with the breaking news late today of what New York officials are describing as a "terror" attack in lower Manhattan, after a pickup truck plowed into bicyclists, leaving 8 dead and 11 seriously injured as of the end of today's show...
Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...


http://bradblog.com/audio/BradCast_Brad ... 103117.mp3



Grand Jury Docs Have Been Unsealed, and It’s Looking Even Worse for Manafort
by Elura Nanos | 4:22 pm, October 31st, 2017

The trial hasn’t even started yet, and already, things are going badly for Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. An October 2 Memorandum Opinion was unsealed yesterday, in which D.C. District Court Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell decided to compel grand jury testimony from a lawyer representing Manafort and Gates under the crime-fraud exception to attorney-client privilege. The Special Counsel’s Office (referred to as “SCO” throughout the document) sought to compel the testimony of Manafort and Gates’ lawyer (referred to as “the Witness”). Now we know that the grand jury proceedings culminated in indictments, and Judge Howell’s ruling on the this motion to compel testimony is more than a little foreshadowing. The Court’s opinion on this issue allows us to peek into the generally secret grand jury proceedings, and that peek isn’t looking so good for the defendants.

When the Special Counsel tried to get Manafort’s lawyer on the stand, it was met with a very predictable obstacle: attorney-client privilege. Usually, lawyers are not compelled (or even permitted) to testify against their own clients, and revealing attorney-client communications is usually a major ethical breach. Courts are very hesitant to pierce privileges, whether the privilege at hand is attorney-client, spousal, doctor-patient, or priest-penitent. And on the spectrum of privileges, attorney-client is perhaps the second-most sacrosanct (it’s tough to get even the most liberal judge to invade the confessional). Judges know that the practice of law in our adversarial system would be seriously disadvantaged if lawyers could be called upon to give testimony against their own clients.

However, privileges are not absolute; among other exceptions is the “crime-fraud” exception to attorney-client privilege. Under this exception when a privileged relationship is used to further a crime, fraud, or other misconduct, the lawyer doesn’t get to use that relationship as a shield. The concept is easy, but getting a court to agree to use the exception is pretty challenging. In this case, Mueller’s office would have had to prove that the lawyer in question made the communication with the intent to further an unlawful or fraudulent act, and that Manafort and Gates actually carried out the crime or fraud. In other words, the judge at the grand jury proceeding found that there was plenty of evidence that Manafort and Gates had committed crime or fraud. Sure, for purposes of compelling a witness to testify at the grand jury phase, there’s no requirement that the crime or fraud is proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and the evidentiary rules are different than they’ll be at trial. But bottom line, a federal judge looked at the evidence available to her and found that the SCO had made a good case for guilt against Manafort and Gates. Not a good start for the former Trump advisers.

At this point, we don’t know exactly upon which evidence the court relied; however, we do know that at least some of that evidence hasn’t yet been seen by the defendants. The court’s Memorandum explained that the court had “approved the use of ‘in camera, ex parte proceedings to determine the propriety of a grand jury subpoena or the existence of a crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege.’”After those in camera (privately, with the judge), ex parte proceedings (outside the presence of Manafort, Gates, and their counsel), Judge Howell specifically found:

“…witness testimony and documentary evidence to show that these statements are false, contain half-truths, or are misleading by omission…”

The court’s memorandum was heavily redacted, so at this point, it’s unclear which statements the judge meant, but this portion of the document sure sounds bad for the defendants:

“… the above statement is false, a half-truth, or at least misleading because evidence shows that Target 1 and Target 2 were intimately involved in significant outreach in the United States on behalf of the ECFMU, the Party of Regions and/or the Ukrainian government.”

Yeah, things can change at trial, but even at a preliminary phase, it’s not good for a judge to make a finding that you’re “intimately involved” in sinister foreign misdealings. Oh, and there was also this:

“Through its ex parte production of evidence, the SCO has clearly met its burden of making a prima facie showing that the crime-fraud exception applies by showing that the Targets were “engaged in or planning a criminal or fraudulent scheme when [they] sought the advice of counsel to further the scheme.”

Those seven little letters should strike fear in the hearts of Manafort, Gates, and their lawyers. The SCO hasn’t just met its burden – it’s done so clearly. Allow me to translate from judge-to-English: “You guys are screwed. Take a plea or watch everyone around you– even your own lawyers — go down.”

https://lawnewz.com/uncategorized/grand ... -manafort/



Allow me to translate from judge-to-English: “You guys are screwed. Take a plea or watch everyone around you– even your own lawyers — go down.”


Jeff Sessions may be in big trouble after George Papadopoulos’ guilty plea
According to the Department of Justice, Sessions was there when an aide said he had a path to Russia

20K1.6K301
CHARLIE MAY
10.31.2017•12:37 PM
The credibility of Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been called into serious question after the Justice Department unsealed a plea deal taken by a former foreign policy adviser to President Donald Trump's campaign.
The documents revealed that former adviser George Papadopoulos attended a "national security meeting in Washington D.C.," on March 31, 2016, along with Trump, Sessions and others. In that meeting, Papadopoulos "introduced himself," and explicitly stated "in sum and substance, that he had connections that could help arrange a meeting between then-candidate Trump and [Russian] President Putin."
Trump tweeted a picture of the meeting the day it occurred, and he, as well as Sessions, sat at opposite heads of the table. Papadopoulos is pictured to the left of Sessions in the middle of the table.


While both Trump and Sessions have repeatedly insisted there has been no collusion with the Russian government, Sessions has pledged this argument under oath. Sessions also led the foreign policy team of which Papadopoulos was part.
"I have never met with or had any conversation with any Russians or any foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election in the United States," Sessions told the Senate Intelligence Committee in the opening statement of his second testimony on June 13. "Further, I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected to the Trump campaign."
If the Justice Department affidavit is true, and Sessions was in the room at the time Papadopoulos explained he wanted to arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin, there could potentially be a perjury case.
https://www.salon.com/2017/10/31/jeff-s ... ilty-plea/


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The Papadopoulos plea has blindsided Republicans
By Jennifer Rubin October 31 at 5:47 PM

Opinion | Lessons from the Mueller charges? President Trump should be worried.

President Trump's troubles have only just begun with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's charges against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, his associate Rick Gates and former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, says Washington Post editorial writer Quinta Jurecic. (Adriana Usero, Kate Woodsome/The Washington Post)
The Post reports that George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI, acted with the encouragement of the top policy person, Sam Clovis, on the campaign in the search for dirt on Hillary Clinton from Russians:

At one point, Papadopoulos emailed Clovis and other campaign officials about a March 24, 2016, meeting he had in London with a professor, who had introduced him to the Russian ambassador and a Russian woman he described as “Putin’s niece.” The group had talked about arranging a meeting “between us and the Russian leadership to discuss U.S.-Russia ties under President Trump,” Papadopoulos wrote. (Papadopoulos later learned that the woman was not Putin’s niece, and while he expected to meet the ambassador, he never did, according to filings.)

Clovis responded that he would “work it through the campaign,” adding, “great work,” according to court documents.

In August 2016, Clovis responded to efforts by Papadopoulos to organize an “off the record” meeting with Russian officials. “I would encourage you” and another foreign policy adviser to the campaign to “make the trip, if it is feasible,” Clovis wrote.

Clovis is now reportedly cooperating with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. As my colleague Aaron Blake points out, Clovis’s excuse, provided by his lawyer, that he was being “polite,” makes no sense:

So basically, Clovis told someone to do something he opposed and was against campaign rules because he was only being a polite Midwesterner and he couldn’t technically prevent him from doing it. (As a Minnesotan, I’ll gladly try to use this excuse going forward.)

The strained explanation speaks to just how problematic this could be for Clovis. The campaign and the Trump transition team claimed over and over again that it had no contact with Russians during the campaign. Here we have a former Trump foreign policy aide actively setting up a potential meeting with the Russians, and Clovis giving him the thumbs-up. At one point, Papadopoulos specified that the meeting was requested by the Russian MFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), so there was no mistaking who was requesting the meeting.

Plainly, Papadopoulos doesn’t fit the Trump talking point that Mueller is somehow “proving” no connection between the campaign and the Russians, and Clovis’s involvement makes the entire talking point irrelevant. No matter how many times Sarah Huckabee Sanders insists there is no connection between the campaign and the Russians and that there is some unbridgeable gap between the actions of Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, the facts say otherwise. Trump insists Papadopoulos is “low level” and a “liar,” but he was on the campaign, as was Clovis, who was very high level.

In addition to Clovis, now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, we noted, appears in the photo of the March 2016 meeting with Papadopoulos and Trump. “A picture is worth a thousand words, and it may take the attorney general that many to explain this one,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) tells me. “Not only can’t Sessions get his story straight about contacts with Russia, but it is becoming harder for him to claim these contacts were inconsequential.”

Sessions not only was involved in the firing of FBI Director James B. Comey (when Trump said he had the Russia investigation in mind), but he also has at various times, when asked about his contact with or knowledge of Russian contacts, not brought up Papadopoulos. Sessions, in his confirmation hearing, denied having any contacts with Russians. When that proved not to be true, he revised his testimony. In June, he told the Judiciary Committee: “The suggestion that I participated in any collusion, that I was aware of any collusion with the Russian government, or hurt this country which I have served with honor for 35 years, or to undermine the integrity of our democratic process, is an appalling and detestable lie.”

However, the New York Times reports:

On March 31, back in Washington, Mr. Papadopoulos met Mr. Trump for the first time at a gathering of his new foreign policy team at the candidate’s Washington hotel. According to the former Trump adviser who was there, and who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid offending former colleagues, Mr. Papadopoulos spoke for a few minutes about his Russian contacts and the prospects for a meeting with the Russian president.

But several people in the room began to raise questions about the wisdom of a meeting with Mr. Putin, noting that Russia was under sanctions from the United States. Jeff Sessions, now attorney general and then a senator from Alabama who was counseling Mr. Trump on national security, “shut George down,” the adviser said. “He said, ‘We’re not going to do it’ and he added, ‘I’d prefer that nobody speak about this again.’”

And yet Sessions recalled none of that in testimony under oath — in any of his explanations.

A final point on Russian contacts: Jared Kushner changed his clearance form no less than three times, which might also be viewed as an attempt to distance himself from Russia contacts. The Post in July reported:

Kushner, one of President Trump’s closest advisers, has filed three updates to his national security questionnaire since submitting it in mid-January, according to people familiar with the matter. That is significant because the document — known as an SF-86 — warns that those who submit false information could be charged with a federal crime and face up to five years in prison.

Prosecutions for filing erroneous SF-86 forms are rare — though the Justice Department has brought cases against those with intentional omissions, and people have been denied security clearance for incorrect forms, legal analysts said.

Under the microscope of Mueller’s investigation, the analysts said, Kushner’s mistakes might be viewed as evidence that Kushner met with Russian officials, then tried to keep anyone from finding out. His representatives contend that the omissions were honest errors that were corrected quickly.

So, you see, it wasn’t one low-level person having contact with Russians. It was also more senior advisers who either personally did have contact or had knowledge of others’ contacts. And yet they we all so reluctant to come clean. There’s plenty for Mueller to ponder.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ri ... f1d468f44f



Mueller's Team Worried That Paul Manafort And Rick Gates Would Flee Or Destroy Evidence

Prosecutors want a judge to impose "substantial" bail conditions on Manafort and Gates, arguing that they pose "serious" flight risks.

Posted on October 31, 2017, at 5:40 p.m.
Zoe Tillman

BuzzFeed News Reporter

Court documents unsealed on Tuesday show that special counsel Robert Mueller's team was worried that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates would flee or destroy evidence once they learned criminal charges were filed against them.

On Oct. 27, according to one of the newly unsealed documents, prosecutors asked a federal magistrate judge to keep the indictment returned against Manafort and Gates and other court records sealed until at least one of the men was in custody. A judge granted the request.

"Law enforcement believes that publicity resulting from disclosure of the Indictment and related materials on the public record will increase the defendants' incentive to flee and destroy (or tamper with) evidence," attorneys from Mueller's team wrote in a motion. "It is therefore essential that any information concerning the defendants' facing a pending indictment in this district be kept sealed for the time being."

Manafort and Gates self-surrendered on Monday. They face a 12-count indictment that includes charges of money laundering, failing to report overseas bank accounts, failing to register as lobbyists for foreign entities, and making false statements to the Justice Department.

On Monday, a redacted version of the indictment was unsealed and Manafort and Gates appeared in court at a public hearing, but the rest of the docket and court documents remained sealed. On Tuesday, the government asked that all records in the case be made public except for the unredacted indictment. The judge agreed.

In new court papers filed on Tuesday, the special counsel's office further explained why it believed that Manafort and Gates were, and continue to be, flight risks. The government will not ask that the two men be placed in jail while the criminal case goes forward, but instead want the judge to impose "substantial" bail conditions.

"The defendants pose a risk of flight based on the serious nature of the charges, their history of deceptive and misleading conduct, the potentially significant sentences the defendants face, the strong evidence of guilt, their significant financial resources, and their foreign connections," prosecutors wrote.

Manafort and Gates are under home confinement until their next court appearance, scheduled for Nov. 2. They were allowed to self-surrender on Monday on the condition that they surrender their passports once they learned about the warrants for their arrest and notify the FBI about their movements.

The special counsel's office wrote in Tuesday's filing that Manafort's financial assets were "substantial" but also difficult to precisely tally because he had listed varying information in financial documents. In August 2016, for instance, Manafort represented the value of his assets as being $63 million and $28 million in different documents, according to the government.

In arguing for steep bail conditions, the special counsel's office noted that Manafort and Gates have significant ties abroad, and connections to Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs who previously paid them millions of dollars.

"Foreign connections of this kind indicate that the defendants would have access to funds and an ability 'to live comfortably' abroad," prosecutors wrote.

In footnotes, prosecutors said Manafort earlier this year registered a phone and an email account under an alias, and had traveled overseas with the phone, and that he has three US passports with different numbers.

Lawyers for Manafort and Gates did not immediately return requests for comment.
https://www.buzzfeed.com/zoetillman/mue ... .drwQBlJBb



seemslikeadream » Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:12 am wrote:
Manafort has 3 passports, traveled to China with phone registered under fake name

Paul Manafort, advisor to Donald Trump, is seen on the floor of the Quicken Loans Arena at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 19, 2016.
Washington (CNN)How rich are Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, and where did they travel?

That question lingered over the pair's court hearing on Monday after both faced the first indictments from Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump rejecting Bannon's hard line against Mueller -- for now
Because both men appeared to be globe-trotting multi-millionaires and faced charges for serious crimes related to their work abroad, the government said they should be held under house arrest. A judge agreed Monday.
A new court filing Tuesday showed exactly what Manafort and Gates told banks and investigators about their net worths and travel histories over the past few years.
Among the highlights:

* Manafort currently has three US passports, each under a different number. He has submitted 10 passport applications in roughly as many years, prosecutors said.

* This year, Manafort traveled to Mexico, China and Ecuador with a phone and email account registered under a fake name. (The name was not disclosed in the filings.)

* Over the past year, Manafort traveled to Dubai, Cancun, Panama City, Havana, Shanghai, Madrid, Tokyo and Grand Cayman Island.

* Both Manafort and Gates were frequent travelers to Cyprus. "Extensive travel of this nature further evidences a risk of flight," the prosecutor's filing said.

* Manafort wrote on loan applications and other financial documents that his assets were worth between $19 million in April 2012 and $136 million in May 2016.

* In some months, like while he served as Trump's national campaign chairman in August 2016, Manafort's assessment of his total worth fluctuated. In August 2016 he said his assets were worth $28 million, then wrote he had $63 million in assets on a different application.

* Gates "frequently changed banks and opened and closed bank accounts," prosecutors said. In all, Gates opened 55 accounts with 13 financial institutions, the prosecutors' court filing said. Some of his bank accounts were in England and Cyprus, where he held more than $10 million from 2010 to 2013.

Manafort's and Gates' attorneys have asked the judge to release them from house arrest.
Why Robert Mueller is the most powerful man in Washington
Currently, Manafort and Gates' house arrest conditions mean they can only leave their homes to meet with lawyers or appear in court, or for medical and religious reasons, and they must check in with authorities daily.

Their next court appearance is scheduled for Thursday afternoon. They face sentences of more than 10 years if convicted on all charges. Both say they're not guilty.
Manafort has 3 passports, traveled to China with phone registered under fake name

Paul Manafort, advisor to Donald Trump, is seen on the floor of the Quicken Loans Arena at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 19, 2016.
Washington (CNN)How rich are Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, and where did they travel?

That question lingered over the pair's court hearing on Monday after both faced the first indictments from Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump rejecting Bannon's hard line against Mueller -- for now
Because both men appeared to be globe-trotting multi-millionaires and faced charges for serious crimes related to their work abroad, the government said they should be held under house arrest. A judge agreed Monday.
A new court filing Tuesday showed exactly what Manafort and Gates told banks and investigators about their net worths and travel histories over the past few years.
Among the highlights:

* Manafort currently has three US passports, each under a different number. He has submitted 10 passport applications in roughly as many years, prosecutors said.

* This year, Manafort traveled to Mexico, China and Ecuador with a phone and email account registered under a fake name. (The name was not disclosed in the filings.)

* Over the past year, Manafort traveled to Dubai, Cancun, Panama City, Havana, Shanghai, Madrid, Tokyo and Grand Cayman Island.

* Both Manafort and Gates were frequent travelers to Cyprus. "Extensive travel of this nature further evidences a risk of flight," the prosecutor's filing said.

* Manafort wrote on loan applications and other financial documents that his assets were worth between $19 million in April 2012 and $136 million in May 2016.

* In some months, like while he served as Trump's national campaign chairman in August 2016, Manafort's assessment of his total worth fluctuated. In August 2016 he said his assets were worth $28 million, then wrote he had $63 million in assets on a different application.

* Gates "frequently changed banks and opened and closed bank accounts," prosecutors said. In all, Gates opened 55 accounts with 13 financial institutions, the prosecutors' court filing said. Some of his bank accounts were in England and Cyprus, where he held more than $10 million from 2010 to 2013.

Manafort's and Gates' attorneys have asked the judge to release them from house arrest.
Why Robert Mueller is the most powerful man in Washington
Currently, Manafort and Gates' house arrest conditions mean they can only leave their homes to meet with lawyers or appear in court, or for medical and religious reasons, and they must check in with authorities daily.

Their next court appearance is scheduled for Thursday afternoon. They face sentences of more than 10 years if convicted on all charges. Both say they're not guilty.


WORLD UKRAINE
How Paul Manafort Helped Elect Russia's Man in Ukraine


By Simon Shuster / Kiev, Ukraine October 31, 2017
By the account of his lawyer, Paul Manafort went to work in Ukraine in 2005 with the most spotless of intentions. “[He] represented pro-European Union campaigns for the Ukrainians,” the attorney, Kevin Downing, said in a statement. “And in the course of that representation he was seeking to further democracy and to help the Ukrainians come closer to the United States and to the E.U.”

But that’s not how U.S. diplomats saw it at the time. A U.S. embassy cable sent from Kiev to Washington in 2006 described Manafort’s job as giving an “extreme makeover” to a presidential hopeful named Viktor Yanukovych, who had the backing of the Kremlin and most of Ukraine’s wealthiest tycoons. His Party of Regions, the cable said, was “a haven” for “mobsters and oligarchs.”

Making things harder for Manafort were the candidate’s rough manners and criminal past, which had dimmed his chances of winning elections. Oafish and inarticulate, Yanukovych had served jail time in his youth for theft and battery. He also had a hard time speaking Ukrainian – the national language – as he had grown up in the Russian-speaking province of Donetsk. Yet Manafort accepted the challenge of trying to make Yanukovych electable. The man paying the exorbitant bills for these efforts was an early backer of the Party of Regions, the coal and metals magnate Rinat Akhmetov, who soon began calling Manafort his friend.

Such relationships were nothing new to the American political consultant, who on Monday pleaded not guilty to charges of tax fraud and money laundering brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The indictment was among the first brought down as part of Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Though the charges were not tied directly to Manafort’s work as the chairman of that campaign in the summer of 2016, they showed that his work as a political gun for hire is very much in the spotlight.

Ukraine was by no means the roughest place Manafort ever worked. His roster of clients going back to the 1980s has included Congolese and Filipino dictators, along with a guerilla leader in Angola. But even this range of experience did not make the Party of Regions an easy customer for Manafort. The reputation of its leaders had been stained with blood since at least 2000, when some of Yanukovych’s political patrons were implicated in the murder of Georgy Gongadze, an investigative journalist who was abducted and beheaded that year.

Manafort arrived in Ukraine in the wake of the Orange Revolution, a popular uprising that blocked the pro-Russian Yanukovych from taking power in 2004. One of the leaders of that revolt, an economist named Viktor Yushchenko, fell suddenly ill as his movement for European integration was gaining momentum that fall; doctors determined that he had been poisoned with dioxin, a substance that turned his telegenic face into a mask of green and yellow scars.

Despite the poisoning, Yushchenko’s supporters carried him to victory in the 2004 presidential race, and the reformer put the country on a path to joining the European Union and the NATO military alliance. But these efforts were soon reversed.

With guidance from Manafort and backing from Moscow, the Party of Regions made an astonishing comeback over the next five years, culminating in Yanukovych’s successful bid for the presidency in 2010. Among the first official acts of his tenure was to legally bar Ukraine from seeking NATO membership – a move that effectively granted Russia one of its core geopolitical demands.

For his mastery of political campaigning, Manafort was dubbed a “mythical figure” in the Ukrainian press, and the country’s powerbrokers still give him much of the credit for turning the pro-Russian party around. “I can tell you he’s a real specialist,” says Manafort’s friend Dmitry Firtash, the Ukrainian billionaire and former partner to the Kremlin in the European gas trade. “He won three elections in Ukraine. He knew what he was doing.”

The alleged corruption of Manafort’s employers never made him abandon that job. Once installed in the presidency, Yanukovych began to amass an enormous fortune, easing cronies from his home region of Donetsk into key posts around the country. The President also built an opulent palace for himself outside Kiev, complete with a private zoo, a golf course and a restaurant in the shape of a pirate ship docked in his backyard.

Yanukovych’s political rivals quickly found themselves under arrest. Chief among them was the former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, the gold-braided heroine of the Orange Revolution, who was charged with abuse of office and sentenced to seven years in prison in 2011. “It’s normal practice,” Yanukovych told TIME the following summer, in reference to his jailing of the opposition leader. “The party is powerful. The voters support it. Today the President of Ukraine has the highest ratings of any politician.”

He owed those ratings at least in part to Manafort’s political coaching, which included a new wardrobe for the President, as well as a coiffed hairdo and elocution lessons. But the jailing of Tymoshenko, which U.S. and European leaders denounced as part of a political vendetta, still dealt a severe blow to Ukraine’s reputation in the West. It was Manafort’s job to fix that, too. With money from the Party of Regions and its financial backers, he hired lobbyists in Washington to spin the imprisonment of Tymoshenko as an example of Ukraine’s commitment to the rule of law. “Their job is to say that white is black and black is white,” Tymoshenko’s daughter Eugenia told TIME in 2012.

Such services did not come cheap. After another revolution in Ukraine forced Yanukovych from power in 2014, the national anti-corruption bureau discovered a secret ledger of off-the-books payments from the Party of Regions; Manafort’s name appears in the document 22 times, with payments worth $12.7 million designated for him between 2007 and 2012. The indictment released on Monday in the U.S. claims Manafort and an associate laundered the proceeds of his work in Ukraine through offshore accounts, and failed to pay U.S. taxes on the income.

Through lawyers and in televised interviews, Manafort has denied receiving any illegal payments for his work in Ukraine. His attorneys also denied on Monday that Manafort’s work had advanced Russia’s interests in any way.

But Manafort and his associates have not denied the lucrative side projects that he pursued while working for the Party of Regions. The biggest was an ultimately fruitless plan to purchase the Drake Hotel in Manhattan in 2008. One of the investors he approached for that project was Firtash, an early supporter of the Party of Regions, who says he was promised returns of as much as 50% as part of that deal. “It was partly our money, partly bank loans. That was the scheme,” he tells TIME. “But the deal didn’t go through.”

Details of the Drake Hotel negotiations remained secret until 2011, when Tymoshenko filed a lawsuit in Manhattan claiming that the project was in fact a money-laundering scheme cooked up by Firtash, Manafort and their associates. A judge in New York threw out that case on the grounds that it fell outside the court’s jurisdiction. Firtash, for his part, insists it was part of an effort by Tymoshenko to slander him and his allies in the Party of Regions. “By hitting me and Manafort, she wanted to hit Yanukovych and his electorate,” he says.

What the lawsuit revealed, at a minimum, is how deeply enmeshed Manafort became in Ukrainian business and politics during the decade he spent working for the Party of Regions. Even after the revolution of 2014 turned violent – with police shooting down dozens of protestors in the streets of Kiev that February – the American consultant continued to assist his Ukrainian patrons. He helped the party rebrand itself after it was blamed for the revolutionary bloodshed, which ultimately took more than a hundred lives. After the Party of Regions effectively broke apart that fall, Manafort advised some of its former members on how to win seats in the post-revolutionary parliament.

By that point, there was no longer any question over the party’s allegiance to Moscow. Yanukovych and his closest allies had fled to Russia as the uprising against them intensified, and President Putin guaranteed their security even as he moved to punish Ukraine’s new leaders for turning their backs on the Kremlin. In the spring of 2014, Russia sent troops to occupy and annex Ukraine’s Crimea region. It also sent weapons and fighters to spark a separatist rebellion in Donetsk and other parts of eastern Ukraine, fueling a conflict that killed thousands of people between 2014 and 2016.

Throughout this period, Manafort continued to get regular updates on the crisis from his close associate in Kiev, Konstantin Kilimnik, a dapper and eloquent English-speaker who studied at a Russian military institute. In an interview with Radio Free Europe in February, Kilimnik said that Manafort was open to returning to Ukraine “if there is a serious project that is pro-Ukrainian and can bring peace to this country.”

But as his legal troubles in the U.S. have mounted this year, Manafort’s connections in Ukraine have broken down. Even Firtash, the oligarch who worked alongside Manafort to secure power for the Party of Regions, says he no longer calls his American friend for advice. “If I were to call him now, I’m sure he’d come visit me and we’d sit down and talk,” he says. “But why would I do that? I know what’s going on. I can’t get any help from him now. He can’t help me.”
http://time.com/5003623/paul-manafort-m ... ne-russia/


Here’s why Ukraine paid Manafort insane amounts of money

Just as he had done for dictators in the Philippines and Zaire, Paul Manafort found himself in Ukraine in the fall of 2005 to help reshape the public perception of an unpopular, pro-Kremlin political party associated with “oligarchs and mobsters.”

For Manafort, the rewards were obvious. According to the federal grand jury indictment unsealed Monday, some $75 million flowed through offshore accounts linked to Manafort and his consulting company’s work with individuals, businesses, and political parties in Ukraine over the course of nine years.

For pro-Kremlin Ukrainian politicians who had found themselves on the wrong side of a revolution, Manafort promised to be their best shot at a return to power — and an influential go-between with the United States.

A revolution and a strongman

At the time, Viktor Yanukovych looked like a spent force in Ukrainian politics. The Orange Revolution that swept through Ukraine that winter had crushed Yanukovych’s hopes of assuming the presidency and marred his reputation in the West.

“Yanukovych was ruled politically dead by late January 2005.”
In the eyes of many young Ukrainians, especially those in the capital and the western parts of the country, Yanukovych stood for everything that was backwards, corrupt, anti-democratic about their own country. In Western diplomatic circles, he was seen as a hapless tool of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had sought to install Yanukovych in the presidency to keep Ukraine from moving toward Europe.

After his victory in the November 2004 election was declared fraudulent by the country’s Supreme Court, Yanukovych went on to lose the re-run election months later to his opponent, Orange Revolution leader Viktor Yushchenko.

“Yanukovych was ruled politically dead by late January 2005,” said John E. Herbst, United States ambassador to Ukraine from 2003 to 2006.

But the disgraced leader didn’t slink off into obscurity. Instead, he staged one of the greatest political comebacks in modern political history. And to do it, he hired Paul Manafort.


FILE - In this Tuesday Dec. 17, 2013 file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych talk during a news conference in Moscow.(AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, file)
Though the sums Yanukovych and his friends paid Manafort may seem astronomical, they may also have been only a small portion of what the notoriously corrupt administration of Viktor Yanukovych had to offer.

“It sounds like a lot of money, but by the standards of the overall graft of the Yanukovych administration, reportedly in the range of $40 billion, it’s a drop in the ocean,” Josh Kovensky, a reporter for the Kyiv Post, told VICE News.

“He realized that his Russian advisers had failed him, and Manafort became his guy,” Herbst said.

The quiet Americans

Manafort was working for a Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov when he was introduced to Yanukovych.

Manafort’s firm, Davis Manafort, had produced an analysis of the Orange Revolution that Yanukovych found instructive, according to one report. Manafort also offered another key asset: deep contacts in Washington.

Before turning his attention to controversial world leaders, Manafort had served briefly in the Reagan administration and consulted for George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole, and his connections throughout K Street were legend.

But it was his reputation as an international fixer that proved most applicable to Yanukovych. Manafort had a track record of improving the public reputations of corrupt dictators, like Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and Zaire’s military strongman Mobutu Sese Seko.

In the fall of 2005, Manafort and Gates quietly opened an office in downtown Kiev, and they quickly went to work.

A 2006 cable to the State Department from U.S. diplomats reported that Yanukovych’s Party of Regions was in the midst of an “extreme makeover,” aided by Manafort and his colleagues.

“Ex-PM Yanukovych’s Party of Regions is working to change its image from that of a haven for mobsters into that of a legitimate political party,” the cable said. Manafort and his team were busy “nipping and tucking” with a goal of ridding the party of its gangster image.

The Manafort-led makeover was profound, even down to Yanukovych’s physical appearance.

“There’s no question that Manafort realized that Yanukovych needed to be presentable to the West.”
Yanukovych tidied up his Soviet-style bouffant hairdo, and began speaking Ukrainian rather than Russian. He pledged to take the country into the European Union. He spoke out about corruption, and began painting himself as a reformed politician who’d left his vote-rigging days behind him.

“Here’s the guy whose team tried to steal the election, and they failed,” Herbst said. “So then Manafort appeared and presented himself to me, saying he was going to help Yanukovych win the old-fashioned way, by out-organizing the opposition.”

Taras Chornovil, Yanukovych’s campaign director, who stalked the halls of their Kiev headquarters during the last days of the Orange Revolution looking pale and distraught, later said that Manafort told Yanukovych’s surrogates to wear makeup and Hugo Boss suits during their television appearances.

When Chornovil complained about Manafort to a close associate of Yanukovych, Chornovil said the man told him Manafort was untouchable — “a big cheese here, in charge of everything,” according to NBC News.

Although he doesn’t speak Ukrainian, Manafort even reportedly penned Yanukovych’s campaign slogan for the 2006 election: “A better life today.”

Manafort helped Yanukovych craft messages that appealed to both Western governments and his own party’s anti-Western base in the country’s eastern regions, Herbst said.

“There’s no question Manafort realized that Yanukovych needed to be presentable to the West, especially after his misbehavior, and the misbehavior of his team, during the revolution,” Herbst said. “But they played on wedge issues to their core voters in the east and south of the country by portraying the United States in a nasty way.”

Manafort’s intervention paid off. By 2006, Yanukovych had risen to become prime minister of Ukraine, while leaders of the Orange Revolution fought with each other.

“He was their face to the West.”
And in 2010, Yanukovych finally achieved what had once seemed impossible: He was elected president of Ukraine in an election deemed free from serious fraud. A team of international observers led by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe declared the vote an “impressive display” of democracy in action, and his main opponent, Orange Revolution stalwart Yulia Tymoshenko, later withdrew her legal challenge to the result.

Observers say Manafort played a central role in Yanukovych’s six-year journey from reject to president as both a top domestic political adviser and a key diplomatic conduit to the Western centers of power.

Yet while Yanukovych’s grand return used many of the traditional tools of Western political stagecraft, as president, he would be accused of returning to his old tendencies.

“Once he won, first slowly, then more quickly, he began to act as an authoritarian,” said Herbst.

Manafort again flexed his muscles on Yanukovych’s behalf, helping to arrange for a prestigious New York law firm to produce a report justifying the jailing of his top political rival, Tymoshenko, on charges her supporters claimed were politically motivated, according to a report in the New York Times — a move Ambassador Herbst called “outrageous.”

“He was the Yanukovych administration’s contact to the West,” Kovensky said. “He was their face to the West.”
https://news.vice.com/story/heres-why-u ... s-of-money


Paul Manafort is a glossy, glossy man
By Robin Givhan November 1 at 7:00 AM

Paul Manafort leaves Federal District Court in Washington after pleading not guilty to felony charges of conspiracy against the United States and other counts. (Alex Brandon/AP)
The recently indicted clotheshorse and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort came into his professional glory in the 1980s, which tells you everything you need to know about his aesthetic sensibility. The ’80s were when Manafort opened his lobbying firm, when he slipped into the world of global influence and the trajectory of his career was set. It was also the decade of slick excess, when an Armani suit oozed power and savoir-faire, a power tie held cultural significance, and men took pride in the dull glint of their blow-dried hair.

Manafort, 68, pleaded not guilty on Monday in Washington to multiple charges, the most ominous of which was conspiracy against the United States, appearing in federal district court in a navy pinstriped suit with a silk tie and a starched spread collar shirt. As he navigated television cameras and still photographers, Manafort looked polished and well-tailored. His clothes declared him someone to know, to be admired, to be respected.

Play Video 2:07
What we know about the special counsel's first charges

President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Manafort's former business associate Rick Gates and Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos have all been charged in the special counsel's investigation into Russian election interference. (Video: Jenny Starrs/Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)
Under the circumstances, it’s reasonable to notice Manafort’s clothes. When the FBI raided his home in July, agents took pictures of his suits. Back when his firm was working with former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, for example, consultants prescribed a fashion makeover, suggesting that Yanukovych replace his undertaker black suits with navy ones. And then there were the revelations in the unsealed indictment from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, detailing how Manafort allegedly spent his ill-gotten and unreported gains.

From 2008 to 2014, Manafort apparently spent millions of dollars on art, antique rugs and various home improvement projects — and nearly $1.4 million on clothes.

This is a sum that is challenging for some people to digest. Those people have clearly not spent an afternoon at Barneys New York or any large designer boutique. They have not browsed the $5,000 suits at Brioni. They have not felt the call of John Lobb’s $1,500 cap-toe dress shoes. They have not been lured by an $8,500 Kiton cashmere sportcoat. (Barneys New York, by the way, says that it was not the beneficiary of Manafort’s bi-coastal shopping sprees.)

It would require a bit of energy and an unabashed willingness to indulge, but spending that much money on clothes and various accessories can be done. It’s even easier if one’s preferences tilt toward bespoke. It can also be accomplished with subtlety. There is a misguided assumption that if a man is spending that much on clothing, he must be dressing like a bedazzled rock star with a penchant for fur throws. It must surely be obvious. But no. Obvious isn’t the point.

Manafort was not dressing like a man who needs your applause. He was dressing like a man who didn’t think he needed anything at all. At least from you. He looked like someone who considered himself above everything. A man who makes things happen. A man who glides through life.


A well-tailored Manafort. (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)
While the 1980s were known for wretched excess, there were important sartorial lessons from that time as well. First, there was the idea that image matters — the notion that there was an art to being successful and it began with looking the part. Casual Friday was far off in the distance; athleisure wear did not exist; and trophy sneakers basically meant a pair of Air Jordans. A man’s status was measured in working buttonholes and pick stitching. There was no glory in nerdy dishevelment, in tweedy absent-mindedness. There were no young tech gods wearing hoodies.

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Manafort in July 2016 looking very spit-shined in pin-stripes and peak-lapels. (Evan Vucci/AP)
Gloss was king. And Manafort is a glossy, glossy man — one who, according to the Associated Press, has favored custom suits and the clothing from Bijan, a ridiculously expensive Beverly Hills boutique known mostly for being . . . ridiculously expensive.

What makes Manafort stand out in a lineup is not the lavishness of his clothes; he’s not exactly walking around draped in Balmain. It is the patina of bright, shiny success that they exude. The kind of success that was not defined by intellectualism, artful inventiveness or blue-collar scrappiness, but the kind born out of smooth talk and slippery ideas. He personifies that old notion of “the suits” being all-knowing and all-powerful. Just a little bit untouchable. They are the kings of the world.

And even when their world is under assault, the gloss doesn’t crack.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/art ... a14270d38d


From court filing today it says Manafort & Gates had staff in Moscow, Russia—it also says Russian & Ukrainian oligarchs gave them millions.

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From court filing today it says Mueller’s team will be producing hundreds of thousands of documents against Manafort from the US & abroad.
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It says in this court doc Trump Advisor George Papadopolous “met with the Gov’t on numerous occasions TO PROVIDE INFO & answer questions.”
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seemslikeadream » Wed Nov 01, 2017 12:28 pm wrote:
Why Did Clovis Say Russia Was a Principal Focus of the Campaign?

By JOSH MARSHALL Published NOVEMBER 1, 2017 11:08 AM

Often when we are trying to understand a complex story it is the facts that we are most acclimated to that are most significant. Since they are familiar, they can hide in plain sight. With this in mind, I was particularly struck by a passage on page three of George Papadopoulos’s plea document.

The plea agreement narrative states that in early March 2016 Papadapoulos learned he would be a foreign policy advisor for Trump’s campaign. At the time he was living in London. “Based on a conversation that took place on or about March 6, 2016, with [Sam Clovis] Papadopolous understood that a principal foreign policy focus of the Campaign was an improved U.S. relationship with Russia.”

I’ve looked back over news accounts from late 2015 and the beginning of 2016. Russia had definitely come up as an issue with Trump. But it was primarily about Trump’s then-odd-sounding praise of Vladimir Putin and some positive comments Putin had made about Trump in return. At a conference in mid-December Putin had said: Trump “is a very flamboyant man, very talented, no doubt about that …. he is an absolute leader of the presidential race, as we see it today … He’s saying he wants to go to another level of relations – closer, deeper relations with Russia. How can we not welcome that? Of course we welcome that.”

But Trump didn’t seem to have much foreign policy at all, other than a focus on retrenchment and not fighting more wars in the Middle East. He talked a lot about bad trade deals. But bilateral trade isn’t a big issue with Russia. Again, Trump had little clearly expressed foreign policy at all. Indeed, that was the immediate trigger of putting together this list of policy advisors: to provide some explanation of who was advising him or that he had a foreign policy at all.

But at least according to this plea document, Clovis made clear that a rapprochement with Russia was “a principal foreign policy focus.” (True, President Obama came into office wanting a “reset” with Russia. But it was a secondary or even tertiary focus of his campaign and subsequent presidency.) This exchange happens a few weeks before Trump hires Paul Manafort. But he’d been pitching himself for a job with Trump in February. It’s around the time Mike Flynn is going from being a sometimes informal advisor to a clear member of the campaign team. Flynn was clearly interested in closer ties with Russia. He’d visited Moscow for that 10th Anniversary conference for RT, where he sat as a guest of honor of Vladimir Putin. Of course, as I and many others have noted, Trump himself had deep financial ties to investors and purchasers in the countries of the former Soviet Union as well.

We have a list of possibilities but no clear explanation. Sam Clovis, who’d signed on with Trump in late 2015, puts together this group and in his introductory chat with Papadopoulous tells him that a rapprochement with Russia is a top focus of the campaign. I suspect most people in early March, even reporters following the campaign closely, would have been highly surprised to hear this, notwithstanding Trump’s and Putin’s mix of chummy statements about each other. It wasn’t clear Trump really had any foreign policy at all. Again, that was part of the need to whip up this group. By early March he was clearly in a good position to become the nominee. People needed to know what his views were and who was advising him. So was this Clovis? Was it Clovis acting on Trump’s instructions? Was it Clovis trying to infer a policy agenda from Trump’s various public statements?

I don’t have a clear answer to this. But I’m sure anyone else does either, even though it’s so central.
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/why ... e-campaign


The Message Mueller Sent With The Manafort-Papadopoulos Double Punch

By TIERNEY SNEED Published NOVEMBER 1, 2017 6:00 AM
7502Views
To those who were anticipating the indictment against former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort that became public Monday, the unexpected unsealing of a guilty plea from another Trump campaign aide a little more than an hour later was a major shock.

But Special Counsel Robert Mueller wasn’t just giving close observers of the case a bonus surprise on a day being touted on Twitter as #MuellerMonday. Mueller was sending a message — multiple messages in fact — former federal prosecutors tell TPM and the unsealed court filings themselves suggest.


“It was a really strong, powerful one-two punch, that shows that they’re serious about going after people who are critical to this whole investigation and that the Russian collusion is a real issue — you’ve got somebody who has already admitted to it,” Nick Akerman, a former federal prosecutor who worked on the Watergate investigation, told TPM.

It had long been reported that Mueller was interested in Manafort’s financial history not explicitly related to the 2016 campaign and that Manafort himself was expecting an indictment. So in that sense, the indictment released Monday lived up to expectations that it would zero in on shady financial activities not directly related to the campaign.

But it was not known until later in the day Monday that back in July another Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos, was arrested for lying to the FBI in January about his Russia contacts during the campaign. Papadopoulos admitted as part of his guilty plea earlier this month that he had communications that other Trump officials were aware of with Russia-tied figures. Papadopoulos has been cooperating with Mueller’s investigation since his arrest and has reached a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Together, the two cases – the indictment of Manafort along with his protege Rick Gates and the Papadopoulos plea agreement – operated as a carrot and a stick, according to Patrick Cotter, a former federal prosecutor who investigated organized crime for the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of New York.

The stick was “a very significant, very detailed, and, therefore, in many ways, more credible than the usual bare bones federal indictment on Manafort and Gates,” Cotter said — an indictment that could bring major jail time and huge fines.

The Papadopoulos plea deal was the “very yummy, yummy carrot,” Cotter said, “where you confess to obstruction of justice and perjury, and you will not do any jail time.”

Mueller’s message to the people he is approaching now, according to Cotter: “You can have the big nasty stick or this yummy carrot. But you don’t have a third choice.”

Key lines in the Manafort indictment suggested Mueller had additional evidence that was going to undercut Manafort’s defense. The Papadopoulos revelations signaled that Mueller had long been aware that Manafort was allegedly looped in on Papadopoulos’ communications with figures said to have been connected to the Kremlin.

The documents referenced an email Papadopoulos allegedly sent a “high ranking Campaign official” — identified by the Washington Post as Manafort — that flagged that Russia through Papadopoulos has been seeking to speak to Trump.

According to Randall Samborn, a spokesman for Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald’s Valerie Plame leak investigation, this shows Manafort and Gates that as significant as the government’s charges are against them in the first indictment, they may get even worse without their cooperation.

“If they’re in jeopardy on these charges alone, they have continued ongoing jeopardy for their involvement in the attempted collusion,” Samborn told TPM.

The Papadopoulos case also signals to those who have yet to be contacted by the Mueller probe that it’s in their interest to be honest, given that Mueller has access to some of the emails from the campaign. And if you have already spoken to Mueller’s team, they might already know if you had been dishonest.

“Now they know what they said may or may not have heightened the temperature around them,” Samborn said.

A key phrase in the case filings that jumped out to former federal prosecutors was a line describing Papadopoulos as a “proactive cooperator.”

Such language could refer to anything from Papadopoulos’ willingness to meet with investigators multiple times to go over documents to the possibility that he may have continued to talk to potential witnesses or even worn a wire, Cotter said.

The case file reveals there were two months between Papadopoulos’ arrest and when he pleaded guilty, and that it was another month before Mueller felt that he could unseal the documents without harming his investigation.

“People know who they are if they have talked to Papadopoulos since the end of July,” Akerman said. “They’re wondering, what did I say and how much did I say and did he tape record it.”

Finally, there was a more general message that Mueller, a longtime creature of Washington, was issuing, one that seemed aimed at the White House spin that was expected to come out of the Manafort indictment: that those charges predate the campaign, that they have nothing to do with Russian interference, and that they were beyond the scope of what Mueller was supposed to investigate.

“Mueller and his team were effectively able to blunt that potential criticism that they don’t have any Russian collusion charges to bring and that this is all they got,” Samborn said. By unsealing the Papadopoulos documents, “he clearly intended to send a message that the investigation of Russia collusion, they are not only laser focused on, but they are making laser progress.”
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/ ... ble-whammy


Convicted Trump Campaign Advisor Met Presidents of Cyprus, Greece & UAE

Convicted Trump Campaign advisor George Papadopoulos has been downplayed by the White House as a “liar” and insulted by Trump’s surrogates as a “coffee boy,” but in reality held meetings with three major heads of state, one coming years before the campaign on an island made famous for Russian money laundering.
The stunning news on Monday of his guilty plea and cooperation with Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation has shaken Washington, D.C. after his numerous Russian contacts and attempts to set up a Trump/Putin meeting were revealed.
Greek news reports that Papadopoulos held a meeting with the President of Cyprus Nikos Anastasiadis in 2014, which was a prelude to energy business business in the region. Kathimerini reports: (via Google Translate)
George graduated in 2010 from the UCL in London where he studied Political Economy and began working at the Hudson Institute for Energy. His team was focused on relations between Cyprus, Greece and Israel and aimed to bring together ambassadors and key people from the three countries.
In this capacity, in 2014 he met with Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiadis. Correspondingly, contacts also took place in Israel: in 2015 he presented a study of the Institute in the Ministry of Energy. These contacts are believed to have played a role in opening the Noble Energy Company for the drilling of gas in the area.
Cyprus is one of the major tax havens — known for Russian money laundering — at the heart of the Paul Manafort indictments.
Current Trump Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was the Vice Chairman of the Bank of Cyprus — before joining the federal government — an institution which hosted some of indicted ex-Trump Campaign manager Paul Manafort’s accounts, which raised a ‘red flag’ as far back as March.
The News in Cyprus also reported about Papadopoulos’ meeting with the island’s President shortly after his elevation to Trump Campaign foreign advisor, as well as his meeting with the Prime Minister of the UAE — the Gulf Arab, oil-exporting stat — which includes Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
“According to his LinkedIn profile, he has had meetings with President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates. ”
His Linkedin profile no longer mentions those meetings.
A longer companion story published to In Cyprus detailed how the Trump advisor’s political position of encouraging more Mediterranean gas exploration and exports might be at odds with the candidate’s “America First” platform, since the USA is a major source of gas and growing exporter.
Kathimerini reported that the President of Greece, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, along with two key leaders from the country’s right-wing political parties held meetings with George Papadopoulous. (via Google Translate)
He first meets with the President of the Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos. He even brought up a photo of his meeting on his personal website. He asks for direct contact with the Maximos Mansion but eventually manages to see Mr Kammenos, Mr Kotzias and later Mr Mitsotakis.
The ex-Trump Campaign advisor, who made news in Israel for his contacts with West Bank settlers and comments shortly made after inauguration, continued to say that despite pro-Turkey forces inside the President’s camp — which one could assume might be registered Turkish agent and disgraced former NSA Gen. Flynn — that Donald Trump had given him a ‘blank check’ to choose an administration role. Kathimerini reports: (via Google Translate)
He claimed to be planning a trip to [Trabab] in Greece, and after the elections insisted he had managed to remain in the circle of councilors “despite the war he had received from some who promoted Turkish positions.” Everybody said that [Trump] had given him a “[blank] check” to choose whatever role he wants in the government to be formed. Some of his interlocutors were skeptical of what he was saying, others more enthusiastic (Mr. Gammen after winning [Trump] had given, through Twitter,
Convicted Trump foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos lowered his profile as the campaign went on, only giving a single interview to the Russian news service Interfax — which appeared on September 30th in English and a few days later in Russian —where he opposed US sanctions against the Russian Federation.
The Democratic Coalition’s co-founder Scott Dworkin unearthed the Russian language Interfax story, which contained clues leading to the Greek language and Cypriot reporting on Papadopoulos, and the cover photo for this story.
“It’s clear he was more senior on the Trump Campaign and was there for longer than Trump admits,” says Dworkin, “and with his ties to Cyprus it would make sense he would have Russian ties too.” He continued:
“I think he was more than capable of setting up a meeting between Trump and Putin.”
In May 2016, George Papadopoulos’ statement to the UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron caught the attention of the Trump campaign, because he very publicly demanded an apology to Donald Trump for calling him “stupid, divisive and wrong.”
Trump Campaign official J.D. Gordon then instructed him to lower his public profile.
Papadopoulos’ multiple meetings with heads of state lends an air of reality to his written messages to Trump Campaign Co-Chairman Sam Clovis, of being able to arrange a meeting with Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.
Rather, they paint the picture of an ambitious young man, whose connections to the Middle East’s political class are far greater than has been reported since his conviction was announced.
Sam Clovis testified about his role as Supervisor to George Papadopoulos the Special Counsel’s Grand Jury in Washington last week.
George Papadopoulos’ high-level meetings with heads of state prove that he was far more than a “coffee boy.”
https://thesternfacts.com/convicted-tru ... a6d405266a


CURIOUSER
The mysterious work of the Maltese professor identified in the FBI’s Russia probe

WRITTEN BY

Max de Haldevang
OBSESSION

"America First"
November 01, 2017
Joseph Mifsud is an enigma. The Maltese academic has admitted to The Daily Telegraph (paywall) that he is the mysterious professor at the center of Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos’s attempts to arrange a meeting between Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin. But he insists he has a “clear conscience” and fervently denies Papdopolous’s claim that he knew the “Russians had obtained ‘dirt’ on then-candidate Clinton.”
Mifsud has told the Washington Post (paywall) that he’d had “absolutely no contact with the Russian government,” and reiterated to the Daily Beast that, “I do not know anybody from the Russian government…I am an academic.”
That’s not quite true. Mifsud has had contact with multiple Russian officials, as Mother Jones has reported. He met the Russian ambassador to the UK, greeted a counsellor from the Russian embassy, invited a former Russian senator to his academy, and was listed (pdf, p.9) at a conference as having advised the Russian government on “international education issues.”
The idea that he could have tried to facilitate contacts with Russian officials is “not at all” far-fetched, says a former employee at the London Centre of International Law Practice (LCILP), where Mifsud held a senior role. “Everyone he’s dealt with is foreign ambassador of this country or that country.”
The London Centre of International Law Practice

LCILP headquarters
The LCILP’s office is an undecorated backroom in a handsome Georgian building in the heart of London’s legal district. (Max de Haldevang/Quartz)
The LCILP is a curious law firm. The same former employee told Quartz that “there was a lot of secrecy going on about what they do.” After several months there, the person said, “I hardly knew what kind of business they do.”
The source described the firm, which was founded in 2014, as constantly in search of, and seemingly never obtaining, big contracts. Mifsud’s role at LCILP was to bring in potential clients—ideally governments whom the company could advise on international law, the former employee said.
George Papadopoulos also spent three months at the company, before joining the Trump campaign. It’s not clear whether he and Mifsud connected through the firm. Papadopoulos and LCILP director Nagi Idris are friends on Facebook. Idris is a British national, originally from Sudan, and has been director of 18 companies at various times since 2001, according to Companies House filings.
Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 10.32.07
LCILP didn’t respond to multiple phone and email requests for comment on this story. When a Quartz reporter visited LCILP’s headquarters inside a handsome Georgian building, he found that the office amounted to four people working in an undecorated backroom, all of whom declined to comment.
LCILP has paid rent in a series of highly prestigious locations in London’s legal district, despite ending 2016 with debts of £329,000 (pdf, p.4)—a considerable sum for a company with just a handful of employees.
Shortly after rumors about Mifsud’s connection to Russia and the Trump campaign began swirling on Oct. 30, his profile was removed from the website, along with those of all other members of staff. (They are still available in a cached format.) Mifsud’s profile lists an impressive number of geographical areas of expertise as Europe, USA, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.
The external advisor, who was peripherally involved with the company, described the firm as “a good bunch of people.” Courtney Barklem, a human rights lawyer who had planned to do pro bono work for the firm but never found time, described them as “great.”
The London Academy of Diplomacy

Mifsud’s wide-ranging career (pdf) also includes a stint at Malta’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, presidency of the Euro-Mediterranean University, and directorship of the little-known London Academy of Diplomacy.
His role at the London Academy of Diplomacy is also unclear—as is the Academy itself (paywall). The Academy seems to have, at various points, been associated with the University of East Anglia, Loughborough University, and Stirling University (where, a spokesman confirmed, Mifsud has been a professorial teaching fellow since May).
Mifsud has been listed as both a director and honorary director of the institution. When Quartz phoned Loughborough University London to ask whether Mifsud was employed at its Academy of Diplomacy and International Governance, it was told there was no record of him in the university’s files.
In a 2014 conversation at the Valdai Club, a Russian think tank with close ties to the government at which Putin speaks every year, Mifsud foreshadowed a Trumpian sentiment, suggesting that the US would soon tire of its role as global policeman. “I don’t think that the US has the energy to continue with this. So the global security and economy needs partners and who is better in this than the Russian Federation,” he reportedly said, at a time when the Ukraine war was raging.
The following year, he observed Kazakhstan’s presidential election and said (link in Russian) that the election “actively corresponded to all norms.” President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has ruled the country since the fall of the Soviet Union, won almost 98% of the vote. In contrast, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe described Kazakhstan’s election (pdf, p.1) as having “limited voter choice,” “stifled public debate” due to a “restricted media environment,” and “serious procedural deficiencies and irregularities.”


From court filing today it says Manafort & Gates had staff in Moscow, Russia—it also says Russian & Ukrainian oligarchs gave them millions.

Image

From court filing today it says Mueller’s team will be producing hundreds of thousands of documents against Manafort from the US & abroad.
Image

It says in this court doc Trump Advisor George Papadopolous “met with the Gov’t on numerous occasions TO PROVIDE INFO & answer questions.”
Image



VICTORIA TOENSING’S STORY ABOUT SAM CLOVIS’ GRAND JURY APPEARANCE

October 31, 2017/13 Comments/in 2016 Presidential Election, Mueller Probe /by emptywheel
In response to Monday’s server hiccups and in anticipation that Mueller is nowhere near done, we expanded our server capacity overnight. If you think you’ll rely on emptywheel reporting on the Mueller probe, please consider a donation to support the site.

Sam Clovis is the person in the George Papadopoulos plea who told Papadopoulos, just as Paul Manafort’s pro-Russian Ukrainian corruption was becoming a scandal, “‘I would encourage you’ and another foreign policy advisor to ‘make the trip[] [to Russia], if it is feasible.'”

Victoria Toensing is a right wing nutjob lawyer whose chief skill is lying to the press to spin partisan scandals.

Clovis has decided that Toensing can best represent him in the Russia investigation, which means in the wake of yesterday’s surprise plea deal announcement, a person with “first-hand” knowledge of Clovis’ actions decided to tell his side of the story to NBC. Significantly, securing Clovis’ testimony is one of the last things Mueller did before springing the Manafort indictment and unsealing Papadopoulos’ plea, meaning that’s one of the things he was building up towards.

Sam Clovis, the former top Trump campaign official who supervised a man now cooperating with the FBI’s Russia investigation, was questioned last week by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team and testified before the investigating grand jury, a person with first-hand knowledge of the matter told NBC News.

Before I go further, let me note that there are few people who can claim first-hand knowledge of “the matter:” the grand jury, which thus far hasn’t leaked, Mueller’s team, which has shown a remarkable ability to keep secrets, or Clovis or Toensing.

Which is to say this story is likely Toensing and Toensing.

Much later in the article, a person with the same kind of knowledge also confirmed Clovis’ very helpful SSCI testimony.

Clovis was also interviewed recently by the Senate Intelligence Committee, according to a source with direct knowledge.

Thus far Clovis looks very cooperative, huh, per this person who knows what he has been doing?

Having placed Clovis at the grand jury last week, Toensing says she won’t comment on the one thing she can’t directly comment on — what went on there.

His lawyer, Victoria Toensing, would neither confirm nor deny his interactions with the Mueller team.

“I’m not going to get into that,” she said in an interview.

But Toensing does confirm that Clovis is the guy who supported Papadopoulos’ trip to Russia, which she would only know from having prepped his testimony or learned what he was asked in the grand jury.

Toensing confirmed that Clovis was the campaign supervisor in the emails.

She then presents what must be the story he told to explain why emails show him endorsing a trip to Russia even as it became clear why that was a bad idea.

In a statement, Toensing’s office said Clovis set up a “national security advisory committee” in the Trump campaign that included Papadopoulos, “who attended one meeting and was never otherwise approached by the campaign for consultation.”

[snip]

In the statement, Toensing said the Trump campaign had a strict rule prohibiting travel abroad on behalf of the campaign, and but that Clovis would have had no authority to stop Papadopoulos from traveling in his personal capacity.

To be fair, this story doesn’t directly conflict with Papadopoulos’ (though Toensing’s earlier story, that as a midwestern “gentleman,” Clovis would have been unable to tell Papadopoulos no, does conflict — this is probably an attempt, perhaps post-consultation with her client, to clean that up).

But it does adopt a line that permits the possibility Papadopolous did (make plans to) travel to Russia, but that it was all freelancing (remarkably like Carter Page’s trip to Russia was).

That is, this is the story (or close to it) that Clovis told the grand jury last week, before he learned that Papadopoulos had beat him to the punch and told a different (but still not fully public) story.

Now, I’m guessing that all the other people named in the Papadopoulos plea have also already had whatever shot they’ll get to tell the truth to the grand jury, but in case they haven’t, they can now coordinate with what Clovis said, which is surely part of the point.

But I’d also suggest that Mueller would be sure to get the testimony of everyone who might try to lie before he unsealed the Papadopoulos plea, so they have to start considering fixing their testimony.
https://www.emptywheel.net/2017/10/31/v ... ppearance/



stillrobertpaulsen » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:28 pm wrote:
“You Can’t Go Any Lower”: Inside the West Wing, Trump Is Apoplectic as Allies Fear Impeachment
After Monday’s indictments, the president blamed Jared Kushner in a call to Steve Bannon, while others are urging him to take off the gloves with Robert Mueller.

by Gabriel Sherman
November 1, 2017 1:08 pm

Image
US President Donald Trump speaks alongside his daughter, Ivanka Trump (L) and her husband, Senior White House Adviser Jared Kushner (R) during a Cabinet Meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC, October 16, 2017.
By SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images.


Until now, Robert Mueller has haunted Donald Trump’s White House as a hovering, mostly unseen menace. But by securing indictments of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, and a surprise guilty plea from foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, Mueller announced loudly that the Russia investigation poses an existential threat to the president. “Here’s what Manafort’s indictment tells me: Mueller is going to go over every financial dealing of Jared Kushner and the Trump Organization,” said former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg. “Trump is at 33 percent in Gallup. You can’t go any lower. He’s fucked.”

The first charges in the Mueller probe have kindled talk of what the endgame for Trump looks like, according to conversations with a half-dozen advisers and friends of the president. For the first time since the investigation began, the prospect of impeachment is being considered as a realistic outcome and not just a liberal fever dream. According to a source, advisers in the West Wing are on edge and doing whatever they can not to be ensnared. One person close to Dina Powell and Gary Cohn said they’re making sure to leave rooms if the subject of Russia comes up.

The consensus among the advisers I spoke to is that Trump faces few good options to thwart Mueller. For one, firing Mueller would cross a red line, analogous to Nixon’s firing of Archibald Cox during Watergate, pushing establishment Republicans to entertain the possibility of impeachment. “His options are limited, and his instinct is to come out swinging, which won’t help things,” said a prominent Republican close to the White House.

Trump, meanwhile, has reacted to the deteriorating situation by lashing out on Twitter and venting in private to friends. He’s frustrated that the investigation seems to have no end in sight. “Trump wants to be critical of Mueller,” one person who’s been briefed on Trump’s thinking says. “He thinks it’s unfair criticism. Clinton hasn’t gotten anything like this. And what about Tony Podesta? Trump is like, When is that going to end?” According to two sources, Trump has complained to advisers about his legal team for letting the Mueller probe progress this far. Speaking to Steve Bannon on Tuesday, Trump blamed Jared Kushner for his role in decisions, specifically the firings of Mike Flynn and James Comey, that led to Mueller’s appointment, according to a source briefed on the call. When Roger Stone recently told Trump that Kushner was giving him bad political advice, Trump agreed, according to someone familiar with the conversation. “Jared is the worst political adviser in the White House in modern history,” Nunberg said. “I’m only saying publicly what everyone says behind the scenes at Fox News, in conservative media, and the Senate and Congress.” (The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment by deadline.)

As Mueller moves to interview West Wing aides in the coming days, advisers are lobbying for Trump to consider a range of stratagems to neutralize Mueller, from conciliation to a declaration of all-out war. One Republican explained Trump’s best chance for survival is to get his poll numbers up. Trump’s lawyer Ty Cobb has been advocating the view that playing ball will lead to a quick resolution (Cobb did not respond to a request for comment). But these soft-power approaches are being criticized by Trump allies including Steve Bannon and Roger Stone, who both believe establishment Republicans are waiting for a chance to impeach Trump. “The establishment has proven time and time again they will fuck Trump over,” a Bannon ally told me.

In a series of phone calls with Trump on Monday and Tuesday, Bannon told the president to shake up the legal team by installing an aggressive lawyer above Cobb, according to two sources briefed on the call. Bannon has also discussed ways to pressure Congress to defund Mueller’s investigation or limit its scope. “Mueller shouldn’t be allowed to be a clean shot on goal,” a Bannon confidant told me. “He must be contested and checked. Right now he has unchecked power.”

Bannon’s sense of urgency is being fueled by his belief that Trump’s hold on power is slipping. The collapse of Obamacare repeal, and the dimming chances that tax reform will pass soon—many Trump allies are deeply pessimistic about its prospects—have created the political climate for establishment Republicans to turn on Trump. Two weeks ago, according to a source, Bannon did a spitball analysis of the Cabinet to see which members would remain loyal to Trump in the event the 25th Amendment were invoked, thereby triggering a vote to remove the president from office. Bannon recently told people he’s not sure if Trump would survive such a vote. “One thing Steve wants Trump to do is take this more seriously,” the Bannon confidant told me. “Stop joking around. Stop tweeting.”

Roger Stone believes defunding Mueller isn’t enough. Instead, Stone wants Trump to call for a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton’s role in approving the controversial Uranium One deal that’s been a locus of rightwing hysteria (the transaction involved a Russian state-owned energy firm acquiring a Canadian mining company that controlled 20 percent of the uranium in the United States). It’s a bit of a bank shot, but as Stone described it, a special prosecutor looking into Uranium One would also have to investigate the F.B.I.’s role in approving the deal, thereby making Mueller—who was in charge of the bureau at the time—a target. Stone’s choice for a special prosecutor: Rudy Giuliani law colleague Marc Mukasey or Fox News pundit Andrew Napolitano. “You would immediately have to inform Mueller, Comey, and [Deputy Attorney General] Rod Rosenstein that they are under federal investigation,” Stone said. “Trump can’t afford to fire Mueller politically. But this pushes him aside.”


seemslikeadream » Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:43 pm wrote:
Hidden bombshell in Papadopoulos’ plea indicates Trump’s role may soon take center stage

JUDD LEGUM
9 hours ago


Since special counsel Robert Mueller unsealed two indictments and a guilty plea against three Trump campaign advisers on Monday, the White House has had one strategic imperative: Keep this burgeoning scandal away from President Trump.

The White House’s basic argument is that the legal action has nothing to do with the president or the campaign. But if the charge involves campaign activity, as is the case with the guilty plea of George Papadopoulos, the argument is that Trump knew nothing about it.

Trump himself made this argument at a press conference on February 16.

“I was hoping we could get a yes or no answer on one of these questions involving Russia,” a reporter asked Trump. “Can you say whether you are aware that anyone who advised your campaign had contacts with Russia during the course of the election?”


Trump first responded that General Michael Flynn, an adviser to the campaign who briefly served as national security adviser, had contacts with Russia — without specifying whether they occurred during the election.

The reporter pressed Trump as to whether he knew of any campaign aides who had contacts “during the election.”

“Nobody that I know of,” Trump replied.



Until Monday, there was no evidence that Trump knew about any campaign contacts with Russians or their intermediaries.


In July, we learned about a June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr., campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, and several Russians who had promised Trump Jr. damaging information on Hillary Clinton. Trump claimed he knew nothing about the meeting.

“The President was not aware of, and did not attend, the meeting,” a spokesman for Trump’s legal team said at the time.

But tucked away in the guilty plea of George Papadopoulos is a piece of information that undermines Trump’s February statement and draws him more directly into the scandal.

According to Papadopoulos, when he attended a March 31, 2016 campaign national security meeting he told the small group, which included President Trump, that he had ongoing communications with Russians that would allow him to facilitate a meeting between Trump and Vladimir Putin.

9. On or about March 31, 2016, defendant PAPADOPOULOS attended a “national security meeting” in Washington, D.C., with then-candidate Trump and other foreign policy advisors for the Campaign. When defendant PAPADOPOULOS introduced himself to the group, he stated, in sum and substance, that he had connections that could help arrange a meeting between then-candidate Trump and President Putin.

The New York Times reports that “Mr. Trump listened with interest and asked questions of Mr. Papadopoulos” as he laid out his proposal. In the end Trump “didn’t say yes, and he didn’t say no,” and Papadopoulos continued to try to broker a meeting.

The detail that Trump attended the meeting was not essential to include in the guilty plea but Mueller chose to include it. Significantly, it suggests that Trump is not being honest about what he knew about his campaign’s engagement with Russia. This is a string that Mueller will likely continue to pull. It could mean that, as the investigation develops, Trump himself may become a more central figure.
https://thinkprogress.org/the-hidden-bo ... 200ac/amp/



BUSTED: Evidence mounts that Jeff Sessions perjured himself under Al Franken questioning

4 hours ago

Sen. Al Franken and Attorney General Jeff Sessions (C-SPAN)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is suddenly facing an active dilemma.

A guilty plea signed last month by one of his former Trump campaign underlings revealed this week shows he likely perjured himself during his confirmation hearing — and he doesn’t have a good option to wriggle out of it.

Sessions told Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) at the January hearing that he was “not aware” of evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government during the campaign, according to the New Republic.

He walked back those claims last month during another Senate hearing, telling Franken he “conducted no improper discussions with Russians at any time regarding the campaign or any other item facing this country.”

But court filings, and a new CNN report, show he was aware of evidence that at least one campaign associate was in contact with Russia.

George Papadopoulos, who served on the foreign policy advisory committee that Sessions oversaw, pleaded guilty Oct. 5 to lying to FBI agents in January and February.

The guilty plea Papadopoulos signed shows the campaign adviser communicated with Russians promising stolen campaign information on Hillary Clinton, and he tried repeatedly to set up meetings between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Papadopoulos told other committee members, and Trump himself, about his contacts with Russia during a March 31, 2016, meeting — and proposed arranging for the Republican candidate to meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

According to a CNN report Wednesday, Trump “didn’t say yes and he didn’t say no.”

But Sessions, then an Alabama senator and chairman of his national security team, shut down the proposal, according to one person present for the meeting and confirmed by another source.

The guilty plea shows Papadopoulos continued trying to arrange a meeting between campaign officials and Russia until at least August 2016.

J.D. Gordon, a former Pentagon spokesman and Trump campaign national security adviser who attended the meeting, told CNN that Papadopoulos “obviously went to great lengths to go around me and Sen. Sessions.”

There’s no evidence at this point to contradict Gordon’s claim — but the new revelations still leave Sessions in a position where he’s damned if he does, and damned if he doesn’t.

“The good news for Sessions is that he can plausibly claim to have opposed any Russian collusion,” writes the New Republic‘s Jeet Heer. “The bad news is that, in making those claims, he opens himself up to charges of perjury.”

https://www.rawstory.com/2017/11/busted ... oning/amp/


SonicG » Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:26 pm wrote:In addition to the Veselnitskaya meeting, I really think it is all about that Mayflower Hotel speech:
April 27, 2016: In a major foreign policy speech at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., Trump indicates a willingness to work with Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"I believe an easing of tensions, and improved relations with Russia from a position of strength only, is possible, absolutely possible," he said. "Common sense says this cycle, this horrible cycle of hostility must end and ideally will end soon. Good for both countries. Some say the Russians won't be reasonable. I intend to find out."

Sergey Kislyak, then the Russian ambassador to the U.S., was sitting in the front row, according to a report by Radio Free Europe.

On this same day, Papadopoulos separately emails a "senior policy advisor" and a "high-ranking" campaign official, both unnamed in legal filings. He told the adviser he had "some interesting messages coming in from Moscow about a trip when the time is right." He told the campaign official that he had been receiving "a lot of calls" about Putin wanting to host Trump and his team.
656 Children Separated kidnapped by trump at the Border Have Still Not Been Reunited With Their Parents

August 17 2018


Babies in cages were no ‘mistake’ by Trump but test-marketing for barbarism - Fintan O’Toole
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Re: George Papadopoulos

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu May 17, 2018 9:59 am

seemslikeadream » Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:44 pm wrote:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQfQ0DP8LQs

President Donald Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort and his former business associate Rick Gates surrendered to the FBI, after being indicted on charges that include money laundering, acting as unregistered agents of Ukraine’s former pro-Russian government and conspiracy against the United States. The White House said the indictments have nothing to do with the president’s 2016 campaign. However, Trump stopped tweeting yesterday after his former campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. We speak with Marcy Wheeler, who in a new piece writes, “George Papadopoulos’s Indictment is Very, Very Bad News for Attorney General Jeff Sessions.”

Transcript
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: President Donald Trump’s former campaign chair, Paul Manafort, and Manafort’s former business associate, Rick Gates, surrendered to authorities Monday morning, after a federal grand jury handed down the first indictments in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election. Manafort and Gates pleaded not guilty to all charges filed against them in a 12-count indictment, which included money laundering, acting as unregistered agents of Ukraine’s former pro-Russian government and conspiracy against the United States. Authorities also announced a third former Trump adviser, George Papadopoulos, had pleaded guilty in early October to lying to the FBI. White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said Monday the indictments have nothing to do with the president’s campaign or campaign activities.

PRESS SECRETARY SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS: The real collusion scandal, as we’ve said several times before, has everything to do with the Clinton campaign, Fusion GPS and Russia. There’s clear evidence of the Clinton campaign colluding with Russian intelligence to spread disinformation and smear the president to influence the election. We’ve been saying from day one, there’s been no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion. And nothing in the indictment today changes that at all.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: President Trump responded to news of the indictments on Twitter by lashing out against his former campaign rival, Hillary Clinton, and the Democratic Party. He wrote, quote, “Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus? ....Also, there is NO COLLUSION!” The president’s tweets came before news broke of George Papadopoulos’s indictment, and Trump has not tweeted since then. Meanwhile, Democratic leaders warned the White House against firing special counsel Mueller. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement, quote, “Congress must respond swiftly and unequivocally in a bipartisan way to assure that the investigation will continues,” end of quote.

AMY GOODMAN: Manafort’s bail was set at $10 million, Gates’ set at $5 million. They’ve both been placed under house arrest.

Meanwhile, observers are closely watching the case against George Papadopoulos, an early foreign policy adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign, who may provide greater evidence of possible collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. According to his plea deal, Papadopoulos was told that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton, and through a series of communications with foreign agents, he tried to facilitate communication between the Trump campaign and Russian agents. Papadopoulos was arrested in July 2017, has been cooperating with federal authorities since then, striking a plea deal earlier this month. The plea deal was just announced, after the indictments against Manafort and Gates.

For more, we’re joined by Marcy Wheeler in Michigan, an independent journalist who covers national security and civil liberties. She runs the website EmptyWheel.net. And her new piece for The Intercept is headlined “George Papadopoulos’s Indictment is Very, Very Bad News for Attorney General Jeff Sessions.”

Marcy, welcome back to Democracy Now! Well, why don’t you start with the indictments against the chairman of Donald Trump’s campaign, Manafort, and Manafort’s business executive, Gates? Talk about their significance and whether they relate to collusion.

MARCY WHEELER: Well, they’re designed to get them to flip. So, in other words, Mueller has been targeting Manafort for quite some time. I think Gates was actually a bit surprised that he was indicted yesterday. And what he has done is charge them with crimes that are fairly controllable—I mean, they don’t involve colluding with a foreign—you know, with Russia, for example—such that they will be enticed to make a plea deal, just as Papadopoulos did, and provide more information about what Mueller is really investigating, which is whether or not the Trump campaign, for example, was trying to work with Russian agents on June 9th, 2016, when they agreed to take a meeting to find dirt on Hillary Clinton.

So, it’s mostly garden-variety money laundering, although fairly spectacular garden-variety money laundering. Manafort was charged of laundering a million dollars through the local antique rug shop. There’s also a scheme going back to 2012 where Manafort and Gates were both pretending not to be lobbying on whether or not Ukraine was democratic and pro-EU, and getting, incidentally, Tony Podesta, John Podesta—Hillary Clinton’s campaign adviser’s brother—to lobby on his behalf, while hiding that they were actually lobbying. And that’s the big thing that gets Gates. But again, the idea is to get them to make a plea deal so that then Mueller can get them to provide more evidence on the case in chief, on the way in which the Trump administration—the Trump campaign was trying to reach out to the Russians.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Marcy Wheeler, the issue of Gates also being indicted? And as you have pointed out in some of your articles, Manafort was only a chair of the campaign for a short period of time in 2016, but Gates stayed on and actually was involved in the Trump campaign even through the inauguration, his inauguration as president. The significance of Gates being included in this indictment?

MARCY WHEELER: Well, I made a joke this morning. Mueller’s deputy, Andrew Weissmann, is fairly well known for indicting the target and the target’s family member. Manafort has had some marital problems recently, so I joked this morning that rather than indicting Manafort’s wife, who legitimately could have been tied to some of these, because her name is on the business, as well, he instead indicted Manafort’s long-term business partner, Gates, to make him feel like he was dragging somebody else into the dirt.

And so—but you’re right. Gates—in the Papadopoulos plea deal, there is an interchange between Manafort and Gates pertaining to whether or not the campaign was going to try and set up a meeting with Vladimir Putin. And Gates will have been in a lot of these conversations all the way through the inauguration, so he knows some stuff that—Manafort was ousted in August, although he’s stayed close to Trump and has—you know, was speaking to Trump as recently as February. But Gates was there in the White House as part of the transition, and so will have dirt of his own to deal with, with special counsel Mueller.

AMY GOODMAN: So let’s talk about George Papadopoulos and the significance here. He was what? Arrested the day after Manafort’s house was raided. He pled guilty October 5th, but it was only announced yesterday. Trump tweeted, you know, after Manafort, Gates indictments, this shows no collusion, which he was right about, with Manafort and Gates. This was before—right?—they worked for him. But when the Papadopoulos plea deal was announced, Trump stopped tweeting altogether and then went to lunch with Jeff Sessions, his attorney general. So, talk about George Papadopoulos, Jeff Sessions and the significance of what Papadopoulos knows.

MARCY WHEELER: So, Papadopoulos was living in London. He was basically—it’s quite clear from the plea, he was being courted by Russian handlers, by three different Russian handlers, to set up a meeting. They wanted to set up a meeting between Putin and Trump. And as the summer went on, Papadopoulos and Manafort were going to be the ones who went for the meeting. As I said, there is a footnote in the plea that shows Manafort talking to Gates and saying, “We need to avoid kind of making it clear that we’re kind of cozying up to the Russians here.”

So, the other really important thing, which isn’t really in the plea agreement but we know is part of the discussions that Papadopoulos has been having since July with Mueller’s people, and that is that he was accused of lying about whether—about what he took this reference from the Russians to mean, that they had dirt on Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of emails. And it is clear that they have accused him of lying about when he learned about that, but the rest is kind of silent, which is the beauty of this plea agreement, because it’s designed to get everyone panicking because they don’t know what Papadopoulos has said. But the suggestion there is that by April—actually, three days before the DNC realized that they were being hacked by the Russians—Papadopoulos knew that the Russians had thousands of Hillary emails that they were seeking to drop as dirt, as oppo, for this campaign. And it was very clear that he kept in touch with everyone else on the campaign.

So, in addition to Manafort and Gates, who aren’t named but we know from other reporting that they’re included, Corey Lewandowski, who was also a campaign chair and remained on the campaign, a guy by the name of Sam Clovis, who has a confirmation hearing coming up on November 9th for the Ag Department. And then, most importantly, on March 31, Papadopoulos was in a meeting—there’s a picture of this—with both—with a bunch of foreign policy advisers, but it includes Jeff Sessions, now the attorney general, and Trump. And at that meeting, he said, “My job is to set up a meeting with Vladimir Putin.” And as you said, Trump got really silent yesterday after this was released. But Sanders was saying, “Well, you know, Trump doesn’t remember Russia coming up in that meeting.” Sessions hasn’t said anything about it. But the point I made yesterday is that in testimony on the 18th, Sessions said he knew nothing about any campaign surrogates talking to Russians. Now we know he was in a meeting where he heard about a meeting with Vladimir Putin. So, his sworn testimony from two weeks ago seems, as always is the case with Attorney General Sessions, seems to be no longer operative and proven yet again to be untrue.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Marcy Wheeler, I think that—isn’t the Times reporting today that at one of these meetings, that Sessions especially said that this kind of meeting would not happen between—certainly, between the candidate himself and any Russian leaders? So, clearly, he had to have some knowledge of what was the information that Papadopoulos was gathering beforehand.

MARCY WHEELER: Right. At the very beginning of their discussions about foreign policy—and this is, again, quite clear from the plea agreement, the Papadopoulos plea agreement—that a priority for the Trump campaign was to make friends with Russia. And at this meeting—and again, there’s a picture floating out there with like eight different campaign people and the president, the now president. At that meeting, Papadopoulos said, “My job is to go set up a meeting between you, Donald Trump, and Vladimir Putin. And Vladimir Putin is very much looking forward to that.”

And the important point about that is, from March on—right? March, there’s that meeting. April, Papadopoulos learns about the email. That really influences the mindset of everybody who was in that June 9th, 2016, meeting with a Russian lawyer and a bunch of other Russians, where they offered dirt on Hillary Clinton, because we know that at least one person on the campaign, and probably a lot more, knew two months earlier that the dirt was not political donations going back years, but, instead, emails that were stolen from Hillary Clinton. So that really changes the mindset, particularly for Paul Manafort—right?—because he would have been in the loop, and he was in that June 9th meeting. That would change the mindset of what everyone who took that June 9th meeting was doing.

AMY GOODMAN: So, this indictment is called “Indictment (B),” right? So, who is “Indictment (A)”?

MARCY WHEELER: We have no idea. The docket just chronologically before the Manafort-Gates docket is also sealed. So it is possible somebody else got indicted. And given that we don’t know about it, if that is the case, then that person may be cooperating. It could actually be Tony Podesta. As I said, John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign adviser, he stepped down from his own influence-peddling firm, or lobbyist firm, as they’re called, but they’re both—I mean, he’s just as—he’s kind of the Democratic sleazy counterpart of Paul Manafort. So he stepped down because of this corruption. He has been named a subject in the investigation, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility that he was also charged. There’s this funny thing about these indictments yesterday, where Manafort’s lawyer actually said, “How dare the special counsel prosecute somebody for violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act?” because it hasn’t been treated as a law for a very long time in D.C. And I think—on top of everything else, I think a lot of lobbyists in D.C. are going to start admitting the kind of sleazy influence peddling they’ve been doing, because now Robert Mueller is going after it. So, Tony Podesta is an outside possibility for that.

Another possibility is Mike Flynn, because the charges that he would be offered as a first indictment to get him to flip are all the same ones that Manafort would be, that he hadn’t registered as a foreign agent both for Turkey and for Russia, and that he hadn’t disclosed all of his income on his taxes. So, it’s possible. We don’t know. You know, hopefully we’ll find out. But again, what happened yesterday was, by design, intended to get the people who are named in the Papadopoulos plea and everybody else who knows that they’ve been in conversations with these people to start panicking, to start thinking more seriously.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Marcy Wheeler, I wanted to ask you about one other aspect of what happened yesterday, the civil forfeiture attempts by the federal government against Manafort. What’s the significance of that, going after his assets, as well?

MARCY WHEELER: Plus the $10 million bail, right. So, there were millions—I think $18 million—of money-laundered funds brought into the United States. There’s the rugs. There’s the suits. And all of that—because it is the fruits of the crimes alleged in the indictment, all of that is now forfeitable, including a number of homes, not all of them. But what that serves to do is basically bankrupt Manafort, who is already known to be in a significant amount of debt. So, it makes—I mean, he’s already paid millions to his lawyers. It makes it a lot harder for him to mount a defense, because he no longer has any liquid assets to pay lawyers out of. And that’s the kind of—I mean, this is an object lesson for everyone else, that says, “Plea early, or you’re going to be in much worse straits, because you’re not going to have the money, and the charges are going to start getting worse, and it’s going to be—you know, it’s going to get increasingly difficult to get yourself out of the pinch.”

AMY GOODMAN: Marcy Wheeler, 10 seconds, did anything shock you yesterday?

MARCY WHEELER: No. But I think everyone in D.C. was surprised that Mueller was able to get this guy to take a plea agreement on October 5th and keep it silent 'til now. So what shocked me is just how well he's keeping secrets.

AMY GOODMAN: Marcy Wheeler, thanks so much for being with us, independent journalist who covers national security and civil liberties issues, runs the website EmptyWheel.net. Her new piece is for The Intercept; it’s headlined, and we’ll link to it, “George Papadopoulos’s Indictment is Very, Very Bad News for Attorney General Jeff Sessions.”
https://www.democracynow.org/2017/10/31 ... _in_russia



seemslikeadream » Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:27 am wrote:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUQtaJ-2BQ4


ZEROING IN
Prosecutors Weigh Charges Against 6 Russians in DNC Hacking

Prosecutors at the Department of Justice have reportedly identified at least six members of the Russian government who were involved in hacking computers at the Democratic National Committee. The suspects allegedly grabbed sensitive information and then publicized it during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, The Wall Street Journal reports. Agents and prosecutors could bring charges against those six officials as early as 2018. Such a case would provide the clearest picture to date of the hacking that arguably swayed the election toward President Trump.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/prosecuto ... cking-case



Prosecutors may charge Russian officials in DNC hack


BY
CHRISTOPHER BRENNAN
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2017, 7:54 AM
Russian officials believed to be behind the hack of Democratic National Committee emails may have their day in court, even if they don't show up for it.

Prosecutors in the Justice Department are mulling bringing federal charges over the cyberattack against those in Moscow, and have identified six potential targets, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

The case is reportedly still in its early stages, but may be filed next year.

Russian government figures as high as Vladimir Putin have repeatedly denied meddling in the U.S. election.

But a joint report issued by U.S. intelligence agencies in January about a broader alleged Kremlin effort to tilt the election towards President Trump pinpointed the blame for the DNC hack squarely on the Russian military intelligence agency GRU.

The hacked emails were distributed by Wikileaks online in July during the Democrats' convention, with emails from Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta later revealed in October.

Wikileaks has said that its source for the documents was not the Russian government or Fancy Bear, the hacker group believed to be associated with the GRU.

An analysis of data published by the Associated Press on Thursday says that Fancy Bear also tried to hack into the emails of then-Secretary of State John Kerry, Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina and a Ukrainian politician.

The report found that the vast majority of malicious links used by the hackers were sent during office hours in Moscow, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Obama administration sanctioned both the GRU as well as Moscow's FSB, a KGB-successor organization similar to the CIA.

Charges by U.S. prosecutors would be a large step towards public disclosure of what intelligence agencies believe happened with the attack and its spread.

However, the hackers or those above them are unlikely to actually end up in an American courtroom, and the move may be mostly based on creating difficulties should they leave Russia.

The Department of Justice investigation with the FBI into election meddling has been underway since last year, then-FBI Director James Comey told Congress.

It is separate from the probe of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who the Journal reports is allowing the FBI to retain control of the technical nature of the case.


http://www.nydailynews.com/news/nationa ... -1.3606282



U.S. Prosecutors Consider Charging Russian Officials in DNC Hacking Case
At least six Russian government officials are identified as part of ongoing investigation

By Aruna Viswanatha and Del Quentin Wilber
Nov. 2, 2017 6:23 a.m. ET
169 COMMENTS
The Justice Department has identified more than six members of the Russian government involved in hacking the Democratic National Committee’s computers and swiping sensitive information that became public during the 2016 presidential election, according to people familiar with the investigation.

Prosecutors and agents have assembled evidence to charge the Russian officials and could bring a case next year, these people said. Discussions about the case are in the early stages, they said.

If filed, the case would provide the clearest picture yet of the actors behind the DNC intrusion. U.S. intelligence agencies have attributed the attack to Russian intelligence services, but haven't provided detailed information about how they concluded those services were responsible, or any details about the individuals allegedly involved.

The high-profile hack of the DNC’s computers played a central role in the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment in January that “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election.” Mr. Putin and the Russian government have denied meddling in the U.S. election.

Thousands of the DNC’s emails and other data, as well as emails from the personal account of John Podesta, who served as campaign chairman to 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, were made public by WikiLeaks last year.

The pinpointing of particular Russian military and intelligence hackers highlights the exhaustive nature of the government’s probe. It also suggests the eagerness of some federal prosecutors and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents to file charges against those responsible, even if the result is naming the alleged perpetrators publicly and making it difficult for them to travel, rather than incarcerating them. Arresting Russian operatives is highly unlikely, people familiar with the probe said.

People familiar with the investigation drew the parallel to the Justice Department’s decision in March to charge two Russian operatives and two others with hacking into Yahoo’s computers starting in 2014 and pilfering information about 500 million accounts, one of the largest data breaches in U.S. history. One of the defendants in the Yahoo case, a Canadian national, was arrested and has pleaded not guilty; the other defendants are believed to be in Russia.

Last December, the Democratic administration of then-President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on Russia’s military-intelligence agency, which uses the acronym GRU, and Russia’s Federal Security Service, Russia’s equivalent to the Central Intelligence Agency, in response to the DNC and other hacks. It also named several individuals, including one who was later charged in the Yahoo case.

Federal prosecutors and federal agents working in Washington, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Philadelphia have been collaborating on the DNC investigation. The inquiry is being conducted separately from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election and any possible collusion by President Donald Trump’s associates.

Mr. Trump, a Republican, has denied that he or his campaign colluded with Moscow.

Mr. Mueller’s investigation resulted this week in money-laundering and tax-related charges against Paul Manafort, former chairman of Mr. Trump’s campaign, and Richard Gates, Mr. Manafort’s business associate who also worked on the campaign.

George Papadopoulos, who served as a foreign-policy adviser on Mr. Trump’s campaign, pleaded guilty last month to lying to FBI agents about his dealings with Russian go-betweens during the campaign. Messrs. Manafort and Gates pleaded not guilty earlier this week.

A Justice Department spokesman and an FBI spokeswoman declined to comment on the identification of the Russian government officials allegedly behind the DNC hack. The Russian Embassy didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Trump has cast doubts on Russia’s role in the hack. In a series of tweets this past June, the president called the idea that Russia hacked the DNC a “big Dem HOAX.” He added that it was “a big Dem scam and excuse for losing the election!”

High-ranking U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement officials have consistently stood by the intelligence community’s January assessment.

In that document, the intelligence community said GRU, “probably began cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election by March 2016.” It said the GRU had exfiltrated “large volumes of data” from the DNC by May.

The Justice Department and FBI investigation into the DNC hack had been under way for nearly a year, by prosecutors and agents with cyber expertise, before Mr. Mueller was appointed in May. Rather than take over the relatively technical cyber investigation, Mr. Mueller and the Justice Department agreed that it would be better for the original prosecutors and agents to retain that aspect of the case, the people familiar with the Justice Department-FBI probe said.

It is unclear if prosecutors will hold back filing charges until Mr. Mueller completes his investigation or wait to identify others who may have played a role in the DNC hack. Investigators believe dozens of others may have played a role in the cyberattack, the people said.

While the alleged hackers are unlikely to be arrested and prosecuted in the U.S., the Justice Department has been bringing more cases against alleged hackers acting on behalf of foreign governments as a means of making the allegations public and potentially forcing a change in behavior, people familiar with the strategy said.

In the first such case, in 2014, the Justice Department indicted five Chinese military officers, alleging they had hacked U.S. companies’ computers to steal trade secrets. Officials said they witnessed a drop in such activity following the indictment. The defendants are believed to be in China; the Chinese government denied the allegations.

In a 2016 case, prosecutors charged hackers allegedly linked to the Iranian government. The defendants are believed to be outside the U.S.


Feds ID six members of Russian government in DNC hacking case — and may bring charges

02 NOV 2017 AT 07:44 ET

Federal prosecutors have identified more than six Russian government officials involved in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee emails that were dumped online during the 2016 presidential election.

The Justice Department has assembled enough evidence to bring charges against the officials, likely next year, according to sources familiar with the investigation, reported the Wall Street Journal.

The case would provide the clearest picture yet of how the DNC computers were hacked, and attack that U.S. intelligence services have blamed on their Russian counterparts.

Another report, also published Thursday, by the Associated Press reveals a digital hit list that provides conclusive evidence that Russia used hackers to target critics and further Kremlin interest around the world.

President Donald Trump has denied any Russian involvement, and his allies have promoted conspiracy theories about the murder of a DNC staffer they claim may have turned over the emails.

The hacked emails played a central role in the election, and Trump promoted claims based on the stolen data that were then amplified by Russian “bots” on social media.

Federal prosecutors and federal agents based in Washington, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Philadelphia have been collaborating on the DNC investigation, the Journal reported.

That investigation is being conducted separately from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia during the election.
https://www.rawstory.com/2017/11/feds-i ... g-charges/



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNbvCKqSgx0



seemslikeadream » Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:39 am wrote:The Russian hackers targeted US military leaders, NATO officials, defense contractors, intel officers, & politicians (mainly Democrats).

Image


Newly revealed data described as “a master list of individuals whom Russia would like to spy on, embarrass, discredit or silence."
Image


Russia hackers had targets worldwide, beyond US election


WASHINGTON (AP) — The hackers who disrupted the U.S. presidential election had ambitions well beyond Hillary Clinton’s campaign, targeting the emails of Ukrainian officers, Russian opposition figures, U.S. defense contractors and thousands of others of interest to the Kremlin, according to a previously unpublished digital hit list obtained by The Associated Press.

The list provides the most detailed forensic evidence yet of the close alignment between the hackers and the Russian government, exposing an operation that stretched back years and tried to break into the inboxes of 4,700 Gmail users across the globe — from the pope’s representative in Kiev to the punk band Pussy Riot in Moscow.

“It’s a wish list of who you’d want to target to further Russian interests,” said Keir Giles, director of the Conflict Studies Research Center in Cambridge, England, and one of five outside experts who reviewed the AP’s findings. He said the data was “a master list of individuals whom Russia would like to spy on, embarrass, discredit or silence.”

The AP findings draw on a database of 19,000 malicious links collected by cybersecurity firm Secureworks, dozens of rogue emails, and interviews with more than 100 hacking targets.


The Associated Press has obtained thousands of links for emails sent last year by Fancy Bear hackers. AP’s analysis is the first detailed public report of how the hacks were conducted. They point overwhelmingly to Russian government involvement. (Nov. 2)

Secureworks stumbled upon the data after a hacking group known as Fancy Bear accidentally exposed part of its phishing operation to the internet. The list revealed a direct line between the hackers and the leaks that rocked the presidential contest in its final stages, most notably the private emails of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

The issue of who hacked the Democrats is back in the national spotlight following the revelation Monday that a Donald Trump campaign official, George Papadopoulos, was briefed early last year that the Russians had “dirt” on Clinton, including “thousands of emails.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the notion that Russia interfered “unfounded.” But the list examined by AP provides powerful evidence that the Kremlin did just that.

“This is the Kremlin and the general staff,” said Andras Racz, a specialist in Russian security policy at Pazmany Peter Catholic University in Hungary, as he examined the data.

“I have no doubts.”

___

THE NEW EVIDENCE

Secureworks’ list covers the period between March 2015 and May 2016. Most of the identified targets were in the United States, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia and Syria.

In the United States, which was Russia’s Cold War rival, Fancy Bear tried to pry open at least 573 inboxes belonging to those in the top echelons of the country’s diplomatic and security services: then-Secretary of State John Kerry, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, then-NATO Supreme Commander, U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, and one of his predecessors, U.S. Army Gen. Wesley Clark.

The list skewed toward workers for defense contractors such as Boeing, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin or senior intelligence figures, prominent Russia watchers and — especially — Democrats. More than 130 party workers, campaign staffers and supporters of the party were targeted, including Podesta and other members of Clinton’s inner circle.

The AP also found a handful of Republican targets.

Image
This combination of photos shows from left, punk band Pussy Riot member Maria Alekhina, anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny and oil tycoon-turned-Kremlin foe Mikhail Khodorkovsky. All three were among Russian targets of the hacking group Fancy Bear. (AP Photo)

Podesta, Powell, Breedlove and more than a dozen Democratic targets besides Podesta would soon find their private correspondence dumped to the web. The AP has determined that all had been targeted by Fancy Bear, most of them three to seven months before the leaks.

“They got two years of email,” Powell recently told AP. He said that while he couldn’t know for sure who was responsible, “I always suspected some Russian connection.”

In Ukraine, which is fighting a grinding war against Russia-backed separatists, Fancy Bear attempted to break into at least 545 accounts, including those of President Petro Poroshenko and his son Alexei, half a dozen current and former ministers such as Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and as many as two dozen current and former lawmakers.

The list includes Serhiy Leshchenko, an opposition parliamentarian who helped uncover the off-the-books payments allegedly made to Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort — whose indictment was unsealed Monday in Washington.

In Russia, Fancy Bear focused on government opponents and dozens of journalists. Among the targets were oil tycoon-turned-Kremlin foe Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who spent a decade in prison and now lives in exile, and Pussy Riot’s Maria Alekhina. Along with them were 100 more civil society figures, including anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny and his lieutenants.

“Everything on this list fits,” said Vasily Gatov, a Russian media analyst who was himself among the targets. He said Russian authorities would have been particularly interested in Navalny, one of the few opposition leaders with a national following.

Many of the targets have little in common except that they would have been crossing the Kremlin’s radar: an environmental activist in the remote Russian port city of Murmansk; a small political magazine in Armenia; the Vatican’s representative in Kiev; an adult education organization in Kazakhstan.

“It’s simply hard to see how any other country would be particularly interested in their activities,” said Michael Kofman, an expert on Russian military affairs at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington. He was also on the list.

“If you’re not Russia,” he said, “hacking these people is a colossal waste of time.”

___

WORKING 9 TO 6 MOSCOW TIME

Allegations that Fancy Bear works for Russia aren’t new. But raw data has been hard to come by.

Researchers have been documenting the group’s activities for more than a decade and many have accused it of being an extension of Russia’s intelligence services. The “Fancy Bear” nickname is a none-too-subtle reference to Russia’s national symbol.

In the wake of the 2016 election, U.S. intelligence agencies publicly endorsed the consensus view, saying what American spooks had long alleged privately: Fancy Bear is a creature of the Kremlin.


But the U.S. intelligence community provided little proof, and even media-friendly cybersecurity companies typically publish only summaries of their data.

That makes the Secureworks’ database a key piece of public evidence — all the more remarkable because it’s the result of a careless mistake.

Secureworks effectively stumbled across it when a researcher began working backward from a server tied to one of Fancy Bear’s signature pieces of malicious software.

He found a hyperactive Bitly account Fancy Bear was using to sneak thousands of malicious links past Google’s spam filter. Because Fancy Bear forgot to set the account to private, Secureworks spent the next few months hovering over the group’s shoulder, quietly copying down the details of the thousands of emails it was targeting.

The AP obtained the data recently, boiling it down to 4,700 individual email addresses, and then connecting roughly half to account holders. The AP validated the list by running it against a sample of phishing emails obtained from people targeted and comparing it to similar rosters gathered independently by other cybersecurity companies, such as Tokyo-based Trend Micro and the Slovakian firm ESET .

The Secureworks data allowed reporters to determine that more than 95 percent of the malicious links were generated during Moscow office hours — between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday to Friday.

The AP’s findings also track with a report that first brought Fancy Bear to the attention of American voters. In 2016, a cybersecurity company known as CrowdStrike said the Democratic National Committee had been compromised by Russian hackers, including Fancy Bear.

Secureworks’ roster shows Fancy Bear making aggressive attempts to hack into DNC technical staffers’ emails in early April 2016 — exactly when CrowdStrike says the hackers broke in.

And the raw data enabled the AP to speak directly to the people who were targeted, many of whom pointed the finger at the Kremlin.

“We have no doubts about who is behind these attacks,” said Artem Torchinskiy, a project coordinator with Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Fund who was targeted three times in 2015. “I am sure these are hackers controlled by Russian secret services.”

___

THE MYTH OF THE 400-POUND MAN

Even if only a small fraction of the 4,700 Gmail accounts targeted by Fancy Bear were hacked successfully, the data drawn from them could run into terabytes — easily rivaling the biggest known leaks in journalistic history.

For the hackers to have made sense of that mountain of messages — in English, Ukrainian, Russian, Georgian, Arabic and many other languages — they would have needed a substantial team of analysts and translators. Merely identifying and sorting the targets took six AP reporters eight weeks of work.

The AP’s effort offers “a little feel for how much labor went into this,” said Thomas Rid, a professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.

He said the investigation should put to rest any theories like the one then-candidate Donald Trump floated last year that the hacks could be the work of “someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”

“The notion that it’s just a lone hacker somewhere is utterly absurd,” Rid said.

___

Donn reported from Plymouth, Massachusetts. Myers reported from Chicago. Chad Day, Desmond Butler and Ted Bridis in Washington, Frank Bajak in Houston, Lori Hinnant in Paris, Maggie Michael in Cairo and Erika Kinetz in Shanghai contributed to this report. Novaya Gazeta reporters Nikolay Voroshilov, Yana Surinskaya and Roman Anin in Moscow also contributed.

____
https://apnews.com/3bca5267d4544508bb523fa0db462cb2


A Russian Facebook page organized a protest in Texas. A different Russian page launched the counter-protest.


Newly released Facebook ads revealed Wednesday show that two Russian-linked Facebook groups organized opposing protests last year at the same time outside an Islamic center in Houston.


BY CLAIRE ALLBRIGHT NOV. 1, 2017
Screenshots released by federal lawmakers of Russian-linked Facebook pages promoting anti-Muslim and pro-Muslim rallies on the same day in 2016 in Houston.
Image

Federal lawmakers on Wednesday released samples of 3,000 Facebook ads purchased by Russian operatives during the 2016 presidential campaign. The ads conveyed the wide range of influence Russian-linked groups tried to enact on Americans – but one set of ads in particular hit close to home.

Last year, two Russian Facebook pages organized dueling rallies in front of the Islamic Da’wah Center of Houston, according to information released by U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican.

Heart of Texas, a Russian-controlled Facebook group that promoted Texas secession, leaned into an image of the state as a land of guns and barbecue and amassed hundreds of thousands of followers. One of their ads on Facebook announced a noon rally on May 21, 2016 to “Stop Islamification of Texas.”

A separate Russian-sponsored group, United Muslims of America, advertised a “Save Islamic Knowledge” rally for the same place and time.


On that day, protesters organized by the two groups showed up on Travis Street in downtown Houston, a scene that appeared on its face to be a protest and a counterprotest. Interactions between the two groups eventually escalated into confrontation and verbal attacks.

Burr, the committee's chairman, unveiled the ads at a hearing Wednesday morning and said Russians managed to pit Texans against each other for the bargain price of $200.

"You commented yesterday that your company's goal is bringing people together. In this case, people were brought together to foment conflict, and Facebook enabled that event to happen," Burr said to Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch.

"I would say that Facebook has failed their goal," Burr added. "From a computer in St. Petersburg, Russia, these operators can create and promote events anywhere in the United States in attempt to tear apart our society."

Stretch told the Senate Intelligence Committee that ads such as these were most likely directed at different audiences.

Both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate Intelligence committees met with representatives from Google, Facebook and Twitter at the Capitol Wednesday.


In a press conference following the House hearing, the top Democrat on the committee, Adam Schiff of California, said lawmakers hope to make all of the Russian-bought Facebook ads available to the public in the next few weeks.

“People really need to see just how cynical this campaign really was and how this operation directed by a former KGB operative who is now the president of Russia was designed to tap into these really provocative and divisive issues here in the United States,” Schiff said.

Going forward, Schiff said Congress will consider new regulations of political advertisements. He said the question is how they will adapt these oversight measures to social media platforms.

U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Midland, is currently leading the House Intelligence Committee's investigation into election meddling by Russia.




stillrobertpaulsen » Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:38 pm wrote:
Jared Kushner's team turned over documents to special counsel in Russia investigation

By Evan Perez, Pamela Brown and Shimon Prokupecz, CNN

Updated 4:23 PM ET, Thu November 2, 2017

(CNN)Jared Kushner has turned over documents in recent weeks to special counsel Robert Mueller as investigators have begun asking in witness interviews about Kushner's role in the firing of FBI Director James Comey, CNN has learned.

Mueller's investigators have expressed interest in Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and a White House senior adviser, as part of its probe into Russian meddling, including potential obstruction of justice in Comey's firing, sources familiar with the matter said.

Their questions about Kushner signal that Mueller's investigators are reaching the President's inner circle and have extended beyond the 2016 campaign to actions taken at the White House by high-level officials. It is not clear how Kushner's advice to the President might relate to the overall Russia investigation or potential obstruction of justice.

Sources close to the White House say that based on their knowledge, Kushner is not a target of the investigation.

Kushner voluntarily turned over documents he had from the campaign and the transition, and these related to any contacts with Russia, according to a source familiar with the matter. The documents are similar to the ones Kushner gave to congressional investigators.

Two separate sources told CNN that investigators have asked other witnesses about Kushner's role in firing Comey. Investigators have also asked about how a statement was issued in the name of Donald Trump Jr. regarding a Trump Tower meeting and about the circumstances surrounding the departures of other White House aides, according to one source. Kushner attended the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between top Trump campaign officials and a cadre of Russian figures, including some with links to the Kremlin. It was arranged after Trump Jr. was told that the Russian government wanted to pass along damaging information about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton as part of its pro-Trump efforts. The meeting was also attended by Paul Manafort, who was Trump's campaign chairman.

A White House official said the Mueller team's questions about Kushner are not a surprise, and that Kushner would be among a list of people who investigators would be asking about.

A lawyer for Kushner did not comment. The White House declined to comment. Special counsel spokesman Peter Carr also declined to comment.

The question of whether -- or just how much -- Kushner influenced the President's decision to fire Comey is a matter of dispute among those in Trump's orbit. White House sources say it was the President alone who made that decision after watching Comey's congressional testimony May 3. While Kushner and those close to the White House will only say he was in favor of the decision -- or, in the words of one attorney, "did not oppose it" -- there are multiple sources who say that Kushner was a driver of the decision and expected it would be a political boon for the President.

Why Kushner would want Comey fired also remains a matter of dispute. Some people close to the White House believe it simply reflected a political neophyte wanting to get rid of a presidential enemy without understanding the ramifications, or a son-in-law trying to please his father-in-law and boss. One theory promoted by those in the anti-Kushner camp is that Kushner did not want Comey to comb through his own personal finances, and this was a way to slow down any investigation.

The disclosures follow the indictments this week of Manafort and his longtime business partner and Trump campaign deputy, Rick Gates. Both pleaded not guilty. Former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty for making a false statement to the FBI about contacts with people connected with the Russian government.

Even before Mueller took over, the FBI had been looking at Kushner's multiple roles on both the Trump campaign and the Trump transition team. The 2016 Trump Tower meeting, in addition to sessions with Russia's ambassador and a Russian banker, were left off Kushner's security clearance forms, which had to be revised multiple times.

Other points of focus that pertain to Kushner include the Trump campaign's 2016 data analytics operation, his relationship with former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Kushner's own contacts with Russians, according to sources briefed on the probe.


"Not a target of the investigation." Right, keep telling yourself that. :thumbsup



seemslikeadream » Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:02 pm wrote:oh man I got to catch up ...take a few minutes off and.....BAM!

Kushner Page and Mercer ........and PENCE......and SESSIONS...........oh my :yay


Will the circle be unbroken by and by lord by and by


Exclusive: Carter Page testifies he told Sessions about Russia trip
By Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb, CNN
Updated 7:53 PM EDT, Thu November 02, 2017

(CNN) Former Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page privately testified Thursday that he mentioned to Jeff Sessions he was traveling to Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign — as new questions emerge about the attorney general's comments to Congress about Russia and the Trump campaign.

During more than six hours of closed-door testimony, Page said that he informed Sessions about his coming July 2016 trip to Russia, which Page told CNN was unconnected to his campaign role. Page described the conversation to CNN after he finished talking to the House intelligence committee.

Sessions' discussion with Page will fuel further scrutiny about what the attorney general knew about connections between the Trump campaign and Russia — and communications about Russia that he did not disclose despite a persistent line of questioning in three separate hearings this year.


Page's testimony was one of the more highly anticipated events in the congressional Russia investigations, given the scrutiny he's faced because of his connections to Russia and his visible role pushing back about his Russia ties in nationally televised interviews.

Rep. Mike Conaway, the Texas Republican who is leading the House intelligence committees Russia probe, confirmed to CNN that Page told the committee he had informed Sessions about his trip, though Conaway downplayed its significance.

"I don't make anything sinister out of it. He said Sessions did not react or comment one way or the other," Conaway said in an interview. "If I were Sessions, I wouldn't have recalled it either. It was just in passing. He was walking out of the room. A guy he had never met before, grabs him, 'Hey, I'm out on the team. I changed my travel plans to go to Russia.'"

Page told CNN after the interview that he informed Sessions about the trip during a group dinner in Washington, and that he mentioned it in passing.

"Back in June 2016, I mentioned in passing that I happened to be planning to give a speech at a university in Moscow," Page told CNN. "Completely unrelated to my limited volunteer role with the campaign and as I've done dozens of times throughout my life. Understandably, it was as irrelevant then as it is now. If it weren't for the dodgy dossier and all the chaos that those complete lies had created, my passing comment's complete lack of relevance should go without saying."

Page said it was the only time he met Sessions.

A source familiar with the meeting told CNN that the encounter occurred at a dinner at the Capitol Hill Club, attended by members of the Trump national security team, including Sessions. Near the end of the dinner, Page approached Sessions to say hello and thanked the then-senator for the dinner, and Page also mentioned he was headed to Russia. Sessions didn't respond and moved on to the next person waiting to shake his hand, this source said.

A Justice spokesperson declined to comment.

Several lawmakers from both parties described the session as meandering, at-times confusing and contradictory. Page did not have a lawyer present, which is highly unusual, lawmakers said.

Conaway said that Page was "fulsome" in his answers and he answered all of the questions the committee asked.

Moreover, Page reached a rare agreement to allow the committee to release a transcript of his testimony, something that will happen early next week. Some members said his testimony will help move the investigation forward, though Page told the committee that the Trump campaign made him sign a non-disclosure agreement.

"It was terrific to have the opportunity to help clear the record as to the falsehoods from the dodgy dossier, which started this whole thing against me in the final two months before the election," Page told reporters after his marathon session, referring to the Trump-Russia dossier produced by former British agent Christopher Steele. "I'm glad the truth is finally becoming known."


Page interacted with Sessions because the then-Alabama senator was leading the national security team for the Trump campaign.

Sessions is already facing new questions over his testimony on Capitol Hill about Russia and the Trump campaign following the revelations this week that he rejected a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed by foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty for making a false statement to the FBI about contacts with people connected with the Russian government.

At a June Senate intelligence committee hearing, Sessions testified that he wasn't aware of any conversations between "anyone connected to the Trump campaign" and Russians about "any type of interference with any campaign or election in the United States."

In another exchange with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Sessions was asked if Page met with Russian officials "at any point during the campaign."

"I don't know," Sessions responded.

Asked at a Senate hearing last month whether he believed Trump campaign surrogates had communications with Russians, Sessions replied, "I did not and I'm not aware of anyone else that did, and I don't believe it happened."

Democrats on the Senate intelligence and judiciary committees are interested in formally asking Sessions to clarify his testimony, according to a Senate aide.

Page traveled to Moscow for a few days in early July 2016, where he gave a lecture critical of US foreign policy and later met with Russians whom he described as academic scholars and business leaders. He has said that the topic of sanctions might have come up in his conversations but that he was not there as an emissary of the Trump campaign. After the trip, the FBI grew concerned that he had been compromised by Russian operatives, US officials previously told CNN.

The committee has asked Page to produce more documents, according to members, to comply with the subpoena they previously issued.
https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2017/11/02/poli ... index.html



seemslikeadream » Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:07 pm wrote:
stillrobertpaulsen » Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:03 pm wrote:Edited to remove story seemslikeadream just linked about Lyin' Sessions. What can I say?

:shock2: :shock2: :shock2:



:shock2: :shock2: :shock2: :shock2: :shock2: :shock2:



Clovis is the one that brought Page and Papadopoulos to the trump campaign !!!

Sam is a big fat fuckin key


Looks like Sam Clovis has indeed flipped on Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump
Bill Palmer
Updated: 7:12 pm EDT Thu Nov 2, 2017
Home » Opinion

As expected, the Donald Trump administration withdrew its nomination today of Sam Clovis for a USDA position. This was nearly a given, considering that George Papadopoulos implicated Clovis in the Trump-Russia scandal this week, and Clovis testified before a Robert Mueller grand jury this week. His Senate confirmation hearing would have been entirely about the scandal. Now one new key detail sure makes it look like Clovis has flipped on Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump.



As Palmer Report spelled out earlier this week, there were two distinct possibilities when it came to the Sam Clovis grand jury testimony. The first was that he was not truly cooperating, and he had either showed up voluntarily to testify in his own defense, by subpoena in a case against a different Trump-Russia adviser. The second was Clovis had flipped, and was testifying in incriminating fashion against someone higher up the chain.



ABC News is confirming that the Trump White House didn’t know Sam Clovis had testified in the grand jury until reading about it in the news (link). Then administration then withdrew Clovis’ nomination today in response. This means that Clovis didn’t even bother to inform the Trump team that he was testifying, let alone try to coordinate strategy. Considering that Clovis had a pending nomination for a position in the Trump administration, his failure to notify the Trump team of his grand jury testimony strongly suggests that it’s because he’s flipped. There are only two people he could have flipped on.



George Papadopoulos has asserted that Sam Clovis and Jeff Sessions knew about his plot to conspire with the Russian government to alter the outcome of the election. In turn Clovis answered to Jeff Sessions, who in turn answered to Donald Trump. Robert Mueller would only cut a deal with Clovis if he was willing to flip on Session or Trump. Flipping on Sessions would force Sessions to flip on Trump. So if Clovis has flipped, he’s made the conscious decision to sell them both out.
http://www.palmerreport.com/politics/fl ... ovis/5859/


trip down memory lane

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeUWZnTG5UM



seemslikeadream » Fri Nov 03, 2017 2:00 pm wrote:
How Russians Hacked The Democrats’ Emails

By RAPHAEL SATTER, Jeff Donn and CHAD DAY Published NOVEMBER 3, 2017 1:49 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — It was just before noon in Moscow on March 10, 2016, when the first volley of malicious messages hit the Hillary Clinton campaign.

The first 29 phishing emails were almost all misfires. Addressed to people who worked for Clinton during her first presidential run, the messages bounced back untouched.

Except one.

Within nine days, some of the campaign’s most consequential secrets would be in the hackers’ hands, part of a massive operation aimed at vacuuming up millions of messages from thousands of inboxes across the world.

ADVERTISING

An Associated Press investigation into the digital break-ins that disrupted the U.S. presidential contest has sketched out an anatomy of the hack that led to months of damaging disclosures about the Democratic Party’s nominee. It wasn’t just a few aides that the hackers went after; it was an all-out blitz across the Democratic Party. They tried to compromise Clinton’s inner circle and more than 130 party employees, supporters and contractors.

While U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia was behind the email thefts, the AP drew on forensic data to report Thursday that the hackers known as Fancy Bear were closely aligned with the interests of the Russian government.

The AP’s reconstruction— based on a database of 19,000 malicious links recently shared by cybersecurity firm Secureworks — shows how the hackers worked their way around the Clinton campaign’s top-of-the-line digital security to steal chairman John Podesta’s emails in March 2016.

It also helps explain how a Russian-linked intermediary could boast to a Trump policy adviser, a month later, that the Kremlin had “thousands of emails” worth of dirt on Clinton.

____

PHISHING FOR VICTIMS

The rogue messages that first flew across the internet March 10 were dressed up to look like they came from Google, the company that provided the Clinton campaign’s email infrastructure. The messages urged users to boost their security or change their passwords while in fact steering them toward decoy websites designed to collect their credentials.

One of the first people targeted was Rahul Sreenivasan, who had worked as a Clinton organizer in Texas in 2008 — his first paid job in politics. Sreenivasan, now a legislative staffer in Austin, was dumbfounded when told by the AP that hackers had tried to break into rsreenivasan@hillaryclinton.com. He said the address had been dead for nearly a decade.

“They probably crawled the internet for this stuff,” he said.

Almost everyone else targeted in the initial wave was, like Sreenivasan, a 2008 staffer whose defunct email address had somehow lingered online.

But one email made its way to the account of another staffer who’d worked for Clinton in 2008 and joined again in 2016, the AP found. It’s possible the hackers broke in and stole her contacts; the data shows the phishing links sent to her were clicked several times.

Secureworks’ data reveals when phishing links were created and indicates whether they were clicked. But it doesn’t show whether people entered their passwords.

Within hours of a second volley emailed March 11, the hackers hit pay dirt. All of a sudden, they were sending links aimed at senior Clinton officials’ nonpublic 2016 addresses, including those belonging to longtime Clinton aide Robert Russo and campaign chairman John Podesta.

The Clinton campaign was no easy target; several former employees said the organization put particular stress on digital safety.

Work emails were protected by two-factor authentication, a technique that uses a second passcode to keep accounts secure. Most messages were deleted after 30 days and staff went through phishing drills. Security awareness even followed the campaigners into the bathroom, where someone put a picture of a toothbrush under the words: “You shouldn’t share your passwords either.”

Two-factor authentication may have slowed the hackers, but it didn’t stop them. After repeated attempts to break into various staffers’ hillaryclinton.com accounts, the hackers turned to the personal Gmail addresses. It was there on March 19 that they targeted top Clinton lieutenants — including campaign manager Robby Mook, senior adviser Jake Sullivan and political fixer Philippe Reines.

A malicious link was generated for Podesta at 11:28 a.m. Moscow time, the AP found. Documents subsequently published by WikiLeaks show that the rogue email arrived in his inbox six minutes later. The link was clicked twice.

Podesta’s messages — at least 50,000 of them — were in the hackers’ hands.

___

A SERIOUS BREACH

Though the heart of the campaign was now compromised, the hacking efforts continued. Three new volleys of malicious messages were generated on the 22nd, 23rd and 25th of March, targeting communications director Jennifer Palmieri and Clinton confidante Huma Abedin, among others.

The torrent of phishing emails caught the attention of the FBI, which had spent the previous six months urging the Democratic National Committee in Washington to raise its shield against suspected Russian hacking. In late March, FBI agents paid a visit to Clinton’s Brooklyn headquarters, where they were received warily, given the agency’s investigation into the candidate’s use of a private email server while secretary of state.

The phishing messages also caught the attention of Secureworks, a subsidiary of Dell Technologies, which had been following Fancy Bear, whom Secureworks codenamed Iron Twilight.

Fancy Bear had made a critical mistake.

It fumbled a setting in the Bitly link-shortening service that it was using to sneak its emails past Google’s spam filter. The blunder exposed whom they were targeting.

It was late March when Secureworks discovered the hackers were going after Democrats.

“As soon as we started seeing some of those hillaryclinton.com email addresses coming through, the DNC email addresses, we realized it’s going to be an interesting twist to this,” said Rafe Pilling, a senior security researcher with Secureworks.

By early April Fancy Bear was getting increasingly aggressive, the AP found. More than 60 bogus emails were prepared for Clinton campaign and DNC staffers on April 6 alone, and the hackers began hunting for Democrats beyond New York and Washington, targeting the digital communications director for Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and a deputy director in the office of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The group’s hackers seemed particularly interested in Democratic officials working on voter registration issues: Pratt Wiley, the DNC’s then-director of voter protection, had been targeted as far back as October 2015 and the hackers tried to pry open his inbox as many as 15 times over six months.

Employees at several organizations connected to the Democrats were targeted, including the Clinton Foundation, the Center for American Progress, technology provider NGP VAN, campaign strategy firm 270 Strategies, and partisan news outlet Shareblue Media.

As the hacking intensified, other elements swung into place. On April 12, 2016, someone paid $37 worth of bitcoin to the Romanian web hosting company THCServers.com, to reserve a website called Electionleaks.com, according to transaction records obtained by AP. A botched registration meant the site never got off the ground, but the records show THC received a nearly identical payment a week later to create DCLeaks.com.

By the second half of April, the DNC’s senior leadership was beginning to realize something was amiss. One DNC consultant, Alexandra Chalupa, received an April 20 warning from Yahoo saying her account was under threat from state-sponsored hackers, according to a screengrab she circulated among colleagues.

The Trump campaign had gotten a whiff of Clinton email hacking, too. According to recently unsealed court documents, former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos said that it was at an April 26 meeting at a London hotel that he was told by a professor closely connected to the Russian government that the Kremlin had obtained compromising information about Clinton.

“They have dirt on her,” Papadopoulos said he was told. “They have thousands of emails.”

A few days later, Amy Dacey, then the DNC chief executive, got an urgent call.

There’d been a serious breach at the DNC.

___

‘DON’T EVEN TALK TO YOUR DOG ABOUT IT’

It was 4 p.m. on Friday June 10 when some 100 staffers filed into the Democratic National Committee’s main conference room for a mandatory, all-hands meeting.

“What I am about to tell you cannot leave this room,” DNC chief operating officer Lindsey Reynolds told the assembled crowd, according to two people there at the time.

Everyone needed to turn in their laptops immediately; there would be no last-minute emails; no downloading documents and no exceptions. Reynolds insisted on total secrecy.

“Don’t even talk to your dog about it,” she was quoted as saying.

Reynolds didn’t return messages seeking comment.

Two days later, as the cybersecurity firm that was brought in to clean out the DNC’s computers finished its work, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told a British Sunday television show that emails related to Clinton were “pending publication.”

“WikiLeaks has a very good year ahead,” he said.

On Tuesday, June 14, the Democrats went public with the allegation that their computers had been compromised by Russian state-backed hackers, including Fancy Bear.

Shortly after noon the next day, William Bastone, the editor-in-chief of investigative news site The Smoking Gun, got an email bearing a small cache of documents marked “CONFIDENTIAL.”

“Hi,” the message said. “This is Guccifer 2.0 and this is me who hacked Democratic National Committee.”

___

‘CAN IT INFLUENCE THE ELECTION?’

Guccifer 2.0 acted as a kind of master of ceremonies during a summer of leaks, proclaiming that the DNC’s stolen documents were in WikiLeaks’ hands, publishing a selection of the material himself and constantly chatting up journalists over Twitter in a bid to keep the story in the press.

He appeared particularly excited to hear on June 24 that his leaks had sparked a lawsuit against the DNC by disgruntled supporters of Clinton rival Bernie Sanders.

“Can it influence the election in any how?” he asked a journalist with Russia’s Sputnik News, in uneven English.

Later that month Guccifer 2.0 began directing reporters to the newly launched DCLeaks site, which was also dribbling out stolen material on Democrats. When WikiLeaks joined the fray on July 22 with its own disclosures the leaks metastasized into a crisis, triggering intraparty feuding that forced the resignation of the DNC’s chairwoman and drew angry protests at the Democratic National Convention.

Guccifer 2.0, WikiLeaks and DCLeaks ultimately published more than 150,000 emails stolen from more than a dozen Democrats, according to an AP count.

The AP has since found that each of one of those Democrats had previously been targeted by Fancy Bear, either at their personal Gmail addresses or via the DNC, something a finding established by running targets’ emails against the Secureworks’ list.

All three leak-branded sites have distanced themselves from Moscow. DCLeaks claimed to be run by American hacktivists. WikiLeaks said Russia wasn’t its source. Guccifer 2.0 claimed to be Romanian.

But there were signs of dishonesty from the start. The first document Guccifer 2.0 published on June 15 came not from the DNC as advertised but from Podesta’s inbox, according to a former DNC official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

The official said the word “CONFIDENTIAL” was not in the original document.

Guccifer 2.0 had airbrushed it to catch reporters’ attention.

___

‘PLEASE GOD, DON’T LET IT BE ME’

To hear the defeated candidate tell it, there’s no doubt the leaks helped swing the election.

“Even if Russian interference made only a marginal difference,” Clinton told an audience at a recent speech at Stanford University, “this election was won at the margins, in the Electoral College.”

It’s clear Clinton’s campaign was profoundly destabilized by the sudden exposures that regularly radiated from every hacked inbox. It wasn’t just her arch-sounding speeches to Wall Street executives or the exposure of political machinations but also the brutal stripping of so many staffers’ privacy.

“It felt like your friend had just been robbed, but it wasn’t just one friend, it was all your friends at the same time by the same criminal,” said Jesse Ferguson, a former Clinton spokesman.

An atmosphere of dread settled over the Democrats as the disclosures continued.

One staffer described walking through the DNC’s office in Washington to find employees scrolling through articles about Putin and Russia. Another said she began looking over her shoulder when returning from Clinton headquarters in Brooklyn after sundown. Some feared they were being watched; a car break-in, a strange woman found lurking in a backyard late at night and even a snake spotted on the grounds of the DNC all fed an undercurrent of fear.

Even those who hadn’t worked at Democratic organizations for years were anxious. Brent Kimmel, a former technologist at the DNC, remembers watching the leaks stream out and thinking: “Please God, don’t let it be me.”

___

‘MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN’

On Oct. 7, it was Podesta.

The day began badly, with Hillary Clinton’s phone buzzing with crank messages after its number was exposed in a leak from the day before. The number had to be changed immediately; a former campaign official said that Abedin, Clinton’s confidante, had to call staffers one at a time with Clinton’s new contact information because no one dared put it in an email.

The same afternoon, just as the American electorate was digesting a lewd audio tape of Trump boasting about sexually assaulting women, WikiLeaks began publishing the emails stolen from Podesta.

The publications sparked a media stampede as they were doled out one batch at a time, with many news organizations tasking reporters with scrolling through the thousands of emails being released in tranches. At the AP alone, as many as 30 journalists were assigned, at various times, to go through the material.

Guccifer 2.0 told one reporter he was thrilled that WikiLeaks had finally followed through.

“Together with Assange we’ll make america great again,” he wrote.

___

Donn reported from Plymouth, Massachusetts. Desmond Butler, Ted Bridis, Julie Pace and Ken Thomas in Washington, Justin Myers in Chicago, Frank Bajak in Houston, Lori Hinnant in Paris, Maggie Michael in Cairo, Erika Kinetz in Shanghai and Vadim Ghirda in Bucharest, Romania contributed to this report.

___

Editor’s Note: Satter’s father, David Satter, is an author and Russia specialist who has been critical of the Russian government. Several of his emails were published last year by hackers and his address is on Secureworks’ list.

Nineteen thousand lines of raw data associated with the theft of Hillary Clinton campaign emails shows how the hackers dodged strict security measures to pull it off.

Minute-by-minute logs gathered by cybersecurity company Secureworks and recently shared with The Associated Press tell the tale. It took the hackers just over a week of work to zero in on and penetrate the personal Gmail account of campaign chairman John Podesta.

One outside expert who reviewed the data said it showed how even the well-defended Clinton campaign fell prey to phishing, a basic cyberespionage technique which uses bogus emails to harvest passwords
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/how-r ... ats-emails



Russia-linked hacker edited DNC email to call it 'confidential': report
BY MAX GREENWOOD - 11/03/17 02:17 PM EDT 254
2,860


Russia-linked hacker edited DNC email to call it 'confidential': report
© Greg Nash
The Russia-linked hacker behind a massive breach at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) altered a stolen email by labeling it "confidential," a move intended to draw attention from the news media, The Associated Press reported Friday.

The email in question was the first document published by the hacker Guccifer 2.0 in June 2016. Billed as coming from the DNC, the email was actually stolen from John Podesta, the former chairman of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

That email was marked "confidential." But a former DNC official told the AP that the label was added to the message only after it was stolen.

The email was just one of at least 50,000 stolen from Podesta's inbox by hackers believed to be tied to the Russian government. Guccifer 2.0 and the websites WikiLeaks and DCLeaks published more than 150,000 messages stolen from more than a dozen Democrats.

Clinton, who was widely projected to win in the months before Election Day, ultimately fell short to President Trump. She has since argued that the email leaks, as well as former FBI Director James Comey's announcement a week before the election that the agency had renewed its investigation into her handling of classified material, contributed to her loss.

Trump has repeatedly blasted the notion that Russia-backed hackers influenced the outcome of the election and has also denied allegations that members of his campaign team coordinated with Russian officials and representatives.

On Monday, George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser for Trump's campaign, pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about his contacts with a professor with ties to the Kremlin. During an April 2016 meeting with the professor, he was reportedly told that the Russians had gathered dirt on Clinton.
http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity ... nts-report




JENNA ABRAMS, ALT-RIGHT HERO ON TWITTER, WAS REALLY A RUSSIAN TROLL WHO TRICKED REPUBLICANS AND CELEBRITIES
BY SUMMER MEZA ON 11/3/17 AT 12:44 PM

A popular Twitter account known for strong alt-right opinions was, it turns out, never really run by a young American woman as it claimed. Congressional investigators have confirmed that Twitter user Jenna Abrams was in fact a creation of a Russian “troll farm.”

The story was originally published Thursday by The Daily Beast, which describes the account as one of the dozens of Russian-backed social media accounts run from St. Petersburg. The account gained traction after tweeting about a nude Kim Kardashian photo, then pivoted into divisive comments on segregation, Donald Trump, and immigration. Her viral tweets, which went out to nearly 70,000 followers, pushed Kremlin-funded opinions that far-right users jumped to defend.

Twitter is amping up its rules to prevent harassment and violence on the app
The Twitter logo is displayed on a banner outside the New York Stock Exchange on November 7, 2013, in New York City.
ANDREW BURTON/GETTY IMAGES


Abrams’ inflammatory posts were included in news stories across the web, bringing her quotable talking points onto mainstream news sites like the New York Times, CNN and local Fox affiliates, as well as sites like Breitbart and InfoWars. Her tweets were just controversial enough to pick up attention, but not so out of the ordinary that followers suspected the account could be fake.

For example, in April of last year, Abrams’ tweet baited readers into a debate on slavery.

“To those people, who hate the Confederate flag. Did you know that the flag and the war wasn’t about slavery, it was all about money,” read the tweet.

It wasn’t just alt-right followers who were fooled by the account. Several public figures engaged with Abrams, like former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who retweeted her just three days before the 2016 election. Entertainer Roseanne Barr responded to one of her tweets, and even Michael McFaul, former U.S. ambassador to Russia debated Abrams on multiple occasions.

The account was particularly convincing due to the thoroughly crafted online presence. In addition to the Twitter account, Abrams had a personal website, a Medium account, a GoFundMe page and a Gmail account.

In the months leading up to the 2016 election, the accounts pushed Abrams’ political opinions even harder than before. The now-deleted Medium account posted an essay titled “Why do we need to get back to segregation.”

“Humanity has gone full circle. Never mind how many activists of any color died to get rid of segregation, and fought for inclusion, black people want it back. 100% free people made their choice, and their choice is segregation,” read the post.

Abrams’ perspectives were elevated by angry readers who retweeted her Medium posts and daily thoughts in order to disprove them, and by the followers who loved her supposedly no-nonsense conservative style.

The account has been deleted, along with dozens of other accounts associated with the Russian troll farm.
http://www.newsweek.com/jenna-abrams-fa ... unt-700801



seemslikeadream » Fri Nov 03, 2017 2:10 pm wrote:
Papadopoulos And Flynn Client Both Tied To Israeli Energy Consortium
Both George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn’s client, Turkish businessman Kamil Ekim Alptekin, are tied to Israeli gas dealings and attended energy conferences in Tel Aviv last year.

Posted on November 3, 2017, at 1:42 p.m.
Borzou Daragahi

ISTANBUL — The former Trump adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators examining Russian influence in the 2016 Trump campaign attended conferences that included the same energy firm that was a source of funding for a controversial lobbying contract with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

George Papadopoulos, an adviser to the Trump campaign now cooperating with special investigator Robert Mueller’s team, worked for years in the oil and energy business, focusing on cultivating deals emerging from the Leviathan gas field along the eastern Mediterranean.

Last year, while serving as a Trump foreign policy adviser, Papadopoulos appeared on an Israeli energy conference panel that included Yigal Landau, CEO of Ratio Oil Exploration, one of several Israeli and US firms that are part of the consortium exploiting Leviathan.

Documents obtained and reviewed by BuzzFeed News earlier this year showed Ratio had a business relationship with Kamil Ekim Alptekin. The Dutch-Turkish businessman has been subpoenaed by Mueller’s investigators in connection to his hiring of the lobbying and of Flynn’s consulting firm.

Alptekin attended a November 2016 energy conference in Tel Aviv as a guest of Ratio, but a source close to Alptekin denied he had any ties to Papadopoulos, and described both men’s connection to the Leviathan project as coincidental.

The connection may add to the growing picture of Papadopoulos, who has become a subject of scrutiny since his plea deal was unsealed on Monday. Although The Daily Caller reported that former Trump campaign official Sam Clovis approved of his joining the Trump camp in March 2016 — he also appears in a photo of the March 2016 meeting with Trump, Clovis and now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions among others — it remains unclear how he was brought into the Trump camp’s orbit.

Alptekin told BuzzFeed News he hired the now-defunct Flynn Intelligence Group in part to advise him on the Ratio contract, but later clarified that he also asked Flynn to research the activities of the movement led by Fethullah Gulen, a US-based Islamic scholar wanted by the Turkish government for his alleged role in a 2016 coup attempt. A Ratio spokesperson earlier this year denied ties to Alptekin, despite the existence of numerous documents, emails, photographs and bank statements showing a business relationship. Ratio did not respond to an email sent Thursday to its spokesperson and two other executives for comment.

The Leviathan field, one of the largest gas finds worldwide, has attracted enormous interest within the energy sector.

"We want to see Israeli partnerships with European countries, especially from the Mediterranean, such as Greece, Cyprus and Turkey,” Papadopoulos said during his panel at the energy conference, held on April 4, 2016 at the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv, according to a report by Israel Defense.

While there is no evidence of a connection between the panel and the energy deal, Alptekin’s firm Inovo and Ratio signed a consulting deal on April 13 last year, according to documents reviewed by BuzzFeed News.

Significant energy finds such as Leviathan often draw the attention of ambitious businessmen such as the 30-year-old Papadopoulos and Alptekin, a well-connected 39-year-old whose primary business has been aerospace and real estate.

In another possible coincidence, both Alptekin and Josef Mifsud, a London-based Maltese scholar who has acknowledged that he is the unnamed “overseas professor” in the Papadopoulos case, are among several hundred international relations specialists and players who are members of the European Council of Foreign Relations, a mainstream think tank with offices in seven countries. According to the plea deal, Papadopoulos sought to reach out to sources in Moscow after the UK-based professor informed him in April 2016 that the Russians had incriminating material that could be used to damage the presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton.

The source with knowledge of Alptekin’s affairs said the businessman had never communicated with Mifsud.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/borzoudaragahi ... .kc32k2V50


RED LETTERS
Michael Flynn Followed Russian Troll Accounts, Pushed Their Messages in Days Before Election

Trump’s notoriously Kremlin-friendly national security adviser amplified Russian messages right when they mattered most—in the days leading up to Nov. 8, 2016.

BEN COLLINS
KEVIN POULSEN
11.01.17 8:34 PM ET
Former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn followed five Twitter accounts based out of the Russian-backed “troll factory” in St. Petersburg—and pushed their messages at least three times in the month before the 2016 election.
Over 2,750 troll accounts based out of the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency were made public by House investigators on Wednesday. The accounts, some of which had previously been identified by The Daily Beast as Russian-generated, were pulled from Twitter due to their ties to the troll factory over the past three months.
The Daily Beast had previously discovered Flynn, Donald Trump Jr., Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, and Trump campaign digital director Brad Parscale retweeted Ten_GOP several times in the month before the election.
The news that Flynn also pushed Russian propaganda comes at an unwelcome time for the former three-star general and head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Flynn is one of the people under investigation by Robert Mueller’s widespread probe into Russian influence in the 2016 campaign.
During Flynn’s brief tenure as President Trump’s top national security aide, Flynn pushed for cooperation between the Russian and American military that would have been, at best, borderline illegal. Flynn ultimately resigned amidst reports that he had undisclosed meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kisylak during the campaign.
Of course, Flynn wasn't necessarily hostile to Russian agitprop. In December of 2015, he traveled to Moscow for a gala celebrating Russia Today, the Kremlin’s propaganda network. At Flynn’s side for dinner: Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Flynn followed the accounts Jenn_Abrams, LauraBaeley, Pamela_Moore13, SouthLoneStar, and Ten_GOP. Baeley, Abrams and Moore falsely claimed they were female American Trump supporters. SouthLoneStar claimed it was an account by a “Proud Texan and American Patriot” who featured “Islam is against Western culture” in its Twitter bio.


Just three days before the 2016 election, Flynn posted that a Ten_GOP tweet “needs to be RT'd (retweeted) frequently,” tagging Trump campaign social media director Dan Scavino, his son Mike Flynn Jr., and far-right agitator Mike Cernovich.

A day before the election, Flynn cited Ten_GOP again, saying “@realdonaldtrump & @mike_pence will be our next POTUS & VPOTUS.”

The Ten_GOP tweets were two of just 25 tweets by Trump’s future national security adviser in the two days before the election.

When Flynn quote-tweeted Pamela_Moore13 in October, it was one of his three total tweets from that day.

“Let's take our country back from the hands of those who care less about you & I and more about power & money,” his tweet reads.

“Moore” claimed she lived in Texas and said she was “pro-God” and “anti-racism,” but often posted xenophobic rants.
“Today's Marseille, France: Hospitals are so overrun by Muslims gimmigrants that local French can no longer get care,” the account tweeted in August, just weeks before it was shut down by Twitter.
Attempts to reach Flynn to comment for this story were not successful.
Since Twitter has suspended the Kremlin-connected accounts and deleted their posts, including a record of all retweets, only tweets where Flynn comments on the troll account’s posts—or “quote tweets” them—remain. Unlike Trump Jr., Conway, Parscale and Flynn Jr., Flynn Sr.’s deleted tweets are not saved by the political tweet archive service Polititweet.
Flynn’s son, Michael Flynn Jr., was an even more ardent consumer of Russian troll content, retweeting the propaganda accounts 47 times in all, according to data in the Polititweet archive. Ten_GOP, an account he retweeted 37 times, benefited the most, with five retweets defending General Flynn, one purporting to debunk Russian election interference, and another pushing misinformation about a Twin Falls, Idaho assault case that Russia was then using to inflame anti-refugee sentiment in the US. The troll account Pamela_Moore13 got eight retweets, and Jenn_Abrams and rightnpr (“Right and Proud”) each enjoyed a single retweet from the junior Flynn, who also favored the Russian account USA_Gunslinger (“Gunslinger Girl” from “Wisconsin”) with a personal reply on election day.
Flynn Jr. could be subpoenaed by the Senate Intelligence Committee after ignoring requests to hand over documents to investigators about the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The general’s son was active in the spread of Hillary Clinton-related conspiracy theories stemming from the DNC and John Podesta hacks that were distributed by Wikileaks, including the so-called “Pizzagate” conspiracy.
The elder Flynn also tweeted about the Pizzagate, which falsely claims that Hillary Clinton and her campaign chairman John Podesta were running a pedophile ring out of the basement of a pizza shop that has no basement, in the days before the election.
“U decide - NYPD Blows Whistle on New Hillary Emails: Money Laundering, Sex Crimes w Children, etc...MUST READ!” he tweeted, linking to an entirely fabricated news article on a website called TruePundit six days before polls opened.
He later deleted the tweet.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/michael-f ... e-election


seemslikeadream » Fri Nov 03, 2017 8:30 pm wrote:
POLITICS

Trump Campaign Adviser Met With Russian Officials in 2016

By MARK MAZZETTI and ADAM GOLDMANNOV. 3, 2017

WASHINGTON — Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump presidential campaign, met Russian government officials during a July 2016 trip he took to Moscow, according to testimony he gave on Thursday to the House Intelligence Committee.

Shortly after the trip, Mr. Page sent an email to at least one Trump campaign aide describing insights he had after conversations with government officials, legislators and business executives during his time in Moscow, according to one person familiar with the contents of the message. The email was read aloud during the closed-door testimony.

The new details of the trip present a different picture than the account Mr. Page has given during numerous appearances in the news media in recent months and are yet another example of a Trump adviser meeting with Russians officials during the 2016 campaign.
In multiple interviews with The New York Times, he had either denied meeting with any Russian government officials during the July 2016 visit or sidestepped the question, saying he met with “mostly scholars.”

Mr. Page confirmed the meetings in an interview on Friday evening, but played down their significance.

“I had a very brief hello to a couple of people. That was it,” he said. He said one of the people he met was a “senior person,” but would not confirm the person’s identity.


He confirmed that an email he had written to the campaign after that trip to Moscow was presented to him during Thursday’s appearance before the House Intelligence Committee.

Mr. Page acknowledged his meeting with Russian government officials during sharp questioning by Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the committee
, according to a congressional official familiar with the exchange.

During another part of the testimony, Mr. Page was questioned about a trip to Budapest, although it was not immediately clear why. Mr. Page told The Times earlier this year that he had taken that trip around Labor Day weekend last year, but he said he had not met with any Russians.

“It was a short four-day trip over a long holiday weekend at the end of the summer,” Mr. Page said at the time. “I had a nice trip up the Danube, to the Visegrad castle, did a lot of sightseeing and went to a jazz club. Not much to report.”

Court records unsealed on Monday revealed that another campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, met with Russian officials in 2016 and was offered damaging information about Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.” The court records were released by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russian attempts to disrupt the presidential election last year and whether any of President Trump’s associates helped in that effort.

Mr. Page was questioned by the F.B.I. earlier this year and has also appeared before the grand jury as part of the special counsel’s inquiry.

The House Intelligence Committee is one of three congressional investigations that are also examining these issues.

Mr. Page’s trip to Moscow in July 2016 was never a secret, and during the trip, he gave a speech at a graduation ceremony at the New Economic School, a university there. But the trip was one of the triggers of a counterintelligence investigation begun by the F.B.I. later that month.


In his talk at the university, Mr. Page criticized American policy toward Russia in terms that echoed the position of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. “Washington and other Western capitals have impeded potential progress through their often hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change,” Mr. Page said.

His remarks accorded with Mr. Trump’s positive view of the Russian president, which had prompted speculation about what Mr. Trump saw in Mr. Putin — more commonly denounced in the United States as a ruthless, anti-Western autocrat.

Mr. Page left the Trump campaign not long after the trip, and since then, Mr. Trump’s advisers tried to distance the campaign from Mr. Page.

During another trip to Moscow, in December 2016, after Mr. Page had left the Trump campaign, he said he planned to meet with “business leaders and thought leaders.” At the time, a Kremlin spokesman said that no government officials planned to meet Mr. Page and that the Kremlin had never had any contact with him.

“We have learned about this from the press,” the spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, told the news agency Interfax.

A former Navy officer and Annapolis graduate, Mr. Page was unknown in Washington foreign policy circles when Mr. Trump announced him as a member of his team of advisers in March 2016.

But his Russian experience was real, as Mr. Page lived in Moscow from 2004 to 2007 while working as a junior investment banker for Merrill Lynch.

Mr. Page subsequently started his own investment firm, Global Energy Capital, and teamed up on some deals with a Russian businessman, Sergey Yatsenko. Mr. Yatsenko had been deputy chief financial officer for the Russian energy giant Gazprom, which is majority-owned by the government and has close ties to Mr. Putin.

Mr. Page was wrapped up — but not charged — in an F.B.I. investigation in 2013 that targeted people suspected of being Russian intelligence officers in New York. One of the of three men who was later charged with being an unregistered agent of a foreign power had met Mr. Page at an energy symposium, and was recorded describing him as having dreams of lucrative deals.

Mr. Page had said he did not know the man was an intelligence officer.

In a video of the July 2016 speech he gave in Moscow, Mr. Page told the audience that he had met with an executive of Rosneft, another major Russian energy company. He said that person was a “friend.”

His time on the Trump campaign was short, but he has described the experience as particularly meaningful.

“The half year I spent on the Trump campaign meant more to me than the five years I spent in the Navy,” he said in an interview earlier this year.

Michael S. Schmidt contributed reporting.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/03/us/p ... ssian.html


Aug 13, 2016

seemslikeadream » Sat Aug 13, 2016 3:22 pm wrote:Trump’s money mystery: Trump is definitely hiding something, but the question is what
Are we going to find deep ties to Russia in those long-awaited tax returns?
MICHAEL WINSHIP, BILLMOYERS.COM

This piece originally appeared on BillMoyers.com.

First things first, Donald Trump: Release. Your. Tax. Returns.

No excuses.

Second, if we have to have a cartoon character running for president, I would prefer Bart Simpson. He has better writers and a healthier sense of self-awareness.

Like Donald Trump, Bart clings to a life’s philosophy best summed up as, “Whatever it is, I didn’t do it, unless it’s something good, in which case I did do it, even if I didn’t do it.”

That said, while Bart rarely can discern right from wrong, he frowns on bad organization and a lack of finesse. Of the Trump campaign, he would look askance and dismissively pronounce, as he has of other fiascoes, “This is senseless destruction with none of my usual social commentary.”

Bart also has a finer comprehension than Trump of government and the U.S. Constitution, a document he supports and understands, but about which he forthrightly declares, “I’m pretty sure the Patriot Act killed it to ensure our freedoms.”

But back to those tax returns. According to experts, the old “I’m being audited and can’t release them” argument does not hold water. For the umpteenth time, what is Trump hiding?

Of course, many have speculated for months that his obfuscating is because he has much less money than he claims; some have suggested that the returns would reveal that Trump is a complete chiseler when it comes to contributing to charity.

No, what’s truly disturbing is the prospect of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, each an exemplar of thuggish ultra-nationalism, joining hands and merrily dragging the rest of us down the lane to a kleptocratic, even fascist hell. And in the end, it’s all about the money.
Like others, I believe that what’s in those documents would reveal how deeply in hock Trump is to overseas investors, especially the Russian oligarchs. How could we have a president with hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign debt? How effectively could Trump engage as a leader of the United States when he personally owes other countries’ financiers a fortune? This is almost as frightening as the prospect of Trump waking up in a cranky pants mood and eighty-sixing the planet. Almost.

The relationship among Trump, his advisors and Russia is deeply troubling and not because of Cold War-era paranoia about the Communist threat (although it is fascinating to see how the possible involvement of Russia in this election is both stirring up that nostalgic paranoia while at the same time opening old fissures on the left, as if we were back debating Khrushchev’s 1956 denunciation of Stalin and the cult of personality).

Bad enough that many intelligence and computer experts seem to agree that the recent cyberattacks against the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and Hillary Clinton’s campaign are the handiwork of hackers in the employ of Russian security services. The long-suspected machinations of several DNC staffers against the Bernie Sanders campaign that were revealed by the hacks, while indeed worthy of condemnation, do not justify the act itself. Nor do the many past acts of interference by the United States in the electoral process of friends and enemies. But as many have noted, we once voted to impeach a president after a break-in at Democratic headquarters; this current breach should be taken no less seriously and is, in many important ways, worse.

You don’t have to be a hawk on these issues or an hysteric on the dangers of Russia — and I’m neither — to be deeply concerned that outside influences could so easily manipulate a potential president.Worrying, too, to see the recent interference, reportedly by Trump staffers, with the Republican Party platform plank calling for the protection of Ukraine’s security against Russia, as well as Trump’s own comments praising Putin and Russia while questioning America’s continuing role as the linchpin member of NATO. Not to mention a campaign manager, Paul Manafort, whose work as a political consultant to former Ukrainian president and Putin pal Viktor Yanukovych is deeply suspect and an advisor, Carter Page, who has ties to Gazprom, the Russian, state-controlled energy giant. In July, Page spoke at Moscow’s New Economic School and said that the chance for better relations with Russia has been diminished because, “Washington and other Western capitals have impeded potential progress through their often hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change.”

As Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo wrote a couple of weeks ago, “Those associations might simply be unsavory if the candidate were an experienced political figure or surrounded by knowledgable advisors. Neither is the case…My own concern is mainly that this kind of mix of ignorance, grifters and disorganization is the kind of seed bed where influence operations and malign influence tend to thrive and take root. We’ve seen more than enough to know this knot of connections requires deep scrutiny, extreme vetting as Trump might say. This is no joke.”

But most important, follow the money. Trump denies that he has any investments in Russia, which as many have pointed out is not for lack of trying, and which essentially raises the question, what have the Russians invested in Trump? “There is a lot of Russian money flowing into Trump’s coffers,” Marshall wrote late last month, “and he is conspicuously solicitous of Russian foreign policy priorities.”

We know that Trump’s son, Donald Jr., told a real estate conference in 2008 that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets…We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” The Guardian reports there are “several Russian billionaires tied to Trump” and notes Trump’s sale of a Palm Beach mansion for $95 million to Russian fertilizer billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, “who was reported in the Panama Papers leaks to have used offshore law firms to hid more than $2 billion worth of artworks, including pieces by Picasso, Van Gogh and Leonardo, from his wife in advance of their divorce.”

Perhaps most damning is The New York Times’s April account of accusations that arose from the building of Trump SoHo, a hotel and condo tower in downtown Manhattan, “one of several instances in which Mr. Trump’s boastfulness — a hallmark of his career and his campaign — has been accused of crossing the line into fraud.”

Times reporter Mike McIntire wrote that one of the associates at Bayrock, the development company behind the Trump project, “brokered a $50 million investment in Trump SoHo and three other Bayrock projects by an Icelandic firm preferred by wealthy Russians ‘in favor with’ President Vladimir V. Putin, according to a lawsuit against Bayrock by one of its former executives.” Another lawsuit “was filled with unflattering details of how Bayrock operated, including allegations that it had occasionally received unexplained infusions of cash from accounts in Kazakhstan and Russia.”

The aforementioned Josh Marshall has been taking all of this in and covering Trump’s Russia ties with the persistence and eagle eye of a superb investigative reporter. He writes:

“Trump has been blackballed by all major U.S. banks with the exception of Deutschebank, which is of course a foreign bank with a major U.S. presence. He has steadied and rebuilt his financial empire with a heavy reliance on capital from Russia. At a minimum the Trump organization is receiving lots of investment capital from people close to Vladimir Putin.

“…Even if you draw no adverse conclusions, Trump’s financial empire is heavily leveraged and has a deep reliance on capital infusions from oligarchs and other sources of wealth aligned with Putin. That’s simply not something that can be waved off or ignored.”

Yes, the body of evidence, while large, is circumstantial. But where there’s smoke, which makes it all the more imperative that Trump let the press and public see his tax returns so we have a chance at piecing together the truth.

There is no sense in allowing a man with this potentially monstrous amount of foreign debt to be our president, especially when he is someone monumentally indifferent to understanding America’s place in the world, a fool whose entire worldview seems equivalent to that of the blowhard at the local tavern whose total knowledge comes from something he heard from a guy once.

Dump Trump, Republicans, and see if Bart Simpson will give you a tumble.

http://www.salon.com/2016/08/13/trumps- ... r_partner/



Now we know why Donald Trump and his allies have spent all week lying about the Trump-Russia dossier
Bill Palmer
Updated: 10:54 pm EDT Fri Nov 3, 2017
Home » Politics


Donald Trump and his allies have spent the past week or more spreading nonstop false claims about the “Trump-Russia dossier” compiled by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele. It’s been clear that they’ve been trying to create a distraction, as the arrests have begun in the Trump-Russia scandal. Now we know why Trump and his gang have been focusing on attacking the dossier specifically.



Here’s a line straight out of Steele’s dossier: “July 2016: Trump advisor Carter Page holds secret meetings in Moscow with Sechin and senior Kremlin Internal Affairs official, Divyekin.” Now the New York Times reports that on Thursday, Carter Page testified to the House Intelligence Committee that when he traveled to Russia in July 2016, he did indeed secretly meet with Russian government officials (link). The official cover story for Page’s trip was to give a policy speech, and up to now he’s never admitted that he secretly met with the Russian government while he was there. Why is this so important?



For reasons known only to them, nearly every major media outlet has treated the Trump-Russia dossier like toxic radiation from the start. CNN initially refused to publish it at all. After BuzzFeed did publish it, other news outlets felt compelled to periodically report on it, but insisted on disclaiming it as being “unverified.” This was true, but these same news outlets were simultaneously reporting far flimsier claims without any such disclaimer. As time has gone on, one claim in the dossier after another has been independently verified. Not a single claim in the dossier has been disproven. Now we have Carter Page confirming that the claim about him in the dossier is indeed true.



This helps explain why Donald Trump and his allies have recently begun frantically trying to discredit the Trump-Russia dossier by falsely claiming that it’s a work of fiction created by Hillary Clinton. They’ve known that more pieces of the dossier were about to be confirmed to be true, and they were trying to get out ahead of it.
http://www.palmerreport.com/politics/ly ... rump/5891/


seemslikeadream » Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:23 am wrote:Will Flynn bring back Yellowcake to WH Menu after 1-21-1?


Looks like he did just not the kind Ledeen wanted :P







Image
Mueller Has Enough Evidence to Bring Charges in Flynn Investigation
by JULIA AINSLEY, CAROL E. LEE and KEN DILANIAN

WASHINGTON — Federal investigators have gathered enough evidence to bring charges in their investigation of President Donald Trump's former national security adviser and his son as part of the probe into Russia's intervention in the 2016 election, according to multiple sources familiar with the investigation.

Michael T. Flynn, who was fired after just 24 days on the job, was one of the first Trump associates to come under scrutiny in the federal probe now led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

Mueller is applying renewed pressure on Flynn following his indictment of Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, three sources familiar with the investigation told NBC News.

Michael Flynn,Boris Epshteyn
From left, retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, his son Michael G. Flynn, and Boris Epshteyn, a spokesman for President-elect Donald Trump, board an elevator at Trump Tower in New York on Nov. 17, 2016. Carolyn Kaster / AP file
The investigators are speaking to multiple witnesses in coming days to gain more information surrounding Flynn's lobbying work, including whether he laundered money or lied to federal agents about his overseas contacts, according to three sources familiar with the investigation.

Mueller's team is also examining whether Flynn attempted to orchestrate the removal of a chief rival of Turkish President Recep Erdogan from the U.S. to Turkey in exchange for millions of dollars, two officials said.

A spokesperson for the special counsel had no comment.

Related: Mike Flynn's Son Is Subject of Federal Russia Investigation

Flynn's son, Michael G. Flynn, who worked closely with his father, accompanied him during the campaign and briefly worked on the presidential transition, could be indicted separately or at the same time as his father, according to three sources familiar with the investigation.

If the elder Flynn is willing to cooperate with investigators in order to help his son, two of the sources said, it could also change his own fate, potentially limiting any legal consequences.

The pressure on Flynn is the latest signal that Mueller is moving at a rapid, and steady, pace in his investigation. Last week, investigators unsealed indictments of Manafort and Manafort's business partner Rick Gates. They pleaded not guilty.

Image: Michael G. Flynn during at an RT event with his father Ret. Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn in Moscow in 2015
Michael G. Flynn at an RT event with his father Ret. Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn in Moscow in 2015. RT
Investigators also revealed Monday that former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos had pleaded guilty to lying to federal officials and had been cooperating with Mueller's investigation.

If the senior Flynn is charged, he would be the first current or former Trump administration official formally accused of criminal wrongdoing by the Mueller team.

So far, the probe has only ensnared campaign officials, and the White House has argued that the connection to the president is minimal. An indictment of the president's former national security adviser and his son would scramble that dynamic.

Related: Flynn, Manafort Are Key Figures in Mueller's Russia Probe

A former senior law enforcement official said that in the weeks after Trump's inauguration the FBI was asked to conduct a new review of Turkey's 2016 request to extradite Fethullah Gulen, an elderly Muslim cleric living in the U.S. whom President Erdogan blames for orchestrating a coup to overthrow him.

The FBI pushed back on the request because Turkey had supplied no additional information that could incriminate Gulen since a review of the case during the Obama administration, the official said. It is unclear whether the request to investigate Gulen came from Flynn or through the typical diplomatic channels at the State Department.

Image: Fethullah Gulen
U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whose followers Turkey blames for a failed coup, speaks to journalists at his home in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, on July 16, 2016. Greg Savoy / REUTERS TV / Reuters, file
The FBI is also investigating former CIA Director Jim Woolsey's account to the Wall Street Journal — which he confirmed to MSNBC — that Flynn and Turkish officials discussed a potential plan to forcibly remove Gulen from the country in September 2016, according to sources close to Woolsey, who say the former director has spoken to FBI agents working for Mueller about the matter.

Flynn was fired in February following public revelations that he had lied to Vice President Pence about his dealings with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.

Flynn's lawyer, Robert Kelner, declined to comment.

The younger Flynn's lawyer, Barry Coburn, declined to comment.

Father and Son
Both Flynns have for months been subjects of the Mueller investigation.

The elder Flynn, an Army lieutenant general, was pushed out as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014 and retired from the military. He then founded a lobbying firm, Flynn Intel Group, where his son worked closely with him. The younger Flynn was involved in the daily operations of his father's firm and functioned as his chief of staff. He often attended meetings with his father and would communicate with prospective clients.

The elder Flynn was paid $530,000 last year for work the Justice Department says benefited the government of Turkey. The elder Flynn did not register as a foreign lobbyist at the time, but did so retroactively this year. The issue has been part of Mueller's probe.

Image: Robert Mueller
FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing ion oversight of the FBI on June 19, 2013 in Washington. Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call file
His lawyer later said Flynn didn't need to register because his client was a Turkish businessman and not a government official, but had opted to do so retroactively.

According to Flynn's Justice Department filing, the Flynn Intel Group was hired to gather information about Gulen, and to produce a short film about its findings.

During the contract, which ended the day after Trump won the election, Flynn had at least one meeting, in September 2016, with Turkish officials, according to officials. Woolsey says that it included a discussion about kidnapping Gulen and flying him to Turkey.

Flynn also was paid some $35,000 in 2015 by Russian state television for a speech in Moscow at a gala where he sat next to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The younger Flynn accompanied him on that trip. The trip raised concerns among federal officials.

NBC News has reported that others under scrutiny by Mueller include Carter Page, a Trump campaign ally; Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior White House adviser; and the president's son, Donald Trump Jr. They have denied any collusion with Russia.

Exclusive: Michael Flynn's Son is A Subject of Russia Investigation Play Facebook Twitter Embed
Exclusive: Michael Flynn's Son is A Subject of Russia Investigation 1:49
President Trump has denied any collusion with Russia during the campaign and has called the investigation a politically motivated witch hunt.

Kelner has declined to comment when asked if Flynn denies colluding with the Russian election interference effort.

Turkey has long demanded the U.S. extradite tGulen, saying he is considered a terrorist. Erdogan forcefully renewed that request after the attempted coup against him in July 2016. U.S. officials have said the Justice Department has not found sufficient evidence linking Gulen to the coup attempt despite the boxes of documents Turkey has submitted to the U.S. that Ankara says back up its claim.

Extradition requests are processed through the U.S. justice system and are not determined by the White House or other agencies.

Any quid-pro-quo deal such as the alleged agreement between Flynn and Turkey would be illegal, officials said.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/mu ... on-n817666
656 Children Separated kidnapped by trump at the Border Have Still Not Been Reunited With Their Parents

August 17 2018


Babies in cages were no ‘mistake’ by Trump but test-marketing for barbarism - Fintan O’Toole
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Re: George Papadopoulos

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu May 17, 2018 10:11 am

stillrobertpaulsen » Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:25 pm wrote:Image

https://twitter.com/SethAbramson/status ... 6749671424

The ambitious George Papadopoulos
ALEXIS PAPACHELAS

Image
George Papadopoulos (third from left) sits at a table with then-US presidential candidate Donald Trump and others during a meeting in Washington in this photo that was posted on Trump’s Twitter account on March 31.

When I first heard the name George Papadopoulos coming from the lips of Donald Trump, I admit I was taken aback. We more or less know all the Greek Americans who are active in the Greek lobby or in think tanks. George Papadopoulos, however, was a name we hadn’t heard. The only Greek American close to Trump during the US president’s election campaign was George Gigicos, who traveled across America with him, organizing his rallies.

With some research, a journalist with Kathimerini tracked down Papadopoulos, who had come to Athens to make “contacts.” It was May 2016 and Trump was very much a question mark. No one knew his positions on foreign policy issues, nor of course, on Greece. I admit I was curious to meet the man and see whether there was a “Greek” element in Trump’s closest team.

The first meeting

I contacted him and we met at a central Athens hotel. Sharply dressed in a manner befitting of a US law school graduate in his first job at a firm, he started to explain Trump’s dogma and to stress his own role as foreign policy adviser. His manner was that of a second-rate actor in a political thriller. Every so often, he would lower his voice so as not to be overheard or drop hints of major contacts, mainly in Israel, but also in Egypt and Cyprus. He also insinuated having some kind of close connection to the Israeli energy firm Noble. It was obvious that he didn’t know a lot of people in Athens at the time, but was eager to make important acquaintances. The way he threw out different names, like that of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, made me think that he would soon accomplish his goal. I left that first meeting unsure of who I was dealing with or, rather, whether I was looking at someone who was too green or too flippant for the job he had been assigned.

We met again when he came back to Athens a few weeks later. By then he had met everyone he needed to know and spoke very comfortably about the Greek president, the ministers of foreign affairs and defense, the head of the main opposition and important businessmen. He “revealed” that had been secretly planning a pre-election trip by Trump to Greece and Israel, which he saw taking place that July. His contacts with the Greek government, he claimed, were quite advanced and he appeared confident the visit would happen despite some reservations from the prime minister’s office.

In the meantime, he expressed his interest in an article I had written on the need for Greece to acquire some influence in Trump’s team, because up to that point, the government and its politicians were only in contact with the Democrats. I asked him to mediate with the Trump campaign people to get some answers from the candidate regarding issues that were of Greek interest. He said he would do it, so I sent him my questions. He then disappeared for a while and wouldn’t answer the email I sent him. On June 3, he forwarded me an email from Hope Hicks, the head of communications in the Trump campaign, in which she said she would be happy to do an interview, but needed a bit of time.

I heard nothing more on the issue and Papadopoulos disappeared again until September 30, 2016, when he forwarded me an interview he had given to Russia’s Interfax news agency. I traveled to the US the following month for the elections and tried to track him down for an interview. He finally answered after I had sent several messages, saying that there had been some issues with the campaign, but they were OK now. Then he disappeared again.

Key contact

In the meantime, I started hearing complaints from all sorts of people regarding Papadopoulos’s attitude. He had acquired a new status in Athens and was widely regarded as being the key to having Trump’s ear. He was bestowed with awards, wined and dined by prominent Athenians and even appointed to the judging committee of a beauty pageant on a Greek island. I had expected him to get a job at the State Department as it became clear after the elections that Trump did not have enough people of his own to staff hundreds of political positions.

For months I heard nothing of Papadopoulos and wondered what had become of him. Last Tuesday, I was at Dubai airport on my way back to Greece from Japan when I saw the news of Papadopoulos’s arrest in the CNN headlines. The ambitious young Greek American had finally managed to become famous – albeit not in the way he had intended.


seemslikeadream » Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:02 pm wrote:The Intercept

CIA DIRECTOR MET ADVOCATE OF DISPUTED DNC HACK THEORY — AT TRUMP’S REQUEST
Duncan Campbell, James Risen
November 7 2017, 8:11 a.m.
CIA DIRECTOR MIKE Pompeo met late last month with a former U.S. intelligence official who has become an advocate for a disputed theory that the theft of the Democratic National Committee’s emails during the 2016 presidential campaign was an inside job, rather than a hack by Russian intelligence.

Pompeo met on October 24 with William Binney, a former National Security Agency official-turned-whistleblower who co-authored an analysis published by a group of former intelligence officials that challenges the U.S. intelligence community’s official assessment that Russian intelligence was behind last year’s theft of data from DNC computers. Binney and the other former officials argue that the DNC data was “leaked,” not hacked, “by a person with physical access” to the DNC’s computer system.

In an interview with The Intercept, Binney said Pompeo told him that President Donald Trump had urged the CIA director to meet with Binney to discuss his assessment that the DNC data theft was an inside job. During their hour-long meeting at CIA headquarters, Pompeo said Trump told him that if Pompeo “want[ed] to know the facts, he should talk to me,” Binney said.

A senior intelligence source confirmed that Pompeo met with Binney to discuss his analysis, and that the CIA director held the meeting at Trump’s urging. The Intercept’s account of the meeting is based on interviews with Binney, the senior intelligence source, a colleague who accompanied Binney to CIA headquarters, and others who Binney told about the meeting. A CIA spokesperson declined to comment. “As a general matter, we do not comment on the Director’s schedule,” said Dean Boyd, director of the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs.

Binney said that Pompeo asked whether he would be willing to meet with NSA and FBI officials to further discuss his analysis of the DNC data theft. Binney agreed and said Pompeo said he would contact him when he had arranged the meetings.

It is highly unorthodox for the CIA director to reach out to someone like Binney, a 74-year-old ex-government employee who rose to prominence as an NSA whistleblower wrongfully persecuted by the government, for help with fact-finding related to the theft of the DNC emails. It is particularly stunning that Pompeo would meet with Binney at Trump’s apparent urging, in what could be seen as an effort to discredit the U.S. intelligence community’s own assessment that an alleged Russian hack of the DNC servers was part of an effort to help Trump win the presidency.

It is possible Trump learned about Binney and his analysis by watching Fox News, where Binney has been a frequent guest, appearing at least 10 times since September 2016. In August, Binney appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox show to discuss his assessment that the narrative of Russia hacking the DNC during the 2016 campaign is untrue, stating that “many people are emotionally tied to this agenda, to tie the Russians to President Trump.” Binney said he is not sure how Trump found out about his analysis.

However the meeting came about, the fact that Pompeo was apparently willing to follow Trump’s direction and invite Binney to discuss his analysis has alarmed some current and former intelligence officials.

“This is crazy. You’ve got all these intelligence agencies saying the Russians did the hack. To deny that is like coming out with the theory that the Japanese didn’t bomb Pearl Harbor,” said one former CIA officer.

Binney, for his part, is happy that the meeting occurred and eager to help Pompeo and Trump get to the bottom of the DNC email theft because he believes the intelligence community has not told the truth about what happened.

“I was willing to meet Pompeo simply because it was clear to me the intelligence community wasn’t being honest here,” Binney said, referring to their assessment of the DNC email theft. “I am quite willing to help people who need the truth to find the truth and not simply have deceptive statements from the intelligence community.”

BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 03: William Binney, former intelligence official of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) turned whistleblower, arrives to testify at the Bundestag commission investigating the role of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) in Germany on July 3, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. The commission convened following revelations last year that the NSA had for years eavesdropped on the mobile phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leading German and European politicians. Recent documents released by former NSA employee Edward Snowden show strong activity by the NSA in Germany as well as cooperation between the NSA and the German intelligence service. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
William Binney, former National Security Agency intelligence official-turned-whistleblower, arrives to testify at the Bundestag commission investigating the role of the NSA in Germany on July 3, 2014 in Berlin. Photo: Adam Berry/Getty Images
THE ANALYSIS BY Binney and his colleagues aligns neatly with Trump’s frequent public skepticism of the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 campaign to damage Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and help elect Trump. The declassified summary of a U.S. intelligence community report, based on the work of the CIA, the FBI, and the NSA and made public in early January before Trump’s inauguration, stated that “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.” Trump has frequently raged against the accusation that he won the presidency thanks to help from the Russians, labeling the charge “fake news.”

“The Director stands by, and has always stood by, the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment,” Boyd, the CIA spokesperson, said.

Binney’s claim that the email theft was committed by an insider at the DNC also helps fuel one of the more bizarre conspiracy theories that has gained traction on the right: that the murder of a young DNC staffer last year was somehow connected to the data theft. Binney said he mentioned the case of Seth Rich to Pompeo during their meeting.

The meeting raises questions about Pompeo’s willingness to act as an honest broker between the intelligence community and the White House, and his apparent refusal to push back against efforts by the president to bend the intelligence process to suit his political purposes. Instead of acting as a filter between Trump and the intelligence community, Pompeo’s decision to meet with Binney raises the possibility that right-wing theories aired on Fox News and in other conservative media can now move not just from conservative pundits to Trump, but also from Trump to Pompeo and into the bloodstream of the intelligence community.

Some senior CIA officials have grown upset that Pompeo, a former Republican representative from Kansas, has become so close to Trump that the CIA director regularly expresses skepticism about intelligence that doesn’t line up with the president’s views. Pompeo has also alienated some CIA managers by growing belligerent toward them in meetings, according to an intelligence official familiar with the matter.

The CIA, however, strongly objected to this characterization. “The Director has been adamant that CIA officers have the time, space and resources to make sound and unbiased assessments that are delivered to policy makers without fear or favor,” Boyd said in an email to The Intercept. “As he has stated repeatedly, when we deliver our assessments to policy makers, we must do so with complete candor. He has also pushed decision making down in the organization, giving officers greater ownership of their work and making them more accountable for the outcomes. These changes are designed to make CIA more agile, aggressive and responsive.”

Yet indications of Pompeo’s willingness to support Trump at the risk of tainting the intelligence process have occasionally broken into the open in recent months. In August, the Washington Post reported that Pompeo had taken the unusual step of having the CIA’s Counterintelligence Mission Center, which would likely play a role in any inquiries by the agency into Russian election meddling, report directly to him. That move has raised concerns within the agency that Pompeo is seeking to personally control the CIA’s efforts to investigate accusations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

More recently, at a Washington event in October, Pompeo said that U.S. intelligence had determined that Moscow’s intervention hadn’t impacted the outcome of the election. He was quickly criticized for the comments, and the CIA had to issue a clarification saying that the intelligence assessment on Russia hadn’t been altered.

While Pompeo seems to be actively taking Trump’s side on contentious issues like Russian collusion, Dan Coats, the former Republican senator who now serves as director of national intelligence, has been largely missing in action. Coats has been reluctant to push for an aggressive Trump-Russia investigation, according to a source familiar with the matter.

By contrast, Coats’s predecessor, James Clapper, saw himself as the public face of the intelligence community and its spokesperson. Now out of government, Clapper, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, has become an ardent advocate for a thorough investigation of Trump and Russia. Clapper told Politico in late October that the Russian election hacking was designed to help Trump win. “The Russians have succeeded beyond their wildest expectations,” he said.

With Coats largely out of the picture and Pompeo actively siding with Trump, the intelligence community is effectively leaderless as it struggles to come to grips with its role in the Trump-Russia inquiry. The lack of aggressive support from the intelligence community could hamper the ongoing investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into possible collusion between Trump and Russia. Eventually, that lack of support could make it more difficult for Mueller’s team to glean information from inside Russia.

Pompeo’s meeting with Binney came just days before the first charges from Mueller’s investigation were made public on October 30. Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates were charged in a 12-count indictment in connection with their work with a pro-Russian party in Ukraine. It was also disclosed that George Papadopoulos, a former Trump foreign policy adviser, pleaded guilty earlier in October to making a false statement to the FBI in connection with his efforts to develop Russian ties during the campaign. Through a plea agreement, Papadopoulos is now cooperating with Mueller’s investigators.

Clearly anxious as the Mueller investigation looms over his presidency, Trump has continued to promote alternative theories that would exonerate him and his campaign. Binney’s analysis falls squarely into that category.

BINNEY’S ADHERENCE TO a widely disputed theory about the DNC email theft that is favorable to Trump marks a new twist for a retired government employee who has become an outspoken critic of the intelligence community to which he once belonged. Binney grew up in Pennsylvania, majored in math at Penn State, and joined the Army in 1965. He was assigned to the U.S. Army Security Agency, learning communications traffic analysis and, in 1967, was assigned to NSA headquarters. In 1970, he joined the NSA as a civilian and remained at the agency for the rest of his career. He rose through the ranks to become the agency’s technical director for world geopolitical and military analysis and took over the NSA’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center, a kind of skunkworks to test out new ideas.

Late in his career, he began to clash with NSA management, particularly over efforts to drag the hidebound agency into the internet age. He advocated for a sophisticated data search and analysis project called ThinThread that his team had developed in-house, which he believed would help the agency more effectively sift through the torrent of digital information that was starting to appear on the internet. But Binney was outraged when the NSA’s leaders went instead with a more expensive alternative called Trailblazer, offered by an outside contractor. Binney, who thought Trailblazer was deeply flawed and represented a massive sop to a powerful defense company, took his concerns to a congressional staffer involved with NSA oversight. By doing so, Binney angered top NSA officials who were pushing Trailblazer.

Binney retired in the fall of 2001, but not before he learned that the agency was beginning its massive post-9/11 domestic spying program. Binney did not go to the press to discuss the NSA’s domestic spying program, but he did, along with others, complain to the Defense Department’s Inspector General about the Trailblazer program.

After the New York Times disclosed the domestic spying program’s existence in 2005, Bush administration officials wrongly suspected Binney was part of a small group of NSA officials who were sources for the story. As part of a criminal leak investigation, Binney and others had their homes raided by the FBI.

They were never charged, but Thomas Drake, another NSA official who the government thought was part of the same group, was charged under the Espionage Act and accused of leaking information about the controversial Trailblazer program to the Baltimore Sun. The government’s case against Drake eventually collapsed, ending with his agreement to plead guilty to one misdemeanor count of “exceeding the authorized use” of an NSA computer.

Drake and Binney both emerged from the government’s draconian leak investigation as prominent whistleblowers. Their fame grew after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden went public in 2013 and provided the press with access to a trove of NSA documents about the agency’s mass surveillance programs. Binney was featured in “Citizenfour,” the Oscar-winning 2014 documentary about Snowden directed by Laura Poitras; he was also the subject of a 2015 documentary titled “A Good American.” (Poitras co-founded The Intercept following Snowden’s 2013 disclosures.)

In the 2016 presidential election, Binney says he opposed Clinton and voted for Trump. This past summer, as the Mueller investigation was heating up, Binney co-authored a memo, published by members of a group of former intelligence officials called Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), making the case that the DNC emails were not hacked by Russia, but stolen by an insider. The memo argued that the emails were likely downloaded directly from a DNC computer onto a thumb drive or some other external device.

“Forensic studies of ‘Russian hacking’ into Democratic National Committee computers last year reveal that on July 5, 2016, data was leaked (not hacked) by a person with physical access to DNC computer,” the memo states. The memo’s conclusions were based on analyses of metadata provided by the online persona Guccifer 2.0, who took credit for the alleged hack. “Key among the findings of the independent forensic investigations is the conclusion that the DNC data was copied onto a storage device at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack.”

The memo garnered attention on the right, but its claims have been disputed. It cited timestamps embedded in the Guccifer files showing when they’d been copied, and used this data to extrapolate how quickly they’d been copied from one computer to another. The analysis on which the VIPS memo was based, conducted by a blogger called “The Forensicator,” showed that the files were transferred at a speed roughly equivalent to the rate at which data can be downloaded to a USB thumb drive. VIPS claimed that speed was “much faster than what is physically possible with a hack,” and so the files had to have been stolen by an insider with direct access to the computer system.

But this argument led to a tense split within the VIPS group. Among others, Drake, who for so long had been closely associated with Binney, publicly opposed the memo, joining a group of dissenting VIPS members who have attacked it.

“A number of VIPS members did not sign this problematic memo because of troubling questions about its conclusions, and others who did sign it have raised key concerns since its publication,” states a competing memo written by Drake and other VIPS members and published September 1 on the website of The Nation magazine, which had earlier published a story about the Binney memo.

Drake and the dissenters complain that the original memo was deeply flawed and came to biased conclusions based only on a sketchy analysis of information that originated with Guccifer 2.0, which the U.S. intelligence community believes is a front for Russian intelligence. The dissenters also point out that it is indeed possible for a remote internet transfer to occur at the speeds identified in Binney’s memo. “The environment around Trump, Russia, et al. is hyperpolarized right now, and much disinformation is floating around, feeding confirmation bias, mirroring and even producing conspiracy theories,” the Drake memo says.

“In an ideal world, VIPS would at least retract its assertion of certainty. Absent real facts regarding proof of leaks or hacks (or both), how many hypotheses can one copy onto the head of a digital pin?”

The controversy surrounding the July VIPS memo didn’t seem to deter Pompeo from meeting with Binney. In late September, Binney was in Amsterdam, where he has been working to set up a new data analysis firm called Pretty Good Knowledge, when his wife called to tell him that he had received a call at home from the CIA director’s office, asking to set up a meeting. Binney returned the call to Pompeo’s assistant and scheduled the October 24 meeting.

Binney, who has serious medical problems and uses a wheelchair, asked a colleague from Pretty Good Knowledge, Chris Parker, to accompany him. Parker said in an interview that he helped Binney get into Pompeo’s seventh-floor office at CIA headquarters, shook hands with the CIA director, and then waited outside the office during their meeting. Marco Visser, a Dutch employee of Pretty Good Knowledge who happened to be in Washington at the time, said in an interview that he wanted to accompany Binney and Parker because he had never been to CIA headquarters and was excited to see it, but was not allowed to go because he is a foreign national.

Binney said he was not told what the meeting was about until he sat down with Pompeo. He said that in addition to Pompeo, two other CIA staffers, who gave only their first names, attended the meeting and asked technical questions about Binney’s analysis. When Pompeo asked Binney what evidence he had to support his analysis of the DNC email theft, Binney says he told him that it was based only on the online analyses of information published by Guccifer 2.0.

Binney said that since their meeting, he has not heard from Pompeo about scheduling follow-up meetings with the NSA and FBI.
https://theintercept.com/2017/11/07/dnc ... inney-nsa/


stillrobertpaulsen » Tue Nov 07, 2017 5:36 pm wrote:
Bombshell Carter Page Testimony Verifies Key Parts Of Steele Dossier
By Susie Madrak
11/07/17 6:00am

More pieces of Christopher Steele's Russia dossier were verified last night by the release of the transcript of Carter Page's House intelligence committee testimony.

Page's strange, meandering narrative baffled a lot of reporters -- but not Natasha Bertrand, who works for Business Insider. Check out her story, in which she connected these important dots:

Page revealed during his testimony that he met with both members of Russia's presidential administration and with the head of investor relations at the state-owned Russian oil giant Rosneft during his trip to Moscow last July.

He also congratulated members of the Trump campaign's foreign policy team on July 14 for their "excellent work" on the "Ukraine amendment" — a reference to the Trump campaign's decision to "intervene" to water down a proposed amendment to the GOP's Ukraine platform.

The original amendment proposed that the GOP commit to sending "lethal weapons" to the Ukrainian army to fend off Russian aggression. But it was ultimately altered to say "provide appropriate assistance" before it was included in the party's official platform. The dossier alleges that the campaign "agreed to sideline" the issue of Russia's invasion of Crimea and interference in eastern Ukraine in exchange for dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Page also revealed that Trump campaign adviser Sam Clovis had asked him to sign a non-disclosure agreement upon joining the campaign — and that he discussed his July Moscow trip with Clovis both before he went and after he returned.


And yes, Page was offered the brokerage of a 19% stake in the Rosneft energy company in exchange for the lifting of sanctions -- as reported by Christopher Steele.

There is no evidence that Page played any role in the Rosneft deal. But Page returned to Moscow one day after the Rosneft deal was signed on December 8 to "meet with some of the top managers" of Rosneft, he told reporters at the time. Page denied meeting with Sechin, Rosneft's CEO, during that trip, but he said it would have been "a great honor" if he had.

From there, Page traveled to London, where he met with his "old friend" Sergey Yatsenko — a former mid-level Gazprom executive — to discuss "some opportunities in Kazakhstan."

Asked whether he had ever met the overseas professor who told Papadopoulos about the Kremlin's dossier of incriminating Clinton emails, Joseph Misfud, Page at first said "No."

But he then seemed to backtrack: "I — you know, there may have been a greeting," he said. "I have no recollection of ever interacting with him in any way, shape or form...I have no personal relationship with him."

We now know that despite Page's previous testimony, the Russians actually paid for his trip. And the Trump campaign knew about it.

Sam Clovis not only knew about the trip, he made Page sign a non-disclosure agreement. So Clovis is in trouble -- and so is Corey Lewandowski, who also knew.

And that Ukraine amendment is the RNC platform is looking more and more like a quid pro quo.


Links also contains many informative tweets.


seemslikeadream » Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:52 am wrote:
ALL IN
Exclusive: Russia Activated Twitter Sleeper Cells for 2016 Election Day Blitz

In its final, climactic push for Donald Trump, the Kremlin’s troll army enlisted new members: semi-dormant propaganda accounts created as far back as 2009.

KEVIN POULSEN
11.07.17 7:30 PM ET
As U.S. polling places opened last Nov. 8, Russian trolls in St. Petersburg began a final push on Twitter to elect Donald Trump.
They used a combination of high-profile accounts with large and influential followings, and scores of lurking personas established years earlier with stolen photos and fabricated backgrounds. Those sleeper accounts dished out carefully metered tweets and retweets voicing praise for Trump and contempt for his opponent, from the early morning until the last polls closed in the United States.
“VOTE TRUMP to save ourselves from the New World Order. Time to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN,” read one. “Last chance to stop the Queen of Darkness! Vote Trump!” urged another.
The Daily Beast analyzed a dataset of 6.5 million tweets containing election keywords like “Hillary” and “Trump” that was collected over 33 hours last Nov. 7-9 by Baltimore-based data scientist Chris Albon.
The data are not comprehensive—only tweets with one of the keywords were collected, and limitations in Twitter’s API prevent a full capture even of those. But they represent a significant sampling of Election Day Twitter.
By filtering for the 2,752 users identified by Twitter as Russian troll accounts—a list the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released last week—we isolated 80 accounts dishing Election Day agitprop and reconstructed the big finish to Russia’s months-long active measures campaign.
The contours of that campaign, allegedly ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, have become clearer in the year since the 2016 election, thanks to declassified intelligence findings, congressional hearings, and media reports.

Twitter Bans RT, Which Retaliates With Powerpoint

The Kremlin employed hackers in Russia’s military intelligence arm, the GRU, to steal documents and emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee, which were leaked with strategic timing via WikiLeaks, as well as to members of the press and directly to the web.
Russian state-run media was enlisted to produce and promote narratives helpful to Trump, and full-time paid internet trolls at the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency worked long hours on social media to amplify criticism of Clinton, spread misinformation, and, as first reported by The Daily Beast, organize real-life demonstrations on American soil.
After months of work, Russia’s hard-fought campaign was drawing to a close in November 2016, and the trolls in St. Petersburg were priming their final push. On election eve an account called “World News Politics,” set up less than three weeks earlier, rolled out scheduled tweets attacking Clinton and the Democratic Party.
“Hillary’s Violent Paid Protesters Attack Trump Supporters in Chicago,” blared one election-eve headline a little after 11 p.m. Eastern. Two seconds later, another tweet hit Clinton on her health: “HILLARY STUMBLES AGAIN! Watch The 15-Second Video That Just Made Trump President.”
The morning of Election Day, another Russia-operated news feed, the Phoenix Daily News, tweeted a story from an Arizona ABC affiliate’s website, “Group to watch for voter fraud on Election Day.” ‏The article was genuine, but the tweet was a glimpse at the theme Russia would develop throughout the day: The election was rigged for Hillary Clinton.

Evidently anticipating a Trump loss, as nearly everyone did, the trolls’ final election mission was to sow doubt about the legitimacy of the vote, “crippling [Clinton’s] presidency from its start,” according to U.S. intelligence findings. “Democrats BUSTED Breaking Election Law on VIDEO in Ohio,” read a tweet from World News Politics. Then, at 11 a.m. Eastern, “BREAKING : Mass Election Fraud, Voting Irregularities and Discrimination Against Trump Voters Reported #VoterFraud.”
Viral Gold

Russia’s most influential troll accounts began signing on at around 7 a.m., but they eased into the stolen election theme cautiously.
TEN_GOP, a fake account purporting to represent Tennessee Republicans, spent most of the morning circulating pro-Trump and anti-Clinton quotes. “Hillary Clinton is the most dishonest candidate for POTUS since Richard Nixon,” read a 9:13 a.m. tweet accurately quoting Mike Pence. The more alt-right flavored account of John “TheFoundingSon” Davis begged voters to remember Benghazi.
Then Russia struck viral gold with a glitchy voting machine in Pennsylvania. A voter had captured cellphone video showing him attempting to change the selection on his electronic ballot from Clinton to Trump, and the machine stubbornly refusing to register his button-press. He tweeted about the incident afterward, noting that the poll workers fixed the issue and he cast his intended Trump vote, but the machine “was on some nut shit at first.”
In the hands of Russia’s propagandists, the Pennsylvania glitch was frothed into clear evidence of a conspiracy to steal the election from Trump.
At 1:14 p.m. the TEN_GOP account, which then had 51,690 followers, tweeted out an election fraud alert complete with a Drudge-style police car revolving light emoji: “BREAKING: Machine Refuses to Allow Vote For Trump in Pennsylvania!! RT [retweet] the hell out of it! #VoterFraud.”
The alert accumulated more than 14,000 retweets by the end of the day and helped make TEN_GOP the seventh most mentioned user on Election Day Twitter, according to data from the George Washington University.
“Anticipating a Trump loss, the Russian trolls’ final election mission was to sow doubt about the legitimacy of the vote.”
From then on the Russian trolls pushed the election-rigging trope relentlessly.
The fake Texan Pamela_Moore13, with 24,020 followers, aired a video that she said proved the DNC hacked the primaries. “Man PROVES software stole votes in ALL ‘Hillary won’ counties! DNC rigged elections! Voter Fraud is Real!” The account America_1st_ separately alerted its 24,744 followers to “massive” election fraud in Colorado, possible absentee voter fraud in Florida, and a “Van Full Of Illegals” that showed up “To Vote Clinton At SIX Polling Places!”
The account MarchForTrump took things a step further. In the months before the election, Russia successfully organized pro-Trump demonstrations behind the MarchForTrump front and its linked Facebook page, “Being Patriotic.”
Now it unveiled its own Voter Fraud hotline, promoted in a series of overheated tweets. “This election is being rigged! REPORT VOTER FRAUD: 888 486 8102 (Being Patriotic hotline) [...]”
It’s unclear where the phone number went or who answered. Today it’s disconnected.
Second Wave

While the high-profile accounts occupied the front lines of Russia’s information war, at the rear a legion of low-key sleeper personas, with fewer than 5,000 followers each, pushed a steady stream of tweets and retweets praising Trump and condemning Clinton, voiced as the Election Day thoughts of ordinary American voters.
This astroturf portion of Russia’s campaign kicked into high gear just after noon Eastern time. “Only YOU can prevent a Hillary Victory. Get out and vote,” read a typical tweet from “Lara Pretty,” who purports to be an Air Force veteran, an NRA member, a Christian, and a Blue Star mother with a son or daughter on active duty in the military.
“JUSTICE FOR HILLARY -- BRING HER TO HEEL To Lock Her Up --WE MUST-- Lock Her Out,” another account said. An account named “Kelvin Chambers” joined in: “All I ask is please go out and vote today... unless your [sic] voting for Hillary then just stay home your vote isn’t necessary #TrumpForPresident.”
Other accounts peddled misogyny, Benghazi, and alt-right conspiracy theories attempting to link the Clinton campaign to pedophilia and/or Satanism. “I’m a Democrat and would never vote for #SpiritCooking Suoer [sic] Child Predator Scum like #HillaryRottenClinton,” read one such tweet from “John Larsen,” a self-described conservative who believes in “patriotism & optimism.”
The creation dates on those accounts show that Russia began quietly accumulating and maintaining them as early as 2009, with surges in account creation in August 2013 and late 2015.
They churned along largely unnoticed, averaging two or three tweets a day, then perked up on Election Day to contribute five to eight tweets each to America’s political discourse.
It’s a typical pattern for Russia’s trolling operation, which is known to retask long-standing accounts to different Kremlin causes or set up accounts for future use.
“They may have some sitting on the bench, just to let them mature,” said former FBI counterterrorism agent Clint Watts, who’s been studying Russia’s election interference. “Then when you ramp up, you have personas to match.”

“The sleeper accounts joined in with the heavy hitters to hammer on the theme that the election was rigged in favor of Clinton.”

One of the prominent accounts, USA_Gunslinger—“Gunslinger Girl” from “Wisconsin” with 25,858 followers—linked to a Breitbart article reporting that President Obama was phoning into local radio stations to encourage Democratic voter turnout in some battleground states. “Outrageous!” USA_Gunslinger tweeted.
A Trump campaign insider, Michael Flynn Jr., personally replied to the Russian troll account with his own commentary: “desperation stinks.”
‘See How Your Democracy Works?’

At 7 p.m. Eastern, voting ended in some states, and, to no one’s surprise, Indiana and Kentucky were immediately called for Trump. The Russian tweets continued. At 7:20, MarchForTrump pushed a reminder that “This election is being rigged!” along with the special voter fraud hotline. But that was the last Russian tweet in our dataset that complained about a rigged election.

In the United States, ballots in the key battleground state of Florida were being counted, and millions of voters, along with a room full of Russian propagandists, were hanging on every update.
At 7:45 p.m., with more than half the votes counted, Trump was slightly ahead with 49.8 percent of the vote to Clinton’s 47.3 percent. It was closer than most pundits had expected, and after endless predictions of an easy Clinton victory, a Trump win began to seem possible. “Trump’s lead in Florida is growing!” TEN_GOP tweeted at 8:24 p.m.
The Russians changed tack and completely abandoned the election fraud message they’d been pushing since dawn, joining with American Trump supporters to celebrate the turn the election was taking. “Alabama is RED!” tweeted “America First!” at 8:33 p.m. “Hope Texas goes red,” added “South Lone Star” three minutes later. “Saddest day for the Media!” TEN_GOP vowed at 10 p.m. “Trump is winning in a landslide!”
The next day, with Trump officially the victor, the popular Russian account “Jenna Abrams” appeared to momentarily break character to share the popular vote tallies from the presidential race and deliver the troll factory's final judgement on America’s 2016 election: “See how your democracy works?”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/exclusive ... -day-blitz


Page also met w/ a Gazprom official while in Moscow in both July and December
Image


Why the White House Dreads a Flynn Indictment

Unlike the Paul Manafort case, charges against the former national-security adviser would touch the White House itself and could ensnare the president.


Reuters
DAVID A. GRAHAM NOV 6, 2017 POLITICS


Want to receive exclusive insights from The Atlantic—while supporting a sustainable future for independent journalism? Join our new membership program, The Masthead.
In the indictments sweepstakes ahead of last week’s first moves by special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, Paul Manafort was the odds-on favorite, but Michael Flynn, the former national-security adviser, was a good bet too.

Monday, and the rest of the week, came and went, bringing indictments for Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates and a guilty plea from George Papadopoulos, but nothing on Flynn. But NBC News reported over the weekend that federal investigators have enough evidence to charge Flynn, and that’s a prospect that should be particularly worrisome to the White House.

It’s worth noting that Flynn might already have been indicted. Papadopoulos’s guilty plea, for example, came on October 5 but wasn’t revealed until October 30; he was arrested months earlier. There’s speculation that Mueller’s grand jury may have already handed down new indictments that haven’t been unsealed yet.

Whether a Flynn indictment is sealed or still forthcoming, any charges would make the administration’s situation, already complex, even more headache-inducing. From any rational point of view, the Manafort indictment was bad news for President Trump: No one wants a former campaign chairman to be accused of moving around $75 million, and charged with money laundering and lying to the federal government. But the White House quickly adopted a positive spin, noting that the charges concerned behavior before Manafort joined the Trump campaign.

As I wrote last week, that reflects poorly on Trump as a judge of character and as an employer, but it also allowed the president to distance himself from the investigation and point out that none of the charges against Manafort indicated collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. (The Papadopoulos plea, though somewhat enigmatic, struck much closer to that matter.) As Trump made that point publicly, The Washington Post and Axios both reported that staffers inside the White House were relieved that Manafort had been charged, rather than Flynn.

The charges that Flynn seems most likely to face are similar to some that were brought against Manafort. Like Manafort, Flynn did not register under the Foreign Agent Registration Act at the time he did work for foreign governments, though like Manafort, he retroactively registered. Like Manafort, who is charged with making false statements, Flynn may have lied to the FBI. Flynn was pushed out of his job as national-security adviser on February 14, making him the shortest-tenured holder of that job in history, after the Post revealed that he had lied to Vice President Mike Pence and others about conversations he had with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. But the paper later reported that Flynn had also lied to the FBI about those conversations.

There are also other counts on which Flynn might be in trouble: His conversations with Kislyak could violate a law that prevents private citizens from conducting foreign policy, though it has never successfully been used to prosecute an American, and many analysts doubt it will be here. There is scrutiny of Flynn’s work for Turkey, for which he retroactively filed under FARA, including an alleged scheme to kick Fethullah Gulen, a cleric and enemy of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan out of the country. Members of Congress have focused on trips he made overseas, including one to celebrate the anniversary of the Kremlin propaganda network RT. As a former top general, Flynn was required to seek permission to be paid for those trips, and he also stands accused of not disclosing them when seeking renewed security clearance. Flynn was also involved in a bizarre Middle Eastern civil-nuclear scheme.

Whatever the superficial similarities between the Manafort and Flynn situations, though, the key difference is that a Flynn indictment would put the Mueller probe in the White House. Manafort was pushed out of the campaign in August and never worked in the Trump administration (though he is said to have remained in contact with Trump for months). Flynn, however, worked in the White House for almost a month. That means he could have discussed many of the potential areas for charges—from conversations with Kislyak to Gulen to who knows what—with any number of White House staffers on any level. Mueller could call them in for questioning. Even if none of those staffers did anything illegal, and at this point there’s no indication they did, the threat of testimony will create new stress and distraction in a White House already riven with both. They’ll also all need lawyers, and good expensive ones; the Papadopoulos plea-deal is a vivid illustration of the dangers of talking to federal agents. (Trump has offered to contribute $430,000 to legal fees, but the more staffers involved, the faster that will be used up.)

Moreover, a Flynn investigation would move things much closer to Trump himself. The president distanced himself from Manafort—former Press Secretary Sean Spicer claimed he played a “very limited role” in the campaign—but not from Flynn. Trump allowed Flynn to stay in the administration even after it became clear he had lied to Pence, and also after a conversation between then-Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and White House Counsel Don McGahn. Yates would not divulge the contents of that late-January conversation when she testified to Congress in May, but if Flynn did lie to the FBI, it appears likely that Yates told McGahn then.

Then, after Flynn’s departure, Trump asked then-FBI Director James Comey if he could let Flynn go, saying he was a good guy, according to sworn testimony Comey offered to Congress. “General Flynn at that point in time was in legal jeopardy,” Comey said in June. “There was an open FBI criminal investigation of his statements in connection with the Russian contacts, and the contacts themselves, and so that was my assessment at the time.” Then, several months later, Trump fired Comey, a decision he attributed to Comey’s investigation into Russian interference in the election.

That creates two separate occasions on which Trump could potentially have obstructed justice—first by meddling in the FBI’s probe into Flynn, then by firing Comey altogether. As the law professor Ryan Goodman writes at Just Security, it would be possible to make an obstruction-of-justice case against Trump in the absence of charges against Flynn, but it’s much more straightforward to make such a case if there’s actual evidence of a case that Trump was attempting to obstruct. Actual criminal charges against Flynn would provide that.

No wonder the Trump team was pleased that Manafort, rather than Flynn, took the first hit—but that relief could be short-lived. Even if one takes Trump’s staunch denials of collusion with Russia entirely at face value, that doesn’t mean Robert Mueller can’t go after him on obstruction of justice or something else entirely. A Flynn indictment is the shortest path to that outcome.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/ar ... source=twb



seemslikeadream » Wed Nov 08, 2017 10:12 am wrote:
Inside secret court hearing in Mueller's Trump-Russia probe
Audio reveals details of George Papadopoulos' July arraignment in closed Virginia courtroom.
By JOSH GERSTEIN 11/08/2017 05:23 AM EST

One of the first court appearances by special counsel Robert Mueller's team got off to an inauspicious start with a federal magistrate scolding prosecutors for being late.

"Where were you all? This was scheduled for 2 o'clock," a gruff-sounding U.S. Magistrate Judge Theresa Buchanan told the prosecution team last July as they entered her Alexandria, Va., courtroom to arraign former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos on charges of obstructing justice and lying to investigators about the timeline of his Russia-related contact.

"We were informed it had been moved to 3 o'clock. We apologize if we misunderstood that it had been rescheduled," prosecutor Brandon Van Grack replied to the judge's query.

The July 28 hearing took place behind closed doors, but after the case was formally unsealed, POLITICO obtained audio of the roughly eight-minute-long session.

Much of the exchange between Buchanan and Van Grack that day centered on the formalities of closing the courtroom during Papadopolous' appearance.

"I can't get a hold of the judge. Are you telling me he actually entered an order sealing this case?" Buchanan asked.


Indeed, Van Grack said the chief judge of the district court in Washington, D.C., had issued such an order. (That judge, Beryl Howell, also happens to be a she.)

"We need to seal the courtroom then. I'm sorry to make you all go back out, but we need to seal the courtroom again," Buchanan announced to those in the gallery.

When the case was called, Van Grack declared that he was appearing for the United States along with Mueller team prosecutors Jeannie Rhee and Andrew Goldstein.

Buchanan told Papadopolous to stand and formally advised him he'd been charged in a criminal complaint with obstruction of justice and making false official statements. She then called on Van Grack to lay out the maximum penalties: five years and a $250,000 fine for the false statement charge and 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine for the obstruction charge.

Van Grack said the government wasn't seeking Papadopolous' detention—a somewhat unusual move since agents had just arrested him. But the Chicago-based energy consultant was told to give up his passports (two of them) and to keep away from individuals and entities related to the charges against him.

Some of the few words from the defendant came after Buchanan asked if he had a lawyer or needed a court-appointed attorney.

"I do have my own attorney," Papadopoulos said.

The former Trump campaign adviser said "Yes" when the magistrate asked if he understood his obligation to appear in court when requested, but chimed in moments later to indicate he didn't know who he was forbidden to contact.

"Is it possible to know what individuals and entities" shouldn't be contacted? he asked.

"You'll have to give him a list," Buchanan said to prosecutors.

"Yes, your honor," Van Grack said.

"All right. He'll be released. Thank you," Buchanan said, before another exchange with Van Grack about a order he said was needed to seal the courtroom.

Legal experts said the brief appearance was noteworthy in a couple of respects.

First, Papadopoulos had no defense attorney. Typically, a public defender will stand in in such situations at least temporarily.

"That's odd," former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Cramer said. "You would not normally have a defendant appearing before the court and not be represented. The court wasn't concerned with it but that was strange."

Second, Papadopoulos' arrest seems to have been the product of some haste. Indeed, when he was arrested at Dulles Airport July 27 after coming off a flight from Munich, prosecutors had no warrant for him and no indictment or criminal complaint. The complaint would be filed the following morning and approved by Howell in Washington.

And when prosecutors filed the complaint the next day they got a verbal order from Howell to seal it, but followed up with a written request that they could take to the magistrate in Alexandria, where they showed up almost an hour later than she was expecting.

All of it suggests something of a scramble, rather than a carefully-prepared plan to take Papadopolous into custody.

A defense lawyer for Papadopoulos, Thomas Breen, did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for Mueller's office declined to comment.

Whatever transpired in the 24 hours after Papadopoulos landed at Dulles, it doesn't seem to have impaired his cooperation with Mueller's team.

At another sealed hearing in Washington in October, he entered a guilty plea to the false statement charge, while prosecutors dropped the more serious obstruction count.

A statement of facts agreed to by both the prosecution and defense says he's been aiding investigators since he was taken into custody at Dulles three months ago.

"Following his arrest, defendant PAPADOPOULOS met with the Government on numerous occasions to provide information and answer questions," the statement said.

Cramer said the arrest, the sealed hearing and the defendant's release the following day all suggest prosecutors didn't want the energy consultant's associates aware that he was in trouble with the feds and wanted to keep open the possibility of using him to try to extract damaging admissions from others.

"That's pretty consistent with if you want to send him back in or use him," the ex-prosecutor said. "If you're picking someone up and want to send them back into their organization, if people know he's been arrested they're going to run away from this guy...It also shows you're serious. That's going to show this isn't a game."

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/ ... obe-244653


Ask Russia or Guccifer asshole! Your BFF trumpy isn't helping you out?

Ex-Trump adviser Roger Stone seeks donations to help pay for his defense in Russia probe

Erin Kelly, USA TODAY Published 6:03 p.m. ET Nov. 7, 2017


Former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone sent out an email Tuesday asking supporters to help him raise $500,000 to clear his name of any wrongdoing in the investigation of Russian interference in last year's presidential election.

"Friend, I'm facing a $500K price tag to clear my name of the Deep State's baseless charges!" the flamboyant Republican consultant wrote in his fundraising appeal, which asked supporters to contribute from $25 to "even $100 or more immediately."

Stone wrote that the "legal assault" against him has already cost him more than $100,000 in legal fees.

Stone has not yet been charged with anything by special counsel Robert Mueller or accused of anything by the three congressional committees conducting Russia probes. Mueller and the committees are investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

Stone testified behind closed doors in late September before the House Intelligence Committee. Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the senior Democrat on the panel, said afterward that Stone might face subpoenas for refusing to answer questions about "one significant area."

Stone told reporters that he declined to tell the committee who had served as his intermediary with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

House investigators quizzed Stone about his advance knowledge of WikiLeaks' release of a slew of embarrassing emails from the account of Hillary Clinton campaign chief John Podesta in the midst of the presidential race.

Stone made cryptic references via Twitter about the expected publication of damaging information related to Podesta just two months before the emails were released. Stone said he wouldn't tell committee members who served as his intermediary with Assange because it was a journalist and their conversation was off the record.

Stone rejects the Intelligence Community's conclusion that Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee were hacked, arguing that the emails were leaked by someone inside the campaign and amounted to "an inside job."

"But the Deep State Democrats who hate President Trump and need an excuse for the internal failures and disastrous results of Hillary's campaign keep coming after us," Stone wrote. "The President and I are under assault!"

Last month, Stone was suspended from Twitter after an expletive-filled tweetstorm attacking CNN and some of its news anchors.
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/pol ... 841798001/



seemslikeadream » Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:33 pm wrote:
George Papadopoulos meeting with UK during Trump campaign revealed
Anthony Zurcher
North America reporter
@awzurcher on Twitter
59 minutes ago


Media captionGeorge Papadopoulos: The Trump adviser who lied to the FBI
Dismissed by the White House as a "low-level volunteer", more about the true status of adviser George Papadopoulos seems to emerge by the day.
The Trump campaign foreign policy aide's contacts with Russians have already got him in trouble. He has admitted lying to the FBI about them.
But it is now revealed he also met a British Foreign Office official, two months before the US presidential election, for a "working level" meeting.
"As you would expect in the run up to an election we seek to build links with figures in both the Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns," a Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokeswoman told the BBC, confirming the meeting. "This type of outreach is normal diplomatic business."
While such meetings may be routine diplomacy, the fact that Papadopoulos was presenting himself to the government of one of the US's closest allies as a representative of the Trump campaign undercuts the White House's recent assertion that Papadopoulos was a campaign volunteer of little importance.
"It was extremely limited," White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on 30 October, when questioned about Papadopoulos's role in the Trump campaign. "It was a volunteer position. And again, no activity was ever done in an official capacity on behalf of the campaign. He was a volunteer on the campaign.

Image
papadopoulos - third from leftImage copyrightREUTERS
Mr Trump himself tweeted the following day that "few people knew the young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar".
The White House has not yet responded to inquiries from the BBC for comment on the matter.
We don't know whether Papadopoulos was operating in an official capacity for the Trump campaign or simply presenting himself that way without prior approval. Given that through much of 2016 the Trump team operated on a shoestring budget, with little in the way of traditional campaign hierarchy or structure, the latter is entirely possible.
Finding it all hard to follow?
Here's a guide to who's being investigated (and who isn't)
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin
When it comes down to it, however, the British government apparently treated him with the type of deference due to a top-level political adviser.
Word of the Papadopoulos sit-down in London was first reported by Scott Stedman, a California university student, in a post on the website Medium. He writes that the Trump adviser met "an unidentified, high-ranking member of the UK's department that handles foreign affairs".
According to the indictment papers released by the independent counsel investigation into possible Trump campaign ties to Russia, Papadopoulos was in regular communication with high-level Trump campaign officials during much of 2016.
After being named by Mr Trump as one of his foreign policy advisers on 21 March, Papadopoulos attended a 31 March Washington, DC meeting with the candidate, then-Senator Jeff Sessions (now US attorney general) and other members of Mr Trump's national security team.
This Russia stuff - storm in a teacup?


Media caption'Lizard, liar, leaker' - Trump supporters on Comey and Russia investigation
In April, per the independent counsel's office, Papadopoulos communicated with a London-based professor, Joseph Mifsud, who introduced him via email to a Russian national with "connection to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs".
Mifsud subsequently informed Papadopoulos that the Russian government had "dirt" on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton through "thousands" of her emails.
Papadopoulos, with the blessing of Trump campaign co-chair Sam Clovis, would later explore the possibility of visiting Russia for an "off the record" meeting with Russian officials. He never did.
It seems, however, he had more success getting a face-to-face sit-down with the British government.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41892373



seemslikeadream » Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:55 am wrote:thanks for that Sonic

I think Flynn is going to be arrested at any moment now....he's giving a big hint here

Flynn gets taken into custody on charges of conspiracy against the US, for being an unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false/misleading statements & possibly money laundering & attempted kidnapping.


Flynn worries about son in special counsel probe
Jim Sciutto-Profile-ImageCNN Digital Expansion DC Marshall Cohen
By Jim Sciutto and Marshall Cohen, CNN
Updated 8:07 PM ET, Wed November 8, 2017
Sources: Flynn worried about son's legal fate


Washington (CNN)Former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn has expressed concern about the potential legal exposure of his son, Michael Flynn Jr., who, like his father, is under scrutiny by special counsel Robert Mueller, multiple sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.

Flynn's concern could factor into decisions about how to respond to Mueller's ongoing investigation. The special counsel is looking into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign as well as the business dealings of key campaign advisers to President Donald Trump.

Flynn's wife, Lori, shares his concerns about their son's possible legal exposure, according to a person who knows the family.

Interviews conducted by special counsel investigators have included questions about the business dealings of Flynn and his son such as their firm's reporting of income from work overseas, two witnesses interviewed by the team told CNN. The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) requires people acting as agents of foreign entities to publicly disclose their relationship with foreign countries or businesses and financial compensation for such work.
Flynn Jr., who served as his father's chief of staff and top aide, was actively involved in his father's consulting and lobbying work at their firm, Flynn Intel Group. That included joining his father on overseas trips, such as Moscow in December 2015. During that trip, Flynn dined with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a black-tie gala for the RT television network, which US intelligence views as a Russian propaganda outlet.

Flynn's business dealings have been the subject of federal investigation since November 2016, prior to Mueller's appointment in May. Flynn is also under legal scrutiny by Mueller's team for undisclosed lobbying that he did during the presidential campaign on behalf of the Turkish government, according to sources familiar with the matter. It's against the law to lobby in the United States on behalf of a foreign government without informing the Justice Department.
Another area of interest to Mueller's team is Flynn's alleged participation in discussions about the idea of removing a Turkish cleric who has been living in exile in Pennsylvania, sources said. In the past, a spokesman for Flynn has denied that such discussions occurred.


It is not clear that either of the Flynns will face charges once the investigation is complete.
Flynn's attorney did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Flynn Jr.'s lawyer declined to comment.
"The disappointment on your faces when I don't go to jail will be worth all your harassment," Flynn Jr. tweeted on Sunday, responding to his online critics.
Investigators have asked witnesses about the Flynns' social media posts and retweets, though this did not appear to be a significant focus of the investigation, according to one person interviewed by investigators.
During the campaign, Flynn and his son both followed and shared material from Twitter accounts that were recently revealed to be controlled by Russian trolls. The House intelligence committee last week released a list of Twitter handles associated with Russia's election-meddling efforts.
Flynn's legal troubles
Flynn's troubles extend to Congress, where his activities have attracted the attention of the House oversight committee. The panel's top Republican and Democrat made a stunning announcement in April after their own inquiry: Flynn likely broke federal law by taking a paid speaking engagement in Russia without US government approval, and he hid the payments from FBI investigators reviewing the security clearance he is afforded as a retired lieutenant general.
After that announcement, Flynn's attorney told CNN that Flynn wasn't hiding anything and that he had briefed the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency "both before and after" the trip to Moscow.
FBI investigators also have scrutinized a series of phone calls during the Trump transition between Flynn and the Russian ambassador to the US at the time, Sergey Kislyak. The conversations centered on US sanctions against Russia and whether they would remain in place during the Trump administration.

When Trump took office in January 2017, Flynn served as his national security adviser, but he resigned after one month amid questions about the Kislyak calls and his other links to Russia.
The Logan Act, passed in 1799, bans private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments, but it is hardly ever used in practice. More pressing for Flynn might be what he told the FBI about the calls.
CNN reported that Flynn initially told investigators sanctions weren't discussed but changed his answer to say he didn't remember. Mueller could use this to charge Flynn with making false statements -- the same charge that former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to last month.
The former general's consulting firm, Flynn Intel Group, took $530,000 from a company based in the Netherlands that has extensive ties to the Turkish government.
Flynn retroactively registered as a foreign agent in March, which his lawyers said was done "to eliminate any potential doubt," though they also said their previous filings should have been sufficient.
Former Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates already face charges relating to their undisclosed foreign lobbying, for Ukraine. They were indicted by Mueller's grand jury last month. Both have pleaded not guilty.
http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/08/politics/ ... 702PMStory


Where In The World Was George Papadopoulos During The Campaign?

By TIERNEY SNEED Published NOVEMBER 9, 2017 6:00 AM

Two days before President Donald Trump’s election, George Papadopoulos appeared in front of a Greek-American forum in Astoria, New York, and promised, in Greek, that he would personally counsel Trump to ensure “new relations, better relations, between Greece, America, and Cyprus.”

“Mr. Trump and our team thought that it is very important for me to come here and talk to the Federation,” Papadopoulos told the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York, as translated for TPM from a YouTube video of the event. “We might not win in New York, but we want Greek Americans to know what people in our team think, what Mr. Trump thinks, and what will happen on the day and the days after the man wins on Tuesday, for Greece and Cyprus.”

Such an appearance wouldn’t be unusual for a typical campaign surrogate for a typical presidential candidate. But Papadopoulos’ role as a foreign policy adviser to the campaign has taken an unexpected turn. With the revelation last week that Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI as part of the special counsel’s Russia probe, the White House and its allies have denied that he had any real campaign involvement beyond a March 2016 group meeting with Trump.


“My understanding is the only interaction he ever had was the one meeting that the advisory council gathered together, where he was in a large group of other people in the room,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said last week. “And to my knowledge, that’s the only interaction they ever had. ”

What exactly Papadopoulos was up to in 2016 — and particularly in the months after the GOP convention — is still shrouded in mystery. But what has emerged in new reporting and resurfaced media appearances during that time is that the jet-setting 30-year-old was quick to claim influence with Trump. He suggested to foreign audiences that he was going to play a key role in advising the new administration, even as few paid attention to him in United States after he was initially named to the campaign.

According to the court filings in the case by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Papadopoulos, who called himself an energy consultant, spent his first few months affiliated with the campaign living in London. During that time, he communicated with three individuals presenting themselves as tied to the Russian government. One of those individuals, a London-based professor, Papadopoulos first met while on a trip to Italy about a week before being named as a Trump adviser.

On July 22, when the Republican National Convention had wrapped up and the first round of Wikileaks hacked Democratic emails had dropped, the court filings go mostly mum on Papadopoulos’ activities.

Here’s what we know about what Papadopoulos was up to from that period onward:

July 20, 2016: Cleveland

Papadopoulos appears on panel hosted by the American Jewish Committee in Cleveland, where the GOP convention is being held, joined by Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) and Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL). A picture from the event is currently Padapolous’ Facebook background photo.



Kenneth Bandler, a spokesperson for the American Jewish Committee, told TPM that Papadopoulos “identified himself as a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, but he was not representing the Trump campaign on the panel.”

August 15, 2016

Papadopoulos trail goes cold at least publicly for the month after the convention. According to court docs, Sam Clovis, the campaign official who brought Papadopoulos on as an adviser, communicates to him around Aug. 15 that he would “encourage” Papadopoulos to take a trip he had been pitching to the campaign to meet with Russian officials.



Clovis’ attorney told the Wall Street Journal that his client, a “polite gentleman from Iowa,” was just expressing “courtesy and appreciation.”

Early-to-mid September 2016: London

Papadopoulos tells a reporter with whom he is corresponding that he’s traveling abroad, and around Sept. 13 he says he’s in London.

According to the Washington Post, he used his trip to London to ask British officials to meet with senior government officials. He ultimately is granted a meeting with mid-level official at the Foreign Office in London, and Papadopoulos mentions to the official that he had been in contact with top Russian government officials, the Washington Post reported

A Foreign Office spokeswoman confirmed the meeting to the BBC, calling it “normal diplomatic business” as the office seeks “to build links with figures in both the Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns.”

Mid-to-late September 2016: New York

Papadopoulos is in New York, where sometime between Sept. 22-25, he meets with Ksenia Baygarova, a reporter for the privately-owned Russian news outlet Interfax.

He initially suggests they meet at Trump Tower, but ultimately they conduct the interview at a hotel.

The interview, published Sept. 30, describes Papadopoulos as one of Trump’s “foreign political advisors” whose opinions do “not necessarily coincide” with the candidate’s (a disclaimer included at Papadopoulos’ request).

The interview takes place after Papadopoulos had sent written answers to questions the reporter previously had provided him. He refuses to answer any additional questions and only allows minor changes to the written answers he’s already provided, Baygarova told TPM.

“He sounded a little bit inexperienced, but very ambitious, and I had a feeling that he is afraid to make any change into the written text without an approval of somebody else,” Baygarova said, making her think that he had a supervisor at the campaign to whom he was reporting.

Also while in New York, Papadopoulos meets with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, who was in town for the United Nations General Assembly. A spokesman for the Greek embassy confirmed the meeting to Washington Post and said the meeting was set up as part of the embassy’s typical outreach to Greek Americans “hoping they have a sentimental attachment to Greece and that we can connect.”

October 1, 2016

Papadopoulos sends his Interfax interview to the London-based professor, according to the Mueller court documents. Papadopoulos also sent the interview to other reporters with whom he had been corresponding.

October 7, 2016

Papadopoulos is quoted as a foreign policy adviser to Trump in a policy paper written by freelance journalist Ariel Ben Solomon for the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies in Israel. (Papadopoulos had participated in a lunch at the center back in in the spring of 2016, where Trump’s views on international affairs were a topic of discussion.)

Papadopoulos first reached out to Solomon in 2014 via LinkedIn, Solomon told TPM. But their correspondence picked up in September 2016 and continued until before the election, when Papadopulos went quiet. Based on what Papadopoulos said in the correspondence, Solomon said “it was clear” he was involved in the campaign, but he wouldn’t go into any more detail.

“I didn’t get much from him about [the campaign],” Solomon said, adding their correspondence was about “professional” matters.

Late October 2016

According to the accounts of some Greek reporters who had been in touch with Papadopoulos, he tells them he has had a falling out of sorts with the campaign, but his relationship with the campaign is mended a week or so later.

“He finally answered after I had sent several messages, saying that there had been some issues with the campaign, but they were OK now,” Alexis Papahelas, of the Athens paper Kathimerini, wrote in an account of their relationship this week. A Greek-language article on the news site from last November also mentioned Papadopoulos flip-flopping as to whether he was still attached to the campaign.

Papahelas offered the lowdown on the rumors in Greece:

In the meantime, I started hearing complaints from all sorts of people regarding Papadopoulos’s attitude. He had acquired a new status in Athens and was widely regarded as being the key to having Trump’s ear. He was bestowed with awards, wined and dined by prominent Athenians and even appointed to the judging committee of a beauty pageant on a Greek island. I had expected him to get a job at the State Department as it became clear after the elections that Trump did not have enough people of his own to staff hundreds of political positions.

TPM has been unable to confirm independently Papadopoulos’ alleged beauty pageant judging gig.

November 6, 2016: New York

Papadopoulos is back in New York for a panel at the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York.

A Facebook event for the panel calls him the keynote speaker and says the topic is “What new will a Trump presidentship bring to US and to our relations with Greece and Cyprus?”

According to a video of his remarks posted to YouTube, Papadopoulos tells the audience that “Mr. Trump and our team thought that it is very important for me to come here and talk to the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York.”



(TPM had this and other videos translated by Maria Mytilinaki Kennedy, a Thessaloniki-based translator.)

Papadopoulos acknowledges that Trump has not gone into specifics on his positions affecting Greece, and says that Trump is learning about those issues gradually as he goes.

“As his counselor, as a Greek-American who knows these issues inside out, since I was little, I will do everything I can, personally as a counselor, so that the man, President Trump, knows them inside out, so that we see new relations, better relations, between Greece, America, and Cyprus, that we have ever seen here in America,” Papadopoulos says.

November 9, 2016

After Trump’s election, Papadopoulos gets a personal shoutout on Twitter from Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, whom Papadopoulos met on a trip to Greece in the spring of 2016.

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
Panos Kammenos @PanosKammenos
Συγχαρητήρια στον νέο πρόεδρο Τραμπ σημαντική η θέση πλέον του Ελληνοαμερικανού Γιώργου Παπαδόπουλου για την Ελλάδα
1:44 AM - Nov 9, 2016
45 45 Replies 54 54 Retweets 126 126 likes
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Early December 2016: Greece

Papadopoulos travels to Greece, where he signals to government officials that he’ll be a key player in the new administration, even though it appears no official position had been offered to him.



He gives a speech at a conference of Greek mayors in Thessaloniki where he says that the United States “anticipates a close relationship with Greece.” In interviews with local media outlets he says that Trump should visit Greece, but with the caveat that “I cannot speak for Mr. Trump at this moment. But I would really like that as a counsel, yes.”

Nonetheless, he suggests to local media that he is playing a role putting together the new administration.

“Right now we are gradually organizing the new administration. We do not have the complete team figured out,” Papadopoulos says, when asked about a dispute between Greece and Macedonia.



“In about a month, when we know who will be in each position, then we will know, but today unfortunately I cannot inform you about what Mr. Trump will think about the Macedonian issue, the Aegean, Cyprus, Greece…” he says.

“As his counselor, I come here to show that Mr. Trump and the new administration see Greece as a friend,” he adds.

While in Greece, he is wined and dined by various Greek politicians, including Kammenos, the defense minister, with whom Papadopoulos is photographed having lunch.

January 20, 2017: Washington, D.C.

During the inauguration festivities, Papadopoulos meets again with Kammenos, who also meets with incoming White House chief of staff Reince Priebus.

January 22, 2017: Washington, D.C.

Papadopoulos, the Washington Post reported, meets with a group of Israelis involved in the West Bank settler movement and films a video documenting the confab for the Israelis.

“We had an excellent meeting with Yossi and we hope that the people of Judea and Samaria” — the name used by the Israeli right for the West Bank — “will have a great 2017,” Papadopoulos said, according Washington Post’s report of the video. “We are looking forward to ushering in a new relationship with all of Israel.”

January 27, 2017: Chicago

Papadopoulos is interviewed by the FBI as part of its Russia investigation, according to court filings. Papadopoulos later pleads guilty to lying to the FBI in this interview about certain Russia-related contacts during the campaign.

February 16, 2017

Papadopoulos interviews with the FBI again, according to court filings. The next day he deletes the Facebook account he had been using to communicate with the Russian-affiliated contacts, and a few days later he also gets a new cell phone number.

July 27, 2017: Virginia

Papadopoulos is arrested at the Dulles airport coming off a flight from Munich. He’s released the next day on the condition he limits his travel between D.C. and Chicago, his hometown, according to court materials.
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/ ... 6-timeline


Federal Subpoenas Seek Info on Carl Icahn’s Role as Trump Adviser
by TOM WINTER and TRACY CONNOR

Prosecutors are investigating whether billionaire businessman Carl Icahn pushed for a federal policy change that would have benefited one of his investments while he was serving as an adviser to President Donald Trump.

The U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan has issued subpoenas to Icahn's company and another company, CVR Energy, in which he has an 82 percent stake, both firms disclosed in regulatory filings. CVR is a publicly traded company that specializes in refining and is valued at nearly $3 billion.

The companies said they are cooperating with the subpoenas, which were first reported by Bloomberg. "The U.S. Attorney's office has not made any claims or allegations against us or Mr. Icahn," Icahn Enterprises L.P. said in its filing.

Presidential Candidate Donald Trump Speaks At New York Election Night Event
Donald Trump greets Carl Icahn, billionaire activist investor, at a campaign event in April 2016. Victor J. Blue / Bloomberg via Getty Images file
Icahn, who backed Trump during the campaign, was named a special adviser on regulation last December. He quit in August to avoid what he called "partisan bickering" about his position in the administration.

His resignation followed an investigation by CNBC into potential conflicts of interest and came just before a magazine report questioning whether he had broken any laws.

The matter centered on the Renewable Fuel Standard, a program that requires refiners to blend renewable biofuels into gasoline and diesel. Icahn wanted changes that would have helped CVR Energy, CNBC reported.

The U.S. Attorney's office declined to comment on the scope of the probe, but Icahn LP said in its filing that investigators want "information pertaining to our and Mr. Icahn's activities relating to the Renewable Fuels Standard and Mr. Icahn's role as an advisor to the President."

Icahn did not immediately return a call for comment but when he resigned, he denied any conflict.

"I never had a formal position with your administration nor a policymaking role. And contrary to the insinuations of a handful of your Democratic critics, I never had access to nonpublic information or profited from my position, nor do I believe that my role presented conflicts of interest," he wrote to Trump.

"Indeed, out of an abundance of caution, the only issues I ever discussed with you were broad matters of policy affecting the refining industry. I never sought any special benefit for any company with which I have been involved, and have only expressed views that I believed would benefit the refining industry as a whole," he added.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/fe ... er-n819066



then there always is the Fox News/Russian/trump/Pompao"I'm thinking about it" point of view :roll:


Russian Embassy, UK‏Verified account
@RussianEmbassy
Follow Follow @RussianEmbassy
Image
FM Lavrov: all established facts point not to a “Russian trace” in 2016 US election, but rather to @TheDemocrats inside job



seemslikeadream » Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:12 am wrote:I don't know why this is in the news today.....I've known it for a very long time

just ask James Woosley

Mueller Probing Possible Deal Between Turks, Flynn During Presidential Transition
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/mu ... on-n819616


Just let this sink in over your morning coffee: Robert Mueller is investigating whether the incoming National Security Adviser—during the presidential transition—was planning a kidnapping and rendition.


Gen. Yellowkerk and his son are under investigation for plotting to forcibly grab a Muslim cleric in the U.S. and deliver him to the Turkish government in exchange for $15 million. illegal.


Mysterious Putin 'niece' has a name
The exact identity of a 'very good-looking' Russian national who told George Papadopoulos she could broker meetings between the Trump camp and Kremlin officials remains an enigma.
By ALI WATKINS 11/09/2017 05:56 PM EST
A Russian flag flies next to the US embassy building in Moscow. | Getty
Olga Vinogradova (not pictured) has emerged as one more shadowy figure in the still-unfolding story of contacts between Trump associates and the Russian government. | Mladen Antonova/AFP/Getty Images

By ISABELLE TAFT
Federal investigators have a name for a mysterious Russian woman who offered to help broker meetings between former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos and Kremlin officials: Olga Vinogradova.

The name, which has not previously been reported, has taken on new significance for federal investigators seeking to more fully understand the role of the woman, whom Papadapoulos initially described in emails to campaign colleagues as “Putin’s niece," before later learning she was unrelated to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Papadopoulos referred to Vinogradova by name in his campaign-era emails during the spring of 2016, sources tell POLITICO. Introduced to Papadopoulos in March of that year by a London-based academic, Joseph Mifsud, she was part of what federal investigators suspect may have been a Russian effort to infiltrate Trump’s campaign team with the help of intermediaries, or “cut outs.”

Papadopoulos's emails do not make immediately clear who Vinogradova — who could have been using an alias — worked for, where she lived, or her connection to Mifsud, POLITICO learned from one source. The surname is fairly common in Russia, and POLITICO could not independently determine who Vinogradova is.

Vinogradova has emerged as one more shadowy figure in the still-unfolding story of contacts between Trump associates and the Russian government. Russia’s intelligence services rely heavily on third-party cutouts with vague or hidden ties to the Kremlin, including academics, businessmen, oligarchs, and even “honey traps”: attractive women who lure their targets into illicit liaisons that can be used for blackmail.

Whether Vinogradova might fit into one of those categories is unclear, but the answer could be an important puzzle piece for federal investigators trying to understand the Kremlin’s method.

Mifsud did not respond to requests for comment. But in an interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica last week, he referred to Vinogradova as "just a student, a very good-looking one." Papadopoulos's interest in her, Mifsud said, was "very different from an academic one."

Papadopoulos was arrested in July, as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian efforts to undermine the 2016 election. Among other charges, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his contacts with Vinogradova.

The court documents describe Vinogradova only as a “Female Russian National.” Mifsud is described only as a “Professor” but has confirmed to reporters that he is the same person. He denies being a Russian agent.

According to court documents citing Papadopoulos’s email correspondence with campaign officials, it was Mifsud who introduced Vinogradova to Papadopoulos as “a relative of Russian President Vladimir Putin" brokered a March 24, 2016 meeting between the two in London. (Papadopoulos went on to refer to Vinogradova as "Putin's niece" in emails to Trump campaign officials, but court documents say he eventually learned she was unrelated to the Russian leader.)

Mifsud introduced Vinogradova to Papadopoulos as someone with high-profile ties to the Russian government, which was then seeking better relations with the U.S. and an end to western economic sanctions imposed over Russian aggression in Ukraine.

One Papadaooulos email to Trump campaign officials said that the woman had offered “to arrange a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss U.S.-Russia ties under President Trump."

“I have already alerted my personal links to our conversation and your request,” Vinogradova said in an email to Papadopoulos in April, after Papadopoulos asked for help arranging a trip to Moscow.

“As mentioned we are all very excited by the possibility of a good relationship with Mr. Trump. The Russian Federation would love to welcome him once his candidature would be officially announced,” she added.

A lawyer for Papadopoulos declined to comment. Mifsud did not respond to a request for comment.

Mifsud, a Maltese academic with established ties to the Kremlin, told Papadopoulos in April 2016 that the Russians had acquired “dirt” on then-prospective Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. A few months later, in July, Wikileaks released thousands of emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee emails. The US intelligence community later concluded the leak of those emails was part of a broader, Kremlin-directed effort to undermine the 2016 election and undercut Clinton’s candidacy.

Papadopoulos continued corresponding with Vinogradova throughout the spring of 2016, including multiple efforts to arrange a meeting in Russia between the Trump campaign and government connections Vinogradova purported to have.

Trump campaign officials encouraged some of his efforts, according to the court documents. “Great work,” said one. Another told him to travel to Russia “if it is feasible.”

Trump named Papadopoulos as a member of his campaign foreign policy team in March 2016, calling him an “excellent guy” in a March 2016 interview with the Washington Post. But since news of his arrest became public, the Trump White House has downplayed Papadopoulos’s importance, calling him an unpaid volunteer and that the advisory team on which he served met only once

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said last week that Papadopoulos’s work for the campaign was “extremely limited” and that he never served in an “official capacity.”
https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/ ... obe-244758




Mueller Probing Pre-Election Flynn Meeting with Pro-Russia Congressman
by JULIA AINSLEY

WASHINGTON — Investigators for Special Counsel Robert Mueller are questioning witnesses about an alleged September 2016 meeting between Mike Flynn, who later briefly served as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a staunch advocate of policies that would help Russia, two sources with knowledge of the investigation told NBC News.

The meeting allegedly took place in Washington the evening of Sept. 20, while Flynn was working as an adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign. It was arranged by his lobbying firm, the Flynn Intel Group. Also in attendance were Flynn’s business partners, Bijan Kian and Brian McCauley, and Flynn’s son, Michael G. Flynn, who worked closely with his father, the sources said.

Mueller is reviewing emails sent from Flynn Intel Group to Rohrabacher’s congressional staff thanking them for the meeting, according to one of the sources, as part of his probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher speaks at a news conference in Moscow on June 2, 2013. Maxim Shemetov / Reuters
Rohrabacher, a California Republican, has pushed for better relations with Russia, traveled to Moscow to meet with officials and advocated to overturn the Magnitsky Act, the 2012 bill that froze assets of Russian investigators and prosecutors. The sources could not confirm whether Rohrabacher and Flynn discussed U.S. policy towards Russia in the alleged meeting.

The Washington Post reported in May that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, also a California Republican, was secretly recorded telling other party members, in what seemed to be a joke, "There's two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump."

In September, the Wall Street Journal reported that Rohrabacher offered Trump a deal that to protect Julian Assange, creator of WikiLeaks, which released emails damaging to Hillary Clinton ahead of the 2016 election, from legal peril. In return for not prosecuting him for his group's 2010 leak of State Department emails, Assange would allegedly provide proof that Russia was not the source of the hacked Democratic emails. The intelligence community has pointed to Russia as the secret provider of the email trove to WikiLeaks.

Rohrabacher's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mueller’s interest in the nature of Flynn and Rohrabacher’s discussion marks the first known time a member of Congress could be wrapped into the investigation.

Most of what has been reported about Mueller’s questioning of Flynn’s lobbying work has concerned his efforts on behalf of Turkey. Less is known about his lobbying ties to Russia, though he was paid $45,000 plus expenses for attending a gala in Moscow in December 2015 and being interviewed by RT, the Kremlin-financed cable TV news channel.

Image: Mike Flynn
Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (ret.), national security adviser, designate speaks during a conference on the transition of the presidency from Barack Obama to Donald Trump at the U.S. Institute Of Peace on January 10, 2017 in Washington. Chris Kleponis / AFP - Getty Images file
Flynn was fired after just 24 days as Trump’s national security adviser over misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.

Multiple sources have told NBC News that Mueller has gathered enough evidence to lead to an indictment in the investigation into Flynn and his son.

Federal investigators have been probing Flynn’s lobbying efforts on behalf of Turkey, including an alleged meeting with senior Turkish officials in December 2016 where he was offered millions of dollars to secure the return of the Turkish president’s chief rival to Turkey and see that a U.S. case against a Turkish national was dismissed.

A grand jury impaneled by Mueller is continuing to interview witnesses with knowledge of Flynn's business activities over the next week, the two sources said.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/mu ... an-n819676
656 Children Separated kidnapped by trump at the Border Have Still Not Been Reunited With Their Parents

August 17 2018


Babies in cages were no ‘mistake’ by Trump but test-marketing for barbarism - Fintan O’Toole
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Re: George Papadopoulos

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu May 17, 2018 10:22 am

seemslikeadream » Sat Nov 11, 2017 12:28 pm wrote:
A London Meeting of an Unlikely Group: How a Trump Adviser Came to Learn of Clinton ‘Dirt’

By SHARON LaFRANIERE, DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK, ANDREW HIGGINS and MICHAEL SCHWIRTZNOV. 10, 2017


Joseph Mifsud, left, and Ivan Timofeev at an April 2016 conference in Moscow for the Valdai Discussion Club, a gathering of academics. Valdai Club, via Associated Press
WASHINGTON — At midday on March 24, 2016, an improbable group gathered in a London cafe to discuss setting up a meeting between Donald J. Trump, then a candidate, and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

There was George Papadopoulos, a 28-year-old from Chicago with an inflated résumé who just days earlier had been publicly named as a foreign policy adviser to Mr. Trump’s campaign. There was Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese academic in his mid-50s with a faltering career who boasted of having high-level contacts in the Russian government.

And, perhaps most mysteriously, there was Olga Polonskaya, a 30-year-old Russian from St. Petersburg and the former manager of a wine distribution company. Mr. Mifsud introduced her to Mr. Papadopoulos as Mr. Putin’s niece, according to court papers. Mr. Putin has no niece.

The interactions between the three players and a fourth man with contacts inside Russia’s Foreign Ministry have become a central part of the inquiry by the special prosecutor, Robert S. Mueller III, into the Kremlin’s efforts to interfere with the presidential election. Recently released court documents suggest that the F.B.I. suspected that some of the people who showed interest in Mr. Papadopoulos were participants in a Russian intelligence operation.

The March 2016 meeting was followed by a breakfast the next month at a London hotel during which Mr. Mifsud revealed to Mr. Papadopoulos that the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.” That was months before the theft of a trove of emails from the Democratic National Committee by Russian-sponsored hackers became public.

Mr. Mueller’s investigators are seeking to determine who — if anyone — in the Trump campaign Mr. Papadopoulos told about the stolen emails. Although there is no evidence that Mr. Papadopoulos emailed that information to the campaign, Mr. Papadopoulos was in regular contact that spring with top campaign officials, including Stephen Miller, now a senior adviser to President Trump, according to interviews and campaign documents reviewed by The New York Times.

The revelations about Mr. Papadopoulos’s activities are part of a series of disclosures in the past two weeks about communications between Trump campaign advisers and Russian officials or self-described intermediaries for the Russian government. Taken together, they show not only that the contacts were more extensive than previously known, but also that senior campaign officials were aware of them.

Last week, Carter Page, another former foreign policy adviser to the campaign, acknowledged to the House Intelligence Committee that he also had a private conversation with a Russian deputy prime minister on a trip to Moscow in July 2016. Mr. Page, who had previously denied meeting any Russian officials during the trip, said that he had informed at least four campaign officials about his trip beforehand and notified the campaign afterward that the Russian minister had pledged “strong support for Mr. Trump.”

Publicly, Mr. Trump and former campaign officials have tried to distance themselves from Mr. Papadopoulos. Although he once praised him as an “excellent guy,” Mr. Trump posted on Twitter that “few people knew the young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar.” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House spokeswoman, said his involvement in the campaign was “extremely limited.”

But records and interviews show that in spring 2016, Mr. Papadopoulos was welcomed into the thinly-staffed campaign as a “surrogate” who could articulate the candidate’s views. He even helped edit a major foreign policy speech that Mr. Trump gave in Washington in late April, records indicate.

The day before he learned about the hacked emails, Mr. Papadopoulos emailed Mr. Miller, then a senior policy adviser to the campaign, saying Mr. Trump had an “open invitation” from Mr. Putin to visit Russia. The day after, he wrote Mr. Miller that he had “some interesting messages coming in from Moscow about a trip when the time is right.”

Those emails were described in court papers unsealed Oct. 30 disclosing that Mr. Papadopoulos had pleaded guilty to lying about his contacts to the F.B.I. But the documents did not identify Mr. Miller by name, citing only a “senior policy adviser.” Neither he nor his lawyer responded on Friday to requests for comment.

During interviews with Mr. Mueller’s investigators, former campaign officials now working at the White House have denied having advance knowledge of the stolen emails, according to an official familiar with those discussions. Mr. Miller was among those recently interviewed.

Mr. Mifsud’s interest in Mr. Papadopoulos began only after Mr. Papadopoulos had joined the Trump campaign, according to documents released by Mr. Mueller. Mr. Papadopoulos was living in London at the time, hoping to land a full-time job with the campaign, and possibly in a future Trump administration.

Stocky and with a receding hairline, Mr. Mifsud boasted of his Russian connections to Mr. Papadopoulos and others. But in interviews, numerous Russia scholars in London and elsewhere said they had never heard of him, and his career had been rocky for years. He had served as the director of two different European institutions with grandiose names but no accreditation, and he had left two jobs dogged by suggestions of financial impropriety.

“I remember him as a snake-oil salesman,” recalled Manuel Delia, a former Maltese government official who first encountered him in the late 1990s when Mr. Mifsud was administering a scholarship program. Later, Mr. Mifsud styled himself as an expert in international relations, landing a job in 2012 as director of the London Academy of Diplomacy, a for-profit continuing education program. By early 2016, that academy had shut down.



A photograph shared on Twitter by President Trump showed a national security meeting in March 2016, during the presidential campaign. In attendance was George Papadopoulos, third from left.
He did not exhibit any special interest or expertise in Russia until 2014, when his academy was beginning to stumble financially. It was at that time a 24-year-old Russian intern, Natalia Kutepova-Jamrom, turned up in his office with an improbably impressive résumé.

Fluent in Russian, English, German and Chinese, Ms. Kutepova-Jamrom had worked in the Russian government as a legislative aide and would move on to a Russian state newspaper. Both Mr. Mifsud’s lawyer and Ms. Kutepova-Jamrom declined to comment. Mr. Mifsud did not respond to messages.

Ms. Kutepova-Jamrom introduced Mr. Mifsud to senior Russian officials, diplomats and scholars. Despite Mr. Mifsud’s lack of qualifications, she managed to arrange an invitation for him to join the prestigious Valdai Discussion Club, an elite gathering of Western and Russian academics that meets each year with Mr. Putin.

Mr. Mifsud’s inclusion in the group was “very, very strange,” said James Sherr, the former head of the Russian studies program at Chatham House in London and a member of Valdai for nearly a decade. It “might suggest he does have connections,” Mr. Sherr said.

Mr. Mifsud suddenly became a popular pundit with state-run news outlets in Russia, praising the country and Mr. Putin. At his first Valdai conference in 2014, he argued against Western sanctions that punished Russia for its annexation of Crimea that year.

“Global security and economy needs partners, and who is better in this than the Russian Federation,” he said.

Among Mr. Mifsud’s most important new contacts was Ivan Timofeev, a graduate of the elite Moscow State Institute of International Relations and a program director for the Valdai conference. Mr. Mifsud would eventually introduce Mr. Timofeev to Mr. Papadopoulos by email in April 2016, and the two men communicated for months about possible meetings between the Trump campaign and Russian government officials.

During those exchanges, Mr. Timofeev referred repeatedly to his contacts in Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, court records show.

Reached by phone, Mr. Timofeev declined to comment on his relationships with Mr. Mifsud or Mr. Papadopoulos. But in an interview with the online news website Gazeta.ru in August, he acknowledged corresponding with Mr. Papadopoulos.

“At some point, he started asking whether it would be possible to set up a meeting between Trump and Putin or some other high-ranking Russian politicians,” Mr. Timofeev said at the time. “Our conversations made it clear that George was not well acquainted with the Russian foreign political landscape. You obviously can’t just go and set up a meeting with the president, for instance. Things just aren’t done that way.”

Exactly how Mr. Mifsud first met Ms. Polonskaya, the Russian woman who attended the London cafe meeting in March 2016, is unclear.

In a recent interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Mr. Mifsud said the Russian woman who met Mr. Papadopoulos was “a simple student, very beautiful.” He suggested Mr. Papadopoulos hoped for a romantic involvement, adding, “Putin had nothing to do with it, a lovely invention.”

Mr. Mifsud did not reveal her name in that interview — and court records do not identify her — but The Times identified her through emails, interviews and other records.

Ms. Polonskaya did not respond to emails from The Times this week. After Politico identified her on Thursday by her maiden name, Vinogradova, her brother, Sergei Vinogradov, spoke to The Times on her behalf.

He said she was in London discussing a possible internship with Mr. Mifsud, a friend of hers, the morning before the meeting with Mr. Papadopoulos. He insisted that she had no connections to the Russian government and never portrayed herself as Mr. Putin’s niece, despite the court records unsealed by Mr. Mueller.

He said that she only exchanged pleasantries with Mr. Papadopoulos, and that she understood only about half of the discussion between Mr. Mifsud and Mr. Papadopoulos. He shared a text message from her in which she explained to him the reason: “Because my English was bad,” it read.

“It’s totally ridiculous,” Mr. Vinogradov said. “She’s not interested in politics. She can barely tell the difference between Lenin and Stalin.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/10/us/r ... .html?_r=0


Stephen Miller May Have Some Problems

By JOSH MARSHALL Published NOVEMBER 10, 2017 10:33 PM

Fascinating piece here in the Times applying some Times level sleuthing to shed more light on those Papadopoulos court documents from last week. We get some idea of the backstory of Joseph Mifsud, apparently a failing and shambling academic career that was on its final skid when Russians showed up in 2014 with money and newfound respectability, an old story. Other gaps of the story are filled in. But the big one is Stephen Miller.

According to the Times, Miller is the “senior policy advisor” referenced in the Papadopoulos court documents. He was the only unnamed player still unidentified. This means that Miller was one of the top Trump advisors Papadopoulos was keeping posted on his efforts to set up meetings between Russian officials and Trump campaign officials, perhaps even (preposterous as it may seem) a meeting between Trump and Putin himself.

One noteworthy paragraph from the Times …

The day before he learned about the hacked emails, Mr. Papadopoulos emailed Mr. Miller, then a senior policy adviser to the campaign, saying Mr. Trump had an “open invitation” from Mr. Putin to visit Russia. The day after, he wrote Mr. Miller that he had “some interesting messages coming in from Moscow about a trip when the time is right.”

This revelation is important for at least three reasons.

First: The most mundane is that Miller was at the highest level of Trump’s campaign advisors and remained in at least as high a role into the White House and up until today. He is within the innermost circle.

Second: Miller was also one of the advisors pressing hard for President Trump to fire James Comey. Indeed, Mueller’s investigators just interviewed Miller, apparently mainly about the Comey firing. Miller was one of the small group of Trump lickspittles who accompanied the President on the lost weekend at Bedminster when he stewed over Comey and resolved to fire him on his return. He also wrote a first draft of Trump’s firing letter, which the grownups back in Washington, horrified, dramatically revised. In short, Miller’s hands are all over the Comey firing. Now that we know he was in the loop for the Russia contacts, we know that in seeking to fire Comey he was at least in part seeking to kill an investigation into himself.

Third: Miller came to Trump via Jeff Sessions. He was a top staffer to Sessions in the Senate. By 2016 he had risen to Communications Director. And when Sessions endorsed Trump in late February 2016 he brought Miller into the Trump circle. As a speechwriter and advisor, Miller played a key role taking Trump’s instinctive racist-nationalist politics and aligning it with the comparable policy mix Sessions had been pushing, with no great luck, in the Senate for years. Here’s an interesting look at the relationship.

We still don’t have a terribly good explanation of how Jeff Sessions got on the Russia bandwagon, how he ended up having as multiple private conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak over the course of 2016, including one private meeting in Sessions’ senate office in September. Miller seems like at least one likely conduit. At a minimum, Miller getting updated on Papadopoulos’ adventures makes it much less credible that Sessions knew nothing about the channels opening up between the campaign and Russia.

This is all very interesting.
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/ste ... e-problems



Report: Stephen Miller’s resignation may be imminent
Bill Palmer
Updated: 2:08 am EST Sat Nov 11, 2017
Home » Politics

Two days ago we got word that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had quietly interviewed Donald Trump’s White House senior adviser Stephen Miller before the start of the Asia trip. Yesterday we got word that Miller was the unnamed “senior policy adviser” mentioned in the confession of Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos. Now comes a report that Stephen Miller’s resignation may be imminent.


First came the surprising word on Thursday from CNN that Mueller had interviewed Miller at least a week earlier. This was notable because the media had previously believed that Mueller’s first interview with a current Trump White House senior adviser would be with Hope Hicks, and that it would take place after the Asia trip. This prompted Palmer Report to point out that Mueller clearly knew something about Miller the the rest of us didn’t, though it wasn’t yet clear what it was (link). Then came the even more surprising revelation on Friday from the New York Times that Miller was aware of at least portions of Papadopoulos’ Russian conspiracy plot at the time (link). Now here comes the stunning part.


Late on Friday night, Democratic Coalition co-founder and MSNBC guest commentator Scott Dworkin tweeted that “3 different GOPers told me tonight that we should expect Stephen Miller to resign next week, possibly as early as tomorrow” (link). Donald Trump tweeted a photo of himself and Miller aboard Air Force One earlier this week, confirming that Miller is on the Asia trip. This would mean that Miller could resign before the trip is even finished.


One possible explanation for this could be that Trump didn’t know Stephen Miller had met with Robert Mueller, and now that it’s surfaced in the media, things have immediately gone sour between the two of them. There are other possible explanations. Now we wait to see what happens next.

http://www.palmerreport.com/politics/re ... ller/6007/


Academic at heart of Clinton 'dirt' claim vanishes, leaving trail of questions
By Tim Lister and Nic Robertson, CNN
Updated 10:40 AM ET, Fri November 10, 201

(CNN)Joseph Mifsud, the Maltese academic suspected of being a link between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, was once a regular on the foreign policy circuit, attending conferences the world over.

Now, after being identified as a key figure in the US special counsel investigation into Russian influence over the 2016 US presidential election, Mifsud has gone to ground.
Last Thursday he disappeared from the private university in Rome where he teaches. Repeated attempts to reach him since have been unsuccessful, though he appears to have read some messages from CNN.
But more details are emerging of the background and contacts of the man who emerged last week as "the professor" in court filings relating to charges brought against former Trump aide George Papadopoulos.
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In the US affidavit, Papadopoulos claims Mifsued -- referred to as "Foreign Contact 1" -- told him in April 2016 that the Russians had "thousands of emails" relating to Hillary Clinton.
Joseph Mifsud met with the Russian ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko in May 2014.
Joseph Mifsud met with the Russian ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko in May 2014.
An associate also told CNN that he repeatedly bragged about how Moscow had "compromising material" on the Clinton campaign in spring 2016, contradicting Mifsud's assertion that he never talked about Russian "dirt" on the Democratic presidential bid.
At that time, according to US officials and independent analysts, Russian agencies or proxies were rummaging around the stolen emails of both the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The intrusion would not become public for several months.
The associate, who spoke to CNN at length, also said that Mifsud told him that he had been interviewed by the FBI while on a visit to the US earlier this year. That chimes with Mifsud's own account -- in an interview last week with Italian newspaper La Repubblica, he refers to a discussion with the FBI.
Mifsud was in Washington in February -- he spoke at an event organized by Global Ties, which describes itself on its website as a non-profit partner organization of the US State Department.
Last week, Mifsud described Papadopoulos' claim that he knew about Russia's material on Clinton as "baloney."
"I absolutely exclude the fact that I spoke of secrets regarding Hillary Clinton," he told La Repubblica.
Those were his last words in public on the subject.
READ MORE: Who is George Papadopoulos?
The Moscow connection
Mifsud first met Papadopoulos in March 2016 in Rome, according to his own account. They met again shortly after Papadopoulos was first publicly named as an adviser to the Trump team around March 21. Days later, Papadopoulos wrote to colleagues on the Trump team that he "had just finished a very productive lunch with a good friend of mine... who introduced me to both Putin's niece and the Russian ambassador," according to court filings.
The "good friend" was Mifsud. After discovering Papadopoulos' elevation to the Trump campaign, he moved swiftly to put the two sides in contact. (It has since become clear that the woman attending the lunch was not Putin's niece.)
George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the FBI about his Russia connections.

The following month, Mifsud travelled to Moscow to give a talk at the Valdai Club, a think-tank with close connections to the Kremlin. "We have to open up trade to the Russian Federation," he said at the event, on April 19. "Imposing sanctions for example is suicidal in our case -- and because of the pressure... from the United States."
The FBI affidavit implies Mifsud may have been "played" by the Russians.
"The Russian government and its security and intelligence services frequently make use of non-governmental intermediaries to achieve their foreign policy objectives," it said. "The Russian government has used individuals associated with academia and think-tanks in such a capacity."
Mifsud's associate told CNN that seemed very plausible. Anything he was told would soon be repeated to others, the associate said.
READ MORE: Carter Page reveals new contacts with Trump campaign, Russians
A long courtship
Even before encountering Papadopoulos, Mifsud had been a regular visitor to Russia. He attended events sponsored by the Valdai Club between 2014 and 2016 and and other educational conferences in the past four years.
Mifsud also met the Russian ambassador to London Alexander Yakovenko in 2014 after returning from an academic conference in Moscow.
World sees Trump as a weakened president

For an academic with modest credentials and few publications to his name, he had surprisingly high-profile connections among Russian officials.
Mifsud's former assistant has told CNN that she set up meetings between Mifsud and Russian academics and officials. They included Ivan Timofeev, who is on the Russian International Affairs Council, and Evgeny Bazhanov, President of the Foreign Ministry's Diplomatic Academy.
CNN cannot confirm the assistant's account; she requested not to be named.
His most recent visit was in September this year when he moderated two panels during Moscow State University's "Global Congress." The university has an exchange agreement with the private Link University in Rome, where Mifsud teaches.
The state-funded Russia24 network has heaped praise on Link's director Vincenzo Scotti, describing him as "an experienced politician who thinks that cultural exchange and 'soft power' democracy will lead to lifting of the anti-Russian sanctions."
At Moscow State University there are still several photographs displayed of Mifsud with the Dean of the Institute of Global Studies. He is also featured on a poster as one of three prominent lecturers from abroad.
Two of the Institute's faculty told CNN Tuesday that Mifsud presented himself as someone who could build contacts to foreign universities and institutes. They said several of the institute's officials visited the London Academy of Diplomacy, which Mifsud helped run.
Picture on the wall at Moscow State University (MSU) of Joseph Mifsud (left) with Yury Sayamov, UNESCO Chairholder in the Faculty of Global Processes at MSU. The picture was taken while the two men were at the London Diplomatic Academy.
Picture on the wall at Moscow State University (MSU) of Joseph Mifsud (left) with Yury Sayamov, UNESCO Chairholder in the Faculty of Global Processes at MSU. The picture was taken while the two men were at the London Diplomatic Academy.
People who know him say Mifsud was always networking and often exaggerated his access to decision-makers. His stories are frequently contradictory. He has denied knowing anyone in the Russian government yet had previously claimed to have had an exchange with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at an event. Nor is there any evidence to support a claim by Mifsud that he met President Putin.
On at least one occasion he was described at a conference as an ambassador. In fact, he has never held such a post. His resume claims he has been a member of a French presidential panel called the "Comite du Risque" -- but no such organization exists, the French Presidency told CNN.
Mifsud's relationships with several academic institutions have ended badly. For a time he was President of the London Academy of Diplomacy, whose degrees were certified by the University of East Anglia. Mifsud visited the University with a Russian diplomat -- Ernest Chernukhin -- in July.
The university says the connection has now ended, and the academy is now defunct. His resume has also been deleted from another London institution with which he was connected, the London Centre of International Law Practice.
Mifsud left his position as President of Euro-Mediterranean University in Slovenia in 2012. The university claimed he owed 39,000 euros in unexplained expenses.
However, Mifsud's credentials were enough for him to be offered a teaching position at the University of Stirling in Scotland. Earlier this year an email written by deputy principal John Gardner said Mifsud had "truly global contacts in the world of diplomacy and is on first name terms with a wide variety of ambassadors from across the globe."
Why Mueller isn't charging anyone with 'collusion'
Why Mueller isn't charging anyone with 'collusion'
The email was obtained by STV, a Scottish television network. Stirling University would not comment on its content but said Mifsud remained employed at the university.
Mifsud's history of exaggerations, and his enthusiasm to be seen as an important player in demand at conferences the world over, may now be coming back to haunt him.
The "Putin niece" that Papadopoulos mentioned to the Trump campaign was, after all, no relation of the Russian President, Mifsud admitted last week.
He told La Repubblica: "She is a simple student, very beautiful. Like many other students, I introduced her at the London Center where Papadopoulos was, and he showed an interested in her that was not academic."
His associate told CNN that Mifsud had introduced the woman to him as a Russian journalist, one of several he'd met during his dealings with the Russians. The associate says he warned Mifsud about the danger of being played by the Russians.
For the most popular talk-show on Russian television, Mifsud's activities are now the object of ridicule. On Sunday, the show's host, Dmitry Kiselev, said that Papadopoulos was introduced to the fictional Putin niece by "a fly-by Maltese professor called Joseph Mifsud, a retired bottom-feeder diplomat."
http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/08/politics/ ... index.html


seemslikeadream » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:43 am wrote:
Donald Trump says ‘people will die’ as a result of focus on Russia allegations

Andrew Restuccia11/11/17, 1:28 PM CET

U.S. President Donald Trump (left) chats with Russia's President Vla
dimir Putin as they attend the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in the central Vietnamese city of Danang on November 11, 2017 | Mikhail Klimentyev/AFP via Getty Images
Donald Trump says ‘people will die’ as a result of focus on Russia allegations

‘Every time he sees me he says, “I didn’t do that,” and I really believe, that when he tells me that, he means it,’ Trump says after meeting Putin at Vietnam summit.

DANANG, Vietnam — President Donald Trump on Saturday called into question the American intelligence community’s assessment that Russia sought to influence last year’s presidential election, while raising concerns that the intense focus on the issue could sour U.S. relations with Vladimir Putin.

Pressed by reporters, Trump didn’t directly say whether he personally believed Putin was involved in the alleged election meddling. But he suggested he takes the Russian president at his word when he denies directing the influence campaign.

“Every time he sees me he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I really believe, that when he tells me that, he means it,” Trump said, speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Hanoi, Vietnam. ”But he says, ‘I didn’t do that.’ I think he is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country.”

Trump dismissed the meddling allegations as driven by Democrats, warning that the heavy focus on the issue threatens the United States’ ability to partner with Russia on key issues. He asserted that the allegations could fray the U.S.-Russia relationship so badly that the country could be less willing to cooperate on North Korea, Syria and other international crises — an outcome that would put lives at risk.

“This artificial Democratic hit job gets in the way and that’s a shame because people will die because of it,” he said. “And it’s a pure hit job.”

“Everybody knows there was no collusion,” he continued. “I think it’s a shame that something like this can destroy a very important potential relationship between two countries that are very important countries Russia could really help us.”

The president said Putin again denied that he had a role in the effort to influence the election during a few brief conversations that the two leaders had on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

“He said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times. I just asked him again. He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did,” Trump said, adding that he and Putin, “have the potential to have a very good relationship.”

American intelligence agencies have said Russia interfered in the election with the goal of boosting Trump and defeating Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. The agencies have also said they have “high confidence” that Putin directed the effort.

Trump said he and Putin had “two or three very short conversations” during the APEC summit. The White House had previously said the two leaders would not hold a formal meeting.

Putin and Trump largely focused on Syria during their chats, according to the president.

Following the discussions, the U.S. and Russia released a joint statement on Saturday in which they “confirmed their determination to defeat ISIS in Syria.”

Trump later declined to say whether embattled Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore should resign, adding that he doesn’t know enough about the allegations to weigh in. Moore has been accused of initiating sexual contact with teenagers decades ago.

“Well again, I’ve been with you folks, so I haven’t gotten to see too much,” he said. “And believe it or not, even when I’m in Washington or New York, I do not watch much television. I know they like to say that.”

Authors:
https://www.politico.eu/article/donald- ... legations/


Scott Dworkin‏Verified account
@funder

In the last 24 hours Trump:

-met w/Putin 3 times
-sent out joint statement w/Putin via Kremlin
-said people will die due to Russia probes
-called Russia probe a Democratic hit job
-sided w/Putin over US Gov’t & military
-ruined #VeteransDay

‘Tis the season for treason.


ImageImage
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New report suggests Trump may have lied about ties to mob-linked Russian businessman

A new report describes Trump meeting with Felix Sater shortly after the 2016 presidential election

8.1K13.8K227
MATTHEW ROZSA
11.07.2017•3:21 PM
President Donald Trump has long insisted that he doesn't know Felix Sater, a Russian businessman with a number of shady ties to organized crime. Yet a new report suggests that Trump and Sater not only know each other but hung out together just as the former was celebrating his upset victory in the 2016 election.
Courtesy of GQ's account of Trump's war room during election night:


Explore Downtown Charm in Elizabethtown, Kentucky
BY http://WWW.TOURETOWN.COM
11:55 P.M.—Among the well-wishers and Trump associates eager to join in the celebration is Felix Sater, a Russian-born entrepreneur and sometime business partner of Trump's, who's helped locate potential real estate deals in the former Soviet Union. (Since the election, Sater's links to Russia have come under scrutiny as it's been revealed that he offered, in 2015, to broker a relationship between Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin—one that he said could win Trump the White House. "I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected," Mr. Sater wrote to Trump's lawyer.) . . .
From his home on Long Island, Sater orders a late-night ride from a car service. His destination: the invite-only victory party at the Midtown Hilton.
Trump has become notorious for downplaying his association with Sater. During a court deposition in 2013, Trump said, "I mean, I’ve seen him a couple of times; I have met him." He was also reported as saying, "If he were sitting in the room right now, I really wouldn’t know what he looked like." This continued to be Trump's position in 2015, when he responded to a question about Sater by saying, "Boy, I have to even think about it."
Despite these denials, neither Donald Trump Jr. nor Ivanka Trump deny that they were personally escorted around Moscow by Sater. Sater has also claimed to have helped Trump with some of his business deals, even bragging in 2015, "Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putin's team to buy in on this, I will manage this process."
https://www.salon.com/2017/11/07/new-re ... sinessman/



Investigators probe Trump knowledge of campaign's Russia dealings: sources
Mark Hosenball, John Walcott

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has questioned Sam Clovis, co-chairman of President Donald Trump’s election campaign, to determine if Trump or top aides knew of the extent of the campaign team’s contacts with Russia, two sources familiar with the investigation said on Friday.

U.S. President Donald Trump and China's Premier Li Keqiang (not pictured) meet at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
The focus of the questions put to Clovis by Mueller’s team has not been previously reported.

“The ultimate question Mueller is after is whether candidate Trump and then President-elect Trump knew of the discussions going on with Russia, and who approved or even directed them,” said one source. “That is still just a question.”

Clovis testified in late October before the grand jury in Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. He is also cooperating with the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating the same issues.

Contacted late on Friday, the White House declined to comment.

One of the sources described Clovis as “another domino” after former campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI over his own contacts with Russians during the 2016 election campaign.

“The investigators now know what Papadopoulos was doing on the Russian front, which he initially tried to conceal, and who he told that to,” said the other source. “Now [they] want to know whether Clovis and others reported these activities and others related to Russia, and if so, to whom,” this source said.

Attorneys for Clovis did not respond to requests for comment. Lawyers for Papadopoulos had no immediate comment.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment.

According to court documents related to Papadopoulos’ guilty plea, he reported to Clovis in an email on a March 24, 2016, meeting he had in London with a professor later identified as Joseph Mifsud.

Mifsud in turn introduced him to a Russian woman and the Russian ambassador in London, and they discussed setting up meetings to talk about U.S.-Russia ties in a Trump presidency.

The documents showed Clovis responded to the proposed meetings by saying he would “work it through the campaign.” While he told Papadopoulos not to make a commitment then to set up those meetings, he congratulated him for “great work.”

In August 2016, after Trump won the Republican presidential nomination, Clovis encouraged Papadopoulos to “make the trip” when Papadopoulos proposed going to an off-the-record meeting with unnamed Russian officials, the court documents show.

Victoria Toensing, one of Clovis’s lawyers, said last week her client “always vigorously opposed any Russian trip for Donald Trump and/or the campaign”.

After Papadopoulos’ guilty plea, the White House and former Trump campaign officials dismissed Papadopoulos and Clovis as minor figures in the campaign.

The campaign’s National Security Advisory Committee, which Clovis formed, has become a focus of the investigations by both Mueller and the Senate, sources said.

“Sam built the first group of eight,” J.D. Gordon, the director of the campaign foreign policy group, told Reuters, adding that he and then-Senator Jeff Sessions, now the U.S. Attorney General, had “nearly doubled” it in size.

However, two other sources familiar with the investigations said investigators have been told the committee Clovis formed did very little, and that other advisers appeared to carry more weight with Trump.
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-t ... SKBN1DB04J




College linked to Trump/Russia affair covers its tracks
Image
LSET owner Prasenjit Kumar at a private function with prime minister Theresa May
The London School of Executive Training — one of several quasi-academic institutions linked to the Trump/Russia affair — clearly has something to hide. Following my story yesterday about its owner’s relations with vanished professor Joseph Mifsud, with a Russian woman who posed as Putin’s niece and with British foreign secretary Boris Johnson, the school has deleted all mention of its board of governors from its website.
The school’s action echoes a similar move by the London Centre of International Law Practice (LCILP) which deleted staff profiles from its website once it became known that Mifsud — the middleman in the Trump-Russia affair — and Trump adviser George Papadopoulos had been colleagues together at LCILP for several months last year.
Until yesterday, the London School of Executive Training (LSET) listed 10 governors on its “About us” page, together with biographical notes. Here is
the page as it appears now, and here is an archived version from yesterday. The 10 people listed as governors are:
Ravi Mehrotra CBE
Dr Prem Sharma OBE FRSA
Ambassador K V Rajan
Prasenjit Kumar
Marie Haughey MBE
David Webb
Peter Sage
Peter Bowyer
Professor Iain Dewar
Dr Charles Chatterjee
One interesting name on the list is Prasenjit Kumar (aka Prasenjit Kumar Singh), the owner of LSET. His biographical note says:
“An Engineer by profession, Prasenjit Kumar is the think tank [sic] behind the success of a group of Colleges for the last 14 years. He has also served as the President and Chancellor of a US based University for eight years. The undivided devotion and effort he has put into the group has resulted in some well-established Colleges and numerous companies internationally. He is a devotee of Anandamurtijee, who dedicated his life to the upliftment of human society.”
The first part of this is rubbish. As reported yesterday, before launching LSET in December 2013, Kumar was involved in a succession of failed educational businesses. He also seems reluctant to name the “US based university” of which he is president and chancellor but it may be one of these. “Anandamurtijee” in the last sentence refers to Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar, founder of the Indian Ananda Marga movement.
Another of LSET’s governors, Charles Chatterjee, is described as “a visiting academic” at London Diplomatic Academy (the recently-closed institution where the recently-disappeared Joseph Mifsud was director). In 2014, Chatterjee also spoke at an event organised by LCILP, the now-dormant institution where Mifsud and Papadopoulos later worked.
Yet another interesting governor of LSET is Prem Sharma who, as Robert Mackey points out in an article for The Intercept, is the father of Alok Sharma, Conservative member of parliament for Reading West.
In 2009, one of Kumar’s educational ventures, Halifax College (UK) Limited, donated £5,000 to the Conservative party in Reading West — money which presumably helped Alok Sharma to capture the seat from Labour a few months later.

At the Conservative fundraising dinner. Left to right: Mifsud, Johnson and Kumar
Last month Kumar and Mifsud both attended a Conservative fundraising dinner in Sharma’s constituency where they were photographed alongside foreign secretary Boris Johnson.
In a post on Facebook last year, Kumar described Mifsud as one of his “good old friends”. Even more intriguingly, he is also a friend of the Russian woman who was initially alleged to be Putin’s niece.
The woman, later identified as Olga Polonskaya and unrelated to Putin, was present at a key meeting between Mifsud and Papadopoulos in London on March 24 last year (see chronology).
Polonskaya is a Facebook friend of Kumar but they have also met in person on at least two occasions. Kumar told The Observer he had initially met her at Link Campus University in Rome (also visited by Papadopoulos and Nagi Idris of LCILP) where Mifsud held an academic post.
Kumar also met her at a shopping centre in London “about two and a half months ago”. He told The Observer:
“I was with my family and we were going to the Westfield shopping centre and I said: ‘Yes, come and meet me there.’ She was going to translate my website — for the London Executive School [LSET] — from English into Russian so I could try and attract more Russian students. She did that: I just haven’t put it up yet.”
Kumar’s description of Polonskaya as a translator conflicts with a story in the New York Times on Friday suggesting she could barely speak English:
After Politico identified her on Thursday by her maiden name, Vinogradova, her brother, Sergei Vinogradov, spoke to The Times on her behalf.
He said she was in London discussing a possible internship with Mr Mifsud, a friend of hers, the morning before the meeting with Mr Papadopoulos …
He said that she only exchanged pleasantries with Mr Papadopoulos, and that she understood only about half of the discussion between Mr Mifsud and Mr Papadopoulos. He shared a text message from her in which she explained to him the reason: “Because my English was bad,” it read.
“It’s totally ridiculous,” Mr Vinogradov said. “She’s not interested in politics. She can barely tell the difference between Lenin and Stalin.”
This also begs the question why, if Polonskaya was not interested in politics, she would seek an internship with Mifsud, whose main interest was politics.
https://medium.com/@Brian_Whit/college- ... 3167f3ea4f


College chums: another academic link in the Mifsud puzzle

The London School of Executive Training (LSET) is a dynamic institution located in the heart of London with a “world-renowned” teaching faculty — 
or so its website says.
As part of its mission “to drive global transformation”, the school aims to attract “business leaders, bureaucrats, politicians, lawyers” and others for short courses lasting one to four weeks. A one-week course costs £1,500 (almost $2,000) which includes some sightseeing and, for the better-off students, “helicopter hire is available”.
A photo on LSET’s website shows a substantial stone-and brick building which casual observers might assume to be the school. The website doesn’t give its exact location but a few checks on Google show that the building is Hamilton House in Bloomsbury, best known as the headquarters of the National Union of Teachers. However, Hamilton House also has spare rooms that can be hired for meetings — which appears to be where LSET fits in.
LSET is the latest in a series of academic or fringe-academic institutions with links to Joseph Mifsud, the now-vanished professor at the centre of the Trump/Russia affair. In 2014 LSET told inspectors it was “working in partnership” with the London Academy of Diplomacy where Mifsud was director until the academy’s recent closure.
The owner of LSET is Prasenjit Kumar Singh, a donor to the British Conservative party who, in a post on Facebook, has described Mifsud as one of his “good old friends”.

At the Conservative fundraising dinner. Left to right: Mifsud, Johnson and Kumar
That in itself might not be significant — Mifsud appears to have been a virtuoso networker — but Kumar was also a Facebook friend of Olga Polonskaya, the mysterious Russian woman who in March last year attended a meeting with Mifsud and Trump “adviser” George Papadopoulos posing as a niece of President Putin.
Last month, Mifsud and Kumar both attended a Conservative party fundraising dinner where they were photographed with foreign secretary Boris Johnson. Kumar posted the photo on Facebook, where it was “liked” by Ms Polonskaya.
LSET was inspected in 2014 by the British Accreditation Council which gave it a broadly favourable report while noting that at the time it had a total of
only five students.
Before launching LSET in December 2013, Kumar was involved in a succession of failed educational businesses:
Albert College Limited (wound up by court order)
Halifax College (UK) Limited (declared insolvent)
Techno School of Business & Engineering Limited (voluntarily struck off the companies register)
Halifax Educational Research Limited (compulsorily struck off the companies register)
In 2007, London University complained that Albert College was offering its students some of the university’s external courses, but had not asked for up-to-date study materials and had never put forward any candidates for examination. Northumbria University also complained that Albert College was advertising the university’s distance-learning law course in its prospectus without the right to do so — and threatened legal action.
Halifax College was established in 2004 as the British arm of Halifax University in Wyoming whose degree courses were not accredited by the US Department of Education. The British branch attempted to describe itself as a university but the government intervened to stop it, according to a BBC report. This caused some embarrassment for the Conservative party (which was in opposition at the time) because one of the party’s grandees, Michael Ancram, had performed the opening ceremony.
Although Halifax College ended up insolvent, in 2009 it made donations to the Conservative party in Reading West amounting to £5,000. At the time, Reading West was a marginal constituency held by Labour. The following year, Alok Sharma captured it for the Conservatives.
Last month’s fundraising dinner where Kumar and Mifsud were photographed with Boris Johnson took place in Sharma’s constituency. Sharma later told The Observer that he had “briefly greeted” Mifsud at the dinner and that he had met him “a couple of times” before. Johnson, meanwhile, denied ever having “knowingly” met Mifsud.
https://medium.com/@Brian_Whit/college- ... eb388dc226



seemslikeadream » Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:46 am wrote:
Trump Campaign’s Foreign-Policy Team Is Under Mueller’s Microscope

More stories by Shannon PettypieceNovember 15, 2017, 3:00 AM CST
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is continuing his interviews with White House staff this month, where a key topic are the connections emanating from a little-known foreign policy lightweight who served as an unpaid campaign aide -- George Papadopoulos.

Mueller has only given the public glimpses into his probe of alleged connections between President Donald Trump’s associates and Russian meddling of the U.S. election. But a court filing by Mueller related to Papadopoulos provides one possible path toward a case showing collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Papadopoulos was among a handful of names that Trump rattled off in March 2016 to introduce his hastily assembled policy team, a decision that is coming back to haunt him.

The bulk of Papadopoulos’s experience was as an unpaid intern and contract researcher at the Hudson Institute, a Washington research group. During the campaign, Papadopoulos tried to arrange a meeting with Russian officials and potentially a trip for Trump to Russia, according to court filings by Mueller. New details keep emerging about additional campaign conversations and emails related to Russians.

Here are the figures in Papadopoulos’s circle:

Sam Clovis


Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
Clovis, the campaign’s national co-chairman and chief policy adviser, selected Papadopoulos to be among a group of Trump’s foreign policy advisers in March 2016, even though he had little experience. Clovis is referred to as his "supervisor" in court filings related to Papadopoulos’s guilty plea.

A former Iowa talk radio host and Air Force officer, Clovis was included in at least four emails or conversations in which Papadopoulos discussed setting up a meeting between the campaign and Russian officials, according to the court filings. In one August exchange, Clovis suggests Papadopoulos and an unnamed campaign foreign policy adviser take a trip to Russia "if feasible" in response to a suggestion by Papadopoulos.

Clovis’s lawyer, Victoria Toensing, said in a statement that all of Papadopoulos’s communication with the campaign was "self generated" and that Clovis was against any Russian trip for Trump or staff. She added that if a volunteer made a suggestion, "Dr. Clovis, a polite gentleman from Iowa, would have expressed courtesy and appreciation."

Since the Papadopoulos guilty plea was unsealed, Clovis has asked for his name to be withdrawn from consideration for undersecretary for research at the Agriculture Department, although he continues to work at the agency. NBC News reported that Clovis has spoken to Mueller. Toensing declined to comment on that saying only that he is cooperating with the investigation.

Carter Page


Photographer: Stuart Wilson/Getty Images
Like Papadopoulos, Page came from outside the foreign policy establishment and his inclusion as a campaign adviser raised eyebrows. He had worked in Russia for years, including a stint at Merrill Lynch, and had numerous connections in the country.

Based on what is known so far, Page and Papadopoulos had little interaction beyond a few meetings and being copied on campaign-related emails. But the two men’s stories have a number of parallels.

Like Papadopoulos, Page also had Russian contacts during the campaign. Page said he was invited by a Russian university to speak at a commencement and asked the campaign for permission to go. J.D. Gordon, the campaign’s full-time national security adviser, said he told Page it wouldn’t be a good idea to have someone from the campaign traveling to Russia and wouldn’t pass along his request for approval. But Page went around him to then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who ultimately told Page he could go as long as it was for personal business and not related to the campaign, according to Gordon.

Page had told the media that he had no contacts with Russian officials while there for the speech, but in congressional testimony admitted meeting at least one Russian official. After returning from the trip, Page emailed campaign staffers offering to share "incredible insights and outreach I’ve received from a few Russian legislatures and senior members of the presidential administration here."

J.D. Gordon

A former Pentagon spokesman and the campaign’s national security adviser, Gordon was tasked with overseeing the campaign’s nascent foreign policy team.

Gordon took part in a March 2016 meeting with then-Senator Jeff Sessions and Trump, where Papadopoulos offered to broker a meeting with Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Gordon said that after Page went around him to secure permission to travel to Russia, he never had a follow-up conversation with him about the trip. He said Papadopoulos also went around him after Gordon shot down his idea in March to do an interview with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos.

Page contacted Gordon and others on the campaign in July 2016 to praise them for a change in the Republican Party platform that softened the party’s support for Ukraine.

Corey Lewandowski

Lewandowski was Trump’s campaign manager until he was fired on June 20, 2016 and replaced by Paul Manafort. Lewandowski has mostly stayed out of headlines surrounding the investigation. But Mueller’s document, as well as Page’s testimony, show Lewandowski was aware of contact between members of the campaign and Russians.

The accounts say that Lewandowski approved a trip by Page to Moscow on the condition it was personal business and not representing the campaign. The Washington Post reported that Lewandowski also received several emails from Papadopoulos informing him that he was in contact with Russians intermediaries about trying to set up a meeting between the campaign and Russian officials.

Lewandowski said in an interview with Fox News on Nov. 7 that he had initially forgotten about the email from Page about his trip, but that his memory has since been "refreshed." Lewandowski has also repeatedly said he didn’t know Page though Page testified that Lewandowski interviewed him for his position as a foreign policy adviser.

Since the campaign, Lewandowski has done political consulting work and is an adviser to a political action committee working to re-elect Trump. Lewandowski has been a frequent visitor to the White House and has talked to Trump regularly throughout his presidency, according to people close to Lewandowski.

Jeff Sessions

The attorney general, who was a GOP senator from Alabama during the campaign, headed the Trump foreign policy team that included Papadopoulos and Page and had two encounters where he was informed about contacts the pair had with Russians. The revelations from Papadopoulos’s statement to Mueller, along with Page’s testimony, have raised questions about whether Sessions has been transparent about what he knew about campaign contacts with Russia in his confirmation hearing.

At Session’s confirmation hearing in January, he said he wasn’t aware of any campaign contacts with Russia. On Tuesday, he told the House Judiciary Committee that he didn’t lie or mislead Congress, saying he simply forgot about the meeting where Papadopoulos touted his Russian connections and pushed for a meeting between Trump and Putin.

“I do now recall the March 2016 meeting at Trump Hotel that Mr. Papadopoulos attended, but I have no clear recollection of the details of what he said during that meeting,” Sessions said. “After reading his account, and to the best of my recollection, I believe that I wanted to make clear to him that he was not authorized to represent the campaign with the Russian government, or any other foreign government, for that matter.”

Separately, Page told congressional investigators that he informed Sessions that he was traveling to Russia as the pair were leaving a dinner.

Paul Manafort

Manafort joined the campaign in March around the same time as Papadopoulos and Page. While his initial job was to help with the delegate count, he was named campaign chairman in May and at the end of June replaced Lewandowski as campaign manager.

Based on testimony from Page and court filings related to Papadopoulos, he had little if any contact with the pair. According to Papadopoulos’s statement, Manafort shot down his idea of Trump traveling to Russia. Page said he sent one email to Manafort, who didn’t respond.

On the same day Papadopoulos’s guilty plea was unsealed, Manafort was indicted by Mueller on charges of laundering millions of dollars.

Other Players

Keith Kellogg -- Now chief of staff for Trump’s National Security Council, Kellogg was named as a foreign policy adviser, along with Page and Papadopoulos, and attended several meetings of the group with them. Kellogg was interviewed by Mueller in early October, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

Stephen Miller -- According to a New York Times report, Miller was in contact with Papadopoulos throughout the campaign. Papadopoulos told Miller that Trump had an "open invitation" from Putin to visit Russia and told him he had some "interesting messages coming in from Moscow about a trip when the time is right," the New York Times reported. CNN reported that Miller has been interviewed by Mueller’s team of investigators.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... microscope


seemslikeadream » Sat Nov 18, 2017 9:23 am wrote:
Academic at heart of Clinton 'dirt' claim vanishes, leaving trail of questions
By Tim Lister and Nic Robertson, CNN
Updated 11:01 AM ET, Wed November 8, 2017

(CNN)Joseph Mifsud, the Maltese academic suspected of being a link between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, was once a regular on the foreign policy circuit, attending conferences the world over.

Now, after being identified as a key figure in the US special counsel investigation into Russian influence over the 2016 US presidential election, Mifsud has gone to ground.
Last Thursday he disappeared from the private university in Rome where he teaches. Repeated attempts to reach him since have been unsuccessful, though he appears to have read some messages from CNN.
But more details are emerging of the background and contacts of the man who emerged last week as "the professor" in court filings relating to charges brought against former Trump aide George Papadopoulos.
Content by Museum of the Bible

In the US affidavit, Papadopoulos claims Mifsued -- referred to as "Foreign Contact 1" -- told him in April 2016 that the Russians had "thousands of emails" relating to Hillary Clinton.

Joseph Mifsud met with the Russian ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko in May 2014.
An associate also told CNN that he repeatedly bragged about how Moscow had "compromising material" on the Clinton campaign in spring 2016, contradicting Mifsud's assertion that he never talked about Russian "dirt" on the Democratic presidential bid.
At that time, according to US officials and independent analysts, Russian agencies or proxies were rummaging around the stolen emails of both the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The intrusion would not become public for several months.
The associate, who spoke to CNN at length, also said that Mifsud told him that he had been interviewed by the FBI while on a visit to the US earlier this year. That chimes with Mifsud's own account -- in an interview last week with Italian newspaper La Repubblica, he refers to a discussion with the FBI.
Mifsud was in Washington in February -- he spoke at an event organized by Global Ties, which describes itself on its website as a non-profit partner organization of the US State Department.
Last week, Mifsud described Papadopoulos' claim that he knew about Russia's material on Clinton as "baloney."
"I absolutely exclude the fact that I spoke of secrets regarding Hillary Clinton," he told La Repubblica.
Those were his last words in public on the subject.

The Moscow connection
Mifsud first met Papadopoulos in March 2016 in Rome, according to his own account. They met again shortly after Papadopoulos was first publicly named as an adviser to the Trump team around March 21. Days later, Papadopoulos wrote to colleagues on the Trump team that he "had just finished a very productive lunch with a good friend of mine... who introduced me to both Putin's niece and the Russian ambassador," according to court filings.
The "good friend" was Mifsud. After discovering Papadopoulos' elevation to the Trump campaign, he moved swiftly to put the two sides in contact. (It has since become clear that the woman attending the lunch was not Putin's niece.)

George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the FBI about his Russia connections.
The following month, Mifsud travelled to Moscow to give a talk at the Valdai Club, a think-tank with close connections to the Kremlin. "We have to open up trade to the Russian Federation," he said at the event, on April 19. "Imposing sanctions for example is suicidal in our case -- and because of the pressure... from the United States."
The FBI affidavit implies Mifsud may have been "played" by the Russians.
"The Russian government and its security and intelligence services frequently make use of non-governmental intermediaries to achieve their foreign policy objectives," it said. "The Russian government has used individuals associated with academia and think-tanks in such a capacity."
Mifsud's associate told CNN that seemed very plausible. Anything he was told would soon be repeated to others, the associate said.

A long courtship
Even before encountering Papadopoulos, Mifsud had been a regular visitor to Russia. He attended events sponsored by the Valdai Club between 2014 and 2016 and and other educational conferences in the past four years.
Mifsud also met the Russian ambassador to London Alexander Yakovenko in 2014 after returning from an academic conference in Moscow.


For an academic with modest credentials and few publications to his name, he had surprisingly high-profile connections among Russian officials.
Mifsud's former assistant has told CNN that she set up meetings between Mifsud and Russian academics and officials. They included Ivan Timofeev, who is on the Russian International Affairs Council, and Evgeny Bazhanov, President of the Foreign Ministry's Diplomatic Academy.
CNN cannot confirm the assistant's account; she requested not to be named.
His most recent visit was in September this year when he moderated two panels during Moscow State University's "Global Congress." The university has an exchange agreement with the private Link University in Rome, where Mifsud teaches.
The state-funded Russia24 network has heaped praise on Link's director Vincenzo Scotti, describing him as "an experienced politician who thinks that cultural exchange and 'soft power' democracy will lead to lifting of the anti-Russian sanctions."
At Moscow State University there are still several photographs displayed of Mifsud with the Dean of the Institute of Global Studies. He is also featured on a poster as one of three prominent lecturers from abroad.
Two of the Institute's faculty told CNN Tuesday that Mifsud presented himself as someone who could build contacts to foreign universities and institutes. They said several of the institute's officials visited the London Academy of Diplomacy, which Mifsud helped run.
Picture on the wall at Moscow State University (MSU) of Joseph Mifsud (left) with Yury Sayamov, UNESCO Chairholder in the Faculty of Global Processes at MSU. The picture was taken while the two men were at the London Diplomatic Academy.

People who know him say Mifsud was always networking and often exaggerated his access to decision-makers. His stories are frequently contradictory. He has denied knowing anyone in the Russian government yet had previously claimed to have had an exchange with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at an event. Nor is there any evidence to support a claim by Mifsud that he met President Putin.
On at least one occasion he was described at a conference as an ambassador. In fact, he has never held such a post. His resume claims he has been a member of a French presidential panel called the "Comite du Risque" -- but no such organization exists, the French Presidency told CNN.
Mifsud's relationships with several academic institutions have ended badly. For a time he was President of the London Academy of Diplomacy, whose degrees were certified by the University of East Anglia. Mifsud visited the University with a Russian diplomat -- Ernest Chernukhin -- in July.
The university says the connection has now ended, and the academy is now defunct. His resume has also been deleted from another London institution with which he was connected, the London Centre of International Law Practice.
Mifsud left his position as President of Euro-Mediterranean University in Slovenia in 2012. The university claimed he owed 39,000 euros in unexplained expenses.
However, Mifsud's credentials were enough for him to be offered a teaching position at the University of Stirling in Scotland. Earlier this year an email written by deputy principal John Gardner said Mifsud had "truly global contacts in the world of diplomacy and is on first name terms with a wide variety of ambassadors from across the globe."
Why Mueller isn't charging anyone with 'collusion'
Why Mueller isn't charging anyone with 'collusion'
The email was obtained by STV, a Scottish television network. Stirling University would not comment on its content but said Mifsud remained employed at the university.
Mifsud's history of exaggerations, and his enthusiasm to be seen as an important player in demand at conferences the world over, may now be coming back to haunt him.
The "Putin niece" that Papadopoulos mentioned to the Trump campaign was, after all, no relation of the Russian President, Mifsud admitted last week.
He told La Repubblica: "She is a simple student, very beautiful. Like many other students, I introduced her at the London Center where Papadopoulos was, and he showed an interested in her that was not academic."
His associate told CNN that Mifsud had introduced the woman to him as a Russian journalist, one of several he'd met during his dealings with the Russians. The associate says he warned Mifsud about the danger of being played by the Russians.
For the most popular talk-show on Russian television, Mifsud's activities are now the object of ridicule. On Sunday, the show's host, Dmitry Kiselev, said that Papadopoulos was introduced to the fictional Putin niece by "a fly-by Maltese professor called Joseph Mifsud, a retired bottom-feeder diplomat."
http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/08/politics/ ... index.html


THE EX-SPY BEHIND THE TRUMP-RUSSIA DOSSIER LEFT A CLUE FOR MUELLER
Christopher Steele told a reporter that one real-estate deal might be key to understanding the collusion case.

BY ABIGAIL TRACY
NOVEMBER 16, 2017 11:44 AM
Christopher Steele

As federal investigators pour over the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, the work of ex-British spook Christopher Steele continues to loom large. At least part of Robert Mueller’s probe has been informed by Steele’s infamous dossier, which alleges substantive ties between Donald Trump and the Russian government. Though Trumpworld has cast doubt on the document’s legitimacy, with former Trump aide Carter Page dubbing it the “dodgy dossier,” Steele has stood by his research and, reportedly, has offered up another tip: zero in on the president’s foreign real-estate deals.

In December of last year, Steele informed Luke Harding, a journalist for the Guardian, that “the contracts for the hotel deals and land deals” between Trump and individuals with the Kremlin ties warrant investigation. “Check their values against the money Trump secured via loans,” the former spy said, according to a conversation detailed in Harding’s new book, Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win. “The difference is what’s important.”

According to his book, Steele did not elaborate on this point to Harding, but his implication was clear: it’s possible that Trump was indebted to Russian interests when he descended Trump Tower’s golden escalator to declare his candidacy. After the real-estate mogul suffered a series of bankruptcies related to the 2008 financial crisis, traditional banks became reluctant to loan him money—a reality he has acknowledged in past interviews. As a result, the Trump Organization reportedly became increasingly reliant on foreign investors, notably Russian ones. As Donald Trump Jr. famously said in 2008, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

The significance of such transactions is not lost on Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Citing a person familiar with the F.B.I. probe, Bloomberg reported in July that Mueller’s team is investigating a series of deals Trump struck, including the Trump Organization’s failed SoHo development that involved Russian nationals, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and the president’s sale of a Palm Beach estate in 2008. All three deals have drawn scrutiny for their ties to Russian interests; as Craig Unger outlined for the Hive, the 2014 Trump SoHo development is likely of interest to Mueller thanks to the involvement of Felix Sater—a Moscow-born, Russian-American businessman who did time for stabbing a man in the face with a margarita glass—and the now-defunct company he worked for, the Bayrock Group. Similarly, Russian developer Aras Agalarov, whose son Emin helped broker the controversial Trump Tower meeting last June between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, paid $20 million to bring Miss Universe to Moscow. And Russian fertilizer magnate Dmitry Rybolovlev bought the Florida mansion for a staggering sum of $95 million in 2008—despite Trump having paid just $41 million for the property four years prior.

Watch Now: Is Donald Trump Emotionally Intelligent?

Trump has cautioned that he would view any attempt by Mueller to dig into his past business deals as out of bounds. But the former F.B.I. director has a broad mandate from the D.O.J. to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign” and “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation”—suggesting that Trump’s deals with Russians fall under Mueller’s purview. Nor is Mueller’s tack in following the money limited to Trump. The indictments the special prosecutor brought against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his deputy and longtime business associate Rick Gates included conspiracy to launder money and seven counts of improper foreign banking and financial reporting. (Both Manafort and Gate have denied the charges.)

Since media outlets published the Steele dossier last January, Republican lawmakers and conservative pundits alike have sought to discredit it. In recent weeks, Trumpworld has latched onto the revelation that the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign indirectly bankrolled Steele’s investigative work—which he conducted for Washington-based intelligence firm Fusion G.P.S.—through the law firm Perkins Coie. They have argued that the dossier’s origins not only make it invalid, but are indicative of a larger anti-Trump conspiracy. Steele, however, stands by his work. While the former MI6 agent acknowledged that no piece of intelligence is 100 percent airtight, Harding noted that Steele told friends he believes the 16 memos he delivered to Fusion to be “70 to 90 percent accurate.”



NOV 17 2017, 6:17 PM ET
Rob Goldstone ready to come to U.S. and talk to Mueller
by ROBERT WINDREM

The British publicist who helped set up the fateful meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians at Trump Tower in June 2016 is ready to meet with special counsel Robert Mueller's office, according to several people familiar with the matter.

Rob Goldstone has been living in Bangkok, Thailand, but has been communicating with Mueller's office through his lawyer, said a source close to Goldstone.

Goldstone's New York lawyer, G. Robert Gage, declined to comment other than to say, "nothing is presently scheduled."

However, sources close to Goldstone and familiar with the investigation say they expect he will travel to the United States at some point "in the near future," as one put it.

Image: Rob Goldstone attends a benefit in 2009
Rob Goldstone attends a benefit in Water Mill, New York on August 22, 2009. Adriel Reboh / Patrick McMullan via Getty Image file
Goldstone helped set up — and attended — the June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower at which Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya says she presented information to Donald Trump Jr. and other key Trump aides. The meeting has emerged as a focus of Mueller's investigation into whether the Trump team colluded with the Russian effort to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

In an email that later became public, Goldstone wrote to Trump Jr. that "the Crown prosecutor of Russia … offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father."

There is no office of crown prosecutor, but Goldstone appeared to be referring to the Russian prosecutor general.

He added that "this is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump — helped along by Aras and Emin," a reference to his long-time clients, oligarch Aras Agalarov and his son, Emin, a Russian pop singer. Much of Goldstone's publicity business involves music promotion. He also represented the Miss Universe pageant, at one time owned by President Trump.

In reply to Goldstone's email, Trump Jr. wrote, "if it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer."

Trump Jr. hosted the Russians alongside Paul Manafort, then Trump's campaign chairman, and Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and adviser. Along with Veselnitskaya, the Russian delegation included Irakly "Ike" Kaveladze, who works for the Agalarov family in the U.S., and Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-American lobbyist engaged in trying to lift Obama administration sanctions on Russia and Russian entities.

Also in the room was Russian-American translator Anatoli Samochornov, who had done work for the State Department and had translated previously for Veselnitskaya.

Investigators are trying to determine whether the promised assistance from the Russian government was provided, and whether it was part of what a dossier compiled by a former British intelligence officer called "a well-developed conspiracy of cooperation" between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Veselnitskaya told NBC News she first received the supposedly incriminating information she brought to Trump Tower — describing alleged tax evasion and donations to Democrats — from Glenn Simpson, the Fusion GPS owner, who had been hired to conduct research in a New York federal court case.

A source with firsthand knowledge of the matter confirmed that the firm's research had been provided to Veselnitskaya as part of the case, which involved alleged money-laundering by a Russian company called Prevezon.

Veselnitskaya said she turned Simpson's research over to the Russian prosecutor.

A spokesman for Mueller's office declined to comment.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/ro ... er-n821826


The guy behind the Trump-Russia dossier reveals how the Kremlin snuck money to Donald Trump
Bill Palmer
Updated: 11:45 pm EST Fri Nov 17, 2017
Home » Politics

Former MI6 agent Christopher Steele helped push Donald Trump’s Russia scandal into the public eye with his “Trump Russia dossier” which laid out how the Kremlin spent years cultivating and compromising Trump ahead of his run for president. The dossier was initially attacked by the American mainstream media in vicious fashion, but many of its claims have since proven true, and none of its claims have been proven false. Now Steele is revealing new information which could blow the entire scandal wide open.


Steele, who is British, has long been hesitant to speak to American investigators or even set foot in the United States, perhaps out of fear of retaliation from Donald Trump. He recently spoke to British publication The Guardian about the Trump-Russia scandal, and shared a new clue which might end up revealing the entire puzzle (link). Steele said that the loan amounts don’t match up with the actual values of the hotel deals and land deals between Trump and Kremlin-tied investors.


He didn’t go on to say which deals in particular he was referring to, but there are a number of possible explanations. For instance, he may have been referring to the Trump Soho real real estate deal in New York. The Trump Organization partnered with convicted Russian mafia money laundering figure Felix Sater on that deal. It’s also possible he may have been alluding the massive loans that Deutsche Bank has continued to float to Donald Trump over the years, even after he became a poor credit risk, and the fact that Deutsche Bank was busted this year for laundering Russian money.


In any case, while Christopher Steele’s Trump-Russia dossier is most popularly known for its still-unproven “Pee Pee Tape” allegation, other key aspects of his dossier have been proven true. His research is credible enough that his new “follow the money” reveal should be taken seriously.
http://www.palmerreport.com/politics/do ... oney/6071/


seemslikeadream » Sat Nov 18, 2017 9:37 am wrote:
JARED KUSHNER HIDING INFORMATION ABOUT RUSSIA BACKDOOR AND WIKILEAKS CONTACTS, SENATORS SAY

BY CRISTINA MAZA ON 11/17/17 AT 1:14 PM

U.S.JARED KUSHNERRUSSIAINVESTIGATION
The President’s son-in-law and trusted adviser Jared Kushner failed to provide Senate investigators with emails he was forwarded about WikiLeaks and an invitation to contact Russia through a “backdoor,” two senior lawmakers claim.

In a letter to Kushner's lawyer Abbe Lowell, Senator Chuck Grassley and Senator Dianne Feinstein reveal that Kushner received emails in September 2016 about WikiLeaks and about a “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite."

The Senate is currently looking into whether Trump and his associates colluded with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 Presidential campaign. The House and a special counsel are also conducting their own investigations into the same matter.


Caroline O. @RVAwonk
Now is a good time to remember that Jared Kushner still has security clearance & access to classified national security information. https://twitter.com/RVAwonk/status/931250713707139072


The Senate lawmakers say they know of the existence of the documents from other witnesses in their investigation. Yet Kushner, who says he is cooperating, has not produced them.

“There are several documents that are known to exist but were not included in your production. For example, other parties have produced September 2016 email communications to Mr. Kushner concerning WikiLeaks, which Мr. Kushner then forwarded to another campaign official,” the letter reads. “Likewise, other parties have produced documents concerning а "Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite" which Mr. Kushner also forwarded.”

American intelligence agencies say that WikiLeaks worked as a channel for Russian intelligence services to share information stolen from the Democratic Party during the 2016 electoral campaign. Earlier this week, the Atlantic revealed that Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, had exchanged several direct messages with WikiLeaks via Twitter. The report also said Kushner had forwarded the information from WikiLeaks to a Trump campaign staffer.

In their letter to Kushner's lawyer, the Senators also requested copies of communications among Trump associates and the Belorussian-American businessman Sergei Millian, a former head of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce. Millian has long claimed to have ties to President Trump and his advisers, but the President’s staff has said the ties are exaggerated.


Reports earlier this year suggested that Millian may be one of the sources included in the Steele dossier, a document compiled by a former British intelligence officer detailing alleged ties between President Trump and Russia.

The Senate letter also indicated that Kushner’s lawyer had failed to hand over unspecified phone records and a copy of a document Kushner submitted in order to obtain a government security clearance. Kushner’s security clearance has come under fire in recent months after it was revealed that he failed to disclose information about his meetings with foreigners, including with a Russian lawyer with alleged ties to the Kremlin.

In addition to the documents about a back channel , the Senators requested documentation related to Trump former national security adviser Michael Flynn, including information on Flynn’s ties to the head of a Russian energy company and WikiLeaks.

Reports suggest that Flynn is the next target of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.

The Senators' letter comes following a Newsweek article earlier this week in which a former Watergate prosecutor claimed that definitive proof of Trump's collusion with Russia exists in the email inboxes of Jared Kushner, Trump advisor Stephen Miller, and former Trump campaign staffer Hope Hicks, among others

http://www.newsweek.com/jared-kushner-t ... aks-715349


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Jared Kushner Sued for Allegedly Overcharging Tenants (Again)

Trump’s son-in-law illegally deregulated sixteen Brooklyn Heights apartments, says a new lawsuit

by STEVEN WISHNIA

NOVEMBER 15, 2017Six tenants in a Brooklyn Heights building owned by Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner are alleging that he illegally deregulated their apartments and charged them “far in excess of the legal rent,” according to a class-action lawsuit filed in Kings County Supreme Court November 14.
The Kushner Companies, according to the lawsuit, failed to register sixteen of the eighteen apartments in the six-story brownstone at 18 Sidney Place as rent-stabilized when it acquired the building from Brooklyn Law School in 2014. “When they purchased the building, they were supposed to return all the units to rent stabilization,” says Aaron Carr, executive director of the Housing Rights Initiative, which developed the lawsuit. “They never did.”

The lawsuit “is without merit,” a Kushner Companies spokesperson told the Voice. “The previously empty apartments at 18 Sidney Place were fully renovated to bring them to fair market value in accordance with applicable New York State rent regulations. The only predatory conduct here is that of Aaron Carr, who seems bent on attacking responsible owners in the press for the sake of sensational headlines.”
“That’s not what the law says,” responds Roger Sachar of Newman Ferrara, the law firm representing the tenants. “The statute says nothing about renovations.”

If 18 Sidney Place had been a regular apartment building when Kushner acquired it, he could have legally deregulated vacant apartments by doing renovations that cost enough to get the rent over $2,500. But because it was being used as student housing, Sachar explains, it was temporarily exempt from rent regulations — and “when that temporary exemption ended, rent stabilization was supposed to snap back into place.”

When that happens, Sachar says, a new legal rent is supposed to be set based on a formula ordained by the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR): the last legal rent, adjusted for rent increases allowed by the city Rent Guidelines Board, plus a 20 percent vacancy bonus. The last legal rents were $1,000 a month or less, Carr says. By that formula, an apartment that cost $1,000 when Brooklyn Law School acquired the building in 1991 would be around $2,200 now.

“But instead, Mr. Kushner cheated,” says Lucas Ferrara of Newman Ferrara. “He decided to sidestep rent stabilization.” With Kushner touting 18 Sidney Place as “uniquely Brooklyn,” apartments there have been advertised at $2,600 for a studio and $3,800 for a one-bedroom.

The suit is demanding that the legal rent be calculated and the overcharges refunded to tenants, says Sachar. Because it’s a class-action suit, the tenants can’t claim penalties or punitive damages.
The building’s recent history represents a classic predatory landlord pattern: Buy a rent-stabilized building, empty it out, renovate the apartments and rent them at luxury prices, and then flip the building for a rapid and massive profit. Kushner acquired 18 Sidney Place in February 2014 as part of a six-building portfolio he bought from Brooklyn Law School for $36.5 million, according to the Real Deal. As they were 90 percent vacant, he didn’t have to empty them. Last July, also according to the Real Deal, he put 18 Sidney Place and a smaller building at 144 Willow Street on the market for $20 million. He’d paid $7.6 million for them.

Fraudulently high rents have become increasingly common since the state forced New York City to allow the deregulation of vacant apartments above a certain rent in 1997. Once apartments are deregulated, their rents are no longer required to be registered with DHCR, so it is much harder for tenants to detect fraud. The most common method is inflating the cost of improvements on vacant apartments, as legal increases are pegged to the amount spent on renovations. In 2014, the state Tenant Protection Unit (TPU) said “landlords did not have proof of apartment improvements used to justify rent increases” in 40 percent of the 1,100 such cases it had audited in its first two years.

“To tell that Kushner Companies is engaging in potential illegal misconduct, all you need is Google,” says Carr. Housing Rights Initiative, which the former state assembly staffer founded about two years ago, analyzes publicly available data to look for indicators of illegal rent increases and identify specific buildings where rent fraud is likely.

The 18 Sidney Place lawsuit grew out of an investigation of 89 Hicks Street, another building Kushner bought from Brooklyn Law School. After getting tenants there to obtain their apartments’ rent histories from DHCR, Housing Rights Initiative helped them file a similar class-action suit in August.

The problem with the state’s approach to enforcing the laws against rent fraud, says Carr, is that it is “reactive,” depending largely on complaints from tenants. But that requires tenants to know their rights and the law, and to be willing to get into a prolonged bureaucratic and legal battle with their landlord. In apartments that have been deregulated, tenants have no legal right to renew their lease, and it is likely that their lease will expire long before their case is resolved.

“Most landlords get away with this,” Carr says. “There is no consequence or penalty.” The TPU has taken small steps toward broader investigations, but tenant advocates say the understaffed agency doesn’t do things like investigate other properties owned by a landlord found to have charged illegally high rents in one building.
With rent fraud so widespread, Carr says, the reactive model “is not going to capture the systemicness of the problem.” DHCR, he adds, should view landlords who have not registered rents as “low-hanging fruit” and audit them.

Housing Rights Initiative is also urging the state to investigate all the fifty-plus buildings the Kushner Companies own in the city.

https://www.villagevoice.com/2017/11/15 ... nts-again/





Legal expert says Jared Kushner will end up “doing hard time”

Bill Palmer
Updated: 1:07 am EST Fri Nov 17, 2017

With each passing day we learn more about the role that Jared Kushner played in the Donald Trump campaign’s coordination with Russia during the election, and the extent he subsequently went to in the hope of covering it up, and the legal trouble he’s now facing. After yet another major revelation about Trump’s son-in-law, one widely respected legal expert now says that he believes Kushner will end up spending serious time in prison.
On Thursday evening the news surfaced that Jared Kushner failed to turn over documents relating to a Russian backdoor overture and a Russian dinner invitation, even after congressional investigators requested those documents (link). It raises questions about why Kushner is refusing to cooperate with those particular aspects of the investigation, and whether he believes he would incriminate himself by turning them over.
This news led Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe, one of the most widely respected legal minds in the nation, to tweet “My prediction: Kush will be among the Trumpsters who end up doing hard time.” (link). Tribe did not go on to spell out which potential charges Kushner might go to prison for. It is known that he secretly met with the Russian Ambassador and the head of a Russian bank during the transition period, though it’s not known precisely what was discussed during those meetings. It is, however, known that Kushner omitted those meetings from his White House security clearance forms, and it’s stated on the forms that lying on them is an imprisonable felony.
Perhaps most notably, Professor Tribe is asserting that multiple people will do “hard time” for their roles in Donald Trump’s Russia scandal. Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, and George Papadopoulos have already been arrested for their roles. Based on federal court schedules, it appears that several more sealed indictments are in place, waiting to be unsealed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller at his discretion.
http://www.palmerreport.com/politics/do ... hner/6068/



NOV 18 2017, 12:54 AM ET
Kushner failed to disclose outreach from Putin ally to Trump campaign
by KEN DILANIAN and CAROL E. LEE

WASHINGTON — President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, failed to disclose what lawmakers called a "Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite" involving a banker who has been accused of links to Russian organized crime, three sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.

An email chain described Aleksander Torshin, a former senator and deputy head of Russia's central bank who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, as wanting Trump to attend an event on the sidelines of a National Rifle Association convention in Louisville, Kentucky, in May 2016, the sources said. The email also suggests Torshin was seeking to meet with a high-level Trump campaign official during the convention, and that he may have had a message for Trump from Putin, the sources said.

Kushner rebuffed the request after receiving a lengthy email exchange about it between a West Virginia man and Trump campaign aide Rick Dearborn, the sources said.

Kushner responded to the email by telling Dearborn and the handful of other Trump campaign officials on the email that they should not accept requests from people who pretend to have contacts with foreign officials to aggrandize themselves, according Kushner's lawyer, Abbe Lowell. Dearborn currently serves as a deputy chief of staff in the White House.

"Pass on this," Kushner responded, according to a letter Lowell sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee Friday evening. "A lot of people come claiming to carry messages. Very few we are able to verify. For now I think we decline such meetings."

However, Torshin was seated with the candidate's son, Donald Trump Jr., during a private dinner on the sidelines of a May 2016 NRA event during the convention in Louisville, according to an account Torshin gave to Bloomberg. Congressional investigators have no clear explanation for how that came to be, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Russian State Duma round table meeting on teaching law basics in secondary schools
Deputy Governor of the Bank of Russia Alexander Torshin addresses a meeting in Moscow in 2016. Alexander Shalgin / TASS via Getty Images
Trump Jr.'s lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Congressional committees and special counsel Robert Mueller are investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

Spanish anti-corruption officials have identified Torshin as a "godfather" in the Russian mafia — something Torshin has denied.

The disclosure is the latest example of a senior Russian official seeking to make high-level contacts with the Trump campaign.

It comes after the top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee sent Kushner a letter this week accusing him of failing to disclose a series of documents pursuant to requests by Congressional investigators. Lowell said Kushner had responded to every request.

2011 Russia Day Awards
Alexander Torshin, center, attends a ceremony with then Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in 2011. Konstantin Zavrazhin / Getty Images file
The source familiar with Kushner's document production said his team made clear to the committee that they were starting with documents he's provided to other congressional committees and were going to subsequently exchange other information.

One source familiar with Kushner's testimony before congressional intelligence committees said he specifically denied, under oath, that he was familiar with any attempts by WikiLeaks to contact the campaign. But, according to the source, Kushner was sent an email by Trump Jr. about his conversations on Twitter with WikiLeaks, which were first disclosed by the Atlantic this week. Kushner forwarded an email about the WikiLeaks conversations to communications director Hope Hicks, the source said. A second source familiar with Kushner's testimony did not dispute that account.

Lowell said in the letter to the judiciary committee chairman and ranking member Friday that the WikiLeaks document has been mischaracterized.

"Mr. Kushner had no contacts with that organization and was, along with others, forwarded an email from Donald Trump Jr. that has been widely reported and disseminated. There is no new document concerning Mr. Kushner," Lowell said.

"As to the document from Mr. Trump Jr., Mr. Kushner was one of many people to whom one email was sent, and he did not respond," Lowell said in the letter.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/ku ... gn-n822021


Senate panel interested in Russians' request for Trump meeting during campaign

Last Updated Nov 17, 2017 6:11 PM EST

CBS News has learned that a Russian national requested a meeting with Donald Trump during the presidential campaign in May 2016, and the request is at the center of the Senate Judiciary Committee's demand for more information from Jared Kushner.

On Thursday, the committee asked for additional information from Kushner about a "Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite." Kushner is Mr. Trump's son-in-law and a top White House adviser who played a key role in the campaign.

A source familiar with the document request says the "dinner invite" referred to an email requesting a meeting with a man named Alexander Torshin and a woman reported to be Torshin's assistant, Maria Butina. The source says both claimed in the email to be members of an all-Russian organization called "The Right To Bear Arms."

According to the source, Torshin and Butina were hoping to meet then-candidate Trump and were eager for Mr. Trump to travel to Russia to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The request was made through an intermediary who was attached to a National Rifle Association (NRA) event in Kentucky.

A source says the intermediary forwarded the five-page request to Trump campaign officials, including Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. Eventually it was forwarded to Kushner. The source, who has seen the email, says Kushner declined the request for a meeting, apparently commenting that people claiming to carry messages to the campaign rarely are.


However, Torshin does have ties to the Kremlin. According to published reports, in 2015 he was appointed deputy governor of the Bank of Russia. Reports also suggest he is suspected of having ties to organized crime.

In a statement, Kushner's attorney would not discuss the email request, but offered to respond to the Senate Judiciary Committee demands.

"Mr. Kushner and we have been responsive to all requests. We provided the Judiciary Committee with all relevant documents that had to do with Mr. Kushner's calls, contacts or meetings with Russians during the campaign and transition, which was the request," attorney Abbe Lowell said. "We also informed the committee we will be open to responding to any additional requests and that we will continue to work with White House Counsel for any responsive documents from after the inauguration. We have been in a dialogue with the committee and will continue to do so as part of Mr. Kushner's voluntary cooperation with relevant bipartisan inquiries."

In December 2016, Kushner discussed with then-Russian envoy Sergey Kislyak the idea of setting up a "back channel" for communications with the Trump transition team and Russian officials. He also met with Sergey Gorkov, the CEO of Russia's state-owned Vnesheconombank (VEB), which was already sanctioned by the U.S.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/senate-pan ... -campaign/
656 Children Separated kidnapped by trump at the Border Have Still Not Been Reunited With Their Parents

August 17 2018


Babies in cages were no ‘mistake’ by Trump but test-marketing for barbarism - Fintan O’Toole
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Re: George Papadopoulos

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu May 17, 2018 11:18 am

seemslikeadream » Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:49 pm wrote:
INDICTED Turkish Minister Former General Manager...GIULIANI?

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=40682


Turkey on Valentine’s Day: Did Trump Obstruct Investigation of Flynn as a Foreign Agent?

By Ryan Goodman and Artin Afkhami
Friday, November 17, 2017 at 8:15 AM


When President Donald Trump tried to stop the FBI investigation of his national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, was Trump aware of Flynn’s meetings with Turkish officials? If so, it could significantly increase the president’s exposure to political liability and legal wrongdoing involving obstruction of justice.

On Valentine’s Day 2017, the president asked FBI Director James Comey if he could see his “way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” according to Comey’s congressional testimony (see also interview with Donald Trump Jr.). What was Trump wanting Comey to let go exactly? So far the media has focused on federal investigators’ ongoing probe at the time into whether Flynn lied to the FBI, but at the same time there was also an ongoing federal investigation into Flynn’s work on behalf of Turkey–and the White House knew about it. We also now know that on Sept. 19, 2016, and in mid-December 2016, Flynn reportedly met with senior Turkish officials, and discussed the prospect of kidnapping and secretly removing a US resident, cleric Fethullah Gülen, from the United States into Turkey’s custody. If Trump knew about the Turkey meetings at the time of the Feb. 14 exchange with Comey, that would raise a “different order of problem for the President,” Ben Wittes exclaimed on Lawfare’s podcast. Ben’s right.

In this article, we look at several data points on the timeline, as well as statements provided to Just Security by former CIA Director James Woolsey’s spokesperson,

One important point to know at the outset: First, it is not only important what the president knew on Feb. 14, but also what he became aware of in the weeks and months afterward. That’s because the president took additional steps to try stop the investigation of Flynn following the Oval Office meeting with Comey. A crucial part of the timeline, for example, is the efforts of the White House to stop the investigation of Flynn in late March 2017 and the revelation of Flynn’s September 2016 meeting with Turkish officials around that same time.

At the same time, we do not want to lose focus on another significant legal dimension here. Even if the president had no knowledge of the potential kidnapping meetings, if he tried to obstruct the federal investigation into Flynn’s work as an agent of a foreign government (Turkey), it would significantly raise the prospect of legal and political liability beyond his potential liability for obstructing the Russia-related investigation

We offer the timeline and analysis below for others to assess. Our own conclusions are threefold. First, the mounting evidence of Flynn’s having been a paid foreign agent for Turkey presumably figured into Trump’s calculus in relieving him of duty. Second, the White House knew of the threatening nature of an active federal investigation of Flynn’s work on behalf of Turkey when the president asked Comey to let Flynn go on Feb. 14. Third, the information contained in Flynn’s filing as a foreign agent in early March was likely on the minds of White House senior officials when they attempted to get top intelligence officials to intervene with Comey to drop the Flynn investigation that month.

These claims may sound strong when stacked together. But they are also each qualified and relatively modest all things considered. That’s because we don’t know the full picture. Even if Flynn’s foreign agent filings were on senior officials’ minds, they may have acted for other reasons, for example. And when they asked top intelligence officials to get Comey to halt the Flynn investigation, maybe they limited their inquiry to the Russia-related part. The Trump campaign and administration have also suffered from disorganization, which makes it hard to infer that any one set of individuals were aware of what others knew or were doing. All that said, there’s a mountain of information here to raise serious questions, and that lend circumstantial support to our conclusions.

I. When did the Flynn-Turkey federal investigation start?

When did the Justice Department start looking into Flynn’s ties to Turkey? It may have started once former CIA Director James Woolsey alerted U.S. officials to the September 2016 meeting around that time. Woolsey’s spokesperson clarified in a story for NBC that the FBI was already “in communication” with Woolsey before the matter was taken over by Mueller in May. More importantly, in a letter dated Nov. 30, 2016, the Justice Department notified Flynn that it was scrutinizing his lobbying work on behalf of the Turkish government. That appears to be a step shy of an open investigation. But by Jan. 4, 2017, at the latest, the Justice Department was reportedly investigating the matter to the point that Flynn was told of the investigation. (Note: as discussed below, Flynn informed the Trump transition team on January 4 that he was under federal investigation for his work for Turkey.) In short, we know generally when the FBI started looking into Flynn’s Turkey lobbying work, but we still don’t know when the FBI became aware of the potential kidnapping plot.

Flynn also came under a different criminal investigation sometime after Jan. 24 2017, with respect to to his statements to the FBI about his contacts with Russian Amb. Sergey Kislyak. In an interview with the FBI on Jan. 24, Flynn may have lied to the FBI about whether he discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador. It is after that point that Flynn came under criminal investigation for potentially lying to the FBI.

At an unknown date, Flynn’s son, Michael G. Flynn, also became a subject of the federal investigation into Russia, NBC reported in September 2017. Mueller is now also looking into what role Flynn’s son may have played in efforts involving Turkey, including the December 2016 meeting, NBC reported more recently.

II. When did President Trump try to intercede?

There are three relevant points on the timeline.

1. February 14, 2017: Trump directly to Comey:

Flynn resigns on Feb. 13, 2017. The following day, Trump directly asks Comey, in a private one-on-one conversation, if the FBI Director could see his “way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” according to Comey’s prepared congressional testimony on June 8, 2017. Comey testified that the president “added that he had other concerns about Flynn, which he did not then specify.” Comey also testifies about whether he thought the president was asking to let go of the entire Russia investigation or more specifically Flynn’s legal problems. Comey writes:

“I had understood the President to be requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December. I did not understand the President to be talking about the broader investigation into Russia or possible links to his campaign. I could be wrong, but I took him to be focusing on what had just happened with Flynn’s departure and the controversyaround his account of his phone calls.”

That passage suggests that Comey thought the President was asking only about the Flynn-Russia related investigation and not the Flynn-Turkey investigation. But it is difficult to know what the president actually knew at that time. Important to that evaluation, Comey was not at liberty to testify publicly about the Turkey-related investigation. It is also relevant that Trump told Comey in general that Flynn “is a good guy and has been through a lot”–suggesting he was trying to absolve Flynn personally from any investigation. It would also be unusual for Trump to say drop Flynn on one investigation but not another. What’s more, Trump’s interest in broad protection from liability for Flynn may also be indicated by the president’s tweet on March 31, 2017, that “Flynn should ask for immunity.” Finally, the headache created for the White House by Flynn’s Turkey-related wrongdoing was presumably part of the decision-making that led to his departure (see the timeline below).

2. Mid-to-late March 2017: Trump and WH officials indirectly via senior intelligence officials

On March 22, the president reportedly asks Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, in a private conversation, to intervene with Comey to get the FBI to stop investigating Flynn. Coats reportedly “discussed the conversation with other officials and decided that intervening with Comey as Trump had suggested would be inappropriate.” Also around that same time, “senior White House officials sounded out top intelligence officials about the possibility of intervening directly with Comey to encourage the FBI to drop its probe of Michael Flynn,” according to theWashington Post.

3. May 9, 2017: Trump fires Comey

III. What President Trump and his team knew about Flynn-Turkey and when they knew it

August 9-November 15, 2016: On Aug. 9, 2016, Flynn’s firm signs a contract with a Dutch company, Inovo, which is owned by Ekim Alptekin, the chairman of the Turkish-American Business Council. Alpetkin is widely reported to have ties to the Turkish government, including helping organize Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s 2016 visit to Washington, D.C. Flynn’s subsequent filing as a foreign agent in March 2017 (see entry below in timeline) will reveal that Alptekin’s company paid Flynn’s firm over $500,000 for work performed from August to November 2016. The Associated Press reported, “Alptekin, the Turkish businessman, has denied having any ties to Erdogan’s government.”

September 19, 2016: Flynn participates in a meeting with senior Turkish officials in which the group reportedly discusses the option of kidnapping the cleric Gulen and removing him from the United States, according to a Wall Street Journal story (published in March 2017). Alptekin invited Flynn to the meeting, according to Flynn’s firm, and Alptekin is present at the meeting. Woolsey, who was affiliated with Flynn’s firm at the time, was present for part of the meeting’s discussion,the contents of which he said greatly disturbed him. Woolsey thought the proposal for Gulen would “pretty clearly be a violation of law” and he reported it to “several people,” including U.S. government officials at the time, specifically including an intermediary to Vice President Joseph Biden.

Note: Woolsey’s spokesman, Jonathan Franks, told Just Security that Woolsey did not inform members of the Trump campaign about the September meeting. An important question is whether, either through the “several people” Woolsey informed or through others, Trump or his inner circle learned of the September meeting. If the Trump campaign was aware of the meeting before the WSJ story broke in March, it was apparently not directly from Woolsey.

Sept. 19, 2016: On the same day as his Turkish meeting, Flynn joins Trump and Jeff Sessions in a meeting with Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah el-sisi.

Sept. 30, 2016: Flynn’s firm publicly registers as a lobbyist for Alptekin’s company Inovo. (This is not the same as registering as a foreign agent, which occurs on March 7, 2017.)

Sometime between Nov. 8, 2016 and Jan. 20, 2017: Flynn’s personal lawyer alerted the Trump transition team prior to the inauguration that Flynn might register as a foreign agent of Turkey. Don McGahn, the campaign’s top lawyer and now White House Counsel, was reportedly among those told at the time.

Nov. 8, 2016: The Hill publishes an Op-Ed by Flynn titled, “Our ally Turkey is in crisis and needs our support.” It calls for orienting several aspects of U.S. foreign policy toward Turkey’s interests. In reference to the cleric Gulen, Flynn writes, “From Turkey’s point of view, Washington is harboring Turkey’s Osama bin Laden….We need to see the world from Turkey’s perspective. What would we have done if right after 9/11 we heard the news that Osama bin Laden lives in a nice villa at a Turkish resort…?…We should not provide him safe haven. In this crisis, it is imperative that we remember who our real friends are.”

Nov. 10, 2016: President Barack Obama privately warns Trump about Flynn during their Oval Office meeting two days after the election. At least one person familiar with the meeting told Politico that “Obama forcefully told Trump to steer clear of Flynn.” There are no publicly available details about why exactly Obama warned Trump and whether Obama stated specific concerns about Flynn.

Prior to Nov. 11, 2016: Chris Christie, who headed the transition team until Nov. 11, 2016, has subsequently said he directly warned Trump about Flynn, but he has not said specifically what those warnings entailed or the basis for them. “I didn’t think that he was someone who would bring benefit to the President or to the administration, and I made that very clear to candidate Trump, and I made it very clear to President-elect Trump,” Christie said in May 2017. Politico reports that as chief of the transition team, Christie “mounted a campaign against Flynn for the national security adviser job.” Christie told associates as early as August 2016 of his concerns about Flynn.

Nov. 11, 2016: On Nov. 11, the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross publishes a detailed story titled, “Trump’s Top Military Adviser Is Lobbying For Obscure Company With Ties To Turkish Government.” It is an expose that includes Dutch business records and other information tying Alptekin to Flynn’s firm and work on behalf of the government of Turkey, and it also notes that Flynn failed to disclose any of this information in his op-ed for The Hill. (Months later The Hill adds a disclosure and notes that Flynn failed to inform them when he wrote the essay.)

Nov. 15, 2016: Flynn’s contract with Alptekin is terminated.

Flynn has voiced interest in being Director of National Intelligence, and was on a list of candidates for the position shortly after the election. He also expressed interest in being secretary of state, secretary of defense, or national security adviser. It’s recognized, however, that Senate confirmation could be difficult in part due to his connections to Turkey, according to a person who spoke on the condition of anonymity to the Washington Post about the internal transition team discussions.

Nov. 18, 2016: Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, sends a letter to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, in his capacity as chairman of the Trump transition team, warning about conflicts created by Flynn’s work on behalf of Turkey, and Flynn’s firm being hired by Alptekin’s company. The transition team’s office of legislative affairs sends Cummings a receipt that confirmed they received the letter and pledged to “review your letter carefully.”

Later, Pence denies ever receiving the letter. On March 9, Pence states in a Fox News interview that Flynn’s registration with FARA is “the first I heard of it [Flynn’s Turkey-related lobbying work] and I think it is an affirmation of the President’s decision to ask General Flynn to resign.” Likewise, on May 19, Pence’s office told NBC News that “Rep. Cummings letter did not reach the vice president.” On the same day, Cummingsresponded to CNN, “Either he’s not telling the truth, or he was running a sloppy shop because we have a receipt…that says they received the letter.”

What’s more, Cummings did not just send a quiet letter. He issued a press release with the text of the letter, and received media coverage across major media outlets at the time, likely increasing the salience of the issue for the transition team.

Nov. 19, 2016: Trump campaign lawyer, William McGinley, holds a conference call with members of the Flynn firm “seeking more information” about the group’s foreign work on Turkey and “to review the particulars of Flynn’s piece in The Hill,” according to the New York Times and New Yorker’s Nicholas Schmidle. (McGinley was subsequently appointed as White House Cabinet Secretary.)

Dec. 9, 2016: Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) send a letter to FBI Director James Comey, DNI James Clapper, and OPM Acting Director Beth Cobert calling for a re-evaluation of Flynn’s security clearance. They cite his “repeated mishandling of classified information,” his paid visit to Moscow, and his business interests as CEO of Flynn Intel Group.

They write:

“General Flynn appears to have an unresolved conflict of interest in his ownership of the Flynn Intel Group. His company has previously registered to lobby on behalf of Turkish businessman Kamil Ekim Alptekin and received compensation to persuade U.S. public opinion in favor of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.”

“This ongoing business relationship of Flynn Intel Group, owned by General Flynn and operated by his son, creates the potential for pressure, coercion, and exploitation by foreign agents.”

Blumenthal and Shaheen’s letter receives significant media coverage, likely increasing the salience for the White House.b

Mid-Dec. 2016: In a second meeting with Turkish government representatives, Flynn reportedly discusses the idea of he and his son helping to forcibly remove Gulen and deliver the cleric to Turkish custody using a private jet, in a plot that would have paid the Flynns $15 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. “Flynn also was prepared to use his influence in the White House to further the legal extradition of the cleric,” according to the story. Michael Flynn’s lawyers dispute the story.

Jan. 4, 2017: Flynn reportedly tells the transition team, including McGahn, that he is under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey.

After Jan. 20: Flynn’s lawyers have “a second conversation with Trump lawyers … and made clear the national security adviser would indeed be registering [as a foreign agent] with the Justice Department,” the AP reported.

Feb. 7, 2017: Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have their first telephone call in which they discuss a range of policy issues. Flynn is still national security advisor at this point.

Feb. 13, 2017: A PAC aligned with the Democratic Party, the Democratic Coalition Against Trump files a report with the National Security Agency alleging that Flynn has sought “to influence the White House on behalf of Turkey and its president, Recep Erdogan, while failing to register as an agent with the Department of Justice.”

Feb.13, 2017: Flynn resigns

REMINDER: It is on Feb. 14, 2017 that Trump asks Comey to drop the investigation of Flynn.

March 7, 2017: Flynn retroactively files as a foreign agent of the government of Turkey in the first week of March 2017. In a filing on March 7, Flynn’s firm reports the Sept. 19, 2016 meeting with senior Turkish officials (describing the event as “for the purpose of understanding better the political climate in Turkey at the time”). The document also states that Flynn’s firm was invited to the September meeting by Alptekin. In a separate filing, Flynn’s firm states that Alptekin’s Dutch company, Inovo, paid Flynn’s firm over $500,000 for work performed from August to November 2016, which the firm said “could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey.”

A blanket of media coverage details the information in Flynn’s foreign agent filings, including noticing the Sept. 19, 2016 meeting. The New Yorker’s Nicholas Schmidle reports on March 16: “Though the full breadth of the group’s conversation is not known, the same source told me that the Turks sought, among other things, Flynn’s assistance in maligning Fethullah Gülen.”

SIGNIFICANCE: It is hard to believe that the Flynn filings of his Turkey work were not on the minds of the White House when they engaged in efforts later that month to try to get other intelligence officials to intervene with Comey to drop the Flynn investigation.

March 24 (and days prior to March 24?):

The Wall Street Journal published a news report and exclusive video interview with Woolsey in which he publicly discloses that the Sept. 19, 2016 meeting included the discussion of kidnapping and removing the cleric from the United States.

SIGNIFICANCE: Did Trump and White House officials know before the Wall Street Journal story went public? Trump and his team were certainly made aware on March 24 of the potentially outrageous nature of the September meeting, when the interview with Woolsey was published. Were they alerted to this information before March 24, for example, through the people the Journal’s reporters contacted for comment? The story does state, for example, that the Journal reached out to the chairman and president of Flynn’s firm and to Mr. Alptekin for comment when researching the story. The Journal also reached out to the spokesperson for Erdogan’s son-in-law, who is also the Turkish energy minister, and was present at the Sept. 19 meeting. That spokesperson referred the Journal to the Turkish Embassy in Washington, which provided a written statement prior to publication. The story does not indicate whether the White House was contacted prior to publication.

Why is this timing vitally important? As we discussed earlier, on March 22, Trump held his private conversation with Coats and Pompeo to see if they could help get Comey to drop the Flynn investigation, and apparently around that same time in March senior White House officials reached out to top intelligence officials for the same purpose. It would expose the White House politically and legally if they knew at the time about the September meeting that included the kidnapping discussion.

Woolsey’s spokesman, Jonathan Franks, told Just Security that Woolsey did not inform the White House about the September meeting before the publication of the Wall Street Journal story in March. So, if the Trump campaign or the White House were aware of the Sept. 19 meeting before the Wall Street Journal story broke, it was not directly from Woolsey.

Early April: Flynn’s associates receive grand jury subpoenas, from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, seeking business records and communications involving clients tied to the Turkish government, according to CNN and the Wall Street Journal. The subpoenas show that federal prosecutors are investigating arrangements involving Flynn and Alptekin, according to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal andReuters, which each obtained copies of the subpoenas. (Recall that Alptekin was reportedly at the Sept. 19 meeting, and according to Flynn’s firms documents, he invited Flynn to the meeting.)

SIGNIFICANCE: On May 9, Trump fires Comey. As an indication of the close timing, CNN reports that it “learned of the subpoenas hours before President Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey.” The Wall Street Journal also raised a question similar to ours in a story about the timing of the subpoenas: “The subpoena that the Journal reviewed was sent out in early April, nearly a month before Mr. Trump fired Mr. Comey, raising questions about whether the president learned the investigation into Mr. Flynn was escalating before firing Mr. Comey, who was overseeing the probe.”

Pattern of denials

One final note, the White House and senior officials have repeatedly denied knowledge of Flynn’s connections to Turkey or work he did on behalf of Turkey. Those statements were later revealed to be false. Shortly after Flynn filed as a foreign agent, for example, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on March 9, 2017, that Trump was not aware that Flynn acted as a foreign agent when he appointed him as national security adviser. Within 24 hours, the Associated Press reported that Flynn’s lawyers informed the Trump transition team that Flynn might have to file as a foreign agent. When confronted with the AP story the following day, Spicer essentially downplayed the significance of the lawyer’s inquiry and said it does not compare to the Trump team’s knowledge once Flynn filed as a foreign agent:

Q: Could you clear up what appears to be some tension between what you said yesterday about when the administration or the president was made aware of General Flynn’s foreign lobbying ties and the AP reporting today that the transition team was informed of Flynn’s potential need to register?

SPICER: So there’s a big difference between when he filed, which was the other day — two days ago — and what happened then. What the AP is reporting, just so we’re clear, is that a personal lawyer of General Flynn’s contacted a transition lawyer and asked for guidance on what he should or should not do.

But why would it take Flynn’s formally filing as a foreign agent for Trump and the transition team to be aware of Flynn’s activities? We now know that Flynn told the transition team on Jan. 4 that he was under federal investigation for his work on behalf of Turkey. That was reported by the New York Times on May 17, 2017. Recall as well the conference call on Nov. 19, 2016 when Trump campaign lawyer and now White House Cabinet Secretary, William McGinley spoke with members of the Flynn firm to obtain information about the group’s work for Turkey. That too was reported after Spicer’s March 9 and 10, 2017 press conferences. Why did the White House deny it?

https://www.justsecurity.org/47121/turk ... nap-plots/














Does cooperating witness have info on Flynn tie to Turkey?
by TOM WINTER and JULIA AINSLEY

A gold trader who is close to Turkish President Recep Erdogan is now cooperating with federal prosecutors in a money-laundering case, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter, and legal experts say prosecutors may be seeking information about any ties between the Turkish government and former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn.

Reza Zarrab, a dual Turkish-Iranian national, faces charges in federal court in Manhattan for skirting sanctions on Iran by allegedly moving hundreds of millions of dollars for the Iranian government and Iranian firms via offshore entities and bank accounts.


Reza Zarrab is taken to police headquarters in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2013. Sebnem Coskun / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images File
But Zarrab is now out of jail and speaking to prosecutors — a move Erdogan had been desperately hoping to avoid.

Erdogan asked former Vice President Joe Biden in 2016 to drop the case and fire U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, whose district was overseeing the case. Biden refused, according to a third source with knowledge of the case.

President Donald Trump fired Bharara in March. Multiple law enforcement officials say there is no indication at this time that the firing is tied to this case.

Erdogan has continued to ask the Trump administration to drop the case, multiple officials say.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether Erdogan offered Flynnupwards of $15 million during the presidential transition in December to use his upcoming position as national security advisor to return his top political rival, Fethullah Gulen, from the U.S. to Turkey and to see that Zarrab's case was dropped, NBC has reported.

Turkey blames Gülen, a cleric who lives in Pennsylvania, for an attempted coupin July 2016.


Ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn boards an elevator as he arrives at Trump Tower on Nov. 29, 2016. Mike Segar / Reuters file
Attorney Danny Cevallos, a legal analyst for MSNBC and NBC News, says that given the relationship between Erdogan and Zarrab and the allegations of an improper relationship between Flynn and the Turkish government, Zarrab's decision to cooperate with federal prosecutors is a significant development.

"You can fill in the gaps that federal investigators are looking for any relation between Erdogan and Flynn," Cevallos said. "So, to the extent that Zarrab has any connection or knowledge of that, it is very important that they're flipping him."

Cevallos said that based on his experience and what he's read about the case, Zarrab's release from federal jail to federal custody is entirely consistent with someone who is cooperating.

Zarrab, 33, was arrested for allegedly evading sanctions on March 19, 2016, in Florida.

The acting U.S. attorney in the case, Joon Kim, sent a letter in late March suggesting that former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Marc Mukasey had joined Zarrab's defense team to "explore a potential disposition of the criminal charges in the matter." At the time Kim raised his concerns that "Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Mukasey's involvement in this case is intended to occur entirely outside of the Court's purview and knowledge."

CIA Director Woolsey contacted by Mueller

CIA Director Woolsey contacted by Mueller 1:15
Giuliani and Mukasey had previously visited Turkey to discuss the case with Erdogan, a U.S. official directly briefed on the matter told NBC News.

Erdogan defended Zarrab when he was fingered in a 2013 Turkish corruption scandal that also implicated Erdogan associates. The Turkish leader called Zarrab, who had given his wife's charity $4.5 million, a philanthropist and praised his contributions to Turkish society. All charges against Zarrab and Erdogan's pals were dropped.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York declined to comment, as did Zarrab's lead defense attorney, Ben Brafman.

Mukasey, Giuliani and Biden did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Mukasey had previously declined to comment about the Zarrab case.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/do ... ey-n821341





5 Points On The Cleric Targeted In Mike Flynn’s Shady Dealings With Turkey



Christine Frapech
By ALLEGRA KIRKLAND Published NOVEMBER 17, 2017 6:00 AM
The focus of former national security adviser Mike Flynn’s tangle of business dealings with Turkey is one man: Fethullah Gulen, an ailing septuagenarian Muslim cleric who lives in a Pennsylvania comPlenty of ink has been spilled about the hundreds of thousands of dollars Flynn received to produce negative PR materials about Gulen and about Flynn’s alleged discussions with Turkish officials about forcibly removing him from the What’s received less attention is why Turkey would take such extraordinary steps to take down the aging cleric, and why President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government thought Flynn would be able to facilitate them.The former top U.S. intelligence official’s well-compensated work for Turkey is just one tentacle of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sprawling investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. But it speaks directly to the central question of how foreign actors may have attempted to influence the actions of top Trump campaign figures.
TPM spoke to five Turkey experts to get a sense of Erdogan’s anti-Gulen crusade in the U.S., and how Flynn fit into those schemes.

1
Why is Turkey so desperate to discredit Gulen?

Flynn is hardly the first American that Turkey has used to lend credence to Erdogan’s campaign against the man he believes orchestrated a failed July 2016 coup against him. In the past few years, Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) has launched a lobbying blitz in the U.S. aimed at discrediting Gulen and his Hizmet, or “service,” movement.

Firms like Amsterdam & Partners and Flynn’s consulting firm, Flynn Intel Group, receive lucrative contracts to paint the cleric—who promotes a moderate, pro-market version of Islam through a worldwide network of well-funded schools and charitable institutions—as a suspect actor bent on undermining Turkey’s democracy. This effort has been aided by anti-Islam groups like ACT! for America and outlets like Breitbart News, which routinely characterize Gulen as the head of a “shadowy and corrupt cult.”

Aaron Stein, a Turkey expert at the non-partisan Atlantic Council, told TPM that Berat Albayrak, Erdogan’s son-in-law and Turkey’s energy minister, is “behind” these lobbying efforts. Albayrak attended a Sept. 19, 2016 meeting with Flynn Intel Group, where discussions of removing Gulen from the U.S. were reportedly first raised.

“There is documented evidence that he oversees efforts within the United States through cut-out organizations to funnel money to lobbyists and PR firms who try to change the narrative on Gulen,” Stein said of Albayrak. “That definitely happens.”

Experts caution that there are legitimate concerns about financial misdeeds by some Gulen-linked institutions and about the secretive ways in which the cleric leverages political influence in Turkey through his network. But they say that Erdogan’s crusade against Gulen, who has lived in the U.S. since 1999, is primarily about self-preservation.

The two men were political allies until about 2010, when Erdogan’s consolidation of power prompted what former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey James Jeffries described to TPM as a “series of ever more dramatic confrontations.” By 2013, these involved politically-motivated prosecutions of Erdogan allies by Gulen-linked prosecutors and a subsequent purging of Gulenists from the judiciary.

2
Why hasn’t the U.S. extradited the cleric?

In an Election Day editorial in The Hill penned on behalf of his Turkish lobbying client, Flynn described Gulen as a “shady Islamic mullah” behind the coup attempt who should immediately be turned over to “our NATO ally.”

This closes mirrors Turkey’s stance on how “perplexing and deeply frustrating” it is that the U.S. has not yet turned over the man who “masterminded” the effort to overthrow Erdogan’s government.

The actual narrative is not so clear. Experts told TPM evidence that the U.S. Justice Department helped gather suggests that Gulenists played a significant role in the coup, but that Turkey has failed to prove that he was personally behind it. The attempted putsch was most likely the work of a coalition of groups, they said.

David Tittensor, an Australian religion professor who authored a book on the Gulen movement, said the evidence “didn’t meet the standard to initiate an extradition and warrant process” through the U.S. State Department and judicial system. Some of the alleged Gulen-linked coup plotters say they were tortured or that their confessions were forced, Tittensor noted.

He said the impasse with the DOJ could have prompted officials to hold secret talks with Flynn.

“Possibly the fact that these kind of talks were happening speaks to the lack of an evidence base that has been provided thus far and that they were looking for an alternative in order to get what they want, which is to get Gulen out of the U.S. and back to Turkey,” Tittensor said.

3
Flynn pushed Turkey’s line on Gulen in exchange for cash

Flynn was forced to belatedly register as a foreign agent earlier this year for accepting $530,000 from Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin to produce negative PR materials about Gulen.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly investigating Flynn Intel Group’s work for Alptekin, who has close ties to Erdogan’s government. Mueller’s team is also reportedly probing two alleged meetings in New York between Turkish officials and Flynn about forcibly removing Gulen from the U.S.

Former CIA Director Jim Woolsey told the Wall Street Journal that he was startled by the plans to “whisk” Gulen away that he heard at the first meeting on Sept. 19, 2016, which was attended by Alptekin, Turkey’s energy and finance ministers, and members of Flynn Intel Group.

Discussions of a $15 million payout for Flynn and of possibly “transporting Mr. Gulen on a private jet to the Turkish prison island of Imrali” did not unfold until the second discussion in December, according to the Journal’s reporting.

Both sides have stridently denied that any such discussions occurred.

4
What if Turkey gets its wish?

Gulen is currently the “pawn in the middle” of U.S.-Turkey relations, as George Washington University international affairs professor Scheherazade Rehman put it, and it’s not clear that Erdogan wants his return as much as he professes to.

For one, Gulen’s presence here provides negotiating leverage, as Jeffries, the former U.S. ambassador, pointed out.

“It gives them a good talking point to put the U.S. under pressure,” Jeffries said. “And the Turks like that, that’s how they do foreign policy.”

Though Jeffries said the Turkish people and government do want answers for the coup, which resulted in the deaths of some 300 people, other experts noted that Gulen’s return through traditional legal channels, which remains unlikely, could undermine the Erdogan administration’s account of how the coup unfolded.

“If he comes back then that will force an actual trial,” said Josh Hendrick, a Loyola professor on Islamic political identity who wrote a book on Gulen. “It will force a ‘prove it.’ All the inconsistencies in the narrative could come out.”

Erdogan has used the coup as cover to fire and jail his political opponents and consolidate power.

5
Did Flynn try to advance the extradition?

Not long after Trump and Flynn entered the White House, the FBI was reportedly asked to conduct a new review of Turkey’s extradition request. Though NBC reported that the FBI turned it down because there was no additional evidence to alter the Obama administration’s assessment of it, it remains unclear if Flynn or State Department officials made the request.

When questioned on the matter by House Judiciary Committee member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) at a hearing this week, Attorney Jeff Sessions said only that he knew the “Turkish government continued to press the federal government” on Gulen’s return and that though his department “had a role to play in that,” he was unable to discuss it.

The Atlantic Council’s Stein said it was not necessarily surprising that a new administration would want a review of such a sensitive situation.

“What is noteworthy is the reasons why they asked for it,” he said. “Was Mike Flynn on the take and was he fulfilling a contractual quid pro quo?”

Correction: This piece has been updated to correct an editing error. Erdogan, not Gulen, has used the coup as cover to fire and jail his political opponents and consolidate power.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/fivepoints ... pping-plot





Mike Flynn and the Insane Alleged Plot to Kidnap a Turkish Cleric

The former Trump official is being investigated over a bizarre alleged plan to snatch up an enemy of the Turkish government and send him away on a private jet.

Mark Hay


Nov 14 2017, 12:58pm

Michael Flynn in New York this past January. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that retired general Michael Flynnwas under investigation for allegedly taking part in discussions about a plot to kidnap and extradite a controversial Turkish cleric in exchange for $15 million. Both Flynn’s lawyer and the Turkish regime quickly denied knowledge of or involvement in any such plot, which one source told the paper might involve use of a private jet and a Turkish prison island. But word of the investigation, reportedly part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, represented just the latest humiliation for the man whose stint as national security advisor was, at 26 days, a historically short one.


Amid indictments of various men in Trump’s orbit, it’s easy to forget that Flynn, who left the White House on February 13 after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about contacts with a Russian official, has long been as wrapped up as anyone in the sprawling Russia investigation. Indeed, last week, NBC News reported Mueller had enough evidence to charge him (and his son) withsomething. But until now, Flynn’s questionable financial dealings with Russian and Turkish interests—and how they might have impacted his work in the government—seemed to pose the biggest threat to his freedom. Being accused of scheming to whisk away a would-be political prisoner in the dead of night would dramatically raise the stakes, however, and could make it easier for Mueller to lean on Flynn in hopes he might flip on the president who hired him.
To make sense of this increasingly strange saga, it’s worth backing up to 2014, when Flynn was fired from the US government’s Defense Intelligence Agency. Not long after, he started a lobbying firm, Flynn Intel Group, and in August 2016, the firm signed a $600,000 contract with a Turkish businessman who had ties to his home government. Flynn and company agreed to research and produce a video discrediting Fethullah Gulen, the 78-year-old cleric at the center of the alleged kidnapping-extradition scheme.


Gulen is a Sunni cleric from Turkey who preaches interfaith dialogue and founded a popular movement, Hizmet, that runs hundreds of schools, hospitals, and aid programs in over 100 countries, including the United States. In 1999, he moved to America and managed, after some complications, to secure a green card. He lives in in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, and, at least until recently, rarely showed up in the domestic press.

Gulen and his followers were once allies of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. They shared skepticism of the country’s deeply secular military, and, at least for a time, goals of political inclusion and moderation. But by 2013, the two had become open enemies, with their supporters battling in the Turkish court system over alleged corruption in Erdogan’s government. In 2014 and then again in 2016, Erdogan accused Gulen of orchestrating failed coups against his regime from his perch in rural Pennsylvania. Erdogan’s administration has been purgingGulen’s allies out of the government and major private businesses ever since.
The president has also been eager to extradite Gulen back to Turkey, personally pleading with Barack Obama to do so in the summer of 2016. So far, the Department of Justice has not complied with those asks.

Meanwhile, though he does not appear to have ever delivered his anti-Gulen video, Flynn nonetheless put out some incendiary rhetoric—suggesting, for instance, in an Election Day op-ed last year that America was harboring Turkey’s version of Osama bin Laden. He ultimately got $530,000 for his efforts, but didn’t register as a foreign agent during his lobbying work for this Turkish proxy and may have misrepresented his income from the contract. The FBI reportedlystarted investigating these alleged lobbying improprieties about a year ago, and Flynn was said to have informed the White House about the situation before the inauguration.

Not long after, the FBI appears to have received a request from the Trump administration to reconsider the case for extraditing Gulen, despite the fact that Turkey had not provided any new evidence. It is unclear if this request came from Flynn himself, but in March, former CIA director, Flynn associate, and Trump campaign advisor Jim Woolsey told reporters the ex-general had discussed ways to engineer an unusual (and possibly extra-legal) extradition of Gulen at a meeting with Turkish officials in September 2016. Woolsey said he was concerned by this talk and raised the matter with then-Vice President Joe Biden through a friend. Reports since suggest there may have been a second meeting in December 2016 in which sone kind of kidnapping plot was discussed—after Flynn was chosen to be Trump’s National Security Advisor.
Henri Barkey, a Turkish-American affairs expert at Lehigh University, told me that, if such a plan were in fact seriously hatched, officials in Turkish government likely did not sanction it directly. That, he said, would be too much of a risk for the Erdogan regime if it ever came out.

But if proof were to emerge that the deal was serious, no matter whose idea it was, and that Flynn was involved, the result would be a clear case with the prospect of serious prison time behind it. That such a deal would have had nothing to do with Moscow trying to tilt the election toward Trump is besides the point.


“It is not clear that there is a direct link between the allegations of Flynn’s involvement in a plot to kidnap or extradite Gulen to Turkey and collusion with Russia,” said Alex Whiting, a Harvard legal scholar and criminal prosecution tactics expert. “But Mueller’s appointment as special counsel