WTF Community

Day 434

I’m trying to make sense of your point of view, but let me get this straight: Your comment about Amazon three days ago stemmed from a story about the US closing the Russian consulate in Seattle, which one user pointed out as being near the second-largest nuclear weapon storehouse in the US. Somebody then asked if the facility has enough space to store the weapons. And you said: “Maybe that’s part of Amazon’s motivation to open a second headquarters … Distancing themselves from any threats in Seattle could be a reason.” Which then turned into a long, off-topic update about Amazon’s motivations as a company. But somehow an entirely unrelated story where Trump tweets about Amazon’s taxes is validation that an unrelated thread about Amazon opening a second HQ because they’re geographically near a nuclear facility was and is on topic?

What am I missing here?


Amy, you somehow misquoted me…that was Keaton James’ remark that you attributed to me.

Don’t worry I took care of it.

To expand on my simplified knee-jerk response, I mean… no. There really isn’t. Trump appoints people he feels like he owns and can control, whether or not that’s true. What you end up with is some people who aren’t just grudgingly doing the terrible things he says but actively want to because of their own business interests (Pruitt), some people who get appointed and for better or worse say “holy shit this job is important and I better actually make an honest attempt at doing it or the world will end” (Tillerson), and some people who are just too fucking stupid to do the job at all (Carson).

I was never in love with Tillerson, but even if I didn’t agree with his every action, I feel like he genuinely took his role seriously and tried do the best he could to do his job properly. I never thought I’d miss having someone like Tillerson in the administration or be sad to see him go, but I guess it’s just a crazy, mixed-up world we live in now.


Trump’s opposition to Amazon represents a clear conflict of interest. Trump has made the case that Amazon harms brick and mortar retailers because it has an unfair advantage over them - namely, its customers are able to avoid paying sales tax. Let’s set aside for a minute whether we agree or disagree with his argument – the fact is, that Trump should recuse himself from this debate because he has a vested interest in the outcome. Many of his properties derive income by leasing space to brick and mortar retailers – the better they do, the better his properties do. Hence, it’s a conflict of interest when he tries to remove a competitive advantage that he himself argues Amazon has over brick and mortar retailers.

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UPDATE: The story about how the GOP platform was revised with language favorable to Russia originally hit the news shortly after the convention – now it’s cropped up again and is under Mueller’s microscope. Why now? The answer may lie with Konstantin Kilimnik, Russian intelligence officer and long time business partner of Paul Manafort. Kilimnik made headlines this week because it was discovered he was “Person A” in Mueller’s sentencing memorandum for Van der Zwaan. The Reuter’s article I’ve linked to above doesn’t mention Kilimnik, but it turns out he does figure into the story. He traveled to the U.S. a couple times during the campaign to meet with Manafort and Gates and as a Politico article reported last year:

… when Kilimnik returned to Ukraine … , he suggested to Kiev political operatives that he played a role in a move by Trump’s representatives to dilute a proposed amendment to the GOP platform calling for the U.S. to provide “lethal defensive weapons” for Ukraine to defend itself against Russian incursion.

So now there are clear links between 1) a Russian intelligence officer 2) Paul Manafort who was running Trump’s campaign during the Republican convention and 3) the revision of the Republican convention platform with language that was favorable to Russia. Mmmm…

(Many thanks to dragonfly9 who steered me to the Politico piece about Kilimnik – it’s an amazing read.)


Well-said, celena…I totally agree with your assessment on the types of people who work for trump.

And Keaton, trump is submerged in conflicts of interest…we may care but he sure doesn’t. :scream:

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Amazon announced it was looking for a second headquarters site several months ago, I don’t think it’s related to the storage of weapons at the Trident nuclear submarine base but I can’t read the executives minds at Amazon. I have never seen a statement from Amazon on why they need a second headquarters. I don’t know of a publicly traded company that has 2 headquarters, how do you have 2 headquarters? I can see them wanting to have some decision making authority closer to the East Coast where most of their market is located, having worked for a west coast based company, I know that’s not an old issue.

Bezos owning the Washington Post is a natural burr in the saddle for Trump, he doesn’t like the WAPO, which has an investigative bent that exposes Trump’s “alternative facts”.

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The same complaint is made about Wal-Mart in small towns.

Off topic and unrelated. Let’s please move on…

Interesting point! Wonder if that has something to do with the latest Trump tweets about Amazon. I mean, there were those Trump tweets last year about the “Amazon Washington Post”


If it’s off topic delete it if you want to.

Your second point was interesting and highly relevant to the news today

Keaton_James - your quote - “The story about how the GOP platform was revised with language favorable to Russia originally hit the news shortly after the convention – now it’s cropped up again and is under Mueller’s microscope. Why now? The answer may lie with Konstantin Kilimnik”

(now not sure how to lift a quote and plant it into the response)

Yes, the connection back to Kilimnik and changing the GOP platform on Ukraine is a red flag, and an incredibly harmful piece of news regarding K’s ties to Russian Intelligence, with all the Trump players all a part of this.

Getting to what Mueller is doing on his various targets is what we all are interested in. We got that lead from the recent filing on van der Zwaag, and his misrepresention of the truth.

Those who are giving up the most information - Gates, Flynn, Pappadopoulos
and potentially Sessions too. Sessions may be filling in Mueller as to what’s what. Some have said that the picture of Sessions, Rosenstein and the other guy eating dinner was a signal that all are on the same page - they will lead justice towards the true answers.

This WAPO article reviews the contexts for the Russian meetings, ie Sessions with Russian Ambassador Kislyak and rounds up what we know about Manafort, Flynn and the others, as of Nov 2017.


“You know you can talk all you want about Russia, which is all a you know, fake news fabricated deal to try and make up for the loss of the Democrats.”
— President Trump, in a news conference, Feb. 2, 2017

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.): “You don’t believe that surrogates from the Trump campaign had communications with the Russians?”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions: “I did not — and I’m not aware of anyone else that did. I don’t believe that it happened.”
–exchange in congressional testimony, Oct. 18, 2017

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III filed the first charges in his investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election on Oct. 30. Mueller brought charges against three former Trump campaign officials — Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos. Manafort and Gates have both pleaded not guilty. Papadopoulos accepted a plea bargain, which detailed extensive contact between himself and various individuals claiming they had connections to the Kremlin.

Despite denials from the campaign and the White House, it is now clear that members of the Trump campaign interacted with Russians at least 32 times throughout the campaign. (There are at least 20 known meetings.) Knowledge of these communications went to the highest levels of Donald Trump’s operation — both Corey Lewandowski and Paul Manafort, two of the campaign’s three managers, were aware of it.

Since the information about members of the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russians has come out in dribs and drabs, as a public service, we compiled a comprehensive timeline of what we now know from media reports and court documents detailing which members of the campaign met with Russians during the campaign as well as internal discussions about those meetings. We will update this timeline as necessary."

Check and review what we’ve known to date…and see how the investigation is really getting RED HOT. :person_fencing:

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Blockquote Celena - -What you end up with is some people who aren’t just grudgingly doing the terrible things he says but actively want to because of their own business interests (Pruitt)…

Agree with you whole heartedly what is really the agenda of those who work for 45…Here’s an interesting quote on what Sessions might have thought going in and now has been so beleaguered by him in today’s Time article on Sessions. I know Sessions is an all out racist, and his agendas are perverse. But something in me says that Sessions may be someone who can turn on 45…saving himself as well.

"Still, when it comes to the Russia investigation, Sessions has held the line against Trump’s interference. Shortly before our trip, he had dinner at a Washington restaurant with Solicitor General Noel Francisco and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the official overseeing the Mueller probe. The tiniest of symbolic protests, it nonetheless reportedly sent Trump into a rage. Sessions declined to comment on the dinner conversation, but he did say he ordered the fried chicken–a house specialty–and a banana split that was too big to finish.

Sessions’ ultimate loyalty, he told me, is not to any man but to a principle. “Congress passes a law, judges follow the law, and nobody’s above the law, including the judges, and including the President,” he said. Yet every person of conviction makes a bargain by going to work for Trump: to wield the levers of power, to make changes you believe are for the better, you will have to make certain compromises. As many others can attest–and as Sessions may soon discover–following Trump can lead you astray."

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This article does a good job of connecting the dots between the following cast of characters:

Vladimir Putin <–> Oleg Deripaska (Russian oligarch) <–> Konstantin Kilimnik (Russian intelligence officer) <–> Paul Manafort (Trump’s campaign manager) <–> Trump’s campaign organization <–> Republican National Convention

A key witness at the Russian end of these dots is Nastya Rybka, Deripaska’s mistress who is now languishing in a Thai jail. She was in the headlines a few weeks ago, pleading to be released and saying she had critical information about the Trump-Russia scandal. At the time, I’ll admit I thought she might be making things up in an attempt to get sprung from jail, but this article demonstrates she should be considered as a credible witness. The FBI agrees because they are trying to talk with her, but they have been rebuffed by Thai officials. I’m suspicious as to why she has been locked up at all – what she’s accused of seems like a minor infraction to me. This all just gets weirder and weirder.

BTW, the Mother Jones article above references this piece from The Atlantic. I missed it when it was first published, but now that I’ve looked at it, I would call it a “must read.” It truly unfolds like a spy novel, especially the cloak-and-dagger emails between Manafort and Kilimnik in which they refer to secret payments as “jars of black caviar.” Way cool!

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More on the links between what Gates has to tell, which gets at Manafort’s role and possible T campaign collusion. Bring it on!

CNN reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller may be more interested in what Rick Gates can tell him about possible Trump campaign collusion than what he can spill on Paul Manafort’s dirty deeds.

In a court filing earlier this week, the public saw the first signs of how the Mueller team plans to use information from Gates to tie Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, directly to a Russian intelligence agency. Mueller's team alleges that Gates was in contact with a close colleague of Manafort's who worked for a Russian intelligence agency -- and that Gates knew of the spy service ties in September and October 2016, while he worked on the Trump campaign. Gates would have to talk about the communication with the man if prosecutors wanted, according to his plea deal.

That's in line with what prosecutors told Gates months ago during high-stakes negotiations, CNN has learned. They told him they didn't need his cooperation against Manafort, according to a person familiar with the investigation, and instead wanted to hear what he knew about contact between the Trump campaign and Russians.


Mueller's court filing Tuesday night, in a separate case for a lawyer whose firm did legal work for Gates and Manafort, made public the most direct effort yet by Mueller's team to draw a line between Manafort and the Trump campaign to Russian operatives.


The alleged Russian intelligence agent, referred to as "Person A" in the court filing, appears to be Konstantin Kilimnik, a former employee who worked with Manafort's firm and lived in Kiev and Moscow, according to sources familiar with the investigation. In December, the Mueller prosecutors made a similar unnamed reference to Kilimnik, saying he is "assessed to have ties to a Russian intelligence service." ...

The criminal allegations facing Gates and Manafort encompass work they did in the years prior to the 2016 election ... 


A chief criticism from President Donald Trump and his defenders has been that the charges brought so far by the special counsel don't relate directly to Mueller's central mission investigating possible illegal coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, which the President and others often shorthand using the term collusion. The accusation related to Kilimnik and ties to Russian intelligence, made in Mueller's Tuesday filing, begins to answer that criticism, but so far without actually making the charge in Manafort's case.
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Wow…just read both of these articles.
Reading about this gives us confirmation in Mother Jones that the Nastya Rybka story, the jailed ‘escort,’ really had some heft to it when she was floating out the news that she had very damning info, is fantastic. She could be our Nasty Woman for sure…if the FBI can get to her in the Thai jail.

And the one in The Atlantic, does wrap up the quid pro quo for why Manafort is so beholden to Deripaska…in debt, and can only offer his ties to the next US president so he can ‘make whole.’ their flagging arrangement.

Concerning to think about how those emails got leaked from Kilimnik-Manafort that Atlantic got a hold of is daunting And since we know that Manafort had been under serious scrutiny by US intel…and perhaps other countries who track what Putin and his allies are doing, it is a more than crazy that this is getting reported to the press.

Who’s doing what to whom…who knew what, and what group colluded to curry favor and influence in the T world. Read it here. Amazing journalism, unfathomable international cheeky intel - Big Caviar awaits.

… thx for the links.

I’m posting this as a reply to my own previous post because the article above dovetails with an article in that earlier post – it described how Mueller is now investigating why language in the 2016 Republican National Convention platform was modified to be less critical of Russia. It seems like a remarkable coincidence (or maybe not a coincidence at all) that today the Senate Judiciary Committee released a letter very closely related to that incident at the 2016 convention. The letter requested emails from two senior staffers in the Trump campaign who may have shaped that platform language: John Mashburn and Rick Dearborn. So just as Mueller is honing in on this suspicious episode, so is the Senate Judiciary Committee. The smoke thickens.

To sketch in a little background, here’s an excerpt from a WaPo timeline that summarizes Mashburn and Dearborn’s involvement in the platform revision (with a thanks to dragonfly9 for drawing attention to this informative reference piece):

July 11-12 [2016]: Trump campaign officials get involved in the Republican National Committee platform’s language on Ukraine. GOP Delegate Diana Denman, a platform committee member from Texas, proposes an amendment to the party platform that would commit to “maintaining or increasing sanctions” and providing “lethal weapons” to support the Ukrainian army in warding off Russian aggression. She said she met resistance from “two gentlemen” who were part of the Trump campaign.

Trump adviser Gordon initially denied intervening, but later said he asked the co-chair to “consider tabling” the amendment “until the end” and said he “also consulted with colleagues on the phone to give them a heads up and chance to intervene, if they wanted to.” He calls Rick Dearborn and John Mashburn, who now serve as the White House’s deputy chief of staff and deputy Cabinet secretary, respectively. (CNN has reported Dearborn forwarded an email to top campaign officials in June of 2016 about a request from an individual seeking to connect top Trump officials with Russian President Vladmir Putin.)

The platform is ultimately changed to say the United States would “provide assistance” rather than specifically weapons. At the time, Manafort, then-campaign manager, vehemently denied the campaign’s involvement.

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The CREW group is setting their sights on Steve Bannon, Cambridge Analytica, Bolton’s SUPER PAC. They obviously got some traction with the DC courts allowing their emoluments lawsuit against T to be sent to trial.

"Government watchdog groups on Thursday called for an investigation into whether President Trump’s campaign and a super PAC controlled by his new national security adviser conspired with an embattled political data firm to violate elections laws.

In complaints filed Thursday with the Justice Department, the watchdog groups allege that the firm, Cambridge Analytica, violated a law barring foreign nationals from participating in U.S. elections. And they accuse the Trump campaign and John Bolton Super PAC of knowing their actions were improper when they worked with the firm.

Cambridge Analytica is already at the center of a federal investigation into Facebook’s protection of users’ private data, which Cambridge Analytica may have improperly used to develop voter profiles for political campaigns."

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Someone else is up on the Mueller chopping block. Ted Malloch got detained upon entering the US by the FBI, and questioned about his involvement in the Trump campaign.

FBI also asked him about his relationship with Roger Stone, the Republican strategist, and if he ever visited the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where Julian Assange lives.

Malloch denied having any Russia contacts.