WTF Community

Day 475

Updated 5/9/2018 10:01 AM PDT

1/ A report from the Senate Intelligence Committee concludes that Russia conducted an "unprecedented, coordinated cyber campaign" in order to undermine confidence in U.S. voting systems starting as early as 2014 through Election Day 2016. Senators report that the Russians targeted at least 18 states looking for vulnerabilities, and in six states they tried to gain access to voting websites. In "a small number of states" actually breached election computer defenses. The committee said it found no evidence that vote tallies or voter registration information were changed, but that Russian hackers were "in a position to, at a minimum, alter or delete voter registration data." (New York Times / The Hill)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

The NY Times podcast The Daily, had a great show about Haspel on Tuesday. Highly recommended, they dive into the politics of her nomination and what is actually known on the public record, including her participation at that CIA prison in Thailand. Have a listen :ear:

Title: Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Episode Notes: The Central Intelligence Agency is waging an unusual campaign to make Gina Haspel its next leader, despite her polarizing past. Why do officers see her most controversial quality as her greatest asset? Guests: Adam Goldman, a reporter who covers the intelligence community for The Times; John Bennett, a former chief of the C.I.A.’s clandestine service who retired in 2013.


The payments [from Viktor Vekselberg] gave Russia several sources of possible leverage over Cohen and Trump. First, the money itself could amount to some kind of bribe, in return for which a favor would be expected. Second, Russia had knowledge of the secret payoff, which it could always expose. Third, the possibility (at minimum) exists that Russia knew the account was being used to silence Trump’s mistresses, yet another source of kompromat.

I thought about posting this in the op-ed thread instead of here, in the daily news thread, which we try to reserve for recording events we know actually happened. But then I thought, “Wait, this is a report of an actual fact, not an opinion.” And when that sank in, I realized what a tectonic shift occurred yesterday with the revelation of how utterly corrupt the President’s personal lawyer actually is. Things that were opinions or speculation in past months are now proving to be facts.

Even if we don’t know the full depth of Cohen’s criminal behavior, we do know for certain that at least one Russian oligarch who is very close to Putin held compromising, secret information about Trump – “kompromat” that could be used to blackmail the President into taking actions that he would not otherwise have taken. Just think about that for a minute. Why isn’t the entire nation up in arms about this? I believe it’s because the drip, drip, drip of the past year has simply numbed us. We need to wake up and act and remove this traitor from office.


Yes, definitely numb–with a good dose of anxiety and depression, and a simmering rage. At the same time that people and groups are working to remove him, though, our leaders–candidates and progressive officials as well–must deliver THEIR message, to get into positions of influence. That means ISSUES that help the world and its people, including healthcare, fair taxes for all, and justice in all things. That’s the best way to reclaim the government for the people–address what most people want and need–trust me, we don’t want to polarize or freak out or increase his base any more than it is–now that the truth is out that it’s “social” rather than “economic” status they’re worried about losing, it takes away any perceived factual basis they might have argued it with, leaving them with xenophobia, racism, and paranoia–none of which are backed by the facts. If anything, we want to lull them back to emotional normality, not inflame them. They will not change (as a baby boomer most my cousins got the same doctrine as I, but some lapped it up where others looked beyond. I love my cousins (great childhood memories) but at our age, they are not going to suddenly wake up and realize they are obsolete, misled, brainwashed and full of fear and hate, any more than I’m going to wake up and join the KKK. Best to let them die in peace and work on the younger folks, and try to avoid raising any more little xenophobes.


Trying to prove Quid Pro Quo between the outside players 1) foreign countries and/or 2)commercial entities wanting to influence peddle may prove difficult. Here are a few scenarios.

"Finally, even if Trump denies that he knew about any of the questionable Cohen payments, he still might not be off the hook. If it can be demonstrated that he found out later about an illegal such payment but sought to cover it up, Trump might have committed one of the following felonies: a) being an accessory after the fact (18 U.S.C. 3), b) misprision of a felony (18 USC 4, especially by a public official), and c) obstruction of justice.

“I’m setting aside the other details being reported about payments from AT&T, Novartis, and Korea Aerospace to Cohen. Pay-to-play is scandalous, but federal law only prohibits a surprisingly narrow set of payments as “pay-to-play” violations, and it is not clear that any of these payments would violate those regulations. After the Supreme Court’s unfortunate decision in McDonnell in 2016, it is exceedingly difficult to prove quid pro quo for bribery.”

“Just as it is difficult to prove quid pro quo bribery by these firms, it would be difficult to prove bribery for the Russian payments, even if that’s what these are. But they strengthen the proof for probable cause, which is the standard for warrants and indictments. And any forthcoming indictments and warrants stemming from this line of inquiry will lead to increasing pressure on apparent co-conspirators, like Cohen, who in turn can help a jury, the public, and perhaps Congress, find proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”


@matt First of all, this new section is awesome and second you should copy and make a new curated thread. I have a feeling more is coming. Lol.


Ditto… @matt

RIght @Pet_Proletariat - We’re expecting an onslaught of info on this…

Buckle up folks!


On her show this evening, in the spirit of transparency, Rachel Maddow asked Avenatti about how his efforts are being funded. His response:

We took a de minimis [small] amount of money from Miss Daniels. All of the additional money that we’ve been paid have come from the Crowd Justice funding page [] that we created in connection with the case. There’s no big fat cat donor. There’s no left-wing conspiracy funding us. There’s no political party. There’s no PAC.

This is good to know and, in my book, I take Avenatti at his word. I looked into and it looks like a fine organization that is doing a lot of good. Tonight I put my money where my mouth is and kicked in a share of funding myself. It feels good!

Here’s an article about Crowd Justice and Daniels’ funding campaign:

Next up: We need a class action suit against AT&T. Hey, they used some of my money for that bribe – I want it back!


I think you are right…he’s a smart lawyer, with considerable skills in taking on Trump…

Here’s some biographical information about him…Avenatti & Associates, APC is a California based law firm. I do believe he sees a line into taking down Trump down with the flimsy NDA (non-disclosure agreement).

Read here about his background…Avenatti says

“No. 1, you better be prepared for a street fight,” said Avenatti, who has sued Trump before. “No. 2, you better be prepared to be aggressive. And No. 3, you better be prepared for punches along the way.”

Per news reports, via pundits, I believe that courts will grant you a one time visit to an out-of-state court, ie NYC, via SD NY. Team Trump, Cohen or whoever is trying to not allow him that.

The courts pushed back on his Stormy case by 90 days, but here’s what Avenatti submitted for the discovery phase of the trial. He wants to depose Trump for 2 hours. That’s got to terrify Trump 'n Co. (Made a screenshot of this)


I get the feeling what he’s doing is mostly apolitical. This is the case of a lifetime and he’s milking it for all it’s worth. I’m not saying that as a dig at his lawyering skills (which from what I can tell he’s a pretty good attorney) – I’m just saying that this is the kind of case – win or lose – that many attorneys dream about.

He’s fighting this case on multiple fronts and on two coasts and is getting near-constant media coverage. It’s got all the hallmarks of a political suspense thriller: sex, corruption, the President, money, dirty lawyers, conspiracy, bribery, fraud, and of course, Russians.


Yes…and that’s our new normal. (sarcasm) @ActionPumpkin

He’s smart, gifted communicator, and tenacious. Whether a patriot or getting notoriety about this case or apolitical, let’s hope he continues down this winning path without disrupting the Mueller case. (some worry he’s doing that by getting financial records out, and tipping off those involved.)


Avenatti is pushing back against baseless claims that the funding for his legal efforts is suspect.

Here is the full text of the statement Avanetti put out today:


Statement Regarding Who Is Paying Ms. Clifford’s Legal Fees
Michael J. Avenatti

May 10, 2018 - Despite the fact that I have answered this repeatedly, many refuse to accept the answer. They do so as part of a diversion aimed at distracting from the facts and evidence of our cases and because they want to develop a false narrative that they can then use to undercut our credibility. We will not stand for it.

Once again (for at least for the 20th time) - ALL fees and expenses of this case have either been funded by our client, Ms. Stephanie Clifford, or by donations from our page. Please re-read that if you are unclear. Read it again if need be. Keep reading it until you get it.

Further, no political party or PAC is funding this effort. No left wing conspiracy group is behind this. And no big fat cat political donors are leading the charge. Get over it.

This is a search for the truth. And in the spirit of Ms. Clifford’s courage, we are not going away anytime soon.


I agree that the new section is awesome and applaud you for trying to make sense of this. My question is about Avenatti - he is going far beyond just defending Stormy Daniels in a contracts suit. He seems to be on a person mission to take down Trump. Anderson Cooper questioned him about why he was doing this on Tuesday, and he didn’t really answer. I’m really curious about this. Also - did you see that Team Trump is now asking that he be removed from the SD case - I think for corruption?


Wow, what you’ve said here is something I have thought long and hard about as well. These people, who blindly and wholeheartedly back Trump, purely for ideological reasons, because I guess they can’t think for themselves and they live in some awful world where everything is either black or white and the very concept of shades of grey, and beyond that, the concept of color, some things are just beyond the capacity of their minds to grasp, so best not to just piss them off for no good reason because oddly enough there are great numbers of these people in our society. I’m sorry they feel hurt about the white man not being able to cuss out black folks and drag women around by their hair, but it’s time to move on. Try not to read The Dangerous Mind of Donald Trump because it will make you ask even more what are we doing letting this goofball run the country? However, as someone else said, the longer he plays the role the more people accept him as legitimate, we should have sent him packing in the first 100 days, but unfortunately, there’s not a thing like a Vote of No Confidence so we hope that our 200+ year old Constitution can stand up to the 4:30AM Tweet Monster.