WTF Community

Day 489

Updated 5/23/2018 5:11 AM PDT

1/ Michael Cohen's business partner agreed to cooperate with the government as a potential witness as part of a plea deal. Evgeny Freidman is a Russian immigrant known as the Taxi King, and he specifically agreed to assist government prosecutors in state or federal investigations, according to a person briefed on the matter. Freidman's cooperation is seen as potential leverage to pressure Cohen into working with Mueller's team on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections. (New York Times)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at
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BTW… is the forum where we post potential news stories for WTFJHT?


Trump lawyer ‘paid by Ukraine’ to arrange White House talks

Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, received a secret payment of at least $400,000 (£300,000) to fix talks between the Ukrainian president and President Trump, according to sources in Kiev close to those involved.

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59% of Americans don’t think the Mueller investigation has uncovered any crimes. :confounded:

Also, @matt aren’t you supposed to be on vacation? Get outta here. :smiley:


National Fascism League. :roll_eyes:


Here are some of the other stories I’m keeping my eye on:

:speech_balloon: What stories are you noticing? Let me know using the WTF Community forums.


I can’t stop laughing at this:

Get out the vote… I guess?


RE: No Dems allowed in the DOJ meeting on Thursday to discuss what R’s and mostly T are referring to ‘Spygate.’ Reactions from legal pundits and CNN reporters and what is clear partisan party positioning.

Joyce Alene (former 25 yr Federal prosecutor)

Here’s more of that solid, bipartisan, country-over-party leadership we’ve come to expect from Representative Nunes.

Manu Raju

Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, told me he approached Chairman Devin Nunes on the floor and told him Dems wanted to attend the DOJ briefing on the FBI source. Nunes’ response: “I’m not going to play that game.”


Fixing any electoral voting machines will cost upwards of $500 million, per Axios, but $380 million has been allocated bearing in mind the states that have to fully replace their voting machines.

14 states have requested Congress’ election security upgrades funding

14 states have requested funding for election security upgrades from the $380 million pool that Congress set aside in March, according to the Election Assistance Commission Chairman Tom Hicks. Hicks expects at least 20 to request by next week and about 40 to request by mid-June.

What it means: Although a fraction of states have applied to receive funds, it doesn’t mean the others won’t be applying for funding as well. “The money is available to all the states. They don’t need to apply prior to using it,” a spokesperson for the Committee on House Administration Democrats tells Axios. While some requests have funneled in, $380 million is not enough to upgrade security in elections entirely in each state.

The funding requested by the first 11 states to request, per a document obtained by Axios:

    $7.9-34.6 million: Washington, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts
    $5.2-7.8 million: Oregon, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kentucky
    $3.1-5.1 million: Arkansas, West Virginia
    $600K-$3.0 million: Montana

One big problem: The cost of upgrading a portion of election infrastructure, direct recording electronic machines (DREs) would be about $500 million if not more, Larry Norden, deputy director of the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program, tells Axios. The President of Verified Voting, Marian Schneider, adds “it’s not enough for the states who need to replace their voting machines.”

Context: $380 million is a much lower number than what lawmakers wanted. The Election Security Act, for example, proposed $1 billion in grants for updating election systems, and congress set aside $4 billion in 2002.

How the funds fall short: It’s about how it’s divvied up.

Each state is guaranteed a minimum payment from the omnibus carve-out. The funds are divided using a formula in the HAVA, based on the number of registered voters in each state from the 2010 census.
States can apply for reimbursement even if their security is fairly well equipped.

The result: Several states with security gaps will only be able to meet a fraction of the updates they need to fully bolster their security, the Brennan Center estimates.

New Jersey: 15-24% ($40.4-$63.5 million)
Louisiana: 15-24% ($24.9-$39.1 million)
Pennsylvania: 17-27% ($50.4-$79.1 million)
Indiana: 21-33% ($22.7-$35.6 million)
Georgia: 23-36% ($28.8-$45.2 million)

The takeaway: “The current allocation…is going to have to be supplemented with other funding resources, either from the federal government or local government,” Schneider says.

Politico’s Eric Geller tweeted that he reported first on 11 states' requests for Politico Pro [paywall].

Editor’s note: This has been updated to reflect the growing list of states that have requested from 11 to 14.


Guliani is stepping right into it…stating that whatever was received from foreign governments should be considered a ‘gift,’ and nothing to attack. Legal pundits are having a field day with Rudy’s outlandishness. Calling it the “Howdy Rudy” show, and saying he’s lost all his legal chops.(See John Flannery - special counsel who worked w/ Guiliani. “All those years in politics, he’s making political arguments.” on MSNBC - Ari Melber Show)

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From today’s “Notables”:

Jared Kushner received his security clearance after a year of background checks conducted by the FBI. (New York Times / CNN)

Does anyone else find this as disheartening as I do? Wow. I was sure the FBI was getting ready to throw down some indictments or at least some subpoenas on Kushner. But now this hardly seems likely in light of the FBI granting him a security clearance. As the NYT article states:

The resolution of his clearances does not guarantee that Mr. Kushner faces no legal jeopardy. But Mark S. Zaid, a veteran Washington lawyer who handles security clearances, said it was highly unlikely that the special counsel would uncover evidence of improper foreign entanglements and not flag it for security officials.

“If I were Jared Kushner, I’d be sighing a breath of relief today,” Mr. Zaid said.

Does anybody out there have another perspective on this?


I agree…was not prepared to think he would be redeemed, with all the devious re-doing of paperwork. It could be a white wash that WH is fashioning…Kushner has been super coached by Abbe Lowell, his lawyer so he could give plausible answers.

Checked twitter feed and Rep @tedlieu (D) CA had an interesting take

.@FBI does not grant or adjudicate security clearances. Decision to give Jared Kushner a clearance was made solely by the White House.

Kushner omitted his Trump Tower meeting not once, but TWICE on his SF-86s. If he wasn’t the son-in-law of @POTUS, he would not have a clearance

There still should be some indictable areas though, and the lawyer who said that, maybe more partisan in responding.

Outstanding Q’s and potential areas of indictments.

  • close alliance in working with Cambridge Analytica; setting up back channel communications to Russia with Kislyak; financing of his buildings with Citibank mags at WH and loans appearing; qatar mtgs…yup there is a LOT he could be on the hook for.

T 'n Co are waging an all out defensive strategy to make it appear that there was absolutely NO areas that they are culpable for. In fact, they construe that if Mueller and DOJ weren’t so politically motivated…(#witchhunt. & #spygate) this would all disappear.

I would say that Kushner’s legal and PR team are working triple time, AND T would want him get those clearances.

We are still in wait-and-see mode.

My take…FWIW


Ok…good. FBI is on it.


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

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

What Mueller’s Investigation Could Mean for President Trump

Fantastic explainer from the New York Times

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, will likely reach one of two conclusions about the president: Either there is evidence that he broke the law, or there is not. Mike Schmidt, a New York Times reporter, explains the possible outcomes.

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Great dissection of the ‘what if’s’ - and did not know that if Mueller requests an indictment of T then a report is automatically generated…but goes to McConnell/Ryan…but hopefully after midterms to Pelosi and Schumer.

This looks like a clip from a new Showtime series the NYT is doing on the first 1000 Days…starts Sunday 25th.

Yes, Michael Schmidt has been the one who breaks so many stories in this admin. Very clear-eyed and one to watch.

Thx for link.

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@dragonfly9 Thanks – an insightful analysis – you helped lower my anxiety level a few points – I’ve been able to stop breathing into a paper bag.


I don’t know about it being Showtime thing, the NYTimes whole YouTube channel is just really well produced mini documentaries. Highly recommended, I check out their videos almost every evening.

I got the name wrong…it is called The Fourth Estate, and does cover all things T. Very similar to The Circus. And May 27th is start date…(glad I fact checked) :slight_smile:

The YouTube daily looks great. Thx!

NYTimes: Truth in a Post-Truth Era: Sandy Hook Families Sue Alex Jones, Conspiracy Theorist

What Jones has done to the Sandy Hook families is unbelieveable.