WTF Community

Day 636

Updated 10/17/2018 10:53 AM PDT

1/ Robert Mueller is expected to issue findings after the midterm elections on whether Trump's 2016 campaign colluded with Russia and if Trump obstructed justice during the probe. Rod Rosenstein has indicated that he wants Mueller's probe to conclude as soon as possible. The findings may not be made public since Mueller can only present the findings to Rosenstein, who can then decide what is shared with Congress and what is publicly released. Trump, meanwhile, has signaled that he may replace Jeff Sessions and there are rumors that Rosenstein could resign or also be fired by Trump after the election. (Bloomberg)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

An inquiry from some Senate Democrats to T…about his financial ties to Saudi Arabia. A request not a subpoena, so it’ll probably get little traction.

Frank Thorp V (NBC producer)

A group of 11 Senate Democrats have sent a letter to Pres Trump asking for him to disclose his and his family’s financial ties to Saudi Arabia —>

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All sorts of mercenaries, including some Americans going after and killing political targets. Here’s an expose on whether We would be liable for murder and war crimes from both Buzzfeed and

Hina Shamsi (ACLU)

The Justice Department has clear authority to investigate a U.S. company and its band of American mercenaries for alleged killings carried out in Yemen, acts which may amount to murder and war crimes. The allegations of killings by the company and its ex-US servicemen, in many instances by their own admission, are presented in an investigative report by Buzzfeed’s Aram Roston. Absent some exculpatory information, these activities appear to include attempted and completed murder of civilians in Yemen at the behest of the United Arab Emirates.

The Buzzfeed report mistakenly states that the mercenaries were “operating in a legal and political gray zone,” and that “whether Spear’s mercenary operation violates US law is surprisingly unclear.” We are always keen to parse different interpretations of law and explore legal ambiguities. But the law here could not be clearer.

Cradling an AK-47 and sucking a lollipop, the former American Green Beret bumped along in the back of an armored SUV as it wound through the darkened streets of Aden. Two other commandos on the mission were former Navy SEALs. As elite US special operations fighters, they had years of specialized training by the US military to protect America. But now they were working for a different master: a private US company that had been hired by the United Arab Emirates, a tiny desert monarchy on the Persian Gulf.

On that night, December 29, 2015, their job was to carry out an assassination.

Their armed attack, described to BuzzFeed News by two of its participants and corroborated by drone surveillance footage, was the first operation in a startling for-profit venture. For months in war-torn Yemen, some of America’s most highly trained soldiers worked on a mercenary mission of murky legality to kill prominent clerics and Islamist political figures.

Their target that night: Anssaf Ali Mayo, the local leader of the Islamist political party Al-Islah. The UAE considers Al-Islah to be the Yemeni branch of the worldwide Muslim Brotherhood, which the UAE calls a terrorist organization. Many experts insist that Al-Islah, one of whose members won the Nobel Peace Prize, is no terror group. They say it’s a legitimate political party that threatens the UAE not through violence but by speaking out against its ambitions in Yemen.


She is calling herself a whistleblower via her lawyers. They are also looking into her boss at FinCen who had several hundred texts they are questioning.

In Wapo’s article.

The court filing said Edwards referred to herself as a whistleblower in the interview, but added while she had previously filed a whistleblower complaint related to her work, that did not involve the SARs disclosures.

The court documents also indicate the FBI has investigated one of Edwards’s bosses, an associate director of FinCEN, noting that person exchanged 325 text messages with the reporter in question during the month when the first story appeared citing SARs reports.

A FinCEN spokesman said Edwards has been placed on administrative leave. He did not respond to a question about the status of the associate director referenced in the indictment.


Glad to see this cooperation between state and federal law enforcement agencies. This is purely a guess on my part, but I’m thinking they may be divvying up who will be prosecuting whom for what. I hope a sizable chunk of the prosecutions go to the state level to prevent pardons from Trump.

The group, which included the federal prosecutors from the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York who charged Cohen in August and officials from the New York Attorney General’s office, met at the Midtown New York City office of Cohen’s attorney, Guy Petrillo, these people said.

CNN observed Cohen leaving Petrillo’s office building Wednesday afternoon. Assistant US Attorney Tom McKay, the lead prosecutor on the Cohen case, had entered the building earlier in the day. . . .

Cohen has also been in contact with the New York state attorney general’s office since his guilty plea, including shortly after his appearance in federal court, CNN has reported. The AG’s office has a civil lawsuit against the Trump Foundation, and has been coordinating its investigation with the US attorney’s office, CNN has reported.

Excellent feet-on-the-ground sleuthing by CNN. Everyday I thank my lucky stars that I live in a country with a free press. As the WaPo says, “Democracy dies in darkness.”


Yes, there’s got to be a TON of information flow between so many jurisdictions…and more than 50 hours (as of yesterday) now more probably.

Good that Cohen has done an about face, and sung like a canary.



Another wrinkle…


Cohen, while pleading guilty in federal court, said Trump directed him to make the payments, which violated federal law.

Trump told the AP Cohen’s claim was “totally false.” He said Cohen was merely “a PR person who did small legal work.”

Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, told USA TODAY his client had “two words” for the president’s claims on truth versus lies: “audio and tape.” He said the president should be worried.


FBI is probing NY DA Cyrus Vance over his dropping cases when there may be a connection with political contributions. See Ivanka & Junior’s overselling the units.

FBI agents are probing the Manhattan district attorney’s office over its handling of high-profile cases that were dropped once lawyers for the well-connected subjects made donations, the Daily News has learned.

Investigators have been quietly seeking information in recent months about decision-making by DA Cy Vance Jr. and his staff, sources with knowledge of the undertaking said.

The queries are centered on how things are handled in the office and who the major players are, the sources said. The FBI interest grew out of revelations that investigations were closed once lawyers representing the bigwig suspects made hefty donations to Vance’s campaign coffers, sources said.

The team has asked about current and former high-level staff members and their relationships to private law firms and outside agencies, sources said. Investigators are considering whether undue influence was at play.

The extent of the inquiry was not immediately known and it was not clear whether criminal charges were being considered.

Manhattan’s top prosecutor came under fire last year after questions surfaced about his office’s 2015 decision not to go after ex-Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein after model Ambra Battilana accused him of groping her breasts in his Tribeca office.

A lawyer hired by Weinstein at the time had given Vance $24,000 and another attorney sent him $10,000 after the decision to spare the powerful producer an arrest.

In another case, the DA also failed to bring criminal charges against two of President Trump’s children in an alleged real estate scam.

Vance’s office cleared daughter Ivanka Trump and son Donald Trump Jr., who were being looked at for allegedly defrauding Trump SoHo investors and would-be buyers by lying about the number of condos that had been sold.

In 2012, Vance met with an attorney for the pair, Marc Kasowitz, who had previously given him $25,000. An additional $32,000 was donated after the office declined to prosecute Ivanka and Trump Jr.

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Lawyer for Glenn Simpson, GPS co-founder is named Joshua Levy. He has been responding to questions related to the validity of the Dossier, which is something of course the R’s want to dismiss.

His client is taking the Fifth.

Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson pleaded the Fifth Amendment before a House Committee on Tuesday, with his attorney accusing GOP lawmakers of McCarthyism.

“This committee would make Sen. Joseph McCarthy proud,” Joshua Levy, Simpson’s attorney, said of the joint investigation by the Judiciary and Oversight committees into potential political bias at the FBI and Justice Department.

He made the remarks shortly after Simpson invoked his constitutional right against self-incrimination as protected under the Fifth Amendment.

Fusion GPS commissioned the so-called Steele dossier that included salacious, unsubstantiated allegations about then-candidate Trump’s ties to Russia. The joint investigation in the House is looking into the Justice Department’s handling of the dossier, as well as action at the FBI that some Republicans say demonstrate bias against Trump.

"This committee has destroyed the reputations and careers of prosecutors and agents. It has gratuitously exposed personal aspects of their private lives. It has levied false accusations of criminal wrongdoing against them,” Levy said. “And this mistreatment is no different as applied to our client Mr. Simpson.”

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) later told reporters that Levy was grandstanding.

Meadows, head of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus, raised questions about the legality of Simpson pleading the Fifth before a congressional committee.

He made the remarks shortly after Simpson invoked his constitutional right against self-incrimination as protected under the Fifth Amendment.

Fusion GPS commissioned the so-called Steele dossier that included salacious, unsubstantiated allegations about then-candidate Trump’s ties to Russia. The joint investigation in the House is looking into the Justice Department’s handling of the dossier, as well as action at the FBI that some Republicans say demonstrate bias against Trump.

Levy refused to answer questions on the validity of the dossier.

“The Russians tried to elect Donald Trump president,” Levy said. “It’s been proven. And you’re quibbling about whether this little detail on page 127 was correct or not? It’s absurd, we gotta stop this.”

Meadows pointed out that the details contained in the dossier are key to the question of whether President Trump or members of his campaign “colluded” with Russia to win the 2016 election.

“There are a number of us who believe that Russian interference actually happened in the election – the difference is what has been alleged is that there was collusion, and there’s been no evidence of collusion,” Meadows said. “And that’s where the dossier has its foundation, is on the collusion narrative, and there is zero evidence to support that.”


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Good find! :mag_right:

We’ll follow-up with subpoenas from the House after Nov. 6. :facepunch: . . . and hopefully from the Senate, too.