Day 678


(Matt Kiser) #1

Updated 11/28/2018 2:22 PM PST

1/ Trump told Robert Mueller that Roger Stone did not tell him about WikiLeaks and that he was not told about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump Jr., campaign officials, and a Russian lawyer promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. Trump added a caveat that his responses were to the best of his recollection. For comparison, Trump also does not "remember much" from the meeting with George Papadopoulos, where Papadopoulos offered to arrange a meeting with Putin. Trump, however, has previously claimed to have "one of the great memories of all time," using it as justification for not using notes during his meeting with Kim Jong Un, and blaming Sgt. La David Johnson's widow when he stumbled over the solider's name during a condolence call. (CNN)


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://whatthefuckjusthappenedtoday.com/2018/11/28/day-678/

#2

The calls almost always came deep into the night.

Caller ID labeled them “unknown,” but Roger Stone said he knew to pick up quickly during those harried months of the 2016 presidential campaign. There would be a good chance that the voice on the other end of the line would belong to his decades-long friend — the restless, insomniac candidate Donald Trump — dialing from a blocked phone number…

Trump has told his lawyers — and last week said in written answers to Mueller — that Stone did not tell him about WikiLeaks’ upcoming release and that he had no prior knowledge of it, according to people familiar with his responses…

New details about Stone’s interest in WikiLeaks’ plans emerged this week after one of his associates, conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, announced that he had rejected a plea deal offered by Mueller’s team. He provided The Post and other news organizations with a draft filing by prosecutors describing his interactions with Stone — including an Aug. 2, 2016, email in which the right-wing author alerted Stone that he heard WikiLeaks was planning a major release of “very damaging” material.

The next day, Stone had one of his private talks with Trump, Stone said on a 2016 Infowars broadcast first reported by CNN.

In an interview, Stone insisted that the topic of hacked emails was never broached in the Aug. 3 phone call — or in any other communication with Trump.

To summarize:

  • Aug 2 - Stone learns that Wikileaks is preparing to release material that could win the election for Trump.

  • Aug 3 - Stone speaks with Trump, but later both of them claim they didn’t discuss the thing that could win the election for Trump.

That would be like if the moon split in half and the next day two astronomers talked, but claim they didn’t discuss the moon splitting in half. Who would believe the pair is telling the truth? :lying_face: :lying_face:


#3

The Guardian’s story on Tuesday, regarding an alleged meeting with Manafort and Julian Assange has not been corroborated by other news outlets. Many skeptics are now wondering if this was a way to discredit the author, Luke Harding who’s also written a book called Collusion and a way to drive a wedge between those who want to believe what the autocrats are calling fake news.

A bombshell report in the Guardian on Tuesday Guardian link claims Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, met directly with Julian Assange, the head of WikiLeaks, several times in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

If true, the ramifications are immense. It means the guy running Trump’s campaign met directly with the head of the organization that served as a tool of Russia’s intelligence services, distributing stolen Democratic emails in an effort to influence the U.S. presidential election. It could be the proverbial smoking gun that shows Trump’s campaign knew it was receiving help from Russian intelligence services and perhaps even aided the operation.

It’s an old tactic, used to prime an audience not to believe anything they hear from those whose role it is to hold people in power to account. Autocratic leaders have long planted the seeds of doubt so that no one in their intended audience will believe any information except what the leader himself tells them. The message is simple: Only the leader can be trusted.

Interestingly, Russia’s disinformation network has jumped into the ring to promote skepticism of the story. Sputnik, one of Russia’s propaganda networks, called the story into question and bolstered the skepticism by quoting tweets from Eva Golinger, a former adviser to the government of the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez and a current contributor to RT’s Spanish-language network; Ivor Crotty, another RT contributor; Glenn Greenwald, who worked with WikiLeaks to distribute the documents stolen by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden; and WikiLeaks itself, which the U.S. government has called a nonstate hostile actor and a tool of Russian intelligence. RT, also a Kremlin mouthpiece, echoed Sputnik and WikiLeaks. Do you see a pattern here?

But even if someone managed to dupe the reporters and plant a false story, that tells us something, too. Namely, that someone is nervous and eager to lay the groundwork for yelling “fake news!” at whatever other stories are about to drop. Either they want you not to believe what is, in fact, a true story, or they planted a fake story because they want you not to believe the journalists and any other information that has yet to come out.

As of this writing, no other news outlet has confirmed the Guardian’s story about Manafort meeting Assange. So is it fake or is it real? If it is real and others confirm it, it would be damning, and many people have an interest in trying to discredit it. On the other hand, if someone managed to dupe Harding and his colleague, it would mean someone was ready to put a lot of effort into discrediting the journalists in order to sow doubt about a wide swath of reporting. In either case, someone has already primed a large audience to dismiss this Manafort-Assange story and any other information that might tie the Trump campaign to Russia. That implies more bad news is coming for Trump and Manafort.

One thing seems clear: Someone is feeling the heat.

From Brian Stelter’s Reliable Sources (CNN- Money) newsletter.

Guardian backing away from its Assange story?

Hadas Gold emails: The Guardian’s Luke Harding set off a news explosion on Tuesday when he reported that Paul Manafort had visited Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. No other news organizations have matched it yet – and WikiLeaks and Manafort have both denied the story. WikiLeaks has started fundraising for what it says will be a lawsuit against The Guardian and Manafort also indicated he’d be open to suing. (Keep in mind lots of people threaten lawsuits, but don’t always follow through.)

Here’s the thing: In a statement on Wednesday, The Guardian said, “This story relied on a number of sources. We put these allegations to both Paul Manafort and Julian Assange’s representatives prior to publication. Neither responded to deny the visits taking place. We have since updated the story to reflect their denials.

–Oliver Darcy tweeted: “Noticeably missing: A line stating that The Guardian is confident in the accuracy of its story…”

Alex Finley’s piece for Politico: “Did Someone Plant a Story Tying Paul Manafort to Julian Assange?” (same link as above)


#4

Boom :boom:

Michael Cohen pleads guilty to his work on Trump Tower Moscow, and includes the President in on this. He is getting a plea deal!!!

Revelations include that prior to the election, that phone calls were made to Putin, via his assistant and that Cohen got a call back from Putin’s office.

Of course, this would be the tip of the iceberg, something they could put out with teeth, which includes what T may have known and reveals some kind of carrot being played and a motivation for preferential treatment of Russia.

Well, well, well…

Update - clearer document to read

https://www.justice.gov/file/1115596/download

and his filing document and plea deal


#5

The new guilty plea in Federal District Court marks the first time the office of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has charged Mr. Cohen. In exchange for pleading guilty and continuing to cooperate with Mr. Mueller, he may hope to receive a lighter sentence than he otherwise would.

The move comes just two weeks before Mr. Cohen, 52, is scheduled to be sentenced for his earlier guilty plea. That case, which also included bank and tax crimes, was brought by federal prosecutors in Manhattan.

This week, Mr. Mueller accused Mr. Trump’s onetime campaign manager, Paul Manafort, of repeatedly lying to investigators in breach of a plea agreement. And Mr. Trump’s lawyers recently submitted his written responses to questions from Mr. Mueller, who the president accused on Tuesday of operating a “Phony Witch Hunt.”

Although Mr. Cohen’s first plea agreement did not include a formal cooperation deal, he had sat for repeated interviews with Mr. Mueller’s investigators.


#6

This could be related to the Trump group…but there was a raid of Deutsche Bank where they are investigating the money laundering that was revealed by the Panama papers.

The T group has done a LOT of banking with Deustche bank…

In April 2016, news organizations in cooperation with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released the Panama Papers, which revealed how some of the world’s wealthiest individuals, including more than 900 customers of Deutsche Bank, dodged taxes in their home countries by transferring money to offshore accounts.

Prosecutors said the documents indicated “that Deutsche Bank helped customers found offshore organizations in tax havens by transferring illegally acquired money without alerting authorities to suspected money laundering.

Paper and electronic documents were gathered during Thursday’s raid, they said.

The prosecutor’s office said two bank employees were suspected of helping Deutsche Bank clients set up offshore accounts and the bank had failed to report the suspected money laundering.


#7

Former accountant, Edward Burke’s offices were raided today by the FBI. He worked for T for 12 years, helping him reduce his taxes. Burke is now an Alderman in Chicago

Burke’s firm, Klafter & Burke, repeatedly has sought to reduce the property taxes that Trump Tower and other commercial properties have to pay — a lucrative business that’s also enriched Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, D-Chicago.


#8

You can’t help but wonder about the timing of this in relation to the announcement of Cohen’s cooperation deal today. There are so many connections between Trump and Deutsche Bank – investigators may have wanted to step in and confiscate documents before co-conspirators at DB had a chance to fire up their paper shredders.

Here’s a Cohen/Trump/Deutsche Bank connection that never really made the headlines, but I find it very interesting. Remember way back in April when Cohen’s attorneys filed a motion to suppress the evidence from the raid on his office? Instead of appearing in court with his lawyers (which angered the judge), Cohen decided to make a very public display of hanging with his homeboys, inspiring this spot on satirical mashup set to the Sopranos’ theme song.

It didn’t take long for Cohen’s compatriots to be identified (see the ABC News article below). Two of the most well-connected figures were Rotem Rosen (2nd from the right in the photo below) and Jerry Rotonda (far left). Rosen and Rotonda are partners in the Manhattan real estate firm MRR Development.

Rotem Rosen Connections

Rosen was instrumental in the Trump Tower Moscow talks (see bottom article in this post). Today, Cohen confessed that these talks continued well into the 2016 election cycle. Cohen has admitted he lied to Congress about this – which reveals that Trump lied to the American public about it as well.

Rosen is the right-hand man of Lev Leviev a billionaire who is close friends with Putin and a partner in Prevezon Holdings. Prevezon settled a money laundering case in New York in which it was accused of using real-estate to launder money into the U.S. from Russia. Court documents from the case show that Deutsche bank provided $90 million in financing to Prevezon (see last paragraphs in this NYT article). Also significant: Attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya represented Prevezon at the Trump Tower meeting.

Below is a photo taken at Trump’s Miss Universe contest in Moscow in 2013. Rosen is on the far left next to Aras Agalarov who set up the Trump Tower meeting. To the right of Trump is Alex Sapir, the other negotiator in the Trump Tower Moscow talks (and Rosen’s brother-in-law).

Jerry Rotonda Connections

Prior to founding a New York real estate firm with Rotem Rosen, Jerry Rotonda was CFO of Deutsche Bank’s Wealth Management Division (see the ABC News article below). Also in this division: Rosemary Vrablic who approved $300 million in loans to Trump and $285 million to the Kushners.

Here’s ABC News’ reporting on Cohen’s confab with Rosen, Rotonda, et al.

And this is the Daily Beast’s deep dive into the Trump Tower Moscow talks in which Cohen’s buddy Rotem Rosen was a principal negotiator (an excellent read and even more relevant today in light of Cohen’s revelations):


(Matt Kiser) #9

Nicely done :clap:


#10

Great recap @Keaton_James

And thanks for doing all the names and associations. Nothing like hiding in plain sight…with your real estate, banking friends who all could communicate Soprano’s style with a wink and a nod. (cool videa btw) And a Deutsche bank exec too.

Having Cohen really giving Mueller these hours of testimony must be a real thrill for the team. More than enough information on the money laundering, the back office deals and well, yes, the very Russian connected mob-like associations for this Fixer.

Cohen’s got a lot of charges piled up against him, but I believe him that he’s doing this for his country, and helping slay this lying cheating Prez - aka 46-1.

One little item that has been passed along in the news today, was that T was sooo freaked out at the news last night that something big was happening today, that he left the tree lighting ceremony very abruptly - was it a real panic attack?? Or just the news that T’s lies will become more known.