WTF Community

Day 735

Updated 1/24/2019 11:19 AM PST

1/ The Senate will vote on a pair of competing proposals to reopen the government and end the partial shutdown, which is now in its 34th day. Both are expected to fail with no clear consensus between Democrats and Republicans over how to end the longest shutdown in US history. The first vote will be on a Republican-backed proposal to allocate $5.7 billion for Trump's border wall. The second vote will be on a Democratic-backed proposal to temporarily reopen the shuttered government agencies without providing any money for a wall. Both are expected to fall short of the 60 votes needed to advance in the Senate. The votes are slated to start at 2:30 p.m. ET. (Politico / CNN / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / ABC News)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Glad to see that Schiff and Waters are not allowing the President’s proudly owned government shutdown to distract them from their investigations of his finances. (Link courtesy of

Two powerful House committee chairs are planning a joint investigation into German lending giant Deutsche Bank, which is under scrutiny from Democrats over its business dealings with President Donald Trump.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff and Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters coordinating oversight of the bank, which also faces questions about its role in money laundering schemes. …

The investigation into Deutsche Bank will be one of the most closely watched probes launched by the new Democratic-controlled House because it could provide a glimpse into Trump’s finances and ties abroad.

Waters, who has called for the president’s impeachment, has vowed to follow the “Trump money trail” starting with Deutsche Bank. Before she became chairwoman, she asked the bank for details on its handling of Trump’s accounts and involvement in Russian money laundering schemes.

The bank declined her request, citing concerns for customers’ privacy. She now has subpoena power to get some answers.

Schiff, whose committee has been investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, has said Deutsche Bank is “one obvious place to start” as he looks into possible money laundering by The Trump Organization. He has said he plans to probe Trump’s connections to Russia, Saudi Arabia and [other] countries.

The House is preparing to investigate Deutsche Bank as regulators reportedly raise questions about how it handled suspicious transactions from Denmark’s Danske Bank, which is at the center of a massive money laundering scandal.

Bloomberg News reported Wednesday that the Federal Reserve was examining the issue.




Fed to Probe Deutsche Bank Over Suspicious Danske Cash

This is a very specific probe into Russian money laundering by Deutsche Bank, the only financial institution that has been willing to prop up bankrupt-prone Trump.

Follow the :moneybag: :
$230 Billion from Russian Oligarchs --> Danske Bank in Estonia --> Deutsche Bank in U.S. --> ???

Link to article.
Link to video.

The Federal Reserve is examining how Deutsche Bank AG handled billions of dollars in suspicious transactions from Denmark’s leading lender, according to people familiar with the matter, further intensifying what could be one of the biggest money-laundering scandals ever.

The Fed’s probe is in an early stage as it scrutinizes whether Deutsche Bank’s U.S. operations adequately monitored funds from an Estonian branch of Danske Bank A/S, according to two people briefed on the situation, who asked not to be named because the inquiry isn’t public. Danske, which used correspondent banks such as Deutsche Bank to move money abroad, has admitted that much of about $230 billion that flowed through the tiny Estonian outpost may have been dirty. …

A Danske Bank whistle-blower who outlined the illicit flow of cash through that firm has said much of it passed through Deutsche Bank in the U.S., and one of the people said the Fed is focusing on the German lender’s trust bank.

The U.S. Department of Justice and criminal authorities from other countries have launched investigations into Danske Bank’s business in Estonia amid accusations it became a European hub for money launderers from the former Soviet Union. …


Shameful, just shameful. :confounded:

I’m not posting excerpts from this article – there’s a lot of detail included, but after perusing it, I’ve concluded that the bottom line is: it is what it is. The headline says it all.


NBC has released new information that shows the urgency of the House Oversight Committee’s recent announcement that it will be investigating how Jared Kushner, with his questionable ties to foreign governments, was ever granted a Top Secret security clearance. Remember how many times he revised his disclosure forms? What about that secret “back channel” he tried to set up between the Trump administration and the Russian government? And how about his chummy relationship with the notorious Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman?

Jared Kushner’s application for a top secret clearance was rejected by two career White House security specialists after an FBI background check raised concerns about potential foreign influence on him — but their supervisor overruled the recommendation and approved the clearance, two sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.

The official, Carl Kline, is a former Pentagon employee who was installed as director of the personnel security office in the Executive Office of the President in May 2017. Kushner’s was one of at least 30 cases in which Kline overruled career security experts and approved a top secret clearance for incoming Trump officials despite unfavorable information, the two sources said. They said the number of rejections that were overruled was unprecedented — it had happened only once in the three years preceding Kline’s arrival. …

“What you are reporting is what all of us feared,” said Brad Moss, a lawyer who represents persons seeking security clearances. "The normal line adjudicators looked at the FBI report…saw the foreign influence concerns, but were overruled by the quasi-political supervisor."

The sources said they did not know whether Kline was in communication with senior political White House officials. They say he overruled career bureaucrats at least 30 times, granting top secret clearances to officials in the Executive Office of the President or the White House after adjudicators working for him recommended against doing so. …

Kushner’s application followed the normal path for security clearance. It passed a “suitability review” in the White House and then went to the FBI for a background investigation.

Following the FBI investigation, the case went back to the White House office of personnel security, where a career adjudicator reviewed the FBI information, including questions about foreign influence and foreign business entanglements, the sources said. …

On the basis of potential foreign influence, the adjudicator deemed Kushner’s application “unfavorable” and handed it to a supervisor.

The supervisor agreed with the “unfavorable” determination and gave it to Kline, the head of the office at the time, who overruled the “unfavorable” determination and approved Kushner for “top secret” security clearance, the sources said.

"No one else gets that kind of treatment," Moss said. “My clients would get body slammed if they did that.”

Sources also told NBC News career employees of the White House office disagreed with other steps Kline took, including ceasing credit checks on security clearance applicants. The sources said Kline cited a data breach at the credit reporting firm Equifax.

And the two career security adjudicators at the White House were not the only ones who assessed Kushner as unfit to have Top Secret access. The article describes how the CIA weighed in as well:

After Kline overruled the White House security specialists and recommended Kushner for a top secret clearance, Kushner’s file then went to the CIA for a ruling on SCI [Special Compartmented Information clearance which is even higher than Top Secret].

After reviewing the file, CIA officers who make clearance decisions balked, two of the people familiar with the matter said. One called over to the White House security division, wondering how Kushner got even a top secret clearance, the sources said.

So Kushner’s Top Secret clearance was called into question by:

  1. The FBI in an unfavorable report.
  2. A White House security clearance adjudicator who reviewed the report.
  3. That adjudicator’s supervisor.
  4. Security clearance adjudicators at the CIA.

Yet the findings of all those experts were overruled by Karl Kline, who was (of course) appointed by Trump. :astonished:

So now the question for the House Oversight Committee becomes, "Who is this guy Kline and to whom is he beholden?"


The Hill and WaPo our with a story about a Republican luncheon with VP Mike Pence, who apparently got an earful from Republican Senators right before today’s votes.

One of the most remarkable moments during the Senate luncheon came when McConnell told Pence that shuttering the government to try to secure funding for a border wall was not a smart approach.

“McConnell talked about how we need to bring this process to a close; we should never have had a shutdown; they don’t work; I’ve said this numerous times; I don’t know how many times I’ve told you there’s no education in the second kick of a mule,” said a GOP source familiar with the meeting.

A spokesman for McConnell declined to comment on specific conversations during the private lunch but noted that the Kentucky Republican made his thoughts about a potential government shutdown clear in mid-December.

“I think that a government shutdown is not a good option. That’s my view. The American people don’t like it,” the GOP leader told reporters on Dec. 18, four days before funding lapsed. “You remember my favorite country saying, ‘There’s no education in the second kick of a mule.’ We’ve been down this path before.”

WaPo goes on to write,

“This is your fault,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) told Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at one point, according to two Republicans who attended the lunch and witnessed the exchange.

“Are you suggesting I’m enjoying this?” McConnell snapped back, according to the people who attended the lunch.

Open the government!! Pay the people!!


Excellent point!


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One huge obstacle is that Trump/Pence won’t actually tell Republicans what an acceptable bill would look like. How can they possibly reach an agreement with Democrats to open the government if they don’t even know what agreement has a chance of being signed into law?

It’s a brief blurb and difficult to link to directly (it’s part of a live stream) so here it is in its entirety:

Pence didn’t tell Republicans what Trump would agree to, senator says

Sen. John Kennedy, a Republican from Louisiana, told reporters that Vice President Mike Pence did not give the Republican caucus an indication of what President Trump would agree to on a bill to end the shutdown.

“He did not," Kennedy said.

The lawmaker said Pence talked about the importance of border security, and reopening the government.

Pence also didn’t lay out a strategy to end the shutdown at the GOP lunch, prompting frustration from some Senate Republicans.

“People want a strategy,” one GOP source said.