WTF Community

Day 763

Updated 2/21/2019 2:17 PM PST

1/ House Democrats will file a resolution rejecting Trump's national emergency declaration. Nancy Pelosi said the House will move "swiftly" to pass the disapproval resolution, which is the first formal step in countering Trump's effort to go around Congress and build his border wall. While the effort is almost certain to fall short due to threat of a Trump veto, votes will put some Republicans from swing districts and states on the record. (Washington Post / The Guardian / Politico)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Didn’t include this in today’s update, but it could have easily been.

The North Carolina election authorities on Thursday ordered a new contest for Congress in the state’s Ninth District after the Republican candidate, confronted by days of evidence that his campaign underwrote an illegal get-out-the-vote effort, abandoned his defense and called for a new vote.

The unanimous ruling by the North Carolina State Board of Elections was a startling — and, for Republicans, embarrassing — turn in a case of political chicanery that convulsed North Carolina.


The Trump administration has cut off talks with California over vehicle emission standards, setting up another high-profile legal showdown between the Democratic-controlled state and the Trump administration.

California and the 13 states that follow it make up 40% of the US auto market, according to Dan Becker, whose Safe Climate Campaign backs California’s position.

California regulators want to retain their decades-old authority to set pollution standards that stems from the 1970 Clean Air Act, and their environmentalist allies fear a weak or non-existent standard set by the Trump administration.


Hmmm… Interesting… What struck me first was the Derepaska connection – and then there’s the connection to the blocked-number calls that Trump Jr. made, bookending the Trump Tower meeting. Most startling was the statement that Geovanis may be a good person to query about whether or not there is kompromat on Trump! That merits a :fire: .

Senate investigators want to question a Moscow-based American businessman with longstanding ties to President Donald Trump after witnesses told them he could shed light on the President’s commercial and personal activities in Russia dating back to the 1990s, multiple sources have told CNN.

The Senate Intelligence Committee, which is probing allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 elections, has been keen to speak with David Geovanis for several months, the sources say.

Geovanis helped organize a 1996 trip to Moscow by Trump, who was in the early stages of pursuing what would become a long-held goal of building a Trump Tower in the Russian capital, according to multiple media reports at the time.

Years later, Geovanis worked for the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, whose ties to Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort have also been of interest to investigators.

This is the first time that Geovanis’ name has been revealed in connection with the various investigations underway into Russian influence on US politics…

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s interest in Geovanis indicates its investigation is delving further back into Trump’s past in Russia than previously thought…

A third witness has alleged in written testimony, seen by CNN, that Geovanis may be valuable in the mystery of whether Russia has material on Trump that could be personally embarrassing to him.

After starting his career in finance, Geovanis went to Moscow to work for a Russian venture of a company called Brooke Group, which owned land earmarked for the site of a proposed Trump Tower. When Trump came to town to promote the project, sources say, it was Geovanis’ job to show him around.

Also on the trip were Brooke Group’s owners, the real estate moguls Bennett LeBow and Howard Lorber, who went on to become substantial donors to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Trump personally acknowledged the pair from the podium after he won the 2016 New York Republican primary.

An archive video report of Trump’s 1996 Moscow trip emerged online in late January. The news report – misidentified on YouTube as dating from 1995 – shows Lorber, Lebow and Trump in discussion with Moscow’s then deputy mayor, Vladimir Resin, and his staff, with Geovanis looking on from the background.

Lorber has already been linked to the Senate investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections. The New York Times named him earlier this month as one of the Trump family associates who spoke with Donald Trump Jr. from blocked numbers around the time of a highly scrutinized 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in New York…


This is such a sad story – almost beyond words.

It is no longer just a matter of opinion. It is now on record as a federal ruling: Alexander Acosta broke the law when, as a federal prosecutor in the Epstein case, he deliberately failed to inform Epstein’s many victims of the appallingly lax plea deal he negotiated for the billionaire. Had this ruling occurred prior to Acosta’s confirmation hearing, he would have never been confirmed (or even nominated) – and he should now swiftly resign from his post as Secretary of Labor.

Federal prosecutors, under former Miami U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta, broke the law when they concealed a plea agreement from more than 30 underage victims who had been sexually abused by wealthy New York hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

While the decision marks a victory for crime victims, the federal judge, Kenneth A. Marra, stopped short of overturning Epstein’s plea deal, or issuing an order resolving the case. He instead gave federal prosecutors 15 days to confer with Epstein’s victims and their attorneys to come up with a settlement. The victims did not seek money or damages as part of the suit.

It’s not clear whether the victims, now in their late 20s and early 30s, can, as part of the settlement, demand that the government prosecute Epstein. But others are calling on the Justice Department to take a new look at the case in the wake of the judge’s ruling…

“The government aligned themselves with Epstein, working against his victims, for 11 years,’’ Edwards said. “Yes, this is a huge victory, but to make his victims suffer for 11 years, this should not have happened. Instead of admitting what they did, and doing the right thing, they spent 11 years fighting these girls.’’

Marra, in a 33-page opinion, said prosecutors not only violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act by not informing the victims, they also misled the girls into believing that the FBI’s sex trafficking case against Epstein was still ongoing — when in fact, prosecutors had secretly closed it after sealing the plea bargain from the public record.


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