What The Fuck Happened Over The Weekend?


#162

After posting the article above which points out that we have not seen Matthew Whitaker’s financial disclosure forms, it occurred to me that we also don’t know the status of Whitaker’s security clearance – a search has turned up nothing.

In August, for strictly political reasons, Trump threatened to revoke the security clearance of his former Acting Attorney General, Sally Yates. Now I’m wondering if there may be genuine grounds for revoking the security clearance of his current Acting Attorney General.


#163

No surprise here, but now it’s officially part of the public record. Trump fired an Attorney General who would not/could not quash the Mueller investigation and replaced him with someone he’d seen on TV criticizing the investigation and now he’s going to go ahead and let that person shut it down. Obstruction of justice in plain site. The Republican controlled Senate and House could halt this maneuver in a heart beat, yet they sit on their hands. It will be up to the newly Democratic controlled house to move swiftly on Jan. 3 to protect Mueller.

In the mean time, I’m hoping that DOJ staffers close to Whitaker are reminding him that Attorney General John Mitchell went to prison for 19 months for conspiring to obstruct justice with President Nixon.


#164

Listen to #876: Patent Deception from Planet Money in Podcasts. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/planet-money/id290783428?mt=2&i=1000423880346

For more information on our Acting AG, listen to this podcast about a company offering patent research and registration services. He’s mentioned in the latter portion of the audio through his association with World Patent Marketing including a recorded advertisement he did for one of their clients. Jezzz and he’s our acting AG.


#165

Yes, I watched the 13 minute interview with Chris Wallace this morning on Fox News. See below in Rolling Stone article.

T keeps blurting out how there is no collusion, and there’s no need for this investigation, witch-hunt etc. And as you saw too, T allows that Whitaker could well do what he wanted to do, it’s his call, and none of T’s business. (perfect out…nominate your guy, then stay out of the way of what’s going to happen)

And yes, he’s doing the obstruction right there.

Note that he’s refused to answer any of Mueller’s questions on Obstruction, using instead executive privilege I suppose.

The content of Mueller’s questions was not immediately clear, but the administration has previously said Trump would not answer any questions relating to obstruction of justice. Trump also told reporters Saturday that a sit-down interview with investigators hadn’t been discussed.

https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-will-deliver-answers-to-mueller-questions-next-week-2018-11

All of it is infuriating.


#166

A couple of Democratic concession, in the face of recounts. Both voter suppression and rolls were suspiciously handled. #DemocracyTested


#167

Democratic Senate Judiciary members Blumenthal, Whitehouse and Hirono are filing a lawsuit to block the appointment of Acting AG Whitaker.


Who The Fuck Has Sued The Trump Administration
#168

Wait, the 2nd in command, under Sec Of Interior Ryan Zinke is worse?

The man behind the curtain’: Interior’s No. 2 helps drive Trump’s agenda

David Bernhardt, deputy secretary of the Department of Interior, had just left McDonald’s on his way to work last year when he started choking on his breakfast burrito.

Bernhardt’s relentless work ethic helps explain how he’s managed to advance Trump’s pro-industry agenda over the nation’s public lands. Having worked for years as a lobbyist representing many of the very businesses he now regulates, he walked into the No. 2 job at Interior with so many potential conflicts of interest he has to carry a small card listing them all.

This is the deep state,” said Jim Lyons, who served as deputy assistant secretary for land and minerals management under Barack Obama. “He is the guy behind the curtain who’s manipulating everything, which he can do with his wealth of knowledge and experience.”

In recent weeks his boss, Ryan Zinke, has come under increased scrutiny for a Montana land deal. If Trump reshuffles his Cabinet and Zinke steps down, it will likely be Bernhardt who steps up.


#169

A sweet Thanksgiving surprise! Looks like another domino is about to fall. Could Roger Stone be next?

Conservative writer and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi is in plea negotiations with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, according to Corsi and another person with knowledge of the talks.

The talks with Corsi — an associate of both President Trump and GOP operative Roger Stone — could bring Mueller’s team closer to determining whether Trump or his advisers were linked to WikiLeaks’ release of hacked Democratic emails in 2016, a key part of his long-running inquiry.


#170

More good news for the holiday!

A New York judge on Friday denied a request from President Donald Trump and his family members to dismiss a lawsuit against them and the Trump Foundation alleging that the charitable foundation violated state and federal laws for "more than a decade."

In her ruling, Justice Saliann Scarpulla of the New York state Supreme Court shot down an argument from the Trump family’s attorneys that the case should be dismissed because the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution suggests “a sitting president may not be sued.”…

Scarpulla noted that the defendants "have failed to cite a single case in which any court has dismissed a civil action against a sitting president on Supremacy Clause grounds, where, as here, the action is based on the president’s unofficial acts."

"I find that I have jurisdiction over Mr. Trump and deny Respondents’ motion to dismiss the petition against him on jurisdictional grounds," she wrote.


#171

Interpreting these developments is a little like reading tea leaves, but CNN seems to believe that the removal of Ecuador’s ambassador from its London embassy is paving the way for Assange’s extradition.

The Ecuadorian government has removed its ambassador to the UK, sparking speculation over Julian Assange’s future at the diplomatic mission there.

The 47-year-old founder of WikiLeaks moved into the Ecuadorian Embassy in central London in 2012 while wanted for questioning over sexual assault allegations in Sweden. Assange maintained his innocence and claimed the charges were nothing more than an attempt to extradite him to the United States.

Ambassador Carlos Abad Ortiz was forced to leave his post, according to an executive decree signed by Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno and published Wednesday. The envoy had been in charge of the diplomatic mission since 2015 and had been an influential figure regarding Assange’s future.

After the announcement, WikiLeaks said Thursday on Twitter, “All diplomats known to Assange have now been terminated to transferred away from the embassy.”

The WikiLeaks lawyer also insisted the situation inside the embassy has continued to sour. “There is a hostile relationship between Assange and the embassy staff in the last few weeks,” Poveda said…

the decision to oust Abad has fueled speculation that Ecuador is looking to push Assange out the door.

Fidel Narvaez, the former consul at the embassy, told CNN that Abad’s removal should be seen as a bad omen for the WikiLeaks founder and his asylum.


#172

:+1: :chains:


#173

US Customs and Border Protection closed road and pedestrian bridges on Sunday at the San Ysidro port of entry, one of the largest land border crossings between San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico.

Groups of Central American migrants have been converging on the Mexican border city for days in their quest to gain entry to the United States. Their presence has drawn Mexican troops, protesters and fiery rhetoric from President Donald Trump.


#174

This is trending on the ever-informative currentstatus.io :mag_right: but I’m posting it here, too, in case you missed it. This is a huge, huge deal. If corroborated, it is a true “smoking gun” for obstruction of justice by Trump.

Yesterday, we learned that Michael Cohen lied to Congress about when the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations ended. Cohen testified to Congress that the talks ended in January, 2016, before the Iowa caucuses, but he has now admitted they extended into June.

Did Cohen lie to Congress on his own or did he coordinate the lies with Trump? This breaking news today points to the latter – and, if substantiated, is a clear act of obstruction of justice by the President.

On some forums I’ve been following, Trump supporters are dismissing Cohen’s claims and any involvement by the President, calling it all lies, smoke, and mirrors. But here’s the thing – this will be relatively easy to clear up. Trump’s lawyers can simply be subpoenaed (along with their written records) and asked under oath if they helped coordinate Cohen’s lies to Congress along with Trump. Attorney-client privilege does not apply when a lawyer and client conspire together to commit a crime (in this case, obstruction of justice).

There is no way that Trump’s lawyers will commit perjury and risk going to prison to protect Trump – they just work for him, they are not his buddies and they owe him nothing. They will take a page from John Dean, Nixon’s White House Counsel, who committed obstruction of justice with him and flipped on him in a heart beat for a reduced sentence.

In fact, the Watergate parallels here are almost uncanny. Don McGahn is today’s John Dean. McGahn was Trump’s White House Counsel during the time Cohen testified before Congress so all eyes will now be on him. There’s a chance he won’t even need to be subpoenaed on this matter because he may have already flipped – he has had extensive discussions with Mueller’s team.

And here’s the strongest reason to believe that Trump really did obstruct justice along with Cohen: look at what happened to Manafort when he lied to Mueller – bang! – Mueller threw the book at him. Now consider what Cohen is doing. In his filing asking for leniency from the court, he is claiming that he coordinated with Trump and his lawyers to obstruct justice – there’s no way he would risk lying about this in a court filing, knowing that Mueller probably already gathered independent evidence on the matter – and having seen what happened to Manafort.

Side question: If McGahn did commit crimes with Trump, could that impact Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court? It was McGahn who personally recommended that Kavanaugh be nominated and he coordinated the White House campaign for the confirmation. On the surface, obstruction of justice in the Trump/Russia matter would not appear to be related to a Supreme Court nomination, but these days, with this Administration, anything seems possible.

President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen said Friday he was in “close and regular contact” with Trump’s White House staff and legal team when he prepared a statement for Congress that he now says falsely downplayed Trump’s effort to land a Trump Tower Moscow deal during the 2016 presidential campaign.

In a filing seeking a lenient sentence, Cohen’s attorneys say his false statement to Congress — which Cohen pleaded guilty to on Thursday — was based on Trump and his team’s efforts to “portray contact with Russian representatives” by Trump, his campaign or his company “as having effectively terminated before the Iowa caucuses of February 1, 2016.”

“Seeking to stay in line with this message, Michael told Congress that his communications and efforts to finalize a building project in Moscow on behalf of the Trump Organization, which he began pursuing in 2015, had come to an end in January 2016, when a general inquiry he made to the Kremlin went unanswered,” Cohen’s lawyers Guy Petrillo and Amy Lester write.

But “Michael had a lengthy substantive conversation with the personal assistant to a Kremlin official following his outreach in January 2016, engaged in additional communications concerning the project as late as June 2016, and kept [Trump] apprised of these communications,” they wrote. “He and [Trump] also discussed possible travel to Russia in the summer of 2016, and Michael took steps to clear dates for such travel.”

They also say Cohen kept Trump “apprised” of his contacts with Russia during the campaign.


#175

Let the countdown begin!

The Republican-controlled House is scheduled to meet for only 8 more days! Hallelujah! We’ll see how much more damage they can inflict in that time, but it certainly is sweet, on this quite Sunday, to contemplate the calendar below (House/Senate dates are in yellow, Senate only in blue):

:sunglasses:


#176

As a follow-on to the above post regarding the short time remaining for the Republican-controlled House, here’s another piece of legislation that they may have bungled by their procrastination.

Good grief – the Republicans have had two whole years during which they have controlled all three branches of government needed to pass laws. Yet here we are with only 8 days left of that monopoly on power and we find they have utterly failed to provide a permanent tax break to the middle class or to institute broad, desperately needed tax reform. They did, however, find plenty of time to reward their wealthy donors and the President himself with a windfall, permanent tax break.


#177

Broidy is back, baby!

A guilty plea entered by a defendant in a massive Malaysian embezzlement scandal has implicated Eliott Broidy in laundering millions of dollars into the U.S.

In case you’re not familiar with Broidy’s criminal “résumé,” here’s a summary:

2009, Dec. - Broidy pleads guilty to felony bribery of New York State officials, but somehow avoids jail time. Distributed $1 million in bribes to earn $250 million in business.

2016, May - Trump hires Broidy as fund raising vice chairman for his campaign. Evidently, Broidy’s criminal financial background qualified him for the position. :wink:

2016, Nov. - Broidy is appointed vice chairman of Trump’s Inaugural Committee. This is the organization that paid $26 million to Melania’s “party planner” friend – a full accounting of where all the money landed has never been released.

2017, April - The Republican National Committee appoints Broidy as national deputy finance chairman.

2018, March - Hacked emails expose that Broidy tried to earn $75 million for quashing the DOJ’s investigation into a massive Malaysian embezzlement scandal. This is the scandal that has brought Broidy back into the spotlight because one of his co-conspirators just revealed that Broidy accepted millions in laundered payments – see this weekend’s NYT article below.

2018, March - The Prosecutor General of Ukraine launches an investigation into Broidy’s links to a corrupt lobbying scheme. According to a leaked contract, Broidy would receive payments totaling $2.5 million laundered through a shell company in the British Virgin Islands associated with Russia’s VTB bank.

2018, April - The Wall Street Journal uncovers that Broidy paid Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, $1.6 million to hush up an extra-marital affair – a service Cohen had previously rendered for Trump. Broidy resigns from his finance post at the RNC.

2018, May - The Associated Press reveals that Broidy has met with Trump on multiple occasions, lobbying on behalf of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of UAE and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia (recently accused of ordering the kidnapping, torture, and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi). The UAE rewarded Broidy’s company with a $600 million intelligence contract. He received an initial payment of $36 million before the scheme fell apart when his partner, George Nader, was picked up by Mueller’s team for questioning. (BTW, Nader set up the Seychelles meeting between Erik Prince and Crown Prince Zayed that is in Mueller’s cross hairs.) Broidy and Nader were not registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

2018, July - The NYT reports that Broidy paid Rick Gates $125,000 for “advice” and “insight” into the Trump administration (aka “pay-to-play” :wink:).

And that brings us to this weekend:

2018, Dec. - The NYT reports that recently filed court documents appear to confirm that Broidy was partially paid for his part in a scheme to quash a DOJ investigation into a $700 million Malaysian embezzlement scandal (see 2018, March, above). The payments of $6 million were laundered to disguise that they were from one of the embezzlers.

Considering the many financial crimes to which Broidy has been linked, several of them involving money laundering, I’m thinking that Mueller must be closely scrutinizing Broidy’s roles as: 1) a fund raising vice chairman in Trump’s campaign, 2) a vice chairman of Trump’s Inaugural Committee, and 3) a deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee. Could Broidy have helped launder funds in or out of any of these committees? I hope we’ll find out. Go Mueller! :mag_right: :balance_scale: