Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by hushpuppy, Apr 12, 2011.
How are you Americans doing with your ass whipe of a President ?
We're fucked, how are you doing with your bff, Marty Rathbun?
He is Dandy I deduct being out of the loop being with his lovely wife and raising a young child
Trump just got a 7 year old girl killed and blamed it on her father
Orrin Hatch said he didn’t care if Trump broke the law.
Fast back pedal
Is he planning any more videos trashing and lying about Scientology critics?
You voted for Trump .
No I did not, neither did the majority of the US voters.
You didn't get on board with Pizzagate either did you?
Fucking liar that you are.
Pizzagate was a ridiculous conspiracy run by Pepe and Bannon.
And you fell for it and disseminated it among anons like it was the truth, which like Trump you have a very odd idea of what that actually means.
Nope.Didnt happen but nice try
“Trump makes first trip to Arlington National Cemetery since Veterans Day criticism”
It’s a photoOp with wreaths and stuff and Trump is holding an umbrella
As Trump argues for a wall, a border security measure gets pulled back | ABC News
U.S. Army soldiers have removed barbed wire along the US-Mexico border in areas where the Trump administration has said more border security measures are needed after local community leaders raised concerns.
About 2 miles of military-grade wire was removed from city land in Laredo, Texas, according to Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officials. The agency ordered the removals after hearing from local elected officials who raised environmental and public safety concerns with the wire running near community parks.
Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz, who leads the Texas Border Commission, said the Trump administration has, in part, used his community to fabricate the threat of migrants traveling north.
“They want to be overly protective,” Saenz told ABC News. “But at what cost? The cost to the local economy. The cost to our livelihoods here at the border area.”
Citing the “very real threat we face at the border,” the Trump administration recently extended the deployment of U.S. troops along the border through January.
“As the situation along the border continues to evolve, we will continue to assess our operational needs, including removal of the c-wire,” a CBP official said in a statement to ABC News.
Laredo routinely handles the bulk of trade across the US-Mexico border, which amounts to more than $200 billion each year.
Saenz emphasized the historic, cultural connection between Laredo and Nuevo Laredo, the Mexican town directly across the border line. He said the politicized decision-making has strained this relationship and threatens the local economy.
“By all means we want security, but it’s got to be done properly and weighed carefully,” the mayor said.
Razor wire has also been removed in Hidalgo, Texas, where the Rio Grande River valley acts as a natural impediment to crossing as it does throughout much of south Texas.
Even though some border communities like Hidalgo haven’t seen the direct impact from the military fortifications, City Councilman Rudy Franz says the extra measures are excessive.
“This is blown out of proportion,” Franz told ABC News. “I don’t think it’s necessary. I think it puts fear in people.”
Mounting legal threats surround Trump as nearly every organization he has led is under investigation
By David A. Fahrenthold, Matt Zapotosky and Seung Min Kim, The Washington Post
Two years after Donald Trump won the presidency, nearly every organization he has led in the past decade is under investigation.
Trump’s private company is contending with civil suits digging into its business with foreign governments and with looming state inquiries into its tax practices.
Trump’s 2016 campaign is under scrutiny by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, whose investigation into Russian interference has already led to guilty pleas by his campaign chairman and four advisers.
Trump’s inaugural committee has been probed by Mueller for illegal foreign donations, a topic that the incoming House Intelligence Committee chairman plans to further investigate next year.
Trump’s charity is locked in an ongoing suit with New York state, which has accused the foundation of “persistently illegal conduct.”
The mounting inquiries are building into a cascade of legal challenges that threaten to dominate Trump’s third year in the White House. In a few weeks, Democrats will take over in the House and pursue their own investigations into all of the above — and more.
The ultimate consequences for Trump are still unclear. Past Justice Department opinions have held that a sitting president may not be charged with a federal crime.
House Democrats may eventually seek to impeach Trump. But, for now, removing him from office appears unlikely: It would require the support of two-thirds of the Senate, which is controlled by Republicans.
However, there has been one immediate impact on a president accustomed to dictating the country’s news cycles but who now struggles to keep up with them: Trump has been forced to spend his political capital — and that of his party — on his defense.
Trump attorney Rudolph Giuliani did not respond to a request for comment. Neither did White House or Trump Organization officials.
As the bad news has rolled in, the president has cut back his public schedule. He spent more time than usual in his official residence this week, with more than two dozen hours of unstructured “executive time,” said a person familiar with his schedule.
“He’s just never been targeted by an investigation like this,” said Timothy L. O’Brien, a reporter who wrote a biography of Trump, adding that the longtime real estate mogul had contended with extensive litigation in his business career, but never legal threats of this scale. “The kind of legal scrutiny they’re getting right now — and the potential consequences of that scrutiny — are unlike anything Donald Trump or his children have ever faced.”
More at https://www.washingtonpost.com/poli...fb4482-ffbb-11e8-862a-b6a6f3ce8199_story.html
Go look at the thread here complaining that Pizzagate "news" was being suppressed on this site, and the general mocking of that person.
Papadopoulos is out of prison and will run for election. He “just has to find a little Republican enclave somewhere in this part of the country and run there”
He is moving to Orange County CA that used to be a Republican enclave but has turned Blue, and will probably stay that way. The only ethnic group that reliably voted Republican is the Vietnamese and since Trump is considering deporting Viet Nam refuges from before 1992..Republicans have a bit of trouble holding Orange County. So feel free George but rent don’t buy.
People on OpenCorporates have made lists of those for all the Trumps.
Trump’s History of Campaign Finance Wrongdoing Destroys His New Defense
Trump says today that he doesn’t know campaign finance law. But he became acquainted with it years ago as a donor — by breaking it.
By Dean Obeidalla, The Daily Beast
Donald Trump, the man who once bragged on national television in 2015 about his remarkable knowledge surrounding campaign donations, declaring, “I know more about contributions than anybody,” now has a brand new defense to his alleged federal election crimes: He suddenly claims to know nothing about how campaign donations work. The problem with this defense, though, is this thing called “Google,” which details Trump’s long history of being investigated and even fined for violating campaign laws.
We heard this new defense on Thursday in response to Trump’s long-time lawyer Michael Cohen telling prosecutors that Trump directed him to violate federal campaign laws. Trump stated via Twitter, “I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law. He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law. It is called ‘advice of counsel.’” (It’s like the end of an episode of Law & Order when both suspects claim the other is the real ring leader.)
This may come as a surprise to some, but “advice of counsel” is an actual legal defense that people have utilized effectively to shield themselves from criminal liability, although it’s a longshot. But If Trump were to have any chance with this defense in a courtroom, he must show that in good faith he relied on his lawyer’s advice and had no idea that the conduct may have been criminal.
The reality is that Trump can’t in good faith claim he was oblivious to the rigors of campaign finance laws because he was personally investigated from 2011 through 2013 for possible campaign violations by the Federal Election Commission (FEC.) Add to that, in 2000, Trump paid a then-record fine for violating New York lobbying laws for failing to report that he was the person secretly financing a campaign. These experiences would clearly seem to put Trump on notice that any effort to undermine transparency when it comes to campaigns is not only wrong but could result in civil or criminal penalties.
Let’s start in 2011, when Trump was “testing the waters” to possibly seek the 2012 GOP nomination for president. [PDF attached marked as 2011 FEC investigation] Cohen, yes that Michael Cohen, was then serving as executive vice president of the Trump Organization and special counsel to Trump when he co-created a website, “Should Trump Run.com” that “was initially used to poll readers to gauge their support of Trump as a presidential candidate.” In March 2011, Cohen even flew to Iowa to meet GOP officials and the media there about a possible Trump presidential run. After Cohen’s visit to Iowa, Trump publicly bragged, "My representative was swamped by supporters when he we went to Iowa.”
These actions prompted a complaint filed in 2011 with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) by a private citizen against not just the Trump Organization but also against Trump and Cohen individually for alleged violations of federal campaign laws. Specifically, the claim was that Trump accepted “excessive or impermissible contributions” from his corporation, the Trump Organization, in connection with the campaign website and Cohen’s trip to Iowa.
This triggered a formal investigation by the FEC resulting in a 20-page investigatory memo. This initial FEC investigation, dated January 25, 2013, found “reason to believe…that Donald J. Trump violated 11 C.F.R. § 100.72(a)” (making and accepting disbursements with impermissible funds) and that Cohen and the Trump organization had also violated federal election laws.
However, on September 18, 2013, the FEC rendered an 11-page ruling in Trump’s favor, in essence on a technicality, that since Trump never declared himself in 2012 a formal candidate, the FEC’s rules didn’t apply. [PDF TRUMP FEC ruling attached] Interestingly, one of the two FEC commissioners who ruled in Trump’s favor at the time was Don McGahn, who until recently was Trump’s White House counsel.
And before that, there was the 2000 investigation of Trump by the New York State Lobbying Commission. This time Trump set out to torpedo the efforts of Native Americans to open casinos in New York State that would in his view hurt his casinos business in Atlantic City, New Jersey. To accomplish this scheme, Trump enlisted the help of his long-time buddy Roger Stone (yes, that Roger Stone), who created a shell company called, “The New York Institute for Law and Society.” Then Trump secretly funded this shell company with $150,000 to run ads that not only opposed the casinos, but also employed Trump’s trademark bigoty by claiming that Native Americans would literally bring drugs and crime (sound familiar?!). One Trump funded ad featured a picture of cocaine lines and drug needles and rattled off alleged abuses by the tribe seeking to build the casino, with the text, ''Are these the new neighbors we want?''
The New York Lobbying Commission investigation included a deposition of Stone who admitted under oath that everything he did with this campaign was approved by Trump. For example, a copy of the ad blaming the Native Americans for bringing drug dealing to New York, has writing on it that reads, “Roger, do it — Donald.” Stone also testified that the “only reason” the Institute existed was to hide the involvement of Trump from the public.
The Commission found that Trump and Stone had failed to disclose to the state lobbying commission that Trump had secretly financed newspaper advertisements. The commission could have recommended Trump for criminal prosecution. However, Trump, along with Stone, agreed to pay a then record fine assessed by the commission of $250,000 without admitting wrongdoing. After the deal was reached, Trump told the press, ''It's been settled. We're happy it all worked out nicely.''
Hmmm, does a shell company and secretly funneling money so the public doesn’t get the full picture of what Trump is up to in connection to a campaign sound familiar? It’s obviously the same tactics Trump employed when paying off Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels where he used two different shell companies created by Cohen to pay these women hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep them silent before the 2016 election.
Both the lobbying disclosure laws and the FEC laws have the same policy goal of ensuring transparency so that the public can have all relevant facts about the finances of a campaign for a candidate or for an issue. So any argument by Trump now that in good faith he didn’t have any idea that trying to hide payments made in connection with his campaign was wrong simply doesn’t fly — at least not for those who have any modicum of common sense.
“"I don’t know why this nation has a president like him. We all miss the United States that [we've] known for years and years," he continued. "The Leader in the world… a nation that cares and builds a better world. So I hope you get rid of Trump soon."
Russia used every major social media platform to help elect, support Trump, report says
The report, a draft of which was obtained by The Washington Post, is the first to study the millions of posts provided by major technology firms to the Senate Intelligence Committee
By Craig Timberg and Tony Romm, The Washington Post, December 16, 2018
A report prepared for the Senate that provides the most sweeping analysis yet of Russia’s disinformation campaign around the 2016 election found the operation used every major social media platform to deliver words, images and videos tailored to voters’ interests to help elect President Trump -- and worked even harder to support him while in office.
The report, a draft of which was obtained by The Washington Post, is the first to study the millions of posts provided by major technology firms to the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), its chairman, and Sen. Mark Warner (Va.), its ranking Democrat. The bipartisan panel hasn’t said if it endorses the findings. It plans to release it publicly along with another study later this week.
The research -- by Oxford University’s Computational Propaganda Project and Graphika, a network analysis firm -- offers new details on how Russians working at the Internet Research Agency, which U.S. officials have charged with criminal offenses for meddling in the 2016 campaign, sliced Americans into key interest groups for targeted messaging. These efforts shifted over time, peaking at key political moments, such as presidential debates or party conventions, the report found.
The data sets used by the researchers were provided by Facebook, Twitter and Google and covered several years up to mid-2017, when the social media companies cracked down on the known Russian accounts. The report, which also analyzed data separately provided to House intelligence committee members, contains no information on more recent political moments, such as November’s midterm elections.
“What is clear is that all of the messaging clearly sought to benefit the Republican Party -- and specifically Donald Trump,” the report says. “Trump is mentioned most in campaigns targeting conservatives and right-wing voters, where the messaging encouraged these groups to support his campaign. The main groups that could challenge Trump were then provided messaging that sought to confuse, distract and ultimately discourage members from voting.”
Representatives for Burr and Warner declined to comment.
The new report offers the latest evidence that Russian agents sought to help Trump win the White House. Democrats and Republicans on the panel previously studied the U.S. intelligence community’s 2017 finding that Moscow aimed to assist Trump, and in July, they said investigators had come to the correct conclusion. Despite their work, some Republicans on Capitol Hill continue to doubt the nature of Russia’s meddling in the last presidential election.
The Russians aimed particular energy at activating conservatives on issues such as gun rights and immigration, while sapping the political clout of left-leaning African American voters by undermining their faith in elections and spreading misleading information about how to vote. Many other groups — Latinos, Muslims, Christians, gay men and women, liberals, Southerners, veterans — got at least some attention from Russians operating thousands of social media accounts.
The report also offered some of the first detailed analyses of the role played by YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, and Instagram, owned by Facebook, in the Russian campaign, as well as anecdotes about how Russians used other social media platforms — Google+, Tumblr and Pinterest — that have received relatively little scrutiny. The Russian effort also used email accounts from Yahoo, Microsoft’s Hotmail service and Google’s Gmail.
The authors, while reliant on data provided by technology companies, also highlighted the companies' “belated and uncoordinated response” to the disinformation campaign and, once it was discovered, criticized the companies for not sharing more with investigators. The authors urged that in the future they provide data in “meaningful and constructive” ways.
Facebook, for example, provided the Senate with copies of posts from 81 Facebook pages and information on 76 accounts used to purchase ads, but it did not share posts from other user accounts run by the IRA, the report says. Twitter, meanwhile, has made it challenging for outside researchers to collect and analyze data on its platform through its public feed, the researchers said.
Google submitted information in an especially difficult way for the researchers to handle, providing content such as YouTube videos but not the related data that would have allowed a full analysis. The YouTube information was so hard for the researchers to study, they wrote, that they instead tracked the links to its videos from other sites in hopes of better understanding YouTube’s role in the Russian effort.
Facebook and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In a statement, Twitter stressed it had made “significant strides” since the 2016 election to harden its digital defenses, including the release of a repository of the tweets that Russian agents previously sent so that for researchers can review them. “Our singular focus is to improve the health of the public conversation on our platform, and protecting the integrity of elections is an important aspect of that mission," the company added.
Facebook, Google and Twitter first disclosed last year that they had identified Russian meddling on their sites. Critics previously said it took too long to come to an understanding of the disinformation campaign, and that Russian strategies have likely shifted since then. The companies have awakened to the threat — Facebook, in particular, created a “war room” this fall to combat interference around elections — but none has revealed interference around the midterm elections last month on the scale of what happened in 2016.
The report expressed concern about the overall threat social media poses to political discourse within nations and among them, warning that companies once viewed as tools for liberation in the Arab world and elsewhere are now threats to democracy.
“Social media have gone from being the natural infrastructure for sharing collective grievances and coordinating civic engagement to being a computational tool for social control, manipulated by canny political consultants and available to politicians in democracies and dictatorships alike,” the report said.
Researchers also noted that the data includes evidence of sloppiness by the Russians that could have led to earlier detection, including the use of Russia’s currency, the ruble, to buy ads and Russian phone numbers for contact information. The operatives also left behind technical signatures in computerized logs, such as Internet addresses in St. Petersburg, where the IRA was based.
Many of the findings track, in general terms, work by other researchers and testimony previously provided by the companies to lawmakers investigating the Russian effort. But the fuller data available to the researchers offered new insights on many aspects of the Russian campaign.
The report traces the origins of Russian online influence operations to Russian domestic politics in 2009 and says that ambitions shifted to include U.S. politics as early as 2013 on Twitter. Of the tweets the company provided to the Senate, 57 percent are in Russian, 36 percent in English and smaller amounts in other languages.
The efforts to manipulate Americans grew sharply in 2014 and every year after, as teams of operatives spread their work across more platforms and accounts to target larger swaths of U.S. voters by geography, political interests, race, religion and other factors. The Russians started with accounts on Twitter, then added YouTube and Instagram before bringing Facebook into the mix, the report said.
Facebook was particularly effective at targeting conservatives and African Americans, the report found. More than 99 percent of all engagement — meaning likes, shares and other reactions — came from 20 Facebook pages controlled by the IRA, including “Being Patriotic,” “Heart of Texas,” “Blacktivist” and “Army of Jesus.”
Together, the 20 most popular pages generated 39 million likes, 31 million shares, 5.4 million reactions and 3.4 million comments. Company officials told Congress that the Russian campaign reached 126 million people on Facebook and 20 million more on Instagram.
The Russians operated 133 accounts on Instagram, a photo-sharing subsidiary of Facebook, that focused mainly on race, ethnicity or other forms of personal identity. The most successful Instagram posts targeted African American cultural issues and black pride and were not explicitly political.
While the overall intensity of posting across platforms grew year by year — with a particular spike during the six months after Election Day 2016 — this growth was particularly pronounced on Instagram, which went from roughly 2,600 posts a month in 2016 to nearly 6,000 in 2017, when the accounts were shut down. Across all three years covered by the report, Russian Instagram posts generated 185 million likes and 4 million user comments.
Even though the researchers struggled to interpret the YouTube data submitted by Google, they were able to track the links from other sites to YouTube, offering a “proxy” for understanding the role play by the video platform.
“The proxy is imperfect,” the researchers wrote, “but the IRA’s heavy use of links to YouTube videos leaves little doubt of the IRA’s interest in leveraging Google’s video platform to target and manipulate US audiences.”
The use of YouTube, like the other platforms, appears to have grown after Trump’s election. Twitter links to YouTube videos grew by 84 percent in the six months after the election, the data showed.
The Russians shrewdly worked across platforms as they refined their tactics aimed at particular groups, posting links across accounts and sites to bolster the influence operation’s success on each, the report shows.
“Black Matters US” had accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, Tumblr and PayPal, according to the researchers. By linking posts across these platforms, the Russian operatives were able to solicit donations, organize real-world protests and rallies, and direct online traffic to a website that the Russians controlled.
The researchers found that when Facebook shut down the page in August 2016, a new one called “BM” soon appeared with more cultural and fewer political posts. It tracked closely to the content on the @blackmatterus Instagram account.
The report found operatives also began buying Google ads to promote the “BlackMatters US” website with provocative messages such as, “Cops kill black kids. Are you sure that your son won’t be the next?” The related Twitter account, meanwhile, complained about the suspension of the Facebook page, accusing the tech company of “supporting white supremacy.”
Mueller Exposes Putin's Hold Over Trump
By Steve Denning, Forbes. December 16, 2018
Just over a week ago, on Friday December 7, the Special Counsel’s Office headed by Robert Mueller for the first time outlined in a court filing the grand narrative of the Russia Probe. The court filing revealed what many had long suspected, that Trump and his family had used, or tried to use, his presidential candidacy, and then his presidency, to enhance their own wealth.
We also learned finally what hold Russian President Vladimir Putin has over Trump. It’s not as some suspected, a money laundering episode from more than a decade ago. It was something that happened in real time during the presidential election itself. Thus, Trump himself repeatedly stated since entering the presidential race in June 2015 that he had no business in Russia and no interactions with representatives of Russia. It now turns out that Putin knew what the American people didn’t, namely that Donald Trump was throughout the 2016 presidential primary campaign secretly negotiating to build a huge and lucrative hotel in Moscow, which required the personal support of Vladimir Putin. The fact that Putin knew about Trump’s secret dealings, while the American people didn’t, meant that if Trump didn’t do what Russia wanted, Russia could expose Trump’s lies and so bring him down.
The filing revealed that Mueller’s Office is now investigating the hypothesis that Donald Trump, his campaign, his organization and his associates participated in a massive election fraud, through five interlocking conspiracies—arguably the worst set of crimes against the United States in its history.
For some time, it’s been obvious that Donald Trump has been acting in a weird way towards America’s adversary, Russia. Until recently, the miscellaneous bits and pieces of the Trump-Russia jigsaw puzzle didn’t fit together in any coherent way.
Mueller’s Grand Narrative Outlined
Mueller’s probe initially focused on the Russian dimension of the case. The “core crime” is that the Russian Federation and its associates illegally conspired to intervene in the 2016 presidential election in favor of Donald Trump. In February and July 2018, Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted the Russian entities GRU and IRA, along with 13 Russian nationals and 12 Russian intelligence officers, for these crimes (which we might call collectively “the Russia Intervention”). The indictments describe the illegal interventions in minute detail.
Now the Special Counsel has turned to the American dimension of the elections. The Special Counsel now appears to be exploring five interlocking criminal conspiracies, building on the core crime of the Russian Intervention. Thus on December 7, the Special Counsel’s Office filed a court document that gave us important new clues as to the main hypotheses being explored.
Conspiring with Russia: Donald Trump, his campaign, his organization and his associates knew of the intent of the Russian Federation to carry out the Russian Intervention as early as November 2015. Upon learning of that intent, instead of alerting the FBI to the likelihood of a foreign government trying to commit a crime, Donald Trump, his campaign, his organization and his associates illegally conspired throughout the 2016 presidential election to encourage and enable the Russia Intervention. The result was to defraud the American people of a free and fair election.
The Moscow Trump Tower Project: Donald Trump, his campaign, his organization and his associates illegally conspired to expand its involvement with Russia beyond the Russian Intervention itself, through efforts from November 2015 at least until June 2016, to negotiate and build the Moscow Trump Tower Project. The Project, if realized, would bring “hundreds of millions of dollars from Russian sources in licensing fees and other revenues” to Donald Trump, his organization and some of his associates.
Currying Favor with Russia: The Moscow Project “was a lucrative business opportunity,” the Special Counsel notes, “that sought, and likely required, the assistance of the Russian government.” Accordingly, Donald Trump, his campaign, his organization and his associates illegally conspired to curry favor with the Russian Federation in order to facilitate the Moscow Trump Tower Project and to promote their own financial interests, thus depriving the American people both of a free and fair election and of an independent government solely devoted to their interests.
Hiding the conspiracies: Donald Trump, his campaign, his organization and his associates illegally conspired to hide (1), (2) and (3) from the American people and to lie about them to Congress. According to the court filing, this was done “in order to (1) minimize links between the Moscow Project and [Donald Trump] and (2) give the false impression that the Moscow Project had ended before the Iowa caucus and the first presidential primaries, in hopes of limiting the ongoing Russia investigations being conducted by Congress and the [Special Counsel’s Office].”
Enabling hard kompromat: Through Donald Trump’s lies to the American people, of which the Russian Federation was aware, Donald Trump made the U.S. Presidency a potential victim of blackmail (aka kompromat) at the hands of the Russian Federation and in so doing illegally compromised the legitimate interests of the American people.
Continued at https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2018/12/16/mueller-exposes-putins-hold-over-trump/
A Complete Guide to All 17 (Known) Trump and Russia Investigations | WIRED
The signs are mounting: Trump has been badly weakened. It will get worse for him. | The Washington Post
Witches to Trump: Stop Calling the Mueller Investigation a ‘Witch Hunt’ | The Daily Beast
Prosecutors charge 2 involved in Flynn’s Turkish lobbying | The Associated Press
Two men involved in a Turkish lobbying campaign led by former National Security adviser Michael Flynn have been charged with illegally lobbying in a case related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
The case unsealed Monday against Flynn’s former business partner, Bijan Kian, and Turkish businessman, Ekim Alptekin, accuses the two men of conspiring to “covertly and unlawfully” influence U.S. politicians on behalf of Turkey.
The new charges appear to shed light on the cooperation of Flynn, who last year admitted to lying about several aspects of the lobbying work. In recommending he serve no prison time, prosecutors said Flynn not only helped with the Russia probe but also an undisclosed — and separate — criminal investigation. Documents filed alongside that recommendation spend several paragraphs laying out the details of Flynn’s Turkish lobbying.
Kian, whose full name is Bijan Rafiekian, was arrested and made an initial appearance Monday in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. He is indicted on charges including failing to register as a foreign agent. Alptekin, a dual Turkish-Dutch citizen living in Istanbul whose full name is Kamil Ekim Alpetekin, remains at large.
According to the indictment, Kian was vice chairman of Flynn’s business group, the Flynn Intel Group. The two worked throughout 2016 to seek ways to have cleric Fethullah Gulen extradited from the U.S. to Turkey.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Gulen of directing a failed coup. Flynn is referred to in the indictment only as “Person A.”
Continued at https://www.washingtonpost.com/loca...5945ce-0212-11e9-958c-0a601226ff6b_story.html
James Comey unleashes on GOP over Trump | CNN
"Former FBI Director James Comey slams Republicans and President Trump in comments to reporters on Capitol Hill."
Comey lambastes GOP over Trump’s continued attacks on FBI: ‘Stand up and speak the truth’
By Karoun Demirjian, The Washington Post, December 17, 2018
Former FBI director James B. Comey on Monday accused President Trump of trying “to burn down the entire FBI” and charged that congressional Republicans were willing accomplices for failing to challenge him.
“The FBI’s reputation has taken a big hit because the president with his acolytes has lied about it constantly,” Comey told reporters, following his second closed-door interview this month with House lawmakers running a politically divisive investigation into how federal law enforcement officials handled probes of the Trump campaign’s alleged Russia ties and Hillary Clinton’s emails.
But Comey directed his vitriol not just at the GOP members of the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees, but at all Republicans — including retiring GOP lawmakers, such as Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who have openly criticized Trump but aren’t seeking reelection.
“At some point someone as to stand up and face the fear of Fox News, fear of their base, fear of mean tweets, stand up for the values of this country and not slink away into retirement but stand up and speak the truth,” Comey said, without naming names.
Comey testified for nearly six hours Monday, in addition to the six-hour closed-door discussion he had with panel members earlier this month. During that session, he defended his decisions as FBI director — such as superseding then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch to declare the Clinton probe closed and then informing congressional leaders days before the 2016 election that it had been reopened.
Comey reiterated that defense even more strongly Monday, flatly refusing to take any personal responsibility for the reputation of the FBI having suffered under his stewardship. He instead blamed Trump for “lying about the FBI, attacking the FBI and attacking the rule of law in this country,” and the “silence from people in this building” — meaning Capitol Hill — for allowing him to do it.
“Republicans used to understand that the actions of a president matter, the words of a president matter, the rule of law matter and the truth matters,” he said. “Where are those Republicans today?”
Continued at https://www.washingtonpost.com/powe...cb6b34-0200-11e9-b5df-5d3874f1ac36_story.html
Trump Defender Alan Dershowitz Argues That Lying To The FBI Isn’t A Crime
When you quote an article, post a link to it!
This is a long interesting article with predictions for farmers for 2019. The soybean crop had been increasing yearly and now that market was lost to Brazil due to tariffs. The loss of market is so large that many acres will go “fallow” ie resting ie sitting there. There is a big increase in storage of the unsold crop. Some of this will be sold but cheap. Argentina want cheap beans and they got them from Nebraska.
Because there is less liquid cash farmers are selling and declaring bankruptcy. Or both.
Napolitano is no longer Trump’s pet
“Andrew Napolitano: Let’s Face It, There’s “Ample Evidence” To Indict Trump In The McDougal Payoff”
From November 22, 2016:
Trump agrees to shut down his charity amid allegations he used it for personal and political benefit
By David A. Fahrenthold, The Washington Post, December 18, 2018
President Trump has agreed to shut down his embattled personal charity amid allegations that he used it for his personal and political benefit and give away its remaining funds, the New York attorney general announced Tuesday.
New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced that the Donald J. Trump Foundation is dissolving as her office pursues its lawsuit against the charity, Trump and his three eldest children.
The attorney general’s suit, filed in June, alleged “persistently illegal conduct” at the charity and sought to have the foundation shut down. Underwood is continuing to seek more than $2.8 million in restitution and has asked a judge to ban the Trumps temporarily from serving on the boards of other New York nonprofits.
Underwood said Tuesday that her investigation found “a shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation — including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more.”
“This is an important victory for the rule of law, making clear that there is one set of rules for everyone,” she added in a statement.
The shuttering of Trump’s charity comes after The Washington Post documented a series of apparent lapses at the foundation. Trump used the charity’s funds pay off legal settlements for his private business, to purchase art that decorated one of his clubs and to make a prohibited political donation.
Trump denied that the organization had done anything wrong. In late 2016, he said he wanted to close the foundation, but the New York attorney general blocked that move while its investigation continued.
The settlement with Underwood’s office represents a concession by Trump to a state investigation he decried as a partisan attack. The case is one of numerous legal inquiries into Trump organizations that have proliferated during his White House tenure.
Alan Futerfas, an attorney for the Trump Organization, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In a court filing in New York, Underwood said that the foundation’s remaining $1.75 million would be distributed to other charities approved by her office and a state judge.
The attorney general’s suit alleges that Trump used the charity’s money as his own piggy bank — including using it to help his presidential campaign by paying for giveaways at Iowa rallies.
“The Foundation was little more than a checkbook for payments to not-for-profits from Mr. Trump or the Trump Organization,” Underwood wrote in the initial suit.
The Trump Foundation was never the most impressive part of Trump’s portfolio: At its peak in 2009, the charity had only about $3.2 million in the bank, a small sum for a billionaire’s charity.
The real estate mogul used other people’s donations to build up the assets of the foundation. In recent years, the largest gifts came from the pro-wrestling moguls Vince and Linda McMahon, not Trump himself.
Trump gave away the money in his name and also used funds from the foundationto pay his business’ legal settlements. Federal law prohibits using charity money for personal gain.
The Post’s reporting showed that, for years, Trump appeared to treat the foundation — which was, by law, an independent entity — as a checkbook for gifts that bolstered his interests.
The largest donation in the foundation’s history — a $264,231 gift to the Central Park Conservancy in 1989 — appeared to benefit Trump’s business: it paid to restore a fountain outside Trump’s Plaza Hotel. The smallest, a $7 foundation gift to the Boy Scouts that same year, appeared to benefit Trump’s family. It matched the amount required to enroll a boy in the Scouts the year that his son Donald Trump Jr. was 11.
Continued at https://www.washingtonpost.com/poli...3f5030-021b-11e9-9122-82e98f91ee6f_story.html
Michael Flynn sentencing postponed after judge issues blistering rebuke | CNN
Michael Flynn sentencing updates | CNN
Flynn sentencing: Trump backers had their anti-Mueller dreams dashed | The Washington Post
Trump’s power slips away, as Flynn faces possible jail time
By Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post, December 18, 2018
A trio of developments on Tuesday underscore that President Trump’s power, like sand through an hourglass, is steadily falling. All of the usual tricks (distraction, lying, photo ops) will not reverse the downward trend.
Perhaps the worst blow yet to Trump — and the aura of power that helps keep his cult-like following in a trance — occurred in a federal courtroom. In advance of his sentencing hearing, former national security adviser Michael Flynn suggested that U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan take into account the fact that he was not specifically told of the obligation to tell the truth. Flynn seemed to be hinting at the right-wing conspiracy-mongers who claim he was entrapped.
The judge was infuriated, noting that Flynn already pleaded guilty to deliberately giving false answers to the FBI agents investigating his contacts with Russia. The judge appeared ready to pull the plea, forcing Flynn to acknowledge in open court that he understood his obligation to tell the truth. The judge then let him have it, as The Post reports:
Flynn’s attorneys asked for the delay after U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan accused Flynn of acting as “an unregistered agent of a foreign country, while serving as the national security adviser to the president of the United States” — an allegation he later walked back. Sullivan granted the request and asked for a status report in 90 days, though he said he was “not making any promises” that he would view the matter differently in three months. ...Sullivan also asked a prosecutor with the special counsel’s office whether Flynn could be charged with “treason.” ...After reviewing some of the allegations against Flynn, including that he worked to advance the interests of the Turkish government in the United States, the judge pointed to an American flag behind him in the courtroom and said heatedly, “Arguably, that undermines everything this flag over here stands for. Arguably you sold your country out."Sullivan later corrected the record, acknowledging that Flynn’s consulting deal ended before he started work as national security adviser. Nevertheless, the judge postponed the sentencing for 90 days, leaving the distinct possibility that Flynn could face jail time. The shocking turn of events decimated the notion that Trump associates' crimes are small beans.
That wasn’t the only calamity of the day. Trump is in the process of folding on his border wall, for which he lacks political support. His press secretary declared, “At the end of the day we don’t want to shut down the government, we want to shut down the border.” Her boss had said otherwise. Sarah Sanders insisted the money could be found elsewhere. (“There are certainly a number of different funding sources that we’ve identified that we can use, that we can couple with money that would be given through congressional appropriations that would help us get to that $5 billion that the president needs in order to protect our border.”)
That’s a fairy tale aides or Congress might tell Trump, or he might tell himself. He cannot just do it. He needs Congress to authorize money that can be spent on his signature project. He cannot force them to do so. Likely House speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) called his bluff. He blinked. He will not get the one specific item he vowed to deliver for his rabid anti-immigrant base. This is what losing looks like.
There was also bad news for the Trump White House from the New York state attorney general. The Post, which broke the story of misused Trump Foundation money, reports:
President Trump has agreed to shut down his embattled personal charity and to give away its remaining money amid allegations that he used the foundation for his personal and political benefit, New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced Tuesday.Underwood said that the Donald J. Trump Foundation is dissolving as her office pursues its lawsuit against the charity, Trump and his three eldest children.The suit, filed in June, alleged “persistently illegal conduct” at the foundation and sought to have it shut down. Underwood is continuing to seek more than $2.8 million in restitution and has asked a judge to ban the Trumps temporarily from serving on the boards of other New York nonprofit organizations.Underwood said Tuesday that her investigation found “a shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation — including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more.”By agreeing to close the foundation, Trump seems to give credence to Underwood’s allegations.
Trump and his family are not out of legal hot water. If he commingled foundation and campaign funds, there may be other civil and criminal issues. (In combination with his hush-money payments, one does get the impression Trump was reckless, if not contemptuous, of campaign finance laws.)
Moreover, the attorney general is pursuing Trump and his children for repayment of $2.8 million.
The existence of an illegal slush fund would knock out most politicians. With Trump, it is one more instance of contempt for the rule of law and assertion of personal interests over public obligations.
In sum, today we saw just how little power Trump has over events. The prosecutors are closing in, his finances are being scrutinized, and he can’t even tell his base he delivered on the wall. Never has he looked so small and so weak.
Robert Mueller has Mike Pence nailed
By Bill Palmer, Palmer Report, December 18, 2018
The events of the past twenty-four hours have sealed it: Special Counsel Robert Mueller has Mike Pence nailed. We received a pretty strong hint two weeks ago when Mueller used his Michael Flynn sentencing memo to make a point of not redacting the fact that the Trump transition team was dirty. The head of the transition team? Mike Pence, of course. It sure sounded like Pence had a problem – we just didn’t know precisely what that problem was. But now it’s become much more clear.
Yesterday we saw the arrest of Michael Flynn’s business partner, Bijan Kian. The two of them took a half million dollar payment from a Turkish government representative in exchange for targeting a guy in Pennsylvania named Fethullah Gulen. It’s clear in hindsight that Flynn gave up Kian more than a year ago, when he first cut his cooperation deal. So why wait until now to finally bust this guy?
The only reason to wait this long to bust a low level guy like Bijan Kian is if you’re building a larger case against larger targets involved in that same crime, and you don’t want to give away your gameplan too early. So who would be the bigger targets here? It turns out Bijan Kian was a member of the – get this – Trump transition team.
That’s right. When Michael Flynn was in the midst of criminally conspiring with Turkey and Russia against the United States, Mike Pence hired Flynn for a key role in the Trump transition team. Then Pence hired Flynn’s shady business partner for the transition team. Then Pence hired Flynn’s idiot son. Then Pence was notified by Congress that Flynn was dirty on Turkey, and Pence nonetheless opted to keep Flynn, his son, and his partner on the team. Then after Flynn got caught conspiring with Russia, Pence lied to the American people about it. Pence also lied about having hired Flynn’s son.
Mike Pence was willing to risk his political future, his reputation, and even potentially his freedom, all so he could bend over backward to coddle Michael Flynn, and ultimately to cover up Flynn’s crimes against the United States. No one ever goes to that extent to cover for an underling unless they’re personally beholden to that underling, or they’re in on the underling’s crimes, or both. It gets worse.
It was long ago widely reported that Robert Mueller did an end-around to obtain copies of every email sent to or from every Trump transition team member. That’s in addition to the testimony and evidence that Michael Flynn provided a year ago. So Mueller already knows what really went down with the Trump transition team crime spree. He wouldn’t have waited all this time to make a move on a peon like Bijan Kian unless it was necessary in order to preserve the integrity of a related criminal case he was building against a bigger fish.
In the past few weeks Robert Mueller has finally sent Flynn off to sentencing, and finally arrested Kian. They’re both signs that Mueller is now just about ready to make his move against the big fish in the Flynn-Kian criminal conspiracy. On the Trump transition team, Mike Pence is the big fish.
The real reason Donald Trump is shutting down the Trump Foundation today
By Bill Palmer, Palmer Report, December 18, 2018
On a day that’s chock full of news about the Trump-Russia scandal, a different kind of Trump criminal scandal is also making unexpected headlines. Donald Trump announced today that he’s shutting down the Trump Foundation, the phony charity that he’s been using as a personal piggy bank. The question is, why now?
Normally, one would assume that Donald Trump is simply trying to fend off the long-running New York state investigation into the Trump Foundation. It’s true that, as a last act of desperation, criminals often try shutting down the entity in question, in the feeble hope investigators will no longer be able to figure out what they’re investigating, and will simply decide to move on. But this is a different scenario, because Trump has tried shutting down his foundation before.
Back in November of 2017, as the New York investigation was ramping up, the Trump Foundation announced that it was shutting down. The Attorney General of New York overruled this, and ordered that the foundation remain intact so that investigators could continue their work. In other words, the state didn’t want Trump destroying the evidence.
Today is a different story. The Trump Foundation has finally been given New York state’s blessing to dissolve itself. This means investigators have everything they need from it. Up to now, the state has only been proceeding against Donald Trump and his foundation via civil action. Today’s shutdown suggests we may finally see criminal charges against Trump and his family over the fraudulent manner in which they ran the foundation. Oh, and state-level charges can’t be pardoned by the president.
Judge suggests ex-Trump aide 'sold out' US
Not suggested just plain said it !
Trump had a round-table on school safety today. No help on guns.
Trump focuses on recinding Obama era discipline decisions.
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