High Crimes

The Pronk Pops Show 1136, Story 1: President Trump’s Search For New York Time Anonymous Opinion- Editorial Writer — Round Up The Usual Suspects — Political Elitist Establishment Trump Haters vs. American People and Trump — Resisters Resignations Required — Gutless Best People Elitists –Videos — Story 2: President Trump Says The Government Will Shut-down If There Is No Congressional Funding For The Wall — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Disagrees — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1136, September 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1135, September 5, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1134, September 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1133, August 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1132, August 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1131, August 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1130, August 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1129, August 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1128, August 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1127, August 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1126, August 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1125, August 15, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1124, August 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1123, August 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1122, August 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1121, August 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1120, August 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1119, August 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1118, August 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1117, July 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1116, July 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1115, July 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1114, July 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1113, July 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1112, July 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1111, July 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1110, July 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1109, July 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1108, July 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1107, July 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1106, July 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1105, July 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1104, July 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1103, July 5, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1102, JUly 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1101, July 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1100, June 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1099, June 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1098, June 25, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1097, June 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1096, June 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1095, June 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1094, June 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1093, June 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1092, June 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1091, June 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1090, June 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1089, June 7, 2018

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Story 1: President Trump’s Search For New York Time Anonymous Opinion- Editorial Writer — Round Up The Usual Suspects — Political Elitist Establishment Trump Haters vs. American People and Trump — Resister Resignations Required — Gutless Best People Elitists –Videos

Senior official’ pens anonymous op-ed blasting Trump

‘Many in Our Political Class Are Disloyal to Voters’: Tucker, Dobbs on Anonymous NYT Op-Ed

Growing number of senior Trump officials deny writing anonymous NYT op-ed

Conway reacts to anonymous ‘resistance’ NYT op-ed

Hannity: Anonymous op-ed writer needs to come forward

Schlapp: Op-ed writer obviously doesn’t know Trump well

Trump responds to ‘treason’ from within

Lawrence’s Guess: Who’s The Trump Official Behind The Anonymous Op-Ed? | The Last Word | MSNBC

Search continues to identity author of anonymous New York Times opinion

Trump calls author of NYT op-ed “gutless” after piece details resistance effort

Trump responds to NYT op-ed: ‘Gutless editorial’

Scathing: Senior Trump Admin. Official Reveals Secret Resistance | The Beat With Ari Melber | MSNBC

TREASON?’ President Donald Trump Blasts Anonymous New York Times Op-Ed | Hardball | MSNBC

Gorka on anonymous op-ed: They must be rooted out, fired

Sanders’ Finally Loses It, Calls For Resignation

Tucker Carlson vs. New York Times’ public editor

 

President Donald Trump Reacts To Anonymous New York Times Op-Ed | NBC News

Mitch McConnell on ‘resistance’ op-ed, Kavanaugh hearings

Brit Hume: Op-ed may be disloyal, but is in no way treason

Graham defends Trump: In my world, most don’t listen to the NYT

Senior administration official blasts Trump in op-ed

Trump’s own officials see him as ‘detrimental,’ explosive but anonymous essay claims

Anonymous Trump official claims to be part of ‘resistance’

 

Trump wants Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate writer of anonymous NYT op-ed

  • President Donald Trump wants Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate the identity of the author of an anonymous New York Times op-ed.
  • The op-ed, by a senior Trump administration official, described a secret effort to subvert the president’s agenda from inside the highest levels of his government.
  • Trump also said he was looking into potentially taking legal action against The New York Times.

Trump wants AG Jeff Sessions to investigate writer of anonymous NYT op-ed  

President Donald Trump on Friday said he wants Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate the identity of the author of an anonymous op-ed that was published in The New York Times on Wednesday.

Asked by a journalist whether Sessions should investigate the source of the critical column, Trump said, “I think so. Because I think it’s national security — I would say Jeff should be investigating who the author of that piece was because I really believe it’s national security.”

Trump was speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One en route to North Dakota for a campaign stop.

“We’re going to take a look at what he had, what he gave, what he’s talking about, also where he is right now,” Trump said of the unnamed individual, who has not been identified as either a man or a woman. If that person has a high-level security clearance, Trump said, “I don’t want him in meetings” on sensitive national security issues.

Reached for comment, a Justice Department spokesperson told CNBC that the department “does not confirm or deny the existence or nonexistence of investigations.”

President Donald Trump (L) and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Getty Images
President Donald Trump (L) and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Trump also said he was looking into potentially taking legal action against The New York Times, citing the vague national security concerns he mentioned beforehand.

The president said it was a “disgrace” for the newspaper to have published the op-ed from a senior administration official. “For somebody to do this is very low, and I think, journalistically and from many different standpoints, and maybe even from the standpoint of national security, we’ll find out about that,” he said. The New York Times’ stock dipped slightly following Trump’s comments, but quickly recovered.

In a statement Friday afternoon, the Times said it was, “confident the Department of Justice understands that the First Amendment protects all American citizens and that it would not participate in such a blatant abuse of government power.”

This is not the first time Trump has mentioned that he thinks there could be a national security angle attached to the publication of the op-ed, which described a secret effort underway inside the administration to “frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Does the so-called “Senior Administration Official” really exist, or is it just the Failing New York Times with another phony source? If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!

Trump also marveled at the bipartisan nature of the criticism directed at the author of the op-ed in the past day. “So many people that never said a good thing about me are now saying that [resistance from inside the government] should never happen, [and] have actually got to my side,” he said.

Indeed, at precisely the same moment that Trump was talking to reporters on Air Force One, a few hundred miles east in Illinois, former President Barack Obama was speaking at a campaign event, where he agreed with the president. “That’s not how our democracy is supposed to work,” Obama said, with “people inside who secretly aren’t following the president’s orders. That is not a check.”

Obama continued: “These people aren’t elected. They’re not accountable. They’re not doing us a service by actively promoting 90 percent of the crazy stuff that’s coming out of this White House and saying, ‘Don’t worry, we’re preventing the other 10 percent.’ That’s not how things are supposed to work.”

On Wednesday, the highest branches of the U.S. government were rocked by the op-ed, which described what its author called “the work of the steady state,” as opposed to the “deep state.”

The op-ed also described “early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis,” the author wrote. “So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.”

In the 24 hours following the op-ed’s publication on Wednesday, more than 20 top Trump administration officials, including nearly every member of the president’s Cabinet, issued formal statements denying authorship of the column.

— CNBC’s Kevin Breuninger contributed to this story.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/09/07/trump-wants-jeff-sessions-to-investigate-writer-of-anonymous-nyt-op-ed.html

11 Warning Signs of Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic used to gain power. And it works too well.

Posted Jan 22, 2017

Stephanie A. Sarkis Ph.D.

Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality. It works much better than you may think. Anyone is susceptible to gaslighting, and it is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders. It is done slowly, so the victim doesn’t realize how much they’ve been brainwashed. For example, in the movie Gaslight (1944), a man manipulates his wife to the point where she thinks she is losing her mind.

People who gaslight typically use the following techniques:

1. They tell blatant lies.

You know it’s an outright lie. Yet they are telling you this lie with a straight face. Why are they so blatant? Because they’re setting up a precedent. Once they tell you a huge lie, you’re not sure if anything they say is true. Keeping you unsteady and off-kilter is the goal.

2. They deny they ever said something, even though you have proof. 

You know they said they would do something; you know you heard it. But they out and out deny it. It makes you start questioning your reality—maybe they never said that thing. And the more they do this, the more you question your reality and start accepting theirs.

3. They use what is near and dear to you as ammunition. 

They know how important your kids are to you, and they know how important your identity is to you. So those may be one of the first things they attack. If you have kids, they tell you that you should not have had those children. They will tell you’d be a worthy person if only you didn’t have a long list of negative traits. They attack the foundation of your being.

4. They wear you down over time.

This is one of the insidious things about gaslighting—it is done gradually, over time. A lie here, a lie there, a snide comment every so often…and then it starts ramping up. Even the brightest, most self-aware people can be sucked into gaslighting—it is that effective. It’s the “frog in the frying pan” analogy: The heat is turned up slowly, so the frog never realizes what’s happening to it.

5. Their actions do not match their words.

When dealing with a person or entity that gaslights, look at what they are doing rather than what they are sayingWhat they are saying means nothing; it is just talk. What they are doing is the issue.

6. They throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you. 

This person or entity that is cutting you down, telling you that you don’t have value, is now praising you for something you did. This adds an additional sense of uneasiness. You think, “Well maybe they aren’t so bad.” Yes, they are. This is a calculated attempt to keep you off-kilter—and again, to question your reality. Also look at what you were praised for; it is probably something that served the gaslighter.

Gaslighters know that people like having a sense of stability and normalcy. Their goal is to uproot this and make you constantly question everything. And humans’ natural tendency is to look to the person or entity that will help you feel more stable—and that happens to be the gaslighter.

8. They project.

They are a drug user or a cheater, yet they are constantly accusing you of that. This is done so often that you start trying to defend yourself, and are distracted from the gaslighter’s own behavior.

9. They try to align people against you.

Gaslighters are masters at manipulating and finding the people they know will stand by them no matter what—and they use these people against you. They will make comments such as, “This person knows that you’re not right,” or “This person knows you’re useless too.” Keep in mind it does not mean that these people actually said these things. A gaslighter is a constant liar. When the gaslighter uses this tactic it makes you feel like you don’t know who to trust or turn to—and that leads you right back to the gaslighter. And that’s exactly what they want: Isolation gives them more control.

10. They tell you or others that you are crazy.

This is one of the most effective tools of the gaslighter, because it’s dismissive. The gaslighter knows if they question your sanity, people will not believe you when you tell them the gaslighter is abusive or out-of-control. It’s a master technique.

11. They tell you everyone else is a liar.

By telling you that everyone else (your family, the media) is a liar, it again makes you question your reality. You’ve never known someone with the audacity to do this, so they must be telling the truth, right? No. It’s a manipulation technique. It makes people turn to the gaslighter for the “correct” information—which isn’t correct information at all.

The more you are aware of these techniques, the quicker you can identify them and avoid falling into the gaslighter’s trap.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201701/11-warning-signs-gaslighting

Are Gaslighters Aware of What They Do?

Do gaslighters know they’re manipulative, or do they do it without realizing it?

Posted Jan 30, 2017

Stephanie A. Sarkis Ph.D.

Since posting my article Gaslighting: Know It to Identify It and Protect YourselfI’ve received emails asking whether people who gaslight actually know that they are doing it. To review: Gaslighting is a pattern of manipulation tactics used by abusers, narcissists, dictators, and cult leaders to gain control over a person or people. The goal is to make the victim or victims question their own reality and depend on the gaslighter. So, do gaslighters know they’re doing it?

It depends on the gaslighter.

Some people or entities that gaslight do, in fact, realize they are doing it: It is a strategy they have studied—and their sources may surprise you. Cult leader Charles Manson read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (2010) to learn how to manipulate his followers (Guinn, 2014). Guinn writes that Manson particularly focused on Chapter 7, which included this advice: “Let the other fellow feel that the idea is his.” And herein lies one difference between people who pathologically gaslight and the general population—the vast majority of the thousands who have read Carnegie’s book have not led lives of violence, abuse, and destruction.

One way to protect yourself from being gaslighted, therefore, is to educate yourself about gaslighters’ behaviors. The book 48 Laws of Power (Greene, 2000) details the characteristics and tactics some historical figures have practiced, including steps they have taken to manipulate others. And Robert Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (2006) explains through research how easily people can be manipulated.

Some gaslighters may have learned it from others—in many cases, their own parents. If a parent lives with addiction or other mental health issues, gaslighting may be used to manipulate a child into keeping quiet about abuse and/or addiction. Gaslighting may be used by a parent in order to alienate the child from the other parent. For example, in parental alienation, one parent may depict the other as a “deadbeat” and tell a child about the other parent’s “transgressions” in order for the child to align with the “reporting” parent and see him or her as the hero. But in order to look like the hero, the gaslighter must create a distinct enemy. This doesn’t mean that people who are children of gaslighters will adopt gaslighting behavior—for many, in fact, such an upbringing teaches them exactly what not to do when raising their own children.

In the case of a person who has a personality disorder such as antisocial personality disorder, they are born with an insatiable need to control others and a deep-seated anxiety.

Others gaslight in order to feel some sense of control in their own lives by making others depend on them. Gaslighting can also be part of an authoritarian personality. A person with an authoritarian personality tends to think in absolutes: Things are 100 percent right or 100 percent wrong. When a gaslighter thinks that they are not the problem and everyone else is, this is called having an ego-syntonic personality. It can be very difficult to get ego-syntonic gaslighters into treatment; they believe nothing is wrong with them. A gaslighting spouse or partner may either refuse to go to therapy, or if they do attend with you, they may tell the therapist that you are the problem. If the therapist recommends that the gaslighter changes a behavior, the gaslighter will label the therapist as incompetent. Even in therapy, a gaslighter may not truly be aware of, or may refuse to acknowledge that their behavior is the problem.

If a gaslighter is not aware of their manipulative behavior, that does not make it acceptable—it is still pathological, and it is still their responsibility. For gaslighters who have read up on this behavior or were taught it, of course, the same rule applies.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201701/are-gaslighters-aware-what-they-do

 

 

Relax, President Trump: New York Times Has History of Exaggerating Seniority of Anonymous Officials

Phelim McAleer
|
Posted: Sep 06, 2018 6:34 AM
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not represent the views of Townhall.com.

President Trump should probably call off the hunt for the “senior official in the…administration” who the New York Times is claiming wrote a damning op-ed for the newspaper.

Apparently the “senior official” claims to be part of a group of White House staff trying to thwart the president’s agenda from within. He also claims they seriously considered trying to depose the president using the 25th amendment of the Constitution.

Serious stuff. But President Trump should relax and remember it is the New York Times after all. The paper has a scandalous history of lying about the seniority of officials it quotes anonymously – especially when that source parrots their agenda.

A few years back they were caught red-handed deceiving their readers in such a way.

In a lengthy anti-fracking article they claimed that senior industry experts and insiders believed the industry to be little more than a “Ponzi scheme” … “set up for failure”.

They even had the emails from a series of senior insiders where these doubts were expressed.

According to the New York Times, one “energy analyst” wrote, “Am I just totally crazy, or does it seem like everyone and their mothers are endorsing shale gas without getting a really good understanding of the economics at the business level?”

Another “federal analyst” said in an industry email, “It seems that science is pointing in one direction and industry PR is pointing in another.”

Well unfortunately for the New York Times, the emails were from the Energy Information Agency – a government organization – so this meant Senate investigators were able to find the original emails and work out the identity of all these different senior experts.  It turns out the federal analyst, the energy analyst and the officer turned out to be the same person who was actually an intern when he wrote the first email and in an entry level position when he wrote the other comments. Yes, that’s right, the “Paper of Record” misrepresented an intern/junior employee as a senior official to push an agenda.

Was the New York Times embarrassed when their deception was uncovered? The Senate investigation did attract the attention of the New York Times Public Editor Arthur S Brisbane. “Can an intern be an “official”? It doesn’t sound right to me,”  he stated.

Well it sounded fine to the New York Times editorial board. They stood by their mislabelling of the intern/low level employees as a senior official. They later decided they didn’t want their stories to be second guessed in their own newspaper so they ended the role of public editor in the newspaper. And the reporter who misrepresented the intern, well, he was promoted. Ian Urbina is now a New York Times “investigative reporter based in Washington.” Maybe part of that investigation involved finding someone to write anti-Trump anonymous op/eds posing as a  “senior official in the Trump administration.” President Trump is probably wondering who the anonymous official is. Perhaps given the New York Times’s history of dissembling in this regard he should take his eyes off the cabinet table and wander down to whatever part of the White House holds the interns.

Phelim McAleer is a journalist and film maker. He  produced the movie Gosnell – The Trial of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer which opens nationwide on October 12th. www.GosnellMovie.com

https://townhall.com/columnists/phelimmcaleer/2018/09/06/relax-president-trump-new-york-times-has-history-of-exaggerating-seniority-of-anonymous-officials-n2516340

 

I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration

I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

The Times today is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers. We invite you to submit a question about the essay or our vetting process here.


President Trump is facing a test to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader.

It’s not just that the special counsel looms large. Or that the country is bitterly divided over Mr. Trump’s leadership. Or even that his party might well lose the House to an opposition hellbent on his downfall.

The dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

I would know. I am one of them.

To be clear, ours is not the popular “resistance” of the left. We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous.

But we believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.

That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.

The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.

Although he was elected as a Republican, the president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people. At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright.

In addition to his mass-marketing of the notion that the press is the “enemy of the people,” President Trump’s impulses are generally anti-trade and anti-democratic.

Don’t get me wrong. There are bright spots that the near-ceaseless negative coverage of the administration fails to capture: effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more.

But these successes have come despite — not because of — the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.

From the White House to executive branch departments and agencies, senior officials will privately admit their daily disbelief at the commander in chief’s comments and actions. Most are working to insulate their operations from his whims.

Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back.

“There is literally no telling whether he might change his mind from one minute to the next,” a top official complained to me recently, exasperated by an Oval Office meeting at which the president flip-flopped on a major policy decision he’d made only a week earlier.

The erratic behavior would be more concerning if it weren’t for unsung heroes in and around the White House. Some of his aides have been cast as villains by the media. But in private, they have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the West Wing, though they are clearly not always successful.

It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room. We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.

The result is a two-track presidency.

Take foreign policy: In public and in private, President Trump shows a preference for autocrats and dictators, such as President Vladimir Putin of Russia and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and displays little genuine appreciation for the ties that bind us to allied, like-minded nations.

Astute observers have noted, though, that the rest of the administration is operating on another track, one where countries like Russia are called out for meddling and punished accordingly, and where allies around the world are engaged as peers rather than ridiculed as rivals.

On Russia, for instance, the president was reluctant to expel so many of Mr. Putin’s spies as punishment for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. He complained for weeks about senior staff members letting him get boxed into further confrontation with Russia, and he expressed frustration that the United States continued to impose sanctions on the country for its malign behavior. But his national security team knew better — such actions had to be taken, to hold Moscow accountable.

This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state.

Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.

The bigger concern is not what Mr. Trump has done to the presidency but rather what we as a nation have allowed him to do to us. We have sunk low with him and allowed our discourse to be stripped of civility.

Senator John McCain put it best in his farewell letter. All Americans should heed his words and break free of the tribalism trap, with the high aim of uniting through our shared values and love of this great nation.

We may no longer have Senator McCain. But we will always have his example — a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue. Mr. Trump may fear such honorable men, but we should revere them.

There is a quiet resistance within the administration of people choosing to put country first. But the real difference will be made by everyday citizens rising above politics, reaching across the aisle and resolving to shed the labels in favor of a single one: Americans.

The writer is a senior official in the Trump administration.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/opinion/trump-white-house-anonymous-resistance.html

 

Trump blasts critical op-ed from anonymous senior official

President Donald Trump listens to Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a striking anonymous broadside, a senior Trump administration official wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times on Wednesday claiming to be part of a group of people “working diligently from within” to impede President Donald Trump’s “worst inclinations” and ill-conceived parts of his agenda.

Trump said it was a “gutless editorial” and “really a disgrace,” and his press secretary called on the official to resign.

Later, Trump tweeted: “TREASON?”

The writer, claiming to be part of the “resistance” to Trump but not from the left, said, “Many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.” The newspaper described the author of the column only as a senior official in the Trump administration.

“It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room,” the author continued. “We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.”

A defiant Trump, appearing at an unrelated event at the White House, lashed out at the Times for publishing the op-ed.

“They don’t like Donald Trump and I don’t like them,” he said of the newspaper. The op-ed pages of the newspaper are managed separately from its news department.

The essay immediately triggered a wild guessing game as to the author’s identity on social media, in newsrooms and inside the West Wing, where officials were blindsided by its publication.

And in a blistering statement, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders accused the author of choosing to “deceive” the president by remaining in the administration.

“He is not putting country first, but putting himself and his ego ahead of the will of the American people,” she said. “The coward should do the right thing and resign.”

Sanders also called on the Times to “issue an apology” for publishing the piece, calling it a “pathetic, reckless, and selfish op-ed.”

A “House of Cards”-style plot twist in an already over-the-top administration, Trump allies and political insiders scrambled late Wednesday to unmask the writer.

The text was pulled apart for clues: The writer is identified as an “administration official”; does that mean a person who works outside the White House? The references to Russia and the late Sen. John McCain — do they suggest someone working in national security? Does the writing style sound like someone who worked at a think tank? In a tweet, the Times used the pronoun “he” to refer to the writer; does that rule out all women?

The newspaper later said the tweet referring to “he” had been “drafted by someone who is not aware of the author’s identity, including the gender, so the use of ‘he’ was an error.”

Hotly debated on Twitter was the author’s use of the word “lodestar,” which pops up frequently in speeches by Vice President Mike Pence. Could the anonymous figure be someone in Pence’s orbit? Others argued that the word “lodestar” could have been included to throw people off.

Showing her trademark ability to attract attention, former administration official Omarosa Manigault Newman tweeted that clues about the writer’s identity were in her recently released tell-all book, offering a page number: 330. The reality star writes on that page: “many in this silent army are in his party, his administration, and even in his own family.”

The anonymous author wrote in the Times that where Trump has had successes, they have come “despite — not because of — the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.”

The assertions in the column were largely in line with complaints about Trump’s behavior that have repeatedly been raised by various administration officials, often speaking on condition of anonymity. And they were published a day after the release of details from an explosive new book by longtime journalist Bob Woodward that laid bare concerns among the highest echelon of Trump aides about the president’s judgment.

The writer of the Times op-ed said Trump aides are aware of the president’s faults and “many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations. I would know. I am one of them.”

The writer also alleged “there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment” because of the “instability” witnessed in the president. The 25th Amendment allows the vice president to take over if the commander in chief is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” It requires that the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet back relieving the president.

The writer added: “This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state.”

https://wtop.com/national/2018/09/anonymous-official-cites-trump-amorality-in-ny-times-op-ed/

Reveal yourselves, Trump administration resisters

By Scott Galupo

he self-styled Saviors of the Country need to step forward, identify themselves, and speak plainly, honestly, and loudly about the menace in the White House.

Instead, they continue to hide in the shadows, chirping from the darkness that they’ve got our backs.

As but the latest example: On Wednesday afternoon, The New York Timesmade the highly unorthodox decision of publishing an anonymous essay from “a senior official in the Trump administration,” titling the piece “I am part of the resistance inside the Trump administration.”

[Trump’s] erratic behavior would be more concerning if it weren’t for unsung heroes in and around the White House. Some of his aides have been cast as villains by the media. But in private, they have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the West Wing, though they are clearly not always successful.

It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room. We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t. [The New York Times]

Cold comfort indeed. This just isn’t good enough. Resister, reveal yourself.

This same dynamic is at play in the debate over veteran journalist Bob Woodward’s explosive forthcoming book Fear: Trump in the White House. In his surreal conversation with Woodward, the president asked the author if he was “naming names” or “just saying sources” or “people have said.” Woodward replied, “I say, at 2:00 on this day, the following happened, and everyone who’s there, including yourself, is quoted.”

Bob Woodward’s reporting — in terms of raw documentation if not interpretive sophistication — is about as unassailable a product as you’re likely to find in 21st-century media. There is no reason to doubt that current and former senior aides to President Trump have belittled the man’s intelligence, character, and fitness for office.

Additionally, it’s reasonable to believe that everyone quoted in Fear, along with this anonymous op-ed author, came forward with the expectation that their account would be accepted one day as the part of the settled historical record of the Trump presidency. These unidentified officials are speaking to the Bleachers of History, pleading for their good names and reputations, even as they presently assure the mad emperor that he is fully clothed.

Be it through anonymous op-eds, “deep background” interviews, or well-intentioned whispering in journalists’ ears, these resisters within the Trump administration seem intent on delivering a message to the public: Don’t worry. We won’t let President Trump ruin everything. And hopefully history will remember our quiet heroism.

But this isn’t heroism. It’s the sort of cowardly behavior that has produced a cottage industry of Washington sages who declare that it’s a “good thing” that Trump is surrounded by advisers who restrain “his most reckless impulses.”

The following scenario captured by Woodward gives the lie to this self-serving tripe:

[Trump lawyer John] Dowd then explained to [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller and [Mueller deputy attorney James] Quarles why he was trying to keep the president from testifying: “I’m not going to sit there and let him look like an idiot. And you publish that transcript, because everything leaks in Washington, and the guys overseas are going to say, ‘I told you he was an idiot. I told you he was a goddamn dumbbell. What are we dealing with this idiot for?'” [Fear, via The Washington Post]

As Vanity Fair‘s Tina Nguyen notes, “Dowd is practically pleading with Mueller to think of the greater good: If foreign leaders read Trump’s testimony, he suggests, it would be impossible for them not to conclude that he is unfit for office.” If we did not live in a democratic republic; if our constitutional system did not include safety valves for unfit executives; if, indeed, Trump were a Mad King, Dowd’s concerns would be understandable. But we do not. The only plausible explanation for concealing the truth about Trump from the public is that it would cause embarrassment to the president himself and the Republican Party.

America, full stop, would continue along just fine.

If America is indeed being led by a “goddamn dumbbell” who, left to his own devices, would start World War III, then we should hear about it — directly from the mouths of those who uttered the words and believe them to be true. At the very least, if they’re not going to resign on principle from this chaotic joke of an administration, men like John Kelly, James Mattis, and John Dowd should loudly acknowledge the truth that’s in front of everyone’s noses.

To do otherwise is not to “save” the country. It is to save the reputation of Donald J. Trump.

The country does not require the discretion of James Mattis or John Kelly in order to survive.

Trump does.

History will damn them for refusing to recognize the difference.

http://theweek.com/articles/765667/reveal-yourselves-trump-administration-resisters

 

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McConnell: No more government shutdowns

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Published on Oct 20, 2013

Mexico – Fear of Trump’s wall | DW Documentary

Is a wall along the US-Mexico border realistic?

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Why Walls Won’t Secure The U.S.–Mexico Border

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The No Man’s Land Beneath the Border Wall

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Published on Jan 28, 2017

U.S. citizens relocating to Mexico form unique expat community

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1133, August 29, 2018, Story 1: Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index Reaches New High of 133.4 in August — Highest Since October 2000 — Videos — Story 2: United States Real GDP Growth revised to Upward to 4.2% in second quarter of 2018 — Videos — Story 3: Red Wave, Blue Wave or Make No Waves — Solid Economic Growth and Trade Deals Mean Republican Wins or Red Wave —  Videos — Story 4: President Trump Warns of Violence If Republicans Lose In Mid-term Elections — Videos

Posted on August 31, 2018. Filed under: American History, Autos, Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Canada, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Congress, Corruption, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Eating, Economics, European Union, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Food, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Spending, Health, Health Care Insurance, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, History, Homicide, House of Representatives, Human Behavior, James Comey, Labor Economics, Lying, Media, Mexico, Monetary Policy, National Interest, National Security Agency, Networking, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Scandals, Senate, Tax Policy, Transportation, Unemployment, United States of America, Videos, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Story 1: Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index Reaches New High of 133.4 in August — Highest Since October 2000 — Videos

Consumer confidence index hits high since October 2000

U.S. Consumer Confidence Highest Since Before Dot-Com Crash

Pace of News Reports Picks Up on Tuesday

 

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index Increased in August

28 Aug. 2018

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® increased in August, following a modest increase in July. The Index now stands at 133.4 (1985=100), up from 127.9 in July. The Present Situation Index improved from 166.1 to 172.2, while the Expectations Index increased from 102.4 last month to 107.6 this month.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was August 17.

“Consumer confidence increased to its highest level since October 2000 (Index, 135.8), following a modest improvement in July,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions improved further. Expectations, which had declined in June and July, bounced back in August and continue to suggest solid economic growth for the remainder of 2018. Overall, these historically high confidence levels should continue to support healthy consumer spending in the near-term.”

Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions improved further in August. Those stating business conditions are “good” increased from 38.1 percent to 40.3 percent, while those saying business conditions are “bad” declined from 10.3 percent to 9.1 percent. Consumers’ appraisal of the labor market was also more favorable. Those claiming jobs are “plentiful” was virtually unchanged at 42.7 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” declined from 14.8 percent to 12.7 percent.

Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook bounced back in August. The percentage of consumers anticipating business conditions will improve over the next six months increased from 22.9 percent to 24.3 percent, but those expecting business conditions will worsen marginally rose, from 10.3 percent to 10.5 percent.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was mixed. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead decreased from 22.6 percent to 21.7 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs also decreased, from 15.2 percent to 14.1 percent. Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement rose from 20.4 percent to 25.5 percent, while the proportion expecting a decrease declined, from 9.4 percent to 7.0 percent.

Source: August 2018 Consumer Confidence Survey®

The Conference Board / Release #6031

The Conference Board publishes the Consumer Confidence Index® at 10 a.m. ET on the last Tuesday of every month. Subscription information and the technical notes to this series are available on The Conference Board website: https://www.conference-board.org/data/consumerdata.cfm.

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE BOARD

The Conference Board is a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world’s leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society. Winner of the Consensus Economics 2016 Forecast Accuracy Award (U.S.), The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States. www.conference-board.org

ABOUT NIELSEN

Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers watch and buy. Nielsen’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services for all devices on which content — video, audio and text — is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry’s only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen also provides its clients with analytics that help improve performance. Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries, covering more than 90 percent of the world’s population. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.

https://www.conference-board.org/data/consumerconfidence.cfm

 

US consumer confidence rises to 18-year high

Americans’ consumer confidence rose in August to the highest level in nearly 18 years as their assessment of current conditions improved further and their expectations about the future rebounded.

The Conference Board reported Tuesday that its consumer confidence index rose to 133.4 in August, up from a reading 127.9 in July. It was the highest reading since confidence stood at 135.8 in October 2000.

Consumers’ confidence in their ability to get a job and the overall economy are seen as important indicators of how freely they will spend, especially on big-ticket items such as cars, in coming months. Consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of economic activity.

FILE- In this July 3, 2018, file photo, a shopper carries bags in San Francisco. On Tuesday, Aug. 28, the Conference Board releases its August index on U.S. consumer confidence. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

“Expectations, which had declined in June and July, bounced back in August and continue to suggest solid economic growth for the remainder of 2018,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board. “These historically high confidence levels should continue to support health consumer spending in the near term.”

The overall economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, grew at a 4.1 percent rate in the April-June quarter, the best performance since 2014. That estimate will be revised Wednesday. Many economists believe growth has slowed a bit in the current quarter to around 3 percent but will remain far ahead of the weak 2.2 percent GDP growth rate in the first quarter.

“Confidence is soaring to new heights which makes us bullish on growth and forecasts that this expansion may indeed shatter records for longevity next summer,” said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank in New York.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-6106539/US-consumer-confidence-rises-18-year-high.html

 

Story 2: United States Real GDP Growth revised to Upward to 4.2% in second quarter of 2018 — Videos

GDP revised to 4.2% in second quarter

What Is The Real GDP Growth Rate?

 

Gross Domestic Product: Second Quarter 2018 (Second Estimate); Corporate Profits: Second Quarter 2018 (Preliminary Estimate)

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 4.2 percent in the second quarter of 2018 (table 1), according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP increased 2.2 percent.

The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the “advance” estimate issued last month. In the advance estimate, the increase in real GDP was 4.1 percent. With this second estimate for the second quarter, the general picture of economic growth remains the same; the revision primarily reflected upward revisions to nonresidential fixed investment and private inventory investment that were partly offset by a downward revision to personal consumption expenditures (PCE). Imports which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, were revised down. (see “Updates to GDP” on page 2).

Real gross domestic income (GDI) increased 1.8 percent in the second quarter, compared with an increase of 3.9 percent in the first quarter. The average of real GDP and real GDI, a supplemental measure of U.S. economic activity that equally weights GDP and GDI, increased 3.0 percent in the second quarter, compared with an increase of 3.1 percent in the first quarter (table 1).

The increase in real GDP in the second quarter reflected positive contributions from PCE, nonresidential fixed investment, exports, federal government spending, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by negative contributions from private inventory investment and residential fixed investment. Imports decreased (table 2).

The acceleration in real GDP growth in the second quarter reflected accelerations in PCE, exports, federal government spending, and state and local government spending, as well as a smaller decrease in residential fixed investment. These movements were partly offset by a downturn in private inventory investment and a deceleration in nonresidential fixed investment. Imports decreased after increasing in the first quarter.

Current‑dollar GDP increased 7.6 percent, or $370.9 billion, in the second quarter to a level of $20.41 trillion. In the first quarter, current-dollar GDP increased 4.3 percent, or $209.2 billion (table 1 and table 3).

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 2.3 percent in the second quarter, compared with an increase of 2.5 percent in the first quarter (table 4). The PCE price index increased 1.9 percent, compared with an increase of 2.5 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 2.0 percent, compared with an increase of 2.2 percent.

Updates to GDP

The percent change in real GDP was revised up 0.1 percentage point from the advance estimate, reflecting upward revisions to nonresidential fixed investment, private inventory investment, federal government spending, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by downward revisions to PCE, residential fixed investment, and exports. Imports were revised down. For more information, see the Technical Note. A detailed Key Source Data and Assumptions”  file is also posted for each release. For information on updates to GDP, see the “Additional Information” section that follows.

 

Advance Estimate

Second Estimate

 

(Percent change from preceding quarter)

Real GDP

4.1 4.2

Current-dollar GDP

7.4 7.6

Real GDI

1.8

Average of Real GDP and Real GDI

3.0

Gross domestic purchases price index

2.3 2.3

PCE price index

1.8 1.9

For the first quarter of 2018, revised tabulations from the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program were incorporated into the estimates; the percent change in real GDI was unrevised at 3.9 percent.

Corporate Profits (table 10)

Profits from current production (corporate profits with inventory valuation and capital consumption adjustments) increased $72.4 billion in the second quarter, compared with an increase of $26.7 billion in the first quarter.

Profits of domestic financial corporations increased $16.8 billion in the second quarter, in contrast to a decrease of $9.3 billion in the first quarter. Profits of domestic nonfinancial corporations increased $63.6 billion, compared with an increase of $32.3 billion. Rest-of-the-world profits decreased $8.0 billion, in contrast to an increase of $3.7 billion. In the second quarter, receipts decreased $6.0 billion, and payments increased $2.0 billion.

https://www.bea.gov/news/2018/gross-domestic-product-second-quarter-2018-second-estimate-corporate-profits-second

Story 3: Red Wave, Blue Wave or Make No Waves — Solid Economic Growth and Trade Deals Mean Republican Wins or Red Wave —  Videos –

See the source imageSee the source image

Trump: NAFTA deal ‘probably on track’

Tucker: The Democratic Party is blowing up

Steyn: Trump ‘annulment’ reflects left’s denial

BREAKING 🔴 President Trump Holds Press Conference & Announces New Grant – August 29, 2018

Shapiro: ‘Blue Wave’ Looks Like It’s Barely Going to Be a Ripple

Larry Kudlow: We are becoming growthier

Gingrich: Primaries have set stage for red wave in November

Canadian economy can’t survive well without a US deal: Wilbur Ross

Trump has once again stunned his detractors: Dobbs

Ingraham: Trump’s trade triumph

Trump predicts a ‘red wave’ ahead of midterm elections

Trump predicts ‘red wave’ in November

#LionelNation🇺🇸Immersive Live Stream: What Blue Wave?

Primary Midterm Election Results, Rush Limbaugh Reaction To ‘Blue Wave vs Red Wave’

 

Robert B. Reich: Can we get an annulment instead of an impeachment?

Robert B. Reich

The only way I can see the end of the Donald Trump presidency is if there’s overwhelming evidence he rigged the 2016 election — in which case impeachment isn’t an adequate remedy. His presidency should be annulled.

Let me explain.

Many people are convinced we’re already witnessing the beginning of the end of Mr. Trump. In their view, bombshell admissions from Trump insiders with immunity from prosecution, combined with whatever evidence special counsel Robert Mueller uncovers about Trump’s obstruction of justice and his aides’ collusion with the Russians, will all tip the scales. Democrats will take back the House and begin an impeachment, and the evidence of impeachable offenses will put enough pressure on Republican senators to send Mr. Trump packing.

I don’t believe this for a moment.

First, the Senate has never in history convicted a president of impeachment.

Second, even if Democrats flip the House in November, Republicans will almost certainly remain in control of the Senate — and so far they’ve displayed the integrity of lizards.

Third, Fox News and the rest of the right-wing sleaze media will continue to distort and cover up whatever the evidence shows — convincing 35 percent to 40 percent of Americans, along with most Republicans, that Mr. Trump is the innocent victim of a plot to remove him.

Finally, Mr. Trump himself will never voluntarily resign, as did Nixon. He’ll lie and claim a conspiracy to unseat him.

Mr. Trump has proven himself a superb conman, an entertainer-demagogue capable of sowing so much confusion and instigating so much hate and paranoia that he has already survived outrages that would have broken any garden-variety loathsome president — Helsinki, Charlottesville, children locked in cages at the border, firings and cover-ups, racist slurs, clear corruption.

In all likelihood, we’ll have him for another two and a half years.

Even if Mr. Trump loses in 2020, we’ll be fortunate if he concedes without being literally carried out of the Oval Office amid the stirrings of civil insurgency.

Oh, and let me remind you that even if he’s impeached, we’d still have his loathsome administration —

But lest you fall into a miasma of gloom, there’s another scenario — unlikely, but entirely possible.

Suppose, just suppose, Mr. Mueller finds overwhelming and indisputable evidence that Mr. Trump conspired with Russian President Vladimir Putin to rig the 2016 election, and the rigging determined the election’s outcome. In other words, Mr. Trump’s presidency is not authorized under the United States Constitution.

Suppose these findings are so compelling that even Mr. Trump loyalists desert him, the Republican Party decides it has had enough, and Fox News calls for his impeachment.

What then? Impeachment isn’t enough.

Impeachment would remedy Mr. Trump’s “high crimes and misdemeanors.” But impeachment would not remedy Mr. Trump’s unconstitutional presidency because it would leave in place his vice president, White House staff and Cabinet, as well as all the executive orders he issued and all the legislation he signed, and the official record of his presidency.

The only response to an unconstitutional presidency is to annul it. Annulment would repeal all of it — recognizing that such appointments, orders, rules and records were made without constitutional authority.

The Constitution does not specifically provide for the annulment of an unconstitutional presidency. But read as a whole, the Constitutionleads to the logical conclusion that annulment is the appropriate remedy for one.

After all, the Supreme Court declares legislation that doesn’t comport with the Constitution to be null and void, as if it had never been passed.

It would logically follow that the court could declare all legislation and executive actions of a presidency unauthorized by the Constitution to be null and void, as if Mr. Trump had never been elected. (Clearly, any Trump appointee to the court would have to recuse himself from any such decision.)

The Constitution also gives Congress and the states the power to amend the Constitution, thereby annulling or altering whatever provisions came before. Here, too, it would logically follow that Congress and the states could, through amendment, annul a presidency they determine to be unconstitutional.

After the Trump administration was annulled, the Speaker of the House (third in the order of presidential succession) would take over the presidency until a special election.

As I’ve said, I’m betting Mr. Trump remains president at least through 2020 — absent compelling and indisputable evidence he rigged the 2016 election.

But if such evidence comes forth, impeachment isn’t an adequate remedy, because even if Mr. Trump is removed, his presidency — all that he and his administration did when he occupied office — would be constitutionally illegitimate.

It should be annulled.

Robert Reich’s latest book is “The Common Good,” and his newest documentary is “Saving Capitalism.”

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-op-0829-reich-annulment-20180828-story.html

Story 4: President Trump Warns of Violence If Republicans Lose In Mid-term Elections — Videos

Trump warns of violence if GOP loses midterms

Trump Warns That a ‘Blue Wave’ Would Bring ‘Crime and Open Borders’

Trump’s midterm election impact

Trump warns evangelicals of ‘violence’ if GOP loses in the midterms

Election a ‘referendum on so much,’ he says

By JEFF ZELENY AND KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN

Oliver Contreras – Pool/Getty Images

(CNN) – US President Donald Trump, facing scrutiny for hush money payments to a porn star and a former Playboy model, pleaded with evangelical leaders for political help during closed-door remarks on Monday, warning of dire consequences to their congregations should Republicans lose in November’s midterm elections.

“This November 6 election is very much a referendum on not only me, it’s a referendum on your religion, it’s a referendum on free speech and the First Amendment. It’s a referendum on so much,” Trump told the assemblage of pastors and other Christian leaders gathered in the State Dining Room, according to a recording from people in the room.

“It’s not a question of like or dislike, it’s a question that they will overturn everything that we’ve done and they will do it quickly and violently. And violently. There is violence. When you look at Antifa — these are violent people,” Trump said, describing what would happen should his voters fail to cast ballots. “You have tremendous power. You were saying, in this room, you have people who preach to almost 200 million people. Depending on which Sunday we’re talking about.”

Antifa — a loose collection of anti-fascist groups who regularly stage counter-protests against white supremacists and neo-Nazis — have emerged as an effective bogeyman for segments of the US right.

In a video released last year by the National Rifle Association (NRA), the pro-gun group used footage from street protests and occasional Antifa violence to paint all on the US left as seeking to “bully and terrorize the law-abiding.”

Trump previously appeared to link Antifa to violence at a Charlottesville demonstration last year in which a white supremacist killed a left-wing counter protester and injured 19 others. The President later said there was “blame on both sides.”

‘Get people to support us’

Evangelicals have provided a solid block of support for Trump, even amid the scandals involving alleged sexual affairs.

After news of those purported encounters emerged, his standing among white evangelicals did not slip. But inviting the leaders to the White House only days after the President was newly implicated by his longtime personal lawyer’s guilty plea underscored the degree to which Trump is trying to keep his supporters on his side.

“You have to hopefully get out and get people to support us,” Trump said. “If you don’t, that will be the beginning of ending everything that you’ve gotten.”

Trump will need to maintain that support if he hopes to help Republicans stay in power on Capitol Hill or win re-election himself in 2020. On Monday, he touted the steps he’s taken to promote religious liberty, such as loosening restrictions on political speech from the pulpit, which previously could jeopardize religious institutions’ tax-exempt status.

The remarks from an attendee’s recording offered a more dire view of the upcoming vote than Trump has projected in public. He often trumpets an upcoming “red wave” of Republican victories, downplaying suggestions that Democrats are poised to exploit his divisiveness and retake the House or Senate.

Trump didn’t mention a “red wave” on Monday, instead acknowledging that midterms often present new presidents with a turnout challenge.

“The polls might be good, but a lot of them say they are going to vote in 2020, but they’re not going to vote if I’m not on a ballot,” he said. “I think we’re doing well, I think we’re popular, but there’s a real question as to whether people are going to vote if I’m not on the ballot. And I’m not on the ballot.”

That’s a problem Trump said the evangelical leaders could help solve by galvanizing their congregations and followers to vote.

“I just ask you to go out and make sure all of your people vote. Because if they don’t — it’s November 6 — if they don’t vote, we’re going to have a miserable two years and we’re going to have, frankly, a very hard period of time,” he said.

“You’re one election away from losing everything that you’ve gotten,” he added. “Little thing: Merry Christmas, right? You couldn’t say ‘Merry Christmas.’ ”

https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/politics/trump-warns-evangelicals-of-violence-if-gop-loses-in-the-midterms

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1129, August 21, 2018, Breaking News, Story 1: Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, Age 69, Found Guilty of 8 of 18 Counts and Faces 8-12 Years in Prison on Bank and Tax Fraud — Nothing To Do With Trump — Videos — Story 2: Former Trump Personal Attorney Michael Cohen Pleads Guilty to Eight Counts of Campaign Finance Violations, Bank and Tax Fraud — Videos — Story 3: Mueller Investigation Has Found No Evidence of Trump/Russian Collusion and Voters Were Changed By Russians in 2016 President Election — Videos — Story 4: President Trump’s Supporters in West Virginia Still Wild About President As Approval Rating Declines From 50% to 45% — Videos —

Posted on August 23, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Bank Fraud, Banking System, Benghazi, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Business, Cartoons, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, European History, Fast and Furious, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Communications Commission, Federal Government, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Genocide, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Media, Mental Illness, Military Spending, Monetary Policy, National Interest, National Security Agency, News, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Progressives, Public Corruption, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Resources, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Science, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Social Networking, Social Security, Spying, Spying on American People, Success, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Fraud, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Trump Surveillance/Spying, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weather, Welfare Spending | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Story 1: Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, Age 69, Found Guilty of 8 of 18 Counts and Faces 8-12 Years in Prison on Bank and Tax Fraud — Videos

Paul Manafort found guilty on eight counts

Paul Manafort Convicted: How the Trial Unfolded

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Manafort’s Choices: Work With Mueller, Wish for Trump Pardon, or Die in Prison

It’s not over for the president’s sleazy ex-campaign boss. He’s facing life in prison before his next trial even begins. The only way out is to side with the prosecution or POTUS.

Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for President Donald Trump, was convicted of eight counts of tax fraud and bank fraud by a federal jury in Virginia earlier Tuesday.

But it’s far from over for Manafort.

Unlike a typical defendant, Manafort still has several options available to him. His next move, and Trump’s response to it, could have explosive impact on the larger special counsel investigation and on the future of Trump’s presidency.

Next up for Manafort is sentencing. While all eight counts of conviction combined carry a maximum of 80 years in prison, he isn’t going to be locked up until 2098. Federal sentences are determined in part through a calculation based on the defendant’s prior criminal history (for Manafort, none) and the seriousness of the offense (for Manafort, very).

In determining the seriousness of the offense, Judge T.S. Ellis will consider the amount of the fraud, the sophistication of the scheme, and Manafort’s role as a leader. All things considered, Manafort likely faces a sentence of around eight to twelve years in prison. For a 69-year-old man, that could mean life behind bars.

And Manafort isn’t close to done. Mueller could choose to re-try Manafort on the ten counts on which the Virginia jury hung. That seems unlikely; Manafort’s sentence is hardly affected at all by the remaining hung counts, and Mueller’s team got all it needed from the eight counts of conviction.

Beyond that, Manafort goes on trial again next month in Washington, D.C. on an impressively well-rounded array of white-collar federal crimes. The indictment charges that Manafort worked as an unregistered foreign lobbyist in the United States, laundered millions of dollars through foreign bank accounts, lied to the Department of Justice, and—after he was charged with all of this—tried to tamper with witnesses, which got him thrown in jail pending trial in Virginia. Even if Manafort is acquitted in Washington, D.C. on all counts, it would have zero effect on the sentence he will receive on his conviction in Virginia. And if he gets convicted again in the second trial, his sentence could increase.

In short, Manafort now has been convicted in Virginia and he is looking at a scary-long sentence for a man of his age. The upcoming D.C. trial can only make that worse for him. So what options does he have left? And what are Trump’s potential responses to each course of action?

First, Manafort could just take his sentence and go to jail for the next decade or so. Sure, he will appeal (everybody does after trial), but the likelihood of the jury’s verdict being overturned is slim. Manafort also will ask the judge for a lenient sentence, but that request seems unlikely to succeed given the strength of the prosecution’s evidence and the extent of Manafort’s crimes.

Yet, it seems exceedingly unlikely that Manafort will simply take what’s coming to him. Nobody ever wants to be in prison, never mind potentially to die behind bars. Sometimes career criminals accept the possibility that their conduct will land them in prison for a long time. In the mafia, they’re called “stand-up guys,” and we’ve seen many defendants accept defeat and go off to serve their time. Manafort, sleazy as he might be, is not a hardened criminal, and doesn’t seem likely to grit his teeth and accept his fate in prison.

“Manafort, sleazy as he might be, is not a hardened criminal, and doesn’t seem likely to grit his teeth and accept his fate in prison.”

That leaves Manafort with two potential outs after his Virginia trial.

First, he can try to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller. It would be unusual but not entirely unheard of for a defendant to begin cooperating after trial. Defendants typically cooperate before trial because it is mutually advantageous for the prosecution and the defendant to get together as early as possible. Nonetheless, it is possible for a defendant to cooperate after a trial conviction but before sentencing. A sentence like the one Manafort now faces certainly can change a person’s perspective and willingness to flip. Of course, the prosecutor has to be interested as well. Mueller may decide to walk away, thinking: Manafort missed his chance to cooperate long ago, he challenged our case in court, we proved his guilt, and now he gets what’s coming to him.

Or Mueller could decide that Manafort might have information that is valuable enough to justify a post-trial deal. Manafort likely won’t get the same sentencing benefit he would have gotten if he had started cooperating before trial (as his former business partner and co-defendant Rick Gates did), but he still stands to do better than if he never cooperates at all. Manafort seems to be the rare defendant who could have information that is valuable enough to interest Mueller in post-trial cooperation.

We once tried and convicted a high-ranking member of the mafia on a murder charge, which resulted in a life sentence. We believed that that mobster had extraordinarily valuable information on other bosses and several unsolved murders. So we sent an FBI agent into prison to ask whether the gangster might consider cooperating. This defendant was an old-school, hardened guy, so he politely told the FBI agent he’d prefer to die in jail quietly rather than cooperate. The point is that, even though we had convicted this mobster at trial, we still wanted to cooperate him because we believed he had unique, dynamic information.

There is one question about the cooperation option for Manafort: why hasn’t he done it yet? Did Manafort think he could beat this case and the Washington D.C. case, or at least that he could roll the dice before going down the road of cooperation? Or does Manafort fear retaliation if he does cooperate from the Russian-backed oligarchs he once profited from? Cooperation is usually an all-or nothing proposition. A defendant can’t pick and choose which people he gives information about. So cooperation for Manafort likely would require him to divulge any incriminating information he knows about Putin-backed oligarchs, which may seem like a scary proposition.

Manafort’s second potential out would be a presidential pardon. This would, of course, be the optimal result for Manafort. His conviction and sentence, and any pending charges, would be wiped away. He would not go to prison; in fact, he would be released from his current incarceration, which he earned by trying to tamper with witnesses while on bail. Most importantly, a pardon would greatly reduce any incentive Manafort otherwise might have to cooperate with Mueller.

(A pardon may not completely eliminate that incentive because it remains an open question whether state charges could be brought against Manafort even after a presidential pardon; plus Manafort still faces the D.C. trial in September, which may or may not be precluded by a pardon).

While legal scholars have raised the important question of whether a pardon by Trump under these circumstances would be legitimate, there currently is no known legal mechanism to un-pardon somebody because, of course, courts have never been asked to rule on that question.

“Cooperation for Manafort likely would require him to divulge any incriminating information he knows about Putin-backed oligarchs, which may seem like a scary proposition.”

All of which raises a crucial question: would a Trump pardon of Manafort constitute obstruction of justice? Taken along with Trump’s other bursts of explicitly obstructive conduct—firing Comey and telling Lester Holt he did it because of Russia, asking Comey to go easy on Michael Flynn, trying to berate Jeff Sessions into resigning so a new Attorney General can step in and fire Rod Rosenstein and/or Mueller—it is eminently clear that Trump’s real goal in issuing a pardon would be to silence Manafort. To that end, Trump faces two competing concerns. He surely wants to prevent Manafort from cooperating with Mueller, but he also likely wants to use the pardon only as a last resort because of the legal and political risks.

To mitigate the legal risk, Trump already appears to be laying a foundation to justify a Manafort pardon as something other than an obstructive act.

When the federal judge in Washington, D.C. sent Manafort to prison pending trial in June, Trump tweeted: “Wow, what a tough sentence for Paul Manafort… Very unfair!” (Note: it wasn’t a sentence, it was a revocation of bail). In another tweet, Trump drew a bizarre comparison between Manafort and famed gangster Al Capone, seemingly to argue that Manafort has been treated unfairly. Most egregiously, just last week, Trump—while the Manafort jury was in the midst of deliberations—told reporters that Manafort is a “good person” and that his trial is “a very sad day for our country.”

If an attorney in the case had made the same public statements during jury deliberations, the judge likely would have imposed sanctions for breaching ethics rules prohibiting public statements outside the courtroom that might influence a jury. (In fact, Manafort’s attorney—opportunistically, and on the razor’s edge of his own misconduct—embraced the president’s remarks, smugly telling the media, “It’s great to have the support of the president of the United States”). What’s the point of these statements by Trump? They allow him at least to claim that he did not pardon Manafort to prevent cooperation or to obstruct justice, but rather to remedy a perceived injustice.

Trump may be sending signals to Manafort through these tweets, by “dangling” pardons through his then-lawyer, John Dowd, and by issuing a series of pardons in other high-profile cases to Scooter Libby, Joe Arpaio and others. By these actions, Trump seems to be saying, “Paul, I’m going to take care of you—but first you just need to keep your mouth shut and let things cool down a little, at least until after midterms.”

Of course, if such an agreement were spoken out loud—if Trump and Manafort agreed that Manafort would be rewarded with a pardon if he kept quiet—that almost certainly would be obstruction of justice. Even in the absence of an explicit agreement, a pardon taken together with other evidence already in the public record might prove Trump’s larger intent to obstruct the Russia investigation as a whole.

Trump, then, faces a difficult and crucial choice. He can grant a pardon to Manafort, which carries serious risks, both legally and politically. Or, if Trump doesn’t issue a pardon, Manafort might well flip, which could hand Mueller crucial new evidence of wrongdoing by the president and his closest advisors. The questions now are: Which way does the president go? Which way does Manafort go? And, importantly, who blinks first?

https://www.thedailybeast.com/manaforts-choices-work-with-mueller-wish-for-trump-pardon-or-die-in-prison

Paul Manafort

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Paul Manafort
Paul Manafort at 2016 RNC.jpg

Manafort speaks with media prior to the 2016 Republican National Convention.
Born Paul John Manafort Jr.
April 1, 1949 (age 69)
New Britain, Connecticut, U.S.
Education Georgetown University (BSJD)
Political party Republican
Criminal charge Five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failing to disclose a hidden foreign bank account
Criminal status Found guilty on 8 counts; awaiting sentence
Spouse(s)
Kathleen Bond (m. 1978)
Children 2

Paul John Manafort Jr. (born April 1, 1949) is an American lobbyistpolitical consultant, and lawyer. He joined Donald Trump‘s presidential campaign team in March 2016, and was campaign chairman from June to August 2016. In August 2018, Manafort was convicted of five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failure to report foreign bank accounts.[1][2]

He was an adviser to the U.S. presidential campaigns of Republicans Gerald FordRonald ReaganGeorge H. W. Bush, and Bob Dole. In 1980, Manafort co-founded the Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm Black, Manafort & Stone, along with principals Charles R. Black Jr., and Roger J. Stone,[3][4][5] joined by Peter G. Kelly in 1984.[6]

Manafort often lobbied on behalf of foreign leaders such as former President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, former dictator of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos, former dictator of Zaire Mobutu Sese Seko, and Angolanguerrilla leader Jonas Savimbi.[7][8][9] Lobbying to serve the interests of foreign governments requires registration with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA); however, as of June 2, 2017, Manafort had not registered.[10][11][12] On June 27, he retroactively registered as a foreign agent.[13]

Manafort is under investigation by multiple federal agencies. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has had an active criminal investigation on him since 2014 regarding business dealings while he was lobbying for Yanukovich. He is also a person of interest in the FBI counterintelligence probe looking into the Russian government’s interference in the 2016 United States presidential election.

On October 27, 2017, Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates were indicted by a District of Columbia grand jury on multiple charges arising from his consulting work for the pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine before Yanukovych’s overthrow in 2014.[14] The indictment had been requested by Robert Mueller’s special investigation unit.[15][16] Manafort surrendered and was released on bail confined to house arrest. [17] In June 2018, additional charges were filed against Manafort for obstruction of justice and witness tampering that are alleged to have occurred while he was under house arrest, and he was ordered to jail.[18] In February 2018, a new set of indictments were filed in the Eastern District of Virginia, alleging tax evasion and bank fraud.[19] Manafort was brought to trial on those charges in August 2018, and on August 21 he was convicted on eight out of eighteen charges of tax and bank fraud. A mistrial was declared on the other ten.[20] A separate trial on the District of Columbia charges is scheduled for September 2018.[21]

Early life and education

On April 1, 1949, Manafort was born as Paul John Manafort Jr.[22] in the city of New Britain, Connecticut. Manafort’s parents are Antoinette Mary Manafort (née Cifalu; 1921–2003) and Paul John Manafort Sr. (1923–2013).[23][24] His grandfather immigrated to the United States from Italy in the early 20th century, settling in Connecticut.[25] He founded the construction company, New Britain House Wrecking Company, in 1919 (later renamed Manafort Brothers Inc.)[26] His father served in the U.S. Army combat engineers during World War II[24] and was mayor of New Britain from 1965 to 1971.[7] His father was indicted in a corruption scandal in 1981 but not convicted.[27]

In 1967 Manafort graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas High School, a private Roman Catholic secondary school, since closed, in New BritainConnecticut.[28] He attended Georgetown University, where he received his B.S. in business administration in 1971 and his J.D.in 1974.[29][30]

Career

Between 1977 and 1980 Manafort practiced law with the firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease in Washington, D.C.[22]

Political activities

Manafort greeting President Gerald Ford in 1976

Manafort with President Ronald Reagan and then Vice PresidentGeorge H. W. Bush in 1982

Manafort greeting President Ronald Reagan in 1987

In 1976, Manafort was the delegate-hunt coordinator for eight states for the President Ford Committee; the overall Ford delegate operation was run by James A. Baker III.[31] Between 1978 and 1980, Manafort was the southern coordinator for Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign, and the deputy political director at the Republican National Committee. After Reagan’s election in November 1980, he was appointed Associate Director of the Presidential Personnel Office at the White House. In 1981, he was nominated to the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.[22]

Manafort was an adviser to the presidential campaigns of George H. W. Bush in 1988[32] and Bob Dole in 1996.[33]

Chairman of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign

In February 2016, Manafort approached Donald Trump through a mutual friend, Thomas J. Barrack Jr. He pointed out his experience advising presidential campaigns in the United States and around the world, described himself as an outsider not connected to the Washington establishment, and offered to work without salary.[34] In March 2016, he joined Trump’s presidential campaign to take the lead in getting commitments from convention delegates.[35] On June 20, 2016, Trump fired campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and promoted Manafort to the position. Manafort gained control of the daily operations of the campaign as well as an expanded $20 million budget, hiring decisions, advertising, and media strategy.[36][37][38] Like most hires in the Trump campaign, Manafort was not vetted.[27]

On June 9, 2016, Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., and Jared Kushner were participants in a meeting with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya and several others at Trump Tower. A British music agent, saying he was acting on behalf of Emin Agalarov and the Russian government, had told Trump Jr. that he could obtain damaging information on Hillary Clinton if he met with a lawyer connected to the Kremlin.[39] At first, Trump Jr. said the meeting had been primarily about the Russian ban on international adoptions (in response to the Magnitsky Act) and mentioned nothing about Mrs. Clinton; he later said the offer of information about Clinton had been a pretext to conceal Veselnitskaya’s real agenda.[40]

In August 2016, Manafort’s connections to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his pro-Russian Party of Regions drew national attention in the US, where it was reported that Manafort may have received $12.7 million in off-the-books funds from the Party of Regions.[41]

On August 17, 2016, Donald Trump received his first security briefing.[42] The same day, August 17, Trump shook up his campaign organization in a way that appeared to minimize Manafort’s role. It was reported that members of Trump’s family, particularly Jared Kushner who had originally been a strong backer of Manafort, had become uneasy about his Russian connections and suspected that he had not been forthright about them.[43] Manafort stated in an internal staff memorandum that he would “remain the campaign chairman and chief strategist, providing the big-picture, long-range campaign vision”.[44] However, two days later, Trump announced his acceptance of Manafort’s resignation from the campaign after Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway took on senior leadership roles within that campaign.[45][46]

Upon Manafort’s resignation as campaign chairman, Newt Gingrich stated, “nobody should underestimate how much Paul Manafort did to really help get this campaign to where it is right now.”[47] Gingrich later added that, for the Trump administration, “It makes perfect sense for them to distance themselves from somebody who apparently didn’t tell them what he was doing.”[48]

Kurdish independence referendum

In mid-2017, Manafort left the United States in order to help organize the Kurdish independence referendum, something that surprised both investigators and the media.[49] Manafort returned to the United States just before both the start of the 2017 Iraqi–Kurdish conflict and his indictment.

Lobbying career

In 1980 Manafort was a founding partner of Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm Black, Manafort & Stone, along with principals Charles R. Black Jr., and Roger J. Stone.[3][4][5][50] After Peter G. Kelly was recruited the name of the firm was changed to Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly (BMSK) in 1984.[6]:124

Manafort left BMSK in 1996 to join Richard H. Davis and Matthew C. Freedman in forming Davis, Manafort, and Freedman.[51]

Association with Jonas Savimbi

Manafort has represented Angolan rebel leader Jonas Savimbi.

In 1985, Manafort’s firm, BMSK, signed a $600,000 contract with Jonas Savimbi, the leader of the Angolan rebel group UNITA, to refurbish Savimbi’s image in Washington and secure financial support on the basis of his anti-communism stance. BMSK arranged for Savimbi to attend events at the American Enterprise Institute (where Jeane Kirkpatrick gave him a laudatory introduction), The Heritage Foundation, and Freedom House; in the wake of the campaign Congress approved hundreds of millions of dollars in covert American aid to Savimbi’s group.[52] Allegedly, Manafort’s continuing lobbying efforts helped preserve the flow of money to Savimbi several years after the Soviet Union ceased its involvement in the Angolan conflict, forestalling peace talks.[52]

Lobbying for other foreign leaders

Manafort was a lobbyist for former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos.

Manafort lobbied on behalf of former Zairean President Mobutu Sese Seko.

Between June 1984 and June 1986, Manafort was a FARA-registered lobbyist for Saudi Arabia[53] The Reagan Administration refused to grant Manafort a waiver from federal prohibiting public officials from acting as foreign agents; Manafort resigned his directorship at OPIC in May 1986.[53] An investigation by the Department of Justice found 18 lobbying-related activities that were not reported in FARA filings, including lobbying on behalf of The Bahamas and Saint Lucia.[53]

Manafort’s firm, BMSK, accepted $950,000 yearly to lobby for then-president of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos.[54][55] He was also involved in lobbying for Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaïre,[56] securing a 1 million dollar annual contract in 1989,[57] and attempted to recruit Siad Barre of Somalia as a client.[58] His firm also lobbied on behalf of the governments of the Dominican RepublicEquatorial GuineaKenya (earning between $660,000 and $750,000 each year between 1991 and 1993), and Nigeria ($1 million in 1991). These activities led Manafort’s firm to be listed amongst the top five lobbying firms receiving money from human-rights abusing regimes in the Center for Public Integrity report “The Torturers’ Lobby”.[59]

The New York Times reported that Manafort accepted payment from the Kurdistan Regional Government to facilitate Western recognition of the 2017 Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum.[60]

Involvement in the Karachi affair

Manafort wrote the campaign strategy for Édouard Balladur in the 1995 French elections, and was paid indirectly.[61] The money, at least $200,000, was transferred to him through his friend, Lebanese arms-dealer Abdul Rahman al-Assir, from middle-men fees paid for arranging the sale of three French Agosta-class submarines to Pakistan, in a scandal known as the Karachi affair.[52]

Association with Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence Agency

Manafort received $700,000 from the Kashmiri American Council between 1990 and 1994, supposedly to promote the plight of the Kashmiri people. However, an FBI investigation revealed the money was actually from Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) agency as part of a disinformation operation to divert attention from terrorism. A former Pakistani ISI official claimed Manafort was aware of the nature of the operation.[62] While producing a documentary as part of the deal, Manafort interviewed several Indian officials while pretending to be a CNN reporter.[63]

HUD scandal

In the late 1980s, Manafort was criticized for using his connections at HUD to ensure funding for a $43 million rehabilitation of dilapidated housing in Seabrook, New Jersey.[64] Manafort’s firm received a $326,000 fee for its work in getting HUD approval of the grant, largely through personal influence with Deborah Gore Dean, an executive assistant to former HUD Secretary Samuel Pierce.[65]

Lobbying for Viktor Yanukovych and involvements in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, for whom Manafort lobbied

Manafort also worked as an adviser on the Ukrainian presidential campaign of Viktor Yanukovych (and his Party of Regions during the same time span) from December 2004 until the February 2010 Ukrainian presidential election,[66][67][68]even as the U.S. government (and U.S. Senator John McCain) opposed Yanukovych because of his ties to Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin.[33] Manafort was hired to advise Yanukovych months after massive street demonstrations known as the Orange Revolution overturned Yanukovych’s victory in the 2004 presidential race.[69] Borys Kolesnikov, Yanukovich’s campaign manager, said the party hired Manafort after identifying organizational and other problems in the 2004 elections, in which it was advised by Russian strategists.[67] Manafort rebuffed U.S. Ambassador William Taylor when the latter complained he was undermining U.S. interests in Ukraine.[52] According to a 2008 U.S. Justice Departmentannual report, Manafort’s company received $63,750 from Yanukovych’s Party of Regions over a six-month period ending on March 31, 2008, for consulting services.[70] In 2010, under Manafort’s tutelage, the opposition leader put the Orange Revolution on trial, campaigning against its leaders’ management of a weak economy. Returns from the presidential election gave Yanukovych a narrow win over Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a leader of the 2004 demonstrations. Yanukovych owed his comeback in Ukraine’s presidential election to a drastic makeover of his political persona, and—people in his party say—that makeover was engineered in part by his American consultant, Manafort.[67]

In 2007 and 2008, Manafort was involved in investment projects with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska (the acquisition of a Ukrainian telecoms company) and Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash (redevelopment of the site of the former Drake Hotel in New York City).[71] The Associated Press has reported that Manafort negotiated a $10 million annual contract with Deripaska to promote Russian interests in politics, business, and media coverage in Europe and the United States, starting in 2005.[72] A witness at Manafort’s 2018 trial for fraud and tax evasion testified that Deripaska loaned Manafort $10 million in 2010, which to her knowledge was never repaid.[27]

At Manafort’s trial, federal prosecutors alleged that between 2010 and 2014 he was paid more than $60 million by Ukrainian sponsors, including Rinat Akhmetov, believed to be the richest man in Ukraine.[27]

In 2013, Yanukovych became the main target of the Euromaidan protests.[73] After the February 2014 Ukrainian revolution (the conclusion of Euromaidan), Yanukovych fled to Russia.[73][74] On March 17, 2014, the day after the Crimean status referendum, Yanukovych became one of the first eleven persons who were placed under executive sanctions on the Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN) by President Barack Obama, freezing his assets in the US and banning him from entering the United States.[75][76][77][78][79][80][81][82][83][84][85][a]

Manafort then returned to Ukraine in September 2014 to become an advisor to Yanukovych’s former head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine Serhiy Lyovochkin.[68] In this role, he was asked to assist in rebranding Yanukovych’s Party of Regions.[68] Instead, he argued to help stabilize Ukraine. Manafort was instrumental in creating a new political party called Opposition Bloc.[68] According to Ukrainian political analyst Mikhail Pogrebinsky, “He thought to gather the largest number of people opposed to the current government, you needed to avoid anything concrete, and just become a symbol of being opposed”.[68] According to Manafort, he has not worked in Ukraine since the October 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election.[86][87] However, according to Ukrainian border control entry data, Manafort traveled to Ukraine several times after that election, all the way through late 2015.[87] According to The New York Times, his local office in Ukraine closed in May 2016.[41] According to Politico, by then Opposition Bloc had already stopped payments for Manafort and this local office.[87]

In an April 2016 interview with ABC News, Manafort stated that the aim of his activities in Ukraine had been to lead the country “closer to Europe”.[88]

Ukrainian government National Anti-Corruption Bureau studying secret documents claimed in August 2016 to have found handwritten records that show $12.7 million in cash payments designated for Manafort, although they had yet to determine if he had received the money.[41] These undisclosed payments were from the pro-Russian political party Party of Regions, of the former president of Ukraine.[41] This payment record spans from 2007 to 2012.[41] Manafort’s lawyer, Richard A. Hibey, said Manafort didn’t receive “any such cash payments” as described by the anti-corruption officials.[41] The Associated Press reported on August 17, 2016, that Manafort secretly routed at least $2.2 million in payments to two prominent Washington lobbying firms in 2012 on Party of Regions’ behalf, and did so in a way that effectively obscured the foreign political party’s efforts to influence U.S. policy.[12] Associated Press noted that under federal law, U.S. lobbyists must declare publicly if they represent foreign leaders or their political parties and provide detailed reports about their actions to the Justice Department, which Manafort reportedly did not do.[12] The lobbying firms unsuccessfully lobbied U.S. Congress to reject a resolution condemning the jailing of Yanukovych’s main political rival, Yulia Tymoshenko.[89]

Financial records certified in December 2015 and filed by Manafort in Cyprus showed him to be approximately $17 million in debt to interests connected to interests favorable to Putin and Yanukovych in the months before joining the Trump presidential campaign in March.[90] These included a $7.8 million debt to Oguster Management Limited, a company connected to Russian oligarch and close Putin associate Oleg Deripaska.[90] This accords with a 2015 court complaint filed by Deripaska claiming that Manafort and his partners owed him $19 million in relation to a failed Ukrainian cable television business.[90] In January 2018, Surf Horizon Limited, a Cyprus-based company tied to Deripaska, sued Manafort and his business partner Richard Gates accusing them of financial fraud by misappropriating more than $18.9 million that the company had invested in Ukrainian telecom companies known collectively as the “Black Sea Cable.”[91] An additional $9.9 million debt was owed to a Cyprus company that tied through shell companies to Ivan Fursin, a Ukrainian Member of Parliament of the Party of Regions.[90] Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni maintained in response that “Manafort is not indebted to Deripaska or the Party of Regions, nor was he at the time he began working for the Trump campaign.”[90] During the 2016 Presidential campaign, Manafort, via Kiev-based operative Konstantin Kilimnik, offered to provide briefings on political developments to Deripaska, though there is no evidence that the briefings took place.[92][93] Reuters reported on June 27, 2018, that an FBI search warrant application in July 2017 revealed that a company controlled by Manafort and his wife had received a $10 million loan from Deripaska.[94][95]

According to leaked text messages between his daughters, Manafort was also one of the proponents of violent removal of the Euromaidan protesters which resulted in police shooting dozens of people during 2014 Hrushevskoho Street riots. In one of the messages his daughter writes that his “strategy that was to cause that, to send those people out and get them slaughtered.”[96]

Manafort has rejected questions about whether Russian-Ukrainian operative Konstantin Kilimnik, with whom he consulted regularly, might be in league with Russian intelligence.[97] According to Yuri Shvets, Kilimnik previously worked for the GRU, and every bit of information about his work with Manafort went directly to Russian intelligence.[98]

Registering as a foreign agent

Lobbying for foreign countries requires registration with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Manafort did not do so at the time of his lobbying. In April 2017, a Manafort spokesman said Manafort was planning to file the required paperwork; however, according to Associated Press reporters, as of June 2, 2017, Manafort had not yet registered.[10][12] On June 27, he filed to be retroactively registered as a foreign agent.[99] Among other things, he disclosed that he made more than $17 million between 2012 and 2014 working for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.[100][101]

Homes, home loans and other loans

Manafort’s work in Ukraine coincided with the purchase of at least four prime pieces of real estate in the United States, worth a combined $11 million, between 2006 and early 2012.[102]

Since 2012, Manafort has taken out seven home equity loans worth approximately $19.2 million on three separate New York-area properties he owns through holding companies registered to him and his then son-in-law Jeffrey Yohai, a real estate investor.[103] In 2016, Yohai declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy for LLCs tied to four residential properties; Manafort holds a $2.7 million claim on one of the properties.[104]

As of February 2017, Manafort had about $12 million in home equity loans outstanding. For one home, loans of $6.6 million exceeded the value of that home; the loans are from the Federal Savings Bank of Chicago, Illinois, whose CEO, Stephen Calk, was a campaign supporter of Donald Trump and was a member of Trump’s economic advisory council during the campaign.[103] It was subpoenaed in July 2017 by New York prosecutors about the loans they had issued to Manafort during the 2016 presidential campaign. At the time these loans represented about a quarter of the bank’s equity capital.[105]

The Mueller investigation is reviewing a number of loans which Manafort has received since leaving the Trump campaign in August 2016. Specifically, $7 million from Oguster Management Limited, a British Virgin Islands-registered company connected to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, to another Manafort-linked company, Cyprus-registered LOAV Advisers Ltd.[106] This entire amount was unsecured, carried interest at 2%, and had no repayment date. Additionally, NBC News found documents that reveal loans of more than $27 million from the two Cyprus entities to a third company connected to Manafort, a limited-liability corporation registered in Delaware. This company, Jesand LLC, bears a strong resemblance to the names of Manafort’s daughters, Jessica and Andrea.[107]

Investigations

FBI and special counsel investigation

The FBI reportedly began a criminal investigation into Manafort in 2014, shortly after Yanukovich was deposed.[108] That investigation predated the 2016 election by several years and is ongoing. In addition, Manafort is also a person of interest in the FBI counterintelligence probe looking into the Russian government’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.[109][10]

On January 19, 2017, the eve of the Trump’s presidential inauguration, it was reported that Manafort was under active investigation by multiple federal agencies including the Central Intelligence AgencyNational Security AgencyFederal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Director of National Intelligence and the financial crimes unit of the Treasury Department.[110] Investigations were said to be based on intercepted Russian communications as well as financial transactions.[111] It was later confirmed that Manafort was wiretapped by the FBI “before and after the [2016] election … including a period when Manafort was known to talk to President Donald Trump.” The surveillance of Manafort began in 2014, before Donald Trump announced his candidacy for President of United States.[112]

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed on May 17, 2017, by the Justice Department to oversee the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections and related matters, took over the existing criminal probe involving Manafort.[109][10][113] On July 26, 2017, the day after Manafort’s United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing and the morning of his planned hearing before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, FBI agents at Mueller’s direction conducted a raid on Manafort’s Alexandria, Virginia home, using a search warrant to seize documents and other materials, in regard to the Russian meddling in the 2016 election.[114][115] Initial press reports indicated Mueller obtained a no-knock warrant for this raid, though Mueller’s office has disputed these reports in court documents.[116][117] United States v. Paul Manafort was analyzed by attorney George T. Conway III, who wrote that it strengthened the constitutionality of the Mueller investigation.[118]

Congressional investigations

In May 2017, in response to a request of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), Manafort submitted over “300 pages of documents…included drafts of speeches, calendars and notes from his time on the campaign” to the Committee “related to its investigation of Russian election meddling”.[119] On July 25 he met privately with the committee.[120]

congressional hearing on Russia issues, including the Trump campaign-Russian meeting, was scheduled by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary for July 26, 2017. Manafort was scheduled to appear together with Trump Jr., while Kushner was to testify in a separate closed session.[121] After separate negotiations, both Manafort and Trump Jr. met with the committee on July 26 in closed session and agreed to turn over requested documents. They are expected to testify in public eventually.[122]

Private Investigation

The Trump–Russia dossier, also known as the Steele dossier,[123] is a private intelligence report comprising investigation memos written between June and December 2016 by Christopher Steele.[124] Manafort is a major figure mentioned in the Trump–Russia dossier, where allegations are made about Manafort’s relationships and actions toward the Trump campaign, Russia, Ukraine, and Viktor Yanukovych. The dossier claims:

  • That “the Republican candidate’s campaign manager, Paul MANAFORT” had “managed” the “well-developed conspiracy of co-operation between [the Trump campaign] and the Russian leadership”, and that he used “foreign policy advisor, Carter PAGE, and others as intermediaries”.[125][126][127][128] (Dossier, p. 7)
  • That former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych told Putin he had been making supposedly untraceable[129] “kick-back payments” to Paul Manafort, who was Trump’s campaign manager at the time.[130] (Dossier, p. 20)

Manafort has “denied taking part in any collusion with the Russian state, but registered himself as a foreign agent retroactively after it was revealed his firm received more than $17m working as a lobbyist for a pro-Russian Ukrainian party.”[128]

Arrest and indictments

Manafort’s 2018 mugshot

Grand jury indictment against Paul J. Manafort Jr. and Richard W. Gates III, dated October 27, 2017 from United States District Court for the District of Columbia

Manafort and Gates indictment from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia superseding indictment, dated February 22, 2018

Manafort superseding indictment in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, dated February 23, 2018

On October 30, 2017, Manafort was arrested by the FBI after being indicted by a federal grand jury as part of Robert Mueller‘s investigation into the Trump campaign.[131][132] The indictment against Manafort and Rick Gates was issued on October 27, 2017.[132][133] The charges are: engaging in a conspiracy against the United States,[16][133] engaging in a conspiracy to launder money,[16][133] failing to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts,[16][133] acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign principal,[16][133] making false and misleading statements in documents filed and submitted under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA),[16][133] and making false statements.[16][133] According to the prosecutors, Manafort laundered more than $18 million.[134][133]

Manafort and Gates pleaded not guilty to these charges at their court appearance on October 30, 2017.[135][136] The US government asked the court to set Manafort’s bail at $10 million and Gates at $5 million.[136] The court placed Manafort and Gates under house arrest after prosecutors described them as flight risks.[137] If convicted on all charges Manafort could face decades in prison.[138][139]

Following the hearing, Manafort’s attorney Kevin M. Downing made a public statement to the press proclaiming his client’s innocence while describing the federal charges stemming from the indictment as “ridiculous”.[140] Downing defended Manafort’s decade-long lobbying effort for pro-Russian, former Ukrainian prime minister Viktor Yanukovych, describing their lucrative partnership as attempts to spread democracy and strengthen the relationship between the United States and Ukraine.[141] Judge Stewart responded by threatening to impose a gag order, saying “I expect counsel to do their talking in this courtroom and in their pleadings and not on the courthouse steps.”[142]

On November 30, 2017, Manafort’s attorneys said that Manafort has reached a bail agreement with prosecutors that will free him from the house arrest he has been under since his indictment. He offered bail in the form of $11.65 million worth of real estate.[143] While out on bond, Paul Manafort worked on an op-ed with a “Russian who has ties to the Russian intelligence service”, prosecutors said in a court filing[144] requesting that the judge in the case revoke Manafort’s bond agreement.[145]

On January 3, 2018, Manafort filed a lawsuit challenging Mueller’s broad authority and alleging the Justice Department violated the law in appointing Mueller.[146] A spokesperson for the department replied that “The lawsuit is frivolous but the defendant is entitled to file whatever he wants”.[147] On January 12, Mueller asked U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson to set Manafort’s trial date for May 14, 2018.[148] On January 16, 2018, Jackson denied the government’s date for trial indicating that the criminal trial appears likely to start in September at the earliest.[149] Jackson revealed that a letter from Manafort’s physician was submitted to the court, asking for changes in the conditions of Manafort’s confinement. “While he’s subject to home confinement, he’s not confined to his couch, and I believe he has plenty of opportunity to exercise,” Jackson said.[149]

On February 2, 2018, the Department of Justice filed a motion seeking to dismiss the civil suit Manafort brought against Mueller.[150] Judge Jackson dismissed the suit on April 27, 2018, citing precedent that a court should not use civil powers to interfere in an ongoing criminal case. She did not, however, make any judgement as to the merits of the arguments presented.[151]

On February 22, 2018, both Manafort and Gates were further charged with additional crimes involving a tax avoidance scheme and bank fraud in Virginia.[152][153] The charges were filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, rather than in the District of Columbia, as the alleged tax fraud overt actions had occurred in Virginia and not in the District.[154] The new indictment alleges that Manafort, with assistance from Gates, laundered over $30 million through offshore bank accounts between approximately 2006 and 2015. Manafort allegedly used funds in these offshore accounts to purchase real estate in the United States, in addition to personal goods and services.[154]

On February 23, 2018, Gates pleaded guilty in federal court to lying to investigators and engaging in a conspiracy to defraud the United States.[155] Through a spokesman, Manafort expressed disappointment in Gates’ decision to plead guilty and said he has no similar plans. “I continue to maintain my innocence,” he said.[156]

On February 28, 2018, Manafort entered a not guilty plea in the District Court for the District of Columbia. Judge Jackson subsequently set a trial date of September 17, 2018, and reprimanded Manafort and his attorney for violating her gag order by issuing a statement the previous week after former co-defendant Gates pleaded guilty.[157] On March 8, 2018, Manafort also pleaded not guilty to bank fraud and tax charges in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. Judge T. S. Ellis III of the Eastern District of Virginia set his trial on those charges to begin on July 10, 2018.[158] He later pushed the trial back to July 24, citing a medical procedure involving a member of Ellis’s family.[159] Ellis also expressed concern that the special counsel and Mueller were only interested in charging Manafort to squeeze him for information that would reflect on Mr. Trump or lead to Trump’s impeachment.[160]

Friends of Manafort announced the establishment of a legal defense fund on May 30, 2018, to help pay his legal bills.[161]

On June 8, 2018, Manafort was indicted for obstruction of justice and witness tampering along with long time associate Konstantin Kilimnik.[162] The charges involve allegations that Manafort attempted to convince others to lie about an undisclosed lobbying effort on behalf of Ukraine’s former pro-Russian government. Since this allegedly occurred while Manafort was under house arrest, Judge Jackson revoked Manafort’s bail on June 15 and ordered him held in jail until his trial.[163] Manafort was booked into the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Virginia, at 8:22 PM on June 15, 2018, where he was housed in the VIP section and kept in solitary confinement for his own safety.[164][165][166][167] On June 22, Manafort’s efforts to have the money laundering charges against him dismissed were rejected by the court.[168][169] Citing Alexandria’s D.C. suburbia status, abundant and significantly negative press coverage, and the margin by which Hillary Clinton won the Alexandria Division in the 2016 presidential election, Manafort moved the court for a change of venue to Roanoke, Virginia on July 6, 2018, citing Constitution entitlement to a fair and unbiased trial.[170][171] On July 10, Judge T. S. Ellis ordered Manafort to be transferred back to the Alexandria Detention Center, an order Manafort opposed.[172][173] His trial began on July 31, 2018.[174][175]

On July 17, 2018, the Mueller investigation asked Judge Ellis to compel five witnesses, who had not previously been publicly associated with the Manafort case, to testify in exchange for immunity, and Ellis denied Manafort’s motion to move the trial to Roanoke, Virginia.[176][177] [178]

Trials

The numerous indictments against Manafort have been divided into multiple trials.

Trial in Virginia

Manafort’s trial in the Eastern District of Virginia began on July 31, 2018.[179][174] On August 21, the jury found Manafort guilty on eight of the eighteen charges, while the judge declared a mistrial on the other ten.[20] He was convicted on five counts of tax fraud, one of the four counts of failing to disclose his foreign bank accounts, and two counts of bank fraud.[180] The jury was hung on three of the four counts of failing to disclose, as well as five counts of bank fraud, four of them related the the Federal Savings Bank of Chicago run by Stephen Calk.[181]

Trial in District of Columbia

Manafort’s trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia is scheduled to begin in September 2018.[21]

Personal life

Manafort has been married to Kathleen Bond Manafort since August 12, 1978. Mrs. Manafort is a lawyer and an alumna of George Washington University.[182] They have two daughters.

See also

Notes

  1. Jump up^ The individuals on the first list of United States sanctions for individuals or entities involved in the Ukraine crisis are Sergey Aksyonov, Sergey Glazyev, Andrei Klishas, Vladimir Konstantinov, Valentina Matviyenko, Victor Medvedchuk, Yelena Mizulina, Dmitry Rogozin, Leonid Slutsky, Vladislav Surkov, and Victor Yakunovich.[77][80]

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Manafort

Story 2: Former Trump Personal Attorney Michael Cohen Pleads Guilty to Eight Counts of Campaign Finance Violations, Bank and Tax Fraud — Videos

How are Republicans and Democrats reacting to Cohen and Manafort charges?

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How Trump Should Deal With Cohen & Manafort – Ann Coulter

Michael Cohen pleads GUILTY to paying Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal for their silence ‘at the direction of’ Trump – as president’s own attorney lands stunning blow and admits eight fraud and campaign finance felonies

  • Michael Cohen entered the guilty plea in federal court in New York
  • He said he made the campaign finance violations ‘in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office’ – a reference to Trump
  • Also tax evasion and making a false statement to a bank
  • Documents identify Trump as ‘Individual-1’
  • Federal prosecutors have been investigating Michael Cohen’s income from his taxi-medallion business
  • Investigators have been probing more than $20 million in loans which were made to taxi companies owned by Cohen and his family
  • Cohen made his plea within minutes of a Virginia jury convicting former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on eight counts following his trial    
  • Prosector: He ‘worked to pay money to silence two women who had information that he believed would be detrimental to the 2016 campaign’
  • Engineered payoff ‘in order to influence the 2016 presidential election’ prosecutors said in charging document 
  • A New York Times report stated he did not agree to cooperate with prosecutors as part of the deal
  • Campaign finance plea points to issue of payment to porn star Stormy Daniels  
  • Cohen, once known as Trump’s ‘fixer,’ has long ties to the Trump Organization 

Longtime Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to campaign finance violations linked to a porn star and a Playboy model as well as his former boss – and said he did so ‘at the direction’ of a candidate for federal office.

Cohen made the stunning statement linking President Donald Trump to his crimes as he pleaded to eight different counts, including those related to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Although he didn’t mention Trump by name, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer spoke in open court about a $130,000 payment as well as a deal he helped negotiate with a publisher involving McDougal.

He said he did so ‘in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office,’ CNN reported – in an obvious reference to Trump, his former employer. Federal law bars donors from coordinating with a campaign while placing strict limits on the amount of contributions.

Both women claim they had affairs with Trump, and both got payments, Daniels from Cohen directly and McDougal from a publisher.

Cohen made his plea in open court within minutes of a Virginia jury convicting former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on eight counts following his trial on tax and fraud charges.

Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to President Donald Trump, leaves his apartment building, in New York, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. Cohen could be charged before the end of the month with bank fraud in his dealings with the taxi industry and with committing other financial crimes, multiple people familiar with the federal probe said Monday

Video playing bottom right…

As he landed in West Virginia for what was expected to be a raucous campaign rally Tuesday night with his supporters, Trump said he feels ‘badly’ for both Cohen and Manafort. But he didn’t address the explosive developments as his rally began.

But he did mock the Mueller probe before a crowd of supporters.

‘Fake news. Fake. How fake, how fake are they?’ Trump asked rhetorically. ‘Fake news and the Russian witch hunt. We got a whole big combination. Where is the collusion? You know they’re still looking for collusion. Where is the collusion? Find some collusion. We want to find the collusion,’ Trump said.

A federal charging document lays out how Cohen helped deal with a person identified as ‘Individual-1’s relationships with women’ by identifying stories and keeping them from being published.

The documents note that the individual was a candidate for president.

Cohen negotiated $150,000 payment to ‘model and actress’ and made a $130,000 payment to ‘an adult film actress,’ according to the documents stated the offenses he pleaded guilty to. Cohen caused and made the payments ‘in order to influence the 2016 presidential election,’ he is admitting.

The White House didn’t hold a press briefing amid the turmoil, instead confronting reporters only through the safer medium of conference calls. Trump didn’t mention either bombshell development in his speech in West Virginia hours after they occurred.

Cohen as part of the plea gets jail time of up to four years – in a deal that apparently does not include cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. Nevertheless, some legal experts were not ruling out cooperation, and he was facing more charges than he pleaded to.

Cohen appeared in federal court on Tuesday following a series of repots he would plead guilty to federal crimes that would land him in jail for up to four years.

According to U.S. attorney Robert Khuzami, Cohen failed to report income of $4.1 million, costing the U.S. Treasury approximately $1.3 million.

He failed to disclose $14 million in dead when he applied for a home-equity loan he used to get funds to pay the porn star.

Khuzami also laid out Cohen’s campaign finance guilty plea as it related to Daniels and McDougal – though he never mentioned the name of the president or the porn star.

‘In addition what he did was he worked to pay money to silence two women who had information that he believed would be detrimental to the 2016 campaign and to the candidate and the campaign,’ Khuzami said.

Cohen leaves court after pleading guilty to eight charges

Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations 'in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office'

Charging documents lay out millions in unreported income by Cohen

Documents also reference Trump as 'Individual-1'

Documents also reference Trump as ‘Individual-1’

‘In addition, Mr. Cohen sought reimbursement for that money by submitting invoices to the candidate’s company which were untrue and false. They indicated that the reimbursement was for services rendered for the year 2017, when in fact those invoices were a sham. He provided no legal services for the year 2017 and it was simply a means to obtain reimbursement for the unlawful campaign contribution,’ Khuzami said.

‘There is no allegation of any wrongdoing against the President in the government’s charges against Mr. Cohen,’ Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said in a statement. ‘It is clear that, as the prosecutor noted, Mr. Cohen’s actions reflect a pattern of lies and dishonesty over a significant period of time.’

In addition what he did was he worked to pay money to silence two women who had information that he believed would be detrimental to the 2016 campaign and to the candidate and the campaign

Sources told NBC about the negotiations over a possible plea Tuesday morning, noting that no deal had been reached. Word of the talks followed reports over the weekend that Cohen is being investigated for a $20 million bank fraud.

ABC then reported Cohen had reached an agreement with prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. Cohen surrendered to the FBI in advance of a scheduled 4 pm court appearance, according to CNN.

The campaign finance violations related to the $130,000 payment Cohen made from his own funds to porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims she had an affair with Trump.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, claims she had an affair with Trump. Among the charges Cohen will plead guilty to are campaign finance violations in connection to a $130,000 payment he made to Daniels

Five counts of tax evasion. Avoided declaring $4.1 million in income earned in 2012 through 2016, depriving the government of about $1.3 million in tax revenue.

Making false statements to a bank. Failed to disclose a $14 million line of credit when taking out loans, including for the purchase of an $8.5 million summer home. Declared a net worth of $40 million when applying for a home equity loan, omitting the $14 million debt.

Campaign finance violations. Helped deal with ‘Individual-1’s relationships with women’ by identifying stories and keeping them from being published. Negotiated $150,000 payment to ‘model and actress’ and made a $130,000 payment to ‘an adult film actress.’ He caused and made the payments ‘in order to influence the 2016 presidential election.’

He faced up to 65 years in prison for what he is being charged with had he not pleaded guilty.

Trump said in April that he did not know about payments Cohen made to Daniels – although lawyer Rudy Giuliani later said Trump reimbursed his longtime lawyer for the funds.

Cohen admitted the payment was a violation of strict federal limits on political contributions. Prosecutors deemed the payment an in-kind contribution to the Trump campaign since it helped shelve potentially damaging information.

Cohen agreed to jail time as part of the agreement.

Despite the array of charges, jail time, and restitution, Cohen was not expected to reach an agreement to cooperate with authorities, the New York Times reported.

Such a status, if maintained, would spare President Trump from having one of his closest and most knowledgable associates aiding an inquiry the president has termed a ‘witch hunt.’

Nevertheless, Trump faced the political prospect of seeing one of his closest longtime advisors go to jail over serious federal crimes. Just as the news broke on Cohen’s plans, the White House was holding a press call on Trump’s plans to travel the country in support of Republicans.

Cohen was expected to plead guilty to campaign finance violations – a likely reference to a $130,000 payment he made to porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims she had an affair with Trump

Cohen also negotiated a $150,000 payment by American Media Inc. to former Playboy cover model Karen McDougal, who claims she had a year-long affair with Trump

Cohen pleaded guilty to a campaign finance violation in relation to a $150,000 payment that American Media Inc. made to Playboy model Karen McDougal. AMI publisher David Pecker (c) was part of the deal

Prosecutors in Cohen were negotiating with a man involved in myriad business and political deals involving the president, including the negotiation of a non-disclosure agreement with porn star Stormy Daniels, and talks on an effort to build a Trump Tower in Moscow that fell through.

However, the New York Times reported Tuesday afternoon that the deal did not include an agreement to cooperate.

Cohen in June resigned his post as deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee once it came out he was under criminal investigation

ROBERT MUELLER’S PROBE SO FAR: SEVEN CONVICTIONS – INCLUDING THREE TOP TRUMP AIDES, A JAILED ATTORNEY AND 25 RUSSIANS ACCUSED

GUILTY: MICHAEL FLYNN 

Pleaded guilty to making false statements in December 2017. Awaiting sentence

Flynn was President Trump’s former National Security Advisor and Robert Mueller’s most senior scalp to date. He previously served when he was a three star general as President Obama’s director of the Defense Intelligence Agency but was fired. 

He admitted to lying to special counsel investigators about his conversations with a Russian ambassador in December 2016. He has agreed to cooperate with the special counsel investigation.

GUILTY: MICHAEL COHEN

Pleaded guilty to eight counts including fraud and two campaign finance violations in August 2018. Awaiting sentence

Cohen was Trump’s longtime personal attorney, starting working for him and the Trump Organization in 2007. He is the longest-serving member of Trump’s inner circle to be implicated by Mueller. Cohen professed unswerving devotion to Trump – and organized payments to silence two women who alleged they had sex with the-then candidate: porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal.He admitted that payments to both women were felony campaign finance violations – and admitted that he acted at the ‘direction’ of ‘Candidate-1’: Donald Trump.

He also admitted tax fraud by lying about his income from loans he made, money from  taxi medallions he owned, and other sources of income, at a cost to the Treasury of $1.3 million.

Campaign role: Paul Manafort chaired Trump's campaign for four months - which included the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in 2016, where he appeared on stage beside Trump who was preparing  to formally accept the Republican nomination

GUILTY: PAUL MANAFORT

Found guilty of eight charges of bank and tax fraud in August 2018. Awaiting sentence and second trial

Manafort worked for Trump’s campaign from March 2016 and chaired it from June to August 2016, overseeing Trump being adopted as Republican candidate at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. He is the most senior campaign official to be implicated by Mueller. Manafort was one of Washington D.C.’s longest-term and most influential lobbyists but in 2015, his money dried up and the next year he turned to Trump for help, offering to be his campaign chairman for free – in the hope of making more money afterwards. But Mueller unwound his previous finances and discovered years of tax and bank fraud as he coined in cash from pro-Russia political parties and oligarchs in Ukraine.

Manafort pleaded not guilty to 18 charges of tax and bank fraud but was convicted of eight counts. The jury was deadlocked on the other 10 charges. A second trial on charges of failing to register as a foreign agent is due in September.  

GUILTY: RICK GATES 

Pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States and making false statements in February 2018. Awaiting sentence

Gates was Manafort’s former deputy at political consulting firm DMP International. He admitted to conspiring to defraud the U.S. government on financial activity, and to lying to investigators about a meeting Manafort had with a member of congress in 2013. As a result of his guilty plea and promise of cooperation, prosecutors vacated charges against Gates on bank fraud, bank fraud conspiracy, failure to disclose foreign bank accounts, filing false tax returns, helping prepare false tax filings, and falsely amending tax returns.

GUILTY: GEORGE PAPADOPOLOUS

Pleaded guilty to making false statements in October 2017. Awaiting sentence

Papadopoulos was a member of Donald Trump’s campaign foreign policy advisory committee. He admitted to lying to special counsel investigators about his contacts with London professor Josef Mifsud and Ivan Timofeev, the director of a Russian government-funded think tank. 

He has agreed to cooperate with the special counsel investigation.

GUILTY: RICHARD PINEDO

Pleaded guilty to identity fraud in February 2018. Awaiting sentence

Pinedo is a 28-year-old computer specialist from Santa Paula, California. He admitted to selling bank account numbers to Russian nationals over the internet that he had obtained using stolen identities. 

He has agreed to cooperate with the special counsel investigation.

GUILTY AND JAILED: ALEX VAN DER ZWAAN

Pleaded guilty to making false statements in February 2018. He served a 30-day prison sentence earlier this year and was deported to the Netherlands upon his release.

Van der Zwaan is a Dutch attorney for Skadden Arps who worked on a Ukrainian political analysis report for Paul Manafort in 2012. 

He admitted to lying to special counsel investigators about when he last spoke with Rick Gates and Konstantin Kilimnik.

CHARGED: KONSTANTIN KILIMNIK

Indicted for obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice. 

Kilimnik is a former employee of Manafort’s political consulting firm and helped him with lobbying work in Ukraine. He is accused of witness tampering, after he allegedly contacted individuals who had worked with Manafort to remind them that Manafort only performed lobbying work for them outside of the U.S.

He has been linked to  Russian intelligence and is currently thought to be in Russia – effectively beyond the reach of extradition by Mueller’s team.

INDICTED: THE RUSSIANS 

Twenty-five Russian nationals and three Russian entities have been indicted for conspiracy to defraud the United States. 

Two of these Russian nationals were also indicted for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 11 were indicted for conspiracy to launder money. Fifteen of them were also indicted for identity fraud. 

Vladimir Putin has ridiculed the charges. Russia effectively bars extradition of its nationals. The only prospect Mueller has of bringing any in front of a U.S. jury is if Interpol has their names on an international stop list – which is not made public – and they set foot in a territory which extradites to the U.S. 

Statement to the press by U.S. Attorney Robert Khuzami

‘What he did was he worked to pay money to silence two women who had information that he believed would be detrimental to the 2016 campaign and to the candidate and the campaign.’

‘In addition, Mr. Cohen sought reimbursement for that money by submitting invoices to the candidate’s company which were untrue and false. They indicated that the reimbursement was for services rendered for the year 2017, when in fact those invoices were a sham. He provided no legal services for the year 2017 and it was simply a means to obtain reimbursement for the unlawful campaign contribution.’

‘First, these are very serious charges and reflect a pattern of lies and dishonesty over an extended period of time. They are significant in their own rights. They are particularly significant when done by a lawyer. A lawyer who through training and tradition understands what it means to be a lawyer, to engage in honest and fair dealing and adherence to the law. Mr. Cohen disregarded that training. Disregarded that tradition and decided that he was above the law, and for that he is going to pay a very, very serious price …’

‘Mr Cohen made guilty pleas for those campaign violations and those are core violations. These remind us that it is illegal for corps to make contributions to candidates and it is illegal to make contributions in excess of the amount that congress set for individuals. That is a strong message today and we will not fear prosecuting additional campaign finance cases …’

‘We are a nation of laws and the essence of this case is about is justice and that is an equal playing field for all persons in the eyes of the law and that is a lesson that Mr. Cohen learned today and it is a very harsh one for him.’

WHICH CANDIDATE? Cohen said he negotiated the payments 'In co-ordination with, and at the direction of' a candidate for federal office

Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis tweeted Tuesday about his client: ‘Today he stood up and testified under oath that Donald Trump directed him to commit a crime by making payments to two women for the principal purpose of influencing an election. If those payments were a crime for Michael Cohen, then why wouldn’t they be a crime for Donald Trump?’

Justice Department guidelines state that a sitting president shouldn’t be charged with a crime while in office, although they could be subject to a court challenge should the government decide to do so.

Numerous legal experts say Trump most likely will avoid getting charged with anything while in office – though he could be charged after he leaves and he could be forced to give testimony in legal matters. The charging documents describe ‘Individual-1’ as being closely involved with Cohen’s efforts. It says Cohen ‘coordinated with one or more members of the campaign, including through meetings and phone calls, about the fact, nature, and timing of the payments’ to women.

News of Cohen’s talks came just as word broke that jurors in the trial of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort asked the judge overseeing the case a question about how to proceed if they fail to reach a verdict on a single count.

That in turn led to speculation that special counsel Robert Mueller’s team might be on the verge of scoring critical conviction, even if it is on tax and fraud crimes that are not related to the campaign of President Donald Trump.

McDougal was paid $150,000 by American Media Inc., parent company of the National Enquirer

The report on Cohen’s intentions followed a series of maneuvers by Cohen that raised the prospect he might reach an agreement to cooperate with prosecutors. These included praising the FBI agents who raided his home and apartment, and stating boldly that he would do what is best for his family.

He told ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ last month that: ‘My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will.’ He added: ‘I put family and country first.’

Cohen left his apartment in New York Tuesday dressed in a dark suit and tie.

His new lawyer, Lanny Davis, told NBC he couldn’t comment on an ongoing investigation, having earlier sent signals that Cohen could cooperate. Cohen’s hiring of Davis, who has longtime Democratic ties and advised President Bill Clinton, was one such signal.

Michael Cohen, left, former personal lawyer to President Donald Trump, leaves his apartment building past his doorman, in New York, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. NBC reported he was in talks about a possible guilty plea

Michael Cohen, left, former personal lawyer to President Donald Trump, leaves his apartment building past his doorman, in New York, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. NBC reported he was in talks about a possible guilty plea

Were Cohen to follow through and plead guilty to any alleged violations, it would come as prosecutors were considering filing charges against him that include include bank and tax fraud, as well as violations of campaign finance law, against Cohen by the end of the month, sources told the New York Times.

Investigators are looking into more than $20 million in loans which were made to taxi companies owned by Cohen and his family. The amounts reportedly involved only upped the pressure on Cohen, who was intimately involved with Trump as he navigated a variety of business deals in recent years.

Financial statements showed that Cohen used his 32 taxi medallions, then worth around $1 million each, as collateral for the loans from Sterling National Bank. Melrose Credit Union also supplied some of the loans made to 16 separate companies controlled by the Cohens. Cohen and his wife also personally guaranteed the loans, according to public findings.

Investigators are now looking to determine whether Cohen misrepresented the true value of his assets to obtain the loans.

They are also looking at when the lawyer violated campaign finance laws by arranging hush money deals to secure the silence of women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump.

The FBI raided Cohen’s home and office earlier this year as part of their investigation into his alleged tax fraud.

President Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen is being investigated for a $20 million bank fraud, according to a new report

President Trump’s (left) former personal lawyer Michael Cohen (right) is being investigated for a $20 million bank fraud, according to a new report

Investigators are looking at whether Cohen’s income from his taxi-medallion business was underreported in federal tax returns, The Wall Street Journal reported.

That income reportedly included hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and other payments over the last five years.

Donald Trump has criticized the probe into his former attorney, calling the raids an ‘attack on our country in a true sense.’

Prosecutors are looking into whether Cohen inflated the value of any of his assets as collateral for bank loans, the Journal reported citing sources familiar with the investigation.

If convicted of tax- and bank-fraud, Cohen, who once said he’d take a bullet for President Donald Trump, could find himself subject to heavy jail time.

That threat could put pressure on Cohen, once known as Trump’s ‘fixer,’ to cooperate with prosecutors if he’s charged with these crimes.

Cohen was Trump’s personal attorney for years and has deep ties to the Trump Organization.

He is reportedly prepared to tell Mueller that the president knew about the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting ahead of time and approved of it.

That meeting was attended by Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and a lawyer with ties to the Kremlin who claimed to have dirt on Trump’s presidential rival Hillary Clinton.

Trump has denied he knew about the meeting ahead of time.

But that gathering at Trump Tower has become a central focus of Mueller’s look into what role Russian played in the 2016 presidential election.

Meanwhile federal prosecutors are taking a deep dive into Cohen’s business dealings after Mueller’s team handed over documents discovered in an April 9th FBI raid.

They are looking closely at Cohen’s relationship with Sterling National Bank, which provided financing for his taxi-medallion business. Medallions are the permits taxi drivers need to operate in the city.

Federal prosecutors subpoenaed Jeffrey Getzel, Cohen’s former accountant who was responsible for preparing many of Cohen’s financial statements.

Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, declined to comment to the newspaper ‘out of respect for the ongoing investigation.’

As of April 2018, Cohen owned 22 medallions in Chicago, and either he or his wife, Laura, controlled 32 medallions in New York City.

Taxi medallions were considered a solid investment that are bought and sold on a secondary market. Some in New York sold for an average $1.25 million per medallion in 2013 and 2014.

But their value has fallen sharply in recent years due to competition from ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft. Some estimate the value of each medallion has dropped to $200,000 to $225,000.

As prosecutors look at whether Cohen under reported his income to avoid federal taxes they’re also examining whether he overstated it in loan applications.

Cohen has previously denied any wrongdoing.

He worked on projects for Trump ranging from Trump Tower Moscow that never got off the ground to a non-disclosure agreement with porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims she had an affair with Trump, and on a deal involving former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who also claimed an affair.

Trump has denied both women’s allegations of a sexual affair.

But Cohen also had his own business dealings including real estate, personal loans and investments in taxi medallions.

Evgeny A. Freidman, a Russian immigrant known as ‘the Taxi King’ and who partnered with Cohen in the taxi medallion business, avoided jail time and got five years probation when he pleaded guilty to tax evasion in May.

As a condition, he is cooperating with prosecutors, who may find him to be a valuable witness as they investigate Cohen on potential tax, campaign finance, and bank fraud charges.

His deal came after an April 9th FBI raid on Cohen’s home, office, and hotel where he was staying. They scooped up 3.7 million digital documents.

If Freidman is able to provide useful information, it might strengthen prosecutors hands if they decide to charge Cohen.

Prosecutors are already combing through Cohen’s financial records, including big payments he got from major firms as he touted his access to President Trump after the elections.

Also under the microscope is his $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, who signed a nondisclosure agreement and claims she had an affair with Trump.

The president revealed last week on his financial disclosure that he ‘reimbursed’ Cohen for expenses related to a payment of up to $250,000.

Cohen is under investigation for possible bank fraud. He has said he took out a home equity loan in order to make the payment to Daniels, which he executed through a Delaware LLC he set up in October of 2016, weeks before the presidential election.

Cohen taped Trump discussing payment to Playboy model

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6083533/Cohen-discussing-possible-GUILTY-plea-following-report-alleged-fraud-probe.html

 

Michael Cohen (lawyer)

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Michael Cohen
Trump executive Michael Cohen 012 (5506031001) (cropped).jpg

Cohen in 2011
Born Michael Dean Cohen
August 25, 1966 (age 51)
Long IslandNew York, U.S.
Education American University (BA)
Thomas M. Cooley Law School(JD)
Occupation Lawyer
Political party Democratic (before 2002; 2004–2017)
Republican (2002–2004; 2017–present)
Criminal charge Five counts of tax evasion, one count of making false statements to a financial institution, one count of willfully causing an unlawful corporate contribution, and one count of making an excessive campaign contribution at the request of a candidate or campaign
Criminal status Pleaded guilty to all charges; awaiting sentence
Spouse(s)
Laura Shusterman (m. 1995)

Michael Dean Cohen (born August 25, 1966) is an American attorney who worked as a lawyer for Donald Trump from 2006 until the termination of his employment in May 2018, a month after a federal investigation began. The investigation led to him pleading guilty on August 21, 2018 to eight counts of campaign finance violations, tax fraud, and bank fraud. In his statement before the court, Cohen said he violated campaign finance laws “in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” meaning Trump, “for the principal purpose of influencing the election” for president in 2016.[1]

Cohen served as a vice-president of the Trump Organization and special counsel to Trump,[2] and previously served as co-president of Trump Entertainment and was a board member of the Eric Trump Foundation, a children’s health charity. He joined the Trump Organization after having been a partner at Phillips Nizer.[3]

From 2017 to 2018, Cohen was deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.[4][5]

 

Early life

Cohen grew up in the town of Lawrence on Long Island.[3] His mother was a nurse, and his father, who survived the Holocaust, was a surgeon.[3][6] Cohen is Jewish.[7] He attended Lawrence Woodmere Academy[8] and received his BA from American University in 1988 and his JD from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 1991.[9]

Career

Legal career and business ventures

Cohen began practicing personal injury law in New York in 1992, working for Melvyn Estrin in Manhattan.[8][10] As of 2003, Cohen was an attorney in private practice and CEO of MLA Cruises, Inc., and of the Atlantic Casino.[11] In 2003, when Cohen was a candidate for New York City Council, he provided a biography to the New York City Campaign Finance Board for inclusion in its voters’ guide, listing him as co-owner of Taxi Funding Corp. and a fleet of New York City taxicabs numbering over 200.[11][12][13] At the time, Cohen was business partners in the taxi business with Simon Garber.[13]

As of 2017, Cohen was estimated to own at least 34 taxi medallions through 17 limited liability companies (LLCs).[13] Until April 2017, “taxi king” Evgeny Freidman managed the medallions still held by Cohen; this arrangement ended after the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission decided not to renew Freidman’s licenses.[13] Between April and June 2017, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance filed seven tax warrants against Cohen and his wife for $37,434 in unpaid taxi taxes due to the MTA.[14]

In 2006, Cohen was a lawyer at the law firm Phillips Nizer LLP.[15] He worked at the firm for about a year before taking a job at The Trump Organization.[10]

In 2008, Cohen was named COO of the MMA promotion Affliction Entertainment[16]

Cohen has been involved in real estate ventures in Manhattan, including buying and selling four apartment buildings between 2011 and 2014. The total purchase price of the four buildings was $11 million and the total sales price was $32 million.[10][17] Cohen sold the four properties at above their assessed values, in all-cash transactions, to LLCs owned by persons whose identities are not public.[18] After this was reported by McClatchy DC in October 2017, Cohen said that all four properties were purchased by an American-owned “New York real estate family fund” that paid cash for the properties in order to obtain a tax deferred (Section 1031) exchange, but did not specifically identify the buyer.[17]

In 2015, Cohen purchased an Upper East Side apartment building for $58 million.[10]

Politics

Cohen volunteered for the 1988 presidential campaign of Michael Dukakis,[3] was an intern for Congressman Joe Moakley,[6] and voted for Barack Obama in 2008, though he later became disappointed with Obama.[3]

In 2003, he unsuccessfully ran as a Republican for the New York City Council from the Fourth Council District (a Manhattan district).[19] Cohen received 4,205 votes, and was defeated by Democratic candidate Eva S. Moskowitz, who received 13,745 votes.[20] In 2010, Cohen briefly campaigned for a seat in the New York State Senate.[21][6] He was a registered Democrat until he officially registered as a Republican on March 9, 2017.[22][23]

Relationship with Donald Trump and the Trump Organization

Cohen joined the Trump Organization in 2006.[24] Trump hired him in part because he was already a fan of Trump’s, having read Trump’s Art of the Deal twice, bought several Trump properties, and convinced his own parents and in-laws, as well as a business partner to buy condominiums in Trump World Tower.[10] Cohen aided Trump in his struggle with the condominium board at the Trump World Tower, which led to Trump obtaining control of the board.[10]

Cohen became a close confidant to Trump, maintaining an office near Trump at Trump Tower.[10]

2011

While an executive at the organization, Cohen was known as Trump’s “pit bull.” In late 2011, when Trump was publicly speculating about running for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination, Cohen co-founded the website “Should Trump Run?” to draft Trump into entering the race.[6]

In an interview with ABC News in 2011, Cohen stated, “If somebody does something Mr. Trump doesn’t like, I do everything in my power to resolve it to Mr. Trump’s benefit. If you do something wrong, I’m going to come at you, grab you by the neck and I’m not going to let you go until I’m finished.”[25]

2013

In 2013, Cohen sent an email to the satirical news website The Onion, demanding that an article The Onion had published which mocked Donald Trump (“When You’re Feeling Low, Just Remember I’ll Be Dead In About 15 Or 20 Years”) be removed with an apology, claiming it was defamatory.[26][27]

2015

In 2015, in response to an inquiry by reporter Tim Mak of The Daily Beast concerning rape allegations (later recanted) by Ivana Trump about her then-husband Donald Trump, Cohen said, “I’m warning you, tread very fucking lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting.”[24]

2016

A video of an interview of Cohen by CNN’s Brianna Keilar went viral, in which Cohen said “Says who?” several times in response to Keilar’s statement that Trump was behind in all of the polls.[28][29]

Cohen defended Trump against charges of antisemitism.[7]

In 2016 he was a co-founder, along with Darrell C. Scott, of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump.[30] [31] Peter J. Gleason, a lawyer who filed for protection of documents pertaining to two women with sexual abuse allegations against Eric T. Schneiderman, stated – without offering details or corroborating evidence – that Cohen told him that if Trump would be elected governor of New York in 2013, the latter would help bring the accusations to public attention.[32]

2017

The Trump–Russia dossier, published in January 2017, alleges that Cohen met with Russian officials in PragueCzech Republic in 2016 with the objective of paying those who had hacked the DNC and to “cover up all traces of the hacking operation”. The dossier contains raw intelligence, and is widely thought to be a mix of accurate and inaccurate information[33][34]. Cohen has denied the allegations against him,[35][36][37] stating that he was in Los Angeles between August 23 and 29, and in New York for the entire month of September.[38]According to a Czech intelligence source, there is no record of him entering Prague by plane, but Respekt magazine and Politico pointed out that he could have theoretically entered by car or train from a neighboring country within the Schengen Area, for example Italy. In the latter case, a record of Cohen entering the Schengen zone from a non-Schengen country should exist, if it occurred.[39][40]

However, on April 13, 2018, the DC Bureau of McClatchy Newspapers reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has evidence that Cohen did travel to Prague during the late-summer of 2016, with two sources having confirmed this secret trip. The evidence is said to show that Cohen entered the Czech Republic from Germany, and since both countries are in European Union’s Schengen passport area, Cohen would not have received a passport stamp to enter Czech territory.[41] The following day, Cohen again denied he has “ever been to Prague”.[42][43] Cohen also said that he didn’t travel to the European Union in August 2016.[44]

In late January 2017, Cohen met with Ukrainian opposition politician Andrey Artemenko and Felix Sater at the Loews Regency in Manhattan to discuss a plan to lift sanctions against Russia. The proposed plan would require that Russian forces withdraw from eastern Ukraine and that Ukraine hold a referendum on whether Crimea should be “leased” to Russia for 50 or 100 years. Cohen was given a written proposal in a sealed envelope that he delivered to then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn in early February.[45]

On April 3, 2017, Cohen was appointed a national deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.[46][47] In April 2017, Cohen also formed an alliance with Squire Patton Boggs for legal and lobbying counsel on behalf of Trump.[48]

In May 2017, amidst expanding inquiries into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, two congressional panels asked Cohen to provide information about any communications he had with people connected to the Russian government.[49][50][10][51][52] He was also a subject of the Mueller investigation in 2018.[53][54][55]

2018

In May 2018, the BBC reported that Cohen had received a secret payment of between $400,000 and $600,000 from intermediaries for Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko to arrange a meeting between Poroshenko and Trump, though Cohen was not registered as a foreign agent.[56] Cohen and the Ukrainian president’s office denied the allegations.[56]

In May 2018, Rudy Giuliani announced that Cohen was no longer Trump’s lawyer.[57] In July, seized tapes secretly recorded by Cohen of his conversations with Trump about hush payments to Karen McDougal were disclosed to the New York Times, seemingly contradicting earlier statements by Trump denying knowledge of the payments[58], and raising questions about campaign finance ethics.[58] Cohen also asserted that then Candidate Trump knew in advance about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between his son, Donald Jr. and other Trump campaign officials with Russians who claimed to possess information damaging to the Hillary Clinton campaign, contradicting the President’s repeated denials that he was aware of the meeting until long after it had taken place.[59]

In June 2018, Cohen resigned as deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee. His resignation letter cited the ongoing investigations and also criticized the Trump administration’s policy of separating undocumented families at the border.[5]

Payment to Stormy Daniels

In the fall of 2016, adult film actress Stephanie Clifford (better known by her stage name Stormy Daniels) was speaking to some reporters about her allegation that she had had a sexual affair with Trump in 2006. In October, Cohen and her attorney, Keith M. Davidson, negotiated a non-disclosure agreement under which she was to be paid $130,000 for her silence. Cohen created a Delaware limited liability company called Essential Consultants and used it to pay the $130,000.[60] The arrangement was publicly revealed by the Wall Street Journal in January 2018.[61][62]

Cohen told The New York Times in February 2018 that the $130,000 was paid to Daniels from his own pocket, that it was not a campaign contribution, and that he was not reimbursed for making it by either the Trump Organization or the Trump campaign.[63] The Washington Post later noted that, by stating that he used his own money to “facilitate” the payment, Cohen was not ruling out the possibility that Trump, as an individual, reimbursed Cohen for the payment.[64] In April 2018, Trump acknowledged for the first time that Cohen has represented him in the Stormy Daniels case, after previously having denied knowledge of the $130,000 payment.[65]

On March 5, the Wall Street Journal cited anonymous sources recounting Cohen as saying he missed two deadlines to pay Daniels because Cohen “couldn’t reach Mr. Trump in the hectic final days of the presidential campaign”, and that after Trump’s election, Cohen had complained that he had not been reimbursed for the payment. Cohen described this report as “fake news“.[66]

On March 9, NBC News reported that Cohen had used his Trump Organization email to negotiate with Daniels regarding her nondisclosure agreement, and that Cohen had used the same Trump Organization email to arrange for a transfer for funds which would eventually lead to Daniels’ payment.[67] In response, Cohen acknowledged that he had transferred funds from his home equity line of credit to the LLC and from the LLC to Daniels’ attorney.[68]

In a March 25, 2018, interview with 60 Minutes, Daniels said that she and Trump had sex once, and that later she had been threatened in front of her infant daughter, and felt pressured to later sign a nondisclosure agreement.[69][70]

On March 26, David Schwarz, a lawyer for Cohen, told ABC’s Good Morning America that Daniels was lying in the 60 Minutes interview. Cohen’s lawyer sent a cease-and-desist letter claiming Daniels’ statements constituted “libel per se and intentional infliction of emotional distress” to Cohen.[71]

Cohen initiated a private arbitration case against Daniels in February 2018, based on an October 2016 non-disclosure agreement signed by Daniels in October 2016 in exchange for $130,000. Cohen obtained an order from an arbitrator barring Daniels from publicly discussing her alleged relationship with Trump.[72][73] Daniels subsequently brought a lawsuit in federal court against Trump and Cohen, arguing that the non-disclosure agreement is legally invalid because Trump never signed it,[74] Cohen responded by seeking to compel arbitration, which would avoid public proceedings.[73] In April 2018, Cohen filed a declaration in the court saying that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself in the Daniels lawsuit.[75][76]

On May 18, lawyers for Cohen filed an objection for Daniel’s lawyer Michael Avenatti being allowed to represent her in a case involving Cohen, claiming it, the objection, was based on the violations of ethical rules, and local court rules, amongst other issues.[77]

Recording of discussion regarding Karen McDougal

In 2016, Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, claimed that she and Trump had an affair from 2006 until 2007, a claim that Trump has since denied.[78] The National Enquirer paid McDougal $150,000 for her story, but never published it, in a practice known as catch-and-kill.[79] On September 30, 2016, Cohen created Resolution Consultants LLC, a Delaware shell company, to purchase the rights to McDougal’s story from the National Enquirer, though the rights to the story were ultimately never purchased.[80][81]

Cohen had been known to record conversations and phone calls with other people.[82] According to his lawyer Lanny Davis, “Michael Cohen had the habit of using his phone to record conversations instead of taking notes”.[83] Altogether the prosecutors have been given more than one hundred audio recordings from the material seized from Cohen in the April raid, after the Trump team withdrew their claims of privilege for those items; reportedly only one of them features a substantive conversation with Trump.[84] The existence of that tape was revealed on July 20 and the actual recording was released on July 25.[78][85]

On July 20, it was revealed that Cohen secretly recorded a conversation with Trump discussing a potential hush payment to the publisher of National Enquirer. The recording had been classified as a privileged attorney-client communication by the Special Master reviewing the Cohen material, but Trump’s attorneys waived that claim, meaning that prosecutors can have it and use it.[78] The conversation in that tape occurred in September 2016, two months before the election and weeks after the Enquirer paid McDougal the $150,000. In the conversation, Trump and Cohen discuss whether to buy the rights to her story from the Enquirer, and Trump appears to approve the idea. Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, initially claimed that the tape shows Trump saying “make sure it’s done correctly, and make sure it’s done by check”.[78] Giuliani also noted that no payment was ultimately made, and asserted that Trump’s team waived privilege and allowed the recording to be revealed because it shows no violation of law.[78] The recording appears to contradict Hope Hicks, then Trump’s spokeswoman, who said when the story of the Enquirer payment came out a few days before the election that the Trump campaign had “no knowledge of any of this”.[86]

On July 25, Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis released the actual recording to CNN, which played it on the air on the Cuomo Prime Time program.[85] On it, Trump can be heard concluding a telephone conversation with an unidentified person and then discussing several items of business with Cohen. Cohen mentions that he needs to “open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David,” interpreted as meaning David Pecker, the head of American Media which publishes the National Enquirer.[85] Later when they discuss financing, Trump is heard saying something about “pay with cash”, to which Cohen responds “no, no, no”, but the tape is unclear and it is disputed what is said next; the word “check” can be heard.[85] A transcript provided by Trump’s attorneys has Trump saying “Don’t pay with cash … check.”[87] The tape cuts off abruptly at that point.[88] A lawyer for the Trump Organization said that any reference to “cash” would not have meant “green currency”, but a one-time payment (“cash”) vs. extended payments (“financing”), in either case accompanied by documents. [85] According to Aaron Blake at The Washington Post, “the tape provides the first evidence that Trump spoke with Cohen about purchasing the rights to women’s stories — apparently to silence them — before the 2016 election.”[88]He also notes that Cohen speaks in “somewhat coded language”, which Trump understands, suggesting that he is already familiar with the issue.

Payment to Shera Bechard

In April 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported that Shera Bechard, a former Playboy Playmate, had an affair with married Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy, got pregnant by him, had an abortion, and was to be paid $1.6 million in so-called “hush money” to stay quiet.[89][90] Broidy is a Republican fundraiser and deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee.

In a 2018 court proceeding, Cohen said he had given legal advice to only three clients in 2017: Donald Trump, Sean Hannity, and Elliott Broidy.[91] In late 2017, Cohen arranged the $1.6 million payment by Broidy to Bechard as part of a nondisclosure agreement requiring Bechard to keep silent about the matter.[92] Cohen was Broidy’s attorney and Keith M. Davidson represented Bechard.[92] Davidson had previously been the attorney for Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.[92] The Bechard nondisclosure agreement used the same pseudonyms – David Dennison for the man and Peggy Peterson for the woman – as in the Daniels agreement.[93] The payments were to be made in installments.

On July 6, 2018, Bechard filed a lawsuit against Broidy, Davidson, and Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti, claiming the three had breached the agreement in relation to the cessation of the settlement payments.[94][95][96][97]

Essential Consultants LLC

Essential Consultants LLC is a Delaware shell company created by Cohen in October 2016 to facilitate payment of hush money to Stormy Daniels.[60] For many months thereafter, Cohen used the LLC[98] for an array of business activities largely unknown to the public, with at least $4.4 million moving through the LLC between Trump’s election to the presidency and January 2018.[99] In May 2018, Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti posted a seven-page report to Twitter detailing what he said were financial transactions involving Essential Consultants and Cohen. Avenatti did not reveal the source of his information, which was later largely confirmed by the New York Times and other publications.[99] The data showed that hundreds of thousands of dollars were given to Cohen, via Essential Consultants, from Fortune 500 firms such as Novartis and AT&T, which had business before the Trump administration. It was also revealed that Essential Consultants had received at least $500,000 from a New York-based investment firm called Columbus Nova which is linked to a Russian oligarch. The firm’s largest client is a company controlled by Viktor Vekselberg, a Ukrainian-born Russian oligarch.[99][100][101][102] Vekselberg is a business partner of Soviet-born billionaire and major Republican Party donor, Leonard Blavatnik.[103] A spokesperson for Columbus Nova said that the payment was a consulting fee that had nothing to do with Vekselberg.[99]

Questions were raised about many of the payments, such as four totaling $200,000 that AT&T paid to the LLC between October 2017 and January 2018,[104][105] while at the same time the proposed merger between the company and Time Warner is pending before the Justice Department. AT&T claimed that the money was paid to the LLC and other firms that were used to provide insights into understanding the new administration, and that the LLC did no legal or lobbying work for AT&T.[99][106]

On May 11, 2018, the CEO of AT&T stated that in early 2017 it was approached by Cohen to provide “his opinion on the new President and his administration”. Cohen was paid $600,000 ($50,000 per month) over the year, which its CEO described as “a big mistake”. Novartis was also approached by Cohen and was offered similar services.[107]

Novartis, a Switzerland–based pharmaceutical giant paid the LLC nearly $1.2 million in separate payments.[108] Novartis released a statement May 9, 2018 that it hired the LLC to help the company understand the “health care policy” of the new administration, but it actually did not receive benefit for its investment. The statement continued that Novartis made a decision to not engage Essential Consultants further, but it could not terminate the contract for “cause”, raising concerns on why the company did not pursue reimbursement.[109]

Korea Aerospace Industries paid $150,000,[102] ostensibly for advice on “cost accounting standards”.[109]

Franklin L. Haney agreed to pay Cohen $10 million if he successfully lobbied for the United States Department of Energy to finance the Bellefonte Nuclear Generating Station, or a reduced fee if the funding targets were only partially met.[110]

Federal investigation

Cohen v US – Govt Opposition to TRO Request

As of April 2018, Cohen was under federal criminal investigation by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.[111] Possible charges reportedly included bank fraud, wire fraud and violations of campaign finance law.[112]

On April 9, 2018, the FBI raided Cohen’s office at the law firm of Squire Patton Boggs, as well as his home and his hotel room in the Loews Regency Hotel in New York City, pursuant to a federal search warrant.[113][114] The warrant was obtained by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, whose public corruption unit was conducting an investigation.[12] Seeking the warrant required high-level approval from the Department of Justice.[115]The Interim U.S. Attorney, Geoffrey Berman, was recused.[116] Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray – both of whom are Trump appointees – had supervisory roles.[117] The FBI obtained the warrant after a referral from Robert Mueller‘s Special Counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections, although underlying reasons for the raid were not revealed.[115][118] Following the raid, Squire Patton Boggs law firm ended its formal working relationship with Cohen.[119]

Agents seized emails, tax records, business records, and other matter related to several topics, including payments made by Cohen to Stormy Daniels,[115] and records related to Trump’s Access Hollywood controversy.[120]Recordings of phone conversations Cohen made were also obtained.[121] According to Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti and civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom, some of the recordings may have included participants located in California, which would make the recordings illegal, as California is a “two party consent” state.[122]

The search included the seizure of materials normally protected by attorney-client privilege, which is subject to a crime-fraud exception if a crime is suspected.[123] However, some legal scholars opined that Trump’s denial that he had knowledge of the Daniels payment, combined with denials by Cohen and his lawyer David Schwartz, meant both sides had effectively said the matter did not involve attorney-client communications.[124] The search warrant itself has been sealed, making it unavailable to the public.[125] The FBI also sought documents pertaining to Cohen’s ownership of taxi medallions.[12][126] Cohen’s taxi fleet is operated by Gene Freidman, who is facing legal trouble for alleged tax evasion.[127]

A few days after the raid, McClatchy reported that the Mueller investigation was in possession of evidence that Cohen traveled to Prague in August or September 2016. If true, the report bolsters similar claims in 3 of 17 reports from the Trump–Russia dossier. According to McClatchy’s confidential sources, Cohen traveled to Prague via Germany, a passage which would not have required use of a passport due to both countries being within the Schengen Area.[128][129][130] In reaction, Cohen denied having ever been to Prague, as he had done in his January 2017 denial following the dossier’s release.[131][42][43] The Spectator, citing an intelligence source in London, echoed the findings of McClatchy that evidence of Cohen visiting Prague was given to the Mueller investigation.[132] Mother Jones reported that Cohen had told them “I was in Prague for one afternoon 14 years ago”, contradicting later statements that he had never visited.[133]

On May 3, 2018, NBC erroneously reported that Cohen’s phone lines had been wiretapped for weeks before his office, home and hotel room were raided and that at least one call between the White House and one of the phone lines associated with Cohen was intercepted. Later that day, NBC corrected the story to indicate that Cohen’s phone calls had been monitored by pen register, which logs the origins and destinations of calls but not the contents.[134][135]

The Wall Street Journal reported on July 26, 2018 that longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg had been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury regarding the Cohen investigation.[136]

Conviction and afterward

In August 2018, it was reported that investigators were in the final stages of their investigation.[137] Cohen officially surrendered to the FBI on August 21, 2018.[138] That afternoon, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight charges: five counts of tax evasion, one count of making false statements to a financial institution, one count of willfully causing an unlawful corporate contribution, and one count of making an excessive campaign contribution at the request of a candidate or campaign.[139][140][141] The plea deal did not include any agreement to cooperate with investigators.[142] The agreement did include jail time. His sentencing is scheduled for December 12, 2018. The judge said he can be released on $500,000 bail after surrendering his passport and any firearms he owns.[141]

After Cohen’s conviction his personal lawyer, Lanny Davis, stated that Cohen was ready to “tell everything about Donald Trump that he knows”.[143] Davis alluded to Cohen’s knowledge which could be used against Trump, and hinted that Cohen had knowledge of whether Trump knew in advance about the computer hacking that was detrimental to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, as well as knowledge of the meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016.[144] He later added that he believed Cohen would agree to testify before Congress, even without immunity.[145]

Responding to speculation that President Trump might issue a pardon for Cohen, lawyer Davis said on NPR, “I know that Mr. Cohen would never accept a pardon from a man that he considers to be both corrupt and a dangerous person in the oval office. And [Cohen] has flatly authorized me to say under no circumstances would he accept a pardon from Mr. Trump.”[146] In his interview to Sky News, Davis said the turning point for his client′s attitude toward Trump was the Helsinki summit in July 2018 which caused him to doubt Trump’s loyalty to the U.S.[147]

Personal life

Cohen married Ukraine-born Laura Shusterman in 1994.[10][148][149] Laura Shusterman’s father, Fima Shusterman, left Ukraine for New York in 1975.[149] He has a daughter who was attending the University of Pennsylvania as of May 2017.[150][151] His uncle is a family practitioner who gave medical aid to members of the Lucchese crime family.[149]

Before joining the Trump Organization, Cohen had purchased several homes in Trump’s buildings.[6] A 2017 New York Times article reported that Cohen is known for having “a penchant for luxury”; he was married at The Pierre, drove a Porsche while attending college, and once owned a Bentley.[10]

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Cohen_(lawyer)

Story 3: Mueller Investigation Has Found No Evidence of Trump/Russian Collusion and No Votes Were Changed By Russians in 2016 President Election — Yes Russians Interfered With 2016 Election — Where Was Obama Administration? — Where is The Evidence of Collusion? — Videos —

Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein: “The indictment charges 13 Russian nationals…” (C-SPAN)

Word for Word: Deputy AG Rosenstein on Indictments of 12 Russian Intelligence Officers (C-SPAN)

Trump calls it a witch hunt – but Mueller just indicted 12 more Russians

What do Mueller’s indictments tell us about what’s next for Russia probe?

Robert Mueller Appointed As Special Counsel To Investigate Russia Collusion

What to Know About the Russia Indictment

Trump-Russia collusion case DOA?

Inconceivable Putin did not know about this: Napolitano

12 Russians indicted, but where’s the collusion?

Special counsel Mueller indicts 13 Russians, Trump denies collusion

Russia is trampling over US interests: Gen. Keane

Revealed: How the 12 Russian hackers indicted by the DOJ used $95,000 worth of Bitcoin to finance their secret bid to swing the 2016 election

  • Hackers fired off fishing emails to Democrats to try and get personal information
  • Used bitcoin payments worth $95,000 to buy domain registrations and servers
  • Spread stolen information on social networks including Twitter and Facebook
  • Used pseudonyms like ‘Kate S. Milton’ and ‘James McMorgans’ to hide identity 
  • One of the hackers spoke directly to long-time Trump confidante Roger Stone 

The indictment on Friday of a dozen Russian military intelligence officers for hacking Democratic Party and Clinton Campaign emails in an effort to sway the 2016 election throws light on a sophisticated operation believed to have close links with Vladimir Putin.

The male hackers adopted pseudonyms from genuine-sounding names like Kate S. Milton and James McMorgans to more bizarre options like djangomagicdev and realblatr as they fired off phishing emails aimed at getting their targets to reveal sensitive information.

This information was then spread through fake social media accounts and websites. Bitcoin transactions worth $95,000 were used to purchase domain registrations and computer servers while maintaining anonymity, according to the indictment.

The 29-page document, drafted by a team overseen by special counsel Robert Mueller, raises some awkward questions for President Trump (seen with First Lady Melania leaving Air Force One after landing in London on Thursday)

Robert Mueller in Washington on June 21, 2017

The document, published by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, says the officers were members of the Russian government’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), which suggests their work was done with the full knowledge of President Putin.

They worked out of two Moscow locations: Unit 26165, located at 20 Komsomolsky Prospekt; and Unit 74455, based in a glass office block on 22 Kirova Street dubbed ‘The Tower’.

The 29-page document, drafted by a team overseen by special counsel Robert Mueller, says that in the months leading up to the November 2016 election, the Russians used fairly simple methods to steal documents from the Democratic Party and the Clinton Campaign.

This including sending emails disguised as Google security alerts containing links to malware, which they then used to steal passwords, track computer usage and monitor banking information.

Information aimed at damaging Clinton’s prospects was then circulated on popular social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook under fake names often claiming to be based on the US.

One of the group’s servers was based in Illinois and, as was usual, bought with bitcoin.

Hackers used phishing emails to target members of the Clinton Campaign and the Democratic Party. Clinton is pictured in Pittsburgh on July 13

Hackers used phishing emails to target members of the Clinton Campaign and the Democratic Party. Clinton is pictured in Pittsburgh on July 13

‘The use of bitcoin allowed the conspirators to avoid direct relationships with traditional financial institutions, allowing them to evade greater scrutiny of their identities and sources of funds,’ the indictment said.

Mueller’s team says the Russians used ‘spearphishing’ – a technique used to steal passwords or otherwise gain access to computers – throughout the summer of 2016 to hack individuals associated with the Clinton campaign.

One attempt noted in the indictment appeared to come hours after Donald Trump suggested Russians look for Clinton’s emails.

On the morning of July 27, 2016, Trump gave a speech in which he said ‘Russia, if you’re listening,’ he’d love to get a look at the thousands of emails Clinton had said she deleted from her tenure as secretary of state.

The indictment points to a hacking attempt that same day, saying that ‘after hours’ the Russians attempted to ‘spearphish for the first time email accounts at a domain hosted by a third-party provider and used by Clinton’s personal office.’

Around the same time, the indictment says, they targeted 76 email addresses at the Clinton campaign’s domain.

The indictment raises questions for President Trump’s long-time confidante Roger Stone, who on Friday acknowledged communicating over Twitter messages with a user called Guccifer 2.0 – identified on the indictment as a Russian agent. Stone insists he did not know this at the time.

Trump’s political opponents have accused Stone of being part of a plot to release material on WikiLeaks, pointing to statements he made in August 2016 suggesting he knew in advance what would appear on the website.

The document says the officers were members of the Russian government's Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), which suggests their work was done with the full knowledge of President Putin (pictured speaking to President Trump in Vietnam on November 11, 2017)

The document says the officers were members of the Russian government’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), which suggests their work was done with the full knowledge of President Putin (pictured speaking to President Trump in Vietnam on November 11, 2017)

According to the indictment, the Russian hacking operation was so precise that they were able to pinpoint specific computers within the House Democratic campaign arm, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the Democratic National Committee that stored information related to the election.

They were able to search the computers for certain terms, like ‘Hillary,’ ”Cruz,’ and ‘Trump.’ They also copied folders, including opposition research and field operation plans.

The Russians hid their involvement through fake email addresses and identities and a network of computers located around the world – including in the United States.

The indictment says the Russians hacked the website of a state board of elections and stole the information of roughly 500,000 voters, including names, addresses, partial Social Security numbers, dates of birth and driver’s license numbers.

They also hacked into a national election vendor that supplied software used to verify voter registration information.

Federal officials have said state election sites in at least 18 states were probed by the Russians. The indictment adds county offices – specifically in Georgia, Florida and Iowa – to the list of election administration sites they allegedly visited ‘to identify vulnerabilities.’

Department of Homeland Security officials have said there is no evidence of any election results being tampered with during the 2016 intrusions.

Senator Mark Warner says Trump should not meet Putin one-on-one

 

Story 4: President Trump’s Supporters in West Virginia Still Wild About President As Approval Rating Declines From 50% to 45% — How Many Miles of Trump’s New Beautiful Wall Have Been Built? — None — Slowing Replacing Old Barriers and Fencing — Congress Has Not Funded Trump’s New Wall — Democrats New Theme “America Was Never Great” — Videos

See the source imageSee the source image

See the source image

President Trump EXPLOSIVE Speech at MASSIVE Rally in Charleston, West Virginia – August 21, 2018

Trump holds rally in West Virginia

Trump talks trade, job growth at MAGA rally in West Virginia

NY Governor Cuomo: America was ‘never that great’

America Was NEVER Great?!” Tucker Reacts to NY Governor Cuomo’s Ludicrous Comment

Andrew Cuomo’s comment was despicable: Judge Jeanine Pirro

Joe Piscopo on Andrew Cuomo: I’m sick of people putting down America

Immersive Live Stream: How’s POTUS’ Rally In WV Last Night?

Cohen pleads guilty, what’s next for President Trump? – BBC Newsnight

Is Donald Trump likely to be impeached? – BBC Newsnight

White House Reaction To Paul Manafort And Michael Cohen Indictments | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

Politicians react to Cohen and Manafort convictions

The Wall Is Being Built! (Slowly.)

Construction workers place a section of new bollard wall on the U.S.-Mexico border in Santa Teresa, N.M., April 23, 2018. (Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters)

The U.S. government is currently installing sections of Trump’s 30-foot-high wall in three places.The good news for those who wish to see a wall built along the U.S.–Mexican border is that U.S. Customs and Border Protection has built seven miles of 30-foot-high wall in the past few months, and roughly 30 more miles of high fencing are slated for construction.

The bad news is that there’s still a lot of border to go.

New reports from Carlos Diaz, southwest branch chief of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, indicate that one of the three current wall projects is nearly complete, another is about a quarter of the way done, and one just began earlier this month.

The first border-wall construction project began in February near downtown Calexico, Calif., roughly 120 miles east of San Diego. Here, construction contractor SWF Constructors, of Omaha, Neb., is putting up a 30-foot high “bollard-style wall” to replace 2.25 miles of wall built in the 1990s out of recycled scraps of metal and steel plates. (The bollard style uses bars, so that border patrol officers can see through to the other side.)

When construction began, the agency stated, “Although the existing wall has proven effective at deterring unlawful cross border activity, smuggling organizations damaged and breached this outdated version of a border wall several hundred times during the last two years, resulting in costly repairs.” When construction began, David Kim, assistant chief patrol agent for the Border Patrol’s El Centro sector, emphasized to local media that the construction was not tied to any particular immigration debate in Washington. It was, he said, a “local tactical infrastructure project that was planned for quite some time.”

This wall project, estimated to cost about $18 million, is approaching completion, with roughly 1.8 miles — 1,171 panels – completed as of this week.

In April, CBP began the second section near Santa Theresa, N.M., which is near the Texas–New Mexico state line. 20-mile section of existing vehicle barrier that begins just west of the Santa Teresa Port of Entry and extending westward will be replaced with an 18- to 30-foot-high bollard-style wall. About 5.3 miles, or 3,851 panels, have been completed.

As the name implies, a vehicle fence is not designed to keep people out. It comes in two forms: “Normandy fences” that are metal posts resembling jacks or large X’s, cabled together; or rows of vertical metal posts, tall enough and close enough together to make it impossible to drive a car through them.

The project is expected to cost approximately $73.3 million and will take roughly a year to complete.

The total length of the U.S.–Mexico border is 1,954 miles; as of August 2017, 705 miles have at least one of four kinds of barriers.

At the beginning of June, the CBP began the third project near San Diego, replacing approximately 14 miles of 8- to 10-foot-high scrap metal wall with an 18- to 30-foot bollard-style wall topped off with an anti-climbing plate. The project begins approximately a half-mile from the Pacific Ocean coastline and extends eastward to the base of Otay Mountain in East San Diego County. The project is estimated to cost $147 million; 50 panels have been installed as of June 20.

The total length of the U.S.–Mexico border is 1,954 miles; as of August 2017, 705 miles have at least one of four kinds of barriers: pedestrian primary fence, pedestrian secondary fence, pedestrian tertiary fence, and vehicle fence.

According to the General Accounting Office, the amount of primary and vehicle fencing increased fairly dramatically during the latter years of the Bush administration and in the first year or so of the Obama administration. From 2005 to 2010, the total miles of border fencing on the southwest border increased from 119 to 654 — including 354 miles of primary pedestrian fencing and 300 miles of primary vehicle fencing. But after 2010, construction of new fencing came to a virtual halt.

A map of the fencing completed as of December 2017 shows much of California’s border covered, Arizona heavily dependent on vehicle fencing (183 miles’ worth), with southwestern New Mexico and west Texas having the longest uncovered stretches. This aligns with the areas where the terrain and heat are most difficult for those attempting to sneak over the border.

Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council — the labor union that represents U.S. Border Patrol — testified before Congress in April 2017:

I will not advocate for 2,000 miles’ worth of border. That is just not necessary. But what I will advocate for is a border wall in strategic locations, which helps us secure the border. . . . The building of barriers and large fences, a bipartisan effort, allowed agents in part to dictate where illegal crossings took place and doubled how effective I was able to be in apprehending illegal border crossers.

A wall “is not a panacea to illegal immigration and drug trafficking,” he added in his submitted written testimony. “Illegal immigrants and drug traffickers routinely go over, under, and through the existing fencing that we already have in place. Fencing without the proper manpower to arrest those who penetrate it is not a prudent investment.”

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/06/us-mexico-border-wall-being-built-slowly/#slide-1

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1128, August 20, 2018, Story 1: President Trump Waived Executive Privilege By Allowing Don McGahan To Be Interview By Special Counsel Mueller for 30 Hours — Videos — Story 2: Mueller Mad Men Mob Witch Hunt and Perjury Trap — Videos — Story 3: American People Want Mueller Investigation Ended Before Election and Second Special Counsel To Investigate and Prosecute Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency and White House Plotters of The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Videos —

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Pronk Pops Show 1115, July 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1114, July 25, 2018

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Story 1: President Trump Waived Executive Privilege By Allowing Don McGahan To Be Interview By Special Counsel Mueller for 30 Hours — Videos —

Hannity: Equal justice under the law is in jeopardy

Did White House Counsel Don McGahn Flip On The President? | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

Trump claims he gave approval for Don McGahn to speak with the special counsel

What we know about Don McGahn’s cooperation with the Mueller probe

Trump says he let White House counsel co-operate with Russia probe

Mark Levin: Mueller a ‘Greater Threat’ to United States Than Putin

Trump Lawyers’ Sudden Realization: They Don’t Know What Don McGahn Told Mueller’s Team

After Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, was initially interviewed by the special counsel’s office in November, President Trump’s lawyers never asked for a complete description of what Mr. McGahn had said.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

By Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt

Lawyers do not know just how much the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, told the special counsel’s investigators during months of interviews, a lapse that has contributed to a growing recognition that an early strategy of full cooperation with the inquiry was a potentially damaging mistake.

The president’s lawyers said on Sunday that they were confident that Mr. McGahn had said nothing injurious to the president during the 30 hours of interviews. But Mr. McGahn’s lawyer has offered only a limited accounting of what Mr. McGahn told the investigators, according to two people close to the president.

That has prompted concern among Mr. Trump’s advisers that Mr. McGahn’s statements could help serve as a key component for a damning report by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, which the Justice Department could send to Congress, according to two people familiar with the discussions.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers realized on Saturday that they had not been provided a full accounting after The New York Times published an articledescribing Mr. McGahn’s extensive cooperation with Mr. Mueller’s office. After Mr. McGahn was initially interviewed by the special counsel’s office in November, Mr. Trump’s lawyers never asked for a complete description of what Mr. McGahn had said, according to a person close to the president.

Mr. McGahn’s lawyer, William A. Burck, gave the president’s lawyers a short overview of the interview but few details, and he did not inform them of what Mr. McGahn said in subsequent interactions with the investigators, according to a person close to Mr. Trump. Mr. McGahn and Mr. Burck feared that Mr. Trump was setting up Mr. McGahn to take the blame for any possible wrongdoing, so they embraced the opening to cooperate fully with Mr. Mueller in an effort to demonstrate that Mr. McGahn had done nothing wrong.

On Sunday, Mr. Trump’s lead lawyer dealing with the special counsel, Rudolph W. Giuliani, appeared to acknowledge that he had only a partial understanding of what Mr. McGahn had revealed. Mr. Giuliani said his knowledge was secondhand, given to him by a former Trump lawyer, John Dowd, who was one of the primary forces behind the initial strategy of full cooperation.

Image
Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s lead lawyer dealing with the special counsel, appeared to acknowledge that he had only a partial understanding of what Mr. McGahn had revealed, saying his knowledge was secondhand.CreditCharles Krupa/Associated Press

“I’ll use his words rather than mine, that McGahn was a strong witness for the president, so I don’t need to know much more about that,” Mr. Giuliani said of Mr. Dowd on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

But Mr. McGahn, who as White House counsel is not the president’s personal lawyer, has repeatedly made clear to the president that his role is as a protector of the presidency, not of Mr. Trump personally.

Legal experts and former White House counsels said the president’s lawyers had been careless in not asking Mr. McGahn what he had planned to tell Mr. Mueller’s prosecutors. The experts said Mr. Trump’s lawyers had the right to know the full extent of what Mr. McGahn was going to say.

Robert F. Bauer, a White House counsel under President Barack Obama, said Mr. McGahn’s lawyer may have taken the most prudent course for his client by not addressing “each and every detail about the questions that were specifically asked and the specific answers given.”

In its article, The Times said Mr. McGahn had shared detailed accounts about the episodes at the heart of the investigation into whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice in the Russia inquiry. Some of the episodes — like Mr. Trump’s attempt to fire Mr. Mueller last summer — would not have been revealed to investigators without Mr. McGahn’s help.

The article set off a scramble on Saturday among Mr. Trump’s lawyers and advisers. The president, sequestered at his private golf club in Bedminster, N.J., solicited opinions from a small group of advisers on the possible repercussions from the article. The president ordered Mr. Giuliani to tell reporters that the article was wrong, but Mr. Giuliani did not go that far in his television appearances.

The report by The Times also reignited a debate about whether Mr. Trump had been given bad advice by his former lawyers Mr. Dowd and Ty Cobb to allow full cooperation with Mr. Mueller’s team, including by waiving attorney-client privilege. Mr. Dowd and Mr. Cobb believed that the cooperation would help prove that the president had done nothing wrong and bring a swifter end to the investigation.

 

Image

John Dowd, a former lawyer for Mr. Trump, argued that he had made the right choice in urging full cooperation with the special counsel.CreditRichard Drew/Associated Press

But the strategy “put Don McGahn in an impossible situation, because once you waive that privilege and you turn over all those documents, Don McGahn has no choice then but to go in and answer everything, every question they could ask him,” Chris Christie, a former United States attorney and a close ally of Mr. Trump, said on ABC News’s “This Week.”

“It’s bad legal advice, bad lawyering, and this is a result of it,” Mr. Christie added.

Stephen K. Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, who had argued last summer against cooperating with Mr. Mueller, said, “This was a reckless and dangerously naïve strategy, and I’ve vocally said that since the time I left the White House, and I’ve said it to the president.”

The Times reported that Mr. McGahn, over at least three interviews, laid out how Mr. Trump had tried to ensure control of the special counsel investigation. Mr. McGahn gave a mix of damaging and favorable information about the president, but he said Mr. Trump did not go beyond his legal authorities as president.

Although Mr. Trump’s lawyers have little idea what Mr. McGahn told investigators, they said on Saturday and Sunday that Mr. McGahn had helped the president.

In an email to members of Mr. Trump’s legal team and other associates, which was obtained by The Times, Mr. Dowd said he had made the right choice in urging cooperation.

“We protected President by not asserting attorney-client privilege,” Mr. Dowd wrote. He added that, had the lawyers forced the Mueller team to subpoena witnesses, they would have lost the ability to exert privilege over witnesses and documents.

Still, Mr. Trump was rattled by the Times report, according to people familiar with his thinking. The president, who is said to be obsessed with the role that John W. Dean, the White House counsel to President Richard M. Nixon, played as an informant during Watergate, was jolted by the notion that he did not know what Mr. McGahn had shared.

Mr. Trump lashed out about the report on Twitter, saying that The Times had falsely insinuated that Mr. McGahn had “turned” on him.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

The failing @nytimes wrote a Fake piece today implying that because White House Councel Don McGahn was giving hours of testimony to the Special Councel, he must be a John Dean type “RAT.” But I allowed him and all others to testify – I didn’t have to. I have nothing to hide……

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

….and have demanded transparency so that this Rigged and Disgusting Witch Hunt can come to a close. So many lives have been ruined over nothing – McCarthyism at its WORST! Yet Mueller & his gang of Dems refuse to look at the real crimes on the other side – Media is even worse!

Image

Ty Cobb, another former lawyer for Mr. Trump, had joined Mr. Dowd in arguing for full cooperation. But there is a growing recognition among Mr. Trump’s lawyers that the advice was misguided.CreditJonathan Ernst/Reuters

Last fall, Mr. McGahn believed that he was being set up to be blamed for any wrongdoing by the president in part because of an article published in The Times in September, which described a conversation that a reporter had overheard between Mr. Dowd and Mr. Cobb.

In the conversation — which occurred over lunch at a table on the sidewalk outside the Washington steakhouse B.L.T. — Mr. Cobb discussed the White House’s production of documents to Mr. Mueller’s office. Mr. Cobb talked about how Mr. McGahn was opposed to cooperation and had documents locked in his safe.

After the account of the lunch conversation was published, Mr. McGahn became convinced that Mr. Cobb believed that he was hiding documents. Concerned that he would be blamed, he decided to try to demonstrate to Mr. Mueller that he and other White House lawyers had done nothing wrong.

As Mr. Trump’s lawyers have shifted to a more antagonistic approach toward Mr. Mueller, it has seemed increasingly unlikely that Mr. Trump will sit for a voluntary interview. On “Meet the Press,” Mr. Giuliani repeated his fear of a “perjury trap.”

“It’s somebody’s version of the truth, not the truth,” Mr. Giuliani said of any statements by the president in such an interview.

“Truth is truth,” the show’s host, Chuck Todd, answered.

“No, it isn’t truth,” Mr. Giuliani replied. “Truth isn’t truth.”

Noah Weiland and Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/19/us/politics/don-mcgahn-trump-mueller.html

 

White House Counsel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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White House Counsel
US-WhiteHouse-Logo.svg
Don McGahn official photo.png

Incumbent
Don McGahn

since January 20, 2017

Formation 1943
First holder Samuel Rosenman

The White House Counsel is a staff appointee of the President of the United States whose role is to advise the President on all legal issues concerning the President and his Administration. The current White House Counsel is Don McGahn.

Responsibilities

The Office of Counsel to the President was created in 1943, and is responsible for advising on all legal aspects of policy questions, legal issues arising in connection with the President’s decision to sign or veto legislation, ethical questions, financial disclosures, and conflicts of interest during employment and post employment. The Counsel’s Office also helps define the line between official and political activities, oversees executive appointments and judicial selection, handles Presidential pardons, reviews legislation and Presidential statements, and handles lawsuits against the President in his role as President, as well as serving as the White Housecontact for the Department of Justice.

The White House Counsel offers legal advice to the President, the Counsel in the President’s official capacity but does not serve as the President’s personal attorney. The scope of the attorney–client privilege between the Counsel and the President, applies to official and not strictly personal matters. It also does not apply to legislative proceedings by the U.S. Congress against a President due to allegations of misconduct while in office, such as formal censures or impeachment proceedings. A President relies on a personal attorney for confidential legal advice. The office is distinct from the judiciary, and from others who are not appointed to positions, but nominated by the President, and confirmed by the Senate. These would be foremost the Attorney General of the United States, and his or her principal deputy and other assistants, who are nominated by the President to oversee the United States Department of Justice, or the Solicitor General of the United States and his or her staff (he or she is the fourth-ranking official in the Justice Department), who argue cases before the U.S. Supreme Court (and in lower federal courts) for the Justice Department when it is a party to the case.

List of White House Counsels

Officeholder Term start Term end President
Samuel Rosenman October 2, 1943 February 1, 1946 Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S. Truman
Clark Clifford February 1, 1946 January 31, 1950
Charles Murphy January 31, 1950 January 20, 1953
Bernard Shanley January 20, 1953 February 19, 1955 Dwight D. Eisenhower
Gerald Morgan February 19, 1955 November 5, 1958
David Kendall November 5, 1958 January 20, 1961
Ted Sorensen January 20, 1961 February 29, 1964 John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Mike Feldman April 1964 January 17, 1965
Lee White January 17, 1965 February 11, 1966
Milton Semer February 14, 1966 December 31, 1966
Harry McPherson February 11, 1966 October 26, 1967
Larry Temple October 26, 1967 January 20, 1969
John Ehrlichman January 20, 1969 November 4, 1969 Richard Nixon
Charles Colson November 6, 1969 July 9, 1970
John Dean July 9, 1970 April 30, 1973
Leonard Garment April 30, 1973 August 9, 1974
William Casselman August 9, 1974 September 19, 1975 Gerald Ford
Philip Buchen September 19, 1975 January 20, 1977
Robert Lipshutz January 20, 1977 October 1, 1979 Jimmy Carter
Lloyd Cutler October 1, 1979 January 20, 1981
Fred Fielding January 20, 1981 May 23, 1986 Ronald Reagan
Peter Wallison May 23, 1986 March 20, 1987
Arthur Culvahouse March 20, 1987 January 20, 1989
C. Boyden Gray January 20, 1989 January 20, 1993 George H. W. Bush
Bernard Nussbaum January 20, 1993 March 8, 1994 Bill Clinton
Lloyd Cutler March 8, 1994 October 1, 1994
Abner Mikva October 1, 1994 November 1, 1995
Jack Quinn November 1, 1995 February 1997
Chuck Ruff February 1997 September 1999
Beth Nolan September 1999 January 20, 2001
Alberto Gonzales January 20, 2001 February 3, 2005 George W. Bush
Harriet Miers February 3, 2005 January 31, 2007
Fred Fielding January 31, 2007 January 20, 2009
Greg Craig January 20, 2009 January 3, 2010 Barack Obama
Bob Bauer January 3, 2010 June 30, 2011
Kathryn Ruemmler June 30, 2011 June 2, 2014
Neil Eggleston June 2, 2014 January 20, 2017
Don McGahn January 20, 2017 present Donald Trump

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_House_Counsel

Don McGahn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Don McGahn
Don McGahn official photo.png
White House Counsel
Assumed office
January 20, 2017
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Neil Eggleston
Chairman of the Federal Election Commission
In office
July 10, 2008 – December 31, 2008
President George W. Bush
Succeeded by Steven T. Walther
Member of the Federal Election Commission
In office
July 9, 2008 – September 12, 2013
President George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Preceded by David Mason
Succeeded by Lee E. Goodman
Personal details
Born Donald Francis McGahn II
June 16, 1968 (age 50)
Atlantic CityNew Jersey, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Shannon McGahn
Children 2
Education University of Notre Dame (BA)
Widener University (JD)
Georgetown University (LLM)
Signature

Donald Francis McGahn II (born June 16, 1968) is an American lawyer and political figure. He is the current White House Counsel and Assistant to the President for U.S. President Donald Trump, serving since January 20, 2017, and was formerly a Commissioner of the United States Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Early life and education

McGahn grew up in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the son of Noreen (Rogan) and Donald F. McGahn,[1] and attended Our Lady Star of the Sea School in Atlantic City and Holy Spirit High School in nearby Absecon.[2] He briefly attended the United States Naval Academy before transferring to the University of Notre Dame.[3] At the University of Notre Dame he received a B.A. degree in history and computer applications[4] . He obtained his J.D. degree from Widener University School of Law in 1994 followed by an LL.M. degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2002.[5]

Career

After graduation from law school, McGahn worked in campaign finance law at the Washington, D.C. office of law firm Patton Boggs.[6] From 1999 to 2008, McGahn was chief counsel for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).[7]

George W. Bush nominated McGahn as a Republican-selected member of the Federal Election Commission in 2008. He was confirmed on June 24, 2008 by the United States Senate and was sworn in shortly thereafter. He is credited as having played a crucial role in loosening regulations on campaign spending.[8][9] McGahn resigned from the FEC in September 2013.[10]

After leaving the FEC, McGahn returned to the law firm Patton Boggs.[7] In 2014 he moved to the law firm of Jones Day in Washington, D.C.[8]

Trump 2016 campaign

McGahn served as Donald Trump‘s campaign counsel during his 2016 campaign for president.[7] McGahn managed all litigation involving Donald Trump’s 2016 Presidential campaign. Early in 2016, he stopped efforts to keep Trump off of the Republican primary ballot in New Hampshire by going to court and winning to ensure ballot access in a key primary state.[11] McGahn also assembled and oversaw the legal team that helped defeat the NeverTrump movement at the 2016 Republican National Convention, both in the RNC Rules Committee and on the convention floor.[12] Several weeks before the election, lawsuits were filed in four battleground states alleging voter intimidation and seeking to enjoin the Trump campaign from having observers at polling locations.[13] McGahn successfully managed and won these litigations.[14]

Trump presidency

Shortly after Trump won the election, he named McGahn General Counsel of the Presidential Transition Team. On November 25, 2016, McGahn was named White House Counsel for the President-elect’s new administration.[15][16]

McGahn personally recommended Trump nominate Neil Gorsuch to replace Antonin Scalia and Brett Kavanaugh to replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Gorsuch’s first official interview with Trump staff was on January 5, 2017 when McGahn met with him in Trump Tower. Trump and McGahn met with him on January 14, 2017. McGahn called Gorsuch on January 27, 2017 to tell him that he had been selected as the nominee.[17]Gorsuch was sworn in on Monday April 10, 2017.[18] McGahn also recommended the nomination of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta. Acosta was sworn in on April 28, 2017.[19]

McGahn assembled a team of lawyers to oversee filling all judicial vacancies. Guided by McGahn’s team, President Trump had already appointed ten appellate judges by November 11, 2017, the most that early in a presidency since Richard Nixon.[20]

According to the New York Times, McGahn conveyed instructions from President Trump to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, requesting Sessions not to recuse himself from overseeing investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election.[21] McGahn was unaware that Sessions had already consulted with career attorneys at the Department of Justice. When Sessions informed him he had already decided to recuse himself, McGahn ceased further discussion of the topic.[22] In response to this, Walter Shaub, former director of the United States Office of Government Ethics, said McGahn had “done much to undermine anticorruption mechanisms in this country.” Shaub said, “It is a crime for a federal employee to participate in a particular matter in which he has a financial interest.”[23]

Donald J. Trump via Twitter
@realdonaldtrump

The failing @nytimes wrote a Fake piece today implying that because White House Councel Don McGahn was giving hours of testimony to the Special Councel, he must be a John Dean type “RAT.” But I allowed him and all others to testify – I didn’t have to. I have nothing to hide……

19 Aug 2018[24]

In January 2018 The New York Times reported that in June, 2017, the president asked McGahn to instruct top Justice Department officials to dismiss special counsel Robert Mueller, and that McGahn refused, instead threatening to resign.[25][26]

The New York Times reported on August 18, 2018 that McGahn had been cooperating extensively with the Special Counsel investigation for several months and that he and his lawyer had become concerned that Trump “had decided to let Mr. McGahn take the fall for decisions that could be construed as obstruction of justice, like the Comey firing, by telling the special counsel that he was only following shoddy legal advice from Mr. McGahn.”.[27]

Donald J. Trump via Twitter
@realdonaldtrump

….and have demanded transparency so that this Rigged and Disgusting Witch Hunt can come to a close. So many lives have been ruined over nothing – McCarthyism at its WORST! Yet Mueller & his gang of Dems refuse to look at the real crimes on the other side – Media is even worse!

19 Aug 2018[28]

Personal life

McGahn is married to Shannon McGahn, former Counselor to Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin.[29][30] They have two sons.[7]

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_McGahn

Story 2: Mueller Mad Men Mob Witch Hunt and Perjury Trap — Videos

 

Dershowitz on dangers of a perjury trap for Trump

Trump fears “perjury trap”

BARTIROMO INTREVIEW GIULIANI: MUELLER PROBE SHOULD ALREADY BE OVER

Trump expresses concern over “perjury trap

Jake Tapper takes on Giuliani’s ‘alternate reality’

Alan Dershowitz on Giuliani’s ‘truth’ comment: He was absolutely right

Giuliani: Mueller wants to be ‘judge and jury’ of midterms

Trump and his legal team accuse Mueller of setting a ‘perjury trap’

Roger Stone: Mueller setting ‘perjury trap’ for Trump

Published on Jan 24, 2018

Judge Jeanine Rips Mueller for Lack of Investigation Into Bruce Ohr

Robert Mueller Shouldn’t Even Ask Trump for an Interview

With testimony from the president’s top lawyer, the special counsel is in no position to claim he needs to speak with Trump.For months, these columns have contended that, on the question whether President Trump should agree to a request by Special Counsel Robert Mueller III for an interview, the burden of persuasion has been imposed on the wrong party. That is, the president should not even be asked to submit to questioning at this point; the prosecutor must first establish that the president (1) is implicated in a serious crime and (2) has information or evidence that the prosecutor is unable to obtain from any other source.

That argument is bolstered by this weekend’s New York Times report that, with the president’s consent, Mueller’s team has conducted 30 hours of interviews with White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II. Having secured testimony from the president’s top lawyer, the special counsel is in no position to claim that he needs the president’s own testimony.

Reportedly, the president consented to Mueller’s interview of McGhan at the urging of a legal team that, for the most part, has since been overhauled — John Dowd, who served (along with Sekulow) as Trump’s private counsel, and the now-retired Ty Cobb, who was brought into the White House Counsel’s Office (over McGahn’s objection, according to the Times) to manage the administration’s response to the investigation — a job taken over since Cobb’s retirement by Emmet Flood.

As we have noted several times, it seems certain that the special counsel is going to write a report that, even if it does not accuse the president of crimes, will be censorious regarding the president’s judgment and comportment. It is reasonable to assume that information from the extensive interviews with McGahn will be exploited for that purpose. I suspect the degree to which this will be the case is being overstated by pundits: Whatever color commentary the White House counsel may have added, it is hardly a secret, for example, that the Trump administration gave contradictory explanations for firing FBI director James Comey, that the president has pressured the attorney general to renounce his recusal, and that there is a constant Twitter stream of spleen-venting over the special counsel’s “witch hunt.”

It is more useful, then, to focus on how the McGahn interviews may have a meaningful impact on the investigation. That brings us to Mueller’s desire to interview Trump, currently expressed as a request but one that, if the president declines, could take the form of a coercive demand — i.e., a subpoena.

It is simply a fact that the law does not require all important witnesses in criminal cases to testify if called upon. The central witness in any criminal case is the main suspect, whose testimony is never required under the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Similarly, spouses are not required to testify against one another, and the law generally protects communications between doctors and patients, priests and penitents, attorneys and clients, and so on. When such privileges are invoked, it does not matter that suppressed information is vital to the search for truth. Our law reflects society’s judgment that some concerns and relationships outweigh the legal system’s need for each person’s testimony.

As we’ve also noted, if Trump were a journalist rather than the president, everyone would understand that a prosecutor may not just willy-nilly issue a subpoena. Justice Department rules would require the prosecutor to establish both that a serious crime was under investigation and that the journalist had critical information for which there was no other source — and even then, the Justice Department might well instruct the prosecutor not to issue a subpoena.

Here, Mueller has not come close to satisfying these conditions — certainly not publicly. The McGahn interviews indicate that he could not do so.

To begin with, it does not appear that the president is implicated in a crime. He was repeatedly told that he was not a suspect in the “collusion with Russia” aspect of the investigation. As I’ve just outlined in another column about Mueller’s access to McGahn, the special counsel’s legal theory on the obstruction aspect of the investigation is dubious at best. It hinges on the idea that a president can be criminally liable for obstruction based on lawful acts — acts within the president’s constitutional prerogatives — that the prosecutor suspects may have been corruptly motivated.

I do not believe Mueller can make the showing that should be required before he gets to interview the president. At a minimum, though, the special counsel should be compelled to establish that his obstruction theory is sound. If there is no crime, there is nothing to discuss.

That aside, the McGahn interviews demonstrate that Mueller has no need for the president’s testimony.

Given the White House counsel’s intimate involvement in presidential decision-making, McGahn’s testimony gives the special counsel everything he could want from President Trump himself: solid evidence about what the president said and was thinking when the actions Mueller is probing were taken. According to the president’s private counsel, the White House made available to Mueller 37 witnesses and 1.4 million documents. Now we know that this extraordinary disclosure also included the president’s top lawyer, whose testimony Trump could lawfully have withheld.

Remember, the attorney–client privilege was the pretext by which the Obama Justice Department undermined the Clinton-emails caper. Mrs. Clinton insinuated lawyers in establishing the private server system over which she improperly conducted government business, and in vetting her emails — over 30,000 of which she deleted and attempted to destroy, falsely claiming they were all “private.” At every turn, investigators were blocked from critical lines of inquiry and evidence on the rationale that pursuing them could breach lawyer–client confidentiality.

In stark contrast, Trump waived his privileges and made his lawyer available for 30 hours of questioning. Consequently, the special counsel has already gotten far more information than he was entitled to regarding the president’s actions and state of mind. Bear in mind, due to the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, it is very common for prosecutors to complete investigations and make charging decisions without interviewing the principal subject of the investigation. And the prosecutor almost never gets to interview the subject’s lawyer.

Plainly, the special counsel has all the information he needs to write his report. The president could well decide to consent to Mueller’s request for an interview. As we’ve observed, there would be risk in doing so; the president would be well advised to decline unless, at a minimum, Mueller discloses whether he regards the president as a criminal suspect and, if so, of what crime and on what basis. But the prospect of a subpoena should be off the table. The special counsel does not need the president’s testimony in order to complete his work.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/08/robert-mueller-donald-trump-interview-request/

Story 3: American People Want Mueller Investigation Ended Before Election and Second Special Counsel To Investigate and Prosecute Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency and White House Plotters of The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Videos —

See the source image

House Republicans Press Conference Demanding Second Special Counsel 5/22/18

GOP Drops the Judicial HAMMER on DOJ, Forcing Them to Reveal the TRUTH on FISA Warrant

End Russia investigation before election, say majority of Americans

Aug 15, 2018

Two-thirds across both parties want Robert Mueller to report back before November mid-terms 

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Two-thirds of Americans want the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election to conclude before the mid-term elections in November.

The CNN poll “comes amid rebounding approval ratings for both President Donald Trump and [special investigator Robert] Mueller for their handling of the investigation, and a growing share of voters who say the investigation will matter to their vote this fall” reports the news channel.

While support for ending the probe before the midterms is likely to be seized upon by the Trump administration as positive proof that public opinion has turned against Mueller, “that is where they would be making a major mistake”, says CNN’s editor-at-large Chris Cillizza.

“Because if you look at any question in the CNN poll – other than the one about when people want the probe to end – and you see piece after piece of evidence that Trump is losing the public relations war on Russia”.

Of those questioned, 70% believe the president should testify before Mueller, while the former FBI director has enjoyed a sizable bump in the polls, with 47% now saying they approve of his handling of the Russia investigation, up from 41% in June.

However, Mueller is on the clock with 66% saying he should try to complete his investigation by November’s congressional elections, although this percentage is lowest among Democrats, who are more likely to favour giving Mueller the time he needs to complete the probe, reports The Hill.

Unfortunately for the 30% of voters who say its conclusions will be “extremely important” to how they cast their ballot in November, “the Justice Department generally does its best to avoid taking action in such a way that it might influence an election”, says The New York Times.

“Functionally, this means that voters will likely be left to make up their minds about how seriously to take the possibility of collusion without any further guidance from the special counsel’s office”, says the paper.

“In the championship chess match that is the Russia imbroglio, President Trump and the White House are hoping that Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller has stumbled into what players call ‘time trouble’,” says NPR.

“Mueller, they believe, doesn’t want to make any major moves or announcements after Labor Day [3 September], because he’s sensitive to criticism that he might improperly influence the midterm election. If that’s so, Mueller has roughly three weeks to do whatever he’s going to do and then — who knows? Simply go quiet until after Election Day? Or wrap up his inquiry altogether?” says the public broadcaster.

But while the Russia investigation continues to hang over Trump, there was some good news in the CNN poll for the embattled billionaire after he polled higher than one of his predecessors at the same point in their presidency for the very first time.

Trump’s overall 42% approval rating outpaces Jimmy Carter’s and Bill Clinton’s ratings of 39% each in the August of their second year in office, and even narrowly tops Ronald Reagan’s 41% rating in August of 1982.

http://www.theweek.co.uk/95836/end-russia-investigation-before-election-say-majority-of-americans

 

Judge Jeanine: Now we know why Hillary used private email

Hatch Act of 1939

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Hatch Act of 1939
Great Seal of the United States
Long title An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities
Enacted by the 76th United States Congress
Effective August 2, 1939
Citations
Public law Pub.L. 76–252
Statutes at Large 53 Stat. 1147
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the Senate as S. 1871 by Carl Hatch (DNM)
  • Passed the Senate on
  • Passed the House on
  • Signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt onAugust 2, 1939
Major amendments
1993, 2012

The Hatch Act of 1939, officially An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities, is a United States federal law whose main provision prohibits employees in the executive branch of the federal government, except the president, vice-president, and certain designated high-level officials,[1] from engaging in some forms of political activity. It went into law on August 2, 1939. The law was named for Senator Carl Hatch of New Mexico. It was most recently amended in 2012.[2]

Background

Widespread allegations that local Democratic Party politicians used employees of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the congressional elections of 1938 provided the immediate impetus for the passage of the Hatch Act. Criticism centered on swing states such as Kentucky,[3] Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. In Pennsylvania, Republicans and dissident Democrats publicized evidence that Democratic politicians were consulted on the appointment of WPA administrators and case workers and that they used WPA jobs to gain unfair political advantage.[4] In 1938, a series of newspaper articles exposed WPA patronage, and political contributions in return for employment, prompting an investigation by the Senate Campaign Expenditures Committee, headed by Sen. Morris Sheppard, a Texas Democrat.[5]

Despite that investigation’s inconclusive findings, many in both parties determined to take action against the growing power of the WPA and its chief administrator, Harry Hopkins, an intimate of President Roosevelt. The Act was sponsored by Senator Carl Hatch, a Democrat from New Mexico. At the time, Roosevelt was struggling to purge the Democratic party of its more conservative members, who were increasingly aligned with the administration’s Republican opponents. The president considered vetoing the legislation or allowing it to become law without his signature, but instead signed it on the last day he could do so. His signing message welcomed the legislation as if he had called for it, and emphasized the protection his administration would provide for political expression on the part of public employees.[6]

Provisions

The 1939 Act forbids the intimidation or bribery of voters and restricts political campaign activities by federal employees. It prohibits using any public funds designated for relief or public works for electoral purposes. It forbids officials paid with federal funds from using promises of jobs, promotion, financial assistance, contracts, or any other benefit to coerce campaign contributions or political support. It provides that persons below the policy-making level in the executive branch of the federal government must not only refrain from political practices that would be illegal for any citizen, but must abstain from “any active part” in political campaigns, using this language to specify those who are exempt:[7]

  • (i) an employee paid from an appropriation for the Executive Office of the President; or
  • (ii) an employee appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, whose position is located within the United States, who determines policies to be pursued by the United States in the nationwide administration of Federal laws.

The act also precludes federal employees from membership in “any political organization which advocates the overthrow of our constitutional form of government,”[8] a provision meant to prohibit membership in organizations on the far left and far right, such as the German-American Bund and the Communist Party USA.[9]

An amendment on July 19, 1940 extended the Act to certain employees of state and local governments whose positions are primarily paid for by federal funds. It has been interpreted to bar political activity on the part of employees of state agencies administering federal unemployment insurance programs and appointed local law enforcement agency officials with oversight of federal grant funds. The Hatch Act bars state and local government employees from running for public office if any federal funds support the position, even if the position is funded almost entirely with local funds.[10]

The Merit Systems Protection Board and the Office of Special Counsel are responsible for enforcement of the Hatch Act.[11]

Supreme Court challenges

The Supreme Court has several times declined to hear challenges to the act and has twice upheld its constitutionality. In a 1947 case brought by the CIO, a divided court found that Congress had properly exercised its authority as long as it had not affected voting rights. Justice William O. Douglas objected to the assertion that “clean politics” required the act’s restrictions: “it would hardly seem to be imperative to muzzle millions of citizens because some of them, if left to their constitutional freedoms, might corrupt the political process.”[12]In 1973, in a case brought by the National Association of Letter Carriers, a 6 to 3 decision found the act neither too broad nor unclear. The court’s three most liberal justices, Douglas, William J. Brennan, and Thurgood Marshall, dissented. Douglas wrote: “It is no concern of government what an employee does in his or her spare time, whether religion, recreation, social work or politics is his hobby, unless what he or she does impairs efficiency or other facets of the merits of his job.”[13]

Amendments

In 1975, the House passed legislation allowing federal employees to participate in partisan elections and run for office, but the Senate took no action.[14] In 1976, Democrats who controlled Congress had sought to win support by adding protections against the coercion of employees by their superiors and federal employee unions had supported the legislation. It passed the House on a vote of 241 to 164 and the Senate on a vote of 54 to 36. President Ford vetoed the legislation on April 12. He noted that coercion could be too subtle for the law to eliminate and that the Supreme Court had said in 1973 that the Hatch Act had achieved “a delicate balance between fair and effective government and the First Amendment rights of individual employees.”[15] President Carter proposed similar legislation in 1977.[16]A proposed amendment to permit federal workers to participate in political campaigns passed the House on a 305 to 112 vote in 1987.[17] In 1990 a similar bill passed the House on a vote of 334 to 87 and the Senate on a vote of 67 to 30. President George H.W. Bushvetoed the legislation,[18] which the House voted to override 327 to 93 and the Senate sustained on a vote of 65 to 35, with 55 Democrats and 10 Republicans voting to override and 35 Republicans supporting the president’s veto.[19]

In 1993 the advocates for removing or modifying restrictions on the political activities of federal employees succeeded in enacting the Hatch Act Reform Amendments of 1993 (107 Stat. 1001) that removed the prohibition on participation in “political management or political campaigns.” Federal employees are still forbidden to use their authority to affect the results of an election. They are also forbidden to run for office in a partisan election, to solicit or receive political contributions, and to engage in political activities while on duty or on federal property.[20]

President Barack Obama signed the Hatch Act Modernization Act of 2012 on December 28, 2012. It modified penalties under the Hatch Act to allow for disciplinary actions in addition to removal for federal employees; clarified the applicability to the District of Columbia of provisions that cover state and local governments; limited the prohibition on state and local employees running for elective office to employees whose salary is paid completely by federal loans or grants.[21]

Applicability to U.S. uniformed service personnel

The Hatch Act does not apply to actively serving uniformed members of the Uniformed services of the United States, although it does apply to Department of Defense civil servants, as well as Department of Homeland Security civil servants in direct support of the United States Coast Guard. Members of the U.S. Armed Forces are subject to Department of Defense Directive 1344.10 (DoDD 1344.10), Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces, and the spirit and intent of that directive is effectively the same as that of the Hatch Act for Federal civil servants. By agreement between the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security, DoDD 1344.10 also applies to uniformed personnel of the Coast Guard at all times, whether it is operating as a service in the Department of Homeland Security or as part of the Navy under the Department of Defense. Members of the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps are subject to specific Health and Human Service regulations found in Title 44, Code of Federal Regulations Part 73 Subpart F[22].

As a directive, DoDD 1344.10 is considered to be in the same category as an order or regulation, and military personnel violating its provisions can be considered in violation of Article 92 (Failure to obey order or regulation) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.[23][24][25]

Recent events

  • In 2006, the Utah Democratic Party challenged the candidacy of Ogden City Police Chief Jon Greiner for State Senate. The challenge was upheld by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel because the year prior the Ogden City Police Department received a federal grant to help pay for bulletproof vests. Jon Greiner appealed the decision, remained on the ballot, won the election and served one term (2006–2010) as Utah State Senator while the results of the appeal were unknown.[26]
  • In January 2007, the United States Office of Special Counsel (OSC) announced the results of investigations into whether certain events during the election campaigns of 2004 and 2006 violated the Hatch Act.[27]
    • It found no violation when Kennedy Space Center officials allowed Senator John Kerry‘s presidential campaign to use a NASA facility for a 2004 campaign event, because no government employees worked at the facility in question. It found streaming the event to NASA employees and contractors violated the Hatch Act.
    • It reviewed a 2006 speech by NASA Administrator Dr. Michael D. Griffin in which he appeared to endorse Representative Tom DeLay for re-election. It determined that he “should have exercised better judgment” and took no further action.
  • In June 2007, the OSC found that Lurita Alexis Doan, Administrator of the General Services Administration, violated the Hatch Act when she took part in a video conference with Karl Rove and other White House officials, and sent letters asking how to help Republicanpoliticians get elected.[28]
  • In November 2007, Terre Haute, Indiana, mayor, Kevin Burke, challenged the candidacy of mayor-elect Duke Bennett under provisions of the Act. In November 2008, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that Bennett, who took office after a Vigo County, Indiana, judge ruled that he was eligible to serve, was ineligible under the terms of the Act. The ruling was nonbinding, pending Bennett’s appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court.[citation needed]
  • On May 6, 2008, FBI agents raided OSC offices and the home office of its director, Scott Bloch. The raids related to an investigation into allegations that Bloch’s office had attempted to obstruct justice by hiring an outside company to delete computer files beyond recovery in order to prevent authorities from proving Bloch had violated the Hatch Act by retaliating against whistle-blowers in his office, an independent U.S. government agency “charged with protecting the rights of government whistle-blowers”.[29][30]
  • In 2009 two scholars urged Congress to consider tightening the Hatch Act’s restrictions.[31]
  • On September 13, 2012, the OSC charged Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius with violating the Hatch Act by making a political speech during an official government event. Sebelius later said she had made a mistake and that the error was “technical” in nature.[32]
  • On July 18, 2016, the OSC concluded that Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro violated the Hatch Act during an interview with Katie Couric. Castro admitted the violation, but denied any intent to violate the act.[33]
  • On October 30, 2016, U.S. Senate Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid stated that FBI Director James Comey may have violated the Hatch Act by sending a letter to the Congress on October 28, 2016, which stated that the FBI would be reopening their investigation of the Hillary Clinton email controversy.[34][35] Also on October 30, Richard Painter, a chief White House ethics lawyer for the George W. Bush administration, published an op-ed saying that he had filed a complaint against the FBI with the OSC and with the Office of Government Ethics about the same matter.[36]
  • In November 2016 Two Bay Area Elected Public Officials who were federal employees were told that they would have to resign their positions in order to serve on their respective school boards, as their running for a non-partisan seat that had party political involvement contravened the Hatch Act. Both John Swett Unified School District Board President Jerrold Parsons and Pacifica Vice Mayor Ana Galindo-Marrone chose not to serve, and to retain their jobs as Federal employees.[37]
  • In June 2017, the OSC issued a warning to Dan Scavino Jr. for an April 2017 tweet that Scavino sent advocating for a primary challenge against U.S. Representative Justin Amash.[38]
  • In October 2017, the OSC issued a warning to United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley for a June 2017 tweet that Haley retweeted from President Donald Trump endorsing Republican Congressional candidate Ralph Norman.[39]
  • In November 2017, former Office of Government Ethics head Walter Shaub filed a complaint against White House counselor Kellyanne Conway charging that her opposition to Roy Moore opponent Doug Jones during a segment on “Fox and Friends” violated the Hatch Act.[40] In March 2018, the OSC announced that Conway violated the Hatch act on that occasion and one other.[41]

Current restrictions

(See U.S. Office of Special Counsel “Hatch Act for Federal Employees”)

Permitted and prohibited activities for employees who may participate in partisan political activity[edit]

These federal and D.C. employees may:

  • be candidates for public office in nonpartisan elections
  • register and vote as they choose
  • assist in voter registration drives
  • express opinions about candidates and issues
  • contribute money to political organizations
  • attend political fundraising functions
  • attend and be active at political rallies and meetings
  • join and be an active member of a political party or club
  • sign nominating petitions
  • campaign for or against referendum questions, constitutional amendments, municipal ordinances
  • campaign for or against candidates in partisan elections
  • make campaign speeches for candidates in partisan elections
  • distribute campaign literature in partisan elections
  • hold office in political clubs or parties

These federal and D.C. employees may not:

  • use official authority or influence to interfere with an election
  • solicit or discourage political activity of anyone with business before their agency
  • solicit or receive political contributions (may be done in certain limited situations by federal labor or other employee organizations)
  • be candidates for public office in partisan elections
  • engage in political activity while:
    • on duty
    • in a government office
    • wearing an official uniform
    • using a government vehicle
  • wear partisan political buttons on duty

Agencies and employees prohibited from engaging in partisan political activity

Employees of the following agencies (or agency components), or in the following categories, are subject to more extensive restrictions on their political activities than employees in other Departments and agencies:

(career positions described at 5 U.S.C. § 3132(a)(4))

Permitted and prohibited activities for employees who may not participate in partisan political activity[edit]

These federal employees may:

  • register and vote as they choose
  • assist in voter registration drives
  • express opinions about candidates and issues
  • participate in campaigns where none of the candidates represent a political party
  • contribute money to political organizations or attend political fund raising functions
  • attend political rallies and meetings
  • join political clubs or parties
  • sign nominating petitions
  • campaign for or against referendum questions, constitutional amendments, municipal ordinances

These federal employees may not:

  • be candidates for public office in partisan elections
  • campaign for or against a candidate or slate of candidates in partisan elections
  • make campaign speeches
  • collect contributions or sell tickets to political fund raising functions
  • distribute campaign material in partisan elections
  • organize or manage political rallies or meetings
  • hold office in political clubs or parties
  • circulate nominating petitions
  • work to register voters for one party only
  • wear political buttons at work

Additionally, one of the early consequences of the act, were disparate court rulings in union busting cases which forbade the use of voter information from initiative and recall petitions for any purposes outside the intended elections.

See also

Footnotes …

Further reading

External links

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The Pronk Pops Show 1125, August 15, 2018, Breaking: Story 1: Trump Revoking Security Clearance of Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspirators Including Former CIA Director Brennan — No Big Deal — When Will Second Special Counsel Be Appointed To Investigate and Prosecute Plotters — Waiting For Results Not Distractions — Videos — Story 2: Department of Justice Bruce Ohr And Christopher Steel Connection and Clinton Opposition Research Fabricated Russian Steel Dossier — Videos — Story 3: Small Business Optimism Index Hits Second Highest Level in 45 Years —

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Story 1: Trump Revoking Security Clearances of Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspirators Including Former CIA Director Brennan — No Big Deal — When Will Second Special Counsel Be Appointed To Investigate and Prosecute Plotters — Waiting For Results Not Distractions — Videos

URGENT 🔴 White House EXPLOSIVE Press Briefing with Sarah Sanders on Revoking CIA Director Clearance

Watch Live: Trump revokes former CIA Director’s Clearance

BREAKING: TRUMP REVOKES SECURITY CLEARANCE OF EX-CIA DIR. JOHN BRENNAN

HE PUNISHING CRITICS IS ABUSE OF POWER”… John Brennan SCOLDS Trump’s Revoking Of Clearance

DOJ’s Bruce Ohr to testify, but where is British spy Steele?

Brennan fires back at Trump after clearance revoked

Trump FACES A BOMBSHELL From All American After He Revokes Brennan’s Security Clearance

Judicial Watch: Why Trump is Right to Revoke Security Clearance of ‘Unhinged’ John Brennan

James Clapper RESPONDS John Brennan After Trump Revokes His Security Clearance

Sanders says Trump may remove ex-intel chiefs’ security clearances

Hannity: Corruption at the highest levels of DOJ

Judicial Watch sues DOJ for communications with Steele

FBI paid Trump-Russia dossier author Christopher Steele, heavily redacted docs show

BUSTED! John Brennan ex-CIA ‘is the key missing link’ of the Steele Dossier story

Mark Levin “Who is John Brennan…?”

Exclusive: John Brennan still has top security clearance

Trump pulls security clearance of ex-CIA Director John Brennan

Updated 

President Donald Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, who has become a harsh critic of the president, and appeared to be targeting others who have disagreed with the administration.

“Mr. Brennan’s lying and recent conduct characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary is wholly inconsistent with access to the nation’s most closely held secrets and facilities, the very aim of our adversaries which is to sow division and chaos,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, reading a statement from Trump while briefing reporters on Wednesday.

“Mr. Brennan has recently leveraged his status as a former high-ranking official with access to highly sensitive information to make a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations — wild outbursts on the internet and television — about this Administration,“ the president‘s statement continued.

In addition, Sanders said, the administration is evaluating clearances for former FBI Director James Comey, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, former national security adviser Susan Rice, former FBI attorney Lisa Page, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strozk, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, whose security clearance was deactivated after he was fired earlier this year, and Bruce Ohr, who is still in the Justice Department although he was demoted from associate deputy attorney general.

“More broadly, the issue of Mr. Brennan’s security clearance raises larger questions about the practice of former officials maintaining access to our nation’s most sensitive secrets long after their time in government has ended,” Sanders said.

Brennan later responded on Twitter.

“This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics,” he wrote. “It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent,” he wrote.

The White House last month announced that it was looking into revoking security clearances for the individuals Sanders listed on Wednesday, with the exception of Yates, Strozk, Page and Ohr, whose names were added on Wednesday.

Trump has over the past couple of days dug into Strozk, who was fired from the FBI on Friday, and Ohr.

Ohr, a senior Justice Department official, has come under scrutiny after it was revealed he had contact during the 2016 election cycle with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson and former British spy Christopher Steele, who compiled a dossier that described a complex conspiracy of Trump and his campaign working with the Kremlin to influence the outcome of the presidential election. Trump has denied the dossier‘s findings. Ohr’s wife, Nellie, also worked for Fusion GPS during the 2016 election.

The Justice Department declined to comment on Ohr’s security clearance.

“Security clearances for those who still have them may be revoked, and those who have already lost their security clearance may not be able to have it reinstated,” Sanders said.

Clapper on Wednesday said during an interview with CNN that he had not had any access to current intelligence since he resigned in January 2017.

The former intelligence chief has been a harsh critic of Trump and has feuded with the president, who has characterized the FBI’s use of an informant as the Justice Department‘s spying on his presidential campaign. Clapper, however, has countered that Russian efforts were the subject of intelligence operations, not Trump‘s campaign.

Clapper said that losing his clearance wouldn’t have any “ immediate substantive impact“ on him, and that he would continue to speak out against the president.

“Will the republic stand or fall on whether John retains his access to classified information, or mine or any others that were named? Of course not,“ he said. “The larger issue here, to me, throughout has been infringement on First Amendment rights. And I think people ought to think seriously about that.“

Comey last month said he no longer had a security clearance, and Hayden also said on Twitter that he did not go back for classified briefings but would occasionally be asked to “offer a view on something.”

Comey, who was fired last year, documented a conversation with Trump in which he says the president asked him to to let go of an FBI investigation into former Trump campaign adviser Michael Flynn, who also served briefly as the president’s national security adviser. Since the release of Comey‘s memo, special counsel Robert Mueller has broadened his Russia investigation to include whether Trump tried to obstruct justice. Trump has long called the Mueller inquiry a “witch hunt.“

Conservatives have over the past couple of weeks pushed for Brennan’s security to be removed.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in June said he spoke to the president about that very issue, and Fox News host Tucker Carlson also called for Brennan’s clearance to be removed after he reported he still had it.

John McLaughlin, a former acting director of the CIA, who was not listed as having his clearance under review but has criticized the president’s policies in the past, said on Wednesday that he thought the choice to revoke the clearance was to “silence critics.“

“This really has the feel of someone simply trying to do two things: silence critics and also distract from another damaging political event that‘s going on with Omarosa,“ he said during a phone interivew on MSNBC, referring to former presidential adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman, whose new book includes scathing criticism of Trump and his administration.

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/08/15/trump-pulls-security-clearance-of-ex-cia-director-brennan-778791

 

Jordan: More Obama-era officials should lose security clearances

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) cheered President Trump‘s Wednesday decision to revoke former CIA Director John Brennan‘s security clearance, saying the White House should revoke those of several other Obama-era officials, too.

“Clapper lied under oath, Rice blamed Benghazi on a video,” Jordan tweeted. “Comey fired, McCabe fired, Strzok fired, Yates fired, Page demoted, then left, Ohr demoted.”

“If any of these folks still have a clearance, they should lose it too.”

Some of the names on Jordan’s list have already been identified by the White House as liable to losing their security clearances.

Former FBI Director James B. Comey, former national security adviser Susan Rice, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe could all have their clearances revoked, the administration says.

The FBI fired agent Peter Strzok Monday for violating their policies after he came under fire for alleged political bias in the investigations into Hillary Clinton‘s emails and Russia’s 2016 election interference.

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr are also controversial figures at the center of the Russian probe, accused by Republicans of being biased against Trump.

http://thehill.com/homenews/house/402033-jordan-other-obama-era-officials-should-lose-security-clearances-too

 

Opinion: How a senior DOJ official helped Dem researchers on Trump-Russia case

By John Solomon
Opinion Contributor

8/7/2018

Hundreds of pages of previously unreported emails and memos provide the clearest evidence yet that a research firm, hired by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to find dirt on and defeat Donald Trump, worked early and often with the FBI, a Department of Justice (DOJ) official and the intelligence community during the 2016 presidential election and the early days of Trump’s presidency.

Fusion GPS’s work and its involvement with several FBI officials have been well reported.

But a close review of these new documents shows just how closely Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, who reported to Obama-era Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, maintained contact with Fusion — and, in particular, its primary source, former British spy Christopher Steele — before, during and after the election.

Yates was fired by President Trump over an unrelated political dispute. Ohr was demoted recently.

Ohr’s own notes, emails and text messages show he communicated extensively with Steele and with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson. Those documents have been turned over in recent weeks to investigative bodies in Congress and the DOJ, but not reviewed outside the investigative ranks until now.

They show Ohr had contact with Steele in the days just before the FBI opened its Trump-Russia probe in summer 2016, and then engaged Steele as a “confidential human source” assisting in that probe.

They also confirm that Ohr later became a critical conduit of continuing information from Steele after the FBI ended the Brit’s role as an informant.

“B, doubtless a sad and crazy day for you re- SY,” Steele texted Ohr on Jan. 31, 2017, referencing President Trump’s firing of Sally Yates for insubordination.

Steele’s FBI relationship had been terminated about three months earlier. The bureau concluded on Nov. 1, 2016, that he leaked information to the news media and was “not suitable for use” as a confidential source, memos show.

The FBI specifically instructed Steele that he could no longer “operate to obtain any intelligence whatsoever on behalf of the FBI,” those memos show.

Yet, Steele asked Ohr in the Jan. 31 text exchange if he could continue to help feed information to the FBI: “Just want to check you are OK, still in the situ and able to help locally as discussed, along with your Bureau colleagues.”

“I’m still here and able to help as discussed,” Ohr texted back. “I’ll let you know if that changes.”

Steele replied, “If you end up out though, I really need another (bureau?) contact point/number who is briefed. We can’t allow our guy to be forced to go back home. It would be disastrous.” Investigators are trying to determine who Steele was referring to.

FBI officials now admit they continued to receive information from Steele through Ohr, identifying more than a half-dozen times its agents interviewed Ohr in late 2016 and 2017, to learn what Steele was saying.

That continued reliance on Steele after his termination is certain to raise interest in Congress about whether the FBI broke its own rules.

But the memos also raise questions about Ohr’s and the Justice Department’s roles in the origins of building a counterintelligence case against the Republican presidential nominee, based heavily on opposition research funded by his rival’s campaign, the DNC and the DNC’s main law firm, Perkins Coie.

Some of the more tantalizing Ohr contacts occurred in the days when Steele made his first contacts with the FBI in summer 2016 about the Russia matter.

“There is something separate I wanted to discuss with you informally and separately. It concerns our favourite business tycoon!” Steele wrote Ohr on July 1, 2016, in an apparent reference to Trump.

That overture came just four days before Steele walked into the FBI office in Rome with still-unproven allegations that Trump had an improper relationship with Russia, including possible efforts to hijack the presidential election.

Ohr scheduled a call with Steele over Skype a few days later. But then the two men met in Washington on July 30, 2016, at the Mayflower Hotel.

Ohr brought his wife, Nellie, who was working at Fusion GPS on the Trump-Russia research project.

“Great to see you and Nellie this morning Bruce,” Steele wrote shortly after their breakfast meeting. “Let’s keep in touch on the substantive issues/s (sic). Glenn is happy to speak to you on this if it would help.”

That meeting occurred exactly one day before FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok formally opened an investigation, dubbed Crossfire Hurricane, into whether the Trump campaign was colluding with Moscow to steal the election.

At the time, the case was based mostly on an Australian diplomat’s tip that Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos appeared to know in advance that the Russians possessed information involving Hillary Clinton before hacked documents were released on WikiLeaks.

Soon, the case expanded to include allegations that another Trump adviser, Carter Page, might have ties to Russia — an uncorroborated allegation from Fusion GPS’s research now known as the “Steele dossier.”

Calendar notations and handwritten notes indicate Ohr followed up on Steele’s offer and met with Simpson on Aug. 22, 2016. Ohr’s notes indicate Simpson identified several “possible intermediaries” between the Trump campaign and Russia.

One was identified as a “longtime associate of Trump” who “put together several real estate deals for Russian investigators to purchase Trump properties.” Another was a Russian apparently tied to Carter Page, Ohr’s note of his Simpson contact indicated.

Steele offered Ohr many other theories over their contacts, including a now widely discredited one that the Russian Alfa Bank had a computer server “as a link” to the Trump campaign, Ohr’s notes show.

Though much of Steele’s information remained uncorroborated, the FBI nonetheless took the extraordinary step in October 2016 of seeking a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to monitor Carter Page during the final days of the election, based mostly on Steele’s dossier. The warrant was renewed at least three times, but Carter Page was never charged.

Ohr’s connections to Steele are significant because at least one of the FISA warrants was approved by Ohr’s boss, Yates.

By early November 2016, Steele was terminated for unauthorized media contacts — and the FBI was turning to Ohr as a back channel to Steele.

Ohr’s notes suggest he met Nov. 21, 2016, with FBI officials that included Strzok, then-FBI attorney Lisa Page and another agent. Strzok and Lisa Page have become the poster children for Republicans who believe the FBI abused its authority by investigating Trump on flimsy evidence. FBI records confirm an interview with Ohr around that time.

Ohr’s notes from that meeting indicate that FBI officials told him they “may go back to Chris” — an apparent reference to Steele — just 20 days after dismissing him.

In all, Ohr’s notes, emails and texts identify more than 60 contacts with Steele and/or Simpson, some dating to 2002 in London. But the vast majority occurred during the 2016-2017 timeframe that gave birth to one of the most controversial counterintelligence probes in recent American history.

Most importantly, the new memos make clear that Ohr, a man whose name was barely uttered during the first 18 months of the scandal, may have played a critical role in stitching together a Democratic opposition research project and the top echelons of the FBI and DOJ.

Representatives for the Justice Department and FBI did not return calls Tuesday seeking comment. A message left on the cell phone for Bruce and Nellie Ohr, seeking comment, was not returned.

John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He is The Hill’s executive vice president for video.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.

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John O. Brennan

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John O. Brennan
John Brennan CIA official portrait.jpg
5th Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
In office
March 8, 2013 – January 20, 2017
President Barack Obama
Deputy Avril Haines
David Cohen
Preceded by Michael Morell (Acting)
Succeeded by Mike Pompeo
5th United States Homeland Security Advisor
In office
January 20, 2009 – March 8, 2013
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Ken Wainstein
Succeeded by Lisa Monaco
Director of the National Counterterrorism Center
Acting
In office
August 27, 2004 – August 1, 2005
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by John Redd
Personal details
Born John Owen Brennan
September 22, 1955 (age 62)
North BergenNew JerseyU.S.
Spouse(s) Kathy Pokluda
Education Fordham University (BA)
University of Texas, Austin (MA)

John Owen Brennan (born September 22, 1955)[1][2] was the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from March 2013 to January 2017. He served as chief counterterrorism advisor to U.S. President Barack Obama; with the title Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and Assistant to the President.[1][3][4] His responsibilities included overseeing plans to protect the country from terrorism and respond to natural disasters, and he met with the President daily.[5][6] Previously, he advised President Obama on foreign policy and intelligence issues during the 2008 presidential campaign and transition.[7] Brennan withdrew his name from consideration for Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the first Obama administration over concerns about his support, while serving under President George W. Bush, for transferring terror suspects to countries where they might be tortured.[3][5] Instead, Brennan was appointed Deputy National Security Advisor, a position which did not require Senate confirmation.[3][5][8]

Brennan’s 25 years with the CIA included work as a Near East and South Asia analyst, as station chief in Saudi Arabia, and as director of the National Counterterrorism Center.[3][5][9] After leaving government service in 2005, Brennan became CEO of The Analysis Corporation, a security consulting business, and served as chairman of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, an association of intelligence professionals.[10]

Brennan served in the White House as Assistant to the President for Homeland Security between 2009 and 2013. President Obama nominated Brennan as his next director of the CIA on January 7, 2013.[11][12] The ACLUcalled for the Senate not to proceed with the appointment until it confirms that “all of his conduct was within the law” at the CIA and White House.[13] John Brennan was approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee on March 5, 2013, to succeed David Petraeus as the Director of the CIA by a vote of 12 to 3.[14]

Brennan serves as a senior national security and intelligence analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. His inaugural appearance was on Meet the Press with Chuck Todd on Sunday, February 4, 2018.[15]

On August 15, 2018, President Donald Trump, who Brennan has been an outspoken critic of, announced that Brennan’s security clearance will be revoked.[16] The revocation was criticized as political retribution from Brennan’s comments.[17]

Early life and education

Brennan is the son of Irish immigrants from RoscommonRepublic of Ireland. His father, Owen, a blacksmith, immigrated to New Jersey in 1948.[18] Brennan was born in North Bergen, New Jersey,[9] attended the Immaculate Heart of Mary Elementary School and graduated from Saint Joseph of the Palisades High School in West New York, New Jersey.

He received a B.A. in political science from Fordham University in 1977.[3] He then attended the University of Texas at Austin, receiving a Master of Arts in government with a concentration in Middle East studies in 1980.[5] He speaks Arabic fluently.[9] His studies included a junior year abroad learning Arabic and taking courses at the American University in Cairo.[3][5]

While riding a bus to class at Fordham, he saw an ad in The New York Times that said the CIA was recruiting. He decided that a CIA career would be a good match for his “wanderlust” and his desire for public service.[5]During his application to the CIA he admitted in a lie-detector test that he had voted for the U.S. Communist Party candidate for president, Gus Hall, in 1976. He explained to the interviewer that his vote was a way of “signaling my unhappiness with the system,” and he later described his vote as a protest against partisanship of the Watergate era.[18] He emphasized after leaving office that his entry into the CIA showed that freedom of speech in the U.S. does not disqualify a person for a career in government.[19]

Career

Brennan with Kathleen Sebeliusand Rahm Emanuel, White House, April 2009

Brennan began his CIA career as an analyst and spent 25 years with the agency.[1][5][20] He was a daily intelligence briefer for President Bill Clinton.[5] In 1996, he was CIA station chief in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, when the Khobar Towers bombing killed 19 U.S. servicemen.[5] In 1999, he was appointed chief of staff to George Tenet, then-Director of the CIA.[3][5] Brennan became deputy executive director of the CIA in March 2001.[3] He was director of the newly created Terrorist Threat Integration Center from 2003 to 2004, an office that sifted through and compiled information for President Bush’s daily top secret intelligence briefings and employed the services of analysts from a dozen U.S. agencies and entities.[21] One of the controversies in his career involves the distribution of intelligence to the Bush White House that helped lead to an “Orange Terror Alert“, in late 2003. The intelligence, which purported to list terror targets, was highly controversial within the CIA and was later discredited. An Obama administration official does not dispute that Brennan distributed the intelligence during the Bush era but said Brennan passed it along because that was his job.[22][23] His last post within the Intelligence Community was as director of the National Counterterrorism Center in 2004 and 2005, which incorporated information on terrorist activities across U.S. agencies.[3][24]

Brennan then left government service for a few years, becoming Chairman of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) and the CEO of The Analysis Corporation (TAC).[18] He continued to lead TAC after its acquisition by Global Strategies Group in 2007 and its growth as the Global Intelligence Solutions division of Global’s North American technology business GTEC, before returning to government service with the Obama administration as Homeland Security Advisor on January 20, 2009.[10]

On January 7, 2013, Brennan was nominated by President Barack Obama to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency.[25]

On January 20, 2017, Brennan’s appointment ended and he was replaced by President Donald Trump’s nominee Mike Pompeo on January 23, 2017.

In September 2017, Brennan was named a Distinguished Non-Resident Scholar at The University of Texas at Austin, where he also acts as a Senior Advisor to the University’s Intelligence Studies Project.[26] He serves as a consultant on world events for Kissinger Associates.[18]

Counterterrorism advisor to President Obama

Brennan was an early national security adviser to then-candidate Obama.[18] In late 2008, Brennan was reportedly the top choice to become the Director of the CIA in the incoming Obama administration. However, Brennan withdrew his name from consideration because of opposition to his CIA service under President George W. Bush and past public statements he had made in support of enhanced interrogation and the transfer of terrorism suspects to countries where they might be tortured (extraordinary rendition).[3][5][27] President Obama then appointed him to be his Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, the President’s chief counterterrorism advisor and a position that did not require Senate confirmation.[3][5][8]

Brennan and President Barack Obama at a meeting of the Homeland Security Council, May 2009

In August 2009, Brennan criticized some Bush-administration anti-terror policies, saying that waterboarding had threatened national security by increasing the recruitment of terrorists and decreasing the willingness of other nations to cooperate with the U.S.[28] He also described the Obama administration’s focus as being on “extremists” and not “jihadists“. He said that using the second term, which means one who is struggling for a holy goal, gives “these murderers the religious legitimacy they desperately seek” and suggests the US is at war with the religion of Islam.[28] Brennan told the New York Times in January 2010 that “I was somebody who did oppose waterboarding,”[29] a claim that he repeated in 2013, during the Senate’s hearings about whether to confirm him as Obama’s CIA director.[30] None of Brennan’s superior officers at the CIA, however, recall hearing his objections, and in 2018, Brennan admitted to the New York Times that “It wasn’t as though I was wearing that opposition on my sleeve throughout the agency. I expressed it privately, to individuals.”[31]

In an early December 2009 interview with the Bergen Record, Brennan remarked, “the U.S. intelligence and law enforcement communities have to bat 1.000 every day. The terrorists are trying to be successful just once”.[5] At a press conference days after the failed Christmas Day bomb attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, Brennan said U.S. intelligence agencies did not miss any signs that could have prevented the attempt but later said he had let the President down by underestimating a small group of Yemeni terrorists and not connecting them to the attempted bomber.[1][32] Within two weeks after the incident, however, he produced a report highly critical of the performance of U.S. intelligence agencies, concluding that their focus on terrorist attempts aimed at U.S. soil was inadequate.[20] In February 2010, he claimed on Meet the Press that he was tired of Republicanlawmakers using national security issues as political footballs, and making allegations where they did not know the facts.[33]

Brennan was present in the Situation Room in May 2011 when the United States conducted the military operation that killed Osama bin Laden. He called President Obama’s decision to go forward with the mission one of the “gutsiest calls of any president in memory.”[34] In the aftermath of the operation, Brennan said that the U.S. troops in the raid had been “met with a great deal of resistance,” and bin Laden had used a woman as a human shield.[35][36]

Drone program

In April 2012, Brennan was the first Obama administration official to publicly acknowledge CIA drone strikes in PakistanYemenSomaliaLibyaAfghanistan, and elsewhere. In his speech he explained the legality, morality, and effectiveness of the program.[37][38][39] The ACLU and other organizations disagreed. In 2011-2012, he also helped reorganize the process, under the aegis of the Disposition Matrix database, by which people outside of war zones were put on the list of drone targets. According to an Associated Press story, the reorganization helped “concentrate power” over the process inside the White House administration.[40][41][42] According to the New York Times, Brennan was the “principal coordinator” of U.S. kill lists. Former Obama administration counter-terrorism official Daniel Benjamin has stated that Brennan “probably had more power and influence than anyone in a comparable position in the last 20 years”.[43]

In June 2011, Brennan claimed that US counter-terrorism operations had not resulted in “a single collateral death” in the past year because of the “precision of the capabilities that we’ve been able to develop.”[44][45] Nine months later, Brennan claimed he had said “we had no information” about any civilian, noncombatant deaths during the timeframe in question.[45][46] The Bureau of Investigative Journalism disagreed with Brennan, citing their own research[47] that initially led them to believe that 45 to 56 civilians, including six children, had been killed by ten US drone strikes during the year-long period in question.[45] Additional research led the Bureau to raise their estimate to 76 deaths, including eight children and two women.[45] According to the Bureau, Brennan’s claims “do not appear to bear scrutiny.”[45] The Atlantic has been harsher in its criticism, saying that “Brennan has been willing to lie about those drone strikes to hide ugly realities.”[48]

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Brennan’s comments about collateral death are perhaps explained by a counting method that treats all military-aged males in a strike zone as combatants unless there is explicit information to prove them innocent.[45][49]

CIA Director (2013–2017)

Nomination

Brennan being sworn in as CIA Director, March 8, 2013

Brennan at the White House in April 2013, discussing the Boston Marathon bombing

United States President Barack Obama twice nominated Brennan to serve as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.[11][12] Morris Davis, a former Chief Prosecutor for the Guantanamo Military Commissions compared Brennan to Canadian Omar Khadr, who was convicted of “committing murder in violation of the law of war”.[50] He suggested that Brennan’s role in targeting individuals for CIA missile strikes was no more authorized than the throwing of the grenade of which Khadr was accused.

On February 27, 2013, the Senate Intelligence Committee postponed a vote, expected to be taken the next day on the confirmation of Brennan until the following week. On March 5, the Intelligence Committee approved the nomination 12–3. The Senate was set to vote on Brennan’s nomination on March 6, 2013. However, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul began a talking Senate filibuster of the vote, citing President Barack Obama and his administration’suse of combat drones against Americans, stating “No one politician should be allowed to judge the guilt, to charge an individual, to judge the guilt of an individual and to execute an individual. It goes against everything that we fundamentally believe in our country.”[51][52] Paul’s filibuster continued for 13 hours, ending with the words: “I’m hopeful that we have drawn attention to this issue, that this issue will not fade away, and that the president will come up with a response.”[53] After the filibuster, Brennan was confirmed by a vote of 63–34.

Brennan was sworn into the office of CIA Director on March 8, 2013, in a 63-34 vote.[54]

Tenure

Two months after assuming his post at the CIA, Brennan replaced Gina Haspel as head of the National Clandestine Service and placed another unidentified, career intelligence officer and former Marine in her place.[55][56] In June 2013, Brennan installed Avril Haines as Deputy Director of the Agency.[57]

In April 2014, Brennan visited Kiev where he met with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and First Deputy Prime Minister Vitaliy Yarema and purportedly discussed intelligence-sharing between the United States and Ukraine.[58][59]

In the summer of 2014, Brennan faced scrutiny after it was revealed that some CIA employees had improperly accessed the computer servers of the Senate Intelligence Committee in the wake of oversight of the CIA’s role in enhanced interrogation and extraordinary rendition. Brennan apologized to Senators and stated that he would “fight for change at the CIA,” and stated he would pass along the findings of the Inspector General on the incident.[60]After the incident, Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) stated he had “lost confidence in Brennan.”[61]

Brennan and James Clapper at the LBJ Presidential Library, September 16, 2015

Brennan and former National Security Advisers Sandy Berger and Brent Scowcroft in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 2015

In December 2014, Brennan again came under fire when he defended the CIA’s past interrogation tactics as having yielded “useful” intelligence, during a news conference. While admitting that the actions of the CIA officers were “abhorrent”, worthy of “repudiation”, and had, at times, exceeded legal boundaries Brennan stated the CIA had also done “a lot of things right during this difficult time to keep this country strong and secured.”[62]

During testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee in June 2016, Brennan warned of the threat posed by ISIL claiming it had the ability to draw on a “large cadre of Western fighters” and reiterated the threats posed by lone wolfattackers, calling them “an exceptionally challenging issue for the intelligence community.” Brennan detailed ISIL’s size to the committee, specifying they had more fighters than al-Qaeda at its height and that they were spread between Africa and southwest Asia.[63]

While director, Brennan created ten new “mission centers” in his campaign to focus the CIA on threats in cyberspace, where analysts and hackers work in teams with focuses on specific areas of the globe and particular issues. In addition, he created the Directorate for Digital Innovation (DDI) to hone the Agency’s tradecraft in the information technology sector and create new tools dedicated to cyber-espionage. Despite general praise for his actions from within the intelligence community about Brennan’s shift towards cyber, some CIA officials said they held reservations in moving away from traditional human intelligence.[64] In January 2017, Brennan, alongside FBI director James Comey, NSA director Mike Rogers, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper briefed President-elect Donald Trump in Trump Tower on the findings of the intelligence community in regards to Russian election interference and the allegations contained in the Steele dossier.[65][66]

Less than a week before Brennan left office in January 2017, he expressed several criticisms of incoming President Trump. Brennan said “I don’t think he has a full appreciation of Russian capabilities, Russia’s intentions and actions that they are undertaking in many parts of the world”. Brennan stated that it was “outrageous” that Trump was “equating the intelligence community with Nazi Germany.”[67]

WikiLeaks Hack

In October 2015, the contents of Brennan’s personal e-mail account were stolen by a hack and posted on WikiLeaks. The e-mails did not contain classified information but did include sensitive personal information, including a draft of Brennan’s Standard Form 86 (SF-86) application. During a subsequent security conference at George Washington University, Brennan proclaimed his “outrage” at the hack but also demonstrated the need to “evolve to deal with these new threats and challenges.”[68][69] In January 2017, a North Carolina college student, who was represented by attorneys Marina Medvin and Jay Leiderman, pleaded guilty in a Virginia federal court to charges relating to hacking Brennan’s e-mail.[70]

Criticism of President Trump

Since leaving office, Brennan has been harshly critical of President Trump. In March 2018, Brennan said Trump had “paranoia”, accused him of “constant misrepresentation of the facts”, and described him as a “charlatan”.[71]Following the firing of senior FBI official Andrew McCabe later that month, Brennan tweeted to Trump, “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but will not destroy America… America will triumph over you.”[72] Axios quoted Brennan as replying on Twitter to Trump’s harsh comments about James Comey (over quotes reported in advance from his April 2018 book) as, “Your kakistocracy is collapsing after its lamentable journey… we have the opportunity to emerge from this nightmare stronger & more committed to ensuring a better life for all Americans, including those you have so tragically deceived.”[73]

On July 16, 2018, Brennan tweeted his reaction to Trump’s comments at the 2018 Helsinki summit meetings with Putin:

John O. Brennan via Twitter
@JohnBrennan

Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors”. It was nothing short of “treasonous”. Not only were Trump’s comments “imbecilic”, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???

July 16, 2018[74]

Trump called him a “total lowlife” following this tweet.[75] On July 23, 2018, Senator Rand Paul met with President Trump and asked Trump to revoke Brennan’s security clearance.[76] Paul accused John Brennan of “monetizing his security clearance” and “making millions of dollars divulging secrets to the mainstream media with his attacks” on the President.[77]

On August 15, 2018, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that Brennan’s security clearance will be revoked by President Trump.[16] The revocation was criticized as political retribution from Brennan’s comments.[17]

Personal life

Brennan is married to Kathy Pokluda Brennan, with whom he has had one son and two daughters.[2][3][78]

British hacker Kane Gamble, sentenced to 2 years in youth detention, posed as CIA chief to access highly sensitive information and hacked into Brennan’s private email and iCloud accounts, made hoax calls to his family home and even took control of his wife’s iPad. The judge said Gamble engaged in “politically motivated cyber terrorism.”[79][80]

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_O._Brennan

Story 2: Department of Justice Bruce Ohr And Christopher Steel Connection and Clinton Opposition Research Fabricated Russian Steel Dossier — Videos

See the source image

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Rep. Goodlatte now preparing Steele dossier subpoenas

Nunes on Bruce Ohr and the push to declassify DOJ documents

Published on Aug 12, 2018

Fitton: ‘DOJ’s Bruce Ohr is at Center of Clinton-DNC Dossier Scandal Targeting Trump’

FBI documents show Russia dossier author deemed ‘not suitable for use’: Judicial Watch

Jonathan Winer: Why I turned over Steele dossier

Byron York talks link between Steele and DOJ official

Bruce & Nellie Ohr. 302s, Fusion GPS-Simpson, Christopher Steele

Sekulow: Russia investigation ‘corrupt at its inception’

Bruce Ohr testimony falls through

Published on Dec 18, 2017

Fitton: How Were Bruce and Nellie Ohr, Christopher Steele, and Fusion GPS Plotting?

Recently, Republican lawmakers indicated that Bruce Ohr, the former associate deputy attorney general, is becoming more central to their investigation of the soft coup against President Trump.

Moreover, newly released emails and memos show that Ohr continued to receive information from former British spy Christopher Steele in 2017 after the FBI had supposedly terminated its relationship with Steele in 2016 for leaking to the media.

In fact, as I describe below, it was another Judicial Watch lawsuit that just uncovered FBI document showing that Steele was deemed unsuitable as a “confidential human source” in November 2016. But that was no impediment to Ohr’s continuing to use him nor the FBI continuing to receive “information” from Steele through Ohr! Talk about corruption!

Judicial Watch just filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for all communications from the offices of the deputy attorney general and the office of the director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force related to Bruce G. Ohr, his wife Nellie Ohr, Christopher Steele, and Fusion GPS (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-01854)).

Bruce Ohr remains Organized Crime Task Force director. Until his dossier-related demotion, he was the fourth-ranked official at DOJ. The House Intelligence Committee memo released by Chairman Devin Nunes on February 2 says that Nellie Ohr was “employed by Fusion GPS to assist in the cultivation of opposition research on Trump” and that Bruce Ohr passed along the results of that research, which was paid for by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign, to the FBI. The “salacious and unverified” dossier was used to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) surveillance warrant to spy on Carter Page.

Judicial Watch sued after the Justice Department failed to respond to our May 29, 2018, FOIA request for:

All records from the Office of the Deputy Attorney General relating to Fusion GPS, Nellie Ohr and/or British national Christopher Steele, including but not limited to all records of communications about and with Fusion GPS officials, Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele.

All records from the office of former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce G. Ohr relating to Fusion GPS, Nellie Ohr and/or British national Christopher Steele, including but not limited to all records of communications (including those of former Associate Deputy Attorney General Ohr) about and with Fusion GPS officials, Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele.

All records from the office of the Director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force relating to Fusion GPS, Nellie Ohr and/or British national Christopher Steele, including but not limited to all records of communications (including those of former Organized Crime Task Force Director Bruce Ohr) about and with Fusion GPS officials, Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele.

In December 2017, Bruce Ohr was removed from his position as U.S. associate deputy attorney general after it was revealed that he conducted undisclosed meetings with anti-Trump dossier author Christopher Steele and Glenn Simpson, principal of Fusion GPS.

In March, Judicial Watch filed two lawsuits seeking records about the Ohrs’ involvement in the anti-Trump dossier. In June, the DOJ was ordered to begin searching and producing Fusion GPS records to Judicial Watch.

As this sordid scandal continues to unfold, it is increasingly clear that top DOJ official Bruce Ohr – working in conjunction with his wife and other Clinton-connected Fusion GPS actors – played a key role in laundering false information from Russia about Donald J. Trump. The DOJ must stop the stonewalling and release these documents, as the law requires.

Tom Fitton is president of Judicial Watch.

https://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2018/08/13/fitton-how-were-bruce-and-nellie-ohr-christopher-steele-and-fusion-gps-plotting/

Republicans call Justice Department’s Ohr to testify on contacts with dossier author Steele

 – The Washington Times – Sunday, August 12, 2018

Republicans in a joint session of House committees are set to interview former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr this month to gauge whether a complex conspiracy against Donald Trump existed among Hillary Clinton loyalists and the Justice Department.

“DOJ official Bruce Ohr will come before Congress on August 28 to answer why he had 60+contacts with dossier author Chris Steele as far back as January 2016. He owes the American public the full truth,” tweeted Rep. Mark Meadows, North Carolina Republican and member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

His panel and the House Judiciary Committee plan to hold a joint hearing to interview Mr. Ohr, according to The Daily Caller.

FBI documents show that the bureau bluntly told dossier writer Christopher Steele in November 2016 that it no longer wanted to hear about his collection of accusations against Mr. Trump.

But for months afterward, the FBI appeared to violate its own edict as agents continued to receive the former British spy’s scandalous charges centered on supposed TrumpRussia collusion.

Mr. Steele spoke with Mr. Ohr, who relayed the Trump talk back to the same FBI that had banned him, according to FBI documents and congressional testimony.

On Sunday, Mr. Trump tweeted a statement from a congressman who said it seems like the Justice Departmentconducted an operation to stop candidate Trump.

“If this had happened to the other side, everybody involved would be in jail,” Mr. Trump said on Twitter. “This is a Media coverup of the biggest story of our time.”

The back-channel flow involved Mr. Steele; Fusion GPS, which the Clinton campaign hired to investigate Mr. TrumpMr. Ohr; his wife, Nellie, who worked at Fusion; and senior FBI agents, including Peter Strzok, who led the Trump-Russia investigation.

Mr. Strzok’s now-infamous text messages to his FBI lover bemoaned candidate Trump and vowed, “We’ll stop” him.

To Republicans, the investigation is important because Mr. Steele’s work, in their opinion, is full of false claims about a supposed Trump-Kremlin conspiracy.

None of Mr. Steele’s charges has been confirmed publicly. Some Republican staffers suggest the Steele dossier, which Fusion and Mr. Steele briefed to reporters during the campaign, is a hoax.

Senate Judiciary Committee investigators have confirmed the Steele-Ohr nexus by obtaining a series of FBI 302 interview reports from November 2016 to May 2017. In one, Mr. Ohr disclosed that Mr. Steele was “desperate” to sink the Trump candidacy.

A Judiciary Committee letter to the Justice Department inspector general said there are “Numerous FD-302s demonstrating that Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr continued to pass along allegations from Mr. Steele to the FBI after the FBI suspended its formal relationship with Mr. Steele for unauthorized contact with the media, and demonstrating that Mr. Ohr otherwise funneled allegations from Fusion GPS and Mr. Steele to the FBI.”

Mr. Steele was a paid FBI confidential human source (CHS) in 2016, according to highly redacted bureau documents obtained by The Washington Times and Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act. The documents do not disclose Mr. Steele’s FBI project. At the same time, Mr. Steele was being paid by the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party, through Fusion.

The FBI fired Mr. Steele in early November after he went to liberal Mother Jones magazine as an unidentified source and disclosed his FBI work and dossier allegations. The bureau’s document on the Steele firing said he was “not suitable for use as a CHS.”

“Handling agent advised CHS that the nature of the relationship between the FBI and CHS would change completely and that it was unlikely that the FBI would continue a relationship with the CHS. Additionally, handling agent advised that CHS was not to operate to obtain any intelligence whatsoever on behalf of the FBI,” the document reads.

It is now known that Mr. Steele did not stop. What remains to be answered are what he provided, how the FBI used the material and whether it reached special counsel Robert Mueller.

Mr. Strzok, when questioned at a hearing by Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, confirmed that he spoke with Mr. Ohr, who was a counternarcotics official and not involved in the Russia investigation. But Mr. Strzok refused to provide details.

Mr. Ohr gave the FBI documents, which included material that I believe originated from Mr. Steele,” Mr. Strzok testified in an apparent reference to the dossier and possibly other information.

Said Mr. Jordan: “Bruce Ohr, the fourth-ranking official at the Department of Justice, his wife works for Fusion GPS in the summer. He gets information and passed it to the FBI. That becomes the basis to spy on the Trump campaign, plain and simple. This is the first time to my knowledge the FBI has admitted that, and it was good that we got some of that information out today.”

Judicial Watch obtained the FBI court application to wiretap Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page. The application shows the bureau relied greatly on Mr. Steele’s dossier to peg Mr. Page as an agent of Russia and thus justify the snooping.

The FBI, however, did not tell the court that Mr. Steele was paid by Democrats, according to a House report, it knew.

The Hill newspaper last week reported on Mr. Ohr’s notes on a meeting he had after the election with Glenn Simpson, the Fusion co-founder who hired Mr. Steele with Democrats’ money. Mr. Simpson continued to pitch the dossier allegations. For example, Mr. Simpson told Mr. Ohr that Trump attorney Michael Cohen served as a go-between for the candidate and the Kremlin.

Mr. Cohen now is under investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan. The subject is believed to be his business practices, not Russia, for which Mr. Cohen repeatedly has denied playing any role.

Mr. Cohen has turned on his onetime boss in what Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal attorney, says is an attempt to stay out of jail.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/aug/12/bruce-ohr-called-on-christopher-steele-talks/

Seal of the Department of Justice

 ES-00  Top 10%

Bruce G. Ohr

Title: General Attorney

Agency: Offices, Boards and Divisions

In 2017, Bruce G. Ohr was a General Attorney at the Offices, Boards and Divisions in Washington, District Of Columbia. As our dataset only goes as far back as 2004, it is likely that has worked in the federal government prior to 2004.

Bruce G. Ohr is a ES-00 under the senior executive service payscale and is among the highest-paid ten percent of employeesin the Offices, Boards and Divisions.


Year Occupation Paygrade Base Salary Bonus Location
2017 General Attorney ES-00 $187,000 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2016 General Attorney ES-00 $185,100 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2015 General Attorney ES-00 $181,500 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2014 General Attorney ES-00 $181,500 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2013 General Attorney ES-00 $179,700 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2012 General Attorney ES-00 $179,700 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2011 General Attorney ES-00 $179,700 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2010 General Attorney ES-00 $179,700 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2009 General Attorney ES-00 $177,000 $9,500 Washington, District of Columbia
2008 General Attorney ES-00 $172,100 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2007 General Attorney ES-00 $162,959 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2006 General Attorney ES-00 $155,942 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2005 General Attorney ES-00 $149,200 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2004 General Attorney ES-00 $145,600 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
FederalPay’s Employee Information Policy

Federal employees’ salaries are considered public information under 5 U.S.C. § 552, and in the interest of government transparency FederalPay publishes the salary information of all federal employees who earn more than $100,000 per year, or who are in the highest paid 10% of their agency. This data is published unmodified, as provided by the OPM.

https://www.federalpay.org/employees/offices-boards-and-divisions/ohr-bruce-g

Bruce Ohr

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Bruce Genesoke Ohr (born March 16, 1962) is a former United States associate deputy attorney general and former director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. He is a current member of the Senior Executive Service. (OCDETF).[1][2]

 

Education

Ohr graduated from Harvard College in 1984 with a degree in physics, and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1987.[3] He went on to teach as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.[4]

Involvement with Trump-Russia dossier

Ohr served as a U.S. Department of Justice contact for Christopher Steele, the former MI6 agent commissioned by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS to author the Trump–Russia dossier. Fusion GPS also hired Bruce Ohr’s wife Nellie to conduct research on Donald Trump.[5]

References

  1. Jump up^ Gibson, Jake (January 8, 2018). “DOJ official who concealed meetings with Trump dossier figures loses another job title”. Fox News. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  2. Jump up^ Zapotosky, Matt; Reinhard, Beth (February 2, 2018). “Why the Nunes memo takes aim at a Justice Dept. official specializing in gangs and drugs”The Washington Post.
  3. Jump up^ Jessica McBride (Dec 8, 2017). “Bruce Ohr & Nellie Ohr: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know”heavy.com.
  4. Jump up^ “Faculty”gufaculty360.georgetown.edu.
  5. Jump up^ Gibson, Jake (December 31, 2017). “Fusion GPS admits DOJ official’s wife Nellie Ohr hired to probe Trump”. Fox News. Retrieved 1 June 2018.

External link

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Ohr

Trump–Russia dossier

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Trump–Russia dossier, also known as the Steele dossier,[1] is a private intelligence report comprising 17 memos that were written between June and December 2016[2] by Christopher Steele, a former head of the Russia Desk for British intelligence (MI6). The resulting dossier contains allegations of misconduct and conspiracy between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Government of Russia during the 2016 election cycle, with campaign members and Russian operatives allegedly colluding to interfere in the election to benefit Trump.[3] It also alleged that Russia sought to damage Hillary Clinton‘s candidacy, including sharing negative information about Clinton with the Trump campaign.[4] The dossier was published in full by BuzzFeed on January 10, 2017.[5] Several mainstream media outlets criticized BuzzFeed’s decision to release it without first verifying its allegations.[6][7]

Fusion GPS, a private investigative firm, provided political opposition research against Trump in two distinct phases, with completely separate funders. Fusion GPS was first contracted by a conservative political website, The Washington Free Beacon, and Steele was not involved in that research. When Trump became the presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee on May 3, 2016, The Free Beacon stopped their backing. Separately, in April 2016, attorney Marc Elias hired Fusion GPS to investigate Trump on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC). In June 2016, Fusion GPS subcontracted Steele to research and compile the dossier. Steele was hired without knowing, or ever having direct contact with, his ultimate clients,[8] and his only instructions were to seek answers to this basic question: “Why did Mr. Trump repeatedly seek to do deals in a notoriously corrupt police state that most serious investors shun?”[9] Senior Clinton campaign officials were reportedly unaware that Fusion GPS had subcontracted with Steele, and Steele was not told the Clinton campaign was the ultimate recipient of his research.[10][8] Following Trump’s election as president, funding from Clinton and the DNC ceased, but Steele continued his research, and was reportedly paid directly by Glenn R. Simpson, a co-founder of Fusion GPS.[11] The completed dossier was then handed to British and American intelligence services.[12] Weeks before the 2016 election, on the basis of Steele’s reputation working on Russia-related matters for nearly 20 years, the FBI reached an agreement to pay Steele to continue his work, but the agreement was later terminated as information about the dossier became public.[13]

The media, the intelligence community, and most experts have treated the dossier with caution, due to its unverified assertions, while Trump himself denounced the report as “fake news“. However, the intelligence community does take the allegations seriously and investigates them.[14][15][16][17] For example, as of May 2018, former career intelligence officer James Clapper believed that “more and more” of the dossier has been validated over time.[18]

Some of the dossier’s allegations have been corroborated, while others remain unverified[19] or may require access to classified information for verification.[20] In February 2017, some details related to conversations “solely between foreign nationals” were independently verified. Some of those individuals were known to be “heavily involved” in efforts to damage Clinton and help Trump. The conversations “took place between the same individuals on the same days and from the same locations as detailed in the dossier,” giving US intelligence and law enforcement “greater confidence” in the credibility of parts of the dossier.[21] Fox News reported on August 15, 2018 that nothing in the dossier had been publicly proven false.[22]

 

History

The opposition research conducted by Fusion GPS on Donald Trump was completed in two phases with separate funders. The first research phase, from October 2015 to May 2016, was funded by The Washington Free Beacon. The second phase, from June 2016 to December 2016, was funded by the DNC and the Clinton campaign, unrelated to the Washington Free Beacon request. The second phase produced the dossier.[23][24]

Research funded by conservative website

In October 2015, before the official start of the 2016 Republican primary campaignThe Washington Free Beacon, an American conservative political journalism website primarily funded by Republican donor Paul Singer, hired the American research firm Fusion GPS to conduct general opposition research on Trump and other Republican presidential candidates.[1] The Free Beacon and Singer were “part of the conservative never-Trump movement”.[25] For months, Fusion GPS gathered information about Trump, focusing on his business and entertainment activities. When Trump became the presumptive nominee on May 3, 2016,[26] The Free Beacon stopped funding research on him.[2][27][28]

Although the source of the Steele dossier’s funding had already been reported correctly over a year before,[2][27][28] a February 2, 2018 story by the Associated Press (AP) contributed to confusion about its funding by stating that the dossier “was initially funded” by the Washington Free Beacon, so the AP posted a correction the next day: “Though the former spy, Christopher Steele, was hired by a firm that was initially funded by the Washington Free Beacon, he did not begin work on the project until after Democratic groups had begun funding it.”[29] At no point in time did the Free Beacon have any connection with the production of the Steele dossier, and the Free Beacon stated that “none of the work product that the Free Beacon received appears in the Steele dossier.”[30]

Research funded by Democrats produces dossier

The second phase of opposition research was funded by the DNC and the Clinton campaign, working through their attorney of record, Marc Elias of Perkins Coie. In April 2016, Elias hired Fusion GPS to perform opposition research on Trump.[10]

As part of their investigation, Fusion GPS hired Orbis Business Intelligence, a private British intelligence firm, to look into connections between Trump and Russia. Orbis co-founder Christopher Steele, a retired British MI6 officer with expertise in Russian matters,[2] was hired as a subcontractor to do the job.[31] In total, Perkins Coie paid Fusion GPS $1.02 million in fees and expenses, $168,000 of which was paid to Orbis by Fusion GPS and used by them to produce the dossier.[32]

Orbis was hired between June and November 2016, and Steele produced 16 memos during that time, with a 17th memo added in December.[33] The memos were like “prepublication notes” based on reports from Steele’s sources, and were not released as a fully vettedand “finished news article”.[34] Steele believes that 70–90% of the dossier is accurate,[35] a view that is shared by Simpson.[34]

Simpson has stated that, to his knowledge, Steele did not pay any of his sources.[36][9][37] According to investigative reporter Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, Orbis has a large number of paid “collectors” who “harvest intelligence from a much larger network of unpaid sources, some of whom don’t even realize they are being treated as informants […] but money doesn’t change hands, because it could risk violating laws against, say, bribing government officials or insider trading. Paying sources might also encourage them to embellish.”[8] According to British journalist Luke Harding, Steele’s sources were not new: “They’re not people that he kind of discovered yesterday. They are trusted contacts who essentially had proven themselves in other areas.”[38] Howard Blum said that Steele leaned on sources “whose loyalty and information he had bought and paid for over the years”.[39]

According to Fusion GPS’s co-owners, Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, they did not tell Steele who their ultimate clients were, only that Steele was “working for a law firm”,[8] and they “gave him no specific marching orders beyond this basic question: ‘Why did Mr. Trump repeatedly seek to do deals in a notoriously corrupt police state that most serious investors shun?'”[9] Mayer reported that when the Clinton campaign “indirectly employed” Steele, Elias created a “legal barrier” by acting “as a firewall” between the campaign and Steele. Thus, any details were “protected by attorney-client privilege. Fusion briefed only Elias on the reports. Simpson sent Elias nothing on paper—he was briefed orally.”[8] Only several months after signing the contract with Fusion GPS did Steele learn that the DNC and the Clinton campaign were the ultimate clients.[8] The firewall was reportedly so effective that even campaign principals John Podesta and Robby Mook did not know that Steele was on the Democratic payroll until Mother Jones reported on the issue on October 31, 2016.[8]

Steele delivered his reports individually as one- to three-page memos.[2] The first memo, dated June 20, 2016, was sent to Washington by courier and hand-delivered to Fusion GPS. The names of the sources were redacted, “providing instead descriptions of them that enabled Fusion to assess their basic credibility.”[8]

Luke Harding wrote:

“At first, obtaining intelligence from Moscow went well. For around six months – during the first half of the year – Steele was able to make inquiries in Russia with relative ease. It got harder from late July, as Trump’s ties to Russia came under scrutiny. Finally, the lights went out. Amid a Kremlin cover-up, the sources went silent and information channels shut down.”[40]

Steele has stated that he soon found “troubling information indicating connections between Trump and the Russian government.” According to his sources, “there was an established exchange of information between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin of mutual benefit.”[41] According to Harding, “Steele was shocked by the extent of collusion his sources were reporting,” and told his friends: “For anyone who reads it, this is a life-changing experience.”[35] Steele felt that what he had unearthed “was something of huge significance, way above party politics.”[39] American reporter Howard Blum described Steele’s rationale for becoming a whistleblower: “The greater good trumps all other concerns.”[39]

On his own initiative, Steele decided to also pass the information to British and American intelligence services because he believed the findings were a matter of national security for both countries.[42][43] According to Simpson’s testimony, Steele approached the FBIbecause he was concerned that Trump, then a candidate, was being blackmailed by Russia,[44] and he became “very concerned about whether this represented a national security threat”.[42] When Steele showed his findings to FBI agents in Rome in early July, their reaction was “shock and horror”.[44][45] Jane Mayer reports that the FBI agents “asked Steele about Papadopoulos, and he said that he hadn’t heard anything about him.”[8]

Steele enjoyed a good working reputation “for the knowledge he had developed over nearly 20 years working on Russia-related issues for British intelligence.”[13] Knowing this, in October 2016, a few weeks before the election, the FBI agreed to pay him to continue collecting information. However, the subsequent public release of the dossier stopped discussions between Steele and the FBI.[13] Simpson testified that “Steele wasn’t paid by the FBI, but was possibly reimbursed for a trip to Rome to meet with FBI officials.”[28][46]According to Mayer, Steele “did request compensation for travelling to Rome, but he never received any.”[8]

Simpson later revealed that “Steele severed his contacts with [the] FBI before the election following public statements by the FBI that it had found no connection between the Trump campaign and Russia and concerns that [the FBI] was being ‘manipulated for political ends by the Trump people’.”[47] Steele had become frustrated with the FBI, whom he believed failed to investigate his reports, choosing instead to focus on the investigation into Clinton’s emails. According to The Independent, Steele came to believe that there was a “cabal” inside the FBI, particularly its New York field office linked to Trump advisor Rudy Giuliani, because it blocked any attempts to investigate the links between Trump and Russia.[43]

Hints of existence

Jane Mayer has described how, in “late summer, Fusion set up a series of meetings, at the Tabard Inn, in Washington, between Steele and a handful of national-security reporters…. Despite Steele’s generally cool manner, he seemed distraught about the Russians’ role in the election.” Mayer attended one of the meetings. No news organizations ran any stories about the allegations at that time.[8]

Mother Jones story

By the third quarter of 2016, many news organizations knew about the existence of the dossier, which had been described as an “open secret” among journalists. However, they chose not to publish information that could not be confirmed.[2][48]

By October 2016, Steele had compiled 33 pages (16 memos), and he then passed on what he had discovered to David Corn, a reporter from Mother Jones magazine. On October 31, 2016, a week before the election, Mother Jones reported that a former intelligence officer, whom they did not name, had produced a report based on Russian sources and turned it over to the FBI.[41] The article disclosed some of the dossier’s allegations:

The first memo, based on the former intelligence officer’s conversations with Russian sources, noted, “Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years. Aim, endorsed by PUTIN, has been to encourage splits and divisions in western alliance”. It maintained that Trump “and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals”. It claimed that Russian intelligence had “compromised” Trump during his visits to Moscow and could “blackmail him”. It also reported that Russian intelligence had compiled a dossier on Hillary Clinton based on “bugged conversations she had on various visits to Russia and intercepted phone calls.”

— David Corn, “A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump”, Mother Jones (October 31, 2016)[41]

When the Mother Jones story broke, John Podesta, chairman of the Clinton campaign, said he was “stunned by the news that the FBI had launched a full-blown investigation into Trump, especially one that was informed by research underwritten by the Clinton campaign.” Although they knew that Perkins Coie had spent money for opposition research, neither Podesta nor campaign manager Robby Mook knew that Steele was on the Democratic payroll. They both maintain they “didn’t read the dossier until BuzzFeed posted it online. Far from a secret campaign weapon, Steele turned out to be a secret kept from the campaign.”[8]

Post-election events

After Trump’s election on November 8, 2016, the Democratic client stopped paying for the investigation, but Steele continued working on the dossier for Fusion GPS.[2] At that time, Simpson “reportedly spent his own money to continue the investigation”.[11] After the election, Steele’s dossier “became one of Washington’s worst-kept secrets, and journalists worked to verify the allegations.[2]

On November 18, 2016, U.S. Senator John McCain, who had been informed about the alleged links between the Kremlin and Trump, met with former British ambassador to Moscow Sir Andrew Wood at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada. Wood told McCain about the existence of the collected materials about Trump,[49] and also vouched for Steele’s professionalism and integrity.[50]

According to Simpson’s August 22, 2017, testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Steele and David J. Kramer, a longtime McCain aide and former U.S. State Department official working at Arizona State University, met each other at the Halifax forum and discussed the dossier. Kramer told Steele that McCain wanted to “ask questions about it at the FBI. … All we sort of wanted was for the government to do its job and we were concerned about whether the information that we provided previously had ever, you know, risen to the leadership level of the FBI.” Later, “Kramer followed up with Steele”.[51] Steele had agreed with Fusion GPS to deliver a hard copy of all 16 memos to McCain,[33] which McCain received in early December from Kramer.[2] On December 9, McCain met personally with FBI Director James Comey to pass on the information.[49][23][52] Comey later confirmed that counterintelligence investigations were under way into possible links between Trump associates and Moscow.[33]

After delivering his 16 memos, Steele received more information and composed the two-page “December memo”, dated December 13. It mostly contained allegations against Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, which he denied.[53][54] In an April 2017 court filing, Steele revealed previously unreported information that he had given a copy of his last memo to a “senior UK government national security official acting in his official capacity, on a confidential basis in hard copy form”, because it “had implications for the national security of the US and the UK”.[33] Steele also “sent an encrypted version to Fusion with instructions to deliver a hard copy to Senator McCain.”