Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal

The Pronk Pops Show 1169, November 5, 2018, Story 1: Red Wave Breaking — Senators — Republican 56, Democrat 44 — House Representatives — Republican 226 — Democrat 209 — Videos — Story 2: Top Three Issues — The Economy/Jobs, Illegal Alien Invasion, Healthcare — Videos — Story 3: Waiting For Successful and Viable New Political Party — Videos

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Story 1: Red Wave Breaking — Senators — Republican 56, Democrat 44 — House Representatives — Republican 226 — Democrat 209 — Videos —

Midterm elections: Republican voters show strong turnout in early voting

How Trump’s approval rating could affect midterms | CITIZEN by CNN

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People line up to vote.
Analysts cautioned against drawing broad conclusions about which party could gain an advantage from high early vote totals. | Jim Mone/AP Photo

ELECTIONS

A staggering 36 million people have voted early, setting the stage for big midterm turnout

The turnout could be a source of error in pre-election surveys if pollsters did not calibrate properly for such high rates of voting.

A staggering 36 million voters cast their ballots ahead of Election Day this year, setting the stage for much-higher-than-usual turnout for a midterm ‚ÄĒ and, potentially, big surprises on Tuesday night.

Republican enthusiasm for President Donald Trump and Democrats’ itch to repudiate him at the ballot box have driven people to the polls far faster than in 2014, when 27.2 million people voted early, according to Michael McDonald, a University of Florida professor who tracks voter turnout.

And that trend is expected to extend into Election Day. Early voters in three states ‚ÄĒ Texas, Nevada and Arizona ‚ÄĒ have already surpassed total turnout in the last midterm election, McDonald‚Äôs data shows, and more states will blow past their normal non-presidential turnout with just a handful more votes on Election Day. The high voting rates have transformed expectations about who will show up in the midterms ‚ÄĒ and they could inspire results that diverge from any pre-election polls that did not reckon with this year‚Äôs unusually high enthusiasm.

‚ÄúThis is not a normal election,‚ÄĚ McDonald told POLITICO. ‚ÄúThe best guess is that we‚Äôre looking at some sort of hybrid midterm/presidential election‚ÄĚ in terms of turnout.

Analysts cautioned against drawing broad conclusions about which party could gain an advantage from the high early vote totals. But they did note that pre-election polls make built-in assumptions about how many people will vote, and pollsters who leaned too heavily on past midterm turnout may have misfired.

McDonald and the team at Edison Media Research, which is conducting a¬†revamped exit poll¬†this election after stumbling in 2016, predict that 105.5 million people will¬†vote this year¬†‚ÄĒ about 45 percent of the voting eligible population. That‚Äôs up from¬†2014, an unusually low-turnout year in which fewer than 82 million people voted for the highest office on their ballot, but still lower than¬†2016, when about 137 million people voted for president.

‚ÄúI think we‚Äôve all made a very safe assumption that 2018 will look nothing like 2014,‚ÄĚ Bonier said, noting that underestimating certain demographics by even a few percentage points in a poll could have an outsized effects on the results.

Some pollsters, like Monmouth University and the New York Times/Siena College, have adjusted this year by publishing multiple results for each poll, detailing how the results would change under different turnout scenarios. And the baseline estimates have gone up in recent weeks: The first Times/Siena poll of Rep. Pete Sessions’ (R-Texas) contested reelection race, for example, projected that about 194,000 people would turn out, while the second poll projected 211,000 voters would cast ballots in that slice of the Dallas suburbs.

Over 188,000 voters have already cast early ballots in the Dallas County portion of the battleground district, according to county data. (Another 7 percent of the district’s population is in another county that has not published early vote totals by congressional seat.)

Higher-than-expected turnout helped Democrats in some but not all of the Times/Siena polling models.

Mara Suttmann, a professor of government at Connecticut College, noted that it‚Äôs hard to predict which party will benefit from early voting because many voters would have voted whether or not early voting was an option ‚ÄĒ ‚Äúcannibalizing‚ÄĚ the Election Day vote instead of adding many new voters to the electorate.

Bonier noted that there has been in a surge in non-usual voters, including young people and people voting for the first time, which could favor Democrats. But even this does not guarantee electoral success for Democrats on Tuesday.

‚ÄúThe open question that won‚Äôt be answered until [results are in]: Do those early vote trends carry on through Election Day?‚ÄĚ Bonier asked. ‚ÄúOr are they reversed? In 2016, in a lot of cases, they were reversed. I don‚Äôt think you can bet one way or another at this point.‚ÄĚ

These low-propensity voters still make up a proportionally small portion of both the early voter electorate and the expected overall electorate. Data from TargetSmart shows that early voters younger than 39 are still easily outnumbered by voters aged 50-64, and even more so by voters over the age of 65.

And even in states where Democrats lead Republicans in early ballots cast ‚ÄĒ like Florida, where there‚Äôs a tight gubernatorial and Senate election ‚ÄĒ the election is still far from over.

And there’s still a likely majority of votes to be cast on Election Day.

‚ÄúWe may see another 60 million votes cast [on Election Day]. Most people who will have ended up voting in this election have still not voted,‚ÄĚ Bonier said. ‚ÄúIn the end, what happens on Election Day turnout will, to some extent, swamp what happened in the early vote.‚ÄĚ

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/11/05/early-voting-turnout-2018-elections-midterms-963149

Story 2: Top Three Issues — The Economy/Jobs, Illegal Alien Invasion, Healthcare — Videos —

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With him or against him, Trump looms large over Election Day

today
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FILE- In this Nov. 2, 2018, file photo residents vote early at the Douglas County Election Commission office in Omaha, Neb. For voters across America, this year’s midterm elections represent something far greater than whatever Senate and House races appear on their ballots. It is a referendum on President Donald Trump and the venomous political culture that many blame for gridlock in Congress and a recent spate of hate crimes and politically motivated attacks. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) ‚ÄĒ Michael Gregoire marched along a downtown sidewalk in the tense days before the midterm elections, waving a hand-painted sign at passing traffic: ‚ÄúDEFEAT REPUBLICANS 2018.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúThe survival of the country is going to depend on this election,‚ÄĚ he said as another man stopped for a moment to argue. The strangers faced each other from opposite edges of the great American divide, Democrat versus Republican, both convinced the election is among the most consequential in their lifetimes and that they must save the nation from the other side.

President Donald Trump looms large over Tuesday‚Äôs election, which is expected to draw historic numbers to the polls and will determine which party controls Congress. For Gregoire and Kanter ‚ÄĒ and for voters across the country ‚ÄĒ the election represents something far greater than whatever Senate and House races appear on their ballots. It is a competition for the soul of America ‚ÄĒ a referendum on Trump and the venomous political culture that many blame for gridlock in Congress and a recent spate of hate crimes and politically motivated attacks.

Less than two weeks ago in this city, a white man gunned down two African-American shoppers at a grocery store in what police described as a racially motivated attack. Days later, an avid Trump supporter was arrested for mailing pipe bombs to prominent critics of the president, all of whom Trump routinely derides as ‚Äúevil‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúun-American.‚ÄĚ The next day, another gunman opened fire in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, massacring 11 worshippers and telling police ‚Äúall these Jews need to die.‚ÄĚ

Don Albrecht, a 75-year-old accountant and Republican who voted for Trump in 2016, lives blocks away from the Louisville grocery store where two people died. He’d pulled into the parking lot minutes after the gunfire erupted, saw the police cars and shaken employees, and felt like the country’s poisonous political climate had landed in his backyard. He wishes he could take back his vote for Trump.

‚ÄúHe has diarrhea of the mouth and diarrhea of the brain. He‚Äôs just so irresponsible,‚ÄĚ said Albrecht, who worries Trump‚Äôs embrace of the far-right is remaking his party. ‚ÄúI don‚Äôt think the American public is going to put up with it. I think there‚Äôs going to be a big backlash against Republicans because of this divisiveness.‚ÄĚ

Other Trump voters remain staunchly behind him, and plan to choose Republican candidates to help him make good on his pledges, including vows to implement more hardline immigration policies. ‚ÄúI want to see the wall go up,‚ÄĚ said Joe Spirko, 57, as he peddled Trump flags outside of one of the president‚Äôs rallies in Florida last week. ‚ÄúSince Trump come along, I feel a lot better.‚ÄĚ

Trump has stepped up his rhetoric on immigration ahead of the elections, focusing on a caravan of Central American migrants heading toward the United States. Trump and his backers have called it ‚Äúan invasion‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒ though the group of a few thousand people, including mothers and children, remains hundreds of miles away ‚ÄĒ and suggested without proof that there are criminals and terrorists in the crowd of those fleeing violence and poverty. In a White House speech, the president said he would sign an order preventing border-crossers from claiming asylum, a legally questionable proposition, and said he‚Äôd told military troops he‚Äôs mobilizing to the border to respond to thrown rocks like they were ‚Äúrifles.‚ÄĚ

Julie Hoeppner, a 67-year-old psychologist in Indiana, voted early for Republican candidates, also citing illegal immigration as a primary concern.

A friend recently sent Hoeppner a photo of immigrants arriving at Ellis Island with a note that said: ‚ÄúFor our ancestors, this is their caravan.‚ÄĚ Hoeppner didn‚Äôt respond but thought to herself that her ancestors arrived legally. ‚ÄúWhich is a big difference,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúThey didn‚Äôt come trying to storm the border.‚ÄĚ

Pedro Panelo, the 21-year-old president of the College Republicans at Wheaton College in Illinois, is frustrated immigration became a last-minute political football, because the issue is more complex than what either Democrats or Republicans make it out to be. Panelo, the son of a Mexican immigrant, said migrants shouldn’t be demonized, but he stopped short of criticizing the president, and plans to vote for Republican candidates who could help push Trump’s agenda.

‚ÄúWhen it comes to his actions, I‚Äôm not a huge fan of his tweets,‚ÄĚ Panelo said. ‚ÄúBut what I say is look what he‚Äôs done for the country and not always what he‚Äôs said on Twitter.‚ÄĚ

He said he’s felt an extraordinary level of enthusiasm for this election among his fellow students. Young people, who historically sit out of midterm elections, and women are both expected to be pivotal forces Tuesday. In Georgia, Democratic campaign volunteer Adrienne White said she struggled to recruit volunteers ahead of the 2016 presidential election but that it’s been easy this year, especially among women.

In Pittsburgh, where residents just finished burying those gunned down at the Tree of Life synagogue, some voters saw their Election Day decisions as a way to send a message that the country is headed down a dark and dangerous path.

‚ÄúThis is probably the most important election in the past 100 years. This will turn the tables,‚ÄĚ said Barbara Villa, 71, who with her husband planted a crop of ‚ÄúVote Blue‚ÄĚ signs outside their home.

Rose Cathleen Bagin, 77, lives in the same neighborhood as the synagogue. She lashed a sign to her front porch reading ‚ÄúVOTE FOR GUN CONTROL,‚ÄĚ and she is stunned every time she sees the crowd at Trump rallies on television cheering for his divisive language.

‚ÄúI can‚Äôt stand the terrible things he says and the terrible things he‚Äôs doing,‚ÄĚ said Bagin, who plans to vote Democratic Tuesday. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm terrified. We‚Äôre going to a place I just don‚Äôt understand.‚ÄĚ

___

Also contributing were AP reporters Allen G. Breed and Adam Geller from Pittsburgh and Tamara Lush from Estero, Florida.

https://apnews.com/464f27b585d34fc597884d88d8ab10af

Democrats’ Pickup Chances Rise In More House Races, Analyst Says

More U.S. House races are competitive and leaning toward Democrats with Election Day tomorrow, according to the latest ratings changes by Cook Political Report. The new rankingsshow nine districts shifting toward Democrats and only one becoming better for Republicans.

Democrats‚Äô chances to pick up seats have improved in key races in Georgia, Pennsylvania, California and Washington, according to ratings changes by Cook‚Äôs David Wasserman. The contest to succeed retiring California Republican Darell Issa is likely going to Democrat Mike Levin, and in Washington state‚Äôs 8th district, Democrat Kim Schrier‚Äôs chance of replacing retiring Republican Dave Reichert has moved from ‚ÄúToss Up‚ÄĚ to ‚ÄúLean Democratic.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúBottom line: anything from a Democratic gain of 20 to 45 seats remains well within the realm of possibility, but a gain of 30 to 40 seats – and House control – is the most likely outcome,‚ÄĚ Wasserman wrote today in an online post.

In Georgia, GOP Rep. Karen Handel‚Äôs race moved to ‚ÄúToss Up‚ÄĚ from ‚ÄúLean Republican.‚ÄĚ

Handel, elected in a special election last year, is facing headwinds from a gubernatorial contest that is energizing Democrats in her north Atlanta district. Handel’s challenger, Democrat Lucy McBath, is a gun-control activist and African American who could be helped by a possible surge in black voter turnout led by enthusiasm for Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, according to Wasserman.

Democrats’ Pickup Chances Rise In More House Races, Analyst Says

Meanwhile, a new congressional map in Pennsylvania is giving Freedom Caucus member Scott Perry his first competitive general election bid. The race is now considered a ‚ÄúToss Up‚ÄĚ as the three-term Republican continues to be out raised by Democrat George Scott.

The re-election bids of Republicans Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida and Fred Upton of Michigan both moved from ‚ÄúLikely Republican‚ÄĚ to ‚ÄúLean Republican.‚ÄĚ In Texas, House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul‚Äôs race and retiring Republican Joe Barton‚Äôs open seat were previously considered ‚ÄúSolid Republican,‚ÄĚ but now are rated ‚ÄúLikely Republican.‚ÄĚ Wasserman also moved West Virginia Republican Representative Alex Mooney‚Äôs re-election from ‚ÄúSolid Republican‚ÄĚ to ‚ÄúLikely Republican.‚ÄĚ

The good news for Republicans out of the latest rating changes is in Arizona‚Äôs 1st Congressional District. Incumbent Democrat Tom O‚ÄôHalleran‚Äôs race moved from ‚ÄúLikely Democrat‚ÄĚ to ‚ÄúLean Democrat,‚ÄĚ as the freshmen member continues to defend a seat in a district President Donald Trump narrowly won in 2016.

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Exclusive poll: Only half of Americans have faith in democracy

Just 51% of Americans said they have faith in democracy, and 37% say they have lost faith in democracy, according to a new Axios/SurveyMonkey poll conducted in late October.

Why it matters: It suggests that recent political turmoil has caused people to doubt the very foundation of American society, particularly leading up to election day.

Show less

Since October 2016,¬†just before the last presidential election, SurveyMonkey has tracked Americans’ views toward democracy.

What’s happening:¬†Despite the political turbulence over the past two years, Americans’ faith in democracy has been relatively stable ‚ÄĒ with two exceptions.

  • Just before heading¬†to the polls in 2016, 52% of voters had faith in democracy.
  • That number grew¬†from pre-election numbers (by 8 percentage points) immediately following the election in November 2016 and in February 2017, after President Trump’s inauguration.
  • One year ago,¬†in October 2017, faith in democracy dropped by 7 percentage points and has held fairly steady since then.
  • The other half of Americans¬†have either lost faith in democracy or never had faith in it to begin with, according to the poll.

The big picture:¬†SurveyMonkey also found that half the country believes America is more divided today than ever before ‚ÄĒ and that these divisions will probably continue far into the future (ranging between 46% and 51% over the past two years).

  • About one-third of Americans¬†agree America is more divided today, but are optimistic that Americans will come together in the near future.
  • 18% say America¬†is not more divided today than it has been in the past.

Methodology:¬†This survey was¬†conducted Oct. 19‚Äď24 among 3,913 adults. Respondents were selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education and geography using the Census Bureau‚Äôs American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over.

The modeled error estimate for the full sample of that survey is plus or minus 2 percentage points and full crosstabs are available here.

Go deeper:

https://www.axios.com/poll-americans-faith-in-democracy-2e94a938-4365-4e80-9fb6-d9743d817710.html

 

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The Pronk Pops 1162, October 24, 2018, Breaking News: Story 1: The Windmills of Your Mind — Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy — A Barack Clinton Dud (ABCD) — Fake Bombs — Fake Dossier — Fake News — Real Smear Campaign — Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers — Mexican Marxist Mobs Marching — Return To Sender — Videos

Posted on October 26, 2018. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Campaign, 2016 Presidential Candidates, Addiction, American History, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, City, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Defense Spending, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Empires, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Freedom of Speech, Gangs, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hate Speech, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, Homicide, House of Representatives, Housing, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, James Comey, Killing, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Mental Illness, Nutrition, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Public Corruption, Public Relations, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Scandals, Second Amendment, Senate, Social Networking, Spying, Spying on American People, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Fraud, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 1157 October 16, 2018

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Breaking News: Story 1: The Windmills of Your Mind — Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy — A Barack Clinton Dud (ABCD) — Fake Bombs — Fake Dossier — Fake News — Real Smear Campaign — Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers — Mexican Marxist Mobs Marching — Return To Sender — Videos

Political Cartoons by AF Branco

Political Cartoons by AF Branco

The Windmills of Your Mind – Noel Harrison

Glider flying ‘Windmills Of Your Mind’ film ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’ 1968

The Windmills of Your Mind

Round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning on an ever spinning reel
Like a snowball down a mountain, or a carnival balloon
Like a carousel that’s turning running rings around the moon
Like a clock whose hands are sweeping past the minutes of its face
And the world is like an apple whirling silently in space
Like the circles that you find in the windmills of your mind
Like a tunnel that you follow to a tunnel of its own
Down a hollow to a cavern where the sun has never shone
Like a door that keeps revolving in a half forgotten dream
Or the ripples from a pebble someone tosses in a stream
Like a clock whose hands are sweeping past the minutes of its face
And the world is like an apple whirling silently in space
Like the circles that you find in the windmills of your mind
Keys that jingle in your pocket, words that jangle in your head
Why did summer go so quickly, was it something that you said?
Lovers walking along a shore and leave their footprints in the sand
Is the sound of distant drumming just the fingers of your hand?
Pictures hanging in a hallway and the fragment of a song
Half remembered names and faces, but to whom do they belong?
When you knew that it was over you were suddenly aware
That the autumn leaves were turning to the color of her hair!
Like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning on an ever spinning reel
As the images unwind, like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind
Songwriters: Alan Bergman / Marylin Bergman / Michel Legrand
The Windmills of Your Mind lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
[youtbe=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rTq6lDtCsU]

Trump vows to investigate bombs mailed to Clintons, Obama and CNN

Tucker Carlson Tonight Fox News 10/24/18 Breaking News Tonight October 24, 2018

FAKE MAIL BOMBS Sent to Dems-FALSE FLAG is a CNN/ Media-farce by Left used to attack Trump/Midterms

Tucker Carlson Tonight Fox News 10/25/18 Fox News Today October 25, 2018

Explosive devices sent to Clinton, Obama, CNN raises concerns of copycats

Mail bomb spree spreads fear throughout the country

Sean Hannity Fox News 10/24/18 Hannity October 24, 2018

Law Enforcement Confirms Pipe Bombs Are Fake Deep State False Flag Confirmed

Ordinance Disposal Bombs Are Fake

PBS NewsHour full episode October 24, 2018

U.S. sees a series of targeted bomb scares

‚ÄėPipe bombs‚Äô sent to White House, Clinton, Obama and CNN studio

Obamas, Clintons and CNN among targets of mail bombs | ITV News

President Donald Trump Accuses Hillary Clinton Campaign Of Russian Collusion | NBC News

Conservatives Create Wild Conspiracy Theories About MAGA Bomber

Federal Agents Reveal ‚ÄúHuge Clue‚ÄĚ About Who Sent Mail Bombs To Top Democrats

What we know about the U.S. mail bombs

‘The Five’ on explosive devices sent to prominent Democrats

We All Should Be Calling This Out’: Rep. Scalise Calls for Partisan Unity After Mail Bomb Scare

‚ÄėMail bombs‚Äô sent to Obama, Clintons, senior Democrats and CNN

See Trump’s response to bombs

CNN, Obamas, Clintons and Holder Targeted with Mail Bombs

Bomb Disposal Expert Claims Mail Bombs Are an ‚ÄėObvious Hoax‚Äô

Deep Dumpster Diving Into the Magnificent Story of the Bomb Scare Hoax and Why It Boggles the Mind

The Ingraham Angle Fox News [2AM] 10/24/18 Laura Ingraham October 24, 2018

Questions About the Mail Bomber

Ann Coulter Reacts to Suspicious Packages Sent to Obama, Clintons

Ann Coulter: US takes in more refugees than rest of the world combined

Tracking the migrant caravan’s journey from Central America to the southern U.S. border

Ingraham: The caravan of lies and manipulation

Second migrant caravan forms as many seek asylum in Mexico

Migrant caravan raises Trump’s ire again

Ingraham: The flameout of the Democrats’ latest stars

Here’s Who’s Really Behind The Migrant Caravan

Trump should ask Mexico to stop migrant caravan: Former ICE director

How Do You Judge America? Left vs. Right #3

Elvis Presley – Return To Sender

Return to Sender
Return to sender, return to sender
I gave a letter to the postman, he put it his sack
Bright in early next morning, he brought my letter back
She wrote upon it
Return to sender, address unknown
No such number, no such zone
We had a quarrel, a lover’s spat
I write I’m sorry but my letter keeps coming back
So then I dropped it in the mailbox and sent it special D
Bright in early next morning it came right back to me
She wrote upon it
Return to sender, address unknown
No such person, no such zone
This time I’m gonna take it myself and put it right in her hand
And if it comes back the very next day then I’ll understand
The writing on it
Return to sender, address unknown
No such number, no such zone
Return to sender, return to sender
Return to sender, return to sender
Songwriters: Otis Blackwell / Winfield Scott
Return to Sender lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Raleigh Music Publishing

Neil Diamond – The Windmills Of Your Mind

Ginetto reno-Windmills of your mind-Chess scene

Jordan Peterson: 5 Hours for the NEXT 50 Years of Your LIFE (MUST WATCH)

New X-ray images reveal how ‘MAGAbomber’ made crude pipe bombs out of PVC tubing and an Amazon digital clock before stuffing them with sulfur and shards of glass

  • The pipe bombs sent to prominent Democrats across the United States each had matching characteristics
  • Officials said the devices were contrived of PVC tubing attached to a digital clock, available for purchase on Amazon, and included sulfur as explosives and shards of glass as shrapnel
  • X-ray images provide a more detailed look at the explosive devices that also include a battery and wiring
  • Secret Service intercepted two explosive devices en route to Obama’s Washington home and Hillary Clinton’s New York residence
  • Another was discovered on Wednesday at the Time Warner Center in New York where CNN’s newsroom is located. It was addressed to former CIA director John Brennan¬†
  • The devices are all similar to a small pipe bomb found at¬†billionaire George Soros’ home in New York Monday
  • They were wrapped in black electrical tape and stuffed full of gunpowder with a digital clock timer attached
  • Other intercepted devices targeted California congresswoman Maxine Waters, former Attorney General Eric Holder, VP Mike Pence and actor Robert De Niro
  • All the packageshad former DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s office listed as a return address
  • The hashtag #MAGAbomber became a top trending hashtag on Twitter Wednesday¬†
  • President Trump meanwhile condemned the pipe bomb incidents and called for unity across the nation

The pipe bombs anonymously sent to the addresses of prominent Democrats across the United States each had matching characteristics, law enforcement officials revealed Wednesday evening.

The crude devices were contrived of PVC tubing attached to a digital clock, available for purchase on Amazon. They included sulfur as explosives and shards of glass as shrapnel.

X-ray images obtained by ABC News provide a more detailed look at the explosive devices that also include a battery as well as wiring to initiate an explosion.

Officials suspect a serial bomber likely with an intent to kill is behind the rash of homemade explosives sent in the mail this week.

Law enforcement officials said Wednesday evening the pipe bombs anonymously sent to the addresses of prominent Democrats across the United States each had matching characteristics. An x-ray of the explosive device sent to Barack's Obama's Washington residence is pictured

Law enforcement officials said Wednesday evening the pipe bombs anonymously sent to the addresses of prominent Democrats across the United States each had matching characteristics.¬†An x-ray of the explosive device sent to Barack’s Obama’s Washington residence is pictured

The crude devices were contrived with PVC tubing attached to a digital clock and included sulfur as explosives and shards of glass as shrapnel. An x-ray of the explosive device recovered at Time Warner Center in NYC is pictured

The crude devices were contrived with PVC tubing attached to a digital clock and included sulfur as explosives and shards of glass as shrapnel. An x-ray of the explosive device recovered at Time Warner Center in NYC is pictured

The digital clock is circled above. Multiple suspected explosive devices were found in the mail addressed to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and CNN's New York newsroom on Wednesday. Pictured is the pipe bomb sent to CNN's newsroom

The digital clock is circled above.¬†Multiple suspected explosive devices were found in the mail addressed to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and CNN’s New York newsroom on Wednesday. Pictured is the pipe bomb sent to CNN’s newsroom

Secret Service agents revealed earlier Wednesday they had intercepted two explosives en route to former President Obama’s Washington D.C. home and Hillary and Bill Clinton’s property in Chappaqua, New York.

A short time later, a police bomb squad was sent to CNN’s offices in New York City and the newsroom was evacuated because of a pipe bomb found in an envelope addressed to former CIA director John Brennan.

The devices were similar to the small pipe bomb found at liberal billionaire donor George Soros’ New York home on Monday and appear to have been sent by the same person, NYPD’s chief of counterterrorism said.

Throughout the day, a disturbing hashtag that suggests the Trump administration holds responsibility for the pipe bombs became a top trend on Twitter.

Liberal conspiracy theorists took to the social media platform to share countless viral tweets under the hashtag #MAGAbomber, while President Trump in the meantime condemned the attempted act of terror against his greatest foes and called for unity across the nation.

One user wrote in a tweet using the trending hashtag:¬†‘I promise you it will not be long until a crowd of people cheer at a Trump rally for the #MAGABomber.’

Another user said: ‘No one could have predicted the #MAGABomber except for literally everyone,’ while someone else wrote: ‘@realDonaldTrump you and your hateful rhetoric are responsible for the #MAGAbomber.’

Someone else suggested: ‘#MAGAbomber the hashtag fits @realDonaldTrump you must admit.’

Trump spoke about pipe bomb incidents Wednesday at a White House event, where signed an opioid epidemic law that will make medical treatment more readily available to drug abusers and crack down on the mailing of illegal substances.

Trump said in the statement: ‘I just want to tell you that in these times, we have to unify… we have to come together and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the Untied States of America.

‘The safety of the American people is my highest and absolute priority. I’ve just concluded a briefing with the FBI, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security and the US Secret Service.

‘As we speak, the packages are being inspected by top explosive experts and a major federal investigation is now underway.

‘The full weight of our government is being deployed to conduct this investigation and bring those responsible for these despicable acts to justice.’

US President Donald Trump condemned the act of terror against his greatest foes and called for unity across the nation while speaking at a White House event on October 24, 2018 in Washington, DC

US President Donald Trump condemned the act of terror against his greatest foes and called for unity across the nation while speaking at a White House event on October 24, 2018 in Washington, DC

Trump speaks about crude pipe bombs targeting Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, CNN and others, during an event on the opioid crisis, in the East Room of the White House on Wednesday in Washington

The FBI said the packages were mailed in manilla envelopes with bubble wrap interior. The packages were affixed with computer-printed address labels and six stamps bearing the Stars and Stripes. All packages had the return address of former DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Florida.

The explosive device intended for Holder was returned to her Florida office – also sparking an evacuation there on Wednesday afternoon.

All of those targeted are among Trump’s biggest political enemies and have been subjected to his ire on Twitter.

The White House also called the attacks as ‘despicable’, while officials described the events as a coordinated ‘effort to terrorize’ just days before polarizing US elections.

‘This clearly is an act of terror attempting to undermine our free press and leaders of this country through acts of violence,’ New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told a news conference.

The FBI has warned that other packages could also have been mailed and said they were working with multiple agencies to track down the person responsible.

The packages sent to the Clintons and Obama were discovered during routine mail screenings and were intercepted prior to being delivered to Clinton and Obama.

Bill Clinton was at the family’s home at the time the package was intercepted, while Hillary was attending campaign events for Democrats in Florida.

Multiple suspected explosive devices were found in the mail addressed to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and CNN's New York newsroom on Wednesday. Pictured above is the pipe bomb sent to CNN's newsroom

Multiple suspected explosive devices were found in the mail addressed to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and CNN’s New York newsroom on Wednesday. Pictured above is the pipe bomb sent to CNN’s newsroom

The FBI said the packages were mailed in manilla envelopes and were affixed with computer-printed address labels with six stamps bearing the Stars and Stripes. The packages had the return address of former DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Florida

The FBI said the packages were mailed in manilla envelopes and were affixed with computer-printed address labels with six stamps bearing the Stars and Stripes. The packages had the return address of former DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Florida

A bomb was found at the New York home of Hillary and Bill Clinton on Wednesday morning

Two bombs have been found in the mail addressed to former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to the Secret Service

The packaging was addressed care of CNN to former CIA director John Brennan,¬†who doesn’t work for the network but is an MSNBC contributor.¬†An evacuation alarm went off as CNN anchors were live on air reporting on the packages sent to Obama and Clinton.

The bomb was constructed with a metal pipe, wires and black tape, according to police. The device found at CNN was removed by the NYPD bomb squad and taken away for investigation.

A suspicious package addressed to Democratic California congresswoman Maxine Waters was intercepted by Capitol Police on Wednesday afternoon and another was found en route to her California office.

Earlier, a law enforcement source told Reuters and CNN that they believed a pipe bomb had also been sent to the White House but was intercepted at an off-site facility in D.C. The Secret Service later denied this, saying there was no suspicious package addressed to the White House.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said his office received a similar package, but New York police officials said the office was cleared and no device was found. The San Diego office of U.S. Senator Kamala Harris was evacuated early Wednesday following reports of a suspicious package, but police found nothing.

The package sent to Hillary and Bill Clinton's property in Chappaqua, New York was found by an employee who screens their mail. Police guarded the property early Wednesday

The package sent to Hillary and Bill Clinton’s property in Chappaqua, New York was found by an employee who screens their mail. Police guarded the property early Wednesday

A device addressed to former President Obama's home in Washington D.C. was intercepted by Secret Service. Law enforcement were spotted outside the home early Wednesday morning

A¬†device addressed to former President Obama’s home in Washington D.C. was intercepted by Secret Service. Law enforcement were spotted outside the home¬†early Wednesday morning

A short time later, a police bomb squad was sent to CNN's offices (above) in New York City and the newsroom was evacuated because of a suspicious package 

A short time later, a police bomb squad was sent to CNN’s offices (above) in New York City and the newsroom was evacuated because of a suspicious package

A bomb robotic was deployed outside the building in Sunrise, Florida where Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has an office

A robotic device and members of the bomb squad were deployed outside the building in Sunrise, Florida where Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has an office following reports of a suspicious device

TIMELINE: Packages target prominent Democrats and Trump’s foes

Monday: George Soros

Pipe bomb is found at George Soros’ home in Katonah, New York on Monday.

It was located in a mailbox outside the gates of the billionaire’s compound.

Tuesday : Hillary Clinton

Suspicious package is discovered at Hillary and Bill Clinton’s home in Chappaqua, New York, Tuesday night.

The device addressed to Hillary was found during a routine mail screening. Bill was at the home but Hillary was campaigning for Democrats in Florida.

Wednesday: Barack Obama

Secret Service intercept a package en route to Obama’s Washington D.C. residence early Wednesday.

It was also discovered during routine mail screenings.

Wednesday: CNN/John Brennan

Suspicious package addressed to former CIA director John Brennan is found in the mail room of CNN’s New York Bureau on Wednesday.

CNN evacuated after a pipe bomb and an envelope of white powder was discovered. Brennan has worked as a television analyst.

Wednesday: Eric Holder/Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Bomb squad is called to Florida office of Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Wednesday after package is found.

Packages that were intercepted all had Schultz’s office listed as a return address.

Package at her office was sent to former Attorney General Eric Holder but was mailed to the wrong address, so was returned to her instead.

Wednesday: Maxine Waters

Suspicious package addressed to California congresswoman Maxine Waters was intercepted Wednesday afternoon by Capitol Police.

Another package was sent to Waters in California.

Thursday : Joe Biden

Authorities locate two suspicious packages addressed to the former VP at mail facilities in Delaware on Thursday.

Thursday: Robert De Niro

New York Police swarm a building associated with the Hollywood actor in Tribeca early Thursday after a suspicious package was found.

The White House issued a statement regarding the devices, condemning the ‘violent attacks’.

‘We condemn the attempted violent attacks recently made against President Obama, President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, and other public figures,’ a statement from press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

‘These terrorizing acts are despicable, and anyone responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.¬†The United States Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies are investigating and will take all appropriate actions to protect anyone threatened by these cowards.’

Vice President Mike Pence and Ivanka Trump also issued statements condemning the attacks on Obama, the Clintons and CNN.

‘These cowardly actions are despicable and have no place in this country. Grateful for swift response of @SecretService, @FBI & local law enforcement. Those responsible will be brought to justice,’ Pence tweeted.

Ivanka tweeted: ‘I strongly condemn the attempted acts of violence against President Obama, the Clinton family, @CNN and others. There is no excuse – America is better than this. Gratitude to the @SecretService and law enforcement for all they do to keep this nation safe.’

President Trump initially just retweeted Pence’s tweet, saying: ‘I agree wholeheartedly!’ but expanded during a White House press conference later on Wednesday.

‘I just want to tell you that in these times we have to unify, we have to come together and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America,’ Trump said.

Trump did not mention any of the recipients of the packages in his remarks.

‘The safety of the American people is my highest and absolute priority,’ he said.

His wife Melania also spoke, saying: ‘We cannot tolerate those cowardly attacks and I strongly condemn all who choose violence.

‘I’m grateful to the secret service as well as the federal and local law enforcement for all they do on a daily basis to keep us safe and encourage people across the country to choose kindness over hatred.’

Hillary Clinton said at a Florida fundraiser on Wednesday that ‘we are fine’ as she thanked the Secret Service for intercepting the device ‘long before it made its way to our home’.

Clinton, who was speaking at a fundraiser for Democratic congressional candidate Donna Shalala,¬†said her family was grateful for the Secret Service’s ‘service and commitment and obviously never more than today’.

The pipe bomb found at CNN was safely taken away in an NYPD emergency vehicle on Wednesday to be examined by the FBI

The pipe bomb found at CNN was safely taken away in an NYPD emergency vehicle on Wednesday to be examined by the FBI

A member of the New York Police Department bomb squad is pictured outside the Time Warner Center in the Manahattan after a suspicious package was sent to CNN

An evacuation alarm went off as CNN anchors were live on air reporting on the packages sent to Obama and Clinton

An evacuation alarm went off as CNN anchors were live on air reporting on the packages sent to Obama and Clinton

New York police block off a street after they were called to a suspicious package sent to the Time Warner building where CNN's newsroom is located

New York police block off a street after they were called to a suspicious package sent to the Time Warner building where CNN’s newsroom is located

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told a news conference that it was an 'act of terror'. He is pictured above with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (right) and New York Police Commissioner James P. O'Neill (left)

With the country deeply polarized under President Trump, the packages brought a new level of tension to the November 6 political contests that will decide whether Democrats can challenge the majorities now held by Trump’s Republicans in Congress.

The targets are all Democrats frequently attacked by Trump online and in speeches as he defends his 2016 election victory and policies he has implemented since coming to office in January 2017.

The term #MAGAbomber was trending as the investigation unfolded.

Obama preceded him in the White House and Clinton was his 2016 election rival. Holder was attorney general in the last years of the Obama administration.

Trump has labelled CNN the leading purveyor of ‘fake news’ against him, and Brennan is perhaps his most damaging critic from the national security community. Brennan¬†called the president’s performance during a July joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki ‘nothing short of treasonous’.

Trump often ridicules Waters, a senior Democrat, as ‘low IQ’ and has regularly attacked Wasserman Schultz, the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, and Cuomo.

Alexander Soros, the son of George Soros, said in an opinion piece published by the New York Times that his father had long faced verbal criticism and threats over his involvement in politics, ‘but something changed in 2016’ when Trump was elected.

‘Before that, the vitriol he faced was largely confined to the extremist fringes, among white supremacists and nationalists who sought to undermine the very foundations of democracy. But with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, things got worse,’ Alexander Soros wrote.

He placed direct responsibility with those who sent the devices, but added: ‘I cannot see it divorced from the new normal of political demonization that plagues us today.’

Hillary Clinton said at a Florida fundraiser on Wednesday that 'we are fine' as she thanked the Secret Service for intercepting the device 'long before it made its way to our home'

Hillary Clinton said at a Florida fundraiser on Wednesday that ‘we are fine’ as she thanked the Secret Service for intercepting the device ‘long before it made its way to our home’

Melania Trump strongly condemned the attempted violence to President Trump's political rivals on Wednesday at a White House press conference

Melania Trump strongly condemned the attempted violence to President Trump’s political rivals on Wednesday at a White House press conference

At a press conference on Wednesday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned the ‘effort to terrorize’ as he and fellow Democrat Andrew Cuomo appealed to all elected officials, including a veiled reference to Trump, to tone down rhetoric.

‘Don’t encourage violence, don’t encourage hatred, don’t encourage attacks on media,’ de Blasio said. ‘Unfortunately this atmosphere of hatred is contributing to the choices people are making.

‘The way to stop that is turn back the other way, to bring down the temperature, to end any messages of violence against people we disagree with and this has to start at the top.’

Meanwhile, during Fox News’ coverage of the events, former FBI assistant director Chris Swecker told the outlet that the Democrats might be to blame for the bombs.

‘We’re already seeing a little bit of a pattern,’ Swecker said. ‘They’re going to be looking at this as a potential terrorist motive, whether it’s on one side or the other.

‘This doesn’t necessarily mean someone is espousing some sort of conservative ideology and targeting Democrats. It could be someone who is trying to get the Democratic vote out and incur sympathy.’

INNOCENT-LOOKING MANILA ENVELOPES PACKED WITH PIPE BOMBS ‘INTENDED TO MAIM AND KILL’

A 6-inch pipe bomb wrapped in black electrical tape, hidden in a simple envelope with the return address of former DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz – this is the ‘rudimentary but functional’ design behind at least five explosive devices sent out to America’s liberal elite in the last three days.

The devices sent to George Soros, The Clintons, The Obamas, CNN and Former Attorney General Eric Holder have all been described as pipe bombs and are believed to be the handiwork of the same serial bomber based on their design, according to law enforcement officials speaking to multiple outlets.

Their intention was not just to create fear but to explode and maim and kill, law enforcement sources told ABC

An envelope intended for Congresswoman Maxine Waters is also being investigated but hasn’t been confirmed as an explosive

All of the bombs were delivered in manilla envelopes with the return address of former DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz

They all had bubble wrap interiors and printed labels alongside six Stars and Stripes stamps

The first pipe bomb found inside the mailbox of George Soros’ Westchester mansion on Monday afternoon was a six-inches-long piece of pipe packed with explosive powder

Images of the CNN pipe bomb, showed the explosive device wrapped in black electrical tape and linked up to a cell phone detonator

Images of the CNN pipe bomb, showed the explosive device wrapped in black electrical tape and linked up to a cell phone detonator

It was hand-delivered but designed to look like it had come through the mail.

The Obama and Clinton packages were intercepted in mail sorting offices but it is unclear how they were delivered.

Some have questioned whether the packages were actually sent through the postal service as that would have raised the alarm much more quickly and they wouldn’t have reached their intended targets

Images of the CNN pipe bomb, showed the explosive device wrapped in black electrical tape and wired up to a digital clock counter

It was addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan and¬†intercepted in the media giant’s mail-room¬†and reportedly delivered by a messenger

Images showed the small makeshift device and its envelope while a NYPD press conference reported it was stuffed with gunpowder

The bomb addressed to former Attorney General Eric Holder was somehow sent back to Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s office – prompting a police investigation and evacuation of that office

A package is currently being investigated in a Maryland sorting office, reportedly addressed to Congresswoman Maxine Waters

False alarms were called in from the offices of Governor Andrew Cuomo and  Senator Kamala Harris. Both suspicious packages were found to be innocent

Mailboxes stand outside the entrance to a house owned by Soros in Katonah, a suburb of New York City, in New York. The package was allegedly hand-delivered here

Mailboxes stand outside the entrance to a house owned by Soros in Katonah, a suburb of New York City, in New York. The package was allegedly hand-delivered here

Pipe bombs are common improvised explosive devices. The pipe is sealed at both ends and packed with gunpowder. The tightly-packed design means even low grade explosives can have potentially devastating consequences and the pipe itself turns into shrapnel.

Often such devices are coated with metal projectiles like nuts and bolts creating an even more vicious impact on explosion. According to CNN, one of the four sent out this week was packed with shards of glass

They are linked up to a fuse and most often, a timer and battery for detonation. It is unclear how the devices in this case were intended to be detonated and what the role of the digital clock taped on the side of the pipe bomb was intended to serve

Investigators treating packages as ‚Äėlive devices,‚Äô not hoax

36 minutes ago
Police tape cordons off a post office in Wilmington, Del., Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018. A law enforcement official said suspicious packages addressed to former Vice President Joe Biden were intercepted at Delaware mail facilities in New Castle and Wilmington and were similar to crude pipe bombs sent to former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and CNN. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

WASHINGTON (AP) ‚ÄĒ Investigators probing crude pipe bombs sent to prominent critics of President Donald Trump are trying to determine whether the devices were intended to detonate or simply to sow fear, law enforcement officials told The Associated Press Thursday.

The officials said the devices were not rigged like a booby-trapped package bomb that would explode upon opening. They had timers and batteries but never went off. Law enforcement officials were still uncertain whether the devices were poorly designed or never intended to cause physical harm. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation by name.

‚ÄúAs far as a hoax device, we‚Äôre not treating it that way,‚ÄĚ said Police Commissioner James O‚ÄôNeill.

At the briefing, authorities confirmed that at least some of the packages were distributed through the U.S. mail. They said investigators searching for additional suspicious parcels had not found any during the previous eight hours.

Details about the devices came as the four-day mail-bomb scare widened. Law enforcement officials seized three more devices Thursday ‚ÄĒ two addressed to former Vice President Joe Biden and one to actor Robert De Niro ‚ÄĒ described as similar to the devices sent to former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, CNN and others.

The new discoveries brought to 10 the number of suspicious packages targeting Democrats but intercepted by authorities this week.

Much was still unanswered about the devices and authorities have said nothing about suspects. Details suggest only a broad pattern ‚ÄĒ that the items were packaged in manila envelopes, addressed to prominent Trump critics and carried U.S. postage stamped. Some were discovered in mail processing facilities. Officials said the devices are being examined by technicians at the FBI‚Äôs forensic lab in Quantico, Virginia.

The packages stoked nationwide tensions and fears two weeks before major congressional midterm elections. Even with the sender still unknown, politicians from both parties used the moment to decry a toxic political climate and lay blame.

‚ÄúA very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News,‚ÄĚ Trump said on Twitter. ‚ÄúIt has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!‚ÄĚ

Former CIA Director John Brennan, the target of one package sent to CNN, fired back.

‚ÄúStop blaming others. Look in the mirror,‚ÄĚ Brennan tweeted. ‚ÄúYour inflammatory rhetoric, insults, lies, & encouragement of physical violence are disgraceful. Clean up your act….try to act Presidential.‚ÄĚ

The list of bombing targets spread from New York, Delaware and Washington, D.C., to Florida and California.

The explosive devices were packed in envelopes with bubble-wrap interiors bearing six American flag stamps and the return address of Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee who was accused by Clinton rivals of secretly helping the party’s eventual presidential nominee.

The bombs seized Wednesday, each with a small battery, were about six inches long and packed with powder and broken glass, according to a law enforcement official who viewed X-ray images. The official said the devices were made from PVC pipe and covered with black tape.

The packages discovered Thursday set off a new wave of alarm.

Two officials told The Associated Press that a person working at De Niro’s Manhattan office called police after seeing images of a package bomb sent to CNN and recalling a similar package addressed to the actor. De Niro’s office is located in the TriBeCa Film Center in lower Manhattan, and also includes an upscale restaurant and private screening room.

A police officer blocks off an area responding to reports of a suspicious package in the Tribeca neighborhood in New York. (AP Photo/Ron DePasquale)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the packages were ‚Äúclearly an effort to terrorize people politically, to choose people for political purposes and attack them because of their beliefs.‚ÄĚ

The packages addressed to Biden were intercepted at Delaware mail facilities in New Castle and Wilmington, according to a law enforcement official who, like others, wasn’t authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Like earlier targets, both Biden and De Niro have been sharply critical of Trump. The actor dropped an expletive insult at Trump at this year‚Äôs Tony Awards and also apologized to Canadians for the ‚Äúidiotic behavior of my president.‚ÄĚ Biden said last week that the president may not ‚Äúknow what he‚Äôs doing‚ÄĚ and coddles dictators.

The first crude bomb to be discovered was delivered Monday to the suburban New York compound of George Soros, a liberal billionaire and major contributor to Democratic causes. Soros has called Trump‚Äôs presidency ‚Äúdangerous.‚ÄĚ

Similar packages addressed to Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama were intercepted on their way to Chappaqua, New York, where the Clintons live with former President Bill Clinton and to Washington, where Obama lives with his wife, Michelle. The Secret Service said neither package reached its intended recipient.

Others were sent to frequent Trump critics Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder. His ended up at the Florida office of Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was listed as the return address.

A police bomb squad removed the package addressed to Brennan from CNN’s New York office, which was evacuated.

EXPLOSIVE DEVICES

As the scope of the attack became clearer Wednesday, Trump decried political violence during a scripted event in the White House East Room, and other members of the administration said violence has no place in American society.

Later at a rally in Wisconsin, he urged unity.

‚ÄúLet‚Äôs get along,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúBy the way, do you see how nice I‚Äôm behaving tonight? Have you ever seen this?‚ÄĚ

But at the same event, he blamed the news media and on Twitter Thursday kept up the argument that the media play a role.

‚ÄúActs or threats of political violence have no place in the United States,‚ÄĚ Trump said.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump spoke with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Thursday morning and offered him any federal assistance needed. The president’s eldest daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump reached out to Chelsea Clinton, a longtime friend.

Democratic Senate and House leaders Chuck Schumer of New York and Nancy Pelosi of California said such words ‚Äúring hollow‚ÄĚ when coming from Trump. They noted the president‚Äôs recent praise of a GOP congressman who body-slammed a reporter, among other pugnacious statements.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders took a slap at Democrats as she defended Trump.

‚ÄúThe president is certainly not responsible for sending suspicious packages to someone no more than Bernie Sanders was responsible for a supporter of his shooting up a Republican baseball field practice last year.‚ÄĚ

James T. Hodgkinson, 66, was shot and killed by police after he opened fire on congressional Republicans practicing for their annual charity baseball game against Democrats in 2017. Hodgkinson’s widow said he had been a supporter of Vermont independent Bernie Sanders in 2016.

___

Sisak reported from New York. Associated Press writers Zeke Miller, Laurie Kellman, Colleen Long, Ken Thomas, Jill Colvin and Chad Day in Washington and Jim Mustian, Deepti Hajela and Tom Hays in New York contributed to this report.

For the AP’s complete coverage of the mail-bomb scare: https://apnews.com/PipeBombAttacks

https://apnews.com/e0ed03c0100a42a0a3ce65419c72af37

Two packages sent to Joe Biden, one to Robert De Niro match other mailed pipe bombs

Officials say the numerous devices recovered were poorly made, but it’s unclear if that was intentional, or if they were just badly constructed.
 / Updated 
By Jonathan Dienst, Adam Edelman and Elisha Fieldstadt

Two suspicious packages found Thursday addressed to former Vice President Joe Biden and another sent to Robert De Niro at his office in downtown Manhattan are similar to the pipe bombs sent to political and media figures in the past few days, according to the FBI.

One package addressed to Biden was discovered at a postal facility in New Castle, Delaware, and another was found at a postal facility in Wilmington, Delaware, officials. They suspected Wednesday that a package addressed to Biden was somewhere within the postal system.

Image: Suspicious package Delaware
A member of the bomb squad investigates a suspicious package at a postal facility in New Castle, Delaware.NBC News

The package sent to De Niro was found at 375 Greenwich St., the site of the restaurant Tribeca Grill, which the actor co-owns, and the offices of De Niro’s Tribeca Productions. There was no need to evacuate¬†because the building was empty, police said.

An employee of DeNiro’s called authorities around 4 a.m. ET on Thursday after he realized a package he had seen earlier in the week looked like the others he was seeing, officials said.

The employee is a retired NYPD detective, according to John Miller, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism.

“He was awake and watching the news and saw the image of the packaging that has been common to most of these devices as they have turned up at various locations,” Miller said, “and it struck him that the looked very much like a package he had seen on Tuesday in mail he was to screen for Robert DeNiro Productions at their offices on Greenwich Street.”

Investigators are looking into whether some of the packages were sent from Florida, two senior law enforcement officials told NBC News. Three officials said that they believe all of the packages were sent through the mail.

The CNN package arrived by mail to a screening facility in Midtown Manhattan before being delivered by courier to the CNN offices, an official said. The package was not screened because it was relatively small.

The devices were poorly made and some discovered could not have exploded, but it’s unclear if that was intentional, or if they were just badly constructed, officials said. They said some of the bombs had substantial flaws, some had subtle flaws and some have yet to be examined.

Even if some of these explosives were defective, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said they “are treating them as live devices.”

“As you (saw) the way our bomb squad detectives went into CNN yesterday, this has to be taken with the utmost seriousness,” O’Neill said. “As far as (if they are) hoax devices we‚Äôre not treating it that way.”

Officials said they are not aware of any new devices being discovered but are still concerned there could be more, and cautioned anyone who comes across a potential package of this type to treat it as dangerous.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/package-found-robert-de-niro-s-office-nyc-matches-other-n924251

Experts: Bomber likely left behind a mass of forensic clues

today

An officer with the Uniform Division of the United States Secret Service uses his dog to search a checkpoint near the home of President Barack Obama, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018, in Washington. The U.S. Secret Service says agents have intercepted packages containing “possible explosive devices” addressed to former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON (AP) ‚ÄĒ Investigators examining the explosive devices sent to high-profile targets in Washington and New York will be working to glean forensic clues to help identify who sent them, gathering fingerprints and DNA evidence while tracking the origin of the packages and the components used to make the bombs.

Larry Johnson, a former head of criminal investigations for the U.S. Secret Service who also served as a special agent in charge of the presidential protective detail, said that bomb makers usually leave evidence behind. ‚ÄúIf there is a human involved, there is a high probability you‚Äôre going to get somewhere investigatively,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúThere will be no stone left unturned.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúA good percentage of the time, this is not the first time whoever is responsible for this will have stuck their neck out,‚ÄĚ Johnson said. ‚ÄúThose looking to do revenge or harm to someone, it doesn‚Äôt just come to them one day.‚ÄĚ

This screenshot from CNN’s Twitter account shows what CNN says is the explosive device that was delivered to their New York headquarters on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. (CNN Twitter Account via AP)

Among the first steps for investigators will be retracing the path of the packages through the postal system or courier service used to deliver them.

The U.S. Postal Service operates a sophisticated imaging system that photographs the outside of each piece of mail processed across the country and can be used to determine the specific location of where it was sent. That’s how federal officials were led to a woman who sent the poison ricin through the mail to President Barack Obama and then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2013.

The envelopes and packaging materials themselves will also be closely scrutinized.

‚ÄúIt will be a treasure trove of forensic evidence,‚ÄĚ said Anthony Roman, a private security and investigations consultant. ‚ÄúAs human beings, we are filtering off our DNA everywhere we walk, everywhere we sit.‚ÄĚ

Even the most careful bomber is likely to leave behind genetic material that could be used to identify them, especially traces of sweat, saliva or skin cells. There may also be fingerprints or hair.

Roman said investigators will also be collecting all available video camera footage taken from where the packages were mailed and delivered, as well as interviewing any potential witnesses in the area.

Because the devices were intercepted before they exploded, forensics experts will be able to carefully disassemble the devices and examine the components. They’ll examine the wiring, the initiating system, any timing device and seek to identify what type of pipe. The design of the bomb will be compared to other explosive devices recovered in the past.

Adam B. Hall, director of the Core Mass Spectrometry Facility at the Barnett Institute of Chemical and Biological Analysis at Northeastern University, said most devices are made from easily available materials regardless of what specific type of device it is.

It will have three primary components: the pipe, the explosive filler and an ‚Äúinitiator,‚ÄĚ or mechanism to set it off. The initiator will help identify how sophisticated the bomb maker is, whether it‚Äôs a timing device or a remote trigger.

‚ÄúYour typical pipe bomb, it‚Äôs not very sophisticated,‚ÄĚ said Hall, who previously worked in the Massachusetts State Police crime laboratory and was involved in the Boston Marathon bombing investigation. ‚ÄúA lot of the directions for this are available on the internet. … This is not something that would require days or weeks of planning in order to execute.‚ÄĚ

Still, there are likely innumerable telltale signs that could help authorities track down how and where it was made, said Jimmie Oxley, the co-director of the University of Rhode Island’s Center of Excellence in Explosives, Detection, Mitigation and Response.

Some explosives can be homemade, which will make them more difficult to trace. But other materials must be purchased and can help narrow down where and how a device was made. Smokeless powder, for example, is virtually guaranteed to have been purchased. Black powder can be commercial grade or homemade, but it’s easy to discern which is which.

‚ÄúAll of these are signatures,‚ÄĚ she said.

There are times, such as with the recent spate of bombings in Austin, Texas, as well as with the notorious Unabomber, when each device will have a different ‚Äúsignature‚ÄĚ in an attempt to throw off authorities or as the person making the devices tests and finesses their technique.

Oxley said there will still likely be some commonalities that will allow law enforcement to zero in on a suspect or suspects.

‚ÄúIt‚Äôs not an insurmountable task,‚ÄĚ Oxley said. ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs a ton of evidence out there. Unless this is a really, really smart person, they will find out who did this.‚ÄĚ

___

Pane reported from Boise, Idaho. Associated Press writer Chad Day contributed to this report.

https://www.apnews.com/8602ba97298a47b88439b4922d96bd6c

Woman holds ‘Fake News Fake Bombs’ sign outside Florida governors debate

A woman was photographed holding a sign that read “Democrats Fake News Fake Bombs” outside the Broward College building hosting Florida’s gubernatorial debate on Wednesday.

Earlier on Wednesday, a series of pipe bombs were discovered after having been addressed to CNN and a number of prominent Democrats, including former President Obama and former President Clinton and Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee for president in 2016.

President Trump and lawmakers from both parties have condemned the attempted attacks, and federal and state authorities are investigating the matter. Another, similar device was found on Thursday morning at a building housing a production company owned by the actor Robert De Niro.

The sign appeared to reference conspiracy theories that have¬†quickly circulated on social media¬†among some on the right. Those theories suggest the bombs were “false flags” and meant to change the political conversation in a way that would hurt Trump and Republicans ahead of the midterm elections, which are less than two weeks away.

All of the people who the bombs were addressed to are prominent critics of Trump who have been frequent targets of his barbs.

Radio host Rush Limbaugh suggested that a ‚ÄúDemocratic operative‚ÄĚ was behind the packages, because “Republicans just don’t do this kind of thing.‚Äô

Several pro-Trump media personalities pushed the ‚Äúfalse flag‚ÄĚ theories on social media.

‚ÄúFrom the Haymarket riot to the Unibomber [sic], bombs are a liberal tactic,‚ÄĚ Ann Coulter tweeted.

Conservative writer Ben Shapiro¬†condemned the ‚Äúfalse flag‚ÄĚ theories: “If your first reaction to some evil person sending bombs to a variety of politicians on one side of the aisle is ‘FALSE FLAG,’ you are officially deranged.‚ÄĚ

Critics of Trump, including Democratic leaders of Congress, have blamed his repeated attacks on the media and political opponents.

Speaking at a rally in Wisconsin, Trump condemned the pipe bombs and called for “all sides to come together in peace and harmony.” But he also didn’t mention those targeted by the bombs, and put blame on the media and his political opponents for the political environment.

The DeSantis campaign did not immediately respond to request for comment from The Hill.

Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo in a statement called on DeSantis to apologize for the supporters’ sign.

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/413078-Woman-holds-Fake-News-Fake-Bombs-sign-outside-Florida-governors-debate

The Windmills of Your Mind

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“The Windmills of Your Mind”
Song by Noel Harrison
from the album The Thomas Crown Affair
Released 1968
Composer(s) Michel Legrand
Lyricist(s) Alan and Marilyn Bergman(English)
Eddy Marnay (French)

The Windmills of Your Mind” is a song with music by French composer¬†Michel Legrand¬†and English lyrics written by Americans¬†Alan and Marilyn Bergman. The French lyrics, under the title “Les Moulins de mon cŇďur“, were written by¬†Eddy Marnay. The song (with the English lyrics) was introduced in the film¬†The Thomas Crown Affair¬†(1968),[1]¬†and won the¬†Academy Award for Best Original Song¬†in the same year.[1]¬†In 2004, “Windmills of Your Mind” was ranked 57 in¬†AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs¬†survey of top songs in American cinema. A¬†cover¬†by¬†Sting¬†was used in the¬†1999 remake of¬†The Thomas Crown Affair.

 

Composition/original recording

In the original 1968 film¬†The Thomas Crown Affair, the song is heard ‚Äď sung by¬†Noel Harrison¬†‚Äď during opening credits; and, during the film, in a scene in which the character Thomas Crown flies a¬†glider¬†at the glider airport in¬†Salem, New Hampshire: having edited the¬†rough cut¬†for this scene utilizing¬†the Beatles¬†track “Strawberry Fields Forever” producer/director¬†Norman Jewison¬†commissioned an original song be written for the glider scene which would reference the ambivalent feelings of Thomas Crown as he engages in a favorite pastime while experiencing the tension of preparing to commit a major robbery. Alan Bergman: “Michel [Legrand] played us [ie. Alan and Marilyn Bergman] seven or eight melodies. We listened to all of them and decided to wait until the next day to choose one. We three decided on the same one, a long baroque melody… The lyric we wrote was stream-of-consciousness. We felt that the song had to be a mind trip of some kind” ‚Äď “The [eventual] title was [originally] a line at the end of a section… When we finished we said: “What do we call this? It’s got to have a title. That line is kind of interesting.’ So we restructured the song so that the line appeared again at the end. It came out of the body of the song. I think we were thinking, you know when you try to fall asleep at night and you can’t turn your brain off and thoughts and memories tumble.”[2]

Noel Harrison recorded the song after¬†Andy Williams¬†passed on it: according to Harrison: “It was recorded live on a huge sound stage at¬†Paramount, with the accompanying film clips running on a giant screen and Michel blowing kisses to the orchestra.”[3]¬†Harrison took issue with the couplet “Like a tunnel that you follow to a tunnel of its own / Down a hollow to a cavern where the sun has never shone”, singing the word “shone” British-style with a short vowel sound making the rhyme with “own” imperfect. Marilyn Bergman: “We said ‘No, it’s shone [long vowel sound].’ And he said ‘No, it’s our language!’ And we said: ‘Yes, but it’s our song.’ So reluctantly, he sang shone [long vowel sound] and our rhyme was intact.”[2]¬†However, Harrison evidently had the last laugh; in the finally released version he sings “shone” with a short vowel. Harrison’s version had a US single in the US in July 1968 soon after the premiere of the film and similarly was released in the British Isles at the time of the film’s 7 February 1969 premiere in the UK and Ireland. As a result, it was a current UK release when “The Windmills of Your Mind” received an Academy Award nomination on 24 February 1969: Harrison’s single debuted at #36 in the UK Top 50 dated 4 March 1969 and had risen to #15‚ÄĒabetted by performances by Harrison on the 27 March 1969 broadcast of¬†TOTP¬†and also on variety shows hosted by¬†Rolf Harris¬†and¬†Scott Walker‚ÄĒwhen the song won the Academy Award on 14 April 1969, an endorsement which facilitated the Top Ten entry of Harrison’s single on the UK chart dated 22 April 1969 with its chart peak of #8 effected two weeks later.[4]

“The Windmills of Your Mind” was performed on the Academy Awards ceremony broadcast of 14 April 1969 by¬†Jos√© Feliciano; Noel Harrison would recall: “I was invited to sing it at the Academy Awards… but I was making a movie in England at the time, and the producer (who didn’t like me) refused to let me go.” The film which caused the scheduling conflict has been identified as¬†Take a Girl Like You¬†directed by¬†Jonathan Miller.[3]

Dusty Springfield version

Jerry Wexler, president of¬†Atlantic Records, heard “The Windmills of Your Mind” on the soundtrack of¬†The Thomas Crown Affair¬†and championed having¬†Dusty Springfield¬†record the song for her debut Atlantic album¬†Dusty in Memphis, overcoming the singer’s strong resistance; Springfield’s friend and subsequent manager¬†Vicki Wickham¬†would allege: “Dusty always said she hated it because she couldn’t identify with the words.”[5]¬†During the first sessions for the track at¬†American Sound Studio¬†in Memphis, problems with getting the proper chords down arose, and at Springfield’s suggestion the song was arranged so the first three verses were sung in a slower tempo than the original film version.

In April 1969 the third¬†A-side¬†release from¬†Dusty in Memphis¬†was announced as “I Don’t Want to Hear It Anymore” with “The Windmills of Your Mind” as¬†B-side: however Wexler was prepared to promote “Windmills” as the A-side if it won the Oscar for Best Song, reportedly instructing mail-room clerks at Atlantic Records’ New York City headquarters to listen to the Academy Awards broadcast the night of 14 April 1969; hearing “The Windmills” announced as the Best Song winner was these clerks’ cue to drive a station wagon loaded with 2500 copies of a double-sided promo single of Springfield’s version ‚Äď identified on the label as “Academy Award Winner” ‚Äď to the¬†New York City general post office, where the copies of the single were mailed out to key radio stations across the US.[6]¬†Although its¬†Hot 100¬†debut was not effected until the 5 May 1969 issue of¬†Billboard¬†and then with a #99 ranking, Springfield’s “The Windmills” made a rapid ascent to the¬†Top 40¬†being ranked at #40 on the Hot 100 dated 24 May 1969 only to stall over the subsequent three weeks peaking at #31 on the Hot 100 dated 14 June 1969 with only one additional week of Hot 100 tenure, being ranked at #45 on the 21 June 1969 chart. On the¬†Cash Box¬†chart, the song rose as high as #22.[7]¬†Local hit parades indicate that Springfield’s “Windmills” had Top Ten impact in only select larger markets: Boston, Southern California, and Miami. The track did reach #3 on the¬†Easy Listening chart¬†in¬†Billboard¬†a feat matched by Springfield’s third subsequent single “Brand New Me” which therefore ties with “The Windmills” as having afforded Springfield her best-ever solo showing on a¬†Billboard¬†chart.[8]

José Feliciano version

“The Windmills of Your Mind” was recorded by¬†Jos√© Feliciano¬†for his 1969 album¬†10 to 23,[9]¬†and Feliciano performed the song on the Academy Awards ceremony broadcast of 14 April 1969; the song’s original singer Noel Harrison would later opine of Feliciano’s performance: “A wonderful musician and compelling singer, he made much too free with the beautiful melody in my humble opinion. But that’s jazz.”[3]¬†It was Feliciano’s version of “The Windmills” which became a hit in the Netherlands, reaching #11 on the Dutch chart in November 1969.[10]¬†and Nr. 4 in the Turkish hit parade in April 1970.[11]

Other versions

In English

In French: “Les Moulins de mon cŇďur”

The lyrics for the French-language rendering of “The Windmills of Your Mind” were written by¬†Eddy Marnay¬†and this version, entitled “Les Moulins de mon cŇďur”, was first recorded in 1968 by¬†Marcel Amont¬†who was resultantly afforded a minor French chart hit (peak #49).[91]

“Les Moulins de mon coeur” has subsequently been recorded by:

In other languages

In 1970¬†Helena Vondr√°ńćkov√°, prior to recording “The Windmills of Your Mind” with its original English lyrics for her album¬†Isle of Helena¬†(1972), recorded the song as rendered in Czech: “MŇĮŇĺeŇ° zŇĮstat, mŇĮŇĺeŇ° j√≠t”,[114]¬†and also Japanese: “Kaze no sasayaki”.[115]¬†Introduced on the album¬†Ostrov Heleny Vondr√°ńćkov√©,[114]¬†“MŇĮŇĺeŇ° zŇĮstat, mŇĮŇĺeŇ° j√≠t” has become a signature song for Vondr√°ńćkov√°: in 2012 when her three CD retrospective¬†(Nejen) o l√°sce¬†was issued, Vondr√°ńćkov√° cited “MŇĮŇĺeŇ° zŇĮstat, mŇĮŇĺeŇ° j√≠t” as “the song on the [anthology] dearest to [her] heart”.[116]¬†An alternate Czech rendering of “The Windmills of Your Mind”: “Ml√Ĺnsk√© kolo v srdci m√©m”, was recorded by¬†Hana Hegerov√°¬†to serve as title cut for her 2010 album of renderings of famous French-language songs.[117]

“The Windmills of Your Mind” has also been rendered as:

  • “Cirkels” (Dutch): recorded by¬†Herman van Veen¬†(1968),[118]¬†Marco Bakker¬†(nl)¬†on his album¬†Marco Bakker zingt romantische sfeersongs¬†(1980),[119][120]¬†Hans Dorrestijn¬†with¬†Martin van Dijk¬†(nl)¬†for their collaborative album¬†Cirkels¬†(2002).[121]
  • “Samanlainen onni” (Finnish): recorded by¬†Jarkko & Laura¬†(1968),¬†Katri Helena¬†(1970),¬†Kristian¬†(fi)¬†on the multi-artist album¬†Trio¬†(1970),¬†Tapio Heinonen¬†(fi)¬†on his album¬†Julian Grimau¬†(1971),¬†Petri Salminen¬†(fi)¬†on his album¬†Tien p√§√§ll√§¬†(1997),¬†Anneli Sari¬†(fi)¬†on her 1999 album¬†Les Chansons, and¬†Marita Taavitsainen¬†(fi)¬†on her album¬†Yksi Ainoa Katse¬†(1999).[122]
  • “Vinden I Min Sj√§l” (Swedish): recorded by¬†Lill-Babs¬†on her album¬†Till Mina V√§nner¬†(1979),[123]¬†Anders Ekborg¬†on his album¬†√Ąkta Vara ‚Äď 11 S√•ngfilmer 100% Live¬†(2006),[124]¬†Anita Strandell¬†(sv)¬†on her album¬†Sommarbaravara¬†(2011).[125]
  • “Wie sich M√ľhlen dreh’n im Wind” (German): recorded by¬†Vicky Leandros¬†on her album¬†Ich glaub’ an Dich¬†(1969),[126]¬†Caterina Valente¬†on her concert album¬†Caterina Valente Live¬†(1969),[127]¬†Katja Ebstein¬†on her album¬†Wunder gibt es immer wieder¬†(1970),[128]¬†Bibi Johns¬†(1970).[129]
  • “I Mulini Dei Ricordi” (Italian): recorded by¬†Enzo Jannacci¬†on his album¬†Come gli aeroplani¬†(2001).[citation needed]
  • “Los molinos de tu esp√≠ritu” (Spanish): recorded by German singer Katja Ebstein on her Spanish-language album¬†En Espa√Īol¬†(1971).[130]

References …

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

Noel Harrison, singer of The Windmills Of Your Mind, dies

Noel Harrison, whose song The Windmills Of Your Mind for movie The Thomas Crown Affair won an Oscar, dies at the age of 79

Singer Noel Harrison has died at the age of 79

Singer Noel Harrison has died at the age of 79

Singer Noel Harrison, known to millions for The Windmills Of Your Mind, has died at the age of 79 from a heart attack.

Harrison, who was born in London on January 29,1934, was best known for recording the hit¬†song¬†on The Thomas Crown Affair soundtrack. He was the son of the late actor Rex Harrison. Harrison’s mother was Collette Thomas, the first of his Hollywood star father’s six wives. His parents divorced in 1940.

Harrison had an eventful life. He had chart success with the song A Young Girl and starred in the TV series The Girl from UNCLE. In 1953, he had become the British ski-racing champion and represented Britain at the Olympics.

After moving to Los Angeles in the Sixties, he had a US chart hit with Suzanne, by Leonard Cohen

He will remain best known, though, for The Windmills of Your Mind, a song with music by French composer Michel Legrand and lyrics by Americans Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman. The song was used as the theme for the 1968 film, The Thomas Crown Affair and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1968. A version by Sting was used in the 1999 remake of The Thomas Crown Affair.

Harrison wrote on his website that he had not anticipated the song would become so popular and “my most notable piece of work”. He wrote: “It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time. I went to the studio one afternoon and sang it and pretty much forgot about it. I didn’t realise until later what a timeless, beautiful piece Michel Legrand and the Bergmans had written. It won best song at the 1968 Oscars and turned out to be my most notable piece of work.”

His wife, Lori Chapman, said: “Noel will be loved and missed by more people than I ever knew.”

In 2011 played Glastonbury Festival’s Spirit Of ’71 stage. Harrison performed at the village hall in Black Dog, Devon, on Saturday. His wife said that the performance had been “extremely successful” but that he had “a long drive home” and was “exhausted” when he returned. Harrison, who lived in Devon, had five children and four grandchildren.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/music-news/10395944/Noel-Harrison-singer-of-The-Windmills-Of-Your-Mind-dies.html

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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

Paul Manafort found guilty on eight counts

What does Manafort verdict mean for the Mueller probe?

Opinion | Is this the worst day of Trump’s presidency?

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What to know about the Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort verdicts

 

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‚ÄĒafter he was charged with all of this‚ÄĒtried 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôre called ‚Äústand-up guys,‚ÄĚ and we‚Äôve 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‚Äôt seem likely to grit his teeth and accept his fate in prison.

‚ÄúManafort, sleazy as he might be, is not a hardened criminal, and doesn‚Äôt seem likely to grit his teeth and accept his fate in prison.‚ÄĚ

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.

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

All of which raises a crucial question:¬†would a Trump pardon of Manafort constitute obstruction of justice? Taken along with Trump‚Äôs other bursts of explicitly obstructive conduct‚ÄĒfiring 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‚ÄĒit is eminently clear that Trump‚Äôs 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: ‚ÄúWow, what a tough sentence for Paul Manafort‚Ķ Very unfair!‚ÄĚ (Note: it wasn‚Äôt 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‚ÄĒwhile the Manafort jury was in the midst of deliberations‚ÄĒtold reporters that Manafort is a ‚Äúgood person‚ÄĚ and that his trial is ‚Äúa very sad day for our country.‚ÄĚ

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‚Äôs attorney‚ÄĒopportunistically, and on the razor‚Äôs edge of his own misconduct‚ÄĒembraced the president‚Äôs remarks, smugly telling the media, ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs great to have the support of the president of the United States‚ÄĚ). What‚Äôs 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 ‚Äúdangling‚Ä̬†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, ‚ÄúPaul, I‚Äôm going to take care of you‚ÄĒbut first you just need to keep your mouth shut and let things cool down a little, at least until after midterms.‚ÄĚ

Of course, if such an agreement were spoken out loud‚ÄĒif Trump and Manafort agreed that Manafort would be rewarded with a pardon if he kept quiet‚ÄĒthat 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‚Äôs 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 (BS, JD)
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¬†lobbyist,¬†political 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 Ford, Ronald Reagan, George 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 (n√©e Cifalu; 1921‚Äď2003) and Paul John Manafort Sr. (1923‚Äď2013).[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 Britain, Connecticut.[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‚ÄďKurdish 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¬†Za√Įre,[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 Republic,¬†Equatorial Guinea,¬†Kenya¬†(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¬†√Čdouard 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‚ÄĒpeople in his party say‚ÄĒthat 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 ‚ÄúBlack Sea Cable.‚ÄĚ[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 Agency,¬†National Security Agency,¬†Federal 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]

A 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‚ÄďRussia 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‚ÄďRussia 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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Hannity: Cohen, Manafort targeted over Trump connections

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Chaffetz: ‘Highly Suspicious’ That Longtime Clinton Ally Is Representing Michael Cohen

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’ ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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‚Äôre 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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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 Рwhich is not made public Рand 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 ‚Äď 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 Island, New York, U.S.
Education American University (BA)
Thomas M. Cooley Law School(JD)
Occupation Lawyer
Political party Democratic¬†(before 2002; 2004‚Äď2017)
Republican¬†(2002‚Äď2004; 2017‚Äďpresent)
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 ‚Äúin coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office,‚ÄĚ meaning Trump, “for the principal purpose of influencing the election‚ÄĚ 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 Рwithout offering details or corroborating evidence Рthat 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‚ÄďRussia dossier, published in January 2017, alleges that Cohen met with Russian officials in¬†Prague,¬†Czech 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‚Äôs lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, initially claimed that the tape shows Trump saying ‚Äúmake 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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äúhis opinion on the new President and his administration‚ÄĚ. Cohen was paid $600,000 ($50,000 per month) over the year, which its CEO described as ‚Äúa big mistake‚ÄĚ. Novartis was also approached by Cohen and was offered similar services.[107]

Novartis, a Switzerland‚Äďbased 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 ‚Äď 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¬†‚Äď both of whom are Trump appointees ‚Äď 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‚Äô 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‚ÄďRussia 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‚Ä≤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 ‚Äď 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? РBBC 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‚Äôs 30-foot-high wall in three places.The good news for those who wish to see a wall built along the U.S.‚ÄďMexican 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 ‚Äúbollard-style wall‚ÄĚ 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, ‚ÄúAlthough 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.‚ÄĚ When construction began, David Kim, assistant chief patrol agent for the Border Patrol‚Äôs 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 ‚Äúlocal tactical infrastructure project that was planned for quite some time.‚ÄĚ

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

In April, CBP began the second section near Santa Theresa, N.M., which is near the Texas‚ÄďNew Mexico state line. A¬†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: ‚ÄúNormandy fences‚ÄĚ that are metal posts resembling jacks or large X‚Äôs, 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.‚ÄďMexico 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.‚ÄďMexico 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 ‚ÄĒ 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 ‚ÄĒ the labor union that represents U.S. Border Patrol ‚ÄĒ 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 ‚Äúis not a panacea to illegal immigration and drug trafficking,‚ÄĚ he added in his submitted written testimony. ‚ÄúIllegal 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.‚ÄĚ

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

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1123, August 13, 2018, Story 1: FBI Finally Fires Peter Stzroyk — When Will Attorney General Sessions Appoint Second Special Counsel To Investigate and Prosecute The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspirators? — Videos — Story 2: Joyriding Plane Ends In Crash and Death — Videos — Story 3: Big Google Is Watching Your Movements and So It Big Brother — Videos — Story 4: Alex Jones and Infowars More Popular Than Even Despite Corporate Censorship Conspiracy — Anti-American Leftist Great Purge of Pro Americans Viewpoints — Let The Lawsuits Begin — Videos —

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Pronk Pops Show 1071, May 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1070, May 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1069, May 2, 2018

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Story 1: FBI Finally Fires Peter Stzroyk — When Will Attorney General Sessions Appoint Second Special Counsel To Investigate and Prosecute The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspirators — Videos

Tom Fitton on Strzok’s firing: ‘body blow’ to Mueller probe

FBI fires Special Agent Peter Strzok, who had been on Russia probe

Peter Strzok fired over anti-Trump text messages

Jim Jordan: It’s about time Strzok was fired

 

FBI fires Peter Strzok, months after anti-Trump texts revealed

FBI official Peter Strzok, who played a lead role in both the Russian meddling and Hillary Clinton email probes but became a political lightning rod after the revelation of anti-Trump text messages, has been fired.

Strzok attorney Aitan Goelman said in a statement Monday that his client, a 21-year FBI veteran, was fired Friday afternoon, claiming this was a departure from standard practice and politically motivated. Goelman said bureau Deputy Director David Bowdich ‚Äúoverruled‚ÄĚ the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility to remove him.

‚ÄúThis decision should be deeply troubling to all Americans,‚ÄĚ the attorney said.

Strzok appeared to launch a new Twitter account to fire back, saying he’s “deeply saddened” by the decision and linking to a GoFundMe page.

President Trump and his allies for months, though, have hammered the former FBI agent and cast him as the poster child for anti-Trump bias within the bureau and Justice Department.

Reacting to the firing, the president tweeted, “finally,” while asking whether the Russia case will now be dropped:

“Agent Peter Strzok was just fired from the FBI – finally. The list of bad players in the FBI & DOJ gets longer & longer. Based on the fact that Strzok was in charge of the Witch Hunt, will it be dropped? It is a total Hoax. No Collusion, No Obstruction – I just fight back!”

The president over the weekend had tweeted that Strzok and others have ‚Äúbadly damaged‚ÄĚ the FBI‚Äôs reputation, referring to them as ‚Äúclowns and losers!‚ÄĚ

Strzok was removed from the special counsel probe last year after the discovery that he exchanged anti-Trump and other politically charged messages with colleague and lover Lisa Page.

FBI TEXTING SCANDAL EXPLAINED

In June, he was then escorted from his FBI office and lost his security clearance amid the release of a scathing DOJ inspector general report that largely dealt with the DOJ and FBI‚Äôs handling of the investigation into Clinton‚Äôs private email server but uncovered messages that ‚Äúappeared to mix political opinion with discussions‚ÄĚ about that probe — namely, between Strzok and Page.

Judicial Watch Director of Investigations Chris Farrell on how FBI official Peter Strzok requested that he retain his security clearance after being added to special counsel Robert Mueller's team.

The IG ultimately found no evidence that the bias among the several FBI agents impacted prosecutorial decisions in the Clinton email probe. But Republicans have repeatedly raised concerns that anti-Trump bias played a role in the start of the investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump associates in 2016.

One Strzok text in particular vowed to “stop” Trump from becoming president.

In an explosive congressional hearing last month, Strzok sought to clear his name and address the many controversial messages. He claimed his personal opinions did not affect his work. But Republicans tore into the FBI official, with House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy saying he exhibited “textbook bias.”

Trump’s allies cheered the former agent’s termination on Monday.

“Peter Strzok was fired from the FBI because of what his own written words plainly showed: he was willing to use his official FBI position to try and stop President Trump from getting elected. He tarnished the FBI’s sterling reputation and severely damaged public trust in an institution where trust is paramount. His conduct should deeply concern every American,” House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said in a statement to Fox News.

Strzok‚Äôs attorney, meanwhile, blasted the bureau on Monday, saying the deputy director ‚Äúreversed the decision of the career FBI official responsible for employee discipline who concluded, through an independent review process, that a 60-day suspension and demotion from supervisory duties was the appropriate punishment.‚ÄĚ

He added, ‚ÄúA lengthy investigation and multiple rounds of Congressional testimony failed to produce a shred of evidence that Special Agent Strzok‚Äôs personal views ever affected his work.‚ÄĚ

The Justice Department and FBI declined to comment for this report.

Text messages first emerged last year, showing Strzok and Page discussing 2016 campaign politics and repeatedly blasting Trump. In one message, Strzok called Trump an “idiot.”

Messages continued to trickle out, including some reflecting apparent concern about being too tough on Clinton during the investigation into her private email system use.

The inspector general report, meanwhile, referred a total of five FBI employees for investigation in connection with politically charged texts, suggesting more disciplinary action could be considered for additional employees. Lisa Page left the bureau earlier this year.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/08/13/fbi-fires-peter-strzok-months-after-anti-trump-texts-revealed.html

Story 2: Joyriding Plane Ends In Crash and Death — Videos —

Extended audio: Horizon employee talks with air traffic control in cockpit

Horizon Air hijacking: ‘pilot’ performs stunts before crashing

Did Seattle baggage handler learn how to fly and do aerial stunts in a SIMULATOR? Expert gives his opinion on mystifying suicide of 29-year-old hijacker as devastated parents express their shock

  • Richard Russell, 29, was identified as the airport worker who hijacked an Alaska Airlines plane on Friday
  • His family said Saturday they were ‘stunned and heartbroken’ at death of ‘faithful husband and good friend’
  • Stole Horizon Air Q400 and did loop-the-loops while being pursued by two US Air Force F-15 fighter jets
  • Plunged into a heavily wooded area on the sparsely-populated Ketron Island and was engulfed by flames
  • Russell’s main role at the airport was to unload bags, and he had security clearance to be near aircraft
  • However, he did not have pilot’s licence so unclear how he managed to operate such a complex airplane
  • Former Horizon Airlines employee suggested he could have picked up his skills on a flight simulator
  • And investigator said it was ‘conceivable’ a ground service agent could start the airplane without a key¬†¬†

The family of a suicidal baggage handler who hijacked an empty Alaska Airlines plane in Seattle on Friday night before taking it for a joyride and crashing to his death said on Saturday they feel ‘stunned and heartbroken’.

Richard Russell, a 29-year-old Horizon Air employee, was remembered in a family statement read out by friends at a news conference as a ‘faithful husband’ to his wife, Hannah, and a ‘good friend who was loved by everyone’.

‘It may seem difficult for those watching at home to believe, but Beebo was a warm, compassionate man,’ they wrote, referring to Russell’s nickname.

The family described his death as a ‘complete shock’, adding: ‘We are devastated by these events and Jesus is truly the only one holding this family together right now.’

They also referred to recordings of a conversation between Russell and air traffic controllers in which he said he ‘didn’t want to hurt anyone’ and apologized to his family for what he was about to do.

‘As the voice recordings show, Beebo’s intent was not to harm anyone and he was right in saying that there are so many people who love him,’ they wrote.

Russell, who was described as suicidal by investigators, hijacked the 76-seat plane at around 8pm on Friday after taking the aircraft from the maintenance area.

Although he had security clearance to be near planes, he did not have a pilot’s license and it is unclear how he learned how to fly. One expert said he could have picked up some skills by using a computer flight simulator.

SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEO

Richard Russell, a married 29-year-old Horizon Air employee, (seen with his wife, Hannah) was remembered in a family statement released at a news conference on Saturday as a 'faithful husband' and a 'good friend'

Russell in his baggage handler uniform

Richard Russell, a married 29-year-old Horizon Air employee, (seen with his wife, Hannah, left; and in his uniform, right) was remembered in a family statement released at a news conference on Saturday as a ‘faithful husband’ and a ‘good friend’

The family statement was read out by friends of Russell's family on Saturday. None of his family members are thought to have been present

The family statement was read out by friends of Russell’s family on Saturday. None of his family members are thought to have been present

The hijacked Horizon Air Q400, which took off from Seattle-Tacoma Airport before crashing 25 miles away in south Puget Sound

The crash site at south Puget Sound

These images show the hijacked Horizon Air Q400 which took off from Seattle-Tacoma Airport on Friday before crashing 25 miles away in south Puget Sound (left, in the air; right, after the crash)

Witnesses described seeing the plane performing barrel rolls and loop-the-loops as the military planes directed it away from highly-populated areas and towards Ketron Island, where it crashed into a ball of flame.

‘He did some aerobatics in the airplane that I was shocked to see,’ said Rick Christenson, a retired operational supervisor for Horizon Air.

‘And for him to do that I would think that he either played in a simulator or what. It looked pretty amazing to me. Maybe it was luck, I don’t know.’

During the hijacking, Russell joked with air traffic controllers about how he would be jailed for life for stealing the plane, before telling them he was a ‘broken man’ with ‘a few screws loose’.

‘He was a warm, compassionate man’: Full statement from the family of hijacker Richard Russell

On behalf of the family, we are stunned and heartbroken. It may seem difficult for those watching at home to believe, but Beebo was a warm, compassionate man. It is impossible to encompass who he was in a press release. He was a faithful husband, a loving son, and a good friend. A childhood friend remarked that Beebo was loved by everyone because he was kind and gentle to each person he met.

This is a complete shock to us. We are devastated by these events and Jesus is truly the only one holding this family together right now. Without Him we would be hopeless. As the voice recordings show, Beebo’s intent was not to harm anyone and he was right in saying that there are so many people who love him.

We would like to thank the authorities who have been both helpful and respectful, Alaska Air for their resources, the community, his friends and his family for their incredible support and compassion, and Jesus whose steadfast love endures. We’d also like to thank the media for their sensitivity and acknowledging this as the only statement that will be released by the family, and we request that we now be given space to mourn.

At this time the family is moving forward with the difficult task of processing our grief. We appreciate your prayers. Thank you

He may also have hinted at having used some form of flight simulator in the past in an exchange when he told the officials he did not need help because, ‘I’ve played some video games before’.

Meanwhile, Horizon Air CEO Gary Beck said he was baffled about how Russell picked up the flying skills.¬†‘We don’t know how he learned to do that,’ he said.

‘Commercial aircraft are complex machines. No idea how he achieved that experience.’

Russell had worked for Horizon Air at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for nearly four years, according to his LinkedIn account, as a ground service agent and an operations agent.

Horizon Air COO Constance von Muehlen said in a video statement that ‘our hearts are with the family of the individual on board as well as all our Alaska Air and Horizon Air employees’.

Officials said during a press conference on Saturday that Russell used a push back tractor to rotate the plane 180 degrees before take off.

Debra Eckrote, of the National Transportation Safety Board, said it was conceivable that a ground service agent would be able to start an airplane.

‘They don’t necessarily use a key, so there’s switches that they use to start the aircraft,’ she said.

‘So if the person has basic understanding ‚ÄĒ from what I understand he was support personnel, ground personnel ‚ÄĒ they probably do have at least a basic understanding on how to start the aircraft.’

Russell was born in Key West, Florida and moved to Alaska when he was seven years old, according to a 2017 blog post. He met his wife, Hannah, in 2010 while they were both in school and married one year later. It doesn’t appear that they had any children.

According to Russell’s blog, he and Hannah opened a bakery called Hannah Marie’s Bakery in North Bend, Oregon and ran it for three years.

In 2015, the couple relocated to Seattle ‘because we were both so far removed from our families’, Russell wrote.

‘Failing to convince Hannah of Alaska’s greatness, we settled on Sumner because of its close proximity to her family,’ he posted.

While living in Seattle, Russell started working for Horizon Air writing that he enjoyed being able to travel to Alaska in his spare time. Russell, who was pursuing his bachelor’s degree for social sciences from Washington State University, said he wanted to move up in his company to one day work in a management position.

The Horizon Air worker, however, also had other dreams, writing on his blog that he was considering becoming a military officer.

Richard Russell

Richard Russell

Russell has worked for Horizon Air at Seattle-Tacoma Airport for nearly four years, according to his LinkedIn account, as a ground service agent and an operations agent

Russell, 29, married his wife Hannah in 2011 after meeting in school the year before. They are seen together in an undated photo

Russell, 29, married his wife Hannah in 2011 after meeting in school the year before. They are seen together in an undated photo

Richard and Hannah Russell

Russell posted several videos on his blog showing him and his wife (pictured) traveling around the globe

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Russell’s blog is filled with pictures of him and his wife traveling across the globe. The 29-year-old also shared pictures from his wedding day and several videos showcasing what he does at work.

In one video, apparently for a class project, Russell introduces himself as ‘Beebo Russell’ and says he ‘lifts a lot of bags’ at his job.

‘Like a lot of bags,’ he says. ‘So many bags.’

He went on to say that because of his job he’s been able to visit places like¬†France, Idaho, Mexico, Ireland and Alaska. Russell ended the nearly two-minute long video by sharing photos of his family.

Seattle plane hijacker’s final YouTube post reveals his boredom with his ‘minimum wage’ job

The final¬†YouTube¬†video posted by a Seattle plane hijacker depicts a happily married man with a monotonous job that’s only silver lining was the travel opportunities it afforded him.

Richard Russell, 29, stole an Horizon Airlines jet from the Seattle-Tacoma Airport and took it for an hour-long joyride before crashing on an island in a ball of flames on Friday evening.

A video posted to Russell’s amateur travel blog in December 2017 provides an intimate view into his life as a grounds service agent for Horizon Airlines, a job that consisted primarily of loading and unloading luggage, paying only $13.75 per hour.

‘Hi, I’m Beebo Russell and I’m a grounds service agent. That means, I lift a lot of bags. Like, a lot of bags. So many bags,’ he narrates over back-to-back clips of suitcases being loaded on and off of airplanes as a lighthearted tune plays in the background.

‘Look at all them bags. Ooh, a purple one,’ he says cheekily.

After making the point about the monotony of Russell’s job through several drawn-out luggage clips, the video flashes a selfie of the 29-year-old working in the rain, followed by footage of a storm soaking the Sea-Tac tarmac.

‘I usually have to work outside in this,’ Russell says.

‘But, it allows me to do some pretty cool things, too.’

The second half of the two-minute video is devoted to Russell’s travels, featuring photos and videos from his different trips around the world.

Several of his adventures were in his wife’s home state of Alaska, including a plane tour of the Misty Fjords in Ketchikan and hiking trips at Hatcher Pass in Palmer and Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau.

He also shows off clips from a ski trip at Schweitzer Mountain in Sandpoint, Idaho, and a hiking trip at Precipice Trail in Maine’s Acadia National Park.

Outside of the US, one of Russell’s favorite locations appears to be France, where he’d toured everywhere from Alsace to Sisteron to the Lavender Field in Valensole.

Other international experiences shown in the video included a hurling match in Dublin, Ireland, and a guys’ weekend at Chichen Itza in Mexico.

Russell wraps up the video with several photos at gatherings with friends and family, saying: ‘Most importantly, I get to visit those I love most.’

Plane hijacker flies in loops and upside-down before crashing
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Russell said in a blog post that he and his wife met in Oregon and moved to Seattle in 2015

Russell said in a blog post that he and his wife met in Oregon and moved to Seattle in 2015

It does not appear that Russell and his wife had children. The couple are pictured together in a Facebook photo 

It does not appear that Russell and his wife had children. The couple are pictured together in a Facebook photo

Pictured above is Russell at what appears to be at a wedding. He posted the photo at the end of one of his YouTube videos 

Pictured above is Russell at what appears to be at a wedding. He posted the photo at the end of one of his YouTube videos

Rick Christenson, retired from Horizon Air, told the DailyMail.com that Russell was ‘quiet’ and ‘a nice kid’.

Christenson didn’t supervise Russell’s team, but said he saw the 29-year-old in passing while at work.

‘He always had a nice smile,’ he said.¬†‘He seemed quiet, and he always had a smile. The people that knew him said he was a nice guy.’

Christenson said he was sitting on his deck Friday night at his Tacoma home with his wife, his cousin and his cousin’s wife when he saw the Horizon Q400 fly over his house.

‘All of a sudden one of the Horizon Q400s came over the house at 500 feet, followed by two F-15s; one was high, one was low,’ Christenson said, adding that he knew something was wrong because the plane was flying way too low.

He added in a separate interview: ‘Everybody’s stunned… that something like this would happen. How could it? Everybody’s been through background checks.’

The former supervisor said he grabbed a pair of binoculars to watch the aircraft, admitting that he was ‘scared’ and ‘concerned’ because he didn’t know what was going on.

‘He was doing a lot of weird flying, weird turns,’ he said, ‘but he was coming back towards us, towards our way.’

Christenson said while the plane was over the water it did a 360 degree roll ‘and went into a steep dive’.

‘He brought the one wing up and the whole airplane rolled and as it rolled it went into a dive. It looked control,’ he said, adding that the plane pulled up with less than 50 feet between the nose of the aircraft and the water.

Christenson said two minutes later there was ‘big plume of black smoke’, indicating the plane had crashed.

Two F-15 fighter jets scrambled from Portland 'minutes later' to intercept it, according to Pierce County Sheriff's Office. Pictured is the hijacked plane, top, and one of the F-15s beneath it

Two F-15 fighter jets scrambled from Portland ‘minutes later’ to intercept it, according to Pierce County Sheriff’s Office. Pictured is the hijacked plane, top, and one of the F-15s beneath it

Smoke and an orange glow are seen on Ketron Island in Washington state, where the plane eventually crash landed

Smoke and an orange glow are seen on Ketron Island in Washington state, where the plane eventually crash landed

The retired Horizon Air worker also said he doesn’t understand how Russell was able to back the aircraft onto the taxiway by himself, although he said it is possible.

‘It’s not the procedure,’ he said, explaining that usually a two-person crew moves aircraft.

Christenson said under normal circumstances one worker is in the cockpit communicating with with the tower, and a second person is on the tractor used to push the plane.

Authorities have said that Russell was in the aircraft alone, but don’t know how he moved the plane and took off undetected.

Russell’s main role as a ground service agent was to load and unload bags, direct aircraft for takeoff, and de-ice planes in the winter.

According to a job posting, ground service agents are paid roughly $13.75 an hour and as a full-time employee they receive benefits, travel privileges for themselves and family members and are eligible for a bonus program.

Nowhere in the job description does it mention that ground service agents are permitted to fly planes.

Police officers standing at a staging ground at the ferry terminal in Steilacoom. Questions will now be asked about security at the airport and how an unqualified worker was given access to the plane

Police officers standing at a staging ground at the ferry terminal in Steilacoom. Questions will now be asked about security at the airport and how an unqualified worker was given access to the plane

Emergency services vehicles at the ferry terminal in Steilacoom, Washington, on Friday evening, near by the suspected crash site

‘I don’t need that much help. I’ve played some video games before’: Suicidal airport employee speaks to air traffic control before crash

Shortly after the plane took off, traffic controllers were heard on an Internet livestream speaking to a man identified as ‘Rich’.

‘There is the runway just off your right side in about a mile, do you see that?’ the traffic controller said.

‘Oh those guys will try to rough me up if I try land there‚Ķ,’ Rich replied. ‘I think I might mess something up there too. I wouldn’t want to do that. Oh they probably have got anti-aircraft.’

‘They don’t have any of that stuff, we are just trying to find you a place to land safely.’

‘Yeah, not quite ready to bring it down just yet, but holy smokes I need to stop looking at the fuel ‘cos it’s going down quick.’

‘OK, Rich, if you could, could you start a left-hand turn and we’ll take you down to the south-east.’

‘This is probably jail time for life, huh? I would hope it is for a guy like me. ‘¬†¬†

Rich:¬†I’ve got a lot of people that care about me. It’s going to disappoint them to hear that I did this.

I would like to apologize to each and every one of them. Just a broken guy, got a few screws loose I guess. Never really knew it, until now

Rich:¬†I’m down to 2,100, I started at like 30-something.

Air traffic control: Rich, you said you had 2,100 pounds of fuel left?

Rich:¬†Yeah, I don’t know what the burnage, burnout? Is like on a takeoff, but yeah, it’s burned quite a bit faster than I expected.

Air traffic control:¬†Right now he’s just flying around, and he just needs some help controlling the aircraft.

Rich:¬†Nah I mean, I don’t need that much help. I’ve played some video games before. I would like to figure out how to get this‚Ķ make it pressurized or something so I’m not lightheaded.

Rich:¬†Ah minimum wage. We’ll chalk it up to that. Maybe that will grease the gears a little bit with the higher-ups

Rich:¬†Damnit Andrew, people’s lives are at stake here.

Air traffic control:¬†Ah Rich, don’t say stuff like that.

Rich:¬†I don’t want to hurt anyone, I just want you to whisper sweet nothings into my ear.

Rich: Hey do you think if I land this successfully Alaska will give me a job as a pilot?

Air traffic control: You know, I think they would give you a job doing anything if you could pull this off.

Rich:¬†Yeah right! Nah, I’m a white guy

Air traffic control:¬†If you wanted to land, probably your best bet is that runway just ahead and to your left. Again, that’s McCourt (sic) Field.

If you wanted to try, that might be the best way to set up and see if you can land there. Or just like the pilot’s suggestion, the other option might be over Puget Sound, into the water.

Rich:¬†Dang, did you talk to McCourt, cause I don’t know if I’d be happy with you telling me I could land like that, cause I could really mess some stuff up.

Air traffic control:¬†Well Rich I already talked to ’em. Just like me, what we want to see is you not get hurt, or anyone else get hurt. So if you want to try to land, that’s the way to go.

Rich: Hey I want the coordinates of that orca, you know, the mama orca with the baby. I want to see that guy.

Rich: Hey, is that pilot on? I want to know what this weather is going to be like in the Olympics (mountains).

Air traffic control:¬†Well, if you can see the Olympics, the weather’s good. I can see the Olympics from my window, and it looks pretty good over there.

Rich:¬†Alright, ’cause I felt some, what felt like turbulence around Rainer, but there was no clouds hardly.

Air traffic control:¬†Oh, that’s just the wind blowing over all over the bumpy surfaces there.

Captain Bill:¬†Alright Rich, this is Captain Bill. Congratulations, you did that, now let’s try to land that airplane safely and not hurt anyone on the ground.

Rich:¬†Alright, damnit, I don’t know man, I don’t know. I don’t want to‚Ķ I was kind of hoping that would be it, you know.

Rich:¬†I’m gonna land it, in a safe kind of manner. I think I’m gonna try to do a barrel roll, and if that goes good, I’m just gonna nose down and call it a night.

Air traffic control:¬†Well Rich, before you do that, let’s think about this. I’ve got another pilot coming up, pilot Joel, in just a minute here I hope. And we’ll be able to give you some advice on what to do next.

Rich: I feel like one of my engines is going out or something.

Air traffic control: OK Rich, if you could, you just want to keep that plane right over the water. Maybe keep the aircraft nice and low.

Rich:¬†Just kind of lightheaded, dizzy. Man, the sights went by so fast. I was thinking, like, I’m going to have this moment of serenity, take in all the sights. There’s a lot of pretty stuff, but they’re prettier in a different context.

Air traffic control: Do you have any idea of how much fuel you have left?

Rich: Oh man, not enough. Not enough to get by. Like, uh, 760? 760 pounds?

Air traffic control: Just flying around the plane, you seem comfortable with that?

Rich: Oh hell yeah, it’s a blast. I’ve played video games before so I know what I’m doing a little bit.

Air traffic control: OK, and you can see all the terrain around you, you’ve got no issue with visibility or anything?

Rich: Naw, everything’s peachy, peachy clean. Just did a little circle around Rainer, it’s beautiful. I think I’ve got some gas to go check out the Olympics (mountains).

Rich: I wouldn’t know how to land it, I wasn’t really planning on landing it.

Rich: Sorry, my mic came off, I threw up a little bit. I’m sorry about this, I hope this doesn’t ruin your day.

Rich: Man, have you been to the Olympics? These guys are gorgeous, holy smokes.

Air traffic control: Ya, I have been out there, it’s always a nice drive.

Rich: (inaudible)

Air traffic control: Hey I bet you do. I haven’t done much hiking over there. But if you could start a left turn, and back towards the east. I know you’re getting a good view there, but if you go too much farther in that direction I won’t be able to hear you anymore.

Rich: Hey pilot guy, can this thing do a backflip, you think?

Rich: I wouldn’t mind just shooting the s**t with you guys, but it’s all business, you know?

During a press conference on Saturday morning NTSB investigator Debra Eckrote said they are trying to determine ‘what his process was and where the aircraft was going’.

‘He’s ground support so, you know, they have access to aircraft,’ she said, adding that that we’re ‘very lucky’ the plane went down on a ‘very underpopulated island’.

She said the plane came to rest in a thick underbrush on Ketron Island, and first responders had to ‘blaze a trail’ to get to the wreckage.

Eckrote said the plane is ‘highly fragmented’ and the wings were torn off in the crash. She said responders could not identify a lot Friday night because there was a fire, but they were taking Saturday to ‘focus on the areas that we’re looking for’.

Eckrote called the incident ‘very usual’ and said the FBI were doing a background check on Russell to determine a motive.

‘Last night’s event is going to push us to learn what we can from this tragedy so that we can ensure this does not happen again at Alaska Air Group or at any other airline,’ said Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Airlines.

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said on Saturday morning that president Trump was briefed on the incident and was monitoring the situation. She also praised the response effort for its ‘swift action’ and ensuring public safety.

Ferry workers stand by as fire trucks are driven onto a ferry boat headed to Ketron Island, Friday, Aug. 10

Ferry workers stand by as fire trucks are driven onto a ferry boat headed to Ketron Island, Friday, Aug. 10

Alaska Airlines, which owns Horizon Air, confirmed that the plane had taken off without permission and later crashed on Ketron Island

Alaska Airlines, which owns Horizon Air, confirmed that the plane had taken off without permission and later crashed on Ketron Island

Police said the pilot was a 29-year-old employee from Pierce County, Washington. They said he was acting alone and was 'suicidal'. His name has not yet been released

Police said the pilot was a 29-year-old employee from Pierce County, Washington. They said he was acting alone and was ‘suicidal’. His name has not yet been released

The FBI released a statement just before midnight in Seattle that they did not anticipate any further details tonight

The FBI released a statement just before midnight in Seattle that they did not anticipate any further details tonight

A map showing Ketron Island, a heavily wooded area inhabited by 24 people, according to the 2000 census

At one point in the flight, Russell asked air traffic controllers: ‘Hey do you think if I land this successfully Alaska will give me a job as a pilot?’

The air traffic controller, trying to keep him on side, replied ‘you know, I think they would give you a job doing anything if you could pull this off’, to which Rich replied: ‘Yeah right! Nah, I’m a white guy.’

He was also heard telling traffic controllers he was ‘just a broken guy’ before telling them he was preparing to go jail.

‘This is probably jail time for life, huh? I would hope it is for a guy like me,’ he said.

Once again, traffic control tried to get Russell to land.

‘There is the runway just off your right side in about a mile, do you see that?’ the traffic controller said.

‘Oh those guys will try to rough me up if I try land there‚Ķ,’ Russell replied. ‘I think I might mess something up there too. I wouldn’t want to do that. Oh they probably have got anti-aircraft.’

‘They don’t have any of that stuff, we are just trying to find you a place to land safely,’ the traffic controller responded.

Russell told the air traffic controller he wasn’t ‘quite ready’ to bring the plane down.

‘But holy smokes I need to stop looking at the fuel ‘cos it’s going down quick,’ he added.

‘OK, Rich, if you could, could you start a left-hand turn and we’ll take you down to the south-east,’ the traffic controller said.

Air Alaska passengers wait in the terminal following the hijacking incident, which grounded planes and led to several flights being delayed

Air Alaska passengers wait in the terminal following the hijacking incident, which grounded planes and led to several flights being delayed

A large Alaska Air aircraft maintenance building is viewed on takeoff from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in this undated file photo

A large Alaska Air aircraft maintenance building is viewed on takeoff from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in this undated file photo

Ketron Island, where the plane went down, is a densely wooded area home to 24 people, according to the 2000 census. None of the island’s residents were thought to have been harmed.

Royal King told¬†The Seattle Times¬†he was photographing a wedding when he saw the low-flying turboprop being chased by to F-15s. He said he didn’t see the crash but saw smoke.

‘It was unfathomable, it was something out of a movie,’ he told the newspaper. ‘The smoke lingered. You could still hear the F-15s, which were flying low.’

Horizon Air is part of Alaska Air Group and flies shorter routes throughout the U.S. West.

Sea-Tac is the ninth busiest airport in the US, and flew 46.9 million passengers and more than 425,800 metric tons of air cargo in 2017.

  • For confidential support in the US call the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.¬†
  • For confidential support in the UK call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see http://www.samaritans.org for details.
  • For confidential support in Australia call the Lifeline 24-hour crisis support on 13 11 14.

HOW WAS SEATTLE AIRLINE EMPLOYEE ABLE TO HIJACK JET?

Investigators have been working to determine how Horizon Air employee Richard Russell was able to steal an empty turboprop plane from Sea-Tac Airport and take it for an hour-long joyride that ended in a fiery crash on an island in the Puget Sound.

The 29-year-old reportedly stole the Horizon Air Q400 jet from the maintenance area and took to the skies around 8pm Friday, despite not having any apparent flying experience.

It remains unclear how he was able to gain access to the aircraft and fly it out of the airport undetected.

‘We don’t know how he learned to do that,’ Horizon CEO Gary Beck told reporters when asked how Russell was able to perform loop-the-loop and barrels while flying the aircraft.

‘Commercial aircraft are complex machines. No idea how he achieved that experience.’

Russell has worked for Horizon Air at Seattle-Tacoma Airport for nearly four years, according to his LinkedIn account, as a ground service agent and an operations agent.

The bizarre incident involving a worker authorities said was suicidal points to one of the biggest potential perils for commercial air travel – airline or airport employees causing mayhem.

‘The greatest threat we have to aviation is the insider threat,’ Erroll Southers, a former FBI agent and transportation security expert, told AP.

‘Here we have an employee who was vetted to the level to have access to the aircraft and had a skill set proficient enough to take off with that plane.’

The Friday night crash happened because the 29-year-old man was ‘doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills,’ the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said. The man, who was believed killed, wasn’t immediately identified.

Video showed the Horizon Air Q400 doing large loops and other dangerous maneuvers as the sun set on Puget Sound. There were no passengers aboard.

The plane was pursued by military aircraft before it crashed on tiny Ketron Island, southwest of Tacoma, Washington. Video showed fiery flames amid trees on the island, which is sparsely populated and only accessible by ferry. No structures on the ground were damaged, Alaska Airlines said.

Authorities initially said Russell was a mechanic, but Alaska Airlines later said he was believed to be a ground service agent employed by Horizon. Those employees direct aircraft for takeoff and gate approach and de-ice planes.

Sheriff’s department officials said they were working with the FBI in investigating the man’s background and trying to determine his motive.

Investigators expect they will be able to recover both the cockpit voice recorder and the event data recorder from the plane.

Alaska Air Group CEO Brad Tilden said in a statement early Saturday morning that the airline was ‘working to find out everything we possibly can about what happened.’

The airline was coordinating with the Federal Aviation Administration, the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board, he said.

‚ÄúSuicidal‚ÄĚ Airline Employee Steals Plane, Takes it for A Flight Before Crashing

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/08/suicidal-airline-employee-steals-plane-takes-it-for-a-joyride-before-crashing.html

 

Story 3: Big Google Is Watching Your Movements and So It Big Brother — Videos —

Google Tracks Your Movements, Like It Or Not

Google Could Be Tracking Your Movements

Google is tracking you. Even when you’re in Airplane Mode

Published on Feb 10, 2018

How the police use Google to track your every move

What Google Knows About You

 

AP Exclusive: Google tracks your movements, like it or not

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ‚ÄĒ Google wants to know where you go so badly that it records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to.

An Associated Press investigation found that many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you’ve used a privacy setting that says it will prevent Google from doing so.

Computer-science researchers at Princeton confirmed these findings at the AP’s request.

For the most part, Google is upfront about asking permission to use your location information. An app like Google Maps will remind you to allow access to location if you use it for navigating. If you agree to let it record your location over time, Google Maps will display that history for you in a ‚Äútimeline‚ÄĚ that maps out your daily movements.

Storing your minute-by-minute travels carries privacy risks and has been used by police to determine the location of suspects ‚ÄĒ such as a warrant that police in Raleigh, North Carolina,¬†served on Google¬†last year to find devices near a murder scene. So the company lets you ‚Äúpause‚ÄĚ a setting called Location History.

Google says that will prevent the company from remembering where you‚Äôve been. Google‚Äôs¬†support page on the subjectstates: ‚ÄúYou can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.‚ÄĚ

That isn’t true. Even with Location History paused, some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking. (It’s possible, although laborious, to delete it .)

For example, Google stores a snapshot of where you are when you merely open its Maps app. Automatic daily weather updates on Android phones pinpoint roughly where you are. And some searches that have nothing to do with location, like ‚Äúchocolate chip cookies,‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúkids science kits,‚ÄĚ pinpoint your precise latitude and longitude ‚ÄĒ accurate to the square foot ‚ÄĒ and save it to your Google account.

The privacy issue affects some two billion users of devices that run Google’s Android operating software and hundreds of millions of worldwide iPhone users who rely on Google for maps or search.

Storing location data in violation of a user’s preferences is wrong, said Jonathan Mayer, a Princeton computer scientist and former chief technologist for the Federal Communications Commission’s enforcement bureau. A researcher from Mayer’s lab confirmed the AP’s findings on multiple Android devices; the AP conducted its own tests on several iPhones that found the same behavior.

‚ÄúIf you‚Äôre going to allow users to turn off something called ‚ÄėLocation History,‚Äô then all the places where you maintain location history should be turned off,‚ÄĚ Mayer said. ‚ÄúThat seems like a pretty straightforward position to have.‚ÄĚ

Google says it is being perfectly clear.

‚ÄúThere are a number of different ways that Google may use location to improve people‚Äôs experience, including: Location History, Web and App Activity, and through device-level Location Services,‚ÄĚ a Google spokesperson said in a statement to the AP. ‚ÄúWe provide clear descriptions of these tools, and robust controls so people can turn them on or off, and delete their histories at any time.‚ÄĚ

Google’s explanation did not convince several lawmakers.

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia told the AP it is ‚Äúfrustratingly common‚ÄĚ for technology companies ‚Äúto have corporate practices that diverge wildly from the totally reasonable expectations of their users,‚ÄĚ and urged policies that would give users more control of their data. Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey called for ‚Äúcomprehensive consumer privacy and data security legislation‚ÄĚ in the wake of the AP report.

To stop Google from saving these location markers, the company says, users can turn off another setting, one that does not specifically reference location information. Called ‚ÄúWeb and App Activity‚ÄĚ and enabled by default, that setting stores a variety of information from Google apps and websites to your Google account.

When paused, it will prevent activity on any device from being saved to your account. But leaving ‚ÄúWeb & App Activity‚ÄĚ on and turning ‚ÄúLocation History‚ÄĚ off only prevents Google from adding your movements to the ‚Äútimeline,‚ÄĚ its visualization of your daily travels. It does not stop Google‚Äôs collection of other location markers.

You can delete these location markers by hand, but it’s a painstaking process since you have to select them individually, unless you want to delete all of your stored activity.

You can see the stored location markers on a page in your Google account at myactivity.google.com, although they’re typically scattered under several different headers, many of which are unrelated to location.

To demonstrate how powerful these other markers can be, the AP created a visual map of the movements of Princeton postdoctoral researcher Gunes Acar, who carried an Android phone with Location history off, and shared a record of his Google account.

The map includes Acar‚Äôs train commute on two trips to New York and visits to The High Line park, Chelsea Market, Hell‚Äôs Kitchen, Central Park and Harlem. To protect his privacy, The AP didn‚Äôt plot the most telling and frequent marker ‚ÄĒ his home address.

Huge tech companies are under increasing scrutiny over their data practices, following a series of privacy scandals at Facebook and new data-privacy rules recently adopted by the European Union. Last year, the business news site Quartz found that Google was tracking Android users by collecting the addresses of nearby cellphone towers even if all location services were off. Google changed the practice and insisted it never recorded the data anyway.

Critics say Google’s insistence on tracking its users’ locations stems from its drive to boost advertising revenue.

‚ÄúThey build advertising information out of data,‚ÄĚ said Peter Lenz, the senior geospatial analyst at Dstillery, a rival advertising technology company. ‚ÄúMore data for them presumably means more profit.‚ÄĚ

The AP learned of the issue from K. Shankari, a graduate researcher at UC Berkeley who studies the commuting patterns of volunteers in order to help urban planners. She noticed that her Android phone prompted her to rate a shopping trip to Kohl’s, even though she had turned Location History off.

‚ÄúSo how did Google Maps know where I was?‚ÄĚ she asked in a¬†blog post¬†.

The AP wasn’t able to recreate Shankari’s experience exactly. But its attempts to do so revealed Google’s tracking. The findings disturbed her.

‚ÄúI am not opposed to background location tracking in principle,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúIt just really bothers me that it is not explicitly stated.‚ÄĚ

Google offers a more accurate description of how Location History actually works in a place you‚Äôd only see if you turn it off ‚ÄĒ a popup that appears when you ‚Äúpause‚ÄĚ Location History on your¬†Google account webpage¬†. There the company notes that ‚Äúsome location data may be saved as part of your activity on other Google services, like Search and Maps.‚ÄĚ

Google offers additional information in a popup that appears if you re-activate the ‚ÄúWeb & App Activity‚ÄĚ setting ‚ÄĒ an uncommon action for many users, since this setting is on by default. That popup states that, when active, the setting ‚Äúsaves the things you do on Google sites, apps, and services … and associated information, like location.‚ÄĚ

Warnings when you‚Äôre about to turn Location History off via Android and iPhone device settings are more difficult to interpret. On Android, the popup explains that ‚Äúplaces you go with your devices will stop being added to your Location History map.‚ÄĚ On the iPhone, it simply reads, ‚ÄúNone of your Google apps will be able to store location data in Location History.‚ÄĚ

The iPhone text is technically true if potentially misleading. With Location History off, Google Maps and other apps store your whereabouts in a section of your account called ‚ÄúMy Activity,‚ÄĚ not ‚ÄúLocation History.‚ÄĚ

Since 2014, Google has let advertisers track the effectiveness of online ads at driving foot traffic , a feature that Google has said relies on user location histories.

The company is pushing further into such location-aware tracking to drive ad revenue, which rose 20 percent last year to $95.4 billion. At a Google Marketing Live summit in July, Google executives¬†unveiled a new tool¬†called ‚Äúlocal campaigns‚ÄĚ that dynamically uses ads to boost in-person store visits. It says it can measure how well a campaign drove foot traffic with data pulled from Google users‚Äô location histories.

Google also says location records stored in My Activity are used to target ads. Ad buyers can target ads to specific locations ‚ÄĒ say, a mile radius around a particular landmark ‚ÄĒ and typically have to pay more to reach this narrower audience.

While disabling ‚ÄúWeb & App Activity‚ÄĚ will stop Google from storing location markers, it also prevents Google from storing information generated by searches and other activity. That can limit the effectiveness of the Google Assistant, the company‚Äôs digital concierge.

Sean O‚ÄôBrien, a Yale Privacy Lab researcher with whom the AP shared its findings, said it is ‚Äúdisingenuous‚ÄĚ for Google to continuously record these locations even when users disable Location History. ‚ÄúTo me, it‚Äôs something people should know,‚ÄĚ he said.

https://apnews.com/828aefab64d4411bac257a07c1af0ecb/AP-Exclusive:-Google-tracks-your-movements,-like-it-or-not

 

Story 4: Alex Jones and Infowars More Popular Than Even Despite Corporate Censorship Conspiracy — Anti-American Leftist Great Purge of Pro Americans Viewpoints — Let The Lawsuits Begin — Videos

First, They Came For Alex Jones

THE SILENCING OF ALEX JONES

Alex Jones talks about being kick off all Socialist media platforms.

Twitter says Infowars’ Alex Jones hasn’t violated any rules

The free speech debate over Sarah Jeong and Alex Jones

Ingraham: Big tech and the new corporate censorship

Jordan Peterson Reacts to ALEX JONES Being DEPLATFORMED

Published on Aug 9, 2018
Jordan Peterson joins Steven Crowder to discuss Alex Jones/Info Wars being banned from various social media/tech sites and how it relates to the free speech issue.

Alex Jones Censored From Facebook, iTunes

First They Came For Alex Jones…

Roger Stone on Alex Jones Being Scrubbed From The Internet

ALEX JONES CENSORED

Alex Jones and Erasing Internet History

The REAL reason for the Alex Jones, InfoWars ban ‚ÄĒ and why more purges are coming

Michael Malice on Social Media, Alex Jones, and What’s Coming Next

Alex Jones Is My Hero (my reaction to Jones censorship)

‘Censorship’ is killing social media ‚ÄĒ but there is a new hope!

Double Standard? Try No Standard. Conservative Activist Suspended From Twitter for Schizoid Reason.

“If you don’t like America, you can GET OUT!”

Infowars Fires Back After Apple, Facebook, YouTube Remove Alex Jones Content

The Take Down of Alex Jones- Why This Is a Big Issue

Alex Jones BREAKS SILENCE on ban

 

Bans don’t seem to be lessening reach of Alex Jones, InfoWars

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The Pronk Pops Show 1122, August 9, 2018, Story 1: President Trump For Criminal Justice and Prison Reform and First Step Act — Good Policy and Fiscally Sound — Videos — Story 2: Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis On Establishing United States Space Force Plan As Sixth Military Service — Space Arms Race — Videos — Story 3: Attorney General Jeff Session on Importance of Religious Liberty — Videos –Story 4: U.S. vs. China Trade Dispute — Who Will Cry Uncle First? — China — Videos

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