Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal

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 —

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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

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

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

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

But it’s far from over for Manafort.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul Manafort

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Paul Manafort
Paul Manafort at 2016 RNC.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

Early life and education

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

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

Career

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

Political activities

Manafort greeting President Gerald Ford in 1976

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

Manafort greeting President Ronald Reagan in 1987

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

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

Chairman of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign

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

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

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

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

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

Kurdish independence referendum

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

Lobbying career

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

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

Association with Jonas Savimbi

Manafort has represented Angolan rebel leader Jonas Savimbi.

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

Lobbying for other foreign leaders

Manafort was a lobbyist for former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos.

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

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

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

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

Involvement in the Karachi affair

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

Association with Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence Agency

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

HUD scandal

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

Lobbying for Viktor Yanukovych and involvements in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, for whom Manafort lobbied

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Registering as a foreign agent

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

Homes, home loans and other loans

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

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

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

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

Investigations

FBI and special counsel investigation

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

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

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

Congressional investigations

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

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

Private Investigation

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

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

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

Arrest and indictments

Manafort’s 2018 mugshot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trials

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

Trial in Virginia

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

Trial in District of Columbia

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

Personal life

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

See also

Notes

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

References

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Video playing bottom right…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cohen leaves court after pleading guilty to eight charges

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

Charging documents lay out millions in unreported income by Cohen

Documents also reference Trump as 'Individual-1'

Documents also reference Trump as ‘Individual-1’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cohen agreed to jail time as part of the agreement.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GUILTY: MICHAEL FLYNN 

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

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

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

GUILTY: MICHAEL COHEN

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

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

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

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

GUILTY: PAUL MANAFORT

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

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

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

GUILTY: RICK GATES 

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

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

GUILTY: GEORGE PAPADOPOLOUS

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

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

He has agreed to cooperate with the special counsel investigation.

GUILTY: RICHARD PINEDO

Pleaded guilty to identity fraud in February 2018. Awaiting sentence

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

He has agreed to cooperate with the special counsel investigation.

GUILTY AND JAILED: ALEX VAN DER ZWAAN

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

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

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

CHARGED: KONSTANTIN KILIMNIK

Indicted for obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice. 

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

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

INDICTED: THE RUSSIANS 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cohen has previously denied any wrongdoing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cohen taped Trump discussing payment to Playboy model

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

 

Michael Cohen (lawyer)

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

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

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

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

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

 

Early life

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

Career

Legal career and business ventures

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

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

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

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

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

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

Politics

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

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

Relationship with Donald Trump and the Trump Organization

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

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

2011

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

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

2013

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

2015

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

2016

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

Cohen defended Trump against charges of antisemitism.[7]

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

2017

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

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

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

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

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

2018

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

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

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

Payment to Stormy Daniels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recording of discussion regarding Karen McDougal

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

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

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

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

Payment to Shera Bechard

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

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

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

Essential Consultants LLC

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

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

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

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

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

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

Federal investigation

Cohen v US – Govt Opposition to TRO Request

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conviction and afterward

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

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

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

Personal life

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

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

References

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

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

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

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

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

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

Robert Mueller Appointed As Special Counsel To Investigate Russia Collusion

What to Know About the Russia Indictment

Trump-Russia collusion case DOA?

Inconceivable Putin did not know about this: Napolitano

12 Russians indicted, but where’s the collusion?

Special counsel Mueller indicts 13 Russians, Trump denies collusion

Russia is trampling over US interests: Gen. Keane

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

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

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

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

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

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

Robert Mueller in Washington on June 21, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

See the source imageSee the source image

See the source image

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

Trump holds rally in West Virginia

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

NY Governor Cuomo: America was ‘never that great’

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

Andrew Cuomo’s comment was despicable: Judge Jeanine Pirro

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

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

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

Is Donald Trump likely to be impeached? – BBC Newsnight

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

Politicians react to Cohen and Manafort convictions

The Wall Is Being Built! (Slowly.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 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 —

Posted on August 14, 2018. Filed under: American History, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Business, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Currencies, Deep State, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Eugenics, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, First Amendment, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hate Speech, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, IRS, James Comey, Killing, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Military Spending, National Interest, National Security Agency, Networking, News, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Obama, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Progressives, Public Corruption, Public Relations, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Spying, Spying on American People, Success, Surveillance/Spying, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1123, August 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1122, August 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1121, August 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1120, August 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1119, August 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1118, August 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1117, July 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1116, July 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1115, July 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1114, July 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1113, July 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1112, July 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1111, July 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1110, July 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1109, July 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1108, July 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1107, July 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1106, July 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1105, July 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1104, July 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1103, July 5, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1102, JUly 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1101, July 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1100, June 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1099, June 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1098, June 25, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1097, June 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1096, June 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1095, June 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1094, June 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1093, June 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1092, June 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1091, June 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1090, June 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1089, June 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1088, June 6, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1087, June 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1086, May 31, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1084, May 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1083, May 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1082, May 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1081, May 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1080, May 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1079, May 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1078, May 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1077, May 15, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1076, May 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1075, May 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1073, May 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1072, May 7, 2018

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 “overruled” the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility to remove him.

“This decision should be deeply troubling to all Americans,” 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 “badly damaged” the FBI’s reputation, referring to them as “clowns and losers!”

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’s handling of the investigation into Clinton’s private email server but uncovered messages that “appeared to mix political opinion with discussions” 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’s attorney, meanwhile, blasted the bureau on Monday, saying the deputy director “reversed 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.”

He added, “A lengthy investigation and multiple rounds of Congressional testimony failed to produce a shred of evidence that Special Agent Strzok’s personal views ever affected his work.”

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 — from what I understand he was support personnel, ground personnel — 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…,’ 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… 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… 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…,’ 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.

“Suicidal” 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) — 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 “timeline” 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 — 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 “pause” a setting called Location History.

Google says that will prevent the company from remembering where you’ve been. Google’s support page on the subjectstates: “You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.”

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 “chocolate chip cookies,” or “kids science kits,” pinpoint your precise latitude and longitude — accurate to the square foot — 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.

“If you’re going to allow users to turn off something called ‘Location History,’ then all the places where you maintain location history should be turned off,” Mayer said. “That seems like a pretty straightforward position to have.”

Google says it is being perfectly clear.

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

Google’s explanation did not convince several lawmakers.

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia told the AP it is “frustratingly common” for technology companies “to have corporate practices that diverge wildly from the totally reasonable expectations of their users,” and urged policies that would give users more control of their data. Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey called for “comprehensive consumer privacy and data security legislation” 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 “Web and App Activity” 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 “Web & App Activity” on and turning “Location History” off only prevents Google from adding your movements to the “timeline,” its visualization of your daily travels. It does not stop Google’s 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’s train commute on two trips to New York and visits to The High Line park, Chelsea Market, Hell’s Kitchen, Central Park and Harlem. To protect his privacy, The AP didn’t plot the most telling and frequent marker — 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.

“They build advertising information out of data,” said Peter Lenz, the senior geospatial analyst at Dstillery, a rival advertising technology company. “More data for them presumably means more profit.”

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.

“So how did Google Maps know where I was?” 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.

“I am not opposed to background location tracking in principle,” she said. “It just really bothers me that it is not explicitly stated.”

Google offers a more accurate description of how Location History actually works in a place you’d only see if you turn it off — a popup that appears when you “pause” Location History on your Google account webpage . There the company notes that “some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other Google services, like Search and Maps.”

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

Warnings when you’re about to turn Location History off via Android and iPhone device settings are more difficult to interpret. On Android, the popup explains that “places you go with your devices will stop being added to your Location History map.” On the iPhone, it simply reads, “None of your Google apps will be able to store location data in Location History.”

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 “My Activity,” not “Location History.”

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 “local campaigns” 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’ location histories.

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

While disabling “Web & App Activity” 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’s digital concierge.

Sean O’Brien, a Yale Privacy Lab researcher with whom the AP shared its findings, said it is “disingenuous” for Google to continuously record these locations even when users disable Location History. “To me, it’s something people should know,” 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 — 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 — 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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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 194-201

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 184-193

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 174-183

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 165-173

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 158-164

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 151-157

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 143-150

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 135-142

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 131-134

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 124-130

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 121-123

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 118-120

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 113 -117

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 112

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 108-111

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 106-108

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 104-105

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 101-103

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 98-100

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 94-97

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 93

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 92

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 91

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 88-90

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 84-87

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 79-83

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 74-78

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 71-73

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 68-70

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 65-67

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 62-64

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 58-61

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 55-57

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 52-54

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 49-51

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 45-48

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 41-44

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 38-40

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 34-37

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 30-33

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 27-29

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 17-26

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 10-15

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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

Posted on August 10, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, Addiction, American History, Applications, Barack H. Obama, Benghazi, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribes, British Pound, Budgetary Policy, Business, Cartoons, China, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, College, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Currencies, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drugs, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, Euro, European History, European Union, Extortion, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hardware, Hate Speech, Health, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Housing, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Islam, Islamic Republic of Iran, James Comey, Killing, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Drugs, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, Mental Illness, Middle East, Monetary Policy, National Interest, Natural Gas, Networking, News, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Presidential Appointments, Privacy, Public Corruption, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Religion, Republican Candidates For President 2016, Resources, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Russia, Scandals, Second Amendment, Senator Jeff Sessions, Servers, Social Networking, Social Security, Software, South Korea, Spying, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Trade Policy, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, U.S. Dollar, U.S. Space Program, Unemployment, United Kingdom, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Space Force, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weather, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1122, August 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1121, August 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1120, August 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1119, August 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1118, August 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1117, July 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1116, July 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1115, July 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1114, July 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1113, July 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1112, July 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1111, July 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1110, July 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1109, July 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1108, July 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1107, July 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1106, July 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1105, July 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1104, July 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1103, July 5, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1102, JUly 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1101, July 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1100, June 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1099, June 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1098, June 25, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1097, June 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1096, June 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1095, June 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1094, June 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1093, June 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1092, June 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1091, June 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1090, June 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1089, June 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1088, June 6, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1087, June 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1086, May 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1085, May 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1084, May 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1083, May 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1082, May 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1081, May 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1080, May 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1079, May 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1078, May 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1077, May 15, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1076, May 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1075, May 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1073, May 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1072, May 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1071, May 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1070, May 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1069, May 2, 2018

Image result for prison reform trump meeting august 9, 2018Image result for pence and mattis on united states space force august 9, 2018Image result for attorney general jeff sessions speech at ADF summit august 7, 2018Image result for cartoons us space forceImage result for branco cartoons us space force

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Story 1: President Trump For Criminal Justice and Prison Reform — Good Policy and Fiscally Sound — Videos

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BREAKING 🔴 President Trump URGENT Speech at IMPORTANT Roundtable in Bedminster, NJ August 9, 2018

Pastor says he faced backlash over meeting with Trump

Published on Aug 3, 2018

Trump pushes for prison reform bill

Published on May 18, 2018

Trump takes on prison reform

Published on Jan 12, 2018

Van Jones is teaming up with the White House on prison reform

Trump, Congress try to breathe life into long-delayed criminal justice reform package

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1122

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1112-1121

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1091-1100

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1058-1065

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1048-1057

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 993-1000

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 984-992

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 977-983

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 970-976

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 963-969

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 955-962

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 946-954

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 938-945

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 926-937

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 916-925

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 906-915

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 889-896

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 884-888

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 878-883

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 870-877

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 864-869

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 857-863

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 850-856

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 845-849

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 840-844

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 833-839

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 827-832

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 821-826

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 815-820

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 806-814

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 800-805

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 793-799

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 785-792

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 777-784

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 769-776

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 759-768

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 751-758

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 745-750

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 738-744

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 732-737

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 727-731

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or DownloadShows 713-719

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or DownloadShows 705-712

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 695-704

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 685-694

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 675-684

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 668-674

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 651-659

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 644-650

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 637-643

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 629-636

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 617-628

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 608-616

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 599-607

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 590-598

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 585- 589

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 575-584

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 565-574

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 556-564

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 546-555

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 538-545

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 532-537

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 526-531

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 519-525

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 510-518

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 500-509

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 490-499

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 473-479

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 464-472

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 455-463

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 439-446

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 431-438

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 422-430

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 414-421

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 408-413

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 400-407

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 391-399

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 383-390

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 376-382

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 369-375

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 360-368

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 354-359

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 346-353

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 338-345

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 328-337

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 296-306

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 287-295

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 277-286

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 264-276

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 250-263

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 236-249

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 222-235

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 211-221

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 202-210

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 194-201

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 184-193

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 174-183

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 165-173

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 158-164

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 151-157

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 143-150

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 135-142

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 131-134

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 124-130

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 121-123

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 118-120

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 113 -117

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 112

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 108-111

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 106-108

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 104-105

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 101-103

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 94-97

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 93

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 91

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 88-90

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 84-87

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 79-83

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 74-78

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 71-73

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 68-70

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 65-67

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 62-64

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 58-61

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 55-57

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 52-54

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 49-51

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 34-37

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 27-29

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 17-26

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The Pronk Pops Show 1102, Story 1: Celebrate The Meaning of Independence Day on July 4, 2018 — Videos — Story 2: Baby Killers Fear Pro Life Supreme Court Majority Will Rule  Roe vs. Wade Was Wrongly Decided By Supreme Court and Unconstitutional — Babies In The Womb Are Denied Due Process In The Ending of Their Lives — Videos Story 3: Arrogant Abuse of Power Leads To Tyranny — The Surveillance of The American People By The Two Party Tyranny of United States Intelligence Community– Department of Justice and FBI Cover-up Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Videos

Posted on July 5, 2018. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Candidates, Abortion, Addiction, Addiction, American History, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Books, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, College, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Eugenics, Extortion, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Communications Commission, Federal Government, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Fourth Amendment, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Gangs, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hardware, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Impeachment, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, IRS, Language, Law, Life, Lying, Media, Mental Illness, National Interest, National Security Agency, News, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Privacy, Private Sector Unions, Progressives, Public Corruption, Public Relations, Public Sector Unions, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Robert S. Mueller III, Russia, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Servers, Software, Spying, Spying on American People, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Unemployment, Unions, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Violence, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

 Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1102, JUly 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1101, July 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1100, June 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1099, June 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1098, June 25, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1097, June 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1096, June 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1095, June 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1094, June 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1093, June 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1092, June 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1091, June 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1090, June 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1089, June 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1088, June 6, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1087, June 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1086, May 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1085, May 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1084, May 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1083, May 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1082, May 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1081, May 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1080, May 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1079, May 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1078, May 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1077, May 15, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1076, May 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1075, May 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1073, May 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1072, May 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1071, May 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1070, May 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1069, May 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1068, April 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1067, April 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1066, April 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1065, April 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1064, April 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1063, April 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1062, April 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1061, April 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1060, April 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1059, April 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1058, April 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1057, April 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1056, April 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1055, April 2, 2018

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Story 1: Celebrate The Meaning of Independence Day on July 4, 2018 — Videos —

The Meaning of Independence Day

John Adams – Writing the Declaration of Independence (with subs)

John Adams – A Case for Independence

 

Story 2: Baby Killers Fear Pro Life Supreme Court Majority Will Rule  Roe vs. Wade Was Wrongly Decided By Supreme Court and Unconstitutional — Babies In The Womb Are Denied Due Process In The Ending of Their Lives — Videos

See the source image

See the source imageSee the source image

See the source image

Justice Antonin Scalia talks about Roe v. Wade

Tears Of Abortion – Story of an aborted baby, This ProLife Video will make you cry your eyes out

Third Presidential Debate Highlights | Trump, Clinton on Abortion

Fertilization

0 to 9 Months Journey In The Womb

Incredible Real Photography of the journey from a sperm to human baby- Developing in the womb

Judge Napolitano: Roe v. Wade won’t be overturned

 

Jeffrey Toobin: Roe v. Wade is doomed

Collins: I wouldn’t vote for nominee hostile to Roe v. Wade

With Justice Anthony Kennedy’s Retirement, What’s The Fate Of Roe V Wade? | Hardball | MSNBC

 

Story 3: Arrogant Abuse of Power Leads To Tyranny — The Surveillance of The American People By The Two Party Tyranny of United States Intelligence Community– Department of Justice and FBI Cover-up Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Videos

Nunes tightens screws in his probe into surveillance abuses

Rep. Goodlatte Rips into Rod Rosenstein and Chris Wray in Opening Statement June 28, 2018

Goodlatte: We’re going to restore the reputation of the FBI

Gowdy to Rosenstein on Russia probe: ‘Finish it the hell up’

Jordan to Rosenstein: Why are you keeping info from us?

Levin: Left’s agenda is incompatible with constitutionalism

Tucker: IG report is catalog of bias, abuse of power

Tucker: What’s at stake in the Rosenstein battle

Meadows: DOJ, FBI can be part of the clean up or cover-up

FBI, DOJ investigation reaches deadline

Will the DOJ release spy documents?

 

 

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1101-1102

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1091-1100

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1082-1090

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1073-1081

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1066-1073

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1058-1065

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1048-1057

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1041-1047

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1033-1040

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1023-1032

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1001-1009

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 993-1000

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 984-992

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 977-983

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 970-976

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 963-969

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 955-962

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 938-945

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 889-896

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 878-883

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 864-869

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 850-856

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 833-839

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 821-826

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The Pronk Pops Show 1086, May 31, 2018, Story 1: Maximum Pressure –Trump Administration Increases Tariffs or Taxes on American Consumers and Producers by Imposing Tariffs on $50 Billion of Chinese Goods and Steel And Aluminium Imports From Canada, Mexico Europe and China — Trade Dispute or Trade War — Stop Unfair Chinese Trade Practices Including Non-Tariff Barriers To Trade and Stop Tariffs or Taxing American Consumers and Producers By Protecting Them Against Lower Prices! — Videos — Story 2: FBI Spied On Trump Campaign To Protect Obama Administration and Clinton Campaign From A Possible Russian Disclosing To Trump Clinton’s 30,000 Compromising Emails Before Election Day — Videos

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Story 1: Maximum Pressure –Trump Administration Increases Tariffs or Taxes on American Consumers and Producers by Imposing Tariffs on $50 Billion of Chinese Goods and Steel And Aluminium Imports From Canada, Mexico Europe and China — Trade Dispute or Trade War — Stop Unfair Chinese Trade Practices Including Non-Tariff Barriers To Trade and Stop Tariffs or Taxing American Consumers and Producers By Protecting Them Against Lower Prices! — Videos —

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Wall Street will get used to US, China trade tensions: Michael Pillsbury

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“Anyone, anyone” teacher from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Europe makes final push for US steel, aluminum tariff exemptions

US trade representative on challenges from China, Mexico

Lighthizer Sees China as a Key Issue

U.S. Trade Policy Priorities: Robert Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross On President Trump’s New Tariffs | CNBC

US companies are being shut out of the Chinese market: Gordon Chang

Canada’s Trudeau Calls U.S. Steel Tariffs ‘Unacceptable’

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Max Baucus Says Tariffs Won’t Slow Down `Made in China 2025′

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Why Chinese Manufacturing Wins

Milton Friedman – Free Trade

Ten Examples of Non-Tariff Barriers

Milton Friedman – Free Trade Vs Protectionism

Milton Friedman – Free Trade (Q&A) Part 1

Tariff and Non-Tariff Barriers

Thiel: Need to rethink tariffs in light of trade deficit with China

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Trump tariff is a tax, and I don’t like taxes: Ron Paul

 

US to impose steel, aluminum tariffs on EU, Canada, Mexico

Heather SCOTT, with Jurgen Hecker in Paris

,

AFP
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US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has announced the imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has announced the imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs (AFP Photo/SAUL LOEB)

Washington (AFP) – The United States said Thursday it will impose harsh tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada, Mexico at midnight (0400 GMT Friday) — another move sure to anger Washington’s trading partners.

The announcement by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was sure to cast a long shadow over a meeting of finance ministers from the world’s Group of Seven top economies that opens later in the day in Canada.

Ross said talks with the EU had failed to reach a satisfactory agreement to convince Washington to continue the exemption from the tariffs imposed in March.

Meanwhile, negotiations with Canada and Mexico to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement are “taking longer than we had hoped” and there is no “precise date” for concluding them, so their exemption also will be removed, Ross told reporters.

The announcement was confirmed by presidential proclamation shortly after Ross addressed reporters.

Despite weeks of talks with his EU counterparts, Ross said the US was not willing to meet the European demand that the EU be “exempted permanently and unconditionally from these tariffs.”

“We had discussions with the European Commission and while we made some progress, they also did not get to the point where it was warranted either to continue the temporary exemption or have a permanent exemption,” Ross said.

Ross downplayed the threats of retaliation from those countries, but said talks can continue even amid the dispute to try to find a solution.

And President Donald Trump has the authority to alter the tariffs or impose quotas or “do anything he wishes at any point” — allowing “potential flexibility” to resolve the issue.

Trump imposed the tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum using a national security justification, which Ross said encompasses a broad array of economic issues.

South Korea negotiated a steel quota, while Argentina, Australia and Brazil have arranged for “limitations on the volume they can ship to the US in lieu of tariffs,” Ross said.

“We believe that this combined package achieves the original objectives we set out, which was to constrict imports to a level to allow those industries that operate domestically to do so on a self-sustaining basis going forward.”

– Not a western –

French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire has warned before the announcement that the EU would take “all necessary measures” if the US imposed the tariffs.

“World trade is not a gunfight at the O.K. Corral,” Le Maire quipped, referring to a 1957 western movie

“It’s not everyone attacking the other and we see who remains standing at the end,” he said, declaring that the stiff taxes would be “unjustified, unjustifiable and dangerous”.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the EU would respond in a “firm and united” manner to the tariffs.

“We want to be exempt from these tariffs” which were “not compatible” with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, Merkel told a press conference with Portuguese premier Antonio Costa in Lisbon.

Video: US Moves Forward With Tariffs on Chinese Imports

For more news videos visit Yahoo View

Non-tariff barriers to trade

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Non-tariff barriers to trade (NTBs) or sometimes called “Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs)” are trade barriers that restrict imports or exports of goods or services through mechanisms other than the simple imposition of tariffs. The SADC says, “a Non-Tariff Barrier is any obstacle to international trade that is not an import or export duty. They may take the form of import quotas, subsidies, customs delays, technical barriers, or other systems preventing or impeding trade.”[1] According to the World Trade Organisation, non-tariff barriers to trade include import licensing, rules for valuation of goods at customs, pre-shipment inspections, rules of origin (‘made in’), and trade prepared investment measures.[2]

Types of Non-Tariff Barriers

Professor Alan Deardorff characterises[3] NTB policies under three headings: Purposes, Examples, and Consequences

Policy Purpose Examples Potential Consequences
Protectionist policies To help domestic firms and enterprises at the expense of other countries. Import quotas; local content requirements; public procurement practices Challenges levied at WTO and other trade forums
Assistance policies To help domestic firms and enterprises, but not at the expense of other countries. Domestic subsidies; antidumping laws; industry bailouts. Adversely affected countries may respond to protect themselves (i.e.,imposing countervailing duties and subsidies).
Nonprotectionist policies To protect the health and safety of people, animals, and plants; to protect or improve the environment. Licensing, packaging, and labeling requirements; sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) rules; food, plant and animal inspections; import bans based on objectionable fishing or harvesting methods. Limited formal consequences lead to efforts to establish common standards or mutual recognition of different standards.

There are several different variants of division of non-tariff barriers. Some scholars divide between internal taxes, administrative barriers, health and sanitary regulations and government procurement policies. Others divide non-tariff barriers into more categories such as specific limitations on trade, customs and administrative entry procedures, standards, government participation in trade, charges on import, and other categories.

The first category includes methods to directly import restrictions for protection of certain sectors of national industries: licensing and allocation of import quotas, antidumping and countervailing duties, import deposits, so-called voluntary export restraints, countervailing duties, the system of minimum import prices, etc. Under second category follow methods that are not directly aimed at restricting foreign trade and more related to the administrative bureaucracy, whose actions, however, restrict trade, for example: customs procedures, technical standards and norms, sanitary and veterinary standards, requirements for labeling and packaging, bottling, etc. The third category consists of methods that are not directly aimed at restricting the import or promoting the export, but the effects of which often lead to this result.

The non-tariff barriers can include wide variety of restrictions to trade. Here are some example of the popular NTBs.

Licenses

The most common instruments of direct regulation of imports (and sometimes export) are licenses and quotas. Almost all industrialized countries apply these non-tariff methods. The license system requires that a state (through specially authorized office) issues permits for foreign trade transactions of import and export commodities included in the lists of licensed merchandises. Product licensing can take many forms and procedures. The main types of licenses are general license that permits unrestricted importation or exportation of goods included in the lists for a certain period of time; and one-time license for a certain product importer (exporter) to import (or export). One-time license indicates a quantity of goods, its cost, its country of origin (or destination), and in some cases also customs point through which import (or export) of goods should be carried out. The use of licensing systems as an instrument for foreign trade regulation is based on a number of international level standards agreements. In particular, these agreements include some provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) / World Trade Organization (WTO) such as the Agreement on Import Licensing Procedures.

Quotas

Licensing of foreign trade is closely related to quantitative restrictions – quotas – on imports and exports of certain goods. A quota is a limitation in value or in physical terms, imposed on import and export of certain goods for a certain period of time. This category includes global quotas in respect to specific countries, seasonal quotas, and so-called “voluntary” export restraints. Quantitative controls on foreign trade transactions carried out through one-time license.

Quantitative restriction on imports and exports is a direct administrative form of government regulation of foreign trade. Licenses and quotas limit the independence of enterprises with a regard to entering foreign markets, narrowing the range of countries, which may be entered into transaction for certain commodities, regulate the number and range of goods permitted for import and export. However, the system of licensing and quota imports and exports, establishing firm control over foreign trade in certain goods, in many cases turns out to be more flexible and effective than economic instruments of foreign trade regulation. This can be explained by the fact, that licensing and quota systems are an important instrument of trade regulation of the vast majority of the world.

The consequence of this trade barrier is normally reflected in the consumers’ loss because of higher prices and limited selection of goods as well as in the companies that employ the imported materials in the production process, increasing their costs. An import quota can be unilateral, levied by the country without negotiations with exporting country, and bilateral or multilateral, when it is imposed after negotiations and agreement with exporting country. An export quota is a restricted amount of goods that can leave the country. There are different reasons for imposing of export quota by the country, which can be the guarantee of the supply of the products that are in shortage in the domestic market, manipulation of the prices on the international level, and the control of goods strategically important for the country. In some cases, the importing countries request exporting countries to impose voluntary export restraints.

Agreement on a “voluntary” export restraint

In the past decade,[when?] a widespread practice of concluding agreements on the “voluntary” export restrictions and the establishment of import minimum prices imposed by leading Western nations upon weaker in economical or political sense exporters. The specifics of these types of restrictions is the establishment of unconventional techniques when the trade barriers of importing country, are introduced at the border of the exporting and not importing country. Thus, the agreement on “voluntary” export restraints is imposed on the exporter under the threat of sanctions to limit the export of certain goods in the importing country. Similarly, the establishment of minimum import prices should be strictly observed by the exporting firms in contracts with the importers of the country that has set such prices. In the case of reduction of export prices below the minimum level, the importing country imposes anti-dumping duty, which could lead to withdrawal from the market. “Voluntary” export agreements affect trade in textiles, footwear, dairy products, consumer electronics, cars, machine tools, etc.

Problems arise when the quotas are distributed between countries because it is necessary to ensure that products from one country are not diverted in violation of quotas set out in second country. Import quotas are not necessarily designed to protect domestic producers. For example, Japan, maintains quotas on many agricultural products it does not produce. Quotas on imports is a leverage when negotiating the sales of Japanese exports, as well as avoiding excessive dependence on any other country in respect of necessary food, supplies of which may decrease in case of bad weather or political conditions.

Export quotas can be set in order to provide domestic consumers with sufficient stocks of goods at low prices, to prevent the depletion of natural resources, as well as to increase export prices by restricting supply to foreign markets. Such restrictions (through agreements on various types of goods) allow producing countries to use quotas for such commodities as coffee and oil; as the result, prices for these products increased in importing countries.

A quota can be a tariff rate quota, global quota, discriminating quota, and export quota.

Embargo

Embargo is a specific type of quotas prohibiting the trade. As well as quotas, embargoes may be imposed on imports or exports of particular goods, regardless of destination, in respect of certain goods supplied to specific countries, or in respect of all goods shipped to certain countries. Although the embargo is usually introduced for political purposes, the consequences, in essence, could be economic.

Standards

Standards take a special place among non-tariff barriers. Countries usually impose standards on classification, labeling and testing of products in order to be able to sell domestic products, but also to block sales of products of foreign manufacture. These standards are sometimes entered under the pretext of protecting the safety and health of local populations.

Administrative and bureaucratic delays at the entrance

Among the methods of non-tariff regulation should be mentioned administrative and bureaucratic delays at the entrance, which increase uncertainty and the cost of maintaining inventory. For example, even though Turkey is in the European Customs Union, transport of Turkish goods to the European Union is subject to extensive administrative overheads that Turkey estimates cost it three billion euros a year.[4]

Import deposits

Another example of foreign trade regulations is import deposits. Import deposits is a form of deposit, which the importer must pay the bank for a definite period of time (non-interest bearing deposit) in an amount equal to all or part of the cost of imported goods.

At the national level, administrative regulation of capital movements is carried out mainly within a framework of bilateral agreements, which include a clear definition of the legal regime, the procedure for the admission of investments and investors. It is determined by mode (fair and equitable, national, most-favored-nation), order of nationalization and compensation, transfer profits and capital repatriation and dispute resolution.

Foreign exchange restrictions and foreign exchange controls

Foreign exchange restrictions and foreign exchange controls occupy a special place among the non-tariff regulatory instruments of foreign economic activity. Foreign exchange restrictions constitute the regulation of transactions of residents and nonresidents with currency and other currency values. Also an important part of the mechanism of control of foreign economic activity is the establishment of the national currency against foreign currencies.

History

The transition from tariffs to non-tariff barriers

One of the reasons why industrialized countries have moved from tariffs to NTBs is the fact that developed countries have sources of income other than tariffs. Historically, in the formation of nation-states, governments had to get funding. They received it through the introduction of tariffs. This explains the fact that most developing countries still rely on tariffs as a way to finance their spending. Developed countries can afford not to depend on tariffs, at the same time developing NTBs as a possible way of international trade regulation. The second reason for the transition to NTBs is that these tariffs can be used to support weak industries or compensation of industries, which have been affected negatively by the reduction of tariffs. The third reason for the popularity of NTBs is the ability of interest groups to influence the process in the absence of opportunities to obtain government support for the tariffs.

Non-tariff barriers today

With the exception of export subsidies and quotas, NTBs are most similar to the tariffs. Tariffs for goods production were reduced during the eight rounds of negotiations in the WTO and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). After lowering of tariffs, the principle of protectionism demanded the introduction of new NTBs such as technical barriers to trade (TBT). According to statements made at United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD, 2005), the use of NTBs, based on the amount and control of price levels has decreased significantly from 45% in 1994 to 15% in 2004, while use of other NTBs increased from 55% in 1994 to 85% in 2004.

Increasing consumer demand for safe and environment friendly products also have had their impact on increasing popularity of TBT. Many NTBs are governed by WTO agreements, which originated in the Uruguay Round (the TBT Agreement, SPS Measures Agreement, the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing), as well as GATT articles. NTBs in the field of services have become as important as in the field of usual trade.

Most of the NTB can be defined as protectionist measures, unless they are related to difficulties in the market, such as externalities and information asymmetries between consumers and producers of goods. An example of this is safety standards and labeling requirements.

The need to protect sensitive to import industries, as well as a wide range of trade restrictions, available to the governments of industrialized countries, forcing them to resort to use the NTB, and putting serious obstacles to international trade and world economic growth. Thus, NTBs can be referred as a new form of protection which has replaced tariffs as an old form of protection.

Addressing Non-Tariff Barriers

The scarcity of information on non-tariff barriers is a major problem to the competitiveness of developing countries. As a result, the International Trade Centre conducted national surveys and began publishing a series of technical papers on non-tariff barriers faced in developing countries. By 2015 it launched the NTM Business Surveys website listing non-tariff barriers from company perspectives.

Types of Non-Tariff Barriers to Trade

  1. Specific Limitations on Trade:
    1. Import Licensing requirements
    2. Proportion restrictions of foreign domestic goods (local content requirements)
    3. Minimum import price limits
    4. Fees
    5. Embargoes
  2. Customs and Administrative Entry Procedures:
    1. Valuation systems
    2. Anti-dumping practices other than punitive tariffs
    3. Tariff classifications
    4. Documentation requirements
    5. Fees
  3. Standards:
    1. Standard disparities
    2. Sanitary and phytosanitary measures
    3. Intergovernmental acceptances of testing methods and standards
    4. Packaging, labeling, and marking
  4. Government Participation in Trade:
    1. Government procurement policies
    2. Export subsidies
    3. Countervailing duties
    4. Domestic assistance programs
  5. Charges on imports:
    1. Prior import deposit subsidies
    2. Administrative fees
    3. Special supplementary duties
    4. Import credit discrimination
    5. Variable levies
    6. Border taxes
  6. Others:
    1. Voluntary export restraints
    2. Orderly marketing agreements

Examples of Non-Tariff Barriers to Trade

Non-tariff barriers to trade can be the following:

See also

References

Bibliography

  • Evans, G., Newnham, J., Dictionary of International Relations; Penguin Books, 1998
  • Filanlyason, J., Zakher M., The GATT and the regulation of Trade Barriers: Regime Dynamic and Functions; International Organization, Vol. 35, No. 4, 1981
  • Frieden, J., Lake, D., International political economy: perspectives on global power and wealth, London: Routledge, 1995
  • Mansfield, E., Busch, M., The political economy of Non-tariff barriers: a cross national analysis; International Organization, Vol. 49, No. 4, 1995
  • Oatley,T., International political economy: interests and institutions in the global economy; Harlow: Longman, 2007
  • Roorbach, G., Tariffs and Trade Barriers in Relation to International Trade; Proceedings of the Academy of Political Science, Vol. 15, No 2, 1993
  • Yu, Zhihao, A model of Substitution of Non-Tariff Barriers for Tariffs; The Canadian Journal of Economics, Vol. 33, No. 4, 2000
  • World Trade Organization Website, Non-tariff barriers: red tape, etc.; http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/tif_e/agrm9_e.htm

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-tariff_barriers_to_trade

Mexico aims tariffs at Trump country, sees NAFTA complications

By Michael O’Boyle and Frank Jack Daniel
Reuters

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico hit back fast on U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum on Thursday, targeting products from congressional districts that President Donald Trump’s Republican party is fighting to retain in November elections.

Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said the tit-for-tat measures would complicate talks between the United States, Canada and Mexico to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that underpins trade between the neighbors.

The spat meant it would be “very difficult” to reach a deal to revamp NAFTA before Mexico’s July 1 presidential election, though he underlined the continent had not entered a trade war.

“A trade war is when there is an escalation of conflict. In this case, it is simply a response to a first action,” Guajardo told Mexican radio.

“We should stick to the clearly defined battlefield, where the response is appropriate and proportional.”

Mexico’s retaliatory tariffs target pork legs, apples, grapes and cheeses as well as steel – products from U.S. heartland states that supported Trump in the 2016 election.

The country reacted right after Washington said in the morning it was moving ahead with tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

“It sends a clear message that this kind of thing does not benefit anybody,” Guajardo said of the Mexican retaliation.

“Because, in the end, the effect will fall on voters and citizens that live in districts where the people have a voice and vote in the (U.S.) Congress.”

Mexico said it was imposing “equivalent” tariffs, ratcheting up tensions during talks to renegotiate NAFTA ahead of the U.S. mid-term elections in November. The measures will be in place until the U.S. government drops its tariffs, Mexico’s government said.

MEXICO WITH THE WORLD

Guajardo said retaliation was aimed at products chosen to hit districts with important lawmakers who had been warning Trump not to mess with Mexico. He estimated the U.S. tariffs would affect $4 billion in trade between the two countries.

“It is a sad day for international trade,” Guajardo said. “But hey, the decision was made, and we always said that we were going to be ready to react.”

In 2011, Mexico successfully used a similar list of mostly agricultural products to push Washington into letting Mexican truckers on U.S. highways.

Trump’s Republicans are fighting to retain control of Congress in mid-term elections. Their majority in the House of Representatives is seen as vulnerable.

Pork exporter Iowa, where incumbent Republican Rod Blum faces a Democratic challenge, is an example of a place Mexico’s reaction could hurt.

Mexico buys more steel and aluminum from the United States than it sells. It is the top buyer of U.S. aluminum and the second-biggest buyer of U.S. steel, Guajardo’s ministry said.

The countermeasures will hit U.S. hot and cold rolled steel, plated steel and tubes, the ministry said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto spoke by phone after the U.S. announcement. Canada pledged to fight back with its own measures.

Trump threatened to rip up the NAFTA deal during his election campaign but agreed to renegotiate early in his term. Still, since talks began nine months ago, he has repeatedly said he could walk away from NAFTA if it is not redone to his liking.

“The difference between a year and four, five months ago is that it seems the world looked and said ‘poor Mexico,” Guajardo said. “Now, Mexico is facing these threats together with the world.”

(Reporting by Mexico City Newsroom; additional reporting by Jason Lange in Washington; editing by Dave Graham, Jonathan Oatis, David Gregorio and Cynthia Osterman)

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/mexico-hits-back-u-steel-aluminum-tariffs-equivalent-142649163.html

Story 2: DOJ/FBI Spied On Trump Campaign and American People To Protect Obama Administration and Clinton Campaign From The Possibility of Russia Disclosing To Trump Campaign Clinton’s Compromising Emails Before Election Day — Russia Did Not Disclose There Leverage or Blackmail Material Because They Thought Clinton Would Win — Videos

FBI Trump campaign spying allegations: How much did Obama know?

Dan Bongino slams efforts to debunk Trump’s ‘spygate’ claims

Trey Gowdy on ‘spygate’ controversy, Adam Schiff’s remarks

Hannity: Why not un-recuse yourself immediately, Sessions?

Gowdy faces backlash over remarks about FBI, Trump campaign

Tucker: Trump has convinced Dems to destroy themselves

Where in the World Was Barack Obama?

Somehow the former commander-in-chief is largely absent from the political spying drama.

Former President Barack Obama speaks at a community event on the Presidential Center at the South Shore Cultural Center in Chicago in May of 2017. The Obama Presidential Center will not be a part of the presidential library network operated by the National Archives and Records Administration, but instead will be operated by the Obama Foundation.
Former President Barack Obama speaks at a community event on the Presidential Center at the South Shore Cultural Center in Chicago in May of 2017. The Obama Presidential Center will not be a part of the presidential library network operated by the National Archives and Records Administration, but instead will be operated by the Obama Foundation. PHOTO: NAM Y. HUH/ASSOCIATED PRESS

President Donald Trump tweets today: “Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president. It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia Hoax became a ‘hot’ Fake News story. If true – all time biggest political scandal!” And what does the man who was serving at the time as the FBI’s ultimate boss have to say about all this?

Perhaps it’s a good moment to get the whole story from our 44th President. He should now have time to discuss his administration’s surveillance of affiliates of a presidential campaign because he has just prevailed in a contentious dispute.

The Associated Press reports, “Plan for Obama Presidential Center advances over protests.” According to the AP:

Construction of the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago took a major step forward Thursday with a city commission’s decision to sign off on the project after hours of testimony from both supporters and opponents of the project.

The Chicago Plan Commission unanimously approved a proposal to build former President Barack Obama’s center in Jackson Park on the city’s South Side. The action came over protests from opponents who want an agreement that local residents will benefit from the $500 million project.

“Community residents have no ownership, no say-so, no input,” said Devondrick Jeffers. “We know this is a huge investment in the community, but it’s not truly an investment if residents don’t benefit from this as well.”

However, Obama Presidential Center supporters cheered the plans for the presidential center, saying it would bring job opportunities to the area and foster economic development.

Since his name is on the door, there really was no way for Mr. Obama to avoid being at the center of this story. But in a somewhat larger story he has remained largely—and strangely—absent.

“‘Bigger Than Watergate’? Both Sides Say Yes, but for Different Reasons” is the headline on a New York Times story about our current President and the federal investigation of suspected collusion with Russia. The Times reports that both Mr. Trump and his political adversaries like using the Watergate analogy:

Mr. Trump was referring to what he deems a deep-state conspiracy to get him. His detractors are referring to the various scandals swirling around Mr. Trump.

Watergate has long been the touchstone for modern American scandal, the mountain of misconduct against which all others are judged. In the 44 years since Richard M. Nixon resigned, virtually every political investigation has been likened to the one that brought down a president, the suffix “gate” applied to all sorts of public flaps, no matter how significant or trivial.

But rarely has the comparison been as intense and persistent as during the 16 months since Mr. Trump took office — a comparison deployed by both sides in hopes of shaping the narrative of wrongdoing. What started out as an inquiry into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election has mushroomed into questions of perjury, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, abuse of power, illicit spying, hush money, tax fraud, money laundering and influence peddling.

Many of those questions remain unanswered but we do know that the “deep state” referenced by the Times did have a boss in 2016. Yet Mr. Obama doesn’t show up in this story until the ninth paragraph. Those inclined toward Watergate analogies will say that it was some time before the break-in was connected to Richard Nixon, and of course we have no idea at this point whether the current controversy will end up being a Trump scandal, an Obama scandal or a permanently murky partisan battleground.

But since this controversy goes to the core of our democratic process, Americans desperately want clarity. How and why exactly did leaders of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies end up focusing on a domestic political campaign? The latestessential reading from the Journal’s Kimberley A. Strassel gets to the heart of the matter:

Think of the 2016 Trump-Russia narrative as two parallel strands—one politics, one law enforcement. The political side involves the actions of Fusion GPS, the Hillary Clinton campaign and Obama officials—all of whom were focused on destroying Donald Trump. The law-enforcement strand involves the FBI—and what methods and evidence it used in its Trump investigation. At some point these strands intersected—and one crucial question is how early that happened.

By this point it seems clear that Mr. Obama didn’t think much of the theory that Mr. Trump colluded with the Russians. But presumably he learned quite a bit about his government’s efforts to investigate it. It’s not clear what an FBI official meant in 2016 when texting that President Obama “wants to know everything we’re doing.” But we can assume that the President was fairly well-informed about the law enforcement agencies reporting to him. Therefore let’s hear from him in detail the full history of how the government came to investigate the presidential campaign of the party out of power.

If he doesn’t know, then it would seem a public explanation is also in order—about his management, and about just how far the “deep state” went without specific presidential approval.

***

Noteworthy

Save This Endangered Species
“High-impact startups: America’s herd of gazelles seems to be thinning,” AEI.org, May 17

Other Than That, The Stories Were Accurate?
“At the end of 2008 I was a desk editor, a local hire in The Associated Press’s Jerusalem bureau, during the first serious round of violence in Gaza after Hamas took it over the year before. That conflict was grimly similar to the American campaign in Iraq, in which a modern military fought in crowded urban confines against fighters concealed among civilians. Hamas understood early that the civilian death toll was driving international outrage at Israel, and that this, not I.E.D.s or ambushes, was the most important weapon in its arsenal.

“Early in that war, I complied with Hamas censorship in the form of a threat to one of our Gaza reporters and cut a key detail from an article: that Hamas fighters were disguised as civilians and were being counted as civilians in the death toll. The bureau chief later wrote that printing the truth after the threat to the reporter would have meant ‘jeopardizing his life.’ Nonetheless, we used that same casualty toll throughout the conflict and never mentioned the manipulation.”

— Matti Friedman op-ed in the New York Times, May 16

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

We grieve for the terrible loss of life, and send our support and love to everyone affected by this horrible attack in Texas. To the students, families, teachers and personnel at Santa Fe High School – we are with you in this tragic hour, and we will be with you forever…

https://www.wsj.com/articles/where-in-the-world-was-barack-obama-1526674870

 

Yes, the FBI Was Investigating the Trump Campaign When It Spied

FBI Director James Comey at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., June 18, 2015. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

Trey Gowdy and Marco Rubio evidently paid little attention to testimony before their own committees on how Obama officials made the Trump campaign the subject of a counterintelligence investigation.Well, well, well. The bipartisan Beltway establishment has apparently had its fill of this “Trump colluded with Russia” narrative — the same narrative the same establishment has lustily peddled for nearly two years. The Obama administration recklessly chose to deploy the government’s awesome counterintelligence powers to investigate — and, more to the point, to smear — its political opposition as a Kremlin confederate. Now that this ploy has blown up on the Justice Department and the FBI, these agencies — the ones that went out of their way, and outside their guidelines, to announce to the world that the Trump campaign was under investigation — want you to know the president and his campaign were not investigated at all, no siree.

What could possibly have made you imagine such a thing?

And so, to douse the controversy with cold water, dutifully stepping forward in fine bipartisan fettle are the Obama administration’s top intelligence official and two influential Capitol Hill Republicans who evidently pay little attention to major testimony before their own committees.

Former National Intelligence director James Clapper was first to the scene of the blaze. Clapper concedes that, well, yes, the FBI did run an informant — “spy” is such an icky word — at Trump campaign officials; but you must understand that this was merely to investigate Russia. Cross his heart, it had nothing to do with the Trump campaign. No, no, no. Indeed, they only used an informant because — bet you didn’t know this — doing so is the most benign, least intrusive mode of conducting an investigation.

Me? I’m thinking the tens of thousands of convicts serving lengthy sentences due to the penetration of their schemes by informants would beg to differ. (Mr. Gambino, I assure you, this was just for you own good . . .) In any event, I’ll leave it to the reader to imagine the Democrats’ response if, say, the Bush administration had run a covert intelligence operative against Obama 2008 campaign officials, including the campaign’s co-chairman. I’m sure David Axelrod, Chuck Schumer, the New York Times, and Rachel Maddow would chirp that “all is forgiven” once they heard Republicans punctiliously parse the nuances between investigating campaign officials versus the campaign proper; between “spies,” “informants,” and other government-directed covert operatives.

Sure!

Senator Rubio

Then there are Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Representative Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.), General Clapper’s fellow fire extinguishers.

Rubio is a member in good standing of that Washington pillar, the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has had about as much interest in scrutinizing the highly irregular actions of intelligence and law-enforcement officials in the Clinton and Russia probes as Gowdy’s Benghazi committee had in revisiting Republican ardor for Obama’s unprovoked war on Moammar Qaddafi. (That would be: roughly zero interest.)

Rubio told ABC News that he has seen “no evidence” that the FBI was gathering information about the Trump campaign. Rather, agents “were investigating individuals with a history of links to Russia that were concerning.” The senator elaborated that “when individuals like that are in the orbit of a major political campaign in America, the FBI, who is in charge of counterintelligence investigations, should look at people like that.”

Gee, senator, when you were carefully perusing the evidence of what the FBI was doing, did you ever sneak a peek at what the FBI said it was doing?

May I suggest, for example, the stunning public testimony by then-director James Comey on March 20, 2017, before the House Intelligence Committee — perhaps Representative Gowdy, who sits on that committee, could lend you the transcript, since he appears not to be using it. Just so we’re clear, this is not an obscure scrap of evidence buried within volumes of testimony. It is the testimony that launched the Mueller probe, and that sets (or, better, fails to set) the parameters of that probe — a flaw the nation has been discussing for a year.

Comey’s House testimony was breathtaking, not just because it confirmed the existence of a classified counterintelligence investigation, but because of what the bureau’s then-director said about the Trump campaign (my italics):

I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts. . . .

That is an unambiguous declaration that the FBI was investigating the Trump campaign. That is why, for nearly two years, Washington has been entranced by the specter of “Trump collusion with Russia,” not “Papadopoulos collusion with Russia.” A campaign, of course, is an entity that acts through the individuals associated with it. But Comey went to extraordinary lengths to announce that the FBI was not merely zeroing in on individuals of varying ranks in the campaign; the main question was whether the Trump campaign itself — the entity — had “coordinated” in Russia’s espionage operation.

Representative Gowdy

Gowdy’s fire truck pulled into Fox News Tuesday night for an interview by Martha MacCallum. An able lawyer, the congressman is suddenly on a mission to protect the Justice Department and the FBI from further criticism. So, when Ms. MacCallum posed the question about the FBI spying on the Trump campaign, Gowdy deftly changed the subject: Rather than address the campaign, he repeatedly insisted that Donald Trump personally was never the “target” of the FBI’s investigation. The only “target,” Gowdy maintains, was Russia.

This is a dodge on at least two levels.

First, to repeat, the question raised by the FBI’s use of an informant is whether the bureau was investigating the Trump campaign. We’ll come momentarily to the closely connected question of whether Trump can be airbrushed out of his own campaign — I suspect the impossibility of this feat is why Gowdy is resistant to discussing the Trump campaign at all.

It is a diversion for Gowdy to prattle on about how Trump himself was not a “target” of the Russia investigation. As we’ve repeatedly observed (and as Gowdy acknowledged in the interview), the Trump-Russia probe is a counterintelligence investigation. An accomplished prosecutor, Gowdy well knows that “target” is a term of art in criminal investigations, denoting a suspect who is likely to be indicted. The term is inapposite to counterintelligence investigations, which are not about building criminal cases but about divining and thwarting the provocative schemes of hostile foreign powers. In that sense, and in no other, the foreign power at issue — here, Russia — is always the “target” of a counterintelligence probe; but it is never a “target” in the technical criminal-investigation sense in which Gowdy used the term . . . unless you think we are going to indict a country.

Apart from the fact that Gowdy is dodging the question about whether the Trump campaign was being investigated, his digression about ‘targets’ is gibberish.

Moreover, even if we stick to the criminal-investigation sense of “target,” Gowdy knows it is misleading to emphasize that Trump is not one. Just a few short weeks ago, Gowdy was heard pooh-poohing as “meaningless” media reporting that Trump had been advised he was not a “target” of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe (which is the current iteration of the Russia investigation). As the congressman quite correctly pointed out, if Trump is a subject of the investigation — another criminal-law term of art, denoting a person whose conduct is under scrutiny, but who may or may not be indicted — it should be of little comfort that he is not a “target”; depending on how the evidence shakes out, a subject can become a target in the blink of an eye.

So, apart from the fact that Gowdy is dodging the question about whether the Trump campaign was being investigated, his digression about “targets” is gibberish. Since the Obama administration was using its counterintelligence powers (FISA surveillance, national-security letters, unmasking identities in intelligence reporting, all bolstered by the use of at least one covert informant), the political-spying issue boils down to whether the Trump campaign was being monitored. Whether Trump himself was apt to be indicted, and whether threats posed by Russia were the FBI’s focus, are beside the point; in a counterintelligence case, an indictment is never the objective, and a foreign power is always the focus.

Withholding Information from Trump

Second, if Gowdy has been paying attention, he must know that, precisely because the Trump campaign was under investigation, top FBI officials had qualms of conscience over Comey’s plan to give Trump a misleading assurance that he personally was not under investigation. If this has slipped Gowdy mind, perhaps Rubio could lend him the transcript of Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee — in particular, a section Rubio seems not to remember, either.

A little background. On January 6, 2017, Comey, Clapper, CIA director John Brennan, and NSA chief Michael Rogers visited President-elect Trump in New York to brief him on the Russia investigation. Just one day earlier, at the White House, Comey and then–acting attorney general Sally Yates had met with the political leadership of the Obama administration — President Obama, Vice President Biden, and national-security adviser Susan Rice — to discuss withholding information about the Russia investigation from the incoming Trump administration.

Ms. Rice put this sleight-of-hand a bit more delicately in her CYA memo-to-file about the Oval Office meeting (written two weeks after the fact, as Rice was leaving her office minutes after Trump’s inauguration):

President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia. [Emphasis added.]

It is easy to understand why Obama officials needed to discuss withholding information from Trump. They knew that the Trump campaign — not just some individuals tangentially connected to the campaign — was the subject of an ongoing FBI counterintelligence probe. Indeed, we now know that Obama’s Justice Department had already commenced FISA surveillance on Trump campaign figures, and that it was preparing to return to the FISA court to seek renewal of the surveillance warrants. We also know that at least one informant was still deployed. And we know that the FBI withheld information about the investigation from the congressional “Gang of Eight” during quarterly briefings from July 2106 through early March 2017. (See Comey testimony March 20, 2017, questioning by Representative Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.).) Director Comey said Congress’s most trusted leaders were not apprised of the investigation because “it was a matter of such sensitivity.” Putting aside that the need to alert Congress to sensitive matters is exactly why there is a Gang of Eight, the palpable reason why the matter was deemed too “sensitive” for disclosure was that it involved the incumbent administration’s investigation of the opposition campaign.

Clearly, the Obama officials did not want Trump to know the full scope of their investigation of his campaign. But just as important, they wanted the investigation — an “insurance policy” that promised to hamstring Trump’s presidency — to continue.

Clearly, the Obama officials did not want Trump to know the full scope of their investigation of his campaign.

So, how to accomplish these objectives? Plainly, the plan called for Comey to put the new president at ease by telling him he was not a suspect. This would not have been a credible assurance if Comey had informed Trump that his campaign had been under investigation for months, suspected of coordinating in Russia’s cyber-espionage operation. So, information would be withheld. The intelligence chiefs would tell Trump only about Russia’s espionage, not about the Trump campaign’s suspected “coordination” with the Kremlin. Then, Comey would apprise Trump about only a sliver of the Steele dossier — just the lurid story about peeing prostitutes, not the dossier’s principal allegations of a traitorous Trump-Russia conspiracy.

As I’ve previously recounted, this did not sit well with everyone at the FBI. Shortly before he met with Trump, Comey consulted his top FBI advisers about the plan to tell Trump he was not a suspect. There was an objection from one of Comey’s top advisers — we don’t know which one. Comey recounted this disagreement for the Senate Intelligence Committee (my italics):

One of the members of the leadership team had a view that, although it was technically true [that] we did not have a counterintelligence file case open on then-President-elect Trump[,] . . . because we’re looking at the potential . . . coordination between the campaign and Russia, because it was . . . President-elect Trump’s campaignthis person’s view wasinevitably, [Trump’s] behavior, [Trump’s] conduct will fall within the scope of that work.

Representative Gowdy and Senator Rubio might want to read that testimony over a few times.

They might note that Comey did not talk about “potential coordination between Carter Page or Paul Manafort and Russia.” The director was unambiguous: The FBI was investigating “potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.” With due respect to Gowdy, the FBI did not regard Russia as the “target”; to the contrary, Comey said the focus of the investigation was whether Donald Trump’s campaign had coordinated in Russia’s election interference. And perspicaciously, Comey’s unidentified adviser connected the dots: Because (a) the FBI’s investigation was about the campaign, and (b) the campaign was Trump’s campaign, it was necessarily true that (c) Trump’s own conduct was under FBI scrutiny.

Director Comey’s reliance on the trivial administrative fact that the FBI had not written Trump’s name on the investigative file did not change the reality that Trump, manifestly, was a subject of the “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation. If Trump were not a subject of the investigation, there would be no conceivable justification for Special Counsel Mueller to be pushing to interview the president of the United States. If Trump were not a subject of the investigation, Trump’s political opponents would not have spent the last 18 months accusing him of obstruction and demanding that Mueller be permitted to finish his work.

In the interview with Ms. MacCallum, Representative Gowdy further confused matters by stressing Trump’s observation, in a phone conversation with Comey on March 30, 2017, that it would be good to find out if underlings in his campaign had done anything wrong. This, according to Gowdy, means Trump should be pleased, rather than outraged, by what the FBI did: By steering an informant at three campaign officials, we’re to believe that the bureau was doing exactly what Trump suggested.

Gowdy’s argument assumes something that is simply not true: namely, that the Trump campaign was not under investigation.

Such a specious argument. So disappointing to hear it from someone who clearly knows better.

First, the informant reportedly began approaching campaign officials in July 2016. It was nine months later, well after the election, when President Trump told Comey that if would be good if the FBI uncovered any wrongdoing by his “satellites.” Trump was not endorsing spying during the campaign; the campaign was long over. The president was saying that it would be worth continuing the FBI’s Russia investigation in order to root out any thus-far-undiscovered wrongdoing — but only if the FBI informed the public that Trump was not a suspect (an announcement Comey declined to make).

Second, Gowdy’s argument assumes something that is simply not true: namely, that the Trump campaign was not under investigation. As we’ve seen, Comey testified multiple times that the FBI was investigating the Trump campaign for possible coordination with Russia. The bureau was not, as Gowdy suggests, merely investigating a few campaign officials for suspicious contacts with Russia unrelated to the campaign.

The Steele Dossier and FISA Surveillance

That brings us to a final point. In support of the neon-flashing fact that the Trump campaign was under investigation when the Obama administration ran an informant at it, there is much more than former Director Comey’s testimony.

Probes conducted by both the House Intelligence Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee have established that the Obama Justice Department and the FBI used the Steele dossier to obtain FISA-court warrants against Carter Page. The dossier, a Clinton-campaign opposition-research project (a fact withheld from the FISA court), was essential to the required probable-cause showing; the FBI’s former deputy director, Andrew McCabe, testified that without the dossier there would have been no warrant.

So . . . what did the dossier say? The lion’s share of it — the part Director Comey omitted from his briefing of Trump — alleged that the Trump campaign was conspiring with the Kremlin to corrupt the election, including by hacking and publicizing Democratic-party emails.

We also know, thanks to more testimony by Director Comey, that dossier information was presented to the FISA court because the Justice Department and the FBI found former British spy Christopher Steele to be reliable (even if they could not corroborate Steele’s unidentified Russian sources). That is, the FBI and Justice Department believed Steele’s claim that the Trump campaign was willfully complicit in Russia’s treachery.

It is a major investigative step to seek surveillance warrants from the FISA court. Unlike using an informant, for which no court authorization is necessary, applications for FISA surveillance require approvals at the highest levels of the Justice Department and the FBI. After going through that elaborate process, the Obama Justice Department and the FBI presented to the court the dossier’s allegations that the Trump campaign was coordinating with Russia to undermine the 2016 election.

If that was their position under oath before a secret United States court, why would anyone conceivably believe that it was not their position when they ran an informant at members of the campaign they were investigating?

To be sure, no sensible person argues that the FBI should refrain from investigating individuals suspected of acting as clandestine agents of a hostile foreign power. The question is: How should such an investigation proceed in a democratic republic whose norms forbid an incumbent administration, in the absence of strong evidence of egregious misconduct, from directing its counterintelligence and law-enforcement powers against its political opposition?

That norm was flouted by the Justice Department and the FBI, under the direction of the Obama administration’s senior political leadership. Representative Gowdy, Senator Rubio, and General Clapper maintain that the Justice Department and the FBI were just doing what we should expect them to do, and that we should applaud them. But this claim is based on the easily refuted fiction that the Justice Department and FBI were not investigating the Trump campaign. The claim also ignores the stubborn fact that, if all the Obama administration had been trying to do was check out a few bad apples with suspicious Russia ties, this could easily have been done by alerting the Trump campaign and asking for its help.

Instead, Obama officials made the Trump campaign the subject of a counterintelligence investigation.

 

 

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