Nel's New Day

December 1, 2018

DDT: Week 97 – Revelations Increase Call for Revenge

Of this week’s bombshells for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), the biggest may be his former lawyer Michael Cohen’s admission that he lied about when DDT stopped trying to make financial deals in Russia. In 2016, while DDT was campaigning and saying he had nothing to do with Russia, he was negotiating a deal for a Trump Tower Moscow, including illegally working with a sanctioned bank because of money laundering and planning to give Vladimir Putin a $50 million penthouse to sweeten the deal. Cohen’s testimony also puts DDT’s family in legal danger because of their discussions about the deal. Last year, Donald Trump Jr. told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he was only “peripherally aware” of the Moscow deal in 2016 and may have also lied to the House Intelligence Committee about the same issue. Cohen may also corroborate the key parts about DDT’s ties to Russia in the Steele dossier. New Yorker reporter Adam Davidson tweeted that “*any* significant real estate development in Moscow is, almost by definition, part of a money laundering scheme.”

DDT claimed that he could do business while campaigning for president, but he concealed his activities while repeatedly lying about them.  He tried to cover his activities by saying that he never cared about building in Russia, but he’s been working on the project for 30 years. DDT accused Cohen of lying but added “even if he was right.”

Another crisis for DDT was Russia’s firing on three Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait and seizing 24 sailors. Putin blamed Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko of creating the naval “provocation.” In response, Poroshenko, who accused Putin of trying to take the Sea of Azov, has called for martial law across Ukraine’s border regions for a month. Put has already taken Crimea and eastern Ukraine; now Ukraine claims that Russia is sealing off the Sea of Azov by blockading ports Mariupol and Berdyansk and preventing ships from going under the Crimean Bridge through the Kerch Strait. The EU called on Russia to release the ships and crews and respect Ukraine’s sovereignty; Poland wants new sanctions on Russia. Although DDT seemed to blame Ukraine and Russia equally for Russia’s attack, he finally canceled his meeting with Putin at the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires (Argentina) this weekend. Both U.S. and world media, included in Russia, blamed the cancellation, on new revelations about DDT’s lying about his business affairs.

Putin, largely a pariah at the summit because of his attack on the Ukrainian ships, didn’t look happy to see DDT at the summit. Yet he greeted Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salam (MBS) with a high five and big smiles. Even after intelligence shows that MBS was responsible for torturing and dismembering U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi, DDT still denies that MBS had any involvement in the murder at the Saudi embassy in Turkey. DDT’s faithful sidekick John Bolton, national security adviser, refused to listen to the torture and dismemberment tape of Jamal Khashoggi because it wasn’t in English.

The real pariah at the summit, however, was DDT. U.S. former allies avoided him, and DDT was afraid to connect with his authoritarian friends. David Ignatius has provided a detailed background of MBS’ paranoid and violent move toward power that he compares to Saddam Hussein.

When DDT signed his new NAFTA with Mexico and Canada at the G20 summit, he claimed that the slightly revised and renamed trade agreement is monumental, but Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pointed out that DDT’s tariffs hurt Canada and mentioned the loss of jobs at a Canadian General Motors factory. The agreement must still pass the Congress with a Democratic House and conservatives in both chambers who opposed the anti-discrimination provision against LGBTQ people.

Although DDT was supposed to talk at the summit with Xi Jinping, China’s president, about solving DDT’s trade Chinese trade war, DDT left early after the death of former President George H.W. Bush on Friday, claiming that he and Xi had declared a truce on the tariff problem. The stock market has been going up and down, based on how buyers perceive the tariff situation. China has found ways to avoid the new U.S. tariffs:

  • Avoid 25 percent tariffs on Maine lobster by getting them from Nova Scotia.
  • Buy more oil from Russia and Saudi Arabia.
  • Get soybeans from Brazil and Argentina.
  • Replace U.S.-made high-tech imports with those from Asia.

DDT blamed the struggles of the stock market and the GM layoffs on the Federal Reserve, especially his own appointee Chair Jerome Powell, yet Wednesday’s headlines stated that DDT might be making a deal with China about the tariffs, and the Dow skyrocketed more than 600 points. DDT is still trying to take credit for the stock market, claiming that it is up 13 points more than the 25 percent rise since he was inaugurated. Even so, the rise is less than that during President Obama’s first two years in office—33 percent.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was behind DDT’s selection of Powell, and DDT has another reason to dislike his hand-picked Treasury secretary. If Democrats request DDT’s tax returns, Mnuchin indicated that he will follow the law. Meanwhile DDT listens to Larry Kudlow for economic advice—the man who swore that there would be no recession just three months before Bear Stearns and the dominos began to fall. Faced with the disaster, he said, “Recessions are therapeutic.” The “therapy” of recessions may occur before the end of DDT’s first term.

DDT’s reputation with his base has been damaged by General Motors’ announcement that it is slashing 14,700 jobs—many in Michigan and Ohio—by eliminating 15 percent of its workforce in North America and closing four factories in the U.S. Offering buyouts to 50,000 salaried North American workers, GM stated that DDT’s steel tariffs cost them $1 billion. Traditional passenger cars went from 50 percent of GM U.S. vehicle sales in 2012 to 31 percent this year while SUV and pickup truck sales increased by 31 percent. The company also gained a massive tax break from the GOP cuts and failed to invest in U.S. jobs, choosing instead to build the Blazer in Mexico. DDT took the closures personally and threatened GM, saying that the company “better damn well open a new plant [in Ohio] very quickly.” He continued, “I love Ohio. I told them, ‘you’re playing around with the wrong person.’ ” He lied that he would eliminate tax credits for purchasing GM electric cars—only Congress can do that—and false accused GM of not paying back the bailout money the company received after the Bush recession.

Over a month ago, Ford announced 24,000 layoffs of its 202,000 worldwide workers and stated that DDT’s tariffs had lost the company $1 billion. It was producing 32.8 vehicles per employee compared to GM’s 52.7 vehicles per employee. The company also plans to switch to SUVs, CUVs, and pickups, leaving the only the Mustang in its passenger-car line-up. Even that car may disappear with China’s tariffs on U.S.-made vehicles.

More Russian connections for DDT:

Late night chats between DDT and friend Roger Stone may have covered WikiLeaks’ dropping bombshells from hacks into Clinton’s campaign, but Stone denies it “unless [Robert] Mueller has tape recordings of the phone calls.” Conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi gave WaPo an August 2, 2016 email in which Corsi told Stone that WikiLeaks was planning a major release of “very damaging” material, the day before a private Stone-DDT talk. Mueller may have evidence that Stone told Corsi to get him the WikiLeaks information and then funnel it to DDT’s campaign.

DDT’s chief defense lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has admitted that he received briefings from Paul Manafort’s attorneys while Manafort was supposedly cooperating with Mueller in conversations not covered by attorney-client privilege. A joint defense agreement exists only between people with common legal interests which Manafort lacked when he claimed he was cooperating with Mueller. Now DDT is suggesting that he may pardon Manafort, possibly as a reward for Manafort passing along confidential information. Manafort shouldn’t count on a pardon, however: he has already pled guilty to state crimes in California, New Jersey, and Virginia. DDT can pardon only federal crimes.

Despite at least 15 blanket denials from those involved, DDT’s campaign team had at least 92 contacts with Russia-linked operatives, and at least 26 high-level campaign officials and DDT advisors knew about these contacts, including three successive people who ran Trump’s campaign.

As more information is released about the Russian scandal, DDT’s tweets become more manic. Last Wednesday, he retweeted images of special counsel Robert Mueller, Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, President Obama, former AG Eric Holder, and former President Bill Clinton—all behind bars—and calling for the Democrats and law enforcement and intelligence officials to be imprisoned and claiming that they should have trials for treason. DDT fan Cesar Sayoc targeted many of these people with pipe bombs. He also falsely accused Mueller of “viciously telling witnesses to lie about facts” in exchange for “relief.” The desperate DDT is calling for more violence.

August 24, 2018

DDT: Week 83 – Treading Water

Last Tuesday was a day of eights—Michael Cohen, the fixer for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), pleaded guilty to eight counts, and Paul Manafort, DDT’s former campaign manager, was found guilty of eight counts. Covers from two major U.S. publications show DDT’s troubles, but the next few weeks may get worse.

Cohen’s “unnamed candidate” is obviously DDT regarding payments to Stormy Daniels “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office” and Karen McDougal “under direction of the same candidate.” The fixer said that “I participated in this conduct for the principal purpose” of influencing an election. He claimed that DDT told him to pay two women in violation of campaign finance laws to keep them from going public about DDT’s affairs with them. Cohen’s investigation has been referred to New York’s Southern District; Lanny Davis, Cohen’s lawyer, tweeted:

“Today [Cohen] 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?”

The Trump Organization may also be in trouble after authorizing $420,000 in these payments with false invoices from Cohen concealing the purpose of the payments. An executive ordered the fees to Cohen to be described as legal expenses using the words “retainer for the month of January and February 2017.” The Manhattan D.A. is also looking into criminal charges for the Trump Organization because of Cohen’s payments and possible tax evasion by Cohen. He was also paid $50,000 for “tech services” six months after he was talking to Russians in Prague, but this may have nothing to do with any hacking. Falsifying business records becomes a felony if done to commit or conceal another crime. DDT can pardon people convicted of federal charges but not those who lose in non-federal courts. The New York State AG’s office is opening a criminal investigation into possibilities that Cohen violated state law tax.

Cohen’s plea reveals that David Pecker, head of the National Enquirer parent company American Media and DDT’s close friend, “offered to help deal with negative stories about [DDT’s] relationships with women by, among other things, assisting the [2016] campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased and their publication avoided.” Stories were locked in a safe. The prosecution granted Pecker immunity for testifying. The First Amendment protecting journalism probably won’t be a successful argument against the Enquirer because it failed to operate in a “legitimate press function” by promoting DDT and destroying his opponents, especially Hillary Clinton, frequently with false stories. Federal prosecutors believed the publication “acted more as a political supporter than as a news organization.”

Also granted immunity is Allen Weisselberg, Trump Organization CFO who helped reimburse the $420,000 for Michael Cohen. Weisselberg began working for DDT’s father in the 1970s and continued on with DDT, also serving as treasurer of the Donald J. Trump Foundation which is also in court for fraud. He also handled all DDT’s personal finances.

On the same day as Cohen’s pleading, a jury found Paul Manafort guilty of eight charges; one holdout juror stopped guilty rulings on the other ten despite the paper trail that the other jurors showed her. He was found guilty of five tax fraud charges, one charge of hiding foreign bank accounts, and two counts of bank fraud. Manafort’s next trial in a Washington, D.C. federal court includes more criminal charges such as failure to register his foreign lobbying and money laundering conspiracy related to the same Ukrainian political work central to the concluded case. At 69, he faces up to 80 years in prison.

After DDT denied that he considered a pardon for Manafort, Rudy Giuliani said that he talked about such a pardon with DDT after the ones for Scooter Libby and Dinesh D’Souza. Mueller is investigating these pardons as a possible obstruction of justice; pardoning Manafort could add to that evidence.

Sentencing for former national security advisor Michael Flynn has been pushed forward from August 24 to September 17.

GOP legislators are mum on the Manafort/Cohen revelations, but highly conservative Bret Stephens tweeted that DDT is guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”  DDT ranted against Cohen and then claimed that his crime was no more than Barack Obama’s campaign violations—routine paperwork without intent for wrongdoing that included incorrect dates, not quickly returning donations exceeding campaign limits, and missing filing deadlines during his campaign’s final weeks. Cohen’s crimes carry a maximum prison time of 65 years.

DDT wants to make “flipping” for testimony illegal, perhaps because of the people who have flipped on him—Cohen, Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, Dylan Howard, Omarosa Manigault Newman, George Papadoulous, Pecker, and Weisselberg.

A U.S. judge dismissed a libel case from three Russian oligarchs against Christopher Steele, author of the infamous Steele dossier about the Russian scandal, about their claim that Steele and his firm had defamed them. A Steele memo reported that the oligarchs, Alfa Group businessmen, gave Vladimir Putin “informal advice” on foreign policy, especially about the U.S., and concerns the issue of Russian interference in the U.S. 2016 election. One of the oligarchs, German Khan, is the father-in-law of Alex van der Zwaan, the first person sentenced to prison in Robert Mueller’s Russian investigation.

People who claim that the Russian investigation has accomplished nothing in the past year should check the statistics: one person convicted, six people pleading guilty, 26 people charged, and 23 people interviewed (seven in White House, seven in government, three from Russia, and six others). DDT claims that it’s a “witch hunt”: his “witches” thus far convicted include his national security advisor, his personal lawyer, his campaign manager, his deputy campaign manager, and his foreign policy aide. Legal leaders of ethics groups wrote:

“The trial evidence included Mr. Manafort’s close ties to pro-Russia forces and his desperate financial straits as he ‘volunteered’ his time for the next president. The trial revealed how willing Mr. Manafort was to corruptly leverage his position of influence over Mr. Trump during the campaign for his own personal benefit. He offered briefings to a pro-Russia Ukrainian oligarch and dangled a position in the Trump administration in front of a banker who provided him a loan for which he would not otherwise have qualified….

“This is no “witch hunt.” It instead is one of the most successful special counsel investigations in history.”

The White House counsel, Don McGahn, testified to Mueller’s investigation for 30 hours, and neither DDT nor his lawyers know what McGahn said. In a rant against a New York Times story, DDT tweeted that he gave permission to McGahn to testify and “I have nothing to hide.” Yet DDT has not testified for the investigation or released his tax returns.

DDT’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani (right) melted down on Meet the Press when he repeatedly told Chuck Todd that “truth isn’t truth,” a statement that went viral. DDT and his lawyers declare that McGahn said nothing that could create problems for DDT, but speculators wonder if McGahn is protecting himself. McGahn has clearly stated that he protects the presidency, not the person in that position, although DDT looks on him as his personal lawyer. Last fall, a reporter overheard DDT layers John Dodd and Ty Cobb criticizing McGahn, information that led him to think that he would be blamed for DDT’s wrongdoing.

Giuliani may be safety ensconced on a DDT golf course in Scotland and garbed in DDT advertising, but he’s spreading the word than any move to impeach DDT would cause a revolution in the U.S. That was after DDT announced on Fox that impeachment would cause the stock market to crash and “everybody would be very poor.”

Early last week, DDT compared the investigation to McCarthyism. Roy Cohn, the lawyer who helped Sen. Joe McCarthy (R-WI) accuse people of treason without evidence, worked for DDT for 12 years. With Cohn as his mentor, DDT learned how to be a demagogue, to rule by threats and fear.

For almost a year, DDT didn’t mention Robert Mueller’s name, but a few months ago, he began his offensive comments against Mueller and his team, calling them all Democrats although Mueller is a conservative Republican. As he described Mueller “disgraced and discredited” and his team “thugs,” approval of the investigation dropped, but the latest Fox poll shows that DDT’s strategy no longer works. Approval of Mueller’s investigation is 59 percent from the conservative network, up from 48 percent in July—almost a 25 percent increase. Forty percent think that the investigation will find DDT’s criminal or impeachable offenses, up 5 points.

Leading Republicans have a solution for the Russian scandal, convictions, plea deals, indictments, etc.—shut down the investigation and get rid of AG Jeff Sessions. Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) suddenly found time for hearings if DDT appoints a new AG, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) decided that Sessions might not be “qualified for the job [of AG]” after vigorously defending him for that position and ignored Sessions’ lying under oath in the hearings. One year ago, Graham told DDT that “there will be holy hell to pay” if he fires AG Jeff Sessions and dared DDT to “accept the consequences” if he made such a move. Now, after DDT’s most recent criticisms of Sessions, Graham recommends firing Sessions who has said that the DOJ “will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.” Maybe Graham’s turn-around comes from all the games of golf he plays with DDT.

July 6, 2018

GOP Values: Separate Children from Parents, Charge People Higher Prices with Tariffs

Last week, Alexander Azar, HHS Secretary, told a Senate committee last week that the process is simple:

“I could at the stroke of—at keystrokes, I sat on the ORR Portal with just keystrokes and within seconds could find any child in our care for any parent available.”

The day after Azar explained the simplicity of reunification, a federal judge ordered ICE to stop most family separations and reunify the already separated ones. The parents were to have contact by phone by July 6, today, and all children five years old and younger, assumed to be about 100, were to be returned to parents by July 10. The other minor children were to be returned by July 26. The process of reunification seems to be more difficult than Azar claimed. Records linking children have disappeared with some of them destroyed, and the two federal agencies in charge of the separated children and parents haven’t shared records. The HHS solution is to find volunteers to search through 12,000 case records to confirm identities, locations, and connections. When children were separated from their parents, many of them were sent thousands of miles away, and the mothers and fathers were also separated from each other. Many children are also too young and/or frightened to speak.

Four days before the deadline to reunify 100 children under six with their parents, the government asked for an extension because they cannot find parents for half the parents by the deadline. The DOJ hasn’t found parental identification for 19 of the 102 children. Another 38 parents can’t be found—half them somewhere in the U.S. and the other half deported. DOJ wants DNA identification as proof of biological child/parent relationship and vetting that the parents will be fit parents, but the judge sees no necessity if parents arrived at the border with their children.

The judge did offer to delay the deadline for the youngest children if the government provides a list of all children and their parents’ status by Monday morning. He also asked for a status conference over the weekend. The DOJ lawyer, representing the failed agencies, cannot attend a conference. Why? She has “dog-sitting” responsibilities in Colorado that keep her from appearing at a meeting about the status of 100 infants and toddlers involuntarily separated from their parents at the Mexico border. This action represents the status of the U.S. GOP; dog-sitting supersedes reunification of families after children have been torn from their parents.

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) failed to buy one of the available sites for his Trump Hotel so Atlanta attorney Loren Collins bought it. TrumpHotels.org shows life at DDT’s “home” for migrant children kidnapped from their parents during the past few months. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) inspired the concept with his tweet, “The real Trump hotel,” accompanied by the photo of a detention facility in McAllen (TX) used as the website header. Collins said he would give DDT the site “in exchange for 10 years of his tax returns and the termination of 25 NDAs of my choosing.” TrumpHotels.org also links to articles showing articles such as DDT’s ridicule of a disabled reporter, his attacks on Mexico, and his unhappiness about parenting.

Collins is a conservative who ran as a Republican candidate for the George state House. Yet his writing shows his dissatisfaction with DDT’s policies, demonstrated in his book about critical thinking and conspiracies, Bullspotting: Finding Facts in the Age of Misinformation. Collins wrote:

“Even if you take all of his ill-defined political beliefs out of the picture, he’s still an ignorant, intemperate, foolish, gullible, intellectually incurious, pathologically dishonest conspiracy theorist who is utterly unqualified for the job of running a country. And every day since he’s taken office, he’s demonstrated how ill-suited he is for a job that demands diplomacy and considered thought.

“Which is why he not only managed to unnecessarily create this current border fiasco, but he cannot even appear that he has any real empathy for the people involved or has given any serious thought to how to remedy it. Instead, as always, he blames others and passes the buck, while he spends time holding rallies and insulting Jimmy Fallon on Twitter.”

DDT proves Collins’ description with his accelerating trade war through the world. The U.S. placed the first duties on $34 billion of Chinese goods today, China accused the U.S. of violating World Trade Organization rules, and DDT claimed that he will put tariffs on all products from China. Soybeans, corn, pork, seafood, and poultry are a few of the U.S. goods that China will target with tariffs. In return, DDT threatened to put tariffs on every Chinese import. Meanwhile, China is holding up shipments from the United States.

Defense Secretary James Mattis wrote that the Pentagon was concerned “about negative impact on our key allies” from the tariffs. Another concern is higher costs for weapons and infrastructure. Other countries could also stop defense purchases from the U.S.

DDT wants legislation to ditch World Trade Organization rules and maybe even WTO itself that would give DDT more control on U.S. trade policy by renegotiating with countries and applying tariffs. The plan follows DDT’s wish to withdraw from WTO. http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/team-trump-drafts-radical-economic-bill-unfortunately-crude-name?cid=eml_mra_20180702  DDT’s proposed legislation is the Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act (FART).

One person who won’t suffer from DDT’s trade war is DDT himself. Chinese government-backed firms will continue work on two large developments in Dubai and Indonesia that include DDT’s name. He will be paid to operate his second golf course in Dubai and for the use of his name. DDT’s partner in Indonesia is building a DDT-branded golf course, hotels, and villas, a separate contract from DDT’s planned project in Indonesia. One of China’s top state-owned banks pays $2 million annually for the 20th floor of Trump Tower in Manhattan. Ivanka Trump will continue to get blouses, shoes, and handbags from Chinese assembly line workers.

In another attempt to make more money, DDT has called for further lowering the corporate tax rate another percent to 20 percent. Other than businesses becoming wealthier, no one has been helped by the six-month old tax cut. The Dow Jones is lower than it was then, wages are at the same pace, and a few people got small one-time bonuses. The majority of people have a negative view of the tax cuts.The greater the tax cuts, the more Republicans can moan about the deficit and use it to remove the safety net along with Social Security and Medicare.

Other major events of the week deserving longer examination are the resignation of Scott Pruitt and the continuing investigation of the Russian scandal. In an attempt to bury its news, the Senate Intelligence Committee released its report on Russia’s election interference late the day before the Fourth of July. The bipartisan effort concluded that the U.S. intelligence agencies were correct in their findings that Russia tried to help DDT win the presidential election and intended to “denigrate” and “harm” Hillary Clinton as well as “undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process” while helping Trump. The committee also supported the intelligence agencies findings that Russia’s tactics included cyberattacks and intelligence collection “against the U.S. primary campaigns, think tanks, and lobbying groups they viewed as likely to shape future U.S. policies.” There was “no politically motivated pressure to reach any conclusions,” according to the report. The Committee will be releasing a final report to contain information about the possibility of collusion between the campaign and Russia.

At the same time, seven GOP senators and a representative spent the Fourth of July in Russia wooing its officials.

In June, DDT proved himself inept at negotiating with North Korea. Kim Jung-Un got everything he wanted while continuing to build up his nation’s nuclear arsenal. DDT got nothing but still says that he thinks that Kim will keep his deal with DDT. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo feeds DDT’s ego by saying that Kim “made a personal commitment” and promising that North Korea will “denuclearize as quickly as we can achieve that.”

Now DDT is headed to a meeting with Putin in 11 days where he plans to give away more for nothing. National security adviser John Bolton said that DDT may recognize Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. He also echoed DDT by saying that “Putin said…there was no meddling in 2016 by the Russian state,” something that a Senate Intelligence Committee disputes.

Before the Putin meeting, DDT will attend a NATO summit on July 11-12. He has already sent dunning letters to all the members indicating what they owe with an indication of “pay up or else.” His present for Putin the next week will be an attempt to destabilize Ukraine. DDT has already worked to unseat German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Friday the 13th will celebrate DDT’s meetings with UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Queen Elizabeth II. Protests force him to see them at their homes outside London, Chequers and Windsor Castle. Two million people signed a petition asking May to cancel the “working visit,” a much less prestigious invitation than a formal state visit.

Protesters are planning to be in a number of places, including outside Chequers. DDT may not be directly exposed to the protesters, including the flying of the huge blimp, Trump Baby, but the world will be well aware of their presence. Demonstrations are also planned in Glasgow and Edinburgh when DDT travels to Scotland where he owns two golf courses. Only Vladimir Put supports DDT by now.

April 23, 2018

DDT: Week Sixty-six – Legal Problems Add Those with Lawyer Cohen

The Cohen Crisis continues in the White House as Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) claims that his former personal lawyer won’t “flip” on him, meaning that DDT knows he’s not innocent. At the same time, Republican congressional members not only have concerns about Michael Cohen cooperating with investigator Robert Mueller but also plan to get rid of Mueller.

DDT has also become increasingly rabid about James Comey, especially because his memos, given to the House Judiciary Committee, were immediately leaked following the release of Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty, earlier this week. Both the memos and the book were equally uncomplimentary about DDT. Instead of wiping out Comey’s credibility, as House members hoped, the memos seem to support Comey’s plausibility. DDT denied that he fired Comey because of the investigation into DDT’s ties with Russia, but his video with Lester Holt shows him saying that he considered “this Russia thing” in his decision to boot the FBI head. He also told two Russian diplomats in the Oval Office that firing “nut job” Comey took “great pressure” off of him.

Sanctions on Russia were another concern throughout the past week. Nikki Haley, UN ambassador and apologist for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), announced two days after DDT’s and John Bolton’s airstrikes on Syria that the U.S. is increasing economic sanctions against Russia. DDT overturned her statement the next day, and her declaration were described as a misstatement and privately as “an error that needs to be mopped up.” New DDT economic adviser Larry Kudlow called Haley’s comments due to “momentary confusion.” “With all due respect, I don’t get confused,” Haley said, and Kudlow apologized, saying that he was wrong. Within a week, DDT eased earlier sanctions on oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who has a connection with the 2016 election. Comey said in his interview with George Stephanopoulos that Russia may have something on DDT to blackmail him.

The memory of DDT’s airstrikes on Syria has faded, and no proof yet exists that gas was responsible for deaths or that Syria was responsible. Initially, popular conservative pundits such as Fox’s Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham criticized DDT’s airstrikes while Michael Savage and Ann Coulter condemned DDT’s actions. Mike Cernovich tweeted that the chemical attacks in Syria were staged and wrote, “At least I won’t feel bad when he gets impeached.”

CIA Director Mike Pompeo, moving toward nomination for Secretary of State in a reluctant Senate, went to North Korea on Easter Sunday (also April Fools Day) to begin talks with Kim Jong-Un, and DDT is already trying to figure out how to make the non-talks with North Korea’s leader successful if DDT decides to bail on them. Hawk and new national security adviser John Bolton told DDT to feel free to leave the meeting at any time if he doesn’t get what he wants but that the meeting could be considered a success even if doesn’t last for an hour. DDT assured Bolton that he could sway Kim when he sees him in person.

DDT bragged about North Korea’s “denuclearization,” but Kim Jong-Un plans to keep his nuclear arsenal. DDT’s aides privately believe that Kim’s closing one nuclear facility is not a pledge to move toward nuclear disarmament. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who met with DDT last week, tried to tell him that past U.S. talks with North Korea have failed and questioned why Japan was the only U.S. ally that was not exempted from tariffs on aluminum.

A prime reason for Kim’s negotiation is to end the Korean War, suspended for the past 65 years but not formally ended. The U.S. could have a problem with the 28,000 military members stationed on the Korean peninsula.

The search warrants for DDT’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen may be a bigger problem for DDT than Robert Mueller investigation. Last Monday, Cohen tried to freeze the inspection of his materials and had to reveal that Sean Hannity was one of his clients along with protecting DDT and Elliott Broidy from sex scandals. Hannity vigorously denied any professional involvement with Cohen which may have lost him any attorney-client confidentiality. A judge has not yet ruled about the confidentiality of Cohen’s materials regarding DDT but doesn’t seem inclined to keep Cohen’s papers from litigation.

Since warrants were served on his property, Cohen has withdrawn two libel suits against BuzzFeed and Fusion GPS, that produced the infamous Christopher Steele dossier about ties between DDT and Russia. Cohen can now avoid questioning from Fusion or turning over evidence related to the case.

Problems of Cohen, aka “The Fixer”:

  • Ties to Russian kleptocrats.
  • Close working relationship with convicted felon Felix Sater, Russian-financed real estate developer and former Trump Organization employee.
  • Shift from low-rate personal injury lawyer to mogul as he purchased a dozen luxury units in DDT properties.
  • 2016 meeting with Putin associates in Prague.
  • Partnership with a Ukrainian immigrant to purchase the biggest collection of expensive NYC taxi medallions.

Over 20 percent of donations to DDT’s 2020 campaign–$3.9 million—have gone for legal bills with almost $1 million during the current year. At least $66,000 of legal fees for DDT’s longtime bodyguard Keith Schiller have been paid by DDT’s campaign donations, perhaps illegally. Schiller was questioned about events as far back as 2013, long before the campaign. The campaign has also paid almost $288,000 for Donald Trump Jr.’s legal concerns.

The conservative Wall Street Journal wrote that Cohen stopped a Us Weekly story in 2013 about Donald Trump Jr.’s affair with Celebrity Apprentice contestant Aubrey O’Day between 2011 and 2012. The same article tracked Cohen’s payments to Stormy Daniels to kill her story about an affair with DDT and to a pregnant Playboy Playmate to conceal information about her affair with Elliott Broidy.

DDT’s long-time denial about his interaction with prostitutes in Russia (aka “pee tapes”) was that he’s a germophobe. His latest reason is that it couldn’t have happened because he didn’t stay overnight in Moscow during that time period in 2013. In the past, social media posts indicated that he was in the city for several days, his faithful bodyguard Keith Schiller related a different story to congressional investigators, and recent revelation of flight records shows that DDT was in Moscow from Friday, 11/8/13, through early Sunday morning (11/10/13).

The Russian scandal will get a great deal more media air time since DDT hired limelight-loving Rudy Giuliani, former New York mayor, for his legal team. One reason for hiring Giuliani may be that he can get information out of the FBI. Before Comey was fired, he had begun an investigation about Giuliani’s possibly knowing about the email leaks during Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for president before they were announced. Giuliani’s law firm advised Cambridge Analytics, under fire for using private data and providing foreign labor for GOP campaigns, and tried to resolve the case of Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian gold dealer accused of violating U.S. law by helping Iran avoid economic sanctions. In 1988 Giuliani stopped FBI Agent Tony Lombardi from continuing the investigation into DDT’s money laundering just a few weeks before DDT raised $2 million for Giuliani’s mayoral campaign. Wayne Barrett, formerly of The Village Voice, also wrote about Giuliani’s key part in using New York City taxpayer money to support DDT’s buildings.

The team also has taken on former federal prosecutors Jane Serene Raskin and Marty Raskin, a couple who manage a Florida-based law firm that specializes in responding to search warrants, who are willing to risk their reputation by working for DDT. None of DDT’s lawyers has much experience as defense attorneys.

DDT decided not to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership after he thought he would after he said he wouldn’t.

DDT is attacking two populations in the U.S. in its plans to allow health care officials and insurers to discriminate against transgender people and include indigenous people in a Medicaid work requirement. The latter comes from DDT’s position that Native Americans are “the tribes are a race rather than separate governments” which overlooks the history of treaties between the U.S. government and administrations from George Washington to Barack Obama.

A side effect of DDT’s tariffs is an increased cost in false teeth (aka Implants, crowns and bridges); 45 percent of these are imported from China and Mexico. About 30 percent of U.S. medical devices including hips and heart valves are imported. DDT’s economy is becoming composed of trickle down costs for most of the U.S. population.

The popularity of the tax cuts for large corporations and the wealthiest in the nation got a brief bump earlier this year but no more: only 27 percent respondents now call them a good idea. Thirty-six percent of people call them a bad idea in a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, and 53 percent predict a negative result to the new law. Political strategists consider the tax cuts a political loser, and the GOP has no other accomplishment during its first 15 months.

Appointments/lawsuits later this week!

April 7, 2018

DDT: Week Sixty-three – Besieged on All Fronts

The possibly precarious mental state of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has become more and more normalized. The media largely ignored the fact that DDT doesn’t know he lives in the White House. He began his speech to children at the 140th Easter Egg Roll by saying by referring to the White House as “this house or building or whatever you want to call it because there is no name for it.” His claim that the unnamed place being in “tippy-top shape” was a segue to telling the children about the great economy of the United States and how the military would be “at a level it’s never been before” with the “$700 billion” funding.

DDT is also trying hard to keep the unethical EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt, still suggesting last week that he might make him the DOJ Attorney General despite new scandals. Yet Pruitt’s unethical scandals keep pouring out with Scott Pruitt continues to have ethical problems. Added to scandals after my blog post earlier this week are his lies that his lobbyist renters didn’t have any business before the EPA (they did), the armored car that he wants taxpayers to give him, his failure to pay his pittance of rent without being hassled for it, the citation for his renters because they lacked a license to rent digs to Pruitt and his daughter, and the emerging scandal of former employee Samantha Dravis who unexpectedly resigned this week.

Pruitt called Dravis his “best friend,” and they had dinner together several times a week, and she carried out much of Pruitt’s anti-regulation agenda. She was among the staffers he took to Morocco to get business for his lobbyist renter although the trip had nothing to do with “environmental protection.” A Paris stop for the taxpayer-paid trip led to an extra day for them in “the city of lights” because they missed their first flight home. Dravis also got paid for three months when she didn’t show up at work. She was also the live-in girlfriend of Rob Porter, DDT’s helper who was fired for domestic violence, and reported him for abuse to WH counsel Don McGahn after she saw Porter with Hope Hicks. The information about Pruitt may have come from Porter as retribution for Dravis’ reaction to his dumping her for Hicks.

As Vanity Fair asked, “Can Scott Pruitt poison the environment enough to save his job?”

In the Russian investigation,

DDT waxed enthusiastic about being just a “subject” (not enough evidence to charge) instead of a “target” (lots of evidence), but investigator Robert Mueller moves forward like a bulldozer. DDT’s legal “team” can’t find replacements, and Mueller is amassing a report of DDT’s actions in office and pushing for interviews with DDT. The result could be an obstruction of justice. Politico has tracked DDT’s connections to Russia in these seven charts. According to DOJ documents, collusion is a crime, no matter what DDT claims.

The collusion information between DDT’s campaign and Russia was partially initiated by his adviser George Papadopouos getting drunk at a London bar two years ago and bragging to an Australian diplomat. Last week, he got tipsy—again—in a Chicago bar and told a new acquaintance, computer engineer Jason Wilson, that AG Jeff Sessions knew about the connections between Papadopoulos and Joseph Mifsud, an academic from Malta who told him about the Russian “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in “thousands of emails.” Papadopoulos told Wilson that “Sessions encouraged me” to find out everything about the hacked Clinton emails.

Alex van der Zwaan pled guilty to lying to Robert Mueller’s investigation in the hopes that he would be out of prison before his wife gave birth in August. Apparently the tactic worked because he got a short 30-day sentence, probably by spilling lots of beans to Mueller.

A judge seemed to reject demands from Paul Manafort’ lawyer, Kevin Downing, to stop continued indictments from investigator Robert Mueller. Downing also argued that Mueller’s investigation exceeded the scope delineated by DOJ’s Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein but withdrew part of the civil suit dealing with this issue.

After missing deadlines for a congressional law, the Treasury Department issued sanctions on seven Russian oligarchs, 12 companies associated with them, a “state-owned weapons trading company,” and 17 government officials. Much of the vast profits made by these people and groups are stashed in the U.S. and UK.

Mueller has proof that Erik Prince, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and founder of Blackwater, lied about his meeting with a Russian banker in Seychelles to “establish a [back channel] line of communication between the Russian government and the incoming Trump administration.”

The investigation has gone into the involvement of DDT’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, to examine DDT’s business dealings, including those in Russia. DDT denies he has had any involvement, but former partner Felix Sater has talked about their pursuit of a hotel in Moscow with financing from the Russian bank VTB that is sanctioned by the U.S. government. DDT sought deals to put his name on a huge hotel in the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana, and taken out copyrights on a large variety of products in across the former USSR and Iran.  Partners of the Trump Tower Baku in Azerbaijan are relatives to a wealthy government minister with connections to the Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s infamous military unit.

Joseph Schmitz, a DDT foreign policy adviser, pushed U.S. intelligence agencies to find Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails from the dark web.

Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee want information about DDT’s “Patriot Legal Expense Fund Trust” from the Office of Government Ethics. The purpose is to pay legal expenses for DDT’s campaign aides caught up in the Russian investigation, and the reason may be to obtain more favorable testimony for DDT. The Fund allows secret, perhaps prohibited, donations, but public documents don’t explain how it will vet donors.

On Easter, DDT tweeted that there will be no deal to help DACA youth, called on tough punitive immigration legislation, and threatened to close down NAFTA. Then he went to church to celebrate the resurrected person of color honored on that day. After eliminating the DACA program himself, DDT turned down 13 bipartisan agreements for saving DACA, some of them even his own suggestions.

DDT decided to withdraw troops from Syria because he thought we had defeated ISIS before he decided to leave the troops there. In the meantime, he’s sending the National Guard from consenting states to the Mexico border as leverage to get his wall although the military cannot enforce any laws without their being federalized by Congress because of an 1878 law. DDT’s idea was inspired by Fox’s segment called “Caravan of Illegal Immigrants Headed to U.S.,” an annual migration of over 1,000 migrants to protest U.S. immigration policy. Most won’t try to cross the border. Fox’s Tucker Carlson described Mexico as a “hostile foreign power.” Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, who continues to say that Mexico is not paying for DDT’s wall, cancelled his plan to visit DDT.

Texas is sending 250 National Guard members to the border, but lawmakers there are unhappy. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) explained why this action is unnecessary, using a town in his district as an example:

“McAllen is at a 32-year low in crime. We’re at a 46-year low in illegal entries. It’s the wildest thing in the world for us to hear that they want to bring National Guard troops to the border region.”

Arizona is sending another 150 members of the National Guard. George W. Bush sent 6,000 National Guard soldiers to the border in 2006 because of border agent shortage, and President Obama sent 1,200 in 2010. Ann Coulter wants the military to “shoot the illegals” coming across the border because “just standing there doesn’t do a thing.” Ted Nugent wants all Democrats shot and killed like “rabid coyotes.” DDT has already said that drug dealers should all be killed, and on a Christian political show, Idaho state Sen. Bob Nonini called for the death penalty for women having an abortion. Caught in a backlash, Nonini said that he “NEVER said or agreed the death penalty should be considered,” but his words are on tape.

Congress returns this coming week, and conservatives are pushing to remove spending increases from their recent budget law for $1.3 billion spending. A 1974 law allows these revocations. Several Republicans, however, aren’t excited about the plan and say that they’ll wait to hear from House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), who hasn’t even declared himself for re-election yet. Concerns about reversing the law include tough votes from the Democrats and negotiation in future spending deals which must be bipartisan.

HHS Office on Women’s Health has removed a website on breast cancer and other reproductive health information, including insurance information for low-income people such as no-cost breast cancer screenings. Much of the information has also been removed on a page dedicated to mammograms. The same agency has also removed LGBTQ health resources from its website.

Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards’ new book, Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead, tells how Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner offered her more funding for PP if she stopped abortion services.

The latest polling of DDT’s approval rating from the ultra-conservative Rasmussen survey came in at 47 percent, but DDT, never concerned about accuracy, claimed it was 51 percent—and then told people to add seven or eight percent to the poll. DDT’s average among polls is currently at 40 percent.

March 30, 2018

DDT: Week 62 – More Golf, Lies

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 10:23 PM
Tags: ,

On the 114th day that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) played golf since his inauguration, here’s a bit of last week’s happenings:

After not being seen for three days following the 60 Minutes interview with Stormy Daniels garnering 22 million viewers, DDT gave a speech in Ohio yesterday. He said the U.S. was pulling out of Syria “very soon” just hours after the Pentagon said that troops need to stay in the country. He rambled on about the smell of construction sites and mused that  community colleges were vocational and technical schools. DDT accused President Obama of being “complacent” for not filling over 100 federal judge positions that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had blocked, including one for the Supreme Court. In 2015, the GOP confirmed judges at the slowest rate in more than 60 years.

DDT tweeted that construction started on his “big beautiful wall” that he called a “thing of beauty,” but his photos of the event are of the replacement of a fence built in the 1990s in southern California, planned for years, and allocated last year. This month’s omnibus spending bill provides $1.6 billion for border barriers: $251 million for “secondary fencing” near San Diego where fencing is already in place; $445 million for no more than 25 miles of “levee fencing”; $196 million for “primary pedestrian fencing” in the Rio Grande Valley; $445 million is for the replacement of existing fencing in that area; and the rest for planning, design, and technology. Barriers ban DDT’s prototypes. DDT’s latest plan, perhaps from Ann Coulter, is to get the Pentagon to pay for his wall because they are rich, but this building would also require congressional approval.

Rosanne Barr is a strong supporter, and DDT called her to congratulate her on her 18.2 audience for her television reboot. Several of Barr’s tweets have had to be deleted, however, including her support for the accusation that Parkland (FL) teenage activist David Hogg gave a Nazi salute. She also supports a false theory about top Democrats being a part of a satanic cult that trafficks child sex slaves, lies that evolved from the fake conspiracy theory during the Hillary Clinton campaign. And worse.

In another conspiracy theory, Fox’s Laura Ingraham accused Parkland (FL) activist David Hogg, 17, of being in cahoots with the teenager who killed 17 people in a high school there. Advertisers such as TripAdvisor, Nestle, Hulu, Office Depot, Expedia, Jenny Craig, and Johnson & Johnson began to bail, and 22 hours later she said she did “apologize for any upset or hurt” from her comment in the “spirit of the Holy Week.” Advertisers are still leaving.

The crises surrounding foreign affairs continues. DDT’s warm and fuzzy call of congratulations to Vladimir Putin last week may not keep him out of trouble after his administration joined 24 other countries to expel Russian diplomats. Russia retaliated by expelling diplomats from 23 countries.

Fed up with AG Jeff Sessions’ lying, former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) wrote a detailed piece about Sessions’ testimony under oath.

The leap in donations to the NRA in 2016 led to a McClatchy News report two months ago regarding an FBI exploration into illegal Russian money funneled into the powerful U.S. organization and a FEC investigation into the NRA’s illegal contributions. After weeks of silence, the NRA admitted taking foreign money but claimed that none of it got into their campaign efforts. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) asked the NRA for “a detailed accounting of how foreign funds were used over the past three years, whether they were targeted at particular American audiences, and what its measured impact was” as well as “whether any Russian nationals or foreign individuals had been members of the NRA’s donor programs, and whether the NRA received any money from sanctioned individuals.” NRA’s earlier response if that the group didn’t get foreign money for the U.S. election but doesn’t state that the NRA did not use foreign money in a U.S. election.

John Dowd, DDT’s ex-lawyer who resigned last week, denied that he talked to lawyers for Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn last year about presidential pardons. If the accusation is true, however, his hindering an investigation means obstruction of justice if the proposal was part of larger conspiracy to block the special counsel’s work. Now that Dowd is freed from DDT, he’s talking about how “terrific” Mueller is and how he enjoyed working with the special investigator.

DDT finally found another lawyer for his team—a minor Southern prosecutor named Andrew J. Ekonomou, 69 years old.

In November 2015, Vladimir Putin’s media czar, the wealthy Mikhail Lesin, died of blunt force injuries to his head, neck, torso, upper extremities, and lower extremities in his Washington, D.C. hotel room. After almost a year, local police and the FBI released a report that the beatings came from drunken falls in the room. In July 2017, BuzzFeed reported anonymous FBI reports that the death was intentional. A report by Christopher Steele, the same man who prepared a dossier about Russia’s help for DDT’s election, determined that Lesin was beaten to death, possibly by men hired by a Russian oligarch, the night before he was scheduled to talk to the DOJ. Britain is investigating 14 suspicious deaths connected to Russia.

DDT’s campaign aide Rick Gates communicated with a member of the Russian intelligence service in the fall of 2018, according to a government sentencing memorandum in the case of Dutch attorney Alex van der Zwaan. After pleading guilty of lying to the FBI, van der Zwaan will be sentenced on April 3. His Russian billionaire father-in-law, German Khan, co-founded Alfa Group and recently named in the Treasury Department’s list of Russian oligarchs, is suing BuzzFeed News for publishing the Steele dossier about DDT.

The GOP platform change of language about Ukraine at the 2016 convention to a pro-Russia policy was tracked to DDT, and Mueller is now questioning communications with AG Jeff Sessions and the Russian ambassador during the convention and earlier in April 2016.

The FBI’s subpoena of Ted Malloch may connect DDT’s adviser Roger Stone and Brexit leader Nigel Farage to the Russian scandal. Stone is a central figure in the WikiLeaks controversy hacking and then releasing Clinton’s campaign emails, probably on orders from Russia.

China has joined Russia in world leadership over the United States. Kim Jong-Un met with Xi Jinping in Beijing, showing that China will shape the agenda for U.S. summits with North Korea. China’s primary goal is stability because Kim’s regime collapse would move refugees and U.S. troops into China.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Europe that they had to pick the United States or Iran as DDT contemplates withdrawing from the Iran deal to control their nuclear weapons.

DDT’s trade war this week and his attack on Amazon drove the stock market into such a roller-coaster that the total was up only 160 points, 1,500 points below the peak in 2018. DDT backed off from tariffs on China, perhaps to benefit people close to him. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross may still own $125 million in Navigator Holdings that operates LNG tanker ships benefitting from Chinese-linked firms. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, former economic council chair Gary Cohn, and son-in-law Jared Kushner are also profiting from Chinese-owned investments, and both Ivanka Trump and DDT received Chinese trademarks with more pending.

Amazon stock dropped six percent this week after DDT slammed the company for not paying state tax and taking unfair advantage of the post office, neither of these true claims. DDT’s problem with Amazon is its owner, Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post. The stock was back up one percent higher than the beginning by Friday’s close.

While several companies have cut ties with the NRA, FedEx has a secret deal with large gun manufacturers and dealers to give them a cheaper deal by breaking its policy of required overnight shipping for guns for a favored few. The confidential agreement was discovered in February after FedEx claimed that it no longer gives discounts to NRA members.

Both Mnuchin and DDT failed Government 101 last week in their demands for Congress to pass a line-item veto following the passage of the spending bill. Congress did this law in 1996, and SCOTUS struck it down in 1998.

The retirement of Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA) after the primary’s filing deadline brings the total number of Republicans leaving Congress this year to almost 50 thus far, the largest number of retirements since the number of retirements in the 1930s. Half of them have already left or have no jobs lined up. Only ten House Democrats are retiring, and another eight are running for other offices.

A chart showing voter priorities in a Kaiser poll indicates the lack of popularity for building a border wall.

In the same poll, a majority of people in a Kaiser poll supported the expansion of Medicare for everyone who wishes while allowing those with other forms of coverage to keep that coverage if they wish: overall public (75 percent), Democrats (87 percent), independents (74 percent), and Republicans (64 percent).  Another chart showing the unpopularity of wall.

More Week 62 information will cover lawsuits and appointment.

 

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