Mueller’s complex chess game

Last night Rachel Maddow mentioned some really interesting information about the interplay between the three separate “investigations” going on into Trump and his collusion/cooperation with Russia. First, there is some controversy over the intent of these investigations. Obviously, Mueller intends to “get to the truth” and very little information has been “leaked” The other two committees investigating are the House Intelligence Committee and The Senate Intelligence committee. Both are Bipartisan committees. Although some of the members of these committees want to “get to the truth” others have been known to be a pipeline to president Trump! No one case exemplifies this interplay than the situation with Paul Manafort who became an early “Guinnea Pig”in this experiment.

Mueller conceivably already had some interest in Paul Manafort as a player, because of known information on his Foreign Agent activities. including receiving “black money” from Ukraine, and court documents from Ukrainians and Oleg Deripaska , a Russian oligarch who tried to sue him (and recently renewed that effort) and due to him being under a FISA Warrant, surveillance was carried out on him prior and after, but not during the election. What information was gleaned from this surveillance is unclear at this point. Trump has been known to talk to Paul Manafort after his departure in August of 2016 from his official role and Pence as well so it is likely something incriminating was captured.

Paul Manafort testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in July of 2017. He testimony was scheduled for the following day originally.

Late Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee announced it had withdrawn a subpoena that had been issued to compel Manafort to appear Wednesday

Unlike former Trump staffers who have declined to answer questions during these meetings, Paul Manafort answered all questions completely, according to the Washington Post.

Paul Manafort provided his notes from the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower that Steve Bannon later stated in Michael Wolff’s book “Fire and Fury” was “bad” and “treasonous” and testified about the contents of the meeting itself apparently, although that testimony was not made publicly.

For some reason, Paul Manafort told his lawyers not to share the testimony before congress with Mueller. This must have been pretty quick if not coordinated with the testimony itself, since the very next very early morning Paul Manafort’s personal home was raided, famously. The FBI agents reportedly picked the lock, frisked his wife, took photos of his suits, and copied drives from various devices and computers. What a wake up call! That’s definitely a “knock knock” that sent a message. What’s lesser known is his office and a storage area were also raided.

Paul Manafort felt he was cooperating, if not being entirely forthcoming. It seems Mueller was concerned about evidence being given to Trump via these committees, especially if he is not able to see it. Why Paul Manafort was not willing to hand over his Congress to Mueller is open to speculation. It stands to reason there was something in this testimony that was sensitive. After all this supposed cooperation, was Manafort suddenly becoming obstinate? As a lawyer by training, he would know that he doesn’t have to answer their questions. It could be Trump was caught off guard and was not able to tell Paul Manafort not to talk to the investigators. Possibly Trump did threaten him in some way, but if so that would have to happen pretty quickly if not during the testimony.

Later, Trump himself did apparently retaliate against Manafort for disclosing this information (whatever it was) by publishing an “expose” on his rumored affair with a young woman in the National Enquirer published in August of 2017.

At this point, Paul Manafort is safely locked away on house arrest, so it appears Mueller has reached his goal, “Preserve and Protect”.

Another day in Trump Russia

The day started with Senator Jeff Flake (a Republican) giving a speech where he compared Trump’s actions in calling the press an “enemy of the people” to that of Russian dictator Stalin. Then another press conference with Sarah Huckabee Sanders, which mainly included a man trying to rationalize a drive to prove foreign terrorists were causing harm to Americans. Upon questioning by one of the reporters it appeared the evidence was not sufficient to prove what he wanted to prove, he said he would come up with more evidence in the future.

Steve Bannon testified before the House intelligence committee and he did not answer a lot of questions. There were apparently numerous phone calls to find out if there was “executive privilege” preventing him from testifying and it seemed most periods were covered, even after Steve left his White House position. It is theorized that possibly Mueller actually wants the first “bite of the apple” concerning Bannon’s testimony. Mueller does not want evidence “thrown around” I remember Bannon did not hand over documents requested to congress, so perhaps Mueller wants see those documents and not hand them to congress at all necessarily because some congressmen could be “snitching” to Trump.

According to Rachel Maddow, Paul Manafort was “cooperating” with Mueller, but then testified before congress without warning, late night or early morning, giving them his notes from the June meeting in Trump Tower with Don Jr. and the Russian lawyer, and handed over his notes from the meeting. Manafort told his lawyers not to share his testimony before congress with Mueller. That very evening, Paul Manafort’s house was raided, or early the next morning precisely. Mueller was concerned he wouldn’t have some of the information he thought Paul Manafort had in his possession. His office and storage area was also raided. Paul Manafort never testified in his next meeting before congress. Apparently Mueller wants to control the witnesses and their information. Trump actually took retribution on Paul Manafort by having his friends at the National Enquirer run a (possibly embarrassing) expose on Paul Manafort.

Government shut down is looming because there is no decision on DACA. There was a disaster yesterday when two senators Lindsay Graham and Durbin were to meet with Trump to iron out a plan. Kelly, not a fan of DACA, tried to block this agreement by inviting senstors who hate the idea, like Senator Cotton. The President ended out calling Africa and Haiti “shitholes” repeatedly and saying “and even mentioned he’d love more Norwegians to move here! “send them back” he said of the Haitians, stunning the members, particularly Lindsey Graham.

There was much argument about what was worse? The swears or “send them back” or making fun of third world countries in poverty because of imperialism. Africans interviewed sounded like wonderfully reasonable people. It all seemed kind of crazy.

Yesterday Hawaiians received a text message that a Ballistic Missile was headed towards the island. People were terrified for 36 minutes before a cancellation was issued. Some humor from this incident showed a drop down menu failure choosing “Test Missile” versus “real missile”

The Shockwaves

Friday, there was an accidental alert sent to everyone on the island that a Ballistic Missile is on the way and to “take cover” Trump was unavailable at the time, possibly golfing, and the White House staff had no idea what to do. Although terrifying for anyone receiving this alert, this was a good example of our unpreparedness.

Then, Trump happened to say that he didn’t want anyone immigrating from “shithole” countries, such as “Africa and Haiti”

Two people in the meeting, Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham, heard these “repetitive” comments, the others did not. The story is Durbin and Graham thought they were meeting with Trump to try to iron out a DACA deal. The other invitees were brought in essentially to block this from happening, so that’s what happened. I wouldn’t be surprised is some of these same people tried to introduce aspects of immigration Trump would disagree with. Who knows?

Meanwhile, Steve Bannon is seemingly at ground 0, whose views on Trump & Cadre displayed in Fire & Fury hastened his demise. He is no longer welcome at Breitbart and the Mercers have pulled their funding. Aww shucks. Eric Prince met with Steve Bannon before Erik Prince went to that “Seychelles back door meeting” where he had a beer with a guy. Right.

Steve Bannon’s Unraveling

The problem Steve Bannon faces is that his Boss is really an insecure nut case. Recently Trump called him “sloppy Steve” After all, Steve Bannon was fired for upstaging Donald Trump and I say possibly, possibly not agreeing to try to convince AG Sessions not to recuse himself from anything dealing with Russia.

Bannon was prominently shown speaking at the CPAC Conference, and Trump and Bannon were parodied on Saturday Night Live. Whereas Bannon was portrayed as the “Grim Reaper” Trump appeared submissive taking a “kiddie” desk while Bannon took his place at the big desk. I have no doubt Trump was not happy to be upstaged by Bannon.

As to Bannon’s possible refusal to ask Sessions not to recuse himself, I believe this is another “hidden” reason Trump was fed up with Bannon. If White House Counsel, Don McGhan, Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Chief of Staff Reince Preibus did try to convince Attorney General Sessions not to recuse himself, Surely Trump asked them to do so. Obviously, Trump wanted Sessions to “protect him”and be like the infamous lawyer Roy Cohen. “Where’s my Roy Cohen?” he was said to have asked while onboard Air Force 1 during the famous “explanatory letter” Special Counsel Mueller is so interested in about the Trump Tower “Russians” meeting with Don Jr.

Would Trump have also asked his friend, Steve Bannon, who he often dined with according to Fire and Fury, and the person who brought Sessions and Steven Miller into the campaign, Steven Bannon, to do so? If makes sense he would have at least conveyed to Steve his dissatisfaction with Sessions’ recusal. If he was asked by Trump to do this, he apparently refused to do so.

Continue reading “Steve Bannon’s Unraveling”

Creatively Deceptive – Tony Podesta and Mercury LLC and the ECMU

When Tony Podesta stepped down from his company Podesta Group there was a lot of confusion because his brother John was Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Chairman. It was a surprising outcome to Special Counsel Robert Mueller III’s indictment of Paul Manafort Jr. and his business associate Richard Gates III.

When people heard Podesta they associated the name with John, further tainting the HRC campaign. As outlined in Robert Mueller’s charges, Podesta Group and Mercury LLC are listed as “Company A” and “Company B”. In total, these are not such weighty charges, in the scheme of thins.

The charges do show that Paul Manafort and Richard Gates were taking steps to conceal the connection between the Ukranian political party they worked for through the companies they worked for DMC and DMI (Davis Manafort Company and Davis Manafort International) by using the Ukranian Non-Profit ECMU (European Center for a Modern Ukraine) which was set up in Brussels. This Non-Profit ceased to operate after the Yanakovych regime ended, suddenly in early 2014 was mentioned as further evidence was that the Non-Profit was not the separate independent entity it was touted as being.

  • Paul Manafort and William Gates hired two firms, ostensibly hired by ECMU to work on two aspects of a PR Campaign.
  • Mercury LLC was hired to work on preparing Ukraine to enter the European Union
  • Podesta (Tony Podesta, John Podesta’s brother, John Podesta was Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Manager) was hired to work on other aspects of lobbying.
  • Paul Manafort and William Gates claimed not to recall giving any instructions to either firm vis a vis ECMU but Paul Manafort actually directed their activities, “congratulating and reprimanding” them

“Manafort is a person who loves money. He works for bad candidates because they have to pay more,” said Anders Aslund, a Ukraine expert at the Atlantic Council Financial Times

  • The lawyer hired to help Paul Manafort and William Gates with answering questions from the US Treasury was subpoenaed by Mueller’s team.
  • Although it was claimed by her that DMB (Manafort’s firm) had a retention policy of only thirty days,
  • DMI “does not retain communications beyond thirty days” and as a result of this policy, a “search has returned no responsive documents.” The November 2016 letter attached a one-page, undated document that purported to be a DMI “Email Policy” PJM Indictment

Company B through a principal replied to GATES the same day that “there’s a lot of email traffic that has you much more involved than this suggests [.] We will not disclose that but heaven knows what former employees of [Company B] or [Company A] might say.” – Indictment of PJM

  • Both firms seemed to be aware that the ECMU was funded by the Party of Regions since a non partial non-profit would not have the funding to afford the 1.5 million paid to these two firms over a three year period.

“Another way to look at it could be to say that the campaign was trying to whitewash the terrifically corrupt and kleptocratic system that Yanukovych was running at the time and put a friendly face on it when in fact it was something very different,” said Hannah Thoburn, a research fellow at the Hudson Institute. Foreign Affairs

  • It appears both firms were in collusion with William Gates (who worked with Podesta Group) and Manafort (who even sat in on some meetings at the Republican-leaning Mercury LLC) to hide these efforts by not disclosing these meetings to FARA.
  • Hillary Clinton was concerned about the decline in the fairness of the Ukrainian elections.
  • It is pretty obvious why Paul Manafort would have preferred Hillary Clinton not be involved in Ukraine elections:
  • Hillary Clinton Letter

Continue reading “Creatively Deceptive – Tony Podesta and Mercury LLC and the ECMU”

Hanging in the Balance

Today is Saturday. Normally Saturday is a day to review the weeks events, nothing happens on the Weekend. If anything, the news revs up over the weekend. Fridays are when Grand Jurys are held, but I was wondering if maybe because of the holidays there may not be a grand jury held? In any case, if there are more indictments, I haven’t heard about them.

Fire and Fury just came out. It seems to be a book version of a tabloid. That is today’s White House! Why would Steve Bannon tell an author/reporter Ivanka is “dumb as a brick”? I mean, that’s obviously going to be seen as a slight by any father. Steve Bannon does exaggerate. I try to think about where the alliances are? Steve, now deceased Roger Ailles, Britebart, can’t think of anyone in the WH he was particularly close to. That may have been a problem for him. He doesn’t seem to hard on Jared, so maybe he and Jared are allies.

Trump tweeted today that Steve Bannon “cried and begged for his job” when he was fired. I think it had not been previously revealed he WAS fired. I wonder if Trump fired him himself, or if Kelly was the hatchet man. I don’t think Trump has the gaul to fire someone.

In other news, Trump even gave a speech surrounded by his usual all-white coterie. One woman in the back. “Collusion is dead” he said. “There has been Collusion with Hillary, the DNC and the Russians” he said. He is at Camp David with a large number of staff, Jeff Sessions was NOT invited.

Jeff Sessions, it came out, had tried to get dirt on Comey. The thinking is, since he lied a out Russian contacts during his confirmation hearings, he may have reason to derail the Trump/Russia investigation. This could be the reason Trump put so much effort into keeping him although he recused himself from the Russia investigation.

In further news, Trump says he is very successful, went to “good schools” had a “successful company” and won the Presidential election “on the first try” he also said he is “like a very smart guy” and a “stable genius”. I think Einstein said something like this! Just kidding!

I have the book! Kindle Edition. I will read it and let you know! Stay tuned!