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The "Red Line" Investigations that Will Haunt Trump's Presidency


The “Red Line” Investigations that Will Haunt Trump’s Presidency
With 14 potential cases referred by the special prosecutor, investigators in New York, Washington, and Congress are zeroing in on the president, his family, and his business dealings.
by Abigail Tracy
April 19, 2019 4:06 pm

For Donald Trump, perhaps the most chilling moment in the Mueller report occurs on page 446, where the special counsel reveals that he has referred a total of 14 potential cases to other prosecutors. Because while Robert Mueller was given a limited mandate to investigate the Trump-Russia affair, special counsel investigations have a habit of unearthing other, unrelated criminality in the process. Perhaps that is why, when Trump first learned that Mueller had been appointed, according to the report, he slumped back in his chair and exclaimed, “I’m fucked.”


New York State and Trump’s Taxes

Since at least July of last year, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance has been investigating the now defunct Trump Foundation, the president’s eponymous charity, reportedly for potential violations of Empire State tax regulations. Following a deep dive by The New York Times into the Trump family’s tax history last fall, the department announced it was also taking a closer look at various claims made in the article. “The Tax Department is reviewing the allegations in the N.Y.T. article and is vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation,” a spokesman for the agency said.

New York Attorney General and Trump

New York Attorney General Letitia James, who took office in January, has continued to pursue her office’s lawsuit against the Trump Foundation for allegations of violating state and federal charity laws. But she’s also taken an aggressive stance toward the Trump Organization. In response to allegations Cohen made while testifying in front of the House Oversight committee that Trump inflated and deflated the value of his assets to suit his bottom line, James’s office subpoenaed financial records from Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank relating to a series of Trump Organization real-estate projects and the president’s failed attempt to buy the Buffalo Bills football team.

The Trump Inaugural Committee

President Trump’s inaugural committee has drawn the scrutiny of the S.D.N.Y. and U.S. attorneys offices in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. Investigators are probing whether foreign money was routed through the committee, along with allegations of influence peddling. At least one plea deal from Sam Patten, an American lobbyist, has stemmed from the inquiries into the inauguration. Patten pleaded guilty to violating the Foreign Agent Registration Act. And as my colleague Emily Jane Fox has reported, the Trump family was involved in planning the event.

Congressional Inquiries

While the Mueller investigation has reached its conclusion, intelligence committees in the House and the Senate continue to probe Russian interference in the 2016 election and contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians. And since Democrats won the House, they have opened numerous inquiries into the president’s behavior, his family’s business dealings, his finances, White House procedures, and the administration’s foreign policy. Already, subpoena fights loom over the White House security-clearance process, with a specific focus on the clearances of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his daughter Ivanka; Trump’s tax returns, which he has refused to release; the Trump Organization’s finances; and private conversations between Trump officials and the foreign governments of Russia and Saudi Arabia.

In an interview with The New York Times in 2017, shortly after Mueller was appointed, Trump answered in the affirmative when asked whether Mueller investigating his family finances would cross a “red line.” At the time, Trump wouldn’t say how he might respond in such a case, because “I don't think it’s going to happen.” Now, with multiple prosecutors looking beyond Mueller’s remit, the president may soon be held to account for whatever those investigations find.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Apr 20, 2019, 07:30 AM (1 replies)

What Mueller Said About Don Junior Is Embarrassing


4/19/19 5:48am
Read time: 1 minute
What Mueller Said About Don Junior Is Embarrassing
Really he's just too stupid to collude.
By Tengrain
Video @ link~

As Junior Mints takes a victory lap on Twitter today (they are all just gloating and saying, Neener-Neener-Neener!), we go now to the redacted report released by strategic hire AG Bill ‘Low’ Barr to see what it says about him:

[The June 9 meeting] This series of events could implicate the federal election-law ban on contributions and donations by foreign nationals . . . Specifically, Goldstone passed along an offer purportedly from a Russian government official to provide “official documents and information” to the Trump campaign for the purposes of influencing the presidential election. Trump Jr. appears to have accepted that offer and to have arranged a meeting to receive those materials. Documentary evidence in the form of e-mail chains supports the inference that Kushner and Manafort were aware of that purpose and attended the June 9 meeting anticipating the receipt of helpful information to the Campaign from Russian sources.“. . .

There are reasonable arguments that the offered information would constitute a “thing of value” within the meaning of these provisions, but the Office determined that the government would not be likely to obtain and sustain a conviction for two other reasons: first, the Office did not obtain admissible evidence likely to meet the government’s burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that these individuals acted “willfully,” i.e. with general knowledge of the illegality of their conduct; and, second, the government would likely encounter difficulty proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the value of the promised information exceeded the threshold for a criminal violation.

In other words, Mr. Mueller thought that Junior Mints was too dumb to know what he was doing.

As they say in the South, Gawd looks after the simple. Or in this case the simpleton.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Apr 20, 2019, 07:02 AM (48 replies)

Wanker of the Day: Duncan Hunter


Wanker of the Day: Duncan Hunter
by BooMan
Fri Apr 19th, 2019 at 03:01:11 PM EST

In an effort to lighten the mood as we head into the Easter weekend, and also to avoid giving you one more Mueller-related post, I bring you hilarious news about Republican member of the House of Representatives, Duncan Hunter Jr. of San Diego, California. The last you probably heard of Rep. Hunter, he and his wife were being indicted on “60 federal charges related to spending more than $250,000 in campaign funds on personal expenses such as a family vacation to Italy and dental work.”

That was a shame. Hunter had to post $15,000 in bail and was forbidden from leaving the country. His trial is scheduled for September. It would be a grave mistake for him to do something stupid like travel to Mexico, especially if he decided to do it on film. Fortunately, he has not made that kind of bone-headed error, but for some reason he wants you to believe otherwise.

In the video, Hunter eased himself over a railing…before proclaiming, “That’s how easy it is to cross the border in Yuma, Arizona.”

But Hunter, the legally embattled Republican from California’s 50th District, did not actually cross into Mexico at the border as he appeared to claim. The railing was a vehicle barrier positioned roughly 75 to 100 feet away from the Colorado River — the actual U.S. Mexico border in Yuma.

“It looks pretty tough to cross. Let me see if I can do it,” Hunter says in the video, before sweeping his legs up and over the waist-high vehicle barrier’s horizontal bar and plopping down on the other side.

In the video, which captures Hunter’s reaction to a ride-along with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, the congressman says he visited a detention facility where he saw “hundreds of illegal aliens who are going to be let loose within the next two days into the country.”

In another shot behind the vehicle barrier, Hunter says, “This is why we need a wall. This is why Trump is right. This is what we need to get rid of and expand upon to secure this country.”

In a significant embarrassment for our country and the Republican Party, Duncan Hunter was narrowly reelected in 2018 despite the criminal indictments against him. His opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, is running against him again in 2020. He was quick to point out that Hunter was violating his parole by leaving the country, which forced Hunter’s spokesman to admit that he had never actually left the country in the “real” sense.

Hunter spokesman Michael Harrison lambasted Campa-Najjar claiming the Democrat was seeking media attention and drumming up controversy.

“Congressman Hunter remained in the U.S. … I recognize our opponent is trying to create a headline, but I would encourage him and others to look and review a map,” Harrison said, per a reporter for POLITICO California.

Last August, then-Speaker of the House Paul Ryan stripped Hunter of all his committee assignments, saying “The charges against Rep. Hunter are deeply serious.” It would be an understatement to say that Hunter responded unfavorably, as he initially refused to comply. He is currently one of three House Republicans, along with Steve King of Iowa and Chris Collins of New York, who are considered by their own caucus to be too corrupt or racist to serve on committees.

But he didn’t actually violate his parole, so you really shouldn’t criticize him.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Apr 19, 2019, 06:14 PM (6 replies)

Did Blackwater founder Erik Prince lie to Mueller or to Congress?

Did Blackwater founder Erik Prince lie to Mueller or to Congress?
It has to be one or the other.
Joshua Eaton
Apr 19, 2019, 3:59 pm

Erik Prince lied to someone. The only question is who.

The unofficial Trump campaign adviser testified under oath before the House Intelligence Committee in late 2017 about a meeting he had with Kirill Dmitriev, the head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, in the Seychelles on January 11, 2017.

At the time, Prince described the meeting as an impromptu conversation at the hotel bar where the two men briefly chatted about foreign policy and commodity prices before parting ways.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report paints a different picture. The report, based in part on interviews with Prince, describes the meeting not as a quick chat over a beer but as a planned rendezvous between emissaries of President Donald Trump’s team and the Kremlin.

“We have no comment to make,” Prince spokesperson Marc Cohen told ThinkProgress in response to a detailed list of questions. “Erik has said all there is to say on this.”

A side-by-side comparison of Prince’s congressional testimony and the Mueller report shows at least a dozen inconsistencies on six key points:

Who introduced Prince and Dmitriev,
How many times Prince and Dmitriev met in Seychelles,
Whether Prince acted on behalf of the Trump transition team,
Whether Prince knew Dmitriev ran Russia’s sovereign wealth fund,
Whether Prince and Dmitriev discussed a “back channel,” and
Whether Prince briefed then-senior Trump aide Steve Bannon on the meeting.

In response to hard questions last month about another part of his congressional testimony, Prince first claimed without evidence that the official transcript of the testimony was wrong, then said not all the conversation was transcribed.

“And that’s a fact,” Prince added.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Apr 19, 2019, 05:58 PM (6 replies)

Mueller report fallout: Sarah Sanders says Trump never asked her to lie

So she just lied because she felt like it?


Mueller report fallout: Sarah Sanders says Trump never asked her to lie
Updated on: April 19, 2019 / 9:52 AM / CBS News


Mueller's investigation notes several instances where President Trump pressured his top aides to lie or mislead. Sanders was asked whether Mr. Trump had ever asked her to lie.

"In the course of your time at the White House, has the president ever asked you to say something that you knew not to be true?" "CBS This Morning" co-host John Dickerson said.

"The president isn't asking people to break the law, isn't asking them to do anything that is dishonest," Sanders replied. "If the president wants to fire somebody, he does. You've seen him do it before. This isn't a president who is afraid to go against the system, he's not a president that's afraid to step out and speak out. And if he has a problem with someone or something he's gonna state that."

"That's not the question, Sarah," "CBS This Morning: Saturday" co-host Anthony Mason said.

"I answered it on the front end," Sanders said.

"So you're saying the president has never asked you to say anything you knew not to be true," Dickerson asked. "Correct," Sanders replied.

"And he's also never asked me to break the law. And when the president wants to do something and make a decision he does it. He's not somebody who sits around and ponders. I think that you guys have seen that day in and day out. One minute you're running stories that the staff can't control him. The next minute, everyone's saying 'Thank God the staff could control him.' You don't get to have it both ways."
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Apr 19, 2019, 03:17 PM (14 replies)

Videos appear to show armed militia detaining migrants at US-Mexico border

IOW, vigilantes, and not in a good way. I can't imagine this is legal...

Videos appear to show armed militia detaining migrants at US-Mexico border
The American Civil Liberties Union is calling the actions a ‘kidnapping’ and a flagrant violation of the law
Sam Levin in San Francisco
Thu 18 Apr 2019 19.14 EDT
Last modified on Thu 18 Apr 2019 20.03 EDT

Armed rightwing militia members detained a large group of migrants at the US-Mexico border and coordinated with US border patrol agents to have them arrested, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, in a series of actions the civil liberties organization called a “kidnapping” and a flagrant violation of the law.

Several videos taken at the border in New Mexico this week appeared to show men belonging to a group that calls itself the United Constitutional Patriots approaching migrant families and children, ordering them to sit down, calling federal agents on them, and at one point potentially misrepresenting themselves by saying “border patrol” as they approached.

“The Trump administration’s vile racism has emboldened white nationalists and fascists to flagrantly violate the law,” the ACLU of New Mexico said in a letter to the state’s governor and attorney general, urging them to “immediately investigate this atrocious and unlawful conduct”.

The ACLU described the group as “an armed fascist militia organization” made up of “vigilantes” working to “kidnap and detain people seeking asylum” and accused the group of directly making illegal arrests.

The group has repeatedly appeared in local news stories in recent weeks, expressing support for Donald Trump’s proposed border wall and presenting themselves as “volunteers” aiding border patrol efforts.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Apr 19, 2019, 11:31 AM (1 replies)

One Million Have Lost Health Coverage Since 2016


One Million Have Lost Health Coverage Since 2016
April 19, 2019 at 10:47 am EDT By Taegan Goddard 52 Comments

A new CBO report finds that more than 1 million Americans have lost health coverage since 2016.

Vox: “The report — which came out within hours of the Mueller report on Thursday and so didn’t get much attention — follows other studies, all suggesting that America’s uninsured rate is rising under President Trump, whose administration has passed new rules that make it more difficult to enroll in coverage.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Apr 19, 2019, 10:59 AM (5 replies)

Rachel Maddow: Mueller Report Shows Trump Is The Key To Russia's Plot To Topple U.S. Democracy

Posted on Thu, Apr 18th, 2019 by Sean Colarossi
Rachel Maddow: Mueller Report Shows Trump Is The Key To Russia’s Plot To Topple U.S. Democracy

While the Mueller report is filled with damning details about Donald Trump’s conduct, Rachel Maddow explained on Thursday why some of the most disturbing information kicks off on page one with the special counsel confirming that Russia did, indeed, meddle in the 2016 election on behalf of Trump.

The most frightening detail of that aspect of the report, according to the MSNBC host, is the fact that Russia recognized right away that Donald Trump would be their best bet to topple U.S. democracy.

“The Russian government was already working on this years-long effort to try to hurt us, to try to somehow specifically infect and rot our electoral system and faith in U.S. democracy. They started working on it, 2014,” Maddow explained. “Then they get their vehicle to glom that ongoing operation onto. And that vehicle is the candidacy of Donald J. Trump.”


Maddow said:

Donald Trump was nowhere near any presidential politics in 2014, but they already literally had operatives here on an intel gathering mission for this ongoing Russian effort. The Russian government was already working on this years-long effort to try to hurt us, to try to somehow specifically infect and rot our electoral system and faith in U.S. democracy. They started working on it, 2014. Then they get their vehicle to glom that ongoing operation onto. And that vehicle is the candidacy of Donald J. Trump. .. That was the Spring 2016 evolution of the overall long-running, years-long running effort to do whatever they could to try to destroy American democracy. Why did they think supporting candidate Donald Trump would do that? I mean, Russia presumably is not trying to make America great again. They’re running an op, an ongoing op that well preceded the Trump effort to try to weaken us as much as they can. When Trump came along, they decided trump was the perfect vehicle to continue and expand that work. How come?

Russia recognized early: Trump is their best bet to take down America

The answer to Maddow’s question is still incomplete. But through his behavior over the past two years, Trump has demonstrated why Russia saw him as “the perfect vehicle” to weaken the United States.

Time and again, Trump has checked off items on Vladimir Putin’s wishlist, whether it’s weakening U.S. sanctions against Russia, straining America’s relationship with our NATO allies, or Trump selling out to the Russian leader on the world stage while simultaneously rejecting his own intelligence community.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Apr 19, 2019, 08:27 AM (3 replies)

Sarah Sanders Denies She Admitted to Mueller That She Lied


1. LIKE A RUG39 minutes ago
Sarah Sanders Denies She Admitted to Mueller That She Lied
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

In a heated interview with Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos on Friday morning, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders danced around her own truth about what she was quoted as saying in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’ report. Sanders told Mueller that her comments about how the “rank and file of the FBI” supported President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey were a “slip of the tongue.” Stephanopoulos confronted Sanders with an accusation. “That’s not a slip of the tongue, Sarah, that’s a deliberate false statement,” he charged. “Actually, if you look at what I said, I said the slip of the tongue was in using the word countless, but there were a number of FBI, both former and current, that agreed with the president’s decision and they’ve continued to speak out,” she replied, while Stephanopoulos tried to interrupt her before she got in one last jab: “James Comey was a disgraced leaker and used authorization to spy on the Trump campaign.” Stephanopoulos then said, “Sarah, I’ve got to stop you there. Why can’t you acknowledge that what you said then was not true?” Then, stumbling and visibly red-faced, she doubled down and said, it was in the heat of the moment, meaning it wasn’t a scripted talking point. “I’m sorry that I wasn’t a robot like the Democrat Party.”
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Apr 19, 2019, 08:21 AM (13 replies)

Biden Will Enter Presidential Race Next Week


Biden Will Enter Presidential Race Next Week
April 19, 2019 at 6:39 am EDT By Taegan Goddard

The Atlantic: “Joe Biden is running. The former vice president will make his candidacy official with a video announcement next Wednesday.”

“Seriously, he’s actually made a decision. It’s taken two years of back and forth, it’ll be his third (or depending on how you count, seventh) try for the White House, many people thought he wouldn’t actually do it, but the biggest factor reshaping the 2020 Democratic primary field is actually locking into place.”
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Apr 19, 2019, 07:00 AM (62 replies)
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