How did these 650,000 emails get into the Abedin -Weiner laptop? | Lawyers: Teen girl Weiner sexted wanted to affect election | EXCLUSIVE: HOW TRUMP BACKERS WEAPONIZED ANTHONY WEINER TO DEFEAT CLINTON

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Image result for How did these 650,000 emails get into the Abedin -Weiner laptop?

How did these 650,000 emails get into the Abedin -Weiner laptop? 

These and some other related questions remain unanswered, and so far I have not learned about any convincing attempts to uncover these mysteries on the part of the investigators: FBI, Mr. Mueller’s team, Congressional Committees, and others. As if it is not one of the important and the key questions. We have to investigate this circumstance thoroughly and to present the results, at least the preliminary ones, to the public. 

Michael Novakhov

9.14.17

“The emails might have been stolen by the Russians 
and simply dumped into the Abedin-Weiner’s computer. The 650,000 of them is a huge (as Trump would say, “really hooooge”) amount, and this quantity might have been a part of the taunting hint: “Yes, this is we, who did it!” Just like before, when they, most likely, made the large quantities of these emails available to the Wikileaks. And now as a substitute for them, after Assange was neutralized, they use the new (How “new”? That’s the question.) actors, and witting and/or “unwitting” intermediaries, whose involvement would bring the maximum of damage to Clinton’s campaign. It looks very unlikely that such a massive amount of emails could be copied by hand and by one or two persons. It was convincingly observed that if Weiner “sent or received 200 emails a day, 365 days a year–a considerable number!–it would take 3,250 days, or just about nine years, to accumulate 650,000 on the laptop’s hard drive. It is not clear–to me, anyway–what would cause such a large number of emails to reside on the laptop, absent some sort of bulk downloads.” The nature of this “operation” is consistent with the previous pattern of the Russian involvement, as was strongly hypothesized by the US intelligence community.”  

And if these 650,000 emails were stolen and planted by the Russians, then it is only one logical step to assume that it was a part of the whole operation (Weiner sexting and Abedin-Weiner emails affair) conceived and executed by them or those who were and are behind them: Russian Intelligence, possibly Russian Military Intelligence (GRU) and/or the other hypothetical players.

The most intriguing, troubling, important, and the explosive part of this assumption is: what was the degree of cooperation or collusion, in all their possible forms and shapes, between the upper echelons of the FBI, specifically, its New York City field office (whose involvement in this affair is indicated by the significant amount of the specific circumstantial evidence) and the hypothetical and presumed Russian or the Russian Intelligence involvement? 

We cannot avoid asking and trying to answer these questions. Exhibitionism might or might not be the “irresistible impulse”, and this opinion does not intend to explain it away, to justify, or to excuse it. However, in these circumstances, it is important to not let these acts obscure the larger game, designs, and plans, especially if there is a suspicion that situation was somehow provoked by the hostile intelligence services. The importance of this aspect is magnified further by another suspicion: that the FBI was involved. Both of these suspicions are fully justified, have a certain evidential base in them, and they should become the subjects of interest and attention from the various investigators, looking into all of this for their own goals and purposes.   

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Current Updates on Abedin Weiner emails – GS (See Tag here

See also these posts: 

Anthony Weiner was the first to talk about Trump’s connections with Russian oligarchs, Weiner’s sentence is Trump’s revenge | Anthony Weiner seeks to reschedule sentencing for sexting a minor 

Who needs the “false”, pretended, “make believe” improvement, rather than the real one? The Russians have the incorrigible historical affliction with the “Potyomkin villages”, which the American side does not share, wisely and luckily.

__________________________________

Lawyers: Teen girl Weiner sexted wanted to affect election | National

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NEW YORK (AP) — Disgraced former New York congressman Anthony Weiner is no predator and should be spared from prison at his sentencing for sexting with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl who dreamed about affecting the U.S. presidential election, his lawyers told a judge on Wednesday.

The submission in Manhattan federal court referenced “Anthony’s operatic self-destruction,” describing the crime as “the final act … born of deep sickness.” But it blamed the girl, saying she has told government investigators it had been a goal of hers to affect last year’s election.

The court filing included letters from Weiner and his estranged wife, Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, who appeared with him in state court earlier in the day at a divorce proceeding, looking more like a couple than not.

In a heavily blacked-out letter, Abedin wrote: “With Anthony, I have repeatedly found myself in circumstances I never imagined. I am devastated by Anthony’s actions, and I understand he must face their consequences.”

The lawyers described Weiner, a once powerful Democrat, as having committed a crime, though “one far less egregious than any sexting case that has been prosecuted in this district.”

They said he never sought out teenagers on the internet and didn’t engage in other predatory behaviors typical of those arrested in similar cases.

“He responded to the victim’s request for sexually explicit messages not because she was a teenager but in spite of it,” the lawyers said.

The lawyers said Weiner had caught the eye of “a curious high school student, looking to generate material for a book the government has disclosed she is now shopping to publishers.” They said the girl documented their interactions from the outset, photographing her phone to preserve messages, before selling her story to a British tabloid for $30,000.

The lawyers said the investigation of Weiner was “quite improperly injected into the U.S. presidential election, quite possibly affecting its outcome.”

“After the election was over, the high school student told government investigators that this had been one of her goals from the outset,” Weiner’s lawyers wrote.

The girl told Inside Edition in an interview she knew that Clinton, a Democratic former U.S. secretary of state, senator and first lady, would be running for president last year.

“I wanted to see if Anthony was still up to the same antics,” she said.

In a letter to U.S. District Judge Denise Cote, who will sentence Weiner on Sept. 25, Weiner wrote that “regret for my crime is profound” and that he had endangered the well-being of a 15-year-old girl.

“My continued acting out over years crushed the aspirations of my wife and ruined our marriage,” he said.

Hours earlier, Weiner and Abedin appeared briefly before a judge in their divorce case. They sat side by side and chatted casually while their lawyers met with state Supreme Court Justice Michael L. Katz.

An FBI investigation into Weiner’s online relationship with the girl became a factor in the presidential election. Then-FBI Director James Comey announced in late October 2016 that an investigation into emails that had been kept on Clinton’s private server needed to be reopened while the bureau looked at emails found during the Weiner probe.

Although Comey announced two days before the November election that nothing was found in the new search that would result in charges against Clinton, she has cited it as a reason for her loss to Donald Trump.

Trump, a Republican, became president in January and dismissed Comey in May.

Weiner, who unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2005 and 2013, is eligible for a harsh term of years in prison in the sexting case but is likely to face less time. As part of his plea bargain, he agreed not to appeal any sentence between 21 and 27 months.

In his sentencing letter, Weiner wrote that he now attends daily “mutual support meetings” as part of treatment and mentors those new to the program.

He said he was profoundly sorry to his victim.

“My life isn’t big and loud anymore,” he said. “Every day I quietly do what I can to keep getting better and to fix the damage I’ve done.”

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Lawyers: Teen girl Weiner sexted wanted to affect election – Bowling Green Daily News

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Bowling Green Daily News
Lawyers: Teen girl Weiner sexted wanted to affect election
Bowling Green Daily News
Lawyers: Teen girl Weiner sexted wanted to affect election. Anthony Weiner, right, and Huma Abedin appear in court in New York on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. The couple asked a New York City judge for privacy in their divorce case. (Jefferson Siegel/The …

 

MAY 9, 2017 | 

EXCLUSIVE: HOW TRUMP BACKERS WEAPONIZED ANTHONY WEINER TO DEFEAT CLINTON

The Anatomy of a Takedown

Anthony Weiner, Tweets, Donald Trump

Executive Summary:WhoWhatWhy, in this exclusive report, based on a month-long investigation, lays out for the first time ever the evidence that a deliberate plot was behind the exposure of Hillary Clinton’s emails on Anthony Weiner’s computer — an act that may have put Donald Trump in the White House. This 8,000-word narrative and timeline presents the tick-tock of the operation, and the colorful cast of characters involved, including the FBI, right-wing female journalists, the founder of the mercenary army Blackwater, and an online troll army.


When the Federal Bureau of Investigation decided not to pursue a criminal case against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server, Donald Trump’s path to the White House narrowed considerably… until a group of his staunchest supporters found a way to get the case back in the spotlight at the most opportune time.

In a month-long investigation, WhoWhatWhy has examined the events and players that had a hand in the FBI’s reopening of the Clinton email probe — apparently a factor in swinging the election Trump’s way.

Close scrutiny of the circumstances leading up to the FBI’s fateful decision reveals a key aspect that has thus far gained little attention — that fate got a helping hand from Trump supporters, surrogates and media allies.

This includes

•  A reasonable likelihood that Trump or somebody high up in his campaign received inside information, possibly from sources in the Bureau

•  An operation to bait Anthony Weiner, the controversial husband of Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin

•  A successful effort, perhaps from within the FBI, forcing director Comey to utilize the Weiner allegations as a basis to reopen the Hillary Clinton email investigation

That in turn gave swing voters two reasons not to vote for Hillary Clinton: (1) renewed doubts about her behavior in regard to security concerns, and (2) an implied connection to Weiner’s repugnant behavior.

For plenty of voters, that may have been enough to sway them. And in a close election, the resulting redistribution of comparatively few votes in a few key states caused a seismic shift in the overall electoral outcome.

Comey and the FBI were reacting to events. But who were the people who set those events in motion? And what were their motives? Were these actors doing so out of concerns for justice, for the truth, or to create partisan advantage?

It is not so surprising that political operatives would identify Weiner as a chink in Clinton’s armor, a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. It is only slightly less surprising that they would seek to lure Weiner, already known to have an addiction to sexting, into a situation that would embarass his wife, and perhaps cause serious damage to the Clinton campaign.

What is more intriguing, though, is the evidence that days before Comey made his explosive announcement in October 2016, Trump insiders were publicly predicting an “October Surprise.” And, further, that the problems of Weiner became not just the problems of his wife, but of Clinton, a woman who really had very little to do with him.


Very early on, Trump was publicly signalling that a way to harm Clinton was via Weiner.

On August 3, 2015, Donald Trump tweeted in his inimitable and confusing style:

“It came out that Huma Abedin knows all about Hillary’s private illegal emails. Huma’s PR husband, Anthony Weiner, will tell the world.”

Whatever he meant to suggest, this much is clear: Trump, then a longshot presidential contender, not only had Clinton in his sights; he had identified Abedin and her controversial spouse Weiner as potential embarrassments to the frontrunner.

That August 3 tweet was just one in a string. His assertions essentially anticipated that an attack was coming, if not when and how. He also regularly referred to Weiner as a degenerate and liability to Clinton.

All that was missing was a girl to lure Weiner into another “sexting” transgression. Then the trap could be sprung and the computer contents publicized.

On March 22, 2017, a year and a half later, after a highly improbable turn of events had landed Trump in the White House and astonished the world, the new president bragged to Time magazine that he had predicted the importance of Weiner long before the fact.

Huma [Abedin] and Anthony [Weiner] you know what I tweeted about that whole deal and then it turned out he had it, all of Hillary’s email on his thing.

Of course, Trump greatly distorted the facts, but that mattered little once the dust had settled.

From another point of view, what Trump and his enablers seem to have proven is that Hillary Clinton had (and would continue to have) evidence to back up her famous assertion from 1998, when she said that she and her husband were under siege from a “vast, right-wing conspiracy.”

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton late in the 2016 campaign.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) and Gage Skidmore / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

“A Lot of Funny Business”

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That conspiracy — maybe a more accurate term is “obsession” — was still bearing poisonous fruit nearly two decades later.

While a lot of what was happening might qualify as hard campaigning, it would be an entirely different matter if law enforcers handed information to Team Trump. In addition, it was remarkable the way conservative news outlets were willing to spin exaggerations — even overt lies — as special, inside information from law-enforcement, to help the Republican contender.

“There was a lot of funny business going on,” Clinton recently told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “If the election had been held on October 27, I would have been your president.”

She was referring to FBI Director James Comey’s announcement, on October 28, that he had reopened the investigation into her emails.

While Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee in early May, 2017, “It makes me mildly nauseous to think we had an impact on the election,” he also insisted that he had no choice but to go public with the news of the re-investigation back in October — no matter what the consequences.

We now know how consequential that decision was. But what is only beginning to become clear is the story behind the story that Comey told the Senate. There is evidence that the FBI director’s hand may have been forced by a “dirty tricks” campaign mounted by anti-Clinton political operatives. People within the FBI’s New York office with strong ties to the Trump camp — and an aversion to Clinton — appear to have been involved.

Among the players in this sub rosa saga were

•  Alana Goodman, who frequently took aim at the Clintons from her perch at the Washington Free Beacon, and then greatly expanded her audience when she began writing for the British Daily Mail.

•  Sydney Leathers, the second of Anthony Weiner’s two sexting partners, and a porn actress, who contributed pieces to Washington Babylon, the blog of Ken Silverstein, a liberal journalist long critical of the Clintons. Leathers has presented herself as an expert in the art of entrapping politicians.

•  Alt-right Internet provocateur Charles C. “Chuck” Johnson, who worked at the neoconservative New York Sun, and eventually cycled through gigs at the Daily Callerand Breitbart. He was an early Trump supporter and reveled in political dirty tricks.

•  The unnamed 15-year-old from North Carolina, who reportedly was writing a book about Weiner, sexted with him, and whose accusations in the Daily Mailtriggered Weinergate redux.

•  Cassandra Fairbanks, a writer for the Kremlin-backed Sputnik News, who reportedly “converted” to a Trump supporter, after activism in Black Lives Matter and the Bernie Sanders campaign. She also is rumored to have close ties to the FBI.

•  Erik Prince, founder of the mercenary firm Blackwater, a big Trump supporter and brother of Trump Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, went public as part of a calculated propaganda campaign in a November 4 Breitbart News interview, making a host of wild and demonstrably false allegations in connection with the Weiner/Clinton revelations.

•  The New York office of the FBI, which had a long and close relationship with Donald Trump and his significant ally Rudolph Giuliani. And, as we previously reported, that FBI office was running a highly valued informant inside Trump Tower, a man who was doing business with Trump. One of the key FBI handlers went on to provide security to Trump’s campaign.

Once the director of the FBI became involved, it was as if a powerful electrical current had run through all of these parts of the story, completing the circuit.


A generally unsympathetic and increasingly reviled figure, Anthony Weiner has repeatedly disappointed voters and allies since his first sexting scandal surfaced. His effort to rehabilitate himself cratered with revelations of continued self-destructive behavior, in the process humiliating himself, his family, and would-be loyal supporters.

Our investigation, however, only concerns Weiner’s character inasmuch as his weaknesses — and unrestrained conduct — served the ends of a political dirty-tricks operation which seems to have altered the very fabric of the 2016 election.

Comey’s Comedy of Errors

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Notwithstanding some dissenters, a general consensus has emerged, and some data shows, that one of the principal events which handed Donald J. Trump the White House may have been the revelation of a letter from Comey to Congress, 11 days before the election, in which the FBI director notified lawmakers that the Bureau was examining new evidence regarding Clinton’s use of email.

FBI, James Comey

FBI Director James Comey Photo credit: FBI

As Comey had already declared the email scandal investigation closed four months earlier, the about-face had profound political repercussions.

Within hours of the news breaking, renewed cries of “lock her up” could be heard at Trump rallies and on news outlets covering them. The ground seemed to shift beneath both candidates. Trump became even more aggressive, while Clinton’s confidence appeared to wane — just as her lead in the polls shrank.

Polls would later reveal that party loyalists and independent voters cooled to the Democratic candidate in the final days of the campaign.

The Comey letter to Congress empowered the always-vocal army of Trump proxies and Republican commentators to question how voters could even think of electing someone who was under FBI investigation.

Very few people knew at the time that Trump’s campaign had itself been under investigation for months. On serious charges too — evident collusion with the Russian government to tip the election to Trump.

In April, The New York Times published an exhaustive account of the political and agency motivations behind Comey’s actions, but it did not go to the heart of the issue.

WhoWhatWhy believes the real story of Comey’s unprecedented actions took place outside the purview of FBI headquarters and the Justice Department.

Breitbart, Anthony Weiner

Breitbart screenshot of story about Erik Prince and Anthony Weiner.
Photo credit: Breitbart

What Set Off the Bomb?

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Many questions of crucial importance remain fully or partially unanswered. Among them:

How did Weiner’s latest “sexting” scandal come to light in the first place? Was the Daily Mail’s central role in the story influenced in any way by its legal dispute with Melania Trump, a suit that was only resolved after the election?

Who spread the false claim that there was a treasure-trove of as-yet-unseen Clinton emails waiting to be investigated on Weiner’s laptop?

How did the story surface that those non-existent emails contained salacious and even criminal material — rumors floated on Breitbart that stoked up Trump’s base?

Who leaked advance knowledge of Comey’s bombshell before it happened, and how did the leakers come by their information?

Why were all of these leakers so closely connected to Trump?

Was this second Comey investigation into Clinton’s emails a put-up job from the very beginning, enabling the Trump team to make an additional round of outrageous and libelous claims?

We now know that there never was a “there there,” but through leaks, false stories and outrageous spin by a host of Trump’s proxies, it turned out to be enough to help turn the election.

As you read the timeline below, ask yourself this central question: Were these a bunch of unrelated events, many involving Alt-right dirty tricksters, which just happened to feed on one another until they pushed the election over the edge?

Or was there a darker, more coordinated narrative, more like the notorious “Swift-Boating” of John Kerry, a campaign of false information that vilified a genuine war hero and changed the outcome of the presidential election of 2004?

Put another way, was the Weiner story politically motivated from the start? Had Comey been “catfished?” Based on the evidence gathered in a month-long investigation, it sure looks like it.

Catfishing: A Chronology

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2011

There are multiple attempts to smear Weiner by falsely connecting him to “teen girls” online. In June, Breitbart News and Mediaite posted stories purporting to show evidence that Weiner had been cyber-flirting with two teenagers. Mediaite extensively quoted two 16-year-olds under the pseudonyms “Betty and Veronica.” Both of them, however, along with “Betty’s” mom, turned out to be invented personasMediaite was forced to issue a retraction, even though the story’s writer claimed to have gone to “more than reasonable” lengths to confirm the accusers’ identities.

2015

Less than a month after he officially declares his candidacy, Donald Trump tweets:

“It came out that Huma Abedin knows all about Hillary’s private illegal emails. Huma’s PR husband, Anthony Weiner, will tell the world.”

2016

July 5:

In the course of a lengthy press conference, Comey announces that, after a nearly year-long investigation into the Clinton email server, the FBI has determined that no basis exists to refer charges to the Justice Department. Comey adds that no evidence was found of Clinton intentionally deleting emails “in an effort to conceal them.”

But Comey has more to say: “Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate the law governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”

While ostensibly closing the case, he has also thrown new fuel on the fire.

The GOP-controlled Congress wants more, though, and requests that the director notify them should the Bureau discover new information.

Late July – Early August

Charles C. Johnson [not to be confused with Charles Johnson the blogger behind the blog Little Green Footballs] reaches out first to online seductress Sydney Leathers and then conservative journalist Alana Goodman to form an alliance that, while mutually beneficial, would be most rewarding for Donald Trump. A reprised “Weinergate,” Johnson mused, while ostensibly focused on Abedin’s and Weiner’s troubled union, would lead inexorably to the real target.

“The public at large would think failed marriage, and they’d think Hillary and Bill,” he told WhoWhatWhy.

Engaging with Leathers made sense, he said referring to the fact that she claimed to know “all these women” who had been in contact with Weiner online.“I had a friend of mine who reached out to her and we said ‘if you hear anything else, here’s the money, flip us the information, and there’ll be more money later,’” Johnson said, explaining that besides relying on crowdfunding, he has considerable personal wealth.

On just how much exactly he paid Leathers to come up with the right victims, Johnson draws a blank. “I don’t know how much we gave her, I can’t remember,” he said, adding, “We did a lot of research, all the Hillary ties, making sure it got to the right journalists. If a journalist was doing really good work against [Hillary] they’d get an email with more research. So it was a lot of fun.”

(Editor’s Note: Sydney Leathers, who did not respond to interview requests before publication, has now been in touch. She challenges Charles Johnson’s claim to us that he paid her for her role in introducing the young woman to The Daily Mail — and has provided screenshots of a chat with Johnson in which he appears to deny what he first told us. We will continue to investigate this matter.)

August 11:

Ken Silverstein, a political progressive, who has long been critical of the Clintons — and is also a political columnist for the New York Observer, the paper Jared Kushner owned until the week prior to Trump’s inauguration — launches a new website called Washington Babylon. It features the piece by Sydney Leathers mentioned earlier in this article, ostensibly a review of the month-old documentary “Weiner.”

Silverstein tells WhoWhatWhy that commissioning the story was an appeal for eyeballs, saying, “I had known Sydney and liked her and was looking for a good story that would get attention for the first day of Washington Babylon so I called her and asked her to do it.”

But Leathers clearly has an axe to grind, complaining about “people’s” suspicions that she “set [Weiner] up” to sink his 2013 mayoral candidacy. Most importantly she claims to know for a “fact” that his sexting behaviors continue despite his claims at being rehabilitated.

August 13:

The pro-Trump New York Post reports that an anonymous Republican student at an unnamed “NYC area college” using a female friend’s Twitter account “catfished” Weiner into sending him flirtatious direct messages. While the tone of the piece is mostly comical, given later circumstances one sentence rings ominously, “It’s the third time Weiner has been caught sexting.”

Appearing on a Miami radio show a week later, Weiner calls the “catfish” item a setup. “Look, I am a target of a local newspaper here in New York.” he says, clearly referring to the Post. “They got someone to get into a conversation with me online. I caught them at it, but they still had enough things to make a story out of it.”

August 28:

The Post splashes news of still another Weiner sexting scandal across its front page, under the headline “Pop Goes the Weiner.” The latest unnamed object of Weiner’s cyber-desire, a 40-something divorcee, was described as “a self avowed supporter of Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association who’s used Twitter to bash both President Obama and Clinton.”

September 1:

Almost immediately after being slapped with a $150 million defamation lawsuit by Melania Trump over a presumably erroneous August 20 story that the would-be First Lady was once an escort, the Mail prints a deeply apologetic retraction. Charles Harder —  the attorney who used Silicon Valley kingpin Peter Thiel’s fortune to put Gawker out of business — is Melania Trump’s attorney. Is it possible that the conservative Mail, under legal pressure, was looking to help the Trump campaign? Or was its readership, many of whom adored Trump, a factor?

September 21:

The Daily Mail’s Alana Goodman breaks the Weiner “underage sexting” story, which will eventually lead to Comey reopening an investigation into Clinton’s emails. The lengthy feature purports to chronicle a cyber-relationship between Weiner and an anonymous North Carolina 15-year-old.

Using obscured tweets and distorted photos as proof of the teenager’s claims, the piece takes us through the unnamed high-schooler’s cyber-romance, which began flowering in January, when the girl contacted Weiner for a book she was supposedly writing about him, and ended abruptly in July for reasons that are not clear. The most salacious claims in the Daily Mail article are that the two spoke suggestively over Skype and that Weiner showed her pornography.

Anthony Weiner messaged a 15-year-old that he wanted to ‘bust her tight p***y’ http://dailym.ai/2cHs20i 

Photo published for Anthony Weiner online sexual relationship with 15-year-old girl

Anthony Weiner online sexual relationship with 15-year-old girl

A high school girl, whose name is being withheld by DailyMail.com because she is a minor, has revealed her online relationship with Anthony Weiner began last January.

dailymail.co.uk

Goodman’s Mail story, immediately picked up by other media, created a huge splash. Speaking with WhoWhatWhy, Johnson credits the story’s virality to what he calls his paid online “troll army,” adding, “I made sure it was amplified all over Twitter.

The teen reportedly sent Weiner two email “letters,” one under false pretenses, to a fake email address that was purportedly her teacher’s —  which Weiner was cc’d on — and the second after she had spoken with the Daily Mail. To some skeptics, the second letter is especially puzzling. At times the writer seems anxious to apologize; at other moments she is a self-righteous avenger reveling in her ability to injure Weiner. The language is a curious mishmash of half-formed and even contradictory ideas.

In lengthy blog-post, controversial former UK MP and anti-Trump activist Louise Mensch, noted that the teenager’s letter contains passages lifted from famous writerssuch as J.D. Salinger, David Foster Wallace, Chuck Palahniuk and Charles Bukowski.

The writer switches from first to third person (For example: “You took advantage of her young, naive mind. She was infatuated with you. You should be glad that I am one of the most disensitized [sic] teenagers.”) And she admits to using trickery such as setting up a fake gmail account and “ten minute mail.”

Later, the teen will release a letter to Comey complaining that her efforts to keep Weiner from harming other teens now had become politicized and could affect the election.

Critics have said that letter differs from other communications purportedly authored by the teen, which they claim suggests the teen does not exist, or was a surrogate for others.

Goodman did not respond to multiple requests for comment. But Weiner suspected he had again been the victim of a hoax. In a short emailed statement published as a sidebar to the main article, he wrote in part, ‘While I have provided the Daily Mail with information showing that I have likely been the subject of a hoax, I have no one to blame but me for putting myself in this position.”

It is entirely possible that there exists in Gastonia, N.C., a precocious, emotionally vulnerable young teen who has a history of connecting with older men on the Internet and whose emails contain allusions to famous writers, sometimes switches from the first to third person, and include a few typos and mood swings. No one wants to victimize a victim.

But there is not much evidence that anyone has met the victim in person, and the interview clips of her are too fuzzy to establish whether her appearance matches that of a young teen.

The FBI has not stated its agents met in person with the teen, although a man identified as her father told BuzzFeed that an on-site interview was conducted by agents. And no reporter has confirmed meeting face-to-face with her, either.

Larry McShane, who filed a follow up to the Mail piece for the Daily News, claimed to have independently confirmed” the girl’s identity without speaking to her. McShane told WhoWhatWhy that “he honestly didn’t remember” how the News verified the girl’s age and identity. Alana Goodman also would not comment about any aspects of her story.

An article posted by BuzzFeed, on April 10, responding to Louise Mensch’s February claims that the North Carolina underage girl was bogus, is more adamant: “BuzzFeed News subsequently interviewed the teenager in person. She is real, not invented.”

Blogger David Mack, who also says that he has interviewed her, writes:

BuzzFeed News is not identifying the underage girl or her family to protect their privacy. BuzzFeed News independently confirmed the teen’s identity, in part, via an email provided by Weiner, by traveling to her hometown, and by speaking with her and her father.

His statement fails to confirm who, if anyone, from BuzzFeed actually met the girl. Moreover, when contacted by WhoWhatWhy on April 13, Mack was equally vague about whether they met, only writing that his “reports speak for themselves,” and that he cannot divulge any more information because of “promises [he] made to the family.”

Weiner reportedly disclosed her contact information to the media. However, repeated efforts by WhoWhatWhy to reach Weiner and Abedin have been unsuccessful.

Anthony Weiner

Anthony Weiner Photo credit: Coalition for Queens / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

On the very day of the Daily Mail story, September 21, Chuck Johnson brags on his own site GotNews that he had been “woke” to Weiner’s texting scandal since 2013. He had indeed written, in July of that year, a long story for the Daily Caller about a Chick-fil-A employee and high school student who seemed to be trying to set Weiner up on Twitter in 2011.

September 22:

CNN announces there is an investigation into Weiner based on the sexting.

Jake Tapper refers to the Daily Mail story and repeats Anthony Weiner’s response that he has been the victim of a hoax but has no one to blame but himself. The cable news channel goes on to report that prosecutors in the office of US Attorney Preet Bharara have issued a subpoena for Anthony Weiner’s cell phone and other records. The text published by CNN reads: “The FBI and the New York Police Department have opened preliminary investigations of allegations that the former New York Democratic congressman exchanged sexually explicit text messages with a purportedly underage girl.”

Early October:

FBI agents seize Weiner’s laptop. Details on the precise date and exactly what level of scrutiny the Bureau’s New York office applied to the contents are unclear.

October 7:

The infamous Access Hollywood audio surfaces with Donald Trump bragging that he grabs women he barely knows “by the pussy.” He says they let you get away with it if you are famous.

The story creates an immediate firestorm. Most pundits claim his candidacy has been irrevocably damaged. But two things happen to mitigate the damage. Within hours, the first emails of the John Podesta email hack are released, likely courtesy of Russia by way of Wikileaks. The rest of 19,252 Democratic National Committee emails are leaked over the rest of the month.

October 9:

The beleaguered Trump shows up at his final debate press conference with three women who have leveled sexual assault allegations at Bill Clinton: Juanita BroaddrickPaula Jones and Kathleen Willey. A fourth woman at the press conference, Kathy Shelton (whom Johnson called “Hillary’s rape victim”), was 12 years old when a 27-year-old Hillary Clinton successfully defended her accused rapist in court. Johnson, Bannon and Kushner worked as a team to put the four women at the center of the debate.

Chuck Johnson, who paid an undisclosed amount of money to surface the Weiner sexting story, claims credit to WhoWhatWhy for bringing the women to the debate. “I was the one who arranged the whole thing,” he says. “From top to bottom.” (Johnson tells WhoWhatWhy that he spent a whopping total of one million dollars of his own money on opposition research against Hillary Clinton.)

During the month of October, nothing official is heard from either the NYPD, the FBI or the US Attorney’s office. But clearly people have been leaking regularly to Trump campaign surrogates and the Trump family about developments in the ongoing investigations.

Trump children

Left to right: Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, Lara Trump (behind in red dress) and Tiffany Trump
Photo credit: Disney | ABC Television Group / Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

October 24:

Appearing on Fox Friends a month after the Daily Mail revelations, Eric Trump’s wife, Lara Trump, hints broadly at an “October Surprise.” Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law says, “There’s still a few days left in October… We’ve got some stuff up our sleeve.”

The alleged 15-year-old victim of Anthony Weiner’s sexting escapades lives in Gastonia, North Carolina. Coincidentally or not, Lara and Eric Trump visited the local GOP office in Gastonia just three days before her TV appearance.

October 25:

Rudy Giuliani also appears on Fox Friends, bearing a similar message. Host Brian Kilmeade asks the Trump surrogate about the campaign’s plan for the final two weeks.

Laughing, Giuliani replies, “You’ll see. We’ve got a couple of surprises left.” Repeating the phrase “you’ll see,” Giuliani adds, “And I think it will be enormously effective.”

Giuliani isn’t quite finished. According to a comprehensive story by DailyKos on the leaks, Giuliani is asked by a My City Paper reporter on his way out of the Fox studio what the October Surprise might be. “No hints,” responds the former mayor. “But it will be good.”

October 26

Roughly three weeks after the FBI’s New York bureau seized Weiner’s laptop and discovered Clinton emails, Director Comey hears about it for the first time. Explanations for the purported delay in notifying Comey of this startling discovery include the New York office being distracted by other projects and its computers repeatedly crashing. The practical effect was to delay the damaging announcement to much closer to the election — when Clinton forces had much less time to respond.

On the same day Comey is notified, Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, reverses course and decides that he will vote for Donald Trump after all, even though he still will not endorse him. Chaffetz had been one of the most outspoken Republicans in protesting the infamous Access Hollywood video. Is the timing sheer coincidence or has Chaffetz also heard the leaks about the bombshell that is coming and has decided to back a winner?

Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani campaigning for Donald Trump, 2016.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Giuliani appears on Fox News so giddy he can barely contain himself. On America’s Newsroom he declares that Trump has a surprise or two “that you’re going to be hearing about in the next few days.” Warming to his task, he continues, “I mean, I mean…I’m talking about some…pretty big surprises…You’ll see.” By the end of this carefully drawn out tease, Giuliani is positively chortling with self-satisfaction.

October 28

Comey sends a letter to Congress announcing that the FBI is looking into new Clinton emails after learning of documents “that appear to be pertinent to the investigation.”

Comey’s letter to Congress, described by media sources as well as politicians on the left and right as “brief” and “vague,” does not say that the FBI is re-opening its investigation, but that is how the world will interpret his remarks — thanks to the way the media echo chamber accepts Chaffetz’s coyly worded tweet at face value. Comey, it is obvious in hindsight, had lost control of the narrative some days before his letter to Congress.

His letter reads in part: “In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned about emails [which may] contain classified material.”

October 29

Lara Trump brags to WABC’s Rita Cosby that Trump had “forced” Comey’s hand with the letter.

“I think my father-in-law forced their hand in this. You know, he has been the one since the beginning saying that she shouldn’t be able to run for president, and I commend him on that.”

October 30

The FBI asks the federal court in New York for a warrant to search Abedin’s emails on Weiner’s computer.

The request for the warrant reads, “There is probable cause to believe that the Subject Laptop contains evidence, contraband, fruits, and/or other items illegally possessed in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 793 (e) and (f).”

When the warrant is released to the public on Dec. 20, it is hammered by critics. Randy Schoenberg, the lawyer who forced the court to unseal the document, is quoted in The Hill as saying, “I see nothing at all in the search warrant application that would give rise to probable cause, nothing that would make anyone suspect that there was anything on the laptop beyond what the FBI had already searched [for.]”

FBI Hillary Clinton Anthony Weiner Warrant by Marc Torrence on Scribd

October 31

The mainstream media who have collectively so far viewed the election as a formality begin to show signs of worry. Reassuring its cosmopolitan readers that Clinton’s established strength remains unassailable, the Guardian reports: “Nearly 100 former Department of Justice officials and prosecutors, both Republican and Democratic and led by the former Obama attorney general Eric Holder, signed a letter criticising Comey’s decision.”

The contradiction between Comey’s radio silence on the FBI’s ongoing probe into Russian computer hacking and his vocal reopening of the investigation into Hillary’s emails draws criticism that he has violated the Hatch Act, which bars federal officials from abusing their authority to sway elections. In a Times op-ed explaining the complaint he has filed against the FBI with two oversight bodies, Richard Painter, a lawyer with the George W. Bush administration, writes, “The F.B.I.’s job is to investigate, not to influence the outcome of an election.”

November 1

Chuck Johnson, the man who told WhoWhatWhy he connected the 15-year-old with the Daily Mail’s Alana Goodman, brags on a Trumpdevoted Reddit thread about his role in the new Comey bombshell.

ChuckCJohnsonVerified

Hillary is collapsing after I helped introduce underaged women who sexted with Weiner to various newspaper journalists. It’s over. The black vote is too low to matter. We can’t get complacent but there are serious problems for the Democrats.

November 2

A letter from the girl to Comey is leaked and published by BuzzFeed. In it, she accuses the FBI itself of having a political agenda and seeking to blow the story out of proportion by tipping off the media:

“Not even 10 minutes after being forensically interviewed with the FBI for seven hours, I received a phone call from a REPORTER asking for a statement.”

By taking this action when she did, she positioned herself as someone not seeking publicity while at the same time creating a new, damaging twist that put the whole thing back in the news.

Depicted in the tweet below are, left to right: Cassandra Fairbanks, James Gordon Meek and Alana Goodman.

As BuzzFeed writes, Mensch’s ceaseless accusations against Cassandra Fairbanks based on her being a Russian agent were excessive and strange even by Twitter standards. But a friend of Goodman’s, and at least an acquaintance of Johnson’s, Fairbanks has engendered wariness.

Purportedly a former Black Lives Matter and Bernie Sanders supporter who went over to Trump’s side last summer, she had, by early June, garnered a reputation among progressive activists of being a close ally of an FBI informant.

A BBC article dated October 5, 2016, “The Social Media Star who Flipped to Trump,” accepts her lightning quick transformation at face value. But her cyber-footprint of BLM “activism,” filled with pseudo-radical chic selfies and provocations of fellow protesters, lend credence to suspicions that she was a counterfeit radical, i.e., a poseur, trying to harm the movement. This January, she wrote effusively about Johnson’s crowdsourcing efforts for the right-libertarian site We Are Change. (Johnson told WhoWhatWhy that he knew Fairbanks, but “not well.”)

As Election Day approaches, Trump’s “outside” media machine whirrs into overdrive on the Weiner story, sensationalizing it with every re-iteration. Setting the tone, True Pundit headline blares:

NYPD Blows Whistle on New Hillary Emails:

Money Laundering, Sex Crimes with Children, Child Exploitation, Pay to Play, Perjury

November 3

Maximizing the sordid saga for political impact, the Trump campaign releases a TV ad calling Weiner a “pervert and referencing emails.

The Guardian reports that a highly unfavorable view of Clinton among FBI rank-and-file pressured Comey into re-opening an investigation into her emails. The piece quotes an anonymous Bureau agent who says, “FBI is Trumpland.”

November 4

In one of the most amazing developments in this bizarre story, Erik Prince gives an extraordinary interview on Breitbart, the propaganda outlet formerly run by Donald Trump’s campaign CEO Steve Bannon. Prince, the founder of the reviled Blackwater mercenary force that operated in Iraq, and brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, had been a well-hidden Trump campaign operative until this interview.

Prince tells Breitbart that he has learned what is in the newly discovered emails from well-placed sources in the NYPD, and claims that it includes evidence of “money laundering” and of a Clinton “sex island” with “under-age sex slaves” that is “so disgusting…”

He claims that Abedin is “an agent of influence very sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood, that Weiner himself may soon be arrested by NYPD.”

None of these assertions held up, but for the next four days they would spread like wildfire on fake news sites and stoke the renewed cries of “lock her up.”

The new investigation will “shine the light on this great evil,” Prince announces. Some claim that this commentary added credence to the now infamous fake “child sex ring” news story dubbed Pizzagate being pushed on fringe right-wing sites

In a lengthy interview with WhoWhatWhy, Chuck Johnson spoke of his long and close relationship with Erik Prince which began when they met in 2011 at a conservative Human Rights Conference hosted in Oslo. “We talk once or twice a week,” he adds. “We’re still friends.”

Like other Trump surrogates, Prince said that, if someone under FBI investigation were elected president, it would be a constitutional crisis. In terms of Clinton, that threat ended the following day when Comey announced that there was no “there” there — not even any new emails.

Few people knew at the time that the country would, in fact, elect a president who was under FBI investigation.

The flow of fake news went according to plan: from the fringe website Infowars to Breitbart to talk radio to Trump and his surrogates to Fox News and on to the world.

November 6:

Less than two days before Election Day, the Weiner story is over.

Comey clears Clinton of any wrongdoing once again. Comey’s brief letter to Congress explains that after “working round the clock” the investigators have decided, “not to change our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton.” It turns that that there were no new Clinton emails, no evidence of money laundering, nothing relating to sex islands or sex slaves, no arrest or charges against Weiner.

But the damage was done.

James Comey Letter 11-6-2016 by Doug Mataconis on Scribd

November 9

Johnson is spotted in the VIP section of Trump’s victory party at New York’s Hilton Hotel.

While Johnson would not divulge to WhoWhatWhy who invited him to the notoriously exclusive celebration, he spoke freely about his influence with Trump’s braintrust. He described a process of vetting, suggesting, and introducing candidates to the incoming administration through his highly placed friends. He estimates “about a hundred” of his picks got jobs with the new administration, with more still being added.

With their candidate headed for the White House, Giuliani can continue to gloat; Lara Trump can be thankful she had a role to play; Prince has come out of the woodwork and was reported to be representing Trump in talks with the Russians in the faraway Seychelles Islands; Michael Flynn, who had yelled “Lock her up,” is now under various investigations. And Comey has his hands full with another investigation, looking into the possibility that Trump’s presidential campaign may have colluded with either the Russian government or the Russian mob, or both, in interfering in the presidential election on behalf of Trump. But Comey waited until March 20 — more than four months after the election — to announce that investigation.

In terms of the Weiner story itself there were several loose ends.

•  Had there ever been a 15-year-old girl? If so, had anyone put her up to sexting with Weiner and then paid her to appear on camera in disguise? (Certainly, as WhoWhatWhy’s investigation makes clear, Leathers was paid for her efforts.)

•  Who wrote those confused letters, peppered with literary passages, surfaced by the Daily Mail?

•  Did the fact that the Daily Mail was threatened by a libel suit play any part in the tale?

•  Had Comey’s hand been forced by supporters of Donald Trump within the FBI?

•  How did so much false information get out regarding Weiner’s laptop before the FBI even obtained its search warrant?

•  Who leaked information to Lara Trump and Giuliani?

•  Did anyone feed false stories to Prince, or did he make them up?

And of course the biggest question of all: Would Trump be president today had it not been for a mysterious 15-year-old girl, Chuck Johnson’s efforts, Alana Goodman’s story in the Daily Mail and Prince’s totally false claims about what might have been on the “new” emails that did not in fact exist?

Trump himself was clearly grateful to the FBI chief. On January 22, at a White House reception for law-enforcement officials, the newly-minted president singled out Comey for special praise and a warm hug.

Yet, with Trump under intense scrutiny over — practically everything, but particularly his alleged close ties to Russia — Trump’s media proxies kept their base focused on the Clinton emails. This strategy also kept the pressure on Comey, who was due to testify to Congress on both matters.

The allegations have grown to include unnamed NYPD brass claiming that Clinton personally knew all about Weiner’s sexting in real time, including but not limited to the girl’s purported suicidal ideation. As the right-wing site True Pundit wrote on March 22:

New York Police Department detectives and sources working an underage child pornography case against Anthony Weiner confirm the laptop seized from the former congressman contains proof that Hillary Clinton knew he was engaging in a long sexual relationship with a minor but did not intervene to alert any state or federal authorities to protect the 15 year old.

Almost nothing in these reports could be confirmed — including that there was any kind of pending case against Weiner, as implied by the New York Post:

On the federal level, Weiner could be charged with sexual exploitation of children, which carries a minimum of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 30.

In a replay of a move used on Comey before Election Day, a newly tweaked version of Weiner’s sexting partner’s angry letter to the Bureau director is leaked on March 28 to Gateway Pundit.

Donald Trump himself played a crucial role in this. On the eve of Comey’s latest congressional testimony, the president, ever masterful at calculated distractions, was actually attacking his own FBI director, tweeting:

FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds! The phony…

At the time of posting, Trump had added a second astonishing accomplishment to his surprise electoral victory: keeping the country focused on wrongdoing by someone other than himself.


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Mrs. Clinton is absolutely correct about the Russian “personal vendetta” against her… I suspect that Mrs. Clinton was possibly poisoned…

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Image result for hillary clinton health

I think, Mrs. Clinton is absolutely correct about the Russian “personal vendetta” against her. When I reviewed information (available on the Internet) about Mrs. Clinton’s illness, described as a “concussion” and “post-concussion syndrome”, I got the impression that her illness started earlier, and with the gastrointestinal symptoms, which led me to suspect that Mrs. Clinton was possibly poisoned (most likely by her geopolitical opponents). Postconcussion syndrome takes years to develop, and usually, it is caused by the series of the repetitive injuries or the single severe injury. Her symptoms, as I understood from the descriptions, were more consistent with the initial gastrointestinal illness. Dr. Omalu’s impressions are in the same vein, although it would be interesting to learn if he bases them strictly on the history and symptoms of the illness, namely its clinical picture; or if he had access to the para-clinical studies such as MRI and CAT scan, which made him doubt the diagnosis of the post-concussion syndrome. 

“In December 2012 Clinton was hospitalized for a few days for treatment of a blood clot in her right transverse venous sinus.[364] Her doctors had discovered the clot during a follow-up examination for a concussion she had sustained when she fainted and fell nearly three weeks earlier, as a result of severe dehydration from a viral intestinal ailment acquired during a trip to Europe.[364][365] The clot, which caused no immediate neurological injury, was treated with anticoagulant medication and her doctors have said she has made a full recovery.[365][366][m]” 

The References on the subject of H. Clinton’s health:

  1.  Allen and Parnes 2014, p. 340
  2. Jump up to:a b Allen and Parnes 2014, pp. 339–42, 360–62
  3. Jump up to:a b c d Cooper, Helene (December 31, 2012). “Clinton’s Blood Clot Is Located Near Her Brain, Doctors Say”The New York Times.
  4. Jump up to:a b c Karni, Annie (July 31, 2015). “Hillary’s health ‘excellent,’ doctor says”Politico

Was Hillary Clinton poisoned? – GS

I think it is a valid hypothesis, and it needs further exploration, to enhance our understanding of the related events. 

Was the comprehensive battery of toxicology tests done? 

I would think that the modern intelligence services possess poisons that cannot be detected by the toxicology tests. 

This issue is important also for prevention purposes. 

The suspects should not include the Russians only. Mrs. Clinton had enough enemies in the Middle East also, especially among those enraged by her liberal pro-women and pro- LGBT agenda. Other sets of motivations might include the revenge for Gadaffy death

The specifically designed and targeted bacteriological weapon is also a distinct possibility, and not entirely from the realm of science fiction.  

Image result for hillary clinton health

Recalling the rather puzzling episode a year ago, when Mrs. Clinton almost fainted at 9/11 commemoration day, I would think that the use of some portable thermal or similar type of the hidden weapon directed specifically at Mrs. Clinton, cannot be ruled out, excluded, disproven, and should not be disregarded, for many reasons. 

Michael Novakhov 

9.13.17

__________________________________

putin won US 2016 election – Google News: Kremlin rejects Hillary Clinton’s claim about Putin having ‘personal vendetta’ against her – TASS
 


Sputnik International
Kremlin rejects Hillary Clinton’s claim about Putin having ‘personal vendetta’ against her
TASS
In her book, published by Simon and Schuster, the former US first lady tells about her presidential campaign and the defeat that she faced at the 2016 presidential election. She also writes about the mistakes she made and shared her impressions of the …
Kremlin Denies Putin Had ‘Personal Vendetta’ Against Hillary ClintonSputnik Internationalall 3 news articles »

putin won US 2016 election – Google News


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Lawyer says extradition of oligarch tied to Trump campaign chief imminent – Chicago Tribune

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Prosecutors say wiretapped conversations link Ukrainian to Chicago, argue he will flee to Russia.

Source: Lawyer says extradition of oligarch tied to Trump campaign chief imminent – Chicago Tribune

Billionaire Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash is at “great risk” of being brought from Austria to face justice in a Chicago courtroom “within weeks,” his lawyer told a federal judge Monday.

But prosecutors say they are concerned that Firtash — who is wanted on racketeering charges and has ties to President Donald Trump‘s former campaign manager Paul Manafort — will jump on a private jet to Russia if a Chicago judge rules against him before he is handed over to U.S. authorities.

See also:

Sputnik investigation: The FBI recently questioned a former White House correspondent for Sputnik

Trump Investigations Report

The World News and Times – Information Management Service: Current World News | Reviews of media reports | Selected reading lists | Video and Audio News | News Topics RSS Feeds | News, Reviews, Analysis, Opinions


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Sixteen years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks…

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Sixteen years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, we still don’t know what happened… While some in our government may have at least partial knowledge, the American public doesn’t know the answers to these questions. 

_____________

“Many are skeptical that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the man accused of being the “architect” of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, will ever stand trial as he prepares for his 25th pre-trial hearing next month. Joanna Walters explains at the Guardian.”

___________________

See also: 

9/11 – GS

Search Results for: 9/11

The darkness of the lowly truths: 9/11 and Russia – connecting the dots – by Michael Novakhov

Michael Novakhov on 9/11 – Google Search

News Reviews and Opinions: Uncovering the Hidden Truths of 9/11 …

____________________________________

Why Did Robert Mueller Obstruct Congress’s 9/11 Probe?

1 Share

Sixteen years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, we still don’t know what happened. How did a ragtag bunch of hijackers, armed only with box cutters, manage to gain control of those airliners? How did they get into the United States to begin with? Who supported them while they were here? Why didn’t law enforcement – which had plenty of clues as to what they were up to – stop them? Prior to the attacks, our government spent billions on “anti-terrorist” programs designed to prevent precisely what occurred on September 11, 2001 – yet Mohammed Atta and his accomplices managed to slip through the cracks. How?

While some in our government may have at least partial knowledge, the American public doesn’t know the answers to these questions.

What we do know, however, is that our lives were changed forever: propelled into a war without end, the United States launched attacks on Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere that are still ongoing. Thousands of Americans and an untold number of Afghans, Iraqis, and others – hundreds of thousands– have so far perished in what our generals tell us will be a “generational” conflict with no discernible end in sight.

We also know, thanks to public agitation around this question, that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had substantial involvement in the 9/11 attacks. The campaign to reveal the redacted portions of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11 was partially successful, although there is still much the government is keeping from the American people. What we learned from the pages that were revealed is that Saudi government employees aided and directed at least two of the hijackers – and that Prince Bandar al Sultan, then Saudi ambassador to the United States, was at the center of the spider web that ensnared the nation on 9/11.

Now a lawsuit brought by some of the 9/11 families reveals that, a full two years before 9/11, the Saudi government funded a “dry run” designed to test airline security. As Paul Sperry reports in the New York Post:

“Two years before the airliner attacks, the Saudi Embassy paid for two Saudi nationals, living undercover in the US as students, to fly from Phoenix to Washington ‘in a dry run for the 9/11 attacks,” alleges the amended complaint filed on behalf of the families of some 1,400 victims who died in the terrorist attacks 16 years ago.”

The lawsuit accuses the Saudis of providing “both financial and operational support” to the operation, which was clearly a covert action by Saudi intelligence. Lawyers for the complainants allege that the two “students” — Mohammed al-Qudhaeein and Hamdan al-Shalawi – were part of “the Kingdom’s network of agents in the US.”

The evidence marshaled by the lawsuit is pretty impressive. It shows that:

  • These “students” trained at an al-Qaeda camp at the same time as some of the hijackers.
  • They had regular contact with a highly-placed Saudi leader of al-Qaeda who is now imprisoned at Gitmo.
  • Both were Saudi government employees and were in regular contact with the Saudi embassy.

It was November, 1999, when Qudhaeein and Hamdan boarded an Air West flight to Washington, D.C., and started acting in a highly suspicious manner. A summary of the FBI files on them states:

“After they boarded the plane in Phoenix, they began asking the flight attendants technical questions about the flight that the flight attendants found suspicious. When the plane was in flight, al-Qudhaeein asked where the bathroom was; one of the flight attendants pointed him to the back of the plane. Nevertheless, al-Qudhaeein went to the front of the plane and attempted on two occasions to enter the cockpit.”

The reaction of the pilots was clearly “Islamophobic” – they carried out an emergency landing in Ohio, where the duo was arrested, handcuffed, and taken in for questioning. Luckily for the Saudi conspirators, the FBI decided their behavior was no big deal and let them go. It was only later that our Keystone Kops discovered that “a suspect in a counterterrorism investigation in Phoenix was driving Shalawi’s car” and this “student” had “trained at terrorist camps in Afghanistan and had received explosives training to perform attacks on American targets.” As for Qudhaeein, the FBI concluded he “was a Saudi intelligence agent, based on his frequent contact with Saudi officials.”

Move along, folks — nothing to see here!

wrote about the connection between the Saudi government and the activities of some of the hijackers in San Diego, which was revealed when the 28 pages of the redacted Joint Inquiry report were partially unredacted. We wouldn’t know anything about this part of the 9/11 plot if Robert Mueller – then FBI director, now the “special counsel” heading up the “Russia-gate” probe – had had his way. When the Joint Inquiry sent former FBI lawyer and counterterrorism expert Michael Jacobson to San Diego to investigate Saudi links to 9/11, Mueller was furious, as Andrew Cockburn reports in Harper’s:

“Bob Graham, the former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told me recently that Robert Mueller, then the FBI director (and now the special counsel investigating connections between Russia and the Trump campaign) made “the strongest objections” to Jacobson and his colleagues visiting San Diego.

“Graham and his team defied Mueller’s efforts, and Jacobson flew west. There he discovered that his hunch was correct. The FBI files in California were replete with extraordinary and damning details …”

Jacobsons’s San Diego sojourn unearthed much evidence of FBI incompetence, including the fact that two of the hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar,who had arrived in California from Malaysia and been taken under the wing of Saudi agents, “had been close with an FBI informant, Abdussattar Shaikh,” as Cockburn informs us:

“Hazmi had actually lived in his house after Mihdhar left town. Shaikh failed to mention his young Saudi friends’ last names in regular reports to his FBI case officer, or that they were taking flying lessons. Understandably, the investigators had a lot of questions for this man. Nevertheless, Mueller adamantly refused their demands to interview him, even when backed by a congressional subpoena, and removed Shaikh to an undisclosed location ‘for his own safety.’ Today, Graham believes that Mueller was acting under orders from the White House.”

Think about this for a moment: the man now in charge of investigating the President of these United States for “collusion” with Russia and possible “obstruction of justice” himself obstructed a congressional investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Was Mueller, possibly on orders from President George W. Bush, colluding with the Saudis to cover up their role?

The Bush administration, with its familial ties to the Saudis, had every interest in covering up Riyadh’s active complicity. Aside from that, they were pushing the fable of Saddam Hussein’s ‘links” to the 9/11 attacks.

So many lies! So much official obstruction! Now, however, the truth is finally coming out. With the passage of legislation stripping the Saudis of their “sovereign immunity” – over President Obama’s veto – the class action suit against the Saudis is moving forward. Armed with thousands of pages of documents showing how Riyadh and its global network of Islamic extremists have succored, aided, and directed al-Qaeda and allied organizations in terrorist attacks against US citizens and interests, the families of those killed, wounded, and traumatized on September 11, 2001, are about to get their day in court.

And what is bound to come out is the complicity of US officials in the cover-up. It looks to me like Robert Mueller’s time in the spotlight is about to get a lot more interesting.

A NOTE TO MY READERS: Our fundraising campaign is over, and I’m happy to report that we reached our goal. Many thanks to all of you who contributed. Without your support, we just could not continue our work.

Independent journalism in the foreign policy field is more important than ever, and we’re grateful for your support. It’s a good thing that we can confront the future, however problematic it may be, with the full confidence of our readers and supporters. Again, many thanks.

And a very special thank you to the heroic Daniel Ellsberg, who helped us with such a kind letter of endorsement.

Read more by Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of <a href=”http://Antiwar.com” rel=”nofollow”>Antiwar.com</a>, and a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He is a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and writes a monthly column for Chronicles. He is the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000]. View all posts by Justin Raimondo

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Why Did Robert Mueller Obstruct Congress’s 9/11 Probe? – Antiwar.com

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Why Did Robert Mueller Obstruct Congress’s 9/11 Probe?
Antiwar.com
Sixteen years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, we still don’t know what happened. How did a ragtag bunch of hijackers, armed only with box cutters, manage to gain control of those airliners? How did they get and more »

Bannon: Trump firing of Comey was the ‘biggest mistake in modern political history’ – Washington Post

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Washington Post
Bannon: Trump firing of Comey was the ‘biggest mistake in modern political history’
Washington Post
Former White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon believes the firing of FBI director James B.Comey by President Trump was the biggest mistake “maybe in modern political history.” Bannon made the extraordinary statement during an online segment of his …
Bannon Calls Comey Firing the Biggest Mistake in ‘Modern Political History’New York Timesall 109 news articles »

Who Is Felix Sater, and Why Is Donald Trump So Afraid of Him?

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Felix Sater speaks at the Chabad of Port Washington in Port Washington, New York, in 2014. (YouTube: Felix Sater)

Every time someone asks Donald Trump if he knows Felix Sater, his Russian-born, Brooklyn-bred former business associate, Trump draws a blank. Despite the fact that Sater worked on and off for a decade with the Trump Organization, and despite his recent headline-making appearance as an exuberant negotiator on behalf of Trump’s hardnosed attorney, Michael Cohen, in seeking to build a “massive Trump Tower in Moscow” last year, Trump ducks.

“I mean, I’ve seen him a couple of times; I have met him,” Trump said, in a deposition in a court case involving Sater in 2013. And The New York Times reported him as saying, “If he were sitting in the room right now, I really wouldn’t know what he looked like.” As late as 2015, when asked about Sater, Trump hemmed and hawed. “Boy, I have to even think about it.”

It’s no wonder that Trump, especially now that he’s under investigation over his ties to Russia and its meddling in the 2016 election, would respond to questions about Sater by saying: Who’s he?

Of all the characters caught up in Russiagate, none come close to Sater for having a decades-long record as a larger-than-life, outside-the-law, spy agency-linked wheeler-dealer from the pages of a John le Carré novel. His past record includes a conviction for lacerating a man’s face with a broken margarita glass in a bar brawl and his involvement in a multimillion-dollar stock fraud and money-laundering scheme. Despite that record, which came before he worked with Trump, Sater spent nearly a decade working with the Trump Organization in search of deals in Russia and other former Soviet republics. But on August 28, Sater made the front pages of the Times and The Washington Post, thanks to leaked copies of e-mails that he sent in late 2015 and early 2016 to Cohen, concerning Sater’s efforts to work with a group of Russian investors to set up a flagship Trump property in the Russian capital.

In language that Cohen himself described to the Times as “colorful,” Sater seemed nearly beside himself as he reported on his work in Moscow on behalf of Trump:

“Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” wrote Sater. “I will get all of [Vladimir] Putins [sic] team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.… I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected.” Echoing a line that would later become Trump’s own description of why he and Putin might get along, Sater wrote that the Russian leader “only wants to deal with a pragmatic leader, and a successful business man is a good candidate for someone who knows how to deal.”

Sater couldn’t resist adding, “Michael I arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putins [sic] private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin.” According to the Times, Sater was “eager to show video clips to his Russian contacts of instances of Mr. Trump speaking glowingly about Russia.” Which, of course, Trump has done repeatedly over the years. And, though Trump has denied that he has any business interests in Russia, even as he was gearing up for the Republican presidential primary race, Cohen and Sater were deep into previously undisclosed talks with Russian partners about constructing a Trump-branded hotel, according to The Washington Post. In a statement to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence last week, Cohen did admit writing to Dmitry Peskov in connection with Sater’s work. Peskov, a spokesman for Vladimir Putin, confirmed the contact.

So who, exactly, is Felix Sater? Tim O’Brien, author of a biography of Trump, wrote about Sater in an article titled “Lean, Mean Trump-Russia Machine.” He was born in 1966 in the Soviet Union, and he and his family moved to Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, New York, when he was just 8. According to a recent Guardian profile, Sater’s relationship with Cohen—and to organized crime—goes way back:

Sater’s links to Trump’s circle can be traced back to not long after he came to the US as a child. His father, Mikhail Sheferovsky (who changed the family name after arriving in New York) became a local crime boss in Brighton Beach and Sater grew up on that side of Brooklyn, where he got to know another teenager in the neighbourhood, Michael Cohen, a Long Island boy who would go on to become Trump’s personal lawyer and vice-president of the Trump Organization.

Sorting out Sater’s checkered past leads into a convoluted labyrinth of crime, legal entanglements, shady deals, alleged ties to US and foreign intelligence agencies and, of course, intimate connections to Donald Trump and the Trump Organization. The best comprehensive account of Sater’s long and complicated path was written by Andrew Rice and published in August in New York magazine under the headline “The Original Russia Connection.” Rice’s account, which includes parts of a lengthy interview with Sater, draws heavily on a 2007 breakthrough piece by Charles Bagli in The New York Times. Bagli was the first to uncover and report in depth on Sater’s criminal past. This past February the Times published a blockbuster story by Megan Twohey and Scott Shane recounting an effort by Sater, Cohen, Gen. Mike Flynn, and a Ukrainian politician to put forward a half-cocked Ukrainian “peace plan” and deliver it, freelance fashion, to the White House. In addition, various lawsuits, testimony, and depositions by the characters in Sater’s erratic orbit, including by Trump himself, provide valuable material in figuring out who Sater is and what role he plays in the Trump-Russia story. In this piece, I draw on all of these sources and more.

Sater’s first run-in with the law came in 1991—according to the indictment, as reported by Bagli in the Times—when Sater, then an upstart stockbroker in his mid-20s, “grabbed a large margarita glass, smashed it on the bar and plunged the stem into the right side of [a rival] broker’s face. The man suffered nerve damage and required 110 stitches to close the laceration on his face.”

Sater, who served time in prison for that assault, was barred from financial trading by the National Association of Securities Dealers. Yet in 1993, Sater and several partners took over a securities firm called White Rock Partners, later called State Street Capital Markets, which portrayed itself as a legitimate brokerage firm but, in fact, ran a criminal enterprise involving stock fraud, money laundering, and a so-called “pump and dump” scheme that involved conspiring to inflate the apparent value of near-worthless stocks, sell them off to unsuspecting investors, and cash in. In so doing, for protection Sater drew on the assistance of his father’s friends in the Genovese crime family. According to Rice’s New York piece, Sater “laundered fraud proceeds through a labyrinthine network of Caribbean shell companies, Israeli and Swiss bank accounts, and contacts in New York’s Diamond District.” In the mid-1990s, New York reports, Sater spent a great deal of time in Moscow, where, according to a friend and business partner, Sal Lauria—who later wrote a book about all of this—“We were dealing with ex-KGB generals and with the elite of Russian society.”

It all came crashing down in 1998, when New York City police uncovered a stash of guns and documents in a mini-storage locker in SoHo implicating Sater and his partners in the fraud and money-laundering schemes. According to the Times, citing other defendants in the case, Sater pled guilty to racketeering charges for bilking at least $40 million from his investors. Using Sater’s testimony, the feds eventually convicted 19 of Sater’s cronies, including half a dozen who had mob connections. Significantly, the prosecutor who oversaw Sater’s cooperation agreement in the 1998 indictment, now sealed, was Andrew Weissmann—who is currently one of 16 prosecutors and criminal justice officials on the staff of special counsel Robert Mueller, who’s leading the Russiagate inquiry.

Enter the spies. During his time in Moscow and traveling around eastern Europe, Sater began cultivating ties to arms dealers, officials in US law enforcement and national security agencies, and—according to his interview in New York—even meeting with the GRU, the Russian military intelligence agency. In order to get some bargaining power after he was indicted in 1998, according to Sater himself, he told the FBI that he had obtained valuable information about Osama bin Laden, a cache of Stinger missiles, and more. His information, it seems didn’t pan out—but after 9/11, Sater did cooperate in some fashion with the US government. Overseeing the Sater case back then was none other than Loretta Lynch, then US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn). In her confirmation hearing to serve as US Attorney General under President Obama, Lynch confirmed that Sater did in fact work with the FBI “and other agencies”—presumably the CIA—in “providing information crucial to national security.” Where and how Sater gathered the information that he provided, whether or not it involved contacts with the Russian FSB (the successor to the KGB) and GRU, and whether those agencies themselves established a covert connection with Sater is something that both Mueller and the US intelligence community ought to be looking at today, of course.

Sater’s connection with Trump starts in the mid-2000s, when Sater joined a real estate firm called the Bayrock Group, which had been founded in 2001 by Tevfik Arif, a former Soviet official from Kazakhstan. Arif hired Sater in 2003, making him the firm’s chief operating officer. The firm later set up its headquarters on the 24th floor of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, just below Trump’s own suite of offices. (Sater’s first office suite, with his criminal enterprise called State Street Capital, had its offices in a Trump-owned building, 40 Wall Street, in the mid-1990s.)

Over the next several years Arif and Sater, via Bayrock, started or collaborated with Trump on a series of hotel and resort projects in Fort Lauderdale, Phoenix, and elsewhere. Their most important collaboration was the development in 2005 of the Trump SoHo project, which, according to the Times’s 2007 exposé of Sater, was a “sleek, 46-story glass tower condominium hotel [then] under construction on a newly fashionable section of Spring Street.” New York magazine adds that, oddly enough, the Trump SoHo tower “happened to be directly across the street from the storage facility that had been Sater’s previous undoing.”

When told by the Times about Sater’s criminal past, Alex Sapir, president of the Sapir Organization, which was involved in the SoHo project, said, “This is all news to me.” At the time, though, Trump didn’t separate himself from Sater, mingling with him at the SoHo opening, hanging out in Colorado while working on another project, and—according to Sater, at least—regularly interacting.

“How did I get to Donald?” Sater asked New York magazine, with typical braggadocio. “I walked in his door and told him, ‘I’m gonna be the biggest developer in New York, and you want to be my partner.’” After that, Sater said, he’d frequently pop into Trump’s own office to talk about this or that deal. “Donald wanted me to bring deals to him,” Sater told New York. “Because he saw how many I put on the table at Bayrock.”

Sater and Bayrock sought to extend the Trump brand to Ukraine, Poland, and elsewhere—including Moscow. Around 2005, Sater identified a location for a Trump Tower in the Russian capital, and he says that he personally escorted Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump around Moscow back then—an assertion that neither of the Trumps have denied. Last January The New York Times reported, “During a trip in 2006, Mr. Sater and two of Mr. Trump’s children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, stayed at the historic Hotel National Moscow opposite the Kremlin, connecting with potential partners over the course of several days.”

After the financial crisis of 2008, Bayrock ran into difficulty, and Sater went out on his own. According to New York, following his separation from Bayrock he went to work for the Trump Organization, even carrying a business card listing his title as “Senior Advisor to Donald Trump.” Despite that, Trump denies ever employing Sater directly.

Sater’s links to Trump in recent years are obscure. According to recent reporting by the Times and the Post, however, as recently as 2015-16, Sater and Cohen, Trump’s lawyer and the executive vice president of the Trump Organization, were working together on a Trump Tower Moscow arrangement, though that too didn’t pan out.

But Sater and Cohen would cooperate on another venture. Following Trump’s election, the two men worked together to develop a curious peace plan for Ukraine. In it, Sater and Cohen worked with Andrii Artemenko, a Ukrainian opposition politician who himself had a questionable past, having spent time in prison in Ukraine for an embezzlement scheme, according to the New York Times story last February that first broke the news of his collaboration with Sater and Cohen (the charges against Artemenko were eventually dropped). According to the Times, Sater met Cohen and Artemenko at a New York hotel just two blocks from Cohen’s current residence in Trump Park Avenue. Cohen, who’s married to a Ukrainian woman, has business ties there himself, having once tried to get a Ukrainian ethanol business off the ground.

In 2014, a popular revolt toppled Ukraine’s pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, who was replaced by another oligarch, the pro-Western Petro Poroshenko. Paul Manafort, the GOP operative who would later sign on as Donald Trump’s campaign manager, was on Yanukovych’s payroll for years, and when Yanukovych fled Ukraine for Russia, Manafort contracted with opposition politicians in Kiev to help build an anti-Poroshenko bloc—and Artemenko joined in. (Manafort, of course, is under intense scrutiny in the Russiagate investigation from Mueller and two committees of Congress over his possible role as a go-between in collusion between Russia’s spy network and the Trump campaign. In July, Mueller ordered a pre-dawn raid at Manafort’s Virginia home seeking evidence in the case, amid speculation that Manafort might “flip” and turn against Trump.)

According to the Times, the Artemenko plan—delivered to Sater and Cohen, and then to Michael Flynn, the short-lived White House national security adviser who was forced to resign in February—involved using unflattering or compromising information (kompromat) to help oust Poroshenko and then winning the support of a new Ukrainian government for a 50- to 100-year lease of Crimea to Russia—which in 2014 occupied and annexed Crimea, which for many decades had been part of Ukraine. Because the vast majority of Ukrainian political forces would never agree to surrender their claim to Crimea, the plan was considered a hopeless nonstarter by most experts familiar with the Ukraine crisis. Yet the role of Sater and Cohen, both Trump associates, contributed to the growing belief in Washington that Trump, who has steadily refused to criticize Putin for his authoritarian excesses, extrajudicial killings, and suppression of free expression in Russia, has questionable ties to Russia.

The plan went nowhere, however. According to the Times, Sater gave Cohen the proposal in a sealed envelope, who reportedly said he left it in Flynn’s office. But in an interview with HuffPost, Cohen said he never delivered the envelope. But that doesn’t quite jibe with the Times’s original report, which noted that when Flynn resigned (because of his own still unexplained conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak during the transition), Cohen was still waiting for a response, “hoping a new national security adviser will take up their cause.” So far, as far as we know, current National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster hasn’t responded to the idea, which is probably long dead.

Even allowing for Sater’s long-established record as a liar and self-promoter, there’s plenty here for Mueller and other investigators to dig into. And Sater, too, seems to believe that something big is coming. In his interview with New York magazine, he hinted ominously about the near future. “In about the next 30 to 35 days,” he told reporter Rice, “I will be the most colorful character you have ever talked about. Unfortunately, I can’t talk about it now, before it happens. And believe me, it ain’t anything as small as whether or not they’re gonna call me to the Senate committee.”

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Felix Sater – Google Search

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Story image for Felix Sater from The Nation.

Who Is Felix Sater, and Why Is Donald Trump So Afraid of Him?

The Nation.Sep 8, 2017
Every time someone asks Donald Trump if he knows Felix Sater, his Russian-born, Brooklyn-bred former business associate, Trump draws a …
Not at all quiet for Trump on the Russia front
St. Louis AmericanSep 8, 2017

felix sater – Google News: Trump’s pal plotted to hire journalist for negative stories – Page Six

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Page Six
Trump’s pal plotted to hire journalist for negative stories
Page Six
Felix Sater — the Russian-born, real estate mogul who helped build Trump Soho — once looked to hire a journalist for $1,000 a month to post and blog negative stories about an enemy. Randi Newton, currently a dating columnist for the New York Observer 

 felix sater – Google News

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Trump’s pal plotted to hire journalist for negative stories – Page Six

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Page Six
Trump’s pal plotted to hire journalist for negative stories
Page Six
Felix Sater — the Russian-born, real estate mogul who helped build Trump Soho — once looked to hire a journalist for $1,000 a month to post and blog negative stories about an enemy. Randi Newton, currently a dating columnist for the New York Observer 

‘Russian mafia’ from Brighton Beach charged with arson of illegal poker club in New York – https://en.crimerussia.com/

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https://en.crimerussia.com/
‘Russian mafia’ from Brighton Beach charged with arson of illegal poker club in New York
https://en.crimerussia.com/
In particular, Aleksey Tsvetkov aka Pelmen, who immigrated to the United States from Ukraine in 1992, used to be an expert in debt collecting. In 2003, he was arrested by the FBI as a member of another Russian organized crime group, the Brighton Beach …

‘Russian mafia’ from Brighton Beach charged with arson of illegal poker club in New York

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Four out of six suspects in the arson of a three-story building in May last year were arrested in November 2016 as part of a large-scale operation of the FBI and the New York police against the organized crime groups of immigrants from the former Soviet Union countries.

The US Prosecutor’s Office in the Eastern District of New York has unveiled an indictment on charges of arson of the 3-story residential building in the Brighton Beach/Coney Island district of New York, in which an illegal poker club was located.

The major fire occurred on the night of May 2, 2016, but its reasons have not been officially announced until now. Residents of the building were evacuated, but firemen had to rescue two people blocked by flame in an apartment on the third floor. As a result of the fire-fighting operations, several New York fire fighters suffered injuries and burns.

According to the document, six members of the so-called Russian mafia have been convicted of arson; five of them were arrested almost a year ago on suspicion of other crimes, whereas the sixth person, Viktor Zelinger, is still at large.

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Members of a transnational OCG Aleksey Tsvetkov, Leonid Gershman (Lenchik), Vyacheslav Malkeev (Steve Bart), and Librado Riviera (Macho), arrested on charges of racketeering, drug trafficking, illegal possession of firearms, illegal usury, and the organization of an underground gambling business in November 2016, are currently in custody. As reported by the CrimeRussia, the investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) with the assistance of other law enforcement agencies.

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Detention of members of the criminal syndicate, November 2016

It is known that exerting pressure on their victims through their relatives in the US, the crime group would extort money abroad, namely in Israel and Eastern Europe. It was reported that the majority of those detained during the police operation had previous criminal experience. In particular, Aleksey Tsvetkov aka Pelmen, who immigrated to the United States from Ukraine in 1992, used to be an expert in debt collecting. In 2003, he was arrested by the FBI as a member of another Russian organized crime group, the Brighton Beach Crew, headed by Zinovy Bari.

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Aleksey Tsvetkov

According to the prosecutor’s office, Gershman and Malkeev were the Brighton Beach gang’s ‘power hitters’ along with Tsvetkov.

As reported by the press service of the Prosecutor’s Office of New York, all of them face various prison terms in accordance with the charges (from 17 years to life imprisonment).

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The Myth of Deep Throat

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Columnists, talking heads and op-ed writers are holding open auditions for a role that presumably needs to be filled if we are ever going to get to the bottom of what seems fated to be dubbed, for better or worse, Russiagate: a new Deep Throat.

I get it. In the years since Watergate, the Washington Post’s famous golden source—later revealed to be former FBI No. 2 executive W. Mark Felt—has become practically synonymous with the ideal of the noble leaker. The original Deep Throat “was instrumental in thwarting the conspiracy and bringing [President Richard] Nixon down,” Harry Litman, a former deputy assistant attorney general, approvingly wrote in the Los Angeles Times in May“Was it wrong for Deep Throat, as FBI official Mark Felt was then known, to guide the investigation?” Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan asked in June, in the midst of a column praising leaks and anonymous sources, and inviting more. New York magazine columnist Frank Rich has gone a step further and already announced his casting choice: James Comey is today’s Deep Throat.

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The unarticulated presumption, which Sullivan, Litman and Rich are not alone in making, is that Felt—the FBI’s deputy director in June 1972, and subsequently the parking-garage interlocutor who steered Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to reportorial heights—was an honorable, selfless whistleblower intent on exposing the lawlessness rampant in the Nixon White House. Or, as David Remnick spelled out in the New Yorker—echoing Deep Throat’s original hagiographers, Woodward and Bernstein—Felt “believed that the Nixon administration was corrupt, paranoid and trying to infringe on the independence of the bureau.” The president and his top aides ran, Felt believed, “a criminal operation out of the White House, and [Felt] risked everything to guide” the Post reporters. A new biopic about Felt, starring Liam Neeson, is due out on September 29th and shows every sign of continuing to portray Deep Throat as a profound patriot and dedicated FBI lifer.

But here’s a heretical thought: Mark Felt was no hero. Getting rid of Nixon was the last thing Felt ever wanted to accomplish; indeed, he was banking on Nixon’s continuation in office to achieve his one and only aim: to reach the top of the FBI pyramid and become director. Felt didn’t help the media for the good of the country, he used the media in service of his own ambition. Things just didn’t turn out anywhere close to the way he wanted.

Only recently, more than four decades after Nixon’s downfall, has it become possible to reconstruct Felt’s design and what really happened during those fateful six months following the Watergate break-in. Doing so requires burrowing through a great number of primary documents and government records against the backdrop of a vast secondary literature. Nixon’s surreptitious tape recordings rank first in importance, but only mark the starting point. One has to also research documents from the FBI’s vast Watergate investigation; the bureau’s subsequent internal leak investigation; records from the Watergate Special Prosecution Force; documents from Felt’s own FBI file; and lastly, two unintentionally rewarding books: Mark Felt’s original 1979 memoir, The FBI Pyramid, and the slightly reworked version published in 2006, A G-Man’s Life.

What you’ll end up with is the real story of Deep Throat. And you might be left with this realization: No matter what happens to Donald Trump—whether he’s absolved, exposed or neither—you should hope there’s nobody as duplicitous as Mark Felt manipulating out understanding of Russiagate.

***

On May 1, 1972, John Edgar Hoover was days away from marking his 48th year as FBI director, or as one of his arch-critics labeled him, the “No. 1 Sacred Cow of American Politics.” The wily, 77-year-old bureaucrat was the closest thing to a cult of personality in the federal government that has ever existed; not even an unprecedented, year-long spate of bad publicity beginning in late 1970 had loosened his grip on the directorship. Sycophancy within the FBI was rife. Presidents and underlings came and went, but Hoover seemed invincible if not immortal, as inseparable from the law-enforcement empire he had built as the empire was unimaginable without him.

Yet behind the scenes, Hoover’s selfish refusal to step down when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 in 1964, and two presidents’ lack of gumption to force him out, had put into motion a fierce, no-holds-barred struggle within the FBI to succeed him. It bore a striking resemblance to what used to happen inside the Kremlin, once a doddering Soviet leader neared the end of his term. More than a few top FBI executives saw a potential director when they looked in the mirror during their morning shave. And Hoover’s unwillingness to let go had unleashed what the dean of Watergate historians, the late Stanley Kutler, noted as the “war of the FBI succession.”

The executive with the inside track during Nixon’s first years was William C. Sullivan, who carried the title assistant to the director. A mercurial, intense, secretive personality, Sullivan was regarded by Hoover for a time almost like a son. The standard measure for where subordinates stood with the stern and formal Hoover was his method of addressing them. If someone was “Miller” instead of “Mr. Miller,” that person had achieved a high level of familiarity. Hoover called Sullivan, who oversaw the bureau’s all-important counterintelligence and domestic security responsibilities, simply “Bill.”

Yet Sullivan had a character flaw that became fatal the closer he got to the top of the pyramid: He was impatient. When the Nixon administration soured on the aging Hoover—chief of staff H. R. “Bob” Haldeman acidly described the director as a “real character out of days of yore”—Sullivan saw an opening, encouraged by like-minded Justice Department officials. He began leaking derogatory information about Hoover to journalists considered sympathetic, including, most notably, Robert Novak, the reporting half of the Rowland Evans and Robert Novak syndicated column.

Hoover’s FBI leaked all the time, of course, to favored reporters. The bureau may not have invented the practice, but it had perfected the art. No federal agency rivaled the FBI in terms of the well-placed, exquisitely timed disclosure designed with an end in mind. Information is the currency of power in Washington, and leaking to the press was instrumental to the bureau’s unofficial clout, the reason the FBI engendered fear in many quarters beyond its actual brief. But until Sullivan came along, leaking had largely been controlled, sanctioned and institutional—that is, directed against the bureau’s perceived adversaries or to burnish the FBI’s image and reputation. Never had leaks been employed for personal gain at Hoover’s expense.

Hoover soon figured it out. He fired Sullivan for disloyalty, insolence and insubordination, but not before a confrontation that instantly became part of FBI lore. In October 1971, Sullivan returned from a leave to find the locks in his office changed. Sullivan exchanged harsh words with the FBI executive who had thought up that particular touch. When the executive called him a “Judas,” the perpetually rumpled, bantam-sized Sullivan promptly challenged his dapper, six-foot tall adversary, William Mark Felt, to a fist fight.

Following Sullivan’s hasty exit, Felt became the front-runner to replace Hoover, despite being widely disliked internally. His nickname inside the bureau was the “White Rat.” He had acquired that sobriquet during the six years he headed up the Inspection Division, Hoover’s instrument for enforcing discipline and meting out punishment. Felt’s martinet-like inspection tours, where he out-Hoovered Hoover to curry the director’s favor, had earned him the enmity of agents and agents-in-charge throughout the country. Felt’s inspection report after the infamous break-in at the Media, Pennsylvania, FBI office in March 1971 by anti-war activists was typical. Felt’s report absolved the “Seat of Government” (as FBI headquarters was immodestly called during Hoover’s reign) of all culpability, and made the Media agent-in-charge the scapegoat, as former Washington Post reporter Betty Medsger wrote in her 2014 book, The Burglary. “We would probably not have pissed on [Felt] if he was on fire,” retired agent Robert P. Campbell recalled in a 2011 interview, reflecting the rank-and-file’s disdain.

Felt never enjoyed strong support within the Nixon administration either, unlike Sullivan. While “Crazy Billy” had worn his ambition to succeed Hoover on his sleeve, Felt was self-serving in an unattractive way. Though consumed with what he believed was his rightful inheritance, Felt often exhibited a false humility, perhaps out of fear that his ambition would become too obvious to Hoover. “If you wanted to ruin somebody’s career in the FBI,” a former agent later recalled, “all you had to do [was] leak it to somebody in the press that so-and-so [was] being groomed as Hoover’s successor.” The result was that Felt “did not interact with credibility” with his peers, recalled Donald Santarelli, then an associate attorney general at the Justice Department, in a 2011 interview.

On the morning of May 2, 1972, Hoover’s lifeless body was discovered on the floor of his bedroom one hour after the ever-punctual director failed to come downstairs for his 7:30 a.m. breakfast. Later, mourners at the funeral home were stunned by what they saw in the casket. There in the coffin lay a small, gray-haired, frail-looking man. The mortician had washed Hoover’s hair and all the dye had come out—from his eyebrows too.

Felt was not surprised by the portrait of infirmity. For all intents and purposes he had been running the bureau for more than a year, confident that if he bided his time (unlike Sullivan), Nixon would inevitably turn to Hoover’s natural legatee.

Felt was wrong.

Nixon’s surprise appointment of a dark horse outsider, assistant attorney general L. Patrick Gray, to be acting director within hours stands as one of the most far-reaching personnel decisions ever taken by a president inadvertently. His attention consumed by the upcoming election, geopolitical strategy and the effort to withdraw U.S. ground troops from Vietnam, Nixon was anxious to avoid having Hoover’s FBI become an issue in 1972. For the first time, a director was going to have to win Senate confirmation, and Nixon was leery of giving Democrats on the Judiciary Committee the opportunity to work over a nominee in an election year, possibly even block his confirmation. The president considered the appointment equal to nominating a chief justice to the Supreme Court. Nixon wanted a vigorous man who would occupy the post long after his second term ended. Gray’s acting appointment was roundly criticized on the grounds that he was a Nixon crony. But he otherwise aroused little opposition because he was as colorless as his name.

Gray wasn’t promised the permanent appointment, only that he would be considered for the post if he did a creditable job. Yet the message behind Gray’s interim status—that Nixon was intent on bringing in someone from outside the bureau—was an unmistakable signal to several executives angling for the job, and they decided to retire. The ambitious Felt saw the acting designation, however, as a small opening. It still left six months in which to persuade Nixon to “see the light” by nominating an insider, as Felt wrote in his 1979 memoir.

Felt was acting the part of Gray’s indispensable top deputy, while simultaneously belittling the interim director behind his back, according to interviews I conducted with contemporary FBI officials, when the Watergate break-in serendipitously occurred on June 17, 1972. The burglary of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate office complex by Nixon campaign operatives presented Gray with a dilemma that Felt could easily exploit to his advantage. If Gray could not manage the FBI’s politically sensitive Watergate investigation to the White House’s satisfaction, he risked alienating the president and losing out on the nomination. Yet if Gray didn’t allow an unbridled investigation to run its full course, he might fail to win confirmation before what was sure to remain a Democrat-controlled Senate. Gray essentially resolved the dilemma by absenting himself as much as possible, while leaving supervision of the investigation in the hands of professional subordinates, most prominently, Felt.

Gray’s decision facilitated Felt’s recourse to that bureau specialty, the artful leak. As John Dean has confirmed in numerous interviews beginning in 2011, Felt knew that nothing was more likely to incite the White House against Gray, and prove he was Hoover’s unworthy successor, than stories in the press about the politically sensitive probe. As White House counsel and desk officer for the cover-up, Dean was person most frequently tasked with conveying the president’s ire to Gray. Similarly, Democrats’ hackles would be raised by any stories suggesting that the FBI was conducting a lax or superficial investigation.

Felt acted quickly. On June 20, three days after the break-in, the Washington Post published a story headlined, “White House Consultant Tied to Bugging Figure.” The article, citing “Federal sources close to the investigation,” revealed that a one-time White House consultant named E. Howard Hunt, who was also a former CIA officer, had an as-yet undetermined connection to the five burglars nabbed red-handed at the Watergate office complex. Hunt, of course, would turn out to be the co-ringleader of the break-in, along with G. Gordon Liddy, the Nixon campaign’s finance counsel.

In his 2005 book about Felt, The Secret Man, Woodward described in detail how Felt provided the “critical and substantial buttress” for the scoop about Hunt. Although this investigative development would have become public inevitably, the fact that it happened so swiftly stunned a White House still grappling with how to respond to the break-in. The White House’s initial pose was to appear nonchalant and above the story, as captured in Ron Ziegler’s infamous, contemptuous observation that he would not be commenting on “a third-rate burglary attempt.” But the morning the article appeared special counsel Charles Colson roared to the president, as captured on an Oval Office recording, “Pick up that God-damn Washington Post and see that guilt by association!” Colson had been responsible for hiring Hunt, and instantly, the administration became obsessed with how information known only to the police, Justice Department prosecutors and the FBI had come out. “Where the hell are all these leaks from our side coming from?” Nixon wondered aloud. The impulse to circle the wagons, rather than make a clean breast of the campaign’s culpability, took root.

Yet that kind of Watergate story was only half of Felt’s influence operation. Four days later, Felt managed to get fabled Time magazine reporter Sandy Smith interested in allegations that Gray had conferred with John Mitchell, the head of the president’s campaign, right after the break-in, and that Gray had been overheard boasting that the FBI’s investigation would be wrapped up in “24 to 48 hours”—the clear inference being that the probe would be a whitewash. Smith presented the allegations for comment to Gray, who vehemently denied both. Merely being asked such questions left him furious. He knew that a journalist of Smith’s caliber, who had access to the highest echelons in the bureau, would not be posing such questions unless the allegations came from someone Smith firmly believed was in a position to know. When the Time story actually appeared in print on June 26, the piece was thankfully “trimmed of its falsehoods,” Gray noted in a memo. Apparently, Sandy Smith had been unable to corroborate the allegations to his or his editors’ satisfaction—which was hardly surprising, since neither of them was true. The leak to Time came from Felt himself, as Deep Throat’s revised autobiography, published in 2006, acknowledged. Subsequent leaks to Smith would prove more successful.

In the four months that remained before the election, Felt continued to feed the Washington Post and Time tidbits—ranging from the connection between Watergate and the White House operatives known as “plumbers” to how campaign funds had been laundered through Mexico—although the weekly magazine never received the public acclaim the daily newspaper later did. Felt could leak with relative impunity because Watergate was not, and never became, a significant issue during the campaign, and therefore, presented no threat to the only presidential candidate who might appoint Felt director—Richard Nixon. George McGovern, the Democrats’ nominee, was a “jackal” in Hoover’s parlance, anathema to every Hoover disciple and vice versa. The South Dakota senator had spent much of 1971 publicly lambasting the late director for various deficiencies, including alleged senility. Nixon, on the other hand, did discuss potentially appointing Felt to the position at one point, according to Oval Office tapes.

As Nixon’s confidence in Gray waned over the leaks, William Sullivan re-emerged as a potential rival after securing a top job in the Justice Department. That complicated Felt’s scheme greatly, for now he had to figure out how to damage Sullivan’s reputation too. He did so in leaks to Time’s Smith, whose discretion in such matters was legendary, in contrast to the untested Woodward. As in June, Felt was not above misleading Smith on occasion; we also know from Woodward’s handwritten notes that Deep Throat told the cub reporter an enormous number of falsehoods (as John Dean was the first to point out), including during their famous clandestine rendezvous in an Arlington, Virginia parking garage. But then Felt’s relationship to the truth was always casual at best. His goal was incitement, rather than protecting the presidency, the bureau, democracy, or the rule of law from Nixon’s predations. Even the Post’s most celebrated Watergate story of October 10, 1972—the seminal or “centerpiece” story that alleged a “massive campaign of political spying and espionage”—prominently featured a lie uttered by Felt. Deep Throat falsely asserted to Woodward that a letter damaging to the campaign of Senator Edmund Muskie—considered the Democrats’ strongest candidate until he finished poorly in the New Hampshire primary—was “a White House operation,” concocted “inside the gates surrounding the White House.” What Woodstein represented in the Post as “hard evidence” of a political dirty trick was a fabrication, as an internal FBI inquiry and later, the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, determined.

Felt never achieved his goal of becoming director, of course, except for the two hour and fifty minute interregnum that occurred between Gray’s sudden resignation in May (for having destroyed embarrassing documents unrelated to Watergate found in E. Howard Hunt’s White House safe) and the appointment of a new acting director—another outsider named William Ruckelshaus. Unbeknownst to Felt, Nixon had learned in October 1972 that Felt was leaking to Time’s Sandy Smith. The president’s impulse was to fire Felt immediately, but cooler heads at the White House explained that Felt knew too much to make such a move just before the election. His removal would have to wait until after November, when a new director could be ordered to clean out the pestilence in the FBI’s upper ranks.

As it turned out, Felt abruptly resigned from the bureau in May 1973 to avoid being investigated right then and there for leaking. It was a fate he didn’t entirely escape, because a year-long internal investigation was launched a few months later anyway. Subsequently, the Inspection Division learned from Carol Tschudy, a bureau secretary for 17 years, that she was unable to recall how many calls transpired between a Washington Post reporter and her former boss, Felt. However, she said, “the frequency of Woodward’s calls seemed to depend upon various developments in the Watergate case.” Felt tried to make a go of consulting and the lecture circuit, and worked on his memoir after he retired from government service. In 1980, Felt made news when he was tried and convicted of ordering illegal FBI break-ins targeting the left-wing Weather Underground, a violent faction of domestic anti-war radicals. Nixon contributed to Felt’s defense fund and testified at his trial, and Reagan later pardoned him.

Meanwhile, Deep Throat went down in history as a do-gooder who saved the rule of law and American democracy from a criminal president. This was largely thanks to the large dose of buncombe in Woodward and Bernstein’s initial 1974 description of their source in All the President’s Men, and greatly magnified by the depiction in the eponymous Hollywood movie. Deep Throat, they wrote, was “trying to protect the office [of the presidency].” It wasn’t until 2005 that Woodward admitted in his book about Felt, The Secret Man, that Felt “never really voiced pure, raw outrage to me about Watergate or what it represented” (which is not surprising, given Felt’s contemporaneous role in sanctioning illegal FBI break-ins).

It remains true that Felt’s information, regardless of his motive, helped keep Watergate in the news at a time when few Americans cared, and that was important. Stories in the PostTime and elsewhere helped shield the three original federal prosecutors from political interference. And after they won convictions of all five burglars, plus Hunt and Liddy, in January 1973, the prospect of serious prison time finally broke the back of the cover-up. One of the burglars, James McCord, alleged that perjury had been committed during the trial, precipitating a foot-race to the prosecutors by John Dean and deputy campaign director Jeb Magruder, which, in turn, unleashed a flood of revelations that eventually put the president himself at risk.

Primarily because the Post (most prominently) reported increments of the break-in story (but never the cover-up, remember) before the burglars were actually tried, the fable took hold that the press “exposed” Watergate. This was a legend propagated by a media eager to bask in the Post’s reflected glory. The press was the decidedly junior partner to the legal machinery. For an authority on the subject, one need look no further than Sandy Smith, who broke as many significant stories about Watergate as anyone in the media. “There’s a myth that the press did all this, uncovered all the crimes,” he was quoted as saying in an official history of Time, Inc., published in 1986. “It’s bunk. The press didn’t do it. People forget that the government was investigating all the time. In my material there was less than two percent that was truly original investigation. There was [a federal] investigation being carried out here.”

This fact, in all likelihood, is the reason why Felt never came forward to claim the riches and acclaim that supposedly awaited Deep Throat. Indeed, he perpetually lied about being Deep Throat after theWashingtonian fingered him in June 1974 as the first prime suspect, just as All the President’s Menwas being published. Felt had to fear his actions could not withstand close scrutiny. His motive would be exposed as base and self-serving, and he would be roundly condemned in the only fraternity that he knew and cared about, the society of current and former FBI executives and agents. When finally outed in Vanity Fair in 2005 by his family, who had understandably imbibed the fable, Felt was dehabilitated by dementia and the few remaining peers able to recognize Felt for who he was and what he did were drowned out by the wave of nostalgia for the legacy media.

Felt’s admission left Pat Gray reeling; he likened it to being hit with a sledgehammer. Suffering from pancreatic cancer with only a few weeks to live, Gray summoned the strength to denounce publicly the man he considered, until that moment, his loyal and trustworthy executive officer. He had never grasped Felt’s treachery despite ample contemporaneous warnings. Now Gray belatedly realized that Felt had been a “formidable foe” primarily because he was such “a skilled liar.” The Vanity Fair story also stunned John J. McDermott, the special agent-in-charge of the Washington Field Office when it conducted the Watergate investigation. McDermott had long thought that the mysterious Deep Throat was actually a reporter’s invention and composite, meant to fuzz up the identities of several discrete White House sources. But once Felt claimed the mantle and Woodward confirmed it, McDermott immediately recognized that Felt had engaged in the same underhanded tactics as Sullivan. McDermott expressed “shock, dismay, and disgust” at Felt’s perfidy, and the bogus media-driven theory that Felt had a need “to expose information which otherwise would have been suppressed.” He defied anyone to prove that the FBI had failed to follow a single Watergate lead, concealed information from the Justice Department or did anything to warrant Felt’s behavior. “It’s embarrassing … for the bureau to be exposed as having had such people as Felt and Sullivan,” McDermott said in November 2010.

When the biopic comes out later this month, don’t be fooled. Felt betrayed the bureau, and more importantly, the investigative and legal machinery that is, more manifestly than ever, the last barrier between a government of laws and not of men or women.

There should be no pining for another Deep Throat. Leaks from bona fide whistle-blowers are one thing. Leaks from a self-aggrandizing FBI executive in the know, even if good for a few headlines, are bad for the rule of law. Nor would it be helpful to have an FBI executive plying reporters with false stories, indifferent to what gets printed or broadcast so long as it harms his bureaucratic enemies. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is far too important for that.

Read the whole story
· · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

The Myth of Deep Throat – POLITICO Magazine

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POLITICO Magazine
The Myth of Deep Throat
POLITICO Magazine
New York magazine columnist Frank Rich has gone a step further and already announced his casting choice: James Comey is today’s Deep Throat. ….. Felt never achieved his goal of becoming director, of course, except for the two hour and fifty minute 

Five major revelations from Congress’s Russia probes

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By Morgan Chalfant – 09/10/17 07:30 AM EDT

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Five major revelations from Congress’s Russia probes – The Hill

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The Hill
Five major revelations from Congress’s Russia probes
The Hill
Nearly six months ago, it was a House Intelligence Committee hearing that brought to light the federal investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Comey, then still the FBI director, disclosed in dramatic … on and more »

Felix Sater has been the key to unraveling the Trump-Russia scandal all along – Palmer Report 

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Who in the hell is Felix Sater?! Everything you were afraid to ask about this suddenly important person

Who in the hell is Felix Sater?!

Everything you were afraid to ask about this suddenly important person
Here’s the deep dirt on the Russian businessman who promised “Our boy can become president of the USA” – by BILL SCHEFT – SATURDAY, SEP 9, 2017 02:00 PM EDT 

Saved Stories – 1. Trump
Felix Sater has been the key to unraveling the Trump-Russia scandal all along

This week cable news began breathlessly practicing saying the name “Felix Sater” over and over again, after it leaked that he had conspired with Donald Trump and Michael Cohen to try to build Trump Tower Moscow during the election.

Who is this Sater guy? Where did he come from? Why haven’t you heard his name before?

Well, if you’ve been reading a site like Palmer Report, you’ve known full well who Felix Sater is and why he’s so crucial to all of this for a very long time.Palmer Report first began trying to connect the dots between Felix Sater, Russia and Donald Trump back in February. We weren’t the first. To be frank, it was rather easy to see that something was there.

Sater and Cohen had been exposed as part of the truly weird Kremlin plot to convince Trump to use blackmail material to oust the president of Ukraine, so Putin could install a puppet. 

That plot was only derailed because Michael Flynn got himself fired for unrelated Russia reasons before he could put it on Trump’s desk. Sater had previously been convicted for Russian mafia money laundering. He’d also become an FBI informant at some point. It wasn’t difficult to see where this was all going.

That plot was only derailed because Michael Flynn got himself fired for unrelated Russia reasons before he could put it on Trump’s desk. Sater had previously been convicted for Russian mafia money laundering. He’d also become an FBI informant at some point. It wasn’t difficult to see where this was all going.

It was abundantly clear back then that Sater was the linchpin to unraveling Donald Trump’s connections to the Kremlin,

and that Sater and Cohen were in close cahoots when it came to those connections. The trouble: at the time, no one could piece together specifically what those connections were. Sater was confirmed to have been involved in some of Trump’s sketchiest real estate deals, such as Trump SoHo. Cohen was Trump’s attorney at the Trump Organization. But what were they doing together, and what did it have to do with the Kremlin?

This week the answer finally arrived: Felix Sater and Michael Cohen were trying to help Donald Trump get his Trump Tower Moscow built during the election.

Cohen even went so far as to contact the Kremlin for help. Sater bragged in an email that the project would get Trump installed in the Oval Office.

Now that the crucial missing piece is in place, everyone from Congress to the Special Counsel is using it to zero in on Sater to get him to flip on Trump. Things are finally in motion.

But if you’ve been playing close attention, you’ve known for the past eight months that it was going to come down to Sater,

his relationship to the Putin-controlled Russian underworld, and his relationship to Trump through Cohen.

Palmer Report is often among the first to highlight a Trump-Russia storyline that we know is going to important, even if we don’t yet know how it all fits together. Skeptics invariably question why some of our reporting still hasn’t yet been vindicated, weeks or months later. It’s because these things take time to unravel in full detail. But this was always going to come down to Sater. We told you that back in February.

Palmer Report is often among the first to highlight a Trump-Russia storyline that we know is going to important, even if we don’t yet know how it all fits together. Skeptics invariably question why some of our reporting still hasn’t yet been vindicated, weeks or months later. It’s because these things take time to unravel in full detail. But this was always going to come down to Sater. We told you that back in February.

The post Felix Sater has been the key to unraveling the Trump-Russia scandal all along appeared first on Palmer Report.

‘The New Washington’: How Schumer’s Power Play Led to a Deal With Trump – New York Times

Washington Post
‘The New Washington’: How Schumer’s Power Play Led to a Deal With Trump
New York Times
Even when I was on vacation with my family in August, I started looking, said Mr. Schumer, the New Yorker who leads Senate Democrats, as he recounted the buildup to the stunning debt limit deal that Democrats struck with President Trump this past 
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Read the whole story
· · · · · · · · ·

Felix Sater has been the key to unraveling the Trump-Russia scandal all along 

1 Share

This week cable news began breathlessly practicing saying the name “Felix Sater” over and over again, after it leaked that he had conspired with Donald Trump and Michael Cohen to try to build Trump Tower Moscow during the election. Who is this Sater guy? Where did he come from? Why haven’t you heard his name before? Well, if you’ve been reading a site like Palmer Report, you’ve known full well who Felix Sater is – and why he’s so crucial to all of this – for a very long time.

Palmer Report first began trying to connect the dots between Felix Sater, Russia and Donald Trump back in February. We weren’t the first. To be frank, it was rather easy to see that something was there. Sater and Cohen had been exposed as part of the truly weird Kremlin plot to convince Trump to use blackmail material to oust the president of Ukraine, so Putin could install a puppet. That plot was only derailed because Michael Flynn got himself fired for unrelated Russia reasons before he could put it on Trump’s desk. Sater had previously been convicted for Russian mafia money laundering. He’d also become an FBI informant at some point. It wasn’t difficult to see where this was all going.

It was abundantly clear back then that Sater was the linchpin to unraveling Donald Trump’s connections to the Kremlin, and that Sater and Cohen were in close cahoots when it came to those connections. The trouble: at the time, no one could piece together specifically what those connections were. Sater was confirmed to have been involved in some of Trump’s sketchiest real estate deals, such as Trump SoHo. Cohen was Trump’s attorney at the Trump Organization. But what were they doing together, and what did it have to do with the Kremlin?

This week the answer finally arrived: Felix Sater and Michael Cohen were trying to help Donald Trump get his Trump Tower Moscow built during the election. Cohen even went so far as to contact the Kremlin for help. Sater bragged in an email that the project would get Trump installed in the Oval Office. Now that the crucial missing piece is in place, everyone from Congress to the Special Counsel is using it to zero in on Sater to get him to flip on Trump. Things are finally in motion.

But if you’ve been playing close attention, you’ve known for the past eight months that it was going to come down to Sater, his relationship to the Putin-controlled Russian underworld, and his relationship to Trump through Cohen. Palmer Report is often among the first to highlight a Trump-Russia storyline that we know is going to important, even if we don’t yet know how it all fits together. Skeptics invariably question why some of our reporting still hasn’t yet been vindicated, weeks or months later. It’s because these things take time to unravel in full detail. But this was always going to come down to Sater. We told you that back in February.

The post Felix Sater has been the key to unraveling the Trump-Russia scandal all along appeared first on Palmer Report.

Read the whole story
· ·

Who in the hell is Felix Sater?! Everything you were afraid to ask about this suddenly important person – Salon

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Salon
Who in the hell is Felix Sater?! Everything you were afraid to ask about this suddenly important person
Salon
WHY WE CARE: Sater was the intermediary who brought Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and representatives of Vladimir Putin a plan in late 2015 to discuss building a Trump Tower in Moscow in exchange for sanctions against Russia eventually being lifted if …

A Russian propaganda group purchased ads on Facebook during the 2016 election. Here’s what that means. – PBS NewsHour

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PBS NewsHour
A Russian propaganda group purchased ads on Facebook during the 2016 election. Here’s what that means.
PBS NewsHour
In January, the U.S. intelligence community concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin led a campaign to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Paid trolls — social media users who were compensated to deliberately post controversial 
Russia’s Fake AmericansNew York Times
How We Can Fix Facebook Before the 2020 ElectionFortune
Facebook’s widening role in electing TrumpEngadgetall 50 news articles »

A Russian propaganda group purchased ads on Facebook during the 2016 election. Here’s what that means.

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A giant Facebook “like” seen at the company’s new headquarters in Menlo Park, California. Photo by Robert Galbraith/Reuters

Facebook announced Wednesday that a Russian propaganda organization used the social media platform to purchase $100,000 of political advertising.

Here’s what you need to know about this news:

What was found?

Facebook found 470 inauthentic accounts associated with approximately 3,000 political ads from June 2015 to May 2017. The ad purchases and accounts are affiliated with a Russian “troll farm,” dubbed the Internet Research Agency, which spreads pro-Russian propaganda and false information across the World Wide Web.

Most of the ads did not contain references to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, voting or the candidates. “Rather, the ads and accounts appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum — touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights,” Facebook’s Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos said in a blog post on the company’s website.

Facebook also conducted a wider search for political ads that potentially originated from Russia. The company found $50,000 worth of spending on 2,200 ads. A Facebook spokesperson, however, cautioned that this group of ads carried a low amount of certainty because the company’s search included sources with weak connections to Russia.

How does the Russian propaganda machine work? Special correspondent Nick Schifrin talked to someone who used to work as a “troll” inside the Internet Research Agency. Watch his July 2017 report from “Inside Putin’s Russia.”

What is the Internet Research Agency?

“The agency had become known for employing hundreds of Russians to post pro-Kremlin propaganda online under fake identities, including on Twitter, in order to create the illusion of a massive army of supporters,” journalist Adrian Chen wrote in 2015 in the New York Times Magazine.

Chen reported that the agency was responsible for false reports of toxic fumes in Louisiana and an outbreak of Ebola in Atlanta, both in 2014.

Learn more about the Internet Research Agency from this 2015 conversation between PBS NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown and journalist Adrian Chen.

Why it’s important

In January, the U.S. intelligence community concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin led a campaign to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Paid trolls — social media users who were compensated to deliberately post controversial content — and the social media accounts of the pro-Kremlin television network RT were part of this effort, according to their report.

What Facebook found is “one small piece of this larger, consistent, Russian effort,” John Sipher, a former CIA agent who ran the agency’s Russia program for three years, told the NewsHour.

“This is a big deal because I think it’s more evidence of a coordinated Russian attack against our system,” Sipher said.

And for those who suggest that $100,000 in ads is not much: “This is just one troll farm that Facebook has proven” was Russian, Sipher said. “I’m sure there’s all kinds of other stuff that hasn’t been picked up on yet.”

In addition to the ad buying, an investigation published late Thursday by The New York Times, with research from the cybersecurity company FireEye, detailed other ways that suspected Russian trolls disseminated false and hacked information.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told the Washington Post that Facebook’s disclosure is a “profound warning to us and others about future elections.” A question left to answer, he said, is whether any of the pro-Russian trolls coordinated with President Trump’s 2016 campaign team.

What’s next?

Stamos, the chief security officer, said Facebook has since shut down the 470 suspicious accounts and pages.

“We have shared our findings with U.S. authorities investigating these issues, and we will continue to work with them as necessary,” Stamos said.

But Facebook has not shared copies of the ads with the public, and does not plan to, a Facebook spokesperson told the NewsHour. A Facebook official told the Washington Post that “our data policy and federal law limit our ability to share user data and content, so we won’t be releasing any ads.”

Facebook’s refusal to share the ads has drawn criticism from eBay founder, philanthropist and First Look Media founder Pierre Omidyar and former Federal Election Commission Chairman Trevor Potter.

Stamos noted that Facebook has made improvements to weed out fake accounts based on their activity on the platform and end the spread of fake news in the past year, with more improvements planned.

“We are looking at how we can apply the techniques we developed for detecting fake accounts to better detect inauthentic pages and the ads they may run,” Stamos said. “We are also experimenting with changes to help us more efficiently detect and stop inauthentic accounts at the time they are being created.”

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Abedin and Weiner: update and sentencing info from the Daily Mail

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Weiner resigned from Congress soon after, and in December Huma gave birth to son Jordan.
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In 2013, Weiner decided to run for mayor of New York City and also agreed to be filmed for a documentary about his return to politics. Weiner announced he would run in late May, but just two months later allegations emerged that he had continued to 

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M.N.: “It is a big question, how much power the FBI really has and should have, and how much of it is illusionary”: “Comey’s Secret Power” – WSJ, and other news stories

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Former FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill, June 8.

Source: Comey’s Secret Power – WSJ

M.N.: Our human tendency to look for the scapegoats is the universal defense mechanism. I think it is easy but simply and bluntly unfair to accuse Comey of all these “sins”: “He made himself investigator, judge and jury… extraordinary abuse of his megaphone… rekindled the case only 11 days before the election… Comey’s investigation was a charade…”. Comey did what in his best understanding, reasoning, and opinion, he had to do; and probably any FBI Director would take the similar actions, the difference being more in style than substance. “Self-righteousness” might not be the most efficient attitude in the investigative work but it is not a crime and is not a sign of abuse of power. 

“Now that’s power”, says the author. It is a big question, how much power the FBI really has and should have, and how much of it is illusionary, and how much of it is real. The power to inform the public, and to inform it correctly, is, it seems to me, a part of the real powers. 

It might be easier for us to approach the true understanding of the events, drama, and confusion related to 2016 elections, if we keep in mind that the hostile intelligence services involved in these events might have planned and designed the dirt heaping on both candidates, thus logically necessitating the official investigations of both of them, and deliberately forcing the FBI’s minds and hands in these directions. We still do not know the true circumstances and the ultimate players behind all of this, and hopefully, Mr. Mueller’s and other investigations will leave no stone unturned in addressing all the circumstances, leads, suspicions, and clues.

However, in assessing these events, we do have to look into the FBI’s role in them not only as the state investigative body but as a participating political actor which it became in the process of elections.

The legitimate and pressing questions are:

Did the FBI overstep their boundaries in interfering, overtly or covertly, with the political process? Who were and who are these actors, what were their motivations, background, and connections?

Mr. Strzok resignation or removal from the Mueller’s team apparently became one of the puzzles related to these concerns.

Did the FBI leadership, which, naturally, is quite a heterogeneous body, try to influence and sway their Director unduly, using as a convenient shield his apolitical reputation and well known moral standards, the qualities which the author called “self-righteousness” and “sanctimoniousness”? Is this kind of the attitude on the part of the upper echelons of the FBI leadership something of the historical tradition within the Bureau: they do whatever the heck they want, ruling their branch offices as their fiefs, and expect the FBI Director to protect and to defend them in all the circumstances?

These questions would fit into the broader set of issues reassessing the FBI’s true power and role; past, present, and future, in social, cultural, and the political life of this country, their moda operandi, and above all, their efficiency in handling the truly formidable, new, unprecedented challenges and problems within the realm of the National Security, that we are facing today.

The FBI’s true powers are not only investigations and the legal and legalistic truncheons, but the ability to understand, to analyze, to assess, and to a certain realistic degree, to direct, in a healthy way, and without crude or undue, or illegal political interference, the social moods, movements, thinkings, rational and irrational, of the country.

All these issues, and not only any particulars of any single FBI Director and his leadership style, should be the foci of attention when we address them and when we contemplate the FBI’s future roles.

As for  Mr. Comey, I think he tried to do his best to shape the FBI as the moral, responsible, and morally responsible force and organization. Did he succeed at this in his relatively short tenure? It is a separate question which became closely related, and maybe even entangled with the issues and questions of 2016 elections. All these questions should be addressed as the complex, in a broad investigative sweep, not just narrow “who did what, when, and why”, in Mr. Muellers’s, Congressional, and other investigations. The answers are important in determining the future directions of the American Democracy.

Michael Novakhov

9.8.17

Comey’s Secret Power – WSJ

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J. Edgar Hoover’s abuse of power as FBI director led Congress and the Justice Department to put new checks on that most powerful and secretive of offices. By the time Congress finishes investigating James Comey’s role in the 2016 presidential election, those safeguards may be due for an update.

Powerful as Hoover was, even he never simultaneously investigated both major-party candidates for the presidency. Mr. Comey did, and Americans are now getting a glimpse of how much he influenced political events.

Mr. Comey’s actions in the Hillary Clinton email probe are concerning enough. He made himself investigator, judge and jury, breaking the Justice Department’s chain of command. He publicly confirmed the investigation, violating the department’s principles. He announced he would not recommend prosecuting Mrs. Clinton, even as he publicly excoriated her—an extraordinary abuse of his megaphone. Then he rekindled the case only 11 days before the election.

An inquiry by the Senate Judiciary Committee has now shown that Mr. Comey’s investigation was a charade. He wrote a draft statement exonerating Mrs. Clinton in May, long before he bothered to interview her or her staff. This at least finally explains the probe’s lackluster nature: the absence of a grand jury, the failure to follow up on likely perjury, the unorthodox immunity deals made with Clinton aides.

But the big development this week is a new look at how Mr. Comey may have similarly juked the probe into Donald Trump’s purported ties to Russia. The House Intelligence Committee’s investigation took a sharp and notable turn on Tuesday, as news broke that it had subpoenaed the FBI and the Justice Department for information relating to the infamous Trump “dossier.” That dossier, whose allegations appear to have been fabricated, was commissioned by the opposition-research firm Fusion GPS and then developed by a former British spook named Christopher Steele.

But the FBI had its own part in this dossier, and investigators are finally drilling down into how big a role it played, and why. The bureau has furiously resisted answering questions. It ignored the initial requests for documents and has refused to comply with the House committee’s subpoenas, which were first issued Aug. 24. Republicans are frustrated enough that this week they sent orders compelling FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appear before the committee to explain the obstruction.

One explanation is that the documents might show the FBI played a central role in ginning up the fake dossier on Mr. Trump. To this day, we do not know who hired Fusion GPS to gather the dirt. The New York Times early this year reported, citing an anonymous source, that a wealthy anti-Trumper initially hired Fusion to dig into Mr. Trump’s business dealings, but the contract was later taken over by a Clinton-allied group. That’s when Fusion shifted its focus to Russia and hired Mr. Steele.

The question is when the FBI got in on the act. The Washington Post in February reported that Mr. Steele “was familiar” to the FBI, since he’d worked for the bureau before. The newspaper said Mr. Steele had reached out to a “friend” at the FBI about his Trump work as far back as July 2016. The Post even reported that Mr. Steele “reached an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the election for the bureau to pay him to continue his work.”

Who was Mr. Steele’s friend at the FBI? Did the bureau influence the direction of the Trump dossier? Did it give Mr. Steele material support from the start? The timing matters because it could answer the vital question of why the FBI wanted the dossier. Here’s one thought: warrants.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees spying activities, is usually generous in approving warrants, on the presumption law-enforcement agencies are acting in good faith. When a warrant is rejected, though, law enforcement isn’t pleased.

Perhaps the FBI wanted to conduct surveillance on someone connected to a presidential campaign (Carter Page?) but couldn’t hit what was—and ought to be—a supremely high bar for getting such a potentially explosive warrant. A dossier of nefarious allegations might well prove handy in finally convincing the FISA court to sign off. The FBI might have had a real motive to support Mr. Steele’s effort. It might have even justified the unjustifiable: working with a partisan oppo-research firm and a former spook to engineer a Kremlin-planted dossier that has roiled Mr. Trump’s entire presidency.

Now that’s power.

Mr. Comey’s meddling has never seemed to stem from some hidden partisan impulse, but rather from an overweening self-righteousness. But power can be misused as much in the hands of the sanctimonious as the corrupt. And it’s overdue for congressional investigators to get to the bottom of precisely how much power Mr. Comey was exercising.

Write to <a href=”mailto:kim@wsj.com”>kim@wsj.com</a>.

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Comey’s Secret Power – Wall Street Journal (subscription)

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Wall Street Journal (subscription)
Comey’s Secret Power
Wall Street Journal (subscription)
By the time Congress finishes investigating James Comey’s role in the 2016 presidential election, those safeguards may be due for an update. Powerful as Hoover was, even he never simultaneously investigated both major-party candidates for the 

Wealthy Russians are having babies in the US, for passports – KOSU

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KOSU
Wealthy Russians are having babies in the US, for passports
KOSU
The irony is that, on the campaign trail, candidate Donald Trump railed against “anchor babies” — a demeaning name for children born to a noncitizen mother in a country to gain new citizenship for the child. And yet, according to the Daily Beast, the and more »

Feds put the screws to Rudy Giuliani to try to get him to flip on Donald Trump 

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If you’ve been wondering why you haven’t heard from or about Rudy Giuliani of late, we now have some answers to that. The Feds just took aggressive action which can only be interpreted as an attempt at pressuring him into flipping on Donald Trump, and it’s safe to assume he’s been laying low all of this time because he’s known what was coming. Suffice it to say that this latest development doesn’t look good for him.

Awhile back, Giuliani got himself tangled with Reza Zarrab, who’s been awaiting trial in the United States for a series of alleged financial crimes. Zarrab was operating his business out of Trump Towers Istanbul, making it suspicious that Giuliani – a Trump campaign surrogate – was attempting to meddle in the case. Once this was revealed, Giuliani all but disappeared from the public radar. Now the Feds are bringing indictments against pretty much everyone involved in the Giuliani-Zarrab mess.

Yesterday the Department of Justice posted a press release revealing that it was bringing indictments against four of the co-conspirators in the mess (link). Although the press release does not mention Giuliani, it does mention that Dana Boente is involved in this latest move – and that tells us a lot. Boente is the U.S. District Attorney for Eastern Virginia, even though this case is playing out in the Southern District of New York.

Boente also serves as the Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security. He was also the one who helped get the initial grand juries in the Trump-Russia investigation underway in his Eastern District of Virginia, which have since been taken over by Robert Mueller. Even though Rudy Giuliani is still serving as Reza Zarrab’s quasi-attorney, this latest move reads like an attempt at getting co-conspirators to flip on then both – and the whole reason to nail Rudy is to get him to flip on Trump when it comes to election collusion shenanigans.

The post Feds put the screws to Rudy Giuliani to try to get him to flip on Donald Trump appeared first on Palmer Report.

FBI chief sees no evidence of White House interference in Russia probe – Reuters

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CNN International
FBI chief sees no evidence of White House interference in Russia probe
Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Thursday he has “not detected any whiff of interference” by the White House into the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Speaking publicly for the 
FBI Director Wray: No ‘whiff of interference’ with Mueller investigationCNN International
Wray: No Signs of Interference Into Russia ProbeNewsmaxall 18 news articles »

In wake of Donald Trump Jr’s incriminating testimony, Robert Mueller quickly targets Donald Trump’s senior staff

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Just hours after Donald Trump Jr admitted to Congress that he had initially lied to the media about the nature of his meeting with Russian government representatives, Robert Mueller is already springing into action. The Special Counsel is now targeting Donald Trump’s entire Senior Staff with regard to how Trump tried to obstruct justice in relation to that meeting.

Palmer Report pointed out immediately after Junior’s testimony that he had confirmed that his father had instructed him to lie to the media about the meeting, thereby unwittingly nailing his father for obstruction of justice (link). Sure enough, CNN is now reporting that Mueller is quickly zeroing in on that discussion (link) – and he’s targeting Trump’s senior staff in the process.

Donald Trump crafted his son’s initial false statement about the Russia meeting while he was on Air Force One with his senior staffers. That makes them witnesses at the least, and co-consirators in obstructing justice at the most. If Mueller can compel these senior staffers to testify about what Trump said during that plane ride, then he’ll have first-hand witnesses of Trump’s obstruction. Moreover, he’ll only need to flip one of them, by convincing them that it’s better to come clean than to face potential criminal charges.

Donald Trump Jr admitted to Congress today during his testimony that he had met with the Russian government representatives at Trump Tower during the election, in the hope of obtaining secret information about Hillary Clinton (link). While he still insists this is somehow harmless in intent, it means that he conspired with the Kremlin to influence the outcome of the election – a crime. Donald Trump’s attempt at covering up his son’s collusion meeting isn’t merely obstruction of justice – it also demonstrates that he understood the collusive and illegal nature of his son’s Russia meeting.

The post In wake of Donald Trump Jr’s incriminating testimony, Robert Mueller quickly targets Donald Trump’s senior staff appeared first on Palmer Report.

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FBI chief sees no sign of political interference in Russia probe

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FBI director Christopher Wray said on Thursday he had seen no sign of political interference in the bureau’s investigation of alleged collusion between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

“I can say very confidently I have not detected any whiff of interference with that investigation,” he told a conference of national security industry executives in Washington.

Making his first remarks on the matter since taking office one month ago, Mr Wray also said he had “enormous respect” for special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the probe. Earlier this summer, after the president privately expressed frustration with the special counsel, prominent Republicans such as Senator Lindsey Graham warned Mr Trump against firing him.

The FBI has assigned several agents to do the investigative leg work for Mr Mueller. “I have confidence in them to do their jobs professionally,” Mr Wray said.

Agents in the bureau’s counter-intelligence division also are working to thwart any future election meddling by Russia. “I’m very impressed with the strides that are being made on that front,” said the director.

Mr Trump turned to Mr Wray to run the FBI after firing former director James Comey in May over his handling of the Russia allegations. At the time, Mr Trump said he had been irked that Mr Comey was still investigating his ties to Russia, which the president called a “made-up story”.

Mr Wray, who was sworn in as FBI director on August 2, headed the Department of Justice’s criminal division from 2003 to 2005 and later became a corporate defence attorney.

I can say very confidently I have not detected any whiff of interference with that investigation

His white-collar clients included New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who was accused of engineering a traffic jam on a Hudson River bridge to punish a political adversary, and Credit Suisse, which in 2014 became the first major US bank in more than two decades to plead guilty to criminal wrongdoing in helping Americans evade paying US taxes.

Since taking office, Mr Wray said that he had reviewed classified evidence supporting the intelligence community’s January 6 public assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin had personally directed “an influence campaign” aimed at the presidential election.

Mr Putin sought to undermine public confidence in American democracy and hurt the election prospects of Hillary Clinton, Mr Trump’s rival in the race for the White House. “Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference” for a Trump win, the intelligence community concluded.

Mr Wray repeated what he said during his Senate confirmation hearing, that he had “no reason to doubt the conclusions” of the intelligence community about Russia’s meddling.

Follow David J Lynch on Twitter: @davidjlynch

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President Donald Trump gives tax reform speech in North Dakota – YouTube

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trump – Google Search

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Inside Donald Trump’s Deal With the Democrats on Debt, Harvey Aid

<a href=”http://NBCNews.com” rel=”nofollow”>NBCNews.com</a>3 hours ago
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump sat in the Oval Office on Wednesay, listening to his Treasury Secretary argue against a Democratic …

Thursday’s Morning Email: Hurricane Irma Barrels Through Caribbean

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Killing at least 9.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America

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In the land of dreams, crime runs rampant as evidenced by the 12 biggest organized crime groups in America. So what exactly is the definition of organized crime? Well, organized crime refers to a crime that is committed out on a coordinated basis by groups of criminals, and is carried out on a large scale as well. In fact, this is the reason why it is hard to crack down organized crime. There are so many people involved on different levels, arresting one person or even a dozen barely makes a dent in this billion dollar industry. However, this is just a basic definition. To truly distinguish between ordinary crimes and organized crimes, you should consider the characteristics of organized crime, some of which include a hierarchical structure which is controlled by a few people and a reserve fund which comes in handy on a rainy day. Truly, you could be forgiven for confusing an organized crime group with a legal business, as both operate on similar structures. To learn more about crime, you might want to consult any of the 25 best crime documentaries on YouTube.

There are various types of organized crimes committed by the top crime groups that include the typical crimes you would expect from a street criminal such as rape, murder, and stealing. However, the bigger crime groups who wield enormous influence and power go beyond such crimes and enter (or in some cases create) criminal industries such as human trafficking, kidnapping for ransom and drug trafficking, all of which are enormously profitable.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in AmericaMark <a href=”http://Agnor/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>Agnor/Shutterstock.com</a>

We have been facing the issue of organized crime for a long time now and instead of seeing it reduced, we have seen it grow exponentially, resulting in deaths, violence, anarchy and loss of billions. In fact, organized crime history can be traced several hundred years back, when pirates and bandits organized to attack villages, pillaging loot while killing those who tried to defend their property. Later on, in the nineteenth century, organized crime started to develop in the United States, with the Wild Bunch being considered as one of the first and hence one of the biggest organized crime groups in America.

The above is not to suggest that only the US is prone to organized crime; in fact, some of the biggest organized crime groups are located in other countries, such as the Solntsevskaya Bratva, considered to be perhaps the biggest crime group in the world, whose headquarters are anchored in Russia. The most powerful arm of the Russian mafia consisting of well over 9,000 members, the Solntsevskaya Bratva, has operated since 1980 and had a hand in the murders of many influential men as well as other illegal activities.

It is a well known fact that every group needs a leader to operate efficiently, hence every gang has a leader as well. We couldn’t help but wonder who is the biggest gangster in the world today. We’ve researched a bit and found out that, while many sources differ, perhaps the person most deserving of this title is Joaquin Guzman, or El Chapo (also known as drug lord), who was the head of the Sinaloa Cartel, and who has escaped the police despite being captured many times.

We decided to limit our focus on groups which maintain a large, ominous presence in the United States. To this end, we researched the various crime groups operating freely in America, and ranked them according to their involvement in cross border crimes, which are generally considered to be of a serious nature, as mentioned in the National Gang Report 2015 created by the FBI. We further tried to rank them according to their revenue, but since their operations aren’t legal, the figures we obtained could not be accurately verified and ascertained, hence we decided this criterion would weaken our rankings instead of strengthening it. The list was not an easy one to construct. Most of the articles on the web focus on a global level with respect to criminal organizations rather than the US alone. Let’s kick off our list with:

12. Artistas Asensios

The gang is involved in numerous illegal activities and is famed for its involvement with the infamous Sinaloa drug cartel. While the gang may not be as active as it once was, it has been to engage in a few murders here and there.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in AmericaSeb c’est <a href=”http://bien/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>bien/Shutterstock.com</a>

11. Norteño

The Norteños gang was formed in Northern California, and was specifically created to counter the growing influence of Surenos, a gang which had ties to the Mexican Mafia.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in AmericaAndrey <a href=”http://Burmakin/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>Burmakin/Shutterstock.com</a>

10. Crips

One of the largest organized crime groups in America, Crips, boasted a membership of more than 30,000 criminals, back in 1999. The gang is notorious for its violent crimes.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America<a href=”http://ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock.com</a>

9. Bloods

Bloods is ironically the bitter rival of aforementioned gang Crips, whose primary members are African Americans.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America<a href=”http://Rachaphak/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>Rachaphak/Shutterstock.com</a>

8. Texas Syndicate

The Texas Syndicate was established as a prison gang in order to counter other gangs preying on native Texans, and are still largely a prison gang though some of their members engage in other forms of criminal activity as well.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America<a href=”http://igorstevanovic/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>igorstevanovic/Shutterstock.com</a>

7. MS-13

MS-13 is one of the biggest threats to the fight against organized crime in the country, according to the US Attorney’s office. This group consists of over 6,000 members and is considered to be the first street crime group in the US to be described as a transnational criminal enterprise.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America<a href=”http://wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock.com</a>

6. Latin Kings

The oldest Hispanic crime group in the world, the Latin Kings are involved in various illegal activities including drug trafficking and weapons trafficking, which explains its appearance among the biggest organized crime groups in America.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in AmericaPer <a href=”http://Bengtsson/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>Bengtsson/Shutterstock.com</a>

5. Paisa

Established in Colombia, Paisa consisted of paramilitary members who established themselves as drug traffickers. However, the group’s influence has waned in recent years and its power has been called into question as well. However, as evident from this report, the group still holds some sway, especially in cross border crimes.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in AmericaAfrica <a href=”http://Studio/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>Studio/Shutterstock.com</a>

4. Mexican Mafia

Despite its name, the organization was established in the US and despite only a few hundred members, has managed to successfully carry out criminal activities on a large scale.

3. Tango Blast

An even bigger threat than MS-13, Tango Blast, established in Houston, has over 19,000 members and earns most of its profits through criminal activities such as human trafficking.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America<a href=”http://GongTo/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>GongTo/Shutterstock.com</a>

2. Barrio Azteca

Another gang established in Texas, the Barrio Azteca has engaged in drug trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering and contract killing, to name a few of their crimes.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in AmericaArtem <a href=”http://Furman/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>Furman/Shutterstock.com</a>

1. Sureños

Topping the list of the biggest organized crime groups in America is Sureños, a rival of the earlier mentioned Norteños. Sureños pay homage and respects to the Mexican Mafia, and carry out most of the dirty work of the Mafia, such as human trafficking, hence allowing them to claim the top slot.

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12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America

1 Share

In the land of dreams, crime runs rampant as evidenced by the 12 biggest organized crime groups in America. So what exactly is the definition of organized crime? Well, organized crime refers to a crime that is committed out on a coordinated basis by groups of criminals, and is carried out on a large scale as well. In fact, this is the reason why it is hard to crack down organized crime. There are so many people involved on different levels, arresting one person or even a dozen barely makes a dent in this billion dollar industry. However, this is just a basic definition. To truly distinguish between ordinary crimes and organized crimes, you should consider the characteristics of organized crime, some of which include a hierarchical structure which is controlled by a few people and a reserve fund which comes in handy on a rainy day. Truly, you could be forgiven for confusing an organized crime group with a legal business, as both operate on similar structures. To learn more about crime, you might want to consult any of the 25 best crime documentaries on YouTube.

There are various types of organized crimes committed by the top crime groups that include the typical crimes you would expect from a street criminal such as rape, murder, and stealing. However, the bigger crime groups who wield enormous influence and power go beyond such crimes and enter (or in some cases create) criminal industries such as human trafficking, kidnapping for ransom and drug trafficking, all of which are enormously profitable.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in AmericaMark <a href=”http://Agnor/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>Agnor/Shutterstock.com</a>

We have been facing the issue of organized crime for a long time now and instead of seeing it reduced, we have seen it grow exponentially, resulting in deaths, violence, anarchy and loss of billions. In fact, organized crime history can be traced several hundred years back, when pirates and bandits organized to attack villages, pillaging loot while killing those who tried to defend their property. Later on, in the nineteenth century, organized crime started to develop in the United States, with the Wild Bunch being considered as one of the first and hence one of the biggest organized crime groups in America.

The above is not to suggest that only the US is prone to organized crime; in fact, some of the biggest organized crime groups are located in other countries, such as the Solntsevskaya Bratva, considered to be perhaps the biggest crime group in the world, whose headquarters are anchored in Russia. The most powerful arm of the Russian mafia consisting of well over 9,000 members, the Solntsevskaya Bratva, has operated since 1980 and had a hand in the murders of many influential men as well as other illegal activities.

It is a well known fact that every group needs a leader to operate efficiently, hence every gang has a leader as well. We couldn’t help but wonder who is the biggest gangster in the world today. We’ve researched a bit and found out that, while many sources differ, perhaps the person most deserving of this title is Joaquin Guzman, or El Chapo (also known as drug lord), who was the head of the Sinaloa Cartel, and who has escaped the police despite being captured many times.

We decided to limit our focus on groups which maintain a large, ominous presence in the United States. To this end, we researched the various crime groups operating freely in America, and ranked them according to their involvement in cross border crimes, which are generally considered to be of a serious nature, as mentioned in the National Gang Report 2015 created by the FBI. We further tried to rank them according to their revenue, but since their operations aren’t legal, the figures we obtained could not be accurately verified and ascertained, hence we decided this criterion would weaken our rankings instead of strengthening it. The list was not an easy one to construct. Most of the articles on the web focus on a global level with respect to criminal organizations rather than the US alone. Let’s kick off our list with:

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· · ·

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America – Insider Monkey (blog)

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Insider Monkey (blog)
12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America
Insider Monkey (blog)
The above is not to suggest that only the US is prone to organized crime; in fact, some of the biggest organized crime groups are located in other countries, such as the Solntsevskaya Bratva, considered to be perhaps the biggest crime group in the 

The Early Edition: September 7, 2017 


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Special Report: Russia: The Insiders – YouTube

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Sky News Published on Sep 7, 2017 SUBSCRIBED 640K SUBSCRIBE SUBSCRIBED UNSUBSCRIBE Sky’s Cordelia Lynch investigates the expanding scope of investigations into alleged collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russian government, and asks whether the scandal could bring about the downfall of the US President.

See also:

daniel hoffman cia

Daniel Hoffman Archives – The Cipher Brief

https://www.thecipherbrief.com/expert/daniel-hoffman

Daniel Hoffman is a former Chief of Station with the Central Intelligence Agency. … only within the CIA, but also with the U.S. military, U.S. Department of State, …

Cover Lifted, A CIA Spy Offers His Take On Trump And Russia : NPR

www.npr.org/2017/08/08/…/cover-lifted-a-cia-spy-offers-his-take-on-trump-and-russia

Aug 8, 2017 – Retired CIA station chief Daniel Hoffman says Russia intended for Donald Trump Jr.’s June 2016 meeting with Russians to be discovered.

Book Daniel Hoffman for Public Speaking | Harry Walker Agency

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Contact the Harry Walker Agency to schedule Daniel Hoffman as your next … service included high-level positions not only within the CIA, but also with the U.S. …

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Oh, Wait. Maybe It Was Collusion. – The New York Times

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Aug 2, 2017 – John Brennan, the former director of the C.I.A., recently testified, … Our friend and former colleague Daniel Hoffman argued in this paper that …

The Russians Were Involved. But It Wasn’t About Collusion. – The New …

https://www.nytimes.com/…/the-russians-were-involved-but-it-wasnt-about-collusion.ht…

Jul 28, 2017 – By DANIEL HOFFMAN JULY 28, 2017 … career, including with the C.I.A., observing Soviet, and then Russian, intelligence operations. I came to …


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In the land of dreams, crime runs rampant

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12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America

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In the land of dreams, crime runs rampant as evidenced by the 12 biggest organized crime groups in America. So what exactly is the definition of organized crime? Well, organized crime refers to a crime that is committed out on a coordinated basis by groups of criminals, and is carried out on a large scale as well. In fact, this is the reason why it is hard to crack down organized crime. There are so many people involved on different levels, arresting one person or even a dozen barely makes a dent in this billion dollar industry. However, this is just a basic definition. To truly distinguish between ordinary crimes and organized crimes, you should consider the characteristics of organized crime, some of which include a hierarchical structure which is controlled by a few people and a reserve fund which comes in handy on a rainy day. Truly, you could be forgiven for confusing an organized crime group with a legal business, as both operate on similar structures. To learn more about crime, you might want to consult any of the 25 best crime documentaries on YouTube.

There are various types of organized crimes committed by the top crime groups that include the typical crimes you would expect from a street criminal such as rape, murder, and stealing. However, the bigger crime groups who wield enormous influence and power go beyond such crimes and enter (or in some cases create) criminal industries such as human trafficking, kidnapping for ransom and drug trafficking, all of which are enormously profitable.

We have been facing the issue of organized crime for a long time now and instead of seeing it reduced, we have seen it grow exponentially, resulting in deaths, violence, anarchy and loss of billions. In fact, organized crime history can be traced several hundred years back, when pirates and bandits organized to attack villages, pillaging loot while killing those who tried to defend their property. Later on, in the nineteenth century, organized crime started to develop in the United States, with the Wild Bunch being considered as one of the first and hence one of the biggest organized crime groups in America.

The above is not to suggest that only the US is prone to organized crime; in fact, some of the biggest organized crime groups are located in other countries, such as the Solntsevskaya Bratva, considered to be perhaps the biggest crime group in the world, whose headquarters are anchored in Russia. The most powerful arm of the Russian mafia consisting of well over 9,000 members, the Solntsevskaya Bratva, has operated since 1980 and had a hand in the murders of many influential men as well as other illegal activities.

It is a well known fact that every group needs a leader to operate efficiently, hence every gang has a leader as well. We couldn’t help but wonder who is the biggest gangster in the world today. We’ve researched a bit and found out that, while many sources differ, perhaps the person most deserving of this title is Joaquin Guzman, or El Chapo (also known as drug lord), who was the head of the Sinaloa Cartel, and who has escaped the police despite being captured many times.

We decided to limit our focus on groups which maintain a large, ominous presence in the United States. To this end, we researched the various crime groups operating freely in America, and ranked them according to their involvement in cross border crimes, which are generally considered to be of a serious nature, as mentioned in the National Gang Report 2015 created by the FBI. We further tried to rank them according to their revenue, but since their operations aren’t legal, the figures we obtained could not be accurately verified and ascertained, hence we decided this criterion would weaken our rankings instead of strengthening it. The list was not an easy one to construct. Most of the articles on the web focus on a global level with respect to criminal organizations rather than the US alone. Let’s kick off our list with:

Read the whole story
· · ·

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America – Insider Monkey (blog)

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Insider Monkey (blog)
12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America
Insider Monkey (blog)
The above is not to suggest that only the US is prone to organized crime; in fact, some of the biggest organized crime groups are located in other countries, such as the Solntsevskaya Bratva, considered to be perhaps the biggest crime group in the  

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America

1 Share

In the land of dreams, crime runs rampant as evidenced by the 12 biggest organized crime groups in America. So what exactly is the definition of organized crime? Well, organized crime refers to a crime that is committed out on a coordinated basis by groups of criminals, and is carried out on a large scale as well. In fact, this is the reason why it is hard to crack down organized crime. There are so many people involved on different levels, arresting one person or even a dozen barely makes a dent in this billion dollar industry. However, this is just a basic definition. To truly distinguish between ordinary crimes and organized crimes, you should consider the characteristics of organized crime, some of which include a hierarchical structure which is controlled by a few people and a reserve fund which comes in handy on a rainy day. Truly, you could be forgiven for confusing an organized crime group with a legal business, as both operate on similar structures. To learn more about crime, you might want to consult any of the 25 best crime documentaries on YouTube.

There are various types of organized crimes committed by the top crime groups that include the typical crimes you would expect from a street criminal such as rape, murder, and stealing. However, the bigger crime groups who wield enormous influence and power go beyond such crimes and enter (or in some cases create) criminal industries such as human trafficking, kidnapping for ransom and drug trafficking, all of which are enormously profitable.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in AmericaMark <a href=”http://Agnor/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>Agnor/Shutterstock.com</a>

We have been facing the issue of organized crime for a long time now and instead of seeing it reduced, we have seen it grow exponentially, resulting in deaths, violence, anarchy and loss of billions. In fact, organized crime history can be traced several hundred years back, when pirates and bandits organized to attack villages, pillaging loot while killing those who tried to defend their property. Later on, in the nineteenth century, organized crime started to develop in the United States, with the Wild Bunch being considered as one of the first and hence one of the biggest organized crime groups in America.

The above is not to suggest that only the US is prone to organized crime; in fact, some of the biggest organized crime groups are located in other countries, such as the Solntsevskaya Bratva, considered to be perhaps the biggest crime group in the world, whose headquarters are anchored in Russia. The most powerful arm of the Russian mafia consisting of well over 9,000 members, the Solntsevskaya Bratva, has operated since 1980 and had a hand in the murders of many influential men as well as other illegal activities.

It is a well known fact that every group needs a leader to operate efficiently, hence every gang has a leader as well. We couldn’t help but wonder who is the biggest gangster in the world today. We’ve researched a bit and found out that, while many sources differ, perhaps the person most deserving of this title is Joaquin Guzman, or El Chapo (also known as drug lord), who was the head of the Sinaloa Cartel, and who has escaped the police despite being captured many times.

We decided to limit our focus on groups which maintain a large, ominous presence in the United States. To this end, we researched the various crime groups operating freely in America, and ranked them according to their involvement in cross border crimes, which are generally considered to be of a serious nature, as mentioned in the National Gang Report 2015 created by the FBI. We further tried to rank them according to their revenue, but since their operations aren’t legal, the figures we obtained could not be accurately verified and ascertained, hence we decided this criterion would weaken our rankings instead of strengthening it. The list was not an easy one to construct. Most of the articles on the web focus on a global level with respect to criminal organizations rather than the US alone. Let’s kick off our list with:

12. Artistas Asensios

The gang is involved in numerous illegal activities and is famed for its involvement with the infamous Sinaloa drug cartel. While the gang may not be as active as it once was, it has been to engage in a few murders here and there.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in AmericaSeb c’est <a href=”http://bien/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>bien/Shutterstock.com</a>

11. Norteño

The Norteños gang was formed in Northern California, and was specifically created to counter the growing influence of Surenos, a gang which had ties to the Mexican Mafia.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in AmericaAndrey <a href=”http://Burmakin/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>Burmakin/Shutterstock.com</a>

10. Crips

One of the largest organized crime groups in America, Crips, boasted a membership of more than 30,000 criminals, back in 1999. The gang is notorious for its violent crimes.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America<a href=”http://ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock.com</a>

9. Bloods

Bloods is ironically the bitter rival of aforementioned gang Crips, whose primary members are African Americans.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America<a href=”http://Rachaphak/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>Rachaphak/Shutterstock.com</a>

8. Texas Syndicate

The Texas Syndicate was established as a prison gang in order to counter other gangs preying on native Texans, and are still largely a prison gang though some of their members engage in other forms of criminal activity as well.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America<a href=”http://igorstevanovic/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>igorstevanovic/Shutterstock.com</a>

7. MS-13

MS-13 is one of the biggest threats to the fight against organized crime in the country, according to the US Attorney’s office. This group consists of over 6,000 members and is considered to be the first street crime group in the US to be described as a transnational criminal enterprise.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America<a href=”http://wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock.com</a>

6. Latin Kings

The oldest Hispanic crime group in the world, the Latin Kings are involved in various illegal activities including drug trafficking and weapons trafficking, which explains its appearance among the biggest organized crime groups in America.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in AmericaPer <a href=”http://Bengtsson/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>Bengtsson/Shutterstock.com</a>

5. Paisa

Established in Colombia, Paisa consisted of paramilitary members who established themselves as drug traffickers. However, the group’s influence has waned in recent years and its power has been called into question as well. However, as evident from this report, the group still holds some sway, especially in cross border crimes.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in AmericaAfrica <a href=”http://Studio/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>Studio/Shutterstock.com</a>

4. Mexican Mafia

Despite its name, the organization was established in the US and despite only a few hundred members, has managed to successfully carry out criminal activities on a large scale.

3. Tango Blast

An even bigger threat than MS-13, Tango Blast, established in Houston, has over 19,000 members and earns most of its profits through criminal activities such as human trafficking.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America<a href=”http://GongTo/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>GongTo/Shutterstock.com</a>

2. Barrio Azteca

Another gang established in Texas, the Barrio Azteca has engaged in drug trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering and contract killing, to name a few of their crimes.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in AmericaArtem <a href=”http://Furman/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>Furman/Shutterstock.com</a>

1. Sureños

Topping the list of the biggest organized crime groups in America is Sureños, a rival of the earlier mentioned Norteños. Sureños pay homage and respects to the Mexican Mafia, and carry out most of the dirty work of the Mafia, such as human trafficking, hence allowing them to claim the top slot.

Read the whole story
· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America

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In the land of dreams, crime runs rampant as evidenced by the 12 biggest organized crime groups in America. So what exactly is the definition of organized crime? Well, organized crime refers to a crime that is committed out on a coordinated basis by groups of criminals, and is carried out on a large scale as well. In fact, this is the reason why it is hard to crack down organized crime. There are so many people involved on different levels, arresting one person or even a dozen barely makes a dent in this billion dollar industry. However, this is just a basic definition. To truly distinguish between ordinary crimes and organized crimes, you should consider the characteristics of organized crime, some of which include a hierarchical structure which is controlled by a few people and a reserve fund which comes in handy on a rainy day. Truly, you could be forgiven for confusing an organized crime group with a legal business, as both operate on similar structures. To learn more about crime, you might want to consult any of the 25 best crime documentaries on YouTube.

 ____________________

The Early Edition: September 7, 2017 


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Trump saga character still surrounded by financial fraudsters | McClatchy Washington Bureau

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Felix Sater is a growing problem for Donald Trump, who once said he wouldn’t know what Sater looked like. The Russia-born Sater recently said he sought deals for Trump in Moscow during the campaign, and today is surrounded by several men with checkered financial pasts.

Source: Trump saga character still surrounded by financial fraudsters | McClatchy Washington Bureau

Trump saga character still surrounded by financial fraudsters

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 6:05 PM 9/27/2017
Editors’ note:
See the full text of this article at McClatchy site. 
This post was reducted to bring this link in accordance with the edited original, at the request of Mr. Wolf, Mr. Sater’s attorney. 
_____________________________________

Facebook Says Russia-Based Operation Bought Ads Targeting U.S. Voters

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Facebook officials told a congressional panel that the social network discovered it had sold advertisements to a Russia-based operation during the presidential election targeting U.S. voters.

Facebook: Likely Russia-based Operation Bought Ads During 2016 US Election 

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Facebook Inc. said on Wednesday it had found that an influence operation likely based in Russia spent $100,000 on ads promoting divisive social and political messages in a two-year-period through May. Facebook, the dominant social media network, said that many of the ads promoted 470 “inauthentic” accounts and pages that it has now suspended. The ads spread polarizing views on topics including immigration, race and gay rights, instead of backing a particular political candidate,…

Facebook says it sold political ads to Russian company during 2016 election – Washington Post

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Facebook says it sold political ads to Russian company during 2016 election
Washington Post
Representatives of Facebook told congressional investigators Wednesday that it has discovered it sold ads during the U.S. presidential election to a shadowy Russian company seeking to target voters, according to several people familiar with the company and more »

Facebook says it sold political ads to Russian company during 2016 election

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Trump gets millions from golf members. CEOs and lobbyists get access to president – USA TODAY

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USA TODAY
Trump gets millions from golf members. CEOs and lobbyists get access to president
USA TODAY
Dozens of lobbyists, contractors and others who make their living influencing the government pay President Trump’s companies for membership in his private golf clubs, a status that can put them in close contact with the president, a USA TODAY 
Lobbyists’ memberships at Trump golf clubs raise red flags: reportThe Hill (blog)
Is Trump Corrupt? Golf Club Members Include Lobbyists and Contractors Who Gain Access to PresidentNewsweek
Lobbyists Sure Love Trump’s Expensive Golf Courses for Some ReasonGizmodo
Salon –MarketWatch –The Independent
all 11 news articles »
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Syrian government dropped sarin on Khan Sheikoun: U.N.

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GENEVA (Reuters) – Syrian forces have used chemical weapons more than two dozen times during the country’s civil war, including in the deadly attack that led to U.S. air strikes on government planes, U.N. war crimes investigators said on Wednesday.

  

Tiger on the loose in Henry Co. has been killed – WXIA-TV

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WXIA-TV
Tiger on the loose in Henry Co. has been killed
WXIA-TV
Henry County police said the Tiger who was on the loose is now dead after being shot after jumping a home’s fence to go after a dog. Crash Clark and Catherine Park, WXIA 7:46 AM. EDT September 06, 2017. CONNECT TWEET LINKEDIN GOOGLE+ …
Tiger killed after running loose in Georgia neighborhoodWSB Atlanta
Escaped TIGER spotted on main road as American cops follow big cat and warn motorists to avoid areaMirror.co.ukall 15 news articles »

Munich memorial marks 1972 Olympic Games attack on Israeli team

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MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) – Victims of the attack on the Israeli team at the 1972 Olympic Games were remembered by Germany and Israel on Wednesday with a memorial, following a long campaign by their relatives.

  

Said Gabriel yesterday, welcoming Russia’s proposal: “Russia has effected a change in its policies that we should not gamble away” 

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RUSSIA

“I am not his bride, nor his groom,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said of President Trump yesterday, stating that each leader defends their national interests, also disparaging the U.S. for its treatment of Russian diplomatic facilities on U.S. soil. Andrew Roth reports at the Washington Post.

Putin’s offer of a U.N. peacekeeping mission in eastern Ukraine “shows that Russia has effected a change in its policies that we should not gamble away,” 

Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said yesterday,

welcoming Russia’s proposal for the U.N. mission to patrol the front line. Nataliya Vasilyeva reports at the AP.

“The delivery of weapons to a conflict zone doesn’t help peacekeeping efforts, but only worsens the situation,” Putin said yesterday, hitting back at Defense Secretary James Mattis for considering

supplying Ukraine with defensive weapons,

arguing that pro-Russian separatist “republics” in Ukraine could possibly “deploy weapons to other conflict zones.” John Bowden reports at the Hill.

Is Trump Corrupt? Golf Club Members Include Lobbyists and Contractors Who Gain Access to President – Newsweek

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Newsweek
Is Trump Corrupt? Golf Club Members Include Lobbyists and Contractors Who Gain Access to President
Newsweek
President Donald Trump has faced heavy criticism for the time he has spent on golf during his first eight months in office, both for chastising his predecessor, Barack Obama, about his golf outings and for his campaign promises that he would be too and more »

There’s A Potential Crack In Trump’s Base: Supporters Who Once Voted For Obama

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They’re more likely than any other group to regret their votes, a survey finds.

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M.N.: This article below, by John Sipher, is one of the important, clear, logical, and professionally written pieces of information on “Steele Dossier” and the related matters – Knowing What We Know Now by John Sipher 

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M.N.: This article below, by John Sipher, is one of the important, clear, logical, and professionally written pieces of information on “Steele Dossier” and the related matters. It is regrettable, however, that the author did not mention the mysterious death of Oleg Erovinkin who is assumed to be and is referred to as the main source of information, and even the ultimate author of this document. This omission can be addressed in the future reports by Mr. Sipher. The overall issue of veracity and the ultimate sources of the “dossier” presently appear to be unresolved. 

One of the practical points of this article which might be of some value to the investigators, despite its seeming triviality, is that the true understanding of the events in general, and this issue in particular, develops in its dynamics, in the process, in time, and very often becomes available, clears up, and matures in hindsight, with passing of time and the accumulation of the relevant information which was hidden and comes to light only now. We live, we learn, and we try to comprehend and to understand. 

If we only knew then, what we know now…


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Said Gabriel yesterday, welcoming Russia’s proposal: “Russia has effected a change in its policies that we should not gamble away”

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RUSSIA

“I am not his bride, nor his groom,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said of President Trump yesterday, stating that each leader defends their national interests, also disparaging the U.S. for its treatment of Russian diplomatic facilities on U.S. soil. Andrew Roth reports at the Washington Post.

Putin’s offer of a U.N. peacekeeping mission in eastern Ukraine “shows that Russia has effected a change in its policies that we should not gamble away,” 

Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said yesterday,

welcoming Russia’s proposal for the U.N. mission to patrol the front line. Nataliya Vasilyeva reports at the AP.

“The delivery of weapons to a conflict zone doesn’t help peacekeeping efforts, but only worsens the situation,” Putin said yesterday, hitting back at Defense Secretary James Mattis for considering

supplying Ukraine with defensive weapons,

arguing that pro-Russian separatist “republics” in Ukraine could possibly “deploy weapons to other conflict zones.” John Bowden reports at the Hill.


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Russia’s power play in North Korea aimed at China, US – NBC Montana

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When Russia sent its bombers flying over the Korean Peninsula last week, it was more than a signal to its allies in Beijing.

Source: Russia’s power play in North Korea aimed at China, US – NBC Montana

Russia’s power play in North Korea aimed at China, US

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(CNN) – When Russia sent its bombers flying over the Korean Peninsula last week, it was as much a signal to its allies in Beijing as it was a telegraph to Washington that Moscow too, was pivoting to Asia.

The Kremlin may not become Pyongyang’s most steadfast and critical defender in this newest conflagration, but its cameo in the region is another attempt by Russian President Vladimir Putin to insert himself into a geo-political stalemate involving the U.S.

Experts say it may also help deflect attention from upcoming military exercises in Belarus and western Russia next month, which have upset NATO members concerned about what amounts to a mass buildup of Russian troops on the edges of eastern Europe.

China, which sent bombers into the air itself shortly after, declined to comment about the show of force from Moscow. In its regular press briefing on Wednesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said it would not “quantify how close China and Russia are cooperating on the North Korean nuclear issue,” said Hua Chunying, a ministry spokeswoman.

“Just like China, Russia plays a pivotal role in maintaining global peace and stability as well as promoting peaceful solutions to hotspot issues in the region,” Hua said. “China is willing to strengthen its cooperation and coordination with Russia to jointly preserve peace and stability in the region and around the world.”

Both countries were quick to condemn North Korea’s latest boast Sunday, the successful testing of its most powerful hydrogen bomb yet.

In a statement, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs called for all parties to “immediately return to dialogue,” reaffirming its “readiness for joint efforts in this direction, including in the context of the implementation of the Russian-Chinese road map.”

The real trouble maker

If China is perturbed by its once-dominant Communist partner seeking to commandeer more influence in the region, it’s not outwardly displaying those concerns.

“I think China is confident that its economic development, its military development, takes place at a faster pace than Russia, so in the long run Russia is in no position to seriously challenge Chinese core interests,” said Tong Zhao, a fellow at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing. “There are certain elements of competition between the two countries, but their shared concerns about the U.S. very much outweigh that right now.”

Both Moscow and Beijing “share the basic perception of who is the real trouble maker and who is the biggest common threat in the Korean Peninsula,” Tong told CNN.

That trouble maker, he said, is the United States, and more specifically, the occupant in the White House.

“Secretary (Rex) Tillerson says he wants to do diplomacy before considering other options but the rhetoric from other people in the White House — (U.S. President Donald) Trump tweeting that talking is not the answer, I think from the Chinese perspective the U.S. is still considering a military option so that doesn’t reassure leaders in North Korea or China,” Tong said.

Every action Pyongyang takes, said Tong, could be construed by Beijing and Moscow as a reaction to Trump’s escalated posture.

Putin appeared to reiterate this on Thursday when he called attempts to get the regime of Kim Jong Un to cease its nuclear program “a dead-end road.”

“Russia believes that the policy of putting pressure on Pyongyang to stop its nuclear missile program is misguided and futile,” Putin said in an article released by the Kremlin. “Provocations, pressure and militarist and insulting rhetoric are a dead-end road.”

Russia has recently been making inroads to counter China’s perceived clout with North Korea. Overtures include Russia’s forgiveness of Soviet-era debt, of which $10 billion due from Pyongyang was written off by the Kremlin. Moscow is one of the largest donors of food aid to North Korea, and alongside Beijing, was recently hit with U.S. Treasury sanctions for selling oil to the North Korean regime.

This is all intentional, says Samuel Ramani, a Russian foreign policy specialist.

“As Russia takes an increasingly assertive approach to world affairs, it reminds its citizens of the Soviet Union’s status as a superpower that could influence conflicts worldwide,” Ramani wrote in the Washington Post in late July. “In this respect, Russia’s increased attention to North Korea is much like its military intervention in Syria and its expanded diplomatic presence in Libya and Afghanistan. Moscow is trying once again to project itself as a global power.”

Old rivalry reignites

The jostling between the two powers over North Korea has decades-long historical roots.

“To an extent it began when China and Russia became competitors for influence in the Communist world, they fought border battles in the late 1960s,” said Carl Schuster, retired Navy captain and now adjunct professor at Hawaii Pacific University.

Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s founder, was a guerilla leader who became a major in the Soviet Red Army and served in it until the end of World War II. Upon his return to Korea after 26 years in exile, the Soviets installed him as head of the Korean Communist Party. With their help he built up an army and air force, then declared the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in 1948.

“Russia had the greater advantage, they had much more influence in the region,” Schuster recalled. “When the Berlin Wall came down, Russia became very poor and China came to dominate.”

Over the last 25 years Russia had virtually no ability to sway Pyongyang; it wasn’t able to provide technological support or invest significantly in North Korean industry. Now, Schuster says, “Putin sees an opportunity to increase his influence, probably not by much, but it would be better than what he has, and it distracts America.”

Whatever little sway he may obtain, that, coupled with China’s own shaky standing with North Korea, highlights the possibility that neither power enjoys particularly friendly relations with the isolated regime.

“There is a profound sense of mistrust at the basis of the relationship North Korea has with China and even with Russia,” said James Person, an expert on Korea at the Wilson Center. “There’s a perception particularly with China that Beijing has been overly interventionist over the years and not respectful of Korean sovereignty.”

China and Russia both share a border with North Korea, a demarcation that has shifted over time as territorial disputes were resolved, and one that each of them jealously guards.

Person said that China’s determination to establish regional hegemony, or a “zone of deference” which takes in North Korea has created confusion among Western observers about China’s capacity to rein Pyongyang in. “People in Washington, including President Trump, believe China can just pick up the phone and solve the problem but because of this tortured history of relations they don’t have the ability to exercise at will political influence over North Korea.”

Moreover, there is risk in China’s chastising North Korea any further, something that has been compounded by statements as far back as May in which the North Korean state-run news agency publicly rebuked China for banning coal imports from North Korea after a February missile test.

The North Korean statements warned China of “grave consequences,” and said Beijing should “no longer try to test the limits of the DPRK’s patience.”

“The DPRK will never beg for the maintenance of friendship with China, risking its nuclear program which is as precious as its own life, no matter how valuable the friendship is,” the commentary declared.

Yet China chooses to endure this apparent belligerence. Beijing will always prefer the current leadership in Pyongyang to any that might follow should the Kim dynasty fall, says Person.

“I think they would rather deal with the current North Korean regime with nuclear weapons than they would with a basically reunified Korea that places a U.S. treaty ally at the Chinese doorstep,” he said.

Moscow’s own relationship with Washington becomes more fraught each day. On Thursday, Trump’s administration announced it would shut down Russian diplomatic missions in U.S. cities, seemingly in response to an order from the Russian Foreign Ministry in July for Washington to cut its diplomatic staff in Russia by nearly half.

Both Moscow and Beijing seek to keep the U.S. at bay to protect their own interests in the area, something Person says the U.S. could use to its advantage if it can quell North Korea’s panic and pursue diplomacy again. Even now, he said, there are “talks about talks” that could lead to a de-escalation. But that choice belongs with Trump.

“The important thing is, the U.S. has to recognize that only it has the ability to give Pyongyang what it wants,” Person said. “Yes, China is important in the region, but let’s not outsource to China anymore, especially given the fact that China is trying to reassert this hegemony in the region. By outsourcing our North Korea policy to China, we’re only abetting them in doing this.”

The U.S. must also contend with the notion that Moscow too will embrace a larger role.

“Russia wants to be, and be seen as, a great power. It wants to lead the nations that resist Western power and influence. In defying the United Nations and supporting North Korea, Russia bolsters that status at home and abroad,” Ramani says. “And so Moscow’s alignment with North Korea will likely get stronger in the near future.”

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Any North Korea threat will bring ‘massive military response,’ Mattis says – Chicago Tribune

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Any North Korea threat will bring ‘massive military response,’ Mattis says
Chicago Tribune
In briefs remarks after a White House meeting with Trump and other national security officials, Mattis told reporters that America does not seek the “total annihilation” of the North, but then added somberly, “We have many options to do so.” The 
Trump convenes national security team over North Korea nuclear testTWC News
A North Korea nuclear nightmare: Trump has strong options he can use against Kim but he’s got to act quicklyFox News
North Korean Nuclear Test Draws US Warning of ‘Massive Military Response’New York Times
Washington Post –Miami Herald
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Russia probes kick into high gear – Politico

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Russia probes kick into high gear
Politico
The congressional Russia investigations are entering a new and more serious phase as lawmakers return from the August recess amid fresh revelations about contacts between theTrump campaign and Russia. In the coming weeks, both intelligence …
The Trump campaign and the Russians’ ‘active measures’Washington Examiner

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Top House Intelligence Committee member: Trump is being ‘dishonest’ about Russia ties – Business Insider

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Top House Intelligence Committee member: Trump is being ‘dishonest’ about Russia ties
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Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN on Sunday that President Donald Trump is misleading investigators and the public about his ties to Russia. Schiff made the remarks when CNN’s Dana Bash asked him about …
Rep. Adam Schiff: Proposed Trump Tower in Moscow shows Trump was ‘dishonest’CNN
Russia probes kick into high gearPolitico
Adam Schiff: President Trump “dishonest” when he said he had no business in Russia The live stream went offline …Salon
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Trump Lawyer Asks Journalist If She’s On Drugs After James Comey Question

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Ty Cobb made the remarks in a late night email exchange with Business Insider’s Natasha Bertrand.

Can America handle the truth of the tarnished 2016 election? – Philly.com

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Can America handle the truth of the tarnished 2016 election?
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Then, something remarkable — unprecedented, really — took place. The nation’s highest court decided to launch a thorough investigation of what really happened on Election Day. What the justices eventually uncovered was shocking — a scheme to change …

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recent Kenyan elections – Google Search

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What happens now that Kenya has annulled its presidential election

Quartz1 hour ago
Kenya’s supreme court stunned the nation last week by declaring the country’s Aug. 8 presidential election invalid and ordering a new vote.
The crisis that may force another coalition in Kenya
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cyberwar definition – Google Search

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cy·ber·war
ˈsībərˌwôr/
noun
noun: cyberwar; noun: cyber-war
  1. the use of computer technology to disrupt the activities of a state or organization, especially the deliberate attacking of information systems for strategic or military purposes.
    “cyberwar is asymmetric, which means it benefits lesser military powers as much as military goliaths”

cyberwars – Google Search

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Story image for cyberwars from TIME

Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen: We Must Prepare Ourselves for the …

TIMEDec 20, 2016
All future wars will begin as cyberwars. Cyberattacks and online disinformation campaigns will define the next generation of conflict, and they …
Story image for cyberwars from Forbes

AI Cyber Wars: Coming Soon To A Bank Near You

ForbesJul 21, 2017
The battle between cyber criminals and banks is an intensifying arms race. Cyber criminals are racing to develop new offensive weapons while …
Story image for cyberwars from The Week Magazine

What will the cyberwars of the future look like?

The Week MagazineFeb 25, 2017
When experts talk about the often murky concept of “cyberwar,” they’re often tempering understandable paranoia with realism. Like William …
Story image for cyberwars from U.S. News & World Report

America Is Losing the Cyber War

U.S. News & World ReportSep 29, 2016
In Georgia and now in Ukraine, Russia has demonstrated its ability to integrate full-scale cyberwar into its military maneuvers, further …
Story image for cyberwars from The Independent

Britain must be prepared to fight cyber-wars against Russian …

The IndependentJul 10, 2017
Britain must be ready to fight cyber-wars against the “mayhem” coming from Russia, the former head of GCHQ has warned ministers.
Story image for cyberwars from The Guardian

Anne McElvoy

The GuardianMay 13, 2017
Cyberwars are a new battlefield, but they respect some old rules. One is that being defensive is not enough. The other is that we, the public, …
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Russian Election Hacking Efforts, Wider Than Previously Known, Draw Little Scrutiny

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But months later, for Ms. Greenhalgh, other election security experts and some state officials, questions still linger about what happened that day in Durham as well as other counties in North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Arizona.

After a presidential campaign scarred by Russian meddling, local, state and federal agencies have conducted little of the type of digital forensic investigation required to assess the impact, if any, on voting in at least 21 states whose election systems were targeted by Russian hackers, according to interviews with nearly two dozen national security and state officials and election technology specialists.

The assaults on the vast back-end election apparatus — voter-registration operations, state and local election databases, e-poll books and other equipment — have received far less attention than other aspects of the Russian interference, such as the hacking of Democratic emails and spreading of false or damaging information about Mrs. Clinton. Yet the hacking of electoral systems was more extensive than previously disclosed, The New York Times found.

Beyond VR Systems, hackers breached at least two other providers of critical election services well ahead of the 2016 voting, said current and former intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because the information is classified. The officials would not disclose the names of the companies.

Intelligence officials in January reassured Americans that there was no indication that Russian hackers had altered the vote count on Election Day, the bottom-line outcome. But the assurances stopped there.

Government officials said that they intentionally did not address the security of the back-end election systems, whose disruption could prevent voters from even casting ballots.

That’s partly because states control elections; they have fewer resources than the federal government but have long been loath to allow even cursory federal intrusions into the voting process.

That, along with legal constraints on intelligence agencies’ involvement in domestic issues, has hobbled any broad examination of Russian efforts to compromise American election systems. Those attempts include combing through voter databases, scanning for vulnerabilities or seeking to alter data, which have been identified in multiple states. Current congressional inquiries and the special counsel’s Russia investigation have not focused on the matter.

“We don’t know if any of the problems were an accident, or the random problems you get with computer systems, or whether it was a local hacker, or actual malfeasance by a sovereign nation-state,” said Michael Daniel, who served as the cybersecurity coordinator in the Obama White House. “If you really want to know what happened, you’d have to do a lot of forensics, a lot of research and investigation, and you may not find out even then.”

In interviews, academic and private election security experts acknowledged the challenges of such diagnostics but argued that the effort is necessary. They warned about what could come, perhaps as soon as next year’s midterm elections, if the existing mix of outdated voting equipment, haphazard election-verification procedures and array of outside vendors is not improved to build an effective defense against Russian or other hackers.

In Durham, a local firm with limited digital forensics or software engineering expertise produced a confidential report, much of it involving interviews with poll workers, on the county’s election problems. The report was obtained by The Times, and election technology specialists who reviewed it at the Times’ request said the firm had not conducted any malware analysis or checked to see if any of the e-poll book software was altered, adding that the report produced more questions than answers.

Neither VR Systems — which operates in seven states beyond North Carolina — nor local officials were warned before Election Day that Russian hackers could have compromised their software. After problems arose, Durham County rebuffed help from the Department of Homeland Security and Free & Fair, a team of digital election-forensics experts who volunteered to conduct a free autopsy. The same was true elsewhere across the country.

“I always got stonewalled,” said Joe Kiniry, the chief executive and chief scientist at Free & Fair.

Still, some of the incidents reported in North Carolina occur in every election, said Charles Stewart III, a political scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an expert on election administration.

“Election officials and advocates and reporters who were watching most closely came away saying this was an amazingly quiet election,” he said, playing down the notion of tampering. He added, though, that the problems in Durham and elsewhere raise questions about the auditing of e-poll books and security of small election vendors.

Ms. Greenhalgh shares those concerns. “We still don’t know if Russian hackers did this,” she said about what happened in North Carolina. “But we still don’t know that they didn’t.”

Disorder at the Polls

North Carolina went for Donald J. Trump in a close election. But in Durham County, Hillary Clinton won 78 percent of the 156,000 votes, winning by a larger margin than President Barack Obama had against Mitt Romney four years earlier.

While only a fraction of voters were turned away because of the e-poll book difficulties — more than half of the county cast their ballots days earlier — plenty of others were affected when the state mandated that the entire county revert to paper rolls on Election Day. People steamed as everything slowed. Voters gave up and left polling places in droves — there’s no way of knowing the numbers, but they include more than a hundred North Carolina Central University students facing four-hour delays.

At a call center operated by the monitoring group Election Protection, Ms. Greenhalgh was fielding technical complaints from voters in Mississippi, Texas and North Carolina. Only a handful came from the first two states.

Her account of the troubles matches complaints logged in the Election Incident Reporting System, a tracking tool created by nonprofit groups. As the problems mounted, The Charlotte Observer reported that Durham’s e-poll book vendor was Florida-based VR Systems, which Ms. Greenhalgh knew from a CNN report had been hacked earlier by Russians. “Chills went through my spine,” she recalled.

The vendor does not make the touch-screen equipment used to cast or tally votes and does not manage county data. But without the information needed to verify voters’ identities and eligibility, which county officials load onto VR’s poll books, voters cannot cast ballots at all.

Details of the breach did not emerge until June, in a classified National Security Agency report leaked to The Intercept, a national security news site. That report found that hackers from Russia’s military intelligence agency, the G.R.U., had penetrated the company’s computer systems as early as August 2016, then sent “spear-phishing” emails from a fake VR Systems account to 122 state and local election jurisdictions. The emails sought to trick election officials into downloading malicious software to take over their computers.

The N.S.A. analysis did not say whether the hackers had sabotaged voter data. “It is unknown,” the agency concluded, whether Russian phishing “successfully compromised the intended victims, and what potential data could have been accessed.”

VR Systems’ chief operating officer, Ben Martin, said he did not believe Russian hackers were successful. He acknowledged that the vendor was a “juicy target,” given that its systems are used in battleground states including North Carolina, Florida and Virginia. But he said that the company blocked access from its systems to local databases, and employs security protocols to bar intruders and digital triggers that sound alerts if its software is manipulated.

On Election Day, as the e-poll book problems continued, Ms. Greenhalgh urged an Election Protection colleague in North Carolina to warn the state Board of Elections of a cyberattack and suggest that it call in the F.B.I. and Department of Homeland Security. In an email, she also warned a Homeland Security election specialist of the problems. Later, the specialist told her Durham County had rejected the agency’s help.

When Ms. Greenhalgh, who works at Verified Voting, a nonprofit dedicated to election integrity, followed up with the North Carolina colleague, he reported that state officials said they would not require federal help.

“He said: ‘The state does not view this as a problem. There’s nothing we can do, so we’ve moved on to other things,’” Ms. Greenhalgh recalled. “Meanwhile, I’m thinking, ‘What could be more important to move on to?’”

An Interference Campaign

The idea of subverting the American vote by hacking election systems is not new. In an assessment of Russian cyberattacks released in January, intelligence agencies said Kremlin spy services had been collecting information on election processes, technology and equipment in the United States since early 2014.

The Russians shied away from measures that might alter the “tallying” of votes, the report added, a conclusion drawn from American spying and intercepts of Russian officials’ communications and an analysis by the Department of Homeland Security, according to the current and former government officials.

The most obvious way to rig an election — controlling hundreds or thousands of decentralized voting machines — is also the most difficult. During a conference of computer hackers last month in Las Vegas, participants had direct access and quickly took over more than 30 voting machines. But remotely infiltrating machines of different makes and models and then covertly changing the vote count is far more challenging.

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Beginning in 2015, the American officials said, Russian hackers focused instead on other internet-accessible targets: computers at the Democratic National Committee, state and local voter databases, election websites, e-poll book vendors and other back-end election services.

Apart from the Russian influence campaign intended to undermine Mrs. Clinton and other Democratic officials, the impact of the quieter Russian hacking efforts at the state and county level has not been widely studied. Federal officials have been so tight-lipped that not even many election officials in the 21 states the hackers assaulted know whether their systems were compromised, in part because they have not been granted security clearances to examine the classified evidence.

The January intelligence assessment implied that the Russian hackers had achieved broader access than has been assumed. Without elaborating, the report said the Russians had “obtained and maintained access to multiple U.S. state and local election boards.”

Two previously acknowledged strikes in June 2016 hint at Russian ambitions. In Arizona, Russian hackers successfully stole a username and password for an election official in Gila County. And in Illinois, Russian hackers inserted a malicious program into the Illinois State Board of Elections’ database. According to Ken Menzel, the board’s general counsel, the program tried unsuccessfully “to alter things other than voter data” — he declined to be more specific — and managed to illegally download registration files for 90,000 voters before being detected.

On Election Day last year, a number of counties reported problems similar to those in Durham. In North Carolina, e-poll book incidents occurred in the counties that are home to the state’s largest cities, including Raleigh, Winston-Salem, Fayetteville and Charlotte. Three of Virginia’s most populous counties — Prince William, Loudoun, and Henrico — as well as Fulton County, Georgia, which includes Atlanta, and Maricopa County, Arizona, which includes Phoenix, also reported difficulties. All were attributed to software glitches.

Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia and vice chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, argued for more scrutiny of suspicious incidents. “We must harden our cyber defenses, and thoroughly educate the American public about the danger posed” by attacks,” he said in an email. “In other words: we are not making our elections any safer by withholding information about the scope and scale of the threat.

In Durham County, officials have rejected any notion that an intruder sought to alter the election outcome. “We do not believe, and evidence does not suggest, that hacking occurred on Election Day,” Derek Bowens, the election director, said in a recent email.

But last month, after inquiries from reporters and the North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, Durham county officials voted to turn over laptops and other devices to the board for further analysis. It was not clear which government agency or private forensics firm, would conduct the investigation.

Ms. Greenhalgh will be watching closely. “What people focus on is, ‘Did someone mess with the vote totals?’” she said. “What they don’t realize is that messing with the e-poll books to keep people from voting is just as effective.’”

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cyberwars – Google Search

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Can America handle the truth of the tarnished 2016 election?

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Something smelled wrong about the election from the very start. In the weeks before the presidential balloting took place, millions of voters were bombarded with “fake news” about the candidates on Facebook and other social media sites. And when the vote tallies were announced, the nation was shocked by the results. There was scattered unrest, even violence — and loud whispers that the election had somehow been stolen. Some wondered about the role of Cambridge Analytica, the firm founded by a billionaire backer of Donald Trump.

Then, something remarkable — unprecedented, really — took place. The nation’s highest court decided to launch a thorough investigation of what really happened on Election Day. What the justices eventually uncovered was shocking — a scheme to change results from the actual polling places when they were tallied electronically. What happened next was perhaps more surprising: The Supreme Court justices ordered a new national election.

Yes, this scenario actually just played out.

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In Kenya.

In America, there is a stubborn, almost inexplicable blindness about the myriad problems with our own 2016 election — including the alarming possibility that at least some of those problems were the result of a now-pretty-well-documented effort by a foreign power, Vladimir Putin’s Russia, to meddle in the selection of this nation’s 45th president. It’s getting harder and harder not to think our nation’s top officials — not just President Trump and his aides who were the alleged beneficiaries of Russian meddling, but our intelligence agencies and even state and local officials — don’t really want to know whether Moscow’s interference was so great that it actually decided the race.

It’s as if they are terrified by what they might discover.

First, let’s review what we do know about Russia’s 2016 tampering, because that’s disturbing enough. We know that Trump officials eagerly met in June 2016 in Trump Tower with a cast of characters tied to Putin insiders and Russian intelligence who promised inside dirt on Hillary Clinton. A short time later, hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and a top Clinton aide went public on Wikileaks, at the same time Trump aides were keeping an anti-Putin plank out of the GOP convention platform and as Trump bizarrely made a public plea for Russia to find Clinton’s deleted emails (a cause also adopted by a GOP insider who claimed he was working for Trump, right before he committed suicide). Then came an avalanche of fake news — much of it grown in Russian content farms — to convince blacks or young people in  key states such as Wisconsin to stay home or vote third party.

That’s bad, but it’s not as bad as what we don’t know: Whether Russia was able to hack into any state and local election systems in a way that might have changed the result — and thus throw the entire Nov. 8, 2016, result, with Trump’s narrow Electoral College win, into doubt. Although officials have slowly confirmed over the last 10 months that there’s evidence of Russian hackers trying to breach government election websites in nearly 40 states and actually gaining some access, at least in Illinois and Arizona, they’ve also assured us that a beefed-up effort by U.S. law enforcement and intelligence found zero evidence of Election Day hacking.

Now comes the New York Times to say: Don’t be so certain about that. In a blockbuster report that was inexplicably dropped on the Friday before Labor Day weekend, the newspaper revealed a) in one of the key states that gave Trump the election — North Carolina — voters in heavily Democratic urban precincts faced unexplained computer glitches that in some cases prevented people from casting ballots, using an electronic system known to have been targeted by Russian hackers and b) no federal, state or local agency has really aggressively probed this possibility of Election Day hacking — despite mounting evidence that the attempted tampering was more widespread than first acknowledged.

The key takeaway:

After a presidential campaign scarred by Russian meddling, local, state and federal agencies have conducted little of the type of digital forensic investigation required to assess the impact, if any, on voting in at least 21 states whose election systems were targeted by Russian hackers, according to interviews with nearly two dozen national security and state officials and election technology specialists.

The Times article also raises the important possibility that Russian bad guys — or some other corrupt element — could have tampered with the U.S. presidential election in ways that no one has really focused on. A key point of the article involves problems on Election Day in 2016 with electronic poll books, the online system that officials at polling places use to determine who is eligible to vote and in what precinct.

Last Nov. 8, polling officials in Durham, N.C. — a town with a large college and non-white population that skews Democratic — found widespread problems with these records as voters showed up to cast their ballots. The problems were repeated in other localities in North Carolina and across the Sun Belt that had used electronic poll books run by software from VR Systems — a company that had been breached by Russian hackers months earlier.

The Times scoop makes the point that, while election watchers have looked for evidence that hackers stole the election by changing the actual votes that have been cast — and no hard evidence of that has been found — it was also possible to mess with the outcome by making sure that some votes in heavily Democratic wards were never cast at all. A recount is meaningless for votes that were prevented from happening in the first place. The even bigger problem, as noted by the Times, is that no one is looking too hard to see how often this happened, or why.

Something else here is important to note: American elections are easy to mess with because America’s election system is terrible — Russian hacking or no Russian hacking. Voters went to the polls in 2016 after years of efforts by mostly GOP-led state governments to make it hard for citizens — but especially non-white citizens, college students or the elderly — to cast ballots. Consider Wisconsin, the state where Trump pulled arguably his biggest upset, winning by only 22,748 votes. Critics have said Wisconsin’s turnout fell sharply because of its voter ID law (although maybe not by 200,000, as one study claimed.) Voters in the Badger State were also badgered with “fake news” — some of it undoubtedly from Russia. It’s hard to tell an array of innocent computer glitches and malfunctions from criminal hacking.

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist or political scientist to figure out what needs to be done. In the long run, we need massive election reform — including a new and improved Voting Rights Act that would pinpoint the most pernicious voter ID laws, an Election Day federal holiday, and same-day voter registration. We need a voting system that leaves a real paper trail that can be routinely audited and easily investigated when there are allegations of vote tampering. And, as the Times article makes clear, we need a more thorough investigation of computer hacking and other problems that occurred in 2016 — regardless of the possibility that we might learn the unthinkable.

This isn’t the first time America was afraid of asking hard questions. Does anyone remember the Warren Commission? There’s no precedent for undoing an election result if an investigation uncovered proof of direct interference with the balloting, and so perhaps it’s not shocking that the political establishment isn’t eager to contemplate this. Personally, I think that Americans can handle the truth — and that a serious investigation is called for. But for right now, if you want a government that takes election tampering seriously, you may have to move to Kenya.

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Donald Trump is officially under investigation for Russian financial scheme during election 

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If you’ve been paying close attention, you’ve known all along that this would end up being inevitable. It was always a matter of time before the investigation into Donald Trump’s Russian election collusion and the investigation into Donald Trump’s corrupt finances would become one and the same. Now that day has arrived: Trump is officially under investigation for financial dealings with Russia during the election.

That’s the word according to House Intelligence Committee Ranking member Adam Schiff, who appeared on CNN on Sunday. He officially confirmed that the committee is now investigating Donald Trump’s attempt at building a Trump Tower in Moscow during the election. He also confirmed that Trump’s longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen and Trump’s longtime business associate Felix Sater, who conspired to try to get the Kremlin itself to assist in the real estate deal, are targets in the investigation. But there’s more to this.

By now it’s become clear that the ongoing House and Senate committee investigations are working in lock step with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s own investigation. One of the committees brought in Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort for questioning, and after his testimony must have given something away, Mueller had the FBI bust down his door before the sun came up the next morning. There is no doubt that Mueller is now investigating the Trump Tower Moscow plot as well, and that he’ll proceed with the same level of aggression he’s displayed up to this point.

Furthermore, the upshot of the Trump Tower Moscow scandal is that Donald Trump has absolutely no deniability. Cohen has already confirmed that he discussed the deal with Trump three times during the election. It’s also been confirmed that Trump signed a letter of intent during the election to build it. Trump can’t pretend he somehow didn’t know what his aides were doing when they conspired with the Kremlin during the election.

The post Donald Trump is officially under investigation for Russian financial scheme during electionappeared first on Palmer Report.

In Defense of the Truth – New York Times

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In Defense of the Truth
New York Times
Of the statements by Trump that the fact-checking site PolitiFact has checked, just 5 percent were deemed absolutely true. Another 26 percent were just “mostly true” or “half true.” But a whopping 69 percent were found to be “mostly false,” “false” or 

U.S. Sets Plan for Regular Patrols in South China Sea

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The Pentagon for the first time has set a schedule of naval patrols in the South China Sea in an attempt to create a more consistent posture to counter China’s maritime claims there, injecting a new complication into increasingly uneasy relations between the two powers.


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Stephen Miller may be in the crosshairs of Mueller’s Russia probe – Business Insider

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White House policy adviser Stephen Miller may now be in the crosshairs of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

Source: Stephen Miller may be in the crosshairs of Mueller’s Russia probe – Business Insider

Stephen Miller may be in the crosshairs of Mueller’s Russia probe

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Robert MuellerRobert Mueller. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

  • President Trump’s drafted letter laying out his reasons for firing FBI director James Comey could give the special counsel a direct window into the president’s intent when he later dismissed Comey.
  • The letter could also implicate top Trump aide, Stephen Miller, in Robert Mueller’s obstruction-of-justice investigation. 
  • The advice that White House counsel Don McGahn gave Trump to dissuade him from sending the letter could also prove to be a critical piece of the puzzle.

News on Friday that special counsel Robert Mueller has obtained a letter drafted by President Donald Trump that details his reasons for firing then-FBI director James Comey has likely bolstered the progress of the Russia investigation, and may have landed another close Trump confidant in its crosshairs.

Mueller was put in charge of the investigation — which is examining whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow during last year’s presidential election — after Trump dismissed Comey in May. As part of his investigation, Mueller is also examining whether Trump obstructed justice when he fired the FBI director four months ago.

The letter Mueller is reviewing was drafted by Trump along with policy adviser Stephen Miller, and legal experts say it is possibly the most critical piece of evidence in Mueller’s obstruction-of-justice case since Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee in June, because it can give prosecutors a direct window into Trump’s thinking shortly before he fired Comey.

The biggest challenge a prosecutor faces in an obstruction-of-justice case is proving corrupt intent, which is almost always difficult to establish. But Trump’s letter could change the ballgame.

“The best way to prove someone’s intent is through their own words and actions,” former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti told Business Insider in an interview Saturday. “Here, you have a letter that was written by Miller, at the direction of the president, that contains what the president’s thoughts were at that time.”

Though the letter’s full contents remain unclear, The Washington Post reported that it focused on what was perhaps Trump’s greatest frustration with Comey: that the FBI director did not publicly announce, when he was leading the bureau’s investigation, that Trump was not personally under investigation.

James ComeyFormer FBI Director James Comey Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“It’s problematic for Trump if he fired Comey because he did not take actions in the investigation that would benefit Trump personally,” Mariotti said. “That makes Mueller’s case stronger.”

Cornell Law School associate dean and criminal law expert Jens David Ohlin echoed that assessment.

“The draft letter is extremely relevant to Mueller’s investigation because it may yield evidence about the true reason that Trump fired Comey,” Ohlin said. “If Trump fired Comey to impede an investigation that might implicate his own campaign or administration, that is obstruction of justice.”

Trump put the letter together shortly after Comey’s May 3 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, during which he defended his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of state. The president was reportedly incensed after Comey acknowledged that his October announcement that the FBI was reopening its investigation into Clinton, days before the election, could have impacted its results.

Trump’s lawyer, Ty Cobb, told Business Insider in an email Saturday that the letter has long been in Mueller’s possession and its existence was known both to the special counsel’s team, as well as to the Department of Justice, “which has had a copy since the day it was first discussed within the White House.” He added there was “little, IF ANY, objection within the White House” to the letter, and that it focused primarily on Comey’s “usurpation of powers and other erratic and inexplicable conduct.”

The long weekend during which Trump drafted the letter at his Bedminster golf club began on Thursday, May 4, The New York Times reported on Friday. Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein was given a copy of Trump’s draft letter on Monday, May 8, and then proceeded to write a separate memo as to why Comey should be fired.

stephen millerStephen Miller tapes Sunday show interviews from the White House. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

The letter also implicates Miller, who The Post said acted as a “stenographer” for Trump in writing the letter.

Miller, an ally of the recently ousted chief strategist Steve Bannon, has emerged in recent months as a Trump loyalist within the administration.

Given his role in the matter, Miller will likely be, at the very least, a witness in Mueller’s investigation. Other possible witnesses include Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, who were both with Trump at his Bedminster golf club when he drafted the letter during a weekend in early May.

If Miller acted primarily as a transcriber, he could have a smaller part in the investigation. However, “if he was actively working with the president to plan how they could derail or kill the Russia investigation,” Mariotti said, “that could present legal problems for Miller.”

Ohlin added that Miller and anyone else involved in Comey’s firing — or drafting the letter — may be accessories or co-conspirators to that crime as well.

The question then becomes, Mariotti added, “whether there was an agreement between Miller and the president to obstruct justice.” If that were the case, it could amount to conspiracy, he said.

Another way the adviser could be implicated in the investigation is if, for example, the president was acting in a way to obstruct justice, and Miller knew about that and tried to do what he could to help Trump succeed. If that were the case, Miller could have been aiding and abetting a crime. 

Mariotti said those two possibilities are likely the biggest potential sources of criminal liability for Miller.

The letter, as a whole, is a crucial part of the Russia controversy because it “goes directly to the biggest issue at question — what Trump’s intent was as to the Russia investigation,” Mariotti said.

Trump’s best defense would likely be that the draft letter did not reflect his true thinking on the subject, and that’s why never sent it, Ohlin said.

He added, however, that he didn’t believe the argument would hold much water because “it seems more likely that the draft letter reflected his true thinking, but then was edited down for other reasons.”

Though the White House initially said that Trump fired Comey based entirely on Rosenstein’s and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recommendations, Trump later said he had already decided to fire Comey, and that Rosenstein’s recommendation sealed the deal.

His explanation changed again later on, when he admitted to NBC News’ Lester Holt that he had fired Comey because of “this Russia thing,” and that he was going to dismiss the FBI director regardless of Rosenstein’s input.

Donald TrumpPresident Donald Trump looks at Finnish President Sauli Niinisto during a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Washington. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

And as far as that goes, White House counsel Don McGahn’s conversation with Trump when he advised him against sending the letter could be another key piece of the puzzle.

“We don’t know exactly what McGahn said, but the mere fact that he put a stop to that letter is another piece of evidence that Mueller could use to say, ‘Donald Trump was warned by the White House counsel that this was a problematic step and decided to do it anyway,'” Mariotti told Business Insider on Saturday morning, and later spoke about on Twitter.

The substance of what McGahn told Trump is important — and there’s no guarantee that it could be withheld as privileged information.

The reason is that a federal court of appeals ruled in 1998, at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, that deputy White House counsel Bruce Lindsey had to submit to the special prosecutor’s questions about President Bill Clinton’s relationship with Lewinsky. In that case, the court held that there is no attorney-client privilege between a government lawyer and a government employee in response to a grand jury inquiry.

If that ruling holds as it relates to the obstruction-of-justice investigation, it’s possible the public will eventually hear what McGahn told the president. “If he said anything along the lines of, ‘There’s potential criminal liability if you shut down this investigation,’ that would be extraordinarily powerful evidence against Trump,” Mariotti said.

In that case, McGahn’s advice to Trump could possibly become as important as Trump’s state of mind when he crafted the letter.

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Standoff brews between Senate, FBI over Trump dossier


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