Category Archives: Russian Affair

Obstruction of justice in plain sight: unindicted co-conspirator ‘Individual 1’ instructed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress (updated)

Donald Trump’s longtime attorney and personal “fixer” is going to testify before the House Oversight Committee on Feb. 7, 2019. A source close to Cohen told the Wall Street Journal that in his testimony:

“He’s going to tell the story of what it’s like to work for a madman, and why he did it for so long,” said the person close to Mr. Cohen. “He’s going to say things that will give you chills.”

In a preview of coming attractions, Michael Cohen Acknowledges Payments for Poll Rigging:

Michael D. Cohen, the former personal lawyer and fixer for President Trump, acknowledged on Thursday that he had paid the owner of a technology services company to help doctor results of an online poll to help Mr. Trump as he considered a run for president.

In a post on Twitter about his actions, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Cohen said that he had done so at the direction of Mr. Trump, and regretted it.

The Journal reported that in early 2015, before Mr. Trump declared himself a candidate for president, Mr. Cohen gave $12,000 to $13,000 in cash stuffed in a Walmart bag to John Gauger, the owner of RedFinch Solutions, who also works for Liberty University [run by Jerry Falwell, Jr.]. The money was in exchange for help boosting Mr. Trump’s name in two online polls.

Mr. Cohen was supposed to pay Mr. Gauger $50,000 for the work, the man told The Journal, but the full amount was never paid out. However, Mr. Cohen billed the Trump Organization $50,000 for technology services, according to federal prosecutors in Manhattan, who referenced the amount in a charging document.

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William P. Barr should not be confirmed by the Senate for Attorney General

William P. Barr, who faces a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing this week, should not be confirmed by the Senate due to his past and present sins against the rule of law and constitutional democracy.

Past Sins

William Barr was previously the Attorney General under President George H. W. Bush when he advocated that the president issue a blanket pardon to everyone charged in the Iran-Contra Affair just as independent prosecutor Lawrence Walsh was focused on obstruction of justice by President Bush himself. Barr thus was an architect of the cover-up of the Iran-Contra Affair in which no one was ever brought to justice for their crimes, establishing the perverse precedent that IOKIYAR. See, Bush Pardons 6 in Iran Affair, Aborting a Weinberger Trial; Prosecutor Assails ‘Cover-Up’ (December 24, 1992):

Six years after the arms-for-hostages scandal began to cast a shadow that would darken two Administrations, President Bush today granted full pardons to six former officials in Ronald Reagan’s Administration, including former Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger.

Mr. Weinberger was scheduled to stand trial on Jan. 5 on charges that he lied to Congress about his knowledge of the arms sales to Iran and efforts by other countries to help underwrite the Nicaraguan rebels, a case that was expected to focus on Mr. Weinberger’s private notes that contain references to Mr. Bush’s endorsement of the secret shipments to Iran.

In one remaining facet of the inquiry, the independent prosecutor, Lawrence E. Walsh, plans to review a 1986 campaign diary kept by Mr. Bush. Mr. Walsh has characterized the President’s failure to turn over the diary until now as misconduct.

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‘Collusion’ in plain sight: a compromised president is a national security threat

This past week we learned from Paul Manafort’s attorneys that their client shared closely guarded campaign polling data with Russian (and Ukrainian) oligarchs who have close ties to Vladimir Putin. Paul Manafort shared 2016 polling data with Russian associate, according to court filing.

David Measer explains The real value of Paul Manafort’s polling data:

[I]t’s a mistake to treat polling data as mere briefing material; it’s actionable information. Those of us in advertising use it to decide who to target; to position the brands we represent as distinctive from other brands; to develop messaging and ads; and to knock competitors out of their positions in consumers’ minds. We’ve known since 2017 that the Russian disinformation campaign during the 2016 presidential election did the same thing — aiming different posts at people who indicated that they “liked” patriotism or lived in Ferguson, Mo.

Passing on this kind of information gives a partner the ability to reach audiences in a very personalized way. And if that partner is a foreign country intent on influencing voters, exploiting divisions and disrupting elections, the data is priceless. It gives them the tools to get pretty close to the holy grail of marketing: to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right message.

This would be the Russian troll farm run by Russian intelligence agencies whom the Special Counsel has indicted for interference in the 2016 election.

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The Russia investigation is closing in

On Tuesday, Judges Tatel, Griffith and Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld a contempt citation against the unnamed defendant in In re: Grand Jury Subpoena, the case of the mystery subpoena filed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller against a foreign bank first reported by Politico late last year. The full ruling is here. (h/t Lawfare Blog).

This follows the Supreme Court ruling mystery company must pay fines while it challenges Mueller-related subpoena.

The Supreme Court Monday turned away an effort by an unnamed foreign government-owned corporation to resist a subpoena related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

The court’s order restores a daily fine the company will face that had been put on hold by Chief Justice John Roberts while the full court considered the issue. It is an apparent loss for the company and marks the full court’s first foray into the Mueller probe.

The order will put pressure on the company to turn over information to the grand jury or otherwise cooperate with Mueller as contempt fines continue to accumulate.

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McClatchy stands by its reporting that Michael Cohen was in Prague in 2016

In April of this year, McClatchy reported Mueller has evidence Cohen was in Prague in 2016, confirming part of dossier:

The Justice Department special counsel has evidence that Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and confidant, Michael Cohen, secretly made a late-summer trip to Prague during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Confirmation of the trip would lend credence to retired British spy [Christopher Steele’s] report that Cohen strategized there with a powerful Kremlin figure about Russian meddling in the U.S. election.

* * *

Cohen has vehemently denied for months that he ever has been in Prague or colluded with Russia during the campaign. Neither he nor his lawyer responded to requests for comment for this story.

Other news organizations were unable to confirm McClathcy’s reporting through their sources.

McClatchy today adds circumstantial evidence to build its case that Michael Cohen was in Prague in late-summer in 2016. Cell signal puts Cohen outside Prague around time of purported Russian meeting:

A mobile phone traced to President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen briefly sent signals ricocheting off cell towers in the Prague area in late summer 2016, at the height of the presidential campaign, leaving an electronic record to support claims that Cohen met secretly there with Russian officials, four people with knowledge of the matter say.

During the same period of late August or early September, electronic eavesdropping by an Eastern European intelligence agency picked up a conversation among Russians, one of whom remarked that Cohen was in Prague, two people familiar with the incident said.

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