“MR. UN” FREES THREE AMERICANS, LOCATION SET FOR TALKS
POLITICO reports, “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has secured the release of three Americans held as prisoners in North Korea and is flying home with them — a move that could further smooth relations ahead of the historic planned summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.” Ok spoiler alert: Trump will fail and we will be really driven to the brink then, but hey is not the point to destroy civilization and blow shit up so fools in America can think they are having their warped sense of masculinity validated? Forgive the cynicism; TRUMPISTAN WATCH is a product of its time. For his part, Twitler wrote Wednesday, “I am pleased to inform you that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in the air and on his way back from North Korea with the 3 wonderful gentlemen that everyone is looking so forward to meeting,” adding, “They seem to be in good health. Also, good meeting with Kim Jong Un. Date & Place set,” because “Place” really needed to be capitalized there, even though it is not a proper noun. POLITICO notes, “The president added in a second post that he would personally meet Pompeo and the three released prisoners upon their arrival at Joint Base Andrews, scheduled for 2 a.m. Thursday,” even though the golden photo op is way past his bed time and may cut into his early morning Twitter freak outs on the shitter – sacrifices! Now grab your barf buckets and hold them near as POLITICO reports, “Asked during a cabinet meeting Wednesday at the White House whether he deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for his negotiations with North Korea, as some have suggested, Trump laughed and said ‘everyone thinks so, but I would never say it.’” Dood bro, you just did. POLITICO adds, “He told reporters that the date and location for his planned meeting with Kim would be released within three days and that the meeting would not be held at the demilitarized zone along the border between North and South Korea, a location he had previously suggested.” The New York Times notes that “aboard a flight to Japan,” Pompeo “committed a faux pas by saying that the United States was beginning ‘to put some outlines around the substance of the agenda for the summit between the president and Chairman Un.’” Knowing Korean surnames go first and understanding the Kim-ness of the Kim regime is Korea 101, up there with kimchi but before K-BBQ. We’re fucked. O, Trumpistan greatest nation in the world!
BLOWING UP THE MIDDLE EAST IS OUR REICHSTAG FIRE
The Washington Post reports, “Confrontation between Israel and Iranian forces in Syria sharply escalated early Thursday morning as Israel said Iran launched a barrage of 20 missiles toward its positions in the Golan Heights. Heavy military jet activity, explosions and air-defense fire could be heard throughout the night in the area. An Israeli military spokesman said the rockets were fired by Iran’s Quds Force, a special forces unit affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, marking the first time Iranian forces have ever fired directly on Israeli troops.” Welcome world to this side of hell! The former USA is gone, so far gone, now we have Trumpistani madness and you all will have to pick up the pieces, the detritus, lots of shrapnel and eventually bury your dead even though this time, “No one was injured on the Israeli side, the military said.” The AP adds, “The Israeli military on Thursday said it attacked ‘dozens’ of Iranian targets in neighboring Syria in response to an Iranian rocket barrage on Israeli positions in the Golan Heights”. The AP notes, “Israel said the targets included weapons storage, logistics sites and intelligence centers used by elite Iranian forces in Syria. It also said it destroyed several Syrian air-defense systems after coming under heavy fire. It said none of its warplanes was hit. The blistering Israeli assault was by far the most intensive Israeli action in neighboring Syria since the civil war broke out there in 2011.” So who is ready for the U.S. Embassy to open in Jerusalem Sunday?! TRUMPISTAN WATCH would like to quote from the national anthem here: “And the rockets red glare / the bombs bursting in air… o say does that star-spangled banner yet wave?”
COHEN-TIED OLIGARCH’S COMPANY PRETENDS IT HAS NO TIES TO OLIGARCH
BuzzFeed reports, “Columbus Nova’s attorney, Richard Owens of Latham & Watkins, acknowledged the company hired Cohen ‘as a business consultant regarding potential sources of capital and potential investments in real estate and other ventures’ in a statement provided to BuzzFeed News on Tuesday night. Owens also said that Columbus Nova ‘is a management company solely owned and controlled by Americans’ and that any claims that Vekselberg ‘used Columbus Nova as a conduit for payments to Michael Cohen are false.’ Owens said that Vekselberg was not involved in the decision to hire Cohen and had not ‘provided funding’ for his hiring.” Remember: even the lies reveal further lies. BuzzFeed adds, “By Wednesday morning, that statement appeared on the front page of Columbus Nova’s website, along with two additional paragraphs further detailing Columbus Nova’s explanation of its relationship with Vekselberg’s company, Renova Group. Meanwhile, [Vekselberg’s cousin Andrew] Intrater’s biography — which had been available online on Tuesday evening, according to the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine — was not available Wednesday. In the now-removed biography, it described Columbus Nova as ‘the US investment vehicle for the Renova Group’ and noted that Intrater ‘is a former Director and current Member of the Executive Board of Renova Group.’” Oops they got caught lying again! Adding to their woes, The Washington Post reports, “A company at the center of widening questions involving President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen is listed as the organization behind a string of websites targeted toward white nationalists and other members of the alt-right. Columbus Nova, a company whose U.S. chief executive, Andrew Intrater, and Russian investment partner Viktor Vekselberg have both reportedly been interviewed by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s team, is listed as the registrant behind a handful of domains for websites named after the alt-right that were created during the 2016 election.” The Washington Post notes, “These sites include Alt-right.co, Alternate-right.com, Alternate-rt.com, Alt-rite.com, and other similar combinations, which were all registered in the two days following a speech given by then candidate Hillary Clinton in August 2016 in which she excoriated the far-right movement known for its extremist, racist, anti-Semitic and sexist viewpoints.” Remember, Russia loves loves loves Nazis. They love Nazism so much they had to recreate it for more than half a century under a red flag. The best people.
NOVARTIS SAYS SPECIAL COUNSEL CONTACTED THEM IN NOVEMBER
BuzzFeed News reports, “One of the world’s largest pharmaceutical corporations acknowledged Wednesday morning that it paid a company set up by Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, for consulting services and that it was contacted by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office regarding those payments this past fall and ‘cooperated fully.’” BuzzFeed adds, “Novartis, which is based in Switzerland, said in a Wednesday statement to BuzzFeed News that ‘Novartis was contacted in November 2017 by lawyers from the Special Counsel’s office regarding the company’s agreement with Essential Consultants. Novartis cooperated fully with the Special Counsel’s office and provided all the information requested…’” Trying to cover their tracks, “In its statement, Novartis added, ‘As already stated, the engagement of Essential Consultants predated Vas Narasimhan becoming Novartis CEO. Dr. Narasimhan had no involvement whatsoever with this arrangement.’” BuzzFeed notes, “Narasimhan was among other executives who had dinner with Trump when the president attended Davos earlier this year. A Novartis spokesperson told BuzzFeed News the dinner was ‘organized by the Swiss government.’”
AT+T ACKNOWLEDGES GIVING MONEY TO MICHAEL COHEN
The Dallas Morning News reports, “Dallas-based AT&T said it was contacted by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team regarding its payments to the company of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen. In a statement released late Wednesday, the telecom giant said it ‘cooperated fully’ with questions about its activities.” The Dallas Morning News notes AT&T “was one of several companies that made payments to Essential Consultants, the shell company used by Cohen to pay hush money to porn actress Stephanie Clifford, known as Stormy Daniels.” So normally in a professional money laundering operation, the shells have shells and you are not paying women out of the same account you are putting money in from corporations. The incompetence of Michael Cohen is shameful.
From The Dallas Morning News.
COHEN TIED TO FIRM THAT HELPED KUSHNERS SELL VISAS FOR CONDOS
The Wall Street Journal reports, “U.S. Immigration Fund LLC, which supplied Chinese investors to Kushner Cos., is among clients Michael Cohen delivered to Squire Patton Boggs. President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen helped a law and lobbying firm land a corporate client with ties to Kushner Cos., the family company of White House adviser Jared Kushner that is currently the subject of a federal probe.” US Immigration Fund is the company that helped bring princeling Jared’s sister to China to try and sell visas to wealthy Chinese investors for the price of a Kushner Company condo. Remember, the swamp had to be drained to hasten the search for bottom feeders.
From The Wall Street Journal.
SPECIAL COUNSEL HAS INTERVIEWED ERIK PRINCE
The Daily Beast reports, “Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has spoken with Blackwater founder Erik Prince”. The Daily Beast notes, “It was not immediately clear what questions Mueller’s team had or what information Prince shared with the special counsel.” The Daily Beast recalls, “Prince attended a now-controversial meeting with the head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund in the Seychelles on Jan. 11, 2017—just over a week before Inauguration Day. The Washington Post reported that Mueller is interested in potential efforts at the Seychelles meeting to set up a backchannel between the Trump administration and the Kremlin.” The Daily Beast notes convicted pedophile “Lebanese-American businessman George Nader also attended the meeting, according to the Post. The paper reported that Nader is now cooperating with the special counsel probe, and has met with investigators ‘numerous times.’” The mercenary firm Blackwater founder “is well-connected in Trump World. He donated $250,000 to pro-Trump efforts during the campaign, and his sister, Betsy DeVos, is Trump’s education secretary.” Can you believe Trumpistan even has a need for such a thing? Just give the kiddies drainpipes to suck on!
From The Daily Beast.
DARKNESS AT NUNES SUBPOENA WANTED ALL DOCS ON INTEL SOURCE
The Washington Post reports, “A subpoena that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) issued to the Justice Department last week made a broad request for all documents about an individual who people close to the matter say is a sensitive, longtime intelligence source for the CIA and FBI. The Justice Department has refused to provide the documents. Intelligence officials say the material could jeopardize the source, a U.S. citizen who has aided the special counsel investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign.”
From The Washington Post.
DARKNESS AT NUNES + GOWDY INVITED TO DOJ FOR BRIEFING
CNN reports, “House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and fellow GOP committee member Trey Gowdy have been invited to the Justice Department for a classified briefing Thursday about the latest document request related to the Russia investigation”. You know things are shitty when Gowdy is the voice of levelheaded reason among the death cult GOP these days. CNN adds, “Talks between the Justice Department and Nunes have been intensifying over the last day as the two sides try to cut a deal and avoid a standoff that could lead to House Republicans ultimately pursuing contempt charges against Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The White House, which has thus far sided with the Justice Department over Nunes, has also been involved in the talks”. CNN notes, “Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and another top Justice Department official were seen leaving the White House on Tuesday evening. Nunes and Rosenstein also discussed the matter over the phone Tuesday evening”. Citing an earlier Washington Post report, CNN recalls, “the FBI and national intelligence officials warned the White House last week that information requested by Nunes could put a confidential US intelligence source at risk”. DARKNESS AT NUNES however is unconcerned about matters of mortality because like fellow Trumpistani elites, he is already dead inside.
HOUSE INTEL DEMOCRATS OBTAIN DOCS FROM PETER SMITH’S ESTATE
ABC News reports, “Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have received new materials from the estate of Peter Smith, a GOP operative who reportedly led a campaign to obtain missing Hillary Clinton emails from Russian hackers during the 2016 presidential race”. ABC News notes, “The delivery is the latest unilateral move by Democrats on the panel after Republicans moved to end the committee’s probe.” ABC News recalls, “Last year, the Wall Street Journal first reported that Smith, a Republican activist from Chicago who died in May 2017, led an effort to obtain emails Hillary Clinton deleted from her private email server from Russian hackers, and cited senior Trump campaign officials in his effort.” ABC News reports, “William Ensing, the attorney for Smith’s estate, confirmed to ABC News the delivery of documents to the committee in response to a request from Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the committee.” ABC News adds, “The Senate Intelligence Committee previously sought and received some materials from Smith’s estate last year, as part of their ongoing investigation into Russia’s 2016 election interference.”
From ABC News.
DEMOCRATS URGE TRUMP TO DITCH ALFA BANK LAWYER’S NOMINATION
POLITICO reports, “Democratic lawmakers urged President Donald Trump in a letter Wednesday to drop his nominee to lead the Department of Justice’s criminal division due to his past work for a Russian bank with ties to President Vladimir Putin.” Yeah, ditch this guy Brian Benczkowski. POLITICO adds, “The group — spearheaded by Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) — called on Trump to ‘withdraw’ Brian Benczkowski’s nomination, arguing that ‘he will not be able to credibly oversee the Division’s involvement in Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation and other sensitive matters such as the criminal investigation of Michael Cohen,’ the president’s longtime personal attorney.” POLITICO notes, “Benczkowski, a former Bush administration DOJ official and partner at the Kirkland & Ellis law firm, was nominated by Trump last June. But the process has stalled as he has drawn opposition from Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee. The lawyer disclosed in a letter to lawmakers last July that he had previously represented Alfa Bank, one of the largest financial institutions in Russia.” POLITICO adds, “The bank came under scrutiny in 2016 after it was named in a dossier alleging ties between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian officials. Alfa Bank has denied the allegations and sued legal outlets over their publication of the claims.” Bizarrely, “Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein also came to Benczkowski’s defense during a pair of speeches to business lawyers in New York.” That’s not behavior befitting of such a baller.
DEMOCRATIC SENATORS TRY TO REINSTATE NET NEUTRALITY
CNN reports, “More than a dozen Democratic senators called publicly Wednesday for reinstating net neutrality protections, and moved to force a vote on the proposal. The issue galvanizes Democrats and is poised to pass the Senate, but it faces an uphill battle in the House and would likely be vetoed by President Donald Trump if it somehow gets to his desk,” because internet freedom is not what buoyed the rise of our fake Russian bullshit president. Politics as theater for show for 100, please.
GOVERNMENT RIDS ITSELF OF KASPERSKY, CONTRACTORS AT WORK ON IT
The Washington Times reports, “The federal government has purged its computers of Kaspersky Lab products, a Democratic senator revealed Tuesday, but contractors and other third-party providers are still ridding their systems of the Russian company’s software and services, the head of the Department of Homeland Security added.” The Washington Times recalls, “Issued last September, the DHS Binding Operational Directive 17-01 ordered federal departments and agencies to identify and begin eradicating any Kaspersky Lab products on their information systems within 90 days, ‘based on the information security risks presented by the use of Kaspersky products,’” and, “A federal defense spending bill signed by President Trump in December, meanwhile, extended the Kaspersky ban to cover government contractors and other third-party providers.” The Washington Times notes, “Kaspersky has denied accusations involving its alleged ties to Russian intelligence, and the company has sued the federal government in D.C. federal court over both the DHS directive and defense bill provision.” Yeah well Russians whining should be it’s own Olympic sport and they would be happy as they would take gold every damn time.
From The Washington Times.
POLISH ANTI-MONOPOLY OFFICE OPENS CASE AGAINST NORDSTREAM2
Reuters reports, “Poland’s anti-monopoly office has launched proceedings against Russia’s Gazprom and five European firms responsible for financing the planned Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline over potential breach of anti-monopoly laws”. Reuters adds, “Poland sees the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which would double Russia’s gas export capacity via the Baltic Sea, as a threat to Europe’s energy security and argues it will strengthen Gazprom’s already dominant position on the market.”
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
HOW COHEN PITCHED TRUMP’S PYRAMID SCHEME PRESIDENCY
CNN reports, “On November 8, 2016, Cohen’s stock suddenly soared: He was now the personal attorney to the President-elect of the United States, with unique understanding of a man that everyone was scrambling to get access to. Cohen quickly got to work. According to multiple people familiar with Cohen’s conduct following the election, he aggressively pitched himself to potential clients, reminding them of his proximity to the most powerful man in the world. Those efforts landed Cohen lucrative consulting deals. New reporting this week revealed that in the months following the 2016 election, Cohen received hundreds of thousands of dollars from powerful entities based in and outside of the United States.” CNN adds, “‘I don’t know who’s been representing you, but you should fire them all. I’m the guy you should hire. I’m closest to the President. I’m his personal lawyer,’ was how one GOP strategist described Cohen’s sales pitch.” CNN notes, “One company that Cohen immediately sought out was pharmaceutical giant Novartis.” CNN adds, “But that deal quickly soured. According to the source, company officials had one meeting with Cohen in March 2017 and decided that he would not be able to provide the access they desired. There would be no other meetings with Cohen, but Novartis chose to pay out the entirety of Cohen’s contract anyway — $100,000 per month, for a total of $1.2 million.” CNN reports, “Telecommunications conglomerate AT&T publicly acknowledged this week that it hired Cohen for a simple reason: to gain ‘insights’ into the new President and his administration.” They likely paid up because in classic mafia state tradition, “AT&T is seeking government approval for its acquisition of Time Warner, CNN’s parent company.” CNN adds, “lawyers working with special counsel Robert Mueller on the investigation into possible Russian collusion in the presidential election have questioned at least one company about its contract with Cohen.” Most tantalizing is the fact that, “A former Trump campaign official who worked on the transition said ‘everybody knew’ Cohen had taken on consulting work after the election. It was widespread practice among high-ranking Trump associates who did not go into the administration to provide consulting services after Trump won in November 2016, this person said, noting that Cohen was far from the only person to do so.” When does the Trump trainwreck implode for Corey Lewandowski, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, etc, etc?
STUPID FOOLISH MAN MICHAEL COHEN BOASTED “I’M CRUSHING IT”
In a similar follow up to the extraordinary revelations of how bad Michael Cohen is at extortion and money laundering, an associate tells The Washington Post Michael Cohen told him in the summer of 2017, “I’m crushing it”. Now that they have been caught tipping money into a slush fund controlled by the fake Russian bullshit president’s personal fixer, “The companies cited a range of reasons for hiring Cohen. A Korean defense company competing for a U.S. contract said it paid him $150,000 to advise it on accounting practices. A global pharmaceutical company said it paid him $1.2 million to provide insight into health-care policy — money it said it was required to keep paying even after concluding that Cohen had little to offer. A telecommunication company said it turned to him simply to better understand the Trump administration.” What a renaissance man! And because everyone brought a little corruption to the stew that is now cooking our nation, “Even the office in which he operated — which served as fulcrum of the newly created Michael D. Cohen & Associates — was a side benefit of his Trump affiliation. It was provided by the powerhouse legal and lobbying firm Squire Patton Boggs, which signed Cohen to a $500,000 deal in the wake of the 2016 election.” The Washington Post notes, “In the wake of Trump’s election, Cohen collected at least $2.35 million from corporate clients, according to figures confirmed by the companies,” and he put it all in one place, a major no-no when you launder money or run pyramid schemes, dood! He made the investigators work pretty easy. Next time, make sure the shells have shells.
From The Washington Post.
WTF IS WRONG WITH UDAY? OH EVERYTHING A DIVORCE CAN REVEAL
Tabloid In Touch Weekly reports, “The buzz has been relatively quiet surrounding Donald Trump Jr. and Vanessa Trump’s divorce proceedings since they announced their split in March 2018,” except it hasn’t and now, “things are about to get nasty between the former couple. And — to no one’s surprise — money is one of the biggest issues.” In Touch adds, “Don Jr. — who is worth around $300 million,” lol no he’s not, has “demanded that she reveal her net worth after word got out that her family inherited some serious dough from the sale of Rao’s Specialty Foods, a company her late father had invested in. Vanessa has yet to give up the information, but just the fact that Don Jr. asked her to do so is a controversial move”. Hilariously a friend told In Touch, “Vanessa could make Don pay for the public embarrassment he caused her,” by existing? She married him, that’s embarrassing. Adding to the ugly is a follow up to the story The New York Post’s Page Six published earlier in the week on Vanessa’s teenage sweetheart’s gang affiliation. In a new Page Six item, the gossip page of the tabloid reports, “Before her Sweet Sixteen, Vanessa Trump sent her high school sweetheart — then a member of a notorious street gang who was just beginning a 16-month prison sentence for assault — a love note saying she dreamed of having children with him.” The Root notes, “On Tuesday the father of five thought it was a good idea to post a video clip of his two youngest children, 5-year-old Spencer and 3-year-old Chloe, shooting Nerf guns at each other on Instagram,” adding, “all of this is fine—except his 3-year-old daughter was playing without a shirt.” He has previously posted mega-creeper pics of one of the young kids sleeping and “Date night with Kai,” following the divorce announcement. Just think of pizzagate and recall the first rule of propaganda is to accuse your opponent of that which you are guilty of.
NEW AMBASSADOR TO GERMANY PISSES OFF GERMANS WITHIN AN HOUR
The Washington Post reports, “Within hours of assuming his new post Tuesday, Richard Grenell triggered harsh criticism in this Trump-weary country after appearing to threaten one of the U.S. president’s frequent targets: German businesses. In a tweet after President Trump’s announcement to leave the Iran nuclear deal, Grenell wrote that ‘German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately.’” The Washington Post notes, “The remarks, which were widely perceived as a threat here, came only an hour after the U.S. Embassy in Berlin took to Twitter to announce that Grenell had officially arrived in the German capital.” As a result, “business associations and leading European politicians immediately lashed out at him on his first day.” However, “Neither Germany’s foreign minister, Heiko Maas, nor a government spokesman were willing to comment on the ambassador’s remarks”. Meanwhile, “Grenell defended his tweet Wednesday, writing that he had used ‘the exact language sent out from the White House talking points & fact sheet.’ Some German media outlets have acknowledged the diplomat’s experience as a spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations during President George W. Bush’s administration, but his career as a Fox News Channel commentator and early defender of Trump has drawn ire.” The Washington Post notes, “Wednesday’s unusually harsh criticism of a new U.S. ambassador to Germany also reflects how much transatlantic relations have soured since Trump’s inauguration.”
From The Washington Post.
THE FUTURE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN AUTHORITARIAN SHITHOLES
Meduza reports, “Teachers and civil servants in the Moscow region’s Voskresensk district received instructions to ‘like’ posts on social media written by local state officials.” Can you imagine? “You will like it or else!” Now, “Meduza has obtained instructions apparently drafted by state officials in the Moscow region’s Voskresensk district (or possibly written on their orders) and addressed to staff at local educational and cultural institutions, demanding that they ‘like’ posts shared by the district’s top officials on Vkontakte, Facebook, Instagram, and Odnoklassniki. The document circulated in Voskresensk tells teachers and other civil servants how to like social-media posts and how to report back that they’ve carried out the instructions.” What a shithole country! Meduza adds, “Titled ‘Rules and Regulations for Specialists on Social Media,’ the instructions require staff to open accounts on social networks (if they don’t already have them), and then to ‘submit a friend request’ to Voskresensk municipal district head Oleg Sukhar, district chief of staff Vitaly Chekov, education department head Irma Pismennaya, and her assistant, Igor Podolenchuk.” Additionally, “After these friendship requests have been approved, civil sector workers are instructed to visit the officials’ social-media pages and ‘click the like button on the most recent posts’ that they ‘haven’t yet read.’ To record this activity, teachers and other civil servants are supposed to create spreadsheets where they document all the posts they’ve liked. Every Friday at 3 p.m., they’re expected to submit this list ‘on paper’ to a staff member tasked with ‘monitoring responses.’” The author of the internal FARAbook memo about how infinite growth must be achieved and is desirable even at the cost of human lives is probably thrilled by this development. One theater administrator said, “If you don’t do it, they threaten to withhold bonus payments.” Of course after this was publicized, Meduza notes, “liking top officials’ posts were just meant to be informative, and that no new requirements had been introduced.” Bullshit.
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