25 thoughts on “News/Politics 5-10-18

  1. It seems Mr. Straight Arrow hasn’t been shooting straight.



    “On Wednesday, CNN law enforcement analyst and retired FBI supervisory special agent James A. Gagliano revealed new insight into the Justice Department’s Inspector General report that is expected to be released in the near future, saying it is even worse than expected, according to his sources.”

    “The Washington Times notes that the “‘7th floor’ at the FBI refers to the most senior agents at the bureau including (at the time) FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Like I said before, the FBI as a whole isn’t the problem, FBI leadership is the problem.


    “Former Trump White House official Dr. Sebastian Gorka, says a senior FBI agent told him that the “7th floor of the FBI looks at the Trump White House as the enemy.”

    “O’Connor: I know you’ve been commenting Dr. Gorka about some of the reporters, a few courageous reporters who are doing really good work on this story…Sara Carter is one of them. We had Byron York on earlier in the program, he wrote about how James Comey testified that the FBI didn’t think that Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn had lied to them, yet then of course he plead guilty to lying to the FBI. I’ve got to ask you, looking back at your time at the White House, knowing that all of this was going on and knowing what had set it up, this FISA warrant, and the nefarious actions of the senior levels of the Justice Department, does it sort of all…you’ve got to have some type of visceral reaction knowing that so many people were operating against your work while you were there.

    Gorka: Let me give you something that I haven’t shared frequently but illustrates the enormity of the issue. So when I came in my rank was Deputy Assistant to the President. And I wanted to build a team inside the White House to do the kind of terrorism work that we were mandated to do. And I wanted to bring three of my former students in as detailees, these were the smartest kids I trained at graduate level and they were all at the FBI. So I put my request in, as a Deputy to the President to the FBI, they did nothing.They slow rolled it for 6 months, which is weird because they actually work for the President until I find out from senior FBI agents, this is a direct quote, “The 7th floor of the FBI looks at the Trump White House as the enemy”.

    O’Connor: Wow.

    Gorka: That’s America, that’s America in 2017.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Looks like sanctions are making a comeback. The EU, Germany, and France don’t like it because it will adversely affect their doing business and making money with the terrorist regime in Iran.


    “Following President Donald Trump’s decision to no longer abide by the Iran nuclear deal, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, has urged the German businesses to stop trading with the Islamic Republic of Iran. “US sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran’s economy. German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately,” Grenell tweeted on Tuesday.

    Besides Iranian regime, European countries like Germany and France have been the biggest beneficiaries of the economic windfall generated from the 2015 nuclear deal. Carmakers Daimler and Peugeot have joined forces with Iranian partners to set up manufacturing plants in the country. Siemens landed a huge contract to upgrade Iran’s railway network. Aircraft maker Airbus, in which both Germany and France hold stakes, signed a $27 billion deal to supply airliners to Tehran.”

    “As the media coverage and statements from Berlin indicate, Germany’s political and business establishments are determined to salvage the Iran deal, or at least the lucrative financial gains made in Iran in the wake of the 2015 agreement.

    If the U.S. sanctions were to snap back into place following President Trump’s decision, German businesses could try to sabotage the measures. European corporations and banking sectors have a history of colluding with Iranian business. In 2014, Germany’s Commerzbank was fined $1.45 billion by the U.S. authorities for violating the Iran sanctions. Following year, France’s Paribas paid $9 billion in legal settlements for committing similar violations.

    With leading German and French companies entangled in Iranian trade, it is unlikely for Chancellor Merkel or President Macron to follow America’s example and abandon the deal anytime soon. Despite German Chancellor pledging her ‘commitment’ and country’s Foreign Minister vowing to keep the agreement ‘alive,’ President Trump’s decisive action has killed the deal. The sooner the European political and business elite realize it, the better.”

    Huh. Meet the new boss…… same as the old boss.


  4. Golf clap for the McConnell run Senate.


    “Ryan Bounds finally got his confirmation hearing from the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier today. It came eight months almost to the day after Donald Trump nominated him for a seat on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, after months of delays waiting for Oregon’s two senators to return their blue slips. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley both refused to do so, saying that they were concerned over essays Bounds had written over twenty years ago as an undergraduate student.

    Judiciary chair Chuck Grassley finally had enough of waiting, and scheduled the confirmation hearing anyway. It heralds the end of the blue slip as a functional filibuster, a move which drew support from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as well:

    For the third time in the Trump administration, Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley has moved forward with a confirmation hearing for an appeals court nominee over the objections of Democratic home-state senators.

    The Iowa Republican set a Wednesday confirmation hearing on Ryan Bounds to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, even though Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley have declined to give their consent through the committee’s traditional process. …

    McConnell said last week that he would move judicial nominees even if senators don’t return their “blue slip” — a Judiciary Committee tradition that asks a home-state senator to sign off on a blue piece of paper before the committee moves forward with a judicial confirmation hearing.

    “My view is, no one senator ought to be able to stop a circuit court judge,” the Kentucky Republican said during a radio interview.

    Normally, you’d expect the huzzahs and the hysteria to fall neatly along partisan lines, with a cui bono basis forming the distinction between the two. Today, however, the New York Times hosts a columnist and legal expert who issues three cheers for the end of the blue slip, at least as a tool of obstruction. Former prosecutor David Lat writes that this will not just benefit both parties, but also all of the Americans who have been waiting far too long for judges to become available to hear their cases:”


  5. Ricky,

    Like I said, his obvious errors calls it all into question. As does his apparent violations of ethics rules.

    And it’s not just 5300 dollars that he was wrong about. It was 100 times that amount.


    “I could not believe it when someone texted me a link to an “Executive Summary” posted on Dropbox by Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti. He apparently shared it via Twitter (you’ll recall he blocked this lawyer weeks ago). I started to shake my head in disbelief as soon as I opened the document, because the header on every page has his firm’s name and “PROJECT SUNLIGHT.” Come on.

    The document details various “suspicious financial transactions” (his language) allegedly made to Cohen through a limited liability company. No source documents are attached, and Avenatti does not disclose where or how he got his information. (More on that later.)

    True to form, Avenatti makes various tantalizing assumptions throughout the report. First, he says that “approximately $500,000 in payments [were] received from Mr. Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian Oligarch.” Avenatti says the money was routed through a company named Columbus Nova LLC.

    Through its attorney, Columbus Nova immediately issued a statement denying these allegations: “Reports today that Viktor Vekselberg used Columbus Nova as a conduit for payments to Michael Cohen are false. The claim that Viktor Vekselberg was involved or provided any funding for Columbus Nova’s engagement of Michael Cohen is patently untrue.”

    Another Avenatti claim related to monies received by Cohen from Novartis, the pharmaceutical company. Avenatti reported that “[f]ollowing these payments, reports surfaced that Mr. Trump took a dinner meeting with the incoming CEO of Novartis before Mr. Trump’s speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in late January 2018.” Of course, the implication being Cohen was paid to, among other things, facilitate this meeting.

    Novartis issued a statement confirming payments to Cohen (indeed, for a greater amount than Avenatti reported), but denied that its retention of Cohen was in any way related to the dinner its CEO had with Trump and 15 others at the World Economic Forum. The statements also read: “Suggestions to the contrary clearly misrepresent the facts and can only be intended to further personal or political agendas.”

    Finally, and perhaps my favorite debunking of this silly report, is an alleged $4,250 payment to Cohen by a Malaysian firm, Actuarial Partner. Scott Stedman, an investigative journalist, tweeted that Avenatti has mistaken identities. Stedman said he received an email from the actual Michael Cohen who received this payment. The same apparently is true for a $980 payment to a Michael Cohen from a Kenyan bank cited in Avenatti’s report. As Avenatti likes to say, you just can’t make this stuff up! It’s not like Michael Cohen is a common name or anything.”


  6. “If It’s Real, This Disclosure Is of Protected Information

    While reading the “Executive Summary” I couldn’t understand how Avenatti got this banking information. Was it through a subpoena to the bank in connection with his litigation with Cohen? Even if he got bank records with a subpoena, one would think that such private records can’t be shared publicly, because they would be subject to a protective order. Many people surmised the information was obtained from SARS (suspicious activity reports) filed by the banks. SARS are highly confidential, and it’s a violation of federal law to disclose such information.

    It was reported today by The Washington Post that the U.S. Treasury inspector has launched an investigation as to whether suspicious activity reports of Cohen’s banking transactions were “improperly disseminated.” While it may not be a crime to receive such information, shouldn’t lawyers hold themselves to a higher standard and not further disseminate what they know is illegally disclosed information?”

    Well Ricky, shouldn’t they?


  7. The second section in the link above “A First Things Agenda for Public Life” is also very good. It discusses Church, Political Community, and Marriage.

    A First Things Agenda for Public Life

    We’re not in the business of formulating policy proposals or writing party platforms. Our job is to return the public debate to first principles. Russell Hittinger does exactly that. He identifies the three anchors of social existence: church, political community, and family (“The Three Necessary Societies,” June/July 2017). In this issue, Timothy Reichert and Francis Maier describe these domains of life as hierarchical or “folding” institutions (“Origami of the Soul”). Such institutions socialize and orient us toward shared loyalties. The three necessary societies are covenantal. They provide us with primary experiences of “belonging,” something we all crave. In Catholic social doctrine, covenantal belonging is called “solidarity.”

    Today’s political challenges do not stem from low productivity growth or inadequate incentives for investment. They arise because of the weakening of the three necessary societies and the resulting decline in solidarity. To address this problem at its most fundamental level, we need to renew the covenantal dimensions of society, especially religious communities, civic life, and the family….

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Stating the obvious…….


    “Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday he believes it’s time for special counsel Robert Mueller to conclude his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and other potential misdeeds by those in the president’s orbit.

    “In the interests of the country, I think it’s time to wrap it up.” Pence told NBC News following the release of three Americans held by North Korea.

    Pence said the Trump administration has “fully cooperated” with Mueller’s probe, including turning over more than one million documents. President Donald Trump has called the investigation a “witch hunt,” and his outside counsel, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, has called on the Justice Department to put an end to the probe.

    Pence added: “I would very respectfully encourage the special counsel and his team to bring their work to completion.””

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Never mind Ricky, I have my answer.




    “The Treasury Department has opened an investigation into whether bank records belonging to President Trump’s private lawyer were illegally leaked to a lawyer for porn actress Stormy Daniels.

    Those records show that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen took payments from corporations — including telecom giant AT&T and drug-maker Novartis — seeking to curry favor with President Trump.

    Rich Delmar, the general counsel for the Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General, said Wednesday that investigators want to know if the disclosures violated the Bank Secrecy Act. ”

    “In a court filing Wednesday in New York, Cohen’s lawyers pushed back on Avenatti’s document, saying it contained “blatantly incorrect statements.”

    Cohen’s lawyers, Stephen Ryan and Todd Harrison, said Avenatti improperly attributed two transfers — one from a Malaysian firm to a Canadian bank and another from a Kenyan bank to an account in Israel — to the wrong Michael Cohen.

    But they said Avenatti also appears to have some information from Cohen’s actual bank records and their client “has no reason to believe that Avenatti is in lawful possession of those records.”


  10. And since we now know Mueller has the info, I guess we know who leaked it to Avenatti.

    But either way, Cohen should be nervous. But none of this has anything to do with Trump, other than it appearing that Cohen was exploiting his relationship with the POTUS for personal gain.


    “In February, Essential Consultants entered a commission-based consulting deal with 4C Health Solutions, a Midlothian, Va.-based startup that works with governments and companies to help them detect questionable or fraudulent billing, according to a copy of Mr. Cohen’s agreement seen by the Journal.

    David Adams, the chief executive, said last month that Mr. Cohen hadn’t been paid any commission because he hadn’t brought in any business yet.

    Mr. Cohen, asked about the consulting agreement in January, said in an email he was “confused as to how or why you question my involvement in a startup company.”

    Drugmaker Novartis signed a one-year agreement with Essential Consultants in February 2017, seeking Mr. Cohen’s advice on health-care policy matters, the company said.

    Novartis paid Mr. Cohen $1.2 million, the company said in an emailed statement. The company said it determined after a single meeting with Mr. Cohen that he was unable to provide the services it wanted, but was obligated to pay him until the contract expired.

    Essential Consultants received a $150,000 payment in November 2017 from Korea Aerospace Industries LTD. Korea Aerospace said it hired Essential for legal counseling regarding U.S. accounting standards.

    By the end of the year, Mr. Cohen used Essential Consultants in a deal similar to the original one—a nondisclosure agreement related to an alleged affair.

    This time, the client wasn’t Mr. Trump but Elliott Broidy, a venture capitalist and major Republican fundraiser.

    So who is paying Avenatti?


    “So exactly who is paying Michael Avenatti? And is he a lawyer, an opposition researcher, a journalist, or a campaign operative?

    He wants to make the discussion all about where Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal attorney, got his money but, to have clean hands, Avenatti needs to come forward with exactly who is financing his operation, who his sources were for detailed banking information, and whether he really is an attorney solely representing Stormy Daniels or just using her as cover to wage a political operation.

    From the beginning, this has been fishy. Daniels’s previous lawyer advised her to stick to her agreements. In contrast, Avenatti okayed her violating with impunity her non-disclosure agreement on “60 Minutes” despite a binding arbitration judgment against her. She acknowledged on Twitter that she is not paying for her lawyer. So who is? And did he indemnify her against all multimillion-dollar penalties?

    It took a long time and even a court battle to find out that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid for the Fusion GPS dossier, a fact that was disclosed only after the damage was done, as former British spy and the dossier’s compiler, Christopher Steele, had already created a vast echo chamber as though the material he was peddling had been verified in some way, which of course, it never was. Now Avenatti is being allowed to repeat this same process, mixing truths with half truths and evading accountability.

    This week, Avenatti released to the media a report detailing consulting payments to Cohen, and much of it, despite a few errors, has been verified. AT&T, Novartis and a real estate firm acknowledge having hired the president’s personal attorney for insights on the incoming administration. Mueller appears to have investigated all of this months ago, and it is highly unlikely that the theory Avenatti is pounding away at — that Russians paid for Daniels — holds any water or Robert Mueller would not have passed the investigation on to U.S. attorneys in New York. Russia, actually, is the special counsel’s bailiwick.”

    But Mueller would pass it along if he thought it would cause political damage for Trump, even if there’s nothing he can use.


  11. Ruh-roh Robert.

    Time to make your case, if you even have one…


    “Lawyers for Russian company Concord Management and Consulting, LLC, formally entered a “not guilty” plea in federal court Monday in a case special counsel Robert Mueller probably never thought would happen.

    Mueller, weathering significant criticism that his Russian collusion case was thin, unveiled a grandiose indictment Feb. 16 against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies. The 13 Russians in question were charged with waging “information warfare” in the United States, interfering with the 2016 presidential election, and conspiracy to defraud the United States.

    Mueller generated headlines with the February indictment, safe in the knowledge the 13 Russians were beyond U.S. jurisdiction. Therefore, there would be no trial — only sensational Russian collusion accusations.

    Mueller may now have to try the case, and Concord’s lawyers have put the special counsel on notice. The Russian company’s lawyers intend to invoke “discovery” to obtain U.S. intelligence about what they knew of Russian activities.

    “I guess Mueller thought it was a freebie, for sure,” former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy told The Daily Caller News Foundation after the court proceeding.

    “He thought it could make this association (of Russian collusion) and it would never be challenged in court,” McCarthy, also a National Review contributing editor, said.

    Concord retained the services of two attorneys at mega law firm Reed Smith, and the company is demanding a speedy trial. The lawyers indicated they were going to exercise Concord’s rights under discovery to examine all of Mueller’s “evidence” of the conspiracy.”


  12. It is tough to argue with Will’s conclusion:

    ” Trump is what he is, a floundering, inarticulate jumble of gnawing insecurities and not-at-all compensating vanities, which is pathetic. Pence is what he has chosen to be, which is horrifying.”


  13. Ben Shapiro with an interesting article about the voting habits of young people. I disagree with some of it, but many other parts I know to be true.


  14. One encouraging statistical nugget from the article:

    An incredible 82 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning voters between the ages of 18 and 24 say they “want another Republican to challenge President Trump for the party’s nomination in 2020.” So do 57 percent of those aged 25 to 34 and 58 percent of those aged 35 to 44. Compare that number with the 74 percent of Republicans over the age of 65 who oppose a primary challenge, and you’ve got a chasm the size of the Grand Canyon.


  15. Ricky,

    From The Hill link you posted….

    “A separate poll from CBS News on Tuesday found that a majority of Americans say special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference is politically motivated.”

    53% think so according to CBS while 44% think it’s not.


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