Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Last Call For Kellyanne's Con Job

The DoJ wants to have a few words with White House mouthpiece Kellyanne Conway for violations of the Hatch Act for using her position at the White House to advocate for America's favorite child molester, failed Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act on two occasions, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) informed the Trump administration Tuesday. 
Appearing in her official capacity, Conway endorsed and advocated against political candidates, the watchdog said, referring its findings to President Trump "for appropriate disciplinary action." 
The violations occurred during two television appearances in 2017, one on Fox News's "Fox & Friends," and one on CNN's "New Day."

“While the Hatch Act allows federal employees to express their views about candidates and political issues as private citizens, it restricts employees from using their official government positions for partisan political purposes, including by trying to influence partisan elections,” OSC says in its report.

“Ms. Conway’s statements during the 'Fox & Friends' and 'New Day' interviews impermissibly mixed official government business with political views about candidates in the Alabama special election for U.S. Senate."

The report goes on to state that Conway received "significant training" on the Hatch Act and possible violations. OSC says it gave Conway, a former GOP pollster who served as Trump's campaign manager, the opportunity to respond as part of its report, but she did not.

If you think this particular White House gives a damn about the law, you'd be wrong.

The White House rejected the report’s findings, saying “Conway did not advocate for or against the election of any particular candidate” in a statement provided to reporters. 
“In fact, Kellyanne’s statements actually show her intention and desire to comply with the Hatch Act — as she twice declined to respond to the host’s specific invitation to encourage Alabamans to vote for the Republican,” deputy press secretary Hogan Gildley said.

And so no disciplinary action will be taken against Conway, and she will continue to represent the Oval Office.

Nothing will happen, because nobody cares.

It's Mueller Time, Con't

Yesterday I talked about grand jury leaks from Mueller-land, and the mystery of who Mueller was probing for all communications between November 2015 and now.  Today we're still on the topic of Mueller and grand juries, but this time we're talking about our first real public refusal to submit to a subpoena by a Trump aide, in this case, former Trump campaign adviser Sam Nunberg.

Former Trump aide Sam Nunberg said Monday that he has been subpoenaed to appear in front of a federal grand jury investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 but that he will refuse to go
In an interview with The Washington Post, Nunberg said he was asked to come to Washington to appear before the grand jury on Friday. He also provided The Washington Post a copy of his two-page grand jury subpoena seeking documents related to President Trump and nine other people, including emails, correspondence, invoices, telephone logs, calendars and “records of any kind.” 
Nunberg forwarded an email from the office of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III seeking his appearance in front of the panel on Friday. 
Among those the subpoena requests information about are departing White House communications director Hope Hicks, former White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon, Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and adviser Roger Stone. 
Nunberg said he does not plan to comply with the subpoena, including either testimony or providing documents.

Let him arrest me,” Nunberg said. “Mr. Mueller should understand I am not going in on Friday.”

Remember what I said yesterday about the mystery witness that Mueller subpoenaed not being Donald Trump Jr. because there was no way that he would keep his mouth shut about it?  Turns out I was right about that logic, I just had the wrong person.  Looks like Nunberg was the mystery witness target...or at least one of them.  His circumstances in this Washington Post story and the Axios subpoena leak story from Monday match up.

If you need a reminder of who this guy is, he's the Roger Stone protege who was fired by Trump's campaign in August 2015 after making racist statements on Facebook.  If you'll recall, the Mueller subpoena leak specified all communication between the mystery witness and the ten Trump regime folks, including Trump and Stone, since November 2015, that would have been months after Nunberg was fired.

This also means that it would make perfect sense now for Nunberg to be the leaker to Axios in the first place, and that smells of Roger Stone being involved.  The question is why.

Nunberg apparently met with Mueller last month, too.

So that sets up an interesting situation.  Refusal to comply with a federal grand jury subpoena is the kind of thing that makes you cool your heels in prison for a while.

Does Mueller call Nunberg's bluff, knowing that the Trump regime is waiting for a very public martyr?  Can he not call Nunberg out on this?

Things just got really interesting round these parts, especially as Nunberg then called into nearly a half-dozen cable TV news shows to plead his case, and it became performance art of the highest degree before he started backtracking and whined he was eventually going to give in to Mueller, maybe, sorta, kinda.

Meanwhile, the Daily Beast is reporting that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen received leaked info directly from Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee.

On Dec. 19, 2017, a former staffer for Sen. John McCain named David Kramer testified before the House intelligence committee behind closed doors. He’d played a role in bringing the salacious and unverified Steele dossier to the FBI’s attention, and members peppered him with questions about it. 
Then something unusual happened. 
The following, based on conversations with multiple sources familiar with the matter, illuminates the extraordinary breakdown of trust between committee investigators and the witnesses they call. It also suggests that some people working on the committee investigation may be trying to covertly assist one of the president’s closest allies—when the president’s inner circle is ostensibly a focus of their probe. 
A few days after Kramer’s testimony, his lawyer, Larry Robbins, got a strange call. The call was from Stephen Ryan, a lawyer who represents Trump’s longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen. Cohen is facing scrutiny from Special Counsel Robert Mueller and congressional investigators regarding potential coordination between Trump’s team and the Kremlin. He featured prominently in the Steele dossier—the document that Kramer handled—and is currently suing Buzzfeed for publishing it. 
Ryan told Robbins he reached out because someone from the House told him that Robbins’ client, Kramer, had information about the Steele dossier that could help Cohen.

Robbins declined to help. Ryan then asked Robbins not to tell the House intelligence committee about their conversation. 
Robbins told the committee anyway. CNN reported in February that Robbins wrote a letter to the committee complaining about leaks to another client’s lawyer. The Daily Beast can now confirm that this letter was regarding Stephen Ryan and Michael Cohen.

Seems the Steele dossier is true enough to have Trump's lawyer try to intimidate witnesses about it, huh?  And let's not forget Cohen is up to his neck in the Russia side of this, too.

Stay tuned.

Bye-Bye Bibi, Con't

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu is in Washington for the annual AIPAC conference after meeting with Donald Trump on Monday, but he can't escape the corruption and bribery investigation he's facing back home as calls for his resignation are now louder than ever after Netanyahu was implicated in a third investigation last month.  Now one of his closest confidants is turning states' evidence on him to avoid prosecution.

Nir Hefetz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's "spin doctor" and confidant, will hand over recordings of Netanyahu and his wife Sara as part of a deal with police to turn state's evidence in the bribery case involving the Bezeq telecom giant and the Walla news site. 
Netanyahu, currently in the U.S. for AIPAC and a meeting with Trump, received the news at the Blair House, where he is a guest of the White House. 
In return for testifying against Netanyahu, Hefetz will not stand trial, face prison time or be fined. While he testifies, he will be housed at an isolated installation
According to assessments regarding the deal, Hefetz will also give information regarding the other cases against the prime minister and his wife
Hefetz is the third Netanyahu confidant to turn against the prime minister in the ongoing corruption cases. Hefetz is suspected of receiving bribes and obstructing justice as part of what is called Case 4000. He is also a key figure in 1270, and is second fiddle in Case 2000. 
In Case 4000, Hefetz liaised between the Netanyahu couple and the Walla news website, owned by Bezeq. Hefetz arranged for flattering items on the couple and censorship of less flattering items, Haaretz's Gidi Weitz reported. 
In Case 1270, Hefetz allegedly served as the prime minister's confidant who sought to elucidate how Judge Hila Gerstl felt about closing a case against Sara Netanyahu. Allegedly a trial balloon was floated, hinting to Gerstl that she would be promoted to Israel's next attorney-general if she closed the case down. Hefetz claims that it all boiled down to idle chatter and hadn't been coordinated with the prime minister and his wife. 
In Case 2000, Hefetz had involvement on both sides of the coin. He was head of public relations for Netanyahu, before which he served as senior editor in the Yedioth Ahronoth group, owned by Arnon Mozes. In 2009, Mozes is suspected of agreeing to provide sweetheart coverage of Netanyahu, who in turn allegedly promised to get the rival (free) newspaper Israel Hayom to stop printing a weekend edition, which stood to hugely benefit Yedioth. 
Channel 10 reports that Hefetz will be providing information on other cases – some of which the public hasn't even heard of yet.

Seems like prosecutors have plenty to go on to ring Bibi up, and Hefetz is just one of the main courses on the menu.  Whether a vote of no confidence is coming, Netanyahu resigns, or he calls early elections, I don't see how he survives the year as leader of the government.

I wish I could say the same for Trump, but we have a long way to go in that fight.


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