Friday, August 31, 2018

Last Call For It's Definitely Muller Time

With Labor Day on Monday, the scuttlebutt in DC is that Mueller would drop at least one final bombshell on the Russia case before "Justice Department guidelines" kicked in about non-interference in the 60 days before the 2018 midterms. (Didn't stop James Comey two years ago, right?)  

The man did not disappoint.  Not by a long shot.

A former Paul Manafort associate who pleaded guilty to a lobbying crime admitted that he helped foreign donors give money to President Donald Trump’s Inaugural Committee.

In a plea agreement made public Friday, prosecutors outlined other crimes that the lobbyist, Sam Patten, admitted to but wouldn’t be charged with. Among them was “causing foreign money” to be paid to the Trump inaugural committee. Patten signed off on the allegation.

Patten pleaded guilty earlier Friday to failing to disclose his lobbying on behalf of Ukraine, and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

According to a court filing, Patten’s Ukrainian client wanted to attend the Trump inauguration in January 2017, but the Inauguration Committee couldn’t accept money from foreign nationals because of Federal Election Commission rules.

To get around that restriction, Patten enlisted a U.S. citizen to serve as a “straw” buyer, according to the filing. That individual, who wasn’t named, bought four tickets for $50,000, after receiving a check for $50,000 from the consulting firm run by Patten and Konstantin Kilimnik, Manafort’s longtime fixer in Ukraine suspected of having ties to Russian intelligence. That firm, in turn, was reimbursed by a $50,000 wire from the Ukrainian oligarch’s Cypriot bank account, the filing says.

It’s unclear whether anyone on the Inaugural Committee was aware that the money came from a Ukrainian, or whether Patten has more to tell investigators about the matter.

“The big question seems to be whether he has testimony to offer about the purpose behind the payments to the inauguration committee,” said Harry Sandick, a former federal prosecutor in New York who’s now a white-collar criminal defense lawyer.

Konstatin Kilimnik has been Manafort's Putin contact for a while now.  I told you he was dirty two full years ago.  If Patten is ratting on Manafort and Kilimnik, then our old friend Oleg Deripaska can't be far behind.

To recap: the Trump inaugural committee took foreign donations from Putin's guys.

And we go into Labor Day weekend with that on the line.

The Battle Of Detroit

The US Army and National Guard troops are training in urban areas like Detroit in order to prepare for dealing with a terrorist attack on American soil.

As the Army and top leaders look to a potential urban fight in dense, dangerous and confusing terrain, their National Guard counterparts are working the complexities of urban response right now.

Recently, troops with the 46th Military Police Command of the Michigan National Guard began a three-year effort to respond to a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack in Detroit. When they fill that role, soldiers in that unit fall under the command of the active Army, specifically U.S. Army North.

The first stage of the exercise ran for three days, from Aug. 21-23, with a “tabletop exercise” and terrain walk through for leaders and planners to identify who would do what as the Guard units fit into the intricate ways in which many groups coordinate disaster response in urban settings.

A key role of Task Force 46 and elements of the MP command is decontaminating those exposed to toxic elements in the CBRN environment. Local agencies, from city to state government and emergency response units, lead their respective areas, but Army assets can hit certain needs at a large scale.

“As you go, the intent is to fill larger gaps rather than take over,” said Robert Naething, deputy to the commanding general of U.S. Army North, which oversees such Army responses inside the United States.

"Army responses inside the United States" in a Trump regime should be a gigantic warning sign, folks.  I can think of a whole hell of a lot of scenarios besides a terror attack where Trump would have troops go into American cities, and we're really not far from that.

There are ongoing efforts to partner with cities such as Atlanta, Chicago, Phoenix and Cleveland in the coming years so that command groups from the various Guard units and Army North can build out their plans and better coordinate with the local contacts in each area.

That’s an area where the Guard has had experience, Stone said. But with this new event, they’re bringing in not only the working agencies but experts in academia and industry who study disaster related problems.

But, since its inside the U.S., the chain of command is somewhat different than in war time scenarios.

“We’re never in charge, we’re always in support,” Naething said. "Either FEMA or DHS is typically in charge.”

FEMA and DHS.  In charge of an army response inside the US.  Under Trump.  Sounds fun, doesn't it?

Brian Buetler games out where we go in the lame duck session between Election Day and January.  It's not pretty.

Yes, it’s possible that Republicans will lose control of the Senate in January, so they naturally feel a bit hurried. But they are intent on confirming Kavanaugh before the election in November, foreclosing on the possibility of using the lame duck session to more completely review Kavanaugh’s public-service record. Their haste looks fairly arbitrary, unless we interpret it as an effort to lock in another Supreme Court justice before Trump takes drastic steps to protect himself from Mueller—steps that might otherwise place the Supreme Court seat itself at risk, harm Republicans in the midterms, or both.

The implication of recent reporting is that those steps will include, at a minimum, pardoning Manafort and firing Sessions. We can see his intentions both in overt and behind-the-scenes steps he’s taken against McGahn and Sessions in recent days, and in reports that he has consulted with his personal, criminal lawyers about both pardoning Manafort, firing Sessions, and impeachment.

Depending upon how willingly Republicans in the Senate will go along with Trump’s designs, Trump may also seek to rush a new, unrecused attorney general through the confirmation process, or abuse the vacancies act to install an acting attorney general who might corruptly interfere with the Mueller investigation

If Republicans do well in the elections, all this scheming will have proved unnecessary, and Trump will be given a free hand to obstruct any investigation he’d like. But if Republicans lose one or both houses of Congress, the lame-duck period will be the critical window during which Trump can take corrupt steps to insulate himself from justice. By the time Democrats took control, their ability to set things right would be limited. They could conduct oversight, which would damage Republicans politically, but Republicans would at the very least have the power to block impeachment and the restoration of the Mueller investigation.

Demonstrations will certainly arise from that.  Those demonstrations against Trump may be too large for him to ignore.

He may then act.

It's not an impossibility.

Deportation Nation, Con't

In the Trump era, the regime is making it clear that corporations that do business with undocumented immigrants will face the wrath of the federal government, and as a result, these cowards are "self-policing" and shutting off non-citizens from business services like bank accounts.

Saeed Moshfegh woke up earlier this month to discover the strangest thing: though he had plenty of money in his Bank of America account, he couldn’t access it.

An Iranian getting his Ph.D in physics at the University of Miami, Moshfegh used the account for everyday transactions. All he had to do to maintain the account was show proof of legal residency every six months.

“I think it’s onerous, but I’d been doing it,” said Moshfegh, who has lived in the U.S. for the past seven years. He recently married an American.

That Thursday, Moshfegh went to his local branch near South Miami. He was told that the documentation he had provided could not be accepted. Bank officials insisted he produce a different form, according to Moshfegh. The bank was wrong, he maintains, because the form he had supplied was the correct one based on his current status as a student nearing graduation.

“This bank doesn’t know how the immigration system works, so they didn’t accept my document,” said Moshfegh, 36.

Locked out of his account, Moshfegh couldn’t pay his rent, which was due that week. Credit card payments were suddenly rejected.

His case isn’t unique. In recent months, Bank of America has been accused of freezing or threatening to freeze customers’ accounts after asking about their legal status in the U.S.. In July, the Washington Post reported that multiple customers had been locked out of their accounts after Bank of America questioned whether the account holders were U.S. citizens or dual citizens.

The Trump regime will start forcing more and more Americans to prove their citizenship, and simply tell those that it wants gone that their proof is invalid.  History tells us exactly how this goes, and those undesirables will be locked up and then deported, or will disappear into the permanent incarceration system as revenue streams for private prison contractors.  The rest will flee the country on their own volition, or hide.

We know exactly how this played out 80 years ago in Europe.  A government that is willing to declare you a non-citizen is a fascist government, period.

Not only can it happen here, it is happening as we speak.


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